Sunday, January 30, 2011



Leaderboard looks a lot like this ....

-12 Mickelson- Haas
-11 Mahan - Watson
-10 Kim
-9 Vegas

Winner should come from this group of players. Mickelson grew up here in San Diego and has a terrific record on the couse, but almost all of his best rounds came before the major redesign of Torrey Pines which happened almost a decade ago.

I am interested in Hunter Mahan , he grew up in Southern California too although just a little further north and seemed very contended with life in general in his post round interview yesterday. This was key, as he recently married ( a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader) and this appears to suit and has motivated him, for others it can have the reverse effect, at least in the early stage of marriage. Mahan is a very solid round 4 player, one of the best on tour and was ranked inside the top 8 in both 2008 and 2009, last year he changed his approach slightly, putting in huge effort when in contention and less when not, this meant his ranking dropped, but he also cliamed two tour wins for the first time in his young career. He closed with a 65 to win the Phoenix Open and a fine 64 to claim the prestigeous WGC Bridgestone. He also shot a final round 66 here at Torrey Pines last year for 11th place and a 67 on sunday at the Hyundai Tournament in his only previous outing of 2011.

All play will be on the South Course today, where Hunter is 7 under par on the back 9 for his two rounds this week. He missed a few fairways yesterday, but his approach play and especially putting was good, drive for show, putt for dough is the mantra by which we profit and if he can find a little more solidity off the tee today, I expect him to go very close.

Hunter Mahan to win outright 6.0 + ... a little bigger on the exchanges.

Good Luck.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Good start to the day with the Villa- Blackburn bet landed inside 43 minutes and our tiny but huge odds multiple bet off to a flyer !


Big game for both, three points for Palace, who have yet to win, or even score a goal,under new boss Dougie Freedman, would see them climb out of the drop zone, for City, a point would take them up into an automatic playoff spot. Freedman has been busy taking vastly experienced Lennie Lawrence as his assistant and re-signing James Vaughan on loan from Everton, this will be Vaughan's second spell at the club, scoring five goals in 14 appearances previously. During that time he worked with Freedman in training a lot and now Palace have plenty of offensive options with Vaughan, Counago, Easter, Iversen and Ambrose ( who will strip fitter after returning last week) all vying for starting roles. Freedman was prepared to gamble last week at home to Bristol City pushing men forward in search of a winner and we can expect him to do likewise today. Both these two open up after the break, with their games this season averaging well over 1.5 goals in the second half. City are very solid on the road, with a 6-5-2 record, but struggle to keep a clean sheet with just one in 14 starts, which came against league leaders QPR, actually they have two clean sheets against QPR this season a double which not many clubs will achieve.

Late goals are a real feature of the visitor's matches, their last 7 sarts have seen 12 in the last 29 minutes, with five in the last 5 minutes of play.City have claimed points from 5 of the 8 matches in which they have trailed at the half and along with QPR have collected most points after the break when going in leve l. Palace have only scored 5 goals in the 10 matches in which they have trailed, losing 9 and only turning around one, the reverse fixture at Carrow Road. That might be key, I kind of sense an upset today and goals maybe late n the match, but let's see how the first half plays out.

Vaughan and Ambrose start, lots of goals on bench, massive away support in the ground.


City have let Bullard go to Ipswich, but signed Tunisian international Tijani Belaid on a short term loan, he spent his formative years at Internazionale and has, I have heard, really impressed at the club in training,he is anxious to claim a full time deal and if he can adapt to the pace of the game in the Championship, he should be an asset. We have talked recently about how much stronger the squad is now at Hull and we watched them last week at Reading, they disappointed early, but stepped up their game after the break, especially with the introduction of Manchester United player Corey Evans and after taking the lead, were perhaps unlucky not to claim the spoils with Matty Fryatt missing a very good chance. Still, a point at the Madejski is not to be sniffed at and City have now lost just once in 12 in a tough run of fixtures. Rangers have not really fired since Boxing Day but have stregthened the squad in the transfer window, with three EPL quality players and they are only interested in getting across the finishing line and probably don't care how it happens. They still play almost everything through Taarabt, who has been sensational this season, the ball he played Routledge to set up the winner against Coventry last week was out of this world, and visiting boss Aidy Boothroyd said he was tempted to run on the pitch to kick him, as it was the only way he could be stopped !

Rangers are 8-0-0 when ahead at the half, but have only scored four times in the five in which they have trailed, without winning. They do have the best record in the Championship when level at the break, when they are much stronger ( unless behind) scoring 70% of their goals, yet conceding only 50% in the second period.


My beloved Bees really need this one if they are to get something out of the season. They will have benefitted from a free week after looking jaded recently and should strip much fresher than Yeovil, who will be without two starting defenders today, after both were dismissed at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, leaving the west country side to play 30 minutes with 9 men ! That is a lot of running to say nothing of a long trip to Yorkshire and back followed by another away day to the capital just 2-3 days later. Town are the worst second half team in the division with only four wins and are 0-0-8 when trailing, scoring just 4 times. Bees are good when they get their noses in front, with a 5-0-0 record , conceding just once when leading at half time, but are almost as poor as Yeovil (0-1-6) when behind. They are overdue some goals and if Brentford can get ahead early, they could run away with this, with the visitors surely set to tire on what is a draining Griffin Park pitch at present. We will see how the surace holds up come half time.

I will update all three games by email at half time as usual.

Good Luck.


Millwall won last night which made up for the Zvonareva bet, although I know that several of you took the hint on the "correct score" in the Li Na- Wozniacki match and obviously, I regret not putting that up as a selection. However, as I have always told you. I feel that what is written in the preview is at least and often more valuable than the actual selection and you will get more from the previews by reading them properly and doing a little work yourself.
I previewed four games for today last night at 21.00 and have included one of them below, I will also be covering several "in running" for "friends" and might post another preview, or some notes from those, a little later in the day should you wish to check back.

You know what I think about Walsall, that they are booked for Division 2, they have signed Jason Price on loan this week, but he is getting very long in the tooth now and whilst he has been a good player at this level, JP has been doing the rounds in the last season or two, which is never a good sign. Rovers had a terrific result last time out beating Swindon in a derby game 3-1 with experienced new loanee David McCracken putting in a MOTM performance and helping out some of his younger fellow defenders. New boss Dave Penney has been very busy, bringing in a tried and tested number two in Martin Foyle and two more signings on Friday in Rene Howe from Peterborough and Scott Davies of Reading. Howe is a big lump of a striker who scored a lot of goals in the Conference and he will be the ideal target man for Rovers, Davies is a young midfielder with plenty of games under his belt at the lower levels, which is the Reading way, to get them out on loan and learning the game.
Massive game for both, Walsall will have to gamble, they are now effectively ten points adrift of safety, Rovers are just two points off that elusive 20th spot and a win for them will realistically mean that one relegation spot is all but decided. The two played out a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture recently and I do expect goals again, which is normally the case when two strugglers meet.

1.5 units Bristol Rovers level ball 2.25
0.5 units "over" 3.5 goals 3.0

Good Luck.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Millwall - Barnsley

You all know that I am quite keen on this Millwall side and I feel they will get stronger in the next few weeks, providing there are no major moves out of the New Den and by that I mainly mean Steve Morison. Kenny Jackett continues to upgrade his squad and the addition of Arsenal youngster Craig Eastmond for the rest of the season looks good business, he is a former young Lion, so knows the set up and area well. I do not think he will take too long to settle in and I expect him to help shore up what looked a leaky defence at Leicester last weekend, in the midfield holding role. I am not too concerned about that performance to be honest, they lost 4-2 to a rapidly improving Foxes team, but they put two new defenders in the team, ended the match with ten men and missed a penalty with the scores tied. They were previously unbeaten in nine starts and with a free week under their belts they will not only strip fitter, but will also know each other a little better, a win tonight will take them right onto the playoff fringe and with a trip to highflying Norwich City next midweek, they will see three points here as vital if they are going to push for a post season spot.

Barnsley must surely come here a little jaded, they had to play a road Yorkshire derby game on Tuesday night and now have to travel down to the capital to play on Friday, their 9th start since Boxing Day, whilst the Lions have had a third consecutive free midweek and should be raring to get back on track. The Tykes did win that match earlier in the week, 2-0 at Doncaster, but that was a rare road win for them, ( seven away defeats already) and Rovers have lost their way, conceding 15 in five starts, so I would not read too much into that.

Millwall came on strong at this time of year last season, entering December in 10th place and ending in third, followed by a playoff win at Wembley. They will be planning a similar push, but need the three points tonight.

Millwall -0.75 2.08 +

Good Luck.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011




Kim is tough, but she admitted to feeling "tired and heavy" in her quarter final win overnight, she was wearing a leg bandage for "protection" and hit a lot of unforced errors. Her match was second on court also, meaning that she has less recovery time than her opponent and I do not think that the belgian superstar is at all suited by the lack of a rest day.

Now onto "Mad Vera" who seems to be putting the nickname behind her and is a lot calmer nowadays. She has benefitted from making the last two Grand Slam finals and whilst she lost both easily, as we have discussed in the past, there is a real progression to these things and unless you are a true superstar of the game, you normally have to lose one or two, before you learn how to win a major. The russian feels that she is a more "mature" player now and I certainly like her approach at this tournament, where she has purposely trained much less inbetween games and arrives here very fresh. She has won 3 of the last 4 meetings between the two players, including at Wimbledon last year, but lost the US Open final to Clijsters, however, this is not a final and given the physical and in some senses mental state that the two players come into the match, remember Clijsters is a very positive person but already seems to be, at least subconsiously, looking for excuses, Zvonareva is a very solid bet at the odds available. I will make her a 1.5 unit selection.


No bet for me in this match, I am keen on Li Na to progress, but see little value in the odds offered. The chinese player has yet to drop a set here and loves the conditions in Australia where she is 10-0 this season having won in Sydney and is in the semis for the second year running, losing a real close battle with eventual and five time winner Serena Williams in 2010. En route to that final four place, she beat Wozniacki in the third round in three sets and has won both of their "main" meetings, losing in two minor tournaments. Li Na is now ranked in the top ten, but is at least a top five player on her day and something of a late developer having taken a two year break from tennis to go to university, she is 28 yo but effectively a 25 yo in tennis terms if that makes sense ! She was greeted like an Olympic champion on her return home last year from Melbourne and with tennis getting massive in China, they will go mad if she can go one step further this time round. She admits to playing at around the "same level" as last year, which in my opinion is good enough to beat Wozniacki, but to also being "happier" and "enjoying her tennis more". If you have to have a bet, maybe Li Na in three sets ( circa 4.20) in a repeat of last year's result.

1.5 units Zvonareva to beat Clijsters 2.54 + exchanges

Good Luck.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Pre match notes:


RVP and Fabregas start, Nasri on bench.


Pompey are continuing to add to their squad and have signed Aston Villa midfielder Jonathan Hogg on loan. They have a great record against top half teams. Pompey 5-2-2 when level at break, only Swansea have a better record. Hogg starts and with Utaka passing a late test and playing along with Kanu and Nugent, this is a very attacking line up.

Burnley have only won twice in 34 away starts. Only won 2 from 13 when level at half time. Wallace drops to bench, replaced by Thompson.


Key Dons player Baldock is out for several weeks. They have added Amoo on loan from Liverpool and he is straight into the squad, but on the bench, along with Rowan Vine looking to resurrect his career. MKD were much better in the second half at Dagenham when they gambled and put three up top , they did not like the playing surface there and will be much happier on the good pitch at Brisbane Road, which suits their ball passing possession game. Dons won 8 when level at half, best record in the division.

Orient unbeaten in four and Harry Kane on loan from Spurs who scored on his debut at the weekend will start on the bench, he is very highly thought of at WHL and a star of the future. They are a perfect five from five when leading at the half.


Town have received two bids for star player Charlie Austin but he is in squad, Frampton back in the starting eleven, four changes in total and back to a much more familiar 4-4-2 after the experiment to change formation failed.

Rovers still have problems and are missing five defensive players.

Update by email only at the half time break, with first half notes.

Good Luck.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Notts County- Carlisle United

I cannot let County go unbacked, they have served us well in recent weeks and come into this game along with Southampton, as the two form teams of the division. Paul Ince has done terrific business in the loan markets over the last two months and arguably even better trading this week, with the loan extentions and permanent transfers which have kept Alan Judge (Blackburn) and Stephen Darby ( Liverpool) at the club, he has lost Ben Davies to Derby, but did a deal with the Rams to take Dave Martin on loan. Martin is a player I like a lot and whilst he has struggled to make his mark in the Championship, he is capable of running third tier defences ragged and should benefit from a change of scenery. Carlisle arrive here with on the back of a 4-0 thumping of Huddersfield Town in midweek a JPT win which has virtually booked a trip to Wembley later in the year and whilst that makes eight goals in a week for them, they all came on home soil and United are far from prolific on the road and with injuries at the club and options for rotations limited, they are bound to be a little leggy today. County have had a free week to recharge batteries an prepare for this, home win and nice odds.

Notts County -0.5 2.10

Peterborough United - Hartlepool United

Darren Ferguson has had his feet under a very familiar desk for almost two weeks now on his return as Boro boss. He has some talent at his disposal here, most of the squad know how to get out of this division and are happy with the coaching change, Ferguson will be busy in the loan market in the next ten days and has already addressed the Posh defensive problems by adding Tom Kennedy and Grant Basey to the squad, two experienced and versatile defenders, Kennedy especially will help solve the left sided problems which have cost Posh dear this season. Hartlepool's golden run is well and truly over and their striking problems have come home to roost with just one goal and one point in four starts, until they address this problem and they have been looking, I do not see them troubling too many defences, especially on the road and I expect Ferguson's homecoming to end with three points.

Peterborough -0.5 1.89

Wycombe Wanderers - Rotherham United

I know that I keep on about this left hand side of defence, but it is a big problem for a lot of teams, who struggle to fill this position, if I was a Wycombe fan ( thank goodness I am not) that position would give me nightmares and any team with pace at front is going to give them trouble if the have done their homework. I saw Hereford run them ragged twice in as many months at Adams Park in cup and league and the problem is worse here, when Wanderers are more adventurous and get exposed, they have ridden their luck time and time again in the league, not been so lucky in the cup, conceding six at home to Bristol Rovers, who have not won in ten outings since ! United are a better team in my opinion, have created 47 more attempts on target this season, which is a huge number btw and they look a far more likelier candidate for automatic promotion candidate than the home side.

Rotherham United +0.25 1.96

Good Luck.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011



The Inter recovery, which I covered briefly ten days ago (see below) is now well and truely under way and another three wins and nine goals later, they are up to sixth, still have two games in hand and only trail hated rivals Milan, who are nervously looking over their shoulder, by just nine points. A win tonight will eat into that lead further and I believe that they will want to do so in style, with the Serie A programme to themselves and a chance to lay down a big marker to their neighbour and the other title pretenders. The mood at the club is completely different under Leonardo and once again, the best squad in the division take to the field of battle expecting to win. The brazilian coach has been especially good with the south american players in the squad and with the samba rhythm in their legs instead of the leaden tactics of Rafa, it is like Inter have 5-6 new players hungry for victory and enjoying the beautiful game. Cesena will come with a packed defence, which was pretty much their tactics on the road even in their promotion season last year, they do not score enough goals to stay in the top flight IMO and to be honest, have ridden their luck at times to collect the 19 points which see them level with Lecce, who are battle hardened from numerous relegation campaigns, in the final drop zone spot. Their only away win came recently at Brescia, where the home side gifted the vsitors two goals courtesy of shocking defensive errors and failed to find an equaliser despite creating 20 attempts on goal.

A win tonight will take the Nerazzurri above Roma and into fourth spot, I can see only two outcomes this evening, Inter win by one goal or they win by more ! They are playing so freely and scoring for fun, that I have to go with the latter and will also take a speculative bet on them scoring four or more, just as they did against Bologna at the weekend.

1.5 units Inter -1.75 goals 2.04
0.5 units Inter "over" 3.5 goals 4.33 +... 4.50 available.

Good Luck.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I have a very busy day today, six bets , four live games covered in running and the NFL playoffs ! No time to write a proper preview for the blog, but I can share some baic pre match notes and team news for the live games.....

Doncaster Rovers- Reading

Rovers : Failed to win four of the ten games in which they have lead at the break.

Reading : Impressed me recently and a win could take them into the top six. They have only lost 1 in 12 h2h games with Rovers, winning five in a row here. Collected points in 5 of the 9 games in which they have trailed at the half. They have also 17 more points after the break than Rovers.

Normally goals when these two meet and Rovers had a wide open cup tie with Wolves last week, with end to end chances.

Defender Matthew Kilgallon makes his Rovers debut after signing on loan from Sunderland for the rest of the season.

Leeds United - Scunthorpe

Leeds: Without a win in four, but unbeaten in 8 h2h games with Scunny. Big FA Cup replay with Arsenal in midweek, but promotion is surely a priority. They tend to really open up in the second period, have only won four of the eight in which they have led at the half , yet collected points, including three wins when they have gone in behind !

Scunthorpe: 0-0-9 when trailing at the half, only scoring five goals and lost 5 from 8 when level.

Big changes for the visitors who only name six subs, very strong squad for Leeds.

MK Dons - Tranmere Rovers

Dons: Have taken points from 3 of the 8 games in which they have gone in at the half behind and won more games (six) when level at half time than any other Division 1 team.

Rovers: 6-1-0 when leading, but have conceded a massive 25 goals in matches where they have gone in at half time trailing.

Chadwick and Ibehre in for Dons.

Southampton - Notts County

Saints: best second half team in the division by miles, hardly surprising given boss Nigel Adkins obsession with fitness levels. They have posted the most wins and conceded the fewest goals, are 8-0-0 when leading, but have only won 3 from 10 whe level at the break.

County: Lost 2 of the 8 in which they have led, winning the other six , all 8 matches getting very stretched in the second period.

Very interesting match up between two inform sides , both of whom could have a big 2011.

Alan Gow from Motherwell goes straight into the County starting line up.

Good Luck.

Friday, January 14, 2011



These notes were written at 20.00 on Thursday.

It looks like young Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is on his way to Burnley, after turning down several offers in the last couple of months, including approaches from both Charton and Crystal Palace in the last week. He will remain in charge of the team for tonight's match, when victory would take his side into second place in the table and I am certain that both he and they would like to end on a high note.

Recent reports of the Cherries have been fantastic, they have been passing teams to death and creating a lot of chances, the had 22 attempts on goal against Plymouth last weekend, 14 on target and eased to their third win in a row, scoring eight goals in that sequence. The job that Howe has done on the South Coast with virtually no money and being forced to sell players just to survive, has been little short of sensational and he has been on the short list for every non EPL job that becomes available. They are playing so well and creating so many chances that it is difficult to oppose them at present, even given the worry about Howe and most probably his assistant. Holland, Feeney and Pugh all made the Division 1 team of the week and form a formidable midfield that matches up well with a United team who are struggling at present .

Colchester have conceded eleven in their last three starts alone, matches which have averaged 5.33 goals, they are really having problems at the back, something that has coincided with the omission of talented Marc Tierney, who is about to make a long planned move to Norwich City in the Championship. It now appears that centre back Paul Reid is also on his way to the Championship, following an approach from Scunthorpe United and he is unlikely to be risked tomorrow, that would not help club or player, with Reid out of contract in the summer.United do not sit back at home or away and have conceded 20 in their last nine home starts against league teams, at least two in eight of those and missing two key defenders , or one with the other very distracted, it is very hard to see them suddenly tightening up this evening. At the other end of the pitch they are in the process of signing Islandic international Matthias Vilhjalmsson, but that appears to be taking a very long time. They are struggling with injuries and do not look strong enough at the back to stop anyone at present, let alone the inform Cherries. The reverse fixture saw United win by the odd goal in three, in a very open encounter where Bournemouth felt hard done by after only converting one of 17 solid chances. Something similar tonight IMO, goals again, but probably a different outcome. Two bets for me, "overs" and the away win off level ball.

Bournemouth level ball 2.08
"over" 2.5 goals 2.01

Good Luck.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Peterborough United- Brentford

After five straight road wins, the Bees have come crashing back down to earth with consecutive away losses and even more worrying has been the level of performance, with the West London giants ( at least in my dreams) comprehensively outplayed in both games.

Posh parted company with boss Gary Johnson yesterday, which was strange timing as they looked to be back on track with a five game unbeaten spell , before losing heavily at EPL side Fulham over the weekend and they can hardly have expected to have won that. This is more to do with another fall out between Darragh MacAnthony and his manager, the 3rd or 4th time this has happened, there have already been repercussions at the club with star player Joe Lewis handing in a transfer request today. Maybe this could be a good night for the Bees to visit London Road, scene of their most famous victory in the last 20 years.

Bees are 5-0-0 when leading at the half, 0-0-4 when behind, although Posh have turned around 2 of the nine games in which they have trailed, they have won only 60% in which they have led at the break.Hosts have collected 16 points from the 7 gamesin which they have gone in level at half time, the same tally has the Bees have managed from 13 first half draws.

Brentford:- Lee; Spillane, Osborne, Balkestein, Woodman; Bean, Laird, O'Connor, Weston; Alexander, MacDonald

Subs:- Royce, Wright, McCracken, Bush, Diagouraga, Simpson, Forster

Couple of changes for the Bees, which most fans will be in agreement with, but two players out of position ( this has worked successfully before).

West Ham United- Birmingham City

We are already on xxxxxxx and these Carling Cup semi- finals are traditionally high scoring games. Blues have finally found their scoring boots with six goals in their last two starts, both away games.

Big game for the Hammers and especially boss Avram Grant, not only are they just two games from a Wembley final, but there is said to be a board meeting tomorrow to discuss the Israeli's future.

West Ham recall Piquionne, Parker, Sears and Upson. Birmingham make 8 changes from the 11 which started at Millwall

Wycombe Wanderers- Hereford United

Wycombe arrive back at Adams Park after a bit of a thumping at Crewe over the weekend, they will want to get back on track, but the league for them is a priority and they have defensively looked vunerable on several occasions recently and Hereford game them a lot of problems especially down the left here on Boxing Day, when the hosts ran out perhaps fortunate 2-1 winners, since when United have scored eight in three starts. Wanderers have only gone on to win 4 of the 12 matches in which they have gone in level.

Donnelly (debut), McCoy, Bennett and Bloomfield all come in to the Wanderers side.Strongest possible line up for the visitors.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011



I expect goals here, Bolton will be desperate to return to winning ways after losing, some would say unluckily, at both Chelsea and Liverpool, they have been strong at home , losing just one of ten high scoring open encounters, which have averaged 3.3 goals, with half producing four or more goals, they have scored 15 in their last five at the Reebok , at least two in each start. Wanderers put four past Wigan in this fixture last year, something they also did two years previously. The visitors have conceded 16 in their last 8 road games , keeping just the one cleansheet at Everton, when the wasteful Toffees missed any number of chances. They will be forced into a major defensive shake up with regular keeper Ali Al Habsi unable to start against his parent club, with veteran replacement Mike Pollitt coming in for his first start of the season.

"over" 2.75 goals 2.42

Good Luck.

Monday, January 03, 2011


As usual, I will update these games by email at half time.

Bournemouth - Brentford

Lots of Bees fans live along the M3 corridor and always travel in large numbers to this fixture, so plenty of support for the visitors in a big bank holiday crowd. My beloved Brentford are looking to make club history with a sixth straight away win in the league, but are very short of numbers in midfield. Brentford scrapped a draw in the reverse fixture, in one of their poorer performances of the season, however, both teams have gone in the oposite direction since then, with the Cherries really missing Josh McQuoid, something we have touched upon several times recently.

Bees are a perfect 5-0-0 when leading at the half and are good at closing out games, unlike Bournemouth who have only gone on to win 60% of the games when they have led at the break. The Cherries have only scored four goals in the six games in which they have trailed and three of those came in one game. Will be tough for them to chase the lead in this game.

Brentford:- Lee; Wright, Legge, Osborne, Woodman; Forster, Diagouraga, O'Connor, Bean; Alexander, MacDonald

Subs:- Hamer, Spillane, McCracken, Balkestein, Blake, Simpson, Weston

AFC Bournemouth:- Jalal; Smith, Pearce, Cooper, Wiggins; Feeney, Bartley, Robinson, Pugh; Bradbury, Ings

Subs:- Stewart, Hollands, Arter, Fletcher, Symes, Taylor, Cummings

in play :

QPR - Bristol City

Rangers will be desperate to bounce back after losing at Carrow Road on saturday in a match that Norwich dominated. They have a great record here against City, who were fully committed to beating local rivals Cardiff at the weekend and might not have saved too much for today. I did advise you that Neil Warnock would be busy in the transfer window and Petter Vaagen Moen has already signed from Brann, this has been in the pipeline for many months and I assume that Moen has been keeping fit and training with QPR for the last 5-6 weeks. Moen is good with deadballs ( not sure what Taarabt will say about that !) and averaged a goal every two games from midfield in Tippeligaen last season.

QPR are the best second half team in the Championship as you might expect, they are 13-10-1 after the break, conceding just 4 goals and a perfect 8 from 8 when leading.

Rangers update:Moen starts on the bench, Connolly suspended.

in play:

Leicester City - Swansea City

Swansea rode their luck at times and gave everything to beat Reading at the weekend, completing the double over Brendan Rodgers former club, Rodgers was perhaps not treated well by the Royals and I suspect he really wanted that win and there is the danger that it came at the expense of today's game, with Orlandi and Taylor picking up injuries and with Tate still suspended, they are short of options in key areas.

City have not lost at home to Swansea in over 60 years and are unbeaten on home soil under Sven, the former England boss has already been busy in the transfer window signing Ben Mee from Manchester City and Ivory Coast international Sol Bamba from Hibernian, both players he has worked with previously.

Leicester have the third best record in the division in the second half ( 12-6-7) but have got stronger and stronger in this department as the season has progressed and especially under Sven. They have lost only one of their last 12 second 45 minute periods and won an incredible 7 of their last 11. In the six games in which they have led at the half, they have only conceded two goals, so this is not a team you want to chase a game against. That could be a key stat as Swansea have easily the worst record amongst the top clubs when trailing at the half, scoring only two after the break in six games.

Mee makes the bench, Bamba has to wait for his debut.

in play:

Reading - Burnley

Reading felt hard done by in the 1-0 loss away to Swansea with the home keeper earning MOTM plaudits and are ultra keen to collect all three points today and get back to the form which had seen them unbeaten in seven before the trip to South Wales. Hosts are unbeaten in 12 home starts against the visitors, who have yet to record back to back wins all season and will be looking to break that duck after putting four past Sheffield United at the weekend.

Reading like to keep things tight, but they have got points from 5 of the 9 games in which they have gone in behind at the break. Burnley have gained a league high 19 points from losing positions, so this is unlikley to over until the fat lady sings !

However, when level at the half, Burnley have gone on to draw 60% (6 from 10) and Reading 50% ( 4 from 8).

Team news update: McAnuff, Leigertwood, Hunt and Karacan all return to the starting eleven.

in play:

Derby County - Millwall

Lions are unbeaten in seven starts and have returned to their very impressive early season form, keeping five clean sheets in the process.They will travel in good spirits to face a Rams team who have beaten only Preston, who are in freefall, in their last six starts and who have conceded 18 goals in 8 starts, at least two per game in seven of those. Millwall's run is even more impressive as they have been without a number of starting defenders recently and are very short of numbers at the back today, with Alan Dunne suspended and Shittu and Robinson still nursing injuries.

Millwall have struggled when trailing, losing all three when they have gone in behind and scoring just a single goal.

Update: Morison returns for Lions and Robinson is fit enough for the bench, Puncheon out with a dead leg.

in play:

Good Luck.


The New Year has started well, with both bets posted on the blog on saturday winning and my only selection yesterday ( not posted) also winning with a degree of comfort. I have four early selections today, none of which I want to reproduce on here, but I am covering five other matches " in running", so what I will do, is put my pre match notes for these online at about 25-35 minutes before kick off. These do not carry selections per se, as any bets for these games are not given until the match is "live", but do carry some basic thoughts and team news that you might find of interest. So, please check back for that.

Good Luck.

Saturday, January 01, 2011



Sill just the single clean cheet for Albion all season and another five goals conceded in two holiday games. They only score one themselves, but created 15 attempts on goal at Bolton ( with 9 on target) and 21 at home to Blackburn, again with a large percentage on target and with big defensive concerns today, Roberto Di Matteo seems both unlikely and unable to abandon his attacking principles just yet. United will be greedily eyeing up the three points on offer and will be looking to open up a lead over their rivals at the top of the table in this early lunchtime kick off. The two points United threw away in the reverse fixture, after leading 2-0 at the break at Old Trafford ( which happens about as often as a full moon falls on Christmas Day) still rankle and a spot of revenge will be on Sir Alex's agenda, especially on his 70th birthday. Wayne Rooney has to come good soon, he is yet to score from open play in over nine months.

"over " 2.75 goals 1.99


Last season I discussed the problems Walsall had creating chances many times and how they had overachieved considerably by staying out of the drop zone. Those problems have continued this season and to be honest, they are fortunate to have even the 17 points they have collected, which see them firmly entrenched in the bottom four. Therefore, they have underperformed for 18 months now and it is difficult to argue that they are in a false poistion in the table. They do have a recent win at Charlton to their name, but the home side were dire and neither created an attempt on goal worthy of the name in the opening 45 minutes and the Saddlers had only previously won once in eight and have had a degree of good fortune in all their wins this season, perhaps the Charlton game aside, I will give them that one !

We have talked about County twice this month, they are very much heading in the right direction under Paul Ince and are now unbeaten in four and as discussed before the Bournemouth match, were playing well before that. The defence now looks solid and even going a goal down early, were never in danger of losing at Plymouth on Boxing Day, creating 15 good attempts and enjoying 62% possession,now just 7 points off the playoffs and with a game in hand, they can look forward to 2011 and a win today will put them in post season contention in a very tight division. So much more potential in the visiting squad and off level ball I make them my best bet of the day.

Notts County level ball 1.84 .

Good Luck.