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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arsenal to face Shrewsbury in Carling Cup 3rd Round

Arsenal have been drawn to face Shrewsbury Town in the Third Round of the Carling Cup.

The teams have met just three times in competitive matches, most recently in February 1991 when Arsenal won 1-0 in an FA Cup tie at Shrewsbury.

Full Carling Cup Third-Round draw :

Cardiff City v Leicester City
Wolves v Millwall
Chelsea v Fulham
Aldershot Town or Carlisle United v Rochdale
Arsenal v Shrewsbury Town
Burnley v MK Dons
Leeds United v Manchester United
Brighton v Liverpool
Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United
Manchester City v Birmingham City
Blackburn Rovers v Leyton Orient or Bristol Rovers
Swindon Town or Southampton v Charlton or Preston North End
Everton v West Brom
Crystal Palace or Wigan v Middlesbrough
Aston Villa v Bolton Wanderers
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur

Ties played week commencing 19 September.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Manchester first and second is there anyone else in the EPL race?

Three games into the season and the blistering starts from Manchester rivals United and City have been the talking points so far.

Both sides have three straight wins, both sides are scoring goals for fun, with Manchester United ahead of Manchester City on goal difference of +10 to +9.Followers of Chelsea and Liverpool will also be satisfied with their starts, although both sides look to be some way off the pace when compared to the Manchester duo.

At the bottom of the table North London fans will be "gutted" with the start that their sides have made.

Arsenal's woeful start was well forecast after manager Arsene Wenger failed to make any allowance for the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri - both of whom have already looked in majestic form for their new clubs of Barcelona and Manchester City.

Spurs have also been inactive in the close season, and have had a tough opening fixture list, but losing 0-3 to Man United and then 1-5 to Man City was certainly not in Harry Redknapp's script.

We're still in August - and last season we saw Chelsea stumble after a superb start to the season - but still you do have to think that on the evidence of the opening rounds the league title is going to Manchester at the end of the season - even if the exact destination is still unknown.


POS TEAM     Pl GD Pts
1  Man Utd   3  10   9 
2  Man City  3   9   9 
3  Liverpool 3   4   7 
4  Chelsea   3   3   7 
5  Wolves    3   3   7 
17 Arsenal   3  -8   1 
18 West Brom 3  -3   0 
19 Blackburn 3  -4   0 
20 Tottenham 2  -7   0 

Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal

Not much you can say about that - as Arsenal were comprehensively outplayed all around the park - well done to Manchester United!

If you want to see that action on video - then you're probably a masochist or a Manchester Utd fan - so here is a link to our latest Manchester United Videos page.

I imagine that it was just the response that United fans wanted after seeing Manchester City beat Spurs 5-1 at White Hart Lane earlier in the day.

However from an Arsenal point of view there is an overwhelming feeling of WTF? is going on as we watch Mr Wenger consistantly say that we don't need to spend. The really SAD thing is that part of me is thinking "thank f&ck that we actually scored in the league this season!"

Mr Wenger that wasn't a wake-up call ... it was a huge bloody screaming alert  !!

So my multi-lingual manager ... let me put it to you this way :
- Dépenser de l'argent
- Etwas Geld ausgeben
- Spendere dei soldi
- Gastar algo de dinero
- Besteed wat GELD
- Spendera pengar
- Тратить деньги
- Biraz para harcamak
- Käyttää rahaa
- Töltsön egy kis pénzt
- Eyða einhverjum peningum
- 花些钱
- Petrece ceva BANI

I understand and appreciate all that Mr Wenger has done for Arsenal over the last decade, but this current situation does have a solution and Arsenal do have the cash.

Wenger is leaning very heavily on the goodwill that he's built up by refusing to take the obvious approach to fix a threadbare squad.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Edin Dzeko scores four goals - pays out at 24/1 at Betfred!

Top English bookmaker BetFred have paid out at odds of 24/1 on Edin Dzeko as first goalscorer after he scored 4 goals against Tottenham on Sunday.

Why? Because BetFred regularly offer extended payouts on first goalscorers if they go one to score again during the match.

DOUBLE DELIGHT : If your player scores the first goal of the match (either of the games above) and then goes on to score another, BetFred will double your first goalscorer price on that specific match.

HAT-TRICK HEAVEN : If your player scores the first goal of the match (either of the games above) and then goes on to score a hat-trick, BetFred will treble your first goalscorer price on that specific match.

So - after Dzeko scored four goals -  BetFred have decided to keep the theme going and paid out all first goalscorer bets on Dzeko at FOUR times the quoted 6/1 price - so that's 24/1 to canny punters.

You can check out a summary of all the bookmaker cash-back and special offers on our dedicated page on the main site that we update daily.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Italian Serie A Season delayed - professional players go on strike

The Italian football season will not begin this weekend due to a player strike over the league's collective bargaining agreement.

The AIC, the organisation which represents professional footballers in Italy, has taken the action in protest against two changes the league want to make to the contract.

1) Serie A clubs want the power to force players in the final year of their contract to train away from the first team.

2) Clubs are attempting to make players pay a "solidarity tax" which applies to the game's top earners.

A statement from AIC president Damiano Tomassi said : "The Players' Union takes into account the Lega's decision to turn down our last proposal and hence, confirms the intention of not going out on the pitch for the first round of Serie A games".

Gooner Adds :
What this means to you and me is - NO SERIE A FOOTBALL BETTING THIS WEEKEND

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage draw online

Holders FC Barcelona will face AC Milan in the group stage while Bayern Munich, who will host the final this season, were given a tough section after the draw was made in Monaco today.

Group A was definitely the toughest group with teams from Germany, Spain, England and Italy in the group - making it a section that ANY side could win.

Manchester United were given an easy draw, while Arsenal and Chelsea will have some work to do in order to progress.


Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, MAN CITY, Napoli
Group B: Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor
Group C: MAN UTD, Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati
Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, D.Zagreb
Group E: CHELSEA, Valencia, B.Leverkusen, Genk
Group F: ARSENAL, Marseille, Olympiacos, B.Dortmund
Group G: FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit SP, Apoel
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Bate Borisov, Plzen

The group stage fixtures will be played on 13/14 September, 27/28 September, 18/19 October, 1/2 November, 22/23 November and 6/7 December

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trabzonspor replace Fenerbahce as Turkish entrant in Champions League

Turkey's Football Federation has withdrawn national champions Fenerbahce from the Champions League because of an ongoing match-fixing investigation.

Fenerbahce were crowned league champions last term, pipping Trabzonspor to the Super Lig title with a dramatic 4-3 win at Sivasspor on the final day.

On Thursday the Turkish side were due to join 32 elite European clubs in the draw for the Champions League group stage being held in Monaco at 1645 BST - but Uefa has announced league runners-up Trabzonspor will take their place.

Trabzonspor had already been eliminated from this season's Champions League in the qualifying rounds.

The decision means that Trabzonspor's scheduled Europa League qualifier against Athletic Bilbao on Friday has been cancelled, with the Spanish club progressing automatically.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Russian club Anzhi sign Samuel Etoo from Inter Milan

Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala have agreed a deal to sign Samuel Eto'o from Inter Milan for 21m euros (£18.4m).

Cameroonian international Eto'o, 30, joins on a three-year deal and will earn 10m euros per season.The transfer will be finalised when the striker undergoes a medical in Rome on Wednesday morning.

Anzhi players live and train at a training camp outside Moscow for security reasons and travel to Makhachkala for home games, flying about 1,250 miles 15 times a season. 

Samir Nasri finally leaving Arsenal to go to Man City

Manchester City have agreed terms with Arsenal for midfielder Samir Nasri, with the 24-year-old set for a medical.

Nasri trained with Arsenal on Tuesday morning ahead of the club's Champions League qualifier against Udinese on Wednesday, but has been omitted from the squad for the match.

The France international will travel to Manchester to finalise a deal, worth a reported £25m to the Gunners.

Nasri is in the final year of the Arsenal contract he signed in 2008.

Udinese likely to beat Arsenal - but Gunners might squeeze through anyway

After watching Arsenal's first leg match where they beat Udinese 1-0, I've broken out the spreadsheet to estimate the likely second leg result.

Gooners Numb3rs Spreadsheet - Udinese v Arsenal

Qualifying for the group stage is worth around £30 million in various forms of income for Arsenal, from TV money, to UEFA participation money and gate receipts.

It's a BIG game, and manager Arsene Wenger's consistent refusal to strengthen the squad means that it is a very inexperienced Arsenal side is traveling to Italy.

My betting analysis after reviewing the sheet ? ... Ugggh ...  
Get on Udinese to beat Arsenal at prices of 2.20+

A quick look at the match data shows that Arsenal have lost five of their last SIX away games in Europe - the sole exception being a 3-1 win over Partizan Belgrade - but those losses at Braga and Shaktar Donetsk seem more relevant to me.

Arsenal travel poorly in Europe, and seem to play with a lack of confidence away from the Emirates. After watching the first three games of this season - I can't see how Arsenal will even match last seasons form.

Overall, my spreadsheet weighs up the strength of the two sides and considers their European results before coming up with a rating that has Udinese as 35/100ths of a goal stronger once home advantage is factored in.

Last week it had Arsenal 1 or 2 goals stronger - and we know that Arsenal won 1-0. This time has Udinese at 51% to win - Arsenal at 26% - and that is suggesting that a price of around evens for the home win would be fair - so the current bookmaker offers of 2.20 to 2.40 must be taken.

There is some good news for Arsenal fans ... in that a single goal defeat could be enough to progress as long as Arsenal score a goal. After winning the home leg 1-0, the away goals rule means that a 1-2, or 2-3 loss will be enough for the Gunners to progress on away goals, as would a 0-1 loss with a penalty shoot-out win.

So even with Udinese figured at 51% to win ... Arsenal probably have a 60/40 chance of progression.

Finger's crossed then eh?

Valencia agree to sell Juan Mata to Chelsea

Chelsea have agreed a fee with Spanish club Valencia to sign Juan Mata for a reported £23.5m.

The Stamford Bridge club said the deal was subject to Mata agreeing personal terms and passing a medical. "An agreement has been reached with Valencia for the transfer of midfielder Juan Manuel Mata," said a statement on the Chelsea website.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spanish Football On Strike This Weekend

Players in Spain's top two football divisions will go on strike on the first day of the season after Friday's negotiations with clubs on wage guarantees collapsed.

The Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) is demanding players be allowed to break their contracts if they are not paid for three consecutive months - which seems fair enough quite frankly.

The Spanish league was supposed to start this weekend but around 200 players in the top two divisions have not been fully paid by cash-strapped clubs, some of which are in bankruptcy protection.

Players are said to be owed up to £43m in unpaid salaries.

Clubs involved in European competitions will continue playing with Villarreal facing a Champions League qualifying game next week and Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid all playing Europa League matches.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lotus boss Tony Fernandes completes QPR takeover

Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes has completed his takeover of Premier League newcomers QPR.

The 47-year-old has secured a 66% stake in the club, buying out previous majority shareholders Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone. Fernandes will work alongside the Mittal Family, who have retained their 33% stake.

"QPR is a raw diamond and hopefully I can contribute into turning it into a diamond," said Fernandes. "Everyone knows I've followed West Ham all my life but I've always had a soft spot for QPR," said Fernandes, who is also team principal of Formula 1's Team Lotus

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fabregas moves from Arsenal back to Barcelona

Arsenal and Barcelona have confirmed they have reached an "agreement in principle" over the sale of Cesc Fabregas to the Spanish club.

It means the 24-year-old Fabregas is set to return to the club he left as a 16-year-old in 2003. He will now discuss personal terms (as if that hasn't already happened) and undergo a medical on Monday.

"We understand Cesc's desire to move to his home-town club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "We thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and wish him future success."

Gooner adds :  Cesc Fabregas played 303 matches for Arsenal and scored 57 goals. - Thanks for the 8 years of hard work and top quality effort Cesc ... good luck!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tiger Woods misses cut in USPGA Championship

Tiger Woods was a shadow of his former self as he missed only his third cut in a major as a professional with a second-round 73 in the US PGA.

The former world number one ended 10 over par to miss the cut by a distance after a day of struggles in Atlanta.

Woods shot a seven-over 77 on Thursday, his worst opening round ever on the PGA Tour, and was left needing a score of -3 or -4 on Friday to have a chance of making the top 70 players and making the cut.

But the 35-year-old Woods was a shadow of his best, landing in many bunkers and struggling with his distance control. Woods dropped shots at the fifth and seventh before showing some control with back-to-back birdies at eight and nine.

But a two-hole sequence soon after the turn sealed his fate. He made a double bogey after splashing from a bunker through the green on the 11th and into the water, and then hooked into trees twice on the long 12th to notch another double bogey.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wenger says Fabregas and Nasri close to Arsenal exit

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri are both close to finalising moves away from the club.

Fabregas is on the verge of signing for European champions Barcelona for a fee believed to be about £35m while Nasri is set to move to Manchester City with the clubs close to agreeing a fee between £22m and £24m.

Wenger also said "Ideally you want it to be sorted out before the season starts."

Gooner says "No kidding Sherlock!! That's only what the fans have been saying all summer about the transfer market - both buying and selling - while NOTHING has happened."

But both players had better be careful once they get wish for - as I could easily see both of them sitting on the bench for extended periods at their new clubs who have plenty of experienced midfield options.

Liverpool sign Jose Enrique from Newcastle United

Liverpool have agreed a fee with Newcastle for Spanish defender Jose Enrique and now just need to agree personal terms and complete a medical.

Enrique had one year left on his contract at St James' Park and was disciplined by the club last month for criticising Newcastle's transfer policy on his Twitter account.

Enrique will become Dalglish's fifth signing of the summer and join Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Doni at Anfield.

Liverpool's summer signings :
Stewart Downing (Aston Villa) £20m
Jordan Henderson (Sunderland) £16m
Charlie Adam (Blackpool) £8.5m
Doni (Roma) Free

EPL : Tottenham v Everton Postponed - due to riots

Tottenham Hotspur's English Premier League match with Everton on Saturday has been postponed because of the riots in London.

Civil unrest in and around Tottenham began last weekend and quickly spread to other areas of the capital and major cities across England.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said he was "positive" the other nine games in the opening round of top-flight fixtures would go ahead.

"The police have done a fantastic job, but it's been a crime scene all week and the council have not had enough time to do what they need. The other nine fixtures are looking positive, subject to any more trouble. The Tottenham game is a real shame but we support the police in what they are doing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Germany beat Brazil 3-2 in Stuttgart

Germany beat Brazil on Wednesday night winning 3-2 in a friendly international in Stuttgart.

Bastian Schweinsteiger opened the scoring for Germany from the penalty spobefore Mario Gotze doubled the German lead, capping off a fine attacking move.

Robinho reduced the deficit on 72 minutes, slotting home a spot-kick, but Andre Schurrle restored Germany's two-goal advantage as he lashed into the top corner before Neymar scored a late consolation goal.

Scoring Summary

Bastian Schweinsteiger (pen 61')
Mario Gotze (67')
Andre Schurrle (80')

Robinho (pen 72')
Neymar (90')

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

England match against the Netherlands off after more London riots

England's friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley on Wednesday has been called off following three nights of rioting in London.

The FA's managing director of Club England Adrian Bevington said  "Disappointing for game to be called off, but very good communication with Met [Metropolitan Police], Brent [Council] and Government today - sensible decision."

Bert van Oostveen, chief executive of the Dutch federation the KNVB, explained: "The police in London could not guarantee the safety of our players and our supporters."

The England team were still planning to train as normal at London Colney on Tuesday morning, before returning to their respective clubs.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Italian Super Cup : AC Milan 2-1 Inter Milan

The Rossoneri won the first trophy of the season after coming from behind to defeat their city rivals 2-1 in Beijing.

Sneijder put Inter Milan ahead with a splendid freekick in the 22nd minute of a first half during which the Nerazzurri played well.

But AC Milan dominated the second half, scoring with a header from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 60th minute and the winning goal from Boateng in the 69th minute

Friday, August 05, 2011

Arsenal to face Udinese in Champions League playoff

Arsenal have been drawn against Udinese in the play-off to reach the group stage of the Champions League.

The Gunners will be at home for the first leg of the tie against the Italians on Tuesday 16 August, with the return leg seven days later.

Champions League play-off draw : Champions Section
Wisla Krakow v Apoel Nicosia
Maccabi Haifa v Genk
Dinamo Zagreb v Malmo FF
FC Copenhagen v Plzen
BATE v SK Sturm Graz

Champions League play-off draw : League Section
Odense BK v Villarreal
FC Twente v Benfica
Arsenal v Udinese
Bayern Munich v FC Zurich
Lyon v Rubin Kazan

Ties to be played 16/17 and 23/24 August

Fulham 2 - 0 RNK Split (agg 2 - 0)

Fulham are through to the Europa League play-off round after a 2-0 win over Croatian side RNK Split at Craven Cottage in London.

Fulham had struggled to make much impression in last week's 0-0 away leg but Fulham dominated at home and took the lead through Andrew Johnson's header from a corner.

Fulham sealed their progress when Brede Hangeland was fouled by Velimir Vidic in the box and Danny Murphy slotted home the resulting penalty.

Fulham now face a two-legged play-off on 18th and 25th August to book their place in the Europa League group stage.