Champions League

3 favourite goals of 2012/13.

10 Aug
August 10, 2013

There were plenty of spectacular goals scored throughout last season, many of which were seriously profitable for the author but for sheer intrigue and viewer pleasure I´ve compiled an entirely subjective top three.

3rd

Ronaldo vs. Manchester United. In order to perform a full disclosure I have to reveal that this goal was a good money-maker at the time and the only goal of the three to be such. There was plenty to admire in the period after Nani had been dismissed up to this winning goal. Rightly or wrongly Nani was asked to leave the field but what was incontestable was the readiness of Mourinho´s response to the situation. The new Chelsea manager routinely rehearses his squad for such scenarios and more of the same can be expected in the coming season. I would not hesitate to back Chelsea at a future date where they find themselves with a numerical advantage on the field. Many interesting lines have been written about Higuain during the close season prior to his transfer to Napoli. The quality of the ball he delivered to Ronaldo for the winner at Old Trafford was sublime and did much to dispell the notion of the Argentine lacking dimensions to his play. Ronaldo gave the cross the finish it deserved but it was Higuain who merited the praise.

2nd

Michu vs.Bradford City. Recent debate has centred around where best a forward should aim for at goal to maximise his chances of scoring and whether even if players are consciously picking their spots. Michu´s goal in the League Cup final capped a fluid Swansea attacking move in fitting style. Before receiving the ball in the penalty box, the Spanish forward can be clearly seen to be looking up to take a peek at the far post area. Once in possession of the ball Michu used his marker to screen the ball from the goalkeeper before shooting between his hapless pursurer´s legs and into the far side of the goal. If forwards seem at times not to care for accuracy, it cannot be said for all of them, especially the elite. Looking at some of the pre-season betting it appears that Michu and Swansea are yet to convince everyone and that second season syndrome will kick in. It is our view that 66-1 on Michu to be the division´s top scorer is far too big a price considering that a place bet pays down to fourth place and that the Spaniard was amongst the very best in the league for converting shots into goals. Subjectively, every time the ball is with Michu it looks as if a chance is going to be fashioned. There is less danger of him being ´worked out´ in his second season because he is so tremendously powerful. You can try and mark him but it´s unlikely to make any difference!

1st

Lennon vs. Arsenal. At the time Tottenham´s winning goal against Arsenal was immensely important even if ultimately the effort was in vain in the context of Spurs´ Champions´ League ambitions. Tottenham´s opening goal, scored by Gareth Bale, saw the Welshman spring Arsenal´s offside trap before finishing past Szczensy. Within two minutes Spurs were building a similar shape of attack before bluffing their way past the Arsenal backline. The defence were convinced that Bale again would be the runner and when Spurs´ leading scorer checked his run, Arsenal remained stationary assuming that there would be no danger forthcoming. Lennon was then able to run unopposed through on goal to give Tottenham a decisive lead. For pure subtlety it was a goal to be applauded in any context, let alone in a division where power is so prized.

Season 2013/14 – Prelude

23 Jul
July 23, 2013

Will he stay or will he go?

Due to a work related hiatus we haven’t posted in a few months but with the approaching football season we’re looking forward to changing that. As with many other authors it is hard to pin one’s colours to the mast until the transfer merry-go-round has come to a halt. The conclusion to the Wayne Rooney transfer saga, in our minds, will in all probability prove crucial to the outcome of the title race. He is likely to provide Chelsea with the goals they require to become viable championship contenders. Should Rooney depart Old Trafford, United will have to replace him with a genuinely World class player if they are to remain competitive in the short term. Fabregas has a goal scoring record that is superior to any of the current incumbents of United’s midfield but where is the wisdom in signing a player who has expressed his desire to remain in Spain? It is unlikely that this issue will be resolved until Barcelona appoint their manager, ironically leading into a season where 7 of the 8 clubs that head the Champions’ League market will be under new stewardship.

From our own prospective, we will be looking to collect data in the coming season to enable us to compliment some of the great analytical work that has been published elsewhere. The hub forming at www.statsbomb.com looks particularly promising and should bring a new dimension to the title races for an ever growing audience.

December 26th betting : Sports multiple

24 Dec
December 24, 2012

Back Blood Cotil 1:20 Leopardstown @6-4, Arvika Ligeonniere 2:55 Leopardstown @5-6, Barcelona Champions’ League Outright @9-4 in 3 doubles and a treble.

The above proposed multiple will provide a very decent chance of holding a useful ante post voucher heading into the Champions’ League knock out stages early next year.

Leopardstown hosts top class racing on December 26th and it will probably pay to concentrate on the graded contests. Blood Cotil is the selection in the 1:20 following an impressive debut at Fairyhouse last month. On paper this isn’t a particularly strong contest and he receives weight from his main market rival. The same owner, trainer and jockey combination will look to double up in the 2:55 with Arvika Ligeonniere. His average winning distance from his last 3 runs stands at around 10 lengths. It is arguable that he was the best horse in the grade 1 Drinmore irrespective of the fact that he stole a march on his rivals at the start. He kept galloping all the same and similar tactics are likely to be employed here. Arvika Ligeonniere’s connections put Oscars Well’s jumping to the test at Punchestown by sending Twinlight to the lead and the result was that today’s second favourite fell at the second fence.

Barcelona have enjoyed a record breaking start to the campaign and for a team of their calibre this season’s renewal of the Champions’ League must be one of the easiest to win for a while. Real Madrid remain as second favourites but surely only by default. It could be said that this competition is their main focus but it is hard to leave behind the poor habits that blights their La Liga bid and play like a different team in midweek. Barcelona addressed some of their attacking shortcomings during close season by acquiring a genuine attacking left full back in Jordi Alba. Pedro has also rediscovered some of his decent form of two seasons ago. All in all Barcelona represent a more formidable force than they did a season ago.

The prices may be short for each leg of the proposed multiple bet but this blog has produced a strike rate of around 50 % thus far. Therefore for three typical selections we are a 5-1 shot to deliver a winning treble. A winning trixie in this case pays at overall odds of better than 7-1 and thus is a viable proposition.

Champions League betting : November 6th

06 Nov
November 6, 2012

Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund

Game Markets

Back both teams to score @4-6

Real Madrid enter this game looking to reverse the result in the previous round of fixtures. Both teams have a great array of attacking talent and know that victory here will all but see their team qualify. Madrid’s last eight Champions League games have produced plenty of goals and we expect both sides to register tonight.

Manchester City vs. Ajax

Player Markets

Back Christian Eriksen anytime goalscorer @7-1

Game Markets

Back both teams to score @8-11

Manchester City realise they will need to string together an array of victories to somehow qualify from their group. Tonight they will need to attack from the outset against an Ajax side who equally need a result to maintain their own qualification ambitions. As such you would expect an open encounter with both sides likely to score. Christian Eriksen impressed against City last time out and tonight operates in a more advanced striking role. Odds of 7/1 for him to score anytime are available and appear overpriced given the positional change.

Champions League betting : October 23rd

23 Oct
October 23, 2012

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Chelsea

Player Markets

Back Mkhitaryan to be first goalscorer (EW) @13-2

Both teams come into this match knowing that a victory will go a long way towards securing qualification from Group E. The feeling is that Chelsea would rather pick up something here than rely on a result at Juventus. If Chelsea fail to pay Shakhtar the respect that they afford their more illustrious Champions League opponents, they could pay the price against their Ukrainian counterparts. Donetsk represent an in-form team who have had a day extra rest without the issues of travel. They operate well on the counter attack and in Mkhitaryan, have a goalscorer capable of causing problems between Chelsea’s defensive lines. The each way part of the bet pays better than 2-1 and as such yields anytime value.

Manchester United vs. Braga

Player Markets

Back Rooney anytime goalscorer @11-10

United will aim to have qualification all but secured in their second home match of this campaign. Braga may be encouraged by changes to the Red Devils’ back line but it is at the other end where United will look to maintain pressure. In previous games this season Braga have looked vulnerable to players playing off the main striker. Wayne Rooney appears to have returned to form and has registered five goals in his last three games for both club and country. Operating in this role he should still gain sufficient opportunities to make the scoresheet and is backable at the price available.

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