Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clash Of The Wanderers - Betting News with Betfred


The Wanderers of Wolverhampton and Bolton share a rich history as founder members of the Football League, but their future as Premier League rivals hangs in the balance.

It will be one of those infamous relegation 'six-pointers' that fans and pundits always harp on about when Bolton Wanderers play host to Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday. Both clubs are firmly embroiled in the relegation dogfight, separated by only one point with Bolton in 18th and Wolves sitting two places higher.

It was expected that Bolton would experience a resurgence under Owen Coyle, when he left Burnley to replace the sacked Gary Megson in early January.

But having won only one Premier Leaue game in eight since becoming manager of The Trotters, ironically against his former employers, the expected upsurge in performances and results has failed to materialize. Burnley themselves currently lie only one place below Bolton in 19th spot by virtue of an inferior goal difference.

I think the most disturbing statistic to consider is the fact that Bolton have only scored two goals in the last six Premiership games and have an equally terrible defensive record to boot.

Wolves too have struggled for goals, and along with Portsmouth have the league's most ineffective attack.
Wolves, however have looked more promising in recent weeks. Mick McCarthy's men having beaten Spurs and despite losing to Premier League leaders Chelsea, at times played some positive football.

Wolves captain Karl Henry puts their change in fortune down to the new formation that McCarthy has implemented. The side now plays 4-5-1 rather than 4-4-2, which was used earlier in the season, and the switch seems to be working.
Henry claims the new formation makes the side harder to break down and helps them create more chances as Kevin Doyle is a willing battler and runner up front.

Those who fancy Wolves to continue impressing can get 10/3 on them to win with Betfred.

"There has been a definite improvement in our performances since we have gone to the five-man midfield," the captain said.

"We know the way the gaffer wants to play that formation and, definitely away from home, you don't need to be charging forward and being too gung-ho."

McCarthy has been full of praise for the ex-Reading hitman Doyle, and Betfred's online betting odds make him 7/1 to score first in the game.

The gaffer said his Irish forward could trouble even the best Premier League defences, and could prove to be a bargain at £6.5 million, if he scores the goals that keep Wolves in the top flight.

Currently, the Premier League betting suggests Wolves are more likely to be relegated than Bolton, but a win for McCarthy's men on Saturday could change that significantly.

The Tip Of The Weekend:
Both teams will be desperate for a win but defensive lapses should ensure goals aplenty.
The tip of the weekend is a 2-2 draw @ 14/1 with Betfred
- Saturday 27th February, kick-off 3pm.

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ian Wright & The Club That Made Him – Crystal Palace

With Crystal Palace F.C currently in administration, times are tough for the South London Club at the moment, as the wait for a buyer goes on, and the future of the management team and players remains uncertain.

It has been 'reported' in the press that Ian Wright is interested in making a return to the club that gave him his first break - only this time in a coaching role.

Here we take a look at the man whose life changed forever when he pulled on the red and blue jersey of Crystal Palace, and triggered one of the most successful periods of time in the history of the Club.

Ian Edward Wright was born 3rd November 1963 in Woolwich, South London. He was the third son of Jamaican immigrants. His father Herbert left home when he was four, and he was brought up by his mother Nesta.

He trained as a bricklayer and plasterer when he left school at 16, and spent a week in Chelmsford Prison for not paying motoring fines.

Prison scared him sufficiently to put him on the straight and narrow, and he focused his energy on playing football for his local side 'Ten Em Bee.'

He was rejected by Brighton and Southend before Crystal Palace talent scout Pete Prentice happened to see Wright in a local Sunday-league match playing for Greenwich Borough and invited him to have a trial at Selhurst Park

He impressed then-manager Steve Coppell, and signed professional terms for Crystal Palace in August 1985, on an initial contract worth £100-a-week, just three months short of his 22nd birthday.

In his first game for Palace he came on as a substitute against Oldham Athletic and within minutes he scored.

In his first season, Wright scored nine times to finish as Palace's joint second-highest scorer with Phil Barber
When Mark Bright joined him at Palace two years later, the partnership clicked and Wright blossomed.

Their strike partnership was a major factor in taking the the club into the top flight via the playoffs in 1989.

Behind the scenes at Palace not everything was flowers and chocolates!

Wright and Palace's other young black players, Andy Gray and Tony Finnegan had been racially abused on the training ground by their team-mates, perhaps unsurprising given then chairman Ron Noades’s controversial statements about the make-up of his team, and coming to a head in 1991, when he said of the current crop of talented black players plying their trade at Palace that "the black players at this club lend the side a lot of skill and flair, but you also need white players in there to balance things up and give the team some brains and some common sense."

It was an astonishing things to say.......and Wright reported Noades to the Commission of Racial Equality.

Abused on his England B debut at Millwall and fined for spitting at racist fans at Oldham and QPR, Wright became an effective spokesperson against racial prejudice in football.

Ian Wright is probably best remembered for scoring two goals as a Crystal Palace substitute in the 1990 FA Cup Final against Manchester United at Wembley, having just recovered from a broken leg, sustained earlier in the season.
Wright equalized for Palace a few minutes after coming onto the field, then put Palace 3-2 ahead in extra-time before Mark Hughes’ equalizer seven minutes from time forced a replay, saved United’s blushes and many say the job of manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
It was rumored Ferguson was on the verge of dismissal if he didn’t deliver some silverware after several fruitless years as United manager. However United went on to win the replay, and the rest as they say is history.

In February 1991 Wright was handed his England debut by manager Graham Taylor.
He started in the 2-0 victory against Cameroon at Wembley.
Whilst a Palace player Wright made five appearances for the full England side.
Also in 1991 he completed his century of Palace goals to become only the fifth man to achieve that feat since the club's foundation in 1905.

In September 1991 Wright moved to Arsenal for £2.5m

In total Ian Wright played 227 games for Crystal Palace scoring 117 goals in a little over six seasons.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Famous Rants - Oslo 1981

"LORD Nelson!Lord Beaverbrook!Sir Winston Churchill ! Sir Anthony Eden! Clement Attlee! Henry Cooper! Lady Diana! (lapses into frenzied Norwegian, roughly translated as 'we have beaten them all!') Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher! Your boys took one hell of a beating! Your boys took one hell of a beating!"

The scene: Oslo, Norway, 9th September 1981. A hapless England led by Lancashire born boss Ron Greenwood looked to have blown their World Cup qualifying hopes for their third successive tournament by losing 2-1 to a Norwegian team considered to be cannon fodder.

News enough in itself, but the match passed
into footballing folklore thanks to this joyful 'rant' at the final whistle from the Norwegian radio commentator, Bjorge Lillelien, who, in a few breathless seconds, outdid even the most frenzied Brazilian broadcaster with his random grasp of iconic British celebrities, statesmen and women.

England would love to consign this banana skin to a permanently sealed archive, but thanks to our hero, Mr. Lillelien it will be mentioned in perpetuity whenever the teams meet.
Henry Cooper now Sir Henry, the South East Londoner, has never been held in such esteemed company.

Lucky England still qualified for the World Cup in Spain in 1982, thanks largely to the ineptitude of the other teams in England's group - Romania suffered an embarrassing home defeat to Switzerland.

The team in Oslo contained four all-conquering Liverpool players, plus Bryan Robson and Kevin Keegan.

Finally, the rant may have inflicted lasting damage, as the commentator died prematurely a few years later.

England Team: 1.Clemence 2.Neal 3.Mills 4.Osman 5.Thompson 6.Robson B 7.Keegan 8.Francis 9.Mariner (Withe) 10.Hoddle (Barnes P) 11.McDermott

Scorer: Robson B

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's The Carlos and Emmanuel Show - Betting News with Betfred

Stoke City fans hoping their side can cause an upset and beat Manchester City in the FA Cup should be wary of a blossoming double act that will be looking to strike them down.

The two sides meet at Eastlands on Saturday to see who will make it into the last eight of the FA Cup and Stoke's defence are going to come up against two strikers who are bang in form and both loving life under new boss Roberto Mancini.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez both scored in their side's 2-0 win over Bolton in midweek, a result which ensured City continue to put pressure on the Premier League top four. They currently lie fifth, level on points with Liverpool and with two games in hand.

Stoke, 12th in the Premier League must take some comfort from the fact they knocked Premier League title chasers Arsenal out of the FA Cup at The Britannia Stadium in the previous round, but worryingly have only managed to win twice on the road this season, at Tottenham in October in the League and at Leyton Orient in the Carling Cup back in August.

Any punters fancying the Potters to pull off what would be a 'cup shock' can back a Stoke win at odds of 7/1 with Betfred.

However, the FA Cup odds suggest 'The Blues' could go all the way to Wembley and Adebayor fancies their chances.

The Togo skipper has told the club's official website, "he is happy when he sees his strike partner score and the two are working hard together to fire City to success this season."

"If he can score 30 goals and I only score a few, I'll be more than happy. Because if Carlos and his goals help us to win things, I'll be very happy for us all," said Adebayor.

"We still have a chance to be at Wembley in the FA Cup and are in the running for fourth place in the Premier League. We will keep going and enjoy ourselves. We want to keep that dream."

The current form of City's striking duo could mean the Stoke defence are in for a torid 90 minutes and odds of 5/1 for their side to win 2-0 could be seen as a good bet by some fans.

The Tip Of The Weekend:
Carlos Tevez to be first goalscorer and Manchester City to win 3-0 @ 28/1 with Betfred - Saturday 13th February, kick-off 5.15pm, live on ITV1

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

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A History of Idiosyncratic Events in Football – Part Two

-----Player Goal Droughts-----

The former Liverpool full-back Rob Jones (right) is often cited as a player who couldn't score.

While it's certainly true that the England international never once found the back of the net in 243 appearances for Liverpool between 1991 and 1999, it is fair to say that he was particularly unlucky, as he had an uncanny knack of hitting the woodwork with agonising regularity.

I would like to point out in defence of Rob that before joining 'The Reds' from Crewe Alexandra, where he started his professional career, he did score on two occasions for 'The Railwaymen.'

Goal-shyness is by no means uncommon in professional football, and the name of one other - now retired - player comes to mind as a long term sufferer.

Respect, please, though to Steve Whitworth, the stalwart defender who played 399 times for Leicester City between 1969 and 1979.

In all those matches Steve (back row,extreme left) scored just the once, although it was certainly a good 'un, and will stay in the memory of Leicester City fans forever!
He scored the only goal in the 1971 Charity Shield win over Liverpool, giving the City backroom staff a rare opportunity to break out the Brasso.

Whitworth did did not have to wait as long as Francis Benali (right) who scored his one and only goal for Southampton in his 11th season with the club - in the 1997/98 season.

Still, better late than never!

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Physio Room - Injury Update

As we approach the so called 'business' end of the season, the race for honours is hotting up, while the contenders for the dreaded drop out of the financially lucrative Premier League is still far from decided.

Two points separate Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the Premier League title, with Arsenal lying third. On Sunday second play third as Chelsea host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

The race for the fourth and final Champions League spot for next seasons competition looks like it will be between Tottenham, Liverpool, Man City and Aston Villa.

It's a particularly hectic time of year for some teams:

Man Utd and Aston Villa also have domestic cup silverwear on their minds, as they meet in the Carling Cup final at Wembley at the end of this month.

Chelsea, Man Utd, and Arsenal also have 1st leg Champions League fixtures coming up in ten days time, with the 2nd legs in early to mid March.
Meanwhile Everton, Liverpool and Fulham have two legged ties coming up this month in their last of 32 round of the UEFA Europa League.

At the other end of the Premier League table Portsmouth are being slowly cast adrift, and have well documented problems off the field as well as on it.
Current boss Avram Grant needs to provide some divine inspiration if he is to close the six point gap that separates them from safety.
This weekend struggling Pompey travel to Old Trafford to face Man Utd - a daunting task at the best of times!

Newly promoted Burnley along with Hull occupy the other two relegation positions at present, but only three points separate them and Wigan in 14th position, so it looks like it's going to be 'squeaky bum' time right down to the final games of the season for them, along with the likes of Wolves, Bolton and West Ham.

To add into the mix the fact that Chelsea, Tottenham, Aston Villa, Man City, Wigan, Bolton and Portsmouth are still in this seasons F.A Cup, and their 5th round ties are to be played next weekend simply means there is no let up for any team at present, whatever their league position!

What remains to be seen is how well the various managers and their coaching staff along with the healing hands of their respective physios can manage their squads, rotate them effectively and nurse their injuried players through to the end of the season, whilst being able to juggle and prioritise their fixtures, and in doing so succeed in reaching their individual goals!

Obviously some Premier League teams have the budget to sustain sufficiently large enough squads to nullify this problem as best possible. However with the transfer window now shut, and only loan deals possible it could be as much down to luck and good fortune on the injury front, as anything else, as to which teams succeed or fail come May.

Meanwhile there is a full programme of English Premier League fixtures this weekend, so here is your chance to catch up on which players are out injured and who will be fit to play for their clubs.

Click on the 'link' to find out the latest on your Club's injury worries, and how soon it will be before some of your teams players will be back in action.