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Cheap travel in the Champions League

Posted on | November 1, 2018 | No Comments

Travelling across Europe to watch your favourite team play in the Champions League is never a cheap venture, but the amount can vary massively depending on the group stage draw.

This season Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United are all competing in Europe’s premier tournament, in the hope that they can propel English club football back to the top.

Manchester City are the current favourites to win the tournament and according to Champions League betting, they are 9/2, just ahead of Barcelona who are 5/1.

Manchester City

Despite being the favourites, City lost their opening game, as Lyon stunned the Premier League champions, winning 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

City have also travelled to their other two group stage opponents, Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk and picked up maximum points, renewing their hope of winning a first Champions League title.

Liverpool

The Reds finished as the runners-up in last season’s Champions League, losing out to Real Madrid in the final. This season, they have been drawn against Serie A runners-up Napoli, Ligue 1 winners PSG and Serbian SuperLiga winners Red Star Belgrade.

Liverpool have played one away match so far, a trip to Naples to take on Napoli, a match in which they lost in the dying minutes thanks to a goal from Lorenzo Insigne. Their fans still have trips to Paris and Belgrade to look forward to.

Tottenham Hotspur

When Spurs fans watched the draw for the Champions League group stage this season, alarm bells began to ring as they were drawn against Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven.

Having failed to win so far, losing away to Inter Milan and at home to Barcelona and then drawing away to PSV, Tottenham’s hopes of reaching the knockout phase have been severely dented. Although Spurs fans have arguably the easiest away trips with regards to journey times, that will be of little comfort given their current form in Europe.

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho has endured a poor start to his third season in charge of Manchester United. The Red Devils currently lie in 8th place in the Premier League and haven’t fared much better in Europe, winning only one of their opening three Champions League matches, away to BSC Young Boys.

United still have to travel to Valencia and Turin before knowing their final position within the group. These away trips will see the Red Devils face a struggling Valencia and a Juventus team who have former United star Cristiano Ronaldo at their disposal.

The infographic below examines the price the English fans must pay to watch their team away in the Champions League.

Chelsea ready to test Hazard resolve

Posted on | October 23, 2018 | No Comments

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has insisted the club will “do what they have to do” to keep Eden Hazard at Stamford Bridge amid continued speculation over the Belgian star’s future. Hazard’s current contract at Chelsea expires at the end of next season, and Real Madrid have made no secret over the fact they are monitoring the forward’s situation in London. The 27-year old has only increased speculation regarding his future by admitting it would be a childhood dream to play for Spanish giants, who themselves are looking for someone to fill the sizeable boots left by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Hazard has started this season where he left the last, playing a key role in head coach Maurizio Sarri’s impressive start to life in England, scoring seven league goals in his first eight appearances of the campaign. On the back of a sensational couple of seasons in the Premier League, Real Madrid appear to have made the forward their number-one priority, targeting Hazard as the man to fill the gap left by Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus during the summer.

Chelsea’s plan to keep Hazard at the club appears to be to offer their star man a huge new contract. But, at this stage of his career, it might not be just money that motivates the Belgium international. Without Champions League football this season, Hazard’s hopes of challenging the likes of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the tag as the world’s best player will be tough. While it’s looking likely that Chelsea will return to European football’s elite next season, currently second in the table and as short as 1/5 with the Premier League betting odds to finish in the top four this year, it may not be enough to convince Hazard to stay.

With his contract now entering the final 18 months, Chelsea will need to know whether or not their talisman intends on staying beyond his current deal, with a huge transfer fee at stake should he be allowed to run his contract down. And when looking at world football, it’s not hard to see why Real are so keen on Hazard. Aside from Ronaldo and Messi, Hazard has a very strong case to suggest he is the best player in the world at the moment. And with the Belgian seemingly open to moving to the Bernabeu, it’s looking as though Chelsea have a real battle on their hands to keep their main man.

That all said, Hazard has never come out to claim he will push for a move from the club he joined six years ago from French side Lille. While he hasn’t hidden his desire to play at the highest level, nor his respect and admiration for Real Madrid, so far, at least, Hazard has maintained a professional air regarding his future – something that perhaps wasn’t the case for his compatriot Thibaut Courtois in the run-up to his switch to Madrid.

The fact remains, however, that when Real find a player they really want to sign, it’s very rare they don’t get their man.

Premier league stars of the season

Posted on | October 18, 2018 | No Comments

There have already been a number of star performers even at this early stage of the premier league season. Chelsea are the surprise package at present as punters continue to use the latest offer at fanduel to support them for the title. Can they topple the defending champions Manchester City and the attacking powerhouses of Liverpool? Here we cover some of the stars of the season thus far.

ALISSON – LIVERPOOL

Liverpool’s keeper, Alisson has been a key addition to the squad. He has made a solid start to the season as the club continue to challenge for the league. At present eight games in, he is one of two keepers to have only conceded three goals. He also sits at the top of the table for saved shot percentage, so can be help them end their wait for another league title.

JOHN STONES – MANCHESTER CITY

It is exciting times for English football as the national team continues to go from strength to strength. They are coming off the back of a starring performance in beating Spain, and one player who is continuing to improve is defender, John Stones. The Manchester City defender is proving a revelation at the back since a stuttering start as pressure piled on him due to his big money move. He sits at the top of the interception, clearance and pass completion charts. He is set to play a leading role in their attempt to defend the premier league title.

JORGINHO – CHELSEA

He does not do anything flash but the impact he has on the team is unquestionable. He followed Chelsea’s new manager Sarri over from Napoli just showing the esteem he is held in. Chelsea are now renowned for the vast amount of passes they make and this is headed by the Italian. Jorginho continues to control the side from the middle and is all but set to break the premier league passing record unless an injury occurs.

EDEN HAZARD– CHELSEA

Another Chelsea player and the current star of the season is Eden Hazard. He kicked off the current campaign in flying form following a starring role for Belgium at the world cup in Russia. He sits at the top of the scoring charts and he really looks to be excelling from the role he is playing under new manager, Sarri. Hazard is now in talks as a future winner of the Ballon d’or but can he first help lead Chelsea to another premier league title.

 

5 Fighters who have stayed in the UFC Cage the longest

Posted on | October 5, 2018 | No Comments

All eyes will be on the big fight this weekend as KhabibNurmagomedov and Conor McGregor will be facing off against each other for the Lightweight Championship. The Khabib McGregor odds suggest that the unbeaten Russian lightweight is the favourite, but it could go either way.

These two fighters might be some of the biggest names in the sport at the moment, but they aren’t the longest serving competitors in the competition. We have taken a look 5 fighters with the longest UFC careers.

Jim Miller – 30 bouts
American fighter Jim Miller currently holds the record for the most UFC bouts, entering the cage 30 times during his career. The UFC lightweight started his professional mixed martial art career in 2005 in the ‘Reality Fighting’ competition, but didn’t join the UFC until July 2008.

His debut came just a few months later at UFC 89. Although Miller was only one of the preliminary matches, his UFC career got off to the best start by defeating David Baron via submission, being awarded the ‘Submission of the Night’ award.

Since making his UFC debut ten years ago, Miller has gone on to make 30 appearances in the cage, winning 18 of them.

Jeremy Stephens – 29 bouts
Like Miller, Jeremy Stephens started his professional mixed martial arts career in 2005, fighting in numerous competitions before joining the UFC in 2007. However, unlike Miller, Stephens’ first fight didn’t go to plan as he was defeated via a second round armbar submission against UFC veteran Din Thomas.

Although the lightweight and featherweight fighter didn’t get off to the best start in the promotion, Stephens has enjoyed a fairly successfully career. In total, Jeremy Stephens has entered the cage 29 times in the past, winning 15 of them.

His defeat to José Aldo put an end to his three-fight winning streak, but leaves him just one fight away from matching Jim Miller’s bout total.

Michael Bisping – 29 bouts
Although Michael Bisping might have announced his retirement from MMA competitions earlier this year, he will be regarded as one of the longest serving competitors in the competition with 29 bouts under his belt. Whilst the majority of UFC fighters usually started their professional career at 18, Bisping started in 2004 at the relatively late age of 25.

Despite the ‘late’ start to his career, Bisping got off to a great start by winning his first 10 fights before being signed by the UFC.

Although he didn’t maintain his unbeaten record throughout his career, his record during his time in the UFC was very respectable, finishing with 20 wins and 9 defeats in 29 matches.

Diego Sanchez – 28 bouts
Since joining the competition in 2005, Sanchez has spent the majority of his career in the UFC and is currently the longest tenured UFC fighter on the active roster. The American has competed in many different fighting divisions over the years, and is currently competing as a ‘lightweight’ and ‘welterweight’.

After spending the first few years of his career in the ‘King of the Cage’ tournaments, Sanchez finally got his ‘break’ with the UFC as he was a participant and winner on the first season of the reality show ‘The Ultimate Fighter’. His victory led to the fighter signing a contract with the UFC and immediately being put in a ‘main card’ fight in his first UFC competition.

From 2005 to 2009, Sanchez was one of the most feared and ‘unstoppable’ fighters in the competition, winning 10 of his first 13 bouts. Although Sanchez has failed to put together a good winning

streak in the past few years, his is still considered one of the best competitors in the UFC.

In total, Sanchez has been involved with the UFC for 4,926 days (as of 03/10/2018) – the longest out of any active UFC fighter.

Frank Mir – 27 bouts
Although Diego Sanchez is currently the longest tenured active fighter, Frank Mir held that title before his release from the UFC in 2016 with 5,557 continuous days with the UFC from 2nd November 2001 until 20th March 2016.

From a young age, Mir showed huge potential in wrestling and martial arts and was soon signed up to the UFC in 2001 following two wins in other MMA competitions. Throughout the majority of his time in the UFC, Mir won most of his fights by knockout or submission, only relying on the judges’ decision twice. In the later years of his time with the UFC, Mir experienced more defeats than wins. Despite this, Mir has gone down as a legend in the competition.

The “biggest fight in UFC history” is set to take place this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Although it’s the first time that the two will be fighting against each other, the two fighters have a history with one another which has turned from respect into a full blown rivalry.

Considering that Khabib hasn’t experienced a single defeat in his professional career and McGregor hasn’t entered the cage in two years, it seems that a Khabib win is the most likely outcome. However, McGregor is a very difficult fighter and will want to put an end to his rivals’ unbeaten record.

Is Amanda Nunes capable of ending Cris Cyborg’s incredible run in the UFC?

Posted on | September 26, 2018 | No Comments

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will host one of the most anticipated fights in the women’s division, as two champions go face-to-face with each other in what will be anything but atypical fight.

On December 29th, UFC 232 will see the Women’s Bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes, take on Cris Cyborg, the current Women’s Featherweight champion. The pair have exchanged barbs on social media, in particular, with regards to the date of their fight.


The odds suggest that Cris Cyborg is the most likely to end up as the victor, being priced at 3/10. But can Nunes upset the odds and defeat one of the most dominant women the UFC has ever seen?

The Build-Up

Cyborg was hoping to have the fight in September, so as to avoid a substantial amount of time since last having a competitive fight in the Octagon. However, Nunes’ camp said the Bantamweight champion wouldn’t be ready for the UFC 228 pay-per-view in September and instead a picture was posted of Nunes signing a contract for the fight to take place at UFC 232 on December 29th in Las Vegas.

Talk of the fight began earlier this year as Nunes and her camp called for the match to take place. Cyborg was more than willing to accept the challenge, but has become frustrated at having to wait nearly 10 months to fight again, having defeated Yana Kunitskaya in March.

When the two finally collide inside the Octagon, it will be an historic fight, as the winner will become the first woman to hold two championships at the same time, something that has only been achieved in the UFC twice overall, with Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier having achieved the feat in the men’s divisions.

Conor McGregor takes on Khabib Nurmagomedov at the UFC 229 pay-per-view and the Khabib vs McGregor odds are in favour of the undefeated Russian, with Khabib at 4/7 to win.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes, from the Bahia region of Brazil, is currently undefeated in her last 7 professional fights. She last tasted defeat back in September 2014 at the hands of Cat Zingano. Her current record in the UFC is nine wins and one loss.

She captured the UFC Women’s Bantamweight championship in July 2016 after defeating Miesha Tate via submission at UFC 200. She has since successfully defended her championship on three occasions against Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko and Raquel Pennington.

Despite her success in the UFC, it will be interesting to see how Nunes fares in moving up a weight class. Could it be that she loses some of her speed, creating an opening for Cyborg to pounce with her precise striking ability?

Cris Cyborg

Cyborg, whose real name is Cristiane Justino Venancio, has not lost since opening her professional account with a defeat against Erica Paes in 2005. However, she has since remained undefeated and is currently 5-0 in the UFC. Much like her opponent, Cyborg hails from Brazil and there has been speculation that this could be her final fight in the UFC.

It was in July 2017 that Cyborg won the vacant UFC Women’s Featherweight championship, defeating Tonya Evinger via technical knockout in the third round. She has since successfully defended it against Yana Kunitskaya and Holly Holm, the latter of whom famously beat the previously undefeated Ronda Rousey.


When her contract expires in March 2019, Cyborg has stated that she wishes to make the move over to boxing, something she has long desired to do. Boxing is a part of her style, along with muay thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling, all of which make her a fierce competitor inside the Octagon.

Prediction

This fight will no doubt be a close call, as both women have proven themselves in their respective weight classes.

Cyborg’s striking ability could be the difference between victory and defeat for the Featherweight champion, while Nunes should look to takedown her opponent and try to strike her while in a prone position.

A submission victory is unlikely, with the pair of Brazilians preferring to instead try for the knockout victory.
With Cyborg having the size advantage as well as being used to competing at the 145lb weight, our prediction is for Cyborg to defeat Nunes via knockout.

Should Fifa introduce video replay?

Posted on | August 18, 2010 | No Comments

The video replay one of the most discussed topic in football in the recent years.

Everyone expects from the referees to be perfect, or at least to reduce the mistakes during the games but it looks that this is a very hard task to do. So everyone tries to find solutions, and Fifa is pressed from all sides to come with an alternative.

In the first phase Fifa tried the system with 6 referees, tested it in Europa League, but even this solution doesn’t seem to be better. There were also speculations that the ball should contain a chip to signal when the ball passes the line of the goal but the solutions is not well seen by the specialists.

So at the moment it looks like the only viable solution is the video replay.Regarding the video replay the opinions are divided with a plus for it. Fifa is pressed to take a decision especially after the World Cup mistakes, when some of them proved to be crucial.

So after rugby, basketball, tennis or american football we might have video replays also in football. This decision would bring advantages but not only.

At advantages we can mention fewer mistakes that can decide games and fewer scandals. On the other side the spirit and the charm of the game would suffer.  Imagine for example a game show with a similar setup – a Who Wants To Be Millionaire Online Game for example would take so long and become boring. Also the game could have more than 10 minutes of additional time which could determine the players to lose their patience  awaiting for the verdict, the fluidity of the game could also suffer.

The final decision will be taken in November but there are chances for a positive answer.

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