Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Korean Strugglers Motor To Asian Final

Korean Strugglers Motor To Asian Final.
Korean Strugglers Motor To Asian Final

It wasn’t quite the final that the Asian Football Confederation would have had in mind last March as 28 teams from all over the giant continent kicked off the 2006 Asian Champions League.

The final between Syria’s Al Karama and South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, is like FC Copenhagen and Middlesbrough doing battle in the final of UEFA’s equivalent competition. The unfashionable teams meet on November 1 and 8 to battle it out for the continental championship.

An added bonus is that the victorious team will represent Asia a month later at FIFA’s Club World Club Championship. A victory over ten-time Mexican champions Club America would earn either Jeonbuk or Al Karama a semi-final with European champions Barcelona.

Football is nothing if not a funny old game as Jeonbuk have shown this season. The 2005 Korean FA Cup winners wanted to withdraw from the competition in April as parent company Hyundai Motors ordered them to cut costs. With the travel expenses involved in traveling to China, Japan and Vietnam in the first rounds, the Motors fingered the Champions League as an unnecessary drain on resources.

Upon learning of the financial penalty that would incurred upon withdrawal, the team from the medium-sized south-western city of Jeonju changed their plans. According to the laws of football, their progress to the final has since looked increasingly inevitable. That impression has been reinforced a number of times so far in the competition as on four occasions the team has been on the brink of elimination only to progress in dramatic fashion.

After coming back twice to defeat Japanese champions Gamba Osaka, the last game of the group stage saw the Motors trailing at home 1-0 to Dalian Shide with 25 minutes left in a game they had to win.

Three goals in the remaining time sent the Korean team through to the last eight. While the money men may have winced on the sidelines, the diehard fans known as the “Mad Green Boys” were singing and dancing the whole game and not just because they had been promised a new clubhouse if Jeonbuk win the title.

In Asian football, topping a group containing the Chinese and Japanese champions is not to be sneezed at, particularly for a team that has struggled in the domestic 2005 and 2006 K-League campaign. A 3-0 defeat the Sunday prior to the first leg, sent Jeonbuk to the bottom.

Jeonbuk’s Jekyll-and-Hyde season continued. After being treated to many poor and unimaginative displays domestically, the club’s fans had a hard time recognising the aggressive, imaginative and intense football on those Wednesday evenings.

There was too much aggression on show in the first leg of the quarter-final at Shanghai Shenhua as influential midfielders Botti and Kim Hyeung-bom were sent off in the Hongkou Stadium. The Koreans were relieved to head home with just a fine Gao Lin goal separating the two teams. The in-form striker struck again in the second leg and all hope seemed to disappear as Jeonbuk needed three goals to win. They got four though the sending off of Li Weifeng no doubt helped their cause.

Jeonbuk found themselves in the semi-final and pitted against fellow K-Leaguers Ulsan Hyundai Horang-I. The Tigers were strong favourites and it was easy to see why.

Lee Chun-soo.
After Lee Chun-soo returned from Spain in July 2005, Ulsan steamrolled their way to the title at the end of the year with the winger in excellent form. In August’s East Asian Champions Cup, the team destroyed the Japanese and Chinese title holders with a 6-0 thrashing of Gamba Osaka in Yokohama followed by a 4-0 win over Dalian Shide. The quarter-final of the Champions League brought the supposedly dangerous Saudi Arabian champs to town. However, Al Shabab went back to Riyadh devastated that they had been thrashed 6-0, and relieved that it wasn’t more. The Tigers won 1-0 in the return leg in the Saudi capital and then 3-2 in the first leg of the semi-final at Jeonbuk.

Naturally, with a 3-2 win and home advantage to follow, the smart money was on Ulsan to negotiate the second leg with the minimum of fuss and book a place in the final. Club officials were already talking about the potential scheduling clash of the Club World Championship and the Doha Asian Games.

They needn’t have worried as the usually tight back-line went AWOL twice in the first half to allow two unchallenged Jeonbuk players to head home. With their noses in front, the Motors never looked back. Ulsan had a hatful of chances but the visitors made the trip westwards across the southern half of the Korean peninsula with a 4-1 victory and a place in the final.

Now Jeonbuk are in the final, it is difficult to predict what will happen. The team has come so far against the odds that there is a danger that, with the prize so close, they may fall on their faces.

Don't bet on it though.

Copyright: John Duerden & Soccerphile

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Monday, October 30, 2006

J-League Results & Standings October 30 2006

Urawa Reds lost for the first time in two months on Saturday - 3-2 away to Jubilo Iwate, a result which breathed new life into the J-League title race.

Nearest challengers Gamba Osaka recorded a 3-0 home win, against fourth place Shimizu S-Pulse, in front of the Bampaku Stadium faithful, to close the gap at the top of the J-League to just three points.

Third place Kawasaki Frontale kept up the pressure at the top with a 2-0 home win over Kyoto Purple Sanga - a result that sent Kyoto to the bottom of the standings, as fellow cellar-dwellers Avispa and Cerezo, both managed 1-0 wins away against Albirex Niigata and Kofu Ventforet respectively.

Oita Trinita beat Kashima Antlers at home in Oita Stadium on Saturday to remain in seventh, one place below Antlers.

J-League Results and Standings October 30 2006.


Saturday 28 October

Jubilo Iwate 3 Urawa Reds 2
Omiya Ardija 0 FC Tokyo 2
Venforet Kofu 0 Cerezo Osaka 1
Nagoya Gampus Eight 2 JEF United 1
Kawasaki Frontale 2 Kyoto Purple Sanga 0
Sanfrecce 3 Yokohama F Marinos 0
Albirex Niigata 0 Avispa Fukuoka 1

Sunday 29 October

Gamba Osaka 3 Shimizu S-Pulse 0
Oita Trinita 2 Kashima Antlers 0

Leading Positions

Reds P29 Pts 62
Gamba P29 Pts 59
Frontale P29 Pts 58
S-Pulse P29 Pts 50
Jubilo P29 Pts 46
Antlers P29 Pts 46

J2

Vissel Kobe P43 Pts 84
Yokohama FC P43 Pts 83
Reysol P43 Pts 79
Vegalta Sendai P424 Pts 70
Sagan P42 Pts 67

J.League News

Japanese soccer betting tips

Friday, October 27, 2006

English Soccer Betting October 2006

English Soccer Betting October 2006.
A relegation three pointer is live on television in the form of Newcastle vs Charlton on Saturday evening, while Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United will form many banker trebles this weekend as they all tackle opponents they will be expected to beat writes David Walker.

Saturday 28 October

Sheffield United vs Chelsea
The Blades get another lunch time airing on live television, this time against reigning champions Chelsea. There is no point in previewing this match in too much detail as the expected outcome is obvious. Chelsea have won 10 out of their last 11 matches in all competitions and a 1-0, or 2-0 victory is the call.
Walker's Word
1x2: Chelsea @ 3/10 (VCBet)
AH: Chelsea – 1 ¼ @ 33/40 (Bet365)
OU: Under 2.5 goals @ 4/5 (Paddy Power)

Arsenal vs Everton
Not much to say here apart from history is very much on Arsene Wenger's side. Arsenal have won the last 10 at home against Everton and 13 out of 15 in North London since the Premiership's inception. Nine matches have finished over 2.5 goals with the Gunners netting four goals past the hapless Toffees on as many occasions and spanking them 7-0 in 2005. Home banker material.
Walker's Word
1x2: Arsenal @ 2/5 (Ladbrokes)
AH: Arsenal – 1 ¼ @ 21/20 (Bet365)
OU: Over 2.5 goals @ 9/10 (VCBet)

Bolton Wanderers vs Manchester United
With Chelsea facing a relatively easy task in the steel city, Manchester United face a sterner test at Bolton. Sam Allardyce's side have won their last four matches, notably against Liverpool and away to Newcastle, conceding just one goal in the process. United have won their last three and beat Liverpool comfortably last weekend. United have won four of their last seven visits to Bolton and are unbeaten against the Trotters on their own turf in the Premiership.
Walker's Word
1x2: United @ 10/11 (Betfred)
AH: United – ½ @ 9/10 (Bet365)
OU: Under 2.5 goals @ 8/11 (Paddy Power)

Fulham vs Wigan Athletic
Fulham, unbeaten in their last three, are relishing life in the top 10 of the Premiership while last season's surprise package Wigan are hovering dangerously above the relegation zone. However, Wigan will be buoyed by the 4-0 thrashing of Manchester City last week, their first win in seven matches and could earn a point at Craven Cottage.
Walker's Word
1x2: Draw @ 9/4 (UK Betting)
AH: Wigan + ½ @ 4/5 (Bet365)
OU: Over 2.5 goals @ 11/10 (VCBet)

Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Liverpool will not look forward to facing a remarkably still unbeaten Aston Villa side this weekend. The Reds, languishing in 11th place, have lost two of their last three Premiership matches while the Villains are the only undefeated side left in the top four divisions. Villa have drawn their last three matches 1-1 and a similar result could be achieved at Anfield.
Walker's Word
1x2: Draw @ 5/2 (VCBet)
AH: Villa + ¾ @ 21/20 (Bet365)
OU: Under 2.5 goals @ 4/6 (Paddy Power)

Portsmouth vs Reading
Both Portsmouth and Reading are battling to maintain their top 10 positions but honours could go to the home side on Saturday. Both sides will feel the effects of Carling Cup ties in the week but Pompey's excellent home form, which has seen them win three out of four matches at Fratton Park this season, will see them through.
Walker's Word
1x2: Portsmouth @ 17/20 (VCBet)
AH: Portsmouth – ½ @ 37/40 (Bet365)
OU: Over 2.5 goals @ 11/10 (Bet365)

Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur
Watford are still waiting for their first Premiership win but have proven to be tough competition as five draws in nine matches so far suggests. Tottenham are struggling in mid table but are improving. They have won two of their last three Premiership matches and five of their last six in all competitions and could well condemn the Hornets to just their second home defeat of the season.
Walker's Word
1x2: Spurs @ 11/10 (Betfred)
AH: Spurs – ¼ @ 17/20 (Bet365)
OU: Over 2.5 goals @ Evens (VCBet)

Newcastle United vs Charlton Athletic
A televised teatime relegation six pointer. The last two encounters at St James' Park between this pair have been drawn but given Charlton's dire predicament I can't see anything other than a home win. The Addicks are rooted to the foot of the table and are winless in six Premiership matches. Newcastle have also lost four of their last five in the league but Charlton's dismal away record stands out. They are winless in 18 trips on the road and have dropped 50 points out of 54 available in the last year.
Walker's Word
1x2: Newcastle @ 4/5 (Coral)
AH: Newcastle – ½ @ 4/5 (Bet365)
OU: Over 2.5 goals @ Evens (VCBet)

Sunday 29 October

West Ham United vs Blackburn Rovers
West Ham need to stop the rot if they are to avoid relegation this season. They have lost their last eight matches in a row and it's 11 since they last saw a win. Marlon Harewood's goal in the humiliating 2-1 Carling Cup defeat at Chesterfield was the first goal the Hammers scored in eight matches. Blackburn are showing decent form, despite losing to Bolton last weekend, but have not won at Upton Park since 1994. A draw may be the sensible option here.
Walker's Word
1x2: Draw @ 9/4 (UK Betting)
AH: Blackburn level ball @ 23/20 (Bet365)
OU: Under 2.5 goals @ 4/6 (VCBet)

Monday 30 October

Manchester City vs Middlesbrough
Manchester City are unbeaten in the league at home this season while Middlesbrough have not won on their travels. Simple case of a home win then? Wrong. Manchester City have not beaten Middlesbrough in seven home Premiership attempts, with Boro winning the match 1-0 on four occasions since the top flight was established in 1992/93. This remarkable statistic cannot be ignored.
Walker's Word
1x2: Middlesbrough @ 21/10 (VCBet)
AH: Middlesbrough + ¼ @ 7/8 (Bet365)
OU: Under 2.5 goals @ 4/6 (Paddy Power)

English Premiership Betting


David Walker is the resident tipster at a popular free bets website. Feature Walker's Word on your own website, blog or forum for free each week.

Flappy Girth Day To Roo

I’m not obsessed with celebrity, but I feel I have a genuine connection with Paul McCartney. Admittedly, I have no musical talent, and I’d happily kill my own mother for a bacon sandwich; but I know what it’s like to get grief from a legless woman.

Coincidentally, Martin Jol has a lot in common with the former Beatle; they’re only successful thanks to Lennon. With young Aaron back to full fitness, Spurs receive a confident nod at 6/5 to leave Watford with three points.

I’ve seen some tough cookies in my time, but I’ve never seen a man bite into a hammer. Sink your teeth into the 6/1 about Jermain Defoe netting the opener.

Chelsea have travelled to Bramall Lane twice before in the Premiership and lost both times. In my opinion, that stat’s about as useful as Titus Bramble. It’s fair to say that the result of the Sheffield United v Chelsea match is a foregone conclusion; Chelsea are stone cold certainties at 4/11.

I tried replicating the match on a computer game last night, but the PC blew up when Shevchenko shared a pitch with Danny Shittu. The Shevvy looks a racing certainty to score at any time at even money.

Jose Mourinho has been accused of not telling the complete truth this week, which is like accusing a bear of being hairy. With Neil Warnock on the scene, there’s as much chance of it going off on the touchline as there is on the pitch, I’d be lying if I said that the 5/2 for a player or manager to be sent off wasn’t appealing.

Jamie Carragher is having sleepless nights as a result of Liverpool’s poor start to the season; I’m also struggling to get my head down at night. Stevie ‘overdue a transfer request’ Gerrard is apparently unhappy with life under Benitez, the Villa can leave Anfield with a point at 13/5.

Brett Emerton claims that morale at Blackburn is exceptionally high thanks to Robbie Savage's practical jokes. (I particularly like the one where he goes down clutching his face for no apparent reason.) Blackburn will be without the hilarious blonde for the trip to a struggling West Ham; you have to back the Rovers at 9/5.

Arsenal have announced that Cesc Fabregas has signed a new eight year contract; even Jamie Theakston hasn’t been tied up for that long. Everton have been on the end of a few proper spankings at the hands of the Gunners in recent years; Arsenal are the weekend nap at 4/9 to whip them again.

David Moyes would give his right arm to leave the Emirates with a point, but that trade has only ever come off for Heather Mills. The Toffeemen have conceded 26 goals on their last 7 visits to Highbury, a 3-0 win for the Gunners tempts at 9/1.

Man City were absolutely murdered by an average Wigan team last week; Beenie should never have let Pearce pick the team. Ben Thatcher returns to the fold for City, Middlesbrough can snatch a point at a (forearm) smashing 9/4.

Newspapers can often make mistakes. I saw a headline of ‘Heskey scores a wonder goal’ last weekend; of course it should have read, ‘Heskey scores a goal…wonders will never cease’. Fulham v Wigan is a great fixture for trend followers; the team playing at home have won the last eight matches. The Cottagers are over priced at 11/10.

Iain Dowie is like the sun, you should never look directly at him. I’m guessing that the strain must be showing as a result of Charlton’s woeful form, Newcastle are the call at 4/5 to add to Dowie’s season of woe.

Andy Cole has announced that he wishes to be known as ‘Andrew’ from now on. Andy and Kanu are doing incredibly well for Pompey; I find it incredible that they haven’t had a hip replaced. Portsmouth have an easy looking match on paper at home to Reading; I fancy the draw at 12/5 if played on grass.

Coleen McLoughlin deserves a lot of credit; when faced with the mind-bending question of what do you give a man who has everything; she avoided the easy answer of ‘Slim-Fast’. Rooney’s 21st birthday celebrations will not be dampened at the Reebok, Man U will see off the Wanderers at 10/11.

This week’s accer is so cute, Madonna is considering adopting it. Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, Fulham and Tottenham are the selections, the payout is a curvaceous 14/1.



Weekend Betting:

Sheff Utd v Chelsea Saturday 28th October 12:45 Live on Premiership Plus

Sheff Utd 11/1
Draw 4/1
Chelsea 4/11

Get on: Chelsea

Match Special:
Chelsea to win 2-0 11/2

Arsenal v Everton Saturday 28th October 15:00

Arsenal 4/9
Draw 10/3
Everton 8/1

Get on: Arsenal

Match Special:
Fabregas to score at any time 7/2

Bolton v Man Utd Saturday 28th October 15:00

Bolton 7/2
Draw 23/10
Man Utd 10/11

Get on: Man Utd

Match Special:
Scholes to score with a header 7/1

Fulham v Wigan Saturday 28th October 15:00

Fulham 11/10
Draw 9/4
Wigan 11/4

Get on: Fulham

Match Special:
Fulham to win and keep a clean sheet 12/5

Liverpool v Aston Villa Saturday 28th October 15:00

Liverpool 8/13
Draw 13/5
Aston Villa 11/2

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
Steven Gerrard to be booked 11/4

Portsmouth v Reading Saturday 28th October 15:00

Portsmouth 5/6
Draw 12/5
Reading 7/2

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
No goalscorer in the match 17/2

Watford v Tottenham Saturday 28th October 15:00

Watford 13/5
Draw 23/10
Tottenham 6/5

Get on: Tottenham

Match Special:
Tottenham to score three or more goals 4/1

Newcastle v Charlton Saturday 28th October 17:15 Live on Premiership Plus

Newcastle 4/5
Draw 12/5
Charlton 7/2

Get on: Newcastle

Match Special:
Duff to score the only goal of the game 50/1

West Ham v Blackburn Sunday 29th October 16:00 Live on Sky

West Ham 6/4
Draw 9/4
Blackburn 9/5

Get on: Blackburn

Match Special:
McCarthy to score two or more goals 8/1

Man City v Middlesbrough Monday 30th October 20:00 Live on Sky

Man City 11/8
Draw 9/4
Middlesbrough 2/1

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
Thatcher to be booked 15/8

Copyright (c) Gerry McDonnell & soccerphile.com

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dick Advocaat Interview

Dick Advocaat.
It is already four months since South Korea exited the World Cup at the first round. The-then coach Dick Advocaat watched with frustration as his team was defeated 2-0 in Hanover by Switzerland.

As the referee Horacio Elizondo, not the most popular Argentine with most Koreans (or with Wayne Rooney and Zinedine Zidane), blew the whistle to signal the end of the Taeguk Warriors・World Cup dreams for another four years, he also called time on the Dutchman's short reign in East Asia.

Advocaat headed east to take control on October 1 2005 after predecessor and compatriot Jo Bonfrere resigned in August and after the World Cup ended, he moved back west to take the helm of Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg.

Why did you leave Korea? Why didn't you stay after the World Cup?

I had the opportunity to go into club management. Apart from a short period, I had spent the last four years with national teams and I just wanted to return to a club.

I had a really, really great time in Korea ・honestly. I enjoyed it but I missed a little bit the daily concerns, worries, work. I had an opportunity to build a new team here and that was the main reason.

But you never know, after this maybe I will return to international coaching.

Did you decide to go to Petersburg before the World Cup?

I decided after because I had some doubts but I am really enjoying it and I thought that it was a good thing to do.

The Korean Football Association wanted you to continue?

They had to give me an answer before a certain date but I don't think it would have been a problem staying on because the results were excellent and everybody was happy.

Do you miss Korea?

Now I really miss Korea, now I realise what a great time I had there. I miss it a lot. These days I miss the company with Pim (Verbeek), Afshin (Ghotbi), (Hyong Myung) Bo and a lot of people there.

We talked a lot about life, about football, about Korea and about the team. The way we worked with the national team was really great. Now I have different opportunities and challenges as well.

About a month after the World Cup the KFA technical committee had a public review of the World Cup. They paid you some compliments ・training and leadership among other things. They also criticised some aspects of the World Cup. One was the sudden change to a three-man defence for the Togo after spending most of the build-up with a four-man defence.

Well, I did hear about it. I was surprised at the criticism. For us, it was all about winning. We thought that it was better to play against Togo with three. We discussed it and at the final moment decided that it was better to play with three to get the result we need.

We knew that we could do it because we had played it before. We knew that we could play with four or three and at that time we thought it was better to play with three.

Another criticism was that the team was too defensive, too negative in the last ten minutes against Togo when it was 2-1 against ten men・

That's what I don't understand - at all. We were lucky to be winning in that game because it was not our planned game. We came back from 1-0, it was not what we planned.

Against France and against Switzerland we played much, much better than we played against Togo. At least we were winning 2-1.

On the other hand people forget that we didn't know at that time the other scores. The other teams had the advantage to play later than us. Even Switzerland, who knew that they had to score an extra goal, could only score in the last minute.

So, in both ways, I totally disagree with the KFA. Criticism is OK, I have no problem with that so we can make each other better. I haven't got a problem if they criticize me about a lot of things but not about the Togo game because in that game we came back from 1-0 down, we were not winning the game.

On the bench, we were really happy that we were winning. If we start to take risks then it can be 2-2.

If you see the risks we took against France and Switzerland - not a lot of coaches would do what we did in both games- by attacking in both games.

How did it make you feel to be criticised in that way?

I don't have a problem with criticism but they should also tell it to me.

Did they tell you at any time?

No, they didn't

What about the France and especially the Switzerland game?

Until the moment Switzerland scored the first goal and it was an excellent goal - until that time we were equal. Both sides were attacking and both sides had periods in control.

In the second half we outplayed them - well, perhaps outplayed is a bit strong - but we were the much better side and deserved much more than losing 2-0.

In that way, the players from 2002 were not at their best form in the tournament.

Park Ji-sung, for whatever reason, didn't bring the same things that we know he could bring. Park was a key player of our preparation - and nobody knows this - he was essential in our plans to start with four at the back because then he can play as an attacking midfielder.

But when he came we saw that physically he couldn't handle that, then we had to change the system.

He came with an injury, he couldn't train at the beginning. He was on and off and physically he wasn't in the best shape. I still really like him as a player because I know what he can do but he couldn't do it because of physical problems and, on paper, he was our key player.

What about Ahn Jung-hwan? - he was a substitute in all three games.

Yes, we started with three because we thought it had the right balance and everybody would know what they had to do. So the central position was between Ahn and Cho Jae-jin. Cho is more suited to the system, Ahn is a deeper striker and more suited to the 4-4-2 system. I still think Ahn did really well for the team when he came on.

Would you consider taking him to St. Petersburg? He's a free agent.

Not at the moment - we have to try more Russian players. I believe in Ahn but I would have to look at him over a long time and I can't take that risk.

After the World Cup did you have any other offers?

Yes I did but you know me well enough to know that I won't say. This was the best opportunity for me. I am not going to say 的 could have gone to Blackburn・ There are enough other coaches doing that.

You took Lee Ho and Kim Dong-jin with you. Why those two players?

I really liked both not only as football players but also their temperament and qualities. Secondly, their personalities of those players are well suited to playing in Europe and Russia. I have made the right choice as both of them are doing very well.

Recently you picked Lee Ho on the left side of midfield...

Yes I did. I bought a player in Ricksen is his name. He's a very strong player, he played for Glasgow Rangers so I moved Lee Ho to the left side.

Do you think he'll play there for the foreseeable future?

I don't know, I don't know. The left side is a little bit more difficult for him than the right side but he has the talent to do well there.

How was 2006 World Cup different than your previous experiences?

The people around me made it so comfortable and enabled the team to perform well. As I said, I really enjoyed my time in Korea.

Unfortunately it didn't happen but I think we were very, very close and we deserved more than losing 2-0 to Switzerland. I was very proud about beating Togo and drawing against France which will not happen too many times.

The Switzerland game could have gone either way and the way in which we played in the second half, we deserved something from the game.

Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance again?

As I said, we wanted to use a four-man defence to put Park behind the striker but unfortunately that didn't work out because of his physical strength.

We worked really hard to get excellent results in Korea, good results at the World Cup and we were so close to reaching the last sixteen.

We took a lot of risks to go on the tour at the start of the year. We went away to face Finland, Croatia, Costa Rica and Mexico and travelled so much. We did lose but mostly we won. I was very, very happy with everything.

What about the fans?

For me, it was such a great experience. I really admire the fans of Korea and the way they always got behind us. Even in the Switzerland game when we were losing , that really brought a lot of emotions.

Copyright: John Duerden & Soccerphile

K-League News and Interviews

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Japanese Soccer News October 2006

Japanese Soccer News October 2006.
Japanese Soccer News
J-League News: Gamba choke as Urawa extend lead at the top

There was a drama charged round of J-League matches here at the weekend, as Gamba Osaka inexplicably let a two goal lead slip away at FC Tokyo. Gamba's loss and the point gained by Urawa in their hard-fought 2-2 at home to Kawasaki Frontale means that Urawa are now six points clear of Gamba Osaka with six games remaining.

At Saitama Stadium, more than 50,000 fans created an intimidating atmosphere as third-placed Kawasaki Frontale took on Urawa in arguably the biggest match of the season. Frontale were far from overawed, despite going behind to an early Washington goal. It was the prolific Brazilian striker's twentieth goal of the season in just twenty J-League matches. Frontale responded with a penalty from their own Brazilian striker Juninho, before taking the lead through midfielder Kengo Nakamura's bullet header. It was another Brazilian, Robson Ponte, who had the final say, poking home after Nobuhisa Yamada had sliced through the Frontale defence.

The other big match of the round took place on Sunday, as Gamba Osaka clashed with struggling FC Tokyo at Ajinomoto Stadium. Osaka surged into a two goal lead after strikes from Ryuji Bando and Magno Alves and with twenty minutes remaining, looked certain to hold on for a comfortable victory. The momentum of the match suddenly shifted when Bando was substituted after seventy-two minutes. The Japan striker took an eternity to leave the pitch, cynically attempting to run down the clock and ultimately being dragged off by referee Hajime Matsuo. Bando's unsporting behaviour incensed the 36,000 strong home crowd and fired up the hitherto listless FC Tokyo team. They struck back with a vengeance, firing home three unanswered goals in the space of eight minutes and all but ending Gamba Osaka's hopes of defending their J-League crown.

Elsewhere Omiya Ardija recorded a vital victory, defeating JEF United 3-1 at the Fukuda Arena in Chiba - just one week after an under-strength United had thrashed Kashima Antlers 4-0 on the road. Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Tatsunori Hisanaga and new signing Alison scored the goals for Omiya, as they won for the first time in twelve matches.

At the foot of the table, Cerezo Osaka consigned Kyoto Purple Sanga to last place after their 4-2 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Yoshito Okubo was the key man, scoring a brace for Cerezo as they swapped places with Kyoto at the bottom of the J-League.

Avispa Fukuoka were the other basement team desperate for a win, and they beat Jubilo Iwata 2-1 to record their third home victory in succession. The win lifts Fukuoka into the all-important relegation/promotion play-off in 16th place. If they finish in this position at the end of the season, they will play off against the third-placed J2 side for a place in the First Division next season.

Currently Kashiwa Reysol occupy third place in J2. They had a bye in the last round of J2 matches but can move within a point of second placed Yokohama FC, if they beat Yokohama at home in the next round of matches.

Vissel Kobe are in prime position to make a swift return to the top flight. They lead the J2 standings with 83 points and hammered Consadole Sapporo 4-1, in front of more than 18,500 fans partisan fans at the Sapporo Dome.

Players Overseas

Mitsuo Ogasawara: Messina

Ogasawara opened his goalscoring account for Messina with a neat half-volley in their 2-2 draw at home to Empoli.

Masashi Oguro: Torino

Oguro did not feature in their weekend draw away to Cagliari but could play in midweek against Fiorentina.

Takayuki Morimoto: Catania

The youngster has impressed with four goals for Catania's youth team so far this season, and is expected to feature in Serie A in the near future.

Koji Nakata: FC Basel

Nakata suffered a broken nose in Basel's victory over FC St. Gallen at the weekend and will be out for an as yet undetermined length of time.

Teruo Iwamato - Auckland City

Auckland City have announced the short term signing of former Japan international striker Teruo Iwamoto. Iwamoto joins on a deal similar to the one which saw Kazu Miura play for Sydney FC last season, and will feature in the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, as well as the New Zealand Football Championship.

Japan National Teams

Japan under-23 National Team

The Japan Football Association has announced a strong squad to represent Japan at the upcoming 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. The tournament is restricted to under-23 players but still features plenty of J-League experience in the likes of Oita Trinita's Shusaku Nishikawa, Shimizu S-Pulse's Naoki Aoyama, Keisuke Honda of Nagoya Grampus Eight and Sota Hirayama of FC Tokyo.

Japan under-20 National Team

The JFA also announced the squad for the AFC Youth Championship, which kicks off in Bangalore, India on October 29. The squad includes Kashima Antlers' Atsuto Uchida, Tsukasa Umesaki of Oita Trinita and Sanfrecce Hiroshima's Yosuke Kashiwagi, among others. Japan are expected to finish as one of the top four teams in the tournament and thereby qualify for next year's FIFA under-20 World Cup in Canada.

Yamazaki Nabisco League Cup

J-League officials announced on October 17 that all tickets for the League Cup Final at Tokyo's National Stadium had been sold. Around 60,000 fans will pack into 'Kasumigaoka' on November 3 to watch defending champions JEF United take on Kashima Antlers for the League Cup trophy.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

J.League-Table October 2006

Urawa Reds were held to a 2-2 draw at home by third-placed Frontale on Saturday, which kept the Kawasaki outfit still in with a slim chance of lifting the title with six games remaining.

J.League top scorer Washington opened the scoring for Urawa but Juninho and Kengo Nakamura replied for Frontale either side of the break before Ponte levelled for the home side at Saitama Stadium.

At the bottom Kyoto Purple Sanga managed a 1-1 draw at home to Oita Trinita and Avispa Fukuoka also won 2-1 against Jubilo as the race for the play-off spot against the J2 third place team intensifies.

Japanese soccer news.


Saturday 21 October

Venforet Kofu 2 Nagoya Gampus Eight 1
Kyoto Purple Sanga 1 Oita Trinita 1
JEF United 1 Omiya Ardija 3
Yokohama F Marinos 2 Kashima Antlers 1
Shimizu S-Pulse 1 Albirex Niigata 1
Avispa Fukuoka 2 Jubilo Iwate 1
Urawa Reds 2 Kawasaki Frontale 2


Leading Positions

Reds P28 Pts 62
Gamba P27 Pts 56
Frontale P28 Pts 55
S-Pulse P28 Pts 50
Antlers P28 Pts 46

J2

Yokohama FC P42 Pts 82
Vissel Kobe P41 Pts 80
Reysol P42 Pts 78
Vegalta Sendai P42 Pts 68
Sagan P42 Pts 67


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Anita's Premiership Predictions

Subscribe to Soccerphile's Football astrological predictions --- the results as seen in the team's stars. Compiled by noted Indian astrologer Anita Nigam.


21/10/2006



Wigan Athletic vs Manchester City


Manchester City will dominate over Wigan Athletic but with divine support, Wigan Athletic will be the winner. If Wigan Athletic could not grab the opportunity of divine support then it will be the draw.

English Premiership Betting

Anita is the resident astrologer for Soccerphile - Anita predicts on all sporting events.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Australia-v-Ghana

Australia-v-Ghana
Australia will face Ghana in a friendly international at QPR's Loftus Road ground on November 14. Federation Football Australia announced the Socceroos will take on the 24th ranked African team as part of their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup finals in July 2007.

Interim Australia coach Graham Arnold expects his team to face a stern test against Ghana, who reached the second stage of this summer's World Cup finals in Germany before bowing out to Brazil.

London is becoming an increasingly popular place for overseas teams to stage friendlies and both Australia and Ghana have played friendly internationals in the UK.

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Buffon to Chelsea

Buffon to Chelsea.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianlugi Buffon could be on his way to Chelsea as a replacement for Petr Cech, who is likely to miss the rest of the English Premiership season with a serious head injury sustained in last Saturday's match against Reading.

Back-up keeper Carlo Cudicini was also concussed in the same game and was forced to sit out Chelsea's mid-week Champions League win over Barcelona.

Buffon is presently playing in Serie B following his side's demotion to Italy's second tier following a corruption scandal at the club.

Italy's 28-year old keeper is considered one of the best in his position in the world.

Soccer News

Friday, October 20, 2006

English Premier League Betting

Old rivalries and derby matches galore will be played out across two days this weekend. Expect bottom clubs Charlton and Watford to do each other no favours at The Valley on Saturday, while Sunday could produce upsets at Old Trafford and the Riverside Stadium at large odds writes David Walker.

Saturday 21 October

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester City
Last season these teams were involved in a ding-dong Boxing Day encounter which finished 4-3 in Wigan’s favour. At the moment, Manchester City are fairing better than Paul Jewell’s side in the league, in 12th position on nine points compared to 17th and five points but with two inconsistent teams, home advantage could prevail
Walker’s Word
1x2: Wigan @ 13/10 (UK Betting)
AH: Wigan – ¼ @ 41/40 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ 5/4 (VCBet)

Charlton Athletic vs Watford
It’s the battle at the bottom of the Premiership as last placed Charlton tackle London rivals Watford, themselves just one place and one point better off. This will be a match that neither side want to lose and as a result could end in a draw which won’t benefit either of them.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Draw @ 12/5 (VCBet)
AH: Watford + ½ @ 9/10 (Ladbrokes)
OU: Over @ 11/10 (Bet365)

Chelsea vs Portsmouth
One for the big hitters who will plough into Chelsea at odds on. Despite Portsmouth’s lofty position in the league in which they are just three points behind Jose Mourinho’s side there will only be one winner. For those of you who don’t want to bet on Chelsea at short odds, taking Portsmouth on the handicap or backing under 2.5 goals could be profitable at a better price.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Chelsea @ 1/4 (Betfred)
AH: Portsmouth + 1 ½ @ 4/5 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 4/5 (VCBet)

Everton vs Sheffield United
After a run of four matches without victory, Everton will see this match against the struggling Blades as a must win. Neil Warnock’s side are just outside the relegation zone in 16th, but are unbeaten in their last two matches. The bookmakers fancy an Everton cakewalk but it won’t be as easy as the odds suggest.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Everton @ 4/7 (VCBet)
AH: Everton – 1 @ 28/25 (Ladbrokes)
OU: Under @ 4/6 (Bet365)

Aston Villa vs Fulham
Both Aston Villa and Fulham are enjoying life in the top half of the table after several seasons in the doldrums but the smart money will be on the home side this weekend. Martin O’Neill’s side are not only unbeaten this season but they have won four of the last five encounters against Fulham at Villa Park, apart from last season which finished goalless.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Aston Villa @ 8/11 (Paddy Power)
AH: Villa – ¾ @ 43/40 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 8/11 (VCBet)

Sunday 22 October

Manchester United vs Liverpool
The jewel in the Premiership fixture list this weekend is undoubtedly United vs Liverpool. Top of the table United tackle stuttering Liverpool who have dropped points against Bolton and Blackburn in their last two matches. However, there could be an upset on the cards. Liverpool have won three of their last six visits to Old Trafford by a single goal and United have already lost at home to Arsenal this season.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Liverpool @ 7/2 (VCBet)
AH: Liverpool + ½ @ 43/50 (Ladbrokes)
OU: Over @ 7/5 (Bet365)

Blackburn Rovers vs Bolton Wanderers
This derby fixture is often very tight with few goals to cheer. It finished goalless twice last season and produced two 1-0 away wins the season before. In fact, this encounter has produced home and away draws in three of the last five Premiership seasons and that is not a trend I would want to back against.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Draw @ 11/5 (Coral)
AH: Bolton + ¼ @ 4/5 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 4/7 (VCBet)

Middlesbrough vs Newcastle
In the North East derby Middlesbrough will have their work cut out against Newcastle. Middlesbrough have not beaten Newcastle for three seasons at the Riverside Stadium, with recent results finishing in two wins for the Magpies and a 2-2 draw sandwiched in between. Neither side has any form of note, which makes the odds on Glenn Roeder’s side all the more tempting.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Newcastle @ 19/10 (VCBet)
AH: Newcastle level ball @ 9/8 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ 11/10 (VCBet)

Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United
The second London derby of the weekend sees struggling Spurs against relegation threatened West Ham. The bookmakers fancy a home win but it’s worth pointing out that this encounter has produced only five Premiership wins for Spurs in 11 matches played so the odds on about them does not look too appealing, despite how poorly the Hammers have faired in recent weeks. A tight match is expected, with six of the last eight league meetings finishing with two goals or fewer.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Draw @ 12/5 (VCBet)
AH: West Ham + ½ @ 43/40 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 4/6 (Bet365)

Reading vs Arsenal
After a sluggish start to the season, Arsenal are finding their rhythm and will no doubt be paired together with Chelsea in numerous double bets this weekend. Considering Reading took points of Manchester United and kept Chelsea to within one goal at the Madejski Stadium this season the odds on Arsenal are not tempting. However, an interesting statistic is Reading have lost to Arsenal in all five competitive games ever played between the pair and unsurprisingly an away win is the expected result.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Arsenal @ 8/15 (Betfred)
AH: Arsenal – 1 @ 47/40 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ Evens (VCBet)

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Balloon out of all proportion

Normally, I have little to no time for politicians; but when plans were afoot to open a massage parlour in my neighbourhood, I felt obliged to write to my local MP, demanding that action be taken to keep prices at an affordable level.

Flushed with this successful foray into the political arena, I’ve decided to help out Jack Straw in the aftermath of the veil wearing controversy. I’ve suggested that the Government introduce new legislation making it compulsory for all British females to cover up, until a recent photograph has been graded by a select group of professionals. It works on almost every level.

While that solution was relatively simple, the conundrum that is Man U v Liverpool is proving far more perplexing. After studying the stats, the value lies with United at 10/11.

I can predict with relative confidence that this will not be a goalfest. The last four matches between the old foes have either been goalless or settled by a single strike. In Merseyside, a 1-0 win for Man U would be about as welcome as Boris Johnson, but the smart money is in play at 6/1.

I’ve given young Rooney a fair bit of stick this season, but recent form suggests he’s approaching his stunning best. Admittedly, he’s still not scoring, but there’s no doubting his greatness. Rooney is available at a big fat 28/1 to score the only goal of the game.

Fulham last won away at Aston Villa in March 1973, 8½ months before I was born. Somewhat worryingly, my old dear was a Villa Park regular in the 70’s, and she was never shy in putting herself about. It’s entirely possible that I could be the apple of an ex Fulham player’s eye, I’m just praying it’s not Rodney Marsh. The unbeaten Villa will extend Fulham’s dismal run in the Midlands, you should play at a promiscuous 8/11.

I have a theory that Steve McClaren may be hard of hearing. He’s completely oblivious to Gareth Barry’s incessant knocking on the England door and just the sight of the inept manager is enough for me to break into sign language. Barry looks a great shout at 9/2 to score at any time.

Chelsea have won every Premiership fixture against Portsmouth (six in total) by a 2-0 or 3-0 scoreline. Is this a statistical anomaly or a trend that will lead to a mountain of riches? I’m hoping for the latter. You must cover either of these scores for a potential payout of 5/2; it’s not erm…rocket science.

Frank Lampard has been nominated for the Ballon d’or; now I’m not bilingual, so I’m guessing the translation is something like ‘Balloon Man’. It’s said that Frank Lampard never misses training; he would if they renamed it ‘the goal’. Lampard may have found the net in both of last season’s meets with Pompey; but Drogba is a far more likely candidate to net the opener at 7/2.

As a consequence of a horrific collision with Petr Cech, the name of Stephen Hunt has been immortalised in Cockney rhyming slang. As Reading have lost every competitive match they have played against Arsenal, i’ll be having a ‘Stevie’ (punt) on the Gunners at 8/13.

I backed Robbie Savage to score at any time last week, so you can imagine my disappointment as he passed to a team-mate when in goal scoring range; I just wish he’d have shot himself. An in form Blackburn host a quality Bolton side, the draw looks a reasonable investment at 11/5.

Spurs needed the touch of an Angel to earn a point last week; heavenly intervention will not be necessary against West Ham. Martin Jol has finally realised that Jermain Defoe is worth a place in his starting line-up, the miniature former Hammer can be the catalyst for a Tottenham win at 4/5.

Newcastle are unbeaten in their last six matches against Middlesbrough, but as Steve McClaren was the manager for all of those games, that achievement is somewhat diminished. Boro can finally call the Toon at the Riverside at a pretty 6/4.

I’m not particularly skilled in the bedroom, but I’m pretty good at table tennis. Everton are a top notch bet at 4/7 to see off Sheffield United at Goodison, it might not be nap bet territory, but it’s definitely a close neighbour.

The acc:

The accer this week is so explosive, North Korean midget Kim Jong-il has expressed an interest.
Everton, Aston Villa, Man Utd, Middlesbrough and Tottenham are the five selections, the payout is a magnificent 22/1.

The specials:

“A tasty Red head” - Paul Scholes to score with a header 7/1
“Purple Wayne” - Wayne Rooney to be sent off 16/1
“The Huth is out there” - Robert Huth to score at any time 6/1
“And bags” - Andy Johnson to score two or more goals 4/1
“Juan sighs, Fitz Hall” - Aston Villa to be awarded a penalty and Fitz Hall to score at any time 50/1
“There's a bad moon on the rise” - Joey Barton to score with a header 10/1

The lay man:

There’s a queue of people trying to back Charlton at a smidgen above evens on the betting exchanges; they obviously haven’t seen them play this season. Lay, lay again; then lay a little bit more.

Weekend Betting:

Wigan v Man City Saturday 21st October 12:45 Live on Premiership Plus

Wigan 11/8
Draw 9/4
Man City 21/10

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
Joey Barton to be booked 2/1

Charlton v Watford Saturday 21st October 15:00

Charlton Evs
Draw 9/4
Watford 3/1

Get on: Watford

Match Special:
Marlon King to score the only goal of the game 55/1

Chelsea v Portsmouth Saturday 21st October 15:00

Chelsea 2/7
Draw 4/1
Portsmouth 11/1

Get on: Chelsea

Match Special:
Drogba to score from outside the area 4/1

Everton v Sheff Utd Saturday 21st October 15:00

Everton 4/7
Draw 13/5
Sheff Utd 11/2

Get on: Everton

Match Special:
Everton to win 1-0 6/1

Aston Villa v Fulham Saturday 21st October 17:15 Live on Premiership Plus

Aston Villa 8/11
Draw 5/2
Fulham 4/1

Get on: Aston Villa

Match Special:
Agbonlahor to score at any time 5/2

Man Utd v Liverpool Sunday 22nd October 13:00 Live on Sky

Man Utd 10/11
Draw 9/4
Liverpool 10/3

Get on: Man Utd

Match Special:
Steven Gerrard to be sent off 25/1

Blackburn v Bolton Sunday 22nd October 15:00

Blackburn 11/8
Draw 11/5
Bolton 2/1

Get on: Draw

Match Special:
Robbie Savage to be booked 13/8

Middlesbrough v Newcastle Sunday 22nd October 15:00

Middlesbrough 6/4
Draw 9/4
Newcastle 12/5

Get on: Middlesbrough

Match Special:
Middlesbrough to win and keep a clean sheet 14/5

Tottenham v West Ham Sunday 22nd October 15:00

Tottenham 4/5
Draw 5/2
West Ham 4/1

Get on: Tottenham

Match Special:
Jermain Defoe to score two or more goals 5/1

Reading v Arsenal Sunday 22nd October 16:00 Live on Sky

Reading 5/1
Draw 11/4
Arsenal 8/13

Get on: Arsenal

Match Special:
Arsenal to score four or more goals 11/2


Copyright © Gerry McDonnell & soccerphile.com
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Thursday, October 19, 2006

English Premier League Betting

Old rivalries and derby matches galore will be played out across two days this weekend. Expect bottom clubs Charlton and Watford to do each other no favours at The Valley on Saturday, while Sunday could produce upsets at Old Trafford and the Riverside Stadium at large odds writes David Walker.

Saturday 21 October

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester City
Last season these teams were involved in a ding-dong Boxing Day encounter which finished 4-3 in Wigan’s favour. At the moment, Manchester City are fairing better than Paul Jewell’s side in the league, in 12th position on nine points compared to 17th and five points but with two inconsistent teams, home advantage could prevail
Walker’s Word
1x2: Wigan @ 13/10 (UK Betting)
AH: Wigan – ¼ @ 41/40 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ 5/4 (VCBet)

Charlton Athletic vs Watford
It’s the battle at the bottom of the Premiership as last placed Charlton tackle London rivals Watford, themselves just one place and one point better off. This will be a match that neither side want to lose and as a result could end in a draw which won’t benefit either of them.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Draw @ 12/5 (VCBet)
AH: Watford + ½ @ 9/10 (Ladbrokes)
OU: Over @ 11/10 (Bet365)

Chelsea vs Portsmouth
One for the big hitters who will plough into Chelsea at odds on. Despite Portsmouth’s lofty position in the league in which they are just three points behind Jose Mourinho’s side there will only be one winner. For those of you who don’t want to bet on Chelsea at short odds, taking Portsmouth on the handicap or backing under 2.5 goals could be profitable at a better price.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Chelsea @ 1/4 (Betfred)
AH: Portsmouth + 1 ½ @ 4/5 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 4/5 (VCBet)

Everton vs Sheffield United
After a run of four matches without victory, Everton will see this match against the struggling Blades as a must win. Neil Warnock’s side are just outside the relegation zone in 16th, but are unbeaten in their last two matches. The bookmakers fancy an Everton cakewalk but it won’t be as easy as the odds suggest.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Everton @ 4/7 (VCBet)
AH: Everton – 1 @ 28/25 (Ladbrokes)
OU: Under @ 4/6 (Bet365)

Aston Villa vs Fulham
Both Aston Villa and Fulham are enjoying life in the top half of the table after several seasons in the doldrums but the smart money will be on the home side this weekend. Martin O’Neill’s side are not only unbeaten this season but they have won four of the last five encounters against Fulham at Villa Park, apart from last season which finished goalless.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Aston Villa @ 8/11 (Paddy Power)
AH: Villa – ¾ @ 43/40 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 8/11 (VCBet)

Sunday 22 October

Manchester United vs Liverpool
The jewel in the Premiership fixture list this weekend is undoubtedly United vs Liverpool. Top of the table United tackle stuttering Liverpool who have dropped points against Bolton and Blackburn in their last two matches. However, there could be an upset on the cards. Liverpool have won three of their last six visits to Old Trafford by a single goal and United have already lost at home to Arsenal this season.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Liverpool @ 7/2 (VCBet)
AH: Liverpool + ½ @ 43/50 (Ladbrokes)
OU: Over @ 7/5 (Bet365)

Blackburn Rovers vs Bolton Wanderers
This derby fixture is often very tight with few goals to cheer. It finished goalless twice last season and produced two 1-0 away wins the season before. In fact, this encounter has produced home and away draws in three of the last five Premiership seasons and that is not a trend I would want to back against.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Draw @ 11/5 (Coral)
AH: Bolton + ¼ @ 4/5 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 4/7 (VCBet)

Middlesbrough vs Newcastle
In the North East derby Middlesbrough will have their work cut out against Newcastle. Middlesbrough have not beaten Newcastle for three seasons at the Riverside Stadium, with recent results finishing in two wins for the Magpies and a 2-2 draw sandwiched in between. Neither side has any form of note, which makes the odds on Glenn Roeder’s side all the more tempting.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Newcastle @ 19/10 (VCBet)
AH: Newcastle level ball @ 9/8 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ 11/10 (VCBet)

Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United
The second London derby of the weekend sees struggling Spurs against relegation threatened West Ham. The bookmakers fancy a home win but it’s worth pointing out that this encounter has produced only five Premiership wins for Spurs in 11 matches played so the odds on about them does not look too appealing, despite how poorly the Hammers have faired in recent weeks. A tight match is expected, with six of the last eight league meetings finishing with two goals or fewer.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Draw @ 12/5 (VCBet)
AH: West Ham + ½ @ 43/40 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 4/6 (Bet365)

Reading vs Arsenal
After a sluggish start to the season, Arsenal are finding their rhythm and will no doubt be paired together with Chelsea in numerous double bets this weekend. Considering Reading took points of Manchester United and kept Chelsea to within one goal at the Madejski Stadium this season the odds on Arsenal are not tempting. However, an interesting statistic is Reading have lost to Arsenal in all five competitive games ever played between the pair and unsurprisingly an away win is the expected result.
Walker’s Word
1x2: Arsenal @ 8/15 (Betfred)
AH: Arsenal – 1 @ 47/40 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ Evens (VCBet)

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Korea's Mr. Football

Korea's Mr. Football
Korea's Mr. Football
Ka Sam-hyun, or Sam Ka, as he is known in the offices of football associations and stadiums around the world, may not like the label of "Korea's Mr. Football," but as he seems to be in charge of pretty much everything at the Korean Football Association, it suits him well.

The KFA's General Secretary is the man who brought 2002 and 2006 World Cup coaches Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat to South Korea. A talk with Sam Ka is an introduction to the recent history of the Korean national team.

What do you do?

I am the General Secretary of the KFA. I have been in charge of the international office for over 10 years. I was in charge of the organization of the World Cup and Confederations Cup 2001. Now I am in charge of not only international affairs but general administration, marketing, PR, communications and the most important thing -- competitions.

You are Korea's "Mr.Football."

[Smiles] I don't like that, I can't kick a ball.

Was 2002 the highlight of your time at the KFA?

So far, yes.

Some people have said, myself included, that the problem after 2002 was that the KFA thought the hard work had been done and relaxed too much. Do you agree with that?

The 2002 World Cup was a double-edged sword. 2002 was very successful in terms of organization and our team was very successful and the people of Korea were very happy.

Technically, professionally there were some negative points. When you have a big success expectations rise. The expectations of people in the government, the media, the fans and society have been too high.

You must know the background of Korea, -- the development of the game and grass roots. This is a weak point for us, you know how many teams we have compared to other countries. The difference is big.

Not only in football but Korea's whole past was based on the elite development system. Every sport has a weak base with a limited number of players because everything was focused on elite players.

It was very difficult to develop football from grass roots up to professional level.

Another problem is that our teams are based on schools and not a club system. We are trying to change this, to introduce competitions and tournaments for the clubs and we have several hundred club teams coming up.

In 2002, the national team received a lot of support from the KFA, has it been the same since?

Firstly, until the 2002 World Cup we had very good co-operation and support from everybody, including the club sides and the players. Therefore we could concentrate our efforts on preparing the national team for the World Cup. I am sure you have heard of how many days they had at training camps, it was almost perfect -- we even postponed the start of the league until after the World Cup.

After the World Cup everyone said "we are the semi-finalists" in world football, we mostly follow the system of developed football countries. We changed our regulations many times and did so again last year in order to make the days that players are released from clubs less and less every year. Now most of our regulations follow FIFA.

It is more difficult these days, even before the 2006 World Cup, we could not get the players together. In the past during a World Cup year we could have our players for one or two months no problem.

This year we had a long and very difficult negotiation with our club sides in the K-League in order to get permission for a three or four weeks training camp even though it was final preparation for the World Cup.

After that we didn't get any days for national team outside FIFA dates.

It is the same for most other countries..

I am not complaining but just saying that our base standards and technical standards are different than Europe.

I don't complain, I am happy to have this normal situation but the problem is the expectation from the people is different.

They still expect the days when we could get the players for two or three months. The coach of the national team now has a big problem.

Even the youth coach is complaining that he can't get the players for the Busan tournament. He wants good players who are 19 but are playing for their clubs but it is difficult.

After 2002 World Cup, everybody wants our players to go abroad for a good experience. We help them to go but it creates another problem because we have lost many good players like Ji-sung or Young-pyo -- our domestic league has another problem, most of the famous players had left.

Tell me about the search for a new coach in May 2004 and the appointment of Jo Bonfrere.

Before Bonfrere, the KFA technical committee was too aggressive. They chose so many names and officially held interviews. Then they met Metsu, Scolari, Gunes and also the Irish coach McCarthy.

The KFA met these people?

Yes, so many people -- six or seven people. It was an unusual type of search. Personally I thought it was not good because if you know that you are one of six or seven people being interviewed, some coaches like Scolari, who was a world champion, then they don't like it.

Bonfrere wasn't in the original list...

That's right.

Why was Bonfrere appointed?

Bruno Metsu was first choice.

Bonfrere was on the list from 2000 when Dr.Lee was chairman. We had two names -- Aime Jacquet and Hiddink. We had another list of two -- Henri Michel and Bonfrere.

We had many names but we had the first two names and Bonfrere was one of the second two names. This way was much better as we didn't announce but we had internal discussions.

I met Aime Jacquet first and then Hiddink and then we finished, otherwise Bonfrere and Michel would have been next.

At the time he was known as the coach of the 1996 Nigerian Oylmpic team. Next time he was on our list, one of 20, 40 or 60 names. He was one of the volunteers for the job.

We have some coaches who wanted to come, some coaches that are recommended to us and some coaches who are just picked by the committee -- like Scolari.

He let you know that he was interested?

He was always interested in getting a job in Asia as far as we knew.

Anyway at that time in 2004, we decided on Bruno Metsu. When it was announced by the media in Korea it was hell. He called me and he said that he had received more than 100 phone calls in the day that we announced it.

He became really nervous -- too much -- so he switched off his phone. Then he changed his mind and went to a Qatari club.

After this, our committee decided not to open the process and the names were kept secret. We got another five, six, seven names. We went to Europe with a very low profile. We met many coaches including some from Northern Europe.

Who?

I don't like to say. Northern Europe and then Eastern Europe, South Europe and West. The committee chairman especially wanted a coach from Western Europe.

We had some other young and very good coaches I think from North and East Europe.

Why Western Europe?

The thinking was that the personality of a person from Western Europe should be more bright and more positive than elsewhere.

It was also better to have a coach that can speak English so unfortunately those two coaches we met were very good and young but couldn't speak English -- personally I liked them.

Another problem was that we didn't have time. It was already toward the later part of June. We had the Asian Cup in the middle of July. We should have waited until the end of Euro 2004 to get the names of some good European coaches but that was another two months. The committee thought that we couldn't wait that long because if we have a big problem in the Asian Cup then it will be more serious.

The committee thought that they should appoint a coach before the Asian Cup -- that was the reason. Perhaps the decision was taken in too much of a hurry.

At the time, reports said that Metsu wasn't appointed coach because of his financial demands. Was that true?

Between him and myself, the salary was more or less agreed.

Why didn't it happen?

My opinion was that he was very nervous after receiving so many phone calls. His wife is from Senegal and I heard that she was also nervous after seeing the level of interest from the media. She had only lived in the Middle-East, not in other parts of Asia.

He must have given a reason

He was offered good money from another club

Bonfrere complained of a lack of support from the KFA. What would you say to that?

Maybe he compared the support that the KFA gave Hiddink. I told you that after 2002 we changed the regulations of the release dates for players.

He didn't have good relations with some members of the committee -- the chairman for example. He used to complain about it. The contract gives the coach lots of rights but he should consult with the committee for the selection of national staff and the selection of the national team.

He told me off the record, though since then he has said the same things on the record, that prior to the game with Germany in Dec. 2004, he was told by the committee not to select a certain striker.

Frankly speaking, I don't think that is correct because I know the situation. Whenever the technical committee chairman wanted to speak to him, he asked me to accompany him.

The technical committee thought that there were a few good players that the coach should consider. For example, Park Chu-young wasn't picked at the time and then Oh Bum-seok, who is now in the squad. Kim Young-chul was not picked at the time. These were players that many coaches in Korea thought were very good and were needed in the national team but they were never selected by the coach.

They just recommended the coach to look at these guys. For example, we had a very weak defence line so maybe this guy will be good or we need a good striker with good talent then we need this guy -- Park Chu-young.

These were recommendations. They never said "if you don't do this, we won't like it." They wanted the coach to look at these players.

If you are a coach and have been in a foreign country for a short time, don't you think it would be difficult to refuse?

Hiddink never picked who he didn't like. Advocaat didn't.

Is it common for a committee to be so involved?

If you have a foreigner as coach, the committee members may think that the coach could not see the players. Many members were former coaches, they know some players from a long time ago. They thought that if the coach knew these players better, probably he'll have more interest in the player.

They didn't recommend so many players, just a few when they really thought it was necessary.

Could recommendations from the KFA side be pressure from a coach's point of view -- especially one in a foreign country?

Frankly speaking, maybe. He probably thought that it was a kind of pressure. He never said "no" but he never picked players because of this. I know him very well. If Hiddink or Advocaat didn't like something, they said "no." Bonfrere never said anything but he didn't pick players because of it.


If he hadn't resigned, would he have been fired?

I'm not sure. He had consulted with many people before he left and our committee was to have a meeting.

In your opinion, what would have happened?

I have nothing to do with the technical committee so I don't know.

Anyway he left and you were the first person to meet Advocaat. He had only just joined the UAE less than two months before; do you think it's acceptable to contact a coach that has just started a job with another nation?

It depends on his position and contract. I have known Pim for a long time, we had some contact. He wanted to become the coach of Korea as well, he was a kind of applicant.

I discovered that he was with Advocaat in the UAE so I sent him an e-mail asking if he can arrange a meeting between Advocaat and me. He said "yes." Firstly, I asked him to check with Advocaat if he can negotiate, if he can be free.

I got the reply from Advocaat that he can leave the UAE at any time and without any penalty. The President of the UAE FA confirmed that both parties can do that -- it was very strange for me.

The second thing was that Advocaat wanted to be at the World Cup -- every coach wants this.

Did you talk to anybody else?

No. The committee decided to keep things secret.

Did you talk to Hiddink?

Not before Advocaat. We talked to Hiddink before Bonfrere. When I was in Europe, I spoke to Hiddink. He recommended one or two coaches.

Did you talk to Hiddink about returning as coach?

I knew that Hiddink would never come back to Korea. I met with Hiddink and his agent when he became our technical advisor and I knew exactly what he wanted. Many people say that he wanted to become coach again but we didn't offer but that is not true.

His ideal was the Australian job. He wanted to go only to the World Cup finals but he didn't want to be in the preliminary round.

Did you ever offer him the job?

We did but it was rejected from the beginning. Whenever I was in Europe we met together.

He thought that there was nothing left in Korea for him. He had everything that he wanted. Money? We can't give him $3 or $4 million, he can get more money elsewhere. Fame? How can he get more here?

You asked him to return?

I asked him many times but I knew he would say no.

When did you ask him?
Even after the World Cup we asked him to stay but we knew that he wanted to return to Holland and PSV. Later we talked about 2006 but I knew that he didn't want to come back so we made a contract for only a technical advisor.

He didn't want to coach an Asian team in 2006 -- Australia was a special case. He wanted to take care of the team for a very short period -- just for the matches. Join the team for a few days and then go back to PSV.

In Asian countries like Korea, Japan and China, this is not possible. There needs to be training, it is not possible for the coach to come and sit on the bench and then leave.

In Australia, almost all the players were in Europe so he can have friendly matches and get the players together for some days and he is close to home and during FIFA dates there are no club games. It was a special case.

The Korean people, media and society wouldn't accept such a situation.

What did you think of Advocaat as coach?

Technically, I cannot say but personally he was a very good man -- kind, bright and open-minded. Always he tried to make the players happy -- he was very co-operative.

Did the KFA ask him to stay?

We asked him. In our contract we had to declare our interest by June 15.

You did that?

Of course but he said that his wife didn't like him to stay here. His wife wanted him to be around. He told me that between Holland and St Petersburg it is only two hours flight.

When did you decide to appoint Pim Verbeek?

In Korea, if we don't make any decision and Advocaat announces his decision first, how do you think the media would react?

A few guys were saying it was too early but if we announce that Advocaat is leaving and we have no idea who will take over and there is a game in mid-August, what will they say?

Korean people try to be as late as possible. Japan announced the departure of the coach many months before the World Cup, England too, it is common.

Copyright John Duerden & Soccerphile

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fifa World Rankings Oct 2006

Brazil remain top, followed by Italy, France and Argentina. England are down to 5th, down one place, after picking up just one point in six in their last two Euro 2008 qualification matches in Group 5 for new England boss Steve McClaren.

Japan are up to 46th position. South Korea occupy 48th position. The USA remain in 29th. Scotland and Northern Ireland both rise by a massive nine and thirteen places respectively.

1 Brazil
2 Italy
3 France
4 Argentina
5 England
6 Germany
7 Netherlands
8 Czech Republic
9 Portugal
10 Spain

FIFA World Rankings

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Soccerlicious

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Japanese Soccer News India v Japan

Japanese Soccer News
Japanese Soccer News
Japan National Team

October 11, Bangalore

vs. India

Japan struggled to overcome a gritty India side in an Asian Cup qualifier interrupted by floodlight failure and a stray dog on the pitch. For the first time coach Ivica Osim gave starts to Gamba Osaka striker Ryuji Bando and Kawasaki Frontale midfielder Kengo Nakamura and the pair responded by scoring the goals that saw off the South Asian Football Federation champions. Bando scored twice before half-time and Nakamura added a third with a rasping drive late on in what was ultimately another frustrating performance by the Blue Samurai. Their final Asian Cup qualifier takes place against Saudi Arabia in Sapporo on November 15.

October 4, Ghana

Japan vs. Ghana

Japan went down 1-0 to Ghana in their Kirin World Challenge match in front of more than 52,000 fans in Yokohama. Substitute midfielder Draman Haminu scored the only goal of the game for Ghana in the 73rd minute. Ivica Osim gave debuts to Hiroki Mizumoto, Kengo Nakamura, Satoru Yamagishi and Ryuji Bando. Yamagishi came closest to scoring when he hit the post in the 55th minute following a through ball from Sanfrecce Hiroshima striker Hisato Sato.

J-League News: Urawa capitalise as Gamba slip up

Urawa Reds have opened a shock five point gap at the top of the J-League as Gamba Osaka suffer a case of the late season jitters. Former league leaders Gamba have picked up just one point in the last three matches and Urawa have taken full advantage, picking up maximum points to move five clear with just seven games remaining.

Kawasaki Frontale are the only other team in title contention - they are two points behind Gamba in third place, where they have been for much of the season. Shimizu S-Pulse and Kashima Antlers round out the top five although both clubs have seen their title aspirations disappear in recent weeks.

Big spending FC Tokyo are one club in free-fall, having won just one game in their last eight. The club from the capital seemed to have arrested their slump when new signing Sota Hirayama inspired them to a 2-1 victory at Nagoya Grampus Eight in Round 26. However Sanfrecce Hiroshima heaped more misery by defeating Tokyo 5-2 in the latest round of J-League action, leaving Tokyo in 14th place on the table, equal on points with Hiroshima.

Three clubs remain locked in a relegation dogfight, with Kyoto Purple Sanga having hauled itself into the 16th placed relegation/promotion play-off position. Kyoto were promoted to the top flight with Avispa Fukuoka last season and both clubs are battling with last-placed Cerezo Osaka to avoid a swift return to J2.

Players Overseas

Shunsuke Nakamura: Celtic

After winning the penalty that saw Celtic overcome FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League, Nakamura continued his excellent form by scoring his first ever hat-trick for Celtic in a 4-1 victory over Dundee United. Celtic manager Gordon Strachan labelled Nakamura "a top, top player" on BBC Radio Scotland in praise of the diminutive playmaker's performance.

Naohiro Takahara: Eintracht Frankfurt

Takahara created the equaliser in Eintracht Frankfurt's 1-1 draw at VfB Stuttgart and came off the bench in both legs of the 6-2 aggregate victory over Brondby in the UEFA Cup.

Junichi Inamoto: Galatasarary

Inamoto has not featured for Galatasaray since a 3-1 loss at Trabzonspor on September 23rd. He missed the 3-2 UEFA Champions League loss to Liverpool at Anfield due to an alleged stomach problem.

Mitsuo Ogasawara: Messina

Ogasawara has started twice for Messina in Serie A, however the former Kashima Antlers midfielder did not feature in his club's overnight loss to Siena.

Masashi Oguro: Torino

An injury to Roberto Muzzi helped Masashi Oguro see his first Serie A action since the opening round in Torino's overnight victory against Chievo. Oguro had little impact after coming off the bench to replace Muzzi in the 53rd minute.

Kenji Fukuda: Numancia

One of Japan's forgotten men, former Nagoya Grampus Eight striker Fukuda left Spanish Second Division club Castellon for rivals CD Numancia this season. Fukuda scored the final goal of a 5-1 rout at bottom club Vecindario on September 30 but has not been on the score sheet since.

Emperor's Cup

The third round of Japan's oldest club competition took place on October 8. This round marked the entry of J2 clubs and resulted in some shock results.

Perhaps the biggest shock came in Tokyo where fallen giants Tokyo Verdy were humbled 1-0 by Tochigi SC - who ply their trade a division lower in the Japan Football League. Tochigi SC were rewarded with a trip to face J1 opponents Shimizu S-Pulse in the next round.

S-Pulse's crosstown neighbour Shizuoka FC also upset a J2 club - defeating Mito Hollyhock 1-0. They now face a daunting trip to J1 champions elect Urawa Reds in the fourth round.

J2 high flyers Vissel Kobe sent out a reserve team for their match against YKK AP and paid the price, losing 4-2 at home. Their amatuer neighbours Banditonce Kobe fared better, beating Second Division table-toppers Yokohama FC and booking a clash against J1 strugglers FC Tokyo.

J1 clubs enter the competition in the fourth round.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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Oliver Holt

Oliver Holt

Steve McClaren and Paul Robinson weren't the only Englishmen to get it all horribly wrong in Zagreb last Wednesday night.

"Award-winning" Mirror hack Oliver Holt produced a tour de force of ignorance, malice and bias in his preview to the Euro 2008 qualifying game in Croatia's capital.

Entitled "DANGER LURKS FOR MCCLAREN IN CITY OF HATE" Holt tries to whip up the xenophobia ahead of the game and justify his prolonged anti-Sven, anti-foreigner agenda.

Here are a few gems from the piece:

"THE last time I visited Zagreb, in the late Eighties when civil war was coming to Yugoslavia, the train from Venice arrived in the dead of night.

The hard, searching faces that always haunt railway stations after dark stared out from the shadows and said silently that this was not a place to loiter
."

Actually Zagreb is well known for its safety 24/7, then and now; even children can "loiter" at low risk.

"As we hurried away with our backpacks to try to find the address where we were staying, shapes followed us at a distance, only turning away when we rang on a bell and a door opened."

Oliver is obviously a nervous traveller.

"The England team are staying in a deluxe five-star hotel a couple of hundred yards from that train station, a hotel that wasn't there 18 years ago."

The 81-year-old Regent Esplanade hotel, where the England team stayed, was around when Oliver last brought his backpack to Zagreb, but he must have missed it in his haste at being 'followed'.

"But along with the battalions of new coffee shops that crowd the city streets, there is still a distinct edge-of-Europe feel to the Croatian capital."

Ollie's a star at geography. Zagreb is slightly to the west of Vienna.

"The faces are hardened by the pain of war now, smoking is still endemic, racism is rife and there is an underworld menace about the men who cluster outside the hotels in their black leather jackets."

Olllie hits the nail on the head about smoking, but is off the mark on racism. Racism is an issue to be addressed in all societies, including the UK, and it is unfair to point the finger at Croatia. Has Mr. Holt heard of Stephen Lawrence and Anthony Walker?

The Croatian FA is keen to promote its joint bid with Hungary for Euro 2012 and have implemented strict anti-racism measures at domestic games, the Croatian team carried an anti-racism banner on to the pitch before the match and there were no complaints of racist chants directed at England's black players, similar to those endured by the U-21 team in Leverkusen, Germany, the day before the senior match in Zagreb.

"Zagreb still feels like a cloaked danger, a place tilting between light and darkness, a place that doesn't quite know which way things are going to go."

"Somehow, that seems to make it the perfect venue for John Terry's England side to play a match which is absolutely pivotal to its hopes of putting the waste of the Sven Goran Eriksson years behind it."

England lost 2-0, a worse result than any achieved under Sven Goran Eriksson in a qualifying match, there were no reports of racist incidents at the game and Croatia's opening goal was scored by a naturalized Brazilian. More and more Brits have decided on "which way things are going to go" in Croatia by returning to the Adriatic resorts in summer and buying up holiday homes there.

The only trouble was seemingly caused by ticketless England "fans" trying to break through the security cordon outside the Maksimir stadium, followed by the abuse of the England players on the team bus by more disgruntled English supporters after the game.

We're looking forward to Ollie's previews of Israel, Russia and Estonia -- no doubt Andorra will be more to his liking and John Terry's England might actually win there.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

English Premiership Betting

Both Manchester United and Chelsea have great opportunities to stretch their lead at the top of the Premiership while Sunday could see Newcastle beat high flying Bolton at tempting odds writes David Walker.

Saturday 14 October 2006

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester United
Manchester United have a great opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Premiership in this lunch time kick off. Wigan have struggled for form and goals and could find United too much for them. Alex Ferguson’s side need to improve on their victory against Newcastle following disappointing results against Reading and Arsenal in recent weeks.
Walker's Word
1x2: United @ 4/7 (Betfred)
AH: United -1 @ 21/20 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ 19/20 (Bet365)

Arsenal vs Watford
Another no brainer this one. Arsenal have broken their Emirates Stadium duck and could give Watford a thrashing. The Hornets showed tremendous spirit in the 3-3 draw at Fulham but Arsenal are in a different class altogether. Only one result can be backed.
Walker's Word
1x2: Arsenal @ 1/5 (Coral)
AH: Arsenal – 1 ¾ @ 17/20 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ 33/40 (Bet365)

Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur
This is usually a close encounter with no real trends to speak of results wise other than Villa are rarely beaten at home. However, past results indicate a low scoring match, with the last seven encounters producing two goals or fewer. A tricky result to predict but a confident bet on under 2.5 goals is the recommendation.
Walker's Word
1x2: Villa @ 5/4 (UK Betting)
AH: Villa – ¼ @ 21/20 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 3/4 (Bet365)

Liverpool vs Blackburn Rovers
Two sides in mixed form but Liverpool have had the better of this fixture in recent seasons, winning three out of the last five at Anfield. Liverpool are the overwhelming favourites with the bookmakers but their short odds don’t warrant a value bet.
Walker's Word
1x2: Liverpool @ 1/2 (Ladbrokes)
AH: Blackburn + 1 @ Evens (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 13/20 (Bet365)

Manchester City vs Sheffield United
This is a match that both sides will fancy their chances of winning. City have been terrible stretching back to last season but have performed much better in their last two matches, beating West Ham and drawing at Everton. The Blades also earned their first victory of the season by beating Middlesbrough in the last minute but it’s the home side that could come out on top here.
Walker's Word
1x2: City @ 8/11 (Paddy Power)
AH: City – ¾ @ 39/40 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ 11/10 (VCBet)

Middlesbrough vs Everton
If Middlesbrough are to avoid slipping in to the relegation zone this weekend, they need to bring Everton back down to earth with a bump. However, the Toffees have proven hard to beat, drawing their last three games. Another low scoring stalemate is the call here.
Walker's Word
1x2: Draw @ 9/4 (Coral)
AH: Everton level ball @ 43/40 (Bet365)
OU: Under @ 8/13 (UK Betting)

Portsmouth vs West Ham United
Harry Redknapp squares off against his old club and he won’t have a better opportunity to send the Hammers back to East London with nothing. Pompey have been a surprise package and despite losing their last two games can bounce back at Fratton Park. West Ham have lost their last five on the bounce including UEFA Cup defeats home and away against Palermo and will not relish a trip to the south coast.
Walker's Word
1x2: Portsmouth @ Evens (UK Betting)
AH: Portsmouth – ½ @ 26/25 (Ladbrokes)
OU: Over @ 6/5 (UK Betting)

Reading vs Chelsea
The live pay-per-view offering should not hold any surprises, despite Reading earning a draw against Manchester United in similar circumstances a fortnight ago. Chelsea will win but it is likely to be a tight encounter as they make it difficult for themselves.
Walker's Word
1x2: Chelsea @ 1/2 (Betfred)
AH: Chelsea – 1 @ 10/11 (Ladbrokes)
OU: Under @ 17/10 (UK Betting)

Sunday 15 October 2006

Newcastle United vs Bolton Wanderers
Despite heavy investment over the summer, Newcastle are struggling this season and have won just two out of seven Premiership matches so far. That record should improve against third placed Bolton who have won their last two against Portsmouth and Liverpool. However, history is on the Magpies side who have won six out of the last seven at St James’ Park stretching back to the 1995/96 season and tasty odds can be had on a home win.
Walker's Word
1x2: Newcastle @ 13/10 (Paddy Power)
AH: Newcastle – ¼ @ 19/20 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ 13/10 (UK Betting)

Monday 16 October 2006

Fulham vs Charlton Athletic
Fulham entertain rock-bottom Charlton in a match they will be expected to win. The Cottagers hit back from 2-0 down against Watford in their last game, leading the match at Vicarage Road 3-2 until Ashley Young snatched a late equaliser. At home, Chris Coleman’s side are traditionally strong and the Addicks confidence is at rock bottom, having lost their last four matches on the trot.
Walker's Word
1x2: Fulham @ 11/10 (Paddy Power)
AH: Fulham – ½ @ 9/8 (Bet365)
OU: Over @ Evens (VCBet)

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David Walker is the resident tipster at a popular free bets website. Feature Walker's Word on your own website, blog or forum for free each week.