Red hot Sanchez hits goalscoring form

While Arsenal fans hadn’t started doubting Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean’s first hat-trick for the club couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

Without a goal to his name yet this season, Sanchez opened his account for the campaign with a sizeable deposit, hitting three goals in Arsenal’s impressive 5-2 victory over Leicester City, and then followed that up with a brace against Manchester United. Currently on five league goals for the season, Sanchez has seen his odds of finishing as the league’s top scorer shorten to 10/1 with some bookmakers when this article was produced.

 

Having made an electric start to life in London following his switch to the Gunners from Barcelona last summer, Sanchez’s goalscoring slipped off somewhat during the second half of last season, and the striker had gone eight games without scoring before his hat-trick against Leicester. Despite failing to continue his early season form in front of goal throughout the entire campaign, the forward still managed to finish his first year in English football with 25 goals to his name, helping the club win the FA Cup for a second successive season.

 

Now back among the goals, Arsenal fans will be hoping Sanchez can play a major role in the club challenging for this season’s Premier League title. While Manchester City might still be many punters’ favourites this season, currently 10/11 with betfair and other major bookmakers, Arsenal are very much in this year’s title race and Sanchez rediscovering his scoring boots certainly strengthens their case.

 

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CC  by  Ronnie Macdonald 

 

While Sanchez isn’t Arsenal’s only goalscoring threat, the fact is that, when he is in form, Arsenal are a much more dangerous team than when the Chile international is firing on all cylinders. Olivier Giroud has certainly done well over the past three seasons, starting this campaign in solid form with three goals from his opening seven league appearances, and Theo Walcott continues to stake his claim for a role up front, scoring the opening goal against Leicester. But it’s Sanchez who could hold the key this year.

 

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As well as his goalscoring, Sanchez also has a big role to play in terms of assists, setting up his team-mates on 12 occasions last season and proving just how important he is to Arsenal from an offensive point of view. If he can get close to 20 goals and 10 assists again – with the likes of Giroud and Walcott weighing in with 10-plus goals apiece, there is no doubt that Arsenal could well push the likes of City much harder than they have managed over the past few seasons – possibly even all the way through to May.

 

Priced at 4/11 for a top-two finish in the league, Arsenal fans might not be satisfied with that this year, especially with Sanchez in this sort of form.

Using Football Stats to Achieve a 100% Success Rate (Guest Article)

Rooney

licence by  nasmac  Caption: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney

There might not be any certainties in life, but when it comes to betting on soccer you can get pretty close to perfection if you learn how to hedge your bets. Knowing the game well enough to understand the odds being presented to you by a betting exchange is a vital skill. However, once you’ve figured the perennial performers and eternal losers in soccer leagues you’re betting on, the process of picking a winner becomes a lot easier.

Of course, when it comes to soccer betting, the dynamics of a game are constantly changing and that means you need to stay on top of the numbers. Through a combination of general knowledge about the game and analysis of the hard facts (i.e. numerical data), you can improve your expected value (EV) enough that making a profit is easy.

It’s All About EV

In fact, improving your EV is the only thing you should be concerned about as a soccer gambler. Knowing that you’re able to make the best decisions in every situation is the sole aim for any professional gambler because they know that once they’ve made a +EV bet, the money will follow. While this doesn’t mean you’ll win every single soccer bet you place, it does mean you’ll make an overall profit if all your bets are +EV.

Thanks to the rise of modern betting apps and computer software, it’s now possible to make a guaranteed profit betting on soccer. By taking away the laborious task of running the numbers, crunching the data and coming to a conclusion, online betting apps have made it possible for punters to always make +EV bets.

Going Green

One such method that’s become possible through a combination of betting exchanges and modern technology is “greening up“. Used to describe the process of simultaneously betting on both sides of a soccer fixture to ensure a profit, this technique has only really been possible in the last few years thanks to online sports betting exchanges such as betfair.

In a nutshell, greening up takes advantage of the movement of odds within a sports betting exchange. If you’re able to identify a team that you think will win a match and, importantly, one that’s odds won’t drift (get worse) then you’re able to “green up”. Basically, you want the odds to shorten for the team you’ve picked to win.

If this happens, then you can back the other side of the bet (lay against the team) and secure a guaranteed profit thanks to the difference in returns between the two bets. For example, let’s say you backed Manchester United at the start of the week to beat QPR on Saturday. Given that it’s a relatively early bet you managed to stake £10 at 4/1 (5.00) on United winning the game.

Using Numbers to Your Advantage

At this point you believe United’s odds will shorten, so you look to make a lay bet. However, you need to know how much you need to stake. When it comes to greening up, it’s good to back high and lay low. So let’s assume you want to lay at odds of 3/2 (2.50). To quickly work out how much you need to stake on your lay bet, you can simply take the return if your backed bet wins (in this case £50) and divide it by the lay odds. However, if this is too much like hard work then you can use an online calculator.

Plugging in these numbers, you’d need to place a lay bet of £28 in order to achieve an £18 profit on this bet. Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t. Although there may be some commission to pay on winning bets, it’s possible to use your knowledge of soccer, take some stats and crunch some numbers in order to lock up a profit regardless of how a team performs on the pitch.

Chelsea’s Unbeaten Run in Context

Chelsea’s defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday may have seen their quest to become ‘invincibles’ and go the length of the Premier League season unbeaten come to an end but their achievement should not be underestimated. In starting the season in such fine form the Blues have opened up a three point cushion at the top of the table and, despite Saturday’s defeat, they will still be confident of winning the league for the first time since 2009/10.  A quick look at the odds would suggest that most punters still fancy the Blues too, with Betfair offering 1/2 and, if you stake £10 now, you could earn £30 of free bets.

Mourinho

Image by: In Mou We Trust 

‘Invincibles’

We all know that Arsenal were the last team to be crowned ‘invincibles’ in 2003/04 and that they went on to win the league that year by 11 points from Chelsea but, after 15 games they were actually in a worse position than Chelsea are now. Despite not having lost, Arsenal were second in the table after 15 games, one point behind Chelsea, and they had only amassed 35 points. Chelsea are currently sitting on 36 points.

No Repeat for Arsene

Since the ‘Invincibles’ of 2003/04 two teams (other than Chelsea this season) have managed to start the campaign with a run of 14 unbeaten Premier League matches. In 2007/08 Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal were at it again, this time managing to go on a 15 game unbeaten run before, like Mourinho’s side, coming unstuck in the North East, losing 2-1 at Middlesboro. That season the Gunners tailed off, eventually finishing third behind Manchester United and Chelsea.

Everything to Play For

If Jose Mourinho is looking for inspiration he would do well to avoid looking back at Arsenal’s 2007/08 decline and should, instead focus on a more recent season. In 2011/12 Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City went 14 games unbeaten before a 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge. Unlike Arsene Wenger’s team, however, City were able to recover and eventually won the Premier League on goal difference from Manchester United. Whilst Mourinho will certainly be hoping that this season is not as tight a finish, he should take comfort in City’s achievement and remind his players that although the record may have gone, they still have everything to play for.

 

As It Stands: Who Are The Favourites And Do The Stats Back Them Up?

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Are the stats in favour of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea?

cc by  Ronnie Macdonald 

It’s still relatively early days in the Premier League but, as we run up to Christmas, we can take a lot from some of the performances so far. We might be just about a third of the way through, however, a lot of what the teams are already telling us could dictate positions after 38 matches.

As with any league in football, things can quickly change. The Premier League isn’t known as one of the most exciting in the world due to constant one-horse or two-horse races. There is always competition for the top, be it from the old guard or a new team trying to break into the English elite.

As we’ve seen so far, many of the bigger clubs are already asserting themselves but surprise packages – such as Southampton, West Ham and Swansea – are also vying for top-four places. Whether they can maintain or improve their form into the murky depths of the season remains to be seen, whereas we know the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal, for example, can use their strength in depth when push comes to shove.

Top-spot holders Chelsea are firm favourites and the obvious choice. Don’t just listen to me though, the betting tips that can be found at betting.betfair agree. They’re 3/10 on, with closest rivals and current title holders City way back at 9/2. United are at 20/1, Arsenal at 49/1 and the odds get more and more distant from there.

Looking at the current league, will the biggest scorers get the chance to run away with it or will those with a tight ship be able to come good in the New Year?

 

Goalscorers

The Champions League places are in perfect order of goals scored. Riding high are Chelsea with 30, City with 27 and Southampton and United joint with 24. Eleventh-place Everton are an anomaly with 23 goals putting them joint-fifth with West Ham in the ‘goals for’ stakes. But typically goals mean points.

Diego Costa

Chelsea’s Diego Costa scores goals for fun

ccby  cfcunofficial

City’s Sergio Aguero leads the individual stats with a stunning 12 goals so far and he is closely followed by Chelsea’s Diego Costa with 11. The top-two teams have the top-two finishers and again that shows the correlation between finding the net and league success.

 

Keeping them out

Third-place Southampton have kept themselves in the running by not conceding many up until a 3-0 drubbing by City last weekend. In 13 games, they haven’t yet reached double figures in goals against, with only nine getting past their defence and first-choice goalkeeper Fraser Forster. This is indicative of how they’ve played and how deserving they are of the spot. Top-place Chelsea have conceded 11, with second-place City conceding 13.

Oddly, neither the first-place nor second-place teams feature in the top three for clean sheets. Southampton’s Forster rides high with seven in the league, meaning he has conceded in less than half of his matches so far. Swansea are holding on to a decent spot with six clean sheets. The fractured nature of clean sheets shows that while defence is key, it is goalscoring that is the main player in 2014.

Chelsea are scoring in abundance and keeping their goals against tally down low. Though it’s not always a clean sheet, they can rely on their firepower to deliver when they need it to get them out of trouble. An uninspiring performance recently against Sunderland shouldn’t change things too much. What they’re doing is working and the smart money would be on the London side this year. It just so happens that the numbers agree.

The Scottish football stat that proves competition there is dead

It has gone somewhat unnoticed and under the radar this week but a quick check of the Scottish Premiership table reveals a couple of surprising names at the top.

Celtic, surely?  I hear you ask. Well, no. Sitting pretty in first place after 12 games are, in fact, Dundee United. A point behind in second is, of course, Celtic… Got to be, right? Well, er, actually, wrong again.

The mighty Hamilton are in second place with Celtic having to settle for third at the moment.

Now, before you think I’m going to be making a case for a shock winner of the title north of the border this season and talk enthusiastically about the demise of the Hoops, I’ll stop you right there.

Yes the table has an unfamiliar look about it and, yes, things have not quite gone as well as Celtic boss Ronny Deila would have liked so far in 2014-15 but this is no time for either the Terrors or the Accies to start celebrating finally breaking the Old Firm SPL monopoly because, sadly, unromantically and simply put, it aint gonna happen. It’s a safe verdict that a quick check of the Scottish football betting odds will back up.

So, that damning statistic that hopefully drew you in in the headline is this:

No other club, apart from Rangers or Celtic, has triumphed overall in the Scottish top flight since 1985.

That’s 29 years. Twenty-nine. A whole generation has grown up, probably got married, bought a house and is now worried about some unwelcome grey hairs as they approach their third decade since someone other than the big two from Glasgow came out on top. Aberdeen’s victory back then came during what must surely be looked back upon as a ‘golden age’ for Scottish football with the Dons also securing the title the year before, while United had won it in 1983.

However, since then, nothing. Nothing for Motherwell, Hibs, Hearts or even Inverness Caledonian Thistle to get overly excited about because, as most football fans know, the title ‘race’ in Scotland has been contested by just two horses since then and, since Rangers’ recent demise in 2012 due to financial problems, only one.

Celtic are that far ahead of the rest of the pack – both on and off the pitch – that they will eventually go on to win the title, probably in April, by a margin in excess of 10 points. And they will achieve this without ever really needing to be at their best with a squad full of some journeymen European players, a sprinkling of genuine young talent and a smattering of experienced old heads who know what it takes to see off the ‘challenge’ of other clubs to finish top. Namely, not an awful lot.

Yes, football is unpredictable at times. Celtic may even lose 1-0 at home to St Johnstone, Partick or St Mirren in January and for a brief moment other clubs might fancy their chances. Then reality will bite and normal service will be resumed.

Because normal service in Scotland means that only either Celtic and Rangers ever win the title nowadays. That damning stat proves it. Dundee United and Hamilton might be enjoying their week in the top spots but even they know it won’t last.