Zidane refusing to panic

Zinedine Zidane says there is still plenty of time for Real Madrid to catch Barcelona in the title race after slipping seven points behind their rivals following a shock defeat to Real Betis.

Los Blancos welcomed Cristiano Ronaldo back from a five-match suspension on Wednesday for the visit of Betis and had been expected to take care of a side who had not won at the Bernabeu since 1998.

However, having failed to breakdown a strong Betis backline, Antonio Sanabria struck in injury-time to secure a famous win for Los Verdiblancos.

The defeat means Barcelona, who have won five out of five in the league, already have a sizeable lead over Real, who are now 7/4 to retain their Spanish title.

Real's start to the league campaign has come as a major surprise having lifted the European Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup in August, only to have then failed to win any of their first three league matches at the Bernabeu.

The loss to Betis means Real are currently on their worst run in La Liga since April 2011 when Jose Mourinho was in charge.

Despite the setback, Zidane says he is not overly concerned by his team's struggles and believes there is plenty of time to catch Barcelona over the remainder of the season.

"I do not think the situation is delicate," Zidane said.

"We have lost points, but there are also many matches left. All the work we have done is not going to be thrown in the trash because of three bad games at home.

"We have not been successful in the shots on goal. I am the coach of this team and what we need is calm, rest and to think about the next game."

Real will hope to get back to winning ways at Alaves on Saturday with the home side having lost all five of their La Liga matches to date.

Zidane's men are 2/11 for the win, while Alaves are 12/1 and the draw is 6/1.

Wenger coy on Wilshere role

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he was happy to see Jack Wilshere play the entire game against Doncaster on Wednesday but remains guarded on the midfielder's role moving forward.

The Englishman made his first start for the Gunners in over a year in the 1-0 EFL Cup victory over their League One opponents, completing 90 minutes for the north Londoners for the first time since September 2014.

Wilshere has been blighted by injuries since last playing a full game for Arsenal, while he spent last season on loan at Bournemouth, only to suffer a fractured leg which kept him out for the start of this term.

Now back to full fitness, Wilshere will hope to play a bigger role in Wenger's plans but faces stiff competition for a spot in central midfield with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin ahead of him in the pecking order.

Wenger is wary of pushing Wilshere too hard at this stage and is therefore reluctant to say how heavy his involvement will be in the first team moving forward.

"I think you have to put this game into perspective as well, it does not exactly have the intensity of a Premier League game. But it's important for him to build him up gradually," said Wenger.

Asked if he could now play in the Premier League, Wenger added: "I don't know. I'll go game by game.

"We play next week three games – Monday, Thursday, Sunday – before the international break so I will have to make decisions to balance the team, to see who I play and where.

"For me now he's available to play, the decision I have to make is when to play him. But I think these kind of games he needs 90 minutes at that intensity and then he will soon be back. You see that in his movement, it is natural."

Wenger also refused to discuss whether the club would hand Wilshere a new contract with the 25-year-old's current deal set to expire next summer.

Having seen off Doncaster on Wednesday, Arsenal are now 11/2 to win the EFL Cup ahead of a fourth round tie against Norwich at home.

Meanwhile, the Gunners face West Brom in the Premier League on Monday and are 3/10 to pick up the three points. The Baggies are 7/1 and the draw is 19/4.

Everton in difficult moment – Koeman

Everton manager Ronald Koeman admits his team are currently working their way through a tricky period after picking up a much needed win over Sunderland in the EFL Cup.

The Merseysiders have found the going tough so far this season and welcomed the Black Cats to Goodison Park looking to end a run of four successive defeats without scoring.

Koeman decided to rest several of his first-team regulars for the clash, handing Nikola Vlasic his debut, while Jonjoe Kenny also made a rare senior appearance.

A brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a rare strike from Oumar Niasse lifted the gloom around the club as they saw off Sunderland 3-0 to set up a fourth round tie against Chelsea, with Toffees now 25/1 to lift EFL Cup.

Koeman, who has found himself under pressure in the wake of Everton’s poor start, was happy to see his much-changed side overcome the Wearsides and hopes the result can be a turning point in the season.

"Overall positive," said Koeman. "If we can rest some players for the weekend even against a Championship club we know every game in every competition can be a difficult one. We worked hard, the boys did well and we scored three goals It was a good game. maybe we had chances to score more goals.

"Everybody knows we're in a difficult moment and scoring goals and winning games is the best medicine to get our confidence back. Let's hope it is a boost for the coming Saturday."

Everton welcome fellow strugglers Bournemouth to Merseyside on Saturday hoping to earn their first three points since the opening day of the season.

Koeman's men are 8/13 to win the game, while the Cherries are 9/2 and the draw is 14/5.

Guardiola eases Gundogan worries

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has calmed fears midfielder Ilkay Gundogan suffered yet another serious injury in the EFL Cup win at West Brom.

The sight of the Germany international limping off during the second half but a dampener on the evening for the Citizens, who progressed to round four of the competition courtesy of a 2-1 win, Leroy Sane grabbing both goals.

Gundogan, who was making his first start since December having missed the majority of last season with a knee injury, had to come off following a strong tackle from West Brom's Claudio Yacob and will be sent for a scan to discover the extent of the problem.

Gundogan has had terrible luck with injuries during his career, missing a large chunk of time at previous club Borussia Dortmund and has only managed 18 appearances for City since moving to the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2016.

City are hopeful this knee injury is not serious and Guardiola was refusing to be too downhearted, claiming he is positive over Gundogan missing minimal game time.

He said: "I think it's not serious, it's not eight months, but a little injury. Unfortunately the action is tough. He will be back soon hopefully. Thursday we will make a test. The physio and doctor told me it's not big issue.

"I'll have to review [Yacob's tackle]. It's from behind but I don't know if he touched the ball or not. I didn't see the image.

"Fortunately Gundogan is coming back soon. I suffer for him. He was on the grass and at that moment you think the wrong situation. You can't imagine, for eight months, to be fighting every day alone."

Manchester City's reward for seeing off West Brom at the Hawthorns was a home tie against Championship side Wolves.

City are 7/2 to win the EFL Cup this season and have a good recent record in the competition, lifting the trophy two of the last four seasons.

Guardiola's men return to action this Saturday against Crystal Palace in the Premier League with the home side 1/7, to come out on top, while the bottom of the table Eagles are 14/1 and the draw is 7/1.

Football Games Will Step Up From Here on Out

With five games under its belt, the Bundesliga is now in full swing.

Clubs have finally found their groove and the transfers have made their place in the rotation. All that’s left at this point in time is to bet online and hope that your favourite club will come out victorious.

Which clubs will be smiling when this game day ends?

WEEK 6 SATURDAY:

Bayern Munich vs VfL Wolfsburg

Betting odds will naturally favour the Bavarians after a string of overpowering victories against Schalke and Mainz. Carlo Ancelotti and company should have no problems handling a Wolfsburg side struggling to find form. There’s no reason to not make a bet for Bayern’s -1.00 First Half Asian Handicap for 1.96.

RB Leipzig vs Eintracht Frankfurt

The Red Bulls aren’t as efficient as they used to be when they started the season. Maybe this is brought about by the exhaustion brought by Champions League football. Maybe it’s the lack of a shock factor that allowed them to thrive against the then-unassuming opposition.

One thing we do know is that they need to win to avoid slipping any further.

Hoffenheim vs Schalke 04

Julian Nagelsmann has a lot of adjustments to make.

A dramatic end to their victory against Mainz is good for fans that like their drama, but an inability to score goals should worry any good manager. He needs to ensure his lads are focused when they welcome a hurting Schalke because they’d be out for revenge after their humiliation to Bayern.

Werder Bremen vs SC Freiburg

This match is a must-win for two of the Bundesliga’s bottom clubs. Both are struggling to win games, with their subpar attacks failing to make up for their leaky defences. Their attackers need to start scoring goals to get their seasons on the right track.

Mainz 05 vs Hertha BSC

The only thing keeping Mainz from the drop zone is their sole win against Bayer Leverkusen. They need to score another victory if they wish to remain clear of the relegation battle. Unfortunately for them, Hertha Berlin aren’t the club that will likely lose anytime soon. Yoshinori Muto will need all the help he can get to win the three points for Mainz.

VfB Stuttgart vs Augsburg

Augsburg has made a fine start to their season, their latest foray an incredible upset of RB Leipzig. Manuel Baum is hopeful that Alfred Finnbogason won’t stop scoring as they prepare to face Stuttgart.

Given the form of Stuttgart’s defence, there’s a good chance the fun times will continue for them. Make a nice bet for Augsburg +0.25 @ 2.08.

WEEK 6 SUNDAY:

Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Monchengladbach

On a good day, this Battle of the Borussias would be an unpredictable one, with both sides fielding XIs that can make any football fan shudder with delight.

This has the makings of a fun game written on it, with both sides coming off strong wins. However, will Dieter Hecking and his lads be able to handle the Signal-Iduna-Park? I don’t think so.

Make a nice punt on Dortmund’s -1.25 Asian Handicap for 1.91.

Hannover 96 vs FC Koln

This is a match between a club that shocked everyone with their strong start to the Bundesliga season and a club without a drive and is looking ready for a fresh start at the 2.Bundesliga.

Is there even any argument on which side is looking likely to win?

WEEK 6 MONDAY:

Bayer Leverkusen vs Hamburger SV

Only three places separate Leverkusen from Hamburg. Both sides are struggling to find a consistent form to help them push for a Top-10 spot. This game might be decided by drive: who wants it more and is willing to put his body on the line for the three points?

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This is a Big Win for Bayern’s Online Betting Faithful

For Bayern Munich’s countless football betting fans, anything other than a win is an anomaly, unnatural, wrong.

That’s why it’s understandable that fans (and betting websites) were rattled when Bayern was held scoreless at Hoffenheim. The Bavarians had all the talent and failed to score when it really mattered. Thankfully, they bounced back well against Mainz, scoring four goals.

Their midweek victory against Schalke will give the club better betting odds in the future and get the home crowd high on James Rodriguez.

The Colombian star was a key figure to the Schalke rout, calmly slotting the ball past Ralf Fahrmann for his first goal in a Bayern shirt. His beautiful chip pass over the defence in the second half led to an easy goal for Arturo Vidal.

While James is the talk of the town, the competition also produced some interesting results. Dortmund were simply too much for Hamburg as the BVB left side were unstoppable. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Christian Pulisic and Shinji Kagawa scored the goals to extend Dortmund’s stint at the top.

Borussia Monchengladbach finally won their second game after beating Stuttgart, 2-0. Raffael was the hero Monchengladbach needed as he delivered both of the club’s goals.

Hannover 96 may have failed to capitalise on their momentum and win over Freiburg, but their unbeaten streak is one of three left in the season. Props should be given to Andre Breitenreiter and his industrious lads.

Finally, is there trouble in Red Bull paradise? RB Leipzig suffered a shock loss to Augsburg despite having the majority of time with the ball. Is Champions League football having an adverse effect on Ralph’s Hassenhuttl’s players?

We can’t wait to get the next game day over with to see what happens to the Bundesliga table.

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It’s a Big Scoring Feast for These Clubs!

The Serie A midweek was blessed with a good number of high-scoring football games that brought a lot of entertainment to supporters and football betting fans alike. Fans everywhere were treated to a feast of goals and heavy attacking football from some of the world’s best footballers.

Most of the high-scoring games were complete blowouts, with one being a close battle. These clubs will surely get great betting odds for the next game day.

The most eye-catching result among all of them is Atalanta’s 5-1 victory over Crotone. Andrea Petagna and Josip Ilicic had outstanding outings for La Dea, adding to their goal and assist tallies for the season. The visitors, meanwhile, struggled to get going as a 70th-minute spot kick from Marco Tumminello stopped Atalanta from gaining a clean sheet.

Roma pulled off an impressive 4-0 away victory at Benevento behind the brace of Edin Dzeko and the misgivings of the opponent’s centre-back pairing. Fabio Lucioni and Lorenzo Venuti have a lot of mulling to do after scoring goals in their own net.

Lazio started their game against Napoli well, with Stefan de Vrijj’s strike at 29 minutes. However, it seems like they left their boots in the locker room when Napoli bounced back in the second half to win 4-1.

Meanwhile, The Milan-SPAL match was an interesting spectacle on its own. The Rossoneri did not score goals in open play as the goals of Ricardo Rodriguez and Franck Kessie were penalties.

The tightest match in the midweek games was between Udinese and Torino. Torino settled the game early, with goals from Andrea Belotti and Emil Hallfredsson. Rodrigo de Paul put the hosts back in the game, but Adam Ljajic put it away for Torino, with Hallfredsson’s error costing Udinese the draw.

If Serie A games continue to be as dynamic as these ones, expect more people to pay attention. There’s nothing like a lot of goals to excite the crowd.

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Will you Bet Online on a Cracker in Glasgow?

Three games in and it’s all hotting up in the Pro 14.

And there’s no doubt where the sports betting focus is this weekend.

It’s at Glasgow where betting odds will be pored over as Munster, beaten finalists in two of the past three years, travel to Scotland to take on the 2015 champions.

Yes, Round Four has the potential to provide many highlights – holders Scarlets at home to Edinburgh has a certain appeal too – but my focus this week is the top of the table clash at the Scotstoun Stadium in Conference A.

Three wins out of three for both sides has just added the spice to this encounter.

Who are favourites?

It’s difficult to tell.

Munster have a point advantage on the table and certainly had the edge on their Scottish rivals in matches last season en route to the final.

At times, their defence has been seemingly impenetrable, and we all know the Irish outfit can be pretty ferocious in both the tackle and the breakdown.

But Glasgow have shown their pedigree so far this term, particularly with victories away at 2015 champions Connacht and, last weekend, at Cardiff Blues – just!

This revamped Pro14 league (formerly known as the Pro12) is certainly capturing the imagination in the early weeks of the season with the arrival of two South African sides adding a mystique to an already popular format.

A sell-out stadium are in for a treat with, among the ones to watch, Scottish international Finn Russell in fine form for the Warriors and Tyler Bleyendaal, likewise, reliable for Munster.

Something has to give this weekend –who will it be?

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Manchester’s the Place to be for Premier League Betting

You can’t split the Manchester giants after their explosive starts in the first five Premier League matches; four wins, one draw, 16 goals and two conceded.

It’s no wonder sports betting pundits and fans are already debating which of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will lift the title, but there’ll be one or two others with a say.

WEEK 6 SATURDAY:

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace

This game could be painful to watch for Eagles supporters, with City’s strike pair of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero probably adding (a few) to their joint tally of nine in five EPL football games. Roy Hodgson’s a Palace fan, so he’ll be desperate to improve on their start of exactly no points and no goals. Oh dear!

Southampton vs Manchester United

The Red Devils should keep pace with their wealthy neighbours, in points but not goals, when they visit the South coast. The Saints have made a steady if unspectacular start, winning at Palace last week, but only finding the net four times so far this season.

Stoke City vs Chelsea

Londoners are looking northwards with some anxiety but Chelsea appears to be the biggest challenge to Manchester domination. Arsenal matched the Blues last week and Stoke will, too, in terms of organisation, Still, Eden Hazard’s creative threat should win the day.

Everton vs Bournemouth

Ronald Koeman’s under pressure and was riled by Jose’s jibe that having spent £140m on players the Toffees should reach the top four. That’s a bit rich given Manchester United’s spending habits but it will upset Ron even more if his 18th placed side can’t beat the 19th-placed Cherries, who only got off the mark last week.

Burnley vs Huddersfield Town

Only 20 or so miles from Manchester, this is a northern Battle of the Roses to relish. Both teams have started well and have amassed eight points, but the Clarets, in their second season and having faced tougher opponents, look less likely to fade. The Terriers will give it a real go though so I expect a close encounter…and plenty of meat pies!

Swansea City vs Watford FC

Paul Clement and Marco Silva were both in relegation battles last season, Clement’s Swansea survived, but Silva’s Hull didn’t. His new outfit, Watford, have started well but received an absolute hammering at home to City last week. Swansea need a point at least to stay clear of the drop zone again.

WEEK 6 SUNDAY:

Leicester City vs Liverpool

Liverpool won their 1,000th home point against Burnley last week in a draw which saw them shoot over 30 times but most of their efforts ended up in the upper tier! So Jurgen Klopp shouldn’t only be looking at his nervous defence to reverse their Carabao Cup defeat at Leicester on Tuesday. I think they’ll do it.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Newcastle United

After losing their opening two games, these newly-promoted teams have both recovered, particularly Newcastle, winning three on the bounce and sitting in a Champions League spot. That’s not a new experience for Rafa Benitez but he’ll be as amazed as everyone if the Magpies manage to stay there.

WEEK 6 TUESDAY:

Arsenal vs West Bromwich Albion

The Gunners looked a different side in a well-organised and gutsy display to get a well-earned point at Stamford Bridge last week and I expect them to build on that at home to a West Brom side which rarely scores more than a goal a game. If Alexis Sanchez is smiling on Tuesday night then I’m sure Arsene Wenger will be too.

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Krul firms up Seagulls move

Brighton have turned goalkeeper Tim Krul's season-long loan from Newcastle into a permanent one-year deal.

The 29-year-old Netherlands international, who moved to Newcastle from ADO Den Haag in 2005 and made 185 appearances for the club, moved to the Amex Stadium in the summer to link up with his former Magpies boss Chris Hughton.

Injuries had resulted in Krul slipping down the pecking order at St James' Park and he spent time on loan back in his native Holland with Ajax and AZ Alkmaar throughout the course of last season.

He then joined the Seagulls in the summer following their promotion to the Premier League and made his debut in Tuesday's 1-0 extra-time EFL Cup defeat at Bournemouth.

Speaking after the game, Hughton said: "I felt he was very good and very assured. Some of the saves that he made weren't very difficult, but he needed to show good hands.

"Overall, it was a very assured performance."

Brighton have now confirmed that Krul is their player and said in a statement: "We have converted goalkeeper Tim Krul's loan from Newcastle United to a permanent one-year deal.

"The Dutch international initially arrived on a season-long loan last month, but has now signed a one-year contract."

Krul will now fight it out with Matthew Ryan for the number one spot and could make his Premier League bow against Newcastle at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Brighton are 13/8 to win their second game of the season, while the Magpies are priced at 7/4 to claim a fourth successive win and the draw is 21/10.