A brilliant weekend of sport to look forward to with the return of the Premier League, US Open finals, England v India in the one-day series, the St Leger and the home nations beginning their World Cup campaigns.
I’d love to see Brown Panther win the St Leger for Michael Owen and although he has a decent chance, I think Sea Moon will take a lot of beating. The best bet on the Doncaster card is Cry Fury in the handicap at 3.45. Impressive at Goodwood last time this is a horse open to lots of improvement.
I sincerely hope we are in for an entertaining few weeks of rugby in New Zealand but I fear it will be a similar story to four years ago with defensive, negative rugby coming to the fore.
I said a couple of weeks ago that I fancied South Africa to win the tournament but for them to win means we’re unlikely to get the entertaining tournament that everyone wants to see.
Football has had some disappointing major tournaments recently but I reckon that could be about to change with Spain leading the way by winning trophies with fast, fluent and entertaining football. Even England have now caught on to the fact that modern-day international football is all about pace and movement. This bodes well for Euro 2012 and the World Cup in Brazil.
Rugby is a totally different ball game. Just like four years ago, I sense that the most successful teams will play tight, risk-free rugby. England adapted their style in France and found a successful formula. The one time they had more of the ball and tried to play expansive rugby was in the final in Paris and South Africa successfully picked them off.
The All Blacks are the best side in the tournament by a mile but to repeat the brilliant rugby they have played over the last couple of years in the pressure cooker of a World Cup is a big ask. It’s so hard to play with freedom in a knockout, winner-takes-all quarter-final or semi-final. Rugby union’s problem is that under that pressure it’s easier to play without the ball than with it. Let the opposition try to play the rugby and then punish their mistakes. This gives England a decent chance but I feel South Africa are the best exponents of “tournament” rugby and still good value at 11 on Betdaq.
I’ve got great few days of football ahead with a trip to my beloved St Mary’s on Saturday then I’ll be at Craven Cottage to present Super Sunday before hosting QPR against Newcastle on the Monday Night Football. First up on Sunday we have Norwich against West Brom and I fancy Roy Hodgson’s side to finally get off the mark. They played really well so far with no reward and are a very effective unit on the road. We may finally see Shane Long partnered up front by Peter Odemwingie and they could be a dynamic duo. We got lucky with Everton a couple of weeks ago and I fancy WBA to make it look a bit easier and think 2.93 on Betdaq is big price on them winning at Carrow Road.
Bradley Wiggins will not win the Vuelta this weekend but it’s still been a heroic effort after the injury he picked up in the Tour. How frustrating it must be for him and Team Sky to think what he could have achieved in France. One consolation for the team this week is the emergence of a new star – Chris Froome. He has been a revelation.
I’m expecting a big week for Team Sky at the Tour of Britain, which starts on Sunday, and I strongly fancy Geraint Thomas to cap a brilliant season with victory. Keep an eye out for any prices on the flying Welshman.