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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Football : Mario Balotelli moves to AC Milan

Mario Balotelli moves to join AC Milan from Manchester City for an initial fee of 22m euros (£19m).

Milan reached an agreement with City on Tuesday and Balotelli will sign a four-and-a-half-year contract, subject to passing his medical. Balotelli says "I'd wanted to play for Milan for such a long time".

Manchester City signed Balotelli from Inter Milan for £24m in 2010 and he scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for the club. He helped City to the Premier League title last season, but has managed only three strikes in 20 matches this time round.

But for all his talents Balotelli was a serial "nutter", very skilled, but with a lot of gowing up to do. And with all the baggage that he brings to a club - in the end his problems outweighed his talent.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Football : Didier Drogba joins Galatasaray in 18 month deal

Galatasaray have announced they have reached an agreement to sign Didier Drogba from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on an 18-month deal.

Drogba's agent revealed on Twitter that the Ivory Coast international would join up with Galatasaray following the African Nations Cup and Gala confirmed the deal on their official website.

Drogba's capture is the second big signing within a week for Gala, coming hot on the heels of the arrival last week of Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan.

Drogba's move to Turkey brings to an end a six-month stint in China. He joined Shanghai last June soon after helping Chelsea win their first Champions League title.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

FA Cup - 5th Round Draw has Giantkillers at home

The fifth round draw for the FA Cup has been made, and the heroes of the fourth round have all been given a good chance to progress.

FA Cup giantkillers Oldham, Luton and MK Dons have all been drawn at home in the fifth round of the competition.

League One Oldham, who beat Liverpool 3-2 in a fourth-round thriller at Boundary Park on Sunday, will host the Reds' Merseyside neighbours Everton. Non-league Luton, who shocked Norwich at Carrow Road, welcome Championship side Millwall to Kenilworth Road. And the MK Dons beat QPR 4-2 at Loftus Road, will play Championship Barnsley.

The winner of the Brentford / Chelsea tie will travel to Middlesbrough, while Leeds, who eliminated Premier League club Tottenham at Elland Road, will travel to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Arsenal play Blackburn at the Emirates Stadium, Manchester United are at home to Reading, while Huddersfield or Leicester take on Wigan.

Full FA Cup Fifth round Draw - Played February 16/17

Huddersfield Town or Leicester City v Wigan Athletic
MK Dons v Barnsley
Oldham Athletic v Everton
Luton Town v Millwall
Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers
Manchester City v Leeds United
Manchester United v Reading
Middlesbrough v Brentford or Chelsea

FA Cup : Liverpool and Tottenham dumped out of FA Cup

Leeds United continued the trend for fourth round upsets in the FA Cup after holding on to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Elland Road.

Luke Varney had given Leeds a first-half lead and, Ross McCormack's goal five minutes into the second half gave the home side a 2-0 scoreline. Clint Dempsey pulled a goal back, but Spurs were unable to find an equaliser and Leeds denied Jonathan Obika in the last minute.

Striker Matt Smith scored a first-half double as npower League One Oldham produced an FA Cup upset in beating Liverpool 3-2.

Luis Suarez's pulled a goal back before Reece Wabara's header put Oldham 3-1 up and Liverpol were unable to come back despite Joe Allen's goal 11 minutes from time reducing the gap.

Fernando Torres' late goal salvaged Chelsea a replay with Brentford after an entertaining 2-2 draw in their fourth round tie at Griffin Park.

Marcello Trotta gave Brentford a half-time lead, but Oscar drew Chelsea level with a fine solo effort early in the second half.

Harry Forrester restored Brentford's lead from the penalty spot on 73 minutes after Ross Turnbull brought down Tom Adeyemi, then Torres had the final word as his superb curling effort from the edge of the box six minutes from time to earn Chelsea a replay.

FA Cup : Non-league Luton Town dump Norwich City out

Luton Town became the first non-league side in 24 years to beat top-flight opposition in the Egnlish FA Cup as the Blue Square outfit defeated Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road thanks to Scott Rendell's 80th minute goal.

The Hatters were forced to defend for much of the contest, but substitute Rendell stunned the Premier League side with just ten minutes remaining as he found himself in the right place at the right time to steer home JJ O'Donnell's low cross.

The unheralded visitors were reasonable value for their success, though, creating a number of opportunities over the course of the contest as they also edged the possession statistics.

QPR were the second Premier League club to be embarrassed at home, as they were beaten 4-2 by League One promotion contenders Milton Keynes Dons.

Rangers manager Harry Redknapp made nine changes to the Loftus Road side and afterwards blamed his second string players for not taking their chance to impress.

The MK Dons went ahead through an Armand Traore own goal, and a mistake from Anton Ferdinand allowed Ryan Lowe in behind the defence to make it 2-0 shortly before half-time. Ryan Harley and Darren Potter then scored similar close-range strikes six minutes apart to leave the West London club 0-4 down in front of their own fans.

Two late goals dressed up the scoreline a bit for QPR, but Rangers were well beaten, and Redknapp will probably just take this as an excuse to dabble in the transfer market.

In a repeat of the 2011 final, Manchester City beat Stoke City 1-0, the Premier League champions dominated the action and finally broke through five minutes from time when Sergio Aguero the chance to play the ball across the area, and Zabaleta arrived at the back post to turn it goalwards.

Olivier Giroud scored twice as Arsenal moved into the last 16 with a 3-2 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion. After a rampant victory over West Ham in midweek, Arsenal needed Theo Walcott came off the bench to seal victory with an 85th minute winner.

John Heitinga also came off the bench to fire Everton to a 2-1 win over Bolton at the Reebok Stadium. The tie looked to be heading for a replay after Marvin Sordell cancelled out Steven Pienaar's opener, but Heitinga pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area to lash home from 12 yards in injury time.


Stoke 0-1 Man City
Bolton 1-2 Everton
Brighton 2-3 Arsenal
Derby 0-3 Blackburn
Huddersfield 1-1 Leicester
Hull 0-1 Barnsley
Macclesfield 0-1 Wigan
Middlesbrough 2-1 Aldershot
Norwich 0-1 Luton
QPR 2-4 MK Dons
Reading 4-0 Sheff Utd
Man Utd 4-1 Fulham

Thursday, January 17, 2013

BOVADA Taking plenty of action on Baltimore Ravens @ Pats

Baltimore Ravens :::::: +10 (-145) O51½
New England Patriots :: -10 (+125) U51½

The NFL Conference Championships Weekend is upon us with the favoured New England Patriots hosting the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC, and not surprisingly the Pats have been posted a 10 point favourites after destroying Houston.

But Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager at is saying that the public likes the look of Baltimore to cover the spread :
"Last week the bettors had no problem taking New England -10 over Houston, costing the book a pretty penny on Sunday, but this week is a little different as believe it or not 70% of the money is on Baltimore getting 10 points, and is one of those rare weeks as a bookmaker I get to root for the Patriots.”

My betting spreadsheet has the Patriots as 3 point favourites, and I'll just point out that at this stage last year it had New England as 4 point favourites when they beat Baltimore 23-20 to reach the Super Bowl.

But New England have the ability to pile on the points at home. They have a 7-2 record at Foxboro this season, and five of those seven wins have been by double digits.


San Francisco 49ers :: -5 O48½
Atlanta Falcons ::::::: +5 U48½

Over in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons are hosting the San Francisco 49ers, and given the nature of the performances last weekend - I expected to see some action on the visitors.

Kevin Bradley says :
“I am not too shocked that the public is pounding the 49ers after their performance last week, or should I say Kaepernick’s, hence the early line move going from 3.5 point to 5 point favorites already and is not really making a difference as 75% of the money is still coming in on them."

There may be a wee bit of an over-reaction to last weekend going on here by the public, because my ratings spreadsheet has these two teams pretty much rated as "pick-em", given that Atlanta has the home advantage.

I expect this game to be decided by a field goal - probably in the visitors favour.

Odds at BOVADA.LV to win the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII :
New England Patriots +110
San Francisco 49ers +180
Atlanta Falcons +600
Baltimore Ravens +750


So, I expect to see both New England and San Francisco in the SuperBowl ... what do you reckon ?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Chelsea to let Frank Lampard leave this June

Chelsea have no intention of offering England international midfielder Frank Lampard a contract extension - and his current contract will expire in June 2013.

Lampard has been a huge part of Chelsea's side for a dozen years, and with 576 appearances and 193 goals for The Blues he has clearly been an important paret of Chelsea's trophy success.

It was less than a year ago when Lampard captained Chelsea to a famous Champions League victory in the Allianz Arena over Bayern Munich in the absense of suspended regular captain John Terry.

But with FIFA's fair play rules looming on the horizon, the mega-millions of owner Roman Abrimovich are now longer the main factor in wage negotiation, and the fact that Chelsea need to trim their wage bill down from an annual cost of £191m means that all new deals need to be evaluated.

Lampard is 34, and will be 35 in February, and he is reckoned to be on a deal worth around £150,000 per week. That's not sustainable - and it looks like Chelsea will begin to dismantle the established order.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, is rumoured to be considering making a move in the summer, as he also looks to replace an aging midfield with the evergreen Paul Scholes (38) and Ryan Giggs (39) likely to call time on their careers this year - but their ages showing how a mid-thirties midfielder can fit in at Old Trafford.

So - are Chelsea right to let Lampard go? What is he worth in today's market? What sort of weekly wage should he command?

Monday, January 07, 2013

FOOTBALL : Lionel Messi wins 4th Ballon D'Or

Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi has been awarded the Ballon d'Or for a fourth year running at a ceremony held in Zurich on Monday.

Messi, 25, hit 91 goals during 2012 and beat club team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid's Ronaldo to the trophy. Despite his goals, the Catalan giants failed to win either the Spanish league title or Champions League last year.

The Ballon D'Or award is voted for by journalists, and national coaches and captains, and Messi who polled 41.6% of the votes, becomes the first player to win four consecutive Ballons d'Or.

Messi also featured in the team of the year, which was made up entirely of players based in Spain's La Liga with 10 players from the big two sids of Barcelona and Real Madrid plus Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao.

Lionel Messi - 41.61% of the votes
Cristiano Ronaldo - 23.68%,
Andres Iniesta 10.91%

Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

FA CUP 3rd ROUND : Ladbrokes offer Second Chance of a Giant Killing

Ladbrokes Bookmaker is giving fans of lower league sides a second chance of an winning bet - if the first match ends in a draw.

Simply back a team from a lower league to win against higher division opponents in ANY FA Cup 3rd round game this wekend. If the match ends in a draw, your bet will stand for the replay at Ladbrokes.

Offer only applies to bets placed on the 90 minute match result market of the following FA Cup 3rd Round matches. Lower league teams are highlighted in bold:

Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United,
Aston Villa v Ipswich Town,
Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland,
Crawley Town v Reading,
Crystal Palace v Stoke City,
Fulham v Blackpool,
Manchester City v Watford,
Peterborough United v Norwich City,
Tottenham Hotspur v Coventry City,
Wigan Athletic v AFC Bournemouth,
Derby County v Tranmere Rovers,
Hull City v Leyton Orient,
Leicester City v Burton Albion,
Luton Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers,
Macclesfield Town v Cardiff City,
Middlesborough v Hastings United,
Millwall v Preston North End,
Nottingham Forest v Oldham Athletic,
Oxford United v Sheffield United,
Sheffield Wednesday v Milton Keynes Dons,
Southend United v Brentford,
Mansfield Town v Liverpool ,
Cheltenham Town v Everton..

Note : The bet on the replay will apply at the original price offered on the first game regardless of whether the price for the team in the replay is longer or shorter.

This bet offer is available to all UK and Irish punters.

Check out the GiantKiller Special Offer at Ladbrokes now.