Edwin Huxley - Saturday 04.05.13, 10:52am
Tweet #CatchTheMatch to get your free @NOWTVSport day pass
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You can find out more about #CatchTheMatch here where you can also see how many of your mates you need to bug to get tweeting before the codes get unlocked!
Make sure to tweet #CatchTheMatch to get your free @NOWTVSport day pass for the big matches this Sunday!
Edwin Huxley - Wednesday 10.04.13, 17:01pm
Over the years, France has provided the English Premier League with so many top talents, it is almost impossible to single out who among them is the best. One thing that is beyond question, though, is that amongst this list of talents are some of the greatest players ever to have graced the English top flight. From Arsene Wenger’s French influenced “Invincibles” era to Alan Pardew’s second coming of the French Revolution, France is well represented in the Premier League.
Here are some of the best French imports ever to have played in the league. Let’s start off with perhaps the most iconic French player to ever play in the Premier League, Eric Cantona.
Cantona’s time in England was a combination of sublime football, baffling quotes and explosive moments of madness. A four-time Premier League and two-time FA Cup winner with Manchester United, Cantona is to this day one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s best signings as United coach. He is truly the benchmark for all the Frenchmen who came after him.
A close second to Cantona is Thierry Henry. Henry arrived at Highbury relatively unheralded after a quiet spell in Italy, but he left the Emirates as a legend. In his time in the Premier League, Henry captured the imagination of English football with exquisite goals and sublime skill. He also led Arsene Wenger’s Gunners side of the early 2000s to back to back titles, including the Invincibles season, and three FA Cup triumphs, as well as a Champions League final. Henry thoroughly deserves his place among the best French imports, a true legend of Premier League football. Sports in France are as natural to French culture as croissants, and football remains as the number one sport. Participation is high, as is the interest; the French people are extremely passionate of their athletes. Such passion and support for the games has been a trademark for French sports fans throughout the world.
The same passion can also be seen in other up and coming games like poker. Over the past couple of years, the game of poker has become so popular worldwide that at times, it may seem impossible to avoid. It still takes place amid the glitter and glamour of some of the most fabulous casinos in the world, but is also now found on millions of laptops worldwide. Anyone with an internet connection can take a shot at the big time, thanks to the availability and ease of online poker. partypoker.com is one site that offers and provides one of the biggest rooms with tremendous player action at anytime of the day. It is one of the leading online poker sites which enjoy a huge player base and a proven track record in online gaming. Perhaps the same passion of the French people is also evident in their competitive spirit for the game and determined will to win ballgames.
Last, but certainly not the least on my list is Patrick Vieira. An inspirational leader on the pitch for both club and country, Vieira was one of the fulcrums of Wenger’s superb Gunners side. His control of the midfield was brilliant. A player who demonstrated a rare blend of power, speed, technical ability and leadership, Vieira is perhaps one of the greatest midfielders ever seen in the Premier League. He has become one of the all-time greats in Premier League history and showcases a compilation of great French talent.
Terry Lane - Saturday 30.03.13, 12:22pm
There is a full program in the Premier League today starting with the early kick-off at the Stadium Of Light where Sunderland host the champions elect, Manchester United.
With a win, Man Utd could go a staggering 18 points clear at the top of the Premier League and bag their twentieth league title. Manchester United have a good record at Sunderland who after a poor run of form find themselves just four points above the relegation zone and in serious danger of dropping out of the Premier League altogether.
Manchester City need to pick up maximum points against Newcastle if they are to fend off a rejuvenated Chelsea team who are currently in third place, just four points behind Roberto Mancini’s team. I think Man City v Newcastle is difficult to predict but you can check on some sports betting news before making any bets. Chelsea (away to Southampton), Tottenham (away to Swansea) and Arsenal (at home to Reading) now appear to be in a three-way dogfight for that all important third place and automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League.
Chelsea will confident of a victory at Southampton as new manager Mauricio Pochettino has won only two of eight games in charge of Southampton but the victories have come against top opposition in Manchester City and Liverpool.
Tottenham are currently in fourth place, four points ahead of Arsenal who have a game in hand. They go to Swansea who appear to be suffering from a hangover from winning the League Cup. Spurs know they need to win if they are going to hold onto 4th place from their north London rivals, as Arsenal face Reading who already look destined for relegation, even with the appointment this week of former Southampton manager, Nigel Adkins.
As we move towards April, aside from the formality of Manchester United being crowned champions, the top and the bottom of the Premier League is looking very exciting. To make it more so, I have placed an accumulator bet on Manchester United, Chelsea & West Ham (v West Brom) to win today. Fingers crossed.
Terry Lane - Friday 29.03.13, 16:35pm
It is clear that Rafa Benitez will not be given extended time, or rope to hang himself, further than the end of the English football season. Even if Chelsea win the FA Cup, Europa League and finish in third place in the Premier League to gain automatic qualification to next season’s Champions League ahead of their north London rivals Arsenal & Tottenham, there will be a new Chelsea manager leading the team out come August. But what isn’t clear is who the next short-term, full-time Chelsea Manager will be.
Two of the favourites have recently said they would love to return to the Premier League but have stopped short of stating they would love a return to Stamford Bridge to complete unfinished business – Guus Hiddink and the bookies overwhelming favourite, Jose Mourinho.
Jose Mourinho is still on course to win the Champions League for Real Madrid and become the first manager to win with three different clubs in three different countries. With Porto and Inter Milan he won the biggest prize of all. But with Chelsea he failed to deliver the goods that owner Roman Abramovich desires so much as Mourinho the tactical genius was thwarted by Liverpool and Barcelona, beating Chelsea at the semi-final stage. Since Mourinho’s departure Chelsea have reached the Champions League final twice with two managers that were then sacked.
In 2009 Guus Hiddink was courted by Roman Abramovich while he was the Russia national team coach. Hiddink’s experience and coaching tactics was well received by the players for the few months he remained as caretaker manager and led Chelsea to victory in the FA Cup. Hiddink is a man of his word and isn’t known for breaking contracts or walking out on an unfinished project. He decided to stay with Russia, and Chelsea turned to Carlo Ancellotti. From Russia Guus Hiddink spent one year coaching the Turkey national side before making a move back to Russia and club management in 2012 with big spending Anzhi Makhachkala.
According to reports, Jose Mourinhno has already had meetings with Chelsea about returning to Stamford Bridge which underlines why he has become the odds on favourite with the bookies ahead of Fabio Capello, David Moyes (12/1), and Gianfranco Zola, Guus Hiddink (14/1).
Zola maybe a Chelsea legend as a player, but he is too inexperienced for a club like Chelsea. While David Moyes, who has hinted on a possible move in the summer, has experience and admiration from other managers and players alike. But I would be surprised if Abramovich went for Moyes and Moyes for Chelsea. It’s about as unlikely as Liverpool’s Michael Owen signing for Manchester United!
Fabio Capello isn’t known for getting his team to play exciting football in the style of Barcelona, but then again nor is Jose Mourinho; and I can’t see why Abramovich would choose Capello over Hiddink. But one young manager who has caught the eye this season, and may well be courted by a big money move is Swansea’s Michael Laudrup (20/1) who has had the Swans playing exciting to watch football and in the process has won the League Cup in his first season in the English Premiership.
Finally, while Abramovich may have concerns about re-employing Mourinho, the fact that if he doesn’t Manchester City might, is probably reason to think again. So, who will be the next manager of Chelsea FC – Guus Hiddink or Jose Mourinho?
Terry Lane - Saturday 16.03.13, 12:03pm
While there were no representatives from the English Premier League in this season’s Champions League Quarter-finals, three teams continue to fly the flag in the Europa League. Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham beat difficult opposition on Thursday night and are now the favourites to win the cup in May.
Spurs almost threw away a 3-0 lead from the first leg. Without the suspended Gareth Bale it took extra-time to beat Inter Milan on the away goal rule courtesy of Emmanuel Adebayor after leaking three goals in normal time with a very poor display.
Newcastle squeezed past new Russian rich kids on the block, Anzhi with a last minute goal by Cisse to go through 1-0 over the two legs. Anzhi manager Guus Hiddink is now being linked to a return move to Chelsea after stating he would like to manage in the Premier League.
Chelsea played poorly in the first leg against Steau Bucharest and started the match at Stamford Bridge on Thursday with a 1-0 deficit. Steau started the match full of confidence as they are currently 12 points clear in the Romanian domestic league. Chelsea began well but found it hard to break down a strong, strict team. But eventually Chelsea got their break with a well worked goal from Juan Mata (33 min) that managed to deflect off the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net.
At this point it looked like Chelsea were in control of the tie. But just before half-time they let Steau Bucharest back into the driving sit when they equalised from a corner after some poor defending. The away goal rule meant Chelsea needed to score twice in the second half, if they were going to progress.
Returning captain John Terry (58 min) headed them back in front and Fernando Torres (71 min) put Chelsea further ahead with 20 minutes to go. Torres could have put the game to bed & boosted his confidence further but his penalty kick rebounded off the bar.
As with the FA Cup game last weekend against Manchester United, Chelsea took control of the match and deserved to progress into the Europa League quarter-finals but have been replaced by Tottenham as favourites to win the competition on bwinbetting.com.
Europa League Quarter-finals
Benefica v Newcastle United
Chelsea v Rubin Kazan
Fenerbahce v Lazio
Tottenham v FC Basel
All games to be played on Thursday 4th & 11th April.