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.

Advertisements

Southampton to set Manchester City stern test in race for Champions League places

Ronald Koeman has silenced those who tipped his Southampton side for relegation

Ronald Koeman has silenced those who tipped his Southampton side for relegation

Twelve matches into the season and Chelsea’s six-point lead at the top of the table already looks impenetrable, likely handing Jose Mourinho his third Premier League title. Yet if Manchester City want to fulfill their dream of retaining the championship, they will need to start a charge now, toppling second place Southampton on Sunday.

Southampton v Manchester City Betting Odds:

Southampton win 21/10

Manchester City win 6/5

Draw 23/10

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

Intermittent form and a blight of injuries to the team’s core has decimated City’s hopes of challenging on two fronts productively. Even after a summer of spending and repointing of gaps identified last season the absence of experienced hands has caused Manuel Pellegrini’s side to slip up too often.

Tuesday’s Champions League outing gave them a lifeline in Europe and while the possibility of success continues their attention to the title race will be mooted. Beating Bayern Munich, City’s first European win of the season, means a score draw when they visit the Olympic Stadium in Rome will be enough for them to pass through to the knockout round.

A daring, ferocious thrill of a win, City achieved it without first-teamers David Silva, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, albeit against 10 men. The result masks concerns about Pellegrini’s team but their tenacity to score late and a will to persevere is admirable. Indiscretions at home to Stoke and on their travels at Queens Park Rangers will be rued come May, however, with the new found strength following the Bayern victory maybe the corner has been turned.

At the heart of City’s resistance is Sergio Aguero. Casting a diminutive appearance from afar, the pugnacious, muscle-bound striker is in the form of his life. The Argentinean’s midweek display, scoring the crucial winning hat-trick, reinforced his position as one of the world’s greatest strikers. His last-gasp heroics may be required again on Sunday, when City face the tightest defence in England.

Leading the top-scorers chart so far, sitting one goal ahead of Chelsea’s Diego Costa with 12, Aguero’s tenacious approach has seen him score a quarter of his goals in the final 10 minutes of games. Reminiscent, in part, of Luis Suarez’s impact at Liverpool last season, where the Uruguayan almost single-handedly delivered them their first league title in 24 years, Aguero’s sparkling form is keeping City in the hunt.

For Southampton, their position at the crest of the Premier League is unexpected. Losing manager Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham Hotspur and five members of the first team – Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovern and Calum Chambers – in wallet-busting moves during the transfer window, the Saints were understandably predicted a torrid time.

How they have dealt with those departures, bringing in a number of replacements and incorporating them so swiftly after a summer of upheaval is outstanding. New boss Ronald Koeman’s ability to introduce a redesigned strike force while maintaining the discipline at the back has deservedly got them up to second. How they fare for the rest of the season, and whether they will be able to maintain their form, is the quandary.

While they face both Manchester sides and an away tie at Arsenal over the next month, Southampton know all three are beatable. If the Saints are to progress for a third season in a row, this tough pre-Christmas fixture list is the perfect opportunity to state their intentions. And this comes after they were defeated just twice through 2013/14 against the three sides.

Now with a team capable of scoring multiple times against table-topping opponents, an issue they were unable to overcome last year, Southampton have created an unyielding squad: defiant in defence, convincing in attack. Importantly, Koeman has galvanized a resolute defence with the additions of Fraser Forster, Toby Alderweireld and Ryan Bertrand. By utilising the full-backs fully, encouraging them to plow forward, reward has come by the way of Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne chipping in with three goals.

Conceding once in five matches, Southampton, are a demanding test for City to face after a zapping European game, if they want the title, this is the opportunity to show it.

Betting Instinct tip – Southampton have shown their mettle this season conceding just six goals, up against a tired Man City side from midweek back fewer than 2.5 goals at 2/1 with intertops.eu

 FRANCIS KELLYfrancis avatar is a sports writer who has contributed to the Independent, the Guardian and The Cricketer magazine. He can be found waxing lyrical about Norwich City on Twitter

Race for Premier League Golden Boot is wide open

Will we see a new name atop the Premier League goalscoring charts this season?

Will we see a new name atop the Premier League goalscoring charts this season?

As is often the case in the summer following a World Cup, the clubs at the top of the Premier League have been busy in the transfer market.

Last year’s top four have each made a high-profile purchase or two, while some interesting business has taken place involving clubs further down the table. And with last season’s top goalscorer Luis Suárez now plying his trade abroad (well he will be once his worldwide ban is over), the stage is set for a new name to lay claim to the Golden Boot.

 

Premier League Outright Betting Odds:

Chelsea – 37/20

Manchester City – 2/1

Manchester United – 19/4

Arsenal – 6/1

Liverpool – 9/1

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

 

Will one of the big names top the charts in 2014/15, or will an unlikely contender rise to the top? Here are just a few in with a shot at the Golden Boot (all odds courtesy of Coral are accurate as of today and subject to change).

 

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) – 7/2

The Argentinean forward struggled with injuries last season but still managed to score 17 goals in 23 league appearances. After heartbreak in the World Cup final, Agüero will look to reignite the partnership with Álvaro Negredo which played a huge part in Manuel Pellegrini’s side winning the Premier League last season.

 

Robin van Persie (Manchester United) – 9/2

Van Persie endured a frustrating campaign under David Moyes last season, but looked reinvigorated at the World Cup under incoming Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal. With a coach who may be prepared to play to the 30-year-old’s strengths rather than marginalising him to accommodate Wayne Rooney, van Persie could be on course for a third Golden Boot in four years.

 

Diego Costa (Chelsea) – 11/2

Many believe Chelsea would have won the Premier League last season with a prolific striker, and indeed Costa’s 27 goals helped fire Atlético Madrid to an unlikely La Liga title. With Romelu Lukaku and Samuel Eto’o both departing, responsibility will lie with the Spain international to justify José Mourinho’s decision to meet the striker’s £32m release clause.

 

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) – 11/2

With Suárez moving to Barcelona, there will be more pressure than ever on the man who finished second in the goalscoring charts in the last campaign. Sturridge looked like the complete forward at times last season, but time will tell whether the exit of his strike partner and the added pressure of Champions League football will take their toll.

 

Romelu Lukaku (Everton) – 18/1

Lukaku became Everton’s record signing after completing his £28m move last night, and will look to build on the 15 goals he scored on loan at the Merseyside club last season. With fellow frontman Arouna Koné returning from injury, Belgian international Lukaku could benefit from not needing to carry goalscoring responsibility all on his own.

 

Roberto Soldado (Tottenham) – 50/1

Much was expected of Soldado when he briefly became Tottenham’s record signing last summer, but the Spaniard struggled in the league under both André Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood. The former Real Madrid youngster will hope this season has more in common with his final year in Spain with Valencia, as new coach Mauricio Pochettino looks to mount a challenge for the top four.

 

Graziano Pellè (Southampton) – 80/1

While much of the talk this summer has surrounded the players leaving Southampton, one of the new arrivals at St Mary’s could make a transitional season a whole lot easier. Italian striker Pellè scored 50 goals in the last two seasons for Feyenoord, and it is no surprise that his Eredivisie coash Ronald Koeman brought the 29-year-old with him to the south coast.

 —

This season Coral has introduced a new way to bet, SuperLive by Metric Gaming. Bet on hundreds of new in-play micro markets such as whether a player will score from the next free-kick, or whether there will be a goal within 60 seconds of the next set piece.

Unfamiliar with fractional odds? Let our odds calculation guide help you out

 

tv TOM VICTOR (editor) 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. You can follow him  on Twitter or Google+.

Can Liverpool continue their momentum at Southampton?

Martin Škrtel has played more league games than any other Liverpool defender this season

Martin Škrtel has played more league games than any other Liverpool defender this season

Last weekend we saw the very best and the very worst of Liverpool, all within ninety minutes. While their irresistible strikeforce was running riot, the defence was looking worryingly incompetent. It says all you need to know about the state of Liverpool’s defence when Brendan Rodgers turns to Kolo Touré to shore up the defence.

 

Southampton v Liverpool Betting Odds

Southampton win – 3.50

Liverpool win – 2.00

Draw – 3.40

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

 

The major problem for Liverpool at the back this season has been a raft of injuries. Very rarely have Liverpool had a settled defence and this has constantly been an issue. Throughout all these injuries the mainstay of the defence has been Martin Škrtel. Škrtel is one of the more bizarre footballers of recent times. He can look an imposing, impregnable rock at the back; more often than not though he reverts to default and to his unique form of daft wrestling in the box. He also has an ability to score own-goals at a frequency that would make Frank Sinclair proud.

Škrtel’s eccentricities have perhaps not been helped by new goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet. The Belgian has proven himself to be an excellent shot-stopper, however he often remains fixed to his line when crosses come in, a stark contrast to his predecessor Pepe Reina. This unwillingness to come and collect the ball doesn’t aid the panic that is never far away from this Liverpool defence. A compromise between goalkeeper and defence needs to be found quickly if it isn’t to derail Liverpool’s title push.

 

Whilst the defence has floundered, the forwards have regularly bailed them out. Liverpool have been a joy to watch this season. Their attacking play has often been breath-taking culminating in the first twenty minutes against Arsenal a few weeks ago, where they simply annihilated the then league-leaders.

Here is where Brendan Rodgers has to take a lot of credit. He is clearly an excellent coach. Luis Suárez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling have all improved immeasurably over the last eighteen months. The likes of Jordan Henderson and Jon Flanagan have also managed to kick on another level; Rodgers has certainly made the most of what he has at Anfield.

 

The Southampton game is a huge test for this Liverpool side. Rodgers has lost to Mauricio Pochettino on the two previous occasions that they have met as managers, while Southampton are the only opposition side to win at Anfield this season and will have every right to feel confident going into Saturday’s clash.

Southampton’s season is in danger of petering out though. They are safely in mid-table, they have no fears of relegation, but equally qualification for Europe looks completely out of reach. Many of the team are however playing for a place in England’s World Cup squad, and a strong performance on Saturday will certainly do the likes of Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and recent call-up Luke Shaw no harm.

 

This game feels very much like a crossroads for Rodgers’ Liverpool. A defeat will halt their momentum and leave them looking over the shoulders. However a win will keep the dream going that perhaps in this very open year, Liverpool can be the ones to emerge and snatch a very unlikely title win.

The two extremes in Liverpool’s side should guarantee goals. They are unbeaten in their last eight league games and should be able to end their bad run against Southampton and just squeak a narrow victory.

 

Betting Instinct Tip – After Liverpool’s seven-goal thriller against Swansea last week, more than 3.5 goals is 2.40 with GR88.com, while if you’re feeling really bold more than 4.5 goals is available at 4.30.

 

liam avatarLIAM McCONVILLE is an avid cricket fan, a hapless village cricketer and a Yorkshireman with an irrational hatred of Jade Dernbach. He rants about the game he loves at http://www.fortyballduck.blogspot.co.uk/ and @FortyBallDuck on Twitter.

Sunderland to Win Four in a Row and Move Out of the Relegation Zone?

Sebastian Larsson fires in the winner in the 2-1 League Cup meeting between the sides this season.

Sebastian Larsson fires in the winner in the 2-1 League Cup meeting between the sides this season.

This weekend’s Premier League football gets underway with the third meeting of Sunderland and Southampton and despite sitting in the bottom three places in the league it is Gus Poyet’s men that unbeaten so far. The Black Cats led for 85 minutes of the reverse Premier League clash back at the end of August before the Saints levelled in the 88th minute to rescue a point and Sunderland also claimed a 2-1 victory at home in Capital One Cup, where they are now 90 minutes away from the final, but can they take all three points today and move out of the relegation zone?

The Sunderland v Southampton outright odds with bookmaker GR88.com do not favour the home side and they see the Saints continuing a resurgence that has seen them win two in a row before this weekend.

Sunderland v Southampton Match Odds:

Black Cats Victory – 2.88

Draw – 3.05

Saints Victory – 2.38

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

It has taken time, with this match being the 22nd game of the Premier League campaign for both Sunderland and Southampton, but the Black Cats look as if they’re finally getting their season together as they have won all of their last three games before this weekend. All three wins have come in different competitions as they defeated League One Carlisle in the FA Cup before securing a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi final then they defeated Fulham 4-1 at Craven Cottage in the league to move them off the bottom of the table. They will be confident for this match, but can they upset the odds and make it four wins in a row this weekend?

Southampton are enjoying their own resurgence at the moment following wins over Burnley in the FA Cup and West Brom in the Premier League after they had managed to defeat only Cardiff in nine games. Despite this turnaround in form, they have had a tough week as executive chairman Nicola Cortese resigned during the week and left questions hanging over the head of manager Mauricio Pochettino who had previous stated he would leave if Cortese did. To compound this, their away record is not the best either as they have only beaten Cardiff on the road in nine games since beating Liverpool at Anfield in September, so will they be able to put all their troubles behind them to take all three points?

Not only are Sunderland unbeaten in both matches against Southampton this season, they have not lost any of their last six matches against the Saints in a run that is now 11 years old. They have claimed victory in three, as well as having drawn three, of these six games and I feel that they offer fantastic value to win this match as the outsiders. However, with this weekend being the one year anniversary of Pochettino taking charge at Southampton as well as them having won both of their last two matches this game could swing either way for these sides. Both teams do have goals in them, as well as struggling to keep clean sheets lately, and I feel that we’ll see both of these sides find themselves on the scoresheet like in five of the last six meetings, including all three matches in 2013.

Back both the Black Cats and Saints to score in this Sunderland v Southampton match at the Stadium of Light this weekend @ 1.80.

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.

No rest of New Year‘s Day

The English Premier League title race promises to be the most exciting in years.

English Premier League title race promises to be the most exciting in years.

The English Premier League season moves into the New Year with fans across the globe rubbing their hands in glee at what promises to be the most exciting title race in years.  Going into the traditional full New Year’s Day programme on Wednesday, there are just six points separating current leaders Arsenal from fifth placed Liverpool and every title-chasing team will be anxious to get 2014 off to a flying start.

It is second placed Manchester City who get the ball rolling at mid-table Swansea knowing that a win would increase the pressure on their rivals. The Gunners are a hot favourite to pick up all three points against Cardiff at the Emirates, whilst London rivals Chelsea face a tough trip to the south coast to face Southampton. Liverpool, who have slipped behind their Merseyside rivals Everton after successive losses to Man City and Chelsea, entertain a Hull City side buoyant from a 6-0 thrashing of Fulham on Saturday. The heat is well and truly on coach Brendan Rodgers and his Reds, but Luis Suarez and co. should have the class to get back on track. Defending Premier League champions Manchester United may still be down in sixth in the table, but the Red Devils have won four EPL contests on the trot and cannot yet be counted out, especially if they get their 2014 rolling with another three-point haul at home to Tottenham!

Premier League New Year’s football betting odds:

Arsenal                 1.2                                          Manchester United        1.65
Draw                     6.0                                          Draw                                     3.65
Cardiff City          12.0                                        Tottenham                         5.0

(Odds provided by Intertops Sportsbook are current of today, but subject to change)

 

______________________________________________

chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.