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LATEST POSTS

LATEST POSTS

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Arsenal

The signings of Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers seem to have strengthened a backline that was in need of numbers. However, question marks remain over the left-back area and whether Kieran Gibbs can stay fit, while Nacho Monreal has so far failed to convince he's capable of filling in when required. 

 

In the midfield and up front, the Arsenal squad is arguably stronger than last season with the signing of £30m Alexis Sanchez providing the star quality that Arsenal fans crave. Costa Rican World Cup star Joel Campbell has returned and if he can continue his World Cup form then Arsenal have struck gold. However, there is a doubt over whether Yaya Sanogo provides adequate back up should anything happen to Olivier Giroud.

 

Keeping Aaron Ramsay fit would be a step in the right direction as he has the potential to be Arsenal’s star man for years to come. Jack Wilshere also needs to stay fit in order to fulfil his undoubted quality. Another centre-back would be a welcome addition to the Arsenal squad but another position that Arsenal have also strengthened is the goalkeeper department where Colombian David Ospina should provide significant competition to Szczęsny.

Arsenal to win the Premier League outright odds.

 

Key Signing(s):

Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona, £30m), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle, £12m)

Key Departures:

Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona, £15m)

 

 

Aston Villa

Villa have not been as active in the transfer market as they should have been this summer while the on-going sale of the club by current owner Randy Lerner has been nothing short of a complete disaster for both parties. The signings of Philippe Senderos, Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson and Aly Cissokho (two on free transfers) have done little to impress the Villa faithful.

 

The appointment of Roy Keane as assistant manager should provide some much needed experience and winning mentality to a young squad while doing little to cover Paul Lambert’s obvious tactical and strategical failings. He may have to become a marvel in the loan transfer market if he’s to provide much needed strength and in-depth.

 

While bringing players back in from the cold such as N’Zogbia and Darren Bent, Lambert has a tough job this season and it remains to be seen if he can stop a slide that has been carrying on for around four seasons.

 

Key Signing(s):

Securing Ron Vlaar and Brad Guzan to new long-term contracts would go a long way to helping Villa’s cause this season. Getting Christian Benteke back would provide a huge lift but as he’s not due back till November, Lambert must provide Bent with a much-needed injection of confidence to provide the goals Villa desperately require.

 

If Joe Cole can remain fit for any length of time then he could provide a certain creative element that the Villa squad lacks. However, his injury record is less than impressive.

 

Key Departures: 

Marc Albrighton (free, Leicester City)

 

 

Burnley

Pre-season couldn’t have gone any better for Burnley and their likeable manager Sean Dyche. In Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, they have two strikers who have proved themselves capable of scoring goals while they have also strengthened their striking options in the form of Marvin Sordell from Bolton and Lukas Jutkiewicz from Middlesbrough.

 

However, there is a question in quality of replacements. While signing Matthew Taylor and Steven Reid from West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion respectively provide experience and much needed Premier League know-how, their ability to drag the squad to a level where they’re in a position to consolidate their place in the Premier League remains to be seen.

 

Dyche is looking for more players and before the transfer window closes on September 1st, there should be more arrivals at Turf Moor but will they be the right ones?

 

Key Signing(s):

Steven Reid (free, West Bromwich Albion), Lukas Jutkiewicz (undisclosed, Middlesbrough), Marvin Sordell (undisclosed, Bolton Wanderers)

 

Key Departures:

Chris Baird (free, West Bromwich Albion)

 

Fan’s View: Tony Scholes @clarets_mad

How do you see the season panning out for Burnley?

It will be tough but I think we will surprise a few people during the season and give ourselves a chance of staying up.

Is it good to see Burnley back in the Premier League?

You want your team to be the best it can be and that means getting to as higher league as possible. Yes, good to be back.

Who would you tip as one to watch in your squad?

Marvin Sordell. He has had a difficult time at Bolton but I just have a feeling, given the opportunity, he might come good.

 

 

Chelsea

Chelsea have conducted their summer transfer business relatively quietly, quickly and efficiently. Jose Mourinho has strengthened area of his squad that last season, he viewed as suspect while also acquiring huge sums of cash for players who were no longer needed.

 

Cesc Fabregas should provide a suitable replacement for the now departed Frank Lampard who will join Manchester City on loan till January 2015 before his move to the newly formed MLS franchise New York City FC. The signings of Diego Costa and Filipe Luis also provide welcome quality and strength in key areas as well as the returning Didier Drogba providing something a little different.

 

However, the squad is still a little light up front and the form of Fernando Torres remains a worry. It is possible that the weight of expectation on Diego Costa could prove too much.

Check out the latest Chelsea outright odds with Guts.

 

Key Signing(s):

Cesc Fabregas (£27m, Barcelona), Diego Costa (£32m, Atlético Madrid), Filipe Luis (15.8m, Atlético Madrid)

 

Key Departures:

Frank Lampard (free, New York City FC), David Luiz (£50m, PSG), Samuel Eto’o (Released), Ashley Cole (free, Roma), Demba Ba (£4.7m, Besiktas), Romelu Lukaku (£28m, Everton)

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With the start of the Premier League just around the corner, we've created a quiz to challenge your PL knowledge. Only the hardcore will score 15/15 on the Guts PL quiz. And if you're a hadcore sports better, you should definitely check out this Guts bonus sports!

 

 

Check out the latest Premier League Outright Odds and markets for the opening Premier League fixtures.

 

As part of our Football XI series, we’re creating numerous football XI’s based on different scenarios, this week it’s a casino XI. This casino XI is made up of all-time players, some still within the game of football, some not. It is however a world-class game XI regardless!

 

FORMATION – 4-4-1-1

 

GOALKEEPER – Costel Pontoonamon

Not the obvious choice as he was rarely used by Manchester City and made only 29 appearances in 3 years, mostly in the cup competitions. A free transfer to Sunderland beckoned at the end of the 2013/14 season and the journey continues in trying to reach his 21.

 

RIGHT-BACK – Baccarat Sagna

A good choice if you’re after an athletic, pacy option in the right full-back area. Was virtually first choice in each of his 7 seasons at Arsenal and came back stoutly from a leg break and is now ready to continue drawing that third card.

 

CENTRE-BACK – Nigel Reo-Poker

Nigel was a solid player for mid-table clubs such as West Ham, Aston Villa and Bolton. Now plying his trade in Canada for Vancouver Whitecaps, Nigel’s ever on the game as he looks to poker-face his opponents once more.

 

CENTRE-BACK – Solitaire Campbell

Was once a leading centre-half for Tottenham, Arsenal and England. Now retired, he has made a serious of bizarre interviews but he once played the patience game very well.

 

LEFT-BACK – Wayne Bridge

What? Yeah Bridge was the surname of a footballer, once. A perennially injured one at that but less said about that the better. I’m willing to bet he wished he’d tried a few more tricks to stay uninjured too.

 

RIGHT-MIDFIELD – Aaron Rummysay

He came to the fore last season for Arsenal before getting injured and he was their top goalscorer at one point. Chipped in with an impressive 16 goals too.

 

CENTRAL MIDFIELD – Stuart Hold’em

Stuart was once an upcoming midfielder but a cruel injury robbed him of progression but he did come back briefly. However, he now is not contributing to the Hold’em pot again.

 

CENTRAL MIDFIELD – BlackJack Wilshere

The object is to beat the dealer and that is what Wilshere strives to do. He’s a risk taker, and he lives for that. A very good midfielder when not injured, Wilshere looks to complete his objectives as quickly as possible and that is what has earned him the name BlackJack.

 

LEFT-MIDFIELD – David Ginola

Always looking to score more than his opponent, Ginola was your typical French footballer. Graceful, pacy and had packed a powerful punch. He looked to play his cards close to his chest at all times.

 

SECOND-STRIKER – Andres Incanasta

The player to dealers left has first go and that is what Andres was all about, the left, as he made that position his own for Barcelona down the years. He always looked to draw the right card and left his opponent at the bottom of the pile.

community shield

 

Arsenal and Manchester City have almost been victims of their own players’ success this pre-season. With Arsenal’s World Cup winning Germans returning to club training on 11 August and confirmed to play no part in the first round of Premier League fixtures, the Gunners have been missing a large part of their spine in Mertesacker, Ozil and Podolski. Count in late returns for the rest of the World Cup contingent and it has been a fractured squad which Arsene Wenger has had to work with this summer.

 

Manchester City have suffered similar problems, with the Argentinian finalists, Aguero, Zabaleta, and Demichelis, only returning to training on Monday 04 August. Club captain Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho also returned on the 4th, meaning that at least five of last season’s starting XI have yet to kick a ball in anger. David Silva, meanwhile played just 45 minutes on the club’s American tour.

 

34 Players

It will be essential for both sides to give minutes to players who are lacking sharpness before the Premier League begins. Although uncommon, it would not be at all surprising for both managers to make use of the full six substitutions available to them in this game.

 

The goals could easily flow, as both teams search for both attacking and defensive sharpness. Stevan Jovetic has been the standout performer for the champions season and could be the key man to unlocking the Arsenal backline.

 

Predicted Teams

Arsenal: Worjciech Szczesny; Mathieu Debuchy, Callum Chambers, Laurent Koscielny, Keiran Gibbs; Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsay, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez; Olivier Giroud

 

MCFC: Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Aleksandar Kolarov; Fernando Reges, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jesus Navas; Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko

 

Score Prediction

 

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City @ 15/2

 

Value bets

 

Arsenal 3-3 Manchester City @ 49/1

Manchester City to come from behind and win @ 8/1

To celebrate the this season's Premier League curtain-raiser we have put together the ultimate Community Shield quiz!

arsenal vs manchester city

 

Check out the latest Community Shield odds.

National Rugby League Assemble!

marvel nrl kits

Australia's NRL have confirmed that five of their clubs will be wearing specially designed jerseys designed Marvel and ISC. The kits will be worn in round 21 of the NRL and are available to buy in the NRL shop. This is pretty amazing. Almost like our Guts sports promotion. Get ready!

 

Dragons: Iron Man

Raiders: Hulk

Roosters: Captain America

Cowboys: Thor

Sea Eagles: Wolverine

 

Of course, this isn't the first time that Marvel and sports have crossed over - who can forget Atletico Madrid's Spider-Man 2 away kit?

atletico madrid spider-man

 

 

After England’s defeat at the group stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the first time the team has left the World Cup at the group stage in 56 years, the nations pride and optimism has taken a severe knock.

 

In order to gage the feelings of the general public towards England’s hopes at the Euro 2016, we have asked 1,200 people in Britain how far they think England will progress in the upcoming 2016 UEFA European Championship.

 

The survey reveals that the British publics views for England’s team are decidedly pessimistic.

 

Results 

The general consensus (33.4%) think that England will make it through to the group stages, but no further. This is closely followed by 30.1% of respondents who think that that England won’t even qualify.

 

The remaining stats are equally as negative. 18.1% of Brits think that the team will make it to the quarterfinals, 5.4% think that they will get through to the semi finals, and a meager 13% of respondents believe that they will make it all the through to the final.

 

2016 will mark the 15th UEFA European Championship. Euro 2016 will be held in France between June 10th and July 10th, after beating Italy and Turkey for the right to host the finals.

 

Rather than the traditional 16-team format, Euro 2016 will now consist of 24 teams. France automatically have a place in the tournament due to their position as hosts, however the remaining 53 teams will have to compete for a place between this September and November 2015.

 

The main tournament will consist of a group stage where six groups of four teams compete. This will then be followed by a knockout stage including three rounds and the final.

 

Despite the nations cynical predictions, we are still rooting for England!

Well it was quite a special tournament wasn’t it? It had everything going for it, Brazil, weather, iconic scenes and historic stadia as well as new, plush stadia waiting for the paying public to set foot and make history.

 

The Brazilians sure know how to put on a show that is without doubt. The atmosphere within the grounds for the majority of the matches was simply staggering. It was so loud on occasion that the TV commentators of the BBC and ITV nearly lost their voices trying to inform us of what was going on down at pitch-level.

 

Furthermore, not only did the tournament produce off the pitch, it also produced on it. There were 171 goals throughout the tournament, matching the best ever amount achieved in France 1998, there was also the most scorers in a World Cup tournament with 121 and there was also a lot of bad defending!

 

We saw a number of high quality goals too. Some were outstanding for their simplicity, some were technically outstanding, some were individually outstanding and others were outstanding from a team point of view.

 

Of course there was also controversy, something that brings out the debaters in everyday Joe Bloggs. As usual, referees and officials made the World Cup a somewhat debatable topic and of course there was BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce who refused to believe that he was wrong and he was stirring a subject that didn’t need to be stirred with regards to goal-line technology.

 

Overall, Brazil 2014 can be considered a tournament that will live long in the memory, certainly for Germany and certainly for Brazil only for the trouncing they received at the hands of the Germans in the semi-final. There is a lot to be proud of as far as the Brazil tournament goes as in 2010 in South Africa there was a fear that this is what football would become – a lifeless, win-at-all-costs spectacle that would never again produce the goods in terms of entertainment and goals again.

 

However, it was as if a mentality shift had occurred within teams (apart from Greece!) and they had decided that defending what they had wasn’t enough; they had to win by scoring more goals than their opponents. It was a refreshing sight to see and it made for a spectacle that will live long in the memory of everyone who witnessed it.

 

Guts Awards

 

 

The Guts Award: Overall Tournament Winner

 

We thought we’d go for something a bit different with this one, as we want you to make to make the choice for whom you want as the Guts Awards recipient. We’ll run down a list of players who caught the eye with their performances in Brazil and ask you to vote on who you think deserves the award the most.

 

a.) James Rodriguez – The 22 year-old Colombian provided some exquisite moments of genius and also provided the spark for a lively Colombian side and of course he finished with the Golden Boot with 6 goals and also scored quite possibly the goal of the tournament with an outstanding volley.

 

b.) Ron Vlaar – The Aston Villa man proved he has what it takes to provide a steely backbone to any team and he did with an unfancied Dutch side under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal. It was simply an outstanding tournament from the defender.

 

 

c.) Javier Mascherano – The Argentina man proved he still has what it takes to play in midfield. He was effectively everywhere in the final vs. Germany and he also performed an outstanding man-marking job on Netherlands danger man Arjen Robben to nullify the threat from him with ruthless ease.

 

d.) Manuel Neuer – The German goalkeeper had an outstanding tournament and proved the difference when the Germans were under-pressure, specifically against Ghana in the group stages and against Algeria in the Round of 16. He conceded 4 goals and kept 3 clean sheets throughout the tournament, tied with Keylor Navas of Costa Rica at the top of the pile.

 

e.) Neymar – The Brazilian poster boy scored 4 goals and single-handedly carried Brazil at times and they couldn’t live without the 22 year-old’s absence through injury suffered against Chile.

 

f.) Arjen Robben – Arjen Robben was as dangerous as he has ever been throughout the tournament and chipped in with a few, crucial goals too.

 

g.) Philipp Lahm – The full-back started the tournament in a holding midfield role but eventually Joachim Low eventually moved him back to where he is best. Defensively solid and not bad at the attacking game either, the Germany captain demonstrated he has all the attributes that make him one of the best full-backs in the world.

 

h.) Mats Hummels – The Germany defender suffers from a distinct lack of pace but what he suffers on that side of his game, he makes up for in determination and his reading of the game. Had a very good tournament and deserves to be on the list.

 

i.) Thomas Muller – The forward was as devastating as ever and he’s closing in on Miroslav Klose’s 16-goal World Cup record. A fantastic performance from summed up with a hat-trick vs. Portugal and other vital goals too.

 

The Nuts Award: Overall Tournament Winner

 

The Nuts Award is reserved for those who we have seen fail and also cock up – badly. We were amazed to see Lionel Messi receive the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament, as, we thought, he hadn’t performed at all. So, without further ado lets compile the list.

 

a.) Lionel Messi – Has the Argentinian really been that good? Apart from the a couple of brilliant goals, notably against Iran and Bosnia, he hadn’t scored throughout the knockout stages and failed to inspire anyone around him to produce and his World Cup was summed up with a last minute free-kick in the final which he blazed over the bar and was still travelling when the Germans lifted the trophy.

 

b.) David Luiz – A prime candidate simply for his awful defending. Nothing more to say on how awful he was.

 

c.) Eden Hazard – Another who failed to inspire himself or anyone around him, his performances were quite simply woeful. As were his teams’.

 

d.) Luis Suarez – Need we say anymore as far as the Uruguayan is concerned? His biting antics have finally caught up with him and he deserved everything that was thrown at him for it.

 

e.) Cameroon squad – The archetypal African football nation, they try and work hard and obviously acquire a love from the neutral that tends to be the case throughout a World Cup tournament…this is what should have happened, however, it didn’t. Cameroon instead sulked over money not paid to them and also there was in fighting which led to 3 awful performances.

 

Guts’ Goal of the Tournament

 

There was some splendid goals throughout World Cup 2014 and obviously this is going to be a hard choice for you!

 

a.) Robin van Persie (1st goal) v Spain – A flying header which caught Iker Casillas off guard and set up a very good tournament for the Dutch.

 

b.) Lionel Messi v Iran – A wonderful curling effort from all of 20-yards that had the keeper beaten all ends up.

 

c.) James Rodriguez v Uruguay – A quite epic volley from outside the box that swerved and dipped and went in via the underside of the bar – a simply stunning effort.

 

d.) Tim Cahill (1st goal) v The Netherlands – Another epic volley with his wrong foot that again flew in off the underside of the bar and stunned the Dutch 30 seconds after they had taken the lead.

 

e.) David Luiz v Colombia – A brilliant free-kick from the ‘defender’ who sent the Brazilian crowd into a frenzy with this winner.

 

f.) Jermaine Jones v Portugal – The USA midfielder produced an amazing bending shot from what seemed miles out and it bent into the net.

 

g.) James Rodriguez v Japan – A lovely dinked finish after twisting the Japanese defender inside and out before the cherry was planted on top of the cake.

 

h.) Andre Schürrle v Brazil – A spectacular volley from the German from a seemingly difficult angle. Not so difficult for it to fly in via the underside of the bar.

 

Guts’ Gripe of the Tournament: Officials

 

It had to be didn’t it? Match officials were consistently found wanting at crucial times and they were either reluctant to book people or booked people for stupid, insignificant fouls. A major gripe is the quality of them on the International stage.

 

 

The World Cup final has been and gone and was it what we had expected from both International teams? The football on show was promising and it was as entertaining a World Cup final as I can remember. The only potential downside was the lack of goals until extra-time (again!) but this in a way provides an element of excitement.

 

The saving grace of both teams and in particularly Germany, going for the win in extra-time is that we didn’t have to put with the luxury of penalties to settle and end what has been a splendid tournament – full of goals, excitement and controversy. What a proper World Cup should contain.

 

Of course, we cannot ignore the fact that Germany have become the first European side to win a World Cup in South America, a marvellous achievement considering before the tournament so called experts couldn’t wait to nail their colours to the Argentinian mast simply because of one Lionel Messi.

 

If the final proved one thing, it is that there can be an absolutely tremendous atmosphere inside the spiritual home of football without the host nation. The Maracana put on one hell of a show for the final as well as other matches that were held there but the final is the showpiece that deserved to be signed off in the most glamorous and famous of football stadia.

 

Guts Awards

 

 

The Guts Award: Bastian Schweinsteiger

 

The (now) unusual choice of selecting an individual for this award seen as we’ve seen many glorious team performances and another was added to the list last night from the Germans but Schweinsteiger absolutely dominated the midfield last night. His passing, movement and willingness to run himself into the ground as displayed by his match stats: he completed 102 passes more than his central midfield partner Toni Kroos, he intercepted 8 passes, more than any other German player and he ran a total distance of 15339m again more than any other player on the pitch. He epitomised Germany and their extremely efficient way of playing football, the definition of a complete player.

 

 

The Nuts Award: Lionel Messi

 

Again this is another award given to an individual. This was supposed to be Messi’s World Cup wasn’t it? South America, the limelight, the chance to shine and of course reaching the World Cup final at the home of your country’s bitterest International rivals, what more could you want?

 

However, Messi failed to shine and he looked lazy showing all too brief glimpses of what he’s capable of and what we’re used to seeing from him. The odd mazy dribble, taking a couple of Germans out of the game and then a damp squib of a finish to a promising move by picking the wrong pass or shooting wildly off target.

 

His last ditch attempt at the end of 120 minutes from a free kick summed up his final and perhaps his World Cup – wayward.

 

Guts’ (Nearly) Goal of the Day: Gonzalo Higuain

 

Considering there was only one goal, it seems a bit odd to be selecting it even if it was a very good goal from Mario Götze. So we’re going to be selecting something slightly different.

 

We’re going to be selecting the Goal of the Day that wasn’t given and this award goes to Gonzalo Higuain. It was a perfectly executed side-footed finish from the striker but there was a downside to it – he was offside. He really shouldn’t have been as he was in the perfect position to look right across the German backline but as like his earlier chance when he proceeded to blaze wide when clean through, he fluffed it.

 

Guts Gripe of the Day: Lack of Goals

 

The lack of goals displayed in the match didn’t match the quality of football that was on offer throughout the match. Of course it could have been a true classic had Gonzalo Higuain not decided to let the Germans off from two guilt-edged chances or Rodrigo Palacio had lifted the ball over Manuel Neuer into the net instead of looping wide but it wasn’t to be.

 

 

During Friday, Saturday and Sunday we had our last World Cup site competition. We were in the hunt for the highest winning odds. This time it was Jussi R who took the first place prize with the winning odds of 149,5. Congratulations Jussi! To be fair, no other competitor got close to even challenging those odds.

 

Winners:

 

Place

Name

Country

Winning odds

Win

1

Jussi R

Finland

149,5

€400

2

Emil S

Sweden

20,12

€200

3

Petro Å

Finland

15,06

€150

4

Marko J

Finland

12,38

€100

5

Mikko P

Finland

9,92

€50

6

Esa P

Finland

9,72

€20

7

Joel L

Finland

6,4

€20

8

Martin N

Sweden

5,31

€20

9

Savan K

Canada

5,19

€20

10

Kristian V

Finland

5,17

€20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The prize money has been credited to the lucky winners and congratulations again to Jussi and the gang!

 

 

 


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