Huddersfield can click into gear this evening
Cesc Fabregas thinks Antonio Conte can revive Chelsea and help them challenge for the Premier League title next season. The Blues, who parted company with Jose Mourinho midway through the season, are currently ninth in the table with four games left to play and will almost certainly not be playing in Europe next term. It was announced earlier this month that the current Italy and former Juventus manager Conte will take charge of the Blues after this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament. “We must come back stronger. I hope that we can compete for the title in England next year,” said former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Fabregas. “Antonio Conte has proven that he can work successfully, especially at Juventus, where he had a strong time.” Chelsea are available at 14/1 with bet365 to beat Tottenham 2-0 on Monday and are 5/1 to win the 2016/17 Premier League title outright.
Riyad Mahrez has revealed that the Leicester City players did not think they had any chance of winning this season’s Premier League title until January. The 25-year-old Algeria international has scored 17 Premier League goals this season, including the opener in last weekend’s 4-0 victory against Swansea City. Leicester are seven points ahead of second-placed Tottenham and can clinch the title at Manchester United on Sunday. Mahrez said: “We do not have the best players, nor the biggest budget, but we have great solidarity. We have had a bit of luck too. It was this year or never. “Until January, we did not think of the title. It has become possible, but we will not let it go to our heads.” Leicester can be backed at 10/1 with bet365 to win 1-0 at Old Trafford, while Mahrez is 3/1 to score at any time in the match.
Soccer – Mahrez refuses to get carried away
Adam Milner knows that Castleford Tigers need to be more consistent and is a firm believer that a failure to produce a high-quality performance, regardless of the opposition, will result in defeat. Castleford were beaten at home by Hull KR last week, a team that had been knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Championship side Oldham earlier in the month. Milner is baffled by how topsy-turvy things have been so far this season, saying: “You look at Wakefield, who struggled last year, and this year they’re right behind us, while Leeds are struggling. “We need to be consistent. We need to play well week in, week out and that’s how you’re going to get to climb up that table.” Castleford will aim to bounce back when they welcome St Helens to the Mend-a-Hose Jungle on Sunday. The Tigers are 6/5 with bet365 to score the first try in the game and 7/4 to win the match.
Chunky odds-on to defeat Mexican challenger
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Unification bout awaits with James DeGale set to blow Medina away
Catalan giants willing to part with defender
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Man United handed huge boost in pursuit of Barca star
Day one of the Volvo China Open is done and dusted so Steve kicks off the blog with a look back at all the action. Read his opening in-running thoughts for the week here…
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The Punter’s In-Play Blog: Otto leads but the big names are lurking in China
Aaron Cresswell has been urged to stay at West Ham United by boss Slaven Bilic amid reports that Manchester City and Liverpool want to sign the former Ipswich Town defender. The 26-year-old has been a Hammers regular since joining the club in the summer of 2014 and still has six years left on his contract. Bilic said: “Aaron is having a great season and was Hammer of the Year last year. “He naturally became of interest to so many good clubs. But he is under contract and is really happy here and can’t wait for the future. Hopefully, he is going to stay with us for a long time.” On Saturday West Ham face West Brom at The Hawthorns and can be backed at 6/4 with bet365 to keep a clean sheet in the match and at 9/1 to beat the Baggies 2-0.
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Soccer – Bilic hopes content Cresswell stays
Ding Junhui says his confidence is flowing after reaching the World Championship semi-finals for the second time in his career. The Chinese destroyed two-time champion Mark Williams 13-3 to reach the last four, with the Welshman severely hampered by having to play with a new cue tip after his previous one split the night before the match. However, Ding, a semi-finalist in 2011 and 2/1 with bet365 to be crowned world champion, showed no mercy as he dismantled Williams with a session to spare and is enjoying the way he is playing at The Crucible in Sheffield this year. He told World Snooker: “I think I controlled the match, I took my chances to make breaks. I have confidence and every time I see a chance, I think I can go for it and make breaks. “Mark didn’t play the way he normally does – everyone finds it hard to play with a new tip. “I feel more relaxed now, in this match I released a lot of pressure – I went for crazy shots.”
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Snooker – Ding confident after Williams rout
Barry Hawkins was pleased that he was able to hold his nerve in the final frame as he secured a sensational 13-12 victory against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the World Championship. The world number 11 had lost his last nine matches against O’Sullivan in a sequence going back to 2002, including the Crucible final three years ago. The pressure was on Hawkins when O’Sullivan battled back from 12-9 down to take the match to a final frame. However, a break of 56 put Hawkins in control of the decider and O’Sullivan was unable to respond. Hawkins, 5/1 with bet365 to win the World Championship outright, takes on Marco Fu in the quarter-finals. Fu can be backed at 12/1 to win the tournament. Hawkins said after his victory: “I’m lost for words to be honest. It’s nice to finally beat him after 14 years, especially at this place over three sessions. “I thought it wasn’t going to be my day when he came back to 12-12. But the last frame suited me, it settled me down, having a safety exchange. I stayed patient and in the end I made a decent break.”
Snooker – Patient Hawkins stuns O’Sullivan