Kevin De Bruyne finishes season at the top

kevin-de-bruyne

Manchester City ended the season on a high with a cruising 5-0 thumping of relegated Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium.

Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring, whilst Kevin De Bruyne scored a goal at the end of each half, either side of goals from Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez against the hapless Canaries.

The brace saw the Belgian star end the campaign with 13 goals and 20 assists, collecting the most fantasy points among English Premier League players.

De Bruyne was back to his best this past season after missing half of 2018-19 through injury. His first on Sunday was a sumptuous 20-yard strike across goal into the top corner of Tim Krul’s goal. He had earlier been heavily involved in the buildup to Jesus’ opener.

The midfielder’s second goal of the game, Manchester City’s final of their Premier League campaign, was a first time effort in off the post after Mahrez’s blocked effort fell kindly into KDB’s path.

However, three points in the final game and Kevin De Bruyne’s exceptional performance throughout the season weren’t enough to help City retain their Premier League title as Liverpool ran away with the championship, finishing an incredible 18 points above Pep Guardiola’s runners-up.

Kevin De Bruyne ended the fantasy Premier League season with 206 points – 14 ahead of runner-up Trent Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool had five of the top seven players in the final standings, whilst the next City player on the list was Riyad Mahrez down in 12th.

Manchester City will be back in action on Friday 7 August for the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie against Real Madrid. The Premier League side were 2-1 winners in the first leg in the Spanish capital back in February.

Real Madrid were resurgent following the restart, winning their first 10 games to clinch the 2019-20 La Liga title before drawing their season finale with nothing at stake. Zinedine Zidane’s side conceded just four goals during that 10-game winning streak. However, they were facing the likes of Eibar, Mallorca and Espanyol… not Manchester City.

Kevin De Bruyne and teammates certainly have the beating of this Real Madrid side, as they showed in the first leg. Manchester City created numerous chances before finally scoring twice in the final quarter-of-an-hour.

Despite Real Madrid’s recent impressive defensive record, it’s nothing for City to fear. They themselves scored 21 goals in their final five Premier League matches, winning each of them.

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Fan Zone: Kartik on City’s Sterling, Bernardo & David Silva as well as Fernandinho & more

A special guest for the latest Q&A is Kartik Krishnaiyer- heavily involved in soccer and politics in the state of Florida- and the author of Blue with Envy: My American Journey with Manchester City.

Instead of starting with how it all began for Kartik, the focus in this part of the Q&A is mostly on current Manchester City topics, in particular the key players. We discuss current stars such as David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero as well as some of the club’s key figures in the past such as Vincent Kompany, the former captain who left last summer, and of course Francis Henry Lee.

Kartik’s wealth and depth in information when it comes to discussing the Citizens is even more evident when you cover not just the club’s current era but the history of Man City. You can reach Kartik and Rami Soufi on their social media accounts and feel free to discuss further any of the points raised in the Q&A below.

1)  Choose 2 players from David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez for your team. Explain why?

I am going with Sterling and Bernardo Silva though at one point it would have been Sterling and David Silva. Sterling’s off-the-ball runs are among the best in world football, something England fans and many in the British press didn’t quite understand in the World Cup in 2018.

Sterling didn’t score so they couldn’t understand why Gareth Southgate kept picking him then came the Colombia game. Sterling was replaced by Jamie Vardy and that absolutely gutted England’s play going forward. It was then that people started to notice Sterling’s role and significance. Bernardo Silva has a different game than peak David Silva did. Bernardo has more bite to his play without the ball but he is not as creative a player in the final third. They aren’t like for like, but both complement Sterling very well.

2) Choose one from Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho, and explain why?

Fernandinho is the heart and soul of Manchester City. An outstanding two-way player, he’s a master of keeping the ball moving, winning the ball and if needed cynically breaking up play. Also, he is a leader on and off the pitch.

3) Who is in your opinion the best player to ever wear the City shirt, and why?

So this is a difficult conversation because it’s probably Franny Lee – who also later as Club Chairman presided over the worst era in the club’s history largely due to his decision making. Don’t get me wrong he inherited a really bad situation from Peter Swales but he had no idea how to fix it. The most lamentable era in City’s history coincided with his tenure.

Still, as a player he was brilliant. A forward who could score and link play and seemed to reserve his best for the biggest occasions – cup finals, Manchester derbies and other key matches. His partnership with Colin Bell was off the charts.

4) What are City’s weaknesses? Is it the full-backs or the central defensive pair looking shaky? Did losing Kompany hurt City’s title defense?

It is the central defense for sure. Losing Kompany has taken away an important dressing room figure and deprived the Starting XI of the glue that keeps together the team’s core defensively. This has continued to be an issue with City’s transfer failures in the center-back position go back to selling Matija Nastasic to Schalke and buying Eliaquim  Mangala as a replacement. The miscalculations in the market have finally caught up with City.

5) I know you follow Bundesliga closely so you’ve seen Erling Haaland & Achraf Hakimi play. Would you rather sign Haaland or Hakimi? 

Hakimi fits Pep Guardiola’s style of an advanced fullback working a lot in terms of crossing and tucking into midfield. Cancelo was a bad experiment and will likely be moved. Hakimi can be explosive going forward, but I am not in love with his defending.

6) City built a reputation playing the possession game. Do you think this focus on possession at the expense of being more pragmatic has hurt City’s quest to defend the Premier League title?

Yes, and even hurt City’s chances in Europe to be honest even more since counter-attacking wins trophies, particularly in critical and tight games. Frankly, same thing happened to Pep at Bayern Munich. His Bayern teams kept the ball all day long but whenever faced with the counter-attacking ability of the Spanish opponents they played in the semi-finals, the Spanish clubs tended to counter them to death.

7) What do you make of Gabriel Jesus? His stats are great despite being mostly used as a substitute. Would you keep Jesus or go for someone like Harry Kane?

Jesus is a better all-around No. 9 for the modern game than almost anyone we could sign. It’s the stuff he does off the ball and his ability to adapt tactically (as seen in Madrid) that make him suitable for Pep.

Sergio Aguero scores a ton of goals and he’s tough to drop but I would argue Jesus is a better overall footballer at this stage of their careers. At the same time Kane is a wonderful player who doesn’t have to be a No. 9. He can play deeper and already understands Sterling’s game from England duty where the two of them lead the line.

The effect of the Quarantine on football & eSports

Prior to the spread of the Coronavirus, the eyes of fans were turned towards the Champions League, the top European competitions such as the Spanish Liga, Italian Serie A and the English Premier League. Stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin de Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe were occupying center stage.

Fast forward to the past few weeks, the Champions League and the Europa League have been put on hold while the European leagues have been suspended. Fans can no longer enjoy the likes of Messi and Mbappe while emerging players such as Erling Haaland can no longer showcase their skills and qualities. Football, and sports in general, have come to a complete stop.

What can the fans do during this difficult time to keep distracted from much of the negative news? One option is to look towards eSports.

How eSports and eSports Betting can “Explode” during the Quarantine

With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world and the economy of the world taking a nosedive, the world of sports betting is not left out. Most major sporting events, including football, have been postponed or cancelled as the world tries to deal with the virus. With sporting events calendar suspended due to the pandemic, there has been a significant reduction in betting opportunities.

Interestingly, all hope is not lost for sports bettors. The eSports betting option appear to be filling a void as sportsbook customers look for exhilarating action during the lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Bookmakers are getting more creative and more eSports events are coming up, giving sportsbook punters the opportunity to satisfy their betting needs. If you are ready to join the action, try searching for the best
eSports betting sites to get started.

Impact of COVID-19 on eSports Events

It’s important to mention that the Coronavirus pandemic has also affected the eSports calendar, just like other sporting events. The only difference is that eSports is much more resilient because the matches can actually be played online. Players do not need to leave their homes or converge in the same place. Of course, having live fans in the gaming arena has its attractions and unique atmosphere but it doesn’t have a significant difference for hundreds of thousands of viewers and fans that are watching through live stream.

Based on this understanding, industry stakeholders are doing all they can to find a replacement for standard sports betting in order to keep their customers entertained and engaged during this dire period. So far, there have been indications that eSports betting value and volume is on the increase. According to the CEO of an eSports betting site, Quentin Martin, there has been about a 54% increase in registration of new players, over a course of a week when it was announced that the English Premier League would have to be postponed due to the pandemic.

Reasons for the Explosion of eSports betting during the Quarantine

Basically, players that are involved in sports betting would likely want to give eSports betting a try since there is practically nothing else to bet on. Many sports fans are either in lockdown or self-isolating and this makes access to a source of entertainment a major need. Interestingly, the only show that seems to be available to sports bettors is eSports. Therefore, it practically makes sense that this is the game that everyone in this category would turn to.

Additionally, eSports betting sites offer an easy way in which competitive tournaments can be accessed without the physical presence of both the players and the fans. Of course, any tournament would preferably be played at a physical venue but this is not required for eSports. By the way, this is the major reason for the continuation of eSports tournaments.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, these are challenging times for the world. For some, the Gaming world and eSports are a welcome distraction. eSports is bound to experience a huge explosion as many fans of traditional sports are exploring eSports for a much-needed escape and entertainment.

Premier League Predictions: Week 22

After a break for the FA Cup, the Premier League resumes this weekend and below we will take a look at all 10 fixtures and predict what the outcome will be. Liverpool are still leading by 13 points and they unbeatable but 3rd and 4th spots are certainly up for grabs and can the current champions Manchester City usurp Leicester from 2nd?

Sheffield United v West Ham United

The two United’s come together and Sheffield United have been so impressive this season in 8th place, although they have gone their last 3 games with no wins. West Ham look a different team under David Moyes winning their last two games and haven’t conceded yet, can they defy the odds and win away from home? We think they can keep the good times rolling. West Ham United to beat Sheffield United

Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Palace have been renowned for their defence work and stubbornness and that is why they are still in the top half of the table. Arsenal just beat Manchester United under new manager Mikel Arteta but the real test for him and Arsenal will come away from home. A lot rests on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who missed their cup match after illness, will he make this team? If so we can see the Gunners getting all three points. Arsenal to beat Crystal Palace

Chelsea v Burnley

Do Chelsea really want 4th place? They have recorded some poor results lately especially at home and have in fact been a better side away where they have beaten both Tottenham and Arsenal recently. Burnley have been very poor lately and have lost their last 3 games in a row and could face a relegation battle. Chelsea to beat Burnley

Everton v Brighton

Everything seemed the right way for Everton when they appointed Carlo Ancelotti and they won their first two games under him. Now they have lost their last two, albeit they have had to play Manchester City and Liverpool. This game at home is the perfect opportunity for the likes of Richarlison to get his scoring boots on. Brighton have lost 60% of their games away. Everton to beat Brighton

Leicester v Southampton

Leicester continue to have an amazing season and are in 2nd place with 45 points. On paper they should have no trouble in winning this game. Southampton have massively improved though and have left the bottom three and are unbeaten in their last 4 games. Watch out for the Saints’ Danny Ings who has been utterly brilliant lately. We are backing a shock away win here. Southampton to beat Leicester

Manchester United v Norwich

Manchester United did find good form a few weeks ago but they look like they are struggling a bit now and have yet again lost Paul Pogba to injury. Still they are 5th and just five points from the top 4. There should be no excuses not to win this game. Norwich have lost 70% of their games away from home and have the worst away record in the league. Manchester United to beat Norwich

Wolves v Newcastle

This should be a very entertaining game and Raul Jimenez has looked brilliant lately for the home side. We can see this game being end to end stuff with plenty of chances and hopefully a few goals. We think this match could be shared. Wolves v Newcastle: A draw

Tottenham v Liverpool

Life hasn’t been great for Tottenham under Jose Mourinho and they have been unlucky too with some injuries namely to Harry Kane who is ruled out for weeks. Liverpool are still unbeaten and some may think Mourinho has the perfect tactic to finally beat them, we can’t see it and Liverpool has the quality to win with ease. Liverpool to beat Tottenham

Bournemouth v Watford

This is 18th v 19th but Eddie Howe’s side have looked very poor and they could be heading for the drop. Watford have made massive improvements under Nigel Pearson who has the team playing well again. Troy Deeny is on fire and is leading his team as he should do and we think the Hornets can get the win. Watford to beat Bournemouth

Aston Villa v Manchester City

Aston Villa are in 17th place and blowing hot and cold but mostly cold with 3 defeats in their last five games. Manchester City have the chance to go 2nd and they have been brilliant lately beating Manchester United 3-1 and Kevin de Bruyne is really on his game. Manchester City to beat Aston Villa

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Manchester City’s Team of the Decade

The last 10 years have been a joyful one if you’re a Manchester City fan. With 818 points in 381 games, coaches such as Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola have built the Manchester club into a domestic powerhouse. With four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, three League Cups and three Community Shields, the Citizens have had a plethora of immense talent at the club in the past decade, and so here’s a look at their best XI in a 4-3-3.

Continue reading

Kevin De Bruyne masterclass leads to dominant Manchester City win

Kevin de Bruyne produced a masterclass against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon with a brace as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ended any hope of Freddie Ljungberg getting the Arsenal job on a permanent basis. The Gunners lacked creativity but perhaps what’s more worrying is their defensive fragilities that have been evident for some time now. Continue reading

The best 11 performing players in the Premier League 2019/20 so far

The 2019/20 Premier League season is 3 months so what better time after a quarter a third of the season gone that we look at the top performing players for each position based on European Fantasy football points. This is a great way to get your fantasy team back on track and to figure out who is performing and who isn’t. This is a team dominated by Manchester City and Leicester players with a few surprises in between.

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel

Dad Peter would be very proud of his sons start to the Premier League campaign with Leicester. Schmeichel is heads and tails above other goalkeepers and has 33 points already. He has kept 5 clean sheets which is the equal best so far.

Defender: Ben Chilwell

We stay with Leicester, and the best defender with the most points is Ben Chilwell. He has 33 and has had a solid start to the season, assisting in 3 goals, scoring himself and keeping five clean sheets. He earned another valuable 5 points at the weekend too as Leicester beat Arsenal 2-0.

Defender: Edna Stevens

Not many people would have put Edna Stevens down to be one of the best performing defenders this season. But Stevens has got off to a brilliant start with his club Sheffield United.  He has been part of a back four that has kept five clean sheets plus he has assisted in a goal.

Defender: Jonathan Evans

Maybe Evans isn’t talked about much, but the Leicester defender is having a very good season. He has 23 points so far and picked up another 4 at the weekend. He has set up one goal and helped keep 5 clean sheets. If you are looking to do some online football betting and have an interest in researching more then you should check out LSM which can offer you a suitable tool to engage in football betting.

Defender: Andrew Robertson

Liverpool’s Andrew Roberson has been one of the best defenders in the league in the past 18 months and he is proving that again as Liverpool are in 1st place. He has only kept 2 clean sheets, but has set up 4 goals and scored one already.

Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne

Manchester City’s deadly attacking midfielder has accumulated the most points in his position and has 38 so far. From 10 starts he has scored 3 goals and assisted in another 8 for a great record after such a short period of time.

Midfielder: Raheem Sterling

Staying with Manchester City is attacking midfielder Raheem Sterling who has bagged 7 goals so far and assisted in one goal. He currently has 36 points and is just two behind his teammate.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane is simply ever consistent and a thorn in many peoples sides. The Liverpool winger has already scored 7 goals and has two assists. He has 35 points and it would only take one good week to see him fly into 1st position.

Midfielder: Bernardo Silva

So 3 of the four best midfielders are from one club Manchester City which says a lot about the champions quality. Silva has started 8 games but has scored 5 times already, assisted in a further two goals and when he has played City have kept five clean sheets, that’s pretty good going from the Spaniard.

Forward: Jamie Vardy

The Leicester forward has been wonderfully consistent since being with the Foxes, but this season the 32 year old is on course to have his best of his career, at least stats wise. Vardy has racked up 49 points in fantasy football, easily the best in the league and has scored 11 times and assisted in two further goals. He is pure gold right now for the club

Forward: Tammy Abraham

The Chelsea forward has been a revelation this season under Frank Lampard and has started the season like a world class forward. He has 44 points and has scored 10 goals and assisted in two others. He is already the surprise player of the new Premier League season.

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More Premier League action coming up? Check out our match previews here!

Round seven of the English Premier League season takes place this weekend.

Here’s a look at all the upcoming fixtures this weekend.

Sheffield United v Liverpool

Key men: John Egan (Sheffield United); Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

Prediction: Sheffield United 0 – 2 Liverpool Continue reading

A preview of this weekend’s EPL action

There are some great games to look forward to in the English Premier League this weekend.

Here’s a brief preview of all ten EPL fixtures over the coming days.

Southampton v Manchester United

Key men: Ings (Southampton); Rashford (Manchester United)

Prediction: Southampton 2 – 1 Manchester United

Something of a surprise a could be on the cards at St Mary’s in the early game on Saturday. Manchester United look like they could be in for another tough season and Southampton could make things worse for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men. Continue reading

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City – how Pep Guardiola got it wrong

Guardiola

“I don’t feel we played badly, we created chances and we controlled the game,” said Pep Guardiola post Manchester City’s Champions League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Yes, perhaps the Premier League leaders did have 59% possession of the ball but with 10 shots at goal and just two on target, Tuesday night’s performance is just the latest that shows Manchester City aren’t just as clinical as they shown previously. Guardiola’s side have scored 23 fewer league goals this season and with just six Premier League games remaining, it’s unlikely they’ll beat last season’s EPL tally of 106. Continue reading