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Man City start another Premier League season as hot favourites and it is hard to see them being beaten with question marks against their traditional rivals. Liverpool are the most settled of their rivals with Klopp in charge and their victory in the Champions League. However, their forwards have been busy in the Summer and they may struggle to play to the same level this season. Spurs failed to turn up in the CL final and would have been lucky winners after 13 defeats during the PL season. Pochettino seems unsettled and I feel they may not have as good a season as their fans are hoping. Man Utd and Chelsea have managers who lack experience at this level. Chelsea have a ban on players as well. Ole seems to have the more difficult task as Man Utd are a massive institution and there will be people at Old Trafford behind every door with a knife in hand. Lampard may be given more time and has a lot of young players who will be hungry to make their name and be a success. I like both as individuals and I hope they can make a success of their roles. Arsenal have signed Pepe for a record fee and there is nothing wrong with the Gunners as an attacking force. However, I was hoping for a few defensive signings, as Arsenal are poor in that department. Hoping for the best. Wolves did as well as I expected last season and should have another solid year. Everton will another team to look out for with Silva still in charge. The most interesting of the rest is Leicester City who seem an ambitious club and have Brendan Rogers in charge. West Ham seem destined to beat some of the top 6 when in the mood. Newcastle have lost Rafa and have a Toon Army fan, Steve Bruce, as manager. Plenty of drama there again this season. I can't remember the last time teams like Arsenal and Man Utd were such big prices for the PL. It will be interesting to see how they get on. I hope ye all enjoy the season and your teams play some entertaining football.
France is the venue for this years European Football Championships, and the French are usually good at organising this type of event. However, there is a lot of public strife in France at the moment so it may not be as good as usual. The weather is very strange for this time of year and the threat of terrorism is in the background as well. At least the food and drink will be top class and French women are hard to beat if you are lucky enough to meet one. There are 24 teams qualified for the finals and only 8 lose out in the the first round of matches. This makes it very difficult to work out a path to the final for the team you may fancy. It may be best to watch the first round and then start betting, if that is your thing. The new format brings a wider interest into the tournament and seems a good idea, but the tournament really starts in the round of 16. Spain are going for a hat-trick of wins and may be hard to beat again. Their players are playing for all the top teams in Europe. Some of their best players, like Xavi and Alonso, have retired from International football and I will look elsewhere this time. Germany are the World Champions and usually are in the shake-up. Still, it’s a long time since they won in Euro 96 in England. They seem to be having a hangover from their win in Brazil and are a short price. I think Philip Lahm is a brilliant full back and he has retired from International football as well. France are the team all the money has been for so far. Didier Deschamps has left out some top players to focus on a team ethic. He still has some of the best players at the tournament in Pogba and Griezmann and France are likely to be in the hunt. Deschamps has a great record as a player and manager and his no nonsense approach may pay dividends. Belgium are a team with lots of star talent. They disappointed in the World Cup, but are a young team and may have learned from the experience. De Bruyne and Hazard are star players and it’s a shame that Kompany is injured. Poland have the excellent Lewandoski, and looked good in qualifying. They might be worth a few wagers along the way. England have a good young team, but I’m not convinced that Hodgson will use them in the correct way. Still, it looks like they picked the opposition themselves for the group stage so will get to the last 16 at worst. Croatia are another team with some top players like Modric and Rakatic who are stars at Real and Barcelona. I might have a small each-way bet on them. Of the other teams, Northern Ireland did great in qualifying, Wales have Bale, and the Republic of Ireland got through a Group of Death in qualifying. Italy won a World Cup when I tipped them on here, but look a bit below par at the moment. There is plenty of support for Austria as well. I like value for money when I have a bet so have decided to have a small punt on Belgium at 11/1. It may be better to wait for the end of the first round before having a bet as I don’t think the prices will alter that much at that stage. Some teams tend to look good early on and then falter, so watch out for that. Italy are a great tournament team so may struggle in the early stages and improve after that. I hope you all enjoy Euro 16 and that the event completes without any bad things happening. Good Luck. Bon Chance.
Hi, The World Cup is in a very glamorous setting this year, Brazil. I’m sure some on here find Brazilian women almost as hot as our Thai ladies so there are a few reasons to go if one has the money and the time. However, it’s a dangerous country, especially if you are a “rich” falang so be careful of the muggers and the famous ladyboys! Unless ladyboys is your thing, of course. Tim Vickery, who knows more about South America than I do, says that Uruguay and Belgium have a good draw as regards the weather. Both look good enough to qualify out of the group stages so. On the same subject he says Italy and Germany have a bad schedule. Germany disappointed me in the Euros and with this information I have to discount them in this tournament as well. Italy was my greatest success on here when I tipped them to win at 12/1. England have picked some good young players and I hope they are played. This can only be seen as a preparation for the European Championships and Roy Hodgson has plenty of experience with Switzerland in these events so they should do ok without setting the world on fire. France are another team who seem to be getting ready for the next European Championships which are on home soil. They have a nice looking squad and will gain some vital experience. Franck Ribery, one of the best in the World in my opinion, is injured and out of the tournament which is a shame. Spain, the defending champions, and my selection last time, seem to have a fair chance of defending their crown. If you look at their team its hard to see any weaknesses in it and they have experience of winning the big ones at club and International level. I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Spain. Belgium are a team who seem to have a great crop of young players at the moment. In Hazard and Lukaku they have two great offensive players and have Kompany marshalling their defence, I expect them to perform with credit. As a gambler I’m contrarian by nature so have to oppose Brazil. I think they are over hyped and the team has changed since their glory days. The players seem to be more focused on personal wealth than doing it for the country, a bit like the African teams like Ivory Coast. Brazil seem to have the greatest strength in depth if one counts the top 100 players in a country. Great players, like Deco and Eduardo, decided to play for other countries as it is so hard to get into the Brazilian team. Costa is the first player who would have been chosen but has decided to play for Spain. Columbia and Chile seem to be fancied to do well by most pundits. Columbia have the ex Argentinean manager, Pekerman, as their leader and that should be a plus for them. Falcao, the best finisher in the world in my opinion, is out injured and that puts me off them. Chile are likely to meet Brazil in the round of 16. Enough said ! Uruguay are waiting on Suarez who is injured and if he comes back fit and well Uruguay will be hard to beat in their group. Having lost Falcao from the tournament it would be a shame if we lost another of the greats from the finals. Russia have a home grown team and I know little about them. They have the excellent Capello as manager however and should at least get to the round of 16. USA have drawn the Group of Death, and I have no words of comfort for our American cousins I’m afraid. Argentina have two of my favourite players, Kun Aquero and Messi, in their team. I don’t think their defence is as bad as many suggest it is. A team with those two, plus the bustling Higuain and the fast, hardworking De Maria, who has had a great season with Real in Spain, are difficult to oppose and they are my selection for the World Cup this time around. Good luck if you have a bet. In England I find Bet 365 to be the best bookmaker to deal with. Paddy Power seem to be pretty good as well, for most people, but I’ve had some bad experience with them. Most people like them, however. I find William Hill have the best betting slips if you are having a small bet in a betting shop. Bon Chance!