May 28 2010

Nothing of Significance as Silly Season Continues

Well the only thing of significance that’s happened, for what it’s worth, is the approval of Javier Hernandez’s work permit.

Chicharito also scored Mexico’s only goal in their 2-1 defeat to Holland.

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May 25 2010

Groups E & F at the World Cup

Tag: Site News @ 9:00 am

Odds correct at time of writing. For latest Betfair prices, see

In our third of four group-stage betting guides, betfair hone in on groups E and F.

Group E
are the fourth best team in the world according to FIFA’s rankings but, at 13.5 (12/1), Betfair punters only rate them fifth favourites to triumph in South Africa. Despite consistently producing great teams, the Oranje have only ever won one international tournament. Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben have both had sensational seasons for their clubs and Robin van Persie could star if he stays fit.

Denmark are second favourites to win Group E at 5.5 and 2.0 (evens) to qualify for the last 16. Thomas Sorensen is no Peter Schmeichel and Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner is inconsistent up front, but the Danes are well marshaled at the back by Palermo defender Simon Kjaer.

Cameroon will provide considerable competition for second place in the group. Twenty years after veteran Roger Milla led their unforgettable charge into the quarter-finals, the Indomitable Lions’ attack is spearheaded by Samuel Eto’o, one of the world’s greatest finishers. We like the 2.2 (6/5) available on them to make the last 16.

At 4.3 (100/30) to reach the second round, punters are giving short shrift to Japan coach Takeshi Okada’s claims that his side could make the semi-finals. We think the Samurai Blue are more likely to finish bottom of Group E at 1.79 (4/5).

Group F
World Champions Italy look generously priced at 16.5 (15/1) in the winner market. They’re considered a shoo-in to win Group F at 1.12 (1/8) but, as the Azzuri tend not to start well, we recommend you avoid that price. Their 2006 triumph was built on defensive nous but the ageing Italian side could be weak at the back.

Paraguay are hoping Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz has been saving his best form for the summer. Still, they arrive in South Africa on the back of their most successful qualifying campaign and the market expects them to finish runners-up in Group F at 1.55 (8/15).

Slovakia could upset the odds in this group and at 2.28 (5/4) we’re backing them to reach the last 16. Napoli striker Marek Hamsik will be key and, if Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel can keep things tight in defence, Slovakia may surprise a few people on their World Cup debut.

It will be fascinating to see how fellow debutants New Zealand fare. Can they emulate neighbours Australia and reach the last 16 first time out? At 14.0 (13/1), punters think not.

May 22 2010

Dear Ben Foster

You said a few things today. Let me quote them for you, and then respond.

“The fans are obviously passionate about the club but sometimes they need to focus on supporting the club a bit more than getting carried away with the technicalities of who’s in charge.

On the green and gold campaign: “Yes, it’s a bit of a distraction when the fans are doing the chants at every game and things like that,”

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May 22 2010

Rooney, Ferdinand & Vidic at the World Cup

Tag: Site News @ 7:53 am

Odds correct at time of writing. For latest Betfair prices, see

In our second World Cup preview, Betfair examine groups C and D…

Group C
England are 7.6 (13/2) third favourites to win the World Cup this summer, but the highs of a perfect qualification campaign have been replaced by injury worries for manager Fabio Capello.

Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Ledley King and Gareth Barry all have question marks hanging over them, while none of the goalkeeping options inspire total confidence. Rooney is probably England’s most important player and if he’s fit they could go all the way.

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May 19 2010

Ben Foster to Sign for Birmingham | Fergie Parsed

It’s certain now that Ben Foster will move on to Birmingham. The fee is mooted to be about £6m. The official site has also confirmed this.

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May 18 2010

A New Dawn, Or Same Old?

“If we hit a bad spell, it would not be the right time to go. I would not want to put the new manager into a situation where he was taking over a bad team. I want to leave United in a good, healthy position. In 2002, I made the decision on a whim.”

Those were Ferguson’s words in a recent interview.

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May 17 2010

Park, Evra & Chicharito at the World Cup

Tag: Site News @ 7:47 am

Odds correct at time of writing. For latest Betfair prices, see

In their first World Cup betting preview, Betfair look at the group-stage prospects for Ji-sung Park, Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez…

Group A

Patrice Evra’s France may not be the force they once were but they still boast talented players such as Franck Ribery, Yoann Gourcuff and Lassana Diarra. A price of 20.0 (19/1) in the winner market is big for finalists in two of the last three World Cups. Back them to win Group A at 2.12 (11/10).

United fans will get an early opportunity to see Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito, in action. His native Mexico have qualified for the last 16 in the previous four tournaments and can be backed at 2.06 (21/20) to do it again. Javier Aguirre is a tactically astute coach but odds of 120.00 (119/1) to win the World Cup reflect his country’s consistent failure to reach the quarter-finals.

At 2.94 (2/1) to reach the second round, South Africa are regarded by some as the poorest host-nation team ever but if they can win their first game, against Mexico, that will change. Everton’s Steven Pienaar is integral to their hopes.

Uruguay have won the World Cup twice, albeit both over 50 years ago. In Ajax’s Luis Suarez they have one of the most exciting young players in Europe and United fans need no introduction to his strike partner – Diego Forlan, conqueror of Fulham in the Europa League final and a major La Liga star since leaving the Reds in 2004. He could help his nation reach the last 16 at 2.22 (6/5).

Group B

Ji-sung Park’s Korea Republic face a big battle to get out of Group B. Betfair punters rate them the least likely side of the four to make the second round with Argentina 1.14 (1/7), Nigeria 2.1 (11/10) and Greece 2.56 (8/5) all shorter than Huh Jung-moo’s men to qualify at 3.6 (13/5). In their favour is experience – they’ve been at every World Cup since 1986 and reached the semis in 2002. Odds of 260 (259/1) to win the WC reflect the task for Park and co.

Diego Maradona leads perennial World Cup fancies Argentina, but it could be argued that the presence of this maverick at the helm is a black mark against them. The 9.0 (8/1) tournament fourth favourites are still an extremely short price to get out of the group at 1.14 (1/7). Of the other contenders, Nigeria’s over-expectant public could be in for another disappointment. Greece shocked everyone at Euro 2004 and the current functional side could progress.

May 12 2010

No Smoke Without Fire at Old Trafford?

Tag: Manchester United News @ 8:18 am

Glazers Out

As Manchester United’s hopes for a record beating 19th league title fizzled out at Old Trafford on Sunday, smoke from the dying embers of the season could be seen around the ground by many fans. At least that is how the romanticised version of events may be interpreted.

Instead what we saw was the smoke from a smoke-bomb, dropped outside the megastore, the latest in a long line of protests by Manchester United fans over the Glazer ownership of the club.

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