Friday, December 31, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 21

 Arsenal v Man City - Draw

Watford v Spurs - Away

Crystal Palace v West Ham - Away

Brentford v Aston Villa - Away

Everton v Brighton - Home

Leeds v Burnley - Draw

Southampton v Newcastle - Away

Chelsea v Liverpool - Home

Man Utd v Wolves - Draw

Happy New Year 2022!! Wish it to be very healthy and prosperous to all!

This new year starts with a bang with a monster clash between title chasers Chelsea and Liverpool. It seems that Man City has it all sewn up, so would many believe. But their 8 point lead is certainly not unsurmountable and the afore-mentioned above are the likeliest to offer the fiercest opposition. Chelsea have lost pace lately and their late abdication against Brighton in what looked like a sure 3 points have definitely dampened the mood at Stamford Bridge. They might live to regret those 2 lost precious points in the end. The return of Lukaku at the front gives them an extra edge although it is hard to make any sense of the striker's recent media outburst regarding his situation in London. The guy announced it was his dream to be back at the Bridge on his return a few months back, yet he is now whining about never wanting to leave Inter. It's an understandable wtf-wtf from the Blues fan-base. As long as he delivers on the pitch, I guess no-one would really care what is wired in his head. Liverpool have also lost a step lately, losing to Leicester in their last match, one in which they had ample chances to close and keep pace at the top. Their profligacy in front of goal, including a missed penalty was their undoing and they might live to regret these lost points. This will be Salah's last match before heading to the African Cup and it will be interesting to see if he can go out with a flourish. His level of form has slipped slightly in the recent matches, which is why I give the Blues a slight advantage in this encounter. I think they will be the hungrier team, and certainly the more dangerous one at home with an unleashed Lukaku up front. Siding with an outright Blues win could be rewarding here.

Win: Chelsea

Sunday, December 26, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 19

 Man City v Leicester - Home

Norwich v Arsenal - Away

Tottenham v Crystal Palace - Home

West Ham v Southampton - Home

Aston Villa v Chelsea - Away

Brighton v Brentford - Draw

Newcatle v Man Utd - Away

It sure hasn't been fun seeing the growing round of matches being cancelled lately and having clubs playing with decimated squads definitely has an incidence on results. Matches are kicking off in less than half-hour so I will lay out some quick pick here. Man City should continue on their title-winning form by overcoming Leicester. The Foxes have been out-of-sorts for a while now and I cannot see them getting anything from this trip. Arsenal are on a good roll and should be able to overcome lowly Norwich. I really like Spurs chances against visiting Palace, who will be without manager Viera for the match. Son and Kane have been clicking well lately with the arrival of Conte and I see them winning this match hands-down. Finally, I see Man Utd starting an unbeaten sequence as they visit relegation-threatened Newcastle. The vibes look positive with interim manager Rangnick but the Red Devils will need to translate it on the pitch. 

Win: Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man Utd

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 17

Norwich v Aston Villa - Away

Man City v Leeds - Home

Brighton v Wolves - Draw

Burnley v Watford - Away

Crystal Palace v Southampton - Home

Arsenal v West Ham - Draw

Leicester v Tottenham - Home

Chelsea v Everton - Home

Liverpool v Newcastle - Home

David Moyes did a fantastic job at West Ham last season and if anyone thought that was a fluke or a on-off, think again because the Hammers are doing even better this year sitting in 4th spot ahead the likes of Man Utd and Arsenal. They have proven a tough team to break down even for the top teams. And they can score as well with Antonio and Bowen leading the charge up front. The Hammers are simply a delight to watch and although they have a difficult away match against the in-form Gunners, they cannot be dismissed in the slightest. The home team have enjoyed a good spell lately and Arteta is no longer the "next manager" to be fired as the papers had peppered for a while. They currently have au Auba issue on their hands but their newly-ex captain has not been as influential to their recent success as in previous years. It is the coming of keeper Ramsdale between the posts that have kicked off their season and provided them much-needed solidity at the back to build on. This match is going to be tight from the get-go and I see it ending into a hardly-fought draw.

Draw: Arsenal/West Ham

Friday, December 3, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 15

 West Ham v Chelsea - Home

Newcastle v Burnley - Home

Southamton v Brighton - Away

Wolves v Liverpool - Away

Watford v Man City - Away

Leeds v Brentford - Home

Man Utd v Crystal Palace - Home

Tottenham v Norwich - Home

Aston Villa v Leicester - Home

Everton v Arsenal - Draw

The leading teams may have been on a tear lately but I reckon there could be some surprising results in the offing this week-end. Chelsea are in dangerous waters at West Ham. While they have been racking up positive results in the past weeks, it seems the Blues are squeezing by rather than really coming up with dominant displays. The return of Lukaku should ease things up front but I think they might be up for a rocky spell in the upcoming matches. Playing the Hammers is never easy these days and it won't be surprising to see Moyes' team eke out at least a point out of Saturday's encounter. At current odds, it might be worth siding completely with the hosts and go for the all Hammers win.

I believe Newcastle are apt to win their first match of the season against visiting Burnley. The Magpies are arguably better off since Howe came over as manager but I persist in thinking that they will be busy playing the relegation battles all season. However, Burnley are a shadow of the solid team of the past seasons and it is a glorious opportunity for the hosts to finally bag 3 points. 

Finally, Aston Villa should see off visiting Leicester. The Foxes are an inferior team of the past seasons and they can no longer keep clean sheets as before. Very uncharacteristic of Rodgers' teams, particularly with Schmeichel in goal. They have no consistent form since the start unlike Villa, who are enjoying a nice spell since Gerard has taken over. While I don't expect their purple patch to last long, I still think the Villains are playing with better confidence than the Foxes and will make home advantage pay in this one.

Win: West Ham, Newcastle, Aston Villa

Friday, November 26, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 13

 Arsenal v Newcastle - Home

Crystal Palace v Aston Villa - Draw

Liverpool v Southampton - Home

Norwich v Wolves - Away

Brighton v Leeds - Away

Brentford v Everton - Draw

Burnley v Tottenham - Home

Leicester v Watford - Draw

Man City v West Ham - Home

Chelsea v Man Utd - Home

It's impossible to know what kind of Man Utd will show up against Chelsea. I've been wrong on the Red Devils lately, thinking that they have redressed the boat but they didn't and got a rollocking at Watford last week. Out went Ole and lo and behold, the Red Devils go and win at solid Villareal in midweek. I think there is a reality that they get smashed at Chelsea. I think Tuchel is relishing at the prospect of facing the severerly-wounded visitors before new interim manager Rangnick gets in place. The Blues have been in such awe-inspiring form lately that it is hard to see anything other than a home win there. Beware, Man Utd are never beaten on paper and have enough quality and pride in them to cause an upset. But the odds are that Chelsea are playing solid all-round football and will pounce on the severe defensive deficiencies of the visitors.

Win: Chelsea

Saturday, November 20, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 12


Leicester v Chelsea - Away

Aston Villa v Brighton - Away

Burnley v Crystal Palace - Home

Newcastle v Brentford - Home

Norwich v Southampton - Draw

Watford v Man Utd - Away

Wolves v West Ham - Away

Liverpool v Arsenal - Home

Man City v Everton - Home

Tottenham v Leeds - Home

The question after this international break is whether some top guns can regain some sort of form that can make them a force to be reckoned based on what their squad is worth, at least on paper. Man Utd is the prime example of a club filled with marquee names but yet to hit the expected heights. They are a volcano about to erupt and although time seems to be running out for Ole, I think they will get there sooner than later. At current odds, I see them value contenders for the outright win at Watford.

Tottenham are another team whose fans hope will finally find their footing under new manager Conte. The Italian has proven to be one of the shrewdest managers in the game and his main challenge will be to unlock the potential of the squad beyond Kane and Son. I expect them to outscore visitors Leeds in a high scoring affair and outright home win looks the value bet there as well.

Win: Man Utd, Tottenham

Friday, November 5, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 11

 Man Utd v Man City - Home

Brentford v Norwich - Home

Chelsea v Burnley - Home

Crystal Palace v Wolves - Draw

Brighton v Newcastle - Home

Arsenal v Watford - Draw

Everton v Spurs - Away

Leeds v Leicester - Home

West Ham v Liverpool - Away

Bragging rights are on the line in Manchester this Saturday as Man Utd host rivals City. Guardiola's men go into the match as logical favourites; the teams might be more or less equal on paper but on the pitch, the form largely favours the visitors. The Red Devils have been scraping results by the neck and again in their mid-week UCL match, they were saved by the gong by their talisman Ronaldo. The team is still finding its feet since the superstar's return to the club and fair to say that they are yet to rock'n'roll. That time will come, it's just that it's taking a helluva amount of time for their supporters and critics. On the other hand, City are a well-oiled machine that dominate even the best teams and although they can have misteps such as last week against Crystal Palace, they will win more often that not. The characteristic that springs out is Solksjaer's winning record against Guardiola; the strategy of playing counter-attack against possession-craving City has been played to optimum effect by the Red Devils. And I suspect this is what they will resort to again on Saturday, given that their team play is not functional enough at the moment.  At that kind of game, Man Utd can be lethal as they showed in their first goal against Atalanta in mid-week. The logical mind says that City should win this match but I expect Man Utd to show some grit and fighting spirit. More than what they showed against Liverpool. Ronaldo has a good record against City and Guardiola and the hosts certainly have the individualistic qualities to match. At current odds, I like them as a draw-no-bet option although seeing their winning odds at greater than 4/1 at home is certainly appealing as well.

Win, Draw-no-bet: Man Utd

Friday, October 29, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 10

Leicester v Arsenal - Home

Burnley v Brentford - Away

Liverpool v Brighton - Home

Man City v Crystal Palace - Home

Newcastle v Chelsea - Away

Watford v Southampton - Home

Tottenham v Man Utd - Away

Norwich v Leeds - Away

Aston Villa v West Ham - Home

Wolves v Everton - Away

I see value going for some away matches this week-end. Brentford have been edged out in their last 2 encounters but have the quality to snatch points at Burnley. Chelsea go as firm favourites against lowly Newcastle even without their strikeforce of Lukaku and Werner. Mason Mount picked up the pieces last week-end and Havertz shouldn't be too far off taking the goalscoring duties. Man Utd are due an urgent win and they can rebound from their debacle against Liverpool by gaining at least a share of points at Spurs. They certainly have the quality to win the 3 points. Leeds should batter Norwich, which are as bad a horror-show this league has seen. If Biesla cannot get his team to win this match, something is going on at Elland Road and the Argentinian could be on his way out of there. Finally, I see Everton rebounding from their astonishing last defeat against Watford. It was so uncharacteristic to see a Benitez team outscored in the waning minutes in that fashion. The Toffees can outscore a Wolves side that has yet to hit top gear this season.

Win or Draw-no-bet: Brentford, Chelsea, Man Utd, Leeds, Everton

Friday, October 22, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 9

Chelsea v Norwich - Home

Crystal Palace v Newcastle - Home

Everton v Watford - Home

Leeds v Wolves - Home

Southampton v Burnley - Draw

Brighton v Man City - Away

Brentford v Leicester - Home

West Ham v Tottenham - Draw

Man Utd v Liverpool - Home

Man Utd are on an explatoratory phase at the moment and with positive results difficult to come by, the pressure is definitely on Solksjaer to turn things around asap. The press certainly exacerbates things but if history is to go by, I don't see Ole being fired any time soon unless the Red Devils stop winning at all. They have too much quality for their wretched form to continue for long. Arch-rivals Liverpool certainly would be more than happy to further the current turmoil at Old Trafford this Sunday. The Kops are in championship form at the moment, driven by a Mo Salah currently recognized as the current best player on the planet. His recent performances and goals have just been scintillating and he will be relishing exploring the defensive frailties of the hosts. But this is a local derby, a match between the fiercest rivals in English football and current form is not the major ingredient. It will be mostly a battle of wills and Man Utd will not be found wanting in this department. With McGuire back, the defence has gone and will get better. They have the firepower to trouble any defence and Liverpool has shown their defensive vulnerability in mid-week against Atletico Madrid. Liverpool will score but so will Man Utd. At current prices, I see value siding with the hosts as either a draw-no-bet or as an outright win.

Friday, October 15, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Weel 8

Watford v Liverpool - Away

Aston Villa v Wolves - Home

Leicester v Man Utd - Away

Man City v Burnley - Home

Norwich v Brighton - Away

Southampton v Leeds - Away

Brentford v Chelsea - Draw

Everton v West Ham - Draw

Newcastle v Spurs - Home

Arsenal v Crystal Palace - Home

Coach Ranieri starts his spell as Watford manager this week-end and it will be interesting if the legendary Italian can make the Hornets a first-half table team. Players are typically pumped up in a coach's first match, trying to make good first impressions but Watford have their work cut out for them against mighty Liverpool. The Kops are actually in a better position than I thought they would be at this time. I still think they don't have the depth in squad as compared to the rest of the top teams but with the likes of Salah playing out of his skin at the moment, they can keep the momentum going. I suspect the Kops can edge this one.

The pressure is on for Solksjaer at Man Utd as a series of defeats have allowed the skeptics to start crying foul. All the goodwill coming out of the Ronaldo homecoming seems to have evaporated. Worse for the Red Devils, they are missing their defensive central pair of McGuire and Varane to injury. That said, I think they still have the quality to win this match against the Foxes. Ronaldo can always score and it is only a matter of time that the parts start clicking. Leicester are in a spot of bother of their own, lying in the bottom half of the table; I actually thought they would be vying for the top places at this time but they have definitely gone a step backwards from the past couple of years. I don't think Man Utd will lose this match, so might be worth going with a draw-no-bet with them or an outright win might signify more rewards for a riskier punt. 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Arc de Triomphe 100th edition - Superstar fillies against Godolphin colts

 The 100th edition of the Arc runs on Sunday. The greatest race in the world. And the field this year is one of the best assembled in recent times. Despite the impending heavy ground, it promises to be one for the ages. Here is my lowdown of each runner in this fabulous race.

Torquator Tasso - best middle distance horse from Germany. He will out-run his odds of 320/1 but will probably finish in the middle of the pack.

Deep Bond - Surprise winner of the Prix Niel. Hasn't won a Group 1 yet. His only chance to spring a surprise is that he shoots in front and his stamina allows him to successfully withstand challenges on heavy ground. 

Broome - Does not have the class to win this.

Tarnawa - Should be the deserved favourite to win this. Ticks on all boxes; form, distance, going, course, jockey. Will be at the finish.

Love - withdrawn.

Raabihah - Her outside post has complicated her already difficult task. Her trainer thinks she has no chance with that post. She will have to replicate her finish in last year's edition to have any chance. Hard to see her do it though.

Chrono Genesis - the best middle-distance horse from Japan. Has the class to win this but needs to overcome any Japanese curse prevailing in that race. If she's in her element on the heavy going, she can win this.

Mojo Star - looks destined for placings at best in top races. Can't see him winning this.

Baby Rider - not good enough for this.

Adayar - top-class Derby winner who also destroyed Mishriff and Love in the King George. Outside post might scupper his chances but looks set to be at the finish.

Hurricane Lane - other top-class colt from Godolphin. Will need to overcome the St Leger curse to win this. Should be able to perform on the ground but I fear he will run out of stamina in the heavy mud after his St Leger outing.

Sealiway - Might be good against French colts but not in this company.

Alenquer - One of the few who will relish the heavy going. He is a level short for this type of company though.

Bubble Gift - like other French colts, need a lot of luck to figure properly in this.

Snowfall - dark horse of the race. If the Snowfall of the Oaks turns up, she will win this. If that of the Vermeille shows up, she won't even place. She will love the heavy going.

In the end, it will be the Godolphin colts against the superstar fillies Tarnawa, Chrono Genesis and Snowfall. With the deluge that looks set to hit Longchamp, I have to side with the fillies that will glide on the surface. Tarnawa or Snowfall, make both of them your picks. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 7

 Man Utd v Everton - Draw

Burnley v Norwich - Home

Chelsea v Southampton - Home

Leeds v Watford - Home

Wolves v Newcastle - Draw

Brighton v Arsenal - Draw

Crystal Palace v Leicester - Draw

Tottenham v Aston Villa - Draw

West Ham v Brentford - Home

Liverpool v Man City - Home

I'm putting faith in 2 teams to finally win their first matches of the season this week-end. Burnley won't have a better chance to get their first by beating lowly Norwich and Leeds have enough in them to overcome visitors Watford.

Burnley almost snatched a first victory at Leicester last week. Sam Dyche's men seem unable to hold a favourable result and have had vicotry taken off their hands in a few occasions. It won't get any easier than against the Canaries. Burnley for the outright win.

Hard to believe that Leeds have yet to win their first match but truth be said that they haven't had an easy path so far having crossed swords with the likes of Liverpool, Man Utd, West Ham among others. Watford do not have a solid away form, having only won points at Norwich. Leeds were rather unlucky to lose to West Ham last week-end as they opened the scoring only to be downed by 2 second-half goals including the winner in stoppage time.  At current odds, it looks worthy to side with Biesla's men to finally get that first win of the campaign.

Friday, September 24, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 6

 Chelsea v Man Ciy - H

Man Utd v Aston Villa - H

Everton v Norwich - H

Leeds v West Ham - A

Leicester v Burnley - H

Watford v Newcastle - D

Brentford v Liverpool - A

Southampton v Wolves - H

Arsenal v Tottenham - D

Crystal Palace v Brighton - A

It's still early dibs but I've mentioned this before that I don't think that Man City will retain their title this year. Winning the Champions League will be their priority but more importantly, they don't have a No 9, having missed on one of the brightest of them all in Harry Kane. Getting Grealish was an excellent piece of business but he won't give you 20 goals in one season. And I believe we can have a good glimpse of how City's season will unfold in the coming weeks as they play Chelsea, PSG and Liverpool in succession. Without a striker, they look very vulnerable indeed.

Chelsea are currently favourites to take the baton from City and they have started the season in tremendous style and in an expected fashion. A Lukaku up-front that the Blues are enjoying is what Guardiola needs for the Citizens. No more reliance on Timo Werner and his misses. Tuchel is unbeaten in 4 matches against Guardiola since arriving at Stamford Bridge and I expect the unbeaten run to continue on Saturday. How the market is equally divided among the 2 just amazes me. At home, the Blues hold no fear and I see it worth going for the outright win in their favour.

Friday, September 17, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 5

Wolves v Brentford - H

Burnley v Arsenal - H

Liverpool v Crystal Palace - H

Man City v Southampton - H

Norwich v Watford - A

Aston Villa v Everton - A

Brighton v Leicester - A

West Ham v Man Utd - D

Tottenham v Chelsea - A

Burnley have only 1 point to show for so far but their odds look prohibitively high against visiting Arsenal. I believe Dyche's men are a little unfortunate to be sitting next to the bottom of the table as they could easily have gathered a few more points from their opening matches. They are a tough team to beat on their best day and they should be hitting good form soon. Visiting Arsenal do not have much better form and I think Arteta's men are an out-of-sorts team at the moment. Forget that they are not the Arsenal team of old, they are much worse than even the worst Wenger teams. This does not look a team that is going anywhere and I wouldn't be surprised if Arteta is given the boot soon. I think it's worth siding with the home team here, either a straight win or a draw-no-bet; I just don't see Burnley losing this one.

Friday, September 10, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 4

Crystal Palace v Spurs - D

Arsenal v Norwich - H

Brentford v Brighton - D

Leicester v Man City - A

Man Utd v Newcastle - H

Southampton v West Ham - H

Watford v Wolves - A

Chelsea v Aston Villa - H

Leeds v Liverpool - A

Everton v Burnley - H

Amazing that Wolves haven't yet scored a league goal so far. They could easily have had at least 2 against Man Utd in their last match, including a miracle double-save from de Gea. The problem with the Wolves attack is that Jimenez has yet to regain his goal scoring touch before his accident, Trincao is full of trickery except scoring goals and Fabio Silva is just not good enough for this league. Adama Traore can bulldoze his way through everything but goal scoring is not yet his forte. That said, I find it hard to believe that they won't score against lowly Watford. All the ingredients are there for Wolves to get their first goal to get their season started. At current odds, I find them value to outright win this match although Watford might hold this match tight.

Ronaldo makes his first re-appearance as a Red Devil after 12 years and as mentioned before, he will improve them immensely. Once the goals start coming and the floodgates are opened, Man Utd will be a hard nut to crack. Their undoing last year was their poor form at Old Trafford but I expect them to rectify this record this season. Newcastle will be the first to feel the brunt of their new powerhouse attack on Saturday. I see this match as the first of many punts on the Red Devils this season.

Friday, August 27, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 3

Man City v Arsenal - H

Aston Villa v Brentford - H

Brighton v Everton - A

Newcastle v Southampton - D

Norwich v Leicester - A

West Ham v Crystal Palace - H

Liverpool v Chelsea - H

Burnley v Leeds - H

Tottenham v Watford - H

Wolves v Man Utd - A

My oh my! Ronaldo back home to Man Utd is just seismic news... This clearly changes the league dynamics as Man Utd have now been mightily boosted with a potential 30-goal scorer. His arrival will also boost everyone around to boost their game, Utd are definitely destined for some silverware this year. I think City have missed out big time not landing the Portuguese superstar. They need a big goal scorer and missing out on Ronaldo and Kane leaves a huge void up front. They almost need to scramble to get Haaland this year, it seems.

Man Utd should complete a fantastic week by going to beat Wolves at Molyneux. They dropped points at Southampton last week but the Saints are a difficult team to overcome for anyone. The Red Devils did well to come back after falling behind on a Fred own goal and should have won the match had Greenwood been more clinical with his header, one of the few areas he has room for considerable improvement. Pogba, Greenwood and Fernandes are firing on all cylinders at the moment and should prove too much for the hosts.

Man City totally outclassed Norwich last Sunday but Arsenal should provide a slightly more robust opposition. Guardiola's men can get away without a real number 9 against weak opponents but that won't do against the leading teams. Arsenal still need to find their feet at the moment and were comprehensively overwhelmed by Chelsea in their last match. Am pretty sure they won't concede 5 like the Canaries but I don't see them going away with a clean sheet as well. It's a good time to play the Gunners at the moment and it's a must 3-pointer for the Citizens.

Liverpool hosting Chelsea is the highlight of the week. Both teams have started well and can take the spoils. Lukaku has adjusted quickly to his new team and is only going to get better. Salah, Mane and Trent Arnold are clicking as they were a couple of years back. I have to give the advantage to the hosts here as Anfield will be jam packed. However, Chelsea are not easy to break down, so I expect this match to be decided by a goal at most. Orelse, a draw could be a likely income as well.

Friday, August 20, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 2

Liverpool v Burnley - Home

Aston Villa v Newcastle - Home

Crystal Palace v Brentford - Home

Leeds v Everton - Home

Man City v Norwich - Home

Brighton v Watford - Away

Southampton v Man Utd - Away

Wolves v Spurs - Home

Arsenal v Chelsea - Away

West Ham v Leicester - Draw

Man City missed their entrance last week-end going down at White Hart Lane. The Citizens are clearly missing a No 9 but they should have no problem overcoming minnows Norwich on Saturday. Mahrez and Sterling are expected to shine and get Guardiola's team back on track. They better do because Liverpool and Man Utd have started their season brightly.

I expect Liverpool to overcome Burnley as they look very settled with Van Dyke at the back and Salah is already hitting on all cylinders. Man Utd have a more arduous road trip at Southampton and it's a match they almost lost last year until they mounted a memorable second-half comeback thanks to the likes of Cavani and Fernandes. Any poor showing like their first half of last season might doom them this time, but with the quality they have shown last week, and with a Pogba that seems very interested, they might have too much firepower again for the hosts.

Chelsea sees the return of Lukaku and the Belgian might make the difference against the Gunners. A defeat here will certainly heap the pressure on Arteta who will be missing a few key players due to Covid. Chelsea are already rocking and Lukaku definitely improves them mightily in the striker department. The Blues should get even better with matches but they have the capacity to shell-shock the Gunners in this early-season London clash.

Friday, August 13, 2021

EPL 21/22 Predictions

Man Utd v Leeds - Home

Burnley v Brighton - Away

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Home

Everton v Southampton - Away

Leicester v Wolves - Home

Watford v Aston Villa - Draw

Norwich v Liverpool - Away

Newcastle v West Ham - Draw

Tottenham v Man City - Draw

Welcome back to a new season of EPL that promises to be even better than the last one. The big teams have loaded up, it won't be a shoe-in for Man City as last season. Here are my thoughts on the main protagonists.

Man City are favourites to retain their title and have added Grealish to their arsenal. They are still gunning for Harry Kane and whether they succeed in that endeavour will determine their chances of trophies this year. There is no doubt that the Champions League will be the main objective together with the league, having come agonizingly close to capturing Europe's biggest club prize in May. They will play a leading role in the league again but I have a feeling they will not come out on top.

Man Utd have beefed up with the arrivals of Sancho and Varane during the off-season. Sancho is an amazing addition and the England winger adds potency and verve to an already talented attack. I am not so sure about Varane; sure, the French stalwart has won a lot of silverware but the jury will be out whether he can master the physical challenges of the Premier League. If he can form a formidable partnership with McGuire at the back, Man Utd will play a major role this season. Solksjaer needs some silverware to keep his job and the Red Devils better start strong orelse he could be gone prematurely.

Chelsea have done a fantastic business grabbing Lukaku this week. He assures them at least 20 goals this season and after the debacle with Werner, makes them a complete team. If Kante stays healthy, the Blues will be feared. In fact, I can only see them doing better than last year and at the present, make them my favourites to win the title. Tuchel has proven he can handle the EPL and will get this team in even better prosition this year. Watch for the Blues.

Liverpool are contenders again this year with a fully-fit backline. Their season tapered away last year after injuries decimated Van Dyke and his fellow defenders. My concern for them is that they haven't reinforced adequately during the off-season and are bound to lose some stalwarts. Wijnaldum is already gone. The Kops should finish in the top 4 but I think they will miss out winning the title.

Leicester will start strong and fade as usual.. Arsenal and Tottenham won't make the Champions League.

Win Title: Chelsea

Friday, July 2, 2021

Coral Eclipse 2021 - UK Group 1 in sight for Mishriff

With only 4 participants, quality, rather than quantity, is the name in this year's edition of the Coral Eclipse. Let's discard El Drama right away as there is no way that he is going to cause any drama playing a major role in this race.

Mishriff is the deserved favourite and holds a great chance to land a Group 1 in UK to add to his stellar resume. This horse has gone through a path that no other has trodden before; winner of a Group 1 in France in the French Derby, winner of the world's richest race and on dirt in Saudi Arabia and winner of the Scheema Classic in Dubai. Winning a Group 1 on dirt and on turf is really unheard of and Mishriff is really peer-less in this category. He did convincingly beat some of the best the USA had to offer on the dirt surface of Riyad and in Dubai he beat one of Japan's best in Chrono Genesis. So, his form is solid. Provided the group is not worse than soft on Saturday, he will be tough to beat.

Addeybb is a top-class horse and will relish the softish conditions. If it gets near heavy, he cannot be opposed. He won the Champion Stakes last year on heavy ground (beating Mishriff in the process) but he really made a name for himself by winning some Group 1's Down Under. Let's be clear here; Australia's midde-distance locals are an average lot compared to the Europeans and winning a Group 1 over here does not have the significance it has in Europe. Addeybb might be rated 3 pounds higher than Mishriff on the official scales but to me, Gosden's horse is on a different, higher level as long as the ground is not bottomless.

St Mark's Basilica is a dual French classic winner having bagged the French Guineas and Derby. He is clearly among the creme de la creme from Ballydoyle and will sport some advantage at the weights against the elderly competitors. He won both Classics on soft ground so the going at Sandown will not be a problem. I still think he's not seasoned enough to take on the above two, particularly Mishriff, but I expect him to give a good account of himself.

I cannot go against Mishriff here. 98 days since his last race might be a concern but he runs well fresh and his class should see him through.

Win: Mishriff

Friday, June 25, 2021

Sport bonanza week-: Euros, Irish Derby, Styrian Grand Prix

Here are my selections on this fantastic week-end of sports coming up.

In Euro 2021, my main punt is Denmark against Wales. I cannot see the Welsh overcoming the Danes who are playing out of their minds at the moment. The way they dominated the powerful Belgians in the first half and their rampant victory over Russia tells me that the Danes can go very far in this tournament. They are playing with the Eriksen factor.

I can see possible upsets this week-end and while Italy should run over Austria, it would not surprise me if Portugal overcome Belgium or the Czechs beat Holland. Belgium are vulnerable at the back and no-one would bet against Ronaldo netting at least one against them. Holland might have appeared strong in the group stage but they were playing against minnows. I think it might be worth laying them; they won't go far.

The Irish Derby is the main racing story and I believe the winner will come from either High Definition, Hurricane Lane or Mac Swiney. The first-named has impressed in each of  his 3 outings and even when he was beaten in the Dante Stakes, he hit the line really well suggesting that the distance would not be a problem and he would come on enormously for the run. He skipped Epsom unlike the other 2, so should be fresh to go. Hurricane Lane ran a good third at Epsom, and like all Charlie Appleby's, needs to be respected. The Curragh track should suit him better and he looks certain to be among the finishers. Finally, Mac Swiney has that funny record where he wins every alternating race and if that pattern holds, he should win on Saturday. He won the Irish Guineas beating mighty stablemate Poetic Flare and is definitely top-class. If there is any softness in the ground, he should be bang in there.

Finally, Formula 1 is interesting these days as Verstappen is giving Hamilton all he can handle. The momentum is clearly with the Dutch and in the short term, I can see him dominating the Brit. Mercedes need to fight back and come up with a more competitive car if Hamilton is to retain his title this year. For the meantime though, Verstappen is the one to be backed.

Win: Italy, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Portugal, High Definition/Mac Swiney, Verstappen

Place: Hurricane Lane

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Prince of Wales' Stakes - Lord North looking for Love

Royal Ascot is under-way and the first day saw the 2 best European milers (excuses to St Mark Basilica!) come to the fore as Palace Pier and Poetic Flare dominated their races. The anticipation now is for those 2 to meet at some point later and if SMB can join in too, that would be a hell of a race.

The second day at Ascot sees the much-anticipated return of Love who had an utterly exciting and dominating Classic season last year. Softish ground has limited her appearances but the good to firm ground at Ascot will be to her liking. She will cut it out with colts for the first time and the outcome of the race will give us a good indication whether all the hype behind her was justified or not. 

Love is not proven on firm ground but she will definitely relish it to soft ground. Her return to the course after a 300-day absence means that she will not be at the peak of her powers. The Ballydoyle team are certainly bringing her up to bigger challenges during the course of the season. Her fans will hope that she is not under-cooked for the occasion.

The main opponent to Love will be Lord North, the winner of last year's edition. The John Gosden gelding is top-class and seems to be in top form at the age of 5. He won the Dubai Turf convincingly on his last start and the vibes are certainly positive from connections. He can be a handful in the stalls and provided he is well-behaved in that area, his chances of winning are legitimate. I think the Gosden stable have him primed for this race and deserves to be shorter odds than the current 9/4.

Armory and the other runners will be aiming for third place, nothing higher. It might be worth taking a winning punt on Lord North at current odds. I can't see him out of the first 2.  If Love can make a convincing winning return, she might be the next super filly racing is looking for and the upcoming big middle-distance races will be at her mercy.

Win/Place: Lord North

Friday, May 28, 2021

Champions League Final - History beckons for Man City

It's an all-English final in the Champions League underlying the quality of the Premier League amongst its Europrean peers. It is a final between 2 loaded (with money) teams in Man City, guided by the riches of Abu Dhabi and Chelsea, the club of Russian billionaire Ambramovich. It will be a first European Cup final for the Citizens while the Blues will be at their third final. 

If this match were played a couple of weeks ago, I would have given both teams a 50-50 chance of winning it. Chelsea were almost unbeaten under Tuchel and even went to win at the Etihaad. However, since then, the Blues have lost 3 of their last 4 matches and Tuchel's Midas touch seems to have evaporated. They needed crucial wins in the FA Cup final and in the last EPL match and lost both. So, the Blues are lacking form at the moment.

For their part, Man City have been playing on 3rd gear towards winning the league. They were not in the same mode of urgency as Chelsea. Even though they lost 2 matches against Tuchel's Blues, I don't think they necessarily go in this match with a psychological disadvantage. They might have lost the match at the Etihad but they were resting their first team for the occasion and more importantly, had Aguro converted his failed Panenka penalty, they would have won that match easily. So, I don't think there will be any mental barrier in their minds that they cannot beat Chelsea. I think Guardiola will get his tactics right and the Citizens are worthy favourites.

I mentioned the lack of form of Chelsea above and the other downside with them is the quality of their marksmen. The ability of Werner to convert his chances will certainly be a factor to consider; the German has proven to be a serial expert in missing open goals and continuing on this streak will be fatal for the Blues. There is little doubt that Tuchel will p refer to stay with his fellow German up front and not opt to start with Giroud but either way, I see the defensive pairing of Dias and Stones effectively containing either Chelsea forward.

The Man City squad is so deep that dangers for Chelsea will lurk from anywhere. However, it's a match of 90 minutes and anything can happen; the Blues could score the first or odd goal and park the bus; or the City stars could be on an off-day; or lady luck might decide to give a trophy to the Londoners. But the odds are that Guardiola will have his tactics right and have his players primed for the occasion. Foden, De Bryune, Mahrez, Dias and Gungodan have dominated all year long and shown up on big occasions. If they fail to fire, there are the likes of Aguero and Sterling on the bench who can turn a match on its head in an instant. The Citizens should not only be up for this but they have the quality to make the difference over 90 minutes, extra time or penalties. An out-of-form Chelsea do not look a formidable proposition against them.

Win: Man City

Saturday, May 22, 2021

European leagues - Curtain Call

 It's the curtain call for European leagues this week-end and today the verdict fell on La Liga where Atletico Madrid hang on to its slim lead to win the title over arch-rivals Real Madrid. There's still much at stake in the other leagues and here are some predictions.

Premier League. What is mainly of interest here is which of Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester are going to miss out on a UCL spot; only two of them will be happy fellas by the end of the day. The Kops were saved by the most improbable goal from keeper Allison in stoppage time last week to have their destiny in their own hands. They host Crystal Palace, a team that is capable of the best and worst depending on their mood. It will be Roy Hodgson's last match at the helm for the Eagles but I don't think the esx-Liverpool manager will be throwing a wrench to his old club's UCL aspirations. Liverpool should win this one although it will not surprise me if the Kops are made to sweat till the end.

I believe Leicester will overcome Spurs although this is bound to go to the wire as well. The Foxes will have to wait for Chelsea's result at Aston Villa, a rather difficult match on the cards for the Blues. Again here, old connections can play a role as Villa assistant coach John Terry might play villain against old club Chelsea. The Villains are a tough nut to crack although I feel they are more apt to get a result on the road than at home. Chelsea have enough quality to edge this match and I think they will. So, for me, Liverpool and Chelsea will bear the 2 remaining UCL spots at Leicester's expense.

In France, coronation will either go to Lille or PSG. Monaco has an outside chance but will need those 2 to falter and scoring bucketloads against Lens to win the title. It won't happen. As it stands, Lille has a slightly harder task on paper than PSG as they visit 12th place Angers while PSG go to 16th place Brest. However, the latter are fighting their lives in a relegation scrap, so PSG's might actually be having a harder match-up. Lille have a strong record on the road, so they have quality to go get a result at Angers and hence sccure the title.

In Italy, in a similar fashion to the Premier League, 3 teams namely Juventus, AC Milan and Napoli are vying for 2 UCL spots. Juventus should be able to rely on Ronaldo to get the must-win at Bologna. Napoli are also favoured at home against Verona. Milan have a very tough match as they visit Atalanta. The latter have nothing to play for, so that might ease things a bit for the Milanese; however the hosts are still a formidable team at their best and I think they will kill off Milan's UCL hopes. I see Juventus and Napoli making it to next year's UCL.

EPL UCL spots: Liverpool, Chelsea

French champions: Lille

Serie A UCL spots: Juventus, Napoli

Friday, May 14, 2021

FA Cup Final - Tough challenge for Leicester

Leicester have become a Premier League powerhouse in recent years and their history reached its apex when they won the league in shocking fashion during the 2015/16 season under Claudio Ranieri. Brendan Rogers has given the team a renewed impetus since taking the helm a couple years ago but has yet to make a major imprint by either winning a trophy or getting the team back in the Champions League. He is close to doing so this year as they are a match away from winning the FA Cup and a well-positioned third in the later stages of the EPL.

But here comes nemesis Chelsea who will battle them for the FA Cup trophy and third league spot as well. Since his arrival to replace Frank Lampard, manager Tuchel has made a major impact for the Blues. This is a team no-one will confidently play against; they have even beaten champions Man City twice in as many outings since the German took over. His team is in the FA Cup and Champions League finals and is well on the way to secure UCL qualification for next year. This has got to be considered an amazing achievement given that the results were oh-so-so under Lampard. 

The Blues are rock solid in the defensive and midfield compartments which are really their forte. Opposing teams find it hard to break them down as they are very well organized. Their Achilles tendon is up front with striker Werner being guilty of glaring misses all season long. The German forward seems to do everything right, except score. He will have to stop his profligacy in front of goal Saturday if the Blues are to have a live chance to win this.

Chelsea go into the match as deserved favourites. They have the momentum and the better team. Leicester are in no way push-overs and have a great stopper in Schmeichel. If it goes to penalties, I'd rather side with the Danish stopper in any match. The Foxes' form lately have been over-reliant on striker Iheanacho. The Nigerian is making a knack of scoring in every match and is clearly the in-form striker in England at the moment.  Him or Vardy have the quality to score against any defence, so Rudiger and Silva are warned for the Blues. The potential absence of Johnny Evans at the heart of the Leicester defence would definitely be a negative. The former Man Utd defender is a rock at the back and his absence for the past weeks has clearly been felt. Even if match fit tomorrow, he might have to battle early cobwebs to get back into match rhythm.

This will be surely a tactical battle between 2 managers known for their tactical minds. I think Chelsea are going to have the more chances to score and the question is whether they can translate them into goals. If Tuchel's men can smother what Iheanacho and Vardy can throw at them, they should have enough quality to do damage at the other end. Roger's wait for a trophy with Leicester will have to wait a bit more, I believe.

Win (trophy, 90 mins): Chelsea

Friday, May 7, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 34

Leeds v Tottenham - Home

Sheffield Utd v Crystal Palace - Away

Man City v Chelsea - Draw

Liverpool v Southampton - Home

Wolves v Brighton - Away

Aston Villa v Man Utd - Away

West Ham v Everton - Home

Arsenal v West Brom - Home

Fulham v Burnley - Draw

Man City vs Chelsea is the dress rehearsal to the upcoming Champions League final and it is almost a certainty that both teams will give a display that will bear no resemblance to what they intend to unleash in a few weeks time. For sure, both camps might insist that tomorrow's Premier League match is all-important but the European final chips are way too important for them to divulge any tactical inklings or shows of weaknesses and strengths towards the opposing team on Saturday. I expect a drab match and a goal-less draw does not look far-fetched even at the Etihaad Stadium where the Citizens usually score by the bucketload. Both teams will have the intent not to lose this match from a psychological perspective; Chelsea will be keen to show that they can go toe to toe with the champions-to-be and also prove that their win over the same opponents in the semi-final of the FA Cup was no fluke. Another defeat for Man City to Chelsea might actually seed some doubt into Guardiola's men as to whether they can really beat Tuchel's side, so the Citizens will be keen not to lose this match; in fact, they have more to lose than the visitors. All in all, I expect a match with few occasions, with Chelsea should be playing tight as usual and City playing more possession football than carving clear-cut chances.

Draw: Man City v Chelsea

Friday, April 30, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 33

Crystal Palace v Man City - Away

Brighton v Leeds - Away

Chelsea v Fulham - Home

Everton v Aston Villa - Home

Newcastle v Arsenal - Home

Man Utd v Liverpool - Home

Tottenham v Sheffield Utd - Home

WBA v Wolves - Home

Burnley v West Ham - Draw

Man Utd against Liverpool is one of the biggest matches of any season, if not the biggest. It is quite astonishing how the fortunes of those teams have been ebbing in the past seasons. Man Utd are enjoying their best spell of the post-Ferguson era and seem to have finally found a winning team under Solksjaer. Liverpool reached Nirvana last year after years of drought and while everyone was predicting years of upcoming domination for the Reds, it's more a case of everything un-ravelling and Klopp's men struggling to qualify for a UCL spot. I actually find it somewhat amazing that Liverpool is going into this match as favourites on the exchanges; they might have the greater urgency for the full points and Utd will certainly be feeling the ill-effects of their Europa League match against Roma but both teams are playing at a different tune at the moment. 

Man Utd are simply rocking currently and are able to beat any team, including Man City, over the course of 90 minutes. Solksjaer seems to have found his favoured system and starting eleven. The Red Devils won't win the league but they should be able to comfort their second league position and have an outstanding chance to lift the Europa trophy. The team looks solid all-round.

Liverpool are showing flashes of their old brilliance but not enough to annihilate a match as in previous years. Their main problem since the past months has their decimated backline as well as the profligacy of their forwards starting with Salah. I mean, he's no Tim Werner, but he still misses a lot of chances. Their fragility at the back gives the rest of the team no confidence to rock n roll their way forward. The absence of just one star player in Van Dyke has made a difference to Liverpool's fortunes. 

With their Europa final league spot almost guaranteed after the 6-2 thrashing of Roma in the first leg, the Red Devils should be fully focused on this local derby rather than being distracted by the upcoming second leg. That sets them well to unleash the likes of Cavani, Rashford and Greenwood against the Kop's depleted defence. They put 6 past Roma, they will surely put at least 1 against the visitors, who will realistically go for the jugular given that a draw does them no favours. I cannot see the home side losing this and think it will either end in a draw or home win.

Win: Man Utd

Friday, April 23, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 32 + League Cup Final

Liverpool v Newcastle - Home

West Ham v Chelsea - Away

Sheffield Utd v Brigthon - Away

Wolves v Burnley - Away

Leeds v Man Utd - Home

Aston Villa v West Brom - Home

Leicester v Crystal Palace - Home

Liverpool will have to play their skin to capture that last 4th sport synonymous with UCL football next season. They have a golden opportunity for 3 precious points against visiting Newcastle. The Magpies have been in pretty decent form of late and have picked up their game (and points) since the return of forward Saint-Maximin from injury. Without the Frenchman, it's hard to see how Steve Bruce's men would made a quite stunning recovery given their poor form prior. However, going to Liverpool should be a step too far for them as there is an urgency to win full points for Klopp's men as well. This could be a high-scoring affair with Mo Salah probably on the score-sheet, having been profligate in the recent matches.

Sunday sees the final of the League Cup between Man City and Tottenham. It's quite unfathomable to think that Spurs fired Mourinho days before a final and a possible trophy that they have been so relishing for. I suppose things must have been pretty bad in-house given the timing of the firing; or could it have been a Levy decision to deflect from Spurs' participation in the European Super League fiasco? Could be a little of both, I think. Regardless, I think that Spurs would have had a better winning chance in the final with Mourinho in charge. Although it is a Cup final, Man City have hinted that they might not field their best team with next week's UCL match against PSG very much on their minds. So you get a scenario where the weaker team will play their season on this final while the favourite will have a UCL match as distraction. Obviously, that boosts Spurs' chances but will that be enough to stop Guardiola's men? I think not. Their second team is good enough to handle Spurs' first team and you've got to question interim manager Mason's seasoning for a final after 1 week on the job. This should end up in a City win unless the trio of Bale, Son and Kane can conjur up a masterful performance at the front end.

Win: Man City/Liverpool  

Friday, April 16, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 31

Newcastle v West Ham - Away

Southampton v Crystal Palace - Home

Wolves v Sheffield Utd - Home

Arsenal v Fulham - Home

Man Utd v Burnley - Home

Leeds v Liverpool - Home

Chelsea v Brighton - Home

Tottenham v Southampton - Home

Aston Villa v Man City - Away

The relegation battle is heating up and the one thing for sure is that Sheffield Utd are going down. Not yet mathematically but it is a question of time. This team is longing to start the new season already; they are totally dreadful. Wolves will eat them this week-end. Nuno's team are not in great form but it's been getting better since the afterdays of losing striker Jimenez when the team started to fall apart. Losing their goalscorer has had the expected dramatic impact on the Molyneux side as they had to learn scoring with makeshift forwards. Their defence is solid enough to keep them in their matches and they should have enough firepower to overcome the league table laggards. This should end up in a home win.

I expect the Leeds against Liverpool match to be a high-scoring affair. Both teams can be adventurous and have major firepower at the front end of the pitch. The Kops have all to play for to secure a UCL spot next year at the end of the season after having been dumped out by Real Madrid in mid-week. Got to say that Klopp's men played with a lot of swagger in that match and deserved at least a couple of goals. The problem is that they haven't been able to replicate that kind of play consistently all year long. Leeds won an unbelievable match at Man City last week-end while playing with 10 men. Biesla's men play like they have that belief in them that they can go toe to toe with any team in the league. I think they will expose the weakened Liverpool back four in a gun slinging match. I see the home team edging this one.

Win: Wolves/Leeds

Monday, April 12, 2021

UCL Quarter Finals Return - PSG v Bayern

PSG absolutely stole a win at Bayern last week; the Germans thoroughly outplayed them and would have scored more if they had superstar striker Lewandowski. Their main achilles tendon however remain their uber-slow defence, which Mbappe took full advantage like a kid in a candy store. \

For Tuesday's match, Lewandowski will still not be there, which is a big blow to the Bavarians. PSG will in turn be missing Marquinhos, their rock at the back and whose withdrawal from injury in the first leg thoroughly exposed the French defence. Bayern are clearly the better team and have it in them to win at the Parc des Princes but winning by a 2-goal margin could prove a step too far without their Polish striker.

The way to play this match is to seek out a win for the Germans but a qualification to the semi-finals for the French champions.

Win: Bayern Munich
Qualify: PSG

Friday, April 9, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 30 (And the Clasico!)

Man City v Leeds - Home

Liverpool v Aston Villa - Away

Crystal Palace v Chelsea - Away

Burnley v Newcastle - Home

West Ham v Leicester - Home

Tottenham v Man Utd - Draw

Sheffield Utd v Arsenal - Away

West Brom v Southampton - Away

Brighton v Everton - Away

Real Madrid v Barcelona - Home

A fantastic week-end of sports coming up with the usual EPL, the Clasico in Spain and the Masters for golf aficionados. Liverpool look vulnerable to Aston Villa and I fancy taking a shot with the Villains here at over 6/1. The Kops have lost all aura of invicibility at home this season and Anfield is no longer the fortress it used to be the last couple of years. But more importantly, Liverpool have an important return UCL match against Real Madrid next week with the hope of overturning a 3-1 deficit. No doubt this will be floating on the team's mind and I wouldn't be surprised to see Klopp rotate his starting eleven a bit. Truth be told, the Kops were horrendous in Madrid and were lucky to come away with just a 2-goal margin. They are definitely lacking confidence at the moment and Villa can certainly pounce as they are very comfortable on their away matches and they have an in-form stopper in Martinez, although star playmaker Grealish will miss the match through injury. Villa can definitely cause an upset here.

The markets have Barcelona as favourites for the Clasico and I am definitely looking the other way. Real Madrid are finding serious form at the moment as witnessed by their demolishing of Liverpool in mid-week. The manner of their win was very convincing. Sure they will also be distracted at the prospsect of the return leg, something that Barcelona do not need to worry as they are out of the UCL, plus they will be missing the central defensive pair of Ramos and Varane. But Barcelona have hardly shown that they are the kind of force they were the past decade and their odds certainly look overly short. I am not convinced with their system of having Dembele in the striker role and look more to Ascensio, Benzema and Vicinius to do damage at the other end for the Whites. Might be worth going for the outright win for the home team.

Win: Aston Villa, Real Madrid 

Friday, April 2, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 29

Chelsea v West Brom - Home

Leeds v Sheffield Utd - Home

Leicester v Man City - Away

Arsenal v Liverpool - Home

Southampton v Burnley - Home

Newcastle v Spurs - Away

Aston Villa v Fulham - Away

Man Utd v Brighton - Home

Everton v Crystal Palace - Home

Wolves v West Ham - Draw

The gameweek following the international set of matches is always tricky and there are bound to be surprises this week-end. Man City look set to resume where they left off, i.e in winning ways, although they have a tough encounter at third place Leicester. The big news obviously coming out of the Etihaad this week has been the announcement of Aguero's departure at the end of the season. The guy has been a legend since his arrival at City but it has been plain clear this year that he was not part of Guardiola's future plans, particularly with the spate of injuries that he has had to deal with. It is quite possible that City already have lined up another big name striker to have made the departure overtly public. That bodes really well for the EPL. Back on Sunday's match, the return from injury of De Bryune has given the Citizen's new impetus in their quest for the quadruple. Leicester will put up a good fight but Guardiola has an abundance of quality at his disposal to tilt the match the visitors' way. 

Everton are on a 3-match losing streak and I expect them to show more tooth coming back from the break. The form of Calvert Lewin is pivotal to the success of the Toffees and the return of James Rodriguez to the line-up will certainly boost up their attacking front. I think they'll overwhelm Crystal Palace which is very much a one-dimensional team that relies too much on Zaha. The Eagles are enjoying a relatively good sequence, coming to this match, having lost only one of their last 5 matches but at current odds, it might be value to side outright with the home team.

Win: Everton, Man City 

Friday, March 12, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 28

Leeds v Chelsea - Home
Crystal Palace v West Brom - Home
Everton v Burnley - Home
Fulham v Man City - Away
Southampton v Brighton - Draw
Leicester v Sheffield Utd - Home
Arsenal v Tottenham - Away
Man Utd v West Ham - Draw
Wolves v Liverpool - Home

Sheffield Utd lost their manager today and increasingly look doomed for the drop. Going to Leicester is not easy but going there without a proper manager will be like being unleashed in a lion cage. I cannot see the Blades repeating their exploit of Old Trafford where they stunned the hosts who were rather hapless on the night. This is a glorious opportunity for Leicester to firm up their 3rd position and score the full points.

The North London Derby looks to be a heavily contested affair and I see lots of goals in the offing there. Surely, Mourinho usually parks the bus when playing a top team but Arsenal are vulnerable at the back and Spurs will definitely go for the jugular in their attempt, however remote, to secure the 4th spot for Champions League football next season. Gareth Bale is in sparkling form and having been rested in mid-week Europa League action, should create havoc inside the Gunners' defense. Kane and Son form a fantastic trio with the Welshman and have enough firepower in them to outscore the hosts. 

Win: Tottenham, Leicester

Friday, March 5, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 27

Burnley v Arsenal - Home

Sheffield Utd v Southampton - Draw

Aston Villa v Wolves - Home

Brighton v Leicester - Away

WBA v Newcastle - Home

Liverpool v Fulham - Home

Man City v Man Utd - Draw

Tottenham v Crystal Palace - Home

Chelsea v Everton - Home

West Ham v Leeds - Home

As I see it, the last 3 matches should be home wins. Spurs are being buoyed by the resurgence of Gareth Bale and should have too much for visiting Crystal Palace. The Eagles are just a terrible team without Zaha and Mourinho should be able to exploit its many weaknesses. 

Chelsea surprised me in getting a terrific away win at Anfield last Sunday. Tuchel has them firing on all cylinders and I cannot see Everton, an in-form team, stopping them. Richarlidson has been carrying the goal-scoring load magnificently in the last 4 matches but the Blues defence has tightened lately and the Brazilian might not get the required breakthrough. Everton don't go beaten in advance but Chelsea look strong at the moment. 

Finally, it looks like Leeds is in a need of a breather at this stage. They seem to be scraping by in the last few matches and West Ham is not an easy side to play against. Moyes has done unbelievably well with the Hammers and the addition of Jessie Lingard from Man Utd has given impetus to both club and player. He is the new danger man for the Hammers and I see them exposing the visitors' defensive line which is the main Achilles heel of Biesla's team.

Win: Tottenham/Chelsea/West Ham

Saturday, February 27, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 26

Man City v West Ham - Home

WBA v Brighton - Away

Leeds v Aston Villa - Away

Newcastle v Wolves - Draw

Crystal Palace v Fulham - Draw

Leicester v Arsenal - Home

Tottenham v Burnley - Home

Chelsea v Man Utd - Away

Sheffield Utd v Liverpool - Away

Everton v Southampton - Home

Mourinho is on the brink at Spurs and it won't be a surprise if the Portuguese is sacked if results do not improve soon. It is well-known that his meltdowns, and eventually his sacking, happen on his 3rd year on the job, and the fact that it's only his second season at Spurs can give the fans hope that things can get better this season. Bale is starting to have an impact and the return of Kane at the front should lead to better results upcoming, I believe. Burnley are no push-overs and will give the home team all they can handle. Sam Dyche's team are now a well-organized and solid team to play against, after a difficult debut to the season where they were hit with quite a few injuries. It will be tight but Spurs have enough winners in the side to tilt the match in their favour. Home win.

It will be interesting to see how Leicester cope with the loss of playmaker James Maddison. The England midfielder has been in sparkling form of late and no doubt that the Foxes will miss his creativity. Havey Barnes has been in fantastic form as well and always seems to create chances to score; and he has been in furious scoring form as well. Coming to the Power stadium are an Arsenal team that is seriously looking for some momentum at the moment. Manager Arteta is under fire already in his second season as things have not improved as much as hoped under his tenure. Both teams had tough matches in Europa mid-week but I expect Leicester manager Rodgers to come up with the proper tactics to shackle any offensive threat the Gunners might possess. Much of Arsenal's offence revolves around Aubameyang and the Gunners have proved very toothless when the Gabonese is off his game. I see a home win here.

Win: Tottenham, Leicester 

Friday, February 19, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 25

Southampton v Chelsea - Draw

Burnley v WBA - Home

Liverpool v Everton - Home

Fulham v Sheffield Utd - Home

West Ham v Tottenham - Draw

Aston Villa v Leicester - Draw

Arsenal v Man City - Away

Man Utd v Newcastle - Home

Brighton v Crystal Palace - Home

Man Utd have been through a rather barren spell lately but their authoritative win in the Europa League against Real Sociedad looks to have brought them back to form. They were firing on all cylinders in that match and the four nil victory rather flattered their opponents. The Red Devils host Steve Bruce's Newcastle and unless I am mistaken, I don't think the ex-Man Utd captain has ever beaten his old side in his managerial career. I don't expect things to change on Sunday, particularly that Newcastle is one of the worst teams to put any confidence into. I think they are very probable for the drop actually. This should be an easy 3 points for Solksjaer's men as they try to bridge the gap with Man City at the top.

Brighton rarely win at home but they won't have a much easier chance to do so as they host Crystal Palace, one of the worst performing teams at the moment. Brighton play good organized football and are pleasant to watch actually. They do create chances and welcoming the Eagles is an excellent way to rectify their poor home record. On paper, this should be a home win alright.

Win: Man Utd, Brighton 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 24


Leicester v Liverpool - Home

Crystal Palace v Burnley - Away

Man City v Tottenham - Home

Brighton v Aston Villa - Away

Southampton v Wolves - Home

WBA v Man Utd - Away

Arsenal v Leeds - Home

Everton v Fulham - Home

West Ham v Sheffield Utd - Home

Chelsea - Newcastle - Home

After being totally wrong about Southampton the past couple of weeks, could the Saints finally end up in the right end of my predictions? Sure they stopped their rotten losing record this past week but that was in the FA Cup. If all is going back to normal for Ings and co, then they might be worth a punt against a visiting Wolves side that is also going through a nonchalant patch at the moment.  Truth be told, since they lost Jimenez in that horrifying injury at Arsenal, Wolves haven't been the same team at all. They just have no-one in their roster to terrify defences as their star Mexican striker. I expect a home win here.

Man Utd are, in my mind, overachieving at the moment. Their away record is absolutly ridiculously good and if it weren't for their home misfortunes, they would be running away at the top. They are just not the finished article but they can play any team in this league with no fear. They should have too much for West Brom and it looks like another away win on the cards for the Red Devils.

Win: Southampton, Man Utd

Friday, February 5, 2021

EP 2020/21 - Week 23

Aston Villa v Arsenal - Home

Burnley v Brighton - Draw

Newcastle v Southampton - Away

Fulham v West Ham - Draw

Man Utd v Everton - Home

Tottenham v West Brom - Home

Wolves v Leicester - Away

Liverpool v Man City - Away

Sheffield Utd v Chelsea - Away

Leeds v Crystal Palace - Home

Southampton got clobbered at Old Trafford in the last game week but they lost the match in the first minute after the expulsion of Jankewitz. They will certainly in a different disposition when they visit St James Park. Newcastle are one of the most favourable teams to play against these days and there does not seem to be any room for improvement for them with Steve Bruce at the helm. They look like a team devoid of any new ideas or spark. If the Saints of a few weeks shows up, it will be a cake walk for them. I see them winning this match convincingly.

What kind of Spurs will show up against West Brom will determine their chances against West Brom. It is clear that they are missing Kane but their last couple of matches have been mediocre at best. They need goals from Son to pick up the void left by Kane. There is a huge amount of pressure for Mourinho to deliver results at the moment and this is a make or break moment for him at Spurs; under similar circumstances in his career, his teams have engulfed themselves further eventually leading to his sacking. The match against West Brom is important for Spurs to stop the rot and given West Brom's current problems, I expect the home team to prevail.

Win: Southampton, Tottenham

Monday, February 1, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 22

Sheffield Utd v West Brom - Home

Wolves v Arsenal - Away

Man Utd v Southampton - Draw

Newcastle v Crystal Palace - Draw

Burnley v Man City - Away

Fulham v Leicester - Home

Leeds v Everton - Home

Aston Villa v West Ham - Home

Liverpool v Brighton - Home

Tottenham v Chelsea - Home

Southampton are missing a beat at the moment and were somewhat unlucky not to salvage a draw in their latest loss to Aston Villa on Sunday. I think they will be all pumped up to at least get a point during their trip to Old Trafford. The hosts are also in suspect form at the moment being winless in their past 2 matches. I believe this barren patch will be what cost them the title in the end as I can really see the Saints getting at least a point out of this encounter. Their first-leg match at the Saint Mary's was a tight-knit affair and the Red Devils were somewhat lucky to come back from 2 goals down but the tables could be turned here. At current prices, I see a draw-no-bet on Southampon to be the value punt of this gameweek.

Draw-no-bet: Southampton

Saturday, January 30, 2021

EPL 2020/21 - Week 21

Everton v Newcastle - Home

Crystal Palace v Wolves - Draw

Man City v Sheffield Utd - Home

West Brom v Fulham - Home

Arsenal v Man Utd - Draw

Southampton v Aston Villa - Home

Chelsea v Burnley - Away

Leicester v Leeds - Home

West Ham v Liverpool - Home

Brighton v Tottenham - Home

The team with the worst form in the EPL right now is Newcastle and it is a terrific moment for any team playing them. Steve Bruce's team are winless in their last 11 matches and playing some dreadful football at the moment. The return of Saint Maximin back from the sidelines will help improve the team but one cannot do it all alone and the Frenchman will need a few matches to get back in the groove. Carlos Ancelloti and Calvert-Lewin are probably rubbing their hands for this encounter; any less than 3 points will be disappointing for the home team. Surely an easy home win.

I can see the Gunners and Red Devils playing a drab draw. The latter were oh-so-awful against Sheffield Utd in mid-week; they are not yet the finished article and rely heavily on Fernandes to be in inspired form. Arsenal is starting to pick up some form but are not yet at a level where they can dominate the leading teams. Typically this match would have been the highlight of the season in the Keane v Viera days but not anymore; I would not be surprised it ends in a goal-less draw.

Win: Everton

Draw: Arenal v Man Utd

Monday, January 25, 2021

EPL 20/21 - Week 20


Crystal Palace v West Ham - Draw

Newcastle v Leeds - Away

Southampton v Arsenal - Home

WBA v Man City - Away

Burnley v Aston Villa - Draw

Chelsea v Wolves - Away

Brighton v Fulham - Home

Everton v Leicester - Away

Man Utd v Sheffield Utd - Home

Tottenham v Liverpool - Home

Champions Liverpool are on a terrible run and they finally scored against Man Utd in the FA Cup on Sunday but still lost the match. They will win again sooner than later but I don't think it will happen during their visit at Spurs. This match is coming too soon for their shaky confidence. Mourinho will surely have a plan for them and Harry Kane and Son will be oh-so-happy to confront the depleted Livepool centre-backs. This should end either in a home victory or at best a draw for the visitors, so a draw-no-bet on Spurs looks very good value.

Chelsea have just sacked manager Lampard and will most likely be manager-less for their match against Wolves. Or they might have reeled in Tuchel just soon enough for the match. Regardless, Wolves will relish the uncertainty prevailing at Stamford Bridge at the moment and can very well eke out a draw. A draw-no-bet on Wolves looks excellent value as well.

Draw-no-bet: Tottenham, Wolves

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Week 19 - EPL 2020/21


Wolves v West Brom - Home

Leeds v Brighton - Home

Wet Ham v Burnley - Draw

Fulham v Chelsea - Away

Leicester v Southampton - Home

Sheffield Utd v Spurs - Away

Liverpool v Man Utd - Draw

Man City v Crystal Palace - Home

Arsenal v Newcastle - Home

Spurs lost 2 precious points to Fulham in their mid-week match but their display showed that they are not far off top form. Korean superstar Son could have bagged a hat-trick in the first half with some luck. Their profligacy in front of goal eventually cost Mourinho'a men the win as the Cottagers tied in late in the game. The fact that Tottenham created enough winning chances convinces me that their machinery is well-oiled at the moment and should have enough in them to overcome the worst team in the league in Sheffield Utd. The Blades finally got their first win of the season, courtesy of a visit of hapless Newcastle. Spurs will be an entirely different proposition and the visitors will be distraught not to bag the 3 points there. They should win this.

Liverpool v Man Utd has usually been the match of the season for so many years and it is great to see the rivalry stoked up again with the recent revival of the Red Devils. The latter are the surprising leaders of the EPL at the moment and certainly have improvement into them. Whether that is enough to overcome the champions remains to be seen but Man Utd deserve some recognition going into the match. Although they are unbeaten on their travels so far in the league, I don't think they quite have what it takes to win at Anfield at the moment but they can certainly pick up a draw. This one should end either in a home win or draw, would be my take.

Win: Tottenham

Draw-no-bet: Liverpool