Back to the daily grind…
After a well earned week off, I am back this week to hopefully continue my stellar run of profit in the past few posts. I would have brought some tips to you from afar last week, but with the hotel looking for about £5 for 60 minutes internet use I decided against it I’m afraid. I’m sure you coped without me though.
Last weekend’s football certainly made everyone sit up and take notice of Man City’s title challenge this year. I have been saying for weeks now that Man Utd’s squad has been vastly over-rated by people who should know a whole lot better and City have made it clear to everyone that there are some glaring weaknesses. The defence first off is looking as bad as it has for a long time now. Rio looks shot to bits and with Vidic also still recovering, it leaves them short at centre half and forced to play the enduringly rubbish Jonny Evans.
With Patrice Evra also looking a shadow of his former self at left back, it does not bode well. I wont go into central midfield as that has been covered in great deal elsewhere. City have looked irresistible at times in both matches this week. David Silva is showing that Spain currently has a monopoly on diminutive playmakers and along with Sergio Aguero they are the two true world class players in the Premier League. Possibly joined by Rooney when he’s in a golden patch.
Music comes from Tim Barry with Thing Of The Past.
Back to the tipping now. I’m already pretty confident about a couple of these!
Norwich v Blackburn, Saturday 1500
Norwich and their manager Paul Lambert will be looking to continue their climb up the table by getting a home win against a dreadful Blackburn side. The Canaries were again very impressive against Liverpool at Anfield last weekend and from what I saw, were unlucky to only leave with a point in the end. Whilst many were quick to write them off due to a complete lack of experience at Premier League level they have instead thrived. Lambert was quoted as looking for players with points to prove and no one typifies that more than strikers Steve Morison and Grant Holt. Both have spent a lot of time at either League Two or Conference level and have come to the top table later in their careers. With players like Elliot Bennett and Anthony Pilkington also hungry to prove they belong here, they are looking a decent side.
Blackburn continue to look like a team heading towards the Championship and sadly it is entirely the fault of the owners and manager. Steve Kean is not a manager, and his recent press conferences have made him also look a bit ridiculous. It is all very well defending your players, but not completely when they’ve been hopeless. And the owners must share the blame for both appointing him and then continuing to let him make a mess of the club. Back Norwich at 2.05 with Boylesports.
Man City v Wolves, Saturday 1500
A repeat of the midweek Carling Cup clash in this fixture, although I would expect a few different faces. Man City changed all eleven players before running out 5-2 winners in the week and I would expect at least seven or eight regulars to return to add to Mick McCarthy’s misery. City were passing and moving with fantastic ease in both wins this week and I would expect them to continue those sort of performances for a little while yet. The Carlos Tevez affair seems to have made Mancini look an even better manager and the players seem to be fully behind him. The rotation that he is afforded by such an impressive squad is also keeping the players on their toes knowing that one poor performance will give someone else a chance. Wolves started the season promisingly before fading badly in the last few weeks. They did leave a lot of regulars out in midweek also, but I struggle to see any way for them to get anything other than a humping in this one. Back Man City To Win Both Halves at 2.1 with Paddy Power.
Villarreal v Rayo Vallecano, Saturday 1700
This is a must bet for me this week! I’ve always been a big fan of the way Villarreal have played football all the way back to Manuel Pellegrini and Juan Riquelme. They imported South American players who went on to play some fantastic stuff and give the big boys in Spain a fright on more than one occasion. However, since the appointment of Pellegrini they have been steadily declining. They have lost some brilliant players like Santi Cazorla to Malaga and Nilmar to a lengthy injury, and now to add to the list Guiseppe Rossi has been ruled out for around 6 months after tearing his ACL in the week. They have no supply to the forwards and now no forwards either.
Rayo are one of the most passionate sets of fans in La Liga and always take a large away following to every match. They come into this match off the back of two impressive victories away at Betis and at home to Malaga. They look to be hitting their stride after a slow start and will fancy their chances here. Back Rayo and the draw Double Chance at a massive 1.96 at Ladbrokes.
Sporting Gijon v Athletic Bilbao, Sunday 1100
The early kick off on Sunday in La Liga has two sides coming into some form meeting at Gijon. Bilbao made the bold decision over the summer to try something completely new in terms of philosophy and appointed Marcelo Bielsa as manager. They have traditionally always produced good players, but the style of football has always been hard and almost English. They relied on an impressive home record a lot and looked for European pushes every now and again. Bielsa is not a man to hump long balls at a target man all game. He has tried to get players like Munain, Gurpegui and Javi Martinez to play their way around the pitch and it is now looking much better. They had a very good win at home to Atletico Madrid last night with a 3-0 win and Fenrnando Llorente grabbing a brace.
Gijon have also seemed to turn a corner after sacking boss Preciado. They backed up a win over newly promoted Granada at home last weekend with a very good away victory over Mallorca on Wednesday night. I see this as two sides looking for another win to continue their runs and I think it could be a cracking fixture. Back over 2.5 Goals at 2.1 with Stan James.
Schalke v Hoffenheim, Saturday 1430
First tip from the Bundesliga is from a match between high-flying Schalke and mid-table Hoffenheim. After shooting through the lower leagues and leading the Bundesliga at Christmas in their first season, Hoffenheim have settled down and become an upper mid-table outfit. This season they have found goals hard to come by for them, especially away from home. They have only scored 13 in 10 matches, which is quite low for the Bundesliga. They also have a record of won two and lost three away from home, with the wins coming against newly promoted Augsburg and a struggling Mainz outfit. They have been neaten in their last two away matches by both Stuttgart and Koln without scoring in the process.
Schalke currently sit in third position in the table having begun fantastically before settling into more realistic form of late. They lost their last home match in a bad tempered affair to Kaiserslautern when they really should have won, but have won the other three from their last four. I would back them to get back on track here. Back Schalke at 2.0 with William Hill.
Wolfsburg v Hertha Berlin, Saturday 1430
This match sees two sides separated by a single position meeting. Both sit in mid-table, but it is their respective home and away records that make this one appeal. Wolfsburg have won three and only lost one at home this season and have won all of the last three at home too. They haven’t scored many, only five in the league, but have ground the victories out by virtue of a tight defence that has only conceded three at home all season.
Hertha have played five away from Berlin and have won one, drawn two and lost two. They have done this whilst conceding ten and scoring six. They do seem to be something of a cavalier outfit and if Wolfsburg can repel them they should be able to get the goal or two to win this match. Back Wolfsburg at 2.3 with William Hill.
Ankaragucu v Istanbul BB, Sunday 1700
First Turkish tip sees a horrendous Ankara side hosting in-form Istanbul BB on Sunday afternoon. Ankara currently sit bottom of the SuperLig with one point from eight matches. They have been wretched in every single match bar the draw and fully deserve their position in the table. They were beaten 2-0 by both newly promoted Orduspor and also ten man Manisaspor this week. Istanbul BB did relatively well last season on the back of some fine home form. They currently stand unbeaten at home from four matches this season too and are riding high in third position. They may well fade away, but currently they’re going well. They have not won in their last two matches, with results of a draw and a loss, but I think they can get back on track by beating a doomed Ankara side. Back Istanbul BB at 2.3 with Stan James.
Gaziantepspor v Trabzonspor, Saturday 1700
This one is a bit more of a long shot than the rest of my bets, but one I have a decent feeling about. Gaziantepspor put together a great run last season by being tough to beat at home and also made the final of the Turkish Cup for the same reason. This season has not started as they would have hoped, but they are now unbeaten in their last four matches including a draw with Besiktas and an amazing 4-2 win against Galatasaray away during the week.
Trabzonspor are unbeaten away from home so far, but have drawn three of their four away matches. They will also be likely to have a eye on the winnable match in the Champions League in the week at home to CSKA Moscow. They rely heavily on striker Yilmaz as no one else really chips in with enough goals and I would not be hugely surprised if he was keeping his powder dry for the Russians. I would back Gaziantepspor Draw No Bet at 2.1 with Paddy Power.