Making a Case for Belgium at the World Cup

It is a curious thing that fans, pundits and bookmakers cannot agree on an outright favourite for the World Cup. Normally there is one candidate, for example Spain in 2010 or Argentina in 2014, who seem to demand all the attention in the run up to the tournament. They may not always win, but they drive the narrative before and, sometimes, during the tournament.

That does not seem to be the case this year, even though we are mere months away from the tournament kicking off in Moscow on 14th June. A lack of a standout candidate does not mean there is a lack of quality however, because, in fact, the opposite is true this year. Perhaps seven or eight teams are regarded as having a serious chance of winning.

The current betting odds for the favourites look like this:

Team Odds
Germany 9/2
Brazil 5/1
France 11/2
Spain 7/1
Argentina 8/1
Belgium 12/1
England 16/1

The above odds are supplied by William Hill and is pretty much representative of all major bookmakers at the moment. However, you can follow the link to get the latest William Hill UK betting offers for football and other sports to get even more value for your bets.

Belgium’s Golden Generation Ready to Shine

For many punters, the most eye-catching name on the list above will undoubtedly be Belgium. Why is a team, so packed with talent, available at odds of double figures to win the World Cup? Yes, Belgium have rarely succeeded in going deep in a tournament (their best finish was 4th in 1986), but they have arguably assembled one of the best squads in world football. Is 12/1 really a reflection of their chances? Should they be behind an Argentina side that limped through qualifying?

Indeed, one of the most important factors for any team going into any major tournament is to have top players in form. Can any of the teams priced lower than Belgium boast three players playing at the very top of their game like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens? De Bruyne, in particular, seems to be having the season of a lifetime, demonstrating week after week that he is arguably Europe’s most complete midfielder.

kdb-belgium

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Experience Key to Success in Major Tournaments

Another thing to note is that this Belgium squad is packed full of experience players, many having come through the ranks of youth football together. Courtois, Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku, Vertonghen and Alderweireld make up the backbone of the team: All have over 50 caps, and only Vertonghen is over 28-years-old.

To give this all a bit of balance, there are some reasons to doubt Belgium’s credentials. For example, many Everton fans would testify that their former manager, and current Belgium coach, Roberto Martinez has difficulty with defensive organisation. Conceding three goals in games recently to Mexico, Bosnia and Russia, has only served to fuel these doubts.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Still, in saying that, Belgium are unbeaten since September 2016 (a 2-0 friendly loss to Spain) and there seems to be a wonderful camaraderie and spirit surrounding the squad. Overall, you may argue that France and Spain have the deeper talent pools, whereas Germany and Brazil have the most cohesive style of play. However, it is perhaps Belgium that has the most balance in both of those factors. For that reason, that price of 12/1 seems like a bargain.

 

Liverpool vs Porto, an Easy Win for the English Side?

lfc

The Champions League will resume with the direct elimination stage during the second week of February. Liverpool will visit Porto, the first comes with the second best goals scored in the group stages with 23 in total while Porto conceded 10 by getting hammered in a couple of games and qualified second in their group.

Historically, Liverpool has managed a slight advantage against Porto with two draws playing away in Portugal and 2 wins as locals. This first match will be their away game but there are reasons to believe this time they will win.

lfc v porto

The Porto team that Liverpool faced over 10 years ago was a strong solid club with super stars in their squad. This season the team is reaching a low with a weak defense and depending too much in one or two players. Vincent Aboubakar is a great striker with 5 goals to his name of the total 15 scored so far. But another key player, Danilo, has been recently injured during the semifinals of the domestic league against Benfica. Danilo will be out for almost a month and will not be present for the first Champions League clash.

Add to that losing the semifinal in penalty kicks against their arch-rivals, Porto’s mood and confidence must be through the floor right now.

On the other hand Liverpool isn’t doing so great either, but finds itself in a better shape. They recently lost to Swansey in the Premier League, a surprising outcome that does not relate to the powerful game playing they have shown in the international arena. But that has been the constant for Liverpool all season, reserving their best performance for the Champion’s and being a bit too careless in the local league. Checkout their latest Premier League outright odds available at Williamhill.

Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all conform a powerful attack that can easily overcome Porto’s flailing defense. The key in the away game will be ball possession and exploiting the stress and public pressure over their rival. It is expected for Porto to play furiously which can lead to erratic play. If Liverpool can exploit this instead of getting affected by the distress, they can take an easy 0-1 or 0-2 win home.

Liverpool is also in the midst of adding new players to their squad, with Trent Alexander Arnold and Ragnar Klavan joining the club in the following days. Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno are both injured and could be out for the away game. Dominic Solanke and Mohamen Salah are recovered and will be joining the main team in domestic clashes very soon. Roberto Firmino is expected to be rested for domestic clashes to preserve him for the Champion’s game.

Punters predict an easy Liverpool win in the away game, despite having no history of doing so. Some are even recommending the 2.5 totals score, but we remain cautious. Trends tell us Liverpool is sloppy at this stage of an international tournament, they will not want to risk too much. On the other hand Porto will play with all they have in what could the second last game of the season for them. There will be a lot of pressure from fans, media and manager to win the match. Liverpool must know this and will likely hold back most of their players while they test their rival’s strength.

A draw is the most likely outcome with an Under score of 2.5. If you think Liverpool can manage a win, then go for a minimum one goal correct score.

What Next for Manchester United

Whilst many fans were skeptical about the deal that brought former Arsenal player Alexi Sanchez to the club, after the performance on Friday albeit against Yoevil Town any doubts the fans had were quickly squashed.

Manchester United have gone out and purchased one of the best players in the world on a free deal. The swap between players has partly funded the deal.

Make no mistakes about this, if Manchester United want to catch league leaders Manchester City then they have to go and invest in players, just like they have done. The last thing that any football fan wants is for one particular team to win everything and do so with relative ease. Man City, under Pep Guardiola are going from strength to strength and with this the club of United had to act. With this signing this brings them another world class player to compete for the club.

We are looking forward to the upcoming season and in particular the Manchester Derby which takes place in April. Let’s hope we get a good finish and it be closer than is currently the case.

Both Manchester United and  Manchester City are still in the FA Cup and will hope to progress further after the draw is made after the round.

The deal made Alexis Sanchez one of the top 10 most expensive players for wages in the world.

Highest Paid Footballers in World Football

messi-lionel

After much speculation and many twists and turns, former Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez signed for Manchester United in a deal reportedly worth over £180 million for a 4 1/2 year contract. With so much money in world football, this week E-Soccer.com looks at the highest paid footballers in World Football. All figures by Marca are salaries after deductions, excluding personal sponsorship deals.  Here are the top 10.

#10 Graziano Pelle (Shandong Luneng)

For players looking for a big pay day then China is the destination. The Chinese team currently pay Graziano Pelle a reported £300,000 per week for his services, not bad for a player on less than 25% in the Premier League.

#9 Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

When the Frenchman returned to the Red Devils for a record of £100, the contract he signed ensures her earns in the region of £15.4 million per year making him one of the highest in the Premier League.

#8 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

mbappe

When Monaco let striker Kylian Mbappe leave on loan to PSG many people were surprised. The French teenager us the youngest player on the list, earning an estimated £15.9 million per year.

#7 Hulk (Shanghai SIPG)

When Brazilian striker joined Chinese team Shanghai SIPG for a £45 million fee in 2016 the transfer broke records. Currently playing for an estimated annual income of £17.6 million.

#6 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

A surprise at number 6 is arguably the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Currently earning £18.5 million per year this will certainly increase soon when he wants to be paid the same as those above him on the list. Not only does the 2 time world player of the year bring goals he also brings commercial value like no other.

For those fans that like offshore betting then there are several websites which specialise in this service.  Here are the top 5 highest players in the world and the first 2 are to be sure to be surprise.

#5 Ezequiel Lavezzi (Hebei China)

Another player chasing the finance is Argentinian Lavezzi, currently commanding a pay check of £20.3 million per year. This is a lot of money especially for a player not guaranteed to start for his country.

#4 Oscar (Shanghai SIPG)

oscar

At the peak of his career, Chelsea player Oscar became one of the first players to leave in a big money deal. Currently earning £21 million per year the Brazilian midfielder comes in at number 4. The owners won’t be too impressed with him, he received an 8 match ban for starting a brawl.

#3 Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United)

As state above, the new contract that Alexis Sanchez signed this week for Manchester United takes him to the number 3 position on highest paid players in world football at £23.4 million per year. 

#2 Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

neymar

When the striker broke all records when he moved from FC Barcelona to PSG, he signed a contract worth a staggering £31.7 million per year. 

#1 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

The Argentine is now reportedly earning more than £40 million per year playing at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. The Catalan team are paying for arguably the best player in the world and Messi understands that he can command these wages at any club he chooses.

 

What do you think of the salaries? Whilst the best 3 players in the world are in the top 10 (Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo) there are many players not on the list with more skill than the others. With this we expect the table to change when player’s agents demand more and want them to be on par with the rest.

Hopefully fans get value or money and this doesn’t result in higher ticket prices for the matches. Remember to keep up with your football news here at E-Soccer.com

The Transfer Battle for Alexis Sanchez

alexis sanchez

Whilst we are still waiting on confirmation, media outlets and sources in both London and Manchester are reporting that Manchester United are on the verge of signing Chile International striker Alexis Sanchez in deal expected to be worth £180 million.

As the contract for Sanchez expires in July, Arsenal are keen to receive a transfer fee back for the striker that will get into most world football teams. If the striker remains at the club and doesn’t sign the contract then Arsenal will not receive anything.

The fee being touted around is anywhere from £20 million to £35 million of which Arsenal can use this in their pursuit of other players.

Transfer Deal Breakdown

The striker will reportedly sign a four-and-a-half-year contract which will net him £14 million per year after tax making him one other handful of players earning such amount.

Pretax payments of just under £27m a year added to the signing on fee of nearly £20 million and nearly £10 million for the agent fee.

What is the Delay?

Arsenal are not only keen to get a financial compesation for the player but also get a squad player in return, namely Henrikh Mkhitarayn.

Why not Manchester City

Only five months on transfer deadline day Alexis Sanchez was on the verge of leaving Arsenal and reuniting with former manager Pep Guardiola. With this it was a major surprise when Manchester City pulled out of the race for his signature. Why?

guardiola

Whilst it has not been announced why, it appears that even though Arsenal and Manchester City couldn’t agree on a price they were close to a deal. Whether or not the agent decided to go and tout the player to Manchester United remains to be seen but from not being involved to being favourites overnight was surprising.

Manchester City determined that they had a fee in mind and are not prepared to tay away from it.

The major winner in this battle for Alexis’ signature is the Agent who as stated above could be pocketing over £10 million for his part in negotiations. What are your thoughts on this whole deal.

The website BestOnlineSportsbook.info are following the transfer closely and keeping up to do with the market prices.

Maybe Manchester City are being intelligent in this whole deal knowing that every time they sign a player and increase the wage structure this means that all the other stars will want a similar deal. Whilst Alexis Sanchez is a great player will he take the place of Aguero, Sane, Jesus, etc all of whom are ensuring that Man City are on course to win several trophies this year, including the Premier League.

Chelsea are also in the hunt but whether they will match the offer of Manchester United remains to be seen. There may be time for one more twist in this transfer story.

Neymar Jeered by Paris St-Germain Fans

psg

The world record for a transfer was via PSG when they paid over £200,000,000 for Brazilian striker Neymar.

However last night in the league match the fans in Paris jeered the striker for what they see as denying Edinson Cavani the chance to become the club’s all-time top scorer.

The current record is held by fan favourite Zlatan Ibrahimovic with 156 goals, however Cavani is level exactly. With PSG winning the game 4-0 and even though Neymar had already scored a hat-trick he decided to take the spot kick. The Parisian team went on to win the match 8-0.

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If Cavani had scored he would have over taken Zlatan and be in the record books. Whilst he will eventually break it, probably in the next game the home fans were not happy.

Coach of PSG Unai Emery defended him after the incident:

“I think Neymar took the penalty because it was also a good day for him, we’re happy with it. But there will be lots more chances for Cavani to score more goals

However, team-mate and defender Thomas Meunier described what Neymar did was

a bit of a shame and a bit ungrateful, he could have given him the ball, it would have been a nice gesture of fair play, he did so much for the team today and the fact that the fans are whistling at him, well he didn’t take it very well. I think most players would have had the same reaction.

It will remain to be seen how the media and fans treat Neymar when they play against rivals Lyon on Sunday but given his man of the match performances we expect this incident to move on quickly.

Can PSG Progress in European Football?

Whilst PSG have some of the best players in the world, the French Ligue is not as competitive as the Premier League or Spanish La Liga. With this they win comfortably most games and therefore when they don’t win 4-0 it is a surprise. They are currently leading the table by 11 points, with the closest team being Lyon.

With the team winning 8 consective games, scoring over 30 goals only conceding half a dozen.

The test that the French champions now have is whether they can replicate this form into European Football. When they face the top teams will they increase their level. The Champions League starts again in February and Paris have been given one of the hardest tests available, Real Madrid. This is the standout tie of the round and will be watched by millions of fans around the world.

The other draws in the next round of the Champions League are:

Juventus (ITA) v Tottenham (ENG)
Basel (SUI) v Man. City (ENG)
Porto (POR) v Liverpool (ENG)
Sevilla (ESP) v Man. United (ENG)
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Roma (ITA)
Chelsea (ENG) v Barcelona (ESP)
Bayern (GER) v Beşiktaş (TUR)

 

Most Expensive Transfers in World Football

neymar

With the transfer window open again, it is a great time for teams wanting to add to their squad, not so much for teams not wanting to lose their best players. Just when we thought that teams are paying extremely high amounts for one player then we get even more surprised.

E-Soccer have decided to look into the top 10 most expensive football transfers in world football.

Luis Suarez

Three years ago Luis Suarez was signed by FC Barcelona for a record at the time of €82 euros. Whilst Liverpool didn’t really want to let him go, he nearly won them the Premier League for the first time in over 20 years, the price and player ensured the deal went through.

Virgil van Dijk

virgil

The latest addition to the top 10 is Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk. Moving from Liverpool for a reported £75 million, this breaks the world record for a defender. A big reason Liverpool paid so much is because the cost they received for their striker, see number 2.

Romelo Lukaku

Whenever Manchester United have to pay for a footballer they always seem to pay a premium, this time they paid nearly £80 million for Belgium striker Romelo Lukaku. This is a transfer at the right time for the player because 5 years ago he was still as good yet worth less than half the amount. Remember BetNow Sportsbook Odds offer all the listings for all of these players and teams.

Gonzalo Higuain

A cult hero at Napoli, the Argentian striker moved to Juventus which upset many fans. They received £85 million for him to leave but it wasn’t an amicable leave. Don’t expect him to be welcome back at the club where he was once adored.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The best player in the world comes in at a low 6. At the time to move to Real Madrid from Manchester United was a world record, now it seems cheap. The £86 million move surely won’t be his last major transfer.

Gareth Bale

Real Madrid once again broke their own record by signing Welsh Winger Gareth Bale from Tottenham for in excess of £90 million. Whilst at first this seemed over priced, the quality that he brings makes him good value.

Paul Pogba

pogba

Manchester United smashed the record by signing French midfielder for £100. The crazy thing about this, Paul Pogba was a Manchester United player and raised through their academy.

Ousmane Dembele

If there is a player on the list that surprised everyone it is Dembele. FC Barcelona paid over £100 million for the 20 year old player. They must have some belief in this player and expect him to perform.

Philippe Coutinho

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A move which was always on the cards, however Liverpool managed to get over £145 million for a player that cost them £12 million just 5 years ago.  This is the newest addition to the list and sits at the mid point of number 1 and 3.

Neymar

The crazy headline about this, FC Barcelona still didn’t want to sell him at £200 million. The only reason he was allowed to leave was due to the contract clause. Paris Saint Germain with the backing of a country are one of only a handful of clubs that could afford the player. The question now is will they will the Champions League.

Theo Walcott on Verge of Move

walcott

walcott

Arsenal are busy this transfer window, with the next player on the way out looking to be Theo Walcott.

The English striker is currently having a medical at Everton before a reported £20 million move. The Toffees have a strict medical and therefore the move depends much on this with Walcott having suffered many (not so serious) injuries before.

Whilst Theo Walcott is still only 28, he has played nearly 400 games for the North London club, joining from Southampton 12 years ago.  This could be a great addition to the Merseyside club as he has scored over 100 goals, all of which from free play.

The fee, whilst large can be seen as a bargain by many if he manages to gain his form that he has shown many times in the past. The other teams looking to sign him are his former club Southampton.

Allardyce has said Walcott would be a “fantastic addition” who would offer “goalscoring threat”.

Theo Walcott has been around in the Premier League for 12 years and made the headlines when he was included in the World Cup when he was just 16 years old. Whilst he didn’t play in the tournament many feel that this was too early in his career.

This season the England International has been used for less minutes than ever before and therefore a move is required for him to gather his form if he wants to go to the Russia World Cup.

I don’t know where I would play him until we get the deal done. When that deal’s done, I can have that conversation.

I see him playing anywhere across the front three but I’m presuming if he’s not comfortable with that, then he will tell us and it won’t happen. That’s if we can get that far.

I hope we can do it in the next week or two because I think we are still waiting for catch-up on Yannick Bolasie and James McCarthy.

They have both been out more than 12 months, so they aren’t quite as good as we know they can be but they will get better. – Sam Allardyce – Everton Manager

alexis

With a deal of just 18 months remaining on his contract, the Arsenal board will want to see them get as much money as possible rather than him leave for less than value as is happening with Alexis Sanchez.

The deal for the Chilean forward is getting more interested each day and the odds are ever changing. The advantages of online betting is that within minutes the odds can change and bets can be made.

Arsenal are looking to reinvest any money from the sales with Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bordeaux forward Malcom top of the list.
The Gooners have become frustrated recently losing last week to Bournemouth away from home 2-1.

Premier League Headlines So Far This Year

The year in the English Premier League is off to an exciting start with a few different twists and turns already happening. We have decided to give you a brief summary of the major headlines from the EPL in the past couple of weeks.

Phillipe Coutinho to FC Barcelona

coutinho

Whilst this transfer was already spoken about since last summer, the deal finally got completed as soon as the transfer window re-opened. With the transfer costing FC Barcelona nearly £142 million , this became the second highest in history, after Neymar went to PSG. Liverpool are already chasing a replacement striker with several big names being mentioned. This was great business for Liverpool.

Liverpool sign Virgil van Dijk

virgil

Immediately after the release of Coutinho to Barcelona, Liverpool FC were quick to break the transfer record for a defender, paying £75 million for Virgil van Dijk. This was an immediate sign of intent from the football club reinvesting some of the cash within a week of receiving it. The former Southampton defender scored against Everton on his debut and is playing excellently so far.

Manchester City Losing

This normally wouldn’t be a headline but when a team so dominant this year lose, it is big news. Their game against Liverpool at Anfield resulted in a 4-3 win for Juergen Klopp’s team.

Whilst Man City remain leaders by a long way, Pep Guardiola will be certain to try and not let this defeat affect the team. Should they lose another game or 2 in January and the other teams can capitalise then the race for the Premier League will open back up. Manchester City are odds on favourite to win the league.  For those interested in playing online then www.casinosverige.me is a great Swedish website.

Alexis Sanchez to Leave Arsenal

sanchez

At the time of writing it is unclear the destination but Alexis Sanchez is set to leave Arsenal after just 3 years at the club. With the contract of the Chilean footballer set to expire in the summer, Arsenal are keen to get a transfer fee for him, otherwise they will lose out completely. The fee is expected to between £20 million and £35 million.

Both Manchester City and Manchester United are favourites to secure the signature of the player but wages and agent demands are currently holding the deal. Manchester City were favourites to land the striker but reports suggests they will not fold to the high demands. Arsenal have responded by leaving the striker out of the team and are reportedly speaking withwith Borussia Dortmund over a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to the Telegraph .

 

 

The Premier League So Far

The English Premier League (EPL) is the most watched football league in the world. Each week millions of people tune in a watch their favourite teams play. This season has been particularly interesting with many teams having stop start performances, however Manchester City are leading the way and do look like winning the Premier League trophy months before the final match.

The only team looking like they can stop the team is Manchester United, however even under the management of Jose Mourinho it will be a difficult task. At the time of writing, Manchester United remain 13 points behind Man City and this will be the biggest comeback in Premier League history should they turn it around.

pep-v-jose

Stevenage FC Blog BoroGuide produced an article which detailed where each and every Premier League player is from. The article focused on the statistics of the players. Interestingly enough the small town of Bacup in Lancashire produces the most players per population, however based on the trophies won, Stevenage leads the way. With players Ashley Young and Wiltshire being born in the city Boro Guide give a good analysis of their respective careers.

With Liverpool and Arsenal both competing for the other 2 spots for the Champions League, 2018 should be an exciting and interesting year for the Premier League. With Manchester United getting beat at Bristol Rovers, they have the league and Europe to concentrate on. Meanwhile Manchester City remain in all tournaments and cups, meaning they still have a chance of winning all trophies, never before completed by an English team.

Ashley Young, Stevenage Born.

If Manchester United have any chance or opportunity of catching up with the city rivals they must first win all their games. Over the past few weeks the team have dropped too many points and Manchester City have capitalised. There will come a time when Manchester City will lose points, it just needs to be during a time when Man United win their games.

With players such as Paul Pogba returning from suspension, the chances remain small but if any team can complete the turnaround then it is the red half of Manchester. Pundits already have stated that The Cityzens are playing the best football ever in the league and often refer to the Barcelona team under Pep Guardiola whom won every cup possible.
Are they really as good as that team? Well we certainly think so, the only way to see is to keep watching the league.

In other news Harry Kane is being linked to Europe’s top teams having smashed all records for goals scored this year. Kane, currently the lead striker for Tottenham Hotspur is scoring more than ever before and Real Madrid look like number 1 in the race to sign him. We expect the fee to be in excess of £150 million to secure the Englishman’s services. Is he worth it?

Who are your favourites for the League this year?

A great article E-Soccer.com published was:

7 Surprising Facts About The 2017/18 Premier League Season So Far.

This article had more shares and social media engagement than any other we produced. Remember to reach out to us if you would like to work with us.

 

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