Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Johnson can revive faltering career at Sunderland

August 30th, 2012

Adam Johnson has long been linked with a move away from Manchester City and, now he has finally sealed a switch to Sunderland, the winger will hope to kick-start his career back in the north east.

Johnson’s career has stalled since his move to City three years ago from his native Middlesbrough and he now has got the transfer he has apparently craved to a club where he should enjoy both a starting and starring role.
Johnson, still only 25, is a well-respected talent but it appears his move to the Barclays premier league champions proved to be a backward step in his development and he was in danger of fading away after such a promising start to life as a professional.

When he burst onto the scene for Boro in 2007, Johnson, while clearly raw, was being talked about as a regular England winger of the future and the man who would not only eclipse the achievements of another Middlesbrough product, Stewart Downing, but ensure his older colleague would struggle to get a look in for the Three Lions after the 2010 World Cup.

That Downing, struggling to establish himself at Liverpool at present, has 23 more caps than Johnson reveals that prediction has simply not turned out to be true and Johnson has, so far, failed to live up to expectations.
Think back to an outstanding individual performance from the winger for his country in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in 2010 – when he also scored – and it is fair to say the momentum he was expected to gain from that outing never materialised.

However, after showing glimpses of his talent when given a chance at City, he now has the perfect stage on which to showcase his ability by playing Soccer games week in, week out.

The hope is that not only Johnson and Sunderland will benefit but England, too, will finally get their hands on a winger they can rely on on a regular basis.

O’Neill gets his man

August 23rd, 2012

After a summer of chasing Wolves striker Steven Fletcher, Sunderland manager, Martin O’Neill has finally secured the signature of the 25-year old, who will move to the Stadium of Light on a four year deal.

Fletcher will join the Black Cats for an initial fee of £12m, which could rise to £14m if he triggers performance bonuses in the agreement. By anyone’s standards that is a huge amount of money for a player who has managed just 30 league goals in three seasons in the English top flight, but O’Neill seems very confident in his new striker; “I think Steven will be terrific for us. Steven has a proven track record of scoring goals” O’Neill said.  “He’s underrated, but not by me. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring him to Sunderland” he added.

Fletcher was relegated from the Premier League in 2009-10, when he finished as Burnley’s top scorer and then, having moved to Wolves for a record £7m fee, he was relegated again two years later. “Wolves lost their Premier League status last season but I think he’s very good and I think he’s improving” O’Neill said, confident that Fletcher’s run of relegations has now come to an end as they plan for a much better season to last.

Whether the signing of Fletcher is another master-stroke by O’Neill, or whether it is the act of a man who is desperate for goals, having already lost Asamoah Gyan and Nicklas Bendtner this summer, remains to be seen. There are few managers who would have made such a large investment in Fletcher, but O’Neill has a track record of shrewd signings and the Sunderland fans will certainly be hoping that he repays every penny of his huge fee. Sunderland finished last season in 13th position having endured a poor start to the year. If Fletcher can hit form early for the Black Cats then they will be confident of a top half finish this time around.

Don’t forget to check out the updated Betfair Champions League site ahead of this season’s competition kicking off later this month.

Lampard in the Dark over Contract

August 23rd, 2012

Chelsea stalwart Frank Lampard has revealed that the club has yet to offer him a new deal despite the fact that his current contract is now in its last year.

“I would like to end my career there,” the 34-year old said. “I feel I can play at the top level for a good few more years, but it’s whether the club feels the same” he added.

Having started last season on the bench, and seen a number of Chelsea’s old guard move away from Stamford Bridge it is no wonder that the England midfielder is keen to secure his future. “I know there are a lot of changes at Chelsea. I’d love to be involved, and the youth coming into the squad this year has really freshened up our team” Lampard said.

Lampard, who started his career at West Ham before moving to Chelsea in 2001, has now made 559 appearances for the blues but he is well aware that he is no longer ‘top-dog’ at the Bridge. “I’d love to carry on but it’s a club decision to come and sit down with me. They used to sit down with me three years before the end of my contract. Now I’m waiting” he said.

Regardless of whether or not Lampard remains at Chelsea beyond this season you can guarantee that he will give his all for the blues in this campaign. Having defied their Champions league odds to win the European Cup last season Chelsea will feel confident of knocking Manchester City off top spot in the Premier League this year, and having a fit and firing Frank Lampard will certainly help their cause.

Indeed many pundits feel their summer spending has put them in a position to launch a sustained title charge. Chelsea begin their Premier League campaign away at Wigan on Sunday and will be very confident of picking up three points.

Hoilett Can’t Wait for New Season

August 14th, 2012

QPR’s new winger, Junior Hoilett, has revealed his excitement at the prospect of starting the new season with the hoops.

“Everyone is looking forward to that first game and I am probably looking forward to it more than normal because I am at a new club and this is a new start for me,” Hoilett said, following his club debut in a 1-1 draw with Trabzonspor at the weekend.

Having narrowly avoided relegation last season, QPR begin their 2012-13 campaign with a  winnable tie against Swansea City on 18th August and Hoilett can’t wait to play in front of the Loftus Road faithful.

“It will be great to get out in front of the fans and show them what I can do. It’s an important game for me and for the club” he said.

Whilst Rangers’ minds may now be focussed on the opener against the Swans’ they still have one more friendly to play ahead of the new season; they take on Budesliga side FC Augsburg at the SGL Arena in Augsburg on Saturday. Having scored seven goals for Blackburn last season Hoilett was perhaps a little unlucky to have been relegated but the pain of last year’s failure will no doubt still be fresh in his mind and he is glad that Mark Hughes’ men have another friendly before their opener; ”I am pleased we have another match before the season starts, it well help me to get ready for that opening game” the 22-year-old said.

QPR avoided relegation by just one point last season, and whilst the experience will certainly have made them mentally stronger, many of the frailties exposed in 2011-12 will certainly still be evident. They aren’t going to be affecting the champions league odds market any time soon but the signing of Hoilett is a step in the right direction.

However, it was QPR’s defence that let them down last season and unless they can stem the flow of goals conceded he may well be facing another relegation battle this year.

MLS snare Cahill

July 28th, 2012

Australian international Tim Cahill has agreed to join the ranks of the New York Red Bulls in the MLS, in one of the most exciting transfers this season involving a North American team. The midfielder will join the Red Bulls from Everton in the Premier League, ending an eight-year spell at the club in which the 32-year old has established himself as one of the most prolific scoring midfielders around, meaning punters who bet on soccer games  may want to back the Red Bulls for MLS glory this season.

Everton manager David Moyes had made it clear that he wanted to hang on to Cahill, but the Aussie has taken the opportunity to experience a different league before hanging up his boots. Asia and the Middle East had appeared to be the likely destination for Cahill, but the USA will now be the home of Cahill for the next few years.

With a tireless work ethic and ability to score regular goals, Cahill has been a key ingredient to Everton’s team since his arrival from Millwall in 2004, scoring 68 goals in 278 appearances for the Merseysiders.

A lack of regular playing time last season, due in part to a series of niggling injuries, convinced Cahill to accept the offer to move to New York, where he will now link up with Thierry Henry in one of MLS’ most exciting teams. Already the experts’ soccer betting tips predict future and sustained success for The Red Bulls.

Top of the Eastern Conference, the Red Bulls are already one of the league’s best sides. Cahill’s arrival will only go further to boost the quality of the squad and take New York closer to the LA Galaxy in terms of profile. The midfielder is expected to join on a two-year contract, giving Cahill the chance to finish his season by winning some trophies.

RVP heads for AFC exit

July 6th, 2012

News that Robin van Persie has decided he will not renew his contract with Arsenal is neither a shock nor a surprise to members of the live soccer betting community.

A look back through recent history and the stark reminder is that once any player decides he wants to leave, the goal-posts are moved irreparably.

Forget the well-scripted line to keep disgruntled fans on-side that “it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward”. Roughly translated, this is dressing-room parlance for ‘I’ve had enough’.

The Netherlands striker has reached the point of no return career-wise and recognises the next contract he signs – he is in his last year at Arsenal – is likely to define his career. He will be 29 by the time the new domestic season starts and at the start of the down slope to his peak years.

Consider that van Persie’s only trophy as an Arsenal player, excluding the Community Shield, is the 2005 FA Cup, as a substitute, and he can be forgiven for thinking he has abetter chance of lining his silverware cabinet elsewhere.

The Rotterdam-born talisman carried the north Londoners last season, scoring 30top-flight goals in an impressive and, mercifully, injury-free campaign.

However, signs that he was carrying some weight on his shoulders were evident in a fraught and forgettable Euro 2012 campaign in which he scored just one goal for the Dutch.

Arsene Wenger, perhaps in readiness for this eventuality, has moved to bring in Montpellier title-winner Olivier Giroud and Germany international Lukas Podolski.

Whether he thought he could play all three we will never know, although several soccer betting tips reckon Wenger always knew it was an unlikely scenario.

Van Persie is certainly not the first – think Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor, Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy – but Gunners fans will be praying he is the last in a long line of marquee players to want to leave the Emirates.

All quiet at the noisy neighbours

July 3rd, 2012

Having claimed the Premier League title last season, things have been a little quiet at Manchester City, as they look to defy football betting odds and claim the domestic crown for a second consecutive season.

Of course we are in the midst of the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine, which has taken much of the focus away from the Premier League, however we have been accustomed to plenty of speculation surrounding City and their potential transfer targets.

Nowadays any big players who look set for a move in the transfer window are linked with the big spending City but more often than not the club won’t have declared an interest in signing the star.

Once again there are murmurs of Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder being unhappy at the San Siro, with City and their arch rivals Manchester United being linked with the Dutch playmaker.

Apart from that there seems to be very little news of players coming into the Etihad Stadium, with more developments on players potentially on their way out, with the likes of Edin Dzeko being linked with a return to the Bundesliga and Bayern Munich.

Looking at the ranks manager Roberto Mancini boasts, City have the strongest squad in the Premier League and the club may well be gaging what their rivals will do in the summer, before playing their hand.

Those that bet on soccer games reckon that City could well retain the title with the current crop of players at the Eithad but as their rivals United have done for so many years, they are likely to add one or two new faces to add freshness to the squad.

Once Euro 2012 is done and dusted the real work will start at City and expect to see a couple of players walking through the door at the Etihad before their Premier League opener against Southampton.

Cameron set to swap Texas for Stoke

June 29th, 2012

Houston Dynamo chairman Chris Canetti says that Geoff Cameron has caught the eye of a number of European clubs, in particular Premier League side Stoke City.

The versatile USA international has been one of the MLS’s most consistent performers in recent years, earning his place in the All Star team that took on Manchester United last year, and winning praise from those who bet on soccer games.

That form has been continued into the current MLS campaign, during which Cameron has been integral to the Dynamo’s promising start to the season.

While Everton, Newcastle and German club Schalke have all shown interest in taking Cameron to Europe, Canetti has admitted that Stoke have been the only club to make solid contact regarding Houston’s star defender.

“I would say some dialogue has opened up in terms of what it might take to get it done,” Canetti revealed.

“They haven’t made an official offer. I don’t know how serious they are or if they’re just kicking the tires. Right now there’s just initial dialogue that’s starting up.”

The defensive player has proven he can handle the best strikers in the MLS, and could now look to defy soccer betting tips and stand toe to toe with the best the Premier League has to offer.

Cameron has always made his ambition to play in England clear, admitting he would relish the chance to test himself in one of the best leagues in world football.

“I wouldn’t mind England. I’ve always wanted to play there. I’m not going to be picky,” the 26-year old admitted.

“I would love England. I think just overall the soccer there and the fan experience and just everything in general would be great.”

Spain Need to Step it Up

June 25th, 2012

Spain have made it to the semi-finals of Euro 2012 without really hitting the heights they have shown in recent years, but they need a couple of big performances now if they want to book their place in the record books.

The Spanish won Euro 2008, and then followed that up by winning the World Cup 2010 in South Africa, but no team has either defended a European Championship or won three consecutive major championships, so there are records there to be broken for Los Rojas.

Vincente del Bosque’s side made it out of their group, but were given a big scare by Croatia, as there was a long period where one Croatian goal would have sent the defending champions home. In the quarterfinals they limped to a 2-0 win over an underwhelming France side.

The manager’s decision to play six midfielders in the majority of games, rather than any set strikers, has been a major talking point in the sport news on Bet365; the tactic has left Spain lacking a decisive spark in the middle of the pitch.

There is no doubt that they have the talent among the squad but, at times, their football has been dull, and they have struggled to penetrate the opponent’s defensive barrier.

Spain defender, Sergio Ramos, admits that they now face a “difficult” challenge against Portugal in the semi-finals, a team spearheaded by Real Madrid superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, but they need to put in good performances if they want to win Euro 2012.

“This Spain team have taken a step forward. We showed what we’re about in this victory and we’re in the semi-finals now,” he stated. “We have to carry this on all the way to the final. We can’t rest on our laurels because every game is a final.”

Ronaldo has scored three goals in his last two outings at Euro 2012; he recently hit back at critics of his under-par displays in their opening two games.

He is the huge goal-threat that Portugal possesses, and has the ability to damage Spain’s hopes of reaching the final at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, on July 1st. However, the betting line indicates that even Ronaldo will not be able to stop Los Rojas.

Ronaldo eyeing Euro glory

June 22nd, 2012

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is confident his side can go all the way at Euro 2012 following their 1-0 quarter-final victory over the Czech Republic.

Ronaldo again proved the match-winner for his country, scoring the only goal of the game late on to secure a semi-final clash with either Spain or France as Portugal’s live scores and performances improve with each passing game.

“Our great aim is to get to the final. We have a great squad and now I’d say the chances are 50-50 and we just have to believe. We are very mature, so we are ready for the fight,” said the Real Madrid star.

Ronaldo was disappointing in the opening two games of the tournament but came to life in the crucial final Group B match against the Netherlands and carried that form into the game in Warsaw.

The former Manchester United winger hit the post in each half before finally breaking the deadlock with a powerful header in the 80th minute. Portugal held on comfortably to dump the Czechs out of the competition with punters gambling online tipping them as possible finalists.

“I think it was a fantastic game for Portugal. In the first 20 minutes we weren’t that good but we improved a lot. It was a perfect game for us, with a lot of opportunities. The Czechs didn’t have one opportunity,” added Ronaldo.

“We always had the quality to reach the semi-finals. We are happy but know the next match will be difficult but the team is very mature and we are ready.”

The Portuguese will now face either defending champions Spain or France, who eliminated them at the semi-final stage of Euro 2000.

Spain have not been at their fluent best so far in Poland and Ukraine but have developed a habit of peaking at the right time and are favourites to defeat the French in Donetsk on Saturday.