Feature: The Increasing Success of Football Betting

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Football betting has long been popular amongst those that like to gamble, as illustrated by the ubiquitous presence of betting shops on high streets across the United Kingdom. Yet unlike many formerly popular industries, the world of football betting has thrived in the era of the internet.

Indeed, all of the major bookmakers like bwin.be have setup online versions of their physical shops, leading to not only a mass exodus from the high street to the virtual world of online gambling, but it has tempted a greater proportion of the population to gamble on sports than ever before.

Now, in terms of popularity, football betting is matched only by the wealth of similarly popular online casinos.

Reasons for the continued and increasing popularity of football betting:

1. Convenience – this is arguably the main reason for the aforementioned surge. The added convenience has been generated by giving those interested in sports betting the ability to find tips and odds information, in addition to being able to place bets securely online.

The World Wide Web has therefore made football betting into something that is very accessible in terms of the ability that the average punter now has to make an informed betting choice.


2. Audience – There has been a marked increase In the level enthusiasm for sport in general amongst the public, but it is football – and the Premier League in particular –that has seen a surge in popularity and therefore in the number of people betting on its results.


3. Advertising – The likes of Bwin are experts in marketing their brand and bringing themselves to the attention of a mass audience. Indeed, sponsorship deals with European footballing behemoths, Real Madrid and AC Milan, have obviously brought the betting site to the attention of a massive audience, thus helping to increase the popularity of sports betting on a global scale.


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Special Feature: Three Guys One Cup - an FA Cup odyssey

Firstly, we’re not three men violating the best china. If you were hoping for that, you’re in the wrong place…

We’re two young chaps who work in advertising agencies and one other bloke who works for a publishing house. Collectively we have far too much time on our hands and an unhealthy obsession with futile football trivia.

We aim to follow every round of this year’s FA Cup, from the extra preliminary first round all the way to the final at Wembley.
It’s winner stays on and we’ll be following the victorious side from each tie – no matter where in the UK it might take us.

But it’s not gonna be easy. They’ll be times when we’re crippled with regret. Times when Blyth Spartans run out chips before half-time. Times when the toilets at Chippenham United are out of order.

Times when we’ll be driving back from a Wednesday night replay in Tranmere, arguing over who came up with the stupid bloody idea.

But they’re the moments that will make our quest. And they’re also the moments that will make reading our match reports that little bit more satisfying.

We’ve already witnessed a 5-1 mauling in the game between Quorn FC and Holbrook Sports. We then saw a much closer affair between Basford Utd and Quorn FC that finished 2-2. The replay was an FA Cup epic: a last minute equaliser from Quorn took the game to a shootout that finished 5-3 to Basford. And let me tell you, it doesn’t get much more magical than that.

But all this is only the beginning. Our next fixture is a first qualifying round clash between Basford Utd and Matlock town on the 14th of September. From there, our fate will be in the hands of the likes of Georgi Kinkladze and other FA Cup draw cameos, pulling balls from a bag, unaware that they could potentially make or break our weekend.

So, if you fancy yourself a bit of grassroots enthusiast or are curious as to what the grub at Macclesfield Town is like, why not follow us on Twitter? Or better still, visit our website and read some of our previous match reports.


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Helpful Tips: Coping with the end of the football season

As the international football season wraps up, it is a very tough time for a lot of fans. If a season was terrible, the end can seem a welcome relief. And if your team was outstanding, it can be great to see a wonderful run end well. In either case, you’re left counting the days until the new season begins, and the months in between can leave one with a “now what” sensation.

Rather than sitting and doing nothing, there are some proactive ways to handle the end of the association football season.


Get Out Of The House

A regular trip to the pub where you watch games doesn’t count. No, now is the time to stretch legs or fire up the 2007 mustang. Go out and breath the free air, and remember that there are things that are great in the world that have nothing whatsoever to do with “the beautiful game”.

The less time you spend in places associated with the game, the more likely you can find constructive ways of biding your time until the next season begins.


Develop Post Season Hobbies

If you make sure that you are busy, you won’t have time to sit around moping. Plan ahead and make sure that your weekends are filled. Visit friends. Take a vacation. Learn how to surf. Just be sure that you have your off season time loaded with activities. You can develop yearly traditions that take your mind off of the stress associated with being a football fan and enjoy time away from the game.


Find Other Sports Leagues To Follow

Probably one of the best ways to distract yourself from the end of association football is to look around for other sports that are going on during the break. If you’re the type of person that can follow multiple sports and leagues, it may be a good idea.

There are international events such as the World Cup that also occur during the off-season. These may offer you the opportunity to continue to enjoy the sport, or introduce friends and family to the sport.


Use It As A Time To De-Stress

Instead of looking to other sports, it may be an even better idea to go in the complete opposite direction: Tune out of all sports news for a time. It’s a documented fact that dedicated soccer fans can develop a heart condition related to their involvement in the sport. The ups and downs can take a very negative toll on the mind and body. This may explain why fans feel so drained and empty when the season is over.

Instead of seeing the end of the season in a negative light, think of it as a blessing in disguise. This can be a valuable time to recuperate, take a deep breath, and re-energize. Using this time wisely can allow you to be charged up and ready to go when the games start back up again.


Written by Michael Deaven

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Milwall: The Lions’ bad reputation returns in an afternoon of lunacy

In sporting circles, one of the accompanying features of Margaret Thatcher’s death has been the retrospective look at how the culture of football shifted under the former Prime Minister from a game tarred with hooliganism and violence to one that could be embraced by all ages and backgrounds.

Last weekend, it seemed as if football had crashed back into a by-gone era as Millwall clashed with their own in the comfort of Wembley on Saturday, whilst Newcastle fans reacted to defeat by Sunderland by fighting in the streets, both incidents screened around the world, tarnishing the reputation that English football has done so well to restore.

It is indeed a sensitive time for football and its dark past. The news of Thatcher’s death coming a week before the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, the first memorial since the true extent of the establishment’s role in the cover-up of the tragedy was exposed to the masses. Thatcher used Hillsborough as a vehicle to reform the game that was engulfed in bad news; the Heysel disaster in 1986, the riots of Millwall fans visiting Luton a year before, Hillsborough, albeit hideously and incorrectly, became the watershed for an era of unruly behaviour amongst football supporters.

The Bradford fire of 1985 in which 39 fans perished indicated how football stadiums in the 80s were ramshackle, forgotten arenas that had little regard for the safety of the people they played host to. Yet it was 4 years and 96 lives later when sprung football into action, leaving no choice but to eradicate the culture that demonised supporters and led them to behave according to how they were treated by the authorities.

The Lord Justice Taylor report of 1992 renovated the whole culture of a game that housed its followers in sub-human conditions behind chicken-wire fences. It was gross ineptitude of policing and the compact, neglected setting of an unsafe football stadium that caused the horror of Hillsborough, but its legacy remains one of high-class stadia, more organised policing and seating, something that has resulted in a warmer, more welcoming atmosphere, if not as partisan.

Millwall have endeavoured to move with the times. From the synonymity with hooliganism in the late 80s thanks to the Kenilworth Road riot of 1985 and the damage they caused to numerous businesses upon a trophy parade in 1988, numerous schemes have attempted to eradicate that terrible stereotype. There has been endless work in the community and charitable trusts, the club went to the extent of wearing “save Lewisham hospital” shirts when warming-up at Wembley, a measure to protest against potential NHS government cuts in the local area.

That is not to mention the membership schemes and banning orders they have incorporated, they were, after all, the first team to comply with Lord Taylor’s demand that all top-level grounds should be all-seater, moving into their New Den home in 1993.

Millwall’s bosses have strived desperately to clean the club’s image of the past 20 years, but there is still an underlying cancer that threatens the hard work. A league cup tie with West Ham in 2009 was marred by fighting and pitch invasions whilst two years later, a game with Middlesbrough was nearly called off after goalkeeper Luke Steele and a linesman were struck by missiles.

Predictably, the club’s hierarchy have done their best to distance themselves from the mindless scenes that blighted their appearance at Wembley on Saturday evening. Chief Executive Andy Ambler has met with the FA in order to help identify those who kicked and punched away their Saturday afternoon right next to the eyes of crying children. Chairman John Berylson meanwhile, also deplored the violence “they are not our fan-base, we don’t even know who these people are” said the American ex-Marine who has pumped £16 million into the club. “We will be investigating” he said.

The secretary of the Millwall Supporter’s Club, Graeme Smale, said people “treat the club like an old-fag packet”, turning up at big games in order to cause trouble whilst rarely attending league matches. “They are no good to us whatsoever” he said, “they want to misbehave, they are there for a reason, they are nothing to do with the football club.”

Danny Shittu and Shane Lowry, Millwall’s defensive duo, joined in with the condemnation, both using the word “minority”. They are right to do it, but sadly, a small number is all it takes to ruin reputations and pour embarrassment and shame upon a club. One can feel the frustration in Smale about the rogue element that the club seem simply unable to shake-off despite years and years of work with his words “I’m devastated”.

The fracas resulted in 14 arrests and issues on the standard of policing and the FA’s decision to schedule one of the games at 5:15, allowing for all-day drinking. Millwall’s ticketing policy has also been questioned, over 5,000 tickets were sold through general sale despite the strict measures the Lions have on their season ticket holders, who purchased the majority of the 30,000 plus allocation. All of them are stored on a database and all of them had their cards scanned when purchasing tickets, yet it is possible the general sale window which opened on April 5th allowed the unruly to get in.

“I don’t think that will be a problem” said Smale, “we sell responsibly…this is the third time we have been at Wembley and we have not had this problem before” and that is probably true, but the fact remains that Millwall have been tagged with the problem of hooliganism before and they now have to deal with it once more, 25 years after they, and football, woke up to a sense of community and rationalism.

ESPN beamed the alarming incident to the world just as the various news outlets did to Newcastle’s outbreak of violence outside St James’s Park the day after. Football seems to be embracing the repugnant problem of hooliganism again and it is discomforting to witness.

In fact, football is irrelevant to the madness, Wigan, little old Wigan Athletic, scored two goals at Wembley on Saturday and are in their first ever FA Cup final, but who cares when the game’s disease is starting to creep back in?


Written by Adam Gray

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Roberto Martinez: Wigan gaffer praises fans, despite low FA Cup sell-out.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has labelled the clubs supporters “Incredible” despite the club returning at least 10,000 tickets for this weekend’s FA Cup Semi-Final.

Yesterday, it was revealed that the Greater Manchester club were to return a third of their 31,000 allocation against Milwall on Saturday.

However, the 39-year-old manager has praised the number of tickets sold. He said: “You look back to 1995, when I arrived at the football club, we had gates of 2,000 people.

“It’s an incredible turnaround, so for us it is a success”

The Football Association announced that it will open a 6,000 capacity neutral zone, as well as making 1,500 tickets available to those in the Armed Forces. Around 14,000 empty seats are expected, despite Milwall selling their full allocation.

But Martinez, who has been manager since 2009, believes that the focus on attendances is irrelevant.

In his pre-match press conference Martinez said:

“It’s not about the numbers. The numbers need to have a meaning. It is an incredible percentage of the town.

“We are in the best league in the world, we are in the semi-final of the best cup competition.”

He continued: “What’s important is that every year we increase our fan base and the feeling of being attached to our football club.”

Wigan, a predominately rugby based town, has a population of around 80,000. The news about the semi-final at Wembley is no shock considering the clubs average attendance of just below 19,000 this season.

Jason Taylor, a committee member of the Wigan Athletic Supporters’ club, told BBC Sport that the low turnout might be because fans are unable to travel to London by train.

Saturdays kick off time is 17:15 BST meaning fans would struggle to catch the last train heading back to Wigan at 20:30.

Taylor also added that some supporters are sacrificing the semi-final to save money for, if Wigan were to reach the showpiece final. Wigan have never made it to the final since being founded in 1932.

The news will be a blow to the FA, after it was earlier announced that attendances for the 5th and 6th rounds were the highest in 30 years.


Written by Craig Lishman

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DFB Pokal Preview: Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund

The Allianz Arena co-landlords are on a roll at the moment. 2013 has been flawless for them. Every match in all competitions has been won and dominated. Many goals have been scored and only a few conceded. Former player, Lukas Podolski, was the first player to score against the Bavarians in 2013 and that was on the 19th of February.

At the weekend, a ruthless Roten army opened fire on Werder Bremen and the result was a 6-1 mauling of Thomas Schaaf’s side. Despite resting regulars like Mandzukic, Schweinsteiger, Alaba, Kroos, Van Buyten and Muller, those that came in did a great job. Even Arjen Robben has found himself among the substitutes in the last 2 months. Such is the fantastic quality that the outgoing Jupp Heynckes has at his disposal.

Last season’s top scorer, Mario Gomez started the Bremen match and scored 2 goals. The German striker is currently being kept out of the starting 11 by a very impressive Mario Mandzukic who has weighed in with 15 Bundesliga goals amongst others this term.

Borussia Dortmund took European football more seriously than the German league this season it seems. Topping a group consisting of Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City with an incredible record of 4 wins and 2 draws. Both draws could have been wins if not for Mario Balotelli of MCFC and Ozil of Real Madrid whose last gasp interventions prevented a 100% record for Die Borusen. The League campaign has been regrettable and bad for the defending champions.

Winning the last two championships must have taken its toll on the players and the loss of Shinji Kagawa who has been their best player of the last two seasons must have been too hard to take and the vacuum too large to fill. The Japanese has since signed for Manchester United, although he hasn’t found his best form since his arrival. Marco Reus, once a foul, left the Borussia Park and Gladbach to pitch tent with the double champions of Germany.

The Germany international whose 18 goals propelled Lucien Favre’s men to fourth position and a place in the UCL qualifying rounds, decided to seek pastures new. It wasn’t a bad decision. His 11 goals and superlative displays in all competitions this season have been crucial to the Dortmund cause. His return to the Park last weekend was not fruitful as his former club put paid to Dortmund’s very slim hopes of catching an impeccable Bayern side in the race for the Bundesliga crown.

Rolls Reus as he is fondly called, has linked up well with another aspiring great, Mario Gotze. The best show of their link-up play came two weeks ago against Frankfurt. Reus scored a fabulous hat-trick thanks largely to Gotze’s sagacity. The draw v Gladbach made it virtually impossible for Dortmund to ever catch a relentless and trophy hungry Bayern Munich who are now 17 points clear of the chasing pack. Sincerely, the Bundesliga should be handed over to them, even though there are still some games remaining to play. Anything other than a Bayern ribbon on the Bundesliga trophy would be melodramatic.

Fohlen Legend, Jupp Heynckes is determined to retire in grand style. After painfully losing 3 titles last season (two to tomorrow’s opponents), the Bayern Munich managers who is set to be replaced by Pep Gaurdiola next season, has set his sights on another treble winning chance. The Bundesliga title is a wrap it most likely seems.

The Pokal was lost to Dortmund in Berlin last season. The performance was shabby and very unlike Bayern. The 5-2 drubbing laid down a marker. FC Hollywood want to make amends. The revenge mission will not be complete this season if Bayern don’t put Dortmund in their place. Mainz and Hannover have both been served their respective revenge meals in the German top flight already.

Dortmund avoided it in the league clash which ended 1-1. Die Roten however defeated their nearest challengers 2-1 in the German Super cup in August of last year, thanks to goals from Mandzukic and Muller. Lewandowski’s goal ended up as only a consolation.

Coach Jurgen Klopp has said in the past that the Bavarians bring out the best in him. His coaching resume has been beefed up in the last couple of months. His impact in Europe has brought him more admirers than critics. He’s currently one of the most sought after tacticians in world football. To lure him away from the Signal Iduna would be very difficult, but not impossible. This match will be taken seriously by the man touted to take over from Joachim Loew as manager of die Nationalelf. The Bundesliga race has been lost realistically, so it remains the UCL and the Pokal.

He will be hurt that Bayern are set to reclaim the German title, but he’ll be more pissed if they also take the Pokal away from his team. The central defensive partnership of Subotic and Hummels have performed extremely well when both are fit. Marcel Schmelzer is arguably the best left back in the German League and the attacking quartet of Kuba-Gotze-Reus-and arrow head, Lewandowski, need no introduction. Compared to the Bayern frontline, they have a strong case.

Goalkeepers Neuer and Roman Weidenfeller have been in good form since the start of the season. Germany’s No 1 goalie has allowed only Poldi and Kev de Bruyne to score past him since the turn of the year. The Bayern rearguard can do no wrong at the moment. the Dante marshaled backline simply hate to concede.

While Reus chose Dortmund over Bayern, Uli and KHR consoled themselves with the purchase of towering defender Dante Costa Santos from the Borussia Park for a meager 4.7 million euros. One of the bargain buys of all time. The Brazilian has started every Bundesliga game so far and it is thanks to him that die Roten have been so brilliant at defending this season.

His performances haven’t gone unnoticed Internationally. New Selecao manager, Luis Felipe Scolari aka Big Phil called him up for the friendly v England. He went on to earn his 1st cap in the 2-1 loss at the new Wembley to commemorate the English Football Association’s 150 years of existence.

Klopp has repeatedly backed his goalkeeper for a national call-up which has fallen on deaf ears ever since. Rene Adler of Hamburg who was No1 three years ago until he unfortunately got injured, has been called up instead following fine performances for HSV.


 Probable Lineups

Bayern: Neuer, Lahm, Dante, Van Buyten, Alaba, Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Robben, Muller, Mandzukic

Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer, Gundogan, Kehl/Bender, Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus, Lewandowski.


The six players rested for Bayern at the weekend are all expected to return for this crunch game. Meanwhile Franck Ribery is suspended after his dismissal in earlier rounds. Arjen Robben has been chosen to replace him. Gomez has to sit on the bench yet again as the other Mario returns to the starting 11.

For Dortmund, The return of Lewandowski is a timely boost for die schwarzgelben. Hummels who limped out of the Gladbach match is fit for this one. Kuba Blaszczykowski is match fit too and will feature. The returning Nuri Sahin hasn’t featured as he would have envisaged.

The on-loan Real Madrid midfielder who came back to his former home after unhappy spells at the Bernabeu and Anfield, is finding it difficult to break into this talent/quality laden Dortmund team. His thought? ‘I should never have left’.

The match between Germany’s two biggest clubs will be a great show case of talent and greatness. The two teams that produced more than half of the players called up by the national team management in their recent friendly v France lurk horns tonight. Happy viewing.


Written by Ohiskaka Eboreime

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FA Cup Preview: Manchester United vs Reading

Brian McDermott was named Barclay’s manager of the month of January and rightly so. The recognition for Reading did not stop there. Hotshot Adam Le Fondre scooped the players’ award and deservedly so. His 2 goals v Chelsea at the Madejski were precisely taken and expertly executed. That earned a vital draw for the Royals and continued their survival push. The drama that has made their campaign an exciting one.

Tonight, they come to Old Trafford for a chance to mete out revenge on Manchester United. The fixture at their home turf ended 4-3 in United’s favour in match they led 2-0 and played exceptionally well. This is no League game though. It is the FA Cup and represents a chance for Fergie’s men to win it for the 1st time in 9 years. The hard luck of always being drawn against EPL teams hasn’t daunted the Red Devils one bit. It has motivated them to excel more than ever before.

The Royals will be full of confidence going into this one. The way they have come from behind to claim vital points in the last couple of weeks has been phenomenal. But they currently lie 18th in the Premier League and will see this as a chance to go further in a cup competition and perhaps have a shot at winning it.

With the draw yesterday, a Championship team will feature in the semi-finals of the World’s oldest competition. Millwall were drawn against Blackburn in the last eight, so if they progress, there’s a great chance they can spring a surprise or two.  BMD’s side are looking to progress to the Quarter Finals for only the 3rd time ever. However, the hurdle they have to scale is very tough.

Manchester United come into this match on the back of a hard earned 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu in the first leg of their Round of 16 Champions League match v Real Madrid. SAF and members of the playing staff want to do well in this competition to keep alive their aspirations of a treble. Whoever comes out of this will face either Boro or Chelsea in the next round. Fergie will ring the changes as expected although he will be expected to name a strong squad for the very important game.

Players like Chicharito, Smalling, Anderson, Cleverley, Nani, Ashley Young, et al will be in the Squad. RVP might have to make do with a place on the bench; he has yet to start a Cup game this season.

As ambitious as McDermott is, he will be aware of the fact that his side will have to employ metaphysical powers tonight if they want to see out the Red Army. Sir Alex needs another FA CUP and will do everything humanly possible to progress tonight. Hope both teams are up to it.



MUFC: Lindegaard-Rafa, Vidic, Smalling, Buttner, Anderson, Cleverley, Nani, Young, Rooney, Chicharito

READING: Federici-Kelly, Morrison, Mariappa, Harte, Liegertwood, Kebe, Tabb, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak


Rafa Da Silva won’t forget in a hurry what he suffered in the hands of Robson-Kanu and McAnuff in the League fixture. He was immediately hauled off by the gaffer after some uncharacteristic errors and rash tackles. He has to put in a better display tonight or face the same situation he faced a few months ago.


Written by Ohireime Eboreime

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Chelsea vs Brentford: Match Report

After a coma-inducing performance in Prague midweek, Chelsea would have been hoping for a comfortable win against Brentford to help quell the anger of the visibly irritated Blues fans. But the first half was a far from a comfortable encounter, with the home side finding themselves with the fair share of possession but rarely troubling Simon Moore in the Brentford goalmouth.

A Branislav Ivanović header a third of the way through the half gave the League One side a brief scare, but it was Oscar who came closest by far, the young Brazilian finding himself with the ball at his feet deep within the penalty area before losing his footing slightly and sending his shot bouncing off the outside of the post.

Brentford fans were left screaming in disapproval as the half came to a close when Italian striker Marcello Trotta broke past John Terry and calmly tucked the ball away into the corner of the goal, before turning to find referee Neil Swarbrick pointing for a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area after David Luiz had fouled Adam Forshaw just moments earlier.

Chelsea seemed to step it up a gear upon returning from the dressing room after half time and goalkeeper Moore once again came to the rescue of the Bees, superbly saving another strong header from Ivanović and diverting it away from the fast-approaching Demba Ba.

However, Juan Mata finally made the Blues pressure count and put the home side ahead after fifty-five minutes when he picked up a long ball on the edge of the area and fired into the far corner of the net, easing the fears of the Chelsea faithful.

Thirteen minutes later, a deft backwards flick from Oscar mere feet in front of goal evaded at least two Brentford defenders and Moore on the line and doubled their lead, and from then onwards Chelsea were firmly on the front foot and in full control.

It then took just three minutes for the hosts to make it 3-0, Mata, who, alongside Oscar, had been critical in the heart of the Chelsea midfield from the start until his substitution for Yossi Benayoun with just under fifteen minutes to play, lightly chipping in a beautiful cross to Frank Lampard, the veteran making up for his questionable attacking performance in the first half with a volleyed effort that extended his Chelsea goal scoring tally to 199, now only three behind Bobby Tambling.

With Brentford well and truly beaten, the home side were able to surge forward in numbers, and John Terry, back in the first team for the first time since their 3-2 defeat to Newcastle United at the start of the month after suffering a setback with his knee injury, marked his return in fine fashion with a headed effort that put his side 4-0 up and comfortably through to the fifth round with little under ten minutes to go.

The enigmatic David Luiz failed to see a 4-0 lead as a chance to play it safe and run out the clock and almost saw himself dismissed in the eighty-fifth minute after he cynically clattered into substitute Jake Reeves, the Brazilian keeping his eyes off the ball and firmly on the nineteen-year-old as he ran shoulder first into the youngster as he attempted one last attack for Brentford. Luiz got off with just a yellow card from referee Swarbrick, but, upon closer inspection, it could have easily warranted a far more harsh punishment.

A tale of two halves ended in an emphatic victory on paper for Chelsea, but, as those who were heartily singing the praises of former manager Roberto Di Matteo in the sixteenth minute know all too well, the scoreline doesn’t always tell the story, and for all of the silky smooth moves of players like Mata and Oscar that paper over the cracks, Rafa Benítez’s side are still missing something crucial.

If they are to challenge the two Manchester clubs for another Premier League title anytime soon, a lot of work still needs to be done.


Written by Ben Cullimore

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FA Cup Preview: Manchester United vs Fulham

Bulgarian superstar, Dimitar Berbatov returns to his old stomping ground this evening as his Fulham team take on former employers, Manchester United in an F.A Cup 4th Round tie that has the makings of a tasty encounter. It’s been 10 whole years since a Junichi Inamoto inspired Cottagers inflicted a painful loss on the Red Army. They wouldn’t mind another victory later this evening.

Fulham boss, Martin Jol holds the unenviable record of NEVER recording a win in all competitions against Sir Alex Ferguson. It hurts the Dutchman when he’s reminded of that by pressmen every time it is Manchester United he next faces. He will go all out tonight in the hope that he snatches his first win over the Red Devils and it will be even more pleasing at the Theatre of Dreams.

The likes of Giorgos Karagounis, John Arne Riise, Bryan Ruiz, Hugo Rodallega, Steve Sidwell, Brade Hangeland, and DIMITAR BERBATOV will be motivated as ever to send Manchester United out of the Cup and qualify for the 5th Round.

Easier said than done as they are aware of how daunting a task it is to beat Manchester United, talk more of doing it on their home turf.

The Red Devils, just back from their 4 day break in Doha-Qatar, are raring to go. Still reeling from the last gasp equaliser they conceded at the Lane six days ago, the team will want to put things right today vs the men from West London.


David De Gea was heavily criticised for being at fault for Clint Dempsey’s goal on Saturday, but will be expected to keep his place this evening except Fergie wants to reshuffle the pack with one eye on Southampton on Wednesday.

Sir Alex was absent from the trip to the far east. He stayed back to attended Celtic Legend, Sean Fallon’s Funeral and tie up the deal to bring Wilfried Zaha to Manchester United; goals he achieved with distinction. The Ivory Coast born attacker is heading to Old Trafford in July after an agreement was reached with present club, Crystal Palace on Friday.

The Red Devils have both form and history on their side as they haven’t lost in two months and sit atop the EPL table with a 5-point cushion over Manchester City. The F.A Cup is a different kettle of fish as it springs surprises season after season.




SAF will be without Darren Fletcher (out for the season), Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Ashley Young (knee). Asides these, he has a full squad to choose from, but might rest one of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic who have to be used wisely as very important fixtures come along in the next couple of weeks.

Lindegaard/DDG, Rafa/Jones, Vidic, Smalling, Buttner, Carrick, Scholes, Valencia, Nani, Kagawa/Rooney, RVP.



Dutchman, Jol will be without the services of Simon Davies (neck), Kerim Frei (groin) and Mahamadou Diarra who is still recuperating. Others have been passed fit with a clean bill of health.

Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Richardson, Duff, Karagounis, Sidwell, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, BERBATOV.


Written by Ohireime Eboreime

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Special Feature: Best Football Video Games of All Time

Over the years, many gaming companies have tried to cash in on the most popular sport in the world, football, and make a game that makes the player feel like he’s right there in the thick of the action. This has been attempted in many ways, from manager simulations to games where you control the team on the field and in many formats including arcade, console and PC games.


Championship Manager 01-02 (2000)

The Championship Manager franchise, (now Football Manager) dominated the manager simulation genre for years and peaked in the 2001 – 2002 season, according to many fans of the game. Later versions tend to be far more in-depth which does have obvious advantages, but detracts from the user-friendliness of the game. 01-02 has the perfect blend of difficulty, complexity and usability and is probably one of the most addictive games of all time.


Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (2005)

Each year since before the start of the century, the battle between FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer gets played out. While both have had their turn on top, in the middle of the last decade it was all about PES and in 2005, Konami out did themselves. Passing became more important making the game more realistic when it came to end of game results and tackling also changed with this version which added the need for higher skill levels amongst human players.


FIFA 09 (2008)

FIFA 09 is considered by many as the best ever installment of the most famous of all football game series and is the one that put the franchise back on top after a spell trailing to their arch rivals at PES. Over 250 changes were made to enhance the realism, gameplay and response times. Skill and ability stats became more important and even the more talented human players found controlling the players when performing tackles, passing etc. needed a little practice to perfect.


Kick-Off 2 (1990)

When Anco brought out Kick-Off 2 on the Atari ST, it was seen by many as the best football game ever. It had what was considered very accurate representations on the pitch and at least attempted to use real tactics and formations.


Sensible Soccer (1992)


In its day, Sensible Soccer by Amiga was the definitive football game. It had an innovative bird’s eye view and is still popular to this day amongst retro gamers. Stanford University compiled a list in 2007 for the Library of Congress detailing the 10 most important video games of all time and Sensible Soccer was the only football game on it.


Special Mention

Intellivision Soccer (1980)

Brought out by Mattel Electronics, Intellivision Soccer gets a special mention as it broke the mould and was way ahead of its time. It was the first to give the 3D effect, the isometric point of view and a scrolling pitch, all features that would be used extensively by other sports games for the next couple of decades.


Morgan is a Football lover and enthusiast. He also likes to bet sometimes in football matches. You can also find him writing in his personal blog called Free Bets.

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