Players to keep an eye on in the Premier League

With the Premier League gearing up for the third week of action, many are excited to watch their club play and hopefully win matches. Supporters are also excited to watch their favorite players in the Premier League. Fans tend to engage in heavy activity involving online betting to earn money based on the performances of their favourite star.

 

One of the most important players you need to watch out for is Raheem Sterling who is in the race for the Golden Boot. This was highlighted by his hat-trick during Man City’s win over West Ham. From Man City to Liverpool whose star player Mohamed Salah is another fan favourite who has been delivering goals in abundance the last two seasons. Salah started great with a goal in Liverpool’s 4-1 victory against Norwich City.

Another player to look out for is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who scored the decider to edge his club Arsenal in a 1-0 win over Newcastle. That was the only goal and he took four shots of the eight of his team. He shared the Golden Boot last year with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, and his graph indicates that he is going to have a great season.

Other names such as Marcus Rashford and particularly Harry Kane cannot be left far behind. While Kane did not have his best season in the Premier League due to injury, he still was top scorer for England in the World Cup in Russia 2018.

Looking to impress again is Virgil van Dijk, the Liverpool centre-back who had a phenomenal 2018/19 season. He has a habit of scoring goals but can also pass while steadily performing well as a defender. VVD, as he’s commonly referred to by some, is helped by having one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League in the form of Alisson. The ex-Roma goalkeeper and Manchester City’s shot-stopper Ederson were very impressive last season, and perhaps the two best goalkeepers in the Premier League.

It is safe to say many of the key players will be coming from Liverpool and Manchester City. Tottenham may have a couple of players but all eyes will be on Kane to see if he’ll be scoring many goals this season as well as new midfield signing Tanguy Ndombele. Who is on your Fantasy Football team?

How will Chelsea’s Transfer Ban affect their Season?

Chelsea might have finished third in the Premier League last season, picking up European honors along the way, but it was far from a success in the eyes of some supporters.

27 points separated them and second-placed Liverpool, meaning manager Maurizio Sarri’s first ever trophy wasn’t enough to keep him in a job. They’ve turned to Frank Lampard- from Derby County- who is a Blues legend following his success on the field with the club.

If he wants to be the same off the field, he has a huge job. The BBC reported how they failed to overturn a two-window transfer ban, effectively condemning them to pretty much the same squad this season as the last one. Couple that with Eden Hazard’s departure for a fee believed to be around $108m, and they’re arguably weaker than last season.

Can they still be a success, despite the obvious obstacles they face? Or will they continue in the pattern of the last couple of years?

There are plenty of positives; one of Sarri’s main faults was his reluctance to hand first team experience to Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The latter won’t be able to help for much of this season, as he ruptured his Achilles tendon in a friendly and won’t be back until at least November, according to Football London.

However, there is plenty of youth waiting to impress this season and are expected to get the chance due to the ban on incoming players. Tammy Abraham has impressed in loan spells with Bristol City and Aston Villa, with his time at Villa Park last season a raging success. His goals have been credited with firing them back to the Premier League and he looks ready to take on the top flight.

Lampard will be expected to attack much more than Sarri and Conte before him, which might be a big ask without one key man.

They’ll miss Hazard’s creativity, but in Mason Mount they might have a home-grown alternative who can break through as well. He was on loan with Derby last season and had a whole year to impress his new manager.

He even earned an England call-up from Gareth Southgate whilst in the Championship. Southgate has a good eye for spotting young talent; in Coral’s guide to last year’s World Cup managers, they note how he had three years of experience with the Under 21s before becoming England manager.

If Lampard shows belief in promoting players from Under 21 to senior football, he could be rewarded. Mount is much like Lampard was as a player; how the Blues could do with him to have the same input.

They will also be able to call on 20-year-old United States international Christian Pulisic, who was bought from Dortmund in January and loaned back for the rest of the season. He’s a new face, something different to add to the squad. He’s a winger who will likely be Hazard’s replacement, although he’s got a lot to prove at such a tender age.

Chelsea of 2019/20 will be youthful; they’ll be fighting against the odds and playing the underdog. In truth, they could be about to reap the rewards of their previous policy of loaning out lots of their players.

There isn’t a good reason why they can’t be back in the top three come May, not with the collection of talent they’ve amassed over the last couple of seasons.

Manchester United to seal Torino defender Izzo’s Signing?

With Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Lindelof, and Eric Bailly on the squad, Manchester United’s major problem last season appeared to be on the defensive end. Thus, it is not surprising to see the Red Devils linked with the signing of a few defenders.

This time, the media are linking the Red Devils to the signing of Torino’s Armando Izzo who has also been linked with a move to Arsenal in the last two weeks. Thanks to football live stream sites such as today’s football live stream, we could tell from the many Torino matches we were able to watch last season that Izzo is better than all of United’s centre-backs.

He would likely be a shrewd signing for the Red Devils. Obviously, Many Manchester United fans would prefer if the club signs someone like Matthijs De Ligt but that deal is not happening. Izzo, 27, was named in Serie A team of the year and has also been linked with a move to Arsenal.

Manchester United could however be set to hijack the move after missing out on the signing of Matthijs De Ligt who appears to be on his way to Juventus and Mats Hummels who has since returned to his former German club Borussia Dortmund. The player has also been linked with Everton in recent times but all indications point to the real battle for his signature being between Arsenal and Manchester United and not
Everton.

The Gunners on their part have reportedly sent in a 25m euros bid for the player and it remains to be seen if Torino will accept the bid. However, if United really want him, they have all it takes to win the race for his signature. Arsenal reportedly have only £45m before sales while United reportedly have £100 million before sales. Aside having more money to spend than Arsenal, United is able to pay more wages then the Gunners who appear to be suffering from sort of a cash crunch at the moment.

According to Italian media outlet Tuttosport, Torino have slapped a prize tag of €30m on the player. Should United win the race for the signature of the 6 foot tall Italian, it will be a massive coup for the club but will his signing be enough?

It’s time for Ashley Young to go while a proper defender must be brought in to replace him. The future of Paul Pogba needs to be sorted out immediately, so additional funds can be made available from his selling fee. Critical time ahead for United.

Eden Hazard is now La Liga’s gain and Premier League’s loss

Hazard

After Friday’s breaking news in England and Spain, it is now official that Eden Hazard has moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid for a reported figure of around £100-£120million. Following the constant reports summer after summer, the Belgian international finally completes his dream of playing for the club he supported as a youngster, which he has expressed in interviews time and time again.

Going a bit deep into the two parties, they have had their ups and downs throughout the term but will be looking to make huge amends over the summer. The Blues may have found themselves in a sticky situation, with the transfer ban coming into effect for the next two windows whilst manager Maurizio Sarri is expected to leave the club for Juventus. Meanwhile, with Real Madrid, they have already signed Eder Militao and Luka Jovic as well as continuing to target a few of the best players within Europe.

Focusing back onto Hazard, it always looked like a deal would be more of when rather than if it happens, which would really be seen as an insane shift in power as La Liga will arguably be bringing in someone that has been the best player in the Premier League for the last couple of years. With his individual brilliance, end product in the final third and his mentality to show up in the big games, he has unsurprisingly been ahead of the likes of Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and co.

Spending seven full seasons within English football, it is no secret that the 28-year-old joined the club as a quiet and shy boy, but is now leaving as a Chelsea legend, potentially a Premier League great and most importantly as a complete man. Achieving six major trophies in 352 appearances, including two league titles, he has dominantly completed 110 goals and 92 assists in all competitions.

For sure, the 2018/19 La Liga season seemed a bit one-sided and uncompetitive as Barcelona won the league by 11 full points. However, Los Blancos will have learnt their lesson from the lack of business they completed last summer, which led to an average season compared to their usual standards, as they finished in third-place and were embarrassingly eliminated from the Champions League in the round of 16.

With Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the capital of Spain for Italian giants Juventus last year, Ernesto Valverde’s system hindering both Barcelona and Lionel Messi, whilst Diego Simeone’s men are beginning to experience a crazy transition period on and off the pitch, the rising signs are clearly there, that neither of the sides are quite ready to dominate the Spanish league consistently for the next couple of years or so.

The quality in La Liga may no longer be the same as it used to be, on the other hand, all three of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid will surely be looking into taken the title challenge up a notch and aim to regain European dominance again. Fortunately, the Eden Hazard factor will come into play for Zinedine Zidane’s side, as they were somehow lacking the cutting edge in the opposition’s half and could not beat the mid-table teams, a really concerning issue that has now been resolved with ease.

Looking back at the Premier League, they have lost the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho over the last five to ten years, due to the pulling power that both Barcelona and Real Madrid have been boasting about for such a long time. And even after that, English football has still remained popular and truly thrilling, but the departure of Hazard will eventually lead Chelsea to fall down the pecking order and maybe a shit in power within London.

It is more than fair to say that Liverpool and Manchester City are ahead of the rest of the top sides in the league, two well-known teams that have incredibly gone head-to-head with one another for the league title in the season that just went passed. On that note, the last thing either Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur want, is to lose their key players and fail to reach their ambitions of being successful.

The flaws and weaknesses that Real Madrid constantly showed this term, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it being harshly passed onto Chelsea football club, who will now be missing the much needed creativity and intelligence in the final third of the pitch. Not only that but if Maurizio Sarri leaves soon, the Blues may end up having a catastrophic season and could finish outside of the Champions League/Europa League spots.

Overall, there are no doubts at all that Eden Hazard will take his pure brilliance and sheer class from the Premier League to the La Liga, an incredible league that is focused on proactive and technical football rather than relying on the players’ physicality and intention to solely counter during transition. At the end of the day, the Belgian winger has deserved this huge move and it should have happened straight after the 2018 World Cup. Nevertheless, he has remained professional and stayed patient.

The History & Rise of betting in football

When was the last time you watched a football match from start to finish without seeing a single betting brand? Whether you watch at home or in the stadium, you’ll have seen one somewhere. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is open to interpretation and who you ask.

It used to be that placing a bet on a football team to win required a trip to a betting shop on your street. Now, you can bet on when you think a specific player will score a goal in a match  (within a 10-minute range) without leaving your house. Football betting has evolved into live betting, known as In-Play betting, and if you can take your money out if you don’t like an event is going (called Cashing Out). It’s akin to wagering at a roulette table and leaving when you’ve had enough – a sense of control over your own financial destiny.

But how did football betting get so popular? What caused the rise and evolution? This article will investigate the history of football betting and pinpoint key moments of change.

The Football Pools

One of the first major practices in football betting were the football pools. There was already a history of football match predictions before the football league had even started. A year before the Football League was formed, a “one guinea prize” was given to whoever predicted the results of four football matches*. Then in 1923, the Littlewoods Football Pools was founded. Its popularity lead to more pools being created over a 23-year period. Jackpots increased and the first million pound winners came from a syndicate in 1986. But the creation of the National Lottery hampered the Pools with its larger jackpots. Littlewoods Pools was sold for £161 million in 2000, along with Zetters and Vernons in later years, re-branded as The New Football Pools. Although they aren’t as popular as they were, a man from Scotland won the highest pools jackpot to date in 2010, winning £3,001,511.

Changes To Gambling Law In The UK

In 1960, the government passed the Betting and Gaming Act. The main purpose of the law was to “take gambling off the street”. Fans of Peaky Blinders may have seen young men running around to collect money from punters and that’s what they wanted to stop. This allowed betting shops to open.

Ladbrokes

Before that, Ladbrokes was established by Mark and Cyril Stein. Once the law was passed, they used their profits to open shops and began revolutionising football betting. They became the first bookmakers to introduced fixed-odds betting on football matches. This differed from parimutuel betting where the payout wasn’t decided until the end. Punters could figure out what they’d win and make better decisions on what to bet. Ladbrokes grew in popularity and stature, adding stakes in casinos, hotels, and bingo halls.

The Gambling Act 2005 relaxed laws on betting even further, allowing betting companies to advertise on radio and television. Yet another door opened for the sports betting industry.

Sky Sports

As betting shops grew, the biggest change in football betting behaviour took place in 1992. Greg Dyke (who was then the chief executive or LWT and later became chairman of the FA) met with representatives from Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to propose a breakaway from the Football League. The proposal was incentivised with lucrative TV deals. Sky Sports was formed in 1991, starting as The Sports Channel in 1990.

British Sky Broadcasting had already created Eurosport in conjunction with the European Broadcasting Union (celebrating their 30th birthday this year) and had a healthy sports programming market before the Premier League started. It was that clout that helped form the league and in return, they won rights to cover matches in the UK. But for viewers, it was the chance to experience exciting football from their sofas and place bets at the bookies beforehand. The flow of money was astronomical and like nothing the sport had ever seen. Football had become more than a mere spectator sport – it was a money sport now.

New avenues of betting

“You don’t wanna miss this!” The sort of line you’d hear before a big match on Sky Sports. But what if you’d forgotten to place a bet at the bookies? Could you risk running out and missing the start? What if there was a queue? If only you could place bets at home. People had phoned in to place bets with bookies before but it wasn’t ideal. Football television deals weren’t the only advancement in the 90s. Home technology was exploding at the time with the internet and mobile phones entering households around the country. Online casinos began popping up on the internet in the mid-90s due to new laws introduced overseas.

By 2000, two of the biggest online betting companies were formed – Bet365 and Betfair. The former was created by Denise Coates, daughter of Stoke City chairman Peter Coates, in a portakabin (via a loan from Barclays, sponsors of the Premiership between 2001-2016). As of March 2018, had revenues of £2.86 billion. They offered free bets as welcome offers to new customers, markets on global sports, and lower leagues. Now you could place bets on third tier Dutch football if you wanted.

Betfair was founded in June 2000 and became the first betting company to sponsor an
English team, when they sponsored Fulham during the 02/03 season. The notable difference between Betfair and other bookmakers were they were a “betting exchange”. This meant punters can back or lay an outcome, or trade bets in-play. But there’s always an edge for the bookie and Betfair’s came from a commission on all bets placed.
Smartphones and tablet computers became affordable items in the mid-to-late 00s and
bookmakers started shifting focus on mobile betting. Bet365 became exclusively online by 2005 and Betfair were already there from inception. In-play betting was introduced and suddenly punters could experience everything about a football match without lifting their feet (but definitely lifting a finger).

Conclusion

What does this all mean for the future? Has football betting hit its ceiling? It’s doubtful. 45% of Premier League clubs had a betting/gambling company as their main shirt sponsor in 2018/19, according to Statista. When you think the first one was in 2002, that’d make it 5% back then and less than 2% for the whole Football League. Growth is crucial to keep the industry thriving but the lives of punters needs to be a priority. Problem betting is still increasing as millions of pounds are squandered annually.

Self exclusion is an act of restricting problem gamblers, practised by online bookmakers. The number of self excluded gamblers has grown nearly 41x times between 2010/11 and 2017/18**. While football betting may have given fans a sense of control over what they watch and how they react to outcomes, this shouldn’t be at their psychological expense.

* – (“Our Football Prize Competitions”. Cricket and Football Field. Bolton. vi (155): 8. 10 September 1887.)
** – Reseach figures compiled by Betting Circle- https://europeangaming.eu/portal/latest-news/2019/04/29/44298/infographic-
the-state-of-problem-gambling-in-the-uk/

Is it Safe to go without Mohamed Salah in the Premier League Run-in?

After 33 games played, Mohamed Salah was the highest scoring player in the official
Fantasy Premier League game with 216 points. The closest rival to the Liverpool man
was Raheem Sterling on 201. Despite this impressive tally and dominance of the game,
a lot of fantasy managers still see this season as a let-down compared to Salah’s debut
campaign at Anfield. Now, some players are questioning whether it might make more
sense to go without Salah for the remaining fixtures and use the spare funds to
strengthen in other areas. Is this a risky option, or could it make the difference
between winning and losing a mini-league?

There is no Denying the Egyptian’s Explosive Potential

Liverpool still have it all to play for in a title race which is going to go right down to the wire. The Reds need to win all of their remaining games and hope that quadruple-chasing Manchester City slip up at some point. As of the 7th of April, Jürgen Klopp’s men can be backed at 6/4 with Betway, while the Champions can be found at 8/15. For this reason, the Egyptian star is likely to be selected by Klopp in every single game despite the fact that the Merseyside outfit are also competing in the Champions League. Salah managed to bag himself 32 goals and 12 assists in the 2017-18 campaign, which has made his 18 goals and ten assists after 33 games seem like slim pickings this time out. Those figures, however, are still exceptional and are superior to Eden Hazard’s returns in each of his seven seasons at Chelsea.

The main problem with ditching Salah is the player’s potential for explosive returns. He has registered more than ten points in seven matches this season, and scored a hat-trick on one occasion. With Salah still being in 36 percent of all teams, a huge haul could represent major drops in rank for those who don’t have the player in their sides. And for people who still have the triple captain chip in hand, there is the temptation to deploy the tactic for Liverpool’s home game against already relegated Huddersfield Town on the 26th of April. If the tricky speedster hits form before then, a lot of fantasy managers without the player are likely to be hiding behind sofas during that match.

The other side of the Salah argument is the fact that those who hold him have tied up a significant amount of funds in the player. The £13.2 million outlay for the 26-year-old could maybe be put to better use if redistributed in other areas of fantasy teams.

Sadio Mane Represents a Cheaper Alternative

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ec6uk7voQbY

Because Sadio Mane is a whopping £3.1 million cheaper than his attack partner, a large portion of managers have chosen to opt for the Senegal international instead of Salah in recent weeks. Those who signed the player before gameweek 23 reaped the rewards, as he hit top form and bagged nine goals and one assist in the nine games that followed. This red hot streak makes Mane look like an even better option in the Liverpool attack than Salah at present, but the one downside is the fact that he also has a history of going on dry spells. Between gameweek five and twenty, the player who can be purchased for £10.1 million only registered attacking returns in three games.

Another major option in midfield is Salah’s title rival Raheem Sterling. The England international is already in a high proportion of squads and on current form represents a more attractive asset than the Egyptian. The only problem is City manager Pep Guardiola’s penchant for rotation. Sterling has missed four games this season to rest for important games, and with the Champions League in its final stages he is likely to sit out some of the easier top flight matches to stay fresh for Europe.

With all things considered, those managers who still have Salah should probably hold on to him in case he brings in a big haul. But for people without him, Mane could be the better choice in the Liverpool attack and signing him can free up funds to be used elsewhere.

Is Eden Hazard the right man for Real Madrid?

Anyone who watched Chelsea’s comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham United on Monday evening surely drew one conclusion – Eden Hazard really wants a move to Real Madrid this summer. The Belgian has been the subject of much speculation linking him with a switch to the Spanish capital and against the Hammers at Stamford Bridge, he was in sparkling form.

Zinedine Zidane was surely watching. So certain are some outlets that Hazard will join Real Madrid at the end of the season they have even reported the exact fee, with Chelsea said to be demanding £100 for their prize asset. With just one year left on Hazard’s contract, that would appear to be market value.

hazard090419

Do Real Madrid need Hazard, though? Zidane will lead an overhaul of the tired and creaking squad at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, with outgoings expected along with incomings. Real Madrid never really replaced Cristiano Ronaldo and Hazard is seen by many as the natural successor to the Portuguese forward.

It’s certainly true that Hazard as the strength of personality to handle the pressure that comes with being a ‘Galactico.’ He has been building up to this moment his entire career and so it’s unsurprising that the Belgian has ramped up his performances for Chelsea just as speculation has come to a head.

But what about his positional use to Real Madrid? Hazard, by trade, plays on the left wing. That is, arguably, where Real Madrid are best equipped for the future, with Vinicius Junior the youthful face of the club after a breakthrough season. Zidane also has Marco Asensio in that position. So where would Hazard fit in?

Could he play on the right side? That’s Gareth Bale’s position right now, but the Welshman could be sold to make way for Hazard, so there could be a gap to fill there. But that would require Hazard to adapt his natural game. Are Real Madrid really going to pay £100 million for the Belgian only to turn him into a different player?

Zidane could feasibly use Hazard through the middle, behind Karim Benzema as the central striker. The Belgian has played there before in his career, but not always to great effect. So while Hazard might be destined to pitch up at Real Madrid this summer, it’s not yet clear where he will actually fit in.

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Ryan Fraser would be a shrewd summer addition for Arsenal

Only two players have made more assists in the Premier League this season than Ryan Fraser. Indeed, the Scottish midfielder has been a creator extraordinaire for Bournemouth over the 2018/19 campaign, notching no fewer than 10 assists in 30 games for the Cherries. Fraser sits deservedly in the top three of this season’s assists chart alongside Eden Hazard and Christian Eriksen.

It’s little wonder then that the Scotland international has, in recent weeks, been linked with a summer move away from the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth have made themselves a permanent fixture in the Premier League of late, but many believe Fraser is ready for that next step in his career.

skysports-ryan-fraser-bournemouth_4433182

Arsenal, who are reportedly keen on the 25-year-old, would represent that next step up. Fraser is, by trade, a wide player and the suggestion is that Unai Emery wants to add at least one such figure to his Gunners squad this summer. And with Arsenal unable to compete at the very top end of the transfer market Fraser would be an extremely shrewd addition.

Reports hint that Fraser could be available for as little as £25 million, making him one of the potential signings of the summer. The Scot would add some drive and energy through the midfield for the Gunners, something they will need following the departure of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus at the end of the season.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s very nice,” Fraser said when asked what it meant to him to be linked with a club of Arsenal’s stature. “It means you are are doing something right. They are a huge club, a massive club. When you see your name thrown around you always think to yourself that you are a Bournemouth player and you try to do well. I’m not going to lie, you do feel good, especially when it’s a massive club.”

Fraser might not be more than a squad option to Arsenal, but he would be a very good one. The Scot has already stepped up his game by moving to the south coast from Aberdeen as a youngster and his recent comments suggest he is ready to make another step up. Fraser wouldn’t be the most glamorous of signings, it’s unlikely that thousands of fans will turn up for his unveiling at the Emirates Stadium, but he would widen the range of options at Emery’s disposal.

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Time for Coutinho to return to Liverpool?

Philippe Coutinho Barcelona to Liverpool

By the time the summer transfer window opens, Philippe Coutinho will have been at Barcelona for 19 months. That period has not been a happy one for him at the Nou Camp.

Coutinho’s dream move to Barcelona turned sour quickly, and he has struggled to pick up from that point. The midfielder has never looked at home in Spain. Nor has he looked like he could live up to the expectations placed upon him.

He arrived at the club as a potential long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta, but that was an unrealistic expectation in the first place. Coutinho is not happy nor capable of playing as part of a central three. He has he been a productive player out wide, either.

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Predicted lineups for this weekend’s EPL action

EPL Logo

The English Premier League returns after the final international break of the season this weekend.

Starting around noon (local time) on Saturday, all 20 teams will be in action with some great games on offer.

The biggest game is Liverpool’s meeting with Spurs at Anfield on Sunday in what could be a huge fixture in deciding where this season’s Premier League title goes. It is a must-win for the hosts. A slip by Liverpool may offer Manchester City a big advantage- psychologically – provided City can win their match. Check out the promotional offer for new registrants as well as for existing ones at William Hill.

While injuries and a manager’s last-minute changes may affect the starting lineups, here’s a look at the expected XI for each team for this weekend’s EPL action. On a side note, check out the current promotional offers by DraftKings.

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