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Posts Tagged ‘football’

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.

TOTAL GOALS U/O 2.5 Over EVS.

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.

TOAL GOALS U/O 2.5 Under EVS.

CARLING CUP FINAL
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.

BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE Yes 11/10.

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.

RECOMMENDED

Paraguay v Japan

2pts – Over 2.5 goals   (2.66)

THE ORGANIC HERO

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.”

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.

WOLVES v ARSENAL betting preview

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

WOLVES v ARSENAL

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.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

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.

VERDICT

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.

RECOMMENDED

HALF-TIME/FULL-TIME  Draw/Arsenal    4.90 BETFAIR

***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

ARSENAL v AZ ALKMAAR

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.

TEAM NEWS

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.

VERDICT

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.

RECOMMENDED

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***

LOI — a hidden gem

In Soccerball on August 4, 2009 at 14:04

In years gone by, I had occasionally thrown an awkward glance at League of Ireland soccer, as do the majority of soccer fans in Ireland. I had attended a few St Pat’s games, swayed by the energetic enthusiasm of a friend who was a Saint through and through. I admit I enjoyed the experiences and with St Pat’s being my local club (well, the club whose ground was located closest to my childhood home), I formed a long-distance relationship with them.

In Ireland, our national league tends to receive a sneerful attitude from soccer fans who much prefer to follow the English Premier League and would happily pay €300 to take a trip across the Irish Sea to watch a game, yet scoff at attendees of local LOI games.

What a shame. As I found out on Sunday evening, the LOI is a hidden gem.

I attended the Shamrock Rovers and Derry City league game at Tallaght Stadium. This was my first LOI game in about six years, and I was impressed.

First of all, when I arrived outside the stadium about 30mins before kick off, there were hundreds of people milling around. I began thinking that Tallaght are really adopting Rovers and making them their local team. Once i entered the ground, I was shocked by the amount of people already in their seats. The stadium has only one stand open for business (the stadium is still under construction), and there were very few seats vacant.

Once the match began, the die-hard Rovers fans started chanting and singing. I was well impressed. They even have a song for former Manchester United recruit Dessie Baker! I was thinking that this was just like the Premier League, but on a smaller scale. These die-hards adore their club and the players. I found it difficult to take it in…it was surreal.

Rovers went into a 1-0 lead quite early on thanks to a stunning placed effort from Sean O’Connor which sailed into the top corner. The crowd went bananas. Straight away the “Yer never gonna believe us, we’re gonna win the league” chants began.

About 20 minutes later, a headed goal from Tadhg Purcell from a cross dug out brilliantly by Dessie Baker. Purcell struck me throughout the 90 minutes as a very good player, and one who may be good enough to ply a trade at Championship level in England.

The crowd wer in raptures at this point.

Derry suddenly woke up and applied some pressure and carved out a number of chances but in Barry Murphy, Rovers have a very competant goalkeeper. He might not be the tallest keeper around, but he has safe hands.

A minute into the second half, and Derry scored with a scorching drive from just outside the penalty box. Another great goal. The ground was silent.

Derry pressed and pressed, Rovers tried to make their counter-attacks work. It was a very good second-half, full of determination, courage, and some very nice football.

Humour seems to rank quite highly with the Rovers fans. Chants at the Derry team of “You’re Brits, and you know you are….you’re Brits, and you know you are….” were followed by “What’s it like to…what’s it like to…what’s it like to have a Queen? What’s it like…..”

Rovers hung on in the end to win 2-1, keeping themselves within three points of leaders Bohemians, and effectively ruining any chances Derry had of winning the league.

As I left the stadium, amid a chorus of 4,000 delirious Rovers fans bellowing “We’re gonna win the league”, I felt proud to be out supporting my national league and to have witnessed a great game of football so close to home.

I have a feeling that games of this stature and passion are very often witnessed in the League of Ireland and I want to make sure that I experience a bit more of that very soon. The passion and enthusiasm of the Shamrock Rovers crowd is to be commended and is infectious. The atmosphere was fantastic and I’m sure Derry were intimidated by it. Once the stand on the far side of the pitch is completed, Tallaght Stadium will be more like the fortress that the Chairman Jonathan Roche is hoping to create. Last, but not least, the football was pretty good too — not the hoof and chase game I was expecting at all.

What are your experiences of LOI soccer?

To buy, or not to buy, a Premier League title

In Soccerball on July 30, 2009 at 15:20

Manchester City just can’t stop. They’re addicted. I can’t blame them…i used to be the same on a Saturday morning when i got my £1.50 pocket money. I’d leggit down the shop and buy Shoot! or Match!, a couple of Dan Bars and as many Jaw Berries as my little hands could hold. Mark Hughes must be feeling that burning sensation in his pocket too.

I saw a programme on TV3 recently about addictions to hoarding. Some bloke, who was obviously nuts, could not stop himself collecting bicycles. He had about 5,000 bikes all around his house, garden and shed. In fact, his hoarding got so bad that he couldn’t open his front door so he spent six years sleeping on his porch on a mingy sofa. Needless to say, the authorities got involved and slapped a barring order on him collecting any more than 15 bikes at a time. He obeyed the order, for about a month. He got wrist-slapped again when he was found with thousands of bikes and the ban was more strictly imposed. He now only has a few hundred bikes. Phew, he’s got that addiciton under control, thank God. Most people have a canary if they have more than two or three bikes obstructing their freedom in the garage.

I think Mark Hughes has a similar problem. Not with collecting bikes, but as Manchester City manager, he’s addicted to buying players. Not just any players, mind, but strikers and forwards. He has more attackers on his books than Liverpool have full-backs. Adebayor, Cruz, Tevez, Bellamy, Robinho, are all the supposedly top quality forwards on the payroll, though City have recently shipped out Elano and Bojinov to relieve competition slightly.

The gas thing about all of Manchester City’s purchases are that none are really gonna make  a title-tilting impression. Adebayor, Toure, Barry, Santa Cruz and Tevez are all decent players, but I simply do not think they will improve the mediocre City squad enough to lift the Premier League title come May.

If they had landed John Terry, and he was joined by Joleon Lescott (City seem determined to sign the Everton defender), and if they had signed a world-class striker instead of a gaggle of moderate ones, then they may have a squeak of finishing in the top three or four.

With players of the calibre of Micah Richards (who is recovering from swine flu), Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Philips, Petrov, Robinho, Shay Given and Richard Dunne, the nucleus of a good squad is present. However, those who believe a Premier League title can be bought — beware. Real Madrid are attempting to buy La Liga, and they are going about it properly. They’re buying the world’s top players and paying top dollar for them. Manchester City are scrounging the left overs of those who believe they are good enough to play for Real Madrid, but who actually aren’t and still want to earn grotesque wages.

Look what happened Chelsea — they bought a rake of players for loadsa cash and they …. well, they won the Premier League twice. Maybe it can be done, time will tell. But I can predict one thing — Mark Hughes will not be in charge at Manchester City this time next year unless they win the Premier League, or at least finish second and win a cup.

Eto’o to Inter…WTF?

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2009 at 11:44

In fact, that WTF is not really aimed at Eto’o’s want to leave Barca to go and play in a league that used to be called the best in the world but in fact was as slow as a boat and just paid the biggest wages, but it’s the fact that Barcelona want to sign the footballer formerly known as Zlatan Ibrahimovic as part of an elaborate swap deal that could see Alexsander Hleb go on loan to Inter too.

Show us yer teeth

Show us yer teeth

However, I’ve watched football a few times, seen a few games, even attended a few games in my lifetime, but i have rarely seen a more over-rated forward as Ibrahimovic. Perhaps Luis Garcia. Anyway…

Despite scoring this goal :

which was scored against a viciously poor defense (have they never seen a dummy before?), Ibrahimovic has done nothing else, except accept ridiculously large wage packets the likes of anyone reading this will never experience.

So why would Barcelona want to sign this flash in the pan?

Ibrahimovic’s stats read brilliantly. In a career that has seen him play for Ajax, Juventus and Internazionale, the Swede has scored 131 times in 272 league games. That’s an average of 0.48 per game. That’s pretty good by anyone’s standards. The only drawback is, like lots of players with good records, he rarely hits the headlines in the big “must win at all costs” games. Ibrahimovic is a scaredy cat, shirking at the first signs of the big alley cats jumping on dumpsters, hiding away from vicious tom cats, afraid to pop his head out and only surfaces when it’s daylight and all the big rats have already been eaten. He then preys on little mice. Ibrahamovic is best when the going is easy and the opposition is rubbish.

Now, let’s have a quick look at where he’s going to: Barcelona, in the real best league in the world. Barcelona will finish either first or second in La Liga this season, with or without Ibrahimovic. Eto’o was a proven goalscorer in Spain whom i’m sure will score hatfuls wherever he plays. He will slot into Italian soccer like a tomato into Mama Ragu’s spaghetti bolognase.

Ibrahamovic’s career will continue to blossom in Spain, meaning he will score against pitiful opposition, but will struggle to cope with meaner, tougher defences. This is the main reason why Ibrahamovic will never suceed in the Premier League. The defenders are too tough. Though Ibrahamovic is no shrimp — he’s around the 6′ 3” mark. Though look at Didier Drogba — biggest brick shithouse of a striker in the world yet he falls over as easy as Old Man Winters after a bottle of Famous Grouse.

I digress.

Real Madrid’s spending this summer looks to have sealed La Liga. They will be a force to be reckoned with this season, providing they avoid imploding. Eto’o, who has been unhappy at Barcelona for some time now, must be pleased to be skipping the country for Inter Milan where they will again be thereabouts for another Serie A title.

Back Real Madrid to win La Liga and Samuel Eto’o to be Serie A’s top goalscorer. I cant find any prices yet but when i find some, I will post back here. If there’s a lay Ibrahamovic market on Betfair to be top goalscorer in Spain, then lay him for all you can afford.