Blogs & Opinion


Structurally sound

Ed expects Michelangelo and Everton to prosper this weekend

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 13th September 2012 view comments

The sun has set on a glorious summer of sport, the greatest this country has ever seen.

Doom and gloom might be setting in for some but I reckon we could see something pretty special at Doncaster on Saturday to lift the spirits.

Plus, with the Premier League getting into full swing and the Ryder Cup kicking off the autumn, there is plenty for punters to look forward to.

Horse racing

Bar Frankel's brilliance, this has been a low- key season on the flat but it could have a high-profile and brilliant ending. The appalling weather has been largely to blame but there's also been a shortage of good 'stories' on the track.

Moyes: the Scot's Everton side will host Newcastle on Monday Night Football

Moyes: the Scot's Everton side will host Newcastle on Monday Night Football

That could change in the final few weeks of the term as the sensational mare, Snow Fairy, was a brilliant winner of the Irish Champion Stakes and could now go for glory in the Arc.

The eyes of the sporting world will be on Frankel's farewell at Ascot in a month's time and, more immediately, Camelot could go in to the record books at Doncaster on Saturday.

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Norwich v West Ham
12.30pm, Sat, Sky Sports 2 HD
Reading v Tottenham
3.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD
Also showing on Sky 3D
Everton v Newcastle
7pm, Mon, Sky Sports 1 HD
Also showing on Sky 3D
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

It was amazing to read this week that Aidan O'Brien almost saw St Nicholas Abbey's attempt to win the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last weekend as an irrelevance with Ballydoyle's focus solely on the St Leger and their attempt to make history - a first Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970.

Click here for more Sky Bet odds

Camelot is trading 1/3 with Sky Bet and I will be cheering him on, but certainly not backing him at that price. Racing needs stars and stories and I love it when racing features on the back and front pages of the newspapers, which Camelot could do this weekend.

However, for all his brilliance this season in the Classics we have no idea how he will react to the slog up the straight over this longer trip on Town Moor.

He might well relish it and win by half the track, but I wouldn't want to play at 1/3 to find out. I'd rather back a horse that is set to relish this longer trip and I'm automatically drawn to a John Gosden running in the Leger, a race in which he has a superb record.

Thought Worthy has been the shortest price of his runners in Sky Bet's ante-post market but I much prefer the chance of Michelangelo. This horse has the perfect profile for a Gosden St Leger challenger even down to finishing third in the same race as Arctic Cosmos did at Goodwood on his final start before winning at Donny.

Michelangelo was never travelling on Goodwood's undulations that day and back on a conventional track and over the extra two furlongs, this is a horse that I think is open to a stack of improvement.

I'm told that he has been working the house down in Newmarket and on Wednesday afternoon it sounded like William Buick was leaning towards riding him.

I think he's the favourite's biggest danger and will be backing Michelangelo each-way or in the market without Camelot.

Intriguing

A brilliant weekend of Premier League football is set to lift spirits after a miserable Tuesday night of World Cup qualifiers for the Home Nations

I'll be heading to the Madejski Stadium for Super Sunday ford an intriguing contest between Reading (13/5 to win with Sky Bet) and Tottenham (evens). This is our first chance on Sky Sports this season to see the new-look Spurs side under Andre Villas Boas at first hand and we will have Glenn Hoddle in the studio to analyse it.

Tottenham were the second biggest spenders in the summer transfer window - their £55.8m was beaten only by Chelsea (£82.1m). Moussa Dembele should be an excellent signing, while it's surely just a matter of time before Clint Dempsey gets going.

But both need to hit the ground running as Tottenham have made their worst start to a season in four years since they took one point from their opening three games in 2008.

That season they took two points from their first eight games (their worst ever start to a season) resulting in the sacking of Juande Ramos and the appointment of Harry Redknapp. But slow starts are nothing new for Tottenham - only twice in the last nine seasons have they won more than one of their opening three games (2005 and 2009).

Andre Villas-Boas is bound to feature in plenty of chat on the show as he looks for his first win as Tottenham manager. Worryingly for him, no Spurs manager has ever failed to win any of his opening four League matches.

Sky Bet's Premier League Title odds: 13/10 Man City, 15/8 Man Utd, 10/3 Chelsea, 14/1 Arsenal, 66/1 Liverpool, 66/1 Spurs, 125/1 Everton, 200/1 Newcastle, 1,000/1 bar

Reading have not played in the Premier League for 25 days since the 4-2 defeat v Chelsea on August 22 as the game at Sunderland was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. If they lose on Sunday it will be their worst start to a season since 1997-98 when they took one point from their opening three games and ended up being relegated to the third tier.

Reading may be a bit rusty but they are a tough nut to crack and in-running punters must bear in mind how strongly Brian McDermott's side finishes games.

From Reading, the team will head up the M4 to London as Monday Night Football returns the following day and if Everton (4/5) perform like they did on the first show of the season then Newcastle (10/3) will have their work cut out. Everton were awesome on MNF against Manchester United and David Moyes will want to see them bounce back to their best after a disappointing display two weeks ago at West Brom.

Everton are already down to 13/2 to finish in the top four, 6/4 to finish in the top six, and if they win on Monday it will be their best start after four games of a Premier League season since they took 10 points from the first four games in 2006 before finishing sixth.

Most relevant is that Everton have won their last five Premier League home games, scoring 14 goals and conceding only one in the process. It's hard to see Toffees coming unstuck and I hope you can join Gary Neville and I at 7pm on Sky Sports 1 HD.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

Merson's predictions

Paul predicts wins for Chelsea, Man City, West Ham and QPR and a pair of draws on Super Sunday.

A Villa v Man Utd live

Follow our live text commentary from the Barclays Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Manchester United.

Tottenham v Burnley live

Follow our live text commentary from the Barclays Premier League clash between Tottenham and Burnley.

FT: Man City 3-0 Crystal Palace

Follow our live text commentary from the Barclays Premier League clash between Manchester City and Crystal Palace.

Southampton v Everton live

Follow our live text commentary from the Barclays Premier League clash between Southampton and Everton.

Features

Tyne-Wear Derby: Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback is now a Newcastle favourite following his summer move

Tyne-Wear Derby: Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback is now a Newcastle favourite following his summer move

Former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback has quickly won over the Newcastle fans and could be a key figure in the Tyne-Wear derby, writes Adam Bate...

Premier League questions: Can Brendan Rodgers silence his critics? And will Villa Park be Man Utd's haven again?

Premier League questions: Can Brendan Rodgers silence his critics? And will Villa Park be Man Utd's haven again?

With another huge weekend of Premier League football ahead of us, we ponder 10 questions that will be answered by Monday evening...

Five classics

Five classics

Liverpool v Arsenal is a fixture steeped in history and with the pressure on both bosses ahead of their Super Sunday clash, this weekend’s meeting could be another one to remember.