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Murray aiming for a third Wimbledon title
Wimbledon Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Monday 19th June 2017, 6:29pm.
Rafael Nadal cemented his place amongst tennis' all-time greats with an unprecedented tenth French Open title at Roland Garros.
With last year's finalists, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic both struggling for form and fitness, most bookmakers has tipped Spaniard, Nadal, to triumph and he didn't disappoint, winning all seven rounds without dropping a single set.
Despite his incredible record at Roland Garros, Nadal has found Wimbledon a much trickier tournament to conquer, winning a modest two titles at SW19 in 2008 and 2010.
As part of the 'Big Four', Nadal, Murray, Djokovic and Roger Federer have claimed each of the last fourteen Wimbledon titles. Bookies' odds suggest the winner is likely to once again come from this dominant quartet.
Current world number one, Andy Murray, has admitted this week that he may only have a few years left at the pinnacle of the sport. In a recent interview with the BBC, Murray said, "I know some of the players have been doing really well until their mid-30s recently, but that might not be the case with me. Maybe the next couple of years are the last few where I have a chance to compete for the majors and the biggest tournaments."
He added, "I don't know how long I'm going to be playing for any more. I want to make the most of every tournament I compete in. If I'm going to be away from my family, I'm not going to do that and not do my best, be totally professional and take every tournament as seriously as I can."
Murray did admit that playing at Wimbledon, in front of his home crowd does come with an added pressure. On playing at Wimbledon, Murray explained, "A lot of pressure comes with it as well. There's a lot of expectation during this period, so it can be a bit stressful - but I'm able to get away from that as well because I'm at home, I'm sleeping in my own bed and I have all my family around me."
If Murray can secure a third Wimbledon title he will equal the British post-war record set by the late, great Fred Parry. But both are still some way behind the record seven titles achieved by Roger Federer. Despite his advancing years, Federer is still expected to be in with a chance of winning at Wimbledon. The Swiss legend, dismissed suggestions of decline when winning the Australian Open in January.
Current odds to win the Wimbledon men's singles title (courtesy of Sky Bet):
Andy Murray - 5/2
Roger Federer - 11/4
Rafael Nadal - 5/1
Novak Djokovic - 11/2
Milos Raonic - 12/1
Can the experience of Portugal or Chile overcome a youthful German side?
Confederations Cup 2017 - Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Saturday 17th June 2017, 10:43am.
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup now less than a year away, the traditional tournament curtain raiser will start this month as World Cup host nation, Russia, welcome the reigning champions of each continent to the eighth instalment of the Confederations Cup.
Current world champions, Germany, currently head the market with most bookmakers, but coach, Joachim Lowe, has opted for a youthful, inexperienced side. World Cup winners Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil have all been left behind.
Stand-in captain, Julian Draxler's thirty international appearances makes him the most experienced member of a German squad that includes fifteen players on ten caps or less. It is suggested the tournament is nothing more than an opportunity for several players to get some international football under their belt before they begin their World Cup defence next summer.
If Germany aren't the force that the bookies' odds suggest, then who will follow in the footsteps of Brazil, France and Mexico and triumph in the Confederations Cup? Portugal perhaps?
Euro 2016 winners, Portugal, will once again be captained by talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo and arrive in Russia with a near full strength squad. Experienced players including Ronaldo, Nani, Joao Moutinho and Pepe are joined by the youthful talents of Andre Silva, Gelson Martins, Andre Gomes and new Manchester City signing, Bernardo Silva.
Portugal are one of three debutants in this year's tournament, along with hosts Russia and 2015 Copa America winners, Chile.
There are huge similarities between both Portugal and Chile. Like Portugal, Chile were outsiders going into their continental competition and will now have serious ambitions of winning this tournament.
Like Portugal, Chile are spearheaded by a player well known to Premier League fans, with Arsenal forward, Alexis Sanchez, leading their line. Sanchez is part of an immensely experienced Chilean squad that includes three players on over 100 caps. The Chile squad have a combined 1,106 international caps, compared to Germany's 179.
Portugal are currently 13/5 to win the tournament with Betway whilst Bet Victor and Paddy Power are offering 3/1 on a Chilean triumph.
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World Cup Qualification - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Friday 9th June 2017, 4:10pm.
International football returns this weekend with another round of huge World Cup qualification matches.
England travel to face the Auld Enemy on Saturday when they visit Scotland's Hampden Park, but before that, Friday will see an incredible eighteen sides all continue the fight for a place in next year's World Cup in Russia.
The standout game on Friday is in Group A where Sweden and France go head-to-head in Stockholm's Friends Arena. With the Netherlands struggling to keep pace with the leading pair, the Sweden versus France match could go a long way to deciding the group winners. The star-studded France squad arrive in Stockholm with a three point advantage over their hosts, a win could give them an unassailable lead.
Euro 2016 winners, Portugal, travel to Latvia hoping to keep pace with group leaders, Switzerland. The Swiss hold a three point lead over Portugal after winning 2-0 when the two sides met in September. Portuguese captain and talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, missed that game through injury.
Another team that must overcome injury to one of their standout players is Belgium. Group H's leaders were rocked by the late withdrawal of Chelsea playmaker, Eden Hazard after he sustained a fractured ankle. The injury is likely to keep him out of the start of Chelsea's Premier League defence next season.
Even without Hazard, Belgium should have more than enough strength to see off the challenge of Estonia.
Below is a full list of Friday's fixtures and odds (courtesy of Bet365):
Belarus vs Bulgaria
Belarus - 17/10
Draw - 21/10
Bulgaria - 2/1
Netherlands vs Luxembourg
Netherlands - 1/50
Draw - 28/1
Luxembourg - 66/1
Sweden vs France
Sweden - 19/4
Draw - 11/4
France - 7/10
Andorra vs Hungary
Andorra - 33/1
Draw - 9/1
Hungary - 1/9
Faroe Islands vs Switzerland
Faroe Islands - 20/1
Draw - 13/2
Switzerland - 2/11
Latvia vs Portugal
Latvia - 25/1
Draw - 10/1
Portugal - 1/9
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Greece
Bosnia - 7/10
Draw - 13/5
Greece - 21/4
Estonia vs Belgium
Estonia - 14/1
Draw - 6/1
Belgium - 2/9
Gibraltar vs Cyprus
Gibraltar - 18/1
Draw - 7/1
Cyprus - 2/11
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Real Madrid tipped to make it back-to-back Champions League wins
Real Madrid vs Juventus - UEFA Champions League Final Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Saturday 3rd June 2017, 1:17pm.
Real Madrid will attempt to make history on Saturday when they take on Juventus in the final of the UEFA Champions League.
If Madrid triumph in Cardiff they will become the first side to win back-to-back European Cups since the great Milan side that won back in 1989 and 1990.
Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are looking to secure the double after clinching a first La Liga title in five years. Since Zidane took over at the Santiago Bernabeu he has transformed Real Madrid into a solid, efficient, well drilled machine, yet retained the flair synonymous with the Madrid sides of yesteryear.
The current Madrid side oozes class. Captain, Sergio Ramos is arguably the best centre half in world football, flanked by two of the game's best full backs on Marcelo and Dani Carvajal and protected by the side's unsung hero, Casemiro. Going forward, they aren't many better centre midfield partnerships than Luca Modric and Toni Kroos, whilst up top they have four-time Ballon D'Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo is arguably the world's best player and the talisman for both club and country. Two goals in the final will see the Portuguese forward finish as Champions League top scorer for a fourth successive season.
With ten of the starting line up known already, it seems the one selection dilemma facing Zidane is whether the Madrid coach should start with Gareth Bale or Isco. Bale has missed large parts of the season through injury and in his absence Isco has impressed. Will Isco retain his place in the starting eleven or will Bale be given a chance in his hometown?
Champions League Final Odds (courtesy of Coral):
Real Madrid - 13/8
Draw - 11/5
Juventus - 9/5
To Win The Trophy
Real Madrid - 4/5
Juventus - Evens
Manchester United aiming for cup double in Stockholm.
Manchester United vs Ajax - Europa League Final Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Wednesday 24th May 2017, 3:54pm.
Manchester United take on Ajax in the Europa League final at the Friends Arena in Stockholm on the 24th of May.
The season started brightly for Jose Mourinho, with the arrivals of high profile players, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, coupled with success against Leicester City in the Community Shield. However, their domestic season was, by their own standards, underwhelming.
Poor form in the Premier League has seen them finish in sixth place, and may not be seen as a successful opening campaign from the Portuguese manager, even with the EFL Cup already sat in the trophy cabinet, following their 3-2 victory over Southampton at Wembley.
The Red Devils edged out Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-finals, taking a one goal advantage from their first leg, into the second where an early Marouane Fellaini header seemed to give them full control of the tie. Facundo Roncaglia scored late for the visitors, leading to a very tense final few minutes, where a mass brawl resulted in the sending off of United’s Eric Bailly and Celta’s goal scorer, Roncaglia.
United have never won the Europa League but Jose Mourinho has rotated his squad heavily in recent Premier League encounters, showing this is the one he wants his team to bring home this year, with entry to next season's Champions League on offer.
Standing in the Red Devils’ way are a young, talented Ajax team seeking their first continental silverware in twenty-two years. The tie will be Ajax's 15th UEFA final (W10 L4) and their first since losing on penalties to Juventus in the 1996 UEFA Champions League final.
Ajax outscored United en route to the final, scoring 24 goals compared to United’s 23, but have conceded seven more than their English counterparts.
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Vunipola out of Lions tour
British and Irish Lions vs New Zealand Odds
by Abi Moses on Tuesday 23rd May 2017, 2:46pm.
England and Saracens number eight, Billy Vunipola, has withdrawn from the Lions tour to New Zealand with a shoulder injury.
Vunipola ruling himself out of upcoming Lions tour is a serious cause for concern for the Lions, as the England back-rower was a leading Test candidate.
A statement from Lions head coach Warren Gatland confirmed, "Billy has been carrying an injury and feels he wouldn't be able to contribute fully to the Tour and needs further medical treatment."
Vunipola was drafted back into the international team following four months on the sidelines with a knee injury and this latest injury setback is a hammer-blow that has ended any hopes of him playing during this tour.
The Lions play their first match of the New Zealand tour on 3rd June with the first Test three weeks later.
James Haskell of Wasps has been drafted in to replace him and will join up with the squad after the Premiership final on 27th May.
Vunipola is the second withdrawal from the Lions squad, after Ben Youngs pulled out for personal reasons. Youngs was replaced by Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw.
The upcoming Lions tour will be Warren Gatland’s third but the first to his native New Zealand. Not only will Gatland and co come up against the double world champions, but a team that no Lions squad has defeated in a full series since 1971. The last time the Lions ran out victors of a single test versus New Zealand was back in June of 1993.
New Zealand is one of the greatest rugby playing nations of all-time, a squad of the highest calibre, who have won the Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri Nations) four times in the last five years.
Current Tour Odds (courtesy of Betfred):
New Zealand - 2/9
Draw - 33/1
British and Irish Lions - 7/2
United aim to end four-game winless run
Southampton vs Manchester United - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Wednesday 17th May 2017, 7:00pm.
Manchester United are set to travel to St Mary’s Stadium for their clash with Southampton missing six key players this evening.
With his side languishing in sixth in the Premier League, United boss Jose Mourinho has made no secret that he believes his best chance of playing in the UEFA Champions League next season is via winning the Europa League. This has seen him field 'weakened sides' in the Premier League, this time around his hand may be more forced, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and James Wilson all currently out injured and with Paul Pogba currently unavailable for personal reasons.
Marouane Fellaini could be handed a start having served out a three-match suspension. Jose Mourinho has taking some stick following his team selection against Arsenal ten days ago, with the Red Devils losing 2-0. Although the Portuguese manager still believes the sides he fields have got what it takes to win every game leading to him stating, "We always want to fight for the result. I don’t want to field a team where people think we aren’t fighting for the result – we are fighting."
Claude Puel is still without long term absentee Virgil van Dijk. Alex McCarthy has shaken off his injury but the number two shot stopper may miss out on a place in the squad due to fitness. In better news for the Saints, forward Charlie Austin, is ready to start having returned from the bench at the weekend.
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last five away Premier League matches against the Saints (W4 D1).
Southampton are without a goal in their last three games at home, whilst United have not mustered more than one goal in their last six matches.
Southampton's last home PL victory over Man Utd was back in August 2003 (1 -0).
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The Gunners aim to keep the pressure on the top four.
Arsenal vs Sunderland - Match Preview and Offers
by Abi Moses on Tuesday 16th May 2017, 5:42pm.
Arsenal's hopes of another season in the Champions League are hanging by a thread and looking in real peril. The Gunners qualification into Europe’s elite is not in their hands anymore and Arsene Wenger’s men need either Liverpool or Manchester City to slip up if they will make it 21 years in a row, in club football’s most prestigious competition.
Wenger is thrilled by the desire his team have showed in recent weeks and after their 4-1 demolition of Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium he went on to say, "I am very positive because it looks like we get stronger in every game. We won six of the last seven games. We look strong again away from home."
Arsenal are currently fifth in the Barclays Premier League, three points behind Manchester City, both of whom have two games left to play. The Gunners are a further point behind third-placed Liverpool who have played one game more.
Alexis Sanchez (thigh) will face a late test for the Gunners to see if he can play any part, with Wenger saying, "Alexis should have a test today. It didn't look good but with him he is always so eager."
Defender, Laurent Koscielny (calf), is doubtful and may be forced to miss out, alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who is definitely out with a hamstring injury. Kieran Gibbs is set to return.
Already-relegated Sunderland have been woeful for the majority of the campaign and manager David Moyes has squad issues coming into the fixture. Sunderland are unlikely to be able to field George Honeyman (back), Jason Denayer and Victor Anichebe (both thigh).
Paddy McNair, Jan Kirchhoff and Duncan Watmore (all knee) remain absent.
The Black Cats' season was epitomised with a dreadful display against Swansea City, leaving the pitch at both half and full time whistle to boos and jeers from the home crowd at the Stadium of Light. After the defeat, manager David Moyes said, "Every game counts in football and you’re judged in every one, so we have to perform much better against Arsenal."
Given the considerable difference in the side's end-of-season form, it seems inevitable that Arsenal will secure all three points this evening. Betfair's odds of 4/1 on an Arsenal win seems too goo to turn town. The odds are available exclusively to new customers, so register before kick-off via Betting Codes to make use of this unbeatable price.
Chelsea set to lift the Premier League title at the Hawthorns
West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Friday 12th May 2017, 6:52pm.
Champions-elect Chelsea travel to The Hawthorns knowing a win will give them their fifth Premier League title and second in three seasons.
Chelsea are looking to wrap up this Premier League season on Friday and Antonio Conte’s Blues have been ruthlessly efficient lately scoring ten goals in their last three games. Trying to bring them to a halt is not an enviable task, but West Brom manager, Tony Pulis, said "We’ll give it our best. We have a responsibility to our supporters. We’re still chasing a points tally that will keep us in 8th position so we have a lot to play for. We’re doing our damndest to make it a competitive game and a good game.
I don’t think Antonio will expect anything different. Chelsea deserve Premier League title but we will not roll over. To be in a position where the team at the top of the table, that has been the most consistent and has everything to play for, comes to your ground – it’s fantastic."
Tottenham Hotspur’s cataclysmic failure against West Ham, which saw them beaten 1-0 at the London Stadium means Antonio Conte’s men can wrap up the title before their London rivals kick a ball again. Spurs next play on Sunday with the visit of Manchester United the last ever game to be played at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, said "At this stage it was important to win and exploit Tottenham’s defeat. Now, another step to the title. We have to rest well and prepare for West Brom. This is my first season in England in a tough championship. I’m delighted for my players, they deserve this. We are showing that we deserve to win the league."
N’Golo Kante could start for Chelsea having missed the visit of Middlesbrough on Monday.
Jonny Evans and Hal Robson-Kanu could make a return to the Baggies side but Matt Phillips remains sidelined.
With West Brom safe in mid-table and Chelsea aiming to regain the Premier League crown they surrendered so emphatically last season, the odds on an away win are inevitable short.
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Real Madrid continue their quest for a twelfth European crown
Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Wednesday 10th May 2017, 6:17pm.
Real Madrid take a three goal advantage into their UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon.
Real Madrid have beaten Atletico in each of the past three seasons of the Champions League and twice in the final, the first time in 2014 and again in 2016. This tie marks the fifth European meeting between the two sides, with Madrid running out victors in all of them.
Diego Simeone will not let his men take it lying down, they have already overcome the odds and brought in great success under Simeone’s guidance and historically recorded a 4-0 win over their fierce local rivals in La Liga in 2015.
Real have scored in each of their last 60 games across all competitions, if they continue that run during this match it will be an almost impossible task for Atletico who would then need five goals to reach the final.
Zinedine Zidane’s Los Blancos are currently second in La Liga, tied on points with Barcelona but have a game in hand, with a ten point buffer over third placed Atletico.
Real thrashed Grenada 4-0 on Saturday, despite making nine changes from their usual starting line up, whereas Simeone only rested one player. With Real Madrid feeling fresher there is a chance that they could pile more agony on their local rivals in tonight’s match and reach another Champions League final.
Atletico will be without right backs Juanfran and Sime Vrsaljko, but have been boosted by the return to training of defender Jose Gimenez.
Pepe and Raphael Varane have returned to training but there has been no clear guidance whether the defensive duo will play any part.
Atletico have won 29 of their last 35 European fixtures at the Vicente Calderon, losing only twice.
Real have won five UEFA Champions League semi-finals, and have gone on to lift the trophy on each occasion.
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Arsenal continue their push for a top four finish
Southampton vs Arsenal - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Wednesday 10th May 2017, 6:07pm.
The Gunners need to follow up their huge win over Manchester United on Sunday when they travel to St Mary’s Stadium to take on Southampton.
The Saints also helped Arsenal's challenge, giving them a lifeline to cling on to in their fight for a top four finish by holding Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at Anfield last weekend.
Arsenal will need to win this game and go on to beat Stoke City on Saturday to keep the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City who are sat in third and fourth respectively.
Arsenal’s away form has been an issue this season and they have lost 5 of their last 6 matches on their travels. The Gunners seem to have a dip in the third quarter of each season but finish it strongly, which they will have to do this year to avoid finishing outside of the UEFA Champions League qualification spots, for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s twenty year tenure at club. With qualification out of their hands, even if they win all their remaining games they will need their rivals to slip up along the way.
Southampton’s form has been dour of late with two goalless draws in their last two games and two defeats on the bounce before that. In the game against Liverpool, the Saints were solid defensively but they did not offer much going forward.
Saints manager Claude Puel has reported no fresh injury concerns with absentees Charlie Austin, Virgil van Djik and Matt Targett all still unavailable.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed defensive rock, Laurent Koscielny, is facing a late fitness test. Granit Xhaka seems to have recovered from a calf injury and could start. Lucas Perez is fit and available for selection again.
Rob Holding gave a very bright and encouraging display against Manchester United on Sunday, and is likely to feature if Koscielny is ruled out.
Southampton are looking to win three consecutive home games in the league against Arsenal for the first time in their history.
Arsenal have not won in their last five visits to St Mary's drawing three and losing the last two. They did however, record a comprehensive 5-0 win in the FA Cup earlier this season.
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Palace loss hands Swansea and Hull a lifeline
Premier League - Fixtures and Odds
by Abi Moses on Saturday 6th May 2017, 2:32pm.
Crystal Palace's disappointing 5-0 loss at Manchester City in the early kick off means their Premier League safety is still in the balance.
Manchester City won for the first time in four games to move up to third in the Premier League but Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace will now be watching the rest of today's games with great interest.
Already-relegated Sunderland make the short trip to Hull City who are looking to avoid being dealt the same fate. A home win will move the Tigers five points clear of Swansea City in the final relegation position, ahead of the Swans' game at home to Everton later this evening.
If both Hull City and Swansea City manage to grab three points this weekend, Crystal Palace will go into the final two games of the season just three points clear of the relegation zone.
Both Bournemouth and Leicester City passed the coveted 40-point mark last weekend with wins away to Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion respectively and will both have eyes on a top-half finish when they play at home this afternoon. Stoke City, another side to reach 40 points, will visit Bournemouth, whilst Leicester City host Watford.
West Bromwich Albion, safe from relegation, are at risk of seeing all their hard work undone as their season peters out. Tony Pulis' side who were at one point challenging for a European spot, have been in eighth place since January 1, but four losses on the bounce means they could still finish in the bottom half.
Saturday's Premier League Fixtures and Odds (courtesy of Bet365):
Bournemouth vs Stoke City
Bournemouth - 13/10
Draw - 5/2
Stoke - 9/4
Burnley vs West Bromwich Albion
Burnley - 31/20
Draw - 2/1
West Brom - 23/10
Hull City vs Sunderland
Hull - 8/15
Draw - 7/2
Sunderland - 11/2
Leicester City vs Watford
Leicester - 4/6
Draw - 14/5
Watford - 5/1
Swansea City vs Everton (5:30pm)
Swansea - 31/20
Draw - 5/2
Everton - 15/8
Back Manchester United to beat Celta Vigo at 12/1 with Ladbrokes
Celta Vigo vs Manchester United - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Thursday 4th May 2017, 2:13pm.
Manchester United continue their quest for European glory on Thursday when they travel to Spain for the first leg of their Europa League semi final clash. Standing in the Red Devils' way are La Liga side, Celta Vigo.
Europe's second-tier competition is the only trophy missing from the Old Trafford cabinet, with United failing to win the Europa League or its previous form, the UEFA Cup.
A Europa League triumph will not only complete a clean sweep for United but will make them just the fifth side to win all three European competitions. Their Champions League / European Cup wins in 1968, 1999 and 2008, along with their 1991 Cup Winners' Cup triumph mean that adding the Europa League this season will elevate them into a group that includes fellow British club, Chelsea and European giants Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich.
United coach, Jose Mourinho, has called on his players to "close the circle" and complete the trophy clean sweep. Mourinho said, "This is the only trophy that Manchester United never won. It would be great to close the circle and say we won every competition in the football world. For us, as a team, it would be a good achievement with all the problems we had, and it would allow us to be back in the Champions League next season."
He continued, "At the moment the perspective is different because the Europa League becomes even more important for us. The Europa League is a long competition. A team that arrives in the semi-final has to play the group stage, three knockout phases, and travel a lot so, when you arrive in the semi-final, you want to be in the final."
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888sport offer treble odds on the Champions League
Monaco vs Juventus - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Wednesday 3rd May 2017, 6:44pm.
Real Madrid have one foot in next month's Champions League final after a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired win against city rivals Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo fired in a hat-trick for the second consecutive game in the Champions League as last year's winners crushed their inter-city rivals 3-0.
Incredibly, no side has managed to win back-to-back Champions League titles since it underwent a rebrand from the old-style European Cup way back in 1992. Real Madrid are now just two games away from finally ending that run and securing a record twelfth title.
Standing in their way, should they make it to the final in Cardiff, will be either two-time European Cup / Champions League winners, Juventus or 2004 runners up, Monaco.
Juventus will put their long-standing unbeaten record on the line on Wednesday when they travel to Monaco. Apart from their Group Stage defeat to Sevilla last season, after they had already secured their place in the knockout phase, Juventus have not tasted defeat over ninety minutes since losing the 2015 final to Barcelona.
Monaco have been the surprise package in this season's competition, a combination of the experience and guile of Radamel Falcao and the youthful exuberance of Kylian Mbappe have seen them blow away all before them. The French league side topped a group that included Tottenham Hotspur before dumping out Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in the knockout stage.
In their two-legged clashes with both Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, Monaco bagged three goals both home and away – becoming the first team to score at least three times in four consecutive games during the Champions League knockout phase.
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Premier League - Super Sunday Fixtures
by Abi Moses on Sunday 30th April 2017, 10:09am.
After Sunderland's relegation to the Sky Bet Championship was confirmed on Saturday, the attention on Sunday returns to the top of the Premier League.
Six of the top seven sides are in action on Sunday where Chelsea's trip to Everton and Tottenham's North London derby could go a long way to deciding the outcome of the 2016/17 Premier League title. Chelsea currently hold a four point lead over fellow Londoners, Spurs and on paper, the game away at Everton is their toughest remaining fixture.
Although out of the title race, both Everton and Arsenal retain aspirations to qualify for next season's Champions League which means the game at both Goodison Park and White Hart Lane have an enormous amount riding on them.
The match at White Hart Lane between Tottenham Hotspur and their bitter rivals, Arsenal, will be the last between the two sides to take place at the famous old ground. Spurs will play their home games at Wembley Stadium next season before moving in to a brand new ground on the site of their current stadium.
The other two games on an action-packed Sunday of Premier League football will see the Manchester clubs take on relegation-threatened opposition. City travel to the Riverside to take on 19th placed Middlesbrough, who despite beating Sunderland in midweek are still deep in trouble at the wrong end of the table.
Swansea City, who are currently one place above Middlesbrough in 18th position in the Premier League will look to make up ground on Hull City after the Tigers could only manage a 0-0 draw away to Southampton on Saturday.
Ahead of the Swans' trip from South Wales up to Old Trafford, Paul Clements' side are three points adrift of safety with four games to play.
Sunday's Premier League Fixtures
Everton vs Chelsea
Manchester United vs Swansea City
Middlesbrough vs Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal
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Genting Bet offer 25/1 on City to win the Manchester derby
Manchester City vs Manchester United - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Thursday 27th April 2017, 6:15pm.
Manchester City can cement their place in the top four with a victory at home to city rivals, United on Thursday.
City experience the bitter disappointment of losing their FA Cup semi-final to Arsenal at Wembley and manager, Pep Guardiola, will expect an immediate response from his team.
The Wembley defeat means that Guardiola will now finish a season without a trophy for the first time in his managerial career. A statistic he was quick to play down. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich supremo said, "I have been managing nine years and this is my first without a trophy. It had to happen and it happened. It will happen again if I manage a long time. But there are a lot of teams in Europe that won't win anything this season."
A win for Manchester City will be enough to see them leapfrog Liverpool and up into third place, but more importantly they will put a four-point gap between themselves and fifth-placed United in the race for Champions League qualification.
City's title challenge was ended after four winless games from March 8th through to early April. Two consecutive wins against Hull City and Southampton show that City have returned to winning ways.
The return to form has coincided with the return from injury of captain, Vincent Kompany. If the Belgian defender starts against United it will be the first time this season that he's started three games in a row.
The blue half of Manchester claimed the bragging rights when the two sides met at Old Trafford in September – City ran out 2-1 winners.
If you fancy them to once again take all three points then sign up with Betting Codes' betting partner, Genting Bet. The popular bookmaker are offering new customers incredible odds of 25/1 on a home win tonight.
Champions League-chasing Arsenal and Tottenham both in action on Wednesday
Premier League - Fixtures and Odds
by Abi Moses on Wednesday 26th April 2017, 4:57pm.
Tottenham Hotspur travel to Selhurst Park tonight in one of three Premier League fixtures taking place. Spurs are looking to cut the gap between them and leaders, Chelsea, down to four points with a win. Stood in their way is a Crystal Palace team buoyed by a fantastic display against Liverpool on Saturday, and unbeaten in three games including an emphatic 3-0 victory over Arsenal and a 2-2 draw with champions, Leicester City, both at home.
Spurs are on a seven-game winning streak in the Premier League and will strive to be in the best possible position should the Chelsea team they are chasing drop any points. The Blues showed them exactly what they were up against when the two sides met in their recent FA Cup semi-final encounter, with Antonio Conte’s men running out well deserved 4-2 winners. The win could give Chelsea and psychological edge back in the Premier League.
Palace sit 12th in the Premier League with 38 points, which gives them a 7 point buffer and a game in hand over the Swansea City team currently sitting in the drop zone. Manager, Sam Allardyce, won’t be counting his chickens just yet and will be looking to capitalise on their recent good form and seize any points that are available to guarantee Premier League survival.
Arsenal find themselves in a position where not qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in Arsene Wenger's tenure at the club is a major possibility. Arsenal currently 7th in the Premier League trailing fourth-placed Manchester City by seven points. The Gunners have a game in hand over City but anything other than wins from now until the end of the season will see Arsenal's run of 20 years finishing in the top four come to an end.
Tonight’s encounter sees champions, Leicester City, travel to The Emirates with Craig Shakespeare’s Foxes looking to guarantee top flight football next season. Leicester are currently sat in 15th but have two games in hand over their closest rivals and are already 6 points above the drop zone.
The final game of the evening is a massive 'six-pointer' at the bottom of the table between North East rivals Middlesbrough and Sunderland. Bottom club Sunderland travel to the Riverside with an abysmal record of 12 losses in their last 14 away games, Middlesbrough manager Steve Agnew’s counter argument to that is his team are on a run of 16 Premier League games without a win, including 10 losses.
Wednesday's Premier League Fixtures and Odds (courtesy of William Hill):
Arsenal vs Leicester City
Arsenal - 4/7
Draw - 16/5
Leicester - 9/2
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur
Palace - 5/1
Draw - 29/10
Spurs - 4/7
Middlesbrough vs Sunderland
Middlesbrough - 5/4
Draw - 23/10
Sunderland - 11/5
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Free bet offer available during Ayr's Scottish Grand National meeting
by Abi Moses on Saturday 22nd April 2017, 12:35pm.
Ayr Racecourse will host the Scottish Grand National this afternoon - the showpiece race in its two-day festival.
In a tight looking race, last year's winner Vicente will be hoping to bounce back from his disappointing showing at Aintree earlier this month to become the first back-to-back winner of the race since Androma in 1984 and '85.
Vicente was heavily fancied in the English equivalent of this race earlier in April only to fall at the first fence.
Early prices indicate we could see four co-favourites by the time the race gets underway at 3:45pm. Vicente could be joined at the head of the betting by Premier Bond, Southfield Royal and Arpege D'alene.
Seldom Inn, ridden by Aintree Grand National winning jockey, Derek Fox, is the only Scottish-trained horse in the race. Twenty-time champion jockey, AP McCoy, believes that win would've been life changing for Fox. McCoy said, "The Grand National is a little bit of a life-changer for a jockey like Derek who hasn't had a huge amount of success - winning at Aintree is every jockey's dream."
Day two of the festival will get underway at 1:40pm, with Nicky Henderson expecting a strong showing in the three miler with leading pair, Beware The Bear and Laurium. Champion Trainer-rival, Paul Nicholls will also expect a big race from Keltus.
Ahead of the big race later this afternoon, Bet Bright have a fantastic offer available to all new customers. Simply place a £30 bet on the day's opener at Ayr and you will be rewarded with a £10 free bet in each of the next six races – including the Grand National.
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United and Anderlecht tie still finely poised
Europa League - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Thursday 20th April 2017, 1:08pm.
Manchester United go into the second leg of their Europa League quarter final tonight against RSC Anderlecht with the scoreline locked at 1-1, with an away goal slightly tipping the needle towards Jose Mourinho’s men.
United took the advantage when Henrikh Mkhitaryan tapped in after Marcus Rashford’s shot was spilled by the home keeper. The Red Devils looked on course for a much needed win, comfortably holding possession and created several chances to increase the lead which were not taken. The hosts then equalised with their only shot on target through Leander Dendonkers bullet header, past second string goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
United have won all five of their home Europa League games this season, conceding just once and haven’t lost in European competition at Old Trafford in sixteen games (winning thirteen and drawing three).
Anderlecht go into the return leg having lost only once in seven European away games so far this season, but historically have been poor against English sides. Having made fifteen trips here previously they have never won on English soil losing thirteen and drawing twice.
Mourinho has confirmed Sergio Romero will begin the match ahead of regular starter David De Gea. Wayne Rooney returns to the squad but doesn’t look to make the starting eleven. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Juan Mata are unavailable due to injury.
Elsewhere in the competition, Lyon take a 2-1 advantage into their clash with Besiktas. With terrible scenes of crowd trouble causing the first leg in France to start 45 minutes late, Besiktas took the lead when former Liverpool man Ryan Babel buried the ball into the bottom left corner of Lyon’s net. Lyon made a great job of starving their opposition of possession and creating multiple chances, but it was not until the 83rd minute that their superiority told. Corentin Tolisso equalised and within 60 seconds Jeremy Morel took full advantage over a goalkeeper error, robbing him of the ball and rolling it home into an empty net. Both teams have been given a two-year suspended ban from Europe and a fine as a result of the crowd disturbances.
Celta Vigo travel to KRC Genk with a 3-2 advantage in their favour, but Genk are a very good side, having already put Tottenham out of the competition in a previous round, and with two away goals in the bag this one is certainly still game on.
Dutch giants Ajax won their first leg at home to German side FC Schalke 04 with a comfortable 2-0 win.
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Man City hope to cement their place in the top four
Southampton vs Manchester City - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Saturday 15th April 2017, 4:48pm.
An action packed day of Premier League football concludes with Manchester City’s visit to St Mary’s Stadium, to take on a Southampton side who are looking to emulate last season’s strong finish. But will they have enough to trouble Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blues? 90 minutes that could define the seasons of both teams coming up!
Manchester City were held at home in their first clash of the season with today’s opponents, back in October. A Kelechi Iheanacho strike levelled the game after Nathan Redmond had capitalised on a poor back pass from John Stones before firing past Claudio Bravo.
Claudio Bravo, who started City’s last game in the Premier League, has come under increased scrutiny and has prompted Pep Guardiola to say. "Every weekend I will decide who is in goal. Last week I decided on Claudio and Saturday I will decide (again). It depends on the opponent, the pressing, what I see in the training sessions, so we are going to see. I like both to be involved, I have confidence in both of them, so we will see."
Who will he select between the sticks for the trip to Southampton?
A late decision will be made by Claude Puel on whether to start Manolo Gabbiadini, who has been passed fit following a groin injury. Steven Davis is available after recovering from an ankle problem but Oriol Romeu is currently serving a suspension.
Manchester City look likely to call upon Vincent Kompany to stabilise the defence having not been risked against Hull in their previous game.
Southampton have won three of their last five games, with one draw and only one loss. Their only loss in five was against a Spurs team who are on fire and playing like genuine title challengers.
Manchester City on the other hand have less promising statistics going into today’s game with just one win in their last five, with three draws and a loss to league leaders, Chelsea, which was also away from home.
Get 28/1 on Manchester United to beat Anderlecht in the Europa League
Betfair offer the huge odds on the Europa League favourites
by Abi Moses on Thursday 13th April 2017, 6:57pm.
Manchester United continue their quest for a second trophy of the season when they travel to Belgium for the first leg of their Europa League quarter final tie.
United are in a rich vein of form of late, with just two defeats in the last thirty four games in all competitions. Although they are embroiled in a fierce battle for a top-four finish in the Premier League, many believe winning the Europa League represents The Red Devils' best chance of playing in the Champions League next season.
Talismanic forward, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, made a goalscoring return from suspension at the weekend and will be aiming to add to the seventeen goals he's already managed in his maiden season in English football.
Ibrahimovic, nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, is the top scorer in this season's Europa League after already bagging five goals. The Swede will also be looking to add to the five goals he's managed in two previous games against Anderlecht.
The Red Devils looked to have turned the corner after a poor run of form in European competition, with wins away to Zorya Luhansk and Saint-Etienne preceding a difficult draw away to Russian side FC Rostov.
Despite Manchester United being overwhelming favourites to win this season's Europa League, Betfair are offering a massive 28/1 on a win away to Anderlecht. If you aren't already registered with the popular bookmakers, then sign up via Betting Codes today and earn a welcome bonus of £30.
Get 66/1 on Leicester City to beat Atletico Madrid
888 Sport offer huge odds, exclusively to new members
by Abi Moses on Wednesday 12th April 2017, 3:27pm.
Leicester City will fly the flag for the Premier League this evening when they travel to Spain for their quarter final first-leg clash with Atletico Madrid.
The current Premier League champions have struggled immensely in their efforts to defend their title this season. A horrendous run of form at the start of 2017 cost their title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri his job.
His replacement, Craig Shakespeare, has revitalised the struggling Foxes. Before the weekend's 4-2 defeat at Everton, Shakespeare had led Leicester to six straight wins in all competitions – including a 2-0 second-leg win against Sevilla in the Champions League last-16. Since Ranieri's departure, the free-scoring Foxes have scored at least two goals in each of their six games.
The return to form of England forward Jamie Vardy has certainly helped the Leicester cause. Five goals in five Premier League games helped steer the holders away from a potential relegation dog fight.
Tonight's fixture is arguably the biggest in the club's history as they take on last year's beaten finalists in the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico are in good form going into the clash. Their 1-1 draw away to Madrid rivals, Real, extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight games – a run stretching back to their 2-1 to Barcelona in February.
The key player for the home side tonight will be Frenchman, Antoine Griezmann. The 26-year old forward has been the subject of intense speculation regarding a potential summer move to Manchester United. Tonight will give Griezmann the perfect opportunity to showcase his considerable talent to his potential suitors.
Ahead of the game, 888 Sport are offering a massive 66/1 on a Leicester win to all new customers. Simply sign up via Betting Codes and make use of the biggest odds available anywhere.
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Bookies' favourite, van Gerwen leads the Betway Premier League of Darts at the half-way stage
Sign up to Betway for a £100 welcome bonus
by Abi Moses on Thursday 6th April 2017, 4:37pm.
The Betway Premier League of Darts has reached the half-way stage, with pre-tournament favourite, Michael van Gerwen currently sat on top of the league.
The Dutchman holds a one point advantage over Peter Wright after earning an impressive 7-1 against Dave Chisnall in Cardiff - the season's biggest win so far. Ahead of this week's clash with James Wade, van Gerwen said "I'm feeling good and I'm top of the table, and I want to carry on with these performances. I've played okay so far this season but there's more in the tank to come and I'm going to need it later in the tournament. I've got to make sure I focus on the game with James and I want to get another two points in front of a great crowd in Dublin. I've got great memories there and I want to keep believing in myself and keep my performances going.
Van Gerwen's compatriot, Raymond van Barneveld, could go joint-top this week with a double-header against James Wade and Phil Taylor. Van Barneveld is currently on a four-match winning streak – the longest in the league this season.
After last week's Judgement Night in Cardiff, the league's bottom two, Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts were eliminated, leaving eight players to fight it out for the four Play-Off spots and the Premier League crown.
Below is a full list of this week's fixtures and current odds to win the 2017 Betway Premier League (odds provided by sponsors, Betway):
Night Ten Fixtures:
James Wade vs Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld vs Phil Taylor
Dave Chisnall vs Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis vs Gary Anderson
James Wade vs Raymond van Barneveld
2017 Premier League Winners (after night nine):
Michael van Gerwen - 8/15
Peter Wright - 11/2
Gary Anderson - 11/2
Raymond van Barneveld - 12/1
Phil Taylor - 16/1
Adrian Lewis - 50/1
James Wade - 66/1
Dave Chisnall - 200/1
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Sunderland face a must-win game away to rejuvenated Leicester City
Premier League - Fixtures and Odds
by Abi Moses on Tuesday 4th April 2017, 6:58pm.
In one of four Premier League games taking place tonight, Sunderland face a must-win game away to Leicester City.
Sunderland are currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League after a dismal return of one win in twelve games, a run stretching back to mid-December.
Manager, David Moyes has come under fire recently after he was forced to apologise for derogatory remarks made to female journalist. Following Sunderland's draw with Burnley last month, a BBC reporter asked if the attendance of Sunderland owner Ellis Short had put extra pressure on Moyes.
After the interview Moyes claimed that the reporter "might get a slap even though you're a woman" and told her to be "careful" next time she visited.
Sunderland have today released a statement giving Moyes their backing but claimed the remarks were "wholly inappropriate", but the former Manchester United and Everton boss will need to see an improvement on the pitch if he is to survive the chop.
Elsewhere this evening, Burnley and Watford will both be aiming to edge clear of the relegation zone when they host Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion respectively.
Tuesday's final game will give Manchester United and Everton a chance to close in on top four as they meet at Old Trafford. United, unbeaten in 19 league games will be boosted by the return from suspension of top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Below is a list of Tuesday's Premier League fixtures and odds (courtesy of Bet365):
Burnley vs Stoke City
Burnley - 6/4
Draw - 21/10
Stoke City - 23/10
Leicester City vs Sunderland
Leicester City - 1/2
Draw - 7/2
Sunderland - 13/2
Manchester United vs Everton
Manchester United - 4/7
Draw - 3/1
Everton - 6/1
Watford vs West Bromwich Albion
Watford - 6/4
Draw - 21/10
West Bromwich Albion - 23/10
888 Sports offer 7/1 on Hamilton to win the Australian Grand Prix
Mercedes' Hamilton starts on pole at Albert Park
by Abi Moses on Sunday 26th March 2017, 3:48am.
Lewis Hamilton has gained a psychological edge over his rivals after clinching pole position in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.
Brit, Hamilton is the bookies' favourite to win a fourth world championship title but has claimed he believes the revitalised Ferraris are favourites. Despite not winning a single race in the 2016 season, Ferrari have been impressive in pre-season, leaving F1 fans with the mouth-watering prospect of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull creating one of the most exciting seasons in years.
Hamilton didn't have it all his own way in qualifying, finishing just 0.268 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari. The German will join Hamilton on the front row of the grid with the second Mercedes and Ferrari on the second row, courtesy of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen respectively.
The race at Melbourne's Albert Park will be Bottas' first in Formula One for Mercedes after the Finnish racer replaced reigning world champion Nico Rosberg in the off-season.
After qualifying, Hamilton claimed "It has been a fantastic weekend so far and it is quite amazing to be here for the 11th time. It feels like it was only yesterday I came and had my first race here in 2007. Such a great journey, and I am incredibly proud of my team. This rule change has been huge, a massive challenge for everyone and to be up here is fantastic. Valtteri did a great job in his first qualifying session for the team. It is close between us all and it is going to be a tight race this year, I think."
Hamilton's nearest challenger, Vettel said "I think we have a good car, things are working well as a team, things are improving. We had a mixed day yesterday but the confidence in the car was there from testing. I was not entirely happy with my lap but I think Lewis did a very good lap and I don't think pole was up for grabs but we can do something in the race."
Ahead of the race in Melbourne, 888 Sport are offering a cool 7/1 on Hamilton to take the chequered flag. To take advantage of this seriously generous offer, simply look out for the 888 Sport logo found on the Betting Codes homepage.
Boost your winnings with Paddy Power's Kicker Bets
International Football Preview
by Abi Moses on Friday 24th March 2017, 5:39am.
One complaint that many punters have has during the previous international weekends is that the one-sided games we often see offer no value for bettors. Not even an accumulator bet can guarantee a healthy return for your money in the international game.
In the last round of games, Belgium and Germany put eight past minnows Estonia and San Marino respectively, but both would've been around 1/100 to win!
Finally, Paddy Power seem to have found the answer. The popular Irish bookmaker has launched their new 'Kicker Bets' feature. Available on their mobile app, with 'Kicker Bets', the more your team win by, the higher your winnings will be.
So now you can build your weekend accumulator, back those European giants and as the goals fly in, so does the cash.
How it works
Here is an example of how the new 'Kicker' feature works:
£10 stake on a team at 8/15 will give you a return of £15.33.
If your team wins by two goals (a two goal kicker), your return will be £20.29. A three goal kicker equals £30.59 and 4+ goals will earn you a cool £61.50.
Between Friday and Sunday, 54 nations will compete in 27 different matches across Europe. This gives you plenty of opportunities to pick a winner or two! Use the 'Kicker Bet' feature to guarantee the best return on the big guns, some of which are listed below:
Kosovo vs Iceland
Luxembourg vs France
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Gibraltar
Azerbaijan vs Germany
San Marino vs Czech Republic
England vs Lithuania
Malta vs Slovakia
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Ladbrokes offer new customers 4/1 on England to score at anytime
England vs Lithuania - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Thursday 23rd March 2017, 7:50pm.
England will be looking to bounce back from Wednesday's defeat to Germany when they play Lithuania in their World Cup qualifier on Sunday evening, hoping to maintain their unbeaten start to their qualifying campaign.
Despite the 1-0 loss away to the world champions, there were plenty of positives to take from Gareth Southgate's first match as permanent manager.
A new look England side looked at ease in their new 3-4-3 formation, with attacking midfielders Dele Alli and Adam Lallana particularly impressive with their new found freedom and will be expected to start at Wembley on Sunday.
Raheem Sterling and John Stones may return to the England starting eleven after Southgate decided the Manchester City duo weren't fit enough to start in Dortmund. One player who won't play will be centre back Gary Cahill. The Chelsea defender who captained England it that defeat to Germany is suspended for their clash with Lithuania.
Lithuania's preparation for the daunting trip to the home of the group leaders has been far from ideal. While England went down to a spirited 1-0 loss to Germany, Lithuania were swept aside 3-0 away to the Czech Republic.
Ahead of Sunday's game, Ladbrokes are offering huge enhanced odds of 4/1 on England to score at any time. Their exclusive offer is available to new customers only. To sign up, simply look out for the Ladbrokes logo on the Betting Codes homepage and register today.
Arsenal look to keep the pressure on the top four
West Brom vs Arsenal - Match Preview and Odds
by Abi Moses on Saturday 18th March 2017, 10:44am.
With Spurs, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs not in action until tomorrow, Arsenal have the opportunity today to put pressure on the sides around them. Arsenal travel to The Hawthorns in the early kick-off where they will face a tough West Bromwich Albion side.
West Brom will be delighted with their season so far, currently occupying eighth position in the Premier League the Baggies have all-but-sealed a top half finish for the first time since the 2012/13 season and for only third time in the Premier League era.
The wheels have started to come for Tony Pulis' side lately, with two consecutive defeats in which they have not registered a single goal. In his pre-match press conference, Pulis stated " The most important thing is that we get that mentality into the players and into everyone around the football club that we want to get more points, that we want to push on. My aim is to get a team that can stay in the top 12 every year and get to cup finals. You've got to have that strong mentality and desire to do that."
The manager under most pressure to get a result today will be in the away dugout. Arsene Wenger knows that not even a win today will be enough to see his side return to the top four. Even if Arsenal do qualify for next season's Champions League, some fans will still see this season as another in which the Gunners have underachieved. Incredibly Arsenal's wait for a fourth Premier League title is now thirteen years and counting.
Wenger, however believes that a top four finish and an FA Cup success would be deemed a successful season. The Frenchman said "Success, it's not down to me to judge that. Our job is to do as well as we can until the end of the season. We want to play in the Champions League next season. We have a tough job because we have six or seven teams fighting for the places. We are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, we have an opportunity to do that as well. So overall that's our targets. After that, success is basically to take the maximum out of the potential of the team. Where is that? We will see."
Current Match Odds (courtesy of William Hill):
West Bromwich Albion - 9/2
Draw - 16/5
Arsenal - 8/13
Leicester City handed a tough Champions League draw against Atletico Madrid
Champions League and Europa League quarter final draws and odds
by Abi Moses on Friday 17th March 2017, 2:52pm.
Leicester City have been drawn against Atletico Madrid in the quarter final of the Champions League.
The reigning Premier League champions are now England's sole representatives in the competition after Manchester City and Arsenal were dumped out at the last-16 stage by Monaco and Bayern Munich respectively.
The Foxes beat reigning Europa League champions Sevilla in the last round and will be confident of producing another huge upset in the last eight.
Barcelona's reward for the great escape against Paris Saint Germain is a tough meeting with Italian champions, Juventus. The tie will be a repeat of the 2015 final. Luis Enrique's side have been installed as the new tournament favourites after the draw has thrown together a fascinating clash between giants Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Just like the Champions League, the Europa League has one single English representative in the last eight. Whilst Leicester City are the tournament's outsiders, Manchester United are the bookies' favourites to win the second-tier competition.
Below is the full Champions League and Europa League quarter final draw and tournament odds (courtesy of Betfair):
Champions League Quarter Final Draw
Juventus vs Barcelona
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid
Borussia Dortmund vs Monaco
Atletico Madrid vs Leicester City
Champions League Winners Odds
Barcelona - 11/4
Bayern Munich - 3/1
Real Madrid - 11/2
Atletico Madrid - 6/1
Borussia Dortmund - 8/1
Juventus - 11/1
Monaco - 14/1
Leicester City - 40/1
Europa League Quarter Final Draw
Anderlecht vs Manchester United
Celta Vigo vs Genk
Ajax vs Schalke
Lyon vs Besiktas
Europa League Winners Odds
Manchester United - 11/8
Lyon - 3/1
Celta Vigo - 7/1
Schalke - 7/1
Ajax - 14/1
Besiktas - 14/1
Anderlecht - 33/1
Genk - 33/1
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Ibrahimovic returns as United look to seal a Europa League quarter final place
Manchester United vs FC Rostov - Match preview and odds
by Abi Moses on Thursday 16th March 2017, 7:42pm.
Manchester United will be looking to bounce back from their FA Cup elimination when they play the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie this evening.
With the scores level at 1-1 from the first leg, United host Russian side FC Rostov at Old Trafford as they continue their quest for European glory.
United are currently sixth in the Premier League and in a fierce seven-team battle for a top four finish. Winning the Europa League could represent the Red Devils' best chance of Champions League qualification.
Forwards Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are still absent through injury so Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return to the starting line up is a welcome boost to manager Jose Mourinho. Ibrahimovic missed the FA Cup defeat due to a domestic suspension.
FC Rostov will arrive in England as underdogs given United's home record in Europe this season. In typical Mourinho fashion, United have been formidable at Old Trafford in the Europa League, winning all four games with twelve goals scored and just one conceded.
Mourinho was clear that United must not take FC Rostov lightly as they march towards a Europa League quarter final spot. The United manager said "We know Rostov is a very good team. We are so many matches away and some of those are against big opponents who have experience in the Champions League. 1-1 is a very doubtful result."
He continued, "Rooney's injured. It was some kick in his knee area so he can't even come out to the pitch. He stays inside with the medical department.
Current Match Odds (courtesy of Ladbrokes):
Manchester United - 2/9
Draw - 11/2
FC Rostov - 14/1
Manchester United - 1/12
FC Rostov - 11/2
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Derby County sack Steve McClaren for a second time
The former England boss pays the price for his side's poor recent form
by Abi Moses on Monday 13th March 2017, 9:44am.
Steve McClaren has been sacked by Derby County for a second time, after the former England manager was dismissed after only five months in charge.
Derby County chairman, Mel Morris, claims the Rams acted following a "significant, unexpected and persistent decline in results, team unity and morale", he continued "We need a manager who shares our values and who is prepared to develop the team."
The Rams were 20th in the Championship table when McClaren returned to Pride Park, with just ten points from their opening eleven games under his predecessor, Nigel Pearson. A swift upturn in fortunes saw Derby in the top six at the end of January, but under McClaren they have managed just one win in their last nine league games.
McClaren become the Championship's second managerial casualty of the weekend, after Alex Neil was sacked by Norwich City. Both managers have seemingly paid the price for underachieving, neither side will now have any realistic expectations of finishing in the play-offs this season - a minimum requirement at the start of the season for two of the league's biggest clubs.
The play-off places are finely poised going into the final two months of the season. With Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield all battling it out for the two automatic promotion places, the team that finishes third will more than likely be joined in the play-offs by any three from four teams. Leeds, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday currently occupy positions four to six but in-form Fulham are looming ominously in seventh.
After their hugely impressive 3-1 win away to Newcastle United at the weekend, Fulham are now just two points adrift of the play-off places, with a game in hand over all the teams above them.
The Championship is predictably as unpredictable as ever. With Betting Codes' partner, Dafabet, you can place a bet on various markets, including promotion, relegation and the next permanent manager at either Norwich City and Derby County.
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Paddy Power offer money back as a free bet on twenty races during the Cheltenham Festival
Cheltenham Festival Preview
by Abi Moses on Sunday 12th March 2017, 8:10pm.
One of the highlights of the national hunt calendar will get underway on Tuesday as racegoers flock to Gloucestershire for the four-day Cheltenham Festival.
With vast sums of money traditionally laid during the festival, the bookies have been on the receiving end of a hiding on more than one occasion. The festival has witnessed its fair share of huge priced winners, with 1990 Gold Cup winner Norton's Coin going down in UK racing folklore. The rank outsider romped home at 100/1 to beat the legendary Desert Orchid.
Cheltenham has also created many household names that have captured the imagination and hearts of bettors in the past, much to the dismay of bookmakers. Bettors and racing purists alike, all have endearing memories of horses such as Desert Orchid, Best Mate, Kauto Star and Sprinter Sacre.
The festival this year has been rocked by a whole host of high-profile withdrawals. Gold Cup favourite Thistlecrack will miss the rest of the season through injury and joins a list of absentees that include 2016 winners Don Cossack (Gold Cup), Vautour (Ryanair Chase), Sprinter Sacre (Champion Chase) and Annie Power (Champion Hurdle), as well as punters' favourites Faugheen and Coneygree.
With over one hundred horses set to line up at the starting post over the four days, even without some of racing's biggest names, there will be plenty of excitement and excellent value for bettors.
Ahead of the start, bookmakers Paddy Power have confirmed they will offer money back as a free bet if your horse finishes second in any of the first five races on each day of the festival, giving you a money back offer on an incredibly generous twenty races throughout the week.
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George Baker facing long rehabilitation following fall at St Moritz
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by Abi Moses on Wednesday 8th March 2017, 1:20pm.
Jockey George Baker, 34, is looking at a long rehabilitation period following his fall at St Moritz on Sunday 26th February.
It’s been reported that Baker suffered some bleeding on the brain after a fall from Boomerang Bob. The horse was brought down by slippery ice and both horse and jockey have been significantly injured.
The extent of the injury was discovered after an MRI scan on Friday 3th March, a whole 5 days after the accident.
Meanwhile, the talented jockey is still in Swiss hospital on the intensive care ward.
The professional Jockeys Association are "hopeful he will make a positive recovery".
St Moritz has been used for decades as a location to race. Although, horses are often fitted with specially equipped shoes for the frozen and wintry conditions. There hasn’t been a comment on whether Boomerang Bob had these fitted.
Apparently the frozen lake track was investigated after the race and there was a crack in the ice where Baker had fallen.
Race organizer White Turf commented, "This meant that water had come up to undermine the racetrack."Christophe Soumillon, who was also racing has commented, "Turning into the straight, the snow was only up to the horses' shoes. "You could see by the prints afterwards that there was water between the ice and the snow."This accident comes after Baker successfully won the St Leger race last September which takes place on Harbour Law. Only time will tell whether George Baker will make a full recovery.
There hasn’t yet been a statement commenting on Boomerang Bob’s condition. It looks like neither horse or jockey will be racing again anytime soon. Further investigation into this accident and location will be taking place to secure the safety of future competitors.
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Treble your odds on Arsenal vs Bayern Munich with 888 Sport
Champions League preview and odds
by Abi Moses on Tuesday 7th March 2017, 10:55am.
Arsenal face a huge game tonight in the Champions League when they welcome tournament favourites Bayern Munich to the Emirates.
After their disastrous 5-1 defeat in the first leg, Arsenal are almost certain to exit the competition at the last-16 stage for a seventh consecutive season.
Tonight's game however, represents so much more than Champions League progression, another poor display could go a long way to derailing their season.
Manager Arsene Wenger's future has come under increased scrutiny followed their performance in Munich and has not been helped by reports that he has fallen out with Alexis Sanchez - arguably Arsenal's best player.
Another embarrassing defeat against Bayern Munich tonight would leave morale at Arsenal at an all-time low. Wenger may then find it difficult to lift his troops, as they continue the fight for a top-four Premier League finish.
Arsenal lost 3-1 at rivals Liverpool on Saturday and are now in fifth position. Their participation in next year's Champions League could now be in doubt.
The fact that a win for Arsenal is far more important than it is for Bayern Munich makes tonight's game a difficult one to call for bookmakers.
Current match odds (courtesy of 888 Sport):
Arsenal - 11/4
Draw - 56/19
Bayern Munich - 15/16
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North London vs Merseyside - Four Premier League heavyweights set to clash this weekend
Premier League fixtures and previews
by Abi Moses on Friday 3rd March 2017, 12:50pm.
The highlights of this weekend's Premier League fixtures will be two clashes between heavyweights from North London and Merseyside.
On Saturday, fourth placed Arsenal face a huge trip to Anfield to take on fifth placed Liverpool. A poor run of form for the hosts means that a that were challenging for the Premier League title at the turn of the year could now be sat in sixth place little over two months later.
Despite an impressive win at home to Tottenham Hotspur in February, Liverpool have been woeful in 2017. Their only other win was a slender 1-0 win against Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup replay. Defeats to relegation threatened Swansea City, Hull City and most recently Leicester City have left Jurgen Klopp and his players under serious pressure.
Their poor form hasn't been limited to the Premier League, The Reds were dumped out of both domestic cup competitions within the space of three days at the end of January. Their EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Southampton was swiftly followed by an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at home to Championship strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Saturday's visitors, Arsenal have not been much better in 2017, but for them it seems rumours regarding the future of manager Arsene Wenger and star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are taking its toll.
Comfortable wins over Swansea City (4-0) and Southampton (5-0) have been completely overshadowed by equally humbling defeats. The manner of their 3-1 league defeat to leaders Chelsea and a 5-1 rout at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League were both extremely concerning. Arsenal were completely outplayed in both games and look a million miles away from being able to compete for major honours.
In the second instalment of North London versus Merseyside, we see two of the league's in-form sides go head-to-head. Spurs put their Europa League disappointment behind them last weekend, comfortably sweeping aside Stoke City to win 4-0, thanks to a Harry Kane hat-trick. Tottenham have won 8 out of their last 11 league games and are currently sat in second place.
Sunday's opponents, Everton have been in equally impressive form since the turn of the year. Their seven league games in 2017 have seen The Toffees register five wins and two draws, including an emphatic 4-0 win over Manchester City.
Below is a list of all of the weekend's fixtures:
Saturday (3pm unless stated)
Manchester United vs Bournemouth (12:30)
Leicester City vs Hull City
Stoke City vs Middlesbrough
Swansea City vs Burnley
Watford vs Southampton
West Bromwich Albion vs Crystal Palace
Liverpool vs Arsenal (17:30)
Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton (13:30)
Sunderland vs Manchester City (16:00)
West Ham United vs Chelsea (20:00)
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Jodie Stimpson excited to start World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi
British triathletes aiming to seal a place at next year's Commonwealth Games
by Abi Moses on Thursday 2nd March 2017, 10:13am.
After changing coaches and moving back to Britain, Jodie Stimpson is back on track and ready to take on a new season in Abu Dhabi.
Following a six-month layoff due to an injury, Stimpson is eager to drive on and compete again. The triathlon competitor’s Achilles injury forced her to pull out of the Olympic games in Rio.
"Missing Rio was absolutely devastating," she said. "It's the worst thing I've had to go through.
The 28-year-old missed the Olympic and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and so this knock back really struck the athlete hard. She’s now set her eyes on qualification for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. It’s been reported that she’s set this as a resolution and a definite priority. Friday’s World Triathlon series in Abu Dhabi is where she will be making her come-back and will be the ultimate test for Stimpson.
Having now moved home from the French Alps, it’s said she’s officially back on track and is looking forward to training with her new coach, Ben Bright, at home for the first time in for eight years.
She’s described last winter as slow and there’s hope things are finally getting back on track now she’s back in Loughborough.
"It was definitely a slower progression than I'm used to but things have finally started to come together and I'm excited to get out there and start the season off."
In regards to male competitors, Gordon Benson, Adan Bowden, Tom Bishop, Marc Austin and Gordon Sheldon are just a few that are also trying to grab a spot at the Commonwealths. Each of these athletes will be striving for extreme success in the near future while competing for qualifications for the eight-race series.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games are set to start on the 4th April and conclude on the 15th April. You can bet throughout the World Triathlon Series or the Commonwealth Games by simply registering with one of the Betting Codes betting partners.
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EFL Cup final preview and odds - Mourinho aiming for a fourth League Cup success
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by Abi Moses on Sunday 26th February 2017, 10:29am.
The first piece of silverware in the English football season is up for grabs today as Manchester United take on Southampton in the EFL Cup final.
Manchester United are the bookies' favourites to lift the title at Wembley against a Southampton side hoping to lift the first major trophy in 41 years.
After winning three League Cup titles during his time at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho can become just the third manager to win four League Cup titles, following in the footsteps of Brian Clough and former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Southampton reached the final of this season's EFL Cup after clashes with four fellow top-flight sides, including a quarter final tie away to Arsenal and a two-legged semi-final against Liverpool. But despite their tough run of fixtures, incredibly Claude Puel's side are yet to concede a goal in the competition.
Their defensive abilities will be tested on Sunday afternoon, with major defensive problems disrupting their preparations. The sale of captain Jose Fonte was swiftly followed by an injury to his former central-defensive partner, Virgil van Dijk. With full back Matt Targett also absent through injury, Puel may give a debut to new signing Martin Caceres.
Caceres has been a free agent since leaving Juventus last summer but has apparently impressed his new manager during a recent training camp.
Current match odds (courtesy of Coral):
Manchester United - 8/11
Draw - 13/5
Southampton - 9/2
To win the EFL Cup
Manchester United - 1/3
Southampton - 9/4
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Jessica Ennis-Hill's former coach issued with a formal warning after allegation of verbal abuse
by Abi Moses on Thursday 23rd February 2017, 12:31pm.
Former coach of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Toni Minichiello, has been written a formal warning by British Athletics following a complaint regarding verbally abusing an athlete he’s been working with.
Despite the complaint not coming from Ennis-Hill, it’s said that Minichiello is deeply disappointed and saddened by this betrayal. The panel have issued a warning after an allegation of misconduct, but there will be no further investigation or appeal into either side of the story.
Minichiello is one of the most poignant and well known athletics trainers, who worked alongside Jessica Ennis-Hill for 20 years and was her trainer during her 2012 gold win in the London Olympics. He was sincerely recognised for being a part of this and was even awarded UK Coach of the Year. Though, this isn’t the only spot of trouble the trainer has got into, following his 2012 success stories he was made redundant after rejecting a part time-role with the governing body in 2013.
Despite being criticised over the years for many attempts to persuade Jessica Ennis-Hill to move away from her home in Sheffield, it seems the warning he has been issued has knocked him the hardest out of all downfalls in his career.
Minichiello has said: “As a coach I’ve always worked as hard as I can for all my athletes - we are in this to succeed together and it is disappointing when any coach-and-athlete relationship comes to an end. I understand her frustration but I think the letter is insulting and inaccurate.”
Regardless of the complaint Minicheillo is able to carry on in the industry. Only time will tell whether this has an impact on his career. Former Olympic Champion, Jessica Ennis-Hill has not reached out or commented in support. Neither has the athlete that’s made the complaint been named.
Leicester to put domestic woes behind them ahead of trip to Spain
Champions League preview and odds
by Abi Moses on Wednesday 22nd February 2017, 4:00pm.
Tuesday's Champions League games certainly lived up to the high standard set by last week's ties. With an incredible fourteen goals in the two clashes.
Manchester City overcame Monaco in a hugely entertaining game, coming from 3-2 down to win 5-3. Whilst Atletico Madrid have one foot in the quarter-final after beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in Germany.
Neutrals will be hoping for more of the same tonight, as another four sides continue their quest for European glory.
English champions, Leicester City will want to put their poor domestic form behind them as they continue an impressive debut Champions League season. Despite being embroiled in a relegation dogfight domestically, Claudio Ranieri's side finished on top of Group G and will now travel to La Liga surprise package, Sevilla.
Given Sevilla's impressive European record, winning three consecutive Europa Leagues titles, the hosts may feel a little hard-done-by with the 'surprise package' tag, but not many people would've expected Jorge Sampaoli's side to be sat just three points of leaders Real Madrid, and four ahead of 2016 Champions League runners-up, Atletico Madrid.
The second game of the evening will see Portuguese club, Porto host Juventus, one of only four unbeaten sides left in the competition. The tie will pit two of the game's all-time great goalkeepers in Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon but the pre-match talk has been dominated by another Juventus player. Leonardo Bonucci, one of the stalwarts of the Juve' defence has been left out of the squad following a bust up with coach Max Allegri towards the end of Friday's win against Palermo.
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Who ate all the pies?
Gambling Commission opens an investigation after goalkeeper's pie-eating stunt
by Abi Moses on Tuesday 21st February 2017, 2:09pm.
Sutton United's reserve goalkeeper, Wayne Shaw, may have landed himself in hot water this morning after news that the new cult-hero amongst football fans is being investigated by the Gambling Commission and Football Association.
Millions of viewers watched last night as the larger-than-life character was seen eating a pie whilst sat on the substitutes bench towards the end of the Sutton vs Arsenal FA Cup fifth round tie, screened live on the BBC.
Shaw has this morning revealed that he was aware that Sun Bets were offering odds of 8/1 on him being caught by the TV cameras eating a pie. Sun Bets have revealed that one lucky punter bagged a five-figure win following the stunt.
Shaw claimed, "A few of the lads said to me earlier on: ‘What is going on with the 8-1 about eating a pie?’ I said: ‘I don’t know, I’ve eaten nothing all day, so I might give it a go later on. Sun Bets had us at 8-1 to eat a pie. I thought I would give them a bit of banter and let’s do it. All the subs were on and we were 2-0 down. I went and got it at half time from the kitchen, I had it all prepared and ready to go. It was meat and potato."
He was then asked if he knew of anyone that had backed the bet, to which he replied, "I think there were a few people. Obviously we are not allowed to bet. I think a few of the mates and a few of the fans. It was just a bit of banter for them. It is something to make the occasion as well and you can look back and say it was part of it and we got our ticket money back."
His light-hearted view of the situation is not one shared by either the Football Association or in particular, the Gambling Commission. Richard Watson, enforcement and intelligence director for the Gambling Commission, said, "Integrity in sport is not a joke and we have opened an investigation to establish exactly what happened. As part of that we’ll be looking into any irregularity in the betting market and establishing whether the operator has met its licence requirement to conduct its business with integrity."
Whether or not you agree with the Gambling Commission's ongoing investigation, one thing you cannot deny is that Sun Bets have clearly shown a fun, lighthearted approach to gambling in offering the bet.
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Bristol De Mai Back on Track for the Gold Cup Despite Recent Injury
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by Abi Moses on Tuesday 21st February 2017, 12:22pm.
Despite his knock in Newbury, Bristol De Mai is set to race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The six-year-old was favourite to win in his last race, but jumped awkwardly resulting in injury.
Following a knock on the third fence in Newbury it was obvious Bristol De Mai was lame. Despite the knock back the team have said he will be running regardless of the fact that the distance is still unknown, which is said to be a risk regarding the names the racer will be up against. Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede have said they are looking forward to seeing the grey thoroughbred back in action despite having to perform next to Top Notch, who is set to be the winner.
“We’re still going to have a go at the Gold Cup,” said Bromley about the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai. “The general feeling was he took more out of himself in his previous race at Haydock than we realized.
Speaking about the Gold Cup he added: “It’s a big roll of the dice. Even the distance is still an unknown and there are some very smart horses in there. He’s a lovely horse but he is an outsider, don’t get us wrong.”
Bristol De Mai’s biggest competitor, Top Notch, has previously won three races out of four starts, and is said to have the best chance of a win out of all the owners at the coming festival. Other names set to be racing in the festival are Messire Des Obeaux , Calett Mad and L'Ami Serge.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup day will be on Friday the 17th of March at the renowned Jockey Club racecourse. The first race is set to start at 10:30am.
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Grand National Weights have made Vicente the Top Pick of the Bunch
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by Abi Moses on Wednesday 15th February 2017, 5:47pm.
National Hunt Champion Trainer Paul Nicholas was delighted to receive a Valentine’s card Tuesday from the handicapper setting an allocation of 10st 9lb.
Nicholls’ five Irish-trained horses are set to be the head weights to run in the Grand National this year. Along with the amount of entries the handicapper’s weight will indubitably give the trainer a lead-start in the odds to win the £1m race. This report is being especially highlighted due to The Last Samurai’s handicapper, Phil Smith, is said to be weighing 11st 5lb for the race.
Vicente’s past reputation has proven he would be capable of an extra lap at Aintree. At the age of seven he won a four-mile race at Ayr which has been compared to the excellence of 2013 National champion, Auroras Encore. Failures in The Hennessy, the Welsh National and the Great Yorkshire chase for Vicente will need to be overcome during this race in order to regain credibility. The trainer is hoping for a good result due to the softening fences in this race. The Grand National also has a reputation for quality ground, giving runners a better quality to perform and endure stamina throughout.
Trainer Kim Bailey has released her opinions on her runner, The Last Samurai, being ranked the top-weight at 11st 5lb and having to go against the likes of Vicente.
She’s said: "I can do nothing about it and Phil (Smith, handicapper) has made his opinion on what I've got. The downside is we might end up with top-weight. I spoke to Phil last week and asked if there was any chance of 10st - he told me to take a running jump!”.
As for the other handicappers to take part in the Grand National on the 8th of April, the majority’s weights range from 10st 4lb-10st 12lb. The race will commence at approximately 17:15pm at Aintree.
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Coral offering a huge 33/1 on Arsenal to beat Hull City
Arsenal vs Hull City preview and odds - Can Arsenal return to winning ways after two consecutive losses?
by Abi Moses on Friday 10th February 2017, 12:01pm.
With Manchester City not playing until Monday and Liverpool hosting Tottenham at Saturday teatime, Saturday's early kick-off will give Arsenal an opportunity to keep the pressure on their rivals for Champions League qualification.
Arsenal, currently in fourth position, are at home to a relegation threatened Hull City side in the 12:30 kick-off on Saturday.
With 14 places and 27 points between the sides, many will expect a comfortable home win, but Hull City look a different proposition under new coach Marco Silva. Since his appointment in early January, Hull City have come through a tricky set of fixtures against Bournemouth, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool with 7 points from a possible 12 – astonishingly, the same amount of points earned in their previous 18 games.
Whilst in the last two games, Hull City have enjoyed a 2-0 win against Liverpool and a deserved 0-0 draw away to Manchester United, Arsenal by contrast have faltered badly. Their 3-1 defeat against leaders Chelsea flattered the Gunners, preceded by their shock 2-1 loss at home to mid-table Watford.
A win for Arsenal would be enough to see the Gunners go level with second placed Tottenham Hotspur, for a few hours at least, whilst an away win would lift Hull City up to 15th in the Premier League. An incredible achievement when you consider Silva took over less than one month ago, with Hull City rock-bottom of the Premier League and three points from safety.
Current match odds (courtesy of Coral):
Arsenal - 2/7
Draw - 5/1
Hull City - 10/1
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O'Sullivan off to a flyer in the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix
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by Abi Moses on Wednesday 8th February 2017, 2:39pm.
The 2017 Ladbrokes World Grand Prix got underway this week at The Guild Hall in Preston, with defending champion Shaun Murphy safely through to the last 16 after victory against Michael Holt in the first round.
Murphy could face a tough task in the last 16 with a likely showdown with second seed Ding Junhui, providing he can make it past Chinese compatriot Yu Delu.
The third instalment of the annual snooker tournament, is played out between the world's highest ranked 32 players with a prize of £100,000 available to the winner.
Welsh duo Ryan Day and Michael White will meet in the last 16 after both players defied the tournament's seedings with surprise first round wins against Stuart Bingham and John Higgins.
The pair find themselves in the bottom half of the draw – the half that is arguably the easier of the two, with world number one, Mark Selby, recent German Masters champion Anthony Hamilton and the mercurial talent of Ronnie O'Sullivan all in the top half of the draw.
The Rocket looked in fine form in his opening round, carving out a magnificent break of 137 against China teenager Yan Bingtao on his way to a 4-2 win in their best of seven tie.
Tournament sponsors, Ladbrokes will have the best odds on every match during the competition, with a host of markets, including in-play betting.
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Jesus the saviour for Manchester City?
Super Sunday match previews and odds
by Abi Moses on Sunday 5th February 2017, 10:09am.
Manchester City host Swansea City at lunchtime on a Sunday, where a win will be enough to take Pep Guardiola's side up to third in the Premier League.
Their recent 4-0 rout of West Ham United was a first league win in three games. Their own 4-0 drubbing at the hands of an in-form Everton side was followed by a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, despite taking a 2-0 lead.
Manchester City aren't the only side to have made a stuttering start to 2017, the form of Liverpool has been extremely concerning. Sitting comfortably in second place at the turn of the year, Liverpool will drop out of the Champions League places of Manchester City can win a second successive game.
One player responsible for City's upturn in form of late has been January signing Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian forward was impressive on his debut in their FA Cup win at Crystal Palace. His performance enough to see him preferred to Sergio Aguero last time out at West Ham United. Jesus duly obliged by opening his goal scoring account.
Another side who can put pressure on the stuttering top four is City's rivals Manchester United. Mourinho's side are currently on the league's longest unbeaten run having gone 14 games without defeat.
The catalyst of their upturn in fortunes has been a solid defence. Since their 4-0 loss at Chelsea in October, no side has managed more than one goal in any game against United since then.
The Red Devils travel to last year's champions, Leicester City on Sunday. The goal-shy Foxes are yet to register a single goal in 2017, so a home win against one of the league's meanest defence looks a tough ask.
Like neighbours City, a win for The Red Devils will see them put pressure on the top four. Three points will see them go within a single point of Liverpool and just two short of Arsenal.
Current match odds (courtesy of Ladbrokes):
Manchester City vs Swansea City
Manchester City - 2/9
Draw - 6/1
Swansea City - 12/1
Leicester City vs Manchester United
Leicester City - 9/2
Draw - 3/1
Manchester United - 4/6
Egypt vs. Cameroon match odds and preview
Cameroon defy the odds to reach the African Cup of Nations final
by Abi Moses on Friday 3rd February 2017, 3:34pm.
Cameroon defeated Ghana 2-0 to set up showdown with Egypt in the final of the African Cup of Nations, a repeat of the 2008 final.
The Indomitable Lions' run to the final of this year's tournament is quite remarkable given their label as the "worst Cameroon side of all time" before the competition started. After losing that 2008 final 1-0, they will now be out to avenge that defeat of nine years ago.
Sunday's clash is not just a repeat of the 2008 final but a showdown between the tournament's two most successful ever sides. Egypt and Cameroon have won 11 titles between them, including six wins in seven tournaments between 1998 and 2010. Neither side, however, have even reached the semi-final stage since then.
With Cameroon set to host the 2019 competition, there is an extra incentive for Hugo Broos' side to go into that tournament as defending champions. His squad were in disarray leading up to the start of the tournament, with a host of late withdrawals, including the debacle caused by the inclusion of defender Joel Matip. Liverpool's Matip, claimed he had previously retired from internationally duty and refused to travel. After FIFA intervention, Matip resumed club duties.
The Belgian coach of Cameroon is confident his youthful group of underdogs can finish a remarkable tournament by winning a fifth continental trophy. Broos said "In the 29 years I've been a coach, I've never worked with a group like this. It's a fantastic group of players both on and off the field and they deserve the final. We've shown from the start that we are getting better but it's still a dream that we've got to the final."
Can Cameroon defy the odds, or will Egypt reign supreme in Gabon?
Current odds to life the 2017 African Cup of Nations title (courtesy of 10 Bet):
Egypt - 28/17
Draw - 9/5
Cameroon - 2/1
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Tommy French introduce 'double delight' on 1st try scorers throughout the Six Nations
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by Abi Moses on Thursday 2nd February 2017, 8:08pm.
The 2017 Six Nations championship will get underway this weekend in what is potentially the toughest competition to call in years.
With the British Lions' tour of New Zealand on the horizon, the home nations seem to have upped their game over the past twelve months.
England can break their national record for consecutive wins if they beat France at Twickenham on Saturday. Their 37-21 win over Australia at the end of last year was their 14th straight win, equalling the record set by Clive Woodward's World Cup winning squad back in 2002/03.
Incidentally Eddie Jones' side are now just four games short of New Zealand's world record, another Grand Slam will be enough to surpass that record.
The All Blacks recorded 18 consecutive wins between August 2015 and October 2016 before that run came to abrupt end as Ireland recorded a famous 40-29 victory in Chicago, a first ever Irish win against New Zealand.
Like England, Ireland enjoyed a memorable 2016 as they completed a clean sweep of wins of the Southern Hemisphere 'big three'. Their historic win against New Zealand coming either side of wins against giants South Africa and Australia.
Wales also claimed a major scalp as they defeated South Africa in their final match of mixed 2016. The Welsh narrowly lost out on a Six Nations title after losing 25-21 to England at Twickenham. England raced into a 19-0 lead before Wales almost completed the greatest comeback in Six Nations' history.
A much-improved Scottish side have much to be encouraged by in 2016. Although the record books will show they lost four out of their ten games, that only tells half the story. Their 23-22 loss to Australia, despite leading 22-16 with just six minutes to go was typical of their luck in 2016. Their three Six Nations losses were all by a small margin, losing by six points to England, four points to Wales and by ten points to Ireland – twelve of Ireland's points were scored whilst Scotland had a man in the sinbin.
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"Unlucky" Liverpool must win as they welcome league leaders Chelsea to Anfield
888 Sport offering odds of 8/1 on Liverpool and 10/1 on Chelsea ahead of tonight's showdown
by Abi Moses on Tuesday 31st January 2017, 5:05pm.
Liverpool welcome league leaders Chelsea to Merseyside tonight knowing that only a win will be good enough, as they look to stop their poor run of form.
After an impressive start to the season, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side have endured a nightmare start to 2017. Having taken just two points from their three league games since the turn of the year, Liverpool have dropped from second to fourth in less than one month. Their miserable January was compounded after being dumped out of both domestic cup competitions last week; losing in the semi-final of the EFL Cup to Southampton before their embarrassing loss to Wolves in the FA Cup fourth round.
Tonight, league leaders Chelsea are the visitors to Anfield in what is a must win game for hosts Liverpool. If Liverpool lose they will find themselves 13 points behind the league leaders, their title chances will be all but over and their Champions League spot will come under threat the Manchester duo, City and United who currently occupy fifth and sixth positions.
Given their early season promise, Liverpool's sudden and significant dip in form has come as a shock to both managers. Chelsea manage Antonio Conte said "Liverpool's recent results are difficult to explain and I feel they have been unlucky".
Liverpool manager, Klopp was in a positive mood claiming "losing three home games in a row feels less than average. But losing in three competitions is better than losing three in just one".
The transformations in both side's fortunes since their meeting at Stamford Bridge in September is staggering. Liverpool completely outplayed Chelsea in the reverse fixture, earning a 2-1 win. Chelsea then lost a second consecutive game away at Arsenal but since then have been almost invincible with 17 wins in 18 league games.
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League Cup semi-final odds
by Abi Moses on Tuesday 24th January 2017, 10:38am.
Liverpool take on Southampton this evening in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final.
Jürgen Klopp's side are up against it if they are to set up a potential Wembley showdown with fierce rivals Manchester United.
An early Nathan Redmond goal in the first leg at St Mary's means Southampton will take a slender 1-0 lead to Anfield this evening.
Such was The Saints' dominance a fortnight ago, many people believe that Southampton are unlucky to only have a one goal advantage going into the second leg. This view is shared by Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp who has suggested that Southampton may regret not capitalising on an under-par performance by his side.
Klopp said "If we had been down 3-0 we would have to think about a few things but it is only 1-0 and so still everything is possible for us."
Liverpool are likely to be boosted by the return of defender Joel Matip. The former Cameroon international has been unavailable for selection after being caught up in a bizarre club vs country battle. Cameroon named Matip in the squad for the African Cup of Nations, despite claims that he had retired from international football back in 2015. Matip can now return to the heart of the Liverpool defence following FIFA clearance.
Although Liverpool know that even a victory tonight may not be enough for them to seal a place in the League Cup final, the win will be more than enough for you to benefit from Coral's latest offer.
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Tottenham looking for record sixth consecutive league win
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by Abi Moses on Saturday 14th January 2017, 8:34am.
Tottenham will hope to keep the pressure on league leaders Chelsea when they host West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League's early kick-off.
A win today will leave Spurs just four points off top spot, for a few hours at least. Chelsea visit holders Leicester City in the evening kick-off. If Tottenham do manage to seal three points at White Hart Lane they will equal a club record sixth straight Premier League win.
Their upturn in fortunes has in no small part been down to the form of England international Dele Alli. His seven goals in four games have certainly not gone unnoticed, with the former MK Dons midfielder being courted by Spanish giants Real Madrid, according to several media sources.
If Alli finds the back at the net against West Bromwich Albion he will equal Rafael van der Vaart's record by scoring in his fifth consecutive Premier League game.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Sam Allardyce will return to West Ham with his Crystal Palace side in a mouthwatering London derby.
Another side under a new manager is Hull City. A disappointing defeat against West Bromwich Albion left The Tigers rock bottom and Mike Phelan was swiftly dismissed and replaced by former Sporting and Olympiakos coach Marco Silva. Silva' first game in charge is at home to Bournemouth. Eddie Howe will be hoping his Bournemouth side can bounce back after throwing away a three-goal lead in their last game, drawing 3-3 at home to Arsenal.
Complete Saturday fixture list:
Tottenham Hotspur vs West Bromwich Albion
Burnley vs SouthamptonHull City vs Bournemouth
Sunderland vs Stoke City
Swansea City vs Arsenal
Watford vs Middlesbrough
West Ham United vs Crystal Palace
Leicester City vs Chelsea
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