Fulham v Norwich Fulham 1.83
"Everything points to the opening day of the season being a happy won for Fulham Fans at Craven Cottage as Norwich City come to West London. Fulham had a great season in front of the loyal home support last year and can get off to a good start by taking all three points against Norwich as they begin their second successive campaign in the top flight. Taking League averages into account, Fulham home form last season would register as "above". Of course, nothing more would be expected given their final position in the table. Norwich, whilst almost certainly doing even better than expected last year did have the questionable record of having conceded at least once in each and every away game including in the corresponding fixture. That game finished 2-1, which incidentally was the most frequent home score at the Cottage last term with 5 games finishing by that scoreline. a 15/2 chance may be worth taking although goals re often few and far between in season opening matches. The draw at 3.7 is a teaser, but even closer to 3/1 would make me look closer, whilst 15/4 the away win doesnt do anything to tempt me in. I would be happy with a home win and i think the 1.83 may well be shorter come Saturday. A big question mark still hanging over West London is whether Clint Dempsey will be playing in white or red on the opening weekend. His much muted move to Liverpool may still be on the cards, m mind is still set for the same outcome regardless"
Newcastle v Tottenham Draw 3.4
"Certainly the best match up for the opening Saturday of the Premier League season and arguably of the whole weekend, if you take out the 9-0 drubbing Southampton are likely to suffer against Manchester City at the Etihad! This match took place in October last season and ended with a 2-2 draw. Spurs going ahead twice only to be pulled back, finally with a Shoma Ameobi equaliser four minutes from time. It may have been predictable at that stage of the season to see little coming between the sides at the end of the season, although 8 week from the end, one would have been forgiven for thinking Spurs would have finished something more than the four points clear of Newcastle that they did. It is only Monday before the match and the Premier League transfer market is far from over I am sure, but there will once again be little between these teams despite Spurs no longer having the Redknapp factor. I could only favour Newcastle for a win on that basis had I to choose one outright winner and better than 6/4 is temptation in itself, the biggest worry for me is the lack of market activity for the Geordies, the "ins" for Spurs look promising, and whilst there have been a few outs, certainly the Modric one hasn't happened yet. Whether he plays or not is a totally different story. A safe draw to open the campaign for both sides, and probably goals again, so don't rule out another 2-2 share of the points" _________________ "He's good enough for me. I won't say he's a superhorse because you're never a superhorse until you're retired. Any horse can be beaten on any given day.”
Arsenal home win. With or without Van Persie Arsenal will beat Sunderland. Poldolski, Giroud, carzola making debuts. I can see a comfortable win for the gunners.
Preston home win. We lost 4-2 to Colchester at home last season on the opening fixture, however cant see us losing this time round with a new squad that have settled in quite nicely. Was impressed with our win against Huddersfield in the cup. It wont be easy but ive got a good feeling that we can get off to a good start for a change.
Rotherham home win. One of the favourites for league 2 face a Burton side who couldn`t buy a win last season. No game a banker but Rotherham will be in most peoples accas this weekend.
These were the results on the opening weekend last season. A lot of draws, a few surprises, but no huge shocks.
Blackburn 1-2 Wolves
Fulham 0-0 Aston Villa
Liverpool 1-1 Sunderland
Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal
Qpr 0-4 Bolton
Wigan 1-1 Norwich
Stoke 0-0 Chelsea
West Brom 1-2 Man United
Man City 4-0 Swansea
Looking at this weekends matches, Reading v Stoke is the shortest price of all the matches to be a draw. Stoke drew more matches last season than any other team (along with Sunderland).
If you take the mindset of the managers going into the match i think we can be fairly sure that Tony Pulis will be setting up his team with a no lose policy. Brian Mcdermott the Reading boss will have drilled into his players the need to do well at home because on the road it is going to be tougher for them
New boys Reading were strong at home but low scorers last season compared to their promotion rivals, and i can see a very tight game with very few thrills.
I reckon the bookies have the price correct with both teams not ecstatic but happy with the draw.
Reading v Stoke - Draw @ 12/5 with SkyBet _________________ OLBG Community Manager.
Last edited by nors on Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
On the cusp of a new season and Arsenal are once more having to sell one of their better players to a bigger club. Having being perennial title challengers at the turn of the century they have now been relegated to 'also-rans' as a succession of first team players leave the club. Even before RVP's departure to Man United I didn't believe that Arsenal would be credible title challengers this season but I definately don't now. The reason I didn't fancy them in the first place was their defence. The reason they didn't challenge for the title last season was not their attacking options, it was their defensive options yet Wenger has chosen to ignore this area as he has sought to purchase strikers and midfielders in the summer transfer window.
Last season Arsenal had one of the poorest defences in the top half of the table as 49 goals were conceded. They failed to keep clean sheets in 11 of their 19 home matches last season so I'll be expecting a similar tale of woe this one.
Once Martin O'Neill arrived last season Sunderland improved in the league and despite a quiet finish to the season they finished a comfortable 13th in the table. After a quiet summer on the transfer front Sunderland will be hoping O'Neill's talent for making a silk purse from a sow's ear will allow the club to start reaping the benefits of some of the investment they made under previous manager Steve Briuce. Up front Frazier Campbell as had time to recover from his long injury Lay-off and finally gets a decent pre-season under his belt. The likes of Larsson, MacLean, Richardson & Gardner can always chip in with a goals too so they are well capable of beating this shoddy Arsenal defence.
Sunderland's record at the Emirates is not great with 2 draws and 5 losses in 7 visits but they have found the back of the net in 4 of these encounters and O'Neill had a great record with Villa here so I think they can do it again tomorrow. Opening days nerves could play a part in this match and wouldn't be surprised if Arsenal dropped points here but I think a safer bet is both teams to score. _________________ Try to focus on all the dedication behind the achievement instead of the achievement itself.
West Ham v Aston Villa
West Ham's first game back in the premier league will be against Aston Villa on their first game under Paul Lambert. West Ham have made a few signings over the summer, however Maiga and Diarra probably won't feature due to fitness. West Ham had a 11-8-4 record at home last year but struggled to break teams down playing 4-5-1 and many fans got frustrated. Aston Villa were so poor last year and finished 16th but sacked McLeish and have brought in a good manager in Lambert and has made shrewd signings in Vlaar and Lowton and his approach should bring more goals. They were 3-10-6 away from home last year, but a lot of the draws were caused by McLeishs negative tactics. One big thing for Villa will be getting the best out of Darren Bent who has been out for six months but is back an is lethal on his day. Feel he will be back to his best this year and should bag one tommorow against a slow pairing of Tomkins and Collins. I will take Villa on the round ball for security but they should edge it, 1-2.
Aston Villa +0 - 13/8 Darren Bent Anytime - 2/1
Fulham v Norwich
Fulham face Norwich in Chris Hughtons first game as manager. All the build up too Fulhams season has been about Clint Dempsey, who has now said to be refusing to play. However, people seem to be forgetting Martin Jol has made some good signings in Diarra and Reither, and an absolute steal in Mladen Petric to provide the goals missing when Dempsey leaves. He has consisntently scored goals in a tough league for a team similar to fulham, and 83% of his goals came at home last season. They had a very good 10-5-4 record at home, and 7-2-1 against teams from the bottom half at home. They are 8-2-0 against Norwich in there last 10 head to head. Norwich have appointed Chris Hughton as manager and he should give new signing Robert Snodgrass a start behind Grant Holt. They were 5-5-9 on the road and didn't keep a clean sheet all season away. They won't make life easy but Fulham should win here, 3-1.
It is essential for QPR to get off to a good start in this season’s Premiership and gain some points from their opener at home against Swansea and then on their first away game at Norwich. Following that, QPR face Man City, Chelsea and Spurs so if they fail to gain points in their opening two games they could very easily be in the relegation places after game five. This could well set the tone for the season and Mark Hughes will have made that clear to his players so the opener at home against Swansea is especially important.
Both teams are facing big changes in personnel with QPR making eight summer signings to date and the West London club appear to have significantly strengthened their squad with the addition of the likes of Rob Green, Ji Sung Park and Jose Bosingwa.
Swansea have lost Joe Allen to Liverpool and look almost certain to part company with Scott Sinclair but the most significant loss could be of their former manager Brendan Rogers. Michael Laudrup has been given the task of taking over from Rogers but the celebrated former player has not really lived up to his glittering playing career in his management roles so far and the Dane faces an extremely stressful start to his Premiership career. Laudrup will need to win over the Swansea fans very quickly and the fact that he is second favourite to be the first Premiership manager to lose his job indicates the tough task he faces.
The last four meetings of these two teams at Loftus Road have seen Swansea manage only one point out of twelve and scoring just one goal. QPR managed to score nine times in those four games and seem to have the historical edge in this clash.
QPR’s late season home form was crucial in the team’s fight for survival last year, winning all of their last five home games including against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs. Loftus Road can be an intimidating place to come and play and Hughes will be determined to make sure his players make the most of their home advantage today.
I’m surprised QPR are available at odds against for this match and they look an excellent bet to get their season off to the perfect start.
Promotion hopefuls MK Dons will start there season with what looks like a banker home win against Oldham tommorow. The dons have made what may turn out to be one of the best signings of the summer by bringing in Ryan Lowe who has proven to be lethal at this level and is exactly what they needed. They had a 12-6-5 record at home last year and were 7-2-3 against bottom half sides. They beat Oldham 5-0 at stadium MK in April. Oldham have sold there only recognised striker in Shefti Kuqi and will now have to play attacking midfielder Robbie Simpson up front tommorow. They had a 5-7-11 record away, failing to score 10 times, and were 1-3-8 against top half teams, failing to score 8 times. MK Dons should win this an win this comfortably, 4-0.
Celtic got there season off to a solid yet unspectacular start with a 1-0 win over Aberdeen last week. They looked to have started in a similar fashion to last season, when they kept 25 clean sheets in 38 games, 12 in 19 away, and 8 in 10 away to bottom half sides. They have signed Fraser Forster permanently which should help them aswell. Ross County have started the season okay, with two 0-0 draws for the newly promoted side, however Celtic will be a step up in class. They look like they are quite good at the back, but lack a cutting edge upfront. I can't see them keeping Celtic out all game, 0-2.
Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:18 am Post subject: Value tips for Saturday
Going north of the border for today's first choice and taking Stenhousemuir to win at home to Brechin. The Warriors have the started this season in good form with a 3-1-0-10-2 record. That includes a 4-0 win against today's opponents in the League Cup. They got a very creditable draw away at much fancied Ayr, and then put 3 past Annan in midweek. Brechin struggled to beat a poor Albion Rovers side last week and may be on the receiving end of a defeat today. Corals and Stan James go 11/10 which represents a value bet.
Preston seem to have changed things around from last season with a large influx of new players and I'll take them to open the season with a win at home to Colchester. They scored a fine 2-0 win at home to Huddersfield last Monday whilst the visitors got done 3-0 at Yeovil, Evens is generally available and should be taken.
Mangerless Bury conceded 79 goals last season and the rather sudden departure of the manager may have an adverse effect. Visitors Brentford are quietly fancied to do well this season with Uwe Rosler making some good signings, especially Moroccan striker Farid El Alagui who banged 27 goals in for Falkirk last season. Against one of the worst defences in League One there's every chance of him opening his account and the Bees securing an away win. Odds of 7/5 available at Hills and Ladbrokes, should be taken.
And finally, if you have some spare change try The Queens treble today.
QPR to beat Swansea is evens, Queen of the South away at East Fife is 5/4 and Queens Park are 4/7 to beat Montrose at home. Those prices are with Corals, and the treble pays a shade over 6/1. I fancy all 3 of them to win today.
A Song Knock 18th Aug 12
T Walcott Hip/Thigh Injury 18th Aug 12
L Koscielny Calf/Shin Injury 26th Aug 12
M Arteta Knock 18th Aug 12
A Oxlade-Chamberlain Ankle/Foot Injury 26th Aug 12
T Rosicky Calf/Shin Injury 6th Oct 12
B Sagna Broken Leg 6th Oct 12
E Frimpong ACL Knee Injury Oct 12
J Wilshere Ankle/Foot Injury no return date
S Sessegnon Ankle/Foot Injury 18th Aug 12
W Brown Knee Injury 25th Aug 12
D Vaughan Inguinal Hernia 1st Sep 12
P Bardsley Ankle/Foot Injury 15th Sep 12
Arsenal must show their fans that even without RVP they are still among the strongest teams of the Premier League. It seems to me that the first obstacle can be very inconvenient for such assertion. Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski are great signings, but Wenger should be fit them into the team, it will take time for that. In the past, Sunderland has had a bad experience in the games against Arsenal. However, in the first round everything is possible. Saha and Cuellar are also good signings and I think Sunderland has its chance on this guest appearance.
Comparing the squads of the teams Birmingham look better on paper. Last year they finished 4th in the league, played quite many games in Europa League and were among the best scoring teams in the league. The addition of Lovenkrands will cause even greater threat up front. Their GK Buttland has been playing on the olympics and also got his 1st cap for senior English team. They don't have any problems with injured players for this game, and a win at the start of the campaing at home crowd will boost their confidence. I expect them to win automatic promotion this season, because of their squad's depth. I think Charlton will need some time to adapt in the Championship life. They were very impressive last season, but this league is maybe the most trickiest of all English professional leagues. They have minor concerns with injuries and are supposed to use their best setup for this game.
West Ham - Aston Villa - both teams to score @1.72
I think this is one of the interesting games in the first round. Paul Lambert will change the style Villa had under McLeish. As we saw last season with Norwich he opts for more attacking minded football. West Ham have solid players most of them have been in the Premier league so it shouldn't be very hard for them to adapt. They have some good attacking players and overall good midfield for the Premier League. Their major concern will be in defence. Darren Bent is always a threat and Alardice's sides are always good at set pieces.
Key players missing the game:
West Ham - Collison
Aston Villa - Agbonlahor, Dunne, Albrighton
Good luck to all at the start of the season ! _________________ NOONE LIKES US WE DON'T CARE
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