Arsenal needs a new Gunner

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So far this season, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal have managed to keep ahead of the pack and stay top of the English Premier League after 20 games, with 45 points – one more than Manchester City and two more than Chelsea.  However, Highbury’s faithful together with any sports betting fan that has staked cash on the North London winning the League title will certainly feel that Wenger needs to look for at least one more striker during the January transfer window. The growing consensus is that with the injuries to both Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner, it only leaves one recognised striker in the squad – and this then necessitates the purchase of at least more striker to help ensure the club press on for their first English Premier League title in almost ten long dreary years.

Wenger has already ruled former Manchester United and now Fulham striker, Dimitar Berbatov. It is rumoured that Wenger does not like the ‘relaxed’ style of play of the Bulgarian striker. This means means anyone betting on possible purchases can focus on other potential candidates. There is the Spanish international Michu who currently plays for Swansea City. Arsene has stated that the player reminds him of a Dennis Bergkamp, which is a huge compliment to any player!

There is of course the stories that Monaco’s hitman, Radamel Falcao is looking for a move away from French club. His scoring record is second to none, but there is a huge price tag of 60 million euro which Arsenal will have to weigh up. Someone that maybe more affordable and still bring in the goals, could be Jay Rodriguez playing at Southampton, and there is the possibility of even luring his team-mate Lallana to increase the probability of Jay settling in quickly.

Wenger can also consider Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata. Although it has been reported the Arsenal manager was not keen on the striker, it maybe time to revisit this option. If the reports and rumours are right, Wenger has already secured Morata’s services on a six month loan deal, however, this is yet to be confirmed by the club.

Whatever decision is made, one thing is for certain, the English Premier League title race has never been more exciting, with so many clubs in with a real chance of winning the title and all the glory that comes with it!

 

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New Formula One weight limits for 2014

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The latest news in Formula One is the proposed weight limits, which have been increased to take into account the introduction of new and improved engines. The problem is the new engines are heavier than what was previously envisaged, which naturally leads to an issue with drivers that carry more weight than their competitors. Over the years, Formula One has been trying to make the sport more competitive, with an emphasis on spreading the factors that win races. Recently, it has had a huge amount of focus on tyres and how their management influences pit stops and actual driving strategy. There has been an adverse reaction to some of these changes, with quite a large section of the Formula One world insisting that we going away from driver ability and car performance, which is what after all, is what the true essence of Formula One. I am betting that fans will see these proposals as just another factor taking precedence over drivers.

This season the allowed weight for driver and car has been set at 642kg. With the introduction of the new 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines and energy recovering system being incorporated in 2014, the minimum weight has been revised to 690kg. The unfortunate issue is that most of the additional 48kg will nearly all go towards accommodating the new engines. As a result drivers will have far less kilograms to play with in terms of how much they weigh. It is now a fact that as it stands, every kilogram will equate to approximately 0.035 seconds per lap on an average circuit – relatively quite huge chunk of time.

This ultimately means that smaller drivers will have a definite advantage. For example, Fernando Alonso weighs 68kg and will then have an advantage over Nico Hulkenberg who weighs 74kg. One of the greatest drivers in the sport, Nigel Mansell, is just one the many that voiced their concern over the weight limitations. McLaren’s Jenson Button has also commented on the proposed changes, admitting that he already struggles to meet the current weight limit, as he always has to maintain 74/75kg.

We can only hope the powers-that-be listen to the people on the ground, and give their comments and concerns serious consideration.

 

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West Ham shock Tottenham Hot Spurs

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West Ham did the unthinkable and beat Tottenham Hot Spurs at White Hart Lane to get out of the bottom of the English Premier League. It was a great win for the Hammers against one of the best defences in the League this year, and it also marked the first away goals scored by West Ham for the season. Online sports betting operators wold have enjoyed the result, as Spurs were favourites to see off the challenge from one of their London rivals.

It was also a day to remember for the young Ravel Morrison, the 20 year old former Manchester United player produced a strong performance and was rewarded with a great goal. Finally it looks as if the talented young man is getting his career in order and after a good show in the England Under-21 squad last week, it seems that the West Ham player is ready to move up to the next level and prove to everyone that he has what it takes to be one of the best.

Spurs had a frustrating time in front of goal, as usual. Villas-Boas’ team has only managed to score six times this season, and the point was underlined when looking at Defoe’s chances and near misses. Defoe is usually one of the best strikers in front of goal and for the first time this season he started a game, one would have thought it was just a matter of time when he was on the scoresheet. But, unfortunately, it was not to be.

West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce will hope the club can build on their first away win in nine league games which places them 13th in the table. There have been many examples where one epic win has inspired teams on winning runs that set them for the entire season, here’s hoping this is one of them!

 

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Real Madrid Mesut Ozil signs for Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger and Arsenal have agreed terms with Real Madrid for the German midfielder Mesut Ozil, a deal worth a club record breaking £42.4m! It is by far the biggest deal The Gunners have ever done, as the London club’s highest spend so far was a measly £15m in 2009 for Andrey Arshavin. It finally proves to supporters of the club that Wenger and the Board are serious in their quest of trophies and titles. Anyone betting online with bet365 will be pleased to see Arsenal 5/6 To Finish In The Top 4, and there is another market on how many goals Ozil will be scoring for his first season in the English Premier League.

The signing has got to be one of the best this summer, as Ozil was one of Real Madrid’s key players whose creativity and passing ability will be sorely missed, especially by the great Cristian Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker, along with several other Real Madrid players like Sergio Ramos made their feelings known on how shocked and disappointed they were to learn of the German midfielder being sold. Ronaldo has a genuine right to be upset, as Ozil set up in excess of 20 goals for him, and in fact the couple have worked together to produce more goals than any other strike duo since 2000 in La Liga.

Arsenal and Wenger have tried to bring other high profile players to the club, most notably Luis Suarez and Higuain, but were unsuccessful. But Wenger would have gone a long way in proving that he is not content with fourth place in the Premier League and is ready to take on the big teams like Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. Ozil is proven class and quality, the German player should be a perfect fit to a squad that is all about passing and creative football.

The Premier League is even more competitive that it ever was, with the stakes ever increasing. I hope that Ozil is just the start of the type of proven and talented players that Wenger will employ to bring the North London back to it’s glory days!

 

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Crystal Palace get their first Premier League win

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Crystal Palace got their first English Premier League win of the season against Sunderland who is now second from bottom with only one point from three games. Ian Holloway’s Palace were at home, in a ‘must win’ game after losing their first two Premier League games and they most certainly looked like a team determined to please their home supporters and instil hope that they can survive in the English Premier League. Online sports betting operator Bet365 have Palace odds on favourites to be relegated, priced at 4/11, but fans will be hoping that the bookmaker has got it wrong.

Crystal Palace went into an early lead in the ninth minute with a goal from Danny Gabbidon. But the visitors came back to the level the game after the half time break in the 64th minute  with a header from Steven Fletcher. Palace went back into the lead with a penalty by Dwight Gayle, after he was fouled by John O’Shea  in the area. Finally, Stuart O’Keefe made sure of the three points with a another goal from the edge of the penalty box.

It was definitely a much improved performance by the newcomers to the Premier League, as they played as a team and displayed some awesome counter attacking moves, that will surely bring goals this season. The early goal settled the home team and even when Sunderland equalised, Palace came back quickly and settled their nerves once again. Ian Holloway would have been very satisfied with his team’s performance and will be looking for more of the same when they go to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in their next Premier League fixture.

The win sees the team shoot up to 14th in the table and will give Ian Holloway and his team some ‘breathing space’ especially with Manchester United coming up. CrystalPalace will have to show that same work rate, excellent passing and counter attacking that we saw today, and build on that to ensure they put up a good show at Old Trafford. Bet365 have Manchester United 1/6 to win at home, with Crystal Palace 12/1 to provide an upset!

 

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Jose Mourinho at home in the English Premier League

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Out of all the new managerial appointments in the English Premier League this season, one of the most popular and influential has got to be Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho. The Premier League, and for that matter, Chelsea, have never really been the same when he decided to part ways with the club in September 2007. The ‘chosen one’ then went off to Italy  and got his second Champions League trophy at Inter Milan in 2010, and then joined Spain’s Real Madrid where he won the La Liga in 2012, nine points ahead of rivals Barcelona. Online betting operator bet365 have already made Chelsea joint favourites with Manchester City to win the EPL priced at 9/4, which reflects the ‘Mourinho Factor’ and pushes Manchester United into third spot at 11/4 to retain the title.

Jose has already admitted that his first game at Stamford Bridge against Hull City on Sunday will be an emotional return. The manager has already been quoted as saying he is back where he belongs and with him having ‘experiences in three other countries’, he has come to the conclusion that England is his ‘favourite country to work in’. Mourinho seems to have rediscovered his passion for the game, that was really coming apart in the last months in Spain. He is now talking about giving ‘everything for his club and the Premier League’.

Personally, like so many others in the football world, I believe Jose Mourinho is one of the best things to happen to the English Premier League. There are very few managers that have the charm, charisma and the ability to influence a game as much as he can, and this is the reason why Chelsea are joint favourites to win the title this season. Wayne Rooney would have probably made them all out favourites to take the title, but it seems as if this move is unlikely to happen.

The opening weekend of the Premier League is one of the most interesting for quite some time, with all the top teams in action, and everyone looking to see how they all perform when the dust settles. David Moyes is already moaning about the fixtures, so whoever manages to shine in the first week, should be able to build pressure on others and emphasize the ever increasing competitiveness of this league.

 

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Andy Murray crashes out of the Rogers Cup

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World number two Andy Murray crashes out of the Rogers Cup in the third round, as Latvian Ernests Gulbis beat the Wimbledon Champion in straight sets 6-4 6-3. It is the first time since May 2013 that Andy has lost a match, and it only took Gulbis, ranked 38 in the world, an hour and a half t0 deal with the Scotsman. Sports betting fans would have expected more from Andy, as he already won this competition twice before, and was the first tournament after his emotional Wimbledon title win so the player would have been confident and mentally settled. However, it was not to be, as the day, Gulbis was just too strong and took advantage of every opportunity that came his way.

Ernests Gulbis is one of the rising stars of the tennis circuit. The 24 year old player from Riga, has climbed 100 places through the rankings since the start of 2013 and has won at Delray Beach. No one would have expected Andy to go out in such dramatic fashion, but it only goes to show how competitive tennis has become. Even with Murray achieving more than 80% of his First Serve in the first set, it was still not enough to get on top of the game, as Gulbis managed to deal with it and took advantage Andy’s second serve. And as the match progressed the Latvian gained in confidence, as it became a more and more clear that he was destined to win on the day.

It does obviously asks the question about Murray and his ability to win consistently. As mentioned earlier, one would have thought coming from a title win at Wimbledon and his past success at the Rogers Cup, that Andy would have been able to achieve back to back wins, as solid preparation for his defence of the US Open in New York. So although, there is no doubt that Andy has the potential to achieve great things, the verdict is still out as to whether or not he can become of the great champions who have all managed to win consistently, year in year out.

 

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Jessica Ennis-Hill out of World Championships

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Jessica Ennis-Hill has decided to withdraw from the World Championships, after a relatively poor performance at the Anniversary Games, to fully recover from an Achilles injury. This injury has plagued the athlete all year, causing her to miss five events this year. The Anniversary Games was only her second competitive appearance since winning gold at London 2012, and it showed, as Jessica only managed fourth place in the 100m hurdles and finished in last place for the long jump. Jessica and her coach Toni Minichiello have taken the prudent decision in missing the games in Moscow in an effort to getting rid of the nagging injury once and for all, which in their estimation should take a maximum of four months.

Sports betting fans will be hoping that she will be back in business in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2014, and even though it will be a bitter pill to swallow in the sense of not being able to compete for such a long period of time, it is most definitely the right decision as the risk of causing irreparable damage is just to high. At this point in the Olympic heptathlon champion has to think about the next few years. Jessica already achieved gold and still has lot more good years left in her, so there is no rush and the athlete is better concentrating on getting completely rid of the Achilles injury.

The athlete has been quite lucky in her career not not suffer from any major issues since her multiple stress in her foot in 2008. So hopefully she will be able to overcome this latest injury and be back to her best. One can take solace in the fact that Jessica Innes-Hill is only one of a number of Olympic and World Champions who will not be involved in the World Championships in Moscow, which will held from the 10th to the 18th August.

 

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Mercedes Lewis Hamilton wins at the Hungarian GP

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Lewis Hamilton had an emotional win at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the first win for the season and the Mercedes team. The Englishman started in pole position and even though he had his doubts on whether he could win the race under the hot conditions and his ongoing struggle with Pirelli tyres. But these doubts all disappeared as he dominated the race from start to finish, only losing the lead when having to pit. Online sports betting operators like Bet365 had Lewis at 9/1 to win the race and would have been glad to see the odds on favourite Sebastian Vettel finish the race in third position, as Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen came in second.

It was the first time that everything went well for Lewis and his Mercedes team, with him starting in pole position, tyres coping well with the heat,  no system failures and sublime driving from the Mercedes driver. In contrast, the other drivers had issues and incidents to contend with in qualifying and during the actual race. Red Bull’s Mark Webber started off 10th on the grid, and was totally unimpressed with his team and car. Yet again, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean was in the middle of a few incidents that cost him and other drivers time and position during the race, which saw him awarded a drive through penalty and a 20 second time penalty to his race time. Red Bull’s Vettel suffered as he touched McLaren’s Jenson Button which resulted in Vettel’s damaging with front wing in Turn Two, and then he had problems with his Kers power boost system overheating.

Lewis did his part as well, as the crowds saw his flawless skill in overtaking to ensure his win. The Mercedes driver is comfortable at this track where he has now won four times out of seven starts. It was notably quite an emotional win for the driver for a number of reasons, it was his first win of the season and for Mercedes, it came as a shock considering he has started in pole position before only to see his position diminish as the race progressed and his tyres gave way, and finally it has been a difficult past few weeks in his personal life with the break up of his long time girlfriend, Nicole Scherzinger.

I am hoping this win will inspire even more from Lewis and fulfil his true potential whilst at the same time silencing his critics and winning some cash for his betting fans!

 

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New £30m Manchester United bid for Fabregas

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Manchester United have increased their offer to £30 million in an effort to acquire Barcelona’s midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The Red Devils had an initial offer of £25 million turned down by Barcelona, with both club and player stating they were both happy to remain in each other’s company for the foreseeable future. However, Manchester United are hoping the Catalan club will be tempted to take the cash and release the Spanish international. Old Trafford’s Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward is now focusing on this deal and any sports betting fan will know United usually get their player once the news go public.

Cesc Fabregas is a product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy and at the age of 16 was signed by North London club Arsenal. He went on to become The Gunners youngest ever player at the age of 16 years and 177 days when he played against Rotherham United in the League Cup in October 2003. The player also became a key part in Wenger’s team, and even became Arsenal captain in November 2008. The Spaniard enjoyed 8 good years at Arsenal and was always a crowd favourite, with 303 game under his belt and 57 goals.

The player returned to Barcelona, as expected, because everyone knew his first love and desire was to the Catalan club where he grew up and developed his skills as a boy. In 2011 he agreed a five year deal estimated to be around £25.4 million, and since then has played 96 games and been involved in winning the Copa del Rey in 2011/12 and La Liga in 2012/13. Although he has not featured as much as he would like, it was probably expected that Iniesta and Xavi would naturally be first choice in the mid-field, but Cesc would expect to be more involved as time goes on.

Manchester United are hoping that they can acquire the mid fielder to plug a gap that has been there for quite some time and is know getting desperate with Paul Scholes recent retirement. It maybe that Cesc can be tempted back to the English Premier League, as he has already stated he will be ahppy with whatever decision is taken by his current employer and it will give him a chance to be reunited with his ex Arsenal chum, Robin van Persie!

 

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