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Weekend Football Blog

England v Norway Preview

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England’s attempt at picking themselves off the floor following their failure at the World Cup begins at Wembley on Wednesday night against Norway.

Following their terrible performances in Brazil, where the Three Lions exited the competition in the group stages without a win, Roy Hodgson has seen two more of the old guard retire from international duty. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have amassed 220 international caps between them, but have decided to move on to let the young guns come through.

Hodgson did pick youngsters for Brazil in an attempt to freshen up the side, and that policy of picking youth is set to continue against the Scandinavians with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all now regulars in the England set-up. They will be joined for the first time by Fabian Delph, Jack Colback, Calum Chambers and Danny Rose.

As for the visitors, the biggest interest centres on the possible inclusion of 15-year-old Martin Odegaard in midfield. Were he to play, the starlet would break the Norwegian international football record for the youngest debutant in his country’s history.

But enough of the selection dilemma’s, you’re here to make money!

We’ve taken a look at our favourite markets on the Football Coupon App and analysed where you’re likely to get the most value for your dosh!

Both Teams to Score: Best odds at Coral 

Anything can happen in a friendly, but we’d probably steer clear of this market. England managed to score just two goals in three games at the World Cup and will have a new look starting 11, adjusting to each others style of play. Norway have fired blanks in two of their last three fixtures.

Both Teams to Score + Result: Best odds at Coral

History suggests that BTTS + result hasn’t been a popular outcome between these two nations. In their last four fixtures against each other, one side has always failed to score, while there has also been two 0-0′s thrown in for good measure!

Over/Under 2.5 goals: Over 2.5 goals – best odds at Bet365 or Under 2.5 goals – best odds at Coral

We like the looks of the under 2.5 goals market on this one! As mentioned, these two teams don’t exactly enjoy high scoring affairs against each other and with it being a friendly at Wembley, there may be more substitutions than there are shots! A disjointed display by both teams could be on the cards.

Full Time Result: England win – best odds at StanJames 

After a poor World Cup, England will look to get back to winning ways in an attempt to reinstall the faith a nation has lost. Norway have not won in their last 11 internationals and the England youngsters will be out to impress. We expect a narrow England win with Under 2.5 goals. 

Promotion of the game: Get 3/1 on England to beat Norway at Coral

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Deadline Day’s Most Memorable Deals

Wayne Rooney – Everton to Man United (2004)

Possibly the origin of the big deals on transfer deadline day. At just 18 years of age, Wayne Rooney left Everton after two seasons for a fee of £27m – just £3m short of the British transfer record Man United paid Leeds for Rio Ferdinand in 2002. Rooney marked 10 years at Man United this week and has recently been handed the captaincy by Louis van Gaal.

Flop or not – Not

Despite tabloid controversies, transfer requests and fallouts with Fergie, £27m looks well spent. After 444 appearances and 217 goals, Rooney has won five Premier League titles, two League Cups and a Champions League title and at just 28, he still has plenty of time to add to his goal tally and medal haul.

 

Robinho – Real Madrid to Manchester City (2008)

After being taken over by the Abu Dhabi United group in 2008, City’s owners wanted to flex their financial muscles and shocked the footballing world with bids for the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They eventually ended up with Robinho for a fee of £32.5m, much to the delight of City’s fans.

Flop or not – Flop

It didn’t start well for Robinho, who admitted he initially thought it was Manchester United who had came in for him. Despite this, he ended the season as City’s top goal scorer with 14 goals in 31 appearances and was the Premier League’s fourth highest goal scorer. Although he had an impressive start on the pitch, Robinho found it hard to settle in the city of Manchester and stated that his managers didn’t understand him. After playing a further 10 games for City, scoring 0 goals, he was loaned to his hometown club, Santos.

 

Andy Carroll – Newcastle to Liverpool (2011)

Born in Gateshead, Andy Carroll became a Toon hero after securing instant promotion to get Newcastle back into the Premier League. He followed up that success by scoring 11 league goals in 19 appearances for Newcastle, alerting Liverpool to his potential. The Reds signed him in the summer of 2011 for a then British Transfer Record fee of £35m. There was much controversy over the transfer as Carroll stated he was forced out of the club, only for Newcastle to refute those claims and insist he had handed in a transfer request.

Flop or not – Flop

Carroll was the man identified to replace Fernando Torres, who left Liverpool for Chelsea on the same day. However, it would be some time before he could make his debut as he picked up an injury while with Newcastle. Carroll made his first significant impact in a Liverpool shirt, scoring two goals in a 3-0 win against Manchester City, but did not add to his tally in his debut season. The following year he scored the winner in the FA cup semi-final against bitter rivals Everton before scoring in the 2-1 final defeat to Chelsea.

He also won a League Cup, but that was as good as it got for Carroll as he was shipped out to West Ham in August 2012.

 

Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea (2011)

Fernando Torres was once classed as the deadliest striker in the Premier League and had better than a one in two strike rate at Liverpool with 65 goals in 102 appearances. This moved Chelsea into bidding £40m for the Spaniard, which was immediately knocked back by Liverpool. The striker handed in a transfer request a day later and Liverpool reluctantly sold Torres for a total of £50m – a fee which set a new British transfer record and made him the sixth most expensive player of all time.

Flop or not – Flop

Although he helped secure Chelsea the biggest prize in club football by scoring against Barcelona in a Champions League semi-final, his goal record at The Blues is not one to be desired. Torres scored just 20 league goals in 110 league games for Chelsea. His highest goal tally came in 2012-13 with just eight goals. Torres’ dip in form was attributed to a decrease in pace picked up through various injuries. He has now moved to AC Milan on a two-year loan deal and it’ll be a surprise if we see Torres in English football again.

 

Mesut Ozil – Real Madrid to Arsenal

As is custom at Real Madrid now, when a superstar comes in, another one must leave. After purchasing Gareth Bale last summer, Mesut Ozil was deemed surplus to requirements and following Arsenal’s 3-1 opening day loss at the hands of Villa, Arsene Wenger swooped for £42.5m to prevent a meltdown amongst Arsenal fans.

Flop or not – Not

Although it is still early days in the career of Mesut Ozil as an Arsenal player, he looks like he will be a success. He hit the ground running with an assist on his debut and finished the season with seven goals and 14 assists. Not bad for a debut season. With a World Cup triumph and a further quality addition in Alexis Sanchez to link up with, expect Ozil to go from strength to strength.

 

Gareth Bale – Tottenham to Real Madrid (2013)

After a long and protracted transfer saga, Gareth Bale secured a world-record transfer to Real Madrid, with the Spanish Giants paying a fee believed to be in the region of £80-90m – the highest ever paid for a player by a football club.

Flop or not – Not

Bale’s arrival at The Bernabeu was expected to unnerve Cristiano Ronaldo, after arriving for a world record fee. However, the pair have built up a formidable partnership on the pitch and although Bale can’t currently match Ronaldo’s goals to games ratio, the Welshman still has 16 goals in 29 appearances. His blistering pace and power frighten the world’s best defences and he illustrated this with his cup-winning goal against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final. 

 

*For more stats and analysis download the Football Coupon app for iOS and Android HERE.  

Leicester v Arsenal Preview

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Arsenal showed their resilience last week after coming from behind to snatch a point at Goodison Park, while Leicester battled at Stamford Bridge to no avail. Can The Foxes spring a surprise this weekend?

Leicester’s opening home match was an exciting affair, as they fought back twice to earn a draw 2-2 against Everton.

It is the type of determination they will need if they are to survive in the top flight, particularly as they have one of the worst possession stats, averaging just 37%. However, that may have something to do with the quality of opposition they have faced in their first two games.

They followed up their draw against Everton with a defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Although, this could have ended differently had David Nugent took a glorious opportunity when the game was at 0-0. The type of chances you just can not afford to miss at this level.

This showed that Leicester will create chances, even against the top teams. They have been evenly balanced in their first two games with 43% of their attacks coming from both the left and right hand side of the pitch, while they like to control the game in midfield with 43% of their ball retention coming from the middle of the pitch.

Esteban Cambiasso has been brought in by Nigel Pearson this week to add some steel to their midfield and help protect their defence. They will certainly need protecting from the attacking prowess of Arsenal.

As expected, The Gunners have the best possession stats in the league, averaging 65.1%, while they also have the second best passing accuracy, averaging 86.6%. The Foxes will certainly have to work hard to regain possession of the ball and be sure to use it well once they do.

Arsenal have had to battle in both of their opening fixtures, firstly relying on a Aaron Ramsey stoppage time winner to squeeze past Crystal Palace before pegging back Everton in the last 10 minutes to earn a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.

They will be missing Olivier Giroud, who is expected to be out for 3-4 months with a foot injury. It is a big blow for Arsene Wenger’s side as he has been involved in 25 league goals since the start of last season.

The Gunners will be hoping Aaron Ramsey can come to the fore once more. The Welshman has five goals in his last six appearances.

Arsenal have won just three of their last nine Premier League games, this could prove to be a tricky trip on the road.

Head-to-head: 

Leicester won their first ever Premier League home match against Arsenal, but Arsenal are undefeated in their last eight games against The Foxes in all competitions.

Prediction: Arsenal win – best odds here 

Arsenal are undefeated in their last seven matches in the Premier League and we can’t see Leicester causing any upsets, even though they will run the Gunners close. The Gunners will be relying on Sanchez to replace the goals and assists provided from Giroud.

Money maker: BTTS + Result – best odds here 

Arsenal have been fragile at the back, while Leicester scored two goals from three shots on target against Everton. Arsenal have scored at least two goals in six of their last seven Premier League matches.