Friday, October 30, 2020

EPL 2020/32 - Week 7

Sheffield Utd v Man City - Away

Burnley v Chelsea - Away

Liverpool v West Ham - Home

Aston Villa v Southampton - Away

Newcastle v Everton - Away

Man Utd v Arsenal - Draw

Tottenham v Brighton - Home

Fulham v West Brom - Home

Leeds v Leicester - Away

Man City should start getting on a good roll if they are to keep their title challenge live. The Citizens have hardly blazed out all firing out of the starting gates and have to start accumulating full points to keep up with rivals Liverpool. Going to Sheffield Utd presents Guardiola's men to start a winning sequence; the home team are struggling and look set for a relegation battle this year if their results don't improve. The Blades will need a repeat last week's performance at Anfield where they almost snatched a point but their main problem is that they are not banging enough goals upfront. This lack of firepower will be detrimental against a City side that has the potential to go rampant against the toughest of defences; the Citizens are hard to be out-scored. Looks like a definite away win.

I expect a close match between Man Utd and Arsenal. Both teams played and won in mid-week and will be keen not to lose this one. The Red Devils found it hard to break down a vulnerable Chelsea side last week and Arsenal are proving a resilient team under Arteta. I expect this match to be determined by the odd goal if there is to be a winner, but a draw looks very much in the cards.

Win: Man City

Draw: Man Utd/Arsenal 

Friday, October 23, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 6

West Ham v Man City - Away

Fulham v Crystal Palace - Home

Man Utd v Chelsea - Home

Liverpool v Sheffield Utd - Home

Southampton v Everton - Away

Wolves v Newcastle - Home

Arsenal v Leicester - Home

Brighton v WBA - Home

Burnley v Tottenham - Away

Spurs are a team on a roll and they should have no trouble dispensing of struggling Burnley this game week. They lost 2 glaring points against West Ham last week-end, throwing away a 3-goal lead but rebounded well in midweek in their Europa excursion. Kane and Son are on fire and with Bale now in the mix, Spurs certainly have one of the most potent attacks in Europe. I mentioned before that Burnley are going to struggle this season unless they make massive reinforcements but these are not due anytime soon. Spurs should win this comfortably.

I think Fulham might finally get the win they crave as Crystal Palace come for a visit. The problem currently for the Cottagers is that they do not score enough but they seem to have done some good business during the transfer window and got an encouraging draw last week at Sheffield Utd. The visitors alter the good and the bad and depend heavily on star man Zaha for their good fortunes. If he is shackled, they become a bottom-tier team. This is a match home manager Parker will feel is up for the taking and at current odds, sound like a good win value proposition.

Win: Fulham/Tottenham  

Friday, October 16, 2020

EP 2020/21 - Week 5

Everton v Liverpool - Home

Chelsea v Southampton - Draw

Man City v Arsenal - Home

Newcastle v Man Utd - Draw

Sheffield Utd v Fulham - Home

Crystal Palace v Brighton - Away

Tottenham v West Ham - Home

Leicester v Aston Villa - Home

West Brom v Burnley - Home

Leeds v Wolves - Home

If there is one team that I think will do terrible in the coming weeks, at least before the January transfer window, is Burnley. The Clarets are 0-3 so far and things don't look to be improving soon following a rash of injuries and more importantly because of their ineptitude in the last transfer window. This is a seriously banged up team at the moment and other teams will relish to play them as they stand. West Brom have just garnered a point so far, albeit in a rather sensational match where they were leading 3-nil against Chelsea at half-time. Clearly the Baggies can score but they also have one of the most porous defences in the league. It's a big opportunity for them to bag up 3 full points against Sam Dyche's ailing team and I think they will take it.

Liverpool have crushed the life out of their Merseyside rivals Everton in recent years but tomorrow's derby might prove a different storyline. The Toffees are leading at the top of the table thanks to an unbeaten 4-game run. The turnaround in Everton's fortunes can be boiled down to 2 main factors; the arrival of Ancelloti and the renewed confidence up-front of Calvert-Lewin. The hosts won't be fazed by all the usual razzmatazz from rivals Liverpool who have been used to rolling over all lately. I can see an Everton win here, considering that the Kops are not in full gear yet.

Win: Everton, WBA

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Arc de Triomphe - History beckons for Enable

It seems the racing gods are with Enable. The heavy rains got rid of Love, the one many thought would scupper her aim for a 3rd Arc. Then, the race suffered the defections of the rest of the Ballydoyle contingent because of a feed problem! No Serpentine, Mogul, Japan or Sovereign to deal with. So what is left in the field that can potentially derail the Queen of the turf?

For that you need to find a true mud lark that will relish the heavy going of ParisLongchamp on Sunday. I cannot find any in the field. Sure, there are a few that have won on soft ground but beating Enable would require a specialist of heaving conditions. Persian King? Does not have the distance and will absolutely hate the ground. Royal Julius, Way to Paris, Gold Trip, Chachnak? Not good enough at this level. Deidre? Will not love the conditions and seems past her peak. Raabihah? Unproven on the ground and was not quite good enough to beat a respectable but no superstar Tarnawa.

This leaves In Swoop, Sottsass and Stradivarius as viable challengers. In Swoop is the German Derby winner who seems to love softish conditions. He was second to Mogul in the Grand Prix de Paris and being a 3-year old, will get some weight allowance in relation to the older generation. It's not certain he can be a force at this level but he has claims for a Top 4 finish.

Sottsass has disappointed me this year. He has won only one of this four races and his win was also not the most convincing. He finished around a length from Enable in last year's Arc and if he can reproduce that form, he can be a major force at the finish. He hit the line well in his last race against the likes of Ghaiyyath and Magical, suggesting maybe that he was coming to peak. He will need it if he is to beat Enable.

Stradivarius has been a splendid out and out stayer all this life and has shown stunning speed at a mile and a half in his career redirection. With some luck, he can certainly win at the distance at the highest level. The son of Sea the Stars is all heart and it seems the heavy going will play to his strength as he is the one with the least stamina concern. I expect him to fly at the finish as many in the field struggle to arrive home. He has won on soft going before so he should handle the conditions better than most.

Enable isn't as good a racehorse as last year according to John Gosden. It's understandable that she is past her zenith of her 5-year old season. But she has still proven an awesome force in her last couple of races and shown enough to suggest that she is near enough her best to win a top race like this. Her tactical speed means that she will be well placed throughout to produce a final flourish. She was beaten tactically in the straight last year and provided Frankie Dettori is not caught unawares again, he is still the best jockey to be on board. The heart hopes she wins, the mind thinks she will win in front of stable-mate Stradivarius.

Win: Enable

Place: Stradivarius, Sottsass

Friday, October 2, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 4

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Away

Everton v Brighton - Away

Leeds v Man City - Away

Newcastle v Burnley - Home

Leicester v West Ham - Home

Southampton v West Brom - Home

Arsenal v Sheffield Utd - Home

Wolves v Fulham - Home

Man Utd v Spurs - Draw

Aston Villa v Liverpool - Away

Leicester, Southampton and Wolves are obvious home weeks here. They can be merged into a trifecta. Leicester shockingly trounced Man City at the Etihaad last week-end; I cannot recall a team that kicked Guardiola's team so bad. The Foxes are a top 5 team and have lost none of last year's verve. With Vardy up front and Rodgers at the helm, this team cannot be underestimated by any means.

Southampton have had a difficult start but seem to have pulled their act together lately. The arrival of lowly West Brom will give them hope of another full points. The Baggies almost shock Chelsea last week, mounting a 3-goal lead at the half. Their downfall this year will be their hapless defence and it showed as they let in 3 in the second half. Saints striker Ings should have a field day on Sunday.

Wolves are showing a little bit of inconsistency since the start. I still think they will have too much for Fulham. The Cottagers are showing they are not of Premiership material and need significant reinforcement if they are to avoid the drop. I think Wolves will have a go at them from the start and polish their goal difference.

As a big surprise pick, I think Brighton can get something at Goodison Park. It's true that Ancelotti have Everton flying since the start and they again shone in midweek with another hat trick from Calvert Lewin. Brighton, on the other hand, were so unlucky not to pick at least a point against Man Utd. Hitting the post and crossbar 5 times and losing on a penalty kick as the last kick of the game just wrapped a wretched day for Albion. If they play with the same enthusiasm and heart, they can shock the home team that is set to miss Richardison in attack. the Seagulls look a decent double-chance (draw or away) value in the markets.

Win: Leicester/Southampton/Wolves

Double-chance: Brighton