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Published on December 24th, 2010 | by Sportingly Better Tipster

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Potential winners of 2011?

As we wave goodbye to 2010, our attention turns towards the new year and the hope and optimism that it brings and as football fans this is no different.

English Premier League
In my eyes the top 4 teams that currently occupy the Champions League berths will most likely be the same 4 teams that will be there come the end of the season, although maybe in a different order. Manchester United are top at Christmas for the first time since 2006 and Ferguson will be first to mention that historically United have a better second half of the season. Added to this we have yet to see Wayne Rooney anywhere near his best and also United have been missing Ecuadorian winger Antonia Valencia (who had an encouraging first season at Old Trafford) and the current title leaders with their 1+ games in hand look a safe bet to surpass Liverpool’s title record this season.

Question Marks?
Arsenal have a questionable back line and defence and can be squeezed out of games by swamping the midfield as Man Utd demonstrated not too long ago. Their goalkeeper position is definitely the biggest question mark for the Gunners and I can’t remember a recent season where Fabregas and van Persie have been fit through the entire campaign.

Chelsea do not seem to have the depth anymore to their squad which John Terry has reportedly admitted and The Blues have been struggling with injuries this season particularly with Lampard and Terry. Players are struggling for form and the backroom set up doesn’t seem to be right since Ray Wilkins left and there has been speculation that Ancelotti won’t be there next season.

Man Utd to win the Premiership @2.25

Carling Cup
We are down to the semi-final stage now as Arsenal face Ipswich and West Ham play Birmingham. The last remaining stand out team left in the cup is Arsenal who will be desperate for some silverware, which Wenger is constantly reminded and should have far too much against a shot shy Birmingham and strugglers West Ham who will both have Premier League survival as their number one priority.

Arsenal to win the Carling Cup @1.6

Npower Championship
The Football League Championship is characterised by it’s unpredictability and is often ignored in match betting let alone anything else. If you are thinking about betting on this league then I would advise an each-way selection/to be promoted or finish in the top 6. QPR and Cardiff undoubtedly have the firepower in their teams and will probably be the most likely two who fill those automatic promotion spots. Each season we usually see a team emerge from nowhere and nick promotion; Blackpool, Burnley, Watford, Crystal Palace etc so a small staked long shot bet might be your best bet, Leicester who currently occupy 16th place, 6 points off the play offs could be one of these teams given their manager and squad they are assembling, but I will not be tipping any side in this market.

Italian Serie A
The season to date has been more or less dominated by the demise of Inter, which subsequently cost Rafa Benitez his job. Inter have often led their rivals over the last 5 years and sometimes by embarrassing margins. This season will not be the case and the Italian giants will do good to stay in the Champions League places.  AC Milan are the current leaders by 3 points and have a Galactico front line containing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pato and Robinho. I have doubts over the work rate of this forward line and the collective defensive unit of the team. Juventus meanwhile seem to be a more solid outfit and although they don’t have the superstar names up front are still the leading goalscorers in the league. If they can turn some of their draws into wins then they will go far and look a reasonable value choice to life the Scudetto.

Juventus to win Serie A @5.0

Spanish La Liga
I have not witnessed a better footballing side in the last 2 years than Barcelona and maybe ever. They are simply irresistible and even ‘The Special One’ will have his work cut out toppling the Catalans. The 5-0 humbling in El Clasico has done much to sway the title as traditionally the side who has come out of top in these encounters usually goes on to become champions. The current odds of 1.5 are quite short especially with only two points seperating the sides, but I fully expect the imperious Barcelona to be crowned champions once again.

German Bundesliga
Dortmund are flying. 10 points clear of the likes of Leverkusen and 14 points clear of Bayern Munich, should see them have enough points already in the bag to clinch the title. With the likes of Lucas Barrios, Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski firing in the goals this again comes with a no bet advice as it will take something quite catastrophic for Dortmund to throw away this lead and there is limited value in a bet of 1.3 currently being offered especially given how well the Germans travel on the road.

French Ligue 1
In France it’s as tight as it gets. 5 points seperates Lille in first place with Montpellier in 10th. Many tipsters including myself have been stung betting on French football this season so again I would strongly advise this as a no bet market. Like the Championship teams seem capable of beating anyone and there is no side with a strong home or strong away record. I’ve watched a few games of Lille’s this season and have been impressed with their attacking mentality with the likes of  Gervinho, Hazard and Sow. The 6-3 home win against Lorient has been the best game of the season, but this highlights their lack of defensive stability at the back. A better option would be Olympique Marseille. They’re tight and experienced at the back and at the centre of the park and if their strikers start hitting the back of the net more regularly might find themselves snatching Le Championnat and retaining their title.

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