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  1. #761
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    It is good to watch this posts..

  2. #762
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    Copa America: Bolivia- Peru


    Bolivia have conceded seven goals in their last three halves of football at the Copa and whilst they one won of those games, it might be that they are reverting to type and have remembered just how poor they are and are supposed to be away from home ! We spoke about this ahead of their opener with Mexico......... "I mentioned yesterday how El Tri are seemingly prioritising their Gold Cup campaign, which begins in less that four weeks time, they are honouring their CONCACAF obligations and the fact that their opening game is in Chicago, which houses the second largest population of Mexican-born immigrants in the US, is probably also a deciding factor.

    They have left a host of key players, including Chicharito, Guardado, Giovani dos Santos, Carlos Vela. plus several others at home and this is very much a B team, despite anything to the contrary that controversial coach Miguel Herrera might say. He is very stubborn and seems certian to stick with his preferred formation (basically a 5-3-2) without the players he needs to do it justice ! If they were playing anyone else today apart from Bolivia, I would like to oppose them, but their opponents are not very good away from their high altitude homeland and have not won an away game in over eight years and the one before that was four years earlier, so a defeat of South Africa in a friendly , where they were gifted a winning goal and opponents were denied an equaliser when the referee blew his whistle for half time with the ball en route to the net, to show for 12 years and some 50 away/neutral starts ! Mexico are below strength, have other priorities and will play a formation that will not suit personnel, Bolivia are not very good and cannot win outside their own country ! If we had to bet, I would have to suggest the draw @ circa 4.33 and I might take a (very) little on that just to keep me awake !"


    They played out a 0-0 draw there and were then 3-0 up at the break against an Ecuador team who simply did not show up at these championships until it was time to go home ! They won that 3-2, but Ecuador missed a penalty and hit the woodwork and I doubt that Bolivia would have progressed from any other group.

    Peru have looked very solid keeping Colombia and Venuezuela scoreless and Brazil at 1-1 (after two early goals) for 87 minutes. They do not have any real weaknesses, look good in defence and midfield and have three veteran forwards on Paolo Guerro, Jefferson Farfan and Claudion Pizarro who are all the wrong side of thirty and playing in what might be their last major championship, the trio have all played at the top level in Europe and have 60 international goals between them and can find a goal and one might be enough, to edge this. Peru feel they are improving and have more to offer and I would have been very keen on them for this if they were not without captain Carlos Labatón and defensive midfielder Josepmir Ballón, who are both suspended. That kind of tempers enthusiasm, but they are in their 7th straight Copa quarter final and will be looking to at least equal their 2011 3rd place finish. They were not adventurous enough in the semi final against Uruguay and I feel they will have learned from that. Peru -0.5 ball 1.93 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  3. #763
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    Good number's cabbott and i appreciate it.

  4. #764
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    J-League:


    FC Tokyo - Shimizu S-Pulse



    FC Tokyo won for us last weekend when I wrote ......

    "I guess the international break has come at the right time for Sagan who have conceded a whopping 14 goals in their last three league games, shipping three to Frontale was bad, six to leaders Urawa worse, but five to Velgalta , who had scored just three in their previous four starts was a bit of a low point and you can view the break as a chance to put things right, or as a very long 13 days to reflect and feel sorry for themselves !

    They are starting matches quite well and incredibly, are unbeaten before the break all season ( 4-11-0) but losing their way afterwards and they have conceded 24 of 28 goals ( 86%) in the second half, next highest through that period is the 18 conceded by the bottom two clubs, Albirex Niigata and Shimizu S-Pulse and highlights just how poorly they are ending matches. FCT are a better team and are very tough to beat when leading (6-0-0 this season), so difficult to see them dropping this to a team leaking after the break, if they can edge ahead. But those Sagan stats offer hope should they fall behind and FCT have taken points from two of the four games in which they have trailed at the half. The visitors have won on their last two visits here and we backed them to win the last of those back in August and those notes are reproduced at the foot of this email. They are unbeaten in four and will be looking to break into the top three in the overall championship this season, they are a team we discuss a lot and there are a mountain of notes on them in the database and I have also reproduced a preview from earlier this season, their trip to Montedio Yamagata, which is particularly pertinent as I am going to finish these notes with the newly promoted club's trip to Hiroshima.

    Anyway, they all provide background information and after their last match, a 2-1 win at Matsumoto Yamaga, where they raced into a two goal lead and then had to fight hard to hold on, they will have enjoyed the hard earned break. Coach Massimo Ficcadenti (see below) is very meticulous and will have used the two weeks wisely, his team came back after the World Cup break last summer on fire and were unbeaten in eight in all competions with an incredible 21-1 goal difference. They can edge this......"


    The came from behind to win 2-1 with a pair of second half goals and the match played out perfectly for " in play" betting, with Sagan gain losing their way after the break, more of that later in the email.

    Tokyo will want to finish the first stage with another three points which will ensure they go into the mini break in the top three in the overall (aggregate) championship. They did the double over Shimizu S-Pulse last season with a 7-1 aggregate, which included a 4-0 win in this fixture and with the visitors struggling big time, they collected just 15 points from the second half of last season and have just 13 from their first 16 games this season, that is circa 29 points over the full season and equates to relegation form and them some and they have a lot of work to do to remain in the top flight. The hosts will say a sad, yet fond farewell to top striker Yoshinori Muto after this game , who is joining FSV Mainz , he has 10 goals in 16 league games this season and had two goals and two assists in the games against SSP last season, he will want to say goodbye with a goal I am sure and I take FCT to record a comprehensive victory. Australian winger Mitchell Duke is suspended for the visitors, he scored the opening goal in the only road game that SSP have won in eight months.

    FC Tokyo -0.75 ball 1.94 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  5. #765
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    Brazil Serie A Coritiba- Cruzeiro


    The Cruzeiro return to winning ways was stalled big time with that shock home defeat to Chapecoense last weekend, ahead of which I wrote ....."Hosts have been clubgowi favourites for the last two years and we were championing them from early in the first of their two successive title winning campaigns. I must admit that a third looked highly unlikely after a very slow start to 2015 with Copa Libertadores games taking precedence, but after being eliminated from that, they switched coaches with Vanderlei Luxemburgo taking charge and the veteran coach, who has had more clubs than Tiger Woods ( this is his 28th tenure in Brazil alone....but I might have miscounted !) has turned them around in double quick time. They have won all three games under him, including consecutive away wins, scoring three goals in each, one of those came at AMG who are looking for a title win themselves and they had conceded just three time in five previous starts. These performances are all the more noteworthy as they came with Cruz having a lengthy injury list and with key players away on international duty and this is a club who seem sure to get stronger the longer this season goes. All the talk this week has been about making the top 4 and they are determined to do so as soon as possible, two road games after this and all eyes on three points and a repeat of last years 4-2 win in this fixture would do nicely."

    They did not really show up, but perhaps we can forgive them that blip, it was one of the "new" early kick offs and that might have been against them. They get defensive midfielder Willians back from suspension today , but lose another in Charles to injury and also lose central defender Bruno Rodrigo to a yellow card ban ( just 3 clean sheets in 18 starts without him and we are talking about a two time champion team). On the plus side, they also get De Arrascaeta back from international duty to bolster the midfield.

    Coritiba are still struggling to get anthing going, or to pull away from the relegation zone, but a 2-2 draw at Atletico Paranaense last time out in a big derby game might at least signal the start of some kind of recovery, but the point came at huge cost and means that today they are without four suspended players in defensive midfielder Joao Paulo, right back Norberto Neto, midfielder Ruy and forward Wellington Paulista. The first two named are big defensive losses and with both teams weakened at the back, it is easy to see goals today and odds, like yesterday in the Avai game, look too big, these two also face very tough midweek road games and points are going to be easier to come by this evening, so each will surely press for the win. BTS and a Cruzeiro win for me. Last 10 h2h meetings in Curtiba have seen at least two goals, with the last five and 8 from 10 going "over", at an average of 3.5 goals per game. A rare two bet game .......

    "over" 2.25 goals 2.17 asian line/Sportmarket.
    Cruzeiro -0.25 ball 2.19 asian line/Sportmarket.



    Coritiba: Bruno , Vaná, Henrique, Ivan, Leandro Silva, Luccas Claro, Rodrigo Ramos, Walisson Maia , Welinton,Esquerdinha, Fabr*cio, Helder, Ícaro, Lucio Flávio, Rodolfo, Rosinei , Thiago Galhardo,Giva, Kleber, Marcos Aurélio, Negueba, Paulinho , Rafhael Lucas.

    Cruzeiro: Elisson, Fábio , Rafael, Ceará, Fabiano , Mayke, Grolli, Léo, Manoel , Paulo André, Pará, Bruno Edgar, Eurico, Henrique , Willians, De Arrascaeta , Marcos Vin*cius, Allano, Henrique Dourado, Joel, Leandro Damião, Marquinhos , Willian.

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  6. #766
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    Copa America: Chile- Peru


    With Brazil, who have always been a bogey team for Chile out of the competition and Argentina facing a rematch with a Paraguayan side they struggled with at the group stage tomorrow, things are starting to look hugely promising for the hosts, but with that comes added pressure, the level of expectation is through the roof and now, failure to reach the final will be seen as a bit of a disaster and if Peru can hang on in there early, they can use that to their advantage. Peru have looked very well organised at these championships and were comfortable quarter final winners over Bolivia, ahead of which I wrote ......"Peru have looked very solid keeping Colombia and Venuezuela scoreless and Brazil at 1-1 (after two early goals) for 87 minutes. They do not have any real weaknesses, look good in defence and midfield and have three veteran forwards in Paolo Guerrero, Jefferson Farfan and Claudio Pizarro who are all the wrong side of thirty and playing in what might be their last major championship, the trio have all played at the top level in Europe and have 60 international goals between them and can find a goal and one might be enough, to edge this. Peru feel they are improving and have more to offer and I would have been very keen on them for this if they were not without captain Carlos Labatón and defensive midfielder Josepmir Ballón, who are both suspended. That kind of tempers enthusiasm, but they are in their 7th straight Copa quarter final and will be looking to at least equal their 2011 3rd place finish. They were not adventurous enough in the semi final against Uruguay that year and I feel they will have learned from that.
    "
    They were 2-0 up inside the first quarter of the game, had a whopping 27 attempts on goal (hitting the woodwork twice) and Paolo Guerrero scored a hat trick, before Bolivia made the scoreline respectable with a late consolation goal, it was an impressive victory and this is a team on the up and improving game upon game. Chilean centre back Gonzalo Jara is suspended after putting his finger where it should not be put (!) and the hosts conceded two goals at home to the US in the only start he has missed in 2015. Mexico are the only team who have really taken the game to Chile in this competition and they scored three without the cream of their offensive talent and if Peru are prepared to have a go, I can definitely see a goal or maybe two for them and I am very keen on the "away" team with the handicap start. Peru use both flanks well and could create havoc in the box, with a big aerial advantage over Chile and I have to take .............. Peru +1 ball 2.03 asian line/Sportmarket.


    Gary Medel and David Pizzaro ended the Bolivia game in the middle of the backline for Chile, they are each 1.71m tall, Guerrero and Claudio Pizzaro are both 1.84m + and this could be a real route to goal for Peru, who are a very tempting 6.5-7.0 general quote to score twice ("over" 1.5 goals) , how about something small on that....

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  7. #767
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    Copa America: Paraguay - Peru


    These 3rd and 4th place playoff games almost always produce goals, it is easy to see why, there is usually one side a little more motivated than the other and both can easily let intensity slip for what seems largely a meaningless fixture at the end of a long competition, coming after a gruelling domestic campaign for many. I do suspect that both would have taken 3rd or 4th spot if you had offered it to them pre tournament , so maybe we will see both going for it this evening, but each suffered a very disappointing semi final result, albeit for different reasons and they could let things slide if falling behind.

    However, both teams have players, Lucas Barrios of Paraguay and Peru's Paolo Guerrero who have a good chance to become the competition top scorer, that would be an honour both individually and for the nation and we can expect that to motivate both offensively. Paraguay are hard hit by injury and could be missing four players who started the semi final against Argentina in Roque Santa Cruz, Derlis Gonzalez, Bruno Valdez and Nelson Valdez, which would weaken them up top and especially on the right flank. Peru will be without suspended Carlos Zambrano from the backline and did have to play 60 minutes down to ten men after his sending off against the hosts, but that is counter balanced by having an extra day's rest and recovery time. Peru have impressed me more, I think they have a little more about them, look stronger defensively and at the ned of the day, Paraguay have only beaten Jamaica inside 90 minutes at the Copa and no team other team in nine starts and I have to suggest .......

    Peru -0.25 2.12 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  8. #768
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    MLS: Columbus Crew- New York Red Bulls


    These two met here in Columbus earlier in the season with Red Bulls winning 2-1, the last three h2h meetings have all gone "over" with an average of 4.0 goals per game. I can definitely see that trend continuing today, with Crew's last eight home starts seeing seven go "over" with both teams also scoring in seven. Red Bulls have recorded back to back New York derby wins in the last week scoring seven goals in the process, but conceding in each, they might struggle to get up a little for a third "big" game inside seven days , especially defensively ,with a whole host of players missing due to injury and international call ups, including, central defender Karl Ouimette and full backs Roy Miller, Kemar Lawrence and Chris Duvall, which means no recognised experienced left back . Duvall has played all but one game this season on the right hand side of the backline and they conceded twice there and were not so beat up across the defensive line in that match. Crew will doubtless be out for revenge having lost already at home to Red Bulls and this looks a good chance to level the score, I am a little torn between goals and the home win, but have opted for ......

    "over" 3 goals 2.28 asian line/Sportmarket Pro.......alternative would be the more commonly quoted 2.75 goal line.

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  9. #769
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    Women's World Cup Final: US- Japan


    We have a repeat of the 2011 final and the extremely well conditioned and prepared Japanese team have proved that win was no fluke and that they are perhaps the best team in the world and few will doubt that if they win this evening. In that previous final they twice came from behind to tie the US, including once in extra time and showed incredible mental strength to do so, I do not think that any other team in world football , would have been able to do so under similar circumstances. My preview of their quarter final win over Australia is reproduced below, that includes my pre tournament notes about how well prepared the Japanese were and how seriously they have taken their role as world champions and they have loved the four years since and I feel that once again they have been seriously underestimated by the oddsmakers and that there is no huge gulf between the two. Of course, this is not a coinflip as the US will have massive support in Vancouver, but Japan have already played here three times and will feel very much at home in stadium and city.They were disappointing against England in the semis, but I think that was the match in which all the pressure was on them, now it is very much on the US, they are going to have to make the running and they will be very vulnerable to the speed and technical ability of the Japanese. I think we might well see extra time again and I am happy to take .....

    Japan +0.5 at 2.07 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  10. #770
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    Brazil: Serie A: Corinthians- Atletico Paranaense


    Atletico Paranaense are losing their way after a solid start to their season and have conceded nine goals in their last five outings ( one win), two or more in four, including at home to goal shy local rivals Coritiba. They now face a second very tough road trip inside five days, after losing 2-0 at Cruzeiro last weekend and thoughts could quickly tun to a home game with Fluminense in three days time should they fall behind this evening.

    Corinthians have scored twice in each of their last three home games (all wins) and despite being held scoreless at Goias last time out, they were hugely impressive, with great movement up front and some really inventive build up play especially in and around the box, they also looked good aerially.

    The home coach is very pleased with the progress his team have made and has spoken of them as potential champions this week, they would go top 4 with all three points this evening and can collect those and possibly cover the handicap with ease if things fall for them in front of goal this evening.

    Visitors arrive without suspended Walter who has been playing the lone striker role all season and that is a major loss.


    Corinthians -1 ball 2.28 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  11. #771
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    MLS: New York City- Toronto FC


    This was meant to be the debut for Frank Lampard, but a minor knock has delayed that for another 7 days +, however, the official signing of Andrea Pirlo was announced this week and the prospect of both being available soon is a major boost both for the club and MLS football in general and neither are the type to ever give less that 100%. The starting eleven today will be fighting hard to keep their places and tickets will already have been sold with the crowd expecting to see the former EPL star and this will still be a bit of an occasion.

    These two teams met three weeks ago in Ontario with NYC winning 2-0 , they were tactically very solid there, pressed incredibly well and David Villa who remains a top class striker took his two chances and to be honest, at 3-4 years younger than the other two "superstars" , he should still be playing at a higher level, he could score in MLS almost in his sleep ! Anyway, I liked that performance, defensively they allowed TFC little and dominated the match early and through the key middle part of the second half and on the road. The defence has also been tightened up with the signings of a pair of Spanish full backs in the incredibly experienced Andoni Iraloa and Angelino this week . With Toronto missing a lot of players today, I expect a follow up win.

    The visitors arrrive without Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley ,Ashtone Morgan, Jonathan Osorio and Quillan Roberts, all of whom are on international duty. This leaves them short through the central spine and with their remaining key player Sebatian Giovinco, left to carry most of the offensive load on his own, which is a big ask and will make him easier to mark.

    New York City -0.5 ball 2.03 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  12. #772
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    Concacaf Gold Cup USA vs Panama

    I was quite keen on Panama coming into this tournament and ahead of their opener with Haiti wrote .............

    "This will be the 13th Gold Cup, the US and Mexico have won 11 of the previous 12 between them and contested five finals including three of the last four and that is what the organisers are hoping for again this year, hence the very favourable draw for that to come about. However, Panama did make the final in 2013 , had an earlier runner up place to their name and made the semis in 2011 and quite rightly see themselves as a major contender.Los Canaleros played two matches in build up with Ecuador and appear well prepared for this event, the same cannot be said for the Haitians who have had just a single game ( 2-2 draw with China) in the last eight months and are going to "bond" as they go along, which was kind of their game plan in 2013 when they lost their opener to Honduras 2-0. They do have a little talent in the team, notably Jeff Louis of Standard Liege, who long term readers might recall I was very keen on whilst he was at Nancy, but they look to match up poorly to me against the very athletic and experienced Panama squad. Ten of their players have 50 + caps and they have three very prolific frontmen in Gabriel Torres, Luis Tejada and especially Blas Perez who is going to be very much at home here with the FC Dallas striker playing in his home stadium tonight. He is extremely strong and good in the air and has a bit of a reputation for being physical and if Panama can isolate him against one or two of the smaller defenders and there are several, that could produce big dividends."

    Panama did largely dominate that game and then again "blew" a lead against the Hondurans and have led for 90 minutes in total across the two matches. They have not seen out the final 20 minutes that well in either game, but I feel that will be less of a concern this evening, the US have scored all their three goals in the first hour or so and will not be overly pressing late in this game with so little at stake for them and with another three matches to play. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann rotated heavily, especially at the back between the first two games and will surely do so again this evening. Panama have a decent record against the US in Gold Cup competition, they have lost three of the six meetings , but all by a single goal and they have a win and two draws in the other three and getting odds against and half our money back with a one goal defeat about a team with all the motivation looks the way to go, but not a day I want to get overly involved in, so ............

    Panama +0.75 ball 2.14 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  13. #773
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    MLS: LA Galaxy- San Jose Earthquakes


    This is the third California Clásico inside 20 days, with honours shared so far, San Jose took the first 3-1 and I previewd that at the end of last month (notes reproduced below), a few days later, Galaxy got a little revenge with a 1-0 road win in the US Open Cup, but that competition is never a priority for LA and if it was/is revenge they are looking for, it is this evening they will have in mind.

    Since that win three weeks ago, Eathquakes have failed to score in three MLS starts and have looked toothless in the absence of key striker Chris Wondolowski something we touched upon ahead of the second of those games........

    They put huge effort into that game and got a famous win, top scorer Chris Wondolowski got the opener there and is a massive loss tonight having since joined the national team. Also called up for Gold Cup duty is right sided midfielder Cordell Cato, a situation which is compounded as the other midfielder on that flank, Sanna Nyassi,is suspended. These are very difficuly absences to overcome especially against a team with so much offensive firepower and to have to do so following back to back games inside four days against a deadly rival and the biggest name in MLS football is too much.

    They got Nyassi back last week for a home game with an even more beat up Houston Dynamo, who were missing four key players and Quakes were hugely disappointing in a 2-0 defeat. They played a friendly match with Mexican side America in midweek and had the idea of the squad playing 45 minutes each, but it back fired somewhat as they picked up an injury early and then Nyassi got sent off just before half time and they suddenly got a bit of a tough work out, spending a lot of time without the ball and a man short throughout the second period.

    Galaxy were on fire offensively with 22 goals in six league and cup games, before a 1-0 defeat in the US Open in midweek away to Real Salt Lake, they were able to rest five players with today in mind and Steven Gerrard who played the second 45 minutes, is expected to see out 90 tonight in what is effectively his home debut and there is of course huge media interest in that and he and LAG will want the points to mark it. They received a further boost yesterday with the signing of Giovani dos Santos and he will join them after the Gold Cup, these are marquee signings and a clear indication of where the MLS is heading. Hosts have won 5 of 9 home games with Earthquakes, with all those wins coming by 2+ goals and if they are to get the points this evening, I feel it will be by a similarly convincing margin.

    The home side are themselves hurt by international absences and a gruelling schedule, but meet a team with similar issues and without the rotation options, home advantage and big name introduction.

    LA Galaxy -1.25 goals 2.13 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  14. #774
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    MLS: New England Revolution- New York City


    Last week I previewed New York City's home game with Toronto FC....

    "This was meant to be the debut for Frank Lampard, but a minor knock has delayed that for another 7 days +, however, the official signing of Andrea Pirlo was announced this week and the prospect of both being available soon is a major boost both for the club and MLS football in general and neither are the type to ever give less that 100%. The starting eleven today will be fighting hard to keep their places and tickets will already have been sold with the crowd expecting to see the former EPL star and this will still be a bit of an occasion.

    These two teams met three weeks ago in Ontario with NYC winning 2-0 , they were tactically very solid there, pressed incredibly well and David Villa who remains a top class striker took his two chances and to be honest, at 3-4 years younger than the other two "superstars" , he should still be playing at a higher level, he could score in MLS almost in his sleep ! Anyway, I liked that performance, defensively they allowed TFC little and dominated the match early and through the key middle part of the second half and on the road. The defence has also been tightened up with the signings of a pair of Spanish full backs in the incredibly experienced Andoni Iraloa and Angelino this week ."


    They scored four times, but could only draw (!) and really need to get that backline in shape and Iraloa will be much more in tune with things today after a full week with the rest of the squad and he will surely have be able to pass on some advice to his team mates. Despite those defensive issues, they have lost just once in seven and meet a Revolution side who have lost their way, have won just once in 12 and lost five in a row, conceding two or more in each of those, how are they going to keep David Villa out for 90 minutes ! Second top scorer Patrick Mullins will be hugely motivated returning to his former club and there surely has to be goals in this for NYCFC. Hosts are without Kevin Alston , Darrius Barnes and Jermaine Jones with injury, centre back Jose Goncalves is suspended and they are left with just four available defenders to face the best striker in MLS football.

    New York City +0.25 ball 2.29 asian line/Sportmarket .

    I would also suggest NYCFC to score two or more goals ("over" 1.5) @ circa 2.90-3.0 general quote if you can find it.

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    Club Friendly: Boreham Wood- Brentford


    This is the mighty Bees first pre season game in England, they are coming from a 12 day training camp in Portugal where they worked really hard in very hot, extremely humid conditions , similar to what they had in Florida last summer, which an already very fit team, something we have touched upon many times, really benefitted from through the season. They played one friendly there, beating Farense 3-0 using two different starting 11's in each half, Brentford have not lost anyone who was at the club last season, at least not yet, although there has been EPL interest in Jota, Gray, Button, Tarkowski, Odubajo and from elsewhere in Dallas and Diagouraga, one or more might be sold, but only if the Bees valuation is met and I can tell you it is £5m + for the first four named, the additions of Barbet, Bjelland, Kerschbaumer and McEachram amongst others have boosted an already strong squad, which you know I feel is only heading one way and finished 5th in the Championship last season. That is all I wish to say for now, plenty of Bees fans will be in the ground today for a first look at the new signings and to see if there is any hint of a change to the new coach's preferred 4-3-3 from a 4-2-3-1 they have had huge success with and for the players, it will feel like they are playing in air conditioning after the Algarve.

    Brentford played pre season here in 2013 , winning 3-1, they are twice the team now and have said that most of the first team will be on show today, however, a lot of rotation during the game I guess, but huge competition for starting places and a new coach to impress, so I doubt that will matter overly.

    I will, of course , speak about the new signings and backroom staff, plus any leaving players ahead of the new season.

    Brentford -1 ball 2.02 asian line/Sportmarket

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  16. #776
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    Vardar vs APOEL – back Over 1.5 goals when the odd is @1.86 and keep the bet until the end of the match.
    JOIN NOW AT BETFAIR

    Europe League:
    Elfsborg vs Randers FC – back Over 1.5 goals when the odd is @1.86 and keep the bet until the end of the match.

    If you want to find my tips search on google Scott Hoffman betting tips

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    Mexico-Panama


    Ahead of the quarter finals I wrote ......

    "Like most big tournaments and in CONCACAF terms this is big, which is why Mexico rested players for the Copa, the cream usually rises to the top at the business end , the US made it through yesterday in style and I expect Mexico and Panama to join them this evening. The trio have been the three main players in the Gold Cup in recent years and whilst they have failed to overly impress this time round, all should make the last four. I am not sure that there is any value in the odds on offer for El Tri, but do feel there is a little about Panama. My notes on them ahead of their match with the US can be read below, that finished 1-1 , two day's later Trinidad drew 4-4 with Mexico to finish top of Group C. Two things about that, one it means that like Cuba yesterday, T&T come into this on 48 hours less recovery time and having had the similar tough travel schedule and secondly, I do not think that Mexico wanted to play Panama in the last eight knockout stage, having struggled with them previously and not matching up that well physically. Los Caneleros will certainly give T&T far more of a test in that department than they have had previously and this looks a good match up to my eyes for Panama, who will get defenders Machado and Henriquez back from suspension, whilst losing midfielder Anibal Godoy to another, but a plus situation overall. The extra two days to prepare are huge , especially given how the two teams play and I want to stick with Panama and take them to reach the semis for the third Gold Cup running."


    Despite making hard work of things, both made it through and they are, along with the US the three top teams in the Gold Cup. I do believe that Mexico are a little fearful of Panama (as I wrote above) and the six most recent h2h meetings have all been extremely close, two draws and four wins by a single goal (two each). I see this similar to the US-Panama game in that Los Caneleros are one of the very few CONCACAF teams that do not go into match ups with the "big 2" with an inferiority complex and physically, they have an edge against the Mexicans, they won both meetings at the 2013 Gold Cup, each by a 2-1 scoreline, with all four goals coming early in each half, imposing themselves from the kickoff each time. The four goals that El Tri conceded to Trinidad and Tobago are a worry , they look good going forward, but their system and formation leaves them vulnerable at the other end of the pitch when they open up as we saw not just there, but in the Copa and it feels like this match has been priced solely on reputation as opposed to anything we have seen either in 2015 or recent meetings.

    Panama +0.75 ball 2.03 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    MLS: Real Salt Lake- Sporting KC


    Big rivalry between these two and recent encounters have been "spicy" and are always very physical. To that end alone, I feel that SKC are at a disadvantage given that they have played Saturday-Tuesday- Friday over the last week and due to injury and international call ups, could barely rotate for the midweek US Open Cup game and 13 of the 14 who played against Houston in the last league game, also featured on Tuesday when they took almost an hour to get on top of the ten men of Houston, in what was an incredibly hard fought encounter. The way the match played out meant that head coach Peter Vermes felt unable to make two substitutions until injury time and this must be a team running on empty right now and I doubt a battle against a bitter rival just three days later and on the road is going to suit them. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with the form of Sporting and their only loss in 14 starts was here in Salt Lake just five weeks ago, but nine of those fixtures were at home and of the five on the road they are 1-3-1 and that sole victory aside, it is over a year since they won on the road without a goal from Zusi or Opara who are both absent this evening.

    RSL are missing key players too, with Olave, Beckerman and Rimando unavailable, but they have had a free midweek to prepare solely for this and have only left Salt Lake once, for the short hop to play Colorado, in the last month and will clearly be the fresher of the two squads. They felt they played their best football of the season in the first half of the last meeting, when they really took the game to SKC and could have been 2-3 up at the break, we might well see a similarly flying start from them this evening and to be honest, I do not feel that the visitors should be favourites for this. Hosts are very strong at home and have lost just once in 26 home starts since early June last year, they pride themselves on the Rio Tinto Stadium being a fortress and with two road games up next and already six points adrift of a post season spot they see as theirs by right, this is a fixture they have to get something from.


    Real Salt Lake level ball 2.02 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    Japan Jleague Vissel Kobe- Gamba Osaka


    Cannot believe that Gamba blew yet another lead, they seem incapable of keeping a clean sheet right now, but as I said in midweek, offensively there is not a lot wrong with them and one day soon it will all click. However, they have now conceded in their last seven starts and it is not easy to see them keeping one against a Vissel Kobe side I am quite keen on and who did us a favour with a win at Vegalta Sendai last weekend, notes from which are reproduced below the "good luck" sign off. However, they have been far happier on the road all season long and they have themselves conceded in seven straight home starts. This is a fixture which usually produces goals, the last ten h2h meetings in Kobe have averaged 3.7 goals, with both teams scoring in eight, Kobe scoring 2 or more goals in five and Gamba three or more in four.

    After a failure to win in midweek, Gamba are 6-2-0 next time out, scoring at least two goals in each, with six games going "over", there is 2.10-2.25 general quote for Gamba to score "over" 1.5 goals. Home coach Nelsinho named an unchanged team last weekend and reaped the benefits after chopping and changing his line up, usually due to circumstances outside of his control, far to much in Stage 1, I expect him to stick with

    "over" 2.5 goals 1.95 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    MLS Vancouver Whitecaps- San Jose Earthquakes

    Last round San Jose were 2-0 up early, but were behind 40 minutes later and eventually lost 5-2, the two goals from Quincy Amarikwa in his second start offer hope that they can be competitive offesively this evening and they have Cato ( see above) back now and he played against Manchester United in a midweek friendly where Earthquakes were in the match for an hour ( played their starting 11 in the opening 45 mins only). They will be so much better when Wondolowski returns to action next week, but are going to have to learn to win in his absence some time. This is a tough ask for them, they have lost five straight at Vancouver and the hosts are very motivated to collect the three points which will enable them to move up to second place in the Western Conference.

    This is a match Whitecaps should win and they could run in a few goals, but the hosts are very short on the left flank, with left back Jordan Harvey ( cover Sam Adekugbe injured) and left winger Cristian Techera suspended, which does give SJE, who suddenly have a few options on that side ( Cato and Nyassi) an area to exploit. Hosts have conceded in 6 of 7 home starts and might easily do so again, even against Wondo less Earthquakes.

    "over" 2.5 goals 2.09 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    Europa League: Athletic Bilbao - Inter Baku


    Big gulf in class between these two and Inter who were only founded in 2004, have made this stage of the competition for the first time in seven attempts. They will likely be a little ahead in terms of match sharpness, given that they have already played four competitive matches in the Europa League, but that is balanced by a shorter off season and like Athletic, they have yet to begin their domestic campaign. Athletic have a history of success in this competition and Spanish clubs always treat it with respect, which is something we have discussed many times previously and seven of the last twelve winners have come from La Liga, a Champions League spot came along with Sevilla's success last season and Bilbao will know that this competition provides their "easiest" route into the premier international club competition.

    Hosts are little changed from last season when they finished 7th in La Liga, following a strong finish to their campaign which saw them collect 36 points ( 1.89 pg) over the second half of the season and also make the Copa del Rey final. That form over a full season (72 points) equates very close to top 4 (Champions League level) , infact, Atletic were 4th in 13/14 with just 70 points and they will certainly enter this campaign full of optimism. They have named their strongest available squad today and it is one full of quality and only really missing Mikel Rico and hugely gifted Iker Munian, but they learned to win without the talented left winger who missed much of the end of last season and should be able to secure a big enough lead in the firts leg to make the return little more than a training game.

    Although their Spainish season doesn't start for another three weeks, they are well ahead in terms of preparation as they have a two legged Super Cup match up with Barcelona up first and want to be at full speed for those games.


    Athletic Bilbao -2 goals 1.84 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    New York City FC - Montreal Impact

    Ahead of a recent home game with Toronto FC I wrote the following about NYCFC........

    "This was meant to be the debut for Frank Lampard, but a minor knock has delayed that for another 7 days +, however, the official signing of Andrea Pirlo was announced this week and the prospect of both being available soon is a major boost both for the club and MLS football in general and neither are the type to ever give less that 100%. The starting eleven today will be fighting hard to keep their places and tickets will already have been sold with the crowd expecting to see the former EPL star and this will still be a bit of an occasion.

    These two teams met three weeks ago in Ontario with NYC winning 2-0 , they were tactically very solid there, pressed incredibly well and David Villa who remains a top class striker took his two chances and to be honest, at 3-4 years younger than the other two "superstars" , he should still be playing at a higher level, he could score in MLS almost in his sleep ! Anyway, I liked that performance, defensively they allowed TFC little and dominated the match early and through the key middle part of the second half and on the road. The defence has also been tightened up with the signings of a pair of Spanish full backs in the incredibly experienced Andoni Iraloa and Angelino this week ."

    They drew that 4-4 (!) and the defence is still very much a work in progress judged by that and their next home game a 5-3 defeat of Orlando City last weekend, but goals at the other end of the pitch are clearly not an issue and we saw a huge impact from Andrea Pirlo who, in just over 30 minutes of action set up any number of chances and oozed class. With another week under his belt in training and now Frank Lampard alongside him, there is going to be huge interest in this game and I do not think that any team in the MLS can handle Villa, Lamps and Pirlo at the same time, especially not an Impact side conceding at the rate of two goals per away start, even if it is only for 45-60 minutes !

    New York City FC -0.5 ball 2.07 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    Scotland: Dundee United-Aberdeen 02/08


    Last season on opening day we saw these two play in the reverse fixture, Aberdeen went into that game drained, having been eliminated from the Europa League just a couple of days previously and they lost 3-0. It did not stop them ultimately having their best season in yeras and they were the closest challengers to champions Celtic all season long and only three points adrift as late as mid March. Today we have a little bit of history repeating as the Dons again played a Europa League match on Thursday, this time having made the longest trip in European football history (and back) to play Kairat Almaty in Kazakhstan , where they lost 2-1 in very tough conditions. That was an 11,000km round trip which effectively lasted four days in terms of travel and acclimatisation, across five time zones (and back !), having already been to Macedonia and Croatia in the last month, they must be at least a little jaded and it will be hard to get "up" for today's bread and butter action.

    They are focused on extending their European adventure and expended a lot of energy to get that away goal on Thursday after falling behind to two early goals and are sure to have one eye on the return leg this week. United will have been fully focused on this for weeks and will be looking for the highly energetic, upbeat performance they put in on this day last year, they also won both home games against Aberdeen and backing them with a handicap start today looks the way to go, as I am certain that the visitors would see a point as one earned rather than two lost. The hosts started last season very strongly, and were 6-1-1 and top of the SPL after eight matches and are looking for something similar this time round, they have had a "poor" pre season results wise, but have been playing top level opposition and pushed EPL side Watford very close last weekend in their final warm up game. Anyway, far from ideal prep for Aberdeen and I have to oppose them.


    Dundee United +0.25 ball 2.11 asian line/Sportmarket

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    Champions League Shakhtar Donetsk- Fenerbahce


    These two "big" clubs were very disappointed to be paired together at this stage of the competition and the qualifying stages will be weaker for losing one of these before the playoff round, the first leg ended 0-0 ,so usually advantage Shakhtar, but tonight's match will be played in Lviv which is over 1,200 km from Donetsk and that certainly lessens their "home field" edge today, as does the lack of that all important away goal. They have been playing here for some time and will continue to do so for at least the rest of 2015 due to the conflict in the Ukraine, but their two home games this season have only been attended by a little over 2,000 supporters and whilst there will be many more this evening, it is likely that many thousands will be Fenerbahce supporters, with Istanbul being a similar distance from Lviv as Donetsk ! If this is to be an intimidating atmoshere, it is likely to be one caused by the visiting fans and the Turkish club have been repeating pleas to their supporters to "behave" all week.

    Obviously, Donetsk have been operating under incredibly difficult circumstances and it was no surprise that Douglas Costa , Luiz Adriano and Fernando moved on and replacements have been very low key, with largely, only the "needy and the greedy" prepared to make the move at present. Fenerbahce brought in a host of players to strengthen their defence, including Souza and Simon Kjaer and greatly increased offensive options with the additions of Fernandao, Nani and amid much hoopla, Robin Van Persie. They have all travelled tonight, RVP made his debut from off the bench with 20 minutes to go in the first leg and had a chance to win it late, but fluffed his lines, he was said to be well short of fitness ahead of that match, but with another week under his belt he should be further along and he has it seems, asked the coach to name him in the starting eleven.The visitors can add new right back Şener Özbayraklıto the squad for the first time following his suspension.

    This is a massive game for Fenerbahce, as it is for all clubs involved, but the Turkish giants have missed out on Champions League football for two years and the group stage for seven, they have invested heavily this season to correct that (goodness knows what their wage bill must be !) and have assembled the strongest squad in their history and for now, it all comes down to this. The players are on a reported bonus of 7.5m € to progress this evening and I guess that will not do any harm either.

    They will be looking for that away goal that might well be enough to secure progression and have the firepower to get it and look solid enough at the back to stop the "home" side from scoring twice.


    Fenerbahce +0.5 ball 2.12 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    England League 1: Gillingham - Sheffield United


    Hosts are my big priced League 1 selection and we get an early look at their credentials today as they entertain the bookmakers favourites. Having said that, we will have 45 matches left to play after today so nothing is going to be decided either way at Priestfield, but it would be nice to start on the front foot. Gills beat United here 2-0 just six months ago courtesy of two late goals and have seriously upgraded since in my opinion, both in terms of personnel and how the club are now run under Justin Edinburgh ( see both below). I don't really have an issue with United as favourites to win League 1, they are a massive club at this level and will draw huge crowds if even moderately successful. However, odds of 5.50 do not reflect their real chance of winning the division in my opinon and they have not exactly thrilled me with their off season activity in the transfer market. They also have a new manager in Nigel Adkins and I can tell you one thing about him, he will have had the players working incredibly hard in pre season, probably harder than they have ever done previously, some will thrive on that, others will not, the ones that do will certainly benefit from it at some stage through the season, but they might well be a little "leggy" to begin with. However, pre season results have been decent so maybe they will hit the ground running, but they are very short of options in the middle of the backline and Adkins is desperate to bring at least one central defender in as soon as possible, it is a big squad now at Bramall Lane , but they are currently missing eight senior players with an average of over 25 apperances each last season, including two key figures in Brayford and Done and five who started the final play off match of last season. United arrive in confident mood, but given their injury list and that the Gills beat them here recently when United had far more to play for and that the home side have done more in terms of bringing in players since, I have to suggest a strong bet on the home side plus the handicap start.

    Gillingham +0.25 ball 2.12 asian line/Sportmarket.

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  26. #786
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    England Cup Cardiff City - AFC Wimbledon


    Dons had a very disappointing opening day home loss to Playmouth Argyle, they lost 2-0 and the visitors very quickly suuseed out the 3-4-3 formation of Wimbledon that manager Neal Ardley claims to be committed to. Even pre match Ardley said that his players "haven't properly grasped the formation yet" and heads dropped quite quickly once they fell behind and if the players do not believe, it will not work. Several of them are being asked to play unfamiliar roles and ones they were clearly unsuited to, with wingbacks lacking the pace or stamina and this very quick turnaround, playing away to a team who were in the top flight in 2014 looks a big ask and with several players in the away squad the wrong side of 30, three are in their 34th + year, the saying of old dogs and new tricks springs to mind. 3-4-3 "never" works in L2, Newport County and Bury tried it last season and quickly dumped it and I suspect that Dons will do likewise, but the coach appears adament he will stick with it in the league for now and it would seem even more foolhardy to play it on Saturday, ditch it tonight and go back to it again this weekend, but to go with it this evening against a stronger team who will have had Dons watched at the weekend, could be suicidal.

    City opened with a 1-1 home draw with Fulham on saturday, they felt they deserved more and will certainly want the win tonight and get the supporters on their side ( weekend attendance was the lowest since City moved out of Ninian Park) after a very disappointing first season back in the Championship, failure to win again will be a mini disaster for them and they could do with a confidence boost ahead of back to back road games with QPR and Blackburn Rovers. The more realistic home supporters felt that this was one of the better performances in the last two seasons and one which offers real cause for optimism, fitness levels were heavily criticised last season and have clearly been addressed by boss Russel Slad over the last eight months or so, starting at the end of the last camapign and they looked so much physically stronger at the weekend and they can make this count this evening, in a match where City really need a win.


    Cardiff City -1.25 goals 2.28 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    France Ligue2 Niort vs Sochaux

    These two met in the cup in midweek with Sochaux winning 3-2 on home soil, that was the second meeting in Montbeliard in the last three months with Niort being the victor, also by the odd goal in five, at the end of last season. Niort have yet to post a win this season and have conceded seven goals in their last three starts, which is not really a surprise, as their defence was broken up in the summer with centre back Yoann Barbet making the "dream" move to Brentford and left back Quentin Bernard . the less attractive trip to Dijon ! Bernard missed just five starts in three seasons (no wins), Barbet missed six league and cup starts last season and again, Niort did not win any, you can add the three games this season to that list and the backline is clearly in a transitional stage. Offensively, they look better and it was noteworthy that Seydou Kone, who scored 15 goals last season ( most of any player in a team who finished outside the top ten), was retained and got off the mark in midweek and he will fancy his chances of scoring against Sochaux for the third match running.

    After posting just a single point from two league starts, I expect the visitors, who are amongst the promotion favourites, to look to build on that cup result and get their Ligue 2 camapign back on track and surely we will see both teams looking for all three points and each has named an offensive looking squad, we should see a continuation of the open nature of those two recent meetings. I think the goal line should at least be a quarter goal greater and will suggest ..........

    over 2 goals 2.04 asian line/Sportmarket.


    Niort : Delecroix, Allagbé - Da Veiga, Choplin, Sans, Lahaye, Malcuit - Roye, Koukou, Batisse, Omrani, Sambia - Rocheteau, Koné, Dona Ndoh, Djigla.


    Sochaux : Werner, Camara - Vivian, Faussurier, Gibaud, Onguéné, Mignot, Collaço – Ramaré, Rayos, Tardieu, François – Caceres, Toko Ekambi, Sao, Thuram.

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    Premier League Southampton- Everton


    Saints have served us well through pre and early season, including both scoring and conceding twice at Newcastle United last weekend, notes from that game are reproduced in full under the "good luck" signoff . Everton also started with a 2-2 draw at home to Watford and both teams showed good battling qualities to come from behind. Southampton came on very strong over the last 15 minutes and could even have turned the match on it's head after United dominated much of the first 75, but it would have been an injustice had the Magpies lost. Saints would have been very pleased with the away goal from Graziano Pelle, just his second road goal amongst the 13 in the EPL he has scored, two home goals followed the last away goal, which was also early last season and he looks sure to be a big threat today. Roberto Martinez has openly admitted that he feels he needs three new players to be competitive this season and that was before he knew he was going to be without left back Leighton Baines for several months, which seems likely to mean 19 yo Brendan Galloway, who made his debut for the Toffees last week, keeping his place, which will doubtless get the attention of home right winger Dusan Tadic. Easy to see goals in this for Saints, but my concerns about them defensively against EPL quality opposition ( see last week's post) remain and I feel the best value is ..............

    over 2.5 goals 2.17 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    England League 2 : Hartlepool United- Newport County


    Not sure why Terry Butcher was appointed as County boss, his record in England as a head coach is terrible and in charge of League 2 clubs, he had a frightful six months or so at Brentford in 2007, he has a 18.52 % win rate and no experience of English football, let alone this division in the interim eight years, including three out of the game ! He has yet to break his duck at County, the three games he has taken charge of this season have all gone "over" conceding two or more in each and I expect this to follow suit. He has a very young and inexperienced squad, five of the 14 who played in the 2-2 draw with Stevenage at the weekend were aged 17-18 and the fact that one of only two substitutions was made in the 94th minute there, highlights the lack of options, especially experienced ones, at his disposal.

    Home boss Ronnie Moore has a much better lower league record and knows the game well, he took charge of Pools in December with the club bottom of League 2 and heading out of the Football League, having averaged only 0.6 pts per game, Moore upped that to 1.27 pts and oversaw the great escape. His team are a perfect 3 from 3 this season and will fancy their chances of adding to that , with the scheduler having kindly organised a nice 900 km round trip and approx ten hours on a team bus for County on a Tuesday night ! Both league meetings last season ended 2-2 and it is hard to make a case for the visitors not to concede at least twice again. United remain without Trevor Carson in goal and central defender Harry Worley, who left the pitch inside the opening ten minutes on Saturday, is a major doubt and the hosts are already lacking alternatives in the middle of the backline. That is enough to make we opt for the "over" 2-1/2-2 or something similar .

    over 2.5 goals 2.14 asian line/ Sportmarket.

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    England Championship: Bristol City- Leeds

    Last round Leeds took the lead quite late, but conceded an equaliser even later and that has set the tempo for all their games under Rosler so far, also drawing at Reading on Sunday and in a Yorkshire derby at Doncaster Rovers in the Capital One Cup last midweek, where they had to play much of the game with ten men. The match against the Royals was a turgid affair with very few chances and it had a 0-0 look from about the 10th minute onwards, Rosler has his teams well organised and prepared, but is far too negative at times, especially on the road, when drawing or holding a narrow lead, for my liking. However, his team's are very hard to break down and getting a handicap start against newly promoted City, who are pointless so far and under quite a bit of pressure to get at least a point tonight, looks the way to go. I saw the Robins on Saturday, in their 4-2 home defeat to Brentford, City were 2-1 up and had missed good chances to extend that lead, before the match turned on the sending off of Luke Freeman. From that moment on (35th minute), it was all Bees and the away win never looked in doubt. Brentford are very confident with their passing game and the wide open spaces of Ashton Gate (which looks bigger as there are only three sides to the stadium at present) played to their strengths, which meant that for much of the next hour + , City had to work incredibly hard and at times where chasing shadows and the quick turnaround when many players are still coming to terms with life at the higher level, is a big ask on the back of that.

    They will be without Freeman tonight, he played in central midfield, right at the heart of what was a 3-5-2 and the catalyst of so much of what they did offensively, he was on Saturday (after his departure) and will be today, a very big loss, Freeman was ever present last season, contributing seven goals and 18 assists and for many, was the stand out performer in League 1. City know they are a couple of players short of being competitive in the Championship and made what looked like a bit of a panic bid yesterday of £9m for Andre Gray of the Bees, they have a wealthy owner, but in terms of FFP, this is a signing they cannot really afford (as I type it has still not been completed). Anyway, we will discuss Gray in the future, for now, suffice to say that City are still coming to grips with life at this level, need to strengthen and are without perhaps their best player today. United have won the last six h2h meetings with City ,have scored eight (two or more in each) in their last three visits to Bristol and look good for at least a point and I don't feel that the hosts would be too disappointed with that. We are at a very early stage of the season, but almost 52% of games in the Championship have ended all square, many teams look evenly matched and there is a lot of jostling for position, especially in the transfer market and for now, games in general might continue to be hard to win. Things will probably return to "normal" after the transfer window has closed.


    Leeds United +0.25 ball 2.05 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    France Ligue2 21/08 Le Havre - Clermont Foot

    Clermont have featured heavily in my notes this season and that is kind of a theme for today, anyway, my preview of their home game with Nimes last week went a lot like this ......

    "Clermont are coming off back to back league draws to start their season and a 3-1 road win at Valenciennes in midweek when I wrote .....

    These two are unbeaten across two Ligue 2 games, I would perhaps expect the visitors to be perhaps more interested in the cup, with Valenciennes looking for a return to the top flight they left in 2014 and Clermont are very tough to beat at present, carrying over there fine form from the end of last season.....Clermont enjoyed a very strong finish and collected 20 points ( 2.0 per game) over their final ten matches and hauled themselves up into mid table safety after looking in trouble, finally finishing as close to Nancy in 5th as they were to the drop zone.

    However, the visitors are without central defender Baptiste Martin, midfielder Farid Boulaya and their two holding players in Cedric Goncalves and veteran Eugene Ekobo and the defensive spine looks vulnerable this evening. Hosts are without winger Sigamary Diarra and are resting Sekou Baradji their senior defensive midfielder , with Lucas Tousart injured in that position and I assume, the trip to Metz on Friday in mind. I expect both teams to play with a little less intensity and again that we will see goals.

    Valenciennes pushed the self destruct button in that game, being reduced to nine men inside 30 minutes, but it kept the run going for Clermont and they would not have expended too much energy there over the final hour when the match turned basically into a training session. The mood in their camp will be bouyant and in stark contrast to that on the Nimes team bus, ahead of the new season I discussed their problems.....

    Over the final 10 starts (of last season), Nimes were far and away the poorest performer with just 5 points, but there were reasons for that, in that they were told they would not be promoted having forced themselves into top 3 contention and they were likely to be relegated, due to "match fixing" charges, this has now been reduced to an eight point penalty with which they will start the season, but even that is subject to appeal.

    They still have the 8 point deduction and it has been proving a heavy load to carry, with Nimes continuing their poor form from last season and being scoreless through three league and cup starts, including friendlies,they are without a win in 15 starts, have failed to score in eight of those and that included a 1-0 home defeat to Clermont four months ago, tonight's opponent did the double over Nimes last season, also winning this fixture 3-0, with the match over as a contest early, 2-0 at the break and Clermont should have had at least two before they scored the first, it was an incredibly dominant showing over the opening 30-35 minutes, one of the most emphatic I saw in Ligue 2 last season and I lost count of the number of times that Clermont carved Nimes open."


    They won that 1-0 which continues their very solid start to the campaign and this is a team who have been playing really well since mid March.

    Le Havre, along with Nancy were the best performers over the second half of last season and already have two wins to their name this time round, however, they are coming off a 3-0 loss at Paris FC last week and that was on the back of a 2-1 home midweek cup defeat to a third tier team and suddenly, the defensive alarm bells are ringing. They might have Fabien Farnolle in goal tonight , which might help, but he has not played a Ligue 2 start in over 15 months (and only one competitive game in the interim) when he was with.......Clermont ! Bringing in a new keeper is always tricky, that will go doubly so with starting right back Issam Chebake out , they have won just twice in 12 when he plays 25 minutes or less, conceding 1.25 goals per game (otherwise 0.89pg). I am tempted by Clermont at circa 2.51 with the draw no bet option and have mulled this over for a looooooooong time, but ultimately decided that I prefer .............

    Le Havre : Farnolle, Milosavljevic - Puel, Touré, Mombris, Cambon, Fortes, Mendy - Bonnet, Fontaine, Lekhal, Gamboa, Louiserre - Le Bihan, Mendes, Mousset.

    Clermont : Jeannin, Caillard - Avinel, Bockhorni, Djellabi, Rivieyran, Salze - Agounon, Boulaya, Diogo, Ekobo, Espinosa, Genest, Jobello - Diedhiou, Dugimont.


    over 2 goals 1.96 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    Premier League Leicester City- Tottenham Hotspur


    I spoke the lack of pure striking options for Tottenham Hotspur ahead of their Audi Cup game with Real Madrid earlier this month ......"Spurs starting their EPL campiagn on Saturday LUNCHTIME, there is no way they can give of their best in both matches and probably not in either. They have arrived with only one out and out striker in Harry Kane and to say that any injury to him would be a disaster is a major understatement. They did add to their defensive options in the summer, but look threadbare, Kane aside, in the striking department and simply have to bring someone in asap , but at present, every potential move is being thwarted.

    All teams have brought big squads with them, but Tottenham are short of experience, especially in key offensive areas and will be looking to blood some youngsters, rotate heavily, with 12.45 Saturday in mind and also, as much as possible, protect Kane."


    They still have not been able to fully address this problem, although the signing of Clinton Njie will help , whilst Kane is available they will always have goals in them, but they just cannot see the window close without adding another top level striker. They scored twice against Stoke City ( see above) without Kane getting on the scoresheet, but he was pivotal in everything they did offensively and his all round play is improving on almost a game by game basis and his link up play and ability to find space for himself and team mates last weekend was eyecatching. But it is goals that strikers are all about and he will want to kick start his season asap and especially so today, as he spent three months on loan at City at the end of the 2012-13 season when still a teenager. He was up for the league meetings last season and scored four goals in two starts against City, he sat out the cup meeting between the two teams, but all three games went "over", with an average of 4.33 goals and both teams on the scoresheet in each.

    Despite the change in head coach at the Foxes, they still look to have goals in them at both ends of the pitch, scoring six and conceding three in taking six points from their two opening games, Claudio Ranieri's start could hardly have gone much better and City also managed to break that London "jinx" last week, with that win at West ham United , ahead of which I wrote .....

    "City were also delighted with their opening day result, a 4-2 defeat of a fairly woeful Sunderland team, who did not show up until after the break , but the Foxes have to overcome a dire record in the capital, losing all six EPL matches here last season and going 0-3-17 in London since their last win, they are 1-0-7 at Upton Park and something weird happens to them once they get inside the M25. New boss Claudio Ranieri is not called the tinkerman for nothing and seems undecided about whether to stick with 4-4-2 or go with 3-5-2 this afternoon, feeling he needs an extra body in midfield and he is on the look out for at least one midfielder before the transfer window closes. He will need some extra help to deal with new United signing Dimitri Payet who has continued where he left off last season at Marseille and he now has 13 assists in his last 13 starts and will be the man to watch this afternoon."

    Payet got a goal, but could not save his side from defeat and the Hammers simply did not do enough with the huge amount of possession they enjoyed, City cannot continue to give up that much of the ball and their natural instinct is to drop very deep when defending and good teams are going to punish them. I favour goals with both teams scoring and am going to go with the bigger handicap.

    over 3 goals 2.38 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    La Liga: Athletic Bilbao- Barcelona


    Super Cup meeting here just nine days casts a very long shadow over this match, Athletic won that 4-0 a result which would have left the European champions not only stirred, but shaken, they took the lead in the second leg three days later, but once Bilbao had equalised it was game over and Barce were left to lick their wounds in the Camp Nou in front of a crowd of 90,000 , with only the visiting fans celebrating and if you don't think that will have hurt as must as the humbling in Bilbao, then you do not understand the Barce mentality, it could only have been worse if Real had been the opposition !

    There has been talk of a crisis at the Catalan giants after the transfer embargo, loss of Xavi and Pedro and the eight goals conceded in basically three halves of football versus Sevilla and Athletic, but nobody was saying that when they were 4-1 up with about an hour gone in the former and you do not write off the best team in Europe after one "friendly" ( which is basically what it is) defeat . They will be without Gerard Pique tonight who is suspended after losing it big time in the return leg with Bilbao, but that highlights how painful the experience was and Neymar is still recovering from his illness.

    On the plus side they will have Claudio Bravo back in goal, it was Marc-André Ter Stegen who conceded the eight and Jordi Alba will also return to further strengthen the backline. Boss Luis Enrique feels this game will be very different.....

    “Despite the fact that we have played against them twice already, the context of the game will help us more than the previous two. "We'll be fresher with more good training sessions under our belt while, on the other hand, Athletic are coming off a demanding and important game.”

    He was talking about the Europa League game which Athletic played on Thursday, they actually rested half their squad for the trip to Slovakia and were coasting at 2-0 with just a quarter of the game to play, but Zilina scored three late goals to win the tie and now Athletic will have to take the return this coming week far more seriously than they would have liked and they do treat the Europa League with great respect. They are without a couple of key players themselves in Munian, Iturraspe and San Jose, but the real issue today is that they are going to face a Barcelona team who have had their pride dented and one desperate for revenge and looking to start their domestic league campaign with a win. Barce scored ten goals in three starts against Bilbao last season, including five here in San Mames, with Messi having a goal and three assists and, with the hosts short in the holding department tonight, he could again have a big night. Barce are a big hungry dog who have been prodded with a sharp stick twice already this month, you do not get away with that too often and regardless of line up, it feels like payback time.


    Barcelona -1 goal 2.04 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    Champions League Maccabi Tel Aviv- FC Basel


    I am very keen on the away win here, Maccabi Tel Aviv forced a 2-2 draw in the first leg, courtesy of a brace from star player Eran Zahavi, who now has six goals in the competition this season, despite creating just five attempts on goal in Basel. That puts them in the driving seat in that a win, or any low scoring draw would see them progress, but there is still a lot of pressure now on the hosts, they have already lost at home to Viktoria Plzen (1-2) in the previous round and also conceded twice here in their domestic opener at the weekend. They did rest a lot of players for that, but still started Zahavi which seemed odd, but he is just so key to everything they do offensively, however, he is surely going to come in for very special attention from the visitors this evening. FC Basel are Champions League veterans, having made that stage in four of the last five seasons, including progressing from a group containing Liverpool and Real Madrid last year. They have got used to the money the competition brings and might even have losely budgeted for it this season, there will definitely be good bonuses on the line. This is far from a trip into the unknown for the Swiss giants, as they knocked Maccabi out of both the Champions and Europa League in 2013-14, which must be some kind of record and so, it will be their third recent visit here, they have yet to lose to the Israeli side in five meetings and in truth, on later reflection, would probably have taken as much confidence out of their domination of the first leg than disappointment at conceding that late equaliser. 85 UEFA ranking places between these two, which is probably flattering to the home side if anything, but an indication of their respective ability and no real "surprise" factor for Maccabi to cling to. Away win.


    FC Basel -0.5 ball 2.16 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    France Ligue2 Dijon- Creteil


    These two played out a 90 minute 3-3 draw here in Dijon in the cup just 17 days ago, with the hosts progressing on penalties. That was not really against the grain when these two clubs meet and the previous two league meeting here had gone "over"and Dijon have scored five in two visits to Creteil. The hosts have scored two goals in each of two home starts since, so are clearly finding goals fairly easy to come by and they will be pleased with back to back clean sheets in those too, but the last two times they kept teams out for 180 minutes, they played Creteil at home next and we alreday know what happened in those and we can see a hat-trick completed today. The vistors have conceded in all five competitive matches this season, two or more in two of the last three and whilst their only win was a 2-1 home defeat of Bourg en Bresse Peronnas ( where they really rode their luck and could have easily lost), they have managed to score in every start and I expect both teams on the scoresheet today. Really adventurous looking home squad and Julio Tavares, a player we discuss regularly, will be looking to score against Creteil for the third match running. This could get fiesty, there has been a red card in the last three meetings and SEVEN penalties in the last four, at least one in each. Betfair Sportsbook offer 4.20 for a spot kick to be awarded tonight, which looks reasonable if that is your thing.

    Dijon : Basilio, Reynet - Bamba, Bernard, Jullien, Varrault - Amalfitano, Benet, Gastien, Marié, Ngoyi, Sammaritano - Bela, Diony, Rivière, Tavares, Thiam.


    Créteil : Kerboriou, Merville - Augusto, Di Bartolomeo, Fofana, Hérelle, Ilunga, Konongo, Montaroup - Dabo, Dias, Lafon, Lesage, Loriot, Mollet - Andriatsima Clémence.


    over 2.5 goals 2.19 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    France: Ligue 1: Bordeaux- Nantes

    France: Ligue 1: Bordeaux- Nantes


    Guingamp had terrible problems dealing with the Thursday-Sunday turnaround from Europe League games last season, something we touched upon several times and in general terms, I do not feel that the format suits French clubs and it is certainly true that as a nation they have underperformed in the "other" European club competition. Having said that, Bordeaux had a "way out" of the Europa League if they had wanted it, leading 1-0 from the home leg, they were 2-0 down at Kairat with 12 minutes left to play, before finding a way back into the tie, which implies they are keen to do well, as does their team selection for the long, gruelling trip to Kazakhstan, with Almaty a 12,000 km round trip from Bordeaux and with a four hour time difference. They used ten players who battled to a 0-0 draw with Lille last Sunday for the midweek game and several others made the journey. Travel, time difference and quick turnaround is going to put huge demands on Bordeaux, who lost at home to Reims after their previous EL away day and they are still a little short handed with Contento, Diabaté (20 goals in last 40 apperances), Plasil, Sané and Sertic still sidelined, which robs them of goal threat and five potential starters.

    Nantes have had a full eight days to prepare solely for this, they are unbeaten so far and are yet to concede a goal , they look stronger than in recent campaigns, have upgraded their offense and appear to have strengthened an already solid looking backline, they have all the advantages coming into this match and should be up to leaving with at least a point. Young striker Emiliano Sala who has scored a LOT of lower league goals is fit to return to the line up after missing the last two starts.

    Bordeaux: Carrasso, Prior - Gajic, Guilbert, Pallois, Poundjé, Yambéré - Chantôme, Khazri, Maulun, Poko, Saivet, Traoré - Crivelli, Jussiê, Maurice-Belay, Rolan, Kiese Thelin, Touré.

    Nantes: Riou, Dupé – Kwateng, Djidji, Dubois, Lenjani, Vizcarrondo – Bedoya, Deaux, R.Gomis, Rongier, Thomasson, B.Touré – Audel, Sigthorsson, Bammou, Iloki, Sala.

    Nantes +0.25 ball 2.17 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    Brazil Serie A Corinthians- Fluminense


    Having posted back to back defeats, Fluminense are starting to lose their way in the hunt for a top four plave and it is not easy to make a case for them turning things around on the road to league leading Corinthians who have a wonderful 9-0-1 home record, especially as Flu have lost their last four away starts and those to teams with an average league position of 14.25, they also have the small matter of the Flu-Fla derby at the weekend and the visitors cannot give everything tonight, fall short and then run the risk of playing their cross town rival with nothing left in the tank.

    Corinthians are playing with freedom and style, they have won their last four scoring 12 goals in the process and they will be eager to at least retain their four point advantage at the top of the table, with victory this evening.

    Flu have made the trip without Ronaldinho who was booed from the pitch by his own supporters at the weekend and who is struggling for form, Gum and Edson did not train with the main group yesterday and are carrying minor knocks, but will probably start, Wellington Silva and Fred did finally return to full training, but are probably not ready to play yet, but we might see one or both at the weekend and I suspect that is their most important game this week and certainly the more win-able. Defensively they look a little suspect and without top scorer Fred, they are never so prolific at the other end of the pitch (lost 5/7 in his absence this season, just 3/14 when he plays).


    Corinthians -0.75 ball 2.13 asian line/Sportmarket.

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    England League1 Barnsley - Shrewsbury Town

    England League1 Barnsley - Shrewsbury Town


    I gave a big mention to Barnsley in my League 1 outright notes (see below) and I suggest that quickly reading those is a good place to start this preview. The hosts made a good start to League 1 and pushed Everton all the way in the Capital One Cup recently, losing in extra time, ahead of that my notes included..........."I feel the Tykes are still trying to integrate a lot of new signings into the squad and to get them to play a certain way and are therefore, still very much a team in transition, one who will improve through the season" . They impressed a lot of people with their performance that day and boss Lee johnson has clearly got them to gel quickly. After such a draining and high profile (televised) fixture against top flight opposition, it was perhaps no surprise that they had little left for their league game a couple of days later, but the got back on track in the JPT this midweek and might be facing Town at the perfect time. The visitors have been big sellers in the window and lost the crown jewels in terms of four hugely promising young players in Conor Goldson ( Brighton), Josh Ginnelly (Burnley), Harry Lewis (Southampton) and Ryan Woods (Brentford), fees were undisclosed, but I know the Bees paid close to £1m and Town have banked circa £2m, but this will not be spent on new signings, but on securing the long term future of the club and players coming in will be young and pretty much bargain basement. These are big losses, Woods was their driving force in midfield and they have lost 6 of 11 starts he has missed in the last two campaigns and remember, that includes a promotion season.

    Despite not yet getting the John Stones funds ( see below) and they will come sooner or later in any case, the Tykes signed two proven lower league strikers in Michael Smith (15 L1 goals for Swindon Town last season) and Simeon Jackson (50 in three seasons at up to Championship level) and look to be firmly targeting promotion. Town need to regroup and I don't feel a trip to Oakwell is the best place to start and that odds for the home side are very generous today.


    Barnsley -0.25 ball 2.21 asian line/ Sportmarket .

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    France Ligue2 Tours - Bourg Peronnas

    France Ligue2 Tours - Bourg Peronnas


    Tours have named a very offensive looking line up today and having scored ten in their last five starts in all competitions, it is hard to see them coming up short today against a viistors who have played some wide open encounters already, especially on the road. Tours will definitely be a little more suspect defensively this evening with left back Samuel Bouhours and deep lying midfielder Haris Belkebla both sidelined. The pair are ever present this season and Bouhours missed just one start last season ( a 2-1 defeat) and whilst both will be missed, the loss of him could be huge.

    I was very doubtful about the visitors chances of staying in Ligue 2 early seaon, but have spoken several times since about them having a "little something" , team spirit is good and they battle all the way and are now unbeaten in five, their last defeat was away to Creteil in a match they dominated, so they should not be underestimated and certainly will not be by me. However, they have conceded 5 in three road games and both scored and conceded in 6 of 7 competitive starts and they are not going to keep too many clean sheets. So both look vulnerable defensively and we know that there will be space for each to exploit, especially with Tours naming a very adventurous looking squad. I couldn't oppose the hosts as they have served us so well, but likewise feel it will be very difficult for them to keep the visitors out for 90 minutes.............. goals for me.

    Tours : Kamara, Westberg, Cillard, Gradit, Louvion, Miguel, Milosevic,Agouazi, Berenguer, Bergougnoux, Khaoui, Maouche, Santamaria, Bosetti, Kouakou, Malfleury, Miracoli, Tandia.

    Bourg-en-Bresse : Callamand, Fabri, Alphonse, Perradin, Goyon, Diompy, Berthomier, Boussaha, N'Simba, Ogier, Sane, Nirlo, Dimitriou, Dembele, Damour, Ba.


    over 2.5 goals 2.35 asian line/Sportmarket.

    from Sports Betting Advice Service Clubgowi

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    Crystal Palace- Manchester City


    I do not want to spend too long on this, I have no issue with City as EPL favourites and they might even run away with the title, but they were not favourites pre season and to be quoted at 1.44-1.50 after four matches is absolutely crazy in my opinion.

    "Palace are their closest challengers at present and they have made a very solid start to their season and to out bets on them in the outright markets, pre season I wrote ....
    Palace had a great first season in the Premier league in 2013-14 finishing 11th, the second season is always the tough one and they looked in trouble at the turn of the year, but Alan Pardew arrived at New Year and the favourite son of Palace fans took them on an amazing run, 32 points in the second half of the season which equates to 5th spot over a full campaign and they finished tenth, three points and one spot better than under Tony Pulis. This was not a total surprise, ok maybe the manner or it was, but I know a couple of Palace supporters and was well aware of how much Pardew is loved there and the galvanising effect he could have on the club and when he is supported and backed, he is a good coach. We discussed his arrival in some depth and notes from his first couple of starts are reproduced below and they beat Tottenham in that first home league game.

    Where can they go from here ? That is the big question and to be honest, for any mid table side and we have to now consider Palace that, it is always easier to fall back and get involved in a relegation scrap, which is obviously easier than the quantum leap required to challenge for a top six spot, but I do not see them heading downwards and there is a bit of leeway in terms of a 7-10th place finish. Pardew took West Ham United to 9th and an FA Cup Final in the same season and Newcastle United into Europe, so has history, but South London is where his heart is being a local lad and he has certainly not lacked for support from the board, who have allowed him to upgrade his squad significantly. He has signed Yohan Cabaye (PSG) a player he had under him at Newcastle, Patrick Bamford (Chelsea) and Connor Wickham ( Sunderland) , without losing anyone he wanted to keep from last season's squad, this is hugely impressive and I see improvement likely for the Eagles. There is certainly room for it in terms of home form, last season they collect 27 of 48 points on the road and lost ten times at Selhurst Park, which was surprising as the atmosphere there is incredibly good, Even if they could just find another 9 points winning three of those ten, that would have been enough for 8th and to within two points of Southampton who had a stunning season. Obviously there is good potential and still room to improve.

    I am going to suggest we split our stakes and bet them to finish "best of the rest" so without the big 6 clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, United, City, Liverpool and Tottenham, along with a top ten finish bet, they were within a spot in 2013-14, made it last season and have majorly upgraded their squad and odds look too big, for what I make a coin flip."

    I am full of admiration for the job that Alan Pardew has done and he is the right coach, for the right club (his club) at the right time and I have seen nothing to make me think they will not be competing for a top 6-8 spot, maybe even better and the squad is very strong with Pardew looking to push out on loan, players whom supporters would have been drooling over 18 months ago. Having already beaten Chelsea and Arsenal, City will not have the Eagles quaking in their boots and Palace beat the light blues here just five months ago and a repeat would certainly not surprise, although this has a drawish look to me, regardless of which, the handicap start is too big for me to resist.


    Crystal Palace +0.75 ball 2.00 asian line/Sportmarket.

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