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Statistical conclusions

In Betting preview, Soccerball, Top Tips on February 24, 2012 at 21:07

Exciting title, or wha?

Chelsea v Bolton (Saturday 3pm)
Out of 18 home games in all comps this season, Chelsea have won with a clean sheet in six of them – that’s a strike rate of 66%. In their last three meetings with Bolton at Stamford Bridge, Bolton have failed to score. Chelsea will not have a better chance of getting back to winning ways than this Saturday.

Chelsea to win with a clean sheet YES EVS.

Newcastle v Wolves (Saturday 3pm)

Wolves have gone 22 league games since their last clean sheet. Newcastle havent exactly been fluid in scoring in their home games, averaging about 1.5 goals per home game with Demba Ba scoring around 44% of their goals. Looks like a low-scoring game but if the Magpies were to score, Demba Ba would be the man to score it.

SCORECAST Newcatle to win 1-0 and Demba Ba to score 18/1.

QPR v Fulham

QPR’s home record is fairly dreadful – just two wins in 12.
Couple that with Fulham’s apparent travel sickness – one win in 12 – and you have a London derby for the purists.
Mark Hughes hasn’t quite got his new squad firing on all cylinders yet but they do have a decent strike force available with the likes of Djibril Cisse, Federico Macheda and Bobby Zamora in their ranks.
There has been an average of three goals scored in total in QPR’s last three home games and Fulham’s last three away goals.


West Brom v Sunderland

West Brom are on a cold run of form, having lost six of their last eight home league games, while Sunderland are on a roll under the guidance of Martin O’Neill, winning four of their last six games on the road.
In those six games, the Black Cats have averaged two goals per game, while WBA’s last three home games have all finished 2-1 to the away side.

CORRECT SCORE Sunderland to win 2-1 9/1.

Wigan v Aston Villa
Gabriel Agbonlahor likes the JJB – the striker has scored on three of his last four visits to the ground. The 25-year-old has netted in 25% of his appearances for Villa this season – he’s due a goal because he hasn’t scored on his last three outings.

FIRST GOALSCORER Gabriel Agbonlahor 15/2.

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur

10 out of 21 arsenal home games have seen Gunners score mor than one goal, so more than half the time, Arsenal score one or less goals, while almost half of Spurs away games have seen the London side score one or less goals. The historical data indicates that there have been three goals or more in 14 of the last 16 North London derbies. Buck the trend and respect current form.


Liverpool v Cardiff (Sunday 4pm)

Liverpool have scored 25 goals in their nine cup games this season, but surprisingly have only kept clean sheets against Chelsea and Manchester City in those nine cup ties. That means Liverpool have leaked goals against lower league opposition like Brighton (twice), Oldham and Exeter. Expect Cardiff to have their moment in the sun on Sunday afternoon.


Paraguay v Japan World Cup

In Betting preview, Soccerball on June 29, 2010 at 10:42

This second round match is not the game we expected at the start of the tournament. It should be Italy against Denmark. Unfortunately, both Italy and Denmark were shit. Paraguay and Japan are not.

So bring on the soccer.

Japan are fit, eager, skillful, but lack a bit of tactical nous. Paraguay have the skill and the tactical brains, but as with most South American teams, their mental attitude could be flaky and shaky.

I think Japan will do better than the bookmakers believe. While the 3/1 about them winning inside 90 minutes is tempting, I still reckon Paraguay may be a little too strong for the Asians.

Bearing that in mind, I figured that Japan would lose by one goal but the odds on that are a bit skinny for me. So i am plumping for there to be three goals or more in this game at odds of around 2.66 (13/8) on Betfair.


Paraguay v Japan

2pts – Over 2.5 goals   (2.66)


In Soccerball on June 3, 2010 at 10:10

Corporatisation has ruined sport. The guy who signs the broadcasting cheques is the real boss of modern era sport. Gone are the days when all professional sport was played on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Now, there is a massive variety of sport broadcast live 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Money obsessed corporations have insisted on round-the-clock sports coverage and this over-exposure of commercialised sport has ruined the appetite of many sports fans.

However, not all sport is the work of the devil. True sporting heroes and heroines still exist. They can be found living next door to you, on the next street, the other side of the village, in the next town or even in your own house. Hats off to every man, woman and child who gives up three evenings a week after a hard day’s work to train, and a further afternoon at the weekend to play their respective sport. They don’t get paid, they don’t receive free gear and equipment, and they don’t receive endorsements. They volunteer their bodies and efforts for a cause they believe in. They sweat for the good of their parish. They do it for the combat, the challenge, the intensity, the competition, the camaraderie.

Participating with their local club or society draws people out of their houses, away from their computers, off their sofas, and out into the fresh air, mixing with other people, and plotting their rival’s downfall at the weekend. Training, perfecting, honing. Sport gives people an escape, an outlet to vent frustrations, let off some steam.

The excesses in modern professional sport are to be deplored. Cheating is rife amongst elite sportspeople. More and more tales of corruption are leaking all the time. There is little doubt that many sports are rife with drug abuse. Cheats win. Check out David Walsh’s investigations about Lance Armstrong and his cycling teammates. The end result: Game over.

Amateur sport is the new dawn. There is a real sense of community when it is my street against your street – my parish against your parish – my village against your village – my county against your county. Whatever the sport, the competition is of the same intensity. An overwhelming sense of belonging exists at amateur level. You and I losing a match against those people over there hurts much more than Manchester United losing to Chelsea. It’s tribalism at its purest. Sport played with passion, heart, commitment and courage wins out every time. A sense of place – a place in your community.

So why buy a sporting hero? Nothing beats growing your own.

Shamrock Rovers v Celtic XI

In Soccerball on February 24, 2010 at 11:10

Shamrock Rovers 1 (Stephen Bradley pen 11)

Glasgow Celtic 1 (Paul Caddis 71)

A youthful and talented Celtic reserve side gave Shamrock Rovers a good pre-season workout at a soggy and wintry Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday night.

Rovers started the match brightly in front of a full-house when Dessie Baker rounded the keeper close to the touchline but his chip into the centre of the box caught Graham Barrett offside. Moments later Celtic centre half Declan Gallagher clumsily took down Barrett inside the Celtic area. The pointed to the spot amid protestations from the Celtic players but a calm Stephen Bradley dispatched the penalty with confidence.

Celtic’s right winger, Paul Caddis, who has featured in the Glasgow side’s first team, was very lively down the Rovers left, keeping Pat Flynn on his toes for much of the first half.

Approaching the half-hour mark, some great play down Rovers right-hand side resulted in a deep cross which Barratt came close to connecting with, but goalkeeper Cervi got his hands to the greasy ball and held on well. The play sharply switched to the other end as Caddis sent a low ball across the face of the Rovers’ goal only for Dan Murray to put it behind for a corner under pressure from James Keating.

Celtic were finding their feet at this stage, and after a spell of prolonged pressure and possession around the Rovers box, a clever cross to the back post by Wilson was nodded behind for a corner by a towering Murray. Celtic kept up the pressure on the Rovers rearguard and with a ball not cleared properly Kris Vallers drove a low ball goalward which Mannus saved comfortably down to his right. First-teamer Caddis was threatening to cause all sorts of problems for Rovers and one of his mazy dribbles was thwarted by an illegal challenge from Murray. The resulting free kick was thumped goalward but Mannus did well to punch the ball to safety.

Celtic came out the stronger team after the half-time break. Caddis again was involved in everything Celtic were creating. He drilled a good low shot early into the second half which Mannus parried away to the right. Just after the hour mark Paul McGowan looked to have breached Rovers’ defence but last man Murray hauled down the youngster. In what would have been a red card under League Of Ireland conditions, only a free kick was awarded and Murray got a ticking off from the referee.

With just 19 minutes remaining,Paul Caddis struck to level the game for the visitors. Great sweeping play from the Glasgow side sprayed the ball from left to right. Scotland B international Mark Wilson found himself in an advanced position on the left-hand side of the Rovers’ penalty area and pulled the ball back to Caddis who dispatched the ball from 12 yards past the diving Mannus.

Celtic could have won the game late on when substitute Philip Tnardzik hit a left-foot curler from 20 yards which thumped against the bar.

Afterwards, Michael O’Neill was pleased with the game: “I think it was a useful workout. We’re playing against good young professionals who are in mid-season and I think in the second half that told a bit to be honest. But the purpose on the friendly was the level of game that we would expect and we certainly got that. It was a competitive game. I’m pleased with a lot of aspects of our game in the first half, we played some really decent stuff. In the second half, I’m not so pleased, though in the last 15 or 20 minutes we had better play.

“It is pre-season, and some players are ahead of others and you’ll always find that. Some of the lads look as if they’re ready to play tomorrow and others look as if they still need a bit of work.”

Celtic reserves manager Neil Lennon was also happy with the performance of his youngsters: “I’m pleased with that. They showed real maturity against a very good Shamrock Rovers side. To go a goal down we could have wilted but we didn’t. It was a real test of our character to play here in Dublin in front of a big crowd. The experience it has given us will do us the world of good.”

Liverpool 1-0 Everton match report

In Soccerball on February 6, 2010 at 15:15

Liverpool 1-0 Everton

Ultra-consistent Dirk Kuyt saved the day for 10-man Liverpool by nodding home his 10th goal of the season to send the Anfield faithful delirious in what was an aggressive 213th Merseyside derby.

A beautifully delivered corner from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard flapping in front of Kuyt, who took full advantage by nodding the ball downwards into an empty net despite close attention from Phil Neville.

Up until the goal in the 54th minute, Everton had been holding their own against a Liverpool side unbeaten in their previous six Premier League matches. However, the Toffeemen failed to make their numerical advantage pay dividends much to their manager’s frustrations.

Everton started brightly in the opening 10-minutes and took the game to Liverpool with an array of tough tackles.

Thorn in Liverpool’s side Landon Donovan set out his stall as early as the second minute when getting in behind the Liverpool defence to win a corner from a Marouane Fellaini through ball.

Everton continued to cause the Liverpool defence problems, especially from set-pieces. A corner from the left had Kyrgiakos and Fellaini tussling at the back post, with Greece defender Kyrgiakos eventually ending up on the ground and winning a free kick.

However, Liverpool soon found their feet and a fluid passing move from one end of the pitch to the other resulted in a cross from Carragher on the right being lashed over the bar from Lucas.

Kuyt was booked for a challenge on Donovan around 25 yards from goal. A curled free kick by left-footed Baines had Reina at full stretch to tip it over the bar.

 An explosive high-tempo midfield battle was threatening to boil over approaching the half-hour mark.

Kuyt was kicked in the face by Fellaini after being chopped down by Pienaar and just moments later Pienaar was lucky receive just a yellow card following a very high lunge on Javier Mascherano. Seconds later Carragher was booked for an old-school retaliation on Pienaar deep into Everton territory.

A decisive moment came in the 34th minute when Kyrgiakos slid in with a two-footed block on Fellaini. Replays suggested that both Fellaini and Kyrgiakos could have seen red for that clash, having both gone at each other with two high feet. However, it was Fellaini who came off worst physically and was stretchered off, needing six minutes of treatment on his right ankle before the physio admitted defeat and Mikel Arteta entered the fray. In the meantime, a visibly frustrated Kyrgiakos was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson.

In a first half heaving with strong challenges, a highly motivated Jamie Carragher was leading by example, marshalling the home sides’ defence and keeping the Everton forwards at bay. He started the game at right back, and within seconds of the match kicking off, clobbered Pienaar. The strong, full-blooded challenges continued from the Liverpool vice-captain, who switched to central defence after Kyrgiakos’s dismissal, and continued to dominate and clear anything Everton threw in his direction.

Minutes before half-time, Gerrard controlled a ball 25 yards from goal but went over quite easily from Cahill’s lunging leg. Gerrard took the free-kick himself and his curling effort pinged the crossbar, just out of reach of Howard’s out-stretched fingertips.

However, best chance of the first-half fell to Cahill, who had a free header at the back post from six yards out. A misdirected defensive header from Mascherano found its way to Cahill on the back post and with Reina scrambling across his goal line, Cahill’s diving effort brushed the top of the bar.

Liverpool started the second full of gusto and immediately put the Everton defence under pressure. The Reds won a corner which was dealt with effectively and Everton countered through Donovan, whose pace was too much for Insua. He played in Cahill whose drive was saved well by Reina.

The Kop showed their appreciation for Mascherano, who chased and harried the Everton attackers single-handedly on the left-hand side of the Liverpool penalty box and eventually blocked an attempted cross.

Liverpool regained the upper hand and started to control the pace of the game. They were rewarded with Kuyt’s simple headed goal from which Everton were visibly shaken by the goal and took them some time to recover. Moments later, Gerrard had a free kick easily saved by Howard and also caused some problems from a corner.

Late on, a sliding challenge from Gerrard on Pienaar, who was already going to ground from a Mascherano tackle, caused a mêlée in the middle of the pitch, with substitute Anchibe retaliating most. Both he and Gerrard were booked for their parts in the tussle.

Anchibe could have carved a decent scoring chance for Everton as he took a touch too many deep inside the right-hand side of the Liverpool box, but his attempted cross was charged down by a sliding defender and collected at the second attempt by a grateful Reina.

Pienaar was sent off deep into injury time for a second bookable offence. He challenge Gerrard late in the air and referee Atkinson had no hesitation in brandishing a second yellow to the South African.

Kuyt was substituted with just seconds remaining on the clock to a standing ovation. As the final whistle  blew, the Anfield crowd roared their approval at their sides’ hard fought victory again their city rivals and the winning of three vital points to lift the Reds into the much-coveted fourth place in the league.

Soccer picks for February 6th, 2010

In Betting preview, Soccerball on February 6, 2010 at 10:45

Here’s a few brief tips I’ve come up with by scouring the Saturday morning papers.

Liverpool v Everton — HOME — 5/6

Tottenham v Aston Villa — HOME — 23/20

Nottm Forest v Sheffield Wed — HOME — 8/13

Swindon v Charlton — HOME — 6/4

Wycombe W v Yeovil — HOME — 13/10

Hereford v Torquay — HOME — 13/10

Rochdale v Crewe — HOME — 4/6

East Fife v Dumbarton — AWAY — 7/4

East Stirling v Berwick — AWAY — 11/4 (great value)

For more tips, and in-depth previews on the Liverpool/Everton and Spurs/Villa games, go to www.sportsnewsireland.com . (Also preview of Sunday’s Chelsea/Arsenal game.

Aston Villa v Arsenal match & betting preview

In Betting preview, Soccerball on January 27, 2010 at 10:34


Premier League

Wednesday, January 27th.

Villa Park. Kick off 19.45

What a massive couple of weeks this is for Arsenal. The Gunners have five enormous, season-shaping games approaching. After this Villa clash, they entertain Manchester United, followed by a trip to Chelsea before hosting Liverpool. Then, they’ve to travel to Porto in the Second Round of the Champions League. This is definitely a season-defining period for the Gunners. Villa have been enjoying a terrific season so far. They beat Blackburn 7-4 on aggregate to reach the final of the League Cup and are currently just two points away from fourth place in the Premier League. They’re also into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup with an impending and winnable tie against either Wolves or Crystal Palace coming up in just over two weeks time.

However, their cup exploits have detracted from their league form. In their last league match they had a scoreless draw with West Ham. Before that they lost two on the trot to Liverpool and Arsenal (on December 27th). Nevertheless, the did win their four Premier League games prior to that Arsenal defeat.

In contrast, Arsenal haven’t had the distractions of a League Cup run which has been to their advantage. They haven’t lost a league game since the Chelsea defeat in late November and reached the summit of the table last week despite all the pre-season knocking before Manchester United reclaimed top spot on Saturday. Sunday’s FA Cup exit for the Gunners can only enhance their Premier League aspirations, beginning with this tricky tie away to Villa.


Aston Villa haven’t beaten Arsenal at Villa Park since 1998. Dennis Bergkamp put Arsenal 2-0 up before half-time that December day before Julian Joachim got one back. Dion Dublin then banged in two more to give Villa a 3-2 victory. Since then, Villa Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Gunners, winning five and drawing five. However, this is an improved Villa side on previous years.


Villa have niggling doubts surrounding the participation of Emile Heskey, Richard Dunne, Nigel Reo-Coker, John Carew and Wilfred Bouma in this game. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s injury list keeps getting longer. Djourou, Van Persie, Gibbs, Diaby, Merida and Nasri will all miss this match. However, Sagna, Wilshere and Bendtner may have made sufficient recoveries to be considered for selection.


Their home form has been pretty solid this term, only losing to Liverpool and Wigan (on the opening day of the season). The Gunners’ away form has been slightly inconsistent, and with the injuries they have to contend with, perhaps a draw would suit Arsenal, especially with the fixtures they have approaching.



OVER/UNDER 2.5 GOALS Under 2.5 goals 1.95 (BETFAIR)

***Please bet responsibly. Only bet with money that you can afford to lose — not your food kitty or rent/mortgage***

Ireland v France turns diplomatic

In Soccerball on November 12, 2009 at 14:45

These letters were leaked last week show a major breakdown in communication between the French Government and the Irish over the World Cup qualifying play-off games. There’s now a full-blown diplomatic row brewing.



It obviously a hoax, but a very fucken funny one!





WOLVES v ARSENAL betting preview

In Betting preview, Soccerball, Top Tips on November 6, 2009 at 16:52


Premier League, Saturday November 7th

Molineux. Kickoff 17.30


Arsenal are really proving all their pre-season doubters wrong. They’re scored freely while playing that exciting passing game that Wenger has drilled into the squad. Arsenal have been, for quite some time now, the best team to watch in the Premier League by a long way. Their football is exciting, fluent, and skilful – the way football should be played.

However, after selling Adebayor and Toure in the summer, not many pundits were giving the Gunners a chance of finishing in the top four, let alone win the championship.

How wrong they all were.

Arsenal are playing their best football for quite some time, and now the results are being strung together and the Gunners are shaping up into proper title contenders.

They have lost two games this season in the league, but Arsenal should have beaten Manchester United, and were just caught on a freak day by Manchester City.

Wenger steadied the ship immediately and their Premier League performances, coupled with their excellent Champions League form has turned Arsenal’s season around 360 degrees.

Arsenal come into this tie with Wolves on the back of a whopping 4-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar. Confidence is as high as ever and with no fresh injury worries for Wenger to contend with, Arsenal have the class and will to brush aside a plucky Wolves.

Wolves appear to be at the other end of the spectrum to Arsenal. Although they are unbeaten in their three previous games (all draws), Wolves have not won since September 20th when they beat Fulham 2-1 at Molineux.

However, their last three games are not that bad. They were beating Everton at Goodison Park until Bilyaletdinov scored a late equaliser in the 88th minute. The following weekend they met Aston Villa at Molineux and equalised with a late penalty. Still, that’s a decent result against a good Villa team, and a hard-fought local derby to boot. Last weekend, Wolves showed great guts and determination to come back from 2-0 to draw with Stoke.

Perhaps Wolves are beginning to turn their season around. Mick McCarthy, though probably not suited to international management, is a good motivator and a fine manager. He has already confirmed that Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will start this game against Arsenal while striker Chris Iwelumo has suffered a recurrence of a metatarsal injury.


Arsenal haven’t lost to Wolves in their last 13 meetings. Wolves last beat Arsenal at Highbury in 1979! In the most recent seasons, the two sides have met four times, with Arsenal winning every encounter with an aggregate score of 13-2. Their last game at Molineux was in 2004 and resulted in a 3-1 win for the Gunners. History does not look to be on Wolves’ side.


At first glance, everything points to an Arsenal win. At second glance, and after looking at recent form, everything still points to an Arsenal win. Wolves will be confidant of putting up a good display and there is little doubt that McCarthy will be viewing this as a vital game to get a decent result for the club. However, Arsenal’s form far outweighs anything that Wolves have ever done and the Gunners should take all three points at a canter.



***Please bet responsibly. Only bet with money that you can afford to lose — not your food kitty or rent/mortgage***

Arsenal v AZ Alkmaar BETTING PREVIEW

In Betting preview, Soccerball, Top Tips on November 4, 2009 at 14:18


Champions League Group H

The Emirates. Wednesday, November 4th.

Kickoff 19.45.

After Arsenal trounced Spurs on Saturday , the visit of Alkmaar cannot be too worrying for Wenger and his band of merry men.

The clean sheet from the Spurs game will please Wenger, as will the manner in which Arsenal scored their three goals, even if Spurs’ defence was slightly dodgy at times.

Fabregas deserves all the plaudits he gets for his goal and will be a vital cog in Wenger’s wheel against Alkmaar, if he plays. The fact that the Gunners are cruising towards qualification might mean that Wenger gives his star player a well-earned rest – he can afford to do so.

Arsenal are hot favourites to win this tie and deservedly so. Their home form is terrific, and Alkmaar’s away form is poor, particularly in England.


Gael Clichy will be out for about a month after suffering a stress fracture in his back. This paves the way for young Kieran Gibbs to enjoy an extended run in the side. Rosicky is back in the squad but long-term injuries keep Bendtner, Fabianski, Walcott  and Denilson on the sidelines.


This game is expected to be all one-way traffic. Arsenal’s price of about 1.20 reflects this. Unless you’re investing very large sums of money (and if you are, you shouldn’t really be reading this), you won’t be punting on Arsenal to win. Even the Arsenal winning at half-time and full-time (around 1.80) doesn’t ooze inspiration. Perhaps the value is to found in the number of goals to be scored. Arsenal are no strangers to hitting the back of the net, and Alkmaar are no strangers to picking it out of the back of their own net. In fact, if Arsenal were to lose concentration for a minute, Alkmaar may end up scoring a goal of their own.


Over 3.5 goals    2.36 BETFAIR

Arsenal -2.5 goals             2.48 BETFAIR

Arshavin to score at anytime      2.38 BETFAIR

Fabregas to score at anytime      3.40 BETFAIR


***Please bet responsibly. Only bet with money that you can afford to lose — not your food kitty or rent/mortgage***