Monday, 26 April 2010

Not long to go now.

We enter the next the last rouind of Prmeiership things and there's still two major things to be decided, who will get 4th place and who will win the league.

Birmingham v Burnley
Birmingham are on a poor run of results but in truth in their last game against Aston Villa they were unlucky not to come away from the game empty handed. First half was a fairly equal game but second half Birmingham started to dominate and had numerous chances and they would have been ahead but for a string of saves for Brad Freidel and clearances of the line. They then gave away a dubious looking penalty and lost the game 1-0 to their local rivals.

Burnley on the other hand had their relegation confirmed with a 4-0 home defeat against Liverpool. Truth be told Burnley were well and truely in the game first half, but a couple of Steven Gerrard goals shortly after half time saw the game go beyond their reach and a few more defensive lapses allowed Liverpool to add two more. It's true that sometimes teams play better once relegation has been confirmed because there's no pressure on them. But in someways there's no pressure on Birmingham in this game also, they've had a superb season and can guarantee a top half finish with a win here.

Birmingham's home record is fantastic although they have had a lot of draws along the way. Birmingham aren't usually big scorers but they played well offensively against Aston Villa and if they put in a similiar performance against Burnley they have a good chance to score a number of goals.

Burnley have been poor on the road all season and I can't see that changing against a Birmingham side who are strong at home. Fancy Birmingham to win by more than the one goal so I'm taking the Asian Handicap line at Birmingham (-1).

Birmingham(-1) @ 1.95 (SBOBET)

Portsmouth v Wolves
Portsmouth fought back well to gain a draw against Bolton. They could have so easily just took their foot off the gas and played out for the 2-0 defeat but instead they came back and Dindane grabbed two goals. Portsmouth players are fighting for their place in the team for FA Cup final and therefore still have something to play for. They've also been allowed to play with more freedom in recent games and thier last two games have gone over 2.5 goals.

Wolves were probably fornate to get a draw against Blackburn after being seocnd-best for the majority of the game. They are safe now and manager McCarthy may decide for a more attacking line-up in this game, they have been playing 4-5-1 effectively and have been stronger defensively as a result but cause few problems going forward. I suspect with no pressure on either team we may see a more opening game than is expected. I'm therefore going for over 2.25 goals it gives me a little insurance in case there's only two goals and I fancy the price is currentley too big.

I'm also taking Portsmouth on the Asian Handicap (-0.25), feel Wolves performances have dipped slightly in recent games and Pompey are sure to be up for this one as it's their last home game in the Premiership and they'll want to give their fans something to shout about.

Portsmouth (-0.25) @ 2.17 (10bet)
Over 2.25 goals @ 2.03 (12bet)

Sunderland v Man Utd
This is the later of the two Sunday games and Man Utd will go into this game knowing the result of the Chelsea game. Regardless of that result they need a win if they want to stay in the title chase. Man United seem to have the luck and the know how to win games when not playing at their best, they scored a last minute goal against Man City and didn't play their best football against Tottenham but came away with three points. Think Sunderland present a really difficult challenge for Man Utd here, they have a very good home record, very similiar to that of Blackburn who held a Rooney-less Man Utd to a draw at Ewood Park. Man Utd go into this game more than likely without Wayne Rooney and that has got to be a big blow to them. Sunderland are safe in mid-table and can go out and just play and try and cause an upset here and they've got good attacking players as well as Craig Gordon in goal, who's been one of the best keepers in the legaue since his return from injury. The pressure will all be on Mna Utd here and I think Sunderland may be able to take advantage. Sunderland have won their last three home games and including an impressive 3-1 win over Tottenham. Earlier in the season they beat both Arsenal and Liverpool at the Stadium Of Light which shows they have the ability to challenge the big boys on their home patch. I'm taking the Sunderland (+1.25) asian handicap here. Think it will be a tight game and I can see a draw or one goal win either way. A one goal win by Man Utd will still see me in profit and I think if they do win it will only be by the one goal as they aren't as effective gong forward without Rooney.

Sunderland (+1.25) @ 2.00 (188bet)

Wigan v Hull City
Hull City are down now and surely won't be relishing a trip to Wigan who completed that remarkable comeback against Arsenal in their last home game. Hull's away record reads (0-5-13) which is a major reaosn why they won't be a Premiership team next year. Wigan are safe now and they put in a decent performance away at West Ham last week. With their safety ensured their players should be more relaxed and they have enough attacking options to cause Hull problems and I can see them winning here. A few Wigan players have been linked with big clubs and the Wigan chairman Dave Whelan said he won't stop players moving if a bigger clubs come calling. Therefore a few of their players will be looking to impress and put themselves in the shop window if you like.
Tip: Wigan @ 1.85 (SportingBet)

Friday, 23 April 2010

Sunday's Games

Burnley v Liverpool
Watched Liverpool's Europa League game and they weren't brilliant yet they looked reasonably strongly defensively. That's largely to do with Benitez and his use of the 4-2-3-1 tactic with Lucas and Mascheranoused as holding midfielders. This help protect Liverpool's defense and on the whole defensively they are okay. The problem for Liverpool at times this season as been going forward, this is because Gerrard isn't playing anywhere near his best and Torres as been out for large parts of the season and will be without him again on Sunday. These two players are the main attacking threats for the team and when these don't fire they struggle.

However you have to take into account the opponents for this game, Burnley are very much a team on the down yes they got a good win at Hull the other week but that apart they've been very poor since Brian Laws came in. Their defense is probably the worst in the Premiership and despite Liverpool having Torres out they've still got players going forward to cause Burnley problems. Do expect Liverpool to set-up in their usual way and Burnley will find it difficult to break them down, Liverpool have had a poor season but they should have enough quality to overcome Burnley here and I fancy if they get one they may go on and score more.

Liverpool (-0.75) @ 1.78 (Bet365)

Everton v Fulham
Fulham were involved in the Europa League, and got a very good point against Hamburg largely thanks to goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer who has had a very good season for Fulham. People keep expecting Fulham to suffer in the league as a result of their European heroics. Although looking at their league games after European games they've coped reasonable well, after the two legs against Wolfsburg they drew 0-0 with Liverpool at Anfield last week and beat Wigan the week before. This shows despite these Europa Legaue games they are still capable of turning up and putting in decent performances in the league. It's also a common theme if you look through Fulham's games, they very rarily get beat by big scorelines and are usually involved in very tight games with very few goals. Everton have been in good form recentley, but don't think they have been over-impressive in recent games they threw away the lead twice at Villa Park whilst they were only saved by a late goal against Blackburn. Everton also struggled a bit in thier last two home games, only managing a draw against West Ham and a sending off playing a big part in their win over Bolton.

I'm taking Fulham (+1.5) on the Asian Handicap, think they'll set-up defensively and are more than capable of sneaking a goal on the counter-attack, especially because of Everton's recent defensive lapses. If Everton do win this game I fancy it will only be by the one goal, meaning the +1.5 is a good option in my eyes.

Fulham (+1.5) @ 1.76 (10Bet)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Saturday's Premier League

Hull v Sunderland
Hull City's situation regarding relegation does not appear to be getting any better. They lost on Wednesday against Aston Villa at home and even more dissapointing they lost to Burnley in thier previous home game. They managed a good point away against Birmingham but that point is going to count for very little unless they can string a couple of wins together in the next couple of games. The change of manager to Iain Dowie doesn't appear to have got anything extra out of the Hull players and the look to be really struggling now.

Sunderland had quite a big mid-season blip which lasted for the best part of three months. However recentley they've been playing some decent enough football, they beat a Spurs side which has since gone on to beat both Chelsea and Man Utd. Yes that game was at home and Sunderland have got a very good home record but it's their away form that as been poor all season. However recentley they've shown signs of improvement away from home, they put in a respectable performance against West Ham and were unlucky to come away from that game with nothing. They also picked up a well earnt point at Villa park at the back end of March.

Hull City really need to win this game so you think they will have to come out attacking, although you would have thought that against Aston Villa but they choose to set-up 4-5-1 in that game. Sunderland's away record reads (1-4-12) which is dire by any standards. But I feel they've got a big chance to win this game against Hull, I'd give each team around he same chance of winning this game, the odds don't reflect this. Hull have the home factor as well as the extra incentive to win here but Sunderland have a better team with greater quality going forward and they are under no pressure whatsoever and that may just bring the best out of them. I'm going for Sunderland here, Hull will have to over-commit if this game is level towards the end and I think Sunderland's attacking threat from the likes of Bent and Campbell will cause Hull's defense problems especially on the counter-attack.

Sunderland @ 3.25 (Various)

West Ham v Wigan
Two teams who like to get the ball down and play, but also two teams who are still in the relegation mix-up, especially West Ham who still remain only three points above the relegation zone.

I said both teams like to get it down and play but often both teams have been founded wanting at times infront of goal this season. Wigan however completed a truely amazing comeback by smashing three past Arsenal, to win the game 3-2 after being 2-0 behind. Wigan did show a spirited comeback but I can't help but think that Arsenal got complacent, but fair play to Wigan they took full advatange.

I suspect this should be a very close game, Wigan would probably be more than happy to take a point from this game which would more than likely secure their Premiership status, However for West Ham this is very much a big game, a win here would go a long way to securing their own Premiership safety. I've decided to look at the goals market for this game and I think unders is a good bet here, both sides like to maintain possession of the ball and you can be pretty much certain if one team takes the lead they are likely to play a little more conservative to try and maintain thier lead.

Under 2.5 goals @ 1.91 (William Hill)

Arsenal v Man City
Arsenal were shell-shocked by that defeat at Wigan last week and it willl be interesting to see how they repsond here. They are surely out of the title race now but credit to them for staying in the hunt for so long. They've been without key players for large parts of the season but have but up a decent enough challenge for the title.

Man City are still chasing that much talked about 4th place, they themselves suffered a painful defeat last weekend with yet another injury-time defeat to their Manchester rivals. However before that game City were on top form and scoring for fun, I personally found it odd the way Mancini lined City up in that game. They had plenty of attacking players on the pitch but appeared to be more defensive and happy to settle for the draw. I wonder if they'll set up in a similiar fashion against Arsenal.

Arsenal's home record is as you'd expect very good (14-1-2), their only two defeats came at the hands of follow title-challengers Man Utd and Chelsea. They also had an unbeaten home record in the Champions League this season. Man City are an improving team but they aren't yet in the same bracket as thoose two teams that defeated Arsenal at the Emirates. Once Arsenal get in their flow at the Emirates they are very difficult team to play against. Yes Arsenal still have numerous injuries but a few cameo apperances from Van Persie in recent games suggests he should be fit and ready to start this one. That would give them a major boost, but they've coped reasonably well at home without all season and they can against City in my opinion.

City have a win at Stamford Bridge to their name, although they did have a lot of fortune in that game. But overall their away form is still very patch. Arsenal are still very strong in the fullback postions and if they can stop Bellamy and Johnson they stop a lot of City's attacking threats. I'm taking Arsenal here I fancy them to bounce back from the dissapointment last week and think they are over-priced at Evens for a team with such a good home record.

Arsenal @ 2.00 (Various)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Champions League Matches

Inter Milan v Barcelona

Two teams who progressed impressively in the last round. Barcelona saw off Arsenal with relative ease whilst Inter Milan proved too strong for CSKA Moscow. It's also worth remembering Inter Milan knocked out Chelsea in the previous round after a very composed performance at Stamford Bridge.

Think this will be a much sterner test for Barcelona than Arsenal was, the Italians will try and stop Barcelona playing their normal game and try and reduce their attacking threat. These two met in the group stages and played out a goaless draw. Inter Milan will desperatley not want to concede an away goal and will play with caution in the opening parts of the game I would have thought.

Don't usually like going unders in games involving Barcelona but with it being such a crucial match between two big sides I think there will be tension ad I expect a tight match. Like I've mentioned it will be a big blow if Inter concede an away goal and I think they'll be more than happy to keep the game close and try and nick one going forward and I see unders as a good option here.

Under 2.5 goals @ 1.80 (SportingBet)

Bayern Munich v Lyon
Bayern Munich shocked last year's finalist Man Utd with a superb comeback to score two goals after going 3-0 down on the night to go through on away goals. Although truth be told Bayern were totally out played for the first 45minutes of that game and the sending off of Fabio really changed the game in the favour of Bayern. Although fair play to them they piled on the pressure and moved the ball around and Robben's beautiful strike was worthy of winning any football match.

Lyon progressed against fellow french side Bordeaux to book their place in the semi-final. They won the game in a superb display at home and held out well in the away leg. Lyon are seasoned Champions League and despite all the personal changes they always strike me as a very professional team and know what it takes to win important Champions League matches. They knocked Real Madrid out it can't be forgotten by securing a 1-1 in Madrid. True they rode their luck a bit along the way but it takes a good side to progress against that calibre of opponent. They also secured an away win at Anfield in the group stage, which is a very difficult ground to visit in Europe.

Think there isn't too much difference between the two sides and I think Lyon could easily sneak a draw or even a win in Munich, It won't be easy Bayern are very good at home but Lyon's Champions League experience should stand them in good stead here and they are capable of causing Bayern's defense some problems.

I also feel obilged to take the overs here, both sides are naturally attacking and thier last meeting in the Champions League (2008) saw 5 goals. I think the price currentley avaiable at evens is good value, as I can see this being an open game.

Lyon (+0.75) @ 1.92 (Bet365)
Over 2.5 goals @ 2.00 (PaddyPower)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Portsmouth v Aston Villa

Portsmouth have been on a good run for a team in such a well-documented financial mess. They beat Tottenham at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final as well as managing to pick up a few points in the league recentley, despite the fact they are relegated and have nothing left to play.

Aston Villa have been in different recentley but there's no denying on their day they are a quality team and wins at Anfield and Old Trafford this season prove that. Think they'll prove too strong for Portsmouth who have been battling bravely in recent games but I think Villa's class should tell here and I fancy them to win by more than the one goal. I'll go for the (-1) Asian Handicap here.

Aston Villa (-1) @ 2.25 (PaddyPower)

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Saturday's Premiership Action

Manchester City v Manchester United
We've already been treated to three exciting Manchester derbies this year, the dramatic and controversial 4-3 win for Man United at Old Trafford back in September as well as the two Carling Cup ties.

There's no doubt about it going into this game Man City are the form team and have managed to rack up 14 goals in their last 3 legaue games. They currentley lie in 4th but are still only one point clear of Tottenham in 5th. Man United on the other hand have gone through a couple of torrid weeks, knocked out off the Champions Legaue by Bayern Munich. Whilst losing to Chelsea and drawing at Blackburn has put a huge dent in their title challenge. They need to win this game to remain in the title challenge, anything less than a win and you've got to think Chelsea will have all but won the league.

The previous three games this season have brought plenty of goals, 14 goals in the 3 games to be exact. Man United were lackluster infront of goal against Blackburn whilst the same can't be said for Man City who seem to be scoring goals for fun at the minute. At the time of writing it's unknown whether Rooney will be fit to play, but unless there's major doubts about his fitness I reckon he will play and you've got to feel Man United's goal threat will be much greater as a result.

Very much similiar to the Spurs v Arsenal game on Wednesday, both teams need the points for different reasons. Especially if Man City score first I can the game becoming very open, I don't think City's defense is good enough to keep out United in this game and City have got a potent strikeforce at the moment and it will be difficult for United to shut them out. I'm going to have half stakes on Over2.5 goals and Carlos Tevez Anytimer Goalscorer. Tevez is in terrific goalscoring form and will look to come to back haunt his old club once again.

Over 2.5 goals @ 1.80 (Bet365)
Anytime Goalscorer: Carlos Tevez
@ 2.50 (StanJames)

Birmingham v Hull City
Birmingham were below par in their last game against Man City but it's easy to forgot that this was a team that was suppose to be fighting down the near bottom of the league come May. But they've had a terrific season and find themselves 9th and will want to try and ensure a top-half finish by finishing off the season well. Birmingham's home form has been superb (7-8-2) and it would read better if you start from October (they are actually 13 home games unbeaten). Yes you may think 8 games is a lot to draw but if you look at the draws they are against the top teams in the league, draws against the likes of Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton show they've been very resilient at home and proved hard to beat. Birmingham don't tend to be a team who win games by big margains but they'll never get a better chance than against relegation-bound Hull City.

Hull had a golden chance to get some points on the board at home to Burnley last time out but their defense let them down once again and they conceded two penalties which turned the game and saw Burnley come away victors. Their away record reads (0-4-13) which is pretty shocking by any standards. I know there's the Hull will be fighting for the points more mentality to consider as Birmingham don't have much to play for in the safety of mid-table. But I feel the current prices are an over-reaction to this, Wigan couldn't manage a win against already relegated Portsmouth midweek and if you remember the last game of last season everyone thought Hull were going to beat a Man United reserve side, but they didn't. Think the odds are too big at 1.80 for a Birmingham win, who have made St Andrews a very difficult place for visiting teams to visit
this season.

Birmingham @ 1.80 (Various)

Sunderland v Burnley
Sunderland have improved greatly over the last few games and now find themselves safe from relegation. They have got good options going forward and they should be able to exploit a Burnley defense that has conceded 48 goals away from home, more than any other club.

Burnley got their first away win of the season at Hull last weekend although they still have got a lot to do if they want to avoid the drop. They've surely got to go into this game with an attacking attitude and look to win the game. Therefore i'm opting for overs in this as I expect it be an open game and can see it being high-scoring.

Over 2.5 goals @ 1.91 (WilliamHill)

Tottenham v Chelsea
Chelsea weren't exactly impressive against Bolton but they still managed to grind out a victory. Tottenham on the other hand put in a terrific performance against Arsenal on the back of the shock FA Cup exit. I suspect the amount of work Spurs put in that game may work against them in this game, they started to tire towards the end of the Arsenal game and if it wasn't for Gomes pulling off a string of saves they could have easily let the three points slip.

Chelsea will offer a different threat to Arsenal. Chelsea are much more direct whilst they can still get the ball down and play they don't hesitate to knock it long to Drogba, who will surely cause the Spurs defense more problems than Bendtner managed midweek.

Chelsea know a win here will be a huge step towards them lifting the title and think they'll come out on top here against a tired Tottenham side.

Chelsea (-0.5) @ 1.98 (Bet365)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Wednesday Football

Aston Villa v Everton
Two very well matched teams in my opinion and all their meeting over the last couple of years have been very close encounters. The sides drew 1-1 at Goodison Park in October. I again think the draw is the most likely result here. Although Aston Villa may be a bit tired after their defeat in the FA Cup Semi-final, Villa have still got a slim chance of finishing fourth whilst Everton are looking to finish the season of as high as possible after having a brilliant second half of the season.

Everton didn't sparkle like they have so much at home this season in their last game against West Ham. You could say they were due a below-par performance, that being said they still came out of the game with a point and could have easily been three after a late goal, but West Ham struck back and it ended a draw.

Aston Villa are a weird team to try and figure out they draw two games at home but then go away and win 1-0 at the Reebok. I personally think Aston Villa's style of play is more suited to playing away from home than at home, they prefer teams attacking them so they can counter-attack with their pace throughout the team. Villa's home form reads one win in seven, which is simply not good enough if you want that fourth spot.

Everton showed with their win away at Man City and points at Arsenal & Chelsea that they are capable of re-creating some of the football they've been showing at home all season away from home against the better team and I think Everton should get at least a draw out of this one and I've sneaky feeling they could nick all three points and I'm therefore going to opt for Everton (+0.25) on the Asian Handicap at a decent looking price.

Everton (+0.25) @ 2.00 (Various)

Wigan v Portsmouth
Portsmouth come into this game on the back of a remarkable win over Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Yes they'll probably be tired and may make a few change but I don't think this game will be as easy for Wigan as expected. The odds are to short for me to consider going for the Wigan win, instead I prefer the option of going for Under 2.5 goals. Portsmouth defended well against Tottenham and also kept a clean sheet in their last Prmeiership match against Blackburn. Wigan haven't been in great goalscoring form and find goals hard to come by, they only won 1-0 thanks to a last minute goal against Burnley, a team with a weak defense and think this game could be similiar story.

Under 2.5 goals @ 1.90 (Betfair)

Tottenham v Arsenal
Tottenham were well and truely shocked by being knocked out of the FA Cup by Portsmouth on Sunday. Harry will have to get the team back and raring to go for this North London derby against Arsenal. Tottenham haven't been playing great recentley and their grasp on fourth place as been well and truely taken away from them by Man City. Tottenham have got a tough run of fixtures coming up and I think the team is starting to feel the effects of a long hard season. Still not convinced by Gomes in goal who is liable to make a mistake or two, Tottenham's defense is also not as strong without frequent absentees King and Woodgate.

Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League to Barcelona on Tuesday, although there's probably no shame in that. Their overall performance was decent I thought depsite the defeat. There's rumours of Van Persie's return to the squad for Arsenal which would be a big boost for them. But even without him I fancy they've got enough quality in attacking areas to cause Spurs danger and I can see them winning this one. Although I'm taking the insurance on the (+0) asian handicap incase it's a draw. I also fancy overs here as both teams are attacking minded and both should being going all out for the three points to keep their respective seasons alive.

Arsenal (+0) @ 1.73 (StanJames)
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.95 (Bet365)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Chelsea v Bolton

Chelsea didn't play to their best in the FA Cup semi-final against Villa which makes it all the more frightening that they still managed to win 3-0. Chelsea have only two blemishes on their home record in the league this season, that loss against Man City and draw against Everton.

Bolton are still in a relegation battle although I'm sure this is a game they won't be expecting to get anything from. Their away form is no where near as good as their home, bar that good win against West Ham they've been reasonably poor away from home recentley. They also have a tendancy to ship goals and lose by bigger margains when they try and chase the game after going behind. They lost 3-0 at Blackburn and 4-0 at both Tottenham in (the FA Cup replay) and at Sunderland.

Chelsea are in great scoring form at the moment with Drogba, Lampard and Malouda all in top form. Can't see past a runaway Chelsea victory here although the odds I find are particularly poor the Chelsea (-2) on the Asian Handicap is best priced at around 1.77, which doesn't offer any value to me. I'd much rather go for Chelsea to win to nil @1.80, think this price will shorten Boylesports price is much longer and seems out of line with whats on offer at other bookmakers and is very good value in my opinion. My main reason behind the bet being Bolton have a poor scoring record away from home scoring only two goals (both in the West Ham game) in their last eight away games. Whilst Chelsea are missing a number defenders due to injury and they have leaked more goals at home this season than in recent seasons. I still think they should keep a clean sheet here because in their last couple of games their defense has looked really strong, with Cech back between the sticks and the back-up players in defense have played a number of games back-to-back together and have formed a solid back four.

I mentioned Lampard and Malouda earlier as being two players in good goalscoring form and I can see them continuing that trend against Bolton. I'll back both of them to score at anytime, and I only need one of them to score to guarantee a profit from these two bets which sounds a pretty good bet to me.

Chelsea to win with a clean sheet @ 1.80 (Boylesports) Anytime Goalscorer - Frank Lampard @ 2.25 (Bet365) Anytime Goalscorer - Florent Malouda @ 2.75 (Bet365)

Friday, 9 April 2010

Sunday's Football

Wolves v Stoke City
Wolves have impressed me recentley, they won well against West Ham at Upton Park then followed that up with two good defensive performances against Everton (0-0) and Arsenal (lost 1-0). They sometimes struggle at home because they are very much a team that relies on teams attacking them and then plays on the counter effectively when teams over-commit. The result is often a stalemate when the come up against teams who play more cautiously and don't tend to over-commit. They've had goaless draws against Everton and Liverpool at home and I think that is the most likely result here. Stoke are well known for their tough defense and don't tend to attack a lot away from home. I'd usually take the under2.5 goals option here but the prices is really poor (best priced at 1.67) so I've decided to go for both teams not to score at a better looking price.

Wolves score on average 0.63 goals at home and Stoke score on average 0.60 goals away from home. This shows the lack of attacking threat from each team and I can't see both teams scoring here because if one team takes the lead I expect them to hold onto it for the rest of the game.

Both teams to score: No @ 1.83 (PaddyPower)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Premiership, FA Cup and the Grand National

A big weekend of sports ahead with crucial games in the Premiership as well as the FA Cup finals. Not forgetting the Grand National, the most famous horse race in the world and it just happens to be one of the hardest to predict! I'll start with Saturday's Premiership action first of all.

Hull City v Burnley
Hull's home record for the season is decent enough (6-4-5) they won convincing enough against Fulham in their last home game without ever really dominating. Their last Premiership game was a tough trip against Stoke and they understandably lost there (I backed the Stoke win in fact) although in truth their performance was actually okay and Stoke had to battle hard to take all three points.

Burnley on the other hand have totally fallen to bits over recent games. Brian Laws doesn't appear to have the same motivation skills that Owen Coyle had drilled into the Burnley team. At the beginning of the season Burnley managed to pick up a number of impressive results, especially at home. But they have dropped away badly in the second half of the season and even their home form as suffered, the same home form which was very good during the first half of the season. They looked totally shell shocked by the hammering dished out by Man City last week, their defending was all over the place and they were lucky it wasn't more than just the six.

This is Burnley in general terms but if we look at their away form it paints an even worse image. They've not won a single away game all season and have only managed one point from sixteen away trips. On the back of the mauling they got last week and their dire away form it's impossible for me to fancy Burnley in this game. Hull's home record is solid if not spectucular and they should have enough to beat Burnley here.

Hull @ 1.75 (PaddyPower)

West Ham v Sunderland
West Ham put in a very good performance against an Everton team who have impressed in recent weeks. They battled back twice from going behind and showed great spirit, spirit which has been missing in their recent games. Sunderland won in what can only be described as a very odd match against Tottenham in which three penalties were awarded to Sunderland, Bent converted the first but missed the following two. They ended up winning 3-1 but in truth the scoreline should have been much greater. Sunderland at home are a reasonably good team but away from home they've been poor throughout the season. No more so than in the 3-0 defeat at Anfield in their last away game, yes they were up against quality players in Torres and co. but they still played really poorily. Liverpool could have easily hit double figures with the amount of chances they had in the first half alone!

Sunderland's away record reads the following (1-4-11) and they've got nothing really left to play for as they are in the safety of mid-table after recent wins. West Ham in contrast have everything to play and should be really fired up for this game and desperatley need three points here in their fight for survival. West Ham have flopped on me a number of times this season but I'm chancing them once again here on the back of the performance at Goodison Park last week.

West Ham @ 2.10 (Various)


Grand National
Always a very exciting races, Ive narrowed down my selections a bit, true it is very much a lottery but I like to go through the card and look at form, trends, ect and try and find the winner. Don't really do E/W bets just back a number for the outright win, narrowed it down to the following shortlist:

Madison Du Berlias (80) - The class horse in the race with plenty of Grade 1 race experience. The trends are firmly against it carrying top weight but I think a horse of this class shouldn't be over-looked at the price. Fell in the 2008 national but is usually a sound jumper.

Vic Venturi (32) - Impressive winner ar Fairyhouse last time out. As won over national fences in the past which has got to be major plus. The big weight again a negative if you look at the trends.

Comply Or Die (26) - Got to be respected for 2008 national winner and last years 2nd. Up in the weights but previous experience is always a major advatange.

Niche Market (22) - Very impressive third in the Hennessey behind Denman and What A Friend. Last year's Irish Grand National winner and you've got to think it will be thereabouts if it gets round.

My Will (55) - 3rd in last year's Grand National whilst not in the best of form this year it still could prove a danger.

Snowy Morning (17.5) - I've backed this the last two years, finished on both occassions 9th in last year's and 3rd in 2008. Down in the weights from last year and decent enough form recentley.

Character Building (21) - Always thought this horse as good potential. Good win at Cheltenham last year, dissapointing last time out but was well fancied prior to it's late withdrawal last year. Should be suited to the race.

Eric's Charm (65) - The jumping would be of slight concern with this one, managed to blunder to victory last time out. Looks to have good stanmia so the trip shouldn't be a worry.

Arbor Supreme (21) - As previous form over 3m+ and put in a decent enough prep run last time out.

Maljimar (42) - Hasn't run since third at Cheltenham over the cross county course in December. But seems to go best when fresh and does like good ground.

Irish Raptor (40) - Nigel Twiston-Davies was talking up the chances of this one. It's won over the national fences and seems too love it round Aintree was also leading whe blundered in Beacher Handicap Chase last year over national fences. If that can be excused you've got to feel it's got a good chances.

Cerium (75) - If you believe reports it managed 5th last year after sustaining a fractured skull. Same weight this year a similiar performance could see it thereabouts.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Birmingham v Liverpool

With Tottenham dropping ground but with Aston Vila and Man City winning this very much becomes a must win game for Liverpool. That being said Birmingham will be no push overs here having drawn against both Chelsea and Arsenal at St. Andrews. Think it should be a close game rather than trying to predict the outright outcome I prefer going for the unders in this game. Both teams built on the principle of solid defensive play and two great shot stoppers in Hart and Reina to beat. Think this as all the hallmarks of a very tight game what with Liverpool's tendancy to keep it tight away from home and with Birmingham's lack of goals and niche for 1-0 victories this season. I think unders is a really good bet here even if the odds are a little bit skinny for a unders/over goals bet.

Under 2.5 goals @ 1.76 (Betfair)

Friday, 2 April 2010

Back to the Premiership

The big match this weekend is Chelsea v Man Utd but it is very difficult to call so I’m opting to leave that one alone and focus on other game form a betting perspective this weekend.

Bolton v Aston Villa
Aston Villa come into this game after a 7-1 mauling at Stamford Bridge last weekend. This was on the back of two disappointing home draws against Sunderland and Wolves. Aston Villa have a tradition in recent seasons of finishing poorly, which looks set to have cost them any hopes of fourth place just like it did last season. Also there have been rumours around this week about Martin O’Neill’s future at the club, which could have an unsettling effect on some the players. The FA cup semi-final is just around the corner and a few players may have half an eye on that as well.

Bolton have improved vastly under new management and have been very effective at home. Yes they lost 4-0 at home against Man Utd last weekend, but it was an own goal that broke the deadlock and the last few goals came about because they were chasing the game. Previous to that they had picked up ten points in four games at home, yes they weren’t teams in the same class as Aston Villa but they still performed well and were full value for their points.
With all the worrying factors I picked out for Villa and the added incentive for Bolton to pull further away from the relegation zone and into the safety of mid-table. I fancy Bolton are capable of winning this one against an out-of-form Aston Villa. Took the Bolton draw no bet as a bit of insurance meaning I’ll get my stake bet if it ends a draw.

Bolton DNB @ 2.20 (Stan James)

Stoke v Hull City
Hull managed to pick up a vital three points against a weakened Fulham side last weekend. This game at the Britannia will be a much tougher test especially if you consider Stoke’s home form (6-5-5) against Hull’s away form (0-4-12). Hull have struggled away all season mainly because their defence seems to crack when put under any constant pressure. Stoke don’t usually win games by big margins but are capable of scrapping out results and I think they should cause Hull enough problems here to take all three points. Home win for me.

Stoke @ 1.80 (Various)

Sunderland v Tottenham
Sunderland were outright dreadful at Anfield last Sunday. Although they are totally different team at home and have only been beaten twice at the Stadium of Light all season. Tottenham have put themselves in a good position to take fourth place after winning five games on the bounce in the league. Although away from home I always get the impression that they are bit up and down and maybe don’t finish teams off when they’ve had the chances.

Sunderland have drawn 7 of their 16 home games this season whilst Tottenham have drawn 5 of their 15 away games. I think it should be a close match and I’ll take the draw. Also going for Darren Bent anytime goalscorer, he’s in terrific form at the moment and wouldn’t it be just like football for him to pop up to haunt his old team.

Draw @ 3.40 (Various)
Anytime Goalscorer: Darren Bent @ 3.00 (Coral)