Monday 23 May 2016

UEFA Champions’ League Final Preview

So, after a qualifying campaign stretching back to last July, three months’ of group games and the knockout stages, the UEFA Champions’ League essentially boils down to a Madrid derby, albeit played on neutral territory at Stadio San Siro in Milan, on Saturday.

Both teams topped their respective qualifying groups, but Real had to overcome a 2-0 first-leg deficit against VfL Wolfsburg at the Bernabeu in their quarter-final, while Atletico also trailed Barcelona 2-1 after their quarter final first-leg at the Camp Nou. The sides finished second and third in the Spanish Primera, separated by just two points, so the repeat of the 2014 final, which Real won 4-1 after extra-time, could be a tense, tight affair.

The bookmakers, understandably, make Real Madrid – the most successful team in the history of the competition – favourites (6/4) to lift the trophy for an eleventh time against Los Colchoneros (23/10), who’ve yet to win it at all.

Los Blancos’ boss Zinedine Zidane will be without French international centre-back Raphael Varane because of a thigh injury but, while Zizou has acknowledged that Real face a difficult task to overcome their old rivals, it’s hard not to fancy any side that includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos, to name but a few.

Of course, Atletico drew 1-1 at the Vincente Calderon Stadium back in October and won 1-0 at the Bernabeu in February, so clearly all is not lost for Diego Simeone’s side, but Zidane has steadied the ship at Real since taking over from Rafa Benitez in January and must have every chance of becoming the sixth man to lift the Champions’ League trophy as a player and a manager. In search of a little value, let’s try both teams to score and Real Madrid to win at 5/1 with Bet 365.

Selection: Both teams to score and Real Madrid to win (5/1 with Bet365)

Monday 16 May 2016

Liverpool versus Sevilla, Wednesday, May 19

A 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Sunday means that Liverpool must beat Sevilla in the Europa League final in Basel on Wednesday if they are secure European football next season. Sevilla seek not only to guarantee their own place in the group stages of the Champions League, but also to win the Europa League trophy for an unprecedented third year in a row. 

Having beaten Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and, more recently, Villareal en route to the final, it’s difficult to argue that Jurgen Klopp’s side are worthy favourites to lift the trophy they last won in 2000/01. Sevilla lost their last three matches in La Liga, to eventually finish seventh but, with so much at stake, it’s likely to be an emotional, intense encounter with little to choose between the sides. Let’s try both teams to score and Liverpool to win at 4/1 with Bet365.

Selection: Both teams to score and Liverpool to win (4/1 with Bet365)

Monday 9 May 2016

Sunderland versus Everton, Wednesday, May 11th

Even the eternally optimistic Roberto Martinez had to admit that the Toffees’ 3-1 defeat by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium last Saturday evening was ‘incredibly disappointing’ and, with little left to play for, his side is in danger of being overshadowed again by Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday. The Black Cats climbed out of the bottom three by beating Chelsea 3-2 on Saturday and, if they win again on Wednesday, will secure their own Premier League survival at the expense of Newcastle United and Norwich City.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce praised the character, determination and desire of his side, which twice came from behind against Chelsea, and a similar performance may be good enough against an Everton side that has managed just one win in ten Premier League matches and still looks frail defensively. The Black Cats have relied on goals from Jermain Defoe all season, so let’s try the former England frontman to score the opener at 5/1 with Coral.

Selection: Jermain Defoe to score first goal (5/1 with Coral)

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Norwich versus Manchester United, Saturday, May 7

Norwich City may have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989 in December to climb out of the relegation zone, but the Red Devils are odds-on (10/11) to nudge the Canaries even closer to Championship football when the teams meet again at Carrow Road on Saturday. Frankly, it’s hard to enthuse about a Norwich City side that has lost more Premier League games than any other, except relegated Aston Villa, this season and kept just five clean sheets.

The future of Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal remains uncertain, but his side had, by far, the majority of the possession during the 1-1 draw with Leicester City at Old Trafford on Sunday and, although they are four points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City, they have a game in hand. Qualification for the Champions’ League would surely save Van Gaal’s bacon so, with an away tie with West Ham at Upton Park next Tuesday to follow, he’s unlikely to pull any punches here. Let’s try Manchester United for a routine 2-0 win at 17/2 with Bet365.

Selection: Manchester United to win 2-0 (17/2 with Bet365)

Leicester Did It!

and here's the players reactions. What a great end to a fascinating and unexpected season! Let's hope that next year's season will keep us guessing too. get looking for those 5000-1 selections!!