Sunday, 17 June 2018

World Cup 2018: Tunisia v England

After so long waiting to put right the errors of 2014, England can finally make a mark on the FIFA World Cup once again. They arrive at the tournament loaded with pace, athleticism and ingenuity. Add in a nice blend of youth and a real desire to make up for lost time for some of the more experienced players, and this is an England side to be very excited by. Can they do anything here with Tunisia, though?

On paper, it sounds like an easy game. England fans will know, though, that’s not often the case.


Tunisia News
With star man Youssef Msakni out for the long-term, Tunisia have turned their eyes elsewhere for inspiration. In Naim Sliti and Anice Badri, they have two options who might be able to offer something else instead. In midfield, we expect to see Ferjani Sassi and Ellyes Skhiri start together, with Saif-Eddine Khaoui in behind Fakhreddine Youssef.

In defence, we expect to see Syam Ben Youssef and Yassoune Meriah line up together for the Tunisians in what is a solid, strong line-up.


England News
With the rumour that Jordan Henderson will get the nod ahead of Erci Dier, we might see a Hendrson and Dele Alli midfield partnership. Jesse Lingard is expected to play in behind Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, with the two forward offering a decent tandem partnership up top.

Ashley Young and Kieran Trippier will be expected to provide the width, with Kyle Walker playing as a third center-back at present for club and country. John Stones and Harry Maguire will likely take the other two defensive spots.

Jack Butland looks set to sit out for Jordan Pickford in goals.


Verdict

Hard one to call. Tunisia, on paper, are the kind of team that England should dismiss. They are, however, a decent outfit and any complacency will be strongly punished. We expect an England win, but for the Three Lions to make extra hard work of it dont they always?

Monday, 4 June 2018

Britain's Got Talent 2018 Final - Voting Percentages

Well that was certainly an entertaining final and Lost Voice Guy, aka Lee Ridley, a deserving winner. Britain's Got Talent must be a brutal competition to come second in, considering it's the difference between £250,000 and zilch, but as with all of these shows there has to be a winner.

Performing early has historically been something of a kiss of death on BGT, whereas appearing later in the running order provides a boost. With that in mind as there wasn't much separating first and second place (Lost Voice Guy - 21%, Robert White 17.2%) it makes me wonder who might have come out on top had their performance order been reversed. But still both performed well and either would've been a deserving winner. Brave performances from both in their own way.

B Positive Choir certainly highlighted a worthy cause, but they finished bottom and in many ways I'd have rather the likeable and cheeky Mandy Muden had been given the wild card entry.

The Giang Brothers once again impressed with an unbelievable physical display. DVJ and Micky P Kerr perhaps gave their best prior to the final, as this wasn't the best performance for either. It must be difficult for acts to judge really though, as getting through each round is far from a formality and so you have to give your best.

An entertaining series all in all. The full Britain's Got Talent voting results are below!


FINAL


Lost Voice Guy- 21.0%

Robert White - 17.2%

Donchez Dacres - 11.2%

Gruffydd Wyn - 11.2%

Giang Brothers - 9.5%

DVJ - 7.1%

The D-Day Darlings - 7.1%

Jack & Tim - 6.2%

Calum Courtney - 3.5%

Micky P Kerr - 3.3%

B Positive Choir - 2.7%

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Britain's Got Talent Final 2018

Britain's Got Talent certainly builds up a head of steam as it approaches the final and the need to whittle down the contestants becomes a priority. On Friday for instance we lost Father Ray Kelly, a favourite of many, and the 'naughty but nice' Mandy Muden, perhaps one of the few genuinely funny comedians to have graced the BGT stage. It's pretty much the luck of the draw at the semi finals, where you can either breeze through or struggle depending on who you happen to be up against. There is of course still the 'wild card' to consider though, and so it's not over 'til it's over.



But as it stands the finalists are:

Singers


D-Day Darlings - Performers of Vera Lynn's 'We'll Meet Again'. Where the patriotic vote might find a home.

Calum Courtney -  10years old. Sang Michael Jackson's Who's Lovin You

Gruffydd Wyn Roberts -  A 22 year old singer from Wales

Tim and Jack Goodacre - The father and son singing duo

Donchez Dacres - An entertaining 60 year old singer. This year's 'fun/ light relief' act. Winner of heat (somehow!)


Comedy


Micky P Kerr -  Singing comedian and all round nice guy! Winner of his heat.

Lost Voice Guy - Inventive taped act by comedian with cerebral palsy Lee Ridley. Winner of his heat.
 
Robert White - musical comedian with Aspergers.  Didn't hold back when addressing the judges! Winner of his heat.


Dance and Gymnastic


The Giang Brothers - Acrobats showcasing their amazing body strength and balance.


DVJ (Diversity Juniors) - Young dance troupe. The brainchild of Ashley Banjo from Diversity. Winners of their heat.


My initial thought is that it's a wide open year, with a collection of genuinely good and very diverse acts, so betting wise that makes it tricky.

I honestly think that the sheer number of singers compared to other acts, makes it more difficult for any of them to individually get enough of the vote, so I'm tempted to rule them out. Interestingly, no singer, other than humour based singing acts, won any of the semis.

Of the other acts, I don't think Micky P Kerr has enough to win, Lost Voice Guy is definitely in with a shot, and with Robert White  it's dependent on what he brings in the final. He goes close to the knuckle, so if he gets it right on the night, he's in with a shot.

As for the other acts, dance act Diversity Juniors clearly have good pedigree and so that works in their favour. Giang brothers were amazing, but didn't win their semi (Micky P Kerr beat them) so that doesn't bode well for winning the final.

So I'd say it's out of DVJ, Robert White and Lost Voice Guy. As the only dance act, and with proven form with the grown up Diversity, I'm going to predict DVJ as winners at 7/2. Enjoy the show!

Monday, 14 May 2018

UEFA Europa League Final - Marseille vs Atletico Madrid

As far as European finals go, you’d find hard to get a better supported final than the 2018 UEFA Europa League. Both Olympique Marseille and Atletico Madrid are among the two best supported sides in Europe, with a rich fan culture and an incredible winning heritage. Atleti are the major favourites for the final, but can l’OM spring a surprise?

Marseille News

There’s a natural sense of worry around the Marseille camp as they head for Lyon. There’s fears over the fitness of Rolando, the Portuguese defender who got them here in the first place. Kostas Mitroglou will likely miss out, too.

This means that Marseille will be looking to Morgan Sanson, Luiz Gustavo, Dmitri Payet and Florian Thauvin to sparkle in the Final. Lucas Ocampos, though, has sprung into rich form and could be vital for the French side to win their first European trophy in over twenty years.

Atletico Madrid News

Atletico are likely to be without Jose Maria Gimenez and Vitolo for the final, meanwhile. The electric form of Saul Niguez, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa have played a huge role in getting them to the final, though, and they’ll be fit and firing for the tie in Lyon.

The fact that Gimenez is likely out, though, is a big blow. Stefan Savic will likely fill in, but he’s not at the same level as the Uruguayan, and Atletico will be worse off for his absence. Juanfran and Filipe Luis will likely play at full-back for Los Colchoneros.

Verdict

We think that Atletico will do it – but only just. Marseille arrive with the tide of history and the excitement of winning a new trophy; Atletico have won two of these in the last decade alone. We would suggest that their experience and more dogged nature will win out over the youthful effervescence of Marseille. Don’t discount the French side, though; their special support could really help to take them to a victory that’ll go down in the annals of history. 

Friday, 4 May 2018

Tony Bellew vs David Haye , 5th May

The heavyweight division has been action packed of late, and with the likes on Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and even Tyson Fury making a comeback, it's no wonder David Haye wants one more bash at the big time.

Arguably he's not a heavyweight to begin with (but neither is Bellow) and he does seem to struggle against big fighters. Often though it coincides with injury, so it's hard to really know quite what he could manage to pull off if he stayed in one piece. Of course talk of injury brings us neatly back to the first Bellow vs Haye fight, since a badly ruptured achilles tendon midway through the fight put pay to any hopes of a Haye win. That said, he did put up a strong performance considering, which may bode well for the rematch if he avoids injury this time.

The betting odds for Bellow vs Haye are pretty much along the lines of what I'd expect. Love him or hate him, Haye hasn't done an awful lot wrong in his career when he's injury free, and if the heart is still in it (that's a significant unknown - as he does like the limelight and celebrity circuit as much as the boxing ring), it's hard to question the fact that he pack a punch and has good movement. He's currently 4/9 to win. There's no doubt he's taken on A-list fighters, but he's not had many opportunities to fight in recent years.

Bellow will no doubt be hungry for the victory too. Annoyed at the opinion of some that their previous encounter wasn't a true victory for him, he'll want to prove that he was put an uninjured Haye on the canvas and end his career for good. There's cerainly no ring rust, and at 2-1 the bookmakers probably have this one about right. It's a tough one to call and there's not enough value in a straight win for me. In the last fight Bellow was able to take some of Haye's best punches. With time out of the ring, I can see a similar situation occuring again and the idea that the longer the fight goes on, the better it looks for Bellow.

If you don't fancy the exorbitant £19.95 cost to watch the fight, nip down to your local boozer, as they're bound to have it on. Then you can either drown your sorrows or celebrate after the fight depending on who you're rooting for!