If you believed the press, there was going to be a changing of the guard this season in Manchester. Manchester United had dominated the English Premier League since it began in 1992 with a record 11 titles plus a couple of Champions League trophies as well. Manchester City on the other hand, not so great. They haven't one any of the major trophies for the past 30 years and, despite their loyal support, it seemed they might wait another 30 years for a sniff at anything.
But that changed in 2008 when they were bought by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan who has a family fortune close to $1,000 billion. And, it was soon apparent, he's not afraid to spend it. Robinho was signed around $50 million at the start of the 2008 season but that was just the beginning. By the start of the 2009 season, City were the biggest net spenders over the summer spending close to $200 million. Not that City rubbed United's nose in it. Well aside from the billboard they put up in Manchester starring Carlos Tevez who they poached from United for $40 million.
United, on the other hand, took a step back after having their star asset Ronaldo bundled to Real Madrid. The changing of the guard was upon us according to the press. But, you really shouldn't believe everything you read in the press. Sportsbooks had City as a +2000 outsider before the season started. Now you can get them at +3500. There's always next year. But this year, the rivalry just keeps heating up. And Wednesday night it reaches boiling point.
The Carling Cup is the least attractive prize in English football. The big teams generally don't pay it any attention, fielding their reserve squad unless they get to the final. If the Carling Cup was a child it would probably be ginger but Wednesday's semi-final will be different. Both sides will be full strength and United need to overcome a 2-1 deficit from the first leg. Sportsbooks are naturally giving the edge to United as the home team in this game, with the Pinnacle line at -151 for a win. However, progressing to the final is essentially a coin flip but with United a currently a slight favorite at -107. Yesterday City were the -106 favorite.
The most entertaining aspect of the first leg last week was the spat between City's Tevez and United's Gary Neville. Not exactly all out fireworks admittedly but, after being compared to a set of female genitalia, Neville flipped him the bird.
Warnings all round from the English Football Association so tomorrow's referee will be keeping a close eye on those two. However, the Football Association are generally spineless so even if there is a repeat performance, the punishments will not be severe. Skybet has a price of +1000 for Tevez to be booked for a goal celebration during the 90 minutes; with a price of +240 for him to score during 90 minutes that implies around a 1 in 4 chance he's going to and get so caught up in the moment. With the referees keeping a close eye on him, with his hatred of United, with his Argentinian passion and with him resembling one of the orcs from Lord Of The Rings I like that bet for entertainment value.
Anaheim Ducks +105
That price isn't available anywhere offshore.
It was this morning when I bet it.
Sucks to be you would be my point here.
Enjoy the new, improved, 200% more annoying Matty Rain. :peace:
World record soccer signing Cristiano Ronaldo was banned Tuesday for 2 matches by the Spanish Football Federation two days after he broke the nose of Patrick Mtiliga, a Malaga defender, in Real Madrids 2-0 Sunday win. Ronaldo, who was a world record signing over the summer from Manchester United, was also fined just over $800 for dangerous play that caused harm which is loose change for someone being paid an estimated $350,000 a week for doing a few step overs and falling over at the merest hint of contact.
This is not the first time Ronaldo has been unavailable for Real Madrid this season. He lost 6 weeks with an ankle injury in October and was sent off in a match against Almeria in December after kicking an opponent. Nor is it the first time he has had violent disciplinary issues; in 2008 he was banned for 3 matches after headbutting an opponent. At the time, Ronaldo said he learned a lot" from the experience. Presumably he learned to use his legs rather than his head next time.
But to many, Ronaldo is the face of football. Guys want to be him, girls want to be with him so heres a video showing why we all love Ronaldo. Picture the scene it's July 2004 and Ronaldo was representing his native Portugal in the 2004 European Football Championship Final. Greece, who were 150-1 outsiders before the championship started, won 1-0 and were crowned champions. The headbutting, kicking Ronaldo was reduced to tears no one is quite sure why. Some say he was overcome by the emotion of the match, coming so close but just falling short. Others say after the match someone passed him a mirror and he saw how ridiculous he looked with his ludicrous diamond earrings. Maybe we will never know why.