What We’ll Learn In The Transfer Window

Will Wilfried Bony to Man City be the biggest Premier League transfer this month?

Will Wilfried Bony to Man City be the biggest Premier League transfer this month?

A little change of pace this month, as we look ahead to what will happen during the transfer window. And as we all know transfers and the accompanying rumour mill with it’s glorious highs and crushing lows is far superior to the drudgery of actual football. Handily because nothing really happens until the last few weeks my tardiness isn’t that much of an issue.

 

Premier League Outright Betting Odds:

Chelsea 3/5

Manchester City 3/2

Manchester United 18/1

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

One thing (at the time of writing) that might possible already have happened/be in the process of happening is the transfer of Wilfried Bony to Manchester City. A devastatingly direct attacker with a deft first touch and a fierce strike, he can’t be anything other than great. His on-pitch time will be dependent on Sergio Aguero and his hamstrings but they’re made of rubber bands so Bony should get plenty of chances to impress.

On the other side of the city Louis van Gaal will do whatever he damn well likes. However he should probably look into sorting a defence that is, well it has, I mean…….it’s a bit crap really. He’s already brought in Victor Valdes, and might follow that up by buying his countryman Ron Vlaar who once got a 2! (out of 10!) for me on Football Manager. Make of that what you will (as I type this he’s just been ruled out for 4 weeks but I have a word count to hit so he’s staying in the article)

 

Arsenal will do what Arsenal do, there will be opinion pieces, banners and possibly some booing. At the end of it Arsenal will finish fourth and every single one of us will be ever so slightly closer to the blessed release of death.

Chelsea have completed the ‘transfers’ level of football so unless they fancy trying to beat their own high score we can ignore them during January.

 

Tottenham will sign a midfielder. He’ll pretend to be good for a bit, then it’ll turn out he’s rubbish. Aaron Lennon might leave, possibly for QPR where………..

*insert your own ‘dawwnn to the bare bones’ Harry Redknapp joke here*

 

Aston Villa are obviously far too boring for any of us to care about. Even if they do sign someone mildly interesting that poor soul will be subsumed by the overwhelming force of mediocrity that resides at Villa Park.

Nobody knows who is in charge of transfers at West Ham but let’s hope it’s the new fun loving version of Big Sam and he brings in Jay Jay Okocha, you know just for old times sake. Oh and they’ll sell Winston Reid to someone, maybe Arsenal.

 

The Anfield transfer committee will gather round the table, amalgamate their thoughts, you know some real blue sky thinking ‘there’s no such thing as a bad idea here, this is a safe space where we reshape the rules and turn dreams into reality’ and decide to spend twenty million quid on a center back who somehow manages to make their defence worse. Liverpool might try and punt Mario, but he’s performing so admirably in the role of scapegoat that that would surely be a grave error.

 

Southampton will sell someone who isn’t as good as people think he is for more money than he’s worth and will replace him with a better player from the Netherlands, their youth team or Celtic.

The only Leicester player I know is Esteban Cambiasso so it’s very hard for me to take much of a guess at their transfer activity. I’ll save any embarrassment by not bothering.

 

Stoke might sell Peter Crouch to West Brom now that Tony Pulis is in charge. I might make veggie burgers for tea tomorrow.

Now that he’s swapped Newcastle for Palace Alan Pardew will celebrate not being forced to exclusively sign French players with high sell on value by signing someone quintessentially English with no sell on value. Possibly the Queen, or some sort of Duke.

 

All I’ve got to say about Sunderland is that my mate met Gus Poyet once, I forgot to ask what he was like. I bet he’s a dick.

Everton should sign a defensive coach but they’ll probably sign someone from Wigan, Shaun Maloney maybe.

 

Burnley will continue their attempt to prove that a Championship team full of Championship players can survive in the Premier League by signing a Championship player.

Going to level with you here – I’m writing this on a train and my stop is coming up. So if I’ve forgotten your team then I’m sorry but you’re just not important enough (sorry Hull fans – ed.).

 

Follow me on Twitter where I occasionally RT something funny

 

Betting Instinct tip – with few transfers likely to go through before this weekend’s games, back a London treble: Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all to win is 3.59 with AllYouBet.ag.

 

Ally avatarALLY MONCRIEFF is a freelance football writer and editor of All or Nothing magazine. Sometimes even he can’t tell if he’s being serious or not. Follow Ally on Twitter and maybe he’ll be your friend.

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Tyne-Wear Derby offers Newcastle and Sunderland’s unsung heroes a chance to shine

Jozy Altidore could earn himself cult hero status at Sunderland by shining against Newcastle

Jozy Altidore could earn himself cult hero status at Sunderland by shining against Newcastle

It suits Alan Pardew to downplay the significance of Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby. Since being gifted the Newcastle job in December 2010, his team have won just one of their seven clashes with Sunderland. When the away team came away from St James’ Park with a 3-0 victory in 2013, it was the heaviest Newcastle derby defeat since 1979 – and then, a year later, it happened again. When Pardew told the press this week that the fixture is ‘always interesting’, then, he almost certainly meant ‘interesting’ in its most euphemistic sense. ‘Shut your noise,’ he seems to be saying to Newcastle fans, and focus your attentions elsewhere.

His Sunderland counterpart Gus Poyet might be expected to be a smidgen more brash, given that he is unbeaten in Tyne-Wear derbies since taking over as manager. Not so: ‘unless someone wins player of the month like Connor Wickham and Adam Johnson did last season,’ he said after his team’s 10th draw in 16 league games, ‘it is going to be boring draws all the time.’ As a strict assessment of his team’s recent performances, it is fair enough. As a means of stirring and spurring them to another win at the home of their biggest rivals, it looks at best misguided.

 

Newcastle United v Sunderland Betting Odds:

Newcastle win 9/10

Sunderland win 57/20

Draw 49/20

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

Thankfully, Sunday is not about words. Whatever Pardew or Poyet have to say, it cannot diminish – nor, for that matter, amplify – what is a moment, not a match. Fans of both teams love the derby because fans of both teams make the derby (it is always just ‘the derby’), transforming manager to makeweight, player to pawn, and stadium to cesspit – glorious, wondrous, hate-filled cesspit.

After Newcastle were comprehensively beaten by Arsenal at the weekend, I sent a message to my Newcastle-supporting dad, noting that the midweek League Cup quarter final vs Tottenham was always the more important fixture. His reply was, ‘I and derby stick it up the makums’ (‘I’ equals ‘Aye’, ‘makums’ equals ‘mackems’, or Sunderland fans): no nuance, no cause for elaboration, just a target. While this might be typical of most dads’ football texting habits, it is nonetheless telling. There is no room for ‘rational’ analysis when the derby rolls around; what we have here, Clive, is an occasion where the form book goes out of the window. It is instead something to relish (for the victors), to detest (for the losers), to wonder upon (for the outsiders).

 

All of this makes picking a winner next to impossible. With Shola Ameobi, who – stat alert – scored 16% of his Premier League goals against Sunderland, now taking a late-career amble in the Turkish second tier, United lack a talisman. Sunderland are in a similar pickle: Fabio Borini, their preferred derby bogeyman with three of his eight English top flight strikes coming in wins over Newcastle, is back on the bench at struggling Liverpool.

In lieu of logic, only #NARRATIVE can take up the slack. Every derby demands a hero and a villain: take Kevin Nolan and Titus Bramble on Halloween 2010, or Jack Colback and Pardew – always Pardew – in the February of last season. Sunday will be no different, and at a stretch there are a few clues as to who they might be. Samuel Ameobi could be inspired by his brother’s proud legacy, or he could collapse under the pressure of his hefty surname. Colback could replicate said performance in his new team’s colours, or he could continue to do Sunderland favours. Josmer Volmy Altidore could do what he has done for the last 18 months, that is, nothing at all, or he could find in the derby the catalyst for something remarkable.

I have no idea. Pardew and Poyet have no idea. Nobody has any idea. And if that makes for a terrible betting preview, then so be it.

 

Betting Instinct tip – Eight of Sunderland’s games this season have either finished 0-0 (8/1 with AllYouBet.ag) or 1-1 (11/2), and a repeat of one of these scorelines seems likely

 

Kieran avatar KIERAN DODDS  is a masters student and writer. He has written about sport, politics and current affairs for the Guardian, the Huffington Post, Africa is a Country, When Saturday Comes, IBWM and others. Follow Kieran on Twitter.

Sunderland v Manchester United: A must-win in August

Ander Herrera was one of few bright sparks for Manchester United in their season opener

Ander Herrera was one of few bright sparks for Manchester United in their season opener

The Stadium of Light will aptly shine some answers this Sunday afternoon on two clubs presently in the dark.

Sunderland’s miraculous rescue mission last season – including shock triumphs at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge and a tremendous point at Manchester City – certainly reinvigorated a side that lay fractious and shredded of confidence after Paulo Di Canio’s reign of madness, but a nothing-to-lose charge is one thing: now we uncover the true extent of the damage the erratic Italian caused and whether indeed Gus Poyet is the man to bring stability and standing back to Wearside.

An encouraging opening day draw at the Hawthorns bodes well and arguably a passionate home clash against the thirteen times Premier League champions is the perfect early opportunity to measure how far down the road to convalescence they are.

Sunderland v Manchester United Betting Odds:

Sunderland win – 15/4

Manchester United win – 7/10

Draw – 5/2

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)
This is equally true – and seemingly when is it not? – of Jack Rodwell, Sunderland’s £10m summer acquisition, who should benefit from an hour’s workout at West Brom and will hope for similar this weekend partnered alongside the fiery Lee Cattermole.

Cattermole is guilty at times of resembling a headless chicken that has staggered its way into a pair of boots but the onus falls on him this term to bolster an otherwise lightweight midfield since the unexpected north-east defection of Jack Colback. A huge season awaits the fan’s favourite and it is imperative that he finally curbs his infamous disciplinary problems that averages a red for every 27 games and has led to the second most dismissals since the Premier League formed. These are damning and startling stats for a 26 year old.

Unless Poyet can turn around a frustrating transfer window and strengthen the spine Cattermole will be as instrumental to Sunderland’s fortunes as the calm assurance provided by Brown and O’Shea who will both be once again looking to show their former employer that they’ve aged like fine wine or George Clooney’s face. The duo have forged an impressive bedrock of experience at the back for the Black Cats and boast a decent 2014 record against United, winning two and drawing one of their three encounters. It’s a record they will want to continue.

 

From a neutral’s point of view most eyes will be on the visitors this Sunday with a million ABUs (‘anyone but United’) desperately hoping to share yet more gifs of David Moyes manically laughing.

This very fixture two years ago was the most defining in Manchester United’s recent history leading to a chain of events that took in short-term success, upheaval, catastrophe, and ultimately the temporary loss of their famed fear factor.
Despite the Reds disposing of Sunderland on the final day of 2012 their bitter city rivals achieved last-gasp immortality and perceivably wrestled a large chunk of the power and prestige long-held in Salford across to the blue half of Manchester.

This forced a wounded Sir Alex Ferguson to postpone his retirement for a final campaign and the proud Govan man was never going to risk his personal quest for departing glory by making the necessary overhauling of an aging, mediocre squad. After somehow bullying and cajoling the tired limbs of Ferdinand and limited vision of Cleverley to a title he then handed over the shambles-in-waiting to Moyes. Faced with a daunting task of dismantling a clique of established superstars whilst attempting to fill impossibly large shoes Moyes’ fate as the chosen scapegoat was sealed the minute he took the job.

 

Which brings us to the here and now of Louis Van Gaal, a Champions League winner with the stature and arrogance to carry the oppressive demands of bossing United snug in his suit breast pocket.

The narrative of this summer is that the Dutchman will bring attacking adventure and imperious swagger back to Old Trafford and both the supporters and media have been keen to depict him as Ferguson 2.0. But a shock 2-1 reverse to Swansea last week pricked the confidence and allowed doubts to seep in that one individual – no matter how savvy and worldly-wise – is not the instant solution to fundamental shortcomings.

 

For all the talk of Van Gaal mirroring his United side on his Holland team that nearly stole the show in Brazil – with three at the back and incisive moment – the likes of Young, Valencia and the up-and-coming Januzaj are not fit to grace Arjen Robben’s jet-heels while a trio of Jones, Smalling and Blackett as a defensive foundation are, quite frankly, perfectly ordinary.

There will be as much interest in his line-up this Sunday as the performance and result and even more interest in any transfer movement that urgently needs to happen.

So will Sunderland’s great escape last May prove to be nothing more than a stay of execution? Or has Poyet steadied the ship as they sail to mid-table calm waters?

Will Van Gaal bring glory, glory back to United or will a second defeat hint at continued crisis and the distant sound of knives sharpening?

Ninety minutes at the Stadium of Light won’t provide all of the answers. But there will be clues aplenty.

 

Betting Instinct tip – Sunderland to avoid defeat and increase the pressure on their visitors is 2.02 with Intertops.eu

 

Ste avatar STEPHEN TUDOR is editor of the Daisy Cutter, the football newspaper that only sometimes lies. He also writes  for  Sabotage Times, When Saturday Comes, Late Tackle and others. Follow him on Twitter.

Can Sunderland upset the odds to win the Capital One Cup Final?

Former Man City player Adam Johnson will be Sunderland's key player at Wembley

Former Man City player Adam Johnson will be Sunderland’s key player at Wembley

It’s that time of the year again as the first cup final of the English domestic season rolls around again and this year we have the impressive Manchester City and the plucky underdogs Sunderland lining up face to face at Wembley as they battle to lift the Capital One Cup into the air in triumph.

GR88.com, like pretty much everyone outside of Wearside, sees this match being a runaway victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, but one only has to look at the FA Cup final last season, where City were beaten by Wigan, and the recent head to head record between these sides, with Sunderland winning four and drawing one of the last eight matches, to see that there is more than meets the eye in this David versus Goliath clash.

Capital One Cup Final Odds:

Manchester City – 1.30

Draw (and extra time) – 5.10

Sunderland – 7.80

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

We would have had an indication of how this match between these two teams would go as they were due to meet at The Etihad two and a half weeks ago, but due to the weather conditions making it unsafe for fans to enter and leave the stadium safely the game was called off. This means that we’re going into this game in the unknown as they have not faced each other since the start of November when Sunderland secured a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light thanks to a Phil Bardsley goal.

Sunderland have now won all of the last four competitive matches away from The Etihad against City and are unbeaten in five since losing 3-0 at home at the start of the 2008/09 Premier League season. With this record and the memories of Ben Watson’s goal late in the FA Cup Final last season still haunting their memories, City will have lingering doubts in the back of their minds about this first match back at Wembley since that late heartbreak last season.

However, they will be confident about their own abilities that have seen them score 19 goals, including beating West Ham 9-0 on aggregate over two legs in the Semi Final. However, they have had a relatively easy route to the final with Wigan, Newcastle, Leicester and West Ham their opponents on the way. Despite this they have struggled of late with two losses, against Chelsea and Barcelona in the Premier and Champions Leagues as well a 0-0 draw at Norwich all coming in their last five matches.

Sunderland will look to this and see a weakness and they will look to take advantage and with Chelsea and Manchester United their last two high profile casualties on their march to the final, they will not fear anyone at Wembley. Certainly a side they do so well against will not have them quaking in their boots and with Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson being integral parts of their side and having won this trophy with Birmingham City in 2011 they have plenty of experience to back up their confidence.

Each side will have a key player and for the favourites it is Sergio Aguero who is likely to return from injury for this match. If he can return and hit the ground running then he will cure the ails of City who have been struggling for goals during his month long absence. For Sunderland it is former City player Adam Johnson as the winger has found form since the middle of January as he has bagged  six goals.

For me, I love to see a good upset in the cup and Sunderland have already taken the scalps of Chelsea and Man United and with their record against City in recent times I can see them at least pushing City all the way and, at best, lifting this Capital One Cup trophy at Wembley this weekend.

Back Sunderland +1.5 goals in the Capital One Cup Final versus Man City @ 1.86 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Can Sunderland continue their fine form against Man City this midweek?

Phil Bardsley scores the winner in the 1-0 win for Sunderland earlier this season

Phil Bardsley scores the winner in the 1-0 win for Sunderland earlier this season

While the big match and major talking point in the Premier League in this round of midweek games is the Arsenal v Manchester United match at The Emirates, there is an equally interesting game happening at The Etihad Stadium this Wednesday.

City are impressive in front of their own fans this season, with 11 wins in 12 Premier League matches and they have lost only to Chelsea and Bayern Munich winning here in all competitions, but they are facing one of their bogey teams in Sunderland. City have managed just two wins in eight meetings with Gus Poyet’s men, while Sunderland have won four and drawn two of the other six. Can they increase that amount this midweek?

GR88.com see the City home record this season being more pertinent than the recent history of matches between them and Sunderland.

Manchester City v Sunderland Odds:

Manchester City – 1.18

Draw – 7.00

Sunderland – 16.50

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

City may have a fantastic record of 11 wins from 12 Premier League games at The Etihad Stadium and 17 wins in 19 home games in all competitions this season, but they come into this game with Sunderland having failed to score in two games thanks to a 1-0 home loss to Chelsea being followed by a weekend 0-0 draw at Carrow Road. However, I do not expect this lack of goals to last too long as they have 72 goals in their games at home this season and their 68 Premier League goals in their 25 matches has them as the division’s top scorers.

Sunderland will take heart from three clean sheets in their last four matches, although they were beaten 2-0 at home by Hull at the weekend, and the fact that they have won both of their last two matches with City in the Premier League. Both of these wins came at the Stadium of Light and the hosts kept clean sheets in both 1-0 wins and despite losing 3-0 at The Etihad Stadium last season they were not outplayed, bar in front of goal, and they will feel that they can challenge at one of the toughest places to come in the Premier League.

As well as their belief, Sunderland have an unbeaten run of six matches away from home before today, winning three and drawing three, with them keeping four clean sheets during this time. I’m not confident of Sunderland getting something from this match on Wednesday evening, but I can certainly see them challenging City and I can see them covering the +2 goal handicap that GR88.com have placed on this match. Even if they are beaten I do not see City winning by at least three goals and, as such, I’m putting my cash on the visitors to impress in this Manchester City v Sunderland game and continue their reputation as City’s bogey team.

Back Sunderland +2 goals at The Etihad against Manchester City @ 1.96 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Tyne-Wear derby kicks off the Premier League weekend

Steven Fletcher celebrates scoring the opener in Sunderland's 2-1 win over Newcastle earlier this season

Steven Fletcher celebrates scoring the opener in Sunderland’s 2-1 win over Newcastle earlier this season

The opening fixture of the 24th round of Premier League football tomorrow is one of the biggest and fiercest derby matches in the top flight of English football as Newcastle welcome Sunderland to St. James’ Park in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Newcastle are favoured to claim all three points against their local rivals tomorrow lunchtime, but they are without a win in four Tyne-Wear derby matches and have suffered losses in both of the last two. The last time these sides met at St. James’ Park saw the Black Cats claim a thumping 3-0 victory at the end of last season. Can they repeat that victory this weekend?

The GR88.com Tyne-Wear outright odds suggest a narrow home win, but what do you think?

Tyne-Wear Derby Odds:

Newcastle – 1.93

Draw – 3.25

Sunderland – 3.85

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Despite the fact that the Magpies are favoured to end their awful form in Tyne-Wear derby matches things may not be as straight forward as they hope as they have suffered losses in each of their last three home games. Their last victory at St. James’ Park came on Boxing Day more than a month ago as they put five past Stoke in a 5-1 win and Arsenal, Cardiff and Man City have since travelled to the North East, leaving with a win to their name. To top off their great run, they have lost Yohan Cabaye to PSG this transfer window so how will they manage in this derby match?

While their hosts are down in the dumps, Sunderland’s confidence is through the roof right now with them making the Capital One Cup final at the expense of Manchester United and their 1-0 win over Stoke last weekend seeing them out of the relegation zone for the first time in months. They’re now unbeaten in seven and have suffered a single loss in 13 matches since the start of December.

I feel that with the form that the Black Cats are showing lately, and the confidence boost that this provides, along with their fine record in Tyne-Wear derbies of late I don’t feel that the visiting side to St. James’ Park this weekend should be so long in the betting odds. As such, Sunderland present great value and I’m putting my cash on the away side not to be beaten today.

Back Sunderland to win or draw this Tyne-Wear derby @ 1.86 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Can Man United overturn a 2-1 deficit in the Capital One Cup tonight?

Fabio Borini celebrates scoring the winner in the first leg of this tie at the Stadium of Light

Fabio Borini celebrates scoring the winner in the first leg of this tie at the Stadium of Light

Although United made the last 16 of the Champions League and are one of three sides remaining in the Capital One Cup at this time, most people would agree that this season has been one disaster after another for the defending Premier League champions. They are 14 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal after 22 matches of the Premier League season and were eliminated from the FA Cup, a competition they have won on 11 occasions, at the first hurdle by Swansea City. They can reach the final of the Capital One Cup still, but they need to turn around a 2-1 deficit after losing the first leg at the Stadium of Light two weeks ago against a side sitting second bottom of the Premier League.

Can the United turn things around? They certainly have the players to do so, but does David Moyes have the dressing room motivation to get the hosts at Old Trafford this evening out of a four losses in five game slump? GR88.com believe so as they favour a comfortable home win this evening, but will United, unlike on so many occasions this season, live up to expectations?

Man United v Sunderland Odds:

Home Victory – 1.28

Draw – 5.00

Away Victory – 8.80

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

While the 2013 portion of this season was poor for United domestically, 2014 has been an utter shambles as they have lost four of the five games played so far and they are clearly struggling right now. They have missed Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for four and ten matches respectively and their recent form has shown how vital they are to the side despite four goals between Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez in this poor five game run. Both the English and Dutch strikers are in line for a return this evening, but will they be (a) fit enough to play and (b) able to make an impact if they play? David Moyes will be hoping for a return to form from these two players, and if they hit the ground running I feel United deserve to be the favourites to win this match. The big questions are can they do this and will the rest of the team be up to their standards if they do?

Sunderland will hope not on both counts, but even if United do come out firing tonight Gustavo Poyet’s men will still be confident about getting a result that will see them face Manchester City in the final at Wembley on March 2nd. They have won three and drawn one of their last four matches, scoring 13 goals in this time, and have suffered just a single defeat in their last ten matches in all competitions. Things were looking bad for Sunderland for much of the first half of the season, but Poyet has stabilised the ship and is turning it around, with them now sitting just one point behind Fulham in the 17th place in the league and just above the relegation zone. Victory tonight will boost their confidence even further and see them feel they can move out of the relegation zone for the first time since August, but can they progress against all the odds?

The first leg win at the Stadium of Light two weeks ago was the first time that Sunderland had managed to defeated Manchester United since 1997 and they would love to get back to back wins over the Premier League champions tonight. However, their last away win at Old Trafford came in 1968 and it was 1950/51 when they last won back to back matches against the Red Devils. United certainly aren’t the team that they once were, but will they allow the Capital One Cup to slip away from their grasp just like the FA Cup and Premier League this season?

I certainly don’t see United as being as large favourites as the match odds suggest, even less so if Rooney and van Persie do not play tonight, and with Sunderland having found some fine form of late I certainly see them doing some damage to United this evening. Both teams will realistically need to go and get goals this evening if they are to assure their place in the final and I can see both of these sides finding the net at least once at Old Trafford tonight.

Back both Manchester United and Sunderland to score in this Capital One Cup semi final match this evening @ 1.94 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Sunderland to Win Four in a Row and Move Out of the Relegation Zone?

Sebastian Larsson fires in the winner in the 2-1 League Cup meeting between the sides this season.

Sebastian Larsson fires in the winner in the 2-1 League Cup meeting between the sides this season.

This weekend’s Premier League football gets underway with the third meeting of Sunderland and Southampton and despite sitting in the bottom three places in the league it is Gus Poyet’s men that unbeaten so far. The Black Cats led for 85 minutes of the reverse Premier League clash back at the end of August before the Saints levelled in the 88th minute to rescue a point and Sunderland also claimed a 2-1 victory at home in Capital One Cup, where they are now 90 minutes away from the final, but can they take all three points today and move out of the relegation zone?

The Sunderland v Southampton outright odds with bookmaker GR88.com do not favour the home side and they see the Saints continuing a resurgence that has seen them win two in a row before this weekend.

Sunderland v Southampton Match Odds:

Black Cats Victory – 2.88

Draw – 3.05

Saints Victory – 2.38

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

It has taken time, with this match being the 22nd game of the Premier League campaign for both Sunderland and Southampton, but the Black Cats look as if they’re finally getting their season together as they have won all of their last three games before this weekend. All three wins have come in different competitions as they defeated League One Carlisle in the FA Cup before securing a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi final then they defeated Fulham 4-1 at Craven Cottage in the league to move them off the bottom of the table. They will be confident for this match, but can they upset the odds and make it four wins in a row this weekend?

Southampton are enjoying their own resurgence at the moment following wins over Burnley in the FA Cup and West Brom in the Premier League after they had managed to defeat only Cardiff in nine games. Despite this turnaround in form, they have had a tough week as executive chairman Nicola Cortese resigned during the week and left questions hanging over the head of manager Mauricio Pochettino who had previous stated he would leave if Cortese did. To compound this, their away record is not the best either as they have only beaten Cardiff on the road in nine games since beating Liverpool at Anfield in September, so will they be able to put all their troubles behind them to take all three points?

Not only are Sunderland unbeaten in both matches against Southampton this season, they have not lost any of their last six matches against the Saints in a run that is now 11 years old. They have claimed victory in three, as well as having drawn three, of these six games and I feel that they offer fantastic value to win this match as the outsiders. However, with this weekend being the one year anniversary of Pochettino taking charge at Southampton as well as them having won both of their last two matches this game could swing either way for these sides. Both teams do have goals in them, as well as struggling to keep clean sheets lately, and I feel that we’ll see both of these sides find themselves on the scoresheet like in five of the last six meetings, including all three matches in 2013.

Back both the Black Cats and Saints to score in this Sunderland v Southampton match at the Stadium of Light this weekend @ 1.80.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Man United Favoured to Take the Advantage at the Stadium of Light

 

David de Gea saves late on to see United beat Sunderland 2-1 this season.

David de Gea saves late on to see United beat Sunderland 2-1 this season.

Sunderland and Manchester United meet for the second time this season in this first leg of the Capital One Semi Finals following the bursting onto the football scene of Adnan Januzaj as his 77 minute appearance brought two goals and all three points for David Moyes’ men. This has been one of the few high points for United this season and they will be desperate for a repeat of this result at the Stadium of Light tomorrow evening, but will they be able to claim the advantage in this Capital One Cup Semi Final?

GR88.com believe so as they favour the away win for United, who have won all of the last six meetings with Sunderland are unbeaten against them since 1997, a run of 23 matches. GR88.com’s Sunderland v Manchester United match odds are as below.

Sunderland v Manchester United Odds:

Sunderland Victory – 4.40

Draw – 3.35

Manchester United Victory – 1.66

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

Sunderland’s progress through this tournament has been relatively straight forward for a side that sits bottom of the Premier League as they have recorded 4-2 and 2-0 wins over lower league opposition in the MK Dons and Peterborough before seeing off fellow Premier League sides Southampton and Chelsea to reach the final four stage. They were 2-0 up against Southampton before an 89th minute goal from the Saints saw them sweat before making the last eight where they trailed Chelsea until the 88th minute and despite Chelsea creating chance after chance it was the Black Cats that booked their place in the Semi Finals with a 118th minute goal to win the tie. Their league form has not been good, but they have not lost in either cup this season so will they be able to upset the odds today and move into the final?

United are not having a great season under their new management as they sit only 7th in the Premier League and were eliminated from the FA Cup at Old Trafford by Swansea at the weekend as William Bony scored an injury time winner for the Welsh side. They have now lost four of their last six matches and are certainly not striking fear into the hearts of their opposition as they once did, but with wins over Liverpool, Norwich and Stoke City in the Capital One Cup without a goal conceded they look to have fixed their attentions on claiming this trophy as a priority. Can they draw on their 17 year unbeaten run against Sunderland to see them bring an advantage back to Old Trafford for the second leg of this tie?

I am of the feeling that the odds on this match are correct as United, despite all their faults this season, are looking impressive in the Capital One Cup this season and are likely to take an advantage back to Old Trafford. Sunderland, however, are a gritty side and will dig deep in this match to ensure they are still in the running to make the final in the second leg. I can certainly see both of these sides finding themselves on the scoresheet in this match and I would not be surprised to see Sunderland get something from the game, but I feel the value is to be had on the goals market.

Back both Sunderland and Manchester United to score in this Capital One Cup Semi Final First Leg game @ 1.77 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Chelsea and Man City Favourites to Progress in the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals

We'll be losing two sides from the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals tonight, but which two?

We’ll be losing two sides from the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals tonight, but which two?

There are two matches being played in the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals this evening in Sunderland v Chelsea and Leicester v Man City. My thoughts on both matches are as follows.

Sunderland v Chelsea:

This is the second meeting of these two teams at the Stadium of Light in less than two weeks after the thrilling 4-3 win for Chelsea that saw Edin Hazard steal the show with two goals, an assist and a man of the match performance that made the difference between the two sides. While Jose Mourinho is likely to rest players for this match tonight due to him being more concerned with the away game at Arsenal that could see his side go top of the table for Christmas, if other results go his way, but he’ll still want to continue a winning run over Sunderland that sits at six games already.

GR88.com favour the away win this evening and their Sunderland v Chelsea betting odds reflect how they see this match going:

Sunderland to win – 5.30

Draw – 3.70

Chelsea to win – 1.52

Sunderland will too have their eye on the Premier League with them sat bottom of the table and five points away from safety so they are likely to rest players too with a vital match at home to Norwich coming up at the weekend. The difference between the sides is the strength in depth in the teams and I can see this being the thing that separates the teams on the night and with Chelsea having a much better array of talent I am backing the away side to win again and to do so with a few goals scored too.

Back Chelsea to win and +2.5 goals in this Capital One Cup Quarter Finals game @ 2.26 with GR88.com.

Leicester v Man City:

This match has a different feel about it as, just like both Sunderland and Chelsea, Premier League side Man City are likely to rest players for this Capital One Cup Quarter Finals match at the King Power Stadium but the home side will not and will fancy their chances at claiming an upset over one of the title favourites.

GR88.com disagree though and their Leicester v Man City betting odds are as below:

Leicester City to win – 7.40

Draw – 4.50

Manchester City to win – 1.34

City appear to have gotten a handle on their away form with the 3-2 win at the Allianz Arena last week against Bayern Munich one of the high points of the season that has seen them lose at Cardiff, Aston Villa and Sunderland this season. Leicester have impressed at home in front of their fans with just one loss in 12 matches at Championship level and I feel that they will challenge City this evening. City should win the match, but with them resting players and being away from home I cannot see this being a comfortable victory for the visitors this evening.

Back both Leicester and Man City to score in this Capital One Cup Quarter Finals match @ 1.70 in the GR88 Sportsbook!

All odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.