Wednesday, 28 November 2012

QPR, Andy Roddick, James Arthur & Alan Sugar!

I've got really itchy fingers from not trading or blogging for 2 weeks so thought I'd do a catch-up today, with a few things which may be of interest.

Firstly, I've decided to have a go at trading a long term football market. With QPR sacking Mark Hughes and installing Harry Redknapp, I believe there may be some value in laying them in the relegation market. A quick look at their fixture list last weekend, gave me cause to think that 1.8ish was worth a speculative lay:

Sunderland Away
Aston Villa Home
Wigan Away
Fulham Home
Newcastle Away
West Brom Home
Liverpool Home

That brings us up to 2013. A rather winnable looking set of matches in my opinion. Certainly, there is no one to fear and no fixture that a team like QPR would not fancy taking 3 points from. Newcastle away looks the toughest fixture but with all their injuries, I think they will be lucky to finish top half this season. A rejuvenated side under 'Arry should certainly be capable of getting something. Liverpool don't strike fear into anyone anymore and West Brom are dead certainties to drop off after their brilliant start - the congested Christmas period should be a test for their squad and a great time to play them.

I was pleased to see a reasonable start last night with a 0-0 at Sunderland. Having watched the game I'll tell you this much; QPR are better than Sunderland. I also layed the Mackems, so was doubley pleased. Unfortunately, Villa's win over Reading means the gap to safety is even wider but I'm not worried. Redknapp can't possibly do worse than Hughes, so the only way is up. Taarabt was the best player on the pitch last night and he's a classic 'Arry flair player who he will undoubtedly get the most out of. Sean Wright-Phillips who came on as sub and has been a forgotten man, also fits into that category.

Esteban Granero is a real talent in midfield. I watched him loads when he was at Getafe and Real Madrid and wondered what on earth he was doing at Loftus Road. He's way too good for QPR and again, he'll thrive under Redknapp. Cisse is a proper striker and will get goals, I've no doubt at all. I will probably be mocked for this but I think Rob Green might just turn his career back around! He came on as sub for injured Julio Cesar last night and made a great point blank save. This could well be 'fate' for the forgotten England goalkeeping number 6 and this chance under a new manager, could be just what he needs to resurrect his ailing career.

Overall, QPR knocked the ball about far better than Sunderalnd and should be able to catch them with a good run, which looks do-able with the above fixtures. After that, Redknapp can work his magic and bring in some January transfers. QPR have the money and the manager to get out of trouble and a few gems amongst the playing staff who just need some good man-management. Most importantly, there are enough weak teams above them to make the great escape possible. Reading look dead certs for relegation. Southampton, Villa and Wigan are almost certainties to be scrapping for safety. I also wouldn't rule out West Ham dropping sharply in the second half of the season and Newcastle continuing to struggle. Add in Sunderland and Norwich (who I think will be strong candidates to go) and there's plenty of hope for QPR.

Elsewhere, I came across a few entertaining videos posted on the Running Forehand tennis blog. There are clips on that link of some fun and games during exhibition matches, the best of which show Andy Roddick doing impressions of Djokovic and McEnroe and Djokovic doing an impression of Gustavo Kuerten.  This is particularly funny (in fact, I could genuinely write LOL because that's exactly what I did - but I won't) because his opponent at the time was Gustavo Kuerten! There are also clips involving Gael Monfils and Marcos Baghdatis clowning around. What they show is that, as I wrote about in this post, there are still some characters in the game, it's just that they are limited to show-boating and entertaining the crowd in exhibitions because the tour is so professional and competitive now.

It's X-Factor semi finals week and as usual, I'm looking to make some money on what has become a lucrative market for me (I picked the winner last year well in advance). I've had money on James Arthur for several weeks now and his price continues to crash to the point where he is now favourite for the first time - joint with Jahmene Douglas on Betfair. I took him at 5.2 and he's now 2.5ish. I'm slightly nervous this week, as I had intended to green up here but am going to let it run. After his bottom-two face-off with previous fave Ella Henderson, it was obvious James would get the rebound vote. Also, it is obvious that no one is going to beat him in a judges vote situation. However, that scenario no longer exists and elimination can only be decided by public vote from now on - and let's face it, anyone stupid enough to waste money voting on this shit cannot be trusted!

The rumours for weeks now are that Chris Maloney is taking a huge share of the votes. I doubt this is true as if the voting has been leaked, surely there would be insiders piling in on him for victory, yet he's still third fave at around 6.8. I think it's clear that a number of voters are trying to somehow 'upset' Simon Cowell and the production team by voting for Maloney. Pathetic really, as Cowell makes money off the very calls they are making to supposedly piss him off! Whilst I think there are people who want to see the underdog triumph in the face of the harsh criticism he's faced, I think when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, people will vote for the ones they feel truly deserve to win based on talent alone (especially with Ella eliminated more than likely due to voter complacency). The latest poll on the Digital Spy X-Factor forum has James ahead as reader's favourite by a huge margin. Therefore, I'm biting my nails for another week and hoping the British public vote for the best artist which is clearly James Arthur.

Finally, I'm sure many of you will be watching the 'Trading Academy' show on the City Index website (and you may have even entered and failed to make the cut, like me!). It's a 6 week programme in the style of The Apprentice, only with candidates that are attempting to win £100,000 by coming top after a series of financial spread trading tasks. It's well worth a watch, if only to see how the traders (each with varying degrees of trading experience, though all still novices) cope with the pressures of the tournament, TV cameras and increasing banks of money to play with.
You won't learn anything about how to trade the financial markets but it's interesting seeing how the psychological side affects each trader and also how the two Alan Sugar characters (one of whom is way scarier than the real thing!), choose who is to be 'fired' each week. It's not always who you might expect and this tells you a lot about what it really takes to become a trader. Spread betting is the closest form of financial trading you will get to sports trading (because you can make money on prices going down as well as up), so it's a relevant watch especially if you are new to trading. It's the final next week so plenty of time to catch up till the end!

Serena Williams:

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