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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bayern Munich beat Manchester United 2-1, but ManYoo are still favoured to progress

Bayern Munich defeated Manchester United 2-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie but the bookmakers and betting fans still think that the German club has plenty of work to do.

Wayne Rooney put the English champions ahead as early as the second minute but Bayern Munich hit back with second-half goals from Franck Ribery and an injury time winner from Ivica Olic.

The result came as a harsh lesson for some punters as Bayern Munich were matched at a high of 100 on Betfair to win the game.


The second leg is at Old Trafford on Wednesday 7th April and Manchester United are 1.80 to qualify with Paddy Power, who also quote Bayern Munich at 1.91


Manchester United have drifted out to 4/1 (Bet365) while Bayern Munich are still priced at 10/1 (Eurobet) despite earning a lead for the second leg.

Aston Villa lose 1-7 at Chelsea, and now might lose their manager?

UK bookmaker William Hill has slashed their odds for Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill to be the next Premier League manager to leave his job from 66/1 way down to 7/1.

Villa were thumped 1-7 at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea at the weekend to leave their bid for Champions League qualification hanging by a thread ... and punters are piling in on manager Martin O'Neill departing.

Hills spokesman Graham Sharpe said "We took a number of bets in branches not a million miles from Villa Park, with one punter asking for, but not getting, a £500 bet, followed by other requests for three figure bets," said .

Sharpe continued "As a cautionary move - we cut the odds, initially from 66/1 to 20/1 and when that didn't stop the bets, to 7/1."

Interesting, it seems to be suggested that O'Neill might jump rather than being pushed, as Hill also revealed "We have also received enquiries for O'Neill to be the next Liverpool manager."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Real Madrid and Barcelona continue to steamroll La Liga

Real Madrid 3-2 Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid returned to the top of the Primera Division after hitting back from a half-time deficit to continue their long-standing domination of local rivals Atletico with a 3-2 win.

Real, who have not lost to Atletico since 1999, looked in some trouble as they trailed 1-0 at the break following Jose Reyes' opener.

However, three quickfire goals at the start of the second period from Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Gonzalo Higuain put Real in control, and they held on for the points despite Diego Forlan reducing the deficit from the penalty spot.

Real Mallorca 0-1 Barcelona

Barcelona stayed second in the Primera Division standings on goal differnce by becoming only the second team to take points off Real Mallorca at their Ono Estadi this season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 63rd-minute strike - his third of the week - proved to be the winner.

Mallorca had won 12 of 13 matches at home coming into this game, having only lost to Sevilla previously, and they can feel somewhat unlucky not to have led at the break after hitting the post twice in the first period.

It proved costly when Xavi's corner was stabbed goalwards by Carles Puyol and, although his effort was blocked, Ibrahimovic was on hand to slot home from close range for his 15th goal of the season.

Other Results

Deportivo La Coruna 1 Getafe 3
Espanyol 0 Sporting Gijon 0
Villarreal 3 Sevilla 0
Xerez 3 Valladolid 0
Malaga 1 Tenerife 1
Real Zaragoza 3 Valencia 0

Spanish Liga BBVA Top Six Standings

Team            Pl  W D  L  Fr Ag Pts 
Real Madrid     29 24 2  3  81:26  74 
Barcelona       29 23 5  1  71:18  74 
Valencia        29 15 8  6  45:32  53 
Mallorca        29 14 5 10  45:33  47 
Sevilla         29 13 6 10  40:35  45 
Athletic Bilbao 28 12 6 10  36:34  42 

Roma close the gap to a single point by beating Inter Milan 2-1

AS Roma 2-1 Inter Milan

Luca Toni struck in the second half to lift title-chasing Roma to a 2-1 victory over Serie A leaders Inter Milan.

After Daniele De Rossi opened the scoring for Roma in the 17th minute, Inter were unlucky not to pull level as Walter Samuel and Diego Milito were denied by the crossbar either side of half-time.

But Inter were finally rewarded when Milito equalised soon after the hour mark but Toni struck the winner with 17 minutes remaining to send the Stadio Olimpico fans into raptures.

Palermo 3-1 Bologna

Fabrizio Miccoli fired a hat-trick to give Palermo's bid for a Champions League place renewed impetus with a 3-1 victory over Bologna.

Miccoli fired the Rosanera ahead after 10 minutes, but Bologna leveled after 38 minutes when Martins Adailton curled in a free-kick.

The Rosanera's frustration at allowing an equaliser was short-lived as Miccoli put Palermo back ahead from the penalty spot four minutes later before wrapping up his hat-trick 11 minutes from the end.

AC Milan 1-1 Lazio

AC Milan stumbled again in the title race as they were held 1-1 by Lazio.

Milan could have joined Roma on 62 points with seven games remaining but were left frustrated.

Marco Borriello put them ahead at the San Siro after 19 minutes, converting a penalty. However lowly Lazio levelled in the 32nd minute when Stephan Lichtsteiner scored to earn them a point in their battle against relegation.

Juventus 2-1 Atalanta

Juventus put back-to-back league defeats by Sampdoria and Napoli behind them, beating Atalanta 2-1 with goals from Alessandro Del Piero and Felipe Melo.

Melo headed the 82nd-minute winner from Del Piero's cross after former Juventus striker Nicola Amoruso had equalised before the break for the visitors.

Italian Serie A Top Six Standings

Team        Pl  W  D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Inter Milan 31 18  9 4  58:28  63 
AS Roma     31 18  8 5  56:35  62 
AC Milan    31 17  9 5  49:29  60 
Palermo     31 14  9 8  46:38  51 
Napoli      31 12 12 7  41:36  48 
Juventus    31 14  6 11 48:44  48

SChalke move to the top of the Bundesliga in Germany

Bayer Leverkusen 0-2 Schalke

Two goals from Kevin Kuranyi took Schalke to the top of the standings in a 2-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Kuranyi scored twice in the first half as a dominant Schalke got the better of third-placed Leverkusen at the BayArena to move two points clear of Bayern Munich.

Bayern Munich 1-2 Stuttgart

Bayern Munich were dealt a blow as they slumped to a second successive 2-1 defeat in the Bundesliga as Stuttgart came from behind to stun Bayern in front of their own fans.

Everything seemed to be going according to plan when Ivica Olic put the Bavarians in front in the 32nd minute, but Christian Trasch equalised just before half time.

A Ciprian Marica header early in the second half earned Christian Gross' side all three points and took them up to seventh in the table.

Werder Bremen 4-2 Nurnberg

Ten-man Werder Bremen nearly blew a three-goal lead before holding on for a 4-2 home victory over Nurnberg to remain in the running for a Champions League qualification spot.

Per Mertesacker scored for Bremen after just 40 seconds and doubled Bremen's lead in the 20th minute. Tim Borowski made it 3-0 for the hosts after 36 minutes.

But Mike Frantz got Nurnberg on the scoreboard in the 47th minute and Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting converted from the spot after 63 minutes as the visitors threatened a comeback.

Bremen captain Torsten Frings was sent off in the 82nd minute before Clemens Fritz scored again for the hosts three minutes into stoppage time.

Other Results

Borussia M'gladbach 1 Hamburg 0
TSG Hoffenheim 1 SC Freiburg 1
Hannover 1 Cologne 4
Hertha Berlin 0 Borussia Dortmund 0
Mainz 0 Wolfsburg 2

German Bundesliga Top Six Standings

Team              Pl  W  D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Schalke           28 17  7 4  46:22  58 
Bayern Munich     28 16  8 4  55:26  56 
Bayer Leverkusen  28 14 11 3  56:30  53 
Borussia Dortmund 28 14  7 7  46:33  49 
Werder Bremen     28 13  9 6  58:35  48 
Hamburg           28 11 11 6  48:33  44

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some betting stats from Betfair on Wednesday's English football

Spurs v Fulham (3-1)

• Tottenham traded at a high of 5 to win after going behind to a first half Bobby Zamora strike
• The Cottagers traded as low as 1.91
• Fulham/Tottenham HT/FT was backed at 32
• Spurs are 2.94 to win the Cup

Aston Villa v Sunderland (1-1)

• Villa traded at a low of 1.47 to win
• Draw backed at 7.8

Blackburn v Birmingham (2-1)

• Rovers traded at 3.55 to win the game

Manchester City v Everton (0-2)

• Everton backed at 4.8 to beat City
• Home side traded at a low of 1.72
• Final score of 2-0 backed at 32

Portsmouth v Chelsea (0-5)

• Chelsea traded at a high of 1.45 to win
• Stamford Bridge outfit can be backed at 3.65 to win the Premier League
• Final score of 5-0 backed at 32

Check out all the latest odds at Betfair

Monday, March 22, 2010

Top three sides stumble in Germany as Bundesliga remains wide open

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Bayern Munich

Table-toppers Bayern Munich lost in the Bundesliga for the first time since September as two late goals earned Eintracht Frankfurt a dramatic 2-1 win at the Waldstadion.

Miroslav Klose gave Bayern Munich an early lead, but Eintracht then took control of the game.

The visitors looked like they would hold out before two goals inside the last three minutes from Juvhel Tsoumou and Martin Fenin gave them a deserved win.

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen failed to take advantage of Bayern's slip-up as they were beaten 3-0 by Borussia Dortmund to remain in third place, three points behind the leaders.

After weathering the storm in the first half, Lucas Barrios became Dortmund's hero with two goals in 10 second-half minutes before Dimitar Rangelov rounded things off late on to earn the Westphalians all three points in front of over 80,000 spectators at the Westfalen Stadion.

Hamburg 2-2 Schalke

Schalke missed a chance to grab the lead in the German Bundesliga as they could only claim a 2-2 draw in an entertaining encounter at Hamburg on Sunday.

Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring for the visitors after 40 minutes. Kevin Kuranyi levelled the game in the 62nd minute and Ivan Rakitic converted a penalty six minutes later for a 2-1 Schalke lead. But Jonathan Pitroipa gave Hamburg a draw with his goal after 77 minutes.

German Bundesliga Top Six Standings

Team              Pl  W  D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Bayern Munich     27 16  8 3  54:24  56 
Schalke 04        27 16  7 4  44:22  55 
Bayer Leverkusen  27 14 11 2  56:28  53 
Borussia Dortmund 27 14  6 7  46:33  48 
Werder Bremen     27 12  9 6  54:33  45 
Hamburg           27 11 11 5  48:32  44 

Inter Milan and AC Milan both held to draws as AS Roma inch closer in Serie A

Palermo 1-1 Inter Milan

Inter Milan's hopes of a fifth successive title suffered a setback on Saturday night as Jose Mourinho's side were held 1-1 at Palermo.

Diego Milito fired Inter ahead from the penalty spot after 10 minutes but Edinson Cavani levelled after 24 minutes and neither side could find a winner.

Still, Inter Milan ended the weekend a point clear of AC Milan.

AC Milan 1-1 Napoli

AC Milan failed to take advantage as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli at the San Siro.

Hugo Campagnaro put a lively Napoli ahead in the 13th minute, but Filippo Inzaghi equalised 12 minutes later.

AS Roma 4-2 Udinese

Third-placed Roma are four points adrift of Inter after Mirko Vucinic netted a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Udinese.

Luca Toni fired the Giallorossi in front after 14 minutes and Vucinic doubled the lead with his first after 24 minutes.

However, Udinese got back on terms with two goals from Antonio Di Natale, one of which came from the penalty spot.

Vucinic restored the hosts' lead from the spot after 66 minutes and netted his third and Roma's fourth seven minutes from time.

Italian Serie A Top Six Standings

Team        Pl  W D  L  Fr Ag Pts 
Inter Milan 29 17 9  3  54:26  60 
AC Milan    29 17 8  4  48:27  59 
AS Roma     29 16 8  5  52:34  56 
Palermo     29 13 8  8  41:35  47 
Sampdoria   29 13 8  8  36:34  47 
Juventus    29 13 6 10  45:40  45

Real Madrid and Barcelona continue their charge at the top of La Liga

Real Madrid 3-1 Sporting Gijon

Real Madrid continued their perfect home record on Saturday - but they were given a scare by Sporting Gijon before winning 3-1.

Madrid produced little of note during a disappointing first half and a shock looked on the cards when the mid-table visitors took a 53rd-minute lead through David Barral.

However, that goal served to spark Madrid into life and within four minutes they were 2-1 ahead thanks to strikes from Rafael van der Vaart and Xabi Alonso.

Gonzalo Higuain then slotted home his 20th goal of the season in the 68th minute as Madrid made it 14 league wins out of 14 at the Bernabeu this term.

Real Zaragoza 2-4 Barcelona

Lionel Messi continued his remarkable goalscoring form with a hat-trick as Barcelona moved level once more with Real Madrid at the Primera Liga summit with a 4-2 victory at Real Zaragoza.

The Argentina winger, who also scored a hat-trick in his last league match against Valencia, opened the scoring with a header after five minutes and added two more after the break to send his side 3-0 ahead.

Valencia 2-0 Almeria

Second-half goals from Spain internationals Juan Mata and David Silva fired Champions League-chasing Valencia to a 2-0 victory over Almeria on Sunday.

Real Mallorca 4-1 Atletico Madrid

Real Mallorca continued their sensational home form this season as they thrashed 10-man Atletico Madrid 4-1 to climb into the top four with 11 games remaining.

Spanish Liga BBVA Top Six Standings

Team        Pl  W D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Real Madrid 27 22 2 3  74:22  68 
Barcelona   27 21 5 1  68:18  68 
Valencia    27 14 8 5  44:29  50 
Mallorca    27 14 4 9  45:32  46 
Sevilla     27 13 5 9  39:31  44 
Ath. Bilbao 27 12 6 9  36:32  42

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Arsenal beat West Ham to go top of the EPL - Spurs consolidate 4th spot

Arsenal overcame the sending-off of defender Thomas Vermaelen to battle back to the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 win over struggling West Ham.

Denilson fired the Gunners in front after only five minutes, however Vermaelen was deemed to have been the last man when he pulled down Guillermo Franco, and was shown a straight red card.

But Manuel Almunia saved Alessandro Diamanti's penalty and Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas made it 2-0 with nine minutes left from the same spot following a handball by Matthew Upson.


Tottenham boosted their chances of playing Champions League football next season, moving four points clear in the chase for fourth place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Stoke.

Substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen put Spurs ahead just 18 seconds into the second half when he nipped onto the end of a delightful chip from Peter Crouch to fire a left-foot shot into the roof of the net.

And things got worse for the home side four minutes later when Dean Whitehead was sent off for his second bookable offence after clattering Luka Modric in the centre circle.

But Stoke City drew level when Benoit Assou-Ekotto was adjudged to have fouled Dave Kitson in the box and Matthew Etherington sent Heurelho Gomes the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Assou-Ekotto redeemed himself, though, when he crossed for Niko Kranjcar to net the winner for Spurs with 13 minutes remaining.


Aston Villa drew 2-2 with Wolves and it could have been even worse for Martin O'Neill's men.

John Carew salvaged a point for Villa after Wolves had looked set for their first win over their local rivals for 30 years, Jody Craddock's equaliser and James Milner's own goal putting them in front.

But Carew followed up his opener with his 13th goal of the campaign with only seven minutes remaining to make the final score 2-2, benefiting on each occasion from marginal offside decisions.

English Premier League Top Eight Standings

Team          Pl  GD Pts 
1 Arsenal     31 +40  67 
2 Man Utd     30 +46  66 
3 Chelsea     29 +42  64 
4 Tottenham   30 +26  55 
5 Liverpool   30 +19  51 
6 Man City    28 +17  50 
7 Aston Villa 29 +17  50 
8 Everton     30  +6  45

Saturday, March 20, 2010

2009/10 UEFA Champions League draw - Arsenal meet Barcelona

FC Barcelona will continue their defence of the UEFA Champions League title with a quarter-final against the side they beat to win the competition in 2006, Arsenal.

While Barcelona meet Arsenal over two legs on 30/31 March and 6/7 April, Olympique Lyonnais play French rivals FC Girondins de Bordeaux, FC Bayern München take on Manchester United FC in a replay of the 1999 Camp Nou final and FC Internazionale Milano meet PFC CSKA Moskva.

In the semi-finals, Barcelona or Arsenal will take on Inter or CSKA while the remaining French representatives face Bayern or United.

The final will be played at Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu stadium, the first in its new Saturday slot of 22 May.

2009/10 UEFA Champions League draw

Quarter-finals : 30/31 March & 6/7 April
1: Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) v FC Girondins de Bordeaux (FRA)
2: FC Bayern München (GER) v Manchester United FC (ENG)
3: Arsenal FC (ENG) v FC Barcelona (ESP, holders)
4: FC Internazionale Milano (ITA) v PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS)

Europa League Quarter-finals draw - Liverpool and Fulham kept apart

Liverpool will face Benfica in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Should the Reds overcome their Portuguese opponents, Rafa Benitez will come up with winner of Valencia or Atletico Madrid.

Fulham will meet reigning Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg in the last eight, and will face either Standard Liege or Hamburg is the semi-final.


1: Fulham FC (ENG) v VfL Wolfsburg (GER)
2: Hamburger SV (GER) v R. Standard de Liège (BEL)
3: Valencia CF (ESP) v Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP)
4: SL Benfica (POR) v Liverpool FC (ENG)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Barcelona beat Stuttgart 4-0 with Messi looking unstoppable

Lionel Messi was dominant as Barcelona moved into the quarter-finals of the Champions League after they beat Stuttgart 4-0 at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night for a 5-1 aggregate triumph.

Messi struck a brilliant opener after just 12 minutes to put Barca on track, and then played a key role as Pedro Rodriguez made it 2-0 soon after as the Catalan giants built a 3-1 aggregate lead.

Messi added the third goal on the hour mark to take his tally to eight goals in the last four games before Bojan Krkic completed the romp late on as Barca became Spain's only representative to make it into the last eight.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Have Arsenal finally got a good home kit from Nike? It looks like it

I've just seen a post at ArseBlog (good Arsenal based blog BTW - well worth a daily visit) which has a picture of something that proports to be the home kit for 2010/11.

It's a nice retro touch - harking back to the 1970's strip - and is going along the lines of "a Modern Classic" which is a nice touch given the fact that 2010/2011 will be Arsenal's 125 season.

Here is the photo ...

(Click for bigger picture)

After 4 season of objecting to the butchering of the strip under the hands of the Nike merchandising unit - I think that I'm reay to put my hands in my pocket for this kit ...


Inter Milan beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge - Drogba sent off again

Jose Mourinho made a triumphant return to Chelsea with Inter Milan to dump Chelsea out of the Champions League.

Inter Milan, leading 2-1 from the opening leg of this last-16 tie in the San Siro, secured their place in the last eight when Samuel Eto'o scored the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge in the 78th minute.

Chelsea's campaign ended in more misery when Didier Drogba was sent off in the 87th minute for a crude moment of petulance, appearing to stamp on Thiago Motta.

CSKA Moscow stun Sevilla with 2-1 win in second leg (agg: 3-2)

CSKA Moscow reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time with a well dserved away victory over Sevilla.

After a 1-1 draw in the first match in Moscow, Sevilla were regarded as favourites having secured an away goal.

However Tomas Necid stole the lead for CSKA late in the first half to cancel out the hosts' away goal, only for Diego Perotti to drag Sevilla level almost immediately.

Early in the second half Keisuke Honda's powerful free-kick saw CSKA Moscow go back in front as Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop made a mess of what should have been a straightforward save in the 55th minute.

Monday, March 15, 2010

English Premier League title race / Top four race tightens

There are just 8-9 games to go in the Premier League, and the markets are hotting up in the race for the title, and for finishing in the top four and earning a Champions League spot.

English Premier League Top Seven

Team          Pl  GD PTS 
1 Man Utd     30 +46  66 
2 Chelsea     29 +42  64 
3 Arsenal     30 +38  64 
4 Tottenham   29 +25  52 
5 Liverpool   30 +19  51 
6 Man City    28 +17  50 
7 Aston Villa 27 +16  46 


Manchester United and Chelsea are now joint favourites for the Premier League title with European firm Interwetten offering prices of 2.60 with London club, Arsenal as 3rd favourite at 3.75 at Victor Chandler, as the only other viable option for the title now.


Meanwhile Manchester City are 2.70 favourites to finish fourth this season, despite their 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Sunday.

Spurs, who are currently two points ahead of City in fourth place, are 3.25 having defeated Blackburn 3-1 on Saturday while Liverpool are 3.50 and Aston Villa are 5.00

(all top four prices taken from Irish bookmaker Paddy Power)

Phil Brown sacked at Hull City - Gary Megson favourite to get job

Gary Megson has emerged as the favourite to become the next permanent manager of Hull City following the departure of Phil Brown on Monday.

Brown was "relieved of his duties and placed on gardening leave" according to the Hull City website - but he made it clear that he was being sacked.

The bookmakers were unsure as to who would step into the managers shoes at Hull City, but punters have piled in to make Gary Megson a firm favourite.

Rhone Group looking to buy into Liverpool - are the sharks circling ?

This moring I read in the Guardian that a "private equity firm" known as the Rhone Group is looking to buy into Liverpool Football club.

Uh-oh !

No matter how bad the relationship might be between Liverpool fans at Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett, it's likely to be nothing when compared to the contempt for history that will be shown by these corporate raiders. There is no romantic view or sentiment, as private firms are purely motivated to make money for their owners.

How would the Rhone Group make it's financial return for it's owners?

Football is not a business, it does not deliver dividends to it's shareholders (usually), so having a "private equity firm" holding a corner-stone shareholding of 40% would be a worrying event.

Usually, private equity firms work on the buy low/sell high principle, buying into poorly valued enterprises, giving them a quick make-over and then flogging them off at a higher price to a bigger mug - or floating the company via the stock exchange to mum-and-pop muggins.

This is bourne out by the initial suggestion that £110m could buy 40% of Liverpool, making the Anfield club worth a total of around £275m - which is a pittance when compared to the supposed £1.5b that the "Red Knights" would need to buy into Manchester United.

The talk in the papers is that the deal would reduce debt - and initially it would - but it would also let a financial shark grab a major share of the club.

This is one deal that Liverpool fans definately do not want to see happen in my opinion.

AC Milan close to within a point of Inter Milan in Serie A

On Friday night Catania threw the title race open by beating 10-man Inter Milan 3-1.

Catania 3-1 Inter Milan

Diego Milito put the Nerazzurri in front in the 54th minute, but Catania refused to accept defeat and Maxi Lopez equalised 20 minutes later.

Sulley Muntari was sent off after only two minutes on the field as he gave away a penalty which was converted by Giuseppe Mascara in the 81st minute.

And Jorge Martinez sealed a deserved and important win for the Rosazzurri in the last minute.

AC Milan 1-0 Chievo

AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo on Sunday night - but the win was marred by an Achilles tendon injury to David Beckham.

The former England captain, who has won 115 caps, has been ruled out of the World Cup finals this summer with the injury, which came in the latter stages of Sunday night's win.

Substitute Clarence Seedorf scored a stoppage-time winner to lift AC Milan to victory over Chievo at the San Siro.

The Dutch midfielder entered the game with 11 minutes remaining and knocked in the only goal to pull the Rossoneri to within one point of leaders Inter Milan.

Livorno 3-3 AS Roma

Third-placed Roma were held to a 3-3 draw by relegation-threatened Livorno, for whom Cristiano Lucarelli netted a hat-trick.

Simone Perrotta (2) and Luca Toni were on target for the Giallorossi, who squandered the lead on two occasions and also missed a penalty on an afternoon of frustration for coach Claudio Ranieri.

Italian Serie A Top Six Standings

Team        Pl  W D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Inter Milan 28 17 8 3  53:25  59 
AC Milan    28 17 7 4  47:26  58 
AS Roma     28 15 8 5  48:32  53 
Palermo     28 13 7 8  40:34  46 
Juventus    28 13 6 9  45:39  45 
Sampdoria   28 12 8 8  35:34  44 

Real Madrid and Barcelona continue their winning ways

Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain both grabbed hat-tricks as Barcelona and Real Madrid maintained the status quo at the top of the Primera Division on Sunday night.

Barcelona 3-0 Valencia

Lionel Messi grabbed a second half hat-trick for Barcelona on Sunday night.

Valencia held their own in a cagey first half before Messi took centre stage with a wonderful treble.

The visitors never threatened a comeback once Hedwiges Maduro became the seventh Valencia player to be sent off in seven games shortly after Messi's opener.

Real Valladolid 1-4 Real Madrid

Real Madrid responded with an emphatic 4-1 win at Real Valladolid.

Cristiano Ronaldo put Manuel Pellegrini's side ahead with a trademark free-kick after 28 minutes and two Higuain strikes either side of half-time all but settled the issue with Madrid leading 3-0.

Raul Albiol bundled home a comical own goal before Higuain notched his third goal of the game, tapping in Ronaldo's cross-shot.

Sevilla 1-1 Deportivo

Sevilla were held at home to a 1-1 draw by fellow high-flyers Deportivo La Coruna.

It started well for the hosts when they took a first-half lead through Federico Fazio.

However, sixth-placed Depor, who are only two points behind the Andalusians, levelled up almost immediately through Adrian Lopez and despite the hosts hitting the woodwork twice and pushing hard for the win in the second half, the spoils were shared.

Spanish Liga Top Six Standings

Team        Pl   W D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Real Madrid 26  21 2 3  71:21  65 
Barcelona   26  20 5 1  64:16  65 
Valencia    26  13 8 5  42:29  47 
Sevilla     26  13 5 8  39:29  44 
Mallorca    26  13 4 9  41:31  43 
Deportivo   26  12 6 8  30:28  42 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Top three sides all win in Bundesliga to leave Bayern Munich in front

Bayern Munich 2-1 Freiburg

Arjen Robben came to Bayern Munich's rescue for as his side went back to the top of the table with a 2-1 win.

Robben's two goals enabled Bayern to come from behind to claim all three points against strugglers Freiburg.

Cedric Makiadi had put the visitors ahead in the 31st minute, but a 76th-minute free-kick and then an 83rd-minute penalty from the Holland winger took them back above Schalke to the summit of the table.

Franck Ribery was left in the stands by Bayern coach Louis van Gaal after he revealed that the Frenchman had needed painkilling injections to get through the Fiorentina game in midweek.

Schalke 2-1 Stuttgart

Schalke had moved temporarily to the top with a 2-1 home victory over Stuttgart on Friday night.

Former Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi struck the winning goal after 56 minutes following a frantic 10-minute period when all three goals in the game were scored.

Edu Goncalves opened the scoring for the hosts less than a minute after his introduction as a half-time substitute before Serdar Tasci equalised after 50 minutes before Kuranyi had the final say.

Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 Hamburg

Bayer Leverkusen kept the heat on Bayern Munich and Schalke at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-2 win at home to Hamburg.

Stefan Kiessling netted twice, opening the scoring in the 22nd minute and making it 3-1 just after the hour mark.

Eren Derdiyok had restored Bayer's advantage in the 55th minute following Ze Roberto's equaliser (33).

David Rozehnal scored a second for Hamburg seven minutes from time to give them hope, but Gonzalo Castro re-established the hosts' two-goal cushion a minute later.

The win moved third-placed Bayer to within a point of Schalke and three of Bayern.

German Bundesliga Top Six Standings

Team              Pl  W  D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Bayern Munich     26 16  8 2  53:22  56 
Schalke 04        26 16  6 4  42:20  54 
Bayer Leverkusen  26 14 11 1  56:25  53 
Borussia Dortmund 26 13  6 7  43:33  45 
Hamburg SV        26 11 10 5  46:30  43 
Werder Bremen     26 11  9 6  51:31  42 

Ajax thrash PSV 4-1 to close gap, but Twente still lead Dutch Eredivisie

Twente 3-1 Den Haag

Leaders FC Twente recovered from an early setback to extend their club-record unbeaten run to 28 games as they beat ADO Den Haag 3-1.

Wesley Verhoek's first-minute goal was cancelled out by Bryan Ruiz's brace before Kenneth Perez rounded off victory for Steve McClaren's side.

Ajax Amsterdam 4-1 PSV Eindhoven

Ajax moved to within a point of second-placed PSV Eindhoven after thrashing their title-rivals 4-1 in Amsterdam.

Siem De Jong, Urby Emanuelson and Marko Pantelic put the hosts in complete control midway through the second half.

A Balazs Dzsudzsak penalty reduced the arrears with three minutes to go but Ajax had the final say when the prolific Luis Suarez made it 4-1.

Feyenoord 1-1 Heracles

Fourth-placed Feyenoord were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Heracles Almelo.

Everton gave the visitors the lead after 82 minutes but the Rotterdammers hit back to salvage a point thanks to Ron Vlaar.

Dutch Eredivisie Top Six Standings

Team       Pl  W D  L  Fr Ag Pts 
FC Twente  27 22 4  1  51:21  70 
PSV        27 20 5  2  60:22  65 
Ajax       27 20 4  3  80:18  64 
Feyenoord  27 14 9  4  43:26  51 
AZ Alkmaar 27 14 3 10  53:31  45 
Heracles   27 13 4 10  38:38  43 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Juventus are new favourites to win Europa League

Juventus are the new Europa League favourites after their 3-1 victory over Fulham on Thursday night.

Fulham struggled in the first half at the Stadio Olimpico and conceded twice to goals from Nicola Legrottaglie and Jonathan Zebina.

Dickson Etuhu pulled one back for Fulham but David Trezeguet's third goal just before halftime emphasised the gulf in class between the two sides.

The bookmakers have Juve their favourites to go on and lift the trophy - at a best price of 7/1 before the night's action. Fulham are out at 66s.

Liverpool had begun the day as the tournament favourites but they've drifted after slipping to a 1-0 defeat at Lille (20s).

Hamburg are at 10/1 after a 3-1 win against Anderlecht, with Valencia and Marseille also in the top six options after draws with Werder Bremen and Benfica respectively.

Top Ten Outright Winner Prices for the Europa League

Juventus 8.00 @ Centrebet
Liverpool 8.80 @ Betfair
Valencia CF 11.00 @ Paddy Power
Hamburger SV 11.00 @ Centrebet
Olympique Marseille 15.00 @ Centrebet
SL Benfica 15.00 @ Paddy Power
SV Werder Bremen 15.00 @ Bodog
Atletico Madrid 17.00 @ Betfred
VfL Wolfsburg 17.00 @ Bet365
FK Rubin Kazan 24.00 @ Betfair

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Liverpool lose at Wigan - Manchester City now favourite for top four spot.

Liverpool have drifted out to 3/1 to finish in the top four of England's Premier League and qualify for the Champions League in 2010/11 after the Reds slumped to a 0-1 defeat at Wigan Athletic.

Hugo Rodallega's 35th-minute strike was enough to give the Latics a deserved 1-0 win that lifted Wigan to 14th in the table.

Liverpool stay on 48 points but Aston Villa, Man City and Spurs all have games in hand on Rafa Benitez's team.

Betting Odds For Top Four Finish

2.25 Manchester City (5/4) at Bet365 and Paddy Power
4.00 Liverpool (3/1) at Bet365
4.50 Aston Villa (7/2) at Bet365 and Paddy Power
5.00 Tottenham (4/1) at Bet365
40.00 Everton (39/1) at Betfair

Premier League Top 10 Standings

Team          Pl  GD Pts 
1 Man Utd     29 +43  63 
2 Chelsea     28 +39  61 
3 Arsenal     29 +37  61 
4 Tottenham   28 +23  49 
5 Man City    27 +17  49 
6 Liverpool   29 +16  48 
7 Aston Villa 26 +16  45 
8 Everton     28  +4  41 
9 Birmingham  27  -2  40 
10 Fulham     28  +3  38 

Monday, March 08, 2010

Paddy Power betting - Bend it like Bendtner

All credit to Irish bookmaker PaddyPower for watching Arsenal striker Nicolas Bendtner put an awful display of finishing on Saturday against Burnley and deciding to turn it into a series of specials.

Bend it like Bendtner

Arsenal take on Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday night and you can bet on the skill and style of Arsenal's Danish striker is several markets :

Will most Bendtner shots against Porto be :
1.83 On target (5/6)
1.83 Off target (5/6) *** Gooners Betting Pick

How many shots on target will Bendtner manage :
3.50 None (5/2)
2.75 One (7/4)
3.50 Two (5/2) *** Gooners Betting Pick
6.00 Three (5/1)
13.00 Four or more (12/1)

And my favourite market - Bendtner's First Attempt at Goal
1.91 On target (10/11)
4.50 Wide left (7/2)
5.50 Wide right (9/2)
8.00 Over the bar (7/1) *** Gooners Betting Pick
13.00 Air kick (12/1)
26.00 Off for a throw in (25/1)

Check out all the betting markets at PaddyPower for Tuesday night

Liverpool favourites to win Europa League

Liverpool are the shortest priced favourites to win the Europa League after the last-16 line-up was confirmed.

Liverpool avoided potential embarrassment in Romania as they came from behind after Bruno Fernandes' header gave Unirea Urziceni the lead.

Goals from Javier Mascherano from long range and Ryan Babel from close in turned things around before the interval and Steven Gerrard's 33rd European goal wrapped up a 4-1 aggregate success for Liverpool.

Liverpool now face French side Lille (25/1) next while Fulham face Italian giants Juventus next.

Europa League Outright Winner Odds

Liverpool 6.50 at Bet365
Juventus 8.00 at Interwetten
Valenica 9.00 at Bet365
Benfica 12.00 at Betsson
Hamburg 12.00 at Betsson
Werder Bremen 16.00 at Interwetten
Atletico Madrid 16.00 at Interwetten
Rubin Kazan 17.00 at Bet365
Wolfsburg 17.00 at Bet365
Panathinaikos 21.00 at PaddyPower
Fulham 21.00 at Bet365

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English FA Cup Semi-final Draw

FA Cup holders Chelsea will play Aston Villa in the semi-finals and Portsmouth will face either Tottenham or Fulham.

FA Cup Quarter-final Results :
Chelsea 2-0 Stoke
Reading 2-4 Aston Villa
Portsmouth 2-0 Birmingham
Fulham 0-0 Tottenham

FA Cup Semi-Final Draw :
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Fulham/Tottenham v Portsmouth

(Ties to be played at Wembley Stadium on 10 & 11 April).