Premier league – 2018/19

Premier league 2018 19

As we near the Christmas period the premier league has continued to provide some stunning entertainment for fans. The Genting sports app makes the defending champions Manchester City the short odds on favourites to do it again. This is no surprise as they ominously look to have improved even further this season. This was again shown as they put on a clinic in the Manchester derby most recently, dominating United to win comfortably by 3-1.

There nearest challengers in both the league and betting are Liverpool, who have been on an upward curve in recent seasons. This was shown in their run to last seasons champions league final before being defeated by Real Madrid. They have one of the most dangerous attacking lines in world football, which was why they were being muted pre season as the big threat to City.

12 games in and Manchester City already have amassed 32 points with ten wins and two draws. This is also backed with an incredible goal difference of plus 31, having scored 36 goals and conceded just five. Liverpool are also unbeaten with 30 points, having won nine games and drew three. They have also conceded just five premier league goals so far but scored 23 putting them on plus 18-goal difference. Both sides are on a remarkable run of form as they continue to dual at the top of the table.

Is it just a two-team race? Chelsea are the only other side yet to taste defeat in the premier league. They currently sit in third and just four points off the top, with a point’s total of 28. This is due to them having won eight of their twelve games. They were held most recently to a 0-0 draw with Everton, who themselves continue to go from strength to strength. Chelsea have transformed their style of play and are a very difficult team to break down, which is why they have conceded so little goals. There passing football under the new manager has enabled them to challenge for the league again so could they surprise the top two?

The other sides in the reckoning are London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal.  Spurs are going through a difficult period with the wait for the new stadium, which now seems it could go on until next season. Arsenal have transformed under Emery following their opening defeats to the league. They are now on an unbeaten run of 16 matches without defeat in all competitions. This all sets up for a fascinating season ahead in not only the title but for the coveted champions league spots.

Man United V Liverpool Post Match Analysis

Liverpool v Man Utd

The rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United takes on an especially more reverent tone when the two teams are within close proximity in the league. With the league title out of reach, and both teams looking secure in the top four, the match up on Saturday was perhaps the biggest domestic game the teams had left.

Prior to the game, the focus had been on the tactics of Jose Mourinho…what approach would he take? Would he park that ever popular bus? He surprised everyone from the off by giving Marcus Rashford his first start of 2018 and boy, did that pay off!

Manchester United see Liverpool as their main rivals, and the Old Trafford faithful seem to have really played this up the further Manchester City become out of reach, and hence Old Trafford was louder than it has been for some time. It can be quite demotivating to a fan base, used to winning, to be so far behind their city rivals in second,  but to beat Liverpool is a must for any Manchester United Manager.

United looked strong throughout and Liverpool rarely threatened, evidenced by the fact that it took a rather comical own goal from Eric Bailly to give them hope. Mo Salah, prolifically free scoring all season, was marked out of the game and Mane, Firmino and Milner failed to get control. Liverpool looked out of ideas and the fast, free flowing fizzing football they have been playing under Klopp was attempted, but had no chance of breaking down a resilient United.

The pressure applied to the known weakness of Dejan Lovren paid off and the ever imposing threat of Roman Lukaku bullying the back for was just too much. The goals United scored showed a tactical awareness of these defensive weakness and both goals emerged from long balls aimed at the weak centre backs, of which Rashford was able to take control.

With England manager Gareth Southgate watching on, his eyes must surely have lit up seeing the electric form of Rashford, causing problems for the defensive, clinical finishing and an eye for goal.  If this form continues, surely he has to be in the world cup plans as a starter? You can check out his odd with Mobilebet Voucher Code 2018 An on for Rashford may also be the key to United sticking with 2nd place.

But will 2nd place be satisfying to United fans? Even the most hardened pro-United anti-City resident of Old Trafford must admit that they are by far the second best team in the league this season, and that coming 2nd is an achievement. With 6 teams now competing for the top 4 spaces, United remain ahead of everyone who-is-not-Man-City. The worry will be how they can move on an breach that gap? Seville come to Old Trafford in the Champions League this week in what will be another test for this emerging team. Could a run to the final of the Champions League be the spur to set United up for a title challenge next season? Only time will tell…

 

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

List of Premier League Main Sponsors

The Premier League is one of the best things that ever happened in the realm of football. Apart from World Cup, this is the other football league competition that attracts every football fan out there. It does not matter which team you support, the Premier League is relevant to every person who enjoys watching football.

Every year, it runs from the months of August after the FA Community Shield to May. However, unknown to many is that the world’s most popular football league competition normally works closely with a select group of partners as well as licensees to bring to us the event. Below are some main Premier League sponsors;

  1. EA Sports 

 

EA Sports is a household name when it comes to video games. In fact, it is one of the leading video games companies globally. The entity together with the Premier League has had a long term partnership since 2010. Last year it announced that it had expanded the partnership deal with the Premier League, becoming its biggest partner through to 2019.

  1. Barclays Bank

Barclays is one of the biggest banks in the world with presence in nearly every country. It is one of the main sponsors of this football league contest, which is currently in its second month. Over the last one and a half decades, the bank has enjoyed a great partnership with the Premier League as their financial services provider and title sponsor. It remains the banking partner of the League until the end of the next season. Whether or not Barclays will renew its commitment to support the League after 2019, it is something we are looking forward to finding out soon enough.

  1. Cadbury

Cadbury along with the Premier League have come together to begin an incredible partnership, starting from the beginning of this season. This move brings together two major global brands that have tremendous popularity across the globe.

For Cadbury, which is one of the world’s favourite chocolate brands, this adds to the brand’s history of important partnerships, and offers another opportunity for it to bring moments of excitement to millions of Premier League fans. The entity is expected to execute this exciting partnership with Premier League in many different ways that will entertain both players and fans

  1. Nike

 

When it comes to the Premier League, one of the key partners that come into mind is Nike. This American brand has been the official match ball provider to the Premier League for more than a decade and a half. This year it will be the 16th time for which the sports items and sportswear company has provided match balls for the League.

Conclusion

Although we have only listed four, there are many other key sponsors to the Premier League this season and the subsequent ones. From Carling and TAG Heuer, through to SportingiD and so on, the list of brands that sponsor this top football league event today is endless. Do not forget to visit the Euro Palace Casino for exciting Premier League betting.

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.

EPL Spending Power in the Transfer Window – Summer 2017

Transfer Window

As summer begins to hit, the cheque books start to come out as the clubs in the EPL begin to splash the cash on players from around the club. Whether they have ambitions of league titles, champions league success or indeed merely staying in the division, the budgets that some of the EPL clubs will be toying with this transfer window are larger than ever. But what can we expect from the money flowing in the league? Who will be the big movers and shakers? And what are the odds that the world transfer record may be surpassed – maybe more than once? So who has the capital to back up their desires and dominate this transfer window.

Eyes must begin in the City of Manchester where the two rival clubs will be amongst the biggest spenders. The spending power of Manchester City seems to be unrivalled but there is every chance Manchester United will smash their own transfer record with the addition of a much needed striker, now that a certain Swede is no longer leading the line. Manchester City’s owners have made to clear to Pep Guardiola that he should set his sights no lower than a unprecedented quadruple haul of trophies and this will mean the cash will have to come out. It is unlikely any other club will match the spending power at City. Over at Manchester United “The Special One” has had time to build and after qualifying for the Champions League, the temptation to join the legendary red devils may be too much. Griezman, Bale…..all rumoured and I would imagine a £100 million player into Old Trafford is not unlikely.

What about the Champions? They certainly have money to spend but in the past that hasn’t always helped them. Last year Chelsea were such a force as they had no European football to occupy their midweek time, but this year they will be back in the Champions League and will need to add a range of players for back up. I don’t expect anything major but a few £20 million plus players should arrive. Liverpool have been throwing ridiculous prices around for the likes of Virgil Van Dyke and Jurgen Klopp clearly has big deals in mind. Anfield has struggled in the past few seasons to be the attractive place it once was but with the Champions League money, the lure of playing for a club with an impressive a history as any and the chance to work with Klopp, I imagine Liverpool will take up this chance with big spending power to match.

The team that will be very interesting in terms of spending power is Arsenal. The lack of Champions League may prove problematic in attracting the very best, but with money in the bank there could still be big moves to the Emirates. Wenger will know he has to buy to keep up and get back in the top 4 and they should still have the spending power to back it up!

Outside of the major clubs in the league, it will be interesting to see how the new boys cope. St James Park should see big money deals taking place as the boss has made it clear the team don’t have enough to secure a decent finish. Even when you look at clubs like Bournemouth, throwing £120,000 a week at Jermain Defoe to sign shows how much money is kicking around at all clubs. At the end of the day, the spending power of the clubs in the EPL has never been greater and although some will show caution, I expect the newspapers will be full of tales of big money buys and records will be broken. Which in turn, should lead to even more excitement for fans!

Who Will Win the Premier League?

The race is on with only two months left in the 2016/17 Premier League regular season and matches are of all importance at this late stage in the year. The Blues seem to be in control of the table at the moment, ten points above second place Tottenham, but there is a real battle going on between the Spurs, City, the Gunners, the Reds and United, which will unfold as these last few weeks are played.

Chelsea

are in strong form and hold on to first place in the league with 63 points, as we head into Matchday 27, but they have a real test coming on April 5 against Man. City, on April 16 against United and on the 30th of April at Everton. Chelsea have a chance to complete a double, if they can hold on to win the league and continue their excellent form in the FA Cup. They face United on March 13 in the FA Cup quarterfinal, which should give a good picture as to their league matchup a month later. Chelsea are favored to win the league this year as mentioned here.

Tottenham

The Hot Spur are in good form, except for a loss to Liverpool at Anfield on February 11. They are also in a position that they could technically take over first place from Chelsea if they stick to winning. Tottenham have also made it to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and face Millwall on March 12, but they will most-likely get passed Millwall with little difficulty, which will take them to the semifinals.

Man. City/Arsenal

Rounding out the current top four are City and Arsenal. With just two points separating them, City with 52 and the Gunners with 50, this battle could be the most interesting to watch. Both teams have a tough last couple of months to deal with the Champions League still on their minds, and one has to think what that will do for their league chances, as the teams get tired.

The race is definitely on, and from what it looks like, Chelsea is the best bet to win the title.

The Premiership Returns

Football Quiz App

The Premiership returns this weekend after a fortnight break and the battle to avoid relegation can therefore rage on. With Chelsea running away with the title, it is the relegation scrap that is currently providing the most intrigue, with several teams at the bottom improving drastically in recent games, so here we have run through the leading contenders for the drop:

Sunderland

A Ladbrokes review of the odds shows that Sunderland are the heavy favourites to go down at 1/5. They are bottom of the table but it is very tight indeed: Sunderland are level on points with 19th placed Crystal Palace (but with a worse goal difference), a point behind 18th placed Hull, and just two points behind last season’s champions Leicester City, who are hovering one place above the drop zone. Middlesbrough, Swansea and Bournemouth are all looking precarious too. But what makes Sunderland favourites to go down is their recent capitulation against Southampton, where they lost 4-0 at home. 

Crystal Palace

Palace are 4/6 second favourites in the Ladbrokes review, and that looks a very good set of odds. This was not supposed to happen: when Sam Allardyce took over, everyone thought he would galvanise the struggling squad and they would finish mid-table. It has not happened and they are just as bad defensively but worse in attack than they were under Alan Pardew. Back-to-back defeats against Sunderland and Stoke have left them in trouble. On paper they look far too good to go down, blessed as they are with the talents of Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and Yohan Cabaye, but many teams that looked to good to go down have done just that and it’s not looking good for Palace right now.

Hull

Hull are 4/5 third favourites with Ladbrokes, but they look like they have a fighting chance of staying up. They have been resurgent since Marco Silva took over and, despite the small squad and lack of investment, they have the requisite pluckiness to make a good fist of it. At those odds it looks a risky bet as they are much improved since the turn of the year.

Middlesbrough

At 5/4 Boro look a great bet to go down. After a strong start they have been slowly but surely sucked into the relegation dogfight and the reason is a lack of goals. They miss having an out and out goal scorer, like Jermain Defoe at Sunderland and Benteke at Crystal Palace, and that could ultimately cost them. They defend very well and have ground out strong results against the likes of Man City and Arsenal this season, but at this stage of the campaign goals get you out of trouble and it is hard to see them finding the net many times between now and the end of the season.

Leicester City

Surely Leicester cannot go from winning the league last season to relegated this time around? They defied logic and odds of 5,000/1 to win the Premier League last season, but now they are just 13/8 with Ladbrokes to be relegated. The stars of last year have waned, the cohesion, unity and fighting spirit has evaporated and manager Claudio Ranieri has gone from genius to clueless in a matter of months, with some fans even calling for him to get sacked. Still, when you look at their team, they have plenty of goal scorers: Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and so on should be able to fire them clear of the drop zone, but they really need to start picking up points soon as they are in woeful form. 

Swansea

Swansea have already changed managers twice this season but seem to have finally clicked under Paul Clement and have shot up to the giddy heights of 15th after winning three of their last four. Keep it up and they will be fine, but odds of 10/3 still look interesting on them.

Bournemouth

At 7/1 the Cherries look a great outside bet to go down. They have not won in 2017 and have been defending horribly. They have a six-point cushion over Hull but the way they ship goals you would fancy them to get sucked deep into the battle.

 

Arsenal look to bounce back from Bayern Munich humiliation

Arsene Wenger out

Arsene Wenger’s team travel to the 5,000 capacity Borough Sports Ground to face Sutton United in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday evening.

Sutton United, the National League side, have already eliminated Wimbledon and Leeds United en route to their first ever fifth-round appearance and were awarded with a dream tie against The Gunners. They will be looking to become the first non-league team to reach the sixth round of the FA Cup in its current format.

Arsenal suffered humiliation in their crushing defeat to Bayern Munich during the mid-week Champions League fixture and the FA Cup remains their most realistic chance of silverware this season as the Premier League title looks like it’s out of reach – however you can check out the live odds for the Premier League title if you feel Arsenal will close the 10 point gap between them an Chelsea.

Arsene Wenger has come under intense pressure this week, however has stated that he will be managing next season. He said, “no matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it’s here or somewhere else. That’s absolutely for sure.”

When discussing the 5-1 defeat in Germany, he goes on to say “on a night like that, of course I hate defeat and I hate to lose games. I want to do extremely well for this club and I feel a big responsibility.”

“It is difficult to take, but I have the strength and experience to respond. It all went wrong for us after half-time. I think we looked quite defensively solid in the first half. We lost Laurent Koscielny in the second half and after that we lost our structure and our organisation. We were a bit naive for the goals we conceded. At 3-1 I felt we were mentally affected by the result and much more vulnerable.”

He goes on to say “everyone focuses on the next game, to take care of the consequences a disappointing result can have on everybody’s spirit and to make sure we bounce back and focus on the next game.”

“We have to deal with the media and our job is to and analyse with clarity what happened. We can’t influence the last result.”

“I always had in my head that it was a very important game. In my head I have had a team that will start and play there, for a week or 10 days now. That result we had at Bayern Munich will not influence that selection.”

“The FA Cup is one of our targets. It’s te next game and for us to bounce back after the game we just had, it becomes a very important game. But it always was, in my head.”

Arsenal, who could reach the sixth round for the fourth season in a row, must be wary of a potential cup upset. However, Sutton United manager Paul Doswell is remaining cautious. “There’s two ways of looking at it” says Doswell. You either get the likes of Ozil and Sanchez and Giroud – and you can just keep naming them – in which case we would lose the game comfortably but the lads would get the experience of having played a Premier League giant.”

“If you see Ozil and Sanchez on the team sheet our chance doesn’t come beyond nought. Or you go the other way and you play a team of under-23s that are still internationals mixed in with one or two of their squad players, and that gives us that one percent chance that we’d be after.”

The Premier League Run In – Who will come out on top?

EPL

Once the festive period is over and people begin to embrace the New Year, the eyes of the footballing world turn to the Premier League title race. All the pre-xmas jousting for position and gathering of posts turns into a serious battle as teams look to pull away and cement their position. With up to 6 teams in the running this year, let us have a look at who will come out on top in the Premier League Run in.

Liverpool

Already showing signs of cracking under pressure, the lack of big time experience in the Liverpool squad could come back to haunt them. The consistent problem of throwing away what should be easy wins as well as general lack of depth will come back to haunt Liverpool. It’s the big games they thrive in, but the bread and butter points they miss more often than is acceptable for title challengers. Looks like the Premier League title will allude them for another season.

Prediction: 6th

Manchester City

Oh dear Pep, things have not only went wrong…but dived off the cliff. The 4-0 defeat to Everton was not just a bad defeat, but a culmination and expression of everything wrong with the club. So much talent, such a big squad but on the pitch a lack of unity, a tactical nightmare and a squad who don’t seem as motivated as the rest will ensure the freefall continues. 5th will be very disappointing to City fans but with big games and a ton of potential banana skins against teams fighting at the bottom, something City are prone to, this is going to be a lone run in.

Prediction: 5th

Manchester United

Football is all about timing, timing on the pitch and timing in terms of form and if one team has hit form when it mattered that is Manchester United. Zlatan has proved a sensation, Pogba is getting better with every game and Jose seems to have a team he is finally happy with. Solid at the back, create up front and hungry for success, United will launch back into the Champions League spots at the expense of their rivals.

Prediction: 4th

Arsenal

The same pattern emerges for an Arsenal side you play attractive football, but fail to perform when the serious pressure is on. With an unsettled squad due to contract issues, a manager with an unsure future and already too many easy points lost, Arsenal fans will have to make do with a consistent 3rd yet again.

Prediction: 3rd

Chelsea

Title favourites throughout the season, Chelsea have started the season the strongest with an incredible unbeaten run that only came to an end at the hands of an in form Tottenham. But, just as Conte looked like he had the league in the bag that defeat, and upset star players such as Diego Costa, could lead to a stumbling point. It will take all of his coaching ability but if anyone can do it, Conte can.  With visits to Liverpool and Old Trafford on the cards there are some tough games ahead.

Prediction: 2nd

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs have started to come into form at the right time and have proven themselves to being capable of winning the key games. With Harry Kane and Delle Ali being two of the most inform players in the league at present, a real belief about the side and that hunger for the first Premier League title, as  well as less pressure than the likes of big money Man City and Chelsea,  we predict this will be the year that White Hart Lane receives its first Premier League Trophy

Prediction: 1st

Whatever happens it is sure to be an exciting end to the season with many head to head duels between the chief protagonists. If your struggling to figure out who to put your money on the check out footballbets.tips for expert analysis and predictions.

Life After Arsene Wenger: A Tough Act to Follow

Arsene Wenger out

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

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

Time Will Force a Change of the Guard

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

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

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

Trophies, Wins and a Whole Lot More

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

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

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

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

AUTHOR BIO

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

 

Early Contenders for Player of the Season

Player of Year

Player of the Season

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

Jordan Henderson

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

Diego Costa

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

Romelu Lukaku

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

Paul Pobga

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

Theo Walcott

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

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

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

 

 

Can Sunderland pull off the Great Escape again?

sunderland-afc

As a Sunderland fan, still fresh in my mind, is that glorious night at the Stadium of Light in April when victory over Everton confirmed Premier League status for another year (and lest not forget condemned arch rivals Newcastle to a place in the Championship). The mood amongst fans was the most positive I can remember, Big Sam Allardyce dancing around the pitch, a promise of new signings to build on the sturdy deals done in January and the realistic hope that at long last the days of last minute survival were behind the club.

Roll on the start of the 2016-2017 season and how things have changed. England crashing out at the Euro’s was doubley bad news for Sunderland fans as it resulted in the loss of the most popular manager the club has had since Peter Reid. The merry go round continued and David Moyes, with a point to prove, became the latest addition to the managerial ranks. Transfers failed to materialise and Moyes brought in questionable players for his United days. Suddenly, all those hopes had dashed.

When it comes to Sunderland the pattern has been the same for years…..struggle throughout the season – sack manager – survive. Its worked for Di Canio, Poyet, Advocaat….Allardyce left of his own accord but the trend is worrying. Surely, there comes a time when these last minute acts of great escape will run out! I remember as a young boy Southampton and Coventry always “just” survived and eventually they fell away. Is it the turn of the Black Cats?

A lot will rest of the fitness and form of Jermain Defoe. Without his goals last year Sunderland will have started this year playing in the Championship and with no real back up/partner to assist him, an injury or loss of form would be very worrying. Can he rescue the team again? Form suggests he may well, but teams at the lower end of the league relying on an ageing striker…..could be a recipe for disaster. It would take a gambling man to bet against Defoe! have a look at the odds on Free Super Tips

Kone is another vital tool in the cog as without him, considering the departure of Kaboul, the defence looks a little tame with an aging John O’Shea and a lot of unproven talent. Sunderland also need to ensure the core that drove the team last year, with Cattermole and Kirchoff (and hopefully a returning M’Vila) can power the team through. But, a wise betting man would look at the squad and see the lack of depth and quality to drive the team onward. You wonder where the goals will come from, where the creativity will emerge from and how they can get those much needed wins.

It would take a betting man to gamble against Sunderland escaping from relegation no matter how far they fall behind  but it looks likely to be a very long season on Wearside and potentially the season in which Sunderland finally give up their Premier League status.

Who will be the Premier League Top Scorer?

Premier League Star Strikers

Premier League Top Scorer

aguero

Now that the season has began and the battle lines have been drawn, pundits and fans alike are trying to predict all manner of events….Who will win the league? Who will be the first manager to leave? Who will get relegated? One question that is being talked about a lot is who will be the top scorer in the league. Let us take a look at some of the leading contenders…

Sergio Aguero – Given that he is part of one of the most formidable attacking line ups in world football, only a fool would bet against Sergio Aguero netting a hatful of goals this season. Pep Guardiola is a fan of the Agentine and providing he features in most of City’s games, he will rack up the goals. With the service from De Bruyne and Sterling and such like, Aguero must be the odds on o favourite!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Aged 34, Zlatan heads to the Premier League in the twilight of his career but seemingly with a point to prove. As the leading man at a club with an attacking mentality, Zlatan is going to be given all the chances he needs to win the Premier League golden boot. He has already taken over Penalty duty and with his aerial presence and hunger to go out on a high, Zlatan will, and has already proven to be, a Dangerous option.

Daniel Sturridge – An outside bet maybe, but Liverpool are in for a strong year and with a team focused around good solid ground football, Sturridge, if he stays fit is the perfect man to bag the goals Jurgen Klopp needs to take his Liverpool side to new levels.

Jamie Vardy – Last season taught us to never rule out the underdog and although he is now a proven Premier League and International class striker, Jamie Vardy is still hungry and with a desire of wanting to prove he is no “on season wonder” he could be a very dangerous opponent for defenders once again.

Harry Kane – Whilst all the focus is on the Manchester Clubs and Chelsea, Spurs have been quietly preparing for what they hope will be another great season. Their achievements at coming second in the league went under the radar last season as Leicester shocked the world, but if Spurs are to challenge again, then the multi talented Kane will be sure to bag the goals.

Other than the leading lights there are other contenders…if Arsenal prove to have a good season  Oliver Giroud may lead the line. What about Jermaine Defoe and his current form at Sunderland? The way he ended the season last year who can rule out the veteran. There could be a surprise…Negredo at Middlesbrough has a lot to prove and Roman Lukaku is always a threat.

Let us see what happens and like all football fans, especially those with footy accumulator tips, I wait with baited breath to see who succeeds and who flops in front of goal in the 2016-2017 season!

 

 

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.

 

 

Will Jose be the Answer?

Jose

When Alex Ferguson lead Manchester United to a period of dominance, unrivalled in the English game, the question over what would happen next when the great Scottish leader retired, always hung over Old Trafford.

As other clubs tried and tested managers from here, there and everywhere the consistency in the top job at the club meant that Ferguson could build team after team, develop and nurture world class talent. But when the inevitable, and to some fans unthinkable happened, and Ferguson stepped down the road became less clear.

Moyes lasted only 34 games, the cauldron of Old Trafford and an overly expectant crowd leading tohis early departure. Van Gaal was viewed as a saviour but a string of poor transfers, results andmedia quotes showed he was out of touch with the modern Premier League.

Ultimately, these chain of events paved the way for the Special One.

There was always something of an inevitability about the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford with many bookies backing him to make the transition. As far back as February they were cutting odds to ¼ for him to take over from Gaal. Online the situation was similar with affiliate services and gambling operators offering signup deals on a number of managerial bets. Many of the free bets at Bethut for example were placed early in the managerial race when punters had the best offers on Mourinho’s new appointment.

Jose himself has openly admitted in recent years of his desire to manage at one of the worlds most renowned clubs. As soon as the pressure started to mount on Louis Van Gaal, and Jose Mourinho ‘s second tenure at Chelsea had ended, the jigsaw started to come together.

But Jose Mourinho will not have it all his own way at Old Trafford. To assess his fortunes let us take a look at five key points that will be the deciding factors in whether The Chosen One is the latest Old Trafford hero or the latest Old Trafford nightmare…

1. A Good Start

Both David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal were fighting a losing battle from the off as the United team of old withered away and the players and systems failed to gel as well as expected. United fans have grown increasingly impatient and for every United fan that welcomes Jose Mourinho, there are an equal number who aren’t at all positive about his appointment. A good start is vital to win over fans, critics and to avoid the old Trafford cauldron of hatred rising as it has so often done in the past few season!

2. Play around Pogba

Although much more lucrative options were on the table, Paul Pogba chose Manchester United and Jose Mourinho to ply his trade. The world record transfer shows how serious Jose Mourinho and United are about each other and just as he did at Chelsea with Drogba, Jose Mourinho must look to build his team around Pogba and craft a United side with his own identity.

3. Finish Above City

During most of his tenure, Sir Alex did not have to worry about the blue half of Manchester as very few seasons did they actually contend with his mighty United. But for the modern day Manchester United manager, finishing above Manchester City is a priority. Ask any Untied fan would they rather win the FA Cup or finish above City, and they will all answer with the latter! Jose Mourinho will be expected to finish above their rivals and doing so will ensure United fans are not pointing the finger from his first season

4. Get over 2-season- blue-syndrome

It is a widely known fact that Jose Mourinho tends to succeed for two seasons, start to fail and theneither walk or be pushed out of the door. United fans will want more of a legacy so Jose Mourinho will be judged not only on what he does in Season 1 but the legacy he leaves behind. United fans don’t want a two-and- done performance from Jose Mourinho! They want the next Dynasty

5. Rooney-gate

Wayne Rooney needs someone to motivate him to flourish in this stage of his career….is Jose Mourinho that man? If he can get Rooney back to his very best, which the previous two managers have failed to do, Jose Mourinho will have a player on his hands who is as good as a new signing. Whatever happened the story of Jose Mourinho and Manchester United will have ups, downs, highs and lows but I am sure we are all in for an entertaining season! One thing is for sure Jose is a winner and if I were a betting man – I wouldn’t bet against a winner!

Who will win this years EPL?

EPL Quiz

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

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

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

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

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

Will Leicester City finish in the top four this season?

Leicester City Quiz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title Contenders for the 2015-2016 Premier league Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bournemouth

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

Watford

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

Norwich

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

 

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

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

Burnley (26 points)

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

Queens Park Rangers (26 points)

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

Leicester (28 points)

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

Hull (28 points)

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

Sunderland (29 points)

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

 

NASH’S PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW WEEK 11

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

ASTON VILLA V CARDIFF CITY @ Villa Park

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

PREDICTION 1-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

CHELSEA V WEST BROM @ Stamford Bridge

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

PREDICTION  2-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

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

CRYSTAL PALACE V EVERTON @ Selhurst Park

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

PREDICTION 0-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

LIVERPOOL V FULHAM @ Anfield

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

PREDICTION: 4-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

SOUTHAMPTON V HULL CITY @ St. Mary’s Stadium

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

PREDICTION: 1-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

NORWICH V WEST HAM UNITED @ Carrow Road

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

PREDICTION: 1-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

TOTTENHAM V NEWCASTLE UNITED @ White Hart Lane

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

PREDICTION: 1-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

SUNDERLAND V MANCHESTER CITY @ Stadium of Light

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

PREDICTION: 2-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

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

MANCHESTER UNITED V ARSENAL @ Old Trafford

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

PREDICTION: 3-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

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

SWANSEA V STOKE CITY @ the Liberty Stadium

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

PREDICTION: 0-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

 

 

Guest Blog: The battle for the first place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Nash’s Premier League Preview Week 10

With a quarter of Premier League season is behind us, this week should bring us a clear picture, of which teams have the potential to true contend for the Premier League title. There are some cracking encounters to look forward to this weekend. Liverpool travelling to the Emirates, Spurs visiting Everton and the first top flight South Wales derby and many other teams trying to knick an upset. So let’s break down all the exciting encounters, which are going to take place this weekend.

 

NEWCASTLE UNITED V CHELSEA @ St. James’ Park

This encounter has always been exciting to watch. Newcastle are coming of a bad week, with back to back losses in the Tyne-Wear derby and against City in the Capital One Cup. They have conceded 16 goals this season, which screams of a struggling defence. On the other hand, Chelsea have scored 16 goals. Chelsea have a strong offence against a very weak defence. Chelsea would win this, if their offense clicks, will win it by some margin.

PREDICTION  1-3

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Fernando Torres: He is in amazing form, and has scored 3 goals in his last two outings and is looking like the return of El Nino is evident.

Juan Mata: Cannot emphasize enough on how he has changed the dynamic of the Chelsea team, and Mourinho has realized that, he was late but he did.

 

FULHAM V MANCHESTER UNITED @ Craven Cottage

Fulham are coming back of a disappointing loss to Leicester City in the Capital One Cup midweek. Their season has been very erratic and they rely too much upon individual players rather than playing as a team. As a team, they just haven’t jelled. Manchester United would be looking to carry on their winning streak, especially with a start they had this season. United will win this one unless any of Fulham’s brilliant individual players show their individual class.

PREDICTION  0-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

RVP; have stated before and will do again, if he struggles, United struggle. Rooney is the only saving grace on RVP’s off day. He needs to stay consistent, for United to have a hope of competing for the title this season.

 

HULL CITY V SUNDERLAND @ The KC Stadium

Hull have been the surprise package of this season, they are a team who play organized football and stick to the basics, Hull have lost their last two games, both against Spurs. They had been evenly fought games. Sunderland have finally kick started their season, winning the Tyne-Wear side derby and would be looking to capitalize on the momentum. Hull are a tough team to beat at home, Hull have not lost at home and look a tough side to beat, Sunderland with high confidence should procure a draw here.

PREDICTION 1-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Steven Fletcher: he provides experience in front of goal, he is consistent and for Sunderland to have any chance to not get relegated this season. They need Fletcher scoring on consistent basis.

 

MANCHESTER CITY V NORWICH @ Etihad Stadium

If not for Joe hart, City have made quite a progress in their style of play under Pellegrini. They have scored the maximum number of goals (21) in the premier league. Norwich gives them another tempting chance to surge ahead on their goal count. The Canaries have been just shoddy this season and show no signs of improvement. I don’t see Norwich will get any points out of the game. City will win comfortably.

PREDICTION  4-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Aguero: Has been in cracking form this season. He has scored 7 goals in eight matches and Norwich prove to light a team to deny him. He would continue his goal scoring form against Norwich.

 

STOKE SITY V SOUTHAMPTON @ The Britannia

Stoke showed signs of what they are capable of doing against United last weekend but then got back into their shell. Southampton have had an exceptional start to their season, they have only conceded 3 times this season, which would be a tough ask for Stoke especially when they are finding it so hard to score, they have scored only 6 times, two of the goals coming last week against United. Southampton should continue their dream run against Stoke.

PREDICTION: 0-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Ricky Lambert: He has catalysed the way; Southampton’s season has churned up so far. The England call up has certainly done wonders to his domestic form.

 

WEST BROM V CRYSTAL PALACE @ The Hawthorns

Crystal Palace are destined to be relegated this season, they just look like a team that don’t belong in the Premier League. This is a good game for West Brom to bounce back from the mauling they suffered on the hands of Liverpool (4-1) last week.

PREDICTION  2-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Morgan Amalfitano: He is the only creative player West Brom can boast about. He has created 10 chances for his team this season (more than any other premier player). He will be a key player for West Brom against Norwich.

 

WEST HAM UNITED V ASTON VILLA 2 @ Boleyn Ground

Both inconsistent teams face each other this weekend. West ham badly need a striker and without a striker they have just looked ordinary. Aston Villa on the other hand have been very fragile defensively. West ham though might be 15th in the league but boast of 4 clean sheets and Villa might find it tough. I would predict both teams to share the honours.

PREDICTION  0-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Cristian Benteke: the season has been inconsistent for him, but a couple of goals and he would be tough to stop. Having already scored 5 goals so far. He just needs one good outing.

 

ARSENAL V LIVERPOOL @ The Emirates

The GAME OF THE WEEK, both teams would showcase who plays better passing football. Arsenal would be without defensive midfielder Flamini, leaving Arsenal with no defensive midfielder. This would be a great advantage for Liverpool, especially when Coutinho is playing, he would be looking to penetrate that hole all day. Arsenal would be relying on Ozil, Giroud and Ramsey’s fantastic recent form. A defeat to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup might weaker Arsenal’s confidence. Expect a thrilling encounter, in which Liverpool edges past Arsenal.

PREDICTION  2-3

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Suarez/Sturridge: They have begun to ascend to greatness. With the return of Suarez, Liverpool have seemed to have found another gear. Suarez has already scored six goals in 4 matches and Sturridge eight in nine. If they hold on this form all season, I don’t see a reason Liverpool not winning the title.

Ozil: Games like this makes players stars and for him this would be a great opportunity to showcase that he is a star.

 

 

EVERTON V TOTTENHAM @ Goodison Park

Another exciting match-up. Everton have won nine of their ten home matches and would be looking to have an upper hand in this one. Only one point separates both teams. Tottenham have allowed only 5 goals this season and keeping 6 clean sheets. That is an impressive stat but the unsatisfactory fact is, Tottenham have a disappointing conversion rate of less than 5%, which is only one goal a game. Expect this to be a see-saw like match, but a draw would make either side happy.

PREDICTION: 1-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Lukaku: He has been on the rise since last season, has already scored 5 times this season and has a tendency to bring his best out in big games.

Jan Vertonghen: There is a reason for Tottenham’s six clean sheets this season and i.e. the centre force of Spurs defence, Jan has been a guiding force at the back and has made the defensive line rock solid.

 

CARDIFF V SWANSEA @ Cardiff City Stadium

The first ever South Wales derby is going to be played and it promises to be an exciting encounter. Cardiff are a hard working team and for them to stay put in the top flight, they would need to tough it out day in and day out. Swansea have had a great last season, this season they have struggled only because of their Europa League obligations. I am going for Cardiff going all stops out and wining this one.

PREDICTION  2-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Gary Medel: He has completed 90% of his passes this season, which is quiet incredible and the Bluebirds would require his services, to stop passes going to Bony or Michu.

 

 

 

 

 

Nash’s Premier League Review: Week 8

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

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

NEWCASTLE UTD V LIVERPOOL @ St. James Park

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

PREDICTION: 0-3

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

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

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

ARSENAL V NORWICH CITY @ the Emirates

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

PREDICTION: 4-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

CHELSEA V CARDIFF CITY @ Cardiff City Stadium

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

PREDICTION: 2-0

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

EVERTON V HULL CITY @ Goodison Park

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

PREDICTION: 2-2

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

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

MANCHESTER UTD V SOUTHAMPTON @ Old Trafford

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

PREDICTION: 1-2

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

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

STOKE CITY V WEST BROM @ Britannia Stadium

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

PREDICTION: 0-2

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

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

SWANSEA V SUNDERLAND @ Liberty Stadium

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

PREDICTION: 1-1

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

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

WEST HAM V MANCHESTER CITY @ Upton Park

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

PREDICTION: 1-1

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

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

ASTON VILLA V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR @ Villa Park

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

PREDICTION: 1-1

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

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

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

CYRSTAL PALACE V FULHAM @ Selhurst Park

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

PREDICTION: 0-1

KEY PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR

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

 

 

PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: THE LONDON DERBY WEEKEND

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

TOTTENHAM V CHELSEA @ White Hart Lane

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

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

PREDICTION:  2-2

ASTON VILLA V MANCHESTER CITY @ Villa Park

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

PREDICTION:  1-3

FULHAM V CARDIFF CITY @ Craven Cottage

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

PREDICTION:  1-0

HULL CITY V WEST HAM UNITED @ The KC Stadium

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

PREDICTION:  1-0

MANCHESTER UNITED V WEST BROM @ Old Trafford

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

PREDICTION:  2-0

SOUTHAMPTON V CRYSTAL PALACE @ St. Mary’s

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

PREDICTION:  3-0

 SWANSEA CITY V ARSENAL @ Liberty Stadium

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

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

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

PREDICTION:  2-2

 STOKE CITY V NORWICH CITY @ Britannia Stadium

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

PREDICTION:  2-0

SUNDERLAND V LIVERPOOL @ Stadium of Light

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

PREDICTION:  0-3

EVERTON V NEWCASTLE UNITED @ Goodison Park

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

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

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

PREDICTION:  2-0

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

PREDICTION: 1-1

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

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

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

PREDICTION: 2-0

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

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

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

PREDICTION: 2-1

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Stephane Sessegnon: After getting his work permit, the ex-Sunderland striker would be raring to show his class against his old club.

PREDICTION: 2-2

WEST HAM UNITED V EVERTON (3pm) @ the Upton

Both teams haven’t been prolific in front of goal this season, the Hammers haven’t scored since the opening day win against Cardiff(2-0) and Everton have only scored thrice, though Everton do have an unbeaten record.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Romelu Lukaku: Was ineligible to play against his parent club, he would be raring to make his debut, with a goal of course.

Ross Barkley: He is young, energetic and scores goals, this kind of talent, is what England needs, and he will have a go at a weak West Ham defence.

PREDICTION: 0-3

CHELSEA V FULHAM (5:30 pm) @ Stamford Bridge
London derbies are always exciting, and this is no exception especially with an added pressure on the Mourinho’s side to win, having not won a single game in a month and coming off back to back defeats. Now we know why Chelsea were pursuing Rooney so fervently, they dreadfully need a striker, who scores and PLAY JUAN MATA. Fulham on the other hand are not in form themselves. Berbatov, is doubtful for the game. They need someone to score goals from somewhere.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Juan Mata: Mourinho enough of the arrogance, you got to accept the fact that you need him, your side needs him.

Darren Bent: If Fulham have any chance of salvaging any points at the Bridge, Bent needs to get his goal scoring shoes on.

PREDICTION: 3-1

ARSENAL V STOKE CITY (1:30pm) @ Emirates Stadium
Mesut Ozil makes his home debut at the Emirates; Arsenal have won all their last six matches in all competitions. Stoke have had an impressive start to their season, and looks like a team who are willing to push forward.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Olivier Giroud: He has been in scintillating form, having scored five times already into the season.
Mesut Ozil: A genuine playmaker, who scores goals, he wouldn’t mind one against stoke, in front of his home crowd.

PREDICTION: 0-0

CRYSTAL PALACE V SWANSEA (3pm) @ Selhurst Park
Weariness could play a vital role in Swansea losing this game, they have already played ten games in all competitions so far, and captain Ashley Williams is a doubtful for the game, the Eagles will look to exploit that and look for a victory.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Gayle: A pacy striker, who will run havoc, for the drained Swansea defence.
Michu: He can be world class on his day, having already scored an equaliser against Liverpool; he would be high on confidence.

PREDICTION: 1-0

CARDIFF CITY V TOTTENHAM (4pm) @ City Stadium
Cardiff would be looking to match the success they had against Manchester City at home, against Tottenham. Tottenham would be a tired bunch, but they have only let in one goal all season, they look a solid pack.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Steven Caulker: He would have a point to prove to his ex-team, He has been solid in defence, could score the only header from a corner and a win.

Christian Eriksen: He has already assisted four times in five games (premier league and eredivisie), looks a promising star, potential of creating some goal scoring passes.

PREDICTION: 1-0

MAN CITY V MAN UTD (4pm) @ Etihad Stadium
The match of the week, literally, the world would be glued to their TV sets, even the neutrals (kopites, blues, and gunners). It has so much at stake, any game between title contenders does. It’s just three points, but all the top teams dropping points, so early in the season, winning becomes important now. It’s beginning of a new era -MOYES-PELLEGRINI. Who will draw first blood?

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Yaya Toure: He has been the best passer in the premier league this season, with 347 passes, 30 more than any other player in the league. He is a goal threat outside the box and gradually becoming a free-kick master.

Wayne Rooney: He is proving to be a central figure on the field for United these days; he has to step up for a big game like this. He was ‘world class’ in his last two games but this is the game to prove it right.

PREDICTION: 3-2

City Set out an early marker to re-claim ‘their’ title

Manchester City’s plans for a title charge in 2013-14 are taking shape, with a £30 million deal to land Fernandinho the club’s first piece of business in what looks set to be a busy couple of weeks.

The Brazil international signed on a five-year contract on Thursday after impressing City officials in the Champions League for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Sevilla winger Jesus Navas is expected to join Fernandinho at the Etihad Stadium, while Manuel Pellegrini will reportedly replace Roberto Mancini as manager next week as the club look to justify their status as second favourites with Paddy Power to win the league next year.

Fernandinho, who has represented his country five times, admitted he has been “waiting a long time” for the chance to play in the Premier League. He has described his move to City as a “dream”.

“My ambition here is to win all the titles, the team here is strong, and so is the greatness of the club and the supporters. Professionally this is a spectacular thing,” the 28-year-old told the club’s official website.

“Playing for a huge club in a huge league makes me so happy. I hope I will be able to repay City for what they have done for me.”

City fans will be hoping Fernandinho’s signing is followed by more big-money arrivals as the club aim to wrestle the Premier League crown from Manchester United’s grasp (United are currently 21/10 favourites in the Premier League betting odds), a title they won for the first time in 44 years the previous season.

Supporters will start to believe the club can challenge the best in Europe next term if Spain international Navas completes his move. He is a medical away from making the switch to England.

Pellegrini will inherit a strong squad when he takes the reins and will have his own recruitment plans. With the backing of the club’s wealthy owners, he will be confident of turning City into the most feared side in the Premier League.

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GK’s Football Predictions

The Premier League gets back into the swing of things this weekend and our co-editor GK gives us his predictions for the weekend

Aston Villa 2 Norwich 2
Arsenal 1 QPR 0
Reading 1 Fulham 1
Stoke City 2 Sunderland 1
Wigan 3 West Ham 1
Man City 5 Swansea 1
Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Newcastle 0 West Brom 0
Southampton 0 Tottenham 1
Chelsea 3 Man Utd 0

Star Man: Eden Hazzard – Chelsea

What do you think, feel free to leave you comments. If you wish to be a guess editor on any football related content please get in touch we would love to hear from you.

Premier League Predictions

FootieQuizes Gordon Kearney gives his predictions for 2012-13

Premier League top six: Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham.

Premier League bottom three: Southampton, Wigan, Notts Forest

Leading Prem scorer: Sergio Aguero – Manchester City.

First Prem manager to be sacked: Steve Clark WBA

Biggest Prem flop: Giroud- Arsenal.

FA Cup winners: Arsenal

Capital One Cup winners: Arsenal

Champions League winners: Real Madrid.

Europa League winners: Liverpool

Championship top six: Bolton, Cardiff, Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Nottingham Forest, Birmingham .

Leading Championship scorer: Kevin Doyle – Wolves

League One champions: Sheffield United

League Two champions: Rotherham.

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English Football Ups and Downs 2011

Manchester United won the league title for a record 19th time, clinched with a 1-1 draw at Blackburn on May 14th. They will enter the Champions League group stages next season along with Premier League runners-up Chelsea and third-placed Manchester City. Fourth-placed Arsenal will enter in the qualifying rounds.

Carling Cup winners Birmingham City were the first team to book their place in Europe. They will play in the Europa League, despite being relegated from the Premier League, after being granted a licence by UEFA because of earlier fears about their financial situation.

Because Manchester City had already qualified for the Champions League ahead of their FA Cup final win over Stoke City, the beaten Potters qualified for the Europa League (a decent consolation prize). Tottenham Hotspur clinched fifth place on the final day of the season meaning they will also play in the Europa League next season.

England earned an extra Europa League place through being one of the top three countries in Uefa’s Respect Fair Play league. The highest-place team in the Premier League’s Fair Play table that has not yet qualified for Europe – Fulham – will enter the Europa League first qualifying round.

The bottom three teams (relegated to the Championship): West Ham United (whose fate was confirmed on 15th May), Blackpool (who ensured an instant return to the Championship) and Birmingham City (after they were beaten 2-1 by Spurs on the final day of the season).

In the Championship, QPR made it back to the Premier League for the first time since 1996. Norwich City took the runners-up spot and Swansea City made it to the Premier League through the play-offs, after a 4-2 win over Reading in the final.

Relegated to League One were: Preston North End, Scunthorpe United and Sheffield United.

Brighton & Hove Albion were promoted from League One as champions. Southampton ended a two-year spell in League One by clinching the second automatic promotion place. Peterborough Utd were promoted as winners of the League One play-offs.

League One relegations: Swindon Town, Plymouth Argyle (their second successive relegation – they had suffered a 10-point deduction earlier in the season for going into administration), Bristol Rovers and Dagenham & Redbridge.