All articles by: Jools Jordan-Probert

Arsenal vs Sporting CP – Match Preview

Arsenal vs Sporting CP
Thursday 25th October 2018, Emirates Stadium
UEFA Europa League – Group E Qualifier 

BT Sport 1 – 20:00 GMT.

Arsenal can all but secure top spot in Group E with another victory against Sporting in the Europa League.

A  1-0 victory in Lisbon on the last matchday put Unai Emery’s team into a fantastic position. Whilst many clubs would perhaps not see the Europa League as any sort of priority, Emery has wonderful pedigree in the competition, winning three consecutive times with Sevilla. The league form hasn’t seemed to be suffering, so why not attempt to claim a European trophy.

That league form aided Arsenal’s recent wonderful run of eleven wins on the bounce, before recent draws. The last of which was an excellent game, a 1-1 draw with fellow title challengers Liverpool. The Gunners went 1-0 down, and in the past an Arsenal team may have crumbled but a tide is turning with the way they battled back to claim a point.

As such, Arsenal are now in fifth, but only one point away from North-London rivals Spurs and the top four. League leaders City are still within grasp at just half a dozen points away. Seven wins, two draws and two losses (to City and third-placed Chelsea) is a solid start to the campaign.

Contextually, perhaps a better start than what Sporting have made in Portugal. The Lions are third in a very tight top of the Primera Liga, two points away from leaders Porto but only the same number ahead of fifth-placed Benfica.

A run of three losses in five matches, including being knocked out of Taca de Liga at home by Estoril, which Sporting held, saw manager Jose Peseiro relieved of his duties for the second time at the club. Strong rumours have surfaced that current Al Jazira boss Marcel Keizer is the man targeted to replace Peseiro.

It just suggests more turmoil at a club which has suffered more than its fair share of it of late. Club president at the time Bruno de Carvalho suspended 19 players after a semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid in this competition last season.

Players and staff were then attacked at training in May, forcing seven players to terminate their own contracts and subsequently move on. Whilst some, namely Bas Dost and Bruno Fernandes decided to stay, Portugal internationals Rui Patricio, Gelson Martins and William Cavalho said farewell to the drama.

One of Portugal’s ‘big three’ teams, Sporting will always have enough prestige as a club and quality in the academy to rebuild, but rebuild they must.

In contrast, Arsenal seem to be growing continuously stronger under Emery, with players such as Alexandre Lacazette and October club player of the month Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who already have 13 goals between them this season, particularly shining.

The referee for the match will be Gediminas Mazeika and the Lithuanian will be taking charge of his second Europa League game of the campaign. Mazeika gave out six yellows in the previous fixture between Sevilla and St Leige, which finished 5-1 to the Spanish outfit.

The Gunners should have sufficient momentum and quality to continue the decent European form and secure qualification into the knockout stages with victory here. Which should really be no surprise considering the other teams in the group are FC Vorskla Poltava of Ukraine and Qarabag FK of Azerbaijan.

Prediction – Arsenal 2-1 Sporting CP

Suggested Tips – Arsenal vs Sporting CP – (BET365)

  • Correct score: Arsenal to win 2-1 – (link no longer available).

Suggested Tips – Arsenal vs Sporting CP  – (SKYBET)

  • Price Boost Granit Xhaka to score from outside the area – 16/1. (NAP).
  • Scorecast Boost Double Chance – Alex Iwobi to score first and Arsenal to win 2-1 or 3-0 – 3/1.
  • Scorecast – Aubameyang to score first and Arsenal to win 2-1 – 40/1.

Odds and markets last updated on Thursday 8th November 2018 @19:12 GMT. Keep checking back to see if there’s any updates to markets – the time stamp in the previous sentence for when we update tips on this page will be updated.

Remember to keep visiting the tips and preview area for further updates and betting previews around this weekend domestic action.


Manchester City vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Match Preview

Manchester City vs Shakhtar Donetsk
Wednesday 7th November 2018, Etihad Stadium
UEFA Champions League – Group F Qualifier 

BT Sport 3 – 20:00 GMT

Manchester City vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Amid the ground-breaking FFP allegations Manchester City have faced this week, they host Shakhtar Donesk in the elite competition of the organisation said to have been complicit in the wrong-doing.

German magazine Der Speigel last week published a story alleging that the Premier League champions had paid money to UEFA to avoid any financial fair play sanctions in 2014.

On Monday City were further accused of putting money into the club via Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi sponsors that was claimed to be natural revenue. City have denied the allegations but the fallout is yet to be seen.

Back to matters on the pitch and it has been business as usual, sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League. Nine wins and two draws from eleven matches so far, including scoring 33 goals and conceding just four, is a fantastic return.

The Champions League started poorly with a 2-1 home defeat to Lyon. However, a late winner in a 2-1 victory at Hoffenheim and a comprehensive 3-0 win in the reverse Shakhtar fixture has taken Pep Guardiola’s side top of Group F and qualification for the last 16 still seems certain with three games left. A win here would all but seal it should second-placed Lyon not lose to Hoffenheim.

Undoubtedly Ukraine’s biggest club, Shakhtar are once again atop the domestic league. Paulo Fonseca’s side have amassed 37 points from just 14 games, losing and drawing just once apiece this term. Already eights points clear of nearest challengers Dynamo Kyiv, few would bet against another league title this season. That would make it twelve, a period of domination that started with a first league title coming as recently as 2002.

It is Europe where Shakhtar seek to impose themselves as a genuinely big club, though. The reigning Ukranian champions side have made it out of the UCL group stage in three of the last six seasons and have aspirations to achieve that feat as consistently as possible.

Manchester City also have ambitions for Europe, the last remaining stage to announce themselves as a genuine superpower. Precisely the reason Sheikh Mansour has plunged money into this project. A victory is perhaps overdue, especially with Pep Guardiola at the helm, but it must always be earned.

Not that it even needs saying but at this level, the games are always challenging. In fact, City lost to Shakhtar in last season’s competition, albeit in a dead rubber game. A repeat of such a result in what is a meaningful tie would be a massive surprise. In the form the English champions are in, perhaps even an impossibility.

Viktor Kassai will be refereeing his second Champions League fixture of the season here. The previous tie also involved an English team, taking charge of Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Napoli. The Hungarian was not kept busy, only giving out two yellow cards, this fixture’s implied dominance perhaps suggest the same will be the case.

Manchester City vs Shakhtar Donetsk will be televised live in the UK on BT Sport 3 with kick off at 20:00 GMT.

Prediction – Manchester City 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Suggested Tips – Manchester City vs Shakhtar Donetsk – (BET365)

  • Correct score: Manchester City to win 3-0 – (link no longer available). 

Suggested Tips – Manchester City vs Shakhtar Donetsk – (SKYBET)

  • Manchester City to win 3-0, 3-1, or 3-2 – 11/4.
  • Price Boost – First Goalscorer David Silva – 9/1.
  • Scorecast Boost – Sergio Aguero to score first and Manchester City win 3-1 – 50/1.
  • Popular RequestABets – Sterling to score outside the area and Manchester City to score a penalty – 50/1.

Odds and markets last updated on Tuesday 7th November 2018 @18:54 GMT. Keep checking back to see if there’s any updates to markets – the time stamp in the previous sentence for when we update tips on this page will be updated.

Remember to keep visiting the tips and preview area for further updates and betting previews around this weeks other European games.


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Chelsea vs Crystal Palace – Match Preview

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace
Sunday 4th
 November 2018
FA Premier League, Stamford Bridge

Live on Sky Sports Premier League – Kick-Off: 16:00 GMT

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace – Mauricio Sarri is searching for records as his Chelsea team host Crystal Palace hoping to go eleven league matches unbeaten.

Sarri would become the first Chelsea manager to achieve that feat should The Blues avoid defeat in this London derby. Since losing the Community Shield to Manchester City, Chelsea are undefeated in all competitions too.

That streak was put to the test on Wednesday, however. There was a reunion for club legend Frank Lampard as he brought his Derby County team to Stamford Bridge. A rotated Chelsea team just about saw off the plucky efforts of the Championship side, winning 3-2 and securing a place in the last eight of the Carabao Cup.

Back to Premier League matters and a thumping 4-0 win at Burnley last week kept Chelsea in third and just two points away from both Liverpool and top-of-the-table Man City. For Sarri the truly pleasing aspect will be how players have stepped up in the absence of Eden Hazard, with Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Willian all shining of late. Alvaro Morata has even ended his poor start with three goals in his last four.

This is the most points a team in third has ever had at this stage of the season in the Premier League. No one can deny Chelsea’s excellent start. Only City (7) and Liverpool (6) have kept more clean sheets (5) and only Arsenal have scored two or more goals in more matches (9) than The Blues (8).

Palace have not fared so well, enduring a more challenging start to the season. Whilst in a not-catastrophic 14th position, The Eagles are already seven points away from 10th place Wolves, which would have surely been the goal this season.

A very poor run of form has seen Roy Hodgson’s side only pick up one victory since the opening day of the season, and not win in the last five league games. In the last four Palace have lost to similar-standing sides such as Bournemouth, Wolves and Everton too which is a cause for concern. A midweek exit in the Carabao Cup to Middlesbrough will not help either.

There is cause for optimism though, as Palace can count themselves unlucky to not pick up all three points against Arsenal last week. Moreover, The Eagles surprisingly have a pretty decent record against Chelsea, winning three of the last six and two of the last three at Stamford Bridge.

Also, only one of Chelsea’s five clean sheets have come at home this season so the defence is there to be attacked. If Wilfried Zaha is on form, as he usually is these days, there is no reason to doubt that Palace will get opportunities. Palace have also been better away from home in the league, with 75% of their points and 71% of their goals won more on their travels. Only the top six have more away wins.

Well-known referee Michael Oliver will be taking charge of this one, for his first Chelsea game of the season. The Englishman was the man in the middle when Chelsea beat Manchester United to win the FA Cup last season. This will be Oliver’s tenth Premier League game of the season, and thirteenth in total, giving out 38 yellows and a very high three red cards in that time.

One would still expect an on-form Chelsea to put this Palace team to the sword, however. Scoring goals for fun, teams much stronger than Crystal Palace will struggle to keep Chelsea out.

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace will be televised live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event with kick off at 16:00 GMT.

Prediction – Chelsea 3-1 Crystal Palace

Suggested Tips – Chelsea vs Crystal Palace- (BET365)

  • Correct score – Chelsea win 3-1 – (link no longer available).
  • First Goalscorer – Ross Barkley – (link no longer available).

Suggested Tips – Chelsea vs Crystal Palace – (SKYBET)

  • Correct Score Group Betting – Chelsea win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 – 3/1.
  • Popular RequestABet – Barkley to score, Chelsea to win, BTTS and Alonso to be carded – 33/1.
  • Both Teams to score and Full Time Result – Yes and Chelsea win – 7/4.
  • Popular RequestABet – Hazard to score from outside the area and Crystal Palace to score a penalty – 150/1.

Odds and markets last updated on Sunday 4th November 2018 @08:25 GMT.

Remember to keep visiting the tips and preview area for further updates and betting previews around this week’s European action.