Blogs & Opinion


Ed Chamberlin blogs on Bayern Munich, Gareth Bale's future and Telescope

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 23rd May 2013 view comments

What a sensational few days of sport we have ahead of us: the PGA Championship at Wentworth, second Test at Headingley, the Champions League Final, Froch v Kessler, Monaco Grand Prix, Scottish Cup Final and Championship Play-off Final - all live on Sky Sports.

It's a blockbuster Bank Holiday weekend. It's going to be a hectic few days at Sky Bet HQ too, as all of those are decent betting events.

The best of the lot could be the Champions League Final because the colour and noise Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are going to create at Wembley will be absolutely spectacular.

Schweinsteiger: part of the best engine room in football?

Schweinsteiger: part of the best engine room in football?

Sky Bet have Borussia Dortmund as the outsiders to win inside 90 minutes at 7/2 with the draw trading at 14/5 and Bayern odds on at 4/5.

Bayern are such a well-oiled machine with strength in every department. Their back five is immense and in Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger they have the best central midfield partnership in club football.

Bayern are such a well-oiled machine with strength in every department. Their back five is immense and in Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger they have the best central midfield partnership in club football.

Ed Chamberlin
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Ed is backing Magican in the Irish 2000 Guineas this weekend? Latest odds

To add to that organisation and efficiency, Bayern also have plenty of flair with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben and also keep an eye on how hard Jupp Heynckes has got them working for the team.

Dortmund are equally well drilled but could easily be run ragged on the big Wembley pitch. I agree with Graeme Souness when he says Bayern Munich are a side with no weakness and I think they are really hard to oppose even at 4/5.

Premier League

The final day of the Premier League season had none of the drama of 12 months ago but Gareth Bale's stunning strike at White Hart Lane got us out of our seats in the studio and ensured an incredibly tense four minutes at St James' Park.

Arsenal hung on to open the door to all the riches of the Champions League, while Spurs are stuck with Europa League football once again and all that that entails.

The one -point difference between the teams in the table will have a huge impact on the short and possibly long-term futures for both clubs. Another example of the fine margins at involved at the top level of the game.

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Tottenham will now find it hard to attract elite players to White Hart Lane and most importantly are 2/1 with Sky Bet to see Gareth Bale leave before August 31.

In contrast, Arsenal now have the platform to really kick on. It sounds as though the board and Arsene Wenger are preparing to have a real go this summer at attracting some of Europe's top talent to the Emirates.

The problem they, like everyone else, has is that the pool of that talent is not big. I thought Wenger was spot on when he said last week, "there's not as much talent as money today in football". There are plenty of wealthy clubs in the market for a small number of top-class players.

As Gary Neville said on Super Sunday, the clubs that do the best business will be the ones that move fast and early. We are set for a crazy summer in the transfer market and also in the search for new managers.

LMA Awards

Managers were to the fore when I hosted the LMA Awards at Billingsgate in central London on Monday evening.

David Moyes, Michael Laudrup, Chris Hughton, Steve McLaren, Paul Lambert, Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson were all there to present awards. Martin Allen won the League Two Manager of the Year Award and we had a chuckle on stage about the trip Gillingham made to Benidorm to celebrate winning the title. He described his relief at seeing the aeroplane had two wings and horror at the state of their two-star hotel.

Gary Johnson won the League One prize and was on a high after victory at Wembley the day before, while Championship winner Malky Mackay expressed his pride at taking Cardiff City to the Premier League after a 51 year wait.

However, it was Sir Alex Ferguson who took centre stage winning both the Premier League Manager and LMA Manager of the Year. Sir Alex joked how "at Sunderland last year we were champions for 10 seconds. 10 bloody seconds!"

I also put to him how management has changed over time and now on average a new manager in the game lasts less than a year in the job and 55% of first time managers never get another managerial role. I asked him what his advice to young managers would be now and Sir Alex replied praising the LMA for the role they play, whilst warning managers about the need to prepare for the job. He said "I'm dead against this fast tracking. Do your badges and earn you way to be a manager".

Racing

I also made the point that for 40 years journalists have been asking about his players' fitness, injury and team news but now the big question was whether the horse he part owns, Telescope, would run in the Derby.

He said he was off to see Telescope work the following morning but told me as he left the stage that the horse was "very good". However, Walter Smith had already warned the audience that Sir Alex was a terrible tipster!

Telescope then had a racecourse gallop at Lingfield on Wednesday, which left work watchers and bookmakers underwhelmed. Sky Bet pushed him out to 9/1 from 7/1 and the horse now faces a gallop on Saturday to determine whether he goes to Epsom. My principal concern was how he sweated up and refused to settle at Lingfield. He won't be able to do either on the big occasion next Saturday.

Meanwhile there's some great racing in England and Ireland this weekend. The horse I'm most interested in is Magician, who may well take his chance in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (9/2 with Sky Bet) on Saturday.

For me, he was the most impressive of all the Aidan O'Brien Derby trial winners when he bolted up at Chester in the Dee Stakes and I'm told he's been showing some serious speed in his work since then, hence the decision to drop back in trip and run at the Curragh.

I'm also going to have a small bet on Magician completing a quick fire double in the Derby. O'Brien often does the 1,000 Guineas/Oaks double with his fillies but not often the Colts' equivalent.

However, if Magician wins well on Saturday I could easily see him heading to Epsom (20/1) as he is bred for the job. The double is a tasty price!

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