Category: Manchester City

2014-15 Premier League betting tips: Gameweek 3

Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.org

Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.org

Here are some Premier League betting tips for Gameweek 3.

While these tips are based on tactical, psychological and statistical analysis, the Premier League can be damn near impossible to predict at times.

As such, they could all be wrong.

Or they could all be right.

Or some of them could be right.

Aston Villa v Hull City – Draw @ 9/4 (or 0-0 @ 6/1)

Aston Villa are favourites for this game at Villa Park, but this one has draw written all over it.

Even Paul Lambert and Steve Bruce would probably be surprised if either walked away with a win.

Going for 0-0 would be a good shout for a number of reasons. Looking back at the stats, Hull have failed to score in eight of their last nine matches against Villa.

On top of that, the understanding between Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos is improving every match, and crucially both are in top form.

They both close down the space well, can read an opponent’s run and most importantly, they can read each other’s play as well.

Especially after losing Shane Long, who – despite his lack of good finishing ability (reflected in his goal tally) – is great at dragging defenders out of position to create space for teammates, Hull don’t have the imaginative kind of striker or midfielder who could trouble such a solid partnership as Vlaar and Senderos.

As for Aston Villa, they simply don’t have the firepower, especially with Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak still injured. Much more on that is outlined here.

Both will be fatigued and lower on confidence after their midweek losses in the League Cup and Europa League respectively (Hull’s being on aggregate of course).

And at home Villa have a big problem tactically which manager Paul Lambert still hasn’t sorted.

He’s worked hard on making sure his team keep their shape, have runners in midfield who can slot into defence to provide cover (Kieran Richardson is the one who doing it most this season), and are ready to pounce on the counter-attack.

However, teams drop off and let Villa play when they’re at home, knowing that Villa don’t have a good rhythm when they have time and space on the ball.

Lambert has yet to get his team playing better with long spells in possession.

Again, this one has draw – and quite probably 0-0 – written all over it.

Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar - or 'Big Gay Ron' - has been immense this season. Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.org

Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar – or ‘Big Gay Ron’ – has been immense this season. Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.org

Everton v Chelsea – Draw @ 12/5

Chelsea are the favourites here by a fair distance, but Everton have won the past four out of five between the two sides at Goodison Park.

That doesn’t make them favourites however. They may have two strikers who used to play for the Blues – Romelu Lukaku and Samuel Eto’o – who no doubt will be more fired up than ever, but this Chelsea team will be the best they’ve played in a long time.

Roberto Martinez’s men were brilliant in the first half against Arsenal when facing Alexis Sanchez up-front.

But in that first-half, Sanchez couldn’t adapt to being a centre forward, and often looked for the ball on the wing, leaving nobody in the middle. That meant no focal point.

Arsene Wenger then makes a masterstroke sub at half-time, bringing on Olivier Giroud for Sanchez.

Suddenly the Gunners have direction in attack, and a focus in how they go forward. As a result, the Everton defence is tested more and eventually cracks.

Against Chelsea, Everton’s defence will be tested much more than last weekend with a direct striker like Diego Costa, or even Didier Drogba.

The weak point for Martinez’s men is their difficulty dealing with direct strikers who are supported with great service in midfield.

Hence Chris Wood got on the scoresheet for Leicester against the Toffees on the opening day.

Chelsea have the striker in Costa, and the midfielder in Cesc Fabregas (and of course the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, etc).

But, it will play on Chelsea and Mourinho’s mind that they lost the last game at Goodison, and that they haven’t done well there over the years.

On top of that, Everton have quality through the pitch themselves, which will leave the Blues vulnerable at times (as evidenced against Leicester last weekend).

The likes of James McCarthy, Gareth Barry, Steven Pienaar, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman seem more comfortable in their play at Goodison – regardless of opposition – and that will help Everton stick to the manager’s tactics.

A draw with both teams scoring seems the most likely outcome here.

Tottenham v Liverpool – Home win @ 8/5

Mauricio Pochettino has worked wonders at White Hart Lane this season.

When Tottenham beat AEL Limassol 3-0 on Thursday night, the commentator on ITV4 was spot on. “Liverpool can’t come soon enough for Spurs”, he said.

The feel-good factor around the club is highly visible, even from the outside. It is only two games into the season, but the fact that Tottenham sit top of the Premier League is significant.

Pochettino has established a solid core to his team and has blended strong defensive football with attacking flair beautifully.

The likes of Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen have been reinvigorated by Pochettino’s arrival, while overall the team is finally starting to gel with the understanding between them much better than last season.

However, the picture is rather different at Liverpool. The defence still needs sorting (much more explained here) tactically, and confidence is fairly low after a lacklustre win over Southampton, and a crushing defeat at Manchester City.

And going forward, Brendan Rodgers still seems to be working out the best way for his team to attack without Luis Suarez, part of the reason why Daniel Sturridge hasn’t been in the same form as last season.

There seems to be a bit of transition at Liverpool after losing Suarez and adding a lot of numbers to the squad for the Champions League.

However, Spurs have hit the ground running and don’t look like stopping soon. A home win and a clean sheet for Tottenham appears most probable.

Sergio Aguero to score two or more @ 5/2 (or three or more @ 9/1)

Sergio Aguero has three goals in his three games in the Premier League at home to Stoke City.

He’s approaching full fitness and is providing early indications – with the ease at which he scores, the cleverness of his forward runs, the spaces he can create for himself, the list is endless – that he is in the form of his life.

Stevan Jovetic may also be in stellar form, but there’s no doubt Manchester City look first to Aguero for goals.

Tactically, Stoke’s defence and midfield simply aren’t good enough to stop a player like Aguero, especially at the Etihad.

Two goals is a safe bet for Aguero, but it could well be quids in with an Aguero hat-trick.

Manchester United and both teams to score @ 13/5

This one doesn’t need a great deal of analysis and is quite obvious, but with odds of 13/5 seems worth a punt.

Angel di Maria is in line to make his Manchester United debut, and besides the obvious improvement he will clearly give the team, his signing could well have the ‘Mesut Ozil effect’ seen at Arsenal.

Also, United have greater belief in themselves away from Old Trafford, and will seek a response from last week’s disappointing draw at Sunderland (the 4-0 MK Dons defeat compromised virtually none of those who will start this season, besides David de Gea).

Burnley did beat United 1-0 at Turf Moor at the start of the 2009/10 Premier League season, and while the teams are markedly different today, that will still give the Clarets confidence.

Combine that with a defence still struggling with their roles in the 3-5-2, and it does seem clear United will concede.

But overall, with the ‘di Maria’ effect, as bad as they’ve been it’s really hard not to see United win this one.

Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool: City’s Barcelona vision coming to life

 

  • Manchester City ruthless in win over Liverpool with less shots but more on target and more goals
  • Stevan Jovetic and Sergio Aguero goals example of why City are Premier League title favourites
  • City directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain seeing Barcelona dream come to life
  • Pep Guardiola glory days at Barca the model for Soriano and Begiristain to achieve at City

As Manchester City demolished Liverpool 3-1 at the Etihad on Monday night, many would think Stevan Jovetic, Sergio Aguero or even Manuel Pellegrini would be the main winners from the game.

Sure, Jovetic was phenomenal and Aguero scintillating, while Pellegrini had his team and his tactics absolutely spot on.

But the real winners on the night were City’s CEO Ferran Soriano and Director of Football Txiki Begiristain.

For at last, confirmation that the duo’s vision – of recreating the Pep Guardiola glory days at FC Barcelona – can become a distinctive reality at Manchester City.

Against a Liverpool team tipped for title contention, City were remarkably ruthless – three mistakes, three goals.

Each time the Reds slipped up, City pounced. The movement, the passing, and crucially, the understanding between teammates, was all there.

Jovetic’s first goal came through Alberto Moreno’s mistake more than anything, but his second was pure teamwork – the kind of move usually done over and over by the same group of players in training.

Stevan Jovetic makes the run he knows his teammates will find for his second goal against Liverpool

Stevan Jovetic makes the run he knows his teammates will find for his second goal against Liverpool

From David Silva’s touch back to Yaya Toure, to his give-and-go with Samir Nasri, to Nasri’s give-and-go with Silva again, to Silva’s ball into Jovetic (who’s probably been left out in training games before but now decides he wants to play as well) and Jovetic’s flick on for Nasri who finally gets the ball he was waiting for, the patient play at last came together and the chance was soon to be created.

Nasri then guided it to the area where Jovetic usually makes his runs, and voila – the goal.

Of course he ball is helped on its way into the net by Liverpool’s defending, especially when left-back Moreno stepped out of the defensive line to close down Yaya Toure out on the wing, leaving the not-so-defensively-minded Philippe Coutinho to fill the hole in defence.

A ball into Nasri later – given space thanks to Dejan Lovren stepping out of position for no reason – and with Jordan Henderson ball-watching instead of picking up Jovetic, City get a well-worked goal helped by clueless, Manchester United-esque defending.

Then there’s the third goal by Aguero, forged by an understanding with Jesus Navas and a knowledge that the winger will read his run and play the ball just ahead of the covering centre-back.

That goal defines how well this Manchester City team has gelled together. Aguero was on the pitch just 22 seconds by the time he found the net.

For Aguero to score from open play like that immediately after coming on takes excellent understanding of how his teammates work.

Barcelona-Futball-Club

Guardiola glory days at Barcelona the model for Manchester City’s future. Photo credit: wikimedia.commons.com

And now that intrinsic knowledge of how their teammates play could see Manchester City make their directors’ Barcelona dream a reality.

The stellar understanding between the Barca team of Pep Guardiola was the main factor that allowed his tiki-taka to become so dominant and win two Champions League titles.

Soriano and Begiristain came to City determined to recreate the Camp Nou glory days at the Etihad.

In hiring Pellegrini, they have a man who can realise their vision.

A 2013/14 season which yielded a Premier League and League Cup double was a great start, but it was just the beginning of the five-year cycle.

Last season, it was about polishing the squad, and then adapting it to playing more attractive football with a clockwork understanding.

Now is the season Manchester City are meant to dominate. The team has well and truly gelled, and the City juggernaut is finally scheduled to get rolling.

The beating of Liverpool and the teamwork that went into it gave Soriano and Begiristain the confirmation they clearly wanted – that their hard work and many hours put into this project are going to pay off.

Last season was no flash in the pan. Manchester City have proved again they are the top dogs in the Premier League, and that they’re going to keep it that way.