Friday, November 24, 2017

All the very latest football news and transfer gossip across Europe!




With just a month to go until Christmas and the January transfer window less than six weeks away, Clubs are drawing up both long and short term targets to either bolster or save their season! I am not just talking about the acquisition of players, but managers and backroom staff too!


Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Real Madrid, Chelsea, Paris St-Germain, Arsenal, Barcelona, Everton, Liverpool, Wales, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United, Rennes, Athletic Bilbao, Juventus, Crystal Palace, Watford, West Ham, Holstein Kiel, RB Leipzig, Changchun Yatai, Leicester, West Brom, Derby, Sunderland and Ross County to name but a few!


Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could be on the move, with Juventus, Real Madrid, PSG and Atletico all interested - The Sun

Arsenal's German playmaker Mesut Ozil wants Barcelona to pay him 370,000 euros (£329,559) a week to join them in January. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is willing to let the 29-year-old leave, as long as he does not join Manchester United on a free transfer next summer - AS (Spanish daily sports newspaper) and Daily Mail

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has dismissed Arsenal's £40m bid for striker Karim Benzema as embarrassing - The Sun

West Brom caretaker manager Gary Megson insists his first game in charge, against Tottenham, is not going to be an audition for a permanent job - Daily Telegraph

West Brom are likely to fail with a bid to appoint Sam Allardyce as their next boss. The ex-England boss is keen to return to international management - Daily Mirror

Watford are confident manager Marco Silva does not want to join Everton as he is house-hunting in Hertfordshire - Daily Mirror

However Everton are considering appointing RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick instead - Daily Express

Paris St-Germain have opened discussions with Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini. The 30-year-old Belgium international is out of contract in the summer - Le10Sport (French sports newspaper specialising in football) and Daily Mail

Swansea boss Paul Clement says he still has support from the club's board despite a disappointing start to the season - Guardian

Wayne Rooney has called on the Everton board to end the uncertainty and appoint a new manager following last night's humiliating 5-1 defeat to Atalanta at Goodison Park - Daily Express

Eden Hazard admits that he admires Real Madrid, but says that he has no interest in leaving Chelsea for the time being - Daily Mail

Liverpool have made contact with PSG over a January loan move for 24 year-old Germany midfielder Julian Draxler - L'Equipe (French nationwide daily newspaper devoted to sport)

Eliaquim Mangala admits he could leave Manchester City in search of regular football, despite the side's injury crisis at the heart of their defence - The Sun

Stoke, West Ham, Everton and Southampton are interested in former Watford striker Odion Ighalo. The 28-year-old moved to Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai in January - Tutto Udinese (Italian football news website)

Arsene Wenger wants Feynoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst to be his successor as Arsenal manager - Daily Star

Crystal Palace will rival West Ham for the signing Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, 27, in January - Daily Mirror

Rennes are pursuing a loan deal for Leicester forward Islam Slimani, but face competition from Watford and Crystal Palace - Daily Mail

Chris Coleman has backed Craig Bellamy to succeed him as Wales manager, and says his lack of experience could be a positive - Daily Star

Former England defender Sol Campbell said he would be interested in becoming the United States' head coach - ESPN

Jack Wilshere admits he may have to leave Arsenal to get regular football as he is frustrated with his current game-time - Daily Mirror

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to go head to head for the signature of highly-rated Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte - Daily Express

Spain midfielder Juan Mata, 29, wants to extend his stay at Manchester United and has not ruled out playing until he is 40 - ESPN

West Ham asked to be given an away fixture on Boxing Day because nearby Stratford station would not have been able to cope with the number of fans and post-Christmas sales shoppers - Daily Telegraph

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says he "does not care" that Danny Rose was upset by being left out of the north London derby - Guardian

Chelsea have made the most money from player sales since the Premier League began - Daily Star

Glenn Murray says he would get more credit for his performances with Brighton if he had a foreign name - Daily Telegraph

Derby County want Joe Ledley to sign a new deal at the club, but Sunderland are keen on the 30-year-old midfielder - Daily Mirror

Burnley are monitoring Kilmarnock's 23-year-old winger Jordan Jones ahead of the January transfer window - Daily Mail

Leeds United scouts watched Bundesliga Two top scorer Marvin Ducksch play for Holstein Kiel against Nuremberg last weekend.

Chris Eagles has joined Scottish Premiership club Ross County until the end of the season - skysports.com



Friday, November 10, 2017

Statistically, the ICT index score of the best performing players in the English Premier League so far this season!


The ICT Index (Influence, Creativity, Threat) was a new feature that began at the start of last season's Premier League campaign, and has continued to be used for the current one.

A football statistical index, it has been developed specifically to give a verdict on any player as a Football Premier League asset.

It condenses more than 40 match event statistics for three key areas – Influence, Creativity and Threat, to generate the data into a single score.

This score is what is known as an individual’s ICT Index score, and via this data is able to offer an accurate summary on player performance.


Season 2017/18 - Last update: 10/11/17 at 13.30 GMT


For those of you currently playing 'Fantasy Premier League Football' you may want to take note!


Goalkeepers:

1. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) 28.7 ICT Index 
2. Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield) 28.3
3. Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 27.7
4. Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth) 27.4
5. Jordan Pickford (Everton) 27.1
6. Nick Pope (Burnley) 25.0 (pictured right)
7. Joe Hart (West Ham) 24.8
8. David de Gea (Man Utd) 23.3
9. Fraser Forster (Southampton) 22.3
10. Jack Butland (Stoke) 21.7 *Currently out injured


Defenders:

1. Ben Davies (Tottenham) 62.3 ICT Index
2. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 58.3
3. César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) 54.4
4. Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal) 53.6
5. Jose Holebas (Watford) 53.2
6. Ben Mee (Burnley) 52.8
7. Harry Maguire (Leicester) 51.2
8. Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) 50.4
9. Shane Duffy (Brighton) 49.6
10. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) 48.1

Midfielders:

1. Mo Salah (Liverpool) 120.2  ICT Index
2. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) 115.2
3. David Silva (Man City) 109.6
4. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 101.3
5. Leroy Sané (Man City) 94.8 (pictured right)
6. Richarlison (Watford) 93.4
7. Raheem Sterling (Man City) 87.6 *Currently out injured
8. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 85.3
9. Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) 84.5
10. Dele Alli (Tottenham) 81.8 *Currently out injured


Forwards:

1. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 121.5 ICT Index
2. Romelu Lukaku (Man Utd) 108.2
3. Sergio Agüero (Man City) 97.4
4. Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) 93.3
5. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) 88.2
6. Gabriel Jesus (Man City) 86.2
7. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 82.3
8. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) 77.1
9. Marcus Rashford (Man Utd) 69.6 (pictured right)
10. Wayne Rooney (Everton) 69.2




1. Influence

Influence is the first measurement. This evaluates the degree to which that player has made an impact on a single match or throughout the season.

It takes into account events and actions that could directly or indirectly effect the outcome of the fixture.

At the top level these are decisive actions like goals and assists. But the Influence score also processes significant defensive actions to analyse the effectiveness of defenders and goalkeepers.

2. Creativity

Creativity assesses player performance in terms of producing goalscoring opportunities for others. It can be used as a guide to identify the players most likely to supply assists.

While this analyses frequency of passing and crossing, it also considers pitch location and quality of the final ball.

3. Threat

This is the third measure, producing a value that examines a player's threat on goal. It gauges individuals most likely to score goals.

While attempts are the key action, the Index looks at pitch location, giving greater weight to actions that are regarded as the best chances to score.

All three of these scores are combined to create an overall ICT Index score. That then offers a single figure that presents a view on that player as a Football Premier League asset.



Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Gorgeous Ellen Hoog, Dutch International Field Hockey Star and Olympian


Ellen Martijn Hoog was born on 26th March 1986 in Overveen, Netherlands (Overveen is a town in North Holland in the municipality of Bloemendaal). Ellen was a Dutch International field hockey player for over 12 years, earning 232 caps and scoring 60 goals.


She retired from international hockey a year ago, but she is still a playing member of the Amsterdamsche Hockey and Bandy Club. However she now dedicates more time to her interests outside of the sport, including fashion and healthy eating.

Ellen began playing field hockey at the age of seven and in 2002, aged 16 she was selected to play her first senior game the Stichtse Cricket en Hockey Club in Bilthoven.
Ellen made her debut for the Dutch National team in 2004, aged 17, during the Champions Trophy in Rosario, Argentina. The Dutch won gold that year beating Germany in the Final.

Ellen attended the University of Amsterdam and studied Media and Information Management. She studied Commercial Sports Economics at the Johan Cruyff University in Amsterdam.


She became the ambassador of the Hockey Calendar in 2005. She also became an ambassador of Holland Fit and BDO in 2006. Ellen also posed in a bikini with team-mate Eva de Goede for the American sports magazine 'Sports Illustrated' in the Swimsuit Edition in 2013 in Las Vegas.


Among Ellen's many sporting achievements are two Olympic golds (Beijing 2008 and London 2012), one Olympic silver (Rio 2016), two World Cups (2006 in Madrid and 2014 in Amsterdam), three European Championships (2005 in Dublin, 2009 in Amsterdam and 2011 in Mönchengladbach), and two Champions Trophies (2004 in Rosario and 2005 in Canberra).

She was voted the best player in the world for 2014.

In 2012, Hoog became the first player to decide a major championship match with a penalty shootout, taking the winning shot in the 2012 Summer Olympics semi-final against New Zealand.
She repeated this feat in 2016 when she took the winning shot in the 2016 Summer Olympics semi-final against Germany.


Ellen has two pre-game rituals: Firstly, before each match she first puts on my right shin guard and then her left and secondly, before the start of a big tournament and before each final, together with some of her teammates, they watch the movie 'The Notebook.'


Ellen uses almost all social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. She has a large number of national as well as international fans. She is loved by her fans because of her field hockey skills and her beautiful looks.





















You can follow Ellen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Sunday, October 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Liv Cooke, World Champion Football Freestyler!


Liv Cooke was born on 20th April 1999 in Leyland, Lancashire and is a British professional football freestyler and the current world champion.

Liv has always been crazy about football, which she says she got from having two older brothers. As a kid she would play street football with them.



At the age of 10, Liv joined Preston North End F.C. whilst also playing in Woodlea Junior School's football team. Cooke went on to study at Balshaw's Church of England High School, where she captained the girls' football team, and signed for the Blackburn Rovers F.C. Centre of Excellence at the age of 14.

One year later, Cooke was sidelined by a recurring back injury and discovered freestyle football videos online. She began to learn the basics in her back garden and stopped playing football in 2015 to focus on freestyle. In 2015, Cooke performed publicly for the first time at St Andrews Infant School in her local town of Leyland, Lancashire. This was quickly followed by her first professional event, where she performed at a Blackburn Rovers half-time show at Ewood Park.

In 2016, at the age of 17, Cooke left Runshaw College early to pursue a career as a 'professional' football freestyler. Since then, Cooke has become the youngest ever professional football freestyler, performing at events across the globe and working with a number of major organisations.

           London


In May 2016, Cooke founded Girl Power FS – the first female football freestyle agency. Having officially launched in June 2016, the company acts as a platform for elite female football freestylers to interact with clients and organise the use of their services for commercials, campaigns, fun days and more.

Liv made her competitive freestyle debut in London in August 2016 at the Red Bull Street Style World Finals, where she placed 6th having been the youngest qualifier.

Later that year, Cooke qualified for the 2016 World Football Freestyle Championships in Melbourne. She finished second, making her the youngest ever finalist. Cooke broke her foot in the final, which ruled her out for several months.

           BBC meet Liv Cooke

           Source - BBC Sport (BBC3)

Her work has included performing at Qatar’s national sports day, becoming an ambassador for the UEFA ‘We Play Strong’ initiative designed to get more girls into football, and touring Australia to inspire children to get active. Commercially, Cooke has featured in a Channel 4 TV commercial, a number of Adidas commercials, and a LIDL advert. In addition, she has appeared on a number of TV shows including Match of the Day, Soccer AM, BBC and Fox Soccer News.

As a result of Cooke's work, she has won a number of awards including Parliamentary Rising Star and Woman of the Future.

          World Championships


Following her injury Liv returned to training in April 2017. In August 2017 Cooke qualified for the 2017 Super Ball open football freestyle championships in Prague.
Once there, she won all of her battles to become the 'World Open Football Freestyle Champion.'





You can follow Liv on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Friday, September 22, 2017

Statistically, the ICT index score of the best performing players in the English Premier League so far this season!


The ICT Index (Influence, Creativity, Threat) was a new feature that began at the start of last season's Premier League campaign, and has continued to be used for the current one.

A football statistical index, it has been developed specifically to give a verdict on any player as a Football Premier League asset.

It condenses more than 40 match event statistics for three key areas – Influence, Creativity and Threat, to generate the data into a single score.

This score is what is known as an individual’s ICT Index score, and via this data is able to offer an accurate summary on player performance.


Season 2017/18 - Last update: 22/09/17 at 12.30pm


For those of you currently playing 'Fantasy Premier League Football' you may want to take note!


Goalkeepers:

1. Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 15.5 ICT Index 
2. Jack Butland (Stoke) 15.1
3. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) 15.0 (pictured right)
4. Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth) 14.9
5. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 14.7
6. Wayne Hennessey (C.Palace) 13.9
7. Jordan Pickford (Everton) 12.2
8. Fraser Forster (Southampton) 11.7
9. Rob Elliot (Newcastle) 10.4
10. Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield) 9.6


Defenders:

1. Ben Davies (Tottenham) 40.2 ICT Index
2. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 38.1
3. Ben Mee (Burnley) 32.3
4. Shane Duffy (Brighton) 27.6
5. Scott Dann (C.Palace) 26.1
6. Antonio Valencia (Man Utd) 25.1
7. Harry Maguire (Leicester) 23.4
8. Lewis Dunk (Brighton) 23.3
9. Jose Holebas (Watford) 23.1
10. Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) 22.6

Midfielders:

1. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 57.7 ICT Index
2. Mo Salah 55.3 (Liverpool)
3. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) 51.9
4. David Silva (Man City) 51.1
5. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Man Utd) 50.8
6. Paul Pogba (Man Utd) 48.1 *Currently out injured
7. Dele Alli (Tottenham) 44.6
8. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Stoke) 41.1 (pictured right)
9. Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield) 39.0
10. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) 38.5 *Suspended until 1st Oct


Forwards:

1. Romelu Lukaku (Man Utd) 66.8 ICT Index
2. Sergio Agüero (Man City) 64.1
3. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 58.4
4. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) 47.9
5. Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) 47.3
6. Gabriel Jesus (Man City) 43.8 (pictured right)
7. Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) 41.1 *Currently out injured
8. Marcus Rashford (Man Utd) 40.6
9. Wayne Rooney (Everton) 36.7
10. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 36.2




1. Influence

Influence is the first measurement. This evaluates the degree to which that player has made an impact on a single match or throughout the season.

It takes into account events and actions that could directly or indirectly effect the outcome of the fixture.

At the top level these are decisive actions like goals and assists. But the Influence score also processes significant defensive actions to analyse the effectiveness of defenders and goalkeepers.

2. Creativity

Creativity assesses player performance in terms of producing goalscoring opportunities for others. It can be used as a guide to identify the players most likely to supply assists.

While this analyses frequency of passing and crossing, it also considers pitch location and quality of the final ball.

3. Threat

This is the third measure, producing a value that examines a player's threat on goal. It gauges individuals most likely to score goals.

While attempts are the key action, the Index looks at pitch location, giving greater weight to actions that are regarded as the best chances to score.

All three of these scores are combined to create an overall ICT Index score. That then offers a single figure that presents a view on that player as a Football Premier League asset.



Friday, September 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Is Boavista SC medic Rossana Torales the sexiest doctor in football?


Is Rossana Torales Rodriguez now the sexiest doctor in football, since Eva Carneiro?
- a qualified health professional and nutrition specialist with Brazilian football side Boavista Sport Club, Rossana is a specialist in Orthomolecular Clinical Nutrition, besides being post-graduate in the same area and also in Sports Nutrition.

The gorgeous 29 year-old doctor, originally from Paraguay, moved to Brazil to work in Saquarema, in the eastern state of Rio de Janeiro, where she has been stealing hearts ever since!

Before joining Boavista SC in 2015, Rossana worked for the Sol de America Paraguay team, located in Barrio Obrero, a neighbourhood of Asunción, the capital of Paraguay.

However in January of this year, she decided to quit Boavista, where she was responsible for the dietary requirements of the Boavista group of Rio players, leaving many clubs excited about the possibility of acquiring her services! But she decided to hang up her white coat for good to concentrate on a new career as a fitness model.


'The muse of Boavista' for the last two years now divides her time between working in the field of nutrition in Rio de Janeiro along with her new fitness modelling career in Miami, in the United States. As a result Rossana was no longer able to hold down her position with Boavista Sports Club due to a lack of time.

Now it's time to pay homage to the lady who swapped her laboratory coat for a bikini!






You can follow Rossana on Instagram and Facebook


Friday, August 18, 2017

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!



The 2017/18 Premier League season has been underway for just two weeks and with the England summer transfer window closing at 23.00 on 31st August, as players and agents look to secure moves and/or more lucrative contracts, while clubs are working hard behind the scenes to strengthen their squads before the window slams shut.

At the start of the 2016/17 campaign, FIFA introduced new rules which mean that the emergency loan window would no longer exist. All 92 clubs will be forced to abide by the fixed transfer window which exists in the Premier League. A club can no longer request to sign a player on emergency basis, e.g. if several goalkeepers are injured at the same time. It also means fringe players or youth team players won't be heading out on loan outside the usual transfer window.

Free agents can be signed by a club at any time during the season, if they had been released by their previous club before the end of the transfer window.


Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Paris St-Germain, Barcelona, AC Milan, Everton, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Diego Costa, Julian Draxler, Yohan Cabaye, Davinson Sanchez, Robert Snodgrass, Jonny Evans, Real Madrid, Juventus, Crystal Palace, Leicester, West Brom, Watford, David de Gea, Alex Sandro, Kevin Wimmer, Gabriel, Ivan Perisic, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal to name but a few!

Barcelona will "fight" to sign Liverpool and Brazil international Coutinho up until the transfer window closes, with the growing expectation that they will soon submit a new offer - The Telegraph

Barcelona are closing in on the transfer of Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria - The Sun

Everton are considering a loan move for Diego Costa. Costa released a statement saying how he has no intention to return to Stamford Bridge and Ronald Koeman is reportedly to test their resolve on the Chelsea striker - The Sun

Chelsea have had a £63m bid for Juventus' 26-year-old wing-back Brazil Alex Sandro rejected - The Mirror

Real Madrid could try again to sign David de Gea from Manchester United before the transfer window closes - The Sun

Manchester United have not given up hope of signing winger Ivan Perisic, 28, despite only offering £39m to Inter Milan - The Mirror

Tottenham have had a bid accepted by Ajax for defender Davinson Sanchez that could be worth up to a club-record £40m - skysports.com and The Telegraph

Manchester City are ready to offer West Brom £22m for their 29-year-old captain Jonny Evans after having an £18m bid rejected. City are prepared to almost double the Northern Ireland defender's £75,000 a week wages - The Mirror

AC Milan have three Premier League-based midfielders on their shortlist. The Serie A giants have had a busy summer of transfer activity and are not yet done, with three midfielders on their radar.
The trio of players includes Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, Watford’s Etienne Capoue and Leicester’s Nampalys Mendy - Sportitalia (an Italian terrestrial and satellite television channel)

Crystal Palace are weighing up a move for Red Bull Leipzig youngster Oliver Burke - The Mirror

Bojan Krkic could be on the way out at Stoke after falling out of favour with manager Mark Hughes - The Telegraph

Southampton are closing in on the signing of Dutch defender Wesley Hoedt, 23, from Lazio after making a £15m bid - Daily Mail

Paris St-Germain attacker Julian Draxler has been offered to Barcelona. The French club are reportedly under pressure to generate funds to appease Financial Fair Play after breaking the transfer world record to purchase Neymar from Barcelona - Mundo Deportivo (Spanish nationwide daily sports newspaper published in Barcelona)

Arsenal are considering renewing their long-standing interest in Julian Draxler after PSG decided that the winger is surplus to requirements following the arrival of Neymar - The Times

Paris St-Germain are still keen to sign Monaco's 23-year-old Brazilian defensive midfielder Fabinho - L'Équipe (French nationwide daily newspaper devoted to sport)

PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi, 30, has completed a medical at Juventus but the two clubs are yet to agree on how any transfer fee will be paid. PSG boss Unai Emery did not want to sell the player - Le Parisien (French daily newspaper)

Tony Pulis has played down reports that Kevin Wimmer is close to joining West Brom from Tottenham. He said: "Whoever's telling you we are close, is miles away from that fact. We have a lot of irons in the fire with a lot of targets." - skysports.com

Spurs defender Kevin Wimmer, 24, is in talks with West Brom over a £15m move - The Telegraph

Toby Alderweireld's contract talks have stalled at Spurs and he wants parity with the club's top earners - Daily Mail

Arsenal and Brazil defender Gabriel, 26, is close to a £10m move to Spanish club Valencia - London Evening Standard

AS Roma will try to sign Barcelona’s Munir El Haddadi after giving up on Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, according to sources in Italy. Roma are willing to spend €20m to sign the 21-year-old - La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italian sports newspaper)

West Ham have told Robert Snodgrass that he is surplus to requirements - skysports.com

Scotland international Robert Snodgrass is ready to escape from the West Ham wilderness by moving to Newcastle - Daily Record

Manchester United are close to extending Luke Shaw's contract as the left-back nears a return to fitness - The Times

Borussia Dortmund's chief executive says Barcelona are "not even close" to meeting their valuation of 20-year-old France forward Ousmane Dembele - Kicker (Germany's leading sports magazine)

West Ham are ready to hand Manuel Lanzini a new four-year contract and will resist any moves from Liverpool to lure the Argentine to Anfield - Daily Express

Huddersfield boss David Wagner says their pursuit of Barnsley full-back Andy Yiadom has now ended and Huddersfield will not be going back in for him.

Sunderland risk losing record signing Didier Ndong, 23, as Lyon could make an offer for the midfielder if they miss out on Celta Vigo's Pape Cheikh Diop - Daily Star

Celtic have announced that Stuart Armstrong has signed a new-two year contract that will see him remain at the club until at least the summer of 2019 - skysports.com

Fiorentina have told their 29-year-old Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic, a target for AC Milan, that he will be fined after failing to report for training on Thursday - The Sun

Leeds United offer Chris Wood a three-year contract extension - skysports.com


Friday, August 04, 2017

My Predictions for the 2017/18 Football Season and the Betting Odds!



National League:

Winners: Tranmere Rovers 11/4

Promotion by winning the Play-offs: Dagenham and Redbridge 9/2

Dark Horses: Wrexham and Aldershot


# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Sky Bet League Two:

Winners: Luton Town 6/1

Automatic Promotion: Mansfield (9/2 to win League Two and 11/10 to win promotion) and Exeter (16/1 to win League Two and 10/3 to win promotion)

Promotion by winning the Play-offs: Lincoln City 12/1, Exeter 14/1 or Swindon Town 14/1

League Two Promotion Straight Forecast: Luton (1st) and Mansfield (2nd) 40/1 and Luton (1st) and Exeter (2nd) 100/1

Dark Horses: Crewe, Accrington Stanley and Colchester

Relegation: Morecambe 15/8 and Crawley 3/1

Top Scorers: James Collins (Luton) 8/1, John Akinde (Barnet) 9/1, Danny Hylton (Luton) 10/1, Matthew Godden (Stevenage) 12/1, Marc McNulty (Coventry) 14/1, Chris Porter (Crewe) 16/1, Matt Green (Lincoln) 16/1, Reuben Reid (Exeter) 20/1 e/w, Chris O'Grady (Chesterfield) 50/1 e/w

Players to Watch: Michael Bostwick (Lincoln), Jack Grimmer (Coventry), George Cooper (Crewe), Donal McDermott (Swindon), Luke Croll (Exeter) and Liam Noble (Forest Green)


# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.
* Each Way: 1/4 for first 4 places

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sky Bet League One:

Winners: Wigan Athletic 7/1

Runners-up: Blackburn Rovers (4/1 to win League One, Evens to win promotion)

Promotion by winning the Play-offs: MK Dons 12/1, Bradford 14/1, Oxford United or 14/1 Southend 16/1

League One Promotion Straight Forecast: Wigan (1st) and Blackburn (2nd) 40/1

Dark Horses: Bury and Fleetwood Town

Relegation: Oldham 11/8, Gillingham 13/8, AFC Wimbledon 10/3 and Walsall 5/2

Top Scorers: Danny Graham (Blackburn) 10/1, Will Grigg (Wigan) 12/1, Omar Bogle (Wigan) 12/1, Brett Pitman (Portsmouth) 14/1, Jermaine Beckford (Bury) 20/1 e/w

Players to Watch: Conor McAleny (Fleetwood), Dominic Poleon (Bradford), Nick Powell (Wigan), Bradley Dack and Ben Gladwin (both Blackburn), Michael Kightly (Southend), Jay Dasilva (Charlton) and Ethan Ebanks-Landell (MK Dons)


# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.
* Each Way: 1/4 for first 4 place

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sky Bet Championship:

Winners: Middlesbrough 6/1

Runner-up: Wolvehampton Wanderers (9/1 to win the Championship, 10/3 for promotion)

Promotion by winning the Play-offs: Fulham 10/1, Sheffield Wednesday 11/1, Norwich 11/1 or Derby 12/1

Championship Promotion Straight Forecast: Middlesbrough (1st) and Wolves (2nd) 66/1

Dark Horses: Brentford and Cardiff

Relegation: Burton Albion 13/8, Ipswich Town 5/2, and Sunderland 11/1 (Also in the relegation mix Bolton 15/8)

Top Scorers: Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) 8/1, Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa) 9/1, Chris Wood (Leeds) 9/1, Scott Hogan (Aston Villa) 16/1 e/w, Famara Diédhiou (Bristol City) 20/1 e/w, Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) 40/1 e/w, Frazier Campbell (Hull) 50/1 e/w, Neal Maupay (Brentford) 50/1 e/w, Adam Armstrong (Bolton) 66/1 e/w

Players to Watch: Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough), Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon (both Fulham), Tom Huddlestone (Derby), Ruben Neves and Willy Boly (both Wolves), George Boyd (Sheff Wed), Michael Hector (Hull), Angus Gunn and Harrison Reed (both Norwich), Ike Ugbo (Barnsley), Lee Tomlin and Kenneth Zohore (both Cardiff), Jota and Ollie Watkins (both Brentford)(Brentford)


# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.
* Each Way: 1/4 for first 4 places

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Premier League:

Winners: Manchester City 7/4

Runners-up: Manchester United (7/2 to win the Premier League)

Europe (Champions League qualification): Chelsea and Liverpool

Europe (Europa League qualification: Tottenham and Everton

Premier League Top 3 Exact Order: Man City, Man Utd Chelsea 22/1

Not to finish Top 4: Arsenal 10/11

Premier League Winner and Top Goalscorer: Man City and Harry Kane 11/1

Player of the Year: Paul Pogba 10/1

Young Player of the Year: Jordon Pickford 16/1

Dark Horses: Leicester and Crystal Palace

Relegation: Huddersfield 2/3 Brighton 5/4 and Swansea 9/4

Premier League Relegation Treble: Swansea, Brighton and Huddersfield all to be relegated 28/1

Top scorers: Hary Kane 3/1, Romelu Lukak 7/2, Sergio Aguero 7/1, Gabriel Jesus 9/1, Alexandre Lacazette 10/1, Michy Batshuayi 33/1 e/w, Kelechi Iheanacho 33/1 e/w, Javier Hernandez 33/1 e/w, Jermain Defoe 50/1 e/w

Players to Watch: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace), Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominic Solanke (both Liverpool), Ben Chilwell and Harry Maguire (both Leicester), Connor Mahoney (Bournemouth), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke), Anthony Knockaert (Brighton), Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus (both Manchester City), Tammy Abraham (Swansea), Will Hughes (Watford) Sandro Ramirez and Michael Keane (both Everton)

1st Manager to Leave Post: Marco Silva (Watford) 10/1 or Mauricio Pellegrino (Southampton) 18/1

# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.
* Each Way: 1/4 for first 4 places




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Preview - UEFA Women's European Football Championships 2017


The finest women's footballers in Europe go head-to-head for continental glory this month at the Women's Euro's 2017. It is the 12th women’s Euro tournament and is hosted by the Netherlands. With more teams and more prize money than ever, Euro 2017 will be the largest Women's European Championship yet.

With the 'Battle of Britain' taking place tonight, as England face Scotland in Group D's opening fixture of the Women's 2017 European Championships, I feel now is a perfect time to preview the tournament, that kicked off a couple of days ago. England and Scotland are in the same group, alongside Spain and Portugal.

The competition comes around once every four years, and Germany are the holders following their 2013 triumph in Sweden. A total of 47 UEFA nations took part in the qualifications for the tournament, and this will be the first time the finals involve 16 teams rather than 12, with the top two teams from each group of four progressing to the quarter-finals.

The group stage concludes on 27th July, before the quarter-finals on 29th-30th July, the semi-finals on 3rd August and the final on 6th August.

A total of 31 matches will be played at seven different venues in the Netherlands, which is hosting the competition for the first time.

Deventer, Doetinchem, Rotterdam and Tilburg will all stage group matches, plus a quarter-final each.

Breda and Utrecht will also host four group games, with Breda and Enschede the venues for the semi-finals, and FC Twente's 30,000-capacity stadium in Enschede the venue for the final.

Germany
are looking to win this competition for the seventh time in a row - stretching back to 1995, and also arrive as the Olympic champions, but they will face stiff competition from France, who will call upon a number of players from a dominant Lyon team, who won their second consecutive Women's Champions League title in Cardiff in June.

Also tipped for a strong tournament are England, who want to improve on their impressive third place at the 2015 World Cup.

Since 2015, the team have been building on their success and on 1st July they beat Denmark 2-0, with both goals scored by the captain for the game, Ellen White. She is known for scoring one of the best goals in the history of the FIFA World Cup in 2011, and is definitely another player to keep an eye on in this tournament.



The Lionesses were unbeaten during qualifying for the Euros, winning seven of their eight matches, and conceded only one goal in the process.

England manager Mark Sampson announced his squad three months before the tournament – and there has been a bit of a shake up with him selecting a mixture of experience and young, up-and-coming players.
There are some familiar stars from the 2015 world cup, including Fara Williams, Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Laura Bassett and Fran Kirby – but also some new names, Demi Stokes (defender), Isobel Christiansen (midfielder), Millie Bright (midfielder) and Nikita Parris (striker) who all make their tournament debuts for England.

Spain also have a talented squad, and four years ago they stunned England with a 3-2 win in the group stages of the Euros.

Norway, runners-up in 2013, have reached two of the past three finals and and are two-time winners (1987 and 1993)

The Norwegian side includes 2017 BBC Women's Footballer of the Year Ada Hegerberg who helped club side Lyon win another treble this term.

Hosts the Netherlands, meanwhile, have six players from English Women's Super League clubs.

Teams making their debuts in the finals this year include Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Switzerland.

Scotland women have qualified for their first major championship at the 14th attempt.
Led by coach Anna Signeul, who will leave her role following the Euros after 12 years in charge, the Scots qualified as runners-up to Iceland, but injuries have robbed them of some of their key players, including Arsenal playmaker Kim Little and Manchester City centre-back Jen Beattie.

The star of European women's football going into this tournament is Norway striker Ada Hegerberg (right). UEFA's player of the year has scored a phenomenal 112 goals in 97 games over the past three seasons for Lyon, firing them to back-to-back Champions League titles - and she is still only 22.

Tournament favourites France and Germany, meanwhile, will be led by Amandine Henry and Dzsenifer Marozsan respectively. They have a bit of a rivalry going: Henry has pipped Marozsan to second place in the European Player of the Year voting two years in a row, while Lyon signed Marozsan to bolster their midfield after Henry left for the Portland Thorns. After less than a year with Portland, she returned to France to join Lyon's biggest rivals Paris Saint-Germain.

Other players to watch!

Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway) - The Wolfsburg striker missed the 2015 World Cup due to injury, but her ability is without question. Now, she has a big stage to show it off again. Often played on the right of a front three for both club and country, the 22-year-old’s quality on the ball and ability to run at defenders is almost unrivaled.

Pernille Harder (Denmark) - Wolfsburg forward Pernille Harder is the national team captain and the player that makes Denmark tick. She's the focal point, the leader and the player that's key to helping her country progressing out of the most difficult group of the first round. Harder’s goal-scoring record in Sweden for her previous club, Linkopings, was remarkable. It led her side to a league title over a Marta-inspired Rosengard in 2016, which earned Harder the league’s MVP award and a move to her current club in Germany.

Lieke Martens (Netherlands) - Vivianne Miedema is the face of the Dutch team, a deserved recognition. But playing just to the left of her in a front three - or wide in a midfield four is her team-mate, Lieke Martens. This summer, she completed a move to ambitious Women’s Champions League semi-finalists Barcelona. She has an ability to run at players with pace, Playing alongside the likes of Marta at Rosengard for the past two years has seen the 24-year-old Dutch attacker raise her game to another level.

Jordan Nobbs (England) - The Arsenal girl (below) has developed into one of England’s most dynamic midfielders and is now vice-captain in Mark Sampson’s side, despite still only being 24. Her energy and ability to play almost anywhere in midfield has ensured she is one of the first names on the England team sheet.


Uefa is using the competition to continues trialling rule-changes. Teams will be allowed to make a fourth substitution during extra time of matches. European football's governing body has already trialled the change at the men's European Under-21 Championship and both the men's and women's under-19 tournaments.

Additionally, referees will have the power to show yellow and red cards to non-playing staff in the technical area

Media coverage of the sport in the UK is improving with Channel 4 announcing that it will be showing all of the games featuring England and Scotland. Other games will be shown on British Eurosport 2.

England's first game versus Scotland, takes place tonight (July 19) in Utrecht at 19.45 UK time, live on Channel 4.

A full tournament fixture list is available on the official UEFA website


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Russian Beauty Elena Vesnina


Elena Sergeyevna Vesnina was born on 1st August 1986 in Lviv, Ukraine and represents Russia as a professional tennis player.

When Lena was 6 years old, her mother Irina took her daughter to the Sochi tennis school under the guidance of the late Yury Yudkin, who was also Maria Sharapova's first tennis mentor in the early 1990's.

In October 2002, aged 16 years and two months, she gained direct entry into the qualifying draw for her first $10,000 tournament at Giza, Egypt, and succeeded in qualifying for the main draw.

Her career-high rankings are World No. 13 in singles (March 2017) and World No. 3 in doubles (June 2017).

Vesnina is a three-time Grand Slam champion in doubles competition, having won the 2013 French Open and the 2014 US Open tournaments with Ekaterina Makarova, and the 2016 Australian Open mixed doubles title with Bruno Soares.

Representing Russia in the 2007 Fed Cup final against Italy, Elena defeated Mara Santangelo in straight sets. In the 2008 Fed Cup final Ekaterina Makarova made her debut in the doubles match with Vesina winning their doubles match as Russia confidently defeated Spain 4–0.

Vesnina participated in the 2009 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand in January. It was here that she advanced to her first final on the WTA Tour, upsetting the tournament's sixth-seed Nicole Vaidišová in the second round and the second-seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals along the way. She then prevailed in a marathon semi-final against British No.1 Anne Keothavong with a score of to set up a meeting with fellow Russian and tournament first-seed Elena Dementieva in the Final.
She started strongly in the match with a 3–1 lead but eventually lost to Dementieva.

In 2009 Elena reached her first Grand Slam final in the doubles at the French Open partnering Victoria Azarenka. The pair were seeded 12th but lost in the final to the 3rd seeds and defending champions Virginia Ruano Pascual and Anabel Medina Garrigues.

In 2010 At the Wimbledon Championships Vesnina made it to her second Grand Slam final in doubles while partnering Vera Zvonareva. The pair scored some impressive wins over the top seeded Williams Sisters in the Quarter finals (which ended the Americans 27 match winning streak in Grand Slam doubles matches) and over 4th seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta in the semifinals. In the final they fell to fellow unseeded pairing Yaroslava Shvedova and Vania King.

In doubles in 2011, Vesnina along with Sania Mirza won the finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California by defeating Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy. Then the pair won their second doubles title of the year at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina by defeating Mattek-Sands and Shaughnessy again.

Together with Leander Paes, she reached the 2012 Australian Open and the Wimbledon Mixed Doubles finals.


In 2013 Vesnina won her second WTA tour title at the Aegon International in Eastbourne. En route to the final, she defeated Ana Ivanovic in the first round and Heather Watson in the second. She then went on to beat second seed Li Na in the quarter-finals and Yanina Wickmayer in the semi-finals. In the final, she easily dispatched American Jamie Hampton to win her first grass tour event (above).

Vesnina and Makarova won their second major doubles title at the 2014 US Open.

In 2015 the pair reached the Wimbledon Doubles final, but lost to longtime-rivals Hingis/Mirza.

At Wimbledon last year, Elena competed in her first Grand Slam Singles semi-final with straight set victories over Tamira Paszek, Andrea Petkovic, and Julia Boserup in the first three rounds before outlasting good friend and doubles partner Makarova in three sets to advance to her first slam quarter-final. She then easily defeated Slovak Dominika Cibulkova to continue her resurgence into the semi-finals where she was was defeated by World No.1 and eventual champion Serena Williams.

At the start of 2016 at the Australian Open, Elena Vesnina and partner Bruno Soares reached the Mixed Doubles final where they defeated Coco Vandeweghe and Horia Tecău, which marked her first mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

In July 2016 Elena and Ekaterina won their first tournament title at the Rogers Cup in Montréal, Canada, and then they went on to win a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Rio for Russia a few weeks later - this was the very first time that any Russian duo had won an Olympic doubles event.

2017 began well for Vesnina. At Indian Wells in March and seeded 14th, Vesnina defeated Shelby Rogers and Timea Babos to set-up a fourth round meeting with Angelique Kerber, who was guaranteed to return to world no.1 at the end of the tournament. Vesnina beat the US Open champion, before defeating Australian Open runner-up Venus Williams and the in-form Kristina Mladenovic to reach her first Premier Mandatory final. In an all-Russian final against Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vesnina came from a set down to win her 3rd WTA singles title, her first since 2013 and the biggest of her career so far, in just over three hours. With this victory, Vesnina climbed to a career high ranking of 13.

Overall Elena's career stats show: 3 WTA (Women's Tennis Association) Singles wins and a Wimbledon Singles Grand Slam semi-final, 15 WTA Doubles victories, 2 Grand Slam Double titles and an Olympic Doubles Gold Medal, along with a Grand Slam Mixed Doubles title.

To date Elena has won in career prize money alone, somewhere in the region of US$ 8.6 million.

Elena is seeded number 15 in the 2017 Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championships, and number 2 in the Wimbledon Ladies Doubles with Ekaterina Makarova, which begin next week.


You can follow Elena on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram