Football Betting News / Mon, 07 Mar 2016 07:41:25 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.1 (obRSS 1.8.11) en-GB Inter hoping to play spoiler in Juventus’ title challenge /football-betting-news/7901-inter-hoping-to-play-spoiler-in-juventus-title-challenge.html Inter hoping to play spoiler in Juventus’ title challenge

Massimiliano Allegri’s men want to keep their spot atop the Serie A table while Inter need three points to continue their push for the Champions League, setting up an intriguing encounter in Turin.

While their first encounter back in October featured a league leader, it’s Juventus who now occupy that spot ahead of their Derby d’Italia clash with Inter on Sunday.

The Bianconeri sat an incredible eight points back of the Nerazzurri when they met all those months ago, but a run of 15 straight wins for Massimiliano Allegri’s men has them atop the standings, while Roberto Mancini’s side now find themselves 10 back.

Juve’s confidence will no doubt be sky high after coming back from two goals down to snatch a draw against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and they will no doubt use that mental boost to try and keep their place ahead of Napoli in the table.

Mancini will likely have other ideas, as Inter need three points to keep pace with Fiorentina and Roma for the final spot in Europe’s premier competition. They’ll also be looking to show that their 2016 woes are well and truly behind them after netting a 3-1 victory over Sampdoria last Saturday.

Although the Bianconeri’s comeback against Bayern Munich certainly boosted confidence, it has ruled Claudio Marchisio out of Sunday’s contest due to a thigh strain. The Italian joins Martin Caceres on the sidelines.

Geoffrey Kondogbia is available after seeing his two-match ban reduced. His return is a welcome sight for Roberto Mancini as Marco Brozoic is unavailable due to his own suspension.

Sunday’s contest will be the 166th meeting between the two sides, with Juventus holding the advantage thanks to 78 wins compared to the Nerazurri’s 45.

Although the Biscione were the first side to conquer the Juventus Stadium in Serie A thanks to a 3-1 victory in November 2012, they have only registered 11 wins from the 82 games they’ve played in Turin.

The two teams settled for a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture back in October, however the Old Lady did claim an impressive 3-0 victory when the two did battle in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final in January.

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2016-02-27T15:36:56+00:00 /football-betting-news/7901-inter-hoping-to-play-spoiler-in-juventus-title-challenge.html
Barcelona looking to pull clear in title race with win over Sevilla /football-betting-news/7900-barcelona-looking-to-pull-clear-in-title-race-with-win-over-sevilla.html Barcelona looking to pull clear in title race with win over Sevilla

Spanish football club Barcelona have a big chance to leave one or both of their rivals for the La Liga title out of the race when they entertain Sevilla at Camp Nou on Sunday night.

With Atletico Madrid visiting Real Madrid on Saturday, at least one of Barcelona's closest pursuers is guaranteed to drop points this weekend and with Barcelona already holding an eight-point lead over Atletico and nine over Real, a win for Barcelona would be virtually decisive, reports Xinhua.

Sevilla will be Barcelona's rivals in the final of Copa del Rey at the end of the season and the sides have already met twice this campaign with Barcelona winning a thrilling European Supercup title but sliding to a defeat in Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in the first league clash of the campaign.

That win was Sevilla coach Unai Emery's first ever triumph over Barcelona and reflects a season which has seen Sevilla become unbeatable in front of their home fans, but unable to win away from home.

Sevilla visit Barcelona without a win in 11 league matches away from their stadium this campaign and even lost to Norwegian outfit Molde in the Europa League on Thursday, albeit with the excuse that their 3-0 first leg win a week earlier had all but booked their place in the last 16 of that competition.

Barcelona will go into the game on the back of their 2-0 Champions League win away to Arsenal and a rather less convincing victory against Las Palmas last weekend.

Luis Enrique has looked to rotate his key players and will no doubt make some changes to Tuesday's side ahead of a round of midweek fixtures next week.

Three players who are unlikely to get a rest, however, are Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, whose goals continue to dig Barcelona out of trouble when they are below their best. Expect those three to start along with Sergio Busquets and Arda Turan while Aleix Vidal could well play at right back against his former club.

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2016-02-27T15:10:27+00:00 /football-betting-news/7900-barcelona-looking-to-pull-clear-in-title-race-with-win-over-sevilla.html
PSV set to crash into Atletico Madrid fortress /football-betting-news/7891-psv-set-to-crash-into-atletico-madrid-fortress.html PSV set to crash into Atletico Madrid fortress

PSV Eindhoven have scored in each of their 24 Eredivisie matches so far this season. The last time they failed to find the back of the net was in November, when they were lulled into a scoreless draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The single point helped them to a second-place finish in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, and a Round of 16 showdown with Atletico Madrid—an opponent as impressive defensively as they are in attack.

Stylistically, there isn’t a more divergent pair of teams tied together in the competition’s first knockout round, and the opposing methods that will be on display Wednesday in the Netherlands and next month in Spain will almost certainly favour Atletico.

In fact, there's a case to be made that Los Colchoneros could progress to a second Champions League final in three years, and perhaps even win it. After all, isn't there a cliche that connects good defence to winning trophies?

Atletico, as it happens, last conceded 17 days ago in a 3-1 win at home to Eibar. They've not been breached in the 224 minutes since, and Barcelona are the only side to have tallied more than once against them in a La Liga match this term.

Most opposing forwards have struggled to merely bring the ball into Atletico's 18-yard box, never mind fashion a goal-scoring opportunity; goalkeeper Jan Oblak, with 16 clean sheets already, will almost certainly win the Spanish top flight's prestigious Zamora award.

PSV will be hard-pressed to so much as get a look at the Slovenia international over the two legs—a job that won’t be made any easier by the injury absence of Luuk de Jong, who leads the Eredivisie with 17 goals.

Andres Guardado, who has been one of the top playmakers in the Dutch top flight since turning a loan spell from Valencia into a permanent move, could also miss Wednesday’s match, although in Jurgen Locadia, Gaston Pereiro and Luciano Narsing, PSV manager Phillip Cocu still has the sort of weaponry that, against most other visitors to Philips Stadion, would be more than capable of creating breakthroughs.

Atletico, however, are a different animal, and Cocu knows it.

“Atletico are a good example of what a team can do,” he said this week. “They all play for the team, without any exceptions. Nobody is bigger than anyone else. They are all willing to give 100 percent for the team.”

That team-first mentality, laced with doses of viciousness and determination, is the primary factor in Atletico’s recent success story, and an embodiment of tenacious manager Diego Simeone. Every player, from the forward to the winger to the fullback, is expected to contribute on the defensive side of the ball. Expression is stifled for the sake of the collective.

“Atletico Madrid are nothing like the team they were when I played in Spain,” added Cocu, who represented Barcelona from 1998 to 2004. “They are very consistent and always act as a tight unit. They don’t give away much space, regardless of their opponents.”

When not in possession—which tends to be more often than not—Atletico keep an effective shape in front of their 18-yard box. They’re willing to give away space in the middle third of the park; their first priority is harm reduction.

They also swing to the wide areas when it’s necessary to press the opposition on the flanks. Every action is executed with an eye to keeping the ball in low-risk areas, and after inevitably winning it they move it quickly downfield on the break.

Much-coveted midfielder Koke, who signed a five-year contract at Estadio Vicente Calderon last June, is the embodiment of the Atletico approach. He also happens to be the sort of hybrid, centre-wide contributor so necessary to his side’s narrow formation.

Gabi, the captain, is an effective tackler and adapt at playing long passes. The wildly under-appreciated Diego Godin is one of the best, all-around defenders in world football. Up top, Antoine Griezmann continues to develop into a world-class attacker who can play across the forward line.

Not that descriptions of individual contributions can, in any way, do justice to what Atletico have achieved under Simeone. Indeed, it seems almost inappropriate to mention them.

What’s of much greater importance is the 495 interceptions they’ve made as a group in La Liga, or the 541 clearances. (Real Madrid, by comparison, have made 438 interceptions this campaign; Barcelona 396.)

Atletico might not set the world alight with stylistic flashes, but the waves of attack they face will break upon them like water on rock.

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2016-02-23T16:14:32+00:00 /football-betting-news/7891-psv-set-to-crash-into-atletico-madrid-fortress.html
Pellegrini must ensure legacy against Dynamo Kyiv /football-betting-news/7890-pellegrini-must-ensure-legacy-against-dynamo-kyiv.html Dynamo Kyiv vs Manchester City

Manchester City's search for a maiden Champions League trophy gets back underway with a trip to Dynamo Kyiv in the first leg of the Round of 16.

For the last two season’s Manchester City have been draw against Barcelona at this stage of the competition and on both occasions were quick to meet their exit from the competition.

After topping the group stages they find life a little easier with the benefit of a seed for this year’s Round of 16 and face a Dynamo Kyiv side who have not played a competitive match since December.

City started their 2015/16 Champions League campaign with a defeat at home to Juventust but a run of three successes and a final day victory over Borussia Monchengladbach ensured they advanced as group winners.

The lost just one of their group matches away from the Etihad, a 1-0 defeat to Juventus, and returned five goals from their trips to Sevilla and Monchengladbach.

Dynamo came up against English opposition in the group stages as they suffered defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but picked up a valuable point in a 0-0 draw with the English champions at the NSK Olimpiyskyi.

Pellegrini’s hopes of a quadruple were ended in stunning style at the weekend when Chelsea dumped them out of the FA Cup with a 5-1 victory at Stamford Bridge, however City’s team contained five teenage full debutants and a host of key players were missing from the squad.

Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling are all expected to return to the starting line-up as Manchester City aim for their first appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Their opponents are taking part in the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 1999, when a star-studded side including Andriy Shevchenko, Sergei Rebrov and Oleg Luznhy were knocked out at the semi-finals stage by Bayern Munich.

However, they do have recent form in beating English opponents in Europe having dumped Everton out of the Europa League at the Round of 16 stage last season following a 6-4 aggregate win and will be hoping their domestic winter break ensures they are refreshed ahead of Wednesday night’s massive UEFA Champions League tie.

The Florentines got the better of Inter back in September, but a look at the Nerazzurri's position in the table proves that they were not destroyed by that defeat. Now Inter must be decisive. If Inter are going to lose, then they need to lose while sticking to their game plan, as they did against Napoli in the Coppa Italia. If they sit back and fear the Viola, they will be obliterated.

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2016-02-23T16:02:33+00:00 /football-betting-news/7890-pellegrini-must-ensure-legacy-against-dynamo-kyiv.html
Internazionale must not fear visit to Fiorentina /football-betting-news/7866-internazionale-must-not-fear-visit-to-fiorentina.html Internazionale must not fear visit to Fiorentina

As Internazionale approach the gates of Florence and cast their eyes over the Stadio Artemio Franchi, they would be wise to recall their first meeting with Fiorentina this season back in late September. When the Viola came to Milan, Roberto Mancini's men feared no one; by the time Fiorentina left, they had decimated his team.

The mistakes that could have been learned from that encounter have still not been rectified, and arguably it was this game that derailed the Nerazzurri's Scudetto bid, as it provided a blue print on how to beat Inter. Now as the two teams meet up again and with so much at stake, the visitors must not be intimidated and should approach the game decisively.

The 4-1 thrashing handed out at San Siro was truly remarkable. Inter went into the match having won five out of five and had only conceded one goal. Viola coach Paulo Sousa had said before the game that his team would play with no fear as the pressure was on his opponents -- Sousa's expansive game plan worked to a tee, as his team wreaked havoc on the Inter full-backs. Fiorentina also made the midfield look narrow by stretching the field and daring the Milanese to come out of position, which they were indecisive about. In the end, the fear of getting beat by a quick, elegant and pacey side, saw the Inter midfield retreat in defence, leaving their forwards isolated.

The fear of getting beat has reared its head more than once this season for Inter. The balancing act of having an organised and defensive display, combined with effective forays in attack, has often resulted in a timid and clumsy defensive mass, while offering no link with the attack. Look at last week's 3-3 draw with Hellas or the 3-0 Coppa defeat to Juventus earlier this month; both performances provided a mix of lazy defending and a distinct lack of attacking risk. 

The effective risk-taking lies at the feet of Mancini. At times he has gotten it right, such as when he matched Genoa and Torino with a 3-5-2 and asked his team to simply "perform their roles" in a different position. It was a calculated gamble. Also when he asked his team to play with tempo against Napoli (a 2-0 win) in the Coppa Italia and against Chievo (a 1-0 win) two games ago. The danger was also measured, as he was then asking the other team to react and in turn alter their game plan, which allowed his players more time on the ball and space to play.

The problem has come when the opposition executes their plan quicker than the Nerazzurri. It is this reason why most of Inter's victories this season have come in a "war of attrition" rather than in a dominant display. The endless 1-0 wins at the begging of the season were testament to a solid defence and goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. Mancini has struggled to get his team to start with any purpose and it is no surprise that until the game against Hellas last weekend, they had not scored a goal in the first 15 minutes of a Serie A game. This statistic is damning, but if a balance can be found, Inter, currently fourth, can perhaps end the season in the Champions League spots.

Fiorentina sit in third and if Inter win, they will overtake the Viola by two points. More importantly, it will send a message that the memory of September has been erased. If Inter can play with confidence, tempo and rigidity from the first minute, they have enough to take down Fiorentina in the Renaissance city.

 

The Florentines got the better of Inter back in September, but a look at the Nerazzurri's position in the table proves that they were not destroyed by that defeat. Now Inter must be decisive. If Inter are going to lose, then they need to lose while sticking to their game plan, as they did against Napoli in the Coppa Italia. If they sit back and fear the Viola, they will be obliterated.

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2016-02-12T13:26:09+00:00 /football-betting-news/7866-internazionale-must-not-fear-visit-to-fiorentina.html
Garde wants more from Aston Villa /football-betting-news/7865-garde-wants-more-from-aston-villa.html Remi Garde

Aston Villa boss Remi Garde has warned his squad they have no chance of beating Liverpool unless they raise their game.

Villa host the Reds on Sunday buoyed by last weekend's 2-0 win over Norwich - just their third Barclays Premier League victory of the season.

They head into the weekend having lost only twice in their last seven matches in all competitions but still eight points from safety, and with Garde acknowledging improvements must be made against Jurgen Klopp's side.

"If we are playing the same game against Liverpool (as against Norwich), we will have no chance to have points," he said.

"Against Norwich we deserved the win but in the second half they created many opportunities and if we were unlucky we would have drawn the game.

"My job is to say 'well done lads for the victory and three points but the football we played won't be enough to take points from the Liverpool game'.

"When you get three points it's very important. We don't have to waste too much time or energy on winning and everything is okay.

"We won the Norwich game but not in the best way we could have done it. I was not completely happy the game we played."

Jack Grealish, who has started just twice in Villa's last 15 games, has been ruled out of Sunday's match with an ankle injury.

Alan Hutton is available but Carlos Sanchez (hamstring), Libor Kozak (ankle), Adama Traore (foot) and Jordan Amavi (knee) are sidelined through injury and Jordan Ayew is suspended.

Garde added: "Rudy (Gestede) is still struggling with his hamstring. He's not training. I'm not optimistic.

"Jack twisted his ankle in a training session. He won't be available for this week but hopefully he will be back for the next game."

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2016-02-12T13:14:11+00:00 /football-betting-news/7865-garde-wants-more-from-aston-villa.html
West Brom 'staying positive' ahead of crunch clash with Everton /football-betting-news/7864-west-brom-staying-positive-ahead-of-crunch-clash-with-everton.html Darren Fletcher

West Brom captain Darren Fletcher refused to entertain talk of a relegation scrap despite the Baggies' declining form.

Albion have won just five of their last 19 games in all competitions after beating Peterborough on penalties in their FA Cup fourth round replay on Wednesday.

The Baggies won 4-3 in the shoot-out, to set up a fifth round trip to Reading, after Fletcher cancelled out Jon Taylor's goal to ensure the game finished 1-1 after extra time.

It was welcome relief for Albion, who have won just three of their last 15 games in the Premier League to sit six points above the drop zone -- but Fletcher insisted they would not look down ahead of Saturday's trip to Everton.

"You can look at it both ways. We're only four or five points from pushing for seventh or eighth," he said.

"At the same time, we're the same distance from the bottom three.

"We've got to stay positive, keep that level head and go again for a massive game at the weekend.

"It's a big factor in any team and we've got that in abundance. That's coming through now and we'll stick together.

"There are plenty more games to go and we're in a position where you look to the bottom but we're so many points from teams above us as well."

The 32-year-old missed his own spot kick in the shoot-out but Ben Foster saved Lee Angol's and Martin Samuelsen's penalties.

After being given a scare by the League One side Fletcher admitted they did not want to disrespect their hosts and celebrations were muted.

"We didn't want to milk it. These lads have put in a massive performance and we wanted to show respect to that," he said.

"I think everyone was knackered as well. We're doing it the hard way in the FA Cup."

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2016-02-12T13:06:39+00:00 /football-betting-news/7864-west-brom-staying-positive-ahead-of-crunch-clash-with-everton.html
Bundesliga: Betting Preview /football-betting-news/7847-bundesliga-betting-preview.html Bundesliga: Betting Preview

A huge week awaits in the 1. Bundesliga.  After last weeks schedule saw a whole bunch of “top half vs. bottom half” games and no real clashes between heavyweights, this week features six of the top seven teams in the league playing against each other.

Even if Bayern and Dortmund are the only teams with a chance at a title, this week will go a long way to determining the result of the battle for the league’s four Champions League spots.

Read on for a look at the three big games on tap.

Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Massive game against a team that have given Bayern some trouble in recent years.  In the last 13 Bundesliga matches between these two sides, Leverkusen have taken at least one point from seven of them, and have won three of them outright.  Stef Kiessling has tormented Bayern for much of that period, but last spring it was Çalhanoğlu and Bellarabi really having their way with Bayern (although Bayern did field a weakened team ahead of a Champions League match).

This year, Bayern again have a mid-week match immediately following.  It’s a Pokal tie rather than a CL match, though, so I think Pep will field a strong line-up for this one.  Here’s my guess: Lewandowski, Costa, Mueller, Robben, Thiago, Vidal, Berna, Alaba, Badstuber, Lahm, Neuer

That’s a slightly less offensive look from last week, when Bayern had five true forwards on the pitch to start the game.  I think, against a Leverkusen side that’s pretty damn strong at home, Bayern will come out with a more conventional look.  Alaba as a left CB in a four man back line, with the LB pressing forward to let Alaba slide into the corner frequently, was tried early in the season, with some success.  With Tasci concussed in his first practice, Javi Martinez out for a month after a minor surgery, and Boateng out for the long term, our options there are limited.

Coman and Kimmich would be first guys off the bench here, along with Xabi Alonso.  If they don’t get any action, those three will likely start in the mid-week match vs. Bochum.

Bayern Leverkusen are again in contention for a Champions League spot.  They don’t have much of a chance for the Bundesliga title (11 points behind Bayern, with Dortmund and Hertha between them), but they’re top for in the league and still alive in the Pokal and the Europa League.  B04 have a dangerous attacking set-up.  Javier Hernandez has obviously been the star, with 21 goals across all competitions in just 24 matches.

Last week, Leverkusen did what they haven’t usually done in the last few months: they lined up with both Kiessling AND Chicharito on the pitch, in a true double-striker formation.  The odd man out in this look is Mehmedi, with Bellarabi and Çalhanoğlu on the wings and Christoph Kramer and Kevin Kampl in a double pivot.  So the question is whether B04 will use this slightly more attacking formation against Bayern, or whether they will pull back with just one striker and set up in a more balanced 4-2-3-1.  My bet would be the latter, with Kiessling held in reserve for a second half substitution.  But considering Stef has had a good goal-scoring record against Bayern, anything’s possible.

Leverkusen’s defense is alright, but not great.  They let RB Giulio Donati walk in the winter transfer season (possibly in hopes of bringing in Debuchy, which didn’t pan out).  Roberto Hilbert is back in the RB spot now.  He’s a decent player, but Bayern’s attack, with Costa and/or Coman pressing down that flank, presents a tough match-up.  Bayern will likely control possession and get a majority of the chances, but this is perhaps the stiffest test Die Roten have faced in a while.

Hertha Berlin vs. Borussia Dortmund

A high-stakes clash between second-place and third-place.  Dortmund have had a handful of slip-ups this year, but are still clearly the second best team in the league behind Bayern.  They’ve won their two spring semester matches by a combined 5:1 score-line, and they have the most goals in the league (and could threaten the all-time record with some luck).  With Bayern facing a tough road match this week, Dortmund are thinking this could maybe be a chance to make up some ground.

But Hertha are a threatening opponent in their own right.  Their two-man strike force of Ibisevic and Kalou, with 16 goals between them, present a tough day for any defense.  And Hertha have been solid at home: just one loss in nine home matches, and a +9 goal differential.

One thing to be aware of is that Hertha have mainly been feasting against weaker competition.  There’s nothing wrong with that – the sign of a good team is that they beat the teams they’re supposed to beat.  But in the first half, HBSC played six matches against the other six teams currently in the top seven.  They lost five of them, including a one-sided 3:1 loss to this same Dortmund team in August.  For that reason, BVB have to be favored here, my respect for Hertha’s good season notwithstanding.

Schalke 04 vs. VfL Wolfsburg

The third of our clashes between two good teams, this one could end up playing the biggest role in the eventual allocation of the Bundesliga’s four Champions League spots.  These two sides currently sit outside the top four: fifth place for Schalke (one point off the fourth-place pace of Leverkusen) and seventh for Wolfsburg (four points back).  They also have somewhat pedestrian goal differentials, with S04 sitting on an even differential and VfL on +4.  You don’t want to say any match is a “must win” at this stage.  The loser of this one, though, has a lot of ground to make up.  Keep in mind both of these teams are also playing continental ball, so they will have compressed schedules and short-rest games throughout the spring.

Wolfsbug maybe have the more talented roster overall, with Draxler, Kruse and Dante coming over last off-season to fill out the team sheet.  But Dante hasn’t thrived, and Drax and Kruse are both doing just okay.  VfL have also won just a single game on the road, and their goal differential is a poor -10 away from home.  The Wolves have been clean-sheeted four times on the road in league play, and have scored multiple goals on the road just once: a visit to Eintracht Frankfurt that they ended up losing 3:2 anyway.

Accordingly, I think this is a bigger match for VfL than it is for Schalke.  If they lose this one, the Wolves league season becomes a nightmare (though advancing to the knockout stage in the CL is a good accomplishment no matter what).  They have Hertha and Bayern to follow before the end of February.  If they lose tomorrow, their possible route to a top-four finish is next to impossible.

This is a big week all around for the league.  Three highlight matches, along with a few other interesting games and a bunch of new players for some teams. 

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2016-02-05T17:35:48+00:00 /football-betting-news/7847-bundesliga-betting-preview.html
Rooney ready for Man. United’s FA Cup campaign /football-betting-news/7829-rooney-ready-for-man-united-s-fa-cup-campaign.html Rooney ready for Man. United’s FA Cup campaign

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is looking forward to getting underway in the FA Cup this weekend with the Red Devils facing Derby County.

United begin their quest to win the competition for the first time in over a decade on Friday but they will have to overcome a difficult test in the Rams.

Derby are going through a bad patch themselves but with the Cup always spurring players on, United will have to be at their best to take the win and progress into the fourth round. The Red Devils suffered a 1-0 defeat to Southampton last week and they will be looking to bounce back with a strong display.

Manager Louis van Gaal is still in the job too and he will need a win with his job under huge pressure from the fans. But Rooney is sticking to the task and knows that Derby will be difficult opponents.

United played the Rams a few years ago in the competition and came away with the victory. Rooney played for United back then too and he admitted that they will be a tough test with their atmosphere always good at the IPro Stadium.

United are likely to field a strong side against Derby and that includes Rooney, Anthony Martial and others in attack. Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger could also return after having an injury lay off after the Christmas break.

But either way, United will need to win if Van Gaal is to remain in charge and United are to have any chance of winning a competition. Rooney, 30, knows that tough challenges will come in the FA Cup but believes Derby could be one of the toughest.

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2016-01-27T17:21:20+00:00 /football-betting-news/7829-rooney-ready-for-man-united-s-fa-cup-campaign.html
Man. City seek League Cup comeback /football-betting-news/7823-man-city-seek-league-cup-comeback.html Man. City seek League Cup comeback

Thoughts of the 2013/14 run-in will be inspiring Manchester City’s players as they attempt to overturn a 2-1 deficit in Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final second leg against Everton.

Then, as now, City are chasing glory on four fronts and while they fell short in the Champions League and FA Cup two years ago, League Cup glory was to prove a precursor to victory in the Premier League title race.

Should Everton pull off a repeat of the 0-0 draw they recorded at the Etihad Stadium two weeks ago, they will progress to a first League Cup final since 1984, but City defender Nicolas Otamendi is confident that he and his teammates now have the measure of Roberto Martinez’s men.

“The first leg, away at Everton, wasn’t good for us and we didn’t play anywhere near as well as we can, but we must think there are still 90 minutes to go and we can do it,” the Argentine told.

“Everton are a good side and didn’t get to the semi-finals by luck. They travel very well and have only lost once in the league on the road all season, so we know we face a battle.

“I think the major factor will be home advantage. We need our fans to make plenty of noise, get behind us from the first moment and lift us when we need it.”

City drew 2-2 at West Ham United on Saturday, leaving them three points below league leaders Leicester City, and they have not recorded back-to-back wins in the league since mid-October.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side remain troublingly porous in the continued absence of Vincent Kompany, as shown by West Ham’s second goal, when Otamendi allowed a throw-in to bounce over him and Enner Valencia scored.

But they can at least rely on Sergio Aguero to dig them out of a hole, the Argentina striker scoring twice at Upton Park to take his tally to four goals in two games.

Romelu Lukaku’s 78th-minute header in the first leg means a draw will take Everton into the final, where either Liverpool or Stoke City await.

But Everton, too, are fragile, having slid to 12th in the Premier League after just one win in 10 league games.

The latest setback, on Sunday, was particularly galling, a 2-1 home defeat against a Swansea City team fighting to keep their heads above water, and midfielder Gareth Barry admits that it was less than ideal preparation.

“The ideal world going into a game like Wednesday would be with a win,” said the former City player.

“There is nothing better than going into games on a winning run, when you are feeling confident, but that’s where we are at the moment. We have got to go into a League Cup semi-final on the back of a defeat.

“We focus on a huge game against Man City, and hopefully we can get the fans positive again and then return to the league.”

One positive for Everton against Swansea was the return of full-back Seamus Coleman after three games out with a calf injury, even if the Irishman did volley a glorious stoppage-time chance over the bar.

Midfielder Muhamed Besic (hamstring) and winger Kevin Mirallas (knee) will both miss the trip to Manchester after being forced off by injury in the first half on Sunday.

But captain Phil Jagielka is due to return after being rested against Swansea and Everton’s fans will hope that his presence will help to settle John Stones, who has turned in some nervy performances of late.

Fernandinho returned to the bench for City at West Ham after three games out with a muscular problem.

But Aleksandar Kolarov (calf) has joined fellow defenders Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala (hamstring) on the sidelines, along with midfielder Samir Nasri (hamstring) and striker Wilfried Bony (calf).

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2016-01-26T08:15:20+00:00 /football-betting-news/7823-man-city-seek-league-cup-comeback.html
Bayern look to regain winning form at Hamburg /football-betting-news/7810-bayern-look-to-regain-winning-form-at-hamburg.html Bayern look to regain winning form at Hamburg

After more than a month of rest and preparation, Bayern Munchen returns to action on Friday against Hamburger SV.

It would be fair to say that Bayern were underwhelming in their recent friendly against Karlsruhe SC. The second division side emerged victorious against the record champions, aided by lackluster attacking and suicidal defense by the Munchen’s side.

While that result has sent some alarm bells ringing among Bayern fans, the team has an opportunity to calm fears with a solid win against Hamburg. Indeed, the match could easily have been a result of a lack of intensity from the Bavarian side. Having just returned from a restful winter break and training camp in Doha, one could imagine that a friendly was not the highest priority for the players.

However there are no such excuses available for Friday’s match. As the Bundesliga restarts, Bayern find themselves with an 8 point lead over second-place Borussia Dortmund. While that lead is impressive, it is by no means unassailable and Pep Guardiola will be hoping to maintain and build upon that gap in the standings as soon as possible.

The manager will have a nearly full squad to choose from, a rarity during his tenure. Players like Franck Ribéry, Medhi Benatia and Mario Götze are still recovering from injury, and Rafinha suffered a severe knee contusion against Karlsruhe. Otherwise, Pep has the full roster available for selection. He will be hoping to start his final months in charge in Munich on a positive note, as the club pursues the perfect parting gift – the elusive treble.

While Hamburg cannot claim to have the same lofty, trophy-winning objectives as Bayern, fans of the club should nonetheless be pleased with the season so far. HSV sit 10th in the table, having accrued a respectable 22 points so far. Compared to the constantly relegation-threatened campaigns of the last few years Hamburg have excelled.

The Winterpause also brought positive news from an organizational perspective. Bruno Labbadia, the manager responsible for righting the Hamburg ship last season and guiding them to safety this year extended his contract until 2017. For a club that has gone through coaches faster than Abramovich’s Chelsea recently, a bit of stability can only be interpreted as positive.

Hamburg will not light up the Bundesliga this season and I expect them to utilize a pragmatic, defensive shape on Friday. However for fans of the storied red shorts, a mid-table finish will feel like a triumph. Meanwhile, Bayern will continue to work out the kinks after a month long absence from competitive football, eventually producing enough to earn a victory on the road.

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2016-01-21T10:52:15+00:00 /football-betting-news/7810-bayern-look-to-regain-winning-form-at-hamburg.html
Juve face Lazio in Coppa Italia /football-betting-news/7805-juve-face-lazio-in-coppa-italia.html Juve face Lazio in Coppa Italia

Having gone head-to-head for the Coppa Italia trophy in 2015, Lazio and Juventus will play for a place in the semi-finals this time around.

Juventus beat Lazio to the Coppa Italia in the 2015 final and on Wednesday they meet at the Stadio Olimpico again, this time in the quarter-final stage.

Lazio took the lead in last May's final at their home stadium but succumbed to a 2-1 defeat after extra time with Alessandro Matri's 97th-minute strike earning what would be the first part of a domestic double in Massimiliano Allegri's maiden Juventus campaign.

The win ended Juve's 20-year wait for a 10th Coppa Italia title and made them the competition's most successful club.

Allegri's team followed that triumph by defeating Lazio 2-0 in last August's Supercoppa Italiana in Shanghai.

If that was not enough to ply Juve with confidence, they head into Wednesday's clash having extended their winning streak in Serie A to 10 games by beating Udinese 4-0 on Sunday.

Sami Khedira believes they must continue their good form as they head into a tough run of fixtures.

"We are playing very well, we are in great form but we still haven't achieved anything, we mustn't let up," he told.

"We have to make sure that we keep this run going. We have so many important games coming up, beginning of course with Lazio and Roma [in Serie A]. We are feeling great and enjoying our football."

Lazio's last win over Juventus came in the semi-finals of the 2012-13 edition of this competition – a 2-1 victory at the Olimpico en route to the lifting the trophy.

Coach Stefano Pioli admits it will be tough for his side to replicate that triumph but harbours belief they can bring Juve's sensational run to an end.

"Wednesday will be a difficult match. Juventus come in off the back of a 10-game winning streak and are in exceptional form," he told Lazio Style.

"It will be very complicated, the Bianconeri are always a tough opponent for us. [They are] a great team, but not unbeatable."

Allegri rested Paul Pogba for the weekend's destruction of Udinese and the Frenchman could be set for a return to the starting line-up, with Kwadwo Asamoah likely to make way.

Martin Caceres is expected to take Daniele Rugani's place in defence, while the coach hopes to have Andrea Barzagli available following a muscular issue.

Lazio were boosted by the goalscoring return of Senad Lulic in the 2-2 draw with Bologna at the weekend, while Santiago Gentiletti is edging towards fitness.

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2016-01-19T10:32:11+00:00 /football-betting-news/7805-juve-face-lazio-in-coppa-italia.html
Sami Khedira set on winning start to 2016 /football-betting-news/7770-sami-khedira-set-on-winning-start-to-2016.html Sami Khedira

Sami Khedira underlines the importance of beating Verona on Wednesday: “It will be a tough match, but we’re at home, we’ve had a good week’s training and we’re very focused on the task at hand.

Juventus have never lost this term whenever Sami Khedira has played. Indeed, they have almost always taken maximum points with him on the pitch, winning eight matches and drawing twice, scoring 22 goals and conceding just six times over these ten fixtures.

The German midfielder, however, was quick to attribute these statistics to the growth of the whole squad, who emerged victorious in nine of their last ten games in all competitions before the Christmas break.

Analysing the season so far, Khedira began: “It was a difficult start for the team and also for me because I was new here, then I got injured, which kept me out for two months. Results were not going well in Serie A. Our Champions League campaign was progressing quite well and then eventually our domestic form improved too. We are now in a much stronger situation than in the summer.

“The most important thing now is that the team keeps pushing on to win more matches. As we have seen in recent games in the league, we are all playing with more confidence, we’re set up better tactically, we score more goals and concede less.

“I think it’s normal that we took a bit of time to get going, after changing so many players, but now we’ve all settled in, we’re performing well and getting results regardless of who is on the pitch.”

Next up on the fixture list for Khedira and company is Wednesday’s home encounter against Hellas Verona at Juventus Stadium and the 28-year-old is adamant that the Bianconeri need to secure what would be their eighth league success on the bounce in order to keep closing the gap on first-placed Inter and eventually occupy top spot themselves – an objective that the Germany international is optimistic his side can achieve.

“We’ve trained very hard since returning from our holidays last Tuesday. We’ve done a lot of running and tactical work which will stand us in good stead for the second part of the season.

“On Wednesday we have a tough match, as it’s the first one after the Christmas break, but it’s one which we need to win in order to keep up the pressure on Inter at the top of the table. We’re also at home which perhaps makes victory even more important, but we’ve had a good week’s training, we’re very focused on the task at hand and so I’m optimistic about our chances of taking maximum points.

“In previous seasons, I’ve only ever followed Serie A on TV, but this year it certainly strikes me as a very competitive division with other strong teams like Inter, Napoli and Fiorentina all doing well. That said, I am convinced that, if we continue to play the way we have done over the last seven league games, then we can overtake them to finish in first place.”

Meanwhile, in the Champions League, Khedira admitted that he was very excited to be taking on Bayern Munich in the last 16 and backed the Bianconeri to progress in the competition if they can hit top form over the two-legged tie.

“It’s a great game for the clubs and fans alike. Beating Bayern is obviously a very, very difficult challenge, but not impossible. They are, without doubt, one of the best teams in the world, but, then again, we are also a strong side. Over the course of the two matches, if we can play to the best of our abilities and maintain concentration throughout, then I think we’ve a chance of reaching the next round.”

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2016-01-04T06:33:16+00:00 /football-betting-news/7770-sami-khedira-set-on-winning-start-to-2016.html
Weary Al Ahli take on Al Wasl /football-betting-news/7769-weary-al-ahli-take-on-al-wasl.html Cosmin Olaroiu

Al Ahli coach Cosmin Olaroiu is not at all happy with the scheduling of his team’s matches in the Arabian Gulf League and felt that his team was paying a ‘heavy price’ for participating in the Asian Champions League.

Al Ahli have a crucial engagement with Al Wasl on Monday at Zabeel Stadium, which will be their last outing of the first phase. A win here would put them just one point behind leaders Al Ain and that would set the tone for the second phase which starts on January 7.

“This is our eighth game in the period of 29 days and from my point of view this is not normal. Ours is a good team and has shown professionalism. This is an important game for us and I would thank them if they can achieve those three points as they have still not got any long rest,” said Olaroiu, adding that, his opponents Al Wasl, on the other hand, have managed enough rest and had plenty time to prepare for this outing.

“Rest is what our players are not getting. Al Wasl has the advantage as their players found rest,” said Olariou, whose last outing was just four days back against Emirates, which they won 2-1.

Olariou was also of the view that back-to-back matches was taking a toll on his players and not giving his injured players time to fully recover.

“We can’t afford to give our players proper time to recuperate as we have to get them on field immediately. That’s what I will be doing against Al Wasl as well,” revealed Olariou, who will also be missing the services of Korean Kwon Kyung Won due to suspension.

“Kyung will miss out and (Rodrigo) Lima is still not 100 per cent but we will decide on his participation later,” revealed Olariou adding, “I’m actually feeling sad for the players because they are being punished for playing in the Asian Champions League. I hope we could be at good levels in the second round.”

Olariou felt that if his wards could get across the line against Al Wasl, then it would be like a job well done despite all the hurdles.

“We have 10 wins in the league so far and our course in the Asian Champions League was good. In the Cup, we reached the semi-final and all this happened in spite of the pressures that we’ve had. So it was more than a satisfactory performance from our team,”asserted Olariou.

Al Ahli custodian Majid Nasser said: “Al Wasl will be a tough match, we as players under the circumstances that we are experiencing. Al Wasl provides a good level to competition, but our determination to maintain our position will make us fight.”

Al Wasl will also be well aware that a win against second-placed Al Ahli will provide them with the much needed boost going into the next phase. Three valuable points means they will join Al Nasr, who are on third spot with 25 points.

Al Wasl’s Argentine coach Gabriel Calderon too was upbeat about his team’s chances: “Everyone knows this game will be tough for sure. We will enter the game in order to win and collect the three points. Al Ahli is the strongest team on paper with some quality international players, but the 90 minutes is where everything is happening.”

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2016-01-04T06:19:24+00:00 /football-betting-news/7769-weary-al-ahli-take-on-al-wasl.html
Klopp warns Liverpool not to underestimate Sunderland /football-betting-news/7757-klopp-warns-liverpool-not-to-underestimate-sunderland.html Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool won't take Premier League strugglers Sunderland lightly after ending high-flying Leicester's long unbeaten run.

Klopp's side became the first side to stop Leicester scoring in the league this season as Claudio Ranieri's team were beaten 1-0 at Anfield on Saturday -- their first defeat since September.

That was Liverpool's first win in five games and they go to Sunderland on Wednesday on the back of successive away defeats in the Premier League.

Reds boss Klopp therefore insists his side has no right to take anything for granted, despite Sunderland's position in the relegation zone and their chastening 4-1 defeat at Manchester City in their last game.

"There's no doubt about the quality of the players, the character. What we have to create is a stable level of performance," Klopp said.

"We have to go to Sunderland and be concentrated from the first second, like we were against Leicester.

"We want to win at Sunderland. That's the only reason why we travel there.

"We have no doubt as to the mentality of the team. Nobody in the team thinks 'it's only Sunderland'.

"We want to develop and get more points in these very important moments in the league."

Klopp expects a strong Sunderland reaction to their defeat at City as the Wearsiders scrap for survival and will prepare his players for a physical battle.

"I think second balls will be a big thing to think about for Sunderland. They will go back to their roots. We know what is waiting for us."

Liverpool will not rush back striker Daniel Sturridge, who has returned to training following his latest four-match injury absence with a hamstring strain, and are awaiting the results of a scan on a hamstring injury Divock Origi sustained against Leicester.

Winger Jordon Ibe could return following illness, but defender Martin Skrtel and midfielder James Milner, who is due to return to training on Tuesday, are still missing.

Meanwhile, Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce admits he is taking a risk by turning to veteran defender Wes Brown against Liverpool.

Former England international Brown is set for only his second appearance since May, with his most recent coming in last month's 6-2 defeat at Everton.

The 36-year-old is on standby to replace former Manchester United team-mate John O'Shea, who is struggling with a calf problem picked up in the City defeat that left the Black Cats second-bottom.

With Younes Kaboul facing up to two months out with a torn hamstring, Allardyce is short on options for the Liverpool clash.

He is ready to shift his formation to protect Brown, and said: "I could have covered any injury, apart from one to John O'Shea.

"We have Wes but he hasn't played much football at all this season so that would be a bit of a concern. But that will be the case if John doesn't make it.

"We'd have to play a different way and play a certain system to use Wes' experience and also give him a little bit of protection.

"We know that he's getting a little bit older and he's not quite as quick as he used to be."

Following an upturn in results after Allardyce took charge in October, Sunderland have lost their last four games to leave them five points adrift of safety ahead of the latest round of fixtures going into their final game of 2015.

"We had some positive results when I arrived and I thought that would lift the confidence," Allardyce said.

"But all of a sudden, that confidence is shattered again. I see a lot of fear back in the team and I have to use my experience to dispel that.

"I need to put the players in a good frame of mind so that they go out and fight their way out of this."

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2015-12-29T07:35:12+00:00 /football-betting-news/7757-klopp-warns-liverpool-not-to-underestimate-sunderland.html
Benitez still under pressure ahead of 2015 finale /football-betting-news/7756-benitez-still-under-pressure-ahead-of-2015-finale.html Rafael Benitez

Rumours over the future of Rafael Benitez remain as Real Madrid aim to finish 2015 on a high against Real Sociedad.

Real Madrid return to La Liga action on Wednesday with the short Christmas break having done little to quiet the intense speculation surrounding Rafael Benitez's future.

Benitez oversaw a stunning 10-2 rout of Rayo Vallecano last time out but that devastating display was not greeted with fanfare by the Santiago Bernabeu crowd.

Instead Benitez was whistled before the game and the players received similar jeers from the supporters at half-time despite leading 4-2.

The Administrative Tribunal for Sport's (TAD) decision to uphold Madrid's expulsion from the Copa del Rey for fielding the ineligible Denis Cheryshev is unlikely to help the pre-game atmosphere in the capital against Sociedad.

However, for all their struggles, on and off the field, Madrid trail arch rivals Barcelona - who have been held by Valencia and Deportivo La Coruna in their last two league games -  by just two points although they have played a game more. 

They will be expected to at least maintain that gap against struggling Sociedad.

The removal of David Moyes as coach and appointment of Eusebio Sacristan in November has brought about something of an improvement from Sociedad, who have lost just two of their last five league games.

But the Basque club are only two points above the relegation zone and - having not won at the Bernabeu since 2004 - few will anticipate Sociedad pulling off a shock.

Defender Diego Reyes said: "In football, you never know. This is a huge game against a great rival – one of the best in the world; we will try to concentrate on playing our game and focus on what we do because with character and personality, you can achieve great things.

"We have surplus motivation – it's normal when you will be up against three of the most important forwards in the world, so motivation is not an issue for us.

"Madrid will be equally as keen as us to take three points but we will keep fighting to get out of the poor run we have been in and to do that, we have to stand up to every team.

"We are fully committed and we know what we want and what the coach wants from us. We're working hard and I think we're on the right path."

David Zurutuza is out for Sociedad with a hamstring injury, while defender Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane are back in training for Madrid. Sergio Ramos has been struggling with muscle pain in his right leg and is extremely doubtful.

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2015-12-29T07:26:34+00:00 /football-betting-news/7756-benitez-still-under-pressure-ahead-of-2015-finale.html
Man City won’t beat Arsenal tonight but will win the title /football-betting-news/7739-man-city-won-t-beat-arsenal-tonight-but-will-win-the-title.html Man City won’t beat Arsenal tonight but will win the title

Manuel Pellegrini knows his Manchester City side must improve their away form, starting at the Emirates on Monday night.

Manuel Pellegrini has claimed that Manchester City’s match with Arsenal tonight will not prove decisive in the Premier League title race after insisting that Leicester City must now be considered genuine challengers to be crowned champions.

Manchester City face Arsenal at the Emirates tonight in the first meeting this season between the two teams regarded as the most likely title winners. But with Leicester confirming themselves in the Christmas No 1 spot by defeating Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, neither Pellegrini’s side nor Arsenal will dislodge Claudio Ranieri’s team from the Premier League summit with a win this evening. 

And Pellegrini, who is set to restore fit-again forward Sergio Aguero to City’s starting 11, believes the new year will see a title race involving as many as seven clubs, with Leicester leading the way.

“It is not a decisive game against Arsenal because after that, we have to play 21 games more and that is a lot of points,” Pellegrini said. 

“It is important to demonstrate who is the best team of the first round and it is important to play against the team who is one point above our team, but I think that Leicester finished the first round still at the top of the table.

“Manchester United is just a few points behind us, Tottenham can be involved and Liverpool and Crystal Palace can be involved too. You have to play so many games that it is impossible to think just two teams can be involved in the title.

“It is a very important game [tonight], it is a game of six points, but you can win and the most important rival with Leicester will stay in the same position [behind them].”

City visit Arsène Wenger’s Gunners aiming to improve on a woeful away record that has seen them fail to collect all three points since Kelechi Iheanacho scored a stoppage-time winner at Crystal Palace in September. Since then, they have suffered a  4-1 defeat at Tottenham and failed to score in three successive Premier League away games against United, Aston Villa and Stoke City.

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2015-12-21T08:25:46+00:00 /football-betting-news/7739-man-city-won-t-beat-arsenal-tonight-but-will-win-the-title.html
Tottenham win could spur Southampton turnaround /football-betting-news/7732-tottenham-win-could-spur-southampton-turnaround.html Ronald Koeman

It felt like a warning to his players as much as anything, a wake-up call after a dismal run of five games without a win and only three goals scored.

Ronald Koeman sat in front of the gathered media at Southampton's plush press auditorium at their multi-million pound training complex on Thursday and admitted he was worried his underperforming side would be dragged sleep-walking into a relegation battle.

It was acknowledgement from the Dutchman that he is facing the biggest challenge of his St Mary's career as the crisis of confidence among the squad threatens to send a season that at one stage promised so much spiralling into turmoil.

After beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Nov. 7, Southampton rose to seventh place in the Premier League and harboured genuine hopes of a trip to Wembley as Capital One Cup quarterfinalists.

Since that win over the Black Cats, Koeman's side have suffered 1-0 defeats at home to Stoke and away at Crystal Palace, failed to beat bottom club Aston Villa at home -- an achievement in itself -- lost to Manchester City and been thrashed 6-1 by Liverpool in the cup.

Almost in the blink of an eye, talk of pushing for a European place has been replaced by worries about the seven-point gap to the bottom three and Koeman is right to be looking anxiously over his shoulder, especially in this craziest of seasons.

Perhaps the most alarming factor for Koeman, apart from the lack of cutting edge in recent weeks, is that Southampton's five league wins have all come against sides currently in the bottom seven in the table.

Aside from a trip to Norwich on Jan. 2, four of their next five matches are against sides in the top half of the league. So if that trend continues, Southampton could have as little as 24 points from 21 games -- and that is relegation form.

Koeman has tried changing both personnel and tactics in recent weeks, but despite the Dutchman's best efforts the poor run has continued -- another reason why alarm bells are starting to ring.

A year ago Koeman worked miracles to build a team from the ashes of one ripped apart in the wake of Mauricio Pochettino's departure. And for much of the season they were flirting with the Champions League places.

But it seems that was the easy bit, thriving when there were no great expectations, and It is ironic Koeman chose to raise his relegation concerns on the eve of Pochettino's return to St Mary's with Tottenham on Saturday. The Argentine is guaranteed a hate-filled reception from home fans after his controversial defection to White Hart Lane.

Last season, when Southampton sat looking down on Spurs for much of the campaign, those supporters taunted their former manager for making the wrong decision. But perhaps he was right after all.

Sources close to Pochettino say he would have stayed on the south coast had he been given guarantees the likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Calum Chambers would not be sold.

Pochettino felt Southampton could not match his ambitions by cashing in on their star men and bringing in cut-price replacements, and maybe Southampton's recent struggles prove his premonition to be accurate.

The jury is still out on many of the players recruited in the summer, with Jordy Clasie -- billed as the new Morgan Schneiderlin when he was signed from Feyenoord for £8 million -- the biggest disappointment so far.

It is not just pure footballing ability Southampton have lost with all the big-name departures, but also dressing-room character, which is just as hard to replace.

Lallana, Schneiderlin and Rickie Lambert in particular were huge personalities and there has been a lack of leadership on the pitch during Southampton's six-week slump.

Only Koeman and his players can change that and a first-ever managerial win against the man he replaced would be a great place to start.

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2015-12-18T09:06:42+00:00 /football-betting-news/7732-tottenham-win-could-spur-southampton-turnaround.html
Ranieri cautious over Leicester's title chances /football-betting-news/7731-ranieri-cautious-over-leicester-s-title-chances.html Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri is refusing to entertain the prospect of a Premier League title challenge from Leicester City even though his side travel to Everton on Saturday as surprise leaders.

Ranieri's side, who began the season among the favourites for relegation, have stunned the rest of the division with a superb run that has left them two points clear of second placed Arsenal.

The Foxes claimed the scalp of Jose Mourinho this week as Chelsea's 2-1 defeat at the King Power Stadium on Monday proved the Blues manager's final match in charge before he was sacked on Thursday.

While many pundits doubt Leicester's ability to last the pace in the title race, history suggests Ranieri's team are genuine contenders.

Victory at Goodison Park would guarantee top spot at Christmas and the Italian is aware that five of the last six festive table-toppers have gone on to lift the trophy.

Yet Ranieri wouldn't discuss Leicester's title hopes when asked if they could challenge and instead gave a typically cryptic response.

"I read that whoever arrives at the top on Christmas Day, blah, blah, blah," joked Ranieri. "But this is a strange league. Everything is strange."

Ranieri has shaken off his old reputation as a 'Tinkerman' who changed his team every week by staying loyal to a core group of players this season.

He must make at least two changes on Saturday, however, with Robert Huth suspended and Danny Drinkwater out with a hamstring injury.

Crucially, he will have Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez and England striker Jamie Vardy available, with the pair having scored 26 goals between them already.

And the Italian has met with the pair to cool all talk of transfers away from the club in January.

"Already I spoke to the two guys and we continue together," Ranieri said.

"We can improve, to help grow the team, and maybe at end of the season we can speak.

"In my mind they are the first players I want to keep and continue with this group. It's a good group.

"It is important to maintain this mentality. I didn't wait for their answer!

"I suggested to them what is the best for them? If they believe in me, follow me.

"The owners made a contract for them a long time ago. For them there is a contract which they must respect."

Everton are brimming with attacking talent, but their ambitions are being threatened by an increasingly evident defensive weakness at set-pieces.

Having conceded one goal from a corner in drawing 1-1 at home to Crystal Palace just under two weeks ago, they let in another as they were held 1-1 at Norwich last Saturday.

Roberto Martinez's side have drawn their last three league matches, having thrown away a late lead in dramatic circumstances at Bournemouth too.

Had they won all three matches, Everton would be fourth in the Premier League, but instead they are 10th heading into the weekend fixtures.

"It is not the time to look at the table," Martinez said. "As disappointed as we are with the number of points we have dropped in the last few games, we have been very consistent and some of our attacking play has been exceptional.

"Now we need to develop a little bit of know-how and manage that attacking play. If we do that we will end up with the results we deserve."

Romelu Lukaku is aiming to score in a seventh successive Premier League game - and an eighth in all competitions - having had nine of his 15 goals this season set up by winger Gerard Deulofeu.

At the back, John Stones will be available despite suffering ankle and knee injuries at Norwich.

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2015-12-18T08:57:24+00:00 /football-betting-news/7731-ranieri-cautious-over-leicester-s-title-chances.html
Man. City vs B. M'gladbach: Plenty at stake in Group D finale /football-betting-news/7707-man-city-vs-b-m-gladbach-plenty-at-stake-in-group-d-finale.html Manuel Pellegrini

Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach meet for their Champions League group stage finale this week with lots left to play for.

Manchester City's hopes of topping a Champions League group for the first time hinge on Tuesday's visit of a resurgent Borussia Monchengladbach side hoping to snatch third in Group D and a place in the Europa League.

City have already booked their place in the last 16, but they require Juventus to lose at Sevilla as well as a win of their own at the Etihad Stadium against their Bundesliga opponents.

Successive eliminations at the hands of Barcelona has been City's fate in the past two seasons having failed to top their groups.

They will be desperate to avoid another early clash against one of Europe's heavyweights, although their weekend fortunes could hardly have contrasted more to those of Gladbach.

Manuel Pellegrini's men were soundly beaten 2-0 by Stoke City while Andre Schubert's side halted Bayern Munich's unbeaten start to the Bundesliga campaign with a 3-1 win.

Schubert's only defeat since taking over at Borussia-Park in late September came against City in the reverse fixture, but Pellegrini will be without key trio Sergio Aguero (foot), Yaya Toure (muscle) and captain Vincent Kompany (calf).

The Chilean said of the players' respective returns: "I don't know, but for Tuesday, no. We don't know [about next weekend], it depends how they recover during the week.

"[Against Stoke] we were playing with the same players in the last three games, maybe it's the reason we didn't play with energy.

"It's difficult because we are the only team involved in all the competitions and we have to play again on Tuesday. If we had the full week to recover maybe it would be easier but we have to play again with the same players."

Gladbach's upturn in fortunes has continued since Schubert was made permanent coach following an interim spell, with his side still in with a chance of European football in 2016.

A victory at City, coupled with a Sevilla win over Juve, will ensure third place, and a buoyant mood is coursing through the Gladbach ranks after their weekend success.

"We've gained a lot of confidence in the last few weeks and we'll go to Manchester with good belief in what we can do," United States full-back Fabian Johnson told the Bundesliga website.

"We have nothing to lose against them, just like we had nothing to lose against Bayern. We absolutely want to be in Europe in the New Year.

"We play with guts going forward and we don't hide in games. A lot of teams just sit back and shut up shop against Bayern but we played the way we wanted to play.

"That's what's marking us out at the moment and we're getting our rewards for it. But even a win like this only gives us three points so we need to keep up the hard work and give 100 per cent again against Man City."

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2015-12-07T08:20:19+00:00 /football-betting-news/7707-man-city-vs-b-m-gladbach-plenty-at-stake-in-group-d-finale.html
Wenger confident ahead of Olympiacos clash /football-betting-news/7706-wenger-confident-ahead-of-olympiacos-clash.html Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal have what it takes to see off Olympiacos in Wednesday's Champions League encounter.

Arsene Wenger is optimistic about his side's chances of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League at the expense of Olympiacos.

The Emirates Stadium side sit third in Group F ahead of Wednesday's trip to Greece and need to win by a two-goal margin in order to reach the next round after their 3-2 home loss back in September.

Wenger's men have made it out of the first round of the competition for the last 15 seasons and he is desperate to make it 16 in a row.

"Personally the record means a lot because it's important for the club and for the players. I want to win and I want to qualify. For me our job is to win the next game and do what is requested," Wenger told the official Arsenal website.

"There is one positive thing for us - we know exactly what we have to do. We know that we have to go for it from the start. So let's do that and hopefully we can get through. We know what is expected and we have studied Olympiacos. 

Arsenal recorded a hard-fought win over Sunderland at the weekend without  the injured Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin, but Wenger expects a different game against Olympiacos.

"We changed the team completely against Sunderland because we’ve lost the core in midfield of Santi and Francis in the past two weeks and we had to find a new balance," he added.

"We were a bit insecure as well because we had not won last week.

"But I believe Olympiacos will be a different game psychologically, it's clear, we just have to go for it."

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2015-12-07T08:06:53+00:00 /football-betting-news/7706-wenger-confident-ahead-of-olympiacos-clash.html
Allegri aiming to build momentum and seal top spot /football-betting-news/7705-allegri-aiming-to-build-momentum-and-seal-top-spot.html Massimiliano Allegri

Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus must build on their recent upturn in form by claiming top spot in Champions League Group D.

Ahead of their Champions League clash with Sevilla, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has urged his side to keep building momentum following a testing start to the season.

Last season's finalists, already assured of a place in the Champions League last 16, recorded their fifth successive victory in all competitions as they beat Lazio 2-0 on Friday to move up to fifth place in Serie A.

Sevilla, meanwhile, are already out of the competition, and sit bottom of Group D having lost their last four Champions League games – the worst European sequence in their history.

However, Unai Emery's side have started to find some form domestically, winning five of their last six home games in all competitions, including victories against Real Madrid and Barcelona.

And Allegri is under no illusions that Tuesday's trip to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan will be an easy one – insisting that Juventus are determined to get the point needed to seal top spot in the group, with Manchester City sitting just two points behind them in second going into the final round of fixtures.

"We're coming off a positive period of form, but we have to keep the enthusiasm and momentum going," he said, while also commending the breadth of attacking options he currently has at his disposal.

"Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala did well [against Lazio], but Juan Cuadrado and Alvaro Morata also made an immediate impact coming off the bench.

"Dybala scored a great goal and is improving in that role, proving all his quality. Mandzukic did a lot of the dirty work and contributed to both goals.

"We'll need everyone this season and it pains me to make certain decisions, but I am only allowed to start 11 players. Every player must stay focused on being at their best for the next game."

Sevilla are playing for more than just their pride, though, with a place in the Europa League – which they have won in the last two seasons – still up for grabs if they can snatch a victory and Borussia Monchengladbach fail to beat City in the group's other fixture.

One player in particular looking to make an impact will be Fernando Llorente, who moved from Juventus to Sevilla in the last transfer window.

The former Athletic Bilbao striker has netted three goals for Sevilla in La Liga, but is yet to open his Champions League account.

Another key player for the hosts could be midfielder Ever Banega, who is set to make his return to the first team following a calf injury.

Sevilla will definitely be shorn of Marco Andreolli (ankle) and Beto (knee), along with Daniel Carrico and Gael Kakuta (both hamstring).

Hernanes will miss out for the visitors as he serves the second game of a two-match suspension, with Roberto Pereyra and Sami Khedira (both thigh) also absent.

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2015-12-07T08:00:24+00:00 /football-betting-news/7705-allegri-aiming-to-build-momentum-and-seal-top-spot.html
Van Gaal wary as Wolfbsurg await for Man United /football-betting-news/7704-van-gaal-wary-as-wolfbsurg-await-for-man-united.html Louis van Gaal

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal wouldn’t go as far as to say tomorrow night’s Champions League tie at Wolfbsurg was the most important game yet of his 18-month tenure at Old Trafford.

But when pressed, he did concede that failure to progress to the knock-out stages would be a blow to a club the Dutchman is trying to restore to something like the former force it previously was at home and in Europe.

Van Gaal said: “We don’t want to be eliminated. But in sport it is always possible. You can’t win every year or every game. It’s not like that.

“It’s a very important game for us at this moment because of the situation. We are not scoring out of many chances and we have to score at Wolfsburg.

“Because of that it’s a n important game, that we score and come through in the Champions League.

“The Premier League is not finished. It finishes in May, not now. The Champions League, you could be out. And that is bad for everybody, for the club, for the players, and for the manager.”

For United to reach the last 16 in Europe they must match the result PSV Eindhoven manage at home to CSKA Moscow, the bottom team in Group B.

That scenario emerged after United could only draw with PSV in their penultimate group fixture, a scoreline they repeated against West Ham on Saturday, raising further doubts about their ability to go and win in Wolfsburg — the only result that would guarantee qualification and as group winners.

United have now failed to score in five home games this season and four of their last six matches at Old Trafford have ended in goalless draws. That statistic, rather than the performance against the Hammers, was probably behind another show of frustration from the home the supporters at the final whistle.

Van Gaal’s side had plenty of chances to win — as did the Hammers, notably through Victor Moses and Mauro Zarate who both missed one-on-ones — but only two efforts were on target with the lack of a proven goalscorer becoming increasingly evident.

In the absence of the misfiring Wayne Rooney, Maroune Fellaini started only his second Premier League game of the season and came as close to anyone in a United shirt to easing the problem.

But Fellaini was denied by Adrian’s superb second-half close-range save, while Anthony Martial — with only one goal since September — was thwarted by a brave block from a West Ham defender and then steered a shot inches wide from Memphis Depay’s pull-back as United’s late surge failed to break the deadlock.

Van Gaal knows there is a problem but has to keep backing his players to come good, playing down suggestions they have a mental block in front of goal.

“It’s always possible, but that you cannot prove. What you are saying you cannot prove,” he added.

“They are admitting they have to score. That’s a normal issue. But you can’t score every chance and when you see how many players get chances in our team it’s not a fixed person.

“A lot of players have missed chances today — a lot of players, and different, players. We can make a big issue of it but I don’t believe we have to do that. It’s not a law that we miss all the chances we have created. It’s not every match like that. I have great confidence that we shall score at Wolfsburg.”

United need every bit of confidence they can get and despite adding to their problems at the weekend, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic believes they are capable of getting the result they to need in Germany.

“United can score goals. They have the quality of the players like Martial,” said Bilic, whose side also twice hit the post at Old Trafford and who felt Bastian Schweinsteiger should have been sent off for elbowing the outstanding Reid.

“Man United don’t have to win 5-0. They can play a normal game and they are going to create the chances through the game. But Wolfsburg have players who can harm you if you are not organised, and especially if you lose the ball too early.”

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2015-12-07T07:54:38+00:00 /football-betting-news/7704-van-gaal-wary-as-wolfbsurg-await-for-man-united.html
City, Liverpool turn eyes to League Cup prize /football-betting-news/7688-city-liverpool-turn-eyes-to-league-cup-prize.html City, Liverpool turn eyes to League Cup prize

Manchester City and Liverpool head the list of teams coveting a berth in the League Cup semi-finals this week as the competition reaches the quarter-final stage without several major names.

With Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and holders Chelsea having fallen by the wayside, City and Liverpool will already have designs on the February 28 final at Wembley.

City, who host second-tier Hull City on Tuesday, won 3-1 against Southampton at the weekend and having lost to Liverpool and Juventus in their two previous games, goalkeeper Willy Caballero hopes Saturday's success proves a turning point.

"We need to play like this the next game," he told.

"In December, if we play in this way, if the injured players return, like David Silva today (Saturday), I think we will stay in the first positions of the table."

Caballero is in line to deputise again for the injured Joe Hart, while manager Manuel Pellegrini must decide whether to hand a start to influential striker Sergio Aguero, who went off with a knock against Southampton.

"We must try to recover the players for Tuesday," said Pellegrini. "It's important for us to reach the semi-final of the League Cup."

Liverpool face a difficult trip to Southampton on Wednesday, but they will go into the game having lost only one of the 10 games they have played since Jurgen Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers as manager.

Klopp saw his team beat Swansea City 1-0 on Sunday courtesy of a James Milner penalty and was also boosted by the returns from injury of captain Jordan Henderson and striker Daniel Sturridge.

"It's good news. They are very important players and they did well," said Klopp, who revealed that Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho could face Southampton despite sitting out Sunday's game with a hamstring complaint.

"Philippe had a very intensive session yesterday (Saturday), but we decided two or three days ago that we didn't want to risk (him) for this game," said the German.

"Now I think he's fit. I saw him in the dressing room and he looks good. I'll have to talk with him tomorrow (Monday). I think he's ready for Southampton."

Everton will hope to continue their recent attacking form when they travel to second-tier Middlesbrough, who pulled off a stunning penalty-shootout victory away to Manchester United in round four.

Everton have scored 14 goals in their four games in November, notably crushing Newcastle United 6-2, overwhelming Aston Villa 4-0 and playing out a gripping 3-3 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday.

But Everton led 2-0 and 3-2 at Dean Court, only to twice let Bournemouth back into the game, and Romelu Lukaku says that his side will need to tighten up for the trip to the northeast.

"It's a good learning moment for us as players because we want to evolve and become a better team," said the Belgium striker, whose goal at Bournemouth took his tally for the season to 12 in all competitions.

"The result (at Bournemouth) is not easy to take, but we need to move forward and learn from these type of games."

The remaining quarter-final, on Tuesday, sees Stoke City host second-tier Sheffield Wednesday, who dumped Arsenal out of the tournament with a rousing 3-0 win at Hillsborough a month ago.

League Cup winners in 1991, Wednesday have not reached the last four since 2002, while Stoke have not gone as far as the semi-finals since they won the tournament in 1972.

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2015-11-30T10:38:35+00:00 /football-betting-news/7688-city-liverpool-turn-eyes-to-league-cup-prize.html
Liverpool, Spurs target Europa knockout berths /football-betting-news/7676-liverpool-spurs-target-europa-knockout-berths.html Liverpool and Spurs cautiously target Europa progress

Premier League clubs Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur can both reach the knock-out phase of the Europa League Thursday but are also keeping an eye on domestic matters.

Striker Daniel Sturridge is set to play a part for Liverpool as they welcome Bordeaux to Anfield in Group B knowing victory would put them through to the next stage.

Sturridge returned from injury for the weekend win at Manchester City but was an unused substitute.

Captain James Milner acknowledged their destiny was in their own hands.

"We just want to take this wave of confidence from the City game and make sure we keep it going and get a good home win," he said. "It'll be important going into the weekend against Swansea."

Liverpool are second in the group on six points, behind leaders Sion (eight) who can also qualify with a win at Rubin Kazan. Bordeuax are third on three.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino may rotate his players for their trip to take on Qarabag in Azerbaijan in Group J.

With a league clash against champions Chelsea to come at the weekend, Tottenham can qualify with a win but must conserve energy at the same time.

"(We) need to fly nearly six hours, and then there is the decision about whether to come straight back or stay," the Argentine said.

"It's very difficult because both decisions are bad."

Monaco will secure the other qualifying place from the group with a win at home to Anderlecht.

Spaniards Villarreal are determined to beat Rapid Vienna in the and thus snatch top spot in Group E from the Austrians.

The Yellow are currently three points behind Rapid and need a two-goal win or a 1-0 victory to go top on the head-to-head results system, given that they lost 2-1 in Vienna.

"Our objective is to finish top of the group, so winning is essential Thursday," Villarreal striker Roberto Soldado said.

"They are difficult opponents, they showed that in our clash in Vienna."

Meanwhile in Group L, leaders Athletic Bilbao will visit third-placed Augsburg.

Bilbao are three points above Partizan Belgrade and Augsburg, so a win in Germany would guarantee the Basques a top-spot finish given they have the better head-to-head results with Partizan. A draw in Augsburg will also secure a place in the next round.

"We have done well in the group and now we have to finish the job off. It is never easy to go to Germany, we know that full well," Bilbao defender Eneko Boveda said.

Augsburg boosted their dismal Bundesliga campaign with a great win at VfB Stuttgart last weekend and could be returning to the form of last season.

Their compatriots Schalke top Group K on eight points and can progress with a home win over bottom club Apoel.

"We mustn't underestimate Apoel," Sascha Riether told the club homepage. "We know Nikosia from the game at their place, and we know how we have to set up as a team. Our aim is to win, no question."

Sparta Prague and Asteras Tripolis meet in the other clash which is likely to be decisive in determining the second spot as the Czechs will go through with a win unless Apoel also triumph in Germany.

Schalke's rivals Borussia Dortmund are already through ahead of their trip to Krasnodar in Group C with the Russians able to join them in the next round with a win.

Club Brugge chase qualification as they welcome Group D winners Napoli in a game to be played behind closed doors due to safety measures enforced in Belgium after the terror attacks in Paris.

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri plans to rest Pepe Reina, Raul Albiol, Jorginho and Serie A top scorer Gonzalo Higuain.

A draw against Dnipro is enough for Lazio to qualify from Group G while in Group I, coach Paulo Sosa leads Fiorentina against his former team Basel with either team able to secure progress. The Swiss top the group on nine points, with La Viola second on six as Poznan and Belenenses clash with four points each.

Fenerbache, Midtjylland, Braga, Slovan Liberec, St Etienne, Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas can also reach the knock-out phase.

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2015-11-25T15:51:28+00:00 /football-betting-news/7676-liverpool-spurs-target-europa-knockout-berths.html
Lazio look to qualify for the knockout stages /football-betting-news/7675-lazio-look-to-qualify-for-the-knockout-stages.html Lazio look to qualify for the knockout stages

Lazio prepare to host Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk at Stadio Olimpico in Rome Thursday in the Europa League.

Having earned three wins and a 1-1 draw against the Ukrainians during their European campaign, the Biancocelesti have dominated Group G, and need to earn only one point against last year’s Europa League finalists to confirm their spot in the final 32.

Following three straight league defeats to Roma, AC Milan and Atalanta, and most recently a 1-1 draw against Palermo, Lazio have suffered a dip in form, leaving them 8th in the Serie A table.

Stefano Pioli’s side will instead focus on maintaining the success they have achieved in Europe so far this season, where they have won their last three fixtures and sit top of the group.

Myron Markevych’s side have also experienced a dip in forming, after starting the league with two straight wins. They’ve struggled to win in their recent matches, having earned five points in their last three league matches, where they now sit third in the Ukrainian Premier league.

The Ukrainians have also struggled in Europe, earning just four points in their first four fixtures, placing them third in the group. Having only notched two goals in the entire competition, Dnipro’s campaign is now in jeopardy, as they failed to score in back-to-back defeats to Saint-Etienne.

Lazio have never lost a home fixture to a Ukrainian side, while Dnipro’s away record in Italy is less than glittering, having lost four game and managed only a single draw, last year against Napoli.

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2015-11-25T15:32:15+00:00 /football-betting-news/7675-lazio-look-to-qualify-for-the-knockout-stages.html
Barcelona looks to reach next round of Champions League /football-betting-news/7670-barcelona-looks-to-reach-next-round-of-champions-league.html Barcelona looks to reach next round of Champions League

Still savoring its memorable win against Real Madrid, Barcelona returns home to face AS Roma on Tuesday with a chance to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Barcelona needs only a draw to guarantee first place in Group E with one round yet to be played.

The Spanish club has 10 points from four matches, five points more than second-place Roma. Third-place Bayer Leverkusen, which plays at BATE Borisov in Belarus, has four points, one more than its opponent on Tuesday.

Barcelona is boosted by the emphatic 4-0 win over Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, a result that allowed it to open a four-point lead over second-place Atletico Madrid in the Spanish league with Real in crisis a further two points behind.

Roma, which missed a chance to move near the top of the Italian league after a 2-2 draw at Bologna on Saturday, must find a way to beat Barcelona to keep from dropping to third place with one round left in the group stage.

Lionel Messi is expected to be in Barcelona's starting lineup for the first time since tearing a left knee ligament in a Spanish league game almost two months ago.

Messi came off the bench against Madrid in the 56th minute, with his team already up 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Coach Luis Enrique kept him on the bench after saying the Argentine playmaker was not yet fit to play a full match, but Messi should be set to go from the start on Tuesday at the Camp Nou, when Barcelona will try to extend its eight-match unbeaten streak.

Luis Suarez and Neymar have thrived in Messi's absence, scoring 23 of the team's 27 goals in all competitions.

Barcelona is trying to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League for the 12th straight year.

Roma stayed in contention in the Champions League thanks to a late win over Bayer Leverkusen in its previous game, but a loss or a draw on Tuesday could send the Italians back to third place going into the decisive round, when it hosts BATE Borisov.

"We're going to have to take a step up because it's a different game in a different setting," Roma right back Maicon said. "Hopefully we can prepare for it well and produce a big performance at Barcelona."

Roma is trying to advance to the round of 16 for the first time since the 2010-11 season, when it was eliminated by Shakhtar Donetsk.

 

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2015-11-23T14:31:10+00:00 /football-betting-news/7670-barcelona-looks-to-reach-next-round-of-champions-league.html
Man. Utd will need to be at highest level against PSV /football-betting-news/7669-man-utd-will-need-to-be-at-highest-level-against-psv.html Juan Mata

Juan Mata has warned Manchester United that they will need to be at their best against PSV Eindhoven in Wednesday’s Champions League clash.

The Red Devils can book their place in the Champions League knockout phase with victory over the Eredivisie holders at Old Trafford in their penultimate group-stage game.

Louis van Gaal’s side warmed up for the visit of PSV with a last-gasp 2-1 win against Watford at Vicarage Road in Saturday’s early kick-off in the Premier League.

The Spain international, who has scored four Premier League goals this term, urged the Red Devils to make a winning start to their busy festive period against the Dutch champions.

Mata wrote in his blog: “We could make an important step to finish first of our group in the Champions League, and we could climb to the top of the Premiership.

“This is how we face this new week. We’re feeling optimistic, as always, and our goal is to win both games and to have the best possible start to the busy period ahead.

“Obviously it’s going to be tough, and we will need to be at our highest level to beat PSV and Leicester.”

Mata has been a regular fixture in Van Gaal’s first team this season and will be expecting to feature when they take on PSV mid-week.

The 27-year-old playmaker has netted five times in 16 games in the Champions League and the Premier League this season.

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2015-11-23T14:02:04+00:00 /football-betting-news/7669-man-utd-will-need-to-be-at-highest-level-against-psv.html
Sweden vs. Denmark EURO 2016 Qualifiers /football-betting-news/7653-sweden-vs-denmark-euro-2016-qualifiers.html sweden-denmark-euro-2016

Sweden tries to snatch its first success at home when they meet their rival, Denmark.

Sweden will not be meeting Denmark for the first time. The two has a long history of fierce bouts and thrilling encounters, which left many of their supporters breathless and excited. Overall, the squads have gone again each other for 104 times already.

Out of the 104 matches played in their history, they dominated 46 of it compared to Denmark’s 40.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was recently rewarded with Sweden’s Player of the Year and delivered seven goals in Sweden’s 11 qualifying encounters, will definitely play a big role in this clash.

Denmark's recent performances have all been very impressive. In fact, they have won four of its last matches against Sweden and in their last five matches, they have also kept a clean sheet over their rival.

Considering how competitive this match is, there is a high possibility for this encounter to end in a draw.

Betting prediction: Sweden 1-1 Denmark

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2015-11-14T09:32:57+00:00 /football-betting-news/7653-sweden-vs-denmark-euro-2016-qualifiers.html
Ukraine vs. Slovenia EURO 2016 Qualifiers /football-betting-news/7652-ukraine-vs-slovenia-euro-2016-qualifiers.html ukraine-slovenia-euro-2016

Ukraine looks forward to ending its losing streak to Slovenia and with the match being held at their own turf, they know that they need to boost their morale.

This is not the first time that Ukraine went against Slovenia. Moreover, out of their last four matches, the Yellow Blues always went home with heartbreak.

Two of their previous encounter ended in a miserable defeat, whilst the others were even steven finishes. So far, the best result that they have snatched is a draw.

Ukraine also succumbed to Slovenia in the 2000 play-offs. Yet, with all the misfortunes that the squad experienced, its head honcho, Mykhaylo Fomenko remains positive in their upcoming match.

Though he admitted that the team has really nothing to celebrate, he stressed that their previous demise are already part of history and they are looking forward to a brighter and better future.

Slovenia will not be swayed away by talks of them being the favorite in this match. Srecko Katanec acknowledged the strength of its opponent, describing Ukraine as a “technically sophisticated and robust team.”

Betting prediction: Ukraine 2-1 Slovenia

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2015-11-14T09:18:50+00:00 /football-betting-news/7652-ukraine-vs-slovenia-euro-2016-qualifiers.html