Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Berbatov has great role to play in title run-in

Sir Alex Ferguson has praised Dimitar Berbatov for filling the void left by Wayne Rooney's latest injury and helping United in their Premier League title bid.

England forward Rooney has scored 34 goals this season but has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a groin injury, meaning Bulgarian forward Berbatov will have to lead the line as United look to pip Chelsea to first place.

Victory for United on Saturday saw them go top of the Premier League, but then Chelsea's thrashing of Stoke the following day meant they regained the advantage in the title battle - putting them one point clear with two games to go. The online betting suggests the Blues have an advantage, but there is still everything to play for.

United face Sunderland and Stoke in their final games and Ferguson will be looking to Berbatov to put in similar displays to his one against former club Spurs which led the manager to described him as "a great player".

Ferguson told MUTV: "Dimitar was marvellous throughout and he led the line very well.

"He played a great role for us and had three great attempts on goal which he was very unlucky not to see go in."

While Berbatov has struggled at times to impress fans and experts alike in the United forward line this season, Rooney consistently received major plaudits and has now been named the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year.

He beat a host of big names to scoop the prize in recognition of his 34 goals in 42 appearances to help United battle for the title and he will have a massive part to play if England are to justify their World Cup online odds.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Growth of Soccer in the United States

The 2010 South African FIFA World Cup is fast approaching. Fans from all over the globe will be flocking to South Africa to watch their countries compete. Excitement is building as the opening match approaches (June 11th). Football, or soccer (US), is the world’s sport, and mounting anticipation can only be expected. However a high level of enthusiasm is coming from an unlikely nation this year, the USA.
While sports are an integral part of American culture, soccer never really gained popularity as a primary spectator sport. For many years soccer was accepted as a popular team sport for youths and never caught on in the mainstream arena. But recently soccer has taken flight and is becoming more than recognized as part of the American sports lineup. Major League Soccer (MLS) was founded in 1993 and today has 16 major league teams. The sport has also attracted a large number of individuals from many backgrounds. Soccer teams and clubs are increasing in popularity in US inner cities. Role models, like Cobi Jones from the LA Galexy, have demonstrated minority involvement within the sport and are encouraging youths from different ethnicities to adopt playing it as well. Soccer has also developed as an important sport for women. In the US, 35% of all soccer players are female, one of the highest percentages of women participants around the world. Soccer in America is helping to cross racial, as well as gender, lines.

While the United States has their own teams, fans are broadening their horizons and watching international play as well. Many American soccer fans have begun to follow popular foreign teams like Spain’s Real Madrid and Britain’s Manchester United. Yet, when the World Cup begins, you can be sure that the majority of the country will be supporting the USA. As of March 31st, the USA ranks 16th out of the total 204 world teams who entered to take part in the games and qualified for the tournament. The USA is scheduled to play its first match against England on the 12th of June. An overwhelming number of American fans are traveling to South Africa to see the US play. It is reported that Americans stand second after South Africans as primary ticket holders for the tournament.

While American fans may have to fly overseas this year to attend the festivities, in the future they may not have to leave their own backyard. The United States is being considered as the host country for the 2018 World Cup. Former President Clinton’s top counselor, Doug Band, has accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors as a member of the USA Bid Committee in an attempt to bring the World Cup to the US in 2018 or 2022. Adding him to the committee should increase the chance that the U.S. has at winning the bid since Doug Band is known worldwide for his international philanthropic initiatives, thus improving the relationship the U.S. has with over 170 foreign countries. Ultimately, the hope is that the committee effort will continue to boost soccer enthusiasm in the US and bring the nation to the forefront as a serious contender for the bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

EPL 2009-10: Tottenham Hotspurs - Chelsea goals

Tottenham Hotspurs 2-1 Chelsea

1-0 - Defoe

2-0 - Bale

2-1 - Lampard

Terry 2 Yellow = 1 Red Card

EPL 2009-10: Mancity - Manutd goals

It's time for Manchester Derby as the city neighbors City and United fight it out for the bragging rights at the City of Manchester Stadium. Sparks will fly in any derby but this match promises a lot more than that. The build up to this match has gone to such an extent that the Manchester police have warned the players of City and United about their conduct. 

For Livescores - Livescore

Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United

1st half highlights

0-1 - Scholes-

0-1 - Scholessssssss (English commentary)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Giggs looking for derby success

Saturday's Manchester derby will be a huge occasion as both teams need the points to meet their ambitions this season, according to Ryan Giggs.

The Welsh midfielder suffered a hamstring injury during United's disappointing 0-0 draw with Blackburn Rovers at the weekend, but he hopes to be able to take part against City at Eastlands.
United know three points will be vital after they fell further behind in the Premier League title race when Chelsea beat Bolton 1-0 to open up a four-point gap at the top of the table with four games remaining.

Meanwhile, City need the points to ensure they remain in control of fourth spot, they currently have a four-point advantage over Spurs in fifth but face a tricky end to the season.

Giggs claims the United players have to bounce back from the failure to win at Ewood Park, but the 36-year-old is confident the Red half of Manchester can be celebrating come Saturday evening.

"This game was always going to be huge at this time of the season. They're going for fourth place and we're going for the championship. Derby days are always massive anyway, but there's a bit of extra spice to this one," he said.

Wayne Rooney could also be fit to face City, although his presence might make England fans nervous.

The Three Lions are third favourites in the World Cup online betting and the striker will play a key part in the campaign, so if he aggravates his ankle injury again it would be a huge blow for the national team.

However, Sir Alex Ferguson knows where his priorities lie, even if the betting odds suggest the title is now beyond United.

He recently told MUTV that he was looking forward to the Manchester derby and recognises the game is "must-win" for both the title race and the bragging rights in the city.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Special Duty team show racing spirit

Special Duty will run in the StanJames.com 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1st despite being beaten on her seasonal appearance in France last week, writes Elliot Slater.

And so she should! The fact that a horse gets beaten on its first outing of the term when some way short of peak fitness should never discourage owners and trainers from going ahead and competing. Special Duty, warm ante-post favourite for the first fillies' classic since her impressive victory in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at HQ on 'good to firm' ground last October, was clearly in need of the outing at Maisons Laffite recently and was patently unsuited by the bog-like conditions underfoot.

Now, having established the filly is 100 per cent sound after her exertions, trainer Criquette Maarek-Head and owner Prince Khaled Abdullah have confirmed their intention to run the daughter of Hennessy in the classic despite the reversal on her first run of 2010. Racehorses, after all, are for racing, a fact that seems to have been lost on those connected to US wonder filly Rachel Alexandra, who ducked out of a $5 million showdown with the mighty Zenyatta, because Rachel had been beaten on her seasonal reappearance when in need of her first run of the year.

Horse race betting fans had been looking forward to the Zenyatta/Rachel Alexandra head-to head, but the fear in the hearts of the four-year-old's owners and trainer Steve Asmussen of actually getting beaten forced the match to be postponed. It may never take place.

Special Duty may not be in the same league as the American star females, but the principals remain the same. The French challenger still has a leading chance of adding her name to the 1,000 Guineas role of honour and all concerned should be applauded for not chickening out and denying a potential champion the chance to prove herself. That's what horse racing is all about.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

El Clasico 2009-10 : Real Madrid - Barcelona goals

The stage is all set for the two top teams in Spain to battle it out for the La Liga title. It can safely be called as the decider in La Liga since these two teams are way ahead of the chasing pack and though the players say that the league won't be decided today, it will surely give us an indication as to who is winning the title this season.

For Live scores - Livescore

Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona

0 – 1 - Messi

0 – 2 - Pedro

Friday, April 9, 2010

Maljimar looks a lively National outsider

Young trainer Nick Wililams has had a tremendous 12 months with the likes of Diamond Harry, Reve De Sivola and Me Voici, and in Maljimar he has a serious John Smith's Grand National contender capable of really putting his name up in lights, writes Elliot Slater.

Maljimar has already proved himself on the big stage having led everywhere bar the line in last year's William Hill Trophy Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, when agonisingly caught by Wichita Lineman and losing out in a photo finish on the nod. Already this term the 10-year-old has shown himself to be running to a similar level of form and last time out at Cheltenham in December he finished a highly creditable third to course specialist Garde Champetre in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

Given a good racing weight of 10st 8lbs for the Aintree marathon, there is little doubt that the Un Desperado gelding will stay the extended four-and-a-half mile trip, and throughout his career he has generally proven himself to be a sound jumper. A winner on a wide variety of surfaces, only heavy ground would be a problem for Williams' charge who is on general offer for the race at a tempting 40/1.

Williams has resisted the temptation to send his horse to Cheltenham for a repeat bid for one of the big staying handicaps there, instead preferring to keep Maljimar fresh and well turning over on the home gallops at George Nympton in Devon and that patient policy could well reap its reward if Maljimar manages to run into the frame on April 10.

Daryl Jacob has been in the plate for each of Maljimar's last eight outings since winning a Grade 3 chase back in January 2008, and can be expected to retain the ride.

Remember to check out Irish Grand National Betting and Scottish Grand National Betting too.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Confidence building in Character National bid

Despite failing to finish better than 12th in his two outings so far this season, the John Quinn-trained Character Building has been the subject of sustained support for the John Smith's Grand National, writes Elliot Slater.

Withdrawn only days before the big race itself last year when one of the leading market fancies following his impressive win at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival, Character Building has been aimed at this year's renewal ever since and should be at his peak on April 10th.

After 11 months off the track, the 10-year-old reappeared in a Doncaster handicap hurdle in early February, but was understandably ring rusty and finished 13th of the 18 runners. He then returned to fencing at the Cheltenham Festival last month and still looked as if the race would bring him on when finishing in mid-division in the William Hill Trophy Chase, behind the gallant Chief Dan George.

Allotted an excellent racing weight of 10st 11lbs, Character Building is reportedly bang on target for the Aintree marathon and has recently attracted support in the ante-post market having been backed down to as short as 18/1 with Stan James, although you can still get on with a number of other firms who still offer 25/1. He certainly looks a tempting Aintree Grand National bet.

There is no doubt that Character Building has a touch of class and looks the ideal sort for the challenge of the John Smith's Grand National. The only serious worry as he is prepared for the big day is the possibility of very soft ground, a surface that he has struggled to cope with in the past.

If the ground on Grand National day is good to soft or better, that will only enhance his prospects, but should it come up soft or even heavy then there is a chance that connections might decide against running him and opt instead for the Scottish equivalent at Ayr a week later.

Rather than risking a losing ante-post bet, it might be worth waiting until closer to the big day itself to see if this lively northern challenger will line up with the other Grand National runners.