Friday, December 17, 2010

Manchester United Edging The Title Race

Ji Sung Park Celebrates Scoring 1st goal Manchester United 2010/11 Manchester United V Arsenal 13/12/10 The Premier League Photo: Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
With Christmas nearly upon us, the Premiership race is still far from being all wrapped up. At the midway point in the season, there are still five teams with a realistic chance of finishing as this season's champions. Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea were always expected to be at the front of the queue, but the big three are being pushed all the way by Tottenham and Manchester City.

Many expected Spurs to struggle with the demands of balancing their domestic duties along with their debut season in the Champions League. That hasn't been the case though for Harry Redknapp's men, and Spurs are sitting a mere seven points off the top of the league as well as impressing in Europe. Despite their impressive form so far this season, it's doubtful they can keep it up till the end. Next season could be a different story though.

Man City certainly have the players capable of winning a Premier League in the future, but this season again looks to be a bit early for this ever-evolving squad of superstars. It looks as though the best Roberto Mancini's side can really hope for this campaign is that vital fourth place and Champions League football next year. There still doesn't seem to be the team spirit needed at the club for them to mount a genuine title challenge and the football betting reflects this.

That leaves the 'Holy Trinity' once again battling it out for the Premier League crown. Unless the situation at Stamford Bridge changes quickly, Chelsea don't look capable of retaining their title. Carlo Ancelotti's side have suffered a remarkable slump in form recently and can count themselves extremely lucky to still be in the race, due to the mixed form of their rivals.

Last Monday's match between Manchester United and Arsenal could prove to be a sign of what this title race may bring. The Gunners have at times this season, finally looked like the finished product but when it comes to the crunch games they still a little way behind United, as Sir Alex's team ground out a 1-0 win. The Manchester United betting tips now suggest they are now in with a serious shout of taking the title.

Wayne Rooney is still finding goals hard to come by, but the England striker has looked unplayable at times since his return form his break. It’s a case of when, not if, Rooney finds his scoring boots and when that happens United will have everything needed to regain their crown.

Champions League Round Of 16 Draw: Inter vs. Bayern

This Champions League round of 16 draw seems to have everything that us fans crave. Subplots, big clashes, and games which will be filled with attacking football. Here's the Champions League round of 16 draw below:

Roma - Shakhtar Donetsk
AC Milan - Tottenham Hotspur
Valencia - Schalke
Inter Milan - Bayern Munich
Lyon v Real Madrid
Arsenal - Barcelona
Marseille - Manchester United
Copenhagen - Chelsea

The game that I'm looking forward to the most from this bunch has to be the AC Milan - Tottenham one. Two teams which have really stepped up their game this season, and while AC Milan are hardened veterans of this competition, I could see Tottenham progressing. Reigning champions Inter Milan got the team they played in the final last season, Bayern Munich. I'm sure that the Bavarian side won't care too much about having lost the final, but somehow I think that Louis van Gaal's team will do their best to impede Inter to a second successive Champions League title.

While I say that the game I'm looking forward to the most is AC Milan - Tottenham, there's also the gem which is Arsenal - Barcelona. Last season Arsenal were kicked out of the competition by Pep Guardiola's side, and I'm sure that Arsene Wenger will want to prove that his side is more than just a bunch of little boys. We also have Lyon and Real Madrid meeting again, the two sides faced each other in last season's round of 16, and the French side knocked Real Madrid out of the competition. But this season there's no joking around with Jose Mourinho in charge at Los Blancos, he'll want to sweep past Lyon and pursue the trophy itself.

Here below is the Europa League draw for the Round of 32:

Napoli - Villareal
Rangers - Sporting Lisbon
Sparta Prague - Liverpool
Anderlecht - Ajax
Lech Poznan - Sporting Braga
Besiktas - Dinamo Kiev
FC Basel - Spartak Moscow
Young Boys - Zenit St. Petersburg
Aris Salonika - Manchester City
PAOK Salonika - CSKA Moscow
Sevilla - Porto
Rubin Kazan - FC Twente
Lille - PSV Eindhoven
Benfica - Stuttgart
Bate Borisov - Paris Saint-Germain
Metalist Kharkiv - Bayer Leverkusen

Share your comments regarding the draws below! 


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