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Posts posted by ultravires

  1. Re: Serie A TIM > September 27th - 29th The injuries to key players just keep coming for Fiorentina as Cuadrado joins Rossi and Gomez on the sidelines. Since his head was well and truly turned in the Summer he hasn't actually been playing that well, but he is still an explosive threat that will be missed. Fiorentina are a soft team as a whole, and there is definitely a sense that they missed their shot at developing when they were robbed of CL by Milan. They are certainly a tidy side who value possession, but they are lacking in players that can take a match and drive the side on. Torino is a very tough place to get a result and I don't think Fiorentina have the chemistry to do so at the moment. Torino have had some trouble adjusting after losing their two best players, but the functional style of football remains. They are hard-working and have an abundance of decent players. Having had a slow start to the season, I think they have a real chance to move on again in this match. Their energy and tenacity is a good style to ruffle Fiorentina and a counter-based game should be effective. Quagliarella is a good striker and will come good as a leading man. I'm far from overwhelmed by Torini, but I am confident of them getting at Fiorentina, and with full-cover I am happy to take them. Torino (0) - 2.000 - 3 points - Bet365

  2. Re: Serie A TIM > September 27th - 29th There is not a whole lot screaming out IMO and as another week and European fixtures looms, I don't want to get caught out by rotation. For those reasons, Roma are definitely too short, while I am also content to leave Juventus. Inter have until Thursday and with the EL not a huge priority for them at the moment, I will take them to beat Cagliari. I don't think Inter are quite as good as some of their results suggest, but they have had a decent start for sure. It looks like Icardi may be the Argentinian that makes way, with Palacio joining Osvaldo up front. Medel has bedded in well as the holding midfielder, allowing the two alongside him to take the creative burden. Creativity is a bit of an issue for Inter so it's good to see Kovacic starting well, as he has a great deal of craft and vision. Inter's defence is certainly not as good as results suggest but I don't think they will get caught out here. A lot of fuss is always made whenever Zeman takes over a new club, but this Cagliari have not started at all like a typical side of his. Their attacking play has been dreadful and their defending has not been as bad as may be expected. They aren't getting blown away in five goal thrillers, they are just meekly getting brushed aside. They have a huge blow this weekend in that their best midfielder, and captain, Conti not making the squad. That will only have a negative effect on the already low morale. I do still think their front three is a threatening one, but Inter are on an incline at the moment and I can take them on the handicap. Inter -1.25 (AH) - 1.950 - 5 points - Bet365 I'm also taking Torino (0) against Fiorentina, and thinking about Napoli.

  3. Re: Serie A > September 23rd - 25th It would have been really annoying if Pjanic didn't come to the rescue but it was far from an overwhelming performance from Roma. Totti is still the man, but when teams park like Parma did the other players can't benefit from his vision as much. It is always tough to break down sides that park, but Roma really weren't creating that much sustained pressure and got lucky in the end. They did contain Parma pretty well on the whole, so I don't think a win is unjust. Sooner or later Manolas is going to get himself into PK trouble, when he comes up against some of the better attackers. Definitely a decent result given the injuries. Cagliari look really screwed this season.

  4. Re: Serie A > September 23rd - 25th Re: Milan - I did think Inzaghi had made a credible start as manager, but his backing of best-mate Bonera is really getting out of hand. He was in the thick of the mess for both goals. It looks like any backing of Milan may as well be coupled with the goals market as there will not be many 1-0 or 2-0 wins for this team. Still, you were a little unfortunate Das as Menez's shot was very nearly a winner. As with afin93, I too am convinced of Roma tonight. Parma don't seem to have settled down this season. Their defence really misses Paletta and Cassani, as they aren't the most solid of sides at the best of times. Lodi has not yet got into his groove as regista, which is typically a very important position for teams like Parma. They don't have searing pace or physical presence. Cassano bailed them out at the weekend and I do see him being able to cause problems for an unsettled Roma defence. Overall though, Roma have both a technical and physical edge over Parma. DDR is out, but Roma are pretty stacked in CM and Nainggolan is on fire at the moment so that shouldn't be an issue. Pjanic is the technical player, and Keita comes somewhere between the two. Together they are a well balanced trio. Totti in for Destro is great because his playmaking will allow Gervinho and Florenzi to start in more dangerous positions, as opposed to doing more themselves from deep. The defence is a slight concern, but Roma should outscore Parma tonight. Roma win - 2.05 - 5 points - Bet365 I think that will be my only play, though I am considering fading Fiorentina, Inter and Napoli.

  5. Re: Serie A > September 23rd - 25th An excellent preview Das, thanks. I am going to wait for a line-up at least before getting on Milan tonight. If neither Menez or El Sha start then I'll probably leave them alone as Honda and Bonaventura are not best suited to exploit the wings - in terms of pace at least. Also, if Bonera starts then that is another negative. I agree with you that the value is already questionable so if these factors don't go how I want them to then it's a no bet for me. Elsewhere, Inter, Napoli and Fiorentina all look terribly short again. Bottom line, they would all take a one goal win, so clearing a -1.25 line does not seem likely. Gomez is injured again, but given how poorly he has played recently, that could be a plus for Fiorentina. I am not sure if I have the nuts to back any of the away sides yet. Samp to beat Chievo looks like a potential play.

  6. Re: Serie A TIM > September 15th - 21st I am going to take Roma on the -1.5 line today. Roma are in good spirits and today is a great opportunity to keep that moving. If they were playing a stubborn minnow today I wouldn't take the line, as whenever they have rotated the front three they have struggled to break down defensive sides. There shouldn't be any of those problems today though because Cagliari aren't that sort of side. Gervinho, Destro and Florenzi are a mixed front three with a little bit of everything. The task is simple: win the ball, move it forward quickly and get something on goal. Cossu, Ibarbo and Sau will be Cagliari's best forward line and will also score goals, but they are yet to play together so it may not be today. All things said, Cagliari have not started well and defending poorly while not being particularly threatening up front is not a good mix when playing Roma at the moment. Roma -1.5 - 1.900 - 6 points - Bet365 Elsewhere all I am doing is having small plays on draws in Chievo-Parma, Genoa-Lazio, Atalanta-Fiorentina, Udinese-Napoli and Torino-Verona. If the +0.5 line reaches 1.8 or above on Udinese and Atalanta then I'll play them directly.

  7. Re: Serie A TIM > September 15th - 21st Milan-Juve is a pure in-play for me. That price on Juve seems like classic trap bait. They are the better XI for sure, but you know how it goes. For potential Verona backers, I watched them against Palermo and they were awful. They struggled to create chances and could not retain the ball. Their goals came from a penalty and a hail mary pass that only resulted in a goal due to some calamitous defending from Palermo. I don't think they are the Verona of last year and I can't see them beating Torino away. Bore draw in my mind.

  8. Re: Serie A TIM > September 15th - 21st This looks like a tough card to me and I can see potential for a lot of draws. Given that it is a post-European commitments weekend, Napoli certainly look too short. Toto is just the man to sniff out a couple of goals in the gaps of that Napoli defence. I'd be inclined to think that Fiorentina are a little slim as well because Atalanta are an extremely functional side. I would expect Roma to bash Cagliari, largely because the away side play very similarly to CSKA who pretty much asked Gervinho and Iturbe to make mince meat of them. The home side are flying high atm but in order to back them I would want Gervinho to start the match. Iturbe is out injured and Totti played 90 minutes so it would be surprising to see him start. I would ideally like to see Ljajic given the third role despite his dreadful form, as he is still a greater attacking threat than Florenzi. If however, the front is Ljajic, Destro, Florenzi I would certainly be less confident. I would usually think about faading Milan against Juventus, but I don't have a good track record for fading Milan. There is a case to be made for almost every match to be a draw.

  9. Re: Serie A TIM > Sunday September 14th Roma can count themselves pretty fortunate that Empoli didn't have the class required to put them away. It was quite uninspiring from Roma on the whole, which could well be a sign of things to come with matches around their new CL fixtures. Maicon did have two chances to score which would have meant an even more flattering scoreline. Manolas does look like a decent replacement for Benatia though.

  10. Re: Italy > Serie A TIM > 30th - 31st August One more for me as I fancy Samp to ruffle Palermo today. There is a degree of uncertainty as I have not watched Palermo since their relegation but they are far from the Palermo of 4 or 5 years ago. They were recently rolled in the Coppa by Modena, with an XI that is not too dissimilar to to how they should lineup today. There is nobody of note in their squad and they are heavily considered to be going back down to Serie B. I am sure Zamparini is already sharpening his sword, which will probably fall within five or six matches. They are a chaotic club and on paper, they don't look equipped for the battle. On the contrary, Samp have had a period of relative stability. They are not world beaters by any means, but they have a solid foundation and one of the more exciting forward lines in the league. There is a nice experience and physicality to their core and their front line will cause opposing defences a lot of issues this season. Okaka is the brute force CF that can hold the ball up, allowing Eder and Sansone to float around. The away side will fancy their chances of picking something up today, taking advantage of the instability of the hosts. They are superior in every area and I am content to take them on a positive line. Sampdoria +0.25 - 2.00 - 4 points. Sampdoria win - 3.30 - 1 point. Bet365.

  11. Re: Italy > Serie A TIM > 30th - 31st August Given the long-awaited return there is a lot that tempts me this weekend. First off Lazio away to Milan. The woes of the home side are well known, both on and off the pitch. Inzaghi is inexperienced and the players available do not seem to suit a 4-3-3. Defensively they are a joke. Armero and Alex will probably come good, but for the time being there could be some confusion. Bonera and Zapata are both capable of giving up a goal in their own calamitous way. The midfield and attack are both decent but still lacking. The midfield lacks creativity and even if Cristante does get a good look in, he is inexperienced and will not control matches yet. Up front, Honda doesn't suit playing out wide, Menez is washed up and one-dimensional, and El Sha has a lot to prove and Pazzini is the only true CF, but at best is worth 10 goals. The players and formation do not form a cohesive team, and they lack individual quality. Milan are very likely to struggle this season. Lazio have had a very decent Summer. Recruited well for their formation, and they have the makings of a very decent team. The defence is still a bit unsettled as Basta and De Vrij are integrated, but it has the makings of being an ok back 4. Parolo, Biglia and Lulic is a well balanced midfield 3, offering a little bit of everything. Up front Candreva and Keita provide direct width with Klose or Djorjevic playing the CF role. Contrary to Milan, that group of players is very well suited to a 4-3-3 and that should tell on the day. Neither is very suited to controlling a game but I think Lazio are the more dangerous and well worth backing. Lazio +0.5 - 1.900 - 6 points - Bet365 Lazio win - 3.75 - 2 points - Bet365 If ever goals were to be expected in a game then it is surely Sassuolo - Cagliari. Zeman's style is well known and he never ever changes. Di Francesco is also known to have been influenced by Zeman. Both defences are an absolute wreck, and both sides will concede so many goals this season. Cagliari probably edge the midfield as Conti is a leader and Ekdal and Cristieg are decent all-rounders. Biondini is a hack of a destroyer and Kurtic is the only midfielder that possesses any craft for Sassuolo. Neither midfield is capable of controlling a match though and therefore neither manager tries to do so. Moving the ball quickly through to the attacking trio is the name of the game, and in the attacking third is where you will find the best players of both teams. Berardi, Sansone and Zaza is a young, exciting trio with pace and explosive finishing. For Cagliari, Cossu is a crafty no.10, previously their best player and Sau has good movement and finishing. Farias is a new signing, but he is likely to be very direct. Unfortunately it doesn't look like Ibarbo is ready to play yet. Every season one or two strikers explode under Zeman's management, and it is likely to be him. I give the home side the edge 1X2-wise, purely because of the extent which Zeman plays gung-ho football and their edge up front. It will surely be an exciting game to watch. Over 2.75 - 1.925 - 6 points Over 4.5 - 5.00 - 1 point Sassuolo - 1.5 - 4.150 - 1 point All Bet365

  12. Re: Italy > Serie A TIM > 30th - 31st August I think the missing players are very important for Juve, but it shouldn't stop them scraping past Chievo. Ogbonna, Bonucci, Caceres is definitely not an ideal back three. If Chievo decide to dig in, which they probably will, I don't see Juve blowing them away. I think Juve may well start slowly, so personally I will wait and try to catch them at HT as they should be able to overpower Chievo eventually.

  13. Re: UEFA Champions League Qualifiers > August 26th & 27th I too like unders in both of the big matches tonight. Napoli definitely will not come out all guns blazing as that is not Rafa's style, and would be a pretty dangerous approach given Bilbao's home record. 0-0 at HT, though not ideal, would not be entirely unwelcome IMO. Bilbao will be even more content with that result and, despite having a wild crowd cheering them, I can't imagine them going all-out from the start either. I like the chances of a tentative-ish first half at least. No major team news for either side as far as I can see. I do expect Mertens to come in, probably for Insigne. Hopefully Britos will not start the match, much less at LB, and it seems as though Ghoulam will come in. Napoli have the greater experience, and I don't think it is at all out of the question for them to get as 1-0. That passage is best served with a tight, considered approach so I fancy a goalless match at HT. HT correct score 0-0 - 2.75 - 3 points - Bet365.

  14. Re: Ante-Post > Serie A Winner 2014/15 I think that is pretty optimistic Mal, but you never know. For all of his faults, Balotelli was by far the best player in their squad. Given the likelihood that he will not be adequately replaced, his goals will be missed. There are big question marks over whether El Shar can return to his purple patch, and Pazzini is a 10 goal striker at best. Unless something changes dramatically, Milan will be a side that I will look to oppose where possible. Regarding the title, there is a big week left in the window. It doesn't look like any club is going to come out great, but some decisive moves could be made. IMO it is certainly possible that the value could well lie with Napoli by Saturday. If they get past Bilbao, receiving the cash boost the CL brings, they will likely move for one or two players. They won't be showstoppers, but a couple of decent signings in midfield are needed. If they don't qualify then the league will become their main focus. They'd go pretty deep in the EL, but such a run will take less toll on the squad. Even in that case they would probably bring in a name, to try and appease the fans who will be baying for blood. Juve have question marks. They still haven't improved their XI from last year. Pirlo is a year older, can Tevez replicate his form from last season, can Allegri maintain ambition within a squad that has achieved great amounts domestically etc. They have not looked good in pre-season. As expected, Allegri has not been able to inject the same tempo into their play that Conte managed to. That could well change once the season starts, but it doesn't look great. Holding onto Vidal, and a big signing will go a long way. Roma are now in a slightly precarious situation. Benatia is 99% gone, and given that he is pretty much the best CB in the world, his replacement is not going to compare. Particularly given how long is left in the window. That's a big blow psychologically as he is a rock at the back. The midfield is deep, and the attack has good variation but they have the CL to contend with this season. It isn't too hard to see a situation where both Destro and Totti are injured and Borriello is flanked by an out of form Ljajic or Iturbe, and the ever erratic Gervinho. There is a lot of potential for the squad, but still a lot of uncertainty. It's a big week for them as a club. The value was already sucked out of backing them anyway, so it is unlikely to return. As things stand, I'd back Napoli. It is definitely wise to wait until the window is closed. Fiorentina, Lazio and Inter have done good jobs up to now, and I can see them pushing for the top 3 in some capacity.

  15. Re: Club Friendlies 2014 I am liking the look of Getafe again this evening. They are playing Mallorca, a second division Spanish team that finished one place above relegation last year. From what I can gather they have had a mediocre pre-season, notably drawing against FC Nurnberg (relegated from Bundesliga) 1-1, losing 1-0 to Millwall (low Championship side) and beating a third-tier Spanish side 3-0. Not great by any means. As we have previously discussed Getafe have had a good pre-season, beating sides of mixed levels from various European leagues. I can't get anything by way of team news, so it's a bit of a stab in the dark on the basis that they will play a pretty strong XI. Getafe win - 2.05 - 5/10 - Bet365

  16. Re: Club Friendlies 2014 The two matches today seem like tricky ones to me at the moment. Fiorentina played strong XI last night, so a lot of changes will be made for the match today. Betis don't look like the most backable side though. A poor pre-season against lower-tier opposition doesn't make them appealing. Draw cover would be an absolute must. Same goes for Napoli-PSG. I actually think I would prefer to be on the away side if the odds keep moving the way that they are. Changes will be made for sure, but their second-string is still a very good side. Motivation may be lacking somewhat but I'd still fancy them on a double-chance if the odds were to move so drastically.

  17. Re: Club Friendlies 2014

    I would think that there is something in Malaga against Fiorentina tonight. Neither have had a particularly demanding set of opponents but Malaga have played more games, and start their full-season one week ahead of Fiorentina, so should have the edge in terms of prep. Fiorentina also play Real Betis tomorrow, so team selection then becomes a bit more uncertain. Notably, Cuadrado recently returned to training and should play some part tonight for Fiorentina. Malaga DNB certainly catches my eye and I have taken it for 4 points, with a view to a little more should the team sheets look favourable. Malaga DNB - 1.90 - 4 points - Bet365
    Garbage. Fiorentina were the better side from the very start.
  18. Re: Club Friendlies 2014 I would think that there is something in Malaga against Fiorentina tonight. Neither have had a particularly demanding set of opponents but Malaga have played more games, and start their full-season one week ahead of Fiorentina, so should have the edge in terms of prep. Fiorentina also play Real Betis tomorrow, so team selection then becomes a bit more uncertain. Notably, Cuadrado recently returned to training and should play some part tonight for Fiorentina. Malaga DNB certainly catches my eye and I have taken it for 4 points, with a view to a little more should the team sheets look favourable. Malaga DNB - 1.90 - 4 points - Bet365

  19. Re: Club Friendlies 2014 Not much else is going on IMO, but I do like Getafe to beat Cagliari this evening. The Spanish side are far better prepared for this one playing a greater number of games against greater opposition. Zeman has had a positive effect on the club as a whole so there should be a good atmosphere for the home side. However, important players have left this Summer and I think they will struggle in general. Cossu, Astori, Pinilla were all core players and with Dessena, Conti, Rossetini and Ibarbo still missing for various reasons, they certainly do not seem ready yet. Getafe have a had a good pre-season I can see them rolling Cagliari pretty easily. Getafe win - 2.25 - 6 points HT/FT Getafe/Getafe - 3.75 - 2 points I may even consider a -1.5 AH when the match goes live. All Bet365.

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