Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Can Chelsea claim the FA Cup trophy in the 2011/12 season?

A little while after Chelsea’s takeover back in June 2003, the London club looked to be a dominant force in the Premier League and each of the other competitions that they featured in.

The Blues seemed to have an unlimited amount of money to burn with the sheer number of transfers made. But recently, Chelsea have floundered and current manager – Andre Villas-Boas – isn’t getting the results required to make an impact on the Premiership, which in turn casts doubts in the mind as to whether Chelsea will be able to conquer the prestigious FA Cup. Those looking at the latest FA Cup betting should remember this.

Chelsea’s last encounter in the FA Cup did not go according to plan as Premier League rivals Everton knocked out The Blues in the Fourth Round. The ties was played at Goodison Park and ended in a 1-1 draw with goals from The Toffees' leading striker Louis Saha in the 62nd minute, and a follow up from Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou in the 75th minute.

The replay proved to be much more exciting with the encounter ending in a penalty shootout with Everton edging the victory at a score of 4-3. The last time Chelsea won an FA Cup was in the 2009/10 season. The result finished favourably for Chelsea as The Blues beat Portsmouth 1-0 with a goal from Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba in the 59th minute.

So, in answer to the question in the title – ‘Can Chelsea claim the FA Cup trophy in the 2011/12 season?’ – The answer to this would have to be no. Villas-Boas’ squad does not currently have the firepower required to overcome the likes of the might Manchester City, or Manchester United.

Although if Villas-Boas acquires the talents of a prolific goal scorer, and bolsters up his shallow defense, then the London club could well succeed.

Oxlade-Chamberlain shines as Arsenal lose

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain once again showed just why he is so highly thought of among the Arsenal coaching staff, the youngster producing an impressive display in the narrow Carling Cup defeat to Manchester City. The teenager was one of the few bright-sparks in a disappointing night for the Gunners, who will now miss out on a realistic chance of ending their trophy drought, Oxlade-Chamberlain looking lively and dangerous throughout the match. Anyone placing a Carling Cup bet would have been impressed.

In a rare start in the Arsenal first-team, the former Southampton trainee enhanced his growing reputation with a stand-out display for the hosts. While the Gunners' manager was rightly disappointed to see his young team dumped out of the tournament, the Frenchman was quick to pour praise on Oxlade-Chamberlain for his thoroughly mature performance. Fans of Carling Cup betting should remember this.

"Chamberlain had an excellent performance," said Wenger.

"There is a big talent there, it looks as well as though he is not fazed by the occasion and can take the pressure he was under tonight."

"How much he wants it can decide how far he can go, the potential is there."

It remains to be seen whether this performance will see Oxlade-Chamberlain start to push for a regular inclusion in the Arsenal first-team. If the youngster can continue to take his chances to impress when called upon, then he'll make it hard for his manager to overlook him. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace preview

The draw for the Quarter-Finals of the English League Cup was made on the 29th of October 2011. Remaining in the tournament are 6 Premier League squads, along with 2 Championship clubs.

In this particular article I will give a brief explanation regarding Manchester United's  and Crystal Palace's form in the 2011/12 season, then I shall clarify the Fourth Round matches that ensured qualification to the Quarter-Finals for the aforementioned teams, I will then finalise with a short match prediction.

The Red Devils' current standing in the Premiership sees them reside in 2nd position, just behind bitter rivals Manchester City by a total of 5 points. Their form in the Premier League leaves much to be desired; even with the results they have been acquiring. What United are lacking most at the moment is a solid central midfielder. Anyone looking at the best online Carling Cup betting should remember this.

This is possibly the reason why Man United have been underperforming so far this season. In the 2011/12 season, Palace currently sit in 10th position and are a mere 2 points off a play-off place.

Current manager – Dougie Freedman - has acquired some fantastic results along with the installation of a great team spirit, which has maintained Palace's good performances. To gain qualification into the Quarter-Finals of the League Cup, Manchester United dominated the League Two outfit Aldershot with a deserved 0-3 away victory with goals from: Bulgarian national Dimitar Berbatov in the 15th minute, English national Michael Owen in the 51st minute and Ecuadorian international Antonio Valencia in the 48th minute.

Crystal Palace's method of qualification was via a 2-0 home victory against the on form Southampton. It was a close match but The Eagles certainly deserved their victory.

My match prediction for the encounter between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, hosted at the Old Trafford, would have to be 4-0 to the home side. United are far too equipped to be beaten by a Championship side, especially so when the stakes are high. If Sir Alex Ferguson – the current manager of The Red Devils – fields a first team, then United could make the score line even greater.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Champions League: Which English club has the potential to get the furthest in the tournament?

In this season’s UEFA Champions League, there remains 4 top Premiership clubs in the running for the prestigious title. These teams include: Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal.

The only English club to qualify so far is Arsenal. The Gunners have an extensive history including: 3 Premier League titles, 10 FA Cup trophies and 2 League Cups.

Unfortunately Arsenal fans are yet to see their side accomplish the ultimate glory of achieving the European Cup. The last time they got close was back in the 2005/06 season where they managed to reach a Champions League final. People who bet on Champions League winner should remember this.

Manchester United are the most successful English club of all time. Their magnificent honours include: 12 Premiership titles, 11 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, and 3 UEFA Champions League titles. As United are one of the most experienced clubs on a European basis, they are sure to qualify to the Knockout Phase of the competition; but I’m not sure if they have what it takes to advance any further than that. Man City are the new boys on the block with regards to European football. But maybe this year City could shock football fans and claim the prestigious European title. Last but not least is the London club Chelsea. They have lacked an authority this season so they are likely to struggle in their final game in the group stages. But only time will tell as to whether Chelsea can advance to the latter stages of the tournament. Those placing a Champions League bet should remember this.

So, in answer to the question in the title – ‘Which English club has the potential to get the furthest in the tournament?’ This question is quite a difficult one to answer. But the team I feel has the most potential in terms of quality would have to be Manchester City. They have a range of excellent players and are the only team that has what it takes to beat the best teams in the world.  The likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea cannot match City with regards to ability. The only problem is that City’s road to qualifying to the Knockout Phase of the competition is quite a difficult one.

Eagles out to shock Red Devils

Crystal Palace face one of the hardest tests in European football, as they get set to take on Manchester United in the Carling Cup on Wednesday.

A win for the Championship side would be the biggest potential upset of the quarter-final draw but they come up against United side who thrive on these games, especially at Old Trafford.

Palace have exceeded many peoples’ expectations this season, as they sit just two points of the play-off places, having just escaped relegation on the final day of last term. Those placing a Carling Cup bet should remember this.

However results in recent weeks have been poor with a 3-0 and 2-0 defeat to Leicester City and Cardiff respectively in their last two outings.

Admittedly those were two games on the road but manager Dougie Freedman has raised the standards at Palace and they will be looking for improvements soon.

They will have to if they want to get anything against United who will be looking to use their squad for this game, with the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley set to play a big role. Those following the football odds should bear this in mind.

The Red Devils also have the experience of Ryan Giggs to call upon and like he should in the Carling Cup victory over old rivals Leeds United, the Welshman can still dictate a game at will.

Palace have made great strides this season but based on current form and how United seem to wrestling teams into submission with 1-0 victories in recent weeks, it’s likely to be Ferguson and not Freedman who will be the happier of the two Scots come the final whistle on Wednesday.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

England 1 - Sweden 0

Errrr, sorry for the late posting. England unbeated in 2011!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Satisfying Week For Capello!

It has been one of Fabio Capello's better weeks as England manager this week with a victory over the World Champions Spain on Saturday and then against Sweden on Tuesday night.

Your Gambling Guardian predicted a number of changes in personnel for the two games which were used to experiment with a number of players and Capello will have a learnt a lot, and will have more of an idea of who will be on the plane to Poland next summer.

Not only that, but Capello will have been pleased to see his team put in solid defensive displays by keeping two clean sheets, while the performances gave England fans a little bit of pride back and optimism for what could be a bright future!

While England didn't play champagne football that we would all love to see, they never the less got the job done. In all honesty, I wouldn't put any money on them beating Spain in Euro 2012 and Sportsbook guardian tips agree. But at the end of the day, but there have been many teams in the past that have won tournaments without playing the expansive football that the Spanish team currently does.

Look at Greece in Euro 2004, Italy in 2006 or even the Capello Real Madrid teams that won La Liga titles. It is possible!

I am not getting ahead of myself or carried away on the back of two victories, England will count themselves lucky to win on Saturday and could have very easily been a 2/3-0 loss to a Spain team who were playing in third gear. They lack creativity, cant keep possession of the ball, and are very predictable, but they are setting the foundations to be hard to beat, which will put them in good stead for the Euro's!

In addition to that, we have some promising young talent coming through with the likes of Phil Jones, Rodewell, Walker and Wellbeck playing exceptionally well. While Scott Parker will be one of the first names on the team sheet. Add to this the likes of Rooney, Young, Wilshere and Gerrard who were all missing this week, and the England squad doesn't look too bad at all!

Monday, 14 November 2011

England 1 Spain 0

Moral boosting win against the Euro and World Champs!

Euro 2012: Analysing England

England last won a prestigious footballing event back in 1966. It was Sir Alf Ramsey that led them to a glorious 4-2 victory in extra time against the West German side in the final.

Since winning the World Cup in 1966, England have failed to obtain any other high-status trophy.

The closest they came to winning a European title was back in 1996 where England finished in a respectable 3rd place. Those following the Euro 2012 odds will be wondering how they will get on this season.

Fabio Capello – England’s current manager - has the formidable task of leading the England side to victory in the Euro 2012. In terms of talent, England are right up there with Germany, France, and Italy. But for some reason, England seem to underperform each time a Euro Cup, or a World Cup comes around.

This could be down to the people of England’s high expectations for their national side, or it could be down to poor managerial skills, it could even be down to a lack of quality players.

At first, Capello was deemed to be a good choice as the leader of the English national team. But after achieving next to nothing, most English fans want rid of the Italian manager.

With Capello stepping down at the end of the Euro 2012, the manager that England fans want most is Tottenham’s current boss Harry Redknapp. I’m sure that Redknapp has the potential to do a much better job than the current manager.

England’s last match saw them face Montenegro with the result ending in a 2-2 draw. In that particular match, Manchester United’s Ashley Young, and Aston Villa’s Darren Bent managed to get on the score sheet. Both of the aforementioned players will be a danger to any opposition in the Euro 2012.

At the moment, Capello needs to look at which players are on form, and pick the players accordingly. For example, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Bent have formed an impressive strike partnership for Aston Villa, and Capello would be daft not to use that to his advantage in the forth-coming matches.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Who should England take to Euro 2012?

In the up and coming Euro 2012 competition, the England national team looks to be one of the strongest yet.

England have never won the prestigious European title, nor have they been runners up, but with their current array of talent I can see the English progressing far in the tournament.

The goalkeeper position is deservedly held by no other than Manchester City's stopper Joe Hart. So far this season, Hart's performances have been outstanding. England fans will be hoping for the stopper from Shrewsbury to continue his good run-of-form in the Euro 2012.

In the right back position I would have Tottenham's Kyle Walker. This season Walker has been in terrific form and is sure to bring his good form into the England side for the up-and-coming tournament.  Those looking at the Euro 2012 betting online should remember this.

The left back position for England would have to be occupied by Chelsea's Ashley Cole. Although I can see Cole being a bit of a weak link, he's still the best English left back around. The centre back position in the English team is a harder position to fill due to the several quality players available. But my two centre backs would have to be Chelsea captain, and current England captain John Terry, and Manchester United youngster Phil Jones.

Right and left midfield would have to be taken by United's Ashley young, and Arsenal's nippy winger Theo Walcott. Both of these players have been in amazing form so far this season. In the centre of the park I would have Tottenham's prolific midfielder Scott Parker, and City's James Milner. The striking partnership for the England side is a difficult choice.

If I had to choose in terms of pure talent then it would have to be United's Wayne Rooney, and Aston Villa's key man Darren Bent. But if I was to choose in terms of who would work best together, it would have to be Rooney, and his United counterpart Danny Welbeck.