United Is On First Place Since Chelsea Restrained City

After its fifth draw in the season, Manchester City had to give away the 1st position of the table to their nemesis, Manchester United, which defeated the unfortunate QPR.

Two weekends ago, after the blasting 5-0 result Manchester City let fall on Aston Villa, the reigning king climbed to the first position of the standings after five weeks alternating between the 2nd and 3rd place. City was back on the throne for the first time in the season. However after their meeting on Sunday with the European Champion, Chelsea, the Citizens couldn’t keep the leading seat, for Manchester United, which was stalking them a point behind, beat the Queens Park Rangers the day before.

On Saturday the Rangers travelled north to face the Red Devils at the Old Trafford, where as expected the hosts win, and not so much that they had to bear a goal from the visitors. At 51 minutes of the match, QPR opened the scoreboard with a close range shot from Jamie Mackie, not too elaborated, still as exciting for the Londoners as if it would’ve, for it raised hopes of a first triumph for the club. Because until now the Rangers have only reach 4 ties and suffered 9 fatal defeats, which have put them on the bottom of the table, in urgent need of a miracle to leave the relegation zone.

Unfortunately for Harry Redknapp’s side, the Red Devils didn’t stay too long in disadvantage and really soon riddled Julio Cesar’s goal, exactly three scores within 4-minutes-intervals. The first one arrived at 64′ through a corner from Rooney that got headed by Danny Welbeck into Jonny Evans way, who scored his third goal in the season. Darren Fletcher goals’ drought finished at 68′, when again resulting from a corner from Rooney Fletcher caught the ball from afar and with a left kick sent the ball into the Hoop’s goal. The final bullet came through a shot from the Mexican Javier Hernandez at 72′. Subsequent to the 3-1, both clubs had some nice shots to score, but none could convert them.

With the 3 points earned on Saturday by United, Barclays had a new leader and the Sky Blues knew they had to win their 13th round fixture on the next day in order to recover the first spot; nonetheless the rival awaiting was a tougher one than United’s.

Inverse to his Manchester neighbour, City went south to London to face the Pensioners at Stamford Bridge, and as expected was quite challenging for both clubs. For Rafael Benitez, Chelsea’s brand new coach, it was an influential encounter, for it was his very first game since he got signed as interim manager of the Blues, in replacement of Roberto di Matteo. Because of the dislikes from many local supporters it was especially important for the Spaniard to make a good job on this first match at home.

Things started up relatively balanced and through all the game both sides kept it that way: in constant search for a goal and good defence. City had some good chances to score during the first-half; with opportunities from Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov and James Milner. But with help mostly from Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta, Petr Cech was able to protect the Blues goal. The most obvious chance to untied was lost by Sergio Aguero, a few minutes before half time, when from close range and totally alone in the area, the Argentinean sent the ball straight to Cech.

In second half the hosts got more active and started to create more opportunities to score, among the players attacking Joe Hart’ goal were Juan Mata, Emboaba Oscar and Matija Nastasic. But the Citizens’ defence was alert and didn’t allow itself a single mistake. In the end it was more of a sober match, because even though both teams did great in defence, the highlights didn’t really count with surprising moves or plays honestly the match deserved the 0-0 final score.

Now the Citizens, which continue undefeated, are in second place with 29 points, following the Red Devils just one point behind. City’s next chance to climb back to the top might arrive the coming Wednesday 28th, when the two clubs from Manchester will have the 14th fixture. While United will held its 7th home game, this time against West Ham (8th), City will go west to visit Wigan (15th).

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Sehwag Inspires Delhi to Easy Win in IPL

KOCHI (India), April 30: Virender Sehwag struck a 47-ball 80 to power Delhi Daredevils to a 38-run victory over Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

The Delhi captain lashed eight fours and five sixes to help his team post a challenging 157-7 following a disastrous start after choosing to bat first.

Medium-pacers Morne Morkel, Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar then shared seven wickets before South African spinner Roelof van der Merwe claimed the last three dismissals from five deliveries to bowl out Kochi for 119 in 18.5 overs.

It was only the Delhi’s third win in eight matches.

Delhi lost two wickets with four runs on the board after India paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth struck twice in four balls on a pitch with variable bounce.

Sreesanth bowled Australian opener David Warner (3) and Naman Ojha (0) before Sehwag opened up to hammer spinner Ravindra Jadeja for two successive sixes and then his 50 with a six off medium-pacer Vinay Kumar.

Sehwag put on 56 for the fourth wicket with Yogesh Nagar (22) before holing out at the extra cover boundary after having hit 49 runs off the last 15 balls he faced.

Pathan dismissed New Zealand opener Brendon McCullum (7) and Parthiv Patel (1) and Morkel sent back Australian batsmen Michael Klinger (2) and Brad Hodge (27) plus Balachandra Akhil (13).

Agarkar had skipper Mahela Jayawardene (18) caught by Sehwag and Jadeja (31), before van der Merwe polished off the tail to ensure Kochi lost their fifth match out of eight.

Meanwhile in another match played on Friday, Virat Kohli smashed a 42ball 67 with the help of four sixes and West Indies opener Chris Gayle a brisk 49 off 26 balls to set up Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 26-run victory over Pune Warriors in Bangalore.

Pune finished on 155-5 chasing a 182-run target to suffer their fifth defeat in seven matches.

New Zealander Jesse Ryder top-scored with a 34ball 51 for Pune and skipper Yuvraj Singh cracked 41 off 23 balls with the help of three sixes.

Summarised scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Pune Warriors by 26 runs.

Royal Challengers Bangalore 181-5 in 20 overs (V. Kohli 67, C.H. Gayle 49, A.B. de Villiers 26; A. Thomas 2-23, R. Sharma 2-27); Pune Warriors 155-5 in 20 overs (J.D. Ryder 51, Yuvraj Singh 41, R.V. Uthappa 23 not out).

Delhi Daredevils beat Kochi Tuskers Kerala by 38 runs.

Delhi Daredevils 157-7 in 20 overs (V. Sehwag 80; S. Sreesanth 210); Kochi Tuskers Kerala 119 in 18.5 overs (R.A. Jadeja 31, B.J. Hodge 27, I.K. Pathan 2-27, M. Morkel 3-18, A.B. Agarkar 2-23, R.E. van der Merwe 320).-Agencies

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Football (Soccer) Betting Strategy – Discover Winning by Betting on The Lower Leagues

Most punters like to wager on top flight football especially the English Premier League (EPL). Millions of dollars are wagered on every match.

Why is there the tendency to focus on elite football?

Because the punters believe they have better knowledge and thus greater confidence. They like the winning consistency of the big clubs. However, the odds for such consistent winners are often low and without value.

It can pay dividends to concentrate on the lower leagues. Let me share with you an interesting incident. On 21st Feb. 2009, there was a match between English non-league side Weymouth and Rushden & Diamonds. Weymouth was trashed 9-0. But Weymouth fans laughed all the way to the bank. The bookmakers paid out more than one million English Pounds in one of the biggest betting coups in non-league history.

What went wrong for the bookmakers?

In the lower leagues, the punters have an edge if they are able to obtain the latest team news faster than the bookmakers. In this incident, Weymouth fans found out «before the bookmakers» that Weymouth’s first team, which had not been paid at all this year because of the club’s debts, went on strike after discovering that there was no medical insurance for the game. The club had no choice but to field its inexperienced youth team. In this match, the bookmakers were caught with their pants down.

Those punters who are prepared to spend the same amount of time applying the same research criteria in the lower divisions can profit immensely. The following four reasons will convince you :

1) Smaller Squad

Most lower division teams do not have huge squads and cannot replace their star players easily with players of the same quality. Injury or suspension of certain key players can upset the performance of the whole team.

2) No Powerhouses

Unlike the elite league like EPL, for the lower divisions, there are no powerhouses who dominate the league for multiple seasons. There are no so-called Big Four. This gives the lower leagues a more level playing field and creates more opportunities for value betting.

3) Better Odds

Manchester United is the reigning EPL champion and the odds for any of its Home games are hardly worth making a bet. However, the equivalent leading league favourite in a lower division could get as much as three times the odds with an almost equal probability chance of winning. During the season, lots of such instances will crop up which the punters can capitalise on.

4) Same Punting Options

With the growth of online betting, lower division football now has the same type of markets and punting options as the top tier football. However, the bookmakers tend to dedicate most of their time on the top flight leagues. For the lower divisions, there is a tendency for them to make more mistakes when setting the prices. There is value to be spotted.

Conclusion

Betting on the lower leagues is an area waiting to be exploited. If the punter is diligent in doing his homework, it is not difficult to acquire a betting edge. The above incident is a classic example. So, it all depends on :

* How knowledgeable you are OR

* How misinformed the bookmakers/public opinions are

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Premier League Review – Chelsea Stun Manchester United

Chelsea blew the Premier League title race wide open again when they came from a goal behind to beat Manchester United, with ten games of the season remaining. Chelsea still have a mathematical chance of retaining the league title themselves, although they would have to win the majority of their remaining games while relying on other results to go in their favour.

United who started the game on the back of an impressive run of form, had amazingly not beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 2002. Chelsea however who have their worst run of form for many seasons were a huge fifteen points adrift of United before the start of the game.

The Blues, who left Didier Drogba on the bench in favour of a Fernando Torres and Nicolas Anelka strike partnership, started the game brightly, but the visitors soon found their stride, with crisp passing and fluent football.

Wayne Rooney, who controversially escaped a ban following his clash with Wigan’s James McCarthy at the weekend, was jeered by the home fans every time he touched the ball. It was Rooney, however, that silenced the Chelsea fans after 29 minutes when he sent a long range shot into the Chelsea goal before celebrating in front of the Chelsea fans.

The Reds, who started with their first unchanged team for 165 games, continued to dominate play during the first half and prevented any real threat from the hosts, although a fine save from Edwin Van der Sar from a Frank Lampard free kick, six minutes before half time, should have set alarm bells ringing and reminded United of the nemesis that Chelsea have been over the last few years.

Chelsea’s hero on the night proved to be David Luiz, who’s arrival from Benfica in the January transfer window was somewhat overshadowed by the £50million signing of Fernando Torres. Luiz was impressive throughout the game and it was his unstoppable shot in the 54th minute that levelled the scores and threw the game wide open.

Both managers made positive, attacking substitutions, with Drogba replacing Anelka for the Blues and Dimitar Berbatov and Ryan Giggs coming on for United, which was a record 606th appearance for Giggs at the club where he began his professional career twenty years ago.

Neither side seemed happy with a draw and both teams went in search of a winning goal, the play and tackles were furious at times as both teams seemed to be playing for pride as much as the three points. After Chris Smalling made a clumsy challenge on Zhirkov in the 80th minute, Frank Lampard, whose impressive penalty record has wavered of late, made no mistake this time as he smashed home the spot kick to give Chelsea a 2-1 lead. Zhirkov nearly added a third goal for the Blues moments late but his shot was deflected onto the post.

To compound United’s misery Vidic was sent off during injury time for a second book able offence, which means he will miss the important trip to Liverpool and the dismissal could leave United defensively weak.

The main beneficiaries of this game would appear to be Arsenal who are now just four points behind the leaders and have a game in hand, while Chelsea have consolidated their quest for a top four Premier League finish and entry into next years Champions League.

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