Original article published 14 October 2022
With Nottingham Forest falling to another defeat, and Real Betis and Napoli continuing their strong starts to the season, we’re looking at some of the week’s biggest Market Movers.
Hands up those who got swept along with the romanticism of Nottingham Forest returning to the top flight. Yes, I can see quite a few hands, especially from those near the River Trent and one from the author who thought Steve Cooper would carry on his good work from last season.
We’d seen unprecedented levels of interest in Forest this summer; the Tricky Trees had shortened into 6/1 for a Top Half finish, they’d drifted to 5/4 for relegation and were 13/8 in that market having taken a very respectable four points from the opening three games.
Fast forward a month and Cooper’s stock has fallen dramatically. So much so, I’m even thinking that after bringing 22 players in, he’s bang under pressure. Okay, you can forgive conceding eight goals against Spurs and Manchester City, but three against both fellow promoted sides Bournemouth and Fulham, at home, after taking the lead, leaves him vulnerable during the international break.
That second-half collapse against the Cottagers – conceding on 54, 57 and 60 – has to set alarm bells ringing, especially with an owner not known for his patience.
Forest return from the break with three winnable games against rivals Leicester as well as Villa and Wolves as the 4/7 shots for the drop look to climb up the table. Cooper has impressed many during his year at the City Ground, and hopefully he’ll get time to show just how good a coach he is.
Napoli lost some key names in the summer so it wasn’t the biggest surprise in the world to see them drift out to 20/1 for the Serie A title before their trip to Verona.
However nine goals in two thumping victories had us reassessing their title chances by cutting them into 10/1, with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – affectionately nicknamed Kvaradona following his superb performances so far this season – bagging three.
Dropped points against Fiorentina and Lecce saw a drift to 12/1 before a 2-1 win at Lazio and a last-minute winner versus Spezia, with a 4-1 humbling of Liverpool sandwiched in between, had Luciano Spalletti’s talented team into 5/1.
Rangers were then knocked over 3-0 before they ended Milan’s 22-game unbeaten run this weekend. As 9/4 shots, this could be Napoli’s first Serie A crown since Maradona was in his pomp.
Real Betis moved up to third in the La Liga table after their seventh win in eight games in all competitions – their only defeat a 2-1 reversal at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid, a side who have a perfect record with six wins from six in La Liga.
Borja Iglesias made it six for the season with his brace against Girona – the ‘Panda’ was a 50/1 shot in pre-season to win the Pichichi race, and the 29-year old, recently called up to the Spain squad, is now into 16/1.
Admittedly, he has profited from three penalty kicks and scored with 50% of his 12 shots this campaign!
His side were 14/1 shots in the ‘Betting Without Barcelona and Real Madrid’ market before a ball was kicked. They were 10/1 after their opening weekend victory over Elche and 6/1 with a 1-0 win over Villarreal.
They’ve also shown no signs of struggling to navigate the Europa League, with two wins from two there moving them to 16/1 fourth favourites.
Sunday’s 2-1 win sees them now trading at 5/1 in the Without market and 2/1 (having opened 9/2) for the Top 4.