Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Congratulations to the England Under 16's Football Team

England's Under 16's regained the Montaigu Tournament title after beating France 5-4 on penalties in the final, which took place in the Stade Maxime Bossis stadium in Montaigu (west central France).

The Montaigu Tournament (In French: Tournoi de Montaigu) is an international association football competition that is contested by under-16 national teams.
The tournament was founded in 1973 by Dutchman André Van Den Brink who was the president of FC Montaigu, a French amateur football team. The tournament is also known as "Mondial Minimes".

This year's England team went one better than last years crop of Under-16 internationals, who lost in the final to Portugal in this annual competition, allowing captain Ryan Inniss to lift the Montaigu trophy.

Kenny Swain's side reached the final by topping their four-team group with seven points. They beat Uruguay 5-0 and the United Arab Emirates 3-2, before a goalless draw against Guinea on Saturday.

This win over France was the fourth time England have won the tournament, and rounds off a successful campaign for the England U16 team, who last month also lifted the Victory Shield for the tenth straight year. Next up for these Young Lions is the Nordic Tournament during the close season.

The England Team that beat France to win the Montaigu Tournament:

George Willis - Sheff Utd (GK)
Ryan Inniss - Crystal Palace (captain and pictured right)
Fankaty Dabo - Chelsea (off 80')
Luke Shaw - Southampton (off 69')
Jordan Graham - Aston Villa
Joe Rothwell - Man Utd (off 39')
Diego Poyet - Charlton
Jordan Houghton - Chelsea
Reece Mitchell - Chelsea (off 41')
Kieran Wallace - Nottm Forest
Devante Cole - Man City (off 54')


David Moli - Liverpool (on 41')
Callum Robinson - Aston Villa (on 54')
Ben Pearson - Man Utd
George Cole - Chelsea (on 39')
Jack Rose - West Brom (GK)
Max Clark - Hull (on 69')
Lawrence Gorman - Nottm Forest (on 80')

Manager: Kenny Swain

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tale of Two Woes at the Reebok - Betting News with Betfred


It is a clash of two wounded animals on Sunday in the Premier League as Bolton look to bounce back from their FA Cup humiliation at the hands of Stoke, and Arsenal will be out to make amends for dropped points at Spurs in midweek.

Many Bolton fans, especially the thousands that travelled to Wembley, expected the Trotters to beat the Potters and make it to the FA Cup final. That 5-0 semi-final defeat must have hurt and it even led Bolton captain Kevin Davies to admit he was "ashamed and embarrassed" by the performance.

With seemingly little to play for over the remaining games, as Bolton are safe from relegation and too far away to challenge for a place in Europe, it would be understandable if they took their foot off the gas.

But Owen Coyle is an ambitious and ferocious manager who will have been bitterly upset with the Stoke result, so you can be left in no doubt his side will be fired up when Arsenal arrive at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday and the Premier League best odds make the Trotters 4/1 to win the game.

The Gunners have also had a disappointing week, after conceding a late-late penalty to draw with Liverpool last Sunday, and then surrendering a two-goal lead at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night. Arsenal got just two points from those two games when it could easily have been six, and their title hopes could have gone up in smoke as a result.

Those looking to bet on Premier League weekend games should remember this:

Arsenal have dominated this fixture in recent season and you have to go back to November 2006 for the last time Bolton managed to beat the North London side, with the travelling team 8/11 to win again.

Both managers (Wenger and Coyle) will use their recent results as motivation to go for the win, but Arsenal could enter this fixture with some trepidation, as anymore dropped points will almost certainly spell the end of any lingering title dreams they may have.

My Tip of the Week:

Arsenal look good to score a couple of goals, so 7/1 for either a 2-0 or 2-1 win to the Gunners looks a good shout.
Robin Van Persie is in a rich vein of form since his return from injury, and he is a tempting 11/10 to score at anytime.

Sunday 24th April: Bolton v Arsenal, kick-off 4pm, live on Sky Sports1.

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

Monday, April 18, 2011

PFA Teams Of The Year 2010/11

Premier League:

Van Der Sar (Man Utd), Sagna (Arsenal), Cole (Chelsea), Vidic (Man Utd), Kompany (Man City), Nani (Man Utd), Nasri (Arsenal), Wilshere (Arsenal), Bale (Tottenham), Tevez (Man City), Berbatov (Man Utd).


Kenny (QPR), Naughton (Leicester), Harte (Reading), Williams (Swansea), Morgan (Nottm Forest), Taarabt (QPR), Sinclair (Swansea), King (Leicester), Hoolahan (Norwich), Graham (Watford), Holt (Norwich).

League One:

Davis (Southampton), Calderon (Brighton), Harding (Southampton), Greer (Brighton), Fonte (Southampton), Pilkington (Huddersfield), Bennett (Brighton), Lallana (Southampton), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Southampton), Mackail-Smith (Peterborough), Wright-Phillips (Charlton).

League Two:

Lee (Chesterfield), Batt (Oxford), Skarz (Bury), Sharps (Shrewsbury), Branston (Torquay), Whitaker (Chesterfield), Ainsworth (Wycombe), Ryan (Accrington), Lowe (Bury), Law (Rotherham), Davies (Chesterfield).

Congratulations to all those players selected by their fellow professionals in the 'teams of the year' for the their respective leagues.
From what I understand the players are asked to submit their nominations in the early part of the calender year, some three months or so before the results are revealed - a strange arrangement but none the less that is how it works!

I would like to open up a debate on the players selected in the 'team of the year' for the Premier League.

In the Premier League I find it hard to understand how Blackpool's Charlie Adam, Scott Parker of West Ham and Tottenham's Rafael van der Vaart (right), failed to make the 'team of the year' despite all being nominated for the title of 'PFA Player of the Year' by the Professional Footballers' Association.

Has any player ever made the step up from Championship level to the Premier League look easier? Certainly Charlie Adam has made a mockery of the theory England's top flight is the toughest to crack in the world after taking to it like a duck to water. Nine Premier League goals would be a fine return for any midfielder, never mind one from a side embroiled in a relegation battle, but that is exactly what the Scot has achieved. Few if any possess a better range of passing than the former Rangers man, who also takes a deadly set-piece.

Should Avram Grant's West Ham team win their survival battle and stay afloat then no one will have had a greater impact than their talismanic midfielder Scott Parker.

Rafael van der Vaart, the 2003 European Young Player of the Year made a cracking start to his first season in the Premier League, but injury has restricted him to just 22 league appearances so far, although he has still managed to rattle in 10 goals and 6 assists to his name in that time. At £8m from Real Madrid on the final day of the August transfer window, Van der Vaart probably represents the 'value buy' of the season by Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp.

Kevin Nolan I personally think has had a wonderful season for Newcastle and deserves a mention, if not a place in the 'team of the year.'

In my opinion Everton's England international Leighton Baines (right) has had a truly outstanding season, and it seems tough on the lad that he did not make the 'team of the year' ahead of either Ashley Cole or Bacary Sagna.

Other defensive players who deserve a mention include Stoke's Robert Huth and Birmingham Roger Johnson. Both have had terrific seasons in leading their clubs to domestic cup finals.

I think Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov were deserved winners of the strikers berths. Of Tevez's 19 league goals this season, six have been winners – the highest in the top division. With a further six assists, the Argentinian has either scored or made more goals than anyone else. Bulgarian Berbatov's 22 goals so far this season make him the outright leading goalscorer.

Of the other strikers in the Premier League West Brom's Peter Odemwingie (right), the Russian born Nigerian has made a significant contribution, including 12 goals in his first season in the top flight, that has almost certainly helped The Baggies cement their place in the Premier League for another season.

Manchester United's Mexican striker Javier Hernandez has chipped in with a goal every other game for The Reds this season, and at just 22 years of age he looks like the he will only blossom further under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Aston Villa's Darren Bent and Liverpool's Andy Carroll will each be looking for 'big' seasons next term, following their big money moves this season from Sunderland and Newcastle respectively.

Finally, many congratulations to Gareth Bale (right), who was last night voted the 'Player of the Year' by the Professional Footballers' Association.
The 21-year-old, who has scored 11 goals in 36 club games this season, has proved to be without doubt the single most exciting player of the season. No one has thrilled us more this season than the pacey Welsh wing wizard.

Recent Previous Winners of the PFA Player of the Year:

2009/2010: Wayne Rooney
2008/2009: Ryan Giggs
2007/2008: Cristiano Ronaldo
2006/2007: Cristiano Ronaldo
2005/2006: Steven Gerrard
2004/2005: John Terry
2003/2004: Thierry Henry
2002/2003: Thierry Henry
2001/2002: Ruud van Nistelrooy
2000/2001: Teddy Sheringham
1999/2000: Roy Keane

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Maria Verchenova - Russian Golf Babe

Maria Verchenova (born 27th March 1986, in Moscow) is a Russian professional golfer. She is 5'9" tall and the first Russian to become a full-time member of the Ladies European Tour.

From 1992 until 2002 Maria attended the Ballet School ‘Inspiration’ in Moscow. The stage for a dancing career seemed to be set. But everything changed at age twelve during a family vacation in Czech Republic, where she was first introduced to the game of golf. Despite a lack of golfing opportunities in Russia during her childhood, Maria fell for and took to the game thanks to her father.

Prior to turning pro, Maria Verchenova collected several Amateur Championship titles in Europe, before turning professional in December 2006. At the age of 18 she won the 2004 Russian Amateur Championship. In 2005 she picked up a few more non-professional titles at the Austrian, Latvian and Slovenian Amateur Championships, before turning professional on 1st December 2006.

Maria managed a top 10 finish during her rookie season of 2007.
She managed to finish fifth at the Tenerife Open in June 2008. The following month, she qualified for her first major competition, the Women's British Open, and rounded off her breakthrough year by competing at the Dubai Ladies Masters in the United Arab Emirates in December 2008.
In 2009 Maria finished joint 8th in the Dubai Ladies Pro-Am at the Emirates Golf Club and joint 12th in the Lalla Meryem Cup at the Soleil Golf Course, Morocco.

Maria says of herself: "I always like to bring something extra special to the golf course, so if I’m wearing sexier, more stylish stuff like a shorter skirt or a nice tennis-style dress and people notice then great."

In 2010 Maria competed in 13 European tournaments and has featured in 4 tournaments so far in 2011.

Tomorrow, Maria will be competing in the 'European Nations Cup' at the La Sella Golf Resort, Alicante, Spain. Maria finished joint 9th in this tournament 12 months ago.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Battle of the Strikers on the Cards at Anfield - Betting News with Betfred


It is a clash of two teams aiming high and somewhat underachieving when Liverpool take on Manchester City on Monday night at Anfield.

Roberto Mancini's side had Premier League title aspirations, but are looking off the pace although they still look set for a respectable top four finish. They also have a Manchester derby to look forward to on the 16th April - the prize, a place in this seasons FA Cup final.

Both are something Liverpool fans would sell their souls to the devil for this season, but another season of Thursday night Channel Five action in the Europa League seems the best they can hope for.

Kenny Dalglish has been dealt a triple blow this week after defenders Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson were injured at The Hawthorns last weekend.

Centre-back Agger picked up a knee problem that has ended his season, while Johnson injured his hamstring, sidelining the right-back out for at least a month.

To add to Dalglish's woes it has been confirmed that captain Steven Gerrard has been ruled out for the rest of the season after failing to fully recover following a groin operation.

The absence of that trio comes at the worst possible time for 'The Reds' in their chase for a Europa League spot, as they take on the multi-million pound attacking talent City (15/8 to win the game, 11/5 the draw) have at their disposal.

Liverpool (6/4 to win the game with Betfred) have only lost twice at Anfield this season and need to bounce back from that 2-1 defeat at West Brom last weekend.

Their home form has been the backbone of their campaign and will remain key if they are to make up the five-point gap they have to fifth-placed Tottenham and the weekend Premier League betting suggests this will be a massive game.

Last time out in their 5-0 thrashing of Sunderland, Roberto Mancini named Adam Johnson, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez (11/2 to be first goal scorer) in his attacking line-up, and even had the luxury of Edin Dzeko and Shaun Wright-Philips on the bench.

The side now look solid Premier League tips for a top four finish, and if results go their way they could even end up the season as Premier League runners-up.

With Liverpool's new strike force of Andy Carroll (11/2 to score the first goal) and Luis Suarez, along with City's forward prowess, it has all the makings of goalscoring bonanza!

My Tip of the Week:

This should be an action-packed game between two attacking sides, so the 11/10 with Betfred for there to be over 2.5 goals in the game looks like a good option, while the 11/8 for Luis Suarez to score at anytime is also appealing.

Monday 11th April: Liverpool v Manchester City, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports 1.

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

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

All The Latest Transfer Gossip

As the end of the 2010/11 football season approaches, clubs are already putting out 'feelers' in an attempt to lure players to pastures new, as they bid to strengthen their squads in preparation for the start of next season.

In the next month of so the destiny of many clubs will mapped out for them. Some will be preparing for life in a different league as a result of promotion or relegation, and in the dizzy heights of the Premier League, European qualification will be on the agenda. This season's successful clubs will find themselves in the enviable position of having money to spend in the summer, whilst others will be forced to make cuts in their financial budgets.

Player's contracts will also dictate where they ply their trade next season. Some players will be out of contract at the end of this season, while others will be in the final year, perhaps forcing parent clubs to offload certain players in order to raise some funds through transfer fees, and at the sametime lowering their wage bill.

Tottenham, Manchester United, Santos, Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Schalke, Valencia, Arsenal, Benfica, West Brom, Zenit St Petersburg, West Ham, Chelsea, Newcastle, Malaga, AZ Alkmaar, Bolton, Sunderland, Everton, Manchester City, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Rennes, Norwich, Swansea, Parma, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers.............are all currently caught up in transfer gossip.

Is your Club involved?

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will test Tottenham's resolve by making a £35m offer for winger Gareth Bale this summer - caughtoffside.com

Manuel Neuer's agent has rejected reports the goalkeeper has refused to pen a new contract at Schalke. The Germany No.1 (right), has been linked with a host of top European clubs including Arsenal and Manchester United - skysports.com

Chelsea target Neymar has opened the door for a £30m move from Santos to Barcelona by saying he wants to play alongside Lionel Messi in the Catalan club's attack - The Sun

Liverpool are keeping an eye on Benfica midfielder Nicolas Gaitan and have been linked with Valencia playmaker Juan Mata – as have Manchester City and Arsenal - The Guardian

Liverpool have agreed a pre-contract to sign Rennes midfielder Sylvain Marveaux - Skysports.com

Liverpool and Everton are set for a Merseyside transfer tussle over Sevilla winger Diego Perotti (right) this summer - talkSPORT

West Brom have promised themselves a special treat if they avoid relegation, in the unlikely shape of Zenit St Petersburg's Serbian striker Danko Lazovic - The Guardian

West Ham are lining up a surprise £1.5m bid for Chelsea midfielder Jack Cork, who is currently on loan at Burnley - Daily Mirror

Newcastle are ready to raid Malaga for star striker Jose Salomon Rondon - if the Spanish side are relegated from La Liga - talkSPORT

Norwich City captain Grant Holt has signed a new three-year contract to keep him at Carrow Road until 2014 - sportinglife.com

AZ Alkmaar striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (right) has got the Premier League scouts all excited, with Bolton, Sunderland, West Ham and Everton all ready to battle unnamed Italian and German rivals for the 21-year-old Icelandic international, who would cost £5.5m - The Guardian

Fulham defender John Pantsil is set to leave Craven Cottage at the end of the season, after falling out of favour with manager Mark Hughes - Daily Mail

Chelsea are considering a move to re-sign Arjen Robben, who may be seeking a move in the summer if current club Bayern Munich do not qualify for the Champions League - caughtoffside.com

Striker Fabio Borini is seeking urgent talks with Chelsea as he weighs up interest from Parma and Swansea. The Italy Under-21 striker's contract expires at the end of the season - Daily Mail

Nikola Kalinic's agent insists the striker could be forced to leave Blackburn Rovers in the summer due to his lack of playing time. The 23-year-old Croatian international is happy at Ewood Park, but his agent Tomislav Erceg has admitted that the striker will consider his future in the summer if the situation fails to improve - skysports.com