Friday, 30 March 2012

Hoddle ready for England

The England manager's position is still vacant despite this summer's European Championships edging closer and closer. Harry Redknapp's name has been linked to the job since Fabio Capello resigned, even before the Italian left many believed the Spurs manager was the man to lead England.

Despite all the talk, Redknapp doesn't appear to be any closer to being named as the national team's boss for this summer's tournament. If anything, talk has begun to drift away from Redknapp's name and on to others. Spurs have maintained that they are not keen to lose their manager, and Harry, himself, has insisted he is more than happy to continue with his role at White Hart Lane. People looking at the betting online will be wondering what will happen next.

Other names have started to be mentioned; from Roy Hodgson to current Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce – who lead England in their friendly against Holland last month. Also linked with the job has been former England manager Glenn Hoddle, who enjoyed a successful three year spell in the job before an admittedly messy episode resulted in his exit.

The former Chelsea head coach has recently been backed by a host of former England players, who all seem to believe Hoddle could be the man to step into the breach for this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine. Fans of Betfair will be shocked if he is though.

Hoddle has made it clear he would love the chance to manage his country again, revealing he believes a caretaker manager could do a good job this summer if Redknapp didn't take the job, highlighting the role Stuart Lancaster had done with the England rugby team, as an example.

"Look at how a caretaker has worked for the England rugby team in the 6 Nations - they've done fantastically."

"So I'd back the FA if they decided not to go for a full-time manager yet. If Harry goes and does well, fine."

Newcastle Flourishing with Carroll Money

Much has been said about the £35 million transfer fee which saw Andy Carroll move to Liverpool from Newcastle last season, and although it might not have been the greatest bit of business for Liverpool, Newcastle are certainly reaping the rewards.

Carroll will make his return to St James Park for the first time on Sunday still yet to find his feet on Merseyside, while Newcastle will be looking to continue their great form this season since benefiting from the money made from the sale. People placing a VC bet will have been astonished at how well they have done.

Newcastle have been great to watch this season and their signings have made significant impacts. Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Demba Cisse have all been bought with the Carroll funds. It would be interesting to see how many Newcastle fans would rather have Carroll in their ranks rather than enjoying these players and their best season for years.

Demba Ba and Cisse have been awesome this season, and although it was feared that Cisse might just upset the apple cart since arriving in January, he has actually formed a great partnership with Ba and has slipped into the team with ease.

It is difficult to play in the premier league, let alone adjust to the game when you're coming from a different country, but Newcastle's signing haven't just settle in, they have flourished and the online betting at Bet Victor reflects this.

Alan Pardew has worked some real magic since his appointment as manager. Question marks were raised over whether he had what it took to take over the team, but he has done a tremendous job. He has assembled a great team and now needs to make sure that he can keep some of his prized assets. Let's hope he can do that, because it would be great to see just how far Newcastle can go in the next.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Spurs Can't Let Season Go To Waste

It promised to be a great season for Spurs at the turn of the year as they were within touching distance of United and City at the top of the Premier League, but in a blink of an eye, they find themselves in fourth place behind Arsenal as they look to cement their place in the Champions League places.

The last few weeks have been terrible for Harry Redknapp and his team. It seems that since he has been linked with the England role, results have started to decline. The 10 point lead they had over Arsenal has been over turned and now it should be time for them to get over this blip otherwise their whole season could end in disappointment. People looking for betting tips football should remember this.

The whole team were flying when they met Arsenal a few weeks ago, and after going 2 goals up, complacency began to kick in, and they haven't been able to pick themselves up. Now, after a good performance over Bolton in the FA cup, they must show some fighting spirit and make third place their own.

The poor recent form is a mixture of confidence, fitness, and a lack of balance within the team who have suffered with a lack of width after Aaron Lennon's injury. There will be people also arguing the fact that the players are distracted by the uncertainty surrounding Redknapp and his future, but either way, the team must get over it, concentrate on the games ahead and focus on finishing the season well. People betting on football will be keeping a close eye on their efforts.

When your confidence is high as a player you don't even have to look before you pass, you know exactly where everyone is, but when it's low it's like you're playing with blinkers on. You seem to lose your peripheral vision and it's difficult to explain why.

The players need to look at themselves and realise that they are within touching distance of what could be the clubs most successful season for many years. A couple of points off automatic Champions League Qualification and in the FA cup semi final it just needs that final push. The quality is certainly there as they have shown all season, but it will be interesting to see how they can finish such a promising campaign.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Is Hoddle still England material?

A blast from the past has been mooted with regards to the vacant England managerial position – Glenn Hoddle.

On the surface, the very idea may seem fanciful but with the likes of former captain Alan Shearer backing him for the job, Hoddle's return is not as remote a possibility as you might think.

Shearer, of course, is still swaying towards favourite Harry Redknapp to take the reins following Fabio Capello's shock departure last month but the FA is not known for its logic when appointing England managers and Shearer admits Hoddle is a realistic contender. Fans of gambling on football will have their own ideas.

His coaching history would also bear this out. Hoddle coached the national side for nearly three years during a period of high positivity and optimism. He inherited Terry Venables's legacy after Euro '96 – a side that was so near yet so far to tasting success – and took them to the 1998 World Cup in France.

England were knocked out of this tournament in the second round by Argentina under controversial circumstances – this was the game which saw David Beckham dismissed for kicking Diego Simeone. The Three Lions were dumped out on penalties and although Hoddle was criticised for not including Paul Gascoigne in the England squad, the majority of the vitriol was reserved for Beckham and Simeone.

You could argue this was a failure of discipline on behalf of Hoddle but the reality is this was more down to the impulsive actions of one reactionary footballer. Shearer concedes that Hoddle was popular with every England player and this ability to unite a squad is precisely what England's team of disparate 'star' individuals needs right now. Those looking at the football betting should bear this in mind.

Only Sir Alf Ramsey and Fabio Capello have a better win rate than Hoddle when managing England and with the pressure off at Euro 2012, such has been the disruption in the wake of Capello's resignation, the former Chelsea, Spurs and Wolves boss could find the circumstances to his liking.

Of course, questions will be asked about the controversial remarks he made about disabled people which led to him being sacked from the England role in 1999 but if Redknapp is not appointed, the FA could do worse than looking towards a former manager.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Sven for England? No chance!

 It is always dangerous to suggest there's a lot of tripe written about football when some of us earn our livings from presenting critiques but one website recently carried the most ludicrous suggestion ever.

It read: Sven Goran Eriksson is the man to lead England into Euro 2012" despite immediately admitting that he became a figure of fun after reaching two quarter finals.

It added: "He knows the players well, he is cool and a good ambassador. Let's face it, we're not going to win it and with Stuart Pearce in charge, who isn't up to the job, we could finish bottom of our group."

To describe Sven Goran Eriksson - who has since been sacked from Manchester City, Leicester City and Notts County - as a good manager is almost as ludicrous as describing him as a good ambassador after the stories about his personal life .

It's not going to happen so why on earth waste 1,000 words or more pursuing it but it does  again raise a subject on which  the Football Association is dragging its feet even more with every successive day. Fans of football betting tips will be keen to see the matter resolved.

The likelihood is that Mr Pearce will get the gig probably under the careful eye of either Harry Redknapp - still Fabio Capello's most likely successor - or West Brom's Roy Hodgson.

As the author of the ludicrous website piece said, we're not going to win it (with or without Redknapp) and given that there were some encouraging signs of a new approach against Holland involved playing balls to feet, not too many who bet on football would have a problem with the England under 21 manager.

It probably became very apparent when Scott Parker was appointed skipper of the national team that he was Redknapp's man and that the decision had the old cockney's fingerprints all over it.

So with Harry on his way into the job sometime later this year a Stuart Pearce interim appointment would be perfectly acceptable to most of us.

But Sven Goran Eriksson? There are too many websites out there!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ferguson not betting carried away

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson refused to get carried away despite watching his side extend their lead at the top with a 5-0 demolition of Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

Jonny Evans gave United a first-half lead with his first goal for the club before the wheels came off for struggling Wolves. Ronald Zubar saw red for two yellow cards and United took advantage in a ruthless spell either side of the break.

Antonio Valencia finished off a flowing counter-attack to double United's lead before England striker Danny Welbeck left Wolves with an impossible task with a third on the brink of half-time and those looking at will not have been expecting a comeback.

It was a case of damage limitation for the hosts after the break against rampant opposition and they were perhaps relieved with only two further concessions. Javier Hernandez bagged a brace to complete Wolves' misery.

"The scoreline makes it look comprehensive, it wasn't really, but our finishing was good. The number of goals could be significant by the end of the season," said Ferguson.

The victory strengthened United's position at the top ahead of Manchester City's crunch clash against Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. City go into the game four points behind their rivals and under pressure and those looking at the Bet Victor Betting need to bear this in mind.

Ferguson is anticipating a tough contest but believes United must concentrate on their own form rather than rely on results elsewhere.

"It's a difficult game for both teams and Chelsea are battling to be in the top four and have maybe come back to form," added Ferguson.

"It's important to look at ourselves. We try to win our games and hopefully it takes us to where we want to be."

Despite downplaying the importance of the match, the experienced boss will be well aware a Chelsea victory would leave the destiny of the title in United's hands.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Which side can escape the Group of Death?

With every major tournament draw, there is a group labelled the Group of Death. Similarly, there is a weaker group full of sides with limited expectations. That is undoubtedly Group A at Euro 2012.

Russia are the strongest team in the group and favourites to qualify on top. They were the surprise package at the 2008 tournament, reaching the last four before falling at the hands of eventual winners Spain.

Andrei Arshavin has largely been disappointing during his spell at Arsenal, but lit up the tournament four years ago and seems to thrive on the international stage. He is the one to watch in Group A and fans of Betfair should remember this.

Greece sit just one place behind Russia in the world rankings, in 13th, and will feel confident having qualified without losing a game. A repeat of their triumph at the 2004 tournament in Portugal is unrealistic but Greece certainly have enough quality to qualify for the knockout stage.

Co-hosts Poland are ranked below the likes of Haiti and Guinea in the world rankings, though they have suffered from a lack of competitive action in recent times. Poland’s last competitive fixture was a 1-0 home defeat to Slovakia in October 2009 and they may be caught cold at the start of Euro 2012. However, you cannot discount them in front of their home crowd and the Betfair Euro 2012 betting reflects this.

Czech Republic have been on the decline for a few years now. They struggled through a group containing holders Spain in qualification before beating Montenegro 3-0 in the play-offs. Given Poland’s home advantage, the Czechs are the outside bet for qualification.

Group A may lack the quality of the other groups at Euro 2012, but there is a competiveness to it which makes it just as intriguing. It is difficult to pick a winner.

Is there anything more irritating than football mind games?

Is there anything more irritating than football mind games?

OK, once upon a time it was amusing particularly way back when Sir Alex Ferguson wound up Kevin Keegan to the point where the former Newcastle United boss was screaming: “I'd love it, love it if we beat them.”

It was one of the greatest public rants of all times and since then, love him or hate him, Fergie has probably earned a Masters Degree in the art of wind-up and many betting Premier League money will say it has given him an edge over the years.

Mind you, it's gone a bit tame since those heady days although there are some who discuss the game as though it's not so much a game as a political or military battle.

It becomes irritating, however, when such as Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech join in but can only repeat a line offered by someone else in different circumstances.

On this occasion he's virtually quoting Sir Alex who has been turning his attention to noisy neighbours City recently claiming they don't have the experience to win a title.

And he has clearly had an effect as the Blue Mooners slipped up in their pursuit of the big one. Whether they can recover we'll know by May, although the Premiership betting suggests their chances are slim.

Fergie, however, clearly has a very unsettling effect on opposition players but when the same lines are used in a different form by such as Petr it just sounds tired

The Blues keeper has been using precisely the same line towards Spurs claiming: “We seem to cope with the difficult situations quite well so, hopefully, this experience we’ve got throughout the years will help us reach our target of the top four.”

Unfortunately for him Spurs are managed by a man who has recently gone through a difficult court case and minor heart surgery.

That's all a tad bigger than a game of football and thus any words anyone may want to direct towards them – original or used – are likely to slide off them like the proverbial duck's back.

Doesn't make them any the less irritating for those who simply see football as a form of entertainment though!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

England keeper wants title

England number one Joe Hart is on a revenge mission when Manchester City meet Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Chelsea came from behind to inflict a first league defeat of the season on City at Stamford Bridge in December and will be out to thwart Roberto Mancini’s side again as they bid to close the gap on rivals Manchester United.

United’s 5-0 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers took them four points clear of City at the top and heaped pressure on their neighbours and fans of will know the things are getting really tough at the top.

Hart is expecting a tough game against a resurgent Chelsea side and is fully aware of the importance of the contest.

"One result can literally change everything. It's madness but it's great. Being four points behind won't have any bearing on how we play," said Hart.

"We owe them one. They were the first team to beat us in the league this season."

City have been faultless at home this season – winning all 14 league games at Etihad Stadium – but some have questioned whether they have the experience to pip United to the title.

Despite a lack of know-how, Hart believes City are still capable of becoming champions and Victor Chandler still give them a chance.

"I've never won one so it's hard to know what a title-winning side feels like. But we've got a good spirit, good attitude," added Hart.

"And I'm sure anyone who has won a title will tell you that's what is required. We have all the ingredients. All we're short of is the medal round our necks."

City’s title credentials will be tested to the full in the coming weeks. The Chelsea game is followed by a trip to Stoke City, a home clash against Sunderland and a meeting with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium. Ten points is a minimum requirement if they are to take United to the wire.

Wolves needed TLC, not TC

It is hard to see a way out for Wolverhampton Wanderers from the relegation mire they find themselves in. Rooted at the foot of the table after four defeats from five games, a run that has seen them concede 19 goals, Wolves are without a full-time manager and are being led by the former assistant of the man they sacked a month ago.

Add in the toxic cloud of supporter dissatisfaction that hangs over Molineux, manifested by fan confrontations with players and all the ingredients of certain relegation appear to be in place. But it didn't need to be this way.

Jez Moxey and Steve Morgan obviously felt that their team was more likely to survive without Mick McCarthy as manager than with the experienced Yorkshireman in charge. The fact they did not have a clear plan for after McCarthy's dismissal proves how keen they were to change manager, perhaps hoping that any change would help.

Roberto Di Matteo has proved at Chelsea that an assistant manager can step into the shoes of his former boss to good effect, although this perhaps suggests it is hard to tell when a manager has taken his team as far he can; the sacking of Andre Villas Boas was greeted with widespread condemnation as fans of Bet Victor will remember.

In fact McCarthy was the man most likely to get Wolves out of trouble, not the least likely. His team were on a four match unbeaten streak away from home and as painful as the team's second half collapse against derby rivals West Brom was, the man who has been in charge for nearly six years was not going to lose the support of the players, all of whom had been recruited by McCarthy.

McCarthy was best placed to rejuvenate his players, knowing that some careful encouragement was the order of the day, not the 'hairdryer' treatment Morgan saw fit to administer after defeat by Liverpool. Wolves might not have survived under McCarthy, but their future would have been brighter than it is now.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Rooney Ban a Blow for England - Hodgson

Former Gravesend defender, and current manager of West Bromwich Albion, Roy Hodgson, believes that England could struggle to score goals at Euro 2012 in the absence of Manchester United striker, Wayne Rooney.

Rooney, 26, is suspended for the first two group matches of the upcoming European Championship, which begins on June 8 in Poland and the Ukraine, after picking up a red card in England's encounter with Montenegro, in October. The Euro 2012 betting indicates they could struggle without him.

"Rooney is a world-class player", Hodgson said, adding that England fans had deluded themselves into thinking that his absence will not affect the country's chances of success at Euro 2012.

"I think you will find that the end of those two matches a lot of people are going to be talking about the fact Wayne Rooney was suspended, and had he been able to play it would have helped England's chances."

The England side for 2012 is likely to be notable for the absence of a number of 'big name' forwards that featured in the most recent World Cup, such as Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch, and perhaps even Joe Cole.

Rooney's ban means that the Three Lions will need to call upon the likes of Frazier Campbell, Darren Bent, Daniel Sturridge, or Rooney's teammate in Manchester, Danny Welbeck, to nab the points against France and Sweden.

United's talisman, Rooney, has been in fine form for the Red Devils recently, scoring 26 goals so far this season. Alex Ferguson has reportedly challenged Rooney to score 40 before the end of the current campaign and the football betting odds show he will certainly have a big part to play in the title race.

Rooney added two for United at the weekend, during Manchester's defeat of Hodgson's West Brom team. The result enabled the Reds to climb to the top of the Premier League. "Wayne is on a hot streak", Fergie said, in the wake of the match.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Redknapp 'unsure' on England job

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp says he is ‘not sure’ whether he wants the England job as he believes he could struggle to make the transition from club coach to international manager.

The 65-year-old is the massive favourite to fill the vacancy left by Fabio Capello but is yet to make a decision on his future and says he is still focussed on guiding Spurs to a Champions League place. Those following the best betting odds need to remember this.

Despite him insisting he is happy at Spurs, the former Portsmouth has continued to be questioned on whether or not he will take the Three Lions hot seat. He has also been backed by both players and fellow managers alike but despite admitting that it is the ‘ultimate’ job for any English manager he insists he is still undecided.

The FA are understandably keen to make an appointment before this summer’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine and with his advancing age, many believe it is now the perfect time for Redknapp to be appointed.

However, he seems to have reservations over taking the post as he is unsure whether or not he’ll be able to deal with the different challenges of being an international boss.

"I'm not sure," Redknapp said in an interview with L'Equipe."I have a very good job at Tottenham today and I like it. But I do not know. We will wait and see."

"When you have a club, you are looking for a striker and you take them. When you're coach, you must do with the players you have in your country," he added. "If you do not have a good scorer, you have none. And you almost never see the players. Two days every two months, it is very difficult."

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

FA hit back at new manager hunt claims

The Football Association have hit back at claims they are showing no urgency in the search for Fabio Capello's successor as England manager.

FA general secretary Alex Horne last week revealed the new boss would not be in place until towards the end of the domestic season, giving him minimal time with the squad ahead of Euro 2012. Fans of Betfair should bear this in mind.

Former England captain Terry Butcher described the situation as "a farce".

"You're looking to get a settled squad and an idea of what that the starting side will be for the first match at the Euros and we're a million miles away from that," Butcher said.

FA chairman David Bernstein countered that by saying it is important to make the right appointment and the board will not be rushed into a knee-jerk decision.

"We don't believe rushing this process is going to be good for arriving at the right conclusion. We are also doing this treating clubs and managers with the greatest of respect, we don't want to disrupt the season of the clubs," Bernstein said.

"We have now arrived at a number of target names, I would call it a flexible target list because it's not absolutely fixed in stone and we will react to events depending how they unfold."

The FA's club England board – consisting of Bernstein, Horne, Trevor Brooking and Adrian Bevington – will narrow down the search and recommend one name to the full board.

England begin their Euro 2012 campaign against France on June 11, just four weeks after the final game of the Premier League season. People looking for Betfair football tips need to remember this.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp remains the clear favourite to replace Capello. Tottenham's form has tailed off since the Italian left his position. A timely appointment could be beneficial to all parties.