Chelsea Play On As Owner Abramovich Starts Fire Sale

abramovich chelsea

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has forced the hand of Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich.  The Russian oligarch now fears the imposition of sanctions on his extensive UK business and property portfolio, and announced yesterday that he intends to sell Chelsea Football Club with the net proceeds to be donated to the Ukrainian victims of Vladimir Putin’s unwarranted aggression.  Abramovich has owned Chelsea for 19 years and his enormous investment in the club has seen the team win 17 trophies, including the Champions League twice, the Premier League on five occasions and the Club World Cup only last month.

Ambramovich handed in his notice as owner just as his team prepared to play Luton Town in the FA Cup fifth round.  The Blues understandably lacked concentration and Luton scored twice in the first half although Chelsea prevailed in the end, with goals from Saul, Lukaku and Werner.  Uncertainty often fosters discontent and manager Thomas Tuchel will now have to steady the ship as a new owner or consortium is sought, a process that may take many months.

The 48-year old German, who has been in post since last year, has not yet wrapped his brain around the concept of a post-Abramovich era, saying ‘It’s a bit too early to speak, because I can only think about Chelsea with Roman Abramovich. So it’s very hard for me. It hasn’t sunk in yet that this is going to stop. It’s a massive change of course…It’s big news, it will be a big change, but I’m also never afraid of change, and will focus on what I can influence, and this is staff and team at Cobham.’

Tuchel won the Champions League in his debut season – with a 1-0 defeat of Manchester City in Porto –  and, if he can maintain the morale of his talented team, he will be aiming for more European title glory in May.  Chelsea beat Lille 2-0 in the first leg of the Round of 16, with the second leg due to be played on Wednesday 16 March.  The draw for the quarter-finals will take place two days later.  Quarter-finals will be played on 5 & 6 April (first legs), and 12/13 April (second legs) with the Semi-finals on 26/27 April (first legs) and 3/4 April (second legs).  The final will take place on Saturday 28 May in the Stade de France.  Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are the top three favourites to win.  Bookmaker Unibet offers odds of 9/1 that Chelsea will retain the Champions League title but these odds are expected to change after the draw.

It’s hard to see Chelsea winning the Premier League this season and this is confirmed by the bookies, with odds of 125-1 from William Hill for example.    Although the Blues lie third in the Premier League table with 50 points, they are 16 points adrift of leaders Manchester City who are being chased hard by Liverpool, 6 points behind City but with a game in hand.  It is a two-horse race now and Chelsea must remain focused on retaining third place, in order to secure entry to the lucrative and prestigious Champions League next season.  

But the Blues are still in with the chance of another trophy, the FA Cup.  After the disappointment of losing the Carabao Cup Final 10-11 on penalties last weekend, Chelsea’s pursuit of silverware has nonetheless continued this week with their 3-2 win over Luton Town yesterday in the FA Cup fifth round. The Quarter-final draw is later today and Tuchel’s players will be eager to progress through the latter stages of the competition to the Final on Saturday 14 May.  Chelsea last won the FA Cup in 2018 and are keen to repeat that success but, once again, the favourites to win are Manchester City and Liverpool with odds of 7/4 and 11/4 respectively, from bookie 888 Sport.  Most bookies, including 888 Sport, are offering odds of 4/1 for a Chelsea win.  

If you fancy a bet on trophy multiples, consider these options, with all odds from Skybet:

  • Chelsea to win the FA Cup and the Champions League 33/1
  • Chelsea to win the Premier League and the FA Cup 300/1
  • Chelsea to win the Premier League and the Champions League 750/1  

Will Tiger Woods Play in the 2022 US Masters?

tiger woods masters

A year on from his catastrophic car crash in which he suffered severe leg and ankle injuries, Tiger Woods continues to defy the odds as his rehabilitation continues.  The 46-year old winner of 15 Majors acknowledges that he has a “long way to go” but managed to finish second in the PNC Championship alongside his young son, Charlie, in December.  Although he hasn’t featured on the PGA Tour since appearing at Augusta National in November 2020, he remains committed to returning and recently commented “You’ll see me on the PGA Tour, I just don’t know when”.   With the Masters due to take place from 7 to 10 April, golf fans are keen to see Woods back in contention but will his right leg, now crammed with metal screws and plates, allow him to play 72 holes at Augusta’s hilly course?

Bookmaker Coral offers odds of 33/1 that Tiger Woods will win the 2022 US Masters but these odds appear short in the circumstances and other bookies remain more circumspect with William Hill, for example, being more representative of the market with odds of 60/1.  

We do know that Woods will travel to Augusta and, as five-time winner of The Masters, he will attend the Champions Dinner on Tuesday 5 April.  However, it remains unlikely that Woods will choose to participate in the US Masters this year as he acknowledges that his game remains below the standards required on the tour, recently saying “I can’t compete against these guys right now, no.  It’s going to take a lot of work to get to where I feel like I can compete against these guys and be at a high level”.  

It may be more likely that Woods will choose to delay his return until this summer when the 150th British Open will take place at St Andrews from 14 to 17 July.  Woods has won the British Open on three occasions – in 2000 and 2005 at St Andrews, and in 2006 at Royal Liverpool.  The town of St Andrews, and its Royal and Ancient Golf Club, would be delighted to welcome Tiger Woods back and the Old Course is a pretty flat links course which would provide more favourable conditions for him as his rehabilitation continues. 

Odds for Tiger to win the Open Championship are also showing great respect to the 2000 Open Champion Winner at St Andrews with general odds of around 50/1 for what would surely be the greatest sporting comeback ever ? 

Can Manchester City Win The 2022 Champions League?

man city champions league

Sixteen teams remain in this seasons UEFA Champions League but it is Premier League side Manchester City who are the bookies’ favourites to lift the trophy for the first time in the clubs’ history.

Pep Guardiola’s side head into the second leg of their Round of 16 tie with a commanding lead after putting five past Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday. They look set for a place in the quarter-finals of the competition and will hope to go one better than last year when they were beaten 1-0 in the final by fellow Premier League side Chelsea.

There’s no denying that City have one of the best squads in the world but they will have to be at their best in their remaining matches to add the Champions League trophy to their cabinet for the first time.

Teams such as Bayern Munich, PSG, Real Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool and Chelsea all remain in the competition and any of those sides will be a test for Peps team in the coming rounds.

In last years competition, City had to progress past Dortmund and PSG on their way to the final and there is a possibility that they could face those two again this year.

When Is the Champions League Quarter-Final Draw?

Although City are not guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals of the competition, it is looking extremely likely that their name will be in the draw.

The 2022 UEFA Champions League quarter-final draw is scheduled to take place on Friday 18th March in Nyon, Switzerland and will be streamed live by UEFA.

Rules for the Round of 16 draw are that no teams from the same country can play each other. However, that rule doesn’t apply to the rounds that follow and so we could see City face the likes of Liverpool or Chelsea should they make it through.

UEFA Champions League Odds

Heading into the second set of Round of 16 first leg ties this week, UK bookmakers are offering the following odds on the remaining teams.

2022 UEFA Champions League Odds
Man City5/2unibet
Bayern Munich9/2betfred
PSG8william hill
Ajax16paddy power
Man Utd25betvictor
Real Madrid35unibet
Atletico Madrid50unibet
FC Salzburg250888sport
Inter Milan750skybet
Sporting5000william hill

Will Manchester City Win?

Manchester City certainly have the ability to go all the way in the competition this year but it may come down to how favourable the draw is for the Cityzens. However, they, like others, will have to face some of the best teams in the world if they are to lift the trophy and so it could go to one of several teams.

Odds of 5/2 with Unibet seem a little on the short side given the quality of the remaining sides in the competition. They’re unlikely to be odds-on against the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich or PSG and so if you do fancy backing them, you may be better off placing singles on their route to the final which would more than likely produce a greater return overall.

City are also not unbeatable as was proved on Saturday when they suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur. Despite having 71% possession and 21 attempts on goal, City were unable to pick up three points in front of home fans which will surely put pressure on Pep’s side now that Liverpool trail them by just six points in the Premier League but with a game in hand. Should City start to crumble in the league, it could have an impact on their performances in the Champions League and so it may be a better idea to wait until the quarter-final draw is made in three weeks time to see who they’ll face next.

Newcastle Utd Now Odds On To Avoid Relegation

nufc odds

Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United moved out of the relegation zone for just the fourth time this season on Tuesday following an impressive display against Everton at St James’ Park that resulted in a 3-1 win for the Magpies and a crucial three points.

Newcastle spent heavily in the transfer window with over £90 million taken out of their pockets since the clubs £300 million takeover back in October. However, from their new January signings which included £40m Bruno Guimaraes, centre-back Dan Burn and Brighton loanee, Matt Targett, the only fresh name on Howe’s teamsheet against Everton was Targett with Guimaraes and Burn benched. Howe opted to have faith in the starting eleven that beat Leeds in their previous outing with the only change being Paul Dummet being replaced by Targett. The fact that Newcastle have picked up back-to-back wins without the need for their new duo, that cost a combined total of over £50m, shows that they may have hit a turning point and by picking up maximum points from their last two games, the bookies have slashed the odds on the Magpies remaining as a Premier League club next season.

Premier League Odds – To Stay Up

As of the 10th of February, the following odds were available on clubs to avoid relegation from the Premier League this season:

ClubTo Stay UpBookieTo Be RelegatedBookie
Norwich5/1paddy power2/9bet365
Watford11/4betfred1/4william hill
Newcastle4/11william hill5/2bet365
Leeds1/10bet3658/1william hill
Crystal Palace1/66william hill50/110bet

It’s not just Newcastle who have found a bit of fight in themselves as Norwich, who are the favourites at 2/9 with bookmaker Betfred to make the drop, are now unbeaten in their last three in the league, picking up wins against Everton & Watford and a point at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.

The turn in form of sides who have been looking set for relegation for the majority of the season has resulted in some unexpected clubs being caught up in the relegation battle. Bookies have slashed the odds on Everton to fall into the Championship from 6/1 to as low as 7/2 after Lampard was unable to take anything away from St James’ Park in his first league game in charge of the Toffees.

Everton were outplayed against Newcastle and Howe’s sides determination and fight showed as they bagged three goals for just the second time this season. There’s no doubt that Everton’s form is deeply concerning but they do have a game in hand over both Newcastle and Watford and two over Norwich which they’ll need to make use of if they are to save their season.

Can Newcastle Stay Up?

Newcastle would have liked three points at home to Watford in mid-Jan but the six points from the two games that followed have significantly boosted their chances of staying up.

Many would have expected more signings in the January transfer window considering money wasn’t really a concern for the club but with the league position that the Magpies are in, they struggled to attract big names and fellow clubs were reluctant to sell at reasonable prices. That said, they did extremely well in bringing in Kieran Trippier from Atlético Madrid for a bargain price and the England International is already looking like one of the best players on the pitch for Howe. Bruno Guimaraes only got a couple of minutes of pitch time on Tuesday night against Everton but there are big expectations of the Brazilian defensive midfielder who looks a lively sort and one that will fight for his club until the final minute. Burn and Targett will also bolster their defence along with Chris Wood filling in for Callum Wilson whilst out injured.

Newcastle are looking like one of the most likely teams to stay up following their recent results and if Callum Wilson can return to fitness sooner rather than later and they can avoid any further injures to key players, Howe’s side should be able to give the majority of the teams in the league a game throughout the closing months of the season.

Guide To Betting on the 2022 Oscars

betting on the oscarsThe 94th Academy Awards will take place on 27 March.  Last year, the ceremony was held at Union Station in Los Angeles but this time round the event returns to its normal location at the Dolby Theatre and you can expect a high octane event with glamorous film stars dressed to the nines as they shimmy down the red carpet. 

There has been an active betting market for the Oscars for some time and the release of the  nominations earlier this week has stimulated further interest among punters.  The most important six categories are Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director.   Jane Campion’s film The Power of the Dog is front runner across 12 categories including Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actor (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Best Supporting Actress (Kirsten Dunst).  Dune is also a strong contender with 10 nominations.  Belfast and West Side Story have seven each.  British film fans will have plenty to cheer on the night with nominations for Sir Kenneth Branagh, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Dame Judy Dench, Olivia Coleman and Andrew Garfield.

How To Bet On The Oscars

Everything that you need to bet on The Oscars is provided in this guide.

The first step is to create an account with one of the bookmakers listed below that take bets on the winners of each category. By doing so, you’ll also be able to claim any Free Bets and other promotions that they offer to new customers.  You may want to chose the bookie with the highest odds on a category so you maximise your payout.  Opening an account is straightforward – just visit the bookie’s site and register.

Once you have an account, simply decide what bets you’d like to place. The odds will change as the Awards Ceremony approaches so you may want to place your bets now as, if your top picks are shared by other punters, the odds will quickly shorten.

Best Oscars Betting Sites

Most of the well-known bookmakers take bets on the six main categories of the Oscars.  We list below the best bookies for you to consider. We’re showing you the bookmakers which enjoy a high reputation, offer good Sign Up Offers and promotions,  competitive odds and speedy withdrawals

Oscars Betting Sites
paddy powerPaddy PowerVisit
william hillWilliam HillVisit

Best Picture Category

Nominations: The Power of the Dog, West Side Story, Belfast, Dune, Licorice Pizza, King Richard, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Nightmare Alley

The Best Picture category is the blue riband of the event and nominees include intense western The Power of the Dog, favourite to win with odds of 8/13 from Bet365 and Branagh’s autobiographical film Belfast with odds of 5/2 from Paddy Power. Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story is also a firm contender and Betfair offer best odds of 15/2 that the famous American director’s film will win the gold statuette.  Licorice Pizza, the story of first love set in San Fernando Valley during the early 1970s, is an outside chance with odds of 12/1 from Bet365.  Dune, the epic science fiction film directed and co-written by Denis Villeneuve, is on offer at similar odds of 16/1 from the same bookie.  The remaining nominations are on offer with the bookies at even longer odds.

Best Actor Award 

Nominations: Will Smith – King Richard, Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog, Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick… Boom!, Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth, Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos

Although King Richard was not nominated for the Best Picture award, Will Smith’s portrayal of Richard Williams, father of legendary tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, makes the American actor a shoo-in for the Best Actor category.  Will Smith is favourite to win with odds of 8/15 from Paddy Power. The Power of the Dog is the first film by legendary Director Jane Campion after a hiatus of 12 years.  The chilling story of a domineering rancher’s response to his brother bringing home a new wife and her son features Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role and it is no surprise that his compelling performance puts him in the mix for the Best Actor award, with odds of 4/1 from Bet365.  The odds for Andrew Garfield, whose portrayal of an aspiring composer in Tick, Tick…Boom! has attracted critical acclaim, have drifted in recent weeks.  Betfair offers odds of 6/1 that Garfield will win the Oscar.  Denzel Washington‘s performance in the lead role of The Tragedy of Macbeth has attracted critical acclaim and led to his 10th Oscar nomination, but the American star remains an outsider for the Oscar with odds of 33/1 from Paddy Power.   Javier Bardem is 40/1 from William Hill for his role in Being the Ricardos, but we don’t think he will mind too much – there is a lot of kudos in just being nominated and Bardem must be delighted that his wife, Penelope Cruz, is a nominee for Best Actress.  What a power couple!

Best Actress Oscar

Nominations: Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter, Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos, Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Kristen Stewart – Spencer, Penelope Cruz – Parallel Mothers

Olivia Colman has enjoyed the admiring recognition of the voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, winning the 2019 Best Actress award for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite and then winning Best Supporting Actress award last year for her role in The Father.  The British actress is now in the running for the Best Actress award for her role in The Lost Daughter, with odds of 5/1 from Coral that she will pick up a third Oscar.  She plays a professor whose unsettling past returns to the fore during her holiday in Italy. 

However, Olivia Colman faces two major film stars whose compelling performances place them above her in the betting. Nicole Kidman’s transformation into Hollywood icon, Lucille Ball, in the film Being the Ricardos will undoubtedly appeal to Academy voters and the Australian would love a further Best Actress award to join the one she won back in 2002 for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours.  Kidman is front runner to win the Oscar with odds of 11/8 from SkyBet.  Kristen Stewart has an empty shelf to fill and this year she is second favourite to take home the Best Actress statuette in February for her role as Princess Diana in Spencer with odds of 7/4 from Paddy Power.  Spencer only grossed $16 million and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards have shunned her passionate performance in their nominations but Stewart remains in strong contention.   Jessica Chastain‘s mesmerising performance in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, another biopic that underperformed at the box office, has earned her a nomination but she is considered unlikely to win.  Penelope Cruz, starring in Pedro Almodovar’s latest film Parallel Mothers (Madres Paralelas), is also an outside chance.  

Best Supporting Actor Award

Nominations: Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog, Ciarán Hinds – Belfast, Troy Kotsur – Coda, Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog, JK Simmons – Being the Ricardos

Best Supporting Actor is a fiercely competitive category, crammed with outstanding veterans and newcomers alike.  Kodi Smit-McFee is not yet well-known but the 25-year old Aussie actor almost stole the show from Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog with his mesmeric performance.  Smit-McFee, who has said he is “”deeply honoured” to be nominated, is favourite to win the Best Supporting Actor award with odds of 1/2 from SkyBet.   Troy Kotsur is the first deaf actor to be nominated for an Oscar and his ground-breaking performance in CODA – a coming-of-age film about a child of deaf adults – is thought to be strongly favoured by the Academy voters with odds of 10/3 from Betfair making him second favourite.  Ciaran Hinds, who stars in Belfast, is also a leading contender with odds of 5/1 from Paddy Power and many British fans will be hoping that he, together with Judi Dench who played Hind’s wife in the film, can deliver a perfect double on 27 March.  Jesse Plemons is considered an outside chance for his performance in The Power of the Dog.  Plemons is dating Kirsen Dunst,  who is co-starred with him in the western and who is nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category.  The fifth nominee is veteran JK Simmons, for his role in Being the Ricardos, whom the bookies consider an outside chance for the award.

Best Supporting Actress 

Nominations: Ariana DeBose – West Side Story, Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog, Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard, Dame Judi Dench – Belfast, Jessie Buckley – The Lost Daughter

The Best Supporting Actress category is similarly bursting with talent and Ariana DeBose is the favourite to win with odds of 1/3 from Betfair.  The 31-year old American plays Anita in West Side Story and her incredible performance deserves the recognition of her peers at the Academy.  Kirsten Dunst, too, is a possible winner with a self-assured quiet performance as mother of Kodi Smit-McFee’s character in The Power of the Dog. Paddy Power offers odds of 5/2 that Dunst will leave the Academy Awards with a gold statuette in her hand.  Aunjanue Ellis matched Wil Smith in the high quality of her performance in King Richard but her chances of winning are thought to be pretty slim at this stage, with odds of 7/1 from Betfair.  Jessie Buckley is also an outsider for her role in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s film The Lost Daughter.  British hopes are pinned on Dame Judi Dench who tapped her Irish roots to deliver a stunning performance in Belfast.  Dame Judi has been nominated eight times and won Best Supporting Actress back in 1998 for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.  At 87 years of age, Dame Judi is the oldest ever actress to be nominated in the category.  But the odds are against her in an extremely competitive category and she languishes at the bottom of the betting, with odds of 40/1.  

Best Director Oscar

Nominations: Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog, Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza, Steven Spielberg – West Side Story, Sir Kenneth Branagh – Belfast, Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car

The Best Director category is dominated by veteran directors showcasing impressive new films.  Dame Jane Campion is hot favourite to win the award with The Power of the Dog with bookie Bet365 offering odds of 1/7.  The New Zealand director, producer and screenwriter won an Oscar way back in the early 1990’s for The Piano but failed to win the Best Director award at that time.  Is 2022 going to be her year?   Fans of Sir Kenneth Branagh will be delighted to see best odds of 7/1 from bookie William Hill; his new film “Belfast” is deservedly a lead contender for the Best Picture award and may be considered far more innovative than West Side Story for example.  The semi-autobiographical film is based on a young boy’s life in the tumultuous and sectarian environment of Belfast in the 1960s.  Sir Kenneth is the first person to be nominated in seven different Oscar categories during his career – director, actor, supporting actor, adapted screenplay and live action short nominations, and now best original screenplay and best picture for Belfast. He is yet to win, however.  Steven Spielberg provides fierce competition for his direction of West Side Story, and odds of 10/1, also from William Hill, place him a close third in the running.  Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza) and Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) are outside chances at this stage.



Boris Johnson Odds On To Leave This Year

After a grim week of further damaging revelations for Boris Johnson, including the Prime Minister’s direct confirmation that he attended a party in the gardens of 10 Downing Street during lockdown in May 2020, the clamour for his shaggy head on a plate will not be silenced.

Although the next major hurdles for the Conservatives are the May local elections, when the impact of the latest revelations of parties at Downing Street is expected to be highly damaging, some Conservative MPs are now going public to call for his resignation right now. Under party rules, a vote of no confidence takes place if 15% or more of the 360 Tory MPs make a formal written request to Sir Graham Brady, Chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. So 54 disaffected MPs are needed to prompt the vote, with Johnson then needing support from at least 180 of his colleagues to stay in his job.

Of course, it is also possible that Boris Johnson may tender his resignation, perhaps disappearing to the backbenches whilst writing his memoirs. So far, there is little sign that Johnson will choose this path voluntarily. However, the influence of Sir Graham Brady and other senior Tories could push him towards resignation, as was the case with Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May.

But actually, Johnson at the moment appears to be trying to weather the storm. His partial apology in Parliament earlier this week may mollify some of his critics, and he may be hopeful (but far from certain) that the official report into government parties during lockdown – expected to be completed shortly by senior civil servant Sue Gray – will not trigger further adverse publicity or even a police investigation.

Boris Johnson is a true one-off and his mistakes and duplicity have been forgotten or forgiven by his fellow Tory MPs many times, particularly after leading his party to spectacular effect during the General Election in 2019 when the Conservatives made a net gain of 48 seats. But patience is running exceedingly thin now.

The recent sleaze debacle with Tory MP Owen Paterson, continuing concern about the slow easing of restrictions and the damaging revelations that parties were being hosted at Downing Street (including two on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral) are all conspiring to turn public opinion against the Conservatives and Tory MPs, together with their grassroots supporters, are all too aware that the next General Election is only two years away.

A YouGov poll, carried out for The Times prior to Johnson’s apology in Parliament this week, gave the Labour party a 10 point lead over the Tories, the biggest lead that Sir Keir Starmer’s party has enjoyed for almost ten years. How much of this swing in public opinion is due to Starmer’s improving performance as leader of the opposition, or to the continuing bungles of the Conservative government is not known but the poll must certainly be providing ammunition to Johnson’s detractors within the Conservative party.

That said, online bookmakers remain pretty positive about Johnson’s prospects with Sporting Index offering odds of 1/2 that Johnson will exit the top job this year. With only five Tory MPs currently publicly calling for his resignation, the public support of his Cabinet and, most importantly, no organised effort to unite disaffected MPs against him, Johnson may limp along as Prime Minister for the remainder of this year but it is increasingly difficult to see him in post leading his party into the next General Election in 2024.

Chelsea New Favourite For Carabao Cup Glory

carabao cup logoDespite only being two and a half months into the new season, we’re down to the last eight in the Carabao Cup following the round of the last 16 fixtures concluding earlier this week.

Heading into this week, Manchester City were the bookies’ favourites and understandably given that the Citizens have lifted the trophy in four consecutive years. Since 2018, City have beaten the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Aston Villa and most recently, Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley to add the silverware to their cabinet and were hotly tipped to do it for the fifth year running.

However, fellow Premier League side West Ham ended City’s four-year run as Carabao Cup winners when they knocked the current champions out of the competition on penalties on Wednesday evening. The Hammers have earned their place in the last eight given that they also knocked out Manchester United in the previous round and will now go into the draw for the quarter-finals to see who they’re up against next.

Now that Manchester City have been eliminated, Chelsea have emerged as the new favourites to go all the way in the competition and lift the trophy for the first time since they beat Tottenham 2-0 back in 2015.

Chelsea as a team have been transformed since the arrival of manager Thomas Tuchel less than a year ago and not only are they favourites to win the EFL Cup, but they’re also in the running for the FA Cup, the Premier League and possibly to defend their Champions League title.

However, it hasn’t been plain sailing for the Blues in the competition as they have been held to 1-1 draws at Stamford Bridge in both of their matches to reach this stage. Aston Villa first took them all the way to penalties towards the end of September in the third round of the competition and despite Ben Chilwell missing the second of their spot-kicks, they emerged as 4-3 winners.

That narrow victory meant that they were to face Southampton, again with the home advantage, and were strong favourites to progress through to the last eight. However, despite controlling the game with over 60% possession and double the number of shots on target (14), they could only find the net once which was swiftly cancelled out by a Che Adams strike just minutes after half-time. Like Villa, Southampton saw the game to penalties but yet again it was the home side who came out on top following misses from both Will Smallbone and Theo Walcott for Southampton.

It’s important to take into account that during the early stages of the competition, sides tend to field weakend teams but as we reach the quarter-finals, we should see more of the star players featuring in the starting eleven’s which is one reason why Chelsea are currently the bookies’ favourites.

Here are the current odds prior to the draw for the semi-finals:

West Ham6/1betfair
Leicester13/2william hill

Although the Carabao Cup isn’t usually the main priority for any competing side, Tuchel will want to add to the clubs’ impressive silverware since he took over which includes trophies from both the Champions League and the Super Cup.

Despite being favourites, it won’t be an easy route to the final for the London side given that seven of the eight remaining clubs currently feature in the Premier League including the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester and West Ham who are all capable of causing an upset.

Liverpool are very close in the odds to Chelsea and will be their main competition along the way. Klopp’s side are firing on all cylinders currently which was emphasised at the weekend when they thrashed Manchester United 5-0 at Old Trafford.

Sunderland are the only non-Premier League side remaining in the competition and are considered as outsiders being priced at 80/1 with bookmaker BetVictor. The Black Cats overcame QPR on penalties in their last 16 match and Lee Johnson’s side have also beaten Wigan, Blackpool and Port Vale to reach this stage of the competition that they have never won before. They have reached the final twice previously with the most recent being in 2014 when they were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City at Wembley.

When Is the Carabao Cup Quarter-Final Draw?

The Carabao Cup quarter-final draw will take place on Saturday 30th October and will be televised live on Soccer AM.

The draw will be conducted by ex-West Ham player Jimmy Bullard and presenter John Fendley and although a time for the draw is yet to be released, it is expected to be between 10:30am – 12pm BST.

How To Watch The Carabao Cup Draw

You can watch the quarter-final draw of the 2022 Carabao Cup live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event. Alternatively, you can watch the draw for free via the SkySports YouTube Channel which is a great option if you don’t currently have a Sky Sports subscription package.

Of course, if you aren’t able to tune in, you can always follow the latest updates from the draw via the official Carabao Cup account on Twitter.

Next Newcastle United Manager Odds – Odds On Paulo Fonseca Slashed!

It was announced on Wednesday morning that Steve Bruce would be stepping down as manager of Newcastle United by mutual consent.

The news has come as no surprise to Newcastle fans with the former Manchester United player who was born in Corbridge, Northumberland, a sure bet to leave his post following the £305 million takeover of the club earlier in the month.

Bruce has spent two years in charge of the Magpies after being appointed by the club following the departure of Rafa Benitez in July 2019. He kept the club in the top flight during his time in charge but has been given a hard time by fans despite not having the resources at his disposal to build the team he would have wanted.

Bruce marked his 1,000th game in club management at the weekend when his side hosted Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park; a game that, unfortunately, didn’t go their way and they ended up leaving the pitch still without a win this season.

The clubs official website posted the following message from Bruce:

“I would like to thank my coaching team, the players and the support staff in particular for all their hard work. There have been highs and lows, but they have given everything even in difficult moments and should be proud of their efforts.

“This is a club with incredible support, and I hope the new owners can take it forward to where we all want it to be. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the rest of this season and beyond.”

Who Will Succeed Bruce At Newcastle United?

Several names have been circulating in the media since the takeover but now that Bruce has officially left his post, we can get a better idea of the likely contenders.

As of yesterday, former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was the bookies favourite being priced at 3/1. However, rumours have been circulating since Tuesday evening that former Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma coach, Paulo Fonseca, will be appointed as the new Newcastle United manager at some point today or in the very near future.

The bookies seem to agree with these rumours as the odds on Fonseca have been slashed from 7/1 on Betfair Sportsbook on Tuesday evening to just 4/9 on Wednesday morning.

As of 13:30 on Wednesday 20th October, the odds on the Next Permanent Newcastle United Manager are as follows:

Paulo Fonseca1/2unibet
Lucien Favre5/1betvictor
Eddie Howe10/1betvictor
Frank Lampard14/1william hill
Steven Gerrard20/1boylesports
Graeme Jones22/1skybet
Unai Emery25/1paddy power
Jose Mourinho33/1betfair
Roberto Martinez33/1betfair
Brendan Rodgers33/1paddy power

Who Is Paulo Fonseca?

Paulo FonsecaPaulo Fonseca is a 48-year-old Portuguese manager who played as a central defender for his hometown club of F.C. Barreirense as well as other Portuguese clubs such as Vitória Guimarães and Estrela Amadora.

Fonseca retired from football in 2005 aged 32 and shortly after moved into management. He’s taken charge of several clubs over the years including Paços Ferreira, Porto, Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk and most recently, Roma.

After guiding Roma to a fifth-place finish in Serie A along with getting them to the semi-finals of the Europa League the following season, he left the club in May of this year and was hotly tipped to succeed José Mourinho as manager of Tottenham Hotspur following his sacking in April. Strangely, it was Mourinho who replaced him as manager of Roma.

Fonseca is currently out of work and so one appeal to the new Newcastle United owners is that they wouldn’t have to pay a fee to obtain his services.

Is Fonseca The Right Man For The Job?

Paulo Fonseca is a strong favourite to be arriving at St James’ Park in the coming days but what will he bring to the club?

As well as having a reasonably successful stint at Roma, Fonseca won three domestic doubles during his three seasons as manager of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukrainian Premier League.

He’s known for his attacking style of play which is something that will surely please many Newcastle supporters. It is this style of play that has put him on the radar of many major clubs throughout his managerial career and also helped him to beat Manchester City in the Champions League back in 2017 to progress through to the last 16.

His lack of Premier League experience is a risk for the new Newcastle United owners but it could be one that pays off in the long term.

Newcastle are set to make a number of signings when the transfer window opens in January which would give Fonseca, should he be appointed, the chance to build a team of his own and given his attacking mindset, a return of ‘The Entertainers’ could be on the cards at St James’ Park.


What Do Scotland Need To Qualify For The 2022 World Cup?

It’s been 23 years since Scotland last featured in a World Cup tournament and it’s safe to say that when they have qualified, they haven’t excelled given that they’ve never made it through to the knockout stages of the competition. However, they’ll want another crack at it in Qatar next year and Steve Clarke’s side may get that opportunity if they’re able to pick up a few more wins during qualifying.

Scotland’s World Cup Qualifying Group

Scotland were drawn into Group F along with Denmark, Israel, Austria, the Faroe Islands and Moldova. It’s by no means an easy group to qualify from but after eight matches, Scotland find themselves in a promising position.

Here’s how the table looks heading into the final two sets of fixtures.

Faroe Islands8216417-134

Four of Scotland’s victories during the qualification stages have come by a one-goal margin, including their most recent wins against Moldova (1-0), Austria (1-0), Israel (3-2) and the Faroe Islands (1-0).

What Do Scotland Need To Qualify?

Only the top team will qualify automatically for the World Cup. As Denmark are seven points ahead of Scotland with two games to play, Scotland’s only chance of qualifying is through the playoffs. To reach the playoffs, they must finish second which means that they need to pick up three or more points from their final two qualifying fixtures in order for Israel to be unable to catch them.

The final two fixtures will see Scotland face Moldova on the 12th of November and Denmark three days later. Denmark are yet to drop a point in qualifying and impressively, yet to concede a goal. Therefore, picking up maximum points away to Moldova is vital for Clarke’s side. Thankfully, Moldova are one of the weaker sides in the group and despite only beating them 1-0 at Hampden Park last month, Scotland should have more than enough to come away with the three points that they need. Should they do that, a second-place finish in Group F would be guaranteed and Scotland would earn their place in the 2022 World Cup playoffs.

Group F - Top 2 Finish Betting Odds

As you can see from the above, Scotland are strong favourites with UK betting sites to finish in the top two places in Group F compared to Israel.

World Cup Playoffs

The playoffs are scheduled to take place in March 2022 and will feature 12 teams. Ten of those teams will qualify by finishing second in their groups and the remaining two places are awarded to the highest-ranked teams that won their UEFA Nations League groups.

The twelve teams will be drawn into three groups with the top three top teams after the knockout rounds gaining their place in the World Cup along with 29 other nations from around the World.


Four successive victories have propelled Scotland into second place in their group and has fans biting their nails at the thought of inclusion in the World Cup for the first time since France ’98. Three points against Moldova next month would secure a place in the playoffs – a route that they were forced to take, and succeeded in, to qualify for Euro 2020.

Ranieri Odds Against Keeping Watford In Premier League

Watford’s new manager, Claudio Ranieri, wants to defy the odds and ensure that the Hornets stay in the Premier League for next season.  Ranieri, who has previously managed Chelsea, Leicester and Fulham, faces an onerous start to his tenure at Vicarage Road with a home match against Liverpool this weekend closely followed by upcoming clashes against Arsenal and Manchester United.  

Ranieri will turn seventy next week and a win against Jurgen Klopp’s side, missing some key players due to international duties and injury, would be a magnificent start to his birthday celebrations.  However, the depth and talent of Liverpool’s squad are likely to be decisive and the Reds are hot favourites to win the match with odds of 7/18 from bookmaker SBK compared to the long odds for a Watford win of 17/2 from Unibet.

Both Watford and Norwich returned to the Premier League after only one season languishing in the Championship.  The Canaries look likely to ricochet back down to the Championship with no wins at all after seven matches played and only one point gained.  Burnley, also are faring badly too with three points on the board and remain in the relegation zone in this early stage of the season.  The bookies’ odds reflect this harsh reality with odds of 2/9 from Paddy Power that Norwich will be relegated and odds of 4/5 for Burnley from the same bookie.

Newcastle are also languishing in the relegation zone with only three points won and those points were from draws, including a 1-1 result against Watford late last month.  However, the recent £305 million purchase of the club by the Saudi Public Investment Fund is likely to signal a renaissance at Newcastle, with manager Steve Bruce remaining in charge for the moment and the promise of investment in new players during the January transfer window.  The betting market has reassessed the relegation odds for the Magpies in light of the PIF purchase with SBK, for example, offering odds of 13/5.

The same bookmaker is giving punters odds of 14/19 that the Hornets will go down, despite the fact that Watford are in 15th place in the League table with seven points from two wins and a draw – ahead of Leeds, Southampton, Burnley, Newcastle and Norwich.  The odds can be seen as good value, given the season’s results to date and the positive flip which Ranieri’s appointment is expected to bring.

Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family, have known Ranieri for many years.  Gino Pozzo, son of Giampaulo who originally bought the club back in 2012, will be expecting results.  No manager has lasted longer than 20 months in the past nine years and there is no place for sentimentality at the club.  Ranieri, whose contract is for two years, acknowledges the precarious nature of his appointment saying “I can laugh as much as I want.  If I don’t get any points, the laughing is finished.”

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