What We’ll Learn In The Transfer Window

Will Wilfried Bony to Man City be the biggest Premier League transfer this month?

Will Wilfried Bony to Man City be the biggest Premier League transfer this month?

A little change of pace this month, as we look ahead to what will happen during the transfer window. And as we all know transfers and the accompanying rumour mill with it’s glorious highs and crushing lows is far superior to the drudgery of actual football. Handily because nothing really happens until the last few weeks my tardiness isn’t that much of an issue.

 

Premier League Outright Betting Odds:

Chelsea 3/5

Manchester City 3/2

Manchester United 18/1

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

One thing (at the time of writing) that might possible already have happened/be in the process of happening is the transfer of Wilfried Bony to Manchester City. A devastatingly direct attacker with a deft first touch and a fierce strike, he can’t be anything other than great. His on-pitch time will be dependent on Sergio Aguero and his hamstrings but they’re made of rubber bands so Bony should get plenty of chances to impress.

On the other side of the city Louis van Gaal will do whatever he damn well likes. However he should probably look into sorting a defence that is, well it has, I mean…….it’s a bit crap really. He’s already brought in Victor Valdes, and might follow that up by buying his countryman Ron Vlaar who once got a 2! (out of 10!) for me on Football Manager. Make of that what you will (as I type this he’s just been ruled out for 4 weeks but I have a word count to hit so he’s staying in the article)

 

Arsenal will do what Arsenal do, there will be opinion pieces, banners and possibly some booing. At the end of it Arsenal will finish fourth and every single one of us will be ever so slightly closer to the blessed release of death.

Chelsea have completed the ‘transfers’ level of football so unless they fancy trying to beat their own high score we can ignore them during January.

 

Tottenham will sign a midfielder. He’ll pretend to be good for a bit, then it’ll turn out he’s rubbish. Aaron Lennon might leave, possibly for QPR where………..

*insert your own ‘dawwnn to the bare bones’ Harry Redknapp joke here*

 

Aston Villa are obviously far too boring for any of us to care about. Even if they do sign someone mildly interesting that poor soul will be subsumed by the overwhelming force of mediocrity that resides at Villa Park.

Nobody knows who is in charge of transfers at West Ham but let’s hope it’s the new fun loving version of Big Sam and he brings in Jay Jay Okocha, you know just for old times sake. Oh and they’ll sell Winston Reid to someone, maybe Arsenal.

 

The Anfield transfer committee will gather round the table, amalgamate their thoughts, you know some real blue sky thinking ‘there’s no such thing as a bad idea here, this is a safe space where we reshape the rules and turn dreams into reality’ and decide to spend twenty million quid on a center back who somehow manages to make their defence worse. Liverpool might try and punt Mario, but he’s performing so admirably in the role of scapegoat that that would surely be a grave error.

 

Southampton will sell someone who isn’t as good as people think he is for more money than he’s worth and will replace him with a better player from the Netherlands, their youth team or Celtic.

The only Leicester player I know is Esteban Cambiasso so it’s very hard for me to take much of a guess at their transfer activity. I’ll save any embarrassment by not bothering.

 

Stoke might sell Peter Crouch to West Brom now that Tony Pulis is in charge. I might make veggie burgers for tea tomorrow.

Now that he’s swapped Newcastle for Palace Alan Pardew will celebrate not being forced to exclusively sign French players with high sell on value by signing someone quintessentially English with no sell on value. Possibly the Queen, or some sort of Duke.

 

All I’ve got to say about Sunderland is that my mate met Gus Poyet once, I forgot to ask what he was like. I bet he’s a dick.

Everton should sign a defensive coach but they’ll probably sign someone from Wigan, Shaun Maloney maybe.

 

Burnley will continue their attempt to prove that a Championship team full of Championship players can survive in the Premier League by signing a Championship player.

Going to level with you here – I’m writing this on a train and my stop is coming up. So if I’ve forgotten your team then I’m sorry but you’re just not important enough (sorry Hull fans – ed.).

 

Follow me on Twitter where I occasionally RT something funny

 

Betting Instinct tip – with few transfers likely to go through before this weekend’s games, back a London treble: Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all to win is 3.59 with AllYouBet.ag.

 

Ally avatarALLY MONCRIEFF is a freelance football writer and editor of All or Nothing magazine. Sometimes even he can’t tell if he’s being serious or not. Follow Ally on Twitter and maybe he’ll be your friend.

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Liverpool to put pressure on Man City in the Premier League title race at Selhurst Park tonight?

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have 50 Premier League goals this season, will they add more this evening?

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have 50 Premier League goals this season, will they add more this evening?

Tonight’s Crystal Palace versus Liverpool game at Selhurst Park sees a clash of the league’s top scorers and the league’s lowest scoring team and it is Liverpool who have much more to play for this evening. They are level with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League with both sides having two very winnable games left to play, so they know that they cannot afford to slip up tonight after a Crystal Palace side that have looked impressive under the stewardship of Tony Pulis. Liverpool have to win tonight, but can they do so?

Crystal Palace v Liverpool Match Odds:

Palace Victory – 8.00

Draw – 5.20

Liverpool Victory – 1.33

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Liverpool have had eight days off since their 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea who, according to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, “parked two buses” at Anfield to keep a clean sheet and capitalise on a slip from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard as well as killing the game off in injury time through a breakaway by former Liverpool great Fernando Torres and Brazilian Willian. These eight days will have given the club the chance to think about the mistakes made in that match – knowing that a draw against Chelsea would have seen the title in their own hands – but can the would be champions bounce back from the disappointment of that loss?

They will not find it easy to win at Selhurst Park this evening as Palace manager Tony Pulis claimed the Manager of the Month award for April having guided the club to wins over Cardiff, Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham following victory at home to Chelsea in the final game of March. This has seen the club secure a second season in the Premier League for the first time in their history and they will can close to within three points of a place in the top half of the league going into next weekend’s final match of the season if they can upset the odds against Liverpool tonight, but with Liverpool unable to drop points in the title race will a shock result be possible?

Liverpool’s pair of strikers in Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have 50 goals in the league between them this season and this almost double the amount that Palace have scored all season, with them bagging just 28 goals in 36 games. This will certainly give Liverpool the advantage going forwards, but with Palace having three fewer goals than their guests tonight will this defensive edge see them able to get something from the game? With Sturridge out injured recently and Suarez not scoring goals as consistently as in the first two thirds of the season, there is certainly a chance of the hosts getting something from this match.

Personally, I see Liverpool edging the match at Selhurst Park tonight, but it will just that – a close game with only a goal or two in the final result. Palace will push them all the way and with Jason Puncheon showing that he can find the net lately, I see both of these sides getting on the scoresheet and my money is on goals as well as the away win this evening.

Back Liverpool to beat Crystal Palace tonight and there to be more than 2.5 goals in the game @ 1.77 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Who’ll win in a big day at the bottom of the Premier League?

Villa will be looking for Christian Benteke to fire them to victory this weekend!

Villa will be looking for Christian Benteke to fire them to victory this weekend!

While the big draws in the Premier League this weekend are the Liverpool v Arsenal match at Anfield and the South Wales derby at the Liberty Stadium, both of which have been covered elsewhere on the site, Saturday sees a big day at the bottom of the Premier League for four sides in addition to Swansea and Cardiff.

I’m previewing the matches at Villa Park and Selhurst Park where Aston Villa welcome West Ham and Crystal Palace host West Bromwich Albion. The bottom ten sides from Villa in tenth to Fulham in 20th are separated by just eight points, so who’ll win these two vital Premier League relegation battle matches?

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Aston Villa v West Ham Betting Odds:

Aston Villa – 2.06

Draw – 3.15

West Ham – 3.45

Tenth placed Villa have league position and an eight year unbeaten record at Villa Park over 18th placed West Ham this weekend, so they are rightly deserving of being favourites to win this vital match for both sides. They also ended a six game winless streak in front of their own fans in the Villa v West Brom Midlands derby match recently in a back and forth 4-3 victory that saw top scorer Christian Benteke score the winner.

Villa will be relying on the impressive Belgian to fire them to victory today, but after West Ham’s fine back to wall defensive display at Stamford Bridge to claim a point against Chelsea seeing them record back to back clean sheets on the road will they be able to prevent Villa from taking all three points this weekend?

The Hammers will certainly be more motivated to claim all three points, but without Andy Carroll following his controversial red card against Swansea, they may struggle to find a winner themselves. The two sides have scored 51 goals in 48 Premier League games this season, including drawing 0-0 at the Boleyn Ground in November, and I do not see this game being a goal fest, so I’m sticking my cash on few goals at Villa Park.

Back two or fewer goals at Villa Park in this Villa v West Ham game @ 1.81 with GR88.com.

Crystal Palace v West Brom Betting Odds:

Crystal Palace – 2.50

Draw – 2.98

West Brom – 2.84

Although Palace start this weekend in 17th place in the Premier League just four points above the bottom of the table, the fact that Tony Pulis was nominated for Manager of the Month in January shows how far they have come since his appointment. Both themselves and Sunderland have been in impressive form to move out of the bottom three positions in the league and for Palace is has been their form at Selhurst Park that has done it.

They have won four and drawn two of their last seven in front of their own fans and with West Brom without a win in nine away games since beating Manchester United at Old Trafford in September the home side in this Premier League relegation battle must fancy their chances of pushing up the table and going ahead of West Brom.

The Baggies have changed managers, but new boss Pepe Mel does not seem to be able to rouse his men from the slump they are in and they could be in big trouble if he does not get a handle on things shortly. They are known in parts as the ‘Boing Boing’ Baggies for their continual relegation and promotion cycle and I can see them as one of the favourites to go down this season. I see a defeat for West Brom today and this will not help their cause, but with 1-0 wins over Hull and Stoke for Palace in their last two home games I’m not confident in West Brom’s ability to find the net this weekend.

Back Crystal Palace to beat West Brom @ 2.50 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

The underdogs and dark horses who could save the FA Cup this weekend

Roberto Martinez won the cup with Wigan last season - can his new side Everton repeat the feat?

Roberto Martinez won the cup with Wigan last season – the holders are in action this weekend, as are Martinez’s new side Everton

In these dark days of petro-dollar goliaths and professional football cynics who will rise up to save the FA Cup? Well, Wigan Athletic for one. Last season they downed the sky blue Balrog of Manchester City with a battle cry of “we shall pass!” stunning Wembley and all those who assumed they were to be devoured whole.

Yet their triumph in accelerating the demise of Roberto Mancini’s reign came at a cost, and the Latics fell. Not quite through the fire and water mind, but they certainly dropped out via the lowest dungeon of the Premier League. Since then, Roberto Martinez has shot to fame as the anti-Moyes at Everton, Owen Coyle has come and gone, and Uwe Rosler has arrived in his place, with a collection of youthful top-flight loans sprinkling the squad with quality.

Nick Powell may not be allowed to carry the ball, but he’s carried his teammates at times, and will need to be on point against the war-band hordes of Tony Pulis’ Crystal Palace. The former Crewe Alexandra midfielder is in top form, and his temporary Championship side are slight favourites over their Premier League opposition.

Wigan Athletic v Crystal Palace Betting Odds

Wigan to win – 2.02

Draw – 3.15

Palace to win – 3.30

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

If they do overcome the Eagles, can the Latics defend their cup with another unlikely and heroic charge to the Wembley zenith? Considering the depletion of last season’s victorious squad, coupled with the exertions of a long Championship season, the bookmakers think not.

Does that mean that romance is dead? Far from it. The early kick-off on Saturday sees Bournemouth play host to Brendan Rodgers’ free-scoring Liverpool with the Cherries dreaming of staging a famous upset against the Reds. Whether they can do such a thing will rely heavily on the visitor’s mindset, not to mention the amount of hubris Rodgers decides to pour into the jelly mould he uses to fashion his starting line ups.

AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool Betting Odds 

Bournemouth to win – 8.50

Draw – 4.75

Liverpool – 1.30

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

It’s fair to say the Liverpool manager took some liberties with the starting 11 in their 2-2 away draw with Aston Villa, and with some fans suggesting key players should be rested for the run-in, there could be issues should these ideas be shared by the coaching staff. Bournemouth were tricky opponents for Wigan in the fourth round last season, taking the eventual winners to a reply after a 1-1 draw.

That means of course that anyone brave enough to plump for Eddie Howe’s side could be facing up to a handsome reward should they be able to snatch some unlikely glory. Four of Bournemouth’s seven home wins this season have come by a single goal, and if they are to shock Rodgers’ side this weekend it will likely be by a similar margin.

Betting Instinct Tip – A surprise 1-0 win for Bournemouth is 13.00 with AllYouBet.ag

While their hosts may be long shots when it comes to their chances for taking the trophy back to the south coast with them at the end of the season, Liverpool are currently placed as fourth favourites to win the whole competition.

The blue half of Merseyside will also be on the move down the motorway to play Stevenage, who have been declared favourites for the tie by last year’s FA Cup-winning manager, Martinez according to BBC Sport. Look at that for an effortless return to the opening theme, eh?

The noises coming out of Goodison Park are surely nothing more than mind games however, and the Boro will fancy their chances after having advanced to the fifth round in 2012, where they held Spurs to a 0-0 draw before losing out 3-1 in the repeat fixture.

However, the odds are against Stevenage repeating their dogged display of defiance two years ago at this same stage of the competition.

Betting Instinct Tip – Everton to be winning at half-time and full-time is 1.74 with GR88.com

Of course, for the footballing world to enjoy the delicious taste of an over-the-odds victory for the little guy, favourites must be slain and expectations inverted. Out of the runners and riders galloping into the fourth round, who do you think stands the greatest chance of sating the bloodlust for some triumph over adversity this summer?

______________________________________________

GREG JOHNSON (gregianjohnson) is a freelance football writer based in London and contributor to FourFourTwo, Squawka, Drowned In Sound and Mirror Football. He also co-edits The False Nine football blog and podcast.

Big Test For Arsenal Against In-Form Everton

Mesut Özil has been key to Arsenal's form this season

Mesut Özil has been key to Arsenal’s form this season

Arsenal v Everton

Let’s be honest here. No one expected Arsenal to be 12 points clear of reigning champions Manchester United after 14 games, least of all Arsenal. And even fewer expected to see Nicklas Bendtner play for the club again, let alone score the opener in the midweek win over Hull.

But now that the dust has settled and everyone’s stopped retweeting months-old Piers Morgan meltdowns, Arsène Wenger’s side face a real test: Roberto Martinez’s Everton.

Everton themselves have impressed, currently sitting seven points behind Arsenal in seventh and causing fans of other clubs to complain about the loan system which has allowed them to borrow Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku for a year. Strangely, few of these people were complaining during Lukaku’s spell with West Brom last season.

The Toffees come into the game fresh from a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford, which I would describe as sweet if that didn’t set me up for an awful pun on the club’s nickname.

That game also saw commentator Martin Tyler set the bar for worst wordplay of the season, describing goalscorer and Costa Rican international Bryan Oviedo as “Everton’s Costa Toffee”. But maybe I’m the naïve one for thinking a reference to a chain store found only in the UK won’t have the worldwide appeal of, well, any other combination of words?

Anyway, I digress. Everton have suffered only one defeat this season, away to a Manchester City side who have outscored their nearest opposition by a clear 10 goals (or 1.25 Lukakus), while Arsenal have scored in nine of their last 10 games. By that token, both teams to find the net seems a reasonable shout.

Betting Instinct tip: Both teams to score is 1.67 with GR88.com

 

 

Crystal Palace v Cardiff City

Another team on the up is CrystalPalace. Despite pundits skipping the traditional excitement about a promoted team and jumping straight to the ‘laughing at their inadequacy’ phase, Palace are already within one point of Derby County’s lowest ever points total for a Premier League season.

Much of this is to do with manager Tony Pulis, who has the enviable quality of not being Ian Holloway. The former boss has worked miracles before, but these are of the ‘getting £12m for Charlie Adam’ variety and not of the ‘actually coaching the defenders in the squad’ variety. In fact, the latter isn’t even really a miracle – it’s just basic common sense, or at least it ought to be.

As someone who gave Andy Wilkinson more than 100 Premier League appearances, Pulis is no stranger to getting results using whichever humans happen to be standing nearby – quite helpful considering Holloway signed too many players to actually include in his squad, while somehow still making the team worse.

They take on a Cardiff City side who play a confusing formation (described by Huw Davies as the 4-3-huh?) and have won once in seven away games. A win in el Birdico would take the Eagles within a point of the Bluebirds, while also proving that not every match is improved by the addition of el and ‘-ico’ either side of a word loosely connected to both teams.

Betting Instinct Tip: Crystal Palace to win is 2.55 with AllYouBet.ag

TOM VICTOR (editor) tv is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot.