Friday, June 23, 2017

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!



The Premier League fixtures were released just over a week ago and we now know who is playing who on the opening weekend of the 2017/18 season, which begins seven weeks tomorrow, on Saturday 12th August.

All the clubs are working hard during this traditionally busy Summer period, as they not only source new players for the upcoming season, but also 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: PSG, Arsenal, Tottenham, Alexis Sanchez, Kylian Mbappe, Matias Vecino, Real Madrid, Spurs, Monaco, Fiorentina, Kieran Trippier, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alberto Moreno, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Schalke, Nemanja Matic, Kyle Walker, Dani Alves, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Leonardo Bonucci, Virgil van Dijk and Barcelona to name but a few!

Late last evening Liverpool completed the signing of Roma forward Mohamed Salah on a five-year deal with the fee rising to £34.3m - skysports.com

Paris St-Germain have offered Monaco a world record £119m for 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe - Daily Mirror and The Sun

However Arsenal are preparing a new bid with Arsenal Wenger confident of a deal for the 18 year French international forward - Metro (London) and Daily Telegraph

Mbappe is said to have had a conversation with Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane - L'Equipe (French nationwide daily newspaper devoted to sport)

Liverpool's 100m euros (£87.89m) bid for the Monaco forward has been rejected - Marca (Spanish national daily sport newspaper)

Manchester City's belief is growing that they can land Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez in a deal potentially worth up to £50m - Daily Mirror

Tottenham's Kyle Walker remains Manchester City's top target at right-back despite Dani Alves' imminent arrival - Daily Mirror

Juventus defender Dani Alves has dropped a big hint that he’ll be joining Manchester City this summer. Speaking on Brazilian talk show Converca com Bial, the right-back said: “Everybody knows my admiration for Pep Guardiola.” Alves worked under Guardiola when he was in charge of Barcelona- skysports.com

Tottenham have contacted Fiorentina regarding a move for their 25-year-old midfielder Matias Vecino - TalkSport

Tottenham are also ready to make a £17.5m move for Germany and Schalke under-21 winger Max Meyer - The Sun

Tottenham have made an offer to sign 23 year-old attacking midfielder Suso from AC Milan - Gazzetta dello Sport (Italian newspaper dedicated to coverage of sport)

Tottenham are set to hand new five-year deal to England right-back Kieran Trippier. The 26-year-old still has three years left on his current contract - Daily Mirror

Liverpool have been told Borussia Dortmund 38 year-old forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will cost £63m, if they want to bring him to Anfield this summer - Bild (German tabloid newspaper) and The Independent

Barcelona are prepared to wait to sign Borussia Dortmund sensation Ousmane Dembele. The winger is also reportedly a Manchester United transfer target, but the Catalan giants hope to win his signature after allowing him to develop over two or three seasons in Germany - Mundo Deportivo (Spanish nationwide daily sports newspaper)

Liverpool have rejected an £11m bid from Napoli for their 24-year-old left-back Alberto Moreno - The Telegraph

Liverpool have asked about Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam after rejecting an £11m offer from the Italian club for Alberto Moreno. Ghoulam, a France-born Algeria international, has been discussed before at Liverpool but it understood to have re-emerged as a possible option in conversations between the clubs - Daily Mirror

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is prepared to sell midfielder Nemanja Matic, 28, to Manchester United in order to accelerate the £42m signing of 22-year-old Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko - The Times

Chelsea have agreed a fee of £35.2m with Monaco for midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko - Daily Mail

Antonio Conte has told Chelsea he wants Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci, 30, or Southampton's Virgil van Dijk, 25, to bolster his team's defence next season - The Guardian

Chelsea are closing in on a double swoop for Juventus stars Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro. Reports suggests Antonio Conte is keen on working with the Italian centre-back again and is prepared to pay £48m to bring him to Stamford Bridge, while a deal for Sandro would bring any potential fee up to around £100m for the double signing - The Sun

Ronald de Boer has confirmed to talkSPORT that his brother, Frank de Boer, is close to being appointed the new manager of Crystal Palace. Speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the former Barcelona, Rangers and Netherlands star said: “Frank is very excited, of course. I know they are talking and I think it’s just about little terms with the coaching staff etc. I don’t see any problem, but of course it’s not for me to say if it’s a done deal or not.” - TalkSport

Crystal Palace have hiked the price of France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda to £7m. The former Marseille star has agreed personal terms to return to his former club, but Palace are unhappy with Marseille's conduct and their offer of £1.5m - the price the Premier League club paid last summer - Daily Mirror

Everton are becoming increasingly frustrated at the red tape blocking their capture of Sandro Ramirez from Malaga CF. The Blues pulled off a coup when the Spain Under-21 international agreed to join them in a deal that will cost a little over £5m. But Malaga have placed obstacles in the way of a swift conclusion to the transfer - Daily Mirror

Aston Villa are holding talks with John Terry and remain determined to secure a deal for the ex-Chelsea captain and former England international - The Independent

John Terry is weighing up an offer from Championship side Aston Villa. However, the report suggests the 36-year-old defender still believes some Premier League sides will come in for him as he contemplates his next move after leaving Chelsea - The Guardian

Lyon have agreed a £16.7m fee with Chelsea to sign their 21-year-old striker Bertrand Traore, with the deal set to be completed when he returns from holiday next week - L'Equipe (French nationwide daily newspaper devoted to sport) and Daily Mail

Real Sociedad have agreed a £10m fee with Manchester United for 22-year-old Belgium winger Adnan Januzaj - Daily Mail

Portugal international defender Andre Gomes is set to stay in Spain after Barcelona rejected Manchester United's £31m offer - The Sun

Manchester United have launched a £62m raid for Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil international defender Marquinhos - The Sun

Manchester United's Italian full-back Matteo Darmian, 27, has phoned manager Jose Mourinho and asked him to push through his move to Juventus with a World Cup on the horizon - The Sun

Alan Pardew is the shock name in line to be named as Sunderland boss if Tony Adams' consortium seize control of the club - Daily Star

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder tells Sky Sports News HQ he has "agreed a new deal in principle" to stay at Bramall Lane - skysports.com

Stoke City's £12m bid for Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson is likely to be rejected as Boro demand upwards of £20m for the 25-year-old - Daily Mirror

Leeds United have signed Poland international Mateusz Klich from FC Twente for an undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old has signed a three-year-deal at Elland Road to become new boss Thomas Christiansen’s first summer signing - skysports.com

German 40-year old Marco Rose, previously Under-16 manager, has been promoted by Red Bull Salzburg and appointed their first team head coach - transfermarketweb.com

Currently on a deal with Italian side Genoa until June 2021, Argentinian-Spanish striker Giovanni Simeone (The son of former Argentina international footballer Diego Simeone), has been put up for sale for a fee of a 15 million euros. Currently there are four clubs interested in signing him: Fiorentina, Sevilla FC, Torino and Villarreal - transfermarketweb.com

Borussia Dortmund have made an approach to sign 19 year-old Barcelona and South Korean forward Lee Seung-woo - Daily Mail

After two seasons with Galatasaray, former German international forward Lukas Podolski (32) has officially joined J-League side Vissel Kobe - transfermarketweb.com

Greek international defender Kostas Manolas is set to disappoint Arsenal and Chelsea by making a £26m move to Zenit St Petersburg - Daily Star

Currently on a deal with Newcastle United until June 2021, Belgian goalkeeper Matz Sels (25) has officially joined Anderlecht on a season-long loan - transfermarketweb.com

Newcastle midfielder Haris Vuckic has completed a move to FC Twente. The 24-year-old, whose contract at James' Park expires at the end of this month, has signed a three-year deal with the Dutch club - skysports.com

Chelsea have beaten Manchester United to signing Ajax's 16-year-old striker Daishawn Redan - Daily Mail

Cardiff City have announced the signing of striker Danny Ward from Rotherham for an undisclosed fee. The 26-year-old has signed a deal running until the summer of 2020 - skysports.com

Fulham have confirmed that the club have taken an option to extend Cauley Woodrow's contract by another year, keeping him at Craven Cottage until the summer of 2019 - skysports.com

Blackburn are in talks with Gillingham to sign midfielder Bradley Dack but Sky Sports News HQ understands the Gills are playing hardball over the transfer fee. Dack was of interest to a number of bigger clubs last summer including Brighton and reportedly Crystal Palace, but a move never materialised - skysports.com

Fleetwood Town have signed Everton striker Conor McAleny on three-year contract - skysports.com

Walsall have signed Carlisle United goalkeeper Mark Gillespie - skysports.com

Vanarama National league side Barrow have announced the signing of midfielder Asa Hall from Cheltenham Town -skysports.com


Thursday, June 15, 2017

The players released by each Premier League club after the 2016/17 season


The Premier League has announced its clubs' retained and released lists, with the likes of Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Chelsea's John Terry among the big names on their way. Also on their way out are Crystal Palace's Mathieu Flamini and Joe Ledley, Manchester City's Jesus Navas and Pablo Zabaleta, Everton's Arouna Kone, Swansea's Marvin Emnes and West Ham's Alvaro Arbeloa.

The list shows who is being let go at the end of their contract on June 30, though it is by no means definitive with deals possibly still to be done.

ARSENAL


Yaya Sanogo, Stefan O'Connor, Kristopher da Graca and Kostas Pileas

BOURNEMOUTH


Callum Buckley, Jake McCarthy and Alexander Neale

BURNLEY

Joseph Barton, George Green, Christian Hill, Michael Kightly, Taofiq Olomowewe and Richard Pingling

CHELSEA

John Terry and Alex Davey

CRYSTAL PALACE


Corie Andrews, Kwesi Appiah, Jonathan Benteke, Fraizer Campbell, Luke Croll, Mathieu Flamini, Ezekiel Fryers, Ryan King-Elliott, Joe Ledley (right), Randell Williams and Ben Wynter

EVERTON

Arouna Kone, Conor McAleny, Jack Bainbridge, Delial Brewster, Michael Donohue, Tyrone Duffus, Russell Griffiths, Connor Hunt, Josef Yarney and James Yates

HULL CITY (relegated)

Alex Bruce, Luke Lofts, Shaun Maloney, Bradley Maslen-Jones and Johan Ter Horst

LEICESTER CITY

Michael Cain, David Domej, Brandon Fox, Cedric Kipre, Matthew Miles, Kairo Mitchell and Marcin Wasilewski

LIVERPOOL

Tom Brewitt, Jake Brimmer, Jack Dunn, Toni Gomes, Kane Lewis, Alex Manninger (retired) and Adam Phillips

MANCHESTER CITY


Willy Caballero, Jesus Navas (right), Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta, Callum Bullock, Billy O'Brien and Ellis Plummer

MANCHESTER UNITED


Zlatan Ibrahimovic

MIDDLESBROUGH (relegated)

Victor Valdes, Brad Guzan, Bradley Fewster, Niall McGoldrick, Lewis Maloney, Junior Mondal, Jo Wheatley, Nathan Convery, Brandon Holdsworth and Matthew Wilson


SOUTHAMPTON

Martin Caceres, Lloyd Isgrove, Cuco Martina and Harley Willard

STOKE CITY


Daniel Bachmann, Shay Given (right), Liam Edwards, Harry Isted, Joel Taylor, George Waring and Harvey Read

SUNDERLAND (relegated)

Victor Anichebe, George Brady, Will Buckley, Dan Casey, Jan Kirchhoff, Sebastian Larsson, Carl Lawson, Joleon Lescott, John O'Shea, Oliver Pain and Steven Pienaar

SWANSEA CITY

Gerhard Tremmel, Marvin Emnes, Liam Shephard, Josh Vickers, Owain Jones, Tom Dyson, Tom Holland and Alex Samuel

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Filip Lesniak

WATFORD

Rene Gilmartin, Mathias Ranegie, Ola Adeyemo, Charlie Bannister, Ogo Obi, Rhyle Ovenden, Josh Roe, Treon Johnson and Andrew Thomas

WEST BROM

Daniel Barbir, Zachary Elbouzedi, Darren Fletcher, Callam Jones, Sebastien Pocognoli, Jack Rose and Andre Wright

WEST HAM

Alvaro Arbeloa (above right), Sam Howes, Sam Ford, Kyle Knoyle and Sam Westley


Friday, June 02, 2017

Babe of the Month - Golf Beauty Paige Spiranac


Paige Spiranac was born on 26th March 1993 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, United States. She is an American professional golf player and social media sensation.


Spiranac originally trained as a gymnast, but was forced to stop at the age of 12 after two consecutive knee injuries. Her father recommended golf, saying she had the temperament for it. Once she picked up a golf club, she couldn’t put it down!

After being ranked as the top junior golfer in her home state of Colorado coming out of high school, Paige attended San Diego State University where she graduated with a degree in communications in 2015. Paige first broke out as a potential star player when she appeared in a golf trick shot compilation video she made with her San Diego State University golf teammates................



She worked hard on her game, culminating in her being made Captain of the San Diego University women's golf team, as well as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. During her senior year, the discovery of her Instagram account by the media coupled with a viral YouTube video thrust her into the spotlight.

Since then Paige has been traveling the world playing competitive golf as well as collaborating with companies such as Callaway, Descente, Topgolf,, Golf Digest, and TheCHIVE on creative media projects and appearances.

She is passionate about growing the game, to show the world how much fun golf can be, especially amongst young women, and is also involved in promoting an anti-bullying campaign both online and off. She is an official ambassador for The Cybersmile Foundation and often speaks out about her many experiences being bullied throughout her childhood, college, and golf career.

She wakes up at 5:30am every morning to do cardio before hitting the golf course. Then she lifts weights at night. Her intense regimen has paid off.

Paige Spiranac made her professional debut at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters event in Devember 2015.
In June 2016 Paige won her first professional event at Orange Tree Country Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, shooting 71-74-68 and beating Hannah O'Sullivan, the top-ranked amateur in the world, in a playoff, taking a big step toward the Symetra and LPGA tour in the process.

In December 2016, she took part in the 11th Dubai Ladies Masters on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club. During a press conference before the tournament, Spiranac broke down while talking about her experiences with cyber bullying after her poor performance in the same event the previous year.

Paige has a diverse range of interests beyond the game of golf itself. Foremost among them is going to comic book shops. She describes herself as “a huge comic book nerd.” Her favorites are Batman and Iron Man. She is also a gym bunny and likes trampolining and rock climbing too. Paige also loves discovering new cultures while traveling the world, exploring fashion and hosting her own fun golf clinics. She currenty lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Currently, she has 1.0 million followers on Instagram and has the fourth largest following of any professional golfer, male or female. She first became an Internet sensation when her college golf team’s trick shots video went viral (see above), amassing more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.




You can follow Paige on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram




Friday, May 26, 2017

A Statistical Analysis of the 2016/17 Premier League season


2016/17 English Premier League Season - all the stats!


Premier League Champions: Chelsea
Runners-up: Tottenham

Relegated: Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland

Average Attendance: 35,821
Largest Attendance: Manchester United v. West Bromwich Albion 75,397
Lowest Attendance: AFC Bournemouth v. Middlesbrough 10,809
Aggregated Attendances: 13,612,316

Most Home Goals: Bournemouth 6 Hull 1
Most Away Goals: Hull 1 Tottenham 7
Highest Goals Total: Swansea City 5 Crystal Palace 4

Longest Winning Streak: Chelsea 13 games
Longest Unbeaten Streak: Manchester United 25 games
Longest Home Winning Streak: Tottenham Hotspur 14 games
Longest Losing Streak: Hull City 6 games
Longest Winless Streak: Middlesbrough 16 games


Player Stats:

Top Premier League Goalscorer: Hary Kane (Tottenham) 29 goals

Most Hat-Tricks: Hary Kane (Tottenham) 4

Most Goals From Inside The Box: Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 24

Most Goals From Outside The Box: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) 6

Most Left-Footed Goals: Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 12

Most Right-Footed Goals: Hary Kane (Tottenham) 20

Most Headed Goals: Fernando Llorente (Swansea) & Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) 7

Most Shots: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) 139

Most Shots On Target: Hary Kane (Tottenham) 58

Most Shots Off Target: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) 49

Most Shots Without Scoring: Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) 45

Most Woodwork Strikes: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) 9

Most Premier League Assists: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) 18

Most Chances Created: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 112

Most Attempted Passes: César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) 2,459

Most Stray Passes: James Milner (Liverpool) 439

Most Crosses: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) 304

Most Through Balls: Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) 48

Most Fouls Won: Wilf Zaha (Crystal Palace) 120

Most Penalties Scored: James Milner (Liverpool) 7

Most Penalties Conceded: Jose Fonte (West Ham) 4

Most Tackles: Idrissa Gueye (Everton) 135

Most Blocks: Ben Mee (Burnley) 46

Most Interceptions: Laurent Koscielny(Arsenal) 91

Most Clearances: Steve Cook (Bournemouth) 352

Most Throw-ins Taken: Matt Lowton (Burnley) 405

Fastest Player (mph): Shane Long (Southampton) 21.94

Most Miles Covered: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) 269

Most Sprints: Dele Alli 2,542

Most Clean Sheets: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea) 16

Most Saves: Tom Heaton (Burnley) 141

Most Catches: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 66

Most Goals Conceded: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 69

Most Fouls: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) 81

Most Yellow Cards: José Holebas (Watford) 14

Most Red Cards: Miguel Britos (Watford), Grant Xhaka (Arsenal) and Fernandinho (Manchester City) 2

Most Offsides: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)

Most Games Subbed Off: Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 25

Most Games Subbed On: Hal Robson-Kanu (West Brom) 24


More Team Stats:

Bournemouth won more penalties (10) than any other Premier League team, scoring seven.
Ryan Frazer won five of those ten.

Hull gave away 13 penalties this season, the most of any side in a single Premier League campaign.

Top of the fair play league were Liverpool with 54 yellow cards and no red cards.

Bottom of the fair play league were Watford with 83 yellow cards and 5 red cards.


More Player Stats:


Jose Holebas (Watford) was given 14 yellow cards for Watford in the Premier League this season, equalling the Premier League record for a player in a single PL campaign

Harry Kane (Tottenham) is one of only five different players to score three hat-tricks in a Premier League season. The only player to score more than three is Alan Shearer (5) in 1995-96.

Hary Kane (Tottenham) and Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) became the fourth and fifth player to score 20+ goals in three consecutive Premier League seasons (after Shearer, Henry and van Nistelrooy).

Hary Kane (TottenhAM) became the sixth player to score a hat-trick in successive EPL appearances and the first since Wayne Rooney in 2011.

Salomon Rondon (West Brom) scored a hat-trick of headers in West Brom’s win over Swansea City at the Hawthorns in December. It was only the second time this had happened in the Premier League, with the first coming via Duncan Ferguson for Everton v Bolton in December 1997

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) hit the woodwork nine times this season – the record in the Premier League since Opta began analysing (in 2006-07) is 10 by Robin van Persie in 2011-12.

Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) created 12 goalscoring chances in Arsenal’s win over Sunderland in May. This is a record by a single player in a Premier League match since Opta began collecting this metric in 2003-04.

Outfield players who played every minute of the season: Steve Cook (Bournemouth) Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) and Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough).

Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea and Arsenal) became the first Spaniard to make 300 appearances in the Premier League.

Curtis Davies (Hull) suffered his fourth relegation from the Premier League (2005-06 with WBA, 2010-11 with Birmingham, 2014-15 and 2016-17 with Hull). Only Nathan Blake and Hermann Hreidarsson (5) have suffered more as a player.

Gareth Barry (Everton, Aston Villa and Manchester City) surpassed 600 Premier League appearances, becoming only the second player to pass this landmark in the competition after Ryan Giggs (632).

Following his debut goal at Bournemouth, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) has now scored on his debut in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, France Ligue 1 and Champions League.

Peter Crouch (Stoke) scored his 50th headed Premier League goal in their final day match against Southampton – the first and only player to reach this landmark.

Jack Rodwell (Sunderland) broke the Premier League record for longest run of games started without winning, going 39 in a row without ending up on the winning side (two for Man City, 37 for Sunderland) before he started Sunderland’s 4-0 away win over Crystal Palace.

Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) became the fourth player to score 10+ goals in 10 different Premier League seasons, after Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.

Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) has now scored more Premier League goals at Anfield as an opposition player, for Palace and Aston Villa (5) than he ever did while playing for the club in the 2015/16 season.

Against West Ham, Bournemouth's Josh King became the sixth player to fail from the penalty spot and still score a hat-trick in the same Premier League game.


Managerial Stats:

Bob Bradley (Swansea) lasted just 84 days in charge of Swansea City (October 4, 2016 – December 27, 2016) – this was the third shortest reign by a permanent Premier League manager after Rene Meulensteen at Fulham in 2013-14 (75 days) and Les Reed at Charlton in 2006-07 (40 days)

Craig Shakespeare (Leicester) became the first British manager to win each of his first five Premier
League games. Only three managers have won more; Manuel Pellegrini (9), Sven Goran Eriksson (7) and Carlo Ancelotti (7).

Antonio Conte (Chelsea) has won the league title in four successive seasons as a club coach after winning the Serie A title with Juventus in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14.


General:

Chelsea’s point tally of 93 was the second-highest seen in a Premier League season, after Chelsea – 95 points in 2004-05.

Tottenham’s goal difference of +60 is the highest in Premier League history for a non-title winning side

Chelsea (30 wins) have broken the Premier League record for most wins in a season (29), also by Chelsea in 2004/05 and 2005/06). The Blues are the first to do it in a 38-game English top-flight season.

Crystal Palace became the first team to win on three consecutive Premier League trips to Anfield since Chelsea in October 2005.

Liverpool had 80.4 per cent possession in their away game at Burnley in August but still lost 2-0. This was the highest possession recorded by a losing side in a Premier League game since 2006-07.

There were 10 draws played out by Manchester United at Old Trafford this season in the Premier League – the joint-most by a team at home in any Premier League season.

Crystal Palace became just the third team in Premier League history to score four goals away from home, yet lose the game when they were beaten 5-4 by Swansea City.

On Saturday April 29, there were no goals scored at home on a day with five Premier League games for the first time ever!


Referees:

Most Penalties Awarded: Michael Oliver 16

Most Red Cards: Mike Dean 5

Most Yellow Cards: Bobby Madley 125



Friday, May 12, 2017

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!




With the current domestic football season nearing its close, clubs across Europe are planning for next season, as they scout for new players and in some cases new managers and backroom staff, both at home and abroad, in an attempt to strengthen their clubs for the 2017/18 season.

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino, Jamie Vardy, Alexis Sanchez, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Alvaro Morata, Gareth Bale, Diego Costa, Arsene Wenger, Antonio Conte, Harry Redknapp, Arsenal, Barcelona, Leicester, West Ham and Brighton to name but a few!


Inter Milan are ready to double the salary Mauricio Pochettino earns at Tottenham Hotspur to make him their new head coach - Football Italia (Italian Football website)

Arsenal will join Chelsea and Manchester United in the £50m race to sign Real Madrid's Spanish striker Alvaro Morata this summer. Morata, 24, has managed just 13 La Liga starts this season - The Sun

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has fired a warning ahead of talks over a new contract by telling Chelsea to pay him what he is worth - Daily Mail

Wales forward Gareth Bale, 27, is willing to move to Manchester United if Real Madrid decide to sell him in the summer - Independent

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s No.1 summer transfer target is a left-back, according to Le10 Sport, who claim Manchester United are plotting a move for Monaco star Benjamin Mendy - Le10 Sport (French Sports News publication)

Chelsea's Diego Costa and Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez are wanted by Atletico Madrid if Antoine Griezmann leaves - The Sun

Atletico Madrid are interested in Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, 30, and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez - Independent and Daily Star

Turkish giants Galatasaray are keen on signing Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck - Daily Mail

Arsenal are set to reassure manager Arsene Wenger they do not have plans to restrict his power - Daily Telegraph

Everton manager Ronald Koeman says Ross Barkley has a week to decide whether to sign a new contract - skysports.com

Everton want to sign Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer. Sky Sports News HQ understands the Toffees are hoping to strike a deal in the region of £25m for the Iceland international. Everton are likely to face competition from Southampton -skysports.com

Hull City defender Harry Maguire has shelved all contract talk until the club's Premier League survival battle has been decided. The 24-year-old defender, who has a year left to run on his current deal, has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs, while the Tigers have two games left in their bid to retain their top-flight status.

Claude Puel's days at Southampton look numbered - with Hull City boss Marco Silva already approached about replacing the under-fire Frenchman - Daily Express

Eddie Howe says Jack Wilshere will return to Arsenal following his loan spell at Bournemouth - skysports.com

Slaven Bilic has confirmed Andy Carroll will miss West Ham’s Sunday clash with Liverpool, but denied claims the striker had played his last game for the Hammers - skysports.com

Slaven Bilic says it's great Michail Antonio has signed a new four-year contract at West Ham - skysports.com

Harry Redknapp has signed a one-year contract to stay on in his role as manager of Birmingham City, the club have announced - skysports.com

Jesus Navas has been offered a new deal to stay at Manchester City after impressive recent performances - Daily Mirror

Brighton are among a host of clubs considering signing Crystal Palace striker Fraizer Campbell on a free transfer this summer. The 29-year-old’s contract at Crystal Palace expires in June and the Eagles are yet to offer him an extension - skysports.com

Burnley may cash in on striker Andre Gray, who has one year left on his current deal and could demand much more than his current £30,000-per-week if he were to agree a new contract - Daily Mail

Craig Shakespeare wants his Leicester stars to stay, irrespective of any verbal gentlemen's agreements they may have with the club. Riyad Mahrez, Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy are all set to be in demand again this summer - Daily Mirror

Barcelona are reportedly eyeing a move for Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu. He moved to St Mary’s in 2015 but Marca claim Spaniard could be on his way back to the Camp Nou, six years after he left - Marca (Spanish national daily sport newspaper) and Daily Star

Everton boss Ronald Koeman is interested in signing Ajax captain Davy Klaassen. The Netherlands attacking midfielder has enjoyed an exceptional season, scoring 18 goals in 43 matches - skysports.com

Chelsea are keeping tabs on Bournemouth defender Adam Smith and sent a scout to watch him play in the 2-2 draw with Stoke last Saturday - The Sun

Paul Lambert could quit as Wolves manager over plans for agent Jorge Mendes to handle the club's transfers - Daily Telegraph

Manchester United are considering approaching Paul Mitchell, who found Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, after he resigned from his role as Spurs' head of recruitment - Manchester Evening News

Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes, 23, has been offered to rivals Real Madrid, according to reports in Spain - Don Balon (Spanish weekly sports magazine)

Newly promoted Brighton want to sign Liverpool's long-serving Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva, 30, for their first season in the Premier League - Daily Mirror

Fabian Johnson has signed a new two-and-a-half-year deal at Borussia Monchengladbach. The 29-year-old USA international, who moved to Gladbach from Hoffenheim in 2014, will remain at the club until 2020 - skysports.com

Chelsea want to bring Germany Under-17 star Jann-Fiete Arp to Stamford Bridge this summer. The Blues have been keeping tabs on the Hamburg forward for over six months - Daily Mirror

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has confirmed midfielder Gianelli Imbula – the Potters' £18.3m club-record signing – can move on if a deal can be reached that satisfies all parties - skysports.com

West Brom hope to agree a compensation fee with Leeds for Charlie Taylor rather than go to a tribunal. Baggies boss Tony Pulis has confirmed his interest in Taylor, who is out of contract at Elland Road, and is prepared to offer between £3million and £5million for the left-back - Daily Mirror

Middlesbrough have made a £300,000 bid for Hartlepool winger Nathan Thomas, 22, after Sheffield United had an offer accepted earlier in the week - Daily Mail

Brentford have triggered the clause in Florian Jozefzoon's contract that will keep him at the club until next summer. The winger signed from PSV Eindhoven in January on a short-term deal with the option of a further year - skysports.com

Stevenage have completed the signing of youngster James Ferry from Brentford on a two-year contract - skysports.com



Monday, May 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - From Glamour Model to FA referee!


Amy Christophers was born on 6th October 1986 in Truro, Cornwall, England and is a British TV sports columnist and presenter on Sports Tonight Live, a qualified Football Association Referee and an international model.

She attended stage school and worked as a travel agent and night club assistant manager.

At the age of 18 Amy went from commercial modelling into the world of glamour, under the stage name Brandy Brewer. In 2008 she won Loaded magazine's 'Rear of the Year' - which really shot her to fame with the lad mags.

Amy went on to become a page 3 girl for The Sun newspaper and the Daily Star, and in her ten years in the industry she graced the covers and pages of all the top men's magazines in Great Britain and abroad including FHM, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo to name but a few.

As a teenager Amy was also signed as a solo artist to a German independent label, she then went on to have a number one record for six weeks in the Swedish dance charts with a song called 'Cheaterz' with her band Cashbeatz.

Amy's Cornish roots resulted in her being 'branded' the 'Hottest export since the pasty' by former men's magazine FHM.

But it isn't all about stripping off for the cameras.

In the Summer of 2014, Amy retired from the magazines and dropped her stage name to pursue a career full time in Sports.

Amy always had a huge interest in sports, especially football; she's a huge Chelsea FC fan. She followed her passion for sports and made a career in the sporting industry and started presenting on 'Sports Tonight Live' focusing on football and hosted her own show called '90 MFS' (90 minute football show) and reporting sporting news as lead anchor.



Amy's late Grandad founded Mawnan Football Club, of the Cornwall County Football Association back in the 1960's, and it has been a big part of her life, growing up at the club, so when her grandmother Jean (The President) passed away in February 2015 I applied to be on the committee and carry on the family name.

My part in the club is running their social media and helping organise events such as fundraisers and end of season do and also helping with sponsorship deals.

Miss Christophers is also a Level 7 qualified Referee for the FA, When news got out about this she received international press coverage about her pursuits in the game.

In early 2016 Amy had a spell on Radio at 'The Hub 106 FM' co-hosting her own Saturday Sports show. Then returning to London in summer of 2016 she hosted her own Sports Radio show on YDN called 'Starting 11' along side her TV and radio presenting Amy is also concentrating on writing and is studying journalism, and is due to graduate in July 2017, but  Amy has already had her first published article with the 'Daily Star Sunday' in June 2016 with her guide to the euros, since her first article she has been snapped up by Yahoo Sport for her writing talents and has also written for popular websites such as JOE.CO.UK and the Huffington Post, she recently became the sports columnist for U.K. Men's lifestyle magazine 'Front.'

Amy is currently freelance but working with major media brands including newly formed 'Sport Convo' a new social media network owned by Gareth Bale and Indian cricket hero Virat Kholi. The company headhunted Miss Christophers, stating they knew that she was their girl! She interviews fans, sports stars and films a weekly sports round up. Amy had to learn some Hindi to film certain videos for their Indian cricket audience.

Now, Amy is also a FA qualified football referee, meaning she is allowed to take charge of local matches and youth games.

Although she is still a number of levels away from being a top-tier official, Chelsea fan Amy is desperate to progress – even if the men she’s officiating don’t always know what to make of her.

Amy said: “I think when guys see me walk on to the pitch in my make-up they don’t always think 'Oh she knows what she’s doing’ but they’re always shocked when I know more than them. I absolutely love it and I’m improving with every game. The Premier League would be a dream but I’m just excited to see how far I can get.”

The babe is following in the footsteps of lineswoman Sian Massey-Ellis, an official in the Premier League. Amy said: “Sian is an inspiration to all women thinking about getting involved in the game."

Previously speaking about her love of the beautiful game, Brandy said: "I’ve always loved football and thought becoming a referee would be a great way to get closer to the action."

“There aren’t enough women being represented and it’s fantastic to show that girls can do it just as well. This isn’t just a hobby, it’s a passion. I take this very seriously."


You can follow Amy on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.



Friday, April 21, 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) is a new feature for the 2016/17 Premier League campaign.

A football statistical index, it has been developed specifically to give a verdict on a 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 2016/17 - Last update: 21/04/17 at 12 noon


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


Goalkeepers:

1. Tom Heaton (Burnley) 90.4 ICT Index 
2. Jordan Pickford (Sunderland) 77.3
3. Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) 74.2 (pictured right)
4. Ben Foster (West Brom) 69.5
5. Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 69.4
6. Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 66.8
7. Lee Grant (Stoke City) 64.7
8. Víctor Valdés (Middlesbrough) 61.0
9. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 60.6
10. Peter Schmechiel (Leicester) 57.8


Defenders:

1. Michael Keane (Burnley) 148.8 ICT Index
2. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) 142.7
3. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) 137.0
4. Patrick van Aanholt (C. Palace) 135.3
5. Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth) 133.8
6. Antonio Valencia (Man Utd) 133.3
7. Kyle Walker (Tottenham) 133.1
8. Christian Fuchs (Leicester) 131.6
9. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 131.0
10. Craig Dawson (West Brom) 128.5


Midfielders:

1. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) 382.0 ICT Index
2. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) 327.9
3. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 326.2
4. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) 285.9
5. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 285.7
6. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) 267.5
7. Ross Barkley (Everton) 257.2 (pictured right)
8. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) 254.6
9. David Silva (Man City) 250.9
10. Dele Alli (Tottenham) 247.6


Forwards:

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man Utd) 327.3 ICT Index
2. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 313.9
3. Diego Costa (Chelsea) 288.9
4. Sergio Agüero (Man City) 261.2
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 243.4
6. Christian Benteke (C. Palace) 242.2 (pictured right)
7. Troy Deeney (Watford) 195.1
8. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) 194.4
9. Salomón Rondón (West Brom) 187.3
10. Álvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough) 180.7



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, April 07, 2017

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!




With only about six weeks or so to go of the current 2016/17 football season, there is plenty of transfer talk going on as we speak. Many clubs across Europe are already 'provisionally planning' on how they are going to strengthen and develop their squads and infrastructure ahead of next season, despite the fact that many clubs are unsure in what division of their respective leagues they will be playing in at the start of the 2017/18 season. Some clubs may have to wait until the final game of the season before they know their fate, whilst others will have to go through the nerve-racking play-off scenario at the end of May before they can truly plan for next season.

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Slaven Bilic, Antonio Conte, Tottenham, Manchester City, Sunderland, Newcastle, Juventus, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Benfica and Arsene Wenger to name but a few!


Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski is being lined up to succeed Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United if the latter elects to leave Old Trafford this summer - The Sun

West Ham are considering sacking manager Slaven Bilic if they lose to Swansea on Saturday. Defeat would be their sixth in a row in the Premier League - Daily Telegraph

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has insisted he is committed to the Blues despite interest in the Italian from Inter Milan - Daily Mirror

Arsene Wenger is locked in a power struggle over his new contract. Wenger is almost certain to stay at Arsenal and sign a new two-year deal, but there is major concern behind the scenes about his unwillingness to embrace change - Daily Mirror

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, 28, is ready to give the club one more year, as long as they prove their ambition in this summer's transfer market - Daily Mirror

Jose Mourinho has phoned Alexis Sanchez about a possible move to Manchester United this summer. The wantaway Arsenal star has also been contacted by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola - Daily Mail

Marseille are planning to spend £85m on three England-based France internationals this summer - striker Olivier Giroud and defender Laurent Koscielny from Arsenal and midfielder Moussa Sissoko from Tottenham - L'Equipe (French nationwide daily sports newspaper)

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, 26, is reconsidering a planned £89m move to Manchester United because he wants to play Champions League football - The Sun

France international Griezmann says he is "tired" of speculation over his future. Asked where he will be next season he replied: "I certainly see myself at Atletico." - AS (Spanish daily sports newspaper)

Atletico Madrid will move for Genoa striker Giovanni Simeone, son of manager Diego, if their transfer ban is lifted this summer - Il Messaggero (Italian newspaper based in Rome)

Manchester United are preparing a £51m bid for Inter Milan and Croatia winger Ivan Perisic, 28, who is also wanted by Chelsea - Gazzetta dello Sport (Italian Sports newspaper)

Arsenal could be set for a summer swoop for 22 year-old Schalke and German international midfielder Leon Goretzka. Schalke may be willing to part with Goretzka for £21m - The Sun and Bild (German tabloid newspaper)

Arsenal have made contact with Kingsley Coman over a proposed summer transfer. The French international winger/forward is currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Juventus - The Sun

Tottenham are confident of keeping hold of 20-year-old England midfielder Dele Alli despite interest from Real Madrid and Manchester City - Daily Mail

It's being reported Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is attracting interest from North-East rivals Newcastle, who look set to win promotion back to the Premier League. The Black Cats looked doomed for relegation and Defoe is likely to move on for top-flight football. Bournemouth and West Ham are also reportedly interested in the 34 year-old - The Sun

Alvaro Morata will leave Real Madrid this summer if the club do not sell France striker Karim Benzema. The Spain forward, 24, is a target for Premier League leaders Chelsea - Diario Gol (Spanish news publication), via Daily Star

Isco has stated he is not going to Barcelona after he published a photo which featured a packet of Barcelona-branded crips on social media. The Real Madrid playmaker, who is inside the final 15 months of his Bernabeu deal, has been linked with a 2018 free-transfer move to fierce rivals Barca - skysports.com

Barcelona will re-sign Gerard Deulofeu for €12m this summer. The Everton winger is currently on loan in Serie A with AC Milan - Mundo Deportivo (Spanish nationwide daily sports newspaper)

The fall-out from the Liverpool tapping-up ban intensified after Stoke City chairman Peter Coates revealed he was pursuing compensation over the matter - Daily Telegraph

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has revealed a decision on the future of midfielder Giannelli Imbula will not be made until the end of the season. Imbula has featured just 15 times for Stoke this season and has been linked with a summer move away from the bet365 Stadium - skysports.com

Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, 20, would be prepared to put in a transfer request to force a move to Manchester United, according to sources close to the Nigeria international's agent - Own Goal Nigeria (Nigerian football website) and Daily Express

Scouts from Manchester United, Arsenal and West Brom were all at Benfica's Portuguese Cup tie against Estoril, all believed to be watching Swedish centre-back Victor Lindelof, 22 - The Sun

Serie A side Napoli are interested in signing Sunderland's Jeremain Lens, but the 29-year-old Netherlands winger is only interested in making his season-long loan at Turkish club Fenerbahce permanent - ChronicleLive (North-East football website)


Saturday, April 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Fitness Model Caitlin Rice


Caitlin Rice was born on 7th November, 1991 in Dallas, Texas, United States. She is a famous fitness model and as a result has has become a huge Social Media Personality. Caitlin constantly moved around America during her childhood; her father served in the army, and was frequently re-stationed in different locations.

Caitlin started in fashion modeling at the age of 16 in Atlanta, Georgia but quit modelling to focus on her college career and attended Southern Methodist University in Texas studying Political Science.

In her final year of college, Caitlin decided to make a lifestyle change, packed in drinking, eating junk food, and partying, and dedicated her time to the gym in an effort to sculpt her dream figure. Caitlin started hitting the weights and did some research.

"I learned how to lift weights properly and quite simply fell in love with it. Lifting became a lifestyle and pretty much the best part of my day. I always strive for progress. 
Being fit is so much more than just looking good and having a good body. I became addicted to the feeling of being healthy and full of energy. 
In addition to learning how to lift weights properly, I taught myself all about proper nutrition as well. 

Always looking online at videos and tutorials on proper form and different routines etc. I finally started putting my own routine together made up of the exercises that I found were the most beneficial to me – the exercises and combinations of exercises that were giving me the most results."

Towards the end of 2012, Caitlin created social media profiles to share her journey with the fitness community. Caitlin realized how much of an opportunity social media could be and decided to turn her new found notoriety into an outlet through which she could help others.

Caitlin's social media profile rose dramatically as she inspired her followers by posting pictures and videos of her lifestyle, fitness journey, healthy eating and workout routines. Caitlin now has 1.4 million followers on Instagram alone.

Caitlin currently lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.


Caitlin's Stats:

Profession - Fitness Model and Social Media Personality
Born - Dallas, TX, United States
Lives In - Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Date of Birth - 7th November, 1991
Age - 25 years
Height - 5 feet 5 inches
Weight - 47-48 Kg Approx
Measurements - 34D-24-32
Hair Colour - Brown
Eye Colour - Green
Husband - Braden Matejka - married in 2015
Education - Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Nationality - American-Canadian


Nutrition:

Caitlin knows the importance of nutrition when aiming to sculpt a great figure. She follows a well-planned diet all year round, eating 6 meals per day – based around lean protein, complex carbs, vegetables, and healthy fats.

But she has to curb her sweet tooth. To do this, she bakes protein cookies, muffins, pancakes, and mug cakes to satisfy her cravings without over-consuming calories.

The fitness icon allows herself one cheat meal per week, usually in the form of pepperoni pizza.


Supplement Stack:

These are the supplements that Caitlin uses:

# Whey Protein
# Casein Protein
# Pre Workout
# BCAAs
# Fat Burner
# Multi-vitamin




Caitlin is also an Entrepreneur, having founded Caitlin Stance Supplements and Caitlin Rice Fit. She is also a co-owner of FitNut Training.




You can follow Caitlin on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or visit her website



Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Origin of Football Shirt Numbering


The reason behind the printing of jersey numbers is simple: it helps referees and fans distinguish players on the pitch.


The first documented instance of numbers being used in association football was on 30th March 1924 when the Fall River Marksmen, an American football club, based in Fall River, Massachusetts played St. Louis Vesper Buick, in St. Louis, Missouri during the 1923–24 National Challenge Cup,

According to history, numbered shirts were first worn in association football in Europe on 25th August 1928, by English clubs Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday. In the mythology of Arsenal Football Club, it is often stated that Herbert Chapman, (right) the manager at the time, “invented” the notion of numbered shirts.

Certainly before the first match of the 1928/29 season no league team in England had turned out in numbered shirts, but on the same day Chelsea played Swansea and they had their shirts numbered. The difference between the two games was that at Chelsea the goalkeeper did not wear a number – a tradition that continued in English football once numbering of players became common.

So if Mr.Chapman was the keen advocate of numbering as the stories say, he rather cleverly managed to persuade Chelsea to undertake the same experiment on the same day.

The Monday newspapers on 27th August picked up on the story and deemed the idea a success, and it is reported in some sources that for both these matches one team would wear numbers 1 to 11, according to their positions on the field, and the other team 12 to 22, but there aren't any pictures to confirm this, and verification is vague.

Either way the Football Association didn’t like the idea and ordered the experiment to be abandoned. I don’t know what justification they gave for this.

In the 1934 AGM of the Football League Management Committee numbers was however once again rejected but finally on 5th July, 1939 the Management Committee decided that players should wear numbered shirts, with both sides wearing 1 to 11 in the format described for the first games in 1928.

However the 1939/40 season had hardly got underway when war was declared and the League programme abandoned. But the decision had been taken, and when League football returned on 31st August 1946, numbered shirts were available for all teams, both in England and Scotland.

As most teams still played the same tactical formation as existed during the 1928 experiment the standard numbering of shirts followed the classic 2-3-5 formation, with numbers 2 and 3 assigned to the full backs, 4, 5, 6 to the half backs, and 7 to 11 the forwards.

When substitutions were introduced to the game in 1965, the substitute typically took the number 12; when a second substitute was allowed, they wore 14. Players were not compelled to wear the number 13 if they were superstitious.

In 1993, The Football Association (The FA) switched to persistent squad numbers, abandoning the mandatory use of 1–11 for the starting line-up. The first league event to feature this was the 1993 Football League Cup Final between Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday, and it became standard in the FA Premier League the following season.

Squad numbers became optional in the three divisions of The Football League at the same time, but only 10 out of 70 clubs utilized them. Most European top leagues adopted the system during the 1990's.

The Football League made squad numbers compulsory for the 1999–2000 season, and the Football Conference followed suit for the 2002–03 season.

Players may now wear any number (as long as it is unique within their squad) between 1 and 99. To date, the highest number worn by a player in the Premier League is 78, by Manchester City's former Spanish striker José Ángel Pozo (below) against Sunderland on 3 December 2014.


Some players keep the number they start their career at a club with, such as Chelsea defender John Terry, who has worn the number 26 from when he became part of the first-team squad. On occasion, players have moved numbers to accommodate a new player; for example, Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun handed new signing Juan Mata the number 10 shirt, and changed to the number 30, which doubles his "lucky" number 15. Upon signing for Everton in 2007, Yakubu refused the prestigious number 9 shirt and asked to be assigned number 22, setting this number as a goal-scoring target for his first season, a feat he ultimately fell one goal short of achieving.

As commercialization has crept into the game, the decisions these players make are becoming an increasingly big deal for the marketability of them and their clubs; to be a bespoke commodity in a game saturated with personalities is becoming increasingly difficult, after all.

So players hold few concerns for the traditional associations with various numbers. Now players will pick lucky numbers, year of birth or numbers that their boyhood idols wore and even numbers to symbolize their rapper alter-egos! And that’s to name but a few.

But there are still some nods to tradition and heritage. When England play their friendly games they'll wear the classic number arrangement based on their positions on the pitch, as will a host of various national teams, something that'll still make purists purr with nostalgia.


You may have come across the term “retired jersey number.” In football, like in other sports, a retired jersey number is one which can no longer be used by other players of the same squad.

Numbers are retired to honor a player who has given significant contributions to a club or national team. Below are some retired jersey numbers:

* Number 3 of Milan – for Paolo Maldini, the greatest player of italian giants AC Milan.

* Number 6 of Milan – for Franco Baresi, one of the finest defenders in football history.

* Number 6 of Roma – for Aldair, one of the best Brazilian full-backs.

* Number 6 of West Ham United – for Bobby Moore, one of England’s greatest footballers.


* Number 10 of Brescia – for Roberto Baggio, the Italian is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all-time.

* Number 10 of Kispest AC/Honvéd – for Ferench Puskas, considered one of the best Hungarian players of all time.

* Number 10 of Napoli – for Diego Maradona, who help turn them from one of the poorest to one of the most successful clubs in Serie A between 1984 and 1991.

* Number 14 of Ajax – for Johan Cruijff, considered as Netherland’s best ever player.

* Number 17 of  Helsingborgs IF - for Henrik Larsson, the highly decorated Sweden striker.

* Number 17 of Lens - Cameroon's Marc-Vivien Foé (below), who began his professional career at Lens in 1994, and died while playing for his country on 26th June 2003.


* Number 23 of Manchester City - for Marc-Vivien Foe, who was a City player when he collapsed and died while playing for Cameroon, aged 28. An autopsy found he been suffering from a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


Over the years, achievements of world-class footballers and their fame has rubbed off on the numbers they wore.

From the legendary number ten shirt of Diego Maradona to the iconic number three shirt of Paolo Maldini, here are some of the most famous shirt numbers and the players who made them famous.

# Number One: Gianluigi Buffon, Oliver Kahn, Iker Casillas.

# Number Two: Cafu, Gary Neville.

# Number Three: Paolo Maldini (below), Roberto Carlos and Ashley Cole.


# Number Four: Patrick Vieira and Aldair.

# Number Five: Franz Beckenbauer, Zinedine Zidane, Rio Ferdinand and Fabio Cannavaro.

# Number Six: Franco Baresi, Xavi, Aldair.

# Number Seven: Cristiano Ronaldo (below), George Best (below), Luis Figo, David Beckham (below), Marc Overmars, Pierre Littbarski, Garrincha, Raul, Pato, David Villa, Bebeto, Andriy Shevchenko, Bryan Robson (below) and Eric Cantona (below).


# Number Eight: Socrates, Steven Gerrard, Andres Iniesta, Dunga and Hristo Stoichkov,

# Number Nine: Ronaldo de Lima, Marco Van Basten, Alfredo Di Stefano, Gabriel Batistuta, Marco Van Basten, Samuel Eto’o Hugo Hugo Sanchez and Alan Shearer.

# Number Ten: Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Pele, Michel Platini, Eusebio, Zico, Ferenc Puskás, Kaka, Rooney and Zinedine Zidane and Dennis Bergkamp.

# Number 11: Ryan Giggs and Romario.


In football, the fans are dubbed the 12th player because their support is equal to having an additional player on the field. Some football clubs that received strong support from fans retire the number 12 jersey to honor them.

Thus, Bayern Munich, Feyenoord, Portsmouth, Fenerbahce, RC Lens, Dynamo Kiev, Lazio, Zenith St. Petersburg and Glasgow Rangers are some of the clubs where the number 12 shirt has been permanently withdrawn to pay tribute to the loyalty of supporters.


Unusual or notable shirt numbers in football include the following:

* In 1996 when Portuguese star Paulo Futre learned he would have to wear the No.16 shirt at West Ham, rather than his preferred No.10, he brought in a legal team to resolve the issue.
Harry Redknapp, in his autobiography Always Managing, wrote: "Eddie Gillam, our trainer, had given him the No.16 shirt and got it thrown back in his face (before the first game of the season against Arsenal). Next thing, Paulo was in my face, too: 'Futre 10, not 16,' he said. ‘Eusebio 10, Maradona 10, Pele 10; Futre 10, not f***ing 16."

Redknapp said: "I tried to be firm. "Paulo, put your shirt on, get changed, please, we have a big game. If you don’t want to wear it, Paulo, off you go," And he did.
"The following Monday, Paulo came back in with his team of lawyers to negotiate for the No.10 shirt."

He then paid £100,000 to secure it.

* From 1997 to 2000 Chilean striker Iván Zamorano, wore number "1+8", or number 18 with a plus symbol between the two digits, for Internazionale of Milan , after his number 9 was given to Ronaldo.


* In 2000, Moroccan international Hicham Zerouali was allowed to wear the number 0 for Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen after the fans nicknamed him "Zero."

* In 2000, Gianluigi Buffon, the Italian shot-stopper caused a right fuss when he opted to wear the 88 shirt at Parma. At first his choice seemed innocuous enough, though suddenly, Italy's Jewish community were outraged.

The number, they explained, was a neo-Nazi symbol; 'H' is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so putting two together makes 'HH', or, more chillingly, 'Heil Hitler'.
Buffon was quick to defend his actions. "I have chosen 88 because it reminds me of four balls," he said. "And in Italy we all know what it means to have balls: strength and determination. And this season I will have to have balls to get back my place in the Italy team."


"At first I didn't choose 88. I wanted 00 but the league told me that was impossible. I also considered 01 but that was not considered a proper number. I liked 01 because it was the number on the General Lee car in the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard."

* In 2004, Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía became the first player to wear 99 in the final of a major European competition, the UEFA Champions League.

* In 2004 Juan Pablo Sorín was allowed to use the number "1+2" for Villarreal because the number 3 shirt was already taken.

* In 2005 French international left-back Bixente Lizarazu signed for Bayern Munich, and chose to wear shirt number 69. Though referred to as a commonly lewd number due to certain connotations, Lizarazu actually chose it due to a range of rather coincidental measurements:- he was born in 1969, weighed 69kg and had a height of 1.69 metres. Hence the choice of the number.

*In 2008, Milan's three new signings each chose a number indicating the year of his birth: 80 (Ronaldinho, born 1980), 76 (Andriy Shevchenko, born 1976) and 84 (Mathieu Flamini, born 1984).



* At the beginning of the 2013–14 season, Barnet midfielder and player-manager Edgar Davids allocated himself the number 1 shirt, announcing he intended to "set a trend". Davids was hardly a trailblazer however:- Ruud Geels (Holland, 1974), Ossie Ardiles (Argentina, 1978) and Stuart Balmer (Charlton 1990) had all worn the number one shirt before him.



Shirt numbers are not the most important facet of the game by any means, but they have brought wonderful symbolism and esteemed relevance to a host of players throughout the history of football. And as the struggle to be unique becomes increasingly critical for the big players that dominate the footballing landscape, it’ll be interesting to see what’s next in store for us when it comes to what’s printed on the back of a shirt!


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Sexy Russian referee Ekaterina Kostyunina



Ekaterina Kostyunina was born 27 February 1995, and she celebrated her 22nd birthday last Monday! Ekaterina's love for football began when she was 13. At first she played football in the company of her male friends but soon became a player in the local women's team.







In 2013, she was offered the opportunity to be a referee for several matches and that’s when her meteoric rise started.
Referees usually raise eyebrows with their controversial or dubious on-field decisions, but this Russian official is attracting attention for a very different reason!









Kostyunina, who describes herself as a football referee, footballer and a university student, has made a name for herself on the social media platform with a number of pictures on Instagram.




Ekaterina has set pulses racing off the pitch with her sexy social media snaps, and has a built up a huge following of over 85,000 followers on Instagram with flirtatious posts and sultry selfies.




Talking about her secret for keeping an amazing figure, the referee said that she actively goes to the gym, eats healthy and works hard at Krasnoyarsk Pedagogical University, where she is studying to become a physical education teacher.





The fact that Ekaterina was given the unofficial title of Russia's most beautiful female referee (by the website Sports.ru.) came as quite a shock to her, as she had not expected to gain so much popularity literally overnight, right across Russia.

She said that she gets thousands of messages, not only from her compatriots, but also from fans of football [including girls] from around Europe and America.




You can follow Ekaterina on Facebook and Instagram



Tuesday, February 21, 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) is a new feature for the 2016/17 Premier League campaign.

A football statistical index, it has been developed specifically to give a verdict on a 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 2016/17 - Last update: 21/02/17 at 9.30am


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


Goalkeepers:

1. Tom Heaton (Burnley) 74.0 ICT Index 
2. Ben Foster (West Brom) 60.7 (pictured right)
3. Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 53.3
4. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 52.0
5. Jordan Pickford (Sunderland) 51.9
6. Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 50.3
7. Víctor Valdés (Middlesbrough) 48.8
8. Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) 48.2
9. Lee Grant (Stoke City) 45.7
10. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) 43.8


Defenders:

1. Patrick van Aanholt (C. Palace) 123.3 ICT Index
2. Kyle Walker (Tottenham) 116.0
3. Michael Keane (Burnley) 111.7
4. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) 110.7
4. Antonio Valencia (Man Utd) 110.7
6. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) 108.4
7. Séamus Coleman (Everton) 103.9
8. Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth) 103.8
9. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 103.3
10. Gareth McAuley (West Brom) 102.5


Midfielders:

1. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) 333.0 ICT Index
2. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) 250.0
3. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 239.2
4. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) 229.4
5. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) 216.2 (pictured right)
6. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 215.6
7. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) 209.7
8. Paul Pogba (Man Utd) 206.7
9. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) 205.4
10. Michail AntonioTheo (West Ham) 192.4


Forwards:

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man Utd) 291.6 ICT Index
2. Diego Costa (Chelsea) 241.0
3. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 219.0 (pictured right)
4. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 183.1
5. Sergio Agüero (Man City) 178.7.
6. Christian Benteke (C. Palace) 171.8
7. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) 165.2
8. Salomón Rondón (West Brom) 161.1
9. Troy Deeney (Watford) 152.4
10. Fernando Llorente (Swansea) 145.8



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.