Champions League – Second Round Preview

The 21-22 February will see the 16 remaining teams in the Champions League battle it out for a place in the coveted final held on 17 May in Paris. The second round fixtures have been decided so here is a run down of who is left in the competition and their chances of progressing to the quarter finals:

Inter Milan vs Ajax

Inter qualified comfortably from Group H as winners and have a favourable match against Ajax. The Dutch side qualified as runners up of Group A without too much trouble. Inter are overwhelming favourites to qualify for the quarter finals and striker Adriano, with four goals so far in this competition, poses the main threat. Manchester City.

Verdict: Inter to qualify at 2/5.

AC Milan vs Bayern Munich

Milan stuttered through the first round, with just three wins in six matches, before eventually topping the group ahead of PSV Eindoven. Andriy Shevchenko is the tournament’s most dangerous striker with six goals. However, Bayern Munich should not be underestimated. They dumped out Arsenal at this stage last season and were only edged out by a single goal against Chelsea in the quarter finals.

Verdict: AC Milan to qualify at 4/6.

Liverpool vs Benfica

The Reds take on the team who dumped Manchester United out of the Cup and are firm favourites to progress to the quarter finals. Liverpool were unbeaten and hadn’t conceded a goal in 11 league and Cup games until Sao Paulo denied them the World Club Championship on 18 December. Benfica’s 2-1 win over Manchester United was a shock result, but one they are unlikely to reproduce. Ronald Koeman’s side are only sixth in their domestic league and are likely to see their interest in the Champions League come to an end at this stage of the competition.

Verdict: Liverpool to qualify at 4/9.

Barcelona vs Chelsea

This was the most «anticipated» draw in terms of a replay of last season’s second phase encounter. Barcelona have won 13 games straight in La Liga, while Chelsea have topped the Premiership since August, losing just one match, against Manchester United, all season. Barcelona have also been unstoppable in Europe, winning five out of the six group. Despite the unquestionable talent at his disposal, Jose Mourinho may find his Chelsea team outgunned this time around.

Verdict: Barcelona to qualify at 5/6.

Lyon vs PSV Eindoven

Lyon are a team not to be underestimated in this season’s Champions League and won their group ahead of the glamorous Real Madrid. John Carew is Lyon’s top goalscorer with four goals while Juninho has laid on three assists. PSV will have their backers but Lyon remained undefeated in the group stage and should edge this encounter.

Verdict: Lyon to qualify at 1/2.

Villarreal vs Rangers

An upset could be on the cards in this encounter with Rangers a large price to qualify ahead of Spaniards Villarreal. Under-fire Rangers boss Alex McLeish may be ridiculously off-the-pace in the Scottish Premier, but he has got it right in Europe and Rangers have become the first side north of the border to venture this far in the competition. Villarreal scored just three times in six group stage matches.

Verdict: Rangers to qualify at 5/2.

Real Madrid vs Arsenal

This is the first time the two have clashed in Champions League and the bookmakers are having difficulty separating them. The Gunners won their five opening matches in the group stage before an experimental line-up drew 0-0 with Ajax in the final round of fixtures. Real Madrid have plenty of attacking power in their line up but are suspect at the back which could be to Arsenal’s advantage.

Verdict: Arsenal to qualify at 10/11.

Juventus vs Werder Bremen

Juventus stormed through the group stage, winning five out of six matches, with David Trezeguet scoring four goals. The «Old Lady» have already beaten and lost to German opposition in the competition this season, with two 2-1 results against giants Bayern Munich in the group stage. Werder Bremen are at their best at home, demonstrated in the 5-1 demolition of Panathinaikos and 4-3 victory over Udinese.

Verdict: Juventus to qualify at 4/11.

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Pre-Season Soccer Training – The Basics

Effective pre-season training is important for all soccer players of any age, whether you play for a team in the Premier League or your local college team and the work done in pre-season can define the competitive season ahead, making the difference between winning trophies or being also-rans.

The Pre-season soccer training schedule should be planned out by the coach in order to maximise each session. Ideally training should begin at least five to six weeks before the season actually starts.

Each training session should start with a thorough warm-up taking care not to strain any muscles in early pre-season. Ideally each session should begin with a five minutes gentle jogging followed by gentle static stretching, followed by more jogging followed by a more intensive stretching session, while taking care not to over stretch and cause damage to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Stretching for soccer should include all major muscle groups, with a mixture of dynamic and static stretches. Dynamic stretching exercises that are perfect for soccer and include swinging the arms and circling the shoulders, twisting the upper body and swinging the legs as if kicking an imaginary ball, be careful not to over stretch with these exercises. Static stretches do not involve movement of the joint and are essential for the quadriceps and hamstrings. Ballistic stretches which involve bouncing to maximise the stretch are no longer advocated and should be avoided.

Running is excellent for aerobic conditioning and should be encouraged as improved fitness will pay dividends later in the season, this should involve distance work, sprinting and running that involves work with the soccer ball. Dribbling the soccer ball around cones or across a defined area will improve conditioning, speed and ball control at the same time.

Work with the soccer ball can be extended by spending time controlling the ball with the feet, knees and head, a perfect way to practice this is to divide players into pairs and have one player throw the ball while the other controls and returns to his partner.

Each session can be completed with a short game possibly integrating two touch soccer which will improve ball control and passing accuracy and also encourage thinking and movement off the ball. Following the game a cool down with stretching should take place to minimise aching and tired muscles which will aid recovery for your next session.

During early pre-season is it important not to over exert the players and to make the sessions fun which will motivate if players are tired not too push them too much, this can result in injury and lack of enthusiasm. Another important factor for any training session is adequate hydration, ensure all the players have a water bottle and keep adequately hydrated throughout the training session.

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How To Make Easy Money Betting on Soccer and Other Sports Online

There is no limit to how much money you can make in online Sports Betting. Just how successful you become will depend entirely on your own little efforts.

OK! You may be one those people who loses lots of money regularly on sports betting. I’ve been there many times and from my experience it hurts so much to lose money. After many trials and errors, I stumbled upon the Key to successful betting. Am about to reveal to you this lucrative online business as the easiest and cheapest investment ever on the internet.

Sports Betting

For those just starting out. Sports betting is all about betting against bookmakers. It is quite different from betting against other people the way most people do. It is also different from pools betting. Bookmakers are betting companies that provide the platform for betting activities. They also provide the prices and expected winnings on each football match.

All you need to do is to determine the outcome of a particular match or a series of matches. You don’t need to predict the exact score line. Though there are bets where you can predict the exact score line. The price per match will be determined by how hard or difficult it is. The easier the match, the lesser the potential returns. The harder the match, the higher the potential returns.

Let use soccer (football) for illustration:

Assuming TEAM-A on top of the league table wants to play TEAM-B who are at the bottom and out of form at home, we all know there is a very high likelihood that TEAM-A would win if in good form plus all the advantages to their side. The money you are expected to win if you bet TEAM-A will beat TEAM-B will be very small in fact.

On the other hand, if you say TEAM-B will beat TEAM-A, then the expected monetary returns would be high. It will be high as well if you say it will end in a draw.

Okay. Let’s move on.

Predicting that TEAM-B, the under-dog will beat TEAM-A, the odds could be 4/1. That means that if you bet with $1 you will win $4 plus your initial $1 which makes your total earnings $5. I’ve used US dollars above as an example. Most bookies operate in Pound Sterling, dollars and Euro. So if you want to bet on it, what would you do? Start analyzing and seeing possibilities.TEAM-A to win at 2/7 simply means to win $2 you have to play with $7. You need to ask yourself is it worth risking $7 to win $2? Or will you back the weaker TEAM-B to win at 4/1? You only need to put in $1 to win an extra $4. But will TEAM-B beat the stronger TEAM-A at home? The greater the risk the greater the potential returns, the lesser the risk the lesser the potential returns. That is where your football mind and knowledge is needed.

Let’s Understand Prices/Odds more using real soccer teams for example.

Take a look at this match in the fixture and price. Lets say Chelsea F.C. to beat Manchester City at home is priced at 2/5. That is you bet with $5 to win $2. That is a total expected returns of $7.

(Always remember that the figure at the end is what you stake with and the one in front is what you will win)

The match is 11/4 for a draw and 6/1 for an away win for Manchester City. It means 1/1. You play with $1; you win an additional $1. You play with $100 you win an additional $100.

Other Kinds of Odds…

Not all odds are written in fractions. As in not written like 3/1, 1/5, 4/9 and so on. Some odds are written in decimals like 1.35, 2.42 etc. If you see 2.42, it simply means if you bet with one dollar, you will earn return of 2.42 dollars. Whatever figure is shown, it means that it is what will be returned if you place $1. So you can calculate your expected earnings according to what you want to bet on.

There are also the American Odds presented in form -110,+220,etc. The Decimal odds seem to be by far the easiest to calculate. The bookies (bookmakers) can determine what kind of odds they will be using. Actually some bookmakers allow you to choose the odd type that suits you. Whatever Odd you use the result is the Same. However, chose only Odd type you are comfortable with.

Bet Types

There are many types of bet provided by Sport books to suit your needs. The basic bet types are the 1X2 (three outcomes, Home Draw Away), the 12 (only two outcomes, Win or lose), the 1X, 2X (Win or Draw), Not Draw. Other extended betting types are Number of goals, Half/Full Time result, Odd/Even number of goals, Asian Handicap, Live or in-play betting option, exact score line, etc. While sports like boxing, tennis, etc have fewer basic betting options, soccer has the most betting option.

It’s very easy alright making unlimited cash betting on sports online. Now you are thinking: if it were so easy how come people lose money at all? Answer! Is most of the time you do guess-work; try-your-luck, inadequate or no information, etc.

But that’s no good business or investment doing guess-work. You know what it is? It’s called gambling. An investment mind-set is a vital ingredient to make money in Sports betting backed by good knowledge.To be successful punter making tons of dollars on sports betting you need reliable, tested and proven information, systems and strategies to guarantee profits and high returns.

Why you need reliable information.

Ever seen even the strongest teams on top of a league lose to under-dogs at the bottom of league table? Causing bettors to lose lots of money? Why for instance should a team like?Manchester United lose to black even when they have over 90% chance of winning? It hurts a lot lose this kind of bet.Yeah it happens. 99% of all soccer punters (bettors) THINK they know who will win the game and which team will go over or under the total and end losing almost all their bets and a lot of money, which leaves 1%. Those 1% are professionals that make a living betting on soccer and other sports.

Why? It’s because there some secrets in Sports betting that can only be unlocked with the right kind of information that gives knowledge. This is not knowledge of how the games is played but knowledge of how to make money betting on games played.

Knowledge is power in a general sense is but in sports betting the knowledge is money.

Yes, you need a system that works most times to become an investor making lot of money on sports betting. Sports betting should be seen as an investment, that way you make money most of the time. Though fun in sports betting cannot be left out for those who have passion for the games, the passion can be converted into lots of cash using proven betting systems and strategy. Football (soccer) has most systems and strategies because it offers more betting options than any other sports.

How to Make the Money.

One way, is to do it yourself by applying proven systems and strategies. Another is to get others to work for you through professional Tips service. However there are free and paid professional Tips service to give you betting clues and predictions.

The SECRET of this lucrative online business is information. With the right information you are sure to become super RICH from this easiest and cheapest investment online anyone from 18 years old can make. That is the legal age for gambling in most countries that regulate top Rated Sport books or Bookmakers. Some reputable sports books require IDs to confirm the age compliance among other things.

GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY. BET ONLY THE MONEY YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE!

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Barca’s Got The Bark And The Bite!

Wearing their white colored away kit, Man U kicked off as the stronger side with Cristiano Ronaldo threatening to score five minutes into the game. But with Barca midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez possessively controlling the ball, Man U soon lost control. Iniesta in his Nike T90 Laser II football boots paved the way for the opening goal when he found Samuel Eto’o, who deftly hit the net.

Red, white and blue

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric as fans from both sides came out in full support of their favorites dressed in their team colors. The stands seemed draped in shades of red, white and blue! The new Nike FC Barcelona home soccer gear saw a return to traditional vertical stripes of red and blue, said to be «designed to inspire the kind of football the club’s famous for – spirited, passionate and oozing Catalan pride!» And did it work! Post half time, midfielder Lionel Messi headed the ball over Edwin Van der Sar and clinched the second goal. He seemed adequately thrilled with his brand new boots – custom made Adidas F30i – and happily kissed them!

Certainly More than a Club!

On the one side, Man U could boast of star players like Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez and Berbatov, on the other side, Barca dominated with the likes of Messi, Henry, Eto’o, Xavi and Iniesta. If the Catalan greats, Barca, scored 100 goals at the Liga, Messi, Henry and Eto’o were responsible for 69 of them! Maybe the white away kit wasn’t too lucky for Manchester United as they saw their dream to win their third Champions League trophy shatter. While the Catalans struck gold with their new look – a V-necked Nike Dri-Fit shirt that has the Catalan flag on the back of the neck and the label ‘Más que un club’ (More than a club) sewn inside. Barca stuck to its policy of not having a sponsor’s logo on their soccer shirts; something they have been adamant about ever since the club was formed. But they retained the UNICEF logo as part of the deal to not take any money, but use it to fund UNICEF’s humanitarian programs.

Three Cheers for the Champions

With this win, Barca now has three trophies to its credit – the Champions League, Liga and the Copa del Rey. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Barcelona when the team returned home. Thousands of ecstatic fans followed the open topped bus that had ‘Tricampeones’ (Three times Champion) emblazoned on it. To mark this special occasion, the players wore commemorative shirts with the words ‘Copa, Liga y Champions’ along with the team members names stamped on it.

Forgetting all protocol, the players ran onto the pitch of Camp Nou stadium and proudly held the three trophies up to their supporters who sang and chanted in reciprocation! The evening was sealed with another lap of honor, this time to the tune of Coldplay’s ‘Viva la Vida’ and crackling fireworks!

Whoever said what’s in a name seemed to have got it all wrong! A name, a number, a color – this is what champions are made of…

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United’s Player Antonio Valencia’s Injury History

In recent times, a great number of injuries have been taking place to football players, while the cause is being investigated, with most evidence hinting at the boots that they wear. They are attempting to figure out the blades are responsible for the injuries, or the regular studs used.

There was another injury that took place to Manchester United’s player Antonio Valencia, while he ended up trapping his foot in attempt to tackle the ball. The tackle in itself was not that severe however it resulted in his leg being snapped badly.

A lot of arguments go against the turf as it is more firm and stronger than it is actually meant to be. Not only this, but also a combination of studs and turf both could be the main problem.

A preference of most players is wearing boots that have bladed studs, as it provides better acceleration while playing the game. While on a firmer ground, they tend to choose the traditional designs of circular stud.

No player is forced to wear a specific brand, nor advised about its advantages or disadvantages. Apart from wearing that brand which sponsors them, they have the liberty to choose anything according to their will.

A type of custom made shoes that go around among most players is a combination of studs and blades both. However if there are too many variations, that could lead to more problems.

Nike seems to be the only considerate brand around as it has a new range with designs such boots which have the greatest amount of stability and resistance being offered.

Nowadays, every single manufacturer makes it a point to have the lightest weighing shoes so that lesser injuries start taking place and the performance of the players can also be improved.

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