Posts Tagged ‘Kaka’

World Cup Roundup

14/07/2010

So suggesting a bet on Holland in the final meant the bet of the day running total ended 0.77 units down, which isn’t awful considering two-thirds of the group stage were missed. In better punditry many of the pre-tournament tips came off. Of the more impressive ideas, I suggested Germany to reach the semi-finals @ 12/5, Argentina to get nine points in their group @ 12/5, Uruguay and Mexico to go through in group A @ 13/1 and Uruguay as an each way bet @ 66/1.

I wrote that England could well suffer a second round knock-out, while tipping Holland @ 9/1 almost came off. The goalscorer tips were a touch unlucky too with each way suggestions Klose (33/1) and Suarez (100/1) just missing out on the top four.  Enough gloating (there were plenty of dud tips too after all) and time for a few highlights and lowlights.

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Best Game: England vs Germany had controversy, some great football, good goals and it dispelled the hype surrounding so many of England’s stars.

Worst Game: Most of the ones in the first week.

Best Goal: Tshabalala’s in the opening match was great for the moment and Van Bronckhorst in the semi-final was great for the pureness of the strike but I think Villa’s first against Honduras tops both.

Worst Miss: Yakubu vs South Korea. Dear oh dear.

Most Dramatic 5 Minutes: Spain vs Paraguay gave it a good try, with three penalties in the space of a few minutes, but you can’t beat the end of extra-time in the Uruguay vs Ghana match. Goalmouth scramble, handball on the line and red card, missed penalty with a semi-final place up for grabs, undignified celebrations by the man sent off and then a penalty shoot-out shortly after. Wow.

Best Pundit: Clarence Seedorf. There weren’t many to choose from but he was insightful and refreshing. Some good features too.

Hero: Paul the psychic octopus.

Villain: Take your pick from Suarez, the Jabulani ball or the French team going on strike. Oh and James Corden too.

Best XI Of The Tournament: Casillas; Lahm, Puyol, Lugano, Coentrao; Schweinsteiger, Xavi, Sneijder; Mueller, Forlan, Villa.

Worst XI Of The Tournament: Green; Otamendi, Terry, Cannavaro, Evra; Melo, Kaka, Ribery; Anelka, Rooney, Torres.

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T.

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World Cup Bet Of The Day – Day 22

02/07/2010

Running Total: -3.8 units

Hmm it seems any bet I suggest on here is bound to lose. Spain had to wait until the second half before taking the lead against Portugal, therefore scuppering day 19’s tip.

Today we have Holland v Brazil and Ghana v Uruguay. The former should be a good match but I’ve lost count of how many times that’s been predicted. I don’t think Holland should be as high as 7/2 to win that match but Brazil have looked very good so far.

Ghana have done brilliantly so far but in the interests of my Suarez top goalscorer bet I’ll be hoping for a Uruguay win. Let’s go with him to score anytime.

Bet of the day:

Luis Suarez to score anytime vs Ghana @ 2/1.

T.

World Cup Bet Of The Day – Day 5

15/06/2010

Running Total: -0.8 units

Another day, another wrong prediction for a match winner. I can’t help it if Paul le Guen in all his infinite wisdom chooses not to play his best midfielder (Alex Song) whist also deciding to play his best striker Eto’o out on the right-wing. I think I’ll avoid picking teams to win until the second set of group fixtures.

There was some success with choosing a goalscorer the other day so I’ll try my luck again. Brazil face North Korea tonight (quite why Portugal vs Ivory Coast isn’t prime time I’ll never know) and it’s likely to resemble shooting fish in a barrel.

Robinho for some reason tends to play twice as well in international games as he does in club football (well before he moved to Santos anyway) and should have some success against a team I know nothing about. Luis Fabiano is obviously another good shout as is Kaka, as is etc, etc.

Let’s go with Robinho over Fabiano due to the marginally better odds. Again I’m playing safe and backing anytime goals rather than first or last.

Bet of the day:

Robinho to score anytime vs North Korea @ 11/10

T.

The Big World Cup Betting Post

11/06/2010

This afternoon 32 teams begin the fight to be crowned World Cup winners on July 11th. Well, strictly speaking only four teams play today but let’s not be pedantic. There’s a wealth of potential bets to place and some potentially big winnings to be had. I’m sure everyone has their opinion on what will happen so here’s my pick.

Eyes on the prize.

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Favourites

The top three teams in the winner market are Spain at 4/1, Brazil at 5/1 and Argentina at 8/1. There’s not a great deal of value there but of the three I have Brazil as my favourite to win. They’re solid at the back with all the Inter defenders and also play two defensive midfielders to back them up. Up front Kaka is still a great player while Luis Fabiano is an effective striker.

If all three of those teams win their groups, Spain are scheduled to face Argentina in one semi-final which makes it trickier to back them over Brazil. You could go with naming the finalists – Brazil/Spain is about 10/1 while Brazil/Argentina is as high as a tempting 18/1.

Personally I think I’ll be going for all three teams to qualify from their groups with a maximum nine points. In that regard Brazil are 9/4, Spain 6/5 and Argentina 12/5. The risky treble is about 24/1.

Favourites to double up.

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If Things Go Their Way

Here we have the likes of England, Holland, Germany and Italy. All good sides but probably not a match for the three favourites. Betting on England is always a mug’s game in my eyes. The bookies have them down at 8/1 which is mainly to protect themselves from Dave the Daily Star reader who puts heart before head.

That said Capello and a fit Rooney is a far better prospect then the Eriksson and unfit Rooney of four years ago. In reality I think the semi’s (11/8) are the absolute limit for England but there’s a potentially tricky second round match against the group B runners-up which could see them knocked out early.

I like the look of Holland and they have some brilliant attacking options. Whether their defence holds up against top opposition is another story and whichever way they look at it they’re going to meet Spain or Brazil in a quarter-final. However, what’s betting without some fun risk involved so why not a cheeky pound on them to win the whole thing at 9/1? Thinking about it I think they’ll be a good team to bet on a match by match basis come the knock-out stages.  Personally I’ll be looking at Robin van Persie to do some goalscoring damage. More on that later.

Never write off Germany. 12/5 for the semi finals. I’ll have some of that.

Keep looking Wayne, you won't win it.

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Potential Flops

In my mind there are two teams who are ripe to flop completely and not qualify from their group – France and Portugal. I have different reasons for both. France are an ageing team and somehow still have Raymond Domenech as their coach. Some of his decisions are baffling. In fact no, most of his decisions are baffling. The senior players still have too much say and there’s talk of infighting within the squad.

Their group is on paper not too hard which is why this is an interesting bet. Uruguay should qualify and part of me thinks that South Africa will get a win in the opening game and somehow find a way to qualify in second. I’m sure Sepp will sort something out… The odds aren’t great – only 2/1 so maybe it’s better value to bet on the Uruguay and Mexico/South Africa forecast instead (13/1 or 21/1). On the other hand all the great players in their squad might have one last great hurrah.

Portugal in contrast are in the so-called group of death – Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea being their opponents. Brazil will top this group so I think it’s a straight fight for second between two of the biggest divas in the World Cup; Drogba and Ronaldo. I think the latter loses out, thus a Brazil/Ivory Coast forecast is a nice 11/4.

This will happen again. Though without Big Phil.

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Each Way Long Shots

Serbia and Uruguay seem to be getting a lot of love as teams who could go further than expected. They’re on the right side of the draw in terms of ‘only’ having Brazil instead of Spain and Argentina. At 40/1 and 66/1 respectively, they’re fantastic each-way bets. Both are technically good with differing strengths; Serbia having a top defence while Uruguay have Forlan and Suarez up front.

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Sharpshooters

Top goalscorer bets are always fun and if you consider that six goals was the winning total for six straight World Cups from 1978 to 1998 you only need a bit of luck to win on a high-priced each way bet. Germany’s Miroslav Klose won with five goals in 2006 and he again is fantastic each way value this time round at a general 33/1.

Holland have a group without any particularly defensive teams meaning Robin van Persie could fill his boots and be overall winner at 12/1. If you look at who’s facing the weakest teams (North Korea and New Zealand) then perhaps Luis Fabiano of Brazil at 10/1  or Italy’s Di Natale  at 50/1 could be worth a shout. Suarez of Uruguay can be found as high as 100/1 and if you think three goals was enough for second last time round it’s worth placing a pound or two on him.

Your top goalscorer. Maybe...

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T.

The Curious Transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

18/07/2009

Here’s a transfer that’s got me a bit confused. Barcelona are set to give Inter Samuel Eto’o, Alex Hleb on loan for a year AND a fee in the region of £35 million in exchange for the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Now I don’t really understand the thinking behind this for many reasons. Not least the valuation. This sees Inter getting around €60 million worth for Zlatan putting him on a par with Kaka in terms of fee.

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Now I know Eto’o is seen as a bit of a disruptive influence and shows no signs of extending the one year remaining on his contract but surely Barca could do better than giving both him and €40m for Zlatan. Famously called “the most overrated player in world football” by Martin O’Neill during the last World Cup, I’ve never understood why he is valued so highly. Yes he makes for a great Youtube compilation (see below) due to his capability for the ridiculous and admittedly he scored 29 goals last year (25 in Serie A), but he has always struck me as something of a flat-track bully who doesn’t do it in the big Champions League games or international tournaments.

Barcelona’s attack hardly needs strengthening after last seasons 158 goals in all comps though I imagine Zlatan (or indeed the rumoured David Villa) would give them more of a hold up option for Henry and Messi to play off. They would be better off getting a new goalkeeper and perhaps some defensive help. I can’t help thinking that having seen Real Madrid break two world records in buying Kaka and Ronaldo, Barcelona feel they have to make a similar statement. The reason that Real had to buy so much was that they were crap last season and even with this new forward line I reckon they’re still a top deep lying midfielder away from being a side that can win things (explains the Alonso interest then).

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It will be quite amusing to see how Eto’o and Mourinho work together too, given the latter’s numerous run ins with Zlatan. Eto’o is not afraid of throwing his toys out of the pram and I can imagine more than one confrontation this coming season. That said he will no doubt still score plenty of goals but it will be an entertaining 09/10 at the San Siro. Hleb as well (funny how quickly he’s become irrelevant) doesn’t strike me a Mourinho player and given that Guardiola didn’t trust him by the season’s end I can’t think Jose will either.

crazy-eto'o

Crazy Eto'o

All in all Inter will be laughing all the way to the bank, while Barcelona will wonder at some point next April why they are on the wrong end of a Champions League exit thanks to an overrated striker who couldn’t score in a big game.

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T.

Seven To Replace Number Seven

18/06/2009

Right, there was only so long I could keep the Spurs badge as the first thing you see when reach the blog – time for some new posts. Since we last wrote, it seems the great primadonna himself is on his way to Real Madrid for the princely sum of £80 million.

Ronaldo practices his amateur theatrics...

Ronaldo practices his amateur theatrics...

Just who will Man Utd buy to replace the tantrums, the diving, the stepovers and the occasional 40 goal seasons? Let’s take a look at some potential replacements.

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1. Antonio Valencia – Wigan – £14-18million

Valencia

Valencia

Last season: League – 31 games/3 goals.

This is the most likely deal to go through just due to who the selling club are. Valencia has impressed at the JJB though perhaps doesn’t yet score enough (or indeed assist with only five last season). It appears some move have already been made to sign him but if I’m honest I’m not sure he’s good enough for a team like Man Utd. He is only 23 so has plenty of time to improve but Wigan will have done very good business if they get £18m for him.

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2. Karim Benzema – Lyon – £30million+

Benzema

Benzema

Last season: League – 36 games/17 goals. Champions League – 8 games/5 goals.

The highest rated French player still playing in Ligue 1. Benzema has scored 54 goals in the past two years and would be a great addition up front. Pacy, strong, good with both left and right foot as well as decent in the air, he could add the pace that has been lacking from Utd’s forward line in the past few years. He’s still only 21 so has yet to completely fulfil his potential. I could see him forming a terrific partnership with Rooney or indeed Berbatov and he could well follow in the footsteps of Utd’s last great French number 7. Needless to say, Lyon chairman Aulas would drive a hard bargain as usual.

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3. Sergio Aguero – Atletico Madrid – £40million+

Aguero

Aguero

Last season: League – 37 games/17 goals. Champions League – 8 games/3 goals.

The youngest player to ever play in the Argentinian league, Aguero has starred for Atletico in the past two years. Maradona’s son in law has formed a great partnership with ex-Utd striker Diego Forlan and is capable of plenty of assists to go with his goals. At 5’7″ he probably lacks the power that Ronaldo brought to the side and he make take time to adapt to English football but he has the ability to produce the unexpected. Still only 21, his age couple with his buy out clause means it would take big money to prize him from the Vicente Calderon.

4. David Silva – Valencia – £20million

Silva

Silva

Last season: League – 19 games/4 goals. UEFA Cup – 3 games/1 goal.

Silva is a less obvious choice and may be someone to target if Valencia isn’t signed. A diminutive winger/number 10, he was an important player in Spain’s Euro 2008 win before ankle ligament damage meant a truncated 2008/09 season. Tricky and creative with a sweet left foot, aged 23 he can still improve. He is another who maybe too slight for the Premier League but at the same time if Rafa Benitez is after him, why shouldn’t Fergie try and gazump him. One of the cheaper potential targets too, given Valencia’s financial troubles.

5. David Villa – Valencia – £35 million

Villa

Villa

Last season: League – 33 games/28 goals. UEFA Cup – 5 games/1 goal.

The most coveted striker in Europe at the moment having had his best season yet for Valencia whilst also still basking in the glory of being top scorer in Euro 2008. Strong, powerful and pacy, Villa is a complete striker at a peak age (27). Competition will be fierce in the race to sign him and to be honest it would be a surprise if he went anywhere other than Real Madrid.

6. Arjen Robben – Real Madrid – £7-20million.

Robben

Robben

Last season: League – 29 games/7 goals. Champions League – 6 games/1 goal.

A bit of curveball this in light of his injury record but there’s no doubting Robben’s ability when he’s fit. A pacy, direct winger with the ability to go past a man, Robben has always been susceptible to injury but the plus side is that he has Premier League experience with Chelsea. For two years he was a key player in their title winning sides, before Mourinho got fed up with him missing games. Fergie wanted to sign him before he went to Chelsea so what price a cheeky bid now. Still young (25) even though he looks 35 and his price should be relatively cheap given Real’s clearout of all things Dutch.

7. Franck Ribery – Bayern Munich – £50million+

Ribery

Ribery

Last season: League  – 25 games/9 goals. Europe – 8 games/4 goals.

The best player in the Bundesliga and one of the best players in the world. This is the man I think would be able to replace Ronaldo most in terms of goals, determination and overall impact. He can play both left and right as well as behind a striker and has ferocious striking ability, not least from distance. With the fees that Kaka and Ronaldo have gone for his price tag will be big, though if reports are to be believed he already may be too old for United. To be honest I think he’s still worth pursuing, just as out of all the suggested targets he is the one most at his peak. A big game player for a club who have plenty of big games.

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T.

Weekly Photoshop – Garry Cook

05/02/2009

A slightly strange theme this week. It’s Manchester City’s executive chairman Garry Cook. He’s the guy who claimed Milan “bottled” the Kaka transfer. I found his history at Nike a bit more interesting.

 

I’m sure Cook was indeed manager of the Michael Jordan brand when at Nike. But I have a suspicion it was probably at his local Nike Town…

If the shoes fit...

If the shoes fit...

 

The rest of this week’s gallery can be found here.

 

T.

 

Previous entries:

Ferdinand, FellainiBrownEboueCredit Crunch,

ZakiGomesMaradonaDelapAdamsBeckhamRamos

The Six Pointer – King McGrath, Chocolate Legs & more…

19/01/2009

That was the weekend that was.

1. How will Liverpool react to now being second in the title race? This evening’s 1-1 draw against Everton sees them back level on points with Man Utd but having played a game more. United’s game in hand is against Fulham in mid February so for the time being they will look to simply match whatever Liverpool do each weekend. Liverpool’s recent form isn’t actually too bad but four of their last six league games have been draws. Perhaps being second will take some of the pressure off and allow them to play with a bit more freedom – they certainly don’t have any experience of leading from the front. The trouble is that when Man Utd go top, they usually stay there. They have reached the summit earlier than usual this year but already things are beginning to have a slight air of inevitability about them. As usual it will come down to Gerrard to stop them.

 

2. I, like many other Arsenal fans, have always maintained that Robin Van Persie has all the talent to be one of the top strikers in Europe. It has always just been a question of keeping him fit. In the four previous seasons at Arsenal the most league games he has played in has been the 26 in his first year. Each season since the number has dropped (26, 24, 22) culminating in last year’s low of 15 – less than a third of the season. Thankfully, and touching wood, he has reached 18 so far this year and has only missed games due to rotation and suspension. It has coincided with probably his best form in an Arsenal shirt and he has really stepped up creatively in the absence of Fabregas. His chocolate leg (right foot to you and me) has improved vastly and it makes him even more unpredictable (in a good way) than he already was. Three assists against Hull give him seven for the year and he will be key to Arsenal keeping in touch with the leaders until Cesc returns.

Van Persie's next injury - melted leg

Van Persie's next injury - melted leg

 

3. Talking of another often injured player, The Football Guy and I were discussing this over the weekend – how can Spurs rely on someone who can only play once a fortnight. When fit Ledley King is a top player but that is exactly the problem – he never is. I know Paul McGrath famously never trained (hangovers as much as dodgy knees no doubt) and just played really well at the weekend but King can barely manage that. In ten full seasons at Spurs he has played just 250 odd times (though amazingly he played every league game in 2004/05) and for the past couple there has been little point in relying on him. The problem is that Spurs can’t really get anything for him transfer wise as everyone knows his record. But maybe it is time to call it quits.

 

4. Who needs Bellamy and Santa Cruz? With Man City having now completed the deal for Craig Bellamy from West Ham whilst also still sniffing around Blackburn’s Santa Cruz maybe the two selling clubs will actually be better off. Saturday saw Carlton Cole score his fifth goal in five games and he formed quite a nice partnership with David Di Michele. Meanwhile at Ewood Park, Sam Allardyce gave Santa Cruz his first 21 minutes of play under his stewardship. It’s understandable why when you see that both Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts have scored four goals each in the four games since Fat Sam took over. The £18 million he’s likely to receive for the Paraguayan will certainly come in useful for improving the rest of the squad.

Fat Sam's Lancashire Emporium

Fat Sam's Lancashire Emporium

 

5. Though we talked about Ledley King always being injured, he’s not really a jinx. When he plays, Spurs are pretty solid. Gareth Bale and Darren Bent are a different story however. Bale reaches 21 games without a win (Nugent’s shot came off him too) while Bent added another glorious miss to his growing collection. You know you can’t have much of a future when the manager reckons his wife could have scored it. Tis true though, she probably could have.

This wouldn't be the first time...

This wouldn't be the first time...

 

6. So it seems Kaka’s move to Man City is off. I think that right now this is a good thing for City. Yes Kaka is one of the best players in the world but in their current predicament defensive players are a priority. Nigel de Jong is a good start.

 

T.

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 22

16/01/2009

So, the first gameweek with teams playing twice didn’t bring anything spectacular really. As expected, Man Utd won their two games but lost Rooney for three weeks while Rio, Evra and Tevez are now all big doubts for this weekend. I am saddled with two United defenders who won’t play, and Vidic is just a bit too pricey now to bring in. Still, have to think long term I guess. Vidic and Figueroa were the two big points scorers at 17 and 13 respectively while Ronaldo got a couple of assists to make sure my captain choice wasn’t completely wasted. 

Jesus isn't so important now...

Jesus isn't so important now...

This week sees the Merseyside derby, the last Kaka-less Man City team, and Hull looking to complete the double over Arsenal. Let’s take a look at this week’s picks.

 

Top 3 alternatives to Ronaldo as Captain.

1. Gerrard/Liverpool – The Reds looked slightly bereft of ideas against Stoke and will be looking to bounce back. Everton however will be a tough proposition having not conceded in five. In a tight game you can usually look to Stevie G to be involved in any deadlock breakages and if it ends 1-0 to Liverpool, I’m sure he’ll be involved.

2. Berbatov/Man Utd – Has been playing pretty well recently and has been adding goals, assists and bonus points to his posing and standing around. Still pretty cheap at £9.6m and Utd will look to him and C-Ron now that Rooney is out for three weeks. I can’t see Bolton stopping him.

3. Anelka/Chelsea – A slight risk but I think Big Phil won’t have dropped Drogba for just one game. He was pretty poor for the last few matches (against Utd he was especially wretched) and I think Anelka will get another run now. Stoke at home means goals for Chelsea. 

Yay

Yay

 

Suggested transfers in:

1. Arteta/Everton – Last week we said this: “Best player on the pitch in three of his last four games. Clean sheets in all of them too”. This can now be changed to best player on the pitch in four of his last five games. Clean sheets in all of them too. Three goals in the last two as well.

2. Figueroa/Wigan – He was on many people’s radar and indeed in many people’s teams prior to the Spurs game but that will only have enhanced his reputation. Wigan are solid defensively this year and are the best of the rest once you discount the top 3 and Fulham. He’s cheap at £4.2m and he always seems to be bombing forward whenever I catch Wigan highlights on Match of the Day. 

3. Crouch/Portsmouth – Well you have to fancy him against Spurs…

May(be)

May(be)

 

Players to avoid:

1. Rooney & Ferdinand/Man Utd – One’s out for three weeks while the other seems to have a permanently injured back with constant setbacks. With important games in Europe on the horizon, neither will be risked until completely ready.  

2. Fellaini/Everton – Maybe you were thinking he’s playing up front with Cahill so may get some attacking points. Perhaps (he has scored four goals) but he gets booked so often it’s hardly worth it. Twenty games in, ten yellow cards, another suspension in the bank.

3. Man City players – Until the transfer window closes anyway. At the rate they’re going, who knows what the first choice XI will be come February. I do wonder how much Kaka will cost in the game. I reckon about £10 million and he’ll be down as a midfielder.

Nay

Nay

 

T.


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