May 21, 2013
Mexico head coach, Jose Manuel de la Torre, has revealed the 23 players that will represent the country in the upcoming Confederations Cup in Brazil, which once again sees Carlos Vela a notable absentee.
The squad is made up of 17 domestic-based players, with six European-based players comprising the rest of the team.
‘El Tri’ will face Nigeria in a friendly on May 31 in Houston before playing three consecutive World Cup qualifying matches: June 4 at Jamaica, June 7 at Panama and June 11 vs. Costa Rica and then competing in a tough Confederations Cup campaign.
Mexico face a tough battle to get through the group stage of the Confederations Cup after being placed in a pool containing Italy, Brazil and Japan.
While the hosts, Brazil, and European giants, Italy, expected to occupy the top two places in the group and progression through to the semi-finals, Mexico will be looking to cause an upset and seal their own path through to the knockout stages.
But once again the main talking point is the continued absence of Real Sociedad forward, Carlos Vela, who hasn’t played for Mexico since his fall-out with the association in 2011 following his suspension for disobeying team orders.
While there is still plenty of attacking talent in this Mexico squad to be able to go into the Confederations Cup with some confidence, not many are coming off the back of seasons as successful as the one the former Arsenal youngster is in La Liga.
Vela has been a standout player in a team that could only manage a mid-table finish, and his absence from the international stage could have fans with a Confederations Cup free bet looking elsewhere.
Looking for a review of the 2012/13 season? Join Betfair for the annual end of season report, and pick up some betting tips for the next campaign.
May 14, 2013
Having guided Manchester City through one of their most turbulent yet most successful spells in their history, the powers that be at the Etihad Stadium have decided to let manager, Roberto Mancini, go.
The Italian guided City to FA Cup glory to end a long wait for silverware before helping the club secure their first Premier League title in dramatic fashion on May 13 2012, much to the delight of fans betting UK.
That day will live long in the memory of City supporters but few would have guessed that literally a year later the club would be looking for a new manager.
Granted, City have not won any silverware this season and they were well off the pace in challenging old rivals Manchester United for the title but as they Red Devils have shown with Sir Alex Ferguson, stability is the key to success.
The process of building continuity again at the Etihad will have to start from scratch and with talk of Malaga boss, Manuel Pellegrini, taking over, it does not look like they are hoping to replicate the stability of United.
Pellegrini will be 60 this year and the chances of the Chilean having a 26-year reign like Ferguson look highly improbable.
Both United and City will see new managers at the helm for their first Premier League game next season but while the Red Devils will have a hungry David Moyes in the hot seat at Old Trafford, City could have Pellegrini who might well be coming towards the end of his time in the game.
There is no doubting the Malaga chief’s credentials but again it looks like a short-term solution for City, which has the potential to leave them chasing United for further seasons to come.
Also in the football news this week: United throw it away on Fergie’s final farewell.
May 13, 2013
Fans of the Champions League will be treated to a unique sight this spring, as two German football clubs duke it out for Europe’s top trophy for the first time in history. The fixture, between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, will take place at Wembley Stadium, on May 25. The latest stats are presented in the infographic below, courtesy of Titan Bet.
May 10, 2013
Ahead of a crucial 10 days including their final against FA Cup betting favourites, Manchester City, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was forced to deflect talk linking him with the soon-to-be vacant Everton managerial position.
While Dave Whelan has brushed off talk linking his manager with Everton, the Wigan chairman won’t have wanted this issue overshadowing his club’s first appearance in an FA Cup final.
With David Moyes soon to be heading to Old Trafford, Martinez has seen his name linked as the Scotsman’s replacement, but the Spaniard would really rather have done without this unwanted distraction ahead of this weekend’s clash at Wembley and then the crucial final two Premier League games.
While Martinez refused to get drawn into any discussion other than his side’s upcoming appearance in the FA Cup final, this topic will only come up again after this game and certainly won’t help the club ahead of one of the most important week’s in this club’s history.
“The most important thing is to be as ready as we can for Saturday and then the two other finals we have in the league after that,” insisted Martinez in his pre-final press-conference.
“It is the peak time for us. We want our fans to be proud of us and that is what we are fighting for. What goes around on the outside doesn’t affect us. We won’t lose any focus.”
There is no doubt that Wigan will find it hard to hang onto the highly-respected Spanish coach should they fall out of the Premier League this season, especially if a club of Everton’s stature came calling. But for now, Martinez will just be focusing on bringing some silverware to the club he has played for and now managed.
Place an FA Cup bet online with Bet Victor, and take advantage of the best odds on English football.
May 6, 2013
Hull City owner, Assem Allam, says his next target is to take his team into Europe following their dramatic promotion to the Premier League on Saturday.
After what has been an extremely exciting season, the Tigers confirmed their place back in the top flight thanks to a final day draw against champions, Cardiff, which saw them just edge Watford, who had to make do with a play-off spot.
Assem took over the club alongside his son Ehab in 2010, and after acquiring a side that were languishing in the lower reaches of the Championship following two years in the Premier League, he has invested millions into the club and got his reward as they worked their way back to the promised land.
He has now started planning for next term and will certainly not be shy in giving boss Steve Bruce the required funds to help him transform the team into a stable top flight outfit.
However, Assem has bigger things on his mind and is already targeting a possible European place over the next few seasons.
The Egyptian – and, indeed fans placing a bet on football – know it will be difficult for the club to develop into a major force though but is confident that they can somehow break into the top four.
“I would like to see European football here. That is my dream for the fans and it is achievable,” he said to Premier League betting news reporters. “Obviously, it will be difficult finishing in the top four of the Premier League without massive spending but there will be chances in the Cup competitions.
“I never expected to gain automatic promotion. It just shows how well the team and Steve Bruce have done. This is a major achievement for Steve and the squad.”
April 29, 2013
Wigan will hope to cause a major upset at Wembley when they take on huge favourites Manchester City. If the Latics are to have any chance of glory they will need to win some big battles on the pitch.
It is not inconceivable to imagine Wigan lifting the FA Cup on May 11. After all, Wimbledon, Coventry City and Southampton in years gone by have all triumphed against bigger sides against the odds. Those clubs proved if you get it right on the day, play out of your skin, the opposition are below par and you get a bit of luck along the way, then remarkable things can be achieved.
But with City so strong all over the pitch, it will require something extra special for Roberto Martinez’s men to come out on top. However, if they were to win these three individual battles at Wembley the underdogs might just have a chance, worth noting if you plan on placing a Premier League bet.
Shaun Maloney v Pablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta has proved to be one of the most consistent full-backs in the country this season and loves to get forward to support City’s attacks out wide.
There is a feeling, though, he is prone to getting caught out of position and that is something the skilful Maloney can exploit. The wily Wigan winger has been in good form of late and if Zabaleta has an off-day Maloney – and the Latics in general – can take advantage.
Vincent Kompany v Arouna Kone
Kompany’s return to the City defence in March coincided with an improvement in their results as they immediately looked more secure at the back. They had clearly missed the Belgian’s organisation and leadership and he forms part of a formidable part of City’s backbone.
Better strikers than Kone have had no change out of Kompany this season, but the Wigan frontman’s pace and movement could cause the City star problems at Wembley.
Antolin Alcaraz v Sergio Aguero
Alcaraz is usually deployed by Martinez as one of his three defenders and, alongside Paul Scharner and Gary Caldwell, will probably be charged with the unenviable task of keeping Aguero and co quiet at Wembley.
The Paraguayan missed a big chunk of the season through injury and Wigan suffered, again getting sucked into the relegation scrap. However, he has returned to full fitness recently and, even though results have barely improved, the Latics are clearly a better side with Alcaraz in it.
He will, of course, have his work cut out against City’s all-star frontline but has the ability, in a one-off match, to nullify the best players and a stand-out performance from the 30-year-old could just be the platform for Wigan to build a famous win on.
Looking for more betting tips for the weekend? Back the Black Cats to triumph over Villa.
April 29, 2013
Cardiff City’s long-term future is not necessarily set for the glittering delights of Premier League football like many fans may hope for after the club secured promotion from the Championship this week.
Despite the joy of going up, many Cardiff fans and Betfair football pundits are realistic about their chances of staying in the top flight next season and understand survival is many times more difficult to achieve than promotion.
Sadly, Cardiff’s situation could go one of two ways next season and for the good of football let’s hope they don’t make a mess of it.
The club are expected to spend upwards of £25m on the squad this summer, adding to their current estimated £100m debt by the end of this campaign. Their revenue is likely to quadruple from £20m a year to £80m but there is still no guarantee that money will be invested wisely.
According to the Premier League on Betfair, if Cardiff are to stay up next season manager Malky Mackay must be shrewd with the money owner Vincent Tan gives him and buy players good enough for the league but who want to play for Cardiff and not their pay packet.
The top flight currently has two teams, Swansea and QPR, that have taken very different financial paths since promotion and Cardiff would be wise to follow their Welsh counterparts.
For Swansea have spent little and well over their two seasons in the league, trusting on the players that got them there to keep them where they are. Importantly their wage bill is low and they rely on a club ethos that brings a real professionalism to team performances.
QPR, on the other hand, have spent money they don’t have and paid wages to players that don’t care about the club. They are destined to go down with crippling losses and no way of meeting them in the Championship.
Of course, it’s easy to say “do it the Swansea way” but the Bluebirds must remain conservative with their cash to survive. £25m is enough in the Premier League if you spend it on the right players with the right attitude, and that is where Mackay’s ability as a one-to-one manager will come into play.
April 15, 2013
Another weekend of Premier League action gets underway on Saturday, with four top-flight clashes for fans placing a football bet to get their teeth into.
The relegation scrap is becoming increasingly desperate while two of four Champions league places remain up for grabs, meaning fans may find some surprise results come in.
Here’s our Saturday Premier League betting tips:
Reading v Southampton:
Without a point in their last six games, Reading need something in Saturday’s early kick off but won’t get a sniff of a point against a Southampton side buoyed by recent wins over Liverpool and Chelsea. Former Saints boss Nigel Adkins will get a good reception from the travelling fans but that is all he’ll leave with.
Verdict: Southampton to win comfortably at 23/20
West Brom v Arsenal:
At 3/1 to win on Bet Victor, West Brom are not a bad shout against an Arsenal outfit due a loss following three successive wins. Albion’s hopes of Europe all but evaporated last week at Upton Park, however, and fans should side with the Gunners on this one.
Verdict: Arsenal win (20/21) but will also concede
Stoke City v Aston Villa:
Tony Pulis can’t buy a win at the moment and the Potters have now picked up just one point in five games. Villa, meanwhile, have improved of late with victories over fellow relegation strugglers Reading and QPR and should prove scrappy enough yet again to earn at least a draw. Fans should expect Christian Benteke’s battle with Ryan Shawcross to take centre stage.
Verdict: 0-0 or 1-1 draw with few chances at 12/5
Norwich City v Swansea City:
Swansea have stuttered somewhat since their Capital One Cup final victory in February and received their third loss on the bounce at home to Spurs last weekend. With little to play for and up against a Canaries unit determined to stave off a late relegation battle, football odds writers believe the result will be comfortably shared at Carrow Road.
April 12, 2013
Few fans would have expected Mauricio Pochettino’s reign at Southampton to have gone quite as well as it is after the Argentinian boss inspired his new side to a third successive victory to steer further away from relegation.
When the manager took over in January the Saints were in a bad state and needed a lift Nigel Adkins just couldn’t give them. Draws against Everton and Wigan plus a close 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford showed signs of improvement in the squad but Pochettino’s plans didn’t click properly into place until mid March.
Suddenly the team seems to get it and after impressive defensive displays against Liverpool and Chelsea earned them maximum points the Saints travelled to Reading buoyed with a newly found sureness.
Certainly confidence breeds success at the lower end of the table and Southampton’s 2-0 victory over Reading proved just how self-assured this side have become.
Under Adkins they played probably beyond their means but, according to the Opta Big Match Stats, never strung that succession of performances together needed to escape the bottom three.
Pochettino, however, appears to have got the team firing again and credit must go to striker Jay Rodriguez for his three goals in three games. The forward, alongside Ricky Lambert, was spectacular against Reading and played a major role in bringing the midfield into the game.
At the back, meanwhile, Jos Hooiveld appears to have finally become accustomed with the pace of the Premier League alongside Maya Yoshida. After the Reading game, midfielder Adam Lallana was all praise for the new boss:
“We’ve got a different manager who’s got a different culture about him,” he told Betfair. “He’s got different methods and he’s gradually getting them across to the players.”
Indeed, with the club now seven points above the drop zone one win in their last six should be enough to see them safe. Pochettino has worked wonders this spring and silenced those who criticised the club for sacking Adkins.
The main job, however, gets underway this summer and Pochettino must use pre-season to get this squad into shape if they are to survive the drop in 2014.
April 5, 2013
Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert, is confident that his side will beat the drop despite the lack of experience in his squad, and recent damning appraisals of his side’s chances from fans placing a bet on football.
The Villans have struggled throughout the campaign, following the Scot’s decision to blood a number of youngsters into his first team in favour of more established players.
However, when they have got things right they’ve been brilliant and showed all of their potential by easily beating Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield before Christmas.
Potential doesn’t always guarantee results though and for every good game they’ve played, they seem to have backed it up with a poor one, including losing to Bradford City in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.
However, things have started to look-up for Birmingham side in recent months and wins over Reading and QPR saw them move out of the relegation zone, but defeat at the weekend to Liverpool, combined with Wigan’s win over Norwich saw them drop back into the bottom three.
They do have plenty of winnable games on the horizon though, including what could turn out to be relegation a decider against the Latics on the final day.
Lambert knows his side are in trouble but believes they have the ability to prove their doubters wrong and beat the drop.
“Every team in the bottom half of the table is in a battle now. We are four points off twelfth and for much of the season we have been accustomed to this situation,” he told betting news reporters. “We’ve been living through it and we’ve dealt with the pressures it brings.
“The important thing for us is that we don’t get caught up in it all, that we continue to focus on our games, on our jobs and that’s what we’ll do.”