Beaten Victory stick together

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat was unhappy with the way his team have started the new A-League campaign.

Their 4-1 defeat in the derby against Melbourne City on Saturday left Victory winless from their opening two rounds.

Muscat labelled the display as embarrassing and though he wasn't singling out any individuals, he will want a dramatic improvement.

Victory suffered their first defeat at Etihad Stadium in 14 matches dating back to 2014, with few of their players emerging with much credit.

Marquee midfielder Oliver Bozanic completed just five passes before being substituted before the hour mark.

Full-backs Jason Geria and Daniel Georgievski were given a rough night by City wingers Nicolas Colazo and Bruce Kamau, while Alan Baro was at fault with the second goal when he lost track of Bruno Fornaroli too easily.

"I don't want it turning into a witch hunt, we'll be sticking together," said the coach after the game.
Muscat says it's important they quickly get over the poor performance, in which only 16-year-old debutant Seb Pasquali impressed.

"It's amazing because he adheres to structure, technically he's very good," added the coach after the teenager's 15-minute cameo. "He receives the ball in dangerous areas. He got us back in a little bit of ascendancy."

Tim Cahill opened his account for City with a long-range volley in the first half that found the top corner and gave the visitors the lead.

Fornaroli doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark and when Luke Brattan added another seven minutes into the second half it was virtually game over.

Marco Rojas pulled one back 10 minutes later, but within a minute Victory conceded again as Fernando Brandan beat keeper Lawrence Thomas at his near post.

Melbourne Victory are 13/5 to win the FFA Cup, with Melbourne City 8/11 and Sydney FC 1/1.

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Zenga eyes rise up the table

Walter Zenga has demanded more consistency from his Wolves side after they drew 1-1 with Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday evening.

The result left Wolves in a safe mid-table spot while Villa are only one point clear of the bottom three after drawing for the eighth time this season.

Steve Bruce's side have only won one of their first 12 Championship fixtures but are 19/10 to beat Reading in midweek.

Both teams scored penalties but Zenga was annoyed by one that was not awarded – when Micah Richards bundled over Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

"In any game, there are always moments that determine whether it is a win, loss or draw," said the former Italy goalkeeper.

"It was the perfect moment to put my team in front. Totally, no doubt. It was a penalty.

"The start of the season was difficult, introducing so many new players, but now we know what we want and the team is benefiting.

"Wolves played with spirit, courage and attitude. It was important for us to play this way. But we need the same performance every week, not to be up and down. We have to find consistency."

Villa scored from the spot after Jack Grealish had been fouled by Dominic Iorfa before Ally Cissokho's handball allowed Helder Costa to equalise with a penalty of his own.

Wolves can be backed at 17/5 to beat Brighton on Tuesday in their next Championship fixture.

Holosko enjoying new role

Filip Holosko feels he's making more of an impact with Sydney FC this season, after helping the club storm to the top of the A-League table.

The Sky Blues' Slovakian marquee is finally adapting to Australia's hard pitches and he says his family are now settled.

The 32-year-old has already scored three goals in the opening two games of the A-League season. He just got into double figures for goals last term, with 10, but looks to be more of a goal threat this time after coach Graham Arnold gave him more licence to play centrally.

He played solely on the right wing in 2015-16, but is now being given the chance to drift into the centre as a second striker and link up with Brazilian signing Bobo.

The pair played together at Besiktas, so there's hope they will gel to good effect under Arnold.

Holosko said: "This year I am more like a second striker with Bobo, I feel this is better for me. I played with Bobo three or four years in Besiktas, so I know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from me."

Holosko notched a milestone when he scored from the penalty spot in the Sky Blues' 4-0 win over Central Coast at Allianz Stadium – it was his 100th career goal.

He'd earlier scored the opener from Milos Ninkovic's superb pass as Arnold's team put the Mariners to the sword.

Speaking of his state of mind at the start of the campaign, Holosko said: "I'm more settled, and I'm used to the pitches in Australia, but we also have a better team than last year."

He says the Sky Blues are still getting used to the added dimension Bobo's arrival gives them.

Marinkovic and Alex Brosque are picking up on the 20-25 forward runs in behind that the Brazilian is making each games, he feels, while young midfielders Brandon O'Neill and Josh Brillante are being schooled during the week by watching videos to learn where Bobo would be making his runs.

Sydney FC are 1/1 to win their next A-League game at Wellington, with a Phoenix victory 14/5 and the draw 5/2.

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Blind focused on small details

Daley Blind believes Manchester United's height advantage could be vital in Monday's Premier League encounter with Liverpool at Anfield.

The 26-year-old Dutchman is expected to be included in Jose Mourinho's starting eleven for the match and is 20/1 to score at any time in the eagerly-anticipated clash between the two most successful clubs sides in English football.

United are one of the tallest sides in the Premier League following the summer captures of signings Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly, with three of their four goals in the 4-1 demolition of Leicester City a fortnight ago coming from Blind's corners.

Blind said: "We have a lot of height in the box and we must use that. Top-level football games are close and they can be decided with small details; set-pieces are one of them and it is an opportunity for us to score a goal.

"Our fans are always with us, they always have our back and we feel that, which is important for us. Every game they are there and they are always behind us in their numbers; that is great to see."

United, 4500/1 to win the Premier League title outright, are 3/1 to keep a clean sheet at Anfield with Pogba available at 10/3 to score at any time in the match.

Spurs wait on Alderweireld injury

Tottenham Hotspur are likely to be without central defender Toby Alderweireld for their Champions League trip to Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday evening.

The Belgium international stopper had to be replaced just before the hour mark of the 1-1 Premier League draw at West Brom on Saturday, with Eric Dier having come on at The Hawthorns and being set to stand in for Alderweireld in Germany.

Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino has not yet ruled his player out of the game on Tuesday and is waiting for a full verdict on the injury.

He told reporters: "It's difficult to assess now, because we need to wait 24-48 hours.

"He took a big knock to his leg and now we need to wait to assess and to be clear in the diagnosis."

Tottenham and Leverkusen have met on one previous occasion, in the group stage of the UEFA Cup in November 2006, when Dimitar Berbatov scored the only goal of the game as Spurs edged out his former employers.

The men from North London can be backed at 12/5 to win again on Tuesday evening, while they are 9/1 to score a 1-0 victory and are 3/1 to keep a clean sheet.

Meanwhile, Pochettino had mixed feelings about the 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns which maintained Spurs record as the only unbeaten team in the Premier League this season.

He added: "The team showed big character and belief to get the draw. It's a long season, we are still unbeaten and we need to keep going.

"The unbeaten run makes you feel proud and good. It was a massive effort against a team that is difficult to play against."

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Injury woes frustrate Coyle

Owen Coyle has bemoaned Blackburn's misfortune after Rovers picked up more injuries in the goalless draw with Ipswich Town.

The Championship side were already without striker Danny Graham before losing Gordon Greer at half-time and then Corry Evans with a groin problem.

"We were beset by injuries again," said former Bolton Wanderers and Burnley boss Coyle.

"Gordon Greer came off at half-time with the same groin injury that forced him to leave the Scotland camp.

"Corry Evans was just starting to tighten up again after what he had done with Northern Ireland which then restricted us.

"Big Sam Gallagher in the last 15 minutes was feeling an injury but he had to play on as we had used all the subs. So we were unfortunate in that respect."

Rovers are 8/1 to beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 at Ewood Park in their next match on Tuesday while a 2-2 draw in the Championship clash is available at 12/1.

Saturday's 0-0 draw was Blackburn's first clean sheet of the campaign although Jason Steele did superbly to keep out Adam Webster's header.

Blackburn remain 23rd in the table while Mick McCarthy's Ipswich are 17th and without a win in six games.

Can aims to keep run going

Emre Can is optimistic about Liverpool's chances of extending their winning sequence in the Premier League to five games by beating Manchester United on Monday.

United have had the upperhand in games between the two teams recently, although Liverpool did knock their rivals out of the Europa League last term.

German midfielder Can, who is 8/1 to score at any time at Anfield on Monday, said: "It's a very important game for us. I think you have to forget the games before.

"Of course, you have to take the confidence from the games, but a derby against Manchester United is always different. We are confident enough to say that we want to win the game and we will give our best to win the game.

"We have a very strong squad. We are confident enough and we want to win the game.

"Our fans are great. They have to show that again against Manchester United. They are like the 12th man for us. If they push us, of course it's different on the pitch. It's always nice to play in front of the amazing fans."

Liverpool came from behind to beat Swansea City 2-1 before the international break and are available at 8/1 to win from behind against Jose Mourinho's side.

United are 11/1 to win the match 1-0 and are 4500/1 to lift the 2016/17 Premier League title.

Stekelenburg earns all the plaudits

Ronald Koeman hailed Maarten Stekelenburg after the Everton goalkeeper had made a string of outstanding saves in the 1-1 draw at Manchester City.

The Dutchman saved two penalties – one from Kevin de Bruyne and another by Sergio Aguero – as Everton looked set to secure victory thanks to Romelu Lukaku's brilliant goal.

However, Pep Guardiola's side snatched a point thanks to substitute Nolito's later header, before Stekelenburg made another great stop to keep out a De Bruyne effort.

"Maybe the goalkeeper played his best game ever," former Southampton boss Koeman said afterwards. "We know Maarten is a very good goalkeeper but to save two penalties and two more shots from De Bruyne was fantastic.

"Of course, you need luck to get a good result but I think we got the result today because the fighting spirit of the team was unbelievable. That's what we needed because they are the best team that I have played against in my managerial career.

"I am pleased with the point. We didn’t deserve more, I know, but football is unpredictable and the key today was the belief and work-rate of the players."

Everton are now 25/1 to finish in the top six of the Premier League this season while City are 4500/1 to win the title.

Dire Tigers embarrass Phelan

Hull City manager Mike Phelan has called on his players to "grow up" after witnessing them crash to a 6-1 defeat at Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Tigers were abject defensively and Phelan, who was in charge for the first time since being named permanent manager, admitted he had been embarrassed by the performance.

Hull had started the campaign by beating last season's champions Leicester City, but they are now without a Premier League win in six matches and are 1/25 to be relegated.

Former Manchester United star Phelan said: "I feel very embarrassed. I've got a team here who show what they can do when they want to.

"We've got to grow up. Unless we concentrate and be disciplined, we won't get to where we want.  What we've done today is not good enough. I have to look at myself and improve.

"We had spells but not enough of them. You get hurt if you don't do your jobs at this level."

Hull's next Premier League game is against Stoke City on Saturday. Phelan's side are 14/1 to beat the Potters 2-0, while a goalless draw is available at 8/1.

Morgan admits Kante is missed

Leicester City captain Wes Morgan has admitted that the Foxes are missing N'Golo Kante who they sold to Chelsea in the summer.

Claudio Ranieri's side are only two points above the bottom three, and are 1500/1 to be relegated this season, after losing 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Leicester have lost all four of their away Premier League matches so far this term and are struggling to adapt to life without France international Kante.

"He was fantastic for us last season, he was our Player of the Year, what he did was incredible," said Morgan. "He came from a relatively unknown team in France and came to England and did extremely well.

"If any team didn't have him, they would miss him and that goes for us. We do miss him, but we have to move on."

Leicester are 13th in the table, just five months after clinching the Premier League title, and Morgan added: "Maybe we were overlooked last season, we surprised everyone, this season nobody is taking us for granted. Teams have approached the games with more intensity."

Leicester are in Champions League action on Tuesday when they play FC Copenhagen at the King Power Stadium. The Foxes are 15/2 to beat the Danish side 2-0 and continue their excellent start to their European campaign.