Swansea v Manchester Utd

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 13:30

Defending, defending, it was all about defending for Swansea away to Southampton. They did it quite well as the match ended scoreless. Without Llorente and Sigurdsson their offence is suffering and I see no big changes for Swansea ahead of this game. Maybe it is time for their new signing Roque Mesa to play from the start.

Man United were excellent against a poor West Ham side. It was one way traffic and many of the United players demonstrated early season full form. Pogba for example, Lukaku of course and it was a happy, offensive United we saw at Old Trafford. They were more direct, there were so many more offensive intentions than last year.

Very likely away win.

Bournemouth v Watford

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 16:00

It was almost ridiculous how Bournemouth dominated the ball possession against WBA, but to no avail. They were harmless on the day and WBA definitely deserved their win. J Defoe played the last half hour for Bournemouth and I expect him to play from the start in this match. S Francis risks missing this match.

When Watford are going forward they look very dangerous in the penalty area with many of their players going for goal and I can see them scoring quite a few goals following dead ball situations. The Liverpool defence were all over the place on several occasions against Watford (3-3).

I did not particularly miss the injured Troy Deeney, but he would have enjoyed playing against Liverpool at the weekend. D Janmaat, Pereyra and Kaboul suffered injuries against Liverpool and they will probably miss this match. The trio is working hard on their recovery programme.

I am closer to backing the home win.

Burnley v West Bromwich Albion

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 16:00

With one man more on the pitch Burnley played a very strong first half, scoring three goals against Chelsea. They were 100% effective, but they were not in trouble at all in the first half. Chelsea improved vastly in the second half and all of a sudden Burnley had big problems against this reduced Chelsea side. Still Burnley picked up a sensational away 3-2 win and we are talking about a side almost without an away win last season. I have never seen their front man S Vokes so strong.

WBA do not have many new players to show off ahead of this season, but one of them, the Egyptian defender Hegazi, scored their winning goal against Bournemouth. If they decided to leave the ball possession to Bournemouth, or not, only coach Pulis can tell, but they were almost never in real trouble, so the tactics worked. No G McAuley this time either. G Barry has joined from Everton and surely, he is made for a club like WBA.

The draw, a score draw will be my call.

Leicester v Brighton

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 16:00

So close to winning the match, in the lead with some ten minutes to go, and then end up losing it (3-4). It must have been tough for Leicester and their players at the Emirates vs Arsenal. Still you almost sensed that Leicester would lose when A Ramsey equalised for the home side. Their new striker Iheanacho only played some ten minutes in his first game in the Leicester shirt. Anyway, it was fun watching Leicester play again. D Drinkwatwer has a chance of coming back for this match.

I cannot say much much about Brighton. They had a game plan against Man City and it worked for an hour or so, but eventually there was a way through the Brighton wall for City and Brighton had to accept losing the match 0-2.

Brighton played an OK game against a superior opponent. A Knockaert entered the game for the final fifteen minutes and hopefully the key player will be fit to play from the start in this game. I Brown, striker, is injured and he has gone back to Chelsea. They have just signed the Club Brugge winger J Izquierdo for a record fee.

I do not approve of the odds on the home win, that is clear to me.

Liverpool v Crystal Palace

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 16:00

To play a game at this top level there can never be a formality and although Liverpool won away to Hoffenheim 2-1 in midweek they have to be 100% focused on the return leg at Anfield next week. I think that coach Klopp will rest some of his leading players, but I do not know for sure. D Sturridge could be involved, but forget about Coutinho.

Last season Crystal Palace had a certain Sakho in their defence and they could have done with him at home to Huddersfield (0-3).

There is no pressure on de Boer’s Crystal Palace this time and maybe they will be able to play a stronger game this time. Too bad that they have lost the influential Zaha to an injury and he will miss a couple of games, starting with this one.

Not good odds on the home win.

Southampton v West Ham

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 16:00

A 0-0 game again! Southampton drew quite a few 0-0 games last season and their fans were not happy with their coach Puel. Now another 0-0 draw with Pellegrino as their manager. The Southampton fans were of course displeased with their score less game against Swansea, but the general opinion is that the Saints played more attractive, more offensive fooball against Swansea than for most of the last season. M Lemina was an unused substitute.

How poor were West Ham against Man United? It is difficult to say, as United were in total control of the game from start to finish. I recall two big chances for the Hammers, but De Gea kept a clean sheet.

Lanzini and Kouyate will not make it for this game, but could be that A Cresswell will be fit to play from the start. The influential M Antonio is also expected back from injury.

I would say, the pressure is already on Pellegrino and the home side has to win this game or at least produce some goals.

Both teams on the score sheet.

Wolves v Cardiff

FBENG Championship > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 16:00

Early season final, as both sides are on maximum points after three rounds of Championship football. Wolves are the better side, in my opinion, but Cardiff are coached by N Warnock, the master of the Championship.

Wolves have defeated Middlesbrough, Derby and Hull and their achievement so far cannot be beaten. They have quite simply been outstanding so far in this league. You will understand that coach Nuno has strong group of players when a top striker like I Cavaleiro has started the last two games from the bench. H Costa, their most dangerous player last season, has yet to play for Wolves this season.

Cardiff defeated Sheffield Utd earlier this week and they outclassed Villa 3-0 a week ago and I am not for one minute saying that it will be easy for Wolves tomorrow.

Backing the home win.

Juventus v Cagliari

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 18:00

The Milan clubs have new owners, new funds and they will get stronger this season, Napoli are always worth respect, but there is no doubt in my mind, Juventus will win the title again. There may be some kind of hang over after their big loss against Real Madrid in the Champions League final, but they will get over it.

Bonucci and Dani Alves have left the club and Lemina as well, but Bernadeschi, Douglas Costa and De Sciglio have joined Juventus. D Alves was a prominent figure in the Champions League, but he did not shine in Serie A. Bonucci will be missed of course, but he did not always play last season.

Douglas and Rugani will probably get the nod for this game instead of Cuadrado and Benatia, De Sciglio, who was unlucky in the Super cup (2-3 vs Lazio), will probably start again and Douglas, Dybala, Mandzukic and Higuain will do the attacking job. Now Matuidi, from PSG, has also joined Juventus.

Cagliari relied on their strength in their home games last season. They need many home wins also this season and I cannot say that they in any way look better than last season. Borriello is their front man again, Sau and J Pedro are still there and their set of new players look pretty much to be on the same level as those who have left the club. Cigarini and Andreolli are two of their new signings. Cragno will be their keeper and their squad is perfectly fit.

Home winner.

Celta Vigo v Real Sociedad

FBSPA Primera División > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 18:15

In my opinion Celta have impressed more than Real in their pre season fixtures and I will back the home win.

Celta have a new coach and players like Jozabed, Lobotka and Maxi Gomez have joined the club. Jozabed and Wass dominated their midfield in their last preparation game, vs Roma, a game that Celta won 4-1. Unfortunately they lost their striker J Guidetti to an injury and he will be missing for a while. Maxi Gomez will be their lone striker and he is not the Serie A veteran. No it is a young Uruguayan striker with a proven scoring record and what I have seen from him, he is better than the injured Guidetti. P Sisto, their speedy winger, scored twice against Roma and Aspas is always scoring, is he not?

Januzaj is now a Real player and the defender D Llorente as well. Their key players have remained at the club, but Granero, Zaldua and Bergara have left. On their injury list ahead of this match we will find R Pardo, C Martinez, Inigo Martinez and Zubeldia. Carlos Vela will leave for USA in January 2018, but he is supposed to start for Real in this game alongside Januzaj and W Jose in their front line.

Backing Celta, but I do not think they will win to nil. Both teams on the score sheet in other words.

Stoke v Arsenal

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 18:30

Not much separated the two teams, but Stoke went down 0-1 away to Everton. Much like last season when Stoke continually lost so called close encounters.

Shaqiri could have/should have scored in the dying minutes of the game. Chopou-Moting started the match on the bench, but K Zouma played from the start in the Stoke defence. They have offloaded Joselu to Newcastle, but Jese, forward as well, has joined from PSG. Jese, once with a fantastic future.

Without the suspended Koscielny Arsenal were very vulnerable in the air and Leicester looked extremely dangerous every time they had a free kick or a corner kick. Now Koscielny will be suspended again for this match and rest assured that Stoke will see to it that high balls will be sent into the Arsenal penalty area. In that case they need to play with Peter Crouch from the start.

Without the injured A Sanchez Arsenal scored four goals against Leicester and once again without Sanchez I dare say, Arsenal will score two goals at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow. Mustafi , Mertesacker and Coguelin are back in their squad.

1-2 or 2-2.

Troyes v Nantes

FBFRA Ligue 1 > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 20:00

There is a good chance that Ranieri’s Nantes will be without points after three league games. They lost the first two and Ranieri has major squad problems to deal with. Four of his starting players, V Rongier, Y Bammou, D Carlos and A Kacaniklic suffered injuries in the first half at home to Marseille (0-1) and they all had to withdraw from the game. Talk about bad luck. They will all miss this game and their new defender N Pallois will sit out a suspension. L Dubois and K Djidji are injury doubts and and Ranieri does have much to cheer about.

Troyes picked up a sensational win away to Nice. I followed the game and it could go either way if you chose to believe the live reports. Their three important signings Deplagne, Vizcarrondo and Bellugou all played from the start.

Terrific odds on the home win, but they will drop, rest assured of that.

Backing Troyes.

Verona v Napoli

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-19 20:45

This Verona side are bound to struggle. They were strong at home last season (12-7-2), they came second in Serie B after Spal, but looking at their squad I cannot be too optimistic about their chances in this division.

They hope of course that Cerci will come alive again. I do too, but it has been a while since he played at a decent level. Pazzini, yes he is around, will also play in their front line and Buchel, Verde, Heurtaux and Zuculini are some of their new players. Cerci, Pazzini and Verde will play in their front line and both the new defenders Caceres and Heurtaux will start this game. Fossati could start in their midfield and Zuculini and Bianchetti are on their injury list.

Zapata, one of my favourites, has joined Napoli from Udinese and M Rui has come long from Roma. They look as awesome as last season and potentially they are as strong as Juventus. In the long run? That's another question. This game comes at an akward moment for Napoli as they are playing against Nice before and after this league game ( Champions League qualification). They won the first leg, their home fixture 2-0.

Napoli can afford to rotate and still win this fixture, but the odds on the away win are too short, in my opinion.

Huddersfield v Newcastle

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 14:30

I had it in my mind, but I was too much of a coward, Huddersfield defeated Crystal Palace 3-0 and I did not cash in. Life goes on the odds on the Huddersfield win are pretty good also in this match. Now they have gone down. Their ex Montpellier striker Mounie scored twice against Crystal Palace and the Huddersfield faithful have a new hero, but their real hero is of course their coach Wagner.

You do not need enemies when you have friends like J Shelvey. Once again he destroyed everything for Newcastle against Tottenham and after his dismissal Newcastle had no real chance against Spurs (0-2). Up to his dismissal Newcastle were never in real trouble. I would never play with Shelvey again, if I was the Newcastle boss. Defender P Dummett and his colleague Lejeune were injured last week and they will miss this fixture. Joselu, striker, has joined from Stoke.

I am on the side of Huddersfield, but actually backing them? I do not know.

Tottenham v Chelsea

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 17:00

Looks like a home winner and the Chelsea coach Conte will be feeling worse than ever.

Tottenham started with a new wing back against Newcastle, Walker-Peters, and he made a good impression. Son started on the bench but with him on the pitch in the second half Spurs scored their two goals against Newcastle. Harry Kane missed a couple of sitters and I am not exaggerating.

Down to ten men Chelsea played their worst first half ever at home to Burnley. They created absolutely nothing, but in all fairness they improved vastly in the second half, but it was too late (2-3 loss).

Hazard, Bakayoko, Fabregas and G Cahill will miss this match and Pedro is considered a major doubt. Hazard and Bakayoko are back in training, though and maybe Bakayoko has a chance.

Likely home win.

Atalanta v AS Roma

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 18:00

I have to say, big price on the home win. It is true that Atalanta have lost some of their leading players, Kessie, Conti, Grassi and D’ Alessandro, but they have replaced they well be signing Ilicic, De Roon and Castagne. Atalanta have impressed hugely in some of their pre season games against very strong opponents. Papu Gomez has stayed put and he was joined by Ilicic and Petagna upfront in their last game. They also have the FC Copenhagen striker Cornelius as an alternative. It looks like another key player, Spinazzola, is on his way to be sold and he will not be involved in this game. That is a set back and a player called Gosens will replace him in the midfield

Di Francesco is now the Roma coach and it is a big step for the ex Sassuolo coach. Salah and Rudiger have left the club, among others, and Kolarov, Karsdorp, Gonalons and Under are some of their new players. Kolarov and Karsdorp are of course defenders and Under, who I know nothing about, is a striker from Instanbul, supposed to be very good. Florenzi , Emerson and Karsdorp are on the sidelines. Defrel, Dzeko and Perotti will play upfront in a 4-3-3 formation. Kolarov and Bruno Peres will be their wingbacks and De Rossi will probably be fit to start in their midfield alongside Strotman and Nainggolan.

Roma look very much OK, but I never could understand why they did not carry on with Spalletti as their coach? They lost their last friendly game 1-4 to Celta Vigo, but they did not come with their strongest side..

It is about the odds and I have to back the outsider. This thing with Spinazzola has set me back a bit.

Barcelona v Betis

FBSPA Primera División > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 20:15

Barca are now missing Suarez and with Iniesta and Pique both doubtful starters should they be mega favourites in this match? I do not think so. They had no chance at all against Real Madrid in their recent two cup games. They were more or less embarrassed and how do their players feel at the moment? They are not used to be outclassed and they may need time and new players to enjoy their football again.

Betis will most likely start with some of their new signings. S Leon, their new front man, Guardado, the former PSV play maker, J Garcia, midfielder from Zenit and once Man City and Feddal in their defence. Boudebouz, another new singing, is considered an injury doubt.

Betis have nothing to lose and the odds? See for yourself, 27.00!

Crotone v AC Milan

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 20:45

If I want to be in a good mood all I have to do is think of the Crotone come back last season. I was happy for their sake , but I was even more happy with the money I made during the last couple of weeks last season. Too bad for Crotone, as they have lost their striker Falcinelli, who scored thirteen goal for the club. Budimir is supposed to replace him this season and other new Crotone players are Izco, Kragl, Cabrera and Ajeti. Trotta and Budimir will start upfront in a 4-4-2 formation Another struggling season? I think so, yes.

Romagnoli, Biglia and Paletta will not be available for Milan. Their defence will entirely new with new boys Conti, Bonucci, Musacchio and R Rodriguez likely starting players. Kessie will start in their midfield alongside Montolivo and Bonaventura and Suso will be joined upfront by their new singings Andre Silva and Calhanoglou.

New look Milan? You bet with most likely seven new players in their starting line up. Milan are also playing in Europe at the moment and they certainly look more competitive than the home side.

Likely away win.

Inter Milan v Fiorentina

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 20:45

While Inter will be stronger this season Fiorentina look severely weakened. Bernadeschi, Borja Valero, Ilicic, Rodriguez, Vecino,Tatarusanu, Saicedo and De Maio have all left the club. Late new signings are Simeone from Genoa, Eysseric from Nice, M Benassi from Torino and other new Fiorentina players are Hugo, B Gaspar, Veretout and Zekhnini.

What can I say? They have lost quality doing these deals and Chiesa will be suspended for this match. Coach Pioli is likely to start with Babacar as their front runner and he will probably be backed up Eysseric, Saponara and Benassi. Gaspar and V Hugo will make their defensive debuts.

Spalletti is the present Inter coach and two of his new players come from Fiorentina. B Valero and Vecino of course and the Sampdoria defender Skriniar is also a new Inter player. Icardi has been injured and he is available again. He will be backed up by Candreva, J Mario and Perisic with B Valero and Vecino defensive midfielders. Skriniar will play from the start in their defence, but Dalbert, another new defensive signing, will probably start on the bench.

Very likely home win.

Lazio v Spal

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 20:45

No big changes in the Lazio squad, although they have lost their midfield ace L Biglia. Lucas Leiva has joined from Liverpool and he will start in the Lazio midfield instead of Biglia. Caicedo and Di Gennaro are now also Lazio players. Keita has remained at the club, but this weekend Felipe Anderson will join Immobile in their attacking line. Wallace, De Vrij and Radu are the likely defensive players in a 3-5-1-1 formation.

Spal won Serie B last season and like most teams they relied on their strength in their home games. Away from home Spal were 8-7-6. As many as half a dozen of their starting players in this game could be new signings. Paloschi,Viviani, Rizzo, Oikonomou, Felipe, Grassi and Floccari are all hoping for starting roles. Grassi will not make it, he is injured and Antenucci will be preferred to Floccari alongside Paloschi upfront. A couple of players from the Swedish Allsvenska have also joined the newcomer. Bonifazi, maybe their best defender last season, has joined Torino.

Hopeless odds on the home win, but what else to suggest.

Sampdoria v Benevento

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 20:45

Three important offensive players, P Schick, B Fernandes and L Muriel have left Sampdoria along with their influential defender Skriniar.

Sounds tough? It is and Caprari, from Inter, will join their veteran striker Quagliarella in their front line. Murru is a new Sampdoria defender, G Ramirez is new in their midfield, but there is no doubt, Sampdoria look a bit weakened ahead of this season. Viviano is injured and Puggioni will be their goal keeper in this game.

Benevento will probably face their season in Serie A with three new defenders, Letizi, Costa and Di Chiara and in their midfield we will find Cataldi (Lazio) and D’Alessandro. Coda, the ex Salernitana striker, will join their front man Puscas. As many as six new players could play from the start for Benevento.

Home win I guess, but certain I am not.

Sassuolo v Genoa

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 20:45

How will they manage without their popular coach Di Francesco? Sassuolo have appointed a very young coach, Bucchi, who is a debutant at this level.

Falcinielli, who scored so many goals for Crotone last season, is now a Sassuolo player, but they have sold his offensive colleague Defrel to Roma. Pellegrini has also left for Roma. Berardi is still their main striker and alongside him we will find Falcinell and, Politano.

Genoa have bought wisely, as Lapadula, Bertolacci and Zukanovic, among others, have joined the club. Well Lapadula and Bertolacci have returned to the club after their attempts to be successful at Milan. They have just sold their young offensive ace Simeone to Fiorentina. Close to a disaster, in my opinion.

Ntcham and a couple of others have left, but no big deal. It is Simeone who will be missed. Lapadula will be joined by G Pandev and probably L Rigoni in their attacking line. Izco is suspended this wee end.

I would pick the home win.

Bologna v Torino

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 20:45

Pretty quiet on the Bologna front, but two pretty good players have joined the club. I am referring to Poli and the Palermo defender Gonzalaez. Sadiq, Viviani, Rizzo, Ferrari and Oikonomou have left. Destro will be leading their offensive line again and in this game he will be flanked by Di Francesco and Krejci. Verdi is struggling with an injury and that is why Di Francesco comes into the picture.

Mihajlovic’s Torino have been able to hang on to their offensive ace Belotti. Players have left the club, but I cannot say that I miss any of those players. Sirigu will for example replace Joe Hart in their goal. Three very good singings, in my opinion, are T Rincon, Berenguer and Bonifazi.

Boye will sit out a suspension and Berenguer will start together with I Falque and Ljajic who are all backing up Belotti. In their central defence we will find N’Koulou and Moretti. Baselli and Valdifiori will not be fit to play.

Torino underperformed away from home last season, but I will give them a chance in this season opener.

Backing Torino.

Udinese v Chievo

FBITA Serie A > Regular Season-17

2017-08-20 20:45

So Zapata, their front man, has left Udinese, Felipe, Kums, Heurtaux and Badu as well. Badu did not always play last season and fact is, Zapata was also quite often on the sidelines. Udinese can cope, that is what I what want to say, and they have strengthened well by signing Bajic, Nuytinck, Lasagna and Pezzella.

Del Neri will start with De Paul, Lasagna and Thereau upfront and Pezzella will be one of their defenders. Danilo is suspended for this game and Perica, Widmwe and Samir are not fit to play. Behrami has come on from Watford.

Same successful Chievo coach, pretty much the same group of players are at his disposal plus Pucciarelli, the ex Empoli striker. OK, Izco, De Guzman and Floro Flores have left the club, but they can most certainly live without the trio. As Meggiorini is injured Pucciarelli will play alongside Inglese in their front line. Bastien or Castro in the middle of the park.

Chievo have also signed two good players from Cesena, Rodriguez and Garritano.

Two experienced coaches who will steer their clubs to safety also this season and I prefer the home win alternative.

Manchester City v Everton

FBENG Premier League > Regular Season-17

2017-08-21 21:00

I do not think Man City can be stopped at the moment, but it does not mean that this poor price on the home win interests me. Solid, flawless, but not really brilliant, I would say about the City display against Brighton. They were patient for once and happy to keep a clean sheet. Gundogan, who has been injured for so long, is back in training.

G Sigurdsson is now an Everton player and should Everton be able to find a strong attacker they have a complete side, at least in my opinion. Wayne Rooney scored their winning goal last week, but he will not do in the long run. Everton have sent Gareth Barry to WBA and Barkley is on their injury list. S Ramirez was considered a doubt ahead of their Europa League game last night, but according to Koeman he will be available for this Monday game.

Very likely home win.