Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Liverpool beat United to stay in touch

Well what a weekend that was for Liverpool fans, going into the game against Man Utd on the back of four successive defeats and with pressure mounting on Rafa Benitez, it had to go and happen didn’t it?

In a weekend that saw just one other team in the top eight recording victory, Liverpool beat Man Utd 2-0 thanks to goals from Fernando Torres & Michael Ngog, but United were simply not good enough on the day, and Liverpool took full advantage of it, and fully deserved the win, however, questions on whether Jamie Carragher should have remained on the pitch after he hauled down Michael Owen when he would have been through on goal.

Two players who did see red though were Man Utd’s Nemanja Vidic, and Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano, who were sent off for second bookable offences in separate incidents.

So United failed to climb back to the top of the table, and Chelsea will be more than happy with that outcome as they keep their lead at the top, thanks largely to a 5-0 hammering of swine flu hit Blackburn Rovers. Frank Lampard grabbing a couple there, and as mentioned two weeks ago, he was worth a punt on the betting front following his recent goal drought.

Arsenal failed to take advantage of a two goal lead at West Ham as two goals in the last 16 minutes were enough to pull a point out of this affair, Carlton Cole & Alessandro Diamanti were the heroes for the Hammers, after Van Persie & Gallas had put the Gunners two up.

Tottenham were another club to not take advantage of a chance to go top on Saturday, as they fell to a home defeat, 1-0 against Stoke, with Glenn Whelan grabbing the winner just 4 minutes from time.

Man City were yet another one to mess up at the weekend, a 2-2 draw at home to Fulham, who produced a great fightback for the second season running. City had taken a two goal lead thanks to Joleon Lescott & Martin Petrov, but goals from Damien Duff & Clint Dempsey put Fulham right back in it in a mad 15 minute spell where all four goals were banged in.

Aston Villa were on their way to recording a derby day win at Wolves, but Gabi Agbonlahor’s goal 11 minutes from time wasn’t enough, as a Sylvan Ebanks-Blake penalty pulled Wolves level just four minutes later.

Sunderland also slipped to defeat, and no beach balls to help them out this week, as Birmingham took the points through goals from Liam Ridgewell and James McFadden, but made life difficult for themselves when an own goal from Scott Dann made it an uncomfortable end to the match, but the men from St Andrews held on.

Burnley’s fantastic home form came to an end, as Roberto Martinez guided Wigan to victory at Turf Moor, Hugo Rodallega scored twice, whilst Emmerson Boyce scored the other, after Steven Fletcher had originally given the Clarets the lead early on.

In the big game at the bottom of the table, the match was devoid of goals, as Hull took on Portsmouth, and Pompey remain at the foot of the table.

Finally, a bad week for Everton as they followed up their 5-0 defeat at Benfica in the UEFA Cup, with a 3-2 defeat at Bolton, this after they had come back from a 2-0 deficit to Wanderers. Chung-Yong Lee had set Bolton on their way before Gary Cahill put them two up, before a spirited comeback from Everton saw Louis Saha hit a cracker, followed by Marouane Fellaini’s belter, but it all meant nothing as Ivan Klasnic picked himself up from what looked a serious injury, but scored moments later to net the winner for Bolton.

That’s it for the review of the week, to come next weekend, it’s the North London derby as Arsenal face Tottenham at the Emirates, could it end 4-4 again?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Mouthwatering clash at Anfield as United face Reds

This weekend sees one of the most anticipated fixtures on the Premier leaguer calendar, when Liverpool clash with Man Utd at Anfield.

It’s set to be an important battle for both clubs, as Liverpool face the embarrassment of losing their fifth successive game, which would be their worst sequence for over 60 years, it would also heap the pressure that is building on manager, Rafa Benitez.
Liverpool are sweating on the fitness of Steven Gerrard & Fernando Torres as they bid to end the rot suffered recently, in both the Premier League, and Champions League.

United meanwhile, can put Liverpool 10 points behind them should they be victorious at Anfield on Sunday, and are also hoping that key players are fit, with both Wayne Rooney & Rio Ferdinand battling injuries.

The main talking prior to the game will I’m sure be beach balls, following last Saturday’s madness at the Stadium of Light, when Darren Bent’s shot was diverted in off a stray beach ball in Pepe Reina’s area, and stewards are under strict advice to stop anyone going in with beach balls, particularly away fans!

Before all that however, the weekend is kicked off tomorrow at lunchtime with a another battle, this time between Wolves & Aston Villa, as they meet at Molyneux – there is certainly no love lost between the two teams, and Martin O’Neill will be keen to see his side continue their good form after their win over Chelsea last Saturday at Villa Park, whilst Wolves got a creditable draw at Everton.

Second placed Chelsea take on Blackburn at Stamford Bridge in the Saturday evening kick off, and will be hoping to bounce back with a win, whilst Rovers will be looking to build on their 3-2 victory over rivals Burnley last weekend.

Steve Bruce takes his highly placed Sunderland side to St Andrews to meet Birmingham, hoping to continue their good form, this time perhaps without the aid of the beach ball which must surely have been given pride of place in the Black Cats home!
Alex McLeish with new owners behind him, will be anxious to get some points on the board after last week’s defeat at Arsenal.

Another north west encounter for Owen Coyle, as his Burnley side look to net another home win over Wigan, who picked up a good point last week against man City.

A crucial battle at the bottom where Hull City take on Portsmouth, with both sides desperate for the points, with Pompey routed to the foot of the table, and Hull unable to break out of the bottom three.

Tottenham take on Stoke at White Hart Lane, knowing a heavy 5 goal win could actually put them top of the Premier League before Chelsea’e evening game.

Everton make the relatively short distance to Bolton on Sunday hoping to bounce back from last night’s mauling in Benfica.

Man City face Fulham on Monday night, still without Robinho, who faces a delay in his return to action thanks to a stress fracture. Fulham meanwhile are still rueing the last minute equalizer for Roma in last night’s UEFA Cup tie.

Arsenal then finish things off on Sunday afternoon as they face a local match in the capital, taking on West Ham at Upton Park.

That's your footy preview for this week then!!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Premier League is back!

After the international break that saw England lose in the Ukraine, but victorious at home to Belarus, we return back to the Premier League, with the top four expected to win their respective games.

Leaders Chelsea have possibly the difficult game as they travel to Aston Villa, who currently occupy 7th place in the League, and will have Gabi Agbonlahor in their side following his outing in the England team last week. One stat of note to betting fans, is that Frank Lampard hasn't scored in the last six Premier league games, and nine matches in all competitions, so he is surely set for a goal.

Two points behind the leaders are Man Utd, and they have a home tie against Bolton, with the Old Trafford side expected to take points, although Bolton have proved a menace in United's back yard in the past. United could see the return of Edwin Van der Sar & Michael Owen, after the pair are now fit after recent injuries, although Wayne Rooney will miss out.

An interesting game will be at Fratton Park, where Harry Redknapp returns to Portsmouth, with his Tottenham side. Avram Grant has been brought in as Director of Football, and I think we all know what that means for manager Paul Hart very soon - the sack! It's also a return to Pompey for striker Peter Crouch, who notched two goals in the England win over Belarus, another ex-Pompey player Jermaine Defoe is still expected to miss out through injury.

Man City are away to Wigan on Sunday, in what could be a tricky game, but I would still expect Mark Hughes' men to have too much in the bank for Roberto Martinez's side.

Arsenal have the chance to net more points as they take on Birmingham at the Emirates, with the Blues of course now under new ownership after Carson Yeung purchased the club from David Sullivan. The Gunners meanwhile will be looking to extend their excellent run of late.

Liverpool make the trip up to the Stadium of Light, where they face a Sunderland side big on confidence, following their recent results that have pleased Steve Bruce. The scousers could even face an ex-red in the Black Cats line up, as Bobo Zenden signed for the rest of the season, but is currently awaiting international clearance before he gets to make his bow.

One of the big local matches at the weekend is Blackburn v Burnley, where the two lock horns in the Lancashire derby, the first for 30-odd years, and this Ewood Park battle is a sell out, and Owen Coyle will be hoping this is where his Burnley side grab their first away points of the season.

Everton face Wolves at Goodison Park, and they'll be hoping to get back to winning ways following their last outing at home where they missed the chance to make it six successive wins, against Stoke. Marouane Fellaini is expected to play for the Toffees, after FIFA turned down the Belgian FA's request to apply the "five day rule" that can be invoked after a player misses an international match through injury but then declares themselves fit for their next club match.

Stoke meanwhile, have a home tie against West Ham, and the Hammer currently occupy one of the relegation spots at present, so a win in the Potteries is vital for Gianfranco Zola's men. Stoke Manager Tony Pulis, will be hoping his side can bounce back after home defeats to Chelsea & Man Utd.

The final match of the weekend takes place at the Craven Cottage, where Fulham take on Phil Brown's Hull City in the Monday evening match. Jimmy Bullard could make his long awaited return at his former employers after a couple of successful outings in reserve games for the Tigers.

So, to the betting then:

The top 6 all look to have potential wins in their sights, and if the odds on them all winning are 14/1, could be worth a fiver that!

For the one spoiler amongst that lot, maybe Wigan are good value at 4/1 to beat Man City, with Birmingham an unlikely 14/1 to win at Arsenal. Portsmouth are worth a look as they are 7/2 to win at home to Tottenham.

Elsewhere, Wolves are 6/1 to win at Everton, whilst there are odds of 5/2 for Burnley to secure a draw in the Lancashire Derby.

Here's a threesome for you:


Combined odds of 5/1 for all three to win.

TV Games this weekend:
12.45pm: Aston Villa v Chelsea (Sky Sports 1)
1.00pm: Blackburn v Burnley (Sky Sports 1)
4.00pm: Wigan v Man City (Sky Sports 1)
8.00pm: Fulham v Hull (ESPN)

That's it for this weekend, enjoy the football!

Friday, 9 October 2009

World Cup Qualifiers Preview

Well this week the Fantasy League takes a break as the World Cup Qualifiers roll back into town, and with England having already qualified for the 2010 tournament in South Africa, Fabio Capello can maybe experiment a little with the line up for tomorrow's game in the Ukraine.

The battle though for second place in Group 6 is still on though, and victory for the Ukraine, would put them into second position on level games with Croatia, as they don't play at the weekend, so the pressure will be on the home team to get the result they need, as they bid to make the play offs. The other match in the group sees Belarus take on Kazakhstan, with Belarus currently 5 points behind Ukraine.

It's a huge night in Group 8 though, as the Republic of Ireland meet Italy at Croke Park, and a win would put the Irish just one point behind the Italians with one game left to play, but defeat would potentially leave them in danger of being caught by Bulgaria, who travel to Cyprus tomorrow. If the Irish can avoid defeat to Italy then it should put them in a good position to qualify for a play off place.

In Group 3, Northern Ireland don't play tomorrow, but they will be hoping that Slovakia beat Slovenia as that will confirm Slovakia's place in the finals, but also leave 2nd place open to the last game on Wednesday. The Irish will also be hoping that the Czech Republic & Poland draw to give them the best possible chance of claiming a play off spot, with Northern Ireland facing the Czech's in their last game on Wednesday night.

It's all over for Wales in Group 4, but they face a Finland side in a non event really tomorrow, as both sides cannot qualify for the World Cup, but Wales will be hoping for a good show in Helsinki as their thoughts turn to planning for Euro 2012. The big game in the group tomorrow is Russia v Germany, with the Russians only 1 point behind Oliver Bierhoff's men in the table, and victory for them would leave it looking like a play off place for Germany.

Elsewhere, in Group 1, first meets second in a Scandinavian battle, as leaders Denmark face Sweden, knowing a win will secure the Danes place in the finals, whereas Sweden can move level on points with them if they win, and that would then heap pressure on Portugal, who have a home game against Hungary - who they are on level points with - so it's going to be an interesting day in Group 1 tomorrow!

In Group 2, Switzerland could get one foot in the finals if they can win in Luxembourg, and you wouldn't expect any other result to be honest, whilst 2nd & 3rd meet as Greece play host to Latvia, with both teams on level points, and more importantly three points behind the Swiss. Israel have an outside chance but they must beat Moldova at home tomorrow to have any chance, which is feasible if the Greeks & Latvians draw.

In Group 5, Spain, like England have already qualified, and can take it easy in Armenia tomorrow, whilst Bosnia-Herzegovina can wrap up a place in the play offs if they can avoid defeat in Belgium tomorrow. Should the Belgians win, then Turkey could get one point closer to the Bosnians, who face Spain in the last game.

In Group 7, Serbia could wrap the group up if they can beat Romania at home, and leave France, who play the Faroe Islands tomorrow, in the play off positions. If Serbia fail to win, then it would come down to the last game where the Serbs travel to Lithuania, whilst France host Austria.

So, it's set to be an interesting day tomorrow, but at least England can relax, they are already through, but will be looking to keep their 100% record in tact, but if I was to have a bet, it would go on a draw in this game.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Chelsea back on top as United rely on late draw against Sunderland

Chelsea took advantage of Man Utd's inability to beat Sunderland, by defeating Liverpool to head back to the top of the Premier League table.

Man Utd stuttered to a 2-2 draw at home to Sunderland, but it could have been much worse as they had to rely on another injury time goal, this time a shot from Patrice Evra which cannoned off Anton Ferdinand's leg, when had he avoided the shot, it would have gone out for a goal kick, and could have signalled Steve Bruce's first win over his former boss Alex Ferguson.

Utd had fallen behind to an early goal, when Darren Bent fired home for 20 yards, but pulled level six minutes after half time thanks to Dimitar Berbatov's spectacular scissor kick in front of the Stretford End. It didn't last long though as Kenwyn Jones nodded past Ben Foster to put Sunderland 2-1 up before United managed to pull a point out of this disappointing performance.

Chelsea then had the chance to go back to the top, but had to beat Liverpool to do so, and it wasn't a classic, but goals from Nicolas Anelka & an injury time finish from Florent Malouda meant that Chelsea went back to the summit.

Tottenham cling on to 3rd place after only managing a draw at Bolton, who had taken the lead through Ricardo Gardner on 3 minutes, but Niko Kranjcar levelled matters up just before the break Bolton went back ahead through striker Kevin Davies' headed and looked to be on for a win, but up popped Vedran Corluka to head Spurs level, and that's the way it finished.

Arsenal fly into 4th place as they came from 2-1 down to hammer Blackburn 6-2 at the Emirates, with six different scorers, as Thomas Vermaelen, Robin Van Persie, Andrey Arshavin, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott & Nicklas Bendtner got in on the act, and all this after Blackburn had led through goals from Steven Nzonzi & David Dunn.

Burnley maintained their rather bizarre Jekyl & Hyde show as they won their 4th consecutive home match against Birmingham 2-1, thanks to goals from Steven Fletcher, and Andre Bikey, Birmingham pulling one back through Sebastian Larsson in injury time.

Everton were unable to gain their 7th straight win as they were held at home to Stoke 1-1, as the visitors took the lead through new signing Robert Huth, but the Toffees quickly levelled through Leon Osman.

Wigan, fresh from last week's win over Chelsea went down 2-1 at Hull, as the Tigers scored twice in an eight minute spell in the second half, new boy Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink grabbing his first for the club, and Geovanni soon followed up with the second. Wigan did pull one back as Scott Sinclair scored 3 minutes from time.

Fulham were denied a win at West Ham, as both teams desperate for points fought out a 2-2 draw, with the Hammers levelling the game up in stoppage time through Junior Stanislaus. West Ham had taken the lead initially on 16 minutes as Carlton Cole pounced, but Fulham hit back with goals from Danny Murphy (pen) and Zoltan Gera, before the home side snatched a point late on.

Portsmouth scored their first win of the season, with a 1-0 win at Wolves, as Hassan Yebda scored the all important goal, however, Pompey were lucky not have a penalty awarded against them for what seemed a certain handball in the second half.

Aston Villa & Man City couldn't be seperated in the Monday night game, as Villa took the lead through ex-Blue Richard Dunne, who signed for Villa in the close season, but Craig Bellamy levelled things up in the second half.

It was an interesting night for Gareth Barry, who received a crescendo of boos following his transfer to the Eastlands club.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Chelsea & Liverpool prepare for battle!

Another big fixture this weekend in the Premier League as 2nd placed Chelsea entertain 3rd placed Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, with Carlo Ancelotti's men facing the scousers without goalkeeper Petr Cech, thanks to his sending off in last weekend's defeat to Wigan.

Liverpool meanwhile will be hoping for more of the same from striker Fernando Torres, who struck a hat trick in last weekend's 6-1 win over Hull.

The match is televised, and will be on Sky Sports 1 on Sunday at 4pm.

Leaders Man Utd will also be on the tv, this time on ESPN as they take on Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, kick off 5.30pm. United, fresh from their comeback win over Wolfsburg in the Champions League in midweek will be hoping to see off a Sunderland side who have made a great start under former United legend Steve Bruce.

Darren Bent will be one to watch, although if Sunderland do get a penalty you can be sure he'll be taking it following last week's outburst from his manager after handing the ball to Kenwyn Jones!

Tottenham will be hoping that follow up their 5-0 thrashing of Burnley last week, with another win at rejuventated Bolton, who are unbeaten in the their last 3 games.

A good game at Villa Park on Monday night sees Man City take on Aston Villa, with bot teams just outside the leading pack, and plenty of goals being scored by both teams, this one could be a cracker, and will also see the return of Adebayor, who has a suspended 2 match ban, and a meagre fine of £25000 to pay for his over celebrating against Arsenal - that's really going to hit him isn't it??

Arsenal play on Sunday at home to Blackburn, where I'm sure Morten Gamst Pedersen will come in for some stick (if he plays) following his dive in last year's encounter, although the Gunners fans are the last ones who should be dishing out stick about divers!

Everton have the chabce to score their 6th successive win as they entertain Stoke at Goodison park on Sunday afternoon (ko 3pm) as they now seem to have recovered from their problematic start, and following last night's UEFA Cup comeback win, they should go into the game in confident mood.

Other games tomorrow include Burnley v Birmingham, where both teams will be looking for the win, City more so, as they sit 2 points beneath the Turf Moor outfit. Hull face Wigan, with Phil Brown's men desperate for points after their disappointing start to the season, whilst Roberto Martinez will be looking for a repeat of their performance against Chelsea last weekend.

Portsmouth who have major problems right now, what with the players not being paid, added to the fact that they've lost all their Premier League games this season, travel to Wolves who will be looking add to Pompey's misery at Molyneux.

The final game to look at is West Ham v Fulham, and Gianfranco Zola is desperate for a win having seen his side drop into the bottom three last weekend, whilst Fulham's aren't that much better off, sitting just one place above the Hammers, but did enjoy a 1-0 win in the UEFA Cup last night.

So, a busy weekend in prospect then, but what's the bet of the weekend?

Beat the Bookie

Well this week, I've gone for the following:

Everton to beat Stoke ~ 4/7
Wigan to win at Hull ~ 7/5
Tottenham to win at Bolton ~ 10/11
Chelsea to draw against Liverpool ~ 11/5

Combined Odds ~ 22/1

Stick a fiver on that and take home £115 - worth a punt surely?

Here's another...

Steven Gerrard to score first for Liverpool, and the game to end 1-1 ~ 40/1 (worth a quid!)

That's it for this week, enjoy the weekend's action!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Martinez guides Wigan to win over Chelsea

There was a big shock in the Premier League this weekend, as Wigan Athletic defied the odds, and stopped Chelsea in their tracks as Roberto Martinez's men beat the Londoners 3-1 at the DW Stadium.

Chelsea had won their previous 6 games, but goals from Titus Bramble, Rodellega, and Paul Scharner were the heroes as they took advantage of Petr Cech's sending off, this after Didier Drogba had levelled for Chelsea.

Man Utd take over at the top of the table after their hard earned victory at Stoke, where Dimitar Berbatov & John O'Shea scored the vital goals to send United to the summit of the Premier League on goal difference.

Fernando Torres hit a hat trick as Liverpool demolished Hull 6-1 at Anfield, Torres put the Reds 1-0 up early on, but Geovanni levelled things up for Hull soon after. It wasn't long before Torres restored their lead, and scored his, and Liverpool's third just after half time. Steven Gerrard looped in a fourth on the hour, before 2 late goals from Marcus Babbel sealed the points.

Robbie Keane was the hero for Tottenham as he smashed in four goals in their 5-0 win over Burnley at White Hart Lane, to lift Spurs up to 4th, Jermaine Jenas was the other scorer in the game.

Arsenal are up to fifth after a sole Robin van Persie goal clinched a 1-0 victory over Fulham at the Craven Cottage.

Aston Villa drop to seventh as they went from 1-0 up to losing 2-1 at Blackburn Rovers. Gabi Agbonlahor had put Villa one up after just 3 minutes, but Samba equalized for Rovers, before a second half penalty from David Dunn clinched the points for Sam Allardyce's men.

Kenwyn Jones scored twice yesterday as Sunderland got back to winning ways with a 5-2 win over Wolves at the Stadium of Light. Darren Bent had put the Black Cats one up from the spot early on, Jones then added a penalty 3 minutes into the second half, before Wolves mounted a fightback, and levelled things up thanks to an own goal from Mensah, and Kevin Doyle equalized.
Jones, Michael Turner, and an own goal from Mancienne completed the scoring for Sunderland.

Despite a poor start to the season, Everton are up to 9th, having inflicted Portsmouth's sevent straight Premier League defeat, which is the worst start made by a top flight team in the last 89 years, Louis Saha was the man to set that stat up following his first half strike.

The other game in the Premier League saw Bolton win at Birmingham, Cohen put the Wanderers 1-0 up after just 10 minutes, but marksman Kevin Phillips got what he thought was a matchsaving equalizer just 6 minutes from time for Birmigham, but just two minutes later Lee scored the winner for revived Bolton.

The final match of the weekend took place on Monday night, where Manchester City defeated West Ham 3-1 at Eastlands, and wasn't it obvious that Carlos Tevez would get in on the act to put a dent into the Hammers survival hopes!

That's it for this week's update, another preview on the way on Friday!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Beat the Bookie

The games for this one are pretty low value so it's a case of being inventive!

The tip for this week is:

Everton to beat Portsmouth 5/6
Birmingham to draw with Hull 9/4
Aston Villa to win at Blackburn 13/10

Combined odds : 13/1

Worth a fiver!!!

Premier League Preview

Time once again for another preview of the games to come this weekend in the Premier League, and following the last two weeks where the top four have played each other, they have what seems relatively easier matches this coming weekend.

The first kick off of the day is the lunchtime kick off at Fratton Park, where Everton go in search of a win at pointless Portsmouth, who only just managed their first win of the season in the Carling Cup the other night, whereas Everton will be in confident mood after their 3-0 win over Blackburn last weekend.

Onto the 3pm kick offs, and Chelsea will look to make it 7 out of 7, as they travel up to the DW Stadium to face Wigan Athletic who are only two points above the drop zone.

Man Utd will hope to take advantage of any slip up by the leaders, as they face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, in what could be a potentially awkard game, it certainly was last season, as they waited until 6 minutes before the end for their winner, but will also be in confident mood having won the Manchester derby in injury time last Sunday.

Liverpool have what looks to be a home banker, as they take on Hull at Anfield, with the reds in confident mood following their win at West Ham last weekend.

Aston Villa will be looking to extend their fine run, as they make their way to Ewood Park to face a Blackburn side that sits in the bottom three at present.

Tottenham meanwhile will look to build on their 5-1 midweek demolition of Preston in the Carling Cup in their match at White Hart Lane with Burnley, the two had a belter of a game in the Cup last season at Turf Moor, with the Clarets narrowly missing out thanks to a last minute goal in extra time for Spurs.

Arsenal don't have far to travel for their game, as they take on Fulham at the Craven Cottage, looking to move up the table from what is a low 7th position right now, and will hope for a similar scoreline to the 4-0 win over Wigan last weekend whereas Fulham will need to be at full strength as they bid to recover from last weekend's defeat at Wolves.

The other game on Saturday, sees Birmingham host Bolton at St Andrews, as Bolton look for their make it 3 games unbeaten following the late draw against Stoke last week, whilst Birmingham will be in good shape after their 1-0 win at Hull.

On Sunday, Sunderland take on Wolves at the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats currently occupying a healthy 8th position, but slipped in the defeat to Burnlet last week, whilst the Wanderers are not far behind in 12th fresh from that win over Fulham.

Then finally on Monday, Man City will hope to return to winning ways, as they host West Ham at Eastlands, who themselves will be desperate to net points as they are only above the relegation positions on goal difference.

Not Premier League, but still essential, is the small matter of the Wrexham v Chester game on Sunday at noon, as the historic rivalry is brought back to the fore, and Chester are desperate for points having been deducted 25 of the blighters at the start of the season. Can they achieve the impossible and pull off a major win?

Friday, 18 September 2009

Beat the Bookie!

Okay, here we go with the new feature, as we try to see what bets are up for grabs this weekend.

Looking at the derby games taking place on Sunday, if you think both will draw, the odds will around 15/1, whereas a tenner on both Man Utd & Chelsea to win will net you around £25 if it comes in, if you are brave and fancy Tottenham & Man City, then that £10 would win you £385 with Labrokes!

The treble of the weekend is as follows:

Arsenal to beat Wigan
Liverpool to win at West Ham
Hull & Birmingham to draw

Combined odds of 6/1 on that one.

Best value bets are probably Everton to beat Blackburn on Sunday (currently 4/5), and Man City to upset Old Trafford with a win in the Manchester derby (City currently 9/2).

Good luck all!!

It's Derby weekend in Manchester & London!

A big weekend in prospect as the top four play against each other, in two derbies over the course of the weekend, firstly Chelsea, who are sitting top of the Premier League are at home to Tottenham, where most neutrals will be hoping the Spurs claim the points.

It will be another tough test for Harry Redknapp's men, who suffered defeat at home to other title rivals Man Utd last Saturday, and this time will be hoping for a positive result at Stamford Bridge.

The other derby takes place prior to the above game on Sunday afternoon, as Man Utd and Man City lock horns, the big talking point will be the omission of Emmanuel Adebayor, who has been banned for 3 games following his disgusting challenge on Robin van Persie in last weekend's controversial win over Arsenal.

Carlos Tevez has declared his wish to play against his former employees, and Adebayor's exclusion may force Mark Hughes to play the Argentinian.

United meanwhile will be looking to close the gap further on Chelsea, and could in fact overtake them if Chelsea lose at home to Spurs following a United win.

Elsewhere over the weekend, at teatime tomorrow Liverpool will be looking to continue their good run at West Ham, who will be aiming to improve on their poor tally of 4 points so far. Mexican striker Guillermo Franco could make his debut for the Hammers following his free transfer from Villareal.

Aston Villa have the chance to break into the top four once again, and they entertain Portsmouth, who are still searchinbg for their first points of the season, Villa will go into the game full of confidence having beaten rivals Birmingham in their own back yard last weekend.

Sunderland are enjoying a fine start to the season, and Darren Bent has had a great start too, and the Black Cats have the chance to move forward again as they travel to Burnley, who have started okay themselves too, currently in mid table, although suffered a heavy defeat at Liverpool last Saturday. That match is the lunchtime kick off on Saturday.

Stoke are also in a promising position, and will be in for a close encounter at the Reebok as they face Bolton, who won the basement battle at Portsmouth last week.

Arsenal, who made a terrific comeback in the Champions League in midweek, will be hoping that kind of spirit is in evidence again in their home game against Roberto Martinez's Wigan Athletic, I still find it hard to believe Martinez was the Chester City captain a few years ago!

The final game tomorrow sees two sides hoping to turn their seasons around, as Hull meet Birmingham at the KC Communications Stadium.

On Sunday, as well as the big derby games, Wolves entertain Fulham, who managed a draw in the Europa Cup last night, whilst Everton are in action against Blackburn at Goodison Park as they aim to follow up last night's 4-0 victory over AEK Athens in the Europa Cup also. Lucas Neill should make his debut for the Toffees, ironically against his former employers.

So, a crunch weekend yet again for the top 4 teams in the Premier League, should be another exciting one to watch!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Adebayor leaves his mark in Arsenal match

What a silly boy!

That's all you can say about Emmanuel Adebayor, after his contribution against his former employees for Manchester City, as they destroyed Arsenal 4-2 at Eastlands.

Adebayor was firstly involved in a terrible challenge on Robin van Persie, as he raked his boot down van Persie's face in an incident unseen by the referee. Adebayor then took advantage of a cross from Shaun Wright Phillips and headed home before setting off on a celebratory run down the touchline all the way to the other end of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans.

The fans who used to adore him were busting a gut to get onto the pitch, and had it not been for the stewards, this could have turned very nasty indeed.

Adebayor has since apologized but will surely face a charge for one, if not both of the incidents that he was involved in.

The match itself was a strange one, City went ahead through Micah Richards, although his header came off the post and rebounded back into the net via Almunia's head, so that will go down as an own goal.

Arsenal then levelled thanks to Van Persie's effort from the edge of the box, before Craig Bellamy put City back in front with just 15 minutes to go, Adebayor's controversial moment followed to make it 3-1, before Wright-Phillips made it 4-1 with just 6 minutes left on the clock. Tomas Rosicky then converted a simple chance on his return to complete the scoring.

Chelsea lead the way at the top as they kept their 100% record going thanks to a last minute win at Stoke, the Potters had taken the lead through Abdou Faye in the first half, however Didier Drogba hit back late on in the same half. It was in the final minute of injury time that Florent Malouda scored the winner to nick the points.

Man Utd are in second place after a barnstorming comeback against Tottenham, who had taken the lead in the first minute thanks to Jermaine Defoe's spectacular overhead kick, but United levelled through a Ryan Giggs free kick, remember he used to do that long before David Beckham & Christiano Ronaldo came along!!

Anderson scored his first competitive goal for United before half time, and Wayne Rooney finished things off in the second half to keep United within 3 points of Chelsea. Paul Scholes was sent off for a second yellow and will now miss one game for the Reds.

Aston Villa are up to 5th place as they took the honours in the Brummie battle, after their 1-0 victory at Birmingham, thanks to Gabi Agbonlahor's late goal.

Liverpool move into 6th, after their Yossi Benayoun inspired 4-0 victory over Burnley at Anfield, where the Israeli scored a hat trick, with the other goal coming from Dirk Kuyt.

Sunderland are in a healthy position in 7th, after they despatched Hull 4-1 at the Stadium of Light, Darren Bent grabbing a brace, with Andy Reid smashing in a long range effort, and Michael Turner - making his debut after signing from Hull - headed in the fourth and final goal. Kamill Zayatte had initially levelled for Hull.

Elsewhere over the weekend, Fulham got their first win of the season after beating Everton at the Craven Cottage yesterday, and they came from behind to do it, as Tim Cahill gave Everton a half time lead, before goals from Paul Konchesky & Damien Duff ensured the points went to the Londoners, whilst Everton remain second bottom.

Bottom of the pile are Portsmouth, who have lost all 5 games so far, they had a bit of a ding dong battle with Bolton though, who were pegged back twice before finally scoring the winner. Tamir Cohen smashed home the first goal for Wanderers, before Younes Kaboul headed home the equalizer. Former Pompey player Matt Taylor then scored from the spot to restore Bolton's lead, but then early into the second half Kevin Prince-Boateng levelled things up on his debut, before a goal two minutes from time from Gary Cahill secured the points for Gary Megson's men.

Blackburn beat Wolves at Ewood Park, thanks to goals from El-Hadji Diouf, Jason Roberts, and David Dunn, whilst debutant Stefan Maierhofer pulled one back for Wolves.

Wigan returned to winning ways after their 1-0 home win over West Ham, Hugo Rodellega scoring the all important winner for the Latics.

So, an all action weekend then, with plenty of controversy, we'll see what happens this week with the Emmanuel Adebayor situation, but my guess is he'll get some kind of ban from the FA.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Rafa should not be sacked according to vote

In a recent poll on this site, you voted marginally in favour of Rafa Benitez to be given more time as 60% of you decided that Benitez was the man for the Liverpool job still, whilst 40% of you reckoned Rafa should get the bullet.

I guess recent results turned the vote round as at one stage it looked like he could be on his way out, but time will tell.

Another poll on the way very soon!

Premier league returns following break

Following England's glorious night on Wednesday, it's back to Premier League matters, and a cracking line up of games this weekend as the top 6 meet each other, and includes the battle at the top where Tottenham play Man Utd in the evening game at White Hart Lane.

United will be keen to step up their title defence, whilst Spurs will be aiming to stay on the top of the table. Rio Ferdinand come make his return to the United side, but could be without Jonny Evans and John O'Shea following injuries.

They do share that position with Chelsea of course, and they have what could prove to be an awkward game at Stoke tomorrow afternoon, with the Potters sitting in 5th place in the table. Former Chester defender Danny Collins could make his debut for Stoke following his move from Sunderland in the Transfer Window.

Another big game is at Eastlands, where Man City take on Arsenal, both sides have done well so far this season, but the Gunners will be hoping to improve on their last result in Manchester, where they lost to United at Old Trafford. Emmanuel Adebayor is in for an interesting afternoon as he comes up against his former employees.

Elsewhere, Liverpool will be hopping they can bag a win at home to Burnley, whilst the bottom two face off at Fratton Park, as Portsmouth play Bolton. Striker Danny Webber could make his debut following his move from Sheffield United, whilst Bolton could hand a debut to Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic.

In the North East, Sunderland play host to Hull, where Michael Turner could be in line to make his debut as he lines up against the side he left for the Black Cats, whilst Paul McShane could do the same for Hull following his recent transfer from Sunderland.

West Ham make the trip to Wigan hoping to break in to the top ten, but Roberto Martinez will be desperate for a win as they sit just one place above the bottom three.

Blackburn take on Wolves at Ewood Park looking for their first win, and Pascal Chimbonda could make his debut for Rovers in this one following his move from Tottenham.

On Sunday, it's the Brummie Battle as Aston Villa make the short trip over to Birmingham, with City likely to hand a debut to Finnish midfielder Teemu Tainio, whilst Everton travel to Fulham on Sunday evening, where The Cottagers could see Swedish striker David Elm could feature, and Johnny Heitinga could make his bow for the Toffees following the Dutch defenders move from Athletico Madrid.

Beat the Bookie

The Premier League Bet of the Weekend:

Chelsea to win 2/5
Liverpool to win 1/6
Tottenham to draw 12/5
Man City to draw 9/4

Combined odds: 18/1

Put a fiver on get £90 back!

Which one will let that bet down this week???

Friday, 4 September 2009

League takes break for International week

Yes, the premier league takes a break tomorrow for a few days as the internationals and World Cup Qualifiers roll into town.

England play a friendly against Slovenia as they build up to their important World Cup qualifier next week against Croatia, which could seal their place at South Africa 2010.

Scotland need to beat Macedonia to keep their slim chances of making the finals alive, at Hampden Park tomorrow, then must beat Holland in midweek in what seems a tall ask.

Northern Ireland go in the hunt for victory, in what will be a difficult game in Poland, whilst the Republic of Ireland will surely get themselves a win in Cyprus to increase their chances of qualification.

Beat the Bookie

Well this week, international bets are the order of the day, here's the first:

England 1/6
Republic of Ireland 10/11
Scotland 8/11
Poland 4/7

Combined odds of 5/1, so stick a fiver on those, and get £30 back in your hand. Scotland look the biggest doubt amongst those, but remember they are needing a win.

If you like taking risks, then look at this one:

France to beat Romania 2/5
Czech Republic to win in Slovakia 5/4
Sweden to win in Hungary 13/10
Portugal to win in Denmark 5/4

Combined odds of 19/1, so for a fiver, you'd get back £99.62

Are you brave enough to take it on?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tottenham & Chelsea still lead the way

Tottenham & Chelsea maintainted their 100% records to the start of the season, and lead the table on 12 points.

Tottenham left it late, but Aaron Lennon's 95th minuite winner was enough to keep them on top of the table. Peter Crouch had given Spurs the lead having come on as a substitute, but Lee Bowyer levelled for Birmingham with just 15 minutes to go.

Chelsea meanwhile had no such problems, dismantling Burnley with a 3-0 scoreline. Nicolas Anelka, Michael Ballack, and Ashley Cole the scorers for Chelsea who sit alongside Tottenham at the top.

Man Utd came from behind to defeat Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford, as Andre Arshavin netted from 25 yards with a blockbuster of a shot to put the Gunners ahead towards the end of the first half, but the other side of half time, Wayne Rooney scored from the spot, before Abu Diaby headed into his own goal to gift United the win.

Man City are in the top 4 thanks to their 1-0 away win at Portsmouth, Emmanuel Adebayor scoring his third of the season as City continued their impressive start to the campaign.

Dave Kitson scored for Stoke as they moved into 5th place following their win over Steve Bruce's Sunderland, whilst Liverpool bounced back to winning ways following a topsy turvy game at Bolton. Liverpool were behind twice as Bolton led through Kevin Davies & Tamir Cohen, but goals from Glen Johnson, Fernando Torres, and Steven Gerrard swung it for the Reds.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa saw off Fulham at Villa Park which included an own goal from John Pantsil, and a cracker from Gabriel Agbonlahor, whilst Everton defeated Wigan in controversial fashion, when Leighton Baines scored a last minute penalty. This being after Paul Scharner had given Wigan the lead, but Louis Saha levelled for the Toffees.

Wolves & Hull drew 1-1 at Molineux, with Geovanni putting City ahead but Wolves bounced back through Stearman.

The other game in the Premier League ended in a goalless draw as Blackburn & West Ham took a point off each other.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Pressure on Rafa as Villa win at Anfield

The pressure is now certainly mounting on the shoulders of Rafa Benitez, who witnessed his side lose their second game in three at home to Aston Villa last night.

In a treble wrecking bet, Lucas put the away side ahead thanks to a headed own goal past Reina 10 minutes before half time. Anfield was then stunned as Curtis Davies headed in from an injury time corner to make it 2-0 in front of the Kop.

Liverpool mounted a kind of fightback in the second half as expected, and Fernando Torres hit the back of the net 18 minutes from time to ensure a nervous finale for Villa fans to endure, but they held firm, and Martin O'Neill's men recorded their first win at Anfield in 8 years.

It's now Liverpool's worst start in the Premier League, trailing the leaders Tottenham & Chelsea by 6 points already.

The topic forms the latest FL poll, should Rafa Benitez be sacked? Cast your vote on the top right of the page, should he go or should he be given more time?

Monday, 24 August 2009

Spurs back to the top after Hammers win

So, Tottenham have climbed back to the top of the table then with their victory over West Ham at Upton Park yesterday afternoon.

Jermaine Defoe & Aaron Lennon were the heroes for the Spurs after turning the game round following Carlton Cole's opener.

They lead on goal difference, after Chelsea moved level on 9 points with an away win at Fulham, where Drogba made me happy scoring first at 4/1 (had a fiver on that!), Nicolas Anelka netted the second to confirm the victory for Carlo Ancelotti's men.

Elsewhere, Everton are rooted to the foot of the table after they went down to Burnley by a single goal, Wade Elliott the hero for the side that beat Man Utd last week by the same scoreline.

Tonight, the final game of the weekend is Liverpool at home to Aston Villa, with the question which Liverpool side will turn up tonight?

Sunday, 23 August 2009

United bounce back to smash Wigan

Man Utd certainly made amends for their slip up at Burnley the other night by thrashing Wigan Athletic 5-0 at the DW Stadium.

Wayne Rooney started the ball rolling early into the second half, and that's when the goals started to fly in, as Dimitar Berbatov then quickly added a second, Rooney then put the Reds three up with a shot that deflected off Mario Melchiot.

Michael Owen got off the mark with number four, and then in stoppage time Nani curled in a free kick to complete the rout.

Arsenal also continued their free scoring start to the season, with a 4-1 thrashing of bottom of the table Portsmouth. Abou Diaby scored the opening two goals, before Younes Kaboul pulled one back for Pompey.

William Gallas scored for the third consecutive game to put the Gunners 3-1 up, and Aaron Ramsey completed the scoring to hand Arsenal an emphatic victory to send them top of the Premier League.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored the winner for Man City as they maintained their 100% record to the season by beating Wolves, and Hull City got themselves a win after Kamel Ghilas' goal was enough to see off Bolton.

Kenwyn Jones was the hero for the Black Cats as Sunderland came from behind to defeat Blackburn at the Stadium of Light. Gael Givet had given Rovers the lead, but a double from Jones ensured the points went to the home side.

Finally yesterday, a blank at St Andrews as Birmingham drew 0-0 with Stoke.

Today, Tottenham will aim to climb back to the top of the Premier League as they take on West Ham at Upton Park, whilst Chelsea will be expected to take the points at Fulham, and Everton will look to get their first victory of the season at Burnley.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Man Utd suffer defeat at new boys Burnley

Premier League new boys Burnley bounced back from their opening day defeat to Stoke, by causing a big upset in their first home game, beating Man Utd 1-0 thanks to a stunning volley from Robbie Blake in the first half at Turf Moor.

Michael Carrick also missed a penalty for United in the first half, and following that, Burnley held firm, and gained the points ensuring Burnley's fans (and probably half of England) ended the night on a happy note!

Elsewhere, Tottenham now lead the way at the top of the Premier League, following their 5-1 demolition of Hull City at the KC Stadium. Jermaine Defoe was the hero grabbing a hat trick, whilst there were also goals from Wilson Palacios & Robbie Keane, whilst Stephen Hunt grabbed a consolation for Hull, Hunt scoring in his second successive game since his move from Reading.

Liverpool bounced back from defeat at White Hart Lane, by thumping Stoke City 4-0 at Anfield. Fernando Torres notched the first early on, whilst new signing Glen Johnson then put the Reds further ahead on the stroke of half time. Dirk Kuyt & David Ngog completed the rout.

Portsmouth's problems continue as they slumped to a last minute defeat at Birmingham, with James McFadden slotting home a penalty following a foul by goalkeeper David James on Sebastion Larsson.

So, the accumulator bet didn't come off thanks to that Man Utd defeat & the last minute goal at St Andrews, but I'll have another one for Saturday!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Chelsea & Wolves take the points

No surprises in the first game last night, where Chelsea came from behind to defeat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light - perhaps the only surprise of that game being that the Black Cats took the lead through Darren Bent's second goal of the season.

Ballack, Lampard, and finally Deco made sure that the Londoners would take the points back south with them, to lead the PL by 3 points going into tonight's games.

In the other match, Wolves pulled off a surprising win away to Wigan, as Andy Keogh's solitary strike was enough to hand Mick McCarthy's men their first win of the new campaign, ensuring anyone with Wolves defenders in the FPL teams could be celebrating some clean sheet points!

Tonight, there are a few more games on the card:

Birmingham v Portsmouth
Burnley v Man Utd
Hull v Tottenham
Liverpool v Stoke

Bet Tip of the Day:

Birmingham to draw 23/10
Man Utd to win 2/7
Tottenham to win Evens
Liverpool to win 3/10

Lucky 15 bet (15 bets @ £1 each) : max £66 return from £15 stake
Accumulator : 10/1

Let's see how that one turns out!!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

...and we're off!

So, the Premier League has kicked off, and some rather freak results included, like Arsenal winning at Everton 6-1, I must admit I did have that one down as an away win, but 6-1??? No, I had that as a 1-0'er all the way!!

Man Utd & Chelsea got off to their usual starts, although I do disagree with the argument that United always have a home game to start off with, as it always seems to mean that United have an away game to finish off with, whilst the likes of Liverpool finish off with a home game.

Chelsea have often seemed to have a home game to begin with too, so just who is supposed to being favoured here?

They started off with a lucky win in the end following Drogba's cross into the next in injury time, Hull must have been gutted with the fact that 6 minutes of injury time were added on!

Liverpool, well Rafa should of gone to SpecSavers as his continuous rant at officials continued - he claimed that Liverpool should have had 2 penalties, well from what I could see, so should Tottenham, and they didn't get any on the day.

Incidentally, why is it that Liverpool tend to get a penalty on opening days, remember Sheffield Utd away when Steve Gerrard fell over his own feet to earn them a spot kick in that match? Well Karma.

Big mention to Wigan, who are now led by ex Chester captain Roberto Martinez, one of the nicest blokes you could wish to meet in the game, he looks as though he will find his feet very quickly in the PL after his side's 2-0 away to Aston Villa.

It was strange that there were no draws in the PL on it's opening weekend, but I'm sure that we'll get our first one next time round!

Big spenders Man City got off to a good start too, defeating Blackburn at Ewood Park, and Adebayor is off & running, scoring early on in his bid to be the League's top scorer of the season.

Darren Bent had a dream start scoring the winner for Sunderland up at Bolton, not the best of starts for Gary Megson's men, but Steve Bruce will be highly delighted.

Good wins for Fulham, West Ham, and Stoke too. Fulham won away to Portsmouth, who could be a contender for the drop this year following all the goings on in the summer, whilst the Hammers won 2-0 away at PL new boys Wolves, in what Gianfranco Zola will be hoping is a similar year to last year where the Hammers did well in the second half of the season.

Stoke entertained new boys Burnley, and promptly despatched the Turf Moor club 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium, it was City who got off to a great start last year, and it looks as though they are in the same frame of mind this time round!

Next up are tonight's games Sunderland v Chelsea, and Wigan v Wolves, my tips here are a 2-0 win for Chelsea, whilst Wolves will pull a draw out of the bag at Wigan.

Get your bets on the opposite to happen then!!

Friday, 14 August 2009

We're all ready to go!

So, we are here on the eve of the new Premier League season, and this is where the torture really begins, as for the next nine months, you'll find yourself going through all the emotions that Fantasy League throws at you.

What emotions?

You know the ones, you've just picked what you think will be the star man of the campaign, only for him to get injured on the first game of the season, or the fact that you'll end cheering a Man Utd clean sheet even if you're a Liverpool fan, just because you have Utd defenders in your fantasy league team!

It's time to wrestle that remote control from the other half, telling them to forget Big Brother, you want to tune into highlights of Stoke v Burnley to see if your star midfielder has notched a goal or two!

It's all good fun, and it all starts tomorrow with Chelsea & Hull kicking us off at 12.45pm...

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Who is going to end up setting the Premier League alight with their goals this year? Please make your selection on the poll over to the right!

Good luck to your team!!!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Who's gonna win the League then?

Time for your predictions as to who is going to win the Premier League and why?

Please cast your vote on the far right of the page, and put your reasoning for why you think that team will win the Premier league this season - who will make the difference in that team?

Will Man Utd manage to retain the League without Ronaldo & Tevez?

Will Liverpool keep hold of Alonso to boost their chances next season?

Will Chelsea's challenge be as strong next year & will they keep hold of John Terry?

Will Arsenal's kids make the step up and recapture their glory days for Arsene Wenger?

Will Man City take over the world?

Will Everton break into the top 4, or is too much of an ask for David Moyes' side?

Whatever your thoughts, please post them below.

Look out for more polls after this one closes, and feel free to add a comment on any of the blogs on the list on the right, you're more than welcome to view & post on all of them.

Cheers, Banksy