Alonso positive over practice

February 16th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Fernando Alonso was left feeling positive about the new Ferrari car following pre-season testing in Jerez, which saw the Italian team set the fastest times on both the fourth and final day’s testing. The new F2012 has caught the eye since the team unveiled it, mainly due to significant changes from the disappointing car from last year. Those changes appear to be paying off, especially after Alonso set an eye-catching second-fastest time of the week of 1:18.877 – something which is sure to alert those looking to engage in online bets.

Despite seeing his Friday plans curtailed after 39 laps due to a technical error, Alonso was left feeling confident about the new car, while admitting there was still plenty of room for improvement ahead of the season’s opening Grand Prix at Melbourne.

“We learned a lot about the difference of the car [compared to last year's], it’s been a learning test for us, a lot of constant speeds for us to do the aero and mechanical tests.”

“Overall, it has been a positive four days for us and understanding the car. But obviously with a completely new concept and a completely new design there is a lot of room for improvement for us and that’s what we need to focus on in the next couple of tests.”

While the week of testing may have left Ferrari feeling positive about the new season, they will still need to improve if they are going to have any chance of mounting a genuine challenge on this year’s championship. Red Bull and McLaren will still be the front-runners ahead of Ferrari this year, with the Italian’s now looking over their shoulders at the improving Lotus’, who will be looking at breaking into that leading pack of three. These speeds are sure to be exhilarating for those looking to partake in live in-play betting.

Henry to depart early

February 8th, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed club legend Thierry Henry will leave the club on February 16.

Henry rejoined Arsenal on a two-month loan in January but will now return to New York Bulls two weeks earlier than expected. Whilst disappointed to lose Henry, Wenger appreciates it is New York’s prerogative to recall the striker.

Wenger said: “I would have loved Thierry to stay for two more weeks but he has to go back. It’s only fair on New York.”

Henry will be available for Arsenal’s weekend trip to Sunderland and the first leg of their Champions League tie against AC Milan at the San Siro next Wednesday will be his last live football in an Arsenal shirt (unless he comes back next year!).

The 34-year-old was scheduled to face Sunderland again in the FA Cup and bid farewell to the Arsenal faithful against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the end of February.

Arsenal’s record goalscorer’s last act at the Emirates Stadium was to round off Arsenal’s emphatic victory over Blackburn Rovers with a deflected last-minute strike.

After a promising start against Leeds United in the FA Cup, Henry has had a limited impact on his return to the club where he made his name. He has yet to start a game and missed Arsenal’s match against Manchester United through injury.

Arsenal must now push on in search of the final Champions League spot without their former talisman, but will be confident as long as their current lynchpin stays fit. With Robin van Persie fit and firing, Arsenal have every chance, despite the Champions League betting suggesting punters do not rate their chances.

Henry will resume his New York Bulls career when the MLS season kicks off on March 10. It remains to be seen whether he can motivate himself again in America away from the limelight.

A real Super Bowl rivalry develops

February 1st, 2012 by bet365 No comments »

Over the years, the NFL has been lucky enough to witness the development of several intense and entertaining rivalries, from the divisional rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, to the numerous conference rivalries between sides that know towards the end of the season they’ll be fighting it out to earn a place in the Super Bowl – something which has delighted those looking to bet on NFL.

Until now, however, there hadn’t really been a serious cross-conference rivalry that pitted an NFC franchise against an AFC one.

With the Giants and the Patriots now a match-up that everyone interested in American Football looks forward to witnessing, perhaps the only thing that we’re still missing is the opportunity to watch them clashing on a more regular and reliable basis (oh, and we’re also missing the chance to watch the Giants take on the Patriots in a Super Bowl for which they’re the favourites to win!) With the Giants triumphing on both occasions in recent years in the Super Bowl against the Pats, the NFL has reaped the benefits of proving that neither division in the sport is weaker than the other, which hasn’t been the case traditionally.

Had the Patriots won on both occasions, the NFC would once again have appeared on the surface to be significantly weaker than the AFC. The worldwide appeal of the game has, however, been boosted by the competitive, and unpredictable, nature of the clashes.

Whatever the future holds for these two franchises, the continued development of this new rivalry will certainly be appreciated by those who want to earn more money for the NFL and those looking to capitalise on NFL bets!

Melbourne derby defeat leaves sour taste

December 31st, 2011 by bet365 No comments »

Melbourne Heart defeated their local rivals and bitter enemy Melbourne Victory 3-2 last week to boost their chances of success in the Hyundai A-League – and it was a game of two Thompson’s with Victory taking the lead through Archie Thompson, only for Matt to strike back with a brace of his own just before the break.

Their lead was extended by substitute Alex Terra on the hour-mark, but a late Carlos Hernandez strike provided little consolation for the visitors, who had began the game highly fancied by those giving out soccer betting tips – and the result left Victory captain Adrian Leijer feeling a sense of having missed an opportunity:

“It’s disappointing for the fans more than anything because we know how much it means to them. We started off very well and probably should have been two-up, then they got a goal on the counter-attack and it changed the whole game.”

The game was a tough one to officiate from the first whistle with referee Strebre Delovski having to make a number of contentious decisions.

In the fifth-minute Archie Thompson was brought down by Heart keeper Clint Bolton and only dished out a yellow card when vast areas of the bumper crowd were baying for a red; there was a strong case for offside when Matt Thompson scored his second, and also a potential handball in the build-up to Terra’s decisive third goal.

Victory certainly had their chances to win the match and the live soccer betting favored the Blues for much of the game, with Hernandez first setting up Isaka Cernak’s with a perfectly-weighted through-ball in the 55th minute, only to see his shot brilliantly tipped wide by Bolton, and then he buried pinpoint header which was subsequently disallowed for offside.

The result leaves Victory languishing in sixth-spot, some way off the early pace being set by Central Coast, and they now have the opportunity to set things straight when they play Brisbane Roar in their New Year’s Eve fixture at the Suncorp Stadium.

City top of the tree at Christmas

December 22nd, 2011 by bet365 No comments »

To English soccer fans, a significant emphasis is traditionally placed upon the team that manages to top the EPL table on Christmas Day. As with the team that sits rock bottom of the EPL come the festive season, the league positions at this time of year are used as the basis for many soccer betting tips and can offer a fairly accurate representation of how things will look come May.

But regardless of previous trends and stats, the psychological advantages of being out in front in the middle of a festive schedule that is one of the most hectic in world sport cannot be underestimated.

With Manchester City cruising their way to one of their easiest wins of the season last night at the Etihad Stadium, Stoke City slipping to a 3-0 defeat that was in fact far more humiliating than the scoreline suggests, their fans have been left celebrating their team’s position at the top of the table, the first time the northern side have achieved such a feat in a whopping 82 years.

Despite their win, City will have been watching on as their close rivals Manchester United thrashed Fulham away from home. With Fulham a club United traditionally don’t do well at, their 5-0 drubbing sends out a signal of intent to Roberto Mancini’s men that the second half of the season may not be as straightforward as they hope.

Should Roberto Mancini continue to prove himself to be a man capable of keeping the likes of the dissatisfied Wayne Bridge and Carlos Tevez quiet and not able to affect the atmosphere in the dressing room, those who bet on soccer games will back City to remain on the right road to push for EPL glory.

If, however, the minority of dissenting voices in the City squad starts to become a majority, with squad rotation unavoidable come January and February, you can bet your bottom dollar that Sir Alex Ferguson will be waiting with his sleeves rolled up and his mind games ready and prepared to further unsteady the ground beneath City’s feet.

United legends offer differing advice to help boost title hopes

December 14th, 2011 by bet365 No comments »

Two Manchester United legends have spoken out about the club’s current situation, with the pair offering contrasting advice to manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Former skipper Paul Ince feels the Red Devils need to invest in a striker during the January transfer window in order to support Wayne Rooney.

Rooney, a leading contender in the Premiership top scorer betting, has hit14 goals in 19 games this season, with Nani the next top scorer on seven.

However, Ince fears that an over-reliance on the former Everton striker will prove counterproductive and could in fact damage Rooney’s form.

“There is a lot of pressure on Rooney and we saw what that did to him in the World Cup,” said Ince.

“If you are going to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea you need someone who is going to score you 20 goals a season and you can’t just rely on Wayne Rooney to do it year in and year out.”

Nicky Butt meanwhile – a former team-mate of Ince – believes the club’s young players will recover from their recent ‘blip’ and will all the more stronger for it.

Butt came through the United ranks along with a number of other talented young players including David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers.

They formed the spine of the team that defied the soccer betting bounced back from losing the title to Arsenal in 1998 to win a magnificent treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League – despite Alan Hansen’s famous quote “you can’t win anything with kids”.

Butt clearly retains faith in his old manager Sir Alex Ferguson to help the current generation to develop.

“They haven’t got the experienced players, they have young players and they started the season pretty well but they’re having their first blip now,” said the 36-year-old.

“Everyone goes through that in their careers and it’s up to them to prove they are good enough to play for this club.

“You’re there to be shot at when you play for a big club and they have to accept that,” he added. “They have to take it from certain people and maybe deserve that.

“Maybe they deserve a bit of a kick up the backside but with the people they’ve got around them and the manager they’ve got there, they’ll be okay with that.”

Manchester mourns Champions League exit

December 8th, 2011 by bet365 No comments »

In a strange twist of footballing fate it was the Premier League’s high-flying due that were booted unceremoniously out of the Champions League in midweek while the supposed London strugglers – Chelsea and Arsenal – made it through as group winners.

If you bet on the Champions League then you will have found mega rich City and last season’s finalists United among the favourites, so to see them drop out is a real game changer.

Manchester City were quick to play down the significance of their failure to finish ahead of Napoli and Bayern Munich. They stress that they are only just beginning and that the Premier League is the most important thing for them this season.

They are, of course, always going to say that and while it is true to an extent, with £500million spent, plus the very vocal and grand speeches of ambition about becoming the best and the biggest in the World, ever; to drop into the Europa League represents a failure on their part and their reaction represents a change in their stance as to the current position of the club.

The looming financial fair play rules may also become a bit harder to reach as the TV money would go a long way towards recovering the massive losses incurred thanks to Abu Dhabi’s generosity.

However, their elimination was perhaps overshadowed – much to their delight I suspect – by Manchester United’s failure in Switzerland.

The Red Devils have no excuses; they have played Champions League football for nearly 20 years and were given and infinitely easier group than City. But a failure to beat Benfica or Basel has cost them dear. The last time they went out at the group stages they finished bottom of the table and went out of Europe completely. Now they will have the hangover of the Europa League to stretch right into next year.

Patrice Evra said it was a ‘catastrophe’ to go out and ‘embarrassing’ to be in the Europa League, but the accountants may be using even stronger words. The estimated £20million lost from TV money and gate receipts courtesy of their early exit will make the £50million they pay in interest payments all the more harder to find. The club are used to the riches the Champions League provides and for the tap to suddenly run dry maybe  a difficult adjustment to make.
You can bet on the Premier League taking on greater significance for the two clubs this season as they seek to massage those bruised egos that have come from these stinging eliminations.

Trap proud after Irish qualification

November 16th, 2011 by bet365 No comments »

Although the pain and hurt from previous failure will never be erased from the Irish memory banks, they have been masked by the joy of reaching Euro 2012.

The Republic’s 1-1 draw with Estonia in Dublin on Tuesday was a mere formality after their thumping 4-0 first leg win in Tallinn on Friday evening.

It means they have reached their first European Championships since their one and only appearance in 1988 and their first tournament of any kind since the 2002 World Cup.

Since that tournament in Japan and South Korea it has been tales of play-off heartaches for Irish fans, with the most frustrating being their clash with France in November 2009, where Thierry Henry’s blatant handball set up an extra time winner for France, with neither linesman nor referee spotting the clear infringement. True, it made for some of the most dramatic Live Football matches of recent years, but that proved scant consolation for those of a Gaelic persuasion.

Henry and co joined Spain, Holland, Turkey and Belgium as conquerors of the Irish at the play-off stage, with only a win over Iran to qualify for World Cup 2002 the bright spot among the play0ff gloom.

Until now that is. After years of having to Watch Football Live from their armchairs the Irish are now able to dig out their passports and plan for a trip to Poland and the Ukraine, with the prospect of playing England in the group stages a real possibility.

Speaking after the game in Dublin boss Giovanni Trapattoni couldn’t hide his delight, saying: “I am very, very proud for many reasons. We came here with an important objective.

“We have started the last campaign in a difficult group with Italy and then we had France, and we could have achieved qualification.
“But we started again and we have discovered new important options in terms of players. They have shown how important they have been for us.

“We have improved our quality, like against Russia. We have started again with new mentality and the players believe in our system.”
“I like the Irish people. I live in a little village and it is like Ireland.

“For me, it is like my life in Italy. For this reason, I am proud. I understand what the Irish people wish for and for this reason, I am very, very happy.”

Ireland not counting their chickens…

November 14th, 2011 by enda No comments »

But they are counting the cats! The Republic of Ireland players and manager Giovanni Trapatonni will obviously be delighted with their four nil away win against Estonia in Tallinn on Friday night last. But they are taking nothing for granted. In Tapatonni’s post-match press conference he stated that “the cat is in the sack, but the sack is not closed. The cat is in it, but it’s open – and it’s a wild cat.” The 72 year Italian also said that “at this moment, we are near qualifying at 4-0. But I repeat the same sentence: don’t jump the gun.”

With all this talk about cats and guns you might think Trap has lost the plot. But a cautious approach such as this will hopefully filter through to the players and help them produce the type of performance that will ensure qualification for the Euro 2012. Ireland have one foot on the plan to Poland and Ukraine, but need to respect their opponents to ensure the FAI coughs up for first class seats.

The current Euro 2012 betting odds for this game put Ireland as firm favourites at 4/11. After Friday night, you would expect Ireland to coast through. Howver the Estonians did threaten at times and could be worth a punt at 9/1 over the 90 minutes. Don’t be surprised though if Ireland does deliver with a home win. Captain Robbie Keane is showing no mercy and wants to go for the jugular. He wants to show no sympathy for Estonia and still feels the pain of Ireland not qualifying for the World Cup two years ago. Keane said “Why should I feel for Estonia?” and that “no one felt sorry for us in Paris two years ago. We were devastated in the dressing-room that night”.

Perhaps with Keane after bagging a brace in the first leg and wanting to seal the deal he may be a very good shout to bag another if you are into goal scorer betting. Keane is Ireland’s record scorer and will be looking to increase his tally. Hopefully Ireland can produce the goods and go some way to repairing the damage and heartache caused by Henry in Paris in 2010. Come on you boys in green!

St Ledger hoping fate will carry Ireland through

November 10th, 2011 by bet365 No comments »

The Republic of Ireland stand on the brink of yet another play-off with the memories of Paris slowly and menacingly looming into view.

It is clear the deep wounds of that night and that handball are still raw and perhaps will only begin to heal if the current generation can nudge past Estonia and reach Euro 2012 – their first tournament since 2002.

The soccer betting is certainly pointing towards a Republic win. Estonia are the lowest ranked team in the play-offs, playing in their first ever play-off and therefore were the team Ireland would have chosen to play had they been given the option. It is little wonder then that Leicester defender Sean St Ledger believes it is meant to be.

“I’m a big believer in fate,” St Ledger says. “It was a huge injustice in Paris but who knows? We might get one ourselves this time. I won’t be complaining. I’ll be a complete hypocrite.”

Few would begrudge Ireland a bit of luck should fortune fall on their side after the injustice in France but they will have to do so without a number of key players. Leon Best had to pull out of the squad for the first game in Tallinn with a toe injury, joining Liam Lawrence and Shane Long on the sidelines. Kevin Doyle is also suspended, meaning Jonathan Walters or Simon Cox will partner the captain Robbie Keane in attack. Best, however, could return along with John O’Shea for next week’s second leg in Dublin.

On a personal level St Ledger admitted his respect for Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni for helping him progress over the past few months, especially as at club level the football scores haven’t gone his way.

He suffered relegation to League One with Preston last season before a big-money move to Leicester went sour, falling out of favour under boss Sven Goran Eriksson before his sacking earlier this month. However, Trapattoni has been lauded for helping him at international level, despite his owes in the domestic game.

“I have to thank Giovanni a million times for what he’s done for my career,” St Ledger added. “There have obviously been bad times and playing for Ireland has kept me going at times. For me, coming from Peterborough United, and to now be working alongside people like Giovanni and [the assistant manager] Marco Tardelli, and to be playing alongside the players in the Ireland squad … it’s surreal, really.”