When UEFA qualifying began for the 2018 World Cup it was a case of starting again for both France and the Netherlands. Didier Deschamps had to plot a course through a qualifying campaign having qualified automatically as hosts of the 2016 European Championships. Meanwhile, Danny Blind was tasked with taking the Netherlands to the World Cup after missing out on the Euros. However, yet more poor results saw him replaced by the experience Dick Advocaat who has a job on his hands to overhaul France and Sweden who are currently above them in Group A. With both famous footballing nations in danger of missing out on the World Cup, their match at the Stade de France could be pivotal in both their qualifying campaigns.
The York Ebor Festival comes to an end on Saturday and the pick of the final day’s action is the Ebor Handicap. A £280,000 prize purse has attracted some quality horses to compete in this well regarded handicap so let’s see if we can pick a winner.
The York Ebor Festival contains three Group 1 races and the last of them is the Nunthorpe Stakes. Run on the Friday of the festival, this is a bona fide sprint which you can’t take your eye off as it will be done and dusted within a minute.
Liverpool against Arsenal is one of those mouth-watering ties that Super Sunday was made for. West Brom against Stoke isn’t. But, after positive results last weekend, both teams will believe they can pick up the three points in front of the Sky cameras. West Brom fans were more than a little upset with their end to last season. After securing the magical 40 point park, they failed to win any of their last nine games meaning that Tony Pulis was in need of a strong start to the new campaign. Back to back 1-0 wins has done the business and the Baggies will fancy another win against Stoke. The Potters were poor against Everton first up but they looked much better with the introduction Jessé and managed to cling on for a 1-0 win over Arsenal.
Pep Guardiola didn’t pull any punches before Man City’s game with Everton on Monday night. He told the Sky cameras that his team simply have to improve at home if they are to have any chance of winning the Premier League title this season so he was understandably frustrated after drawing their opening game at the Etihad 1-1. In the cold light of day, Guardiola will be happy that his players were able to dig deep to come back from 1-0 down with 10 men and that frustration will be forgotten if they can beat Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon. The Cherries are pointless after their opening two games and have the devil’s own job to turn their form around against a team who have put six goals past them at the Vitality Stadium in the last two seasons.