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Assessing Manchester City’s Champions League Assault

Posted on | December 1, 2017 | No Comments

Manchester City are already looking like a formidable outfit in the Premier League, and a third title in six years could well be on the way to the Etihad Stadium, with Pep Guardiola’s side looking in irresistible form during the first half of the season, blowing opponents away with some outstanding attacking play, which has been matched by much improved defensive performances.

After the disappointment of last season’s third-placed finish, where City finished a mammoth 15 points behind eventual champions Chelsea, a serious assault on the Premier League title was the least expected from Guardiola’s side, particularly after another summer of high-profile arrivals, as City’s squad underwent some fine-tuning.

It is hard to see past City picking up the Premier League title in May, with Guardiola’s squad seemingly miles ahead of the chasing pack, including city rivals, Manchester United, who are struggling to find the same style as their once noisy neighbours.

However, the question most City supporters will be asking is whether they can make a genuine assault on the Champions League for the first time in their history. City were beaten semi-finalists in the 2015/16 competition, with Real Madrid, eventual champions, knocking the Sky Blues out of the competition at the final hurdle before the final.

In this year’s competition, City have made short work of their group, with Guardiola’s side breezing through to the knockout stage of the competition with relative ease, which has left them amongst the favourites to lift the famous European trophy, with odds of 9/2 offered in the football betting markets, with only Neymar’s PSG priced at shorter odds than the Premier League leaders.

City are priced at shorter odds than current holders, Real Madrid, as well as Barcelona and Bayern Munich, two of Guardiola’s former clubs. The former Barca and Bayern boss has brought a distinct style to City, which has been particularly evident this season, with Guardiola deserving of huge credit for finding a way to fit both David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne centrally into a system without his midfield finding themselves overrun. However, there are still questions as to whether City’s style will be strong enough to withstand Europe’s later stages.

Fernandinho is key to City’s style, sitting disciplined in front of a back four, allowing full-backs – recently Kyle Walker and Fabian Delph – freedom to get forward without leaving the side short of defensive cover. So far this season it has worked for Guardiola’s side, with the likes of De Bruyne, Silva, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus allowed to stream forward with wave after wave of attack.

However, with it highly likely that some of Europe’s elite will be standing in City’s way later in the Champions League, Guardiola may have to reassess his system and find a way of giving a so far comfortable defence a little bit more protection.

It is looking more and more likely that Guardiola will be toasting Premier League success in May next year, but there is no doubt that City and their ambitious owners will have other ambitions in Europe. If Guardiola is to deliver in club football’s biggest competition, he might have to tighten City’s defence by sacrificing part of their free-flowing attack.

The Evolving World of Online Bookmakers

Posted on | November 21, 2017 | No Comments

As many would not remember, 1996 marked the year that Tottenham Hotspurs and Hereford United (from the UK) played an entertaining FA Cup game. This game is significant in the history of online betting, as it is the first match where a sports wager was placed at the world’s first online betting site, Intertops. However since then, online betting has evolved at an aggressive pace.

At the time, the first online gambling operator opened its ‘virtual doors’ and not many countries warmed up to the idea of a game of chance being determined electronically. There were many that were sceptical (some are still are) and this made it difficult for bookmakers as they had to go through a rigorous and strict process to attain a license in the few territories where online gambling was allowed. As time passed however, things changed and there are now more licensing authorities in not only individual countries, but also on a global scale. As the world embraced online gambling, more businesses started to mushroom, creating a massive supply of services within the industry. If you are among those who are particularly interested in starting your own sportsbook site, you may go here for more info on becoming a book maker.

As mentioned above, the first online bookmaker was established in 1996, and 20 years down the line it now has over a thousand competitors! The increase in competition contributed to the overall health of the industry, encouraging even more innovation and creativity. With that said, operators have made available huge rewards for players through generous bonuses, better odds, promotions, and prizes. You can easily find some of the best sports betting bonuses at top bookmaker sites these days.

There is a huge difference in how punters place bets, play games, and withdraw funds in this day and age as compared to previous years. Online sportsbooks platforms of today offer an improved experience, are more friendly, easy to navigate and highly responsive. In addition to serving their primary purpose, bookies deliver more value to the player than in the past.

From the first wager, we know that football was the main sport players were betting on. However, for other markets, it is unclear what online bookies hosted back then in terms of the amount of other less popular sports. Currently, there are way more sports and games covered which includes virtual games as well. In addition to this, there is also a huge increase in the variety of wagers and odds.

Guillem Balague: Tottenham Hotspur are in pole position to sign Gareth Bale

Posted on | November 21, 2017 | No Comments

Transfer expert Guillem Balague has revealed that Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur inserted a buy-back clause when they sold Welsh international Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world-record fee.

The 28-year-old attacked joined Real Madrid for a reported £85million million in the summer of 2013 and it has been previously reported that the North London club have first option to re-sign him.

In a Question and Answer on the Sky Sports website, Balague confirmed that Spurs have first option to sign the Welshman in any future race for his signature.

Balague, as quoted via Sky Sports said: “If there is any offer for Bale, Real have to contact Spurs and ask them if they want to match it.”“So yes, there is a clause.”

Bale developed into one of the most brilliant attacker during his four-year spell at White Hart lane, netting 26 goals and providing 15 assists both in Tottenham’s Epl fixtures and across all competitions in a sensational final season at the White Hart Lane.

Return of Gareth Bale good move for Tottenham Hotspur?

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is on the record as being a firm admirer of the Welshman, who is widely regarded as one of the best to represent the Spurs. Sure, Bale has constantly been hit with injuries in the last two seasons, but his record at Bernabeu makes it clear that he is the real deal. With Real Madrid, he has won the Champions League three times and the Spanish title, scoring 70 goals and providing 55 assists across 159 matches.

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Without any doubt, Bale would provide the final piece of the jigsaw in Pochettino’s young and vibrant team which has made Europe sit up and take notice with their stunning transformation.

How ground of his move to Tottenham happening

The price of Bale leaving Real Madrid would have to be right, and it would surely coast a whooping £60million-plus fee for such a great attacker, even one who has suffered with a lot of injuries in recent times. His next move is almost certain to be back to the Premier League and the Welshman will be not short of offers. However, he might end up joining either Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea as Tottenham cannot match the financial resources of the Manchester clubs and the West London club, but Spurs, but they can provide a grand stage, romance and a team on the up. Don’t rule this one out.

Reasons to be Cheerful: England’s next Cricketing Generation

Posted on | October 18, 2017 | No Comments

There’s a lot of negativity around England’s cricket squad right now amidst the fall out surrounding the Ben Stokes affair and questions whether the Durham all rounder will make this year’s Ashes series.

While Stokes dominates the headlines, English fans are also targeting the selectors and a squad for Australia that contained a few surprises, the most controversial of which was the inclusion of Gary Ballance who has endured a wretched run of form for the last three years at international level.

Young Guns

Australia would have started the Ashes as clear favourites but the potential crisis facing the tourists has seen their price shorten even further. Steve Smith’s men can be picked up at around 1/2 to reclaim the Urn while holders England have drifted to 3/1.

At that price, you may be better to save your own money and look for free bonus bets from around the sportsbooks but if it is set to be a dismal winter for England, the future is much brighter than the headline writers might lead us to believe. Here are some outstanding young cricketers who are set to be brought in to the international set up, possibly as early as 2018.

Dan Lawrence

Those with more than a passing interest in cricket will be aware that Essex’s Dan Lawrence has been around for some time now. He made his first class debut for the county against Kent back in 2017 but as he prepares to join up with the England Lions in Australia, he is still just 20 years of age. Inevitable similarities have been made with Alastair Cook and he certainly has the same temperament and patience as his Essex colleague.

The youngster has made seven centuries in three seasons with a best of 161 and an average approaching 43.00. 2017 ended with the Cricket Writers’ Club award for young player of the year and, as a member of the side that will be shadowing the senior squad Down Under, there are even suggestions that Dan Lawrence could be promoted to the full England set up at some stage during this Ashes tour.

Tom Helm

Mark Wood’s issues with injury see the Durham paceman drop down to the Lions squad this winter but he could find competition from Middlesex quick Tom Helm. At 23, Helm has taken some time to establish himself with his county and injuries have played their part in halting his progress since making a first class debut back in 2013.
Blessed with genuine pace and bounce, Helm now averages 31.00 with the ball at a strike rate of 55.10 and those are stats that have improved considerably in the last twelve months. He may have to work on his batting however in an England set up that looks for its players to contribute in all areas.

Paul Coughlin

A winter move from struggling Durham to newly promoted Nottinghamshire was met with dismay by his former county but in the current climate, a player of Paul Coughlin’s promise really needs to be playing division one cricket.
He’ll be 25 by the time that the Lions squad heads for Australia and that’s an age where any player really needs to get to the front of selectors’ thoughts. Coughlin was Durham’s T20 skipper in 2017 and is thought of in some quarters as a one-day specialist. He should get plenty of opportunities to answer those accusations next season at his new club with Notts losing several key batsmen during 2017 for various reasons. Coughlin will have a key role in red ball cricket at Trent Bridge and we will then know if he can make a contribution at test level.

Matt Parkinson

England have an abundance of young leg spinners right now and at 20 years old, Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson is the same age as Mason Crane who is already in the full England set up. As such, he may face a battle to make a breakthrough but there is something about Parkinson that makes him stand out from the crop.

Firstly, he gives it a ‘real rip’, imparting more spin on the ball and getting more turn than most of his peers, even on unhelpful surfaces. There’s a hint of aggression too and some good stats behind him, including a five wicket haul on debut that made him the youngest Lancashire batter to achieve this particular milestone.

Manchester duo aiming to stay ahead of the chasing pack

Posted on | October 12, 2017 | No Comments

The Premier League springs back into action this weekend and there’s some interesting matches for punters to weigh up.

The two Manchester clubs head into the weekend five points clear of the chasing pack, but they face very different tasks on Saturday.

United visit Anfield to take on Liverpool, while City host Stoke City, but both sides will be confident of recording their 7th victory of the season.

The Red Devils are currently seven points ahead of Liverpool after just seven games and they appear good value at 13/8 to take advantage of their opponent’s indifferent form.

The home side have the joint third worst defensive record in the Premier League, and it’s difficult to see them holding out for 90 minutes against the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.

Lukaku is priced at 13/10 to score at any time during the game and that looks a solid wager.

Table-topping City face a Stoke side who have given them some problems in recent times, but it would be a major shock if the 1/8 shots don’t win this weekend.

Stoke have recorded a victory and a draw in their last three visits to the Etihad Stadium and can be backed at 18/1 to spring a surprise on Saturday.

With United and City both fancied to continue their excellent form, Tottenham Hotspur will be desperate to break their Wembley hoodoo against Bournemouth.

Harry Kane has been on fire in recent weeks and is as low as 9/5 to score the first goal, but check out current football markets before wagering on the game.

A draw could be Bournemouth’s best hope of securing something from the fixture and that is available at 6/1.

Chelsea travel to Selhurst Park aiming to heap more misery on Crystal Palace.

The Eagles are still without a point and are yet to score this season, so the 17/2 on offer for a 3-0 victory for the Blues looks worth an interest.

Palace’s most likely route to success would be to frustrate the visitors and try to snatch a 1-0 win which is priced at 18/1.

Arsenal are now fifth in the table despite failing to score away from the Emirates Stadium this season.

They travel to a Watford side who are just a point behind in the table having lost once so far this term.

The Gunners should prove too strong for the home side and can be backed with confidence at 13/20 to claim the three points.

Burnley have been excellent away from Turf Moor this season, but their home form has been surprisingly less impressive.

Saturday’s visit of West Ham represents a decent chance of getting a victory on the board, but the Hammers look good value at 7/1 to secure a 1-0 win.

Swansea City have lost all three games at home this term and they’ll be eager to snap that streak at home to Huddersfield Town.

The Swans are 6/5 to register only their second win of the season, while the Terriers are 11/4 to continue their solid start to the Premier League campaign.
Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton kick-off Sunday’s games and the home side look a decent shout at 21/10 to pile more misery on the Toffees.

Pascal Gross has been in fine form for Brighton and is a tempting 9/2 to get on the scoresheet during the game.

Newcastle United have lost their last four games at Southampton, but Rafa Benitez’s side have proved hard to beat this season.

The Magpies look capable of keeping Southampton at bay and picking up a point at odds of 5/2.

The final game of the weekend is on Monday as Leicester City host West Bromwich Albion at the King Power Stadium.

Both sides have struggled for goals this season and a dour 0-0 draw would produce a tasty 17/2 return to round off this week’s fixtures.

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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Mayweather or McGregor?

Floyd Mayweather is the strong favourite to win according to the McGregor Mayweather odds when he goes face to face with Conor McGregor in what is being labelled as "The Money Fight". Mayweather is putting his undefeated streak on the line against the UFC’s Conor McGregor and is aiming to make it 50 wins from 50 fights. There is a huge amount of attention in the build-up to the fight and with that attention come the big bucks. Both fighters are set to make millions from the fight and we’ve taken some of the financial figures involved and created an infographic as seen below.

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