Life After Arsene Wenger: A Tough Act to Follow

Arsene Wenger out

Being at a single Premier League club for two decades is a remarkable achievement, but even that isn’t enough to stop some Arsenal fans complaining about Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman has transformed the London club from a defensively-minded outfit into a team that plays one-touch football with flair.

However, for all the success Wenger has brought to the club, he still has his detractors. A lack of action in the transfer market when it counts coupled with a lean spell in the Premier League and Europe over the last decade has hurt his credibility. But, even though his recent spell has been something of a disappointment, there’s no denying that his first ten years at Arsenal were impressive.

Time Will Force a Change of the Guard

With time waiting for no man, there will come a day (and possibly soon) when Wenger will wave goodbye to the Emirates Stadium faithful and sail off into the sunset. In fact, with Wenger’s clock starting to run low, the odds makers are already offering betting lines on his potential replacement. Sun Bets, the official bookmaker of football-mad newspaper The Sun, has already got in on the action.

According to its team of experts, Bournemouth manger Eddie Howe is currently the betting favourite to replace Wenger, at 5/2. Despite having only moved away from his position at Bournemouth for a year to coach Burnley, the weight of public opinion seems to suggest the 39-year-old is the man for the job at Arsenal. Of course, given Arsenal’s history of giving relative unknowns a chance, we could see a surprise appointment in the form of Thierry Henry. Currently priced at 10/1 behind Ralph Hasenhuttl (5/1) and Joachim Low (8/1), Henry could solidify his legendary status at the club by taking the current crop of stars to new heights.

Of course, whoever replaces Wenger will have a tough act to follow. Regardless of how you feel about his lack of signings or major trophies in recent years, the stats suggest that Wenger has been a proverbial talisman for Arsenal, and life after he leaves could be tough. OK, so in his first ten years at Arsenal, Wenger oversaw 566 games and won 327 of those. Those wins include the infamous unbeaten 2003/2004 season.

Trophies, Wins and a Whole Lot More

That first decade yielded 11 trophies, including three Premier League titles. Following this, decade two has seen the Frenchman take charge of 563 games (to the end of September) and win 320. Although trophies have been sparse in that period (four in total), he’s still well on the right side of the win/loss divide.

Beyond the cold hard facts, Wenger has also turned rough diamonds into international stars during his time at the club. Although he’s often failed to lure the “big names” to North London, Wenger has picked up the best unknown talent and rising stars and used them to good effect. Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie are just some of the players Wenger has brought in for a relative pittance.

Essentially, if anyone wants to follow in Wenger’s footsteps and keep pace with him, they need to be smart with the club’s budget, have a knack for finding hidden talent, and importantly, get the tactical best out of players. Wenger, for all his faults, is a managerial great. When history tells the story of the best Premier League managers of all time, there will be a chapter on Mr. Wenger. With this being the case, the next Arsenal manager will have to work extremely hard if he wants to avoid the post-Alex Ferguson slump Manchester United are currently experiencing.

So, whoever the next manager is, good luck to you sir, you’re going to need it.

AUTHOR BIO

Daniel Smyth is a freelance writer with interests in the sports and betting worlds. From football and boxing to poker and MMA, Daniel now produces articles for a range of games, sports and betting discplines.

 

Germany & Denmark get off to winning starts in World Cup qualifying

This week saw the start of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign across Europe, with four times winners Germany among those to claim an opening victory in their respective group. Bayern man Thomas Muller found the net twice for Joachim Low’s side during a comfortable 3-0 win over Norway, with fellow Group C contenders the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland playing out a goalless Prague.

As the reigning World Cup holders, Germany are unsurprisingly the Betser freebet to finish at the top of the group, securing an automatic passage to the finals in Russia, with Euro 2016 participants Northern Ireland hoping to earn a second successive spot at a major tournament. Elsewhere in the group, Azerbaijan claimed an opening victory over minnows San Marino, with Pierangelo Manzaroli’s men having lost 13-0 to Germany back in 2006.

Meanwhile, in Group E, Denmark narrowly saw off Armenia thanks to single goal from Tottenhams’s Christian Eriksen, while there was late drama in Kazakhstan. Despite holding a two goal half-time advantage, thanks to goals from Robert Lewandowski and Leicester City’s Bartosz Kapustka, Poland conceded two goals during the second period to allow the home side to claim a famous point. Elsewhere in the group, Romania and Montenegro both found the back of the net in the closing stages to secure what could be a valuable point. Former Manchester City man StevanJovetic cancelled out Adrian Popa’s striker, with NicolaeStanciu dramatically missing a penalty for the hosts in the seventh minute of added time. If the first round of fixtures is anything to go by, Group E looks set to be one of the most competitive in Europe.

Group F was certainly not short of drama also, with a 95th minute Adam Lallana goal ensuring that Sam Allardyce got his England tenor off to a winning start in Slovakia. It had looked like being a frustrating evening for England, despite former Liverpool man Martin Skrtel receiving a deserved red card in the second half, however Lallana scored his first goal at international level to secure all three points. England will certainly be favourites to qualify for the finals with Betser, with only Scotland likely to cause any real problems for the Three Lions.

Elsewhere in the group, Lithuania threw away a two goal lead against Slovenia, with former West Bromwich Albion loanee Bostjan Cesar equalising for the visitors in the final seconds. Gordon Strachan was delighted with his Scotland side’s performance against a potentially tricky Malta outfit, with Hull City’s Robert Snodgrass scoring a hat-trick in a comfortable 5-1 win. The home side finished the game with nine men following two second half sending’s off. Scotland will see this as a good opportunity to qualify for their first major tournament since the World Cup in 1998.

Premier League Weekend Preview

Leicester City Quiz

After a short international break, the Premier League returns this weekend with what should be a fascinating array of fixtures at both the top and bottom of the League. Let’s take a look at the games played this weekend, a crucial point in the season as the race to the top and bottom of the league starts to take shape. Although we will give you an insight into the upcoming games, be sure to check out what the professionals think over at SBAT, after all, we are just humble footie quiz enthusiasts.

Manchester United vs Arsenal

The weekend kicks off with a bang with a fixture that always throws up excitement. Arsenal have made the usual confident start to the season they tend to make, and there is a quiet confidence at the Emirates that this could well be the finest team they have assembled in years. The Special One however finds himself under pressure at Old Trafford and loosing to bitter rivals Arsenal will not do his cause any favours.

Prediction: 1-3

Crystal Palace vs Manchester City

Manchester City should find victory at Selhurst Park easy to come by as Palace’s shaky defence will surely not be able to withstand the powerful attacking might City will bring. Expect a convincing win for City as they keep on their push for title glory.

Prediction: 0 – 3

Everton vs Swansea

Both teams find themselves lower in the league then would like, and would be aiming to put together a winning streak over the festive period to kick start their route to the top. Swansea look on course for a long hard season, so parking the bus and aiming to frustrate Everton may be their aim, but the Toffees will be looking for  all 3 points.

Prediction: 1-0

Sunderland vs Hull

One of the most interesting games of the weekend takes place up at the Stadium of Light where David Moyes began to ease the pressure on himself with a victory over Bournemouth, but needs to follow it up with the first home win of the season to get the Mackem faithful back on his side. Hull will provide stiff opposition but the Roker Roar should guide the hosts home.

Prediction: 2-1

Southampton vs Liverpool

The Anfield faithful are once again proclaiming that this could be their year, and with Jurgen Klopp getting the best out of the whole squad so far, a title challenge does look likely. But as the result to Burnley showed, these type of fixtures prove tricky for teams in form and the Saints could well pull off the surprise of the weekend!

Prediction: 3-2

Watford vs Leicester City

Last season Leicester were the talk of the League every week as there seemingly impossible run continued week after week to become Premier League Champions. This year, their slide down the league into a potential relegation battle is as much of a talking point for casual fans, and Ranieri’s side may face further gloom this weekend with an inform Watford sensing blood.

Prediction: 1-0

Other games this also being playing this weekend –

Stoke City vs Bournemouth (Prediction 2-0)

Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United (Prediction 3-1)

Middlesbrough vs Chelsea (Prediction 0-2)

West Bromwich Albion vs Burnley (Prediction 0-0)

 

La Liga vs The Premier League

messi-v-carrick

La Liga vs The Premier League

Football fans, for whatever odd reason, endlessly debate which of the world leagues is the finest, which provides the best entertainment and which has the higher quality? Whilst there is no sure fire way to determine which league is the best, let us look at some of the deciding factor.

Where the big boys play? 

The best players in the world are undoubtedly in La Liga and for the foreseeable future that will remain the league that attracts the worlds best. When a star emerges, talk does not concern them heading to Chelsea or Arsenal these days but as to whether they will go to Real Madrid or Barcelona. It has been that way for some time! Think of who are generally considered the world best players during the past few years….Ronaldo, Zidane, Messi, Bale, Suarez, Neymar…..all ply their trade in Spain. That is not to say that the Premier League does not attract World Class players, as we all know it does, but the world’s elite still tend to drift over to Spain.

Unpredictably

This is one area in which the Premier League has the upper edge. Need I say more than two words… Leicester City. The 2015-2016 season will remain one of the biggest shocks in World Football when little known Leicester ascended to the top and stayed there all season. Challenger after Challenger fell and they crowned one of footballs biggest upsets with games to spare. Indeed, with Blackburn, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester all having won the title since the inception of the Premier League since 1992 and Liverpool and Spurs being perennial contenders, there is a much wider scope for unpredictability than occurs in La Liga where the dominance of the big two tends to make for fairly predictable fair.

Goals

The stats do not lie…the Premier League produces more goals on average per game than La Liga. This figure shoots up if you don’t include the Champions of each year (as Real and Barca tend to net big wins regularly). If you want to see Goals galore the Premier League is the place to be

Managerial Duels

Due to the more open nature of the Premier League and the money at hand, it is no wonder that some of the worlds top managers end up in England. Indeed, whilst it would be fair to say that the worlds best players are in La Liga, the finest managers on the planet are currently in the Premier League. Any football fan who would say a league in which Klopp, Mourinho, Conte, Koeman and Guardiola is secondary to anyone would have a hard argument. Have a look at the best predictions at betting tips 4you to see the best odds.

But it will always be each to their own, if you prefer technical and highly tactical football with the circus of the Galaticos and Barca coming to town, then the La Liga option is for you. If you prefer more raw, hard hitting and unpredictable football then tune in to the Premier League. Either way, we can all agree we are blessed to live in an era where quality leagues from top to bottom exist across the continent.

Early Contenders for Player of the Season

Player of Year

Player of the Season

The season is barely two months old, but as always, football fans look ahead to what is going to be the final table, the top scorers and perhaps the player of the season. Who has impressed you so far? Who look like they are going to be making a huge different for their team? Let us take a look at some of the early contenders.

Jordan Henderson

Liverpool under Klopp already look like a menacing force and sitting in the engine room of the team is English Captain Jordan Henderson. With a pacey determined play, sharp passing and an eye for goal, Henderson has been at the heart of Liverprool’s impressive start to the season. A couple more strikes like the wonder goal he hit against Chelsea and his name surely will not be far off the end of season lists.

Diego Costa

Chelsea have proven they are back with a bang, and finally have found a manager to tame Diego Costa. With less rash moments and a raft of goals already, if Costa fires Chelsea to the top of the table and to silver ware, he may be wearing crowns of his own by the end of the season!

Romelu Lukaku

If goals are going to win any player the Player of the Season award then the big Belgian at Goodison Park cannot be overlooked. Not only have the goals flowed but Lukaku finally looks motivated and has been central to the attacking force of a team that Ronald Koeman has crafted into a unit that could challenge the top 4.

Paul Pobga

No player can ever live up the Price tag attached to him, but Pogba has started to find his feet now the initial pressure and learning curve has gone. Mourinho is still tweaking at United to find the balance but when he does, United will soar and driven by the worlds most expensive player, he could be the one to turn United into title contenders once again.

Theo Walcott

Season after season Walcott has promised and failed to deliver what is expected but this year, in an Arsenal side that looks more dangerous than in recent memory, he is proving a vital link, not only with his soaring runs down the wings and terrorising defenders, but with his range of goals. If Arsenal do go on to win the title Walcott is going to play as a big a part as any and he must be considered an early contender for player of the season.

More will spring up between now and then…David De Gea has already shone, Eric Bailly at United is one of the finest defenders to come to the league in recent memory, James Milner is settled and running the show at Anfield, Harry Kane is going from strength to strength to strength at Spurs and lets not forget the likes of Sergio Ageuro, the form of whom could tilt the balance of the season. Who will win, who knows but you can check out betbind for great football odds.

Who knows where the Player of the Season trophy will end up when the season draws to a close, but I for one cannot wait to find out!

 

 

Chelsea’s 2017 Summer Signings Rated

Following their procession to the Premier League title last season, many felt that Chelsea had one of the strongest squads in the division. By all accounts, Antonio Conte had devised a winning formula and the Blues appeared to have strength in depth all over the pitch.

The 2017 summer transfer window, however, proved problematic for the Blues, with Nemanja Matic departing for Manchester United and Diego Costa falling out of favour and manufacturing his desired move back to Atletico Madrid.

Despite missing out on primary target and former striker Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea still parted with over £170 million during the offseason.

It’s still very early days, but here are the six first-team summer signings ranked this term by Blues blog Chelsea FC Online:

6. Danny Drinkwater – £34m from Leicester City

The three-time capped England midfielder is ranked in sixth place purely due to the fact he is yet to feature for the Blues this season. The England international has been acquired from Leicester in an attempt to rekindle his potent partnership with N’Golo Kante in central midfield, and only time will tell if moving to Stamford Bridge was the correct move for him and the Blues.

5. Willy Caballero – Free Transfer from Manchester City

The Argentinian shot-stopper was brought in to provide cover to Thibaut Courtois following the departure of Asmir Begovic to Bournemouth. In his only appearance, against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, he looked assured and is a logical backup to the Belgian number one, who will be able to impart some of his knowledge and experience.

4. Davide Zappacosta – £22.5m from Torino

The Italian right wing-back looks a tailor-made fit for Conte’s 3-4-3 system. His energy up and down the field is essential and he looks very comfortable in forward areas – scoring a goal against FK Qarabag on his home debut. Victor Moses currently occupies the RWB slot but Conte will be delighted to be able to rotate in his back line should he wish to do so.

3. Tiemoue Bakayoko – £36m from Monaco

As an integral part of Monaco’s success last season, much had been made of Bakayoko’s move to West London and the imposing Frenchman has delivered. With time on his side (aged 23), he looks to have all the attributes of a top midfield player and looks well set to fill the void left by Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park.

2. Antonio Rudiger – £31m from Roma

The German centre-back has thoroughly impressed since his arrival from Roma and has looked composed in his seven appearances in all competitions so far. The emergence of Andreas Christensen, as well as the arrival of Rudiger, has given Conte food for thought in the centre of defence, with David Luiz and Gary Cahill’s places in the team under threat.

1. Alvaro Morata – £56m from Real Madrid

The Spanish hitman has instantly delivered on his large price tag by bagging seven goals already this term. Conte will be delighted with how his marquee summer signing has performed and his recent injury will be a big blow to the Blues in the short term. On his return, he will be looking to continue his strong start and fire his team back up the league, keeping them in contention for trophies on four fronts.

 

Man City Destined For Glory – Bet On It!

Man City Quiz

Man City Destined For Glory – Bet On It!

We are only a month into the 2016-17 Premier League season and have already seen some fantastic matches. The league table is starting to take shape and it looks like Manchester City is the team to beat. Can anyone stop Manchester City from winning their third Premier League title in six season?

Let’s take a look at the frontrunners for the Premier League title, while dissecting the performances of a few teams we believe, based on the opening handful of matches, will be entrenched in the unenviable relegation battle.

Manchester City: -145 (7/10) to win the Premier League

Man City Quiz

Have you watched any of Manchester City’s games this season? They are a phenomenal team, right? While it is true that City have had an easier start to their campaign, take nothing away from their five wins from five games, in which they’ve scored 15 goals while only conceding four.

Man City’s 66-point haul from the 2015-16 campaign was their lowest since the 2008-09 season, which ultimately cost Manuel Pellegrini his job as manager. Pep Guardiola was appointed as City’s manager and the Spaniard has visibly reignited the passion that was missing from City last season.

Sergio Aguero looks like he’s in the form of his life, while Guardiola heaps praise on Kevin De Bruyne, claiming only the great Lionel Messi is currently better than his young Belgian star. We can see why he’s touted so highly.

City are odds-on favourites to win the league this season, and we think it goes without saying that whoever finishes above them will be crowned 2016-17 Premier League champions. That’s doesn’t look like happening, though.

Prediction: Champions

Liverpool: +550 (11/2) to win the Premier League

LFc Quiz

Liverpool has won English football’s top-flight title 18 times in its history, but you’ll need to peer all the way back to the 1989-90 season to find when that last occurred, which is far too long for a club the size and stature of Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp has injected the team with confidence, belief and a childlike sense of exuberance and, at times at least, look like they could be genuine title contenders. Liverpool were awesome going forward when they beat Arsenal 4-3 on the road and scintillating in the 4-1 demolishing of defending champions Leicester in front of 53,075 fans — Liverpool’s highest attendance since 1977. Oh, and let’s not forget about Liverpool’s last performance, a 2-1 away win at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool, with a few more additions including a direly needed left back, will be set to challenge for the title. Unfortunately, they’re not quite there yet. Not playing in Europe is going to help keep Klopp’s squad fit, but we can’t see them, or anyone for that matter, pipping City at the top. It’s an exciting time for Liverpool fans, though. Look out for Liverpool in the F.A. Cup.

Prediction: Top four and a Champions League place

Manchester United: +1200 (12/1) to win the Premier League

MUFC

What a difference a week makes. Manchester United were, with odds of around +500, second favourites for the Premier League title last week. But after being outclassed at home to Manchester City and losing to Feyenoord in the Europa League, followed by a dismal 3-1 away defeat at the hands of Watford, United’s odds have drifted to +1200.

Self-proclaimed “Special One” Jose Mourinho has now lost a staggering 14 of his last 32 games; it previously took 105 games for Mourinho to lose as many games, a quite telling statistic.

The odds of a United title have drifted so wildly in the last week, but we have to remember that only a month of the season has transpired so the +1200 odds still represents decent value. Mourinho, though, has to fix whatever is wrong at Old Trafford very quickly.

With so much talent in the Man United squad, and the board’s willingness to support Mourinho in the transfer market, we think this latest blip in form is exactly that, a blip. Manchester United will qualify for the Champions League this season but fall short of their title aspirations.

Prediction: Top four finish and a Champions League place

footy

Relegation Predictions:

At the other end of the table, the bookmakers have Burnley as hot favourites (-137 or 8/11) to be relegated back to The Championship. Burnley has absolutely no attacking threat, which is cause for grave concern.

Sunderland already look doomed. They can’t rely on Jermain Defoe to score all their goals and don’t have a strong enough defense to keep enough clean sheets. David Moyes has an extremely difficult task on his hands to keep the Black Cats in the top flight.

Finally, keep an eye on Stoke City, currently +200 (3/1) to be relegated after their dreadful start to the campaign. Mark Hughes guided Stoke to a respectable ninth place last season, but they only have one point this season and have already conceded a staggering 14 goals.

They should have enough talent to stay up, but if the slump continues and Hughes loses his job, Stoke could find themselves in a real relegation scrap.

Prediction: Burnley, Sunderland & West Brom Relegated

The Title Race

EPL

The Title Race

The Premiership season is now in full swing and heavyweights Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea have all got off to a flying start, making them the three favourites to lift the famous trophy in May. The betting odds on all three have drifted in after each won both their opening games, while the odds on rivals like Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Leicester have grown longer after less assured starts.

The 2016/17 season promised to showcase the most open and fascinating title in recent memory. Last season’s top three – surprise champions Leicester, Arsenal and Tottenham – were set to challenge once more. Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea had all slipped down the table and invested heavily in highly coveted new managers and some of the best players from across Europe, while Liverpool were tipped as a force under Jurgen Klopp and the likes of West Ham were even seen as being in with a chance.

That fabulous open race with eight teams vying for the title might still happen. But the early signs are ominous for all but City, Utd and Chelsea. Arsenal started as third favourites at 6/1 in the betting odds behind Man City and Man Utd. But a disastrous transfer window followed by a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Liverpool and a 0-0 draw with Leicester has seen them five points off the pace and drift out to 11/1 fourth favourites. Liverpool followed up that win with a miserable defeat by newly promoted Burnley and are 12/1 themselves. Tottenham have taken four points from their first two games, but they are out at 14/1 having not spent a great deal of money themselves in the summer.

Last season Leicester were 5000/1 to win the league but they pulled off a miracle and bet their big-spending rivals to the title. Nobody expected them to repeat the feat, especially after losing N’Golo Kante to Chelsea and having to cope with the added pressures of playing Champions League football. They started the season with odds of 33/1 and a crushing opening day defeat at the hands of crisis club Hull and that 0-0 bore draw with Arsenal has seen them drift out to 66/1 with Bet365, Sky Bet and various other bookmakers.

While it is early days it seems like those teams may find themselves vying for fourth place if Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea keep up the good work. City have been a revelation under Pep Guardiola, who has won six titles in seven seasons with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Striker Sergio Aguero is in red hot form – and a good bet at 5/2 with 888 Sport for the Golden Boot if he can stay fit – and the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva seem to enjoy playing Guardiola’s brand of possession football. They started the season with betting odds of 5/2 and were favourites to win it, despite only finishing fourth last season, and that is a reflection of the esteem in which Guardiola is held among the footballing community. They have since gone into 7/4 with Betfred, Bet Victor and Paddy Power after winning both their opening games and steam rollering Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League.

The betting odds on them would probably be even shorter were it not for the resurgence taking place at local rivals Man Utd. In Jose Mourinho they have another born winner with a fantastic track record, and they have broken the world record transfer fee to sign Paul Pogba for their midfield, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a force to be reckoned with up front and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be a much needed source of creativity. They have gone in to 9/4 with some bookmakers, but you can still get 3/1 at Betway.

Finally Chelsea, who have also started with a 100% record, although they have looked the least comfortable in doing so as they have twice had to rely on last ditch Diego Costa strikes to win 2-1 at the death, and many have suggested he shouldn’t have even been on the pitch to score their last winner due to his persistent fouling. They are now 11/2 and third favourites in the betting odds chart, and of the three they look the one most likely to be sucked back into the battle with Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool et al.

It should still prove to be a thrilling battle, but right now it is hard to look past City and Utd, and if pushed you would have to say City have enough about them to finish top of the pile come May.

 

 

Who will win this years EPL?

EPL Quiz

After arguably one of the most unpredictable seasons in the history of top flight football in England, can the 2016/2017 season live up to expectations? Will the big four return to dominance? Can Leicester challenger for the title? Let’s have a look at 10 key talking points for the 2016/2017 Premier League Season….

  1. The Jose factor – With Jose Mourinho at the helm, the optimism of the Manchester fans has rightly increased the fever pitch. With established new faces on the playing surface and a potential game changer in Paul Pogba, the Moyes/Van Gaal era looks to be a distant memory. Mourinho has a proven track record of producing trophies in his first season in charge and a newly motivated manager, a resurgent Old Trafford crowd and an inspired team will strike fear into fellow contendors.
  1. Leicester City – Despite retaining Jamie Vardy, against many expectations, Leicester continue to lose vital elements from the team that shocked the football world last season. Can they cope without the likes of Kante? Can they re-ignite the team morale that resulted in the greatest upset in Premier League history? With the exodus of players and the failure to attract suitable replacements, it could be a long season for Leicester….but we all wrote them off last year and look what happened!
  1. Return of Moyes – Sunderland fans had high hopes after another great escape last season under Sam Allardyce. Failure at Euro 2016 resulted in those hopes fading as Sunderland parted ways with yet another manager. The mood on Wearside improved when David Moyes was appointed, and given his success with Everton, comparable in scale and ambition to Sunderland, a motivated David Moyes, seeking to right the wrongs he endured at Old Trafford, may enable Sunderland to be a surprise package of the season!
  1. Excitement at Emirates – Every season seems to bring pressure on Wenger. A sweepstake on when the first “Wenger out” sign will appear in the stand at the Emirates would breed an inevitable winner at Xmas time when the positive start has flopped. Missing transfer targets, apathy amongst the squad and a manager at the end of his teather….this could be a season where Arsenal finally drop out of the top four!
  1. Guardiola – Controversially appointed in the middle of last season, the expectation from what Pep Guardiola can achieve when he arrives at Manchester City has been building. Arguably the strongest squad in the league, if not Europe, the one thing City have always lacked is an overall focus and drive. That lack of team work has cost them dearly in the past but Pep might just the man to turn the team of individual talent into a dominant unit!
  1. Conte and Chelsea – During Euro 2016, the passion of Conte excited Chelsea fans, some of whom had an air of doubt about the Italian’s appointment. Indeed, with only two signings with only a week to go before the start of the season, there is cause for concern. Those signings are big name, proven quality players in Kante and Batshuayi, but still there is cause for concern as the squad that failed so memorably last year is still largely in tact. But if Conte and get the likes of Eden Hazard back on form, they could rise back to the cream of the crop.
  1. Spurs Surge – The achievements of Spurs was largely overlooked last year as Leicester sold headlines but Spurs rose to their bets ever finish and their first real title challenge in the Premier League era. The team has grown and developed sine and who knows what they can look to gain this year.
  1. Return of the Reds – Since the infamous slip incident that cost Liverpool their first Premier League title, Liverpool fans have suffered a rollercoaster of emotions. The pain from Basel last year still lives long, but after a full summer of rebuilding Jurgen Klopp has been quietly building a team that are difficult to beat and can score against any side. No team will look forward to visiting Anfield this season and a Champions League spot is well within reach!
  1. Down at the Riverside – Casual football fan have a soft spot in their hearts for Middlesbrough, fondly remembering the days of Juninho, Ravenelli and Emerson. But the team crashed and burned and have struggled to reach the summit of English football in recent years, finally putting everything together last year Re-enforcing his Championship winning squad with experience from abroad gives Middlesbrough a real chance at comfortable survival, and there should be some memorable nights at the Riverside.
  1. Who will be the surprise package? – It will take some doing to outdo the achievements of Leicester last season but who will shock the nation this year. Can Sunderland under David Moyes get back into the top 10? Will West Ham crown their move to a new home with a storming run? With Southampton loosing players and West Brom failing to improve, will there be a shock “Newcastle-style” relegation?

Whatever happens, strap in because we are on for another rollercoaster ride!

And for what it is worth here are our football tips today, The 2016/2017 season –

  1. Manchester City
  2. Manchester United
  3. Arsenal
  4. Chelsea
  5. Spurs
  6. Liverpool
  7. West Ham
  8. Everton
  9. Leicester
  10. Sunderland
  11. Southampton
  12. Stoke
  13. Swansea
  14. Crystal Palace
  15. Middlesborough
  16. Watford
  17. Hull City
  18. Bournemouth
  19. Burnley
  20. West Brom

Which EPL player can make a name for himself in France?

Euro 2016

The English Premier league may have come to a close with Leicester winning the title, and a major win for an anonymous better, but there won’t be a summer break for a good chunk of its players.

The EPL has a massive presence in the upcoming Euro 2016 in France. To be exact, 105 Premier League players will be attending this summer’s tournament. To put it into perspective against top European leagues, the Bundesliga has 61, Seria A has 51, La Liga has 35 and Ligue 1 has 21.

Surprisingly enough, Liverpool are the ones with the highest presence at the competition with 12 players. They are followed by Tottenham (11), Manchester United (10) and Arsenal (8).

A major portion of these players are already known well-enough for their abilities, else they wouldn’t be much of a consideration to join their nations at the Euro. Of course, success doesn’t have a ceiling, and most of them could reinforce their place in the football world, or even better – etch their names in the football hall of fame.

This is the major event for the English Bookmakers, especially with an promising English team this year. This year they did not only build their main odds around the games, but also invented a special football slot for the breaks in between.

We’ve taken a look at EPL’s most promising talent, and singled out a few key individuals that may hit the spotlight in France.

Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy – England’s prominent attacking duo

2015/16 was Leicester’s season, but for that reason Tottenham’s remarkable run was heavily overshadowed. A team that usually struggles for top four were now legitimate title contenders, up until that bittersweet end.

Kane was Tottenham’s main star, he topped the EPL goal scoring chart by hitting the net 25 times, one more than Aguero and Vardy.

He has made appearances for England’s U21 sides prior to 2015, scoring a few goals here and there. In 2015, however, he was called up to England’s senior squad. He made his debut against Lithuania during qualification, scoring in under two minutes after he was subbed in.

The story wrote itself throughout the season, and Hodgson didn’t have to overthink whether he should call him up as a striker in France. This promising 22-year-old is not only a present time threat, but a valuable asset to England’s future.

Vardy’s story is a bit different, and it’s nothing short of spectacular. It’s so rarely that a player hits his prime at this age, but this 29-year-old’s stunning campaign only began this season. He broke Van Nistelrooy’s record by scoring in 11 consecutive matches in the Premier League. In total this season, he scored 24 goals, a number which could’ve been greater if it wasn’t for his late season injury.

Vardy’s international debut ensued in 2015 against Ireland, but his first goal was on 26 March 2016 against Germany, and what a goal it was. A wonderful back heel shot that left fans in awe. Vardy scored again not long thereafter against The Netherlands, a match which England ultimately lost 1:2.

Kane and Vardy are a big part of the reason England is finally being considered a legitimate contender to take the Euro title. They add a new dimension to their attack, and we’ll certainly expect plenty of goals between the two of them.

Dimitri Payet – France, West Ham

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet wasn’t much of a consideration for the French squad when the 2015/16 season began. However, his excellent performance for his club throughout the season had him beeping on Deschamps’ radar.

This attacking midfielder’s international debut was back in 2010, when France was under Laurent Blanc. He’s been on and off for his national side since then, never impressing too much.

After he was recalled in March of 2016 to play vs Russia and The Netherlands, he exhibited two remarkable performances, which led to heaps of praise from Deschamps and fans alike.

Payet is swift, technically gifted and a dangerous dribbler. He not only scores goals, but creates them as well. Whenever France is playing, his presence on the pitch is very noticeable.

If Payet’s impressive run of form continues in Euro 2016, we’re all but doubtful that he’ll hit the spotlight when it matters most. Undoubtedly, he has the potential to play a big part in any potential French success at the competition. Then, his name will truly be heard.

Kevin de Bruyne – Belgium, Manchester City

This Belgian and Man City playmaker has been slowly making waves in the football world. The remarkable vision and influence on the field this 24-year-old possesses make him a valuable asset to any squad.

Already he’s earning heaps of praise from teammates and football fans. His performance on a club and international level has been astute, despite a mid-season injury in January.

It’s no secret that he’s a no brainer for Belgium’s squad in France. In fact, we’re certain he’ll be featured in the starting lineup alongside Hazard and Lukaku as an attacking-minded force.

His international debut was back in 2010, and so far he’s earned 39 caps and 13 goals for his nation. Belgium is a strong contender for top four at this summer’s tournament, but many also consider this talented nation to win the title itself.

Whatever happens in France, de Bruyne will be instrumental to Belgium’s success.

 

 

Atletico out for revenge in Champions League Madrid reunion

UCL

Atletico out for revenge in Champions League Madrid reunion In a repeat of the Champions League 2014, Real Madrid will face city neighbours Atletico in this year’s final.

Any game of this magnitude is guaranteed to offer up a vast range of betting offers and any nuggets of information can be useful when it comes to deciding how to use any that might come your way in the run- up to the big game on Saturday 28th May.

In addition to checking out any pre-match previews you can lay your hands on for football tips as to team news, injuries, tactics and statistics, a brush-up on some of the FootieQuiz trivia questions on the Champions League, La Liga and the two finalists themselves could also provide some invaluable insight and background.

Two years ago Real Madrid secured their Champions League decima with an extra-time 4-1 victory in the Estadio da Luz, Lisbon.  That scoreline really didn’t do Atletico Madrid justice, with Sergio Ramos only equalizing for Real deep into stoppage-time before three goals in the second period of extra-time put a hugely flattering gloss on the final score for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Atletico have been making amends ever since.  The teams have met on 10 occasions in all competitions since the 2014 final, with Los Blancos winning just once and, for all their attacking prowess, the have mustered just six goals in those games.  By contrast, the Rojiblancos have won five of those matches and certainly won’t go into this year’s final suffering from any inferiority complex.

Nobody could argue that Atleti don’t deserve their place in Milan either, with them having accounted for the two pre-tournament favourites – Barcelona and Bayern Munich – at the quarter and semi-final stage respectively.  Indeed, should they see off their city neighbours, there would be a definite argument for Atletico having overcome the most testing draw in history to secure the top prize in club football.

Then there’s the Atletico defensive record.  The one thing that you can guarantee from a Diego Simeone team is that they will be organised and difficult to breakdown.  This season’s 35 clean sheets in 56 matches in all competitions is a remarkable achievement.  It’s also worth noting that nobody has beaten Atleti by more than a one-goal margin since Celta Vigo on 15th February 2015.  The 2016 Champions League final is destined to be tight.

There are a variety of ways to stay onside with Atletico for the final. For 90-minute bets, there’s Atletico +0.25 on the Asian Handicap (in the event of a draw, half your stake would be matched at the winning price and the remaining half would be returned to your account) at 5/6 with Bet365,  the 2/1 with William Hill on Real Madrid not to score or the 0-0 correct score is 7/1 with BetVictor.  Taking any potential extra- time and penalties into account, Atletico Madrid to win the trophy is 11/10 (2.10) with Paddy Power.

 

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Tottenham contingent to spearhead England challenge this summer

The emergence of Dele Alli this season has been a real positive for both club and country.The former MK Dons man has enjoyed a stellar first season in the Premier League and having made his international debut back in November, is now one of the first names on the team sheet as England look to claim glory in this summer’s European Championships. Along with his Tottenham team mates Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, the England team could have a very familiar look to it in France.

Sitting at the top of the Premier League goal scoring charts, Harry Kane has been in prolific form in recent months, leading to many suggesting that he should be a shoe in for a starting position in Roy Hodgson’s starting eleven. With Kane competing for an attacking birth with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy, a continuation of his form from now and the end of the season could all but guarantee a start in Engand’s opening fixture against Russia. Indeed bookmakers Coral make the Spurs front man 1/12 on to do so.

Having spent his youth developing his talents at the Sporting Lisbon academy in Portugal, Eric Dier made himself a crucial part of Tottenham’s success since his arrival in London. Recent performances in the heart of midfield for the Three Lions, including a winning goal in Berlin, now look likely to ensure Dier earns a place in the starting eleven for England. His rise to fame has been long predicted, with many clubs fighting for his services upon his return to England. Another player who has seen his club form turn into international recognition is Danny Rose. The left back made his debut in the recent victory over Germany and having been criticised earlier on in his career, is now fighting back with his performances at the highest level. Perhaps still finding himself down in the pecking order for England, Rose still faces a fight to make the final squad for Euro 2016.

Tottenham’s England contingent are certainly proving that you do not need to spend mega bucks on foreign imports, with many of them having risen to fame at lower league clubs. It remains to be seen just how far they can take England this summer. With the fact that one shock win can upset the Euro 2016 odds, England will be looking to make a fast start in their opening fixture against Russia. Coral make Hodgson’s men the 9/1 fourth favourites to claim glory in France.

Tottenham meanwhile face off against Liverpool this weekend as they look to close the gap on Premier League leaders Leicester City.

Alternative National Leagues Worth your Time

Barclays Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, the Bundesliga and Serie A in Italy. When it comes to national leagues, the big four dominate in terms of attendance figures, TV revenue, column inches and champions league success. In terms of people through the turnstiles, the Premier League comes out on top with 13,746,753 tickets in the 2014-15 season, followed by the Bundesliga (13,321,531), La Liga (10,161,726) and Serie A (8,440,903). The Championship in England actually has higher figures than the Italian top league: last season, a total of 9,771,471 fans watched their team trying to make it to the top table of English and global football, all according to ESPN FC statistics.

Still, there is a world outside of these leagues. Though there is no doubt that some of the world’s best players ply their trade for clubs in them, there are definitely real and compelling arguments for focusing your attention on other, often ignored leagues.

What’s in it for me?

We should never need an excuse to learn more about the beautiful game, but why should we divert our attention away from those leagues we know and love?

This year’s EPL aside, it is often the case that in August you can make a pretty good guess who will be sat pretty in the top slots of the league next May. The bigger the leagues, the more money there is, and the more that money tends to get concentrated in a small handful of clubs. As a rule of thumb, that cycle is harder and harder to break. In most other leagues that is not so much the case. The difference in spending power between the top and bottom clubs is often not as pronounced, leading to a less static state of affairs – more unpredictability and thus more excitement.

Increasing your knowledge of a league or leagues is fantastic when it comes to niche knowledge regarding players or clubs. You will be able to astound friends, colleagues and quizmaster alike with your encyclopaedic knowledge of the Belgian 3rd division. Plus, every team from the big four leagues is looking to bring in the stars from the other leagues across Europe and beyond. So when everyone else is scratching their heads at Chelsea’s new “next big thing”, you’ll be able to speak with authority about his attacking prowess but unwillingness to track back.

Also, Why limit yourself to betting on the couple of leagues you currently follow? By spreading your net across multiple countries and leagues you will be giving yourself a hell of a better chance of being able to fill your weekly accumulator with games you are actually confident about.

A total of 61 different leagues provided players for the 2014 world cup in Brazil. Of the 736 players representing their countries, 321 (43%) of those came from the top 4 leagues. That leaves 415 players who earn their corn in the world’s other leagues. What may come as a surprise is that if we only choose those players still around in the semi-finals the stats aren’t that much different, with 41 (45%) of the 92 remaining players coming from so-called lesser leagues. With the Euro ‘16 just around the corner, it is a good time to expand your knowledge to some of the other players who will be looking to shine at the second most prestigious tournament on the planet. Once again, it will only help you when it comes to placing that accumulator.

So with all those leagues out there, which ones are worth checking out?

Brasileirão – Brazil

It is hard to ignore Brazil when it comes to football conversations. The Brasileirão, or officially the Brasileirão Chevrolet, due to the American car giant’s recent sponsorship deal, is not as well-known as you would think based on the impact their international team and players have had on the game. However, the Brazilian domestic league is where all the great Brazilian players of the past have started, and clubs such as Corinthians, Flamengo and Vasco da Gama have as rich a tradition as their more familiar European counterparts. Half the fun of watching the Brasileirão is spotting the next players likely to make the move to Europe, while you are also likely to come across some of the most audacious tricks and goals you will ever witness.

Ligue 1 – France

The French top league has always been the “nearly” man of the Old Continent. Clubs like Monaco and Marseille have had success on the European stage, but they haven’t been able to maintain it for sustained periods of time. The league was more famed for its exports than for those stars joining from abroad. The rise of Paris Saint Germain – or perhaps the rise of PSG’s budget – has changed that. One of the, if not the richest clubs in the world (depending on what criteria you use), PSG are now recognized as one of the very real contenders for Champions League glory. They also have one of the world’s most genuine superstars in Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Even before we came to know Thierry Henry, there was a tradition of exciting French players lighting up the Premier league. Several more players have been touted as making a move across the channel in the summer. Top of many people’s list is Brazilian centre back Marquinhos, currently winning plaudits – and headers and challengers – at PSG.

Primeira Liga – Portugal

Ronaldowww.joe.co.uk

José Mourinho and Ronaldo are the two most famous things about Portugal at the moment, never mind Portuguese football.  But the Primeira Liga has a fine tradition, and 5th in the UEFA coefficient rankings. Sporting, Benfica and Porto are three of the greats of European football of the last 60 years. Benfica achieved back-to-back European Cup success in 1960 – ‘61 and ’61 – ’62. Sporting won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963 – ’64 while Porto have 2 UEFA/Europa League titles and 2 European Cup/Champions League trophies, most famously in 2003-4 under Mourinho.

Eredivisie – Holland

Ajax
05-05-2013 Ajax – Willem II in De ArenA. www.gxsoftware.com

Naming the Dutch league is a decent quiz question in itself. Given the history of Dutch football and its celebrated clubs and players, it is surprising that the Eredivisie (literally “the honour league”) formed in 1956, is not more famous. Though the cream of the Dutch talent do tend to leave for more profitable pastures, it is still a very competitive league and Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord can hold their heads up in any company when it comes to tradition and honours won. Since 1970, when Dutch football really burst onto the club and international scene forcing people to sit up and take note of this wonderful new style of playing the game, clubs from the Eredivisie have won no less than 16 European competitions. Other European leagues boast many players and managers who originally plied their trade in the Netherlands, but there is still a lot of talent in this league. At the semi-final stage of the 2014 world cup, no less than 10 players came from the Dutch league.

Whatever your reason for doing it, there isn’t a downside to be found in expanding your football knowledge. With today’s multiple sport channels plus internet streaming, it is possible to watch live games from everywhere in the world, and even partake in some in-play betting. By choosing leagues from different countries, and different time zones, it also means that you are one step closer to every fan’s dream – round the clock live football. I rest my case.

 

Will Leicester City finish in the top four this season?

Leicester City Quiz

After 23 games, Leicester City have a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. The Foxes have been superb throughout the first half of the campaign and stand a genuine chance of finishing in the top four at the very least this season.

Since taking over at the club, Claudio Ranieri has transformed this Leicester side from relegation candidates to title contenders. Here’s why Leicester WILL finish in the top four this season. Ultimately, they are fresher than their top four rivals. Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool have all been involved in European competition throughout the season and may pay the price for this towards the end of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Leicester will still be relatively fresh – especially as they were knocked out of both cup competitions in the earlier rounds.

Plenty of punters will be visiting online bookmakers, such as Coral, to place their bets on Leicester finishing in the top four this season. After their impressive start, it’s hard to see them slowing down and the Foxes are currently priced at 2/5 in the football odds markets. If they continue to dominate matches, Ranieri’s men stand an excellent chance of achieving this and some supporters will already have one eye on a dream title victory.

Ranieri has built his squad around his two top talents: Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.  Earlier in the campaign, Vardy became the first player in Premier League history to score in 11 consecutive fixtures.  The former non-league star has been an inspiration to young footballers across England and his antics – both on and off the field – have seen him grab the headlines on more than one occasion this season.

However, it is perhaps Mahrez who deserves the majority of the plaudits. Football is a team game but without individual talent, every team would struggle. Mahrez has been in the form of his life and has influenced games almost single-handedly at times this season. He has scored 13 goals, as well as assisting many others and the Algeria international is a real handful. In fact, Leicester will do well to hang on to Mahrez as Europe’s elite clubs have all been linked with a move for the winger.

Why can’t Leicester City win the title… stranger things have happened in the past. While it would be incredibly bizarre, the Foxes look as though they could last the distance this season and Coral are currently offering football odds of 8/1 on Leicester to win the league. It’s almost impossible to comprehend but on current form, there’s absolutely no reason why the Foxes cannot achieve their dream goal. This has been one of the craziest Premier League seasons of all-time and a Leicester title win would be the icing on the proverbial cake.

January Transfer Window

Transfer Window

Who will be the busiest in this January’s Transfer Window ?

The transfer window this January could turn out to be an interesting one. Even Arsene Wenger looks like putting his hand in his pocket this time. There are deals to be done as clubs strive to stay in the league and make the most of the riches on offer from the new television deal.

But it doesn’t feel like there will be big deals. It feels like a rush for quantity rather than quality. Bournemouth have added depth with three signings so far. Liverpool have taken Steven Caulker on loan for defensive cover. Leicester have got a bargain in Demarai Gray, but he looks like on for the future rather than a first-teamwork this season.

Here’s our guide to the clubs we expect to be adding to their squad the most.

Sunderland

Sam Allardyce has stated time and again that he believes the key to survival is clean sheets. But the defence that he inherited isn’t capable of this. John O’Shea and Wes Brown are fast approaching the end of their careers but still look steadier than Sebastian Coates. It looks like they need to add several more defenders to have any chance of picking up enough points to survive. Expect some typical Big Sam wheeling and dealing. Loans may be on the cards as the owner Ellis Short always seems reluctant to spend.

Arsenal

They have walked into their usual injury crisis but without any of the usual signs of young quality players breaking through. This may be the January that Wenger adds heavily to his squad. Backup central defenders, defensive midfielders (when don’t Arsenal need a defensive midfielder?) and cover for Olivier Giroud are all needed. Will Wenger see this as the biggest opportunity in over a decade to win the league? If so, will he spend to secure that title? You never know with a man as stubborn as Arsene Wenger.

West Brom

It may seem strange for a team that are 9 points ahead of the drop zone to be frantically looking over their shoulder but that’s the situation West Brom find themselves in. If they lose Saido Berahino then goals go from being a problem to a crisis. They will have to spend to plug this gap. Creativity is a longstanding issue so some midfield purchases may also be on the cards.

Swansea City

The club are in freefall. It’s not clear whether they appointed Alan Curtis as manager because he impressed or because nobody else wanted the job. Jonjo Shelvey has just left and there’s £12m from his sale ready to reinvest.

They need goals, midfield power and a partner for Ashley Williams in central defence. It will be difficult to clear all of these up in one window so some loan deals or short-term moves may be in order.

Whatever the transfer window brings, there’s bound to be some surprise deals and some late drama.

This article was produced by Steve Thompson of In Off the Post. You can read more of his articles on his blog: http://inofftheblogpost.blogspot.co.uk/

Why has van Gaal abandoned a successful formula?

Man Utd Badge
 He tried it once, it was remarkably successful and yet he hasn’t used it again, amazing!
Instead he has resorted to boring football whereby the fans, the ones who are still awake at least, have taken to calling him nasty names and wanting him to find alternative employment. Is this what it has come to?This is how it all came about.Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal fancied a shorter, more memorable monicker. He decided that what he needed to do, quite wisely, was to drop the Maria bit, not advertise too much the Paulus bit and shorten the Aloysius bit to Louis. Thus the transformation to Louis van Gaal was complete and so began his success.

Wholesale changes hadn’t been required here. This was not a case of being christened Marion, for example. Any male christened Marion should immediately, (or as soon as they are old enough, at least), change his name to John. Why he should then feel the need to change his surname from Morrison to Wayne is beyond me, but it worked out OK for him..

So obviously, the thing to do to ensure success at Manchester United was to try the name change method with his players.

The guinea-pig, it was decided, would be Chris Smalling.

Louis had deemed the name “Chris” to be ambiguous and more suitable for a girl, not a rugged centre back who plays for Manchester United and England. So, from now on, he was to be known as Mike.

If the truth be known, this experiment had been underway for quite a while. Indeed van Gaal trialled it at a press conference on the pre-season tour, but, when he referred to Smalling as “Mike”, everybody just thought he was an ageing manager with a terrible memory for names.

The fact that they have one of the best defensive records in the division is down, in no small way, to Mike Smalling. Yes, De Gea has helped, as usual, but it has been mainly through the efforts of Mike that this proud boast can be made.

So why has he now stopped? Just when everything was going so well, he capitulated and left the rest of the players with their own names! How can he expect to be successful like that?

Since reverting to type, United have gone out of the Capital One Cup and out of the Champions League. He needs to start renaming players and quickly.

If this is to happen then any new players signed by United will have to agree, contractually, to Louis being allowed to give them a new name of his choice, (usually Mike), should he think that it will be of benefit to the team. This is because, with the exception of continually selecting Wayne Rooney, everything Louis does is for the team, which is forever more important than ANY individual, (except Rooney).

Not only will this make United a shoe-in for the title but it will also mean that van Gaal will never again get a player’s name wrong, not that he did before.

So, assuming the unmitigated success of this process, (or is it a philosophy?), next year expect Mike Smalling to be playing in front of Mike De Gea and alongside Mike Blind and Mike Rojo. In front of him will be the likes of Mike Mata and Mike Schweinsteiger with Mike Herrera and Mike Depay vying for places in a packed midfield.

There will be two problems that van Gaal will face and that he needs to overcome. One is that Carrick is already called Mike, so it won’t work for him and may even destroy the collective bond the rest of the team will have built up through all being called Mike.

Carrick will need to be known as “John”. This is the only way the equilibrium of the team can be maintained.

In fairness to Aloysius and Chris, this renaming process was producing results. Louis van Gaal’s team rose to fourth in the Premier league table, only four points off the lead and they have one of the best defensive records in the division.

The other problem is Wayne Rooney. I have watched his decline for the last three seasons or more and changing his name, even if it’s to Cristiano Ronaldo Quiz or Lionel Messi, just will not work. He’s gone too far past redemption for something as simple as a name change to make any difference.

Iain Anderson

Is Mauro Biello better than Frank Klopas?

Montreal Impact Quiz

Photo Credit: Eric Bolte of USA Today

Frank Klopas was the head coach and director of player development at the beginning of the 2015 season.  This arrangement did not last until the end of the season.  Why did he not last?  Of course, the main reason is the record of 16-16-26 since he took over before the start of the 2014 season.  In addition, the players grew frustrated with his style and methods of managing.  As mentioned in the article by Lloyd Barker http://montrealgazette.com/sports/soccer/mls/montreal-impact/lloyd-barker-klopass-puzzling-moves-helped-speed-his-departure (2015):

Klopas’s lineups had been a talking point virtually throughout his tenure as Impact head coach.  True to form, it was no different against TFC.  Seven of the Impact starters against TFC were playing their third match in only seven days.  That’s a tough request.  Two of the other four starters were playing their second match in only four days — not exactly an easy task, either.  Both of TFC’s goals exposed the Impact’s high level of fatigue.  It’s not like Klopas had no other options.  In fact, he had multiple reliable and well-rested choices: defenders Eric Miller and Wandrille Lefèvre; midfielder Eric Alexander and striker Anthony Jackson-Hamel who all started on the bench.  Klopas did use Miller, but made a mind-boggling change when Miller was substituted into the game in place of Romero, an attacker, with the Impact down a goal in the 80th minute.  It was a head-scratcher, one that only Klopas could try to rationalize.  It’s no wonder the unhappiness and frustration of the players had been so evident during the past several weeks.

In addition, there was the issue with Patrice Bernier that came to the surface.  His wife posted on Facebook that Bernier’s treatment is “unacceptable and disrespectful”.  After these comments, Bernier decided to take a leave from absence from the team.  This player is one of the leaders of the team and now he was taking a leave of absence.  One cannot underestimate leadership with in the team dynamic.  After the loss to the Impact’s rival, TFC, Klopas was dismissed from his duties.

Montreal named Mauro Biello as the interim head coach.  This coach and former player is actually from Montreal.  He actually played for the Montreal Impact  on three separate occasions.  He brought the pride he had for playing for the Impact in to the coaching position.  The players noticed this but pride alone did not turn around this season.  Biello has shown an ability to navigate from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 with ease.  Once they are in a 4-3-3 this is beneficial for the Impact as they now have three central midfielders, in addition they had to cover less ground.  Against Toronto FC in last week’s playoff match they deployed the 4-3-3 with Ignacio Piatti playing at the left flank, this gave Piatti a chance to have a creative impact (pun intended) on the match.  With the addition of Didier Drogba and Biello’s tactical nuisances, let us see how far they make it in the playoffs.  For the time being, Biello they look the better fit for the Impact!

Playoffs: Major League Soccer Style!

MLS 2015 Bracket

 Image provided by mlssoccer.com

What does Major League Soccer (MLS) do differently than most of the footballing world? One word says it all: PLAYOFFS! Most soccer leagues around the world do not have playoffs. The season is played; the team at the top of table wins the league. This is not the case in Major League Soccer. First, there is not one table; there are two tables in this league. Since the league covers a vast amount of land in two countries, the owners thought it best to split the league in to an Eastern and Western conference. In addition, the majority of games played by each team will occur within their own conference. Reducing wear and tear throughout the season, as most teams travel by air to matches was the thought behind this. This means there is not a balance schedule.

With the two expansion franchises of New York City FC and Orlando City SC that entered the league this year, this takes the total amount of teams to 20. At the beginning of the season with the expansion of these new teams, the commissioner announced an expansion of playoff teams to 12. Yes, that is right; more than 50% of the league gets a ticket in to the playoffs. This caused much consternation amongst MLS circles. Even though fans were and still are wary of this many teams obtaining access to the playoffs, almost every team was still involved in the playoff hunt in to the last month of the season. From a business perspective that was the goal to ensure fans were engaged for as long as possible since there is no promotion or regulation.

Six teams from each conference get in to the playoffs. The top seed from each conference obtains home field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. The team with the best record overall no matter the conference has home field advantage for the MLS Cup if they make it to that point. This year that team is the New York Red Bulls. The first two seeded teams from each conference receives a bye while the third through six seeded teams compete in a one game knockout round match. The excitement is that once in the playoffs start anyone can win the cup. For most purest this does not seem fair as the team with the best record should be crown champion. In North American sports, this is the norm for over a century to have playoffs. The thinking is that if you really are the best then a team needs to play against the best with the highest pressure on them. The regular season is considered a ramp up to the playoffs and then finally to the MLS Cup match. There is not a right or wrong way to crown a champion; this is just another avenue to accomplish this.

Knockout round matches start October 28, 2015

For more United States based soccer content, please click on the link below to access my soccer blog.

https://wordhec.wordpress.com/

Thanks!

Hec

 

Klopp to Liverpool

klopp

As Liverpool FC make the announcement that Jurgen Klopp has been named their latest manager, a lot has been written about whether he will be successful. I think that Liverpool have found an identikit manager for the way the club has been directed by Fenway Sports Group since they took over.

What do I mean?
Well, I can see big parallels between the running of Liverpool and that of Borussia Dortmund during Klopp’s time in charge there. Brendan Rodgers had to deal with losing big name players, and Klopp had the same pressures at Dortmund. Liverpool will probably maintain that they only lost their players under duress but the fact remains that some big stars departed the club:
When?                         Who?                          Notes
Summer 2015                Steven Gerrard             Would have stayed if offered a coaching role

Summer 2015                Raheem Sterling          Wanted Champions League football

Summer 2014                Luis Suarez                    Wanted Barcelona

Summer 2013                Andy Carroll                   Sold for £15 million

Borussia Dortmund couldn’t compete financially with the biggest clubs in Europe, with their national rivals Bayern Munich being one of those teams they couldn’t match Euro for Euro. They simply had to sell when the price was right, or when they couldn’t match the wages when the bigger clubs came in-

When?                             Who?                    Notes
Summer 2014          Robert Lewandowski – out of contract, went to Bayern Munich

Summer 2013          Mario Gotze – scored winner in World Cup Final

Summer 2012          Shinji Kagawa – has now returned

Summer 2011           Nuri Sahin – out of contract, Bundesliga player of the season

Unless Liverpool make major changes to their income, such as a new much bigger stadium or regular progress to the latter stages of the Champions League year after year then Klopp will be working under the same conditions again. He will have to act as Klopp The Dortmund manager when he is working as Klopp the Liverpool manager. And this is the main reason that I think in the long-term he will be a success. He will be operating in the same way under very similar conditions to these he experienced when he was successful.

Similarity is how top managers thrive. Mourinho has been successful with big money clubs – Porto (big money for the Portuguese league), Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid have all afforded him petty big transfer budgets and he has generally come up trumps. One of the main reasons I think that David Moyes failed at Manchester United. He had a defensive team working under a really tight budget and working his scouting team hard to find bargains at Everton. The jump to the world’s biggest club, fans expecting attacking, flowing football and the choice of the best players money could buy was too much for him. Klopp won’t have the same issues as he is swapping like for like.

The one quote that really stands out from his unveiling was the following “If I am sitting here in four years, we will win one title [piece of silverware] in this time.” This is a man of great confidence and someone who has done it before. I think that Klopp is a manager who has a vision for how he wants his team to play and he understands his matchbook. Borussia Dortmund played hard at the transition or breakdown and to achieve this, Klopp and his team worked on fitness levels. The players were able to get back into formation quickly and break at pace when they win the ball. I think that trying to achieve this mid-season is far more difficult to do than when putting in the ground work in pre-season. Because of this, I think that Liverpool may struggle with fitness levels this season and maybe the players will not be able to apply Klopp’s methods. After this season, I think that Klopp is right that he’ll at least be challenging for the Premier League title.

 

Underrated Leeds United keepers

Ellend Roadccby Ingy The Wingy

Leeds United fans have been blessed with a number of memorable goalkeepers over the years. Whether it’s the reliable Nigel Martyn, the calamitous Paul Rachubka or the rotund Paddy Kenny, the Mighty Whites have seen the good, the VERY bad and the ugly when it comes to keepers in recent seasons. But while a lot of Leeds’ number ones have made headlines for their performances – we’re looking at you Paul Rachubka (see below) – there have been a few keepers in recent years who have gone about their business with minimal fuss.

In what is always such a tight league, Leeds’ current number one, Marco Silvestri, has already made a couple of errors this season that have not helped the club in terms of convincing the betting public, and the West Yorkshire side are at the time of writing at 6/1 with betfair to make the play-offs this season. In fact, a good number of the Elland Road faithful would probably rather have one or two of the goalkeepers listed below between the posts rather than the erratic Italian this year.

Their names might not always come up when fans select their favourite Leeds team,or in many of the football quizzes on this site but here are some of those underrated shot-stoppers who have graced Elland Road during the club’s recent and troubled history.

Shane Higgs: After moving to Leeds from Cheltenham in 2009, Higgs battled with Casper Ankergren for the number one jersey during the club’s promotion-winning season from League One. While Higgs was forced to play second fiddle to the Danish shot-stopper for the majority of the season, the frankly dashing veteran played a crucial role in the club getting over the finish line during the final few weeks of the campaign, including that now famous 2-1 victory over Bristol Rovers that saw the Whites book a return to the second tier of England football.

Casper Ankergren: The majority of the squad that secured promotion back into the Championship will long be remembered fondly by Leeds fans – Gary McSheffrey aside – and not many gained as much of a cult following as Casper Ankergren. Having arrived at the club from Brondby in 2007, the Dane went on to make over 120 appearances for the club, establishing himself as a fan favourite during his three year stay at the club. Playing in a team that struggled to get out of League One despite spending the majority of their time in the third tier being tipped for promotion to the Championship by most sportsbooks throughout his time in Yorkshire, Ankergran will long be remembered fondly by Leeds fans.

Andy Lonergan: Part of the reason why the former Preston goalkeeper is held in such high regard by Leeds fans, despite spending just a single season at Elland Road, could well be down to the fact that Lonergan’s presence ensured Paul Rachubka only had a few opportunities to produce howlers of such biblical proportions. Lonergan was an extremely solid number one and a player many Leeds fans would have liked to have kept, and it was only Neil Warnock’s obsession with signing Paddy Kenny wherever he went that ended his time at Elland Road. Lonergan was quickly snapped up by Fulham in the summer after leaving Bolton, and the 31-year old looks set to have a big role to play in a team that are priced at around 7/1 to secure a top-six finish with most bookmakers.

Title Contenders for the 2015-2016 Premier league Season

It’s that time of the year again when we predict the premier league title contenders for the upcoming season. Last year I predicted the title race to be a straight fight between the two richest clubs of the league i.e. Manchester city and Chelsea. However, it didn’t really turn out to be a fight as Chelsea pretty much ran the show for a large part of the season. Manchester city drew level for a short time but that was the only occasion during the whole of last Season that any team can close to toppling Chelsea. However, this time around I expect it to be different.

I expect Chelsea to be involved again in the title race but only a few teams in premier league’s history have managed to retain their crown so I expect the upcoming season to be a bit of challenge for Chelsea. Also, Chelsea works with a small pool of players which can be a cause of concern for Jose Mourinho. Only a few injuries could hinder the quality of football Chelsea play as they will be reliant on academy players to fill the gap left by the “World class” injured players.

Manchester City has addressed the area that made their offence predictable and easy to defend. That area was the lack of pace in the team. The left side of defensive midfield is what City has added pace to with the recruitment of Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling. However, Manchester City still hasn’t addressed its Achilles heel which is the left back position. Teams will exploit Manchester City’s defense time and time again if the club not address this key issue.

Manchester United was clearly lacking depth in midfield last season whenever Carrick wasn’t playing. However, the club has addressed this key issue with activity in the transfer market. Van Gaal has done well to add experience and quality to the squad with the recruitment of two world-class players like Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger. Also, United will not miss Di Maria too much as Dupay looks real quality .However, United’s two key issues from last season remain unaddressed i.e. the forward and back line. I don’t see United being much of a threat unless and until they buy a top quality center back and a pure finisher.

Arsenal have recruited well this season but until and unless Arsene Wenger changes or compromises a bit on his football philosophy, I cannot see Arsenal winning the league or even genuinely challenging for the title. Liverpool hasn’t really challenged for the title in the past two decades and I expect the upcoming season to be no different for them.If you want to see all the title contenders and pretenders in action then there are several websites where you can buy football tickets. You can check out the club website or visit a ticketing website like  livefootballtickets.com and get your tickets for the upcoming season.

Could all three promoted teams survive in the 2015/2016 Premier League?

Although most of the focus will be on who will be crowned Premier League champions at the end of season, it is always fascinating to watch how the three promoted teams fare in their attempts to establish themselves as a top flight club. Fans of Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich will hope that they will not go straight back down to the Championship, and will be backed by neutrals who root for the underdogs. Strong performances throughout 2014/2015 has already led to suggestions that all three could make headlines and survive in the Premier League for the first time since 2002, but although they may have to continue strengthening their squad during the summer transfer window, there is a case to be made for each of the promoted sides to have an impact.

Bournemouth

It has been a remarkable few years on the South coast at Bournemouth who have gone from being on the brink of exiting the Football League to reaching the Premier League in the space of five years. Eddie Howe has done a wonderful job on a fairly limited budget to create a dangerous side that score plenty of goals from all areas of the pitch, and although many expect them to find the leap from the Championship to the top flight too much to handle, Bournemouth have more than enough about them to surprise everyone and give the big guns a real run for their money. The £8 million acquisition of highly-rated defender Tyrone Mings is a real statement of intent from Bournemouth who smashed their transfer record in the process, while fellow new arrivals Sylvain Distin, Josh King and Adam Federici represent strong signings that have added experience and quality to the team. With confidence sky-high at the Goldsands Stadium and the quality of free-flowing football they play, Howe has the ability to keep Bournemouth in the Premier League.

Watford

Many were left surprised by the breakdown between Watford and Slaviska Jokanovic who was instrumental in guiding the club to the Premier League, but the appointment of Quique Sanchez Flores could prove to be a masterstroke. The Spaniard has already set his stall out by not only signing Sebastian Prodl and turning Matej Vydra’s loan from Udinese into a permanent deal, but also shelling out for Tottenham’s Ettiene Capoue who will add more steel and quality to the midfield department. Lithuania number one Giedrius Arlauskis has also arrived to provide competition for Heurelho Gomes, and with more arrivals at Vicarage Road expected, they could have the quality to avoid going straight back down. It remains to be seen what style of football Watford will play under their new manager, but if Quique Sanchez Flores has the same effect with the Hornets that he did with Valencia between 2005 and 2007, then they could survive comfortably.

Norwich

Norwich, like Watford, may be able to call upon previous Premier League experience in an effort to become accustomed to life as a top flight club again. Their promotion via the play-offs is largely thanks to the wonderful job that Alex Neil has done since replacing Neil Adams as manager at the start of 2015; the Canaries surged up the Championship table as they lost just three of their twenty-two league fixtures, before getting past Ipswich and Middlesbrough to seal their return to the Premier League. Norwich have added midfield powerhouse Youssouf Mulumbu to their squad, but although they have the quietest of the three promoted teams in the transfer market so far, they already have a squad that is more than capable of competing at the highest level.

 

The Internet and Gambling

The internet has revolutionised the way in which we do many things in life, not more so than Mecca Bingo. Ever since the launch of the world wide web there has been an ever growing array of gambling options online from the casinos, to the betting exchanges all the way through to traditional sports betting. Phone accounts and trips to the local bookmakers for the afternoon are a thing of the past and with a simple click of the mouse you can now gamble more easily, more quickly and on a wider range of sports than ever before.

There are number of ways in which this change has affected the punter. The first is simple convenience. One-time account creation on many of the websites online and then the world is your oyster. Easy simple procedures to place bets, user-friendly websites and all from the comfort of your own armchair. No need to walk to the bookmakers in the pouring rain or make last minute phone calls. Everything is there just a button away.

This has of course opened up the market to much more competition which has lead to better value for punters. Gone are the days of walking between local bookmakers or browsing lengthy Ceefax pages to compare odds. Now with the click of a button you can sample odds from a range of bookmakers to choose the best value. This of course means that the companies start to entice customers with better odds, bonuses and special bonuses. All playing into the hands of you…the punter. Never has there been such value on the markets.

In essence, the world of sport has been opened up to punters via the world wide web. No longer do you have to hold the bookmakers queue up by enquiring about a price on a random golfer in a tournament the other side of the world. The odds for any event can be seen with the click of a button regardless of whether it is a local racing meeting, an international soccer match or even events such as the Eurovision Song Contest…..anything you can think of you fancy a flutter on and somewhere on the internet there will be a bookmaker willing to take your wager. This has increased profits for punters, ensured your sporting expertise can be put to use and made watching hose obscure sports on late night TV Channels even more enjoyable.

As well as this the internet has allowed bookmakers to open up everything in each sport to bet on from the winning distances to the number of yellow cards in a match. In-play betting has transformed the industry and now millions of pounds are staked during games when punters can see the way things are developing.

Another development of the online world of gambling has been betting exchanges were rather than place odds on what you think is going to happen you can bet on what you think won’t happen! Laying bets instead of placing them has benefited punters all over the globe and it has taken off massively as the internet has grown. Don’t think the much fancied team? Make some money by laying the bet.

In essence therefore, the World Wide Web has opened up options for gambling, convenience and value for the punters and the betting industry and bookmakers in general have been forced to adapt and offer an better all round service to the punters.

 

 

2015 Football Power Rankings

Тhе fіnаl wееks оf thе Рrеmіеr Lеаguе sеаsоn рrеsеnt іntеrеstіng роwеr rаnkіngs thаt hоst а dіvеrsе sеt оf tеаms. Аrsеnаl hаs mаdе а run tо thе tор twо, Маnсhеstеr Unіtеd аrеn’t fаr bеhіnd аnd Lеісеstеr Сіtу аrе аbsоlutеlу flуіng tо trу аnd sаvе thеmsеlvеs frоm rеlеgаtіоn. Аll оf thаt mеаns thаt thе rаnkіngs оf роwеr аrе drаstісаllу сhаngіng соmраrеd tо рrеvіоus еstіmаtеs.

Тhе Football Роwеr Rаnkіngs tаkе іntо ассоunt thе strеngth оf sсhеdulе, іnјurіеs, susреnsіоns, рlауіng wеll but stіll lоsіng аnd рlеntу оf оthеr vаrіаblеs. Тhе W-D-L brасkеt shоws еасh РL tеаm’s сurrеnt rесоrd аnd уоu саn nоw sее hоw mаnу sроts еасh tеаm hаs mоvеd, uр оr dоwn, frоm wееk-tо-wееk.

  1. Аrsеnаl: Еіght wіns оn thе sріn іs thе Gunnеrs’ bеst run sіnсе 2004. Тhеу аrе flуіng аnd соuld fіnіsh sесоnd аnd wіn аn FА Сuр. Тhіs sееms lіkе а gооd sеаsоn. Нugе gаmе vs. Сhеlsеа оn 18 Арrіl. (20-6-6)
  2. Маnсhеstеr Unіtеd: Тhе tеаm dіd аn іmрrеssіvе јоb аnd hаndlеd іnјurіеs wеll. Ѕіх wіns frоm thеіr lаst sеvеn mеаns thеу wіll mоst рrоbаblу fіnіsh іn thе tор fоur. (19-8-6)
  3. Сhеlsеа: Моurіnhо lоvеs а dеfеnsіvе mаstеrсlаss аnd hе hаs сhurnеd оut fоur-strаіght wіns bу а оnе- gоаl mаrgіn wіthоut Dіеgо Соstа. Мауbе thеу wіll shоw thе Gunnеrs whісh tеаm rulеs Lоndоn. (23-7-2)
  4. Lіvеrрооl: Тwо іmроrtаnt dеfеаts іn thrее соnsесutіvе РL mаtсhеs аnd а dаmаgіng FА Сuр sеmіfіnаl dеfеаt tо Vіllа mеаns Lіvеrрооl’s sеаsоn іs еndіng wіth а whіmреr. Тhеіr tор fоur hореs аrе stіll аlіvе, but bаrеlу. (17-6-9)
  5. Lеісеstеr Сіtу: Аn unехресtеd соmіng uр tо thіs роsіtіоn fоr Lеісеstеr Сіtу. Тhе Fохеs аrе flуіng, hаvе wоn thrее-strаіght аnd аrе nоw wіthіn а роіnt оf gеttіng оut оf thе bоttоm thrее. Тhе bіggеst јumр іn а sіnglе wееk іn Роwеr Rаnkіng hіstоrу. (7-7-18)
  6. Еvеrtоn: Тhе Тоffееs hаvе fіnаllу fоund sоmе fоrm іn а sеаsоn tо fоrgеt. Маrtіnеz’ mеn аrе unbеаtеn іn fіvе аnd аrе оnе wіn frоm bеіng іn thе tор 10. (10-11-12)
  7. Тоttеnhаm Ноtsрur: Ѕрurs аrе сlіngіng оn tо thеіr tор fоur drеаms but аn іnсоnsіstеnt fеw wееks hаs соst Росhеttіnо’s mеn. Маssіvе gаmе аt Ѕаіnts аs thе Аrgеntіnе bоss hеаdеd bасk tо hіs оld сlub. (17-6- 10)
  8. Ѕоuthаmрtоn: Ѕаmе соuld bе sаіd fоr Ѕаіnts аs іnсоnsіstеnсу hаs сrерt іn. Тhеу јust саn’t sееm tо fіnd thеіr shооtіng bооts. Тhеу hаd multірlе сhаnсеs tо сlіmb аhеаd оf Ѕрurs іn thе rасе fоr thе Еurора Lеаguе. (17-5-11)
  9. Маnсhеstеr Сіtу: Ѕоmе оf thе dеfаts rеаllу tооk а hіt оn Реllеgrіnі. Сіtу аrе hоldіng оn but соuld stіll blоw іt. (19-7-7)
  10. Аstоn Vіllа: Ѕреаkіng оf Vіllа, thеу stunnеd Lіvеrрооl tо rеасh thе FА Сuр fіnаl but аll fосus must nоw swіtсh tо stауіng uр. Тhеу аrе fоur роіnts аbоvе thе drор zоnе wіth јust а fеw gаmеs lеft. (7-7-15)
  11. Ѕtоkе Сіtу: Тhе Роttеrs аrе gоіng fоr а rесоrd РL роіnts tаllу аnd tо bеttеr thеіr bеst-еvеr fіnіsh оf 10th lаst sеаsоn. (13-7-13)
  12. Сrуstаl Раlасе: Тhе Еаglеs wеrе flуіng untіl оld bоss Тоnу Рulіs сlірреd thеіr wіngs whеn hіs WВА sіdе саmе tо tоwn. Раrdеw іs stіll hарру wіth hіs sіdе thаt іs sаfе frоm rеlеgаtіоn. Іt іs dеbаtаblе whеthеr thеу fіnіsh іn thе tор 10. (11-9-13)
  13. Wеst Вrоm: Рulіs stееrеd thе Ваggіеs thrоugh а rоugh реrіоd tо bаg thаt bіg wіn аt hіs fоrmеr сlub. Тhеу shоuld bе sаfе fоr аnоthеr sеаsоn nоw. (9-9-15)
  14. Ѕwаnsеа Сіtу: Тhе Ѕwаns suffеrеd thеіr fіrst dеfеаt іn fіvе аt Lеісеstеr аnd mіssеd thе іnјurеd Gоmіs bаdlу. Ѕtіll, а fіnе sеаsоn fоr Моnk’s mеn. (13-8-12)
  15. Вurnlеу: Іf thеу соuld sсоrе gоаls, thеу’d bе flуіng but thе Сlаrеts dіd mоrе thаn 389 mіnutеs wіthоut hіttіng thе bасk оf thе nеt. (5-11-17)

Who do you think is the best football or soccer team playing right now?  Have you tried handicapping soccer on your own or do you need assistance from experts like the ones at  We want your picks and opinions for the remainder of the 2015 season on who you believe is the best football.

Increase in betting and casino sponsorship in football

In an increasingly digital world it is perhaps unsurprising that the betting industry has grown at such a rapid rate. With so many platforms that now facilitate gambling, such as mobile and computer, players are not restricted to how and when they want to bet.

This has resulted in over £40 billion being wagered on a wide variety of sporting events and casinos in 2014. The market is booming and extremely lucrative.

One thing that has not changed however is the most popular betting opportunity. Football. Attracting all ages, the chance to back your favourite club with hard earned cash provides a thrill almost like no other. Unsurprisingly, football clubs have clicked on, developing a commercial marketing strategy that mutual benefits all.

Clubs get a substantial boost by betting and casino sponsorship, whilst the sponsor get’s their product promoted in its most targeted setting. Fans also benefit by becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities provided by multimedia betting. They are also often given exclusive offers for joining their clubs betting partner.

So just how big has betting and casino sponsorship become in football? The world’s official richest club, Real Madrid, set the trend, signing up to Spanish bookmaker BWIN. In the subsequent years, BWIN’s client base trebled. Whether it is sports betting or casino games such as online pokies, you’ll be able to find it at sites sponsoring Premier League teams. If not, visit Pokies Palace for one of the best choices around.

Within the last few years ten Premier League clubs, Manchester United, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Stoke, Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham, Newcastle, Fulham and Liverpool, have all been sponsored by betting companies. This is all despite strict legislation from the Gambling Act which forbids advertisement of casinos and betting services that are not based with the EEA or are part of the Gambling Commission White List.

The success of these relationships has even resulted in football leagues being sponsored by betting and casino companies. The whole English league, for example, is promoted by SkyBet, whilst in the last few days the Scottish league announced a £4 million deal with Ladbrokes for rights of all levels of the professional Scottish leagues.

There have been major criticisms of this increasing trend. Some have questioned the morality of betting sponsorships, whilst others have blamed clubs for gambling addictions and other side effects of the activity. Strict legislations from the Gambling Act, as previously stated, have policed this well, however, and have protected players influenced too severely by the sponsorship.

As the football betting world continues to economically grow, there is no doubt that this type of sponsorship will become even more of a common trend, especially with the introduction of mobile gambling at sites such as Mobile Pokies Online.

How to make money betting on football

The football betting industry is a rapidly increasing business. Multimedia gambling opportunities, increased gaming sponsorships, and a greater range of markets available, now mean that football betting is a much enjoyed part of many people’s lives.

Financial losses are a natural cap on this enjoyment however. Critics of football gambling revel in stating that ‘the house always has the edge’ and ‘players will only gamble back their winnings.’ Whilst these two statements contain elements of truth, there is undoubtedly a way to minimise this ‘house edge’ and gamble in a disciplined, efficient manner.

The first, and most important, step for any football punter is a website called oddschecker. Oddschecker compares prices for every market of every match, giving punters an easy opportunity to always get the best odds. The useful site also includes details of all free bet offers and new account specials.

Understanding the best football betting markets is also incredibly important. The vast majority of losing gamblers are those who place numerous small staked accumulators. They predominantly feature a wide range of teams, from a random list of divisions. Bookmakers profit massively from this ‘Hollywood’ style of betting. Those more successful stick with singles and doubles, and usually these tend to be in the lower leagues rather than the Premier League.

It is also worth noting that bookmakers have the highest ‘house edge’ on goalscorer markets. They exploit gambler’s love of individual players, knowing they will back them no matter the odds. First, last, and anytime goalscorers are almost always priced up at odds that do not follow their statistical scoring records.

Any successful football punter will stress the importance of analysing statistics before gambling. Footballstats.co.uk and opta.co.uk are especially good websites crammed with detailed information of both team’s performances. Spending hours analysing statistics on all markets may not sound like fun, but it gives you the best chance to be profitable. After becoming accustomed to statistical betting you subconsciously become able to weigh up whether a bet represents good or bad value.

It is important to remember that betting on football usually has around a 10% margin built into it by online bookmakers. This is greater than the 5%-7% margin built in for slots and fruit machines at sites like Fruity Reels. Whilst many may disagree, statistically speaking you are likely to lose more money by betting on football than playing online fruit machines.

Finally, as previously mentioned it is essential to remain disciplined and efficient in your betting. By setting a limit each month of how much you are prepared to gamble, any potential net losses are instantly minimised. Efficiency can be measured through always taking the best odds, limiting selections to either a single or a double, and thoroughly researching before placing the bet. Oh and remember, bet with your head,, not your heart!

Football Rivaries: Celtic v Rangers

Celtic v Rangers

Celtic v RangersPerhaps the saddest aspect of Ranger’s demotion, extinction and absence from the top flight of Scottish football in recent has been the fact that fans have been deprived of the Glasgow derby. Whether you had an interest in Scottish football or not, the 4 times a year that the teams from Scotland’s biggest city collided were always worth watching!  Drama, passion, guts, goals, tears and joy. Words cannot express what this one game means to different people. Religious differences aside the clubs are long term rivals and the prospect of future derby clashed must wet the appetite of all football fans.

Although the basis for the term is unclear, the words Old Firm make the hairs on the back of the net stand up. Almost 100 league titles between them, domination of the domestic game and success in Europe as not stopped the Old Firm game being the decisive point of the season. One may be higher in the league, another may reach a cup final but the season will be judged on the games that matter and to Rangers and Celtic fans that can only mean the Old Firm.

Memorable games dominate fans minds such as the 6-2 thrashing Celtic dished out in 2000, the 5-1 win Rangers returned in the same year and the record 7-1 Celtic win the in the 1950s. Each fan has their own personal memory of a game that captures the entire footballing world.

Trouble has marred the clash and the police presence for the match is higher than in any other British derby. Although a passionate city, Glasgow is a small one and on derby day it is sometimes safer to stay indoors than venture out into the sea of blue and green/white hoops. Violence marred matches in the 1980 Cup Final when fans brawled on the pitch and in 1999 objects were thrown around Celtic Park. The occasions though are rare and it is the football that often does the talking.

Many players have attempted to play for both sides, some with more respect than others but the people, players and fans of Glasgow are expected to nail their colours to one mast. Green and White of Celtic of the Blue of Rangers.

The joys of the Old Firm game were taken away from fans as Rangers suffered demotion and had to reform from the lower ranks to the Scottish Leagues. Celtic fans may have taken joy in the troubles of their bitterest rivals but deep down felt a gaping void as the season began with the traditional countdown to Old Firm Day. The passion will return, the teams will contest the title again and the footballing world will be treated to the joy, passion and excitement of the Old Firm game.

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Premier League Relegation Battle: Who will survive and who will fall?

With just five games remaining in the 2014/2015 Premier League season, the fight to stay in the top flight looks set to go down to the wire in what promises to be a dramatic climax. Aston Villa’s shock victory at Tottenham has not necessarily secured their safety, but up to five teams find themselves in a much more precarious situation at the wrong end of the table. There are a number of potential six-pointers left on the fixture list that could make all the difference in deciding who survives and who falls, and with just three points separating the five beleaguered teams, every goal matters. Predicting who will go down is anyone’s guess, but while the three teams who do perish may bounce back at the first attempt, the Championship is an unforgiving league in which there is no guarantee of returning to the top flight.

Burnley (26 points)

Burnley would most certainly be top if the Premier League was based on teams who show the most commitment and determination for the cause, with Sean Dyche’s side showing a superb account of themselves all season. However, consecutive defeats have seen them slide to the foot of the table, with a poor run of four games without scoring illustrating that Burnley may ultimately lack the firepower to survive. They have three six-pointers in which to save themselves against all odds, with fixtures against Leicester, Hull and Aston Villa standing out as now-or-never moments in Burnley’s season.

Queens Park Rangers (26 points)

It could be argued that Queens Park Rangers have considerably under-achieved this season for a team who have the seventh highest wage bill in the Premier League. They find themselves in a precarious position in 19th, and while Charlie Austin’s goals may be their only saviour, they face a tricky run-in that might be their downfall. Fixtures against West Ham, Leicester and Newcastle present wonderful opportunities to pick up three points, but trips to Liverpool and Manchester City limit their survival bid to just three games.

Leicester (28 points)

One considered dead and buried, Leicester have seemingly resurrected their chances of Premier League survival following a run of three consecutive victories. Nigel Pearson’s side have arguably performed better than their current league position suggests, but they now have the momentum and belief that may carry them over the line. Facing Burnley, Newcastle, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the season could be the fixtures that Leicester target to pick up three points in, with games at the King Power Stadium against Chelsea and Southampton posing much tougher tests.

Hull (28 points)

Two wins in their last twelve Premier League fixtures have sent Hull into freefall, with Steve Bruce’s side going from relative mid-table security to the edge of the relegation trap door. Their remaining fixtures do not favour either them, with tough games against Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United providing limited opportunities for three points. The penultimate game of the season against Burnley at the KC Stadium could be their best chance of securing three points, although Hull cannot afford to rely on other results to go their way in their current predicament.

Sunderland (29 points)

Dick Advocaat has been tasked with the responsibility of saving a capsizing ship, with one win in their last ten games putting Sunderland in real danger of relegation. Their 1-0 derby win against Newcastle should have been the springboard for survival, but the dramatic 4-1 collapse against Crystal Palace sent them back down to earth with a bump. Sunderland’s run-in may not fill their fans with confidence either, with their game against Leicester at the Stadium of Light standing out as a realistic chance to pick up three points. Facing the likes of Arsenal, Everton, Southampton and Chelsea are not the type of fixtures that any team who are just one point above the relegation zone would want in the remaining weeks of the season, with Sunderland needing a repeat of last season’s great escape to secure their Premier League status.

 

England Warned against Complacency after 4-0 Win over Lithuania

England moved one step closer towards Euro 2016 qualification after a 4-0 thrashing of Lithuania at Wembley. The victory helped Roy Hodgson’s team established a six-point advantage over Slovenia in the table. England cannot still remain complacent about an automatic qualification spot given that there are still five matches left in the campaign, but it realistically puts them on the verge of a place in the finals. The win over Lithuania was also the national team’s seventh consecutive victory across qualification and friendly matches. Despite this form, England are placed at a distant 12/1 for the title in the latest Euro 2016 odds from Betfair.

Germany, France, and Spain are seen as the favourites for the tournament in France.

Wayne Rooney and the rest of the team celebrated each of the four goals with passion. Later, the Manchester United striker said that other teams will be frightened about the form shown by England is their early exit from the World Cup 2014. However, there is a danger of the nation once again becoming complacent just before a major tournament. England have come up against only one team in the top 30 of the world FIFA rankings – Switzerland – in this period. A more accurate assessment of the team will be available as they take on the likes of Italy and France in 2015.

Despite the lack of top quality opposition, it is fair to say that the team has been playing with a lot of speed than before. The team now enjoys bundles of energy through the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson. After having been a team that relies excessively on the finishing skills of Rooney, England may have a great alternative in the form of Harry Kane. The Tottenham striker has scored an impressive 29 goals in all competitions for Tottenham this season. He announced his international debut in style after scoring within 76 seconds of being introduced as a substitute in the game against Lithuania.

Welbeck may not necessarily have the finishing skills to be a top player at international level, but it appears as if Kane can certainly be moulded into one. Aside from Kane, manager Roy Hodgson will also be looking forward to welcoming Daniel Sturridge back to the team. The quartet are certainly a huge upgrade in terms of quality over the previous crop of England strikers like Peter Crouch or Andy Carroll.

Hodgson was expected to be sacked from his role after a very disappointing World Cup, but he has certainly given himself a lot of positive reviews in the last few months. England’s biggest test in the short-term will come in the form of a friendly against Italy at the Juventus stadium in Turin on April 1. Just like England, Antonio Conte has also been able to infuse some life into the Italian team after a disappointing World Cup. They have won all but one match since their early departure from Brazil 2014.

A disappointing result against the Italian team will not be the end of the world for England, as Hodgson will be without a number of his important players. James Milner, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, and Leighton Baines are some of the players could not be involved against Italy. Instead, backup players like Ryan Bertrand have been drafted into the squad for this trip to Italy. Hodgson confirmed before the international break that he did not intend to overwork the players, who have already played a lot of games for their clubs, in friendly matches.

Before the match against England, Italy will be concentrating on their Euro 2016 qualifying match against Bulgaria. The Group H is far tighter than England’s group with both Croatia and Italy still fighting for a top spot. The trio of Norway, Italy, and Croatia are almost certain to qualify following the latest round of results, but it is still unclear if Italy will be able to secure an automatic qualification spot. The three teams are separated by just one point. Betfair still backs Italy at 2/1 to top the group and they are closely followed by Croatia in the second spot with odds of 2/1.

Hodgson confirmed after the win over Lithuania that Sterling’s absence from the squad to face Juventus has nothing to do with the reported controversial request from Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers. Sterling has suffered a toe injury, but he is almost certain to feature against Arsenal next weekend when the Premier League returns.

Football Rivalries: Liverpool and Man Utd

Liverpool v Man Utd

One of English footballs most notorious and passionate rivalries, unlike the others, is based not on location but on success. The annual fixtures between Liverpool and Manchester United are infused with a passion not derived from locality, but form the size of the trophy cabinet. Indeed, this rivalry is more of a modern development as, although major clubs compete fiercely with each other across the land, the fight to be crowned as the most successful club in England has fused this rivalry.

Post War Top Flight Finish comparison

Man U Liverpool Post War League Poitions

Anfield was home to some of the finest teams of the 1970s and 1980s and with total domination in the league and European success they were the undeniable kings of Europe. Keegan, Souness, Dalglish, Hughes……the names that are drip off the tongue. Whilst the Kop was awash in success and silverware. Down at Old Trafford United were having mixed fortunes. Still one of Englands biggest clubs success was thin on the ground, with an unexpected relegation and inconsistent form. Then the turn around came…

Just as Liverpool’s grip on the English game began to loosen, United started to emerge. Alex Ferguson’s appointment in 1986 was the key moment and despite the initial struggle Ferguson began to build a dynasty which would make United the most dominant team in the Premier League. Indeed, with the coming of the Premier League in 1992 United surpassed all records. League title after league title, cup after cup, Champions League success and a place at the very highest spot in world football. Liverpool fans had to watch has their crowns were taken, records were smashed and United were the team everyone talked about.

During the Premier League era Liverpool could not muster together the form or quality to win the division. Although always in and around the top 5 Liverpool never mounted a serious challenge until the arrival of Brendan Rodgers and United had it all their own way. Liverpool did have success in Europe and domestic trophies but the domination of United in the league, that Liverpool once dominated, was a bitter pill to swallow.

Liverpool fans clung onto the past, citing figures and statistics of how they were still England number 1 team. United fans teased and hunted records, making a big deal about every Liverpool record that was beaten.

This success rivalry led to the games between the pair being tinged with venom, passion and excitement. United, although involved in their own city derby, looked to the Liverpool game as the marker for their season. Liverpool looked to the United game for a chance to take the champions down a peg.

The hunt for success by two of the world’s biggest clubs will continue and the rivalry that goes with it will continue to entertain neutrals season after season.

Major Honours Comparison and Footie Quiz Scoring Matrix

LFC V MUFC Titles Success

So who do you think are the biggest and the most successful of the two?

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How to organise a kids’ football tournament

The romantic view of a row of fathers standing along the touchline in their coats on a crisp Sunday morning, happily watching their youngsters playing junior football, is a pleasant thought. Some stand stoically watching their son or daughter dispatch goal after goal, others get rather animated as the action heats up, and in certain circumstances there may even be other spectators of interest. In a tournament set-up there’s the potential for real excitement and drama which introduces youngsters to teamwork with a little dash of pressure thrown in for good measure.

As organiser there are several responsibilities that you have to take into account, but it need not be your sole responsibility. Mums and dads can help with administration, organising a venue, and fundraising, among other tasks. The venue needs to be somewhere with, as a bare minimum: toilets, good parking, a changing area, inflatable rides/attractions for youngsters not taking part, somewhere to dish out hot and cold drinks, and hot-dog/ice-cream vans.

Decide on a weekend date and if you are charging for children to take part, with money going to school/club funds, a charitable cause, or towards future sports tours through a company such as InvicTour Sports. You’ll also need a contribution towards an on-site medical team such as St John Ambulance, who will need clear entry and exit points. Make sure you include your details, and if relevant ask for teams’ league affiliation number.

Decide who will take part and get the invitations sent out early – a summer event (but not during the summer holiday) could be ok, but be wary of hot temperatures. The summer also might allow you to use a local football stadium for the day, and there’s certainly no harm in asking. Try to organise it for a weekend when little else is going on in the area.

If you’ve never organised a tournament before, it’s best to stick to one or two age groups at the most, because too many teams will make it a logistical nightmare. Five or seven a side games on a small pitch (or pitches) is the easiest option. Someone will need to be on-hand for each individual game, to referee and observe from a safety point of view.

A mini league system might be fair, as it gives teams several short (5-10 minutes at the most) games. Four groups of three or four, or two groups of five, will allow the winning teams to play each other in the semi-final/final. All entry information should be sent to the teams in good time.

Once the event starts to formulate, let the local media know – even if they don’t make it on the day they might publish a picture afterwards. Set up a Twitter account where interested parents can ask quick questions. You might even get requests for stalls from small local businesses, selling hot food and drink, football boots and so on.

It’s nice to have a memento for all participating players, whether they win or not.
A trophy will be needed for the winning team, which should be engraved at a later date. Make sure there’s a space big enough down the years for more names to be added – with a few great goals, combined with a fine spirit and hopefully a little sunshine, this could become a regular attraction for the area.

Where should your football team be looking for a summer bargain?

Another January transfer window is over, with the mantra that players come at a premium in the winter perhaps putting off many clubs from making a season-defining move.

Financial fair play has ensured that plenty of book-balancing needs to take place before an outlay is made on buying a player. Before the deadline day, the only real major money move was Manchester City’s purchase of Swansea’s Wilfred Bony. And those anticipating a final blowout will have been disappointed, with Chelsea’s move for Cuadrado the only stand out signing.

Teams are under increased scrutiny in terms of their accounts, so finding a player that doesn’t cost a premium is a necessity. Did Manchester City and its Premiership rivals miss the chance of a bargain by looking for the right player abroad using currency conversion rates?

2014 saw a lot of movement in terms of currency values, as global economic recoveries moved at vastly different paces and played out in global FX trading. That means that clubs in some countries can take advantage of dominant currencies: whereas others can find purse strings tightened.

Sunderland spent much of January seeking out a striker, for instance, before identifying Jermain Defoe as the new man to lead their line. That deal went through on January 16 but if the deal had gone through eight days earlier, the pound would have been worth three cents less against the Canadian dollar. That might not sound like much, but if the deal to buy Defoe was worth £10 million (the actual fee is undisclosed) it would have amounted to a $300,000 increase in cost.

Sunderland shouldn’t be celebrating too much, however, as waiting a week to sign Jermain Defoe on January 23 could have saved them a further $400,000.

All in all, though, Canada’s economic recovery and ties to the USA have ensured that its currency has not moved too much against the pound over the past few months. Perhaps Arsenal and Leicester had a better idea by hunting for new talent in eastern Europe: buying Krystian Bielik and Andrej Kramaric from Poland and Croatia respectively.

 

Currencies have suffered in both countries recently – thanks to weakness from the eurozone, amongst other issues – to the point where buying a player in late January 2015 could represent a saving of over 10% when compared to January 2014. For the signing of Andrej Kramaric, that would amount to around 1.11 kuna more for every pound spent, or almost $10 million kuna saved in the transfer (or £970,000).

But the best deal a club could have found in January would have come from Russia. Well known problems with oil prices, sanctions and economic mismanagement caused a tumble in the value of the rouble before Christmas, and while the rouble has recovered somewhat it would still amount to a 70% saving year-on-year for much of January.

Clearly, then, there is a lot of value to be found in being choosy about where you buy your players from. In terms of scouting for a summer bargain, though, where should clubs begin looking now?

Currently the currency looking ahead with dread is the euro. A new bout of quantitative easing, bumpy roads to recovery and the possibility of a collapse have all rocked the single currency in 2015. At the moment, most commentators do not see the euro returning to strength any time soon, instead questioning when it might hit parity with the dollar. For British clubs that could mean bargains in Germany, France, Italy or Spain.

 

Football in Northern Ireland

Football in Northern Ireland

Football in Northern IrelandMuch overshadowed by the more popular leagues in England, and a lesser extent Scotland, football in Northern Ireland has been unfairly overlooked by those outside of the country. But the league in Northern Ireland is taken very seriously by locals with loyal fans travelling the nation to support their clubs.

The top flight in Northern Ireland has undergone several name changes, being known as the Irish Football League until 2003 when it was rebranded as the Irish Premier League. Only 5 years later it became known as the IFA Premiership and then in 2013 the NIFL Premiership was born.

Throughout the season 12 teams compete in the NIFL Premiership, who also have domestic competitions including the prestigious Irish Cup to contend with. The winners enter the UEFA Champions League at the qualifying stage with the two runners up entering the Europa League qualifying rounds. Sadly, UEFA don’t recognise the league as significant in continental terms and it ranks 47th out of 53 leagues in their rankings, below the likes of Luxembourg and Liechenstien. But that doesn’t prevent the locals from taking the NIFL Premiership very seriously indeed.

Cliftonville, Glentoran and Linfield have played in an impressive 114 season each of league football are their names are known around the continent as they have made appearances in prestigious European competitions. The likes of Portadown and Coleraine have long histories whilst the NIFL Premiership now also boasts newer clubs such as Warrenpoint Town and Ballinamallard United to give the league a strong competitive edge. Results are unpredictable, leagues tend to be separated by few points and the title race grips the country come the end of May.

Linfield fans have had the most to cheer throughout their history and their 51 titles are only bettered in Europe by Rangers of Scotland. In fact since winning their first crown in 1890 the club have won more than double the titles of their nearest rival, Glentoran who had won 23 titles. Cliftonville have rose to prominence in recent season with back to back titles in 2013 and 2014 and the league retains is universal appeal and “anyone can win” factor.

Although names like Joe Gormley, Rory Patterson and Curtis Allen may not be household names in the rest of the UK, in Northern Ireland these men have grown into legends through their prolific scoring in the league.

But it is not just the league that provides football action in the country but its the same teams that have dominated the prestigious Irish Cup. Again, Linfields record of 42 cup wins is close to a European Record and together with Glentoran they have dominated the competition. Cup Final days rings its own traditions, customs and it seems like the whole of nation tunes in.

With a passionate following, a strong supporter base and clubs steeped in tradition, Northern Ireland has a rich footballing heritage and a league to be proud of.

Footballers Caught in £30 Million Scandal

Jimmy Bullard

by  joncandy  Caption: Former footballer Jimmy Bullard

A string of high-profile footballers have been named in a betting scandal that’s thought to be worth more than £30 million. Jimmy Bullard and Roy Keane are just two of the figures that are thought to have been caught up in an alleged fraud instigated by former Coventry player Michael McIndoe.

Although nothing has yet been confirmed, many of Europe’s largest bookmakers and lottery providers are handing over McIndoe’s account details after police suspected he was swindling some of the UK’s top players.

A Potential Ponzi Scheme

According to reports, McIndoe promised returns of 20 per cent each month to those that invested in his scheme that promised exclusive access to private jets and nightclubs. However, after filing for bankruptcy back in October 2014, it emerged that McIndoe used most of the money to gamble on hundreds of sports matches.

After William Hill turned over McIndoe’s account details to the police, it was revealed that McIndoe had wagered almost £400,000 within a two-year period. This, according to the authorities, is only the tip of the iceberg and the reason why it’s believed McIndoe was running a Ponzi scheme (basically a scam where each new investor’s money is used to pay other investors).

The Italian Job

Instances of football and betting scandals aren’t simply confined to the UK. Over the last few years Italian football has been hit by a number of problems, most notably in 2006 and 2012 when a slew of teams were implicated in a mass match-fixing scandal. These incidents cost the Italian leagues hundreds of millions in revenue and almost crippled the game inside the country.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom in the world of European football. The world’s richest team, Real Madrid, a club that’s annual revenue exceeds £440 million, has avoided any major issues in the last few years. As well as being home to some of the top footballers in the world, Real Madrid has been a stable business enterprise with a clean image for more than a decade. This ability to dodge any proverbial bullets has allowed Real to dominate both on the pitch and in the stock markets.

Football is certainly one of the most entertaining sports in the world when things are going smoothly. However, when characters such as McIndoe bring the game into disrepute, it can certainly smudge the make-up of the beautiful game.

 

Is Van Gaal the answer to Man United fans’ prayers?

He has won prizes with every team he’s managed, including league titles, national cups, a Champions League title, a UEFA cup and a World Cup for Clubs, and additionally led the Dutch national team to take the third place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Impressive indeed, and it explains why Louis Van Gaal is considered one of football’s most successful managers ever. But, is Van Gaal the right manager to lead Manchester United, who have been struggling ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as their manager, to new glory?

A guarantee for success?
Ferguson had an extremely successful run with Man United, but the generation of players he had the privilege to manage already ended their careers – at least most of them have. And the players that make up the team today do not live up to the expectations, so far. David Moyes, last year’s United manager, had a hopeless season with the team and was replaced by Van Gaal, of whom the fans had high expectations after his great performance with Holland’s national team in Brazil. However, with Van Gaal behind the wheel, Manchester United had their worst start of the season since 1986-1987, when Ron Atkinson was United’s manager. By now, the situation has improved a lot and United is in 3rd place now, but will United be a serious contender for this year’s premier league title?

Van Gaal

Cristiano Ronaldo…the ultimate man?

He’s one of the most famous footballers on the planet and quite possibly the best. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has had a career consisting almost entirely of success, it’s no wonder many consider him the ultimate footballer.

During the 2013/14 season he won a total of 16 awards for his performances on the pitch:

– BBC Overseas Sports Personality award

– Alfredo Di Stéfano award

– Best Player, Best Forward and Best Individual Goal awards for La Liga

– UEFA Best Player in Europe

– European Golden Boot (Shared with Luis Suárez)

– Fifa FIFpro World XI Award 2013

– Globe Soccer Award for Best Player of the Year

And that’s not even all of them! Yes, he probably is the ultimate football player. But is he what we’d consider the ultimate man?

Supercasino have been looking into the characteristics people think make up the perfect man, and as we enter 2015, what better time to reflect on these results!

  • 59% of men believe you should be well groomed in the workplace.
  • 78% of men take pride in their DIY Skills
  • 80% of men feel pressure to keep up appearances and stay in shape
  • 75% of fathers say being a dad is their most important job
  • 73% of dads said, “a real man knows how to express emotional support to his
  • 72% of men in the UK believe that the ultimate ‘man drink’ is whiskey

They then asked them about what moments they believe transformed them from boy-to-man and it seems the transformation from boy to the ultimate man can be signalled by All the answers have been compiled into an infographic that you can take a look at here:

Info G

 

Sports Betting To Come To Pokerstars

Sports Betting To Come To Pokerstars

For a long time now, PokerStars has been the Barcelona of the poker industry. The Lionel Messi. The Cristiano Ronaldo. They’ve dealt over 120 billion hands to over 50 million members, and now they’re moving into the sportsbook and casino industry.

The brand announced the move in late November with the first casino products landing just a week later. Blackjack and roulette are already available to almost half of PokerStars’ current player base with micro stakes starting at $0.10, whilst the sportsbook is scheduled to touchdown in 2015.

It’s a big move for the brand and if you know much about PokerStars, you will already know they’re no stranger to the sports industry, enrolling both Brazilian great Ronaldo and tennis ace Rafael Nadal as ambassadors.

The football betting industry alone is worth between $700billion and $1trillion, and thanks to the likes of mobile and tablets is only getting bigger.

With the power of the brand worldwide, PokerStars could get a huge slice of the action whether that be football, NFL, tennis, or Major League Baseball. Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications at the brand said, “We are taking the same principles, practices and integrity that make PokerStars such a successful and beloved brand and applying them to new verticals.”

The sportsbook will be joined by a range of casino games on both mobile and web, and so far it’s taken off successfully.

Trialled on PokerStars.ES and the Rational Group’s other platform Full Tilt, they’ve seen some impressive results with 30% of poker customers playing casino game every month, whilst 50% of Full Tilt’s casino players are claiming it’s the only online casino they play at.

Hollreiser added, “We thoroughly researched the opportunity and spent a lot of time talking to players and analysing the behaviour of our customers on PokerStars.ES and Full Tilt.

“Those launches have been successful in reactivating dormant customers and extending the value of our existing poker customers.”

The brand is conscious of keeping all players happy with their offerings however, and are fully aware that not all members of the online poker community will want the casino and sportsbook added to the site. Because of this, PokerStars has enabled features that will allow customers to disable the casino games, hiding them from view as well as allowing members to opt out of direct marketing and promotions of the games.

“We are committed to extending our leadership in poker and will continue to serve the passionate online poker player, while expanding our reach into new audiences and new gaming opportunities.”

The brand has yet to reveal an exact launch date for the sports book, but if it’s before the start of the 2015/16 season we could see PokerStars’ reputation take them to the very top of the betting Premier League.

 

Footie Quiz Club Profile: Manchester United

Man Utd Badge

Man Utd Badge

Glory Years

With 20 league titles to their name, Manchester United are one of the most successful clubs not only in England, but in World football. Success has always come naturally to United who have both attracted and produced some of the finest players in the history of the game. The tragedy of the 1958 Munich air crash was followed by years of success including a European Cup win in 1968, the first English side to achieve such a feat. United stumbled through the following decades, involving an unexpected relegation but bounced back into the top flight with immediate effect.

It was however the appointment of a young Scottish manager named Alex Ferguson that heralded the arrival of a new era of dominance at Old Trafford. Ferguson moulded United into the dominant force in British football and United won 13 Premier Leagues from its adoption in 1992. The five FA Cups won in the Ferguson era turned United into the most successful Cup team in British football history. With four league cups and 11 Community Shields to boot, the Ferguson era had its fair share of silverware. But the prize of the Champions League eluded Ferguson until one famous night in the Nou Camp in 1999, when United scored twice in stoppage time to defeat Bayern Munich and be crowned Champions of Europe. The side repeated the feat in equally dramatic fashion in 2008 defeating rivals Chelsea on a penalty shoot out on a rainy night in Moscow. When Ferguson retired it signalled the end of an era for United and after a rough spell with David Moyes in which the club missed out on Champions League qualification, Louis Van Gaal seems to be well on his way to restoring United to the glory days of old.

To see how much you know about Man U then try our free Quiz.

Players on Footie Quiz

Notably players and former players who have specific quizzes on our site include:

George Best

Bryan Robson

David Beckham

Eric Cantona

Michael Owen

Paul Scholes

Roy Keane

Ryan Giggs

Wayne Rooney

Sir Alex Ferguson

and the legendary Dion Dublin

Footie Quiz Stats

At the time of writing there are currently 1803 fans registered on the site making them the most popular supported club amongst our members.

There are currently 547 questions about the Reds in our databank.

 

 

It’s Sterling vs Gerrard in the clash of the midfielders! So has Raheem done enough to replace Stevie G as Liverpool’s most important player?

This season promises to be an extremely long one if you are a Liverpool fan. Our campaign has got off to an underwhelming start to say the least as the form that our team found themselves in just six months ago seems to be a distant memory from some glorious, much fabled past.

The departure of Luis Suarez is certainly a big reason behind that while the injuries that Daniel Sturridge has succumbed to only adds to our misery. In the absence of these two highly talented individuals, the responsibility of changing the outcome of matches has shifted to the shoulders of other players. Steven Gerrard is obviously one of them. The other name is Raheem Sterling.

SG

http://images.dailystar-uk.co.uk/dynamic/58/photos/138000/620x/raheem_sterling_liverpool_steven_gerrard-377318.jpg

The two of them are undoubtedly Liverpool’s best players at the moment. But the burning question that can be posed right now is this. Which one of the two are more important to Liverpool Football Club? Has our Captain Fantastic been finally replaced as Liverpool’s most influential player? 19 year old Sterling is currently tied with Steven Gerrard as the Reds’ top scorer with three goals apiece. The midfield pair are also on the summit of the assists chart separated by just one assist as Sterling has been credited with two while Gerrard has been credited with just the one.

As you may see, both these supremely talented individuals cannot be separated by something as limiting as numbers. In the minutes category, the story remains pretty much the same. The two Englishmen have played each and every minute of Liverpool’s two Champions League matches and they also have the same number of Premier League appearances this season after playing in all eight of the Reds’ matches this season.

Steven Gerrard however has been ever present as he lasted the whole 90 minutes in each and every single one of our League games. Sterling on the other hand played the whole game on five occasions after being taken off around the 80 minute mark twice. This is the first instance where we see clear daylight between the two. If Brendan Rodgers thought that Raheem Sterling was still needed on the pitch to keep matters in his team’s favour, he would definitely have kept the number 31 on.

That however, was not the case. It was in fact, Sterling who was taken off while our skipper was still left on because his presence was needed. This point that I just made, is the first reason that proves that it is still Steven Gerrard who is our most important player. The second reason is the timing and importance of the goals that these two scored.

SG 2

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Raheem Sterling opened the deadlock while the scores were still 0-0 with goals against Southampton and Tottenham. Liverpool went on to win 2-1 and 3-0 respectively. His third goal was merely a consolation in our thrashing at Upton Park.

Gerrard’s goals were slightly more dramatic as he scored our only goal against Everton from a superb free-kick while his injury time spot kick gave us three points against a valiant Ludogorets side. His third goal was another successfully converted spot kick against Spurs which gave us a 2-0 lead in the game that ultimately finished 3-0 in our club’s favour.

The point that I am trying to make here is that most of Steven Gerrard’s goals swung the result in our favour by either getting us a win or a draw. Sterling’s goals of course were important as well, there are no such things as unimportant goals. But what I mean to say is that Raheem’s goals did not have that big an outcome on the result.

Keeping these facts in mind, I would say that Steven Gerrard is still the biggest fish in the Liverpool pond at this point of time and his influence on the outcome of matches are still invaluable although Raheem Sterling is starting to have an immense impact on games and it should be a matter of time before he replaces Stevie G as our most important player.

 

Football betting and accumulators – insider tips

Online sports betting is a massive global industry. According to research collated by Statista, the size of the online gaming market has grown significantly in the last decade – from $7.4 billion in 2003 to $37.6 billion 2013, and with forecasts to pass the $40 billion mark in 2015.

Sports betting is increasingly forming part of the fan experience. Sure, there are professional gamblers, those who have spent years and years honing their craft and can genuinely make a living from the industry. But there are millions of others who just love watching sport, and see online betting as a fitting accompaniment to that experience – for example, a football fan with a good knowledge of the game identifies the chance to transfer that knowledge to a betting platform and perhaps earn a bit of money in the process.

What follows is by no means an exhaustive resource of insider tips and knowledge, but a bit of advice for the newcomer to online football betting.

You may actually get as much success from randomly guessing the outcome of football matches but that misses the point of online sports betting. It’s about applying insight and analysis. So, make sure you do some research before placing any bets and if you’re looking to lay money against weekend games in the Premier League, check on form. Not just current form either, but historic form.

Consulting football website Soccerbase prior to the match between Leicester City and Manchester United in September tells us that United have won their last four fixtures at this venue. The riskier and more lucrative bet would be the hosts to win, then, but a safer wager would be United to win again. If you’re serious about building up a decent ‘pot’, it’s about small gains. Historical performance is always worth checking. Aston Villa’s 1-0 win at Liverpool earlier in September might have surprised the masses but a quick look on recent scores would have shown that Villa drew 2-2 at Anfield the season before after leading 2-0, and won 3-1 there the year before. A surprise result that was actually no surprise.

Accumulators are popular and can yield strong results. This is where bets are placed against the outcome of several games, and the more matches included the better the odds and the higher the payout. Yes, you need more results to go your way than just a single encounter but don’t be daunted by thinking accumulators must be ten games. You could bet on Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich to win their matches every weekend throughout the season. It’s highly likely that this will happen on more than a few occasions, and these three are among the strongest teams in their respective leagues in England, Spain and Germany. Stay on that track and you could generate decent profit come season end.

In September, Vernons offered an enhanced multiple on Juventus, Liverpool, Olympiakos and Real Madrid all to win their Champions League fixtures. With Juve, Liverpool and Real at home, against Malmo, Ludogrets and FC Basel, this would have been an enticing bet; only Olympiakos, against Atletico Madrid, looked an unlikely result from the outset. Then again, the Greeks were at home – and betting on the home side is always a good rule to remember.

If you want to rise above the occasional, casual football betting stakes and get into regular weekend forecasting, it pays to spend time reading and researching so that you feel confident of all the options available. The Betting Expert is a blog and resource which is highly recommended and provides worthy reading.

 

 

 

How smoking can affect your sporting performance

High sports performance depends on a whole range of factors: fitness, training, determination, skill, and physical capability such as lung capacity and muscle strength.

It’s well known that smoking impairs lung function, so why do some sports men and women still smoke and how does it affect their performance?

During the 2012 Olympic Games in London, newspapers delighted in catching golden boy Bradley Wiggins sneaking a cheeky cigarette while on holiday. Elite athletes, such as Wiggins, who have super-efficient lung functions, shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Although their lungs may clear smoke more quickly, traditional cigarettes still reduce potential performance as Professor Stephen Spiro, deputy chairman of the British Lung Foundation explains:

“It’s wrong to assume that if you’re an athlete and have super lung function, smoking doesn’t matter,” he said. “You’re making such demands on your lungs that any impairment will affect performance. These guys work at 120 per cent of normal, so a few percentage points off their lung function could be the difference between a gold and a bronze.”

That’s all very well, but most of us aren’t professional competitive sportspeople, so surely smoking doesn’t matter that much in terms of our everyday fitness? Numerous studies have shown that during exercise smokers get fatigued before non-smokers, and that smokers may experience a number of limits on their physical capability. They may get less benefit from a training session, have less muscle strength and flexibility, and get short of breath quickly. Here’s the ‘science bit’ – the blood pumping around your body needs to be chock-full of oxygen in order for you to function properly. Sporting performance is lessened if oxygen levels are reduced because carbon monoxide from tobacco is readily absorbed into the bloodstream. You simply can’t do as much, or as well.

On top of this, smokers are more likely to get injured while playing sport and then take longer to recover. This is because smoking does not just affect your lungs, it also has a negative impact on bones and joints. Furthermore, sleep patterns are also affected by smoking. A study published in the Daily Mail found that smoking disrupts the body clock in the lungs and brain, preventing restful sleep – a cycle which in turn, could lead to mood disorders, depression and anxiety.

E-cigarettes and eliquid are an alternative, and an increasingly popular one with stockists such as Phoenix eliquid offering a range of different flavours and models. These types of devices are healthier than traditional tobacco, as detailed in the information on the EL Science website.

In conclusion, smoking may not stop you taking part in sport, but it’ll feel harder, you’ll achieve less and if you get injured you’ll take longer to recover. For professional sportsmen and women, smoking is an absolute no-no and for committed amateurs, at least consider quitting or trying alternatives.

Three Premier League deadline day deals that caught the eye

Despite the Financial Fair Play rules coming into play this summer, it did not prevent Premier League clubs from splashing the cash as spending broke through the £800 million barrier. It set a new record for the amount of money spent within a single transfer window, with every club making no fewer than five new signings to bolster their squads. Many teams made the calculated decision to conduct their business early, while others used the last day of the window to make late bids. As it often does, it led to complete carnage as clubs rushed to get the adequate paperwork submitted to the Premier League in time, with players quick-footing their way across the country to arrive for their medicals. Punters were able to follow live transfer deadline updates to see which players were on the move, with three signings standing out as ones which could have a major impact for their new employers.

Radamel Falcao to Manchester United

Although the Colombian hitman has only just returned from an eight month layoff following a serious knee injury, Radamel Falcao remained a wanted man throughout the summer. The Monaco striker is one of the best in the business through his sheer power and ability to score goals with unerring regularity, with Porto and Atletico Madrid benefitting from his undoubted quality before moving to France. Falcao deserves to play for one of the best clubs in the world, with Manchester City, Juventus and Real Madrid heavily linked with a move for a player who had made no secret of his desire to join an illustrious club. Although Real Madrid were widely expected to secure Falcao’s services, Manchester United emerged from nowhere on deadline day to agree a deal to take the striker on a season-long loan. Falcao’s knee injury remains a concern, but Louis Van Gaal may have pulled off a masterstroke if the Colombian finds his feet and produces the goals to fire Manchester United back to the top.

Mohammed Diame to Hull Quiz

It remains a surprise that no other teams had a look at signing Mohammed Diame from West Ham, particularly as he had a buyout clause of £3.5 million in his contract. The Senegalese midfielder made an instant impression with the Hammer through his considerable drive and strength, with Diame more than effective as a box-to-box midfielder who can control a game. Hull were more than willing to match Diame’s buyout clause on deadline day as Steve Bruce secured a superb coup for an ever-improving team who made no less than nine signings during the summer. Diame has already made an instant impact, scoring twice in as many games against West Ham and Newcastle, and may prove to be the best value signing as he compliments Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore in midfield.

Danny Welbeck to Arsenal

Despite bright performances for England, Danny Welbeck has been criticised for a lack of consistency at domestic level which transformed into the striker becoming a scapegoat at Manchester United. No-one could ever doubt Welbeck’s effort and determination, but the considerable pressure for him to perform and rescue a club who have struggled ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired was obvious on the pitch. Welbeck has always had the potential to become a clinical finisher that could set the Premier League Arsenal Quiz alight, with his considerable pace also being an additional asset. A lack of first-team opportunities under Van Gaal, along with heavy criticism from his fiercest critics, meant a move from Old Trafford would be the best solution for Welbeck who could flourish in new surroundings where the pressure to perform was removed and enjoy a new lease of life. A deadline day move to Arsenal for £16 million transpired as Arsene Wenger swooped to secure a much-needed striker following Olivier Giroud’s injury and a distinct lack of options upfront. Welbeck already looks a different player, with a goal against Aston Villa hopefully the start of an excellent campaign for the England international who could prove Manchester United made a mistake in letting him go.

Harry still looking at players

Harry Redknapp has admitted he is still in the market for at least three new players as he looks to assemble a squad capable of keeping QPR in the Premier League. Redknapp’s men begun life back in the top-flight with a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Hull City, and the QPR boss has made it clear he feels the squad needs more new faces if it is going to be able to handle the stresses and strains of a full Premier League campaign.

The club are still paying the price for their reckless spending during their previous spell in the top flight, and that has been a factor behind a relatively quiet summer for the club in terms of player recruitment; with only Steven Caulker, Jordon Mutch, Rio Ferdinand and Mauricio Isla arriving at Loftus Road so far this transfer window.

While there is an argument that the squad that achieved promotion through the play-offs last season was more befitting of the Premier League than the Championship, the flip-side of that would be that the majority of the squad are nearer the end of their careers than the beginning.

With QPR currently among the favourites for the drop, Redknapp knows a couple of injuries could have a huge impact on his side’s hopes of survival this year.

“We need to get a couple more in, we’re short in some areas. So we’re looking to get one or two midfielders in and maybe a front man as well, because we need a bit of cover there. You need four strikers, in an ideal world.”

“If you look at the whole squad, with everyone fit we’ve got 18 or 19 outfield players, and that includes one or two lads who couldn’t get in the squad last year. We’ll probably use the loan system again. Maybe we’ll buy one and loan a couple.”

Redknapp’s job could become even tougher if striker Loic Remy leaves the club before the end of the transfer window. The Frenchman has a buy-out clause in his QPR contract and has already come close to leaving the club this summer only to fail a medical at Liverpool, although the latest football newssuggests Remy is likely to be the subject of plenty of interest up until the end of the transfer window and the club will need to find cover in case the France international is snapped up at the last minute.

One possible option for Redknapp should Remy leave could be Saint-Etienne striker Mevlut Erding. The Turkey international has been a consistent goalscorer in Ligue 1 throughout his career, and QPR are reportedly preparing to put in a bid for Erding before the end of this summer’s transfer window. Aside from Charlie Austin and Loic Remy, Rangers fans are rightly asking the question as to where the goals are going to come from this season. A lack of goals proved hugely costly to QPR during their last visit to the Premier League, and there won’t be many betting fans backing Bobby Zamora to score 20+ goals this year.

 

 

 

Thanks to Dusty for adding over 1000 football quiz questions to FootieQuiz

Since introducing the add a question facility to footiequiz some time ago we have had 1000’s of members questions added to our database.

However the achievements of one member deserve a special mention. Swindon Town fan Dusty has added a remarkable 1081 questions and counting to the FQ database. So we would like to say a big thank you for his contribution to ensuring that FQ remains the number one football quiz website on the net.

Member questions are valuable to us as it allows us to grow our database on a simple maths level. But more importantly it massively adds to the richness of our user experience. For our members it is also a cheeky little way of gaining some extra points and climbing up the FootieQuiz league system.

So keep up the good work.

If you are wondering what to write questions on the start with your own club or national team. Soon we will be adding a list of quizzes that we would like members to add questions to. Until this notice board arrives below is a list of quizzes that we are looking for help from our members on:

DC United
Rushden & Diamonds
Trinidad and Tobago
Cambridge United
Iran
Panathinaikos
J League
Morecambe
My Football Facts Trivia Quiz
Grimsby Town
Super Lig
Houston Dynamo
San Jose Earthquakes
Real Salt Lake
Tampa Bay Mutiny
Miami Fusion
Bohemians
Cork City
Derry City
Dundalk
Shamrock Rovers
Linfield
Cliftonville
Glentoran

 

Spurs are Premier League’s dark horses

Stamford Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  flickr soccer stadiumby  OliverN5 

There have been some pretty big moves in the transfer market this summer – mainly affecting the big five English clubs considered to have a realistic chance of topping the tale at the end of the season.

Chelsea have brought in Diego Costa and Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, and returning hero Didier Drogba from Galatasaray – whilst David Luiz has gone to Barcelona and old stalwarts Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard have gone – along with Demba Ba.

Reigning champions Manchester City, meanwhile, have bought Fernando from Porto, and Bacary Sagna from Arsenal on a free and made a few other moves, but it’s been relatively small beer so far.

Arsenal have signed Alexis Sanchez from Barca and Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle, whilst Liverpool have brought in Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert from Southampton along with Lazar Markovic from Benfica, and Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen. But the really big move at Anfield has been the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona of course.

Manchester United, on the other hand, have also made relatively small moves so far, signing Luke Shaw from Southampton and Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao – and shipping out Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Alexander Buttner. But there are surely more transfers to come at Old Trafford before the close of the transfer window at the end of August.

So these are the main moves made so far by the only five clubs given a chance by the betting market. But what about Tottenham Hotspur? They’ve made fewer moves than anyone so far, but this time last year, they’d made a lot of signings, so it’s understandable if Chairman Daniel Levy is reluctant to spend more without seeing what the squad can do under new manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Just to give you some understanding of how remote Spurs’ chances are seen of lifting the Premier League trophy; they’re currently 66-1 shots with major bookies 32Red, Sportingbet and others, and 50-1 with Paddy Power and Betway.

The market sees the title being fought out between holders Man City and Chelsea who are marginal favourites. These two are followed by Man United who won’t have a Champions League campaign to distract them and, of course, have Louis van Gall at the helm, then Arsenal and Liverpool.

So Spurs are basically given no chance at all. And this may be fair. But then again – it may not. Spurs are very much the dark horses of this year’s Premier League campaign as non-one really knows quite what to expect. They’ll be a completely different proposition with Pochettino in charge – but how quickly he can work the same kind of magic he did at Southampton remains to be seen. He does, however, have an extremely strong squad to work with and he’s already demonstrated his ability to get the best out of players at Southampton.

He’s Spurs’ ninth manager in 13 years, but surely none has been more exciting than the latest appointment? And Daniel Levy will want the best from the squad which already cost a small fortune under AVB. Spurs still managed sixth place last season under Tim Sherwood and it wouldn’t take too much of a leap of faith to see them doing a whole lot better in the season in prospect.

So whilst we don’t know quite what we’ll get at The Lane this season – you can bet it will be a lot different and it will also be exciting. So that 66-1 could be looking very generous by Christmas.

What’s more – with sites like 32Red, Skyvegas and others that run both sports books and casinos, it’s possible to get a free bet if you get lucky;. If, for example, you go to the 32red mobile casino and you haven’t previously signed up to play, you should qualify for up to £160 free of charge via £32 for each £10 deposited.

You’re then obliged to play though a few games, but you can transfer the cash to your sports book account after a while and it may just be worth having a small punt on Spurs for a top three finish?

This would be a good value bet as Tottenham truly are the unknown quantity this season. This is Pochettino’s first job at a really big club and you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll be doing everything he possibly can to make a name for himself. And we’ve already seen just how much he can shake things up at the highest level with a pre-existing squad and on a tight budget – so watch this space.

New Player Quiz: Cesc Fabregas

Spain International and Arsenal legend Cesc Fabregas returns to London to join the Gunners rivals Chelsea. Arsene Wegner passed up the opportunity to sign his one time captain allowing Chelsea to pounce!

Has Wenger boobed? The last time Cesc ‘strutted his stuff’ in the Premiership he was arguably the leagues best midfielder. Wenger clearly has plans and the signing of Alexis from Barcelona indicates that he had his reasons for passing up Fabregas.

In any event the net winners are EPL fans who will see the Spanish Maestro competing once again in England top league.

Cesc-Fabregas-Quiz

 

So how much do you know about Cesc Fabregas?

Why not try our quiz on the little Spaniard?

http://www.footiequiz.co.uk/subject/cesc-fabregas

Check out his impressive list of Honours as collated on Wikipedia

 

 

Arsenal FC

Winner

  • FA Cup: 2005
  • FA Community Shield: 2004

Runner-up

  • UEFA Champions League: 2006
  • Premier League: 2004–05
  • Football League Cup: 2007, 2011
  • FA Community Shield: 2005

FC Barcelona

Winner

  • La Liga: 2012–13
  • Copa del Rey: 2012
  • Supercopa de España: 2011, 2013
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2011
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2011

Runner-up

  • La Liga: 2011–12, 2013–14
  • Supercopa de España: 2012
  • Copa del Rey: 2013–14

Spainish National team

Winner

  • FIFA World Cup: 2010
  • UEFA European Championship: 2008, 2012

Runner-up

  • FIFA Confederations Cup: 2013
  • FIFA U-17 World Championship: 2003
  • UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship: 2004

Third place

  • FIFA Confederations Cup: 2009

Individual[edit]

  • FIFA U-17 World Championship Golden Ball: 2003
  • FIFA U-17 World Championship Golden Shoe: 2003
  • UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship Golden Player: 2004
  • Bravo Award: 2006
  • Golden Boy: 2006
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2006, 2008
  • Premier League Player of the Month: January 2007, September 2007
  • ESM Team of the Year: 2007–08, 2009–10
  • PFA Young Player of the Year: 2007–08
  • PFA Team of the Year: 2007–08, 2009–10
  • UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2008, 2012

Premier League Opening Day Fixtures

Following the release of the 2014/15 Premier League fixture list, Betfair fans are already gearing up for a fascinating opening weekend of the season. With exciting games across the first weekend of the new campaign, there’s plenty of interesting matches for betting fans to take advantage of. Whether you’re looking at how potential title challengers begin their season or if the newly-promoted clubs can get the new year off to a winning start, the opening weekend could give us all a clue as to what this season has in store.

Kicking off the year will be Manchester United taking on Swansea, with Luis van Gaal taking charge of hisfirst game at Old Trafford after his summer arrival. With the United team expected to look a lot different from last year coming up against a Swansea team tipped by some for relegation, the weekend’s early kick-off is an intriguing game for all Premier League betting fans.

Sunday’s double-header sees Liverpool and Manchester City open their accounts. While new Liverpool signings Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert will come up against their former Southampton team-mates,defending champions City will welcome Newcastle to the Etihad Stadium.

Following their promotion from the Championship, Leicester will open their season against Champions League-chasing Everton, while QPR will look to follow up their play-off success with a win against Hull at Loftus Road. Fellow promoted club Burnley will face a stern test in their first game back in the big-time, coming up against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in Monday’s clash at Turf Moor.

Updated Quiz: Team USA Soccer Quiz

 

Team USA Quiz It is fair to say that in Brazil 2014 Team USA won themselves many new friends and admirers. Good quality technical displays allied with powerful athleticism saw Jurgen Klinsman’s men progress to the last 16 where they were eventually undone by Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ in extra time.

The Yanks performance at the World Cup in Brazil allowed US Soccer to gain some column inches from the traditional big four sports of gridiron, basketball, baseball and NASCAR. The Wall St Journal reported that TV ratings soared, up 43% since 2010‘.

It is not just Team USA enjoying their time in the spot light- Major League Soccer at the height of its popularity. ESPN recently conducted its annual sports survey where it found For the first time in the 20-year history of the ESPN Sports Poll, Major League Soccer has caught up with Major League Baseball in one significant marker of popularity.’ 

Critics of Soccer in the States, and there are many of them will argue with the findings of the ESPN poll and no doubt dismiss the headlines of Team USAs exploits at the FIFA World Cup as a ‘flash in the pan’. Here at Footie Quiz – the number one soccer quiz website in the world we are not so sure!

So we have taken the time to add more questions to our Team USA Trivia Quiz.

New Player Quiz: Diego Costa

It is debatable but many Chelsea fans feel that if they had had a proven goalscorer last season instead of the ageing Eto and elusive Torres then they may have been in with a chance of winning the league.

With the arrival of Diego Costa Chelsea have again bet big. Mindful that his employers, the reigning La Liga Champions Atletico Madrid were unwilling to sell Chelsea were forced to meet Costa’s £32m buyout clause.

Diego Costa Quiz

At 6ft 2in Costa is a powerful unit and perhaps Jose is hoping to return to days when Didier Drogba battered defences to submission.

Well the juries out for now, only time will tell.

So while you waiting for the EPL to start why not see how much you know about Diego Costa in our quiz.

 

Fifa coins and other premium currency in games

During the rise of the internet new ways to make money have appeared. The developers of games also sought out new ways to improve their revenue. One such idea was the introduction of micro-transactions in their games.

A micro-transaction in games refers to a person purchasing in-game items (a new character, a new armor, character slots etc.) or premium currency with real life revenue. This was made popular on the consoles through the market of xbox 360, but it existed long before on the pc platforms, especially in mmorpgs (massive multi-player online role-playing game). Even in the pay-to-play form of billing the micro-transactions have appeared and it led to most mmorpgs becoming free-to-play. A good example of this is Aion or Tera Online, especially in the Europe servers where the need for such transactions is much more prominent.

These online stores, done right, can enhance the players’ experience and bring even more revenue to the developers and publishers. But when it is done wrong it becomes a system that players refer to pay-to win, inflation is also a result of a bad organization of the trading market.

FIFA 14
An example where the system seems to have been balanced is in FIFA ’14, where you futcoins in order to purchase packs in which you find new/old players which in turn you can trade in order to receive some compensation. Another example of the same style trading was made by Ubisoft, for their Might & Magic: Duel of Champions, a spin off card playing game from the original Might & Magic series which has drawn fans from all over the world. For this one Ubisoft preferred the free-to-play model while EA Games, the publisher for FIFA and all its series have gone fore the buy-to-play model.

Even so, it is not to say that one model is preferable over the other. This is a comparison over their micro-transactions not their billing system. One thing that these two games have in common is that instead of waiting and having to play for a long amount of time it allows you to purchase their packs (that contain football players for Fifa and Champions and monsters cards for Might & Magic: Dual of Champions). This helps the gamer that does not have the necessary time to play through 100 matches keep up with the one that does. The first is called a casual player and the latter is called a hard-core player. Duel of Champions

Some have argued that the implementation of these micro-transaction driven markets have diluted the feeling of satisfaction that the player gets from his hard work and time spent. But there is a counter-argument for this, as to the frustration that a casual player receives when a hard-core player beats his team in a tournament or crushes his army, only because he has opened more packs and had the luck to receive better champions/monster cards or football players. This, I would say, is a thing to think on!

 

 

Does Brazil’s sporting success extend to the Poker Table?

Brazil Poker

In recent weeks we’ve seen how Brazil remain one of the top soccer nations around the globe but have the South Americans been able to translate this success onto the poker felt? We looked at some of their opponents in both disciplines to see how results have compared.

Against Croatia and Mexico, Brazil enjoyed mixed fortunes over 90 minutes of football but could they succeed in the Full Tilt World Poker Championships against the same nations?

Croatia v Mexico

Before Brazil get involved in this tight group, let us see how Croatia and Mexico fare when they tackle each other in a range of poker competitions. On the soccer pitch, the Mexicans triumphed with a 3-1 victory but as the card games began with Sit & Go, the Croatians were about to exact their revenge.

Things didn’t start too positively for the European side however, as they slumped to an early defeat. An 18th place finish was respectable enough but it was comfortably eclipsed by their opponents who came in second overall to take an early lead.

This version of the World Championships takes in a number of poker playing countries from across the World. Mexico’s second place was therefore an impressive one but they couldn’t maintain that run of form as the tournament progressed.

The battle for the right to qualify from Group A seemed to be over when Croatia returned a 32nd place finish in the MTT tournaments. However, an alarming slump in form saw the Mexicans plummet down to 37th and as the teams headed into the deciding cash games, they were locked at one point apiece.

Sensing an advantage, Croatia’s fortunes improved as they took second place, compared to another woeful 37th position from the Mexicans. Overall, the Croatians had taken the contest by two points to one, leaving Mexico needing a positive result against Brazil in order to progress from this section.

Brazil v Mexico

Honours were shared on the football field between these two near neighbours but in poker, Brazil have a definite edge. The World Championship took stats from a number of tournaments and the outcomes make for interesting reading.

Things started badly for the Brazilians and in the Sit & Go version of the game, Mexico took the early points with a second placed finish. Meanwhile, Brazil could only manage an overall position of 22nd so after the first round, it was an emphatic, 1-0 to the Mexicans.

From here, Mexico’s form started to drift, just as it had done against Croatia in the opening clash. The next round of poker games took in the MTT tournaments where the Mexican’s dismal 37th place was easily overcome by Brazil who finished in 12th to level the scores at one point apiece.

Once again, the contest needed a decider and Mexico’s lack of prowess in cash games let them down for a second time. A 37th placed finish meant that Brazil, who finished in 21st, would progress from Group A, along with a strong Croatian unit.

Brazil are the world’s most successful side when it comes to football but it looks as if Croatia would have the edge when it comes to Poker. Taking into account Sit & Go, MTT and Cash Games, Croatia’s overall finish of 2nd would eclipse that of 19th placed Brazil thereby proving that global success doesn’t always translate from sport to sport.

Driving to the World Cup: The Ultimate Road Trip

With football’s world governing body reportedly set to make a tidy profit from Brazil 2014, according to this article in the Daily Mail, the World Cup is perhaps as well known now for its cynical commercialisation as it is for the football. However, for many, the global tournament is still just one big celebration of the beautiful game, the perfect excuse for a football themed road trip and one huge, unforgettable adventure!

Getting there

A road trip may sound like a romantic idea, just a group of friends with nothing for company but each other and the open road. If you’re based in the UK, you’re not going to drive there directly, obviously – between Lizard Point in Cornwall, the most south-westerly point in the British Isles, and Fortaleza, on the east coast of Brazil, lies 4,200 miles of unforgiving Atlantic Ocean waves. Fortunately, flights direct to Brazil from the UK are available. The busiest airports in the country are on the south east coast in Rio and Sao Paulo. From these two huge cities you’ll be able to start your World Cup Road Trip.

What you’ll need

In Brazil you can use a full UK driving licence for a maximum of 180 days, if your road trip lasts any longer than this you’ll need to apply for a Brazilian licence. Although the weather is unlikely to get bitterly cold in Brazil, it would still be a good idea to take warm clothing for the chilly nights down south at this time of year. Up north and in the jungle meanwhile, you’ll need plenty of sun cream and mosquito repellent. It is also worth noting that in Brazil, the water is not potable, so you’ll either need to buy bottled water or have some means of purifying tap water in you intend to drink it.

The Road Trip

There are a couple of ways that you can plan a World Cup road trip: one is to follow a team, the other is to make a route for the final. One problem with following a team is that Brazil is so large that it could be difficult to keep up. England, for instance, played their first match in Manaus in the Amazon before setting off for a game over 1,600 miles away in Sao Paulo just five days later. The teams will be flying, so you’ll need to do some serious logistical planning if you want to tag along.

If the schedule for your favoured team is too brutal you could always try to follow a team with a less punishing draw; Argentina for instance, have to travel relatively little in the group stage. On the other hand, driving around Brazil, visiting towns you may not have heard of before, is all part of the experience.

Simpler may be a route to the final, taking in the many iconic football destinations in Brazil. Some of the most famous sights associated with the beautiful game include Estádio Urbano Caldeira in Santos, the Museu do Futebol in Sao Paulo and Pele’s home town of Três Corações in Minas Gerais. Finally, you can get back in time for the end of the tournament, taking place in the most iconic footballing monument of them all, the 200,000 capacity Estadio Maracana in Rio.

If you can’t actually make it to Brazil while the tournament is underway, you can always plan a trip later in the year and travel around, soaking up the post World Cup atmosphere.

 

Game on! Morphsuits mobs Trafalgar Square and stages England vs Italy

To kick the 2014 World Cup off, Morphsuits took football to the streets of London and flashmobbed Trafalgar Square, to predict the final score of the first of England’s matches, against Italy on Saturday 14th June.

The Morphsuit cladded entourage of English and Italian players took over the square , weaving in and out of tantalised spectators, disputing offside calls, red cards and extra time for full fanatic glory, the group of footy fans showed England’s capital how to take the party to the streets and celebrate The World Cup just days before the main event.

The Italian and English teams ran on with goal posts and took onlookers by surprise as they quickly assembled in between the fountains to kick off the match. Patriotic supporters congregated at the sidelines and kicked the ball back in to play when it went off side (outside the fountains!).

The match ended in a tantalising 0-0 draw, so all eyes are now on Saturday when England meet Italy in Rio for their all-important first match to see if the prediction will come true.

The Flag Morphsuits, available here are Morphsuit’s pledge to be sponsors of football fans across the globe for the World Cup. You can literally dress from head to toe in your country’s colours and be king of the World Cup party!

Watch the highlights of the match up below!

You can watch highlights of the match up by clicking here

 

World Cup Fantasy Football – Help Needed

As editor of FootieQuiz.co.uk, I may know who was the top scorer at the 1986 World Cup Finals (Gary Lineker), who has scored in every round of a World Cup tournament (Jairzinho) and how many teams competed in the first ever World Cup (13)… but picking a Fantasy World Cup team.. that’s a different ball game. (Well almost!)

 

What do you think so far???

 

Lloris, H Lloris, H Lloris, H £3.5m
Vermaelen, T Vermaelen, T Vermaelen, T £3.7m
Mertesacker, P Mertesacker, P Mertesacker, P £4.2m
Rodriguez, F Rodriguez, F Rodriguez, F £2.3m
Zhirkov, Y Zhirkov, Y Zhirkov, Y £3.2m
Reus, M Reus, M Reus, M £5.7m
Robben, A Robben, ARobben, A £5.7m
Palacios, W Palacios, W Palacios, W £2.7m
Karagounis, G Karagounis, G Karagounis, G £2.9m
Messi, L Messi, L Messi, L £8.0m

Neymar Neymar Neymar £7.8m

Countdown to the World Cup

Here at Footie Quiz we can barely wait!

Only one day to go until Brazil take on Croatia and the World Cup kicks off!

After years of disappointment and hurt many pundits are claiming that England go into the finals with low expectation after being pitted in the clichéd ‘Group of Death’. But what if, just what if England made it all the way to the final in Rio on the 13th July? Well check out this cool infographic from Hertz.

England will start their World Cup campaign in the heat of the Amazon jungle in Manuas, followed by a flight over to Sao Paulo, before concluding their last group game in the little heard of city of Bello Horizonte. Thereafter it will depend on how the Three Lion fare in the ‘Group of Death’. In the unlikely event that they top the group they will be off to Recife, lose the group and they can console themselves with a trip to Rio to play in the world famous Maracana. Whichever route they take one thing is for sure – there will be a lot of travel across a massive country.

For our part at FootieQuiz we think that England will surprise a few people in this tournament and when they get out of the group stage we can see them getting as far as the Quarter Finals.

World Cup

 

 

Have a quick trip over to WhenIsIt.co.uk for a countdown to the World Cup.

Hearing loss in sport

In sport, communication is king. Taking instructions from a teammate, coach or orders from a referee or umpire; listening for buzzers, starting guns or whistles; and hearing the cheer of a crowd or a national anthem, are all part and parcel of the sporting experience. Take away these sounds and an athlete’s ability to compete could be severely diminished.

With help from technology experts and hearing specialists such as Hidden Hearing , hearing loss need not hold back an aspiring sportsman, whether they are amateur hobbyists or world-class performers.

Chris Colwill has 60 per cent hearing loss, and Tamika Catchings was born with a hearing disability, but both competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in diving and basketball respectively,

Bath rugby union star Mat Gilbert wears hearing aids underneath his skull cap. Diagnosed as deaf from the age of five, Gilbert has learned to survive and thrive in one of the most unforgiving sports in the world, and demands he is treated identically to other players by colleagues and opponents alike. Gilbert is also a keen supporter of getting young people with hearing issues to take up sports, as this article in SL First shows.

Similarly, NFL footballer and Superbowl winner Derrick Coleman overcame the challenges of hearing loss by wearing two hearing aids tucked within two skull caps.

Perhaps even more incredibly, mixed martial artist and wrestler Matt ‘The Hammer’ Hamill defeated several top names in both of the brutal sports. Despite being born deaf Hamill made such an impact on the sporting world that in 2010 a film was made about his achievements and life.

One would think that if deaf or partially-deaf sportsmen can compete in sports as physically demanding as American football, rugby and wrestling then there will be little that cannot be achieved. Some sportsmen even see hearing loss as an advantage – snooker player Joe Swail has severe hearing loss but says it makes him less likely to be distracted by the crowd. As this article in the Huffington Post shows, snooker is a sport which generally supports competitors with health issues.

For those with hearing loss who are unlikely to play at the highest level but still want to compete, there are several measures that can be taken to negate the impact.

Hearing experts can tailor an aid to fit in or around the ear, depending on the sport. Hearing aids inside the ear are more protected from external impact and the weather, but those behind the ear can actually be secured to clothing, to prevent damage from falls.

Hearing aids can be damaged by excessive sweat, rain, mud and other liquids, so seek advice from experts on which hearing aid will be best for your sport. Even a cheap and simple accessory such as a sweatband, hat or item of cleaning equipment might save you considerable money and hassle, while protecting your aid.

Consider telling a referee or linesman about your hearing loss in advance of the event, so that they know you may not hear their signal or command. They may then be able to use a different system to compensate.

The main thing to remember is not to give up – none of the sportspeople above did.

Five Reasons To Watch The 2014 World Cup

Hear that? Yep, it’s the sound of the clock gears slowly winding inexorably toward another World Cup showdown. The best teams on the planet are set to meet this June in the gladiatorial stadiums of Brazil to compete for football’s greatest prize. Expect the hype to reach stratospheric levels as time approaches kick off on Thursday June 12, when home team and favourites Brazil take on Croatia.

Anyone with the slightest interest in football knows that when World Cup fever hits it hits hard. Branded beer coolers, straw boaters, vuvuzelas, sticker books, mugs, shirts and underpants are bought on a whim and paraded with pride. Normal folk plunder their funds to buy footie merchandise from the high street, ebay.co.uk, street vendors and that guy who flogs socks and t-shirts in the car park at lunchtime. We back our team in every conceivable way.

As far as the national squads go the mind games have begun already. Roy Hodgson has pre-empted critics ahead of England’s match with Italy in the humidity of Manaus by telling his players to pump up the optimism, says The Guardian’s Owen Gibson. Under the austere management of former manager Fabio Capello the team flopped in South Africa, so Hodgson wants to dodge criticism for a dour display by the England team.

Brazil are keen to iron out the wrinkles too and manager Felipe ‘Big Phil’ Scolari has been swift to name most of his 23-strong squad. Surprises are few, but the fact that the talented Kaka is unlikely to make it may mean he has played his last in serious competition. Zenit’s Hulk is also under question, says ESPN’s Fernando Duarte, after Gerson, veteran of the Brazil ’70 team, backed Liverpool’s Phillipe Coutinho on the left.

With all that to ponder, lets ramp up the atmosphere another notch with five cast iron reasons to stay glued to the World Cup action this summer.

 1 Real home of football

Brazil and the South American teams are renowned for playing a brand of skillful football that relies as much on the rhythm of the samba as it does physical strength and grace. Teams from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil suck opponents in and dance around them to score. The beautiful game may have originated in England but Brazil has more often than not set the competition on fire with its skill, athleticisim and sheer trickery, winning the competition five times. This may be a case of football coming to its spiritual home.

2 Group of death

Watch favourites tumble in the so-called ‘group of death’. No-one actually dies, though the stress of watching your team struggle against the odds to qualify feels like it could squeeze the life out of you sometimes. Neutrals and fanatics alike love to watch the big names pitted against each other and any group with two or three big footballing nations competing head to head gets the label. You could argue that England’s Group D has that feel about it – Italy, former winners Uruguay and unknown quantities Costa Rica.

3 Dark horses charging the field

Another one for the neutrals or those who like to adopt a second team – just in case theirs is knocked out – is the dark horse. This mythical creature finds its true nature in the often unspectacular team that is just tough to beat, a team with surprising flair and one or two extraordinary players who cut through the favourites like a filleting knife through mackerel. Your team could get done up like a kipper by these boys.

4 Wonder goals

Like Dennis Bergkamp trapping a ball punted over his right shoulder from 50 yards and firing past a prostrate Argentinian, the wonder goal is what we all live for. Outrageous skill that ends in the net bulging outwards and a player wheeling away into World Cup history is always welcome. Think a young Michael Owen against Argentina or Ronaldinho out-foxing David Seaman. This time around watch two of the world’s best, Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, for goals of pure quality.

5 Spectacle unleashed

It might be a cliché but it is part of what makes this competition so special. The spectacle of the cup, colour and excitement, dancing hysterical crowds and Mexican waves. In the tropical heat of Brazil’s summer expect to sweat with the humidity soaked up from a carnival atmosphere half a world away and experience some serious footballing exotica. Bask in reflected glory and drink a few caipirinha cocktails to get in the swing.

 

 

The joys of the accumulator

There is no better feeling than winning a bet, except maybe winning a bigger bet, and never under-estimate your chances for a win using an accumulator. Readershere are invited to share their winning stories, whether they use an accumulator or other clever tactics for placing bets.

Most weeks I stick a few quid on an accumulator. At first I was carefully going through the form guides picking out the games that would pay off. Just how were Aldershot playing at home and was Torquay’s main striker fit for the weekend? Yet despite hours of painstaking research I never won a penny. So I started just trying out a random accumulator instead. Lo and behold it wasn’t long before it came off and I was a few hundred quid richer. The final game in my bet was a Championship match between Newcastle and Nottingham Forest, back when the Magpies were in the Championship a few years ago.

The Toon needed to win to get promoted so the odds were in my favour for a home win but knowing my luck Forest would derail their promotion campaign and walk away with the points. Amazingly, Newcastle dominated from start to finish and the final piece in my accumulator jigsaw fitted perfectly. I’ve never had one that big since but I’ll always remember how good my best bet ever felt. It was me and fifty thousand Geordies who were the happiest people in the world that night. It’s not often I can say that.

If you’ve experienced that feel-good feeling, you can share your best bet win

@bgo_official on Twitter, using hashtag #bgoBestBets.

EPL

People may argue on what is the toughest but entertaining football league in the world, and if you take a poll and ask a percentage of people, the majority of them will come back and say the Premier League in England.

Known for its fast pace and entertainment one can argue this is certainly the best league in the world as it clearly showed when the title came down to the last day of the season a couple of years ago and Manchester City eventually ran out the winners but only with a last gasp winner form Aguero in injury time which in turn ended Manchester United’s dream of another title, this was truly the best ending to a season once could dream to watch.

But before we had the Premier league we watched what was then known as “The Football League”, but in 1992 that all changed with the newly named “Premier League”. Reason for the name change was that clubs wanted to take advantage of the lucrative television rights deal which was going to be on offer.

The Premier league currently has 20 teams in its division, top four teams will qualify for a champion’s league position and the bottom three will get relegated. But when we talk about teams in English football we tend to talk about the “big Four” who happen to be “Liverpool”, “Manchester United”, “Chelsea” and “Arsenal” but recently we can add Manchester city into the equation as they are now heavily backed in the transfer window and have now become a force in the premier league. But since its existence, With the exception of Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95 and Manchester City in 2011-12, only three clubs have won the Premier League title – Manchester United (13 titles), Arsenal and Chelsea (three titles each). Since the summer of 2002, they dominated the top four spots, so I think it’s fair to say since its existence Manchester United have truly dominated the premier league.

On a European level I wouldn’t exactly say English teams have dominated but they have been there or thereabouts with Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United winning the champions league and also contesting the final. Between the 1992–93 season and the 2012–13 season, Premier League clubs had won the UEFA Champions league four times (as well as supplying five of the runners-up), behind Spain’s La Liga with six wins, and Italy’s Serie A with five wins, and ahead of, among others, Germany’s Bundesliga with three wins

Like most other leagues its season runs from August to May most of the games are played on Saturdays and Sundays and then a few games played midweek. There is no winter break in English football instead they have what they call “Festive Season football” so instead of relaxing or taking a winter break like most other leagues the premier league have fixtures on Boxing day and new year’s day along with the weekend football so if you are football fanatic like I am this is fantastic.

Having gone to numerous football games in England and around Europe I can say that the crowd in England are very passionate about the game and the atmosphere in some games is truly outstanding, something that lacks in other leagues.

The premier league is up there as being one of the most watched leagues in the world; it is broadcast to over 600+ million people in over 200 countries worldwide, but it is in Asia where the premier league is most popular where it is the most widely distributed sports programme. If you take figures from the British tourist board they suggest that 750,000 who visited England will take in a premier league game.

When we watch the premier league we watch football players from all nationalities but until the last five or six years this was never really the case. In fact  in the 1992 season alone just eleven players named in the starting line-ups for the first round of matches hailed from outside of the United Kingdom or Ireland. By 2000–01, the number of foreign players participating in the Premier League was 36 per cent of the total. In the 2004–05 season the figure had increased to 45 per cent. By 2009 the average Premier League team had an average of 13 foreign players in their side with under 40% of the players in the Premier League being English.

Out of the major leagues in Europe the premier league is arguably the hardest leagues to win as not like most other leagues which one can argue have only two or three big name teams, the premier league consist of a lot of big name teams and even the weak teams sometimes can be a force to be reckoned with especially when playing at home and this would make it difficult for the big four. And if you want my opinion on things, I would say it is the hardest league in Europe to win.

Guest Blog: Top tips for running a sports club

Behind every successful sports club there is a great team working behind the scenes. The UK sports and recreation sector relies on a volunteer workforce of around 5.8 million people; those who help out as referees and coaches, clean the kit after matches, drive the minibuses to events, and deal with all the administration needed in a thriving sports club.

Running a club is a great way to indulge a passion, learn new skills, and often to spend time with your children. But it also involves a huge amount of hard work, so anyone considering getting involved must do so with their eyes wide open. Enthusiasm is vital, but it can easily drain away if things are badly run. In many ways, it’s similar to operating a business. You’ll need people who have at least a basic idea of bookkeeping; insurance; marketing (to promote matches, and attract new players); staff management, and HR issues such as conflict resolution and communication skills.

Here are some useful tips to help you run your club well.

Administration

Staying on top of administration is a huge task in itself and can be so time-consuming it turns into almost a full-time job for a volunteer. Communication with players and parents on a regular basis, informing them of upcoming events, times of games, training, fees which require paying – it all stacks up. To make life easier, use software such as that offered by Parent Mail, which should streamline all of this and ensure you operate efficiently. Don’t just leave the admin work to coaches. It becomes a distraction for them when they should be focused on training.

Teamwork

By forming a small, trusted team around you who can help with the key tasks, such as brainstorming fundraising ideas and organising transport or accommodation arrangements, you will relieve many of the most common headaches in running a club. Make sure that everyone is aware of, and takes ownership of, their roles and responsibilities, and motivate them well. Some clubs also designate people to sit on fundraising committees, which can be a good strategy if they have the requisite skills.

Coaches

The best coaches will spot and nurture talent. Many of the world’s top sportspeople recognise that they might not be where they are today if they hadn’t had the right coach. So when you find good people, hold on to them! Try to make sure they have the right support network around them so the coach can concentrate on what he or she does best.

Child Safety

Any organisation that works with children needs to ensure that their safety is paramount at all times. There are various laws and guidelines in place, which you will need to abide by. The Football Association, for example, has a Charter Standard programme for clubs, which includes requirements for CRB checks for volunteers and a trained Welfare Officer.

Training

Training isn’t just for the players. Keep an eye out for any opportunities to put your staff on courses where they can learn new skills such as in Health & Safety, or financial management.

Remember to have fun!

Running a sports club shouldn’t be all admin. If you start getting bogged down in paperwork or day-to-day problems, think about why you got into it in the first place, such as being able to shout encouragement from the touchline, and make time to do that every weekend. Don’t lose your enjoyment.

Footie Quiz App Update

It is now over a month since we launched our football quiz app on Android and IOS and like all new apps a month provides you with a good period to fix bugs, reflect and asses what you could do better.

So in our recent update (Version 1.04) we have done the following:

  • Fixed a number of minor bugs.
  • Improved the dashboard counter and push notifications to make you more aware of the status of your challenges.
  • Added a walk through to help users understand Smart Match to enable them to get challenging  others.
  • Added to our Other Apps section with the inclusion of The Football Quiz app.
  • Added the following South American football quizzes:

Copa America

Copa Libertadores

Boca Juniors

Santos

Independiente

Club Universidad de Chile

River Plate

Sao Paulo

  • Added 100’s of more questions into our challenge quiz categories
  • Increased our general database with 100’s more questions – with a particular focus on our English Premier League Quiz.
  • Included more review promts – we really need you guys who like the app to rate it to help us climb up the app store charts!

So far we have had just over 1000 people download and play the app – mostly from the UK, but we have had downloads from as far away as Australia, Columbia and Nigeria.

However our work is not done and we have a long development pipeline to work on. If however you spot any issues or have a suggestion then please get in contact and let us know.

The FQ Team

When it comes to betting on the World Cup we think Worldcupbettingzone.com is the best site around.

 

The Football Quiz App

It would appear that good quality football quiz apps are like buses! You wait ages for one and nothing – then all of a sudden two come along at once!

Buoyed by the recent release of the Footie Quiz app we were a little surprised to stumble upon The Football Quiz by Ingeniemob.

TFQ

Intrigued, as we are when  we see any football quiz app released in  the Apple and Android app stores we downloaded it and played.

In our opinion it is without doubt one of the best quality football quiz apps out there. A refreshing change to all those boring football logo and picture quizzes apps designed by two bit developers.

It’s game play is crisp, simple and highly addictive. Great, well thought out graphics and authentic sounds – favourite football chants from all of the English Premier League (EPL) stadiums.

With two modes – Season and Quick mode the app allows the user to either have a full season of EPL fixtures where you play home and away in a battle to win the title. Or play Quick Mode on one of the various levels to test you football knowledge in a twenty questions game.

Soccer Quiz App

Question wise the level is very good and comprehensive and of a level you would find on our site. We always believe that you can judge a good football quiz app on the quality of its questions. Here, The Football Quiz succeeds where many of the current quiz apps fall miserably short.

Out of ten? We would give The Football Quiz 8.5.

So from the team at Footie Quiz its a thumbs up to The Football Quiz.

 

Footie Quiz App now available on iOS – as well as Android

 

Football Quiz App

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi all,

We have been promising the app to all our members for what seems like months, and we are proud to announce that it is finally here!

Released on Google Play for all Android phones and tables three weeks ago – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.maggiebeantech.footiequiz&hl=en_GB

Our iOS version is now complete and in the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/footie-quiz-career-challenge/id796168884?mt=8

So, what are you waiting for?!

  1. Download now – for #FREE
  2. Log in with your existing Footie Quiz details (or Log In with Facebook or Twitter)
  3. All your existing scores will be synced across
  4. Get challenging your mates!

Hull’s hopes dented by Chester injury

Hull City’s hopes of staying clear of the relegation zone have been dealt a blow with central defender James Chester ruled out until March with a hamstring. Hull’s defence is the best in the bottom half of the table so far in the campaign, and Chester has been a key reason behind Steve Bruce’s side’s impressive defensive record this season. His injury is likely to affect the club’s odds for relegation with Unibet.

Chester and his defensive counterparts have been essential to Hull entering February with a great chance of avoiding relegation this season, Bruce will now be desperately hoping the loss of Chester won’t see a collapse in the defensive unit that has so far been the Tigers’ backbone this season.

The hamstring injury is the same problem that sidelined Chester for three months earlier in the season, and Bruce admitted the injury was a massive blow to a player who had been in impressive form since returning to the side following his previous injury.

“James has damaged the tendon again, the one that he damaged at the start of the season. It’s not as bad as it was the first time he did it, but it’s still a concern because it is the same tendon high up in his hamstring,” said Bruce.

“He’s going to be at least six weeks away I would have thought. It’s a shame because he was just finding his feet again after his last spell out, but that is football,” added Bruce.

With his defence looking as solid as any in and around the relegation zone, Bruce added strikers Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic to his squad in the hope of finding the goals Hull will need to make sure they aren’t dragged into the bottom three. With the battle at the bottom looking set to go down to the wire this season, Hull will be hoping they have secured their top-flight status long before the final game of the campaign.

FootieQuiz App for our international friends

Football may have been born in England but it is without doubt an international game. When we launched our app into the Android marketplace a couple of weeks ago we did so in UK English only. Since then we have called in favours from friends to translate our Android app store descriptions into German, Greek and to amend our US version for our American Soccer loving cousins.

In German:

Diese app ist in englischer Sprache. Wenn Sie Fußball lieben und Englisch – lernen wollen, ist dies eine ideale Anwendung für Sie!

Das Team hinter der Nr. 1 Fußball Quiz Website am Internet – Fußball Quiz (www.footiequiz.co.uk) – ist stolz darauf, Ihnen das vorzustellen, was ist ohne Zweifel das beste Fußball Quiz App rund um ist: FootieQuiz – Karriere & Herausforderung (FQ K&H).

Mit mehr als 8.000 einzigartigen Fragen und über 500 verschiedene Quiz fragen, FQ K&H ist sicherlich das umfassendste und detaillierteste Fußball Quiz App auf dem Markt.

Eine breite Auswahl an Fußball Quiz: Club Quiz – 100 von den Fragen betreffen die Englische Premier League Teams wie Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea und jeden anderen Englischen Premier League Club und vielen große europäische Clubs – wie FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Celtic und Rangers. Für den deutschen Fußball Quiz Fan gibt es auch Quiz-fragen zu Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, FC Schalke 04, Bayer Leverkusen und der Bundesliga.

Für die österreichischen Fußballfans haben wir Quiz-fragen zur Wiener Austria und FC Red Bull Salzburg. Player Quiz – Von Messi, Suarez, von Drogba, Ronaldo – wir haben die größte Auswahl an Player Quizze allgemein. Wettbewerb Quiz – alle wichtigen WM-Wettbewerbe ist Standard – EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue1, World Meisterschaft, Champions League und vieles mehr. Kopf-an-Kopf bei einem Quiz – 100 von den einzigartigen Quiz-fragen fragen Sie auch Ihre Freunde, Kollegen und Fans anderer Fußball Quiz Liga Mitglieder.

FQ – K&H hat mehr Spiel und Tiefgang als alle anderen Quiz apps. Hast du Lust ein paar Stunden dein Fußballwissen zu testen? Dann wirf doch einmal einen Blick auf den Karriere Modus, in dem du die Liga Tabellen, zur Verbesserung ihrer Fähigkeiten und Attribute wie würdest du als eine echte Fußballer Erfolge freigeben , Abzeichen gewinnen und dich durch unsere 12 verschiedenen Ebenen – von Sonntag Liga Fußballer bis Weltrang Superstar bewegen. Du brauchst eine echte Ausdauer um sie mit der Premier League mitzuhalten.
Denkst du, du weißt mehr als die Freunde? Dann fordere diese heraus, ein schnelles Spiel zu spielen und es zu beweisen! FQ K&H ist das führende Quiz App ,das zu einem Kopf an Kopf Rennen im Herausforderers-Modus werden kann, mit all den Antworten und Ergebnisse.Wenn du willst und es kannst,kannst du es durch twittern oder Facebook in die Welt hinausrufen .

Herausforderers-Modus ist auch mit einem Liga Tabellen System verbunden, wobei dein Kopf an Kopf Resultat für dein weltweiten Ranking zählt – wie die Fußball-Koeffizienten können Sie sich an die Spitze von Spieler über sie! Bereits ein Mitglied der FootieQuiz.co.uk? Sehr gut – einfach anmelden und Ihr bestehendes Profil wird automatisch synchronisieren! Fußball Quiz | Kostenlose Fußball Quiz und Ratespiele Fragen www.footiequiz.co.uk

In Greek:

Αυτό το app είναι στα Αγγλικά. Αν σας αρέσει το ποδόσφαιρο και θέλουν να μάθουν Αγγλικά αυτή είναι μια μεγάλη app.

Η ομάδα πίσω από την νούμερο ένα ιστοσελίδα Ποδοσφαιρικών Γνώσεων στον ίντερνετ. – Footie Quiz – με περηφάνεια σας παρέχει την χωρίς αμφιβολία ΚΑΛΥΤΕΡΗ εφαρμογή Ποδοσφαιρικών Γνώσεων που κυκλοφορεί. Footie Quiz – Career and Challenge (FQ C&C)

Με περισσότερες από 8.000 μοναδικές ερωτήσεις και πάνω από 500 διαφορετικά τεστ γνώσης, η FQ C&C είναι σίγουρα η περισσότερο ολοκληρωμένη και λεπτομερής ποδοσφαιρική mobile εφαρμογή της αγοράς.

Παίξτε μια μεγάλη γκάμα από ποδοσφαιρικά τεστ γνώσεων:

Τεστ Γνώσεων για ομάδες – Εκατοντάδες ερωτήσεις για τις ομάδες της Αγγλικής Premier League όπως η Man. United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea και κάθε Αγγλικού ποδοσφαιρικού κλαμπ και πολλά από τα μεγαλύτερα Ευρωπαϊκά – όπως η F.C. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Celtic και Rangers. Για τους Έλληνες οπαδούς των ποδοσφαιρικών τεστ γνώσεων υπάρχουν επίσης ερωτήσεις για τον ΠΑΟΚ, τον Παναθηναϊκό και τον Ολυμπιακό.

Τεστ γνώσεων για παίκτες – Από τον Μέσσι μέχρι τον Σουάρεζ, από τον Ντρογκμπά μέχρι τον Ρονάλντο- έχουμε την μεγαλύτερη γκάμα από τεστ γνώσεων για παίκτες που κυκλοφορεί!

Τεστ γνώσεων για διοργανώσεις – Κάθε μεγάλη διοργάνωση όπως το EPL, Bundeliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, το παγκόσμιο κύπελλο και το Champions League και πολλά ακόμα.

Τεστ γνώσεων για 2 άτομα – εκατοντάδες μοναδικά τεστ για να προκαλέσετε τους φίλους σας, αυτούς που υποστηρίζουν την ίδια ομάδα με εσάς και άλλα μέλη της Footie Quiz League.

H FQ C&C έχει περισσότερο gameplay και βάθος από κάθε άλλη εφαρμογή γνώσεων. Θα θέλατε να σκοτώσετε μερικές ώρες τεστάροντας τις ποδοσφαιρικές σας γνώσεις; Τότε ρίξτε μια ματιά στο Career Mode, όπου μπορείτε να βελτιώσετε την θέση σας στην κατάταξη, να βελτιώσετε τις ικανότητες και τα στατιστικά σας, όπως θα κάνατε σαν κανονικός ποδοσφαιριστής, να ξεκλειδώσετε achievements – να κερδίσετε εμβλήματα και να ανέλθετε στα 12 διαφορετικά μας επίπεδα – από το ερασιτεχνικό πρωτάθλημα μέχρι αστέρας του παγκόσμιου στερεώματος. Θα χρειαστείτε μεγάλη αντοχή για να φτάσετε μέχρι τους επαγγελματίες.

Πιστεύετε ότι ξέρετε περισσότερα από τους φίλους σας; Τότε προκαλέστε τους σε ένα γρήγορο αγώνα και αποδείξτε το. Η FQ C&C είναι η πρώτη εφαρμογή γνώσεων – Η Quiz Up σας βάζει σε ένα ανταγωνιστικό παιχνίδι με έναν αντίπαλο, με όλες τις απαντήσεις και το σκορ να καταγράφονται ώστε να μπορείτε να δείτε ποιος πραγματικά ξέρει τα περισσότερα. Αν είστε εσείς τότε μπορείτε να το πείτε στο κόσμο μέσω Twitter ή Facebook.
Αυτή η λειτουργία έχει ενσωματωμένο και ένα βαθμολογικό πίνακα όπου τα αποτελέσματά σας ενάντια σε άλλους παίκτες μετράνε για την παγκόσμια κατάταξή σας – Όπως και στα Coefficients της FIFA μπορείτε να ανεβείτε στη κορυφή προκαλώντας παίκτες σε καλύτερη θέση από εσάς.

Είστε ήδη μέλος στο FootieQuiz.co.uk? Απλά συνδεθείτε και το υπάρχων προφίλ σας θα συγχρονιστεί αυτόματα.

Footie Quiz | Free football quizzes and trivia questions
footiequiz.co.uk

In US English:

The team behind the No.1 Soccer Quiz website on the net – Footie Quiz (www.footiequiz.co.uk) – are proud to bring you what is without doubt the BEST Soccer Quiz App around: FootieQuiz – Career & Challenge (FQ C&C).

With over 8,000 unique questions and over 500 different quizzes, FQ C&C is certainly the most comprehensive and detailed football quiz app on the market.

Play a wide range of football quizzes:

Club Quizzes – 100’s of questions on Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and every other English Premier League club and many major European clubs too – such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Celtic and Rangers. For US Soccer fans there is also quizzes on New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, Kansas City Wizards, LA Galaxy, Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer.

Player Quizzes – From Messi to Suarez, from Dempsey to Drogba- we have the widest range of player quizzes around!

Competition Quizzes – Every major cup competition is as standard – EPL, FA Cup, League Cup, World Cup, Champions League, MLS plus many more.

Head to Head Quizzes – 100’s of unique quizzes to challenge your mates, fellow supporters and other Footie Quiz league members.

FQ – C&C has more game play and depth than any other quiz app. Fancy killing a few hours testing your football knowledge? Then check out Career mode where you move up the league tables, improve your soccer skills and attributes like you would as a real football player, unlock achievements – win badges and move through our 12 different levels – from Sunday Park Player to World Class Superstar. You will need real stamina here to make it to the Premier League.

Think you know more than your mates or buddies? Then challenge them to a quick match and prove it! FQ C&C like the leading quiz app out there – Quiz Up sets you up in a Head to Head Challenge mode with all your answers and scores recorded so you can keep a tally of who really knows more. If it’s you then you can tell the world by Tweeting or posting it to Facebook.

Challenge mode also comes with a League table system whereby your Head to Head results count towards your Global Ranking – like the FIFA coefficients you can get to the top by challenging players above you!

Already a member of FootieQuiz.co.uk? Great – simply log in and your existing profile will automatically synchronise!

 

MLS Quiz Database Update

MLS Quiz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last couple of weeks we have been working hard to increase our football quiz database beyond the England and indeed Europe.

Our latest update has seen us expand our database of ‘soccer’ teams from the otherside of the ‘pond’. Fresh from our recent article on Major League Soccer we have added the following trivia quizzes:

Major League Soccer

LA Galaxy

Chicago Fire

New York Red Bulls

Seattle Sounders

Kansas City Wizards

If you are a fan of any other MLS franchise and would like us to add your team then get in contact and let us know.

So what is Major League Soccer (MLS)

MLS Quiz

The major soccer league or “MLS” as we know it is the professional soccer league in both the United States and Canada. It was founded in 1993 although the first season didn’t take place until 1996. It was founded as part of the Unites States Successful bid to host the 1994 World cup which went down flawless and in which the United States received huger credit for.

The “MLS” is composed of nineteen teams, sixteen in the Unites States and only three in Canada. The season in the Unites States differs from that of Europe where in runs from March until December with each team playing 34 times in a season and then the winner being awarded the “Supporters Shield” and then ten teams compete in the postseason MLS cup playoffs which then ends with the championship game “The MLS cup”. A bit like the “NBA – National Basketball Association “The teams in the MLS are divided into Eastern and Western conferences and midway through the season the teams break for the annual “All star game”, this is a friendly game which includes the finest players from the MLS against a club from a different league.

After its first season, MLS suffered from a decline in attendance. The league’s low attendance was all the more apparent in light of the fact that eight of the original ten teams began playing in stadiums owned or rented by American football teams, most of the venues with capacities of 60,000 or more. Also the leagues quality was cast into doubt when the U.S. men’s national team, which was made up largely of MLS players, was eliminated in the first round of the 1998 World Cup by losing to all opponents in the group stage and finishing in last place. However this all changed after the 2002 World cup when the United States made the Quarter finals of the world cup leading to the resurgence in American soccer and in particular the MLS. So in its first season after the world cup the MLS set an attendance record when 61,000 people witnessed the LA Galaxy take home their first title.

It is commonly known that when the season finishes in the MLS a few players will be loaned to a premier league club in England until the MLS season kicks off again in March, this is to keep a players fitness going and also to help out a premier league club who maybe do not have sufficient funds to go out and buy a player in the January transfer window.

In 2007 the MLS pulled off its biggest coup when David Beckham signed for the LA Galaxy, this made International headlines across the world and was seen as a positive signing for the Galaxy and also helped the MLS acquire more big name signings which to this day can be seen at all teams around the MLS. One of these big names is none other than Thierry Henry who played his football with Arsenal before moving to Barcelona and who now plays with New York Red bulls. Robbie Keane, another player that played his football in England moved to LA Galaxy and is currently captain and doing remarkable things. Another big name that has just been announced and will be moving to Toronto FC is Jermaine Defoe who currently plays for Tottenham Hotspur; he is the latest premiership player to join the ranks in the MLS after agreeing a four year deal. After his successful five years playing for LA Galaxy, David Beckham left the LA Galaxy in 2012 and now there is big talk that he will be setting up a franchise in Miami.

The MLS has faced criticism from FIFA and some domestic soccer fans for neither abiding by the FIFA calendar nor changing the league schedule to one that begins in August and ends in May to coincide with the European leagues. The criticism received is because the current March to December format clashes with CONCACAF GOLD CUP and also the WORLD CUP and other FIFA-sanctioned international competitions held in June and July. This only leads to top players abandoning their MLS teams during those two months so they can compete in these tournaments, and thus makes it harder for the league to recruit more of the world’s best players.

In my opinion the Major League Soccer is still a long way away from being on par with major leagues around Europe and this clearly shows with players joining the league when they are clearly past their best and also because it is not the number one sport in the U.S and to be honest it will never be as you have the likes of the NBA, NFL and the MLB all ahead of the MLS. One can only say that since its existence in 1993 the MLS has proven people wrong and to this day is still going strong.

Although he has long since left the MLS check out David Beckhams Greatest Ever MLS goals:

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Our EPL Clubs Database – Over 115 questions for every club

To be honest it is relatively easy writing football quiz questions for this site and our app when it comes to the ‘big guns’! They have illustrious histories, millions of fans, millions of column inches etc. However here at FootieQuiz we pride ourselves at our commitment to catering for the fans of the ‘smaller clubs’ which is why we are the only website on the internet to have a club quiz for every single English Premier League and Football League clubs (as well as some non League!).

Believe it or not  writing question on some of the new entrants (Hull, Cardiff et al)  to the EPL can be a challenging, so that is why we are proud to have hit a milestone of having over 115 questions for every single EPL club. Naturally we have more for some of the ‘bigger clubs’. The table below is a summary of all the questions that we and our members have written over the last four years.

Arsenal 304
Aston Villa 153
Cardiff City 115
Chelsea 271
Crystal Palace 115
Everton 154
Fulham 122
Hull City 116
Liverpool 396
Manchester City 165
Manchester United 465
Newcastle United 144
Norwich City 230
Southampton 116
Stoke City 121
Sunderland 118
Swansea City 116
Tottenham Hotspur 165
West Bromwich Albion 116
West Ham United 138

If you would like to add your clubs total – sign in and go to the add question section and do your club proud.

The Bundesliga comes to FootieQuiz

With the introduction of German football club quizzes and our Bundesliga quiz our guest editor Nash gives us his run down on German football.

The emergence and dominance of German football is evident with the fact that three of the last four years German clubs have contested the Champions League final.

The German football league or “Bundesliga” as it is known has been in existence since 1963 and comprises of 18 teams its top division. A total of 52 clubs have competed in the Bundesliga since its founding but there is no doubt that only one team stands out of the 52 and that is Bayern Munich, Germany’s top club winning the Bundesliga twenty three times. Starting to emerge and challenge Bayern Munich ascendency are Borussia Dortmund – although they have a long way to go match Munich’s titles haul.

The Bundesliga is composed of 2 Divisions and like most other continental leagues it’s season runs from August to May with a winter break for six weeks (mid-December through to the end of January), most of the games are played on Saturdays and Sundays and then a few games played midweek.

The Bundesliga holds the record for the highest league average attendance in Europe. German fans are also one of the most passionate in Europe and this clearly showed when I visited the “Commerzbank Arena” home of Eintracht Frankfurt. The crowds were unbelievably passionate and moisy. The most interesting about Bundesliga games is that once a goal is scored the announcer announces the first name of the goal scorer and the crowd scream his surname, so you can imagine 40,000 plus fans screaming the goal scorers second name.

Every team in the two Bundesliga must have a licence to play in the league, or else they are relegated into the regional leagues. To obtain a licence, teams must be financially healthy and meet certain standards of conduct as organisations.

As in other national leagues, there are significant benefits to being in the top division:

  • A greater share of television broadcast licence revenues goes to 1. Bundesliga sides
  • Bundesliga teams draw significantly greater levels of fan support. Average attendance in the first league is 42,673 per game — more than twice the average of the 2. Bundesliga.
  • Greater exposure through television and higher attendance levels helps 1. Bundesliga teams attract the most lucrative sponsorships.
  • Bundesliga teams develop substantial financial muscle through the combination of television and gate revenues, sponsorships and marketing of their team brands. This allows them to attract and retain skilled players from domestic and international sources and to construct first-class stadium facilities. 

As mentioned above the most popular Bundesliga team is Bayern Munich followed by Borussia Dortmund, these two teams would be the best known internationally followed by the likes of Schalke 04, Bayern Leverkusen, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

In the 2008–09 season, the Bundesliga reinstated an earlier German system of promotion and relegation, which had already been in use from 1981 until 1991

  • The bottom two finishers in the Bundesliga are automatically relegated to the 2. Bundesliga, with the top two finishers in the 2. Bundesliga taking their place
  • The third-from-bottom club in the Bundesliga will play a two-legged match with the third-place team from the 2. Bundesliga, with the winner taking up the final place in the following season’s Bundesliga 

From 1992 until 2008, a different system had been used in which the bottom three finishers of the Bundesliga had been automatically relegated, to be replaced by the top three finishers in the 2. Bundesliga. From 1963 until 1981 two respectively three teams had been relegated from the Bundesliga automatically, while promotion had been decided either completely or partially in promotion playoffs.

The Bundesliga is certainly up there with the likes of “La Liga” and “The Premiership” in terms of having strong teams when playing in the Champions League as Real Madrid and especially Barcelona – who found out last year what it was like to receive a thumping by the hands of Bayern Munich who over the two legs triumphed 7-0 and this led journalists to believe that the Bundesliga is currently the number one league in the world.

 

David Beckham and his cars: A potted history

In a career which has taken in World Cups, Champions League triumphs, spells in Madrid and Los Angeles plus a few unsavoury headlines, David Beckham has accomplished quite a lot during his playing days. Now, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid superstar has a life outside the game to look forward to.

It might involve going a few nice drives and, if his car history is anything to go by, he’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding which vehicle to use from his garage. Here are five of the best cars that Becks has had the pleasure of driving over the years:

Porsche Turbo

When he’s not buying cars for his parents-in-law, Becks is looking for sports cars that allow him to drive with the wind running through his hair. The Porsche Turbo is the sort of thing that would make any of his teammates jealous when rocking up at the training ground; one that most footballers would love to own.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

This is the sort of car that Becks might like to drive for the school run or perhaps through the countryside. You can imagine Brooklyn, Romeo and Harper Seven having plenty of room in the back to argue until they get dropped off!

Rolls Royce Phantom and Ghost

Beckham loves a Rolls Royce, both being British institutions, but they don’t come cheap. The Phantom is ideal for movie premieres or perfume launches with Victoria; while the Ghost is one he might want to drive while cruising along the Californian highways.

Bentley Continental Supersports

This is the typical footballer’s car. You could easily reel off a list of players who have the exact same model, but it’s easy to see why they like them so much. Speed, power and looks, not to mention the prestige of owning a Bentley makes them pretty alluring to have in your garage!

Chevrolet Camaro

Possibly influenced by his move to LA Galaxy, Becks has made a wise choice in forking out for this iconic Chevy. As mentioned by autoweb.co.uk, the Camaro has plenty going for it, especially when compared to similar models such as the Corvette C6. It’s one that will sit proudly alongside his Rolls Royces, Bentleys et al.

If you love David Beckham then why not try out our Beckham Quiz?

Weekly Leaderboard Fixed

We have finally fixed the weekly Leaderboard and this can now be viewed on the home page (by clicking the little ‘down arrow’ next to ‘Premier League Leaderboard’).

The Leaderboard is calculated nightly and ranks players in order of correct questions answered in the past 7 days!

FootieQuiz – Career & Challenge Beta Testing Update – Challenge Mode

Over the last couple of weeks the FootieQuiz team, friends and family and a number of site member have been Beta testing FooteQuiz – Career & Challenge to help ensure that when we launch in both IOS and Android in the next couple of weeks that we deliver on our promise to create the Best Football Quiz App out there. So far the signs are very very promising.

Central to delivering our promise is to successfully design, implement and execute our Challenge mode. We have seen many football quiz apps in our research and very few have been ambitious enough to try and develop a true Head to Head challenge mode. Those that have have struggled to get enough users to make their apps a success and or don’t provide a quality in game user experience.

We aim not to repeat those mistakes.

Since we released a few pictures of FootieQuiz – Career & Challenge a couple of weeks ago in this blog we have made some changes to Challenge mode. Below  we have summarised these.

Opponents

Football Quiz App - Fixture list

We have split the Opponents (and the fixtures screen) to separate the challenges that you have Received from those that you have Sent. From testing we felt that sometimes people were interested in either one or the other and therefore didnt want to have a long list from which they had to scroll to find what they wanted.

We have also easily allowed you to favourite an opponent so that they go into your favourites list to allow you to easily find them.

Avatars

Select Football Quiz

 

Avatars have been included which can be a picture of your choice – club badge or your mug – your choice!

Match Report

 

 

Football Quiz App Match Centre

 

We are currently working on functionality to allow you to instantly challenge your opponent to a rematch after you have been humiliated 3-0!

Head to Head 

Soccer Quiz & Trivia

 

 

You can keep track of all of your Head to Heads with every opponent with whom you do battle! We have also added a neat little form guide of your previous match.

Well that was just a quick update. If you have any questions get in contact.

With a couple of weeks to go we still have time for people to become Beta testers – if you are interested then drop us an email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FootieQuiz partner with Cult Zeros

FootieQuiz have teamed up with the chaps at Cult Zeros the makers of quality unique football merchandise. As a member of the Worlds No. 1 Football Quiz website you will be able to enjoy 10% of all orders from Cult Zeros.

cz_fq_banner

About Cult Zeros

Paul (Fulham) and Alex (Oxford United) met at college in Derby. Uninspired by their club’s merchandise and how the ‘smaller clubs’ were overlooked – at the time Fulham were heading for the bottom division kids! – they sought to change how things were. The first prototype was a Dean Saunders shirt designed by Paul for Alex’s birthday. Some years later,  now at the University of Life,  Cult Zeros was born over a few pints sat outside The Chancellor’s pub in Hammersmith.,  , Since 2005,  Cult Zeros have been printing thousands of shirts worldwide. Recipients of their shirts include Romario,  Johnny Metgod,  Shep Messing,  Arnd Zeigler,  Kay Murray,  Adrian Chiles and Talksport’s Adrian Durham (don’t hold that against us!)

What is a Cult Zero?, A Cult Zero is whoever you want it to be… Our football shirts celebrate players from the non-league through to World Cup legends. The t-shirts are custom-made,   you add the wording yourself,  therefore making them a unique gift for friends,  family or even yourself!, If you can’t find the player you want why not request one. We can print t-shirts of non footballers too,  even your friends! If you can’t find the player you want in our gallery then let us know and we’ll do our best to sort it out.

Visit us at www.cultzeros.co.uk

FQ members 10% Discount Code;

FootieQuiz Team up with Profit From Statistics – PFS

FootieQuiz are delighted to team up with the guys at PFS to offer our users a 20% discount on their excellent football predictions service. Simply login to their site and use the FootieQuiz code: FQUIZ to claim your discount.

PFS BANNER

“…If something happened 9 times out of 10 – would you bet on it to happen next time?…”

Our revolutionary ‘Statistical Analysis Software’ gives PFS member’s access to the most in depth betting -related statistics across the 3 major football leagues in Europe; the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and the German Bundesliga.

Each weekend ‘SAS’ generates predicted statistics for every league game from goals to cards and corners.

Predicting football is one of the hardest things to do…Statistics aid our decisions!

Using these statistics each game is carefully analysed and match forecasts and recommended betting recommendations are made available for PFS user’s each week along with a reliable and effective staking plan to make sure you are maximising profit.

Each week predicted statistics, match forecasts and betting recommendations are created for each fixture across the 3 leagues and are viewable on the website. Each member will also receive a weekly and monthly emails with the latest PFS previews and results.

Once you have selected your preferred package and signed up via the membership button you will gain full access to all statistics in accordance with their selected package. Enabling you to view individual club statistics, squad and player statistics, form guides and create head to heads each time you are logged into the site.

PFS gives all members access to cutting edge software which generates ‘match blueprints’ based on precise statistical analysis and in-depth statistics covering all the relevant football betting markets, giving users the chance to see what is likely to happen days before kick off!

Get your 14 day free trial today and start exploiting football’s proven trends.

Use promo code ‘FQUIZ’ to receive a 20% discount on all memberships!

Member Testimonials: 

“…Thanks for the e-mail and you’re the best football tipster around. Keep up your excellent tipping…”

“…Never thought about betting using statistics until I come on here, they are the way forward and the way to profit, cheers…”

“…Cannot recommend this service highly enough, uses statistics to back up ALL his selections and researches all the data there is out there. Top quality stuff…”

“…This guy is a statistical machine & tips are brilliant, thank-you!…”

“…I’ve been doing your bets since Wednesday and won almost £1200! Your a hero…”

Things You Didn’t Know About The Premier League

Premier League Trophy

There are many things about the Premier League we know. We know that Manchester United are likely to win the title every other year. We know Jose Mourinho will get sent to the stands every other week. And we certainly know all Arsene Wenger will say about it is that he “did not see it”.

But behind the obvious. Behind the fact that we know Crystal Palace are rubbish and Alan Shearer scored a lot, are some of the most interesting facts in football. We guide you through some of the things you never knew about the world’s greatest league.

Rio Ferdinand

This man has the cleanest record in football. Since August 2006, the Manchester United centre-back has only conceded 68 fouls in 182 games. That’s one wrong tackle every 2.7 games. Roy Keane conceded 68 fouls every 2.7 games!

To match this amazing record, the former England captain has only received 20 yellow cards in 485 appearances during his career. The record is even hard to believe for his United team mate Nemanja Vidic, “Seriously, that is a great run. He is so good at reading the game.”

Jamie Carragher’s Goal Scoring Record

Now, the Anfield hero has never been potent in front of goal. In fact Carragher scored as many goals for Spurs as he did his own club. During his career against the North London club, the Liverpool defender put it past his own keeper three times. The same amount he managed for the Reds.

He loved scoring own goals so much that he even scored a penalty (own goal) for Everton during his testimonial.

Stoke Don’t Keep The Ball Well

There has been a slight change in the way Stoke play since Hughes took over the Potters in the off-season. And despite Pulis being a favourite in the Premier League, it’s hardly surprising. Since joining the top-flight in 2008, the Staffordshire side have only had more than 50% possession in 13 games. Lucky for some. Unlucky for Stoke. They have yet to finish in the top 10 since their return.

Top 5 Super-Subs

Only five players have scored a hat-trick from the bench. Most recently was Romelu Lukaku against Manchester United. A feat in itself, he became only the sixth player to score three against Fergie’s United.

Fowler’s also holds history as the quickest of all time. Entering the field of play, Liverpool were 0-0 against Arsenal. Four minutes and 33 seconds later, it’s 3-0 and the Liverpudlian is rolling away in celebration having defied the football odds. Solskjaer, Hasselbaink and Adebayor have also strolled on from the bench and netted three for their side.

£1.56m Per Year- It’s The Going Rate

Doubling in the last six years, the average Premier League player earns £30,000 per week. Except Fernando Torres. As an average Premier League player, he earns £210,000 per week.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the average annual earnings of UK workers is £26,500, meaning you could probably afford to keep Ryan Shawcross for a week. Get him to tidy up round the back for you. He’s good at that.

 

 

The best football app ever: FootieQuiz – Career & Challenge

Football Quiz App

We we are now weeks away from the launch of our Footie Quiz app: FootieQuiz: Career & Challenge, and  as promised here is run through of what our members and fans can expect from our first foray into the smartphone world.

First up we are retaining all the new features of our new website with contemporary feel and style. Like the site there will be over 10,000 questions to answer on a variety of subjects – the largest collection of any football quiz app on the market!

The Football App

Crucially, FootieQuiz: Career & Challenge has been designed to automatically synchronise with your existing Footie Quiz online account so all of your recorded history of quiz attempts (wins and losses) will seamlessly integrate onto your smartphone account.

So whats new?

Well the biggest thing to shout about is our Challenge Mode.

FQ4

Now you can challenge a mate, a fellow support or any FootieQuiz: Career & Challenge member to a quick fire game football facts and trivia.

FQ8

Choose from one of 5 random subjects to really test your knowledge against theirs.

Football Quiz App

You record your scores as you go along from one challenge to another. All your individual Head to Head challenges create a score and a place in our Challenge League table.

The League table will work on a similar basis to the FIFA co-efficients system – so if you are in 99th position and you challenge someone in 5th place – they accept (they dont have to!) and you beat them then you will move up the table far more rapidly than say beat someone in 97th position. Dont accept challenges and you will naturally fall down the league anyway!

We have also enhanced the career mode you are familiar with when playing Footie Quiz online. A new feature will be our Achievements section. Like a footballer collects medals and accolades throughout their career you to will be able to unlock achievements such as the Rival Club Badge – successful complete the club quiz of your bitter rivals and you are awarded the badge. In our first version of the FootieQuiz: Career & Challenge there will be 20 such badges to unlock.

We have also enhanced our Career progression mode for the app. Now like the journey of footballing legend Ian Wright you start of the quiz in the amateur game – the more you answer successfully the quicker you work your way through our ten levels to the ultimate level of World Class SuperStar.

Other features include personalised skin linked to your favourite club, personalised avatar and ability to win (and buy) cool FQ merchandise (T-shirts and Phone cases) designed by Cult Zeros: http://www.cultzeros.co.uk/page/1/welcome-to-cult-zeros/

So how much will this cost? Well most of FootieQuiz: Career & Challenge will be free to download and play on Apples IOS, Android, Windows phone and Facebook. The ability to Challenge mates and unlock Achievements will will cost £1.99 to unlock.  And importantly the game will be ad free. I’m sure you agree that this is excellent value for money compared with the dross currently out in the various app stores under the terms ‘football quiz’.

Well that is it guys, we hope you like it as much as we have enjoyed building it and that you download it to make it the number one football quiz app on the Apples IOS, Android, Windows phone and Facebook app platforms.

As always we would love to hear your suggestion and if you are interested in being a beta tester on this exciting project.

 

 

The Evolution of Football Kits

Football has changed dramatically over the years from a politely contested fixture between two sides to matches that can start riots across a city because of the intense rivalry. Players have adapted from jogging towards the goal with the ball at their feet to turning opposition defenders inside out with pace and trickery before firing the ball into the top corner. Like all sports, it has changed and it has done so for the better without a doubt, and along with the game changing itself, certain aspects have also developed.

We’ve seen the introduction of goal line technology in the 2013/14 season which will hopefully help to prevent officials from making the wrong decisions, but one change that has been going almost unnoticed over the years is the evolution of the kits worn by the players out on the pitch. To many people, they’re just clothes worn to distinguish between the two sides, but to the teams they are a sense of identity and that’s why the fans spend so much money purchasing replica kits from stores like Newitts.com or the club’s official store, to show their support even away from the stadium on match day.

In the early days of the game, when the likes of Sheffield FC (recognized as the world’s oldest football club) would play Hallam or Notts County, there were no kits as such. Players would turn up for matches wearing whatever they could find, even cricket whites, and then wearing distinctive hats or scarves over the top so that they could stand out from the opposition team. In fact, it was Sheffield FC who first coined the idea of players wearing kits by stating in their own club rule book that “each player must provide himself with a red and dark blue flannel cap, one colour to be worn by each side”, meaning that they could give one coloured hat to the opposition to ensure it was blues versus reds at all times.

It was only when the FA Cup began in the 1871-72 season that kits really began to be created with the rules of the competition stating that each team must wear a distinctive kit. The colours chosen were often associated with the public schools and sports clubs that they grew from, or historical relevance.

From simple coloured kits soon came designed strips featuring hoops or stripes, around the time that the tops became known as ‘shirts’. Newton Heath – now known as Manchester United – were one of the first to adopt the ‘quartered’ style of kit in the 1890s, with the likes of Bristol Rovers still wearing the style today, and Blackburn Rovers wearing ‘halves’. In 1890, we saw the introduction of another rule regarding kits, whereby clubs had to register their own colours to avoid any clashes occurring. This would eventually become the basis of what we know today as the ‘away’ kit where a club will wear a completely different strip when they play against another club that wears similar colours (this was brought into effect in 1921).

As we began to move through the 1900s, kits began to become more stylish with the likes of Manchester United adopting the ‘V’ style around the neck. It was 1909 before goalkeepers were required to wear a different kit, with the Football League wanting clear indications as to just who was in goal to avoid confusion for watching supporters, opposition players and the match officials.

During the next few decades there was very little innovation in terms of kit design, but more manufacturers did appear on the scene with the Humphrey Brothers Clothing company – now known as Umbro – becoming one of the most popular.

Arsenal were one of the first to break the mould in terms of shirt design, by adding contrasting white sleeves to their red shirts in the 1932-33 season. This, and the exposure of British clubs to European competition, prompted designers to look into new styles of kits altogether, with clubs realizing that their European counterparts were wearing much more stylish, lightweight, comfortable kits and this may benefit them going forward. Kits soon featured v-neck collars rather than the traditional shirt collar, short sleeves and lightweight cotton shorts.

By the 1980s and 90s, clubs were reaching their centenaries and celebrated by releasing commemorative shirts to mark the occasion. This is now seen as routine by many English clubs, who will ditch their traditional styles – even for one season – in favour of a modern version of the shirt they wore 100 years ago.

By the late 90s and early 2000s, clubs had taken to selling replica versions of their shirts to supporters, complete with names and numbers printed on the back. This soon became the most valuable marketing strategy for clubs to enhance their status in the local area – and beyond – and the all important bank balance that would let them spend more money on the top players in the game.

Today clubs will change their strips every couple of years – or even every year – because of the size of the market looking to purchase replica versions. Even the slightest changes to the shirt, such as a black collar, makes a difference and fans will still buy them to show their insatiable support for their club.

NASH’S PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW WEEK 11

The opening half of the Premier League season has thrown a ton of tight match-ups and week 11 assures to be no different. BLOCKBUSTER ALERT: Table topper Arsenal would be facing current champions and an old time foe Manchester United on Sunday evening, before that match takes place, there are plenty of tricky contests to look forward to. Here is the full round ups of all the games taking place.

ASTON VILLA V CARDIFF CITY @ Villa Park

Cardiff are siting one point clear of Villa in the league table. Cardiff would be high on confidence after last week’s derby win against Swansea. For Villa, they have had a disappointing start to the season, when Benteke scores, they look a whole different team. Agbonlahor and Delph should be available for Villa to play on Saturday. I predict Villa to win it, but only so narrowly.

PREDICTION 1-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Cristian Benteke: Without him scoring Villa just look like an ordinary side, it is about time he scores and Cardiff should provide him an easier match-up, to get up and running.

CHELSEA V WEST BROM @ Stamford Bridge

The Apprentice V the Master, this could be an exciting encounter especially with Chelsea’s wobbling start to the season, West Brom themselves have made a poor start compared to last season. Chelsea would love to take the momentum from midweek’s 3-0 over Schalke and many would expect them to win, BUT Steve Clarke is a clever manager, West Brom can get a result here.

PREDICTION  2-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Eden Hazard: currently looks out of sorts with all the rotation going around him, but is an impressive player and should be the to keep an eye out on all season

Sessegnon: He has had an impressive start to his West Brom career and for West Brom to have any chance in getting a result, he would be the key.

CRYSTAL PALACE V EVERTON @ Selhurst Park

Everton have been consistently good this season and they are playing against Palace, a side who is literally struggling in the Premier League. It would be an easy day out for Everton and another clean sheet to add to the tally. I don’t see a better fortune for Palace in the near future, if they lose against Everton, it would be their seventh consecutive loss.

PREDICTION 0-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Lukaku: He is a power forward, already scored 5 goals and this couldn’t be an easier match-up for him to increase his tally. Watch out Palace defence.

LIVERPOOL V FULHAM @ Anfield

Liverpool just didn’t start their engines against Arsenal last week, they would be raring to go and get that set back off their backs against Fulham. A loss for Fulham potentially means the last game for Martin Jol. Fulham have just haven’t clicked as a team. Liverpool are too strong a team. Expect another drubbing at Anfield.

PREDICTION: 4-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Suarez/Sturridge: They can disregard the Arsenal game, for them to be a Champion team, they need to score against tough opponents, but against Arsenal, Liverpool were not working it out as a team. But now Fulham awaits and should be a tough competition in who will score more goals? Suarez? Or Sturridge?

SOUTHAMPTON V HULL CITY @ St. Mary’s Stadium

It is no fluke for both the teams, in where they sit in the Premier league table. Both teams look promising and play compact football. Southampton have the best defensive record in the premier league, allowing only four goals and the second best in Europe. Hull would find it difficult to crack the Saints defence. It would be a tough midfield battle between both teams but the Saints would eventually come out winning.

PREDICTION: 1-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Jay Rodriguez: He is still the player to watch out for this Premier League season, as the season progresses, he will do wonders. Look out for him.

NORWICH V WEST HAM UNITED @ Carrow Road

Norwich have always struggled defensively and very look bleak. The play West Ham a team who struggles to score (they don’t play a striker, you see). This equals the odds, but Norwich would wish to bounce back after last week’s 0-7 drubbing by City. Expect to be a dull game, with plenty of long balls and defensive errors and Norwich might sneak in a goal.

PREDICTION: 1-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Van Wolfswinkel: He is hopeful to make a return, if he plays Norwich chances of winning skyrockets. Norwich need his services up front.

TOTTENHAM V NEWCASTLE UNITED @ White Hart Lane

Spurs have had a decent start to the season, with all the new signings, it’s difficult to gel as a team so soon, still they are sitting 4th in the table. They can only get better. Newcastle had an impressive win over Chelsea last weekend and would be hoping to capitalise on that against the Spurs as well. Spurs are not a scoring team, so they would hold down the Magpies offensively as well as defensively. It would be a well fought encounter, ending in a draw.

PREDICTION: 1-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Loic Remy: he has been the signing of the season for Newcastle, without him the Magpies season would have been disaster, expect him to bother the Spurs defence all day.

SUNDERLAND V MANCHESTER CITY @ Stadium of Light

Well history suggests, City have always struggled at the Stadium of Light losing 1-0 for the last 3 years. Will this time be different? Well the Black Cats have found some resurgence, and winning against the Saints midweek in the Capital One Cup would have helped. City on the other hand, have been in prolific scoring form. And Negredo and Aguero are proving to be a deadly combo. This is to me is going to be an upset of the week, going with the history.

PREDICTION: 2-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Steven Fletcher: for Sunderland to do well, Fletcher needs to be scoring, he is the most experienced and a stable personality that can guide the whole team together.

Sergio Aguero: he has scored eight goals in the season and is looking in ominous form, any defensive lapse by the Black Cats and he’ll pounce upon it.

MANCHESTER UNITED V ARSENAL @ Old Trafford

Arsenal looking like The Invincibles, for which they were known for before. They are one of the best teams in form around the world. Playing world class football and on Sunday they travel to Old Trafford, the home of the current league champions; Manchester United. United have had a horrendous start to their season, Januzaj being the only saving grace. A win here for United and it can lift their whole season and David Moyes would be know that. But for United to beat Arsenal, they have to play like a Champion team that they are. Going for a United win, just to make the premier league and the league table more interesting.

PREDICTION: 3-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

RVP: Do I even have to mention him. He would be the focal point for both sides.

Ramsey: He is in brilliant form, is running high on confidence and he tends to find gold in whatever he does nowadays.

SWANSEA V STOKE CITY @ the Liberty Stadium

Swansea usually don’t play well on premier league weekends when they are playing in the Europa League midweek. They have been very inconsistent and the form of MICHU has had so much to do with it. Stoke on the other hand are just finding it tough to play a certain type of football, which they could stick to it. Scoring goals has been tough for Stoke, they have just scored seven times this season, out of which one goal came from the goalkeeper. Going by Swansea’s inconsistencies after playing the Europa league game midweek. A draw is on the cards.

PREDICTION: 0-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Michu: He plays a vital role in how his team performs as a whole, his current drought of goals, has affected Swansea as well. He is too important a player for Swansea.

 

 

Guest Blog: The battle for the first place

The eyes of most English soccer fans will be on Emirates Stadium this Saturday, when Arsenal host Liverpool.

Despite their loss at home at the beginning of the week against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, most of soccer driven Sportsbooks have Arsenal as favorite for this game. The Gunners are in first place of the Premier League with 22 points.

After a surprising defeat in week one at Emirates against Aston Villa , Arsenal has seven wins and one draw. They are the second best offense of the tournament with 20 goals scored, only behind Manchester City who has 21.

Frenchman Olivier Giroud and Wales’s Aaron Ramsey are the top scorers for the Gunners, with five goals each, but this Saturday will face a tough match against one of the best defences in the league. Liverpool have shipped only eight goals this season, but five have come away home.

The Reds are in third place with 20 points will try to steal the lead this weekend. English striker Daniel Sturridge is having a great year and is the top scorer of the Premier with eight goals.

Liverpool attack has within it one of the best forwards in the League, Uruguayan Luis Suarez, who has six goals in only four games. The problem for the Reds is that they rely too much on their stricker. Sturridge and Suarez have combined for 14 their 17 goals on the season.

This will be the first Liverpool game on the road against one of the top five teams. When they visited Manchester United on the third round of the Capital One Cup they lost 1-0 with one goal of Mexican striker Javier Hernandez.

Arsenal have only lost one of the last 16 home games against Liverpool, including FA Cup, Community Shield, Carling Cup and Champions. In 178 games between these two squads in the league, the Reds lead the stats  with 69 wins and 47 draws.

 

 

FootieQuiz Re-skin latest

From 1st November the worlds number one football quiz website will be having a brand spanking new look!

Au revoir 2005 bienvenida 2013.

As part of our reskin we are introducing a new Players Quiz section. This part of the site will be broken down into the following headings:

Legends

EPL Legends

Superstars

C-Listers

So far we have the following player quizzes:

Football Legends Quizzes:

  • Bryan Robson
  • Diego Maradona
  • Gary Lineker
  • George Best
  • Ian Rush
  • Johan Cruyff
  • Kenny Dalglish
  • Marco Van Basten
  • Pele
  • Zinedine Zidane

English Premier League Legends

  • Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Alan Shearer
  • David Beckham
  • David Ginola
  • Dennis Bergkamp
  • Didier Drogba
  • Eric Cantona
  • Frank Lampard
  • Gianfranco Zola
  • Matthew Le Tissier
  • Michael Owen
  • Patrick Vieira
  • Paul Scholes
  • Peter Schmeichel
  • Robbie Fowler
  • Roy Keane
  • Ruud Van Nistelrooy
  • Ryan Giggs
  • Steven Gerrard
  • Thierry Henry
  • Tony Adams

Global Football Superstars

  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Luis Suarez
  • Gareth Bale
  • Raul

Footballs ‘C-Listers’

  • Dion Dublin

Please get in contact to tell us what player quizzes you would like to see included in the new FootiQuiz site. We are currently undecided about our C-Listers section. Give us some names of people you would like to see covered by our football quizzes. Please take the time to vote in the poll below or leave comments with your suggestions.

[polldaddy poll=7492403]

 

Nash’s Premier League Review: Week 8

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The Premier League is back this weekend, get your favourite Premier League club shirt on. It promises to be another weekend full of exhilarating match-ups and surprises. Arsenal are sitting top on the table, equal on points with Liverpool, thanks to their superior goal difference But who’s going to win the Premier League? Sunderland and Crystal Palace already are drifting from the others at the foot of the Premier League. So are we ready for some mouth-watering action?

Here is the low down on this week’s action.

NEWCASTLE UTD V LIVERPOOL @ St. James Park

Brendan Rodgers will have a full strength squad at his disposal on Saturday, one of the rare luxuries he hasn’t enjoyed since the start of the campaign. Suarez and Sturidge would be a constant threat to the Newcastle defence. Newcastle on the other hand, have been inconsistent. Loic Remy seems the only saving grace for Newcastle. I would go for Liverpool winning it.

PREDICTION: 0-3

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Luis Suarez: 3 goals in 2 matches, seems like he never left. The ban could have only made him a better player. He looks totally in control with himself.

Daniel Sturridge: He is not fully fit, and still manages to score somehow. He can only get better. At the end of the week, should see him as the leading goal-scorer.

Loic Remy: He has been in stupendous form, if only Newcastle’s defence could abide by the same, he is currently tied with Daniel Sturridge as the leading goal scorer in the Premier League.

ARSENAL V NORWICH CITY @ the Emirates

The table toppers have been in scintillating form, since the arrival of Mesut Ozil. For Norwich the story remains the same, they just don’t know what kind of football style to adapt, and that portrays in their league position. But against Arsenal, a defensive approach would be on the cards. Arsenal should win this quiet easily.

PREDICTION: 4-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Mesut Ozil: If Norwich are going to come out with a defensive outset, Ozil would be the go to guy. He will be the lock-picker. Could see him scoring as well.

CHELSEA V CARDIFF CITY @ Cardiff City Stadium

Another rotational squad is on the cards for Chelsea, Cardiff have shown a lot of resistance and character this season, but there is way too much going on in Cardiff, and thinking about winning at Stamford Bridge seems preposterous. Chelsea would see this one out quiet easily, ahead of their crucial champions league encounter against Schalke.

PREDICTION: 2-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

JUAN MATA: Have always said playing Mata is the logical thing to do. You just have to get used to it Jose. He will outperform against Cardiff as well.

EVERTON V HULL CITY @ Goodison Park

Both teams have had an impressive start to their season, especially with many pundits predicting Hull to be relegated this season, which they still could, but they look a promising. Everton have slowly and steadily caught hold of Roberto Martinez’s playing style and look reasonably stable. This one could be an exciting game, could go either side, an entertaining draw is what I predict.

PREDICTION: 2-2

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Romelu Lukaku: He has been on a scoring streak for country and club, and certainly looks like the player to watch out for, all season. If you want to bet your money on, Lukaku would be the go to player.

Robbie Brady: He is the top scorer for Hull, having already scored four times. He is all set to return to action.

MANCHESTER UTD V SOUTHAMPTON @ Old Trafford

Let’s ignore history and accept the fact that Man Utd are going to struggle this season, and I think a quarter of Manchester has already accepted that. Southampton are in splendid form, lying fourth in the table. They bring a kind of charisma and sparkle to their play, which is soothing. Last week Adnan Januzaj took all the limelight, this week it’s all going to fade away, predicting an upset here.

PREDICTION: 1-2

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

SOUTHAMPTON DEFENSE: They have been just fantabulous, conceding only 2 goals so far this season. Persie and Co. going to find it difficult to penetrate them. Old Trafford or not.

RVP: Seems like if he shines, the team shines. Last season is a good example of, how much united rely on RVP. They are going to need his services. BIG TIME.

STOKE CITY V WEST BROM @ Britannia Stadium

West Brom have not lost a game since the start of September, they are in fantastic form, while Stoke City have forgone a completely opposite path. Having lost all their last three games, Mark Hughes side are finding it very difficult to score, having scored only four times this season. I would predict West Brom to carry on their scintillating run and win.

PREDICTION: 0-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Berahinho: one of the U21’s to watch out for this season, he is shining and shining bright.

Begovic: He has been making fabulous saves, though the results are not reflecting. He has been rock solid. Expecting some crucial saves, might save the game.

SWANSEA V SUNDERLAND @ Liberty Stadium

It would be Gus Poyets first game at the helm of Sunderland FC, will fortunes turn? Swansea are without a home win for the last 8 matches, they have been performing well in the Europa league and that is affecting their domestic form. There might be a glimmer of a chance for Gus Poyet to salvage any points, from Swansea’s lacklustre domestic form.

PREDICTION: 1-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Steven Fletcher: He has recovered from his shoulder injury, and if he plays he would be a serious threat for the, weak Swansea defence (without Ashley Williams).

Michu:  The Spain call-up might have enthused some confidence. He would want to perform well consistently.

WEST HAM V MANCHESTER CITY @ Upton Park

West ham would be sky high, after upsetting Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in week 7, they usually don’t score too many goals, but Sam Allardyce found a way to do so. Manchester City on the other hand are high scorers in the Premier League themselves, scoring 17 times already, but they are allowing more goals as well. It could go either way. A draw would be a satisfying result for West ham.

PREDICTION: 1-1

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Ravel Morrison: He took Tottenham by storm, he would have a few more defenders keeping an eye on him, but he should flourish.

Sergio Aguero: He will get chances, it will be difficult for the West Ham defence to keep him off. Expect him to score.

ASTON VILLA V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR @ Villa Park

The defeat against West ham would have been a wakeup call for AVB, Aston villa are proving to be a tough team to face at Villa park, it would certainly be an entertaining encounter. Tottenham haven’t won in their last 2 games and them being a top 4 team is certainly under the scanner. Villa’s new signings are bearing fruit now, everyone is performing exceptionally.

PREDICTION: 1-1

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Benteke: one of the members of the Belgian brigade, on his day he can be world class. Most likely to score a goal from the villa team.

Christian Eriksen: He seemed a bit off against West Ham, but he certainly is a playmaker and would do wonders in the coming matches.

CYRSTAL PALACE V FULHAM @ Selhurst Park

Both teams are in desperate need of victory, Fulham will be looking to have back to back wins for the first time this season. It should be a dull match, don’t expect anything entertaining.

PREDICTION: 0-1

KEY PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR

Berbatov: for Fulham to shine, Berbatov needs to be scoring, this might be the match where he’ll outperform.

 

 

The Miracle of Istanbul, United’s Late Show and Gunners hit Reading for 7

Matthew Glazier of www.bettingpro.com looks at some of the best football comebacks of the past few years

Two English teams have produced a stirring comeback to win the Champions League in recent memory; while there have also been some fantastic performances in the Premier League which have seen losing teams rally to get a draw or better.

1) The Miracle of Istanbul

Liverpool were staring down the barrel in the 2005 Champions League final as Milan ran rings around Rafael Benitez’s team and stormed into a 3-0 lead, with Paolo Maldini scoring in the first minute before a late first-half brace from Hernan Crespo looked as though the cup had been won for the Rossoneri.

However, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had other ideas and his 54th minute goal set the Reds on the path to recovery. Amazingly, they were level on the hour mark thanks to goals from Smicer and Alonso, with Jerzy Dudek producing an amazing save to deny Andriy Shevchenko and the final went to penalties. Converted spot kicks from Hamann, Cisse and Smicer were enough to claim victory.

2) Sheringham and Solskjaer party like its 1999

Liverpool’s success came six years after another famous Champions League win for an English club, with Manchester United spending 84 minutes trailing to a Mario Basler effort until the most dramatic of finishes which saw the Red Devils score two injury-time goals.

In fairness, it was a poor performance from Sir Alex Ferguson’s team at the Camp Nou and Bayern could have been out of sight before Teddy Sheringham looked as though he had sent the game into extra-time, although Solskjaer’s goal in the third minute of injury-time meant that UEFA quickly changed the ribbons on the trophy before it was held aloft by Peter Schmeichel.

3) Arsenal come from 4-0 down to win 7-5 at Reading

During the 2012/13 season, the Gunners and the Royals exchanged 24 goals in three matches although it was the League Cup clash at the Madejski Stadium which was the most dramatic by far, with Arsene Wenger’s team going 4-0 down after 37 minutes as Reading ran riot.

Just as Wenger was about to read the riot act at half-time, Theo Walcott’s 45th minute strike threw the visitors a lifeline and Olivier Giroud’s goal just after an hour created lots of tension among the home side. However, Laurent Koscielny’s 89th goal looked like being a mere consolation before Walcott poached a fourth a minute later to take the game to extra-time.

The momentum was with Arsenal and Chamakh put the visitors ahead for the first time although Pogrebnyak looked to be taking the tie to penalties when scoring for 5-5 before Walcott and Chamakh scored at the death.

Matthew Glazier is the Managing Editor of an award-winning sports, news and betting website.

How to Train Hard and Become the Next Gareth Bale

In 2007 Gareth Bale was a highly regarded young prospect. He was soon bought by Tottenham Hotspurs for a tasty fee of around £7m, but failed to live up to his hype for the next few years. Through the right training, nutrition plan and equipment he has improved beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Your training equipment holds the key to your improvement and at http://www.thesoccerstore.co.uk/football-training-equipment you can find the gear to make you a star. 

So, training doesn’t make a difference you say? In August 2013 Gareth Bale made the world record signing of £85.3m, with Real Madrid being the lucky team to secure his services. Bale, 24, had a few mediocre seasons followed by two sensational, record-breaking seasons in England. Now he is considered one of the best talents the game has to offer, and he can proudly say he is the “most expensive” talent in the game. So with the right plan, effort and dedication you too can become the best footballer you possibly can. 

Nutrition is an important part of your pursuit to be the best. There are certain super-football-foods that are labeled as the perfect choice to improve your fitness and ability. Firstly, drinking water is important. Secondly, it’s important to eat a good amount of protein such as chicken or fish. It’s recommended that you eat a balanced meal, meaning putting foods like jacket potatoes and vegetables alongside the others- this will only help to increase your abilities. 

When speaking to Four-Four-Two magazine Gareth Bale was asked about the importance of his nutrition and he repliedMassively important. If you get your diet and hydration right you’re going to be a step ahead of everybody else on the pitch. If you’re hydrated properly you reduce your risk of injury and if you’re committed to your fitness programme you’ll be able to last longer, running just as hard in the last minute as you were in the first.

Who are we to argue with the world’s most expensive player?

As many champions have said before- champions aren’t made on the football pitch- they are made through hard work and dedication in every aspect that influences your abilities. One fundamental aspect of being the best is the ability to train hard and improve yourself at every chance possible. There’s many key attributes such as pace, strength and football skills in general that all require work, but Gareth Bale when asked about the importance of training hard to improve his acceleration replied It’s massively important to my game, especially the way I play, running at defenders. If you’ve got that explosive acceleration you’re able to get away from defenders and either shoot and score or pass or cross. It gives you an extra advantage over your opponent.

So what kind of training will help you to improve? 

Ball control

There are many traffic cones, superdomes and poles that you can use to run around and use as a marker for sprints. More importantly these pieces of equipment will be perfect for enhancing your ball control. Warm yourself up by having a light jog around these and then increase the pace, but use a football from there on. By performing different drills with this equipment you will notice your ball control will improve, so much that it will seem you have built a connection between your feet and the ball.

Speed and agility

Having the best speed and agility possible is an important aspect in becoming the best. Speed and agility ladders and hurdles will enhance these attributes, if used correctly. By using these training tools you will be able to see what you’re achieving and set realistic goals to help you on to your way to improvement.

Passing and shooting drills

It’s great to have a structured plan to help you become the best player you possibly can. Doing football only drills will see you lack natural fitness, and if you do the opposite you will be a fit athlete with no football ability. So taking care of the basic skills like passing and shooting will help you become the best player possible. Football goals and various targets will help your shooting, and passing arcs will help you develop a better passing range.

All of these types of training equipment will help you further your game, but it’s important to find what plan suits your own personal targets, rather than following the normal routine of others. For example there is no need to concentrate on your tackling ability day in and day out if you’re an attacking player.

All of these tips are vital fundamentals to follow if you are to become the best player you possibly can. It will require dedication, time and effort, but if you want to be worth £85.3m then that’s what it takes. Gareth finished by saying “Rest, sleep and getting food and drink on board are all key elements. Recovery is essential if you want to get ready for the next training session and match.” So what are you waiting for?

 

New Footie Quiz Leader

We have a new leader at the top of the Footie Quiz Premier League!

West Ham United fan, Ben, has made it to the top of the Footie Quiz league by answering over 8,000 questions since joining the site in July!

English Football: The Ugly Duckling

The eighties. Ex-Aberdeen and Scotland manager Sir Alex Ferguson made a shaky start to a 27 year-long rein at Manchester United, which, despite taking him to just 11th in the league in his first and third seasons, would go on to net the club 49 trophies, both domestically and in Europe; the back-pass and Bosman rules hadn’t been invented yet; the Premier League was still known as the Football League First Division and Liverpool were a dominating force at home and abroad, winning the European Cup in ‘81 and ‘84. The league table would look somewhat alien to the under-twenties, with the likes of Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest, now both in the Championship, both featuring highly in the rankings. Spain weren’t quite as unstoppable as they have been in recent years. On the other hand – or foot – the other national teams were much the same with Italy and Argentina winning the ’82 and ’86 Fifa World Cups, with Germany being runners up in both tournaments and England yet to win since ’66.

However, this wasn’t the only aspect of ‘80s football that would seem unusual to the younger football fan. Crunching tackles were no longer a yellow or red card offence, the best offense was a good defence and the concept of ‘total football’ began to spread across Europe.

The Best Offense was a Good Defence

Rather than the attractive, attacking way of football, which many teams have adopted over recent years, the object of English ‘80s football wasn’t to score more goals against the opposing team, but to stop them scoring against you. An infamous example of this is George Graham’s ‘boring, boring’ Arsenal and their back four in the mid-to-late ‘80s, before the Wenger era of slick passing and attacking at speed. The impenetrable wall of defenders consisting of Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould, who’s now assistant manager at the club, became famous for the ‘offside trap’ where the defenders would stand in alignment with the opposing team’s attacker, only for the last defender, often Adams, to step forward just before the attacking pass was made, rendering the move offside and frustrating the opposition.

Going to Ground

The eighties was renowned for its no-nonsense approach to tackling; defenders wouldn’t think twice about going to ground and sliding in for a tackle that would leave most referees these days reaching for their back pocket. Left-back Stuart Pearce, ex-manager of England’s under-21 team, made over 400 appearances for Nottingham Forest in the First Division in the mid-to-late ‘80s and was affectionately nicknamed ‘Psycho’ due to his somewhat overly ‘enthusiastic ‘challenges.

Similarly, Ipswich Town centre-back, Terry Butcher, featured in one of the most iconic, English footballing images of all time. The courageous defender leapt into an aerial duel in England’s ‘89 World Cup Qualifier against Sweden, only to completely split his head open in a clash of heads. Butcher had his head bandaged but carried on playing, agitating the wound and leaving him and his white England kit covered in claret.

Total Football

The tactical style of passing and moving, interchanging positions and attacking, wing play was first developed in Holland, at Rinus Michel’s Dutch side Ajax in the late ‘60s and was honed during the 1970s, where they experienced one of their most successful periods, winning 5 titles in 1972. Johan Cruyff refined the technique during his time as manager from ’85 to ’88, after playing at the side for the early portion of his career, and later in the early ‘80s. Cruyff’s appointment as Barcelona manager in 1988 saw his adopted theory of ‘total football’ transported to Spain, which has given birth to what modern fans know as ‘ticka tacka’ football, still played by the likes of Barcelona, and a different type of pass-and-move football, orchestrated worldwide from the British ‘David’, Swansea, to Germany and European ‘Goliath’, the Bundesliga’s Bayern Munich.

Heroes of the 1980s

An aspect of modern football that hasn’t changed is the hero factor. Just as we have Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale today, the ‘80s laid way for men such as Ajax striker Marco Van Basten; England legends Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne; and Argentinian superstar Diego Maradona.

Van Basten played for Ajax during the ‘total football’ era, known for his stunning goals and ability, who converted 128 goals in just 133 appearances for the Dutch team between 1981 and ’87, was named World Player of the Year three times. He later returned to coach the club after an injury ended his career early, as well as the Netherlands national team.

Lineker, who started his career at Leicester in 1978, went on to net 243 goals for clubs such as Everton and Barcelona during his career as a striker. He also scored a whopping 48 goals in 80 appearances for the England national side, almost becoming England’s top goalscorer, second only to Sir Bobby Charlton. Tottenham Hotspur teammate, midfielder Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne, also had an impressive goal tally and was renowned for his finesse and passion, both on and off the ball. Unfortunately, through the passion, problems started to emerge in the tabloids, and Gazza’s apparent mental illness and alcoholism hampered his true potential and although he’s sought help in the form of rehab many times, he still battles with addiction to this day. Napoli international Maradona, who scored 81 goals for the club and later became manager to his national team, Argentina, also fought with addiction; famously using cocaine during his time at Barcelona in the early ‘80s before checking into rehab and getting clean.

How did it all change?

Football in 1980s Europe may not seem that different to what it currently is now; free flowing, fluid, silky passing and attractive goals were being slotted home at the likes of Ajax for a long time before the style hit English soil. The English football style during ‘80s was slow, stagnant and defensive and more about clean sheets than impressive score lines. The back-pass rule was brought into play in 1992 to discourage time-wasting, which had become commonplace in our game, and to force our defensive technique to speed up and become more exciting after the ‘exceedingly dull’ performances in the 1990 World Cup. The abolition of allowing the goalkeeper to handle the ball passed back to them by one of their teammates made the game slicker and more exciting. The introduction of the Bosman rule in 1990, let European players run down their contracts and allowed them to move anywhere within the E.U. for free. This broadened English football’s horizons significantly, bringing a higher quality of football to the Premier League and turning it into what it is today: the best league in the world.

PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: THE LONDON DERBY WEEKEND

The Premier League is finally out of the beginning stages and into the business end of the season; last week was a week of upsets, with Hull City and Southampton, registering surprise wins, and the mauling of Manchester United at the Etihad, was another shocker. This week yet again throws up some fiery match-ups. So get ready.

TOTTENHAM V CHELSEA @ White Hart Lane

An early kick-off and potentially match of the week. This London derby might not be as significant or have the same intensity as the Tottenham-Arsenal one, but a lot is at stake. Both teams are vying for the top spot.  A loss here could halt the league campaign of either club. A Tottenham win could prove them serious title contenders.  Could this be a beginning of a new manager rivalry: Mourinho V AVB? This one could go either way. A draw could be on the cards.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Oscar: The gaffer has shown a lot of faith in this wonder kid, and he has proved him right. In a highly contested defensive match up, his skills could prove vital, for a Chelsea win.

Jan Vertonghen: With only one goal conceded in nine competitive games, Tottenham have been simply outstanding defensively. With “Jan the man” leading the defence. They look impenetrable. Want to bet on Football?

PREDICTION:  2-2

ASTON VILLA V MANCHESTER CITY @ Villa Park

City showed their prowess last week, in their mauling of Manchester United 4-1, hence laying stake on the Premier League title. Although Villa are playing pleasing attacking football, their defence remains a weakness, which City would be looking to seize upon. It should be an easy ride for City at Villa Park.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Sergio Aguero: He is in scintillating form, having already scored twice in the Manchester derby and with the amount of goal scoring assists he gets from a world class mid-field (Navas, Nasri, Toure), not scoring in front of a weak Villa defence, would be a shock.

PREDICTION:  1-3

FULHAM V CARDIFF CITY @ Craven Cottage

Fulham have looked out of sorts so far in their league campaign, recording just a single win, against a poor Sunderland team. Cardiff on the other hand are a hard working team and have played well so far this season. If Cardiff sticks to what they do best and work hard as a team, they could sneak out a tough win at the Cottage. Individual brilliance at disposal with Fulham might prove too much for Cardiff City.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Dimitar Berbatov: Has to get going someday soon, Fulham need some individual brilliance and Berbatov could be the go to guy. He should be desperate to get going in the League, especially after scoring in the Capital Cup tie against Everton.

PREDICTION:  1-0

HULL CITY V WEST HAM UNITED @ The KC Stadium

West Ham haven’t won in the last seven away games and they have been plagued with injuries, especially Andy Carrol. Hull are the team in form, sitting 11th in the table, an overachievement thus far. Steve Bruce would be looking to maintain the momentum. Both teams would be high on confidence, registering wins in their Capital One Cup games.  The problem is West Ham don’t have many attacking options up front. Hull City should win this one, but have to fight it out.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Sone Aluko: Having already scored a match winner and assisted in another against Newcastle last week, he is our player to watch out for.

PREDICTION:  1-0

MANCHESTER UNITED V WEST BROM @ Old Trafford

Winning against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup tie, in midweek, might have given some solace to United, after being brutally beaten last week. They won’t be facing a tough opposition in West Brom, who have had a horrific start to the season themselves. United have way too much talent at their disposal. United should win easily.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Wayne Rooney: He still has a thing or two to prove to the Man United fans, if Van Persie is sidelined again, he will be the centre of the United attack. He would be raring to score in front of his home crowd.

PREDICTION:  2-0

SOUTHAMPTON V CRYSTAL PALACE @ St. Mary’s

Pochettino’s team looks solid defensively having allowed only two goals in five matches. They have struggled offensively though having scored just thrice. But this could be a breakout game offensively against Palace. Palace have struggled so far into the Premier League campaign. Having won just once, against bottom side Sunderland. Having won back to back games against Liverpool and Bristol City (Capital One Cup), confidence should be high and Southampton should win this one.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Ricky Lambert: This is a match where, Ricky could easily score a hat-trick. Crystal Palace are weak defensively and Ricky will look to pounce upon any given opportunity to score, especially through set pieces.

PREDICTION:  3-0

 SWANSEA CITY V ARSENAL @ Liberty Stadium

Who expected Arsenal to be sitting on the top of the table, a week before the transfer window closed? Arsenal have won all of their last eight matches in all competitions. Now they face a stiff competition against a surging Swansea team, who might be low on confidence, after a loss to The Blues in the Capital One Cup tie. Both teams love to play attacking passing football; it would be a treat to watch. This could be an exciting match and it could go tilt either way, a draw is a certain possibility.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Aaron Ramsey: He has been in cracking form, having scored six of seven in 2013/14 competitive matches.

Mesut Ozil: He has settled in extremely well at the Emirates, creating assists, doing what he does best, we haven’t seen it since Cesc Fabregas and RVP days.

Michu: He can be a game-changer on his day, he just needs a glimpse of goal and when he gets it he usually scores.

PREDICTION:  2-2

 STOKE CITY V NORWICH CITY @ Britannia Stadium

With Mark Hughes at the helm, Stoke have undergone radical changes to their playing style, passing more and more, but the quality of the passing disintegrates the more they move into the opponents third. Still, they are sitting 10th in the table on the same points as Champions Man United (7 points) – so not a bad start!  Norwich has started sluggishly, Chris Hughton still hasn’t figured out what style and formation he wants his team to play since the departure of Grant Holt. Until he does, Norwich will struggle despite some quality additions on the players side of things, Stoke should win this one.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Kenwyne Jones: He has adapted to the passing style of football, while still posing an aerial threat.

PREDICTION:  2-0

SUNDERLAND V LIVERPOOL @ Stadium of Light

Liverpool are coming off back to back defeats against Southampton last week and Manchester United in the Capital One Cup tie,so the dream start for Brendan Rodger’s men has come to an end! But with Luis Suarez starting his first league game of the season after serving his 10 game ban, Liverpool should be too strong for Sunderland. Sunderland on the other hand are manager less and should remain that way until the game. They haven’t won a game this season and are sitting bottom of the table. Liverpool should be comfortable winning this one; the question is by how many goals.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Luis Suarez: He is back; could he achieve the heights of last season? Could he propel Liverpool into the Champions League, with his goal scoring maestro? He has the potential, which we’ll all see, come Sunday.

PREDICTION:  0-3

EVERTON V NEWCASTLE UNITED @ Goodison Park

Everton are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League. They have also kept clean sheets in their last seven home matches. They have easily adapted to Roberto Martinez’s style of play of passing the ball. Newcastle should be high on confidence after notching a win against Leeds United in the Capital One Cup tie. Seeing the recent stats on record, Everton seems a likely winner at home.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Leighton Baines: He is currently the best fullback in England (if not Europe), scoring two beauties last weekend against West Ham. He is the player to watch.

Romelu Lukaku: An important part of the Everton strike force and Martinez clearly has faith in him, and has been reward already with a match winner last week, definitely hungry for more goals.

PREDICTION:  2-0

 

 

Gareth Bale: Footballer, Superstar or Both?

Unless you were holidaying on the moon during this summer’s football transfer window, you’re sure to have heard about the world record transfer of Tottenham Hotspur’s midfielder Gareth Bale to Spanish giants Real Madrid. The transfer saga of the year finally ended on the second-to-last day of the transfer window with a move reportedly worth over £85m. The twenty-four year-old Welshman’s career over the last year has been impressive, netting 21 goals in the Premier League alone for the North London club in the 2012/13 season, double what he produced the season before. However, does one terrific season justify Madrid’s interest and considerable price tag? Will Gareth Bale be a success at Real Madrid?

Pre-Madrid

Originally a left-back, Bale began his career in the Championship at Southampton and scored his first goal at the age of 17 with a net-rattling free-kick against Derby to bring the club level against their rivals. However, he went on to score just four more goals in 40 appearances for his club before the Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur swooped in and signed the teenager, who was later moved to a more attacking role on the wing in 2009, for £7m on a four-year contact.

Expected to flourish at his new club after a promising start where he scored goals against Fulham and North London rivals Arsenal, Bale unfortunately picked up an injury on his right foot against Birmingham City, which restricted him to just 12 appearances in the 2007/08 season. Then, after an unremarkable campaign in 2008/09, he had to have knee surgery after an MRI scan detected a meniscal tear in his left knee. This common injury among athletes happens when the meniscus, the cartilage between the shin and thigh bones, is moved or twisted in a certain way and doesn’t always require surgery, except in cases where the surgeon is positive the patient will benefit. With Bale under the guidance of expert physicians and reaping the benefits of the latest in medical advances, his recovery has been impressive. Repairing the tear also reduces the chances of the injury happening again, a crucial aspect for any athlete, especially in a contact sport such as football. Bale was out for two months, finally returning on 26th September in Tottenham’s 5-0 win against Burnley.

Despite these set-backs, the rest of Bale’s 2009/10 campaign was promising and in 2010/11 he hit the ground running, catching the eye of pundits and players worldwide, scoring 7 goals and assisting once in the Premier League and picking up the PFA Player’s Player of the Year award. However, most notably was his performance against European Champions Inter Milan where he scored a hat-trick at the San Siro. His goal tally proceeded to climb higher and higher in the following seasons, collecting both the PFA Young Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year for a second time, before completing his ‘dream move’ to nine time European Cup winners Real Madrid.

The Story so Far

Bale has appeared twice for his new club, scoring a tap-in, masterfully assisted by right-back Daniel Carvajal against Villareal, and assisting the second most expensive signing of all time, £80m Cristiano Ronaldo’s second goal in Madrid’s 6-1 victory over Galatasaray in the UEFA Champion’s League group stage. The reception of the pacey wide-man from Real Madrid fans has been mixed; although the majority seem delighted with the club’s new signing, many are confused and frustrated at the colossal price tag, resulting in the sale of their midfield and assist machine, Mesut Ozil, to Tottenham’s main rivals, Arsenal, to fund the transfer.

The Question of Bale’s Predicted Success

It’s entirely possible that Gareth Bale could become one of the greats. For his national team, he has a moderate 39 caps and 11 goals, but in his club career he has scored 49 in 187 games. He can create goal-scoring chances out of nothing, was Spur’s best player in the 2012/13 Campaign, and can make scoring from a free-kick look easy.

However, if you compare Bale’s statistics with other players of his age, he doesn’t seem quite so impressive. For example, Theo Walcott of Arsenal started at Southampton at the same time and age as Bale; transferring to the Gunners in 2006 for a fee of reportedly around £5m. Since he joined the North London team, he’s scored 40 goals in 185 appearances (compared to Bale’s 44 in 147 for Spurs). Last season, the Englishman’s assist rate was almost twice that of the ex-Tottenham player, despite scoring 7 less goals, making Walcott statistically around the same mark as his competitor – a fact largely overlooked by the press – and is in fact valued at around £25m, a staggering £60m less than Bale.

Robin Van Persie, involved in the transfer saga of last summer’s transfer window after scoring 30 goals for Arsenal in the 2011/12 season, was famously bought from Arsene Wenger’s club by Manchester United for £24m. Even taking age into account, as Van Persie was 29 with one year left on his contract at Arsenal, is Gareth Bale worth £61m more than one of the best strikers in the world?

The answer is: probably not. Will Bale live up to this monumental hype that surrounds him and become a Real Madrid superstar? Perhaps. Or perhaps he’ll just be what he has been for his career so far: really good.

The FootieQuiz App is coming soon!

Having one of the top rated, and certainly the best football quiz site on the net, it has been frustrating for Chris and I to see the quality of the football quiz apps currently in the market. So instead of keep berating the quality of these apps we have reinvested all of our modest ad revenue into the production of an app. So we are pleased to announce that the FootieQuiz app is coming soon!

As always we would love to hear from our users if they have any ideas or requests for certain features they would like to see in the app.

In the coming weeks we will be giving you more updates on the app as well as some exclusive screenshots

Gordon

FootieQuiz’s Premier League Preview: Week 5 Manchester Derby Weekend

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Yet another round of Premier League matches is upon us this weekend. It promises to be as breathtaking as ever. Here we are going to analyse each game for this weekend.

NORWICH V ASTON VILLA (12:45pm) @ Carrow Road
This is going to be a crucial game for both teams. Villa, having lost their last 3 matches, need a quick bounce back. The loss of Jores Okore (ruptured anterior cruciate ligament) for nine months will see Paul Lambert making some adjustments in the midfield. City having made a sluggish start themselves, have maintained an undefeated home record and have gained all their 4 points at home. Maintaining it will be a tough task, against a young and energetic Villa side.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Christian Benteke: He is the highest premier league scorer for this calendar year with 18 goals, and he would look to add to his tally.

Libor Kozak: Could be his debut game against Norwich, already scored for his country Czech Republic against Italy , would be in high confidence and pairing up with Benteke could prove lethal to the opposition.

Johan Elmandar: Not having scored in his first 3 games, he would be raring to find the back of the net, and Villa haven’t been able to keep a clean sheet for the past 26 games, so it could be his day.

PREDICTION: 1-1

LIVERPOOL V SOUTHAMPTOM (3pm) @ Anfield
It’s been a dream start for Brendan Rodger’s side, sitting top of the league after 4 games, that too without Suarez, this is the last of his 10 match ban, before he returns. Liverpool has been on a 12 game unbeaten run, and indeed Rodger’s is trying to make Anfield a fortress which it used to be. Daniel Agger could be making a return from his injury suffered last week before the Swansea match. On the other hand, Pochettino’s side was the last side that beat Liverpool; he would take confidence from that fact, and would be looking to give a tough fight.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Daniel Sturridge: having scored 9 goals in 11 games, he is in red-hot form, no Coutinho and Suarez, the onus is solely on him.

Simon Mignolet: 3 clean sheets in 4 games is worth a mention , Daniel Agger is going to be back, a clean sheet and a couple of spectacular saves, would bring a smile on this high flying goalkeeper.

PREDICTION: 2-0

NEWCASTLE UNITED V HULL CITY (3 pm) @ St. James Park
Both teams have been hit with injury problems, Hull are without their team captain Robert Koren, and is out for eight weeks, whereas Newcastle are without central defender Steven Taylor. This could be a third consecutive win in a row for Newcastle.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Papiss Cisse: Since April he hasn’t scored a goal, this would be a golden chance to open his account for the season.

Yannick Sagbo: The powerful striker is back from suspension and the tigers would be relying on him, with all the injury problems affecting the squad.

PREDICTION: 2-1

WEST BROM V SUNDERLAND (3pm) @ the Hawthorns
Yet another vital game, you can imagine, the league is just 4 games old and we are talking about how important each game is. That is the premier league. Both teams are in the bottom three, both teams would be hoping to kick start their league campaign with a win.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Stephane Sessegnon: After getting his work permit, the ex-Sunderland striker would be raring to show his class against his old club.

PREDICTION: 2-2

WEST HAM UNITED V EVERTON (3pm) @ the Upton

Both teams haven’t been prolific in front of goal this season, the Hammers haven’t scored since the opening day win against Cardiff(2-0) and Everton have only scored thrice, though Everton do have an unbeaten record.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Romelu Lukaku: Was ineligible to play against his parent club, he would be raring to make his debut, with a goal of course.

Ross Barkley: He is young, energetic and scores goals, this kind of talent, is what England needs, and he will have a go at a weak West Ham defence.

PREDICTION: 0-3

CHELSEA V FULHAM (5:30 pm) @ Stamford Bridge
London derbies are always exciting, and this is no exception especially with an added pressure on the Mourinho’s side to win, having not won a single game in a month and coming off back to back defeats. Now we know why Chelsea were pursuing Rooney so fervently, they dreadfully need a striker, who scores and PLAY JUAN MATA. Fulham on the other hand are not in form themselves. Berbatov, is doubtful for the game. They need someone to score goals from somewhere.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Juan Mata: Mourinho enough of the arrogance, you got to accept the fact that you need him, your side needs him.

Darren Bent: If Fulham have any chance of salvaging any points at the Bridge, Bent needs to get his goal scoring shoes on.

PREDICTION: 3-1

ARSENAL V STOKE CITY (1:30pm) @ Emirates Stadium
Mesut Ozil makes his home debut at the Emirates; Arsenal have won all their last six matches in all competitions. Stoke have had an impressive start to their season, and looks like a team who are willing to push forward.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Olivier Giroud: He has been in scintillating form, having scored five times already into the season.
Mesut Ozil: A genuine playmaker, who scores goals, he wouldn’t mind one against stoke, in front of his home crowd.

PREDICTION: 0-0

CRYSTAL PALACE V SWANSEA (3pm) @ Selhurst Park
Weariness could play a vital role in Swansea losing this game, they have already played ten games in all competitions so far, and captain Ashley Williams is a doubtful for the game, the Eagles will look to exploit that and look for a victory.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Gayle: A pacy striker, who will run havoc, for the drained Swansea defence.
Michu: He can be world class on his day, having already scored an equaliser against Liverpool; he would be high on confidence.

PREDICTION: 1-0

CARDIFF CITY V TOTTENHAM (4pm) @ City Stadium
Cardiff would be looking to match the success they had against Manchester City at home, against Tottenham. Tottenham would be a tired bunch, but they have only let in one goal all season, they look a solid pack.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Steven Caulker: He would have a point to prove to his ex-team, He has been solid in defence, could score the only header from a corner and a win.

Christian Eriksen: He has already assisted four times in five games (premier league and eredivisie), looks a promising star, potential of creating some goal scoring passes.

PREDICTION: 1-0

MAN CITY V MAN UTD (4pm) @ Etihad Stadium
The match of the week, literally, the world would be glued to their TV sets, even the neutrals (kopites, blues, and gunners). It has so much at stake, any game between title contenders does. It’s just three points, but all the top teams dropping points, so early in the season, winning becomes important now. It’s beginning of a new era -MOYES-PELLEGRINI. Who will draw first blood?

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Yaya Toure: He has been the best passer in the premier league this season, with 347 passes, 30 more than any other player in the league. He is a goal threat outside the box and gradually becoming a free-kick master.

Wayne Rooney: He is proving to be a central figure on the field for United these days; he has to step up for a big game like this. He was ‘world class’ in his last two games but this is the game to prove it right.

PREDICTION: 3-2

The FootieQuiz Top 10 Premier League Football Chants

The Premier League boasts some of the most impressive football stadiums in the world. Packed out arenas, some steeped in tradition others new modern shiny structures- The Premier League has it all.

However what makes English football stadiums unique in comparison with other European leagues such as Spain, Italy and France is the history of travelling away supporters. The tribal banter and rivalries that have built up over the years adds an extra level of passion that is unique to the English league. The pinnacle of this is the classic football chant.

Here is the Footie Quiz Top 10 Quality Banter Chants – our collection of some of the most witty, clever and relatively clean chants and tunes that you may have heard while watching a Premier League game from the stands:

No. Player/
Club
Chant Tune Club Ground
1 Robert
Huth
“Huth! There it is!” Tag Team’s “Whoomph! There it Is”. Stoke City Britannia Stadium
2 Habib
Baye
“Sunday, Monday, Habib Beye Tuesday,
Wednesday, Habib Beye Thursday, Friday, Habib Beye, Saturday, Habib Beye,
rocking all week with you!”
Happy Days (theme tune) Aston Villa & Newcastle Villa Park & St James Park
3 Park
Ji-Sung
“Park, Park wherever you may be,
You eat dogs in your home country,
Could be worse,
You could be Scouse,
Eating rats in your council house.”
Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” Man Utd Old Trafford
4 At Man Utd Fans “U-N-I-T-E-D
That spells f***ing debt to me,
with a knick knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone,
Ocean Finance on the phone”
“This Old Man” Man City Eithad
5 Bobby Zamora “When you’re sat in Row Z / and the ball
hits your head / that’s Zamora.”
Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” Fulham Craven Cottage
6 Djimi Traoré “Dont blame it on Biscan
Dont blame it on Finnan
Dont blame it on Hamann
blame in on Traoré
He just can’t
he just can’t
he just can’t control his feet”

Michael Jackson’s “Blame it on the
Boogie”
Liverpool Anfield
7 Cesc Fabregas “Lets talk about Cesc baby,
Lets talk about Van-Per-sie,
Lets talk about Theo Walcott, Kolo Toure and Nasri,
Lets talk about Cesc!”
Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” Arsenal Emirates
8 Johan Djourou “Clichy to the left of me, Sanga to the
right, here I am stuck in the middle, Djourou”
Steller Wheels “Stuck in the Middle” Arsenal Emirates
9 Christian Benteke “Don’t you wish your striker was quality,
Don’t you wish your striker was Benteke, Don’t cha!”
Pussy Cat Dolls “Don’t Cha” Aston Villa Villa Park
10 Ashley Cole “You gotta file, file,
file, file, file for divorce”
Cheryl Cole’s “Fight for
This Love”
At Chelsea’s Ashley Cole Most Premier League
grounds at the time!

Do you think we have missed any clean classics? If so leave a comment and if they are of sufficient quality we may even change the Footie Quiz Top 10 Quality Banter Chants.

Guess The Ground – Test your football knowledge and get a free £30 Bet with Ladbrokes

How well do you know your football grounds?

Well thanks to Ladbrokes, they are offering a free £30 bet for playing the quiz below!

Take a few minutes out to have a go at the game…

http://www.ladbrokes.com/guess-the-ground/

Woo hoo! 6,000 members

Competition is hotting up now on Footie Quiz – we now have over 6,000 members!

Big changes are on the way for Footie Quiz as we will be launching our new bigger, better and quicker football quiz website within the next couple of weeks.

Watch this space!

Thanks to all of you for your support!

Join the FootieQuiz Fantasy Football League

For those fans who just cant get enough of the the Premier League we have created our own FootieQuiz Fantasy Football League through the Official Premier League Fantasy League site:

http://fantasy.premierleague.com/

You probably have a few leagues already with your mates but how about benchmarking yourself against FootieQuiz members? Now there is a challenge!

The code to join this league: 676829-243007

Naturally this is free!

Dodgers Stadium Set to Host First-Ever Soccer Game, Proves Sport Growing in U.S.

Even 10 years ago, this type of game would never have been played. First off, teams like Real Madrid and Juventus weren’t making stops in the United States. And second, one of baseball’s classic venues would have turned its nose up at the idea of hosting a silly little soccer game.

But it’s 2013 and soccer (yes, football) is growing in America. The popularity of the MLS — and strong ratings for international games (especially the women’s team) — shows the United States is slowly, sometimes painfully, seeing that soccer is truly a compelling game.

American soccer fans are in for a treat this summer when the International Champions Cup invades six different cities across the nation between July 27 and August 7. The tournament features eight of the world’s biggest clubs, who will face off in elimination games. While many exhibitions have a ho-hum atmosphere to them, this series packs some must-see clubs – and an historic angle.

The event will also be hosted in one European city (Valencia, Spain) – with the championship game scheduled at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida on Aug 7.

Besides Miami, the other American host cities are New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, Indianapolis and a particularly interesting location in Los Angeles. No Rose Bowl this time – we’re talking venerable Dodgers Stadium and its first-ever soccer match. (More on that in a minute.)

The high-profile teams playing in the tournament are AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus of Italy’s Serie A; Chelsea and Everton of the English Premier League; and Real Madrid and Valencia of Spain’s La Liga. The Los Angeles Galaxy are the lone representative from Major League Soccer (MLS).

The first round of the event includes AC Milan vs Valencia in Spain, while Juventus takes on Everton in San Francisco. The Los Angeles Galaxy meet Real Madrid in Phoenix for a particularly juicy match, and Inter Milan squares off against Chelsea in Indianapolis. The winners will play each other in a semifinal round, while the losers continue to play each other in a consolation series.

The L.A. games are perhaps the most interesting, simply due to the unique location. Those who buy International Champions Cup tickets in Los Angeles will be a part of history when they see the first-ever soccer match at Dodgers Stadium since it opened in 1962.

The 56,000-seat venue will be converted into a soccer pitch on August 3. The game will showcase the winner of the Juventus vs Everton showdown against the winner of Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy at 7:30 p.m. – with an earlier game at 5 p.m. between the losers of those two contests.

So how will Dodgers Stadium – which is now the third-oldest ballpark in all of Major League Baseball – make way for soccer?

As this map shows, the soccer field will be constructed at an odd angle to make sure a decent-sized pitch fits into the playing surface. One net will be placed down the third base line in front of the visitors’ dugout, while the other net will face it from its location in right field.

There isn’t a specific regulation size for soccer pitches, but there is a minimum and maximum size for FIFA-regulated games. The minimum length is 100 yards with the maximum being 120 yards, while the minimum width is 50 yards and the maximum set at 100 yards. However, there is some leeway for exhibition games.

Typically, when a baseball stadium is converted into a soccer pitch the infield dirt needs to be dug out as well as the pitcher’s mound.

Sod is then laid and the field markings are painted on when everything’s ready. The hard part of the job is removing the dirt and making sure everything will be level with the existing turf.

The dirt and clay is usually removed with a backhoe, small bulldozer and some type of conveyor belt system. But since soccer is a relatively low impact sport (except for the goalie boxes), the outfield grass isn’t expected to suffer any significant damage.

The complete list of venues include the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, Spain, the University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, AT&T Park in San Francisco, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Met Life Stadium in New York, Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles and Miami’s Sun Life Stadium.

Horseracing Provides New Challenge For Sir Alex Ferguson.

He’s one of the most admired and respected managers in football history and with the announcement of his retirement after 26 years as manager of Manchester United the question has to be – just how will Sir Alex fill his time now?

Former Scotland international and football legend, Alexander Chapman Ferguson began his football management career with East Stirlingshire and St. Mirren, going on to successfully manage Aberdeen and for a brief period Scotland’s national squad. He was appointed manager of Manchester United in 1986 and is both United’s and football’s longest serving manager. He holds a number of records including becoming Manager of the Year more times that anyone else and is only the third British manager to win the European Cup more than once. He’s been awarded the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen, has a couple of honorary degrees from a Manchester university and in 1999 was knighted by the queen for his services to football.

On 8May 2013 Sir Alex announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United. In his 26 years at the club he led the team to win 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League and two UEFA Champions League titles. With so much already achieved and a long career in football behind him, will Sir Alex now – at the age of 71 – pull on his slippers and slip permanently into his armchair? Well, anyone who knows even a little about Alex Ferguson will answer a resounding ‘NO’ to that. He has a variety of interests outside of football which should keep him as fully occupied as ever.

His love of vintage wine – he keeps a very fine cellar- will take up some of his free time as will his piano playing. His staunch socialist beliefs, a reminder of a time when he worked in a Glasgow shipbuilding yard, could even lead him into politics. Or maybe Sir Alex will rekindle his culinary ambitions; Paisley council once turned down his application to open a restaurant in the town, so instead, Sir Alex, who had trained as a chef, settled for becoming a football manager. Yes, Sir Alex is a man of many talents and interests, both personal and business, but none he enjoys as much as his other favourite sport – horseracing.

Racing has been a passion for many years; a love passed down by and shared with his shipbuilding father, Alexander. Ironically, on the day of the announcement of Sir Alex’s retirement, he was forced to cancel a day at Chester races to avoid a press invasion of the track and missed seeing his horse, Butterfly Queen, coming home second. Sir Alex has an interest in around 20 racehorses, on both the flat and jumps, including his 2013 Epsom Derby hope Telescope. You’ll often find Sir Alex at the racecourse. He recently commented that one of the reasons he enjoys going to the races so much is that: “Largely, people leave me alone and when they do talk to me, it is likely to be about what is going to win the 3.30 rather than football.”

It was pure luck that led Sir Alex to an alliance with Ged Mason when they met at a Manchester function. The pair spent the night exchanging track stories and a racing partnership was born. At that time Mason favoured jumpers and Sir Alex – who’d already won seven Group Ones in a row, including the 2000 Guineas – had flat horses. After a while, they decided to share their horses, keeping the jumpers with trainer Paul Nicholls and the flat horses with Richard Hannon and Andrew Balding. Ged says that Sir Alex’s knowledge of racing is as good as his knowledge of football. “His knowledge of racing is better than mine but we discuss all aspects of each horse, when they are running, who’ll ride and it’s a three-way conversation usually with Paul (trainer Paul Nicholls)”. He went on to say that if they we have a winner: “We’ll have a good glass of wine to celebrate and we’ve made a pact that when we have big winners we donate part of the winnings to charity as we are both in it for the fun.”

Racing hasn’t always been fun for Sir Alex, although he’s managed to keep his enthusiasm for it despite the way his friendship ended with Irish racing legends John Magnier and JP McManus. Back in 2003 Sir Alex became locked in a bitter dispute with the co-owner of Rock of Gibralter, Irish racing tycoon, John Magnier who was at that time a Manchester United shareholder. Sir Alex and he became friends after they were introduced in 1999. Magnier offered to register Sir Alex as part-owner of Rock of Gibralter; which was worth around £5million having set a world record of seven consecutive Grade/Group 1 wins. Sir Alex believed that with his half share of the horse came automatic ownership of half the horse’s lucrative breeding rights. Magnier did not agree and this was what caused the upset.

The bitter row was finally settled when Magnier offered Sir Alex four stud nominations a year for the rest of the horse’s life. If Sir Alex had agreed to this offer he would have made a fortune – one filly sired by ‘Rocky’ was sold in Ireland for more than £600,000. With those enormous fees Sir Alex would probably have made about £2m a year for ten years at least. Unfortunately Sir Alex declined the stud offer and opted instead for a one-off payout of £2.5m.

Despite all of this, Sir Alex continues to be a major player in the racing game, entering the Grand National with Harry the Viking in 2013. He owns Harry with three others, including Ged Mason, with whom he also shares What a Friend. There’s no doubt that with his football career coming to an end Sir Alex will go continue to enjoy his racing and will spend much of his time at the races. Ownership of racehorses is not only a sign of wealth and status, the thrill of seeing a horse you own win a big race is something that’s hard to beat. As Sir Alex says, he’s in it for ‘the fun’, and long may that fun continue.

Simone Wright-Eddison is the content editor and leading authority on the Grand National Runners. Fans of National Hunt racing can connect with her on Google Plus.

City Set out an early marker to re-claim ‘their’ title

Manchester City’s plans for a title charge in 2013-14 are taking shape, with a £30 million deal to land Fernandinho the club’s first piece of business in what looks set to be a busy couple of weeks.

The Brazil international signed on a five-year contract on Thursday after impressing City officials in the Champions League for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Sevilla winger Jesus Navas is expected to join Fernandinho at the Etihad Stadium, while Manuel Pellegrini will reportedly replace Roberto Mancini as manager next week as the club look to justify their status as second favourites with Paddy Power to win the league next year.

Fernandinho, who has represented his country five times, admitted he has been “waiting a long time” for the chance to play in the Premier League. He has described his move to City as a “dream”.

“My ambition here is to win all the titles, the team here is strong, and so is the greatness of the club and the supporters. Professionally this is a spectacular thing,” the 28-year-old told the club’s official website.

“Playing for a huge club in a huge league makes me so happy. I hope I will be able to repay City for what they have done for me.”

City fans will be hoping Fernandinho’s signing is followed by more big-money arrivals as the club aim to wrestle the Premier League crown from Manchester United’s grasp (United are currently 21/10 favourites in the Premier League betting odds), a title they won for the first time in 44 years the previous season.

Supporters will start to believe the club can challenge the best in Europe next term if Spain international Navas completes his move. He is a medical away from making the switch to England.

Pellegrini will inherit a strong squad when he takes the reins and will have his own recruitment plans. With the backing of the club’s wealthy owners, he will be confident of turning City into the most feared side in the Premier League.

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Five things Jose needs to do

Jose Mourinho returns to the Premier League once again at the Stamford Bridge helm. The Chelsea manager won the title twice during his first stint but left under a cloud of disappointment, the Champions League a long way from his grasp.

Now he’s back and with this squad is more than ready to challenge Manchester United and Manchester City for the title. Here are five things he must get right to justify Chelsea’s status as one of the favourites in the Premier League title betting:

 1. Re-arrange the defence

Mourinho was the master of shutting down games when his Blues side went a goal or two up and although he’s developed a more attacking flair at Real Madrid his main priority remains not to concede.

The Portuguese boss recently confirmed John Terry as captain but don’t be surprised if he drafts in a decent centre-half to challenge Gary Cahill, with David Luiz possibly pushing into defensive midfield.

2. Please the press

Over 250 journalists crammed into the press conference for Mourinho’s official unveiling on Monday and they enjoyed a love-hate relationship with him during his first tenure. The press currently love Jose – he’s at least a story to write about over preseason – but he’ll put his foot in it from time to time next term. Keeping the right side of the press is vital for his and Chelsea’s credibility.

3. Buy a striker

Chelsea boast Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku but have few other options, with Fernando Torres poised to depart the club. Mourinho needs a target man the other two can feed off and Edin Dzeko or Stevan Jovetic would be great additions to the squad. As for Torres, his Stamford Bridge soiree is surely at an end.

4. Win a trophy

Chelsea are a good price with Titan Bet to win the league this season but could also challenge for European honours if Mourinho gets his house in order. This team has a great defence and one of the most exciting attacking midfields in Europe, an asset that should earn them at least a domestic cup if not more.

5. Sort out Juan Mata

There are rumblings in the press that Juan Mata is on his way out of Chelsea, which would be a real shame. It’s not just his talent that makes him such a valuable player but his attitude is right up there with the best professionals in sport. Like Oscar he rarely moans or mouths off at the referee, instead letting his feet do the talking.

If Mata leaves, Mourinho must find a better replacement and few of those are available this summer.

Football Hard Men Youtube Quiz

Always willing to explore new formats the team here at FootieQuiz experimented with our first ever YouTube Fooball Quiz.

The results were mixed but on the whole promising. Why dont you check out our quiz and let us know your thoughts? Is there any particular type of football quiz that you would like to see?

6 Things We’ll Miss Most About Beckham


Goal for England

Unless you’ve been living in a closet for the last week or two, you’ve probably heard the news that David Beckham – after 20 incredible years – is calling it quits in professional football. Becks is stepping away from the game on his own terms, and though his best play has been behind him for a few years now, it’s really been quite a graceful exit for a player whose legions of fans hoped for just that.

So, as life as a football fan without Beckham begins to set in, let’s honour him with a brief look back. Here are the 6 things we’ll miss most about the great David Beckham

1. The Winning He may never have brought England a World Cup, but Beckham can hardly be faulted for that, and it’s certainly worth noting at the end of his career that he won just about everywhere else he went. A 1999 Champions League title and 6 Premier League wins with Man U, a La Liga victory with Real Madrid, and an MLS championship with the LA Galaxy are just a few of his teams’ myriad accomplishments on the biggest stages.

2. The Determination Former team mate Jonathan Woodgate notes, in a recent tribute to Beckham, that Beckham’s career was about proving people wrong. Let go by Manchester United, Beckham won with Real Madrid. Cut from the England national team in 2006, Beckham was back in 2008. Criticised for moving to the U.S., Beckham brought more attention to the MLS than anyone ever had, and won a championship with the Galaxy. His career was full of a furious determination

3. The Field Play Watching Beckham play at the height of his power was like watching a player who could see the future. Beckham’s on-field precision and play were so strong that a fan might want to consult Acuvue’s guide to astigmatism to make sure he or she was seeing clearly. His control of the ball, particularly in setting up team mates and taking his famous free kicks, was simply otherworldly at times.

4. The Smile Despite all the winning, all the determination, and the furious ability Beckham continually displayed on the field, his smile will be missed. On television, in interviews, and even on Hollywood’s red carpets, Beckham always seemed incredibly at ease, and truth be told the image for a pro athlete of his calibre was refreshing.

5. The Advertisements Plenty will site shirtless photos of Beckham on billboards first when discussing what they’ll miss most. Football fans prefer to focus more on his on-field stardom, but the ads were certainly prevalent and unique.

6. The Celebrity Finally, we’ll miss his simple, raw celebrity. Beckham may at one point have been the best player in the world – but he has undeniably been the most recognise
able for some time now, and the game of football will miss that celebrity. Beckham brought attention to the beautiful game every time he appeared publicly, and his reputation will be sorely missed.