United Set for Top Four Struggle

Most Manchester United supporters might have expected some teething problems following the departure of manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, but few would have thought their hopes of retaining their Premier League crown to be all but over in January.

Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes, has not been able to get the same performances out of the squad left to him by the knight of the realm and injuries to the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney of late have certainly not helped the former Everton manager’s cause.



Barcelona will lock horns with Atletico Madrid in a match that will decide who is going to be the leaders of La Liga. Both clubs are tied at the top of the Spanish league with 49 points and the only factor that is giving Barcelona a slight edge is their goal difference.

It will be a battle between the 2 clubs that have been performing the best in this season. Even with the absence of Lionel Messi for around 6 weeks, the side of Gerardo Martino has coped well as some other stars of the Catalan club have emerged most noticeable was Alexis Sanchez who scored 3 goals against Elche.



Tottenham Hotspur have made a good start to the Premier league season, but they have found it difficult to score goals even after spending a lot of money on attacking players like Roberto Soldado and Lamela.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas recently criticised the home fans for lacklustre atmosphere at the White Hart Lane for the recent home match against Hull. Tottenham were likely to come away from this match with a 1-0 win. They will be looking to improve on their performance when they take on Newcastle on Sunday.



Leeds United will be taking on Leicester City during the weekend in one of the crunch games of the Championship season. Both clubs are expected to be challengers for the promotion at the end of the season. Hence, this is an extremely important match in just the second weekend of the season.

Both teams come into the match on the back of a victory on the opening day of the campaign. Their victories were extremely similar because they were made to work hard by the opposition. They came back from behind to win the match. Leeds United took on Brighton and Hove Albion on the opening day.



Italy and Uruguay will certainly be disappointed about not making it to the final of the Confederations cup, but they have a chance to redeem themselves by managing to finish third in the competition when they meet each other ahead of the final.

The third place play-off match between the two teams is expected to be a very evenly contested match. Even though Uruguay were in a poor run of form coming into the tournament, they have gradually managed to establish themselves as one of the top teams. They have beaten by Brazil only by a late header, as they missed out on a place in the final.


Fulham will be hosting relegation threatened QPR at Craven cottage on Monday night. This will be one of the last chances for QPR to get out of the relegation zone.


Sponsored by Casinos?

For many years sports teams have been sponsored by large corporations whose brands have become household names, and to name just a few there are Nike, Adidas and Fosters.

In the past tobacco companies played a big role in sports sponsorship, though today that has been banned in much of the world. However, since tobacco sponsorship lost its grip, there has been a growing trend for the gambling industry to become involved in sports sponsorship, and it has generally been good for sport as a whole that today many sports teams are sponsored by casinos and online gambling companies.



The UEFA president Michel Platini has said that soccer betting and match fixing have emerged as major threats to the team in recent years.

There have been several incidents of racism and crowd violence affecting the image of the sport in recent years, but Platini thinks that match fixing and soccer betting have an even bigger role to play when it comes to damaging the image of the sport. He has said that football will be dead when people go into the match already knowing the result. Match fixing has become a major incident in areas like Italy.



Liverpool have been rated as high favourites to get the first victory of the New Year in the first match itself. Liverpool will be facing Sunderland in the first match of 2013, and they will be looking to continue where they left off in 2012.



Manchester United will be taking on West Ham at Old Trafford looking to maintain their position at the top of the table. The draw for Manchester City during the weekend meant that United went top of the table following their 3-1 victory over QPR.

It has been a great season for United in the attacking front, but not so great in terms of the defensive abilities. They have conceded a lot of goals this season, which is unlike United. However, they come into the match against West Ham looking to extend their advantage at a key stage of the season.