Barcelona vs Arsenal Match Preview

Wenger will not gamble on Van Persie Arsene Wenger insists he will not take a gamble with Robin van Persie unless the Dutch forward is "100% fit" to face Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Van Persie was substituted during the Gunners' Carling Cup final defeat against Birmingham after suffering a knee injury while scoring the equaliser at Wembley. Tuesday's second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie, into which Arsenal take a slender 2-1 lead, was expected to come too soon for the Holland striker. However, Van Persie trained with his team-mates at London Colney on Monday morning and was part of the 19-man squad which flew out from Luton Airport. The party also included fit again skipper Cesc Fabregas who had been out with a hamstring problem. While Fabregas is now certain to face the club he left as a teenager, Wenger revealed there would be no risks taken with 14-goal striker Van Persie, who has been plagued by injury setbacks in recent seasons. "Van Persie is here as a player and will have a test. We are 19 here in he squad. Whether Van Persie will be included has not been decided yet," Wenger said. "He has made quick progress in the last three days. He was really unlikely to travel. "He wanted to have a go. We made a test and it was quite positive. We will see how he responds to that and I will make a decision on Tuesday morning." Wenger insisted he was "very bad at mind games", after Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola was asked if it was a surprise to see Van Persie in the travelling party. However, the Gunners boss insisted: "We will not take a gamble in a game of that importance, so he will have to be fit or not fit. "I would like him to play. But I will only play him if he is 100% fit." Guardiola welcomed the late addition of Van Persie to Arsenal's squad Indeed, the Barcalona coach would be happy to see all of the Gunners' star names in the starting XI, with the likes of midfielder Alex Song and England winger Theo Walcott left behind because of injury. "I would like Song to play; maybe there could be a private flight for Walcott to come in at the last minute - you never know," said Guardiola. "I want all the great players to play, everyone against everyone and see a great show tomorrow. "I hope they are all in the team - Van Persie, [Samir] Nasri, Cesc, because I would like to play the best possible Arsenal." Guardiola, who himself has been plagued by a back complaint which needed hospital treatment, continued: "If Van Persie plays, then no problem. It is good for the team and good for everyone. If he cannot, then Arsenal have a squad with players at a great level. "Arsenal have many alternatives, are very dynamic and can play in different positions, their counter-attack is great. We will try to prevent that. "This is always a special game in the Champions League and it is a magnificent challenge." Guardiola - who won the European Cup in his first season in charge two years ago - rejected suggestions Arsenal did not have the spirit of true champions. "I keep hearing about the fragility in the minds of the Arsenal players, but I do not agree," the Barcelona boss maintained. "They are competing with Manchester United for the Premier League, reached the final of the Carling Cup and a few seasons ago were in the final of the Champions League. "Arsenal are always in the top, when you compete every season at the top, it is because they are quality. "Sometimes they sell players, but Arsenal always keep the same level. "Many teams arrive at the top for one year, but then are finished. Arsenal are there every season. "For many years they have kept up there, and that is the real merit. "Yes, they lack something, but they are a young team. "When they win the first time, they will change the mentality, they will realise they are good."

Under - 2.70
Over - 1.44


Juventus vs Udinese Preview

Red-hot Udinese travel to Turin to face Juventus looking to edge closer to the Champions League qualifying places.
It took a while for coach Francesco Guidolin and the Friuli men to find their rhythm this season but now they are riding a four-match unbeaten streak and go into the game at the Olympic stadium in eighth place - four points adrift of Lazio who are fourth.
Udinese go into this weekend's game full of confidence on the back of a 3-1 triumph over Inter Milan last weekend.
That result followed their 4-2 victory at Genoa and their 4-4 draw against AC Milan earlier this year.
The recent success has fuelled hopes among Udinese's passionate fans that they could finish in the top four come the end of the season and play in Europe's elite club competition.
"The fans have a right to dream," said Guidolin. "The important thing is that we don't fall asleep and we continue to play in this manner."
Their attacking record has been key to Udinese's impressive form, with 13 goals scored in their last four league games.
Juve, meanwhile, look to make amends for their midweek 2-0 defeat to Roma that knocked them out of the Coppa Italia.
The result was a bitter blow for Juve fans, with the club having almost waved goodbye to any hopes of getting silverware this season.
The Bianconeri were eliminated from the Europa League competition before the winter break and last weekend's goalless draw at Sampdoria dropped the Turin giants nine points behind Serie A leaders AC Milan.
"We are going through a difficult time but we must work hard and look ahead to the league, which is the only aim that remains for us," said manager Luigi Del Neri, whose side lie sixth, two points clear of Udinese.
Juve, who are level on 35 points with Inter, strengthened their defensive line this week with the arrival of Andrea Barzagli from Wolfsburg.
Barzagli is expected to feature against Udinese but the hosts are still without injured striker Vincenzo Iaquinta.

Under - 1.90
Over - 1.90


Deportivo La Coruna vs Sevilla Preview

Sevilla bid to kick-start their season against Deportivo La Coruna buoyed by this month's transfer activity.
Gregorio Manzano's side are under pressure to improve on a poor start to the 2010-11 campaign which sees them some 11 points off the Champions League places after 20 games.
However, the impending arrivals of tenacious Chile midfielder Gary Medel from Boca Juniors and Croatia international Ivan Rakitic from Schalke will freshen up a stale Sevilla team, although neither are likely to sign in time for tomorrow's trip to A Coruna to face Deportivo.
Rakitic, 22, arrived late last night for a medical while Medel's move was agreed last week and is close to being completed after he arrived in Spain this week.
Chilean World Cup star Medel, who plays as a defensive midfielder but also in defence, said: "I'm happy to be here, hopefully everything goes well.
"I am as player who gives everything I have on the pitch and play with my heart. I hope I can make a positive contribution to Sevilla.
"I want to win titles with the club."
Sevilla, who have won just three of their last nine games and lost the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final 1-0 against Real Madrid, should have Ivica Dragutinovic back in action while Andres Palop and Federico Fazio are also available.
Hosts Depor are also having a difficult season and sit 13th in La Liga having lost their last three league games.
Key men Riki and Andres Guardado are still recovering from injury and are not expected to return in time for the match.

Under - 1.72
Over - 2.07

Hercules vs Barcelona Preview

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has set his sights on winning more titles with the Catalan club.
Busquets was promoted from Barca B - having played in Spain's third division - and made his debut in Pep Guardiola's second league match in charge, against Racing Santander at the Nou Camp in September 2008.
The defensive midfielder was part of the Barca side that won a treble of La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey titles that season and has since picked up five more titles - including another league crown and a FIFA Club World Cup.
Busquets also starred in the Spain side that lifted the World Cup last summer, making it three memorable years for the 22-year-old son of former Barca goalkeeper Carles Busquets.
The player signed a new contract yesterday to remain at Barca until 2015 and hopes to follow in the footsteps of team-mates Xavi and Carles Puyol, who have racked up over 500 appearances for the club.
"I still have a long way to go to catch them up and I hope they go on for many years to come," he said.
"I could never have imagined everything that has happened since I made my debut, but I hope to go on for many years yet and to keep winning trophies."
Busquets' form in the holding role has restricted the game-time of summer signing Javier Mascherano, who has mainly been used as a substitute in the big games.
Mascherano, though, is happy to play second fiddle to the Catalan.
"I'm not stubborn," the Argentina midfielder said.
"I know I can't start all the games at a club like Barca, but I've played around 50% of the time - I'm a professional and I'll keep working hard."
Having signed up Busquets, Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta on long-term deals, Barca now hope to extend the contracts of full-backs Eric Abidal and Dani Alves.
But, while Abidal has said he is keen to sign an extension, Alves - heavily linked with Manchester City - is stalling on a new deal.
Busquets, though, thinks the Brazilian will end up staying at the Nou Camp.
"Alves is super important for us," he said.
"I'm not one for giving advice, but I think it will be resolved."
Alves has been passed fit for tomorrow's Primera Division clash at Hercules, but captain Puyol misses out, along with Jeffren Suarez and Bojan Krkic.
Barca, who lead fierce rivals Real Madrid by four points at the top of the table after 20 rounds of matches, surprisingly lost 2-0 at home to the Alicante-based side earlier this season, but the Catalans boast a perfect away record in La Liga and have a hugely impressive 55 points from a possible 60 at this stage.
Hercules coach Esteban Vigo is confident his side can produce another upset, however.
"Barcelona are a very hard team to beat and we will need things to go our way, but I am convinced we have a chance," he said.
Olivier Thomert returns, but Abraham Paz is doubtful, while long-term absentee Javier Farinos remains sidelined.
On-loan wing-back Royston Drenthe, meanwhile, looks to be totally recovered from a knee problem he suffered two weeks ago.

Under - 3.10
Over - 1.36


Real Madrid vs Real Mallorca Preview

Real Madrid will attempt to end a mixed week on a high note when they welcome Real Mallorca.
The Spanish giants have won their last 18 competitive fixtures at the Bernabeu.
On the pitch, Madrid experienced both good and bad results over the last seven days after following up their potentially costly 1-1 draw with bottom club Almeria in La Liga with a 1-0 midweek victory over bitter rivals Atletico that secured their place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.
There have also been off-field distractions, with speculation about coach Jose Mourinho`s long-term future at Madrid as well as the club`s pursuit of former striker Ruud van Nistelrooy as a possible replacement for the injured Gonzalo Higuain.
With no fresh developments in their hunt for attacking reinforcements, tomorrow`s visit of Mallorca could offer Karim Benzema another chance to stake his claim for the centre-forward position.
The Frenchman has struggled to impress since his big-money move from Lyon in the summer of 2009 and, despite Madrid's dearth of strikers, he started both matches this week on the bench.
Benzema showed his potential with two hat-tricks in December, but Madrid playmaker Kaka believes the 23-year-old needs to do more.
The Brazilian said at a promotional event: "He (Benzema) is a great forward, but he sometimes isn't completely involved in the game. I think he could do a little more and that`s what the people expect. But we see his quality in training. He can be an important player for Real Madrid but it depends on him."
Madrid fell four points adrift of Barcelona at the top of the standings following their disappointing draw at Almeria and they know they can ill afford another slip-up against Mallorca, who travel to the Spanish capital for the second successive match following Monday`s trip to Atletico.
Michael Laudrup`s men lost that game 3-0 and dropped to ninth place in the table, three points behind sixth-placed Atletico and the European places.
Looking ahead to tomorrow`s match and his side`s chances of ending Madrid`s long winning streak at the Bernabeu, Mallorca striker Pierre Webo said: "We have to have a perfect game and for them to be very bad. I hope that they will be tired after the game against Atletico."

Under - 3.60
Over - 1.30

AC Milan vs Cesena Preview

AC Milan go into Sunday's home game against Cesena with their lead over five-time defending champions Inter Milan down to just six points.
Lazio and Napoli are just four points adrift of the pacesetters, yet Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims he is not worried.
Instead, with his club having taken just a single victory in their last four Serie A games and the club deemed to be their biggest threat, rivals Inter, riding a five-match winning streak and with a game in hand, the Swede claims he is having fun.
"I enjoy the duel with Inter," he said. "Like them, we have great experience.
"It's going to be great battle.
"With this intensity, there is more motivation for everyone to remain focused and work until the end of the campaign."
For Ibrahimovic, who once played for Inter, the Rossoneri need to only worry about themselves.
"I know Inter have confidence after their recent victories," he said.
"But we must remain focused and if we do that, we should not fear any of our rivals, including Inter.
"We need to do our job as best as possible to remain first."
Ibrahimovic is Milan's top scorer with 11 league goals so far.
Antonio Cassano could earn his first league start with Milan on Sunday after a solid performance in Thursday's 3-0 triumph over one of his old teams, Bari, in the Coppa Italia.
The midweek result allowed Milan to set up a meeting with Sampdoria in the quarter-finals of that competition.
Cesena, meanwhile, pushed Inter hard before falling to a 3-2 defeat at the San Siro in midweek.
The result followed their 1-0 defeat to Roma and left Massimo Ficcadenti's side just above the bottom three on goal difference.
Cesena have won just once on the road this season and will have to overcome the absence of striker Emanuele Giaccherini, who serves a one-match ban.

Under - 2.25
Over -1.61


Hamburger SV vs Eintracht Frankfurt Match Preview

The saga around Ruud Van Nistelrooy is never-ending. The Dutchman’s move to Real Madrid almost seemed to be a possibility in recent weeks and not just a rumour. Nistelrooy himself wants to return to the Bernabeu but Bastian Reinhardt, the sporting director is standing in the way. Van Nistelrooy’s contract expires in June of this year and Reinhardt does not want to loan him out a result. Armin Veh recently confirmed that Ruud will not be allowed to leave the club.

Hamburg beat Felix Magath’s Schalke side 1-0 in their last outing, thanks to a goal from their troubled Dutchman. Frankfurt was hammered by Hanover. Hanover won the game 3-0. Frankfurt’s defensive problems are threatening to derail their campaign and their challenge for a European spot. Look for HSV to win this one.

Under - 2.15
Over - 1.66


Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers Match Preview

Man City team news
Edin Dzeko may have to be content with a place on the bench as Manchester City look to secure top spot for 24 hours at least.
The £27m Bosnian has not played a competitive game since scoring a last-minute equaliser for Wolfsburg against Hoffenheim prior to the German winter break and Roberto Mancini is cautious about pitching him straight in against Mick McCarthy's men.
Mario Balotelli (knee) and Micah Richards (back) have been ruled out but David Silva is expected to be available after missing two games with a knee injury.

Wolves team news
Wolves have a trio of players - including skipper Karl Henry - back.
Manager Mick McCarthy confirmed midfielder Henry (knee) and defenders Jody Craddock (hip) and Steve Mouyokolo (back) will all travel to Eastlands after recovering from injury.
Henry could replace hamstring victim Dave Edwards who was on target in Wolves 2-1 home win over City earlier this season.
Full-back George Elokobi will start a three-game ban for his red card in the FA Cup tie at Doncaster last weekend and he is likely to be replaced by Stephen Ward.

Man City: Hart, Given, Zabaleta, Boateng, K Toure, Kompany, Boyata, Kolarov, Lescott, Wright-Phillips, Johnson, De Jong, Vieira, Milner, Y Toure, Silva, Barry, Tevez, Dzeko, Adebayor, Jo.
Wolves: Hennessey, Hahnemann, Zubar, Stearman, Berra, Ward, Hunt, Foley, Milijas, Jarvis, Fletcher, Doyle, Jones, Henry, Craddock, Winnall, Doherty, Mujangi Bia, Mouyokolo, Ebanks-Landell, Rooney.

Under -1.90
Over - 1.90

Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers Match Preview

Chelsea team news
Team news will appear here.

Blackburn team news
Goalkeeper Paul Robinson is fit to return after a calf injury and Steven Nzonzi (hamstring) could be back in contention.
Nikola Kalinic is back from suspension while Gael Givet and Martin Olsson have overcome knocks. Vince Grella, Keith Andrews and Phil Jones remain on the sidelines and Brett Emerton is on international duty with Australia.

Chelsea: Squad will appear here.
Blackburn: Robinson, Nelsen, Samba, Givet, Olsson, Salgado, Pedersen, E-H Diouf, Dunn, Benjani, Hoilett, MB Diouf, Nzonzi, Kalinic, Doran, Morris, Hanley, Goulon, Lowe, Bunn.

Under - 2.35
Over - 1.57

West Ham United vs Arsenal Match Preview

West Ham team news
West Ham forward Victor Obinna is suspended after being sent off against Birmingham in the Carling Cup in midweek.
Lars Jacobsen returns after a lengthy lay-off and Danny Gabbidon is available after missing the cup tie.
Carlton Cole is also fully fit and could start against Arsenal after scoring as a substitute against Birmingham City.

Arsenal team news
Arsenal will be without goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (shoulder) for the Barclays Premier League trip to West Ham, where Wojciech Szczesny will again deputise.
Centre-back Sebastien Squillaci (hamstring) is also out and right-back Bacary Sagna serves the last of his three-match ban.
Denilson has recovered from a thigh problem, while both Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri return to the squad having been rested for the midweek Carling Cup defeat at Ipswich Town.
Midfielder Abou Diaby (calf), goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (ankle), Abou Diaby (calf) and centre-back Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) remain out.

West Ham: Green, Faubert, Jacobsen, Bridge, Tomkins, Reid, Gabbidon, McCarthy, Upson, Spector, Sears, Hines, Noble, Kovac, Parker, Piquionne, Cole, Boffin, Boa Morte, Nouble, Spence.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere, van Persie, Chamakh, Shea, Arshavin, Walcott, Ramsey, Bendtner, Miquel, Clichy, Rosicky.

Under - 2.00
Over - 1.80


Chelsea vs Bolton Preview

Chelsea vs Bolton Preview


Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is a doubt for Wednesday night's Barclays Premier League clash with Bolton at Stamford Bridge.
Anelka missed Monday night's 3-1 defeat by Arsenal with a knee problem, while Alex, Yuri Zhirkov and Yossi Benayoun remain sidelined.
Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti indicated on Monday night there will be few, if any, changes against Bolton.
Bolton are short on numbers for Wednesday's game.
The Trotters had just 19 fully-fit first-teamers available for their Boxing Day win over West Brom but have now lost South Korea winger Lee Chung-yong to the Asia Cup.
Defender Gretar Steinsson is also doubtful with a knee injury while Tamir Cohen remains on compassionate leave.
Joey O'Brien, Sean Davis, Ricardo Gardner and Jlloyd Samuel are all still sidelined.
Chelsea (from): Cech, Turnbull, Bosingwa, Hilario, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Cole, Terry, Essien, Lampard, Mikel, Ramires, McEachran, Malouda, Kalou, Drogba, Anelka, Bruma, Sturridge, Kakuta, Van Aanholt.
Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Bogdan, Cahill, Steinsson, Knight, Robinson, Holden, Muamba, Petrov, K Davies, Elmander, Blake, Taylor, Klasnic, Ricketts, Alonso, Moreno, M Davies.