Arsenal vs FC Koln - Europa League Preview

Arsenal vs FC Koln – Europa League Preview – Arsenal begin life in the Europa League at home, as they host FC Koln. After an impressive fifth place finish in the Bundesliga, the Germany club have proved themselves to be no mugs.

Another new season, but the same old Arsenal. After a less than convincing start to their league campaign, questions are yet again being asked about Arsene Wenger’s future at the club. A tense 4-3 home win on the opening day of the season was then followed by back to back away defeats. A typical spineless display from the Gunners saw them lose 1-0 at Stoke and then a week later they suffered a 4-0 defeat against a rampant Liverpool side at Anfield. With the pressure mounting on Wenger, just weeks in to his new two year contract, they reacted at the weekend with a 3-0 home win over Bournemouth.

Recruitment over the summer has been mediocre at the Emirates, with the headlines being dominated by the future of Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean was denied a deadline day transfer to Manchester City, and with less than 12 month remaining on his contract, he looks set to leave on a free at the end of the season. Throw in the departure of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin and the below average performances of Mesut Ozil, and you have yourself a right old mess.

Alexandre Lacazette has settled in at Arsenal quickly Photo Credit: skysports.com

The one shining light however has been the signing of Alexandre Lacazette. The French forward was Arsenal’s marquee summer addition, arriving from Lyon for a reported £55 million. Lacazette got off to the perfect start, scoring just three minutes in to his debut again Leicester, and grabbed his second of the season in their win at the weekend. He seems to be everything the Gunners have missed over the last few seasons; pace, energy and goals. If Arsenal can get Sanchez back playing, the combination he could strike up with Lacazette could be deadly, and see them challenge both domestically, and in Europe.

Leonardo Bittencourt Photo Credit: express.de

Despite a fantastic season last year, Koln are yet to pick up a point this season, and sit rock bottom of the league after three games. The departure of 27 goals striker Anthony Modeste has hit the club hard, with the Frenchman joining Tianjin Quanjian for £30 million in the summer. They do possess some young upcoming talent, with Spain under 21 international Jorge Mere leading their defence and German winger Leonardo Bittencourt.

Although this will be a tougher game than many might think, I still think Arsenal will have enough to come out winners. It will be interesting to see what side Wegner puts out, with him trying to balance his squad in Europe and the Premier League.

 

Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Koln

 

SKYBET: ARSENAL TO WIN 3-0- 13/2

SKYBET: LACAZETTE AND WELBECK TO BOTH SCORE- 5/2

SKYBET: ARSENAL TO WIN TO NIL- 11/10

SKYBET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE AND OVER 3.5 GOALS- 5/2

SKYBET: BITTENCOURT TO SCORE FIRST AND DRAW 1-1- 135/1

SKYBET: GIROUD TO SCORE FIRST AND ARSENAL TO WIN 3-1- 22/1

UEFA Champions League Qualifier - Liverpool vs Hoffenheim - Match Preview

Liverpool vs Hoffenheim – Match Preview – Liverpool will be looking to finish the job this Wednesday in the second leg tie of their Champions League qualifier with Hoffenheim. Jurgen Klopp’s side were fortunate in many ways to come out victorious on their trip to Hamburg. A goal from youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold and an own goal was enough to see the Reds over the line. A missed penalty in the 12th minute from Hoffenheim winger, Andrej Kramaric was a lucky escape for the Scousers.

Firmino and Salah will be key to Liverpool’s qualification hopes Photo Credit: skysports.com

A dominant performance, yet narrow victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League has left many wondering if Klopp will make many changes for their all important second leg. Sadio Mane has continued his fine form in front of goal and is proving to be more and more invaluable to this Liverpool side. His frightening speed and dribbling ability is sure to cause the Germans’ defence some issues.

Skybet Both Players to Score- Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah – 7/2

Hoffenheim enjoyed a dream start to their Bundesliga campaign, beating Werder Bremen 1-0 in front of a home crowd. Andrej Kramaric nailed home an 84th minute winner in emphatic fashion to get his own campaign up and running. The ex-Leicester flop has rejuvenated his form in Germany and is Hoffenheim’s biggest threat to Liverpool this Wednesday.

Skybet Anytime Goalscorer – Andrej Kramaric to Score Anytime in 90 mins – 2/1

Andrej Kramaric will be a big threat at Anfield Photo Credit: bundesliga.com

Jurgen Klopp has a rather successful past in European competitions, most recently reaching the Europa League final with Liverpool. When first appointed, Liverpool would have wanted the exuberant German to lead the Scouse outfit back into the Champions League. Now so close to achieveing that, Klopp will be feeling alot of pressure on these 90 minutes. Having dominated Crystal Palace with a whopping 77% possession, they will be hoping to bring that momentum into the early stages on Wednesday. They must start quickly otherwise it will be long 90 minutes.

Skybet Correct Score Group Betting – Liverpool to win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 – 4/1

Hoffenheim will be hoping to shock many in their trip to North England. The German side were disappointed with the result in their first match given the missed penalty. However, they should be full of confidence heading into this second leg. Manager Julian Nagelsmann will set up in attacking fashion knowing his side have to get a result. Klopp has been impressed with the impact his opposing coach has had on the Hoffenheim side, but he won’t be too impressed if he knocks his side out.

Skybet Match Result – Hoffenheim to Win – 4/1

 

Suggested Tips:

UEFA Champions League Qualifier - Hoffenheim vs Liverpool - Match Preview

Hoffenheim vs Liverpool – Match Preview – Liverpool’s Champions League campaign begins with the first leg of their qualifier against German side, Hoffenheim. Jurgen Klopp will be hoping his side can bounce back from their devastating 3-3 draw away to Watford on the opening day of the Premier League. The hosts are entering the fixture on the back of a 1-0 victory over Erfurt in the DFB Pokal round of 32.

Liverpool will be looking to gain an advantage to head back to Anfield with for the second leg the following week. Much buzz has been surrounding the club off the field this past week with Coutinho dominating the headlines with a bizarre transfer saga. Virgil van Dijk is also a name that has been murmured around Melwood after he handed in a transfer request to Southampton in his aim to play for a bigger club.

Klopp came out and stated he is happy with his defence, however following the Watford match, many fans have laughed at the statement whilst replaying the comedic defending on their Sky + box. Liverpool often fare well in the Champions League and have a very successful history in the competition; lifting the trophy in 2005 being the highlight. Can Liverpool reach the group stages and be the fifth Premier League team to be in the draw for the 2017/18 Champions League campaign?

Skybet Correct Score Group Betting – Liverpool to Win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 – 5/2

Hoffenheim had a very impressive 2016/17 season in the Bundesliga. A fourth finish behind Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund earnt them this qualification two-legged tie. 30-year-old manager, Julian Nagelsmann has installed a fresh style of play at Hoffenheim; possession based football that is both attractive and clinical. It isn’t often a manager will steal the headlines, however he is paving the way for young coaches in Germany.

Firminho will come up against his former club in the Qualifiers Photo Credit: skysports.com

Klopp is very aware of Hoffenheim’s threat and has mentioned that Liverpool must be at 100% otherwise they will be knocked out. Striker, Sandro Wagner, provides a big threat to Klopp’s shaky defence with his unpredictability and aerial ability. Can Hoffenheim get a huge victory in front of a home crowd?

Skybet Match Result – Hoffenheim to Win in 90 mins – 2/1

 

Suggested Tips:

UEFA Super Cup Final - Real Madrid vs Manchester United - Match Preview

Real Madrid vs Manchester United – Match Preview – As UEFA Super Cups go, simply put, this is as big as it gets. Double defending Champions League winners Real Madrid will embroil in a titanic tussle with Europa League victors Manchester United for the Super Cup crown at the Philip II Arena, Skopje, Macedonia.

Both global superpowers will be seeking a positive start to the 2017/18 season by snapping up the first title on offer and extending tradition by doing so – Los Blancos are looking for their fourth European Super Cup win whilst The Red Devils want to double their existing tally of one.

The two sides met in pre-season as recently as the 24th of July – drawing 1-1 in the game before Jose Mourinho’s side won on penalties.

Similar to the FA Community Shield in English football, the Super Cup falls more into the category of curtain-raiser than essential trophy, but is still noted as a major honour in the record books. Perhaps more importantly for the managers, an opportunity to claim a title and assert dominance over a European trophy winner from the previous season is a hugely positive sign for the coming season.

And let’s be honest, teams like Manchester United and Real Madrid make no bones about it – they want to win EVERYTHING. Zinedine Zidane has barely experienced the bitter taste of defeat in his short managerial career and will not want to start now, and Mourinho is adamant that titles such as this are significant to him and his teams – so expect a great game.

Team News 
Manchester United have somewhat of a centre-back crisis at present, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are ruled out through suspension (the former for a red card in his part in a brawl against Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-final, the latter for verbally abusing an anti-doping official from UEFA), whilst Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young are all still long-term absentees.
In more positive news though, the big trio of summer signings in Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof are all expected to make their competitive United debuts.

Despite the embarrassment of riches at Zidane’s disposal, there is simply no replacing Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal captain is set to return since his extended leave after the Confederations Cup. However, Welshman  Gareth Bale may be unavailable due to an ankle injury picked up during pre-season – meaning Isco and Marco Asensio will be expected have huge involvements.

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return to the Madrid squad for the Super Cup against former club Manchester United Photo Credit: skysports.com

Player to Watch – Romelu Lukaku
The biggest transfer of the summer before the extraordinary Neymar deal, the acquisition of Romelu Lukaku for £75m from Everton made the world stand up and take notice. Such a massive price requires massive results and the Belgian international has hit the ground running in pre-season with three goals, perhaps a good indication of things to come. Perhaps a summarisation of Lukaku’s career to date, doing it in the big games will be the true judge of his value. The 24-year-old possesses the perfect blend of physical and technical attributes to dismantle any defence and will be crucial to United in their attempts to claim silverware in this Super Cup, and all season. Can he repay the fee?

Romelu Lukaku could secure his first trophy with Manchester United with a win in the Super Cup Photo Credit: skysports.com

 

Suggested Tips:

 

Women's Euro 2017 Final - Denmark vs Netherlands - Match Preview

Women’s Euro 2017 Final – Denmark vs Netherlands – Match Preview – The final of the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO is upon us with surprise finalists Denmark facing the hosts, Netherlands. The tournament has provided plenty of shocks with defending champions Germany crashing out in the quarter finals having won the previous six tournaments in a row.

Netherlands

The host nation has really impressed since their opening match against Norway in Group A. Their potent attack of Lieke Martens, Vivienne Miedema and Shanice van de Sanden has helped the Netherlands score nine goals in their five outings. Not only the ‘Clockwork Orange’ attack has been prospering in front of a home crowd however; the defence has also illustrated stability and rigidness having only conceded once in their path to the final.

Women's Euro 2017 Final - Denmark vs Netherlands - Match Preview

The Netherlands have been in great form and home support will be an advantage Photo Credit: skysports.com

After gliding through the group stages without a hiccup, the hosts continued to showcase their class in their quarter-final against Sweden where goals from Barcelona winger Lieke Martens and Arsenal striker Vivienne Miedema elated a packed-out home crowd. The semi-final saw Netherlands face their toughest test against an England side who had been scoring for fun in the run up to the fixture. However, the hosts made lightwork of the English disposing of them in a clinical 3-0 victory. The ruthless, potent manor of the Netherlands style of play will make it hard to bet against them in this final.

Skybet Match Result – Netherlands to Win – 3/4

Denmark

Denmark have been defying the odds since the group stages in an impressive manor. Qualifying second through Group A, behind their final opponents, was unexpected for the Danes following a tough Group draw. Their final group stage victory over a strong Norwegian team saw them clinch second place in the group and a quarter final draw against tournament favourites, Germany.

Women's Euro 2017 Final - Denmark vs Netherlands - Match Preview

Denmark defeated Austria on penalties to reach the final Photo Credit: skysports.com

The Danes fairy-tale continued as two second half goals including a late winner from right-back, Theresa Nielsen, provided the tournaments biggest shock and saw them progress to the semi-final stages and draw the other surprise package of the EURO’s, Austria. Penalties decided the Danes fate, in which they held their nerve and beat the Austrian’s 3-0 to see them astoundingly reach the final of the tournament. The underdog story has captured the eyes of all Women’s football fans across Europe and although they will be playing against a difficult away crowd, plenty will be cheering for the underdogs back home.

Skybet Match Result – Denmark to Win – 15/4

 

Suggested Tips:

England vs France - Match Preview

England vs France – Match Preview – England Women face France Women in a mouthwatering quarter final tie at the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO’s. Mark Sampson’s England side topped Group D with three victories over Scotland, Spain and Portugal. France seemed to show frailties in Group C, scraping through in second place behind an Austria side that held them to a draw in the group stages. England will have hoped for an easier tie in the quarter final, as France are one of the tournament favourites despite their average showing so far.

England defeated Portugal 2-1 to reach the Quarter Finals Photo Credit: skysports.com

The ‘Lionesses’ have shown a ruthless side to their game so far at the tournament. England have scored 10 goals in their three matches; six of them coming against a Scotland side that seemed to crumble under the big lights. Confident they would qualify, Sampson made 10 changes for their previous outing against Portugal in an effort to rest his strongest eleven for this match, a good decision as they drew France. Jodie Taylor has stolen the spotlight so far having scored 4 goals in 2 games spearheading an experience and dangerous attack. Chelsea forward Fran Kirby has been the catalyst to England’s attack with her flair and composure in the final third. Can Sampson’s ladies continue their rampant form in this tournament by knocking out one of the favourites?

Skybet Match Result – England to Win in 90 mins – 13/8

As aforementioned, France have been a shadow of their former selves so far in this tournament, only showing their class in small glimpses. One victory and two draws was unexpected from the French, who struggled to convert their chances in front of goal and let the other nations control the tempo of the match. Midfielder Amandine Henry scored a vital goal in their 1-1 stalemate with Group C winners, Austria. Her steady, calming style of play will be crucial to the French in the quarter final if they are to compete against the abrasive English midfield. Attacker Elodie Thomis has also impressed at club level this past season but has yet to showcase her talent at the competition. If she finds her feet it could spell trouble for England. Can France turn around their tournament after a less than convincing start?

Skybet Match Result – France to Win in 90 mins – 15/8

 

Suggested Tips:

Portugal vs England - Match Preview

Portugal vs England – Match Preview – England will face Portugal in their final group stage fixture at the 2017 Women’s EURO’s where they will be looking to secure top spot in Group D. Mark Sampson’s side are yet to concede a goal in the tournament and have scored eight in two matches. Spain came close to breaking down the tough English defence led by captain, Steph Houghton, however failed to do so. Portugal overcame a tough test against Scotland where a late counter attacking goal gave them their first win of the tournament, despite having spent plenty of the match on the back foot.

England have been the most impressive team in the tournament so far. Their clinical attack led by poacher, Jodie Taylor, has delivered plenty of creativity and goals thus far. The Arsenal striker has scored four goals in two matches and currently leads the tournament golden boot standings. She has been supported by attackers, Ellen White and Fran Kirby who have also had no trouble finding the back of the net.

Jodie Taylor tops the scoring charts in the tournament so far with 4 goals Photo Credit: skysports.com

England have illustrated their strength and depth with midfield and defence also impressing. Centre midfield rock, Jill Scott, continued her impressive form following the Scotland victory and defender, Lucy Bronze, has continued to showcase her attacking ability down the right side. All in all, England shouldn’t have too much trouble dispatching of this rather underwhelming Portugal side.

Skybet Correct Score Group Betting – England to win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 – 11/4

Portugal scraped through victory over Scotland in their last game Photo Credit: skysports.com

Portugal most recently took to the field against Scotland, where they narrowly won 2-1. The Portuguese seemed to struggle to string many passes together and were only dangerous in counter attacking scenarios. Scotland were able to give Portugal a tough 90 minutes where they were on the backfoot for plenty of it, so England will be another level all together. Trindade Coruche Mendes’ pace was Portugal’s biggest outlet, however were lucky Scotland were not clinical enough and squandered easy chances.

Portugal, like many nations at this tournament, are appearing for the first time. Manager Francisco Neto, has expressed his delight that his team were able to salvage three points in their first major tournament and will also believe his side have a good chance of qualification. Can Neto and his side create more history?

Skybet Match Result – Portugal to Win in 90 mins – 14/1

 

Suggested Tips:

Germany Women's vs Italy Women's - Match Preview

Germany Women’s vs Italy Women’s – Match Preview – Tournament favourites Germany will face Italy in their second group round fixture at the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euros. The Germans were held to a stalemate against Sweden in their curtain raiser, despite dominating for large periods of the match. Italy fell to the feet of the Russians in one of the shock results so far in the tournament. After conceding two first half goals in quick succession, the Italians could only grab a late consolation goal and were unable to get their first points of the tournament.

Germany Women's vs Italy Women's - Match Preview

Anja Mittag has scored 50 international goals in 155 appearances Photo Credit: de.uefa.com

Germany have won the previous six UEFA Women’s Euros and are without a doubt the most dominant force in Europe. With quality, strength and depth in their squad, they remain the team to beat despite failing to win their first fixture. Manager, Steffi Jones, admitted she was disappointed her team was unable to convert their many chances they created, however, no one is doubting their sides quality to find the back of the net against Italy. Striker, Anja Mittag, failed to convert some chances however is one of the most dangerous attackers at the Euros. The striker plays her club football for FC Rosengard and has scored 50 international goals in 155 appearances. Mittag and company will be searching for their first victory of the tournament, can they pull it off?

Skybet Correct Score – Germany to Win 3-0 – 9/2

Germany Women's vs Italy Women's - Match Preview

Melania Gabbiadini will be the key figurehead of Italy’s attack Photo Credit: skysports.com

The Italians were bitterly disappointed with their defeat against Russia. Their sloppy first half performance gave Italy too large a mountain to climb against a defensively organised Russian side. Head coach, Antonio Cabrini, has admitted his side will have to take any chance they can get against the tough and rigid German side. Striker, Melania Gabbiadini, will be key for the Italians’ bid to get their first points of the campaign. Often described as ‘rapid’ and ‘lethal’, Gabbiadini will be hopeful to grab her first goal of the tournament. The attacker is the sister of Southampton striker, Manolo Gabbiadini, and she will be looking to replicate his impressive season in Holland for her nation. Can the Italians upset the Germans?

Skybet Match Result – Italy to Win – 20/1

England Women's vs Scotland Women's - Match Preview

England Women’s vs Scotland Women’s – Match Preview – England will face Scotland in their opening match of their 2017 Women’s Euros campaign as the two nations fierce sporting rivalry continues.

England are entering the tournament as one of the favourites to go the distance, bringing plenty of talent and quality in their 23-woman squad. Scotland are participating in their first major tournament in the nation’s history- a big achievement for these women. England are the favourites to win on Wednesday however any contest involving England and Scotland often provides drama and entertainment.

England Women's vs Scotland Women's - Match Preview

Ellen White can provide a huge threat to the Scotland defence Photo Credit: skysports.com

Mark Sampson’s ladies most recently took to the field in some international friendlies against Switzerland and Denmark. The ‘Lionesses’ easily dispatched of the Swiss before defeating the Danes, 2-1, in a close encounter. A brace from Birmingham City FC striker, Ellen White, was enough for the English to continue their winning momentum and will also give the striker confidence ahead of Wednesday’s opener. White is arguably England’s biggest threat going forward but is in good company with Toni Duggan, Fran Kirby and Jodie Taylor, just to name a few of England’s attackers. Can White and company kickstart their campaign with an expected three points against rivals?

Skybet Correct Score Group Betting – England to Win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 – 11/8

England Women's vs Scotland Women's - Match Preview

Jane Ross will come up against many team mates when taking on England Photo Credit: skysports.com

Scotland will be looking to begin their first ever major tournament with a victory over tough opposition. Their very first major tournament will prove to be an uphill battle from the beginning, as they are joined by Portugal and Spain in Group D, however they feel confident they will prove people wrong. Striker, Jane Ross, has had a fantastic season at Manchester City and will be facing off against many of her team-mates, who will understand the threat Ross can cause. Scotland most recently took to the field in an international friendly against Ireland. A late 85th minute winner against Christie Murray grabbed the Scots the win they deserved; after failing to convert many chances. Can Scotland cause an upset on their debut at the Euros?

Skybet Match Result – Scotland to Win – 11/1

Both nations attacks have had no problem finding the back of the net this season. Will this translate into this tournament?

Skybet Under/Over Goals – Over 2.5 Goals in 90 mins – 4/6

 

Suggested Tips:

France Women's vs Iceland Women's - Match Preview

France Women’s vs Iceland Women’s – Match Preview – France face Iceland in their opening fixture at the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euros. The two nations have a history in the tournament, having met eight years ago when Iceland kicked off their debut campaign at the European Championships; where France were victorious, 3-1. This was one of France’s seven victories over Iceland in a total of nine competitive encounters that has seen the small Scandinavian nation win once. With form, quality and history, it would suggest an easy three points for the French, however, Iceland will be looking to establish themselves amongst Europe’s elite by providing a monumental shock in their curtain raiser.

France recently took the field on two occasions for friendly internationals against Belgium and Norway. A dominant 2-0 victory over the Belgians showcased the class that the French women possessed, however, were held to a 1-1 draw with the Norwegians most recently after taking an early lead in the third minute. Defensive insecurities were capitalised on by Norway as they equalised late on to stop the French in their tracks. France’s world class attack is their best asset, however they will have to keep defensive mistakes to a minimum if they are to go all the way in this tournament; a milestone that manager, Olivier Echouafni, believes is a realistic achievement. Can the French kickstart their campaign with an expected victory?

Skybet Correct Score Group Betting – France to Win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 – 11/8

Margrét Lára Viðarsdóttir will spearhead the Iceland attack Photo Credit: visir.is

Iceland have failed to impress in their recent showings; their most recent match ending in a 1-0 loss to Brazil in an international friendly. The small, proud nation also drew with Ireland in a recent friendly and have failed to show much attacking prowess in their bouts. Manager, Freyr Alexandersson, will understand the mammoth task ahead of his rather inexperienced side and may play for a draw; a result that would be fantastic for Iceland and terrible for France. Going toe to toe with one of the world’s strongest nations should prove too difficult for the Icelandic outfit, however, with the magical feeling surrounding this tournament, anything could be possible. Icelandic legend, Margrét Lára Viðarsdóttir, will be her nation’s biggest threat, spearheading the Scandinavian attack. The striker is the women’s side all-time top scorer and will be looking to add to her already impressive career tally. Can Viðarsdóttir and company provide a huge shock?

Skybet Match Result – Iceland to Win – 18/1

 

Suggested Tips: