Below is a complete clubgowi newsletter, it is typical of a weekend send out and subscribers will receive over 500 of these through the course of 2015.
Sunday February 15th
Next newsletter will be sent @ 10.00 UK time on Monday.
PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach
I priced this as roughly 3.15 Snedeker. 3.7 Furyk, 5.0 Watney, 7.0 Jones, 50 Chappell , 20 the "field", as usual in a 100% non profit margin book.
The four leaders have 28 Tour wins between them and whilst you could make a strong case to oppose each , it is difficult to argue that ALL will play and score badly today, therefore, someone is going to have to go ultra low from off the pace circa 63/64 and even that might not be enough.
Briefly, I would be pleased to see Jim Furyk win, but we cannot back him, he is a 16 time winner on Tour, but not since 2010 and he is 0-8 in strong contention since then , he is 3-8 lifetime in playoffs, so that and his non winning record is going to enter his mind sometime over the final 18 holes and probably throughout it. We did well opposing him in R4 last year, including when he blew a three stroke lead at the Canadian Open. None of his 16 wins have ever come in California.
Matt Jones has a sole win on Tour, last year's Shell Houston Open when he stole the tournament from off the pace, this is a very different course and I do not think the Aussie liked leading yesterday and bogied the last two holes to ensure he didn't ! Not for me, probably better a few shots further back, when the pressure is far less and not in the final pairing.
Snedeker is a six time winner, won twice in 2012 and 2013 (including this tournament), before a horrible 2014, but three top 10's and a top 20 in his last five starts have hinted that normal service might about to be resumed and he is my favourite to win today.
Watney is a five time winner who has also been in a slump, he has not won since August 2012, but he loves playing in his home state (born just three hours up the motorway and grew up and went to school in the area) , he went close at Torrey Pines last week finishing T7 and seemed in very good spirits there and spoke about how much he liked playing in California and his goals for this year, which was not just to win, but to record a "couple of wins" and he said he was genuinely excited for his golfing year. He is my idea of the best value price.
I like Brandt Snedeker ( 1.3 units at a general 3.50) and Nick Watney (0.7 units @ a general 7.0) , that is a combined 2.33 for one of the pair to win, but you can get a little higher on both in a place or two .
FA Cup: Bradford City- Sunderland
We sided with the visitors for their replay at Fulham in the last round ........
Sunderland's weekend win over Burnley gave them a little breathing space over the drop zone and Jermain Defoe his first goal for the club, with the reward for the winner tonight a trip to L1 side Bradford City, they will surely view that as a good draw, despite the cup exploits of the Bantams and a rare opportunity to go deep in a competition, which following the R4 shocks, leaves the visitors as the 7th highest ranked team left in the competition and with six of the other EPL sides set to face each other in R5. The visitors have performed as well on the road , the odd blip aside, as at home this season and that goes doubly so in midweek, with their last three away days under floodlights producing a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, 3-0 win at Birmingham City ( three points above Fulham in the Championship) and 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace. They won 4-1 here in the EPL a year ago and with Defoe having broken his duck ( you know I loves me a striker in form) and maybe extra motivated by returning to London where he was born and spent almost all of his playing career before leaving for the MLS, I feel we will see them and him, turn in a performance, against what is a limited and very much in trasition Fulham side, who have conceded more Championship goals than any team apart from basement club Blackpool.
They had to come from behind to win 3-1, but any other result would have been an injustice and they looked a good division better than the Cottagers. City are a "big" L1 team and have turned into a real cup side in recent campaigns and still basking in the media spotlight after their win at Chelsea which is likely to go down as the biggest shock in FA Cup history, not least because they came back from two down to win 4-2 at Stamford Bridge. In many ways that puts them under pressure today, as this is comparatively "easy" and the level of expectation is far greater. Sunderland are coming off a home loss to QPR in midweek and they are clearly better and more comfortable away from the North East at present, I think they will be desperate to bounce back and to take some form into a vital match with WBA next weekend. Premier League survival is a priority, but the cup is wide open this year and they need to appease their long suffering fans. This will not be a trip into the unknown for Poyet, who made his name in the lower leagues and unlike Chelsea, many of the visiting squad have lower league experience, including Defoe. Hosts cannot field regular keeper Jordan Pickford who is on loan from the visitors.
City will be at it from the off and will try to unsettle Sunderland on what is another poor playing surface, in other words an old fashioned blood and guts FA Cup tie. Sunderland will have to ride the early storm, but have the class to edge this and in truth, the pitch here at Valley Parade doesn't really suit the normal playing style of the Bantams, who have won just 3 of 9 League 1 home starts, either. If the Black Cats come with the right attitude and can see out the opening 10-15 minutes, they should win this.
1.5 units Sunderland -0.5 ball 2.25 asian line/Sportmarket.
Arsenal v Middlesbrough
I am really hoping that Boro go out of the FA Cup today, they have two Championship matches in the next seven days and both are far more important to them (and us) than today's cup tie, the supporters got their reward with the win at the Etihad and I do expect and hope that the Gunners win this, but see little by way of value in the game at pre match quotes. However, we spoke in midweek about the Gunners usually ending home games on the front foot and scoring a lot of goals once teams tire ....The hosts have scored a PL high 26 home goals , but 58% have come in the final 30 minutes and they have only led at the half in 36% of starts at the Emirates, so holding out for a better quote makes perfect sense.
Boro are similarly slow starters at home, but tend to show their best form on the road through the first half and as I mentioned in midweek, 65% of away goal have come before the break, that changed against Blackpool, as we thought it might and will doubtless continue to do so over the closing months of the season, when the value of three points is huge. But today, I expect both to revert to standard and for what is a disciplined Boro backline to be difficult to break down early, but perhaps show a little fatigue late, by which time, their thoughts might also have started to switch to the midweek trip to Birmingham. 1.5 units Arsenal -1 ball once the "in running" quote reaches 1.95 as long as we are 11 v 11 and the Gunners are not already leading.
Arsenal are 30-9-1 at home in the FA Cup
La Liga: Valencia -Getafe
Los Che have won all four home starts in all competitions in 2015, but have not kept a cleansheet in any of them. Getafe won here 3-1 last year and have scored in eight of their last nine visits, at an average of 1.56 per game, with eight of those games going "over". The away team in the last six late morning kick off games in Spain have scored two goals and it is easy to see a repeat of previous h2h matches and goals in this.
All the stats lean that way and in addition, Valencia are without a clean sheet in six, Getafe have conceded in their last 12 road games, both to score looks nicely quoted at 2.0 (1.25 units) and I certainly do not think that the visitors to score two or more is a lost cause at 5.0-5.50 , but with this a big match for the hosts, who will want to re-establish their two point lead over Sevilla in fourth and stay in touch with Atletico who face a tough trip to Celta this evening, I do expect a home win 2-1, 3-1 , 3-2 is my range and those scores can be combined at circa 4.50 , they have obliged in all four Valencia home wins this current year and in four of the last 8 h2h games at Mestalla. But how about keeping things simpler and opting for 1.5 units "over" 2.75 goals 2.17 asian line/Sportmarket.
Ligue 1: Bordeaux- St Etienne
We went against St Etienne in their last away start, a 1-0 defeat at Caen ....
We opposed St Etienne last week for the visit from PSG ......
Huge game at the top of the table and it will become more important for both, if Lyon (see above) win earlier in the day, as expected.
Hosts played a strong squad in a cup tie with Tours in midweek, which went to extra time and came at further cost with central defender Moustafa Sall picking up an injury, with right winger Max Gradel and central midfielder Renaud Cohad already missing, that is three key starters unavailable for a vital fixture.
PSG rested 7-8 starters for their easy midweek win over Bordeaux, which also saw the return of now forgiven bad boys, Cavani and Lavezzi, that gives fresh options to what is clearly the stronger team anyway, even if Saints were at full strength. The two met here in the Coupe de la Ligue just 12 days ago with PSG winning courtesy of a 73rd minute winner. Huge February ahead for the visitors, trips to Lyon, Monaco , Lille (cup) and matches in four competitions, including a Champions League game with Chelsea and they really need to build some momentum. They have made a start with three staright victories, but this is a must win fixture, as failure to claim the points is going to increase the pressure on the upcoming games. It might take a little time, as St Etienne in front of their passionate supporters, will come out all fired up.
The Parisians won 1-0 , but were perhaps worth more in my book and I feel that big loss might have left Saints feeling a little low, the top three in Ligue 1 have got "away", they are without a couple of very key players and hosts are in their best form of the season and it might be hard for the visitors to really get up for this, perhaps even more so with the very early kick off. Sall, Gradel and Cohad are all still missing ( see above) and the squad, which is a little short in midfield IMO, is unchanged , Saints went for it against PSG with a more offensive line up than we have seen from them recently and that is commendable, but it will leave them exposed today if they adopt the same tactics. Hosts have scored eight goals in their last two starts and have looked very good in the middle of the park, with youngster N'Golo Kante and veteran midfielders Julian Feret and Nicholas Seube impressing. Feret is in the form of his life with two goals and three assists in his last 180 minutes on the pitch and this is the area of the pitch where right now I feel the hosts have a small edge.
They lost that and subsequently blew a two goal lead in a 3-3 home draw with lowly Lens and are off their game right now.
Bordeaux have had a dismal 2005 and were without a win in five until last week, when all their stars on were previously on ACN action returned and they immediately contributed in a 1-0 road win at Evian, with Sane, Saivet, Poko , Traore and Khazri (who scored the winner) all returning to the squad, four started and Traore came off the bench. it was a terrific boost and they can follow up, against an opponent whom they beat 2-0 last year and have lost just once in seven starts against. They also get Jaroslav Plasil back today and have hugely increased options and as such , it is hard to be overly concerned even with the loss of top scorer Cheick Diabate, but he has not scored since early December and his absence is more than compensated by the returnees and new signing Isaac Thelin.
Saints are big underachievers on the road against stronger teams and won just 3 of 18 against top half teams. They are without Renaud Cohade (1-4-2 in his absence) and Jeremy Clement (2-3-1 when he is missing), they will miss the huge experience of the pair in midfield, St Etienne have struggled without one, it is a big ask with both missing and Bordeaux so strong in midfield. 1.75 units Bordeaux -0.25 ball 2.20 asian line/Sportmarket.
Bordeaux: C.Carrasso, Prior – Contento, Ilori, Mariano, Pallois, L.Sané, Yambéré – Khazri, Maurice-Belay, Plasil, Poko, Sertic, Ab.Traoré – Rolan, Saivet, Kiese Thelin, T.Touré.
St Etienne: Ruffier, Moulin – Brison, L.Perrin, Tabanou, Théophile-Catherine, Baysse, B.Karamoko – Corgnet, Diomandé, Lemoine, Nguemo, Madianga – Hamouma, Erding, Mollo, Van Wolfswinkel, Gradel, J.Bamba.
Celta Vigo v Atletico Madrid
Briefly, Celta look a little overpriced here with Aletico short of key players in the middle of the park, with Raul Garcia, Arda Turan and Koke sidelined.
I spoke ahead of the first Copa game with Real early last month about the relentless pressing of the midfield and the huge contribution of Koke and by the midfield, I largely mean this trio ......
The weekend could hardly have gone any better for Atletico, they beat Levante 3-1 with a positive offensive performance, then officially announced the return of favourite son Fernando Torres ( I know, I know) and then sat back and watched both Real and Barce lose, results which blew open the title race, with the big three now only separated by a single point. Torres is not viewed in Spain and especially this side of Madrid, in the same way as regular watchers of the EPL see him and he will not be under the same kind of pressure to deliver, at least not immediately and things are so much easier when supporters already love you and adore him they do. 45,000 ( I kid you not) turned up at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Sunday to welcome him home, watch him juggle the ball in the centre circle and kick a few balls into the crowd. There was no league fixture, as Atletico played on Saturday ( which means they have not had to travel and have had 24 hours longer recovery time), so Torres will be in no doubt about the affection with which he is held in and I would not be totally surprised if we saw the old FT return over the coming months.
Atletico have made a habit of stepping up in the big games and Diego Simeone will have them fired up for this. My view about the hosts long term prospects in this competition is pretty much unchanged from last season, in that, IMO , they simply do not need the Copa, they are heavily involved in the title race and the Champions League and could do without additional fixtures. Barcelona will almost certainly await the winner and four extra games against the big two inside 22 days and they also go to Barcelona for a La Liga fixture on Sunday, will surely take a toll somewhere down the line. However, convincing Simeone to change his mind and intensity, is a little like getting a politician to agree with the opposition in the build up to an election, it ain't gonna happen ! This is a man who has probably never taken a backward step in his life and he will be 100% committed to this game and his squad dare not do otherwise. Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann are finally starting to click and the midfield never give you one moments peace, are a mirror image of the coach and have bossed most of the recent games between the two clubs. Atletico are unbeaten in two Super Cup games and a trip to the Bernabeu this season, posting two wins, with Griezmann (off the bench) and Juanfran both causing problems with the space Real leave out wide and the (still) largely underrated Koke, hugely influential in all three games. Real have the game changers and if they have a going day there is not really too much opponents can do, but I feel the hosts have a big edge in midfield and do not see them losing this evening.
The loss to Valencia on Sunday, ended a run of 22 straight competitive wins for Real, but after their World Club Cup commitments, did they really need to shoehorn in a friendly against Milan in Dubai over New Year, when most other La Liga players were spending a few days with their families ? They were harassed and out worked by Valencia at the Mestalla and are going to face a similar , but better challenge this evening. I suspect both would be reasonably happy with a draw, although Simeone would never admit that and I see that as the most likely outcome, but feel we are better served by taking the hosts with the handicap start.
They lost 2-0 at Almeria without Koke last season, but I can find no recent game where they have been without two of these, let alone all three and they look massive losses for a team who like to make as little rotation as possible.
1.5 units Celta +0.25 ball 2.08 asian line /Sportmarket.