Weekend football betting tipsby Ben, last updated 2007-04-12 22:52:44
Premiership preview from PinnacleSports.com
This week has shown that the Premiership is without doubt the strongest league in Europe if not the world. Three English clubs have progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League, but for Manchester United and Chelsea, that competition is just one of many fronts on which they are fighting. This weekend they must regroup for the FA Cup, while the remainder of the Premiership are fighting out for European places and league relegation. www.pinnaclesports.com will be pricing up the entire action offering up to 60% better odds on Asian Handicaps.
Battling Chelsea Keep the Quad Alive
Michael Essien's last minute goal at the Mestalla gives Chelsea the chance of making history by winning four major competitions in one season. The Carling Cup is already in the trophy cabinet, and the Blues can take a big step toward adding the FA Cup when they take on Blackburn at Old Trafford on Sunday. The FA Cup is the only domestic trophy Jose Mourinho is yet to win, and his side showed their desire to win the competition by battling back from 3-1 down against Spurs in the previous round, while the Special One will be at his boastful best after success against Valencia in midweek.
A Man Utd legend as a player, Mark Hughes will be no stranger to Old Trafford. He leads his side out to take on Chelsea, looking to go one better than in 2005 when Rovers where beaten at this stage by the Arsenal. It was the Gunners who Blackburn put out in the previous round, giving them the belief that they can mix it with the 'Big Four', though they appear distracted losing their last three Premiership games, conceding eight goals. Not the best form to take into a game against a side they have already lost three times to this season without even scoring. www.pinnaclesports.com make Chelsea 1.813 (-0.5 & -1) and Blackburn 2.130 (+0.5 & +1).
What Next from United After the Magnificent Seven?
Anyone who witnessed Manchester United's seven-goal Champions League demolition of Roma in midweek would rightly assume that their FA Cup semi-final against Watford at Villa Park will be a foregone conclusion. Aside from that master-class of attacking football, United are the Premiership leaders boasting the league's best scoring record. Watford in contrast have occupied bottom spot in the table for virtually the entire season, scoring just 24 times in 33 games. The sides have already met twice in the league and United won both fixtures.
But what of the magic of the Cup? Watford have reached the last four courtesy of away wins in the previous rounds, and they showed how resilient they can be when holding Chelsea until the 93rd minute of their recent league meeting. The Hornets are as good as relegated so their hope for this season now rest on the ninety minutes of this game. The Red Devils recently came undone at Fratton Park, losing 2-1 to Portsmouth, suggesting that a well organised Premiership side does stand some chance, though in the case of Watford it is a very slim one. www.pinnaclesports.com set the bar at two goals pricing Manchester United 1.826 (-1.5) with Watford 2.110 (+1.5).
Will Blades Fall on Their Swords?
Three successive Premiership defeats have sucked Sheffield United right into the relegation quagmire. The Blades have six remaining fixtures, all but one of which are against sides either fighting for their own survival or in the case of Manchester United, challenging for the title. On Saturday they host West Ham at Bramall Lane in the first of those all important encounters. While Neil Warnock's side are struggling for form, the Hammers have won three games on the trot and could leap-frog Sheffield United and get themselves out of trouble with a win. The East Londoners certainly rode their luck last Saturday as they became the first side to win at the Emirates Stadium, which will have understandably given them a tremendous boost ahead of this key fixture.
Gunners Scrambling to Save their Season
The loss of Arsenal's unbeaten record at the Emirates Stadium was the latest setback in what is becoming a deepening end-of-season slump for the Gunners. Arsene Wenger's side have now won just one of their last six fixtures, and are in danger of losing out on the only remaining target for this term - Champions League qualification. Arsenal are currently in fourth position in the league just one place and two points above Bolton who they host on Saturday. The two sides have met six times since last season (including twice in the FA Cup), and on both occasions that Arsenal have had home advantage the game ended 1-1. Having tasted European football in last season's UEFA Cup, the Trotters are desperate to go one better by qualifying for the main event. Wanderers are unbeaten in their last three games but haven't exactly been in sparkling form, losing 4-1 at both White Hart Lane and Old Trafford in February and March respectively, though they have benefited from the return of Kevin Davies.
La Liga preview from PinnacleSports.com
After Valencia's exit on Tuesday from this season's Champions League, Spanish hopes in Europe's premier club tournament were extinguished. The battle to play in next season's competition, however, is providing an intriguing drama, as is the scrap for the Primera crown. Spanish football is one of the most popular markets at www.pinnaclesports.com , who offer c.102% Asian Handicap markets on Europe's five major leagues.
Table Top Clash Highlight of Spanish Weekend Schedule
Without doubt the tie of the weekend in La Liga is between Sevilla, currently in second place by just one point, and Valencia, sitting fifth and a further five points behind the top spot. The game takes place at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium, where the side has lost just twice in the league. It is difficult however, to gauge how much damage to that confidence has been inflicted by Chelsea's dramatic victory on Tuesday night, courtesy of a 90th minute goal.
Opponents Seville have even less time to prepare for Sunday's game, having competed in the UEFA Cup on Thursday at White Hart Lane. The Rojiblancos (Red & Whites) must address a woeful recent scoring record on the road, where they have failed to find the net in their last four away fixtures. Juande Ramos made seven changes for last weekend's draw at home to Racing Santander, where with the strikeforce of Kanoute and Kerzhakov on the bench, they were held to a goalless draw, matching the 0-0 at Osasuna at the beginning of the month. Seville are priced 1.789 (+0.5) by www.pinnaclesports.com with Valencia at 2.20 (-0.5).
Barca Defending Slim Lead at Top of La Liga
Reigning La Liga title holders Barcelona have what looks like a straight forward mission at home to Mallorca on Sunday. The Catalans are defending a slender lead at the top of the Primera table and remain unbeaten at the Nou Camp, while Mallorca have gained just one point from their last five games on the road, and are floating mid-table with nothing to play for. Frank Rijkaard's side also have a convincing record against the side from Palma, winning the last seven encounters by an aggregate of (20-5).
There are of course two ways of looking at the side's relative motivations. Certainly Barca will be galvanised for maximum effort, but having lost away to Real Zaragoza last weekend they will also be nervous, now leading Sevilla by only a single point. Mallorca may have little to play for, but that also means they can relax and enjoy the trip to the Nou Camp, which may allow them to produce their best football. Notwithstanding their poor away form they have taken seven points from their last three games. www.pinnaclesports.com offer Barcelona at 1.98 (-1.5 & -2) and Mallorca at 1.943 (+1.5 & +2).
Levante Looking to Deny Atletico's European Pretensions
Atletico Madrid are within touching distance of European football for the first time since the 1999/2000 season, the same campaign which saw them relegated from the Primera Division. Sitting just three points off fourth spot, the Red & Whites have a live chance of the Champions League where for the first time Madrid could be represented twice. Atletico are unbeaten in eight games at the Vicente Calderon stadium, keeping clean sheets in half that sequence. They host struggling Levante, who sit just two points above the relegation zone.
Levante have limited La Liga experience having only played four seasons in the top tier. They were promoted last season, but are in peril of dropping straight back down to the Segunda Division. The Granotes have failed to win any of their last seven games, where as with all season, they have faced goal-scoring problems, netting just three times over that sequence. The Valencian side have only won twice on the road this term but one of those victories was at the Bernabeu, and they recorded a 1-0 victory away to Atletico Madrid in the Copa Del Rey. www.pinnaclesports.com 's oddsmakers price Atletico at 1.826 (-.05 & -1) and Levante 2.11 (+0.5 & +1).
Serie A preview from PinnacleSports.com
Roma's record Champions League defeat at the Theatre of Dreams suggests that Serie A is well below the Premiership in European soccer's pecking order. Certainly it has been a topsy-turvy season in the Italian top-flight, with Inter building a commanding lead, but there are still plenty of quality sides looking to restore Italian pride in next season's continental competitions. www.pinnaclesports.com will be offering c.102% Asian Handicap pricing for each of the remaining weeks of fixtures.
Inter Poised to Sink Palermo's Champions League Hopes
By Inter Milan's exceptionally high standards, last weekend's draw at Reggina was a disappointing result. It was the first time since last October that Roberto Mancini's side failed to score, but that failure was mitigated by absence of Patrick Vieira, Brazilian Maxwell, Dejan Stankovic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With the likely return of several of those stars Inter will be close to full strength for their home game against struggling Palermo on Sunday.
The Sicilians defeat at home to Cagliari extended their winless run to nine games, and brought them closer to the chasing pack, desperate to take the fourth Champions League spot. The Aquile (Eagles) were surprise Serie A leaders, but they have clearly lost the winning thread, and the San Siro is unlikely to be the place to regain it. www.pinnaclesports.com price the Nerazzurri
1.935 (-1) with Palermo 1.990 (+1).
Roma Need Positive Reaction After Record Defeat
Roma captain, Francesco Totti, summed up the disappointment of the 7-1 defeat at Old Trafford, by saying 'It was the saddest night of my career'. The question that defeat now raises is whether the Giallorossi can bounce back. With most of their key players rested, Roma recorded their first away victory in eight games at Catania's temporary venue last weekend. If those that failed against Manchester United can pick themselves up, they have an opportunity to consolidate second position in Serie A with the visit of Sampdoria this Sunday.
With Roma and Inter Milan destined to qualify automatically for the Champions League while also contesting the Coppa Italia, the seventh placed side in Serie A will gain entry into next season's UEFA Cup. Samp are currently in eighth position just two points away from that possibility, so they have every reason to try to capitalise on Roma's Champions League hang-over. Four of the last six meetings of the clubs have ended in a draw, so Sampdoria could be interesting on www.pinnaclesports.com 's Asian Handicap 1.746 (+1) with Roma favoured 2.240 (+1).
Lazio Looking to Continue Late Season Charge
Lazio's late-season charge looks to have earned them a return to the Champions League, but they can draw closer to making that a certainty by beating the division's bottom club, Ascoli. The Roman club have made light of their Calciopoli punishments, and are looking to record a ninth straight victory, and remain unbeaten in 15 Serie A fixtures. The Biancocelesti are one of Serie A's most potent attacking forces, scoring 11 goals in their last four games.
Despite benefiting from the punishments issued to four other Serie A sides, Ascoli are the side at the bottom of the stack. Two recent heavy defeats - 4-0 at Fiorentina and 4-1 at Empoli - seemed to have ended any hopes that the Woodpeckers can beat the drop. They are now five points adrift of Messina, and braced for the visit of Lazio, who have the best away record after Inter Milan. www.pinnaclesports.com price Lazio favourites 2.09 (-1 & 1.5) with Ascoli 1.847 (+1 & +1.5).
Bundesliga preview from PinnacleSports.com
It's 'as you were' in the Bundesliga title race after the top four sides all won on the weekend, while at the other end 12 teams are still threatened by relegation, with only ten points separating Borussia Monchengladbach at the foot of the table from Wolfsburg in seventh. It looks more than likely that it could all come down to the final weekend, though there are some key games on the horizon, and www.pinnaclesports.com will be offering 60% better Asian Handicap prices than traditional bookmakers.
Bayern Munich Still in the Bundesliga Hunt
Bayern Munich continue their recovery in the Bundesliga, seemingly unfazed by their Champions League campaign. However, as already mentioned, those teams above them also continue to win so Munich remain six points behind leaders Schalke 04, and the defence of their league title. Ottmar Hitzfeld's side currently lie in fourth, just two points outside of the Champions League positions, but have a home game this Sunday against Bayer Leverkusen who occupy fifth place. www.pinnaclesports.com make Munich favourites 1.926 (-1) with Leverkusen 2.00 (+1).
The Werkself will be without striker Stefan Kiesling, who saw red on the weekend, as his side crashed to a 4-1 defeat at home to Bochum. That result should have come as no surprise, following just three days after a demoralising 3-0 defeat by Osasuna at the BayArena in the UEFA Cup, effectively ending Leverkusen's aspirations in that competition. Michael Skibbe's side now have to try to lift themselves for the trip to the Allianz Arena, one of the toughest venues in the division. Bayern Munich have won on the last four occasions that these sides have met, and the last time Leverkusen won this particular fixture was way back in 1989.
Royal Blues Lead Race for the League Crown
Having twice led away to Wolfsburg last Saturday, Mainz 05 ended up losing the game 3-2, extending a losing streak to three games, in which time Jurgen Klopp's side have conceded eight goals. The 05's are now second from bottom, but all is not lost. Given the tight nature of the division, a win in their next fixture could lift out of the relegation zone. Unfortunately, the side visiting the Stadion Am Bruchweg are league leaders Schalke 04.
Mainz lost their last home game 2-1 against Leverkusen, but prior to that have gone seven unbeaten in front of their own fans. If they can regain the form that made them tough to beat at home, then they could get something out of this game, particularly as they have won both previous home games against the Royal Blues. Schalke have looked nervous leaders in recent weeks, and haven't won in three away trips, though they were clinical in beating Gladbach 2-0 on Saturday. Second half goals from German internationals, Kevin Kuranyi and Gerald Asamoah kept Schalke at the top of the table, and though the loss of Peter Lovenkrands for the remainder of the season is a blow, influential Brazilian midfielder, Lincoln, is available after a five game suspension. www.pinnaclesports.com have Schalke 1.877 (0/scratch & -0.5) with Mainz 2.05 (0/scratch & +0.5).
Doll Looking to Maintain Dortmund Revival
Thomas Doll had to wait until his third game in charge of Borussia Dortmund to see his first goal, but thankfully Christian Worns' opener against Alemania Aachen on Saturday, was swiftly followed by three more, giving Dortmund a valuable 4-1 win. Worns is one of the few survivors from the last time the Schwarzgelben were in a relegation dog-fight. Doll was drafted in to save the club from the threat of relegation, and the next challenge he faces is the visit of the second placed club, Werder Bremen. Given both clubs' powerful but differing motivations, the game at the Westfalenstadion should be a tightly contested affair.
Bremen did the double over Dortmund last season, but when the sides met last August, Dortmund ran out 3-1 winners. The away side's form has plummeted since then, hence the resignation of Jurgen Rober at the end of March. In contrast Bremen have been almost impregnable, keeping clean sheets in four of their last five league games, though they have drawn their last four on the road, and have the distraction of the UEFA Cup. www.pinnaclesports.com price Dortmund 1.813 (0/scratch & +0.5) with Bremen 2.13 (0/scratch & -0.5).
By Gerry McDonnellAn Expired Pizza to Enter Jordan
There is nothing more annoying than a parent who talks endlessly about how ‘clever' or ‘sporty' their child is, before whipping out a picture of some spotty two foot hooligan tucking in to the contents of his nostril.
My Goliath though, is genuinely bright for his age. The wee lad can speak about 10 words now; that's three more than Paul Merson.
The little fellow will definitely be a footballer when he grows up. The last time we had a kick around in the garden he nutmegged me twice; nobody's regretted opening their legs on two separate occasions since Mrs Neville. You won't regret a bet on Manchester United at 3/10 to waltz past Watford in a one-sided FA Cup semi.
If the media are to be believed, and you'll never find a more honest bunch of lads, Jose Mourinho is considering managing England when his tenure expires at Stamford Bridge.
This would be the greatest result for the average Englishman since Gareth Gates wore down Jordan with a pizza and some of the longest chat-up lines in history.
Chelsea have already beaten Blackburn on three occasions this season, a fourth win at 4/7 will set up the most eagerly awaited showdown since Peter Andre narrowly defeated Gareth Gates in a bare-knuckled 15 round extravaganza.
A few people are beginning to question Arsene Wenger, but Aristotle was once mocked when he suggested the Earth was round. Rumours of Arsenal's demise have been leaked prematurely, they can return to winning ways against Bolton at a huge 8/11.
Liverpool are finishing the season with aplomb; Bellamy I think his name is. The Pool have won their last three against Manchester City by a single goal; another Liverpool victory is advised at 10/11.
Charlton's recovery in recent weeks has been nothing short of sensational. The Addicks are on a real high, they can snatch an invaluable point from Goodison Park at 5/2.
Aston Villa return to the Riverside for the first time since a 4-0 cakewalk led to a visionary Middlesbrough fan hurling his season ticket at Steve McClaren. A punt on the Villa at 12/5 will lead to a healthy prophet.
It's the Blades versus the Hammers at Bramall Lane; that's more tools than you'd find in a Peter Andre fan club. It's a must-win game for both teams; I'm siding with the rejuvenated West Ham at 2/1.
When I suggested that Wigan were a good bet for relegation in my pre-season write-up, I received more stick than a Manchester United fan in Rome. Another Tottenham win at 7/5 will place the cat well and truly amongst the pigeons.
I'm not too sure about Fulham's decision to sack Chris Coleman a mere three days before a massive match away to Reading. I guess Mohammed Al Fayed wants to guarantee at least one decent result against the Royals. The arrival of Lawrie ‘Dirty' Sanchez can inspire the Cottagers to a hard-fought point at 12/5.
David James is the Pauline Fowler of the football world; you wouldn't want to get involved in a conversation with him, but he's the man to see if you need a clean sheet. The fashion icon needs one more shutout to break the all-time Premiership record; a home fixture against Newcastle can land a Portsmouth win at 11/10 and a new record for Calamity at 6/4.
Arsenal, Portsmouth, Man Utd, Tottenham and Chelsea form a 16/1 weekend accer that is so candid, Peter Andre has decided to share his life story via the medium of a new single. ‘What was I thinking' is released in all good record shops on Monday morning.
Arsenal v Bolton Saturday 14th April 15:00
Get on: Arsenal
Arsenal to score three or more goals 9/4
Man City v Liverpool Saturday 14th April 15:00
Man City 7/2
Get on: Liverpool
Gerrard to score at any time 11/4
Middlesbrough v Aston Villa Saturday 14th April 15:00
Aston Villa 12/5
Get on: Aston Villa
Agbonlahor to score two or more goals 9/1
Portsmouth v Newcastle Saturday 14th April 15:00
Get on: Portsmouth
Portsmouth to win and keep a clean sheet 12/5
Reading v Fulham Saturday 14th April 15:00
Get on: Draw
Lita to score in a 1-1 draw 12/1
Sheff Utd v West Ham Saturday 14th April 15:00
Sheff Utd 6/4
West Ham 2/1
Get on: West Ham
Tevez to score the only goal of the game 40/1
Watford v Man Utd FA Cup semi final Saturday 14th April 17:30 Live on BBC One
Man Utd 3/10
Get on: Man Utd
Rooney and Ronaldo both to score 9/2
Wigan v Tottenham Sunday 15th April 13:30 Live on Sky
Get on: Tottenham
Tottenham to keep a clean sheet 13/8
Everton v Charlton Sunday 15th April 15:00
Get on: Draw
No goalscorer in the match 10/1
Blackburn v Chelsea FA Cup semi final Sunday 15th April 16:00 Live on Sky
Get on: Chelsea
Ballack to score with a header 6/1
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