Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Remarkable Scenes

Well last night was something special, and I don't think I have ever witnessed a game with so many goals before! You can tell it was one of those weird nights though, simply because Chamakh scored a lob! I blame it on the coming Halloween. I had layed Reading at 4-2 at odds of 1.1 for £20, but I had all but written that bet off until Walcott's last flourish. I feel the match completely summed up how it must feel to be an Arsenal fan throughout the course of a season - annoyance - anger - devastation - embarrassment - hope - joy - disbelief - disappointment - ecstasy - we're gonna win the quadruple. Arsenal are now temporarily favourites to win the cup, but I expect the winner of tonight's rematch between United and Chelsea will shorten to favourite by tomorrow morning.

Back in the Premier League it was a good weekend for my bets as Spurs won away and United beat Chelsea, though not in completely legitimate ways. I have to be careful here because naturally I am biased toward United, but I think it should be noted that Chelsea rightly down to 10 men before the Torres debacle, and they would have struggled to maintain their high intensity right to the end. Furthermore, Torres should have been sent off for a horrendous challenge on Cleverly in the first half, and I think if he and the United players had made more of it then he probably would have been sent off. Despite this however, it was a shame how it turned out - never a red for Torres and miles offside was Hernandez - and the markets have shown some sympathy toward Chelsea on this occasion. They have drifted in the markets but only very slightly, presumably because people feel they would have fared better had they not been 'robbed'. They are still fancied in the winners market, only drifting from 3.75 to 3.95, and they still sit a solid 1.09 to finish in the top 4. 

It will be interesting to see if this racism row with Clattenburg has any impact at all on decisions against or for Chelsea. The referee's union is known for being a close-knit group, and I just wonder if there is a 50-50 in their next match which way the referee will swing. We will see.

That's all from me today, more Capital One Cup to look forward to tonight. Chelsea are quite big favourites for tonight's clash, and I'm not sure why really. United won on Sunday and undoubtedly have a bigger squad which should be stronger on paper , if both teams play their reserves that is. Chelsea obviously have the home advantage but I still think that 2.18 is very short, even if there is the 'revenge factor'. Enjoy all.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Chelsea shorten, Arsenal drift

It is that time of the season again when Arsenal drop points to a low placed team and everyone begins to lament their lack of strength and Piers Morgan cries about how poor the team is these days compared to the 'Invincibles'. The sad truth is however, that no one should really be surprised in the slightest. Much the same as every other season in recent history, the club decided to sell big and buy small, leaving the team threadbare and slapdash. Last year it was Nasri and Fabregas, replaced by the monstrous Arteta and Benayoun, along with a spattering of other nobodies. This year it was Song and Van Persie, replaced with Cazorla (okay Arsene, you can have that one) and Giroud (you can't have that one though). Podolski was also recruited but he looks as if he is going to slip into the Walcott bracket Arsenal so dearly cherish, ie superb one week, dire the next. 3 wins from 8 and they sit 9th in the table, yet it is probably fair to say that it is only the Arsenal fans with delusions of grandeur who are surprised by this. A couple of exciting performances from Cazorla and a goal from Giroud got the fans wiggling with excitement, but reality has settled back in now and they must acknowledge they are a top 4 side, but no more for now. Interestingly, the market is still heavily favouring them for the top 4 at a price of 1.7, and I would probably agree with that price for now. They have a good team still, better than those around them, they will improve and probably do just enough to make the top 4, but they won't run away with it. And that is precisely what makes the top 4 market so exciting to trade. After being 1.5 midweek they are now on the drift and don't be surprised to see them hit evens soon if their form doesn't improve.

On the other side of North London we have a club who does know how to spend, and they have done so to devastating effect this time round. For the first time this season they have crept into the 3s for the title, sitting at 3.75, as the market is beginning to take them seriously as title contenders. I have opposed them and I stand by my stance that they can't continue this form for too long, but I have to admit they are playing very well at the moment, and their performance against Spurs was particularly impressive. They're now at 1.09 to finish in the top 4 after storming 8 and 10 points clear of Spurs and Arsenal respectively. Their next task is Manchester United twice in a week, in the league and Capital One Cup, and here we will see what Chelsea are really made of. But with both games at Stamford Bridge and the defensive frailties of United so far, you would be a brave man to take on The Pensioners. That said, Chelsea's defence looks wobbly itself without their captain so I will be expecting the overs markets to be heavy odds on in a fixture which finished 3-3 last season.

I got back to winning ways this weekend taking a small profit of around £13. After reprimanding myself the other week I kept my stakes steady and calculated, even when United lost the lead AGAIN, and it worked out a lot better for me overall. My in-play trading hasn't been as productive so far this season as I would have hoped, but this is more down to lack of time than anything I am doing wrong. Most weekends I have been visiting friends or family and throughout the week I have a lot of work on at university (a student doing work, shocking I know, but it does happen). I will continue to try and take profits but perhaps my inconsistency is costing me slightly and I'm not convinced I will be able to make my £500 target by week 38. But as long as I make a profit, from in-play and my longer trades, I will be happy.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Cashing out and topping up

This last week of football has been pretty dire. Regular followers of this blog will know how much I despise the international breaks, especially when the Premier League is just kicking into gear. Finally the domestic action is back and tomorrow starts with what should be a cracker from the Lane, and my money will be on Spurs, for what it's worth.

This week I have been exiting a number of trades, while topping up others and entering one more. As previously stated, Norwich and Spurs have both done enough for me so I exited the trades which involved them. On the Norwich to be relegated bet I traded out for around £31 on both scenarios for a 37% profit, which I was happy with given that my target was 10%. The 'Spurs to finish top 6' and 'Norwich to finish rock bottom' bets I took my stake back from, but have left the profit on one side for now and will look to even it up at a later date. I reduced my liability on the Fulham top 10 bet by 50%, and will look to take a full profit of around 25% in the future sometime.

After much umming and ahhing, I have decided to top up on my Arsenal top 4 lay rather than take a loss at this time. After studying recent years and talking to others about the trade, I think it is unlikely Arsenal will remain as low as 1.5 all season, so I think the right thing to do is to lay them further, leaving my liability on the trade around £184. I mentioned before that I was looking to find a way to oppose Chelsea, and I have decided to lay them for the top 2 at odds of 2.2 for £121. I didn't really have a great deal of choice on this one, seeing as the winners price of 4.4 is far to high for me to take on, which really only left this market and the 'winners without the top 2' market. Liquidity is a bit of an issue and this led me to take a price slightly higher than I wanted, but hopefully it will be okay when it comes to trading out. I also topped up £25 on the straight forecast bets, leaving my liability on that market at £175.

I don't have a great deal else to report today as the week has been largely dull, but I am looking forward to seeing how these new trades perform. Have a good weekend.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Last night was a completely pointless outing for England, and although I felt the pundits were being unnecessarily harsh to San Marino, it really was stupid them even being there. FIFA and UEFA need to step in and devise a qualification round prior to the proper qualification round, because it is simply stupid for a team to carry on when they haven't scored a goal in three years or so. The odds were unique and nothing like anything I have ever seen for an England game; after 25 goalless minutes they were still unbackable on Betfair, which is a joke. I managed to make a small amount backing the  overs after half time, but opportunities remained few and far between for the majority of the match.

Enough of internationals now and back to the good stuff. A friend of mine asked me this week to rank in order Cazorla, Kagawa, Mata and Silva, from best to worst. I said I would do it based on form so far this year as that's the only fair way I could really do it, and I placed them thus: Cazorla 1st, Mata, Silva and Kagawa last. I thought this kind of ironic that their current order was the reverse way round for how I think the league will finish (possibly), and this got me thinking about why this is. The conclusions I came to are largely conjecture but I think they are still a fair representation of the make up of these four clubs. So far it seems as if the two Manchester clubs have more talent up top than they know what to do with and both are struggling to find a system which works and accommodates all of their talent. United have brought in Van Persie and are naturally trying to fit him in at any price, although he is at least scoring goals for them. This poses the problem of where to fit Rooney, whilst Welbeck and Hernandez have been used in bit parts so far. The arrival of Kagawa has completely changed the dimension of play, with United attempting to play a 4-4-1-1 formation with Kagawa behind the striker, only the team has not adapted well to this at all, and Kagawa has now been forced to the left wing as Ferguson is opting for the more traditional 4-4-2. Similarly, City have struggled to find a formation to fit all of their players, with David Silva frequently being pushed to the left also, thus severely limiting his capabilities as a tinkerman. In contrast, Chelsea and Arsenal have a lot less to choose from at the top and have found their feet a lot quicker because of it. Their starting elevens basically pick themselves and Di Matteo and Wenger have had little in the way of tactical headaches so far this season. Stability has meant that Cazorla has got off to a cracker, and since his return from injury Mata has too, along with Hazard and Torres. The problem will come however, when the league toughens up and fixtures become more frequent, straining the squads of each team. I feel things are about to get a lot tougher for Arsenal and Chelsea, and Spurs probably too, (as they have been going well with a small squad so far) particularly as the winter months approach. If we look at the four benches of the top four teams the other day, the comparisons are huge: City (vs Sunderland) : Pantilimon, Clichy, K Toure, Nasri, Dzeko, Aguero, Rodwell. United (vs Newcastle) : Lindegaard, Wooton, Valencia, Giggs, Anderson, Scholes, Hernandez. Arsenal (vs West Ham) : Martinez, Koscielny, Santos, Walcott, Oxlade, Arshavin, Coquelin. Chelsea (vs Norwich) : Turnbull, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Romeu, Moses, Ramires. Clearly here we can see the two Manchester clubs have a much greater squad and this is the point in the season when this should begin to show through to some extent (though probably not quite as much as after New Year). I mentioned before that I would start to take on Chelsea from now on, and I am still looking for the right market to do so at the moment. I was suprised to see how few strikers Chelsea have this year, and wasn't surprised to read this morning that they want Falcao to come in January. Should Torres get an injury they will be relying on Sturridge, who isn't an outright striker by any means.

My other trades have been successful so far, and I am in the process of trading out of a couple. Norwich have had a brilliantly awful start and I am choosing now to trade out of the bet on them for relegation. In addition to this, Spurs have done enough to ensure that their top 6 price has dropped enough, so I am also looking to get out of that one too. I think they have the potential to beat Chelsea next Saturday, but I'd rather just back them in the match odds rather than leave my trade open for longer.

Enjoy your weekends, I hope they're greener than green.

Monday, 8 October 2012


I feel stupid even saying this, and many of you will look at this and say 'tell us something we don't know?!', but the fact is SOMEONE SOMEWHERE religiously thinks it is a good idea to back them and is therefore ensuring that Liverpool's price holds no value. Having won only two league home games since they last played Stoke at home they were bizarrely priced up at 1.5 to win yesterday, before proceeding to cost the blinkered backers a great deal of money...again. Some say it is the Asians who keep the price low, but I am yet to see any evidence or real reason for such an argument, especially since other clubs with large Asian support show no such irregularities in the markets. Others point to the blind faith of the Scousers, but I seriously doubt that club loyalty punts could have the liquidity to have a serious affect on the market, especially when pitted against another club with loyal fans, unless the Scousers are more prone to gambling... Unlikely. I reckon the only explanation is that it is a match fixing scam which has gone wrong. Either that or an increasing number of aliens now have a Betfair account.

Back to my trading now and Gundulf left me a message on my last post re my Arsenal top 4 trade:
'... I think you might be being a bit premature in coming out of the Arsenal lay just yet. There's plenty of time left for them to implode and / or for one of the other 'pretenders to the throne' to continue to improve. In fact if I were in your position I might be tempted to actually increase my exposure on that lay whilst they are as low as they are at present. Sometimes getting in deeper, especially this early in the season, buys a bit of leverage to be taken advantage of if / when the blip comes. Just a thought!'

This got me thinking, or at least confused me a little bit. Gundulf has a point, and when I got thinking about how the top 4 panned out last season, it made me consider whether I am being a tad premature in this case. No one in the league has the ability to go the season without a blip, that is what is so entertaining about it. Arsenal and the other high profile top 4 wannabes are particularly prone to multiple blips throughout the season, and the amount of times I thought that a team was 'nailed on' for a top 4 finish after a small purple patch before slumping dramatically last season, was one of the main reasons I chose to trade these markets this year. My only concerns are as follows; firstly, the poor quality of the opposition. Spurs are troubling me this year as I believe they are currently on a bit of a false high. Their squad is poor compared to last year and their striking options are still extremely bare, and at some point the goals will cease to come. Having said that, according to Opta, they have the most points after 7 matches than they have in any Premier League season bar one, which is impressive. They seem to be quietly slipping under the radar at present, despite winning at Old Trafford, which is probably due to their quiet and routine performances which are just enough to get the job done. At present, Everton are the only team looking capable of challenging for the top 4 and it will be interesting to see if they can keep their early form up. I think that it will probably take a while for the market to properly consider them serious contenders however. My other concern is that, like I said previously, my  matched odds are very high and this is undoubtedly a mistake on my part, particularly considering I have a sizeable stake at risk. Gundulf suggested topping up at lower prices, which I actually did a few weeks ago at around 1.54, but not for too much. I might now consider topping up a bit more with the view to trading out around 1.75, therefore limiting my losses quite a lot. I'll come back to this issue another time. 

The winners market has been interesting so far, as no real opportunities have arisen as yet. United and City have had 'poor' starts according to the boffins, while the market seems a little uneasy about Chelsea's influence in matters. From a Manchester point of view, I see nothing to be concerned about. Both teams are conceding way too many goals, but as long as they are performing up top then overall there isn't too much to worry about just yet. This is particularly true of United who have a stupid amount of injuries and unsettlement at the back, yet too much talent up top. Despite being four points behind the leaders, both United and City have only recorded one 'poor' result each in my opinion, the same amount as Chelsea. Chelsea's only dropped points came in a 0-0 draw away to QPR and, although it is a derby, they should really be beating a team with only 2 points to date. United's loss to Spurs at home is undoubtedly a poor result, yet losing away to Everton was not in my opinion. Everton have proved themselves very difficult to beat this year, as well as beating City at Goodison last year and drawing at Old Trafford. Winning away at Liverpool and Newcastle are two huge results for United, who lost at both of these grounds last year. City on the other hand should probably have done better at home to Arsenal, though even that cannot be considered a disaster. 

This week I will be looking to oppose Chelsea in some way, as I feel their time has come for now and this form can't continue. They face Spurs, United (twice), Juventus and City in the next few weeks so it will be good to see what this young team is really made of.

I'll leave you with a stat, Liverpool are 54/1 to be relegated on Betfair, yet 99/1 to win the title. Make of that what you will.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Fergie's woes

Manchester United's defence has been more shaky than John Terry's in recent weeks and they have being playing havoc with the betting markets, providing opportunities and pitfalls for those who dare to get involved. As a United fan myself, I have always maintained that I don't bet on their matches and, generally, I stick to that. The trouble with supporting a big team however, is that when opportunities do arise, which is often rare, they are normally potentials for big market swings. So far this season United have consistently gone behind in their matches, doing so in 5 of their 6 league games and going on to win 4 of those. This, obviously, opens up the door to backing United at an inflated price in the hope that they pull off one of their famous escapes. It is at this point in each match where I have had to battle my conscience and try and determine whether I am looking to back United from an entirely rational point of view. In each case however, I am fairly sure that I was looking at the game fairly and my choice to back United on numerous occasions was entirely justified, given their firepower and penchant for comebacks. I chose not to back them against Everton, because I could see the Toffees were playing very well, and I ignored them against Liverpool too as Anfield is a horrible place to play. Against Southampton and Cluj I took a profit, yet against Spurs I predictably recorded a loss. I am fairly certain though that the choice I made to lay Spurs that day had no relation to the fact that I support United, and that I would have done the same had they taken a 2-0 lead at City, Chelsea or even Arsenal. With United's home record, record against Spurs, comeback record against Spurs, factored in, I would certainly choose the same choice if the scenario repeated itself. I have mentioned before about learning from mistakes, but a loss should not always be looked upon in a negative way. Sometimes making a loss but knowing you did the right thing is better than taking a bad profit.

The thing which has put me in the red over the past couple of weeks however, is the poor way in which I have managed my stakes. With all these United turnarounds I should really be in profit, but levying my stakes poorly (which involved a bigger red on the Spurs match than the greens on Cluj and Southampton) was a mistake which I should be working on. Particularly midweek, my confidence was tarnished from the loss against Spurs so I half heartedly entered the market against Cluj to take only a small profit. The last couple of weeks has seen me lose £18.65, still small money but with my aspirations set on building small amounts of profit this has set my targets back a little.

My long term trades are fairing much better however, and the upside of the Spurs shock was that my bet on them to finish in the top six gained a welcome boost (though that did little to quell my bad mood that day). They now sit in fifth place and their top six price is down to a more realistic 1.43/49. It is likely that I will trade out of this after their home match against Aston Villa this weekend. On the relegation front Norwich have been performing suitably awfully, and after topping up last week at 2.12, I am happy to see them now as low as 1.73/4. Fulham are still going well but the top 10 market still seems to be suffering from a lack of liquidity, meaning I haven't had a chance to get out just yet. I may leave the bet for a little longer than I had planned though, as I think this is one which could develop over the year, and I am fairly confident it will pay out for me. The only bet which is struggling at the moment is the Arsenal top 4 lay, despite their recent downturn of form. I now see that laying them at a price as high as 1.89 was a very poor decision, and I might be forced to take a loss on that one, as I can't see it trading that high any time soon.

Good luck for the weekend, I hope it is fruitful for you all.