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It’s the climax to the Premiership season tomorrow, and as well as farewells to Jamie Carragher, Paul Scholes and of course Sir Alex Ferguson, there’s still the small matter of deciding the final Champions League place – Arsenal can claim it with a win against Newcastle, but if they slip up, Spurs can grab it with a win over Sunderland.

If you join Skybet today, you’ll also get a free 24 hour day pass to their “Now TV” service, giving you full access to Sky Sports for 24 hours, meaning you can watch either of the final matches, as well as the League One playoff final between Brentford and Yeovil, Day Four of the first test between England and New Zealand, the Heineken Cup Final, and live European Tour Golf.

It promises to be a fantastic day of Sport, so grab your 24 hour free Sky Sports pass NOW.

Barcelona v Real Madrid, 21:00

The first leg of the Spanish SuperCopa is always a fairly big deal, but a combination of factors have come together to make this one of the most significant in recent memory. The departure of Pep Guardiola from Barcelona at the end of last season raised many a question, not least of which was whether this was simply a break he was taking from the club, rather than the game, and whether we could expect to see him back at the Nou Camp anytime soon. Only a few people know the truth, but judging by the reaction of the players, the squad at least are convinced Pep is gone for good.

In his place comes Tito Vilanova, a man whose main claim to fame up until now was having had Jose Mourinho’s finger in his eye in this game last season, one of many unseemly incidents that marked the last season Pep was in charge. His promotion is, in some ways, a sign that little will change about the team and their tactical approach, but when you look at the astonishing record Guardiola had it seems obvious to continue his work rather than look to reinvent the perfect circle. Having said that, the signings over the summer of Alex Song and Jordi Alba suggest the new man does see room for improvement in his playing options.

The loser in this match will stress that it is still early days, and Jose has been fairly vocal in the build-up that this is by no means an indicator of what lies ahead in the league. Although Valencia in particular have made some decent signings in the summer, the gulf in class and resources between the top two and the rest will probably mean the matches between these teams decide the title, so Mourinho may be proved wrong for once. There is a worrying trend in the Spanish system of Real and Barca ruling supreme, and if the authorities in the Spanish FA are not careful they’ll end up with a two-horse race, like the Scottish Premier League was until Rangers disappeared.

Both teams come in fully fit, with Real yet to add to their squad as Luka Modric’s transfer drags on, but one interesting note is the appointment of Clos Gomez as referee. The official was branded a ‘liar’ by Pep Guardiola in 2009, but publicly applauded by Jose in a typically Special display of chutzpah. Bet365 have 14/1 on a 2-1 away win, and with the attacking options Real have that is nowhere near impossible, although the return of David Villa could be a factor. Bwin have the striker at 6/1 to score the opening goal of the game.

Chelsea v Reading, 20:00

Having seen City struggle to beat Southampton and United lose to Everton the third team with a realistic hope of a title challenge this year get their own season rolling with their second game in four days. After beating Wigan in their opener Chelsea welcome Reading to Stamford Bridge for a game that, if won, would set them up very nicely indeed, but if we learned anything from last weekend and the previous twelve months it is that no game is a banker in the modern Premier League.

A draw against Stoke must be considered at least a half-decent result for Reading to start their season with, and the Reading management may have been secretly pleased to come through without injury or defeat rearing their ugly heads, but momentum is key in the early stages of what will probably be a survival battle for Brian McDermott’s side. Chelsea are a team in the process of a rebuild, and as a result won’t be as organised as they might be, a glimmer of hope I’m sure the dressing room will grasp in the face of a tough challenge.

Chelsea midfielder Ramires could feature against Reading, having recovered from the illness that kept him out of Sunday’s game with Wigan, and the Brazilian was an increasingly influential member of the squad as last season went on so that is good news. Summer signing Marko Marin remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, which is a worrying sign for the Blues. When the young German moved to London there were questions over the price tag, but the reason he was available for so little was his struggle to stay fit, and Roberto Di Matteo will want to make sure this is addressed sooner rather than later.

Reading midfielder Jem Karacan will miss the game after failing to recover from a leg injury, while veteran frontman Jason Roberts is suspended and Jimmy Kebe is out with a hamstring injury. New goalkeeper Stuart Taylor is available but unlikely to start the match this evening, as the Royals begin their campaign with what could be a very difficult tie. Fernando Torres, a 10/3 shot with Coral to score first, will need to be watched carefully if the away side are to take anything home with them, and I reckon the 11’s with Victor Chandler on a 3-1 home win may turn out close to the mark, too.

Chelsea v Manchester City, 13:30

Although it was United that pushed their neighbours so close last year, Chelsea have been making some very exciting moves over the summer and could be the side to watch in the title race for 2012/2013. New signing Marko Marin will miss the Community with a hamstring injury for several days and will sit out the curtain-raiser, played at Villa Park this year due to the pressure on Wembley from the Olympics. Roberto Di Matteo will be hoping his more fatigued players are rested by Roy Hodgson in the friendly with Italy next week, but other than Marin he has no injury concerns.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Chelsea team looks to play this year, as the league form last term under Robbie was pretty abject as they chased Champions League honours. Eden Hazard is probably the highest-profile of the summer arrivals, and his presence in the attack should certainly create space for the likes of Mata, Torres and Marin when fit, so City will have to be alert as they get the first semi-competitive look at the new London Blues. By contrast the league champions have no new pieces in their jigsaw at the moment, much to the chagrin of their manager.

The main focus of Roberto Mancini’s ire has been Brian Marwood, the chief football administrator at the Etihad, and it’s probably the failure of Marwood to secure Robin Van Persie’s signature which is getting the Mancini goat. Nevertheless, City have a great array of attacking talent at their disposal, and with Mario Balotelli maturing well and Carlos Tevez seemingly back in the fold you’d probably pick the City line-up as the stronger on paper before the game. They come in 15/11 favourite with Pinnacle, while BetDaq have 119/50 on Chelsea.

Gareth Barry and Micah Richards are out with injuries. but Vincent Kompany is expected to recover from a knock and make the starting eleven after being forced to fly home from his club’s Far East tour with a calf complaint. I think the 9/1 on a 1-0 City win Victor Chandler have could be quite a tasty bet, but as I said, this is a new Chelsea and that could work for, or against their ambitions.

With the new Premier League season just a month or so away, here are five tips for you to have a look at. Plenty more can be found at www.free-bet-finder.com too.

Manchester City to retain their title

Now that Roberto Mancini’s side have won the Premier League, there could be no stopping them dominating the English game with their knowhow and finical position.

Mancini will add to his already extremely talented squad in the summer and they will be an even stronger outfit this time out. You can back them to win the league at 11/8.

Tottenham to make the top four

The appointment of Andre Villas Boas could be an incredibly smart bit of business from Daniel Levy. The Portuguese boss seems to suit Spurs more than he did Chelsea and he is being given licence to go and spend in the summer.

With Gareth Bale signing a new four-year-deal, Tottenham are keeping one of their best players and could bring in plenty of names should Luka Modric leave the club. Spurs reaching the Champions League spots is available at 2/1.

Arsenal to be the top London side

Those looking at free bet finder’s Paypal betting guide will note how Arsene Wenger has acted early in this transfer market and brought some real quality into the squad. They may start slow but as always, will put in performances when needed.

Third place has been where the Gunners have finished in two of the last three years and with the power of the Manchester clubs, this would give them local bragging rights. Arsenal being top of the Capital sides is being offered at 9/4.

First Manager to be sacked

Although few can deny his qualities as a coach, Steve Clark is unproven as a manger and faces a tough task in achieving what Roy Hodgson did at the Baggies.

The Midlands club will stay clear of relegation, but may sack Clark fairly early on in the season. 5/1 are the odds on this happening.

Swansea to face the drop

After a superb first season in the top flight under Brendan Rodgers, Swansea now face their toughest campaign to date.

Rodgers leaving his post in charge is a big blow and now Michael Laudrup may have his work cut to keep them in the Premier League as he is another manager with no experience in this massively competitive leave. The Swans being relegated can be backed at 23/10.

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1st
My Lucky 15+£1,386.30


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Turf Wars+£1,145.20


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Race Profits Australia+£1,140.00


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Golf Investor Club+£975.00


5th
Strategy Bets+£880.00


6th
Horses for Courses+£567.50


7th
10 Percent Club+£534.30


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10th
Sports Profit Network+£235.20


Top 10 applies to the paid tipster services endorsed and proofed by Betfan. Figures are based on £10 per point stakes, does not take into account any commissions that may be payable to Bookmakers or any monthly fees required to join relevant services, and are for the month of June 2012.

You can see the current Top 10 (updated daily) here.

Cheltenham v Crewe, 15:00

These games are always hard to call, but going in Crewe are slight favourites to finish the football league season off with a victory, and that could in part be down to the fact they’ve won their last three encounters with Cheltenham. This year saw a pair of narrow 1-0 wins, which are probably going to be a lot more revealing than the 8-1 thrashing handed out last season, but it is a fact that Cheltenham haven’t beaten Crewe since August of 2010.

There will obviously be a lot of pressure on both side, but Cheltenham had a nice boost this week as Jack Butland was called up to the England squad after spending some time on loan at Whaddon Road earlier in the term. Focus will be tight for the game, and attack is harder than defence when the stakes are high but I think these two will both come out with the attitude that they must play to win if they want to end the year on a happy note.

Cheltenham Town will have defender Luke Garbutt available after he recovered from a hamstring injury and that could see Keith Lowe drop to the bench. Crewe boss Steve Davis, whose side are now unbeaten in 18 games, has a fully-fit squad to choose from now that Luke Murphy is ready to return after missing the semi-final second leg with a hamstring injury. Paddy Power offer 10/3 on Crewe winning by a 1-goal margin, but this one could go all the way to penalties if nobody can take hold of the game early on.

Norway v England, 19:45

For a first game in charge Roy Hodgson couldn’t have wished for much better than Norway, and when England take on the Norwegians this Saturday it will mark the new era’s official dawn, and hopefully a bright one. So far we know that Steven Gerrard will captain the team, Rob Green will start the match in goal, and for Norway at least we’ll also see Andy Carroll start up front, but not much about the preferred system of play.

At West Brom Hodgson had to take a fairly practical view of the situation and cut his tactical cloth to the garments provided, and I suspect that is what he’ll be doing in the England set-up too, with a collection of players strong in some places, rubbish in others. In particular the strikers need to play well, as Wayne Rooney is pretty much the only man capable of a moment of magic at this level. Ladbrokes offer 17/2 on a 2-1 England win, and it would be just like them to impress before a big tournament.

 

Huddersfield v Sheffield United, 15:00

This has been a bad year for the Blades, and while of late they’ve had a few bad ones this has been ugly on and off the pitch. Their striker Ched Evans was convicted for rape just days before being named in the Team of the Year, and neighbours Sheffield Wednesday already achieved automatic promotion. Now they have a chance to put some of that behind them and join the Owls in the Championship, but there is a serious obstacle in their way.

Huddersfield, for their part, will be desperately keen to win this game after spending a lot of time in the top two this season. At one point under Lee Clark they were undefeated in something like fifty games, and if the side don’t get out of League One some serious scrutiny will come the way of the men who took the decision to sack Clark. This game has all the ingredients to be a cracker, and some pretty good players on show. Blue Square have 7/2 on Huddersfield winning by a one goal margin, but it could go either way.

Bayern Munich v Chelsea, 19:45

It seems as though there has rarely, if ever before been a Champions League final as big as this for so many reasons. Just the semi-finals cost Europe’s top club their visionary boss after Pep Guardiola proved he doesn’t cope quite as well with defeat as victory, and after several months of speculation that this would be an all-Spanish affair the Real/Barca bandwagon was halted. Now, two sides guilty of spoiling every 12 year-old FIFA fanatic’s day come face to face in what could be a fantastic event.

Bayern are as much playing at home as any side can be in a major final, even if a lot of their season-ticket holders will not be in the ground due to UEFA allocations, and the necessity of greasing palms. They are missing less important players than Chelsea, both in number and influence, and almost certainly have the better side on paper, but a lot of that was also true about Barcelona and the Londoners managed to defeat them, so don’t rule Roberto di Matteo’s side out.

Chelsea caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo is “very hopeful” Gary Cahill and David Luiz will be fit to start the final while Florent Malouda will train on Friday night after a hamstring problem of his own but seems further from full fitness. John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles are all suspended, as are Bayern’s Luiz Gustavo, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber.

Bayern come in at 4/5 with Paddy Power as winners, with Chelsea 19/5 with 188Bet, but it’s the 8/1 with Victor Chandler on a 2-1 Munich win that I’d be tempted by. I don’t rule Chelsea out, as they showed they can beat anyone on their day, but I’d really struggle to back them for this game.

 

 

West Ham v Blackpool, 15:00

It looked for most of this season like West Ham were going to have little or no trouble getting out of the Championship, such was the solidity of their defence and consistency of their form, but as things tightened up the Hammers fell away and they are now in a one-off, winner takes all match to get back to where they once belonged. You’d think a lot of Hammers fans would be disappointed about this, and it will be very interesting to see what the fallout is if they fail.

In Sam Allardyce the Hammers have a fairly divisive leader, even amongst the Upton Park faithful, and the same is true for Blackpool boss Ian Holloway. For every person who found him amusing during his spell in the Premiership there was another fan that couldn’t stand the West Country burr and stretched clichés, but his side were a good addition to the Premier League, with an attacking ethos and good spirit, and no-one would be sad to see them back.

Midfielder Jack Collison has handed West Ham a major fitness boost ahead of the Championship play-off final with Blackpool on Saturday. The 23-year-old has recovered from the dislocated shoulder he suffered in the semi-final second leg against Cardiff, leaving both managers with basically fully fit squads to pick from.

Favourites West Ham are available as winners with Betfred at 20/21, while Blackpool are definite underdogs, best priced with Boylesports as a 16/5 shot. I can see this one going to penalties personally, with Blue Square offering 14/1 on a 2-2 draw. Blackpool are a good side going forward, but will need to be aware of the threat players like Collison and Carlton Cole will cause.

 

Torquay v Cheltenham, 19:45 (agg 0-2)

Although the home side will feel they are in with a shout here, there are a number of factors that could well prove decisive in aiding Cheltenham to the final, and potentially promotion from LeagueTwo. Torquay haven’t won in six matches now, with three draws and three defeats, the sort of form that doesn’t suggest a revival today is best backed, and there is also some worrying team news for Martin Ling to process. The local derby with Southend is no longer on for Cheltenham if they do make it through, but I’m sure the manager will emphasise the need to keep it tight and exploit and potential opportunity for counter-attacks as Torquay look to push the tempo.

Torquay will have to overturn a two-goal deficit against Cheltenham without leading scorer Rene Howe, with Taiwo Atieno replacing Howe as he did during the first leg, while Danny Stevens should return. Cheltenham will assess full-back Luke Garbutt after the Everton loanee missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring strain, but on the plus side Ben Burgess has recovered from a blow to the head which required stitches, while midfielder Russ Penn is competing for a recall. Blue Square offer 6/1 on a 1-1 draw, and I think Torquay face an uphill battle today if they are to progress.