Saturday, 14 July 2018

World Cup Final: France vs Croatia

As a showpiece FIFA World Cup Final awaits us, 1998 winners France will take on first-time finalists Croatia. For just 4m people to reach the tournament final is incredible: can they go all the way and defeat a France side who feel like the best team here in the tournament?


France News
There’s not much in the way of injury worries: Blaise Matuidi and Djibril Sidibe are both doubts but should make it. This will be interesting, though, as Matuidi has been essential to their growth and development as a side as the tournament has progressed. With Croatia so strong out wide, losing his prowess would be a major blow.

Expect Ngolo Kante to be key to victory here, if France are to do it. We think that France will be looking to really push forward their momentum, trying to pin back Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric.


Croatia News

The worrying news that Ivvan Strinic, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic might all be a risk for the Final is a major worry for the Croatians. They will be tired after three consecutive runs of extra time becoming the only side in history to reach the final by doing so and will be looking to try and patch up their team in time for kick-off.



Injuries to key players for Croatia is much worse than it is for France, purely for depth reasons. If Perisic was to miss out, then Sime Vrsaljko’ fitness would become even more important.


Verdict


Too close to call, too hard to say: we can see a France win, though. They aren’t very good to watch outside of the Argentina game, but should have the talent to make it count in a one-off game like this Croatia, though, can feel proud of a run that will live long in the memory.

Friday, 13 July 2018

World Cup Third Place Match: Belgium vs England

After a fantastic run to the Semi-Finals, the dream is over for both England and for Belgium. It’s a major blow to come so close yet be so far, but the Third Place Play-Off tie should really help to settle the podium finish for both sides here in Russia.


Belgium News
Expect the Belgians to rest a few of their players. Romelu Lukaku knows he needs a hat-trick to get the Golden Boot, which would be highly unlikely at this point. Eden Hazard also knows that another good performance would put him alongside Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric for the Golden Ball.

With a long season to come, though, don’t expect many of the major starters to play here. we expect people like Axel Witsel and Vincent Kompany to play, but key player like Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne and Toby Alderweireld will likely sit this one out.


England News
For the Three Lions, the chance exists to give a few of the other players a chance. Expect to see Danny Rose and Trent Alexander-Arnold come in on the flanks, with the back three maintaining a semblance of consistency.

Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane will likely play up-top, too, with Eric Dier replacing Jordan Henderson in the midfield. Jesse Lingard will get the chance to finish off a strong campaign, while Fabian Delph will get to sign off on what has been a very good year for him personally with another game here.


Verdict
While it does not really matter, we expect an English win. Belgium came to the tournament wanting to win it, and will feel gutted by their loss. England just wanted to have a good time, and can go home knowing they managed to achieve that and then some: they will be far more likely to be up for it here.

Gareth Southgate



A picture of England manager Gareth Southgate hugging his wife after England's 2-1 loss to Croatia. For their faults England gave us a good - and unexpected - run in the 2018 Russia World Cup. It's a youthful team and what a journey they've been on. A missed opportunity, yes, but we certainly now have a good foundation on which to build. Let's stay positive!

Monday, 9 July 2018

England vs Croatia: Three Lion's Roar Reaches Fever Pitch

After a tremendous win over Sweden where England were rarely troubled, The Three Lions turn their attention to Croatia. The Semi Finals awaits for a nation that has not been there since 1990: can they go one better?

One expert summed up this tie as being ‘a little like Ten Henman avoiding Pete Sampras, and only having to beat Goran Ivanisevic. Can one home favourite avoid the sporting mistakes of another?


England News
England are blessed to reach this stage of a tournament with minimal to no injury worries. The fact that they came through the Sweden tie without much effort means they should be much fresher than the Croats. Croatia have had to overcome extra time and penalties twice: don’t discount the impact that will have on fitness levels.

We might see England try to counter the qualities in space of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic with the help of Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier. While not the most effective pairs offensively (though Henderson is much-improved), they provide a screen that would severely hurt Croatia going forward.


Croatia News
Croatia, meanwhile, are going to be sweating over the fitness of Sime Vrsaljko. The Atletico Madrid full-back took a knock in the Quarter-Final win over Russia, and might struggle to make it here. That would be a huge blow, with his deputy nowhere near the same standard.

Croatia will need to find space for a third midfielder, though: Modric and Rakitic are outstanding but cannot be the screen. They were poor against Russia until they were freed up with Marcelo Brozovic’ entry into the game.


Verdict
England will make their first Final since 1966. They’ll do it with a lot of effort and no shortage of luck, no doubt, but they’ll get there: the force of fate feels overwhelming.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

World Cup: Sweden v England

While England fans were ready to start talking about how they had diffused the Colombia game, then Yerry Mina scored. While previous English sides would have crumbled, they persevered and won via penalty shootout. Can they do the same against a determined Sweden side they have a challenging record against?


Sweden News
The Swedes are going to come into this tie with a real belief they can do something special. While full-back Emil Krafth will likely have a few question marks on his performance after a challenging tournament so far, he’s ably assisted by Viktor Claesson on the right-hand side.

Emil Forsberg, the player Sweden rely upon most for creativity, will likely come in off the left-hand side once again for the Swedes. He poses an interesting choice, and should play a major role in any creativity that Sweden can show.


England News
England will likely return to their 3-5-2 again, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek added back into the middle of the pitch. He’s a talented midfielder, and should be a fine pick for rampaging through the lines. With an extra man over the Swedes in the middle, expect England to have most of the ball.

Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen will pose challenges for the England defence, so it will be interesting to see how they handle that physical presence up-front.


Verdict
It’s a hard game to call. England have been pretty stop-start at the tournament so far, with Harry Kane the leading light in just about every match alongside Kieran Trippier. If England can keep the performance level of the Colombia first-half a little longer, they should win here.

Sweden are a good side, but they are limited in terms of athleticism and pace. Without much pace, getting out will be tough: making an England win feel more likely.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

World Cup: England vs Columbia

The Three Lions have been given a pretty decent route to a potential FIFA World Cup Semi-Final. With Colombia a strong yet beatable side and either Sweden or Switzerland waiting afterward, it’s easy to see why excitement is building. Will the classically simplistic viewpoint pay off for once for England, though?


England News
The Belgium game can be mitigated in large to the team selection. With so many changes made, it was expected that the game would be tight. This game, though, will see no such risks taken. Harry Kane will obviously return to the top, taking on a former (but still top quality) great in Falcao in the Colombia forward line.

If England can use their pace on the break to get in behind the Colombian defence, and help keep the rapid Jose Izquierdo and Juan Cuadrado pinned back, England could really do something here.


Colombia News
The South Americans are reliant more or less on the fitness of star man James Rodriguez. While Colombia are a fine team, he is their creative talisman and their demeanour transforms with him being on the pitch.

Given his fitness issues, it’s likely he won’t be at 100% if he plays. That could harm Colombia, and may make their hopes of progressing to the Quarter Finals that bit harder to get to. With Yerry Mina and Davinson Sanchez so strong in defence, though, Colombia know they can keep it tight, play on the break and hope Falcao can pinch a winner.


Verdict
 
England to go through but not by a huge amount. Colombia are a good team, and any ideas of this being an easy route might be questioned here. However, an early goal against for Colombia might test their resolve, and would be England best chance to avoid being another surprise knockout.

Monday, 25 June 2018

World Cup: England v Belgium

After a record win at the FIFA World Cup, whisper it quietly but it might just be coming home. The quality of football was impressive, though naturally it’s better to play it cool than to be too excited. Panama are among the three worst sides in Russia, but what a confidence a 6-1 win and a 2-1 last minute victory could give England.

Can Belgium burst the bubble?


England News
Not a huge deal of news coming out of the England camp after the Panama win other than buoyancy. 5-goal Harry Kane will surely start, though we could see Gareth Southgate give a few of his more expendable squad members a shift here.
For England, the aim is always the same: get a result. With such a high-flying Belgian midfield, we’ll likely see Jordan Henderson start again after a tremendous game against Panama. We’ll also likely see the impressive Jesse Lingard keep his place in the middle of the pitch, after the #7 was so impressive against Panama including one of the goals of the tournament so far.




Belgium News
The Red Devils handed out a shellacking of their own, taking a Tunisia side who looked much better than Panama to the cleaners. Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored two, though the former is a doubt for this one.

We expect Belgium to push for first place in the group, even with all the ideas that finishing second might actually be the better option for either of these sides.


Verdict
A hard fought but extremely enjoyable draw awaits, we think. This will be a good tie, though both teams will naturally hold back a little with their Knockout place secured. Expect this to be free flowing and exciting, with both sides creating plenty of scoring chances.


Sunday, 24 June 2018

World Cup - It's never too early for a Pint

england game - pint


This guy looked halfway wrecked hours prior to the start of the England vs Panama, Russia 2018 game. I dread to think what's happened to him as a result of the 6-1 win :). Cheers!

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!


Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Europa League - Atl├ętico Madrid vs Arsenal - 3rd May

While it might seem harsh, it feels like Thursday night will be the defining factor in the reign of Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger. With his final run of games closing in, he needs to get a positive result in one of the most challenging stadia to come to in world football. Can he?

Home News

Atletico will be without full-back Sime Vrsaljko, as he was sent off in the Emirates first leg within ten minutes. Other than that, though, the usual back-up, Juanfran, is out of this tie. He’ll be swapped out for Thomas Partey, who had a fantastic game in London in an unfamiliar position.
Diego Costa played just over an hour in the weekend game against Alaves, and should start here. Given his previous in games against Arsenal, we can imagine that the Arsenal back line will be a little more cautious this time around.

Away News

Meanwhile, Arsenal will be without the in-form Mohamed Elneny, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will miss out due to being cup-tied. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey will likely both start, with Alexandre Lacazette up top. Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny will be tasked with keeping Costa and Antoine Griezmann quiet in the Wanda Metropolitano.
Other than that, though, Wenger has more or less a full complement to pick from. With his final season to be defined by whether or not he can reach the UEFA Europa League Final, we fully expect to see the Gunners come out flying in Madrid.

Verdict

It's all to play for due to being 1-1 on aggregate, but despite their ability to impress when nobody expects them to, we cannot see Arsenal putting out Atletico at present. They are resilient at home and, with eleven men, should be much more of a threat than they were in London. With Jan Oblak in such ludicrous form, too, we cannot see Atletico being outscored here and thus we feel that an Arsenal semi final exit could be on the cards – sorry, Arsene.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

(Royal) Baby On Board!

The odds for Kate and Williams, seventh.. sorry third baby (or 'Another Porker!' as Kay Burley calls it!) are still available online. The gist seems to be hat there's not a dead cert as such, so clearly the couple have been keeping tight lipped about it.








 These are the current betting odds:

Alexander -  3-1
Louis - 5-1
Arhur - 3-1
James - 6-1
Albert - 6-1
Philip - 12-1
Henry - 16-1
Edward - 20-1


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Premier League - Watford vs Crystal Palace - 21st April

This weekend, the relegation battle takes another interesting turn as Watford play host to Crystal Palace. Can the Hornets take out the Eagles? With the away side’ woes, we wouldn’t bet on a performance that Watford fans have waited a little too long to receive. 
 
Home News

With one win in six, including four loses out of five, Watford need a good result – fast. The drop-off in performance of the likes of Richarlison, Will Hughes, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Adrian Mariappa has been alarming. Coincided with the poor form of the likes of Roberto Pereyra and Troy Deeney, and its’ easy to see why Hornets fans have valid concerns.

They come into this one with a banged-up squad, too. The likes of Gerard Deulofeu will miss out, as will Nathaniel Chalobah and Tom Cleverley. For Watford, any kind of positive result would be accepted given their middling form. 
 
Away News

Meanwhile, Palace are flying after their 3-2 win in the derby with Brighton and Hove Albion. With Christian Benteke finally fit again, it’s the loss of the likes of Bakary Sako and Scott Dann that has hurt them the most.

At the moment, it would be hard to call the Palace team bar one thing: when Wilfried Zaha is fit, they play much better. They’ve lost all ten games this season that the Ivorian has not started, which has major complications for them if he misses any of the run-in.

If Zaha starts, don’t expect anything other than another impressive performance. 
 
Verdict

We expect Watford to get something here. They look like a side that needs the season to end, but Palace are poor away from home. We would expect more from the home side, and a performance against a Palace side with a phobia of away days would be a good place to start.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Champions League - Manchester City vs Liverpool

This Tuesday, Liverpool travel to the Etihad Stadium in a bid to reach the Semi-Finals of the UEFA Champions League. They arrive in Manchester set to play a City side that simply looks to have come off the rails a touch.

Following the 3-0 reverse at Anfield, City endured a damaging 3-2 loss at home to rivals Manchester United. Being 2-0 up at half time, the Citizens watched the dream of sealing the title at home to United blow up in their face. Conceding 6 in 2 games is very unlike City; can they recover here in style?

Home News

For the home side, the return of star striker Sergio Aguero can only be a good thing. He came on (and should have had a penalty) in the Manchester Derby, and loves a goal against the Reds.
Meanwhile, Kevin de Bruyne and Kyle Walker will return to the line-up. Vincent Kompany may miss out, though, meaning that John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi will likely line-up in the defence for City. 
 
Away News

For the Reds, the midfield is looking bare. Emre Can is almost certainly out and Jordan Henderson misses out with suspension. This means that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner will likely play a third game in six days.
Mohamed Salah should make the game, giving Liverpool attacking impetus alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold should return to the full-back slots. The Reds got out of Goodison Park with a 0-0 playing a shadow side in Saturday’ Merseyside Derby, which should bode well for their fitness going into a crucial away tie. 
 
Verdict

We reckon City will win this one – but not enough to get through to the Semi-finals. Liverpool have looked more resolute in recent times, and if Mohamed Salah can make the game then we can see the Reds getting a crucial away goal. Just one away goal means City need 5, after all. City to win, Liverpool to progress.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Champions League - Liverpool vs Manchester City

This midweek, arguably the biggest English-based Champions League clash in a decade will take place. Far bigger than most, the two most exciting sides in England – Liverpool and Manchester City – will go to war. With a promise of goals and bombastic football, who will come out on top at Anfield?

Liverpool News

The Reds host City knowing they have great form in this kind of experience. They are in good form, with the loss of Joe Gomez a minor blow. Young full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a target in recent matches, but a resurgent second half at Selhust Park from the full-back helped him to come out the other side unscathed.
The Reds have the firepower to beat anyone, and have history on their side: the 4-3 epic at Anfield being a true sign of where Liverpool can reach. This midweek will go some way to show if that was a fluke or a victory that was a sign of things to come. 
 
Manchester City News

The Citizens stroll into Anfield knowing they have a league to win in-between both matches. With Manchester United set to visit, it’s going to be very exciting to see how City react to a season-defining week.
With few injury or form worries, though, they couldn’t turn up in better condition. With the form of David Silva and Leroy Sane making up for a minor Kevin de Bruyne lilt, they should arrive at Anfield feeling confident of a big result. 
 
Verdict

We’re going to be ambitious – 3-3. This has the makings of an all-time classic, but we just cannot see Liverpool staying tight enough at the back to win this one. City are lethal, as are the Reds, but they are slightly less outrageous at the back. This tie will likely be decided by slim margins, and that defensive prowess (and lack of for the Reds) could play a major role.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Everton vs Manchester City - 31/3

As the Premier League finally returns this weekend, we’ve got a fantastic game in store as Everton play host to Manchester City. With City in such a commanding lead of the title, and Everton in desperate need of some extra points to secure survival, this match should be one to watch for sure.

Everton News

Everton are presently without Idrissa Gueye in the midfield, while fellow midfield engine Tom Davies will likely miss out also. Ashley Williams is out with suspension, though some may argue that, on present form, that’s a help rather than a hindrance.
The loss of Gylfi Sigurdsson pre-international break will be a major blow for the home side, too, joining Eliaquim Mangala and Mason Holgate as absentees.

City News

Meanwhile, City turn up here with a bit of an injury problem themselves. Sergio Aguero is likely to miss out, though will likely be fit for midweek. Fabian Delph has been out for a while, and may return at one stage though not likely as a starter.
With Benjamin Mendy finally in training, too, the full-back should offer an opportunity for Pep Guardiola to get him some much-needed gametime. City come into this one in good form, though, and should have more than enough to see off a brittle Everton side who look like they want the season to end. 

Verdict

We reckon this will be an easy one for the away side. Everton aren’t great, and often struggle against sides that play with tempo and quick passing. While they have improved slightly under Sam Allardyce, their improvement does not suggest they’ve got enough in their locker to take anything here.

City’ main problem will be their awkward record against Everton historically, and the fact the game falls just before a massive match-up with Liverpool in the Champions League.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Are things looking (im)peachy for Trump?



We live in wild times politically and so it's always interesting to keep one eye on the betting odds, to get a measure of what those who like a flutter make of such strange times. The more quirky bookmakers out there offer both serious and novel political bets, especially around the US elections, since it's 'mad season' over there right now.

But novel bets aside (since I'm not sure that PP's 'Donald Trump to buy Sports Direct in 2018'' represents good value!) the one bet I've had my eye on is 'Will Trump complete his 1st term in office? ' Right now the odds are YES 3/10 and NO 2/1 . Interestingly for a good time the odds were basically even money for both outcomes and in some ways with the midterms still to come and the investigation into Trump and co yet to be concluded there's still a fair amount of scope for Trump leaving office. That said his own party and the 'alternative fact' portion of the public may well decide to prop him up come what may. As always, time proves everything.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018: 4 Contenders for the Stayers’ Hurdle


A wide-open looking renewal of the 3m Stayers’ Hurdle is one of the feature races on day three of this year’s Cheltenham Festival, taking place on Thursday, 15 March.
The ill-fated 2017 winner Nichols Canyon suffered a fatal fall over the Christmas period in Ireland, so we are guaranteed a new staying hurdle champion at Cheltenham this time around.
Those horses who chased him home at last year’s Festival, Lil Rockerfeller and Unowhatimeanharry haven’t been any sort of form over the trip since. It makes for a lively betting market, so we take a look at four of the main contenders.

Supasundae (100/30)

The first of two winners at last year’s Festival at a prominent price is Coral Cup victor Supasundae. Trained in Ireland by Jessica Harrington, has won just one of his four starts since. That came last time out 2m in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown’s inaugural Dublin Racing Festival in February.
It was a superb bit of race placing by connections of Supasundae, who is yet to win a 3m contest in two previous attempts but is made favourite for the Stayers with Williamhill. Will it be third time lucky or could a re-opposing rival confirm the form of last season’s Liverpool Hurdle from the 2017 Aintree Grand National meeting?

Sam Spinner (9/2)

Northern trained winners at the Cheltenham Festival are a rare enough thing these days, but their best chance of one this year comes here through rapid Jedd O’Keefe improver Sam Spinner. The six-year-old absolutely bolted up in a hot Grade 3 handicap at Haydock on Betfair Chase day back in November.
Sam Spinner then continued his rapid progress with success at the highest level in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot just before Christmas. That is a key trial for the Stayers, but it’s the fact that conditions at Cheltenham could be soft ground that are the biggest plus for this young horse.

Yanworth (5/1)


 
Connections sent last season’s Champion Hurdle favourite Yanworth, who flopped at the Festival, over fences at first for this campaign, but he is now back to tackling the smaller obstacles. Owner JP McManus faced a similar decision with Buveur D’Air last season and the return to hurdling was a masterstroke.
It could also prove the same with the Alan King-trained Yanworth, who defeated Supasundae over the Stayers’ trip at Aintree as mentioned above. That form gives the eight-year-old claims of a successful winning return to this sphere and like Sam Spinner he is unbeaten over 3m. McManus’ retained rider Barry Geraghty, meanwhile, has chosen Yanworth over Unowhatimeanharry.

Penhill (8/1)

Top Irish trainer Willie Mullins may have lost Nichols Canyon, but has 2017 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle hero Penhill in his ranks. This seven-year-old is completely unexposed in open company over 3m because he hasn’t raced since last year’s Festival.
Just how race fit Mullins can have got Penhill for this stern test remains to be seen. Punters may recall the superb feat of training the master of Closutton pulled off with Arctic Fire 12 months ago, however, who returned after more than 400 days off the track to win the County Hurdle. Penhill, meanwhile, has received support in the Stayers’ betting after his odds were cut from 10/1.



Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Grand National 2018 Betting Guide

With another fantastic Grand Opening Day, Ladies Day and Grand National Day in store, Grand National Festival 2018 is going to take place from April 12-14, 2018. Apart from the guest competing for the coveted “Best Dressed” competition on Ladies Day, it will also include a big race that will feature 40 horses to follow in the hoof prints of Red Rum, thus competing for the grand prize. 
 
Indeed, one can go through the history of the legendary runners and riders who have triumphed in the Grand National. Undeniably, each of them demonstrated the blend of endeavour and fortitude. Once again, it’s time that the whole world will stop in its track as 40 horses and jockeys will line up to race. 
 
Adding more to the information, Grand National is a premium event on the National Hunt Horse racing calendar that is held every April at Aintree Racecourse in England. Online betting in Grand National is quite popular among people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year. Thus, it has always remained the most popular horse racing betting event worldwide. Owing to its length and strain that is placed on both the horses and the jockey throughout, it is also referred to as “the ultimate test of horse and the rider”. Due to its relevance throughout the year, Grand National has always been popular. 
 
When you are opting for online betting in Grand National Festival, it is quite important that you understand all the odds. It is considered that the optimal time to place a bet is early on the day of the race.

Have a look at some popular ways to place bet on Grand National

You can opt for most standard horse racing options that are available for betting –
  • Each WayBeing an extremely popular horse race betting, each-way bet involves placing money on a horse that you expect to finish within the places.
  • Bet withoutIt allows the bettors to back a horse to win if in case their favorite is not involved in the race. It gives them an opportunity to bet on a different horse at different odds.
If you are planning to bet online for Grand National, especially for Grand Opening Day on 12th of April - you need an account. The first question is, where to bet n Grand National Opening Day? You can go through some excellent online betting sites out there like reputable UK bookmaker William Hill.
  • It is of a great significance that you bet with the licensed betting sites. Avoid the unlicensed operators, as you will have no guarantee if anything will happen to your money.
  • Although the bookies usually accept bank cards, yet if you wish to use a different method to pay, you need to confirm if they accept them in advance.
Of course, there is no limit to the number of options available at Aintree if you are planning to impress your friends or colleagues by splashing the cash.

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Biggest Political Betting Shocks

In recent years the global political landscape has been more exhilarating than a box set of Game of Thrones, replete with far more intrigue, drama and backstabbing. We have seen shock result after shock result, as cataclysmic events take place with alarming regularity and embarrassed pollsters routinely look for somewhere to hide. Some punters have made a killing by going against the grain, and here are the biggest political betting shocks since political betting became a thing:
Trump wins the US election
We had to start with this, the greatest political upset of all-time, which saw a TV personality who once suffered a Stone Cold Stunner on WWE become the most powerful man in the world. Donald Trump, who fires people on The Apprentice, who made cameos in Home Alone 2 and The Simpsons, a man with no political experience whatsoever, won the presidential election. Not only did he win, he beat Hillary Clinton, the most archetypal political establishment figure imaginable. She is married to the former president and had just served as Secretary of State in Barack Obama’s reign, and she represented a party that appeared to be in the total ascendancy. Meanwhile Trump massively offended women, black people, Hispanic people, all manner of minority groups, and he still won.
In doing so, he completely upended US political thinking and the bookmakers took an absolute pasting. Trump started off as 100/1 to win the election, and was backed all the way in to 13/8, but remained the underdog throughout. One bookmaker even paid out on Clinton in the previous October, when she had a healthy lead in the polls, and they suffered badly again when Trump triumphed. Trump has widely been pilloried during his time as president, but it is not hard to imagine him winning the next election too as he has a devout legion of followers, so that could be worth bearing in mind when analysing the political betting markets.

Britain votes for Brexit

Before Trump turned the world on its head, Britain had already sent shockwaves across the globe by voting in favour of exiting the EU. The Remain camp was well ahead in the polls during campaigning, and it was expected to secure a comfortable victory. However, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and co masterminded a victory that paved the way for Trump’s, one based on powerful slogans, effective social media campaigning and bold claims that were not necessarily factual. Remain was the huge favourite and Leave was a heavy outsider, and the bookmakers were accused of getting it wrong when Brexit was voted through. But bookies are not pollsters and their job is not to predict the outcome of an election. They are businesses trying to make money, and the Brexit vote was an extremely profitable one for them as many punters were lumping on Remain. Those that went against the crowd also made a killing.
Conservatives defy the odds in 2015
A few years ago all the UK polls had Labour as the overwhelming favourites to beat the Tories in the general election. David Cameron’s government was reeling and the bookmakers responded by offering huge odds of 7/1 on a Conservative majority. It was therefore a surprise when a pensioner walked into a branch of Ladbrokes in Glasgow and put £30,000 on a Tory majority, all in crisp £50 notes. Reporters were incredulous, but that punter must have been laughing all the way to the bank when the Conservatives absolutely trounced Ed Miliband’s party and won 330 seats.
Corbyn wins the Labour leadership contest
Miliband’s crushing election defeat sparked his immediate resignation and an ensuing leadership contest. Andy Burnham was the early favourite, followed by Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, and the marginal, left-leaning backbencher Jeremy Corbyn was a 100/1 outsider. He is arguably Trump’s polar opposite, but Corbyn is another man that represents an utter rejection of the political establishment. He had made the fewest expenses claims of any MP, had voted against his party more than 500 times and was a long-time peace activist. Corbynmania swept the nation, and he ended up cruising to victory in the leadership contest. He has since defied several attempts from within the party to overthrow his leadership and nearly won the last general election, performing far better than was expected, ending the Conservatives’ majority and destroying Theresa May’s credibility.
Ventura fights his way to success
The US has seen some interesting political candidates achieve shock success, from Trump and Ronald Reagan to Arnold “The Governator” Schwarzenegger, but it is pretty hard to top Jesse Ventura’s 1998 victory in the race to be named Minnesota’s governor. Ventura, a former wrestler nicknamed The Body, was the ultimate novelty candidate and never expected to win. He was an independent with no manifesto, doing it for a joke, up against Norm Coleman, a Republican, and Skip Humphrey, a Democrat. Ventura was so sure he would lose that he had booked a flight to Argentina the day after the election, but he had to cancel it and hastily put together a victory speech after a shock win.



Author bio
Martin Green is an experienced tipster and betting correspondent and has been fascinated by political developments over the last few years.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Celebrity Big Brother Winner

I have a love-hate relationship with Big Brother. When it started 'back in the day' it really was something new and different. Sure there was a novelty value, but a fascinaation too with the likes of 'Nasty Nick' becoming a villian to the whole nation over the period of a few days. On top of that, nobody taking part knew the first thing about how to approach the show, so there was an innocence to it. Now of course it's very much for the fame hungry, and as such it just bores me. The one version of the show that is perhaps worth watching though, is one where those taking part have already previously achieved a certain degree of fame, namely Celebrity Big Brother.

The year of the woman theme has certainly had an impact on how it's panned out and this years show has seen a really interesting bunch of people come and go. It's been rather harmonious in its own way, which has made it subtle at times, not something you'd usually say about Big Brother. But now we're down to the final five, with what appears to be two main challengers for the win, though with the exception of the entertaining Wayne Sleep I'm not sure we can truly rule anyone out 100%. Perhaps the 20-1 on offer for Shane Lynch and Jess Impiazzi is about right.

Big Brother did us a favour of sorts the other day by revealing that the two housemates with the most votes to save were Courtney Act (4/7) and Anne Widdcombe (7/4). This echoed what the odds were telling us and what many already assumed to be the case. Courtney has been up for the public vote on more than one occasion, though both have now demonstratable public support. Anne is now without her seemingly immortal gal pal Amanda Barrie, but is a one woman army so thaat won't bother her. one bit.

It's very much a toss up in my view, and Courtneey and Anne both represent the opposite ends of the issues, politically speaking, quite well in their own way. They're certainly splitting the audience and when we take previous winners into account, such as Jim Davidson, it's not really possible to go with the assumption that a young audience will be the ones making the decision. Rather than have a bet I'm going to enjoy the show, but if you were to twist my arm I'd say that second favourite Anne is really the more likely winner.

Monday, 1 January 2018

PDC World Darts - Rob Cross vs Phil Taylor

This year's PDC World Championship has without a doubt been full of surprises, but perhaps Phil Taylor making the final in his farewell year is something that shouldn't really be all that shocking to darts fans. He's won the competition a staggering 14 times from 24 appearances including 8 times in a row between 1995 and 2002. Certainly he's not always at the top of his game nowadays (hence why retirement beckons) but when he needs to he tends to put in a performance. We saw this in his game against the new kid on the block Jaime Lewis which Taylor won 6-1 by hitting what he needed to, when he needed to. It's all about the margins in darts, and keeping your cool in the handful of moments that truly define a match.

His opponent in the final would certainly not have been listed as the most likely of contenders beforehand, but has had something of a meteoric rise over the last year plus. Cross has moved from darting obscurity to a major final in no time at all. This certainly makes him a formidable opponent, as we got to see when he ground out a dramatic 6-5 against tournament favourite Michael Van Gerwin the other day. The match had gone to 5-5 in sets and 5-5 in legs but Cross managed to keep his cool and bring home the win despite Van Gerwin's obvious ability.

Current odds for today's final tell the tale of how hard it may be to call this one with Taylor at 4/5 and Cross 21/20 with most bookmakers. It will definitely be one to watch, and not a result I really fancy calling to be honest. If forced to though, I think by default I would tend to go with experience, and Taylor of course has that in spades. Good luck to both players!