Arsenal v Shakhtar Donetsk: Preview

After Arsène Wenger used his programme notes for Saturday’s clash with Birmingham City at the Emirates to – somewhat predictably – weigh into the heated debate about over-zealous tackling currently doing the rounds , the Frenchman perhaps shouldn’t have been too surprised to then watch Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Eboué kick lumps out of City’s Liam Ridgewell, before 5ft. 8ins Jack Wilshere toppled 6ft. 7½ ins Nikola Žigi? with what could only be politely described as a clumsy lunge. Perhaps he should have picked on someone his own size.

Wenger – to his credit – admitted that Wilshere’s red card was warranted, but after heading into a game where they would have been the ones expected to be on the end of the tasty challenges, the Arsenal players have been experiencing life on the other side of the coin this week as they prepare for the Champions League visit of Shakhtar Donetsk.

“When I tackled him I didn’t want to kill him,” said Eboué of the forceful challenge on Ridgewell that earned him a yellow card. “When I did that tackle I didn’t go through the back. I just wanted to touch the ball.

“The referee (Martin Atkinson) spoke to me after the game and said, ‘Emmanuel, I know you touched the ball but the tackle was very dangerous’. I just said, ‘OK, no problem’. Next time I will be more careful.

“We are not a dirty team. Everyone knows we like to play football and make everyone happy when we play and we like to score. What happened on Saturday is finished. Now when we play we just have to play football and be careful on the pitch.”

Their efforts to ‘play football’ could be helped tonight with the possible return of captain Cesc Fàbregas, who returns after injuring a hamstring at Sunderland a month ago. The skipper may have to be patient though.

“Cesc has prepared well,” said Wenger, whose side take on the only other side in Group H with two wins from two matches tonight. “He had a little setback, but got over the hurdle and is ready to play at full fitness, but whether I start him or not, I do not know yet.

“It will be whether I take a gamble or not, because he has been out for a long time. But physically he is ready and fit – and wanting to play.

“You know his influence on our team, he is our leader, our passer, he has a good level of assists and a good goalscoring record. Ideally you want him in the team.”

Understatements about his captain aside, Wenger will know all about the threat that the Ukrainians of Shakhtar possess – or more specifically their Brazilians.

Samba stars Jádson, Luiz Adriano, Willian and Fernandinho were all key members of the Shakhtar side that won the Uefa Cup in 2009, and while the latter misses out here through injury, the quartet take their place in an impressive squad that also includes Croatian captain Darijo Srna and Ukrainian defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy – back home after a €25million move to Barcelona didn’t exactly work out.

Shakhtar were one of Fulham’s victims during their improbable run to the Europa League final last season, but supporters of the west Londoners claimed that they were the toughest opposition they faced en route, and the north Londoners from the Emirates may be about find out why tonight.

Arsenal should win, and move clear at the top of a group that – on paper – looks to be so simple that it’s not too fanciful to believe that Wenger picked it himself.

You can only beat what’s put in front of you though, and Arsenal do that better than most.

Another win here then, but perhaps with a few less tackles this time.

You will do well to Vouch and place bet for Arsenal to win. 1.38 home win at NaijaBet

Hercules v Villarreal Preview

Villarreal can go top of the Primera Liga if they can beat Hercules tonight. (kick-off 20.00 BST)

Villarreal can go a point clear of Real Madrid if they wrap up a sixth straight victory in Alicante, but midfielder Bruno Soriano has warned his side they must not take Hercules lightly.

The newly-promoted side have already claimed the scalps of Barcelona and Sevilla, and Soriano does not want him and his team-mates added to that list at the Estadio Jose Rico Perez.

He said: “It’s a very difficult game. Hercules, without running down the other sides who came up this year, are a very strong team.

“They’ve signed well and won at grounds and against teams that are very difficult. They’ve strengthened with important and experienced players like David Trezeguet and Royston Drenthe.

“We will be careful, although it’s clear that neither are we going to make it easy for them.”

3.60 home win at NaijaBet

Barcelona vs. Valencia-Preview

The two heavyweights of Spanish football take on each other in what is anticipated to be a very exciting encounter at the Nou Camp. Valencia and Barcelona have a long and historical rivalry in the Spanish football league and thus one can expect the up-coming match between the two clubs to be full of tension as Valencia currently occupy the top spot in the Spanish Primera Division rankings.

However, that is not all. Barcelona’s slow start to the season has meant that they are currently in the 4th place in the league table and a win over Valencia will propel them to the top of the table; given that results elsewhere go favourably as far as the Catalonians are concerned.

Valencia on the other hand will be looking to take things as they come. Their start to the season has been immaculate. The only dark patch on their “clean” start came in the UEFA Champions League when they lost to Manchester United at the Mestalla Stadium in a group stage matchup.

Other than that, Joaquin and co. have been on fire. No one actually expected Valencia to be the in-form team this season, despite losing the likes of David Villa and Silva in the summer transfer window to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively. The club has diverted all its recent income towards settling their debt concerns.

Valencia’s financial situation might not be as sound as other club’s in the Spanish league but their performances have certainly done the Los Che’s proud. Valencia’s match against Barcelona will be their 7th of the season in the Spanish Primera Division of league football. Valencia began their league season with an emphatic 3-1 win over Malaga, away from home.

From thereon in, it has been a steady rise to the top for the Spanish giants who have struggled in the recent season to match the might of Real Madrid and Barcelona. In their second league match of the season, Valencia hosted Racing Santander and easily defeated the Spanish minnows by 1-0.

In their third match, Valencia took on the newly promoted Hercules Alicante and bested the men who defeated Barcelona at Nou Camp by 2-1. After the match with Hercules, Valencia played host to Atletico Madrid which was a difficult match for the men from the city of Valencia.

In the end, the match concluded with the score line at 1-1. Since then, Valencia managed to win both their last two league games against Sporting Gijon and Athletic Bilbao. Conversely, Barcelona began their league campaign with an authoritative three goal win against Racing Santander but then lost their second league match to Hercules Alicante at the Nou Camp.

Despite the fact that they won their third match in the Spanish Primera Division by 2-1 against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona have not been in the best of form this season. They have impressed in some matches but in most of their league encounters, the Catalonian fans have been waiting to see the full force of their team.

Pep Guardiola’s men won their fourth and fifth league encounters against Sporting Gijon and Athletic Bilbao but then only managed to draw their last league match against Michael Laudrup’s Mallorca.  Of course, the man to watch out for Barcelona is no one other than, Lionel Messi. He has already netted five goals in the Spanish Primera Division this season and will be looking to fire his team to a spectacular win against Valencia.

Alternatively, Joaquin will be looking to do the same thing for his home side. The Spanish national winger has been given the team’s arm band after Silva and Villa left and thus he has stepped up to set an example as a leader of the team. With two goals already this season, Joaquin Sanchez has all the ability in the world to inflict another defeat on Barcelona in the 2010-2011 Spanish league season.

For betting tips on Spanish football matches, click here to read full tips

Best Five International GoaLs

You will agree with me that all these are fantastic goals indeed and i purposely put it here for you to know where you put your money when placing bet.
There are people that won very nicely at NaijaBet that i know of after watching this video and that is why i place it here.

I have been talking with some of them to allow me post their winning details on this site but they are still skeptical about it. I don’t know why people don’t want others to let them know when they make money.
Anyway as a bettor, there are good and bad days. This kind of video just increases you good days.
There are lot of matches this weekend and some fair odds at NaijaBet. You decision should start now.

England v Montenegro preview

Therell be loads of money backed on England tonight, but there is risk there with a shakey defence against Vucinic and an unbeaten Montenegro squad. Your money is much better placed where there is better odds that is a surer bet. (England to beat Montenegro is placed as 1.04 at NaijaBet).

Craig Levine has already laid the ground for his tactics and doesnt mind disapointing Scottish fans to get any kind of result. If he can go to Prague and play 6-4-0 he can do the same against the best team in the world currently in Spain. I actually think he will play 1 up front and bring Miller back in, but thats more due to pressure to play at least somekind of attack from the supporters and Press than anything else.

He will definately play 5 in midfield as without it the Spanish midfield will just about dominate this match. Make no mistake Scotland cant hold a candle to this Spanish squad. They will only need 1 goal to win this, its just going to be a matter of breaking down the 9 men Scottish defence, but theres enough talent on show to do that

Slovakia v Rep of Ireland

1. Slovakia were unbelievably poor as they lost 3-1 in Armenia on Friday night in what was a really bad performance. They are a much better team than that performance and I expect a big response tonight.

2. We have to remember the Slovaks made the last 16 in the World Cup and have beaten Russia in Moscow already this campaign, so I expect that loss will have given them a real kick.

3. The Irish also got beat on Friday as Russia outplayed them early on and survived a late fightback to win 3-2. I think the Irish limitations were exposed and getting a goal will be tough tonight.

4. Ireland have been hard to beat under Trappatoni but certainly werent that on Friday and with both sides desperate to bounce back, Im backing home support to be crucial.

England v Montenegro Tips

Time for England to show some quality. After beating Montenegro and Switzerland, another win would surely put them in the driving seat. Yes there are some injuries, but the squad is strong enough to cope. Rooney and Crouch to start up front – about time that Crouch gets his chance, let’s hope Adam Johnson is as lucky.

Montenegro also have a 100% record so they should not be underestimated. Vucinic is their man to watch already scoring 2 in 3 games. England’s defence will not have played together so could be breached. England strong favourites in the market and once again, home advantage to pay

Arsenal v West Brom: Preview

Midfielder Alex Song is available again after being suspended for the midweek Carling Cup win at Tottenham.

Captain Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) and centre-half Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) will both miss out, but, along with left-back Kieran Gibbs (foot), could return against Chelsea next weekend.

Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie (both ankle), Nicklas Bendtner (groin) and Aaron Ramsey (leg) remain sidelined.

Fabregas will undoubtedly be a big loss, but manager Arsene Wenger is hoping he will return in time for next week’s crunch clash with Chelsea.

“I hope that he will be ready for the Chelsea match and that he will be fine,” said Wenger. “But at the moment we don’t know, it’s too early.”

West Brom defender Gabriel Tamas and winger Jerome Thomas are fitness doubts.

Tamas is struggling to overcome a calf problem and, if he is ruled out, is likely to be replaced by Pablo Ibanez.

Ibanez’s only previous league start was in the 6-0 reversal at Chelsea. Thomas is suffering from a groin injury and Cameroon international Somen Tchoyi is on standby.

Roberto Di Matteo has told Wenger that West Brom will adopt a physical but fair approach.

Albion head coach Di Matteo has sympathy for Wenger’s demands that referees adopt a strong stance in protecting players from reckless challenges.

But the former Chelsea star also insists that proper tackling is part of the English game.

Di Matteo said: “My opinion is that football is a contact sport. Part of it is physicality – but it needs to be fair.

“Referees have to be strong and make sure the game is conducted in a fair manner where no players get injured. They need to protect the players.

“Sometimes it is just an unfortunate challenge, sometimes it is challenges that can be avoided when a player gets injured.

“It has got to be fair. No one wants to see players getting injured or breaking legs.

“I don’t know what category we find ourselves in at the moment. We want to be competitive but we are not the bad boys of the Premier League at the moment.”

Aston Villa v Chelsea-Preview

Chelsea FC will be making the trip to Villa Park on Saturday for their eighth Premier League fixture against Aston Villa.

The blues are coming off of a colossal 2-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend and will be eager to extend their points tally. Although they’re eight points clear of Aston Villa, Manchester City are nipping at their heels with just four points separating the two sides.

Aston Villa are currently in eighth place with ten points, which means that these three points are extremely valuable to them and could boost morale significantly if obtained. Players to keep an eye on up front are John Carew and Emile Heskey.

This match is sure to be entertaining because although it is still fairly early in the season, this is when teams set the tone for what is to come. Success usually doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication, which Chelsea have been displaying ten-fold recently. Villa is capable of a win but will have to put it all on the table and be firing on all cylinders.

5 Traits of A Successful Football Bettor

Whether you bet football as a hobby or for a living, we all share one thing in common when we make up our mind to put our money down on a team – we want to win.
There is no 100% chance of winning a football bet at any given time (although it can come quite close with enough information) but there are certain traits to follow if you want football-betting to prove a profitable venture for yourself in the long run.
In other words, you might not always be able to win the battle, but you can definitely win the war.
These are the 5 traits of a highly successful football bettor…

1. Proper Planning

Planning usually takes the fun out of betting somewhat for most people but is an important component of long-term betting success.
Proper planning usually involves setting up a suitable betting bank and staking strategy. This aids in terms of discipline as having such a plan will make it easier not to make spur-of-the-moment decisions when it comes to amounts to stake.
A good staking strategy protects the betting bank while allowing for progressive increases in wager amounts when the betting fund grows.
Other useful factors to keep in mind when deciding on a suitable money management system would for example be, the targeted amount of winnings you would like to make by the end of the season, or each month. Knowing this will help you decide how aggressive you would want your plan to lean towards.
The logical thing to do when you have got your plan down pat is to stick to it always. This way, there are fewer surprises.

2. Courage

It takes a certain amount of courage to bet against what everyone else is betting on in football. When all your chums have their money on Chelsea, it is tough putting your money where your mouth is when it is Derby, even if the Asian Handicap is a 1.5 goal advantage.
And yet, you have to remember that this is exactly what the bookmakers are facing perennially. Ask yourself which is the party laughing all the way to the bank most times and you will find that it is more often than not, the bookies. The fact is, more than 95% of bettors lose in the long run.
Don’t be afraid to bet on the underdogs when your match analysis (or trusted tipster service) dictates so. There is a good chance you will win and the returns are always high when you do so.

3. Discipline

Without a doubt, the most important trait that a football-bettor can have.
Without discipline, a successful bettor can lose all his winnings in one day.
Without discipline, a losing bettor can run up huge debts that might prove life-ruining. In the long-run, you cannot win without discipline.
Discipline is essentially the will to remember how to control your betting patterns no matter how emotionally charged you are at the moment.
Challenges to discipline come in the form of:
– “Absolute certainty” that you will win a certain match which makes you feel like risking an entire season’s winnings on one match.
– Desperation from making too many losing bets and the hope that this last one will win and dig you out of all the problems you have gotten yourself into.
– Feeling invincible after making a few winning bets in succession. You just don’t believe you can lose and test this repeatedly with ever-increasing bets.
– Greed.
– Stupidity (often goes hand in hand with Greed).
You might be able to get away with not paying any heed to discipline and making a profit sometimes. But this only serves to reinforce these bad habits with probably more dire consequences to come in the future.
You can instill self-discipline by following the other traits here which follow:

4. Diligence

Always make a thorough analysis of match factors before placing your wager on a team. As it is, most people already do not have access to enough information for matches unless they have intimate connections with insiders like managers, players, club officials, etc.
Although the internet has leveled the playing field a little for football-bettors, there is still a vast difference between what a person with good connections has access to as compared with the kind of information one can find from other general sources. Hunches and intuition is well and good but in my betting career, I have not heard of anyone who has lasted long by making his bets based on hunches in the long run.
Match analysis is something that can be mastered with deep thought and enough practice. However, a common mistake is made when some bettors place successively winning bets. They tend to cut short the analysis process and base their selections on progressively less research/factors. Such an attitude limits true potential too wastefully.
If you are not one with an aptitude for match analysis, the very least you can do is to make sure you subscribe to a sports advisory service with a good record. Do some research on the internet and subscribe to a few reputable services for a couple of months to find the best one or two services.

5. Patience

Patience is purely a matter of the mind. If you’ve got the other traits mentioned above, it shouldn’t matter to you whether or not you bet the next game since there is always another one round the corner. If one is able to quantify patience, there would be a direct correlation between patience and profits and an inverse one with risk.
Patience aids discipline. Patience reminds you that you do not have to win all the money at once. There is always the next match, the next day and the next season. Understanding this prevents unnecessary risk and protects the betting bank.

Manchester City V Juventus


Ah how opinions swing on Manchester City. Beat one of the more established Premier League clubs at home and they are on their way – see the Chelsea and Liverpool games. Get a not too inspiring away draw somewhere and everything is back to the usual panic. Injured tonight are Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge, and Aleksandar Kolarov, but Roberto Mancini is making confident noises and insisting the Premiership now has greater quality than Serie A. Juve in fact, were Mancini’s boyhood team.

Juventus, managed by Luigi Del Neri, have made an indifferent start to the Serie A season and are 9th. Add that to an uninspiring draw with Poznan in the opening group game, and City must fancy their chances. The win would also put them in a dominant position in the group and allow them the luxury of some rotation of that impressive squad.

Manchester City to win is value at 1.6 at NaijaBet