Champions League 2014/15 – Schalke v Real Madrid Last 16 Preview

Champions League 2014/15 – Schalke v Real Madrid Last 16 Preview

Madrid can turn on the style against limited Schalke

Schalke host Real Madrid this evening in a repeat of last year’s Champions League second-round tie and the Germans will be desperate to avoid another humbling at the hands of the Spanish giants.

The terrifying trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema all netted a brace in a 6-1 rout at the Veltins Arena, before taking their foot off the gas slightly back at the Bernabeu but still winning 3-1.

While only Bayern Munich have a better record among German clubs of making this stage in the competition over the last five years, Roberto Di Matteo’s side have won none and lost five of their previous six knock-out games, conceding 19 goals along the way.

Di Matteo famously won the Champions League in his short spell as Chelsea boss and under his stewardship Schalke’s results have improved this season. …

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Champions League 2014/15 – PSG v Chelsea Last 16 Preview

Champions League 2014/15 – PSG v Chelsea Last 16 Preview

Paris St Germain’s formidable home record under pressure against Chelsea

After what feels like an eternity, the Champions League returns tonight for the last-16 as Europe’s elite face off in search of the biggest prize in club football.

Chelsea visited Paris St Germain in this competition last season and were well beaten 3-1 before advancing courtesy of away goals with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge. That was the French side’s first defeat in eight Champions League knock-out games and there’s a case for saying the Ligue 1 champions have been one of the most consistent teams in this competition over the last few years, despite not even reaching a semi-final.

Jose Mourinho knows all about European finals having lifted this trophy while at Porto and Inter Milan, as well as a UEFA Cup at the former, but has famously never got past the semis in charge of the Blues …

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FA Cup Preview – Preston v Man Utd

FA Cup Preview - Preston v Man Utd

Red Devils can avoid a cupset at Deepdale 

Preston don’t get many opportunities to host Premier League sides so when Manchester United come to town this evening the North End players and fans will know it’s a great chance to create a piece of FA Cup history.

Simon Grayson certainly won’t fear the Red Devils and nor should he after he successfully guided his previous club Leeds to an almighty upset as they secured a 1-0 win in 2010 at Old Trafford, courtesy of Jermain Beckford.

Grayson can draw on that winning experience as his side host Louis van Gaal’s team at Deepdale. This is the seventh time that these sides have been drawn together in the FA Cup, with United progressing four times and North End twice – although the last meeting was way back in 1972.

United will be determined to collect silverware this season with the …

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Ireland v France Six Nations Preview 14th Feb 2015

Ireland v France Six Nations Preview

France will make Ireland work hard for win

Italy put up a better fight than the 26-3 scoreline suggests against Ireland last weekend and it would have been much closer had Leonardo Ghiraldini not been sin-binned in the second half . Without him on the field, Ireland could finally penetrate an impressive home defence.

A late second try put some shine on what was an unconvincing Irish win but Joe Schmidt’s side have now won their last eight and go into tomorrow’s clash at home to France in buoyant mood.

With England winning in Cardiff last Friday, despite being under-strength, it’s likely that the defining game of the championship will be Ireland versus England on 1st March in Dublin.

Sporting Index traders now make the Red Rose clear favourites on the Six Nations Outright 60 Index, at 45-48, way ahead of Ireland at 36-39, but there’s nothing to suggest …

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FA Cup 5th Round Preview

Boro to earn a replay with the Gunners

Boro to earn a replay with the Gunners

Middlesbrough snatched top spot of the Championship following a late win at Blackpool on Tuesday evening. Kike’s strike two minutes from time helped Boro to the three points they needed to finally reach the summit.

Aitor Karanka’s side are unbeaten in 2014 and the midweek win was a sixth straight victory and a seventh in eight across all competitions. League action takes a back seat this weekend as they face Arsenal in the FA Cup.

The Gunners were also in action on Tuesday where they needed a resolute second-half display to weather a spirited fight back from Leicester. Arsene Wenger got the 2-1 win, but it came at a cost as top-scorer Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey picked up knocks.

Not that Boro are lacking any, but those two injuries means they will head into North London with an extra bit of …

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England v Italy Six Nations Preview 14th Feb 2015

England v Italy Six Nations Preview

Italian experience should minimise the margin of defeat against up-beat England

It’s hardly surprising that Stuart Lancaster has named an unchanged side to the one which famously beat Wales in Cardiff a week ago. Wales, who went 10 points up in as many minutes, were stunned in Cardiff as England silenced the Millennium Stadium crowd through tries from Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph. It was only England’s second win in seven attempts across the bridge. 

The much desired winning momentum will certainly stand England in good stead when they host Italy at Twickenham tomorrow.

Lancaster has finished second in every Six Nations Championship since taking the reins in 2012. His men were denied last year’s title on points difference as Ireland triumphed in Paris, but are clear favourites on Sporting Index’s Outright 60 Index to make amends this time around, trading at 45-48.

Italy have never beaten England, with their …

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Ed’s off the canvas and fighting back, but is it too late for anyone to land a knockout blow?

"To say that Labour has been on a roller coaster over the past few weeks would be an understatement, and followers of political spread betting will have been along for the ride. "

Ed’s off the canvas and fighting back, but is it too late for anyone to land a knockout blow?

To say that Labour has been on a roller coaster over the past few weeks would be an understatement, and followers of political spread betting will have been along for the ride.

With Scottish polls returning disastrous figures, albeit from less than a third of all constituencies polled, Ed Miliband was certainly up against the ropes with many predicting it wouldn’t be long before he and Labour were down for the count.

Miliband, however, has got off the canvas and come back fighting in recent days. His purposeful attack on so-called big business saw him land a few pointed jabs before scoring well over questions of the HSBC tax scandal and donations to the Conservative Party.

Before the electioneering started in earnest, the Labour party were clear favourites to win on …

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Cricket World Cup 2015 Preview

Cricket World Cup 2015 Preview

Australia best-equipped to lift fifth trophy

The 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, which starts on Friday, promises to be one of the most open since its inception in 1975 – when this year’s hosts Australia lost to the West Indies at Lord’s by just 17 runs.

40 years on and the Aussies, who have lifted the trophy more than any other nation, will bid to be the third country to become global champions on home soil. They have lost just two of their last 36 World Cup matches, and so it’s not surprising that they start as favourites on Sporting Index’s Outright 100 Index, trading at 58-62. (Winner = 100 points, Runner-up = 75 points, Lose Semi-Final = 50 points, Lose Quarter-Final = 25 points, Group Stage = 0 points).

However, there are a few other sides who have a legitimate chance of spoiling Michael Clarke’s men’s fun as the …

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Stoke City v Manchester City Preview 11th Feb 2015

Stoke City v Manchester City Preview 11th Feb 2015

Stoke should be confident of frustrating Man City

Manchester City would love nothing better than to start the past six weeks again. In that time they have won just one of their last six Premier League games and have been dumped out of the FA Cup at home to Championship side Middlesbrough.

Sporting Index traders have all but dismissed their chances of retaining the title, with the Citizens’ spread on the Championship 60 Index now just 39-42. Chelsea are flying high at 56-58.

With a huge Champions League tie versus Barcelona at the end of the month, Manuel Pellegrini’s team need to hit some form. But a visit to the Britannia tomorrow night to play Stoke, a team that has regularly frustrated them in recent years, is a tough place to get a result.

The Potters have had a solid campaign and sit in 10th place in the league …

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Liverpool v Tottenham Preview 10th Feb 2015

Liverpool v Tottenham Preview 10th Feb 2015

Liverpool vulnerable to in-form Tottenham

Tottenham continued their hot form on the weekend when beating neighbours Arsenal in the North London Derby in a more accomplished and dominant performance than the narrow 2-1 win suggests.

Harry Kane’s superb season got even better as a match-winning brace took the striker to 24 goals for the campaign and the calls for the player to get an England call-up grew even louder.

Spurs have for so long struggled for a reliable goal-scorer but the 21-year-old looks a total natural in front of goal, unlike most of the Liverpool forwards, who his side will come up against tomorrow night at Anfield. Kane’s goal minutes are pitched at 17-20.

Liverpool’s season has been hugely disappointing overall, but there have been signs that last year’s Premier League runners-up have found their stride. The goalless draw in the Merseyside derby on Saturday interrupted a run of three …

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