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Posts Tagged ‘ Demba Ba ’

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.

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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.

Top Ten January Transfers

What a month January was in the world of football. Few would have predicted half the moves that were made and certainly the quality of players available was better than before. Here Glenn Dowd analyses what he believed to be the top ten signings of the January transfer window.

1)Fernando Torres

Roman Abramovich`s decision to splash out E50 Million on Torres is a great investment, that signals Chelsea`s intent to maintain an end of season title run. One of two major signings that shook the world of football, Torres had been expected to stay at Liverpool where he was idolised by many. However after slapping in the transfer request, he got the move he craved.

2)Andy Carroll

Future England star is a ready made replacement at Liverpool for Torres. Carroll was destined to follow Alan Shearer as the new Toon messiah but jumped at the chance to leave Newcastle for Anfield. A fee of E35 Million raised many eyebrows, with the Geordie becoming the clubs record breaking signing.

3)Luis Suarez

The star of the 2010 World Cup has also linked up with Kenny Dalglish`s men. The Scot paid just over E22 Million to nab the Ajax striker. Certainly big things in store for the Uruguayan if he can get to grips with the Premier League immediately.

4)Edin Dzeko

City`s long pursuit of Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko paid off in January, with E27 Million sealing the deal for the Bosnian. Dzeko has already bagged his first goal for the club in the 1-1 FA Cup draw with Notts County and his goals will prove the catalyst should see maintain their title challenge.

5)Darren Bent

Few would have seen this coming. The thought off Darren Bent leaving Sunderland must have never crossed the mind of Mackem`s fans. But then it happened almost immediately and the once favoured hero of Wearside became the Villain, linking up with Gerard Houliier at Aston Villa with a price tag of E18 Million around his neck.

6)David Luiz

Chelsea`s relentless pursuit of Benfica Defender David Luiz eventually paid off at the eleventh hour on deadline day. E21 Million and Nemanja Matic were enough to ensure the Portuguese international would move to Stamford Bridge.

7) Stephen Pienaar

Definitely the bargain of the transfer window. With Stephen Pienaar`s contract coming to an end in the summer, Everton decided to cash in on their star player, after realising he would not renew his deal. The South African turned down Chelsea in favour of a move to Spurs,providing  a E3 Million bargain for Harry Redknapp.

8)Robbie Keane

The Irish striker has moved to West Ham on loan until the end of the season. He may well be the man to keep the Hammers up. Avram Grant has added some good signings in this window with Wayne Bridge,Demba Ba and Gary O`Neill all moving to Upton Park. Should the Hammers survive, Keane will sign a permanent contract.

9)Roque Santa Cruz

The Paraguayan has returned to Ewood Park, his first home in English football. After an unsuccessful spell at Man City, Santa Cruz welcomed a move back to Blackburn. The stiker has intially arrived on loan but if he can find his form again he will be an astute signing.  

10) Sulley Muntari

Few would have predicted somebody who won the Champions League last year to arrive at Sunderland, but thats what has happened. Sulley Muntari, the Ghanaian international, has arrived on loan at Steve Bruce`s side from Inter Milan. A valuable addition to any squad.

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