Tag Archives: football

Twitter Reacts As Hull City Beat Leicester City In Dramatic Premier League Opener

Even after the unpredictability of last season, very few would have given Hull City a hope in this Premier League opener.

The Premier League Champions had never lost their opening game of the following season before today. But the Premier League has not been following the script as of late and Leicester know that more than anyone else.

Hull City, without a permanent manager and with a squad in disarray were the bookies favourites to get relegated before the big kick off. Those odds may have been cut following this result, albeit in the first game of the season but Hull’s performance surprised many, including the home crowd who amongst all the off the pitch problems, got behind their team excellently.

This Leicester City side had a similar look to last season, but also notable differences. The lack of N’Golo Kante in midfield and Robert Huth in defence were telling. No defensive authority in a goal-line scramble led to Abel Hernandez acrobatically putting Hull City ahead. Riyad Mahrez converted a penalty just seconds into the second half, but Hull replied almost immediately with a Robert Snodgrass strike from outside of the box.

Stat of the Match: Hull City scored as many goals (2) against Champions Leicester as they had managed in their previous 5 Premier League games

If this was the first game of last season, I don’t think anybody would have been shocked about this result but Leicester City are now the reigning Premier League Champions and they need to get used to that extra burden. Here’s a sample of reaction from Twitter.

This result just showed that we are in for another unpredictable campaign. Hull showed similar characteristics that made Leicester City so successful last season. The lowly Premier League sides have been watching and you can expect them to attempt to recreate Leicester City’s style in order to win points. Fearless, counter-attacking football. Leicester, on the other hand, will need to get used to having the ball more often and the ‘tinker man’ Ranieri must find a new way to play.

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Gossip: Man City To Make £50m Signing, Man Utd Agree £30m Fee & Palace To Seal £25m Deal

The gossip is well underway and we have all the latest for you in our gossip column.

Palace make £25million bid for Cristian Benteke (Telegraph)

Liverpool are considering whether or not to accept a £25million bid from Crystal Palace for Cristian Benteke, according to reports. Jurgen Klopp is thought to be willing to part with the Belgian striker, but the club were initially hoping to recoup £30million for him. Palace’s bid will certainly be worth considering though, as Liverpool look to raise funds to build a squad more suited to Klopp’s style. Benteke may not want to move to a club like Palace though, as he has always had his sights set firmly on playing for the very best clubs. But with Benteke unable to play regularly at Liverpool and with no big clubs interested currently, the 25-year-old may have to take a step back before moving to a big club again. Under Alan Pardew, Palace are building a solid squad having recently signed Andros Townsend and more targetted. Liverpool are yet to respond to Palace’s offer but if they did accept, they’d be taking a £7.5million hit on the £32.5million they paid last summer.

Manchester City set to pay £50million for John Stones (Telegraph)

 

Everton put a £50million price tag on John Stones’ head in a bid to scare potential suitors away, but with Pep Guardiola desperate for homegrown talent, it seems City will now pay the full asking price. It would be an incredible move for Stones, who aged just 22 was often omitted from the Everton line-up last season due to poor form. Stones would become one of the most expensive players in world football, despite not yet managing to cement his place in Everton’s line up. It’s a huge risk from City, because although Stones does have lots of potential, there are no guarantees that he will fulfil it. With Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito already signed, Pep’s attention is not on strengthening his defence and if a deal for Stones is completed, the Spanish manager will have already spent around £100million on new signings, with many more still expected. The rumours linking this story are being reported in nearly every UK paper and there is a strong feeling that Stones will get his wish in the coming weeks, and join Manchester City.

Manchester United set to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan (BBC)

Manchester United have had a bid of around £30million accepted for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The 27-year-old Armenian midfielder is expected to sign a contract with wages worth in excess of £200,000 per week. He scored 18 goals in all competitions last season as well as making many more assists. Mkhitaryan is likely to replace Juan Mata in the number 10 role, although he can also play out wide. Mkhitaryan created an incredible 2.81 chances per 90 minutes last season. He’s a forward thinking player who makes 21.95 forward passes on average per game, although not always successfully, with a pass completion rate of 75%.

Manchester United Update On Rumoured £100million Transfer

After months of nonstop speculation, Barcelona will finally confirm Neymar’s new five-year deal in the next few days after coming to an agreement, reveals Barcelona’s president.

The Brazilian international is only half-way through his six-year contract at the Nou Camp, after reaching the third year in the contract a renegotiation clause has been triggered.

Barcelona have always been deemed to be confident in Neymar staying, and the club will be relieved he rejected interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain to sign a new Barcelona deal, which should be announced in the coming days.

The Brazilian skipper was brought by the Catalan giants in 2013 costing the club around £48.6 million. His rise has been phenomenal and is now sought as one of Europe’s best players. Neymar has enjoyed the opening three years in his Barcelona career and has scored 55 goals in 93 appearances.

One of the brightest talents in world football is now a key player in the Brazilian national squad and has been a part of the derail of being the world’s best team; he will now be a part of the rebuild and has already played 70 games scoring 46 goals.

When the Barcelona forward signed his first contract with Barcelona there was a renegotiation clause included, which has since been activated. After extensive negotiations with the 24-year-old, he has now agreed to sign on for a further five seasons when Barca’s new financial year begins on July 1.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu had hoped to tie Neymar down on an improved contract in the winter which would have raised his release clause to a significant amount and stopped any speculation. Barcelona surprisingly found themselves in financial difficulties after paying out a glut of performance-related bonuses in the wake of last year’s treble, which meant they had to hold off renewing Neymar’s contract.

Without tying Neymar down on a new deal, this meant the release clause which was set from when he first signed in 2013 was still active. His abilities attracted interest from three of the richest clubs in world football and all seemed keen to activate his €190 million release clause.

But, after finally agreeing terms on a new deal going into the new financial year, Neymar rejected any interest and has instead decided to extent his Barcelona contract, Bartomeu revealed.

“Neymar doesn’t want to leave Barca and in the next few days we’ll confirm that he is going to stay for five more years,” the president said in a press conference.

The 24-year-old’s release clause is set to rise by €40 million amounting to an astonishing €230 million, placing his clause lower than just one Barcelona player, Lionel Messi.

Neymar has suited Barcelona’s style of play since his arrival; primarily he plays as a central striker, second striker, winger or occasionally an attacking midfielder but predominantly plays from the flank in a 4-3-3 formation partnering with the deadliest duo in world football, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, MSN.

Neymar has been described as “a true phenomenon” and the media have often drawn comparisons between Neymar and Brazilian legend Pele.

Neymar is magic with the ball, his package of skills make defenders panic as they never know what to expect. Neymar’s most common traits are his ability to create anything from nothing, his exquisite passing range, his dribbling abilities which puts him amongst the world’s best and his tremendous technique, being described as both “electric” and “explosive” with a deadly eye for goal.

Neymar’s entourage spent the best part of recent months encouraging the clubs biggest rivals, especially Real Madrid that he could be open to a move this summer, this alerted Barcelona who were always relaxed about the situation.

It seems his entourage used other clubs interest in Neymar’s favour, by getting him the bumper new contract with Barcelona, which he always wanted.

Man City and Chelsea Prepare £40million Bids For In Demand 21-Year-Old

As the season draws to a close the inevitable transfer rumours begin to do the rounds and it looks like Everton and England centre-back John Stones will be a target of top clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City. Last summer Stones was hotly tipped to join Chelsea in a big money move but nothing came of it and Everton dug in their heels and resisted any bid Chelsea threw at them.

This summer may well be a different story however as Chelsea again begin to circle over the highly rated player who will only turn 22 years-old in a couple of weeks. According to reports in today’s media, Chelsea are readying a £40million bid for Stones but Everton are expecting at least £50million for one of their most prized assets.

It is a transfer saga which is likely to drag on through the summer right through the European Championships where Stones is likely to feature heavily. Everton bought Stones for £3million in 2013 and has made 85 appearances for The Toffees who stand to make a substantial profit on the player.

Despite having a below-par season with Everton, Stones is still very much a transfer target for Chelsea. Manchester City would also potentially be keen on a player who is currently close by to them.

How does Stones compare to the current crop of defenders at Stamford Bridge and the City of Manchester Stadium.

Chelsea have always had a reputation as one of the best organised defensive teams in the Premier League and in Europe. However this season has been a bit of a disaster for The Blues. The sacking of Jose Mourinho and the appointment of Guus Hiddink and interim manager and derailed their season and with the arrival of new manager Antonio Conte in the summer changes will be made at the club.

Doubts remain over long-term captain John Terry’s future at the club. Terry who turns 36 years old in December was sent off at the weekend as Chelsea lost 3-2 to struggling Sunderland and time seems to be catching up with the aging former England captain. His contract expires at the end of the season and it appears unlikely that Chelsea will offer him a new deal. Despite vast experience in the Chelsea squad there have been noticeable cracks in the once water-tight defence. Gary Cahill has struggled with form and Kurt Zouma was injured against Manchester united in February.

New manager Conte will expect a solid defence as he attempts to bring the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge after a poor campaign this year. Stones might be a target for Chelsea but the Italian may have other ideas about him and it is unclear whether Chelsea are to end to long career of Terry this summer. An experienced head like Terry could be vital for Conte to adapt to the English game.

Manchester City are a club also with huge defensive issues. They have a world class goalkeeper in Joe Hart and a tough tackling defensive midfield with the likes of Fernando and Fernandinho but it is the centre-back positions which will have incoming manager Pep Guardiola scratching his head with concern.

Captain Vincent Kompany has struggled with injury over the season and announced that he will miss Euro 2016 this summer. When Kompany plays City have leadership and organisation, however when the Belgian is missing then his back-up defenders struggle. Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi arrived for a combined transfer fee total of around £60million and both have struggled with the rigors of the Premier League. Even an experienced player like Martin Demichelis has been found out.

City going after Stones would make perfect sense for the club. Stones is originally from Barnsley and would remain in the north and have the chance to be guided under the management of Guardiola. Chelsea however almost turned his head last summer and will be confident they can fulfill their objective.

 

Arsenal, Man Utd & Barcelona Ready Bids For World Class German International

According to reports in Germany this morning, Mats Hummels has to decide in the next few weeks whether he wants to extend his current contract with Borussia Dortmund or leave. His current contract runs out in 2017 and if both parties are unable to reach an agreement it is likely Dortmund will be forced to sell this summer with Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona interested.

Mats Hummels has arguably been one of the best players in his position for many years, the German international also has 4 goals in 46 appearances for his country.

Dortmund understands that the interest in Hummels could turn his head, he has been at the Westfalenstadion for eight years and may fancy a new challenge. At 27 years old Hummels is reaching his prime years and will not want to have any regrets in his career. He has done excellent with Dortmund after winning the Bundesliga twice and also reaching the final of the Champions League.

German newspaper Bild report Arsenal and Manchester United are mainly paying close attention to the situation but also insist Barcelona are monitoring his situation. Hummels this season expressed his doubts about signing a new deal and committing himself to Dortmund and admits he is in no rush to do so.

Dortmund may have to cash in on Hummels this summer if a contract isn’t agreed or risk losing him for free in 2017. Although they wouldn’t receive a massive fee as his contract is coming to an end they would still want enough to money to hopefully replace the outgoing defender.

Hummels told media last season he was reflecting on whether to leave Dortmund but wanted to stay for Thomas Tuchel’s debut season.

“I already said before the season that I want to see what happens this year — a new coach, several changes in the squad. To me, it is important to see how good we are, and how good we can be in the future.

“I am not pushed for time, and no one from the club has put any pressure on me.”

Hummel’s was asked if he is facing the biggest decision of his career.

“No, I don’t think so. I had to make this decision quite frequently. And, indeed, we have not entered talks.”

He also said he was “not leaning one way or another” and his committed focus is “completely on football” for now.

We recently covered Arsenal’s frailties in defence and the much-needed reinforcements this summer. Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista have both been exposed several times this season and have both failed on nailing down a starting position. The only player with some pride would be Laurent Koscielny who has been Arsenal’s best centre-back and has helped Arsenal massively when relied on, it is thought a new centre-back would be to play alongside Koscielny instead of replacing him.

United have been too reliant on David De Gea, Chris Smalling has been good but they have still been left short in that position. United have often been exposed when facing attacking teams, for example they had a complete defensive meltdown against Spurs last week after losing 3-0 conceding all goals in six minutes.

It is clear Hummels would be a clear upgrade to both teams and would really bring more stability to their defences; he is a leader which both teams are also lacking.

Barcelona’s interest also isn’t a surprise; after lacklustre defensive performances which have squashed their lead at the top of La Liga to just one point. Questions have been raised after disappointing performances recently especially from Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique. They are still without a doubt the best team in the world after the triple last season but have recently been knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals, which is not good enough for a club of Barcelona’s stature. There is no doubt Hummels would be interested in a move to the Spanish giants if a bid was made.

How does Hummels compare to United, Arsenal and Barcelona’s current crop of defenders?

Being a defender you have to win your tackles, it’s what being a defender is all about. Mascherano has a very impressive 1.95 with tackles won, closely in second is Hummel’s 1.79, Pique is third 1.28, Smalling fourth with 1.23 and Mertesacker last 1.14. Mertesacker has a very good percentage when it comes to aerial duels won. He has won a very impressive 76.27%, in second is Hummels with 70.95%, and third is Mascherano which is surprising as he is also the smallest. He has won 61.70%, Pique just edges Smalling in fourth with 60.92% and the latter 60%.

Being defensively aware and being able to read the game will help defenders intercept play. Hummel’s has a quite astonishing 3.04 when it comes to interceptions which completely blow him out of the water. Smalling is second with 2.77 which is once again impressive. Barcelona pair Mascherano and Pique is third and fourth with (2.31 v the latter 2.04). This stat doesn’t help Mertesacker as he has been labelled non-mobile and very slow, he scores a very low 1.54. Blocks are the same, you need to be defensively positioned with great awareness of play to get in the way and help your back line. Smalling has a very high score with blocks, scoring an impressive 0.60, closely behind is Pique 0.56 and Mascherano 0.52, Mertesacker is fourth with 0.45. Surprisingly Hummels is last with quite a poor score of 0.13 which is quite a difference to his interception score. Smalling is once again top when it comes to clearances scoring a high score of 5.43; Mertesacker is just behind on 5.15 with Pique third on 4.04. Hummels is fourth scoring 3.54 and Mascherano scores a below standard 2.07. Taking everything into consideration, Hummels has the best defensive score compared to all defenders scoring a very impressive 23.09. Smalling is second 16.28, Mertesacker third 12.74 and the Barcelona pair Pique and Mascherano both near the bottom with (10.02 v the latter 8.41).

In summary, Hummels would improve any defence in the world. He will be in high demand this summer if he cannot agree new terms with Dortmund, he would certainly be an improvement to all three teams mentioned and help them build stability from the back. He has been a rock in Dortmund’s recent success and I am sure they will try their hardest to keep him. If it is made clear Hummels can leave this summer I’m sure more clubs would become interested, for example Manchester City and Chelsea who are also looking to strengthen their defence. It isn’t yet clear whether or not he will leave this summer but if he does he will guarantee any club to be a great signing. His consistency will be taken into consideration and his leadership skills will also play a major part. His impressive stats have caught the eye of many teams and whoever lands him will be lucky.

 

Four Signings That Would Complete Ronald Koeman’s Jigsaw At Southampton

Whilst Ronald Koeman’s greatest focus over this summer will be the retaining his side’s top performers, he will also be eager to dip into the transfer market and find yet more of Europe’s hidden gems. Southampton have proved to be masters of the transfer market over recent years, acquiring the services of Victor Wanyama, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, Fraser Forster and Toby Alderweireld, just to name a few. So, who could be the next big talent to wear the red and white stripes?

1 – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The first target, a man who wore those famous stripes in his younger years – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The return of the Ox to St. Mary’s has been considered a dream move for fans over the past two seasons, but now, with Oxlade-Chamberlain struggling for first team football, that dream could soon become reality. Since the beginning of the season, Oxlade-Chamberlain has started just 17 games of the 33 that he has featured in. According to The Telegraph and The Mirror, Arsenal are willing to listen to offers for the twenty-two-year-old, with Southampton showing great interest. If Sadio Mane were to leave this summer, then Oxlade-Chamberlain would prove to be an incredible replacement. But, if the Senegalese star were to stay, then Southampton would boast one of the most exciting frontlines in the Premier League. Despite only scoring two goals this season, it’s clear for all to see that the Ox holds talent in abundance and that It may well be time for him to move on from the Gunners. Southampton can not allow a player of such quality to fall through their fingers.

Use the page numbers to navigate through the article. 

Report: Tottenham Have Entered Talks To Sign 3 Huge Improvements To Attacking Force

Mauricio Pochettino is allegedly already looking to bolster his attack this summer. Despite the club’s solid showing in the Premier League, they have lacked an alternative to Kane. Here are three top quality attackers they could sign.

1 – Mario Mandzukic

Tottenham are looking to ease the goal scoring burden off of Harry Kane’s shoulders next season and to do that they are looking at signing Mario Mandzukic according to Tuttosport, via Metro. The 29-year-old would add experience and a different dimension to the Spurs attack. He has scored 11 goals this season, with game time in Italy restricted. Mandzukic would be a useful signing as he can also play on the wing, enabling him to play alongside Kane if the game requires it. Son has been Tottenham’s rotation option for Kane for most of the season. In comparison to Son, Madzukic is much more prolific, scoring on average 0.45 goals per 90 minutes (Son averages 0.19). The Croatian is not as creative as Son, though, who managed 1.52 key passes per 90 compared to Madzukic’s 0.90. An area where Mandzukic really excels is 63% of aerial duels won, Son manages just 27%. This statistic really highlights the different dimension he could add in addition to his ability to lead the line alone, something Son has struggled to do effectively.

Chelsea Round-Up: Talks Begin To Sign Striker, Oscar To Be Sold & Nainggolan Update

With Chelsea’s season all but over and a new long-term manager announced, the club’s attention is firmly on new additions that could be made over the summer. Antonio Conte is already looking busy. Here’s our Chelsea gossip round-up.

Roma admit Nainggolan can leave, but only for big bucks (Evening Standard)

Chelsea’s well documented interested in Radja Nainggolan could well develop into more than that, with the Serie A club now admitting they could sell the Belgian midfielder. A Roma spokesperson said: “A player could be sold to bring in fresh funds and sign different figures, but it would in any case be a choice. We will make choices within the club with the perspective of coach and players to see how we can reinforce and improve Roma.” It is thought that Roma value Nainggolan at around £35million.

 

Oscar to be sold to raise funds (Times)

Roman Abramovic seems to want to sell a valuable asset this summer and Oscar will reportedly be the man to leave. Chelsea want to build a more sustainable transfer model, say The Times, so they need to sell a player of value. It was originally thought that that may be Eden Hazard, but with the Belgian now looking likely to stay, it seems it will be Brazilian that will leave. Oscar has played well on occasions for Chelsea, but lacked the consistency to tie down a regular starting spot. Because of his quality, there will be many clubs interested in signing him and Chelsea can expect to raise a sizeable amount, around £25million-£35million for him. Oscar has managed just 3 goals and 3 assists in the league this season.

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Chelsea open talks with Fulham for striker Dembele (GFFN)

Dembele has impressed for Fulham and is now wanted by Chelsea, according to reports from France. The 19-year-old striker stands at 6ft and has scored 14 goals in the Championship this season, in addition to 6 assists. He may be a good youthful back up for Diego Costa, with Falcao, Loic Remy and Alexandre Pato expected to leave this summer.

More: 4 Signings Antonio Conte Wants To Make At Chelsea

If Oscar leaves, who should replace him? Have your say by commenting below.

Gunners Plan To Beat Liverpool & Tottenham To Sign Dortmund Midfielder: How He’d Fit In

Arsenal are interested in bringing Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the Emirates this summer and will go all out for the midfielder according to the Guardian. The Armenian international is out of contract in 2017 and is undecided whether or not to sign a new deal with his current club.

Mkhitaryan is understood to be unsure where his future lies and reports claim Arsenal have sent scouts to watch the midfielder and have further monitored his progress via video clips. There is also reported interest from Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur so Arsenal would have to move fast to have any chance of landing their target.

Mkhitaryan has impressed this season under new coach Thomas Tuchel and has scored a very impressive 20 goals in 43 appearances. Since his £23.5million move from Shakhtar Donetsk, Mkhitaryan has been very clinical and has proved how important he is for the Bundesliga giants, he is technically gifted with an impressive goal scoring record and can play anywhere across the three behind the striker.

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder has also scored 16 goals in 57 games at international level for his home country Armenia.

Borussia Dortmund are desperate to keep hold of one of their key players and are set to offer Mkhitaryan a new contract with a huge pay rise, but the club will be aware that if they cannot agree terms on a new contract they may be forced to sell Mkhitaryan this summer or risk losing him for free in 2017.

Arsenal are almost certain to let go of Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky whose contracts all run out this summer. Mkhitaryan would be seen as an ideal replacement for Rosicky, with the likes of Flamini and Arteta to also be replaced with a new central midfielder as the Gunners are aware they must strengthen their core this summer. They have also been linked with Granit Xhaka in recent weeks.

If Arsenal are to move for Mkhitaryan it would more than likely be for him to play on the right wing.

So how does Mkhitaryan compare with Arsenal’s current crop of wingers, will he be a major improvement on Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Joel Campbell?

Mkhitaryan Comparison

A stat that really impresses me is Mkhitaryan’s chances created, a very impressive 2.81 which is way ahead of the others. Chamberlain is second with 1.83, whilst Walcott (1.19) and Campbell (1.04) are significantly behind the top two. Arsenal have really struggled for goals this season scoring only 48 goals in 30 games, Mkhitaryan once again shows his goal-scoring ability by having the highest score with 0.39. Campbell is closely behind on 0.31 with Walcott on 0.28. Chamberlain has been heavily criticised for his goal scoring record at Arsenal and that stat shows as he only scores sporadically (0.10). The Gunners crave a goalscoring midfielder at the moment and Mkhitaryan appears to be just that.

Chamberlain has a very impressive 23.49 total passes forward whilst Mkhitaryan is very close behind on 21.95, Campbell is third with 15.86 and Walcott is last on 10.44. Being able to beat the defender playing on the wing is key as it helps you build up an attack, Chamberlain scores a very impressive 3.47 for successful take-ons with Mkhitaryan in second on 2.68, Campbell is once again third with a less pleasing 1.56, Walcott follows closely with 1.54. Arsenal have a certain way of playing football, they love to have the ball, it has been said that Arsenal play ‘Wenger ball’ involving neat one two’s and keeping the ball on the floor. When you come to Arsenal if you cannot already you learn to keep possession and have nice neat passing, Chamberlain once again has an impressive score with 82% pass completion, Walcott is second with 79% with Campbell just behind on 78%, Mkhitaryan is last on this occasion scoring 75% on completed passing.

In summary, Mkhitaryan would be a top class signing for the Gunners, he can score goals and create a lot of chances. Competition for places with be tough but Arsenal need players who can give the squad that extra lift, the interest is clearly there, but the interest from other clubs may get Mkhitaryan a new contract which he desire.

The Armenian international, if he did arrive, would be likely to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain in the squad, who has been rumoured with an exit this summer. Walcott’s position has also been questioned as Arsene Wenger targets a summer shake-up. As Arsenal search for more attacking efficiency, the Armenian certainly appears a good fit.

Statistics sourced from Squawka

MLS and Argentinian Primera Betting Tips From @OliPriceBates

Betting tipster @OliPriceBates is back to give a few of his selections ahead of the football on Friday and Saturday. Make sure you are following @FreshFootball to follow all our tips.

MLS

Tip 1: New York City to beat Orlando City @ 2.1 – 1.5pt stake – Kick Off: 23:00 Friday

Both of these teams have made unbeaten starts to the MLS season, but I think New York’s quality and home advantage will give them the three points today. We’re backing an outright win for the home side at a very generous 2.1 from Betfair.

Argentina Primera

Tip 2: Arsenal de Sarandi to beat Gimnasia LP @ 3.0 – 1pt stake – Kick Off: 22:00 Friday

Although Gimnasia LP would have been heavy favourites for this tie before the season started, Arsenal are on a great run of form, particularly at home and when you combine that with Gimnasia’s extremely poor away record @ 3.0, you have to back the home side.

Tip 3: Colon to beat Union Sante Fe & BTTS @ 4.8 – 0.75pt stake – Kick Off: 18:30 Saturday

Tip 4: Godoy Cruz to beat Olimpo @ 1.83 – 1.5pt stake – Kick Off: 23:00 Saturday

Although they had a bit of a minor blip last week, I’m backing Godoy to continue their (joint) table-topping form. Olimpo had a great game in midweek and came out as winners but I think they will be suffering whilst Godoy have had a nice rest since their last fixture. 1.5pts on a home win is a pretty safe bet, in my opinion.

Tip 5: Estudiantes LP to win & BTTS @ 5.0 – 0.5pt stake – Kick Off: 00:15 Saturday

Tip 6: Premier League – Swansea vs. Aston Villa – correct score: 1-0 @ 5.8, 1-1 @ 7.4 & 2-0 @ 7.0 – 0.5pt stake on each
Swansea and Aston Villa both hate to score goals at the moment. However, I think the Swans will score against a terrible Villa defence. Backing 1-0, 1-1 and 2-0 to Swansea would leave me very confident of bagging a correct score on the day. 0.5pts on each of those correct scores should result in a decent return.

We will update this page with some more tips so re-visit this article tomorrow!

We have staked the following:

Tip 1: £7.50 @ 2.1 – LOST
Tip 2: £5.00 @ 3.0 – LOST
Tip 3: £3.75 @ 4,8 – LOST 
Tip 4: £7.50 @ 1.83 – WON
Tip 5: £2.50 @ 5.0 – WON
Tip 6: £7.50 – WON (£2.50 @ 5.8)

Amount Staked: £26.25
Returns: £40.72
Profit: +£14.47

Agent Confirms Arsenal & Real Madrid Want To Sign Pass Master From Serie A

Arsenal are reportedly very interested in signing Napoli’s midfielder Jorginho this summer. The Brazilians agent has told a local radio station that the Gunners hold a firm interest in his client amid speculation of a bid in the summer.

The player’s agent Joao Santos told Radio kiss: “Interest from Arsenal? It’s true,” it’s not all good news for the Gunners though as he also confirmed that Real Madrid has paid compliments to the midfielder.

Arsene Wenger knows he has to strengthen the spine of his team this summer with the likes of Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky all out of contract. Jorginho is 24 and has been at Napoli since 2014 where he has already played more than 60 games in all competitions.

Jorginho certainly fits the bill to play for Arsenal as his key areas to his game are his passing, through balls and forward thinking. One worrying thing the Gunners make take into consideration is aerial duels are his weakness and playing in the deep role that could be key, especially as the Premier League is allegedly the toughest league in the world.

Arsenal fans shouldn’t get carried away with Joao Santos comments as it could just be a warning to Napoli that teams are keeping tabs on their star midfielder and may be looking for a new contract.

The Gunners need competition in midfield and need to strengthen their core, Jorginho could give them that given the injury concerns of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.

I have paid close attention to Jorginho and Coquelin, this is due to the fact Jorginho would be brought in to the squad to play as a deep lying midfielder, Wenger has repeatedly indicated that he sees Wilshere and Ramsey as more attacking players for the Gunners.

Analysis Focus

This season Jorginho has by a clear mile made more successful passes in the league than Coquelin, so far this season Jorginho makes an average of 98 passes a game, nearly double that of Coquelin. Playing in the deep role for Arsenal, the players are expected to win tackles and make clearances, Coquelin excels in this area, making almost twice as many tackles and clearances. With the per 90 metric, Squawka’s statistics show that Jorginho just edges Coquelin with his overall score. But has the emergence of Mohammed Elneny changed Arsene Wenger’s mind at all? The Egytian appears capable of playing in that deep lying midfield role, perhaps a more physical midfielder is what is needed.

It would be a fair observation to suggest that Jorignho may be a like for like replacement for Mikel Arteta, who used to dictate the game from deep. But should Arsenal be looking to sign a player that can combine both technical and physcial qualities? Jorginho may be too similar to Arteta and not add anything new. Someone like William Carvalho could be a better fit? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter by tweeting us @FreshFootball.

In summary, Jorginho would be a good singing for the Gunners and give them the competition they so desperately need, there is clearly interest but nothing more… yet.


 

Stats sourced from Squawka

Gossip: Kroos Considering Arsenal Offer, Man Utd Want Barca Star & Chelsea’s Roma Raid

We’ve had a look over the latest rumours emerging from around Europe. Today’s gossip column looks at several hotly tipped big moves including Toni Kroos potentially coming to the Premier League. You can follow all the latest news and gossip as it happens by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball.

Toni Kroos considering offer from Arsenal (AS)

Reports in Spain suggest that Arsenal are one of a number of Premier League clubs that have made an advance to sign Toni Kroos from Real Madrid this summer. The German is reportedly considering his future at the club and Madrid may be willing to let him leave as part of their planned squad overhaul. According to the report originating from AS, Madrid have earmarked Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante as a replacement as he would offer more defensive security. The chance to sign Kroos cannot be missed by the Gunners. He’s a world-class player and the perfect player to keep that midfield ticking from deep. If Kroos were to become available, you would expect the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City to get involved in the bidding. The news comes from AS who can sometimes publish reliable rumours, but they do often speculate and can sometimes publish stories to suit their agendas so don’t buy the t-shirts just yet.

Manchester United eyeing Barcelona stopper to replace David de Gea (Daily Mirror)

Manchester United are reportedly eyeing Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as a replacement for David de Gea, who they are anticipating will join Real Madrid this summer. Ter Stegen is playing in Barcelona’s Champions League fixtures, but Claudio Bravo remains the teams number one in La Liga. The chance to become the undoubted number 1 at United would surely be tempting for the young German. Whether Barcelona would be willing to approve a deal that would allow arch-rivals Real Madrid to strengthen is another matter. If Manchester United managed to seal this deal then they wouldn’t miss de Gea too much, as Ter Stegen isn’t far off his level and has plenty of time to improve, aged just 23.

Chelsea to make £30million offer for Roma defender Kostas Manolas (Il Tempo)

Reports from Italy suggest that Roma are desperately trying to extend the contract of their star defender Kostas Manolas, amid interest from several top European clubs. The report lists Chelsea as a possible destination, whilst Arsenal have long been linked with the Greek defender. But Chelsea seems like a more likely move, with the London club set to release John Terry and concerns remaining over the form of Gary Cahill. Signed for £10million from Olympiacos, Roma will not want to sell Manolas, but they wouldn’t be short changed in any sale.

Jack Butland set to commit long-term future to Stoke City (Telegraph)

23-year-old Butland is thriving at Stoke City and he has no intentions of moving on anytime soon. The Englishman is reportedly set to sign a new five-year contract, committing his long-term future to the Potters. A move to a bigger club would make no sense at this stage of his career, unless he could be guaranteed as first choice. The only big club that might be able to offer him that status anytime soon is Manchester United, if de Gea did leave in the summer. Either way, Stoke are not going to sell Butland for a low amount of money and a new contract would only raise his value even more. This is brilliant news for Stoke City fans.

You can follow all the latest news and gossip as it happens by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball.

Tipster: Betting Advice From @OliPriceBates For This Weekend’s (March 11-13) Fixtures

With plenty of games to be played from Friday to Sunday, one of our betting advisors, @OliPriceBates takes a look at where the value lies in the latest batch of fixtures across the globe.

After our first full week of betting, we are boasting an impressive 30.2% ROI on @FreshFootball. Be sure to follow us on Twitter as not all our tips are posted on the website. After recent success in The Americas, I’m going to start with one game from the Argentina Primera and one from Liga MX.

Tip 1 – Racing Club vs. Lanus BTTS @ 2.0 – 1.5pt stake (Friday 11th – Kick Off: 23:15)
Top of Zone B, Lanus have started the season extremely well. The odds on BTTS are high because of the visitors defensive record so far this season, conceding just three in their first six games. A closer look at the stats though will tell you that they conceded two in a 2-2 draw in their last away game in the Primera. Racing Club have a traditionally strong record at home and I think they’ll at least get on the scoresheet. Their most recent game finished 6-3, although that was away from home. Their last home game was a 1-0 win over Boca Juniors, but Boca have been consistently tight defensively.

Tip 2 – Treble: Wigan DNB, Burton DNB & Swindon vs. Milwall BTTS @ 3.11 – 1pt stake (Saturday 12th)
Although Fleetwood beat Coventry in their last visit, their away form has been terrible this season. Burton on the other hand have been flying and will want another win to maintain top spot in the division. Like Burton, Wigan are fighting for automatic promotion whilst they travel to Colchester, a team that sit rock bottom and are all but relegated. Swindon and Milwall are two of the highest scoring teams in the division, BTTS looks a good bet. If one/two of the three tipped draw, you’ll still be in profit.

Tip 3 – Everton vs. Chelsea BTTS & Fulham vs. Bristol City BTTS @ 2.58 – 1pt stake (Saturday 12th)
Everton at home are always good to watch in terms of goals. Leaking them at one end, but scoring for fun – they host a Chelsea side likely to be tired from their midweek endeavours against Paris Saint-Germain. Fulham have scored 55 goals but conceded 61 in their 36 league games, whilst the improved Bristol City have scored in 5 of their last 6 away games. This relegation battle clash in likely to see goals, with both teams needing three points.

Tip 4 – Reading to beat Crystal Palace and BTTS @ 7.0 – 0.5pt stake (Friday 11th)

Tip 5 – Reading DNB, Northampton DNB @ 3.31 – 1pt stake (Friday 11th & Saturday 12th)

Tip 6 – Northampton vs. Cambridge – Northampton to win @ 1.9 – 1.5pt stake (Saturday 12th)

Tip 7 – Cruz Azul goals over 1.5 vs. Puebla @ 1.72 – 1.5pt stake (Sunday 12th)

 

We have tipped the following.

Tip 1 – £7.50 @ 2.0 – £15
Tip 2 – £5 @ 3.11 – £13
Tip 3 – £5 @ 2.58
Tip 4 – £2.50 @ 7.0
Tip 5 – £5 @ 3.31
Tip 6 – £7.50 @ 1.9
Tip 7 – £7.50 @ 1.72

Total staked: £40
RETURNS: 
£28
Loss: £12

DC = Double Chance | DNB = Draw No Bet | BTTS = Both Teams To Score

Note: We use 1pt as £5, but you can scale this up or down depending on your budget. If you used £5 as 1pt in week one of our tips, you will have made over £70 profit.

Make sure you’re following @FreshFootball on Twitter to ensure you see all our tips as we will be posting more throughout the weekend, including some in-play bets.

Damián Martínez: Striving For Glory

For the past month or so, the Gooners have found new hope between the sticks thanks to the stunning displays of Vito Mannone. Long gone seem the days of Manuel Almunia and that dreadful game against Olimpiakos in Piraeus in last year’s Champions Legue group stage where both Lukasz Fabianski and the aforementioned Mannone had such a dreadful display, Arsenal supporters were left fretting over the consistency and good health of Wojciech Szczesny. There is no doubt that Mannone’s loan at Hull City has given fruit, and that the keeper is currently going through his best spell in an Arsenal shirt.

What many Gooners may not have noticed over the past few fixtures is that a relatively unknown name has turned up in the substitutes’ bench. Ever since Szczesny and Fabianski have been injured, 20-year old goalkeeper Damián Martínez has taken a place on the bench. The young Argentine, who arrived at the team in August 2010, and was immediately sent to Oxford United on an emergency loan, rose to prominence in the Arsenal Reserves squad earning himself a call-up to the Full Argentina National Squad in August 2011, barely a year after his transfer from Independiente. Albeit, he is yet to play for the team, the young Gunner still has plenty of time.

So, can Gooners really rely on this young lad? After all, if something happens to Don Vito, the boy would be part of the Starting XI.  Plus, the past seven years haven’t just meant a trophy drought, they’ve meant a crisis on the goalkeeping position that has seemingly just been solved last season. The answer is probably yes. I’m not saying he’d step up and take Szczesny’s, Fabianski’s, and Mannone’s place, after all, there is a reason he is still a Reserve goalkeeper. Nonetheless, the boy has proven more than once that he has what it takes to become a star for the Gunners. The most recent display of his talents came this past month in Arsenal’s Capital One Cup fixture against Coventry City, which resulted in a resounding 6-1 victory for the Gunners. Although Martínez did let one goal in (some might argue it was due to a defensive mistake) the game proved that the lad has the potential to become a star between the sticks. Last season, Martínez featured thirteen times for the reserves squad, helping the young team manage a comfortable third spot in the Reserves League.

Speaking to Arsenal.com last April, the young Argentine emphasized on his desire of reaching the level of the first team, and thus, mentioned the possibility on going on loan this year:

“Gerry [Peyton, the goalkeeper coach,] said to me that I would be on the bench for the Carling Cup and then I was there for the FA Cup too. He said to me: ‘If you have to come on, are you ready?’, and I said ‘Yes, I am ready’.

“I am still looking forward to being on the bench for a few more games, trying to do my best in the reserves and then be ready for the first team. These are my ambitions for the next two months.”

“[Wojciech Szczesny] said he wasn’t ready for the first team yet so he went out on loan and learned so much there, Then he came back to Arsenal and played in the first team as he was ready.”

“Next season a loan spell could be an option for me.”

Due to the recent injuries in the goalkeeping position, Martínez’s first full team debut might come sooner than expected. I personally believe that, although the lad may not be the squad’s top performer in his position, he has the potential to be a great keeper in the future. Plus, he seems grounded and striving to improve his game. The way I see it, Damián Martínez’s desire isn’t just to play for the first team squad, but rather to reach the level in which he can shine there, and that can only be a good thing for the Arsenal.