Friday, February 25, 2011

Wembley beckons, but who will prevail? - Betting News with Betfred


It is the first domestic cup final of the English season on Sunday and Birmingham City will be out to upset the strongly fancied Arsenal, and give their fans something to really cheer about.

For Blues fans it has been an indifferent season, but the cup competitions have given them cause for enjoyment. Getting to a Wembley final is a major boost for any side, and provides them with some relief from the weekly rigours of a season long battle to avoid relegation, but the football betting market makes them outsiders at 6/1 to win the trophy in 90 minutes, or 11/4 to lift the trophy.

Arsenal fans will see this Carling Cup final as a great chance to end five long years without a trophy – a fact that Manchester United and Chelsea fans laud over them every season.

The loss of Theo Walcott to injury along with serious concerns over the fitness of skipper Cesc Fabregas, sustained in Arsenal's midweek win over Stoke, is without a doubt a massive blow to the Gunners, but there is no doubting their attacking qualities even without them.

It could be a question of what side Arsene Wenger puts out at Wembley, as in recent seasons he has stuck with youth for the Carling Cup.

With so many games coming thick and fast for the Gunners, Wenger could be tempted to rest one or two of his star players, and thus give the Blues a real fighting chance of lifting their first major trophy since the League Cup in 1963. However, Arsenal remain strong 8/15 favourites to prevail.

For Birmingham, goalscoring has been their problem all season, and they brought in the experienced Obafemi Martins on loan during the January transfer window, in an attempt to solve that problem.

But Alex McLeish's trump card at Wembley could be the giant Serbian striker Nikola Zigic, who is 9/1 in the football odds to score the first goal of the game.

It has been well known for years that Arsenal struggle against balls put into the box and with an inexperienced keeper between the sticks then the 6ft 8in striker could pose massive problems.

My Tip of the Weekend:

Birmingham have a real cup pedigree about them this season and they could get one over on an Arsenal side who are facing a hectic schedule. There is a lot of pressure on Wenger and his players to deliver a first trophy since the FA Cup in 2005, and with the Club chasing honours in three other competitions, a combination of fatigue and expectation may well may play a factor on Sunday. A 1-0 win for the Blues priced at 12/1 with Betfred looks a value bet.

Sunday 27th February: Arsenal v Birmingham, kick-off 4pm, live on Sky Sports 1.

By Drew Swainston
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sports Psychology - Dress For Success!

Sports scientists at the University of Portsmouth studied the effect a coach's appearance had on the players' impressions of their competence. Their work is published in the International Journal of Sport Psychology.

The new study led by Dr Richard Thelwell, a sports scientist at the University of Portsmouth revealed that coaches who wear suits on match days and tracksuits on training days are likelier to get the best results out of their teams.

Dr Thelwell said: "We have found that the clothing that coaches wear can have a direct effect on the players’ perceptions of the coach’s ability.
"Players look to their coach to provide technical skills, to motivate them and to lead them. A coach in a suit suggests strategic prowess which is obviously ideal for a match," he added.

"In our study, coaches wearing a suit were perceived as being more strategically competent than those wearing sporting attire. However, when wearing sporting attire, they were perceived to be more technically competent than those in a suit."

97 men and women were asked to observe and give their reactions to static photographs of four different 'coaches,' as though they had just viewed the coach for the first time and were about to be coached by them.

The four categories were as follows: a coach of lean physique and dressed in a tracksuit, a coach of large physique and dressed in a tracksuit, one of lean physique and dressed in a suit, and finally a coach of large physique and dressed in a suit.

Coaches of large build and wearing smart clothes was uniformly ranked the lowest in terms of their competence to motivate, develop technique, develop game strategy, and build athlete character.

The coach who was lean and wearing a tracksuit was rated best for 'technical and character-building abilities,' which were skills most required at training and development of players, and was rated equal best for 'ability to motivate players.'

The coach who was lean and smartly dressed was rated best as a strategist, the skill most expected and required at matches."

"First impressions can have a powerful and long-lasting effect, no matter how quickly those judgments were made," Thelwell said.

"From the research, we know that sportsmen and women make snap decisions about their opponents based on first impressions. Such impressions then often influence the expectations of the performance outcome that ultimately results in success or failure."

"In coaching it is vital a strong rapport develops between the coach and the athlete. To date, very little research has been done on what happens in those first few moments, and more importantly whether the athlete is prepared to go along with the ideals of the coach."

"While we are becoming more aware of how athletes might judge coaches, we are still unaware of the processes that athletes go through to be able to develop impressions of coaches and this is something that we are now starting to look at."

José Mourinio takes a training session.

José Mourinio in smart attire on matchday.

Article courtesy of the University of Portsmouth © 2010
Tel: 023 9284 8484 Email:
University House, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2UP, UK.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hannah Teter and Clair Bidez - US Snowbarding Babes

Hannah Teter (born 27th January, 1987 in Belmont, Vermont, USA) is a US Professional Snowboarder.

Hannah started snowboarding at the age of eight, taking her first lesson at her home mountain of Okemo. By 2002 at the age of fifteen, she was the World Junior Halfpipe Champion, and had begun riding on the FIS Snowboard World Cup circuit.

From 2002–2004 Teter competed in seven World Cup events winning four of them.
In 2005 she won a bronze medal at the FIS World Championships at Whistler, British Columbia.

At the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, she became an Olympic Champion, taking the gold medal in the halfpipe, and her accomplishment was rewarded further by the United States Olympic Committee, who named her the USOC SportsWoman of the Year. She also won the ESPY Award for Best Action Sports Female in 2006.

In January 2010, Teter was named to the US Team for the 2010 Winter Olympicsin Vancouver. She won the silver medal in women's halfpipe at the Vancouver Games.

Hannah in snowboarding action in Vancouver.

In 2008 Teter founded a charity called Hannah's Gold which raises money through the sales of Vermont maple syrup. The charity, in partnership with World Vision, helps to support the village of Kirindon, Kenya through building schools, digging fresh water wells, and providing water filtration.

In 2009 Teter donated all of her prize money to the Kirindon program. She has also worked to raise money for Darfur and other causes, sponsors children in Honduras and the Philippines through Children International, and is a spokesperson for Boarding for Breast Cancer.
In 2009, Vermont based ice cream company Ben & Jerry's created a new flavour in honour of their fellow Vermonter: 'Hannah Teter's Maple Blondie.' The new flavour went on sale in December 2009, and a portion of proceeds will go to Teter's charity.

In 2010 Teter launched a new charity initiative, 'Sweet Cheeks,' which donates 40% of the sales proceeds from an exclusive line of underwear to partner organization 'Children International' to help feed children living in extreme poverty around the world.

Also in 2010, Teter was also one of four American athletes chosen to model for the 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue' in a section devoted to Winter Olympians.

Clair Bidez (born on the 8th July, 1987 in Vail, Colorado, USA) is a US Professional Snowboarder.

Clair first started skiing at a young age and by time she was nine she was ski racing in Colorado. She made the switch to snowboarding in 1996 after being introduced to the sport by her younger brother Dylan, and her competitive career began in 2004 with local USASA contests, which in turn helped develop her halfpipe riding to new levels.

As a member of the US Snowboarding team, Bidez's breakout season came in 2005-06, when she won both the USASA National Championships at Copper Mountain and the Junior World Championships. She also claimed seventh at the Burton New Zealand Open

Making her X Games debut in 2006, Bidez finished just out of the medals in fourth place. She went on to claim a pair of podium finishes on the 2008 Grand Prix circuit. After breaking her right heel at the beginning of 2009 and battling the nagging injury, Bidez struggled to match her early performances, although still producing consistent top-15 finishes.

Clair snowboarding at a Grand Prix meeting in Utah.

With four spots open on the 2010 US Olympic snowboarding team, Bidez made a strong push to make the squad and never finished below ninth on the Grand Prix circuit. However, with an eighth place rank overall she just missed the cut.

In 2010, Bidez (like Hannah Teter) was one of four American athletes chosen to model for the 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue' in a section devoted to Winter Olympians.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pardew out to avoid the Blues at St. Andrew's - Betting News with Betfred


Birmingham City boast a home record that defies their lowly position in the Premier League, and they will be out to improve their chances of avoiding the drop by defeating Newcastle United on Tuesday night.

Despite battling at the wrong end of the table for most of this season, Alex McLeish's side have achieved some notable results at 'fortress' St. Andrew's, including a victory over Chelsea and creditable draws with Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City.

The problem for 'The Blues' who are currently 3/1 to be relegated with Betfred, is that while they have only lost twice in front of their own fans, they have drawn far too many matches, and have only managed three wins on home soil.

If Birmingham had converted some of their seven home draws into wins, they would probably be sitting comfortably in mid-table, but as it stands they lie 16th, just a point above the relegation zone, and according to the football betting market they are most definitely in a relegation scrap.

The Blues fans will be hoping Obafemi Martins can score the goals that will help their club climb the table.
With the Nigerian's visa secured this week following his loan move from Russian Champions Rubin Kazan, the striker will be looking to score against his former employers, where he successfully plyed his trade from 2006 to 2009.

Newcastle, 8/1 to be relegated have picked up some notable wins on their travels this season, including a surprise victory over Arsenal at The Emirates, but they are struggling at present in the striking department.

After losing Andy Carroll to Liverpool in the transfer window, and now Shola Ameobi through injury, manager Alan Pardew is left with the unproven trio of Leon Best, Nile Ranger and Peter Lovenkrands together with their new signing, in the portly shape of veteran Shefki Kuqi, to score the goals to ensure they retain their own top flight status.

Although this is far from the most impressive of strike forces, the football predictions indicate Newcastle who currently lie in 10th position, look good to stay up, simply because there are many more worse teams below them!

However the Premier League is so tight this season that a couple of wins can see a side rocket up the table, and likewise a run of several defeats can leave a side desperately looking over their shoulders, as they get dragged down into the battle for survival.

Both Birmingham and Newcastle need their strikers to step up to the mark and fire their sides to safety over the remainder of the season - however that seems unlikely to happen on Tuesday evening.

My Tip of the Week:

With both sides lacking firepower expect Birmingham to be held at home once again, and back the draw at 11/5 with Betfred.
A small punt on there being less than 2.5 goals scored in the match looks a a sensible shout.

Tuesday 15th February: Birmingham v Newcastle, kick-off 7.45pm.

By Drew Swainston
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Great Danes - Sizzling Danish Footballers.

As England prepare for a meaningless international friendly against Denmark in the Parken Stadium, Copenhagen on Wednesday night, I thought I would take a brief look at the history of Danish football and some of the most famous players to come out of a country boasting a population of just five-and-a-half million, and a country more renowned for the Vikings, Carsberg lager, Lurpack butter, bacon and for inventing Lego!

It is somewhat of an easier task to talk about Danish Football than picking to bits all that is wrong with the England national team, both on and off the field.

Trying to explore, unravel and in turn make sense of the current and well documented issues stifling the English national team, and it's failure to deliver on the big stage, or the FA's failure to appoint an English born manager as they continue to allow, due to financial constraints the 'not so fab' Capello to wave his imaginary wand and quite literally 'balls up' a role I think most die hard England fans feel they could do infinitely better themselves, whilst sitting on a remote Caribeean beach sipping Pina Colada's - would require me to write a piece of literature akin to a gargantuan sized novel!

I have digressed for far too long, so let's take look at the subject in question - the history of Danish football and some of their most iconic players.

The history of football in Denmark dates back to the early 20th century. The Denmark national football team (Danish: Danmark fodboldlandshold) is controlled by the Danish Football Association (DBU), the governing body for football in Denmark and affiliated to UEFA (The Union of European Football Associations).
The national team played its first international match on the 19th October 1908 against France, recording a remarkable 9-0 victory.
Denmark's home ground is Parken Stadium in Østerbro (Copenhagen), and their head coach is Morten Olsen.

Since 1983, the team has continuously been visible as a solidly competitive side.
The national team's first championship victory was at the 1992 European Championships, where its qualification itself was very dramatic. The team trailed behind Yugoslavia in the qualification group and thus failed to qualify for the 1992 event.
However due to international sanctions resulting from the Yugoslav wars, Yugoslavia was barred from the 1992 tournament by UEFA, only 10 days ahead of the event. As a result Denmark gained entry to the tournament hosted by Sweeden instead, having finished runners-up to Yugoslavia in their group.

Under the guidance of coach Richard Moller Nielsen the Denmark team progressed ahead of England and France from the group stage.
Denmark then went on to beat defending European Champions the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-final, before defeating the reigning 1990 World Cup Champions Germany, 2–0 in the final.
In the 1984 European Championship tournament Denmark reached the semi-finals, and in the 2004 event they reached the quarter-finals.

They also managed to win the 1995 Confederations Cup, defeating Argentina in the final.

Their best FIFA World Cup result was achieved in France in 1998, where they narrowly lost to Brazil in the quarter-finals. Denmark have also competed at the Summer Olympic Games, with the national football team winning three silver medals – in 1908, 1912, and 1960.

Denmark managed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup by winning their group, which included two victories against Sweden and one victory plus a draw against Portugal.
At the 2010 World Cup Finals Denmark was grouped with Japan, Cameroon and the Netherlands. Denmark lost the first match 2-0 to Netherlands, but then secured a vital 2-1 victory against Cameroon, which enabled further advancement if they could overcome Japan, in their third and final group match. The game against Japan however ended in a 3-1 defeat, and thereby Denmark failed to qualify for the second round of matches.

Famous Danish footballers, both past and present:

Morten Olsen - 1970-89
Henning Jensen - 1972-80
Allan Simonsen - 1972-86
Preben Elkjær - 1977-88
Michael Laudrup (right) - 1982-98
Brian Laudrup - 1987-98
Peter Schmeichel - 1987-01
Thomas Sorensen 1993 - present
Jon Dahl Tomasson 1997- present
Christian Poulsen 1997 - present
Peter Lovenkrands 1998 - present
Daniel Agger 2004 - present
Nicklas Bendtner 2005 - present

For the record here are some more famous Danes, other than football players:

Hans Christian Andersen - Author
Helena Christensen - Model
Canute The Great - Former King
Margrethe I - Former Queen
Margrethe II - Reigning Queen
Ole Rømer - Scientist
Aqua - Pop Group
Ole Kirk Christiansen - Founder of Lego
Jacob Christian Jacobsen - Founder of the Carlsberg Brewery
Brigitte Nielsen - Actress
Lars Ulrich - Metallica drummer

Results between the two countries since 1966:

17/08/2005 Denmark 4 - 1 England - International Match.
16/11/2003 England 2 - 3 Denmark - International Match.
15/06/2002 Denmark 0 - 3 England - World Cup, 2002, Japan & South Korea.
09/03/1994 England 1 - 0 Denmark - International Match.
11/06/1992 Denmark 0 - 0 England - European Championship, 1992 Sweden.
15/05/1990 England 1 - 0 Denmark - International Match.
07/06/1989 Denmark 1 - 1 England - International Match.
14/09/1988 England 1 - 0 Denmark - International Match.
21/09/1983 England 0 - 1 Denmark - European Championship, 1984 France.
22/09/1982 Denmark 2 - 2 England - European Championship, 1984 France.
12/09/1979 England 1 - 0 Denmark - European Championship, 1980 Italy.
20/09/1978 Denmark 3 - 4 England - European Championship, 1980 Italy.
03/07/1966 Denmark 0 - 2 England - International Match.

So this Wednesday night Denmark host England (kick-off 19.15 GMT), in a pointless genial meeting, played for no particular reason other than perhaps for the DBU to earn themselves a few bob, or should I say Krona.

Therefore I predict a typically nonchalant friendly match, played with little hunger by the either set of players, refereed by an over zealous set of match officials, looking to enhance their already fledgling careers, in a half-empty stadium and culminating in a 1-1 draw, which is a 5/1 bet with Betfred.

Wednesday's England squad is:

Goalkeepers: Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Man City), David Stockdale (Fulham)

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Man City), John Terry (Chelsea), Kyle Walker (Aston Villa)

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Man City), Stewart Downing (Aston Villa), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Man City), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Aston Villa)

Strikers: Gabriel Agbonlahor Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Carlton Cole (West Ham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd).

Glæde sig ved den fodbold lige!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Babes Of The Month - The Crystals Rock!

' The Crystals ' are Crystal Palace Football Club's new cheerleaders.
Read more about them at: The Crystals/Facebook

Watch them perform on the Sky Sports Soccer AM show