Friday, March 31, 2006

K. League Results March 2006

K. League Results March 2006.
K. League Results

Wed 29 March

FC Seoul 0 Incheon United 0
Chonbuk Motors 1 Daejeon Citizen 1
Pohang Steelers 1 Jeju United 0
Chunnam Dragons 1 Seongnam Ilhwa i
Gwangju Sangmu 2 Busan I'Park 0
Suwon Blue Wings 0 Daegu FC 0
Ulsan 1 Gyeongnam FC 0

Leading Positions

Seongnam Ilhwa P5 Pts 13
Pohang Steelers P5 Pts 10
FC Seoul P5 Pts 9
Incheon United P5 Pts 8


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Inzaghi Player Profile

Player Profile

Filippo Inzaghi

"Opet sam Superpippo!"

Temperamentni Milanov napadač Filippo Inzaghi u pohodu je na zadnje raspoloživo mjesto u talijanskoj momčadi za Svjetsko prvenstvo. Ako su sigurni Luca Toni, Alberto Gilardino i vjerojatno Alessandro Del Piero, za četvrto se mjesto nadmeću Christian Vieri i Inzaghi.

Dvije i pol godine od svog zadnjeg nastupa među Azzurrima, Inzaghi je napokon povezao nekoliko mjeseci bez ozljeda i zaredao pogocima u svom snalažljivom, eksplozivnom stilu.

U veljači i ožujku ove godine Inzaghi je zaigrao tako dobro da je na Milanovu klupu smjestio i skupocjenog Alberta Gilardina, što je odličan predznak da bi se mogao ugurati i u ekspediciju koju će Marcello Lippi povesti u Njemačku.

- "Zadnjih mi tjedana sve vrlo lagano ide od ruke. Čini mi se kao da mi noge lete," - rekao je nakon što je protiv Bayerna postigao svoj povijesni 50. gol u europskim kupovima - jedan više od Alfreda Di Stefana.

Tisak u velikoj mjeri navija za Superpippa, navijajući za njega u hipotetskom dvoboju protiv Christiana Vierija za mjesto u momčadi za Mundial.

Nakon dva pogotka protiv Bayerna, u Corriere dello Sportu prozvan je "neumoljivim ubojicom", dok je Gazzetta dello Sport napisala da je "Superpippov show morao Lippija oboriti s nogu."

Gazzetta je intervjuirala bivšeg velikog Milanovog i Juveovog centarfora Josea Altafinija da se izjasni o svom favoritu u dvoboju Vieri-Inzaghi. Brazilac je rekao: "U ovom trenutku, Inzaghi zaslužuje reprezentativni dres više od Vierija".

Različito je mišljenje ponudio Roberto Boninsegna, legenda Intera i Juvea, naglašavajući da je Vieri nužan Azzurrima, kao jedina alternativa pravom robusnom centarforu kakav je Luca Toni. Međutim, Vieri je jesenas izguran iz Milana i posuđen Monacu, koji je ipak - druga liga u usporedbi s crveno-crnim vragovima.

Zašto Lippi šuti?

Zasad se Lippi ne oglašava, mada je uživo svjedočio nekima iz serije Inzagijevih golova u prvenstvu i Ligi prvaka. Neobična je ta izbornikova šutnja, kad se zna da mu je Pippo dobro poznat iz dvogodišnje suradnje u Juventusu između 1997. i 1999. Zajedno su osvojili prvenstvo 1998., a Inzaghi ga nikad nije iznevjerio što se tiče golgeterskog učinka. No, kako podsjeća Corriere dello Sport, njih su dvojica imali nikad dokraja razjašnjenih razmirica dok je Lippi bio trener Juvea.

Inzaghi je izrastao iz talijanskih nižih liga, stekavši reputaciju lovca na golove, što je ponajviše opravdao 1996/97 u Serie A u dresu Atalante. Tada je s 24 pogotka u 33 utakmice podijelio prvo mjesto na ljestvici strijelaca s Giuseppeom Signorijem i zaradio zvučni, 14,5 milijuna eura vrijedan transfer u Juventus.
U Juveu je zasnovao plodnu suradnju s Del Pierom, a na krilima tog tandema koji je postigao 39 golova u prvenstvu, u Torino je stigla i titula prvaka 1998.

No, godinu potom uslijedila je manja kriza unutar Juvea, koja je dovela do Lippijevog odlaska, a iduće dvije sezone, 2000. i 2001., Staru su damu u prvenstvu preticali rimski klubovi, prvo Lazio pa Roma.

Nakon 58 ligaških golova za Juve, Inzaghija je 2001. kupio Milan za 40 milijuna eura. Bio je to dobro uložen novac, jer je Inzaghi 2002/03 zabio 12 golova u 16 nastupa u šampionskoj sezoni Lige prvaka.

Do prošle zime, sve je ostalo za Pippa bio antiklimaks. Ozljeda gležnja svela je njegov učinak na 14 nastupa i tri gola 2004., kad je Milan osvojio prvenstvo, a nove ozljede gležnja i ruke još su mu više njegovo sudjelovanje u momčadi prošle godine. Skupio je samo 11 nastupa u Serie A, a na zlokobnom finalu protiv Liverpoola u Istambulu nije se ni pojavio. Sada, međutim, proživljava drugu mladost i sve se opet čini mogućim za Superpippa.


Pippo u Azzurrima

Pippo je s Azzurrima odigrao Svjetska prvenstva 1998. i 2002., kao i Europsko prvenstvo 2000., na kojemu je Italija za dlaku promašila europski naslov.

Zadnji je od 22 pogotka za reprezentaciju Inzaghi postigao u listopadu 2003. protiv Azerbajdžana, dok je izbornik bio Giovanni Trapattoni.

U kvalifikacijama za Mundial u Koreji i Japanu bio je vodeći strijelac reprezentacije sa šest pogodaka, no ozljede su ga izbacile s Eura'2004 u Portugalu, nakon čega više nije bio u konkurenciji za plavi dres.

S bratom Simoneom, tada igračem Lazija, nastupio je u prijateljskom susretu protiv Engleske u studenom 1999.

Osobna karta

Datum rođenja: 9. kolovoza 1973.
Mjesto rođenja: Piacenza
Visina i težina: 178 cm, 70 kg
Pozicija: centarfor
Broj dresa: 9
Slavni rod: Simone Inzaghi, brat

Klupska karijera:
1991/92 Piacenza 2 - 0
1992/93 AlbinoLeffe 21 -13
1993/94 Verona 36 -13
1994/95 Piacenza 37 -15
1995/96 Parma 15 - 2
1996/97 Atalanta 33 - 24
1997/98 Juventus 31 - 18
1998/99 Juventus 28 - 13
1999/00 Juventus 33 - 16
2000/01 Juventus 28 - 11
2001/02 Milan 20 - 10
2002/03 Milan 30 - 17
2003/04 Milan 14 - 3
2004/05 Milan 11 - 0
2005/06 Milan 18 - 10

Reprezentacija:

1997-2003 Italija 48 - 22


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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Filippo "Pippo" Inzaghi Profile

Filippo Inzaghi

"Opet sam Superpippo!"

Temperamentni Milanov napadač Filippo Inzaghi u pohodu je na zadnje raspoloživo mjesto u talijanskoj momčadi za Svjetsko prvenstvo. Ako su sigurni Luca Toni, Alberto Gilardino i vjerojatno Alessandro Del Piero, za četvrto se mjesto nadmeću Christian Vieri i Inzaghi.

Dvije i pol godine od svog zadnjeg nastupa među Azzurrima, Inzaghi je napokon povezao nekoliko mjeseci bez ozljeda i zaredao pogocima u svom snalažljivom, eksplozivnom stilu.

U veljači i ožujku ove godine Inzaghi je zaigrao tako dobro da je na Milanovu klupu smjestio i skupocjenog Alberta Gilardina, što je odličan predznak da bi se mogao ugurati i u ekspediciju koju će Marcello Lippi povesti u Njemačku.

- "Zadnjih mi tjedana sve vrlo lagano ide od ruke. Čini mi se kao da mi noge lete," - rekao je nakon što je protiv Bayerna postigao svoj povijesni 50. gol u europskim kupovima - jedan više od Alfreda Di Stefana.

Tisak u velikoj mjeri navija za Superpippa, navijajući za njega u hipotetskom dvoboju protiv Christiana Vierija za mjesto u momčadi za Mundial.

Nakon dva pogotka protiv Bayerna, u Corriere dello Sportu prozvan je "neumoljivim ubojicom", dok je Gazzetta dello Sport napisala da je "Superpippov show morao Lippija oboriti s nogu."

Gazzetta je intervjuirala bivšeg velikog Milanovog i Juveovog centarfora Josea Altafinija da se izjasni o svom favoritu u dvoboju Vieri-Inzaghi. Brazilac je rekao: "U ovom trenutku, Inzaghi zaslužuje reprezentativni dres više od Vierija".

Različito je mišljenje ponudio Roberto Boninsegna, legenda Intera i Juvea, naglašavajući da je Vieri nužan Azzurrima, kao jedina alternativa pravom robusnom centarforu kakav je Luca Toni. Međutim, Vieri je jesenas izguran iz Milana i posuđen Monacu, koji je ipak - druga liga u usporedbi s crveno-crnim vragovima.

Zašto Lippi šuti?

Zasad se Lippi ne oglašava, mada je uživo svjedočio nekima iz serije Inzagijevih golova u prvenstvu i Ligi prvaka. Neobična je ta izbornikova šutnja, kad se zna da mu je Pippo dobro poznat iz dvogodišnje suradnje u Juventusu između 1997. i 1999. Zajedno su osvojili prvenstvo 1998., a Inzaghi ga nikad nije iznevjerio što se tiče golgeterskog učinka. No, kako podsjeća Corriere dello Sport, njih su dvojica imali nikad dokraja razjašnjenih razmirica dok je Lippi bio trener Juvea.

Inzaghi je izrastao iz talijanskih nižih liga, stekavši reputaciju lovca na golove, što je ponajviše opravdao 1996/97 u Serie A u dresu Atalante. Tada je s 24 pogotka u 33 utakmice podijelio prvo mjesto na ljestvici strijelaca s Giuseppeom Signorijem i zaradio zvučni, 14,5 milijuna eura vrijedan transfer u Juventus.
U Juveu je zasnovao plodnu suradnju s Del Pierom, a na krilima tog tandema koji je postigao 39 golova u prvenstvu, u Torino je stigla i titula prvaka 1998.

No, godinu potom uslijedila je manja kriza unutar Juvea, koja je dovela do Lippijevog odlaska, a iduće dvije sezone, 2000. i 2001., Staru su damu u prvenstvu preticali rimski klubovi, prvo Lazio pa Roma.

Nakon 58 ligaških golova za Juve, Inzaghija je 2001. kupio Milan za 40 milijuna eura. Bio je to dobro uložen novac, jer je Inzaghi 2002/03 zabio 12 golova u 16 nastupa u šampionskoj sezoni Lige prvaka.

Do prošle zime, sve je ostalo za Pippa bio antiklimaks. Ozljeda gležnja svela je njegov učinak na 14 nastupa i tri gola 2004., kad je Milan osvojio prvenstvo, a nove ozljede gležnja i ruke još su mu više njegovo sudjelovanje u momčadi prošle godine. Skupio je samo 11 nastupa u Serie A, a na zlokobnom finalu protiv Liverpoola u Istambulu nije se ni pojavio. Sada, međutim, proživljava drugu mladost i sve se opet čini mogućim za Superpippa.


Pippo u Azzurrima

Pippo je s Azzurrima odigrao Svjetska prvenstva 1998. i 2002., kao i Europsko prvenstvo 2000., na kojemu je Italija za dlaku promašila europski naslov.

Zadnji je od 22 pogotka za reprezentaciju Inzaghi postigao u listopadu 2003. protiv Azerbajdžana, dok je izbornik bio Giovanni Trapattoni.

U kvalifikacijama za Mundial u Koreji i Japanu bio je vodeći strijelac reprezentacije sa šest pogodaka, no ozljede su ga izbacile s Eura'2004 u Portugalu, nakon čega više nije bio u konkurenciji za plavi dres.

S bratom Simoneom, tada igračem Lazija, nastupio je u prijateljskom susretu protiv Engleske u studenom 1999.

Osobna karta

Datum rođenja: 9. kolovoza 1973.
Mjesto rođenja: Piacenza
Visina i težina: 178 cm, 70 kg
Pozicija: centarfor
Broj dresa: 9
Slavni rod: Simone Inzaghi, brat

Klupska karijera:
1991/92 Piacenza 2 - 0
1992/93 AlbinoLeffe 21 -13
1993/94 Verona 36 -13
1994/95 Piacenza 37 -15
1995/96 Parma 15 - 2
1996/97 Atalanta 33 - 24
1997/98 Juventus 31 - 18
1998/99 Juventus 28 - 13
1999/00 Juventus 33 - 16
2000/01 Juventus 28 - 11
2001/02 Milan 20 - 10
2002/03 Milan 30 - 17
2003/04 Milan 14 - 3
2004/05 Milan 11 - 0
2005/06 Milan 18 - 10

Reprezentacija:

1997-2003 Italija 48 - 22

Copyright Soccerphile/Zri Sport

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Dairy goes again

I often panic over nothing. When the wife trapped me into producing little gambling gurus, i did worry that they may end up with my intelligence and the wife’s looks, which would have narrowed down their future career prospects to ‘circus attraction’. Luckily, they’ve ended up with the wife’s brain, and curiously, the milkman’s looks. I say curious, as the wife and I are lactose intolerant; we have absolutely no time for lactose, and we’re not shy in speaking of our displeasure.

I bring this to your attention because little Goliath is quite bright; he’s trying to remember animals by associating them with football. Whenever Ruud Van Nistelrooy comes off the bench for Man U, he shouts ‘horsey’, as Peter Crouch heads wide he cries ‘donkey’ and when Chelsea are playing, he shakes his head and murmurs ‘cheetahs’. It seems that everyone has cottoned on to Chelsea’s lack of sportsmanship, referees will be next. Any Chelsea player to be booked for diving / simulation against Birmingham is an 11/2 shot.

Amongst all the theatrics, there will also be a game of football. You’ve got to fancy Chelsea to take three points home from St Andrew’s, but 1/3 does not represent value. Playing the correct scores can solve this conundrum; Chelsea to win either 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 is a 5/4 shot; now we’re cooking.

Phil Neville scored a beauty last week, unfortunately, it was an own goal, against Liverpool. His brother must have been literally seething. Everton are the lucky beneficiaries of a home fixture against Sunderland; they’re 3/10, certainties doesn’t really cover it.

You can’t get rich backing Everton, so taking an interest in a bookings market may prove to be a profitable play. Duncan Ferguson is a fearsome character, like Jason Donovan, he’s done a little bird in the past. Big Dunc took only nine minutes to find his name in the book last week in the Merseyside derby; he’s a 7/2 shot to have his name taken again.

Bolton’s Reebok stadium is a genuine fortress, but Manchester United have a tasty army. Wayne Rooney missed a couple of golden chances against Birmingham last week (If they were chicken legs, he would have put them away), but remains a class act. A rested Van Nistelrooy is back in favour and the talented wobbly-legged Ronaldo has already helped himself to a pair against Bolton earlier in the season. United are available at 10/11, its time to go to war.

Unfortunately for Villa fans, Milan Baros has a get-out clause in his contract that can be triggered if a bid is received for £7 million pound or more, virtually ruling out a potential transfer. The poster declaring ‘We’re not fickle, we just don’t like you’ sums up the supporters’ frustration towards O’Leary’s inability to motivate; an Aston Villa divided amongst itself can not possibly survive at Highbury. Arsenal may rest a couple of players with one eye on Wednesday’s 2nd leg against Juventus, but in all honesty, I’d back Arsenal’s reserves at 2/7 at home to the Villa.

Jermaine Jenas didn’t enjoy his time at Newcastle, he compared his time there to living in a goldfish bowl. On a related note, it’s a fallacy that goldfish only have a memory span of a few seconds, Rio Ferdinand may have, but that’s a different kettle of fish. JJ is set for another disappointing trip to the North East, Spurs will have to settle for a draw, an 11/5 shot.

It’s been said that Middlesbrough’s Emanuel Pogatetz could start a ruck in an empty room, and still finish runner up; but don’t tell him who said it. The Austrian defender has either been booked or saw red in 14 matches this season, it’s 6/4 that he sees another card when he faces Joey Barton and Co. Man City have been depleted by injuries and suspensions, the Boro are the weekend nap at 11/4.

The weekend specials:

“Two halves at the Rovers” - Blackburn to score in both halves 2/1
“Come in handy” - Drogba to score two or more goals 4/1
“Cruising” - Stelios to score at any time 5/2
“April, Pool's day” - Liverpool to win with a clean sheet 6/5
“April, Mule's day” - Van Nistelrooy to score two or more goals 5/1

Quote of the week:

“Sometimes I dive, sometimes I stand.”
Drogba’s half right.

Stat, you’re a liberty:

If Bolton had held on to win all the matches where they had taken a lead, they would be 2nd in the Premiership.

Acc of the week:

Man Utd, Fulham, Liverpool and Middlesbrough tick all the right boxes, an acc on all four will pay 18/1.

Weekend Betting:

Birmingham v Chelsea Saturday 1st April 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus

Birmingham 8/1
Draw 3/1
Chelsea 1/3

Get on: Chelsea

Birmingham have lost their last three without scoring; Chelsea have won their last three without conceding. Historically, Birmingham haven’t beaten Chelsea since the 70’s. There is no argument for a home win.
Match Special:
Chelsea to win 2-0 11/2

Arsenal v Aston Villa Saturday 1st April 15.00

Arsenal 2/7
Draw 7/2
Aston Villa 8/1

Get on: Arsenal

The Gunners have won their last three in the league; the Villa have earned one point out of 12.
Match Special:
Arsenal to win with a clean sheet 4/5

Bolton v Man Utd Saturday 1st April 15.00

Bolton 5/2
Draw 9/4
Man Utd 10/11

Get on: Man Utd

Bolton have conceded 10 goals in 5 games; United have won six on the bounce.
Match Special:
Rooney to score two or more goals 11/2

Everton v Sunderland Saturday 1st April 15.00

Everton 3/10
Draw 10/3
Sunderland 8/1

Get on: Everton

Everton have won their last four at Goodison Park; Sunderland have lost their last six away from home. Everton have beaten Sunderland on the last five occasions they have met.
Match Special:
Beattie to score with a header 7/2

Fulham v Portsmouth Saturday 1st April 15.00

Fulham 4/5
Draw 12/5
Portsmouth 11/4

Get on: Fulham

In the Premiership, Fulham have won five of their last six at home, while Portsmouth have lost five of their last six away. Pompey have lost on their last four visits to the Cottage.
Match Special:
Malbranque to score at any time 3/1

Newcastle v Tottenham Saturday 1st April 15.00

Newcastle 11/8
Draw 11/5
Tottenham 13/8

Get on: Draw

Newcastle have lost their last four, but it’s two wins out of three at St James’ Park. Tottenham have won three of their last four, but it’s only one win in five on the road. An interesting stat, this fixture has always produced a positive result this century, the draw’s due.
Match Special:
HT Newcastle FT Draw 14/1

West Brom v Liverpool Saturday 1st April 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

West Brom 9/2
Draw 5/2
Liverpool 8/15

Get on: Liverpool

It’s six games without a win for the Albion; Liverpool have won their last four, scoring 18 goals. The Pool have won their last nine matches against West Brom, including two 5-0’s and a 6-0. Ouch.
Match Special:
Liverpool to score four or more goals 6/1

Man City v Middlesbrough Sunday 2nd April 15.00

Man City 5/6
Draw 9/4
Middlesbrough 11/4

Get on: Middlesbrough

Man City have lost their last three; Boro have scored 13 goals in their last six league matches, winning four of them. City have never beaten the Boro at home in the Premiership.
Match Special:
Middlesbrough to score two or more goals 5/2

West Ham v Charlton Sunday 2nd April 16.00 Live on Sky

West Ham 10/11
Draw 9/4
Charlton 5/2

Get on: West Ham

The Hammers have scored two goals or more in their last seven matches at Upton Park; Charlton haven’t won a league match on their travels since October.
Match Special:
West Ham to score three or more goals 7/2

Blackburn v Wigan Monday 3rd April 20.00 Live on Sky

Blackburn 5/6
Draw 9/4
Wigan 11/4

Get on: Blackburn

Wigan have only won 2 of their last 11 matches, and they were against Sunderland and a weakened Man City. Blackburn have won their last three, they’re charging towards Europe.
Match Special:
Craig Bellamy to score at any time 5/4

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ticket Swap Shop

Got World Cup tickets? Wrong matches? Read on...

Ticket Swap Shop


Ticket Swap Shop Ltd run a fan based community website that enables World Cup ticket holders to explore the possibility of swapping their tickets with another fan on a like-for-like basis.

The way in which tickets have been allocated for the World Cup starting in June has yet again left supporters holding tickets for games that they would rather not attend.

The rigidity of FIFA in their reluctance to allow ‘reasonable’ transfers between ticket holders forces the age old situation where fans that are intent on watching the games they want to see will go to the black market to sort the problem out.

To go down the black market route takes time, money, and a certain amount of courage; the risks are both financial and physical! Having been there, experienced it and paid the price of trying to get the right tickets, the lads at TicketSwapShop.com have come up with a cheaper and easier solution for all ticket holding fans.

In short the site works as follows: Ticket holders from all over the world post their ticket details online, then they state which tickets they would consider swapping for in return. From there on they can search, browse and pair up with other members whose ticket exchange details match theirs.

The take up has been fantastic, with ticket holders from all corners of the globe registering their tickets. The more people that join up, the greater the chance of everyone finding the swap they want.

Just about every game at the World Cup is now represented on the site, with members already discussing the finer details of how they will ‘action’ their swaps.

The people that are most likely to use this are the dedicated national team fans who have been allocated ‘inappropriate’ match tickets for other countries games, or those fans that applied for tickets so long ago that their personal schedules have now changed, preventing attendance on the specific dates that their tickets relate to.

One member looking to swap was lucky enough to be allocated FINAL tickets, only to realise that it clashes with his wedding! A tough call, but he has decided to look for a swap for some tickets two weeks earlier.

Legally, the site will probably cause some waves. FIFA's stance on exchanges and transfers has been made clear, but true fans of the event will do whatever they have to in order to see the games they want to see.

The creation of this service means that fans no longer have to take the extreme option of auctions, touts, agencies and scalpers, and they avoid the usual back street exchanges involving bundles of cash.

Many users are anticipating conducting their exchanges in advance of traveling to Germany, face to face where geography allows, or by registered postal services. Others are traveling to Germany in advance of the games and are arranging to meet in coffee bars and hotel reception areas.

An added benefit of the service is that fans feel more comfortable dealing with their own kind. Members feel that the motivations of those looking to swap with them are equal, as they all have the same objective, which is to see the games they really want to see.

So, in cutting out the touts, agencies and scalpers, the service will help those that it has been designed for by cutting out all the hassle of selling and re-buying, and also saving a fortune on tout and agency mark ups.

Maybe the cash the members save can be spent in a better way once in Germany! Information pages are available at the site, with a ‘tour’ facility to give first timers a look at how the service works.

Registration, entering tickets, declaring wanted tickets, searching and browsing are all free of charge, so there’s no cash up front for those that want to see if it could work for them.

For lazy swappers, there is even a ‘ticket scout’ who works on your behalf when you are not online, and if he spots an entry that matches your requirements he sends you an Email so that you can act on it quickly!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Astrological Predictions March 25 2006

March 25, 2006 EPL

Liverpool v Everton

Indian astrologer Anita Nigam Astro-Analysis: This will be an interesting match, both the teams will put up equal and tough efforts, but at last the match will either end up in a draw or Liverpool will be the winner.

Portsmouth v Arsenal

Astro-Analysis: This will be a must-see match, both the teams will show an excellent performance. The stars are placed in such a situation in transit, which will result in an unexpected outcome. The result will be either a draw or Portsmouth will win.

Chelsea v Man City

Astro-Analysis: This will be a win for Chelsea.

Aston Villa v Fulham

Astro-Analysis: This will be a tough match but at last the match will be in favor of Fulham.

Middlesbrough v Bolton

Astro-Analysis: Both the teams will be in high sprits and show their best skills but Middlesbrough will dominate the whole game and at last they will be the winner.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cruising for a Bruce-ing

Sometimes, it’s not easy being a football fan. A friend of mine was recently asked which team he supported, “I’ve never been to a football match.” he replied, “I rarely leave my house for longer than 20 minutes, as I can’t use public toilets due to my minuscule equipment. I can’t watch football at home either, because excessive solo lovemaking has led to serious vision problems. As a result, I have no affiliation with football, or any particular team.”

He just couldn’t admit to being a Birmingham City fan, it would have been too embarrassing.

After a seven goal thumping on their own patch, the Blues must be dreading a trip to Old Trafford. United are the good things of the weekend at 2/9, and the 6/1 on offer for United finding the net six times or more is worth a 2nd look.

There must be something in the water in Birmingham, Aston Villa are also going through a poor spell. Like their neighbours, Villa have been unlucky with injuries. Berger has rarely played, Mellberg has been in and out of the first 11 and perhaps most cruelly of all, Ridgewell has been continuously available for selection. No wonder O’Leary’s always moaning.

It’s a good job the Villa have a few points in the bag from earlier in the season, as you can’t foresee a Villa win under any circumstances. Fulham have steadfastly refused to win away from home, at Villa Park, they have no choice. Fulham are a great bet at 2/1.

In a week where Robbie Savage received a 2nd yellow card and Liverpool strikers were scoring for fun, it was refreshing to see Chelsea players surround the ref in an aggressive fashion and a John Terry challenge in the penalty area go unpunished, ensuring a swift return to normality.

Man City are the next visitors to the Bridge; a bad week for Stuart Pearce is about to take a turn for the worse. The Psycho must regret resting his star players and Darius Vassell in a defeat to Wigan last week, as the Hammers knocked them out of the Cup two days later. City have two chances at Stamford Bridge, slim and none; and slim has just gone on the Atkins. Chelsea are available at 2/7, it’s your duty to be on.

Blackburn are a great looking bet at 8/13 to leave the Stadium of Light with three points. Craig Bellamy has scored in his last three matches and netted twice against the Mackems in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. It’s 9/2 that the Welshman bags another pair, help yourself to a double Bells.

Everton haven’t enjoyed their trips across the park in recent years, they haven’t won at Anfield since 1999; pop midget ‘Prince’ was so impressed he wrote a song about it. The Reds currently look unplayable; the 8/13 on the table is more than fair.

Liverpool scoring 15 goals in 3 games was surprising, but the fact that all four of their much maligned strikers found the net left me genuinely stunned. Move over the Beatles, Liverpool have a new ‘Fab 4’. Cisse is Ringo (mediocre), Morientes is George (superfluous), Crouch is Paul (over-rated), and Fowler is John (shot). A tough but fair comparison. I’m still not convinced by Crouchy, if you’re a believer, he’s an 11/8 shot to find the net in the derby.

The weekend specials:

“Rovers return” - Blackburn to win from behind 7/1
“Ed first” - Edgar Davids to score the first goal 14/1
“A fair Kop” - No bookings in the Liverpool v Everton match 7/1
“Mersey Beat” - James Beattie to score two or more goals 9/1
“Duncan doughnut” - Ferguson to be sent off 40/1
“Bruce almighty” – Man U to win 7-1 80/1

Quote of the week:

“Realistically, a club like ours is not going to be able to compete for the title, so you look at the domestic cups - and they're possible. In your career, you don't get too many opportunities to have a real crack at it, and we're in the quarter-finals, at home, so why not?”

Why not, Mr Bruce

Stat, you’re a liberty:

Man City are the only team in the Premiership yet to record a 1-0 victory this season. It’s a dull stat, but a good stat.

Acc of the week:

Liverpool, Fulham, Blackburn, Arsenal and Middlesbrough are all worth a punt, put the five together; you’ve got an accer that pays out at 30/1.

Weekend Betting:

Liverpool v Everton Saturday 25th March 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus

Liverpool 8/13
Draw 11/5
Everton 9/2

Get on: Liverpool

Liverpool are the hottest team in the Country; it’s four away matches without a win for Everton.
Match Special:
Gerrard to score at any time 7/4

Aston Villa v Fulham Saturday 25th March 15.00

Aston Villa 11/10
Draw 9/4
Fulham 2/1

Get on: Fulham

The Villa have only won one of their last seven, the last three all being defeats. Fulham are still on a high from seeing off the Champions, away all the way.
Match Special:
Fulham to keep a clean sheet 2/1

Chelsea v Man City Saturday 25th March 15.00

Chelsea 2/7
Draw 7/2
Man City 8/1

Get on: Chelsea

A surprising stat, there has been one goal or less in this fixture on the last five occasions they have met. The Champions have won 14 of their 15 home matches; City have managed only one win away from home since August.
Match Special:
HT Draw FT Chelsea 7/2

Sunderland v Blackburn Saturday 25th March 15.00

Sunderland 4/1
Draw 12/5
Blackburn 8/13

Get on: Blackburn

Sunderland have lost five on the bounce; Blackburn have won four from five.
Match Special:
Craig Bellamy to score a hat-trick 20/1

Wigan v West Ham Saturday 25th March 15.00

Wigan Evs
Draw 9/4
West Ham 9/4

Get on: West Ham

Wigan haven’t won a league match at the JJB this year; the Hammers have scored 18 goals in their last nine league matches.
Match Special:
Dean Ashton to score with a header 6/1

Portsmouth v Arsenal Saturday 25th March 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

Portsmouth 10/3
Draw 5/2
Arsenal 4/6

Get on: Arsenal

Pompey’s win over poor travellers Man City is their only home win this year; the Gunners have won their last three in the league with breathtaking ease.
Match Special:
Thierry Henry to score direct from a free kick 8/1

Middlesbrough v Bolton Sunday 26th March 13.30 Live on Sky

Middlesbrough 11/8
Draw 11/5
Bolton 13/8

Get on: Middlesbrough

Boro have won their last two in front of their own fans; Bolton have lost their last three on the road.
Match Special:
Viduka to score at any time 6/4

Charlton v Newcastle Sunday 26th March 14.00

Charlton 5/4
Draw 9/4
Newcastle 7/4

Get on: Draw

Charlton have drew a blank four times in recent weeks; after successive league defeats for the Toon army, a scoreless draw will be classed as a good result. The last three matches between these two have resulted in a draw.
Match Special:
No goal scorer in the match 8/1

Man Utd v Birmingham Sunday 26th March 16.00 Live on Sky

Man Utd 2/9
Draw 4/1
Birmingham 9/1

Get on: Man Utd

Every time Birmingham have travelled to Old Trafford in the Premiership, they’ve been beaten by two goals or more. It’s five straight league victories for United; Birmingham have only managed away day victories at Sunderland and West Brom.
Match Special:
Saha and Rooney both to score 9/2

Tottenham v West Brom Monday 27th March 20.00 Live on Sky

Tottenham 2/5
Draw 11/4
West Brom 13/2

Get on: Tottenham

It’s 7 months since a visiting team left White Hart Lane with three points. As the Baggies have took 1 point out of a possible 15, that record is not in danger.
Match Special:
Aaron Lennon to score at any time 4/1

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Edgeley Park

Stockport County's home ground is the aged Edgeley Park, now shared with Sale Sharks Rugby Union side. The Cheadle End is the bank of seating behind the goal for home supporters.

Edgeley Park, capacity 11,000 all seated, opened 1902.

Edgeley Park, Stockport

Edgeley Park
Hardcastle Road
Stockport
SK3 9DD
Tel: 0161 286 8888
Map of Edgeley Park



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Monday, March 20, 2006

Highbury

From Highbury to the Emirates

Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium is taking shape and will be ready in time for the start of the 2006-2007 season.

Emirates Stadium

Just a few minutes walk from the old Highbury (which opened in 1913, capacity 38,500) the new Emirates Stadium at Ashburton Grove (capacity 60,000) will be a spectacular sight from Highbury Hill. Highbury will be demolished and replaced by new flats.

Mural at Arsenal tube station

The stadium is easily accessible from Holloway Road and Arsenal tube stations on the Piccadilly Line and Drayton Park railway station.

Highbury

World Cup Tickets

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Futbol en Croacia

El empate del Hajduk no les convenció
Los ultras intentaron agredir a los jugadores por sospecha de amańoUna treintena de aficionados ultras del Hajduk Split (según algunos informes, hasta 100 de ellos) invadieron los corridores camino al vestuario en el Estadio Poljud en el intento de agredir a los jugadores de su equipo.
Previamente, una parte de la afición había atraído el grueso de la policía simulando una pelea en la tribuna Norte, lo que abrió el camino a un grupo de los hinchas hacia los vestuarios.
Aunque el Hajduk anoche logró clasificarse para la Liguilla por el título con un soso empate casero ante el Slaven, los ultras consideraron que el resultado fue manipulado. Cuando aparecieron en los corridores, el fisioterapéuta del Hajduk, Filip Brnas, cerró con llave el vestuario dejando a los hinchas gritando "tongo".

Tres guardias privados no pudieron contener a los ultras y uno de ellos resultó levemente herido, pero la presencia de varios policias regulares ante el vestuario detuvo al grupo.
- "Las fuerzas antiviolencia se han dirigido ya al Poljud", les avisaron los policías, lo que convenció a los ultras a empezar la retirada.
Mientras tanto, los jugadores se quedaron encerrados en el vestuario y salieron sólo cuando recibieron seńales de que los violentos se habían alejado del estadio.
El Hajduk había empatado a uno con el Slaven, lo que le bastó para entrar en el grupo de seis que dirrimirá el título, pero los aficionados estuvieron arrabiados por la falta absoluta de ambición por parte de ambos equipos.
- "Estoy decepcionado por la reacción de los aficionados. Hace dos semanas estuvimos lejos de la Liguilla por el título. ?Para qué insistir en una victoria cuando ya teníamos un resultado que nos satisfacía? - comentó el entrenador local Luka Bonacic.
op

Fútbol internacional - Croacia

Había criticado a los ultras
Apalizado el entrenador del Hajduk

El entrenador del Hajduk Luka Bonacic fue apalizado y herido de gravedad anoche ante la entrada de su casa en Split. Bonacic, golpeado repetidamente con palos de béisbol, sostuvo heridas en la cabeza y los brazos, pero está fuera del peligro de vida.

Fue transportado e ingresado al Centro clínico de Split y permanece en el departamento de la neurocirugía.

A la policía Bonacic le ha informado que dos agresores encapuchados le asaltaron con palos y que el intentó defenderse, pero no ha podido dar más detalles de los autores del crimen.

Se sospecha que los agresores podrían ser algunos de los aficionados del Hajduk, irritados porque el recién nombrado técnico había criticado la conducta de los ultras, que a menudo intimidan a los jugadores y la directiva. El pasado sábado unos 80 ultras invadieron el corridor hacia el vestuario en busca de los jugadores, descontentos con su juego ante el Slaven Belupo. Al día siguiente, Bonacic comentó que los ultras se habían equivocado y la reacción de los gamberros de Split no se hizo esperar.

El alcalde de Split Zvonimir Puljic y la mayoría de los jugadores y directivos del Hajduk visitaron a Bonacic en el hospital.

- "Es el dia más difícil de mi mandato. Creo que todos los ciudadanos sentimos lo mismo ya que esta ciudad no conoce este tipo de violencia", matizó Puljic.

Al contrario, los ultras del Hajduk son de sobra conocidos por su vandalismo e incidentes, sobre todo en los enfrentamientos con su propio club y el archirrival Dinamo de Zagreb. Varios hinchas del Hajduk fueron condenados a prisión por haber intentado matar a un seguidor del Dinamo en diciembre del 2004.

El presidente del Hajduk, Branko Grgic, dijo que todavía no entiende cómo su entrenador pudo haber sido golpeado en la cabeza con palos de béisbol.

Friday, March 17, 2006

It’s a war for four, send in the Gunners

A psychic once predicted that I’d marry a small, blonde, beautiful woman, which proved to be wrong, wrong, wrong and the jury’s out. As a result of that experience, I’m a confirmed eyebrow raiser whenever the subject of the paranormal is raised, but even i can appreciate the sense of déjà vu emanating from the greatest competition in World football, the Premiership.

Cast your minds back a year; Chelsea had the title in the bag, the 2nd and 3rd finishing positions were pretty much sewn up, and the battle for the final Champions League spot was fought by a team flying high in the Champions League and their local rivals. Unfortunately for Tottenham, the similarity ends there. The Gunners have all the momentum in ‘The War for four’, and should be backed at 4/7 to finish above their North London rivals; Spurs fans and the viewers of ‘most haunted’ will be obliged at 5/4.

Arsenal have been linked with a summer move for David Beckham, which is surprising as Becks couldn’t lace Ljungberg’s boots. He’s a far better player than Freddie, he just struggles with laces. Ljungberg is doubtful for the Charlton match, an Arsenal victory is not. The Gunners are nap bet material at 4/11.

Last season he was a right lemon, now the Arsenal goalkeeper is being rightly lauded by all and sundry. The Addicks have drew a blank in three of their last four games; you can foresee an Arsenal clean sheet, a pleasing 4/5 shot.

Mick McCarthy has taken a bit of stick for steering Sunderland towards the title of ‘Worst Premiership football team ever’, but in defence of big Mick, he managed to get this awful side promoted from the Championship last season, and with more points than Wigan and West Ham to boot, a spectacular accomplishment. Sunderland are losing at the Reebok this week, 4/11 is on the table for Bolton.

It’s been reported that Tottenham have made a £7 million bid for Ruud Van Nistelrooy, although Martin Jol’s unusual policy of leaving his best striker on the bench could well be a stumbling block. Steve Bruce has complained that relegation worries are affecting his sleep, he’ll kip like a hedgehog in winter when Birmingham take all three points at home to Spurs. It’s 9/4 that Brucey gets his eight hours on Saturday night.

West Brom host an in form Manchester United, their flirtation with the drop is about to move into Paris Hilton territory. Man U were sublime last weekend against Newcastle, a convincing win is on the cards at the Hawthorns; the 1/2 on offer should appeal.

The British press should hold it’s collective head in shame. Wayne Rooney floated the ball over the Newcastle keeper’s head to score a wonder goal last week, yet the headline, ‘Rooney, chips a Given’ was nowhere to be seen. The Roonatic was unlucky not to get a hat-trick then, one shot nearly took Gary Neville’s head off; let’s hope his luck improves against West Brom. It’s 20/1 for the big lad to net three times.


The weekend specials raise a glass to the patron saint of Ireland.

“St Patrick's Day” - Robbie Keane and Damien Duff both to score 6/1
“Bell, fast” - Craig Bellamy to score in the first half 9/2
“Ryan, air” - Giggs to score with a header 10/1
“The wild Rover” - Robbie Savage to be booked 7/4
“Paddy long legs” - Peter Crouch to score two or more goals 8/1

Quote of the week:

"I think of myself as Germany's number one keeper and one of the best keepers in Europe, I don't want any arguments with (Oliver) Kahn, but the stats are there. In one game, he conceded four goals, and I conceded none in two matches. Little by little, things are sitting into their rightful place.”

Jens Lehmann is a definite card.


Stat, you’re a liberty:

West Brom have a remarkable record against teams in the top half of the table, they’ve won more games than Arsenal and Tottenham.

Acc of the week:

Everton, Arsenal, Bolton, Man Utd and a Newcastle draw make up the weekend accer, it’s a 16/1 corker.

Weekend Betting:

Everton v Aston Villa Saturday 18th March 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus

Everton 10/11
Draw 9/4
Aston Villa 5/2

Get on: Everton

It’s six wins and a draw from Everton’s last 7 home matches; Villa have lost their last two without putting up a fight.
Match Special:
Everton to win 1-0 6/1

Arsenal v Charlton Saturday 18th March 15.00

Arsenal 4/11
Draw 3/1
Charlton 13/2

Get on: Arsenal

Arsenal’s last three performances have been sublime; Charlton are struggling to find the net, an excellent combination. Thierry Henry has scored seven times in his five appearances against Charlton at Highbury, the great man will fancy adding to that stat.
Match Special:
Thierry Henry to score a hat-trick 14/1

Blackburn v Middlesbrough Saturday 18th March 15.00

Blackburn 4/5
Draw 9/4
Middlesbrough 3/1

Get on: Blackburn

Blackburn have won their last four matches at home, Boro have lost their last two away. The Rovers have already seen off Boro twice this season, they’re good for a third.
Match Special:
Bellamy to score two or more goals 5/1

Bolton v Sunderland Saturday 18th March 15.00

Bolton 4/11
Draw 3/1
Sunderland 13/2

Get on: Bolton

Bolton lost their opening game of the season at the Reebok, but have not tasted defeat on their own patch since. Sunderland have lost their last four, the greatest politician in the World would struggle to make a case for the away team.
Match Special:
Nolan to score at any time 11/8

Man City v Wigan Saturday 18th March 15.00

Man City Evs
Draw 9/4
Wigan 9/4

Get on: Man City

Wigan saw off Sunderland 1-0 last week, but that’s their only win in nine. City have won their last seven at home, the Psycho’s done well.
Match Special:
Samaras to score two or more goals 7/1

West Brom v Man Utd Saturday 18th March 15.00

West Brom 5/1
Draw 5/2
Man Utd 1/2

Get on: Man Utd

It’s four consecutive league victories for Man U, the Baggies have earned 1 point out of a possible 12.
Match Special:
Man U to win 3-0 8/1

West Ham v Portsmouth Saturday 18th March 15.00

West Ham 8/13
Draw 12/5
Portsmouth 4/1

Get on: West Ham

West Ham have won five of their last six home matches, they drew the other. It’s four consecutive defeats on the road for Pompey without finding the net once. Pompey haven’t won at Upton Park for 77 years, a run that looks set to continue.
Match Special:
West Ham to keep a clean sheet 11/10

Birmingham v Tottenham Saturday 18th March 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

Birmingham 9/4
Draw 9/4
Tottenham Evs

Get on: Birmingham

Surprisingly, Arsenal are the only visitors to St Andrew’s to leave with three points this year, while Spurs have only won two of their last nine. Tottenham have never won at St Andrew’s in the Premiership.
Match Special:
Birmingham to won 1-0 or 2-1 4/1

Newcastle v Liverpool Sunday 19th March 13.30 Live on Sky

Newcastle 9/5
Draw 11/5
Liverpool 5/4

Get on: Draw

Newcastle have won five of their last seven; the European Champions have scored either 1 goal or drawn a blank in 11 of their last 12 matches. Only the brave will play at 5/4.
Match Special:
Match to finish 1-1 11/2

Fulham v Chelsea Sunday 19th March 16.00 Live on Sky

Fulham 11/2
Draw 12/5
Chelsea 1/2

Get on: Draw

Fulham’s record at home is exceptional, Chelsea are more staggering than charging to the title, I see them leaving two points at the Cottage.
Match Special:
HT Draw FT Draw 9/2



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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Astrological Predictions

March 25, 2006 EPL

Liverpool v Everton

Astro-Analysis: This will be an interesting match, both the teams will put up equal and tough efforts, but at last the match will either end up in a draw or Liverpool will be the winner.

Portsmouth v Arsenal

Astro-Analysis: This will be a must-see match, both the teams will show an excellent performance. The stars are placed in such a situation in transit, which will result in an unexpected outcome. The result will be either a draw or Portsmouth will win.

Chelsea v Man City

Astro-Analysis: This will be a win for Chelsea.

Aston Villa v Fulham

Astro-Analysis: This will be a tough match but at last the match will be in favor of Fulham.

Middlesbrough v Bolton

Astro-Analysis: Both the teams will be in high sprits and show their best skills but Middlesbrough will dominate the whole game and at last they will be the winner.




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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Boro fans attacked

Middlesbrough fans have been attacked by "organised" Italian thugs in Rome ahead of the UEFA cup clash tonight.

Three men were stabbed - a 39 yr old, there to enjoy the game with his 11 year old son, in the back and chest, a 31 yr old in the back and an 18 yr old in the backside - and ten others aged from 16 to 55 were rushed to casualty.

The attackers are thought to be from a group of extremist Roma "fans" called Ultras. The masked scum reportedly targeted two bars where Boro fans were gathered, normal shirt wearing Boro fans including families, throwing flares before charging with an array of weapons including axes and knives. Boro fans had been warned by police that Italian fans carry flares, but Cleveland Police's Superintendednt Swales said that he was not aware that they carried knives. I think I would've hazzarded a guess that it was a distinct possibility myself mind.

Luckily Italian Police were on hand to pile in with batons and restore order.

What can you say? Nothing short of absolutely disgusting behaviour from an "organised" group of idiot scum. It's going to get to the point where noone in their right mind will travel to European games for the sake of self preservation, and no doubt this will again somehow warrant more black marks against English fans.

Yorke wobbles but stays with Sydney

The aftermath of Sydney FC's grand final victory almost saw the game's leading light Dwight Yorke packs his bags and leave for good - only for clear-the-air talks with Sydney officials to reveal a breakdown in communication between the club and its major asset.

In a week of turmoil for local supporters and A-League management alike, the realisation of Sydney's 1-0 victory over the Central Coast Mariners in the league's showpiece decider was only just sinking in as the news of Yorke's anticipated departure broke. It was not the news Sydney fans had wanted to hear.

On and off the field, Yorke had succeeded in captivating the previously unconvinced Australian sporting media during a stellar season down under. The former Manchester United striker capped off a memorable campaign with a sparkling second-half cameo in the grand final against the Mariners when his patience and precision set up Steve Corica for the game's only goal. Despite a sluggish opening to proceedings, Yorke was awarded the Joe Marston Medal for his man-of-the-match contribution and as captain became the first player to get his hands on the A-League champions trophy.

Officials from the game's governing body Football Federation Australia could barely suppress their smiles. It would foolhardy to think A-League founders such as chief executive John O'Neill would want anything other than the country's most high-profile club and its golden boy scooping the major awards. For the good of the sport's short-term future, it was the right result.

For the second time this season, football dominated the sports pages of the dailies. Dwight Sets Sydney Alight the Sydney Morning Herald reported while Melbourne's The Age preferred Sydney and Yorke Show Their Class.

Then, from nowhere, calamity almost struck. Four days after the grand final, a clearly emotional Yorke spilled the nature of his behind-the-scenes discussions with the new champions to Fox Sports show Total Football.

"I've signed a two-year contract and as far as I know I'm obliged to my contractual agreement," the 35-year-old started. "But there are so many rumours flying around, so I'm going to tell you straight as it is. Three weeks ago, two weeks ago, someone from behind the scenes contacted my agent and told him I can go next season. Someone very influential in the club. So I don't know where all the other things have come out about how I was the one who instigated things.

"A lot of people out there are thinking I'm going to leave Sydney. I'm only going to leave Sydney if Sydney FC wants me to go. The people here have been wonderful, the supporters have been great, working with [assistant coach Ian Crook] Crooky and the gaffer, [Pierre] Littbarski, they've been magnificent. I mean, I have a lease on the apartment I'm in for two years. Everything is in place for the two years.

"I'm disappointed, of course I am. Here I am, doing everything I possibly can for Sydney, to have football have the place it belongs in Australia. I thought I'd come here and do the right thing, promote the league in the right way. And here I am, being told through my agent, that I can leave … for me, that's a huge disappointment. I've been told, for whatever reason, and it's not for me to say, that I can leave. That was the last thing I expected."

Sydney management acted quickly to quash the idea they were trying to force Yorke out the door. It was claimed a miscommunication between the club and Yorke's British-based agent caused the confusion. Sydney were happy for Yorke to leave if such a decision would allow the striker the correct preparation for June's World Cup where Yorke will captain Trinidad and Tobago. The club always wanted him to return after the finals to start training ahead of season two, they insisted.

But others are less certain. Some have suggested Yorke's mammoth salary - reported as anything between AUD$900,000 and $1.5m per year - is overburdening the fledgling club with debt. Others believe Yorke engineered the whole scenario to force the club into showing their hand. Who could blame the player who left the UK under a cloud after gloomy spells with Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City making certain of his immediate future.

But whatever the nature of the misunderstanding, it seems Sydney FC's marquee signing will be flying the football flag down under for another 12 months at least. Now, perhaps, the FFA can breathe a sigh of relief.

Korea Pre-Match Press Conference

South Korea.
It has become almost a ritual now in South Korea that whenever the national team prepares for a home game, the day before kick-off, dozens of journalists converge on a prestigious hotel in north-western Seoul and spend over half an hour grilling the players.

The squad sits on different round tables. The more famous the player, the more chance they have of getting a table to themselves with chairs left empty in anticipation of journalistic attention. Other players, some less well-known or simply less talkative and outgoing, will sit with team-mates and roll eyes at questions or laugh at each other’s jokes.

It is Dick Advocaat's idea, the Dutchman immediately winning over the scores of scribes in Korea by throwing open the doors, or more accurately, tearing down the barriers that had often existed between players and press under predecessor Jo Bonfrere - a seemingly small gesture but, unsurprisingly, a popular one.

On this occasion, the fourth time it has happened, the players are preparing for a friendly game with Angola the following day. Most of the squad have just returned from a six week overseas tour – a punishing itinerary that consisted of ten games, a good deal of training and by the looks of things, some significant bonding – as the players seem more relaxed in each other’s and the press’s presence than in the past.

Two foreign-based players are also holding court. Lee Eul-yong of Trabszonspor and Tottenham’s Lee Young-pyo. Due to the Carling Cup final, Park Ji-sung arrived late.

The Spurs star is one of two players that have the ‘honour’ of an advertising board being placed behind him, the other is Lee Chun-soo, Ulsan Hyundai Horang-I’s tricky winger and K-League MVP 2005.

The atmosphere is busy but fairly relaxed. Advocaat, like the rest of his coaching staff, stands to one side, watching proceedings, helping himself to orange juice and shouting comments to players and pressmen. The Dutchman tells reporters interviewing young midfielder Baek Ji-hoon that it is his birthday.

Abruptly, the players get up and leave. Usually they head back gratefully to hotel rooms but this time they file into the main press conference room to participate in some kind of sponsorship deal between the national team, Amway and some kind of nutrient bar – one that looks strange enough not to warrant a taste.

After a gratifyingly short period of time, the press conference begins. Such affairs are not usually as interesting as one may think. The coach makes a statement, reporters ask questions which are usually greeted with fairly predictable answers.

Still, there is always the chance of something shocking, insightful or newsworthy and with the World Cup 100 days away and the national team’s last friendly game in Korea before the tournament just a day away, everybody is here.

Unsurprisingly, the theme of the conference was the overseas tour and preparations for the World Cup. Advocaat explained why the trip had been a success, the different kind of players played, the different kind of teams played and the different kind of systems played.

“We have a very good feeling about the past five or six weeks – playing and travelling with the team… we took the risk of playing ten games in five weeks to give the players a chance to play abroad against good countries,” said the Dutchman.

“Normally as coaches we wouldn’t play so many games… we had some great results and the games we lost we could have won. It was good experience. When Lee Young- pyo arrived in training he said that he could see the difference between now and November. We have improved a lot.”

Subsequently, a number of questions are asked, the one that gets a reaction from the coach is one that goes along the lines of: “You played a new four-man defence on the tour, most games Choi Jin-cheul and Kim Jin-kyu were the centre backs. Even though this pair continued to make mistakes, you didn’t give anybody else much of a chance. Why was that?”

Being sat on the front row, it was easy to see that even before the question had been fully translated to Advocaat, his face became flushed with anger and his eyes became hard. He struggled to contain himself.

“I make the decisions,” he barked. “Journalists write. You can write about it.”

It was interesting that Advocaat refused to comment on particular players but he followed the example set by his assistant Pim Verbeek a few months earlier, being happy to talk about young striker Park Chu-young, who according to the Korean media was going through a slump.

“We have to find out if Park will be in the eleven - it’s up to him. Of course, we take the decisions but when he shows his qualities then he will play – if he brings the right quality. Probably Park has to bring a little bit more.”

“It’s too early to say what the squad will be, there is still three months – everything is open. We will see the K-League and we can see many players abroad and see how they’re doing. We will tell the players to keep their good form for their clubs or it will be dangerous for them.”

That was pretty much it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Kyoto Purple Sanga Loses Home Opener

After tearing through the Second Division of the J.League last year, Kyoto Purple Sanga was promoted to the big time. And after two matches in J1, it looks as though it may be a brief stay.

Sanga lost its opener away to Yokohama F Marinos 4-1. The faithful shrugged it off: first game, away, tough team full of national team players, nerves.

Kyoto Purple Sanga Coach HashirataniLast Saturday saw Sanga back at home, its first J1 match in Kyoto in three years. Played under blue skies and relatively mild temperatures, expectations were high. Visiting Kawasaki finished in the middle of the table in J1 and, with the exception of its prolific striker Joninho, did not boast great talent.

On the first possession Kawasaki scored. It happened so quickly that many of us in the press box missed it. Sanga held its own in midfield, but defensively looked slow and exposed. Up front, Sanga’s pint-sized Brazilian forward Paulinho was repeatedly called for offsides and began diving all over the field in an attempt at getting a free kick. The ref would have none of it.

In the second half, the floodgates opened. Joninho nailed a hat trick, literally running around or past Kyoto’s hapless back line. His second goal came so quickly after the first, and in near identical fashion, that a giant groan emanated from the normally dormant press box. The final score was 7-2, but could easily have been worse. Joninho missed what should have been his fourth goal when his open-net shot banged off the cross bar.

At the press conference, the media ever so delicately broached the possibility that maybe, perhaps, after losing two matches by a total of 11-3 either personnel or the system itself would have to be rethought.

But Kyoto coach Koichi Hashiratani—a local boy and former national team player, pictured above—tried to play defiant. Subdued but glib, the former tough guy midfielder said, no, we followed our game plan. Long, profound silence. The coach filled it by arguing that Kyoto is a team that counters well—but that down 2-0 early on, you can’t counter. More silence. More practice, hard practice, vowed Hashiratani.

Aside from a large purple banner that read “Hardcore Naked,” there was little to amuse. Short of a 2-3 quality players and better organization at the back, Kyoto is in for a long year.

World Cup Tickets

Friday, March 10, 2006

Champions League Draw March 2006

Champions League Draw March 2006.
Champions League Quarter Final Draw

Arsenal v Juventus
Benfica v Barcelona
Olympique Lyon v AC Milan
Inter Milan or Ajax v Villarreal

Semi-final draw

Arsenal or Juventus v Inter Milan or Ajax or Villarreal
Olympique Lyon or AC Milan v Benfica or Barcelona

Quarter-final first legs March 28-29, second legs April 4-5
Semi-finals first legs April 18-19, seconds legs April 25-26

Thursday, March 9, 2006

José, can you see? (The star-mangled spanner)

I have a confession for you all; i’m in the middle of a bad run. After narrowly losing out in the award for ‘Sports journalist of the year’, i was surprisingly pipped at the post for the ‘Gambling personality of the year’ gong. I’ve now discovered that i didn’t even make the top three in the wife’s ‘Best lover of the year’ category, although to be fair, I was runner up in 2003. It could be worse though, I could be José Mourinho.

Chelsea have had a week from hell; Arjen Robben has been banned for four games following a horrific attack on Jonathan Greening, where he flew through the air like a crazed ninja with legs well and truly akimbo. John Terry has been chastised by the press for consistently leading a lynch mob to surround referees, Barcelona strolled to Champions League qualification, and now FIFA have announced that two referees per match is a consideration; presumably, one to keep an eye on the always theatrical Didier Drogba. A bad run attracts an even worse run, Tottenham can snatch a draw at the Bridge, get on at 11/4.

There’s an old Chinese saying, ‘If the purple nosed jockey wants to win the big race, he shouldn’t swap a horse for a donkey.’ For some reason, this makes me think of the Van Nistelrooy / Louis Saha situation at Man Utd. If the rumour mill is correct and Ruud is on his way out of Old Trafford, the betting opportunities are almost endless. Back Newcastle today at 13/2; get on Thierry Henry to win the Golden Boot at 13/8 and pile on Liverpool to finish runners up at 2/1. Call me a mad conspiracy theorist, but I’ve put two and two together; i’ve got a tutu.

As a result of Mick McCarthy receiving his P45, Sunderland are now a viable bet to see off Wigan at the Stadium of Light. The scientifically proven phenomenon of ‘replaced manager syndrome’ will undoubtedly come to the fore. An improved Sunderland performance is an absolute Shay; get on at 7/4.

If / when Portsmouth are relegated, Harry Redknapp will receive the honour of being the first manager to relegate different teams from the Premiership in successive seasons. A quite remarkable achievement; who said that Harry had lost his magic? Madman Joey Barton returns for Man City, as will their form on the road; City are a confident call at 11/8.

At first glance, ‘Robbie Savage’s excellent record’ would appear to be a contradiction in terms, much like ‘Chelsea sportsmanship’ or ‘Soccer AM – The best bits’. But incredibly, the blonde bombshell has only been on the losing side once in 18 matches against Aston Villa. That stat’s impressive, but so are Villa away from home. O’Leary has an honest bunch of lads; they should be backed at 9/4 to take a point home from Blackburn.

Jasper Carrott and Frank Skinner will be glued to Soccer Saturday when Birmingham host West Brom in an old fashioned six pointer; although there’s nothing funny about relegation from the Premiership, or Frank Skinner. Birmingham are the better team, they have home advantage, even money is a little treat.

The weekend specials:

“The crying Dutchman” - Van Nistelrooy not to score 5/6
“The Beat goes on” - James Beattie to score two or more goals 5/1
“Brom disposal” - Birmingham to score three or more goals 4/1
“A high roller” - Drogba to score with a header 9/2

Quote of the week:

“I don’t think so; Barcelona could not beat us 11 v 11.”
The deluded José Mourinho, responding to the question, “Did the better team qualify?”

Stat, you’re a liberty:

If Fulham could replicate their home form on the road, they would be Chelsea’s closest challengers.

Acc of the week:

Birmingham, Everton, Man City and Arsenal form the weekend accer. It’s so cute, you could take it home to meet your mother; it pays out at 17/1.

Weekend Betting:

Birmingham v West Brom Saturday 11th March 12.00

Birmingham Evs
Draw 9/4
West Brom 9/4

Get on: Birmingham

Blues have won every Premiership match against the Baggies at St Andrew’s, and won 3-2 at the Hawthorns earlier in the season. City have won two of the last three by a goal to nil, a trend that looks set to continue against the out of form Baggies.
Match Special:
Birmingham to win 1-0 6/1

Chelsea v Tottenham Saturday 11th March 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus

Chelsea 4/9
Draw 11/4
Tottenham 11/2

Get on: Draw

Chelsea have only won 5 of their last 11; Tottenham are undefeated in four. This is not the formality that 4/9 would suggest.
Match Special:
Match to finish 1-1 13/2

Bolton v West Ham Saturday 11th March 15.00

Bolton Evs
Draw 9/4
West Ham 9/4

Get on: Draw

This is the 4th instalment of a 5 match extravaganza between West Ham and Bolton this season; Big Sam’s men are currently 2-1-0. It finished 0-0 in the FA Cup at the Reebok a couple of weeks back, a repeat can not be ruled out.
Match Special:
No goal scorer in the match 8/1

Everton v Fulham Saturday 11th March 15.00

Everton 8/11
Draw 9/4
Fulham 10/3

Get on: Everton

A great stat in this fixture, every time they’ve met in the Premiership (9 times), the home team has emerged victorious. Fulham have never won a league match at Goodison Park in 55 years (on and off) of trying. Everton have won four of the last five at Goodison 1-0, I rest my case.
Match Special:
Everton to win 1-0 6/1

Portsmouth v Man City Saturday 11th March 15.00

Portsmouth 13/8
Draw 11/5
Man City 11/8

Get on: Man City

Harry’s men have only picked up 1 point out of a possible 24, they’re going down. City have won their last three against Pompey, it’s about to become four.
Match Special:
Man City to score three or more goals 5/1

Sunderland v Wigan Saturday 11th March 15.00

Sunderland 7/4
Draw 9/4
Wigan 5/4

Get on: Sunderland

Wigan’s winless run has now reached nine games; Sunderland’s caretaker manager Kevin Ball couldn’t have picked a better match to open his account, apart from Portsmouth at home, or West Brom at home.
Match Special:
Sunderland to keep a clean sheet 2/1

Blackburn v Aston Villa Saturday 11th March 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

Blackburn 8/11
Draw 9/4
Aston Villa 10/3

Get on: Draw

It’s three consecutive home wins for Blackburn; the Villa haven’t tasted defeat on the road for four months. That’ll be a draw then.
Match Special:
Match to finish 2-2 14/1

Man Utd v Newcastle Sunday 12th March 13.30 Live on Sky

Man Utd 2/5
Draw 11/4
Newcastle 13/2

Get on: Newcastle

Man U looked far from comfortable last time out at the JJB, a 2-1 win was daylight robbery. It’s five wins out of six for the Toon Army, I’ve seen worse 13/2 shots.
Match Special:
Emre or Solano to score at any time 15/8

Charlton v Middlesbrough Sunday 12th March 15.00

Charlton 10/11
Draw 9/4
Middlesbrough 5/2

Get on: Draw

Charlton’s last three games have finished goalless; Boro have either kept a clean sheet or failed to score in eight of their last nine games. 4 of the last 10 between these two have finished goalless, you can rule out a 4-4 draw.
Match Special:
No Goalscorer in the match 8/1

Arsenal v Liverpool Sunday 12th March 16.00 Live on Sky

Arsenal 6/5
Draw 11/5
Liverpool 15/8

Get on: Arsenal

Liverpool are not performing away from home, it’s four defeats from their last six on the road. Arsenal have won this fixture convincingly for the last couple of seasons, 3-1 and 4-2. One goal should be enough for the Gunners to take the points in this one.
Match Special:
Arsenal to win 1-0 6/1

Monday, March 6, 2006

Nigerian Player Dies of AIDS in Macedonia

Adams se murió del SIDA

La muerte de un futbolista nigeriano asusta al fútbol macedonio

La muerte de Eja Abdulrashid Adams ha suscitado pánico en el fútbol macedonio, al descubrirse que el futbolista nigeriano murió del SIDA. La Federación macedonia se ha puesto en moción para intentar descubrir si ha podido infectar a alguien durante la práctica de fútbol, por ejemplo en algún choque fortúito sobre el terreno.

La clínica en Skopje, donde el africano murió hace unos días, no tiene datos sobre cuantas personas han contraído la enfermedad por culpa de Adams. Se conoce, eso si, que tuvo una novia macedonia.

Los clubes macedonios se han puesto alerta visto que utilizan a varios jugadores procedentes de los países africanos. Las directivas han anunciado colectivamente que someterán a pruebas al virus VIH a todos sus futbolistas.

Abdulrashid Adams, nacido en el 1980, actuó en la Liga macedonia varios ańos, militando en tres equipos, ninguno de los que sabía de su infección. El descubrimiento que el fallecido jugador tuvo el temido SIDA dejó patente un defecto en el reglamento de la Federación macedonia, concretamente la ausencia de la obligación de solicitar certificados médicos para los futbolistas extranjeros, ni siquiera para los de Africa.
Los jugadores si se someten a varias pruebas médicas dos veces al ańo, pero ninguna prueba está relacionado con el VIH.

Según la prensa nacional, la Federación nacional todavía no ha tomado una decisión respecto a la prueba obligatoria al VIH para todos los jugadores foráneos.

Las últimas noticias apuntan que una mujer quien estaba relacionada sentimentalmente con Adams ha resultado positiva al virus VIH, mientras se esperan resultados de pruebas a las que se han sometido varios jugadores.

Antes de su muerte Adams militó en el Madari Solidarnost, Belasica Strumica y Sloga Jugomagnat, de los equipos macedonios. Desde que el Sloga descendiera a la Segunda división el ańo pasado, el nigeriano estuvo sin equipo, pero tuvo una oferta de un equipo albanés. Según la prensa local, fue entonces cuando se le diagnosticó el SIDA por la primera vez. Poco después, sucumbió a la enfermedad, o a otra dolencia que a causa del SIDA pudo hacer más mella a su organismo.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Euro 2008 England Fixtures

2006

2 September England v Andorra
6 September Macedonia v England
7 October England v Macedonia
11 October Croatia v England


2007

24 March Israel v England
28 March 28 Andorra v England
6 June Estonia v England
8 September England v Israel
12 September England v Russia
13 October England v Estonia
17 October Russia v England
21 November England v Croatia


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Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Lionel "Leo" Messi profile

Leo Messi - Maradona's Heir

Dječak kojeg Maradona zove nasljednikom

Ako legendarni Maradona o vama kaže da ste najbolji igrač kojeg je Argentina dala otkako je ta zemlja u Meksiku osvojila svoj drugi Mundial, vjerojatno biste se mogli umisliti. No, ako ste pritom Lionel Messi, zvani Leo, podnijet ćete to bez dizanja nosa - barem u početku.

Messi.


Mladići koji dolaze iz Južne Amerike u bitno različitu europsku sredinu često imaju tegoba u prilagodbi, no Messi se nevjerojatno brzo snašao i nametnuo stručnom stožeru čak i tako velikog kluba s tako visokim kriterijima kao što je Barcelona.

- "Laska mi usporedba sa spomenikom svjetskog nogometa kakav je Diego, ali on je bio jedinstven. Nitko neće nikada imati takvu sposobnost baratanja s loptom. Nedavno sam se sreo s njime i on mi je rekao da budem svoj i da ne dopustim da me ponese medijska euforija. Bio je to dobar savjet."

Messi je prije godinu dana bio član druge momčadi Barcelone. Šest mjeseci ranije, igrao je samo za treću momčad. Njegov je uspon počeo prošlog proljeća, uoči 18. rođendana.

- "Ni ja nisam očekivao da će mi se stvari odvijati ovako u zadnjih godinu dana. Pobjeda na Svjetskom juniorskom prvenstvu bila mi je odskočna daska, a od tada se sve ubrzalo. Počeo sam se učvršćivati u Barcinom sastavu, a onda sam i prvi puta pozvan na reprezentativnu dužnost s Argentinom. Sve je ovo dosad nevjerojatno i ponosan sam na ono što sam dosegao u karijeri. Pritisak? Nema pritiska. Na terenu osjećam samo radost."

Nedavno izabran za najboljeg mladog igrača Europe, Messi se ne može nahvaliti trenera Franka Rijkaarda.
- "Trener mi je pomogao na mnogo načina - tehnički, taktički i osobno. On odlično čita utakmicu, ne promakne mu nijedan detalj."

Kao pravi klinac, oduševljen je svojim renomiranim suigračima, koje je do jučer doživljavao nedodirljivim zvijezdama.
- "Svaki moj dan na igralištu je nevjerojatno iskustvo. Toliko sam naučio u društvu Ronaldinha, Eto'a i ostalih. Čovjek može samo profitirati igrajući uz tako tehnički nadarene dečke koji tako dobro razumiju igru. Jako sam im zahvalan. Suigrači su me prihvatili otprve i dali mi do znanja da sam sastavni dio momčadi."

Nisam još "dovršen proizvod"

U Primeri Division nije lako postati prvotimcem sa 17 godina. U Realu, u zadnjih 10 godina to je uspjelo Raulu. U Barceloni, Xaviju i - Messiju. Mladić znade da mu mjesto u prvoj postavi nije zajamčeno, ne još.

- "Ja sam još tinejdžer, a ovo mi je prva sezona među seniorima, pa se ne mogu opustiti. Barcelona ima previše vrhunskih napadača da bih mogao biti miran. Henrik Larsson i Ludovic Giuly često su na klupi, a u svakom drugom klubu bili bi prvotimci. Ja nisam dovršen proizvod, moram postati tjelesno jačim i poboljšati realizaciju. Pokušavam biti hladnokrvnijim pred vratima."

Messijeva je izvedba protiv Chelseaja u Londonu, kad je zavezao u čvor domaće braniče i ishodio (pravedno) isključenje sunarodnjaka Del Horna, svjetskoj javnosti pomogla shvatiti otkud sva ta halabuka oko njega u Španjolskoj.

Messi je rođen u argentinskom Santa Feu 24. lipnja 1987., a u Barcelonu je došao 2000. s 13 godina i priključio se njenoj kadetskoj momčadi. Munjevito je napredovao kroz kategorije i nastupio za seniore u prijateljskoj utakmici protiv Porta još prije 17. rođendana. Debi u prvenstvu dočekao je već 17. listopada 2004. protiv Espanyola, star 17 godina i tri mjeseca. Tijekom sezone zabilježio je još šest nastupa u Primeri, a protiv Albacetea je postigao izvanredan pogodak, postavši najmlađi Barcin strijelac u prvoligaškoj povijesti.
Procedura oko dobivanja španjolskog državljanstva započela je još 2004., a okončana je koncem prošlog rujna, na žalost mnogih zavidnih klubova, koji su pokušali administrativnim putem spriječiti njegov nastup u španjolskom prvenstvu - mada je Messi već uredno imao UEFA-inu dozvolu za igranje u Ligi prvaka!

Istovremeno s okončanjem procedure naturalizacije, Messi i Barcelona sklopili su ugovor koji ih veže do 30. lipnja 2014.! Cijelu vječnost? Ne, jer tada će hispano-argentinac imati samo 27 godina te će, bude li se sve odvijalo po planu, biti najtraženija roba na svjetskom tržištu. Sigurno će Barca nastojati produžiti taj ugovor prije no što istekne, a zasad, želi li netko kupiti Messija - cijena je prava sitnica: 150 milijuna eura Barci, a nešto valjda i igraču.

Copyright Soccerphile/Zri Sport

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Smudge not, lest ye be Smudged

EPL betting.
Throughout history, if a cause is powerful enough, people will unite to make the World a better place. Thousands shared Woodstock’s vision of peace and love, and even more answered a hairy Irishman’s call, when he arranged for average middle of the road pop acts to perform across four continents, in a half-assed attempt to reduce global poverty. When Middlesbrough play Birmingham on Saturday 4th March, we too can make a stand against a new evil, incorrectly priced football teams. Let’s come together to back the Boro at 10/11.

McClaren’s men are standing strong in Europe and they’ve hit a purple patch in the league, while Birmingham hover just two places from the foot of the table. Admittedly it’s not risk free, but you’re taking a chance when you eat a late night kebab or when you sleep with loose women. Obviously I wouldn’t behave in such a manner myself, I don’t like chilli sauce. The Boro won 3-0 at St Andrew’s when they weren’t playing well, imagine what will happen at the Riverside now they are. At 10/11, this is the value bet of the season, spread the word.

Sam Allardyce asks a valid question. What does Kevin Nolan have to do to receive International recognition? Apart from growing another two and a half foot and signing for Liverpool, the answer is I just don’t know. Sven is not alone in underestimating Bolton, bookmakers have been slow to appreciate that they’re now a top 6 side.

A trip to St James’ Park won’t be easy though, Newcastle have collected 10 points out of a possible 12 recently, even the most optimistic/inebriated Geordie would have been surprised by that tally. This one has ‘draw’ written all over it, take advantage at 9/4.

If Liverpool had Darren Bent they’d be challenging Chelsea for the Title; they’ve got Peter Crouch, they’re not. Bent’s theatrics earned the Addicks three points against the Reds at the Valley just three weeks ago; revenge is a dish best served cold, like my dinner. The Pool will win; they’re available at 4/9.

I liked Psycho’s reaction to Joey Barton’s red card last week, “I’ll tell him that Stuart Pearce was sent off five times in 1,000 matches.” Although he makes an excellent point, Gerry McDonnell is not a fan of speaking in the third person. City improved when Barton left the pitch that day, a similar performance against Sunderland will see them romp home. Football is a funny old game, although I won’t be laughing if Sunderland win or draw, i’m on City at 2/5.

The Gunners form on the road is the most perplexing mystery since i found an extra large pair of boxer shorts under the bed. There’s no logical reason why Arsenal can win easily at the Bernabeu, yet take a beating at Ewood Park and the Hawthorns. The Gunners have a quality squad and could well leave the Cottage with three points, but after being bitten twice, you’ve got to stop stroking the dog. I’m backing Fulham at 7/4.

Fergie’s ruck with Van Nistelrooy has been headline news all week, but the real story to come out of United’s Carling Cup stroll should be the victory t-shirts. Alan Smith has been labelled ‘Smudge’; it’s perhaps the worst nickname in the history of football. The FA should launch an immediate enquiry into why ‘short stuff’, ‘nutjob’ and ‘meedy’ were cruelly overlooked. The art of nicknaming has joined rugby in England’s ‘We’re not good at doing it anymore’ column, a crying shame. This tips for you Smudger; get on Man Utd to beat Wigan at 8/13.

The weekend specials:

“The Gud book” - Gudjohnsen to be booked 4/1
“Brown knows” - Wes Brown to score at any time 12/1
“Agger, do do do” - Daniel Agger to be booked 5/2
“You can Ron, but you can’t Eid” - Ronaldo to score, Gudjohnsen not to score 10/3

Quote of the week:

“We’re not going to Cardiff for a nice day out.”
Paul Jewell pounded the nail on the head.

Stat, you’re a liberty:

The league table would have a slightly different look if matches ended at the 45 minute mark. Man Utd would be six points clear at the top of the table, while Everton would have consolidated their Champions League position. The bottom 3 would be Sunderland, Portsmouth and Birmingham; statisticians can not perform miracles.

Acc of the week:

Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Liverpool and Man Utd form a delightful little weekend accer; it’ll pay 14/1.


Weekend Betting:


West Brom v Chelsea Saturday 4th March 12.45 Live on Premiership Plus

West Brom 11/2
Draw 3/1
Chelsea 2/5

Get on: Chelsea

The Baggies have met Chelsea on five occasions in the Premiership, Chelsea have won every time. The Albion have been walloped in their last two matches, 2/5 looks generous.
Match Special:
Chelsea to win 2-0 11/2

Aston Villa v Portsmouth Saturday 4th March 15.00

Aston Villa 8/11
Draw 9/4
Portsmouth 10/3

Get on: Aston Villa

Pompey struggle at Villa Park, they’ve took a beating on their last eight visits. They’ve also lost on their last eight road trips in the league, there’s literally no hope for them.
Match Special:
Villa to keep a clean sheet 6/5

Fulham v Arsenal Saturday 4th March 15.00

Fulham 7/4
Draw 9/4
Arsenal 5/4

Get on: Fulham

Fulham have won eight of their last nine league matches at the Cottage, they drew the other. Arsenal have only won three times away from home in the league all season.
Match Special:
Fulham to win 1-0 7/1

Middlesbrough v Birmingham Saturday 4th March 15.00

Middlesbrough 10/11
Draw 9/4
Birmingham 5/2

Get on: Middlesbrough

The Boro have won five of their last six matches, while a 1-0 win over Sunderland hardly represents a return to form for Birmingham.
Match Special:
Hasselbaink and Yakubu both to score 13/2

Newcastle v Bolton Saturday 4th March 15.00

Newcastle 6/5
Draw 9/4
Bolton 9/5

Get on: Draw

It’s four wins and a draw from the Toon’s last five games. Bolton are a tough nut to crack though, as their 1-1 draw at Highbury underlines.
Match Special:
No goal scorer in the match 8/1

West Ham v Everton Saturday 4th March 15.00

West Ham Evs
Draw 9/4
Everton 9/4

Get on: West Ham

The Hammers have won seven of their last eight matches; the other was drawn at the Reebok. Everton have lost their last two away from home, it all adds up to a home win.
Match Special:
Ashton to score the first goal 9/2

Liverpool v Charlton Saturday 4th March 17.15 Live on Premiership Plus

Liverpool 4/9
Draw 13/5
Charlton 6/1

Get on: Liverpool

Liverpool have won five of their last six at Anfield by a goal to nil. It would have been six from six but for an Alonso own goal. Charlton haven’t won a league match away from home since October.
Match Special:
Liverpool to win 1-0 6/1

Man City v Sunderland Sunday 5th March 13.30 Live on Sky

Man City 2/5
Draw 11/4
Sunderland 13/2

Get on: Man City

City have won their last five in front of their own fans; Sunderland are atrocious.
Match Special:
City to score four or more goals 4/1

Tottenham v Blackburn Sunday 5th March 16.00 Live on Sky

Tottenham 5/6
Draw 9/4
Blackburn 11/4

Get on: Blackburn

A surprisingly quiet fixture recently, the last five games has produced a total of three goals. Spurs are feeling the pressure recently; it’s only one win in seven. Blackburn have won their last two, it could be a shock.
Match Special:
Bellamy to score the only goal of the game 50/1

Wigan v Man Utd Monday 6th March 20.00 Live on Sky

Wigan 7/2
Draw 13/5
Man Utd 8/13

Get on: Man Utd

It’s now seven without a win for Wigan. United won 4-0 in the league and matched that scoreline in a one-sided Cup final. Home advantage will make all the difference for the Latics; United will only win by three.
Match Special:
Man United to win 3-0 10/1