While the top end of the Premier League seems to be stabilised, that is not at all the case and the bottom. While it seems very likely that QPR will face the drop, it is not at all certain which other clubs will be joining them. Anyway, in terms of betting opportunities there is plenty of action remaining as the relegation battles warm up.
Wigan’s manager Roberto Martinez is getting quite a reputation for battling his way out of relegation, and it is said that he has a calming influence on his players that stop them from panicking. This was demonstrated when they beat the other relegation contender Reading 3-0. Reading is still reeling from that defeat though according to its manager Brian McDermott it won’t faze them. Read more »
The Greek club Panathinaikos have brought in the services of the former Argentine striker Luciano Figueroa in the hope of improving its goal scoring record over the course of the season. Despite being considered as one of the top teams in Greece, Panathinaikos have struggled for form this season. As a result of the poor form, the club are currently eighth in the Greek table after having taken just 26 points from the 21 matches. Even more worrying for the club is the fact that they have managed to score just 22 goals in these matches.
The arrival of the 31-year-old Luciano Figueroa not only adds to the forward line up, but also provides some much-needed quality and experience as well. The Greek table is currently led by the Olympiakos, who have 54 points from the matches played so far. Figueroa has represented the Argentina national team in 15 matches. He has a decent goal scoring record in these matches as pointed out by his return of nine goals. However, his last appearance for the national team came in 2005. It has been revealed that the 31-year-old will be spending the rest of the season at Panathinaikos. He has included the option of an additional year in his contract, but it will depend upon his performances this season. The club has managed just one victory in the last five matches of all competitions.
They have also managed to score just four goals in these matches. As a result, there is incredible pressure on the manager Fabri Gonzalez. The club needs to find its form as quickly as possible because there are just six points above the relegation zone. Two clubs are relegated from the Greek top division at the end of the season. Olympiakos have a five-point advantage at the top of the table.
Greek football had another reason to cheer after the recent round of Champions League after the Greek team Olympiacos managed a stunning 2-1 victory over the Premier league club Arsenal. This victory means that the Premier league club Arsenal will not be able to finish top of the group. Arsene Wenger came into the match looking for a victory that will finally bring it into the poor run of form experienced by his team, but he was left disappointed once again after the team failed to win the match. This defeat means that they finished second in the group, which will mean that they will be facing a tough team in the knockout stages of the tournament.
Even more difficult to take for Arsene Wenger is the fact that the crucial second leg will be away from home in the last 16 stage of the competition. Olympiacos did not have the opportunity to progress to the next stage of the Champions League. However, this victory has significantly boosted their opportunities to play in the Europa league in the second half of the season. Arsenal were coming into the match on the back of the 2-0 defeat suffered at the hands of Swansea during the weekend. The manager made a number of changes to the team, which was forced upon him.
“For their first goal, it was a goal kick not a corner, simple as that. I don’t think it was the right decision, but we have to cope with it. After that they scored a good goal. We had a good first half but dropped physically in the second. Many of the players are not used to that level. We had two or three chances to score a second but after that we know we can be in trouble,” said the Arsenal manager.
The Europa League match played between Panathinaikos and Lazio at Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis on Thursday has ended in a draw. Both the teams scored one goal each.
This was the third match for Panathinaikos in the ongoing Europa League. The Panathinaikos team hasn’t managed to secure victory in any of those three matches. The team has lost one match, while, the remaining two matches have finished without any result. Panathinaikos currently has two points in 3 games.
This was the third Europa League game for Lazio as well. Lazio had won one out of its previous two games, while, the remaining one had finished without any result. Lazio currently has four points in 3 matches.
The match was played at the home ground of Panathinaikos and a large number of spectators turned up to enjoy the encounter. It turned out to be a fantastic football match.
Lazio got the lead in the 25th minute of the match courtesy of an own goal from Giourkas Seitraidis. Lazio maintained that lead till the 89th minute of the match. It seemed that the Panathinaikos team might have to suffer its second defeat in the tournament, but, that didn’t happen. The Panathinaikos players should be credited for showing tremendous composure towards the end of the match.
Panathinaikos managed to level the scores in the very last minute of the match with the goal of Toche. It was a great shot by the Spanish striker under pressure. Vitolo was the one who set up the goal for Toche.
In the post match press conference, the manager of Panathinaikos, Jesualdo Ferreira said, “The boys showed great character under pressure. We played wonderfully well in the last 15 minutes. Apart from that own goal, we didn’t make too many mistakes in the match and I think we deserved three points. But, that’s the way it goes. You don’t always get what you deserve. Overall, I am very happy with my team’s performance.”
The Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has said that complacency was not the problem in the recent Europa league match against Panathinaikos. The Premier league club were taking on the Greek club in the group stages of the Europa league looking to get their first win of the season. However, they were once again denied a chance to victory after they could only manage a 1-1 draw in the match. The Greek club was extremely organised in defence, while also being very penetrative in attack. This combination meant that Tottenham could not get past them despite having much better players in the form of Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale, and Aaron Lennon.
Panathinaikos are currently 12th in the Greek league and are not expected to finish in the European places this time around. However, they showed that they are looking to make the most out of the chance to compete in the European competition by playing well in the group stages and progressing to the next round. There are currently in a group containing the likes of Lazio and Tottenham, which makes it extremely difficult for them to think about the next round. Michael Dawson scored after just 35 min, but it took a goal from Toché to equalise the match in the 77 min.
“I don’t think we were complacent. We have to give credit to Panathinaikos; they pressed much more and started to gain belief from that, which led to the goal. I think the whole team felt a bit disappointed because the first half was so positive and we were in control of the situation. We were a bit sloppy in the second half. I understand the disappointment at not putting the game to bed,” said the Tottenham manager after the match. Tottenham will now focus on their attention in the Premier league.
Panathinaikos player Jean-Alain Boumsong has said that he has enough experience of playing in the Champions League to know the difficulty of overcoming a first leg defeat. Panathinaikos lost in the first leg of the Champions League qualifying rounds at the hands of the Spanish club Malaga 2-0. Only very few teams have managed to overcome a first leg defeat, which is the reason for Jean-Alain Boumsong’s pessimism ahead of the match. However, the player has said that he has utmost confidence in his team and that they will be able to overturn the deficit into a victory that will see the club into the group stages of the Champions League.
One of the main advantages of Panathinaikos in the efforts to overcome the deficit is the home support according to the defender. Due to the fact that Panathinaikos will be playing at home, the home support are really going to be up for the game despite the first leg defeat. Having the second leg at home has always been a huge advantage for teams in the Champions League. Due to his experience in this competition, Jean-Alain Boumsong knows that that tie could easily swing in favour of Panathinaikos.
“You saw the opportunities we had in the closing stages of the game. Those chances will act as a source of optimism for us on Tuesday. Let’s hope that we create more goalscoring moments at home, where we must also look to be more successful in executing our own game plan. We knew Málaga were going to try to make us run and to pull us out of position so I insisted on the fact that we had to be more aggressive,” said the defender ahead of the match. The 32-year-old is also one of the most experienced members of the squad.