World Cup: Post 1 (No love for Russia)

Sting sang I hope the Russians love their children too back in 1985 and I’m sure they do but we’re not as keen on their team.

They are the worst team in the tournament according to FIFA rankings and there is definitely a massive advantage of being at home but also there is an increase in pressure. There is no escaping it and last time round Brazil were the home nation and got spanked 7-1 by Germany.

Russia kick off against Saudi Arabia today and they really need a win. Saudi Arabia are currently about 10.5 to win this match but we suspect that price will drop slightly today because it seems to give an enormous edge to home advantage when these teams are ranked equally by FIFA. Once Salah comes back then Egypt will be a real force and Uruguay with Cavani and Suarez leading the line are not easy opponents. Even if they beat Saudi Arabia they could easily lose to Uruguay and end up playing Egypt in a winner takes all game to finish the group.

We’re going to back them not to qualify at around 3.0 because that price should not move much if they beat Saudi Arabia but if they don’t get a win they are in trouble and we expect a drift and the chance to lock in some profit.

 

World Cup: Post 2 (Who’s tight)

We’ve all got a mate who’s tight but which teams are tight at the back and not likely to concede goals? In European qualifying England and Spain were the meanest at the back only letting in 3 goals in 10 matches. There were several teams that let in 4 goals which were Portugal, Germany and Croatia.

This gets you looking at Group B because Portugal and Spain are in that group together but then it gets even tighter

Spain conceded 3 goals in 10 qualifying matches

Portugal conceded 4 goals in 10 qualifying matches

Morocco conceded 0 goals in 6 qualifying matches

Iran conceded 2 goals in 10 qualifying matches

So over 36 matches these teams let in a total of 9 goals. You have the lowest values in Europe, African and Asian qualifying all in the same group. Morocco had three 0-0 draws in their 6 qualifying matches and look like they are going to be pretty dour. We don’t know about their style of football but the results don’t look great. This could be a group for upsets with a couple of 1-0 wins.

Portugal’s qualification was pretty easy and 32 goals in a group with the Faroes, Latvia and Andorra isn’t that great and they also blew up in the 2014 tournament and failed to get out of the group. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see that happen again and with Spain’s managerial problems one of the big guns could not make it.

We’ll be looking to back both Morocco and Iran to qualify to small stakes.

World Cup: Post 1 (Who concedes)

The World Cup has expanded to 32 teams to doesn’t that mean we should find some poorer teams. Who could be the ones to let in a lot of goals and they could well help with top goalscorer betting. Last time round in the group stages Cameroon and Australia let in 9 goals and Honduras shipped 8.

It could well be a case of deja-vu as Australia let in 11 goals in their 10 qualification matches and again look to be pretty weak and needed the play-off to make it to the finals.

South Korea  and Saudi Arabia both let in 10 goals in their 10 AFC matches so could be a bit weak as well. It’s tricky to draw any conclusions from Africa as teams only play 6 matches but Nigeria let in more (6) than any of the other teams that qualified. In CONCACAF Mexico smashed the group and Panama were the ones who squeeked through, however, the did not score many or concede many so might not let in lots of goals.

In CONMEBOL Peru look the weakest team and would have finished 8th in qualifying if Bolivia hadn’t fielded an ineligible player and turning a 0-2 loss into a 3-0 win.

In Europa Poland topped their group but let in 14 goals during qualifying which is 5 more than anyone else.

Of these teams mentioned we can see that 2 of them, Australia and Peru, are in Group C so France could well be a team that will score some goals.  South Korea are in with Germany and Poland are in Group H which looks wide open.

The World Cup is here …… but where’s the data

The World Cup is just a few days away and we’re really looking forward to it. Loads of matches each day to get involved in and excitement all over the world.

We’ve had quite a few messages lately asking us where the data is. Last time round we prepared some data for the World Cup but it’s really hard to do and FIFA could not even vouch for the accuracy of the data so this time round we have not added any data to the site. We would have preferred to do so but instead we can take this time to get everything ready for next season in terms of data as that comes round quickly as soon as the World Cup is over.

We’ll add in a few WC2018 specific posts over the coming days as we have some ideas on what we will be betting on.

The 5 Best Squads Ever to Play in the Premier League

There can be no denying Manchester City were the deserved winners of the 2017/18 Premier League title.  Not only did they win the league, they did it in style, playing some fantastic football and ending the season on 100 points.

Pep Guardiola’s team finished with 106 goals to their name, 19 points ahead of 2nd placed Manchester United and with 22 more points than Liverpool, who have been praised this season for their excellent attacking play.  Not only that, Manchester City conceded fewer goals than any other team in the Premier League, finishing with a plus 79 goal difference.

Therefore, it is little wonder many fans of football, including the contributors of this recent article on the Betway blog, have lauded the 2017/18 Manchester City team as being up there with the best we have seen since the league was formed in 1992.

Statistically speaking, the newly crowned Premier League champions certainly seem to be the best ever to play in the league.  They won more points, scored more goals, had the best goal difference, won by the greatest margin and picked up the most wins of any title winning team to date.

Yes, this was a manager and group of players put together at huge cost but throwing money at a team does not guarantee success and the way Manchester City have played this season has been superb.

 

 

However, they have lost games, including a defeat at Anfield against Liverpool and at home to local rivals Manchester United.  This is perhaps their one main failing of the season and why the Arsenal team of 2003/04 is regarded by many as being the best to every play in the Premier League.

That was the only time since the turn of the 19th century a team has gone the whole season without tasting defeat.  The defence must take huge credit as this is where many long undefeated runs are based but Arsenal were an incredible attacking force, with Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp forging a great partnership up-front.  Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg also had major roles to play from wide midfield and Sol Campbell was the key man at the back.

To go a full Premier League season unbeaten, along with other commitments in the domestic cups and Europe, is a phenomenal achievement and one we may not see again for a very long time.

When assessing Manchester City’s point haul for this season, one cannot help but look back at the Chelsea squad of 2004/05.  This was Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge and the defensive quality of the team was astounding as they went on to set the record for the highest points total of 95 prior to the 100 achieved by Manchester City this season.

Claude Makelele was the fulcrum of this team and allowed the forwards to break with freedom while providing cover to the defence when necessary. Chelsea conceded only 15 goals in winning the title that season, keeping 25 clean sheets in the process.  For those who enjoy the defensive side of the game, this Chelsea team was a masterclass.

When discussing the 5 best squads to every play in the Premier League, it is impossible to ignore Manchester United.  The Red Devils tasted great success under Sir Alex Ferguson and two squads in particular come to mind, starting with the 2007/08 team.

This is a team who had a bit of everything, a top goalkeeper in Edwin van der Sar, the central defensive partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic plus Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez further forward.

Ferguson came into his own with his tactical brilliance throughout the season and while Manchester United only finished 2 points clear of Chelsea, they went on to lift the Champions League.

Finally, we come to the 1998/99 Manchester United squad who swept all before them at home and abroad.  They finished above Arsenal to win the Premier League title on the final day of the season, coming from a goal behind to defeat Tottenham 2-1 on the final day of the campaign.  A 2-1 win over Newcastle United in the FA Cup followed before the dramatic injury time victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.

It was the first time in history an English team had completed the treble and with the level of competition so high in the Premier League and Champions League now, we may never see the likes of it again.

Chelsea fans may feel they have another squad who should be included in the list and Leicester City produced the biggest upset we have seen in years to win the title in 2016/16.  However, the 5 squads mentioned above must be considered the best ever to play in the Premier League.