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Clark V Carroll The Key Battle In Our Accumulator

ccInternational matches took centre stage on Wednesday night and some notable results were recorded. Both Ireland and England may have registered wins but the two teams will draw very different conclusions from the results. Whereas the two goal win against Poland left Giovanni Trapattoni with a deepening conundrum about his starting eleven for the remainder of the World Cup Qualifiers, the English media would have you believe that Roy Hodgson has little on his managerial agenda other than to sit back, relax and bide his time away until his team are crowned champions in Brazil in 18 months time. These matches could also have implications for our pockets, and regarding our 14/1 accumulator, it is important to be wary of players who could be affected by fatigue or minor niggles picked up during the course of these matches. Continue reading

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Away Teams To Bag Us A Treble This Weekend

berbaOur last treble was a single goal away from landing our 12/1 winnings, so we’ll be aiming to go one better with our 14/1 accumulator this weekend. There isn’t a lot of value available on home team prices on either Saturday or Sunday, so we’re going to avert our attention to the travelling sides. Continue reading

Chelsea To Overcome Home Blues Against Gunners

FELLAINIFor all the exciting build up to last weekend’s fixtures, many of the matches turned out to be dull spectacles with disappointingly unsurprising results. In the most anticipated matches, United looked comfortable for most of the match when dispatching Liverpool, while City were easy victors against Arsenal after Laurent Koscielny had been sent off early in the game. So looking at the table going into this weekend, the two Manchester clubs have distanced themselves further from the also-rans, with Chelsea hanging onto their coattails six points adrift of second place and a depressing thirteen points off top spot. So on Sunday, for the good of the league, let’s hope that Tottenham can claim three points against Man United and thus complete the double over them, having beaten them already at Old Trafford earlier this season.

For the good of our pockets however, we’re going to have a look at a 12/1 treble, kicking off at the DW Stadium where Wigan host a rejuvenated Sunderland side, who have been quite good this season in beating the teams around them at the lower end of the table. Since December, they have recorded important wins against West Ham, Fulham, Reading and Southampton, consequently improving their league position steadily. Both sides have only 4 days to recover from their Tuesday night FA Cup replays, but whereas a weakened Wigan side overcame Bournemouth, Sunderland had an altogether different experience as their full strength team succumbed 2-0 at home to Championship side Bolton. However a major boost for the Black Cats during this game was the substitute appearance of Lee Cattermole and he should return to the team against Wigan at the weekend and he should bolster their defensive play even further. Contrarily, centre-back Ivan Ramis has suffered a knee-ligament injury and is out for the rest of the season for Wigan. Sunderland, erratic as they may be, have been strong in recent games against bottom-half teams, and I will be backing them at 5/2 to win.

Chelsea are another team who had to play during the week, registering a miserable draw against Southampton on Wednesday evening. They face another tough test on Sunday when they welcome Arsenal to Stamford Bridge. The Blues’ away form has been outstanding of late, culminating last week with a 4-0 thumping of home rulers Stoke City. Their home form has been less consistent. Having knocked eight past Aston Villa, their next home game proved a goalless outing for the Blues and they fell victim to a Shaun Wright-Phillips goal and dropping two points against Southampton is hardly ideal. The shrewd purchasing of Demba Ba should reduce the chances of more fruitless endeavours and he will prove a handful for the weakened Arsenal defence if he once again starts ahead of Fernando Torres. Along with Koscielny, who is absent through suspension, Mikel Arteta will be sorely missed by the Gunners for this game as he is injured. Abou Diaby made a welcome return to the team and he will have his work cut out in his defensive-midfield position if he is to hinder the influence of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and the evergreen Frank Lampard. Arsenal’s performances against stronger opposition is notoriously bad, they haven’t picked up a single point from their meetings with the top three teams this season, so I’m sticking with Chelsea at 5/6 to pick up the three points.

Our three bets this weekend are all spread out, so far one from Saturday, one from Sunday and to round it up, we’re looking at the Monday night game when Southampton take on Everton at St. Mary’s. The home side are unbeaten in their last five matches, recording notable draws against Fulham, Stoke, Arsenal and Chelsea and beating Aston Villa but I think this good run will come to an end when the Toffees come to town. The away side were very unlucky not to beat Swansea at the weekend, Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic looking particularly dangerous but just failing to score. With Kevin Mirallas on the brink of return after a long spell out with injury, the situation for David Moyes’ side is only looking rosy. If the manager can hold on to his big Belgian afro-man during the January transfer window, Everton should be playing European football next season and they can continue on this prosperous road on Monday night with victory over Southampton. They are priced at even money to do so.

Super Sunday Should See United Pull Clear As City Slip Up

Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates scoring the opening goal of the gameTwo huge games on Sunday see four of the biggest names in the Premier League come up against each other. Liverpool travel to Old Trafford to play the table toppers at 1.30 and at 4pm Arsenal host Man City. Man United should come out on top of the earlier tie, the match at the Emirates is harder to call. Yaya Toure’s departure to the African Cup of Nations is going to leave a massive hole in the City team over the next few fixtures, and Arsenal can prosper from this. However, Arsenal’s defensive frailties should be exposed by Man City’s attacking threats. The bookies are offering shortened odds on the draw for this match, and I can’t help but agree that both sides will earn a solitary point.

We’re going to invest our accumulator interest in the Saturday fixtures however, starting at the Madejski Stadium. Fulham stuffed West Brom and so too our bet in the previous round of Premiership matches, and I don’t think the Baggies’ away tie against Reading will be a fruitful endeavour either. They come into this game on the back of three games without a win and are seriously depleted; Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob are unavailable and the sad news that Zoltan Gera will miss the rest of the season will resonate like a death bell for Albion. Reading on the other hand are showing signs that they have shored up their defence. Narrowly beaten by a late Gareth Barry header against City, their next two home games saw them preventing both Swansea and West Ham from scoring. If they can continue this sort of defensive performance on Saturday, I think that 9/4 are generous odds for the home side to earn a draw.

Next off to Carrow Road, where two teams on a dismal run of form come up against each other. Both teams have lost their last three Premier League games but there can be no doubt which side are cowering in the darker realms of depression. Languishing two points above the drop zone, injury ravaged, knocked out of the FA Cup by Brighton for the second year running and having just lost their one beacon of hope light to Chelsea, Newcastle’s season just seems to relentlessly continue to go from bad to worse. The one lonesome positive of the winter is the signing of French right-back Mathieu Debuchy, but I can’t see him dragging his new teammates to victory on Saturday. Chris Hughton will be out to get one over on his former club who senselessly sacked him months after he had inspired the Magpies to promotion back to top flight football. His Canaries should overcome their opposition whose hopes now rely on Papiss Cisse, who may prosper from his fellow countryman’s departure. Norwich are available at 6/5 to win.

The final leg of our accumulator finds us focusing on the match between Sunderland and West Ham, two teams who are looking somewhat busy during the current transfer window. The Hammers have welcomed back one of their many long lost sons in the figure of Joe Cole and he made an instant impact in his homecoming match, creator of both goals in a 2-1 victory over Norwich. West Ham will be heartened by their 2-2 draw with Man United in the FA Cup, whereas Sunderland’s identical result with Bolton should have the opposite effect. The home side are lacking in defense but still pose a threat up front with the exciting Stephane Sessegnon and Steven Fletcher always dangerous. I think this one will end up in a draw; it’s available at 9/4 and means that this week’s accumulator packs odds of about 22/1.

Away Teams to Perform This Weekend

Gareth Bale Aston Villa v Tottenham HotspurI allowed myself to be convinced by someone (who shall remain nameless but is my only brother) that Liverpool would win against Stoke on Stephen’s Day. I assure you I will not be listening to his dilettantish advice again and to make up for this pathetic blip, I have picked out some value bets and moulded them together to form another beautiful big odds accumulator.

At this stage, everybody is getting sick of the Benitez’s boo boys at Stamford Bridge. Obviously Roberto di Matteo was harshly treated but is it Rafa’s fault that the club is being run by a megalomaniac? I for one am glad that he has reformed the Chelsea side, David Luiz’s move away from the back four can only be positive and his footballing ability is slowly being nurtured in a defensive midfield role. He was quite impressive in his suffocation of Wes Hoolahan against Norwich and I think he could have a similar effect on the lively Steven Pienaar this weekend when his side face Everton. Strong at the back and equally impressive up front recently, Chelsea should record an away victory and are priced at 6/4 to do so.

Tottenham looked sensational on the break against Aston Villa on Wednesday with Gareth Bale in especially good form. They face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the early game on Saturday and hopefully they will kick off our accumulator, we’re going to back them at evens to come out on top.  The home side have been on some sort of a road to recovery with 3 wins in their last 4 outings, having beaten QPR, Southampton and remarkably Man City. However, Tottenham have had tasted success on the road many times this season and I fancy them to overrun their hosts and they are favourably priced to do so.

To complete the accumulator I’ve picked out Southampton to pull off a draw against Stoke at the Britannia. The home side, who have not lost on their own patch yet this season, will be weakened without their suspended captain Ryan Shawcross and right-back Geoff Cameron. Their skipper has been indispensable to the team this season, essential in holding their water-tight defence together with Robert Huth. He will be sorely missed as Stoke come up against Southampton’s danger man Rickie Lambert. I fancy the away side to earn a welcome point against draw-specialists Stoke, whose defensive absentees should not be underestimated. The draw is available at 5/2 and cranks up the overall odds of our big odds Accumulator to 16/1.

Trusting Terrible Sunderland to Share the Spoils

KJOnce again, Stoke shattered our big odds accumulator last weekend and are fast becoming our bogey team. I never thought the image of Kenwyne Jones pounding towards an empty goal would ever be a beautiful sight but that’s just what it was last Saturday, his side level with Everton at the time. Less beautiful was the subsequent image of him inexplicably putting the ball wide of the goal with his thigh and with it, our chances of winning big money. With the Manchester City and West Brom fixtures going our way,  we were left to curse this missed opportunity. Gutted as we may have been, onward we must venture and courageously reach out to grab a handful of this 16/1 shot that looks pretty tasty.
I am not of the popular opinion that Arsenal are in crisis at the minute and was happy to see Santi Cazorla destroying a hapless Reading on Monday evening. Despite the negative press they have received over the past few weeks, the Gunners climbed to fifth, have been drawn against Bayern Munich in the last 16 in the Champions League and on Saturday, they have a favorable tie against  Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. The home side had the creative James McCarthy controversially injured in their game against Norwich City and he, along with Adrian Lopez, will miss this game. I really fancy Arsenal to breeze past Wigan and the handicap betting will get my attention for separate bets but for the purpose of our accumulator, we are going to back them to win at 8/11.
Marouane Fellaini’s brainless behaviour during the Stoke game has resulted in a quite mild punishment, coming in the form of a three-match-ban. The Belgian has been inspirational  this season and even though he has been below par these past couple of weeks, he will nevertheless be missed by Everton who travel to an erratic West Ham. Both sides are missing key players for this fixture but I figure that the Hammers could come out on top. Everton will have little to offer in the line of creativity and if West Ham can keep Nikica Jelavic and Leon Osman quiet, they should be able to claim 3 points for the first time since they beat Chelsea three weeks ago. They are 2/1 to win.
Sensible enough work so far. Brace yourself though, maybe even stick on the kettle and have a relaxing cup of tea before you read the next sentence. We’re going to take a gamble and back highly ineffectual Sunderland to earn a point away to Southampton. The Saints will be without their captain Adam Lallana and Sunderland will also be without one of their key players as well, as Steven Fletcher continues his absence from the side. Both players’ nonavailability should not be underestimated and without them on the pitch, chances could be hard to come by.  Southampton have been strong at home  recently in beating the teams around them in the table. QPR and Newcastle have been impressively beaten at St. Mary’s, but I think that Sunderland can struggle on and manage a point here. The draw is available at 5/2.

Big Odds Gamble Will Pay For The Turkey

adamA highly entertaining Manchester derby did nothing to soften the blow of the failure of last week’s accumulator, and my, oh my, was it a spectacular failure.  Nevertheless we’re going to keep on keeping on and focus on the task ahead which is finding another classic bet small win big accumulator. As luck would have it, I have the perfect remedy for your empty pockets with a very generous 16/1 on offer for a surprisingly rational gamble.

Let’s face it, Newcastle are pants at the minute and cannot buy a break as once again their talisman Hatem Ben Arfa seems to have re-injured himself after returning from a knock for the Fulham game on Monday. He scored Newcastle’s only goal that night but did not complete the match and is once again a major doubt for Saturday when they welcome Man City to the North-East. The Manchester club could be lacking defensively for this tie, captain Vincent Kompany is a doubt and Gareth Barry is suspended, however the latter’s absence might be a bonus as he is not in the best form. Demba Ba might prosper if Kompany turns out to be unavailable but even if this is the case I feel City are a steal at 4/6.

Stoke may be the most dismal team to watch in the Premiership but we’re going to take a gamble and back them to beat Everton at 2/1 in the Brittania Stadium. The home side are obviously solid at the back and they should be able to contain the Toffee’s dangerous attacking threat of Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini. Despite Michael Owen’s efforts he will not make his long awaited return this weekend, but Peter Crouch should be named in the starting eleven for the first time since he lost some teeth after a collision with Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini three weekends ago. They also welcome back Charlie Adam to the team and with their team strengthened, I think they should have enough to cause an upset and to overturn highflying Everton.

We’re completing the three-legged accumulator by tipping a draw between West Brom and West Ham. The last three meetings of these two teams have ended as draws and I feel that Sunday’s match will churn out the same result. Key man Mohamed Diame has joined the queue of long-term injuries for the Hammers and with neither team in terribly good form of late, I feel that the draw is a decent bet at 12/5.