Spotlight

Give The Young A Boost

POSTED: 12 September 2014


England may be brimming with talent from the youth ranks but there is one negative aspect on the horizon that needs to be addressed.


Lack of playing time is stunting their development, according to veteran playmaker Frank Lampard, and who are we to disagree in this timely remark?


The Manchester City midfielder, on loan from MLS side New York City, retired from England duty with 106 after the recent World Cup, was basing his statement from experience.


 

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The Veterans

Come On The Swans


POSTED: 12 September 2014




I’m having a nice run at the minute, latest winner coming courtesy of Ireland last weekend. Granted a late goal, but I did say come fulltime I’d hope plenty of Jameson Irish Whiskey would be flowing – and believe me it was!


So onto this week and the return of domestic football, which is followed by gameweek 1 of the Champions League – so what sides will have one eye on those important Champions League matches?


It’s fair to say Man City will as they play Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday then onto Bayern Munich a few days later – now that’s two away games to sort out the men from the boys. I note Arsenal are 3.0 to win against City in the early kick-off on Saturday, that to me looks worth a bet considering Arsenal outplayed City just a few weeks ago in the Community Shield.


The game I’m concentrating on this week is Chelsea v Swansea, and surprisingly to many I’m actually favoring Swansea to get something out of the game. Chelsea like City have to also keep an eye on their Champions League fixture midweek albeit a far easier game being home to Schalke. With this in mind I don’t expect them to start with Costa at the weekend. Swansea have started the season very well and along with Chelsea are the only team to have a 100% start.


They’re 11.0 to win the game, which to me is big – however I think that may beyond them, but the draw at 6.0 is definitely worth a look.


I’m going to take the handicap option of Swansea +1.5 goals at 1.950, as one I think they’ll run Chelsea close, plus last season the two games ended 1-0 to Chelsea home and away – so the +1.5 would have landed for both games.


Pick – Chelsea v Swansea – Swansea +1.5 @ 1.950

Clinching A Win


POSTED: 12 September 2014




After three league matches, it is still surprising to see that Manchester United have yet to get their first win – but here they are, sitting at 14th in the table with only two points to show for.


It does look pretty hard for Louis van Gaal, but at least his new signings have shown their desire to move forward and maybe they will finally get a victory when they host Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford.


As we all know, the Red Devils beefed up their squad just before the transfer window closed. Securing players like Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao but the last two have yet to make their debuts. Hopefully they will feature in their home match and their presence will finally get them the victory.


Meanwhile, QPR have made a return to top-flight after a successful stint at the Championship last year. They started off with a loss to Hull City, paired with a thrashing defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, but they did bounce back against Sunderland with a 1-0 win to help them get points on the board.


Clearly there is a big difference of talent between these two teams, but with United’s apparent slump, no one would be surprised if QPR got a result in their meeting.


However, I am not pinning my hopes on that and will again place my money on the Red Devils getting a victory.


Dafabet pays 2.13 if United win despite having a -1.75 Asian handicap. And if QPR win they are paid 1.81.


I reckon, if Falcao plays, that he will make an immediate impact and may score goals for Van Gaal and finally get them a nod on the win column.


Pick – Manchester United win @ 2.13 (-1.75 Asian handicap)

Madrid Madness


POSTED: 12 September 2014




I salute Colombia with their valiant loss last week, but it must be especially hard for them, losing two straight games to Brazil. I lost some money last week, but with the featured matches this coming Saturday and Sunday I am excited I can fill my pockets again.


I think I can make the most money off of the Madrid derby between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. These two capital clubs razed Spain last season, with Real winning the Cup and Champions League, and Atletico taking home the La Liga trophy. They clashed heads once again before the season started, playing two fixtures in the Spanish Supercopa, where Diego Simeone’s men prevailed over Carlo Ancelotti’s.


They are scheduled to meet at Santiago Bernabeu their first league meeting of the season, and I don’t know if we will see the same rough and vibrant battles they had in their numerous meeting last season, but I am sure both sides will do their best to get ahead of their cross-town rivals.


For Simeone, they are eager to once again go on the pitch and continue their title defense, especially they are coming off a very relieving 2-1 win over Eibar following their lackluster opening performance in their 0-0 draw with Rayo Vallecano. The Rojiblancos looked like they are still missing the marksmanship of the now Chelsea-forward Diego Costa, though their toughest test will be against Real Madrid and the unfriendly host at Bernabeu.


The defending European champions must have spent the international break pondering what went wrong in their last loss- a stunning 2-4 breakdown at the hands of Real Sociedad. Madrid were up 2-0 in just 11 minutes of that match, but a defensive collapse near the end of the first half carried through to the end and they saw the hosts at Anoeta taking home the crucial three points.


Dafabet is closely watching the form of these two capital sides, though it has made Real a very, very big favorite over Atleti in this match. Imagine giving a 5.07 payout for a very possible Atletico Madrid win? I’m tempted to clean out their pockets, though I am unsure whether Simeone’s wards can pull off a straight win.


What I am sure of, is that Atletico will not go down without a fight, and that another 4-1 victory for Real Madrid, will be out of the question. So I will put my money on an Atletico win with a handicap against Real. I think -0.75 handicap against Real will be enough this coming weekend.


Pick: +0.75 for Atletico, Atletico Madrid win @ 2.03

Valverde Makes The Difference


POSTED: 12 September 2014




Although it’s a big relief having all the major leagues up and running again, as it usually happens with each season, punters should be extra cautious in the first few rounds. Surprises await us in every corner as the favorites have not yet found their form and all the transferred players or coaches have not totally blended in together.


This week I will not splash out any dough on my favorite Premier League, especially for the reasons I mentioned above. Instead, I turn my eye to La Liga and although the same principles apply I decided to take my chances and follow my gut feeling.


For the 3rd round of the season, La Liga giants Barcelona are hosting Ernesto Valverde’s Atheltic Bilbao in Camp Nou for yet another Spanish classic match.


The end of last season found Los Leones at the 4th spot of the table and hence the Champions League qualifiers where they whooped Napoli 4-2 on aggregate and advanced to the group stages.


This season and after having played two matches each, the Blaugranas are currently alone at the top of the table being the only team in the league with two victories in equal matches. Bilbao on the other hand is 7th with one win and one loss.


Looking back at their head to head history and the last three times they met each other, the two opponents have shared the pie in half with one draw, a win and a loss for each. Although Bilbao has not won in Camp Nou since 2001/02, they have never been an easy opponent for Barca.


Last year’s performance for Los Leones was not coincidental as it followed Valverde’s arrival, a coach I happen to think very highly of and whose work for each club he goes to seems to pay off.


Although I hardly doubt the Basques will manage to upset Messi and his friends, I still believe that this will be a tight match and one that Barca will not win by more than a goal difference, should they manage to win that is.


My money is therefore going on the Athletic Bilbao +1.5, +2 AH which pays nicely at 1.83 with Dafabet.


Pick – AH of +1.5, +2 on Athletic Bilbao @ 1.83

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