category: England
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daniel-sturridge-liverpool

The opening exchanges in the English Premier league produced some fairly predictable results along with a familiar, if extremely early league table. The likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool were all guided to victory by their main strikers and there are a number of forwards in the division who have made an early claim on the Golden Boot trophy as the Premiership’s leading goal scorer.

Attempting to fill a void

In the absence of his former club mate Luis Suarez, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge is the new favourite with Betfair to win the award at the end of 2014-15 and the England international opened his account with the winner over Southampton.

Suarez grabbed all the headlines, both good and bad, last season but his admittedly phenomenal record of 31 goals in 37 league games masks the fact that his strike partner managed a more than respectable 21 in 29.

With Rickie Lambert left on the bench for the opener, Sturridge is the lone centre forward in Brendan Rodgers’ new formation and even at this early stage he could be the man to beat.

City stroll

Defending champions Manchester City enjoyed a relatively comfortable away win at Newcastle with Sergio Aguero sealing the victory in second half injury time. At one stage in the previous campaign, the Argentinian was ahead of Suarez in the race for the trophy until injury derailed his domestic season.

Aguero may not be 100% fit as yet but he will remain a contender for the Golden Boot and at least he has a head start over team mate Alvaro Negredo who is yet to return after suffering a broken foot in pre-season.

The new boys

In 2013-14, Jose Mourinho was quick to rule out his team’s chances of landing the title, claiming that his Chelsea side was without a striker. Since then, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o have gone with Diego Costa and Didier Drogba coming in and their side already look to be a more potent force.

Spanish international Costa scored the first goal in a 3-1 win over Burnley and after netting 36 times in 52 games for Atletico Madrid last season, the 25 year old must be a leading contender for English football’s top goal scorer award. Meanwhile, Drogba was only given seven minutes as a second half substitute while Fernando Torres – a very remote candidate – was left on the bench.

Lagging behind

Robin Van Persie’s absence from the Manchester United team that lost to Swansea may have an effect on his chances of taking an accolade that he won for two consecutive seasons prior to Suarez’s triumph in the previous campaign.

The Dutchman was in superb form in the 2014 World Cup but he simply needs to get onto the pitch to stand a chance here.

While Van Persie sat out United’s opener, Wayne Rooney opened his own account and if the new club captain is pushed further forward under Louis van Gaal, he can’t be ruled out.

Elsewhere, there has been some interest in new Arsenal signing Alexis Sanchez after the Chilean scored 19 goals in 34 league matches for Barcelona last season. Sanchez failed to find the net in a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace but both he and Olivier Giroud are clear contenders for Arsenal in this campaign.

Outside of these five clubs, you may have to take a leap of faith to find another suitable candidate. Emmanuel Adebayor at Spurs and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku would both argue that they have a chance but the main contenders for the Golden Boot seem to have already found the net in their opening round of league games.

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category: England
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EPL

With the return of the Premier League this weekend, all bets are open on who will take home the 2014-2015 title. Chelsea are favourites to claim the league, but contenders are closely behind in bookies’ odds, suggesting another season full of drama and excitement in the English top flight.

The following table offers a recap of this season’s favourites and their odds to win the title.

Team Odds to win
Chelsea 15/8
Manchester City 9/4
Manchester United 9/2
Arsenal 6/1
Liverpool 10/1

 

Bet365 supplies these odds and the  bonus code available for new membership promotions in all of 2014.

Chelsea, for Mourinho’s second year back at Stamford Bridge, are looking like strong candidates for a league title. The squad was tailored to fit the Special One’s demands and is also the favourite English club in the odds to win the Champions League, with a promising 9/1 to win the completion outright.

Manchester City, the title holders, are still in the bookmakers’ good books. Their rivals, Manchester United, after a disappointing last season failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League are hoping to rebuild this year with the arrival of Luis Van Gaal on the bench at Old Trafford. Moreover the Red Devils will not have the Champions League draining the team’s energies as they set to fight to regain their rank. However, despite defeating Liverpool, AS Roma, and Champion’s League title holders Real Madrid the team very much still looks like a work in progress.

Arsenal are looking particularly strong. Their outstanding win in the Community Shield, the coming of age of a young generation of promising players and the arrival of top class recruits like Alexis Sanchez – formerly of FC Barcelona and one of the artisans of Chile’s successes in the World Cup in Brazil – will no doubt aim to live up to the ambitions displayed by the club in the transfer period.

Liverpool, very close seconds in last year’s race, are looking a bit behind. Suarez’s departure has yet to be compensated and Gerard’s poor performance in the Brazil both indicate that the Reds might not have the strength and the bench to repeat last season’s performance.

Although the odds for the season are in no way representative of the reality of a season, which has yet to commence, the trends represent the expectations at this early stage but will require confirmation on the pitch. One thing is clear however, the Barclays Premier League will once again prove one of the hardest leagues to predict with no less than five strong candidates for the final victory.

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With just three weeks until the kick off of the Premier League season, the league’s biggest title contenders are warming up with some essential charity matches. This year’s transfer season has seen some huge changes, from the sale of Luis Suárez to Barcelona to the complete revamp of Southampton, but a few preliminary matches will ensure that the teams can gel together to ensure a successful season.

One match that’s got bookmakers talking is the forthcoming Community Shield, taking place on 10th August, which will see Manchester City take on Arsenal. The event, formerly known as the Charity Shield, has been taking place since 1908 and places the winners of the FA Cup (Arsenal) against the winners of the Premier League (Manchester City.)

This year will be particularly interesting, if the current odds are anything to go by. With odds of 9/4, Arsenal are an amazing value bet, particularly given the recent signing of Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez. Though Wenger had been cautious of making any drastic moves too early on in the transfer window, he’s now made two essential purchases, Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez, that will surely serve him well in the Premier League and indeed in the forthcoming charity match.

Punters who want to have a flutter on Arsenal in the Premier League need only look at Sanchez’s performance in the World Cup for proof of how much he can help the team. After scoring against Australia and former favourites Brazil, the 25-year-old has shown amazing potential, and this preview match could be a sign of things to come for the Premier League title race.

Meanwhile, Manchester City, who have taken the Community Shield title recently in 2012, should use this opportunity to stretch the legs of their new defence and goalkeeper. While some may argue that manager Manuel Pellegrini is fixing a formula that isn’t broken, he could be viewed as a cautious manager who’s taken care to have a back up where it counts. With odds of 5/4, The Blues are hot favourites to win this year’s event, and they have recent titles on their side. With a 2012 Community Shield win and a Premier League win, they’re highly preferable against a team who, prior to the last FA Cup, hadn’t won a title for nine years.

It could be argued however that the disparity in the odds is somewhat misleading: while experience tells us that Manchester City should win, a charity match is hardly a pairing that will see either team taking any risks. Just six days prior to the start of the Premier League season, both teams could see their managers starting their second team in a bid to keep peak fitness for the league.

For Arsenal however, a title win would be welcomed after their former nine-year drought, so we could just see the bookies proved wrong.

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category: England
tags: ,

It seems a lifetime ago that Liverpool were edging closer and closer to beating all odds and winning the Premier League. The Reds were pipped at the post by Manchester City’s 86 points over their 84, despite showing amazing promise throughout the season.

This time round, Liverpool fans were left feeling optimistic for the 2014/15 season: that is, until Luis Suarez showed his true colours. During a crucial match against France, the Uruguay forward earned himself a nine match ban by biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The result was catastrophic. The conditions of Suarez’s ban meant that he would not be able to play until 27th October for Liverpool during the Capital One Cup. Liverpool soon saw their odds of winning the Premier League slashed, and that was before Barcelona even got involved.

Today, Suarez has now accepted a £75 million offer to transfer to Barcelona, despite the match ban controversy. The conditions of his transfer mean that he will not be inaugurated officially like any other player – under the terms, he will not be allowed to set foot on a pitch to confirm his signing.

But losing Suarez might not be the only chink in Liverpool’s armour. Hot contenders Chelsea have made some very expensive purchases in preparation for the upcoming season, including the signing of Atlético Madrid’s Diego Costa, setting manager Jose Mourinho back a cool £32 million.

Cesc Fabregas, meanwhile, has taken a £30 million fee to transfer from Barcelona to Chelsea. After Barcelona’s less than impressive last season, the move could be beneficial for both Chelsea and Fabregas’ pride.

With the former Arsenal midfielder in mind, 2014/15 could also be the year for the Gunners, who could show themselves to be a further threat to Liverpool. Manager Arsene Wenger, who is notorious for not spending money until the last minute, has recently signed Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez. The 25-year-old will surely prosper under the guidance of Wenger, who has a reputation for bringing out the best in young talent.

If Liverpool want to make sure they don’t repeat last season, they would do well to focus on the transfers they’re making now. Rumour has it that Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony, Lille’s Salmon Kamou and Atlético Madrid’s Arda Turan could all be making the switch to the Reds, while S. L. Benfica’s Lazar Markovic has just signed for the team.

The transfer window remains open, and with so much going on, the title could be in anybody’s hands this season.

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category: World Cup 2014
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FANTASYAfter the success of its Fantasy Pre-World Cup game, FanXT has launched its Fantasy World Cup (http://fantasyworldcup.fanxt.com) game to offer World Cup fans a once-in-4-years chance to build a virtual World Cup team based on real-life World Cup players such as Lionel Messi (Argentina), Neymar (Brazil), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Wayne Rooney (England). These fantasy football managers earn points based on the performances of these players that play in FIFA World Cup 2014 matches. As the world would watch in awe the action and drama behind the FIFA World Cup, football fans could take on the challenge to earn the coveted title of Legendary Fantasy World Cup Manager, something many failed to do in the previous Fantasy World Cup 2010. The game offers 12 statistics for users to score fantasy points such as Goals, Shots On Goals, Assists to score valuable points, ability to assign a captain, analyse players’ performance based on detailed graph analysis, choose their team formation (4-3-3, 4-4-2 or 5-3-2) as well as create private or mini leagues for users to compete among their friends. The socially savvy can also invite friends to join via Facebook and earn extra $0.5 million virtual budget for each friend who joined. Fantasy managers start with the rank of Rookie Manager but as they advance in the game, they could eventually earn the Legendary Manager title, something many failed to do in the previous Fantasy World Cup 2010. A World Cup Predictor game is included in the website, which challenges users to predict the outcome (including the score) of all 64 matches and predict who will lift the World Cup trophy this year. For those early bird users that joined the pre-World Cup fantasy soccer game prior to this one, each of the fantasy manager shall have their fantasy points earned to be converted to extra virtual budget in this final World Cup game. It pays to be early. Fantasy sports are enjoyed by over 83 million people globally and according to Alexa statistics, fantasy sites are 3 times more engaging than popular sites like Yahoo, CNN, ESPN and even the official FIFA World Cup site itself. This highly engaging fantasy football game for World Cup is available in Spanish (http://fantasyworldcup.fanxt.com/es), Chinese (http://fantasyworldcup.fanxt.com/cn), Indonesian (http://fantasyworldcup.fanxt.com/id) and Portuguese (http://fantasyworldcup.fanxt.com/pt) languages and playable on these platforms below. Website: http://fantasyworldcup.fanxt.com Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/fantasyworldcup iPhone: http://itunes.apple.com/app/fantasy-world-soccer/id859769859?mt=8 Android: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jmsb.fantasyworldcup   About FanXT [www.fanxt.com] [483, Green Lanes, London, N13 4BS UNITED KINGDOM] FanXT aims to be fantasy sport and digital media provider for sport leagues across the world, by managing the internet and mobile rights of the leagues via the provisioning of official websites, fantasy sport game, mobile apps, Facebook apps and even Smart TV apps. We are supported by the U.S State Department via the GIST Initiative programme. We are the Official Fantasy Football Provider for Finland’s Veikkausliiga, Hong Kong First Division Football League, India’s I-League, Philippines’ United Football League, and Singapore S.League   For any information and enquiries, please e-mail us at info@fanxt.com or visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FanXT

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category: World Cup 2014
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As excitement builds ahead of this summer’s hotly anticipated football tournament, attention has turned to the ball that will take centre stage at kick off. Tested for over two years by some of the biggest stars in the footballing world, pundits are calling it the most tested ball yet. But one legend has still to give it his seal of approval…

Following recent research* commissioned by Captain Morgan, which revealed that a third of England fans are concerned that the ball may hamper England’s chances in the tournament this year, the Captain who is famous for his mischief making, has turned his spy glass to the ball and decided to really put it through its paces.

The Captain has commissioned a cannon capable of firing an object at speeds of up to 74 miles per hour, to determine once and for all whether the ball has what it takes to deliver a legendary tournament this summer.

Captain Morgan, said: “This year’s ball has plenty of style but does it have any substance? I gathered together my crew of buccaneers and headed to the beach to discover for myself whether it deserves true legendary status as the world’s most tested football.

“We tested its speed, swerve and performance vs an old ball, as well as its controllability and of course its accuracy and I’m very pleased to announce it passed all with flying colours and has received my official seal of approval.

“I know the England team haven’t had chance to practice with the ball ahead of the tournament in Brazil but fans can rest assured that the ball is definitely up to scratch and has the makings of a true legend.”

You can watch the Captain put the ball through its paces at www.facebook.com/captainmorgan or here

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category: World Cup 2014
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The 2014 FIFA World Cup will get underway this June in Brazil and not only will it be the biggest soccer event of the year it’ll be the biggest betting event of the year.  The numbers are staggering—it’s hard to get an accurate figure on how much money will be bet on the World Cup consider that UK bookmakers are expecting to take as much £3 billion in action.  That’s just the United Kingdom meaning that the overall money bet on the World Cup is downright mind boggling.

For the intelligent bettor it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of World Cup betting action will be from casual and recreational players.  This type of player has a tendency to bet with their heart, backing their country’s team or else jump on a bandwagon and bet one of the top favorites.  Bookmakers are aware of this—in addition to moving the prices based on betting action they’ll frequently ‘shade’ lines involving teams they know will receive a lot of wagering action.  The sharp player, meanwhile, looks for ‘value’ on teams that might not be as popular with the general public.

So which teams are ‘overvalued’?  First of all, a disclaimer:  just because a team is ‘overvalued’ doesn’t mean they can’t win.  It’s also not a slight on the team itself but rather their market valuation.  ‘Value’ is a very nebulous concept but its essential to be mindful of it if you’re going to make money betting over the longterm.  The most obvious ‘overvalued’ team is the host country of Brazil.  Brazil is a very good team to be sure but they have defensive issues, questions about their midfield depth and a recent history of very erratic play.  These questions are sufficient in our view that they’re a ‘false favorite’ and are overvalued at +300.

Spain is the defending World Cup Champion but the marketplace appears to be making a big deal about their loss to Brazil in the Confederations Cup.  This is a mistake in our view—despite the fact that Brazil won that matchup 3-0 its unwise to conclude that Spain is ‘down’ from their 2010 team.  Some have expressed concern that they may be ‘over the hill’ but it’s hard to pass up a proven commodity like Spain who are also the #1 ranked national team in the world at the moment.  They look like a nice value at +685.  Germany is also attractive at +640—some concern in both cases about European teams having historically struggled in World Cup play in South America.  Then again, the conventional wisdom that European teams can’t win in South America could be giving us value.

Italy is also worth at least a speculative play at +2850.  The rap on Italy is that they’ve been insanely erratic in World Cup play—they won the tournament in 2006 and then didn’t win a game in 2010—but they’ve got a deep, talented and experienced team.  Most of their roster is from AC Milan and Juventus in Italy’s Serie A league meaning there will be good cohesion.  At such a high price they’re worth a shot.

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Football has long remained a global sport which has the unique power of uniting millions of people from across the world in their passion for the beautiful game. Matches are televised on a worldwide scale through multi-million pound broadcasting deals which allow live football to be beamed across every continent. Football’s appeal is predominately based upon the level of drama, tension and excitement that created on the pitch which keeps fans on the edge of their seat.

Although domestic league competition provides each country with their own unique identity and passionate supporters, major European competitions and international tournaments provide the greatest attraction for football fans. The UEFA Champions League and World Cup are archetypal examples of tournaments which attract the highest viewing figures in world sport thanks to the high calibre of football on show from the very best players. Such prestigious tournaments were made possible through the efforts of governing bodies to create events that would shape the future of football, in addition to the growing income generated through sponsorship deals.

 

Business in the sport

Football’s ever-increasing rise to prominence has culminated in the growing rate of sponsorship deals through companies who realise the vast business potential within the sport. A recently agreed deal between Coral and Chelsea illustrates a trend within football which is quickly developing into a multi-billion pound industry where business is equally as important as the game itself. Money has become an integral factor in numerous facets of the game, with football clubs searching for new methods of income to remain stable and finance improvements on and off the pitch to become more established. Sponsorship deals reflect an interdependent relationship between external companies and football clubs; companies need football clubs to promote their brand on a global scale through merchandise, football shirts and advertising boards, while football clubs need companies to generate sufficient income for economic solidity and potential growth. Football clubs also benefit from the wealth of customers who are brand loyal to a particular company, as special promotions and marketing strategies can help to create a global fanbase for a club to thrive upon.

 

Manchester United

Despite their current on-the-field struggles, Manchester United remain one of the wealthiest clubs in world football thanks to multi-million income generated through global investments and sponsorship deals. Not only are Manchester United amongst an elite group of clubs who have their training and playing kit designed and manufactured by Nike, but the club’s brand continuously draws multi-million pound deals with companies who wish to be associated with a prestigious football team. Following on from their deal to become the global shirt sponsor and principle partner of Manchester United in 2010, multinational corporation AON agreed an eight year deal worth £160 million to put their name on the club’s training ground. The deal came into action in July 2013 as the infamous Carrington became the AON Training Complex, with every player and coaching staff wearing training kit that includes the AON logo. Part of the deal also includes AON sponsoring annual summer tours and friendly matches to increase brand awareness as a commercial business, and promote the company’s global portfolio to prospective clients. The lucrative nature of the deal illustrates the considerable volume of money coming into football, and how sponsorship is vital to generating finances to be put towards operating costs and transfers.

 

Chelsea

Although a large percentage of Chelsea’s considerable wealth is based upon the multi-billion investment from Russian owner Roman Abramovich, income is also generated through carefully chosen entries into numerous marketing sectors to create sponsors and business partners. The deal agreed between Chelsea and corporate bookmaker Coral in January 2014 signals a niche opening in the market for football clubs to utilise the gambling industry to grow their brand and receive a percentage of all profits. Coral have become Chelsea’s European online betting partner in a two-and-a-half year deal which sees Chelsea fans across the world providing a professional betting service through Coral’s online and mobile betting platforms. While Coral will not feature in any form of club merchandise, Chelsea fans will continuously benefit from the partnership through exclusive offers, which has already included a free 2013/2014 home shirt for those who place a £25 bet after registering an account with Coral throughout the whole of March.

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categories: France, World Cup 2014
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The Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby recently revealed he is close to making a return from the knee injury he got in March 2013 and maybe even play in the World Cup 2014.

Since the injury he hasn’t been able to play but have a strong determination to get back in his former strength and shape. People are already placing bets on the World Cup and taking the opportunity to play with GoWild Casino promo code.

Diaby says he is very close to his rehabilitation and keeping things in perspective. He is very impatient but has his goal clear to him, to be back strong and in perfect ease in his body.

“I work hard without asking questions. I work hard because I know in the end I will play again. I am still a high level footballer in my mind, otherwise I would have given up. But I never think to give it up.”

His dedication and conviction to get well and be able to play again is impressive and he definitely has the right mindset to get back on the field, he aims to be back in March 2014.

“My priorities? Feeling fine and play again before the end of the season. I don’t think I will be scared to play. I trust my body. Nowadays I feel strong, but I know coming back to London I will also have some changes. I am watching closely my diet and recovering periods.” Diaby tells.

Diaby has a place in the French national team, and is hoping to be ready to play in the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

The 27-year old was born in the 10th arrondissement of Paris and been playing for Red Star Paris, Auxerre and now Arsenal. Unfortunately he been struggling with numerous injuries the past years, but he has not giving up on become fully recovered and pursue his career.

 

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category: Site Info
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Footballers, eh! They seem to have it all: palatial homes, supermodel girlfriends and more wonga than you can shake a stick at. However, that sort of success doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes years of commitment and a rigorous training schedule to get them to the top of their game.

But once a player makes it big, what do they do with all that dosh? Well, blowing a huge wad on a motor is one way to go! And these days, no self-respecting footie star would be seen in anything costing less than £100k. Autoweb’s fun infographic shows their top 10 footballers’ cars. Enjoy!

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