Archive for January, 2010
…”an elongated depression”…”the depression at the meeting point”…
Sadly quite apt for Addicks fans the last few years really.
Joking aside, for those that crazy sorts that like to live life on the edge, taking hard drugs and putting on doubles and trebles, I recommend going with Charlton tomorrow who are generally available at 1/2.
They are coming under a bit of pressure from below at the moment, and I expect them to be focussed and in the mood down at The Valley tomorrow following on from their shocking defeat at home to Leyton Orient during the week.
That will have been a good wake up call, and as a result I expect them to bring out their A game tomorrow.
Not that they need it, as the B- game should be enough to see away Tranmere, even if they have improved since John Barnes took his inspirational prematch rapping elsewhere.
BOTW: 2pt on Charlton to beat Tranmere @ 1/2
The main selection for tomorrow is Notts County to beat Barnet down at Meadow Lane.
Although it has been a funny old season for The Magpies, in more ways than one, it is important to ensure the circus does not overshadow one thing in particular.
Notts County are, at a minimum, the second best team in League 2. You could make a case to say that they are in fact be the most complete outfit. However I would never be heard saying anything of the sort, out of respect for BOTW favourites, Rochdale.
We currently have a little bit of “games in hand imbalance” in League 2 at the moment. On the face of it County are meandering through the season, currently sitting joint 6th – 8th with the rather unglamourous Aldershot and, er, Dagenham & Redbridge.
Not quiet what Sven has in mind in the medium term, I am sure. Notts current company is much more Faria Alam, than it is Nancy Dell’Olio.
But if you scratch under the surface, Notts have actually performed quite well. They score goals at a fantastic clip, and more importantly have the best defensive record in the league.
They lead the league with only three blanks all season, and are second only to faltering Bournemouth in clean sheets – more on them in a moment.
Addressing the games in hand imbalance has them sitting a comfortable 4th place going into the latter stages of the season.
However, there is good reason the bookies have them priced at 4/7 to go up this season.
Let’s compare their line with Bournemouth’s, the team currently sitting in the 2nd automatic promotion place.
Bournemouth (14/4/8/+2) are a considerably weaker team than Notts (11/7/5/+29), and if their recent regression (4 defeats in last 6 games) has taken you by surprise, it shouldn’t have. That sort of output from such a meager +ve goal difference is unsustainable in the long term for anyone not managed by David Moyes.
Barnet on the other hand are a team in freefall. Currently 18th, they are in the midst of a run of 1 win in 15 games. For them, the 24th October must feel like a lifetime ago. For an away win you are going back as far as the 4th of September!
Safe to say at this point, I was pretty satisfied with what some people may see as a rather skinny 5/11. It is my favourite selection of the day.
And here is the pièce de résistance… Go back to late August, when Barnet were getting off to their hot start to the campaign. Part of a mini four game win streak was an 1-0 injury time victory down at Underhill against, you guessed it, Notts County.
Now you may have not known that, and to be honest, for your sake, I would hope you didn’t. Why bother when I am going to tell you anyway?
But one thing is for sure – the Notts County players bloody remember this. And if the need for 3 points to maintain their chances of automatic promotion wasn’t enough, there will be plenty of people in that dressing room thinking “we bloody owe these guys one”.
And I am pretty sure they will give them three or four, never mind one.
BOTW: 3pts on Notts County to beat Barnet @ 5/11
I am going to back Millwall to beat Southend tonight. The Lions are facing an uphill battle to make the playoffs again this season, due to the sheer quality of the teams above them. I feel there are about 10 teams in League One that I would fancy to stay up in the Championship at the moment.
That said, if they can put together a decent run, they still have a chance to pinch 6th place, and we all know that then anything can happen.
I expect them to have a relatively easy “starter for 3″ in their game at home to Southend on Tuesday night. Millwall’s home form needs no introduction. They record one of the biggest “home field advantages” year in year out down at The New Den, and this season looks to be no different where they have put together a line of 8/4/1/+13.
But all this being true, the real reason I fancy Millwall at the 8/11 available is that their opponents, Southend were dealt an over the top right hand that David Haye would of been proud of at the weekend when star striker Lee Barnard packed his bags and headed for Southampton.
I am not sure that this squad can handle such a blow and to be honest the players themselves may well take to the pitch tomorrow night wondering just how they are going to survive.
Southend have managed only 30 goals all season, ranking them 17th in the League. And as I have previously discussed in my top goalscorer post, Lee Barnard scored 17 of them. That’s right, 17. Otherwise known as 56.7%. Not good.
Their second top goalscorer is the legend that is… Francis Laurent, with a whopping 3 goals for the term.
This would possibly have ended up being one of my choices irrespective of any transfer dealings. In light of the weekends events, it is an absolute no brainer.
I am also having a cheeky little doublé on Tottenham at home to Fulham tonight and Fleetwood at home to Hinckley on Saturday… I don’t have time to give you the waffle on this one I am afraid!
BOTW: 3pts on Millwall to beat Southend @ 8/11
1pt on Tottenham to beat Fulham and Fleetwood to beat Hinckley @ 7/4
Well talk about a baptism of fire. If taking over a team entrentched in a relegation battle wasn’t enough, Owen Coyle’s tenure at Bolton started with two games against Arsenal in three days. Ouch.
Now, whilst the men in white came away from those games with as many points as a circle, the performances certainly deserve quite some credit.
By the look of things Coyle is not going to follow Gary Megson’s “Death by Football” approach, nor will he be resorting to Big Sam’s original “Shock and Awe” strategy, so popular in these parts, that is now being deployed in nearby Blackburn. Instead, he will is looking to make the Reebok a fortress from which relegation can be fought with the same quality of ”proper football” which brought him such great success up the road at Turf Moor.
Although the result didn’t go their way, going 2 – 0 up against any Arsenal side, at any ground, in any competition, holds some value.
This view was further bolstered by a solid 2-0 win against Sheffield United (a team more than capable of a cup run) on Saturday. Optimism has returned to this part of the North West.
This is where is gets a bit lively. Bolton’s next opponents? You guessed it. Burnley.
Putting aside the obvious intangibles for a moment, it should be noted that Burnley had the worst away record in the Premiership (0-1-10), even under Coyle’s guidance, and look like they could be about to enter freefall under Brian Laws.
I won’t make fun of anyone for losing to Reading in the cup… that would be too easy. But the fact remains that Coyle was a very popular chap down at Turf Moor and his decision to jump ship says a lot about the club’s prospects as seen from the inside.
It is going to take a miracle for Laws to garner a similar kind of support and if you’ve seen or heard him, my bet is that he’s hardly Napoleon in the dressing room.
Bolton themselves were already undervalued, even under Gary Megson. Maybe not from an entertainment perspective, but certainly from an effectiveness perspective. They have the 9th best away record in the league, and have had a tough run of home fixtures in the first half. Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man City, Everton have all been to the Reebok already this year. That is six of the division’s top eight teams in their first eleven home games. When you are looking at Stoke as one of your easiest home fixtures of the season at the end of January, you know you have had a tough run.
OC will be desperate to win this one and kick start his tenure. And once you factor in that he knows everything there is to know about the Clarets, Bolton start to look a fantastic price at 4/5.
I expect to be celebrating with Coyle and the eponymous tipple come 10pm on Tuesday night.
BOTW: 2pts on Bolton to win at 4/5
Who doesn’t, eh? Very quick one this one. And one you will need to your best “value” hunting hat on for.
Not one that will float everyone’s boat, however I think the 1/2 available with Bill Hill on Ivana Trump to be the next evictee from the CBB house is still far too big. I would have her at 1/4 or shorter in my book.
One to tie in with your midweek football selections, if that is your sort of thing.
I shall be back later with the rationale, but I don’t think this price will be around for long.
BOTW: 6pts Ivana Trump to be the 6th evictee from the CBB house @ 1/2