miercuri, 24 aprilie 2013

Most Common Sports Bets - A Guide for Beginners

We will make clear all of these and a bit much more. sports betting guide

Facet Wagers

Side wagers are probably the most common athletics guess. Aspect wagers, also referred to as straight wagers, are bets exactly where you decide a crew to win. Facet wagers have two variables - the pointspread and the moneyline. The pointspread is the number of points either additional to the underdog rating or subtracted from the favourite to determine whether the bet wins or not. The moneyline describes how significantly a successful guess pays the victor.

Sports like baseball are performed practically solely on the moneyline. In other terms, the pointspread is assumed to be zero. Numerous sportsbooks offer you a runline, the place the pointspread is one.five operates, that means the preferred has to acquire by two, not a single operate. Soccer and hockey are also extremely reliant on the moneyline.

Soccer and basketball use the pointspread to wonderful extent. Not like baseball, the moneyline is usually fixed or only alterations a small.

Total Wagers

Other than betting on a staff to acquire -- or cover the distribute, you can guess on the total number of details/operates/scores in a sporting function. The sportsbook sets a totals which is just a quantity which they come to feel will produce bets above and underneath the complete. If you guess above, you are betting that the sum of the opponents scores will be higher than the overall. Conversely, if you guess beneath, you are betting fewer points are scored than the complete.


Sides and totals are offered for most standard sporting occasions pitting Group A in opposition to Crew B. But how does that operate for golf tournaments or nascar races? Tennis matches can be wager with sides, but how about predicting a match winner? Or betting on the eventual tremendous Bowl champion? Bets with a lot more than two rivals are guess by futures. Each and every choice has a moneyline linked with it to determine the payout - the longer the underdog the better the return. If you can correctly decide a longshot -- and earn -- even a modest wager can shell out off a lot of times over.

Betting futures does have disadvantages. First, betting a potential that normally takes a extended time to solve causes the stake (the amount you wagered) to be unavailable for numerous months. Also, futures are likely to either be longshots that spend out occasionally or favorites that have quite little reward tempting you to area a huge wager. We all like to have wishful thinking betting on your favourite crew or players.


For key sporting events prop wagers are typically offered. Prop wagers are something that does not in shape into the categories above. Think about props totally exciting bets - the odds are typically dreadful and hardly ever any ability goes into the guess. The Superbowl each yr has hundreds of prospective prop bets ranging from the coin flip, to whether or not or not the recreation ends in overtime. Inbetween you wager on the groups and individual gamers. For illustration, the variety of interceptions for the quarterback or the amount of dashing yards for the operating back again.

Reside Betting

Some superior sportsbooks are now giving live in-sport betting. These are genuinely prop bets, but since the bets have an extremely brief length

Sports Betting Tips - Get All the Information You Can

There are several techniques in which individuals location sporting bets, and many different techniques utilised in order to maximise their possibilities of winning. But the amount one important method for maximising your probabilities of successful that all important wager is details. Obtaining all the pertinent data you can muster ahead of positioning your bet is all-essential to making certain you stand the ideal possibility of winning huge.

This is the same notion behind several other fiscal investments in life. If you're buying a residence or acquiring a automobile, you undertake some analysis in buy to be certain you're investing your cash wisely. The actual exact same theory applies to betting.

It undoubtedly aids if you know a good deal about the sport you're betting on. Nobody need to be betting on a match of cricket if they do not know the 1st issue about the recreation. But if you comply with your local soccer crew each week and know their strengths and weaknesses, you have a significantly more knowledgeable check out of how they may fare in their up coming match than your typical gambler.

Bookmakers and other large stakes gamblers exploit the ignorance of the regular bettor. By carrying out your analysis, you stand a significantly greater possibility of winning. Making an attempt to get that information is a somewhat trickier proposition. If you want to know the horse racing form, then you purchase the Racing Submit. However everyone does that, and you will only get information that anybody significant about betting on the horses presently knows.

Frequently the greatest idea is to appear into a little area of a activity, and turn into an skilled in how that spot operates and the various intricacies of the competitiveness. You may well emphasis on say, 20/twenty cricket, and know the kind of the a variety of gamers, and whether a operate chase is doable or not primarily based on earlier video games on that particular pitch. A lot of profitable gamblers have produced their fortune just concentrating on one particular specific region, and getting to be all knowledgeable about it.

One more crucial tool to use is odds comparison web sites. Now simply because of the Net, it is attainable to examine the a variety of odds provided by all the key bookmakers on an celebration, and deciding on whichever bookie is offering you the best price. A few illustrations of these websites are http://www.ukbettips.co.uk/ and odds.bestbetting.com. These web sites also enable you to gauge no matter whether you're acquiring a great deal by viewing the heritage of the odds. If you see what was prolonged odds quickly drop just before the occasion, you know that a good deal of late funds has absent on it. Obviously you can't inform why this has occurred, but it enables you to get an notion of what the relaxation of the betting public are pondering. Every single piece of data you can gather counts.

Bayern stun Barca with four-goal show

Bayern-BarcelonaBayern Munich's incredible season continued when they handed Barcelona one of their heaviest defeats for years, hammering the Catalans 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

Thomas Muller headed the recently-crowned Bundesliga champions ahead in the 25th minute and Mario Gomez turned in the second goal amid suspicions of offside early in the second half.

Arjen Robben added a third in the 73rd minute and Muller then grabbed his second of the night as Barca collapsed dramatically in a game where Lionel Messi, returning from a hamstring injury, made little impact.

In doing so, Bayern avenged their defeat by the same score in the quarter-finals four years ago.

Robben nearly put Bayern ahead in the third minute after a clever backheel by Javi Martinez gave him a clear scoring chance but he shot straight at keeper Victor Valdes.

Barca then put together some intricate passing moves although they rarely threatened to score and Bayern had the next chance when a goalbound Philipp Lahm shot was blocked by defender Gerard Pique.

Pique also appeared to handle when he cleared the resulting corner but the referee was not interested.

It was not long before Bayern, who won the Bundesliga with six games to spare, went ahead with the help of an overhit corner by Franck Ribery.

His effort found Robben on the other side of the penalty area and a rare right-footed cross from the Dutchman found Dante whose header fell for Mueller to stoop and score.

Barca's most dangerous first-half effort was a low Pedro cross which Dante was lucky not to turn into his own net.

Bayern extended their lead from another corner as Mueller at the back post headed back into the middle for Gomez to turn the ball in at close range after 49 minutes although he may have been fractionally offside.

The Germans threatened another as shots from Mueller and Ribery flashed wide and then Robben headed wide from a free kick.

Barca, often reduced to long balls forward, managed to impose some of their possession football but were vulnerable on the break.

Robben exploited the gaps when he burst down the right for the third and, with Barca still reeling, Mueller blasted a David Alaba pass into the net for the fourth goal.

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marți, 23 aprilie 2013

Bayern Munich - Barcelona in blockbuster semi-final

Lionel-Messi-2Barcelona travel to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday night boosted by the knowledge star man Lionel Messi could return for the showdown.

The Argentinian superstar suffered a hamstring injury in the first leg of Barca's quarter-final tie with Paris St Germain and has only made one substitute appearance since then, in the second leg against the Ligue 1 side.

Messi has not yet been given the all-clear by medical staff but is in the Barca squad that has travelled to Germany for the first leg of the blockbuster tie, during which both teams will be looking to take a step closer to a fifth European title.

The two sides have dominated their respective leagues this year, with Barcelona 13 points clear at the top of La Liga under assistant coach Jordi Roura, while Bayern are in an even better position having wrapped up the Bundesliga crown two weeks ago.

Both have also been in two Champions League finals in the last four years, though the Catalans won both of theirs and the Bavarians came out losers on each occasion.

They share another connection in coach Pep Guardiola, who left Camp Nou last year after guiding them to Champions League glory in 2009 and 2011 and will replace Jupp Heynckes at Bayern this summer.

It is the second successive season that Bayern have been tasked with overcoming a Spanish heavyweight at the semi-final stage after they dumped out Real Madrid last year, stretching their home record against Spanish opposition to just one defeat in 20 encounters.

Matches between Bayern and Barcelona have been surprisingly rare, with just six previous meetings.

The last, a Champions League quarter-final four years ago, came when Jurgen Klinsmann's reign at Bayern was in its death throes and saw a 4-0 Barca rout in the first leg with all goals coming in a memorable first half.

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vineri, 19 aprilie 2013

Rib injury keeps Fabianski out

Lukasz-FabianskiArsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Lukasz Fabianski has suffered a cracked rib, meaning Wojciech Szczesny is set to keep his place.

Following a run of poor form earlier in the season, Szczesny saw his starting berth handed to fellow Poland international Fabianski, only for the latter to sustain a cracked rib during the 3-1 win over Norwich on Saturday.

The injury saw Fabianski miss a 0-0 draw with Everton on Tuesday, with his compatriot returning after a five-game absence, and Szczesny will continue between the posts for the trip to Fulham.

“Lukasz has a crack in his rib that has not moved,” Wenger told reporters.

“That means we have to treat it clinically. That means has he pain or not? That is day by day. I don’t know when he’ll be back.”

Szczesny was rested – in what Wenger called “a breather” – last month due to an erratic run of form, with the manager suggesting the pressure he was under may have affected his confidence.

During his absence, Szczesny failed to make the bench for the Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich, or Premier League games against West Brom and Norwich, with Vito Mannone used as cover.

But the 23 year-old impressed against Everton, with Wenger praising Szczesny’s positive reaction to being dropped.

Wenger said: “He had a good performance against Everton. I was pleased with his focus, with his sharpness. He dealt well with the situation that he faced.

“In our job, there is only one way to respond, which is to practise harder and stronger and show that you are ready for a fight. That is what he did.”

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St Patrick's Athletic look to halt unbeaten champions Sligo Rovers

Liam-BuckleySt Patrick’s Athletic welcome league leaders Sligo Rovers to Richmond Park tonight with Liam Buckley’s side looking to end the champions unbeaten start to the season.

The Inchicore outfit are currently sitting in third place in the table, nine points behind tonight’s opponents, however with victory this evening and in their game in hand, St Pat’s could close the gap to just three points.

Saints have had a decent start to the season, despite losing to Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, as they have won their other five league fixtures, most recently storming past Shelbourne 4-0 on Monday night.

Talisman Chris Forrester grabbed a hat-trick in that victory over Shels and his goals could prove vital this season, as Saints struggled in that department in last year’s campaign.

And manager Buckley is happy with his side’s start to the season and is confident that his side will keep improving following their impressive performance on Monday night.

Buckley said: “Monday was a good win against Shels and a good performance. We created quite a lot chances and scored a couple of goals which was nice. The lads played really well and our general play was better. We need to keep improving that further as we go on this season.

“We had three really tight and competitive games with Sligo last year that could have gone either way.

Goalkeeper Brendan Clarke is set to have a late fitness test on a knee injury sustained in training last weekend. Pat’s are, however, boosted with the news that Shane McFaul is expected to be available for selection having recovered from a groin strain.

For Saints’ midfielder John Russell, the visit of Sligo sees the Galweigan face some of his former teammates from his successful spell at the Showgrounds.

Having won two FAI Cup’s with the club, Russell is looking forward to the challenge of getting the upper hand on the Bit O’Red. The Pats’ man also believes that the Saints are now hitting form after a disrupted start to the season.

Russell said: “Playing against my old side, I want to do well. The Shels win on Monday has given us confidence going into Friday as with the few games being cancelled a few weeks ago, we were kind of struggling to get into our stride. But the win and scoring a few goals has us in good spirits ahead of Sligo.

“Hopefully we’ll do well on the night, and if we can win the midfield battle on Friday, I think we’ll have a great chance of winning.”

Sligo arrive in Inchicore looking to make it nine league wins this season and manager Ian Baraclough is looking for his side to bounce back from Tuesday’s Setanta Sports Cup defeat to Drogheda United.

Baraclough said: "We were always going to have a knock back and it came on Tuesday. There was disappointment amongst all the players and that the goals came from our own mistakes, if you like. We weren’t opened up and you can’t afford to concede goals that way or you can lose games.

"We put that tie to one side because it is back to the league where we go to Richmond Park aiming for a positive result and to keep our league form so far this season going.

"It’s going to be nip and tuck like the games between the sides were last season. Pat’s are at home, the onus is on them and I expect it will be a good game between two footballing sides if the conditions are right.

"They’ve been playing catch-up with the postponed fixtures but have won most of their games. It is a similar squad to last season, they’ve kept the same shape and have some top quality players.”

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luni, 15 aprilie 2013

Jagielka calls for top four assault

phil-jagielkaEverton defender Phil Jagielka has warned his team-mates they must prove themselves against the Premier League's best teams if they are to challenge for a top four finish this season.

A win against Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday night will lift the Toffees into fifth place, just one point behind the Gunners in third.

Despite grabbing memorable scalps against Manchester United and Manchester City this season, Jagielka believes Everton must perform more consistently against the top sides.

"Unfortunately, we haven't turned up in some really big games," he said. "That's the challenge for us now and there is only one way to change that.

"We'd like nothing better than to put in a fantastic performance at the Emirates, come away with three points and lay that to rest. But it is not always as easy as that.

"We have gone to the Emirates and not got the rub of the green a few times. Maybe we have under-performed away, but we have done very well at home against them. We'd like to turn the tide as soon as possible."

Although a positive result would propel them into contention for Champions League qualification, Everton could drop off the pace if they fail to win a majority of the remaining games this season.

A spot in Europe's top flight competition is tempting for manager David Moyes, but the Scot played down his side's chances of grabbing fourth spot.

"If Everton did have the Champions League it could change a lot of things," Moyes said. "But I am loath to talk it up because Arsenal away it's such a difficult game. We go there as big outsiders.

"We've got an opportunity and we'll try to take it on, but it is a small chance, about 15 per cent. If we win this one we will be right in with an opportunity - but if we lose we will probably be out of that chance of making it into the top four.

"I am quite confident because I feel the players are in good fettle, and I am in good fettle, I feel good. I feel good about the team, because there are a lot of good things about them right now, so I am relaxed."

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Premier League: Arsenal - Everton

arsene-wenger-3Arsenal entertain an in-form Everton side at the Emirates on Tuesday night, with both teams knowing nothing but a win will do in their bid to finish in the top four of the Premier League this campaign, and with it entry into next season’s lucrative Uefa Champions League.

Arsene Wenger’s men are currently riding high, third in the top flight, although having played a game more than their rivals in fourth and fifth positions, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.

Meanwhile, David Moyes’s men are coming silently up on the rails, in sixth position in the table, but now only three points off a Champions League spot with now just six games of the season left for the Toffees to play.

The North Londoners, who left it late before coming from behind to beat relegation-threatened Norwich City at home on Saturday afternoon, should welcome back creative Czech Republic midfield player Tomas Rosicky after a hamstring problem and German defender Per Mertesacker following a one-game ban.

However, keeper Lukasz Fabianski looks like missing out with a rib problem.

Arsenal are 1.75 to win, 3.90 to draw and 5.00 to lose to Everton.

The visitors, meanwhile, have no new injury issues to worry about after their 2-0 home win over struggling Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

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duminică, 14 aprilie 2013

Premier League: Stoke 0 Manchester United 2

alex-ferguson-2Sir Alex Ferguson has told his Manchester United players not to 'take our eye off the ball' after they edged closer to the title with a 2-0 win at Stoke.

An early goal from Michael Carrick and a second-half Robin van Persie penalty wrapped up all three points for Sir Alex Ferguson's men, but they were rarely troubled by a disappointing Stoke who are now more deeply embroiled in the relegation fight to stay in England's top flight.

It took just four minutes for the champions-elect to take the lead, as the Potters failed miserably to clear a van Persie corner.

After several hacks at the ball by the home defenders, it eventually fell to Carrick, who toe-poked into the corner of the net from the edge of the six-yard box.

It was United's 100th goal of the season in all competitions, but they did not look like adding to that tally for the rest of the half.

In fact, a Robert Huth header from a free-kick aside, neither team created any opportunities of note in what was an uninspiring first 45 minutes.

The second started much brighter, however, with the visitors' attacking trio of Wayne Rooney, van Persie and Chicharito forming a dangerous unit and causing several problems to Stoke's backline.

The home side also improved their intensity and created several half-chances, notably when Jonathan Walters blazed over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box just 10 minutes into the second half.

Strikes from distance from Charlie Adam and Kenwyne Jones also forced David de Gea into action on the hour mark, but five minutes later the game was up as United were awarded a penalty.

It came after defender Andy Wilkinson clumsily felled van Persie in the area, and the Dutch striker stepped up to place the spot kick past a helpless Begovic to double the visitors' advantage, and end a personal Premier League barren spell dating back to mid-February.

The game looked to be up for Stoke, but with 10 minutes left they stirred into action, and almost got themselves back into the contest through captain Ryan Shawcross.

The defender found himself free at the far post and launched himself at an Adam free kick, but de Gea reacted sharply to turn his effort around the post.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis threw on Peter Crouch and former United striker Michael Owen in the closing stages in a bid to mount an unlikely comeback, but the Potters failed to muster any real openings for their former England strike partnership, and slipped to a second consecutive home defeat.

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Carroll uncertain over future

andy-carrollAndy Carroll is open to joining West Ham permanently but admits to being unsure as to where his future lies.

The football world was taken aback just over two years ago when Liverpool forked out a club record transfer fee of £35million to sign the front man.

Carroll arrived as replacement for Fernando Torres but the move never quite worked out, leading to a season-long loan at West Ham in the summer.

The east Londoners have the option to make the deal permanent for an undisclosed fee, although reports this week suggest they will reduce their offer.

Carroll has also been linked with a move to former club Newcastle and the striker is not sure what the future holds past the end of the season.

"I have just got to wait and see, really," he said. "We'll see what happens at the end of the season. Obviously I don't know what is happening so we will just have to wait and see.

"It has been great here and every minute has been fantastic. The lads have been great, the gaffer has been great and the fans are unbelievable."

Asked whether he would stay if West Ham put the right money on the table, he added: "We will have to wait and see. It is obviously a great club and I do not see why not."

Carroll netted his sixth West Ham goal on Saturday to earn a hard-fought point at Southampton.

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Di Canio plays down derby success

Paolo-Di-Canio-2Sunderland won their first match under new manager Paolo Di Canio, beating Newcastle United 3-0 in a thunderous Tyne-Wear derby to ease their Premier League relegation woes on Sunday.

Di Canio, who replaced Martin O'Neill and saw them beaten in his first match in charge at Chelsea last week, celebrated their goals from Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan with an outpouring of emotion.

He leapt in the air, did a series of arm pumps, ran down the touchline and slid along the ground in his suit as Sunderland won at St James' Park to end a nine-match winless streak and record their biggest win at Newcastle since October 1966.

"I'm happy for my players because they were warriors today," Di Canio said on the BBC.

"I was excited to see our fans celebrate because I know what it means to win here."

The victory moved them up from 17th to 15th in the table, above Stoke City who play league leaders Manchester United later.

It was also their first win at Newcastle since November 2000 and was thoroughly deserved because they were sharper and more clinical than their opponents.

Sessegnon opened the scoring with a low shot after 27 minutes, Johnson made it 2-0 with a left-foot curler after 74 and Vaughan put the icing on the cake with a stunning half-volley with the outside of his left boot with eight minutes remaining.

The second and third goals came after Newcastle keeper Tim Krul had suffered an elbow injury and was replaced by substitute Rob Elliott, but no goalkeeper could have realistically saved either effort.

The result kept Newcastle on the fringes of the relegation battle, in 13th place on 36 points from 33 matches. Sunderland moved up to 34 points, three clear of FA Cup finalists Wigan Athletic.

Queens Park Rangers and Reading, who both have 24 points, occupy the bottom two places in the table.

"Yes, it's a big win in terms of the area but it's only one step and not a big step in terms of the table," Di Canio added.

"When I saw the players in the dressing room before the game I saw they had very high determination and desire. It's obvious you could see in the last 20 minutes that we improved from Chelsea."

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vineri, 12 aprilie 2013

Lambert: Aston Villa not in contract talks with Benteke

christian-bentekeThe Scot says he is focusing on the Premier League and his side's battle against relegation currently, but will discuss the striker's future at the end of the season.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says the club are not in contract talks with striker Christian Benteke but that he expects to discuss the Belgian’s future in the summer.

The 22-year-old arrived at Villa Park in August from Genk and has gone on to become a huge hit, scoring 19 goals so far in his debut season in the Premier League.

Benteke’s exploits have seen speculation surrounding his future increase but Lambert has played down reports he has been offered a new contract at Villa Park.

"I think the most important thing is the league until the end of the season, I heard somebody say he's been promised a new contract but I can't have been a part of those conversation," he told reporters.

"I speak to him all the time, not about contracts, I just tell him to keep it going really. And he's never once mentioned anything to me about contracts.

"He's got a contract here anyway as it stands, but I think it's important we stay in this league and do as well as we've been doing.

"As I said before I've never had one conversation with him regarding contracts or anything like that, he's not that type of lad. I'm sure come the end of the season we'll sit down and it'll be just Chris and a few others."

Lambert also admitted he was not expecting Benteke to have quite the impact he has had at Aston Villa and was full of praise for the striker.

"Nobody visualised he was going to do what he has when he first came in, but the big guy’s been fantastic,” he added.

"He's the one that does it, he's the one that plays the game, he's the one that goes out there every week and he's been a credit to himself and to the football team - that's the main thing.

"I'd like to see him continue doing what he's been doing and as for the rest we'll see what happens."

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miercuri, 10 aprilie 2013

The Parisians head to Camp Nou

zlatan-ibrahimovicPSG midfielder David Beckham hopes to start for his side when they travel to Barcelona on Wednesday.

The Parisians head to Camp Nou for the second-leg of their Champions League quarter-final with the tie finely poised after a 2-2 draw in the first-leg.

Beckham, who used to play for Barcelona's fierce rivals Real Madrid, started the first-leg and is keen to line up against the Catalan giants again on Wednesday.

"I do not know [if I'll start] - I'm not the coach ," the 37-year-old told Le 10 Sport.

"Of course I want to start but that's the same for all players in these big games. We'll see."

Barcelona secured a 5-0 win over Mallorca at Camp Nou on Saturday, while PSG picked up a 2-0 win at Rennes in Ligue 1.

PSG are 9.00 to secure the win at Barcelona on Tuesday, while the draw is priced at 5.50.

Barcelona are 1.36 to secure the win and book a place in the last four of the Champions League.

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duminică, 7 aprilie 2013

Mancini: Man City's missed signings cost title chance

roberto-manciniRoberto Mancini says Manchester City would still be challenging for the Premier League and Champions League titles had he been able to sign his principal targets last summer.

"We would probably be at the top... probably also in a Champions League quarter-final," the City manager said.

"We had a chance to get three or four players that would have improved our team but now it is finished with."

And he added rivals Manchester United "continued to improve their team".

All five top targets identified by Mancini last summer opted against joining City.

Those at the top of the Italian's list were understood to include Netherlands striker Robin van Persie, who instead joined Premier League leaders United from Arsenal, and Belgium's Eden Hazard, who signed for Chelsea from French side Lille.

"We had the chance to get important players, players that this year could have been the difference in this team," continued Mancini. "But it is useless to talk about this now."

City go into Monday's Manchester derby at Old Trafford trailing rivals United by 15 points. With just eight games remaining, Mancini has already conceded the title and the Italian believes that, despite City securing their first title in 44 years last May, United's aura remains unchallenged.

"No one player plays very well against United because they play with fear," he said.

"Because United have an importance as a team and a club, every team that plays against United plays very softly because they think 'this game is difficult, we cannot beat them'.

"I don't think that other teams don't play 100% but their mentality is poor in that game because they don't think they can do anything. But that is not true if you go there and play with a good mentality. In football, you can beat every team."

Mancini, in his third full season at City, concedes that United's success over an extended period means it will be a long time before the blue half of Manchester can challenge the prestige and history enjoyed by their rivals.

"We don't have the same importance as United in this moment. Maybe in 10 years we will be the same. This is history, and the history is very important.

"We need to improve as a team and as a club but for this we need more years, we can't do this in two years. I think in 10 years, if we improve, if we win the league every year, it will be the same for us.

"You can't win every year. Last year United didn't win anything, apart from the Charity Shield - but they continued to improve their team."

Monday's meeting will be the first time City have been back to Old Trafford since last season's 6-1 victory, a result that prompted many to suggest the balance of power in Manchester had shifted for good.

But although Mancini is proud of that result, he is not predicting a repeat on Monday - and accepts that United will be worthy champions.

"Six-one is in history," he said. "We can talk about this for another 200 years, but it is impossible to do this another time.

"We know we can beat them [on the day] because they are not better than us. We need to go there thinking we are like them, that we are a strong team like them.

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Benitez: Chelsea must forget Di Canio and concentrate on Sunderland

rafa-benitezThe Spaniard has told his side to focus on their own game at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and expects to rotate his squad again with a trip to Russia in the Europa League looming.

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has told his players they must concentrate on playing Sunderland on Sunday and forget the publicity surrounding new manager Paolo Di Canio.

The Black Cats have rarely been out of the headlines following the appointment of the Italian, who has replaced Martin O'Neill at the Stadium of Light.

Benitez believes the new manager will inspire his charges and has warned his side to focus on their game, having slipped out of the top four, following Arsenal's win at West Brom on Saturday.

“We are playing Sunderland, not the manager," Benítez told The Guardian.

"I don't think the manager can make that much difference if they do not have the right players.

“They will be different on Sunday so we will have to concentrate. But we will play in the style and the way we can play and not worry about them. We just need to concentrate on our game."

Chelsea are in the midst of a hectic fixture schedule and Benitez admitted he will look to rotate his squad having played Rubin Kazan on Thurday in the Europa League and with the return leg in Russia next up after the Sunderland clash.

"I don't know how many we can change but we will be changing some of them," the Spaniard said.

"We do have some hard games to play. The good thing now is that we have one game in hand and, if we win, we will be third. It is down to us whether we stay at the top."

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Liverpool boss Rodgers confirms Sterling's thigh injury

brendan-rodgersThe Reds' manager has ruled the teenager out of Sunday's fixture against West Ham at Anfield, but admits he is awaiting further information to clarify his return date.

Brendan Rodgers has revealed that Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is set to miss this weekend's clash against West Ham at Anfield due to a thigh injury, and does not know his exact return date yet.

The 18-year-old was a key player for the former Swansea boss in the early part of the season, but has been rested recently due to injury concerns, resulting in handful of substitute appearances for the club.

"He's had this for a few weeks where he's had a slight, slight tear at the top of his thigh and it doesn't keep him out completely," Rodgers told reporters. "But gradually over time it has got worse.

"It is something that if we continue with it, it could end up bigger and create problems for him when he gets older, so we have to keep on top of it, and ensure we don't store up a problem for later in his career.

"We are not 100 per cent clear yet on the seriousness of the situation, but we have to be careful with him. He will definitely miss the weekend.

"It is an early diagnosis and if it is the best thing to do to rest him for the rest of the season, then we will do that because we have got other players and we don't need to risk him when it could cause problems for the future.

"It is something the medics will keep a keen eye on."

The injury could be a concern for England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce, who is set to lead the team to the European Championships in June which take place in Israel, and could call on the young winger.

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vineri, 5 aprilie 2013

Zola: Promotion going down to the wire

Gianfranco-ZolaWatford boss Gianfranco Zola predicts the race for the Premier League will go right down to the final round of matches in what has been a "crazy" season.

While Cardiff, who the Hornets face this weekend, have a seven-point lead at the top and look destined to secure the Championship title, the identity of the team who will finish second - and also go up automatically - is far from decided.

Hull currently occupy that spot yet their 1-0 defeat to Zola's men on Tuesday night has given them just a one-point advantage with Crystal Palace also in the mix.

But with the Tigers and Hornets enduring inconsistent form of late and the Eagles crashing to three straight losses, Zola is anticipating plenty of surprises in the final six games.

When asked if the race for second will be determined on the final day, Zola said: "It will certainly be like that.

"It is a season, you can see around us, it is crazy. You can't say `you beat Hull and all the other games are easy'. We've found we've had more problems with small teams than with big ones.

"It will certainly be down to the end but not just for us, it will be difficult for everyone."

While the Italian, an icon of the top flight during his playing days, has managed in the highest domestic division with West Ham, he insists attaining promotion with this Watford squad would be even more special.

"It would be fantastic to achieve it with these guys," he added.

"We work very hard and I'm pleased, proud of that. It would be a great reward for the Watford community if we can achieve that but it's going to be tough, that's for sure."

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Manchester City's Yaya Toure signs new four-year deal

yaya-toureManchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has signed a new four-year contract with the Premier League club.

The deal will keep the Ivory Coast international at the Etihad Stadium until 2017.

"This is where I want to be," the 29-year-old told the club website.

"I will never forget how I have been treated here by the fans, the club and the owners and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to finish my career as a Manchester City player."

Toure joined City from Barcelona for a reported £24m in 2010, having helped the Spanish giants win the Champions League title a year earlier.

The box-to-box midfielder has since been an integral member of Roberto Mancini's side, scoring the winning goal in the 2011 FA Cup final and a crucial double against Newcastle United last May to keep the eventual Premier League champions in the title hunt.

Toure has scored eight goals this season as City have progressed to a Wembley FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Sunday 14 April, but his side made an early Champions League exit and are 15 points behind Manchester United in the league with only seven games remaining.

"Of course now it looks likely that we will not successfully defend the Premier League title and that is sad for all of us," Toure added. "But we can still finish second and win the FA Cup for a second time in three years and that is still an achievement for a club that won nothing for a long time.

"We must try to finish on a high note and then start preparing to win more next season. Football is always a challenge and always a puzzle to solve and that is why we all love the game.

"You have to use your skill, intelligence and strength to constantly improve and that is what we at City intend to do."

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miercuri, 3 aprilie 2013

Warnock: Hughes can destroy another team of mine

Mark-HughesFormer Leeds manager Neil Warnock wants Mark Hughes to replace him at Elland Road so he can "destroy another team of mine".

The Welshman took over from Warnock at Queens Park Rangers in January 2012 and has been out of work since leaving Loftus Road in November.

Hughes, 49, has been linked with the managerial vacancy at Leeds following Warnock's departure on Monday.

Warnock told: "I personally hope Mark Hughes follows me again and destroys another team of mine.

"I don't think it's a club for a young manager. There is so much going on behind the scenes it is ridiculous really. It needs somebody who has seen it all and done it all.

"I laugh when I see some of these names. A) We can't afford the compensation and B) do you think Mark Hughes would want Leeds United at the moment? It's a hard one but there are a lot of applicants."

Warnock, 64, hinted that his managerial career may be over but he is likely to remain in the game for some time.

He added: "I've got a young family and I want to relax a bit. But I do feel now, especially with the tenure of managers being so short, that there is a massive gap between the owners of a club and the manager himself and I don't think there is enough expertise in between those two roles.

"I do think, even if it's only a couple of days a week, I can help somebody. I'm sure there is somebody that would be crying out for that sort of role."

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Walcott craves silverware with Arsenal

theo-walcottTheo Walcott would swap all of his personal accolades for a trophy with Arsenal.

The 24-year-old has become an increasingly important member of Arsene Wenger's squad this season, scoring more goals and providing more assists than ever before.

Walcott penned a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium in January and earlier this month racked up his 250th appearance for the club against Sunderland.

However, the England international would give up such personal achievements for club glory, with Arsenal's trophyless spell soon to reach an eighth year.

"I would personally take all of [my] appearances away to win something at this club," Walcott told Arsenal Player.

"Some people may think I'm mad but I think I'm not selfish. I like to think for the club and the fans.

"Appearances are great but winning things means more. Hopefully next season, when I hopefully reach 300 appearances, there will be a trophy on the end of that. That's the biggest target.

"I'm very proud of that [reaching 250 appearances]. I've worked hard through all the lows and the highs. This season especially, there have been a lot of highs. It's a nice positive.

"I don't want it to stop there. I want to continue to play and get back fit soon. It's a fantastic achievement and I'm very happy.

"I've definitely matured as a player. I've always been the same sort of person off the pitch. I've always got time for people. I think at times, the players might look for something to come from nowhere and at times that's maybe [up to] me or the likes of Jack [Wilshere].

"This season has been my best goalscoring and assist-making season. I can see why people may think that now. That's been the biggest step for me.

"The assists are something I'm very proud of. A lot of those come from the wing as well. An assist is just as important as getting a goal."

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Zabaleta: Tevez back to his best

Pablo-ZabaletaManchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta believes his team-mate and fellow Argentinian Carlos Tevez is back to his best.

In-form Tevez will head into next week's derby against former club Manchester United having scored seven goals in his last six games. The 29-year-old's hot streak has come in spite of off-field problems after he was charged with driving while disqualified and without insurance last month.

Zabaleta said: "He's back to his best form, and we expect that from Carlos because he has worked really well from pre-season. He is a great player and is having a great season. Obviously when you see a striker scoring goals it is much better for the team."

Tevez was on target in Saturday's 4-0 win over Newcastle in the Premier League while he also scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup quarter-final defeat of Barnsley last month.

The Barnsley performance prompted manager Roberto Mancini to joke that Tevez should get himself stopped by police more often.

When it was pointed out the driving issue does not seem to have adversely affected Tevez, Zabaleta said: "No, it doesn't. Roberto said the last time he hopes the police will stop him again because it looks like for him it is a great motivation."

City's hopes of defending their league title seem over as they trail United at the top of the table by 15 points with just eight games remaining. That may have taken a slight edge off Monday's clash at Old Trafford but Zabaleta does not expect Tevez to lack motivation.

Tevez left United for City in a controversial move in the summer of 2009.

Zabaleta said: "Every time we play against United it is a particularly special game for Carlos. He has always done well against them. He was a United player once and I've seen him play with great passion against United.

"It will be a special day for Carlos and a special day for the team."

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marți, 2 aprilie 2013

Bayern will challenge Barcelona and Madrid for Champions League glory

Arjen-RobbenArjen Robben is brimming with confidence ahead of the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League quarterfinal tie against Juventus, and believes the Bundesliga leader can challenge pre-tournament favorites Barcelona and Real Madrid for the title.

The Bavarians made it to the final of the competition last campaign, and Robben feels they have what it takes to make it to this year's showpiece at Wembley too, even though he realizes Juventus will not be a pushovers in the quarterfinals.

"We showed last season that we can be up there with the best in Europe, so we want to be in the final at Wembley. We will challenge the likes of Barca and Real for the title," the Dutchman was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

"If you look at last year's final against Chelsea, again we should never have lost it. But we’ve improved from last year. We are in the quarterfinals and we are top of our league, so you can’t ask for more.

"The tie against Juventus is going to be a tough challenge for sure. They are a team with so many experienced players — people like Andrea Pirlo — and we know how hard they will make it for us."

The Netherlands international then went on to discuss his future at Bayern, and dismissed rumors that he could be on the move this summer.

"Sometimes it's ridiculous what gets written. I have another two years on my contract and I am looking forward to seeing it through," he continued.

"Of course I didn’t want to be on the bench. When you’ve recovered from a few injuries like me, then you’ll understand. I love being on the pitch. When I’m out there, I just want to play football."

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PSG must shine on counter-attack, says Ancelotti

Carlo-Ancelotti-2Paris St Germain must capitalise on their counter-attacking chances in Today's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona because they will not see much of the ball, said coach Carlo Ancelotti.

PSG are back in the last eight for the first time in 18 years but face the ultimate challenge, taking on the title favourites.

"We may not have a lot of possession but as soon as we get the ball I want my team to show character and inspiration to go forward and score," Ancelotti told a news conference on the eve of the game.

"We have defended very well so far this term and we've done well on the counter-attack. This is what we want to do tomorrow because we'll need it if we are to get a good result."

PSG, who have a seven-point lead at the top of Ligue 1, will be without midfielder Thiago Motta because of a groin injury.

Ancelotti's team will take heart from AC Milan's first-leg performance in the previous record, the Italians having won 2-0 before Barca turned the tie around in the return match.

"Milan played a good tactical game. They made it difficult for Barcelona to play like they wanted to," said PSG's hot-shot marksman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"Barca like to keep the ball but we want to have possession because we are at home. We want to find a solution to upset them."

Ibrahimovic seemed to relish PSG's underdog status for the clash with World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and company.

"We are up against probably the best team that has ever played on this planet," said former Barca striker Ibrahimovic. "But the team that makes the fewest mistakes is the team that will win."

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Villa says Barça must learn from mistakes

David-VillaScorer in the round of 16 comeback win over AC Milan, David Villa has his sights set on a semi-final spot – but knows FC Barcelona cannot afford a repeat of their display in Italy.

An injured David Villa did not feature in FC Barcelona's 2-0 defeat by AC Milan in their round of 16 opener, but he made sure he had a say in the 4-0 second-leg comeback at the Camp Nou when he curled in the crucial third goal.

Now Paris Saint-Germain FC stand between Barcelona and the semi-finals, and the Spanish international forward says the Blaugrana must learn from their mistakes if they are to beat an ambitious team coached by one of Milan's most decorated alumni.

"You learn from losses as well as wins," Villa explained. "In Milan, we suffered a lot, but we managed to bounce back at home. Tomorrow will be another difficult match and we will have to be focused to avoid making the same errors as in Milan.

"Against them, we were reminded how important it is to score in the first leg," continued Villa. "We hope to manage that tomorrow, even though we'll host the return leg again. It's important to be at 100% for 180 minutes."

The return to the bench of Tito Vilanova is sure to be a fillip in this regard. The Barça coach has been undertaking treatment in New York since January following a throat operation in December, coinciding with something of a rocky patch by the Catalan club's high standards; four defeats and four draws in their 19 matches in 2013.

"Of course we are very happy about Tito Vilanova's return," said Villa. "It's always good to have the boss with you. We're also very happy with Éric Abidal's comeback: he's an example for us, the way he handled what he has gone through."

Despite their hit-and-miss form since the turn of the year, Barça are 13 points clear atop the Liga and the dominating display against the Rossoneri in their last European outing has ensured they are favourites to oust PSG reach the last four. It is a label that Villa dismisses.

"We're said to be the favourites, but it's very hard in this competition to know who really is the favourite," said Villa. "I think we'll only learn that after the match. Tomorrow will be a great contest, between two great teams: let's enjoy this occasion."

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luni, 1 aprilie 2013

Redknapp wants warm welcome for Zamora

Bobby-ZamoraQPR manager Harry Redknapp has told Fulham fans that Bobby Zamora deserves a hero's welcome on his return to Craven Cottage for Today's London derby.

Zamora's goals helped fire Fulham into the 2010 Europa League final and he spent four years at the club before moving to QPR in January 2010.

Redknapp despairs at the way modern-day football supporters abuse the players they once cheered - and he hopes Zamora gets the reception he deserves.

"I don't know why you should get stick when you go back to a club where you have done so fantastically well," Redknapp said.

"Why do you abuse someone when they have given you good service and been a good player?

"I went to watch them play Juventus that night (in the Europa League). That was one of the best footballing nights I have ever been to.

"Fulham went 1-0 down and they were something like 4-1 down on aggregate (but came back to win 4-1 on the night) and Bobby ripped them to pieces.

"What a night of football, I loved every minute of it.

"Years ago people would go back to their old club and they would get a lovely ovation. Dear oh Lord, what has happened?"

After starting the season with a bang, scoring four times in his first five matches, Zamora has only found the net once since last September.

But Redknapp believes his return to fitness after overcoming an ankle injury and a dose of the flu is vital to QPR's chances of Premier League survival.

"He is important to us. He holds the ball up, he knows what he is doing and he knows how to play. Going back to Fulham will be interesting for him," Redknapp said.

QPR are off the bottom of the table, courtesy of Reading's 4-1 defeat to Arsenal yesterday, but they still head to Craven Cottage seven points adrift of safety.

"Back-to-back wins for us could put us right back in the picture again," Redknapp said.

"Everyone has written us off but we are still right in there in my opinion.

"I am confident. When I am not confident I will be struggling to come into work in the morning."

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Unlike O’Neill, Di Canio has nothing to lose

Di-Canio-ONeillPaolo Di Canio has been given the task of saving Sunderland from the threat of relegation after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year contract at the Stadium of Light.

Out goes the storied martinet, in comes the fascinating fascist. If ever there was a reason why Paolo Di Canio, proud football explorer and even prouder admirer of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, has been installed as Sunderland manager to succeed the sacked Martin O’Neill, it can be discovered in the dispiriting performances of men like the ghostly Adam Johnson. Di Canio's anointing suggests one right winger has benefited from another's failure.

Johnson is an example of why players get managers sacked, a microcosm of a wider apathy at the Stadium of dimming Light. His was a listless, limp and gutless performance in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday that sounded the death knell on O’Neill’s fairly miserable 16-month period as a black sheep manager of the Black Cats.

Johnson was replaced by Connor Wickham on 76 minutes against United amid a team performance of widespread poverty. Johnson was a figure who you would not have swapped an old Jimmy Nail album for, far less the £10 million O’Neill paid to purchase the player from Manchester City last summer.

O’Neill’s bigger problem was explained by a number 21 shirt that was as empty as the conversation his manager apparently had with the north-east club’s American owner later on Saturday night.

When O’Neill spoke to Ellis Short by phone, one guesses it would have been pointed out to the Northern Irishman that he had been given £30m to furnish a squad that one could easily argue are destined for relegation. Men like Johnson would have been held up as the stick to beat O’Neill over the head with.

Matches against Manchester United were supposed to be made for figures such as Johnson, a player with 12 England caps who can operate wide left or right, but too many of them have slipped by him and his sorry cohorts.

Sunderland are only one point above the bottom three despite O'Neill investing faith and large sums of money in recruiting Johnson, Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham and Alfred N'Diaye. Short's disillusionment is said to have taken hold during a 3-1 defeat at the Premier League's bottom club Queens Park Rangers last month.

Patience is fine, but Short had every right to ask O'Neill: What is in this for me?

Compared to O’Neill, Di Canio, 44, is a maverick. He was an attacking player of some renown with clubs such as Lazio, AC Milan, Celtic and West Ham United. His career was defined by incident, but he has done next to nothing in the coaching game to suggest he can be Sunderland's saviour.

He won League Two in his first assignment at Swindon Town last season. Sunderland are hoping his passionate and slightly chaotic approach to life can have some sort of cocaine-induced effect on a squad that is sleepwalking its way to the Championship.

There was more spirit during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow than there is among this current lot. They certainly need a buzz.

Di Canio's arrival is already making waves. It last night prompted the departure of club director and Labour's former foreign secretary David Miliband from the board due to the man from Rome's admiration for Mussolini amid some well-aired political views. “I’m a fascist, not a racist,” said Di Canio back in 2005.

Politics don’t really come into it for Sunderland. They would hand the job to Nigel Farage or Shagger Norris if it guaranteed survival. Di Canio has nothing to lose. If Sunderland go down, Di Canio can blame it on O’Neill’s recruitment policy. If they stay up on his watch, he will not be shy in extolling the benefits of his healing touch.

The wisdom in Sunderland's decision to sack O'Neill will only be seen if relegation is avoided. Short will be left short-changed if his club miss out on the suitcases of cash coming the way of the Premier League's prospective residents.

The Premier League sold their TV rights for £3 billion last summer which will mean at least £15m more for each club next season. The team finishing bottom of the table a year from now is set to be awarded more than the £60.6m Manchester City collected for snaring last season's title.

Money talks. Sunderland have done the maths. O'Neill's returns didn't add up.

He won seven of his first 10 Premier League matches in charge of Sunderland, but only nine of the last 45. They have failed to win any of their last eight matches. Not because they are unfortunate, but because they lack the necessary quality to compete with any degree of certainty at the elite levels.

Their run-in is fraught with danger. They face Chelsea and Newcastle away from home in the next fortnight followed by a home match with Everton on April 20. A visit to Aston Villa is followed by home matches with Stoke and Southampton before they visit Tottenham on the final day of the season.

Much has been made of the ankle injury that Sunderland's Scotland forward Fletcher suffered against Wales last Friday that will see him miss the rest of the season. Fletcher is the club's top goalscorer having scored 11 of their 33 league goals, but Sunderland were struggling with him in the side.

When O'Neill's Celtic lost 3-2 to Jose Mourinho's Porto after extra-time in a gripping UEFA Cup final a decade ago, he was tipped as a possible successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. He was linked with Liverpool and apparently verbally accepted the Leeds United job from Peter Ridsdale in 2003, or so Ridsdale claims, before that fell through.

When Steve McClaren was dismissed at England manager, he was interviewed by the FA before Fabio Capello was appointed. But he never quite landed the whopper of a role his motivational techniques hinted at. And now at the age of 61, he is again without a job.

O'Neill's stock has fallen with his failure at Sunderland. He will return. At the moment, it is difficult to see where. Brian Clough, a figure he played under during Nottingham's Forest's rise to two European Cups in 1979 and 1980, was sacked after 44 days at Leeds United before discovering a treasure trove in Nottingham.

O'Neill established Leicester in the Premier League and coached them to League Cups in 1997 and 2000. "Anybody who can do anything in Leicester but make a jumper has got to be a genius," Clough once said of O'Neill. Unfortunately, Sunderland is a long way from Leicester. And 2013 far removed from the year 2000.

Sunderland are short on time and their owner short on patience. O'Neill’s sacking may yet lead Sunderland to the palace of wisdom. They have replaced Mr Motivator with Mr Motivator.

Like himself, Di Canio has suggested Mussolini was misunderstood. "His actions were often vile. But all this was motivated by a higher purpose. He was basically a very principled individual."

Di Canio’s higher purpose is keeping Sunderland aboard the life raft.

With Di Canio overseeing the coach trip, Newcastle away in a fortnight’s time could be full of mayhem. Just how Paolo likes it.

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Ruiz and Enoh face fitness tests

Bryan-RuizFulham boss Martin Jol will give striker Bryan Ruiz (hamstring) and midfielder Eyong Enoh fitness tests before naming his squad for Today's London derby against QPR.

Ruiz is struggling with an injury he picked up playing for Costa Rica in midweek.

Meanwhile, midfielder Mahamadou Diarra, who is out of contract at the end of the season, will not play again before then after it was discovered his troublesome left knee will require a third operation.

Jol believes Fulham, on 36 points, require two wins to guarantee survival and expects a fierce scrap with QPR, who lie second bottom and are fighting for their Premier League lives.

Jol said: "This is a home game, a derby game, they are desperate for three points and we can use them as well."

The Fulham boss believes the form of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer could prove vital and insists he can keep going for at least another two years in the Barclays Premier League.

Schwarzer, 40, has been instrumental in Fulham securing a mid-table berth with eight matches remaining this season and Jol sees no reason why he cannot continue to do a first-rate job at Craven Cottage.

The form of the Australian veteran, who is set to go to Rio de Janeiro for the World Cup with his country next year, is the reason David Stockdale is on loan at npower Championship side Hull and Jol accepts that he might have to let the 27-year-old go permanently.

"David wants to be a number one," said Jol, whose side take on relegation-threatened QPR tomorrow night in a west London derby which has huge significance, in particular, for Harry Redknapp's side.

"I'm always looking for a good goalkeeper. I've got another good goalkeeper who's 23, Neil Etheridge, and he's very talented but he needs to play.

"So maybe we will put him on loan. Stockdale is already on loan; so I have a problem. We need one or two goalkeepers. Hopefully we can get competition for places because that's the ideal."

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has Bobby Zamora fit.

Zamora, the former Fulham striker, used the international break to overcome an ankle injury and a dose of the flu to be in contention for the west London derby.

Redknapp reported a clean bill of health following the international window and he must decide whether to recall the mercurial Moroccan Adel Taarabt to the side.

Redknapp insists the defeat at Aston Villa last time out has not knocked his belief that the club can clamber to survival, and says his side's performance in the 3-2 loss gave him extra confidence.

Redknapp said: "Obviously ourselves and Reading are in a difficult position but there are seven or eight other teams involved in it.

"I still feel we can get out of it and nothing has changed my belief. We played so well at Villa we could have come in at half-time three or four up.

"We've got to go on a little run now and get the results we need.

"If we were in bad form we'd be more worried. We're playing very well, we're in a good form so it gives us a chance.

"At least we're going into the last eight games knowing we're playing well. If we were going into it playing very poorly I'd be more worried. I still think there are four or five wins left in us."

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