Thursday, 18 January 2018
Well, in a fashion, anyway. Unfortunately, blogging has very much taken a back-seat for me over the past 18 months for a myriad reasons, but hopefully you’ve been keeping up with my thoughts and discussion points on the Facebook and Twitter pages.
And whilst I’m trying to recover my extended writing mojo, I’ve enlisted the support of Ross Casey, formerly top football tipster of EasyOdds and a lifelong City fan, to take a look at football betting markets to help you beat the bookies.
Ross’ debut on The Exiled Robin comes ahead of Friday night’s trip to Derby County for Sky’s Friday Night Football headliner. Over to Ross…
Bristol City head to the iPro Stadium on Friday night in a Championship fixture broadcast live on Sky Sports. With the Robins on a five-match losing streak, it is little surprise that the bookmakers have made the away side outsiders!
Derby are a best price of 11/10 to win this fixture, making them firm favourites. Some firms go even shorter at even money so make sure you peruse an odds comparison service to ensure you get the best Championship odds here.
The Rams are now second in the league after a run of eight wins in their last 11 Championship matches. Their only loss in recent weeks was an FA Cup defeat away at Man Utd, where both goals arrived late on, despite Derby resting many players.
The draw is available at 5/2 with Derby drawing 23% of their matches this season. Of course, Bristol City drew 3-3 in this fixture last season, despite leading 3-0 at half-time.
The Robins have been made outsiders at 14/5 which is probably fair considering the injury list at Ashton Gate and the poor form in this fixture. Since Derby moved into their new home, these sides have met seven times with Derby winning five out of seven. The only victory for the away side came back in 2011 when Jon Stead and Cole Skuse goals sealed a 2-0 win for City.
Derby have the joint best home defence in The Championship along with Leeds. The Rams have conceded just nine goals at the iPro Stadium in 13 league games. If you fancy another clean sheet for Championship player of the month Scott Carson, you can get a best price of 17/10.
Derby striker Matej Vydra is joint top scorer in The Championship this season with 15 goals to his name already. The Czech Republic international has scored against City twice in six appearances against us, including the reverse fixture this season. He is a best price 6/4 to score.
In the last six meetings between these two sides, there have been an astounding 25 goals scored! Five of those matches have gone over 2.5 goals with that Derby v Bristol City betting selection available at 23/20 on Friday night.
Bristol City have only scored two goals in their last five matches, with Lee Johnson arguing without a target man up front The Robins have to score the perfect goal at the moment. However, live on Sky Sports, we have scored in each of the six games televised! Both teams to score is a best price of 9/10.
RECOMMENDED BEST BET
Annoyingly, I am not holding out too much hope for this one, with our current form and historical crapness in this fixture giving me the feeling that a victory is unlikely. The bookies agree with me too and I will follow the market and back Derby to win to nil at 5/2.
Follow Ross on Twitter at @RossCasey24
Ross Casey has six years worth of experience in the football betting industry where he worked his way up from a data management input role all the way to being the editor thanks to his betting knowledge and his editorial skills.
Currently seeking new work after redundancy, we are happy to have the Bristol City fan who has supported the club from birth and had a season ticket for 15 years before moving to London, writing for us weekly. He now attends as many City games as possible and counts Tommy Doherty and Jon Stead among his City heroes.
Wednesday, 20 September 2017
The second fantastic performance in four days at Ashton Gate, last night's win was about as comfortable cup upset as you can get against a Premier League team. Here are my thoughts on the eleven who played, plus Lee Johnson.
Luke Steele, 7: Had a surprisingly quietish debut but did everything he was asked. There were one or two moments of uncertainty when balls fell in the dead zone between him and the back four, but that's to be expected on his first appearance.
Zak Vyner, 6: May seem harsh, but whilst he mainly did ok there were three moments where he misjudged his positioning, leaving Stoke with chances to capitalise. But largely did well against quality opposition.
Aden Flint, 9: Almost faultless. The fact that Peter Crouch shook his hand and applauded him when he was substituted after a completely fruitless evening said it all. No real pace or trickery to threaten his usual weaknesses and made a superb clearance off the line at 0-0. He was the one shouting and organising a back five that hadn't played together before. Provided one of the funniest moments of the game when forward from a corner, he stayed up and ran across the back line, back & forth, about eight times, waiting for a cross or long ball in that never came!
Jens Hegeler, 8: Solid at the back, put in one superb sliding block challenge and at times showed some of the composure on the ball from his first few games with City. My only criticism is he might have been caught out of position a few times against a more attacking team, but no issues tonight.
Hordur Magnusson, 7: Proved we have more genuine cover at left-back after Lloyd Kelly's performance in the last round. Solid enough, kept their wide men quiet in the main, but distribution wasn't always on the mark and one of the few to give the ball away a few times in the first half.
Niclas Eliasson, 7: Earned the 7 for his endeavour but felt he was a bit disappointing in terms of an attacking threat. Didn't really use the ball well enough when in attacking positions, but that should come with more game time and experience.
Marlon Pack, 9 (MotM): Controlled the game superbly in the middle of the park, Stoke simply never got close enough to him. Kept the ball moving at pace and, along with Josh Brownhill, ran the game to such an extent that Darren Fletcher and Charlie Adam were totally dominated, both receiving yellow cards through sheer frustration and moaning to the referee all night. Would have been a 10 had his left-foot 25-yard shot hit the target and not the corner flag!
Josh Brownhill, 9: This guy gets better with every game and tonight was possibly his best performance in a City shirt. Did the leg work to protect the back four, passed the ball neatly, battled to keep possession and was a threat going forward, not letting Fletcher and Adam settle all night. Can't be long until he's the first midfielder on the team sheet every week.
Callum O'Dowda, 8: Excellent hard-working performance down the left flank. He protected Mags well, provided a threat going forward but the most impressive thing for me is how he carries the ball forward. He's not necessarily a tricky, creative traditional winger but he carries the ball well, rarely loses it and more often than not, gets a free-kick once he runs into too many defenders. Did it countless times this evening and linked well with Pack, Brownhill & Taylor in particular.
Matty Taylor, 9: The sponsors' MotM and hard to argue. Any doubts that he has the quality to cope at Championship level were dispelled against experienced Premier League defenders. Came off the front line tirelessly all night to help the midfielders have a pass to make and protected the ball well each time. He rarely loses it and also pressurised the back line, created chances for himself and others. The only minor blot was the finishing - he'll be delighted with his goal and assist but he will know he should have had a hat-trick after three 1-on-1s
Famara Diedhiou, 8.5: Another who surely put in his best performance in a City shirt. Looked stronger and faster than at any previous time, battled well in the air and gave the Stoke back three a truly uncomfortable evening. Before teams started playing one up front the strikers were all about partnerships, and his first game alongside Taylor showed great promise. Got the goal his performance deserved.
Lee Johnson, 10: Coming off the back of seven points from nine, a 4-1 win and facing another three games in seven days next week, Johnson made nine changes and got it absolutely spot on. The recruitment drive is now starting to bear fruit with a young, pacy, attacking squad who look united and full of belief in each other. The side was set up perfectly - those who came in showed true hunger and desire (that's not always easy to make happen) and the high-pressing tactics caused Stoke to have a mistake-ridden, uncomfortable and disappointing night.
Forcing Premier League opposition to change formation to cope with how you've set up and then make a half-time substitution to try and force something to happen is a proper nod of respect.
Friday, 18 August 2017
At first glance, the signing of a striker who can't get into Fulham's matchday plans may seem a strange one by Lee Johnson. After all, not only must there be a question over how capable he is based on that scenario, but despite the departures of Lee Tomlin and the pair of Hams this summer (Tammy Abraham and Aaron Wilbraham), City have what appears a top-heavy eight strikers on their books still.
However, that's not the full story. Famara Diedhiou and Bobby Reid have started the season together, with Freddie Hinds acting as cover. Milan Djuric, Matty Taylor and Arnold Garita (remember him?!) are currently injured. That's six, but half are injured. Then you have Gustav Engvall who has gone back to Sweden, probably for the last time, while under 23 goal machine Shaun McCoulsky is (rightly) learning his trade in League Two with Newport County.
The other reason Johnson would have been after an extra body is that although he is 'only' six foot tall, he's more of a target man option than most of the afore-mentioned list. At Brentford on Tuesday, Johnson had no choice available to bring on a physical, big option for the disappointing Diedhiou, and Hinds came on instead. You can argue we had to play differently than we might have otherwise, say if Wilbraham had been available to come on, which may have in turn helped us to equalise, but you can understand why Johnson wants a different option later on in matches and, with Djuric out for another two months, he had nowhere else to go.
By the way, before we leave our long list of forwards, many have questioned why we're bringing in a player when Gustav Engvall is scoring goals for fun in Sweden. It's a fair question, but quite simply, Engvall obviously isn't good enough. We might have spent a lot of money on him, but that happens to all clubs. Watching him in the Swedish league he may have looked quick, incisive, a physical threat but Johnson and his coaching team have now watched him in training for a whole year, and if he's not up to it at this level, then he's not up to it. End of.
So onto Cauley Woodrow. The first thing anyone looks for when a striker is signed is the goals record and in Woodrow's case it's safe to say that it's not spectacular. The positive however, is that his best spell was in the Championship on loan with Burton last season, so maybe he's maturing and, given the right service, can improve his overall goals to game ratio.
We all know fans of clubs can turn quickly when a player leaves them, but the reaction from Fulham fans on today's news was quite something else! It seems Woodrow is far from a favourite at the Cottage, and many were delighted and surprised we were willing to take him on. With that background, I spoke with Andrew Beck, @arbeck on Twitter, from Fulham fan site,Cottagers Confidential, and asked him why there was that sort of reaction.
"Cauley Woodrow isn't a bad player by any means. He's probably a fine striker at the lower levels of the Championship or League One.
He also isn't a great fit for Fulham's system. He's not small, but he's not really big enough to be your typical hold-up forward. He's not slow and unathletic, but he's not fast and mobile enough to be used on the wing.
He's got fairly good technical skills, and ideally he needs to be paired with another forward in a 4-4-2. If you have a speedier technical player Woodrow can combine well with him. If you have a bigger forward, he can float around and find space and combine with other players in the attack.
Part of the reason Fulham fans are down on Woodrow is that they had quite high hopes for him. He was a key figure in some academy teams that had a lot of success and played a lot for England youth teams. His development just kind of stalled after that.
I don't think you'll be able to win promotion with him as one of your two forwards. But I also don't think he would be the reason you get relegated if he's one of your two forwards.
There's also a chance he figures things out and takes a leap forward with consistent playing time, he's at the age where players often have things click and they start to reach their potential. I'd still bet against him becoming much more than he is now, but it's certainly worth a gamble."
Hardly effusive in his praise and all in all, on that reckoning, we appear to have a fairly 'average' player, but clearly the potential has been there through his youth career, and with a run of games, some goals and a bit of confidence, who knows what can happen?
One thing is certain, he sure can hit a ball. This was Fulham's goal of the season winner and you've got to assume it's not a one-off from the fact he even tried it. Very few of our players seem capable of hitting a ball from that distance so that alone would offer a different threat during games for the opposition defence to deal with.
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