Search This Blog

Sunday, November 29, 2009

England FA Cup Third round draw

The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has been made with the games to be played on January 2nd and 3rd.

Three all-Premier League ties came out of the hat in the draw for the third round, they were :
West Ham United v Arsenal,
Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers
Wigan Athletic v Hull City.

The full draw (lower league teams indicated in brackets, ML = minor league) :
Tottenham v Peterborough United (II)
Brentford (III) v Doncaster Rovers (II)
Middlesbrough (II) v Manchester City
Stoke City v York City (ML)
Notts County (IV) v Forest Green Rovers (ML)
Huddersfield Town (III) v West Bromwich Albion (II)
Sheffield United (II) v Queen's Park Rangers (II)
Milton Keynes Dons (III) v Burnley
Chelsea v Watford (II)
Nottingham Forest (II) v Birmingham City
Preston North End (II) v Colchester United (III)
West Ham United v Arsenal
Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers
Portsmouth v Coventry City (II)
Wigan Athletic v Hull City
Everton v Carlisle United (III)
Sheffield Wednesday (II) v Crystal Palace (II)
Blackpool (II) v Ipswich Town (II)
Fulham v Swindon Town (III)
Scunthorpe United (II) v Barnsley (II)
Bristol City (II) v Cardiff City (II)
Reading (II) v Liverpool
Plymouth Argyle (II) v Newcastle United (II)
Leicester City (II) v Swansea City (II)
Bolton Wanderers v Lincoln City (IV)
Accrington Stanley (IV)/Barnet (IV) v Gillingham (III)
Manchester United v Kettering Town (ML)/Leeds United (III)
Staines Town (ML)/Millwall (III) v Derby County (II)
Southampton (III) v Rotherham United (IV)/Luton Town (ML)
Stockport County (III)/Torquay United (IV) v Brighton & Hove Albion (III)
Sunderland V Oxford United (ML)/Barrow (ML)
Tranmere Rovers (III)/Aldershot Town (IV) v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Saturday, November 28, 2009

All Blacks overrun France 39-12 to win rugby test in Marseille

New Zealand completed their unbeaten tour of Europe with a superb display to thrash France 39-12 in Marseille on Saturday evening.

The All Blacks were finally able to break the test try shackles that they've experienced in the Northern Hemisphere to score five tries to nil.

Sitiveni Sivivatu's fine try gave the All Blacks an early 7-3 lead.

Julien Dupuy edged France 9-7 ahead but Mils Muliania's spectacular try and a Jerome Kaino try ensured the visitors had a 22-12 half-time lead.

Cory Jane scored a solo effort after the break and Conrad Smith also crossed as the visitors confirmed their status as the world's number one-ranked team.

The victory means New Zealand will head back to the southern hemisphere, after a final outing against the Barbarians at Twickenham, with four Test wins out of four in Europe, having beaten Wales 19-12, England 19-6 and Italy 20-6 in the lead-up to the Test against France.

Arsenal v Chelsea Team News

Venue : Emirates Stadium
Date : Sunday, 29 November
Kick-off : 1600 GMT

Arsenal will be without left-back Kieran Gibbs, who suffered a fractured metatarsal in the Champions League win over Standard Liege in midweek.

William Gallas is expected to be fit after suffering a blow to the head in the same match, while Theo Walcott is pushing for a starting berth.

Doubtful: Clichy (back), Diaby (calf), Fabianski (thigh)

Injured: Bendtner (groin), Djourou (knee), Gibbs (foot), Van Persie (ankle), Wilshere (ankle)

Chelsea hope to have Frank Lampard available following the midfielder's recovery from a torn thigh muscle.

Deco and Michael Ballack may feature after returning from injury in midweek.

Doubtful : Drogba (chest), Lampard (thigh)

Injured : Bosingwa (knee)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Which is the best bookmaker for best lines and high payouts?

It's a question that I get asked all the time - "Which is the best bookmaker?" ...

The answer does depend a lot on what YOU want to bet on - but over the next few weeks I'm going to try to answer this question with a series of answers ...

But let's start this week with which bookmaker has the sharpest pencil, the lowest over-round, the "best odds".

I've kept records of betting prices at the bookmakers that we recommend and monitor for four major domestic leagues, England, Italy, Spain and Germany, as well as the Champions League and Internetional football.

I've been doing it since 1999, and have a lot of data, over 10,000 matches in all, and I've crunched the numbers to get the "typical payout odds".

And the best sportsbook out there should not surprised regular readers of our site it is .... PinnacleSports (registered in the Netherland Antilles) with a 97.4% payout - or an over-round of just 2.6%.

We've banged on about PinnacleSports for years, they have an extremely sharp pencil when it comes to prices on sports bets, espescially on long-odds outsiders, so if you fancy an underdog then PinnacleSports is a must visit site.

However, there are a few downsides to Pinnaclesports operation.

Firstly, despite the fact that the sportsbook is set up for American players, and focuses on a lot of US sports (and mainstream European football) PinnacleSports no longer accepts US based players.

UK and European players seem to be put off by the clunkiness of the website, the lack of local telephone support, the lack of any joining bonus, and the fact that if you want to withdraw more than once per month then PinnacleSports will hit a $15 fee onto subsequent withdrawals.

But that notwithstanding, sharp punters (who are outside the US) should definately have an account with PinnacleSports and put up with the minor foibles - as they are a very competitive site.

(Read our full page review of PinnacleSports Sportsbook here)

So who were the best of the rest?

Well the number #2 site was the BETFAIR Exchange at 96.1% payout (after commission) - a very good site - especially for betting in-running - although I found that volumes and prices can be a bit scratchy early in the week, and even 24-48 hours before the game.

(Our full review of the Betfair Betting Exchange is here)

In the #3 spot was the first UK bookmaker, as Bet365 Bookmaker took the honours with a 93.5% payout. When you consider that Bet365 also offer a £100 to £200 joining bonus - depending on your country and timing of special offers then it's clear that they've a good all-round choice.

(Read the full page Bet365 Bookmaker review here)

Betting destination #4 was Betsson Exchange and Sportsbook with a solid 92.0% payout. With 17 different language sites, and lots of bonuses, Betsson are the top European odds destination.

(Read more about the Bettson Betting Exchange and Sportsbook here)

And rounding out the top five, at #5 was Canbet, a quality book who are registered in both the UK and Australia, and with an average payout of 91.6% are giving punters a fair deal.

(Read the full Canbet Sportsbook review here)

Here's a full list of the bookmakers and sportsbooks in the review and their payout rates over the last five years for the major leagues ...

Pinnacle Sports 97.4%
Betfair exchange 96.1%
Bet365 93.5%
Betsson exchange 92.0%
Canbet 91.6%
Centrebet 91.4%
NordicBet 90.9%
BoDog 90.9%
Unibet 90.8%
EuroBet 90.5%
Betfred 90.4%
Ladbrokes 90.0%
Paddy Power 90.0%
Victor Chandler 89.5%
Interwetten 87.5% 86.8%

Now remember, this is not an overall rating, it does not consider things like customer serice, join bonuses, scope and variety of sports offered and many other items.

It should also be pointed out that overall payout percentages are not always the most important thing for ALL punters. For instance if you like to bet on short-priced favourites then Interwetten are a top choice - because they nearly always hold a top price on big name teams.

The 87.5% rating for Interwetten simply reflects that they never seem to give a big price on the underdogs, so if you prefer longshot bets then you need to look elsewhere - #1 PinnacleSports and #2 Betfair spring to mind !

So checkout our main bookmaker and sportsbook guide on site or my best bookmaker awards page if you want further information on which bookmaker might best suit you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Barcelona beat Inter Milan 2-0 in Champions League to move to top of Group F

Barcelona bounced back from the brink of elimination when the evening started to take charge of Group F thanks to a Xavi Hernandez-inspired victory over Internazionale Milano.

The holders laid on their most complete performance, by some distance, since that fabulous day in May last year when they defeated Manchester United 2-0 to lift the trophy in Rome.

Their first goal came straight from the training ground. Xavi bent a corner to the near post, Thierry Henry flicked it on to the far, and Pique bullishly held off Thiago Motta to stab home.

For the second goal, Iniesta clipped an inside pass to Xavi, whose cushioned volley was measured to land between two defenders and meet the run of Daniel Alves. Alves dinked the ball to the far post and Pedro raced in to volley home.

Barcelona v Inter Milan match report at

Group F     Pld Pts 
Barcelona    5   8 
Inter Milan  5   6 
Rubin Kazan  5   6 
Dynamo Kyiv  5   5 

Liverpool win in Hungary but Fiorentina beat Lyon to eliminate the Reds.

Liverpool supplied the win they needed as a minimum requirement in Budapest, but their evening ended in misery as victory for ACF Fiorentina against Olympique Lyonnais knocked the Merseyside club out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stage.

Debrecen 0-1 Liverpool
Missing the injured Fernando Torres for this must-win occasion, Liverpool's travelling supporters were asked to place faith in lone forward Ngog, who delivered with the only goal of the game in the 4th minute.

Debreceni v Liverpool match report at

ACF Fiorentina 1-0 Olympique Lyonnais
But ACF Fiorentina are through to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in ten years after overcoming Olympique Lyonnais in Florence, with Juan Vargas ensuring the Serie A side qualified from Group E converting a first-half penalty.

Fiorentina v Olympique Lyon match report at

Group E   Pld Pts 
Fiorentina  5 12 
Lyon        5 10 
Liverpool   5  7 
Debrecen    5  0 
Check out the Gooners Guide to the Champions League for more betting advice

Arsenal ease through to Champions League knockout stages with 2-0 win

Arsenal eased to a comfortable 2-0 victory over R. Standard de Liege that ensured the London side finished top of Group H.

First-half goals from Samir Nasri and Denilson set Arsenal on their way to a convincing success which confirmed the north London side qualified for the last 16 as winners of the section with one game still to play.

Arsenal were temporarily down to nine men in the 33rd minute after a nasty clash heads of heads between Gallas and Arshavin as they both went for a Fabregas cross, and the Russian playmaker was still off the pitch a couple of minutes later when Arsenal went in front.

Vermaelen launched a long ball forward from just inside the Arsenal half, defender Landry Mulemo slipped over and Nasri scooted through to steer the ball past Sinan Bolat.

Further chances promptly came Arsenal's way when Nasri dinked the ball through for Arshavin, who sent a rasping shot just wide, while Fabregas had no better luck with an angled effort that rolled just beyond the far post.

The pressure paid off in added time at the end of the first half, when Denilson collected the ball from Kieran Gibbs some 25 metres out and struck a dipping shot that flew over Bolat's flailing arms.

Full match report on the UEFA website - hopefully with goals video to follow.
(videos usually posted after midnight following the matchday)

Monday, November 23, 2009

France v Ireland handball - Ireland guilty of similar case in earlier qualifying

The France v Ireland playoff was a big game, and there is little doubt that the Theirry Henry handball incident was a foul. But does it really need to be added to the list of deadly sporting sins ?

You'd think so after the huge amount of righteous whining going on in the British and Irish media, and on the blogs and the forums ... by anyone and everyone with an axe to grind about Henry, France, Arsenal (who used to be Henry's club), and/or FIFA's unwillingness to have TV replay ...

(OK that last point about TV replays might actually be justified - but let's not derail the blog post this time)

I'm bored with all the ranting ... the xenophobic diatribe dished out by the tabloids who are simply trying to sell newspapers and the politicans who are trying distract from bigger problems ... so I'm going to try to short circuit this issue by demonstating that this Irish side were guilty of a similar thing in earlier qualifying.

From a match report of Ireland v Georgia : World Cup 2010 Qualifier - which Ireland won 2-1 after a very similar dodgy incident.

A long ball found its way to Robbie Keane who seemed to control the ball with his hand only for the referee to let play continue. The ball was then cleared but only as far as Kevin Doyle as it deflected off the Waterford man and into the path of Ucha Lobjanidze. The referee then gave a shrill blast of his whistle for what appeared to be an offside by Keane.

Instead to everyones surprise, Hyytia pointed to the penalty spot and deemed Lobjanidze to have handled the ball. Replays showed that Keane had handled the ball in the lead-up to this decision and that Keane was also offside as play continued.

Here is the video on YouTube where you can see the incident :
Did you find yourself shouting HANDBALL ! at all?

Pretty clear in the video isn't it? Does Mr Keane own up? Does he tell the referee? Does he bollocks!! He quickly accepts the penalty and stands and watches the demonstrations and then scores for Ireland from the spot ... becasue it's a vital incident and an important chance!

... ... sound of the penny dropping ... ...
... ... uncomfortable shuffling of feet ...
... ... oh dear oh dear oh dear ... ...

So WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE between this incident where Ireland benefit and the one with Henry? Nothing! And it's a vital stage in the game with Georgia hanging onto a 1-0 lead. It was a deliberate handball in the buildup to a goal and the player obviously knew it. The ref didn't see it. So nothing is given.

And don't give me the accidental handball claim some have tried. Robbie Keane is a top professional player who knew exactly what he was doing in trying to bring that ball down. This isn't pub football - it's an international match. It WAS Hand-bloody-ball ALRIGHT !

Was it a case of the big Irish bullies conspiring to beat little Georgia - using home advantage to influence a referee? No - It's just football. A handball call that is missed by a referee. This sort of sh!t happens all the time.

But ... I did not HEAR a big fuss after this game. No hoo-haa and demands for replays. In fact this event passed by without comment from mainstream UK and Irish press.

So although the situation at the Stade de France for the France v Ireland playoff it was dramatic and painful for Irish fans (this time) - it was hardly unique ...

So it's not about FIFA conspiracies. It's not about the cheating French. It's not about the fact the Theirry Henry used to play for Arsenal, or "Johnny Foreigner" always cheating (not like our lads) - or anything else ...

... it was just a refereeing error !

So would partisan Irish fans PLEAAAASSSSEEEE just get over it, and move on. And would a few tabloids please publish this story too?!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brazil retain world beach soccer crown beating Switzerland 10-5

The latest FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup ended in familiar fashion on Sunday, with Brazil seeing off Switzerland to collect the trophy for the fourth year running.

The Swiss battled bravely, but with their goalscorer-in-chief Dejan Stankovic having an off-day by his standards, they were unable to match the South Americans superior finishing power.

As Brazil eased off towards the end of the final, Switzerland took advantage to make the scoreline a little more respectable. The five goals they eventually scored were more than the Brazilians had ever conceded in the final before.

By way of consolation, however, the Swiss striker collected the adidas Golden Ball as the outstanding player of the tournament and also made off with the adidas Golden Shoe, awarded to the top scorer.

FINAL : Brazil 10-5 Switzerland
3rd/4th : Portugal 14:7 Uruguay

Visit FIFA's beach soccer mini-site for more

Tottenham 9-1 Wigan ... yes that's NINE-ONE !!!

Jermain Defoe scored five second-half goals as Tottenham humiliated Wigan to record their highest top-flight win.

It is the first time a team has scored nine in a Premier League fixture since Manchester United thrashed Ipswich 9-0 at Old Trafford in 1995.

Tottenham, who move level on points with third-placed Arsenal after their biggest win in 32 years, led 1-0 at the break but the visiting Latics, playing in an orange away strip, were simply blown away in the second half.

Tottenham Goals
Crouch 9
Defoe 51
Defoe 54
Defoe 58
Lennon 64
Defoe 69
Defoe 87
Kirkland (og) 88
Kranjcar 90+4
TEAM          PL GD  Pts  
1 Chelsea     13 +25  33 
2 Man Utd     13 +14  28 
3 Arsenal     12 +21  25 
4 Tottenham   13 +14  25 
5 Aston Villa 13  +8  22 
6 Man City    12  +7  21 
7 Liverpool   13  +9  20 
Read a full match report at the BBC site

Saturday, November 21, 2009

FIFA Beach Soccer Final is Brazil v ... Switzerland ??

Brazil reached the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup final for the fourth year in succession after easily disposing of Portugal, and will now meet the tournament's surprise package Switzerland, who enjoyed a comfortable win over Uruguay in the other semi-final.

Brazil strolled into a 4-0 lead at the end of the first period before running out 8-2 winners over the Europeans.

In the other semi-final, Dejan Stankovic was again the key man for Switzerland, who scored four of the seven team goals against Uruguay, a team renowned for their defensive qualities.

The semi-final results
Portugal 2-8 Brazil
Switzerland 7-4 Uruguay

The final will be played on Sunday evening on the sands of Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, kicking off at 21:00 local time (5pm London)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

World Cup Playoff Betting Highlights at Eurobet

France v Ireland

Robbie Keane to shock the French?
Ireland face France in the 2nd Leg of their World Cup Play-Off. Ireland are 1-0 down after the 1st Leg & need a great effort to book their place in South Africa. Robbie Keane is 10.00 to score first.

Keane 10.00 BEST PRICE at Eurobet . Click to bet !

Slovenia v Russia

Arshavin to end Slovenian hopes?
Russia managed a 2-1 win in their World Cup Play-Off against Slovenia but now face a difficult away trip in the 2nd Leg. Andrei Arshavin is always a danger & he is 8.00 to be the first goalscorer.

Arshavin 8.00 BEST PRICE at Eurobet. Click to bet !

Bosnia - Portugal

Portugal will travel to Bosnia knowing that a ticket for the world cup is far from certain. The Iberians failed to establish a sizeable lead in the first leg as Bosnia produced a resilient performance

Click here for full match odds at Eurobet

Monday, November 16, 2009

2009 FIFA Beach Soccer Finals in Dubai this week

From 16-22 November, Jumeirah Beach in Dubai will be the setting for the fifth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

France won the inaugural tournament, but since 2006 Brazil have won this annual tournament every year, and in Dubai, will be looking for their fourth consecutive title.

Brazil have not been beaten in the competition since their semi-final defeat to Portugal in 2005, where they lost on penalties after a 6-6 draw.

Switzerland have started the tournament with a 6-5 win over Bahrain, in a format where the traditional powers do not always have the same edge as in the 11-man game.

This was underlined in just the second game of the tournament when Oceania champions Solomon Islands beat Uruguay 7-6, after leading 7-2 with just six minutes to go.

Check out all the action on the beach soccer section of the FIFA website - and you can get bets on this event at Victor Chandler's sportsbook all week.

New Zealand qualifies for 2010 World Cup in South Africa

New Zealand claimed a spot at next year's FIFA World Cup finals with a pulsating win over Bahrain today in the second leg of the Asia/Oceania play-off.

In front of a capacity crowd at Wellington's Westpac Stadium on Saturday night, New Zealand repeated the efforts of the national team of 1982.

The 35,194 fans, the largest crowd to watch a football match in New Zealand, made their presence felt with a continuous stream of noise and support that started well before the opening whistle and continued long after referee Jorge Larrionda blew for full-time.

Striker Rory Fallon powerfully headed home the only goal of the game from a corner in the 44th minute, while goalkeeper Mark Paston also saved a penalty to see the All Whites through to South Africa.

The All Whites held on for a 1-0 win on the night following the goalless draw in Manama on 10 October, to reach their second World Cup Finals.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chelsea are now odds on to win English Premier League

Chelsea are odds-on to win the title for the first time this season - at a top price of 10/11 with Canbet - following their 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Sunday.

Manchester Utd and Arsenal are locked together as 10/3 joint second favourites while Manchester City are now fourth favourites following Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Birmingham City.

Liverpool are 5th favourites at a staggering 40/1 at Betfred, while Tottenham are in 6th spot, and loyal Spurs fans can get a best price of 149/1 at Victor Chandler if they REALLY want a bet on Spurs to win the title.

Chelsea 1.91 @ Canbet
Manchester United 4.33 @ Victor Chandler
Arsenal 4.33 @ Eurobet
Manchester City 34.00 @ Ladbrokes
Liverpool 41.00 @ Betfred
Tottenham Hotspur 151.00 @ Victor Chandler

Friday, November 06, 2009

Bookmakers offer bets on whether Phil Ivey wins WSOP 2009!

This Saturday the nine finalists in this year's WSOP (World Series of Poker) will sit down at the final table to battle for glory and a grand prize of $8,546,435.

Among the nine is big favorite Phil Ivey at odds of 5/1 (6.00) who, if he wins, will send many bookmakers crying into their beers over into huge losses. Ivey has a little over 9 million in chips going into the start, far behind the leader Darwin Moon, who has over 58 million.

But as many in the poker world are fully aware, Phil Ivey is the most experienced player at the table, and in such a big tournament experience might just be the key to pulling off a win.

Kim Rud Petersen, spokesman for Nordic Gaming Group (NordicBet), said in a statement that, "A victory for Phil Ivey will cost our company alone hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts, and I believe it's the same for most bookies in the industry. If Ivey wins, this actually might turn out to be the most expensive poker tournament for bookmakers ever.”"

Nordicbet's starting odds for Ivey were 750/1.

The 'November Nine', as the players at the final table are called, will be battling it out at the Penn and Teller Theater in Las Vegas' Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino.

The latest poll conducted on the official WSOP-site shows that 78.05% of voters think that Ivey will win. Bookmakers are hoping they're wrong.

Here are the updated odds on the winner of this year's WSOP from NordicBet :
4.50 Darvin Moon
5.00 Eric Buchman
6.00 Phil Ivey
6.50 Jeff Shulman
7.00 Steven Begleiter
12.00 Joseph Cada
13.50 James Akenhead
14.00 Kevin Schaffel
17.00 Antoine Saout

visit Nordic Bet now - and get a risk free first bet up to 30 Euros !

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham - Gunners goals speak louder than Keane's empty words

Arsenal forward Robin van Persie struck twice to earn his side bragging rights in north London with a 3-0 victory over Tottenham in the early game.

Spurs have not won a league game against Arsenal since 1999, and they fell away after Van Persie opened the scoring at the Emirates Stadium and Cesc Fabregas added the second less than a minute later.

Van Persie tapped in the third after the break as Arsenal strolled to a comprehensive derby win.

42' [1 - 0] R.v. Persie
43' [2 - 0] C. Fabregas
60' [3 - 0] R.v. Persie

Manchester Utd 2-0 Blackburn - United stay second with workman-like win

Goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney saw Manchester United overcome Blackburn 2-0 at Old Trafford.

Berbatov made the breakthrough with a neat volley in the 55th minute and Rooney sewed the points up two minutes from time.

United should have extended the scoreline but substitute Gabriel Obertan missed two sitters on his league debut.

55' [1 - 0] D. Berbatov
87' [2 - 0] W. Rooney

Bolton 0-4 Chelsea - Blues stay top with comprehensive win

Chelsea remain two points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to a second 4-0 win of the week over Bolton.

Carlo Ancelotti's side did not have things all their own way this afternoon but they took a decisive lead just before half-time through Frank Lampard's penalty after Jlloyd Samuel saw red for his challenge on Didier Drogba.

Deco netted the second on the hour mark and Zat Knight scored an own goal before Drogba completed the scoring in injury time.

45' [0 - 1] F. Lampard (pen.)
61' [0 - 2] Deco
83' [0 - 3] Z. Knight (o.g.)
90' [0 - 4] D. Drogba

45' J. Samuel

Fulham 3-1 Liverpool - nine man Liverpool lose again

Under-pressure Rafael Benitez endured another day to forget as nine-man Liverpool crashed to a 3-1 defeat against Fulham.

Last week's win over Manchester United ended a run of five successive defeats but that became six from seven as goals from Bobby Zamora, Erik Nevland and Clint Dempsey earned Fulham the points.

Fernando Torres had equalised just before the break but he was substituted in the second half. Nevland restored Fulham's lead and Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher both saw red within three minutes before Dempsey rubbed salt in the wound with the final goal.

24' [1 - 0] B. Zamora
42' [1 - 1] F. Torres
73' [2 - 1] E. Nevland
87' [3 - 1] C. Dempsey

79' P. Degen
82' J. Carragher