Spotlight

City On Everyone’s Radar

POSTED: 15 August 2014


The burden of being the defending champions will cast a giant shadow on Manchester City in the 2014-15 season of the English Premier League.


Just like those who have topped the league in the past, it serves as a pesky fly that won’t just go away in a huff.


Pressure of course will be there. And the challenge from the 19 other clubs will remain as intense as ever.


In short, City can ill-afford to lower their guards as they gun for a back-to-back coup.


 

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The Veterans

A New Season And New Teams To Bet On!


POSTED: 15 August 2014




Well it’s fair to see I’m like a child in a sweetshop with the excitement of the return of the English Premier League season. It served me well last season, paying for Beer and Jameson’s a plenty – here’s hoping for another profitable season for all.


So last week’s Community Shield went the way I thought, with an Arsenal win and over 2.5 goals. So hopefully the curtain raiser game is a sign for the forthcoming season.


Looking to Gameweek 1, the fixtures have pulled out what ‘should’ be nailed on home wins. The first game of the week has Man Utd v Swansea, surely United win but at 1.33 is it a bet I want to place? Easy answer nope, Swansea are capable of scoring past United, as they proved when beating them at the Liberty last season.


Arsenal so impressive against City last week, host fellow Londoners Crystal Palace – again surely a home win but @ 1.25 is too short for be.


Liverpool host Southampton, who ironically it seems they’ve bought half of their squad – surely another home win but @ 1.33 again too short for me. Over 2.5 goals @ 1.675 a much better option in my eyes.


I guess we could parlay these three sides for a 2.22 treble – but that’s a risk for one side to slip up, and to me I think Tony Pulis will make Palace shut up shop and play for a draw.


My pick of the week will come from one of the less ‘attractive’ fixtures in QPR v Hull. I see QPR in their return to the Premier League priced @ 2.5 to beat Hull and my feeling is this is a good price as I’m not that convinced about Hull for this season. I think the return to the Premier League after promotion last season will have the QPR fans buzzing with excitement and the atmosphere bouncing at Loftus Road. Harry Redknapp no stranger to the league will have the players well organized and motivated. So this week my money is going on one of the new teams.


Best of luck to all.


Pick – QPR v Hull – QPR to win @ 2.5

Van Gaal Movement


POSTED: 15 August 2014




And here we are, finally! Time for some football and Manchester United will try to bounce back from last season’s blunder by welcoming Swansea City at Old Trafford in their first matches in the English Premier League.


Louis Van Gaal has arrived to replace David Moyes and things have certainly looked good for the Red Devils. I believe with Moyes, they had a manager they hoped would settle down and find his footing with a big club but with LVG you just know he is there to win – and that’s exactly what this team needs.


They’ve been impressive in their friendlies and this should translate against Swansea. Their offence will rely heavily on Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata.


Meanwhile, Swansea are certainly going to try to get a result against Manchester. Losing players like Michu during the summer will certainly not help their cause. I remember they did show some positive signs at times, but that will not help them too much against a squad determined to erase a bad taste on their mouths as a result of last season.


I reckon this should be a one-sided affair, with LVG and the rest of the Red Devils putting everyone on notice that they’ve returned to battle for their place atop the EPL.


With -1.5 Asian handicap on United, a win pays 1.95, while a Swansea win pays 1.98. Given that 1x2 will give me a very small return for a United win, I’m leaning on this to start me off the right way.


Pick – Manchester United win @ 1.95 (-1.5 Asian handicap)

Frenzy At Anfield


POSTED: 15 August 2014




Well, forgive me, for I did not anticipate Manuel Pellegrini’s choice of not fielding his full first team that led to the 0-3 beatdown they got from Arsenal in the Community Shield. Sorry about that.


But this week, no team can afford to give their stars a rest as the 2014-2015 Premier League season will start! Say hello again to big time bets and winnings!


For my weekly pick, I will choose the match between Liverpool’s season opener against Southampton at Anfield, for this match will have a multitude of side stories aside from the fact that the winning team will carry much needed momentum to start off the season.


First of the side stories, is that Liverpool, last season’s runners-up, seemingly raided Southampton during the transfer window after buying three of their key players, tapping veteran Rickie Lambert, midfielder Adam Lallana and defender Dejan Lovren. Other big teams pried away more of Sothon’s key players, though, so it does not look like Liverpool did much of the raiding.


Second, the Reds lost a very, very sharp tooth in their arsenal after they sold last season’s Golden Boot winner Lusi Suarez to Barcelona. While they have Daniel Sturridge as a very solid striker, their Champions League and Premier League campaign might be too much for the England international to handle alone.


Thirdly, Southampton’s biggest challenge is to improve on, or at least sustain, their surprising development despite losing most of their key players. The management has brought on solid replacements from other leagues like Dusan Tadic from Twente and Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord, though it would have been nice to see the Saints targeting a top four finish with their lineup last season.


Lastly, this pair seemed to be on equal level in terms of their matchup last season, as they split their season meetings, but with all the transfer activities that happened in the last two months I think the Reds have tipped the balance in their favor.


With that said, I agree with Dafabet naming Liverpool the heavy favorites giving them a 1.32 payout with a win, though I think the Reds have enough fire to overcome a -1.5 handicap, so I’ll go big on this bet this week.


Pick: Liverpool vs. Southampton. -1.5 against Liverpool, Liverpool to win @2.06

Begin The Title Defence


POSTED: 15 August 2014




With league football back, the English Premier League will again be the focus of today’s article. And it’s best I begin with the defending champions Manchester City playing Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.


Despite not finding a win in their last three matches, City are still the squad to beat until they are dethroned. Their Community Shield match against Arsenal cannot really be an early measurement of how their season will be, as their 3-0 defeat came in the hands of a strong opponent while they did not field in their top stars.


However, looking at their players, it is difficult to think that City will not constantly battle for the top spot. New stars like Baracy Sagna, Eli Mangala and even Frank Lampard can only result in the team moving forward. And with already established stars like Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, the blue side of Manchester are ready for another deep run this season.


On the other hand, Newcastle have a few new names added as well to bolster their lineup. Emmanuel Riviere is a good addition to their offence and should learn to adapt quickly in the league. Defender Daryl Janmaat is also fresh from an impressive performance in the World Cup and should help Newcastle stop opponents from scoring.


But in truth, these two squads are on a different level – with City battling for titles, while Newcastle must make sure they finish at the top-half of the table. But with a fresh start in their opener, it’s difficult to say whether or not one team will want three points over the other.


Dafabet pays 1.86 if City win with a -0.75 Asian handicap, while paying 2.07 if Newcastle win. I’m putting my money on the visitors to get a victory and hopefully get this season off on a positive note!


Pick – Manchester City win @ 1.86 (-0.75 Asian handicap)

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