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Posted By Topic: SBOBET: Latest English Football Updates       - Views: 761 Change Timezone:
SBOBET
29-Mar 2020 Sunday 2:51 PM (298 days ago)
football_all  1 Likes  
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Top Five Premier League Scorers of All Time

The Premier League draws the best players from around the world but that hasn’t always been the case, and four of the top five all time scorers are English. France striker Thierry Henry has recently been shunted down to sixth by Argentina’s Sergio Aguero who took his place.

But again, in places six to ten Henry stands alone, with the numbers made up by Robbie Fowler, Jermain Defoe, Michael Owen and Les Ferdinand. And the fifth highest Premier League scorer is a Chelsea and England legend.

 

5. Frank Lampard (177 goals)

For a midfield player to get on this list is testament to the outstanding all-round game of Chelsea’s current head coach. Only Paul Scholes at Manchester United could rival Lampard’s box to box play and ability to get on to the final ball before firing a rocket goal-wards.

Lamps kept the excellent Scholes out of the England side at times, with Steven Gerrard also featuring heavily, and he won 106 caps scoring 29 goals for his country. Well 30 actually…but his ‘goal’ against Germany in the 2010 World Cup, which hit the bar and bounced a couple of feet over the line, was before the days of VAR!

Now he’s in the Premier League 2020 news as the Blues manager as he hopes to guide them to Champions League football in his first season in charge.

 

4. Sergio Aguero (180 goals)

Currently the most prolific striker in the Premier League, Aguero has passed Lampard’s tally in his eighth season at Manchester City. His move from Independiente to Atletico Madrid in 2006 introduced him to European football fans, and it is at the Etihad where he has become a world superstar.

In January he scored the 12th Premier League hat-trick of his career in a 1-6 win away to Aston Villa and that knocked Henry out of the top five as he passed the Frenchman’s 175.

He’s in contention for the Golden Boot this season, currently on 16 goals. The Premier League 2020 betting odds have him alongside Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as favourite. That’s some achievement in a season in which the Sky Blues aren’t really competing and SBOBET Premier League fans know they can rely on Sergio!

His goals have helped Manchester City to pick up the only piece of silverware this season, winning the EFL Cup yet again.

 

3. Andrew Cole (187 goals)

Not known for his sense of humour, Manchester United’s Andrew Cole was as focussed a finisher as you’d ever want to see. He struck up an awkward partnership with Teddy Sheringham but never really got on with his strike partner. Manchester United fans didn’t mind that much as the former Newcastle hit-man helped to fire the Red Devils to treble glory in 1999, seemingly happier alongside Dwight Yorke as the pair scored 53 goals between them in that epic season.

 

Wayne Rooney has the third-highest assist in Premier League history
Wayne Rooney is arguably England’s and Manchester United’s greatest ever player

2. Wayne Rooney (208 goals)

At the age 18, Wayne Rooney’s £25m move from Everton to Manchester United in 2004 was the signing of the decade. He went on to win 16 trophies in 13 incredible years at Old Trafford, before returning to Everton. He still plies his trade at Championship club Derby County

His overhead kick against Manchester City in 2011 was judged to be the best Premier League goal in its first 20 seasons, and his 208 league goals make him the second top scorer of all time, while making the third highest number of assists at 103. He’s also England’s top scorer of all time with 53 goals.

 

1. Alan Shearer (260 goals)

Newcastle born Shearer was as lethal a player as we’ve ever seen in the Premier League, strong and fast and with the ability to score any type of goal. He could hit 30 yard pile-drivers, powerful headers and poachers’ goals in the six yard box. He hit the headlines at Southampton before heading north, but not to a big club.

Manchester United fans sing a song about Shearer, deriding his decision, in 1992, to follow the money at Blackburn Rovers rather than heading to Old Trafford in search of silverware. Rovers did of course win the Premier League in 1995 as Shearer plundered 34 goals, but that simply prompted the bigger clubs to spend more. In 1996 he went back to his spiritual home in Newcastle, a season after Cole had headed to Old Trafford, and he played the last ten years of his career there, scoring 148 goals in all competitions at a ratio of almost 1:2.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 29-Mar-2020 at 2:51 PM


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29-Mar 2020 Sunday 3:22 PM (298 days ago)            #2
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29-Mar 2020 Sunday 3:26 PM (298 days ago)            #3
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Top Five Premier League Scorers of All Time

The Premier League draws the best players from around the world but that hasn’t always been the case, and four of the top five all time scorers are English. France striker Thierry Henry has recently been shunted down to sixth by Argentina’s Sergio Aguero who took his place.

But again, in places six to ten Henry stands alone, with the numbers made up by Robbie Fowler, Jermain Defoe, Michael Owen and Les Ferdinand. And the fifth highest Premier League scorer is a Chelsea and England legend.

 

5. Frank Lampard (177 goals)

For a midfield player to get on this list is testament to the outstanding all-round game of Chelsea’s current head coach. Only Paul Scholes at Manchester United could rival Lampard’s box to box play and ability to get on to the final ball before firing a rocket goal-wards.

Lamps kept the excellent Scholes out of the England side at times, with Steven Gerrard also featuring heavily, and he won 106 caps scoring 29 goals for his country. Well 30 actually…but his ‘goal’ against Germany in the 2010 World Cup, which hit the bar and bounced a couple of feet over the line, was before the days of VAR!

Now he’s in the Premier League 2020 news as the Blues manager as he hopes to guide them to Champions League football in his first season in charge.

 

4. Sergio Aguero (180 goals)

Currently the most prolific striker in the Premier League, Aguero has passed Lampard’s tally in his eighth season at Manchester City. His move from Independiente to Atletico Madrid in 2006 introduced him to European football fans, and it is at the Etihad where he has become a world superstar.

In January he scored the 12th Premier League hat-trick of his career in a 1-6 win away to Aston Villa and that knocked Henry out of the top five as he passed the Frenchman’s 175.

He’s in contention for the Golden Boot this season, currently on 16 goals. The Premier League 2020 betting odds have him alongside Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as favourite. That’s some achievement in a season in which the Sky Blues aren’t really competing and SBOBET Premier League fans know they can rely on Sergio!

His goals have helped Manchester City to pick up the only piece of silverware this season, winning the EFL Cup yet again.

 

3. Andrew Cole (187 goals)

Not known for his sense of humour, Manchester United’s Andrew Cole was as focussed a finisher as you’d ever want to see. He struck up an awkward partnership with Teddy Sheringham but never really got on with his strike partner. Manchester United fans didn’t mind that much as the former Newcastle hit-man helped to fire the Red Devils to treble glory in 1999, seemingly happier alongside Dwight Yorke as the pair scored 53 goals between them in that epic season.

 

Wayne Rooney has the third-highest assist in Premier League history
Wayne Rooney is arguably England’s and Manchester United’s greatest ever player

2. Wayne Rooney (208 goals)

At the age 18, Wayne Rooney’s £25m move from Everton to Manchester United in 2004 was the signing of the decade. He went on to win 16 trophies in 13 incredible years at Old Trafford, before returning to Everton. He still plies his trade at Championship club Derby County

His overhead kick against Manchester City in 2011 was judged to be the best Premier League goal in its first 20 seasons, and his 208 league goals make him the second top scorer of all time, while making the third highest number of assists at 103. He’s also England’s top scorer of all time with 53 goals.

 

1. Alan Shearer (260 goals)

Newcastle born Shearer was as lethal a player as we’ve ever seen in the Premier League, strong and fast and with the ability to score any type of goal. He could hit 30 yard pile-drivers, powerful headers and poachers’ goals in the six yard box. He hit the headlines at Southampton before heading north, but not to a big club.

Manchester United fans sing a song about Shearer, deriding his decision, in 1992, to follow the money at Blackburn Rovers rather than heading to Old Trafford in search of silverware. Rovers did of course win the Premier League in 1995 as Shearer plundered 34 goals, but that simply prompted the bigger clubs to spend more. In 1996 he went back to his spiritual home in Newcastle, a season after Cole had headed to Old Trafford, and he played the last ten years of his career there, scoring 148 goals in all competitions at a ratio of almost 1:2.

 

●●●

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 29-Mar-2020 at 3:26 PM


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29-Mar 2020 Sunday 3:38 PM (298 days ago)            #4
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Which Bosses Punch Above their Weight in Premier League?

When you think of managerial greats, the same names always crop up: Sir Alex Ferguson, Brian Clough, Sir Matt Busby, Jock Stein, Don Revie, Bill Shankly, Herbert Chapman, Rinus Michels, Bob Paisley, Marcello Lippi and Arrigo Sacchi.

I could, of course, name others, while you could put 20 people in a room together and few would agree on a definitive top three.

As far as the Premier League is concerned though, its first two decades witnessed someone who, in this SBOBET observer’s view, is the greatest manager to have ever graced the game.

There have been other impressive bosses in the English top flight this past quarter of a century with Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Sir Bobby Robson and Pep Guardiola all worthy of special mention, as well as honourable shout-outs to the likes of Sam Allardyce, Rafa Benitez, Carlo Ancelotti and Roy Hodgson.

But what of the current crop?

Which managers have inspired their teams to Premier League highlights which will live long in the memory and, in some cases defied the Premier League betting odds?

Well of the current bosses, two stand out to me.

Mourinho may have struggled of late but he remains a serial winner and few  would back against him bringing success to his current employers, Spurs, once he has time to implement his changes, not to mention have a full team at his disposal.

Jose Mourinho returned to Premier League last November to manage Tottenham
Jose Mourinho giving signals from the touchline during Tottenham’s Champions League clash against RB Leipzig

And then there’s Guardiola who has masterminded back-to-back league titles for Manchester City with an attractive footballing style and a swagger few others can match – granted he has been backed by lavish funding on a level we’ve previously not seen.

Another of football's most coveted managers right now is Jurgen Klopp who has, slowly but surely, turned Liverpool into a real force again.

He doesn’t always help himself at times when results don’t go to plan – he is not alone in that, of course – but there is no denying the German has proven a fine boss with his relentless pressing game, prompting copycats across the globe.

Perhaps the biggest compliment that could be paid to him was when Ferguson remarked, upon Klopp’s appointment at Liverpool in 2015, that it spelt bad news for his own club.

He knows a top manager when he sees one!

Of his predecessor at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers has had a good first 12 months at Leicester but that should be tempered by the fact the Foxes are often second-best when it comes to the really big games and are probably only third because they have shown more consistency to the below-par and, at times, woeful chasing pack of Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal.

Nuno Santos has shone at Wolves and, while he has received financial backing, he has generally recruited wisely and balanced the demands of Premier League and Europa League with astuteness to keep them in the hunt for another European spot.

If Chris Wilder was to guide newly promoted Sheffield United to a European berth he would, to my mind, deserve the manager of the year gong for it would be the finest achievement since Sean Dyche achieved that feat with Burnley just under two years ago - Sam Allardyce twice did the same with Bolton (2005 and 2007).

In terms of longevity, Dyche and Eddie Howe at Bournemouth have continued to ensure their sides overachieve, while Steve Bruce is doing the same at Newcastle.

Also, at the other end of the Premier League pyramid, take a look at Graham Potter who has gone from managing Ostersunds, to Swansea, and now to Brighton, where his quality is making a positive impact.

His rise to prominence while managing the Swedish side Ostersunds included a victory over Arsenal at the Emirates in the Europa League, earning him a heightened reputation and some genuine interest from back home. This led to him joining Swansea.

Since then he has reformed Brighton’s style over the course of one summer. No talk of three or four transfer windows, just a team drastically improved by coaching and a club structure built to take the club forward.

Similarly, given where the club was when he took over, if Nigel Pearson can guide Watford to safety it will be an impressive undertaking.

In some cases, it takes a boss a few years in the role before they can be fully and properly assessed - and that priceless commodity of time can be a rarity.

So, all in all, considering the topsy-turvy nature of management, it’s too early to say for many what will rank as a real success story.

Yet as it stands, there are a number of decent managers punching well above their weight in the Premier League.

To my mind, they still all lag behind Mourinho and Guardiola though.

Whose caught your eye?

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 29-Mar-2020 at 3:38 PM


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01-Apr 2020 Wednesday 11:59 AM (295 days ago)            #5
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Who Are the Premier League’s Greatest: 2020 Liverpool or Arsenal’s Invincibles?

It’s a question which is raging across the football forums while we have a break in Premier League action: Is Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool the greatest of all-time?

Well, it’s a huge question, one which raises many more. Is this the best Liverpool team of all-time? And if Klopp’s marvels could be bettered, then which team has more in its locker? Manchester City were on the brink of a historic quadruple last season, only to be denied by a dramatic VAR intervention in their Champions League quarter-final clash with Spurs.

And my Manchester United supporting SBOBET colleague, James, will point to the Red Devils treble team of 1999, and with plenty of evidence to back him up. But today, I’m looking at the Arsenal Invincibles team of 2004 to see how they stand up to Klopp’s Reds.

 

The Stats

The Gunners, inspired by the pure football philosophy of head coach Arsene Wenger were undefeated throughout the 2003/04 Premier League season. They went 49 league games unbeaten in total, winning 36 and drawing 13, until they were stopped by Manchester United in a grumpy clash at Old Trafford, one of many between the two sides in that decade.

The obvious point to make here is that this Liverpool team can’t claim to be invincible, having lost 3-0 away to Watford, their 28th match of the season. The Reds hadn’t lost a league game since January 2019 against Manchester City. That was a run of 44 games, but they have a better win ratio than Wenger’s Invincibles, winning their previous 18 games before crashing at Vicarage Road.

And let’s face it, we stopped looking at the Premier League 2020 betting odds to work out where the 2020 title is heading weeks ago.

I’d score the stats as a draw

 

The Big Players

Virgil van Dijk vs Sol Campbell

Virgil van Dijk never ceases to lead Liverpool to victories in Premier League
Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring a goal against Manchester United

If you ask any Liverpool fan which player would be most badly missed were he to get injured, and the majority will reply “Virgil Van Dijk.” Since his record transfer from Southampton, the Dutch centre-back has been a colossus at the heart of the Reds’ defence, dominant in the air and cool in possession; he’s the best in the business.

Former Spurs centre-back Sol Campbell was Arsenal’s powerhouse at the back, equally strong in the tackle and in the air, but without Van Dijk’s finesse on the ball.

 

Patrick Vieira vs Jordan Henderson

Henderson has had a superb season for the Reds and has emerged as a real leader. He inspires confidence in his team with a calm head and effective box-to-box play.

Vieira was equally inspirational, but was also a serious attacking threat, able to unlock a defence, as well as being ferocious in the tackle. His battles with Manchester United’s Roy Keane were better than a world title fight!

 

Thierry Henry vs Mo Salah

Like Vieira, Thierry Henry was a key member of the France international team as Les Bleus won the World Cup and European Championships in 1998 and 2000. By 2004, he was the consummate striker, with an unequalled combination of guile, pace and ruthlessness. He is the sixth-highest scorer in Premier League history, scoring 174 for the Gunners.

Egyptian hitman Salah exploded onto the Premier League stage at Anfield, following an uninspiring stint at Chelsea, and he has scored 70 goals in 100 games for the Reds. He latches onto a through ball as well as anyone in the game, invariably finishing with aplomb, while also possessing quick feet to enable him to beat players in a tight space.

The Gunners big players have the edge

 

The Style

This Liverpool team is as exciting as any going forward, hitting teams on the break with the pace of Salah and Sadio Mane and the sheer artistry of Roberto Firmino.

But maybe, just maybe, they lack that little bit of patience, or a man with a killer pass to open up the best defences in the world. The Reds hit that problem in their recent Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid when a player like Lionel Messi or Kevin de Bruyne could have opened the door.

The pace at which Liverpool often attack brings the flying wing-backs into play. Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been in superb form for two seasons, making more assists than any other pairing.

The 2004 Gunners played in a 4-4-2 formation and left-back Ashley Cole was as attacking as any at that time. But their style relied more on quick passing and possession, more akin to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

They clinched the Premier League title with a 2-2 draw away to Spurs, as sweet a way of completing their historic feat as you can imagine, with Vieira and Robert Pires finishing off slick passing moves. Dutch master Dennis Bergkamp was instrumental in both goals and he remains one of Arsenal fans’ favourite players of all-time.

Style is a matter of choice, but the Arsenal team could find that tiny opening when they needed to finish off a ten pass move, while the Reds have more pace.

This Liverpool team is a truly great side and their fans are nervously watching the Premier League 2020 news updates, hoping that the season will be completed before too long.

They should be okay. The Premier League has today revealed an ambitious plan to recommence at the beginning of May, behind closed doors.

The Reds won’t be invincible, but they will probably break the Premier League points record and that will do for them.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 01-Apr-2020 at 11:59 AM


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06-Apr 2020 Monday 12:29 PM (290 days ago)            #6
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Premier League: The Cream of the Crop for Manchester

Travel anywhere around the world and say you’re from Manchester, and the first question anyone will ask is, “United or City?”

Until recent times when the Sky Blues became dominant in the Premier League, the football fanatics from beyond the shores of England always plumped for United. But take a look a little further back and you can see that both clubs have stars which could shine in any company, at any time, anywhere on the planet.

Today, I’m looking at five of these players who have thrived in the football hotbed of the North West, and you may have five of your own. But I’m going to start with two Reds, so let’s see where we agree.

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo  – 84 goals in 196 appearances for United

CR7 is a football phenomenon, and he owes much of his evolution to the time he spent under the wing of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

He arrived as a precocious 18-year-old with bags of talent and an attitude to annoy any hardened Premier League full-back. But by the time he left, he was, without doubt, one of the most complete attacking footballers in the history of the game, and defenders just couldn’t live with him.

Ronaldo won three league titles, as well as an FA Cup and a Champions League in his time at Old Trafford. And for many, he is simply the finest player in the Premier League era.

 

 

George Best – 137 goals in 361 appearances for United

The 1968 Ballon D’Or winner was the most naturally gifted player the United Kingdom has ever produced. He burst onto the Manchester scene as a uniquely talented winger, the best two-footed dribbler in the game, and a shy Irish lad off the pitch.

But after he scored two goals in a European Cup quarter-final against Benfica in 1966, he was dubbed the ‘fifth Beatle’ by the Portuguese press and that changed his life forever.

He scored a brilliant individual goal in the 1968 European final against the same team. And at the young age of 21, that was sadly the pinnacle of his career.

Best carried on playing for United until 1974, but he attracted as many headlines off the pitch as on it. And by the time he left the club, his champagne lifestyle had taken its toll on his fitness.

Football will never see the like of Best again.

George Best is one of the greatest football players the Premier League has seen

General view of a statue featuring George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton outside the stadium

 

Sergio Aguero – 180 goals in 261 appearances for City

Manchester City’s Argentine hit-man has been the best striker in the Premier League for almost a decade now and is ranked fourth in the list of all-time goal-scorers. He’s still in the Premier League 2020 news, right in the hunt for the Golden Boot.

Aguero will always live in the memory of Sky Blue fans for his most dramatic of goals, which includes the 94th-minute winner against QPR to lift Manchester City’s first Premier League title from under the noses of the Red Devils.

The latest Premier League 2020 betting odds say City are about to hand the league over to Liverpool, but they will be back next year and so will Aguero.

 

Colin Bell – 117 goals in 394 appearances for City

Known as Nijinsky after the famous racecourse, Colin Bell was a thoroughbred and often spoken of as the best player ever to don the famous Sky Blue shirt.

As a goal-scoring midfielder, he linked up in 1968 with Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee to help City to a second league title – the first coming in 1937.

So respected is he in Manchester that he has a stand named after him at the Etihad, and City fans will forever remember his 14 goals in the 67/68 season which fired the Sky Blues to glory.

He is regarded as one of England’s most cultured ever midfield players, described by one pundit as the most finished article in the modern game.

 

Denis Law – 30 goals in 68 appearances for City, 171 in 309 appearances for United

In addition to his goal tally for the two Manchester Clubs, The Lawman scored 30 in 55 for Scotland in a career spanning 18 years from 1956 to 1974.

He is loved by both sets of fans. At Old Trafford, he was part of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Best, Charlton. And at City he is gleefully remembered for a goal which broke the Red Devils’ hearts – a cheeky back-heel which consigned Manchester United to relegation in 1974.

 

So that’s it, my SBOBET friends. Growing up in the smoky Lancashire town of Burnley, Manchester United and City were just 20 miles away but on a different planet.

Suffice to say, if one of these legends of the Manchester football scene could do a stint between the posts, it would be the best five-a-side team the world has ever seen!

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 06-Apr-2020 at 12:30 PM


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06-Apr 2020 Monday 12:32 PM (290 days ago)            #7
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The Premier League’s Trickiest Customers

One of the finest sights in football is that of a quick-footed wizard beating players with ease before dispatching a killer cross or a spectacular goal.

We have seen some of the best dribblers in the world in England’s top flight, none better than the legendary George Best. But in these days of possession stats, quick passing and pressing, the art of the great dribbler has been made a little more difficult.

The Premier League still has its fair share of twinkle-toed full-back tormentors though – players who can beat an opponent in the blink of an eye and the threat they pose means they also cop their fair share of fouls.

 

 

Wilfred Zaha – Crystal Palace

The Eagles’ wing wonder is a classic case of opposing players resorting to fair means or foul, though sometimes he doesn’t help himself.

One of the most recognisable images in the Premier League is that of a wide-eyed Zaha sat on the floor with outstretched arms, pleading with the officials.

Usually he has a good case, but there have been occasions when the cameras have caught him employing the dark arts of deception.

But when he stays on his feet, the Ivorian star is one of the best in the business in being able to beat players in the tightest of spaces and with an ability to score stunning goals.

He’s been Palace’s most productive player since returning to Selhurst Park in 2015 after an unsuccessful spell at Manchester United, and now he’s the chief tormentor of defenders in the league.

 

Jack Grealish- Aston Villa

But there is one player who opponents like to stop more than the Palace man, and that’s Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. He’s won the most fouls in the Premier League this season with a shin-cracking 127 – beating even Zaha into second place.

Grealish is Mr. Villa, a fan and the club captain. He plays with his heart on his sleeve but sometimes his passion overshadows the outrageous skill he possesses, turning quickly and caressing the ball with ease.

When the league is up and running again, the Premier League 2020 betting odds here at   SBOBET won’t make good reading for Villa fans and we reckon they’ll return to the Championship alongside bottom club Norwich City.

The best – if not their only chance of survival is a few more weeks of Grealish magic.

 

 

James Maddison – Leicester City

With 13 goals and 10 assists from 64 appearances since his transfer from Norwich City, Maddison has become one of the most exciting young players in the Premier League. And if he can find consistency, then he could become an England international fixture for years to come.

On his day, he is Leicester’s most creative player and that’s saying something in Brendan Rodgers’ group of highly talented footballers. He is also one of the best dead ballplayers in the league.

Premier League Update: James Maddison will be out for a few weeks until “after the international break”

James Maddison is out for a few weeks with a calf strain

 

Dwight McNeil – Burnley

Turf Moor academy product Dwight McNeil burst onto the Burnley scene halfway through the 2018/19 season and at one point, he was the teenager with the most assists in European football – outshining the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s England star Jadon Sancho.

Now at 20, he’s an old fashioned winger who beats players, reaches, or nears the bi-line before putting in a pin-point cross for Chris Wood or Jay Rodriguez to convert.

Misty-eyed Burnley fans compare McNeil to 70’s icon Leighton James, called as the ‘Welsh Wizard’ who famously skipped past full-backs, and then dragged the ball back to beat them again.

McNeil doesn’t have that arrogance but he certainly has the confidence and has attracted attention from some pretty big hitters in European football, notably Juventus in Serie A, and Manchester United in the Premier League, with Leicester City also watching his progress.

 

Adama Traore – Wolves

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves have been one of the biggest Premier League 2020 news again. After their first season back in the top flight culminated in a European adventure, they are up there again in sixth place and thriving in the Europa League.

Traore’s emergence as one of Wolves’ best attacking players has been a real bonus for Nuno. The Malian international is strong, quick, and can change direction in the blink of an eye, making explosive runs which have resulted in six goals and 10 assists in all competitions this season.

His dribbling skills are exceptional which makes him one of the best in England, sparking rumours of a return to Barcelona.

 

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06-Apr 2020 Monday 12:35 PM (290 days ago)            #8
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Premier League Teams Which Really Should Do Better

As the Premier League and other top competitions take a break, we all have time to look more closely at the events which have shaped the season so far.

Which teams have faired well and which have underperformed? Well, we know which group Liverpool and Sheffield United sit in, but today I’m running the rule over the five teams I really think should do better.

 

Manchester City

The pre-season Premier League 2020 betting odds here at SBOBET pitched the Sky Blues as favourites to make it three league titles in a row. So to find themselves a massive 25 points behind Liverpool with 10 games remaining amounts to a catastrophic failure.

Having beaten Liverpool to win the Community Shield, Pep Guardiola’s side started the season with a 0-5 victory at West Ham.

But it all started to go wrong when they lost 3-2 to relegation fodder Norwich City despite having 25 shots. They reacted by slaughtering Watford 8-0, but soon enough lost another game, this time to Wolves after dominating for 80 minutes. That defeat put too much distance between them and the rampant Liverpool, and the Champions League and domestic cups became City’s focus.

 

Arsenal

When he arrived at the Emirates in December, Mikel Arteta inherited a team with bags of talent but very few if any leadership qualities. They had recruited David Luiz at centre-back, but his flamboyance is no substitute for fighting spirit. And while they have superb attacking players in the shape of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, the Gunners have a soft centre.

Having graced the Champions League for two decades under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal currently sit in ninth, and only a point above the bottom half of the table.

Mikel Arteta aims to make Arsenal better when Premier League returns

Mikel Arteta during Arsenal’s match against West Ham United

Arteta is getting things moving and has a win ratio of 50 per cent since his arrival, but there is a long way to go.

 

West Ham United

Most neutrals expected big-spending West Ham to be pushing for a Europa League spot this season after the marquee signings of Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller. But they are in an almighty relegation scrap, 16th in the suspended Premier League table and outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone.

The Hammers have been making the Premier League 2020 news for all the wrong reasons. As well as stinking on the pitch, their colourful owners always have an eye for a chance, and vice-chairman Karren Brady recently announced that the only fair thing to do would be to declare the 2019/20 season null and void. Well there you go…the Hammers, now led by the returning David Moyes, are clearly not up for the fight.

I’d ask the likes of 18th-placed Bournemouth if cancelling the league is “the only fair thing to do”!

 

Bournemouth

Eddie Howe’s Cherries must wonder why they are also in the relegation mix. Bournemouth has a squad dripping with quality from goal-keeper Aaron Ramsdale and defender Nathan Ake through to a creative group which includes Callum Wilson, David Brooks, Dominic Solanke and Josh King.

Sure, the Cherries have suffered injuries along the way, but so have plenty of teams further up the league.

Bournemouth’s rise to the Premier League, funded by Russian businessman Maxim Demin, isn’t quite the fairytale some would have you believe. On promotion from the Championship in 2015, the Cherries were slapped with a £7.6m fine for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, quite spectacularly. They already had a wage bill higher than a number of Premier League clubs at £30.4m, and subsequently made a £38.3m loss.

A bit naughty… and maybe this season the south coast club’s luck is running out.

 

Aston Villa

Dean Smith’s Aston Villa are also deep in trouble, currently 19th and, after spending big in the summer, they were the new team which seemed most likely to cope.

The Villans won promotion from the Championship with the help of Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, and head coach Smith already had the mercurial Jack Grealish as his captain.

So a spend of over £100m on players such as striker Wesley ought to have done the trick, but they have failed to gel, and injuries to Wesley and former Burnley keeper Tom Heaton have seriously dented their survival hopes.

Villa look the most likely team to join Norwich in the drop when hostilities resume.

 

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07-Apr 2020 Tuesday 9:53 AM (289 days ago)            #9
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07-Apr 2020 Tuesday 10:59 AM (289 days ago)            #10
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Premier League COVID-19 Update

There may not be a whole lot of football going on, but there’s still plenty happening in the Premier League as club owners, players and fans get to grips with the new reality.

We await news of when the league might resume but not everyone is in agreement over the way forward. There are all sorts of factors at play. For instance, while Manchester City’s domestic season is pretty much done, star striker Sergio Aguero could quite easily win the Golden Boot, as we reported here at SBOBET last week; and that’s not an opportunity he’d like to pass up.

Meanwhile there are clubs and players who’d be happy for the 2019/20 season to be consigned to history, but they are likely to be disappointed. In the meantime players are making the headlines with their activity off the pitch, contract negotiations and social distancing slip ups.

 

Captains close ranks on 30 per cent pay cut

After several clubs, including Newcastle United, Spurs, Norwich City and Bournemouth sparked outrage by furloughing non playing staff to grab some state money, Gordon Taylor, the boss of the PFA, has done his usual trick of making his members even more unpopular with the general public.

He responded to suggestions that players should take a pay-cut, to support their non-playing colleagues, with a staggering lack of awareness, resisting calls for a 30 per cent pay cut. And it seems the captains of all 20 Premier League clubs have formed a WhatsApp group to form a united front, one such skipper calling the suggestion ‘disgraceful’!

We’d all love to know who that is…

To be fair to the captains, they have suggested they’d be happy to donate a pay-cut to charities, and are mainly concerned about the club owners pocketing the money. And they don’t want to be coerced into signing new contracts.

 

Kyle Walker’s big mistake

Manchester City and England wing-back Kyle Walker has been in the Premier League 2020 news too this week but for all the wrong reasons. While the vast majority of the UK responded to a rallying call from the government and Queen by showing the fortitude and discipline to avoid unnecessary spread of the virus, Walker hosted a sex party to make the lockdown more fun!

And that was after he publicly urged fans to work together to beat the virus… by staying at home with family alone.

The player has since apologised but that doesn’t wash with anyone, and when we get back to normal, fans of the other 19 Premier League clubs will not let Walker forget his hypocrisy, not to mention his phenomenal lack of judgement or sense of responsibility.

The song-writers will be working on the Walker chants as we speak!

 

What happens next?

Jack Grealish will be keen for a resumption in Premier League

Jack Grealish in action during Aston Villa’s match against Leicester City

Discussions are ongoing to try to find a solution to the problem of how to complete the 2019/20 league season.  The option of cancelling the season is too horrifying for some clubs to contemplate, not to mention the fans. Liverpool particularly, and the clubs in line for promotion to the Premier League would be distraught.

The likely solution is to recommence the season behind closed doors, when it is safe to do so. The Premier League clubs and shareholders met last Friday to mould a response to the crisis, saying: “The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic develops and we work together through this very challenging time.

“The Premier League is working closely with the whole of professional football and there is a combined objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played, enabling us to maintain the integrity of each competition.”

The financial implications for Premier League clubs could be quite damaging if no further football is played this season, with clubs standing to lose around £750m.

Of course, there will be a few clubs which would be quite happy if the 2019/20 season were to be erased from the records, relegation threatened West Ham Brighton and Watford, for a start. That trio of clubs sit precariously above the drop zone, and if you take a look at the latest relegation Premier League 2020 betting odds you can see just how close they are to financial catastrophe in any case.

But, for the vast majority in the football family, we just want to get the game back on.

 

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09-Apr 2020 Thursday 5:52 PM (287 days ago)            #11
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Premier League Transfer News

In a fast moving global situation the Premier League is still a few weeks away from resumption, but players and coaches are still working hard to stay at the top of their game.

Once the spread of coronavirus is under firm control there are plenty of matters to be settled on the pitch, and some to progress off it, as clubs start to formulate their squad plans for next season.

Rumours are coming thick and fast and we are already in April, but while Europe’s clubs are working furiously behind the scenes they will need more time than usual.

 

FIFA to flex the summer window

There’s a growing acceptance in the world of football that to complete the big league commitments by the 30th June is now a huge ask. So FIFA, the world governing body, has committed to allowing the summer transfer window to be moved. In terms of Premier League 2020 news this is a big deal because it means that player contracts will likely be extended until the season ends.

FIFA has looked at football employment agreements during the pandemic and ‘strongly encourages clubs and players to work together to find agreements and solutions’. Moving Euro 2020 to 2021  was the first step in the strategy to enable the European leagues to complete their commitments and this latest announcement gives more flexibility and player peace of mind.

 

London Calling for Donnarumma

This move could well have increased Chelsea’s hopes of signing exciting young AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma as FIFA’s announcement could lead to a buyers market. And Blues head coach Frank Lampard would love to land the Rossoneri’s stopper having struggled to find any real consistency in current number one Kepa Arrizabalaga, after his world-record transfer from Athletic Bilbao.

Gianluigi Donnarumma hits the headlines with a potential move to Premier League as a possible replacement for Kepa

Kepa Arrizabalaga is fighting for his place after a series of poor run this season

Another Serie A goal-keeper is on the radar of several Premier League clubs. 29-year-old Marco Silvestri has been in brilliant form for Hellas Verona to help his club to eighth place in the Italian league, and both Everton and Southampton are said to be interested.

While AC Milan may be losing a keeper the Rossoneri have their eyes on an attacking midfielder and are reported to be lining up a new £35m offer for Arsenal star Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan struggled to impress under former boss Unai Emery but has looked much better since the arrival of Mikel Arteta, and he is one of Milan’s main summer targets.

 

Bundesliga comings and goings

German champions FC Bayern have been pursuing Manchester City’s winger Leroy Sane for a year now, and they are due to rekindle their interest at the end of this season, despite the Sky Blue man’s injury which has kept him out for the whole of the campaign. Bayern legend Lothar Matthaus has weighed in, saying he would prefer his former club to go for Leipzig’s red hot striker Timo Werner.

In any case, the Sky Blues might be keener to offload wing-back Kyle Walker, who has been caught out having a party when the rest of the sane world was observing the life saving social distancing policy. The Premier League 2020 betting odds have written off any chance of the Sky Blues retaining their league title, but they still need to maintain that aura of super-professionalism in readiness for the 2020/21 season. Walker has some explaining to do.

Back to transfer whispers, Borussia Dortmund are preparing for the departure of England winger Jadon Sancho who is admired by both Liverpool and Manchester City and, should the 20-year old leave, BVB are running the rule over Valencia’s Ferran Torres as a possible replacement.

 

Sanchez to remain a Red Devil?

According to recent reports, out of favour Manchester United striker Alexis Sanchez will be happy to see out his two-year contract at Old Trafford and at £400k a week you can see why! The Chilean striker has been out on loan at Inter Milan this season but, without a truly top-class striker in his ranks, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might be willing to invest time in Sanchez to see if he can rekindle the form of the ex-Arsenal man.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils have opened talks with Lazio over a potential deal for midfield ace Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as they see the 25-year old as a like-for-like replacement for Paul Pogba who looks likely to leave Old Trafford in the summer.

But we’ve been here before with Pogba.

So that’s it for now folks. But there will be plenty more rumours surfacing over the coming weeks, and here at SBOBET, we’ll keep the news flowing as it happens.

 

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13-Apr 2020 Monday 11:45 AM (283 days ago)            #12
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What Happens When The Premier League Returns?

It is one of so many questions being asked which, quite frankly, none of us know the answer to – not least, some of the clubs themselves.

However, I’m not talking about the actual Premier League action – it’s been over a month since we last had a weekend of that and it will be even longer before it resumes.

And I’m not talking about how the SBOBET Premier League betting odds may look if and when play resumes.

Yes, some intriguing aspects remain, not least the competition for European places and the fight for Premier League survival which is one of the closest in recent years.

Although the drop to the Championship is looking increasingly unavoidable for Norwich, with Daniel Farke’s side bottom of the table with 21 points and six from safety, it is anyone’s guess which teams will join them.

Despite sitting one place above the Canaries with 25 points, Aston Villa are just four behind 15th-placed Brighton and possess a game in hand on their fellow relegation rivals.

Meanwhile, West Ham, Watford and Bournemouth are only separated by goal difference as all three teams find themselves on 27 points.

Again though, that is not up for discussion, nor a priority, here.

What I am talking about is what state certain clubs will be in when the COVID-19 pandemic eases and association football restarts – whether a continuation of 2019/20 or the start of a new campaign.

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville last month described as “inconceivable” the suggestion football will start again before June, even though there remains hope from all top flight leagues across Europe to finish the season by June 30.

With the European Championships and Olympics being postponed until 2021, football bodies are keen to get the current season finished.

Yet as Neville rightly says, a lot of things have to happen before authorities even contemplate playing behind closed doors, let alone in front of spectators again.

The outbreak is having such a huge impact on the English top flight that it seems inconceivable that only 31 days ago the football season and the Cheltenham Festival were in full swing.

Now some people watch virtual racing while the beautiful game tears itself apart craving for the days when Premier League highlights were a regular occurrence.

There are so many negatives alongside the obvious positives.

Premier League fans wonder about the state of the club when the season returns after COVID-19

View on Etihad Stadium ticketing office being closed after Premier League suspended games

For every Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson leading by example with significant pay cuts being donated to the National Health Service; for everyone in the #playerstogether initiative such as Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Kevin de Bruyne raising millions for NHS-related charities; for every member of Southampton’s squad deferring 10 per cent of their salary for three months, there are certain clubs abusing the system.

Take league leaders Liverpool which made a £42 million in profit last year alone. For a club which holds itself up as ‘something more’, it took a major misstep in its decision to furlough non-playing staff. Despite a U-turn after pressure, it spoke of a lack of integrity.

Likewise, the behaviour of the owners of Spurs and Newcastle United have shamefully exposed the opportunistic and capitalist morals that, in all probability, made them very wealthy in the first place.

Realistically, all leading clubs should have enough in reserve to see them through this period, better insulated than most against loss of gate and matchday income.

There is also an onus on players to take cuts to help their respective employers mitigate the negative economic effect of this health crisis.

In contrast, not all Premier League clubs are in the same boat.

Many have a severely negative asset value – in other words, they’re in debt up to the hilt – with Brighton the worst afflicted of all by a considerable distance.

Their negative asset value is £223,072, which means the club will survive only as long as owner Tony Bloom can put his hand in his pocket. He has already ploughed £300million into the club and currently finds his businesses in the leisure sector severely affected by the crisis.

That means paying salaries could be far from straightforward for a number of clubs who will be struggling for alternative breakthroughs on the enormous wage burden which sees the average Premier League player rewarded to the tune of £60,000 a week.

Some of the smaller clubs in the Premier League, let alone the lower leagues, need to go into furlough to protect themselves and the livelihood of their employers.

There is not even a guarantee of a summer pot of money either with some set to miss out on tens of millions in prize money due to this summer’s International Champions Cup being cancelled amid the pandemic.

Teams have pocketed up to £16 million for taking part in the pre-season tournament each year since it began in 2013, with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur among the previous winners.

It will be some time before the final damage caused by COVID-19 is known. A certainty though is that, when the Premier League finally does return, it could be a very different landscape for all bar the leading players.

 

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14-Apr 2020 Tuesday 12:11 PM (282 days ago)            #13
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Who Are the Best Number 1s in the Premier League?

In a recent poll conducted by the BBC to ascertain the best goalkeepers in Premier League history, only three of the current crop of custodians made the shortlist.

Perhaps that is surprising, perhaps it is not given that many of the number ones at top-flight clubs have not necessarily played in the Premier League long enough to be truly judged.

Indeed, a few on the shortlist compiled by the BBC could easily be questioned.

Either way, the three current goalkeepers on that list must surely be included in any top five from 2020? Well, actually, not quite.

Whether you agree with my choices remains to be seen.

Assessing a goalkeeper’s importance is a tricky task. Some weighting is clearly given to the number of saves they make, but those who represent teams fighting relegation are usually busier than those in a title race.

Clean sheets are also far from a perfect metric given that the calibre of finishing in England’s top tier can often see a goalkeeper’s record muddied through no real fault of their own, or indeed account for the standard of the defence in front of them.

So here we go – and yes, this in order!

 

1. David de Gea (Manchester United)

By far the best goalkeeper in England, and possibly Europe, over the past decade. A series of uncharacteristic mistakes towards the end of last season – and a few during the current campaign – have led to some questioning whether he is past his peak. I cannot agree.

It’s only because such errors have been so rare that when the Spanish number one does make one, it shocks us. Recruited by Sir Alex Ferguson as a teenager, it’s hard to imagine where United would have been in many of the seasons since Ferguson retired without their number one.

At times, he has been a one-man blockade against opposition attacks in a way few other goalkeepers have. Still the best in the league, despite some unsettling showings over the past 12 months.

 

2. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)

A Premier League winner, still as strong and still holds as much as a presence his penalty area as he did in the Foxes’ unforgettable title-winning season, Kasper Schmeichel has 10 clean sheets in the league this season. Only two teams have a better defensive record than Leicester, despite them selling Harry Maguire last summer. The Dane is a major reason why.

Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has 10 clean sheets in the Premier League at the moment

Kasper Schmeichel in action for Leicester City

 

3. Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

Also with 10 clean sheets in the league is Alisson at Liverpool, even though he missed the first quarter of the campaign with an injury sustained in the opening league game. Brazil’s number one and the winner of the Golden Glove in the Champions League last season, he and Virgil van Dijk have completely transformed Liverpool’s defence. A real presence.

 

4. Dean Henderson (Sheffield United)

On current form, he should be England’s number one. Who knows, perhaps he will be by the time Euro 2020 is held – in 2021! Like Schmeichel and Alisson, he is behind only Nick Pope of Burnley in terms of top-flight clean sheets this term, Henderson has continued to be a vital cog in Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United team, which defied the Premier League 2020 odds this year.

Don’t be surprised if the Blades loanee takes England’s number one jersey from Everton’s Jordan Pickford sooner rather than later and, in the longer term, possibly replaces De Gea at Old Trafford.

 

5. Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United)

If you look at all the underlying stats, there is no explanation for how Newcastle are not in the bottom three. Step forward Martin Dubravka, who has produced several Premier League 2020 highlights — 117 saves in 2,610 minutes to be exact, which is a league record this term. His arrival on Tyneside in January 2018 remains the club’s best transfer business of recent years.

The most controversial omission from my list must be Man City’s Ederson – whose ability to read danger coming from his starting position is first-class – or Burnley’s Nick Pope with the most clean-sheets this term (my SBOBET colleague Stuart Wilkin may never forgive me for this!).

Likewise, if Aston Villa’s Tom Heaton had not seen his season ended in January through injury, he may have made this list.

The almost-effortless Rui Patrício at Wolves and Bernd Leno, growing in stature at Arsenal, were also close to making the top five.

There you go, I suppose I’ve just given you a top 10!

 

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21-Apr 2020 Tuesday 1:22 PM (275 days ago)            #14
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Premier League: The Best of the Hammers

Founded as Thames Ironworks FC in 1895, there have been over 1000 players who have donned their signature claret and blue shirts.

While West Ham United are far from the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United in terms of winning in the Premier League, they have had their share of standout players in their team history.

The Hammers still have their good players with the likes of Declan Rice and Sebastien Haller leading way. But unlike in their glory days, the Hammers’ Premier League 2020 odds of winning the title – let alone making it to the top four – look very slim even prior to this season’s suspension.

Join and discuss with SBOBET as we list some of the best players who have suited up for West Ham United.

 

Billy Bonds

There’s no doubt that Billy Bonds is Mr. West Ham United given his 21-year tenure over at Upton Park.

His career with the Hammers began on 1967 after a stint from Charlton Athletic. Bonds was the stabilizing force in the midfield where he can operate smoothly as a playmaker or as a rugged defender.

The Woolwich native would tow the Hammers to as far as the semis in the Football League Cup during the 1971/72 season although they eventually lost to Stoke City.

In the next season, Bonds was given the role of captaincy and led the Hammers in scoring with 13 goals along with an FA Cup championship. The Hammers would win one more FA Cup in 1980, making him the only captain to lift two FA Cup trophies in club history.

And while injuries stopped him on his tracks early in the 80’s, Bonds was able to re-establish himself with the team as he finished his career in Upton Park. Overall, the midfielder made 793 first team appearances, netting 59 goals in the process.

Because of his time with the club, Bonds won “Hammer of the Year” awards in 1971, 1974, 1975, and 1987. West Ham also established the Billy Bonds stand as a part of their stadium last year.

 

Paolo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio helped West Ham to gain their fifth spot at the Premier League table in the 1999 season

West Ham’s Paolo Di Canio celebrates goal with teammate Paolo Wanchope

With West Ham priding themselves in being a goal scoring group, they will surely be one of the teams fighting for goalscorers that can create a ton of Premier League 2020 highlights.

The Hammers would need a second coming of Paolo Di Canio, who isn’t shy of showing off during his time at Upton Park.

The cheeky Italian had a fruitful time with West Ham United, thanks to his brilliance on the pitch along with his affable personality.

Di Canio would bring West Ham to the fifth spot at the Premier League table in the 1999 season after struggling with mediocrity in years before.

He was named OPTA player of the year in the same season and his flying volley against Wimbledon the year after was named as BBC’s Goal of the Season.

Because of his goal scoring ways, Di Canio was being offered a lucrative deal to play in Old Trafford. However, he stayed for the Hammers for another season and a half despite the team struggling at the bottom of the league.

 

Trevor Brooking

Trevor Brooking had a decorated career playing for the Hammers in the 70’s. Known as a cerebral playmaker, the Essex native emerged as the team’s leader when he took over from Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore.

Brooking made 636 appearances while scoring 103 goals for West Ham in his 17 years there. He would also win two FA Cup titles.

Right now, Brooking is still part of the club albeit behind the scenes. When Glenn Roeder collapsed due to a brain tumour in 2003, Trevor Brooking took over as the club’s caretaker in two separate occasions.

Like Billy Bonds, Trevor Booking has a stand named after him in Upton Park, which by itself should clearly make him worthy of this list.

 

Geoff Hurst

Geoff Hurst was one of the fiercest competitors in his era known for his speed and brilliance in scoring goals during the 60’s.

In his 13 years with the Hammers, Hurst brought home a World Cup Winners Medal and an FA Cup championship in 1966. With their win in the FA Cup, the Hammers made the most out of their stint in the succeeding European Cup Winner’s Cup by lifting their first-ever European trophy.

That season was his personal best with the club, scoring 40 goals in 59 games in all competitions. Hurst would also make himself a household name in the England national team by helping the Three Lions win the World Cup.

 

Bobby Moore

There can be no dispute on who’s the greatest West Ham United player of all time since that recognition belongs to Sir Bobby Moore.

One of the best defenders of his era, Moore’s speed and power would overwhelm opposing strikers and he can make plays on the other end as well.

Moore served as the captain for the Hammers for a decade, which resulted to a World Cup Winners Medal and a FA Cup championship alongside Geoff Hurst. At the same time, the Hammers legend was also a staple to the England national team.

His leadership, grit, and work ethic set the standard for the club in years to come. And with a stand named after him in Upton Park, there’s no doubt that Bobby Moore deserves to be known as one of the best players ever to have played for the Hammers.

 

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21-Apr 2020 Tuesday 1:28 PM (275 days ago)            #15
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Premier League Star Buys

Money makes the world go round; and that old mantra is nowhere truer than in the big European football leagues, as the continent’s top clubs jostle to get the cash out of the door to secure the world’s best playing riches.

There have been some eye-watering transfer fees in the Premier League in recent years. Virgil Van Dijk’s £75m move from Southampton to Liverpool, in 2018, has transformed Jurgen Klopp’s Reds from a swashbuckling also-ran to this season’s runaway leader.

Manchester United have tried to respond by shelling out £80m to bring Harry Maguire from Leicester City, and only time will tell if that bold investment is to pay off. The same can be said for Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe who moved to the Emirates in the summer but hasn’t exactly looked like a £72m player.

We SBOBET football fans can all point to a transfer at our own club which has been money well spent, I’ll throw my hat in as a Burnley madman and say Ashley Barnes at £500k wasn’t a bad punt!

But which three players have represented the very best value in Premier League history? Well folks, here’s my selection.

 

3: Thierry Henry to Arsenal from Juventus for £14M in 1999

When Arsene Wenger took over as head coach at Arsenal and transformed the Gunners from turgid 1-0 specialists to the English version of the Ajax’ ‘total football’ team, the Frenchman turned to his homeland to find the finesse he was looking for. And the epitome of that was Thierry Henry.

He arrived at Highbury as a speedy winger with an eye for goal but left eight years later with two Premier League titles and two FA Cups, and he had become the perfect striker, swift of foot, sharp of mind and with a stunning array of finishes.

Henry’s partnership with Dennis Bergkamp in the Arsenal Invincibles team of 2004 was arguably the best the Premier League has ever seen, and the question is; what this current Arsenal team would give for a leader and a truly world-class player like Henry?

Arsenal wrapped up the Premier League title in April 2004, and avoided defeat in their remaining games to earn the 'Invincibles' tag

Arsenal forward Thierry Henry celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Manchester United

2: Roy Keane to Manchester United from Nottingham Forest for £7m in 1993

Red Devils fans can point to any number of players who have represented fantastic value over the past three decades. The enigmatic Frenchman Eric Cantona arrived in 1992 for £1.6m and was there right at the start of United’s resurgence.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney both made big impacts for Manchester United once they had become established as the best side in England, but Keane, the tough-tackling Irishman, was there at the start too.

For neutrals, one of the best Premier League battles in the late nineties was the frequent clashes between Keane and Arsenal’s midfield general Patrick Vieira. The United man summed it up succinctly, saying: “I can’t think of any other word that springs to mind when I was going into battle with Arsenal. Hatred was the word.”

As well as being a hard man and a hot head off the pitch, Keane wasn’t a bad player either; he scored 33 goals in 326 games for United at a time when the Red Devils won the league seven times in ten seasons.

 

1: Sergio Aguero to Manchester City from Atletico Madrid for £36m in 2011

Manchester City had been in the shadow of their neighbours for over 20 years when striker Sergio Aguero arrived at the Etihad as the Sky Blue revolution was gathering momentum, and he will be forever remembered for his stunning 93rd-minute strike as Manchester City won their first Premier League title in 2012.

The Argentine hit man is one of the best players Manchester has ever seen, and his goal tally of 180 in 261 appearances speaks for itself. During his spell in Manchester, the Sky Blues have won four Premier Leagues and two FA Cups, including two domestic doubles. The pre-season Premier League 2020 betting tips backed a third successive league title for the Sky Blues but while they are well off the pace, Aguero could easily still win the Golden Boot. He’s in joint third place on 16 and just three goals behind Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.

So there we have it. Three brilliant players who have helped to change the course of history at their respective clubs, and all three were worth every penny.

Back to the now; the English Football League has issued an open letter announcing that the Championship, League One and Two will recommence behind closed doors when it is safe to do so. I expect the Premier League to follow suit, but with the UK lockdown just extended to May 7th, we have at least three weeks to wait.

Rest assured folks; we’ll be back with all the latest Premier League 2020 news as and when it arrives.

 

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21-Apr 2020 Tuesday 2:32 PM (275 days ago)            #16
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Top 5 Premier League Matches of 2020 So Far

The Premier League once again provided some terrific matches during the 2019-2020 season. There were matches which saw history both made and foiled, not to mention some stunning upsets and amazing comebacks that will live long in the memories of SBOBET Premier League supporters.

So as the wait for the Premier League to return continues, let’s take a quick look back at five of the best matches of the season to date.

 

Southampton 0-9 Leicester City

Leicester City had a brilliant start to their debut campaign under manager Brendan Rodgers. The Foxes lost just twice in their first 17 matches, and at one point won eight matches in a row. The second of those eight wins was their historic 9-0 demolition of Southampton at St. Mary’s.

The Foxes went ahead after just 10 minutes through Ben Chilwell. And two minutes later, the Saints went down to 10 men after Ryan Bertrand was shown a red card. It was all one-way traffic after that as Leicester added four more goals before half-time.

But even with the win secured, Leicester continued their assault on the poor Saints as they looked to break the record for the biggest Premier League away win of all-time. They eventually got it through a stoppage-time penalty from Jamie Vardy, who also completed his hat-trick.

 

Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa

Arsenal have had a disastrous Premier League campaign. Unai Emery was unable to fix the squad’s many weaknesses, which led to them sliding way down in the table.

Emery was eventually sacked midway through the season, but before the Spaniard’s dismissal, he led the Gunners to one of the most dramatic wins of the year against Aston Villa.

Arsenal were in serious trouble as they were a goal down and a man down at half-time following Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ sending off. And even when they equalised through a Nicolas Pepe penalty, Wesley scored seconds later to put Villa back in front.

But Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came through with late strikes in quick succession to complete the 10-man Gunners’ amazing comeback victory.

 

Sheffield United 3-3 Manchester United

Sheffield United and Manchester United are two of the top four defences in the league this season, conceding just 25 and 30 goals, respectively. But surprisingly, the two Uniteds combined to produce several Premier League 2020 highlights in a thrilling 3-3 shootout when they met at Bramall Lane.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks dejected following Manchester Unted's 3-3 draw with Sheffield United in Premier League

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks disappointed following their 3-3 draw with Sheffield United

The Blades looked set for another huge victory as they went up 2-0 against the visitors. But the Red Devils — inspired by teens Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood — rallied in remarkable fashion as they scored three times in a seven-minute span to turn the game on its head.

But the brilliant match had one more twist left as Oli McBurnie snatched a dramatic equaliser in the 90th minute to rescue a point for the Blades.

 

Watford 3-0 Liverpool

If and when Premier League play resumes, Liverpool will win their first league title in three decades. The Merseysiders were absolutely dominant this season as they built up an insurmountable 25-point lead over closest challengers, Manchester City.

However, the Reds are out of the running for another piece of history — an invincible season — after Watford defied the Premier League 2020 betting odds and produced by far the biggest upset of the season.

The relegation-threatened Hornets had been in disastrous form heading into that match with the champions-elect, but they got themselves up for the challenge.

Ismaila Sarr, in particular, showed the quality that made him the club’s record signing as he terrorised Liverpool’s vaunted defence all game long.

The Senegalese star bagged a brace and set up Troy Deeney’s clinching goal as the Hornets claimed a historic 3-0 victory at Vicarage Road to end Liverpool’s bid for an unbeaten season.

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 Manchester City

Wolves have been a thorn in Manchester City’s side in recent years. Nuno Espiritu Santo’s side handed the defending champions their first home loss of the season as a late Adama Traore brace sparked a 2-0 victory at the Etihad.

The hosts were handed a golden opportunity to claim another great result against the reigning champions as Ederson was sent off after just 12 minutes. But despite going a man down, City somehow went 2-0 up thanks to a Raheem Sterling brace.

City’s Wolves woes would come back to bite them, though, as the home side staged a stunning comeback. After Adama Traore pulled a goal back, Raul Jimenez scored eight minutes from time to level it up at 2-2.

And just before the 90 minute mark, Matt Doherty made Molineux erupt with a brilliant strike to hand Wolves one of the most famous wins in their history.

 

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22-Apr 2020 Wednesday 1:20 PM (274 days ago)            #17
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Premier League Comings and Goings

We’re still some way away from a restart in the Premier League and other European competitions, but it’s getting closer by the day.

Countries around the world are at different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in Europe, Italy, Germany, Spain and England may have reached or be near a plateau and, when it’s safe to do so, players in the big leagues will return to training.

Clubs say they’ll need three weeks as a “pre-season” to get their stars match fit so we await government instructions.

Looking ahead, the UK press has reported that Premier League clubs have been told the 2020/21 season must start by the beginning of September, and that will apply some considerable fixture pressure on this current campaign, with no fixed start date yet in sight.

Early June is the target to reboot the 2019/20 season, but it’s a fast-moving situation so let’s wait and see.

 

Is David Silva Valenciabound?

When play recommences, we’ll hopefully have a few more opportunities to enjoy the mercurial talent of David Silva before he leaves Manchester City.

Last weekend, here at SBOBETwe selected our three best Premier League transfers of all-time and while his Manchester City team-mate Sergio Aguero was on the list, Silva was very close to making the cut.

Since his departure from Valencia to join the Sky Blue revolution in 2010, the creative midfielder has played more than 300 games while scoring over 50 goals, as City have picked up four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

Silva’s calm persona, beautiful style of play and ability to pick the killer pass have been some of the very best features of Manchester City over the last decade.

But with his contract set to expire at the end of June, the Spaniard could be heading back to his old stomping ground at Valencia in La Liga.

If he does return to the Mestalla, he’ll be a fans’ favourite immediately and could help to elevate Los Che to the heights of being a European power once again.

Meanwhile, the Sky Blues’ biggest rivals, Liverpool, could be set to make a spectacular move for France scoring sensation Kylian Mbappe. The Premier League 2020 betting odds on the Reds winning the title this term disappeared without trace months ago and, while they hope to finish the job soon, Jurgen Klopp clearly has one eye on next season.

Real Madrid are reportedly eyeing up Reds striker Sadio Mane, and if they meet the club’s £150m valuation, then Mbappe might just be heading to Merseyside.

Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for Liverpool’s Senegalese star, so this is a situation we’ll keep a close eye on.

 

Premier League pay cuts are not for everyone

Premier League: Mesut Ozil is currently Arsenal's highest earner with £350,000-a-week

Mesut Ozil is one of the three Arsenal players that rejects 12.5 percent pay-cut

It’s been a difficult time for Premier League footballers during the coronavirus outbreak; they have had to do their best to stay fit while taking a fair amount of criticism from fans and the media.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock angered players by asking them to take a pay-cut, while several clubs were slated for their decision to furlough non-playing staff while continuing to pay their players’ full whack.

Many players have now taken a pay-cut, but not all. German winger Mesut Ozil has declined to take a 12.5 per cent reduction in pay as one of three Arsenal players to hold out.

The Gunners’ top earner, on £350,000 a week, doesn’t want to be rushed into a decision while he sees how the coronavirus impacts on the finance of clubs and the economy as a whole.

The vast majority of his team-mates have already worked it out, but Ozil has urged them to respect his stance. I’m not entirely sure that it’s his fellow players he needs to worry about.

When the Premier League season does reconvene, and all the stars are back to doing what they love rather than preserving their reputations, there is likely to be a busy fixture schedule for all concerned. FIFA has moved to provide flexibility around player contracts and the summer transfer window.

Of course, players, coaches and all the fans are thinking about a return date, and the first week in June looks like the best hope at the moment. In the meantime, we’ll keep the Premier League 2020 news rolling as it happens.

 

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27-Apr 2020 Monday 3:25 PM (269 days ago)            #18
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Premier League: Five Young Players who became Big Stars at Spurs

They like their football played on the grass in North London. Not for Spurs, and latterly Arsenal, is the long punt and second ball game the way fans enjoy it.

Tottenham Hotspur has a rich history in the top flight of English football, and the club is associated with a sense of class and a playing style which is easy on the eye. This philosophy doesn’t always bring prizes, as the club’s struggle to win a Premier League title testifies. But it does mean that the Whites have been blessed by some of the most attractive football talent spanning the past 50 years, since a time when they dominated the English league at the beginning of the 1960s.

Today we run the rule over five of Spurs’ best young stars. Three academy products and two players who arrived at the tender age of 21 who have each been central to some of the best football played at White Hart Lane.

 

Ledley King

Known as the finest defender in Spurs’ Premier League history, Ledley King was a Rolls Royce of a player He was a one club man, patrolling the defensive third for Spurs between 1999 and 2012, making 323 appearances. He also won 21 caps for England and would have undoubtedly achieved more had he not been dogged by injury.

He came to prominence when centre back Sol Campbell angered Spurs fans by moving to Arsenal, and that betrayal has often been compared unfavourably with King’s loyalty. But he was far more than a loyal servant, oozing class and composure with the ability to time tackles to perfection.

 

Paul Gascoigne

When he arrived at White Hart Lane as a brash 21-year old Paul Gascoigne was already a global star, following his thrilling role in England’s journey to the 1990 World Cup semi-final; and he was a hero on Tyneside where he learned his football at Newcastle United. He was nearest thing to genius the English game had seen since the wonderful talent of George Best wowed fans nationwide.

With superb ball control and balance, a spectacular array of passing and a fierce shot, Gascoigne was the complete attacking midfielder, but he also had a self destructive side. One of the many infamous moments in Gazza’s career came in his last appearance for Spurs, the 1991 FA Cup Final. He was already committed to joining Lazio the following season when he strode onto the Wembley pitch. But he left it on a stretcher, 15 minutes after the start, when a reckless high challenge on Nottingham Forest’s Gary Charles left Gazza with damaged knee ligaments. He recalls: “I remember Charles coming down the right. I tried to get a good challenge on him and let him know he was in a game.”

He was ‘daft as a brush’ as they say in Newcastle…but what a player!

 

Harry Kane

With the Premier League transfer rumour mill already at full speed the annual questions around whether Harry Kane is about to leave Spurs are being asked again. And there’s no wonder. Ever since he arrived at the club as an 11 year old he was destined for stardom and now, as captain of club and country, he is one of the hottest properties on the planet.

As a youngster he had productive loan spells at Millwall and Leicester City before scoring 31 goals across all competitions in his first full season in 2014/15. He’s been as prolific ever since when he’s on the pitch, but another injury to Kane has influenced our Premier League 2020 predictions as, without him, Spurs have struggled to climb into European contention this year.

 

Jimmy Greaves

There have been some pretty impressive scorers in the Premier League era but the most lethal top flight finisher of all time was the great Jimmy Greaves.

He was 21 when he arrived at Spurs, having begun his career at Chelsea, and he went on to score a colossal 266 goals for the Whites. With spells at Stamford Bridge and later West Ham, Greaves ended up with a total of 357 top flight goals. He’s known by England fans as the best natural goal-scorer of all time, and if Greaves was still around today in the Spurs team, our SBOBET tips would be heading towards ‘over 2.50 goals’ more often than not!

 

Glenn Hoddle

They’ve had their fair share at Spurs, but probably their most gifted player in modern times was midfield maestro Glenn Hoddle who joined the club as a 12 year old and made his debut as a 17 year old in 1975. The 1979/80 season was when he came of age, bagging 19 goals and winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

He scored 110 times for Spurs and probably made more assists with his beautiful delivery of a ball. Pragmatists sometimes saw him as a luxury, but no team in the top flight would have refused the chance to have him light up their own pitch.

Hoddle is well up with the very latest Premier League 2020 news as a TV pundit in England, but Spurs fans aren’t alone in wishing he was still working his graceful art on the pitch.

 

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27-Apr 2020 Monday 3:28 PM (269 days ago)            #19
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Premier League Flashback: The Bolton Wanderers Have Shocked the World

Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Arsenal

It is a game that is always foremost in my mind when I think of Premier League classics.

Yet despite enjoying some truly wonderful moments in the Premier League, few matches have brought me as much joy and emotion as this one on Saturday, April 26, 2003.

To give you an indication, the match didn’t even feature my beloved Manchester United but alternatively, my second team – the Bolton Wanderers.

Growing up, my mum and I joked that her dad (my grandad) had never put us to bed with the usual bedtime story or fairy tale. Instead, we were reminded of and therefore have always remembered to this day, the Bolton Wanderers side of 1923.

It was the first-ever FA Cup final at Wembley – ‘The White Horse’ final. Bolton beat West Ham and even now, just like so many of my family, I can instantly recall the starting XI which made history (and the scorers in Bolton’s 2-0 win).

Looking back, I am sure that triumph cemented my grandfather’s affection for the Wanderers. His memories of that time certainly evoked mine.

Fast forward to 80 years, and Bolton versus Arsenal at the Reebok Stadium meant so much to me for two reasons.

First, I was desperate for Bolton to survive. And second, there was one thing I was even more desperate for – for Manchester United to win the title.

The contest was played on a Saturday lunchtime when Arsenal had the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole, making them the favourites to retain the title.

Bolton had departed the famous Burden Park nearly six years earlier. And while my grandad had passed away little under two years before this encounter, I’m sure he was looking down proud at what followed.

 

Highlights of the game

After a closely contested first half, goals from Sylvain Wiltord and Pires early in the second half put the Gunners firmly in the driving seat and heading back to the summit with three very winnable final games of the season to come.

At that point, virtually everyone felt the contest was over.

Bolton, however, were giving it their all and refused to give up against the champions.

Their determination was also matched by more style than they ever received credit for.

After all, the Trotters were not supposed to stay up against the Premier League odds as they were the whipping boys against far wealthier and bigger clubs.

Instead of appreciating what Sam Allardyce was achieving, much of the sports media had long since branded Bolton as a long-ball side and made no secret of the fact they wanted West Ham — comprising young English talents Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, plus Paolo Di Canio et al —  to stay up at Bolton’s expense.

To brand Bolton a long-ball team, however — a side comprising the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo — was simply insulting and as it proved, it was completely inaccurate.

The trio simply helped inspire Bolton and the French World Cup winner pulled one back when David Seaman beat away a 20-yard shot from Per Frandsen and Djorkaeff showed a cool head to score.

I celebrated with relief and joy upon seeing these Premier League highlights. Why? Perhaps I subconsciously realised a stirring comeback was on the cards.

Even my dad was rather surprised at my reaction to the goal – Arsenal were still very much in charge of their own destiny.

However, Bolton would not stop working and believing. My reaction to what followed just over 10 minutes later was on a completely different level.

A home player was fouled on the left-hand side. Then as Djorkaeff delivered a curling free-kick from the left and under pressure, Arsenal substitute Martin Keown could only flick the ball beyond his own goalkeeper, a stunned Seaman.

My joy, my emotion, my relief was simply immeasurable. This meant so much.

With my stomach in knots, Bolton held on. To a man, they were simply magnificent.

 

What happened next?

I can still recall the magical Okocha who was so good that they named him twice juggling the ball as if we’re in his back garden keeping possession, forcing frustrated Arsenal to foul him.

I want to give ode to the classy Frandsen and Djorkaeff contesting every ball as if their life depended on it and to on-loan Florent Laville being simply superb at the back, even if he picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time.

The Frenchman had joined the club at the end of January and was as key as anyone in ensuring the team survived.

He wasn’t just good, he was brilliant. To give you an indication of how impressive he was, Laville played just 15 games for Bolton and yet was voted into the club’s all-time 50 top players in 2005.

He returned the following season on a permanent deal. But just five games in, he ruptured his cruciate ligament and never played for Wanderers again. He will always have a place in my heart though.

And then there was Sam Allardyce, a managerial marvel who showed his delight at full-time.

The point proved decisive for both Bolton and United.

They had to win at White Hart Lane against Spurs the following day and duly did, but the feeling this was the defining moment for both clubs in their respective quests was unavoidable.

How ironic that it was many years after I started supporting United and following Bolton before I realised that the fans of these clubs actually don’t like each other very much!

But I always have and always will, and this moment was one of the greatest in my life.

It is because this was the day which made not one but two of my dreams come true.

 

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27-Apr 2020 Monday 3:30 PM (269 days ago)            #20
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Premier League’s Last Line of Defence

Conventional wisdom decrees that to be a goalkeeper you need to be brave, agile, have quick reactions, good handling and above all, be slightly mad!

Why would anyone want to be the man between the sticks, watching on in admiration as the magician up front scores the goal to lift the stadium roof off, before taking the blame when an opposing striker manages to beat you with his unstoppable shot. There is no sadder sight than watching your own keeper stoop, engulfed in gloom, to pick the ball out of the net.

But the goal-keeper can also be the hero, the penalty saver; the last minute miracle blocker…he’s the last line of defence.

It’s a tough job and can be a lonely one when it isn’t going well. Everton’s Jordan Pickford has conceded the most goals (46) of any keeper in the Premier League this season, dropping some high profile clangers along the way. And another keeper who’s been in the Premier League 2020 news for the wrong reasons is Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Blues are looking for a new goalie only two seasons after shelling out a record fee to bring Kepa to Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao.

Chelsea head coach is an admirer of Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma and he could tempt the Rossoneri stopper to join a legion of fine keepers in England’s top flight. Let’s take a look at five of them who have been in superb form this season.

 

Nick Pope: Burnley; 11 clean sheets

When he arrived at Turf Moor in 2016 Nick Pope knew he had to bide his time as understudy to Burnley captain and legend Tom Heaton. But an injury to Heaton early in the 2017/18 season gave the 6ft 3in former Charlton keeper his chance and he took it, improving throughout the campaign as the Clarets reached the Europa League.

Burnley’s keeper has collected more clean sheets than anyone this season, as well making the most high claims at 37, with Norwich City’s Tim Krul at 26. Pope has also made the most sweeper clearances with 16, and while Pickford’s distribution is more impressive, the Burnley man’s all round game and command of his area gives him a chance of holding on to the England Number One shirt.

 

Alisson: Liverpool, 10 clean sheets

As the Premier League actively explores ways to get the 2019/20 season back underway, Liverpool will surely go on to win a first title in 30 years and many fans will point to Jurgen Klopp’s capture of Alisson as a turning point. The Reds have been dogged by goal-keeper problems for years, but from the moment the Brazilian arrived at Anfield in 2018 those issues disappeared without trace. With the excellent Virgil Van Dijk in front of him, Alisson exudes confidence and is equally comfortable playing with his feet as his hands. He’s a powerful presence between the posts and Reds fans will hope he stays for years to come.

Our Premier League SBOBET tips will be back in due course, the Bundesliga looks likely to be the first league to restart, and when the Premier League returns we’ll be tipping Liverpool to grab the two wins they need with seven games to spare, and probably with two more clean sheets.

 

Kasper Schmeichel: Leicester City, 10 clean sheets

Kasper Schmeichel has 10 clean sheet in Premier League this season

Kasper Schmeichel during Leicester City’s mach against Wolverhampton Wanderers

Leicester’s Number One took his place in the Foxes’ history as the goal-keeper with the safe hands to lead the Midlands’ side to the most amazing Premier League title in the competition’s history.

He won the title at 29 years of age, the very same age his father, Peter, was when he won his first title with Manchester United in 1993.

Alongside striker Jamie Vardy, Schmeichel remains one of the two 2016 champions who are still mainstays in the current Brendan Rodgers side. As well as keeping for his national team, Denmark, he has now played 330 games for Leicester and with nine to go this season; a Champions League place looks on the cards again.

 

Dean Henderson: Sheffield United, 10 clean sheets

Pretty much everyone’s pre-season Premier League 2020 predictions had newly promoted Sheffield United nailed on for relegation. But while Norwich City and Aston Villa look likely to make a swift return to the Championship the Blades are already safe; and keeper Dean Henderson is a favourite to be their player of the season. Boss Chris Wilder criticised him when he made a gaffe to concede a goal against Liverpool, but if he makes a likely return to his parent club Manchester United in the summer, then Sheffield United will be relegation tips again next season.

Still only 23, he’s made a series of stunning performances and looks destined for a career at the very top, including a place in England’s Euro 2021 squad.

 

Martin Dubravka: Newcastle United, nine clean sheets

In his third season at St James’ Park, Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has been a colossus as the Magpies last line of defence and has made more saves than any other keeper in the Premier League, keeping out 117 shots on target.

At a fee of around 4m Euros he’s been a snip, keeping a total of 24 clean sheets in 79 appearances, and he’s no slouch with his feet either, often playing in an outfield position in training. The Geordies have kept themselves clear of the relegation mire for much the season, and with Dubravka in goal they are almost certain to secure another year at the top table.

 

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29-Apr 2020 Wednesday 3:54 PM (267 days ago)            #21
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Should Premier League 2019-20 Be Cancelled?

So much has been written, so much has been talked about, yet potentially an announcement within the last 24 hours will have the biggest ramifications of all.

The warning from FIFA’s chief doctor that football’s governing bodies should prepare for next season instead of restarting the interrupted 2019-20 campaign could prove to be the defining moment in this whole debate.

As it stands, European leagues have until May to tell UEFA whether they want to complete or cancel their seasons and the Premier League is working to a model that would see the 2019-20 campaign completed by the end of July.

Yet as every day goes by, as other footballing governing body declare their seasons null and void, so the chances of the Premier League doing the same increases.

We already know the Dutch top flight, the Eredivisie, has been abandoned because of the pandemic.

Now we have been told Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons will not resume after France banned all sporting events, including behind closed doors, until September.

This comes despite the news that plans are in place to ease France’s coronavirus lockdown in just a fortnight’s time.

This despite the fact it had been hoped to resume the season in mid-June.

In England, it’s hoped the lockdown restrictions will ease next month. It’s also hoped the Premier League will resume in mid-June.

So, what’s the difference?

Well, the Premier League is desperate to complete the season and preserve its vast broadcast revenues.

Premier League are still uncertain when the season will resume completely

A sign outside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium notifying fans of the postponed matches

Officials have earmarked July 27 as the end of the domestic campaign which would then lead into August when UEFA hopes to conclude 2019-20 European competitions (though will that include French clubs now out of action until September?) in a condensed 23-day period with the 2020-21 Premier League season earmarked for a late August/early September start.

This works back from the need to start the 2020-21 season to have any chance of future campaigns and competitions also remaining intact.

But is that realistic and would players want to be rushed back?

It’s reported some players feel their willingness to rush back is being taken for granted. The trust between clubs, governing bodies and players has also been severely tested in recent weeks following largely unresolved talks over salary cuts or deferrals.

That creates another issue with players like Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen, Chelsea midfielder Willian and Liverpool’s Adam Lallana out of contract this summer.

There are so many stumbling blocks.

The medical professionals will ultimately have the say and acclaimed journalist Henry Winter has no doubt what needs to be addressed when football resumes.

It’s hard to argue with any of this logic on a range of issues.

That is for another day though.

For now, the key question is should the Premier League continue to work on plans to return this summer or knock 2019-20 on the head?

Arguments abound on both sides.

Government officials have accepted that, while at this stage sport would only be able to take place behind closed doors, it may provide many people with a much-needed boost to morale after months of lockdown.

However, with mass gatherings likely to be banned into 2021, no fans will be present and the government will need to seek assurances from the Premier League that they will work to prevent supporters from congregating outside venues, especially at major moments in the season such as title presentations and promotion parties.

Furthermore, the issue of regular testing, and the availability and accuracy of coronavirus tests, remains the biggest uncertainty. With key workers only having just been given access to tests – and it still unclear whether supply can meet this demand – sport knows that it cannot be seen to jump the queue.

Players would have to carry out further health checks and additional social distancing could be observed up until the matches began, such as ensuring more than one changing room per team. There would be no pre-match handshake and there have been calls for a ban of celebrations where players get close to each other.

Top-flight clubs will meet on Friday to discuss options for the restart but are there now simply too many obstacles to make a restart worthwhile?

The league would lose some of its integrity if it is cancelled. Equally you can’t award titles, European team or relegate teams based on a system of whatever average point tallies sides may or may not be predicted to pick up in their remaining fixtures.

For now, we all watch with interest waiting for football to return and reflect on matches of days gone by, including my personal favourites.

Stay safe, stay positive.

 

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07-May 2020 Thursday 3:18 PM (259 days ago)            #22
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Premier League: Strugglers Hiding from Relegation

We’ll find out soon enough whether the Premier League is about to restart, be curtailed, or even voided. But there is an agenda at play with some clubs transparently trying to save their own skin.

The league is under pressure to return with finances stretched and players asked to take pay cuts and fans are desperate to see some action but only when it’s safe.

In recent weeks, much of the Premier League 2020 news has focused on the fluctuating prospects of a restart – with the saga of Liverpool’s attempt to win a first league title in three decades in everyone’s mind up north.

But the top flight’s plan to return is in danger of being scuppered by the six teams running scared at the bottom of the league.

Bournemouth and Aston Villa are currently in the drop zone along with bottom club Norwich City. And while the latest Premier League 2020 betting odds here at SBOBET suggest these three will struggle to escape, Watford, West Ham, and Brighton are also deep in the mire.

All eyes will be on Downing Street this weekend when the Prime Minister is due to publish his road map to exiting the current restrictions, and that will give a steer to the Premier League.

If the news in positive, the plan will be to use eight to ten neutral stadiums. But the bottom clubs claim they would be disadvantaged more than the other 14 for some reason.

 

Seagulls are flapping

Of the six sides in the relegation scrap, Aston Villa would be desperate for a restart rather than the season-ending now with points per game calculation, as that could mean a swift return to the Championship and the near-certain departure of talisman Jack Grealish.

But Brighton, who are just two points clear of the drop, would be delighted by that outcome. Their veteran striker Glenn Murray has already said that he favours a premature end to the season.

Seagulls’ chief executive Paul Barber has tried to justify Brighton’s resistance to the Premier League’s restart proposals by saying the loss of home advantage against big clubs would be a big disadvantage.

The south coast club is still to welcome Manchester City and Liverpool to the Amex, as well as Manchester United.

“Clearly, we must all be prepared to accept some compromises,” says Barber, “And we fully appreciate why playing behind closed doors is likely to be a necessary compromise to play our remaining games.”

“The disadvantages of us not playing the league’s top teams in our home stadium and in familiar surroundings, even with 27,000 Albion fans very unlikely to be present at the Amex, are very obvious,” he added.

On the basis that the Seagulls have failed to pick up a single point in their last 10 meetings with Manchester City and Liverpool — home or away — I rather think Barber is clutching at straws.

West Ham are one place and two points behind Brighton and outside the drop zone on goal difference alone, and they too want to play at their home stadium. The Hammers still have two home games against teams below them in Watford and Aston Villa, so I can see their point.

The next few days will be interesting. The league needs 14 of the 20 clubs to vote for a restart and some have already said they would be happy to do so providing relegation is scrapped.

But that won’t wash with the other 14 clubs, not to mention the top two teams in the Championship who are Leeds and WBA.

 

Chelsea fans not desperate for a restart

Premier League: Billy Gilmour was promoted to Chelsea's first team in 2019

Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour during their 2-2 draw with Sheffield United.

I was speaking to a mate of mine the other day who’s a lifelong Chelsea fan and asked whether he was hoping to see Premier League football again soon. But he was ambivalent to say the least.

Take a look at the league table and you’ll understand exactly why. Frank Lampard’s young guns have exceeded expectations this season with the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham stepping up comfortably, and they have a real gem in 18-year-old midfield dynamo Billy Gilmour.

A few weeks ago, they looked like they had a comfortable hold on their top-four place. But then, the Blues were beginning to show signs of fatigue, taking eight points from the last five games with only two wins, while a rejuvenated Manchester United and Wolves gathered pace in fifth and sixth position.

The gap between Chelsea and the Red Devils is down to three points. And with nine games remaining, this could be the most exciting race to the finish line.

 

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11-May 2020 Monday 1:03 PM (255 days ago)            #23
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Premier League’s Most Underrated Players

I asked myself should I go with who I believe have been the five most underrated players in Premier League history or do I solely opt for current stars?

In the end, I did a little bit of both here for SBOBET.

 

Denis Irwin

The heroics of the Irishman often went quietly unnoticed but Manchester United and their supporters knew his worth.

Every week he delivered a 7.5/8 out of 10 performance and his ability and reliability is proven by the fact he spent 12 years at Old Trafford – making 522 starts and winning 19 major honours in a star-studded spell.

Operating as a full-back adept on either side and a dead-ball specialist, he also scored 33 times to boot, which is no mean feat for a defender.

If Irwin was always the epitome of ‘Mr Consistent’, a player who arrived at the Theatre of Dreams four years after his departure was the more recent successor to the throne.

 

Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick may have been a fairly big money signing when he left Spurs for £16-M in 2006 but his contribution was worth every penny.

The fact that the Geordie-born midfielder was so often unsung and didn’t have the profile of many of his midfield contemporaries meant he was rarely acclaimed.

Yet England’s failure to award him more than 34 caps was definitely the loss for a national team which instead persisted in a Steven Gerrard-Frank Lampard partnership which rarely worked, yet would have benefited from Carrick’s presence to allow the former two to roam.

If it was England’s loss, it was United’s gain as Carrick won a host of honours with the Red Devils – including five Premier League titles and the Champions League.

Make no mistake about it, those who really know what they are talking about realise Carrick was one of the best midfielders in Europe for a decade.

His testimonial in June 2017 was just reward for one of the most underrated players in Premier League history.

 

James Milner

Another player whose record tells its own story is James Milner.

The Yorkshire man came through the ranks of Leeds United’s Academy and won the PFA Young Player of the Year while representing Aston Villa back in 2010.

He also had spells at Newcastle and won the Premier League twice with Manchester City, as well as the Champions League with Liverpool last season.

With his consistency and leadership, Milner has became a big contributor as to why Liverpool’s Premier League odds of winning it all are at an all-time high.

His versatility and dependability also stretches to penalty kicks where he is in the Eric Cantona and Matthew Le Tissier league for reliability in terms of creating Premier League highlights.

 

Tim Cahill

My final two spots are taken by goalkeepers and this was no easy decision and there were a few close calls.

Not at least for Tim Cahill, who first caught my eye at Millwall.

He then was at Everton for eight seasons during which the Australian became a fan-favourite, scoring regular goals and became the first Toffee to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or since legendary goalkeeper Neville Southall.

Gareth Barry was another contender but that wasn’t just for longevity.

He may hold the record for most Premier League appearances but he was also reliable and highly effective, including as a pivotal player in Manchester City’s 2012 title triumph.

 

Kevin Nolan

Another player who impressed me — and is someone whose shirt I have hanging up in my wardrobe — is Kevin Nolan.

He may never have won a major trophy but the Scouse-born midfielder made 431 top flight appearances for Bolton, where he was one of my favourites.

Nolan also played for Newcastle and West Ham and scored some memorable PL goals too. He also helped each of those clubs to gain promotion from the Championship.

 

Shay Given

When Blackburn were in their brief pomp in 1993 to 1995, their last line of defence was the impressive Tim Flowers who was England’s number two and one of the top keepers in the land.

No wonder they were willing to sell their own no. 2, Shay Given.

They couldn’t possibly have realised he would turn out to be not only every inch as good as Flowers, but arguably even better.

Given went on to spend most of his career at Newcastle and is a hero on Tyneside, helping them qualify for Europe on several occasions.

Despite a fairly small stature, the Irishman was a superb player. And even after leaving Tyneside, he enjoyed two years with Manchester City where he won the FA Cup in 2011. He then joined Aston Villa and then he played for Stoke City in his twilight days.

The fact he was twice named in the PFA Team of the Year shows that those at the other clubs also realised how good he was.

 

Jussi Jaaskelainen

He was one of Bolton’s longest and most consistent servants, having played 509 games in their colours, as well as earning 56 caps for his national team.

His performances came to Bolton’s rescue many times. The only surprise is not that he is included on this list, but the fact that many other big sides didn’t try and pry him away from the Reebok Stadium.

Jaaskelainen is one of the league’s top stoppers and he is my final choice in an enjoyable trip down memory lane assessing the most underrated players in Premier League history.

 

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11-May 2020 Monday 1:06 PM (255 days ago)            #24
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Premier League: Relegation Scrap will be a Battle to the End

With the Premier League and their Project Restart due to update next Monday, there have been serious conflicts of interest arising with at least one of the relegation candidates obstructing progress. There is a lot at stake here particularly at the bottom of the league.

Newcastle United and Southampton, who are in 13th and 14th, probably need just another win to ensure their survival. The Saints, in particular, look safe with 15-goal striker Danny Ings in the hunt for a Golden Boot.

Newcomers Norwich City and Aston Villa are joined by Bournemouth in the bottom three and the latest Premier League 2020 betting odds say they’ll stay there. However, Watford, West Ham, and Brighton are also deep in trouble.

Over the last five games, the bottom-six team have managed just five wins between them – one each with the exception of Brighton who have drawn a blank. So they were all banged in relegation form before the enforced break.

The head coaches will pitch this as the start of a new season to their players, with nine games to win their survival.

This is a Premier League competition between six teams.

 

Brighton & Hove Albion

The Seagulls’ Premier League 2020 results have been pretty dire and they have slid to within just two points from the drop zone.

Without a win in nine league games stretching back to 2019, they are lacking punch upfront.

For all the plaudits surrounding Graham Potter’s progressive style of management, Brighton are trying to draw their way to safety with a strong defence, led by the giant Lewis Dunk.

They have scored only two goals in the last four games but have been solid at the back. Potter was appointed to replace Chris Hughton who guided the Seagulls to safety last term only to be sacked, and he’ll be desperate to match that achievement.

His boss is doing his best to help as Chief Executive Paul Barber seems to be trying to stall a restart.

“We totally understand there are going to be compromises but what we can’t do is support something that will jeopardise our place in the Premier League,” said Barber.

I think you’ll find your team’s performances have already done that Paul!

 

West Ham United

At around odds of 3.00, the Hammers are in real danger of dropping out of the top flight, and that would spell disaster after another summer of big spending.

Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller have not lived up to their billing, and Fornals has said that there is a lot more to come. Well, level on points with 18th place, he has nine games to prove it.

David Moyes was parachuted in to steer the Hammers to safety in his second stint at the club, but he has registered just two wins in ten. A continuance of that form will leave them on 36 points.

 

Watford FC

When Nigel Pearson was appointed manager of Watford in December, more than a few eyebrows were raised (mine included), but he has confounded his critics.

Five wins from 14 games in their mid-table form has lifted the Hornets out of the bottom three when they were seemingly doomed.

The return of skipper Troy Deeney has been a huge boost and he was in belligerent mood in Watford’s 3-0 victory over Liverpool recently, scoring the third goal.

Pearson and Deeney is a formidable pair and they will definitely tough it out.

 

Bournemouth

Has time run out for Eddie Howe’s Cherries? Four successful campaigns in, the Premier League have been pretty much worry-free, but this season is anything but.

We like a side which can score goals here in the SBOBET football team, but fans also want their team to be able to defend.

The Cherries have taken just one point from the last four games, conceding nine goals in the process.

Centre-back Nathan Ake is a class act on the ball, but prone to errors and Howe is still relying on his attackers to score more than his defenders concede. Callum Wilson needs to step up, but midfield powerhouse Philip Billing could be the man to lead Bournemouth to safety

The Cherries are primed to battle with the Hammers for 17th place.

Premier League Transfer News: Man United remain keen to sign Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish has scored 7 goals in 26 appearances for Aston Villa this season

Aston Villa

Big-spending Aston Villa just haven’t cut the mustard with any regularity in the top flight. They have bolstered their team again in the January window, bringing in striker Mbwana Samatta.

But two crucial injuries in a recent game against Burnley, one to striker Wesley and the other more damaging to keeper Tom Heaton have unsettled the squad.

Skipper and Villa fan Jack Grealish is doing his best and has impressed, but the Villains were completely battered by Leicester City (4-0) before the break. The Villains are too reliant on Grealish.

 

Norwich City

The Canaries stormed the Championship last season and head coach Daniel Farke said he wouldn’t compromise his attacking style. I bet he would have if he had his time again!

The Premier League is tough and defensive errors cost goals and unfortunately, Norwich make plenty. They’ve conceded 52 and only Villa have shipped more and collected three quarters of their points at home.

Winger Todd Cantwell has been a bright spark but his team lacks the steel to win this fight.

Placing 19th would be a triumph from here for the Canaries.

So these are very nervous times for six clubs. I reckon five have a chance of survival but equally all six are in grave danger.

The Bundesliga is set to restart on May 15th and the other big three European Leagues will be watching closely. But some teams, not so secretly, will hope their own league doesn’t follow suit.

 

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13-May 2020 Wednesday 4:38 PM (253 days ago)            #25
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Premier League Must Be ‘All or Nothing’!

So, ‘Project Restart’! Is it realistic? Or does season curtailment grow closer with every passing week?

Probably not is the answer to both those questions.

‘Project Restart’ is certainly laudable of course, but do we really expect Premier League footballers to be back in action a month from now? I certainly don’t!

That’s not for the want of trying. Even as I pen this, a meeting has just concluded updating the pros and cons of the proposal.

The government has published a 50-page guidance document detailing how England will begin to ease lockdown measures.

Yet it still seems too soon for the top flight – which has been suspended since March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic – to resume in June, with 92 of its 380 fixtures left to play.

Yes, we miss it dreadfully. Anyone who watched the exciting Manchester derby during the last weekend of competitive action will testify to that.

I have even used this break to reminisce about some of my personal favourite memories, which just goes to show how captivating the Premier League is.

But given the risks, a return to action seems just too soon.

The prospect of fans returning to live games remains even more distant so, regardless of when we see Premier League action again, it’s almost certain it will be without spectators.

That is probably the only certainty at a time of high uncertainty.

That and the fact that more than half of the Premier League clubs are unhappy with a suggestion the remaining fixtures be played on neutral grounds.

As far as Premier League news is concerned right now, ‘Project Restart’ is all there is to talk about.

Normally by on or around this stage, the champions would have been crowned; the European places all but decided and we would know which three teams had slipped out of the top flight.

What’s more, there would be great excitement building at the reopening of the transfer window. Not this time.

In 2020 though, the only question in town is how to resume while ensuring the health and safety of players, spectators, officials etc.

By contrast, should the season be declared null and void? A recent BBC poll suggested so.

Some Premier League clubs are opposing the Project Restart

Manchester City’s Premier League match against Arsenal was postponed due to COVID-19

Later this week, the Premier League will hold talks with the Professional Footballers Association and the League Managers Association after they have digested the medical protocols needed for a return to firstly phased training and then full competition.

The news today that the FA will not entertain the season being vetoed is encouraging for fans generally. FA chairman Greg Clarke told Premier League clubs it will block any attempt to void the campaign or scrap relegation

However, that is no guarantee

He went onto urge club chairmen to draw up a plan for if the season cannot be completed.

The FA has wide-ranging powers as a “special shareholder” as part of the agreement when the Premier League was created, and that includes being able to veto any proposed changes to promotion and relegation.

It surely must be all or nothing. Play the remaining games or call the whole thing off and start again.

Who can decide key issues such as titles, European qualification, relegation spots based on points per game basis?

It’s as farcical as tossing a coin. Something, remarkably, that actually decided a European Cup tie once. Such a system would not take into account injuries, suspensions, the likelihood of some sides having (on paper) more straightforward fixtures than their rivals remaining.

It’s also highly unfair and will almost certainly lead to massive legal challenges which football can do without.

Look at Stoke, at Sunderland, at Charlton, at Bolton – relegation has the potential to ruin

Of course, the longer the absence of football continues, the harder it may be to restart 2019/20.

Yet it if goes on well beyond current expectations, it may again become easier as the chances of a whole 2020/21 season being completed recede and there may be a window to complete 2019/20.

Each club will have its own stance and some compromise will be required.

As seasoned journalist Martin Samuel said earlier this month: ‘It is easy to accuse clubs at the bottom of self-interest but the elite are not promoting completion for purely altruistic reasons’.

He is correct. The option is simple.

We don’t want some fandangled scheme to estimate how many points a club may or may not gain.

We don’t want the awarding of any titles or deciding European places or relegating any sides without the games being concluded.

It must be all or nothing.

 

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21-May 2020 Thursday 3:12 PM (245 days ago)            #26
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Premier League: Ryan Giggs Was a Man For All Seasons

When asked to highlight five pointers about a star Premier League player, it didn’t take me long to decide who to select.

For in the nearly 28 years since the formation of the Premier League – ‘A Whole New Ball Game’ – only one man can lay claim to have been the greatest of them all.

Perhaps not illuminating the stage as intensely as some of its greatest stars – for example Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo – but for his grace and longevity, this man was in a league of his own.

The most decorated player in English football history, he was around so long even his final appearance was as an acting player-manager!

I was fortunate enough to be at that match with my then 12 year-old son and can proudly say I witnessed the final moments of his stellar playing career.

I can also recall listening on the radio as a schoolboy when he came on the pitch for the first time as a 17-year-old against Everton at Old Trafford in March 1991.

Step forward, Ryan Joseph Giggs OBE.

Of course, you probably know already that he is the most decorated player in the country.

He enjoyed a glittering career at Old Trafford, amassing over 900 appearances for Manchester United during an illustrious 24-season spell.

The Welshman won 13 Premier League titles and was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2009, while being selected in six PFA Teams of the Year.

Former Premier League player Ryan Giggs is the head coach of Wales

Wales manager Ryan Giggs watching a match

But there is still plenty you probably don’t know about the now manager of his national team.

For example, did you know Giggs has been substituted more times than any other player in the Premier League (134) – perhaps not too much of a surprise given the amount of games he played?

Did you know that Giggs met Frank Lampard, who is now also a young manager, in 31 times on a football pitch with Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher facing the Welshman the same number of times?

Did you know that Giggs, along with Alan Shearer, was the first player to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame?

Giggs also assisted a Premier League goal for 45 different teammates during his Premier League career, more than any other player in the competition.

He is also the only player to play in each of the first 22 seasons of the Premier League and the only one to score in each of the first 21 campaigns.

Yet it is easy to get mired in statistics in the modern game, which can grossly oversimplify the role of players and can lead to lazy comparisons and accusations.

Giggs was the original wing wizard of the modern game as he is one of the original pin-up boys in English football in the early 1990s. It was a time when he or teammate Lee Sharpe were attracting attention from fans for both their looks as well as their ability.

His early career was characterised by his searing pace, trickery and his ability to get up and down the left touchline.

Into his 30s, his later years saw him modify his game as a central midfielder, where he showcased his ability to pick a pass, and boy, could he pick a pass.

Fittingly, he became the club’s record appearance holder in the grandest of fashions – stroking home the winning penalty to clinch the 2008 Champions League.

As well as being voted the Premier League’s best player in 2008-09, he was also voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2009, showing it wasn’t just the fans or fellow professionals who loved him but he had the admiration of men and women up and down the country.

  

And then there is the chant: ‘Giggs, Giggs will tear you apart again’, to the tune of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear You Apart’ because he tore opponents apart for two decades and a half to become a true footballing legend in an age where the term is rapidly overused.

Sir Alex Ferguson secured his services as a 14-year-old from rivals Manchester City and that should be ranked as one of the finest pieces of management in footballing history.

What we witnessed time and time again was testament to that.

I’ll leave you with one moment away from the Premier League though. It was a night when he scored arguably the greatest goal in FA Cup history.

Footballing perfection from Giggs, that removal of the shirt, that twirling jersey aloft, that Fangorn Forest of chest-hair.

It was simply unforgettable. He was simply a man for all seasons.

 

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21-May 2020 Thursday 3:21 PM (245 days ago)            #27
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Premier League Restart is Inching Closer

This weekend saw the welcome return of football in Germany, and now we watch and wait for the next European league to follow the lead.

The top competitions, La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League have been asked by UEFA to provide an update and proposed restart date by the 25th May, two days before Europe’s governing body meets to discuss the resumption of the Champions League and the Europa League.

In England, a restart date for 12th June has been mooted, but not everyone in the Premier League has been eager to get back to action. But we expect to see most if not all the clubs to return to training this week and with strict protocols.

Club captains, coaches and the players’ union have discussed a return with social distancing measures. Clubs have been conducting COVID-19 tests over the weekend, with results expected later today. With over 1,600 tests a week across the 20 clubs, any players who have the virus will be immediately isolated.

These are slow and careful steps which, if successful, could see a resumption in play within a month.

Keep an eye open for the Premier League 2020 betting odds here at SBOBET over the next two or three weeks. If the restart happens on schedule, we’ll be back with all the very best Asian Handicap betting offers on the market.

Of course, the most eager fans will be in Merseyside, as Liverpool can win the title within two weeks of a restart, while Manchester United will also be keen to see if they can chase down Chelsea for the final Champions League slot.

 

Bundesliga shows the way

All eyes were on Germany this weekend as the Bundesliga got up and running after two months of lockdown.

The ‘mother of all derbies’ between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 resulted in a resounding 4-0 victory for BVB. The match was played in an eerie atmosphere with fewer than 300 people allowed to watch in the 81,000 capacity stadium

There was no Yellow Wall and no wild goal celebrations, but the German giants showed the rest of Europe how it can be done.

There were fears, particularly in Dortmund, that some fans might ignore instructions and congregate around the stadium, but all the surrounding streets were cordoned off by police.

Germany has the highest weekly attendances in European football but supporters were threatened that games would be immediately called off if they turned up outside the stadium. That seemed to do the trick, particularly as BVB stormed into an early lead when striker Erling Haaland breached the Schalke defence.

Despite the defeat, Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider knows how important the Bundesliga restart is for the rest of Europe, saying: “We got calls and emails from big clubs in Spain and England and I know they really hope that we manage this situation so that other leagues can restart as well.”

 

Pearson urges caution

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho wants the Premier League season to resume soon

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho stands on the sideline during their Champions League clash with RB Leipzig

Last week we ran the rule over the relegation candidates, those in fear of losing their Premier League status and the hundreds of millions that go with it.

There has been some criticism in the UK media of the bottom six (I’ll hold my hands up), and their seeming reticence to return to football, with some reports suggesting they even wanted to see relegation scrapped. Paul Barber, chief executive at Brighton, has been particularly vocal and this week it’s the turn of Watford head coach Nigel Pearson.

The Hornets pulled off one of the biggest Premier League 2020 results of the season, just before the enforced break, hammering champions-elect Liverpool 3-0.

 

 
 
 
 

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Pearson has recently said that a premature return to football would mean that people are closing their eyes to the risk. And as his side sits outside the bottom three on goal difference alone, he allegedly claimed in a Premier League managers’ conference call that by coming back to play the top-flight clubs would be providing propaganda for the government.

But he does have form for the bizarre does our Nigel, once, as coach at Leicester, he responded to a probing question from a journalist by calling him an ostrich!

Apparently, Spurs head coach Jose Mourinho advised those who didn’t want to return to play to stay at home and watch the Bundesliga.

Subtle as ever Jose…some things in football never change…thankfully.

 

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21-May 2020 Thursday 3:23 PM (245 days ago)            #28
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Premier League: The 5 Most Exciting Title Races

The Premier League has spoiled us with some topnotch football action since its advent in the early 90’s, which is why SBOBET football fans are more than eager for its impending return.

A huge part of the fun in watching the English top-flight is the title races that have occurred, as champions are decided from the slightest of margins and results in the final matchday.

The quest for glory is as unpredictable as it gets in these tight title races. A slip-up or a fortuitous run here or there can usually turn things around for certain clubs.

Last season, Manchester City nabbed their second straight title and only one point separated between them and Liverpool. However, this campaign is totally different as Liverpool dominated the playing field and are already considered champions-elect based on our Premier League 2020 odds.

As we continue to wait for more Premier League 2020 updates, let’s go back to memory lane as we list some of the exciting title races here in the Premier League.

 

Manchester City vs. Manchester United (2011/12)

With six games to go, the Sky Blues’ chances of winning their first championship since 1968 looked bleak when the Red Devils had an eight-point advantage in the standings, although they defeated them at Old Trafford earlier that season with a 6-1 tally.

However, Manchester City rallied back to overturn the deficit and it all boiled down to what was a very tense final matchday of the league.

Manchester United could feel the title on their grasp when they defeated Sunderland 1-0 and a loss by Manchester City would seal the deal.

In their final game against QPR, the Sky Blues took an early lead via a goal from Pablo Zabaleta. But after leading 1-0 coming into the second half, QPR equalised through Djibril Cisse’s amazing effort to track down the ball after Joleon Lescott couldn’t control his header for clearance.

Joey Barton was sent off when he elbowed Carlos Tevez, leaving QPR to only 10 men. However, Jamie Mackie pulled off the improbable for the Park Rangers when they took a 2-1 lead late.

Manchester City needed a miracle during stoppage time as the title was slipping out of their hands. Eventually, they got the heroes that they needed in Edin Dzeko and all-time star Sergio Aguero in what was such a crazy sequence.

That was probably the best title race we’ve seen for this decade.

 

Manchester United vs. Newcastle United (1995/96)

Sir Alex Ferguson is a legend for Man Utd after helping them in their Premier League campaign

Sir Alex Ferguson holding an FA Cup trophy

A stacked Newcastle United squad squandered a big lead 24 years ago in the Premier League.

The Magpies were enjoying a 12-point lead ahead of Manchester United because of the way they’ve been playing all season led by the likes of David Ginola, Peter Beardsley, and Les Ferdinand.

But after five losses in eight matches, which included a crucial defeat against Alex Ferguson’s men at 1-0, United came roaring back and the Magpies couldn’t recover from there.

A 4-3 loss against Liverpool in Anfield sealed Newcastle’s fate in the last matchday, which included a unforgettable post-match meltdown by manager Kevin Keegan.

 

Arsenal vs. Manchester United (1997/98)

While Newcastle United was on the wrong end of a comeback, Arsenal did just the opposite after a slow start to the season in 1998.

After falling behind the league leaders in Manchester United, the Gunners went on an unprecedented 18-game winning streak, winning the league by only a point.

The biggest game during that run was when they defeated the Red Devils at Old Trafford. Marc Overmars scored the only goal for a 1-0 win, but he did get a lot of support from Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, and Dennis Bergkamp.

This league win ushered the dawn of a new era in the Premier League especially since the Gunners became an incredible club that broke many records in the early 2000’s.

 

Manchester United vs. Arsenal (1998/99)

The Red Devils would exact their revenge against the Gunners having learned their lesson in the last term.

The title race went down to the wire once more up until the final matchday. Manchester United pushed and took advantage when Arsenal lost against Leeds United as they mustered a 2-1 comeback win against Tottenham on their end.

What made the 1999 season even more special for the Red Devils is that they were able to win a rare treble that year. Along with the Premier League title, they also took home the FA Cup and the European Cup.

 

Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United (1994/95)

The Blackburn Rovers snapped their 67-year title drought when they leapfrogged Manchester United 25 years ago.

They were led by the league’s top goalscorer of all-time in Alan Shearer, who found the back of the net 34 times during that season.

Like the other title races here in this list, the Rovers waited until the final matchday to be crowned as the new kings of England.

It didn’t help their chances when Kenny Dalgish’s side lost 2-1 to Liverpool, which meant that Manchester United needed to secure a win against West Ham United in order to steal the trophy.

Thankfully for them, the Red Devils only managed to score a draw against West Ham, which effectively gave the Rovers the 1995 Premier League championship.

 

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26-May 2020 Tuesday 12:31 PM (240 days ago)            #29
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Premier League: So Far So Good for Project Restart

The Premier League is inching ever closer to a restart in June following a second round of testing which has revealed only two positive cases of coronavirus. The UK government has also given the green light for close contact training.

League bosses, clubs and players have been watching the progress in Germany, where the Bundesliga has just completed its second week following resumption. And with no problems reported, the other big European Leagues are getting ready to follow suit.

As and when the English league restarts there is plenty to play for. While Liverpool are agonisingly close to winning their first league title in 30 years, the race for fourth place between Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves could be a nail-biter. The Premier League 2020 betting odds back the Blues but the momentum is with the chasers.

The Red Devils, in particular, will be itching to restart and the government’s announcement that close contact competitive training can be phased in is positive news.

With a total of eight confirmed cases from 1,744 tests in the Premier League, confidence is returning. This is a big week for the league, with club captains and coaches set to discuss the government’s advice tomorrow, before voting on Wednesday and meeting again the following day to progress plans.

A start in June looks likely, but it might be later than the initial proposed date of 12th June as medics are concerned about the risk of injury to players if they return too early.  What impact the break will have only time will tell, but form guides may not be as reliable as in normal times.

Burnley head coach, Sean Dyche says we might see some surprising results over the opening weeks: “You often notice at the beginning of a season and the end of a season you get these odd results where teams are either finding their feet or playing out the season when other teams are fighting for something.

“Some teams are talking about the mentality of their players with the idea that some players do not want to play. I think that will probably dissipate eventually but you get to that first game and how focused is everyone going to be?”

You can safely predict that Burnley’s focus will be a laser-sharp as ever…

 

Premier League: N'Golo Kante expresses fears on returning to training due to COVID-19

N’Golo Kante in action playing for Chelsea


 

 

Call for research for BAME players

The players’ union, the PFA, has asked the UK government to put more resource into research to improve our understanding of the potentially heightened risk of COVID19 to Black and Asian players.

Some BAME players have raised concerns that they are more at risk from the virus, with a recent study in the UK suggesting that black people were almost twice as likely to die from the disease as white.

Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Watford’s Troy Deeney made the Premier League 2020 news last week as two players who didn’t return to training, and some clubs have expressed fears that the level playing field will disappear as some will have more players sidelined than others.

The Hornets really need their captain on the pitch to give them the best chance of survival in what is sure to be a fierce relegation scrap. When the bottom six renew hostilities, the SBOBET odds will predict a narrow escape for Watford, but it is far too close for comfort.

 

Leeds are looking up

In the second tier of English football, Championship league leaders Leeds United are desperate for the season to restart, they don’t want their Premier dream to turn into a nightmare of the season being voided.

The Yorkshire club, alongside West Bromwich Albion, are well clear at the top of the Championship table and heavily odds-on for promotion.

Once giants of the English game, Leeds have been playing in the lower leagues since 2004 and their passionate fans will despair if they cannot renew acquaintances with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United.

Angus Kinnear, chief executive at Leeds, said: “England has some of the finest sports scientists and football administrators in the game. It would be a national embarrassment if the Bundesliga, La Liga or Serie A were able to complete safely and the first and fifth biggest leagues in the world were not allowed to follow suit if the context remained comparable.”

Of course, there are agendas at play in both the top two leagues. Who wouldn’t want the season voided if it meant your club would escape the spectre of relegation? But for Leeds United, and indeed Liverpool, the show simply must go on.

 

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28-May 2020 Thursday 5:47 PM (238 days ago)            #30
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Premier League: Why Liverpool Should be Crowned Champions?

It was 30 years ago today that we witnessed one of the most thrilling climaxes in football history.

Indeed, alongside the last gasp Sergio Aguero goal of 2012, the Liverpool-Arsenal title decider of 1989 was arguably the most dramatic final day not just for many a lifetime but in English football history.

If you had told many Liverpool fans then, and indeed football supporters generally, that the Merseyside club would win the title the following season but no further championships for the next three decades you’d have been laughed at.

Yet, here we are, and that is exactly what has happened. Only now, in the year 2020, are Liverpool on the verge of finally ending their quest for the holy grail.

And no one can say they don’t deserve the Premier League title.

Of course, no title should ever be awarded until a side cannot be mathematically caught, just as no clubs should be promoted or relegated if a campaign is incomplete.

It’s imperative the season restarts and the outstanding games played: No points-per game ratio prediction of what may happen. No guesses, no formulas that were not in the rulebook when the season began last August.

To do otherwise makes a mockery of the integrity of the league and the football pyramid generally.

 

 
 
 
 

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Incidentally, the decision to award titles and relegate clubs in France and Scotland is laughable and amounts to a farce.

Celtic’s ninth title in a row and Paris St Germain’s 2020 success will always have an asterisk against their names which will mean they were top when the campaign was halted but never completed.

Champions not by default but not of full value either.

Although they will want to secure the title any way they can, Liverpool will primarily want to do so by completing the season – a season in which they have been far and away the best side in England.

That they have dominated at a time when four of the ‘big six’ (Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd) are in either decline or transition should not detract from their achievement.

Nor should the fact that reigning champions Manchester City failed to replace their influential skipper Vincent Kompany – that was their own mismanagement.

That they then lost their only other world class centre back Aymeric Laporte just four games into the season proved the point and their title defence was undermined from that very moment.

That the overall quality of the league is, in my view, poorer than it has been for some time – compare the other major top clubs and sides near the bottom (and their respective point tallies) – again does not detract from Liverpool’s own performance week-in week-out which has been first class and impressively consistent.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool were the third Premier League team to manage more than a year without losing

Jurgen Klopp giving instructions from the sideline

The truth is simple: up until the hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Liverpool have been far and away the best team in the country – producing a near flawless league campaign to date and doing everything in their power to end 30 years of hurt.

Just one defeat in 29 league games is testament to that. More so, is the fact they have won 27 of those matches – including many tough assignments away from home – another example of what they would be worthy champions.

The intimidating atmosphere fans create at Anfield has actually helped the red half of Merseyside rack up 55 home league games without defeat.

Naturally, the longer the football break has been, the more concerned some players and Liverpool fans have become. As the wait continues, there has been agonizing amongst some of its supporters; uncertainty with the story of the club’s revival missing its final page.

Even their manager Jurgen Klopp recently broke his silence, saying how unjust it would have been if his side wasn’t awarded the Premier League title, after such a dominant season.

He is right – it would be. But the games must be played and, based on what is happening right now, they will be.

Then, when the Merseysiders do finally end their wait, not one person can legitimately argue they don’t deserve it.

Liverpool deserve much respect and would make worthy champions.

 

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28-May 2020 Thursday 5:49 PM (238 days ago)            #31
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The Stars of Premier League 2019/20

Things are looking good for a June restart in the Premier League, and with clubs voting on full-contact training today, it could be as early as 19th June.

That’s a great boost to many fans around the UK and beyond, and the excitement will grow over the next two or three weeks as the anticipation of an exciting end to the season mounts. Liverpool are so close to winning the coveted title, while there are races on for European places and a six-way battle to avoid the three relegation spots.

There have been some stand-out performances over the 29 games played so far, and I’ve picked my best man in each department. Will my choices still be the top of the pile after another nine games? Only time will tell…but they won’t be far away!

 

Best Goalkeeper: Nick Pope – Burnley

Burnley’s Nick Pope has had an outstanding season between the sticks, registering more clean sheets (11) than anyone, beating Liverpool’s Alisson and Sheffield United’s young stopper Dean Henderson.

At 6ft 3in, he commands his area as well as anyone in the league, making the most high claims (37) when balls have rained down into the Clarets’ penalty area. He is quick off the mark too, making the highest number of sweeper clearances of any keeper.

Pope is middle of the road, at joint-sixth, in terms of saves made. But that’s no surprise when he’s protected by the centre-back partnership of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.

But he stands up to scrutiny whenever questioned and is a sure bet to make England’s Euro 2021 squad, alongside Henderson.

 

Best Defender: Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool

When inevitably the Premier League 2020 news announces Liverpool’s title – probably in late June – Virgil Van Dijk will be one of the main reasons for the Reds’ success.

He’s played every minute of Liverpool’s campaign as the league leaders have conceded fewer goals than any other side (21). Since his big-money move from Southampton, he has commanded the Reds’ defence with imperious displays and a commanding aerial presence.

Much of Liverpool’s creative play starts with Van Dijk, he has made the most successful passes (2,478) in the league.

 

Best Midfielder: Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City

Premier League: Kevin De Bruyne considered as a world-class midfielder with his performance at Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Manchester City teammates after scoring against Real Madrid in the Champions League

The Sky Blues are a different proposition when attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is in the starting line-up. Pep Guardiola’s team has such an array of attacking riches it would be easy for a top player to be overshadowed.

But not the world-class De Bruyne. He is the complete attacking midfielder with a stunning array of stats, and the Belgian ace has provided a constant supply of ammunition for City’s ever-hungry strikers.

He has the most assists in the league (16) and the most successful through balls (23), as well as the second-highest number of crosses (244). Assuming he stays at City, then SBOBET fans can expect more of the same next season.

 

Best Striker: Jamie Vardy – Leicester City

Jamie Vardy stunned the football world in 2015/16 as he fired Leicester City to the unlikeliest league title of all-time.

In that season he broke Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record to score in 11 consecutive top-flight games and finished with 24 for the season, level with Sergio Aguero and just one behind Golden Boot winner Harry Kane.

But he’s no one-hit wonder. Vardy’s at it again, leading the race for this season’s Golden Boot on 19 goals. The artful striker scored a brace in Leicester’s 4-0 annihilation of Aston Villa just before the break and is leading the pack.

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in pursuit on17, and Sergio Aguero has 16, as well as hitting the woodwork four times, but it’s Vardy’s to lose.

 

Best Captain: Jordan Henderson – Liverpool

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson have exceeded Premier League fans’ expectation this season

Jordan Henderson embraced by Jurgen Klopp during their match against Southampton

In his fifth season as Liverpool captain, since the departure of Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson has become widely respected as the best leader in English football.

The Reds need just two wins from the final nine games to win the league title, and Henderson is the man who has led them to the brink.

His leadership qualities, as well as playing influence to control the middle of the park, became even clearer just before the break. His absence, late in February due to a hamstring strain, coincided with Liverpool’s only league defeat, to Watford, and their FA Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea.

Now the skipper’s back normal service will be resumed.

 

Best Coach: Jurgen Klopp – Liverpool

With an honourable mention for Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder, whose team has exceeded all expectations, the Coach of the Year accolade must go to Jurgen Klopp.

Take a look at the Premier League 2020 betting odds to see what an amazing job the former Borussia Dortmund boss has done.

27 wins, one draw and one defeat…well that says it all, and Klopp is about to become an Anfield legend.

 

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28-May 2020 Thursday 5:51 PM (238 days ago)            #32
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Premier League Transfers Inevitable – But At What Cost?

As football around Europe tries to wake up from the Covid-19 shutdown, it seems odd to be talking about transfers.

But then again, football has always been a different beast to the rest of the world.

While the German Bundesliga returned in stadia devoid of fans, the sport in general is preparing for an economic crisis which will impact all levels of the game.

So it will be interesting to see just how visible that is in the transfer market, where it has become the norm to see leading clubs splash out 100 million-euro ($155.4m) fees.

The Premier League is a bit behind, of course, in terms of a restart.

Yet today clubs have unanimously agreed to resume contact training as plans to resume the season move to the next phase.

Players will be able to “train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising unnecessary close contact”.

Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow and it is safe. Nevertheless, this is a significant step forward.

That means before we know it, Premier League football action will probably be with us in around a month’s time – and that means we’ll move closer to the helter-skelter of the transfer window.

Proposals to complete the domestic campaign by the end of July and European competitions in August are gathering momentum, with the 2020-21 campaign pencilled in to start shortly afterwards in mid-September.

FIFA has told national associations they can schedule the transfer window when it suits them. Yet it’s far from simple.

For example, with the 2019-20 campaign set to extend past June, many players, including those on loan, will no longer legally be contracted to their clubs (just before the opening of the registration period).

And while that can surely be overcome, what about players for whom deals have already been agreed?

Hakim Ziyech may not be able to play for Chelsea if the 2019/20 Premier League season spills over into the summer

Ajax superstar Hakim Ziyech is set to move to Chelsea on July

Hakim Ziyech is a perfect example of this potential difficulty, with the winger set to join Chelsea from Ajax on a five-year deal from July 1.

However, if leagues are to continue into August and September, then it is desirable to maintain the integrity of those competitions as much as possible by ensuring that squads remain more or less the same.

When the transfer window does reopen, there will certainly be no shortage of movement or speculation.

German forward Timo Werner continues to make suitors sit up and take notice, meanwhile Bayer Leverkusen Kai Havertz seems to grow in stature with every passing week.

And then there’s suggestions Manchester United are prepared to offer Alexis Sanchez to Borussia Dortmund in a bid to lure Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford.

Speculation has been rife about the future of the young England winger who has dazzled this season with 14 goals and 17 assists in 26 Bundesliga appearances.

Not surprisingly, as the first major European league to return, Bundesliga players have been heavily linked over the past fortnight but there have been plenty of players from other leagues tipped to make moves to the Premier League.

To name a few, Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho is a man in demand and has been linked to Newcastle, as well as London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.

Liverpool are reportedly in advanced talks with Wolves about a summer switch for winger Adama Traore.

The cost of acquiring players has steadily increased in recent years but there is an acceptance that it could be now frowned upon morally, at a time when so many individuals, businesses and football clubs are up against it.

 

Clubs are losing money in gate receipts, advertising, merchandise and, perhaps most damaging of all, being forced to give up cash from broadcasting rights.

Furthermore, with matches for the foreseeable future being played behind closed doors, clubs across the continent are facing steep losses of income and seeking to cut costs.

That may mean the way forward is for a plethora of moves for soon-to-be experienced free agents out there with the likes of Willian, Thomas Meunier, Artem Dzyuba and Bournemouth man, Scotland international Ryan Fraser, all set to be available soon.

During a recent supporters’ forum, United chief executive Ed Woodward hinted that expectations should be tempered. “I cannot help feeling that speculation around transfers of individual players for hundreds of millions of pounds this summer seems to ignore the realities that face the sport,” he said.

It’s unclear whether that will be the case or if the unpopular CEO was just warning fans they will not buy big this summer.

Either way, a repeat of last summer – when clubs in Europe’s “big five” leagues in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France spent a record €5.5 billion – seems unlikely to be repeated.

 

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30-May 2020 Saturday 1:57 PM (236 days ago)            #33
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Five Premier League Blockbusters To Come

Delighted fans in the UK greeted yesterday’s news that the  Premier League is due to restart on 17th June.

After three rounds of COVID 19 testing unearthed just 12 positive tests, confidence grew to restart the Premier League, leading to the announcement on Thursday afternoon that we will see the beautiful game again within three weeks, with 92 games to come.

So football in the most-watched league in the world is on its way back, with matches planned to be played every day of the week, and we’ll be all over it right here at SBOBET

Liverpool need just two wins to secure a first Premier League title in 30 years, while Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves look set to fight it out for a Champions League place and there is a six-team battle to avoid relegation.

When Leicester City hammered Aston Villa back on March 9th it was the last Premier League game before lockdown.

It’s been a while, but football’s coming home, and here are five mouth-watering clashes to look forward to.

 

Manchester City vs Arsenal: Wednesday 17th June

The sides with ten games left to play will re-open the season, Aston Villa play Sheffield United and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City face Arsenal. When these fixtures are completed every team will have nine games left to play and we have a mini-season with a race to the finish line.

What a showcase fixture to get things moving again. City are 25 points behind Liverpool and will be focusing on the Champions League, but they will be keen to restart with a dynamic display against the Gunners and at least make the Reds work a bit for their title.

 

Everton vs Liverpool

Manchester City will already have played Arsenal before Liverpool enters the fray, and there is no guarantee they will win that game. There is a real possibility that Jurgen Klopp’s champions elect could win the title against their neighbours, though it won’t be on Merseyside. The UK police have moved five fixtures to neutral venues to avoid crowds gathering at the ground, and so this game in will be played elsewhere.

Either way, it would be sweet for the Reds to pick up the crown by beating the Toffees, who currently sit in 12th place with an outside chance of Europa League football.

The league leaders will have their captain,  Jordan Henderson available again. The enforced lay-off has enabled him to recover from a hamstring strain he suffered in February, and that is a major boost. Just before the break, Liverpool suffered one of the shock Premier League 2020 results of the season, losing 3-0 to relegation-threatened Watford…without their skipper.

 

 
 
 
 

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West Ham vs Watford

This is a relegation six-pointer of some magnitude with both the Hammers and the Hornets sitting outside the bottom three on goal difference alone. Unsurprisingly neither club was enthusiastic about the prospect of returning; West Ham chief executive Karren Brady called for the season to be voided, while Watford coach Nigel Pearson said a return to football could endanger life.

Captain Troy Deeney was also vociferous in his opposition to a restart, missing Hornets’ return to training, but now the decision to restart has been made he says he has been convinced by the government’s scientific advisor that it is safe for him to play. That could be good news for Hornets fans who need their captain to push his team over the line.

The latest Premier League 2020 betting odds suggest both teams could sneak through to safety, but neither can rest easy,

 

Chelsea vs Wolves

This is a chase for the final Champions League spot, currently held by Frank Lampard’s Blues. They have been in the top four all season but, after a dip in form, only  five points separate Chelsea from Wolves, with Manchester United sandwiched in between in fifth place.

Wolves have been sensational under Nuno Espirito Santo in both the Premier League and Europa League and I wouldn’t rule out a top-four place, particularly if Nuno’s Portuguese contingent can outplay Frank’s young stars.

This will be a great game for the neutral.

 

Manchester United vs Sheffield United

Marcus Rashford is determined to lead Manchester United in front when Premier League returns

Marcus Rashford was ruled out for months after suffering a back injury

This match is also being moved to a neutral venue though I’m not exactly sure why. The Red Devils need to make up three points on Chelsea, but this could be a banana-skin against Chris Wilder’s side which has outperformed everyone’s expectations, apart from maybe his own!

The Blades are in seventh place and just two points behind Manchester United, so a Europa League place could be the prize, though with Spurs and Arsenal in pursuit that might be a bridge too far.

Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba could be fit to return for Manchester United in the run-in and they should have too much quality for the Yorkshiremen.

 

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02-Jun 2020 Tuesday 4:51 PM (233 days ago)            #34
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Premier League Football is Coming Home!

It seemed a million miles away in the early stages of the COVID 19-epidemic, but Premier League football is due to return on 17th June.

The UK government has given the green light for live competitive sport to restart behind closed doors and in carefully controlled environments. And that means the Premier League can follow the Bundesliga and the soon to return La Liga to finish the season, and there is plenty of business to be settled.

Liverpool’s title charge is in the home stretch while at the other end of the table there is a ferocious battle between a cluster of teams desperate to avoid relegation. The league chiefs’ confidence in agreeing a return has been boosted by the low number of positive tests among the 20 elite clubs.

A total of 12 Premier League staff tested positive from the 2,700 tests undertaken in the first three rounds, and as 1,130 people were tested in the fourth round, there were no additions to the total.

So it looks like we’re soon to embark on a football festival of 92 games in the UK. It’s a mini-competition with massive prizes at stake and a great range of SBOBET odds, statistics and tips to bring the action to life.

The Premier League has stressed that no- one can be forced to play, and players –including Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Newcastle’s Danny Rose — have previously expressed concerns. But these have been allayed and they have joined their team-mates in full contact training once again.

So fans can expect a summer football extravaganza with plenty of blockbuster games to look forward to, including a showcase opening on the 17th June when Manchester City meet Arsenal.

The Gunners have arguably more to play for; after an underwhelming season, they find themselves in ninth place but are still in the hunt for a Europa League place.

The Sky Blues are 12 points clear of fifth, so have a Champions League place booked. Although, there remains some doubt as to whether they will be able to participate after having been banned by UEFA.

The Etihad legal team will be preparing their case no doubt, and who’d bet against them. But I suspect Manchester City’s priority is now to win the 2020 Champions League and that would put UEFA in a rather awkward position.

When Jurgen Klopp inevitably guides his team to the 2020 league title, it may well be against Merseyside neighbours Everton on the first full weekend of football, but it could be played at a neutral venue because police fear a crowd may gather outside the ground when Liverpool prepare to win a first league title since 1990.

 

Spurs injuries clearing up

As a by-product of the global shutdown in sport, players have had time to rest and rehabilitate, with extra time to recover from injuries which kept them out in March.

Spurs were the team with the most high-profile absentees with Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli all sidelined, and boss Jose Mourinho has said they are all fit to play. That will be music to Spurs’ fans ears as their club sits just a single point ahead of North London rivals Arsenal, having played a game more.

Premier League: Harry Kane has recovered from the ruptured hamstring injury

Harry Kane is fit and back in training with Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester United too could benefit from a return to fitness of Marcus Rashford who had suffered a back strain which was expected to keep him out for the remainder of the season, and we could even see the return of Paul Pogba.

But Red Devils’ fans may wonder which Pogba will turn up if he’s fit – the inspirational France World Cup winner or the bored luxury player who has too often failed to replicate his international form at Old Trafford. The Red Devils need everyone firing if they are to win the race for that coveted fourth place.

 

Battle for survival

Head coaches will tell you that the pressure of winning titles or European places is nothing compared to that at the bottom of the league, where teams in a dogfight have their top-flight existence threatened.

Managers lose their jobs, players reputations can suffer and fans are distraught. So it’s no surprise that various spokespeople from the bottom-six clubs have appeared reluctant to restart at times, notably Brighton chief executive Paul Barber.

The Seagulls are in fifteenth place and two points above the drop zone, and even Norwich, who looked stranded in bottom place will have revived hopes.

There are odd results at the beginning and the end of each season and this nine-game campaign will throw up plenty. The Premier League 2020 betting odds suggest the bottom three — Norwich, Aston Villa, and Bournemouth — will go down, but Brighton, Watford and West Ham could all easily take the drop.

I fancy Eddie Howe’s Cherries to put some wins together for one. It’s going to be a fight to the finish with twists and turns aplenty as the Premier League 2020 results begin to roll in again.

Football’s coming home…thank goodness!

 

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10-Jun 2020 Wednesday 2:25 PM (225 days ago)            #35
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Premier League: Blue Is The Colour for Timo

Chelsea are set to make the Premier League’s biggest signing in a while with the announcement that Timo Werner is ready to join Frank Lampard’s side in a £54m summer move.

The Blues are prepared to meet RB Leipzig’s release clause and have apparently agreed to terms with the German striker, with a contract worth around £9m per year.

 

Busy Blues

Former Germany and Chelsea legend Michael Ballack has praised the Blues boss for snatching Werner from under the noses of Liverpool. He’s been a revelation for the Red Bulls this term, notching 25 goals including one in a recent 2-4 victory over Cologne. He’s just five behind Bayern legend Robert Lewandowski and eight ahead of the chasing pack.

Ballack knows all about the Premier League, having spent four successful seasons at Stamford Bridge between 2006 and 2010. And he reckons Werner has all the attributes needed to be a success in England: “It is much more intense, with a lot of duels,” he says. “He has to get used to it quickly because that’s the point. He is a robust player, is very fast, but he is also physically good in a duel and he will quickly get used to it.”

Now free from their past transfer embargo, Lampard has already been busy, securing the signature of Ajax star Hakim Ziyech who will join the Londoners in a £40m deal ready for the 2020/21 season.

The attacking midfielder is a handful out wide and will be good competition for Christian Pulisic, as Chelsea aim to break the dominance of the league’s top two.

Lampard also has set his sights on Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell as a possible replacement for Marcos Alonso. The 23-year-old has become England’s first-choice left-back, and the Foxes will be keen to keep hold of him.

 

Van de Beek in demand

Manchester United have been tracking the progress of another Ajax star, Donny van de Beek. The 23-year-old can play anywhere across the middle of the park and has a good engine, powering his attacking runs which have brought 40 goals and 34 assists from 159 appearances for the Dutch champions.

Ajax chief and former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has confirmed the Red Devils have expressed an interest but they will have to fight off interest from Real Madrid.

Premier League: Jack Grealish is being monitored by Manchester United ahead of the summer transfer market z

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish in action during their Premier League match against Watford

If they lose out on this deal, United are reported to be keen on a move for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, having cooled their interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.

The Bundesliga giants are reputed to want over £100m for the England star, but an alternative move for Grealish would be contingent on the Villans getting relegated. Although, the latest Premier League 2020 betting odds say that is a likely outcome.

Grealish has been linked with Manchester United for some time, but the Red Devils are unlikely to meet Villa’s valuation of £80m. There could be some haggling to do there.

 

Wolves stars on the radar

Nuno Espirito Santo may have to hold back a flood of interest in his stars who have excelled in both the Europa League and the Premier League again this season.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is an admirer of Ruben Neves and is keen to bring the Portuguese midfielder to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, so he has challenged his notoriously hard bargaining board to splash the cash.

Neves is under contact to Wolves until 2023 but he is reported to be happy to join his compatriot, and Spurs have recently taken out a £175m Bank of England loan to ease their cash flow, much to the annoyance of rival fans.

Champions-elect Liverpool have been enquiring about flying winger Adama Traore, who is having his best season yet at Molineux. His electrifying pace would suit Liverpool’s fast attacking style perfectly and could be a replacement for Sadio Mane should the Senegalese striker move on.

Meanwhile, Mexican striker Raul Jimenez is being tracked by Manchester United, having impressed again this term with 13 goals and six assists.

These three stars are sure to be in the Premier League 2020 news over the next few weeks as Wolves make a push for the fourth Champions League spot.

Nuno will have a better chance of keeping them at Molineux if they reach that target. He could reasonably argue that, with the exception of Liverpool, the clubs pursuing his players are no better than his side.

In the meantime, the rumour mill will keep on turning and the action is about to start.

The big Premier League kick-off is just over a week away now, and we’re all set here at SBOBET to bring you all the news, results and updates.

Bring it on!

 

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15-Jun 2020 Monday 3:39 PM (220 days ago)            #36
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Premier League Winners and Losers

The big Premier League kick-off is just four days away now and we can hardly wait. The Bundesliga and La Liga have both made great starts, and with the English and Italian leagues nearing a return we have a feast of football to look forward to over the next two months.

There are huge issues to resolve from the top to the bottom of the Premier League, one of which will be sorted out very quickly, but the remainder are likely to go down to the wire.

 

Liverpool to celebrate winning the league on 24th June

There have been times over the past three months when Liverpool fans thought they would never be able to acclaim their first league title in three decades. But their nightmare scenario has all but gone, and while they will have to celebrate victory in their own homes, the Liverpool faithful will be out on the streets for a mass party when the time comes.

Head coach Jurgen Klopp has said they will have a tour of the city when it is safe it do so, as it is safe to assume the players won’t blow this opportunity. They lead Manchester City by 25 points and just need two wins. If the Sky Blues slip up against Arsenal on Wednesday, then Liverpool could win the title against Everton on the 21st.

But I think they will have to wait just three more days when Crystal Palace visit Anfield.

 

Chelsea to hold on to fourth place

With Manchester City and Leicester City comfortably in second and third place there is one final Champions League slot guaranteed, subject to City’s legal battle with UEFA. Chelsea are in that position, three points ahead of Manchester United, and the Blues were boosted last week by the news that Leipzig striker Timo Werner was nearing a move to Stamford Bridge

The big Premier League 2020 news, before the break in football, was the arrival of Bruno Fernades at Old Trafford. Neutrals were pondering whether this was a big money gamble by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while Red Devils fans were hoping they had found a new Eric Cantona! Well he’s yet not reached the legendary status of the enigmatic Frenchman, but he’s made an excellent start. Fernades has scored two goals in five games since his transfer from Sporting in the January transfer window.

This will be a battle royal but I think Chelsea will hang on.

 

Europa League football for Spurs

Sheffield United have been superb this season and currently sit in seventh place, and it would be foolish to rule the Blades out of a Europa League place. But there are some big guns looming and I think it will be one of the north London giants who will join Manchester United and Wolves in the top seven.

Spurs have a kinder run-in than Arsenal so I’m plumping for Jose Mourinho’s Whites.

 

 

Championship football for the Hammers

Norwich City have played some attractive football but are too easy to break down and have six points to make up, which should be too high a mountain to climb. So it’s farewell to the Canaries, and I think fellow new boys Aston Villa will be joining them in the Championship. Head coach Dean Smith spent heavily last summer in the hope of securing survival. But the Villains have discovered, much as Fulham did last season, that money alone does not guarantee success in the bottom half of the Premier League.

Villa’s frailties were all to easy to see in the final game before the break in football, as they were dismantled easily by a Leicester City side which beat them 4-0 at a canter.

So who will join those two in the drop? The latest Premier League 2020 betting odds here at SBOBET are backing Bournemouth, currently in 18th – at odds of 1.80. But I think the Cherries have enough attacking options to climb out of the bottom three and will pick up at least three wins. But West Ham, at 3.00 to do down, and Brighton, at 3.50, have devilish run-ins and I’m plumping for the Seagulls stay up as they have a two point start over the Hammers.

 

 

As the Premier League resumes, Sergio Aguero is primed to win his second Golden Boot

Sergio Aguero is one of the favourites to score the most goals when the Premier League returns


 

 

Aguero and Auba to share the Golden Boot

When we resume next week, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy will be leading the race for the Golden Boot. The artful Fox has 19 goals to his name and he is being tracked by Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang on 17, and then Mo Salah and Sergio Aguero on 16. The City striker is scoring at a rate of 88 minutes per goal whereas the other three take well over 100 minutes; in fact, Vardy is the closest at 117 minutes per goal.

The Leicester man is at 2.46 to win the Boot, with Aubameyang at 5.00 and Aguero and Salah at 6.00, but if the City man gets enough game time I think he’ll join Auba at the top, on around 24 goals, with Vardy just one behind.

 

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18-Jun 2020 Thursday 5:04 PM (217 days ago)            #37
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Premier League: Champions Back for Season Conclusion

Manchester City vs Arsenal

It was the shock news that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had tested positive for coronavirus in March that prompted the Premier League to hold an emergency meeting which led to the league being suspended.

Once it became public knowledge, the speed of the unravelling was extraordinary, the mounting anxiety suddenly prompting the inevitable. There would be no football for some time.

Since then, no-one has really known when and in what form it would resume – until recently that is.

Now here we are and the champions (albeit soon to be disposed champions) are back in action for a fixture which, when postponed in March, triggered the hiatus.

Make no mistake, money has driven the Premier League restart. The sums are stark. Complete the season and lose at least £330 million in rebates to broadcasters unhappy at the altered delivery of the product; do not complete it and lose £762 million to them.

But back we are and the prospect of Premier League highlights awaits.

 

Talking Points

To say the Premier League is coming back with a bang is an understatement. After the longest postponement of competition since World War Two, there will be matches virtually every day, at various time slots, until the end of next month.

Don’t expect too much too soon, of course.

Many believe the lack of match action and limited club training will mean some of the initial games are played at a pace more akin to a pre-season friendly.

Yet there will be nothing friendly about the glory on offer.

With 10 games left, Arsenal are as close to the relegation zone as they are to the third spot. Yet the Gunners have collected 17 points from Arteta’s first 10 league games in charge and the Spaniard is unbeaten in all seven of his away games in all competitions since his appointment.

While a Champions League spot could be asking too much for the north Londoners, a top-five finish is within reach. That, of course, could mean Champions League football next season if Manchester City’s European ban is upheld at appeal.

If they are to make it, they will rely greatly on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who, if he scores in this contest at the Etihad Stadium, will be the sixth fastest player to reach 50 in Premier League history.

The Gabon marksman has netted 49 goals in 75 Premier League appearances to date and wants to play at the top level both domestically and in Europe.

The 30 year-old, whose contract runs out in June 2021, has admitted this week the decision whether to sign a new deal with Arsenal is “possibly the most important” of his career.

With an array of suitors, he may not need Arsenal but Arsenal need him and he will surely be the biggest threat to a home defence which should welcome back Aymeric Laporte, whose serious August injury all but undermined City’s title defence before it started.

Mikel Arteta's men are set to visit Etihad Stadium fro Premier League

Mikel Arteta used to be Pep Guardiola’s no.2 in Manchester City

Their title hopes may have long since vanished but, having won the League Cup, City could still end the season with three trophies as they battle for the Champions League and FA Cup.

So it’s Pep Guardiola against his former number two.

Quality squads with depth will play a big part when the season restarts. Surely that is where City can come into their own?

 

History

Arsenal have not got a particularly good record at the Etihad Stadium.

Aside from a surprising 2-0 win there in January 2015, secured by goals from Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, the Gunners have not triumphed since 2010 – and that was a match in which City played 85 minutes with 10 men.

Although Arsenal have enjoyed success over their opponents in the FA Cup and Community Shield in recent seasons, they have only tasted victory once in their last 10 meetings.

Last season City did the double over them; in 2018/19, City beat Arsenal three times.

Kevin de Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were on target in a 3-1 home league win before Guardiola’s men triumphed 3-0 twice in five days.

They cruised to victory in the League Cup Final at Wembley before turning the tables on them again on their own turf by the same scoreline.

This season, in December, City won 3-0 at the Emirates with a dominant first half showing with De Bruyne (two) and Raheem Sterling on target. Shortly afterwards, Arteta left his position as City number two to take over as Arsenal boss.

Despite City’s recent dominance, Arsenal still have the overall advantage with 96 wins to City’s 56.

The other 45 encounters have ended all square.

 

Betting Tip

??

Manchester City vs Arsenal Manchester City First Half Asian Handicap – 0.75 @ 2.21
June 18, 03:15 (GMT+8)

Considering their recent record against City, perhaps it should not surprise too many SBOBET fans that Arsenal are real outsiders with 2019 Premier League betting odds.

I’m backing the hosts to win this one from the off.

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18-Jun 2020 Thursday 6:06 PM (217 days ago)            #38
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Premier League: The Foxes Plan to Send The Hornets Crashing

Watford vs Leicester City

After the longest break of the competition since World War 2, the Premier League is finally back with a bang.

The English top-flight is set to resume the 2019/20 season, where teams would round out their remaining games as a fitting end to their respective campaigns.

And this brings us to this Saturday’s encounter between Watford and Leicester City – two teams who are occupying different sides at the Premier League table.

The home team Watford are in a perilous position placing 17th at the table with 27 points – sandwiched between West Ham United and Bournemouth. So getting out of the dreaded relegation zone is their main agenda moving forward.

Leicester City, meanwhile, sit at third place with 53 points. And although it is virtually impossible to overtake Liverpool as of the moment, ending the campaign with a guaranteed Champions League berth is no longer shabby by their standards.

Who will emerge victorious at the Vicarage Road this Saturday?

As SBOBET continues its coverage of the Premier League, allow us to provide you a quick preview of this weekend fixture.

 

Talking Points

Watford need all the help they can get

With Nigel Pearson’s side heading for a free-fall, they would need all hands on deck in order to salvage their season.

Watford lost three of their last four before the league had its mandated hiatus, and boy, they were beaten badly.

But against Liverpool, the Hornets caught everyone by surprise when they annihilated them with a 3-0 tally. At that game, it was the likes of Ismaila Sarr and Troy Deeney who were sharp on the attack.

Pearson’s attacking duo are the leading scorers for Watford so far this term. Sarr and Deeney have accounted for 12 goals and five assists, and they will be needed to produce a whole lot more in order to stay afloat.

Ismaila Sarr has been the only consistent attacking threat for the Hornets this campaign. Because of his unique blend of skill, speed, and IQ, the 22-year-old Senegalese winger has been drawing comparisons to his compatriot Sadio Mane.

Meanwhile, Troy Deeney has struggled with injuries this term. But with him getting a lot of time to recover during the league break, the Hornets’ captain is expected to be in full fitness come Saturday evening.

Other than those two, Watford would also need more goals from the likes of Roberto Pereyra, Gerard Deulofeu, and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

 

 

Can Jamie Vardy win the Golden Boot?

Leicester City is one of the top scoring teams this season and a huge part of that is because of the goalscoring exploits by Jamie Vardy.

The 33-year-old English international is currently on pace to be the oldest player ever to win the Golden Boot since Didier Drogba – with 19 goals and four assists already this term along with some topnotch Premier League 2020 highlights.

Vardy’s meteoric rise was unexpected to say the least. Although he was part of the 2016 Leicester City club that shocked the world, no one would’ve imagined him to lead the league in scoring especially at this stage of his career.

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester will be Watford's first opponents when the Premier League resumes

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers expects nothing but a tough game from Watford

He is a huge part for the team led by current manager Brendan Rodgers, who has some unfinished business to settle personally.

If you go way back in 2014, Rodgers almost led Liverpool to its first-ever Premier League – only to have their championship dreams dashed when Steven Gerrard had that infamous slip.

Now with Leicester City, he has a chance to redeem himself especially with the squad looking much better on paper compared to the 2016 championship team.

With an intriguing core of Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, and Jamie Vardy, Leicester City are expected to hover around the top three in the foreseeable future. And who knows? They could win it all again if the stars align in their favour.

 

History

Leicester City have gotten the better of Watford in their aggregate head-to-heads. In their 31 encounters, the Foxes won 16 times while the Hornets in 10 along with five draws.

On an average, these two teams combine for 3.06 goals per match, making this an interesting matchup.

Leicester City won in three of their last four encounters against Watford in the past two years.

 

 

Betting Tip

??

Watford vs Leicester City Leicester City Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 1.88
June 20, 19:30 (GMT+8)

The updated Premier League 2020 odds point to a tight match, but winnable in favour of Leicester City. The Foxes are priced at 2.21, while the Hornets are at 3.15 and a draw is at 3.30 in the 1×2 market.

With Leicester City looking loaded on all fronts compared to Watford, it is easy to count the latter out at first glance.

However, the Hornets have proven to be a worthy opponent against the Foxes in recent years. And with goals aplenty in their recent encounters, this game is set to be a must-watch for our viewers – an ideal way to spend your Saturday evening.

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18-Jun 2020 Thursday 6:12 PM (217 days ago)            #39
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Premier League: Spurs and Manchester United In Top Four Push

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United

The Premier League is back, and we have a belter of a game on Friday night when Spurs vs Manchester United is the offering.

Both teams are in the shake-up for a Champions League place, though the Red Devils have the upper hand coming into this clash.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team currently occupies fifth place, three points behind Chelsea, while Spurs are four points further back in eighth.

Former United boss Jose Mourinho knows his Spurs side can narrow that gap to a single point and he’s a man for the big occasion, but he’ll have to mastermind a win for his team in an empty Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and that will be a new experience for everyone.

 

Talking Points

Comeback kids can re-ignite Spurs’ campaign

Of course, Mourinho faces his old club again and that will undoubtedly add some bite, but the pre-match Premier League 2020 news has moved away from the dugout for this one as some big players on both sides look set to return.

Spurs surrendered meekly to RB Leipzig in their last outing before lockdown, beaten 3-0 as they stumbled out of the Champions League. However, that was a team without captain and top scorer Harry Kane and his partner Heung-Min Son.

They have 20 goals between them, 11 for Kane and nine for Son, while the South Korean star has also made seven assists.

Both are recovered and fit to play and Kane, who was out since New Years’ Day with a hamstring injury, is raring to go.

Left-back Ben Davies and midfield man Moussa Sissoko have both recovered from injury, but Spurs will be without Dele Alli.

The England star has copped a suspension over an ill-considered social media post he made about coronavirus back in February, but his form has been patchy this season and he may not be missed if the returning stars all perform.

Spurs have some ground to make up but they have a relatively gentle run in, with only Arsenal and Leicester City of their biggest rivals to play after this opener.

 

Working class hero Rashford can become a legend

The Red Devils will be boosted by the return to fitness of leading goal scorer Marcus Rashford, who has recovered from the back injury which the club feared would keep him out for the remainder of the season.

And the 22-year-old striker has already had an impressive victory, using the power of social media to help convince the UK government to provide free school meals throughout the summer.

He’s a grounded young man and could be the player to drive Manchester United back to former glories. Before suffering his injury, Rashford was having the best season of his career so far with 14 goals, and he will surely benefit from the arrival of playmaker Bruno Fernandes at Old Trafford.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford has scored 14 goals this Premier League season

Marcus Rashford hopes to return to play in Manchester United’s clash against Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester United are pushing for a top-four place and it’s going to be a dramatic race, with three points to make up on Chelsea and the close attention of Wolves and the North London giants, not to mention surprise package Sheffield United.

And there might even be a Champions League place for the team which finishes in fifth place, depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s court case with UEFA.

It can be noted that back in February, the Sky Blues were handed a two-year ban from European competition for breaches of Financial Fair Play.

City’s appeal will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport early in July, and SBOBET fans from all the teams in the top half of the table will be watching that case with interest, as the race for Champions League football looks set to intensify.

 

Form counts for little in season restart

Take a look at the last six results for each side which usually a reliable guide and you’ll see a contrasting picture here.

Spurs have drawn one and lost five, while Manchester United too have drawn one, but the Red Devils have won the other six.

But with three months having elapsed since the last Premier League games and key players coming back from injury, recent form is not so recent and we have a ‘start of the season’ feel about the comeback.

So we’ll have to look elsewhere to make our Premier League 2020 betting tips.

 

History

Solskjaer’s team has a big edge in terms of head-to-heads. Manchester United have won 40 of the 59 meetings in the Premier League era, with the Whites mustering just nine victories and there have been ten draws.

The Red Devils won the return fixture at Old Trafford, 2-1, with a brace from Rashford and a reply from Dele Alli. It was Mourinho’s first defeat as Spurs boss and he won’t have forgotten that in a hurry!

 

Betting Tip

??
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United Over 2.50 @ 1.95
June 20, 03:15 (GMT+8)

Spurs are at 2.83 to win this game, with the Red Devils at 2.35 and the draw available at 3.11; so with all three results well in play we’re sure to see an entertaining game.

1-1 at 5.60 is the most likely result but I suspect there will be a winner, with Manchester United desperate to rediscover their pre-break form, and Spurs wanting to make their point as the race for Europe kicks off.

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18-Jun 2020 Thursday 6:15 PM (217 days ago)            #40
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Premier League: City Class Receives Helping Hand From Clown Luiz

Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal

Exactly 100 days since a ball was last kicked in the English top-flight, here was a reminder why, amongst so many new elements of the game, some things remain refreshingly the same.

Whether there are spectators or not, whether there are three or five substitutes allowed per Premier League game, whether the goal areas are sanitized and temperature checks conducted, there will always be a player considered the clown prince of defenders.

In this, the return of the unknown, step forward David Luiz who, as far as his critics were concerned, was at his buffoonery best.

There is no doubting the Brazilian’s talent on the ball but, as far as defensive aberrations go, here was a display which showed why Arsenal will surely cut their losses when the player’s contract runs out at the end of the campaign.

 

Highlights of the game

New rules are imposed in the Premier League amidst the coronavirus pandemic

Manchester City’s substitutes and staff maintain social distancing in the stands

On for the injured Pablo Mari – the luckless Arsenal’s second injury inside the opening 24 minutes – Luiz quickly reverted back to his error-strewn ways and was responsible for the first two goals in Operation Restart.

It was the second minute of first-half stoppage time when Kevin de Bruyne clipped a ball through which Luiz failed to clear and on raced Raheem Sterling, who let it bounce before thrashing it beyond Bernd Leno.

Then, just six minutes after the restart, Luiz hauled down Riyad Mahrez in the penalty area with an arm around the shoulder.

A straight red card was as inevitable as the way the classy De Bruyne smoothly passed in the resulting spot-kick.

At that point, I felt sorry for Leno, who had already been forced to produce a fine stop to tip over a de Bruyne free-kick early on before denying Sterling and then David Silva, in his final season as a City player.

The only relief for the Gunners was that City were comfortably in control after establishing their lead and didn’t have to push on from the 50th minute as they cemented their grip on second spot.

Aside from Luiz, the other talking points surrounded injuries and the combined approach for equality.

To lose Mari so soon after Granit Zhaka was forced to leave the field on a stretcher after going over on his ankle could be put down to bad luck.

But for City, in the closing stages, to also see a player (Eric Garcia) depart on a stretcher after an accidental collision with his own player, will add fuel to those who believe players are more susceptible to injury and feel the game has returned after too little training.

Either way, it contributed to 11 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the contest during which City added a deserved third. Two substitutes combined with Sterling, after Sergio Aguero’s shot was turned onto the post by Leno, Phil Foden thumped home the rebound.

The SBOBET Premier League 2020 betting odds on a home win were as such, even I could not get my prediction wrong(!).

The decision of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to leave out Mesut Ozil, although the German international was not injured, also added fuel to the speculation he and the club may part company this summer. Meanwhile, this performance will not have convinced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that his future lies in north London either.

The Gabon marksman may have netted 49 goals in 76 Premier League appearances to date, but he provided no Premier League 2020 highlights in a lifeless showing from the visitors.

Before kick-off, all 22 players and referee Anthony Taylor observed a minute silence to mark those who have lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic and took a knee to observe the Black Lives Matter movement.

Indeed, player names on shirts were replaced by Black Lives Matter, while a sleeve patch will feature on shirts for the remainder of the league season.

That was the closest Arsenal got to City for much of the evening. The gulf in class was otherwise evident.

 

Key statistics

City have won their last seven league and cup matches against Arsenal, their longest winning run versus the Gunners.

De Bruyne has been directly involved in eight goals in his past eight Premier League starts against Arsenal, scoring five and assisting three.

Arsenal have lost their last six meetings with City; they last had a longer losing run against an opponent between 1974 and 1977 (Ipswich Town – seven in a row).

They have won just one of 12 top-flight fixtures this season against teams currently above them in the table (drawn five, lost six).

Pep Guardiola has never lost a home match against Arsenal in his managerial career, winning seven of eight games.

Luiz is the first player to be sent off, concede a penalty and commit an error leading to an opposition goal in a Premier League match since Carl Jenkinson for West Ham v Bournemouth in August 2015.

The last time that a player was sent off, conceded a penalty and committed an error leading to an opposition goal in the same game after coming on as a substitute within the top five European leagues, was in March 2011 by Iván Córdoba for Inter Milan v Brescia in Serie A.

This was Sterling’s first goal for City in 2020 in his 28th attempt this calendar year. He is the first player to score a goal in the month of June in the English top-flight since Walter Rickett, for Sheffield United against Stoke on June 14, 1947.

 

What’s next?

Such is the frenetic schedule of the restarted Premier League campaign that both clubs are in action quickly again.

Arsenal travel to the south coast to face Brighton on Saturday afternoon (June 20) before yet another away day on the south coast, this time at Southampton, a week tomorrow (June 25).

City welcome Burnley to the Etihad next Monday night before a trip to Stamford Bridge to meet Chelsea three days later.

 

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25-Jun 2020 Thursday 6:32 PM (210 days ago)            #41
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Premier League: Liverpool Within Touching Distance of Holy Grail

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

As it stands, Liverpool need just five points from eight games to end their quest for the holy grail.

It’s long been a case of when, not if, the Merseysiders secure a 19th league title and their very first of the Premier League era.

That it could have happened last weekend but didn’t will surely only be a minor frustration to most of their followers who can watch – from a distance – their first game back at Anfield on Wednesday night, knowing victory would put them within two points of realising their dream.

What’s more, their opponents are a side with little to play for – safe from relegation and realistically a bit adrift to challenge for a European spot – so could be the perfect side to meet.

On saying that, could they be so relaxed they turn it on as the Eagles have dared to do in recent years against the big boys.

What midweek Premier League highlights await us I wonder.

 

Talking Points

Just before the enforced break, four defeats in six across all competitions had taken a bit of the gloss off the runaway league leaders’ 2019/20 campaign but no more than that. It certainly does not detract from their achievements to date and they will emerge as worthy champions.

Premier League: Liverpool have failed to get maximum points at Goodison Park

Jordan Henderson and Jurgen Klopp looking dejected after the match between Liverpool and Everton at Goodison Park

The fact there will be no fans at Anfield as Liverpool aim to move closer to a championship coronation may make this somewhat anticlimactic, yet manager Jurgen Klopp will impress on his players they still need to perform, regardless.

What has become clear during his four and a half years at the club is how significant the ability to energise a fanbase can still be. It is easy to assume that in the days of all-seat stadiums, corporatisation and mass football tourism that the crowd has become more passive. Yet certain matches prove otherwise.

While a very different character to the colourful German, one of his predecessors, Roy Hodgson, has proven a hit in his own way during two and a half years at the Palace.

He returns to Anfield, nearly a decade after his six-month tenure in charge on Merseyside where he was never given a fair chance – although he soon put that behind him when he was offered the England national job.

The veteran boss is in his element at Palace, building a side that is solid in defence, dangerous in attack and solid enough to ensure Premier League stability.

 

On Saturday, Palace saw out the victory in comfort against a Bournemouth team which failed to mount any sort of serious pressure. The win left them sitting comfortably in the top 10 and the goals, from Luka Milovjevic’s free-kick and Jordan Ayew’s sweeping finish, showed exactly what they are about.

They will, of course, meet a very different resistance this time around but they have quality players who can hurt the very best.

Two very different teams, Liverpool managers past and present, and no fans. Who knows what could happen!

 

History

Liverpool left it late before winning the fixture at Selhurst Park earlier this season, continuing their fine recent run against Palace.

Overall, Palace have won 14 of their meetings with the Merseysiders who, themselves, have 29 victories to their name. There have been a further 11 draws.

Last season, goals at the end of each half from James Milner and Sadio Mane secured Liverpool a 2-0 win in London.

It was much closer at Anfield where Liverpool won a seven-goal thriller, helped by some poor Palace goalkeeping.

Two goals from Mohamed Salah and one each from Roberto Firmino and Mane secured the points with Andros Townsend, James Tomkins and Max Meyer on target for the Eagles.

Palace last defeated Liverpool at home five years ago when second-half goals from Dwight Gayle, Joe Ledley and Mile Jedinak cancelled out Rickie Lambert’s opener in a 3-1 win.

 

Betting Tip

??
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Liverpool First Half Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 1.97
June 25, 03:15 (GMT+8)

The SBOBET Premier League betting odds could hardly be starker. Liverpool 1X2 @ 1.25, Crystal Palace 1X2 @ 13.50. A home banker, right?

With Asian Handicap odds, the hosts can be backed -2.00 @ 2.44 with Palace +1.50 @ 2.13.

A repeat of the corresponding fixture last term – correct score 4-3 – will earn you a big payday @ 225.00.

Goals are anticipated, judging by the odds of over 3.00 goals @ 2.11, total goal 2-3 @ 2.08 and total goal 4-6 @ 2.89.

It’s hard not to back the champions-elect and they will aim to be positive in attack from the outset.

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25-Jun 2020 Thursday 6:37 PM (210 days ago)            #42
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Premier League: Wolves, Bournemouth Both Need Big Win

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs AFC Bournemouth

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bournemouth are two teams who still have so much to play for in the last few games of the Premier League season.

Wolves are in the hunt for that final Champions League place along with Manchester United and Tottenham — who played out a 1-1 draw — as well as Sheffield United. Meanwhile, Bournemouth are in the thick of a tight relegation battle with Watford, West Ham, and Aston Villa.

Needless to say, both teams will be desperate for all three points when they meet at Molineux in midweek.

However, the Premier League 2020 betting odds will clearly be against the Cherries, who have been horrendous away from home all season long.

 

Talking Points

Wolves in fine form

Wolverhampton Wanderers were one of the form teams in the league before the break in play. They were undefeated in their previous five matches, with draws against Manchester United, Leicester, and Brighton, and wins over Norwich and Tottenham.

They are also still in the Europa League, which will resume in August in Germany.

 

Wolves got off to a good start as they knocked off West Ham last weekend. It took a bit of time for them to break the hosts down, but the introductions of Pedro Neto and Adama Traore after the hour mark proved decisive.

Traore delivered a wonderful cross to set up Raul Jimenez for the opener on 73 minutes, while Neto scored a second on 84 minutes to seal the win.

Jimenez has created several Premier League 2020 highlights for Wolves with 14 goals and six assists in the league this season. His fine performances have reportedly caught the eyes of several big clubs around Europe.

The emergence of Traore this season has helped Jimenez get more goalscoring opportunities. The two also combined for a goal in Wolves’ 2-0 victory over Bournemouth earlier this season.

Wolves’ biggest strength remains at the back, though. They have kept five clean sheets during their current six-match unbeaten run. They should fancy their chances of keeping another clean sheet at home against a Bournemouth attack that’s scored the fifth-fewest goals in the league this season.

 

Bournemouth bad away from home

Bournemouth’s struggles continued as they fell 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace in their first game back. The game was effectively over before the half-hour mark as Palace had already struck twice through Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew.

As a result, Bournemouth remain in the relegation zone at 18th, although they’re tied on 27 points with West Ham and are just a point behind Watford in 16th. They have now gone winless in their last five matches with four defeats and a draw, which came at home against Chelsea.

Manager Eddie Howe’s side has been known for its attacking style of football. But this season, getting goals has been a major issue for the Cherries and has played a crucial role in their struggles. They’ve scored just 29 goals in 30 matches.

Raul Jimenez breaks Chicharito's record for the most goals by a Mexican in a single Premier League campaign

Raul Jimenez became Wolves’ all-time top goalscorer in the Premier League following his goal vs West Ham

The absence of talented young midfielder David Brooks for virtually the entire season due to an ankle injury certainly hasn’t helped.

Brooks finally made his return to the line-up against Palace and played an hour before being subbed off. He’s still working his way to full fitness, though, and may not make much of an impact moving forward.

Howe has also been unable to solve Bournemouth’s horrendous form away from home. The Cherries have lost their last six away matches on the bounce and nine of their last 10.

 

History

Wolves and Bournemouth have seldom been in the same division over the years, so they haven’t played each other all that often. They’ve met just five times since 2014. Two of those were in the Championship, and Bournemouth won both of those matches.

But Wolves have had the upper hand in the Premier League. They’re unbeaten in their three meetings and have claimed two wins. They won their first meeting of this season 2-1 thanks to first-half goals from Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez.

 

Betting Tip

??
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs AFC Bournemouth Wolverhampton Wanderers Asian Handicap -1.00 @ 2.16
June 25, 01:00 (GMT+8)

SBOBET odds have Wolves priced as significant 1.61 favourites to get the win at home. Bournemouth are 5.40 to end their away losing skid, while a draw is 3.80.

Wolves have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six games, while Bournemouth have conceded at least two goals in their last five. That points to a Wolves win by around two goals, so it’s best to go on the Asian Handicap market for this match.

But for the more risk-averse, taking Wolves -1.00 would be the way to go. A Wolves win by more than two goals — which is highly likely — would win the bet. But even if they win by only a single goal, you’d still push and get your entire stake back.

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25-Jun 2020 Thursday 6:44 PM (210 days ago)            #43
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Premier League: Chelsea’s Biggest Test

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs AFC Bournemouth

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bournemouth are two teams who still have so much to play for in the last few games of the Premier League season.

Wolves are in the hunt for that final Champions League place along with Manchester United and Tottenham — who played out a 1-1 draw — as well as Sheffield United. Meanwhile, Bournemouth are in the thick of a tight relegation battle with Watford, West Ham, and Aston Villa.

Needless to say, both teams will be desperate for all three points when they meet at Molineux in midweek.

However, the Premier League 2020 betting odds will clearly be against the Cherries, who have been horrendous away from home all season long.

 

Talking Points

Wolves in fine form

Wolverhampton Wanderers were one of the form teams in the league before the break in play. They were undefeated in their previous five matches, with draws against Manchester United, Leicester, and Brighton, and wins over Norwich and Tottenham.

They are also still in the Europa League, which will resume in August in Germany.

 

Wolves got off to a good start as they knocked off West Ham last weekend. It took a bit of time for them to break the hosts down, but the introductions of Pedro Neto and Adama Traore after the hour mark proved decisive.

Traore delivered a wonderful cross to set up Raul Jimenez for the opener on 73 minutes, while Neto scored a second on 84 minutes to seal the win.

Jimenez has created several Premier League 2020 highlights for Wolves with 14 goals and six assists in the league this season. His fine performances have reportedly caught the eyes of several big clubs around Europe.

The emergence of Traore this season has helped Jimenez get more goalscoring opportunities. The two also combined for a goal in Wolves’ 2-0 victory over Bournemouth earlier this season.

Wolves’ biggest strength remains at the back, though. They have kept five clean sheets during their current six-match unbeaten run. They should fancy their chances of keeping another clean sheet at home against a Bournemouth attack that’s scored the fifth-fewest goals in the league this season.

 

Bournemouth bad away from home

Bournemouth’s struggles continued as they fell 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace in their first game back. The game was effectively over before the half-hour mark as Palace had already struck twice through Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew.

As a result, Bournemouth remain in the relegation zone at 18th, although they’re tied on 27 points with West Ham and are just a point behind Watford in 16th. They have now gone winless in their last five matches with four defeats and a draw, which came at home against Chelsea.

Manager Eddie Howe’s side has been known for its attacking style of football. But this season, getting goals has been a major issue for the Cherries and has played a crucial role in their struggles. They’ve scored just 29 goals in 30 matches.

Raul Jimenez breaks Chicharito's record for the most goals by a Mexican in a single Premier League campaign

Raul Jimenez became Wolves’ all-time top goalscorer in the Premier League following his goal vs West Ham

The absence of talented young midfielder David Brooks for virtually the entire season due to an ankle injury certainly hasn’t helped.

Brooks finally made his return to the line-up against Palace and played an hour before being subbed off. He’s still working his way to full fitness, though, and may not make much of an impact moving forward.

Howe has also been unable to solve Bournemouth’s horrendous form away from home. The Cherries have lost their last six away matches on the bounce and nine of their last 10.

 

History

Wolves and Bournemouth have seldom been in the same division over the years, so they haven’t played each other all that often. They’ve met just five times since 2014. Two of those were in the Championship, and Bournemouth won both of those matches.

But Wolves have had the upper hand in the Premier League. They’re unbeaten in their three meetings and have claimed two wins. They won their first meeting of this season 2-1 thanks to first-half goals from Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez.

 

Betting Tip

??
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs AFC Bournemouth Wolverhampton Wanderers Asian Handicap -1.00 @ 2.16
June 25, 01:00 (GMT+8)

SBOBET odds have Wolves priced as significant 1.61 favourites to get the win at home. Bournemouth are 5.40 to end their away losing skid, while a draw is 3.80.

Wolves have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six games, while Bournemouth have conceded at least two goals in their last five. That points to a Wolves win by around two goals, so it’s best to go on the Asian Handicap market for this match.

But for the more risk-averse, taking Wolves -1.00 would be the way to go. A Wolves win by more than two goals — which is highly likely — would win the bet. But even if they win by only a single goal, you’d still push and get your entire stake back.

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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25-Jun 2020 Thursday 6:47 PM (210 days ago)            #44
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Premier League: Kane Wraps Up A London Derby Gift

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 West Ham United

Spurs improved their Champions League hopes tonight with a derby victory over struggling West Ham. They were gifted an opener when Tomas Soucek scored an own goal before Harry Kane rounded off the win with a late strike.

Spurs vs West Ham is always a spicy Premier League affair and there was plenty at stake for both teams in this London clash. Spurs are chasing a Champions League spot, while West Ham are in the midst of a relegation scrap. The Hammers put up a good fight but were found wanting at both ends of the pitch.

The result leaves the Hammers in deep trouble, outside the bottom three on goal difference alone, while Spurs move up to seventh.

 

Highlights of the game

West Ham really needed a settling-in period at the start of this game but they had anything but. Heung-Min Son’s cross took a deflection from Ryan Fredericks and hit the angle of the crossbar before bouncing back into play for West Ham to make a desperate clearance.

At the other end, Hugo Lloris had to be alert when Michail Antonio met a flick-on from Declan Rice, and the Spurs keeper kept his point-blank range effort out with a timely block.

Jose Mourinho made changes to the team which drew with Manchester United. Striker Steven Bergwijn showed bags of pace and confidence in his performance against the Red Devils while Erik Lamela was busy and effective, but both started this game on the bench.

Mourinho brought back Lucas Moura and Dele Alli, returning from a-one match suspension he copped for making an ill-judged post about COVID-19. And it was Moura who brought the first save from Lukasz Fabianski, letting fly from 20 yards, and the Hammers keeper did well to tip his effort over the bar.

Skipper Harry Kane was quiet in Spurs’ opener against the Red Devils, and it took him time to settle again tonight. He had a sight of goal on 27 minutes but fired straight at Fabianski from the edge of the penalty area. And a couple of minutes later, he met a cross from Serge Aurier which he headed over.

Spurs were inching closer and their persistence seemed to pay off when Son picked up the ball on the left side of the box before cutting in and driving past Fabianski at his near post. But West Ham were saved by VAR, which found that Son was offside by the length of his toe.

The Spurs players were astounded, it was mighty close, take a look at the Premier League 2020 highlights and make your own mind up.

Eric Dier took a pot shot early in the second half and Harry Kane came very close to poking an Aurier cross home. And at the other end, Pablo Fornals had a golden opportunity to put the Hammers ahead when Jarred Bowen picked him out, but he scuffed his shot wide.

Dele Alli had his first shot on goal but he too misfired with plenty of time to pick his spot. And then Kane missed a glorious opportunity after a lighting break when he slid his shot wide with just Fabianski to beat.

As the game swung from end to end, Antonio was clear through on goal but his effort flew well over. And on 64 minutes, Spurs had their breakthrough. It was a scruffy goal but Mourinho wouldn’t mind that.

The hosts swung over their eighth corner of the game; it missed everyone but bounced into the net off the unlucky Tomas Soucek.

West Ham United fail to build momentum against Tottenham in their Premier League match

Tottenham Hotspur celebrate after West Ham’s Tomas Soucek scored an own goal

Mourinho sent Bergwijn on and he almost created a goal immediately, swinging a cross over for Aurier but the wing-back miscued. And then the Hammers came so close to an equaliser but Bowen’s snapshot bounced away off the post.

But it was game over when Son released Kane, and there was only going to be one outcome as he bore down on Fabianski’s goal before smashing the ball low and hard into the net.

 

Key statistics

Our pre-match tip went for goals (over 2.75 on the Premier League 2020 odds) in this game and there were plenty of opportunities, with Spurs winning the shot count by 15 to nine.

The Hammers were without their two top scorers, Sebastien Haller and Robert Snodgrass, both injured, but they came within an inch of scoring when Bowen’s shot hit the upright.

West Ham boss David Moyes hasn’t chalked up a win against Mourinho in 14 attempts and the Hammers have lost their last seven away league games.

 

What’s next?

Spurs are back in action a week on Thursday when they head north for a meeting with Sheffield United. The Blades have made a slow start to their return to action, drawing with relegation-threatened Aston Villa before being thumped 3-0 by Newcastle United.

On the following Monday, Everton are the visitors to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

During the lockdown, we looked at the relegation battle and our SBOBET tips weren’t good news for the Hammers. The early results have seen Brighton pick up four points, which have lifted Graham Potter’s side five clear of the drop.

Moyes’ side really need to pick up some points soon, but they have another tough London assignment when they meet Chelsea next Wednesday, before taking on Newcastle at St. James’ Park.

 

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25-Jun 2020 Thursday 6:54 PM (210 days ago)            #45
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Premier League: Liverpool So Close They Can Smell It!

Liverpool 4-0 Crystal Palace

There have been 30 years of hurt in the red corner of Merseyside as far as the top prize is concerned.

Few would have thought that, when Liverpool were last top dogs in England in 1990, it would take so long for them to return to the summit.

Yet here they are on the brink of grasping what has eluded them for so long. Premier League champions-elect, within touching distance of the trophy they crave more than any other.

In fact, after an evening in which they provided Premier League 2020 highlights galore against opponents who offered little resistance, the job could be even completed within 24 hours.

Should outgoing champions Manchester City fail to beat Chelsea on Thursday, as they did at Stamford Bridge last season, the title will be theirs.

 

Highlights of the game

In truth, the outcome of this season’s title has not been in doubt in this SBOBET pundit’s mind since early November when Liverpool rode their luck before overtaking City and establishing a lead they never looked like surrendering.

Indeed, it was an advantage that only increased with most passing weeks to the extent that the Premier League 2020 betting odds on a Liverpool title triumph must have stopped being offered some time ago.

Here was further proof why.

First, Trent Alexander-Arnold curled a superb free-kick past the helpless Wayne Hennessey.

Then, after the captain who will soon be lifting the Premier League trophy aloft, Jordan Henderson, hit the post, a first-class ball from Fabinho found Mo Salah and you know the rest!

Premier League: Liverpool dominated Crystal Palace with a four-nil win

Sadio Mane celebrates scoring Liverpool’s fourth goal of the match

It was the Brazilian himself who netted the goal of the game early in the second period with a 30-yard piledriver, before the scoring was completed by Sadio Mane – arguably the club’s player of the season – whose run and finish exuded confidence and style.

Game over, title over. Now for the confirmation.

For Palace, this surely ends their slim aspirations of European football next term – that would be some achievement for Roy Hodgson. The 73-year-old manager may have seen most things the game has to offer throughout a fine career, but is still going strong and has revitalised the south London club.

But from the moment their best player, Wilfried Zaha, limped off inside the opening 15 minutes, their best chance of causing a surprise here was gone.

Liverpool are virtually home and hosed and will be deserved champions.

 

Key statistics

Liverpool are unbeaten in 56 home league matches (won 46, drawn 10) since a 2-1 defeat by Palace in April 2017.

The Reds have won their last 23 league games at Anfield, the best ever winning home run in English top-flight history.

Liverpool have won six successive league games against the Eagles and scored 15 goals in the process.

Alexander-Arnold has been directly involved in 30 Premier League goals since his debut in August 2016. With five goals and 25 assists, that’s at least five more than any other defender in that time.

Mane is the 10th player to score in six consecutive Premier League appearances against a single team and the second to do so for Liverpool after Salah v Bournemouth.

Liverpool have scored more than 100 goals in all competitions for a third consecutive season, the first time they have done so since 1986-87.

Palace’s three most recent league wins over the Reds have all been at Anfield – in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Palace are the only team to have a beaten a Jurgen Klopp-managed Liverpool side more than once at Anfield.

This was Fabinho’s 50th Premier League appearance and his 41st victory – only Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Arjen Robben and Ederson (all 42) and Aymeric Laporte (43) won more of their opening 50 games in the competition. They also ended those seasons with a league championship winners medal.

Hodgson’s side have lost eight of their 11 games against the clubs above them in the table (won one, drawn two).

 

What’s next?

Both sides get a rare weekend off amidst the congested end to the season before they’re back in action.

Palace host Burnley next Monday evening (June 29). Liverpool aren’t actually in action for a week when they travel to the team they’re about to wrestle the championship crown from, Manchester City, on July 2.

 

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26-Jun 2020 Friday 8:35 PM (209 days ago)            #46
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Chelsea Victory Hands Liverpool the Premier League

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

Liverpool are English league champions for the first time in 30 years thanks to a Chelsea win at home to second-placed Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Kevin De Bruyne hit a stunning free-kick to level after Christian Pulisic had fired the Blues ahead, but then a late Willian penalty gave the hosts all three points. Of course, Premier League: Chelsea vs Manchester City was a huge game for Frank Lampard’s Blues too in their quest to qualify for the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp’s champions did their bit against Crystal Palace last night, beating the Eagles 4-0. Half of Merseyside will have been mesmerised by the Chelsea vs Manchester City updates in the hope the result would go their way. And now their wait is over.

Meanwhile, Manchester United and Wolves both winning last night added a little more pressure to Chelsea, who’s sole aim is to hold on to that priceless fourth place.

 

Highlights of the game

After opening up their restart with two impressive wins, the Sky Blues began brightly again tonight — dominating the ball and controlling the pace of play with Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling both testing the Chelsea full backs. It was Blues goalkeeper, Kepa, who was sweating the most when he hesitated over a clearance and Bernardo Silva almost made him pay, but the City forward couldn’t stab the ball home before the keeper recovered.

Kepa redeemed himself, on 19 minutes, when Fernandinho met a Riyad Mahrez cross only to see his header expertly tipped over the bar. The first half hour was City’s for sure, but Chelsea had a couple of good chances on 33 minutes. Ross Barkley crossed for Christian Pulisic but City scrambled the ball away, and then Fernandinho blocked a Barkley effort after good work from Mason Mount.

That gave the Blues confidence and Pulisic added real belief on 36 minutes, when he nicked the ball away from Benjamin Mendy on the half way line and sprinted towards goal before beating Ederson in a one-on one with a low shot into the bottom right corner.

Anfield rejoiced!

City had been so good in the first half, but sloppiness at the back had cost them.

They opened the second half as they had the first when Mendy had two pot shots at goal, and when Mahrez won a free-kick, just about within shooting distance, that meant one thing. De Bruyne stepped up and hit a stunning shot high into the top corner giving Kepa no chance and making it 1-1 with over half an hour remaining.

They almost took the lead two minutes later when De Bruyne put Sterling through on goal and when he chipped the ball over the advancing Kepa, it bounced off the post and away to safety. Guardiola could smell blood and he threw on David Silva and Gabriel Jesus in place of Bernardo and Rodri. De Bruyne almost found Jesus with a deft cross but Chelsea survived.

Mason Mount had a great chance to restore Chelsea’s lead when Ederson made a hash of a clearance, but he rushed his shot and it flew over. At the other end, Sterling had a chance which whistled inches wide, and then Chelsea came so close to scoring. Pulisic beat Ederson again but Kyle Walker made up 20 yards to clear off the line, and Ederson had to react quickly to stop Tammy Abraham’s follow up effort.

Then came the real drama. Abraham seemed to have a shot saved but as the ball bounced around the box, VAR took a look and it became clear as day that Fernandinho was on his way for a deliberate red card.

Premier League: Chelsea win at home to second-placed Manchester City

Willian scored the penalty that gave Chelsea the victory

Willian stepped up and smashed the ball into the top right corner to send half of Merseyside wild, not to mention the Blues fans watching at home.

 

Key statistics

This game was Chelsea’s biggest test since the return of football with the pre-match

Chelsea vs Manchester City betting odds here at SBOBET backing the Sky Blues at 1.78 and Chelsea out at 4.30.

It was only the third time City have failed to win in their last 21 midweek matches. Meanwhile, Frank Lampard’s win record as Chelsea boss is over 50 per cent, with 16 victories from 31 games.

Chelsea star Pulisic has scored more goals this season, seven, than any other player aged 21 or under as the Blues winning streak increases to four games.

The brilliant Kevin de Bruyne is the first Premier League player to hit double figures in assists and goals this season, with 16 and ten.

 

What’s next?

Chelsea have an FA Cup quarter-final date with Leicester City this Sunday and that promises to be a great game between the Premier League’s third and fourth-placed teams.

Then it’s back to league matters. The Blues began the game just two points clear of the chasing pack and this result was huge. They have strugglers West Ham, Watford and Norwich City to play over the next couple of weeks. If they play to form, then a Champions League place is theirs.

Manchester City are in the FA Cup too and they have a quarter-final match against Newcastle United to look forward to. Then next Thursday, 2nd July, the Sky Blues meet the 2019/20 champions, Liverpool.

 

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30-Jun 2020 Tuesday 2:10 PM (205 days ago)            #47
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Premier League: The Tale of The Toffees and The Foxes – Who Will Prevail?

Everton vs Leicester City

The Premier League underachievers host the overachievers.

That may seem a harsh statement but Everton, one of English football’s great institutions, have been off the footlights of the game for too long now.

Twice English champions and the holder of a European title in the mid-1980s, only an FA Cup success in 1995 (they also reached the 2009 final and created history before going down to defeat) has since followed.

Compare that to Leicester whose own Premier League highlights reel also include the biggest prize of all and it’s easy to see why Evertonians crave a return to their own glory days.

Talking Points

To prove the point, Leicester have actually already beaten Everton twice this season and go to Goodison Park in search of a hat-trick.

However, the blue half of Merseyside seem to have a little bit more about them now than they did during those meetings in a spell lasting little over two weeks in December, shortly before Carlo Ancelotti was appointed.

Consistency is the name of the game for the Italian whose side have returned to action with a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby followed by a narrow win at basement battlers Norwich – a productive return since the hiatus and one that shows Everton could well be tightening up at the back.

Their last Premier League defeat on home turf also came back in November, since when they have faced six of the teams currently above them in the table and taken 12 points from the 18 on offer, so they are taking small steps in the right direction.

Furthermore, the Toffees are the only Premier League side still unbeaten at home in 2020 across all competitions, while their ongoing streak of seven without defeat stretches back to Leicester’s last visit in December, when the Foxes won a League Cup tie on penalties.

While that form means Everton still have an outside chance of European qualification for next season, Leicester are sitting pretty above the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd, Spurs and Arsenal.

Lose this, though, and their Champions League spot could come under threat.

Brendan Rodgers’ side has drawn twice since the restart and remain comfortably in a Champions League berth but they could do with a few more wins between now and the end of the season to make sure.

As it stands, they still sit third in the table, surpassing all pre-season expectations to remain well on course for a return to the Champions League in 2020-21.

Yet they have won just four of their last 15 top-flight outings, including just one of their last seven and have seen their lead over fifth-placed Wolves cut to only three points.

They are expected to be without playmaker James Maddison once again for this one after he missed the FA Cup clash with Chelsea due to a hip injury which has required an injection

Jamie Vardy is currently leading the race for top scorer in Premier League

Jamie Vardy playing for Leicester City during their FA Cup match against Chelsea

Further forward, Jamie Vardy will once again go in search of his 100th Premier League goal having drawn blanks in both games since the return so far.

A goal and a win in midweek would do wonders as Leicester dare to dream of a return to European football’s top table again.

History

This is virtually as close as you can get historically. Everton have beaten the Foxes on 42 occasions, Leicester have 38 successes and there have been 32 draws.

Leicester have a good record at Goodison Park in recent years.

Earlier this season, they knocked the Toffees out of the League Cup quarter-finals on penalties, while last season they won this corresponding fixture by a solitary Vardy goal on New Year’s Day.

The league encounter in the Midlands this term was also won by Leicester thanks to a last-gasp goal from Kelechi Iheanacho after Vardy had cancelled out a Richardson opener.

Indeed, Everton have only won four of their last 14 meetings in all competitions.

Betting Tip

??
Everton vs Leicester City Over 2.75 @ 2.47
July 2, 01:00 (GMT+8)

This is very close to call with the SBOBET Premier League betting odds, as shown by the 1X2 odds on offer with Everton backed @ 2.58 and Leicester @ 2.87.

I was so tempted to go for the 1X2 draw @ 3.00 too.

Likewise, there are attractive odds with Asian Handicap betting, particularly Everton -0.25 @ 2.23 and the visitors -0.25 @ 2.38.

Their recent meetings have turned out to be extremely close affairs, as none of the last six matches saw the victors triumph with a bigger than one goal margin.

A repeat of last season’s scoreline – correct score 0-1 – will pay out @ 8.25.

Collectively, these two sides have only managed one goal apiece in their first two games back and have only been breached once, yet I expect goals galore at Goodison.

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30-Jun 2020 Tuesday 2:12 PM (205 days ago)            #48
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Premier League: More Blues on the Way for West Ham

West Ham United vs Chelsea

The big football clashes are coming thick and fast with Premier League: West Ham vs Chelsea next on the agenda; and it promises to be a cracker!

This is another classic match in which both teams are desperate for points. Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have gathered some real momentum in their push for Champions League football, while West Ham are in the fight of their lives for Premier League survival.

David Moyes was helicoptered into the London Stadium in December to try to haul the Hammers away from trouble, as he did in a previous stint in 2018, but so far he’s struggled to repeat that success, and time is fast running out.

Talking Points

All smiles at the Bridge

It’s been a great couple of weeks in West London, particularly if you’re a Chelsea fan.

The Blues’ stunning victory over Manchester City handed Liverpool the Premier League title, but from Frank Lampard’s point of view it massively boosted his team’s top-four hopes. Wolves are within two points but have played a game more, and if the Blues win on Wednesday they will move five points clear with six games remaining.

And Lampard’s team is making progress in the FA Cup too. Chelsea faced third-place Leicester City in the quarter-final yesterday and came through with an impressive second-half display as substitute Ross Barkley scored the only goal of the game, converting a cross from the in-form Willian.

Premier League: Ross Barkley is expected to be featured in Chelsea's match against West Ham United

Ross Barkley celebrates after scoring the against Leicester City in the quarterfinal of the FA Cup

Lampard reacted to a lacklustre first-half showing and took off young trio Mason Mount, Reece James and Billy Gilmour and the changes did the trick as the Blues made the last four of the competition, alongside Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs. US import Christian Pulisic was impressive again and he forced a brilliant save from Kasper Schmeichel. He’s bagged seven goals in his first season in the Premier League and looks to be an excellent buy.

Add to the exciting action on the field the recruitment of striker Timo Werner and you can see why Chelsea fans are smiling.

Blunt Hammers stumbling into trouble

Just as things appear so bright at Chelsea, over in the East End of London it’s all looking rather gloomy. West Ham spent heavily last summer bringing in some expensive recruits like Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals, and after a poor first half of the season, they splashed another £25 million to bring winger Jarrod Bowen from Championship club Hull City.

With a squad already containing midfield general Mark Noble, England starlet Declan Rice and Brazilian Felipe Anderson you’d think these additions would find a way towards mid-table… but not so far.

The Hammers shot themselves in the foot in a recent defeat to Spurs, when poor Tomas Soucek scored an own goal and then their defence parted to let Harry Kane inside to finish the job. That was West Ham’s second 2-0 defeat since the return of football, the first coming against Wolves.

Thankfully for David Moyes’ team only Brighton, of the bottom six, have made a positive return, with the remainder all failing to register a win between them. Watford lost to Southampton yesterday and that leaves four teams all within a point with Norwich City seemingly cut adrift. The Hornets are a side with plenty of talent but seem as intent on self-destructing as do the Hammers. Striker Andre Gray, along with Nathanial Chalobah and Domingos Quina were all left out of the Southampton game following an alleged lockdown party!

West Ham are in 17th at the top of three teams on 27 points and outside the drop zone on goal difference alone, two goals better off than Bournemouth in 18th. It couldn’t be tighter. But their destiny is in their own hands with games against Norwich City, Watford and Aston Villa still to come.

History

The Blues have had the upper hand over the Hammers in terms of West Ham vs Chelsea results in the Premier League era, winning 26 to West Ham’s 14, though an Aaron Cresswell goal gave the underdogs an unlikely 0-1 win at Stamford Bridge back in November.

Chelsea’s recent form is much stronger; the Blues have won five out of the last six and are unbeaten in five away from home, while West Ham have lost five out of six.

Betting Tip

??
West Ham United vs Chelsea Chelsea First Half Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.25
July 02, 03:15 (GMT+8)

The latest SBOBET odds are backing a Chelsea win at 1.61 with the draw at 3.85 and the Hammers out at 5.40.

The Blues are on a hot streak of form and I expect them to come out firing after Lampard gave them a rocket at half time in their FA Cup win.

It’s more misery for West Ham I’m afraid.

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30-Jun 2020 Tuesday 2:17 PM (205 days ago)            #49
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FA Cup: London vs Manchester Semi-Final Showdowns Set

The FA Cup quarter-final round did not produce any surprises as all the major favourites — Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City — safely made it through to the final four.

The two city rivals were then kept away from one another in the semi-final draw to set up two London vs Manchester clashes: Arsenal vs City and Chelsea vs United.

Those two mouth-watering encounters at Wembley are scheduled for the 18th and 19th of July, and the final set for the 1st of August.

But before looking that far ahead, SBOBET is here to take a look back at all the FA Cup action that went down in the quarter-final round.

Maguire’s extra-time winner sends Man United past Norwich

Manchester United have made it back to the last four of the FA Cup after outlasting Norwich City 2-1 in extra-time at Carrow Road.

Captain Harry Maguire’s goal in the 118th minute saw the Red Devils reach their third FA Cup semi-final for the third time in five years.

Odion Ighalo, who got the start up front over Anthony Martial, gave the away side the lead on 51 minutes. But Norwich pulled level on 75 minutes through a fine strike from Todd Cantwell.

Norwich held on to send the tie to extra-time, but they had to play the last 30 minutes down to 10 men after centre-back Timm Klose was sent off right before full-time.

Norwich were just two minutes away from forcing penalties, but Maguire had other plans. The United skipper, who stayed up inside the penalty area, reacted quickest to a loose ball and swept it in to send United through in trademark dramatic fashion.

Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos breaks Blades’ hearts

Arsenal have reached the FA Cup semi-final round after beating Sheffield United, 1-2, in the quarter-finals

Arsenal players celebrate after Dani Ceballos hits a late winning goal during their FA Cup quarter-final clash against Sheffield United

Not to be outdone, the next quarter-final between Arsenal and Sheffield United also featured some late drama.

The Blades thought they went ahead after just eight minutes when defender John Lundstram bundled the ball into the net. But the goal was correctly waved off by VAR for offside.

And to make matters worse for the hosts, Arsenal went ahead on 25 minutes. Alexandre Lacazette was clumsily brought down in the penalty area, and Nicolas Pepe stepped up to smash home from the spot.

Sheffield United battled for an equaliser, and it eventually came three minutes from time. After Arsenal failed to clear a long throw, the ball fell to David McGoldrick, who smashed the ball past Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez.

But the Blades’ elation would soon turn to heartbreak as the Gunners would grab a late winner in stoppage time. Substitute Dani Ceballos was cool as a cucumber as he dribbled towards Dean Henderson then slotted the ball past the Blades keeper.

Barkley strike leads Chelsea over struggling Leicester

Fresh off their fine win over Manchester City in the Premier League, Chelsea continued their impressive form by knocking out Champions League hopefuls Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

Substitute Ross Barkley’s 63rd-minute strike was enough to see the Blues through to their third FA Cup semi-final in four years. They had reached back-to-back finals in 2017 and 2018.

Brendan Rodgers’ side started out the brighter of the two, but they could not create many clear-cut FA Cup 2020 highlights throughout the match.

Scoring goals has been a serious concern for Leicester in recent matches. Excluding a 4-0 win over Aston Villa just before the suspension of play, they’ve now scored just two goals in their last seven matches.

The Foxes will have to rediscover their form in the league, with Chelsea just one point behind and the likes of Wolves and Manchester United also still in the hunt for a Champions League spot.

Manchester City cruise past Newcastle

And last but not least, the most one-sided tie of the quarter-final round was Manchester City’s dominant 2-0 victory over Newcastle United.

The FA Cup 2020 odds had City as massive favourites, and they showed why right from the off. They had over 80 per cent of possession and had 15 of their 20 total shots in the first half. However, they were unable to get most of those shots on target.

They were only able to go up after Newcastle conceded a penalty for a foul on Gabriel Jesus. Kevin de Bruyne stepped up to score from the spot.

City were well in control and could afford to put their foot off the gas in the second half, especially after they sealed the win with their second goal on 68 minutes.

 

Raheem Sterling cut inside into his favoured right foot and uncorked a curling strike which went beyond the reach of Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow.

City now set up a rematch with Arsenal, whom they just thrashed 3-0 in the league with help from Gunners defender David Luiz.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:30 PM (191 days ago)            #50
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Premier League: Manchester City Have a Point To Prove

Manchester City vs Liverpool

The newly crowned Premier League champions head to the Etihad Stadium on Thursday to meet the team they have just dethroned, and Liverpool could be on the end of an ambush.

Had Pep Guardiola’s side kept pace with the leaders then this fixture could have been the big match of the season. But instead, it has turned into a celebration of Jurgen Klopp’s team’s outstanding league triumph.

And that will hurt last year’s champions who will form a guard of honour for the Reds before the game begins.

But the minute they cross the white line the hospitality will end. The pre-season SBOBET odds pitched Manchester City as the title favourites but by Christmas, Liverpool were pretty much out of sight.

In some ways with City’s defeat at Chelsea last week — which handed Liverpool the title — it makes this game more of an exhibition, though the Sky Blues will be keen to prove they can beat the Reds while the visitors will be equally determined to keep their hosts in their place.

Talking Points

Premier League: Mohamed Salah is expected to score as Liverpool visit Etihad Stadium

Mohamed Salah in action during Liverpool’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace

Klopp says Reds are ready to go again

Any talk of the Liverpool coach having achieved everything he can at Anfield has been quickly dismissed by Jurgen Klopp, who insists he is already thinking about next season.

He’s won the Champions League and now the Premier League with the Reds, but Klopp wants to take them on another journey to even greater heights.

And he’s happy that his squad — which has taken him four years to build — is ready for another successful campaign.

Klopp admits there isn’t a bottomless pit of money at Anfield and the impact of COVID-19 is likely to have a subduing effect on transfer activity. But he also believes spending heavily on reinforcements wouldn’t necessarily be the right thing to do.

“It’s not a squad you have to change now and say, ‘OK, we need this position and this position.’ We don’t have a first 11, I say we have a first 16 or 17, they can all play to the same level. But we have to use this, 100-per cent,” said Klopp.

Liverpool have already missed out on Red Bull Leipzig striker Timo Werner, who is on his way to Chelsea and Klopp will certainly not step back from the market entirely.

City’s focus will be laser sharp when the Reds arrive in Manchester

Pep Guardiola has hinted that the Sky Blues may have been struggling to concentrate in the Premier League, with higher priorities in the FA Cup and Champions League.

The defeat to Chelsea was followed by a thoroughly impressive Cup win over Newcastle United. But the Sky Blues have also shown ruthless form in the league, dismantling Arsenal and then Burnley with some ease.

His players have just lost the title in devastating fashion, and they will be keen to prove the 23-point gap between the two sides is not an accurate reflection of their relative abilities.

The Reds recently drew a blank in the Merseyside Derby and could easily have lost, so the Sky Blues will hope they can make the champions stutter again in a big game.

Foden is Sky Blues future

20-year-old Phil Foden has been making the headlines in Manchester over the past week having put in brilliant performances in the Sky Blues’ victories over Burnley and Newcastle United.

After scoring a double against the Clarets, he came off the bench to set up Raheem Sterling for the vital second goal against the Magpies which propelled the Sky Blues into the FA Cup semi-final.

Former City defender Joleon Lescott has said Foden’s obsession with football could lead him to become the most decorated player in English football.

“I did some work with the England under 21s and I had to ban footballs from the hotel because he was constantly with one at his feet! His obsession with football is not like I’ve seen before,” said Lescott.

His own ambition could take Foden to the top of the world, but he has had some of the best in the business to learn from including the departing David Silva and the Belgian ace Kevin de Bruyne – who has made 18 assists already this season.

History

Liverpool have had the better of the Premier League head-to-heads, winning 26 victories to Manchester City’s 11. And back in November, a 3-1 win for the Reds was a heavy blow in the league race.

Since then, Klopp’s side has been totally dominant – winning the title with seven games to spare with 28 victories from 31 games.

Recent form is in City’s favour though, as the Sky Blues have won four from the last six games while Liverpool have won two from six in all competitions.

Betting Tip

??
Manchester City vs Liverpool 1X2 Manchester City @ 2.12
July 3, 03:15 (GMT+8)

The latest Manchester City vs Liverpool betting odds have Pep’s team as favourites, with the draw at 3.35 and Liverpool at 3.20.

I expect the Sky Blues to make a point on Thursday. They will be hurting and will back themselves to deliver a timely reminder to Liverpool.

Of course, we’ll be back again on Thursday night with the Manchester City vs Liverpool news updates as they happen.

But there’s more great football to come in the meantime, starting with Brighton vs Manchester United tonight, and West Ham vs Chelsea on Wednesday.

The big games just keep on coming and we’re loving it!

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:32 PM (191 days ago)            #51
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Premier League: Sheffield and Tottenham Figure in Survival of the Fittest

Sheffield United vs Tottenham Hotspur

With this season’s Premier League title being already won by Liverpool, the focus towards the end of this campaign is now on which clubs will get to secure the UEFA Champions League and Europa League spots.

This year’s race for the spots in the European showcases was complicated for a bit due to several reasons. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is one, but the other one clearly had a ripple effect across the Premier League table in particular.

Manchester City was meted out a two-year ban by the UEFA Committee due to FFP violations. And if their appeal to the board is unsuccessful, that means that a new team will move up to take their place.

As of this writing, this means that Leicester City, Chelsea, and the Wolves will be in the Champions League, while Manchester United and Tottenham will be in the Europa League and Burnley are set to compete in the qualifiers.

So this weekend’s match will be of utmost importance for Sheffield United and Tottenham, given that only a point is what separates between these two teams.

Talking Points

Sheffield United have injury doubts on key players

Chris Wilder’s side are in miserable form since the league restart. They were held to a goalless draw against Aston Villa before losing three straight to Newcastle, Manchester United, and Arsenal.

Their defence has been suspect in those losses, giving up an average of 2.67 goals per match while they’ve only scored once during the said stretch.

Sheffield United are currently sitting at ninth place in the Premier League

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder watching the game from the touchline

And what hurts even more for them coming into this match is the fact that two of their key players are considered doubtful this weekend.

Blades midfielder John Lundstram suffered an arm injury during their recent FA Cup tiff and he will be missed for this game against the Spurs. The 26-year-old Englishman is one of their top scorers so far this term with four goals and three assists.

Another key cog who is in doubt is Jack O’Connell who has been helpful at the centre-back position. The former Rochdale captain was injured during training prior to their game against Aston Villa and has not been featured in the lineup ever since.

With him out, Jack Robinson, Chris Basham, and John Egan have been filling the void, along with Dean Henderson between the sticks for their backline.

Tottenham facing a big offseason conundrum

In stark contrast, the Spurs are basking in great form as of late because of their recent Premier League 2020 results – with one win and one draw since the league’s mandated hiatus.

The combo of Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Steven Bergwijn has shown no signs of rust whatsoever as they continue to terrorise their counterparts with their precise striking and pace.

On paper, the Lilywhites have an underrated lineup that can go all the way to secure a spot in the Champions League or Europa League. However, the only thing that can stop them at this point is the overall morale in the dressing room.

Tottenham would have to figure out on how to deal with Tanguy Ndombele especially since he is not happy with his current situation.

Despite all the talent and potential that he has, the French midfielder isn’t getting enough playing time – leading to him being disgruntled towards team boss Jose Mourinho.

Although the club mentioned that they have no plans on selling Ndombele this summer, they would be keen on avoiding making another blunder similar to how they did with Moussa Dembele two years ago.

History

Matches between Sheffield United and Tottenham are few and far between with neither of them really having the upper hand.

They’ve only faced each other in five matches where Tottenham won twice, and Sheffield United won once along with two draws.

The Blades and the Lilywhites drew level in their reverse fixture back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Heung-Min Son drew first blood with a goal in the 58th minute, but George Baldock was able to equalise 20 minutes later.

During the said game, Tottenham dominated possession at 61-per cent and with a healthier squad coming into this match, we can expect more of the same from them.

Betting Tip

??
Sheffield United vs Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham Hotspur Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 1.72
July 03, 01:00 (GMT+8)

Our latest Premier League 2020 odds point to a victory in favour of Tottenham as they are priced at 1.99, while Sheffield United are priced at 3.75 and a draw is at 3.35 in the 1X2 market.

If checking goals are your thing, you may want to place your wager at Total Goal 2-3 @ 1.89 given how low-scoring matches are the trend between these two clubs.

But I would lean more on betting a victory for the Spurs in this one especially since they’ve been in good form since the restart.

Tune in for more of your Premier League action here at SBOBET!

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:34 PM (191 days ago)            #52
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Premier League: Foxes Caught Cold Out of the Traps

Everton 2-1 Leicester City

When the Premier League paused in mid-March, Leicester City seemed certs for a Champions League spot.

Yes, they had a wobble but they still held a five-point advantage over fourth-placed Chelsea and an eight-point lead over fifth-placed Manchester United.

But now that the game has resumed following an enforced hiatus, Leicester City’s bid for a place at European football’s top table next term seems less clear.

This defeat at Goodison Park means Brendan Rodgers’ side are still searching for a first win since the restart and the gap is closing.

Indeed, at the end of this encounter it was his opposite number who was talking excitedly about Europe.

Highlights of the game

close contest was anticipated, and for the home side, the Premier League 2020 highlights all arrived inside little more than the opening quarter of an hour.

A week on since their last outing – a rarity in this post-lockdown rush to conclude the 2019-20 season – the Toffees were quick out of the traps to leave the Foxes chasing their tail.

In only his second top-flight start, Anthony Gordon’s whipped cross from the left found Richarlison and the Brazilian beat Kasper Schmeichel with an emphatic close-range finish for his 11th goal of the season.

That advantage was doubled shortly afterwards, albeit after a wait for VAR which ruled the ball had struck Wilfred Ndidi’s outstretched arm during an aerial challenge with Michael Keane.

The decision may have shocked Everton. After all, it was the first penalty they had been awarded in 39 league games.

It was also the first they have scored at Goodison since Wayne Rooney against Swansea in December 2017 as Gylfi Sigurdsson was calmness personified from the spot.

Into the second half and the introduction of Kelechi Iheanacho and James Maddison injected much-needed urgency into the visitors.

In fact, the former reduced the arrears when Jamie Vardy flicked a Youri Tielemans cross into his path inside the area. The striker’s first touch was heavy but an attempted clearance struck the Nigerian frontman and sailed beyond Jordan Pickford.

If there was an element of luck about that, fortune was with Everton when Keane made a fine goal-line clearance after a fumble from the unconvincing Pickford, while Iheanacho blasted over a gilt-edged chance.

Yet Everton were not to be denied and still harbour outside hopes of a Europa League spot.

Leicester still control their own destiny as far as Champions League qualification is concerned, but the Premier League 2020 betting odds are getting longer with each passing week.

Key statistics

Everton have now gone nine Premier League home games unbeaten for the first time since 2013.

Since the start of last season, Richarlison has scored 24 Premier League goals for Everton, at least five more than any other player for the club in this time. The Brazilian has three goals in his last four games versus Leicester.

Neymar (28) is the only Brazilian with more goals than Richarlison (24) in the top five European leagues since the start of last season.

Everton have not lost any of the last 58 home league games where they have been two or more goals ahead at half-time, winning 56 and drawing the other two.

The Toffees now have 44 points after 32 matches, already bettering their total of 40 from 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Carlo Ancelotti has lost only three of his 45 Premier League home matches as a manager (won 35, drawn seven).

Leicester have triumphed in just two of their 14 Premier League matches at Goodison (drawn seven, lost five) and won only four of their past 16 league fixtures overall (drawn five, lost seven).

However, the Foxes have won seven of their 16 Premier League away matches this term, a tally they have only bettered in the top flight in 2015-16 (11) and 1965-66 (nine).

Rodgers had been unbeaten in eight games against Everton before this match.

Leicester City endanger their hold of the top 4 Premier League spot

Brendan Rodgers looks dejected following their loss against Everton

Since making his Premier League debut in August 2015, Iheanacho has scored eight goals as a substitute. Only Olivier Giroud (16) has more in that time frame.

His goal meant the Toffees have become the first club to concede 2,500 top-flight home goals (although Everton have the second-highest unbroken spell in the top flight, playing there continuously since 1954).

What’s next?

Leicester are back in action on Saturday afternoon (July 4) as they host Crystal Palace before a visit to Arsenal just three days later in what is an unforgiving schedule – even by the standards of Project Restart. It’s a game this SBOBET observer believes is a must-win for them.

Everton do get a few extra days off before travelling to Spurs on Monday (July 6) and then host Southampton three nights later.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:43 PM (191 days ago)            #53
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Premier League: Last-Minute Joy for Happy Hammers

West Ham United 3-2 Chelsea

West Ham picked up a vital three points tonight in a five-goal thriller against Chelsea as substitute Andriy Yarmolenko fired home the winner in the 90th minute.

The win takes the Hammers three points clear of the bottom three in the Premier League relegation battle, but it was a blow to Chelsea’s Champions League hopes.

There was VAR controversy in a dramatic end to the first half when West Ham had a goal chalked off before Chelsea went ahead with a penalty and the Hammers battled back with a goal seconds before the half-time break. And in a ding-dong second half, the Hammers ran out winners thanks to Yarmolenko’s last-gasp strike.

After a significant set of Premier League 2020 results today, David Moyes’ team has been the big winner, and while there is a feel-good factor around Stamford Bridge at the moment, Chelsea will need it to come back after this hammer blow.

Highlights of the game

The hosts started brightly and had the first sight of goal. Pablo Fornals pressed well as the ball broke for Michail Antonio, who burst past Antonio Rudiger but screwed his shot wide when he should have tested Kepa.

Christian Pulisic had Chelsea’s best chance of the opening 20 minutes when Cesar Azpilicueta fed Tammy Abraham, who pulled the ball back to the American, but Pulisic curled his shot wide of the angle with the goal at his mercy.

Pulisic bagged the opener in the Blues’ win over Manchester City last week and he expected to bury this one too by his reaction.

The Hammers had to start without skipper Mark Noble, who’s back tightened up in training and so the captain’s armband was given to Declan Rice.

The team backed him up with a hard-working first-half performance, which he thought had reaped rewards on 34 minutes when Tomas Soucek met a flick-on from a corner and bundled the ball home.

But VAR halted the celebrations, and after an agonising wait of over three minutes, the goal was ruled out as Antonio, who was lying on the floor, was marginally offside. Was the striker interfering with play? Well, Kepa certainly thought so and he breathed a sigh of relief.

To add insult to injury, Chelsea were awarded a penalty two minutes later when Pulisic turned Issa Diop just inside the area, and the big defender stuck out a leg to catch the Blues’ young star. It was a switch of pace too swift for the Hammers player and Willian took advantage, sweeping the spot-kick calmly into the top left corner.

West Ham must have thought the whole world was against them, but there was some justice when they drew level on the stroke of half-time. Another corner, and this time Soucek headed the ball home and VAR stayed out of it!

It was a brave fight-back, and that seemed to give the Hammers belief as they started the second half as they ended the first. And they were deservedly ahead on 51 minutes.

It was an excellent passing move and when Fornals kept the ball alive and fed Jarrod Bowen on the right wing, his low cross was met by Antonio, who fired past Kepa and into the net.

Lampard rang in the changes and brought on Olivier Giroud and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, both of whom came close to scoring as Chelsea laid siege to the Hammers goal. And when Chelsea levelled at 2-2, it was thanks to two moments of brilliance.

First, Pulisic — the best player on the pitch — drew a foul from Declan Rice after an electrifying run. And Willian again was the beneficiary, curling a beauty of a free-kick in off the upright.

Chelsea failed to get the Premier League win against West Ham

Willian celebrates with Tammy Abraham after scoring the equaliser

The Hammers remained a threat on the break and Antonio almost broke through to score, but Kepa blocked his attempt. But there was nothing the Chelsea stopper could do when Yarmolenko sprung the offside trap before cutting inside Rudiger and firing home the winner.

Key statistics

With SBOBET odds of 1.59 for Chelsea to win and the Hammers out at 5.22, this was the shock of the night. The Blues had 70 per cent of the ball and won the shot count by 17 to 10, and six to three on target, but there’s only one stat that matters…3-2 to West Ham!

It’s only a second win in seven for the Hammers but it could be priceless.

What’s next?

Leicester City’s defeat to Everton this evening opened up the race for the Champions League and Chelsea will be kicking themselves after failing to take advantage.

Next up, the Blues face another struggling side, Watford, on Saturday before meeting Crystal Palace next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Hammers have games against Newcastle United and Burnley over the next seven days and neither will be easy. The Magpies hammered Bournemouth 4-1 today, while back-to-back wins have put the Clarets in contention for a Europa League place.

But all five other teams in the relegation scrap have lost their last game and so West Ham are now the form team in that battle!

And the latest Premier League 2020 betting odds have the bottom three, Norwich City, Bournemouth and Aston Villa all odds on to take the drop.

It’s been a great night for the Hammers.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:45 PM (191 days ago)            #54
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Premier League: Red Hot Devils To Pick On the Cherries

Manchester United vs AFC Bournemouth

A resurgent Manchester United squad will continue to further boost their chances at a Champions League spot as they host AFC Bournemouth for this Saturday’s Premier League match.

The recent Premier League 2020 odds for the Red Devils to do so have been optimistic especially since Chelsea lost in an upset versus West Ham United last night to where goals where scored left and right.

The gap between Manchester United and Chelsea have narrowed significantly because of the said result as they now have 52 and 54 points respectively – good for the fifth and fourth spots at the Premier League table.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have been in superb form ever since the start of the year and his boys are ready to roll against their relegation-threatened visitors.

AFC Bournemouth, on the other hand, are in quite a dire situation right now. They are second to the last with only 27 points and they are praying fervently for survival in the English top-flight.

The stakes are high particularly for the Cherries in this match as they will try to churn out some favourable Premier League 2020 results in the next few matchdays.

For today, allow SBOBET to give you a preview for this upcoming fixture.

Talking Points

Man Utd basking in great form lately

It is refreshing to see that United have maintained their superb form as they remain undefeated in all competitions since losing to champions-elect Liverpool in mid-January.

Since the project restart, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have won three of their last four, and those victories came in high scoring fashion.

A huge part of United’s success is their improved chemistry. Paul Pogba, who was hampered by injuries pretty much the whole season, has been developing a fascinating midfield partnership with Bruno Fernandes – who has been quite influential on that end for the team.

Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood have had a hand in a couple of goals for United too, scoring four of their last eight, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have been taking care of the backline.

Perhaps the mandated coronavirus break was a blessing in disguise for the Red Devils in terms of overall fitness. For a time, Marcus Rashford was dealing with a back problem while ace goalkeeper David De Gea looked fatigued in some matches.

For this upcoming match they will field in a much more complete roster. Only fringe players such as Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are considered as doubts as they deal with minor injuries of their own.

Bournemouth slowly approaching doomsday

A lot has changed ever since the Cherries defeated the Red Devils back in November in their reverse fixture.

If I remember that game well, it was Josh King who delivered the knockout blow in the 45th minute, sending United down all the way to the 10th spot at the table with only 13 points.

But since then, that win preceded a five-match losing streak for Eddie Howe’s side and they haven’t recovered since as they are now in a relegation battle.

The Cherries are winless since the restart after being swept aside by Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Newcastle United. All in all, they have yet to grab their first victory since the start of February.

Premier League: Eddie Howe fearing sack after Bournemouth poor form continued with a 4-1 home defeat to Newcastle

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe reacts after the match vs Newcastle United

Unlike United, Eddie Howe’s luck with player availability isn’t looking too good.

Their top scorer in Callum Wilson will be serving his two-game suspension while Josh King is dealing with an ankle concern. Meanwhile, left-back Charlie Daniels is still expected to be out too because of the knee injury he sustained last year.

With this game to be played at Old Trafford, it will be hard to envision the same result back in November due to their horrid away form.

History

Matches between these two clubs have only come few and far between as they’ve played each other in only 17 times.

Manchester United hold the upper hand in the head-to-heads with 11 wins while Bournemouth won only twice along with four draws.

The Cherries’ recent win over the Red Devils was their first victory against them since 1989.

Betting Tip

??

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:47 PM (191 days ago)            #55
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Premier League: Sky Blues Give Champions A Brutal Reminder

Manchester City 4-0 Liverpool

Tonight Manchester City, the 2019 Premier League champions, gave a guard of honour to Liverpool, the 2020 kings, and then gave them a thrashing!

Of all the top flight matches played this week, this game, Premier League: Manchester City vs Liverpoolwas probably the only one with nothing riding on it. Nothing, that is, apart from pride. Pep Guardiola’s deposed champions had a point to prove, and the Manchester City vs Liverpool betting odds here at SBOBET backed the Sky Blues to win.

And win they did in some style. A penalty, converted by man-of-the-match Kevin de Bruyne, put the hosts ahead on 25 minutes and by half time they were 3-0 up and out of sight.

Of course, the Sky Blues handed Liverpool the title when they lost to Chelsea and they wanted to show the Reds that they won’t make it so easy next season.

Highlights of the game

In the early exchanges, Gabriel Jesus stroked the ball into the net with just two minutes on the clock but was flagged offside, and he strayed again when Kevin de Bruyne put him through on 18 minutes. City’s defence too was playing a high line but Liverpool managed to spring it and when Mo Salah cut inside and hit a low shot which beat Ederson but cannoned back off the post.

City’s breakthrough came on 25 minutes and it was a smart piece of play from Raheem Sterling which created the chance. He rolled Joe Gomez in the penalty area and with the defender’s arm around his waist he tumbled to the ground to give the referee no option but to point to the spot.

Kevin De Bruyne led Manchester City to a convincing win against the Premier League champions Liverpool

Kevin De Bruyne plays the ball during Man City’s clash against Liverpool

The Sky Blues have missed a fair few penalties this season but with the responsibility now on Kevin de Bruyne’s shoulders the outcome was more certain and he stroked his spot-kick into the left corner of the net, sending Alisson the wrong way. That was the Belgian’s 11th goal of another impressive season in which he’s also made 16 assists.

Ten minutes later City doubled their lead, and the way they cut through Liverpool’s defence was incisive. De Bruyne passed to Jesus who found Phil Foden just outside the box, and he slid the ball through to Sterling who did the rest, beating Gomez again and sliding the ball inside the left-hand post.

And then after another ten minutes it was 3-0, and this time it was Foden teasing the Liverpool defence as he played a one-two with Jesus, leaving the usually excellent Andy Robertson floundering before the lifted the ball over Alisson and into the net.

Foden almost made it four, minutes into the second half, after De Bruyne put him in on goal but Virgil van Dijk made a goal-line clearance. But City were relentless and scored the fourth midway through the second half. It was De Bruyne again launching the attack with a precision ball to Sterling, and while his shot was heading wide it was diverted into his own net by a stretching Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Few, if any, Liverpool fans will be watching the Manchester City vs Liverpool highlights tonight, and I don’t blame them.

The title is theirs… and anyone can have a night off!

Key statistics

This was a night for Liverpool to forget as they failed to score for the fifth consecutive away game, the last time they went on such a drought was 1992, just two years after the Reds last won the title!

And before tonight the Reds had only conceded two away goals before half time all season, and they beat that total in one go.

It was a big game for the Pep Guardiola. The City manager was taking charge of his 400th league game in an illustrious career at three of Europe’s top teams. And tonight’s opponent has beaten him more than any other manager he’s faced. Jurgen Klopp has come out on top against Pep nine times but had no answer this evening.

What’s next?

Manchester City still have the FA Cup and Champions League to look forward to. The Sky Blues are in the semi-final of England’s domestic showpiece and have one foot in the last eight of the Champions League, having beaten Real Madrid in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash.

Before that, the Sky Blues face two mid-table sides over the next seven days, away to Southampton and then at home to Newcastle.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Premier League champions are set to challenge two teams in the relegation mix, firstly Aston Villa make the trip to Anfield on Sunday before the Reds head to the south coast next Wednesday to take on Brighton.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:50 PM (191 days ago)            #56
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Premier League: Molineux The Trigger For Key Period

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal

A traditional meeting between two proud English footballing institutions this.

And how the tables have turned – for now at least – as Wolves prepare to host the Gunners six points ahead of them in the Premier League table with six points remaining.

Two years ago, Wolves had only just been promoted from the Championship!

That the Black Country boys continue to be in contention for a Champions League berth next season, while also being in the last 32 of the Europa League in a campaign they began nearly 12 months ago, is testament to the players and manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Life has not been as rosy for Arsenal who are on their third manager of 2019/20 (when you include a temporary appointment) and have again displayed their regular weaknesses and failings all too regularly.

Mikel Arteta, though, deserves time, something his full-time predecessor Unai Emery was not really given.

Talking Points

Arteta has already said he is preparing for three different squad-building scenarios depending on their final league position and has not ruled out having to wheel and deal more generally in order to recruit.

Creating some of their own Premier League highlights at Molineux would certainly earn him some brownie points, as well as keep alive Arsenal’s faint hopes of qualifying for next season’s Europa League.

Having lost their first two matches after the restart, the Gunners have now won their past three, have an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to, while Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is level on 19 goals with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.

8th placed Gunners are 6 points behind Wolves in the Premier League table

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring their third goal against Norwich City

It’s certainly a quick turnaround following their 4-0 trouncing of bottom club Norwich in midweek.

That result highlighted their undoubted attacking strength, even if it took two opposition mistakes to make the breakthrough against the Canaries.

With key matches against Leicester, north London rivals Spurs and newly crowned champions Liverpool to come over the next week and a half – followed by that FA Cup semi-final – there is no question this fixture heralds the start of a week which could define their season.

Wolves go into this one after a week off but also entering a key period and knowing this kick starts a run of four games in just 12 days.

They will also hope to do better than the last time they hosted a north London giant when they went down to a last-gasp defeat.

For Wolves, whatever happens in the final month of the season, they can look back with pride at a second successive top flight campaign in which they have surpassed expectations.

For Arsenal, what happens next is arguably more pivotal.

History

Overall, Arsenal have the edge with 57 triumphs to 30 Wolves wins and a further 28 draws.

Yet since being promoted two seasons ago, Arsenal have yet to beat Wolves. Last season this contest saw the home side run out 3-1 winners with Ruben Neves, Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota all on target in a dominant first half before Sokratis Papastathopoulos added a consolation.

The reverse fixture at the Emirates finished 1-1 when a late Henrikh Mkhitaryan equaliser cancelled out Ivan Cavaleiro’s opener.

It was the same scoreline in north London earlier this term when Raul Jimenez earned Wolves a point after Aubameyang had opened the scoring.

This corresponding fixture last season was the first time in all competitions that Wolves had beaten Arsenal since 1979.

On that occasion, they won 3-2 at Highbury.

The very first meeting between the two clubs came in 1904 when Woolwich Arsenal won 2-0 – the scorers that September day were Tim Coleman and Charlie Satterthwaite.

Betting Tip

??
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal Over 2.50 @ 2.13
July 5, 00:30 (GMT+8)

The SBOBET Premier League betting odds reflect this is expected to be a close contest.

Wolves will start as favourites and can be backed 1X2 @ 2.31 or Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 2.02.

Arsenal are a bit further out with odds available 1X2 @ 3.20 and Asian Handicap 0.00 @ 2.33. The draw @ 3.05 could be a popular bet.

If Wolves are going to repeat last season’s showing – correct score 3-1 – you could earn yourself a pay day of @ 22.00.

If you are expecting a re-run of the encounter earlier this season – correct score 1-1 – a more likely @ 5.40 is on offer.

For two sides whose attacking displays receive regular plaudits, then goals should be a given.

Total goal 2-3 is available @ 1.90, total goal 4-6 @ 4.10 and over 2.50 goals @ 2.09.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:53 PM (191 days ago)            #57
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Premier League: Spurs and Everton Aim for Fast Finish

Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton

Premier League: Spurs vs Everton doesn’t sound like a mid-table clash but that’s exactly what it is, as these two proud clubs battle it out in the race to win a Europa League spot.

Spurs are in ninth place at the moment with Everton two places back in 11th, though both could slip even further down the table depending on how other results go on Sunday.

The Toffees have a little more momentum of the two; Spurs have won just one of their last six games while Everton arrive at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with back-to-back victories. The Spurs vs Everton betting odds slightly favour the Whites due to home advantage but this game could easily go either way.

Talking Points

Two legendary coaches come head to head

Both Spurs and Everton would hope to be higher in the table, especially with coaches of the gravitas of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti in the dugouts.

These are two of the most decorated head coaches in European football and have both won the Premier League as manager of Chelsea. Of the two Mourinho is under more pressure, managing a team which has recently expected to finish in the top four and were Champions League finalists in 2019.

A year ago Tottenham were third in the table on 64 points and they currently sit ninth with 45 points.

Mourinho is used to better. He came to prominence as a manager when he took un-fancied Porto all the way in the 2004 Champions League, beating Monaco 3-0 in the final. That win earned him a move to Chelsea where he won three Premier League titles. He coached Inter Milan to the Champions League and Serie A titles and then led Real Madrid to a La Liga win in 2012.

Ancelotti’s managerial career is just as impressive. He won two league titles and two Champions Leagues as head coach at Milan, a League and FA Cup double with Chelsea in 2010, and then he won the Bundesliga as manager of FC Bayern. He is one of only three managers to win the Champions League three times, also picking up Europe’s top prize at Real Madrid.

There’s little doubt who was the better player. Carlo Ancelotti won a Serie A title and four Coppa Italias in a stint at Roma before playing for the outstanding AC Milan team in the 1980s, while Jose had a brief and unremarkable career in the lower reaches of the Portuguese football league.

It’ll be interesting to see which of the two tactical experts comes out on top on Monday, but there’s another fascinating comparison for SBOBET fans to look at when Spurs host Everton.

Kane vs Calvert-Lewin

On the pitch there will be a striker spearheading each team aiming to outdo the opposite number nine. They have very different profiles in terms of world football but Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have pretty similar records this season.

Harry Kane has scored against all 29 of the Premier League teams he has faced

Harry Kane has scored the only goal for Spurs against Sheffield United

The Spurs skipper has 13 goals at a rate of one every 158 minutes and he’s made two assists, while Everton’s striker has bagged 13, at one goal every 168 minutes and he has made one assist. Calvert-Lewin has the slightly better shooting accuracy with 55 per cent of his shots on target to Kane’s 53 per cent.

Both are likely to feature heavily in the Spurs vs Everton highlights on Monday night, but each has good support. Everton’s Brazilian striker Richarlison has scored 11 goals while Heung-Min Son has nine goals for Spurs and the South Korean has nine assists.

Kane was on the mark in Spurs’ 2-0 win against West Ham while Calvert-Lewin is yet to hit the target since the resumption.

Richarlison scored in Everton’s victory over Leicester City though, and the Toffees have a dangerous partnership up front.

History

The head to heads in the Premier League era tell the story of two well-matched clubs, playing out 21 draws. But when the result has gone one way or the other the Londoners have often taken the spoils, winning three times as many as their opponents at 25 to eight.

They played out a 1-1 draw in November at Everton when Cenk Tosun scored a last-minute equaliser after Dele Alli had given Spurs the lead on the hour, while in the corresponding fixture last season Everton left London with a 2-2 draw.

Spurs are unbeaten in 11 encounters at home to Everton, but will an empty stadium make the difference?

Betting Tip

??

Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton Everton Asian Handicap + 0.50 @ 1.80
July 7, 03:00 (GMT+8)

I think it might. Spurs are at 2.08 with the draw at 3.15 and the Toffees at 3.35.

1-1 is the most likely score-line at odds of 5.80 and that looks likely to me. Of the two sides, Everton have settled back into their game more quickly and I think they will have the better of this match.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 2:59 PM (191 days ago)            #58
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Premier League: Arsenal Nab Rare Away Win

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Arsenal

If Premier League matches this season ended at half-time, Wolves would be bottom of the table.

That stat certainly shocked this SBOBET observer, especially as Wolves have been one of the teams of 2019/20 and went into this game against Arsenal with the chance to move (even if only temporarily) within goal difference of a highly sought-after top-four spot.

So, it seemed there was little reason for Wolves fans to worry about being behind at the break.

Yet this time, it turned out to be a rare occasion when they really were below par and weren’t coming back.

For in a match of few Premier League 2020 highlights, this was Arsenal’s night.

Highlights of the game

Adama Traore and the Wolves lost to Arsenal in their recent Premier League match

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Adama Traore in action against Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos during their recent Premier League clash

Home coach Nuno Espirito Santos had a fully-fit squad to select from in what was his 150th match in charge of Wolves.

One hundred and fifty matches in which he has made a name for himself and the club as one of the most promising around.

He made just the one change from last weekend’s narrow win at Aston Villa as Adama Traore replaced Diogo Jota, who was named among the substitutes.

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta made three changes to his Arsenal side from their midweek victory over Norwich.

Defender Cedric Soares was rewarded for his goal against the Canaries with a first start for the Gunners, while striker Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka returned to the starting line-up.

Interestingly, neither Matteo Guendouzi nor Mesut Özil, whose commitment to the cause had been questioned by Arteta this week, made the squad at all.

Wolves started as slight favourites on the Premier League 2020 betting odds: no surprise given they were on the back of an eight-match unbeaten league run, winning five, drawing three and keeping seven clean sheets in the process.

Furthermore, the Gunners had failed to win their last 17 Premier League away games against sides starting the day above them in the table.

I did not see an away win coming until just before the break.

That was when Saka drove the ball cleverly out of the reach of Rui Patricio.

After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found Manx-born Kieran Tierney (I am also Manx but that is where any footballing similarities end!) on the left, the full-back found Saka and the 18-year-old showed composure to net his first Premier League goal for the club.

Less than 10 minutes earlier, a deflection fell kindly for Nketiah, whose strike forced the alert Patricio to superbly divert the ball onto the post with his leg.

Into the second half and the hosts showed more urgency.

Raul Jimenez found substitute Jota, who wriggled into the box. His shot needed a fine block by David Luiz before the ball was hooked back into the danger zone, where Jimenez was a fraction away from converting an equaliser.

The lively Jota then found Adama Traore, who was clean through but more alert goalkeeping, this time from Emiliano Martinez, made the angle too difficult.

CLICK HERE

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

SERIE A

If either of those efforts had gone in, many would have backed Wolves to go on and win.

That they didn’t, gave Arsenal renewed hope and Joe Willock found another sub, Alexandre Lacazette, whose first touch took him clear and the Frenchman slotted the ball home just three minutes after entering the fray.

But for a goal-line Ruben Neves clearance, Arsenal would have enjoyed an even bigger winning margin as Lacazette and Aubameyang combined to play in Willock.

It didn’t matter and Wolves, despite being above both clubs in the table, had been beaten at home by north London giants again.

Key statistics

Arsenal have won nine of their past 12 matches in all competitions.

Saka is the second youngest English player to score a Premier League goal for Arsenal, after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (v Blackburn in February 2012).

Before his strike, Wolves had gone 448 minutes without conceding a league goal.

This win means Arsenal have secured back-to-back away league victories for the first time since August and three successive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since November 2017.

This was also their first away league victory against a side starting above them in the league table since September 2015.

The match-clinching second ended a run of 16 Premier League away appearances without a goal for Lacazette.

What’s next?

It’s fair to say this match triggered the start of a crucial 11-day period for both clubs.

Wolves travel to Sheffield United on Wednesday night (July 8), host Everton next Sunday (July 12) and then travel to Burnley three days later.

It’s an equally hectic schedule for Arsenal and an even tougher run of fixtures.

They host Leicester on Tuesday night, travel to rivals Spurs for the latest instalment of the north London derby next weekend and then are at Newcastle before facing Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 3:38 PM (191 days ago)            #59
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Premier League: In-Form Arsenal Gunning for Crucial Win over Foxes

Arsenal vs Leicester City

Arsenal’s hopes of a top-five finish — and a possible Champions League berth — are still alive. The Gunners have recovered from a rocky start to their restart to win three games on the bounce in the Premier League, which includes a massive away victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Arsenal now have another major matchup coming up as they host third-placed Leicester City. The struggling Foxes finally got back to winning ways after beating Crystal Palace.

But their recent slump has allowed Chelsea and Manchester United to close in, which means they are also under pressure to pick up a good result against the Gunners.

Talking Points

Arteta’s moves working for Arsenal

Arsenal had a disastrous beginning to their restart, suffering back-to-back away defeats to Manchester City and Brighton.

But credit to Mikel Arteta, the Gunners have gotten back on track since. They defeated both Southampton in the league and Sheffield United in the FA Cup, then thrashed Norwich 4-0 at home before they defied the Premier League 2020 odds with a big win at Wolves.

Arteta’s decision to change the formation from a back four to a back three has done wonders for Arsenal’s defence.

David Luiz, who was so disastrous after coming on as a substitute against City, has been part of two of the three consecutive clean sheets Arsenal have kept in the league since returning from suspension.

Arteta has also given Granit Xhaka his place in midfield as the drama involving young midfielder Matteo Guendouzi continues. Xhaka scored in the Gunners’ 4-0 thrashing of Norwich.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have also gotten timely contributions from youngsters Eddie Nketiah, Joseph Willock, Nicolas Pepe, and Bukayo Saka, while veteran strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette continue to find the back of the net.

Aubameyang, who bagged a brace against Norwich, has now scored each of his last six goals at the Emirates.

Arsenal have certainly benefitted from their star striker’s amazing home form; they’ve gone unbeaten in their last six home games in the league, with five wins and a draw.

Foxes finally end winless slump

Leicester City have had a rough restart to the season. After drawing their first two games against Watford and Brighton, they lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals, then lost again away to Everton in the league.

That run of poor Premier League 2020 results has allowed Chelsea and Manchester United to close the gap on them in third place. However, they finally picked up their first win since the restart as they crushed Crystal Palace 3-0 at home.

Kelechi Iheanacho, who got the start alongside Jamie Vardy after scoring in the loss to Everton, put the Foxes in front just after half-time. Vardy then capitalised on a crucial slip by Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho to make it two and added a third goal late in stoppage time.

Vardy is now up to 21 goals on the season, two clear of Arsenal’s Aubameyang for the Premier League lead. The 31-year-old had been struggling mightily since the restart, so this performance should help boost his confidence.

Jamie Vardy is currently the leading top scorer in Premier League with 21 goals


Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring against Crystal Palace

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers decided to play with a back three against Palace, and it will be interesting to see whether he sticks with the same formation to match up better with Arsenal.

Midfielder James Maddison missed out on the Crystal Palace win after a reoccurrence of a hip injury which also saw him miss the FA Cup match against Chelsea. Rodgers may have no choice but to stick with that line-up if Maddison isn’t fit enough to return.

History

Arsenal have historically had the upper hand against Leicester. The two sides have met 27 times since 1994, with Arsenal claiming 16 victories to Leicester’s four, with seven draws.

However, the Foxes have turned the tables in recent years. They’ve won three out of the last four meetings against the Gunners, albeit all three have been at home.

They won their first league meeting of the season 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Vardy and Maddison. Vardy has an excellent record against Arsenal, scoring nine goals in nine games against them — his most against any Premier League opponent.

Since Leicester’s return to the Premier League in 2014, the home side has won all but three of the last 11 of the meetings between these two teams.

Betting Tip

??

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 3:43 PM (191 days ago)            #60
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Premier League: Sheffield and Wolves Heading for Europe

Sheffield United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

If, at the start of the 2019/2020 season, you’d have said Premier League: Sheffield United vs Wolves would be a key battle in the race for Europe you would have attracted very few believers and an avalanche of ridicule. The Blades were favourites for the drop, while Wolves, on their first Europa League campaign, were expected to toil a little more in their second season at the top.

But fast forward nine months and the impossible dream is becoming more real by the week. Sheffield head coach Chris Wilder has guided his team to within touching distance of a Europa League place, and it would be a remarkable achievement to emulate Wolves’ first season feat. Meanwhile, Nuno Espirito Santo’s golden revolution at Molineux continues at speed and his team is still in the hunt for a Champions League place.

This Wednesday night game promises to be a fascinating clash, so let’s take a closer look at the two teams and find the best value in the Sheffield United vs Wolves betting odds, right here at SBOBET.

Talking Points

Blade’s attacking backs

John Egan ended Sheffield United's Premier League match against Burnley in a 1-1 draw

Sheffield United’s John Egan celebrates after scoring against Burnley

Part of Wilder’s philosophy, which has taken Sheffield United from League 1 obscurity to Premier League stability, is to rip up the tactics book and innovate. His three overlapping centre backs have shaken things up in the top flight as his defensive unit attacks with freedom.

Centre back, John Egan, finished like a seasoned striker to grab the Blades a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Burnley on Sunday, while Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell have played together for four years; and are regularly seen raiding down the wings.

An injury to O’Connell kept him out when play resumed and he made a first appearance in the last half hour at Turf Moor. His absence has been unsettling for the Blades who lost three on the bounce before beating Spurs and drawing with the Clarets.

This unit of three has been a key component of Wilder’s success, as has the brilliant form of on-loan keeper Dean Henderson. He’s likely to return to Manchester United in the close season but Henderson has a big role to play in South Yorkshire over the next couple of weeks.

Wolves can still make the Champions League

With five games still to play Wolves are five points behind Chelsea, who are in possession of the fourth Champions League spot. But fifth placed Manchester United are only three points away and, depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s appeal against their UEFA ban, fifth place might be good enough to qualify for Europe’s top competition.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo has always said his side has never thought about qualifying for the Champions League, but it would be hard to ignore the possibility when it is potentially so close.

Nuno’s side is still in the 2019/20 Europa League, with a chance to reach the last eight having drawn their first leg Round of 16 tie with Olimpiacos. And they have juggled European matters with their domestic responsibilities quite superbly. Wolves play an attractive brand of football with midfield maestro Joao Moutinho pulling the strings. He has seven assists to his name while striker Raul Jimenez continues to thrive, scoring 15 league goals already this season.

But the biggest revelation has been flying winger Adama Traore who has pace to burn and has contributed nine assists.

Defeat to Arsenal ended a run of three consecutive wins for Wolves and they will be keen to bounce back at Bramall Lane.

History

These are two well-matched sides now, and they have been so in the meetings held since 1995. The Blades have won nine to Wolves’ 11 and there have been 12 draws; though the head to head Sheffield United vs Wolves results over this period aren’t all from the Premier League, by a long stretch.

These two teams met in the Championship in 2018 and in League 1 as recently as 2014. But both have had a remarkable rise back to the top which shows no sign of slowing.

Betting Tip

??
Sheffield United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.95
July 9, 1:00 (GMT+8)

However Wolves’ season ends up they can look back with pride, and we can say the same for the Blades. The odds for this game back the visitors at 2.10, which makes sense as Wolves are unbeaten in four away games.

With Sheffield United at 3.45 and the draw at 3.05 all three results are well in play; and the most likely score line is another 1-1 for the Blades, at odds of 5.40.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 3:48 PM (191 days ago)            #61
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Premier League: Wounded Mourinho Receives Reaction He Requested

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton

It’s said that top managers are at their most dangerous when they feel wounded.

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they lick their wounds and do everything in their powers to bounce back.

After last Thursday’s 3-1 Premier League defeat at Sheffield United, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said he was “destroyed a little bit on the inside” and “disturbed” by the fact their opponents had more desire than his own charges.

So, it was with a certain inevitability that Spurs bounced back here, even if this was a far from convincing performance – from either side – and one which required a fortunate own-goal to separate the sides.

Highlights of the game

On the occasion of his 200th Premier League win, Mourinho made two changes from the side humbled in Sheffield as Toby Alderweireld and Harry Winks came in for Davinson Sanchez and Steven Bergwijn.

For Everton, one home-grown player came in for another with Tom Davies replacing youngster Anthony Gordon, who impressed in last week’s 2-1 win over Leicester.

Billed a mid-table clash before kick-off, Premier League 2020 highlights were few and far between.

Lucas Moura fired a 25-yard strike narrowly wide and that was the only real moment of quality before the decisive moment midway through the first half.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min linked up before the former’s shot was blocked into the path of Gio Lo Celso, whose powerful strike hit the back of the luckless Michael Keane and flew past a stranded Jordan Pickford.

Just before the break, a Richarlison run and drive flashed just past Hugo Lloris’s goal and it was the Spurs captain who was making the talking points at half-time.

As the whistle sounded, he ran around 40 yards to express his anger with Son as he left the field, shoving the Korean in the back and clearly unhappy about something as the pair had to be separated by team-mates.

It was ironic given that Lloris has been “Mr. Inconsistent” personified at times over the last 18 months, while Son has been a ray of light in Spurs’ brighter moments.

Son Heung-Min and Hugo Lloris’ bust-up cools off after Tottenham Hotspur bounced back in the Premier League

Hugo Lloris celebrates with teammate Son Heung-min after Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 victory over Everton

Whatever it was that sparked the Frenchman’s anger, it was all forgotten about by the end of the contest and was a sign Mourinho admitted he was pleased to see.

“Beautiful” and “something needed for the team to grow up” was presumably what he had hoped for when he spoke of a lack of desire four days earlier.

Into the second half, Son stung the gloves of Jordan Pickford and also called the England goalkeeper into action again, but there was little other goalmouth action to report.

Indeed, the game generally added weight to my theory that without a crowd, football has lost some of its intensity (not to mention its enjoyment) and, for those sides with little to play for, many of the end-of-season matches are little more than exhibition games and a case of dutifully fulfilling the fixture list.

Spurs may be playing in Europe next season; Everton definitely will not.

Key statistics

Mourinho has become the fifth manager to reach 200 Premier League victories, with only Sir Alex Ferguson (322) doing so in fewer games than the Portuguese (326)

Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in two of their past three league games – as many as they had in their previous 14.

Everton have now scored 52 own goals in the Premier League, at least six more than any other team. Aston Villa are next on 46 in the Premier League era.

This was also the fourth own goal Tottenham have benefited from this season, a joint league-high.

Everton have lost exactly half of their Premier League games in London (78 out of 156), with only Newcastle (79) losing more in the capital than the Toffees.

Tonight’s result means they have not beaten Spurs for 15 meetings.

These two Premier League mainstays have faced each other on 178 occasions in all competitions, with Tottenham coming out on top with 67 wins to Everton’s 55 triumphs. There have also been 58 draws.

Everton have struggled in this fixture in recent years, mind, and have not beaten Spurs in more than seven years.

Their last victory was a 2-1 win in December 2012, thanks to last-gasp goals.

Steven Pienaar equalised in the final minute of normal time before Nikica Jelavic netted the winner in added time at the end of the game.

They did draw 2-2 at Spurs on the final day of last season and earlier this season, a game most notable for an Everton equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time and accidentally caused serious injury to Andre Gomes.

What’s next?

If there were SBOBET Premier League 2020 betting odds offered for entertainment, I can guarantee Spurs’ next match will be more enjoyable than this.

On Thursday, they travel to a Bournemouth side in desperate need of points, while Everton host Southampton at Goodison Park at the same time.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 3:51 PM (191 days ago)            #62
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Premier League: Red Devils Will Be Too Hot For Villa

Aston Villa vs Manchester United

The Premier League big games keep coming thick and fast folks, and we have another cracker on Thursday night when Aston Villa vs Manchester United is the entertainment on offer.

The Red Devils have been impressive since the restart. After opening up with a draw against Spurs, they beat Sheffield United, Norwich City, Brighton and Bournemouth, scoring 13 goals and conceding three.

Okay, they have been playing struggling teams over the last couple of weeks but you can only beat what is in front of you, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team has done it in style.

In contrast, Dean Smith’s Aston Villa can’t buy a win. But they have had a tough run of fixtures, losing to Chelsea, Wolves and Liverpool.

When you’re down on your luck, you don’t get a lot of help, so the 18th-placed Villa must find something from within to get themselves out of this mess.

But the latest Aston Villa vs Manchester United betting odds here at SBOBET point to another tough night for the home team, with the Red Devils as short as 1.30 to take all three points.

Talking Points

Huge week for Villa

Take a look at the Premier League fixtures and you can see just how daunting Villa’s position is.

With West Ham picking up four points from the last two games, it looks like two from Watford, Bournemouth, and the Villans will join Norwich City in the dreaded drop.

This week the Hornets are at home to Norwich, and you’d expect them to win that game against the bottom club to put a four-point gap between them and the other two battlers.

Four points is a big haul to make up with four games to play at the bottom end of the table. Then on Saturday, Watford have a very winnable home game against Newcastle United.

Dean Smith must find a way to get points from four very testing final games against Crystal Palace, Everton, Arsenal, and then on the final day, a potential shoot-out against West Ham.

For that last game to mean anything, the Hammers and Hornets must falter while Villa pick up unexpected points preferably starting on Thursday.

Premier League: Jack Grealish scores a goal in their 2-2 draw reverse fixture against Manchester United this season

Manchester United have been monitoring Aston Villa’s skipper Jack Grealish

Goals have been hard to come by for Villa and they have relied heavily on captain Jack Grealish who has seven. He may be a target for Manchester United should Dean Smith’s team take the drop back into the Championship.

Main striker Wesley has been out injured since he was stretchered off at Turf Moor on New Year’s Day. Villa splashed the cash again in January to bring Tanzanian forward Mbwana Samatta from Genk, but his endeavours haven’t brought points.

Mason building his reputation at United

Manchester United sit in fifth place and are pushing hard for a Champions League place.

But as well as overhauling one of Chelsea and Leicester City, the Red Devils will have to hold off a challenge from Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves who are still in the hunt.

OGS has his strikers playing with confidence.

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have 15 goals each, but it was young Mason Greenwood who made the headlines this week in a man-of-the-match performance against Bournemouth when he scored twice in a 5-2 victory.

Bruno Fernandes has six goals, and his arrival in the January window has been the turning point for the Red Devils.

History

Look away now Aston Villa fans, as we take a peek at the head-to-head Aston Villa vs Manchester United results and it doesn’t make pretty reading!

The Villan’s have won only two of the 51 meetings in the Premier League era, while Manchester United have helped themselves to 38 victories and 11 draws.

One of those draws came in December when Grealish and Tyrone Mings stunned the Old Trafford crowd with a 2-2 result. What they would give for a repeat of that outcome on Thursday.

But the Red Devils have been on a hot streak of form since then and are unbeaten in 16 games, whilst Aston Villa haven’t won any of their last ten matches.

Betting Tip

??
Aston Villa vs Manchester United Manchester United Asian Handicap -1.25 @ 1.77
July 10, 03:15 (GMT+8)

Villa are at 8.20 to win this game with the draw at 4.60, but current form favours United to win by a stretch.

They may not score another five but I think the Red Devils will have enough with some to spare against Smith’s strugglers.

For an alternative bet, a scoreline of 0-2 at odds of 6.00 is the most likely result.

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-Jul 2020 Tuesday 3:54 PM (191 days ago)            #63
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Premier League: It Just Wasn’t Meant to be For the Gunners!

Arsenal 1-1 Leicester City

Despite controlling the match for the most part, it only took a few minutes for Arsenal to blow their lead in what was a cruel twist of fate.

When Eddie Nketiah was given the red card in the 75th minute, the Gunners were reduced to 10 men and the Foxes quickly pounced on the opportunity to draw level in order to salvage a point.

Jamie Vardy continues to sparkle for Leicester City. With his late Premier League goal last night, the 33-year-old striker pushed his goal count to 22 as of this writing, further increasing his Premier League 2020 odds of bringing home the Golden Boot award after this season.

Last night’s result surely helps for Leicester City, although they’ve slipped to the fourth place after being overtaken by Chelsea.

They’ve a had a rough restart by drawing level against lower tier teams in Watford, Brighton, and then losing to Chelsea and Everton, before snapping their winless drought against Crystal Palace prior to this match.

Team manager Brendan Rodgers would hope that they will improve from there since teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, and the Wolves are breathing down their necks for the final Champions League berth.

As for Arsenal, they still sit at seventh place with 50 points. However, Mikel Arteta’s men are far from satisfied.

Here is last night’s set of Premier League 2020 highlights by SBOBET.

Highlights of the game

Since receiving the news of Mikel Arteta wanting to keep him on the roster beyond this season, it seems that it lit up a flame under Dani Ceballos.

The loanee from Real Madrid churned out a strong performance for around 70 minutes as he maintained his superb post-lockdown form.

Ceballos pulled the strings in the middle for the majority of the first half, which includes a lovely pass in the 21st minute that triggered an opportunity for Bukayo Saka to find a cutting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score his 20th goal for this campaign.

Then a few minutes later, Ceballos had a cheeky back-heel pass to a running Bukayo Saka, who crossed the ball inside for an Alexandre Lacazette strike that was saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

While Arsenal were thriving, Leicester City were struggling to create chances all evening long.

Their first viable opportunity only came when Kelechi Iheanacho almost punched one in for Leicester City after he received a volley from Jamie Vardy. But at the time, it was Emiliano Martinez who saved the day for Arsenal.

Ceballos continued to impress Mikel Arteta and co. as he would continue to dictate the pace in the midfield. Along with creating plays for his speedy teammates, the young Spaniard also provided excellent cover on the defencive end alongside Granit Xhaka.

So when he was replaced by Eddie Nketiah late, it was natural that Arsenal’s downfall started to go from there.

When Eddie Nketiah got tangled with James Justin via a high tackle at the 75th minute, he was initially given a yellow card by the referee. However, the decision was upgraded to a red card after further review by the VAR.

With fatigue kicking in for Arsenal as they were being reduced to 10 men, it was inevitable for Brendan Rodgers’ men to capitalise.

Jamie Vardy scores an equaliser during Leicester City's Premier League match against Arsenal

Leicester City star Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring a late equaliser in their latest Premier League clash against Arsenal

In the 84th minute, Demarai Gray’s low pass slipped through Arsenal’s compact defence and Jamie Vardy was at the right place and at the right time to kick the ball past Emiliano Martinez for their first and only goal of the night.

It was a disappointing end to the evening for the Gunners, who felt like they were robbed of the two points.

But overall, there were still plenty of positives to take for Mikel Arteta with their performance almost all night.

The same can be said for Dani Ceballos, whose great performance should guarantee himself more playing time for Arsenal moving forward.

Key statistics

To describe the impact of Dani Ceballos in this game, allow me to indulge you with some of his key statistics.

The young midfielder had 68 touches and has also completed 44 passes and six crosses. He also gained possession 11 times, which is more than any Arsenal player.

Vardy’s latest attacking exploit earned him his 22nd goal for this season. It was also his 10th goal in his 10th appearance versus the Gunners.

Not far behind him is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as he now has 20 goals after scoring one last night.

What’s next?

Arsenal will head on over to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to lock horns with the Spurs on Sunday before hosting Liverpool next week in what should be a high-scoring, fast-paced affair.

Leicester City, meanwhile will visit AFC Bournemouth on Monday before heading back home to host Sheffield United on July 17th.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 3:56 PM (191 days ago)            #64
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Premier League: Euro Dream Points on the Line in South Yorkshire

Sheffield United vs Chelsea

One team needs the Premier League points for a Champions League place.

The other needs the points to keep alive their hopes of a Europa League spot.

Naturally then, as both sides have something to play for, perhaps we can reasonably expect Premier League highlights at Bramall Lane.

Talking Points

Both teams warmed up in midweek with eye-catching wins.

Chelsea were thankful for their early two-goal lead as they held on to earn a hard-fought victory at Crystal Palace.

Sheffield United scored a dramatic win over Wolves through a John Egan bullet header deep into injury time.

The Irish defender was the hero once again as he followed up his equaliser at Burnley on Sunday with a powerful headed goal from Ollie Norwood’s corner to help Chris Wilder’s side move into seventh.

The Blades were expected to be amongst a host of clubs contesting a relegation battle this term so a top-eight finish, let alone a European berth, would be a mighty impressive accomplishment on their first season back in the top flight.

On their day they are strong in defence and capable in attack and only newly crowned champions Liverpool and Manchester City have conceded fewer home league goals than the Blades, who have shipped 14.

Wilder’s side may have lost three of their first four home league matches after they were promoted but have only lost two of 13 since.

Indeed, their tally of 51 points is the highest by a newly-promoted team after 34 matches of a Premier League season since Wigan recorded 48 in 2005-06.

What’s more, the Blades have also won three consecutive home Premier League games for the first time since August 1993. Could they make it four?

In the case of Chelsea, their midweek victory at Palace – a week after their late defeat to West Ham by the same scoreline – summed up their season in a heartbeat.

They were fluent on the ball and, in the quicksilver American Christian Pulisic, they boast one of the division’s in-form players.

Yet their problem is that they when they are defending, they can look altogether less secure – albeit Marcos Alonso and Antoine Rudiger (both first choice realistically) were on the bench.

Up top, striker Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his past eight Premier League appearances; his previous five goals in the competition were spread across 49 games and is showing form that means manager Frank Lampard would struggle to leave him out.

Chelsea are currently at the third spot of the Premier League table

Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring a goal for Chelsea

Sheffield United have already pushed the top flight’s big boys all the way at home this season.

If they can win this one, their European dream will suddenly become very realistic.

If Chelsea prevail, their bid for a top-four finish will have overcome a tricky test.

History

Since their very first meeting in 1907, these sides have been fairly evenly matched.

In total, Sheffield United have 27 victories to Chelsea’s 38, while a further 16 games have been drawn.

It was in the very first Premier League season that Sheffield United last won at Stamford Bridge. On that occasion, goals from Adrian Littlejohn and fans’ favourite Brian Deane sealed a 2-1 success after Andy Townsend had levelled for Chelsea.

In fact, they did the double over them that year with a 4-2 win at Bramall Lane.

They repeated the trick the next season when Willie Falconer netted the only goal – the last time they beat them on home turf – but a last-day, last-gasp defeat at Stamford Bridge sent them down the following May.

This is only the second top-flight season the Blades have enjoyed since but they did show real resolve earlier this campaign, fighting back from two goals down to earn a fine 2-2 draw.

Betting Tip

??
Sheffield United vs Chelsea Chelsea Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 1.78
July 12, 00:30 (GMT+8)

Chelsea are clear favourites with the SBOBET Premier League betting odds as they bid for a third win in a week.

You back Frank Lampard’s men 1X2 @ 1.58 with the draw priced @ 3.75 and the hosts 1X2 @ 5.00.

With Asian Handicap odds, how about Chelsea -0.75 @ 1.78 or Sheffield United +0.75 @ 2.17.

Elsewhere, a repeat of the match from earlier this season – correct score 2-2 – is available @ 23.00.

Goals are often aplenty at both ends when Chelsea play and you can get over 2.50 goals @ 2.03, total goal 2-3 @ 1.91 and total goal 4-6 @ 3.80.

The reason I am expecting an away win is the fact Chelsea have had an extra day’s rest before this encounter and a much bigger pool of players to pick from – something which has been more important than ever since the congested Project Restart came in.

In addition, Sheffield United will not be backed by their passionate home support which has helped them to some terrific results to date this term.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 4:00 PM (191 days ago)            #65
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Premier League: Egan’s Last-Gasp Winner So Special for Blades

Sheffield United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Centre-back John Egan was the hero again on a rainy night at Bramall Lane as Sheffield United beat Wolves thanks to his 93rd-minute header.

These teams are two of the Premier League’s big success stories of 2020, and Egan’s second late goal in the last two games has lifted the Blades up to seventh, just a point behind Wolves. He scored a spectacular equaliser against Burnley on Sunday, but Wolves must have missed that as they gave him enough room to do the damage tonight.

Defeat to Arsenal last week put a break on Wolves’ charge towards the Champions League and this was a real blow to Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

Highlights of the game

Chris Wilder’s Blades are a compact side as they proved in the recent win over Spurs and draw with Burnley, and they managed to keep Wolves’ flair players quiet in the opening exchanges.

But the visitors are always dangerous and Adama Traore broke quickly down the right to put a ball in the direction of Raul Jimenez, but the Mexican took a heavy touch and George Baldock was on hand to clear.

Sheffield had the first effort on target when Jack O’Connell put in a great ball for Olie McBurnie, whose header was straight at Rui Patricio.

O’Connell has been a rock at the heart of the Blades’ defence, and he was soon in action at the other end tracking the run of Diogo Jota. He had to resort to pulling the Wolves man down, which led to a yellow card.

Ruben Neves has a penchant for the spectacular, and his dead-ball kick beat the wall and crashed against the crossbar. The Portuguese star is a real talent and a man to watch in the Premier League 2020 highlights package. If he’d been a metre further back with this effort, he would have scored.

Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves fails to score against Sheffield United in recent Premier League duel

Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp in action with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves during their recent encounter at the Bramall Lane

Jota tested the Blades’ keeper, Dean Henderson, when he met a Traore cross with a firm header. Neves also tried his luck again from distance, but this time he wasn’t as close and the ball flew high and wide.

Wolves got themselves in a mess at the back when Willy Boly under-hit a back pass and Billy Sharp nipped in, but Patricio was alert to the danger and closed the Sheffield striker down.

Sharp had the ball in the net early in the second half, but the offside flag went up and VAR agreed. At the other end, Wolves broke quickly again, but Jota headed over from Jimenez’s cross.

As the conditions worsened in Sheffield and the rain lashed down, both teams struggled to find any fluency. But in a rare Sheffield attack, Baldock almost gave the Blades the lead, but he planted his header wide with the goal at his mercy.

And then, in the third minute of three added on for injuries, the Blades won a corner. Oliver Norwood swung it over and John Egan rose highest to score his second goal in four days.

Key statistics

The pre-match odds here at SBOBET had the Blades as outsiders at odds of 3.45, and while Wolves bossed the possession and had some good chances, they only mustered one shot on target to Sheffield’s three.

The last time these two sides met here at Bramall Lane was six years ago, and that was in the third tier of English football. It shows how far they have travelled in a short space of time, and particularly Sheffield United in their first season back in the top flight.

This was the first time Sheffield have won three consecutive home games in the Premier League since 1993 and looking at Wilder’s reaction to the goal…it was sweet.

What’s next?

Both Sheffield United and Wolves are chasing a European place and the games keep coming in a relentless push to the finish line.

Next up, the Blades are at home to Chelsea on Saturday. The Blues still have their Champions League destiny in their own hands after a hard-fought 2-3 win at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night. If they can win the remainder of their games they will stay in the top four.

Wilder’s team was a favourite to get relegated according to the early-season Premier League 2020 betting odds so to be in the hunt for Europa League football at this late stage is some achievement.

Meanwhile, Wolves are at home to Everton on Sunday and they really need a win to keep their fading Champions League hopes alive.

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14-Jul 2020 Tuesday 4:03 PM (191 days ago)            #66
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Premier League: Red Devils Enjoy A Villa Roast

Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United

Manchester United put on a blistering performance in Birmingham tonight to strengthen their Champions League hopes and plunge Aston Villa into relegation despair.

Goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba took the Red Devils to within a point of fourth-placed Leicester City as the top four chase in the Premier League heads to a thrilling climax.

This week’s Premier League 2020 results were a mixed bag for the Red Devils, with Leicester drawing, Wolves losing and Chelsea winning, but they certainly did their bit tonight, while sorry Villa are facing a huge task to secure survival.

Highlights of the game

It’s all about confidence when you’re near the bottom of the table, and Aston Villa tried to build theirs with a positive start — and they certainly had the better of the first quarter of the game. Anwar El Ghazi made inroads into the United half and was upended by Fernandes, giving the Villains an early chance from 25 yards.

Douglas Luiz took the responsibility but fired his free-kick straight into the United defensive wall. Villa captain Jack Grealish has been touted as a potential Manchester United player, and he had a chance to shine when he met Ezri Konsa’s deep cross first time, but his volley flew over the bar.

Villa then came within inches of going ahead when Trezeguet picked Paul Pogba’s pocket and drove towards the edge of the United penalty area before unleashing a low shot which cannoned off the post with De Gea stranded.

For all Villa’s endeavour, they couldn’t take advantage, and the