Impressive start for Chelsea but Sarri says there’s more to come

Chelsea underwent a summer of change, with Antonio Conte replaced by new boss Maurizio
Sarri who joined from Italian Serie A big-guns Napoli in July.

His reign didn’t start the way he had hoped, with the Blues beaten 2-0 by Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley.

The Londoners have hit the ground running in the Premier League, however, as they aim to
improve on last season’s bitterly disappointing fifth-place finish.

At least one year dealt out of the Champions League riches is a catastrophe for a club of Chelsea’s size but they’ll be planning to use the extra time on their schedule to put pressure on defending champions Man City.
 

Source: Today’s Footy News via Twitter

All eyes were on Kirklees Stadium to see how Sarri’s side would line-up and fans were
pleasantly surprised to watch their heroes record a comfortable 3-0 win over a stubborn
Huddersfield on week one of the schedule.

The opening goal of the campaign came from an unlikely source, a volley from N’Golo Kante breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes and new signing Jorginho netted a debut goal
from the penalty spot before the break, Marcos Alonso fouled in the box by Christopher Schindler.

Easy street and by the time Pedro added a third 10 minutes from the end the game was long since over as a contest.

The final match stats showed the victors finished with 63% of the overall possession and 13
shots at goal. They managed to put just four of those on target – something for the coaching
staff to work on at their Surrey training base – but three of those four did hit the back of the net.

Despite a show of dominance from beginning to end, Sarri told the media at full-time it could
take his side anything up to two months before we see their full potential. That may have had
a few fans scratching their head, but it also got them excited for the future.
 

Source: The Blues via Twitter

Chelsea have won the Premier League title six times, first in 1955, and they have been hugely
successful in recent seasons, clinching the top prize in English football three times in the last
eight years – 2010, 2015 and 2017. Will 2019 be the year they add another medal?

The betting doesn’t think so and traders at Betfair have win number seven priced at 14/1 in
the outright Premiership betting.

Such big odds is sure to attract the attention of club fans and punters on the lookout for value, eager to oppose Man City’s odds-on price with something a bit more interesting.

If Chelsea don’t win the league this season the board will demand a quick-fire return to the
top-four and that seems more likely.

Qualification for the Champions League through a Premier League finish is 4/7 and that places them third in the pile behind The Cityzens and Liverpool who have been priced as close to guarantees as you’re likely to find at this early stage of the season.

Is this Tottenham Team a Step Away from the EPL Title?

Mauricio Pochettino has transformed Tottenham from a mid-table overachiever into a regular Top 4 and title contender. This year they were written off from the title race, but that is not something that they should lose sleep over as almost everyone has been blown away by Guardiola’s magnificent Manchester City side.

In the last couple of years Tottenham have been making a steady progress and right now they are favourites to win 80% of the matches they play in. This wasn’t something that you could have said a few years back when they were sinking into mediocrity and couldn’t win even if their lives depended on it.

This last couple of seasons however, they have been the punters’ favourite team and they have been backing them to win against all sorts of opposition. Punters have even started exploring different Betting Strategies which could maximize their winnings as they are now absolutely sure that Spurs can win matches easily and betting enthusiasts are trying to find a way to make that more profitable for themselves.

But can this Tottenham team make the ultimate step forward and win the league in the next few years? We think that they can and here is what they have got going for them.

World Class Manager

Mauricio Pochettino is on the shortlist of all top clubs in Europe right now. Teams such as Real Madrid and PSG are fighting over his signature and are reportedly willing to do anything they can to lure him.

This is because the Argentinean is a master tactician, a big man motivator and also has a good nose for a top quality player. He can win a match with a tactical change easily and his substitutions are always spot on.

Furthermore, many people credit him for assembling this Spurs squad and for how he has managed to keep everyone happy, performing at the top of the game, and ready to give their best when called upon.  

Harry Kane

Kane is arguably the best striker in the world of football. Just like his manager, he is highly sought after and teams such as Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Barcelona have all been linked as his likely destinations next season.

However it seems that the Englishman is perfectly happy to stay at Tottenham, and not just that, but to stay there for what could be his whole career.

This could be a huge boost for Spurs and if their top scorer stays then it is very likely that their trophy cabinet will start running out of space very quickly, something that Spurs fans just couldn’t wait to happen.

Magnificent Midfield

Spurs have had the luck of owning one of the best all round midfielders in the world at the moment and his name is Mousa Dembele. The Belgian is a force to be reckoned with and he will be an asset for any top club. He is perfectly complemented by his creative alter ego, Christian Eriksen, and together they make Spurs’ midfield outrageously good.

 

Conor McGregor

Could Conor McGregor be preparing for a football crossover?

In 2017, Conor McGregor crossed over from his native sport of mixed martial arts in the UFC to fight the then 49-0 Floyd Mayweather Jr in a licensed boxing match.

It was a much-hyped event that had people rushing to the bookmakers to back any chance that the Irish UFC world champion could defeat the undefeated American.

The fight finished with Mayweather pacing his way to a composed victory over the exhausted McGregor in the tenth round. The media and advertising companies massively overhyped the event, but it did manage to peak the interests of sports fans not traditionally supporters of boxing or mixed martial arts.

In the first month of 2018, two sports superstars have crossed over. Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey made her debut in the WWE, and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt has been trying out his football skills. The Jamaican speedster has been training with the Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa and is set to have a trial with Borussia Dortmund.

The crossover event into boxing was a cash-cow for Conor McGregor, and he took quite a beating, so there’s no wonder why he hasn’t stepped back into any combat sports just yet. In fact, his last legitimate fight was all the way back on 12th November 2016. Now his UFC division looks to be blocked off from him, so perhaps another familiar crossover is in the works.

McGregor may not get immediate title shot

Source: Fight Haven, via Twitter


When it came to his first professional boxing match, Conor McGregor was – rightfully – the heavy underdog. But in the octagon, McGregor has been a heavy favourite to win almost all of his most recent fights, despite moving division.

In his last fight, against Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title, McGregor didn’t even need two rounds to stand victorious in the fight that the bookies favoured him to win.

In the fast-moving world of the UFC, there’s now a newish, incredibly dangerous contender in the lightweight division. Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to fight Tony Ferguson on 7th April, and the Russian has already outlined his plans as the champion.

Nurmagomedov is heavily favoured to win the fight at 2/5, so if you check out these UFC free Betting offers, he’d be a good use of the offer. If, or more likely when, Nurmagomedov does win, he would certainly give McGregor a run for his money in the betting odds, if he even lets him fight.

‘The Eagle’ says that when he’s champion, he’ll fight those who have proven themselves to be real contenders in the division with win-streaks, rather than allow McGregor to suddenly get a title shot, again.

If McGregor and Nurmagomedov were to meet in the octagon, it would be a tough call as to who would come out on top, and the Russian would certainly be able to upset the odds.

Perhaps a return to the octagon isn’t on the cards

Source: World Boxing News, via Twitter


McGregor made a huge amount of money from his boxing match and given his superstar status in the world of sport; other sports would certainly be willing to bring him in for a potential crossover.

Going to the WWE seems like the natural progression for McGregor, but perhaps going back to his sporting roots would be the way forward.

Conor McGregor played a lot of football as a younger man, deciding later to focus on mixed martial arts. Said to have been a good young player, potentially even a potential professional footballer,

McGregor’s high-level of athleticism and natural talent in the sport could see him crossover in a similar way that Usain Bolt has been trying. Like Usain Bolt, McGregor is also a Manchester United fan.

Right now, the Red Devils boast two players who did the opposite to McGregor and went from martial arts into professional football. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a black belt in taekwondo – often showing off the skills that he developed in the discipline while striking the ball acrobatically – and Chris Smalling was a young judo champion.

The most news that has been revealed about an upcoming fight for Conor McGregor is a video of Floyd Mayweather stepping into an octagon in a viral video. The hype has been about a comeback fight, but perhaps a crossover to football would be more lucrative knowing that he could walk back into the UFC whenever he wants. 

Antonio Conte

Chelsea’s Management Set up is the Problem for Conte

Chelsea is in another situation where it seems more like a repeat of what happened under Jose Mourinho after winning the league as it did happen under Carlo Ancelotti. Chelsea’s reoccurring problem after every successful stint calls for worry by fans and board.

This is a system that has to be changed if the club wants to attain a consistent level of success not a sinusoidal success.

The current Premier League champions have to look inward to solve their lingering crisis. The club owner has to find a way to make things work beyond every manager and still keeping the club at harmony.

Wherever there is a problem at a club, the manager is always the one whose head is called for. It is understandable because that’s how the sport is set up.

Antonio Conte can’t be excluded from this problem in all sincerity. The Italian has also had issues with the way he managed things at the club.

The sale of Diego Costa is one that always comes to mind easily. After chasing your highest goal scorer in a league winning season makes it an extremely difficult and daunting task for whoever his replacement to not be compared to him especially if he’s not living up to the expectation.

Alvaro Morata has not had a perfect start to life in England and has he has dropped form; it becomes more difficult not to compare if Costa was there he wouldn’t do better.

The tactical rigidity that Conte has stuck to makes it difficult when the players that suit that style are off form. Hazard and Morata have not been in their best form recently and this is a big worry for the manager.

Now selling Batshuayi for a second striker at another club Olivier Giroud, to come and become a second striker at your club begs the question, why is he not willing to trust Batshuayi in the first place?

All these cannot make him be excluded from the problem at the club which most likely is a reason he won’t be at Stamford Bridge next season beyond just scoring once and conceding seven against two clubs struggling in the league in their last two outings.

At Chelsea, every time a manager comes in and things start going south, the rebellious act by some set of senior players at the club does not help matter and the club management seems not to find a problem with it.

Starting from Mourinho’s first stint at the club to AVB and Benitez, the likes of Lampard, Terry and Drogba seems to always find a way to divide the dressing room when they don’t have it their way.

Even during the time of Ancelloti who won the league and is just six points off the leaders, sitting second on the log, he started having issues with players and board and was just able to finish his second year at the club.

If the management seems not to see a problem with this, then they should brace up for a repeat when a new manager comes in next season.

There should be this aura that a coach has control over the club and can always have the final say on many issues. The players will start having a different orientation in how things work at the club.

With Luis Enrique likely to be the replacement to Conte, how will the management react whenever results doesn’t go his way? The Chelsea need to realise the problem lies more with the club than the managers.

On the other hand, Chelsea will be entertaining West Brom at the Stamford Bridge Stadium, and visit NetBet for some decent gambling odds will make a lot of sense, as they’re offering some high numbers at the moment.

Chelsea’s Latest Hunt for a Veteran Striker and the Logic Behind It

Chelsea FC Goal Celebration
 
Premier League teams, quite unsurprisingly, create buzz and spark headlines during the permitted player transfer windows.

These headlines are not always created based on the news of actual transfers but are usually created based on predictions and hype, as teams keep information regarding transfer negotiations hidden till the last minute.

Still, others cannot make out the actual decisions of a team till final confirmation regarding transfer is given out. It is similar to a poker game situation in which a player may not be able to make out if another is bluffing or not.

The 2018 winter transfer window is not much different either.

This time around, one of the major teams is hitting the headlines for a rather interesting reason. Chelsea F.C. is learnt to be looking for a striker.

The interesting factor here is that it is looking not just for a good striker but rather for a ‘veteran’ striker, preferably tall. It is quite evident from the list of strikers Chelsea is actively considering, which includes Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch and Ashley Barnes.

Most football fans have yet to read Antonio Conte’s mind and understand the logic behind the demand for a veteran striker rather than a good striker.

Reading Chelsea’s plan and intentions is not as easy a task as playing Omaha Hi-Lo. At first look, the search for a veteran striker seems like a mere short-term measure. But when you analyze further, Antonio Conte’s search for a veteran striker is not without reasons.

While we are not sure about Conte’s calculations, his thoughts and intentions can be guessed with a degree of reason.
 
Antonio Conte
 
First, Chelsea, at least in the short term, are looking to consistently maintain a couple of strikers who are firing and have enough experience under their belts.

They are desperately trying to prevent the creation of a hole in the striking department, in the eventuality of Michy Batshuayi going out, at least on a temporary basis. And it seems like Chelsea’s scheme of things needs a credible player upfront, which is not ill-founded.

But what defines the credibility of a striker? Let’s consider the case of poker. No matter how skilful a player is, it is that poker player’s success story that ultimately gives credibility to him or her. And similar is the case with football as well.

A credible player upfront will always be an inspiration to the entire team, as the team will be motivated to play forward and pass on the ball to their trusted player.

So, apart from the physical skill and support a credible striker adds to the team, they will have a psychological impact as well. Ultimately, this will benefit the entire team positively.

Hence the reason why Chelsea are looking specifically for a credible striker. But this is not the only reason. Conte is learnt to be having more faith in keeping a striker as a point of reference and weaving the game around him.

Such a theory is supported by the information that Chelsea are considering veteran strikers who are tall. Thus, without doubt, Chelsea’s hunt for a tall veteran striker is real and is based on a plan.

Why Aleksandar Mitrovic should leave Newcastle United in January


 
It is clear what Newcastle United’s problem is: they are simply not scoring enough goals.

The Magpies have scored fewer than one goal a game in the Premier League so far this season, and for a team that gets over 50,000 fans for their home matches and are planning to break into the top ten in the coming years, it is simply not good enough.

If Newcastle go down to the Championship at the end of the season – and they are only 4/1 to get relegated, according to the latest football betting odds – then the main reason would be their lack of goals.

Which is why it comes as a massive surprise that Aleksandar Mitrovic has been sparingly used by manager Rafael Benitez so far this season. Mitrovic is one of the best players at Newcastle, and at 23, he is still very young and is only going to get better.

The Serbia international striker has not made a single start in the Premier League so far this season, but he has still scored one goal in 89 minutes of league football.

Last season, the 23-year-old scored four goals and provided six assists in 11 starts in the Championship.

It is clear that Newcastle manager Benitez does not rate Mitrovic highly, and it would make sense for the striker to leave the Magpies in the January transfer window. After all, there is no point in the former Anderlecht star remaining at St. James’ Park and warming the substitutes’ bench week after week.

Moreover, with Serbia set to feature at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia next summer, Mitrovic has to be on top form in order to make an impact for his national team.


 
The Serbian has been linked with moves away from Newcastle in the January transfer window, with West Bromwich Albion reported to be interested in him.

Of course, joining a club like the Baggies who could get relegated from the Premier League may not be ideal for Mitrovic, but he should jump at the chance of getting more playing time.

The Serbia international is going nowhere playing for a manager who does not fancy him and for a club who are fighting for survival, and it would not be too bad of an idea to jump from the frying pan and into the fire if West Brom do make a move.

Even if Mitrovic has to leave Newcastle on loan for the second half of the season, he should take the opportunity. A return to Anderlecht would be great for him, especially as he knows the Belgian club well and was a massive success during his time there.

What the 23-year-old needs at this stage of his career is regular playing time and a manager who has confidence in him.

Newcastle are not going to let him leave if they do get £13 million in transfer fees – the same amount they paid Anderlecht to sign him back in the summer of 2015 – and not many clubs would be willing to pay that much money for a player who is not playing much these days.

Fellaini not certain about his future at Old Trafford

Marouane Fellaini
 
Manchester United player and Belgian attacker, Maraoune Fellaini has officially acknowledged for the very first time that he might not accept a Manchester United new deal, with the midfielder slowly running out of contract, which is set to expire at the end of the season.

The Red Devils’ boss Jose Mourinho has previously made his intention to keep the Belgian midfielder very clear, and has advised the club’s board to give a new contract, in the hope to extend the attacker’s stay at Old Trafford.

Fellaini, who currently earns £75,000-a-week, was offered £100,000-a-week by United, and was positive the Belgian would accept.

Later in the week, the 30-year-old admitted that he had just rejected United’s offer and was hoping they would bring in a tempting offer shortly. Check out freebets.org for the best odds in the Premier League yet to come and cheap soccer cleats.

Fellaini said: “Honestly, I don’t know, I have something in my head but I cannot tell you,”  when asked where he will be next season. “This is my tenth season in England. Except for the very first at Manchester, I only knew good times. It always takes several years for your ties to be forged. I know everyone here, that’s nice.”

“I’m still here. If Manchester did not want me anymore, they would have said that for a long time. They made a proposal, probably one will follow. Whether I will accept it I do not know. You cannot arrange something like that quickly.”

He confirmed Mourinho knows the decision he has taken on his future: “We talked about it (with Mourinho),” he added.: The coach is someone who respects the decisions of his players.”

Several clubs from Europe have been linked to get a signature from Fellaini, whose appearance for the Reds Devils was last month due to a knee injury he acquired.

Manchester United heading in the right direction with Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho
 
Manchester United is the biggest football brand in the world and has the largest fan base in the world. It’s estimated 659 million adult followers is second to none in the world. With such a global followership, winning laurels will have to come with it to keep the fans happy.

The current United squad have last experienced a league title under the era of Sir Alex Ferguson who left in 2013. So the urge to return to that top is so damning such that three mangers have managed the club in five years.

The tenure of the “chosen one”, David Moyes, was marred with so much disappointment that it lasted less than a season. Louis Van Gaal came in and was only able to last two seasons with just the FA cup which was not enough to help save his job when he could not qualify for the Champions league.

With Jose Mourinho at the reign of affairs, Manchester United have two titles in just 12 months. Manchester United have been touted to win any trophy this season with free bets without deposit.

Being Jose Mourinho second season in charge at Old Trafford, also knowing him to have won the league in every of his job in the past, United are hopeful it could be repeated this season despite neighbouring club, Manchester City being 11 points ahead. Meanwhile, you can check out one of William Hill’s Premier League betting market – Top Goalscorer with Mo Salah being the first Premier league player to bag 20 goals this season.

United performance this season have improved drastically from previous season and have better points in the league now than a standard season. 38 points after 17 games played, sitting second in the league is 8 points better than last season’s 30 points, sitting 6th on the log. Mourinho at the helm of affairs at United will guarantee titles in any form.

Despite United poor league finish last season, the Europa league win was one that will forever be in their record. However, Manchester United can make more than we currently are evening with their squad.

The frustration of a section of the fans against Mourinho is understandable as regards his style of football. Also placing second in the league is mediocre for the team that want to be the best. Second is seen as a failure. The last time United lost at home prior to last weekend defeat to City was against City also last season.

So what all this is pointing towards is that the noisy neighbours are gradually becoming the ruling neighbours. United fans want to be the ruling club in Manchester, England and the entire football world.

The only man capable of helping to achieve that is Jose Mourinho. He’s known for winning and winning is what he does best. The Glazer family knew what they were doing when they offer the job to the former Chelsea boss. They know he’s probably the only manager who can rival Pep Guadiola at City. They know he is capable of making them feel the Ferguson-like mentality once more. He has done it in the past and they know he can repeat the feat also at United. The decision to appoint Mourinho have started showing and can bet that there is more great things to be achieved by the Portuguese tactician if the fans can be a little bit more patient.

Liverpool sank Hoffenheim away from home

Liverpool v Hoffenheim

Liverpool had an impressive night as they beat Hoffenheim 2- 1 in a match played Tuesday 15 August, 2017 at Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Germany. This was the first leg of their Champions League play-off round clash. Liverpool’s win was inspired by James Milner’s and rookie Trent Alexander-Arnold’s goals. The match was not balanced as the English team was overpowering the Germany outfit most of the night.

Liverpool’s goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved a poorly taken penalty kick by forward Andrej Kramaric.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold punished Hoffenheim for their earlier mistake with a cracker 30-yard free-kick. He curled the ball over the wall into right bottom corner in the 35th minute. Liverpool kept on searching for a second goal and their efforts paid off in the 74th minute. The goal was courtesy of Havard Nordtveit who deflected James Milner’s cross into the back of his own net.

Hoffenheim’s coach Julian Nagelsmann brought in fresh legs through a substitute Mark Uth and he pulled one back for his team in the 87th minute. The match could have ended up in a stalemate. However, Hoffenheim’s Benjamin Hubner missed a perfect chance to level matters as he missed a free header from close range. Minutes later Hoffenheim nearly equalized as former Arsenal forward Gnabry was denied by Liverpool’s stopper Mignolet and Sandro struck the woodwork from the rebound.

In the dying minutes, Liverpool should have scored another goal but Hoffenheim’s goalkeeper Oliver Baumann had other thoughts for Sadio Mane’s effort. The man of the match title belonged to Trent Alexander-Arnold who scored the brilliant free-kick. It was his ninth start as a Liverpool player in all competitions. Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp was impressed with the performance of his team as they were triumphant in the backyard of their opponent. Liverpool has a two goal advantage ahead of the second leg Champions League playoff match to be played at Anfield on 23 August 2017.

Football: Soon two clubs in Paris in Ligue 1?

Parc de Princes

Paris FC, Racing and fans of Juvisy-Sur-Orge would discuss merge into a single club with the goal of going up in Ligue 1.

The creation of a second high-level team is an old sea serpent of our French football. In this European capital, which took a long time to get round to the ball – most Parisian fans were fans of Saint-Etienne in the 1970s – multiple projects of this kind flourished and then disappeared at the bottom of the Seine. But this dream seems never to fade.

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As proof, the French Football Federation would support a project to merge three clubs of Paris-Île-de-France, Racing and Juvisy fans – to become the second club in the league in the long term 1, according to information revealed by RTL.

The team would start in National. The three sports associations focus on the department of Hauts-de-Seine, considering in particular to install the administrative headquarters and the training centre in Colombes.

Their leaders seem to have well apprehended the obstacles that had hampered the rise of other Parisian competitors of the PSG in the past.

Nomadic clubs, impatient shareholders

By invoking, in the first place, the fixed geographical layout of the structures – headquarters, stadium, training centre – the initiators of the project emphasises, indirectly, the previous failure of UJ Alfortville because of nomadism.

The team, once bought by businessman Michel Moulin in 2008, was indeed trembled in Choisy-le-Roi (Val-de-Marne), La Courneuve (Seine-Saint-Denis) and Colombes Before returning to Choisy-le-Roi. The new owner will be able to make big campaigns of promotion of his club, even on posters of the metro, it will never manage to retain geographically a public and Abdi Quora during 2011.

The choice of a loyal and lasting shareholder is also an important factor to take into account. The last big projects of a second Parisian football team in Ligue 1 also failed because of lack of impatience of the investors, rather quickly discouraged by the processes of intention that are made to them or by the stagnation of the club.

The case of Matra Racing (1984-1989) is quite revealing. This club had brought a bit of competition to the PSG by carrying out a lavish recruitment (Luis Fernandez, Pierre Little. But the shareholder Jean-Luc Lagardère, tired of criticism of his investment, had disengaged quite quickly, rendering the club inoperative on the sporting level and condemning it to an administrative relegation.

The same is true for Alain Afflelou, who took over the club of Créteil-Lusitanos in 1996, but, in 2001, he threw in the face of the Club’s inability to cross a landing by accessing Ligue 1.