Best Players Never to win International Caps

Having previously looked at the England players who never received an international call up, and seeing some shocking exclusions such as Steve Bruce and Howard Kendall, its time to widen the net and take a look at some of the players  from other footballing nations who we all know and are familiar with who never managed to win an international cap!

Paulo Di Canio – The Italian, who has scored more goals in the Premier League than any other Italian, was a hit everywhere he went, scoring goals, lighting up every single pitch he went on and providing match winning moments. But despite all the problems the national team had in the striking position, they never called on Di Canio. Maybe his reputation was just too great or his love of real mone pokies was too much for successive Italian managers

Mikel Arteta – Now seen in assistant managers roles and likely to be one of the managers to watch in the future, Mikel  Arteta never lined up in a national shirt for Spain. Everton benefitted from his play making to the point he took a big money move to Arsenal where he continued to thrive. But with the Spanish tea winning trophies left, right and centre there was no room for a player with the skill of Arteta.

Carlo Cudicini – Perhaps the best keeper of his time in the league when at his peak? A top 10 contender for the best goalkeepers to grace the Premier League? Yet still no call up. Cudicini must consider himself unlucky as during his tie the national team were experimenting eith various keepers yet he never had the opportunity to stake his claim.

Stefan Klos – What does it take to get a call up for the German national team? Obviously 13 major trophies and playing a pivotal role in the 1997 Champions League doesn’t count for much! Klos was superb and if you take a long look at that 1997 Dortmund team he played key roles at key moments. Deserved a shot ad could have helped Germany during an era in which they struggled!

Steed Malbranque – Steeeeeeed as the chant would go deserved better both in his club and international career. He drove a Fulham side to promotion, he shone in one of the worst Sunderland sides in history and he always popped up with a moment of genius and match winning goals. What more could you need! Obviously the French team managers during his career thought otherwise!

Dario Hubner – Had the choice of playing for either Germany or Italy, made a career bagging over 250 goals in the toughest league in the world to rack up these totals but was never taken seriously at international level!

John McGovern – Yes…a Scotsman makes the list. As baffling as Steven Bruce never playing for England! Did everything (although he did like online casino in his spare time) domestically yet ignored by the Scottish FA!

Is there someone we have missed? Is there a player who never got a shot despite showcasing great league form? Then let us know!

Worst Ever Football Songs

Football and Music should never mix. If you want proof and want to remind yourself of some of the horrors that have been inflicted on fans over the years  then read on. Outside of Three Lions, has there genuinely been a football song you could even remotely suggest of as being “good”. The evidence underneath will suggest otherwise!

Kevin Keegan – Head over Heels  – Do not, I repeat do not google this whilst thinking “Ive never  heard this….”. You don’t want to. In the 1970s and 1980s, when pop music was at its pinnacle, music executives, who were obviously seeking nothing more than to inflict pain on the nations ears thought to cash in on the football boom! And this was the result….you will never be forgiven.

Andy Cole – Every rap song he tried – Andy Cole was superb, a natural, one of the very best….but that applies only to football and not rapping. In fact, I wouldn’t even use the word rapping to apply here! Again, avoid googling and imagine Andy Cole’s post-match interviews with a beat added. And there you have it! Leave rap to the US stars and stick to finding the back of the net Andy https://www.bestussportsbetting.com/ Cole.

Ian Wright – Do the Right Thing? – What is it with footballers wanting to start rap careers? It has never worked, probably never will and even good old John Barnes knew that it was best to get out at the top after World in Motion. Ian Wright, perhaps even outdoes Andy Cole, in terms of “Lets just talk and pretend it’s a rap”.

Del Amitri – Don’t Come home too soon – This I would file under ….what? For some reason Del Amitri decided not to right a funny song, a catchy one or even an upbeat one and inside made a lament, a plea even to the Scottish team that was about as miserable as their performance in that years world cup!

Middlesbrough FC, Chris Rea and Bob Mortimer – I hate to cast any negative comments in the direction of Bob Mortimer, but this was a crime against the senses. Most people reading this will probably never have had the misfortune of hearing this assault on the sense. But if you have……I afraid to say mind altering technology is not yet available!

Ant and Dec – We’re On the Ball – Ready to Rumble, lets face it, is an all time classic that will still be getting played in 100 years time when the Geordie duo are long gone. I’d rather try au sports betting . We’re on the ball certainly won’t be! Another obvious attempt at cashing in on that years world cup! A mess of a song and one which should never ever be played!

Vinnie Jones – Big Bad Leory Brown – Simply needs to be heard to be believed. Vinnie Jones to be fair made a stellar post-football career in acting but his singing “career”  should be avoided at all costs.

And we can’t go a full article without mentioning the one and only….Anfield Rap! A delight of horrors!

Think you have heard worse? Has your club released something that we have missed? Let me know!

England’s One Cap Wonders

For a professional footballer….what is worse? Being ignored by the England national team all of your career and never getting chance to shine in the three lions shirt OR getting one called up, winning a cap and then never winning another? Having looked at the likes of Steve Bruce who were unjustifiably and unexplainably denied a chance in the three lions shirt, we now take a look at those players who earned just one cap, before being shunned the rest of their careers…(believe it or not we have over 350 to chose from).

Chris Sutton – Had he played in a different era, or not refused to play for the B team, Chris Sutton could have shone as bright as the likes of Teddy Sheringham who played ahead of him. But with Alan Shearer un-droppable during Suttons time, he had hefty competition and once he shunned the call up for the B tea his career was over after 1 cap!

Kevin Davies – A cult figure during his career, a line leader and a man who a plethora of England defenders said was the hardest player to play against, Davies was never quite fashionable enough to fit in with England style and thus never got the chance he deserved. One cap, that seemed more of a token gesture for a man who deserved far more.

Joey Barton – On skill alone he should have won more…let us just leave it at that! However he would rather be playing best online casino than football – such a waste of talent!

Lee Bowyer – See above.

Michael Ball – In 2001 Michael Ball finally got the England call up he so richly deserved. This was it, the start of one of the brightest talents in the Premier League being able to ply his trade in the three lions shirt. Everton fans knew it, people who had ever seen him play knew it….but the management obviously didn’t. One and done…Ball never got the chance again!

Alan Thompson – England have always struggled, especially during the 2000s, for wingers who can play on either win with genuine pace, trickery and the ability to beat a man one on one. Alan Thompson had all that and to be fair should have been called up long before he got his chance in 2004 whilst at Celtic but he was more interested in how to bet on sports . Although his debut was a mini disaster, the fact that he produced consistent form elsewhere over a long period suggests he deserved more!

David Dunn – In 2002, I was 16-17 and David Dunn was a personal favourite. A dream team pick of choice, the goals he scored were crucial and he had a genuine Gazza-esque skill that made even the best defenders look baffled. But when the golden generation had its peak, there was no space in the squad for Dunn, which feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Have we missed someone? Is there another player who won just the one cap and never got his second chance (or ever her chance!). Let us know. Englands One Cap Wonders on You Tube

The Greatest Players Never to Win an England Cap

Greatest England Team

In the days of 23 man squads, friendlies with multiple substitutions and an ever increasing  calendar of fixtures, then a modern day English player with an sort of Premier League can be almost guaranteed at least a run out for the England national side at some point to see if they can cut the mustard. But over the years there has been a vast array of players, who one would assume would get the national call up at some stage who never did. Let us take a look at some of those familiar names…

Steve Bruce – The first name that comes to mind and one I still cannot get my head around today. A player who had it all…strength, a bit of pace, leadership, success and a way of reading the game that made him the lynch pin of Manchester United’s early Fergie success. The partnership he formed with Gary Pallister should have transferred to the International stage but it never did. Why? I have no idea!

Ruel Fox – A winger with pace, scoring ability and genuine trickery who lit up the side lines wherever he played, including having a starring role when Newcastle were topping the Premier League. But 3 England managers overlooked him and poor Ruel never got his chance to wear the three lions shirt.

Matthew Etherington – Originally from New Zealand where they p[lay online casino nz During the 2-3 seasons he peaked,  Matthew Etherington terrorised Premier League defence on the wing with his devastating pace and his ability to beat a an one on one, no matter who he is! However, as this coincided with the emergence of the “Golden Generation” he never really stood a chance!

Tony Coton – During Tony Coton’s long and illustrious career at the top of the English game, the fact his reliability and consistency never resulted in a national cap is rather baffling to say the least!

Michael Bridges – Although his career was ravaged by injury, Bridges has a 18 month run where he was one of the top strikers in the Premier League, scoring goals for fun and leading the line with the sort of presence and success that usually results in a national cap. This never happened and his latter injures ensured it never would

Howard Kendall – See Steve Bruce. Perhaps alongside Bruce, this is the most baffling. Did he upset a member of the FA? Was he awkward to deal with? Why Kendall never donned the three lions shirts on multiple occasions will always remain a mystery! Sometimes life and football selection is a lottery and you would have more luck guessing at a casino https://www.casinojoka.com/fr

Matty Taylor – Two footed! Able to play on the left! England needed a left sided player at the time? Surely Taylor was the man to call. Obviously not!

So as you can see from the list, there were a lot of players who missed out on International careers as they were never given that chance to prove themselves. Who is next on the list? Will we ever see a player with the domestic dominance and class of Steve Bruce ignored? Only time will tell.

Europa League – 2019-2020 Draw

The Europa league still has an odd place in the minds of football fans and there are few competitions in world football in which half the teams will be overjoyed to be in it, and half will consider it a bogey prize for not making the Champions League.  This certainly applies to the British teams taking part this year and after an All English final last year, are we in line for another successful season in the Europa League? Let us take a look at how the draw panned out for the British teams…

Unai Emery must be pleased with the outcome for Arsenal, and in a season in which the Premier League looks out of reach and a Top 4 birth not guaranteed, the Gunners could see this a good route into the Champions League next season. The group stage should not prove too much of an issue with a poor Standard Liege team and Vitoria from Portugal unlikely to causes a scare. Even Eintracht Frankfurt, although stronger than the others, are weak opposition considering Arsenals reserves so they should have no issues in taking 1st place. Prediction: 1st. See this great bet calculator for UK for the odds on this

Nothing seems to be going right for Manchester United at the moment. A lack of strikers, players leaving left right and centre and an under fire Pogba have created a start in the Premier League that is nothing but a disappointment for the Old Trafford faithful. And although the Europa League draw will be easy to navigate on the pitch, the horrid travel to Astana and Belgrade won’t be appreciated in a busy calender. AZ should prove easier but United should win the group, but the effect of travel may take its toll later in the season. Prediction: 1st

Whilst Arsenal and United may see the Europa League as a consolation for not making the Champions League, Wolves are overjoyed to be back in Europe but have been handed a tough tough group and with no wins in their first 4 Premier League games, its hard to see success coming in Europe. Besiktas are a solid side and will top the group with Braga likely to be Wolves’ main challenger for second. Slovan Bratislava will be a tough away gig. Prediction: 3rd

Rangers have been dealt a tough hand too in their return to Europa and Steven Gerrard will have a job and a half to overcome Porto and Feyenoord to get out of this group. Even Young Boys looked good in their Champions League qualifiers so Rangers are facing an uphill task. Prediction: 4th

And the luck doesn’t get better for Celtic. A very good Lazio side await in the Group stages as well as a Rennes side who have hit form this season. If those two weren’t bad enough, Celtic also have Cluj to face again who defeated them in the Champions League qualifiers. A nasty draw, not impossible but unlikely.  Prediction: 3rd

The Europa League is a long haul, and the first step will be to navigate the group. 5 British teams begin the group stage but as little as 2 could remain by the time we get to the next phase. Time will tell.

In The Tall Grass Ending Explained!

In The Tall Grass is Netflix’s latest addition to its horror collection. For those who have never heard the name before, it is based on the hugely popular novel by Stephen King. Obviously, if you’ve read the book, you might think, “Did they really miss such a great climax?” So, even if you are familiar with the novel, you may be left scratching your head throughout the climax.

Before we reach the ending, you need to go through the grass! The movie is based on siblings Becky and Cal, who are driving to San Diego. Becky is pregnant and her boyfriend Travis wants nothing to do with the baby. Poor Becky is forced to retreat to San Diego where she intends on giving the baby for adoption after birth.

But things don’t go according to plan when they stop at a church. They begin to hear the mysterious screams of a boy coming from the tall grass next to the compound and decide to venture to find the source. As if they had nothing more important to do…

We are then introduced to a series of time lapses, with Becky dying but returning back in an alternate timeline, Travis chasing Becky and dies… yes, he returns as well… anyways, there’s lots of death, twists and turns of events. But the main plot of the movie revolves around something more than grass… we’re talking about a rock!

On numerous occasions, we see the characters being instigated to touch the rock. And when they do, they get some kind of revelation which leads them to take extreme measures, in both good and bad ways. Not much background is provided on the rock… maybe it was meant to leave the audience in mystery… Is that room for a sequel? After all, Stephen King’s book adaptation of It also got one!

The mystery boy gets the name of Tobin and his parents seemed to look for him in the tall grass as well. But as the films rolls, we discover that Tobin’s father, Ross, touched the rock. And he got more than some dirt on his hands! He became extremely violent, killing Becky and Cal.

At the end of the movie, Travis drops Tobin into a hole that sends him back to the time when Cal and Becky were entering the grass. He urges him to stop the siblings at all costs. Tobin is successfully sent back in time, where he manages to stop Cal and bring an end to the carnage they were meant to suffer. Travis then dies…

We might think that the rock acts like a relic that taps onto your deepest fears… or greatest desires. Ross wanted to achieve religious salvation, and by touching the rock, he managed to get it… only to proceed to bloodlust for those refusing to touch the rock.

As for Travis, he feared the responsibility of fatherhood. The rock showed him his fears and he overcomes them by helping Tobin escape the vicious cycle. Becky was pregnant and feared giving away, so she dreamt of eating her stillborn baby. Of course, these remain as mere assumptions… unless they are confirmed through a sequel!

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Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool FC: The Perfect Match

Jurgen Klopp is a charismatic German professional football manager of the Premier League club Liverpool. His Gegenpressing football philosophy, management skills and character has propelled him to become one of the best managers in the world. Not surprising that Liverpool FC is striving to win the Champions League and English Premier League once more!

This former hard-working striker who ended his career as a defender has not lost his vigor and enthusiasm for the game. Klopp is always energetic on the side-lines, urging on his team while running back and forth. He states that he’s the reserve tank for the boys and when he feels the energy is running out…, he can give them a kick up the backside when needed or offer whatever is needed at that particular moment.

Liverpool’s boss has always been about the collective rather than individual. As a coach and manager, you can only be good as your team. Together with his star players: Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah, he led Liverpool to their first UEFA Champions League title in 14 years.  

In an interview with Daily Mirror, when asked why he chose Liverpool over other offers, he said in a nonchalant voice: ‘’ I loved the color…… Red, have never had a Red Club before. That’s the first thing, it’s not very important. I loved the history, am really a football romantic. I knew I probably could help…. Liverpool is a world-class brand, it’s big big big…’’

Over the last 4 years with the help of Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have gone from strength to strength, continuing a legacy that is waiting for a new chapter to be written. Currently topping the table and leading the pack with back to back wins, Klopp’s magic is undeniable. He lifted the club off the canvas and has taken it to where it is now! This season Klopp collected the Men’s Coach of the Year at the Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan. His perfect start to the season has left all other managers fighting it out for all remaining places!

Every Liverpool match is a major event. They tackle each game as if it’s a final. It’s safe to say that ever since the Reds have made their mark on the map of Football greatness, they’ve been a big favourite amongst sports bettors. Nowadays, Liverpool fans around the world can browse the odds for all Liverpool’s upcoming matches. If you feel like taking a chance on Klopp’s men, place your Liverpool bet using the wide range of betting markets online. There are tons of sports betting sites like Ruby Bet that are offering the best in online sports betting.

The Reds could be on their way to the next Champions League title. They’ve been a good watch and promise to prove their doubters wrong.  Klopp didn’t fail in his saying. The ‘’normal one” changed the doubters into believers.  It will be a challenge, but they’ve got the fire to stay consistent. After 4 years under Klopp, Liverpool has been turned into a powerhouse both in Europe and domestically. Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool FC, are undoubtedly stronger with each other.

Could Liverpool make it three Champions League finals in a row?

After Liverpool’s night of disappointment in Kiev at the end of the 2017/18 season, it was hard to see them bouncing back so quickly. They had just lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, a match in which goalkeeper Loris Karius had committed two blunders and talismanic forward Mohamed Salah had been forced off with a shoulder injury early in the game.

It was a night where everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, but that agony would only serve to add to the ecstasy Jurgen Klopp’s men would feel twelve months later as Jordan Henderson lifted the Champions League trophy aloft, having defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid. The triumph was a testament to the idea of using past hurt as a key motivating factor, and the jubilant scenes on Merseyside as Liverpool’s players paraded through the city were images of unbridled joy.

As another Champions League campaign rolls around once again, it will be interesting to see how Liverpool fare now that Klopp has finally tasted silverware as Anfield boss. Will there be something of a lull in the Reds’ European performances, or will last year’s success only inspire this squad to seek further glory, to break records and surpass the feats of last season, where their Champions League victory was complemented by a remarkable 97-point Premier League campaign?

The current Champions League winner odds place Liverpool among the favourites to lift the famous old trophy, but to make it to three finals in a row would be a stunning achievement for the Reds given the competitive nature of Europe’s premier club competition.

That said, Real Madrid won the tournament three years running before last season, so to say it cannot be done in the modern game would be remiss. Liverpool have a special relationship with the Champions League just like Real Madrid, and it seems that this European pedigree plays a part on those big nights in the latter stages of the competition.

On that special night in April against Barcelona at Anfield, you could almost feel the history of the club swelling up around the famous stadium, the memories of past glory summoned forth by the roar of the crowd to the extent that Barcelona could do nothing but crumble.

The ‘big European night at Anfield’ has become something of a cliché, but that is only because few grounds have witnessed the drama that Anfield has, and few grounds can generate the same atmosphere. If Liverpool are to continue their Champions League success of the last couple of seasons in this campaign, they must continue to harness the power of their support.

Some might point to Liverpool’s lack of big-name acquisitions in the summer transfer window as a reason why they might get left behind in Europe this season. Jurgen Klopp refused to splash the cash over the summer months, content with the quality of his squad, eager to build on the unity developed through last year’s achievements. Only time will tell us if this was the right decision.

Perhaps more important for Liverpool was retaining their key players, keeping the core of that team together to go again. It possibly would have been foolish to bring in another attacker and disturb the front three that has terrorised defences domestically and in Europe. In Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool have a winning combination, three players who perfectly complement each other’s games, who create and provide for one another, and whose unpredictability is their greatest asset.

Liverpool’s full-backs too could stake a claim to be Europe’s finest at the moment. The pin-point accuracy of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s deliveries have rightly earned the young Englishman many plaudits, while Andy Robertson’s tenacious athleticism means he is a constant threat on the left side of the pitch. The only question is whether those two can maintain such high levels of performance across another lengthy campaign.

The group stage draw has been to kind Liverpool, placing them in Group E with Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg and Genk. It’s easy to forget that the Reds barely made it out of their group last season, edging through after beating Napoli on the final matchday. This group should see progress secured more comfortably, but complacency must be avoided at all costs.

The reality is that nothing lasts forever, but Jurgen Klopp will be hopeful that the winning machine he has created can continue rumbling on, grinding down opponents through their breathless attacking and ice-cool defensive nous. This year’s Champions League final returns to the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, the scene of Liverpool’s most famous night in European history. It would be fitting if the Reds were to walk out there again next May, 15 years on from that joyful night, to fully assert themselves as the dominant force in European football once more.

Manchester City Defender Injured: Will This Prove to be a Title Boost for Liverpool?

The Premier League is back and once again, Liverpool certainly does not want to end up in the same runners-up position for the second year in a row. After forfeiting the Premier League title last year by only one point, the Reds are off to a great start to avoid any draws or defeats in matches before the international break to avoid the same situation.

Jamie Carragher, an ex Liverpool defender, claims that neither Liverpool or Manchester City can afford to drop any points in the race for the Premier League title. Critics, pundits and fans alike are expecting the Reds and the Blues to compete once again at the top of the table this term.

“Any drop off now in a three or four-game period before the next international break, you can find yourself behind City, so every game is so vital. It almost feels like a draw is a defeat now if you’re Liverpool or City.” After the international break, Liverpool host Newcastle United, with City visiting Norwich City later in the day.

However, Liverpool may have gained a title boost in Man City defender Laporte being stretchered off. Aymeric Laporte was stretchered off the field in a clash against Brighton and this could significantly improve Liverpool’s chances at the title. The central defender was one of the reigning champions’ best players last season, proving to be the most consistent of Pep Guardiola’s defensive options.

The 25-year old went down after colliding with Brighton’s Adam Webster and was withdrawn on 35 minutes for Fernandinho, with the Frenchman receiving treatment to his knee. Although it isn’t morally right for Liverpool to see this as a positive development, the Reds could find that they benefit from Laporte’s absence, given the positive impact he often has for the Sky Blues.

All in all, both sides wish the defender a speedy recovery but from an objective point of view, it does appear to be a boost for the club. City are a dominant side, and any potential chink in their armour can prove to be beneficial to those looking to keep up with them in the Premier League title chase.

Liverpool are quite the dangerous side themselves, with or without chinks in Manchester City’s armour. Their attacking department which includes the best strikers such as Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane proves that with such talented players, anything it possible.

It is Mo Salah who usually takes the most plaudits of Liverpool’s lethal attacking trident, understandable considering that he has 55 Premier League goals and two golden boots to show for his 76 league games for the Reds so far. However, it seems this year it is Sadio Mane who been Liverpool’s greatest attacking threat. The Senegalese star has notched 15 Premier League goals in 2019, the most in the division, and 20 in all competitions which is the same as Mo Salah (12) and Roberto Firmino (8) combined.

5 of the best foreign signings the EPL has ever seen

Over the years the Premier League has been fortunate enough to be graced by a plethora of talent. British stars like all-time leading goal scorer Alan Shearer, midfield maestros like Paul Scholes, the list is endless.

However, England’s top division wouldn’t be the mammoth attraction it is today without the influence of some truly special imports.

With yet more highly-rated foreign talent headed to the EPL this summer transfer, football tips and predictions on how they will fare are mixed but whatever happens, expect some to make a big impact for their respective clubs.

With the transfer window slamming shut and the new campaign upon us we’ve been inspired to take a look at 5 foreign stars that have lit up England’s Premier League.

Patrick Vieira

Strong, mobile, exceptional on the ball and a real competitor; regardless of what club you support it would be hard not to admire the exploits of Patrick Viera during his time in England with Arsenal.

He was an integral part of the legendary Arsenal ‘invincibles’ side and he was a true leader on and off the pitch. He finished his stint at Arsenal with 31 goals and 34 assists in 3017 appearances, but his legacy will live on for many years to come.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Alongside Lionel Messi, Cristiano has consistently been one of the best players in the world for the best part of a decade and his talents first really started coming to the fore under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United after he was snapped up from Sporting Lisbon.

Quick, dazzling fee and the epitome of the modern, athletic footballer, Ronaldo was truly a one off and the Premier League was lucky to be graced with his presence before he made a mega-money move to Spanish giants Madrid.

CR7 departed Manchester having netted 84 times in 196 games, winning 3 Premier League titles along the way.

Didier Drogba

As far as all-rounded forwards go, you’d find it hard to come up with a list of names that could even rival Ivorian Didier Drogba.

During his peak at Chelsea the big man was at times unplayable, scoring 104 goals in over 250 appearances and bullying many EPL defenders for years.

His defining moment came when he scored the equaliser and subsequent final penalty in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in Munich but he will forever be remembered as one of the EPL’s greatest ever strikers.

Peter Schmeichel

Every successful team needs a truly outstanding keeper and in Schmeichel United and Fergie got that and then some.

He was an integral part of the Man United team that dominated around the 90s and he has been credited with revolutionising goalkeeping in this country.

Agile, decisive and a great defensive organiser- Schmeichel was some buy.

Nemanja Vidic

Given the amount of superb foreign defenders to grace the EPL over the years, choosing the best foreign stopper was always going to be a tricky task but we’ve punted for the brutal Serb Vidic.

His partnership with Rio Ferdinand is regarded as one of the best the top- flight has every seen and Vidic was every strikers nightmare. He was uncompromising, read the game brilliantly and led by example, particularly when the chips were down.

Is the Current England Squad Experienced Enough to Win Euro 2020?


Gareth Southgate” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland

Gareth Southgate has continually promoted youth over experience during his time as England manager, and there’s a similar flavour to his first 25-man squad of a season which culminates in Euro 2020.

Given the Three Lions were World Cup semi-finalists in Russia last summer and third-place playoff winners in the UEFA Nations League since then, everyone expects them to breeze through qualifying.

A youthful setup has only taken Southgate so far though – to the penultimate hurdle of tournaments. His latest roster has just three players older than 28 on it, and one of those is new Aston Villa goalie Tom Heaton.

Fellow recent Villa Park recruit Tyrone Mings is one of two first-time call-ups for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo. It’s something of a Cinderella story for the former Ipswich Town defender whose time with Bournemouth was wrecked by a serious knee injury.

The other maiden call-up Southgate opted for was Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who joined Manchester United for a reported £50,000,000 from Crystal Palace over the summer. It’s not so much his selection that is surprising, but the player omitted so the 21-year-old can have a chance.

Kyle Walker is a couple of caps short of his half-century for England. His decision to leave Tottenham – the club that has developed a substantial core of players used by Southgate – for Manchester City is entirely vindicated by subsequent trophies and winners’ medals.

Since Walker swapped North London for the Etihad in the summer of 2017, Man City have won five of a possible six major domestic trophies on offer in English football. He helped them to a Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup treble last season, but finds himself out of international contention all of a sudden.

Can England afford to ignore a proven winner who has obviously improved under Pep Guardiola? Not if they are to live up to their status as 9/2 second-favourites to win the Euros in the international football betting markets on offer at bet365.


Kyle Walker” (CC BY 2.0) by five til noon

This may be a storm in a teacup. Southgate could just be resting right back Walker who played in England’s UEFA Nations League finals campaign over the summer.

Being kicked by uncompromising Eastern European footballers looking to curb his natural instincts to get forward isn’t particularly appealing. Why then is former Spurs teammate Kieran Trippier, who by his own admission had a poor campaign last term despite a run to the Champions League final, still in the squad?

Surely, it’s Trippier who would benefit from being rested. He too has left Tottenham for Atletico Madrid and is adjusting to a new life in Spain and football culture in La Liga under passionate, demanding Argentine coach Diego Simeone.

Without Walker, no England defender selected has more than 30 caps. Only two have 20 or more, and just three have over 10. There is a massive lack of experience at the back with first-choice keeper Jordan Pickford on 19.

Going into the September international break, only Raheem Sterling – the joint-most experienced Three Lions player selected – had scored more Premier League goals than Burnley striker Ashley Barnes.

Austria don’t seem interested in offering him a belated senior international career having once played for their Under-20 team, but it appears he’s the somewhat unfashionable age of 29.

Barnes’ claims of an England call-up have been ignored by Southgate. Why? Well, he doesn’t fit the profile of younger players preferred by the Three Lions boss.

Exciting up-and-coming talents throughout the squad in Wan-Bissaka, Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice, Mason Mount, James Maddison and Ben Chilwell are all well and good, but the best teams often blend youth and experience.

Southgate is gambling on the old sporting adage: if you’re good enough then you’re old enough for England.

EPL Matchday Two Round-Up

Author: Alex Dudley

The Premier League is well underway for the new season, and we can already get a better understanding of which teams are in the best position to achieve their goals for the coming season.

Punters would have been disappointed with the latest round of results which saw Chelsea and Aston Villa both fail to win at home, but gamblers should be quick to take advantage of the sign-up with bet365 bonus code ahead of the next round of fixtures to maximise their returns.

Arsenal 2-1 Burnley

The Gunners made it two wins from two to begin a Premier League season for the first time in ten years with a win over Burnley at the Emirates. Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead before Ashley Barnes scored his third goal in two games to equalise. However, the Gunners weren’t to be denied, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the winner for the home side in the second half.

Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

There was one big story following this game, and that was VAR. The technology disallowed what City believed to have been the winning goal, as the ball ricocheted off the hand of Aymeric Laporte en route to Gabriel Jesus’ foot. Under the new FA rules, no goal can be awarded if a hand is involved, but City would have felt they did enough to win the game after dominating throughout. Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero twice put the Citizens ahead, but equalisers from Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura twice pegged them back.

Aston Villa 1-2 Bournemouth

Aston Villa would have been lamenting their slow start to the game as they were 2-0 down after 12 minutes. A Josh King penalty and a debut goal for Harry Wilson meant it was the Cherries to lose. There was a late goal from Douglas Luiz, but it was too little too late for the Villa on their first home game back in the top-flight.

Everton 1-0 Watford

It was a welcome return to Goodison Park for Everton as they won their first game of the new season. Bernard scored the only goal of the game after ten minutes. Moise Kean came on to make his home debut and missed two great chances to cap his cameo with a goal.

Southampton 1-2 Liverpool

The Reds had only been back in England for less than 48 hours, but that didn’t stop them from taking their place at the top of the table. Sadio Mane scored on his return to St Mary’s before Roberto Firmino scored the second. There was late drama as a mistake from Adrian allowed Danny Ings to score, but Liverpool held on for the win.

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 West Ham United

Leandro Trossard thought he had scored his first goal for his new club in the opening 45 minutes, but VAR overruled the decision after Dan Burns was in an offside position before crossing the ball. However, he did find the net again in the second half to salvage a point for the Seagulls after Javier Hernandez had given the Hammers the lead.

Norwich City 3-1 Newcastle United

The miserable start to the season continued for Steve Bruce, as Teemu Pukki scored the first Norwich top-flight hat-trick for 26 years. The travelling side did grab a late consolation, but these are worrying times for Newcastle fans.

Sheffield United 1-0 Crystal Palace

The Blades celebrated their first home game back in the Premier League with a deserved win against Crystal Palace. The only goal of the game was scored by John Lundstram two minutes into the second half.

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City

Frank Lampard’s wait for a first win as Chelsea manager continued as his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. Mason Mount put the Blues ahead with his first goal for the club before Wilfred Ndidi made up for his error by scoring the equaliser with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Greatest Games of the 2018/2019 Season

As the days and weeks count down to the start of the new Premier League season, as fans eagerly await what is to come, a countdown of the greatest moments from the previous season will get you in the mood for the drama that surely lies ahead…

Manchester City 4 v Brighton 1

The title race, which involved the highest ever points total for a second place team, came down to the wire and this game had it all! Although it was an emphatic victory in the end, what makes it memorable is those moments of hope that gave Liverpool fans a dream that the title was heading their way. For 20-30 minutes anything seemed possible….

Manchester United 3 v Newcastle 2

The reign of Jose Mourinho seems so long ago in this optimistic era of Ole, but there were glorious moments for the special one at Old Trafford, including this comeback against a rampant Newcastle. 2-0 at half time, the season was a mess and the crowd were turning. Cue a comeback of all comebacks….from the ridiculous to the sublime including a fergie time winner. Was this the start of a new dawn from Jose? We all know the answer….

Manchester City 2 vs Crystal Palace 3

The game that showed that Pep’s side were beatable after all. These are the best kind of games, they start with what you feel will be a routine City win, taking an early lead, yet blaze into action. City were shell shocked and found themselves 3-1 down and were unable to come back. A season shaping win for Palace and a game nobody at the Ethiad will forget in a hurry!

Manchester City 2 v  Liverpool 1

Seven points behind and needing a win, Liverpool new the post-Xmas game with City was vital. The quality was high, the nerves were on display and the game could have went either way but a managerial duel that was fought to the bitter end was won by Pep, and at this stage it looked the climatic end to the season we got, would not arrive

However my personal favourite would be:P

Wolves 4 v Leicester 3

On their return to the Premier League, Wolves gave us plenty of entertainment with some glorious football and memorable moment, and none perhaps more so that this clash with the Foxes. What remier league betting offers would you get this season for a 7 goal thriller including an injury time winner to complete a Diego Jota hat trick. Wes Morgan though he had sealed a titanic game after his 87th minute equaliser but Wolves had other plans…

Chelsea  3 v Arsenal 2

Every season, there is always a edge of your seat thriller involving Arsenal in the earlier weeks, and last season it was this.  Chelsea stormed to a lead, but then proved incapable of defending and Arsenal should have scored half a dozen times but only managed the two. End to end stuff, especially in a pulsating first half, did fade slightly but we still got a dramatic ending with Alavaro Morata netting in the 80th minute to take the 3 points.

If we can get 5 games half as good as this selection in the upcoming season, which I am sure we will, then 2019/2020 will be yet another memorable Premier League Campaign.

Paul Pogba’s Future – Where does it lie?


Love him or loathe him, there can be very little doubt that when on top form Paul Pogba is one of the best pure footballers in the world game. He is often criticised for having little impact on games and appearing out of motivation and disinterested, which is fair, but as with all the greats when the occasion is big he shows up! Look at the vital games for France in the World Cup including the 2018 Fifa World Cup Final, look at the Europa League Final and you will see commanding displays that rival the greats of the game.

Many within the game were surprised at Pogba’s initial move to Manchester United when he was playing crazyvegas football. The club that let him go as youngster, claimed he did not have what it takes to make it at the top level and to be fair, a club in a huge transition and unlikely to challenge for the elite honours for a season or two whilst they rebuild. Perhaps Pogba went back to prove a point? To show the club first hand who dismissed his skills that he was an elite level player?

But now with new management, a new regime and a new era starting from  Old Trafford, Pogba could be one of the many who looks at other options as they rebuild the team. Paul Pogba is not short of options but the size of the transfer fee mixed with the wage demands, and the reputation he seems to have build up may seems like a stumbling block.

But where would he go?

There have been talk of big money moves to China, but Pogba isn’t the sort of player to chase big money for the sake of it, and that option will always be there so at this stage in his career that’s a no.

In addition, the Premier League is short of options. Pogba has lit up the league but only in flashes and Man United wouldn’t be elated to sell him to a rival. He doesn’t fit in with City’s style, nor is a Jürgen Klopp style player so the chances of him moving anywhere in the Premier League seem slim.

A return to Italy is not out of the question according to sports betting new zealand, and there has been serious talk about interests from Juventus where he made his name. With Ronaldo already there, combining the two could be a wonderful thing for fans!

But the most serious chat and links is relating to a move to Spain and one of the big two. Barcelona and Real Madrid have a history of making big name signings in the summer to keep fans interested, whether they need them or not!, and Pogba would fit the bill perfectly. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid need something to boost their aging and tired midfields and Pogba would be an ideal fit on all accounts.

Pogba may surprise everyone and stay at Old Trafford, but I for one would expect him to be lining up in La Liga next season.

Liverpool’s Transfer Plans

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Now that the dust has settled after Champions League victory and a league campaign that took them painfully close to the League Title, Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp now look to solidify the team and try to capture that elusive title. But who will come, who will stay, what do they need? Klopp has a habit of slow and steady builds so rule out for now the possibility of big sales, half a dozen new major arrivals or risky business. The side Klopp has built at Anfield is solid, with no major weaknesses and could well contend for major honours again without any input (see the example of Spurs!). But who will they be likely to go for?

Junior Firpo is one name on the list that simply won’t go away and this is would be a wise singing. Firpo is a tough defender, great in the air and comfortable with the ball at his feet. He has impressed in major games for Real Betis and coped with the best La Liga has to offer. He would make an ideal partner for Van Dijk and vital cover if anything happened to the Dutchman. £50 million would be the rough asking price, but the investment would certainly give Liverpool fans that added defensive security!

Kalidou Koulibaly is another name linked with Anfield. This would be a more pricey option at £100 million plus as he is considered one of the finest defenders in the game and without doubt if he became available the problem Liverpool would have is stiff competition from the biggest clubs in the world!

One name that would certainly excite fans is that of free-coring midfielder Bruno Fernandes who certainly has something of a Ronaldo esque feel about him. Playing for Sporting Lisbon at present, he broke the record for a midfielder last season knocking in 31 goals….and these were goals from everywhere, inside and outside the box, free kicks, headers…you name it he scored it. Man Utd seem to be front runners at the moment but Liverpool are said to be keen and going to the reigning European Champions rather that  a rebuilding Man Utd may be a more appealing option!

And finally, a more familiar name that would certainly show Liverpool’s ambitions is that of Ryan Sessengon. A true shining light in a truly awful Fulham team last season, Sessengon deserves to be in a team that compliments his ability and where he can showcase himself with and against the elite. Him staying in the Premier League is a must, and where better than Liverpool! He is a Klopp style player, has lots to prove, has great attacking flair, is team-minded and has a work rate second to none! Fulham will ask for big money but given his age and his potential, as well as the fact that he has already proven himself in the English game, means he could well be one of the best options for Anfield!

Copa America success can be a shot in the arm for Brazilian football

For a while it seemed as though malaise and misfortune were following Brazil around every major international tournament. Since Dunga’s Brazil side of 2007 swept away Argentina to win the Copa America, Brazil’s performances in major competitions have been a tale of woe, of squandered potential.

The limp defeat to a better motivated Dutch side in South Africa 2010. The disheartening penalty exit at the hands of Paraguay in the 2011 Copa America. The unforgettable and harrowing 7-1 demolition by Germany in 2014. The pair of weak, insipid performances that led to early exits in both the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas. These were the signs of a Brazilian national team in crisis.

But as Tite’s side reclaimed their South American kingship on home soil earlier this month, more than a decade of international failure was washed away. Dani Alves, who was a part of the 2007 Copa winning side, seemed the perfect man to lift the trophy, to bookend a painful decade with sweet success once more. This was a Brazil side recharged, spurred on by the home support that ultimately caused them to choke in 2014, harnessing their talents effectively to sweep away all opponents. This was a call-back to the glory years, as Brazil did not concede a single goal before the final.

It may seem melodramatic to present this as some kind of redemptive success. For many of us, twelve years without a major international title is not a long time. For England fans indeed, over 50 years of hurt have not yet been healed by a repeat of that 1966 World Cup triumph.

But then, Brazil are different from any other footballing nation. For decades, the mood of the nation has so often hinged on the prospects of their football team, those yellow shirts the beacons to which so many Brazilians pin their hopes and dreams. The 2014 World Cup disaster on home soil presented the kind of humiliation Brazil had never experienced. So used to success, so acquainted with glory, it felt as though a nation, never mind a football team, had crumbled into the sea, each German goal another wave crashing against the side that was once feared by all.

That wound has undoubtedly taken time to heal, and perhaps it will never heal fully, but this recent success provides a boost to every level of football in Brazil, from those kicking balls around the streets of Rio right up to the Série A. Perhaps now is the time for Brazilians to fall in love once more with their domestic game, the league that once boasted legends like Pele and Romario.

Indeed, Everton, who scored the opening goal in Brazil’s 3-1 win over Peru in the Copa America final, plies his trade with Grêmio, proving that the domestic league can still provide the national side’s heroes. As the Série A gets underway once again after breaking up for the Copa America, expect there to be a new spring in the step of many players, an added buoyancy to the crowds, all now reacquainted with that sweet taste of international glory.

If you think you can predict who will win this year’s Brazilian Série A, then check out https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plus/football/competition/13. 

Fantasy Football for Beginners

I got hooked on Fantasy Football in the same way many did….via the Dream Team competitions in the national newspaper. Hours I would spend pouring over the prices, stats and assembling a team only to find out that I had too many Arsenal players or I had miscalculated and was £1 million ver spend. After the team was picked, the excitement was quickly nullified when half my team were injured and the other half didn’t start. The pre season optimism of a run to the top of the dream team board ended sharpish!

For most, the Fantasy Football season is not about a run for the top prizes on offer, but simply beating your mates in the leagues you have organised. Many season I have topped the table with glory taking home bragging rights or even the kitty for the more risky players. Whether you are new to fantasy football or an expert here are some vital tips to go with these sports betting picks

Tip 1 – Never Submit Too Early – I have fallen foul of submitting my teams too early, only for players to go down injured, fall out with managers or be transferred to the far end of Russia. Always wait, until the last possible moment, especially if you are playing a version of the game where changes aren’t allowed to be made

Tip  2 – Check who will be away – I have a feeling you are safe this season, but always be aware of players who are called away to Asian ups, Africa Nations and Such like as they could missed 4-5 games, maybe more and that could be vital to your stats!

Tip 3 – Who is on penalties? – Let me be nostalgic for a moment…back in the day my first ever pick on the team sheet would be David Unsworth. Everton were always likely to be top 10 and have a decent defensive record, but the main reason Unsworth was always first on my list was that he took the penalties giving extra chances to earn points. Defenders are never selected because they score goals but if you can get someone who may net 5 goals a season from the spot, or indeed the likes of free kick taking defenders who may end up netting a few free kicks, the value is immense!

Tip 4 – Promoted Gems – Every season, there are 1-2 players in each of the promoted teams who will be scoring high points. They are cheap, reliable and usually play every game as they are needed to help their team. Therefore, hunt down last seasons stats, look at who is likely to start and if you can get a creative midfielder who can chip in with 10 goals or so, that’s the aim. They will cost you virtually nothing and mean you can go for one of the big boys in your team!

Tip 5 – Ignore last seasons points – Forget about the listing that show you how much the player earned last season…that means nothing! People get too easily distracted but form dips and players are far too often one season wonders.

I hope those 5 tips help you out in your hunt for fantasy football success and if you happen to win this season, taking home the kitty from your mates, then you owe me a pint! Unless you live in Canada where best sports betting sites canada will provide you with far greater insight than I can with my 5 basic hints and tips.

PS One last free tip – Take a look at Norwood at newly promoted Sheffield United – in the new VAR era set piece takers like him should provide excellent value.

Why Liverpool Don’t Need to Spend?

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After a season in which the Champions League trophy was returned to Anfield and the club ended up with the highest points total ever for a second place finish, the summer is a key time to decide how they can retain their European status and make that one last push to bring the league title home. Do Liverpool need to spend? Is a big name needed to keep morale going? Or is “not selling” better than “spending”?

Look no further than last seasons example of Spurs…..in the summer there was tensions over at White Hart Lane as the club failed to secure any big name signings and instead relied on the team that had produced success the previous season. Fast forward to the end of the season and 3rd in the league and a Champions League final……justified!

So as Jurgen Klopp sits down with his squad sheet heading into the new season, why could the best idea be not spending at all? The simple fact of the matter is that Liverpool won the champions league last season with relative ease. They cruised through every stage including the final and had the greatest comeback in Champions League history to make the final. They have a squad that includes the best defender in world football, one of the finest keepers currently in the game and an attacking trio ANY club in Europe would relish having. The team flows well, has great balance and has no obvious weaknesses with a strength in depth that most clubs would die for! So why improve for the sake of it? The major blow as we are seeing with their US tour is that the youngsters look really good, particularly Brewster. Provided he can concentrate on his football and avoid the bright lights of Vegas and online casinos usa when he is out in the States.

More pessimistic people may point to the fact that Liverpool still did not end the long long drought of league title success last season…..but they were desperately unlucky. They acquired the highest ever points total in league history to end up 2nd, and in 99% of league season they would have been champions. They just happened to be up against a Manchester City side under Pep Guardiola that has to be considered as “peak Pep”. Man City played well throughout the season, but can they continue that? Will Liverpool’s quite frankly, amazing points total, ever fail to win the league again? True, both sides have to keep the form from last season, but Liverpool are in a good position, with a settled squad and should consider giving this team another run at the title before giving up.

Compared to great rivals Man Utd who are currently on the other side of the world in Australia, (who incidentally are likely to come back with a new online sports betting australia sponsorship deal as part of their relentless commercial drive!) the Reds don’t need so much work done to the squad.

In this transfer heavy, headline grabbing, big money modern game it is indeed all to easy to spend money for the sake of it on a big name or someone who becomes available. But as Spurs proved last season, all too well, then success can be achieved and maintained without the need for big investment. Klopp needs to keep the champions of Europe motivated, playing on form and making sure he keeps the team focused and then that is surely far better than any investment for the sake of it!

What is “Sarri-ball” and is it coming to Juventus next season?

Despite guiding Chelsea to Europa League title success and a third-place Premier League finish, Maurizio Sarri has traded The Blues for Juventus. The Italian manager has left Chelsea and signed a three-year deal to become manager of Juventus; both clubs confirmed the signing of the contract on Sunday the 16fh of June. Chelsea announced on Thursday that they had agreed a compensation fee of over £5 million for the Italian who told he wanted to return to Italy to be closer to his family.

Sarri’s reign at Chelsea has not been without it’s criticisms and the Italian manager’s tactical choices – often called “Sarri-ball” – have been under fire more than he would have wanted. Sarri has always claimed the criticism of his Sarri-ball system is a “false problem” as he vowed to stand by his tactics while his job was often hanging by a thread.

Former Liverpool-player, currently working as an analyst, Danny Murphy has been an outspoken critic of the system claiming he never understood the whole Sarri-ball thing and it has always bemused [him]. Murphy went on to say that Sarri-ball is like trying to put square pegs in round holes and claims Sarri is refusing to accept his mistakes and change his tactics.

Now with Sarri returning to Italy, the question is if his Sarri-ball tactical play is coming back to the Italian peninsula too. But first, what is Sarri-ball exactly?

The concept of ‘Sarri-ball’ – or also called ‘Sarrismo’ – is essentially a fast-paced, possession-based style of attacking football often likened to a vertical tiki-taka. Comparable to the style of football Pep Guardiola introduced during his reign at Barcelona, Sarri-ball incorporates short and quick passes with the objective to move the play as far up the pitch as fast as possible. Sarri has received a lot of criticism for his style of play but has also been hailed being a tactical genius bringing attractive football to Napoli, with short quick passing and rapid counter attacks.

Now that Sarri is coming to Juventus next season, is Sarri-ball coming with him? All signs show that the Italian has not given up on his approach and is stubborn to continue playing the style he has become famous with. For one, Sarri has demanded that Juventus bring the Chelsea duo Gonzalo Higuain, who Sarri previously worked with at Napoli, as well as full-back Emerson Palmieri to Turin. The Italian manager clearly is planning on continuing playing similar football as he did with Napoli and later on with Chelsea.

Sarri-ball is coming back to Italy; everything is pointing in that direction. And according to Italian newspaper Tuttosport, Ronaldo is excited by the prospect of Sarri-ball coming to Turin and is hoping he can benefit from the change in approach. Winning the championship with Juventus will be the minimum for Sarri. The 60-year old will also need to perform well in the Champions League, possibly winning the ‘trophy with the big ears’. Only if he achieves in doing this, his passage in Turin will be seen as a success.

Women’s World Cup – The Good, the bad and the ugly

As we reach the knockout stages of the 2019 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup, we can reflect back on what has been a tournament filled with talking points, both positive and negative. In actual fact, let us just start with the negatives and that has been the conduct of one team in particular.

The Round of 16 game at the 2019 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup quickly descended into farce as the fun, free flowing positive football of England was thwarted by an aggressive, spoiling tactic from Cameron. It was sad to see the Women’s game, on such a big stage, descend into such a fashion that it became awkward to watch. The delaying tactics actually meant the match itself lasted for 2 hours of play time! VAR was disputed, Cameroon were on the verge of quitting and fouled England to the extent that the game was ruined! A shambles all round and the referring display did not help matters!

But let us not dwell on the negatives too long as the 2019 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup has been on the whole a shining beacon of how the sport should be played. The Women’s teams all seem to have set out to prove a point, to set an example and to truly inspire the next generation of females to take up the game. The conduct on the whole has been exemplary, and the game has been played in great spirits! There has been very little diving, play acting or poor sportsmanship (except the Cameroonians last night!) and the respect for officials and opposition has been high. What are the odds on this being a cleaner world cup than the mens? Have a look at Bettingoffers.Cash to see.

The games have been entertaining at the 2019 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup as the teams have focused on attacking play, creative football and an attitude of presenting football as it should be….entertainment. Often games in the men’s side of things, when tension is high and millions of pounds are at stake can descend into bore fests with both teams trying to be too negative, but based on pure entertainment value…..the 2019 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup has certainly outdone last year’s men’s efforts!

The quality of football has also been high. Too many times, especially on social media, comments about Women’s football will always revert back to how inferior people perceive the game in comparison to the men’s game. I suggest that these comments derive from people who have not watched a single moment of the 2019 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup as if they had if would have taken a very stubborn person not to see how the quality has risen.

At the end of the day, the 2019 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup has got the respect it deserves from press and TV coverage…..That’s what the game needs to grow. Not treated a side show, or a PC exercise, but as what it should be and that is a high quality, entertaining and competitive sport played in the way that the game really should be!

Top earning footballers around the world

Gone are the days when players stayed at one club for their entire career, and in recent years many footballers have turned into hired mercenaries, ready to perform for the highest bidder. Many players leave home comforts in the search for higher wages, and of the Top 20 earners, according to https://www.findbettingsites.co.uk , only 2 players are still playing in the country of their birth. Of these, Gerard Pique has played abroad previously in England with Manchester United before returning to Spain.

The fact that both of these players, Spaniard Pique and Kylian Mbappe from France, are European helps them massively to earning big money in their own countries as 75% of the top 20 earnings are plying their trade in Europe. This shows that the biggest money to be made in Football is to come from Europe, with the remaining players currently playing in China and America. These later countries are really tapping into the market in terms of money being paid to players, as previously these countries were seen as leagues where older players go to prolong the end of their career. Now the football associations in these countries are noticing the vast population that they have and using it to drive money into the game, especially China. They have now been able to attract younger players to their league, including 27 year old Oscar, number 6 on our list, and 15th place Hulk, who moved to the Chinese Super League at age 29.

Where you are born also seems to indicate whether you could be one of the higher paid players as 19 of the top 20 hail from either Europe or South America, with only Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure coming from any other continent. The most common country in the top 20 was Brazil with Neymar Jr, Oscar, Thiago Silva and Hulk all appearing in our list. All these players made the move into Europe very early on in their careers and are now reaping the benefits. The two next highest countries both had 3 appearances on the list with France and Argentina sharing second place. With Uruguay and Colombia also appearing on the list, South America really is a hot bed of football talent with exactly half of the top 20 hailing from the continent.

Recent international successes may lead to improved financial deals at club level, as out of the 9 European players on the list, 3 hail from France who have just become World Champions by winning the coveted FIFA World Cup. It may well be that increased interest in these players have lead clubs to move and try to secure them on longer and better deals.

Infographic source: https://www.betting-sites.uk.com/soccer-earnings/

Splitting the Premier League – A positive step or a daft idea?


As another season of the Premier League unfolds, and the usual pattern emerges with three leagues in one…The top 6, the middle 4 and the 10 clubs scrapping to stay above the drop zone. This had lead to the re-emergence of a long standing debate about splitting the league up into mini divisions at a certain stage of the season.

I for one am a fan of this idea. What it would essentially mean is that for the final 12 games or so, the top 6 teams would only play each other, the bottom  6 would compete for survival and the middle tier would battle for bragging rights. I do realise that under this system the battle for the middle positions would not be too exciting, but the rest of it….its the future.

Can you imagine 10 weeks of the season in which the top 6 battle it out week after week? The rivalries, the drama, knowing that every point is vital to keep pace. The league would tighten up as teams would be dropping points and not steam rolling over lowly rivals. Ticket demand for Man City v Man Utd would certainly exceed Man City vs Cardiff and TV viewers would lap it up!

The same for the Bottom 6 clubs…..Look at Huddersfield, getting cut adrift in the season with games away to the big boys to come. But imagine if they knew their last 10 games would be against fellow rivals? The drama would begin….Constant games week after week of teams knowing that a loss could edge them closer to relegation whereas a win would inch them to another season of Premier League glory…..all makes for better drama than constant 11 men behind the ball displays against teams they are fully and rightly expected to, and often do, loose against! Imagine also how it would impact Betting Deals for EPL and Championship clubs!

I know what you are going to say? Why fix something that is more popular than ever and is not broken? Well the argument I would give you is that if an idea exists that could increase Premier League viewership, attendances and drama….then why not take advantage of it?

2018/19 Champions League Final

As another domestic season draws to a close, we look ahead to what feels like a domestic game. An all English Champions League Final. In a season in which the quality of the top flight of English football has been so high, it is only fitting that the elite competition in Europe is contested by two of the teams who finished in the Top 3 of the Premier League.

Liverpool will look to curb the disappointment of the highest ever points total to end up only second in the Premier League, as well as last years Champions League final defeat, and overcome Tottenham Hotspur who have produced some outstanding performances to reach the final in a year in which they never seriously contended for the Premier League crown.

What will happen on June 1st? Will we see a classic attack of free flowing football or a cagey defensive affair? Will Salah and Ali show up or will someone unexpected steal the show? There is not long to find out…Let us take a look at a few key facts about this tie…

  • Spurs have never reached this stage of the competition before and face Liverpool, 5 times winners and last season runners up
  • Both teams came back from unprecedented levels in the Semi Finals to reach this stage
  • This will be the 7th Champions League Final to be contested by clubs from the same country and the second English affair.  Spanish clubs have most regularly appeared in these domestic final
  • The last All English affair was 11 years ago when Manchester United defeated Chelsea on penalties in the rain soaked city of Moscow
  • Spurs become the 8th English club to appear in a European Cup Final…more than any other country
  • This is the 5th final to have taken place in Madrid, the last being in 2010
  • In total Spurs have lost 79 times to Liverpool in 170 games with 43 draws
  • Only 22 teams have won the European Cup….Spurs would make it 23
  • Spurs have a good European pedigree outside of the Champions League and were the first English winners of the now defunct European Cup Winners Cup
  • Spurs would indeed become only the 5th club to have won the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners Cup if they triumphed in Madrid
  • Liverpool have won 5 of 8 European Finals
  • Liverpool have reached back to European Finals on 2 previous occasions and have always won at least one of them
  • Spurs have never ever won a game in Spain
  • Liverpool have lost on 4 of their previous 5 trips to Spain
  • The sides previously met in the Semi Final stage of the 1973 UEFA Cup when Liverpool overcame Spurs on away goals
  • In the last 14 meetings between the two sides, Spurs have beaten Liverpool only once
  • Liverpool won 2-1 on both occasions that the two sides met in this years Premier League
  • The sides met in a domestic final in 1982 when Liverpool won 3-1

I hope that has got your appetite wet for what should be a titanic and historic clash in Madrid tomorrow night!

The leading contenders for PFA Player of the Year award 2019

As one of the most exciting Premier League seasons in recent memory comes to a thrilling climax, it’s almost time to recognise the players who have lit up England’s elite throughout 2018/19. This year, football fans have been treated to some stunning individual performances and there’s some truly talented footballers who are in the reckoning for the PFA Player of the Year award.

Before we have a look at the frontrunners, don’t forget to bet on Premier League winner as Manchester City and Liverpool engage in a two-horse race for the title, with the Citizens leading the way at 4/5 currently. If you think the Reds will end their Premier League hoodoo, you can back Jurgen Klopp’s men at evens.

Virgil van Dijk @1/4

If Liverpool are to secure their first ever Premier League success, much will be owed to the herculean displays of Virgil van Dijk. The Dutch centre-back has been nothing short of class throughout the whole campaign, and is yet to be successfully dribbled past in the last 12 months. The Reds paid a world-record fee for Van Dijk in January 2018 and he has absolutely revolutionised a previously leaky defence. The former Southampton star has transformed the Merseysiders into genuine title contenders and it’ll be something of a surprise if he doesn’t win.

Raheem Sterling @11/4

If Van Dijk is unsuccessful, then it’ll likely be due to the continued excellence of City’s Raheem Sterling. The 24-year-old has enjoyed a stellar campaign to date and has 17 goals and 11 assists to his name, and his vast improvement hasn’t gone unnoticed. Sterling’s end product over the past two years has seen him become one of the league’s best players, and he’s certainly one of City’s most valuable assets. Manager Pep Guardiola has really transformed the England star and it would be hard to begrudge Sterling of the win.

Sergio Aguero @16/1

It still seems a travesty that City’s all-time record goal scorer hasn’t picked up the award, but Sergio Aguero continues to exercise his right as one of world football’s most exciting strikers. Since signing in 2011, the Argentine superstar has recorded 162 Premier League goals of which 19 were scored this season. In February, Aguero broke the record for most league hat-tricks when he scored consecutive trebles against Arsenal and Chelsea – bringing his total to 11. It’ll be hard for Aguero to pip the two favourites but if he continues to bang in the goals, his 16/1 price provides plenty of value.

Sadio Mane @25/1

Although much of the focus would have been on Mohammed Salah this season, Sadio Mane has taken over the reins and has proven himself as Liverpool’s main goal threat. The Senegalese winger-come-attacker has demonstrated his importance to Klopp’s men time and time again, and his goal and assist return this year has seen him listed as one of the main contenders. Mane’s slick style of play and brilliant attacking prowess have made him a nightmare for Premier League defenders, and he’s averaged a goal every 151 minutes this season.

Bernardo Silva @50/1

Statistics-wise, Bernardo Silva looks a questionable frontrunner for the PFA Player of the Year award but watching him strut his stuff at the Etihad suggests otherwise. Six goals and eight assists is hardly poor, but it isn’t on the same level as some of the other nominees but Silva’s all-round play is something to admire. Cool, calm and collected, Silva has proven to be a very important cog in the City juggernaut and he has gained a whole host of admirers this season and rightfully so; and could even be a natural replacement for namesake David. At 24, Silva has his best years ahead of him and he has certainly cemented a place in Guardiola’s starting XI. 

Eden Hazard @ 50/1

It’s hard to believe that Eden Hazard is all the way out at 50/1 after the season he has had, but he’ll provide excellent value for money for those who may be tempted. The Belgian winger has 16 goals to his name currently, the joint best since he signed for Chelsea in 2012. Alongside his 12 Premier League assists, it really has been Hazard’s strongest campaign and it’s no surprise that Real Madrid have demonstrated a keen interest. More often than not, Hazard is the main attacking threat and his sheer pace and close-knit dribbling make him one of the best players in the world. It’s hard to see Hazard winning but if he does, it’ll be his second award after winning in 2015.

Fernandinho and Mo Salah also at 50/1.

Facts About Manchester United


Everyone who watches soccer has heard about Manchester United. This is because this is part of the most popular teams in the world. Furthermore, with a history that dates back to the 1800, it would be a shock if you did not know them. We are sure that even those who do not watch soccer have surely heard about the Red Devils and the betting odds that come with the team. However as much as you might know about the team, allow us to give a few facts about Man United that will blow your mind away. 

Shocking Facts About Manchester United

The Teams Managers

Man United has a very long and winding history as we have mentioned about. And in that history, they have had 22 team managers. The amazing fact is from those 22 team mangers, Manchester United have only had 2 non-British managers. These two were Louis Van Gal and Jose Mourinho. 

The Goal Scorer

In the history of the UEFA, there have been many top scorers. With Ronaldo being among the names of the top goal scorers. What you might not have known was that Wane Rooney is the highest goal scorer. An Englishman in the league with an amazing 29 goals to brag about. 

We do know that the team features in the EU Sports FIFA game, what we do not know is if there are any online casino games in honour of this team. However with such a long history, there must be an online casino game at houseofjack that has the Red Devils, don’t you think so?

Their Name

We all know the name of the team is Manchester United, and we are also ware of their nickname, the Red Devils. Allow to know tell you were the nickname from. The team was first known as Newton Health and renamed to Manchester United in 1902. As for their nickname, under the management of Sir Matt Burly, United took the name from Red Devil from Salford rugby club. A club in France who were also known for their love of red jerseys. 

A day in the Life of a Manchester United Fan

Ole


The life of a soccer fan is one that is not easy. It is full pain, anger, relief and joy. However all these emotions have nothing to do the fan, but everything to do with the team that they support. On that note, allow us to take a few minutes to look at a day in the life of a typical Manchester United Fan.

The Emotions

Each and every soccer fan’s day is so full of emotion. All these emotions are those that they fail to control. On lookers may wonder what is troubling a Man United fan only to find out they are worried about the outcome of the next game. The emotions that fans a go through, words cannot even express. Even the beloved online gambling games cannot comfort a Red Devils fan who is distraught. When their team losses, they lose with it and when it wins, they rejoice with it. All this for the love of Manchester United. 

The dedication

What may seem to many as a day too hot or as a day too cold, to Manchester United fan, it is just another day. This is especially true if there is a match to be played. Be it in the rain, be it in the sun, if there is a game, they will be there. Despite the cost, a soccer fan is one who is dedicated to their team will always make sure that they watch them play. 

The lessons

According to sports betting and casino games reviewers at www.bestusaonlinecasinos.com, they say each and every soccer match comes with several lessons. These lesson for both the player and the fans. For the Manchester United players, they have learnt that they should never give up. By watching their favourite fall and rise to challenge countless times, they too have taken this lesson in their day to lives. Troubles may come their way, but just like the Red Devils, they will take each challenge as it comes. 

That being said, a day in the life of a Manchester United fan is one that you will never be able to understand. The only way that you will be understand all they go through is to be a Manchester United fan yourself. 

What makes a good Football Quiz App?


The app stores are littered with Football Apps and one subject that comes up time and time again are Football Quizzes. Every Tom, Dick and Harry in the app creation world has cottoned on to the fact that if you combine two things that people love….Football and Quizzes, then you have a recipe for success. But this doesn’t ensure quality and only around 10% of the Football Apps on the store are worth even five minutes of your time. Are you thinking of making an app? Here are some useful tips…

  • Avoid picture games. There is nothing more boring than a hangman style game with a footballer pictured and guessing letters to unveil who it is. These games have been done to death, and that reminds me..
  • Avoid Logo games. Way too many, making a truly great Logo game for football takes time and its no good littering the market any more
  • Avoid too easy. The one problem many football apps do have is that they are not made by people with a good knowledge of football and hence it all tends to be too easy with questions galore on the same narrow subjects.
  • The type of games that are really working at the moment in the world of app quizzing are head to head games…Quiz Up, Quiz Planet etc. So invest time and money and making it a more competitive element to it, where rival fans can play and friends can show off their knowledge. The quiz games of just playing for your own personal score are long dead and player interaction is the way forward!
  • Invest in a quality writer. As an experienced quizzer and writer myself, I see so many awful apps with questions that have been cobbled together. The quality of questions will keep players coming back and if your app is advert reliant then that is what you want. Spend time finding a good writer, get questions updated all the time and always upload them. 100,000 questions should be the very basic base line you should be looking at when launching an app about football.

So, don’t waste your time reinventing the while, get a good interactive format mixed with solid questions and you will be laughing all the way to the bank! Also check out Best Football Apps for all the best football related apps out there.

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer – How can he not….?


Even the most ardent Manchester Untied fan who is loving live at the moment under Solksjaer  must admit that when he returned to the club in the wake of what will forever be known as “The Mourinho Years”, there was an initial excitement at seeing an old face but a longer term view of….who is next? Even in the initial few games when Solksjaer had made a positive impact, still all the talk was about the next manager? Time went on……the wins kept on coming….has Solksjaer now put himself in a position where the job is his to lose? How can Solksjaer secure the job? What will the end of the season need to look like for him to handed a full time deal….

Top 4 looked far beyond the team under Mourinho, far beyond it….and in free fall United fans feared the worst. But a string of solid wins under Solksjaer has paved a path to 4th place and the all-important Champions League qualifying positions.  Solksjaer has shown he can take the team into the Top 4 so now his job is to remain there. The very basis for Ole having a leading role in the running for the next permanent manager must surely come down to this? Remain in the Top 4 in a season where this looked impossible and it’s an achievement very few managers could have reached. Yes, in a normal season 4th place would be a disappointment, but if in May 2019 United are still there…it will feel like the biggest of victories!

Slipping out the Top 4 now he has achieved it may prove decisive. Again, even a 5th place finish with a stable team and good performances would be a massive improvement on what went before, but if we are talking about handing over the keys of the biggest club in world football to someone….then Top 4 is a must.

But what about this seasons Champions League? Solksjaer inherits one positive thing from his predecessor……knockout Champions League football. Strange things happen when we get to this stage of the worlds most lucrative competition and although the PSG game looks daunting, would you bet against a Solksjaer inspired Man United? Most expect PSG will have a little too much for United….their attacking might combined with the still questionable defence of United may prove a combination too much.

Beating PSG would help Solksjaer’s case no end, a run to the final and a Top 4 inish would surely mean the job is his?

United on the mend as Sanchez’s woes continue

While Manchester United’s season goes from strength to strength under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, one player at Old Trafford who continues to struggle is their Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez.

Since joining the club in January 2018, when Jose Mourinho was still in charge, Sanchez has hit the back of the net just five times. Only three of these goals have come in the Premier League, all at home and against teams in the bottom half of the table, with the other two netted in FA Cup matches in the capital.

And an injury against Southampton at the beginning of March meant he played no part in United’s dramatic – albeit slightly fortuitous – success over Paris St Germain in the Champions League a few days later.

Source: “Ole Gunnar Solskjær” (CC BY-ND 2.0) byArbeiderpartiet

While the Reds were edging to an away-goals success over PSG in Paris, the 30-year-old could only watch in the knowledge that he is likely to be out of action until mid-April.

United are now 10/1 to win the Champions League in the football betting and Sanchez may not even be available for the second leg of their quarter-final tie, which will take place on either April 16 or 17.

Speaking ahead of the second leg game against PSG, Solskjaer said Sanchez’s knee injury was a major concern for United and that he expects his forward to be sidelined for around “four to six weeks.”

The Sanchez story so far

As for Sanchez, his Old Trafford career does not make good reading – at the momemt.

During the final few months of last season, Sanchez could only score twice in the Premier League – in 12 appearances – with these goals coming at home to lowly Huddersfield and relegated Swansea.

The only other time he found the net for United during 2017/18, was a semi-final effort against Tottenham at Wembley, which was arguably his only significant contribution for Mourinho’s men last season.

Source: “Alexis Sánchez” (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald

Matters have not improved much this season either. So far, there has only been one goal in the league – a last-minute winner at home to Newcastle in October – and another in the FA Cup at former club Arsenal in round four.

He did manage one goal each against those footballing powerhouses of Costa Rica and Honduras, during international matches for Chile, but his dreadful goal tally for United was ultimately one of the reasons why Mourinho lost his job in December.

But while United’s fortunes have improved dramatically under Solskjaer, Sanchez’s have not and this injury is another setback for a player who is reportedly earning over £300,000 a week at Old Trafford.

Arsenal and Barcelona

All this is a far cry from his form during his three and a half seasons at Arsenal, and his three years with Barcelona before that.

With the Gunners, he netted 60 times in the Premier League, including 24 during the 2016/17 season alone. He also scored in two winning FA Cup finals for the north Londoners, when Arsene Wenger was manager.

Source: “Alexis Sánchez” (CC BY 2.0) by Ines11thiago

At Barcelona, it was a similar story scoring, on average, almost one goal every two games as he enjoyed La Liga honours with the Catalan club in 2012/13, one year after collecting a winners’ medal in the Copa del Rey.

As for his United legacy, that is yet to be decided but first, he must overcome the knee injury which has left him a spectator at a rejuvenated Old Trafford.

Everton – Is mediocrity enough?


Everton hold several records regarding their duration in the top flight of English football, being one of the few long standing members of the top division and of the Premier League. But of those seasons, despite the one or two flirts with relegation, they have never been serious contenders for the title and only once managed to earn a Champions League place, which they then failed to act on in the qualifying round. World class players have graced the turf at Goodison Park, talented managers have come and gone and memorable moments have been had. But as Everton fans watch their Anfield rivals claw their way to the top of the tree and challenge for the title, d they feel left behind? Is constant mid table finished enough? What more do you crave?

As a fan of Sunderland, I know all too well the pain of relegation, and the fight for survival. But those season were always full of drama, late wins, vital points and shock comebacks. I would not exchange the scraps for survival and “the great escapes” for 10 seasons of finishing 15th. The problem being for Everton fans that once the pre-season optimism has died down the usual top 6 take a stranglehold, and it has became clear that relegation is not a worry, then the season fades out into nothingness. Battling Wolves for 7th place, scraps with Newcastle for 12th……not the most exciting of seasons.

The money men of course may argue otherwise and the fact that Everton have been backed with huge wages, huge transfer fees and all the financial support they need it is evident that a lifetime eof 8th place finished would please everybody.

I am jot for one minute suggesting that relegation is an interesting or preferable option for the club…but what about the cups? Everton are one of many mid table Premier League clubs, who are unlikely to get relegated, but persist in playing weakened teams in the cup games? I do not understand the logic! The fans would relish a day out or two at Wembley, the excitement of a cup final….they don’t want to watch a second string side loose to Hull City one week before an away draw with Wolves in the battle for the 8th place with a full team.

Everton have tried everything to break into that top 6 but teams who were previously below them have now risen above and they run a risk of moving further away. Big money transfers  haven’t worked so far so is a new approach needed?

The Greatest FA Cup Finals of the 1990s


The 20th Century was a time when the FA cup was still at its peak. Still the end of season fixture. Still a competition teams took seriously. The decline would soon start to set in as the 21st Century entered its first decade but the 1990s was a time when the FA Cup mattered and the FA Cup Final was one of the biggest games of the year….let us take a look at the 5 best finals.

  1. Manchester United 4 – 0  Chelsea – 1994

The first Ferguson double was capped off with a display that showed this era of Manchester United at their very finest. Cantona’s majesty, Kanchelkis ripping defences apart, Hughes potency and Paul Ince running the midfield. Glenn Hoddle ripping off his tracksuit to enter the field of play remains a memorable moment of a game in which one of the finest managers of all time had a team that felt they could never lose.

  • Crystal Palace 3  – 3 Manchester United

Forget the replay, the original game between two sides eager for silverware was a thriller. No hot prediction site could have predicted this drama. This is just before “peak Ferguson” and you could already see the team Manchester United would become kicking into gear. Both teams lead at some stage when the game ended 2-2 and both teams scored in extra time. Ian Wright almost thought he had the cup won for Palace but a dramatic late equaliser for United took the game to a replay. Goals, drama and quality…what a final!

  • Liverpool 2 – 0 Sunderland

Plucky Sunderland had fought to their first final since the dramatic upset of 1973. Liverpool, faints of the game without a League title in the 1990s, still had a squad bursting with talent and although Sunderland under Malcolm Crosby gave their all, they didn’t have the quality to match Liverpool on the day. But the drama, the hope of another Wimbeldon-esque upset and the occasions itself made this a memorable final for all the right reasons.

  • Liverpool 0 – 1 Manchester United

There is something special when two genuine rivals meet in the FA Cup Final and what bigger rivalry than Liverpool vs United. Everything about the game from the wide suits to the Cantona winner was edge of your seat stuff. A game Manchester United fans will remember for a long time and one Liverpool faithful will be quick to forget…

  • Chelsea 2 – 0 Middlesbrough

Di Matteo left little time to sit down when he scored a 33 second goal to fire this Final into life, but the real story was Bryan Robsons team. Assembled with global superstars, a season of promise had ended in relegation but 2 cup finals had been rwached given hope of an upset. All the flair of Juninho, the potency of Ravenelli and Emerson passion could not stop a rampant Chelsea but whilst there was hope, this final remained gripping!

Ways to Pay for Online Sports Betting


Technology is constantly revolving as has the world of sports betting. No longer do you need to trek all the way to your local bookmakers to place your football coupon – you can now do this online! Not only that but on the best sports betting sites – you can do this via your mobile phone. The theme these days is definitely convenience – and unlike when you visit the bookmakers where you need to bring cold, hard cash – there are other faster ways of paying that could be more suitable for you. We’ve outlined some payment methods that you may want to use should you wish to visit an online sports betting site. 

Debit or Credit Card

This is the most obvious method of payment and still the most convenient for some. Pretty much all online casinos allow you the option to make a deposit using your debit or credit card. They also tend to affiliate with the biggest merchants out there. So, if you have a Visa, MasterCard, Maestro etc. – the reality is the betting brand has you covered! Depositing this way will ensure the money comes off your bank account pretty much instantly.

PayPal

This is one of the most famous e-wallets around and probably made famous by the likes of eBay. With PayPal the advantage is that you don’t need to enter your bank details online all the time – you can simply use your PayPal login details. PayPal is an entirely safe and secure method of payment, so there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to the transaction itself.  The fact that PayPal is widely used amongst other types of e-commerce sites also puts a further element of trust in the users’ mind when they are making a deposit.

Mobile Phone

This is the most convenient way to make your deposit on site. Think of contactless, but for mobile sports betting sites. The beauty of using this method is that the amount you have deposited will simply be added to your phone bill if you are part of a mobile phone contract. If you have a Pay As You Go phone – then the amount will simply be taken off your credit. This completely takes away any hassle or fuss from depositing on an online gaming site.  The only thing with this however is that just like when you use contactless, it can seem as if you aren’t really playing with your own money – as you can’t see it leave your bank account straight away. Bear that in mind and make sure you gamble responsibly. 

Skrill

Skrill is a payment method that has been created and developed specifically for iGaming websites and has proven to be incredibly popular with players. They have over 10 years of experience and allow instant balance transfers. It’s accepted at the majority of online casinos, bookmakers and poker rooms – and you can register any of your bank accounts with them. Your transactions are also completely safe and secure – so there’s nothing you need to worry about on that front. If you use this payment option a lot – then you can also get rewarded as a Skrill VIP.

Paysafecard

Paysafecard can be used across gaming, social media communities and film and entertainment. It works as a prepaid card and is so simple to use. You don’t need your debit or credit card, all you need to do is head to your local venue and top up your Paysafecard account. You will have a PIN that is 16 digits long, and all you need to do is enter that pin when you head to your favourite online gaming site. There is also an exclusive rewards scheme and loyalty scheme you can take advantage of. Make sure you take care of your PIN numbers though so it’s easy enough to make your deposits. 

Neteller

The primary attribute of Neteller is that it’s fast and simple. It’s accepted across a lot of iGaming sites such as Stakers – and is popular with players. All you need to do is sign up for your free Neteller account, add funds to it via various methods – and then make your fast and secure payment.  Again, it means that you don’t need to enter your credit or debit card details online which is a positive for a lot of players.

Zimpler

With Zimpler all you need is your mobile phone. All you need to do is select Zimpler as your chosen payment method and then enter your mobile phone number. Once you do this – Zimpler will send you your unique code. This option is also great in terms of responsible gambling as you can set budgets – so you can make sure that you spend within your means. These guys also have a fantastic customer services team; they have 24/7 support waiting for you.

ecoPayz

With ecoPayz – you can have an online account set up within minutes. It’s completely free to use – and there are no credit checks involved. You can top up your account whenever it suits you, and your cash will be available whenever you need it. You can rely on them for total safety and security of any online payment – and they make your personal information their priority.

As you can see there are loads of ways to deposit on betting sites these days – you aren’t limited to just debit and credit cards. You can make your deposits swiftly, securely – and are sure to find something that will suit your individual needs. Be sure to check out the payment methods that are available on the sports betting site that you join before parting with your hard earned cash. The processing and withdrawal requirements can also change depending on the method you choose – so be sure to read the small print.

When you go onto a sports betting sites their payment methods are usually outlined at the very bottom of the site.  Now hopefully you will have a clearer idea as to what all of them mean. 

9 Great Online Slots For The Footie Fan


Mahrez free kick 1” (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald

If you’ve ever played online slots, you’ll know there’s a themed game for just about everyone. And for footie fans, there’s not just one but an abundance of online slots based on the beautiful game.

Foxin Wins Football Fever

Created by NYX Gaming, this video slot gives its players a playful hero in the guise of a fox to play football in the slots environment with 25 paylines along with free spins, a random bonus and, when you access the superbet option, a chance to really win big.

Football Star

Full of twists and turns, Football Star brings the game to life via the spin of the wheel with the chance, for example, to win a free kick for the Striking Wild Bonus or take a shot into the reels to turn either reel 2, 3 or 4. To see Betway’s offer of up to £1000 in bonuses, which can be played on this game at its online casino, check out Bonus Source.
 

The Champions

Created by Pragmatic Play, The Champions captures football better than most slots games as its progressive play provides momentum akin to a real match. You score goals and shoot penalties as you hope to move towards the 20x multiplier. You can even achieve a 100x multiplier if you score all your penalties.

Top Strike Championship

20 paylines make this football themed online slots game attractive with an exciting knockout stage bringing the excitement of tournament play to the slots environment. Top Strike Championship, like Foxin Wins Football Fever, was created by NYX.

The Cup

Boasting free spins, multipliers and wilds, this 11-payline video slot is a fairly simple game that while lacking some of the extravagances of other football-themed slots can provide some potential big wins.

Soccer Safari

A new slots game from Micrograming boasts free spins with multipliers, wilds, and a second scatter which triggers the bonus of a penalty shootout round.


Arsenal vs Chelsea” (CC BY 2.0) by wonker

Soccer Babes

The attraction is in the title, at least for some. Football is combined with beautiful women to offer a slots game featuring wilds, multipliers and free spins combined with the excitement of “reading” an FHM top 100 issue.

Goool

Now considered a classic, Multislot’s soccer-infused game is simple, easy to play and fun with its 25 paylines and a RTP of 97.01%. The bonus round offers only free spins and a wild but that’s why this game is great for straightforward satisfaction.

Euro Golden Cup

Created by Microgaming, Euro Golden Cup offers players the chance to tackle different levels as they navigate through the game beginning with level one’s Trophy Collection which, by collecting trophies, unlocks further levels. Hit a flag simultaneously on the first and fifth reels and you earn a trophy. That moves you to free spins featuring stacked wilds. You can move to level two with ten free spins before the last level offers Striker, Play Maker or Penalty Shootout options.

The attraction of online slots and football is obvious. It combines the passions of its target audience with the thrill of the spinning wheel. For footie fans, there’s probably no better slots games than these.  

4 years to go…..Qatar’s Winter World Cup


December 18th marked four years until the World Cup Final in Qatar. The most controversial tournament in recent years, a tournament many think either should not, or will not happen. Particularly given the objection from the Premier League. But as we already begin to dream of the Three Lions lifting the trophy, there are other positives to consider about this tournament that has been awarded to a country in the most controversial of circumstances. Unbeknown to many Qatar’s involvement in sport is not new which the tiny nation having a passion for Horse-racing. In fact it is estimated that per capita per head they will spend more on Grand National Betting 2019 than any other nation! Anyways, back to the World Cup

Whether or not you believe this was a fair victory for Qatar, pitting aside the questionable aspects of the country itself and the suitability of such a small, hot nation to host the tournament, the more the weeks tick by the more we are going to have to get used to the fact in 2022 we are facing a winter world cup for the first time in history. Yes, I am one of many who agree that this World cup being changed as late as 2021 to be held in another country would not be a total shock. But there are some positives to this…

Travelling fans for one….if you are one of the fans lucky, or shall we say brave enough, to get to travel to the world cup, the size of Qatar means that this will be a fans dream as walking between games is a realistic option and being able to see 2-3 games per day in person is possible for the first time in World Cup History.

This will also help the players as there won’t be long travelling to games. They can get rooted in one location knowing that there next game isn’t too far away. Remember all the negativity about the distances needed to travel across Russia? Qatar won’t have that issue.

For the arm chair fan, one positive is that the kick off times will be perfect for fans in the UK with 7pm, 10pm and 1am kick offs. Yes the 1am games will be a stretch, and town centres will be packed if that involves England, but two games in Prime Time…yes please.

And above all else, maybe it is just me being selfish, but that fact that we have a winter world cup with a final 7 days before Xmas….what a Xmas that will be. Instead of the hustle and bustle of the Xmas rush, the Mariah Carey songs and the overall hype of the season…a few beers, lots of food…and World Cup Football. I say roll on Qatar 2022! And while you wait check out our World Cup Quiz page!

Top 5 England Moments….

Platt 1990


As we eagerly await this years Grand National we preview the Semi Finals of the first ever Nations Cup, with England involved and tipped to go all the way, creating a possible moment for the ages…what are the top 5 moments for England fans? Which 5 stand out above the rest……Here is a countdown…..

5. Owen 1 – 0  Brazil – I will start with something very selfish and something that will probably not appear on many lists…but in 2002 I believed.  I believe harder and stronger than I have ever believed. Sailing through to the Quarter Finals England met Brazil. Everyone said we couldn’t do it. Every one said I was crazy for planning a day off when England were in the Semi. But for that brief moment, when Lucio missed the ball and Owen nipped in to score…I was on top of the World

4. Shearers Header –  Ignore what followed. The nation collectively jumped up and down when, at Euro 96, facing the old enemy of the Germans Alan Shearer snuck in from a corner to head home an opening goal. The dream seemed more alive than ever…

3. David Platt – Belgium. Last 16. World Cup….the sweetest of last minute volleys. Need  I say more?

2. Colombian Penalty Win – 2018 was a fine summer. Yes we had the easy route, yes we lost 3 games and lost every time we played someone good but who can ever take away that moment, late into the night, when the pattern of classic England defeats occurred. Penalties loomed, we all feared the worst, but, and Ill say this quietly. We won. After the tears of Italia 90, the pain of Portugal, the Southgate miss, Batty and Ince in Argentina…..this was the moment and boy did it feel so darn good!

1.1966 – It can only be. The moment that is mentioned constantly by the England fans and the media, often wondering when it happened again. Yes it happened in our own back yard, and yes there is the whole “was it over the line” debate, but 4 glorious years we were champions of the world and even better we defeated the Germans on the way to doing it. If the hairs on the back of your neck do not stand up when you heard “They Think Its All Over….” Are you even an England fan? So as we await the newly formed competition why not relax and focus on the British sporting institution that is the Grand National and 2019 Grand national betting offers . Nothing can replace football in our national physch but the national provides a welcome distraction.

The Championship – Race to Promotion

Championship


The third best attended league in the world with the fifth highest wage bill……what can it be? The English Championship of course. One of the most competitive, fierce and unpredictable divisions in any country anywhere in the world. With the ultimate prize of the riches of the Premier League at stake, every game is a dog fight and every point is scrapped for! With 2019 beginning and the table shaping up let us take a look at some of the contenders for the crown!

Leeds United – At the time of writing Leeds are top of the tree and in all fairness have looked the tidiest side all season, with the most consistent performances and the best football on the pitch. Given the investment made in a world class manager and a team he wants, there can be little doubt where the success has came from and Lees are likely to be playing Premier League football next year.

Norwich – Fans may disagree but it is perhaps fair to label Norwich, in the bracket with the likes of West Brom, as a yo yo club who will spend the odd season or two in the top flight before plummeting back to a few seasons in the second tier. It seems their time to rise has come again and consistent performances, genuine goal threats and a solid back line leave them in a steady place to be a real contender for the top 2.

Middlesbrough – See above….a yo yo team who can’t quite find the balance of staying in the top flight for a good stretch. Again, like all the teams at the summit of the championship this year Middlesbrough have a great attacking threat and score goals. The odd slip up here and there perhaps down to some questionable team selections, has saw them slump behind the pace and will probably mean a play off pace is their aim.

West Brom – Can I really use YoYo team a third time? Well I am going to! West Brom are the ultimate modern day YoY o team. For whatever reason it is, they can usually conquer the Championships within a few season and return for a brief stay at the top before the inevitable relegation. What can be done to counter this? Maybe the strong squad they have now will be enough to get them promoted via the automatic places….but I think promotion via the play offs is more likely

Sheffield United – Tough years, relegations, squad battles…but its good to see The blades come out of the other end with a glimpse of the big time. Automatic promotion may just be out of reach but there are no reason they can’t put together the form needed to win via the playoffs!

Derby – The players are there, the coach seems to be working but the results won’t flow as consistently as they would like. For derby to get promoted they need a run of form that will leave them in good stead for the play offs. But perhaps Pride Park faithful may need to wait another season.

Prediction: Automatic  – Leeds and West Brom

Play Offs –Norwich City

Should the Premier League follow the NFL?


One of the main differences between the top sports league in the UK compared to those across the other side of the Pond in the USA, is the factor of promotion and relegation. Because the major American sports leagues began the franchise system some time ago, with the NHL, NBA, MLS and of course NFL, follow this method then they do not have the worries of relegation, promotion and can plan ahead knowing where they will be next season.

In recent years, as the money continues to flood into English football, the talk of a franchise system has increased and increased. This is essentially seen as an attempt for the elite clubs to keep onto the money coming into the game and would essentially be a system of the same 20 clubs being in the Premier League season after season with no real punishment for coming bottom. Would you be in favour of this or against? What odds would you get for a good title race? Would it mean a more level playing field where any team/rider could win like the 2019 Grand National ?

My initial reaction to this is one of negativity. As a life long Sunderland fan, the thought of being stuck in a league with no where to go, removing all of those joyous escapes from relegation and the championship title runs disappearing does not sound appealing. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the NFL but not having relegation systems starts to make the league redundant for teams early on and as the season reaches halfway some games become formalities. Imagine watching Wolves vs Crystal Palace with both teams having nothing play for?

But then again, would a Franchise system improve the quality. The teams at the very top level would not be affected as they can plan well ahead knowing that money will flow in, the Premier League payments will be there and they will be playing at the very top level. But what about the middling teams? Knowing there is no threat to relegation teams like Southampton, Wolves, Cardiff, Newcastle etc could throw money at better players and raise the league’s lower end to be more competitive. This would push the bigger clubs to keep improving to get those all important champions league places and all round the money would improve quality.

But then again should  the game be all abut money and quality, or should the passion and drama come first? After all the Premier League is growing at a time when the NFL is fading in attendance numbers and TV viewing figures! The answer remains, don’t try and fix something that isn’t broken!

What could give Ole the job?


It may be an understatement to state that when Ole Gunnar Solksjaer was appointed as the temporary manager of Manchester United there was a sense of joy, largely due to the fact that the controversial and ever declining rule of Jose Mourinho was over. But is Ole Gunnar Solksjaer the man Manchester United would forsee as their long term manager? Would Ole Gunnar Solksjaer being appointed on a full time basis have been met with the same reaction? The answer I would suggest to both would be no……United expect bigger names, with bigger club experience and bigger influence on the world stage…

But as he remains undefeated the question now is….what does Ole Gunnar Solksjaer need to do to make himself a serious contender for the job? If he was to guide United back into the top 4, then that is a starting point. Good results, beating rivals and playing positive is all well and good but at the end of the day should he fail to reach the Top 4, the top job will never go to Ole Gunnar Solksjaer on a permanent basis.

But the Top 4, which looked so out of sight under Jose, now looks possible!

One criticism, or rather one point, that has been made towards Ole Gunnar Solksjaer in the early days was that he had a nice easy start with games that United would, under normal circumstances, have been expected to win. But the Spurs game changed everything. United survived the pressure and showed enough ambition to win. Something that was sorely lacking under the regime of Jose. Yes, United did get outplayed for large parts of the game but they had the team togetherness and bond to be able to withstand it stay United, and bring him the crucial 3 points.

Then there is the Champions League. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer would not be the first manager to win the Champions League and not keep his job, but in this scenario, with the fan support and all the bad times  they club has witnessed in recent months, if he won the Champions League surely Ole Gunnar Solksjaer would deserve a full time contract? You would have to think so but if you need some tipster recommendations on this you can always have a look on www.omegatipsters.com

A lot will also depend on the man over at Spurs. If Mr Pochettino suddenly becomes available and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has lead United to 4th place, a Champions League Semi Final and an FA Cup run…who would your money be on? I for one find it impossible to predict!

Spurs Without Kane?

Kane


January is turning into a month to forget for Spurs as not only did they suffer a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, thanks to the heroics of David De Gea, but during the game lost Harry Kane until March with an ankle injury. How will Spurs cope without their talisman? Are there title hopes now over? Will Top 4 slip away?

Harry Kane is a vital cog to the Spurs wheel, that is indeed true, and the fact they priced him at £310 million to an interested party this week shows they have no real consideration to sell him. But gone are the days when one truly outstanding player is the difference between Top 4 and a mid table splurge.  Kane will be missed of course, with the experience, the danger, the goal threat and the out and out strike rate he possesses. But in a team packed with the likes of Dele Ali, Eriksen, Song and the supporting cast, there are goals in Spurs and they have been playing well enough to maintain a Top 4 birth.

After all, the game against Manchester United showed how dominant Spurs can be as they carved out chance after chance but just couldn’t take it. Yes, they will need to be clinical in finishing but they would be more worried if the chances simply were not being made!

Were Spurs really in the title race before Kane was ruled out until March? I guess that is the question that you need to ask yourself and even the most die hard Spurs fan must admit that the chances of Liverpool AND Man City falling to the point where Spurs were in with a shout was slim. Even the most ardent Spurs fan wouldn’t put money on them catching them even if they had Free bets. They are that far ahead, in terms of points and the actual on the pitch play, of the Top four rivals that slipping out of the Top 4 is not really feasible either.

The one area in which they will sorely miss Harry Kane is the Champions League. As Dortmund await, they will be rubbing their hands at not having to deal with his threat. Champions League ties, especially with away goals in effect can turn on goals and that’s what Harry Kane gets. Without him, teams will feel more confident and be able to plan around not having to deal with his threat.

In all, yes Kane will be missed but Spurs season will end in the same way with or without him….no trophies, 3rd place and a huge decision to make for the manager….

Can anyone catch Liverpool?

Klopp


As 2019 begins we have a runaway leader in the Premier League….and perhaps not the team many would expect. Liverpool currently sit on top of the pile of the Premier League and they look to be rooted there for a while. Some would say it is hardly a surprise due to the slow revolution Jurgen Klopp has been putting in place whilst others may point to the fact Liverpool have always promised but never really delivered in the Premier League era! But who can catch them?

First let us look at Liverpool themselves. The front line they have is one of, if not the best, in world football…Mane, Firmino and Salah. If they keep fit and on form then it is hard to see them failing! If they lose one or two to injury or they hit a bad patch of form, then it could lead to the old fashioned Liverpool slump.

The nearest contender would be Manchester City who were the pace setters until a bad set of luck including injuries and some shock results. They will hit form again and it all depends on how that form affects the pressure on Liverpool at the top. Manchester City and Pep have been there before and the experience in the title race may well be the key difference. My gut instinct says City have enough quality, enough experience and enough time to be able to topple Liverpool and take the title.

Spurs – Apart from Gooners, I imagine a lot of neutrals would  like to see Spurs have a strong run at the title. They certainly have the players, have the manager and have the most devastating striker in the Premier League. However, the feeling generally is that they lack 2-3 world class players in the squad and are prone to the dodgy results that plague their season.  2nd place would be a better aim!

Arsenal – Despite the post-Wegner resurgence, Arsenal have faded to the back line of title contention due to a start in which they lost key points. All signs are pointing to a successful reign under Emery but battling for 4th place is more in their sites!

Chelsea – Started well and certainly have a squad deep enough to go long into the season , but something about Chelsea always suggests they lack the cutting edge. Whilst Liverpool have breezed past teams and washed them away with their free flowing attacking football, Chelsea have grinded out results and never fully clicked into gear. A top 4 place looks likely but they need to be careful

Manchester united – Optimism is high after Jose’s departure, but the bare facts remain that United are under staffed and too far behind to even perhaps get back into the champions league fold. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer may well restore some faith to Old Trafford, but getting them into title contention will have to wait until the next reign.

Whatever happens, it is sure to be a dramatic season and proof again that the Premier League is the finest league in the world!

England’s Greatest Ever Team?

Greatest England Team

Having followed the ups and downs of England over the years, the heartaches, the misery and the occasional joy. Here is My Greatest Team of the Three Lions. There will no doubt be a lot of debate and you would be hard to find a list of bookmakers uk who would agree on my team!

Goalkeeper: David Seaman

Sadly, whenever you mention David Seaman to fans nowadays the abiding memory will be him tumbling back into the net in the 2002 World Cup as a free kick from Ronaldinho flies over his head.

However, prior to his error ridden decline, when he was at the top his game David Seaman was untouchable. An imposing figure who inspired confidence in the defence, penalty saving maestro and an experienced set of hands gave England a number 1 to be proud of. The troubles at finding his

replacement is evidence enough that Seaman remains the safest pair of hands England have ever had.

Right Back: Gary Neville

Love him or hate him one thing is clear Gary Neville has been the most trustworthy and dependable right back in the history of England. Since cementing the position in the late 1990s

Neville provided stability and class to the position he made his own. Always one of the first names on the team sheet Neville was as solid at the back as he was going forward and produced a partnership with David Beckham that led England to many a victory. In latter years he became a great leader and yet again England have trouble replacing him since.

Left Back: Ashley Cole

Always a controversial figure, even those who loath Ashley Cole for his off the field antics or “car stopping” wage demands have to admit that for a number of years he was the only World Class player in the England side. Pacey, intelligent and persistent Cole had an engine like no other and even in the dire minutes of matches would still be pacing up and down the left hand flank long before others had given in. Cole was a danger going forward, easily able to beat a band but was also tough to beat at the back. Solid, reliable and tough.

Centre Back: Bobby Moore (Captain)

Bobby Moore will always be remembered for two things 1) lifting the 1966 World Cup at Wembley and 2) that Pele Tackle. But beyond that Moore was one of the best, most intelligent and most effective defenders ever to grace the pace. Not many men beat Moore to the tackle and his leadership qualities inspired a generation. Dependable, as good in the air as on the ground and an all round world class defender, Moore captains My Greatest Team and leads by example.

Centre Back: Sol Campbell

At his peak Sol Campbell was unbeatable. Physically dominating, aerially superb and great with the ball at his feat any England team with Campbell at the back knew they had a last line of defence that was tough to beat. A threat offensively in the air as well as a leader on the pitch, Campbell was the

perfect centre back.

Right Midfield: David Beckham

His one man show to lift England from the depth sof despair to qualification for the 2002 World Cup is prove enough that England runs through this mans blood. The heart and engine of a true warrior on the pitch Beckham also possessed a crossing and dead ball ability second to none. His free kick ability alone is enough to make i’m worthy of a place in My Greatest Team but as an all round footballer, Beckham had it all.

Left Midfield: Stanley Matthews

Always a troubled spot for England but Stanley Matthews could play anywhere and with his trickery, ability to beat a man time after after time and his ingenious skills with the ball, Matthews would add unpredictability and excitement to the left flank and trouble anyone who dar ed come near!

Centre Midfield: Bryan Robson (Vice Captain)

Captain Marvel himself. Bryan Robson was a tough talking, inventive and creative footballer with the ability to score from anywhere on the pitch. Every team needs a man like Robson at its heart to drive forward play, get stuck into opponents and pop up in both boxes. Robson never got the England career he deserved for one reason or another but he coasts into My Greatest Team.

Centre Midfield: Bobby Charlton

Another easy choice. One of the Englands most prolific scorers with many of is goals coming from outside the area, when the ball was at Bobby’s feat anything could happen. Genuinely World Class over most of his career Charlton was the driving force in the centre of the England team that won the World Cup and although clips these days show mainly his 30 yard screamers, Charlton also offered creative passing, tough tackling and a never say die attitude that is at the core of My Greatest Team

Striker: Gary Lineker

For the sheer amount of times Lineker popped up in the box and scored out of the blie he deserves a place in the side. Never have the Three Lions had a more prolific poachers in the 18 yard box than Linker. Whether it was dealing with crosses, heading goals, using his pace to chase down long balls…Lineker was n effective and ruthless figure and if I want the ball to fall to anyone in the 18 yard box, it would be Lineker every time

Striker: Michael Owen

For the sheer way he burst onto the scene with the wonder goal in the 1998 World Cup through to the years of terrorising defences, Michael Owen completes the line up. His pace caused fear in even the most experienced back fours and his ability to find the net was unrivalled. At his peak Owen was amongst the worlds greatest strikers and with the likes of Beckham and Charlton to supply him, the Greatest Team would have a potent threat.

Subs

Nobby Stiles

Able to play anywhere along the back four and experience of the big matches. Could be crucial if we need defensive back up

John Barnes

Tricky, able to find the net under any circumstances and a player who no defender would like to see warming up, Barnes gives that flair and extra danger that could be needed during the match.

Geoff Hurst

Who better to bring on in big matches when in need of a goal? Been there, done that and got the t shirt!

Time for Manchester City to Shine in Champions League

Inside the Etihad Stadium” by Sarmad Yaseen (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Manchester City have ticked off the first box in their quest to win the Champions League by winning their group with ease. They topped the group by five points, and that was despite a shock home defeat to Lyon on the opening week. This is far from job done though; City are now required to kick on and perform well in the knockout round. They are in the last 16, but fans will be hoping to reach the semi-finals at least.

After dominating the Premier League last season to win by 19 points, Manchester City put themselves in a position where they had to have European success to keep the fans happy. While it may be enough for now, simply winning the Premier League is not enough for some people, and the ultimate prize is the Champions League trophy. As it turns out this season, they are likely to have a tougher task retaining their Premier League title due to the challenge from Liverpool, but that doesn’t change the fact they need to do well in Europe.

If there is one group of people that fancy City to do well in the Champions League this season then it is the bookmakers. The latest football betting has them as 3/1 favourites to lift the title this season, putting them ahead of huge European names such as Barcelona and Juventus, as well as the current holders Real Madrid. It also makes them England’s best chance of bringing home the trophy that Liverpool nearly did last season.

Champions League Trophy” by KTo288 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The way the Premier League is developing, it seems inevitable that Manchester City and Liverpool are going to battle it out for many years to come. After seeing Liverpool disappoint in the final last season, Manchester City will see winning the Champions League this season as them getting one over on the Merseyside club. Whether it is the Premier League title or the Champions League, don’t be surprised to see these two clubs at the top for many years to come.

When Pep Guardiola was brought into the club, his aim was to take Manchester City to the next level, and part of that was to put them on the map in Europe. They only reached the last eight last season, and the feeling is that even if they win the Premier League this season, anything other than seeing improvement in the Champions League would be seen as a disappointment. This is the stage where City are measured now, and after assembling a wonderful squad of players, it is time for Pep Guardiola to earn his money on the biggest stage of all.

Manchester City have built the foundations and dominated the Premier League. There is one final step for them to take, and that involves winning the Champions League. This is where this team is going to be measured from now on, and they have to show progress this season to keep their expectant fans happy.

Ivan Gazidis, AC Milan’s Best Signing

Ivan

After spending 10 years at Arsenal Ivan Gazidis departed the Emirates to join the San Siro. Gazidis is now AC Milan’s new CEO. He emphasized that after spending so much time in London it is high time he should seek for a new challenge.

However, there are absolutely numerous reasons why the South African born is being labelled AC Milan’s best signing. Even though the club has managed to attract big name players such as Gonzalo Higuaín and Paulo Mauldin. Gazidis arrival is actually fundamental considering his knowledge of the game and transfer deals and will definitely increase the chances to win big at online sports betting.

Ivan Gazidis Role at AC Milan

After making huge profits and securing mega deals for Arsenal, it is very clear why Gazidis was the right man to take over at AC Milan. The Elliot Management Corporation, the owners of AC Milan, opted for the former Gunners CEO because of his ability to transform the finances of the club so that they can comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play. In this regard, the Italian club is in breach of the UEFA Financial Fair Play Rule.

However, the coming of Gazidis was recommended to help the former Italian giant to have a stable and viable plan to make a profit. Ivan is expected to hit the ground running to rescue AC Milan’s financial woes. This has caused the Italian club to lag behind in terms of challenging for big trophies in Europe and in Serie A.

Everyone in the football realms knows that Gazidis is the account magician and to be frank enough the San Siro giant has scooped a jackpot. Even though the jackpot will not be the same as the ones offered at sites such as casinos online south africa, at least they have something to talk about.

Ivan Gazidis Contribution to Arsenal

The South African accounting mastermind contributed massively to Arsenal football club’s growth. During his 10 year tenure at the Emirates. And he presided over many deals that led the club to have a turnover of around £422.8 Million. In the 2016-17 season, the Arsenal website announced that the club had a profit increase of 87%.

Adding to that he secured a sponsorship deal with the Fly Emirates that is worth more than £200 million.

How to Bet on Rugby

The art of gambling has been made so beautiful that you can gamble on anything. Yes, that’s right! Are you a tennis fan, instead of a rugby fan or a fan of both? Now when you are watching your favourite game you can bet on it. Even when you are on the go you can bet on Rugby.

We thank the betting gods that came up with such brilliant ideas. Now keep on reading as we tell you secrets that no one has ever told you about how to win money on rugby betting at either top online casinos or sports betting companies.

Tips on how to take the money home with you. You must;

  • Make sure that you are up to speed with the competition rules. More people have been persuaded to take on a more attacking game by being offered a bonus point. But that is not how to go about it, believe us. Starting with a minimum bet is always ideal.
  • Study the current form and previous history of the teams. We recommend that you focus on the current, though. Because the bad thing about history is that teams improve or if they have been doing great they can fall. That is why looking at the current form is what matters. And know how they are playing before you jump into betting.
  • Take into consideration styles of play. Knowing the type of play can often point towards betting patterns that are worth adopting.
  • You can never go wrong when you try these strategies. The most amazing thing that you can know about this is the fact that when you are betting on rugby you have so many options. Just like when you are betting for any other sport.

And the most amazing thing about betting is the fact that you are guaranteed at least to go away with something. Well, that is if you had time to wait and read our betting tips before you bet. You will thank us one of these days.

At most us casinos online, rugby offers many opportunities for gamblers to profit. But the greatest reward is just the opportunity to bet real. The thrills and the fun of the hobby are their own reward. So never gamble with what you cannot lose. We hope that this article is as useful to you as it has been to others.

West Ham United v Manchester City – Betting Preview

0-2 Rice OG

After a summer that promised so much, West Ham United have failed to live up to their pre-season expectations so far as they welcome Manchester City to the London Stadium on Saturday.

An influx of new signings at a cost of over £100m suggested the Hammers would be pushing for a top six finish, but thus far, are rooted in the bottom half of the table.

City are still one of three teams in the Premier League who remain unbeaten and they’ll be looking to take the game to West Ham in their quest to make it five consecutive league wins.

Here, Sportingly Better dissect the best tips for this weekend’s clash and take a closer look at the players who are likely to impress.

Match Overview

Traditionally, West Ham usually suffer at the mercy of Manchester City and even more so in home games, losing the last two against The Citizens 4-1 & 4-0.


Manager Manuel Pellegrini will know just how tough Saturday’s game will be and it hasn’t been made easier with the number of players in the treatment room.

Up to seven first team players will miss out, although English pair Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll are nearing a return to the starting line-up.
Robert Snodgrass is banned after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Huddersfield Town but skipper Mark Noble is available, returning after a two-game absence for a red card at Leicester City last month.

City manager Pep Guardiola has no fresh injury concerns but is unlikely to risk Bernardo Silva or Nicolas Otamendi, who aren’t quite fully fit from their recent setbacks.

Kevin de Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy will definitely miss out through injury but Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan are in line for a start.
Sergio Aguero will spearhead the attack supported by Riyad Mahrez and either Raheem Sterling or Leroy Sane on the left flank, providing City with plenty of goal scoring options.

Guardiola’s side are as short as 1.27 to record their third successive league win at the London Stadium whereas you can back the Hammers at a whopping 14.0

Verdict:

There’s no hiding from the fact that it’ll be one of West Ham’s toughest fixtures of the season but they do have it in their armoury to cause an upset.

Felipe Anderson is enjoying a fruitful spell in front of goal and Marko Arnautovic is more than capable of causing the City defence problems.
Defensively, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena will have to be at their very best to stop the expected onslaught of City pressure.
It would take a brave man to bet against City losing as they really are beginning to get into their stride this season.
Even with a European game on Tuesday, don’t expect City to take their foot off the gas and a victory against the Hammers will prepare them nicely for the visit to Lyon.

With that in mind, in Champions League betting, you can back City to lift the Champions League at 4.7 with Betfair and they’re 2.52 just to reach the final itself.

For Saturday’s game however, it’s hard to look past a City win but it should be an entertaining affair with West Ham looking to cause an upset.
Predicted Line-Ups

West Ham: GK – Fabianski; DF – Cresswell, Diop, Balbuena, Zabaleta; MF – Anderson, Noble, Rice, Obiang, Diangana; ST – Arnautovic
Man City: GK – Ederson; DF – Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Delph; MF – Gundogan, Fernandinho, D Silva; ST – Sterling, Mahrez, Aguero
Recommended Football Tips

Manchester City to win 3-0 @ 9.6
Manchester City to win 3-2 @29.0
Over 4.5 goals @ 3.6

Rooney and England

Rooney

The dust has now settled on the final appearance of Wayne Rooney for the England national team. Although controversial, Wayne Rooney was handed the Number 10 shirt for a farewell swan song against the USA, the country in which he now plies his trade. Given that such a ceremonial and high profile send off was carried out, it begins to beg the question of the place of Wayne Rooney in the history of English football. Where does he rank against the greats? Check this site out to see what the internet thinks.

For Wayne Rooney, the lack of real achievements in terms of tournament football in his era will also overshadow his England time. He was very much in focus at the end of the so called Golden Era, when world class players for their clubs failed to produce world class performances for England on the big stage. Yes, the qualification records were impressive and Wayne Rooney did of course end up as England’s all time leading goal scorer….but surely that would be expected by a man of his talent leading a front line against the minor nations we often encounter in the qualification stages?

Indeed, a general poll by a national newspaper asked people what word they would most attach to Rooney’s career and words such as “let down” “overhyped” and “disappointment” came near the top of the poll…and in all honesty it is not hard to see why. When Rooney first burst onto the scene, much like Michael Owen in 1998, there was an optimism that this was the player who would lead us to glory and take us from wannabes to real contenders.

But it didn’t happen….

What did happen though is Wayne Rooney scored goals! Whenever Rooney pulled on the England shirt, he tended to be the biggest goal threat in the team. Without him in the side, would we have scraped the 1-0 or 2-1 wins in which he provided the goals?  On the other hand….when you compare his to the Harry Kane who won the Golden Boot and scored the goals to take England to a World Cup Semi-final, or to the Golden Boot winning Gary Lineker or the Euro 96 star Alan Shearer….can you really rank Rooney in that company?

In a ranking of the overall Top 50 England players of all time, I suggested that Rooney would struggle to be considered other than the very lower ranks. The 1966 team must, nearly all, be considered above him, as well as the pioneers in the early days when England rocked the world and were ranked as the worlds finest! Then throw into the mix the strikers who performed on the big occasions…Shearer, Lineker, Kane and even Owen plus the driving forces behind sides Rooney was in…Beckham, Adams, Terry. What about the genuine players who, during their time, could have been considered the best in the world in their position….Gary Neville, Ashley Cole, Steve Mcmanana, David Seaman.

Hence, although Wayne Rooney should be applauded and recognised for the goals he has scored, his place among the greatest England players of all time remains questionable.

Five Common Mistakes to Avoid When Betting on Football

If you are new to betting you are bound to make mistakes, yet even experienced punters fall into the same traps, and they could be costly. More often than not, you make these mistakes at a price.

Instead, you can now learn some common mistakes to avoid without costing you too much money.

Loyalty to one bookmaker

We all have our favourite bookie or just a betting site we have got so used to we can’t imagine changing. Firstly, you are missing out hundreds of pounds worth of great betting offers as a new customer.

Secondly, if you use odds comparison services to find the best odds. You will notice the range in which betting sites actually have the best odds for events. You can get more value for money (through betting offers) and the best odds by using more than one bookmaker.

Betfair and Bethard have some of the highest odds for Premier League matches out there. In fact, Betfair even cites the proof on their promotions page.

Placing Bets Without Doing Any Research

A good place to start, but don’t get me wrong. You can win plenty of bets by what you feel could come in. However, it is a sure way to rack up heavy losses over time. Be meticulous in your research and don’t just blindly follow tipsters.

You will still lose plenty of bets, that’s just the way it is. But, it certainly won’t do any harm, and will more than likely increase the chances of your bet winning.

Placing Unrealistic Acca’s

You have just come from Twitter (tip: follow BettingLounge on Twitter) on a Saturday evening. After seeing hundreds of people posting their huge wins from their long-shot acca’s, and naturally, you get jealous.

You try to emulate their big wins by placing a number of six-fold plus acca’s or simply follow the tipster’s that keep retweeting these images. But, what you don’t see is most people who bet on sports, lose.

Bookies are still making disgusting amounts of profit even with these tipsters/people smashing their longshot acca’s. Try stick to manageable, winnable doubles and trebles, and aim for sustainable profit.

It’s fine to place a longshot, high odds acca every now and then for fun. But, do not kid yourself into thinking it’s a good way of making money. Betting just isn’t. Instead, use it to enhance the sporting experience.Chasing Losses

We all know that optimistic feeling as the build-up to kick-off gets closer. “I am going to win big today”. 45 minutes later and everything has gone wrong.

A team that hasn’t won in six matches is smashing the top of the league 3-0, and your bet is losing.

“Oo, I could put a fiver on this team to come back and win, or maybe a half-time acca to try and recover my losses”. Ignore this voice with a passion. Just ignore it. Never attempt to recover losses at any point in your betting life. It just doesn’t work.

Bet with money you are prepared to lose, and take it well if it does. When the fun stops, stop.

Betting Emotionally

This can seem like a straight-forward rule to follow, but sometimes it is hard. I often want to bet on my own team because I feel they could get the win. Just avoid it. It hurts that much more when both your team and bets lose.

The same goes for your betting preferences for who you like or dislike. Emotional thinking will often lead to misjudgement for your bets. Just because you hate Leeds doesn’t mean they are going to lose.

 

 

 

African Chances at the World Cup

World Cup

Pele one famously said that he believed an African nation would win the World Cup by the year 2000. That has never really come close to being a reality, and 18 years later we still await the first real African contender. Will 2018 be the year this finally comes through for Pele, or will we see the African nations fail to materialise once again. With a strong duo from South America and 3-4 European nations having their best teams in years it may prove difficult but let us have a look at each team and their hopes…

Egypt

Two words define the chances of Egypt…Mo Salah. If he is fit and playing well, they may stand a chance of getting out of the group. If not….they won’t. It is a rare thing for them to qualify for a World Cup and to be fair they have been handed a group that is passable. Uruguay will be the favourites of course, but if Egypt can counter the home advantage of Russia they may well make it through. The last 16 meeting with Portugal or Spain should see their end…

Morocco

Speaking of Portugal and Spain, Morocco find themselves in the group with the two European giants.  It would take a miracle for them to progress out of this group, but if they do a tame Last 16 may await with Uruguay. Iran are the third team they will face at the group stage and with both teams knowing a 3 point win is what matters in that meeting, it is too lose to call. An exit at the group stage beckons.

Nigeria

Not the force they once were, and looking very week in the build up, Nigeria may also struggle to get past the group stage. Argentina should coast a relatively easy Group D and Croatia have been looking solid enough to clinch second. If Nigeria want to contend they will have to overcome an unpredictable Iceland. Lacking the stars they once had, this will be a tough ask to get out of the group.

Tunisia

Faced with England and Belgium in the group, I don’t imagine Tunisia will be seeing the latter stages. Never looked impressive in qualification and nor have they improved since. A bottom of the group clash with Panama is their only hope of scoring any points.

Senegal

If I was a betting man and had to pick one African team with the best chance of making it out of the groups, my money would be on Senegal. Poland and Japan are not the most intimidating of opponents, and even group favourites Colombia are not the team they were 4 years ago. Senegal have some really player for player quality and a good team ethos.  I don’t see them making it past the Last 16 where England of Belgium will await however.

All in all, 2018 does not mark a high point for the African nations. Anyone of them will be overjoyed to make it past the group and I think it will be nothing sort of a shock if any of them are still around come the Quarter Finals.

A Closer Look at England’s World Cup Opponents

England World Cup

As we have now just passed the 50-day mark until the World Cup, can we officially say it is time to get excited? For England fans, so disheartened by the last few major tournaments, let’s say that any excitement is also mixed with a little trepidation. However, there are some good signs coming from the recent performances of Gareth Southgate’s men that suggest they could leave a more positive impact in Russia.

Before getting into the possibilities of how far England could go, they will, of course, have to navigate the group stage. When the draw was made, Southgate would have been reasonably happy with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia. However, it might be a little trickier than it looks. Here is a quick run-down of those three opponents:

Belgium

They are the favourites (5/6) to top Group G, and even the most ardent England fans would find that difficult to argue against. There is so much to like about this Belgium side: a world class keeper in Courtois; brilliant defenders in Vertonghen and Kompany; the midfield of De Bruyne, Nainggolan and Hazard; the attacking options offered by Mertens and Lukaku. In fact, Belgium’s stock has risen so much in recent years that they are considered the value bet at 12/1 to win the World Cup. You can check out thebookiesoffers.co.uk for the latest free bets to back them, England or anyone else.

Key man: Kevin De Bruyne – it’s his time to stake a claim to be the best player in the world.

Tunisia

England play Tunisia in their opening fixture and they may be in for a tougher game than most believe. The North African side are now ranked as high is 14th in the world, England by comparison are 13th. It would be nevertheless a huge shock if they beat England and went on to qualify from Group G (5/1 odds). However, don’t be completely shocked if the Tunisians come away with a point from that first game. They are hard to break down and could sucker punch England if they are not careful.

Key man: Wahbi Khazri – something of an enigma at Sunderland, but now much improved at Rennes (on loan). He is one of those players who can make a goal from nothing. Beware.

Panama:

Panama have qualified for the first World Cup in their history, so it is likely their biggest aspiration will simply be to avoid being the group whipping boys. Can they cause an upset? Probably not. They are priced around 50/1 to win the group and up to 2000/1 to win the World Cup. However, they will likely draw inspiration from fellow Central Americans, Costa Rica, who confounded the odds to reach the quarter finals in 2014. That, of course, came at the expense of England, so you can guarantee that Southgate won’t take the Panamanians lightly.

Key Man: Gabriel Gomez – 143 caps and counting for the midfielder whose main job will be to screen the defence. He will likely be very busy in Russia.

And a quick note on England:

KaneThis Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND

England should qualify with Belgium to reach the Last 16, where one of Colombia, Poland, Japan or Senegal will await them. After that (if successful), they are likely to come up against the likes of Brazil or Germany. The question for many fans is what will constitute success? You could argue that a run to the quarters would give Gareth Southgate’s young side something to build on. 16/1 if you fancy the Three Lions to go all the way.

Will Belgium’s golden generation finally come good?

belgium-world-cup-squad-official

Every so often, a nation unearths a golden generation of footballers – not just one or two talented players but a whole group of them, all peaking at same time in terms of ability, experience and availability.

It’s important to capitalise on a so-called golden generation. Spain did, in winning the 2010 World Cup. Germany did by triumphing in 2014. Further back, France’s best squad of players for a generation won the tournament in 1998. It doesn’t always work out, though. Despite a team that included David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney, England couldn’t get past the quarter-finals in 2006.

Now it’s Belgium’s turn to cope with such lofty expectations. Belgium’s current crop of players have been lauded for some time, and make no mistake, it’s the best squad they’ve had for years. Trouble is, now they have to deliver and make a serious impact on the tournament. In 2014, they reached the quarter-finals (losing to Argentina). Two years later, at the European Championships, it was another quarter-final finish, this time exiting at the hands of Wales.

Surely, this Belgium squad is better than simply reaching the last eight of a tournament? That’s the pressure that sits on the shoulders of team coach Roberto Martinez. He may not get another World Cup from this group of players – some of them definitely won’t be around in four years’ time. This, then, is surely the nation’s optimum time for glory. If you’re betting on Belgium with williamhill.com, 888sport.com, unibet or another online provider, you’re sure to find them among the favourites.

Or at least they should be. Belgium’s big build up to the tournament hasn’t exactly been smooth. Martinez took the controversial decision to omit Radja Nainggolan from his squad, citing ‘tactical reasons’. On the face of it, this could be a mistake. Nainggolan is not a conventional player – he’s a bit of a loose cannon – but he could have given Belgium a vital edge in terms of attacking creativity. He’s exactly the type of wild card player who could win a game with a decisive goal from nowhere, and he’d have gone into the tournament off the back of a successful season with Roma.

That’s a strike against Martinez even before a ball was kicked. Then there’s the omission, from the final squad of 23 players, of Christian Benteke. The big striker had a rotten season with Crystal Palace but has a decent international goalscoring record of 12 goals in 34 matches. Without him, Belgium are light in the centre-forward area, with just Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshuayi (just back from injury) as recognised strikers, though Dries Mertens, primarily a wide player can add support. Nevertheless, it feels like a gamble from Martinez.

There’s also concern over the fitness of captain Vincent Kompany, who suffered a groin injury in the pre tournament friendly against Portugal. This is nothing new of course; Kompany is the wrong side of 30 years of age and his last few years have been blighted by injury. He’s still in the squad but when Belgium’s other central defenders include Thomas Vermaelen, perhaps the only centre-back in world football with a worse injury record than Kompany, Martinez should be worried.

The group draw has been relatively kind on Belgium, who are odds-on to top their table, though England could push them for that. Other group opponents Panama and Tunisia shouldn’t hold any fears. Once into the knockout stages, opponents will come from Group H – Poland, Senegal, Colombia or Japan. Then, into the last eight – which is the very least Belgium should achieve – a meeting with Brazil or Germany is highly likely.

That’s when we’ll really see how good this Belgium is.

 

 

Who will replace Arsene Wenger?

The day seems to be drawing ever nearer when the whole Wenger In/Wenger Out camps will subside and the great man steps down from his throne. Some will dispute labelling Arsene as a great man, but only a fool would downplay what he has done. No other club has qualified in the number of consecutive Champions Leagues that he has guided Arsenal too….yes, they have more often been out of the title picture than in it, but in this day and age when all the top sides improve regularly, to keep that Top 4 placing was a task no other could have achieved.

Arsenal fans should think about what they wish for….there are not many examples in History of clubs who part from long term managers going straight onto to success, and I can’t help but get the feeling that in 12 months times, whoever is in charge at Arsenal will be subject to the same In/Out debates. But let us take a look at some of the contenders….

Carlo Ancelotti  – This seems to be the name of most Arsenal fans lips and given the players at the club, the style of play and the pressure of the role, he ticks all the boxes. Available and with something to prove in the Premier League, backed up with the wealth of experience he could well be the logical choice

Eddie Howe – Will Eddie Howe suffer for being an Englishman and lacking the top level, continental experience of others? Arsenal would be a fool not to consider this man considering the monumental, almost unbelievable job he has done with Bournemouth. One day, Eddie Howe will be in charge at a top 4 club and managing in the champions league, and perhaps Arsenal will be that team.

Antonio Conte – The more the weeks go by the more it appears that Mr Conte will be the latest in a long time of managers to depart Stamford Bridge. Unable to build on last years success, Conte has had many a controversy and seems unsettled, as do the club seem unsure of him.  Maybe a trip across the capital would be happy, but I cant imagine the Arsenal fans being overawed with this appointment?

Mikel Arteta – One of the bookies favourites at Novibet Sports, but to get rid of a man who has guided Arsenal to all those Top 4 places and trophies and replacing him with a guy who has never managed a club before, let alone one the size of Arsenal, would seem rather foolish and short sighted.

Jochiam Loew – Now we are talking, fresh eyes to the Premier League, a novel approach, a proven winner…what more could you want as an Arsenal fan?

Whatever happens, Wenger’s departure is going to take time to recover from and time to put right. Arsenal fans may have to accept they will suffer similar to the immediate post-Fergie Manchester United (who some may argue are yet to recover fully) but whoever takes the job at the Emirates will have to also accept the pressure and expectations that are going to follow.

FIFA World Cup – Win or Lose

As the football calendar is quickly ticking off the passing days towards the summer event of the year, we going to take a cheeky little look at the ways to make this cold Russian hosted tournament a little more heated.

We take a look at the ways of betting inside an online casino because when the tournament kicks off the TV will be littered with hundreds of casino adverts with offers of free bonuses and betting ways to win extra cash, which is a good thing, right? So where to begin? Well, the big companies will pay top dollar to get their voice out there but they may not be the best deals so always begin with a comparison site that offers you several casinos with sports betting options, the best ones are often the British and Canadian online casino sites which the latter may surprise you but it’s testament as to how nuts the Canadians are for their sports, so credit where credit due. Now the Canada team may be out of the tournament but their casinos won’t stop giving you a huge deluge of betting options when the event kicks off!

Tactical Betting for Hot Summer Wins 

Now, predicting outcomes in these events is possible the hardest gamble, teams across the groups are very much unknown as most punters follow their own national leagues, so it’s very hard to grasp an understanding of the teams and how they perform, even England have seemed to turn the corner recently of actually scoring in the first half of games. During the qualifying rounds, the number of 0-0 draws at half time would have brought back a pretty penny if you had betted on the consistent trend of England’s first-half performances.

Outright win bets will come with very minimal returns when you have the likes of Germany, Brazil, Spain, and Argentina all playing teams with less experience and, arguably less talented players. When it comes to the games you need to be entertaining the idea of in-game bets. Options of total corners where, for example, you can select a total of over 8 corners before the kickoff and double your money with a 2.00 odd. Even during the game, you can gauge the total corner amount. Now with these high odds better than selecting a 1.50 winner, imagine the return if you select 6-9 games with a £$5 bet. With mighty teams playing minnows, it’s a guarantee the box will be bombarded and thusly increasing the corner count.

The penalty choice always comes in high, to score a penalty in a game carries anything between 8.50 to 10.00 odds. Again with clever players out on the pitch, the invisible sniper will be out to pick off players as they display acrobatic twists and turns mid-air to win a chance at an easy goal.

World Cup

Fact or Fiction 

Knowing your facts about a team can assist your betting, being a quiz site, those more attune to the facts of football often come up trumps when betting. Learn about certain player behaviours, for example, did you know Lionel Messi averages a goal a game for Argentina? However, did you also know only 5 have been scored in World Cup tournaments? Now the bookies will trick you into putting money down on him to be top scorer this year, opt for a less conventional bet that Messi will get less than 3 goals and let the fact pay off.

Don’t thing outright and look at the game pattern to select your ways of winning this summer so you can lift you bank balance whilst the teams fight to lift the trophy.

The England Outsiders Who Could Still Make The World Cup Squad

Gareth Southgate’s recent England squad caused quite the stir among Three Lions fans and pundits alike. There were a few surprise additions to the team and some faces missing that really didn’t warrant the snub.

It’s all making for an interesting end to the Premier League season as Southgate looks to pick his final 23-man squad. His side didn’t do themselves any harm against the Netherlands on Friday night, with the likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire and Kieran Trippier all getting ever closer to booking their spots on the plane. But who’re missing? And who could be the outside shots to make it to Russia 2018?

Jack Wilshere

 It was a huge shame for Jack Wilshere, who had to pull out of the recent squad due to injury. He’s worked so hard to get back into both the Arsenal and international fold and fully deserved to get a start in the heart of England’s midfield.

He’s certainly one of most pundits World Cup tips to go still if he’s fit as almost every England manager he’s played under has appreciated his quality with the ball. It’s something they could very well need, with Eric Dier, Jake Livermore and Jordan Henderson the other likely contenders for that central midfield spot.

Gary Cahill

While Gareth Southgate said he’d only pick players who were playing, it was still a surprise to see Chelsea’s Gary Cahill miss out on a place in Southgate’s recent squad. He’s struggling to get a game at Chelsea but his leadership and experience could be a valuable asset to England.

Managers of the nation do usually pick an experienced man within their squad and with only Joe Hart having more than caps than in and around the England set-up, Cahill could be the likely choice.

Glenn Murray

 A lot of fans were hoping to see Glenn Murray put on an England shirt in the recent friendlies but instead Southgate opted for Danny Welbeck. What Murray offers is something different, but it will now take great courage from the manager to drop someone in place of a player who is yet to be tried or tested at international level.

The England strike force does currently look a little one dimensional though. They have Kane as an all-round talent and then on top of that just a number of pacey forwards who like to get in and behind defenders. What happens when England need to go direct? Or Southgate needs someone to hold the ball up at the other end of the pitch? It’s a worry and Murray could be the answer.

Ben Mee

 James Tarkowski was given a call up in the recent squad by Gareth Southgate and it can be argued Ben Mee deserves one just as much. The centre half places are well and truly up for grabs in this squad and Mee could be an outside bet if he continues to shine.

He’d be an ideal replacement should any injuries occur as he’s been a shining light at the heart of Burnley’s defence all season. We’re sure many would love to simply pluck both Mee and Tarkowski from the Clarets back line and place them straight into the England team they’ve been that sound defensively. Of all the players England fans may argue about being in or out of the squad, we doubt any would argue against Mee warranting a place.

Where now for Liverpool?

LFC

Liverpool fans will be waking up after a weekend which saw them firmly put in place by a Manchester United team driven, motivated and with a returning Marcus Rashford to punish a lacklustre defence. Jurgen Klopp must be heading to training this morning frustrated that he was unable to make up a plan to break down a resilient Untied defence and that the free flowing, heavy scoring football of recent weeks just did not click. United have presented a blue print of how to deal with the feared front line of Liverpool and made Mo Salah, who has not been able to stop scoring, nullified into a passenger.

Although Everton is the local derby, the games against Manchester United always define where Liverpool are and even the most hardened fan of the Reds must admit that at the weekend, they were a long way behind Manchester United in terms of tactics, clinical finishing and big match experience. Salah and Mane have excelled at ripping apart lesser teams, but faced with a well organised defence and a tactic aimed at stopping them, they failed to shine. The rest of the team lacked inspiration and did not look like a patch on the team that could be considered one of the most attractive in world football. Klopp must take some responsibility…arguable the biggest match of his 2018 went with a whimper and now he must look to settling for 3rd at best.

The question lingers after the performance at the weekend, will a 3rd place finish and no trophies represent a success for Liverpool. Of course, a good run or unlikely win in the Champions League would change the season altogether, but in realistic terms it looks like the 3rd place finish is the best they can hope for?

In a season where 6 teams began with Champions League qualification hopes, it must be outlined that the 4 teams who manage to qualify have at least achieved the minimum. As March began, the league title was sown up, Arsenal looked to have dropped from contention and baring a disaster Liverpool are safely in.

Surely fans must expect more? Selling your finest player is never going to produce immediate returns, but the emergence of the attacking line has been a revelation but for all the positives that are talked about the Klopp revolution and the Klopp way, the simple fact remains that Liverpool are as far away from the title as they have ever been. They can easily dominate the teams below them, they can score freely when the game is going their way but when their backs are against the wall and they come up against a resilient defence,  there is no Plan B and they team fizzles out.

If the season ends with Liverpool lifting the Champions League trophy Klopp and this team will be hailed as legends and talked about in the same manner as the 2005 team who failed in the league yet won the biggest prize. If they remain trophiless and 3rd, questions will be asked. Can they accept another season of getting no closer to the league title?

Who will finish in the top 4?

If someone would have told me at the start of the season when writing this article that one team would be running away with the title, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are with 2018 beginning and every football fan with any common sense must sense that the league title race is over. Manchester City are not only picking up the points, but doing so in a style that suggest they will never be stopped. I hear fans from time to time hark back to the days when Newcastle, in the 1995-1996 season, where 12 points clear at this stage only to lose out to Man United……we are talking about different teams. Keegan’s Toon Army were a attacking machine but lacked the quality Manchester do. Newcastle got results by outscoring, not necessarily outplaying, teams whereas Manchester City are dominating every game from the first to the last moment. It would take a brave betting man to think they will blow it from here!

In a nutshell, assuming it is over let us take a look at the 5 teams aiming to fill the other 3 places in that top 4…

Manchester United – Somewhat a fall from grace as 2017 came to a close. As the season began it was United getting the rave reviews and plaudits and many predicting they would run away with the league but it simply hasn’t happened, and with several players form up and down, unless something major clicks they are going to struggle to hold on to second. Still, I believe they have enough firepower to secure that Top four place. Prediction – 2nd

Arsenal – Amidst all the Wenger out chants and contract disputes, Arsenal have kept on winning game, including some against top 4 rivals. Quietly, but surely, Arsene Wenger has got his side singing off the same hymn sheet and it all seems to be going well. Although the extensive demands of the Europa League may play into matters, Arsenal look good and if they hit form at the right time of the season could have a very happy fan base when the season ends . Prediction – 3rd

Chelsea – Solid, secure and pick up wins when they need to. Without having that X factor that City and United possess they are vulnerable to the odd shock but Conte should find himself in the Champions League next season. Prediction – 4th

Salah

Liverpool – Free scoring and fun to watch but the rate of goals and impressive results will fade. The champions League will take a toll and Van Dijk is not enough to make that defence work. Prediction – 5th

Spurs – Anything is possible when Harry Kane lines up in your side, but Spurs stuttered at the start of the season and have stuttered ever since. Already playing catch up, the fixtures don’t look kind to Spurs and they will have to endure another season without Champions League football next year…let us just hope thus doesn’t turn Harry Kane’s head

Is Van Dijk the answer for Liverpool?

LFC

One of the longest running, and lets face it, most tedious transfer sagas of the Summer has dragged over into the January Transfer window and it appears that finally, Jurgen Klopp has his man and Virgil Van Dijk is on his way to Anfield and boy it is one hell of a big bet www.mybestbettingsites.co.uk. Whether it has became a matter of pride and Liverpool have paid over the odds to make a point and get their man, or whether Virgil Van Dijk is going to be the man to transform Liverpool…..only time will tell!

Liverpool ‘s problem this season has been two fold….the defence and the goalkeeper. They have had no issues scoring goals and tearing teams apart with their attacking might. Indeed, Salah, Firmino and Mane provide a front three to rival any team in the world, and add Coutinho into the mix an you have one of the most potent attacking forces in world football. Indeed, the midfield has ben able to provide the support the front line needs and watching Liverpool you always get a feeling they are moments away from scoring. However….the defence is another story.

The very first game of the season set the standard, with shoddy defending and marking being a feature of the campaign since. Is it just down the players? Is it bad management? Whatever the story Jurgen Klopp has no excuses now as to why his team are leaking goals. He has Virgil Van Dijk, his world record defensive purchase, and he has the man he has touted for almost a year…..if they still fail with arguable one of the worlds bets centre backs at the core of the team, then it has to be the coach to blame.

But that is not the only problem they have. It is all well and good splashing out bug bucks for but the issue a lot of fans, and pundits see, as much deeper than that is the man between the sticks. Many teams have struggled over the years with goalkeepers and any defence is only as good as the keeper, and Liverpool are finding this out the hard way. Constant errors and mishaps….as well as the comment you here time and time again watching Liverpool games “he should have saved that” are a worry for all concerned. Will Klopp dip into the transfer market and reinforce the goalkeeping position? Who is actually available and with the £75 million already spent on Virgil Van Dijk is there any more money in the transfer fund!

Only time will tell, and January will be a very interesting month to see if Liverpool are going to put all their defensive woe eggs into one basket and hope Virgil Van Dijk is the answer. But then the bigger questions will come….how will Virgil Van Dijk cope under the new pressure he will find himself under? Being the worlds most expensive defender he is going to have to quickly get used to the fact that every single move he does in every single game will be under the microscope. Can Virgil Van Dijk take Liverpool back into the champions league and beyond? It is going to be interesting to find out…

Test your knowledge of Premier Leagues Top Scorers

Delli Ali Spurs Quiz

Since the inception of the league in 1992, the Premier League has been home to some sensational and clinical goal scorers. English striker Alan Shearer currently leads the way with the most Premier League goals, but there have been multiple players that have made it into the ‘100 Club’. The performances of these goal scorers competing in the league means that many Premier League odds bookmakers now allow betters to guess what players will score during a match.

Football is not an easy game to predict, so it can be quite difficult to guess who will score during a match. However in certain scenarios it can be quite easy to make a calculated guess on who will score. By trying this quiz, you can test out your knowledge on Premier League goal scorers and whether each player has scored more or less goals than the number given?

Check out the Quiz here.

Which team will in this year’s Champions League

As investment in the game rises and new clubs come to the fore, the influx of world class players and clubs previously not deemed contenders for the Champions League, the elite competition in Europe, and interest in the game reaches fever pitch….the Champions League becomes more important than ever. The qualification is over; the group draw is done and after the international break the competition itself. Each year there are shocks, surprises, classic games  and world class football….but the questions is, in one of the most competitive seasons in living memory, just who will win the Champions League.

I think it is fair to say that the Champions League winner this season is likely to come from only a handful of countries so let us look at each nation step by step and see what they can offer. Also, on the off chance you’re a gambling man and you enjoy betting on the Champions League then a great site to take a look at is Footy Accumulators as they offer daily football tips for all of the biggest games.

Starting in Spain, look no further than Real Madrid as the odds on favourites. Easily the best team in the contest last season, and deserved winners, Real look solid and have the attacking flair and defensive might to defeat any team on their day. Barcelona have been rocked by the departure of Neymar, breaking up the MSN partnership, but they still have enough quality and experience to make a challenge. They may have missed key transfer targets and lack the “galactico feel” of Madrid but they should never be counted out.

Over in France, with Monaco losing the majority of their top players, the only Champions League winner potentially comes in the form of mega rich PSG who have boosted their attacking might with Mbappe and Neymar and will be irresistible in attack. They still have a lot to prove on the big stage to show they have the steel and grit to compete, but rule them out at your peril.

The only Italian hope is really Juventus who already look solid in the season, with a well-grounded squad, defensively the best set up in the continent and a wonder goal machine in the form of Dybala. They are my outside bet to life the trophy and even the finest attackers around may struggle to penetrate the Old Lady.

In terms of the German teams, I am sorry to say, that Bayern simply have not kept up with rivals. They have not spent big, they have not improved and they risk falling behind the European elite. The Germans always prove us wrong and seeing them in the Semi Final would not surprise me, but I rate their chances of making it all the way very slim.

Finally, the English clubs have 5 teams in this year and the only one I would rule out as contenders are Spurs. Lacking in experience and the poor home form at Wembley mean it could be a very short run. As for the others…Chelsea have been there before and have added plenty of quality, Manchester City are as strong as ever in attack but again need to prove it on the big stage and Liverpool have a front three to rival any in the word. But the one big contender, especially with his second season streak, is Manchester United and the Special One. Deep squad, plenty of goals, solid at the back….I can see Manchester United taking some beating in this year’s Champions League!

 

Prediction: Manchester United

One to Watch: Juventus

What happened to Wimbledon?

I am just about young enough to remember a time when a Wimbledon side, led by Vinnie Jones and a hard hitting squad of English players, was topping the Premier League table. Indeed, the fabled cup win from 1988 is still fresh in the conscious as is their dramatic rise from obscurity to the top flight. But within a few years of that triumphant run to the top of the Premier League Wimbledon had collapsed, were out of business and reformed under the banner of two new clubs! MK Dons are essentially the team Wimbledon were but the AFC Wimbledon club is the one with the heart.

So what happened and can another other teams learn a lesson from this demise?

Wimbledon found them in the Premier League at a time when the money was starting to grow. It was nothing in comparison to what a middling team can earn in the division today, but still the money was flooding in and everyone around was investing in cheap foreign players with a new technique, new skills and a raised standard. The league began to be graced with the finest players in the world and with a push to getting in the Champions League the top half a dozen Premier League clubs began to invest. Wimbledon didn’t….even in the season they looked on for a top 6 finish; they did not spend the money. The club had been built on the premise of hard hitting English players with a certain style of play that worked well in the 1980s but was not compatible with the modern day game. They did not change with the times and that was one of their major issues!

They didn’t learn the earlier lesson from 1988 when they shocked the world and won the FA Cup, taking down Liverpool on their way, and were the talk of the nation. At that point they could have set aside time to build for the future and establish a club that could repeat the feat. They were the most talked about team in England and yet they did not back this up by going after players to improve.

The relocation issues did not help. Crowded in London, being an unfashionable team and not able to draw crowds who would rather flock to the more fashionable and successful clubs, drove the clubs owners into the controversial move to Milton Keynes which killed the heart of Wimbledon.

At the end of the day, a lack of ambition killed Wimbledon. This probably comes from always being the underdog and always being “the little club done well”. But that can only last so long in an industry where money talks and the game moved beyond what Wimbledon were all about.  They failed to adapt to the changing game, stuck to their roots of old fashioned English players and it backfired. There will never be another club like Wimbledon, and the absence of the club is sadly one of the many casualties of the modern game in the Premier League mega-money era of English football.

25 YEARS OF PREMIER LEAGUE: HOW HAS IT EVOLVED?

Premier_League_Logo

25 years ago, a new Era of English football began. At that time, there were still a lot of lapses in the game although it was exciting nonetheless. However, in the last 25 years, English Football has changed beyond recognition and is regarded as the most successful league in the world with the most number of fans spread across the world.

One way where the English Premier League (EPL) has undoubtedly grown is the financial power which it wields as before now, it was on par with the other major leagues across Europe. However, in the last 25 years, its financial might has peaked, and in a recent report by Deloitte, 12 of the EPL’s 20 clubs are featured in Deloitte’s list of top 30 clubs by revenue released in January 2017.

Some other changes which the EPL has witnessed is an increase in the number of teams that participate in the league. The premier league first began with 22 teams in 1991-1992 but was later reduced to 20 teams after three seasons for the start of 1995 to 96 season. Also, there has been a visible increase in the numbers of foreign players, of the 273 players who participated in the commencement of the League in 1992 for the 22 teams only 55 came from countries outside UK and Ireland. However, today, the story is different because in 2017, of the 277 who played in the League only 86 were from England while 191 were from countries outside the UK.

Another area where rapid changes have been noticed is in the number of Foreign Managers coaching in the EPL.  In 1992, 18 of the 23 Managers who were in charge of EPL clubs were from England while in 2017, only four of the 20 managers are English, and this contributes to the competitiveness of the EPL. Expectedly, the number of fans following EPL teams have witnessed a tremendous and steady increase in the number of followers, with fans from across the world showing serious interest in various teams.

The officiating of the EPL has also changed as evidently, referees give stiffer punishment to players who disobeys the rules of the football game. For instance, in 1992 only 23 yellow cards were issued to players with no red card while. In 2017, there were 34 yellows cards in just ten games with ten red cards.

For a League that has been up for up quarter of a century, it will not be devoid of some dramas for instance, in 2013, Luis Suarez a striker who has been known for so many controversies bite Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in a match which led to his ten match ban.

Another remarkable event in the Premier League took place on August 3, 1999, when Arsenal signed Thierry who became the best player in the league for years, he spent eight years in the team scoring remarkable goals and winning two League titles. Anyone who has followed the League will forever remember how Ronaldo delivered one of the best free kicks ever seen in the history of Premier League when Manchester United played against Portsmouth in 2008.

Along side this there has been a proliferation of new betting sites tapping into the love of fans to twin football and betting.

A lot has changed in the EPL in the past 25 years, and as we enter into a new era of its existence, there is so much more which is expected to change. We can only fold our hands and enjoy.

1990’s Football Quiz

Coventry City Players

Here at Footie Quiz we like to think of ourselves as the go to place for free football quizzes. However we recently came across a cracking 90s football quiz that a) was a big challenge and b) is worthy of a mention in our blog.

So credit to My Betting Sites for: The Hardest 90s Football Quiz

Being in my late 30s the 1990s was ‘my era’ so to discover this quiz was great and an absolute joy. I found some of them easy, esp my old favourite player Rob Jones.

Rob JonesAs a player his career was cut brutally short due to persistent shin splint problem. However after his move from lowly Crewe Alexandra he spent 4 solid seasons a Liverpool going on to win England caps along the way. In my opinion one of the best right backs of the 1990s.

Other easy ones: Ian Marshall, Julien Dicks (oh why oh why did Souness buy him for LFC?), Choccy, Batty, Sirnicke (sp?),  Stevie Stone, Dublin and Tim Flowers.

While there are some easy ones there are also some really tough ones. I can’t for the life of me remember the chap from Sheff Wed – I think he was Dutch! Or the Arsenal player – think he is also foreign.

Wimbledon’s Dean Holdsworth (possible run close by the Spurs chap) was clearly the best looking chap of 1990s football and the prize for the ugliest footballer went to this chap – no idea who he is:

Bolton FC

Only because there was no Iain Dowie or Beardo in the quiz!

What I also like about the quiz is the array of old kits, as a Liverpool fan I can recall our old kits but over time you forget about other teams. Spurs had some nice kits, so did Chelsea but that Kasey Keller Leicester top is shocking!

If you have 15 minutes spare and are prepared to get frustrated by not remembering ‘what a thingys’ name then you really should play this quiz.

 

 

Trailblazing Tottenham Trivia: Up for the Cups

Delli Ali Spurs Quiz

Admittedly, there is a considerable amount of ground to cover before Tottenham can even dare to envisage equalling Arsenal’s haul of three Premier League titles. However, as key moments in Tottenham’s history will indicate, records are there to be set – and broken. Founded in 1882, the club took only 19 years to rack up its first major achievement, and establish itself as a potential goldmine of trivia and ‘pub ammo’.

1901 – Tottenham become first FA Cup-winning amateurs

In winning the 1901 FA Cup final, just seven years before becoming a professional club, Tottenham became the first amateur team to win England’s flagship knockout tournament. The Lilywhites are still the only team to win the cup as a non-league side, and barring a miracle far greater than Leicester’s title win of 2015/16, they will remain so until the very end of time.

Under player-manager John Cameron, Tottenham’s very first FA Cup match of the twentieth century was played on 23 February 1901 against Bury at White Hart Lane. A 2-1 victory saw Tottenham proceed to the quarter-finals, where another home tie – against Reading – yielded a 3-0 win. West Bromwich Albion awaited Tottenham in the semi-final, but the Baggies were somewhat distracted by a relentless fight to regain the club’s top flight status. A 4-0 win for Tottenham set up a final with first division Sheffield United.

The final was played at what is today known as the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. The Blades had only recently secured mathematical survival against relegation, and appeared jaded against a Tottenham side playing without pressure. Despite taking a tenth-minute lead through Fred Priest, Sheffield United eventually buckled, with a brace of goals from Sandy Brown either side of half time giving Tottenham the lead.

Hence the club motto, Tottenham had dared to do, and with 51 minutes played, could now dare to dream. On 52 minutes, Tottenham dared to dwindle, and paid what could have been the ultimate price. An equaliser from Walter Bennett proved to be the last goal of the match, with Tottenham barely clinging to the hope of becoming FA Cup winners.

At 20 stone, William ‘Fatty’ Foulke proved a towering presence in the Sheffield United goal.

Burnden Park was only closed as recently as 1997, but in hosting the replay, it had the privilege of witnessing a unique piece of history. The second encounter was every bit as gruelling as the first, but a well-conditioned Sheffield United went in as 1-0 leaders at halftime, with Fred Priest once more the opening goalscorer.

One can only imagine the rousing speech uttered by John Cameron, but Tottenham came out as an indefatigable force after the break. High on half-time oranges, Cameron himself scored the equaliser just eight minutes into the second half. Further goals, from Tom Smith and Sandy Brown, sealed victory and an F.A Cup win that would echo through the generations to come.

1963 – Tottenham triumph in Cup Winners’ Cup

Tottenham would set another notable record in 1920, when (as a second division side) the Lilywhites gained promotion with a total of 70 points. In today’s second tier, that tally would barely scrape a playoff place – but this was back when only two points were awarded for a win. Tottenham won 32 games from a possible 42 and scored 102 goals, and like the club’s FA Cup win of 1901, it is a record that is now guaranteed to stand the test of time.

Though crowned English champions in 1951, the dawn of the 1960s truly represented Tottenham’s most recent golden era. In 1960/61, the club became the first to win a domestic double, but it was at the end of the 1962/63 season that Tottenham would accomplish that which no other English club had dared to do.

In Jimmy Greaves, Tottenham boasted a striker very much in the mould of present-day hero Harry Kane, who is surprisingly priced at 3/1 and tipped to once more be the Premier League’s top goalscorer next season. After successfully defending the FA Cup in 1962, a Tottenham side managed by Bill Nicholson found itself making a short journey north. The destination was Ibrox, with Glasgow Rangers awaiting the Lilywhites in what promised to be a ferocious cross-border battle.

Already 5-2 up on aggregate, the Tottenham squad that took to the Ibrox pitch on 11 December 1962 could not rest on their laurels. With Tottenham drawing first blood, all realistic fears of a comeback from Rangers were quashed. Beaten though the Rangers squad must have collectively realised they were, the Scottish Cup winners fought a brave and defiant battle to the last:

Now safely through, Tottenham were drawn against Slovan Bratislava in the quarter finals. In front of a 32,000-strong Tehelne Pole Stadion, Nicholson’s side were stunned 2-0 by the Czechoslovakian heavyweights. Humiliated and wounded, Tottenham would be brutal in their vengeance for the return leg. Jimmy Greaves scored twice en route to a 6-0 win over Slovan Bratislava, and there were also goals from Dave Mackay, Bobby Smith, Cliff Jones and John White.

After a brace of relatively straightforward semi-final wins, yielding a 5-2 aggregate victory over Yugoslavian side OFK Beograd, only Atletico Madrid stood in the way of Tottenham and ownership of an unprecedented piece of history. Though Tottenham only had a 2-1 lead by the hour mark, the navy and white section of the Feijenoord Stadium in Rotterdam erupted three times without reply, with a brace of goals from Terry Dyson sandwiching an obligatory Jimmy Greaves goal to give the final scoreline a deceptively slanted look.

With a 5-1 rout of the Spaniards, Tottenham duly became the first ever British team to win a major European cup.

2010 – Tottenham ‘two good’ under Redknapp

Tottenham would go on to win two more European cups, lifting the UEFA Cup in 1972, and again in 1984. The first of those triumphs saw Tottenham become the first British team to win Europe’s secondary club competition. After remaining one of football traditional giants throughout the 1980s, the 1990s and 2000s saw undulating fortunes for the men from the Lane. After a dismal start to 2008/09, Harry Redknapp took the reins and guided Tottenham to mid-table respectability.

The following season, Redknapp’s side defied the odds and finished fourth, to qualify for the Champions League. Tottenham survived the qualifier, against BSC Young Boys, and proudly took their place amongst the European elite for the first time since the competition’s rebranding in 1992. Nobody expected Tottenham to get anywhere near the final – and they didn’t. However, Tottenham had one more record to set.

5th May 2010 – Tottenham beat Manchester City to fourth place with a win at the Ethiad Stadium.

In a group containing the reigning cup holders Inter Milan, Tottenham were a potent force. The Lilywhites scored ten goals in three home matches, including a famous 3-1 win over the holders. Curiously, Tottenham scored eight times in their away matches, but took just two points from nine. In doing so, Tottenham became the first team in history to score two goals or more in every Champions League group game.

Seven years on, Tottenham fans have every reason to be excited ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League season, with the club having now finished in the top three for a second consecutive year. Nobody is in any doubt as to which record Tottenham want to smash next. Chelsea’s record title-winning tally of 95 points is impressive, and is likely to remain unbeaten forever. Yet, as the famous motto goes: “to dare is to do” – and attempting to become the first Premier League side to hit 100 points is as big a dare as it gets.

Football moments that defied the odds 

Although the bookmakers usually get it right when offering odds on major football matches, the beautiful game wouldn’t be loved by billions around the world if it didn’t produce the odd upset, the odd miracle or its fair share of fairy tales. 

 Here we take a look at just some unlikely triumphs of days gone by that have sent shock waves around the world! 

Leicester City win the Premier League

Leicester City Quiz

Potentially the greatest upset in the history of professional sport. After spending the majority of the 2014/15 Premier League season fighting to stave of relegation, Leicester City started the following campaign amongst the favourites to be relegated. Boasting one of the league’s lowest budget and with the appointment of the much-ridiculed ‘Tinkerman‘, Claudio Ranieri, few expected anything but another relegation dogfight for the Foxes. 

The bookies got this one completely wrong! Offering pre-season odds of 5,000/1 cost them millions when Leicester lifted the Premier League trophy aloft at the end of one of the most unbelievable seasons ever witnessed. 

Greece win Euro 2004 

Greece had only taken part in a major football tournament twice before, losing every game in both the 1980 European Championships and 1994 World Cup. In the build-up to Euro 2004, many experts had predicted the Greeks to suffer a similar fate in Portugal, especially after being named in the same group as the hosts and European giants, Spain. 

The signs were there that an upset could be on the cards when Greece beat Portugal 2-1 in the opening game of the tournament. Despite not scoring more than one goal in any other game throughout the competition, Greece made it past France, the Czech Republic and then Portugal in the final to seal a famous triumph. 

 Denmark – 1992 Kings of Europe 

Incredibly, Denmark won the European Championships in 1992 despite failing to qualify for the tournament. The Danes were late replacements for Yugoslavia who were disqualified due to the ongoing conflict in the country.  

Euro ’92 was dominated by the ongoing turmoil affecting the political landscape across Europe. As well as the disqualification of a war-torn Yugoslavia, the tournament welcomed a CIS football team (Commonwealth of Independent States) to replace the recently dissolved Soviet Union and also saw a unified Germany compete in a major tournament for the first time in their history.  

After failing to win either of their first two games, Denmark escaped from the group by beating the 1984 champions, France. After beating hosts, Sweden, in the semi-finals, the Danes pulled off a huge shock to beat world champions, Germany in the final by two goals to nil.  

Wimbledon win the FA Cup 

Liverpool, the dominant English side of the 1980’s arrived at Wembley in 1988 with their sights set firmly on a second league and cup double in three seasons. Their opponents that day, the Wimbledon ‘Crazy Gang’. 

The final came just eleven years since Wimbledon were playing in the Southern Football League – the seventh tier of English football. In their second season in the top flight, Wimbledon’s seventh place finish was deemed to be a major over achievement and few gave them a hope of toppling giants, Liverpool at Wembley. 

Vinnie Jones’ crunching challenge on Steve McMahon early in the game set the tone and a solitary Lawrie Sanchez goal was enough to see Wimbledon lift their first ever major trophy in one of the FA Cup’s greatest ever shocks. 

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The greatest ever football comebacks 

 
With less than one month to go until the start of another football season, we take the opportunity to delve into the archives of some of the sport’s greatest comebacks, highlighting why so many of us love the beautiful game.  

 Manchester United vs Bayern Munich – 1999 UEFA Champions League final  

On one famous night in Barcelona, Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United team etched their names into English football history as they completed an unprecedented treble in the most dramatic fashion.  

With yet another Premier League and FA Cup double already secure, United arrived at the famous Nou Camp aiming to become the first English club to win Europe’s premier competition since 1984. With 90 minutes on the clock, United were 1-0 down and looked destined to fall agonisingly short. Two stoppages time goals from Teddy Sheringham and then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer turned the game on its head and sealed a famous win for The Red Devils.  

Liverpool vs AC Milan – 2005 UEFA Champions League final  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl-_NuDxiFQ

That famous night in Istanbul – another magical European night for an English team. Milan were sensational in the first half. A first minute goal from defender, Paolo Maldini and a brace from Hernan Crespo saw the Italians race into a 3-0 half-time lead.  

However, in six crazy second half minutes, Liverpool scored three goals to level the match. The Reds managed to hold on heroically in extra-time before emerging victorious after a penalty shootout to seal a fifth European Cup triumph.  

Barcelona vs Paris Saint Germain – 2017 UEFA Champions League quarter final, second leg  

In one of the most one-sided defeats in Barcelona’s illustrious history, PSG eased to a 4-0 win in the first leg of their quarter final clash. Few believed Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique, when he insisted his side could still qualify for the next round.  

With 50 minutes gone in the second leg, Barcelona had reduced the aggregate deficit to 4-3, but a goal by Edison Cavani against the run of play seemed to end the Spaniards’ hopes of qualification.   

Goals by Neymar (88), (90+1) and Sergi Roberto (90+5), gave Barcelona a 6-5 aggregate win and capped one of the greatest comebacks ever witnessed.  

Manchester City vs Queens Park Rangers – 2012 Premier League final day  

With Manchester United locked in a battle for the Premier League title with rivals, Manchester City, the ‘Noisy Neighbours’ knew they would be champions if they could match United’s final day result.  
 
Manchester United, in a professional manner, left Sunderland’s Stadium of Light with a 1-0 win, meaning City needed three points at home to QPR.  

As the full-time whistle went at Sunderland, news came through the City were trailing 2-1 at home and United players and fans knew they were on the verge of winning the title.  

Ironically, in a never-say-die attitude that had become the ‘United way’, City scored twice in ‘Fergie Time’ to win 3-2 and seal a first ever Premier League title.  

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Alexandre Lacazette Signing Makes Frenchman Arsenal’s Highest Earner

Alexandre Lacazette Signing Makes Frenchman Arsenal's Highest Earner

 Alexandre Lacazette Signing Makes Frenchman Arsenal's Highest EarnerSource: Arsenal via Facebook

It has been one of the most anticipated deals of this year’s transfer market, and Arsenal fans can now officially celebrate as their side have completed the signing of French forward Alexandre Lacazette.

The club stated that the 26-year-old striker had agreed to a “long-term contract” for an undisclosed fee, which was later revealed as a five-year deal and a record signing for the club, worth £52m. This smashes the previous record of £42.5m set back in 2013 when Mesut Ozil made the jump from Real Madrid.

Not only that, but the French forward will become the club’s highest earner, with his contract worth a reported £200,000 per week.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “I am of course delighted and very proud too because Arsenal is a legendary club. Throughout my childhood, thanks to Thierry Henry and other French players, I always dreamed of playing for this club so today that dream has been fulfilled.”

With Arsenal last tasting league success back in 2004, Arsene Wenger will be hoping that this new addition can help bring back the glory days to the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 20 seasons last year, which will also be a major driving force for them in 2017/18 – the side are currently placed at evens in the football betting markets to secure a berth into Europe’s elite competition.

Many are saying that with the explosive attacking trio of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and now Alexandre, this could be the year for the Gunners.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=gI6YOhbT6H0

Sanchez still has one year on his contract at the Emirates and there has been much speculation surrounding the player and his desire to remain at the London club. He was most definitely the standout player for the Gunners last season, with a very impressive tally of 24 goals and 11 assists. This latest addition to the squad could be the deciding factor in the Chilean’s decision to stay. Everybody is well aware of his hunger for trophies and thirst for success, and Lacazette is certainly the kind of player that can help make those dreams a reality.

Arsenal secured the FA Cup and took the club’s only trophy of the season, defeating Premier League champions Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley. It was a testament to the resilience of the team after heavy criticism from the supporters for both manager and players. Arsene Wenger described the wins as one of the proudest moments in his career. The win saw him lift his seventh FA Cup and become the most successful manager in the competition’s history.

Lacazette scored 37 goals in all competitions in his final season at Lyon and has become one of Europe’s most prolific goal scorers. Now the real question is, can he bring that unique touch and blistering pace to the Premier League and use it to bring the title home for the Gunners?

6 Things About The World Cup You (Probably) Don’t Know

World Cup Quiz

The football World Cup unites the planet like no other sporting event and Russia 2018 is getting closer and closer. The football extravaganza comes along every four years and now is a great time to get your statto-geek World Cup facts and trivia in order. Who knows when there’ll be a mate you need to bore/dazzle in the pub?

Our friends at FootballBettingHub have put together six interesting (or “interesting” perhaps) pieces of World Cup trivia together. Strap yourselves in…

Best Attended – The 1994 USA World Cup, which England decided they’d best not bother with, is the best-attended World Cup ever. The average attendance was 68,991. Max out your geek points by telling anyone who’ll listen that this is a whopping 30% higher than the next best (Brazil 2014).

3 x 5You don’t get any quizzie kudos for knowing your five times table. If, however, you instantly knew we were referring to the fact that three players have played in five different World Cups, then well done! Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal, Italy’s Gigi Buffon and German great Lothar Matthäus are your men!

Hungary for Goals – Three of the most goal-laden World Cup games ever have seen Hungary go goal crazy. Their legendary 1954 team beat Germany FR 8-3 and Korea 9-0, whilst the 1982 side thrashed El Salvador 10-1. That gives Hungary three of the top seven World Cup goalfests.

Stamps Worth More – You probably know that the Jules Rimet trophy (incidentally it was originally called Victory and was renamed in 1946) was stolen in 1966. You also probably know that Pickles the dog found it. But did you know that the thieves took it from the “Sport with Stamps” display at the Stampex exhibition? And that stamps valued at £3 million were ignored in favour of the £30,000 trophy?

Klose The King? – Germany’s Miroslav Klose is arguably the greatest player in World Cup history. He’s played in four World Cups and only three men have played in more. Only compatriot Matthäus has played more games but nobody has scored more goals or won more games at the World Cup than the former Lazio forward. In his four World Cups, he never finished worse than third! Essentially he’s miles better than England all by himself.

Italy, Germany or Brazil – If you want to bet on the World Cup, just back Italy, Germany AND Brazil to win it. Ignoring the first World Cup (1930, held in and won by Uruguay – as you knew!) when only 13 teams took part and there was no Italy or Germany, these three nations have been dominant. There have been 19 World Cups since then and this glorious trio have won 13 of them! That’s a 68% strike rate!

If you do indeed fancy a bet on the 2018 World Cup in Russia, check out FootballBettingHub’s brilliant World Cup betting offers. Their listings of the best enhanced odds, free bets and bookie offers will help you cash in next summer!

A look back at Cristiano Ronaldo’s records at Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo’s relentless scoring has added a few more records to his magnificent résumé this year, including becoming the all-time top scorer across the top five leagues in Europe.

The man, who many consider to be the greatest player in the world, and one of the greatest in the illustrious history of the sport, now has a record of nearly 600 goals and over 200 assists for three clubs that feature in three different leagues and Portugal.

‘Christiano Ronaldo’ – Ludovic Peron via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Having played in three games, sealing one assist, in the 2002/03 season for Sporting Lisbon, then-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson signed the Portuguese winger for – what now looks to be one of the deals of the century – just £16.15 million. Cristiano Ronaldo then used Old Trafford as his stage to set the world on fire; his slick feet, speedy runs, elegant shooting, and lightning free kicks securing his fate as a Manchester United legend.

In 2009, Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for a world-record fee, but now he might be on his way back. To the excitement of many United fans, Ronaldo is 3/1 to link back up with the Red Devils (second-favourite behind staying) following reports of his displeasure at being the focus of a tax scandal. So, let’s take a look at the records that Ronaldo set in Manchester – a list that he could be adding to if a transfer comes to fruition.

Ronaldo’s records from his time in England

‘57457319’ – Yoca91 via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the ‘first and only’ title for a Manchester United player with many FIFA awards. In 2008, he won the European Golden Shoe with his 31 league goals. He beat Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Rhys Griffiths by virtue of the value of Premier League goals.

He also won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in the same season, as well as the FIFA Puskas Award in the following campaign for this goal against FC Porto in the Champions League:

In 2007/08, Ronaldo scored the joint-most goals to earn the Premier League Golden Boot award in a 38-game season at 31 goals; tied with Alan Shearer (Blackburn 95/96), and Luis Suarez (Liverpool 13/14). The Portuguese marksman blazed past Fernando Torres and Emmanuel Adebayor, who came second with 24 goals each. That also marks a Manchester United record for goals in a single 38-game Premier League season.

He’s also the first player to win all four of the major Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association awards. Ronaldo was the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2006/07,  the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year in 2006/07 and 2007/08, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2006/07 and 2007/08, and won the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2006/07 and 2007/08.

Finally, the transfer fee of £80 million which took Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid obliterated the former record transfer fee of £46 million for Zinedine Zidane from Juventus to Real Madrid. Despite being 32 years old, a potential transfer of Ronaldo could very well demand a fee close to the record-breaking one which moved him to Spain.

He’s still got a few more years left of playing in him, so there’s no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo will continue to add to his remarkable stash of footballing records, be it for Manchester United or Real Madrid next season.

Why is Footie Quiz the best football quiz site on the Internet?

Football Quiz

For years, Footie Quiz has been providing avid football fans with the very finest in trivia and football quiz questions and as the site continues to grow and grow, its time you hopped on board! Why should you use Footie Quiz ahead of the other sites out there? We are going to tell you why!

The internet is awash with all sorts of Trivia sites and non-more so popular than football sites. The problem is with various sites out there the quality differs greatly so you need a site you can know and trust. Footie Quiz certainly firs that bill!

The most important thing about any trivia site is the quality of the questions. You can have all the glitz and all the glamour, fancy headings etc (which Footie Quiz indeed also has!) but the site will soon become dull if the questions are boring, repetitive and lazy. You don’t get that problem with Footie Quiz. The questions are updated constantly, written by trivia experts with vast experience in the field and produced with YOU the user in mind. With excellent variation, and a vast database….why should you try anywhere else when it comes to football trivia? Why try the rest when you have the best right in front of you….Footie Quiz! Having a focus helps, so unlike sites such as Quiz Factor, you get a focused attention on football meaning the trivia is more fun, entertaining and unique.

The site looks good, is easy to use and navigate from the first experience to the last. This functions superbly on all devices whether it be a laptop, a tablet or your mobile phone. This means Footie Quiz can be there, to challenge, test and entertain you at all times.  Unlike rivals including Football Site the presentation does not put you off!

Throw into the mix that Footie Quiz also has links to Facebook accounts to make the sign up page and level of interaction high. In addition, there are leader boards to measure yourself against the other players. And indeed, this is another key factor….the range of players. Leader boards only work when there are plenty of people to play them and Footie Quiz has competitors across the globe. This doesn’t even happen on major sites like Four Four Two so you are very lucky indeed!

The site will even show you the most popular quizzes so you can see what others are playing and join in with the most active games. This means every day, logging into the system, you will see something new and fresh to play. You can’t say any fairer than that!

At the end of the day, when it comes to football trivia websites then there can be only one that is worth your time…Footie Quiz. The best trivia, the most impressive questions and a huge variety to keep you entertained for hours on end. There really is no reason to look anywhere else! Don’t delay, get on board and start using Footie Quiz today for your football quiz question fix….you won’t regret it!

Do Spurs Have What It Takes to Win the Title?

Delli Ali Spurs Quiz

Delli Ali Spurs Quiz

Source: Tottenham Hotspur via Facebook

For the second year in a row, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur fell short in the Premier League title race despite challenging near the top of the table for the most part of the campaign. On paper, Spurs have the talent required to emerge victorious at the top level of English football but it may all come down to whether the north London side are made of the right “stuff”.

Some teams have it, others don’t. In recent years, Tottenham have come under scrutiny for succumbing to pressure at the worst moment; that cannot happen if Pochettino’s men want to win the title. With some good fortune and astute activity throughout the summer transfer window, Spurs may get their hands on England’s top-flight crown for the first time in the Premier League era.

Defensively, Spurs are arguably the strongest side in the Premier League. According to news outlets, Kyle Walker looks set to join Manchester City for an estimated fee of £60 million this summer and Tottenham fans will be preparing for life without the England international.

However, Kieran Trippier is capable of stepping up to the plate in his absence. The 26-year-old was a regular for Spurs at the backend of last season and there is no need for Pochettino to invest heavily in a new right-sided defender at the present moment. WhoScored statistics show that Trippier ranked as Tottenham’s seventh-best performing defensive player last season – ahead of star centre-back Toby Alderweireld.

Harry Kane Spurs Quiz

Source: Tottenham Hotspur via Facebook

With Alderweireld and co. standing strong in front of Hugo Lloris, Tottenham are blessed with a title-winning defensive unit. In the 2016/17 campaign, Spurs conceded just 26 goals; the second-best record in the Premier League. Following the 7-1 victory over Hull City on the final day, Pochettino’s men also had the best goal difference in England’s top flight. Their tally of +60 was eight clear of Chelsea and Tottenham will be keen to build on their success ahead of next season.

Preparation ahead of the new campaign will be key and Pochettino will have one eye on the International Champions Cup in July. If Spurs, priced at 10/1 to win the title as of June 8th, want to compete with the best teams in the world, it might be wise for the north London side to take the competition very seriously indeed.

Throughout the summer, football fans can keep up with the latest odds, scores, and tips via Footy Accumulators’ Acca Tracker. This app allows punters to track the results of their bets and, with big games against Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and Roma fast approaching, there are plenty of opportunities for Spurs fans to get involved, especially with an array of free bets from bet365, BetVictor, and others to choose from.

If Spurs can prove their worth against some of Europe’s biggest sides, many will fancy Pochettino’s team to lay down a serious marker for the title. And Harry Kane will head into the new campaign knowing that his goals may turn out to be decisive in the title race. The Spurs man won the Golden Boot award for the second season in a row despite missing over three months through injury and it would take a brave man to back against Tottenham if Kane is fully fit and firing on all cylinders.

Harry Kane Tottenham Quiz

Source: Tottenham Hotspur via Facebook

In 38 appearances, Kane scored 35 goals and Pochettino knows that he must continue to build around the England international in order to keep Spurs in contention. Dele Alli, one of the most talented youngsters on the planet, has formed a solid partnership with Kane and another acquisition could give Tottenham a new dimension in attack.

Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa could be on Pochettino’s radar and he is certainly gettable for the right price. The Brazilian has struggled to impress since Carlo Ancelotti arrived at the Allianz Arena and a move to the Premier League would appeal. Tottenham’s involvement in the Champions League will certainly help them to attract elite talent this summer…

Ross Barkley has been linked with a move to Spurs for the past few months but Tottenham don’t really need any more creative midfielders. Pochettino wouldn’t turn the England man away but upsetting the balance of this solid Spurs midfield could have an adverse effect in the long run. If nothing else, his impact and drive to perform better could push Tottenham’s existing stars to improve further.

Signing a couple of players will help to keep everybody on their toes and Tottenham’s stock as potential champions will be bolstered by any arrivals. With Kane leading the line, Spurs are in with a decent chance of lifting the title next season. Pochettino is building a monster and Tottenham could finally fulfil their potential with a bit of luck.

Five Football Players Who Had The Worst Gambling Problems

Footballers have lots of spare time and lots of spare cash – it can be a recipe for disaster.

Many players have succumbed to gambling addiction over the years, losing vast amounts of money and jeopardising the future of their families as a result.

Research from former footballers charity XPRO suggests as many as two out of every five ex-players face bankruptcy within five years of hanging up their boots and retiring from the game. Another report found more than six per cent of sportsmen are classed as “problem gamblers”.

The rise of the internet and betting websites have made betting easier than ever before. Long away trips with team-mates also offer players plenty of temptation to get involved. 

While there is nothing wrong with having a bet or two, it can be tough for some people to stay in control. Here are five high-profile footballers who have struggled with their gambling problems.

Joey Barton

Premier League player Joey Barton opened up about his gambling addiction after receiving an 18-month ban from all football activity after being found to have placed over a thousand bets.

Barton was even caught putting bets on his own team to lose and while there was no suspicion of match-fixing as he was not involved in those fixtures, the affair has effectively forced him into taking an early retirement from the sport.

“I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem,” said Barton in response to his charge.

Barton – whose club Burnley are sponsored by a betting firm – says he has been able to stop betting on football since being caught but it is clear he is still struggling to control his addiction.

Wayne Rooney

England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has often been pictured having a gamble at casinos and newspaper stories recently claimed he lost a whopping £500,000 in one night.

While Rooney can afford those losses – he makes a reported £300,000 per week – it is still a phenomenal amount of money, more than most people will make in many, many years of work.

It was also previously claimed Rooney ran up a gambling debt of some £700,000 via a betting ring that involved some of his England team-mates –  including Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Michael Owen and Frank Lampard – in the build-up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

 

Did he really lose 2 weeks wages?

Matthew Etherington

Matthew Etherington is among the footballers to have come clean about their addiction, with the ex-West Ham United and Stoke City winger claiming to have lost £1.5 million from betting.

Etherington bet on greyhounds, horses and poker, with the former player explaining how he managed to spend his week’s wages playing poker against his fellow pros on the team coach.

“There were card schools at West Ham and it did get a little bit out of hand,” Etherington revealed in a newspaper interview. “People were taking three, four, five grand on the bus with them.”

Etherington said the gambling was good for team morale but accepted it acted as a distraction for his playing career, as he would be checking the results of horse races in the dressing room.

He would also be pursued by people he owed money, who turned up at his club’s training ground, and he used loan sharks before being helped on to the road to recovery by manager Tony Pulis.

 

Keith Gillespie

Former Newcastle United star Keith Gillespie had a gambling problem that grew to be so serious that it led to him being declared bankrupt.

Gillespie claims to have lost as much as £7 million on gambling during his career, losing as much as £100,000 a day at the height of his addition.

“You’re always chasing the next winner.” said Gillespie. “I would have bets on every race going.”

The former Northern Ireland international even wrote an autobiography – titled How Not To Be A Football Millionaire – that went into detail about how gambling contributed to his financial woes.

Paul Merson

One of the footballers best known for having a gambling problem was Paul Merson, who was one of the best players in English football at the top of his career.

 

Now a pundit for Sky Sports, Merson’s addictions to drugs, drink and betting ruined his life, with the former Arsenal and Aston Villa star estimating he lost around £7 million due to gambling.

At one point Merson’s problem was so great he lost his house and was forced to move back in with his parents, while he even tried to break his own fingers so he could not call his bookie.

Like many ex-pros, Merson had support from the Sporting Chance clinic, established by his former Arsenal colleague Tony Adams.

“I’ve stayed away from drink and drugs but gambling has beat me, spanked me all over the place,” Merson once said. “Every day it would go through my head about committing suicide.”

Similar to Gillespie, Merson opened up about his problems in an autobiography, How Not To Be A Professional Footballer, and fortunately he has since been able to turn his life around.

World’s Top 4 Richest Football Clubs

Football, the king of the sports, has witnessed quite a fortune during its long reign. Staggering amounts of money are passed between clubs and players alike, as transfers are a common phenomenon in this sport. Along with other income from the live matches, the TV broadcasts and the ad campaigns, these clubs hold a world’s treasures in their footballers’ leg techniques.

Still, there are distinctions among teams as total revenues are counted at the end of each season. The Deloitte Football Money League has published their annual ranking according to the three primary income criteria mentioned above. Results may be surprising for sports fans, but they are definitely shocking for normal, middle class people.

#4 – Bayern Munich (€592.0m)

Going one place upwards, the German team from Munich made it to the fourth place on the Deloitte charts. This is mainly due to their 25% rise in annual income as opposed to last year.

Due to recognitions about their professionalism in Germany, this team has managed to win yet another Bundesliga title and DFB-Pokal Final. They even reached the semi-finals in the Champions League, facing some of today’s best football players.

#3 – Real Madrid (€620.1m)

After an 11-year streak of holding the top position on the aforementioned Deloitte ranking, this team fell to third position. They were ultimately toppled by their well-known rivals, but a tenth fraction of a million Euros kept them from keeping a strong second position.

In any case, the 11-year streak is still on when speaking about the European Cup. In all regards, a positive season for ‘Los Blancos’ still got them a positive revenue gain of 7%, enabling them to finally break through the €600m limit which remained unreachable up until now.

#2 – Barcelona (€620.2m)

Holding the firm second position on the Deloitte Football Money League, the Spanish team has kept its nation proud. Along with some of the world’s most loved football players, they maintain an impeccable public image.

What kept them in second place was their 11% revenue growth, in part due to their frequent advertisement appearances and improved attendance to their games. However, the main reason for such progress had been noted due to Bruce Springsteen’s two concerts held at their stadium Nou Camp. As part of ‘The River Tour’, the singer brought the club a staggering €8m in just two nights.

#1 – Manchester United (€689m)

With a strong return to the Champions League, the football team Manchester United finally climbed the top position on the list of wealthiest football clubs. Being used to the spotlight, they barely handled the 11-year long dominance of their Spanish rivals Real Madrid.

In any case, a strong ad campaign benefited The Red Devils just like any other football club, especially their deal with the brand Adidas.

After this preview, all we can do is use our instant sports money from the many betting bonuses and try to topple their record. Careful analyses and a little luck might get you a long way, who knows.

How to Bet on Horse Racing

How to Bet on Horse Racing

Right at this moment, as you are reading, thousands of people around the country will be lining up in betting sops, logged into online bookmakers and attending racecourses to place wagers using their hard earned cash on Horse Races. At first all the technical terms can be a little off putting and knowing where to start can be a little intimidating but there are plenty of options out there. Don’t be put off by people who seem to be talking the big talk….essentially if you have money and a race to watch. You can place a bet.

Betting On Line
Betting on line has changed the entire market and if you simply google “online bookmakers” you will see a rather lengthy and some what intimidating list. Whether it be companies that have an online presence online or those with retail outlets, you will be spoiled for choice. If you are betting for the first time on horses then take a look at who has the best offers as many online bookmakers will offer free bets and incentives to get you signed up. You are actually far better off placing your first series of bets with a variety of bookmakers to ensure you can take advantage of all the deals. Certain sites also offer live coverage of the races you can watch and many have much more extensive information so shop around make sure it’s a site you can trust and get gambling!

Many also have great apps these days so make sure you make the right one to suit your needs

Betting in shops

I would also suggest this as a good avenue into the world of betting. Go to any local street and chances are you have a range of options….the variety in prices and odds is very slim but what you actually want, if you are new to the betting world, is a store that is going to actually help you and guide you through the process and staff on hand tend to be very knowledgeable. It can be off putting having a room full of people hurrying to place bets, playing on betting machines and such like but taking it slow and easy, using the help on offer can ease you into the world of betting.

Betting on course
It is probably going to take some building up for you to be up to this level. What you have to bear in mind is that for your first few forays into the gambling world, the race course is perhaps not the best place to do so. Not only are entry fees high but there is also minimum bets, a general hustle and bustle about the place and it may put you off for life!

The best place to start, if you have some basic understanding is certainly online, and get those offers taken advantage of. If you need help get into the stores but at the end of the day, when it comes to betting on horse racing, the sooner you get confident in doing it, the more profit you are able to make.

The Importance of Treating Children’s Sports Injuries Correctly

Cuts and bruises, scrapes and grazes… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Children inevitably experience injuries at various points, even more so if they’re sporty. So, whether you’re a parent who doesn’t know what to do about your child’s swollen ankle, or a teacher who knows where to buy sports equipment from (here, for instance), but hasn’t a clue about treating injuries on the pitch, here’s what you need to know…

Children’s bodies are particularly susceptible to injuries

Due to the fact that children’s bodies are still growing, they’re more likely to incur serious injuries than adults.

This is due to the fact that children have something called ‘growth plates’ in their bodies. These growth plates are areas of developing tissues at the end of long bones, and they’re only found in children and teenagers. These growth plates are eventually replaced with solid bone once a child has reached adulthood, but the ‘flexible’ nature of their skeletons in the mean time can result in sports injuries that are particularly serious.

If the long bones of your child’s hands, fingers, forearms, upper legs, lower legs or foot bones appear to be injured, be sure to have your child examined by a medical professional. These are the areas where you’ll find growth plates in children, and are therefore very important to treat correctly.

Also, children’s bodies become less ‘flexible’ when they’re having growth spurts. When bones grow, the muscles become tighter. The muscles respond by stretching constantly, and as a result, injuries to muscle groups can be more likely to occur. Take complaints of muscle pain seriously too, and make sure that children do the stretches recommended by their physiotherapist if an injury does indeed turn out to be more serious. 

It’s better to be safe than sorry

For the reasons above, it’s important to take children’s sports injuries seriously. Bangs to the head (especially if a child seems confused, dizzy, nauseous or sleepy) should always be checked out by medical professionals, immediately. Head straight to your local A&E if your child is in severe pain, or something is obviously broken. If your child seems to be OK but is later complaining of pain, consider booking an appointment with your family’s GP.

If an injury doesn’t look too severe, use PRICE therapy.

Sprains and strains aren’t usually very serious, so they can be treated at home using PRICE therapy.

Protection: make sure your child stops playing sport for the time being, taking weight off the injured area.

Rest: your child needs to temporarily stop exercising, and should skip some normal daily activities. For instance, a sprained wrist is the perfect reason to be excused from emptying the dishwasher!

Ice: apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas to the affected area for twenty minutes at a time, once every three hours. Do not hold ice over the area constantly, and ensure that ice packs and frozen peas are contained within a clean bag or a clean plastic covering so that your child doesn’t receive an ice burn.

Compression: use elastic compression bandages to reduce swelling. However, it’s only advisable to do this once your child has been examined by a medical professional – compressing an area that needs to swell a little can do more harm than good, as the excess liquid causing the swelling in an injured area is there to protect your child’s body.

Elevation: keep the injured part of the body elevated up in the air or on a cushion or pillow when possible. The aim is to keep the injured area above the heart whenever possible. As a bonus, this will hopefully help to reduce swelling too.

Hopefully, your child will have recovered within a few days. If their injury seems to be causing them pain for longer than this, take them to your GP as they may need referring to a specialist for assessment and treatment.

However, once your child is better, it’s important that you encourage them back into sport. Exercise will help to reduce their chance of obesity, and will help to ensure their body is generally functioning as well as it can be. Just make sure that you’re not pushing them too hard, and that your child knows the preventative measures they can take to avoid being side-lined with an injury in future. If your child seems to be going through a growth spurt, consider talking to their coaches and sports teachers to see what they recommend.

Dribble Down Economics

 

If you were to calculate the amount of money floating around in the Premier League in this day and age, the sum would be a scary one. From lucrative TV deals, sponsorship, ticket prices and merchandise sales, there is more money in the game than ever before and this shows no sign of slowing down.  Most of this money is finding its way into ever more increasing player wages and fans have become numb to being surprised at the amount of wages being offered to star players.

Let us just start with one scary figure….the total wage bill for the Premier League in the 2014-2015 season was just a shade over £1,600,000,000. That is 1.6 billion pounds….enough to buy 17 million shares in Apple, buy three football stadiums and still have change or give 22p to every person in the world. Players earn more in a week than many fans will earn in ten years of work and the scale of millionaires the game is making is beyond comprehension. If fans were to take a closer look at the picture and see just how much that reserve goalkeeper is earning for sitting on the bench, or that striker who plays 5 times a season, it is truly beyond believe. Clubs seemingly have money to waste and whilst that is all well and good, when fans are paying through the roof for TV subscriptions, ticket prices and merchandise, it just doesn’t seem fair.

Let us take a look more closely at what this money can bring. Manchester City are notorious as big spenders and have several players, including the likes of Ivorian Midfielder Yaya Toure and striker Sergio Aguero, who earn upwards of £12 million a year. In fact, their wage bill that season was £168 million which netted them second place and a spot in the Champions League. A cost of almost £2.1 million per pound earned! Did these see the club make a profit? Of Course  not….

But does money buy success. The highest wage bill in the league was £198 million and guess who that went to? Chelsea of course who took the title in that 2014-2015 season. In fact, the top 3 teams in the league were the top spenders and extending that the top 6 were all the highest spenders on wages. Barring Tottenham who finished ahead of Liverpool, despite Liverpool’s wage bill being £60 million higher, it just goes to show the teams paying the bigger money are reaping the rewards.

Does the same rule apply to those who struggle? The lowest wage bill in the 2014-2015 Premier League was Burnley, and sure enough….they were relegated in 19th. The £50 million spent by Hull City was the third lowest total in the league and sure enough they went down too. QPR splashed out £60 million and were relegated.  Leicester, Newcastle and Crystal Palace all surived despite spending less than QPR on wages. But the differences, in relative terms, are small and the league table doesn’t lie.

The clubs who pay bigger, finish higher and until a cap is introduced or some sort of Fair Play initiative that is more effective than we have now,  this will always tend to be the case.

If you love this sort of way of looking at football then check out Dribble Down Economics  

 

 

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.

Turning football into your second income

goal-app

goal-app

Image: bucurestifm.ro

There’s lots of advice about how to turn a hobby into a second income but what about us football fans who spend too much of our free time consumed by events surrounding our clubs?

It had never occurred to me, until reading about making money on Matched Bets, that I could actually indulge in my favourite pastimes and earn enough to fund the cost of my hobbies and more.

Earn a second income from matched betting

Like most supporters, I love following my team and enjoy a harmless flutter on the weekend fixtures and live televised games.

Now that I understand matched betting and have access to the special tools, I’m making enough profit every month to pay for my season ticket, away days and recover the losses on accumulators and my woeful live match predictions.

Putting some thought to it, there are other things football nuts can do to top up their income while indulging in this lifetime passion. Who is better placed to review and talk about matches, players or the running of the club than we fans who follow every word printed, tweeted or posted on Facebook?

Make money writing about your hobby

There is money to be made writing articles for websites and blogs, and informed content from experts in the field is much sought after.

You could create your own fanzine but that could be a risky venture as it requires start-up capital and running costs. With most people devouring content on the web and social media these days, you might be better served starting your own blog or forum. These can be monetised by a variety of advertising methods and don’t require such a big initial outlay.

Make money from your hobby on social networks

Popular twitter handles and Facebook pages can also make money. If you have the social network skills to make friends and gain lots of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or other large social platforms you may be sitting on gold.

Do you ever rant and rave about events after the match? Capture your passion on video and set up a YouTube channel. Successful Vloggers are coining it in from ads, sponsorship and re-selling merchandise to their subscribers, so why not you?

Create and sell handmade items on eBay and Etsy

I’ve seen some imaginative use of football paraphernalia, from beautifully framed items like old programs and photos of past glories to t-shirts with screen prints of slogans and imagery closely associated to the club. This type of thing proves popular on online auction sites like eBay and along with other club collectables, can fetch enough to make the effort worthwhile.

Club shops sell some fairly generic badged merchandise like mugs, coasters, mouse mats, key fobs, wallets and wall art. You’d have to be careful not to breach copyright, but those with a talent for handmade crafts, and can do better, will find a ready made market place on Etsy where people buy and sell all manner of unique handmade items.

Sell your photos of your match day experience

Photographers who enjoy chronicling the match day experience through their lens’ can submit photos for resale to sites such as iStock photo, Stockxpert, Fotolia, Dreamstime and even Getty images via their Call For Artists Group on Flickr.

While it may not offer a breakthrough into full-time professional photography, you can pick up royalties based on the number of times your images are downloaded.

If you ever feel like following your club is too big a drain on your time and bank balance, and most of us do at some point, turn your talent to making money from your favourite pastime and it will make the inevitable disappointments much easier to swallow.

 

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.

 

 

Euro 2016 Trivia Nuggets

UEFA_Euro_2016_Logo.svg

As domestic season edge towards their closure around the continent, attention has begun to focus on the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament in France. For the first time ever, 24 teams will compete in a newly expanded tournament with 5 teams making their debuts and each and every country having realistic ambitions to progress from the first stage. We are in for a feast of football this summer and Euro 2016 will throw up the usual array of surprises, drama and moments of disbelief.  I always felt the European Football Championships went over too quickly, but with the addition of the new teams we are in for more football, more goals and more memorable moments than in any previous Euro tournament.

To get your appetite wet for the big occasions here are some interesting facts and trivia about the history of the European Football Championships Quiz

  • The tournament has gradually grown over the years and more nations than ever have had the chance to compete in the final stages. The 1996 tournament in England marked the first occasions in which 16 teams competed in the event. 22 years later this has been expanded to 24 teams making Euro 2016 the biggest international tournament of all time outside of the World Cup. Albania, Iceland, Slovakia, Northern Ireland and Wales will all as a result make their debut at the event!
  • France will be hosting the tournament for a record 3rd They held the first event in 1960 and then again in 1984. France won the tournament in 1984 which was the last occasion in which a host has actually won the tournament on home soil. The only other nation to achieve this was Italy in 1968. After winning the World Cup on home soil in 1998, can France repeat that fate 18 years later and be crowned Euro 2016 winners? Only time will tell.
  • Two teams are on the brink of history if they were to go all the way and lift the Euro 2016 trophy in July. Spain would not only become the first team to win the event for a fourth time should they pick up the trophy, but they would also be the first team to win a consecutive hat trick of titles. Germany have also the opportunity to win an unprecedented fourth title  and the reigning World Champions must be considered red hot favourites for Euro 2016!
  • Let’s look at some numbers……53 teams attempted to qualify for Euro 2016 with 24 reaching the finals. Over the course of the tournament 51 games will be played. 10 stadiums in 10 cities will host matches with over 1.3 million tickets already sold.
  • The mascot of Euro 2016 is Super Victory, a child superhero wearing a full French kit. He was debuted in 2014 before a friendly against Sweden and his name was selected in a public poll narrowly defeating Driblou.
  • David Guetta has produced the official song for Euro 2016, yet to be unveiled.
  • Gibraltar is the smallest ever nation in terms of population to attempt to qualify for the European Championships. Although unsuccessful in their bid to qualify the nation seeks to return for the 60th anniversary of the tournament in 2020.
  • Germany are the outright most successful team in the history of the European Championships appearing as winners or runners up a record 6 times. Both Czech Republic and Yugoslavia have the unwanted record of appearing in two finals without success and both Denmark and Greece have won the only finals they have appeared in.
  • Only one nation has appeared in every single tournament since 1972 and that is Germany. They have made a record 12 appearances if you count Euro 2016.
  • Spain waited a record 44 years between their titles in 1964 and 2008. Spain are also one of 4 teams
  • Goal line technology will be used for the first ever time at a European Football Championships. Euro 2016 will see its fair share of controversies but hopefully the new technology will result in fairer decision all round.
  • There are plenty of tasty derbies in the first rounds of this year’s contest with the likes of England/Wales, Austria/Hungary and Germany/Poland taking each other one. What other fixtures will Euro 2016 throw up? With the 3rd place in certain groups assured of qualification it’s a case of any rival nation facing the prospect of an encounter at some point!
  • If Grant Xhaka of Switzerland and his big brother Taulant Xhaka line up against each other on June 11 when the Swiss take on Albania, Euro 2016 will enter the history books as the first tournament in which brothers have competed against each other on opposing sides.
  • Some of the most capped players in European football history will line up against each on the big stage at Euro 2016. Iker Casillas with 166 caps for Spain recently became the most capped player of all time in Europe with Gig Buffon not far behind on 156 and the prolific Robbie Keane on 143. It will also mark the swan songs of many players at a major international tournament including Zlatan Ibrahimović.

I hope you enjoyed these Euro 2016 trivia nuggets, some more interesting than others I readily admit, but come June all will be forgotten when the eyes of the continent turn to France and to see history in the making. Who will break records at Euro 2016? Will new records be set? Will a nation win their first time or will the first 4-time champion emerge? We are in for a great summer of football that much is sure.

In the build up why not try our free Euros Quiz

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.

 

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

 

Intelligent Footballers

I’ve been thinking about which players, past of present, would be top of the league in Footie Quiz? Much has been said about players such as Bobby Moore, Xavi and Andrea Pirlo being intelligent footballers, but what about intelligence off the field? Gazza had a great football brain but seemed to lack common sense and self-control off it; David Beckham is often looked upon as stupid but has managed to amass a fortune the rest of us can only dream about. What about players past and present? How do they fare in the intelligence stakes?

Current Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet may take some stopping (especially among keepers who are usually regarded as mad) as he has a Degree in Law and Political Science, and can speak four languages – English, French, Dutch and German. I think that with his experience in playing in Belgium and his national team he would probably have the Belgian Pro-League as his specialist subject-

One player that I always thought had an on the pitch football intelligence about him was Dennis Bergkamp. And Bergkamp got himself a degree in medical engineering at the University of Bath during his time at Arsenal. Known for his fear of flying, I don’t think that Dennis would like to go overseas to find the answers to his questions so I think that he would prefer to answer questions on his home town club Ajax.

When I started to look into intelligent footballers I kept coming across the name of Frank Lampard. I dismissed this as the media misunderstanding the fact that he has written loads of (children’s) books with a level of intelligence. So I looked a little further and in fact he has an IQ of 150, which puts him in the top 0.5% of the world population and marked by MENSA as the level of genius. To give you some idea of what an IQ of 150 means, Albert Einstein had an IQ of 160! Being a player that has played in 20 of the 23 completed Premier League seasons I think that his specialist subject could only be the Premier League.

I’ve seen two footballers in particular get involved with the higher-brow television quiz shows and they are Clarke Carlisle and Matt Le Tissier, and both were contestants on Channel 4’s Countdown. Carlisle made it to a third episode before being defeated and as a bit of a journeyman pro, I’d expect him to be able to answer questions on the Football League.

While Le Tissier netted another hat-trick with three wins on the show and made his name in his playing career as a one club man. That club was Southampton and I can’t see anywhere past his beloved Saints as the subject where he would score the most points.

Having an intelligence on the football pitch doesn’t always follow that the player has intelligence in real life, but these footballers have shown that they are skilled in more than just football. If I was looking at the best odds of which players would come up in my Mastermind ‘intelligent footballers’ specialist subject my money would be on Frank Lampard.

 

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.

Kevin De Bruyne – the £56 million pound Belgian

Man City QuizWith Man City about to secure the signing of Kevin De Bruyne (KDB) for an astonishing £56 million we take a look at the meteoric rise of a player that cost Chelsea a mere £7m from Genk only three years ago. 

Scooped up by the Chelsea talent trawler in 2012 KDB made his debut against MLS outfit the Seattle Sounders in a 4-2 win under Andre villas Boas (remember him?) however he was immediately farmed out on loan to Bundesliga outfit of the Werder Bremen. A productive season in the Bundesliga saw KDB’s stock rise and lead him to win the Young Player of the Year in 2013. 

After the season long loan spell KDB returned to Chelsea this time under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho. Despite being given assurances that he was part of Jose’s plans it was quite clear that Mourinho did not fancy him as a player. Soon the ‘Special One’ grew tired of KDB’s constant ‘whinging’ (as Jose put it recently) about his lack of game time. So off to Wolfsburg he went. 

A fee of £18 million saw Chelsea turn a neat profit of £11m on a player who had only managed to play a total of 3 games for the club. On the face of it Chelsea looked to have done a good bit of business. However, KDB like Daniel Sturridge before him has gone on to prove that their really is life after Stamford Bridge. 

Another stellar season in Germany saw his stock rise further as Wolfsburg qualified for the Champions League in the 2013/14 season. A smart move indeed by the German team.

2014/15 was an even better season for the young Belgian as again Wolfsburg qualified for Europe’s premier competition and KDB won the Bundesliga Player of the Year. A quite considerable feat when playing for an unfashionable club in a league with high calibre players such as Robben, Ribery, Muller et al. 

Flush with their oil money and less restricted by FFP, Man City in desperate need to strengthen their team further identified Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and KDB as the attacking talent to take them to the next level domestically but more specifically in Europe. At a potential total cost of over £100m that is some bet! 

So what will Man City be getting for £56m. In truth I don’t know and only keen observers of the Bundesliga could really tell us. In 80 games in Germany (while on loan at Bremen and the latterly with Wolfsburg) KDB scored 23 goals in 80 games while playing as an attacking midfielder. Not a bad ratio given the standard of the league. 

Wolfsburg have played their hand well and are now £28m better off as a result of their astute to decision to take the Belgian off Chelsea’s hands. Chelsea are looking less smart than when then originally sold KDB. Their rivals are stronger and they will now have an opposing player itching to prove the special one wrong. What are the odds now on City pipping Chelsea to the title? You don’t have to be the best book maker in the world to realise that they have tilted in City’s favour.

At least they can be comforted by the sell on clause in the Wolfsburg deal. Oh wait a minute they forgot to include one! 

Try our Football Stadium Quiz

Football Stadium Quiz

Think you know Anfield from the Old Trafford and love a good football quiz? Then why not try our first ever football stadium quiz. If you love it leave a comment and we may well add it as a new weekly feature.

[qzzr quiz=”82787″ width=”100%” height=”auto” redirect=”true” offset=”0″]

Love quizzes about football? Then visit our click on our logo site and get quizzing!

Footie Quiz
Football Quiz

 

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.

The Football Quiz Cup

Football Quiz Cup is the only Twitter Football Quiz where you can represent your club and country.

It’s not every day you get to score for your club and country but FQC gives you that opportunity. Whenever you see a question, answer it quickly – if you are quick enough you’ll score!

We currently have representation from 83 countries but we are looking for more. As for players from club teams, the amount is well over 100 and growing all the time.
Come and join us and take your club and country to League and Cup glory!

If you are named as a “Player of the Month”, you will win a prize from one of our great sponsors!

Check us out on twitter: https://twitter.com/footballquizcup

Football Quiz Cup

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.

Footie Quiz Club Profile: Real Madrid

Real Madrid Badge

Real Madrid Badge

Glory Years

Home of the “Galacticos” Real Madrid are one of the richest and most popular club sides in the world and have been a dominant force in European football for the last fifty years. Based in the famous Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid are ranked as the most valuable sports club in the world. This is based on years of success on the pitch, countless silverware and a wide range of superstar players donning the famous white shirts. Success domestically includes being one of only three teams never to have been relegated from the top flight of Spanish football and have won an astounding 79 domestic titles. The club began its rise to dominance in the 1950s winning the La Liga on 4 occasions with a team comprising of footballing greats such as Di Stefano and Ferenc  Puskas led Los Blancos to 4 league titles and 5 successive European Cups.

This success continued through the 1960s when Madrid won a staggering 8 La Liga titles and a sixth European Cup, and into the 1970s, when they claimed 5 more La Liga titles.

A brief dry spell at the start of the 1980s ended in 1986 when Madrid claimed the first of five back to back championships, but despite sustained domestic success the European Cup continued to elude Madrid until 1998 under Jupp Heynckes. An eighth and ninth Champions League title followed in 2000 and 2002, as a team containing superstars such as Raul and Roberto Carlos proved irrepressible domestically and in Europe

Since their first league win in 1932, Real Madrid have won a staggering 32 League Titles and consistently find themselves in the Top 3. Coupled with 19 Copa del Rey titles Real Madrid have been a domestic force in every season in which they have played.

Without question Real Madrid are the most successful club in European competitions. Each season Madrid continue to spend big to maintain their success and with the likes of Cristinao Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale arriving in recent seasons to add strength to the team, their success looks set to continue.

Players on Footie Quiz

Zinedine Zidane

Raul

David Beckham

Michael Owen

Nicolas Anelka

Ruud van Nistlerooy

Cristiano Ronaldo

Footie Quiz Stats

At the time of writing there are currently 163 fans registered on the site making them the most popular non UK based supported club amongst our members.

There are currently 57 questions about the Los Blancos in our data bank.

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.

 

 

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.