Luis Enrique has made it clear what he thinks Barcelona’s best option is when it comes to picking his centre-backs. It’s always Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano.
When the Catalans head into a big game, the coach has a regular side he turns to, known as his Gala XI. The only flexible place in the team is goalkeeper, with Claudio Bravo selected in La Liga and Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the cup competitions.
Otherwise, if everybody is fit, it’s his core team. That’s Jordi Alba and Dani Alves at full-back, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta in midfield, the holy trinity of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar up front and Pique with Mascherano at centre-back.
It means the other central defenders at the club don’t get much of a look in toward the back end of the season, barring injury or suspension worries.
Continue reading Why Pique and Mascherano Is Barcelona’s Best Centre-Back Partnership
As Barcelona prepare to meet Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League, we look at past meetings between the Blaugrana and the Gunners.
UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 2010-11 Season
First Leg: Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona
Barcelona came into the tie as heavy favorites, but Arsenal shocked many by winning the first leg at home. David Villa got first blood for Barcelona, and Lionel Messi should have extended the lead, but his goal in the 39th was wrongly disallowed. Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin struck late to give Arsenal a surprising 2-1 win. This was Arsenal’s first – and so far only – win against Barcelona.
Second Leg: Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal
Continue reading Arsenal vs Barcelona: UEFA Champions League matches through the years
Manchester United are looking down the barrel of a week that could completely kill off their campaign.
Tonight’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Shrewsbury kicks off a run of three games which – if unsuccessful – could result in United crashing out of the FA Cup, Europa League and the race for Champions League qualification.
None of the 14 injured players unavailable for last Thursday’s trip to Denmark are expected to be back, although Wayne Rooney’s knee injury isn’t as bad as first thought and he could return within three weeks.
David de Gea will be absent while youngster Donald Love is cup-tied following his loan spell with Wigan.
There are no notable returns to the first-team setup other than Phil Jones, who is still not match-ready, so Louis van Gaal could select another inexperienced line-up.
Here’s how United should line up:
Sergio Romero had become a symbol for unreliability after his excellent debut against Tottenham Hotspur was followed by a string of worrying errors.
Continue reading How Manchester United should line up against Shrewsbury Town in their FA Cup fifth-round tie
Bet on a team not to lose.
A great type of bet is where your team doesn’t even have to win for you to make money. It’s called Double Chance, because you back two outcomes: a win and a draw. If you can identify a situation where one team is unlikely to lose, this kind of bet might be attractive to you. But keep in mind the odds will be lower than simply backing a team to win.
There are a several situations where this can be a useful bet, but one of the most common is when one team is playing for a draw. Try and pinpoint a game where one team’s aim is simply not to lose. A club employing such a negative strategy will very rarely win. Even if they succeed in drawing the match, your Double Chance bet against them is a winner.Try it on naija and bet
Another time this bet comes is handy is when a team is missing their key striker who scores most of their goals. Some clubs rely on a single player up front, and when he’s injured they become useless at scoring goals. Quite often the odds won’t adjust far enough to reflect this. So you can bet against those teams and be fairly confident the best they can do is draw.
Continue reading Soccer Betting Tips