EPL Predictions Gameweek 2

A full fixture list this weekend as Manchester City and Manchester United start their season in gameweek 2 of the 2020-21 English Premier League.

Arsenal will be looking to build on their impressive win last weekend when they host West Ham United this Saturday, whilst all three promoted teams will be looking for their first points of the campaign.

Here’s a look at each of the weekend’s games:

Everton vs West Bromwich Albion
Everton are one of many people’s dead certs to win this weekend following their impressive 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend whilst West Bromwich Albion looked like relegation candidates in their 0-3 hammering at home by Leicester City. Another clean sheet could be on the cards, so Jordan Pickford and Lucas Digne should be sensible picks. Going forward, James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin may be the best options for your fantasy team.

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EPL Predictions Gameweek 1

The 2020-21 English Premier League season kicks off in London on Saturday lunchtime as Fulham play host to Arsenal.

Eight matches in all will take place on the opening weekend, concluding with Brighton & Hove Albion hosting Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.

With Manchester United and Manchester City competing in the latter stages of European competition last month the two clubs have been given the opening weekend off, to explain the shorter schedule.

Here’s a look at each of the weekend’s games:

Fulham vs Arsenal

Arsenal have won the FA Cup and Community Shield in Mikel Arteta’s first couple of months in charge and should fancy their chances of picking up three points in their season opener too. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be the obvious selection for your fantasy team given the forward has scored 22 goals in each of the past two seasons, whilst Dani Ceballos (3.50m) and Damian Martinez (1.0m) offer good value for money in this game.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 1 Picks

The English Premier League returns on Saturday as Fulham entertain Arsenal in the opener of the 2020-21 season.

With the return of the most exciting league in the world sparks the return of the fantasy football season too. Week 1 is always the busiest for players as they select a team from scratch with an eye on both the following week and the entire season in mind.

This season is perhaps more difficult than ever as Manchester City, Manchester United, Burnley and Aston Villa don’t feature the opening weekend as a result of the former two’s participation in the latter stages of last season’s Champions League and Europa League campaigns.

With that in mind, here are 11 players who you should strongly consider for the opening weekend:

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale
Dean Henderson returned to Manchester United at the conclusion of the last campaign and Sheffield United have replaced their successful loan signing with Aaron Ramsdale in goal. The Blades have kept a number of clean sheets over the past two seasons and the former Bournemouth man is a shot stopper so could pick up some points versus Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

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The future is ever more exciting for Chelsea

Chelsea have enjoyed the past decade-and-a-half under Roman Abramovich’s ownership, which includes the 2012 Champions League and five Premier League trophies.

In recent years though there have been signs of decline – only two Premier League titles over the past decade, numerous managers coming and going, and a transfer ban.

Frank Lampard’s appointment last summer seemed questionable at the time, but the Chelsea legend proved many critics wrong by qualifying for next season’s Champions League and reaching the FA Cup final.

The transfer embargo the Blues were under last season led to the young manager handing opportunities to a number of young players – Mason Mount arguably the best of those of the current youth academy crop.

Tammy Abraham had started the season well before fading out at the end and losing his place to Olivier Giroud. Reece James saw plenty of game time at right-back, whilst Fikayo Tomori started a number of games at the back at the start of the season.

Billy Gilmour was another exciting prospect handed his chance prior to a serious injury, whilst Callum Hudson-Odoi was already established prior to the current manager’s arrival.

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Havertz, Chilwell, Silva and Rice? Watch out Premier League Chelsea have arrived

It’s been an odd transfer window so far with not many big noticeable deals going through between the big clubs but it seems that Premier League side Chelsea are wanting to make a statement for next season.

The Blues have already spent over £80m buying Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and Hakim Ziyech from Ajax. Two players who on paper at least are superb additions to the squad. But Chelsea who qualified for next seasons Champions League after finishing 4th last season are not about to stop shopping yet.

Frank Lampard’s side are closing in on Kai Havertz the German youngster who is being tipped to be brilliant in his position, he currently plays for Bayer Leverkusen. Chelsea have put a succession of bids in for Havertz which have all been rejected although it seems that a deal for £90m could go through very soon.

Ben Chilwell, the Leicester defender has also been a target for some time and his name has been linked to Chelsea. It is thought that a deal for the player could go through this week as the clubs are in talks. But Chelsea are not stopping there. PSG defender Thiago Silva left the club on a free immediately after the Champions League final and it is thought that his next destination is likely to be Chelsea.

The Londoners are also keeping an eye out for Declan Rice at West Ham, although if they get Chilwell it is expected that might not be able to go for Rice too, as the Hammers could demand a hefty fee. But another player who seemingly looks on his way and in a bargain free transfer is Nice defender Malang Sarr. He is only 21 and has impressed in Ligue 1 but has purposely run down his contract which must have made his club furious. They will now get nothing for a youngster, out of all the deals being laid on the table for Chelsea Sarr’s arrival could end up being the best one.

If all the deals go through Chelsea will be looking at spending around £300m and one of the reasons the Blues can spend big is because they had a transfer embargo last summer when they couldn’t buy anyone and that has built up.

Chelsea are pushing this season to advance themselves and whilst it is brilliant news for the club it will be clear that manager Lampard’s position and objectives with the club will have to change with their spending. Lampard has been left in peace with zero pressure on him last season. That ended up paying dividends, after a shaky start Chelsea were in 3rd place for the majority of the season before being pipped down to 4th on the final day of the season on goal difference against Manchester United. It changed nothing of course. Although the board would have been displeased at losing the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

This season the bar will be set higher and any mistakes and a run of poor form will be magnified for Lampard. Then again when you look at what the starting line up could be for Chelsea they may well have their strongest team since winning the 2012 Champions League title.

This next season will be all about closing that gap to Liverpool and Manchester City and being more consistent. Also the club conceded 54 goals last season, that’s simply too many for a top 4 side, so their defence needs to be more shored up.

Chelsea have already raised over £60m selling the likes of Alvaro Morata and Mario Pasalic as they try and balance the books and of course they have lost Willian to Arsenal on a free.

So with this much spending and the quality coming in the pressure cooker will be more on Lampard but Chelsea are the one team in the Premier League so far making headway and making a statement that last seasons top 4 place was not a one off. Can they seriously challenge Liverpool and Manchester City next season though?

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Manchester United ought to give Angel Gomes what he wants

After securing a loan for Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still has some unfinished business at Old Trafford. Like most clubs across the world, Manchester United are working on their summer transfers, albeit with limited financial resources. Punters on betway98 online and other sports betting platforms are following closely to see how the events unfold for various teams. All clubs are working on ways to navigate through these unique times.

All the clubs have taken a significant financial blow from the temporary halt of sports activities. The shock is severe that the third richest club in the world, according to Forbes’ latest rankings, is facing challenges.

Ed Woodward, the club’s commercial chief, stated that business would not be “usual” in this year’s transfer market. This summer’s transfer window will stretch probably to October, but we might not see the big-money transfers that have become the norm in the recent years.

As a result, clubs have to be swift and efficient in the transfer market to get the best deals. One manager that has shown his qualities is Frank Lampard of Chelsea. After signing Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, he is closing in on Timo Werner. Chelsea seems to be doing well at the moment. He is building a squad that will be a choice for many betters on Betway88 and other sports betting sites.

Ole has had a tough time despite extending the stay of Ighalo until January, a move which could be described as a necessary one. The goal-scoring department has given the manager sleepless nights. Furthermore, the Red Devils fans are always demanding more.

When the news about Timo Werner broke last week, there was desperation among the fans for United to do something. Many are pushing the club to do whatever it takes to land a marquee signing like Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, who has been under the club’s radar for a bit of time.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have another issue that they have to address within their ranks. Angel Gomes’ future has not been resolved yet. The Academy playmaker’s contract ends this month, and they are yet to agree on a contract extension since the talks have reached a deadlock. However, the club can still reach a decision that benefits both parties.

Gomes’ main concern is whether he will get enough playing time if he commits to the club for three years. This season he has been behind Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, and Andreas Pereira in the pecking order. His hopes were further dimmed by the arrival of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon in January. His arrival sparked life to a squad that had frustrated punters on betting sites like Betway88 due to United’s inconsistent form.

The silver lining is that Ole has shown his trust in younger players, particularly those from the Academy, as he looks to lower the average age of his squad. The manager could decide to give the young lad a chance ahead of the older players who have had the majority of the season yet failed to perform. The United boss has to get his priorities right for his attacking midfielders; otherwise, he could lose Gomes.

Other clubs are circling, and Manchester United are running out of time. It would be more painful to lose such a promising talent to rivals Chelsea who have shown interest in luring Gomes as a free signing. Luckily, United have until the end of June to sort out the issue.

The manager must be bold enough to bench Lingard and Pereira, or leave them out to make room for Gomes. This would solve the issue in such a way whereby all parties end up as winners.

Werner, Havertz, Chilwell who will join ambitious Chelsea?

The Coronavirus pandemic has made teams across Europe stop and think about transfers, and one could conclude that some teams have taken their eye off the ball given that some seasons are about to restart across Europe. That cannot be said of Premier League side Chelsea though who have been actively busy in the transfer market.

Names have been touted and in some cases it seems that Chelsea are coming very close to wrapping up a few signatures. Heading their list is RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner. Werner is only 24 and has been quite superb for the Bundesliga team. He has scored  75 goals for the club in the league alone from just 123 games and netted 92 goals in all competitions for the side.

Inevitably this has led Werner to stake a claim in the German national side where again he hasn’t let down scoring 11 goals from 29 games. Werner in a nutshell is hot property but because of his contract release clause he can leave his current side for around 60 million euros. In the current football climate that figure seems a steal. It is thought that Chelsea are in advance talks with his club and that in fact a deal has been agreed in principle. This would be a huge capture for Chelsea, arguably one of their finest buys in years.

However it would be staggering to think that no other club will come in for Werner. Perhaps though the pandemic has had a much more negative effect on some clubs than others and this could be an opportunity for the Blues to get what would be a bargain. Usually a player so good in Germany ends up transferring to Bayern Munich so it would also stop a normal tradition.

Then there is the case of Kai Havertz. The player is just 21 and as an attacking midfielder and winger has really impressed with his pace and skills with current club side Bayer Leverkusen. Another German player Chelsea see Havertz as a must buy purchase for their team but they may have competition from Real Madrid on that one.

Not that its his job but he also scores goals and great ones too and in his four seasons with Leverkusen he has scored 43 goals in all competitions including 15 this year and the player is getting better and better by each passing season.

Of course Chelsea have always been famous for having some of England’s young talent and it seems that manager Frank Lampard won’t let that running theme be an exception under his charge. That is why Chelsea are very interested in adding Leicester’s Ben Chilwell to their squad.

The 23 year old left back has had an impressive season with the Foxes who look set to qualify for the Champions League next season after a fantastic season with Brendan Rodgers in charge.

Chilwell has also broken into the England national team and already has 11 caps to his name. Chilwell could well be on his way to Chelsea with Leicester admitting that they are already looking for his replacement. He would cost Chelsea at least £60m.

All in then if you’re a fan of Chelsea you must be excited with the names that the Blues have been linked too. They already have a very good side and the fact that they are currently 4th this season proves that.

At this stage of Lampard’s managerial term with the club things look very exciting as the former legendary player looks to steer the club in the right direction.

 

From Mbappe to Aguero the top 10 best strikers in the world right now

As we have a pause in the league we have complied the top 10 best strikers in the world at this time. With leagues hopefully set to resume in a few weeks time and with about 10 games left to play not so much should change in our assessments of who has been the best strikers in world football at this time.

We have complied links to some of these players and when the leagues do start back up you may want to add some of them into your team. You will be surprised as some are still affordable and on a good budget.

To note the list is made up of strikers goals to games ratios and not how many goals they have scored so far, as that would be unfair as some players have not played the same amount of games.

10. Wissam Ben Yedder- Monaco 18 goals

Monaco have struggled over the past few seasons selling too many good players and taking the cash. So it surprised everyone when they splashed out 40 million euros on Ben Yedder and bought him from Sevilla. Maybe it was a surprise that Sevilla let him go. Ben Yedder is a classic centre forward who scores goals. He has 18 so far and has made all the difference to Monaco, who are now chasing a European finish.

9. Jamie Vardy- Leicester  19 goals

When Jamie Vardy finally leaves Leicester they will build a statue of him. He has stuck with the club through the glory and desperate times. This season though has been superb and the club have surprised everyone climbing to 3rd place and keeping it. They are on course to qualify for the Champions League and Vardy’s 19 goals have surely helped them. He is currently the top goalscorer in the Premier League.

8. Sergio Aguero- Manchester City 16 goals

Aguero gets older but does so like a fine wine and scores goals. What he does so well is get the important ones too. It hasn’t been a great campaign for City who are 25 points behind Liverpool, but Aguero has battled on. Some say this could be his last season with the club, he will leave as a club legend, no doubt.

7. Timo Werner- RB Leipzig 21 goals

Timo Werner has scored 21 goals in just 25 games as his club continue to surprise, doing well in the Bundesliga and making the later stages of the Champions League. He looks to be the next big German striker who is going to score plenty of goals in the major competitions as is only 24. A goal scoring machine.

6. Lionel Messi- Barcelona 19 goals

Messi ‘only’ has 19 goals so far for Barcelona this season, but he is still easily the top goalscorer in the league, and his games to goals ratio is still one of the best in Europe. Even at 33 he is showing no signs of letting up and his goals have meant that Barcelona are in 1st position at this moment over their eternal rivals Real Madrid and going for yet another league win.

5. Neymar- PSG 13 goals

True Neymar only has 13 goals this season but then again because of two injury lay offs he has only played 15 games. That’s when it hits you how consistent the player is. Since coming back into the team in December PSG have looked like world beaters, so not only does he score goals but he clearly influences his team mates. Still one of the worlds best.

4. Kylian Mbappe -PSG 18 goals

Mbappe has scored 18 goals from just 20 games and continues to be one of the very best strikers in the world. He is still so young and has plenty ahead of him. He has been so consistent for PSG and is genuinely one of the deadliest strikers on his day in world football.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo- Juventus 21 goals

Last season Ronaldo scored 21 goals from 31 league games. This season he has the same amount of goals from just 22 games. Ronaldo did not go to Italy to just see out his playing days and has been more than terrific at Juventus. Perhaps his time there will be defined if he can bring European glory to the club, but as a goalscorer he cannot be judged. Everywhere he goes the goals follow.

2. Ciro Immobile- Lazio 27 goals

Ciro Immobile has had an incredible season, so has his club Lazio who are looking for their first league title in 20 years. They might get it and if they do then a lot of it could well be done to Immobile’s goals. It is clear that he will get on the 30 goal marker which is quite rare in Italian football and has simply been a superb striker this season.

1. Robert Lewandowski- Bayern Munich 25 goals

One of the most intelligent strikers in world football. This season Lewandowski has scored 2 more goals than he has played (23). Bayern Munich look on course to win the league in Germany and are amongst the favourites to win the Champions League. He scores plenty of goals, and scores beautiful ones too. Keep your eye off him for a second and suffer the consequences. A stunning striker.

 

 

 

How RB Leipzig have divided German football and rose to the top

Ten years ago RB Leipzig were not even called RB Leipzig and were in the fifth tier of German football. It took a good six years to rise to the Bundesliga under the owner ship of the energy drinks company Red Bull and the team have not looked back.

The club owner Oliver Mintzlaff who is also head of Red Bull global soccer have done amazing stuff since it was determined that the tiny team from the east of Germany could play with the best teams in the country. It was going to take investment and time of course and that patience seems to have paid off.

It hasn’t come easy though, whilst setbacks are normal the club were not welcomed by certain teams. The rules of ownership in Germany differs from other countries and RB Leipzig were seen as not following traditional German football rules and that irked clubs and fans alike. There was even one time four seasons ago when Borussia Dortmund fans boycotted their away game with Leipzig and there have been numerous protests since then.

Has anything got better? Well in general it has and the club have been run like a smooth machine. It hasn’t been a vanity project either and the owners seem intent on making the club successful not just in Germany but in the Champions League, though the main goal is dethroning the mighty Bayern Munich.

This is something that the club are currently doing. RB Leipzig are top of the Bundesliga standings with 40 points from 18 games and they are four points ahead of Bayern. The other threat to their title are Borussia Monchengladbach who have 35 points. Borussia Dortmund are down to 33 points and are seven points behind.

Leipzig have done well and even been runners up in the Bundesliga in 2016/17, and qualified for the Champions League on two occasions. So what is the strategy behind the clubs success and can they finally start winning trophies?

One strategy was the club signing players who were 24 and under and trying to keep a very youthful squad. The club have not spent big on players but spent money on acquiring young talent though it was important to bring in established Timo Werner in recent times.

They haven’t won major trophies yet though they have made big splashes already. As seasons pass perhaps more respect will be given to the club, and maybe some of the fans who protested against them actually wouldn’t mind if they beat off Bayern Munich to win their first league title.

 

Should Manchester United turn to Red Bull Leipzig’s Timo Werner?

As the January transfer window peers ever closer, Manchester United know they have a lot of work to do in such a short space of time. 

At best, a club can aim for one transfer to be completed in January that is a permanent move given the time restrains set in place during the winter market, but the Red Devils need at least two through the door if they are to seriously challenge for a top four place.

Given the lack of recruitment in the forward and midfield departments, it is no real surprise to see Man United suffering in the way that they are. Injuries to key players in Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba have stunted the club so far this season, with the former only just returning to full fitness.

Although Romelu Lukaku clearly didn’t fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s plans, as well as the underperforming Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United made a huge mistake in not replacing them – even if they do have a strong belief in Marcus Rashford and the youngster Mason Greenwood.

The club pleaded to fans to suggest there were no players on the market available, but there never will be that ticks every single box. Mario Mandzukic is still one name to reverberate around Old Trafford, which might be re-ignited in January, but the Red Devils left it too late and could not put a deal in place before the English-buying market closed.

Timo Werner has continually been linked with a move to the Premier League, with Liverpool and Manchester United showing the most interest. After extending his contract until 2023, there is some noise from sections of the German media to suggest his release clause is £27 million.

If this is to be believed, there will be a vast number of teams in Europe that will be queuing up for Werner’s signature in January, which already puts Solskjær’s team at a disadvantage given the league position they are in, as well as their performances.

Werner is not a traditional centre forward, with a lot of his play starting from deep and integrating others. He began his career with VfB Stuttgart, operating as a winger, in which he continues to drift in-and-out of those areas on the pitch in present day.

There is no doubt about it that Manchester United need a new striker to help alleviate the pressure placed on Rashford and Martial. While Werner is not too much older than the pair, he has a reputation of a consistent goal-scorer.

The German international already has 13 goals to his name in 15 appearances throughout all competitions, and another six assists. More than just a typical centre forward, Werner can contribute from all areas of the pitch and help others – just as he has done in tandem with his partner Yussuf Poulson.

Ultimately, it will come down to Werner’s intentions moving forward. If he wishes to start every week and become the main player in a forward line, Liverpool is not his best option, given the fact he will not displace Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

Manchester United, on the other hand, are more unattractive in where their reputation is currently situated, but offer more game time and the ability to become a hero that helps the club get back on track once and for all.

There will be a lot more Premier League and European teams that come to the table and try to place themselves in a position to sign the German, but Manchester United are Liverpool are the two most interested presently.

For such a cheap transfer fee in the current market, whichever club does manage to land him have themselves a potential world-class striker for the foreseeable future.

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