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Monday, December 31, 2007

Moyes needs convincing Arsenal were better?

David Moyes loses count of how many goals Arsenal scoredArsenal surprised as lot of people yesterday by battling back from a goal down to beat Everton 4-1 at Goodision Park.

The win moved Arsenal to the top of the Premier League - 2 points clear of Manchester United - to see in the New Year.

However, Everton manager David Moyes says that he thinks that Everton were the better footballing side during the game.

He said: "For all the stuff talked about the way they play, it was not their usual type of goals that beat us. We cannot hide that we made mistakes for the goals, but I will take some convincing that Arsenal were better than us.

Moyes continued "It was us who played the football and Arsenal who went direct. I'd find it hard to view it differently."

Of course what Mr Moyes is ignoring is the fact that on a cold, wet Merseyside night Arsenal scored four goals away from home to win by some margin.

Both sides had 10 shots, although Arsenal were more accurate with a 7-3 advantage on target - however the biggest difference was in the accurate finishing and quality defending.

For all the talk that Mr Moyes offers about the Everton style of play - the passing movements only really happened after Everton were 1-2 and then 1-3 behind, and Arsenal allowed the Toffees to play in the middle 3rd of the pitch.

Yes - Everton did make more passes - when they were losing on the scoreboard and Mr Moyes ignores the key areas of the game in his assessment.

The league table is NOT ranked according to possession stats - if it was then Arsenal would be runaway champions - instead it's ranked according to match results and goals scored and conceded.

Arsenal made one defensive mistake (and were punished) while Everton made half a dozen - and at the top level that's far too many to expect to win.

Quite simply Arsenal were better because they scored four times while playing away from home - and that's usually enough to win any game ...

(unless of course you are Reading)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday football : Premier League picks

A quick reminder of all the previews, livescores, odds and services that you can use on the main site for today's English Premier League fixtures.

I hope this helps you into making the correct picks today.

Good luck.

Online Poker Advice

Playing poker online is always a bit of a battle - and us amateur players can always use all the good advice that we can get.

Check out some pearls of wisdom from Mike Caro, Phil Laak and internet player "JohnnyBax" over at the PokerLabRat blog.

The labrats have also collected over 200 pro poker players posts from guys like Chris Ferguson, Doyle Brunson and Howard Lederer too.

It's well worth checking out the whole poker blog.

Arsenal ready for Lehmann offers

Jens LehmannArsenal are willing to listen to offers for Jens Lehmann but manager Arsene Wenger has insisted he wants the goalkeeper to stay at the Emirates.

The 38-year-old has been linked with a number of clubs in Germany and England but no firm bid has so far been made.

Arsene Wenger commented - "We will sit down together if an offer comes, but I believe first he has to make his own mind up if he wants to stay with us or not. I would prefer him to stay with us."

Spaniard Manuel Almunia has kept Lehmann out of the starting line-up this season, prompting speculation that the latter could move in order to safeguard his place in the German team for Euro 2008.

Former club Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg, Hertha Berlin, VFB Stuttgart, Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City are rumoured to be interested in signing the veteran.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Germany Banning Internet Gambling ?!

Online gambling will be banned in Germany as of Jan 1st 2008 after German states ratified an accord that preserves the country's state monopoly for lotteries and most forms of betting.

A majority of Germany's 16 states have submitted the ratification documents, Eric Braum, a spokesman for the Hesse government, which monitors the process, said in an interview today.

All 16 state legislatures voted by mid-December to approve the new online-betting laws, which the states negotiated after the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in 2006 that the former model was unconstitutional. The new rules, which expire at the end of 2011, have drawn criticism from Internet betting companies and lottery brokers like Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, Fluxx AG and Tipp24 AG.

The new rules ban any form of Web-based gambling or brokering of games over the Internet. The states may order Internet service providers to block Web sites of illegal betting operations and banks to stop money transfers to them. The rules definition of illegal gaming includes placing a bet from German territory over the Web with a company based outside Germany.

The regulations also will outlaw advertising of gaming over the Internet and on television. Advertising in print and other media may no longer "directly invite, incite or prompt" customers to play instead it may only "inform" about the possibility to do so.

The European Commission, the European Union's Brussels- based regulator, called on Germany to reconsider the total ban on online betting, saying the step was disproportional.

In the meantime German citizens are going to have to put up with Federal interference in their gambling habits - as the local government seeks to increase their tax take by only allowing local monopolies.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Manchester United lead the Premier League

Manchester United are the new leaders of the Premier League after they beat Sunderland 4-0 on Boxing Day and then saw title rivals Arsenal held to a 0-0 draw at Portsmouth.

United strolled to a straightforward victory at the Stadium of Light.

Wayne Rooney was put clear in the 20th minute and had no trouble beating Craig Gordon with a cool finish, and he turned provider when he broke forward and crossed to Louis Saha who guided the ball home after 30 minutes.

A sublime Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick in first-half injury-time put the game beyond Sunderland and when Nani went down in the box, Saha converted the late penalty (86).


Arsenal had two great chances to grab the points in the closing stages but William Gallas lifted a shot over the bar from close range and then Tomas Rosicky screwed an effort just wide in injury time.

The result leaves Arsene Wenger's men trailing United by a point at the halfway stage of the season.


Chelsea also dropped points as the Blues were involved in a riveting 4-4 draw against Aston Villa in a game which saw three players sent off.

Villa took an early 2-0 lead with a Shaun Maloney double. Zat Knight was sent off in first-half injury-time for bringing down Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko scored the resulting penalty, before levelling with a brilliant strike in the 50th minute.

Chelsea went ahead through defender Alex (66) but Martin Laursen equalised for Villa. Ricardo Carvalho was dismissed for a two-footed lunge at Gabriel Agbonlahor but Chelsea went ahead regardless through Michael Ballack's 88th-minute free-kick.

However, Villa earned a penalty when Ashley Cole was sent off for handling on the line, and Gareth Barry scored from the spot to secure a well-earned point.


Liverpool laboured to a late 2-1 win at Derby and had captain Steven Gerrard to thank for the victory.

Spain international Fernando Torres' excellent dribble and finish put Liverpool a goal up at Pride Park although Rafael Benitez's men struggled to extend their lead.

Jay McEveley equalised on 67 minutes and chances came and went for both sides, before Gerrard - who moments earlier hit the bar - made a tireless burst forward to steam into the box and bundle the ball past Lewis Price in the 90th minute.


The pressure on Sam Allardyce was cranked up by Newcastle's miserable 1-0 defeat at Wigan.

Ryan Taylor's delightful curling free-kick beat Shay Given to put the Latics ahead - and heap further stress on Allardyce following the 2-2 draw with Derby last weekend.


Birmingham enjoyed a much-needed 3-0 win against Middlesbrough at St Andrews.

Stewart Downing sliced Gary McSheffrey's driven free-kick into his own net in the 21st minute and Mikael Forssell stabbed home after Cameron Jerome flicked on from a corner.

McSheffrey added a third in added time, converting a penalty after being fouled by Huth in the box.


Everton beat Bolton 2-0 after a goalless first half at Goodison Park.

The home side edged ahead after 51 minutes when goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen made a mess of clearing Phil Neville's deep cross, allowing the ball to pass him and hit the net.

Tim Cahill made it 2-0 after a scrappy build-up when Rob Styles played a smart advantage and Joleon Lescott crossed accurately.


Earlier in the day, Tottenham were impressive in a 5-1 win over Fulham as Robbie Keane and Tom Huddlestone scored two apiece and Jermaine Defoe added a late goal, while Moritz Volz was sent off for Fulham.


West Ham and Reading shared the points in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Upton Park in which the Royals had Brynjar Gunnarsson sent off in the first half.

Nolberto Solano put the Hammers ahead but Dave Kitson secured a point.

Friday, December 21, 2007

UEFA Champions League Draw

Liverpool and Arsenal have paid the price for finishing second in the their Champions League groups with draws Inter Milan and AC Milan in the first knockout round.

The Gunners will meet the holders AC Milan in February, while Rafa Benitez's Liverpool side go up against the reigning Serie A champions and current league leaders Inter Milan.

Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United have a tough match against the dangerous French champions Lyon while Scottish representatives Celtic are facing up to two matches against Spanish giants Barcelona.

Chelsea were drawn against Olympiacos of Greece and the other big tie in the last 16 pits mighty Real Madrid against Francesco Totti and Roma.

Schalke 04 of Germany take on 2004 winners FC Porto and Sevilla face Turkish side Fenerbahce.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bookmaker Cashback offers

Gooners Betting GuideMake sure that you're aware of all the bookmaker cash-back offers this wekeend if you are placing a single on a high profile game.

The principal is simple - the high street bookmakers are fighting for your bet stake - so they offer several sweeteners on televised games in order to attract your custom.

These usually offer to refund your stakes if certain conditions are met during the game, like a player scoring the last goal, or being sent off, or perhaps even scoring via a header.

Last weekend BETFRED paid out over £20,000 in free bets after William Gallas headed the winner against Chelsea - so it's something well worth checking out.

We've found offers from Bet365, BoyleSports, BetFred, PaddyPower and VCBet that cover games like :
- Arsenal v Tottenham
- Manchester United v Everton
- Newcastle United v Derby County
- Blackburn v Chelsea
- Barcelona v Real Madrid

As well as offers giving insurance against 0-0 bore draws and also any injury time goals in ALL 10 English Premier League games this weekend.

That's insurance worth checking out !

Gooners Guide to Gambling - Bookmaker Cash Back Page.

Carling Cup Semi-final Draw

Click for English football betting previews
North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham will meet in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup for the second season in a row.

Chelsea, the last team in the draw after beating Liverpool 2-0 on Wednesday evening, will play Everton.

The two-legged semi-finals take place in the weeks starting 7 and 21 January.

OUTRIGHT ODDS (all from Bet365) :
Chelsea 2.38, - Arsenal 3.50, - Tottenham 5.00, - Everton 6.00

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Arsenal and Spurs through to Carling Cup semis

Eduardo scores the winner against Blackburn
North London neighbours Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur eached the semi-finals of the English League Cup following wins against Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City.

Arsenal kids prevail in Extra time.
Arsenal changed all 11 players from the side that had beaten Chelsea just 48 hours earlier as "the kids took paert in a dramatic encounter at Ewood Park.

Arsenal raced into a two-goal lead through strikes from Abou Diaby and Eduardo da Silva. However, despite the visitors looking dominant, Blackburn's Roque Santa Cruz got one back just before half-time and then latched on to David Bentley's free-kick after an hour to level the tie.

Rovers were applying the late pressure, and Arsenal's Denilson was sent off for a wild challenge as the match went into extra time leaving the Gunners a man short. However, in the additional period Alexandre Song released Eduardo who finished calmly past home goalkeeper Brad Friedel to secure a 3-2 victory for the Gunners.

Spurs win with another Ten-man effort
Meanwhile, goals at the beginning and the end of the game from Jermain Defoe and Steed Malbranque gave Tottenham a 2-0 win and inflicted Manchester City's first home defeat of the season.

Not even having to play with ten men for 70 minutes after Didier Zokora's dismissal could hamper Spurs, who go into the last-four draw on Wednesday together with Arsenal, Everton and the winner of the Chelsea / Liverpool tie who meet on Wednesday.

Monday, December 17, 2007

EPL : Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea

Gallas congratulated by FabregasWilliam Gallas scored the only goal just before halftime as Arsenal beat Chelsea to stay at the top of the Premier League table.

Gallas headed home the winner in first-half stoppage time to restore a one-point advantage at the summit for Arsene Wenger's team.

He nodded the ball into an empty net after Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech came to try and collect a looping Cesc Fabregas corner, but failed to make any contact.

Arsenal had chances to wrap up victory after the break, but Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor both had goals disallowed while van Persie and Fabregas both wasted great opportunities.

For Chelsea Andriy Shevchenko failed to trouble Manuel Almunia with a free header, and had a blistering free-kick tipped over by the Arsenal goalkeeper.

The victory was a deserved one for an Arsenal team who looked the brighter outfit for most of the 90 minutes as Chelsea struggled without skipper John Terry who went off with a foot injury in the latter stages of the first half.

AC Milan 4-2 Boca Juniors

Milan win FIFA World Club Championship

Finally we had a football game worth talking about at the "World Club Championships" as an aging Milan team overcame an out-of-season Boca Juniors side in the "final".

Filippo Inzaghi scored twice as AC Milan beat Boca Juniors to win the Club World Cup in Japan. Inzaghi struck after a Kaka pass on 21 minutes but Boca equalised a minute later through Rodrigo Palacio's header.

Alessandro Nesta's volley, Kaka's solo run and finish and Inzaghi's second - all in the space of 10 minutes - settled the match in Milan's favour.

Kakha Kaladze saw red, as did Boca's Pablo Ledesma, while Milan's Massimo Ambrosini scored an own goal.

So well done and congratulations to AC Milan - who learned that Paulo Maldini will be retiring at the end of the season.



But frankly the preliminary games are a bit of a farce - and even if an upset did happen so that we did not get a Europe v South America final all it would mean is another imbalanced game in the final.

This is one FIFA turkey that will not fly - no matter how much they dress it up. Either bring over a couple more top sides for the "tournament" or stop pretending that it's anything more than a one-game title.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fulham v Newcastle - Kuqi Monster !!

A little note to all punters thinking of taking a bet on the Fulham v Newcastle late kickoff - Irish bookmaker BoyleSports are offering a cash-back on this game.

Click to visit BoyleSports
The Finnish striker has not scored yet this season - but he's started in the last two games ... the bad news is that Fulham lost them both without scoring.

L 0-2 at Manchester Utd
L 0-3 At Everton

Still - the promotion made me laugh - and playing at home to Newcastle might be an easier place to get a goal eh?

Big match Buildup.

Having recently lost the last two unbeaten Premier League records, Arsenal and Liverpool will be trying to bounce back with wins over their biggest rivals.

Alex Ferguson will take some time out from advising the FA not to pick Sam Allardyce for the England job to test the true quality of Rafa Benitez's perennial cup kings and see if their title challenge is for real.

While, Arsene Wenger could welcome back Cesc Fabregas, and Van Persie is almost certain to take part in a mouth-watering contest. One team plays some of the most attractive football in the world. The other is Chelsea.

The managers will say these Sunday games will decide nothing, we say it'll decide who gets to abuse who in offices and workplaces all over the planet for months to come.

Nothing could be more important!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Super Sunday Correct Score Plunge.

Betting on either of the big games on Sunday afternoon when Arsenal take on Chelsea and Manchester United travel to Liverpool ?

Me too.

I think that I will be taking advantage of the Ready for War! offer over at PaddyPower which is offering a cash back on all correct score bets if a player is sent off in EITHER game.

That's two high-pressure clashes - and the beauty of getting a cash back due to an event in another game appeals somewhat.

But what also appeals is that these games between the big four clubs do tend to be somewhat predictable with score-draws showing up more and more often as they seem to accept spliting the points.

Manchester United have won four of the last five games at Anfield (see my Liverpool v Man Utd stats page) but I reckon that Liverpool have raised their game this season and a draw is on the cards there.

While in London we can see that Arsenal and Chelsea have drawn four of their last six league clashes at all venues - and the absence of Didier Drogba for Chelsea suggests that goals might be down and Chelsea will make themselves very hard to beat.

While correct scores are a bit of a lottery, I've always liked playing the 1-1 draw, as it keeps your bet alive after the first goal, and typically when a side is losing 0-1 late on they'll push forward looknig for the equaliser.

So a wee punt on 1-1 can add to the interest levels and with prices of 13/2 (7.50) on 1-1 at Anfield and 5.50 at the Emirates there is scope for a tasty payout.

- PaddyPower (to get the bet on)
- English Premier League Spreadsheet betting stats
- English Premier League Betting Previews

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A New Spreadsheet Era Begins - The Database !

Looking for the weekend spreadsheet?

Well after receiving 1,001 questions about :
- How it works ?
- And whether I can get it online earlier ?
- And why are the draws rated as they are ?
- And whether I can get it online earlier ?
- And who are the banker winners this weekend?
- And whether I can get it online earlier ?

I dedcided that the best thing that I can do is to actually migrate the output into an online database - so you can see it when I produce the stuff on Friday morning.

Here's the all important link to the new and improved Gooners Betting Spreadsheet and that output should look pretty familiar.

The "ML PK" column stands for MOST LIKELY PICK where a + = home win and a "-" = and away win.

The "DV PK" column stands for DISCOVERED VALUE PICK and this looks for potential good value - and is the basis for the successful draw betting system in Serie A.

IF you click on the "more" link underneath the SHEET STATS column then you'll get an additional page of sheet workings and information on each and every game !!

I think it's pretty useful ... and over the next week or two I'll be adding in additional leagues, more information, and notes so you can see why the sheet makes the predictions it does.

I hope it helps you to more beers !!

Remember though - like all computers the sheet output is just a tool.

It knows absolutely nothing about injuries, tiredness, absenses, fixed games, or sacked managers ... so you will still need to add in a bit of human skill to make your final choices.

If you gamble and you lose - then it's your problem - not mine. I expect each punter to take responsibility for their own actions - and to wager sensibly.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Italy : Weekend Betting Sheet Dec 2nd

Click to see the full sized betting sheet
Here is the betting spreadsheet for Sunday 2nd December in Italy.

As you can see (if you clicked the sheet above to get a copy in a seperate browser) there are no huge mismatches this weekend - with all of the game rated within a MARgin of 100 (or 1 goal on average).

But there are still a couple of games that are worth a good close look :

Parma to beat Empoli @ 2.00 at Bet365

Empoli are just 1-2-5 away from home this season and have lost 3 of their last 4 road games heavily losing 0-3 each time. Of course sandwiched in between those results is that stunning 1-0 win in the San Siro against AC Milan - but that's why they call it gambling right?

The bookmakers seem to be cottoning onto our system this month - as we've picked out three more games worth a shot - but I notice that 3.00 is about the best price that we can get now - that days of 3.20 to 3.50 are long gone.

DRAW - Torino v Genoa @ 3.00
DRAW - Catania v Palermo @ 3.00
DRAW - Cagliari v Livorno @ 3.00

As you can see all three games have a similar rating pattern with the MARgin within about 30 and none of the sides ranked at 1,000 above.

Our research has shown that generally these teams are happy to accept a draw if it's still level with 80 minutes gone - and so draws are occuring more than 1/3 of the time.

Ok. That's the lot this week - good luck.

The Fiver Rumour Mill ...

As stolen from the high-profile (for a blog) and always funny Guardian Fiver blog ... their rumour mill always has a nice turn of phrase.

Milan have had enough of Ronaldo's injury problems, and would be happy to see the cuddly striker lending his weight to another team's attack.

Wayne Bridge has had enough of not being picked by Avram Grant, and is considering taking his unique brand of comedy to Newcastle or Spurs, where it will be properly appreciated.

And Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has had enough, and will sell his stake in the club as soon as Rafa Benitez stops whining about transfer targets long enough for him to get a word in edgeways.

Check out the Guardian Fiver Monday to Friday (around tea-time) for a regular laugh.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

EPL : Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal : Report

Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal

Aston Villa : Gardner 14';
The Arsenal : Flamini 23', Adebayor 36'

Arsenal came back from an early goal to deservedly lead by halftime and then weathered a vastly-improved second half performance from Aston Villa to maintain their unbeaten record and the leadership of the Barclays Premier League.

Craig Gardner had given Villa hope of their first win over the Gunners in 18 meetings when he put them ahead with his third goal of the campaign.

But Arsenal responded by handing out a footballing lesson for the remainder of the half and could easily have added to goals from Mathieu Flamini and Emmanuel Adebayor.

The Gunners had been a joy to watch in the opening 45 minutes with some delightful free-flowing football which often had Villa chasing shadows. They stepped up a gear from the minute Villa went ahead and their one-touch play caused the home side constant problems.

Lassana Diarra and Alexander Hleb sparkled in midfield while Emmanuel Eboue was an effective outlet on the right flank. Little was seen of the exciting forward play which had brought Villa 11 goals in the previous four games.

Villa were a different proposition after the break with Ashley Young more of a threat on the left wing and target man John Carew causing problems. Carew put a thumping header against the Gunners bar with Almunia well beaten - and Young was booked late on for a swan dive looknig ofr a penalty after his control let him down.

But the Gunners held firm with Kolo Toure and William Gallas solid performers at the heart of the Gunners back four.

It means that Arsenal have not tasted defeat in the league since April and in the process they brought an end to Villa's run of four successive wins.

EPL : Betting Spreadsheet for Dec 1/2

CLick to see full sized sheet

Here is the betting spreadsheet for the weeknd games - but it's not really much use to punters - on Saturday at least.

There are NO likely winners according to the ratings on Saturday - although the RES portion of the sheet does favour both Arsenal and Chelsea potentially - but it's not the most reliable indicator.

If you look at the percentages and the value calculations then you'll see that most of the home sides sit within our fair value band (of 85% to 115%) suggesting that if you have special news to back a home side then you'll get a fair bet.

Away from home we can see theat West Ham are rated at 325% of fair value when priced at 13.00 - but then the spreadsheet does not know that Chelsea have not lost at home for two seasons - and so I'd take that with a grain of salt.

Perhaps though I might be tempted into a bet on the Sunderland v Derby DRAW at 3.70, given that both teams will be scrapping hard to avoid dfeat in a game billed as a six-pointer by both managers.

We will end the wekend with three likely home winner picks on the Sunday/Monday games but once again you hardly needed the sheet to tell you that eh? :
- Liverpool to beat Bolton,
- Tottenham to beat Birmingham
- and Manchester Utd to beat Fulham

Sorry I can't be more use this weekend.