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08-Apr 2018 Sunday @ 8:04 PM (134 days ago)               #1
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The Football Games Which Fail to Entertain

Everton 0-0 Liverpool

The irony is that Everton fans probably would have accepted this result before kick-off.

Given their heroes last tasted success in the Merseyside derby in October 2010, given that they were torn apart on their own turf seven days ago, many in the blue half of Merseyside would have settled for a draw pre-match.

Yet on reflection, they won’t need football betting backers to tell them this was a glorious opportunity missed against much-changed opponents.

Not only were the 90 minutes of live betting at Goodison Park largely tame, but aside from a couple of flashpoints, we didn’t even have a feisty affair to compensate. There has rarely been any love lost when it comes to this fixture.

Indeed, in Premier League clashes between the two city rivals over the past 25 years, there have been 21 red cards (14 of them to Everton).

However, this was something of a bore draw.

On saying that, Liverpool should be happy with their afternoon’s work and a fine point in the middle of a heavy schedule.

Considering this was sandwiched between a Champions League double header against Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp was always likely to rest some key players.

This is, though, the strongest squad Liverpool have had for some time and they controlled long spells of the match before, understandably, tiring somewhat late on.

Confidence is key in football and the contrast between the two clubs was evident.

As early as the third minute groans could be detected from a minority of home fans, far from ideal for such a clash.

Victory would have been a perfect riposte for ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce who has unfairly been criticised by Evertonians, despite overseeing improvement since he took the helm in late November after the failed David Unsworth experiment.

But they were very much second best until applying pressure late on and, deep down, Allardyce will realise this was a great chance missed to end a run of 17 Merseyside derbies without victory (Liverpool have triumphed in eight meetings with the other nine encounters ending with honours even.)

Ultimately a day of frustration for Everton whose wait for a derby win goes on.

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08-Apr 2018 Sunday @ 8:07 PM (134 days ago)            #2
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Football Games Like This are Unforgettable

Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United

What a game!

What a turnaround!

No-one. Not any sports betting fan, not any commentator, not any mystic meg surely saw this coming!

At half-time, the betting odds were all about how many champions elect Man City would score in their procession to the Premier League crown.

The champagne was not just on order but on ice and City were all set to clinch English football’s top prize against their arch rivals.

As scripts go, it was the perfect day for anyone of a light blue persuasion.

Remarkably, by full-time, the only voices that could be heard were United fans.

As some City men lost their discipline, their frustration was understandable.

The match should have long been over by half-time as a header from skipper Vincent Kompany and a Ilkay Gundogan strike put them on the brink in a dominant showing against abject United.

Journalists up and down the country were eulogising, beginning to write their acclamations of the new champions of England.

Of course that will happen soon and, even after United’s stirring second half fightback, it could still have been their night to remember given the hosts twice hit the woodwork and forced David de Gea into a terrific save.

But from zero to hero: after a first half masterclass from City, this was Mourinho at his best.

Chris Smalling, castigated by many at half-time for his defensive display, proved the most unlikely of match-winners after Paul Pogba stunned the runaway leaders – and possibly some of his own fans – with a quick fire double.

Once Smalling completed the turnaround , City came close to levelling on three separate occasions and they certainly will wonder how they ended up losing this one.

In truth, they didn’t deserve too.

They will win the title of course and deservedly so (which makes the tears of some home fans at the full-time whistle most bizarre).

But this was United’s night – there was no way they, in Mourinho’s words, wanted to be ‘clowns’ at a party.

And what price Pogba now? Perhaps that one can be discussed between his agent and Guardiola!

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09-Apr 2018 Monday @ 8:22 PM (133 days ago)            #3
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Sensations and Shocks and Premier League Betting

The North West derbies took the headlines in the Premier League this weekend as Everton held Liverpool, and Manchester United produced a sports betting surprise with a sensational win, away to Manchester City.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the weekend’s top flight football games there was plenty more breath-taking drama and action.

Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Christian Eriksen scored a double to maintain Spurs’ momentum, while at the same time plunging Stoke into deeper trouble. The talented Dane scored a classy opener and then, after Mame Diouf had levelled, he beat Jack Butland with an in-swinging free-kick which evaded everyone, including the Potters’ keeper.

Chelsea 1-1 West Ham United

Cesar Azpilicueta had given the Blues the lead before the first half ends but Javier Hernandez gave Chelsea a nasty jolt, taking a pass from Marko Arnautovic and slamming it into the net to win an unlikely away point for the Hammers. A single point means Blues' chances of a top four spot are almost gone.

Arsenal 3-2 Southampton

Danny Welbeck hit a dramatic late winner in a five-goal thriller against the struggling Saints. The visitors took a shock lead, through Shane Long, but that prompted the Gunners into a response. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Welbeck put Arsenal ahead. Charlie Austin thought he’d grabbed the visitors a point until Welbeck struck on 81 minutes.

Leicester City 1-2 Newcastle United

What a win for Rafa Benitez’ Newcastle! The Magpies are in the top ten. Jonjo Shelvey scored his first of the season to set them on the way, but it was a brilliant lob by Ayoze Perez which won the game.Jamie Vardy grabbed a late consolation for the Foxes.

Watford 1-2 Burnley

Substitute Sam Vokes climbed off the bench and scored for Burnley within 30 seconds as the Clarets came from behind to register a fourth consecutive win. Roberto Peyeyra fired the Hornets ahead before Vokes’ rapid intervention and Jack Cork’s headed winner, just three minutes later.

Bournemouth 2-2 Crystal Palace

Comeback kings Cherries were at it again as they forced Crystal Palace into a draw.  Luka Milivojevic's brilliant free-kick put the visitors ahead before the end of the first half but hosts' substitute Lys Mousset leveled the score 20 minutes into the second half. Wilfried Zaha had put Palace ahead again 10 minutes after but the hosts came back in most stunning fashion as another substitute Joshua King score an 89th minute equaliser to ensure a point for his club.

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Huddersfield Town

The Seagulls gifted Huddersfield a lifeline after they went ahead when the Terriers’ keeper failed to keep out Solly March’s low shot. First Shane Duffy rolled a dreadful back pass into the path of a grateful Steve Mounie, who scored, and then Davy Propper got himself sent off as Brighton pressed for a winner.

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Swansea City

The Swans also picked up a valuable point in their hunt for survival after Jay Rodriguez had given the doomed Baggies the lead with his tenth of the season. But the hosts’ joy was short lived as Tammy Abraham headed home, on 75 minutes from Swansea’s first corner of the game.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 09-Apr-2018 @ 8:22 PM


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12-Apr 2018 Thursday @ 7:52 PM (130 days ago)            #4
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Football Games Now Offer Little Second Chance

After the excitement of Champions League in midweek is the return the other competition which creates the most drama and enjoyment (depending on which team you support and how your betting tips have fared!).

More crucial football games await, and one slip up can prove very costly at this stage of the season.

WEEK 34 SATURDAY:

Southampton vs Chelsea

The dress rehearsal for an FA Cup semi-final clash between the sides eight days later.

If you offered Mark Hughes a Premier League victory and Antonio Conte FA Cup success now, both men would probably take it.

Both sides were unfortunate last week: the Saints went down 3-2 at Arsenal and Chelsea were held at home by West Ham.

Antonio Conte looks like a dead man walking, and he will surely separate with outgoing champions Chelsea this summer.

Burnley vs Leicester City

The Europa League is very much in sight for Burnley.

The club’s fourth successive top-flight victory last weekend was something the club has not achieved for nearly 50 years.

Victory for the seventh-placed Clarets against the eighth-placed Foxes will all but seal the dream. Can the 2016 champions revive their challenge following a potentially damaging home defeat to Newcastle?

Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion

A fixture of such importance needs no introduction.

Brighton are inching closer to safety, but a tough May means they really need to get more points on the board quickly.

Palace should be confident in their ability to survive but must stop dropping points late on.

Huddersfield Town vs Watford FC

Likewise, Huddersfield need to get some more precious points on board.

Another tension-filled afternoon is likely at the John Smith's Stadium.

If David Wagner’s side wins, the Hornets may get drawn into a scrap in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Swansea City vs Everton

If Swansea do survive, Carlos Carvalhal should be lauded in Southwest Wales.

For his record of 19 points from 12 matches means the club should only need another half dozen to secure safety.

Everton could finish the season with five straight wins. Through little fault of his own, the discontent for Sam Allardyce amongst Evertonians would not dissipate.

WEEK 34 SUNDAY:

Liverpool vs Bournemouth

Liverpool’s epic Champions League success against Manchester City has the club buzzing and dreaming of Euro glory.

The Merseysiders will know who they face in the last four by the time Bournemouth arrive in town.

With the Cherries all but safe and with little to play for, this could be the perfect game for the hosts.

Newcastle United vs Arsenal

After their victory over Leicester last weekend, Toon boss Rafa Benitez said his side was close to the safety mark.

Indeed, an upturn in form – sparked by a February success against Man Utd – has come at the right time.

Arsenal travel to St James’ Park after a weary run of domestic and European games, so this could be a timely fixture for the Geordies.

Manchester United vs West Bromwich Albion

After their stunning comeback in the Manchester derby to deny City a title party, United are strong favourites against the Premier League’s bottom club.

The Baggies may have ended a run of eight consecutive defeats last time out, but they still have a 10-point gap to overhaul with only five games remaining.

Could this be the weekend they lose their top-flight status?

WEEK 34 TUESDAY:

West Ham United vs Stoke City

Do the maths! Another defeat for Stoke will surely consign them to the drop.

They haven’t improved since Mark Hughes was sacked and replaced by Paul Lambert in January – the Scot has only overseen one win in 10 matches in charge.

West Ham remain inconsistent but, under David Moyes, have had stand-out moments and are inching closer to safety.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 12-Apr-2018 @ 7:52 PM


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12-Apr 2018 Thursday @ 7:54 PM (130 days ago)            #5
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Can City End Their Terrible Week on a High?

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City

That is the question as the side making a run for the ‘best of the rest’ title welcome the champions in waiting.

Football games between these two sides have been thrilling in recent seasons and betting odds suggest another close contest once again.

But after a shocking seven days for Pep Guardiola, it’s possible their otherwise stellar campaign could fall even further flat at Wembley.

Let’s not forget, sports betting fans, that the runaway leaders are 13 points clear at the summit and will likely clinch the title within the next couple of weeks. Not to mention that they have already sealed League Cup success.

So the answer to anyone questioning their overall credentials is an emphatic no, even if Guardiola has been found wanting in Europe’s premier competition yet again despite spending a small fortune.

However, City’s wobble—not helped by Guardiola’s outburst which saw him sent to the stands in midweek—will not last for long and a win at Wembley will put them on the brink of a third title in seven seasons.

It was Spurs who inflicted a first league defeat on Guardiola in England last year and, with Harry Kane back from injury and eager to chase down Mo Salah in the race for the Golden Boot, they will be hungry.

They also want to secure runners-up spot for the third successive season. It should help that in recent weeks, there have been further glimpses of the pure class of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli while key players are seemingly returning at just the right time.

I started with a question and will finish with one.

Can Spurs inflict a fourth defeat in 10 days on the side about to be crowned champions or can City show their talent on the pitch and show mental strength in the face of adversity?

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18-Apr 2018 Wednesday @ 11:50 AM (124 days ago)            #6
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It’s City’s Title with a Big ‘Thanks’ to the Neighbours

Manchester City are Premier League Champions. A classy win over Spurs was enough to give Pep Guardiola’s team the title, thanks to West Brom pulling off a shock win at Old Trafford.

Football betting fans and experts have known for a while that it’s City’s season, but having lost three football games on the run, the Sky Blues’ celebrations have been delayed; but only for a week because West Brom defied the betting odds, and all conventional wisdom, to beat Manchester United.

Manchester United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

The Red Devils handed the title to City with a lacklustre display at home to doomed bottom club West Brom. Jay Rodriguez headed home to shock winner on 73 minutes to silence Old Trafford and give Sky Blue fans a weekend to remember. If the Baggies had played like this all season, they’d have been fine.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Manchester City

Manchester City showed exactly who’s boss with a resounding win at Wembley. Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan put the Sky Blues in charge before Christian Eriksen rode his luck to pull one back. Raheem Sterling restored the two-goal lead which ended City’s sticky run in style.

Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth

Mo Salah scored his 30th league goal of the season and the Reds coasted to an easy win over the Cherries who are already on holiday. Sadio Mane opened the scoring and Roberto Firmino scored a late third either side of Salah’s header, as Jurgen Klopp’s side remains unbeaten at home.

Southampton 2-3 Chelsea

Three goals in eight minutes turned embarrassment to delight for Chelsea, and hope to a relegation nightmare for the Saints. Dusan Tadic and Jan Bednarek put the hosts two up after an hour, but Olivier Giroud’s brace, which sandwiched Eden Hazard’s strike, turned the match on its head.

Newcastle United 2-1 Arsenal

The Magpies have hit the 40-point mark amid wild celebrations when Matt Ritchie smashed home on 68 minutes to complete a stunning comeback. Alexandre Lacazette had skilfully finished off a flowing Arsenal move on 14 minutes, but Ayoze Perez hit back before half-time to tee up a cracking second half.

Burnley 2-1 Leicester City

The Claret’s blew Leicester away in the first ten minutes to move just two points behind sixth placed Arsenal. Chris Wood and Kevin Long breached the Foxes’ defence before they had settled, and while Leicester dominated much of the remaining 80 minutes only Jamie Vardy could get past Nick Pope.

Swansea City 1-1 Everton

Jordan Ayew bagged a crucial late goal at the Liberty Stadium to inch the Swans a little closer to safety after a Kyle Naughton own goal had put the Toffees in front. The full back nodded into his own net so was mightily relieved when Ayew’s equaliser lifted Swansea five points above the 18th placed Saints.

Huddersfield Town 1-0 Watford

What a result for the Terriers and what a way to win it. Survival is within reach now after Tom Ince hit a dramatic winner in injury time to spark bedlam at the John Smith’s Stadium. Goals have been hard to come by for Huddersfield but 35 points is almost enough.

Crystal Palace 3-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

But not quite, I suspect, so there may be a few nerves jangling on the South coast as defeat to Palace leaves the Seagulls on 35. Wilfried Zaha scored twice in a five goal first half to ease the Eagles’ relegation fears as they climb to just a point behind Brighton.

Congratulations to Manchester City!

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 18-Apr-2018 @ 11:50 AM


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18-Apr 2018 Wednesday @ 12:21 PM (124 days ago)            #7
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The Big Men Star in Big Football Games

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West Ham United 1-1 Stoke City

Two giants of the English game took the headlines in a gripping battle at the London Stadium as West Ham fought back for a draw.

After 6-foot-7 Peter Crouch climbed off the bench to put Stoke ahead, there was live betting drama in the final minute of normal time when 6-foot-4 Andy Carroll hammered home the equaliser.

It’s a result that edges David Moyes’ team closer to safety but leaves the Potters in a perilous position, five points from safety and with the betting odds stacked against them.

In a tense battle, West Ham came out on the front foot with an explosive start but fizzled out as the first half unfolded. Virtually everything went through former Stoke man Marko Arnautovic, and he was a little unlucky not to score on 36 minutes after smashing his shot into Jack Butland’s face and away for a corner.

Stoke needed the points more and came out for the second half with purpose. Xherdan Shaqiri probed for an opening, but West Ham thought they’d gone ahead on 55 minutes when Arnautovic headed home only to be flagged offside. Then Edimilson Fernades thought he’d broken the deadlock for the Hammers, firing home from distance, but Arnautovic was adjudged to be interfering in an offside position again.

And it all looked like turning into a nightmare for the home fans when Peter Crouch was on the spot to poke home the opener after keeper Joe Hart spilled a shot, and that with just 11 minutes left on the clock.

But Carroll stepped up and fired his first-time shot beyond Butland into the corner to send the London Stadium into raptures. All smiles in the East End.

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18-Apr 2018 Wednesday @ 12:25 PM (124 days ago)            #8
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Six Great Days for Premier League Betting

Can you ever get too much football? Nope, me neither! And the Premier League has it all for us this week with football games everyday bar Monday.

You just can’t beat those big game nights under the floodlights, and we have some crackers, with the top four in action, a coronation for Manchester City and survival at stake for the strugglers. It all makes for a great week of online betting.

WEEK 35 WEDNESDAY:

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs had a football lesson at the weekend when Manchester City took over Wembley with some sublime football, so they’ll be keen to get back on track at Brighton. But the Seagulls could do with a result as they face the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Burnley in the next four.

WEEK 35 THURSDAY:

Bournemouth vs Manchester United

I hope Jose Mourinho has cheered up after a defeat to West Brom last Sunday. He wasn’t pleased by the suggestion that he’d gifted City the title, and his humour won’t be helped if the Red Devils struggle on the South Coast. The Cherries are a good attacking side and have lost just one of the last six at home so expect fireworks.

WEEK 35 FRIDAY:

Burnley FC vs Chelsea

The Clarets took a firm grip on seventh place with their fifth consecutive win, over Leicester, on Saturday. That will qualify them for a Europa spot unless Southampton win the FA Cup. Chelsea face the Saints in the semi-final on Sunday, so they may not be relishing a potentially bruising encounter at Turf Moor.

Leicester City vs Southampton

The Saints are in desperate trouble, five points from safety after surrendering a two-goal lead in a defeat to Chelsea at the weekend. However, they’ll know that league survival is more likely than a cup win, so I expect Mark Hughes’ team to give the eighth-placed Foxes a good fight.

WEEK 35 SATURDAY:

West Bromwich Albion vs Liverpool

Jay Rodriguez’ sensational winner against Manchester United has given the Baggies their pride back, but even a victory over Liverpool won’t have them believing they can survive. I suspect Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will give West Brom’s defence rather more of a torrid time.

Watford FC vs Crystal Palace

One point from five games might just have the Hornets fans sweating a little having looked safe all season. Palace, who seemed dead and buried when Roy Hodgson took over in the autumn, would leapfrog Watford with a win; and I wouldn’t bet against it.

WEEK 35 SUNDAY:

Manchester City vs Swansea City

It will be all smiles and celebration at the Etihad when the Champions parade their trophy in front of the Sky Blue faithful. Pep Guardiola’s stars have been head and shoulders above the rest, so the Swans will hope their hosts are too giddy on Sunday as they still need points to survive.

Stoke City vs Burnley FC

Burnley are in action again but have a rather different proposition when they make the journey south to Stoke. The Potters have had a wretched season and are anchored in the drop zone, but they will fight to the end and will be determined to avoid the Clarets completing a double.

WEEK 35 TUESDAY:

Everton vs Newcastle United

These two have been poles apart for much of the season: the Magpies struggling in a relegation battle while the Toffees have been underwhelming but stable in mid-table. But four wins for Rafa Benitez’ side mean they can leapfrog ninth-placed Everton with a win.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 18-Apr-2018 @ 12:25 PM


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18-Apr 2018 Wednesday @ 12:32 PM (124 days ago)            #9
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Is This More Capital Punishment for the Shaky Gunners?

Arsenal vs West Ham United

Arsenal welcome West Ham to the Emirates on Sunday, and everyone concerned with the Gunners will be dearly hoping for a regulation, and relaxing, win.

Losing last weekend to Newcastle was a blow to Arsenal and to many online betting players; and as football games come thick and fast, there is no let-up.

At betting odds of 1.55 on a home win, there should be no slip-ups. However, the Gunners have been decidedly flaky, at times, this season. Also, with the Europa League their only chance of Champions League football next year, the Premier League may not be such a high priority.

Arsene Wenger’s team could even be seventh when they welcome the Hammers as Burnley play earlier in the week. Surely that would be too much for the Emirates faithful to take, but three defeats and three wins in the last six league games isn’t the sort of form to give you great confidence.

With just 11 goals, Alexandre Lacazette is Arsenal’s top scorer; but it’s at the back where Arsene has his biggest problems. The Gunners have conceded 45 goals in the league, too many for a top side.

Five points from three games have lifted the Hammers to within a win of safety, in all probability. And they do carry an aerial threat in leading-scorer Marko Arnautovic and the returning Andy Carroll, while Javier Hernandez—with eight league goals—can be a real handful.

And David Moyes would love to inflict a little pain on a top six (or seven) side.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

This message was edited by SBOBET on 18-Apr-2018 @ 12:32 PM


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19-Apr 2018 Thursday @ 7:44 PM (123 days ago)            #10
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Enjoy the FA Cup Fun in the Sunshine

It’s FA Cup weekend and we have all the ingredients for a feast of knockout football: the sunny UK weather, three of the top sides in the UK, and a perennial underdog!

Semi-final football games, over the weekend, at the hallowed Wembley turf, is a dream for neutrals and sports betting enthusiasts; and boy, do we have two fantastic clashes on offer. Betting tips are shared between the three big sides, but in Southampton we have a brilliant outsider with form, having won the famous trophy as a second division side back in 1976 beating Manchester United.

FA Cup Semi-finals

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspurs

The Red Devils weren’t delighted with the draw which pitted them against Spurs on the Londoners’ home turf. However, they showed no sign of jitters when they stopped off on the South Coast to beat Bournemouth last night, with Romelu Lukaku bagging his 16th league goal of the season.

For Spurs, Harry Kane can take a day off from chasing Mo Salah for the Golden Boot and concentrate on trying to win Mauricio Pochettino his first piece of UK silverware. The Spurs frontman knows how important that is to his boss.

But the game may be won and lost by the suppliers. Christian Eriksen, who has been arguing with Kane over the latter’s bizarrely claimed goal against Stoke, is in fine form and won’t hesitate to feed his hungry friend again on Saturday. Meanwhile, United’s best player, Paul Pogba, blows red hot and ice cold.  So Spurs are at odds of 2.21 to advance with the Red Devils at 3.20.

Chelsea vs Southampton

Sunday’s semi is an odd sort of affair. The Saints are rank outsiders at 6.80 to proceed and, in all honesty, have bigger fish to fry as Mark Hughes’ side is in deep relegation trouble.

The FA Cup is everything to Chelsea now. It’s the only thing the Blues can win and, although they take a tough trip to Burnley before this Wembley clash, I suspect their focus will not be in East Lancashire. They must protect their prize asset Eden Hazard who could win this massive game on his own.

The Saints’ top man, Charlie Austin, is injured more often than fit, but he is the underdogs’ best chance to spring a shock and stop the Blues who are at odds of 1.49 to reach the final.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

This message was edited by SBOBET on 20-Apr-2018 @ 1:39 PM


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23-Apr 2018 Monday @ 2:51 PM (119 days ago)            #11
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Premier League Betting Works just Fine with the Big Guns

Top teams can cope on more than one front; and the Premier League’s giants showed just that this week.

The four FA Cup semi-finalists had difficult league football games to contend with and none were beaten. But there was a surprise for live betting fans at the Hawthorns as West Brom staged a dramatic comeback against Liverpool.

Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United

The Red Devils responded well to losing to West Brom at the weekend by recording a clinical win over Bournemouth. The Cherries more than matched their visitors in the first half, unlucky to go behind to Chris Smalling’s opener; but Romelu Lukaku secured the points to keep United in pole position for second place.

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Kane put Spurs ahead at the Amex just after half time. It was definitely his goal as he fired it in using his foot! But the Seagulls grabbed a deserved point when Izquierdo was fouled a minute later and Pascal Gross converted emphatically from the spot. Chris Hughton’s team inches closer to safety.

Burnley 1-2 Chelsea

Antonio Conte’s Chelsea demonstrated the size of the gap between the top six and the rest by ending Burnley’s winning run with a super display. They were helped on the way by a rare gaffe in the Burnley defence, defender Kevin Long bundling the ball past his keeper; and when Ashley Barnes fired Burnley level it took Victor Moses just five minutes to restore the Blues’ lead.

Leicester City 0-0 Southampton

This was an abject match between a Leicester side which looks like it’s already on the beach and the Saints’, in contrast, desperate for points. Who knows why the visitors didn’t throw the kitchen sink at it in the final quarter of the game, but they just didn’t and are in desperate trouble.

West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Liverpool

The Baggies produced a great fight-back to grab a point, but it isn’t enough to improve their tiny chance of survival. Danny Ings and, who else but Mo Salah with his 31st of the season, put the Reds in control. But a 79th minute goal from Jake Livermore and a late header from Salomon Rondon restored some home pride.

Watford FC 0-0 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace move 15th after a stalemate at Vicarage Road. In a disappointing first half the Eagles showed surprisingly little attacking intent; but they came to life in the second. First Luka Milivojevic crashed the crossbar and then Wilfried Zaha was booked for a penalty-seeking dive, but it was a close call. Palace are not safe yet.

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23-Apr 2018 Monday @ 4:26 PM (119 days ago)            #12
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So it’s Wembley Delight for the Reds and Blues

Manchester United and Chelsea will meet in the FA Cup final after the two giants triumphed in the semis.

Following two hard fought football games Jose Mourinho can look forward to taking on his first English love in a final to set the pulses racing. It’s sure to be a classic and a great game for football betting fans to enjoy.

Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

The Red Devils came from behind to beat Spurs after the London club had the best of the early exchanges. The Whites justified their status as betting websites’ favourites when they went ahead on just 11 minutes. Christian Eriksen teed up a glorious chance for Dele Alli, and the striker stayed on his feet to gleefully accept. As Spurs continued to press Harry Kane could have added to the score but his effort went inches wide.

But the game changed as United broke away from Spurs pressure and Paul Pogba crossed for Alexis Sanchez to nod home the equaliser. It was a big moment for the Chilean who had his best game for United. And the Reds stunned the Spurs crowd when Ander Herrera finished off a great move, just after the hour, to win the tie.

Jose’s already taking heat off his players; saying coming second in the league constitutes more success than FA Cup glory. Reallly? Mauricio Pochettino, who remains potless, may beg to differ.

Chelsea 2-0 Southampton

Chelsea eventually ran out comfortable winners, but it took 80 minutes to settle this tie. After a first half dominated by the Blues, in which Willian crashed the crossbar and Olivier Giroud came close twice, the Saints went in, amazingly, equal. But that lasted just 50 seconds of the second half when Giroud broke the deadlock with a touch of genius. The influential Eden Hazard fed the big man just inside the box, and in a Messi-like moment he evaded three tackles before poking the ball into the net to send the Blue half of Wembley wild.

Despite their superiority Antonio Conte’s men struggled to add to their lead, and Chelsea’s cup keeper, Willy Caballero, was brought into action to keep out a pile-driver from Nathan Redmond.

But it was game over when Alvaro Morata, a minute after replacing Giroud, headed home to settle the tie.

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25-Apr 2018 Wednesday @ 12:08 PM (117 days ago)            #13
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Gunners Show Love for Arsene with a Big Win

It was a happy Sunday at the Emirates as Arsenal hammered the Hammers in support of their departing coach Arsene Wenger.

Some of his players were close to tears when Arsene told them his 22-year tenure was ending. But betting websites are already thinking about the odds on Arsenal’s next manager, as well as Wenger’s next move. There will be no shortage of offers for the ‘Professor’, with football betting pundits picking PSG or the France national team as the likely destination.

Elsewhere, Manchester City smashed five past Swansea in a cracking result for their handicap betting fans!

Arsenal 4-1 West Ham United

So it’s all smiles after an explosive final eight minutes gave the Gunners a resounding win against West Ham.

Earlier, after Nacho Monreal had volleyed home the opener, Marko Arnautovic’s fierce finish hinted at an unhappy ending. Then up stepped Aaron Ramsey, whose cross evaded everyone to beat Joe Hart and prompt a final flurry, with Alexandre Lacazette grabbing a well-taken brace.

Manchester City 5-0 Swansea City

Well, this was some coronation, and the Swans could only stand by and admire.

David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus were all on target as the Champions put on a five-star display. The pick of the lot, though, was a 30-yard Kevin De Bruyne piledriver which Swans keeper Lukasz Fabianski heard fizz into the net before he saw it!

Stoke City 1-1 Burnley

The Potters slipped closer to the trapdoor after a nervous stalemate with Europe-chasing Burnley.

Badou Ndiaye gave the home fans hope with a deflected opener. However, Ashley Barnes followed up to score his sixth in eight games after Jack Butland had brilliantly saved a James Tarkowski header; and it was the Stoke keeper who preserved a point with his man-of-the-match performance.

Everton 1-0 Newcastle United

Everton took the honours in this mid-table clash, though it was telling that the best chance of the first half fell to home defender Phil Jagielka, only for him to volley over.

It took just five minutes of the second before Theo Walcott found space in the box to fire high into the net, with the Toffees’ first shot on target. While the Magpies fought back, it was the end of their four-match winning run.

Chelsea will play Huddersfield Town on 9th May.

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27-Apr 2018 Friday @ 12:43 PM (115 days ago)            #14
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When Your Time is Running Out Fast

The title may have been won and the likely destination of the European places seems clear, but there’s still plenty for sports betting fans to focus on with Premier League betting this weekend.

In fact, the outcome of some of these football games could even decide who survives and who loses their top-flight status.

Time and matches are running out fast.

WEEK 36 SATURDAY:

Liverpool vs Stoke City

After blowing away Roma in the Champions League semi-finals, Jurgen Klopp’s men can all but seal a top-four spot with a victory against Stoke.

At the same time, the Potters, without a win in 11 matches, must grab at least a point at Anfield if they are to realistically keep alive their fading survival hopes.

Four points from safety with three games to go, is boss Paul Lambert about to lose his proud record of keeping every club he has managed in the Premier League?

Burnley vs Brighton & Hove Albion

The maths are simple.

Should Burnley win, they are virtually in Europe next season. Should Brighton win, they are virtually safe.

It could be a tense afternoon at Turf Moor.

Crystal Palace vs Leicester City

With their Euro hopes all but over, 2016 champions Leicester City could see their season peter out over the closing weeks of the campaign.

Palace can’t afford that luxury but know victory will be a massive leap towards their own safety.

With Wilfried Zaha a constant threat and often a target for opposition challenges, his boss Roy Hodgson feels his star man was unfairly treated in last weekend’s goalless draw with Watford when he was booked for diving.

Huddersfield Town vs Everton

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Sam Allardyce, a better manager than many give him credit for.

He has done exactly what was required of him when appointed in late November. He has not only guided the Toffees to safety but lifted them up to eighth place in the table.

David Wagner and Huddersfield are clinging onto safety—which would be a fine achievement—but must take something from this with their final three matches all against sides in the top six.

Newcastle United vs West Bromwich Albion

Victory at Old Trafford and a stirring fightback against Liverpool have restored some pride to the Baggies and their supporters in recent weeks.

However, the stark truth is that West Brom are just days from relegation.

It will likely be confirmed against a Newcastle side which has so much to thank boss Rafa Benitez for.

Southampton vs Bournemouth

Like West Brom before them, the Saints have shown slight improvement under Mark Hughes.

Yet, anything other than victory in the South Coast derby and their six-year stay in the Premier League will be over.

How Bournemouth, who need another two points to be certain of safety themselves, would love to claim bragging rights.

WEEK 36 SUNDAY:

Swansea City vs Chelsea

Swansea welcome FA Cup finalists Chelsea to the Liberty Stadium four points above the drop zone.

To stave off relegation would be a fine achievement for Carlos Carvalhal, who has overseen a dramatic upturn in fortune during the second half of the campaign.

Deposed champions Chelsea have a slim chance of Champions League qualification and must return from Wales with maximum points to stay in the hunt.

West Ham United vs Manchester City

The Hammers are six points from the drop zone and David Moyes has done the job asked of him when appointed to succeed Slaven Bilic.

Can he now all but secure safety with a few matches to spare?

Newly crowned champions City will try and extend their run as they go in search of becoming the first Premier League side to claim 100 points in a season.

WEEK 36 TUESDAY:

Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford FC

After the disappointment of an FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United, Spurs go in search of a top three and, possibly, a third successive second-place finish.

That would be a fine achievement, especially given the club has had a temporary home at Wembley while White Hart Lane is redeveloped.

Watford have had travelling travails but should have done just enough during a season in which the Hornets’ managerial merry-go-round has continued apace.

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27-Apr 2018 Friday @ 4:17 PM (115 days ago)            #15
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It’s The End of the Ultimate Rivalry

Manchester United vs Arsenal

In many ways, it ended when Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Others will say it was a decade ago when the tension first dissipated, when Manchester United actually stopped having to worry about Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.

Either way, it’s been a while since the two men and two clubs were bonded by mutual antipathy.

One football betting certainty, however, is that football games between the two clubs have produced THE standout clashes in the first quarter-century of the Premier League and Premier League betting.

This weekend, the last vestiges of that ultimate rivalry of a generation will be played out.

That it is now Jose Mourinho in the Manchester United dugout – another opponent with whom there is some chequered history – is merely an added footnote to Wenger’s last time as a visiting coach at the Theatre of Dreams.

Wenger will likely receive a decent reception when he departs Old Trafford for the final time.

Home supporters may often have been far from complimentary about the Frenchman, soon to retire after 22 years in charge of the Gunners, but they will respect a rival whose talent made their own team raise their standards; whose innovation in football, diet and exercise helped change the English football landscape; and whose dignity has largely shone brightly (with a few notable exceptions).

If you are a football fan under the age of 30, chances are Wenger will be the only Arsenal manager you will have known.

That will soon change, and it’s the right decision if the club wants to start challenging regularly for the major honours once again.

Remember, this is a side which has not won the Premier League for 14 years and is 33 points adrift of the summit this time around as the campaign draws to a close.

However, first a time to say goodbye to the last man standing from the rivalry which shaped English football, which gave the game the ‘Invincibles’, which created Arsenal at their spellbinding best.

For all the slow decline (even though it brought three FA Cups in four seasons), his best years should be cherished and he deserves affection from even his harshest critics.

It’s time to say ‘Au Revoir Arsene’ at the ground where he fought many of his fiercest battles.

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30-Apr 2018 Monday @ 1:55 PM (112 days ago)            #16
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Now this was a Classy Goodbye

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal

It was always going to be about Arsene Wenger.

The Frenchman’s final visit to Old Trafford, the home of his bitterest of rivals during his near 22 years in England, was always going to be the sports betting story.

After all, football games between these clubs have literally offered everything during the Premier League era, particularly with Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm.

However, the betting odds on this clash adding yet another chapter to the epic tale were slim.

That is because the title race has long been over for Man Utd, while for Arsenal this fixture is sandwiched between Europa League semi-finals..

And so it proved on an afternoon in which goodwill emanated amidst a relaxed atmosphere.

Before kick-off, Wenger was greeted warmly by home fans and by Jose Mourinho who then introduced him to his ultimate old foe, reunited with Sir Alex Ferguson who presented him with a farewell gift. A classy touch from a classy club.

Once the action began, the goodwill continued as home fans applauded Wenger who had made clear his priorities by naming the youngest Arsenal starting 11 in a Premier League match since August 2011.

That occasion was also a visit to Old Trafford and Wenger won’t need reminding of what happened then. Yet there was never going to be a repeat of that 8-2 rout.

It only took the hosts 17 minutes to open the scoring mind whenPaul Pogba tapped the ball home after Alexis Sanchez’s goal-bound header had been diverted onto the post by Hector Bellerin.

The goodwill didn’t stretch to Sanchez, booed by the fans who sang his name before his January move to Old Trafford.

There was a warm reception though for former United players Danny Welbeck, who started on the bench here, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan whose classy touches were often at the heart of Arsenal’s best moments in a first half in which Pierre Emerick -Aubameyang had a chance to level.

The loss of the limping Romelu Lukaku four minutes into the second half was a blow for the home side who promptly introduced Marcus Rashford, the youngster who burst onto the Premier League scene with a debut double against the Gunners just over two years ago.

He had barely entered the fray when Mkhitaryan levelled with a fine finish against his former club with the Armenian international also showing class by refusing to celebrate against his ex-teammates.

The goal was deserved for the much-changed visitors and the game remained end-to-end.

Such was the inexperienced line-up they were facing, United would have been rightly criticised had they not won but, moments after substitute Marouane Fellaini hit the crossbar with a game-winning header in the 91st minute from a fine Ashley Young cross.

Old Trafford erupted as United secured a return to the Champions League next season.

A United winner in ‘Fergie time’ – the irony will not have been lost on Wenger on a day he said farewell to his arch rival and received the warm reception his legacy truly deserves.

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01-May 2018 Tuesday @ 5:01 PM (111 days ago)            #17
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Who is Your Sports Betting Money On?

That is the question after another dramatic weekend of Premier League action.

The betting odds have changed yet again on who can escape the drop.

Football games this weekend simply provided more permutations in a relegation battle which gets tighter by the day as the clock ticks down to the end of the season.

Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City

A decent point for Stoke City but one that is unlikely to be enough in their survival bid.

A third straight draw has given them a glimmer of hope as they prepare to face fellow strugglers Crystal Palace and Swansea.

Paul Lambert has an impressive record at Liverpool—the Champions League semi-finalists could be forgiven for having other matters on their mind—but Stoke, who rode their luck at times, remain 12 games without a win.

Burnley 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

A draw which eases both sides towards their respective targets.

One victory for Brighton in their final three matches should see them safe.

Burnley’s outside hopes of catching Arsenal are all but over but they are within touching distance of qualifying for the Europa League, which would be the Clarets’ first participation in Europe since the 1966-67 Fairs Cup.

Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester City

Roy Hodgson and Wilfried Zaha,  two men at the opposite end of the age spectrum but figures who, more than anyone, have surely guaranteed Crystal Palace their place in the Premier League next season.

Hodgson’s calm and experience has proved pivotal in turning the fortunes of the Eagles around, while Zaha—who opened the scoring and set up the second here—has been their shining light.

Marc Albrighton’s red card 10 minutes after the restart ended any hopes of a comeback by Leicester who found themselves two behind despite controlling spells of the first half.

This was a miserable day for a relatively upbeat campaign for the Foxes.

Huddersfield Town 0-2 Everton

Now Huddersfield have got it all to do.

With their final three matches against sides in the top six, this was one David Wagner would have targeted to claim a much-needed victory.

The Terriers will now need to pull a surprise out of the bagto avoid being drawn into a real scrap.

A good win for Everton as they try and cement eighth place in the table.

Sam Allardyce faced abusive chants and a protest banner from some Evertonians – they should be careful what they wish for and show some respect to a figure who has turned their campaign around.

Newcastle United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

Seven points from nine and the Baggies must only regret that they are quickly running out of games.

After victory at Old Trafford and a draw at home to Liverpool, West Brom returned from the North East with another three-point haul, courtesy of Matt Phillips’ goal just before the half hour.

Even wins in their final two matches is unlikely to save them, but caretaker boss Darren Moore must be giving himself a chance of leading the club next season, although it will probably be in the Championship.

Southampton 2-1 Bournemouth

Dusan Tadic is the hero of the south coast.

His double earned the Saints victory in the derby, Mark Hughes his first win since returning to the club and Southampton a lifeline in their bid to beat the drop.

An injury-time save from Alex McCarthy could yet prove the crucial moment in their escape bid.

Swansea City 0-1 Chelsea

After results earlier in the day, the last thing Swansea wanted was to concede early.

Cesc Fabregas’ fourth-minute strike was his 50th Premier League goal and gave the FA Cup finalists the early advantage.

And that was how it stayed as Swansea lost back-to-back matches for the first time since Carlos Carvalhal took over in late December.

West Ham United 1-4 Manchester City

Ultimately, a stroll in the park for the champions who just love playing at the London Stadium.

Goals from Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho, plus an own goal, sealed a 4-1 rout as City reached 100 league goals for the season.

Victory against the Hammers, who were shambolic defensively, means Pep Guardiola’s men have reached a century of top-flight goals quicker than any English side since Everton managed it in 32 games in 1932.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Watford

A routine win for Spurs as goals from England duo Dele Alli and Golden Boot-chasing Harry Kane saw off Watford.

It could and should have been more, although Watford could easily have found the net too.

A victory which puts Spurs within a point of third-placed Liverpool, with a game in hand.

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03-May 2018 Thursday @ 5:14 PM (109 days ago)            #18
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Can the Blues Really Wreck Liverpool’s Big Finish?

Chelsea vs Liverpool

There’s a lot going on in Liverpool at the moment… and a Sunday trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea is hardly a walk in the park at any time!

It seems unlikely, but with the Reds concentrating on Champions League matters, as they're now in the finals to face Real Madrid, Chelsea could cast some doubt over Liverpool’s seemingly rock-solid Top Four place in the Premier League. The betting odds are stacked against Liverpool dropping to fifth; but Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have had some pretty big football games to contend with, while Antonio Conte’s Chelsea have been picking up points in Swansea and Southampton.

SBOBET’s handicap betting offer has Chelsea as marginal favourites to win on Sunday at 2.26, with the draw at 3.10 and Liverpool at unusually long odds of 3.30. And if the game goes to form there could be some (small) shockwaves reverberating around Merseyside. The Reds arrive in West London from Rome, where they had a huge Champions League clash with Roma, hardly ideal preparation for such an important domestic test.

In battles between Chelsea and Liverpool, there are no instant sports betting favourites
It's a clash of the best Premier League scorers as Chelsea and Liverpool meet this weekend

Fans will get to see two of the best players in the world in action: Player of the Year and Golden Boot elect Mo Salah, and Chelsea’s mercurial genius Eden Hazard. Much will depend on whether Salah plays as he has all season, or fluffs his lines as he did against Stoke last time out.

After a stop-start season, Chelsea are now in the FA Cup final and on a run of four consecutive wins in all competitions. If they win their last three, not inconceivable, then Liverpool will need to beat Brighton on the final day to hold the Blues at bay.

And their last two league games? Draws with the league’s bottom two sides, West Brom and Stoke.

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03-May 2018 Thursday @ 5:32 PM (109 days ago)            #19
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The Big Five are Still so Hot for Football Betting!

The major powers of Europe have flexed their muscles, with four of the big five league titles already snapped up by the giants of the game.

Barcelona, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and PSG have been crowned champions of the lands they survey, and the football odds on Serie A’s Juventus joining them are shortening by the day. But there’s plenty to entertain football betting fans as the lesser mortals up and down the leagues fight for European recognition, and some, their very survival in the top flights.

La Liga

Having dominated right from the off it’s Barca’s league once more, with 32-goal Lionel Messi leading the way. But how the Catalans must be wishing they could have held on to a three goal lead against Roma. With a domestic double completed, Ernesto Valverde’s side must feel like they threw away a golden chance to win the Champions League, too.

This weekend it’s El Clasico, arguably the biggest derby in world football, and a chance for Real Madrid to keep the pressure up on Atletico for second place. But it’s a big ask at the Camp Nou, where Barca are favourites at 1.89 with a -0.75 goal handicap and Los Blancos at 2.04 with that start. Both Madrid clubs will join Barca in next season’s Champions League, along with Valencia, while Villarreal and Real Betis look good for Europa qualification.

At the bottom, it’s a done deal with Malaga, Las Palmas and, most surprisingly Deportivo La Coruna on the way out.

Premier League

With Manchester City crowned Champions, one of the most intriguing battles in the Premier League is an individual tussle for the golden boot. Player of the Year Mo Salah is four ahead of Harry Kane, but the Spurs man is keen. He only needs the ball to brush his leg hair on its way in to claim the goal; such is his hunger to prove he’s as good as Mo!

Spurs will likely join Liverpool and Manchester United in the Champions League places, unless Chelsea can make up a five point gap. The Blues will probably have to be happy with Europa football, along with Arsenal and Burnley.

18th-placed Southampton have the best chance of escaping the bottom three, at the expense of either Swansea or Huddersfield, who have a shocking run-in. If the Saints fail, coach Mark Hughes may get the blame for taking two clubs down, as his former team Stoke looks pretty much doomed along with West Brom!

Serie A

Serie A is in Juventus’ hands, four points clear of Napoli and the Bianconeri is a clear favourite on betting sites to win a seventh successive Scudetto. There’s a big race in Serie A for the mantle of top scorer, with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile, on 29 and Inters’ Mauro Icardi on 27, hoping to fire their teams to Champions League qualification. Roma is in there too and Inter has the most ground to make up, four points behind the Rome duo.

Atalanta and Milan are chasing for a Europa place, while at the bottom, with Hellas Verona set to join Benevento through the trap-door, it looks like a three-way battle for survival between Chievo, SPAL and Cagliari, though Crotone and Udinese aren’t safe quite yet.

Napoli and Juventus will play their final two football games of the season at the same time
Napoli suffered a nervous collapse after they all but threw away their hopes of winning the Serie A title

Bundesliga

It’s hard to recall when Bayern won the league it’s that long ago, and Jupp Heynckes’ men will be gutted they went out of the Champions league to Real Madrid. But six Bundesligas on the bounce is some achievement.

Beneath the champions, there’s a battle royal going on for European qualification, and in the depths, a tense finale looming in the relegation fight. That’s where you can find the best football bets. Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim are fighting it out for the final Champions League place, while anyone down to Hertha Berlin, in tenth, can still qualify for Europa football.

Cologne are down, and the remaining relegation places are likely to be filled by Hamburg and Wolfsburg, but Mainz and Freiburg aren’t out of the woods yet.

Ligue 1

PSG have regained the crown as King of France, with the form of league top scorer Edinson Cavani pivotal to their success. Kylian M’Bappe is trying to persuade Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante to join him in Paris as the revolution gathers pace.

But, in the meantime, the form team is Lyon, with seven league wins on the run catapulting them into second place and pole position for Champions League qualification. Monaco and Marseille are also in the frame and just two points separate the three teams with two places available.

It’s any two from six to join Metz in a fall to Ligue 2, with Lille, Troyes, Toulouse and Strasbourg in the most peril.

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03-May 2018 Thursday @ 5:42 PM (109 days ago)            #20
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What Gives you the Best Odds of Survival?

That is the million pound question. Well, I guess it’s nearer £100 million when you think of the cost of dropping out of the EPL, the richest league in world football.

Unthinkable for fans, coaches, owners and, hopefully, your players; relegation to the Championship can spell disaster; not only in terms of loss of money, but also, as everyone in the football betting world knows, England’s second tier is one difficult league to get out of, at the right end in any case!

So how do you ensure your mob has the best odds of staying out of trouble? You could maybe ask Sean Dyche. Burnley were widely tipped to be in a relegation scrap but have been nowhere near, and the small Lancashire town is heading on a European tour.

But who is still in the mire?

WEEK 37 SATURDAY:

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United

Chris Hughton hasn’t done a bad job either. His Seagulls, in their first season of Premier League football, have all but completed the task of winning a second chance. Five points above the drop zone, with three games remaining, isn’t enough to give their excitable fans a relaxing week though, and the visit of Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils might just leave Brighton with a bit more to do. Jose has his sights firmly set on second place, and while Pascal Gross and Jose Izquierdo have the trickery to keep a defence on its toes, Brighton hasn’t troubled United this season, losing in both the league and the FA Cup, without beating David De Gea.

Stoke City vs Crystal Palace

Potters' homefield is a hostile place to go, but club's fans will have to be at their best if they are to lift Stoke out of a near impossible position. Stoke haven’t won in 12 attempts and are pretty much nailed on to join the Baggies in the Championship, but you wouldn’t know that to listen to Paul Lambert. The Stoke boss has been upbeat after every setback. Meanwhile, the Eagles have every right to be optimistic, up in 11th after three wins in six; they can prepare for another season in the Premier.

West Bromwich Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur

Darren Moore has done an incredible job since taking the reins at the Hawthorns, winning eight points in four games. But betting odds and conventional wisdom tell us the Baggies should have appointed him two months earlier! Meanwhile, with a Top Four place looking reasonably safe and nothing else to play for, Spurs thoughts are on whether Harry Kane can repeat his amazing feat of scoring seven in the last two games of last season. He’ll probably need to if he is to win the Golden Boot as, at the moment, he’s four goals behind Mo Salah who has 31.

So it’s the Baggies versus King Harry. Which way is your football bet going?

Soccer betting odds suggest defeat this week could leave Swansea staring down the barrel of a return to the Championship
With just a point away from the relegation trapdoor, Swansea City aim to beat Bournemouth

Bournemouth vs Swansea City

The Cherries don’t have a lot to get excited about. I’m not saying Eddie Howe’s men rolled over for the Saints last week, but the pebbly Bournemouth beaches, with fresh fish served in the ocean-side bars and restaurants will be a distraction before too long! So the question is, can the Swans take advantage? Carlos Carvalhal worked wonders on his arrival, but two points from five leaves his team clearly in the Saints’ sights.

Leicester City vs West Ham United

And if the Swans can get something on the South Coast then it’ll be squeaky bum time for the Hammers, who are only three points above the drop after back-to-back 1-4 defeats. They take a trip to Leicester, on paper a difficult place to go, but the Foxes have recently had a strange approach with their coaches. In ninth place, some fans are hoping for yet another change.

There’s no pleasing some folk!

Watford FC vs Newcastle United

So Vicarage Road may be the place to go for a relaxing time this weekend, and it seems like the Hornets have been taking it easy for some time! They haven’t won in seven but with 38 points they’re surely safe…aren’t they? Rafa Benitez has done a great job at Newcastle and has every chance of keeping the Geordies in the top ten.

WEEK 37 SUNDAY:

Everton vs Southampton

Will the Saints survive? Well, a crucial win over Bournemouth last week has given Mark Hughes some hope. Dusan Tadic scored a brace to take him to six for the season, one fewer than the perpetually crocked leading scorer Charlie Austin. Southampton are still in the hunt for survival and will take heart from the fact that Everton have little to play for, and have won only one of their last three at home. But does Big Sam ever give anything away?

Manchester City remain heavy favourites of football betting odds
Huddersfield Town are in need of points to keep the distance between them and their relegation rivals

Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town

I really fear for Huddersfield. Not just this weekend at the Etihad, although that could get messy. The champions are keeping themselves and their fans entertained by seeing just how many points and goals they can rack up. Nine points and 12 goals from the last three games is enough to put the wind up the most fearless of Terriers. Huddersfield have made a superb effort this season, but if the Swans and Saints get a win each then it could be curtains for the Yorkshiremen.

Arsenal vs Burnley

It’s Arsene Wenger’s last home league game at the Emirates and his team would dearly love to give him the send-off he wants, but they’ll have to pick themselves up quickly after a massive Thursday Europa date in Madrid. And if you want an easy ride after a tough week then Burnley is just about the last team you would hope to see rolling up. The seventh placed Clarets will get in your face, that's for sure!

Betting odds favour Arsenal over Burnley this weekend
Burnley manager Sean Dyche looking forward to Wenger's final home game as Arsenal manager

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09-May 2018 Wednesday @ 10:20 AM (103 days ago)            #21
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Stoke is Right Down as Super Eagles Fly to Safety

Stoke City 1-2 Crystal Palace

Two second half goals guaranteed Roy Hodgson’s Eagles Premier League survival, but it meant misery for Stoke who head to the Championship.

After Xherdan Shaqiri gave the Potters a first half lead, home fans hoped their heroes could defy betting odds with a daring escape, but if they backed Stoke with their football bets it was double trouble.

Palace had won six of the nine previous Premier League football games between these two, but for a while it seemed the Potters would keep alive their hopes of prolonging a ten-year stay in the Premier League.

The first half was a nervous affair short on quality, though Joe Allen was at his industrious best at the heart of Stoke’s midfield; and the first big chance came on 22 minutes when Xherdan Shaqiri crossed for Mame Biram Diouf who glanced his header agonisingly wide. But the roof came off the Stadium minutes before half time, when Shaqiri won a free-kick, and then hit a peach into the top corner, with a little help from Ruben Loftus Cheek’s deflection.

It was always going to be a torturous second half for Stoke fans and, after Palace began to take control, Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha causing panic in the Stoke defence, it was no surprise when the Eagles drew level. James McArthur was the unlikely finisher of a sweeping attack which silenced the Stoke faithful, knowing they had to climb the mountain again.

But they never even made base camp, as Palace looked the more likely to score, Zaha and Christian Benteke missing good chances. And then, with five minutes on the clock Patrick Van Aanholt finally put the Potters out of their misery.

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09-May 2018 Wednesday @ 10:21 AM (103 days ago)            #22
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Now Can You Really Believe That?!?

If it’s any consolation, I was struggling to get my head round it all at times.

Some of these football games had so much drama, I wonder what those with a nervous disposition made of the live betting excitement.

And still, there are no sports betting certainties as far as relegation and the remaining Champions League places are concerned.

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Manchester United

Mission accomplished for the Seagulls!

A point would have been enough to guarantee survival, three points was a bonus and clinched the club’s first victory against Man Utd since 1982.

A missed opportunity for some of United’s under used players to stake their claim for an FA Cup Final place.

Bournemouth 1-0 Swansea City

It is still in Swansea’s hands - just!

What a crucial and nail-biting week it could now be in south Wales as they host two matches which will determine their topflight future.

This defeat, inflicted by a deflected Ryan Fraser strike eight minutes before the break, cemented another fine campaign for Bournemouth under Eddie Howe.

Leicester City 0-2 West Ham United

When they needed it most, West Ham got the points which should see them safe.

In truth, Leicester were welcome opponents as the Foxes slumped to a fourth defeat in five matches which has put unnecessary pressure on boss Claude Puel after he had made great strides with the 2016 champions.

For a number of weeks, they’ve had little to play for and it showed as David Moyes’ men emerged victorious thanks to goals from Joao Mario and skipper Mark Noble.

Watford 2-1 Newcastle United

Another season of managerial upheaval but the club’s owners will tell you it has paid off.

The Hornets are safe and can now look forward to a fourth successive season in the top flight.

This was their first victory since March 3 and a first win in eight after first half goals from Roberto Pereyra and Andre Gray.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Would you believe it?!?

West Brom were seconds from finally accepting what everyone has long been waiting for. Yet suddenly, the Great Escape could be on.

The Hawthorns exploded when Jake Livermore forced the ball over the line in stoppage time against his old club and lifted the Baggies off the bottom for the first time since January.

Everton 1-1 Southampton

Would you believe it Part Two!

With seconds to spare, West Brom were down again and the ecstasy of two and a half hours earlier was about to turn to agony.

Then, with the last kick of the game, Tom Davies’ shot took a deflection and nestled in the back of the net.

On the day Everton fans voiced their disapproval at the way the club is run – owner, manager, players et al – their protests were completely overshadowed.

Southampton are out of the drop zone but could that late leveller, in the sixth minute of stoppage time, prove a psychological killer?

Manchester City 0-0 Huddersfield Town

On a day of celebration for champions Man City, how important could this point be for Huddersfield?

City deserved their special day in what could yet be a record-breaking campaign.

The Terriers’ dogged display could be the difference between safety and falling into the drop zone over the next seven days.

Arsenal 5-0 Burnley

A fitting end to Arsene Wenger’s home reign.

There was no way Burnley were being allowed to spoil his home farewell.

The curtain came down on his 1,233 match Arsenal career with a five-star display.

It was an emotional day for the Frenchman as the club he admits to ‘cherish’ bid him ‘Merci’.

A deserved guard of honour for a man whose loyalty and legacy will never be forgotten.

Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool

Chelsea simply had to win to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League – and they did!

Olivier Giroud scored the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge just past the half hour mark.

A boost for the FA Cup finalists who are showing some return to form.

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10-May 2018 Thursday @ 1:40 PM (102 days ago)            #23
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Premier League: Time for Manchester United to Finish the Job

West Ham United vs Manchester United

The Red Devils have been second for much of the season. Now, they can rubber stamp the spot and the Champions League qualification that goes with it.

Manchester United visit West Ham and former boss David Moyes at the London Stadium in their final away game of the Premier League season. And although Jose Mourinho's side is coming off a surprising defeat to Brighton, football betting sites largely back them to get that precious point they need to fend off the runners-up chasers.

Talking Points

A second-place finish would be the Red Devils' highest finishing position in five years. They haven't cracked the top two since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, during which they topped the English top flight.

Now, Mourinho and co. are just a point away from securing the spot for good. Fourth-placed Tottenham still have an outside chance of getting the runners-up spot if they win their final two games and Man United lose theirs, but that looks impossible now.

Football betting sites are all backing up Anthony Martial to step up and lead Manchester United against West Ham
Anthony Martial in action against Arsenal at Old Trafford

United are nursing key injuries to Romelu Lukaku and winter signing Alexis Sanchez. While the two are making great progress on their recovery, they aren't expected to play in their remaining league games as the club prepares them for the FA Cup final with Chelsea.

With that said, Mourinho is likely to rely on Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford for goalscoring. The Portuguese manager made an indirect criticism to the two youngsters last week for their poor performance against the Seagulls, so they will surely be motivated to bounce back and prove themselves.

On the other hand, for West Ham, they'll be playing with less pressure having assured their safety with a win over Leicester City last week.

It could still be an important game for Moyes though, especially with his future up in the air. The Scot manager, who was in charge of United after Sir Alex's retirement, needs a statement win here and a perfect ending to the season to have any hope of saving his job as Hammers coach.

West Ham's top brass are reportedly waiting for the dust to settle first before deciding Moyes' future with the club. Hence, it's undoubtedly a challenge for the 55-year-old to show them he can guide the club in the right direction.

History

This meeting is a repeat of their season opener back in August, though that's an event the Hammers would want to forget. Manchester United opened the 2017-18 Premier League season on a high note by thrashing West Ham 4-0. Romelu Lukaku scored a double back then while Paul Pogba and Martial chipped in a goal each.

In hindsight, that result could have been a sign of bad things to come for West Ham under Slaven Bilic. The team only won twice in 11 games under the Croatian boss before West Ham pulled the trigger and sacked him, immediately replacing him with Moyes.

David Moyes eyes to surprise football betting sites by leading West Ham to victory against Manchester United
David Moyes looks disappointed following West Ham United's 1-4 defeat against Manchester City

West Ham, of course, are different now than the team that Manchester United took down. Moyesy, despite all the struggles and inconsistencies, did well to give the Hammers another year at the top flight.

It should also help the Hammers that they'll be playing at home where they have been playing solidly over the past few months, recording only two defeats out of eight league matches this 2018.

For what it's worth though, West Ham haven't beaten any of the top-four teams this year, with their best result a 1-1 draw with Tottenham last January.

What are the odds?

Despite the huge deficit in their previous meeting, football odds on online gambling sites suggest a tight affair between them. West Ham are given a +0.75 start that pays at 1.86, while Manchester United are at 2.07 with that handicap.

Over 2.75 is at 2.17 while Under 2.75 pays at a paltry 1.75, which goes to show that a repeat of Man United's four-goal win is unlikely—at least according to online bookmakers.

However, with West Ham predicted to be aggressive given their position, a draw is a possible result. After all, Mourinho would be happy with such result given that all he needs is a stalemate—and the point that comes with it—to finish the job.

A 1X2 Draw pays at odds of 3.40, with a First Half 1X2 Draw giving a modest 2.15.

Other match-ups to watch

Week 31

  • Tottenham Hotspur vs Newcastle United (May 10, 03:00 GMT+8): The Spurs are only a point behind Liverpool and will overtake them with a win over the Magpies. Tottenham won their first meeting with two unanswered goals.

Week 35

  • Chelsea vs Huddersfield Town (May 10, 02:45 GMT+8): The Blues are having a late resurgence, having won their last four league outings. A win over the Terriers will level them with Liverpool on points.

 

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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10-May 2018 Thursday @ 1:46 PM (102 days ago)            #24
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So Are You Ready For This Finale?

So, this is it!

After nine nail-biting months, 37 matches and numerous talking points, the final football games in the most exciting league in the world are about to be played out.

A last chance for 2017-18 live betting, a final chance to consider the betting odds in the most compelling league in the world—until August anyway!

Most of the main places and prizes have been determined, but there’s still a few which will be determined on the last day.

Where will your focus be as the teams reach 3,420 minutes plus stoppages?

WEEK 38 SUNDAY:

Burnley vs Bournemouth

In the words of manager Sean Dyche, ‘Arsenal really turned up’ against his side last weekend.

However, that 5-0 defeat in Arsene Wenger’s home farewell does not detract from a fine season for the Clarets in which they qualified for European football for the first time since the mid-1960s.

Dyche is my choice for manager of the year and deserves all the accolades he receives for guiding this proud club into Europe.

Seventh place is a magnificent achievement, and there should be a party atmosphere at Turf Moor against a club and manager who have also achieved against the odds.

Of course, both used to manage the other side too!

Crystal Palace vs West Bromwich Albion

With reputation fully restored after the embarrassing end to his England tenure, Roy Hodgson can enjoy this occasion.

That it is against the club he managed before taking the England job in 2012 will not make it sweeter, however.

West Brom have finally succumbed to the drop, despite somehow taking their survival bid into the last week against the odds.

Huddersfield Town vs Arsenal

When I think of this fixture, I think of the late, great Herbert Chapman. The man who steered both clubs to championship glory in the 1920s and 30s.

They have both taken very different paths since then. In fact, even then, Huddersfield were much smaller and, ultimately, unable to keep hold of Chapman from the bright lights of a city club.

Now, as Arsenal say farewell to Arsene Wenger—the only manager to be more successful at the club than Chapman—Huddersfield can celebrate securing safety in the top flight.

Liverpool vs Brighton & Hove Albion

The permutations are simple.

Liverpool need to draw to be sure of a place in next season’s Champions League.

Just like their final match of last season, they have a home match against strugglers and should secure at least fourth place.

For Brighton, it is a day to enjoy with survival secured and the pressure off. Chris Hughton and his players also deserve praise in their first top division campaign since 1982/83.

Manchester United vs Watford

A chance for Man Utd to cement the second place, a position that would mark genuine progress after last year’s sixth spot.

Of course, silverware is the main barometer at a club like United so it will be interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho selects ahead of next week’s FA Cup Final.

Watford can enjoy the day, safe in the knowledge they have a fourth straight Premier League campaign to look forward to.

Newcastle United vs Chelsea

That the toppled champions go to St. James’ Park with a chance of returning to the Champions League next season seemed out of reach a few weeks ago.

Yet, a winning run of four successive victories was halted by Huddersfield in midweek and Antonio Conte’s side seems set to miss out for the second time in three seasons.

Newcastle can reflect on a fine season under Rafa Benitez.

However, as he prepares to face one of his former teams, owner Mike Ashley will no doubt be reminded by the home faithful that he needs to be backed financially this summer if the club is to progress.

Southampton vs Manchester City

All to play for (in one sense).

Can the Saints stay up (probably) and Mark Hughes become a hero, just two months after taking charge?

Can champions Man City become the first Premier League club to finish the season on a century of points?

One suspects an intriguing afternoon awaits at St Mary’s.

Swansea City vs Stoke City

This could be the venue for a tense afternoon too.

Swansea must win big to have any hope of ensuring Carlos Carvalhal’s place in club folklore.

Failure to get a positive result and they will likely be joining Stoke in the Championship next season.

It’s a hell of an ask to reverse a nine-goal swing, even if results go their way.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City

Spurs say farewell to Wembley where they adapted better than many expected despite a slow start.

However, there is no place quite like home and a return to the new White Hart Lane next season can only help the club, though speculation over Mauricio Pochettino’s future needs to be quashed quickly.

Leicester could do without similar rumours about Claude Puel’s future and could do with some consistency at the top—granted three wins in 13has hardly helped his cause.

West Ham United vs Everton

The reverse fixture in late November came on the day Sam Allardyce was appointed Everton manager.

He promptly sat in the stands and saw his side thrash the Hammers 4-0, helped by a Wayne Rooney hat-trick including one strike from inside his own half.

How former Everton boss David Moyes would love to avenge that scoreline as they round off their campaign.

Moyes has lost all five times he has managed against the Toffees since leaving them in 2013.

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14-May 2018 Monday @ 8:13 PM (98 days ago)            #25
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So was the Last Day Drama in Short Supply?

Of course it wasn’t!

There may not have been any major surprises but there was certainly lots of excitement as we bid farewell to the English Premier League 2017/18.

Over nine months your football games have thrilled legions of football betting fans and provided drama, controversy and culture – sometimes in equal measure.

The betting odds rarely lie but that doesn’t mean they can’t be upset.

For last day palpitations, read on, dear friend.

Burnley 1-2 Bournemouth

Has there been a better acquisition this season than the club record £15 million Burnley parted with to snap up New Zealand frontman Chris Wood?

His goal set a party atmosphere in full swing at a relaxed Turf Moor.

As Wood became the club’s top scorer this season to celebrate their return to European football next term, it was telling that here was a match-up between two talented young managers, Sean Dyche and Eddie Howe, who will now become the longest serving managers in the top flight with Arsene Wenger bowing out.

Josh King and Callum Wilson, in the dying seconds, earned Bournemouth the victory to secure another fine season for Howe, too.

Crystal Palace 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

At Selhurst Park, fans said a big thank you to veteran boss Roy Hodgson for guiding Crystal Palace to safety and ultimately, an 11th place finish – few would have predicted that in the autumn.

How fitting that on the final day of the season Hodgson’s star man, Wilfried Zaha, opened the scoring 20 minutes from time before Patrick van Aanholt made the game safe.

A disappointing end to the campaign for West Brom as they eventually finish bottom, despite an upturn in form under caretaker coach Darren Moore.

Huddersfield Town 0-1 Arsenal

As both sets of fans showed their respect to Arsene Wenger, it was his final signing in a near 22-year Arsenal career who had the final word.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the only goal to end Wenger’s North London adventure with a victory.

It also halted the Gunners’ record of seven straight Premier League away defeats in the calendar year – the first time they’ve suffered that since 1966.

On a day Huddersfield celebrated their survival, football celebrated the work of Arsene Wenger.

Liverpool 4-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

Liverpool will be back in the Champions League next season – regardless of how they fare in this season’ competition final.

This victory, inspired by footballer of the year Mo Salah, was so one-sided that Brighton – already safe – were playing a damage limitation game from the first whistle.

Salah – who else – opened the scoring to become the first player to score 32 goals in a 38 match Premier League season.

That was just reward for early pressure, as the Egyptian king ran the show.

Dejan Lovren headed in the second, Salah set up Dominic Solanke for the third and his first Premier League goal and Andrew Robertson – with his first Liverpool goal – then completed the rout.

Liverpool were dominant, Brighton relieved the scoreline didn’t affect them as they can look forward to successive top-flight seasons for the first time in 35 years.

Manchester United 1-0 Watford

A guard of honour greeted Michael Carrick, a terrific servant and influence for Manchester United during his 12 years at the club.

An equally warm reception greeted the midfield man as he left the fray moments before the end to a deserved standing ovation from all four corners of the ground.

During a career in which England’s loss (he only has 33 caps) has become Man Utd’s gain, he retires to become a club coach with five Premier League titles, a Champions League triumph, one FA Cup success (who knows, perhaps another is to come next weekend) and three League Cup winning medals in his locker.

On a low-key afternoon, the Premier League runners-up won with a goal created by Carrick–ultimately, Juan Mata unselfishly teed up Marcus Rashford who couldn’t miss.

Newcastle United 3-0 Chelsea

A day to remember for Newcastle, a day to forget for Chelsea.

Who knows, perhaps even an FA Cup victory would not be enough to spare Antonio Conte his job.

We will know soon enough.

This was a sweet victory for Rafa Benitez at a jubilant St James’ Park - Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez (two) the marksmen in a season in which the Toon have defeated Man Utd,

Arsenal and now Chelsea at home.

Southampton 0-1 Manchester City

In scenes akin to a title winning goal, Gabriel Jesus’ last-gasp intervention meant so much to Man City.

Players and fans celebrated together as the young Brazilian coolly finished to clinch 100 points for the runaway champions.

Pep Guardiola and his stars were mobbed as the record breakers capped a superb season.

Credit on the day to Southampton and Mark Hughes who has guided them to safety.

Credit all season to the best team in the country.

Tottenham Hotspur 5-4 Leicester City

Games are rarely as thrilling as this.

A third consecutive top-three finish for Tottenham who will begin next season with another Champions League adventure to look forward to in their new stadium

On the afternoon Jamie Vardy proved his talents yet again this was, in an attacking sense, like the Foxes’ title winning side of two years ago – Vardy and Riyad Mahrez teaming up superbly and the talented (but inconsistent) Kelechi Iheanacho showing why Leicester have since paid £25 million to secure his services.

Three times they took the lead, three times Spurs fought back, Gazza danced in the stands and Harry Kane netted the winner.

Also mention of Erik Lamela who scored his first league goal for nearly two years and, like buses, added a second within 11 minutes.

What a contest!

West Ham United 3-1 Everton

So 13th place for West Ham and eighth position for Everton.

The way the visiting fans chanted about Sam Allardyce suggested he will not be at the club for much longer (imagine where they would be had he not taken charge in late November).

In contrast, West Ham fans gave their players a warm send-off on their lap of honour, yet whether David Moyes will still be at the club next season is also debatable.

He enjoyed his first victory against his former club thanks to goals from Manuel Lanzini (two) and Marko Arnautovic.

Oumar Niassehad pulled one back for the Toffees moments after hitting the post.

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14-May 2018 Monday @ 8:15 PM (98 days ago)            #26
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Emotions Run High on a Sad Day

Swansea City 1-2 Stoke City

The tone for the afternoon was set inside two minutes.

That’s how long it took both sets of fans to chant ‘going down’ – a humorous and realistic perspective from supporters of both Stoke (already down) and Swansea whose optimism their heroes could survive was never more than hopeful.

The South-Wales club required one of the biggest turnarounds in football games - a big win, alongside a big defeat for Southampton - to have any chance of staying up and the betting odds were not in their favour.

Yet the chances of an eventful live betting afternoon briefly lifted when Andre Ayew laid the ball off to Andy King – a midfielder who was celebrating the Premier League title with Leicester two years ago – to open the scoring in the 14th minute.

That was as bright as it got, however, for the home side whose seven-season stay in the top flight has come to an end, despite a major improvement since Carlos Carvalhal took charge in the new year (including impressive victories over Liverpool and Arsenal).

They now join Stoke in the Championship next season and also share a theme of discontent with the club’s board – albeit a protest before kick-off against the Swansea board and owners was little more than underwhelming.

After King opened the scoring, a hush descended on the home ground when Badou Ndiaye levelled just past the half hour. Veteran Peter Crouch added a second before the break and even a Lukas Fabianski penalty save to deny Xherdan Shaqiri could not rouse the hosts from their slumber.

A sad afternoon all round for Swansea who not only said farewell to the Premier League after seven years but also to club stalwarts Leon Britton and Angel Rangel, made skipper for the day.

Britton has played for the club in each of the four divisions and Rangel was making his 374th and final appearance for them.

If Stoke fans had been playing, perhaps mission impossible would have been possible.

Certainly, they were not too enamoured by ex-boss Mark Hughes keeping Southampton up at the expense of Swansea and joined in the home chants of ‘we want 10’ – a reference to the goal difference swing required.

Yet professional pride dictated an improved showing from Stoke who, perhaps, were harsh to get shut of Hughes so soon into the new year.

This victory at least has spared them the ignominy of finishing the season bottom of the table.

For both these clubs, however, the gallows humour was the only bright side as rebuilding begins in the Championship.

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16-May 2018 Wednesday @ 3:01 PM (96 days ago)            #27
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Now This Has Been Another Year to Remember

Put all the betting odds into the mix.

Remember the betting tips that went right...and the ones that went wrong!

Add nine months’ worth of football games into the equation and what have you got: another never-to-be-forgotten season in the English Premier League.

It was the season that Manchester City were in a class of their own.

Runaway champions, the first top-flight club to reach 100 points, the first Premier League club to score more than 100 goals (106) and the highest winning margin (19 points clear of their nearest challengers) since 1897.

Yes, they have spent more than any other club in world football over the last decade—it is 10 years this summer since Sheikh Mansour took over and changed the landscape of English football—but their football over the past nine months has been simply scintillating.

No longer is this club best known for the black comedic history which peppered its modern existence before the Abu Dhabi revolution began.

Despite their collective and individual brilliance, one man deservedly took all the individual accolades.

In Mohamed Salah, Liverpool had the player of the season on all levels.

He is the first player to score 32 league goals in a 38-match Premier League season—more than Cristiano Ronaldo, more than Alan Shearer, more than Luis Suarez.

And there will be few greater individual campaigns if he can inspire the Merseysiders to Champions League glory.

However, as English football admired an Egyptian king, it said farewell to a French maverick, precisely 1,235 games after his first at Arsenal.

While there is no doubt it is the time to move on for both club and coach, the Gunners said farewell in style and with a salute that oozed class and dignity.

Away from the top six, on a different league financially to the rest, the emergence of Burnley provided one of the stories of the season.

Sean Dyche and Burnley finished 7th in the Premier League betting
Sean Dyche reacts during the FA Cup match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium

They finished 16th a year ago and sold their best two players—Michael Keane to Everton and Andre Gray to Watford—ensuring they were among the bookies’ favourites for the drop.

Thanks to Sean Dyche and Co., they have finished seventh and qualified for European football for the first time since 1966.

Unlike some others, anyone who pulled on a claret shirt this season was beyond reproach when it came to commitment, pride and focus.

The likes of Stoke and West Brom, both relegated, used to be like this but lost their way. The owners at those clubs also panicked in changing manager mid-season, especially the Baggies, while drifting Southampton acted just in time to bring in sacked Stoke boss Mark Hughes for Mauricio Pellegrino.

Carlos Carvalhal restored belief and results for a while at Swansea, but ultimately the club fell short after failing to replace key departures last summer.

In contrast, all the promoted clubs didn’t panic and were rewarded with survival, with Brighton and Huddersfield particularly triumphing against the odds.

Crystal Palace entrusted a pensioner to work with modern day millionaire footballers and took them from potential despair, from no points and no goals in their first seven games to a very good campaign.

And then there was former Everton boss David Moyes ending the season at West Ham and former Hammers manager Sam Allardyce ending the season at Everton.

It’s unlikely both will linger too long at their respective clubs, particularly Allardyce, but that is the nature of modern day football and the desire for instant results.

There will certainly be new faces in the dugouts and on the pitch next season, there will be more success for the haves over the have-nots, there will be more stories to warm the heart and more casualties and record-breaking attempts along the way.

That is inevitable in the most exciting league in the world.

That was 2017/18.

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19-May 2018 Saturday @ 7:14 PM (93 days ago)            #28
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This is When Wembley and the World Awaits

FA Cup Final

Chelsea vs Manchester United

It is THE showpiece of the English football season.

The competition which, in many ways, has more tradition and grandeur than any other.

Now, after 14 rounds and numerous football games involving 737 teams, it all comes down to this.

The 2018 FA Cup Final has the potential to be a cracker for football betting fans and, of course, particularly for supporters of the winning club.

Betting odds slightly favour Manchester United, but there’s nothing in it as you would expect from two evenly matched clubs.

The focus for many at Wembley will be on the men who won’t actually be on the pitch other than when they lead their teams out.

Managers Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte do not appear to get on, and their battles in England over the past two years have comprised various exchanges and differences of opinion.

When they last were in combat in February, however, that was all put to one side and the chemistry on the touchline will be carefully explored by many to see if this occasion, high pressure for both clubs, lights the touch paper.

Of course, there is not just history between the two rivals but also between Mourinho and Chelsea for the Portuguese coach is facing the club where he first made his name in England.

Can Mourinho guide United to cup glory and a second successful season? Or will Conte repair his reputation at the end of a campaign in which his flaws have been exposed?

Even victory may not be enough to save the Italian’s job for the chemistry between manager and club has seemed ill at ease all season.

One thing’s for sure: for the winners, it will be a successful season, for the losers quite the opposite.

How fitting that the winners will receive the FA Cup from Jackie Wilkins, wife of the late Ray whose passing last month shocked and saddened the world of football.

During a stellar career, he was an FA Cup winner in 1983 with United when he scored one of the finest final goals Wembley has ever seen.

He also won it three times as Chelsea assistant manager, and banners will be unveiled by both sets of fans in his memory before kick-off.

So can United win a record-equalling 13th FA Cup and continue their undoubted progress under Mourinho? Or will Conte and Chelsea go one better than last year when they were defeated in the final by Arsenal?

It should be quite a contest.

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10-Jul 2018 Tuesday @ 8:13 AM (41 days ago)            #29
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Premier League News: Transfer Summer Continues to Heat Up

The World Cup may have taken the attention of the football world, but that doesn't stop Premier League teams from wheeling and dealing this offseason.

With the new campaign a little over a month away, transfer negotiations continue to heat up in the English top flight. Most clubs have already made significant signings and acquisitions this summer, while there are teams that are closing in on their top targets despite failing to make a splash in the opening of the transfer window.

Today, we take a look at the latest Premier League news and rumours and determine who are the biggest winners and losers of the recent transfers.

Notable Transfers and Signings

One of the biggest moves of the summer isn't a transfer, but it sure has big implications in the Premier League.

Earlier this month, Liverpool made a statement and basically told their opponents that they are here to compete when they signed Mohamed Salah to a new long-term contract. According to reports, the Egyptian King signed a lucrative deal without a release clause to stay at Anfield until 2023.

Salah scored 44 goals in 52 appearances for the Reds last season and is undoubtedly Liverpool's most prized asset.

Meanwhile, in terms of transfers, West Ham are making huge waves with their acquisitions. After bringing in Poland keeper Lukasz Fabianski last month, the Hammers are now set to complete a move for former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.

Premier League news: Former Arsenal's Jack Wilshere close to seal a deal with West Ham United
Jack Wilshere in action against Marcos Alonso during Arsenal's League Cup first leg match against Chelsea in January

Wilshere is a free agent after leaving Arsenal and is reportedly on his way to London Stadium having undergone a medical. According to the latest updates, the 26-year-old midfielder is close to signing a three-year deal with the club after productive discussions with West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Talking about Arsenal, new manager Unai Emery is slowly filling up spots following an exodus of players. After getting Swiss international Stephan Lichtsteiner (formerly of Juventus) as a free agent and Germany goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen, the Gunners have agreed to a deal to bring veteran defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos to the Emirates from Borussia Dortmund.

Papastathopoulos, nonetheless, isn't the only Bundesliga player taking his talents to the Premier League. Highly-rated RB Leipzig defender Bernardo is moving to the English top flight as well after a successful capture from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Elsewhere, Newcastle United sign South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, fresh from captaining the Korea Republic national team in the World Cup. Meanwhile, Watford officially signed former Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu on a permanent deal.

Deulofeu spent the second half of the 2017-18 campaign on loan at Vicarage Road after failing to find his stride in the Barcelona rotation.

Who's Next?

There are still plenty of big-name stars out there that could find new homes in the coming days. Brazil keeper Alisson, for one, is said to have "agreed terms" to sign for Chelsea.

Alisson started in all of the Selecao's World Cup matches and conceded just three goals, though the last two against Belgium led to their quarter-final exit in the tournament.

Interestingly, Alisson is tipped to replace Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge, with the current Blues No.1 keen to return to Spain.

On the other hand, after bringing in Naby Keita and Fabinho, Liverpool are said to be considering a bid for Juventus' Paulo Dybala amid reports that the Bianconeri are positioned to acquire Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester United, meanwhile, have allegedly prepared a €40 million bid for PSV striker Hirving Lozano.

Chucky, who played hero in Mexico's opening World Cup victory over Germany, has attracted a wealth of interest after his solid performance in the World Cup. Arsenal have also been linked with the 22-year-old attacker.

Xherdan Shaqiri is also an interesting name that continues to float around. Both Liverpool and United are eager to secure the services of the Swiss winger, but they might have to give up a player as relegated Stoke City are considering a loan signing as part of the deal.

On other news, Dimitri Payet could make a shock return to West Ham after leaving the club two years ago, while newly promoted Fulham F.C. joined Chelsea and Arsenal in the race to sign Jean Michael Seri from Nice.

Perhaps the biggest name to watch this transfer window is Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. The Italian's future with the club is still in limbo and rumours that he could be sacked soon intensified after sources confirm that the club is leaning on appointing former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri.

Premier League news: Former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri close to manage Chelsea in the upcoming season
Maurizio Sarri instructs Napoli players during a Champions League match with Shakhtar Donetsk in September 2017

Winners and Losers

Well, there's no doubt that the biggest winners here are the EPL fans considering the arrival of quality talents from other leagues.

Sure enough, a move that will alter the Premier League betting odds is yet to be done, but there's no doubt it has been a great transfer week for the league.

Liverpool and EPL win big by keeping one of their brightest stars in Salah, while West Ham continue to hoard talent that could pay off huge dividends.

Wilshere is a risky signing given his injury history, but he could be a valuable addition to a West Ham team in dire need of playmaking.

Chelsea, perhaps, are the biggest losers as they are yet to make a major signing, unlike their Top 4 rivals. Not to mention that the uncertainty over their manager keeps things difficult for them in making significant acquisitions.

 

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11-Jul 2018 Wednesday @ 2:22 PM (40 days ago)            #30
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So Can Salah Now Become a Modern Day Great?

He could prove to be the signing of the season.

Not the club record £60 million that Manchester City have parted with to sign Riyad Mahrez—six months after they first wanted him.

Nor the £99.2 million Juventus have splashed to acquire Cristiano Ronaldo, the world number one even if he does turn 34 next birthday.

I am talking about the double Premier League footballer of the year, the king of Egypt Mohamed Salah, who has signed a new contract at Liverpool after his majestic first year there.

It was a campaign which saw him become the first African player to win the honour and incredibly become the first player to score 32 goals in a 38-match Premier League season.

The Premier League betting odds on him now leading Liverpool to their holy grail—a first league title since 1990—are high.

Indeed, many pundits have placed the Merseysiders as second favourites for the Premier League behind last season’s dominant force, Manchester City, who set numerous records on the way to the title.

He clearly was not fit for Egypt in the World Cup, understandably so given his club season ended in heartache with a shoulder injury in the Champions League Final.

Mohamed Salah ready to prove the Premier League betting odds that he's back to help Liverpool
Mohamed Salah leaves the pitch during the Champions League final match between Liverpool and Real Madrid

However, all football highlights will certainly feature Salah prominently in a month’s time when the new season begins in earnest.

No wonder after he was so instrumental in Liverpool’s run to the showpiece final and fourth place in the Premier League with a prolific scoring record which attracted the attention of Europe’s elite.

Yet, after such a stellar season when he won every individual accolade that put even the sensational Kevin de Bruyne in the shade, there is now a weight of expectation on Mo Salah and Liverpool.

Harry Kane has already challenged Salah to repeat his exploits after the England captain was pipped to the Premier League golden boot honour.

Thirty goals in a 38-game league campaign was Kane’s best ever return, though still not enough to earn the top-scorer prize for the third year in a row after tallies of 25 and 29 in the previous seasons.

There is certainly no suggestion Salah will be a one-season wonder, nor that he will leave Liverpool.

The club is in a position of strength in three ways.

First of all, Salah admits he loves the club and wants to win silverware by staying where he is, not by moving to another heavyweight club.

His commitment to the club will be music to the ears of all Liverpool fans, their manager Jurgen Klopp and teammates.

Secondly, Liverpool do not need to sell the player after their massive January windfall following the departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

Yes, they have recruited Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita and Fabinho since then and more recruits are expected. However, money does not seem to be an issue for a club which is back in the Champions League next season.

Thirdly, Salah’s new five-year deal does not include a release clause which so many players and agents now insist upon.

Any potential suitor would have to pay an extortionate fee for the Egyptian who forms part of a potent attacking trio.

Roberto Firmino also signed a contract extension in April and Sadio Mane is tipped to follow suit.

Klopp, who insists world-class talent "has a place" at Anfield, perhaps best sums up the approach to the game—an attribute money can’t buy—when he says: "The key thing to remember is the best thing about Mo is that he never sees himself as being more important than the team or anyone else within it."

"He recognises his teammates and this club helped him achieve individual success last season. He sees the individual awards come because he is part of something bigger that is special."

"Mo reflects where we are as a team, I think. Last season was special with many special moments—but we want more. We want to be more successful and achieve more together – as the supporters sang so loudly, ‘we’re never gonna stop’. This has to be the attitude individually and collectively."

So can he repeat or come close to repeating his success or will he find Premier League life more difficult now he is less of an unknown quantity?

From August 11 onwards, we will find out.

One thing is certain.

Moments of exhilarating brilliance that he displayed last season cannot be sustained over nine months unless you have world-class attributes.

Now they have been proven, can he take the next step and join the pantheon of modern day greats by doing it again and again and, crucially, winning silverware?

 

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13-Jul 2018 Friday @ 4:27 PM (38 days ago)            #31
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The Shopping List: Players That Can Help Manchester United Win

It's been an interesting season for Manchester United and the faithful fans that fill Old Trafford day in and day out.

They made a splash during the last two transfer windows, completing deals that make the front page of football news sites. Players like Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof and Alexis Sanchez immediately made Jose Mourinho's squad a whole lot better.

However, their inclusions mattered little as Pep Guardiola and Manchester City played fantastic football and pulled off a historic season. The €164 million they spent during the last season got them second place, which is a disappointment to many of the United faithful.

It's known to everybody that Jose Mourinho and Manchester United want one thing and one thing only: to win trophies and dominate every competition they are in. With this in mind, the club is not shy about pulling out all of their resources and getting the best players they in the market.

However, the question that begs to be asked now is this: which players should the Red Devils pursue in order to boost their chances of a Premier League victory?

Can Gareth Bale be able to make it Manchester United updates?
Manchester United Updates: Gareth Bale is reportedly been interested by the club

Gareth Bale, Real Madrid

It's no hidden secret that Gareth Bale is being shopped around by Real Madrid after an inconsistent stint with the La Liga giants. He scored the winning goal against Liverpool in the Champions League final, but that still hasn't secured his position and future with the Madrid side.

Rumours of Manchester United orchestrating a Premier League return for the former Tottenham Hotspur star is already making rounds across various social media sites. Los Blancos are still looking for a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo despite having him on the roster, so there's no question that the man will not be held back by the club for the right price.

Bale is a prolific scorer who has netted 16 goals in 26 league appearances for Real Madrid. His attacking prowess is a big need for United, the only club among the top four to net less than 70 goals.

Mourinho could use every attacking boost they could get for the coming season. After all, their next-door neighbours just netted 106 in 38 games. Fans will hope that the news of Bale's acquisition would hit Manchester United updates and news circles sooner rather than later.

Toni Kroos, Real Madrid

Paul Pogba is the most expensive player United have bought in their history, but the academy product has not lived up to the standards set by his outrageous price tag. While he has garnered an impressive 10 assists in 27 league appearances, his energy and play style on the pitch have left many a fan disappointed.

Mourinho continues to rain praise on the France international, who is currently showing first-class football for Les Bleus. However, I don't think he can rely on Pogba's inconsistent play if he wants to lead United to a title. That's where shopping for another Real Madrid starter comes in.

Toni Kroos is a viable option for Manchester United. He has been a stable rock for Los Blancos and the German national team. He single-handedly gave a poor Die Mannschaft team a second (but squandered chance) to get out of the group stage via his superb goal against Sweden.

On the club front, the 28-year-old has been a solid option for Zinedine Zidane. He has scored 11 goals for Real Madrid during his four-year stint, but his defence and reliable stability at the front is what made him a fixture in the starting XI.

And that stability of his is something Mourinho could use in the backbone of his formation. Pairing him with Pogba in the middle would make Man United a terrifying team to contend against.

Manchester United Updates: Will Toby Alderweireld be able to sign with the Reds?
Football News: Toby Alderweireld is expected to decide his transfer as season ends

Toby Alderweireld, Tottenham Hotspur

United's defence against most Premier League opposition has been tough like a wall. However, not the same thing could be said against Champions League competition. They managed to win against Manchester City in February, but the 2-3 victory was more due to United's attacking rather than their defence.

Mourinho could use a great boost on their backline, and Toby Alderweireld is a great pickup for the Red Devils. The Belgium international is still a top defender in the Premier League, but he has found himself out of Mauricio Pochettino's plans the previous seasons.

The transfer also looks plausible with the Tottenham man interested in the acquisition. Alderweireld will reportedly make his decision when the season is over, but it is very likely that he will make the move upwards.

If he does make the move, the odds of Manchester United at SBOBET is bound to improve. Alderweireld showed his quality in this World Cup, and his tenacious defending is something that United badly needs.

 

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16-Jul 2018 Monday @ 10:15 PM (35 days ago)            #32
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The Title Defence Begins! Three Players Who Can Help Manchester City


The Sky Blues have already added Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez in their ranks, but their summer work is far from over as Guardiola still has some weaknesses to address on his team to ensure they can compete in the Champions League and defend their title—something which the club has never done before.Manchester City now have their eyes on creating history after winning the 2017-18 Premier League title. However, with all their rivals improving and bolstering their own rosters, Pep Guardiola knows they can't stay the same as last season.

Not to mention that City have to find possible replacements for Yaya Toure (released), as well as for Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho who are entering the twilight of their respective careers.

With that said, here are three players that Manchester City should sign this summer. We also named possible alternatives should they fail to ink the said prospects.

Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart)

Alternative signing: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur)

At 22 years old, Pavard is exactly the player Manchester City need in order to compete all while going young.

The French centre-back is often described as the perfect replacement for Kompany, who often frustrated Guardiola due to his injury history. Kompany made just 17 appearances for the club last season after sustaining numerous injuries, including a calf injury in August last year that sidelined him for almost three months.

Pavard has been pivotal for France in the World Cup, even scoring the equaliser as Les Bleus battled back from a goal down to take down Argentina in the Round of 16. It shouldn't also be forgotten that he started every game for Stuttgart and was one of the main defensive anchors of the team that finished seventh in the Bundesliga last season.

Oh, and have I mentioned that Stuttgart conceded the second-fewest goals last campaign, only behind eventual champions Bayern Munich?

He is undoubtedly a young and exciting talent that should fit well at Manchester City with his ability to even move to a defensive midfield role.

Manchester City have already expressed their intention of signing Pavard and luring him to the Premier League. Nonetheless, according to the latest football news, the likes of Bayern Munich and Tottenham are also plotting a move for the France World Cup star.

Should City fail to get Pavard, however, Guardiola should take a look at Alderweireld who is already expected to leave Tottenham. Sure enough, Alderweireld is 29 years old and isn't really an upgrade to Kompany, but having another proven veteran should be a valuable addition to a team looking for a title repeat.

Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid)

Alternative signing: Miralem Pjanic (Juventus)

With the Jorginho deal falling apart, Manchester City now have their eyes on Real Madrid's Kovacic.

Again, City are in dire need of a defensive midfielder, and the 24-year-old Kovacic is a prime candidate for the post.

Despite not regularly featuring for Croatia in the World Cup, he has impressed in the games he played in. Kovacic was unarguably the best player in their group stage game against Iceland and, in fact, completed all of his 79 passes in 80 minutes of action.

Additionally, he even managed to provide an assist for Ivan Rakitic in their 3-0 rout of Argentina despite coming in as an 82nd-minute substitute.

Kovacic has been struggling at Real Madrid, making only 37 starts in his three seasons at the Bernabeu. And certainly, he could use a fresh start somewhere else.

“I understand the situation, but because of that I believe the best thing for me would be to go to another club where I'd have the opportunity to play regularly as a starter," Kovacic told Marca last month.

Los Blancos, though, are asking £80 million for the midfielder, a hefty price tag that may turn off Guardiola's side.

Another option for City is Juventus ace Pjanic who can play several positions at midfield, though his price is another matter.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Alternative signing: Thomas Lemar (Monaco)

Hazard is a long, long shot for Manchester City, but getting the Chelsea man will surely shift the Premier League betting odds back in their favour.

Manchester City have shown interest on the Belgian last May, and that should have only increased by now after Hazard's spectacular showing in the World Cup that saw him lead Belgium to a third-place finish.


Hazard is quick, strong and a threat on the counter—game-changing qualities that City need to compete not only in the Premier League but also in Europe.

The Sky Blues could face strong competition from Real Madrid for Hazard's service, and it's unlikely Chelsea will be willing to make their English rivals stronger.

Thomas Lemar seems the more realistic option for Manchester City. The versatile Monaco forward is only 22 years old but has already appeared in 107 games and scored 22 goals for the Ligue 1 side.

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20-Jul 2018 Friday @ 1:29 PM (31 days ago)            #33
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How Can the Gunners Improve Their Arsenal Post-Wenger?

Where do you even begin with the direction Arsenal should take moving forward in this transfer window?

It hasn't been long since Arsene Wenger, the Gunners' long-time manager, stepped down and ended a long, successful era of Arsenal football. However, every Arsenal supporter knows that the Frenchman hasn't succeeded in the latter years of his reign.

Those days are long behind them, however, as they look forward to a new future. Fans are looking for the latest bit of Arsenal news over the summer window as they anticipate Unai Emery's maiden voyage in the Premier League.

The club has already seen a bit of a roster shuffle ever since the summer took over. There were some interesting additions and losses that have made the current look of the squad an interesting one indeed.

However, the window is still far from over and there is over a month left of football before Emery can finalise the composition of his squad. Making key acquisitions can immediately transform his squad into instant title contenders, and he must make his moves here.

However, we must look at what Arsenal lost this summer in order to understand which players the Gunners should get in the window.

Key losses and possible departures

There haven't been many losses among the Arsenal ranks. However, Arsenal are currently experiencing a drain of midfield talent.

They lost both Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere, important players in Arsene Wenger's teams during the early half of the 2010s, have left the Emirates for Villareal and West Ham, specifically.

Arsenal News: Last June 19, 2018. Midfielder Jack Wilshere announced his departure from Arsenal due to his contract expiring at the end of June
Jack Wilshere controls the ball during a Europa League match between Arsenal and AC Milan

While it's very understandable that Cazorla was let go of the club for a free, it is a huge miss that they weren't able to tie Wilshere down to a new contract before selling him off to the Hammers. They could have made a killing with the man who was left out of a very successful England squad in Russia given his performances for Arsenal when healthy.

While they have lost Per Mertesacker to retirement, they still have enough talent to supplement their back line. However, it seems like their keeper pool will take a hit: Petr Cech is linked to a return to Stamford Bridge while David Ospina is linked to a Mexican club.

Of course, rumours about Aaron Ramsey's possible departure from the club will also leave the club with too many defenders and too few men to operate in the midfield. Moreover, Wenger had a lot of problems finding the perfect defensive line:  the Gunners allowed the most amount of goals in the Top Six of last season's Premier League with 51 conceded goals.

With that being said, these key signings could alter their future football results for the better.

Benjamin Pavard, VfB Stuttgart

Many of France's faithful supporters had no idea who this young defender from a mediocre Bundesliga side is when players such as Dimitri Payet and Moussa Sissoko are not named to the World Cup squad.

However, he made sure that everyone knew who he is after that brilliant strike against Argentina. He quickly made himself a darling among French fans and Arsenal fans after his superb defending helped Les Bleus lift the World Cup trophy a second time.

Of course, Emery must make a compelling offer quick: almost every big club will be after the young Stuttgart star. He must make his decision quick or he will see the 22-year-old defender sold as quickly as the many Juventus shirts donning Cristiano Ronaldo's name.

If they want to get a keeper, however, Danijel Subasic is a worthy pick-up. The Monaco keeper played a sublime tournament in Russia, making many key saves.

Andre Gomes, Barcelona

Andre Gomes had a great debut season with Barcelona in 2016/17 but quickly found himself out of a regular spot in the Barcelona rotation over the past twelve months. It's likely that he will have to leave Camp Nou if he wants to play more regular team football. He will have no shortage of suitors after a quality showing for Portugal during the World Cup.

Football Results: Andre Gomes struggled in Camp Nou, scoring only 3 goals in his 78 appearances
Andre Gomes fights for the ball against Saul Niguez

He will fill up the gaping hole left behind by Cazorla and Wilshere in the creative role. Without the pressure of playing behind Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, Gomes will likely thrive in the central role, supplying through passes and lobs to either Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Given the midfield shortage the Gunners are experiencing, signing Gomes would be a masterstroke of an acquisition. While the man struggled to find a home in Barca, he should be able to flourish again under the less glaring lights of the Emirates.

Bernard, Without Club

Bernard is currently without a place to call home, but the Brazil international has proven his worth with the quality of play he showed for Shakhtar Donetsk. In his 95 league appearances for the Ukranian club, he has scored 14 goals and netted 24 assists.

The months following the January window showed just how much they missed the attacking talent of Alexis Sanchez on the wings. For Emery and Arsenal, finding a player of equal quality and gravitas as the Chile international would help them return to the lofty spots of the Champions League.

Sure, it would be nice to get a more famous name with the numerous Marco Reus and Ousmane Dembele highlights circulating the internet. However, both would probably too expensive for the North London club to acquire with the number of key players they also have to acquire.

Arsenal might be big favourites to snag Bernard, but they have huge rivals for his signature in Liverpool. It will be interesting who will get him in the end. Nevertheless, the Premier League will be blessed with the presence of another top football talent.

 

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20-Jul 2018 Friday @ 1:52 PM (31 days ago)            #34
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Mahrez in the City: How Man City’s New Man Will Help Them Dominate

It was inevitable, but many Leicester fans knew that Riyad Mahrez leaving for the Etihad was only a matter of time.

In the least surprising news of the English transfer window, defending Premier League winners Manchester City got another talented midfielder into their already-impressive pool of midfield stars. This only means that his inclusion will make the prospect of completing a treble for the Sky Blues a real possibility.

Fans are already salivating at the prospect of their team dominating England and the rest of Europe, but the football news is just focused on the now. And the mere fact that Manchester City got another monster of a player to don their shirt is a telling news for the coming season.

It will be interesting to see how Manchester City will be able to use the star midfielder into their league games. It will also be intriguing to see how he will operate with the Citizens in their European excursions.

Joining a team of quality men

Manchester City Results are expected to improve as Riyad Mahrez arrives
SBOBET are keeping an eye close to Manchester City

There's no secret that the oil money brought in by Sheikh Mansour has brought in a lot of quality to the club, with ten of Manchester City's all-time top signings coming in after his ownership group's acquisition of the Premier League side. Players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero were acquired in big-money moves.

Thanks to all of these acquisitions, they are now standing atop the Premier League while making history in the process. They have quality players from the goal post to the front, and Mahrez will feel a bit weird not being the biggest fish in the pond the same way he was when he was with the Foxes at Leicester.

There is already a lot of talent in City's midfield. There's already the bright midfield duo of De Bruyne and David Silva, and the pair combines for 17 goals and 27 assists in the past Premier League campaign. Sterling and Leroy Sane, the players he will be most likely competing with for starting positions, also brought a lot of positive Manchester City results, chipping in goals and assists for the side.

One noticeable difference that Mahrez will experience while donning the Manchester City kit is the stability of their defence. In Leicester, he had to make do with a defence that did manage to win the Premier League title in 2016 but now struggle to consistently keep clean sheets after the departure of super midfielder and now-World Cup champion N'Golo Kante.

Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi will be leading a defence that allows the attackers to just focus on making plays on the offensive front. This will allow Mahrez, who has gotten 12 goals and 10 assists for a struggling Leicester side, to focus on being creative and find goals for his new club.

Mahrez v Sterling: A preview

While I did say that Sterling and Sane will be Mahrez's main competition for a starting spot, he will most likely be competing with the England international for a spot in the starting XI.

He enjoyed a brilliant campaign in Russia, getting a single goal in 456 minutes on the pitch while playing for an England team that made an entire nation fall in love with the beautiful game in a new light. He's found more success with the Manchester City side. The man who came in for £44 million scored 18 goals and got 11 assists while playing for the Citizens.

It can be said that they play very similar styles on the right, attracting the ball and getting results with beautiful wing play. While there are still Champions League and the FA Cup to consider, it's not hard to see why Guardiola will have a difficult time choosing between the two stars.

Existing in interesting situations

If we look at the formations Leicester city used in the season, Mahrez was primarily used on the right. Since he was the best player on an otherwise mediocre team, he will see a remarkable difference in the way he will be used with City.

Manchester City used the 4-3-3 the most during their historic campaign and will likely not fix whatever was broken. However, one big difference he will find is that he won't have the ball as much during his time at the King Power Stadium.

Football News: Riyad Mahrez could face Raheem Sterling in Premier League
Football News: Riyad Mahrez is looking forward toi defend PL tile with Man City

The ball will be coming from passes from either De Bruyne or Silva. He will find that the gravitas of the two playmakers will allow him to not force the issue too often and just run to the place where they make a pass.

The other formations City use are 3-1-4-2 and 3-5-2. These formations usually have wingbacks that run through the middle so it's possible that Mahrez won't be suiting up. These formations aren't usually regularly, however, so he won't have to force the issue.

With Mahrez set to join City in the club's pre-season tour, he will be able to strut his stuff in front of Guardiola. If he wants to step out of the Etihad tunnel in every game, he will have to impress in this preseason tour.

You can say that life will be finally interesting for Mahrez. He has finally gone for a club that will constantly compete domestically and in Europe, and it will be up to him to prove that the historic fees the club paid are worth it.

You can count on SBOBET to keep a close eye on how Mahrez will perform for his new home throughout the season.

 

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24-Jul 2018 Tuesday @ 12:48 PM (27 days ago)            #35
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Money, Money, Money on Planet Football!

Just when you think another benchmark cannot be set, the football news blows fans away by the cost of the latest mega-money deal.

Value is one thing and cost is very much another.

It’s always been that way.

From the very first eye-catching deal to the current one, inflation has always played a part. But the sums involved nowadays have soared to heights no betting tips could ever envisage.

Yet the market which has spiralled beyond recognition in recent years still shows no sign of abating in the run-up to the new club season.

He may not play like one of the best players in the world – certainly, his World Cup showing was hugely disappointing with some of his antics bordering on cheating – but Neymar remains the most expensive footballer of all time.

His £198-million move to Paris Saint-Germain last summer is the benchmark, and the Parisian giants would surely accept nothing less should any other club wish to acquire his services this summer.

Football News: Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba amongst the most expensive players in the world
Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba named in the most expensive XI

However, Qatari-owned PSG must be mightily relieved they agreed the signing of Kylian Mbappe last summer rather than now after his World Cup to remember.

He has now usurped Neymar as the star name in the capital of romance following his exploits in Russia. If the bidding was starting again, it would certainly cost more than the £166 million they agreed with Monaco nearly 12 months ago.

Indeed, the move would have happened earlier but was initially a loan deal to ensure the French champions avoided financial fair play pitfalls.

Then there’s Phillipe Coutinho, one of Neymar’s replacements at Barcelona who swapped Merseyside for Catalonia in January for £105 million. The deal could reach £142 million with add-ons, still lagging some way behind Neymar and Mbappe.

Barcelona certainly used the Neymar money as quickly as possible, parting with £97 million for Ousmane Dembele who, aged 20, briefly became the second-most expensive footballer of all time.

After his injury woes during his debut season, Barca will hope to see a lot more of him in the months ahead.

The tag of the most expensive footballer in the world had briefly stuck with Manchester United’s French World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba who made the move from Juventus two summers ago for £89 million.

That figure now seems relatively low key when you think what has followed.

Although even two of the big money moves last season did not quite reach that figure.

Pogba’s friend Romelu Lukaku has been an instant hit as his new club-mate after United also parted company with £75 million to scoop up the Belgian strike from under Chelsea’s noses, while Virgil van Dijk is the most expensive defender in the world after Liverpool paid Southampton the same amount for the Dutchman’s services.

In the end, Chelsea turned their attention to Alvaro Morata who arrived in west London from Real Madrid for £60 million – although his tenure, certainly to date, has not been as productive in front of goal as Lukaku’s first 12 months.

Morata, incidentally, replaced Diego Costa who re-joined Atletico Madrid for just under £50 million.

The two clubs absent from this column so far are European champions Real Madrid and the biggest spenders of them all, Manchester City.

That is because it’s a number of years since Madrid broke transfer records – recruiting Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009 from Man Utd for £80 million and then following it up by snapping up Gareth Bale from Spurs for £85 million.

Both have been brilliant acquisitions and proof that money can buy you quality and success.

The fact Ronaldo, 34 in his next birthday, has just been sold to Juventus for even more money - £88.3 million – is a masterstroke from Madrid where he scored 450 goals and won numerous honours en route to becoming the best player on the planet.

It will be some time before there is a more successful transfer deal in world football than that provided by CR7 (twice) – he was also immense as Sir Alex Ferguson picked him up for just £12 million as David Beckham’s replacement at Old Trafford in 2003.

Whether Ronaldo can inspire the already-prolific Gonzalo Higuain to new heights at Juve next year remains to be seen. If he does, coupled with profitable shirt sales, the deal may seem common business sense.

As for City, they are regularly spending big, backed by their lucrative Kuwaiti owners, although have yet to enter the top 10 list.

Football News: Riyad Mahrez move to Manchester City from Leicester City
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez join Manchester City for a club-record fee

Riyad Mahrez (£60 million), Aymeric Laporte (£57m), Kevin de Bruyne (£55m), Raheem Sterling (£49m), John Stones (£47m), Kyle Walker (£45m), Bernardo Silva (£43m), Leroy Sane (£37m), Ederson (£35m), and Nicolas Otamendi (£32m) are all big-money recruits as they bid to become established at the top of the European game.

Add Liverpool making Brazilian international Alisson the most expensive goalkeeper in a world-record £65 million deal, and the period of the most expensive transfers in world football shows no sign of easing.

It all makes it even more exciting for the Premier League betting odds at SBOBET!

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 12:30 PM (11 days ago)            #36
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Premier League: Who Can Stop Manchester City’s Rampage?

It's not hard to agree that Manchester City are kings of the Premier League.

Not only are they blessed with talented individuals brought to the Citizens by oil money, they also have the tactical genius of Pep Guardiola to guide them to success in every competition they take part in. With players like Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus ready to play for the Sky Blues, there's little doubt that City are more than capable of extending the Premier League trophy's stay at the Etihad.

However, just ceding the title to City would be an utter disrespect to the other brilliant teams that have sprouted over the past three seasons. The league's other giants would rather get covered in hornet stings than cede the title to City.

Moreover, the possibility of another Leicester popping up from the shadows is always. The money brought about by TV money means that even minnows can snoop around and buy unknown gems from right under their opponents' noses.

These are the teams that will definitely put up a decent fight against the marauding Sky Blues.

Manchester United

The fans reject it. Jose Mourinho will not stomach it. The hallowed halls of Old Trafford will not stand for it.

Hell will freeze over before the Red Devils even allow the thought of the Sky Blues to sit on their laurels as the best team in all of English football. The team are doing everything they can to snag the title back from their once-irrelevant neighbours.

Manchester United are one of the favourites to win the Premier League 2018-19 season
Manchester United head coach Jose Mourinho is confident of his team ahead of the new Premier League season

Man United have made a couple of key signings that is deemed by supporters and analysts as great acquisitions. Fred is living up to the £53-million price tag he has on his shirt after his stellar debut against Real Madrid in Miami.

The emergence of Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba during the offseason are also ones to look out for. If their game against the Galacticos are anything to go by, Manchester City-Manchester United betting tips will be hard to believe.

Liverpool

Liverpool are coming off an impressive season where they made it back to the Champions League final to play a strong Real Madrid side that featured former Los Blancos frontman Cristiano Ronaldo. Of course, we can expect Jurgen Klopp's men to make more Premier League 2018 news as the season continues.

They have bolstered their squad with the arrivals of Alisson, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri. Their implementation of gegenpressing is bearing fruit in the league, their attacking trio is still ready to smash some goals in, and Mohamed Salah reaffirmed his commitment to the Reds.

There's nowhere to go but up for Liverpool's attractive attacking football. They will surely fight whatever firepower City may have with cannons of their own.

Arsenal

The SBOBET Premier League 2018 market is still unsure on how Arsenal will pan out in their first season without Arsene Wenger. However, preseason has given plenty of fans that bleed Arsenal red enough reason to feel excited about Unai Emery's debut campaign at the Emirates.

Their entertaining duel against Chelsea in the ICC was a testament to how well the Gunners have been performing so far in the preseason. Their acquisitions have performed well, and their new system under Emery is slowly coming along nicely.

IF the Gunners manage to get everything sorted before the start of the season, then we may see the return of the Arsenal of old: a team playing exciting football with the aspirations for domestic and European dominance.

Chelsea

Like their London neighbours, Chelsea are going through yet another new age in their club history under Maurizio Sarri. The faithful fans that flock Stamford Bridge also have enough reason to feel hopeful about their club after a preseason that could be considered successful in their books.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho is the one to watch out for in the upcoming Premier League 2018-19 season
Jorginho in action for Chelsea during the International Champions Cup 2018

While they did lose their ICC friendly in Dublin, the new high-pressing tactic they utilised was more than enough encouragement for the supporters. Jorginho has proven himself to be an invaluable addition to the Blues. The quality of attack they displayed in the absence of a number of their stars also give them enough encouragement.

The coming Community Shield duel at Wembley is the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to throw down the glove on City and declare their intentions of winning the league and defend the FA Cup.

Burnley

It may seem off that Burnley could be vying for Premier League supremacy, but Claudio Ranieri and the 2016 Leicester squad proved that anything is possible in the Premier League. In this humble writer's opinion, the Clarets are in the best position to pull the rug under the big clubs and come away with another sterling upset.

They had a very successful season, winning 14 games last season and having only a -4 goal difference. Sean Dyche is instantly showing himself as a very capable manager with the way he has handled the pressures of top-flight football while bringing success to this minnow of a football club.

We have to point out that their inability to acquire talent in the summer transfer window, due to the outrageous expenditure of their rivals, has hit on their chances to challenge for the top. However, there is no reason to believe that Dyche could pull off the impossible and give Burnley a well-deserved title.

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 12:33 PM (11 days ago)            #37
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Community Shield Preview: A Battle That Could Determine the League!

Chelsea vs Manchester City

This is the first volley that will be fired by the Premier League champion and the FA Cup winner.

Manchester City and Chelsea meet for the Community Shield in what is essentially an opening salvo for the coming season of English top-flight football. While the Shield is not as important a trophy as the ones they just won, both sides will want to start their seasons off on the right foot.

Manchester City hope to extend their dominance in the Premier League for one more season. Meanwhile, Chelsea are looking forward to better things after turning a new page with former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri.

Both sides feature talented stars who are raring to win football games, so we can expect quality football throughout the 90 minutes played. The question lies on whether Chelsea's metamorphosis is enough to topple one of the most dominant sides in Europe today.

Chelsea vs Manchester City predictions will be tough to make for this one as both teams seem to be on equal footing.

Talking Points

Chelsea vs Manchester City Predictions has been favouring the PL champions
Can Jorginho's effort be enough for Chelsea to win Community Shield?

The eyes of the entire English footballing world is on Chelsea. They will be challenging City with a new manager and a set of philosophies to drive the club forward. Their performance in the Community Shield would clue everyone else in on whether they could pull off a successful challenge for the Premier League throne.

One of the biggest Community Shield 2018 news is easily Chelsea's performance during their ICC friendly against Arsenal in Dublin. Sure, they may have lost the match in penalties, but they looked intimidating and ready to attack for a good chunk of the match. If they had all of their stars ready to play, then they would have easily won over Unai Emery's Arsenal.

Jorginho has done well during the preseason for the London Blue. He has played in a good chunk of preseason games for Sarri's Chelsea and will be fit and ready to play against the Citizens at Wembley.

The Italian will be in a pretty interesting situation come the 5th of August. He was once billed as a natural replacement for the ageing Fernandinho but is now working with Sarri at Stamford Bridge. As Guardiola continues his search for a defensive midfielder, he will be playing against a player that should have become one of his key players on the defensive end.

However, it's not like everything is dark and gloomy over at the Etihad. They added Riyad Mahrez into an already-rich vein of attacking talent that would easily cause terror across the league. They will welcome back many of their first-team players who had a thrilling World Cup in Russia.

Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, Vincent Kompany and Raheem Sterling came back from productive stints at the World Cup and will likely maintain the top forms they got during their very successful runs in Russia.

However, it's not like Chelsea don't have World Cup players of their own. Eden Hazard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, N'Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud also had great campaigns in the past World Cup and will also be in peak condition when they vie for the Community Shield.

Moreover, Guardiola also has reasons to cheer for coming into this match. The under-strength squad he brought to the ICC emerged victorious against Bayern Munich, managing a great 3-2 comeback. This assurance of quality is what Guardiola needed as he is extremely pressured to bring home a Champions League trophy.

History

These two sides aren't far off from each other when it comes to overall club history. Chelsea have won 66 of their 159 matches. City won 54 of those and they drew the remaining 39. While Manchester City won over a disgruntled Chelsea side in the Premier League last season, the last four years have been a close bout between the two sides.

When it comes to preseason form, Chelsea are undoubtedly the better side. They comfortably won against Perth Glory and defeated Internazionale before bowing out to the Gunners in Dublin.

While the Bayern match was a great morale booster for City, their ICC campaign was far from pleasurable. They lost 0-1 to Borussia Dortmund and stumbled 1-2 to Premier League rivals Liverpool.

What are the odds?

Community Shield: Manchester City versus Chelsea will surely rock the Wembley Stadium
Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola instructing his players during their pre-season match at the ICC 2018

SBOBET tips this game as a close battle with not one side holding the definite advantage. It is difficult to figure out which side will lift the Community Shield until the final whistle is blown.

If you believe that Chelsea still won't be in full form until the start of the league, the Asian Handicap market is a good place to start. Manchester City have a -0.75 handicap for 2.38. However, If you see Chelsea as the surprising winners of this doubt, their 1X2 odds are at 3.35.

Given the preseason form of these two sides, I don't think much goals will be scored here. Under 2.75 Goals is a pretty safe bet at 1.89. I also think that neither side will be able to score in the first half, making Under 1.00 Goals @ 2.13 a tempting proposition.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 12:39 PM (11 days ago)            #38
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Six of the Best to Surprise You as the Premier League Bounces Back

The 2018/19 Premier League will soon be upon us.

And while much of the talk among SBOBET fans surrounds the top six from last season, I have some names of my own which may surprise you and upset a few Premier League 2018 betting odds over the course of the next nine months.

First of all, here is a name many of you won’t be expecting.

It’s been the norm for the side which scrapes promotion through the Championship play-offs to be among the favourites to make an immediate return.

Yet the team which claimed the last promotion place via the playoffs may well provide a number of the Premier League 2018 highlights.

As I write this, newly promoted Fulham have confirmed the signing of central defender Alfie Mawson in a deal which could rise to £20 million.

You may think that’s odd, considering he was part of the Swansea City side which was relegated from the top flight last term.

But it’s not his signing which has excited me.

It’s the way boss Slavisa Jokanovic has shaped a squad returning to the Premier League for the first time in four years.

Among half a dozen new recruits, it is the capture of former Chelsea and German forward Andre Schurrle – a real match-winner on his day – and Serbia international striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, a loan star at Craven Cottage last season, for a reported £22 million which have caught my eye.

Fulham, for me, are definitely ones to watch and should not get embroiled in a relegation dogfight.

Nor indeed should London rivals Crystal Palace who finished last season in the heady heights of 11th spot, thanks in no small part to the influence of men at differing ends of the age spectrum.

Premier League: Wilfried Zaha together with Christian Benteke can definitely bring good results for Crystal Palace
Wilfried Zaha celebrates after scoring their goal

They may have struggled for much of the early stages of the last term – indeed Roy Hodgson’s predecessor was never given a chance – but manager Hodgson and the talisman Wilfried Zaha helped lead a turnaround which included a spell near the end of the season of eight wins in 10 games.

They have kept Zaha, will expect big things of Christian Benteke – someone who can be devastating when on form – and even added German midfielder Max Meyer to their ranks after his contract expired at Bundesliga runners-up Schalke.

With Yohan Cabaye departed but Cheikhou Kouyate in from West Ham, the Eagles can expect to be a match for most teams, certainly at Selhurst Park, and should not face another basement battle.

After a campaign in which they had three managers (one caretaker), Everton will be a fascinating project to watch. In Marco Silva, they have one of Europe’s most talented young managers.

This, of course, will be a test for him as much as it will for the Merseyside club which has said farewell to Wayne Rooney (now followed out the door by Ashley Williams) and Davy Klaassen but welcomed in one of Silva’s old charges in Brazilian winger Richarlison and French defender Lucas Digne from Barcelona.

If they can break into the top six, Silva will have done well. But the seventh spot will mean progress despite the harsh sacking of Sam Allardyce who took the Toffees from 18th to eighth place after his appointment in late November yet was widely criticised by his club’s supporters for his style of play.

Of the other teams, I expect West Ham to improve both league position and be more aesthetically pleasing on the eye with the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini, who has recruited well and early.

Southampton won’t exactly be a dark horse, but they should not quite have the worries they had last season when only the March arrival of Mark Hughes led to a turnaround in fortunes and, ultimately, a secured survival on the final day. I don’t expect them to be much higher than 17th spot again, however, but an improvement is likely.

My final dark horse is another newly promoted outfit in Wolves.

I still expect them to be in the lower reaches of the table but, at worst 17th and, at best, in line for a mid-table finish.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have done a good move in acquiring Goalkeeper Rui Patricio to fortify their defense in the Premier League
Rui Patricio during warm up before their match

They were emphatic winners of the Championship last term and have since bought wisely with Portuguese number one Patricio a real opportunistic signing and a snip to take advantage of Sporting Lisbon’s chaotic summer.

Benik Afobe, snapped up from Bournemouth for £10 million, has already proved he can score goals in the top flight. Patricio’s fellow national team team-mate Joao Moutinho’s arrival from Monaco will add a presence and calmness in midfield alongside countryman Ruben Neves who was named in the 2017/18 Championship team of the year.

With full-back Jonny Castro Otto also arriving on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid, experience will not be in short supply. Nuno Espirito Santo and his men will be quietly confident in causing a few surprises in the West Midlands between now and next May.

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 12:41 PM (11 days ago)            #39
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Back in the Routine!

Chelsea 0-2 Manchester City

And that is why Premier League champions Manchester City remain the team to beat.

Sure enough, it is eight years (2010) since the side that won the Community Shield went onto be crowned champions of England.

Sure enough, their opponents at Wembley were slightly under strength.

But both SBOBET tips and this encounter clearly show that Pep Guardiola’s side are clear favourites to retain the Premier League title.

Highlights of the game

There were old favourites and new faces in the traditional curtain-raiser.

City included club record £60 million signing Riyad Mahrez in their starting line-up, while Chelsea featured new recruitJorginho who supposedly opted to move to London instead of the blue half of Manchester.

It took just 13 minutes – unlucky for Chelsea – for the champs to seize the advantage as Sergio Aguero thumped the ball past his former City team-mate and fellow countryman Willy Caballero.

Sergio Aguero helps Manchester City win the Community Shield by scoring a brace against Chelsea
Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring the first goal for Manchester City against Chelsea in the 2018 FA Community Shield

It showed City’s purpose and energy from the off, even though it was slack from the Londoners.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, who so impressed in a recent friendly against Arsenal, provided Chelsea’s biggest threat and the 17-year-old shot straight at Claudio Bravo with 10 minutes of the half remaining but it was fair to say City were on top and Chelsea, missing the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian who was named on the bench, were very much second best.

Mahrez and Leroy Sane, surprisingly left out of Germany’s World Cup squad this summer, spurned chances to extend the lead before the break.

Then after the restart the champions nearly doubled their lead after another talented teenager, Phil Foden, played Aguero clear and he rounded Caballero only to find the side-netting.

The Argentine maestro didn’t have too long to wait.

He rifled a low show past Caballero in the 57th minute after Bernardo Silva’s pass was too smart for David Luiz.

It was Aguero’s 10th goal for City against Chelsea since he moved from Atletico Madrid to join the City revolution.

In the 26 year history of the Premier League, Aguero must be one of the top five foreign players to have graced English football’s top flight.

Like Thierry Henry and Peter Schmeichel to name but two, some imports into English football have simply proved a class apart and Aguero’s name stands tall among them.

He would have even claimed a first hat-trick in this fixture since another great – a certain Eric Cantona in 1992 – but for a Caballero save.

How foolish that he wasn’t used properly by Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoliat the World Cup in Russia when they went out in the last 16 of the competition.

Tammy Abraham, who spent last season on loan at Swansea, went close to reducing the arrears late on but Bravo cut out Ross Barkley’s inviting delivery in the nick of time.

Caballero was busy again in the closing stages and his reflexes denied sub Brahim Diaz a third goal which would have mirrored their spells of control.

That is now three trophies in six months for City who still have the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling to return.

Their huge outlay demands trophies and who would bet against more silverware returning to the Etihad Stadium in 2018/19?

Key statistics

Aguero is already City’s record goalscorer but his opener was a special milestone - his 200th goal for the club since he signed in August 2011.

Such was the temperature at Wembley, players from both sides took water breaks.

Although there is no VAR in the Premier League or Champions League, it was in operation this clash between the league champions and FA Cup winners.

Hazard, his Chelsea future reportedly up for discussion, is due back in training for the club on Monday.

Chelsea suffer a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield Final
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri gives instructions to his players during the Community Shield match against Manchester City

Maurizio Sarri is Chelsea’s eighth permanent boss in the past decade.

Chelsea have now failed to win the Community Shield in any of their past five appearances (2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018). It's the joint-longest run of appearances without winning or sharing the trophy in the competition's history, along with Newcastle (1932, 1951, 1952, 1955 and 1996).

This is the first time the Premier League champions, as opposed to the FA Cup winners, have won the Community Shield since Manchester United beat Wigan 2-0 in 2013.

What’s next?

City travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal in what potentially will be the Premier League contest of the opening weekend.

The Premier League 2018 odds make them firm favourites.

Chelsea have a friendly against Lyon at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday before opening their Premier League campaign against Huddersfield on Saturday.

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 1:04 PM (11 days ago)            #40
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Premier League Team Analysis: Can Spurs Really Step Up?

Being better than Arsenal is all well and good, but in the Premier League, you have to look a bit further.

But hey it’s been a long time coming, and you can’t blame Spurs fans for lauding it over their North London rivals after looking up at them for the best part of a quarter of a century. Now though, they need to take another big step and win something.

It’s been ten long years since they won a trophy...and that was the League Cup!

Prior to that, they lifted the FA Cup in 1991. It’s also over 50 years since they won the league. I fear the Whites will never have a better chance to win the Premier league than in 2016 when they bottled it to let Leicester complete their amazing feat.

Now they have to start again. But when you see the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool strengthening—all while Chelsea and Arsenal have new head coaches—it’s clear that 2018/19 will be another big test for Tottenham.

Key Strengths

They will finally arrive in their new Stadium for their second home game of the new season and I bet Spurs fans can’t wait. They were always lodgers at Wembley and played like that in the early stages.

While Coach Mauricio Pochettino is unwilling to lay any blame for their slow start on that factor, it certainly took them a while to get going.

They need to get their new 62,000-ground bouncing and start quickly, but the first visitors will be…Liverpool.

One of the most exciting talents at Spurs is wing-back Kieran Trippier who has been one of Pochettino’s best players since moving into Kyle Walker’s place so easily. The former Manchester City man is a talented and tough defender and a brilliant attacking wing-back with world-class delivery and dead ball skills, as we all saw in Russia.

Premier League news: Kieran Trippier is expected to step up for the Spurs in the upcoming 2018/19 season
Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kieran Trippier in action during the World Cup 2018 in Russia

And then, of course, there’s King Harry. In Harry Kane, Spurs have its best goalscorer since the great Jimmy Greaves, and England its best since Alan Shearer. His goals almost, almost took England to the World Cup final as he won the Golden Boot. Last season, he was only outscored by the incredible Mo Salah.

Kane’s value comes not only in his undoubted talent, able to score with both feet from distance and a brave header of the ball, but in his down to earth approach to life as an example both on and off the field.

But how long he’ll stick around if Spurs draw another blank is anyone’s guess.

Major Weaknesses and Concerns

Can the club’s biggest strength also be a weakness? The massive reliance on Kane to deliver probably put paid to England’s World Cup hopes, but it can be a danger for Spurs too. An injury to their talisman could cost them dearly and end any hope of winning something.

Spurs to challenge for Premier League title with their main man Harry Kane in front
Harry Kane celebrates with Dele Alli after scoring for Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League 2017/18 season

At the time of writing, Pochettino has yet to complete a signing this summer. And although the team has had a pretty decent pre-season, Whites fans can be excused for getting twitchy with the cash that has been splashed all around them.

Tottenham have previously been blessed with quick wingers; but since the departure of the likes of Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale, they have relied more on playing through the middle with advancing wing backs in support. That can work, of course, but an attacking speed merchant on the wing can put the wind up most full-backs.

Key Players to Watch

I’m hoping that Dele Alli can recapture his form of 2016/17 after a rather disappointing effort last season—by his own high standards. He could do with learning from his skipper and maybe worry a little less about what he’s doing off the field. And if he can stay on his feet more, he’ll endear himself to opposition fans!

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou starred in the ICC and could become an exciting player with the wing trickery the fans love to see. He had a fruitless loan spell at Burnley last season, so this term is an important one for the youngster if he is to become big Premier League 2018 news.

Fearless Forecast

SBOBET football fans will know that Spurs are fifth favourites in every domestic competition next season, at odds of 9.00 for the Carabao Cup, 10.00 for the FA Cup and 16.00 for the league.

So will it be another potless year for Poch? I’m going to stick my neck out and say ‘NO’! My Premier League 2018 predictions for Spurs are good and bad I guess. This year, I believe there might just be a frenzy to find the keys to the Spurs' trophy cabinet as they win one of the two cups.

But I’m afraid that will probably be a consolation for missing out on a top-four place as I do think we have that one right.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 1:06 PM (11 days ago)            #41
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Premier League Team Analysis: What Next for Sky Blues?

How do you better a season like that? Manchester City’s record-breaking 100 point haul set the Premier League alight in 2018 so where on earth do they go from here?

The Sky Blue faithful will say ’more of the same please,’ but the head coach and team have set their sights on bigger things to come. Pep Guardiola knows that his City team isn’t unstoppable, but a comfortable 2-0 win in the Community Shield over Chelsea sent out a disconcerting message to their rivals.

Key Strengths

Bernardo Silva is expected to continue impressing SBOBET Premier League
Bernardo Silva in action against Chelsea

Well, we can start pretty much anywhere I guess. From the keeper Ederson—who has such an impressive start to Premier League life—right through the backbone of the team to the spearhead of Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.

Players settle in quickly at the Etihad and seem to become part of set-up seamlessly as Pep’s philosophy surrounds the place. Ederson, after his £35m switch from Benfica, and attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva are two cases in point.

Following his move from Monaco last summer, Silva featured 52 times in all competitions, scoring nine goals and establishing himself as an important cog in the City machine. After a good World Cup, he’ll be ready to go again.

Then you can look at players who are part of the furniture in Manchester, such as the influential David Silva who looked as good in his eighth season with the Sky Blues as he did in his very first. And then there’s Brazilian Fernandinho who has held the midfield together for five seasons already...that's before you even start to look at the elder statesmen like Aguero and Vincent Kompany.

The way City dismantled Chelsea with relative ease in the season’s curtain-raiser shows that Guardiola’s men are determined to continually raise the bar. And if Kevin De Bruyne can recapture his form of the first half of last season particularly, then they could well be unstoppable in the Premier League.

Major Weaknesses and Concerns

If I was a City fan, my major concern would be Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s men have had the better of the Champions in 2018, winning in the league and destroying them over two legs in the Champion League.

Liverpool, like City, are capable of beating any team in the world but not as consistently. But if the 2018/19 league season is a close-run affair, then the tussles between the two most attacking sides in the country could become psychologically testing for the Sky Blues. Either way, those clashes are ones that SBOBET Premier League fans simply can’t afford to miss.

And one or two of the bigger names at the Etihad aren’t getting any younger. Pep has already released Yaya Toure and now needs more cover for Fernandinho. And then there’s Vincent Kompany, such a classy defender, but he’s 32 years old and dogged by injury.

City haven’t been the same team without him; but if John Stones can rule out the occasional howler, then he could step into the captain’s shoes. The young centre-back’s form in Russia was encouraging and looked the part in the Community shield, playing with great assurance and skill.

Key Players to Watch

Can Leroy Sane be Premier League's favourite in top scoring list?
Premier League 2019 could be Leroy Sane's biggest seasom

Leroy Sane was a force to be reckoned with last season but, having been left out of Germany’s World Cup squad, the 22-year-old flying winger could be set to terrorize defences throughout the league. Our Premier League 2018 updates are sure to feature Sane, and this could be his biggest season yet. His pace and quick feet are a joy to watch.

And watch out for exciting young midfielder Phil Foden. The young Stockport born lad set up Aguero for his opening goal against Chelsea and, at 18, looks a real prospect. Pep may decide to loan him out, but I expect him to feature at some stage this year as the boss rates him very highly.

Fearless Forecast

City are second favourites to win the Champions League at 6.60, only behind Juventus whose chances are massively boosted by the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.

And our Premier League 2018 odds have them nailed on as clear favourites at 1.66 to win the title for the second successive campaign.

With two big prizes to go for, one to hang on to and the other there to be taken, this promises to be another epic season for Manchester City. I’m confident Pep will become only the sixth manager to retain England’s top title since 1950. But I think the Champions League will just elude them.

So it’s Premier League 2019 winners and Champions League runners-up for me.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 1:08 PM (11 days ago)            #42
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Premier League Team Analysis: Man United May Well Surprise You!

The naysayers have been out in force.

The doom-mongers enjoying a season of their own before the Premier League actually begins.

Manchester United are supposedly in trouble: an unhappy camp, lack of strength in depth and a feeling that boss Jose Mourinho is proving a negative influence on some of his dressing room stars.

With days until the campaign begins, it seems an open season for many journalists against a club they love to hate.

Why they love to hate United, of course, is clear.

Twenty league titles—13 in the Premier League era—make them the most successful as well as the biggest club in English football.

And success breeds jealousy and envy in any walk of life.

Key Strengths

Last season, they claimed the runners-up spot in the Premier League with 81 points.

That total would have been enough to win the Premier League title twice in the past decade.

They also boasted the second-best defensive record in the top flight last season, conceding just 28 goals, so they have a good structure to base success upon—particularly when their goalkeeper is one of the best in the world.

It is still unknown if Spurs will sell Alderweireld to Premier League rivals Manchester United
Toby Alderweireld goes for the ball during Belgium's semi-final clash against France

And then there are reports linking them with Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld.

He was one of the undoubted heroes of Belgium’s superb World Cup campaign and, according to my long-time colleague and Spurs fanatic, is the best defender in the Premier League.

His signing, more so than other defenders linked to the club, would be a real asset and would severely weaken a rival.

Likewise, at 25 years old, the time is right for Paul Pogba to prove he can be a world-class talent by performing consistently for his club.

Six goals and 10 assists in 27 Premier League appearances last season show he can turn on the style when in the mood.

Then there is Alexis Sanchez whose January arrival was good business. Now, after a summer free of the World Cup and with a full pre-season under his belt, he needs to show his best at Old Trafford...perhaps the perfect platform for him.

With the emerging Marcus Rashford, the powerhouse of Romelu Lukaku, and the ultra-talented Martial, there are many reasons why United fans should feel optimistic.

Major Weaknesses and Concerns

Of course, United have weaknesses and concerns.

Concerns over the lack of pre-season for many of their World Cup stars, including Pogba, Lukaku, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young, something that may be felt in the spring onwards rather than before Christmas.

Concerns over injuries to the likes of skipper Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera.

Concerns over their lack of summer activity while the rivals around them, particularly Manchester City and Liverpool, have been strengthening.

Sure, they have added the Brazilian midfielder Fred and young full-back Diogo Dalot, a player Mourinho describes as ‘one for the future’.

But the retirement of Michael Carrick and sale of Daley Blind means, in many ways, United are merely ensuring they have replaced like for like.

Then there is the future of some of their star names.

Pogba, among them, is reportedly the subject of a bid from Barcelona within the last 24 hours.

The French World Cup-winning midfielder may have only shown glimpses of what he can do during the past two seasons at Old Trafford, but the Catalan side must have been delusional to think their offer of £45 million plus two good but hardly top-level players would have made a deal possible.

And in another French player, Anthony Martial, United have someone who is also seemingly unhappy with his relationship with the boss. Mourinho’s criticism of certain players, including Martial, seems over the top at times and is not conducive to a good team spirit.

However, despite his outspoken media conferences and inferences, he is not being supported as he should be in the transfer market.

Key Players to Watch

All the players mentioned above can stake their claim this term, while Luke Shaw could finally develop into the ‘Rolls Royce’ of a player he has promised to be.

And, of course, in De Gea, United have a number one who has dominated the club player of the year award in recent seasons.

The need for Matic to stay injury-free is also important.

Fearless Forecast

If you are an SBOBET follower who reads much of the recent Premier League 2018 news, United could be in trouble.

The Premier League 2018 odds place United a distant third.

Yet, the garden is much rosier than many would have you believe.

Indeed, away from the supposed sniping and carping, Mourinho praised his players the other day for being ‘professional’ and ‘phenomenal’ during their pre-season tour of the United States.

You probably won’t have read that of course—that doesn’t fit the agenda of much of the media!

 

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 1:10 PM (11 days ago)            #43
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Premier League Team Analysis: Retooled Liverpool Ready for Title Chase

Liverpool mean business in the Premier League.

After finishing fourth in the English top flight and reaching the Champions League final in 2017/18, the Reds of Merseyside have now set their sights on higher standards and achievements: the league title and the European crown.

Jurgen Klopp has basically kept the Liverpool core intact—Emre Can the only notable departure—and, in fact, had one of the best summer transfer windows with the addition of four big-name players.

SBOBET now takes a look at the ever-exciting Liverpool squad, what's in store for their fans and what to expect from them in the upcoming 2018/19 EPL season.

Key Strengths

We just don't throw the word "exciting" freely here. However, Liverpool never fail to entertain with their high-octane offence that ranked second in the Premier League last campaign.

Their heavy metal football anchored on their famed gegenpressing has wowed the club's supporters over the years, and it's unlikely Klopp will have a change of heart about his philosophy that emphasises offence more than anything else.

The Liverpool triumvirate of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane remains a threat to any team, and there’s no other way but up for them after breaking the record for the most goals in a single Champions League season by a trio. The record they toppled? Real Madrid’s fabled BBC of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo!

It’s also worth mentioning that Klopp has bolstered his attacking unit this summer with the arrival of Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Keita was pivotal for RB Leipzig’s Bundesliga rise in 2016/17, and he fits perfectly with Klopp’s style of play that requires players to be fast and dynamic. Shaqiri, on the other hand, adds depth and playmaking on the wings, something which the team lost following the departure of Philippe Coutinho.

The arrival of new reinforcement Xherdan Shaqiri is backed to bolster Liverpool’s Premier League campaign
Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri fights for the ball during the World Cup 2018 in Russia

Major Weaknesses and Concerns

For a team that ranks in the top four of the English top flight, it’s quite interesting to see Liverpool finish with 12 draws and five defeats last season.

Now think where they could have been had they won those draws? Just four more victories would have propelled them to second spot in the 2017/18 Premier league! After all, their five draws were the second fewest in the league.

Defence is the culprit for the Reds’ inconsistency. While their offence is remarkable, the backline leaves much to be desired.

Some intriguing statistics: only four of their 12 draws last year went scoreless while the other eight had goals. Out of those eight games, they were on the lead seven times before collapsing and settling for a stalemate.

The addition of Fabinho and Brazil No.1 Alisson Becker should help Liverpool improve on that area, but their depth remains a concern (case on point: Liverpool’s defensive crisis with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez the only centre-backs fit for their opener next week).

Key Players to Watch

Is there any other Liverpool player worth talking about than Salah? After extending his contract with the club, expectations are high on the Egyptian King to impress once again and become a fixture in Premier League 2018 highlights.

But how can he top a 32-goal, Golden Boot-winning season? Well, the answer is probably by scoring as much, or more, and helping the team win silverware—perhaps the ultimate measure of a footballer’s success nowadays besides numbers and individual accolades.

Moreover, Salah has some unfinished business in the Champions League after getting injured in the final, so that’s another storyline to watch.

Besides Salah, new keeper Alisson is one that fans shouldn’t take their eyes off. The former Roma keeper is one of the best goalies in the world and Liverpool will need him to replicate his form with the Gialorrossi last season if they want to contend with Manchester City for the title.

Alisson kept 18 clean sheets in the Serie A this past campaign to help Roma finish third, behind Italian champions Juventus and Napoli.

Fearless Forecast
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is confident on keeping his team intact heading to the new Premier League season
Manager Jurgen Klopp waves to Liverpool fans after his side's friendly match

Our Premier League 2018 odds have Liverpool as second favourites to win the English trophy, while the other SBOBET offers show them in the top five for the Cup trophies. With that said, I predict them to win at least one title this year...probably the FA Cup.

The demands of European football shouldn’t be underestimated, so I don’t expect them to beat Manchester City in the EPL given their lack of depth. Liverpool are way better and more experienced this time around, but my analysis (and well, gut feel) tells me they'll fight for the second place instead, against Manchester United and Tottenham.

 

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 1:14 PM (11 days ago)            #44
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Premier League Team Analysis: What Comes Next in the Chelsea Rollercoaster?

There’s no doubt the whole landscape of English football changed in the summer of 2003.

That was when Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich first walked into Stamford Bridge and the top flight has never been the same since.

With full respect to players and numerous managers that followed, the wealth of the oligarch has been the pivotal factor in leading the club to the most successful period in its history, including five Premier League titles, five FA Cup triumphs and the Champions League he so craved.

The fact so many figures have been shipped out for failing to succeed or be consistently successful has shown what a rollercoaster the club can be.

Key Strengths

That policy is arguably a strength and a weakness as they go into the Premier League.

Success is demanded virtually all the time or key figures depart unceremoniously and are simply replaced. Until Manchester City, no club has been able to afford such ruthlessness.

Antonio Conte left after two seasons with a Premier League title and an FA Cup to his name.

That would have been acceptable at most clubs, but a failure to qualify for the lucrative Champions League—coupled with his own gripes which tested the club’s patience—proved his downfall.

In fact, some would argue the Italian (who was found wanting in his second campaign but did end it with silverware) helped engineer his own downfall.

In the end, it was all rather unsavoury and players such as Willian made their feelings for the manager emphatically clear.

The man now in the hot seat is another Italian, someone who has pledged to bring ‘fun’ to the role.

Of course, Maurizio Sarri must be aware that if he doesn’t deliver trophies, chances are Abramovich won’t have fun and his reign may be brief.

Remember, this is a club which has had eight permanent bosses and a fair few caretakers in the past decade alone.

Despite their Community Shield defeat, many SBOBET fans will tip Chelsea to challenge for the top prizes once again.

They certainly have a squad to do so, and the appointment of a number two in fan-favourite Gianfranco Zola is a popular one and should buy some time.

Particularly, if the futures of star men like Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois can be secured.

Major Weaknesses and Concerns

Courtois seems to be linked to a move to Real Madrid, no surprise given his super showing at the World Cup when he was named best goalkeeper in the competition.

It appears he could be replaced by Spanish number two, Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao, which would be potentially a smart move.

More importantly is ensuring Hazard isn’t also lured to the Madrid giants, despite recent Premier League 2018 news suggesting he could be on his way out.

Indeed, his first appearance in the pre-season saw him net a penalty shoot-out winner over Lyon.

Newly-appointed manager Maurizio Sarri is ready to lead Chelsea to a promising season in the Premier League
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri talks during a press conference at Stamford Bridge last July

Now, the real action begins and maintaining the services of Hazard and finding the best form for Alvaro Morata—who was inconsistent during his first term in the Premier League—are surely Sarri’s initial priorities.

David Luiz is likely to feature again. He was sidelined for much of last year after openly questioning Conte’s approach, yet was a firm favourite the year before as they cruised to the title.

However, he can be a liability in a back four which, as history suggests, Sarri prefers to utilise.

Generally, until recent weeks, the club has had an uncertain summer. Abramovich dealt with his own visa issues while Conte even returned to begin pre-season training, even though he had no real desire to remain.

Extended breaks for players at the latter stages of the World Cup have also not helped and it’s fair to say it may take Sarri and Chelsea some time before they hit the ground running.

Stability and unpredictability are often watchwords in modern day football, none more so than at Chelsea.

That seems unlikely to change in the season ahead.

Key Players to Watch

Hazard is the man who makes Chelsea tick and their Premier League 2018 odds would fall significantly if he were to be sold.

Big things will be expected of new signing Jorginho and, if he can form an instant partnership with French World Cup winner N’Golo Kante, Chelsea’s engine room will be a threat to any team.

Fearless Forecast

An improvement on their fifth-place finish is possible, but a top-two finish seems unlikely unless they can quickly rediscover their title-winning form of 2016-17.

Conte benefited enormously from no European competition in his debut season and Sarri must decide how much stock he gives the potentially fixture-heavy Europa League campaign.

 

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09-Aug 2018 Thursday @ 1:16 PM (11 days ago)            #45
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Premier League Team Analysis: Emery Ready to Fire a New Arsenal

If you ask an English football fan which side will likely win the Premier League, you will not hear Arsenal as the top-of-mind option.  The final years of Arsene Wenger's reign with the Gunners have been marked by consistent disappointment, missing out on the top trophy of the league year in and year out.

However, North London is buzzing with excitement for the coming season. A new man heads the touchline for the coming Premier League season, and he promises winning football to a proud club that badly needs it. Alongside his arrival are big signings that provide much-needed reinforcements to the first team.

How will the league (and the SBOBET football page) be affected by this new-look Arsenal? Will they see the Gunners at the top of the table once again? Or will the Premier League 2018 results show the Gunners struggle with growing pains for another season?

Key Strengths

Can Mesut Ozil satisfy Premier League 2018 betting fans despite new system in Arsenal?
Mesut Ozil in training with his Arsenal teammates

The biggest changes Unai Emery will bring to the side is the formation and philosophy changes. He will most likely field four-in-the-back formations with the full-backs bringing the width to the formation. This means that the driving force of the formation would be the midfield.

They showed fans what they can expect out of the club once football season formally makes a return in the weekend. Their ICC victory over Chelsea was a unique take for fans used to the somewhat unsure brand of football shown by Arsene's Arsenal. Every pass had a purpose, and their attacks came from all over the place.

The formations and attacking philosophies will maximise the talents of the men manning the midfield. The Gunners have that in spades with Mesut Ozil most likely taking the central role in the formation, making the big passes that connect the backline and the attackers from the middle of the pitch.

The Gunners should also have no problems shooting for goals with the two strong forwards they have. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are two of the strongest attackers in Europe and should be able to provide the Spaniard manager with easy goals.

Their defence also got a bit of an upgrade in the offseason. Petr Cech will be competing for game time with Bernd Leno, a quality keeper from the Bundesliga. Sokratis joins the former Leverkusen man in the switch to the Premier League to take Per Mertesacker's place.

Major Weaknesses and Concerns

I still think that the Gunners still have an issue with attack despite having rich options up front. They are still reeling from losing Alexis Sanchez last season, and none of the current wingers on Emery's payroll is able to fill the dynamic explosiveness provided by the Chilean from the wings.

The squad is also still adjusting to the high defensive line that is a part of the aggressive possession football Emery is aiming for at Arsenal. Several ICC matches have shown the vulnerability of the Gunners against speedy opponents that try to catch them off with long passes that test their offside traps.

Putting the players and the supporters into the right mentality would also be a proper challenge for Emery. Arsenal have disappointed time and time again over the past five years, with their closest Premier League challenge being the year Leicester shocked everyone and won the title.

It will be quite challenging for him to face an incredibly strong Tottenham side and come out of it with the motivation still intact among the players, the fans and the board.

Key Players to Watch

SBOBET Football expects Matteo Guendouzi to have an electrifying season
Matteo Guendouzi is a youngster to watch out for this season

Of course, much expectation is still placed on Ozil's shoulders. This season will be especially testing for the midfielder who recently announced his retirement from international football. He is an important presence to the side, but fans berate his non-necessary work rate. It will be interesting to see how Ozil works under Emery's new system.

Lacazette and Aubameyang are also must-watch players for the Gunners. Both players have played well while donning the Gunners kit, but assessing their performance under Emery will be a different experience altogether. Whether they find harmony on the pitch together or with one on the bench remains to be seen.

Finally, Matteo Guendouzi is the most electrifying youngster that should become an integral part of the Gunners in the future. His impressive work rate, tackling skills, and passing vision have ensured that the France Under-20 midfielder is cherished among the Arsenal faithful.

Fearless Forecast

Arsenal are currently ranked sixth most likely to win the Premier League, with SBOBET's Premier League 2018 betting page giving the Gunners 17.20 outright odds to win the league. Bitter rivals Tottenham are placed just higher at 12.00.

Everything will still depend on how much of Emery's strategy was understood by the Gunners. There will be a lot of adjustments to be made, and there will be growing pains as the players try to fully incorporate his high-pressing football into their very being.

With that being said, Arsenal will NOT WIN the Premier League this year!

However, if Emery's Arsenal played an attractive brand of football, you will see me horning them in as favourites to win the league in the 2019/20 season.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:15 PM (6 days ago)            #46
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Premier League Test Starts Now for Maurizio Sarri

Huddersfield Town vs Chelsea

Antonio Conte lasted only two seasons at Chelsea despite delivering a Premier League trophy and a FA Cup title. Blues fans are hoping his replacement, Maurizio Sarri, will last longer.

Sarri, who took over the club from Conte this summer, is set to have his first taste of English top-flight action when they visit Huddersfield Town for their opening game of the 2018/19 Premier League season. And sure enough, expectations are high for the former Napoli boss to impress and make a winning start to his Chelsea career.

However, with Sarri's star players unlikely to start following the post-World Cup break, beating a Huddersfield team might prove trickier than it appears.

Talking Points

Sarri had a brilliant season with Napoli in the Serie A last year, guiding the team to a runner-up finish after going toe-to-toe with Italian heavyweights Juventus for much of the season. While the 59-year-old manager isn't expected to contend for the EPL title this campaign, it should be remembered that a top-four place is the minimum acceptable result for a club like Chelsea.

After all, the Blues ended up fifth last season and, poof, Conte was gone—though there's more to it than just the team's performance.

With that said, Sarri knows for a fact he needs to produce results quickly. And there's no better way to do that and make a statement than by winning their opening game.

As mentioned above, though, it won't be as easy as it sounds for Sarri and Chelsea. Not with Eden Hazard, N'Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud seemingly not ready yet to play a competitive football game.

The trio, who were coming off a month-long break after their World Cup duties, featured as second-half substitutes for the Blues in their International Champions Cup match with Lyon. After the game, Sarri admitted that it would be difficult for Hazard, Kante and Giroud to face Huddersfield due to lack of fitness.

Furthermore, as reported in recent Premier League 2018 news, Chelsea sold Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid for €35 million. Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic was also sent to Stamford Bridge on a season-long loan as part of the transaction, but the 24-year-old is unlikely to feature against Huddersfield given the short time he has following his extended vacation.

The good news for Chelsea is that they already have a replacement for Courtois in Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was bought from Athletic Bilbao for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper. Arrizabalaga is lined up against Huddersfield to fill the void left by the Belgian No.1 between the sticks.

Premier League club Chelsea will open the season without Thibaut Courtois who recently joined Real Madrid
Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois during the semi-final match between France and Belgium at the 2018 World Cup

Huddersfield, on the other hand, should pose a huge challenge after being one of the most active clubs in the summer transfer window. They made seven signings this summer, including handing permanent deals to loanees Jonas Lossl (from Mainz 05) and Terence Kongolo (from AS Monaco).

Former Monaco forward Adama Diakhaby also arrived at John Smith's Stadium to bolster the Terriers' frontline that boasts Steve Mounie, Australia international Aaron Mooy and Rajiv van La Parra.

Huddersfield barely escaped relegation last year, but that should only fuel the fire inside David Wagner's men to perform better and ensure they won't be in the relegation dogfight this time around.

History

Huddersfield failed to beat Chelsea in their two Premier League meetings last season, losing one and drawing the other. The Blues won against the Terriers 3-1 in their game at John Smith's last December, but Huddersfield bounced back and played a 1-1 stalemate at Stamford Bridge five months later to ensure their safety in the top flight.

Overall, the two teams have played 66 times—Chelsea winning 29, Huddersfield 27 and 10 ending in a draw. The Blues, however, are unbeaten in their last eight league meetings with the West Yorkshire side with five wins and three draws.

Moreover, Chelsea last lost against Huddersfield in 1963.

Interestingly, while Chelsea haven't lost in Huddersfield's turf in four straight league matches, the Terriers have never lost five consecutive home matches to a single opponent.

It's also worth noting that Huddersfield won their first two games in the 2017/18 Premier League campaign and even went top of the table after Week 1.

Betting Tip

??

Huddersfield Town vs Chelsea First Half 1X2 Draw @ 2.22
August 11, 22:00 (GMT+8)

The SBOBET Premier League page have Chelsea as the overwhelming favourites to win this game, thanks to the depth and quality of their squad. However, as discussed, it's still not sure if their star players will start and we all know how they play without their main men (case on point: their 2-0 loss to Manchester City in the Community Shield).

With that said, I expect both teams to try to establish a rhythm first in the early proceedings and start off slow with not much attacking.

I do predict Chelsea to win the match and make sense of the Premier League 2018 odds, but I have them finding the net and winning it midway through the second half in a low-scoring affair.

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?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:19 PM (6 days ago)            #47
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Premier League: Geordie Roar Can Shake Spurs

Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur

The Premier League is back again folks, and what a weekend we have to set the 2018/19 season off with a bang.

The Newcastle-Tottenham match is an opening-day fixture to capture the imagination—two great clubs with a rich heritage and high hopes for the coming season. But both have their challenges, Newcastle a limited budget and Spurs with mounting expectations increasing the pressure year on year.

It’s one of those classic games though, big city sides from either end of the country and everything to play for. And when the fiercely loyal Newcastle fans get their voices tuned, the North London aristocrats will know they’re in a fight.

Talking Points

Rafa Benitez is fast becoming the most popular coach on Tyneside since the great Sir Bobby Robson. The former Liverpool boss could have walked away after the Toon was relegated in 2016, but he didn’t. He steered them back to the top flight and, after taking time to settle in their first season back, helped the Magpies achieve a top ten finish.

Benitez is a Champions League winner, and the Premier League’s knowledgeable fans are well aware that he can set up a team to frustrate and then pounce.

The SBOBET odds point to another mid-table finish for the Geordies.

Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles is one of Rafa's top guys this Premier League season
Newcastle star Jamaal Lascelles is ready to lead Magpies in new season

There isn’t a lot of money to throw about at Newcastle and Rafa has had to deal shrewdly, but he has a diamond in his pack in the shape of skipper Jamaal Lascelles. The Magpies often looked lost without their classy defender during a five-match absence and his performances led Geordies to shout for an England call-up for their captain. If his form continues, then this could be his year.

Striker Ayoze Perez is Newcastle’s biggest threat, with ten goals last term. However, he needs more support and Rafa will have to shuffle his pack and hope for Dwight Gayle to reach his potential.

The loan signing of Kenedy from Chelsea—up on Tyneside for a second year—is a real boost for Newcastle as well. The young winger’s trickery and skill was the catalyst for a strong finish to the 2017/18 season, and he could turn out to be a world-class player in time with his touch of quality.

The Premier League 2018 odds on Newcastle and Tottenham are unlikely to alter over the final few hours of the transfer window. Nonetheless, prospects for the season could depend on whether either manager, particularly Mauricio Pochettino, can land any late targets.

Spurs fans have become increasingly frustrated by Poch’s difficulty in bringing players in. While all around are strengthening, there is yet to be a big announcement at White Hart Lane.

And what is the chance of a World Cup hangover for Spurs' young stars? It was a terrific campaign for the Three Lions, but they ultimately fell short at the semi-final stage. Cynics may say one of the reasons they bottled it at the final hurdle was that Gareth Southgate had entrusted the last push to so many Spurs players. (Not me of course!)

But Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Kieran Trippier had run themselves into the ground and stayed on an emotional rollercoaster longer than any of us really expected. And then there’s the Belgian contingent of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele who all made the latter stages too.

And let’s not forget Denmark’s best player Christian Eriksen, who is so important to Spurs' chances.

History

2018 World Cup top scorer Harry Kane ready to lead Spurs in new Premier Legue season
Harry Kane celebrates one of his goals during 2018 World Cup in Russia

Home form was vital in the Magpies’ successful return to the Premier League with eight wins, four draws and seven defeats up in the North East last season. And that will be the case again, particularly on those cold winter nights when gloves are the order of the day for visiting southerners.

It’ll be warm enough on Saturday though!

Newcastle come into the first game after an uninspiring pre-season with no wins in four, losing the last two against Augsburg and Sporting Braga—all while conceding five goals without scoring any.

Spurs had a good ICC tournament and arrive with four wins from six, though the Whites were hammered 4-1 in Girona last time out. Surely, they can't afford a repeat of those defensive lapses if they want positive Premier League 2018 results.

Recent head to head between the two sides tells a story. Tottenham did the double over the Geordies last season, scoring three goals without reply. But Newcastle are ahead in total, with 22 victories to 21 and six draws.

Betting Tip

??

Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur 1x2 Draw @ 3.10
August 11, 19:30 (GMT+8)
This will be a great contest and there’s no clear winner here.

The home side is available at 3.65 with Spurs the favourites, slightly odds against at 2.11 and the draw 3.10.

It’s going to be a tight game with two excellent defences prominent, and that’s reflected by odds of 1.87 on Under 2.50 goals and 2.03 on Over. A Correct Score Draw 1-1, at 5.80, is the most likely result.

Newcastle could do with getting a start here, as they face Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal over the next four games, and the passionate Geordie fans will roar them on from the off.

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:23 PM (6 days ago)            #48
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Liverpool vs West Ham: Anfield Expects!

Liverpool vs West Ham United

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are back, Mo Salah and all, and the long-suffering Liverpudlians think this could be their year…again.

It’s been almost three decades since the league title came to Anfield, but the Premier League’s second favourites have what it takes to mount one heck of a challenge. First up for the Reds is Liverpool vs West Ham, and just a few months ago you’d have put your house on a home win as the Hammers squabbled their way to defeat after defeat.

But they hope the arrival of head coach Manuel Pellegrini has changed all that. He’s already won the Premier League with Manchester City so he knows what it takes. Does Jurgen?

We’ll get the first clues this weekend as the SBOBET Premier League 2018 is about to kick off in most spectacular style, and you’ll get all the Liverpool vs West Ham news right here at SBOBET!

Talking Points

Jurgen Klopp has spent big over the summer, bringing in record-breaking goal-keeper Alisson as a real statement of intent. The Brazil man has been widely sought after and could be the solution to a goalkeeping dilemma which has dogged Klopp ever since his arrival on Merseyside.

Liverpool vs West Ham: Alisson Becker ready for his Premier league debut for the Reds
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker in action during their fiendly match against Napoli

He’s also brought in another Brazil international in midfielder Fabinho from Monaco. That’s a real plus for fellow countryman Roberto Firminho who thrives off the type of service Fabinho can provide. And then Klopp has further strengthened his midfield with the addition of Guinea captain Naby Keita who featured impressively in the ICC tournament. Keita’s high pressing and often-direct style will make space and provide more opportunities for the Red front three, and that is a truly terrifying prospect for Premier League defences this term.

The Hammers' new coach, Manuel Pellegrini, has also been splashing the cash rather liberally. He won the Premier League title with Manchester City and he wouldn’t want a first relegation on his CV. During a poor season, the West Ham faithful turned on their players and the owners, notably in a home humiliation by Burnley. Messrs Gold and Sullivan have backed their new man to keep the Eastenders cheerful.

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini during a pre-season press conference
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini during a pre-season press conference

They have picked up winger Andriy Yarmolenko who, at 28, still has plenty to offer. After starring for Dynamo Kiev, he moved to Borussia Dortmund last season. Though that didn’t really work out, at 6 ft 3 he has the physicality and an eye for goal to succeed in England. But the biggest outlay has gone on Lazio’s midfielder Felipe Anderson. at £35 million he’s a massive investment; at the least, the Hammers can say they have their own Brazilian now!

West Ham will undoubtedly be more pleasing on the eye this year, which should please their sentimental fans. And the recruitment of Anderson might even put a smile on the face of striker Marko Arnautovic: his 11 goals helped to keep the Hammers up last term, and he could thrive with more service.

History

Both teams arrive at this clash on the crest of a strong pre-season, with four consecutive wins each. The highlight of Liverpool’s run up to the league campaign was a 4-1 thumping of Manchester United in the ICC Trophy, and Klopp’s team is already set up to score goals at will. Meanwhile, the Hammers have beaten Angers, Aston Villa and Ipswich.

Liverpool dominated meetings between the two teams over the years, winning 27 of 47 matches. Meanwhile, West Ham won ten and split the honours on ten more.

It was a brutal tale last season as the Reds handed out a pair of 4-1 hammerings to the Hammers, but things are different in East London this time out, or so they hope.

Betting Tip

??

Liverpool vs West Ham United Liverpool -0.75 First Half Asian Handicap @ 1.90
August 12, 20:30 (GMT+8)

So let’s see what the Liverpool vs West Ham odds can tell us.

Despite West Ham’s strengthening, they will still struggle to contain a Liverpool side which has flexed its own financial muscle quite spectacularly.

We expect a two-goal margin, with the handicap betting offer of 1.84 on a win, with a -1.75 goal handicap for the Reds, while that start means West Ham is available at 2.07.

And any game with Mo Salah in it is bound to have goals and there should be plenty at Anfield. Over 3.25 goals is at 1.95 while Under 3.25 is 1.95.

2-0 at 6.40 or 3-0 at 7.60 are the most likely results, and 2-3 goals is available at 2.18.

Either way, I expect a quick start from the Reds.

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:26 PM (6 days ago)            #49
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Wolves vs Everton: Gold Standard at Molineux

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Everton

Premier League football returns to Wolverhampton after a six-year absence, and the Midlands’ fans have a treat in store when the Toffees come to town.

Games like these seemed a million miles away when the once-great Wolves languished in the third tier of English football after back-to-back relegations, but they rolled their sleeves up and got an almighty lift when Fosun International took over the club in 2016.

Wolves stormed the Championship last season and are now back in the big league, where their first opponents are a team in their own period of transition. Everton fans hope a turbulent 12 months can soon be forgotten.

These are early days, but Wolves vs Everton might even be a clash of Europa League hopefuls.

Talking Points

There’s been something of a revolution at Molineux over the past couple of years, and fans are dreaming that a return to the All-Gold glory years could just be around the corner. Since the takeover by their Chinese owners and a close relationship with super agent Jorge Mendes, Wolves have swept all before them in a return to the Premier League. SBOBET analysts will surely be watching them closely in the coming weeks.

Former Porto boss Nuno Espirito Santo led them to the league title with 99 points, holding on to the top spot since early November. That was no surprise after they had signed Ruben Neves for a Championship-record £16m, alongside premier quality talent including Diogo Jota, who top scored with 17 goals, and defender Willy Boly. Both have now signed permanent deals after taking Wolves up last season.

Wolves have been spending big again in an attempt to assure their stay in the top flight is not a one-off. They have tied Neves to a new contract to 2023, and that will delight Wolves fans who enjoyed his spectacular goals last term. He’s sure to feature in the Wolves vs Everton highlights. And they have pulled off a real coup, very early in the transfer window, in attracting Portugal keeper Rui Patricio. So good is he that there is a statue made of his brilliant one-handed save to deny Antoine Griezmann in the 2016 Euro Final in his hometown of Leiria.

The 30-year-old stopper was one of a number of Sporting Lisbon players to terminate their contracts after being attacked by angry fans following their failure to qualify for the Champions League. Luckily for Rui, Wolves have high expectations with their older fans that have a dose of reality!

Wolves vs Everton: Rui Patricio could feature on the Molineux clash
Summer signing Rui Patricio made his Wolves debut against Bochum

After hiring the specialist services of Sam Allardyce last season, Everton have dispensed with the arch pragmatist’s services and recruited the coach they always wanted in Marco Silva. The former Watford boss has impressed during his early career, with stunning successes at Sporting and Olympiacos, but still has much to prove in the Premier League.

Silva was helicoptered in to try to save Hull City in 2017, which he narrowly failed to do, and his Watford side last season enjoyed an impressive start before nose-diving as soon as Silva’s head was turned by overtures from Goodison Park. He has undoubted talent as a coach, but we have yet to see how well he can manage with greater expectations.

The Toffees fans believe they deserve better than Big Sam’s guaranteed survival and mid-table finish, so they’ll have their sights set on seventh again! That’s the best they can realistically hope for, and much will depend on the form of England keeper Jordan Pickford in his second season on Merseyside. £40 million for Watford’s Richarlison seems like a mighty punt, but they look set to land Barca defender Yerry Mina to give them the backbone needed to succeed.

History

Wolves vs Everton: Marco Silva will hope his side hits the ground running in Molineux clash
Marco Silva reign begins away at Wolves on Saturday

This Wolves team is ready-made for the Premier League and has had a decent pre-season, beating Villarreal last time out. The Toffees have lost their last five games, including a 4-1 defeat to Rennes and a 3-0 loss to newly-promoted Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

In the Premier League era, Wolves won only once against the Toffees, losing three times and drawing four. The last meeting was a rather depressing 0-0 draw as the Molineux faithful said goodbye to the top flight back in May 2012.

But this time, I expect it to be quite different.

Betting Tip

??

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Everton Under 2.25 Goals @ 2.01
August 12, 00:30 (GMT+8)

The Wolves vs Everton odds tell a story of a tight game with three very possible results.

The hosts are slight favourites at 2.29 with the draw Draw at 3.15 and Everton 3.20.

A -0.25 handicap leaves Wolves at 2.01, and Everton are at 1.92 with that small advantage.

Over 2.25 Goals is at 1.89, and the double chance of a draw/draw could be interesting at 4.50.

While this isn’t exactly a baptism of fire for Nuno’s Wolves, the next visitors to the Black Country are champions Manchester City… and they amassed 100 points last season!

So they really need a good start here.

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:28 PM (6 days ago)            #50
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Premier League Transfers: What a Day for English Football!

Football fans were definitely taken by surprise when the majority the clubs in England's top flight decided to end their transfer windows weeks ahead of the rest of Europe. The reason for the shortening of the window was so that the Premier League clubs can focus on the football and not on the uncertainty that comes with stars leaving the club.

However, that also means that managers have a shorter window to search for reinforcements that can positively impact the club. With the World Cup taking a good chunk of the window, a lot of gaffers scrambled until the deadline to get their business done.

Now that England's top flight cannot acquire any more players, we can now objectively assess how the teams performed during this shortened window.

Transfer Hits and Misses

To be honest, there has been a lot of transactions made over the last three weeks that it would be absurd to discuss every single significant deal without turning this piece into a chapter of The Silmarillion.

The window saw outrageous amounts of money change hands for keepers. Thibaut Courtois' departure for Real Madrid saw Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea spend €80m for Kepa Arrizabalaga. Before the acquisition, Alisson was the most expensive goalkeeper in the Premier League with his €62.50m price tag from Roma.

However, Kepa isn't the only big-profile player Sarri spent money on. Jorginho, a key player for his Napoli squad last season, was also brought to Stamford Bridge for €57m. He has already shown his worth to the side during Chelsea's preseason matches, supplying accurate passes from the back end of the midfield to his new team-mates.

City also spent a pretty penny for Riyad Mahrez, and his acquisition only adds depth to an already-impressive squad that will make Premier League 2018 highlights as easy as breathing air. Liverpool bolstered their ranks with Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho, while Arsenal made key additions to their spine with signings at goal, defence, and midfield.

Manchester United had a very disappointing foray into the market. Fred and Diogo Dalot are the only key additions they have made to their squad. Harry Maguire nor Toby Alderweireld will be wearing a Manchester United shirt for the foreseeable future.

If you think that only the big clubs saw some action, you will be greatly mistaken. Even the most mind-blowing action of the window came from the rest of the field. Every club outside the top six wasn't shying away from spending good money in order to acquire the players they need.

All of the teams outside the top six were more than willing to open their wallets and spend a pretty penny on players that will be able to help the club improve. Even Burnley, a club that reportedly struggled to get any signings, were able to get England international Joe Hart for €3.90m.

The most outstanding business was done by Everton and West Ham. The Toffees have the look of a dangerous team with the acquisition of Richarlison and, Bernard and three Barcelona players. Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina, and Andre Gomes will surely tip the Premier League 2018 betting odds in Everton's favour.

West Ham are also starting to shape like a club worthy of calling the London Stadium their stomping grounds. Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop, Andriy Yarmolenko, Lucas Perez, and Jack Wilshere make a very exciting crop of additions if I do say so myself.

Biggest Winners

Everton are one of the teams SBOBET Predictions should watch out for
Can Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne lead Everton in lifting the trophy?

It's pretty difficult to say which team outright won the transfer window, as every team made big-money moves in order to fill the holes in their squad. However, if you point a gun to my head and make me choose a big winner, I would have to side with Everton.

Before the window closed shut, Everton were far from even seeing the fringes of the Champions League places. Now, they look all primed and ready to rumble with the big boys of the Premier League.

They reinforced their backline with Mina, a player who was a key man of the Colombian defence during the World Cup. Gomes, Digne, Richarlison and Bernard also gives the Toffees much-needed firepower up front, a fatal weakness they showed in spades last term.

With the impressive Marco Silva leading the team, Goodison Park should be able to see some quality football from their team.

Biggest Losers

Two big clubs vie for the title of the Biggest Loser.

Tottenham seemed like they didn't even try to make a move in the market during this short window. This is a baffling fact to consider, especially since their rivals were active in splurging their cash on quality players.

However, they didn't lose any of their players to potential suitors, and they will be coming to the season with the same squad they ended their previous campaign with. Keeping this fact in mind, Manchester United take the biggest L in this window.

They had many needs to fill and had an equally impressive shopping list to match. However, they didn't even manage to secure many of their key signings. Gareth Bale stays at Madrid, they didn't bring a centre-back, and they haven't found a reliable fantasista to consistently carry them in the midfield.

Diego Godin even used United's desperation to secure a bigger contract with Atletico Madrid. That's how sad things are at Old Trafford.

What's next?

Can Tottenham Hotspur survive Premier League without signing any players?
Mauricio Pochettino failed to sign players this transfer window

I don't think SBOBET predictions have been this hazy after such a hectic transfer window, but things should eventually become clear after the teams have played their first games.

We have to remember that not all signings are matches made in heaven. With this in mind, we have to keep an eye on how everyone performs this season. Specifically, we should watch out for four teams.

Watching Tottenham throughout the first half of the season should be interesting. Will Mauricio Pochettino be able to keep the Spurs up without adding new players to his squad?

Manchester United's failure to acquire top talent also makes them an intriguing side to watch. Will we see Mourinho get sacked in the middle of the season, with his morale being at an all-time low? Or will he finally make this roster click?

West Ham and Everton are the final teams I recommend to catch. These clubs have transformed from relegation-threatened clubs to contenders in the snap of a finger. Whether they live up to the hype is up to the way their managers will set them up.

 

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:31 PM (6 days ago)            #51
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The Premier League is Back!

Manchester United vs Leicester City

After all the pre-season friendlies, all the transfer speculation, all the ins and all the outs, now the talking stops.

The Premier League is back with SBOBET, and the opener has a clash which could be spectacular.

Welcome back to the greatest show in town!

Talking Points

SBOBET is predicting Leicester City to win against Manchester United
Harry Maguire dominated transfer talks

Premier League 2018 news in recent days has been dominated by the transfer window, and one name who figured highly was Leicester City and England defender Harry Maguire.

Fresh from a fine World Cup, fans knew the centre-back would start the new season at Old Trafford. However, they were unsure of what colour shirt he would figure.

In the end, it amounted to speculation. We may never know if United tabled a bid which was turned down or whether United boss Jose Mourinho thought the 25-year-old Yorkshireman was overpriced.

Certainly, it’s questionable if Maguire is an upgrade on what United already have in a backline which kept the most clean sheets and boasted the second-best defensive record in the top flight in 2017/18.

Despite their critics, United appear to have adopted a mantra where they would only buy to enhance what they have rather than ‘more of the same’, given their squad already has a decent strength in depth.

Injuries have not helped the Red Devils with captain Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Nemanja Matic among those absent from the start of the campaign.

A number of players who featured in the latter stages of the World Cup will also not be match fit, given they have not had a pre-season either. But once they get up to speed, United will be in a stronger position than many think.

So may Leicester City.

In contrast to United, the 2016 champions have had an extremely active transfer window.

The early signing of former United man Jonny Evans was a good start, and they have now added to their strength with the deadline-day captures of Caglar Soyuncu from SC Freiburg and Filip Benkovic from Dinamo Zagreb.

Other recruitments have included James Maddison from Norwich and Foxes’ fans will be upbeat that manager Claude Puel appears to have invested wisely.

Perhaps the best news of deadline day for them came with the contract extension of livewire striker Jamie Vardy, who has been handed a four-year deal which will tie him down at the club until he’s 35.

A real boon for the club and loyal player alike, particularly after they sold the other main star of their 2016 title-winning campaign, Riyad Mahrez, to champions Manchester City.

The irony is, like so many of Man Utd’s World Cup players, Vardy only returned to club training on Monday and will probably be on the bench at Old Trafford, unlike Maguire.

The Foxes’ ex-Man City man Kelechi Iheanacho has been in prolific form in pre-season and will hope to take that into competitive action.

Mourinho has never lost on the opening day of a Premier League season, winning eight and drawing one of his matches with Chelsea (2004-07, 2013-2015) and United (2016 – present).

Meanwhile, the Foxes have won only one of their opening Premier League fixtures in nine attempts (a 4-2 victory over Sunderland at the start of their 2015-16 title-winning campaign).

That all points to a United victory, but an early goal and boiling frustration may become apparent at the Theatre of Dreams.

History

Last season, United saw off the spirited Foxes 2-0 at Old Trafford in only the third match of the campaign.

They triumphed through second-half goals from substitutes Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini.

The return match just before Christmas proved an exciting contest as Maguire netted a last-gasp equaliser with virtually the final kick of the contest.

The 2-2 draw saw Vardy’s now-annual goal against United and Juan Mata’s best performance of the season as he scored an exquisite double.

Leicester last won at Old Trafford 20 years ago. It was January 1998 when Tony Cottee scored the only goal.

Betting Tip

Despite all the doom and gloom in the media, United should be too strong for Leicester.

??

Manchester United vs Leicester Manchester United Asian Handicap -1.00 @ 1.91
August 11, 03:00 (GMT+8)

Other attractive offers include a goal-fest start to the league with over 2.75 goals @ 2.35 and total goal 4-6 @ 3.90.

The opening match of the season 12 months ago also involved Leicester as they were edged out by Arsenal in a seven-goal thriller.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:35 PM (6 days ago)            #52
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Premier League Preview: Can the Gunners Open Fire on City?

Arsenal vs Manchester City

The greatest football league in Europe is now back to its regular programming, and fans cannot wait to see how their new-look teams would perform under the bright lights of the Premier League.

With all of the media circus involving the transfer window finally closing shut, fans can expect their clubs to focus on providing more exciting football games for us to catch. And one of the opening games of the weekend is sure to be quite a spectacular affair!

Manchester City begin their title defence in London as they trade blows with a new-look Arsenal team under Unai Emery. The Gunners have looked promising through preseason, but even the most casual fan knows that a friendly and a league game against one of the biggest fishes in the pond is a different matter altogether.

How will Emery be able to defend his home ground against the champions that racked up 100 points in the Premier League last season? SBOBET takes a look at this cracker of a match.

Talking Points

Manchester City will take up a lot of space in the Premier League 2018 news sites whether or not they win their opening match, and their accomplishments during their title-winning campaign puts them on a pedestal above everybody else.

You just know that the visitors are laughably overpowered if the biggest weakness of the Sky Blues is the losing battle against Father Time. Regardless of where you look in the roster, Pep Guardiola has built up an outstanding team that can compete in multiple fronts throughout the season.

Manchester City are probably on full strength with the return of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne.
Raheem Sterling struggles while controlling the ball

Most of Pep's first-choice players made a huge impression in the recently concluded World Cup and will likely stomp around England and Europe with their quality of play. With Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, John Stones and Raheem Sterling, Manchester City's dominant years are yet to come.

The scariest part about all of this? Pep Guardiola's championship experience. He feels no unnecessary pressure from having to win it all over again. His history of handling top teams throughout Europe will definitely help him control the various personalities in the locker room and keep them focused on the games they will play throughout the year.

Regardless of the current strength of Arsenal, Unai Emery should be able to withstand Manchester City in the Premier League
Unai Emery and Pep Guardiola commanding in the touch line

Meanwhile, Arsenal will hope to start the latest era of their club history on the right foot by defending home ground against one of the most prolific football teams in Europe. Unai Emery will find his players outflanked in almost every aspect of the game, but his players should definitely be able to take the fight to the Citizens once the referee blows his whistle.

Everything starts with Mesut Ozil. The German is the new No10 for the Gunners, but many are concerned with his form after a rough summer saw him retire from international football. He needs to find joy in playing again, and Emery needs to reignite that spark within his main playmaker.

He also needs to sort out the situation at the front. He has two outstanding attackers in Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but it seems to the casual fan that these two cannot be played together all the time. There are multiple avenues that Emery can explore to have these two play football together, but we wouldn't know if he will use the two together until they have walked out to the pitch.

Arsenal's summer signing should also make an impact in this match. Lucas Torreira will be able to provide some resistance if he is picked to play in this game. Matteo Guendouzi could possibly see time in this important match if he impressed Emery enough during the preseason. Sokratis Papastathopoulos will be an important cog in Arsenal's attempts to stifle City's attacks.

History

These two clubs have squared off plenty of times, their first match going back to the time that Manchester City was still known as Ardwick and Arsenal still had Woolwich attached to their names. Arsenal won 96 of their 194 games and drew 45.

City may have only won 53 games against the Gunners, but their recent spike in rank has seen them compete in equal footing. The last three matches these two have played have ended in with Manchester City scoring three goals and winning the game. Meanwhile, Arsenal have only scored once in those three games.

Betting Tip

??

Arsenal vs Manchester City First Half 1X2 Draw @ 2.20
August 12, 11:00 PM (GMT+8)
Both teams are coming off strong pre-season performances and will want to start the game running. However, I don't think Arsenal will be able to stop Manchester City from taking the lead in the first half. City showed everyone that their attacking prowess is still as sharp as ever during their Community Shield victory over Chelsea. City have plenty of attacking options to go to, and I don't think Emery's Arsenal can stop them in their current state just yet. I don't see City not scoring on the first half when they begin to play some serious football. Of course, you don't have to go with my tip. There are other interesting Premier League 2018 odds to take note of. In the Asian Handicap market, Arsenal +0.50 offers intriguing odds of 1.98. Over 3.25 Goals promises 2.16, and 4-6 Total Goals promises a big reward of 2.65 odds.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:40 PM (6 days ago)            #53
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Manchester United Triumph in Fantastic Premier League Opener

Manchester United 2-1 Leicester

Many saw the opening match of Premier League between Manchester United and Leicester City as a comfortable win for the Red Devils. While Jose Mourinho is sulking about the team's lack of purchases in the transfer window, the quality of his roster is miles ahead of the Foxes.

However, what many didn't foresee was a great duel between two superb football clubs. Multiple players stepped up and made impressive plays. There was rarely a dull moment as all of the players on the pitch played with intensity and intention.

Many SBOBET Premier League 2018 punters were probably surprised with how the game played out. It didn't go against Manchester United vs Leicester predictions, but the contents of the game show that the result could have gone either way.

I, alongside the thousands of Premier League fans, will be absolutely delighted if this is how the rest of the league will play like for 38 games.

Highlights of the game

United played fantastic attacking football from the moment the match began. Paul Pogba, named captain by Jose Mourinho, immediately made his presence known with crisp passes and his involvement in United's quick opening goal.

The first goal came within the first 90 seconds of the game. United's relentless attacks at the first minute of the game ended up with Daniel Amartey committing a handball in the penalty area. The referee immediately blew his whistle and pointed to the spot.

Pogba immediately stood at the spot, made a weird run-up to the ball, and fired the ball to the top-left corner. Kasper Schmeichel, another World Cup player who impressed in Russia, made the correct guess. However, the ball was too quick for his reflexes, and it flashed straight to the net. Mourinho celebrated with a silent fist pump as his United team took the lead.

The Theatre of Dreams roared to life, but the Red Devils aren't done just yet. Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata, and Andreas Pereira have tested the Harry Maguire-led backline with piercing attacks in the early minutes of the game.

The Foxes eventually found their attack and began threatening United. Demarai Gray looked effective from the left, constantly challenging Matteo Darmian and making dangerous passes from the left. They had a good chance to equalise within 20 minutes when Gray made a beautiful lob to Kelechi Iheanacho in front of the goal. Unfortunately, the linesman deemed him offside.

United are playing great football in the first half. Eric Bailly has brilliant defending against Leicester's threats, and Fred has also tackled well in United's midfield. Marcus Rashford, looking good with the number 10 on his back, showed bits of flair after stealing the football off a Leicester man from underneath his opponent's legs.

Leicester almost had turned the tables an equaliser in the 29th minute of the match. Quick passes between Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, and Wilfred Ndidi ended up with Maddison having the ball in front of goal and with no one near him. He fired a powerful shot only to see David De Gea make a world-class save to deny the goal. His abysmal performance in Russia is well and truly forgotten.

Since then, Leicester continued to dominate possession. They have made the right passes time and time again and have used many an attacking angle to catch the Man United defence off-guard and even the score. However, Bailly and Victor Lindelof have played strong defence time and time again.

The second half started with quality action from both Rashford and Gray. A scuffle in front of the Manchester United box eventually saw Mata making a pass to the No10. Rashford had a speedy battle with Gray as the England international tried to double the lead. Gray stopped the danger with an equally impressive tackle.

Leicester tried dinking the ball past the backline and have Iheanacho power his way through the defence, but Bailly continues to stop any dangerous attempts. Claude Puel decided to up the attack and insert Jamie Vardy on the 62nd minute. Three minutes later, Mourinho takes Rashford off for Romelu Lukaku.

The two clubs traded blows for much of the second half, but Iheanacho almost equalised once more. A scuffle in front of goal saw the ball land in front of Gray. He fired another bullet of a shot that was saved once again by De Gea.

Sanchez and Lukaku brewed up something in response, with the Belgium international left alone with the ball and Schmeichel. However, the son of United legend Peter Schmeichel pulled off a save with a quality that matches De Gea's.

Luke Shaw's goal seals the win for Manchester United in the Premier League opening night
Luke Shaw celebrates after he scores a goal for Manchester United

Luke Shaw sealed the game with a brilliant goal. Dominant plays from Pogba attracted the defence, opening Leicester's right side. Mata placed a beautiful pass through for Shaw, and the 23-year-old scored a superb low goal past Schmeichel. Old Trafford celebrated, and Mourinho pumped his fists in delight.

While many United fans think that the game is over, the Jamie Vardy Party had supporters break out in sweat. A cross from the right saw Vardy dash for the ball but didn't reach the ball. In a bizarre twist of fate, the ball bounced off the post and into Vardy's view. He immediately headed it in to deny De Gea of a well-deserved clean sheet.

The game ended with the Foxes threatening a comeback from a corner. Kasper Schmeichel moved up to head the ball to the goal. Unfortunately, the ball went wide and the game ended with a 2-1 win for United.

Key statistics

Mourinho has never lost a Premier League Most, if not all, of Manchester United's six fouls in the first half were committed close to the penalty box. Leicester's almost-equaliser came from the scramble that came after one of those free kicks. If Mourinho wants life to be easier for his team this season, he has to make sure that his players are well-disciplined. Thankfully, they got their act together in the second half and conceded less free kicks near their goal.

It may be the armband, but Paul Pogba's performance less than a month after winning the World Cup is incredible. His dribbles through the middle, his pin-point passes, and defensive presence was a boon for the Old Trafford side. His 8.37 rating is well-deserved.

What's next?

Demarai Gray serves as one of the key factors in the creative plays of the Leicester City along with Ben Chilwell in the Premier League opening match
Demarai Gray struggles as he controls the ball

I hope to see more Premier League 2018 results like this when the two clubs move on to play their next games.

The Red Devils head to East Sussex to fight Brighton & Hove Albion and hope to start a winning streak to get their season going on the right note. Meanwhile, Leicester will be playing Wolverhampton at the King Power Stadium next week. Gray and Vardy will be hoping to at least console the home fans with a win against the recently promoted Wolves.

 

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:45 PM (6 days ago)            #54
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Chelsea Dominate Huddersfield in Easy Premier League Win

Huddersfield Town 0-3 Chelsea

Football season in England is off to a great start after a string of impressive results from the first several games of the Premier League. Manchester United and Leicester opened with a brilliant game of football, and the games that followed it also gave fans a brand of energetic football that hasn't been seen in the league for years.

Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea provided more of the same with their first victory to the opening campaign. The Stamford Bridge faithful were nervous with how the team will fare in the opener, but the Italian quickly pushed the doubt away with the kind of football his players showed.

They may not have the flashiness of other football clubs, but they definitely played effective possession football.

Highlights of the game

Maurizio Sarri decided to not field Eden Hazard in their Premier League opener, opting to keep him on the bench and maybe put him in the second half. While this knowledge is a huge relief for many Huddersfield fans, they cannot deny the fact that the roster is still loaded with first-class talent from the goalkeeper to the forwards.

Pedro scored the third goal for Chelsea in the Premier League, Eden Hazard with the assist
Eden Hazard leads the counter against Huddersfield Town

The early minutes of the game were quiet and tame if we compare this game to the Man United-Leicester game that was chock-full of Premier League 2018 highlights.

Huddersfield threatened the Blues with their high pressing in an uncomfortably crowded midfield, but Kepa Arrizabalaga and the rest of the Chelsea defence are going a fantastic job in stopping them. Meanwhile, Chelsea have a difficult time breaking the Terriers' defence as they have at least seven players ready to absorb the blows of a powerful opponent.

It took nineteen minutes before either side managed to challenge either keeper. Huddersfield struggled to break through Chelsea's defence, but Alex Pritchard saw a small opening after receiving a long pass from the left. He fired it straight to Kepa's face, and the world's most expensive goalkeeper coolly caught the ball.

Huddersfield are slowly finding their stride. They are firing dangerous crosses from all over the pitch and constantly battling for the ball at Chelsea's half of the pitch. However, David Luiz refuses to make anything easy. The tight defence doesn't mean that Huddersfield will just lie down and take it: Steve Mounie made a beautiful long-range strike that narrowly missed on the 26th minute.

Meanwhile, Willian is leading the charge for the Blues offensively. He is making some daring runs after long 50/50 balls, but there are at least two Huddersfield shirts surrounding him whenever he makes a run for the ball.

The Blues eventually found their first goal in the 34th minute, but it seemed like the goal came out of nowhere. Willian made a run from the left, distracting most of the Huddersfield defence with his breakthrough power. He then made a long cross to N'Golo Kante on the right. The World Cup winner showed off his ability by volleying the ball past Hamer.

Kante's goal gives Chelsea a much-needed buffer, but Huddersfield weren't going to easily cede things for them. Mounie almost equalised five minutes after the Frenchman's goal when he soared over the defence and headed a point-blank shot that was unjustly denied by the post.

Chelsea then doubled their lead before half-time ended. Marcos Alonso won a penalty for the Blues, but Huddersfield supporters will definitely call the foul as a dive. Jorginho then made his first Premier League goal with a calculated spot kick to end the half.

 The second half opened with Chelsea completely dominating possession. What attacking prowess the Terriers had in the first half was left in the locker room as they struggle to get the football and threaten in the final third.

Antonio Rudiger almost tripled Chelsea's lead with another brilliant header that is reminiscent of his goal against Arsenal in the ICC. However, Hamer stopped him from making it three. Marcos Alonso also had a superb attempt at goal with a bicycle kick, but the crossbar denied him of a memorable goal.

Philip Billing finally gave Chelsea their first challenge in the second half with a shot from a promising position to head the ball into the goal. The ball went over the bar and didn't challenge Kepa at all. Huddersfield then connected several attacks that tested the Chelsea back four.

However, Eden Hazard finally graced the field in the 78th minute. Even if Huddersfield were to score here, there is no way that Hazard will not be able to get even and get a goal for the Blues as well.

Pedro made the game an unquestionable blowout by scoring Chelsea's third goal. A quick counter caught the attacking Huddersfield off guard. Hazard made a good through pass to the Spaniard on the right, and he pushed the ball past an out-of-position Hamer and into the back of the net.

The Terriers tried everything they can to at least get a consolation goal, and Alvaro Morata tried to add one more to their goal tally. However, that would be all she wrote as the game ended in a big first win for Sarri the Blues.

Key statistics

The Blues had more time with the ball, showing everyone that Sarri's tactics work in the Premier League. While the Italian is under no illusion that the team will perform like this throughout the season, the Blues' 63% possession is an encouraging sign.

Moreover, the game was more or less fought in the midfield. While Chelsea had 12 shot attempts, only four of them actually went on target. Meanwhile, Huddersfield's accuracy at goal was worse: they were only able to get one shot on target while four of their six attempts were far from making the goal.

Chelsea's midfield was especially effective. They were able to complete 88% of their pass attempts and overrun Huddersfield despite being dispossessed 21 times and losing out on the aerial duels.

What's next?

New boss Maurizio Sarri begins with a comfortable Premier League win
Sarri Maurizio Sarri's reign as Chelsea manager gets off to the best possible start

The Premier League 2018 odds should be favouring Chelsea a bit more after such a dominant win. Chelsea will be moving back south to London to host a tough London Derby against Arsenal. They will be looking to avenge their close loss to the Gunners in the ICC.

Meanwhile, Huddersfield's 2018/19 season is about to get harder: their next opponent is Premier League champions and SBOBET favourites Manchester City. The more difficult part of this is the fact that they will have to play the Citizens at their home court.

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:48 PM (6 days ago)            #55
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Premier League: Quick Goals Ended in a Good Tottenham Win

Newcastle United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

The Premier League started with a bang after Manchester United pulled off a superb victory against an equally impressive Leicester City squad. Both sides played exciting football, and there was hardly any moment of downtime as fans were treated to consecutive barrages of creative attacks and brave defending from both sides.

The bar was set high for the rest of the games of the League's Game Day 1, and the Newcastle-Tottenham match did everything it could to add its own share of impressive Premier League 2018 highlights.

The 51,749-strong crowd at St. James' Park saw quick action within the first 20 minutes of the game. While the rest of the match didn't see any goals come in from both sides, there isn't a single soul that will tell you that the game was a bore.

This game was a good showing from Mauricio Pochettino's lads. They showcased their quality despite their lack of summer signings in the transfer window.

Highlights of the game

Rafael Benitez wanted to start this game right and fielded a 4-4-1-1 formation to deter Tottenham from pounding their defence. Meanwhile, Tottenham used their usual 4-2-3-1 with Lucas Moura manning the right wing instead of Son Heung-min.

The first five minutes saw the two sides feeling out the opposition and trying to find cracks in their respective formations. Matt Ritchie had a chance to put the Magpies ahead in the fourth minute when the rebound ended up with the ball in front of his feet. However, he put excess power in his shot as it bulleted wide of the post.

Tottenham, a club full of World Cup talent, scored the opening goal of the game before the ten-minute mark was even hit. Christian Eriksen, one of the more standout performers during the World Cup, fired a corner to Davinson Sanchez. The young Colombian then headed the ball to Jan Vertonghen, who avoided a flying foot of a Newcastle defender to get the ball past Martin Dubravka.

Tottenham begin their Premier League season with a win
Jan Vertonghen celebrates after scoring his side's first goal at St James Park

However, it wouldn't take more than five minutes to put the game back on level terms. Ritchie started out the play from the right and fired a cross to the middle. Joselu cleverly beat the offside trap and headed the former Bournemouth man's cross into the far side of the goal and away from World Cup winner Hugo Lloris. St. James' Park roared to life, and the game was afoot once more.

The final goal came in at the 18th minute, and the setup for the goal was too similar to the first two. This time, it was Serge Aurier who supplied the beautiful cross from the right wing. It was sent to the other side of the goal for Dele Alli to simply smash into the net. He made sure that the goal was also fired away from Dubravka.

The rest of the game saw the two teams battle for one more goal without much success. However, both sides gave the crowd some ooh's and ahh's with their plays.

Eriksen fired another corner to Sanchez, but his effort for a goal ended with the ball flying past the right post. Mohamed Diame almost equalised in the dying minutes of the first half, unleashing a powerful shot from inside the penalty box. However, the ball hit the left post and ended the game with Tottenham still on top of things.

The second half was a rather quiet affair in comparison to the first, with most of the battles happening before the ball even reaches the final third of the pitch. Jose Rondon could have equalised in the 85th minute and pull off a remarkable comeback, but his mid-range effort was a few inches too high and hit the crossbar.

Tottenham then ensured that the Geordies wouldn't be able to upset today's Premier League 2018 predictions by playing smart football. The whistle was eventually blown and Spurs now have their three points to start their Premier League campaign.

Key statistics

There was quite a disparity between Tottenham and Newcastle when it comes to possession, with the visitors taking 60% of their time with the ball. However, Newcastle were a lot more productive with it.

They had just as many shots at the goal as Tottenham and could have equalised if it wasn't for the heartbreaking block by the woodwork on Diame's attempt. They also had more completed dribbles and won more aerial battles.

Vertonghen's effectiveness on defence and his outstanding opening goal make him worthy of Man of the Match honours. He only wasted few passes, had more successful tackles, and didn't lose control of the ball in the 95 minutes played.

What's next?

Rafa Benitez believes Newcastle deserved more than they got against Tottenham in the Premier League
Rafa Benitez reacts during Newcastle game vs Tottenham

SBOBET football fans will be eager to see how these teams will continue their form after this match.

Tottenham will have an interesting challenge against a new-look Fulham side as they play their final Premier League game at Wembley. The Cottagers are looking especially dangerous after making a myriad of signings in the offseason and will be looking to continue their good form.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have a chance to erase the negatives of this game and focus on getting their three points against Cardiff City. It will be quite a challenge for them to win in Southeast England, given their tendency to struggle in games away from St. James' Park. However, Benitez needs to motivate his men to fight hard and go for the win here.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 14-Aug-2018 @ 12:48 PM


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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:55 PM (6 days ago)            #56
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Premier League Week 1: That’s Why They’re Champions!

Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City

It was a substitution just before the hour mark which was perhaps the most telling sign.

The sign why Manchester City are clear favourites to win the Premier League with a lot more than just SBOBET followers.

As if ripping up English football’s record books wasn’t enough last term – a record 100 points and a record 19 point winning margin from their nearest rivals – City were also breathtaking to watch and the question on many lips is can they be as hard to stop again?

This result and performance suggest an empathic yes.

Highlights of the game

When club record signing Riyad Mahrez came off in the 58th minute, Arsenal could have been forgiven for thinking there may be some respite.

Only the player replacing the Algerian was none other than City’s player of the season last year and a class act who only just missed out on the footballer of the year titles too.

The introduction of Kevin de Bruyne, one of the stars for club and country, was an unequivocal showing of the club’s strength in depth.

Yes, it should be when manager Pep Guardiola and his predecessors have spent far more than any other club side in Europe over the past decade.

Yet here was further proof, if it was needed, why City have left their rivals playing catch-up.

Joining De Bruyne on the bench were skipper and fellow countryman Vincent Kompany, who has already skippered City to the title in 2012, 2014 and 2018; Leroy Sane, astonishingly left out of Germany’s World Cup squad; another big money recruit in Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi, exciting young Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus, young hopeful Phil Foden (who many say is the type of creative player the England national team has been crying out for – give the lad a chance, he’s only 18!) and Claudio Bravo – the goalkeeper Guardiola signed for £15.4 million and promptly dropped after a season when he realised the Chilean was actually better than the man he had replaced (Joe Hart).

Of course, City can afford to make such mistakes and a £35 million transfer of Ederson duly followed.

He has since signed a contract extension which will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2025.

In truth, the Brazilian was a spectator for long spells at the Emirates.

City were very much in control against Arsenal on Unai Emery’s first Premier League match in charge of Arsenal.

Arsenal lose to Manchester City at home in their Premier League 2018/19 season opener
Arsenal manager Unai Emery looks frustrated at the touchline as Manchester City defeat Arsenal by two goals

A stunning strike from Raheem Sterling on the edge of the box gave City an early lead and was the cue for one-way traffic.

Only a fine double save from Petr Cech just before the half-hour mark – pushing away a Mahrez free-kick and an Aymeric Laporte follow-up - kept the scoreline down.

Soon after de Bruyne’s introduction came a match-winning second.

Benjamin Mendy, who missed so much of last season through injury, burst down the left-hand side and picked out Bernardo Silva – both players swapped the Monaco playground for City riches last summer – and Silva arrowed a first-time shot past Cech.

Arsenal did have the ball in the net with 13 minutes remaining but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was offside and a potentially tense finish was avoided.

Then Mesut Ozil was denied for the same reason and it is clear Emery will need time for his players to adapt to his methods and vice versa.

However, an Arsenal goal would have been deceptive as City were so in control and ran out clear winners with Cech denying Aguero and De Bruyne among others.

This was an encounter which showed again why Premier League 2018 odds make them favourites to retain the title and why Premier League 2018 results will, more often than not, go their way.

City are off to a flyer!

Key statistics

This was Raheem Sterling’s 50th Premier League goal.

This was Arsenal’s first match without Arsene Wenger in charge since September 1996.

Emery has never guided his side to a victory over a club managed by Guardiola. This was his 11th attempt.

New signings and World Cup latecomers Lucas Torreira – who showed nice touches during his spell on the pitch – and Stephan Lichsteiner both made their Premier League debuts from the substitutes bench.

What’s next?

The tough start for Emery keeps on coming.

It’s 2017 champions Chelsea next for the Gunners at Stamford Bridge followed by a home match against West Ham before August is out.

City welcome Huddersfield for their first home league match of the new season next Sunday (August 19) before a trip to newly promoted Wolves.

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14-Aug 2018 Tuesday @ 12:59 PM (6 days ago)            #57
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Premier League News: Four-star Liverpool Make Perfect Start

Liverpool 4-0 West Ham United

If Liverpool do not mount a sustained challenge for the title in the Premier League this season, questions will be asked.

Yet after the opening 90 minutes of the 2018/19 campaign, the Premier League 2018 odds which make them second favourites for the silverware seem pretty accurate.

True, West Ham were poor and contributed to their own downfall but Liverpool played with a poise and a panache which suggests they are ready to be contenders.

Highlights of the game

Will Daniel Sturridge have a complete Premier League season after great first game for Liverpool?
Daniel Sturridge reacts after getting past Lukas Fabianski in his Liverpool's win over West Ham

From the moment Mohamed Salah – after his 44 goal debut season at Anfield – fired Liverpool in front inside 19 minutes, the outcome was never in doubt.

The Egyptian tapped in Andy Robertson’s cross for the opener as he aims to prove wrong any doubters – not that there’s many among SBOBET followers - who think he may be a one-season wonder.

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was the busiest player on the park as the home attacking continued and West Ham would probably have been relieved to go in at the break just one goal behind only for them to make life much harder for themselves on the stroke of half-time.

James Milner cut the ball back and Sadio Mane was unmarked and given the freedom of the Kop end to double the Liverpool advantage.

Two soon became three after the restart as Mane drilled home from Roberto Firmino’s pass, even though the Senegalese international was in an offside position – there is no VAR in the Premier League.

It was left to substitute Daniel Sturridge, with his first touch 24 seconds after entering the fray, to round off the scoring and seal Liverpool’s 500th Premier League victory.

For well-beaten West Ham, who have been fairly bigspenders themselves, there remains cautious optimism.

Manuel Pellegrini will certainly be targeting a top 10 finish after last season’s relegation battle and he has moved to add some exciting additions, including Fabianski, Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson.

The £35 million outlay for the Lazio midfielder was a particularly eye-catching piece of business.

They started here along with two of the other new recruits, Ryan Fredericks and Fabian Balbuena, whose header was only one of two efforts on target to test debut goalkeeper, Alisson.

In fairness to the east Londoners, who have lost 12 opening Premier League games (more than any other side), this was not a day to show their own credentials.

Yet the simplicity in which they were undone suggests Pellegrini has quite a task on his hands as he will be expected to implement a more expansive and attacking style of play.

Pellegrini has the calibre and credentials to build on the initial ground work of Slaven Bilic (before it turned awry) and the ‘steadying the ship’ job carried out by David Moyes.

For Liverpool a perfect start to show why they’re expected to feature prominently in Premier League 2018 news over the next nine months.

The squad coach Jurgen Klopp has built looks well equipped to end the club’s trophy drought and his main challenge, after a big summer of spending, will now be to deliver silverware and make the Merseyside club a real force.

Key statistics

This was Liverpool’s biggest opening win of the season since 1994 when they won 6-1 at Crystal Palace.

This is the second season in a row West Ham have lost their opening Premier League fixture 4-0 (they went down by the same scoreline at Old Trafford 12 months ago).

Jurgen Klopp has spent more money this summer than during the whole of his seven year spell in charge of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

West Ham have won only once at Anfield in their last 46 top flight visits (a 3-0 success in August 2015).

This was the fourth time in a row that Liverpool have scored four goals against the Hammers.

Salah has now scored 20 league goals in 20 Premier League games at Anfield.

Only Andy Cole (Newcastle) and Alan Shearer (Blackburn), both 41 goals, have scored more in their first 50 Premier League matches than Salah (35).

What’s next?

West Ham's newest player Jack Wilshere face his former team, Arsenal, next after losing to Liverpool
Jack Wilshere at a loss after his new team West Ham was beaten 4-0 by Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace a week tomorrow (August 20) and then welcome Brighton who they despatched emphatically on the final day of last season to seal Champions League qualification.

For West Ham, attention turns to the first match of the season at the London Stadium, where the atmosphere was far too negative last season and where they have largely struggled since their move from Upton Park in 2016. Bournemouth are the first visitors of the new campaign.

West Ham then travel to London rivals Arsenal.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 14-Aug-2018 @ 12:59 PM


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