Atletico Madrid Europa League Favourites As United And City Crash Out

Atletico Madrid are the favourites to win this season’s Europa League after Manchester United and Manchester City both crashed out of the competition on Thursday night.

However, it was Athletic Bilbao who arguably got the result of the night, beating Manchester United 2-1 and 5-3 on aggregate. The result means this is the first time since the 2001-02 season where United will not play in a cup final.

Following the result, manager Sir Alex Ferguson said in Mail Online:

“I don’t think we can complain at the result. In the second half in particular, Bilbao were the better team”.

[source]

He’s not wrong.

Goals from Fernando Llorente and Oscar de Marcos put Bilbao 5-2 ahead on aggregate before a wonder strike from Wayne Rooney gave United a glimmer of hope with 10 minutes remaining.

You can see for yourself just how good they were here:

[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xph0go_athletic-bilbao-2-1-manchester-united-footyroom-com_animals[/dailymotion]

Manchester City also slipped out of the competition on away goals despite coming from 2-0 down to beat Sporting Lisbon 3-2 on the night with the aggregate score tied at 3-3.

City found themselves 2-0 down and 3-0 down on aggregate with two goals in seven minutes from Matias Fernandez and Ricky van Wolfswinkel before they hit back in the second half with two goals from Sergio Aguero and a Mario Balotelli penalty.

But, it wasn’t enough and following the defeat, Roberto Mancini even apologised to the supporters for their Europa League exit.

That said, whether Mancini got his tactics all wrong or not, goalkeeper Joe Hart almost won it for City five minutes into stoppage time and produced a fine save from Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Watch it here:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CqwFtGlwMc[/youtube]

Just a couple of weeks ago City and United were first and second favourites in the Europa League betting but it is now the teams from Spain that lead the way.

Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia will all fancy their chances of reaching the semi finals after being drawn against Hannover 96, Schalke 04 and AZ Alkmaar respectively.

City conquerors Sporting have been drawn against outsiders Metalist Kharkiv.

Outright Europa League Winner:
  • Atletico Madrid @ 4.33 (Boylesports)
  • Athletic Bilbao @ 4.5 (Coral)
  • Valencia @ 4.5 (Betfred)
  • Schalke 04 @ 6.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Sporting Lisbon @ 12.0 (Betfred)
  • AZ Alkmaar @ 19.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Hannover 96 @ 21.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Metalist Kharkiv @ 21.0 (Boylesports)

Barcelona Champions League Favourites After Quarter Final Draw

Barcelona remain the bookmakers favourites for the Champions League following the quarter final draw.

Pep Guardiola’s side were drawn in a “glamour tie” against AC Milan but will not fear the Italians who showed their vulnerability in a 3-0 second leg defeat against Arsenal – edging through to the last eight 4-3 on aggregate.

Milan will have to be much better if they are to have any chance against a Barcelona side that smashed Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 in their last match, winning their tie 10-1 on aggregate.

Lionel Messi became the first player to score five Champions League goals in a single match:

[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpapeg_barcelona-7-1-leverkusen_sport[/dailymotion]

Chelsea overturned a 3-1 first leg defeat against Napoli by winning 4-1 after extra time and 5-4 on aggregate at Stamford Bridge.

The ageing Blues are the only remaining Premier League side in the competition and will fancy their chances against Benfica, who reached the last eight of the Champions League for the first time since 2006.

Watch Chelsea’s remarkable comeback against Napoli here:

[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpgaun_chelsea-4-1-napoli-hoofoot-com-14-03-2012-all-goals-hq_sport[/dailymotion]

Bayern Munich will be confident of progressing to the semi finals after they were drawn against Marseille. The Bundesliga side overturned a 1-0 first leg defeat at Basel by crushing their Swiss opponents 7-0 at the Allianz Arena.

Watch all seven goals here:

[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpfnuc_bayern-munchen-vs-basel-7-0-agg-7-1-highlights_sport[/dailymotion]

The lowest ranked side left in the competition APOEL, edged past Lyon on penalties following a 1-1 aggregate score and they face the might of Real Madrid who coasted past CSKA Moscow 5-2 on aggregate.

Outright Champions League Winner:

  • Barcelona @ 2.25 (Ladbrokes)
  • Real Madrid @ 3.2 (Coral)
  • Bayern Munich @ 7.0 (William Hill)
  • Chelsea @ 11.0 (Sportingbet)
  • AC Milan @ 23.0 (Betfred)
  • Benfica @ 67.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Marseille @ 81.0 (Sky Bet)
  • APOEL @ 251.0 (Paddy Power)

Spurs Favourites In FA Cup Betting

Tottenham Hotspur edged into pole position as the bookmaker’s favourites to win this season’s FA Cup following their 3-1 fifth round replay victory against Stevenage.

The League One side looked to cause an upset when they took a shock lead after four minutes at White Hart Lane. Joel Byrom scored from the penalty spot but Jermaine Defoe equalised after 26 minutes.

Striker Emmanuel Adebayor put the Premier League side in front 10 minutes after the break with a penalty and Defoe netted his second 15 minutes from the end to ease Harry Redknapp’s side into a quarter final tie against Bolton Wanderers.

The previous evening, Chelsea won their first match under caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo with a 2-0 victory at Birmingham City.

The in-form Championship club kept the scoreline goalless until 54 minutes when Juan Mata scrambled the ball over the line and Raul Meireles sealed victory six minutes later with a spectacular finish.

Chelsea were the biggest movers in the betting, cut from 5.5 to a best-priced 4.0 with the bookmakers fancying them to reach the semi-finals of the competition.

The Blues have home advantage in the quarter finals against the remaining Championship side in the FA Cup, Leicester City.

Elsewhere, Everton host Sunderland while recent Carling Cup winners and second favourites to win the FA Cup, Liverpool, play Stoke City at Anfield.

Best odds available for all teams remaining in the FA Cup:

  • Tottenham Hotspur @ 3.75 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool @ 3.8 (Ladbrokes)
  • Chelsea @ 4.0 (Betfred)
  • Everton @ 8.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Sunderland @ 10.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Stoke City @ 23.0 (bet365)
  • Bolton Wanderers @ 34.0 (Boylesports)
  • Leicester City @ 67.0 (Betfred)

Liverpool vs Arsenal Betting

Both teams enjoyed spectacular weekends and will go into this match full of confidence.

Liverpool beat Cardiff City on penalties in an exciting and memorable Carling Cup Final to end their six-year wait for a trophy while Arsenal battled from two goals down to defeat arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 in a classic north London derby.

While a trophy in the cabinet is important for Liverpool in terms of progress and morale, they must turn their attentions to something arguably more important which is Champions League qualification.

They head into Saturday’s match in seventh position and as many points behind Arsenal in fourth place. The Reds are now an outside bet to finish in the top four with both Chelsea and Newcastle above them in the reckoning but home advantage is key this weekend.

Liverpool, like Manchester City, are unbeaten at home this season. However, they have won just four out of 12 in front of their home fans, on a par with Blackburn Rovers who sit in the bottom three.

Kenny Dalglish’s side have become draw specialists at Anfield, with eight matches ending all square this season. That is where out attentions will focus on for this particular match because six of the last nine meetings have ended in deadlock, five of which with a 1-1 scoreline.

Arsenal look susceptible on the road and have lost more than they have won – six defeats to five victories, with two draws thrown in for good measure.

Despite netting five goals last Sunday, the Gunners have not scored in three of their last four away matches in all competitions. That said, at Anfield, they find their shooting boots and have scored in their last five Premier League visits. The 2008-09 campaign saw them score four times in a remarkable 4-4 draw.

With Liverpool solid, if not spectacular at home and with eight draws at Anfield already this season combined with the recent draw sequence between these two, another stalemate would not come as a great shock.

Verdict: Draw @ 3.6 (Bet Victor)

Other Results:

  • Liverpool @ 2.05 (Boylesports)
  • Arsenal @ 3.8 (Betfred)

First Goalscorer

Due to playing away from home, red-hot Robin Van Persie does not head-up the bookmaker’s first goalscorer list in the betting, with them favouring Liverpool striker Luis Suarez instead. But, with 33 goals in all competitions to his name this season, Van Persie cannot be ignored and he is available to bulge the back of the net first at 6.5 (bet365).

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 6.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 7.5 (Boylesports)
  • Andy Carroll @ 8.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 8.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 10.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Maxi Rodriguez @ 12.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Gervinho @ 13.0 (Boylesports)
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain @ 15.0 (Boylesports)
  • Charlie Adam @ 15.0 (Coral)
  • Theo Walcott @ 15.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Mikel Arteta @ 19.0 (bet365)
  • Aaron Ramsey @ 21.0 (bet365)
  • No Goalscorer @ 13.0 (Sky Bet)

Anytime Goalscorer

One player who showed his goal scoring ability last week was Dirk Kuyt  for Liverpool. The bustling midfielder had only been on the pitch five minutes during extra time of the Carling Cup Final and put Liverpool 2-1 in front. With three goals in his last six club matches, he’s worth a dabble at 4.0 (Sportingbet).

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 2.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Robin Van Persie @ 2.6 (bet365)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 3.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Andy Carroll @ 3.25 (Paddy Power)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)
  • Maxi Rodriguez @ 4.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Gervinho @ 4.75 (Sportingbet)
  • Theo Walcott @ 5.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain @ 5.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Charlie Adam @ 5.5 (Coral)
  • Mikel Arteta @ 7.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Aaron Ramsey @ 7.5 (bet365)

Correct Score

With recent history between these two clubs suggesting a draw and with five of the last nine meetings ending in one goal apiece, I cannot see beyond a 1-1 draw. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the bookmakers’ correct score of choice and the best price currently available is 7.5 (Bet Victor).

Selected other correct scores:

  • Liverpool 1-0 @ 8.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 2-0 @ 11.0 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 2-1 @ 9.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool 3-0 @ 19.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool 3-1 @ 17.0 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 3-2 @ 29.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 13.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 15.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Arsenal 1-0 @ 12.0 (bet365)
  • Arsenal 2-0 @ 23.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Arsenal 2-1 @ 13.0 (Betfred)
  • Arsenal 3-0 @ 51.0 (Betfred)
  • Arsenal 3-1 @ 31.0 (Coral)
  • Arsenal 3-2 @ 41.0 (Bet Victor)

Cardiff City vs Liverpool – Carling Cup Final Betting

Carling Cup Final Betting Preview

Liverpool are unsurprisingly the bookmakers favourites to lift the Carling Cup trophy on Sunday but the team will be under immense pressure to bring home their first trophy in six years.

Ironically, Liverpool’s last piece of silverware was the FA Cup in 2006 – which they won in Cardiff.

The Reds go into the match full of confidence against Championship opposition having crushed Brighton 6-1 last weekend in the FA Cup fifth round. Kenny Dalglish’s side were, however, aided by three own goals.

Cardiff City are not in great form and have lost three of their last four league matches.

A comfortable 3-1 home victory against Peterborough United has been sandwiched by a home defeat against Blackpool and on the road losses at Leicester City and Ipswich Town last weekend.

Indeed, last weekend’s defeat at Ipswich saw the Bluebirds slip to fifth in the table and their involvement in the Cup this weekend could see them out of the top six depending on the results.

Liverpool are going to be well-backed and expected to win comfortably on Sunday but as we all know, football doesn’t always go according to plan.

And, where is the fun in backing a red-hot favourite at odds-on in a Cup final, where a wicked deflection, a missed offside call or a dubious penalty can all mean the difference between victory and defeat?

You could plough a significant percentage of your betting bank to try and “buy money” but before you do, I just want to leave you with four words to remember:

Birmingham City Last Season.

Verdict: Cardiff City @ 9.5 (Bet Victor)

Other Results:

  • Liverpool @ 1.4 (Betfred)
  • Draw @ 4.5 (bet365)

First Goalscorer

Scotland international Kenny Miller is usually the favourite in this market but given the standard of opposition, he has been pushed down the list. Therein could like some value and the current best price of 13.0 (bet365) looks tempting. Miller is without a goal in six matches but he was first off the mark the last time he scored – a 3-2 league victory against Portsmouth.

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 6.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Andy Carroll @ 7.0 (bet365)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 7.0 (Coral)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 7.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 9.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Charlie Adam @ 13.0 (Coral)
  • Joe Mason @ 15.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Rudy Gestede @ 15.0 (bet365)
  • Stewart Downing @ 19.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Peter Whittingham @ 19.0 (Boylesports)
  • Martin Skrtel @ 26.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Craig Conway @ 29.0 (bet365)
  • No Goalscorer @ 12.0 (Betfred)

Anytime Goalscorer

Cardiff-born Liverpool midfielder Craig Bellamy is the only player on the field who will draw applause from both teams should he score. He has also stated he will not celebrate should he score against the Bluebirds, where he spent a successful spell on loan last season. Bellamy can be backed at 2.6 (Bet Victor) to register his name on the score sheet.

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 2.38 (Betfred)
  • Andy Carroll @ 2.75 (bet365)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 3.0 (Betfred)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 3.4 (Bet Victor)
  • Charlie Adam @ 4.5 (Betfred)
  • Kenny Miller @ 6.5 (Betfred)
  • Stewart Downing @ 6.5 (Betfred)
  • Joe Mason @ 7.5 (Betfred)
  • Rudy Gestede @ 7.5 (Betfred)
  • Peter Whittingham @ 8.5 (Betfred)
  • Craig Conway @ 11.0 (bet365)
  • Martin Skrtel @ 12.0 (Betfred)

Correct Score

A comfortable Liverpool victory is the bookmaker’s verdict so there is definite value in going against them. While the fancied scoreline is 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1, how about a 2-1 victory to Cardiff City at 26.0 (Sky Bet).

Selected other correct scores:

  • Cardiff City 1-0 @ 21.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Cardiff City 2-0 @ 56.0 (Coral)
  • Cardiff City 3-0 @ 226.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Cardiff City 3-1 @ 81.0 (bet365)
  • Cardiff City 3-2 @ 101.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 12.0 (Boylesports)
  • Draw 1-1 @ 9.5 (Coral)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 26.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 1-0 @ 7.0 (Betfred)
  • Liverpool 2-0 @ 6.5 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 2-1 @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool 3-0 @ 9.5 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 3-1 @ 13.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 3-2 @ 34.0 (bet365)
  • Liverpool 4-0 @ 17.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool 5-0 @ 41.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 6-0 @ 91.0 (Paddy Power)

United Survive But Trail City In Europa League Betting

Europa League Round of 32 Second Leg Review

Manchester United survived a late scare against plucky Ajax to reach the last 16 of the Europa League but are behind local rivals Manchester City in the betting.

United lost 2-1 on the night against the Dutch side but progressed to the next round 3-2 on aggregate. Javier Hernandez gave United an early lead but an equaliser from Aras Ozbiliz and a late header from Toby Alderweireld made for a tense finish.

City had no such worries on Wednesday night as they crushed Porto 4-0 at the Etihad and cruised through to the last 16 by a 6-1 aggregate score. Sergio Aguero broke the deadlock in the first minute and second half goals from Edin Dzeko, David Silva and David Pizarro heaped more misery on a Portuguese side that saw Rolando sent off with 13 minutes remaining.

Stoke City saw their interest in the competition end with a 1-0 defeat at Valencia, knocking them out 2-0 on aggregate. It was always going to be a tough match for Tony Pulis who fielded a weakened side and Brazilian striker Jonas struck the killer blow after 24 minutes.

Atletico Madrid beat Lazio in Spain to progress 4-1 on aggregate. Defender Diego Godin scored three minutes into the second half to send the Serie A side packing.

A hat-trick from Schalke striker Klas Jan Huntelaar downed Plzen after extra time as the German side won 3-1 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate. Plzen had Marek Bakos sent off on the hour but a late equaliser from Frantisek Rajitoral saw the match end 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time required.

Athletic Bilbao made hard work of Lokomotiv Moscow and progressed to the last 16 on the away goals rule. Two cards in the space of five minutes saw Fernando Amorebieta sent off on the hour but Iker Muniain scored the goal the La Liga side needed two minutes later.

After a goalless first leg in Italy, Udinese won 3-0 in Greece to ease past PAOK Salonika. Early goals from Danilo and Antonio Floro Flores eased the Serie A club’s nerves and a penalty from Maurizo Domizzi six minutes after the break put the match beyond doubt.

PSV Eindhoven crushed Trabzonspor 4-1 in Holland to win 6-2 on aggregate. An early penalty from Dries Mertens opened the floodgates and goals from Tim Matavz and Kevin Strootman gave the Dutch side a commanding lead. The shell shocked Turkish club pulled one back two minutes before the break through Burak Yilmaz but Matavz added his second of the night after 53 minutes.

Ukranian side Metalist Kharkiv are winning admirers following a 4-1 drubbing of Red Bull Salzburg and winning the tie 8-1 on aggregate. An own goal from Martin Hinteregger gave the Austrian side an uphill battle but they fought back with a goal from Jakob Jantscher after 56 minutes. Kharkiv were not in a charitable mood and scored three further goals from Jonathan Cristaldo, Sebastien Blanco and Marlos to confirm a sound thrashing.

Outright Europa League Winner:

  • Manchester City @ 3.75 (Betfred)
  • Manchester United @ 4.5 (bet365)
  • Valencia @ 10.0 (Boylesports)
  • Atletico Madrid @ 11.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Schalke 04 @ 13.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Athletic Bilbao @ 21.0 (Coral)
  • Udinese @ 21.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • PSV Eindhoven @ 21.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Metalist Kharkiv @ 26.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Olympiacos @ 29.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • FC Twente @ 34.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Hannover 96 @ 34. (Paddy Power)
  • Sporting Lisbon @ 34.0 (Bet Victor)
  • AZ Alkmaar @ 41. (Boylesports)
  • Besiktas @ 67.0 (Boylesports)
  • Standard Liege @ 101.0 (Boylesports)

Sunderland Slashed In FA Cup Betting

Sunderland have seen their odds on winning the FA Cup 2012 slashed following their weekend victory against Arsenal, but Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool remain the bookmakers favourites.

At the Stadium of Light, a Kieron Richardson goal five minutes before the break and an own-goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after 78 minutes saw Arsenal tumble to a second Cup defeat in the space of a few days.

In Sunday’s evening kick-off, Liverpool swept aside the challenge of Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion with an emphatic 6-1 victory at Anfield.

Martin Skrtel opened the scoring after just five minutes but Brighton were back on level terms after 17 minutes when Kazenga LuaLua equalised. An own goal from Liam Bridcutt a minute before half-time gave Liverpool the advantage and Andy Carroll put the Reds 3-1 ahead after 57 minutes.

A second own-goal from Bridcutt and a third by Brighton, this time from Lewis Dunk put the match beyond doubt but Luis Suarez added gloss to the scoreline with a sixth five minutes from the end.

Earlier that afternoon, resilient Stevenage held Tottenham Hotspur to a goalless draw but the Premier League side will be hot favourites to progress to the quarter finals with the replay at White Hart Lane.

Louis Saha saw a goal ruled out for offside in the second half after his effort struck Scott Parker on the goal line.

Spurs were not the only Premier League side held to a draw – Birmingham City drew 1-1 at Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.

David Murphy struck from close range after 20 minutes to give the Championship club a shock lead but Daniel Sturridge eased some of the pressure from under-fire manager Andres Villas-Boas with an equaliser just after the hour mark.

One top-flight club that did not survive the fifth round was Norwich City, who were beaten 2-1 at Carrow Road by improving Leicester City.

Sean St. Ledger gave the Championship side the lead after five minutes but Wes Hoolahan equalised for the Canaries on 23. Former England-cap David Nugent struck the winner after 71 minutes, meaning the Foxes are the only non-Premier League club guaranteed a place in the quarter finals.

Elsewhere, Stoke City ended Crawley Town’s FA Cup run. Despite home advantage, Crawley succumbed to a Jon Walters penalty late in the first half and a goal from Peter Crouch seven minutes after the break.

The Potters overcame a controversial sending off for Rory Delap and the defeat meant Crawley went out of the competition at the fifth round stage in successive seasons.

Everton eased past Blackpool with a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park. The tie was wrapped-up early on after two goals in the first six minutes. Rosyton Drenthe broke the deadlock after just 49 seconds before Denis Stracqualursi added a second barely five minutes later.

Bolton Wanderers also eased past Championship opposition with a 2-0 win at Millwall. On-loan Arsenal starlet Ryo Miyachi scored after four minutes and former Liverpool striker David Ngog added a second just before the hour.

Quarter Final Draw

Liverpool have home advantage when they take on Stoke City for the fourth time this season. Tony Pulis’ team earned a draw at Anfield when they met in a Premier League fixture in January.

If Chelsea see off Birmingham City at St. Andrews, they will face another Championship club in Leicester City. However, if Chris Hughton’s side win, it will mean a Championship team is guaranteed a place in the semi finals.

Tottenham Hotspur should win their replay against Stevenage in front of their own fans but whoever wins the tie has home advantage against Premier League strugglers Bolton Wanderers.

The last quarter-final is guaranteed to be an all-Premier League affair when Everton host in-form Sunderland.

Best odds available for all teams remaining in the FA Cup:

  • Tottenham Hotspur @ 3.5 (Betfred)
  • Liverpool @ 3.75 (Bet Victor)
  • Chelsea @ 5.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Everton @ 8.0 (bet365)
  • Sunderland @ 10.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Stoke City @ 21.0 (Coral)
  • Bolton Wanderers @ 3.5 (Sportingbet)
  • Birmingham City @ 51.0 (Boylesports)
  • Leicester City @ 3.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Stevenage @ 751.0 (Bet Victor)

Manchester City Favourites In Europa League Betting

Europa League Round of 32 First Leg Review

Manchester City are the bookmakers favourites to win this season’s Europa League after a first leg victory in their round of 32 tie at FC Porto.

Roberto Mancini’s side fell behind to a Silvestre Varela goal after 27 minutes but fought back in the second half through a Alvaro Pereira own goal after 55 minutes and a Sergio Aguero winner six minutes before the end.

Manchester United also won away from home, strolling to a comfortable 2-0 first leg victory at Ajax.

Ashley Young broke the deadlock after 59 minutes while Javier Hernandez made sure of the victory five minutes from time.

If you fancy an all-Manchester final, you can get odds of 10.0 with Paddy Power on it happening.

The other remaining Premier League side in the competition, Stoke City, face a tall order to qualify for the last 16 as they slipped to a 1-0 home defeat against Valencia.

A 30 yard effort from Mehmet Topal nine minutes before the break brought Stoke’s unbeaten home record in Europe to an end and gives the La Liga club a precious away goal in the second leg.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid took a commanding first leg lead at Lazio, winning 3-1 in Italy. Veteran German international Miroslav Klose gave Lazio the lead but an equaliser from Adrian Lopez and a brace from Radamel Falcao put the La  Liga club in the driving seat.

Polish side Legia Warsaw took the lead twice against Sporting Lisbon but were pegged back to a 2-2 draw. Jakub Wawrzyniak gave Legia the lead eight minutes before the break but Daniel Carrico equalised on the hour. Janusz Gol looked to have won it for the Warsaw-based club with 10 minutes left but Andre Santos equalised for the second time late on.

Schalke 04 were big favourites to win at Plzen but were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg. Vladimir Darida gave the Czech side a shock lead after 22 minutes but Klas Jan Huntelaar equalised with 15 minutes left to spare the Bundesliga club’s blushes.

Besiktas pulled off a surprising win at Braga who were not helped by the sending off of Helder Barbosa after 29 minutes. Tomas Sivok gave the Turkish side the lead shortly before half time and Simao Sabrosa added a second on 58 minutes.

Outright Europa League Winner:

  • Manchester City @ 4.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Manchester United @ 5.0 (bet365)
  • Valencia @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Atletico Madrid @ 13.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Schalke 04 @ 15.0 (Sky Bet)
  • PSV Eindhoven @ 21.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Athletic Bilbao @ 26.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Olympiacos @ 29.0 (Betfred)
  • Metalist Kharkiv @ 34.0 (Betfred)
  • Sporting Lisbon @ 34.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Udinese @ 34.0 (Sportingbet)
  • FC Twente @ 34.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Hannover 96 @ 41.0 (Paddy Power)
  • AZ Alkmaar @ 41.0 (Betfred)
  • Besiktas @ 41.0 (bet365)
  • Lokomotiv Moscow @ 67.0 (Bet Victor)
  • SC Anderlecht @ 67.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • PAOK Thessaloniki @ 81.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Porto @ 81.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Robin Kazan @ 81.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Standard Liege @ 81.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Stoke City @ 151.0 (bet365)
  • Lazio @ 176.0 (bet365)
  • Club Brugge @ 201.0 (Betfred)
  • Viktoria Plzen @ 201.0 (Betfred)
  • Wisla Krakow @ 201.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Trabzonspor @ 251.0 (Sportingbet)
  • SC Braga @ 251.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Legia Warsaw @ 251.0 (bet365)
  • Steaua Bucuresti @ 501.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Ajax @ 501.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Salzburg @ 1001.0 (bet365)

AC Milan Slashed In Champions League Betting

Champions League Round of 16 First Leg Review

AC Milan have been slashed in the Champions League betting following last night’s 4-0 crushing of Arsenal at the San Siro.

The Serie A club were available at 28.0 before kick-off, but two goals from Robinho, a wonder-strike from Kevin-Prince Boateng and a Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw the bookmakers cut their odds down to 13.0.

The Gunners were shellshocked in Italy and are now out to 401.0 outsiders to win Europe’s premier competition. They will need to win by five clear goals to proceed to the quarter finals or by a 4-0 scoreline to take the tie into extra time and penalties.

Earlier that evening, Zenit St Petersburg beat Benfica 3-2 in Russia. Benfica took the lead through Maxi Pereira but were pegged back with a goals from Roman Shirokov and Sergei Semak. Oscar Cardozo equalised for the Portuguese side with three minutes left but Shirokov grabbed a dramatic second two minutes later.

Zenit were cut by several firms but are still outsiders at 126.0. With two away goals, Benfica will fancy their chances in the return leg but drifted out to 41.0.

Barcelona remain the favourites to win the tournament, as they have done all season, after a comfortable 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen on  Tuesday night.

Two goals from Alexis Sanchez either side of an effort from Michal Kadlec put Barcelona in control and a late third from Lionel Messi looked to put the La Liga side into the last eight with the return leg at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona are a best-priced 2.4 to become become the first club to retain the trophy since the switch to the Champions League format in 1992.

Lyon take a slender lead to Cyprus after beating APOEL 1-0 at the Stade de Gerland. A goal from Alexandre Lacazette after 58 minutes was enough to win the first leg for the Ligue One club.

Elsewhere in the betting, Real Madrid remain second favourites to win the Champions League while Bayer Munich are third favourites with the bookmakers.

Both play their last-16 first-leg matches next week, as do Chelsea, Inter Milan and Napoli.

Outright Champions League Winner:

  • Barcelona @ 2.4 (Paddy Power)
  • Real Madrid @ 3.75 (Betfred)
  • Bayern Munich @ 7.0 (Sportingbet)
  • AC Milan @ 13.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Chelsea @ 15.0 (bet365)
  • Inter Milan @ 34.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Napoli @ 41.0 (Coral)
  • Benfica @ 41.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Lyon @ 81.0 (Boylesports)
  • Zenit St Petersburg @ 126.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Marseille @ 151.0 (Bet Victor)
  • APOEL @ 301.0 (Coral)
  • Arsenal @ 401.0 (Sportingbet)
  • FC Basel @ 401.0 (bet365)
  • CSKA Moscow @ 401.0 (Boylesports)
  • Bayer Leverkusen @ 1251.0 (Coral)

Manchester United vs Liverpool Betting

It is advantage Liverpool as both sides go head-to-head at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.

Kenny Dalglish’s side earned the bragging rights with a 2-1 victory at Anfield in the FA Cup fourth round and all eyes will be on what happens between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra and the customary pre-match handshake.

In some ways it’s fortunate the circus surrounding Harry Redknapp being cleared of all allegations of bungs and tax dodging and Fabio Capello resigning on the same day, happened this week to ease some of the speculation that could have filled the media in the run-up to this match.

United have lost just two of their last 15 Premier League matches but we saw the best and worst of them during last weekend’s remarkable 3-3 draw at Chelsea. Yes, United were magnificent as they battled back from 3-0 down but their defensive weaknesses were there for all to see.

Goalkeeper David De Gea does not look up to Premier League standard yet and he was exposed during the FA Cup tie against Liverpool. No doubt he will be a target yet again from set-pieces should he stand between the sticks.

At the back United may be vulnerable but they are irresistible in attack with 16 goals in their last five matches. Wayne Rooney’s two penalties against Chelsea were his first in the league since scoring at Fulham before Christmas and of course Dimitar Berbatov scored a hat-trick in this fixture last season. The Bulgarian netted a treble against Wigan on Boxing Day and it will be interesting to see if he features on Saturday.

Liverpool are in good form themselves and have lost just three times in their last 15 in all competitions. They are also very mean in defence – only Manchester City have conceded fewer goals in the Premier League this season.

The danger man for them in recent weeks has been Craig Bellamy and the Welshman has scored six goals in his last eight starts. The pacy striker gave Rio Ferdinand a torrid time when playing for Manchester City a couple of seasons ago and will been keen to impress on the big stage again.

This is a difficult match to predict but given home advantage, I will favour United to avenge their FA Cup exit and close the gap on Manchester rivals City before their match kicks off on Sunday.

Verdict: Manchester United @ 1.91 (Paddy Power)

Other Results:

  • Liverpool @ 4.5 (Betfred)
  • Draw @ 3.6 (bet365)

First Goalscorer

Wayne Rooney finally broke his goalscoring duck with two penalties against Chelsea last weekend and is overdue a goal against Liverpool. His last strike against the Reds came in March 2010 and he can be backed at 5.0 (Bet Victor).

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Javier Hernandez @ 6.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Danny Welbeck @ 7.0 (Boylesports)
  • Dimitar Berbatov @ 8.0 (Boylesports)
  • Luis Suarez @ 8.5 (bet365)
  • Nani @ 9.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 10.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Ashley Young @ 11.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Andy Carroll @ 13.0 (bet365)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 13.0 (bet365)
  • Luis Valencia @ 13.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 15.0 (bet365)
  • Ji Sung Park @15.0 (Betfred)
  • No Goalscorer @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)

Anytime Goalscorer

Craig Bellamy has scored six goals in the last eight matches he has started and is on course to win Player of the Season for Liverpool. He looks good value at 4.0 (Ladbrokes) to hit the back of the net at any time, especially given United’s defensive frailties.

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Javier Hernandez @ 2.7 (Paddy Power)
  • Danny Welbeck @ 2.85 (Sportingbet)
  • Dimitar Berbatov @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)
  • Luis Suarez @ 3.5 (Coral)
  • Nani @ 3.8 (Sportingbet)
  • Ashley Young @ 4.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Andy Carroll @ 5.0 (bet365)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 5.0 (bet365)
  • Luis Valencia @ 5.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 5.0 (bet365)
  • Ji Sung Park @ 5.5 (Sky Bet)

Correct Score

Despite Liverpool’s mean defence, there could be goals in this fixture. United scored three last weekend and with David De Gea shaky in goal, Liverpool could grab a couple themselves. How about United to win 3-2 @ 29.0 (bet365).

Selected other correct scores:

  • Manchester United 1-0 @ 7.5 (Boylesports)
  • Manchester United 2-0 @ 9.5 (Coral)
  • Manchester United 2-1 @ 9.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Manchester United 3-0 @ 17.0 (Coral)
  • Manchester United 3-1 @ 17.0 (Coral)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 11.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Draw 1-1 @ 7.0 (Betfred)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 15.0 (bet365)
  • Liverpool 1-0 @ 12.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Liverpool 2-0 @ 23.0 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 2-1 @ 15.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool 3-0 @ 67.0 (Betfred)
  • Liverpool 3-1 @ 41.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 3-2 @ 41.0 (Sportingbet)