Spurs an early fancy

July 12th, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

In betting you can be saved by the price and there was never any value in backing Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon. The latter could still do it, of course, though Roger Federer looked very close to his best when defeating Murray in straight sets in the semis. It wasn’t as if the Scot played poorly; it was just that Federer served extremely well and seemed totally focused and unfazed by anything Murray could throw at him.

I wouldn’t care to bet or advise on the final. Djokovic wobbled against Kevin Anderson and will need to play better than he did in that match. He will be odds-on but the only value bet may be a five-set duel.

As I write these notes Australia know they must score 412 runs to beat England in the first Ashes test. They will not be expected to set a new record for an Ashes encounter by making it and England will no doubt be odds on, especially if the weather forecasters predict two dry days.
The only point I would make concerns time. It is unusual for time to be irrelevant but it is here, because Australia will score that many over two days if England fail to take wickets. The point is that the Aussies do not need to take risks and for that reason I do not rule out a record Ashes test-winning score, though it will require phenomenal concentration.

As a Southampton supporter it is disappointing to see quality players leaving the club once again. Still, Nathaniel Clyne is close to being England’s regular right-back so Liverpool were bound to want him, while the Morgan Schneiderlin saga drags on, with Manchester United failing to match the Saints’ valuation. The Frenchman is a fine defensive midfielder, beyond question, but he is not a box-to-box player who will get you ten to twelve goals a season.

Particularly disappointing was the departure of Toby Alderweireld for Tottenham, though he was only ever at Southampton on loan. He is a fine defender and will feel at home at White Hart lane, given Spurs’ Belgian contingent. The bookmakers are not publishing their ante-post prices just yet and I wouldn’t be recommending Tottenham just because Alderweireld has gone there but I must say I think this is the year they have to achieve something.

They sometimes looked on the verge of breaking through last term, especially when demolishing Chelsea 5-3. They will probably hold on to Harry Kane and I believe they will make the top four this time. Mauricio Pochettino will know that that needs to happen because Daniel Levy and the other directors will soon become twitchy. A decent each-way bet on Spurs will be my opening gambit and there will also be a little bit on Walsall in League One, though that is a topic for a week or two’s time.