Archive for month: May, 2012

Champions League Final Preview : May 19th.

19 May
May 19, 2012

Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea

This final sees two teams who have had largely disappointing domestic seasons brought together for one last chance of redemption. Bayern will be hugely advantaged by the staging of this game on their home turf and start as overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy.

The Key Points :

  • Neither Bayern or Chelsea play with a high defensive line.
  • Bayern’s full backs carry the ball forward more often than Chelsea’s do.
  • Muller turns the ball over at twice the frequency of Kroos and tackles far less and is far less defensive than the suspended Gustavo.
  • Ramires is both Chelsea’s most frequent tackler and dribbler. He is suspended as is Terry, Ivanovic and Meireles.
  • Badstuber and Alaba will be absent from Bayern’s defence.
  • Ribery is fouled at a greater frequency than Real Madrid’s Ronaldo.
  • Drogba has scored 5 goals from 22 shots in the Champions’ League this season. Gomez has 12 goals from 45 efforts.

It is very probable that Bayern will have the greater share of possession in this contest but this will largely be an open game. They largely controlled the midfield in their semi-final games against Real Madrid but field a more attacking line-up on this occasion. In contrast, Chelsea have been content to concede possession in the Champions’ League this season. Bertrand has been drafted in so Cole will not have to face Robben on his own. Bertrand’s energy and defensive play will offset some of the loss brought about by Ramires’ suspension but Chelsea will miss his attacking verve. The odds compilers are expecting a game of goal chances and given that there will be such prolific strikers on the field, a price approaching evens about over 2.5 goals is a viable proposition.

Recommended bet :

Back Gomez (EW) First goalscorer.

Back over 2.5 goals.


Premier League Preview : May 13th

13 May
May 13, 2012

Everton vs. Newcastle United

On the face of it Newcastle have far more to play for in this fixture but Everton will have their own motivation. They currently lead their city rivals Liverpool by a point in the standings and will be eager to finish the season ahead of them. Newcastle are not in the Champions’ League places as things stand and have to win this last game and hope that other results go their way.

The key points :

  • Both sides play with a high defensive line, especially Newcastle.
  • Neither set of full backs are used much in attack. Baines of Everton is the exception.
  • Newcastle’s midfielders and forwards are more likely to be dispossessed or turnover the ball than Everton’s.
  • Pienaar is Everton’s least possession conscious player.
  • Newcastle tackle at a greater frequency than Everton.
  • Cisse has scored 13 goals from 35 attempts for Newcastle, while Jelavic has 8 from 34 shots for Everton.

Possession of the ball is likely to change often throughout this game. Newcastle probably give the ball up frequently because they are usually on the front foot looking to attack. Consequently there will be space for Everton’s forwards to operate in. For a team that had a reputation for being uncreative, Everton have scored at least 2 goals in 7 of their last 10 games. Given the calibre of the forward players on display, goals are likely in this game.

Recommended bet :

Back over 2.5 goals.

Back Jelavic to score anytime.

Back Cisse to score anytime.

Sunderland vs. Manchester United

United remain in the hunt for the title but need Manchester City not to win their game in order to retain the championship. Sunderland have found themselves in the comfort zone of mid-table safety for a few weeks now but will be eager to perform well in their last home fixture of the season.

The key points :

  • Neither team looks to play the offside trap often.
  • United’s Evra will be the most forward thinking defender on the field.
  • United pass the ball more frequently and more accurately than Sunderland.
  • Both teams tackle with the same frequency and the wider players compete well for possession.
  • Rooney is likely to have twice as many efforts at goal than any other United player.
  • Larsson is virtually twice as efficient at converting shots into goals as any other Sunderland player.

This is likely to be scrappy game with only United able to control possession for long periods but if they are motivated Sunderland will compete fiercely in the midfield area. United are likely to have chances to score because there is little motivation for Sunderland to play defensively.

Recommended bet :

Back Rooney (EW) to be first goalscorer.

FA Cup Final Preview : May 5th

05 May
May 5, 2012

Chelsea vs. Liverpool

By the end of the season teams and players have fairly well established patterns and behaviours and only if one team finds themselves practically out of the game would things radically change tactically. Neither side pushes up their central defenders too far forward as neither set of central defenders are renowned for possessing a great deal of pace. They would however relish the challenge of duelling for high balls into the box and once they are facing away from their own goal they would feel comfortable enough. There is a contrast in the manner in which the teams’ fullbacks have been employed this season. Enrique and Johnson are the second and third most frequent ball carriers in the Liverpool squad following Suarez and are clearly an intergral part of Liverpool’s attacking strategy. The Chelsea fullbacks have been far more hesistant to advance with the ball but this probably has more to do with the type of player in front of them.

Ramires is the player that Chelsea look to to break upfield on the counterattack and his role will be to make inroads against the less mobile quarters of Liverpool’s midfield. Juan Mata has been the hub of much Chelsea’s creativity this season and his passing vision is essential. He will obviously look to find Drogba higher up the field and this will allow other players to be brought into the attack. It is noticeable that Chelsea’s attacking players have not been too careful with possession this season. For Champions’ League finalists they have a high rate of being dispossessed and of giving up turnovers. The Chelsea backline will have to maintain it’s discipline and not get drawn too far forward into the midfield action.

Stewart Downing has been the focus of criticism in connection with the lack of output from Liverpool’s offensive players. He has however maintained a very decent level of ball retention and rarely gives the ball away. The same can be said for Bellamy, while in contrast Suarez is often dispossessed. But there is a balance and Suarez is the player most likely to dribble at the opposition and pull them out of their defensive shape. There is the sense that neither team has the capability to truely dominate this encounter and fully close the game out should they take the lead. Chelsea have managed the feat of hanging onto slender leads throughout their Champions’ League campaign but they have been aided by some woeful finishing by their opposition. The antedote to having to absorb large amounts of pressure is to continue attacking with the hope of extending the lead. With neither team likely to bring the game to a standstill the later stages could be frenetic.

Recommended bet :

Back 2nd half as the half with most goals.

Back 2nd half as the half with most corners.

Premier League Preview : May 5th

05 May
May 5, 2012

Arsenal vs. Norwich City

Norwich pushed up their back four in their home fixture against Liverpool and were duely punished on the counterattack and were well beaten in the end. Whilst having scored plenty of goals this season, Norwich have also been in the habit of leaking them aswell. A cavalier attitude against an Arsenal team still looking to seal Champions’ League qualification could bring about further punishment to the visitors’ goal difference. Van Persie will again lead the line and will probably be doubled up on allowing some of Arsenal’s other players the space in which to have a sight at goal. As is typical, it can be expected that Vermaelen will make his way forward towards the opposition goal area. Last week in the away game at Stoke he had at least one worthwhile effort at goal and nearly took a defender’s arm off in the process. Arsenal are likely to dominate possession in this home game more comfortably than was the case at Stoke and as a result Vermaelen should again be able to fashion a decent scoring opportunity.

Recommended bet : Back Vermaelen to score anytime.

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