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Inter Milan can be biggest threat to Juventus

Posted on | August 28, 2015 | No Comments

The opening weekend of the new Serie A season produced a shock result as champions Juventus were beaten 1-0 at home at Udinese.

While it would be unwise to make knee-jerk reactions to the defeat and what it means for the rest of the season, it certainly raises the question as to whether Juventus are vulnerable this season. And, if so, which team are most likely to capitalise?

pirlo

by DrabikPany

The defeat by Udinese was the first time Juventus had lost in the league in Serie A since January 2013. It was also only the sixth time in 48 games at home that they had actually failed to win. It’s certainly not a defeat that’s going to dent odds in the region of 8/11 for the title in the Serie A betting. But it’s a defeat which does suggest this season is going to be more difficult for Massimiliano Allegri’s side.

Since finishing last season 17 points clear of Roma for the second year in a row, Allegri has seen several key players leave the club from important positions.

Andrea Pirlo’s decision to head to Major League Soccer has left Juventus shorn of tremendous experience and influence in midfield. There was certainly no sign last season that age was catching up with the 36-year-old and his ability to dictate the tempo will be sorely missed. Sami Khedira is a fine defensive midfielder, but he has different qualities to Pirlo.

Seeing Arturo Vidal go to Bayern Munich has also taken even more quality out of Juventus’ midfield, while Carlos Tevez has returned to Argentina to join Boca Juniors and his spirit, along with goals, will be a huge loss. Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic have the potential and pedigree to score goals, but it’s going to be a major challenge for them to replicate the attitude of Tevez.

At the moment, it is certainly debatable whether the players Juventus have signed are equal to those they have lost, never mind improvements. It’s going to take time for the new signings to settle into the squad and the style Allegri plays, and that’s why it would be silly to think Juventus shouldn’t still be considered as title favourites.

But it will certainly give their title rivals hope and perhaps the club who could be in the best position to profit from any decline in Juventus’ standards are Inter Milan.

stadium

by Batrax

Roberto Mancini knows what it takes to construct a title-winning team from his first spell as Inter coach and there is a lot to like about their summer transfer business.

Mancini looks to have seriously improved Inter’s defence from last season, with the likes of Miranda and Jeison Murillo coming into the squad and was rewarded with a clean sheet in the opening game against Atalanta.

A 1-0 win at home over Atalanta thanks to a 93rd minute goal from Stevan Jovetic isn’t the sort of result which will get you excited about Inter’s title chances. But that is exactly the type of game Inter would have drawn 0-0, or even lost, last season. With the addition of Jovetic, and potentially Erik Lamela as well, Inter will have talented attacking players who know Serie A well.

Making up 32 points on Juventus from last season would be a monumental achievement, but the blocks are in place for Inter to be the biggest dangers to the reigning champions.

Newcastle vs Arsenal: A crucial game for the misfiring Gunners

Posted on | August 27, 2015 | No Comments

It has been a rather underwhelming start to the new season for Arsenal, who have failed to live up to their undoubted potential in the early days of the 2015-16 campaign so far.

The Gunners travel to take on Newcastle at St James’ Park this weekend with four points amassed from their first three games – a total that most of the Emirates Stadium faithful will be unhappy with. However, despite the lacklustre start Arsenal are still the favourites with Australian bookmakers to win against Newcastle, although that has as much to do with troubles at SJP as it does with the hope that this is a new, more dangerous Arsenal.

A 2-0 home defeat to West Ham on the opening day of the campaign sent reverberations through the North London club and undid the positive performances that Arsene Wenger’s side put in during pre-season.

A hard-fought 2-1 win at Selhurst Park against a much-improved Crystal Palace will be seen as the only real positive of the campaign to date, while an entertaining 0-0 draw against Liverpool on Monday night could have went either way.

Wenger may well not be all that disappointed to be hitting the road, especially given that his supremely talented team have failed to score in five of their last six Premier League games at home.

The major selection dilemma for the French tactician involves his central defensive pairing, with the Gunners boss sweating on the fitness of experienced pair Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, who both missed the clash against Liverpool.

Gabriel and Calum Chambers filled their shoes against the Merseysiders but instilled little confidence with a shaky first-half performance in particular.

Ahead of that, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been unlucky to have to sit and watch from the sidelines in the last two games, with the England international’s dynamism an asset that the visitors could well call upon.

It has been a mixed bag so far during Steve McClaren’s three-game Premier League tenure, with the sublime and ridiculous both included in the first weeks of the campaign.

The signs were there that Newcastle had been reinvented under the former England manager’s tutelage in the opening day 2-2 draw with Southampton, with Georginio Wijnaldum’s goal in particular warming the cockles of the home faithful.

The complete opposite feeling was consistently present during the Geordies’ 2-0 defeat away to Swansea, with the Tyneside outfit putting in an abject performance in South Wales.

Effort and hard work were on show last time out as Newcastle picked up a point at Old Trafford after drawing 0-0 with Manchester United, while a 4-1 win over Northampton in the Capital Cup in midweek will boost morale.

New French signing Florian Thauvin had the home crowd salivating with a star performance ion Tuesday night, taking only three minutes to find the back of the net and having a role in Newcastle’s other three goals; the former Marseille playmaker will surely be handed a Premier League debut against Arsenal.

Newcastle fans will fondly remember their resurrection and revival from trailing 4-0 to the Gunners in 2011 to salvage a 4-4 draw, and similar levels of dedication will be necessary here if the hosts are to avoid defeat.

For Arsenal, a win will get them back on track, but anything less will have people questioning their title credentials already and be a major blow heading into the international break.

Europa League need not be a burden for Southampton

Posted on | August 27, 2015 | No Comments

For a number of years now, the Europa League has been lumped with the unfortunate burden of being viewed as the ugly sister to the Champions League’s Cinderella.

Those unable to secure themselves a ticket to the grandest of sporting balls are forced to shelve the glass slippers and make peace with an appearance at the Thursday night after party.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that the bright lights of European football’s premier club competition cast a sizeable shadow, but it would be wrong to view those on the outside looking in as fumbling around in the dark.

After all, a continental prize is at stake here – one which now offers a seat at the Champions League’s top table for the victors.

Unlike that elite tournament, which is realistically up for grabs for a handful of elite clubs – those with the deepest pockets – the Europa League is fiercely competitive and could end up in the hands of any number of sides from across the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or Bundesliga.

Southampton are unlikely to be setting their sights that high, as they embark on a rare adventure on foreign fields, but they should be looking to take plenty of positives out of the campaign.

The toils of Everton in 2014/15, as their squad struggled to juggle the demands of domestic and continental action, have led a number of observers to question the value of the competition to those outside of the established ‘big six’ that are capable of loading their ranks with the required depth.

The Saints, despite the best efforts of Ronald Koeman, are probably not as well-stocked as they would like, with the last two summer transfer windows doing them few favours in terms of the retention of key men – with unwanted rumours still speculating on the future of some of those on their books.

There is, however, plenty to be said for naming a settled side and giving those favoured options as many outings as possible in which to gel and strike up the kind of understandings that will serve the club well heading forward.

It is for that reason that Southampton should be looking to embrace progress in the Europa League, with betting exchanges such as those at betfair setting odds at the time of writing of 11/10 that Koeman’s men are capable of qualifying for the group stage with the minimum of fuss when they take in the second leg of their play-off clash with FC Midtjylland on Thursday.

That contest remains all square at present, with the Saints rather huffing and puffing their way to a 1-1 draw with the Danish champions at St Mary’s, but they will feel that there is plenty left in the tank.

They need to start digging that out, with a slow start to the new season offering ammunition to those reluctant to acknowledge the benefits of competing on multiple fronts outside of the established events on the English calendar. Southampton’s campaign certainly started earlier than most of their Premier League rivals – with West Ham United also yet to get going, a shock win at Arsenal aside, after entering the Europa League at the earliest possible stage. The Saints, though, will feel that competitive action in pre-season, rather than endless friendly encounters, should have stood them in good stead, with bodies and minds focused on the task ahead. That should remain the mindset, with the occasional break from the pressures of the Premier League and the pursuit of precious points no bad thing. Midweek football should be viewed as a platform on which to build momentum and a feel- good factor around the club, which can then be carried over into the more important business of pushing up the English top-flight standings. The likes of Fulham and Middlesbrough have shown in the not too distant past how the Europa League – then the UEFA Cup – can be used to great effect, offering a welcome distraction to events on home soil. Both sides made it all the way to the final – Boro in 2006 and Fulham in 2010 – before falling at the last hurdle to competition specialists Sevilla, and an Atletico Madrid side of Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan respectively. Who is to say that Southampton cannot repeat those heroics – or go one step further?

That remains a faraway dream for now, but the south coast outfit should be aiming high.

Having broken back into the European pack following an 11-year absence, they should be looking to make their mark in illustrious company and prove that they deserve to be regular entrants in the years to come – putting them on the map and aiding future recruitment drives.

A recent study by football finance expert Dr Tom Markham, published on Sporting Intelligence, has the Saints as the seventh most valuable club in England – ahead of the likes of Everton, Newcastle United and West Ham United and a far cry from their two-season stint in League One just four years ago.

They have come a long way in a short space of time, but deserve to be on such a pedestal and need to ensure that they stay there – embracing the challenges posed by European football and looking to kick on towards the ultimate goal of forcing their way into top-four contention in the Premier League.

USA The Champions Of Women Football Once Again

Posted on | July 9, 2015 | No Comments

United States have been considered the best team in women football for decades. United States is the country where women football is developing at a really fast pace. USA has won the title of Women World Champions more than any other nation in the world. In 2011 Japan emerged as a strong team during the world cup and then made their way to the finals of the World Cup where they had to face United States in the final. As the Japanese team was playing in the world cup a strong earth quake hit their country. The environment in the finals was really emotional and almost everyone supported the Japanese women football team. As a result the Japanese team was able to defeat USA and win the title which they dedicated to the victims of the deadly earthquake.

As the Japanese team enjoyed their victory, the United States women football team was in distress because they had lost the title that they almost deserved. The United States team was looking forward to get a chance to win this title back. The US team had been waiting for the last four years to get this title back. This year the United States team started the World Cup with great spirits and performed really well during the entire World Cup, while on the other hand the Japanese team was also playing with the same caliber. In the end both the teams made a spot for themselves in the Final of the World Cup.

The final of the world cup was one of the most amazing and action filled matches of the world cup. The match was balanced between both the teams for a really long time; both the teams had almost equal chances of success all over the match. Most of the people were unsure about the result and so on betting sites them betted equally on both the teams. Soon after that US scored three consecutive goals and took the lead away from Japan and in the end the final score was 5-2. People mostly preferred live betting for this match, but even than people were unable to predict the result as all the three goals that made US victorious were scored within one minute. Live betting is really great option but at many occasions it becomes less useful because the games change suddenly and thing happen that no one even thought about.

Top 3 Sports Bets for This Weekend

Posted on | June 5, 2015 | No Comments

It’s turning out to be a great weekend for sport – the French Open, The Champions League final and the Canadian Grand Prix all happen this weekend, not to mention the Women’s World Cup that kicks off on Saturday as well.

We look at the three biggest events on this weekend as well as our recommended bets for them.

Roland Garros – Men’s Final: Novak Djokovic vs Stanislas Wawrinka

The men’s French Open will see a new champion this year as world number 1 Novak Djokovic takes on 2014 Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka.
Djokovic can become the eighth player in the history of the men’s game to win the Grand Slam with victory on Sunday having won Australia on five occasions, Wimbledon twice and the US Open once.The Serbian is a two-time runner-up here, losing to Rafael Nadal on both occasions. He also won the Australian Open at the start of the year, so would be the reigning champion of three of the four Grand Slams having won last year’s Wimbledon which he defends later this month.

Stanislas Wawrinka could be considered the fresher of the two as Djokovic’s semi-final rolled into Saturday, taking an additional set-and-a-half to see off Andy Murray. The weather was cool at least for the 28-year-old who had won his first five matches in straight sets before needing five to see off Britain’s number one.

The Swiss number two has only dropped a set in round two and in his semi-final win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, though has been taken to tie breaks by both the latter and Roger Federer.

This could be one of the last opportunities for Novak Djokovic to complete the career Grand Slam and we don’t see him letting down. The odds aren’t great but we see the Serbian winning this none-the-less.

Best bet: Novak Djokovic to win 1/7 Sky Bet

Champions League Final – Barcelona vs Juventus

One of these two sides will complete an historic treble having both won their domestic leagues and cups this season.

Juventus are surprise finalists having eliminated Borussia Dortmund, AS Monaco and Real Madrid to reach the final.

Barcelona are many people’s favourites in Luis Enrique’s debut season as manager at Camp Nou. They have comfortably seen off Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich to reach their fourth final in the past 10 years. That was after winning of their six group stage matches.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – we see the Barcelona front three being too good for even this solid Juventus defence. Barcelona will dominate possession and territory, and despite the Italian side offering threat on the counter-attack we the pressure from the Catalans to be too overwhelming for the underdogs.

Best bet: Barcelona to win 8/13 Sky Bet

Formula 1 – Canadian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton is looking to bounce back after failing to win either of the last two Grand Prixs, having started the season by winning three of the last four.

The Brit, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel have accounted for 17 of the 18 podium finishes in the first six races this season but the wet weather in Canada this weekend good throw a spanner into the works of that trend.

Hamilton was the fastest in practice on Saturday but did crash in the rain.

If there’s one driver who is capable of splitting the top three this weekend, it’s Ferrari’s number two Kimi Raikkonen who was third-fastest in practice. The Finn is good odds to finish on the podium.

Best bet: Kimi Raikkonen to finish podium: 5/2 Sky Bet

Should Fifa introduce video replay?

Posted on | August 18, 2010 | No Comments

The video replay one of the most discussed topic in football in the recent years.

Everyone expects from the referees to be perfect, or at least to reduce the mistakes during the games but it looks that this is a very hard task to do. So everyone tries to find solutions, and Fifa is pressed from all sides to come with an alternative.

In the first phase Fifa tried the system with 6 referees, tested it in Europa League, but even this solution doesn’t seem to be better. There were also speculations that the ball should contain a chip to signal when the ball passes the line of the goal but the solutions is not well seen by the specialists.

So at the moment it looks like the only viable solution is the video replay.Regarding the video replay the opinions are divided with a plus for it. Fifa is pressed to take a decision especially after the World Cup mistakes, when some of them proved to be crucial.

So after rugby, basketball, tennis or american football we might have video replays also in football. This decision would bring advantages but not only.

At advantages we can mention fewer mistakes that can decide games and fewer scandals. On the other side the spirit and the charm of the game would suffer.  Imagine for example a game show with a similar setup – a Who Wants To Be Millionaire Online Game for example would take so long and become boring. Also the game could have more than 10 minutes of additional time which could determine the players to lose their patience  awaiting for the verdict, the fluidity of the game could also suffer.

The final decision will be taken in November but there are chances for a positive answer.

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