Lazio won’t win the Scudetto – but that doesn’t mean their herculean efforts don’t deserve celebration

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Lazio’s win over Juventus on Saturday was a statement.

Coming from behind to become the first team to beat Maurizio Sarri’s side this season certainly peaked the attention of any dozy onlookers who hadn’t noticed the momentum building on the blue side of Rome.

The result spoke volumes about the progress this team is making. And it spoke loudly.

It said that Simone Inzaghi’s side are no flat-track bullies, that this is a team capable of beating anyone on their day.

It said that the days of flopping on the big occasion, of failing to respond to adversity, of choking at crucial moments, are behind them. Continue reading

Is Zidane’s righting of the Real Madrid ship complete?

Zinedine Zidane’s methods are working, it’s just taking time. That’s the reality of the Real Madrid icon’s current attempts to turn around his beloved club. Zidane is nearing a year’s length into his second stint managing Los Merengues.

His first term at the helm, from 2016 to 2018, resulted in one of the most successful periods in recent history if not the entire history of club football. On Zidane’s watch, Real Madrid notched the 2016/17 La Liga title- a no easy feat considering Barcelona’s dominance on the domestic scene since the emergence of superstar Lionel Messi. It was the club’s 33rd overall. And then there was the small matter of the three consecutive Champions League titles Zidane delivered to Santiago Bernabéu.

He’s the only manager in history to pull off such a trifecta. But you might not know any of this by reading the day-to-day football press. Real Madrid watchers have been quick to dismiss Zidane since taking over the club in March. Los Merengues were then a flailing lot after dropping a two-leg aggregate to Barcelona and a match to Ajax. Those defeats eliminated the club from the Copa del Rey and Champions League respectively. A loss to Girona compounded problems.

Although the Frenchman’s second tour at the helm of Real Madrid- following his 12-month absence- was met with fanfare, April and May under Zidane were still a struggle for the club. Valencia and Rayo Vallecano- of all sides- bested the club. Leganés and Getafe CF managed draws.

Real Madrid finished in third position when the book closed on Spain’s La Liga a season ago. Fast forward to today and Zidane’s squad is finally finding a groove as 2019 draws to an end. Real Madrid is second behind bitter rivals Barcelona in La Liga. Both clubs are tied at the top of the league table, separated only by goal difference.

Here are a few more numbers to consider. Los Merengues are owners of an 10-4-1 record. They boast the second-highest amount of goals scored and have the second best defensive record in La Liga behind city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Karim Benzema is second in the league in scoring. His 11 goals are more than the entire output Espanyol and Leganés. He only trails Barcelona’s Messi in the scoring charts in Spain’s La Liga. Speaking of Leganés, the 5-0 thrashing they received by Real Madrid on 31st October is the biggest single-match goal differential in La Liga this season.

On the Champions League front, the club made it to the knockout stage after finishing second in Group A behind PSG. For now, around half of the 2019-20 La Liga campaign remains to be played. That’s a lot of football. There’s no reason to believe Zidane won’t continue to steer Real Madrid through calm waters.

What’s in store for Tottenham?

In mid-November, Tottenham manager, Mauricio Pochettino left the club, with some saying he was sacked, while others saying he walked away. Regardless of who made the first move, the end result was the same and Spurs were left looking for a new manager.

That search lasted all but a couple of hours, with new manager Jose Mourinho being announced as his replacement shortly after. Typically, a caretaker manager is appointed in the interim, but the swift appointment demonstrates that Spurs bosses had been planning this for some time.

Pochettino’s departure was so fast and so sudden that he had to leave a note to the players to say goodbye, not having the time to do so in person.

Poor Run

His five years at the club ended without Spurs winning a trophy, and his final few months have been underlined by a terrible run of performance, taking just 24 points from 25 Premier League games.

The Almost Champions

However, just a couple of months earlier, Spurs were taking on Liverpool in the UEFA
Champions League final, the first time the team had made it that far in the competition.

Despite putting up a respectable fight, they ultimately lost the game to the reds. Most commentators had predicted this outcome, given that Liverpool were fighting for the Premier League title and enjoying their best run of form for decades.

The Beginning of a New Era

After spending 11 months away from a job in the game, Jose Mourinho returned to football in November. He started by setting the bar high, announcing that he believed that Spurs were in a position to challenge for the Premier League title next season, despite currently sitting mid table.

He proved he wasn’t all mouth though. In his first game at the helm, Spurs took on local London rivals, West Ham – a daunting task. A manager’s first game with a new team is often under scrutiny much more than usual, but a derby game meant the stakes were even higher.

Mourinho was confident though, coaching the team to a 3-2 victory over their neighbours.

Victory in Europe?

Despite the dismal performance for the last couple of months, Spurs remain in contention for the Champions League. They currently sit second in their group and are confirmed to progress into the round of 16.

From here, the previous results don’t matter, and a surging Spurs could legitimately mount a challenge for the Champions League title. Shortly after being appointed as manager, Mourinho was also quick to point out that he has never lost a Champions League final. A hint that he may be setting his eyes on that this season, having publicly written off the Premier League.

The format of the Champions League means that the line between success and failure is thin. Poor performance in a single match past the group stages means that you are likely to be out of the competition for another year.

While events on the night can change things, it is often possible to get predictions and tips ahead of time from odds comparison websites who employ experts to analyse the past performance of each team.

Turning the Tide

Aside from the victory in Mourinho’s debut game, Spurs had already been turning the tide in their performance. For example, in a Champions League game against Crvena Zvezda they won 4-0 away and 5-0 at home, while they held Everton to a 1-1 draw in a Premier League fixture in early November.

There is still work to do though. In the 3-2 victory against West Ham, the game had been dominated by Spurs until two goals by West Ham came in the final minutes of the game. This was evidence of the fatigue that had hit the players, with Mourinho attributing it to the emotional roller-coaster of changing managers and the recent international break.

Mourinho also has a point to prove after being sacked by Manchester United following a 3-1 loss to Liverpool last season. He seems refreshed and raring to go, and has plenty of room to grow within Spurs.

Only time will tell if this change in management will yield any positive results, but the signs are positive so far.

Is Gareth Bale leaving Real Madrid?

There has been a lot of noise lately when it comes to Gareth Bale and his football career in one of the most popular Spanish teams. Due to some of the recent events, many are wondering if this Welsh forward will continue to represent Real Madrid beyond this season.

Some of the latest football news that can be heard lately include alleged quarrels with the press, outstanding offers from other clubs, as well as the belief that Bale is not thrilled that he’s playing for Real anymore.

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions along with some feedback on them.

Is the Press Putting Pressure on Bale?

The reason Gareth Bale is currently on bad terms with the Spanish press dates back to his injury that prevented him from playing for Real Madrid for a month. However, the press emphasized that, during this period, Bale took part in some of the games played by his national team, despite the injury he had.

When the media reprimanded him for not respecting his club, Bale didn’t hesitate to respond in the same manner. After securing qualifications for the Euro 2020, the Welsh team with Gareth Bale in the middle lifted a flag with the writing ‘Wales, golf, Madrid — in that order’.

This move caused provocations and discontent among many people, some of which wanted to share their opinion on the situation.

Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, tried to explain the situation and defended the Welsh forward, saying that the flag was created strictly for the press since they listened to the people who don’t know Bale at all and published ‘very infantile and stupid stories’ about one of the best players in the world.

A Moving to China?

Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2013 was a record-breaking one at the time —  a staggering £85 million. He proved that he was worth the money by winning the Champions League four times in six years, three UEFA Super Cups, three Club World Cups, one La Liga, and one Copa del Rey with the Spanish team.

Nevertheless, a Chinese soccer club, Jiangsu Suning, offered Bale a contract worth £1m a week. Everything was ready for his transfer to China when all of a sudden, Real Madrid asked for compensation. We are not familiar with the amount of the transfer fee demanded, but it must have been sky-high since it lead to the cancellation of the deal.

At least until January, Gareth Bale will stay in Spain since his current contract with Real Madrid is still valid. However, Zinedine Zidane, who came back in March to lead the Spanish team, apparently doesn’t like working with the Welsh player and thinks his transfer to another club would be ‘best for everyone’.

Bale Lacks Enthusiasm?

All of the previous accusations probably created an overall impression that Bale is not happy in Spain anymore and that he isn’t giving his best on the field. Again, his manager had to intervene and bring up some undeniable facts regarding Real Madrid’s main pillar.

He mentioned Bale’s contribution to Real Madrid’s success, and also that he is one of the best players in the world who always gives his maximum. Also, he stated that Bale is not an entertainer but a soccer player whose results on the field speak for themselves.

Apart from that, his teammates stand by him and wouldn’t like to see him leave. Other players like sharing the field with Bale, which is very important when it comes to creating a somewhat general opinion about a player.

Maybe this is all just a phase and everything will go back to normal soon. Another option is that Bale finally leaves Spain behind and joins some other team. What will his choice be? Only time can tell.

Take a break from your Fantasy League with 4 Ideas

A fantasy sports league can be like a great TV series; it can leave you so eager for the next installment that you can’t think about anything else. If you find yourself unsure of how to occupy your time between games, here are four ideas that anyone can take advantage of.

Read a Book

It might not seem quite as exciting as watching your sport, but there are plenty of brilliant sports books out there any fan would enjoy reading. If you’ve never tried reading sports books before, have a look at what is available for your chosen game. You will often find that not only are there general books about sports, but that individual players and other figures within will often also produce interesting work.

If you’re looking for something to escape with then maybe a fiction title would be better. If you own a Kindle, there are plenty of classic books that are now in the public domain and free to download. If you don’t have an e-reader, you can download the Kindle app to your phone and read books that way.

Try Some Retail Therapy

When all else fails, retail therapy is a reliable way of boosting your spirits. It doesn’t really matter what you buy, only that you spoil yourself to some degree. Even some minor retail therapy can bring a number of benefits and if nothing else, it will keep you occupied for a while.

If you have got used to doing all of your shopping online, then take the excuse to actually go out to the nearest mall and shop there. With online shopping being so common, many of us have forgotten the joys of just browsing a physical store.

Learn a New Skill

It has never been easier for curious people to learn new skills. There is a plethora of apps and websites that make it easy to pick up even relatively complicated skills. For example, there are websites that will teach you how to code in a variety of different languages and for a variety of different purposes.

Alternatively, you could invest in a new cookbook and expand your culinary capabilities. Learning to cook properly is much more achievable than many people realize. If it is something that you have always wondered about then there’s no time to start like the present.

Find a Nearby Live Event

When was the last time you went to a live event such as a music gig? If it’s been a while, check out TicketSales.com and see what events are on near you. With so many events going on, it is easy to miss things that you would love to go and see, especially if you live in a big city. TicketSales.com provides information about tickets for events around the globe, making it a fantastic source of information about live events.

Hopefully, that should be enough to keep you occupied until the next game in your fantasy league. It’s important to take a break every now and then.

West Ham’s tough season

West Ham were shocked and gave a shocking performance in the Carabao Cup to lose 4-0 to League one side Oxford United, and one wonders how long this negative effect will last with the Londoners.

The cup competitions can often serve a surprise as the so-called giant killing teams of the lower leagues play their best games and up their performance. Losing to one of the lower league teams happens to most of the big clubs, particularly those who rest their star players.

However, it is the way West Ham disintegrated which is of most concern. A 4-0 loss is more than poor and 3 of Oxford’s goals were scored in 29 minutes in the second half as the Hammers simply collapsed. For Fantasy Football managers, cup competition can be tricky. For those who look to place bets on cup competitions, you should look no further than Amazing Bet which allows you to take advantage of offers from bookmakers as well as guide you to better betting odds. Amazing Bet also provides you with information on where and how you can place free bets.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini did make changes to his side that beat Manchester United in the league just a few days before, 9 changes in all, but there was still plenty of quality on the field including new signing Pablo Fornals who has been very underwhelming since joining the club on a coat tail of hype from Villarreal.

Pellegrini was forced to bring on regulars early in the 2nd half such as Mark Noble and Sebastian Haller but the irony was that when more experience and quality came on the Hammers lost the plot and Oxford United improved.

It is bizarre to think that the Hammers have started the season well and just beat Manchester United, but this cup defeat was a stark reminder that worse things could be around the corner for the club.

There must be criticism pointed at Pellegrini though- for example why make so many changes? Yes, games come thick and fast and he rightly pointed out that you need to utilize your squad. But what justification did he seek in making those changes? For example, had this been a midweek Champions League game he wouldn’t have made the changes which leads us on to suggesting that Pellegrini in fact disrespected the competition and it has widely backfired onto him and the club.

The irony is West Ham are one of those well-known clubs alongside Everton for example who have not won a major trophy for a long time. Next year will mark 25 years for Everton and 40 for West Ham. Again, did Pellegrini rest players just so West Ham could finish in the top 10? What are their aspirations in a very difficult league? Shouldn’t the club really be chasing a cup and giving it a go?

With this cup gone, West Ham’s season already looks exposed. They aren’t ready for a top 4 place and don’t look prepared to challenge for a Europa League place either. That leaves the FA Cup then which doesn’t start for them until January.

The shock remains for Pellegrini- an experienced coach- who must set as target survival in the Premier League. A late push for a Europa League spot would have been ideal but that is looking increasingly like wishful thinking.

Top 5 Underperforming Players in Fantasy Football

Before the start of every Premier League season, fans will assemble their carefully created fantasy sides looking to blow away the competition in their respective leagues. Some of their picks will be astute and perform excellently, but there are also those that you have selected that you will be looking to take out as soon as it is possible.

These players will be a shock to some players, as they would have been included following excellent campaigns in the top-flight in the previous season. However, despite the momentum that they may have had in the previous campaign, they have been unable to build on that.

Some of the players that have underperformed this season also have done so after having talks surrounding their long-term future going on throughout the summer months, and this could have been the reason for their faltering form. 

But, what players so far this season have been underwhelming in the Premier League in terms of fantasy football?

Wilfried Zaha: The Crystal Palace man has undoubtedly been a factor in the strong start that the Eagles have enjoyed this season, but his personal form hasn’t been the best, and he is yet to score a single goal this season.

However, despite this, he is an important player to the team and him remaining at the club has ensured that most online sportsbook doesn’t feel that they will be in relegation trouble this season.

So far, he has scored 28 points this season, which is almost half the amount that the Palace leading player, Jordan Ayew, has at this moment in time. Not only this, but Zaha is valued at 6.7 million, which means that those that have selected him are using up a considerable chunk of their budget on the Ivorian. These players may look at offloading Zaha pretty soon since his form has shown little chance of changing.

Paul Pogba

A host of Manchester United players could have made this list, but Paul Pogba has been by far the most underwhelming of the players at the Theatre of Dreams. His season has already been derailed by injury, and that means he will be out until at least the end of November. Many players would have picked the Frenchman at the beginning of the season, but that number has dropped to just 3.3% of players since the opening day.

He has registered two assists in his Premier League appearances so far this season, and he has yet to find the back of the net. For a player that commands a fee of 8.4 million, players would have been expecting a lot more. He has only scored 15 points to this point, and that is way below the Manchester United-leading Marcus Rashford who has scored 57 points.

Placing your bets on Paul Pogba in Fantasy League, would be the same as putting money on the Cincinnati Bengals to make it into the NFL playoff betting odds. Neither of them is likely to succeed this season.

Nicolas Pepe: When Arsenal signed Nicolas Pepe in the summer from Lille, there was an expectation that he was going to take the Premier League by storm. However, that hasn’t happened as yet, and he has even lost his place in the starting eleven over recent weeks following the strong opening to the season made by Bukayo Saka.

Pepe has recorded a respectable 31 points, but for a player that commands a fee of 9.3 million, that is just not enough. He was a popular pick at the beginning of the season, but only 3.3% of players now have faith in the winger to turn his season around.

He may pick up his form, but at present, he doesn’t command enough on fantasy football to merit being a pick for any player looking to achieve a league win this season. Besides, he is not always a started for Unai Emery, which means he might not take so much playing time throughout the season.

Diogo Jota: Looking at how Wolves performed last season, we are confident that many Fantasy Premier League players decided to include some of their in-form players in this season’s line-up. One of the players some might have decided to add was Portuguese winger Diogo Jota.

Last season the 22-year-old scored 9 goals and made 5 assists in the Premier League, thus giving him a reasonable amount of points in his Fantasy campaign. This season, however, Wolves is struggling to win games and Jota has only scored 1 goal in 9 games played and has made no assists so far.

At a price of £6.1 in the EFL, he has only accounted for 22 points so far. Quite underwhelming and it might not be a completely bad idea to take him out of the team. His partner Raul Jimenez, although he costs £7.2 might be a better choice, since he has scored 4 so far and assisted 2: a total of 55 points.

Teemu Pukki: After a strong start to the season and bursting forward and scoring 6 goals, Teemu Puuki has slowed down. Still, many might have got the hype and transferred in the Finnish striker. With some superb performances, including a hat-trick against Newcastle, Pukki’s 59 points might be misleading.

However, Norwich are currently 19th in the Premier League and Pukki has gone blank for several weeks. He does not score since 14th of September, when he bagged a goal and an assist against Manchester City. In 4 of the 11 Matchdays he made not more than 2 points in the Fantasy League. So, if you have Pukki on your frontline, either you might be in for a surprise if the striker suddenly starts bursting goals, or you might have been tricked and his £6.8 could have been spent elsewhere.

 

10 Incredible Football facts which make you impressed!

Are you a dedicated football fan who enjoys sharing interesting football stories?
Prepare yourself for some astonishing stories and feel free to share them with your friends!

1. Mark Hughes played for Wales national team and Bayern Munich on the same day.
It happened in 1988 during qualifying matches.

Hughes had just signed the contract Munich and he was prompted to play against Wales. He shared the story: “I had dinner with Uli Hoeness who asked me what time the Wales match was. I told him it was around midday and he said That’s OK then, you can play in the evening as well. After the match, Hughes crossed to the other side of the Czech Republic to play against Borussia Monchengladbach. He said: “We actually flew over the ground and missed the first half, but I got there at the start of the second half.”

2. West Ham football player, Alvin Martin, scored a hat-trick against three different
goalkeepers in a match against Newcastle – Martin Thomas, Chris Hedworth and
Peter Beardsley.

3. Clie Allen scored 28 goals for QPR in season 79-80. After the season, Arsenal paid
more than a million for him but sent him to Palace after only three friendly matches.

4. Starting from season 1982, Bayern football players have at least one place at World
Cup Finals. The last in the row was Arjen Robben during World Cup 2010.

5. When Alex Ferguson came to Manchester United, Aston Villa football club was
better than red devils. By 1986, Villa took seven Premier League titles, seven FA
Cups, three League Cups, and a European Cup.

Before Alex Ferguson took over the team, Manchester United had won seven Premier League titles, six FA Cups, and a European Cup.

With Sir Alex in charge, Manchester United won the Premier League 13 times and now have a record total of 20 English League titles. What an amazing achievement for the Scottish manager! Lucky Nugget Casino NZ are a great way of entertainment for worldwide customers. If you want to test the option, we recommend progressive slots that bring life- changing prizes. Have a look at Lucky Nugget site for more info.

6. If you want to translate word Pittodrie (home of Aberdeen) in Gaelic, it will sound
like s*** heap or (‘place of manure’ or ‘hill of dung)

7. László Kubala was the only football player who competed for three national teams:
Spain, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. This was the first player who had official
recognition of FIFA for the same thing. Former Real Madrid star Alfredo Di Stefano
also played for three national teams: Spain, Colombia, and Argentina but at a time
when Colombia football association was not recognized.

8. Jimmy Rimmer is a unique player which got European Cup winners with two
different clubs from England (Manchester United and Aston Villa)

9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic used to play for six clubs which won Champions League
Trophy. However, he has never won the same competition. Zlatan played for Inter,
Ajax, Juventus, Milan, Manchester United and Barcelona. What bad luck!

10. Giuseppe Bergomi participated in four World Cups but he has never played in
qualifiers. But how is that possible? The ex Italian defender used to play for the
national team in seasons 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1998. During the first qualifying
phase (1982), Bergomi was only 18 and he was not in the first squad. For World Cup 1990, Italy qualified as host and 1998 was too late for Bergomi when he received a
surprising invitation from the coach.

As you can see, football is always associated with interesting facts and stories. Make
sure to follow them all and learn something new.

Common football & sports betting mistakes by newcomers

If football and sports betting are something new for you, then you will face mistakes and disappointment from time to time. Unfortunately, the expectation of perfection and winning are two main problems for most participants. Even if you follow all the advice of specialists, mistakes are inevitable.

They will probably come at a cost, but the important thing is what lesson each person will learn from the situation. You should consider mistakes as a stepping stone and perhaps even as an opportunity to become better.

Do not assume that mistakes will completely stop with a little more experience. We can safely say that no one can make perfect decisions in most cases. But we will consider the main difficulties that await you on the path to success, and try to increase the likelihood of your winnings significantly. Also, make sure to check out the information here if you want to find more information on sports betting.

Money Management

The number one reason why most players are left with nothing lies not in the poor choice of events, but in the inability to manage their own funds. If you consider sports betting as a business that brings you profit, then this imposes an obligation on you to take a serious approach to the process itself. Managing your money is the key to success.

Determine the budget that you are willing to spend on bets. Do not mix them with your daily money. Set the rules that determine the number of possible bets on each event. Remember that spending your entire bank on one game means a collapse.

Such an approach requires discipline from a person, but this will prevent you from becoming too excited during a losing or winning streak. It will also allow you to make more rational and balanced decisions. Do not think that budget management was invented only for professional players. This is important for everyone, even if you consider your experience only as entertainment.

High Expectations

Many people have unrealistic expectations of sports betting. And this is really a serious problem. Some people think that they can make money on betting simply because they are special and lucky, or because they know the sport and the clubs.

Predicting matches is an extremely complex process, which of course, requires much more from you than some general sports knowledge. Yes, sometimes newcomers get lucky, but it is an exception to the rule rather than a pattern. If you want to get real winnings, you will have to work hard. You must know the status of players, who is injured, who in great form and so forth. Football statistics are very useful and this is one great example with detailed stats revealing not just goals and assists for footballers but their tally of yellow and red cards as well as the team’s tendency to keep clean sheets, concede goals, score goals, etc… all can help build an extremely useful trend or a reference point.

Emotion Based Predictions

Have you ever decided to bet to feel the upcoming spectacle more interesting? Or maybe you bet on the victory of your favorite athlete in the tournament? Or maybe a sense of patriotism forced you to bet on your favorite team?

If you can say yes to one of the questions, then you tend to make the most usual mistake. You should make bets only if you are sure about your choice. Emotion-based bets are almost always a mistake.

 

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round Five

Atalanta: Luis Muriel has been ruled out by the coach due to tonsillitis.

Bologna: Mitchell Dijks picked a ribs injury against Roma that will cost him a game or two. Danilo should stay on the mend with his thigh problem.

Brescia: Bruno Martella has a chance to be available for today’s game against Juventus after missing time with a calf problem. Giangiacomo Magnani, Ernesto Torregrossa (quad) and Emanuele Ndoj (ankle) remain sidelined. Continue reading