What are the odds there are no English clubs in the Champions League's last eight? Derek McGovern's Bets of the Day
Following the Champions League draw, it looks like two more teams who play in the best league in the world will be heading out.
Arsenal got the draw they were most afraid of – a two-legged tie in Europe – while Chelsea must face Manchester City’s conquerors Napoli.
Somehow you suspect it ain’t gonna end Napoli ever after for the Londoners.
City could do Blues a favour before the Champions League resumes.
They could buy Napoli’s star striker Edinson Cavani in January or, even better, Fernando Torres and David Luiz.
Cavani has told friends he is keen to continue in the Champions League. He’s told closer friends he’s even keener on a 200k-a-week salary.
Napoli will only sell if the offer is one they can’t refuse. In Italy that means the kidnap of a relative.
Hills offer 16-1 for an all-English final, to be staged on Fantasy Island.
More attractive are 4-1 quotes for no English sides to make the quarter-final.
BET OF THE DAY
I jogged backwards for a mile yesterday and put on 6lb.
Get on Norwich with a goal start at 13-10 at Everton.
My father was a lawyer and when I was born he spent three weeks trying to find a loophole in my birth certificate.
Get on Blackburn (7-5), Newcastle (5-6), Spurs (2-5) and Liverpool (20-21).
The four-timer with Victor Chandler pays around 11-1.
It was Jim, in US sitcom Taxi, who said that the ability to witness two men stand toe to toe and pummel each other into insensibility is what separates us from the animals.
He may well have been previewing Saturday night’s super-middleweight dust-up in Atlantic City between Carl Froch and Andre Ward, which promises to be the dirtiest fight since Joan Collins took on Linda Evans in Dynasty.
Ward is known for liberal use of the head – in his last fight he looked like Stevie Wonder.
Froch is known for throwing a whirlwind of punches and hoping some land – in his last fight he fought like Stevie Wonder.
Now the Brit, with the Amir Khan controversy fresh in his mind, is praying the judges on Ward’s home turf don’t judge like Stevie Wonder.
Froch knows the pitfalls of fighting on the road, the traffic for one thing.
He saw Khan come a cropper last week when the judges awarded the fight to home-town boy Lamont Peterson.
Froch doesn’t expect that to happen to him – he’s not fighting Peterson.
The Cobra said in a press conference this week that he wasn’t worried about the officials because he’d brought his own judges along.
At that point everyone thought he was going to point to his fists in time-honoured tradition but, no, behind him were three middle-aged men holding scorecards.
If you ask me, a week before Christmas is a strange time for this bout to be held.
I’d have thought Boxing Day was more appropriate. Or even Christmas Day, when most fights take place.
But it was originally slated for October, until Ward took a gash above his eye – something to celebrate, I’d have thought – and since then the two have done little but slate each other.
The two fighters jousted at this week’s final press conference with Froch, mindful of Ward’s head-work, suggesting he is more than capable of meeting fire with fire.
My uncle always said that was the best thing to do, which is why he was thrown out of the fire brigade.
Ward claims he hasn’t lost a fight since he was 14.
Big deal, nor have I. The last fight I had was when I was 14, mind.
Ward’s amateur record reads 114-5 and his professional record is 24-0. Either he’s got a brilliant matchmaker or he’s brilliant.
But I wouldn’t back him at a ridiculously short 4-11 against a fighter as good as Froch, who, at 5-2, looks the only logical bet.