Saturday, December 28, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions 28 December 2013

bet365Stand by for some more top, top tips from our resident tipster at the Soccerphile football club. At the end of the day, we need to take the positives out of Boxing's Day predictions and move on to this weekend's games.

Saturday 28 December 2013

West Ham 1 v West Brom 1
Man City 3 v Crystal Palace 0
Norwich City 1 v Man United 2
Hull City 2 v Fulham 1
Aston Villa 0 v Swansea City 0
Cardiff City 1 v Sunderland 1

Sunday 29 December 2013

Newcastle 1 v Arsenal 1
Everton 2 v Southampton 1
Tottenham 2 v Stoke City 1
Chelsea 2 v Liverpool 2

Last time's Premier League predictions

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions Boxing Day 2013

bet365George has some sure-fire tips for the full round of Premiership fixtures on Boxing Day. Manchester City, undefeated at home, take on leaders Liverpool in the tie of the round. George is going for a high-scoring draw with Luis Suarez to get his name on the score sheet.

Thursday 26 December 2013

Hull City 1 v Man United 2
Everton 2 v Sunderland 1
Newcastle 2 v Stoke City 1
Norwich City 1 v Fulham 0
Aston Villa 2 v Crystal Palace 0
Chelsea 2 v Swansea City 0
Tottenham 2 v West Brom 0
West Ham 0 v Arsenal 2
Cardiff City 1 v Southampton 1
Man City 2 v Liverpool 2

Sensational Suarez 2/1 To Break PL Goalscoring Record

bet365 make Luis Suarez 2/1 to surpass Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole’s record Premier League goals tally of 34 during 2013/14.

The striker will face Joe Hart and Co in a mouth-watering fixture at the Etihad on Thursday night with the Uruguayan at 2/1 to outscore Alvaro Negredo.

Suarez, despite signing a new bumper contract, is 7/4 to leave Anfield during 2014.

Luis Suarez Specials

Total 2013/14 Premier League Goals

Over 34.5 2/1 Under 34.5 4/11 (Currently has 19)

Man City v Liverpool (26th Dec) Who Will Score More Goals

Alvaro Negredo 2/1 Tie 11/8 Luis Suarez 2/1 (Both must start)

To Leave Liverpool During 2014

Yes 7/4 No 2/5.

Last time's Premier League predictions

Friday, December 20, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions December 21 2013

bet365George had a less than brilliant week last week but coming into the busy holiday period stay tuned for some tremendous tips. Fill your Christmas stocking with the latest calls from the Premier League's top teenage tipster.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Liverpool 2 v Cardiff City 0
Fulham 1 v Man City 2
Sunderland 2 v Norwich City 2
Stoke City 1 v Aston Villa 0
Crystal Palace 1 v Newcastle 1
West Brom 1 v Hull City 1
Man United 3 v West Ham 0

Sunday 22 December 2013

Southampton 2 v Tottenham 1
Swansea City 2 v Everton 1

Sunday 23 December 2013

Arsenal 1 v Chelsea 1

Soccer - Sherwood unsure about future

Caretaker manager Tim Sherwood hopes he will be given the chance to manage Tottenham on a permanent basis. However, the 44-year-old admits that he does not even know whether he will still be in charge for this weekend's game against Southampton, which Spurs are 14/1 with bet365 to win 2-0. Sherwood, 4/1 to be Spurs' next permanent manager, presided over Wednesday's Capital One Cup last-eight defeat to West Ham following the club's decision to part company with Andre Villas-Boas. "The immediate future is up in the air, that's as much as I know," Sherwood said. "I'm up for a challenge. I always have been. I'm very opinionated. "I've got to be in the frame, but it's not my decision, unfortunately."

Soccer - Moyes hopeful on Rooney injury

Manchester United boss David Moyes believes Wayne Rooney has a chance of being fit enough to return to action against West Ham United on Saturday. The 28-year-old former Everton striker missed the 2-0 Capital One Cup victory at Stoke City on Wednesday with a groin injury but, when asked if Rooney would be able to play against Sam Allardyce's relegation-threatened side, Moyes replied: "He has got a chance, yes." Manchester United, 22/1 with bet365 to win the Premier League title outright, are already without Robin van Persie until mid-January as the Netherlands international has a thigh strain. United, 6/4 to win the Capital One Cup outright, will play Sunderland over two legs in the semi-finals, while Manchester City have been drawn against West Ham, who knocked out Spurs in the quarter-finals.

Last time's Premier League predictions

Scottish Premier League News December 2013

Scottish Premier League News December 2013
SPL News

CELTIC

Neil Lennon could not hide his anguish as Celtic went out of the group stages of the UEFA Champions League limply and without any of the fight and determination which has characterised recent campaigns in the illustrious competition.

The Hoops boss found himself competing in a group that contained four teams who could all claim to be previous winners in what was quickly dubbed the group of death. But with poor results against AC Milan, Barcelona and Ajax, there was no parachute into the Europa League and Celtic's European adventure was snuffed out before the final group game was played in the Nou Camp.

If anything, the campaign highlighted the chronic shortage of quality within the Celtic camp, with the likes of Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper, who departed the club last summer, never having quite being replaced with players of similar quality.

In six group games Celtic scored just three goals - a penalty, a deflection and a late consolation when they were being humbled in the Nou Camp - an obvious reflection on their crying need for an out-and-out striker.

Despite his obvious frustrations at dealing with a restricted budget, Lennon is in no rush to down tools and cross the border into the English Premiership where the riches are incomparable with anything that the SPL has to offer. "I love my job," said Lennon. "Everybody is asking me 'Are you looking down to England?' Nobody's picked up the phone. Nobody's shown any interest. I can't sit here and go 'Yeah, I'll go and manage in the Premier League whenever it suits me'. It doesn't work that way."

Lennon explained his disappointment at not having landed the quality of striker he was looking for in the summer and explained why the club are currently working with players who seem long-term projects rather than ones who can make an immediate impact.

"We worked quite hard on [Artjoms] Rudnevs [of Hamburg] and got quite far down the line with that one but, in the end, he made it clear he didn't want to come. That only gave us about two weeks to get players in.

"I went to watch [Teemu] Pukki and I liked him. I think he'll come good for us but I knew he wouldn't score the same volume of goals as Hooper scored for us. Now I need to go out and find that type. That's not taking anything away from the players I have here because they've been brilliant for us. But, to improve, I need to find someone who will be really consistent at all levels.

"We did try, we looked at three or four players, we tried to get a real goalscorer in and we were prepared to pay the money but for one reason or another [it didn't happen]. We have to look at that again. There's no question that we need a replacement for Hooper because we haven't got one yet."

It's not just the European market that Lennon may search as he tries to bolster his squad. "I know Dundee United have some very good young players and there are others floating around we like the look of. The players [here] know the environment so maybe we'll look at British types rather than always looking abroad. British types might suit us better."

Meanwhile, keeper Fraser Forster could be tempted to quit the club in order to try and force his way into England's World Cup squad this summer. The keeper's best chance of maintaining his profile and his place in Roy Hodgson's squad was by showcasing himself on the European stage, something that has been put to bed now this season.

"Obviously I'm contracted to Celtic and I will be for the foreseeable future, I imagine," he said. "It is just important that I do the best I can do, whether it is for Celtic or whoever.

"I've just got to be positive and do everything I can between now and the end of the season to try and force my way onto the plane with the England squad," the former Newcastle United player said.

RANGERS

Ally McCoist is fooling no-one. The Rangers boss has attempted to talk up how tough life has been in League One for the Ibrox club this season, but the bare facts clearly contradict him.

Rangers are coasting it; they have yet to drop a point in the league with only a hiccup against Forfar in the Scottish League Cup blotting their copybook. Off the field it is a different story with civil war continuing to rage in the boardroom but on it, things have been plain sailing all the way. The only real pressure on McCoist may be that there is a feeling that Rangers need to prove themselves by winning the Scottish Cup. They'll play Dunfermline in February in the fifth round of the competition but the Gers boss is reluctant to talk up what the tournament means to his side.

"I would put us in the bracket as having the same chance as one of the teams in the top flight outwith Celtic," said McCoist.

"It makes sense to me. It's not rocket science. We've signed boys from Motherwell, Dundee United, Kilmarnock - I don't see automatically how you become favourites to win anything when they were never favourites before. "With the greatest respect to them, they're doing great but they've not suddenly turned into world-class international players. We've signed free transfers. "I would accept the fact we're on a level with clubs in the Premiership outwith Celtic." Winning League One, then the Championship, and getting into the top flight remains McCoist's overriding ambition, and he said that while he might sign players in January's transfer window, it would be for league reasons and not just to boost cup chances.

"We would maybe need it to maintain the level of results we're getting in the league," said McCoist. "Andy Little will be out longer term and that only leaves us Jon Daly and Nicky Clark as forwards. So straight away you would say you're short staffed in that department. "It's vitally important to give the fans something they enjoy watching. Obviously winning is the most important thing, but we're lucky in that we've got 36,000 season tickets so that in itself should determine we have a higher budget than the vast majority of the clubs in the country.

"So I think it's our job, within the means of the budget, to give the best possible product on the park. "You can spin the wages thing either way - we're down 60 to 70 per cent, but at the same time they're massively higher than anyone else, which I fully appreciate. So it's about getting the balance right." As the league run continues, so too does the talk of a 'perfect' season. "It genuinely doesn't cross my mind, honest to God," he insisted. " I just think that it's not going to happen - it won't happen. For any team in any league to even think that - and I'm not playing mind games here - it's just not feasible in the modern game.

"The proof for me would be the games we've had already at Stenhousemuir, Forfar and Brechin. I really don't think that there's much between any of the other teams in this division and the majority of them will fancy their chances against us on their own patch."

DUNDEE UNITED

Dundee United may not be able to keep Ryan Gauld for too long, but the teenager who has lit up the SPFL this season has insisted that he is in no rush to head elsewhere too soon.

Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with the Dundee United playmaker and, in case anyone thought that stellar list incomplete, the tag of 'Baby Messi' has also been hung from the diminutive 18-year-old's shoulders.

"The comparison to Messi is quite laughable, but it is good to read," laughed the youngster. "I don't think about it - I read it then forget about it straight away. I look up to Messi because he's the best in the world. Every young boy should be watching and trying to emulate him in training. Don't be an ordinary person, go and try something special." The steady stream of Premier League scouts flocking to Tannadice has led to an assumption that the youngster will be lured south imminently but, although money may yet talk, he seems more inclined to wait for a more cultured opportunity to present itself.

At United, Gauld has assumed a central role that allows him to dictate United's attacking play and float in whichever direction his instincts suggests. A bigger stage inevitably awaits but having recently signed a contract extension that ties him to Tannadice until May 2016, he is happy to bide his time and wait for the right move.

"I need to sit down and think what's best for me in the future,' he said. "Growing up, I watched the Spanish Leagues and prefer that style. Getting the ball down and being patient with the build-up play. In England, it's maybe more direct. If you are a winger, you are expected to take on a full-back and get a cross in. Abroad, you can turn out, keep the ball and just keep the attack going. You also see players who are smaller in stature.

"In England, it's more athletes. Being a smaller guy, I need to think about what's best for me and what's best around me and I think being abroad is the best culture of football for me.

"I've got to think what's best for me even four or five years down the line. If I was to go down there, I'd have to think what my chances are of first-team football, if I was stuck out in the reserves how much I would enjoy that? I can't just think: 'It's a big club, so I'll jump at the chance to sign for them.'"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fifa World Rankings December 2013

FIFA World Fifa Rankings
Fifa's World Rankings for December 2013 were published today at FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland. The Fifa World Rankings are now published on Thursday and not Wednesday as before.

Euro 2012 winners Spain are still on top of the FIFA rankings, where they have been since September 2011, followed by Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Portugal, fresh from their play-off win over Sweden, Uruguay, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and World Cup 2014 hosts Brazil.

England are 13th unchanged after successive home friendly losses to Chile and Germany at Wembley.

Scotland are in 34th position, down one place. The Republic of Ireland are in 67th place, still an all-time low, Wales are in 56th with Northern Ireland down in 89th place, up one spot from last month.

Ranking Team
1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Argentina
4 Colombia
5 Portugal
6 Uruguay
7 Italy
8 Switzerland
9 Netherlands
10 Brazil
11 Belgium
12 Greece
13 England
14 USA
15 Chile
16 Croatia
17 Côte d'Ivoire
18 Ukraine
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 France

Full world rankings

Previous Fifa World Rankings

Bet with Bet 365

Soccer betting tips

Soccer Books & DVDs

Friday, December 13, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions 14 December 2013

bet365George is gung-ho for a clean sweep of all ten of this week's Premiership games. Fill your Christmas hamper with some spot-on tips from the Premier League's top tipster.

Saturday 14 December 2013

Man City 2 v Arsenal 0
West Ham 0 v Sunderland 2
Chelsea 3 v Crystal Palace 1
Everton 1 v Fulham 1
Cardiff City 0 v West Brom 1
Newcastle 0 v Southampton 1
Hull City 0 v Stoke City 2

Sunday 15 December 2013

Norwich City 2 v Swansea City 0
Aston Villa 0 v Man United 1
Tottenham 3 v Liverpool 2

16/1 For All-English Champions League Final

bet365 are betting on how many Premier League sides make it through to the 2013/14 Champions League final with the firm going 16/1 about it being an all English affair.

Manchester City lead the way for English sides in the betting at 12/1 but with 14/1 Chelsea, 16/1 Man Utd and 18/1 Arsenal in the outright, it's even money that no Premier League side makes it through to Lisbon next May.

2013/14 Champions League Outright E/W ½ 1,2

Bayern Munich 9/4 Barcelona 9/2 Real Madrid 5/1 Man City 12/1 Borussia Dortmund 12/1 PSG 14/1 Atletico Madrid 14/1 Chelsea 14/1 Man Utd 16/1 Arsenal 18/1 AC Milan 40/1 Galatasaray 100/1 Bayer Leverkusen 125/1 Zenit St Petersburg 200/1 Schalke 200/1 Olympiakos 400/1

Number Of English PL Teams In 2013/14 CL Final
None Evs One 5/6 Two 16/1

Last time's Premier League predictions

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Unpredictable City flying under the radar

Based on their unpredictable form since Manuel Pellegrini took charge at the Etihad, only Manchester City could beat the reigning European champions on their own ground and then still only make headlines for failing to win the game 4-2 rather than 3-2.

Allianz Arena, Munich


You just never know quite what to expect from this current Manchester City side, whose progression under Pellegrini this season has been sufficiently inconsistent that few commentators have marked them out as potential Premier League champions let alone Champions League destroyers.

That inconsistency was laid bare again last night in the space of 90 minutes against a Bayern side that was aiming to win its 10th straight Champions League match.

A second string City XI was torn apart multiple times in the opening 20 minutes, and fell behind to goals from Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze before striking back in the most unexpected manner through David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov and James Milner.

As if to underline City's capriciousness, Milner's man-of-the-display was in stark contrast to his past 18 months of gradual slipping down the pecking order for club and country, with the former Aston Villa midfielder winning the penalty converted by Kolarov and striking the decisive winner.

Etihad Stadium.


Contextualising the performance and the result by a City side missing the likes of captain Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, Sergio Agüero and Alvaro Negredo, especially on the back being outclassed by Bayern in Manchester earlier in the group phase, is bordering on impossible.

Throw in the fact that Pellegrini's side have already lost four times on the road against Premier League sides this season - at Cardiff, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Sunderland - and the conundrum is complete.

Of course, City's unpredictability has been glaring in the past two seasons, too.

Under Roberto Mancini two years ago, they needed to close a seemingly impossible gap on rivals Manchester United and rely on a last minute Agüero winner against Sunderland to claim their first Premier League trophy.

The mediocrity of their title defence last season then led to Mancini's sacking.

Pellegrini has maintained that his focus remains on finding a pattern of play that suits his talented squad.

"We felt we needed revenge for what happened in Manchester because we played very bad. Winning here after being two goals behind is very good, I'm very happy," the Chilean said last night.

"It’s important for the team. I am trying to find a style of playing. I know some of the results in the Premier League playing away have not been what we want but it is more important we find a way to play.

"I thought this was the chance for players to demonstrate why they are in the squad so it was important to win without Kompany, Yaya, Agüero and Negredo."

Despite the numerous defensive lapses and the frequent high-profile mistakes of goalkeeper Joe Hart, City remain a potent threat going forward.

Their home form in the league is rampant, and has already included huge wins over Norwich (7-0), Tottenham (6-0), Manchester United (4-1) and Newcastle (4-0) this term.

Given their vast armoury in attack, maybe Pellegrini's so-called blunder at not realising that his enterprising side could top their Champions League group ahead of Bayern was actually a cunning plan to take just enough gloss off the side to keeping fooling the pundits.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Weekly Football News 10 December 2014

Celtic ban own supporters after violence

Celtic, the Scottish Premier League champions, have taken the remarkable step of banning over hundred of their own supporters from watching the side home and away.

Following the damage caused to Motherwell's Fir Park on Friday during Celtic’s 5-0 win, Celtic have suspended 128 fans from their matches and relocated another 250 season ticket holders.

The move has been taken is response to the rising levels of antisocial behaviour by a group of fans known as The Green Brigade, who attend home matches in Section 111 of the Celtic Park stadium.

Last month, the fan group unfurled political banners at Celtic's Champions League game against AC Milan, leading to the club being called before a Uefa disciplinary hearing.

Celtic have even threatened to close Section 111 in the past due to the group’s refusal to adhere to safety regulations.

In a statement, the club said that they had issued "precautionary suspensions against 128 individuals preventing them attending matches involving Celtic, pending further investigation".

Drop Vidic or Ferdinand: Savage

Former Manchester United midfielder Robbie Savage has urged boss David Moyes to drop either captain Nemanja Vidic or former England defender Rio Ferdinand and instead build a new back-line around Phil Jones.

Jones had played across the defence and in central midfield for both Manchester United and England in his short career to date, but arrived from Blackburn in 2011 as an accomplished central defender.

Savage said: "Moyes needs to establish his first-choice pair. When he does that, he has to think who he will be building his defence around in the future, and the answer is clearly not Ferdinand or Vidic.

"Instead he needs to look to Phil Jones. His best position is going to be at centre half and that is where Moyes needs to play him now if he is to make the most of his talent.

"If that means playing Jones regularly there for the rest of this season, then Moyes has to do it. Even if Jones plays badly there, he cannot do much worse than United are doing at the moment."

We can still improve: Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has demanded that Bayern Munich continue to work towards correcting their faults despite their record-breaking runs in both the domestic league and the Champions League.

Bayern extended their unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to 40 matches with Saturday’s 7-0 rout of Werder Bremen, while the European champions are also on a record run of 10 consecutive Champions League victories.

Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany


Furthermore, if they beat Manchester City on Tuesday they will top Group D with 18 points, something they failed to achieve last season under former coach Jupp Heynckes despite winning the title.

Nevertheless, Guardiola remains on the quest for perfection.

"We lose the ball too often over 90 minutes. I can't stand losing possession," he said.

"A 7-0 win at Bremen is good for the confidence, but they had their chances in the first half.

"We have to keep improving and that's why we are here.

Forget Belgium, we're favourites, says Capello

Russia manager Fabio Capello has claimed that it is Russia rather than Belgium that are favourites to progress out of Group H in the World Cup finals next year.

"Everybody is saying that Belgium are the favourites in our group, but I feel that it’s Russia who are the true favourites," Capello was quoted as saying by Sport Express daily. However, he added: "Belgium are an excellent team consisting of young and skilled players. We will need to find the means to cope with them."

South Korea and Algeria make up the remainder of the group.

Friday, December 6, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions 7 December 2013

bet365George predicted 50% of the results again last week and will be hoping for better this time out. All eyes will also be on the draw for the World Cup 2014 groups in Brazil.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Man United 1 v Newcastle 0
Southampton 1 v Man City 2
Stoke City 0 v Chelsea 3
West Brom 3 v Norwich City 0
Crystal Palace 1 v Cardiff City 1
Liverpool 2 v West Ham 0
Sunderland 2 v Tottenham 2

Sunday 8 December 2013

Fulham 1 v Aston Villa 0
Arsenal 2 v Everton 1

Monday 9 December 2013

Swansea City 2 v Hull City 1

2014 World Cup - Punters Hardly Going Nuts For England In Brazil

The draw for the 2014 World Cup is just hours away with England rated as 25/1 shots for glory in Brazil.

bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth "The wait is nearly over to find out England's group stage opposition, but we’re hardly being knocked over in interest for Roy Hodgson's side.

"Our main concerns are Germany and a very well backed Belgium side, who have been supported from 250/1 into 16/1."

Wayne Rooney is 9/4 to be England's top goalscorer in Brazil and 40/1 to be top overall goal-getter in the tournament, whilst the Three Lions can be backed pre-draw at 9/4 to be eliminated at the group stage.

2014 World Cup Outright E/W ½ 1,2

Brazil 3/1 Germany 5/1 Argentina 11/2 Spain 6/1 Belgium 16/1 Holland 20/1 Italy 22/1 France 25/1 England 25/1 Colombia 25/1 Uruguay 25/1 Portugal 33/1
(Others on request)

2014 World Cup – Top Goalscorer ¼ 1,2,3,4

Lionel Messi 10/1 Neymar 11/1 Cristiano Ronaldo 12/1 Luis Suarez 16/1 Sergio Aguero 16/1 Diego Costa 20/1 Robin Van Persie 20/1 Radamel Falcao 20/1 Fred 25/1 Mario Balotelli 25/1 Thomas Muller 28/1 Wayne Rooney 40/1
(Others on request)

Last time's Premier League predictions

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Brazuca World Cup Ball 2014

After the controversy of the lightweight, almost seamless Jabulani ball at World Cup 2010, the new Brazuca ball for World Cup 2014, seems to be getting more favorable reviews from players and experts.

Brazuca World Cup Ball 2014


The new Brazuca by Adidas was unveiled in a lavish ceremony earlier this week in Rio de Janeiro.

The new ball is still lightweight and has six boomerang-shaped seams.

Over a million fans in Brazil voted on the name last year with "Brazuca" which means "Typically Brazilian" coming out on top in the poll.

Adidas has manufactured the World Cup ball since 1970. In 2006 the ball was the +Teamgeist ball and in 2002 the Fevernova.

FIFA's folly as Groups of Death beckon

2014 World Cup Draw 
Friday 13:00 local time (17:00 GMT), Costa do Sauipe, Brazil.

Ah World Cup draws, those ersatz episodes when FIFA tries to do showbiz.

It was not always thus. The blazers and ties of bigwigs and bureaucrats sufficed for years.

Remember the Spain ’82 draw when the little matadors and flamencistas took the wrong balls from the wrong urns - some groups were bigger than others. That was my favourite.

The USA ’94 draw in that soccer hotbed of Las Vegas set the tone for future extravagnzas, with Robin Williams at work and James Brown and Barry Manilow amongst the crooners.

The use of celebs is surely redundant as the World Cup is watched by all and sundry anyway and the only people taking time off work to follow the draw are already aficionados.

“Heidi Klum has sent us to hell” cried Serbian daily Blic in 2005 as the German supermodel’s choice of ball had dumped them in a ‘group of death’ with Argentina, the Ivory Coast and the Netherlands.

Are certain balls ever heated or chilled to ensure shenanigans? I doubt it, though to my untrained eye the hosts always seem to land cushy groups.

This year the seeding seems utterly barking: in case anyone had forgotten, FIFA is crazy, irrational, unfair and unfit to run football. I would like England to play the USA and Colombia for emotional reasons, but I would take anyone as long as Joe Hart does not do a ‘Rob Green of Rustenburg’.

With the Europeans’ dismal record in the Americas, five entrants including the host and two other seeds, CONMEBOL looks to have it in the bag anyway.  Chile dazzled when beating England 2-0 at Wembley last month, while Colombia, boasting star striker Radamel Falcao make a welcome return for the first time since 1998 having finished second in the South American table behind Argentina.

But don’t write off the holders just yet or the other big Eurostars – Germany, Holland and Italy, for that matter.

I am most keen to watch Japan next summer. Their dismissal of Denmark in 2010 was a frightening warning of how far Asian soccer had come, I thought, and only Paraguayan penalties halted their advance.

Brazil has a sizeable Japanese expat population and the connections between the two countries run deep in soccer with many Brazilians having coached in Japan, most famously Zico.  Nippon will not feel lost in Brazil.

Roy Hodgson mentioned the heat could affect Northern European teams like his but England performed better in baking Mexico in 1970 and ’86, reaching the Quarter-Final both times, than in chilly South Africa in 2010, where they struggled out of an easy group before being hammered in the Second Round.

But back to the seeding, which is more proof of how Sepp Blatter’s FIFA has lost the plot. How on earth are Italy and Holland unseeded while Belgium and Switzerland are? Why are South American group qualifiers Chile and Ecuador unseeded while Uruguay, who only made it via the playoffs, a seed?

According to the byzantine detail of the World Rankings, the eight seeds are correct: The host nation plus the top seven ranked nations in October 2013.

The Netherlands just missed out in eighth spot, followed by Italy and England. This was due to them playing a friendly against former possession Indonesia, a weak opponent which afforded the Dutch few points in the FIFA World Rankings as a result.

For historical reasons England too played weaker nations this year – Scotland and Ireland, and slipped down the charts. Strong nations are tougher to beat of course but the ranking difference a win brings is invaluable.  

If friendlies were not counted by FIFA, then Chile, Holland and Italy would replace Colombia, Switzerland and Uruguay as World Cup seeds and no-one would be crying foul.

Quite clearly the system is so flawed that Friday’s draw could throw up any of the following nightmare groupings:
  • Germany, Chile, Japan, Netherlands
  • Brazil, England, USA, Italy
  • Argentina, France, South Korea, England
  • Spain, Chile, Honduras, Netherlands
The possibility of a real Group of Death or two is there. And FIFA must shoulder most of the blame for persisting with a pedantic rankings system in defiance of common sense.

Yet national associations like the F.A. and the Dutch K.N.V.B. should also have done their homework while planning their friendlies for the season leading up to the World Cup draw.

Pot One: Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay and Switzerland.
Pot Two: Chile, Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon, (plus one team from Pot Four)
Pot Three: Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, USA
Pot Four: Bosnia, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Russia (minus one team)

 (c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Friday, November 29, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions November 30 2013

bet365George had a reasonable round of tips last time out with two perfect scores and 3 other results correctly predicted. Still, that's only a 50% success rate and the boy will be hoping for better as the weather turns cold this weekend.

Saturday 30 November 2013

Aston Villa 2 v Sunderland 0
Everton 1 v Stoke City 1
Norwich City 2 v Crystal Palace 1
West Ham 3 v Fulham 2
Cardiff City 1 v Arsenal 1
Newcastle 1 v West Brom 0

Sunday 1 December 2013

Tottenham 1 v Man United 3
Hull City 1 v Liverpool 1
Man City 5 v Swansea City 0
Chelsea 2 v Southampton 1

AVB 5/6 Not To Last The Season

Spurs were in Europa League action in a snowy Tromso on Thursday with manager Andre Villas-Boas at 5/6 not to see out the season in the White Hart Lane dugout. bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth "A heavy defeat at Manchester City has seen people questioning AVB's methods with Sunday's clash at home to Man Utd, rather than the trip to Norway, looking key to his future."

Will AVB Last Season As Tottenham Hotspur Manager

Yes 5/6 No 5/6 (To be in charge final day of 2013/14 PL season)


Last time's Premier League predictions

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fifa World Rankings November 2013

FIFA World Fifa Rankings
Fifa's World Rankings for November 2013 were published today at FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland. The Fifa World Rankings are now published on Thursday and not Wednesday as before.

Euro 2012 winners Spain are still on top of the FIFA rankings, where they have been since September 2011, followed by Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Portugal, fresh from their play-off win over Sweden, Uruguay, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and World Cup 2014 hosts Brazil.

England are 13th after successive home friendly losses to Chile and Germany at Wembley.

Scotland are in 33rd position, up two places. The Republic of Ireland are in 67th place, another all-time low, Wales are in 56th with Northern Ireland down in 90th place, unchanged from last month.

Ranking Team
1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Argentina
4 Colombia
5 Portugal
6 Uruguay
7 Italy
8 Switzerland
9 Netherlands
10 Brazil
11 Belgium
12 Greece
13 England
14 USA
15 Chile
16 Croatia
17 Côte d'Ivoire
18 Ukraine
19 France
20 Mexico

Full world rankings

Previous Fifa World Rankings

Bet with Bet 365

Soccer betting tips

Soccer Books & DVDs


Croatia edges Iceland makes it eight out of ten appearances at big tournaments

An amazing feat for a small country

By Ozren Podnar

Iceland came within inches of becoming the smallest country by population ever represented at a World Cup final tournament when they were drawn against Croatia in the European zone playoffs. With 320,000 citizens, the insular nation in the North Atlantic is three times less populous than the current champions - Trinidad and Tobago.

But, it was not to be for the descendants of the Viking explorers. Croatia edged Iceland with a 2-0 home win in Zagreb after a goalless draw in Reykjavik. The newly appointed manager Niko Kovac (ex-Hertha, HSV and Bayern midfielder) outsmarted his ultra-experienced counterpart on the Icelandic bench, Lars Lagerback.

Instead of Iceland, travelling to Brazil will be Croatia, another of the small nations, but with a respectable international record. Croatia, with 4.3 million inhabitants a giant compared to Iceland, will appear in its 8th final tournament, counting both World Cups and Euros. Taking into account the country's size, population, number of registered players and its GNP, Croatia is in fact one of the most successful soccer nations.

According to an analysis published on the Zagreb-based www.tportal.hr web site, a total of 60 teams, 28 of which are European, have qualified for the last five World Cups, including Brazil 2014. The analysis covered the period since 1994, when the red-and-whites were first allowed to take part in a qualifying stage, which happened to be for Euro 1996 in England.

David among Goliaths

Only eleven teams, five of which are European, have reached all five tournaments. France and Germany qualified automatically for the tournament each of them hosted, while England, Italy and Spain qualified every time by playing in the qualifiers.

Six countries have made it to four out of five tournaments, three coming from Europe: Holland, Portugal and Croatia. Compared to the other seven countries that have qualified for at least four out of five latest World Cups, Croatia is by far smallest in size, population and GNP.

Only four other European nations have taken part in three out of the last five World Cups - Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and Serbia (including Serbia-Montenegro and FR Yugoslavia, as Serbia's legal predecessors). Judging by the number of participations at the World Cups since 1998, Croatia is among the eight most successful European countries, in spite of its numerical and financial inferiority with respect to many countries with fewer appearances.

But, there's also the European championship. All in all, 27 teams have taken part at the five most recent editions. Seven teams have been present at all five final tournaments: Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Holland and Portugal, but the latter two received a bye for the tournaments they organized.

Croatia is in the second group of five nations which have participated at four of the past five Euros. The others are Russia, Sweden, Denmark and England, who missed out on Euro 2008 due to an embarrassing 2-3 loss to Croatia at Wembley. Therefore, Croatia is among the eleven European countries with the most participations, ahead of Greece, Turkey, Belgium or Poland.

Considering both competitions, only four teams have qualified for all ten of the most recent tournaments - Italy, Spain, France and Germany. Three more have reached nine out of ten final tournaments - England, Holland and Portugal, but all three received a bye for the Euros they organized.

Croatia are the only team represented at eight out of ten big events, and one of the four who qualified for eight events by actually playing, alongside England, Holland and Portugal. Compared to the seven countries that have fared better regarding participations, Croatia is by far the least populous. Its population is just two fifths that of the closest rival, Portugal, whose GNP is by 17 percent higher than Croatia's.

Many wealthier, larger and more populous countries have remained behind Croatia in this analysis; not one which is inferior by the criteria used in this analysis has achieved more participations. And the Croats are apparently very proud of this achievement, as the fans' euphoria and the manager Niko Kovac's tears demonstrated on the night Iceland was beaten.

Least populous countries ever to feature at a World Cup

1. Trinidad and Tobago (2006) - 1 million 2. Northern Ireland (1958, 1982, 1986) - 1,8 million 3. Slovenia (2002, 2010) - 2 million 4. Kuwait (1982) - 2,5 million 5. Jamaica (1998) - 2,9 million

In brackets: featured World Cup(s)

Top teams by participation in last 10 big events 1-4. France* - 10/10 Germany* Italy Spain 5-7. England* - 9/10 Holland* Portugal 8. Croatia - 8/10

Note: the teams marked with an asterisk qualified automatically for one tournament each

Friday, November 22, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions November 23

bet365George is back after the international break with his latest predictions for this week's matches.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Everton 1 v Liverpool 1
Stoke City 1 v Sunderland 1
Newcastle 2 v Norwich City 1
Hull City 2 v Crystal Palace 1
Fulham 2 v Swansea City 2
Arsenal 2 v Southampton 0
West Ham 1 v Chelsea 2

Sunday 24 November 2013

Man City 2 v Tottenham 0
Cardiff City 1 v Man United 2

Monday 25 November 2013

West Brom 2 v Aston Villa 1

Hart forced to wait for recall

Manuel Pellegrini is expected to start with Costel Pantilimon rather than Joe Hart in goal for Manchester City's Premier League clash with Tottenham on Sunday. Hart has not featured in City's team since his last-minute howler gifted Chelsea a victory on 27th October, although he played well at Wembley on Tuesday night against Germany, although England eventually ran out 1-0 losers. Manchester City are available at 6/4 with bet365 to keep a clean sheet against Spurs and are 8/1 to win the match 2-0. Hart, however, could earn a recall in next week's Champions League game against Viktoria Plzen, with City having already qualified for the last 16.

Rodgers ponders left-back problem

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will have to decide who to use at left-back for this weekend's Merseyside derby as Jose Enrique has broken down in training. The 27-year-old Spaniard is now set to undergo surgery on the knee problem which he has struggled with for the last two months. Rodgers is expected to start with Aly Cissokho, Mamadou Sakho or Glen Johnson at left-back against Everton. "Jose has been struggling for a while with an injury and it looks like he will need an operation," confirmed Rodgers. "That's a blow for us because he's a very talented player." A Liverpool victory in the Merseyside derby is priced at 7/5 with bet365, while Steven Gerrard is available at 11/1 to open the scoring at Goodison Park.‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Progress made on all fronts in Korea

K League
Tight at top and bottom

The Korean season is coming to a close but the final week or so promises to be full of action at both bottom and top, even if quite a few of those in between are starting to dream of, or dread, 2014. Ulsan Horangi took the 2012 Asian Champions League title but have benefitted domestically after not qualifying for the 2013 version of the continental competition. Focusing on the league alone has really helped Kim Ho-gon’s men stride into the lead.

Going into the weekend’s round, Ulsan are two points clear at the summit above their only challengers Pohang Steelers although Pohang have played a game more with just two matches remaining.

These two south-eastern rivals have pulled away from a fading pack. Pohang have won the last four games, a recent record surpassed only by Ulsan with 15 points taken out of a possible 15. Striker Kim Shin-wook has been banging in the goals with 19 this season with Rafinha helping out with ten after returning from injury in the summer. This partnership – the original little and large combo –has been working very well. With Japanese midfielder Chikashi Masuda pulling the strings in midfield with Han Sung-woon consistently dangerous out wide, Ulsan have a constant goal threat and their strong defence means that a title is within reach.

With Pohang defeating Jeonbuk Motors on penalties in the FA Cup final in October, there is already some silverware in the Steelers’ cupboard. Hwang Sun-hong’s men have been consistent without really hitting the heights this season. Even so, a title would be a fantastic achievement.

The scramble to avoid the trapdoor

Jeonbuk and Seoul look to have a place in the 2014 Asian Champions League place in the bag leaving much attention on the battle to avoid the drop, a fight that has really got going in recent weeks. The bottom two go down while the team in 14th plays off against the winner of the second division. The bottom three Daejeon, Daegu and Gangwon have all started winning even if it is all a little late for Daejeon.

The team has taken 12 points from the last four games which would be great had it not managed just 16 from the 32 before that. A stress-related illness in October had coach Kim In-wan indisposed as his assistant Cho Jin ho has done a fine job. Daejeon are four points from safety with just two games left to play, if it happens, it will be the greatest escape since relegation was introduced in 2012. Gangwon also looked dead and buried but the situation in the east was not quite as dire. Under new coach Kim Yong-gap, they have taken five wins from the last seven and have moved out of the automatic drop zone, ahead of Daegu by three points.

Daegu's recent form has not been quite as impressive. They are three points behind Gangwon and Gyeongnam with three games left to play. The final game of the season when Gangwon come to visit could be decisive. Gyeongnam have slipped down into trouble with only goal difference keeping them in 13th. Just four wins from the last 16 has put the team in trouble with fans in September demanding the head of Ilija Petrovic. The club stood by Serbia’s 2006 World Cup coach and it remains to be seen if such loyalty will be rewarded.

Seoul lose out to Guangzhou

FC Seoul failed in their bid to become champions of Asia for the first time, losing to Guangzhou Evergrande in the final of the 2013 competition on away goals. Over 55,000 fans witnessed an exciting 2-2 draw in the first leg in the Korean capital on October 26. Seoul drew first blood through Sergio Escudero only for Elkeson to head Marcello Lippi’s men level on the half hour. It was looking grim for the K-League team just after the break when Gao Lin put the Chinese visitors ahead but Dejan Damjanovic gave the hosts a deserved equaliser four minutes from time.

Guangzhou controlled much of the second leg at home in southern China on November 9 and the pressure finally paid off after 58 minutes when Elkeson scored a fine goal. Just four minutes later however, Damjanovic silenced the stadium but Seoul were unable to get the all-important winner.

Better news for national team

For South Korea coach Hong Myong-bo, performances since he was appointed in July had been better than results but neither were perfect. That was why a 2-1 win over Switzerland in Seoul on November 15 was so well-received. The Swiss took an early lead but after the break, Korea sparkled thanks to Lee Chung-yong, Lee Keun-ho and Son Heung-min. The team ranked seven in the world did tire a little but just couldn’t keep up with the lightning-fast attacking play of the Taeguk Warriors.

A 2-1 defeat against Russia in Dubai four days later was not quite so good but still, there was little to choose between the two teams. This time Korea took an early lead but a goalkeeper howler from Jung Sung-ryung, struggling at the moment, let the Russians back in at a time when it was looking likelier that Korea would extend their lead. Progress is being made though there is still some way to go.

Friday, November 1, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions November 2

bet365George predicted 8 out of 10 Premiership games last week and one perfect score. Not bad and he will be hoping to get all 10 right this weekend.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Newcastle 1 v Chelsea 1
Man City 3 v Norwich City 0
Hull City 2 v Sunderland 1
Stoke City 1 v Southampton 2
West Brom 2 v Crystal Palace 0 Fulham 1 v Man United 2

Sunday 3 November 2013

Everton 2 v Tottenham 2
Cardiff City 1 v Swansea City 1

Bale 6/4 For La Liga Treble After Bernabeu Brace

£86m man Gareth Bale bagged a brace against Sevilla and the Welshman is 6/4 to go one better and score a La Liga hat-trick this season.

bet365 have also updated Bale’s 2013/14 La Liga goal tally to over/under 16.5.

2013/14 Gareth Bale Specials

Total 2013/14 La Liga Goals

Over 16.5 5/6 Under 16.5 5/6

(Currently has 3)

To Score A 2013/14 La Liga Hat-Trick Yes 6/4 No 1/2.‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Friday, October 25, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions October 26 2013

bet365George correctly predicted 4 results last weekend and will be hoping for better luck this time out. Man Utd should at last get a home win against a Stoke team struggling for goals. The Chelsea v Man City game seems a nailed on draw. Elsewhere home wins for Liverpool, Norwich, and Spurs.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Crystal Palace 1 v Arsenal 3
Man United 1 v Stoke City 0
Norwich City 2 v Cardiff City 1
Liverpool 3 v West Brom 2
Aston Villa 1 v Everton 2
Southampton 2 v Fulham 0

Sunday 27 October 2013

Sunderland 1 v Newcastle 1
Chelsea 0 v Man City 0
Swansea City 1 v West Ham 1
Tottenham 3 v Hull City 1

Soccer - Pellegrini up for Chelsea showdown

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini hopes to have a fully-fit squad for the Premier League showdown with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Captain Vincent Kompany sat out the midweek Champions League victory away at CSKA Moscow, but is expected to be in contention to face the Blues come the weekend. Pellegrini said after success in the Russian capital: "We are now starting to think about this game with Chelsea. It is a very tough game, but we don't have any injury problems with the squad. "Vincent Kompany and all the other players are fit, so we are in a good shape." The Citizens are fourth in the Premier League table, just a point behind Chelsea in second, with Arsenal currently three points ahead of City at the top-flight summit. Pellegrini's men are 7/4 with bet365 to win the Premier League title this season, having been crowned champions on a dramatic final day of the 2011/12 season.‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

George's Premiership Predictions October 19 2013

bet365George had a good week before the international break with his Premier League predictions. George correctly predicted 6 results.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Newcastle 1 v Liverpool 2
Arsenal 2 v Norwich 0
Chelsea 3 v Cardiff 0
Everton 1 v Hull 1
Man Utd 2 v Southampton 1
Stoke 1 v West Brom 2
Swansea 2 v Sunderland 2
West Ham 0 v Man City 0

Sunday 20 October 2013

Aston Villa 1 v Tottenham 3

Monday 21 October 2013

Crystal Palace 1 v Fulham 2

Soccer - More to come enthuses Hodgson

Manager Roy Hodgson is confident that there is more to come from his side, with England having booked their place in Brazil for the World Cup finals next summer. The Three Lions are 20/1 with bet365 to lift the trophy in South America and while Hodgson is not predicting ultimate glory, he is clearly upbeat about the future for his youthful side. Having seen England fall at the quarter-final stage at Euro 2012, Hodgson said: "I'd like to think we will do a lot better. "We have been working together for 18 months, the way we try and play has changed quite a lot and I would like to think in the months we have we might get better still." England safely negotiated Group H unbeaten, winning six and drawing four, scoring 31 goals and conceding just four - one more than Spain, who had the best defensive record in the European qualifiers. ‎

4/6 Cole Still In Pole Position Despite Baines Showing Leighton Baines impressed many with his performances against Montenegro and Poland but bet365 are still siding with the experienced Ashley Cole to start the World Cup opener in Brazil. bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth “The gap between the two is seemingly getting smaller and smaller, though we still fancy Hodgson to play it safe next summer – but only just.” 2014 England World Cup Special – To Start First Game At Left Back Ashley Cole 4/6 Leighton Baines 11/10 (Stakes returned if neither start)‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fifa World Rankings October 2013

FIFA World Fifa Rankings
Fifa's World Rankings for October 2013 were published this month at FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland. The Fifa World Rankings are now published on Thursday and not Wednesday as before.

Euro 2012 winners Spain are still on top of the FIFA rankings, where they have been since September 2011, followed by Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy and England, who rise 7 spots after qualifying wins over Montenegro and Poland.

World Cup 2014 hosts, Brazil, are 11th.

Scotland are in 35th position, a huge leap after their win over Croatia in their qualifying group. The Republic of Ireland are in 60th place, an all-time low, Wales are in 44th level with Japan, Northern Ireland are 90th.

Ranking Team
1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Argentina
4 Colombia
5 Belgium
6 Uruguay
7 Switzerland
8 The Netherlands
8 Italy
10 England
11 Brazil
12 Chile
13 USA
14 Portugal
15 Greece
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina
17 Côte d'Ivoire
18 Croatia
19 Russia
20 Ukraine

Full world rankings

Previous Fifa World Rankings

Bet with Bet 365

Soccer betting tips

Soccer Books & DVDs


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Europe's road to Brazil takes final turn

European teams have played their last big night of qualifiers with a handful of tickets to Brazil 2014 given out.

The big names – Germany, Italy, Spain, England and the Netherlands all made it through as group winners and Switzerland kept up their recently consistent record in qualifying for major finals. Of UEFA’s nine group seeds, only Norway were eliminated, but three of them could only make the playoffs. Three third-tier seeds – Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland, jumped to first place finishes.

In truth there were no big-name casualties, although some famous names live to fight another day via the playoffs.

1998 World Cup winners and 2006 finalists France is the biggest name to miss the initial cut, though Les Bleus remain a strong favourite to reach Brazil via the playoffs. In their defence they had Spain to contend with in Group I. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal will also await the draw, having finished second to Fabio Capello’s Russia, who bagged the golden ticket from Group F.

Belgium make a welcome return to the finals and will bring a string of outstanding young players to Brazil, but little Bosnia & Herzegovina are the most notable European qualifier, topping the less than arduous Group G above Greece.

The Euro 2004 winners join Sweden, Iceland, Croatia, Romania and Ukraine alongside France and Portugal in the playoffs. Iceland are the most unusual name in the hat, having beaten Slovenia and Norway to second place in Group E, and it is nice to see Romania, whose dazzling team from 1994 lives long in the memory, back in contention having failed to make it to the last three World Cups.

Of the eliminated, 2002 semi-finalists Turkey missed the boat again, as did 1998 semi-finalists Croatia. Eastern Europe had slim pickings overall, with 2010 qualifiers Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland left on the quayside and only Bosnia-Herzegovina and Russia passing automatically.

Denmark were the unlucky second-placed team to miss the playoff cut, having finished second behind Italy in Group B but gaining fewer points than the eight other second-place teams. The Danes will surely rue their three draws in Copenhagen for costing them advancement.

An off-colour 90 minutes often made the difference between going through and going out. Had the Czechs not lost at home to Armenia or the Serbs to minnows Macedonia, things would have been different for them.

Italy won the fewest games of any qualifier, with six victories out of ten, and Germany the most with nine.

Holland’s Robin Van Persie was the continent’s top gunner with 11 goals, followed by Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Edin Dzeko with ten. Germany were the top-scoring nation with 36 strikes in ten games, Holland were second with 34 and England third with 31.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, England and Holland all scored eight times in a single match, but only Ukraine netted nine, at home to San Marino. The Italian-speaking republic had the worse statistics across UEFA, with a goal difference of -53 far worse than the next leakiest defence, that of Andorra who finished -30 with Malta on -29. Unlike Andorra however, San Marino at least found the net once, in their 1-5 home loss to Poland.

The UEFA playoffs draw is on the 21st of October with the two-legged games taking place on the 15th & 19th of November.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Friday, October 4, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions October 5 2013

bet365George had a good week last week with his Premier League predictions. George had 2 perfect scores and correctly predicted 6 results.

Saturday 5 October 2013

Man City 2 v Everton 1
Cardiff 2 v Newcastle 1
Fulham 1 v Stoke 1
Hull 1 v Aston Villa 0
Liverpool 3 v Crystal Palace 0
Sunderland 0 v Man Utd 1

Sunday 6 October 2013

Norwich 1 v Chelsea 2
Southampton 3 v Swansea 1
Tottenham 2 v West Ham 1
West Brom 2 v Arsenal 2


Soccer - Richards keen to bounce back

Micah Richards believes Manchester City can get their Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich out of their system by beating Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The right-back featured in Wednesday's 3-1 home defeat to last season's Champions League winners and admitted it had been a humbling experience. However, this weekend's game will not be easy for Manuel Pellegrini's men as Everton are the only unbeaten side left in the Premier League and have been City's bogey team in recent years. Everton, 13/2 with bet365 to finish in the top four this season, are available at 14/5 to secure a 1-1 draw against Manchester City. "It's now a case of back to the drawing board. We're looking forward to Everton now and hopefully getting a win," said Richards. "We want to play again quickly and get the Bayern defeat out of our system." ‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Friday, September 27, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions September 28

bet365George is back with his predictions for the latest Premier league fixtures this weekend.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Tottenham 1 v Chelsea 1
Aston Villa 1 v Man City 2
Fulham 1 v Cardiff 1
Hull 2 v West Ham 1
Man Utd 3 v West Brom 1
Southampton 4 v Crystal Palace 1
Swansea 2 v Arsenal 2

Sunday 29 September 2013

Stoke 0 v Norwich 1
Sunderland 0 v Liverpool 0

Monday 30 September 2013

Everton 2 v Newcastle 0

Soccer - Suarez vows to give his all

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has pledged to try his best to help the Reds enjoy a successful campaign after making his first appearance of the season. Suarez lasted the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Manchester United and is eager to play a full part when Liverpool head to Sunderland on Sunday. The South American, who is 14/1 with bet365 to be top Premier League goalscorer this season, told his club's official website: "All the time I try my best on the pitch. I'm here to help the team and help Liverpool and I'll try my best. "I know it was a difficult moment, but for myself and for the team it's very important I'm back because I can help the team and (being) off the pitch I can't. "We'll keep going for the (rest of the) week and for the next game." Suarez netted 30 goals in all competitions last season, having scored 17 times during the 2011/12 campaign. ‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Friday, September 13, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions September 14 2013

bet365George had a good week out with his Barclay's Premier League predictions before the international break.

George correctly predicted Liverpool's home win over Man Utd and got the perfect score in the Man City v Hull and West Brom  v Swansea matches.

All in all George had two perfect scores and predicted the correct result in two other matches.

Saturday 14 September 2013

Man Utd 2 v Crystal Palace 0
Aston Villa 2 v Newcastle 1
Fulham 2 v West Brom 1
Hull 0 v Cardiff 2
Stoke 1 v Man City 1
Sunderland 1 v Arsenal 2
Tottenham 1 v Norwich 1
Everton 0 v Chelsea 2

Sunday 15 September 2013

Southampton 1 v West Ham 1

Monday 15 September 2013

Swansea 2 v Liverpool 2

Soccer - Mourinho continues to impress Terry

Chelsea captain John Terry has revealed that Jose Mourinho has already instilled an 'us against the world' mentality at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho won the Premier League title twice during his first spell in charge of Chelsea, who can be backed at 2/1 with bet365 to win the 2013-14 Premier League title outright. Terry said: "It is us against everyone else and I think that is what made us when he was here before and we are very much in the same mould again. "His man-management is excellent and he makes people want to play for him, he has it spot on. If there was a managerial manual, he would tick every box." Chelsea have started the new league season with two wins and a draw and face a tough trip to Goodison Park on Saturday. Chelsea can be backed at 7/4 to keep a clean sheet against Everton. ‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fifa World Rankings September 2013

FIFA World Fifa Rankings
Fifa's World Rankings for September 2013 were published this month at FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland. The Fifa World Rankings are now published on Thursday and not Wednesday as before.

Euro 2012 winners Spain are still on top of the FIFA rankings, where they have been since September 2011, followed by Argentina, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay, World Cup 2014 hosts, Brazil, Netherlands and Croatia.

England are 17th, down three places, to their lowest ever ranking for a dozen years. Scotland are in 63rd position. The Republic of Ireland are in 59th place, an all-time low, Wales are in 52nd, Northern Ireland are 86th.

Ranking Team
1 Spain
2 Argentina
3 Germany
4 Italy
5 Colombia
6 Belgium
7 Uruguay
8 Brazil
9 Netherlands
10 Croatia
11 Portugal
12 Greece
13 USA
14 Switzerland
15 Russia
16 Chile
17 England
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina
19 Côte d'Ivoire
20 Ecuador

Full world rankings

Previous Fifa World Rankings

Bet with Bet 365

Soccer betting tips

Soccer Books & DVDs


Friday, September 6, 2013

September Split in South Korea

K League
The K League Classic Divides 

The first day of September marks the end of summer in South Korea and the end of the league as we know it. From now, until the end of the season, the K-League’s 14 teams will be split into two Known simply as Group A and Group B, the top half will fight it out for the title while those downstairs will be hoping to avoid relegation.

After 26 rounds, there are 12 left, meaning that the teams in each group will meet each other twice. Authorities hope that this leads to more meaningful games and more excitement. It does for the top half but for Group B, not so much.  

The Title Race is ON

Pohang Steelers are in pole position but only just. Two straight defeats going into the split have cut the lead that the three-time Asian champions have to a single point. Indeed, the top four are just three points apart. It is set to be quite a finish.

The Steelers are not the real story, though the absence of foreign stars is certainly unusual and of interest, and neither are Ulsan Horangi, a point behind in second. In the past few weeks, it has been all about FC Seoul and Jeonbuk Motors. The top two from 2012, have both put together quite a run of results.

Seoul, don’t forget, started the season with four points from the first seven games and even after that, for a while, were not exactly the model of consistency. Nobody ever really thought that the team would miss out on the top half of the league but the defence of the title looked over almost before it begun. But Choi Yong-soo’s men ended the first stage with 28 points from a possible 30 and even the two points dropped were done so in slightly unlucky fashion with a late winner ruled out when the goal looked good.

Some of the wins were dramatic in the extreme with last-minute victories something of specialty as the games against Incheon United and Daejeon Citizen showed. And then there was the long-awaited and much-enjoyed win over rivals Suwon Bluewings. It could be that the team's Asian Champions League campaign, a 1-1 draw in Saudi Arabia at the home of Al Ahli in the first leg of the quarter-final leaves the semi-final within reach, slows down the Seoul domestic charge.

The resurgence of Jeonbuk Motors since the return of Choi Kang-hee from his spell with the national team has been only a little less impressive. Just one defeat in 12 games, with 27 points collected have put the 2011 champions right back in it and that is even with the loss of playmaker Eninho to China.  

Four into two didn't go

On the final day, there was a four-way sprint to jump and hold on to the fast-retreating ladder that gave the final two spots in the upper level. Suwon didn't look to be in much danger of missing out and got the point they needed and, in the end, it was needed as the other three teams all won.

That meant Jeju United had no chance as the islanders, who have faded of late, needed Busan I’Park and Seongnam Ilhwa to slip. Few gave Busan a chance at Pohang but the well-drilled southerners team collected a dramatic 2-1 win at the home of the leaders. That meant that Seongnam had to win by two goals and the Yellows started well with a first minute strike against Gyeongnam but try as they might, they just could not get the second.

Beating the drop
 
Not that Seongnam and Jeju are in danger of relegation as they are 25 and 24 points respectively above the trapdoor. Daejeon Citizen have just 14 points, one less than Gangwon, the other team sitting in the drop zone.

Gangwon recently fired coach Kim Hak-beom, harshly in the view of many, and hired Kim Yong-kab, assistant at Chinese powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande. Kim has left a team that can't stop winning and is now with one that can't stop losing. He hasn't been able to stop the rot with four straight defeats making a losing streak of eight for the easterners.

Seongnam and Jeju may be safe but the likes of Gyeongnam and especially Daegu will have to watch their step.  

Hong searching for a win

Four games, one goal and no wins. It does not make for good reading but then it does not tell the full story for South Korea under new coach Hong Myong-bo.

July's East Asian Cup saw the Taeguk Warriors record goalless draws with Australia and China before being defeated by Japan in Seoul. The first two should really have ended in victory. The game against the Socceroos was as one-sided as a goalless draw could possibly be and the stalemate against China once again saw the opposition goalkeeper in great form and the home strikers in generous mood.

The game against the Asian champions was slightly different, and controversial with banners and flags making headlines. Korea put Japan under a good deal of pressure that the Samurai Blue largely withstood before snatching a last-minute winner.

Then came an August goalless draw with Peru in Suwon that followed earlier patterns of domination and then frustration. September 6 against Haiti in Incheon marks the first time that Hong has summoned the European-based stars. Failure to win that game will not go down well.

Friday, August 30, 2013

George's Premiership Predictions August 31 2013

bet365George is back this week with his Barclay's Premier League predictions after taking in a few matches to access all the teams for the new season.

Spurs, Man City and Chelsea have new faces while Arsenal and Manchester United are looking to do business before the transfer window ends.

We predict Man City, West Ham and Liverpool will all win at home. Get on.

Saturday 31 August 2013

Man City 2 v Hull 0
Cardiff 1 v Everton 1
Newcastle Utd 1 v Fulham 1
Norwich City 2 v Southampton 3
West Ham 2 v Stoke 0
Crystal Palace 1 v Sunderland 2

Sunday 1 September 2013

Liverpool 2 v Man Utd 1
West Brom 0 v Swansea 2
Arsenal 2 v Tottenham 2

Bet on the English Premiership with bet365. Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Initial Deposit Bonus. ‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

England weekend review, Qatar winter switch due for approval next month, 67,000 MLS crowd

*Manchester United's match with Chelsea at Old Trafford had been teed up to be the first big clash of the season but ended in a disappointing stalemate.

A host of subplots and an evening kick-off at the end of a sunny Bank Holiday was the perfect setting for a big night of football but despite some high-quality approach play from both teams, the game finished 0:0 with few real chances carved out.

Wayne Rooney made staying at Old Trafford look a little more likely by being handed a starting role and impressing. His opposite number Fernando Torres looked glum on the sidelines after Jose Mourinho had stressed the need for mobility up front in preferring Andre Schurrle.

Chelsea effectively played without a striker, using Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard closely behing the German. Jose Mourinho reminded England how canny a tactician he can be, and how his team's style takes second billing to its score.

Mourinho afterwards called on Rooney again to clarify his desires, which added to his pre-match comment that David Moyes had unsettled him, appears to confirm Chelsea still want to prise him away.

*Gareth Bale's interminable transfer to Real Madrid drags on, with the surprising news that a second club have entered a bid with only days to go before the window closes. The identity of the last-minute suitor remains hidden, but Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City/United are about the only clubs who could find the £86 million Real have offered. Given Tottenham's recent spending spree it seems inevitable chairman Daniel Levy will sign on the dotted line before next weekend.

*Cardiff City's 3:2 win over Manchester City was the highlight of the weekend's games, and the Bluebirds fans were doubly happy to see Welsh rivals Swansea stuck at the bottom of the Premier League. Some local fans staged a march before the match to continue the protest against the switch from blue to red shirts and the replacement of their Bluebird logo with a Welsh dragon, the work of Malaysian owner Vincent Tan, who nevertheless has been instrumental in returning the club to the top flight for the first time since the early 1960s.

* Liverpool & Tottenham maintained the only 100% records in the Premier League. The Reds won 1-0 at Aston Villa and Spurs by the same score at home to Swansea.

*Arsenal grabbed their first points of the season with a comfortable 3-1 win at Fulham in heavy rain.

----

* In other news, Sepp Blatter has said a decision on a switch to winter for World Cup 2022 could come as early as the 3rd of October this year. The FIFA President added he would be "very surprised" if the Executive Committee did not rubber-stamp the controversial decision at its meeting in Zurich.

Europe's league schedule faces turmoil in 2021-'22 while losing bidders Australia, Japan, South Korea and the USA could examine legal challenges to any date change. Qatar beat the USA 14-8 in the final round of voting. The Winter Olympics are slated for January 2022, which points to a World Cup finals in November 2021 or even February 2022. Either way, the 2022 World Cup controversy has a long way to run.

---

* Across the pond, 67, 385 watched Seattle Sounders beat Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers 1-0 with an Eddie Johnson goal. The huge crowd, the second largest in MLS history, was due in part to the local derby and part to the first home game of returning US hero Clint Dempsey. Only two crowds in Europe this weekend, both in Germany, were bigger. Bayern Munich drew 71,000 and Borussia Dortmund 80,000.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Opening thoughts on the new Premier League season

The 2013-'14 Premier League season has kicked off and will go down in history as the first one to use goal-line technology.

On the field, the first weekend appeared to be a continuation of the previous one.

Champions Manchester United, with the disgruntled Wayne Rooney starring alongside the exquisite Robin Van Persie and fast-improving Danny Welbeck, began with aplomb, despatching Michael Laudrup's much-lauded Swansea City 4-1 at their Liberty Stadium. David Moyes could hardly have wished for a smoother landing into Alex Ferguson's shoes.

Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho back at the helm, also hit the ground running, with an opening 45 minutes of dynamic attacking in their 2-0 defeat of newly-promoted Hull City.

The three teams who came up from the Championship all lost their opening games and failed to trouble their opponents' goals, a depressing reiteration of the gap between England's top two divisions.

Yet Manchester City's 4-0 demolition of Newcastle confirmed there are also divisions within the Premier League.

After a barren summer in the transfer market in spite of a £70m war chest, Arsenal remain in the mire following a 3-1 home defeat to a resurgent Aston Villa, who had managed to hold on to their top striker Christian Benteke.

Arsene Wenger cuts an increasingly cornered figure, unwilling to overspend while bearing the brunt of a constituency of supporters increasingly furious at the Gunners' inability to challenge for trophies. His players' apparent fatalism and lethargy in their opening home match should give him more sleepless nights.

While Tottenham lost the last Champions League place to their North London rivals at the end of last season, their summer shopping, including the shrewd acquisitions of Brazilian international midfielder Paulinho and Spanish striker Roberto Soldado, and the transfer of England midfielder Scott Parker to Fulham, suggest Andre Villas-Boas has already planned on life without Gareth Bale, whose purchase Real Madrid have just over a week left to finalise.

The loss of two world-class performers in Bale and Luis Suarez, who wants out of Liverpool, would hurt the prestige of the Premier League, which missed out on most of the big name transfers this summer. Until this year it would have been unthinkable for Chelsea and Manchester City to be outbid by French teams, but they were in the case of Edinson Cavani (PSG) and Radamel Falcao (Monaco).

The Premier League remains a strong global brand, as attested to by its latest TV & internet deals, and the fact the World Cup will conclude this season is not news right now.

One man less than excited about the new campaign is probably Roy Hodgson, who has only 34% of the division to choose his England XI from. After a summer of failure from England's U20 & U21 sides and the continued lack of a winter break in the domestic season, the league's host nation's prospects of glory in Brazil next summer look slim.

Meanwhile the premier carnival of cash carries on as usual.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fifa World Rankings August 2013

FIFA World Fifa Rankings
Fifa's World Rankings for August 2013 were published this month at FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland. The Fifa World Rankings are now published on Thursday and not Wednesday as before.

Euro 2012 winners Spain are once again on top of the FIFA rankings followed by Germany, Colombia, Argentina, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, World Cup 2014 hosts, Brazil and high-flying Belgium.

Copa America champions Uruguay are 12th, England are 14th, up one. Scotland are in 50th position. The Republic of Ireland are in 44th place, Wales are in 46th, Northern Ireland are 109th..

Ranking Team
1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Colombia
4 Argentina
5 The Netherlands
6 Italy
7 Portugal
8 Croatia
9 Brazil
10 Belgium
11 Greece
12 Uruguay
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 England
15 Switzerland
16 Russia
17 Ecuador
18 Côte d'Ivoire
19 USA
20 Mexico


Full world rankings

Previous Fifa World Rankings

Bet with Bet 365

Soccer betting tips

Soccer Books & DVDs