Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Manchester City vs Liverpool


As far as title deciders go in 2018-19, this one might come a bit early. Make no mistake, though: this game is going to be a major deciding factor in where our title goes. Manchester City host Liverpool knowing they have a seven point deficit to make up. With this being the last league game between the two sides, a win could be decisive: a win for City changes the mood entirely, a win for Liverpool offers them a 10-point lead over City.

City News


Kevin de Bruyne has endured a challenging season so far with fitness issues, and could potentially miss out here again. Fabian Delph is out too, with a suspension, and Ilkay Gundogan will likely miss out. Good news, though, is that John Stones and Leroy Sane, a perpetual thorn in the side of Liverpool, will be back.

We can expect to see Oleksandr Zinchenko play again, though he was pretty poor against Southampton. A potential game against the Liverpool attacking trio might see Aymeric Laporte moved out to full-back. Kyle Walker could return, but poor form means he might sit this one out.

Liverpool News


For Liverpool, there’s not much to worry about in terms of injury. The challenge comes from how far they go for it. For example, should they start with Xherdan Shaqiri? Or Naby Keita? Jordan Henderson or Georginio Wijnaldum?

The options are expansive and it does offer the Reds a few key changes to make. Throw in the fact that their key defensive quarter of Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are all fit (so far) and they should be in fine fettle here in terms of squad fitness.

Verdict


This could be the game of the season. We suggest that City are the favorites given their incredible home form, but Liverpool have a good record against City under Klopp, so it should be a fantastic match either way. If we had to call a score, we’d go for 2-2.


Monday, 10 December 2018

12.10 Lingfield, Wednesday, December 12

Family Fortunes on this occasion. The son of Paco Boy has been raised 2lb for being beaten in a 0-80 contest at Kempton last month, but finished strongly on that occasion after suffering an interrupted passage in the closing stages and looks worth an interest on his return to Lingfield, where’s he run well in the past.
In the Follow Top Tipsters at Sun Racing Handicap (12.10) at Lingfield on Wednesday, the top two on the racecard look the pair on which to focus our attention, with preference for topweight

He’s won just once over a mile, when just holding on, off a 5lb lower mark, in a 0-75 contest at Kempton two starts ago but, having been tried over a mile and a quarter a couple of times by new trainer Michael Madgwick, he should have no problem getting home. That’ll be especially true if he’s held up, as he’s been on two of his three starts under apprentice Scott McCullagh.


Indeed, if that is the case, Lingfield should suit his ‘closing’ style and the faster they go up front the better for him. The absence of an obvious front runner – notwithstanding Matterhorn, who made the running last time, and Deadly Accurate, who has done so in the past – is a slight worry, with an unsatisfactory, ‘messy’ race always a possibility but, hopefully, Family Fortunes can be seen to best effect and delivered with a telling turn of foot in the closing stages.


Selection: Lingfield 12.10 Family Fortunes to win 4/1

Monday, 3 December 2018

An early look at the 2019 Grand National

We're a way off the Aintree 2019 Grand National right now, but this highly anticipated event always seems to creep up on us before we know it. It won't be long until the Cheltenham Festival and from there the Grand National is just around the corner. Of course millions of us tuned in for the 2018 race which was an enthralling spectacle eventually won by 10/1 Tiger Rolls ridden by Davy Russell, trained by George Elliot and owned by Giggintowns House Stud (also owners of 2016 winner Rule the World). A close second (Tiger Rolls won by a head) was Pleasant Company ridden by David Mullins at 25/1, and 11 lengths behind in third place was Bless the Wings at 40/1. Prize money was £500,000, £200,000 and £100,000 respectively. One of the early favourites, Blaklion, was brought down at the very first hurdle, by another horse. That speaks to the unpredictability of this steeplechase event.

The 2019 Grand National will be the 172nd time the race has been run, offering a clear idea of how much gravitas and history surround the event. There are Grand National guides aplenty already online centring on all aspects of the 2019 Grand National, https://www.grandnational.fans/ for instance  The Grand National festival will start on 4th April, with Ladies Day on 5th and the main event on 6th April. It could be argued that it's too early to deduce much about the 2019 National at this stage, but in my view part of the build up and excitement of the race comes from watching it all piece together over time and having a view on how it unfolds along the way. That's part of the joy for racing fans and those looking spot a good win or each way prospect.

There are understandably some familiar races already lined up as potential winners for the 2019 event. Tiger Roll of course gets a look in (at 20-1 currently) on account that he won the year previous. If that's not a meaningful credential I don't know what is. That said winning the race two years in a row is exceedingly rare, so that alone would be one for the history books. An equally obvious entry is Pleasant Company, who'll be hoping to go one better for George Elliot. One for Arthur, winner of the 2017 race,  may feature too. Others given a hope at this early stage include Bellshill, Step Back, Ballyoptic and General Principle. Most are currently available within the 20 - 301 range on account that the race and who is taking part is yet to flesh out. We'll be sure to return the Grand National in the weeks ahead with further thoughts!

 

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury

This is a tough one to call in my view. The Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury fight in Las Angeles is certainly an intriguing match up. Fury has - with the exception of his two recent poor tune up fights - been out for years now and didn't exactly look after himself in the mean time. While suffering from mental health issues he ballooned to 10st more than his current 256.5lbs weigh-in weight. It certainly shows intent and dedication that he's made it back down to this weight in a year though, and there is an undeniable quality to his 2015 win over Wladimir Klitschko so he's a proven quantity. Let's remember too, that he's still undefeated.

Deontay Wilder is a man in search of a big name to fight. Despite being heavyweight champion of the world since early 2015 and an enviable 39 knock outs from 40 wins, with no loses, he still doesn't have the name recognition of many heavyweight fighters of the past. So much so that Tyson Fury featured in a 15 minute video where he walked around  LA asking people if they know who Deontay Wilder is. Few did. Wilder will see this as a big opportunity being that Fury has had years out and may well be ring rusty or past his best. It's a calculated gamble and we'll soon know whether it has paid off for him.

The reach and weight advantage is most certainly with Tyson Fury. He's 256lbs to Wilder's 212lbs. Wilder holds immense power though, with what is described as a 'murderous right hand' - a right hand that's ended all but one of his fights within the distance. Power aside though, it can be said that he's a somewhat one dimensional fighter and so if Fury can minimise the threat of a big punch he's likely to grow in confidence the longer the fight goes on.

Taking all this into account I'd say that logically I'd either expect the fight to end early at the right hand of Wilder, or later to Fury, possibly on points. The betting odds follow the thread that there are many unknowns in this encounter. Wilder is 4/6 to win, with Fury at 13/10. William Hill offer 7/2 for either fighter to be knocked down in rounds 1-3. I'd be tempted by that really, with the numerous factors that are at play here. Fury is 9/4 to win on points. That might appeal to some. I'll not be betting personally, just seeing what happens in what is bound to be an entertaining affair in one way or another.