Rio makes City fan jibe

March 22nd, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes a number of Manchester City fans have ‘come out of the woodwork’ thanks to their recent success.

Billionaire Shiekh Mansour bought the club four years ago and has thrown hundreds of millions of pounds at the club in an attempt to guarantee silverware.

City won their first major trophy in 35 years last season when they lifted the FA Cup while this campaign – following another summer of heavy investment – they hope to go even further by lifting the Premier League title.

They are currently in second place in the Premier League, just a point behind near rivals Manchester United, in what is becoming one of the most fascinating title races in recent years with United’s premier league odds just shading City’s by the finest of margins.

The two meet at the Etihad Stadium on April 30 in what could be a title deciding fixture but Ferdinand hopes the Red Devils can tie up the league by that point – though I would bet on the Premier League title race going right to the final day of the season.

In an ideal world, we’ll have it sewn up by the time we go there,” said the England defender.

“But I don’t expect it to be finished by the time we go their stadium.”

On the growing number of City supporters Ferdinand added: “Walking around in town, you see more and more blue shirts than you probably ever would have seen over the last 10 years.

“But success sometimes brings people out of the woodwork. So fingers crossed we can delay that and make sure that we get this title sewn up this season.”

Carragher: Gerrard second only to Charlton

March 15th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Veteran Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher thinks his team-mate Steven Gerrard is second only to Bobby Charlton in the list of England midfield greats.

Gerrard, whose season has been blighted by injury, scored a superb hat-trick in Tuesday’s Merseyside derby drubbing of Everton, the 3-0 victory ending a sequence of three successive Premier League defeats for Kenny Dalglish’s side.

It has been a strange season for the Reds who beat Cardiff City in last month’s Carling Cup Final and have reached the sixth round of the FA Cup but have struggled in the League and remain outsiders in the premier league betting to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Carragher said of Gerrard: “We all know he’s in the upper echelons when it comes to Liverpool players, with most having him either first or second behind Kenny Dalglish, but when you look at a list of the greats to play in English football I’d say he is second only to Bobby Charlton in terms of the best midfielders there have ever been.”

Gerrard, who still believes Liverpool can qualify for next season’s Champions League even though the Reds are currently ten points of adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal with only ten games of the campaign remaining, has spent his entire career at Anfield.

He has scored 149 goals in 576 live football appearances for Liverpool in all competitions while his record in the Premier League is 89 goals in 400 matches.

Gerrard has won one Champions League, two FA Cups and three League Cups with Liverpool, and represented his country on 90 occasions, finding the net 19 times.

St. Louis Undone in Chicago

March 14th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

The St. Louis Blues will be living up to their name, this morning, after throwing away a 3-1 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks at the
United Centre, and picking up only their second loss in seven outings – a result which went against many pundits NHL betting tips.

Andrew Brunette lit the lamp for the Blackhawks after just two minutes, hitting home the assist from Slovakian winger, Marian Hossa, at close range. The Blues equalised, 59 seconds later, thanks to Jamie Langenbrunner.

Chicago could have been forgiven for thinking that they had wronged St Louis in some way, as the first period drew to a close, after strikes from Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund turned the Blues’ lead into a near-unassailable 3-1 up.

However, Victor Stalberg brought the Blackhawks back into contention, scoring the only goal of the second period, courtesy of an assist from rookie player, Marcus Kruger, and a helpful deflection off his own skate.

Canadian defenceman, Brent Seabrook, tied the scores at 3-3 in the final period, forcing the game into overtime, but, when neither team could find that elusive winner, a shoot-out was called on the ice.

Patrick Kane scored the only goal of the six-shot duel, to give the Blackhawks their second win in four games. Four attempts found only the pads of the opposition tender, while St. Louis’ David Perron shot wide.

Speaking about his team’s loss, Blues coach, Ken Hitchcock, said that his players, after taking the early advantage, spent the rest of the match trying to get back into the game. “The lead came too easy to us. We didn’t have to work for it, and then when we got on our heels, we couldn’t get back off our heels. They were coming at us.”

Chicago’s Corey Crawford was pleased with his teammates’ collective performance: “we battled back. We stuck with it, and that’s a huge two points for us.”

Those looking to bet on hockey should keep a close eye on these developments.

Roughriders Grab Offensive Pair

March 14th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Canadian football team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, have bolstered their front lines with North Carolina-born receiver, Justin Harper, and former Saints and Packers running-back, DeShawn Wynn.

The announcement, made yesterday, was lacking in the financial and contractual details of the two deals, but the presence of the players in the Riders’ ranks will be a boon for a team that lacked prowess going forward in 2011.

Harper, standing at 6ft 4in, and weighing 213 pounds, was picked in the seventh round of the NHL Draft in 2008 by the Baltimore Ravens. He would play just two games for the purple and white team, before being released in 2010.

The 27-year did not play for an NFL or CFL team in 2011, meaning that the only available statistics for Harper are from his days at Virginia Tech: 83 catches for 1,338 yards, and nine touchdowns in 51 appearances.

In comparison, Harper’s new team mate, DeShawn Wynn, will be a familiar figure to football fans. Wynn was a seventh-round draft in
2007, joining the Green Bay Packers, and remaining in Wisconsin for three seasons.

He enjoyed limited success in the NFL after hanging up his Packers jersey in 2010, alternating between spells at the Saints and the
49ers.

Wynn, at 5ft 11in and 232 pounds, carried 64 times for 332 yards during his time at the Packers, scoring five touchdowns. He will no
doubt be hoping for something of a career revival in Saskatchewan.

In other transfer news: CFL outfit, the Calgary Stampeders, have swooped for US backs, Marvin White and Jerrard Tarrant. Tarrant, a former Giant, has been unemployed since September 2011, while the safety, White, has been a free-agent for a few months, after being released by the Bengals in 2011. For those looking to bet on NFL, the pair could provide an interesting development in the season’s story and could really influence the outcome of NFL bets.

Wolves U-turn baffles Bruce

March 12th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Former Sunderland and Wigan Athletic manager Steve Bruce is baffled as to why he was not offered the Wolves job.

The 51-year-old was runaway favourite in the soccer betting to take the job and he says the club led him to believe he was going to be Mick McCarthy’s permanent successor at Molineux, only to seemingly have a change of heart at the last minute.

McCarthy’s assistant, Terry Connor, was handed the managerial reins until the end of the season, since when Wolves have hit back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Newcastle United before suffering a disastrous 5-0 drubbing at Fulham last Sunday, results that have left the club struggling to avoid relegation to the Championship.

Indeed punters who bet on relegation have put their money on Wolves to go this season after a nightmare month following the dismissal of McCarthy.
Bruce had an initial meeting with chief executive Jez Moxey and owner Steve Morgan last month and insists he was given a strong indication that he was going to be appointed after being handed a second interview.

The 51-year-old ex-Manchester United stalwart said: “At one stage, I was close, but it wasn’t to be. It’s their prerogative.

“I said to my good lady I thought I was back to work. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I’m disappointed.”

Bruce has been without a job since being sacked by Sunderland in November.

He has had a varied managerial career since starting out at Sheffield United almost 14 years ago.

Bruce spent just one season at Bramall Lane before going on to have brief spells in charge of Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace.

He then spent almost six years at Birmingham City before returning to Wigan in November 2007. Bruce left the Latics at the end of the 2008-09 campaign to take the managerial hot-seat at Sunderland.

Terry admits players to blame for AVB exit

March 8th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Forgive me for keeping my cynical head on while I am writing this, but I can’t say I am shocked by John Terry’s startling revelation that he things the Blues players should be blamed for the sacking for Andre Villas-Boas.

That is the headline taken from his quotes anyway, though he is hardly gushing in his praise about the 34-year-old Portuguese, who was fired after just eight months in the job.

But Terry has hardly going to lift the lid on the internal politics that hamper each man perched uncomfortable in the Stamford Bridge manager’s chair.

It is quite apparent even on the outside that Terry and his merry band of senior players have an unhealthy influence on proceedings in West London.

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has backed up those claims, saying that “some of the English players at Chelsea run the club, pretty much.”

There does appear this time though to be a realisation at the Bridge that this hiring and firing of managers on a whim of Terry and his cronies is damaging the club’s reputation and hampering their premier league odds (the rest of us all knew this, it’s taken them a while to catch up).

There at least appeared to be some remorse from the former England skipper when asked about the ruthless treatment of his old boss.

“It’s sad for André because, unfortunately, it falls on his head when I think the players will hold their hands up and say clearly: ‘We’ve not been good enough and we have all made mistakes together.”

Whether this will lead to a change of tact from both the dressing room and board room we cannot be sure. After all they have now got rid of every single type of manager going. If they keep on chopping and changing it does not matter how much Abramovich wants in , I wouldn’t bet on the Champions League arriving at the Bridge any time soon.

But the one thing in any manager’s favour is the ravages of time – the influential Terry, Lampard et al – as much as they must loathe to admit it – are losing their lustre as age creeps up on them. Therefore it will soon become easier for any new boss to drop them and replace with fresh blood – if given the time by Abramovich.

The big questions is, if a World Cup winner or double Champions League winner is not good enough for the Russian, then who is?

Pearce open to England role

February 23rd, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce has confirmed he is willing to take charge of the full England squad for this summer’s European Championships.

Pearce made the revelation as he was announcing his squad for the senior friendly with Holland next week, for which he is in temporary charge following the resignation of Fabio Capello earlier this month.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is the overwhelming favourite in the soccer betting to be the next full time boss, as he was before Capello’s departure six months earlier than expected.

But the Italian’s untimely departure as well as Redknapp’s understandable loyalty to a high-flying Tottenham means any appointment would not take place until the summer at least – Does that leave him enough time to run the rule over his squad?

That train of thought let to reporters asking Pearce whether he would be willing to step into Capello’s shoes for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

“I have tournament experience if they need me to step into the breach in the summer,” Pearce said. “If they need me to take the squad this summer I will do that with pleasure.

However, the former Nottingham Forest player and manager insists he is not ready to take the job full-time.

“This job, and the profile of this job, is for a very experienced man with a better CV than I have at this moment in time.

“I think that’s a decision the FA need to make for the right and proper reasons,”

“I’ll support whoever comes in. If he doesn’t want me in his set-up, I’ll support him from afar as Under-21 manager.  That’s part of leadership – giving yourself for the greater good.

“By appointing me on a short-term basis, they’ve got breathing space, which is right and proper.”

Aftet tackling Holland at Wembley next week – a match rearranged from last August due to the London riots – England do not play another Live Football game until the end of May and a trip to Norway. A home game with Belgium completes their preparations ahead of their flight to Eastern Europe.

Pressure grows on Villas-Boas after Napoli defeat

February 22nd, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas came out fighting after watching his side crumble 3-1 to an impressive Napoli side in the Champions League first knock-out round.

The Portuguese insisted he picked the right side, despite leaving out Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Ashley Cole and Fernando Torres – a clear sign that he is keen to take on a dressing room that has wielded too much influence than is healthy in the recent past.

“You can have your opinion but it was based on what was the best team in my thoughts,” he said.

“We will analyse strongly what we did wrongly because a couple of things need to get better. It is not impossible to recover from 3-1.”

“I had a conversation with Ashley and Frank. Through the players that they are and the players with the experience they have, they felt they could have helped the team,” added Villas-Boas.

“That’s perfectly understandable.”

The final part of the quote suggests Cole and Lampard made their feelings known about their demotion, providing a real test of the manager’s authority.

With their premier league odds growing by the day given the 17 point deficit between themselves and the leaders and a tricky FA Cup fifth-round replay away to Birmingham coming up on 6 March, the Champions League could be the only trophy left to win when they host Napoli in the second leg on March 14.

But punters who bet on the Champions League are hardly flooding to back the Blues after their first leg display, which could have been a lot worse than the eventual 3-1 scoreline.

The silence from the Chelsea board is deafening, though the news that Roman Abramovich has been to training and held meetings with the players is not good news for Villas-Boas. You do wonder though just what benefit Abramovich can bring, he is no football manager, he simply has a lot of money. And while that can buy you pretty much whatever you want, it can’t guarantee success at football, something he clearly doesn’t like given his tendency to fire managers the moment they don’t deliver instant success.

Maybe after churning though seven managers in eight years Abramovich could look elsewhere for the root of the problem, namely the players – or even himself for causing such instability by changing the man at the top so regularly?

It seems to me that Chelsea need to go through a painful spell of regeneration, where new players replace the old. But there is fierce resistance to go through that change, stemming mainly from the senior players, meaning they continue to stand on the precipice, with successive managers coming and going, merely adding to the problems.

Uncertainty upsets Bryant

February 20th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Kobe Bryant has criticised the Los Angeles Lakers’ team management in the wake of the side’s poor display in the 102-90 defeat to the Phoenix Suns.

Bryant is concerned that influential team-mate Pau Gasol is about to be traded, something that he believes is disrupting the whole side.

He said: “It’s just tough for a player to give his all when you don’t know if you’re going to be here tomorrow. So I’d rather them not trade him at all. If they were going to do something, I wish they would just … do it. If they’re not going to do it, come out and say you’re not going to do it.”

At one point in the third quarter against Phoenix, the Lakers were losing by 27 points and, despite 32 points from Bryant, they were unable to bounce back.

It has been a difficult season for the Lakers who have never really recovered from last year’s NBA Championship defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

Since then Mike Brown has replaced Phil Jackson as coach and the Lakers have been re-designed as a defense-oriented team; this re-jig will hopefully them a better defensive proposition for those looking to bet on basketball.

The Lakers had planned to let Gasol join New Orleans and Chris Paul move to Los Angeles before the start of the season, only for NBA Commissioner David Stern to put an end to the deals, and Paul eventually joined the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Lakers are currently at 18-13, two games behind the first-placed Clippers in the Pacific Division and are only fifth in the Western Conference, just a half-game ahead of Memphis and Houston. This position makes them one of the ideal NBA betting tips.

Lightning let Kubina leave

February 19th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Tampa Bay Lightning have allowed Pavel Kubina to join the Philadelphia Flyers while Jon Kalinski has moved in the opposite direction – an interesting development for those looking to bet on hockey.

Lightning also allowed Dominic Moore to join the San Jose Sharks earlier in the week, but General Manager Steve Yzerman is pleased with the departures, saying: “We have more tradeable assets. It also gives us more flexibility at the draft either to move up or move back. It’s really draft-day decisions.”

Tampa Bay, who are on the fringes of the playoff race, could add some depth to their squad before the trade deadline on 27th February.

Yzerman added: “I’m not going to go out and start trading these seconds to get back a defenseman. I’m not going to do that. But if this group continues to win and play, I’ll let them keep going.”

Kalinski, 24, has played 22 NHL games with the Flyers while Kubina first joined Tampa Bay in 1996.

The 34-year-old went on to play for Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Thrashers before returning to the Lightning in 2010. The Czech Republic international played a key role in Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup success in 2004.

Meanwhile, Mattias Ohlund, who has not played this season, will have surgery on his left knee in an attempt to save his career.

The 35-year-old, who still has four years and $11.75million left on his contract, had surgery last summer but has been unable to skate since mid November; those watching live hockey online are waiting for his return.

The Swede, who has been with Tampa Bay since 2009, previously starred for Vancouver Canucks where he spent 11 years.