Posts Tagged ‘Champions League’

Premier League on Boxing Day

We all appreciate that football players, especially in the Premier League, should have a deserved rest and family time for the festive season. Top clubs who are still involved in the Champions League and Europa League will certainly find it even more demanding. It is quite common for clubs like Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United to be playing a competitive match every three days, which is very demanding especially when faced with Away games.

However, to be without football for entire week has its downsides. One would imagine that this would be the perfect time to catch up  on all the unplayed podcasts, you tube videos, transfer news and football gossip; but this cannot quench the thirst for competitive play and the drama of the Premier League.

Anyways, all that we can do right now is to look forward to action on Boxing Day Monday, and as a result, here is a list of games to be played:

Watford vs Crystal Palace – 12:30

Arsenal vs West Brom – 15:00

Burnley vs Middlesbrough – 15:00

Chelsea vs Bournemouth – 15:00

Leicester vs Everton – 15:00

Manchester United vs Sunderland – 15:00

Swansea vs West Ham – 15:00

Hull vs Manchester City – 17:15

 

It goes without saying that we all wish Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney, Jose Mourinho and all the Premier League, a lovely Christmas. Plus, all the very best wishes on a successful recovery to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw.

 

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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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Liverpool Brendan Rodgers wants Luis Suarez to stay

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Luis Suarez has expressed his desire to leave Liverpool and be involved in Champions League football, according to his agent Pere Guardiola. Pere met with Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre, where it was made clear that the 26 year old Uruguayan striker wanted to leave the club to play Champions League football. There has been clubs interested in the striker, and although online betting will be seeing a lot of money for Luis not to be at Liverpool at the start of the English Premier League season, the saving grace is that there has been no formal transfer request submitted by the player.

Brendan and the Liverpool board are hoping that the striker will remain at the club and see out his remaining three years on his contract. The club has been busy in the transfer market during the summer with four signings, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure. One would suspect these signings would help assure Suarez that Liverpool are serious about finishing in the top four next season, but it may not just be about his burning ambition to win medals and play Champions League football.

We have all witnessed Suarez in action with regards to his behaviour on the pitch. First it was his tenancy to dive, then racial slurs between him and Manchester United’s Patrice Evra which left the Luis witha hefty ban, finally to add to his record he then bit into Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic which resulted in yet another lengthy ban for the Uruguayan. Surprisingly, Luis has suffered from a lot of criticism from the press and football world and so I believe this would weigh heavily in his decision to leave the club and start afresh somewhere else, preferably outside of English football.

Personally, Liverpool and their fans may feel the need to keep this player, as there is no doubt of his talent and goal scoring prowess. But it maybe that leaving the club is the best thing for the striker, in light of everything that has gone on during his stay at Liverpool. Currently, Bet365 have Liverpool at joint fifth priced 2/1 to Finish in the Top 4, but I would fancy Tottenham chances more than Brendan Rodgers squad.

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Bayern Munich Champions of Europe

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Bayern Munich scored a 89th minute winner to finally become the Champions of Europe. It is the third Champions League final the club has been involved in the last three years, with the biggest disappointment being losing at home against Chelsea last year. This time, the Champions League was an all German final, with the two best teams in the tournament looking to win the title. Borussia Dortmund was always the second favourite against the Bundesliga title holders, but anyone following Dortmund would know that their expectations were high going into the finals. In the end, the online betting favourites showed their experience and determination to make it the fifth time they win the Champions League title.

The first half saw Borussia Dortmund settle down quickly and tested Neuer with a long range shot early on in the game. Dortmund would see themselves as unlucky as they failed to take advantage of chances in front of goal. The second half saw Bayern slowly get back into the game and Mandzukic finally had a chance for a tap in from a left footed cross from Arjen Robben. The lead only lasted for seven minutes, as Dortmund was awarded a penalty which Gundogan took and scored.

The game seemed to heading for extra time, but Arjen Robben made a darting run in the 89th minute to pick up a Ribery flick in the box, which the Dutchman was able to toe poke past Weidenfeller. The goal will make some amends from Robben’s missed penalty against Chelsea last year’s Champions League Final at home in the Allianz Arena.

The game lived up to everyone expectations, as both teams showed why German football is coming back in a big way. What was even more impressive was the huge involvement of young German players in both teams. It does seem to suggest that Germany in the World Cup next year will be a smart bet!

 

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Sneijder betting on a January move

The sniper, better known as Wesley Sneijder has fallen out of favour with his club Inter Milan. The player was acquired by the club on a five year contract, worth €6 million per season with a yearly bonus of €1 million. But a series of injuries and a resulting lack of form he has failed to play a game since the 25th September 2012. The player has also suffered indirectly from UEFA’s rulings on financial fair play, which means that clubs need to cut extravagant wage bills in order make sure of their eligibility to participate in the Champions League.

This resulted in Inter Milan offering to revise the terms of the player’s contract which would mean Wesley needed to accept a substantial wage cut and slashing his annual bonus to €500,000. The midfielder refusal to accept these revised terms resulted in him sitting on the bench and it has been confirmed that the club will not be using the player until this issue has been resolved.

Normally, this would not be a problem, as the 28 year old is in the prime of his career, winning the treble with Inter Milan in 2010 and being named the second best player in the World Cup 2010. His talent has never been in doubt, with his adept passing skills and impressive goal scoring record, however, the major stumbling block will be his huge wage bill and Inter Milan’s €12 million transfer fee demands. Who would have ever thought this would happen to a player of his standing and form, as any Inter Milan fan would have been betting all their cash and even free betting bonuses that he would have been winning more trophies for the club and Jose Mourinho.

However, it would seem the January 2013 transfer window will ensure the Dutchman can make a move and get his football career back on track. Although Inter are being difficult, as a business the club cannot carry on paying Wesley’s wages just to have the midfielder sitting on the bench. Furthermore, the club is at risk of seeing the player walk on a free transfer at the end of the season, as per FIFA’s rules which state an established player has the right to end their contract if he does not play at least 10% of games in any one season.

It is no secret that Wesley does fancy coming to the English Premier League. Manchester United (as well as other clubs in the EPL) have always been interested in the player. In fact, one of the best recommendations came from Cantona who was quoted as saying that Sneijder reminded him of himself. Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he is not actively looking to acquire any players during the transfer window, but even him must be tempted to make a play for the talented footballer!

 

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