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Premier League Predictions



Premier League Predictions is a free to play prediction game based on the Premier League. Test your football knowledge against your friends and the world!



Updated: 2014-10-31T15:47:56Z

 



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Remy to Arsenal or Liverpool

2014-10-31T15:47:56Z

With 14 goals and 3 assists in 24 league starts on loan at Newcastle last season, QPR striker Loic Remy sits on a pretty short list of front men that have proven their Premier League class and may be available at something close to a reasonable price. So is he heading to Arsenal or Liverpool this summer? With 14 goals and 3 assists in 24 league starts on loan at Newcastle last season, QPR striker Loic Remy sits on a pretty short list of front men that have proven their Premier League class and may be available at something close to a reasonable price. So is he heading to Arsenal or Liverpool this summer? Remy: Truth: 45% The stories on a potential move to The Emirates or Anfield have gathered pace over the past few days, the idea being that his current club QPR would be too small to sustain his desires, even if they are promoted back to the Premier League. With a healthy return of goals from somewhat limited game time, Remy has established himself as the pacey, lethal front man who could fit in at any top side so a move somewhere seems immanent. Arsenal's Invite There are a couple of reasons why he is being linked to Arsenal, and some even make sense. Staying in London is something Remy is probably keen on and with Wenger at the Emirates, Remy would effectively be in a little France just a couple of hours from Paris. Of course Wenger has a penchant for signing players from his home land and Remy possesses something Arsenal lacked most of last season. He has genuine pace and the ability to run in behind players. If Arsenal had had one or two more players like that in 2013/14 the title may well have been within reach and it's been well publicised that Wenger desperately needs to strengthen his attacking options and rid himself of having a Champions League team whose embarrassing plan "B" is Yaya Sonogo. In that sense Remy ticks a lot of boxes and would be available for a good price without extortionate wages. Sadly, little of this is currently fueling the speculation. The main basis of most of the stories, iuncluding the source story in the Daily Mail fall back on the dubious, unquoted and unnamed "source close to the player". The extra comical bait on the hook is that Remy was seen in Bicary Sagna's box at The Emirates during Arsenal's last game of the season. This part of the story is a fact, the images were shown in live TV, but to say this means he will be signing for Arsenal is a presumptuous to say the least. Even when Wenger was directly questioned about it he said: I hope he paid for his ticket! I did not invite him. There is absolutely nothing you can read in to Wenger's comment, the Arsenal manager has never been forthcoming about his transfer targets. Despite the fact that much of the latest reporting of this story is based on the teeniest scraps of logical leap lunacy, it is possible to make a very strong case as to why Wenger should be looking very seriously at Remy. Liverpool Lure If there is one department where Liverpool were definitely not lacking last season, it was in attack. Suarez and Sturridge were the 1st and 2nd place top scorers in the Premier League with Sterling and others adding extra power in the flanks of Rodger's 3 pronged attack. With Borini set to return from his loan spell it would be sensible to think Rodgers will be spending his time focusing defenders or maybe an out and out winger. Whilst adding quality like Remy to the squad would be welcome, he probably would be wise not to put himself in a situation where he has three top strikers all capable of operating in the wide positions, but all of whom would rather be playing center forward, especially when they could all be the high maintenance kind. An out and out winger would be a much more useful addition to his squad. With no comment from Anfield we can only say that a player like Remy should not be a top priority for Rodgers' unless Suarez is really on his way out. Truth-o-meter The reemergence of this story is based on little more than a need to write headlines. Having said that, signing Remy would make a huge deal of [...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Hazard to PSG

2014-05-22T06:40:00Z

With the world cup around the corner movements in the transfer market have stalled a little, leaving the rumour mongers with little to feast on, in the game of desperate straw clutching the possibility of Chelsea top scorer Eden Hazard moving to PSG in a £50m move has started doing the rounds.With the world cup around the corner movements in the transfer market have stalled, leaving the rumour mongers with little to feast on. In the game of desperate straw clutching, the possibility of Chelsea top scorer Eden Hazard moving to PSG in a £50m move has started doing the rounds. Hazard: Truth: 20% Hazard is one of the hottest properties in Europe, and one of the Chelsea clan that was able to adapt his already impressive game to suit Mourinho's arrival, but the whispers winding up this little cuckoo clock come from the notion that Hazard would happier hitting teams where it hurts instead of being asked to do his bit at the back, and there may be a teeny bit of reasonable logic behind them. All By Myself The core of the rumours around Hazard's exit stem back to some old words spoken by the Belgian shortly after Chelsea's champions league exit, where he made what could be interpreted as a scathing attack on Mourinho's tactics: Chelsea are not made to play football. We are good on the counter-attack, a bit like Real against Bayern Munich. Often, I’m asked to do it all by myself and it’s not easy. This comment is the route of all the speculation, and it has been suggested that it lead to a bust up between the two, although there is no evidence to back this up. Mourinho was directly questioned about Hazard's comment and dismissed it as being taken out of context: As far as I am concerned, he was reported as being critical, but there was nothing critical in what he said...there is nothing there. Mourinho did go on to say something that has then been crafted in to a rift, but we don't see it like that, you can read the quote reported in the Daily Mirror and judge for yourself: Eden is the kind of player who is not so mentally ready to look back at his left-back and lay down his life for him. Now this might suggest that Mourinho expects more from Hazard, which would be a little unkind, and if you were really creative you could suggest that Hazard is an attacking midfielder being shoved in to a role that doesn't make use of his best assets. Failing to do that is exactly what cost Juan Mata his Chelsea place so Hazard could go the same way, but any manager would be a fool to let a player of that quality leave but then again you could say the same of Mata. No Role for Eden Hazard appears to feel that Chelsea's style of play under Mourinho might leave him with a little too much to do. Whilst you have to give him huge credit for adapting his game under Mourinho to make more defensive contribution whilst adding 5 more goals to his tally than he managed the previous season, the relentless requirements of his role meant that he tired later on in the season. Hazard managed no goals or assists in Chelsea's last 7 league games and had to sit 3 games out. It might then start to make sense that Hazard could fancy himself at a club that gives him a more liberal role in attack, but that's all there is to this, speculation that the Mourinho way is not the right way for him. PSG PSG are said to have made Hazard their number one target, of course they have the budget but with Financial Fair Play already kicking them hard they will be very cautious about spending the kind of money and paying the kind of wages that Hazard might demand. Whilst the French club have no permission to speak to the player, and have made no official comment any rumour linking the two is base purely on PSG having the wallet to do the deal. Truth-o-meter The dated quotes that this story is built on are speculative at best. There really is little to suggest a rift between player and manager. Like all good stories though, there is a little kernel of potential truth in there. You can well imagine that a brilliant attacking player lik[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Mandzukic to Manchester United

2014-05-21T06:40:00Z

One rumour doing the rounds at the moment is that of deadly Bayern front man Mario Mandzukic departing the German club to join Manchester United or a whole host of other top level English clubs.One rumour doing the rounds at the moment is that of deadly Bayern front man Mario Mandzukic departing the German club to join Manchester United or a whole host of other top level English clubs. Mandzukic: Truth: 50% Mandzukic his 26 goals and 10 assists in 48 appearances for the run away German champions last season. His height, strength and ariel prowess make him an ideal target man who may well be suited to the English game. So what lies behind the growing whispers that he may be on his way to old blighty? The Bust Up One thing that is known is that Mandzukic was left out of the German cup final after an apparent bust up that occurred following the 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League. In an altercation that has largely been reported after the words "allegedly" Mandzukic was apparently foolish enough to smile (mockingly!) at the manager. This is then said to have resulted in Mandzukic being left out of the squad for the cup final despite being fit and firing. Further articles have suggested that Guardiola approached Mandzukic and rather than explaining the reasons for dropping him, engaged in an eye-for-an-eye poke by wishing him good luck at his new club. This whole episode has been the cruddy corner stone of much that has been reported andie appears ludicrous. Unless the British Tabloid (the Daily Star) that "reported" this sequence of events literally has a fly on the wall of the Bayern dressing room then there is absolutely no way of substantiating this tale. even though experience tells us that there is often or kernel of truth to such stories, in this case it might well be a very small one indeed. Especially as an astute man like Guardiola knows that having more than one fantastic goal scorer at your club is critical to any success. The Lewandowski Logic There is something else though that does lend it's self well to the notion of Mandzukic moving. The Croatian has played under the considerable shadow of Robert Lewandowski all season. The German league's top scorer is out of contract in the summer it it's almost inevitable that he will be on his way to Bayern, that deal is practically done. This leaves Mandzukic in a strange position, where he could find his first team place lost to a new player even though he himself was 2nd top scorer in the league and produced 8 more goals than the only other out an out center forward at Bayern (Claudio Pizarro). You can understand why he may find a place on the bench a bitter reward for a tremendous season, and at 28, being in his prime, sitting on the bench might not be something he fancies. Especially when so many other top clubs would make him the star of their attack. If Mandzukic does move, this is far more likely to be the reason rather than some exaggerated report on an emotional tiff. Van Persie Presence The big fly in the ointment comes in the form of Robin Van Perise. If anyone else had been announced as the United manager we may well imagine the Dutchman making a move but with van Gaal in place you'd imagine his time soent working with Van Perise as national team manager would make Van Perise a firm favourite to lead the united line next season and with that in mind it becomes difficult to imagine Mandzukic leaving one Champions league subs bench ti come and sit on another. Truth-o-meter Even if Mandzukic is out of favour with Guardiola the arrival of Lewandowski does jeopardise the Croat's first time position at Bayern and he may well be considering his options. Van Gaal has made no comment on the matter but with Van Persie at United a player who wants to move for the reasons Mandzukic might want to is unlikely to hop from once bench to another so that seriously hinders any possibility of him moving to United, so whilst the chances of a move away from Bayern give this rumour a high truth rating o[...]



Transfer Truth: Top 5 Clubs Ashley Cole Might End Up At

2014-05-20T15:35:00Z

Ashley Cole's 8 Years at Chelsea are up! If the widely reported content of Cole's early hours tweets are to be believed then he has not, and will not be offered a new contact at Stamford Bridge, so where will he take his 33 year old legs next?Ashley Cole's 8 Years at Chelsea are up! If the widely reported content of Cole's early hours tweets are to be believed then he has not, and will not be offered a new contact at Stamford Bridge, so where will he take his 33 year old legs next? Cole: Truth: 85% Mourinho has preferred Azpilicueta in Cole's position all season, restricting the 107 cap England man to just 15 starts. Cole could opt to ramp his career down and accept old age as a bench warmer, but everything suggests that he believes he still has the fitness and quality to be a first 11 player at a top club, and we agree. The fuel that's helping this little fire burn hot is the tweets sent out from Cole's official twitter account last night: And now I'll be looking for another journey in my life hope it can be like my others full of fun and of course WIN something, 👍💯💯💯— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) May 20, 2014 This message, and the handful that came before it are all that has been required for Cole's Chelsea career to have come to a close. Although their late night nature, tone, and content might suggest that a drink or two was consumed before they were sent, the lack of a rebuttal from player or club in the hours that have followed makes the chances of a retraction increasingly unlikely. If Cole's late season performances are anything to go by then he still has at least a season or two of top flight football left in him so where will Ashley go to next? 1. Liverpool Jaimie Redknapp's comments to Sky Sports suggest that Liverpool would be an ideal place for him, and we tend to agree. The blame for Liverpool's title capitulation last season has been firmly, and rightly laid at the door of their defence and with Liverpool trying to re-establish themselves as regular title contenders, a player of Cole's calibre and credibility would fit the bill perfectly. It might not be a long term solution, but it would give Flanigan a season or two to mature and give Liverpool time to assess all the options. It could be even more attractive to Cole, who has had time working with Rodger's at Chelsea. Likeliness of Signing: 25% Fit at Club: 80% 2. Arsenal Kieran Gibbs is fast emerging as a very good left back, and Arsenal do have Monreal to boot, but it's fair to say neither player possesses the experience or quality of Cole. Whilst Wenger does have a reputation for signing younger players, over the years he has shown an openness to bringing old Arsenal legends back as he did with Henry and Flamini, both to great effect and there is a chance it could happen again. Likeliness of Signing: 10% Fit at Club: 70% 3. Manchester United Patrice Evra is touted to be seeking pastures new, and whilst Louis Van Gaal will be tasked with rebuilding an ageing United side, he might be tempted to use a second hand part here or there. If the pursuit for Luke Shaw falls foul the Cole could be a very good stop gap to finding fresh new talent in a position that will be left wide open if Evra departs. Likeliness of Signing: 10% Fit at Club: 80% 4. Europe Whilst official interest is almost non-existent right now, there will undoubtedly be 2 or 3 top European clubs looking closely at Cole. Real Madrid, PSG and Galatasaray have already been mentioned as the kind of Champions League clubs with reputations for paying big wages to ageing players and their bank rolls would likely provide the highest swans song to Cashley if he wanted one final pay day in the sunshine. Likeliness of Signing in Europe: 30% 5. America The MLS has become the go to destination for former European stars wanting to earn a huge pay packet to continue playing the game at a decent level well in to their advancing years. Of course that move would come with the glamour of [...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Reus to Manchester United

2014-05-20T11:28:04Z

Manchester United have finally announced Louis Van Gaal is their new manager. But even before he arrived the wheels were turning and the back pages have been full of who is on the way to Manchester to kick start the rebuilding job. So is there any truth to the invisible man of the Old Trafford dug out being on the hunt for Marco Reus?Manchester United have finally announced Louis Van Gaal is their new manager. But even before he arrived the wheels were turning and the back pages have been full of who is on the way to Manchester to kick start the rebuilding job. So is there any truth to the invisible man of the Old Trafford dug out being on the hunt for Marco Reus? Reus: Truth: 30% Reus' talents are well known to all in football circles much further afield than Germany. At 24 he has 19 caps (with 7 goals to his name), and can boast similar 1 in 2 goal scoring stats for his 124 career club games and 22 appearances in the Champions League. An excellent winger with a world class striker's goal return. He would fit the bill at any club, but is he really about to throw away guaranteed Champions League football for gamble with Luis Van Gaal? The Facts The simple fact is that Reus has denied he wants to move, and committed himself to Dortmund with what appears to be a black and white quote: It's safe to say I will be playing for Borussia Dortmund also in the 2014-15 season. Basically I do not need to stress all the time that I am feeling great being with the club. If he'd stopped there it might have been goodnight for this little rumour, but in all classic style of all footballers secretly hankering for a move on to bigger things he just couldn't help himself: As far as leaving, that is no issue for me, and I am not affected by the transfer release clause. I am now at an age where I have to take the next step up. That means in every game to give even more and to push myself to get better and better. This second part of the quote almost betrays the the overall message he intended to send out. Whilst he seems to imply that he is committed to Dortmund, he also hints that there is a step up, and it might not be at Dortmund, who stand to lose a couple of key assets this summer, including Lewandowski. Then he follows up with the magic words that all desperate clubs with deep pockets like to hear "release clause". The Release Clause Whilst Reus himself is adamant that even if his unusually reasonable release clause of €35m is met, he still wants to stay, at that kind of price his resolve may really be tested if an offer comes in that not only proved him with the opportunity to join one of the world's biggest clubs, but to also double or even treble his wages. Many a badge kisser has quickly changed their minds in the face of the sweet temptation and if a bidding war starts for his services the chances of a move could be very high. Reus cut his teeth at Borussia Mönchengladbach and with only a little over 50 senior Dortmund games under his belt it's hard to see how he might have developed the sort of attachment to Dortmund that his quote attempts to suggest. Even if his earlier years were spent in the Dortmund youth team, quotes from the time of his resigning in 2012 hint more at his desire to challenge for honours than of a truly undying love for his home town club. Truth-o-meter Reus is saying that he wants to stay, but with an alarmingly reasonable release clause in his contract it's hard not to see a few of Europe's top clubs to try and prise him away from Dortmund and with many potential suitors able to offer the stability and Champions League football that United might lack for the time being, the Manchester club could end up 3rd or 4th in a rather long queue. Even so, a club as grand as United, with a rock star manager on their books will retain most of magic that has drawn many a great player to Old Trafford, especially if that manager is given the kind of funds that will be needed to usurp their rivals in [...]



6 Reasons Why Mourinho Might be a Madman

2014-02-27T12:08:33Z

6 Reasons why Chelsea's Special One might have gone from mad genius to Madman and still win the league.6 Reasons why Chelsea's Special One might have gone from mad genius to Madman and still win the league. 1. Refusing The Title Race Mourinho has repeatedly written Chelsea out of the title race, constantly stating that they are a team in transition and therefore not in the race. This ploy might have seemed like a good way to take pressure off his players early on in the season but any team sitting on top of the league and only 11 games left to play is in the title race, regardless of what their manager covers his eyes with. The whole world can see the league table but meanwhile Mourinho is seeing something else as the veil of his mind games becomes so thin it may only be fooling himself. Will he still deny they are in the title race if Chelsea actually win the league? 2. The Spat with Wenger When Wenger validly pointed out that the reason why Mourinho and many other managers were stating they were not in the title race (despite the blindingly obvious and contradictory statement made by the humble league table), was that if you never admit to being in the race you'll never have to admit to having lost it. Mourinho spat the dummy out with his response calling his counterpart a "specialist in failure". The unbiased observer can only conclude that Mourinho lost his cool with this remark, and also lost the spat with Wenger 1-0. 3. Exiling Mata to Man United Eyebrows were raised when twice winner of the player of the year award at Chelsea was off loaded to potential (but maybe distant) future title rivals Manchester United. Whilst we can see why Mourinho couldn't fit Mata in to his new plans for his wide midfielders, it seems crazy to sell such a deadly weapon to someone who will use it against you. 4. Letting Lukaku Go Chelsea are the lowest scorers in the top 4 and at the current rate they stand to finish their season on 69 Premier League goals. Whilst that wouldn't be a historical low for the Blues, with a little more fire power they might be running away with the league right now. Which makes the loan departure of Lukaku, who bagged 17 goals and 7 assists last season, even more confusing. 5. Outcasting Ashley Cole Before Mourinho arrived, Cole was, and probably still is, regarded as one of the best left backs in the world. With Chelsea keeping 3 clean sheets in their first 5 games Cole suddenly lost favour. Azpilicueta has played well in his place but there is something very confusing about ditching one of your best assets in order to shove a natural right-back in to his position. Obviously Jose knows something we don't but as far as the stats are concerned Chelsea have kept 6 clean sheets in the 12 games which Cole has appeared in and 8 clean sheets in the 15 games Azpilicueta has played a major role in. Nothing gained, but something valuable potentially lost. 6. The Increasingly Unhappy One Most recently Mourinho accused the press of being a disgrace for recording a conversation he had, in which he lampooned his current crop of strikers and suggested Eto'o might be 300 years old. He suddenly appears to become unaware of the fact that this is what the press do for a living, and he is not exempt from the game because he is the Special One. Instead of holding his hands up and tightening his lips, he went on the offensive against a rattle snake that he'd do well not to step on.



8 Ways Moyes Can Win The Title for United

2014-02-14T07:35:00Z

8 messages to Moyes that will help him make United great again!8 Messages to Moyes that will help him make United great again! 1. Stop Playing 4-4-1-1 That formation just doesn't work for United, the attacking abilities of the wingers are hamstrung with too much defensive responsibility and the attacking shape is compromised for very little gain in defence. Mr. Moye's, it's time to man up, ditch the 4-4-1-1 dead donkey and go 4-2-3-1. When you have Van Persie, Mata, Rooney and Januzaj at your disposal only one attacking line up makes sense. Be brave and play 4-2-3-1 now. 2. Play Wayne Rooney as a Number 10 Wayne Rooney is one of the best number 10's in the world. During the early part of the season he got 8 goals and 5 assists in a 10 game run. So why is he regularly being asked to play in central midfield or even a holding role late on in games? If you don't trust your holding midfielders then change them, if you don't trust the formation you should change that but don't sabotage one of your best assets by changing him in to something he's not. 3. Play Mata and Januzaj as Wingers Mata proved a himself deadly weapon for Chelsea when playing wide in a 3 man attack so don't ask him to defend by playing deeper as a wide midfielder, his inability to do this is exactly why Mourinho sold him! You purchased a £37m attacking midfielder, play him as one and tell him his role so he and Rooney don't end up getting in each other's way. Januzaj is one of the most exciting prospects in the league, play him on the other flank and give him license to do what he does best, attack. 4. Trust Your Holding Midfielders If you have 2 holding midfield men their job is to pull out wide when required and cover the flanks so the likes of Mata and Januzaj can do their devastating work where it counts, without worrying about what's going on behind them. If you don't trust your holding midfielders to do that then find men who can, don't try and patch it up by sabotaging good attacking players! 5. Stop The Crosses United had a record breaking 82 crosses against Fulham, with just 18 finding the target. Rooney and Van Persie have played 613 Premier League games between them and scored just 23 headers, that's one every 27 matches, between them! Their best work is not up in the air so stop telling your men to constantly cross the ball. Tim Cahill doesn't play for Manchester United so get the ball and play it rather than launching aimless ball after ball to men who would rather kick it than head it. (image from Fourfourtwo stats zone). 6. Stop Turning United in to Everton The massive number of crosses, the wimpy 4-4-1-1 formation and playing on the counter all wreak of a team that expects to be the under powered under dog. That might have suited Everton but it doesn't suit United. Be brave, attack teams and play like you expect to win. 7. Don't Forget Fellaini Most United supporters might have given up on old microphone head, but to be fair to him he's only completed 90 minutes 6 times for United in the Premier League. He may still be well suited to slotting in next to Carraick as the 2nd holding man in a proper formation that utilises those roles. 8. Recall the Backroom Staff Moyes replaced the entire back room staff at United when he arrived, replacing them with less experienced men who were used the the Everton mentality of being an underdog. This has been heavily criticised and it might now be time for Moyes to bring some real winning mentality and quality to the back room staff.



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Mata to Manchester United

2014-01-23T07:10:00Z

The biggest transfer rumour doing the rounds like late night curb crawler, is that of once loved Juan Mata departing Mourinho's cold neglect for the warming embrace of David Moyes at Manchester United. Is there really any truth to this?The biggest transfer rumour doing the rounds like late night curb crawler, is that of once loved Juan Mata departing Mourinho's cold neglect for the warming embrace of David Moyes at Manchester United. Is there really any truth to this? Mata: Truth: 20% Whilst there is no doubting that European and World Cup winner Juan Mata is of world class quality there are some highly dubious half truths preventing this one from being little more than total transfer window tale telling. Even so the BBC have very recently all but confirmed that the deal is going through, even going as far as quoting a price of £37m having been agreed. Sky Sports, The Guardian, The Telegraph and multiple other reputable sources are also reporting with the same vigour that the deal is done, all seemingly pumped up by the fact that Mata missed training on Wednesday. The Facts The facts we know are that of course Mata may not be pleased with his sudden and seemingly inexplicable fall from grace at Chelsea, and that a player of his quality will not want to be sitting it out in the cold in a world cup year and nor should he. Anyone who has watched the season unfold can also confirm that Manchester United are in need of fresh faces, and preferably big names who can make an impact this season but these are obvious, and have been known for some time. Sadly this is pretty much where the supply of facts runs dry, making the intense reporting of the story even more baffling. The Whispers From Intermediaries The main basis of nearly every story doing the rounds is a mysterious, unnamed 3rd party only referred to as "intermediaries" who have all but sealed the deal despite Manchester United officially refusing to discuss any transfer rumours and Jose Mourinho categorically stating that Mata has a future at Chelsea in an interview with the BBC just 5 days ago: He (Mata) is an unbelievable player, a fantastic boy and he's trying to adapt...I like him very much, the club likes him very much and we believe he has a very big role to play with us and that's why I don't want him to go. With this at hand we can't believe that this could be little more than classical transfer window hysteria. The search for hard facts from the player, his agents, or the clubs involved turned up nothing to support the notion of a transfer being on the cards. Lack of Logic The other part of the story, which is largely being ignored is whether or not Mata is actually the player United need. With Moyes' current system Van Persie plays up top and a critical part of Moyes' victory in getting Rooney to stay and bringing him back to form was an assurance that the England man would play in the number 10 role to which he's best suited. Mata of course is also best suited to that number 10 role or as a winger in a 3 man attack. A system which United have rarely adopted under Moyes. United's current system simply does not have room to deploy Mata in his most effective positions and Moyes would need to change to a 4-3-3 with Rooney dumped back out wide or to a 4-2-3-1 like the one Chelsea used to play in seasons past. Unless Moyes is planning to call time on his current system and change everything to accommodate Mata, he simply does not fit the rather lengthly bill of United requirements right now, especially given that Januzaj, the player most likely to lose his position in the current set up if Mata was to arrive, looks ready for the big time. And then of course there is the kamikaze notion that Mourinho would sell such a highly regarded asset to a team that will then use him to challenge Chelsea for honours in season to come. Truth-o-meter Even though every man and his [...]



Arsenal vs. Everton - Predictions from 9,000 Players

2013-12-08T11:00:00Z

It's no surprise that there is huge backing behind Arsenal this weekend. 73% of our players are predicting that The Gunners will take all 3 points from their encounter with Everton at Te Emirates but with 47% backing only a single goal win for the Gunners, some caution is being shown too.It's no surprise that there is huge backing behind Arsenal this weekend. 73% of our players are predicting that The Gunners will take all 3 points from their encounter with Everton at The Emirates but with 47% backing only a single goal win for the Gunners, some caution is being shown too. Arsenal Arsenal have won all of their previous 6 home games, with the last 3 all being 2-0 score lines. A good team has gotten better as the season has gone along and with Walcott retuning to action, and even Nicklas Bendtner in amongst the goals, for the first time this season Wenger has one of those nice to have problems in his selection. The Gunners look solid at both ends of the pitch and it's hard to see past anything but an Arsenal win on this kind of form, even against an outstanding Everton side who typically raise their game for the big boys and came away from Old Trafford with 3 points in med-week. Everton Everton have been exceptional under Martinez so far this season and it won't be a jaw dropping shock to anyone if they manage to get something from The Emirates. Everton's away form has been decent too, they've lost just once on their travels all season. The big question will be whether or not they can find the gusto to trouble a solid looking Arsenal defence that hasn't conceded a home goal in their last 3. Arsenal look full of goals right now so Everton will need to attack, and attack well if they want anything from this game, but with Lukaku in fine form, and many creative players around him they will have more opportunities at The Emriates than others have had this season. Our Prediction Both teams have plenty to boast about. They're both good at the back and scoring goals so form gives little away here and no result would be an earth shattering shock, especially for an Everton team that defended so well and took 3 points from Manchester United a few days ago. Expect a close encounter won by the odd goal. For our money it's going to go with home advantage, but only just.



Sunderland vs. Tottenham - Predictions From 9,000 Players

2013-12-07T16:13:37Z

Despite the lack of lack of goals, and minor blip in from 67% of our pundits are backing Tottenham to take all 3 points from The Stadium of Light this weekend. Is there another banana skin waiting for AVB's men in the North East?Despite the of lack of goals, and blip in from 67% of our pundits are backing Tottenham to take all 3 points from The Stadium of Light this weekend. Is there another banana skin waiting for AVB's men in the North East? Sunderland Gus Poyet's boys might be sitting rock bottom in the league right now but their performances in the past few weeks suggest that the table might be telling some little lies. Since Poyet's arrival Sunderland have looked far more organised at the back, and many players who looked like they'd given up under the Di Canio reigeme are playing with a new vigour that is betrayed by the set of results their side have had. It's worth noting that Sunderland have faced Chelsea and Manchester City in their last 4. They beat City and kept a clean sheet, and were unlucky not to get something from the narrow defeat to Chelsea but in both games they showed plenty of character and resilience. If they keep playing like that more positive results are certain to be around the corner, especially against a team like Tottenham who have scored just 6 away goals all season. Tottenham Spurs' early promise has dwindled a little in the past few weeks. Just 1 win in their last 5 games has raised question marks about just how much the lack of Bale's fire power has effected the team and they could find themselves struggling for goals once again against a Sunderland team who have improved drastically at the back since the arrival of Gus Poyet. A late goal gave Tottenham a much needed win in mid-week but Sunderland will be a much tougher challenge than Fulham were, and Tottenham will need to rely on their back line to keep Sunderland out of they want to come away with all 3 points. Our Prediction Tottenham might just be exactly the sort of big scalp that an improving Sunderland team are looking for right now. A goal shy Spurs side may well struggle against a well organised Tottenham defence and if Sunderland get a rub of the green they could even take all 3 points. This is really a battle between two teams who have good credentials at the back, but have seriously struggled for goals so it could be a low scoring affair won by very fine margins. We're not confident of a Tottenham win and are backing the draw purely on the basis that Sunderland lack serious firepower themselves.



Everton vs. Tottenham - Predictions from 9,000 Players

2013-11-03T09:10:00Z

Everton have looked stunning under Martinez so far this season whilst Tottenham are being considered as realistic title contenders so the clash at Goodison Park could be mouthwatering. The majority of our pundits are backing a draw with Everton the slight favourites to grab all 3 points.Everton have looked stunning under Martinez so far this season whilst Tottenham are being considered as realistic title contenders so the clash at Goodison Park could be mouthwatering. The majority of our pundits are backing a draw with Everton the slight favourites to grab all 3 points. Everton Everton have won 5 of their last 6 games and come in to this game in fine form. Their passing and ball retention has been exceptional this season and with a 1-0 win over Chelsea amongst their results they have shown they still have what it takes to take big points off big teams. They have pace and power in attack so they can score past a very tight Tottenham defence but 4 of their 9 opponents so far this season have scored 2 or more past them so they could be on the receiving end too. Tottenham Tottenham's season has been built on an excellent defence. They've kept a league leading 6 clean sheets from 9 games this season and conceded only once on the road. With a team like Everton the clean sheet will have to be hard earned as the Toffee's are potent in attack and likely to have a lot of chances. The concern for Tottenham has been the lack of goals. 9 in 9 games is less than half of what the likes of Arsenal have managed so if Tottenham want to take anything from this game they will have to do something that they've managed in only 2 games this season, and that is to score 2 or more goals. Our Prediction Tottenham will have to rely on their tight defence if they want to take anything from this game, but with Everton having pace and power in their attack that could be a tall order. We expect Everton to score, but their own defence might mean that a goal shy Tottenham team will get on the score sheet too but they're unlikely to go on a goal rampage and get the 2 or more they'll need to win the game so we're going for a score draw at Goodison. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Arsenal vs. Liverpool - Predictions From 9,000 Players

2013-11-02T11:20:00Z

The biggest game of this weekend comes from The Emirates in Saturday's late kick off as the two league leaders go head to head. Our pundits are making Arsenal the favourites so what hope is there for Brendan Rodgers' men?The biggest game of this weekend comes from The Emirates in Saturday's late kick off as the two league leaders go head to head. Our pundits are making Arsenal the favourites so what hope is there for Brendan Rodgers' men? Arsenal The Gunners have so far exceeded all expectations by battling through their injury hit squad to establish themselves as the league leaders having won 7 of their last 8 games. This will be only their 2nd major test of the season though. So far they've only played Tottenham from the big 6 and came through that game with a 1-0 win. The question over Wenger's men has always been whether or not they ability to beat the other big sides so this will be a real test for them but could be one that casts many doubts aside if they can get the result. There is no doubt that this Arsenal can score goals, their tally of 20 is 6 more than at the same stage last season and can only be bettered by Manchester City so far this season. They will trouble Liverpool going forward, though there is a small question mark over defensive capabilities. Arsenal have kept just 2 clean sheets all season and strike force like Liverpool's will be a dangerous test of their title credentials. Liverpool Liverpool too are exceeding expectations so far. The irrepressible SAS means they are capable of winning any game and coming up against an Arsenal defence that has contained errors this season they should be looking for goals. Rodgers' 3-4-1-2 formation has failed to keep a clean sheet in the last 6 and with Arsenal likely to flood the midfield Liverpool could find themselves under a serious amount of pressure on the edge of their own box. If the midfield men don't put in a big shift it could be Arsenal on the front foot and Liverpool playing counter for most of the game. Our Prediction With two fantastic attacks, and two questionable defences going head to head we should be expecting goals. Liverpool will be deadly on the counter attack whilst Arsenal will look to get the ball down and command the play in the Liverpool third where they are likely to have a lot of bodies and great movement. The key to this game will be whether or not Arsenal can maintain the ruthless streak they've had in front of goal for most of the season. If they can get their shots away they will command the game but with Liverpool having what is effectively 5 at the back it could end up being a frustrating afternoon for Arsenal. If Liverpool can keep their defence tight it's almost certain that the SAS will score goals at the other end so our bet for this game is going to be a narrow Arsenal win in a game where both teams will score. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Chelsea vs. Cardiff - Predictions from 9,000 Players

2013-10-19T10:00:00Z

Chelsea are in many accumulator coupons this week as a home banker, but our pundits are predicting one of the big teams playing at home this week will slip up. Will it be Chelsea though?Chelsea are in many accumulator coupons this weekend as a home banker, but our pundits are predicting one of the big teams playing at home this week will slip up. Will it be Chelsea though? The Mourinho Way Chelsea were one of the title favourites when the season started and even though they lie in 3rd place, 2 points off the lead there is general sense that something isn't quite right. Chelsea's 3 tough fixtures against United, Everton and Spurs have all ended without victory which goes a little way to explain the concern. There is also the Mata saga. The second 45 minutes against Tottenham a couple of games ago was Chelsea's best all season and it was influence by the introduction of Mata. With the Spaniard now back in the fray after an inexplicable absence Mourinho's side have looked a more potent attacking proposition and if Blues gaffer continues with the 3 amigos then Chelsea will be able to break Cradiff down and get the goals they need to bag an expected 3 points. Chelsea's negative tactics have received a lot of criticism and whilst some of this might be unfair it's understandable that their supporters expect more of an attacking thrust from a team so abundant with creative talents. One thing there is no doubt about is that Mourinho's astonishing record at home looks set to continue. In 3 league games at Stamford Bridge The Blues have conceded just once and scored 6. The Cardiff Threat Cradiff have had a decent start to the season and their 3-2 victory over Manchester City showed they have the ability to use these big occasions to get the extra 10% out of their players that could make all the difference. There is little doubt that Cardiff will be the better motivated of the two sides and they have the talent to punish any complacency. Cardiff also gave Tottenham a very tough game in their 1-0 defeat to AVB's team a few weeks ago so not only do they have the ability to score goals but they are also very well organised so don't expect a dominant Chelsea win. Cardiff will give Mourinho's men plenty of work to do and if they don't rise to the challenge and give Cardiff the respect they deserve there could be a sting in the tail. Our Prediction There has been criticism of Mourinho's selection policy, and Chelsea's style of play this season but with the 3 amigos likely to be reinstated in Chelsea's attack this might be about to change. Cardiff will be a tough proposition and their results against the big boys this season have shown that what they might lack in quality against the likes of Chelsea, they can more than make up for with determination and organisation so this will be anything but a walk in the park for Chelsea, they will have to earn this victory. One thing that can't be contested is Mourinho's home record. It has been astonishing for many years and only one side have scored past Chelsea at home in the league this season so our prediction is a a hard earned home win. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Are Arsenal a Home Banker This Week? - Predictions from 9,000 Players

2013-10-19T09:30:00Z

Arsenal are one of 4 in form sides who are heavy favourites to win this week, but is the home game against Norwich a potential banana skin? 67% of our Pundits are predicting that Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Everton will slip up this weekend, but is it likely to be The Gunners?Arsenal are one of 4 in form sides who are heavy favourites to win this week, but is the home game against Norwich a potential banana skin? 67% of our Pundits are predicting that Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Everton will slip up this weekend, but is it likely to be The Gunners? Arsenal's Blip Arsenal's 5 game winning streak was ended at West Brom last time out but this should be a minor blip for The Gunners. West Brom have been steadily improving as the season has gone on. Having beaten Sunderland 3-0 and them come away from Old Trafford with all 3 points, snatching a point from Arsenal at The Hawthorns is hardly the poor result for Arsenal that it might have looked on paper. The big question is how Wenger will handle his selection problems. Giroud remains on form but the return of Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosciky and Arteta in midfield gives an Arsenal side who have coped admirably with multiple injuries since the start of the season, a problem they might not be used to having. A major part of Arsenal's excellent start has been the form of Aaron Ramsey when deployed in the more advanced midfield positions. With Cazorla now fully fit and Ozil likely to have recovered from his knock in midweek playing for Germany, Wenger will have to make some tough calls which will influence Arsenal's fluidity and balance in this game. Dropping his in form players for bigger names might not work in his favour. The only real worry for Arsenal is the fact that they have kept just one clean sheet all season, so even a Norwich side seriously short of goals might fancy nicking one at some stage and that could give Arsenal a slightly bigger task than they might be anticipating if they lose concentration and fail to bank their 2nd clean sheet of the season. Any Chance for Norwich Last season Norwich's successes were built largely on a solid defence. Whilst they have managed two clean sheets this season they have leaked a total of 9 goals in the other 5 matches they've played and 3 teams have scored past them more than once so the defence is not as imposing as it was and Arsenal will fancy themselves for more than one. The main issue though has been that the arrivals of several attacking players are yet to produce any fruit. Norwich have found the net just 3 times in their last 6 matches. Our Prediction The potential absence of Ozil is a real concern for Arsenal. The German has set up 4 of the 9 goals Arsenal have scored since he made his debut and he has been heavily involved in most of their good play, but with Cazorla and a number of others returning from injury there should be good cover but if he is missing Arsenal will need to be clinical if they don't want to make a mountain out of what should be a mole hill. Norwich have severely lacked goals this season whilst looking more vulnerable at the back than they did last season. That is a bad combination of factors to take in to a game at The Emirates so our prediction is an Arsenal win and a clean sheet, even though it would only be their second this season. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.in[...]



Newcastle vs. Liverpool - Predictions from 9,000 Players

2013-10-19T08:20:00Z

Liverpool return from the international break off the back of consecutive 3-1 victories against Sunderland and Crystal Palace and are heavily backed to make it 3 wins in a row when they go to The Sports Direct Arena to play Newcastle with 68% currently backing Rodgers' men for the win.Liverpool return from the international break off the back of consecutive 3-1 victories against Sunderland and Crystal Palace and are heavily backed to make it 3 wins in a row when they go to The Sports Direct Arena to play Newcastle with 68% currently backing Rodgers' men for the win. Liverpool The fierce backing of Liverpool is understandable given their form. With Sturridge and Suarez in scintillating form it's no surprise that Liverpool have scored as many goals in their last two matches as they did in the opening 5 games of the season. One or two questions have crept in about the defence though. Liverpool are now with out a clean sheet in 4 games with Brendan Rodgers having adapted what he called a 3-4-1-2 formation that has left them looking a little uncertain at the back at times. Had Palace or Sunderland gotten a little more luck against Liverpool the score liverpool the score lines could have been very different indeed. There is of course, also the growing concern about Liverpool's inability to score 2nd half goals. Just 1 goal in 7 games is the worst record in the league and you have to wonder what will happen if Newcastle can hold firm for the first 45. This issue is likely to be short term but it does hint that there might be one or two players lacking full fitness in the squad. Newcastle Newcastle might be a little under rated here. With just 32% backing them to get a draw or better it might tell the tale of a team out of form and in big trouble, but this is far from the truth. With Loic Remy having scored 5 goals in his last 3 games there will be plenty to worry a less than resolute Liverpool defence and there are goals elsewhere in the Newcastle team too with the Geordies having scored 2 goals in each of their last 4. There is plenty of creative talent in Pardew's side and they will provide a much sterner test for Liverpool than our pundits are predicting, especially if they can get a little luck and more crucially hold Liverpool down during the first half of the game. Our Prediction Liverpool are without a clean sheet in 4 as Rodgers' new back line set up beds in, during the same period Newcastle have scored 2 goals past each of the teams they've come across so it looks like there may well be goals here and Newcastle may well find themselves celebrating more than once. If Liverpool score early and force the game to open up it could be a goal fest but for this reason it's likely that Newcastle emphasis will be to shut Liverpool out in the first 45 and plot their raids for later on in the game. This will be a tougher test for Liverpool than most people are expecting but with both teams in good attacking form we should see an entertaining match and our prediction is that Liverpool will just edge it in a game where both teams will score. Though we won't be placing a big wager on this one. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Swansea vs. Arsenal - Predictions from 8,000 Players

2013-09-28T11:30:00Z

After yet another player joined the Arsenal injury list last week Wenger's midfield looks decimated and our pundits have reflected this in a cautious but still confident backing of Arsenal. After yet another player joined the Arsenal injury list last week Wenger's midfield looks decimated and our pundits have reflected this in a cautious but still confident backing of Arsenal. Swansea's Chances Swansea have had a tough start to the season. Consecutive losses to Manchester United and Tottenham in the opening games have left them with a mediocre points tally that betrays the quality of football they've played and misinforms about how good this side actually are. Since those first two defeats the Swans have triumphed heroically in their Europa league tie against Valencia in Spain and remained undefeated in the Premier League, winning with clean sheets on two occasions. Had it not been for a couple of massive lapses in concentration, they might have seen their point against Liverpool turn in to all 3 as well. We think Swansea's season is only just getting started, and they are a better side than the league table suggests. With the likes of Bony and Mihcu both finding form recently they are going to be a very tough challenge for Arsenal this weekend and we shouldn't read too much in to the midweek league cup defeat against lower league opposition. Many players were rested for that game and with the Europa League to contend for Swansea probably did themselves a favour exiting the competition. Arsenal's Chances The Gunners are top of the league and with good reason too. Mesut Ozil has had an astonishing start to the season. Despite a massive raft of injuries Arsenal have been unstoppable since the opening day defeat to Villa and will come in to this game in fine form. Wenger's men are one of just two sides who have found goals easy to come by this season and with Giroud in firing they look very capable when going forward. The main issue now will be to see how Arsenal cope with yet another key injury, with Walcott likely to be out for close to a month Arsenal have now reached a stage where they don't have enough midfielders to field the 5 they would normally like to. Nacho Monreal is likely to be pushed in to midfield and Arsenal will really miss Walcott's pace and thrust down one side of the pitch. Even if Ramsey has been one of the best players in the league this season that lack of Walcott could be a big issue and mean Giroud will have to be at his clinical best as his side will likely need to make do with fewer chances in this game than they have had so far this season. The defence has not been all that sturdy either and conceded a few sloppy goals leaving Arsenal with just one clean sheet. Arsenal are likely to need to score more than one against Swansea if they want to take all 3 points and whilst they are well capable of that, they will need to show their grit and grind out what will be a difficult result with so many on the treatment table. Our Prediction Walcott's injury is yet another massive blow for Wenger's side. Whilst Arsenal have coped staggeringly well with a long injury list all season, this one is crucial because it means Monreal is likely to have to play out of position in midfield and Arsenal will not have the same thrust that has been so threatening when they have attacked with pace this season so their ability to score past Swansea will be restrained at The Liberty Stadium. Swansea are just starting to hit top gear and will pose a serious challenge to Arsenal. The Swans are an excellent footballing side who themselves have hit a rich vein of form and will ask plenty of questions to the Arsenal[...]



Tottenham vs Chelsea - Predictions from 8,000 Players

2013-09-28T07:05:00Z

The London derby at White Hart Lane has split our crowd, but the one defining thing is that there is very little backing for Mourinho's boys.The London derby at White Hart Lane has split our crowd, but the one defining thing is that there is very little backing for Mourinho's boys. Tottenham Form Spurs may have left it very late at Cardiff last week but that win means they have 12 points from 5 games and are riding high in the league table. Tottenham haven't exactly been flush with goals this season having scored more than a single goal on just one occasion. Their early success has been built on a rock solid defence. Only Arsenal have managed to breach the Spurs back line so far leaving them with a league high of 4 clean sheets from the first 5. AVB's team have conceded an average of just 7 shots per game, the fewest in the league. That tells you how hard their midfield works and how well organised they are. They will be incredibly difficult for a gun shy Chelsea side to break down and with an average of 21 shots per game, Tottenham also rank as number one on that statistical table too. You could well argue they have been unlucky not have had a higher goal tally so far. Chelsea Form Chelsea have received much criticism over their style of play so far this season, often found a little cautious and defensive but their stats tell the story of a very good side. Only Tottenham have managed more shots on goal than Chelsea this season so Chelsea don't have any trouble firing at goal but the quality of opportunities crated and the finishing has been left wanting. The big tactical change for the Blues has been that their wingers, which played like left and right attackers last season have now been pushed back and are expected to provide defensive cover, a role the likes of Hazard and Schurrle are still adjusting to and one for which Mata has so far been found unsuitable by Mourinho. Whilst Chelsea have looked solid at the back the lack of any league goals from Torres, Ba or Eto'o is concerning and they may find it difficult to break down a well gelled Tottenham back line. Our Prediction Whilst both sides rank in the top 2 for average shots on target taken and conceded per game so far this season, neither has excelled in front of goal yet. When strong defences meet attacks lacking goals the defences usually come out on top by virtue of sheer numbers so this game is set up to be a tight, cagey sort of affair. The form and stats certainly don't suggest that goals are on the cards and with both teams likely to see a draw as a good result we're going predict exactly that. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Manchester City vs Manchester United - Predictions from 8,000 Players

2013-09-22T09:30:00Z

In a Premier League Predictions rarity, the jury is completely out amongst our 8,000 players on who will be victorious in the Manchester derby.In a Premier League Predictions rarity, the jury is completely out amongst our 8,000 players on who will be victorious in the Manchester derby. Manchester City Analysis After a blistering start to the season, in which City completely dominated Newcastle and looked every bit title favourites they were touted to be, a sense of disappointment has started to surround Pellegrini's men, but is this justified? In their next league game City came up against a decent Cardiff side, seriously inflated by hosting their first top flight home game in over 50 years. The adrenaline, and a couple of pretty poor defensive errors lead to a famous victory for the Welsh side. A fairly mediocre win against Hull in City's next game was followed by another disappointment against Stoke. In last week's game Stoke were perhaps the better side, and on another day Mark Hughes may have taken all 3 points from his old side. The two sets of dropped results aren't massively alarming, because they were both against sides who were highly motivated and playing good football, not to mention how much the absence of Kompany hurt the City defence. The more concerning thing was that the fluidity which made City unplayable in their first game appears to have vanished and is now being easily countered by weaker opposition applying pressure to potential ball recipients in the City side leaving the front men unable to find the right combination to create quality chances. United won't play the way Cardiff or Stoke did, they will come out and try to attack City, which will actually suit the boys in Blue and may get a better performance out of them than we would otherwise be expecting. It's also worth noting that despite the criticism being fired towards City they are the league's highest scorers with 8 goals, and all 3 of the goals they have conceded so far came in a single game in which they were missing one key man at the back. So they will be much more dangerous than some are giving them credit for right now. Manchester United Analysis United's season so far tells a very similar story to City, a sense of disappointment is not justified by the actual results of their games but the way in which the games have played out. After a stunning start at the Liberty Stadium, a draw against Chelsea (which was tactically sound) was followed by a loss against Liverpool and last week's win against Palace. Once again this isn't a shocking run of results, but the Palace game in particular, left a lot to be desired. Playing against far weaker opposition, who were down to 10 men before half time, a big score line should have been on the cards but United wren't at the races. It was difficult to pin down exactly what, but it was clear something wasn't quite right about the way they failed to break Palace down and penetrate them with enough regularity. You can't help but feel that United haven't hit full stride yet and something fundamental needs to be tweaked the get the in to the flow. Having said that Moyes showed against Chelsea that he has the tactical noose to play the big boys and deny them their strengths so we will expect a more coherent and effective strategy against City. Our Prediction Both teams have had similar starts to the season, excellent opening day results have been coupled performances that have fallen below expectations and exposed potential tactical issues that have left them looking a little out of sorts. With so much at stake we don't think either [...]



On Fire: Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey Rising to the Top

2013-09-16T17:40:52Z

Aaron Ramsey has long been the focus of ridicule for many Arsenal supporters but this season the Welshman has been something of a revelation in an injury battered side.Aaron Ramsey has long been the focus of ridicule for many Arsenal supporters but this season the Welshman has been something of a revelation in an injury battered side. Ramsey: Top 20 Premier League Midfielder Not only has Ramsey played every minute of Arsenal's 4 Premier League games and 2 Champion's League qualifiers, but having been deployed in multiple positions he has covered himself in glory by banging in 5 goals and creating 1 assist. He is justifiably in our top 20 Premier League Midfielders based on form in the first month of the season. Passing Only Yaya Toure (309) has completed more passes than Ramsey's 270 so far this season in the Premier League and his 87% pass accuracy ranks him amongst the best in the league. The very bast midfielders can rack up 90% plus, but once again only Toure can match Ramsey when it comes to the volume of passes being made combined with high accuracy. Finishing Finishing is perhaps the area Ramsey has improved in the most. He was incredibly wasteful in the past and his previous best goal tally for an entire Premier League season is just 3. With 4 games gone this season he's only 1 shy of that league record. It's worth bearing in mind that he's still only 22. It could just be that he is only now starting to gain confidence and mature as a player, there may well be plenty more to come from him as a regular goal threat if he can turn this run of form in to a coming of age. Team Contribution Even though it is his goals that are standing out right now there is another key stat in which Ramsey is currently the leading midfielder in the league. Ramsey has won 19 (of the 20) tackles he has attempted this season, 4 more than the next best in the league and with exceptional pass accuracy he has proved himself as a all round ball winner, distributor and scorer. He also appears in the top 20 list for interceptions, blocked shots, clearances and shots on goal for all Midfielders. If Ramsey can keep up this level of performance he may yet be able to fend off competition from the likes of Cazorla, Podolski, Chamberlain and Arteta when they return from injury. His recent run has shown that he is capable of being deployed further up the field but with a defensive discipline and ability that some of the others may lack. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



How Good Is: Arsenal Target Mesut Ozil

2013-09-02T15:54:50Z

Arsenal are reportedly on the verge of confirming the signing of German international Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid. Everyone knows the calibre of the player but how does he stack up against the very best in the world.Arsenal are reportedly on the verge of confirming the signing of German international Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid. Everyone knows the calibre of the player but how does he stack up against the very best in the world. Ozil: World Top 20 Midfielder There is no doubt that Ozil is an astonishing talent and an ingenious master of assists. A fee of £40m+ is obviously inflated by the scramble of transfer deadline day but he may well be worth the money in today's market, especially given the huge experience and level of accomplishment he has achieved at the age of 24. Comparisons Mesut Ozil's goal contribution ranks up there with the world's finest strikers, let alone midfielders. At 119 minutes per goal contributed he is a deadly creative player with few in the world able to match his stats when it comes to the business of creating and scoring goals. He's miles ahead of 160 minutes per goal contributed figured achieved by Santi Cazorla last season and has better figures than Walcott's career total of a goal contributed every 142 minutes per goal made or scored over his career. Ozil has really risen to prominence as he has reached maturity over the last few years, and if you compare his figures for last season things get even better with a goal contributed for every 96 minutes of game time in 60 appearances in 2012/13. To put that in to perspective Gareth Bale had an identical figure over the same period last season. Experience As a Real Madrid player it's no surprise that Ozil has vast experience at the very top level even though he is still just 24 years old. He has made 40 appearances in the Champions League making 20 assists and scoring 4 goals to give him a goal contributed for every 130 minutes of game time at Champions League level, a tally any attacking player would be proud of at that level, and one which can't be bettered by many creative midfield men. He is also a regular for the German national team. A good showing at the 2010 World Cup brought him 1 goal and 3 assists at the age of 20, and since then he has grown stronger having notched up 47 caps, scoring 14 times at international level. Our Rating There is no dobut what so ever that Ozil is a world class player who has been consistently getting better every season, and still has room to improve even further than his exceptional current level. He as proven himself on every stage and is an experienced Champions League and international level performer even at the age of 24. There are few gems like this on the world stage and even though his price is inflated by the drama of deadline day there is no doubt he could prove to be worth any premium over the next few years so we have no issue placing him in the lofty position of world top 20 midfielder. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



How Good Is: Manchester United Target Ander Herrera

2013-09-02T15:56:23Z

The press is hot with news that Manchester United are willing to meet the €31m release clause for 24 year old Bilbao Midfielder Ander Herrera, but is he the big name signing they've been promising?The press is hot with news that Manchester United are willing to meet the €31m release clause for 24 year old Bilbao Midfielder Ander Herrera, but is he the big name signing they've been promising? Herrera: World Top 200 Midfielder Herrera is widely regarded as an attacking midfielder of some promise but he possesses excellent defensive capabilities and would likely be considered as someone who will bolster United's options in central midfield along side Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverly. Comparisons Given his defensive talents it would be unfair to assess him based on his goal threat but he does stack up well against the likes of Carrick (368 minutes per goal contributed), and Cleverly (284 mins) when it comes to scoring an creating goals. Herrera offers plenty of defensive ability and could be a good fit for a United side looking for extra options if they can't land Fellaini. Experience Herrara has spent a his entire 6 seasons as a professional playing in the Spanish league for Zaragoza and Bilbao where he is regarded as an excellent young talent but doesn't always command a first team place. Both his 2 appearances so far this season have been on as a substitute. All in all 51 of his 145 appearances in La Liga have been on as a substitute though he has started ti complete 90 minutes more regularly over the past season as he beings to establish himself as a first team regular. Herrara does have decent European level experience having appeared in 17 Europa League games, but he is yet to make a Champions League appearance so he is untested at the very highest level. The Spaniard is yet to be capped at full international level despite having played at all U20, U21 and U23 levels for Spain. Our Rating The hype around Herrera is obviously being hugely inflated by transfer deadline day. Whilst he does possess the potential to be a top player in the mould of Tom Cleverly and does offer more attacking potential than Michael Carrick, his lack of an international cap and any experience at Champions League level does raise a few question marks about his reported fee, in excess of €30m. For that kind of money United may well be better off focusing on Fellaini or other more experienced and established options. Even though there is no doubting the potential of Herrera and the fact that he could be well worth his money in 2 or 3 years time, he does represent a bigger risk than some other options available at that price today. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Arsenal vs Tottenham - Predictions from 8,000 Players

2013-09-01T12:05:00Z

Tottenham's 2 wins and clean sheets has seen them heavily backed by our 8,000 players to take something from The Emirates when the two sides meet. Tottenham's 2 wins and clean sheets has seen them heavily backed by our 8,000 players to take something from The Emirates when the two sides meet. Arsenal Analysis Arsenal have already played 4 games since the season started. With two victories over Fenerbahce and last week's good win over Fulham at Craven Cottage they've now recorded 3 straight victories. They should come in to this game with good confidence and set themselves the target of nothing less than a win. The issue for Wenger's side is their ever growing list of injuries. With Chamberlain, Arteta, Diaby, and Vermaelen already on the treatment table it now looks like Podolski will be laid off for up to 10 weeks too so they find their squad seriously stretched and will have to rely on Ramsey, Wilshere and Rosicky to perform if they want to get a win from the game. Fortunately all of those players along with Cazorla, Walcott and Giroud have had good starts to the season and will pose a threat to the Tottenham defence. Tottenham Analysis Tottenham may have only recored 1-0 victories over Crystal Palace and Swansea but there are signs that they are about to hit their stride. They have so far averaged 20 shots per game in the Premier League (only Everton have managed more) so they are creating plenty of chances, and if they continue to do that they will start to find themselves scoring more goals. Across those two games they conceded a total of just 7 shots on target which suggests their defence is also very well organised. This combination of factors means that if things click on Sunday they could take all 3 points from The Emirates. Our Prediction This fixture has produced some thrilling results over the years and with both teams looking like they're about to hit their full stride there could be fireworks once more, but we're not expecting another 4-4. Even though Tottenham's stats suggest they have given away less at the back, and have been more capable of creating chances in their two league games so far we think that the home advantage and Arsenal's determination to right the wrongs their crowd experienced on the opening day will be enough to allow them to edge the game. There is also the fact that most of this Tottenham side will be facing their first major test as a team. In their last league game their starting 11 included 5 players who had only shared a competitive game together on one previous occasion and in big games like this, that little extra bit of team chemistry and experience can make all the difference. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Liverpool vs. Manchester United - Predictions from 8,000 Players

2013-09-01T09:30:00Z

Our players have made Manchester United the favourites for this game with 45% backing Moye's men to take all 3 points. 27% is a decent backing for Liverpool but perhaps lower than might have been expected given their 100% record and home advantage.Our players have made Manchester United the favourites for this game with 45% backing Moye's men to take all 3 points. 27% is a decent backing for Liverpool but perhaps lower than might have been expected given their 100% record and home advantage. Liverpool Analysis Liverpool looked irresistible in their opening game against Stoke, creating 26 chances in a game where they should have scored 3 or 4. The away game against what is increasingly looking like a very good Villa side was a different story though. Rodgers' men had just one shot on target in that match and managed to come away with an excellent result from a pedestrian performance. There is no denying the awesome potential of the Liverpool attack, especially when playing at home. The worrying thing though is the number of chances they have given away. Stoke had 10 shots against Liverpool and were unlucky not to score at least one goal. A week later Villa created 17 chances and Notts County even managed to score twice at Anfield forcing a fairly strong Liverpool line up in to an unwanted 120 minutes. Our feeling is that it's going to take time for Liverpool's new center back pairing to get used to one another and become tight enough to deny teams like Manchester United what could be too many goal scoring opportunities. Manchester United Analysis United started their season off with an excellent 4-1 win away at Swansea and were probably just about the better team against Chelsea at Old Trafford last week when the outstanding partnership of Ferdinand and Vidic, coupled with very astute tactics denied Chelsea any real goal scoring opportunities. With Liverpool's defence having already shown a propensity to leak a few goal scoring chances, United's clinical finishing could be the difference in this game. If the Liverpool back line gives United the same 10 chances it gave each of Notts County and Stoke, you can expect United to score 2 or 3 goals and we think United could create even more chances than the two previous visitors to Anfield this season so we definitely expect them to be on the score sheet at least once whilst being rock solid at the back once again. Our Prediction Liverpool's new center back pairing still needs time to mature and if Rodgers' defence is as open to United attacks as they have been to those of their other opponents this season Liverpool will be seriously punished. We were tempted to say that United will edge this match and come away with all 3 points on the basis that their defence has looked steely and their attack clinical, but we think the derby atmosphere and home advantage will give Liverpool the required boost in concentration to make up the difference between the current ability levels of the two teams and get a draw from this game. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



How Good Is: Chelsea New Boy Samuel Eto'o

2013-08-30T16:15:00Z

Chelsea's signing of Samuel Eto'o yesterday raised a few eyebrows and may well have put an end to their pursuit of Wayne Rooney, but is Eto'o as good as his big billing and salary suggests?Chelsea's signing of Samuel Eto'o yesterday raised a few eyebrows and may well have put an end to their pursuit of Wayne Rooney, but is Eto'o as good as his big billing and salary suggests? Eto'o: World Top 20 Attacker Having spent 5 glorious seasons at Barcelona and a further 2 under Mourinho at Inter Milan, Eto'o is pretty much a house hold name, if not for his reputation as one of the best strikers in the world then at least for his world record salary at his last club Anzhi, which was believed to be in excess of £250k per week. So have Chelsea banked them selves a gem or is Eto'o past it at 32? Comparisons When it comes to scoring goals consistently over a huge period of time there are few who can compare to this man's goal scoring talents. All of his 14 seasons as a pro have been spent in top leagues where he has maintained a record of a goal contributed for every 118 minutes of game time. Eto'o's record is better than the 136 minutes achieved by Soldado. Wayne Rooney clocks it at a marginally better 116 with Van Persie a shade better than that at 102 minutes. On this basis Eto'o is a top 20 striker based on his career record. Even at Anzhi he maintained a goal for every 121 minutes of game time. The Russian league is considered a tough place these days and even if it's not quite as well regarded as the Italian or Spanish leagues there is little sign that the great Cameroonian is slowing down. Club Record Eto'o's club record is even better than his over all career numbers coming in at a goal contributed for every 111 minutes of game time. Only a handful of players outside of Ronaldo and Messi can get under the 100 minute mark so the new Chelsea man's record is truly remarkable as one of the finest in the world, done at the very top level throughout a long and distinguished career. You'd need a museum to house all the trophies he's won, including being the only player ever to win consecutive trebles with two different clubs. MPGC: 111mins Champions League Eto'o has won the Champions League 4 times, with 3 different clubs, more than any other player still active today. His 69 appearances in the competition have produced 27 goals (making him the 15th highest scorer ever in the competition) as well as 17 assists giving him a goal contributed for every 126 minutes of game time. There is no question what so ever that his world class ability stretches to the very highest echelons of the game. MPGC: 125 mins International Eto'o is amongst an illustrious list of about only 300 footballers who have exceeded 100 international caps. His 112 appearances for Cameroon have seen him appear at 3 world cup finals and produced 55 goals. His assist numbers are difficult to come by but they are believed to be in the region of 10, giving him a goal contributed for every 137 minutes of game time. An absolutely astonishing record to maintain over such a large volume of caps. MPGC: 137 mins Our Rating It was only Eto'o's age and his 2 years spent in the relative wilderness of Russia that raised any possible question marks over his cast iron place amongst the world's top 20 strikers. We have seen nothing that warrants an omission of his rightful place amongst not just the greatest that have ever played football, but also the g[...]



How Good Is: Spurs and Liverpool Target Christian Eriksen

2013-08-29T17:45:48Z

Christian Eriksen has a well documented 1 year remaining on his contract which is rightly making the Ajax wonder kind a cut price target for a number of to clubs including Liverpool and Spurs.Christian Eriksen has a well documented 1 year remaining on his contract which is rightly making the Ajax wonder kind a cut price target for a number of to clubs including Liverpool and Spurs. Eriksen: Top 100 Attacking Midfielder Eriksen has long been regarded as a potential world beater and at 21 he has the kind of stats and skills which back up this notion. the ticking clock on his contract now means he may well have his chance to play in one of Europe's major leagues and really make his mark. Comparisons Erikson's career number of 136 minutes per goal contributed is exactly the same as Angel Di Maria at Real Madrid who we rated as a world top 50 player and maybe even on the cusp of the top 20. Whilst his tally is currently far better than Lampard's career record of 159 minutes, like Di Maria, Lampard has proven himself at a much higher level, for a far longer period of time, but it does show that the potential is there to make the step up, and he could yet get even better. League Record Eriksen has spent his entire 5 season career at Ajax where he has risen through the ranks to a first team starter. 113 appearances have been very fruitful for him bringing 25 goals and 51 assists to give him a goal contributed for every 114 minutes of game time. Had he achieved this record in one of the top league's in Europe he would be considered as one of the top 20 best attacking players in the world but at 21 it is an astonishing record in any league. MPGC: 114 mins Champions League The Danish youngster has made 16 Champions League appearances for Ajax, which is decent for someone his age. He has maintained a very good record there too with 2 goals and 6 assists giving him a goal contributed every 148 minutes. At Champions League level this is an exceptional record and hints not only at the notion that he can perform at the very highest level but also that he may well have the key ingredient of big game mentality, especially if he can add just a few more goals to his game. MPGC: 148 mins International For a 21 year old Erikson has a very high number of international caps under his belt already having turned out for Denmark 37 times including a couple of substitute appearances at the 2010 World Cup finals when he was just 18. A player of his potential might have expected a return of more than 4 goals from his Caps even if he's not playing for a world beating team and with the addition of 5 assists he has achieved a modest MPGC of 266 mins. MPGC: 266 mins Our Rating Everything about Eriksen suggests he could very well be a proper world class player. The only thing holding him back from a higher rating from us is the fact that he is still untested outside of Dutch football and has not scored abundantly in the Champions League or at international level. Whilst the Dutch national team are one of the best in the world, and Ajax have produced countless world class players, there have also been many who have not been successful in replicating their Eredivisie records elsewhere. Eriksen is also just a little shy of the kind of goal scoring tally that is commanded by world class number 10's in today's game but we have no doubt this is something he still has time to add to his game. (function(){[...]



How Good Is: Arsenal and United Target Angel Di Maria

2013-08-29T17:05:00Z

The apparently immanent arrival of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid has generated a whole host of potential departures from the Spanish club and the most prominent of those to be linked to the Premier League is 25 year old Argentine winger Angel Di Maria.The apparently immanent arrival of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid has generated a whole host of potential departures from the Spanish club and the most prominent of those to be linked to the Premier League is 25 year old Argentine winger Angel Di Maria. Di Maria: Top 50 Attacking Midfielder Di Maria may be a well known name on the world football stage thanks to 4 successful years spent Real and the 40 caps he's won for Argentina but he may still be an under rated talent with plenty more to offer than we have seen already. He has managed to maintain a top drawer record even though he has been given the full 90 minutes in just 35 of his 139 Real Madrid appearances. Comparisons The Real Madrid wide man stacks up well against similar recent acquisitions. His career record of 136 minutes per goal contributed is far better than the 165 minutes achieved by Chelsea new boys Willian and Schurrle. He also clocks in slightly better than Theo Walcott's career stats of 143 minutes per goal contributed. League Record Despite being a substitute in more than half of his 92 league appearances he has contributed at a world class level, scoring 18 times and making 44 assists which gives him an astonishing contribution of a goal for every 92 minutes of game time. To put that in to perspective that is almost identical to the tally achieved by Gareth Bale last season and far better than Bale's over all career stats. He might not find it as easy in a team that isn't so star studded but his league stats at Real paint the picture of a genuine, top 10 attacking midfielder let alone top 50. MPGC: 92 mins Champions League At 25 years old, Di Maria comes with the added bonus of vast Champions League experience. 33 appearances in Europe's top competition have produced 5 goals and 9 assists giving him a MPGC of 159 minutes which again is top drawer for that level. He has also had excellent success playing the the Europa League for Benfica where his MPGC was on par with his league record. MPGC: 159 mins International Di Maria is also an experienced international campaigner. He has received 40 caps for Argentina, scoring 8 times and making 11 assists to give him a goal contributed for every 150 minutes of game time, which once again is outstanding at international level. MPGC: 150 mins Our Rating Di Mari's attacking stats make us drool. This guy really is a world class player who has maintained astonishing numbers at every level of the game even though he has rarely been given the leisure of a full 90 minutes. He certainly has the class and potential to prove himself as one of the world's top players if he finds himself at a club where he's a regular starter. His masses of experience and ability to create goals would make him an absolute snip at £30m in today's market and a comfortable world top 50 ranking on our list attacking midfielders. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+[...]



Arsenal's Player of the Week for GW2

2013-08-28T06:20:00Z

Arsenal bounced back from their opening day defeat to Villa with a very good win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. There were a number of outstanding performers including Podolski and Ramsey but one man stood out above the rest for us.Arsenal bounced back from their opening day defeat to Villa with a very good win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. There were a number of outstanding performers including Podolski and Ramsey but one man stood out above the rest for us. Santi Cazorla After a tired first week showing Cazorla bounced back to full fitness and form in cracking style, just pipping Aaron Ramsey and Podolski to our award this week. Against Fulham he was a constant threat creating 6 key passes (2nd highest tally in the league last week) and an assist. Even though he wasn't as involved in the game as Ramsey, who had the 3rd highest completed passes in the entire league with 70, Cazorla chipped in with 59 completed passes and an astonishing accuracy of 94%, the highest of any midfielder who completed 90 minutes last weekend. That helped Arsenal make great use of possession and really hurt Fulham at key moments in the game. Cazorla also produced an excellent performance against Fenerbahce in midweek where he had more shots (4) and completed more dribbles (6) than anyone else on the pitch. There were quite a few contenders for Arsenal's improving side this week but Santi Cazorla gets our award thanks to the constant threat he poses to the opposition and how his play helped those around him open up the two sides Arsenal faced last week. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Manchester United's Player of the Week in GW2

2013-08-28T06:00:00Z

The game between Manchester United and Chelsea may have produced no goals, but this wasn't down to the lack of attacking flair on the pitch, it was down to exceptional defensive performances from both sides.The game between Manchester United and Chelsea may have produced no goals, but this wasn't down to the lack of attacking flair on the pitch, it was down to exceptional defensive performances from both sides. Namanja Vidic Chelsea's 6 attacking midfield players were expected to find the gaps between the Manchester United defence and midfield regularly but outstanding performances from both United center backs ensured there was little to no action through the middle and allowed United to take the game to Chelsea down the wings. The powerhouse that is Namanja Vidic produced yet another exceptional performance in United colours not by making last ditch tackles but through world class leadership and reading of the game that laid the foundation for an organised and impenetrable United back line. Vidic marshalled the United defence and repeatedly cut out potential Chelsea attacks before they ever had a chance to develop. His 13 clearances was only 3 short of the highest tally in the league. He made 3 potentially crucial interceptions in the game and won every one of the 3 tackles he attempted, denying Chelsea a total of 19 potential attacks. Vidic's passing was also exceptional, when he won the ball for United he was composed and precise with 58 of his 61 passes finding the target and two of them leading to goal scoring opportunities for United at the other end. Needless to say this was higher than any other defender in the league last week making Vidic our stand out United player last week, followed closely by the likes of Ferdinand, Carrick and Cleverly, all of whom contributed in significant ways to Chelsea's inability to build any sort of meaningful attacks. A genuine, world class defensive performance from United's ever reliable Serbian beast at the back. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Chelsea's Player of the Week for GW2

2013-08-28T05:40:00Z

The 0-0 draw at Old Trafford may have been disappointing to the neutral but it was a better result for Chelsea than it was for United. The outcome may have been different had it not been for some outstanding defending in the Chelsea back line.The 0-0 draw at Old Trafford may have been disappointing to the neutral but it was a better result for Chelsea than it was for United. The outcome may have been different had it not been for some outstanding defending in the Chelsea back line. Gary Cahill Cahill and Terry both played exceptionally well. With United focusing their energies down the wings the ability to win and clear the crosses coming in to the box was always going to be the key to keeping a clean sheet and Cahill excelled in both areas. Cahill won all 5 of his arial duels (the 6th highest in the league last week), as well as making 9 other clearances, all in all putting an end to 14 potential Manchester United attacks. Whilst there wasn't a flurry last ditch tackles to cover him in glory, his concentration and reading of the game was brilliant and his understanding with John Terry allowed both players to take high praise from the game. Cahill also sprayed a few eye catching balls across the park as well as having one thumping long distance shot which hit the target and on another day might have hit the back of the net. Overall an accomplished center half performance which showed maturity and class to keep out a United team who had 25 crosses in the game (around twice the average for a top flight team in a match), but thanks to the vigilance of Terry and Cahill only succeeded in connecting with 4 of those as well as being denied any really golden chances. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Manchester United v Chelsea - Predictions from 8,000 Players

2013-08-26T14:59:37Z

Despite the fact that Manchester United have had one of the most solid home records in the Premier League over the past few seasons only 35% of our 8,000 players are predicting that United can win their encounter against Mourinho's side on Monday.Despite the fact that Manchester United have had one of the most solid home records in the Premier League over the past few seasons only 35% of our 8,000 players are predicting that United can win their encounter against Mourinho's side on Monday. Chelsea's Start Many were expecting Chelsea to smash Hull in their first game and possibly Villa too in midweek but the games told a different if unsurprising story. When we reported on Chelsea's Premier League starts under Mourinho last week we expected the Blues to win both games but were also convinced they might not be big wins. Mourinho's sides typically do not start their seasons with a bucket full of goals even if they do record big numbers of victories. Chelsea looked a little gassed in the second half against Hull and you could even argue that Villa may well have nicked a point from Stamford Bridge had they been a little more lucky. There was certainly a case to be made on whether or not the scorer of their winning goal (Ivanovic) should have been on the pitch to nod home. Chelsea managed just 3 shots on target in the entire game against Villa, having managed only 5 against Hull a few days earlier and whilst there is too much quality in the side for this not to improve drastically, they might not find themselves on the end of too many clear cut chances at a place like Old Trafford. Especially with Ferdinand and Vidic both fit. United's Start The United's 4-1 victory over Swansea was one of the surprises of the weekend. The Liberty Stadium was a giants grave yard last season and with Swansea having improved over the summer there were many doubters who though Moyes might slip at the first time of asking. In the end clinical finishing and the quality of opportunities created was the difference between the sides in a game where Swansea actually had more shots on goal than United. Our Prediction This could be a cagey, tight old game with few clear cut chances if the start to the season for both sides is anything to go by. If there is a difference between the sides it will come down to who can be more clinical on the day and whilst Chelsea have scored 4 goals from their 8 shots on target so far this season United have managed 4 from 7 shots on target so the teams appear evenly matched in that regard too which is why we're going for a draw. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Predictions from 8,000 Players on: Villa v Liverpool

2013-08-24T09:40:00Z

46% of our users are backing Liverpool to follow up their opening day win over Stoke with another win at Villa Park in Saturday's late kick off, with there also being heavy backing for the draw.46% of our users are backing Liverpool to follow up their opening day win over Stoke with another win at Villa Park in Saturday's late kick off, with there also being heavy backing for the draw. Villa Villa started their season with a shock but deserved win against a sorry Arsenal side at The Emirates. Whilst they were aided by a dubious penalty and red card, you can't take too much away from them, they were worthy of their win. They then followed up with an even better performance at Stamford Bridge where they were again arguably the better side, created twice as many chances as Mourinho's team and were in the end unlucky to concede a goal to Ivanovic who shouldn't have been on the pitch, and then again unlucky not to grab an equaliser late on. Villa look a very useful side and can produce excellent performances against the big sides so they have a better chance of victory than they are being given, and a draw is certainly not beyond them. Liverpool Liverpool were slick, sharp and dangerous against Stoke last week. With the volume of chances they created they should have expected more goals, which the partnership between Aspas, Coutinho and Sturridge will certainly bring in future games. Liverpool will be a massive attacking threat in this game especially against Villa's relatively inexperienced side but Lambert's boys have shown over the past two games that they can handle the kind of quality players Liverpool have. There were some signs that Toure and Agger may take a few games to get used to one another and a striker like Benteke could expose any immaturity in a relationship between two excellent individual players where the likes of Walters and Crouch may have failed. Our Prediction Liverpool may have looked irresistible last week but Villa have shown that their young side have matured and can pose a threat to anyone whilst keeping even blisteringly talented attacks at bay. The confidence of both sides will be deservedly high but we think Villa are going to be a much better side this term then they were last time around. The pace and power of their attack should have enough to cause far more problems for Liverpool than Stoke did last week and we think it will be enough to allow them to get a score draw from the game against a Liverpool team who also look tasty when going forward. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Predictions from 8,000 Players on: Fulham vs. Arsenal

2013-08-23T06:45:00Z

Arsenal's abysmal start to the Premier League season has left many of our 8,000 players in serious doubt as to whether or not the Gunners can take the 3 points they are expected to from Craven Cottage this weekend with 43% thinking Fulham will get at least a point and 57% backing Arsenal for the win.Arsenal's abysmal start to the Premier League season has left many of our 8,000 players in serious doubt as to whether or not the Gunners can take the 3 points they are expected to from Craven Cottage this weekend with 43% thinking Fulham will get at least a point and 57% backing Arsenal for the win. Fulham Fulham started the season with a good win away at Sunderland but the concern for them would have been how few chances they crated and how many they conceded. Martin Jol's men managed just 5 shots in the match with only one on target whilst Sunderland had 20 attempts on goal. The arrival of Darren Bent is likely to remedy the situation a little and Scott Parker is an excellent addition too which will and give them more of a threat and more steel at home. Fulham also do have an excellent record against The Gunners in recent years. Last season they grabbed a 3-3 draw at The Emirates and were only defeated 1-0 at Craven Cottage during Arsenal's best run of form toward the end of the season. Arsenal Arsenal looked rusty and lacklustre at The Emirates last week but bounced back well with a good win in the Champions League qualifier in midweek. It's hard to tell how they will do in this match but over their last two there have been signs of life with Ramsey, Walcott, Wildhere and Giroud all sparkling. If the likes of Cazorla and Podolski can contribute a little more we should expect to see Arsenal back at their best before too long, even if their squad is very thin and they have looked shaky at the back. Whilst there are still no new additions the pressure is really on for Wenger and we expect his players will really go out in this match with the bit betweeen their teeth and playing like they have something to prove. Our Prediction Fulham have claimed plenty of giant scalps at Craven Cottage in recent years and may well cause Arsenal problems so we were severely tempted by going for the draw in this game but have swayed towards Arsenal edging it. Wenger's side have seen plenty of tough times in the past few seasons and more often than not, when their backs have really been up against the wall, they have produced match winning performances and ground out the right results just as they did when it looked like they were going to miss out on 4th place last season and went on to win 8 of their last 10 games. Whilst it's too early to be calling crisis at Arsenal we think their players will be determined to right last week's wrong and they have the ability to edge the game. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



How Good Is: Chelsea and Tottenham Target Willian

2013-08-23T06:25:00Z

Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian is reportedly on the cusp of joining Tottenham or having his £30m move hijacked by Chelsea according to various reports and there is good reason why so many top clubs are chasing his services.Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian is reportedly on the cusp of joining Tottenham or having his £30m move hijacked by Chelsea according to various reports, and there is good reason why so many top clubs are chasing his services. Willian: Top 100 Attacking Midfielder Having made just 11 appearances for for Anzhi after a reported £30m move from Shakhtar Willian, could well be on the move again with current club Anzhi having hit financial trouble which resulted in all of their assets being put on the transfer list. One of their most highly rated men Willian is on the radar of multiple top clubs in Europe including Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool. Comparisons His goal contribution tally of one per 165 minutes is top notch for a player in his position. Even though it's some way off the 91 minute average achieved by Gareth Bale over the past two seasons he does fair better than the 192 minutes on offer by the likes of Coutinho and is substantially better than Aaron Lennon's average of a goal made or scored for every 220 minutes of career game time. The closest match we could find to him was Chelsea's Andre Schurlle who clocks in with 162 minutes per goal contributed. League Record Willian's league record has been consistent throughout his career, he's almost always worth around 5 league goals, but he has risen to prominence thanks to the acceleration in his creative play over the past few seasons. In 2011/12 5 goals and 16 assists gave him a an excellent tally of a goal for every 98 minutes of game time and he produced similar numbers the following season. He might not be as regular a scorer as the likes of Hazard, Bale and Mata but his ability to create goals is on par with all of those players. Champions League Given that his time in Europe has been entirely spent in Russia and Ukraine, Willian has a decent amount of top level experience having made 30 appearances in the Champions League. Willian has excelled at the top level too. His 8 goals and 8 assists gives him a a goal for every 140 minutes played which is an excellent record at that level and does hint that he possesses big game mentality that would serve him well in the Premier League. He has also made an additional 20 appearances in the Europa League/UEFA Cup. International He has only made 2 full appearances for Brazil and isn't currently considered as part of Scolari's squad, but another great season with a top club could see him make a late break through. Our Rating 165 minutes per goal contributed might leave him well short of the world's best wide attacking players who can target the 100 minute mark but this is largely down to his goal scoring record. When it comes to creativity he may well be up there with the best. His excellent Champions League record does suggest he can really pull out the stops for the big games and with the right motivation he could yet become a world class player even if he is a little way shy of that level right now. (function(){win[...]



How Good Is: Chelsea and Arsenal Target Jackson Martinez

2013-08-22T06:20:00Z

Porto's striker Jackson Martinez has long been pursued by Europe's top clubs and has now emerged as a potential plan B for Jose Mourinho and a potential target for Arsene Wenger.Porto's striker Jackson Martinez has long been pursued by Europe's top clubs and has now emerged as a potential plan B for Jose Mourinho and a target for Arsene Wenger. Martinez: World Top 100 Attacker There's a very good reason why so many top European clubs are chasing Martinez and why one of them might be willing to stump up the reported £35m in his release clause. His overall record of a goal contributed for every 108 minutes of game time in his career would normally be good enough to see him ranked as a top 50 attacker but having not yet played at the very top level en Europe means he is yet to prove himself beyond question at the age of 26. League Record Martinez has so far spent 4 of his 5 seasons as a professional footballer playing in the Mexican league. Whilst he was prolific there the quality of the league means his record could still be questioned. In his first season as a Porto player least term he went some way to building world wide credibility. In 30 appearances he failed to complete 90 minutes just once and went on to score 26 goals and assist twice. His over all record for Porto last season (in all compeitions) saw him score 30 times in 41 appearances. Champions League Martinez has made 8 Champions League appearances, scoring 3 goals. The most notable of which came against PSG in last year's competition. Whilst he can't yet be considered proven pedigree at that level he has certainly made a fantastic start. 3 goals in games 8 is a very good record at Champions League level, especially when playing for one of the competition's less fancied sides. International 19 appearances for Columbia have brought 5 goals and 2 assists. A goal contributed every 146 minutes is a little short of what you might expect for a genuine world class striker but it's well worth noting that Falcao has managed a goal contributed every 192 minutes whilst playing for the same national team. Martinez is yet to register a goal in his 4 appearances Columbia's world cup qualifying campaign but he did get 3 in 4 games back in 2010 and we may well see more of him next year with the team on the verge of qualification. Our Rating Martinez is yet to prove himself fully at the very top level of Champions League an International games but his astonishing record for Porto last season showed he has all the key attributes required, and that he may well have the potential to reach world class standards if he can force himself in to one of Europe's top tier clubs. His current career stats are on par with the likes of Van Persie with the only possible question mark being whether not he can replicate it in one of Europe's top 5 leagues. If he can he would comfortably be considered a top 50 striker. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s"[...]



Arsenal's Player of the Week

2013-08-22T05:50:00Z

The Gunners made a torrid start to the Premier League season but bounced back with a good win in the midweek Champions League qualifier. Despite the mixed fortunes one or two players have shown great promise to raise the spirits of Arsenal supporters.The Gunners made a torrid start to the Premier League season but bounced back with a good win in the midweek Champions League qualifier. Despite the mixed fortunes one or two players have shown great promise to raise the spirits of Arsenal supporters. Jack Wilshere Wilshere's 86 passes against Villa was the 6th highest tally in the league and he did in style with a 92% passing accuracy which can only be bettered by Yaya Toure and Ramirez in the opening weekend where he, Giroud and Ramsey were the rare bright sparks in an otherwise poor Arsenal performance. Wilshere followed this up with similarly accurate passing in the Champions League game where he also proved a constant threat to Arsenal's Turkish opposition. His 8 dribbles, 3 key passes and 3 turn overs of possession were all the best of any player for each stat in that game. He also provided an assist for one of the goals. His mazy runs and command in the Arsenal midfield means he gets our nod just ahead of Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud. If the England man can stay off the injury table he is in line to showcase his talents repeatedly this season. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Chelsea's Player of the Weekend

2013-08-21T18:13:26Z

Even though Chelsea might not have gotten off to the kind of smashing start some were expecting there was plenty to admire about Mourinho's side and there were a number of players who produced league leading stats.Even though Chelsea might not have gotten off to the kind of smashing start some were expecting there was plenty to admire about Mourinho's side and there were a number of players who produced league leading stats. Frank Lamard The legend that is Lampard refuses to get old. He started this season off in the same way you might have expected had he been 10 years younger. His performance was full of energy, but with the added class and discipline that experience has brought him. Only Van Persie and Dzeko managed more shots than Lampard's 6 last weekend and with a goal already to his name the Chelsea man added plenty more to the side than just an attacking threat, his missed penalty turning out to be a minor blip in an otherwise accomplished performance. He also produced 2 key passes in the game along with 3 accurate crosses (only 4 players managed more this week) to give him a total passing accuracy of 86% from his 71 passes, putting him in the top 20 for both number of passes and pass accuracy at the weekend. The most accurate passers in the league exceeded 90% last weekend and Lampard was right up there with them in terms of volume and accuracy. Eden Hazard came in a close second place with Oscar also putting in an excellent all round performance but Lampard's leadership and all round contribution for 90 minutes, especially when some around him were looking tired, means he gets the nod from us for last weekend's performance against Hull. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Liverpool's Player of the Week for Week 1

2013-08-21T18:10:28Z

Liverpool looked slick, sharp and dangerous during their game against Stoke, and in reality they should have scored one or two more goals. Whilst there were a number of outstanding performers including Sturridge and Aspas, one man stood put above all the rest for us.Liverpool looked slick, sharp and dangerous during their game against Stoke, and in reality they should have scored one or two more goals. Whilst there were a number of outstanding performers including Sturridge and Aspas, one man stood put above all the rest for us. Philippe Coutinho Coutinho's blistering end to last season had already made him a potentially tasty proposition this time around. He quickly laid any doubts to rest by picking up exactly where he left off. He was a constant threat to Stoke and produced a league high of 6 key passes. In addition he provided 3 accurate through balls which was also a league high. There is no doubting the quality of his work and excellent link up play with Daniel Sturridge and Aspas, had it not been for the outstanding Begovic in the Stoke goal Coutinho would have seen his labours produce more fruits in the way of goals and assists. Although his passing accuracy of 79% was a little way below the leagues best passers (with the likes of Hazard and Yaya Toure achieving 90% plus) his ability to take measured risks and provide penetrating ammunition to those around him made him a highly effective threat. Part of the reason behind Coutinho's relatively low total of 46 passes was the amount of cover he provided going backwards. The Brazilian also made 6 tackles (the equal third highest tally in the league) which means he contributed far more going backwards than you might expect, giving him a fantastic all round performance. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Liverpool Will End Their Woeful 1st Match of The Season Record

2013-08-16T16:45:00Z

Of all the top sides in the Premier League Liverpool currently have the most woeful opening day record by some distance. With new optimism once again rearing it's head on the Mersey, surely their diabolical run will end at Anfield this time out. Of all the top sides in the Premier League Liverpool currently have the most woeful opening day record by some distance. With new optimism once again rearing it's head on the Mersey, surely their diabolical run will end at Anfield this time out. Dodgy Starts Tottenham, Arsenal, Sunderland and most recently West Brom in last season's shocking 3-0 opening day defeat, can count themselves as the teams that have left Liverpool without an opening day win in 5 seasons. Just 3 opening day wins from their last 11 attempts is a pretty diabolical record and you'd have to go back a full 16 seasons to find an opening day fixture in which Liverpool scored more than 2 goals. The table makes pretty horrific reading in every regard, so we'll spare Liverpool supporters torture by analysing it in too much depth and instead focus on what has to be a positive start this coming season. Rodgers Promise Brendan Rogers has been very busy in the transfer window. Even though Liverpool have lost the services of Luis Suarez, at least for the first 6 games, they have added plenty of quality around the park. With the likes of Coutinho, Sturridge, Aspas and others now bolstering their ranks a home fixture against poor travellers Stoke should be exactly what the doctor ordered and anything less than a confident victory will might set off the here we go again of too many past disappointments. The eyes of the world will be on Anfield come 12.45pm on Saturday as Liverpool start the season alone in the early kick off and we expect that Liverpool will come out on top, though it might not be all that pretty. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Eto'o to Chelsea

2013-08-16T16:30:00Z

With Wayne Rooney's move to Chelsea simmering down, legendary hit man Samuel Eto'o is the latest to be linked with a move to the Blues after making some pretty explicit overtures toward his former boss.With Wayne Rooney's move to Chelsea simmering down, legendary hit man Samuel Eto'o is the latest to be linked with a move to the Blues after making some pretty explicit overtures toward his former boss. Eto'o: Transfer Truth: 55% There are a whole raft of stories stating that Anzhi Makhachkala are keen to cut their wage bill and it was recently reported that the entire team had been put on the transfer list including £200k+ per week striker Eto'o. Where the stories start to contradict one another is in the notion that Eto'o is willing to take a wage cut to join Chelsea, who we doubt would be willing to match his existing earnings. Whilst some are reporting that that he will take a cut others, including his agent are stating that wage demands are the only thing that would prevent such a move. His agent Peppino Tirri recently told Russian website Vesti: I can assure you all that Eto'o will definitely stay at Anzhi. It would be very difficult to arrange his transfer because Samuel is not willing to move to another club for less wages. Normally we would take heed from such words and call the rumour busted, but these appear to us as the words of an agent who has grown incredibly wealthy on the commission he receives from one of his clients and is keen for that to continue. With just 1 year left on his contract Eto'o may well have a different opinion himself. Eto'o's Opinion In contradiction to the comments made by his agent, Eto'o appears to be actively engaging Chelsea with a come and get me plea. There is only one José Mourinho. I have played under a lot of great coaches – but there is no other character in the game like José.He is one of the best coaches in the world and we had a lot of success together at Inter Milan. Eto'o went on to throw everything but the kitchen sink in to make sure Mourinho and Chelsea were left in no doubt of his intent: I would like to have the chance to play under him again because it is never boring when José is around. Chelsea are a great team. When we have all the offers on the table then I will discuss with my agent and see what my next step is. Mourinho's Opinion Mourinho has returned the admiration in kind, which has fuelled the fire even further. He recently responded to the comments made by Eto'o in an interview given to BT Sport: I am always happy that somebody that worked with me previously is happy to be back and work with me again. That is a good feeling that I have, when I read something that Samuel is keen. It is fantastic for us, but we are going to see what happens. Show Me The Money With Chelsea still potentially considering bolstering their options in attack a world class striker like Eto'o, who is still finding the route to goal with ease, could be a good move especially as he is likely to be available at a cut price transfer fee. In the end [...]



Stunning Chelsea Top in Premier League 1st Match Table

2013-08-16T13:40:00Z

Chelsea's opening day results in recent years have been nothing short of astonishing making the Blues comfortably the best opening day performers in the Premier League.Chelsea's opening day results in recent years have been nothing short of astonishing making the Blues comfortably the best opening day performers in the Premier League. Stunning Starts Despite a whole raft of different managers being in charge for Chelsea's first game of the season over the years they've maintained an incredible record of having failed to one just a single game of their opening fixtures in the last 11 seasons. Ominous Blip In 2011/12 Andre Villa Boas failed to win his first game in charge away at Stoke by drawing 0-0 to produce the only blip on an otherwise impeccable and astonishing record. Though it should be noted that Chelsea went on to win 6 of the next 7 games ensuring another great start to the season. For those that believe in omens that was the only season during the entire 11 year stretch in which Chelsea finished outside of the top 3, eventually coming in 6th place! The Stunning Starts Chelsea's track record for stunning starts is pretty remarkable, over the course of the last 11 years only on 3 occasions have they failed to win at least 6 of their opening 8 fixtures to find themselves on top of the table. The most notable recent opening run being consecutive 6-0 wins against West Brom an Wigan which got the 2010/11 off to a flyer under Carlo Ancelotti. Whilst Drogba bagged himself an opening day hattrick the Wigan game produced 6 different goal scorers. Mourinho's Way Chelsea's starts under Mourinho have been a different but equally impressive kettle of fish. In his first season in charge (in 04/05) Chelsea started their season 1-0 defeat of Manchester United and went on to concede a single goal in their opening 8 fixtures after a string of 1-0 victories saw them concede just 15 goals all season and clinch the title. Mourinho's next season saw Chelsea win all of their opening 9 games, once again refusing to concede a goal in the first 6 games whilst scoring 12. The following seasons told much the same story. The old Mourinho way seems to be one which might not see Chelsea blast in the goals at a ridiculous rate but they will give away precious little at the back. This season's opening fixtures at home against Hull and Villa may well give the new Chelsea manager an opportunity to boost his opening game goal scoring tallies so expect fire works in Chelsea's opening games. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Arsenal Undefeated in 11 Years of Opening Days

2013-08-16T13:20:00Z

Arsenal currently have the 2nd best opening day record of any team in the Premier League having remained undefeated in the last 11 years of opening day games, but their record is in danger of slipping.Arsenal currently have the 2nd best opening day record of any team in the Premier League having remained undefeated in the last 11 years of opening day games, but their record is in danger of slipping. Undefeated Arsenal It's hugely impressive that Gunners have not tasted opening day defeat for a full 11 seasons, the last of which was a 1-0 loss to Sunderland way back in 2000/01 when they went on to finish second in the league. Recent Worries What is surprising about Arsenal's opening day record is that up until 3 seasons ago it was almost unblemished by even draws. The last 3 years though have seen them fail to win any with Liverpool, Newcastle and Sunderland all holding the Gunners to opening day draws in games they might have expected to win. Over the last 2 seasons Arsenal have failed to score in either of their opening 2 fixtures as they have gone from being one of the best starters in the Premier League to one in danger of losing their status amongst the league's finest. Villa Remedy This season's opening day offering presents a fantastic opportunity for the Gunners to break their duck and walk off with 3 points from the visit of Villa to The Emirates. With a lack of new faces and masses of frustration for Arsenal supporters this summer anything less than a win could see the moans and groans elevated to dangerous levels so Wenger should be keener than ever to get the season started off on the right foot. The last tome Arsenal started their season with a win was back in 2009/10 when they stuffed Everton 6-1 at Goodison and also went on to win their next game 4-1 with Diaby scoring a hat trick. Whilst we might not be expecting the same again a Villa team that was very leaky on the road last term should provide Arsenal with ample opportunities to bag a handsome win this time out and end their recent poor run of opening day results. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Top 3 Liverpool Players For Your Fantasy Football Team This Season

2013-08-06T17:10:00Z

Brendan Rodgers has been a busy boy this summer and with expectations high at Liverpool once again, there could be some cracking Liverpool players to look out for this season.Brendan Rodgers has been a busy boy this summer and with expectations high at Liverpool once again, there could be some cracking Liverpool players to look out for this season. 1. Daniel Sturridge Sturridge had a ruthless run in the Liverpool team at the end of last season which made him a must have bargain for fantasy managers across the land. 11 goals and 5 assists gave him a goal contributed for every 78 minutes of game time, a tally that can only just be bettered by Van Persie on 76. The expectation is that with Suarez suspended for the first 6 games of the season, Sturridge will thrive in his role as the main man and with his price some distance below the likes of Van Persie and Aguero, the Liverpool man could could not only return a top drawer points tally, but also be exceptional value too, especially with the addition of quality creative players around him. 2. Steven Gerrard With his 2011/12 season left in tatters by injury, some questioned whether or not the 33 year old was past his prime. Last season he proved everyone wrong scoring and assisting more goals than he had done for the previous 3 seasons. His tally of 10 goals and 12 assists might be a little way behind the likes of Mata, Bale and Walcott but if you're looking for a top class midfielder, playing in a top class team but without the price tag of the other three then Gerrard could fit the bill and save you some cash. Gerrard is not the kind of player who will allow his legs to give way, especially when there is a World Cup place to cement. 3. Glen Johnson Only Manchester City kept more league clean sheets than Liverpool's 16 last season, and Glen Johnson was present for every single one of those notching up a big total of fantasy points. He also chipped in with 5 assists and would probably expected a few more than the 1 goal he got. Whilst he does carry a premium he is still cheaper than Baines, Ivanovic and co on most fantasy games making him an excellent choice if you need to trim a few quid off your budget. Potential Bargain: Iago Aspas Aspas got 12 goals and 7 assists from 34 appearances in a Celta Vigo team that only just avoided relegation last season. His eye for goal and ability to play on the wings could afford him more game time than his bargain price in most fantasy games currently suggests. Speculation has it that he will be deployed in Downing's position and from there he could find himself as one of the bargains of the season if he gets regular game time and settles quickly. Kolo Toure is also worth a look. With the former Manchester City man getting very little game time last season he is available at a knock down price in most fantasy games and if he is Rodgers' preferred center back choice he could be a huge bargain in a Liverpool team that keeps a large numb[...]



Top 3 Manchester United Players to Have in Your Fantasy Football Team

2013-08-05T17:30:00Z

Barring the obvious RVP, Manchester United players were difficult to include in a top fantasy football team last season, which is why there might be some cracking bargains around this time around.Barring the obvious RVP, Manchester United players were difficult to include in a top fantasy football team last season, which is why there might be some cracking bargains around this time around. 1. Robin Van Persie Not having the Dutchman in your side last season was almost a kamikaze move. When many doubted if he could replicate his incredible previous season at Arsenal he actually pushed on with 26 (league) goals and 15 assists giving him an unbeatable goal contributed for every 76 minutes of game time. Just a few minutes per goal off the pace of Lionel Messi's career stats. Whilst he remains the most expensive player in most fantasy football league games, and you could question whether or not it's possible for him to reproduce the kind of form that made him worth his price for the 3rd season running we think he has at least one more fine season left in him and he is difficult to leave out despite the hefty fee. 2. Patrice Evra There have been rumours of a move away from Old Trafford for Evra, if Leighton Baines doesn't arrive then Evra remains a fine choice. Despite the premium he carries he is still cheaper than Baines and many of the other top defenders. Last season he added a new facet to his game bringing in 4 goals to add to his 6 assists. Having had a hand in 10 goals is a tremendous bonus for a defender and when you count all the clean sheets he's likely to get it's clear to see why he was one of the top point scoring defenders last season. 3. Shinji Kagawa Kagawa looked a quality player at times last season, but without a concrete place in the team his game time was limited by rotation and injury as he settled in to life in the Premier League. He is available at a price way below the league's big hitters but definitely has the quality to find himself amongst them at the end of the season if he is correctly deployed David Moyes. His 6 goals and 4 assists gave him a goal contributed for every 131 minutes of game time. Not a bad achievement by any means but one that we believe he can improve on enough to make him great value. Potential Bargain: Ashley Young The United side is full of potential fantasy football gems this season. Ashley Young had a torrid 2021/13 failing to score a single league goal when he should realistically have been looking at double figures for both goals and assists. He has an abundance of quality and you would expect to see him return to his best this season as he jostles for a place in the England World Cup squad. Tom Cleverly and Wilfred Zaha are also worth a look. Both players appear in the bargain basement category of most fantasy football games and whilst neither is guaranteed game time there is a good chance that one can establish themselves in to the firs[...]



Top 3 Chelsea Players to Have in Your Fantasy Football Team

2013-08-02T17:20:00Z

Having covered Arsenal in a previous article we now take a look at the top 3 Chelsea players that you should stick in your fantasy football team this season.Having covered Arsenal in a previous article we now take a look at the top 3 Chelsea players that you should stick in your fantasy football team this season. 1. Juan Mata One of the best players in the Premier League last season would have benefited from a little more rest this summer than he has been afforded in previous years. This could mean he can improve on the ridiculous 11 goals and 18 assists which gave him an astonishing tally of goal contributed for every 94 minutes of game time throughout last season. Whilst he comes at a premium in most games and is more expensive than the equally attractive Hazard, we think he's worth every penny and will continue to improve. 2. Romelu Lukaku The powerhouse Belgian had an outstanding season at West Brom in 2012/13 with a return of 17 goals and 7 assists. That's a world class tally of 85 minutes per goal contributed which got him a ranking of 5th best attacker in the Premier League in our analysis last season. If Mourinho stays true to his word and gives the youngster a fair crack at the whip his valuation, which is far less than Ba or Torres, could make him one of the bargain buys of the season. 3. Eden Hazard A frighteningly good first season in the Premier League brought Hazard 9 goals and 16 assists (a goal for every 105 minutes of game time). He started the season off at a thunderous pace too so he should be in your considerations for the start of the season at least, and especially you're struggling for the premium fee carried by Mata. He'll be eager to continue impressing in a world cup year and the extra competition brought by the signing of Schurrle might help motivate even more exceptional performances out of the Belgian. Potential Bargain: Cesar Azpilicueta It's difficult to know what plans Mourinho has for the center of his defence, but the likely scenario is that Ivanovic will be preferred in his best position at center back leaving the right back position for Azpilicueta, where he was a regular for most of the end of last season. His 6 assists last season were a huge bonus for a defender, in fact only Baines produced more with 7 so he carries both a strong attacking threat as well as benefiting from what will be a solid Chelsea defence that will notch up a lot of clean sheets. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Rumour Of The Day: Remy to Newcastle

2013-08-01T17:20:00Z

It's not been an easy summer for Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew, with the Papiss Cisse shirt row and the arrival of Joe Kinnear, while the transfer market has proved tricky.It's not been an easy summer for Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew, with the Papiss Cisse shirt row and the arrival of Joe Kinnear, while the transfer market has proved tricky. The Magpies have been linked with the likes of Darren Bent and Bafetimbi Gomis, but have made little progress in signing either so far, so could they be turning to Loic Remy again? The French striker of course had been meant to join Newcastle in January, only to ditch them at the last minute and join QPR, who he was unable to save from relegation. With Harry Redknapp looking to lighten the wage bill in the Championship, Remy is one of the stars who he needs to lose, and a loan deal could suit both clubs. Certainly they need to bring someone in to allay the fears of Magpies fans that they will get left behind again this summer, and Pardew has insisted that something will happen soon with one of his targets. They are all very much on the radar. We will pursue them until we get them. I'm not concerned about any of them slipping away. I think that we are in the market still. We will pay what we think is the right price. We've done that ever since we have been here. We have always managed to get somebody over the line and I think we will this time. Kinnear's negotiation skills have so far seen him underwhelm both Lyon and Aston Villa, with Bent seemingly now set to sign for Fulham despite a meeting with the Newcastle Director Of Football. Lyon have rejected his £7m bid for Gomis so far, and there are conflicting reports today suggesting that the deal is either dead in the water or about to suddenly go through. So the only likely option seems to be a loan move for Remy, who scored six goals in 13 appearances in the Premier League last season. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Top 3 Arsenal Players to Have in Your Fantasy Football Team

2013-08-01T17:15:00Z

If you haven't already sorted out your fantasy football team then now is the time you'll probably be thinking about your star selections. We've analysed the Arsenal team for you and made our top 3 must have players if you want Arsenal coverage in your team.If you haven't already sorted out your fantasy football team then now is the time you'll probably be thinking about your star selections. We've analysed the Arsenal team for you and made our top 3 must have players if you want Arsenal coverage in your team. 1. Theo Walcott With all the hype surrounding the arrival of a new big name striker at The Emirates, Walcott must be just about the only top player to have avoided the headlines. His league contribution of 14 goals and 13 assists last season was incredible and gave him a goal contributed for every 89 minutes of game time. Even though the arrival of a striker is likely to limit Walcott's game time up front, the fact that he is still improving in all areas of his game and valued at below the fees commanded by the likes of Bale, Mata, Cazorla and Hazard in many fantasy football games makes him a very attractive option especially if his game time isn't limited by injury. 2. Santi Cazorla Cazorla's debut season produced a stunning 12 goals and 13 assists which made him one of the top 3 scoring midfielders in many fantasy games last season. Even though multiple seasons without a proper break meant he looked tired toward the end we expect him to come back refreshed and revitalised for the new season. Cazorla's 96 key passes in 2012/13 could only be bettered by 2 players (Baines and Silva) and if Arsenal are successful in securing the services of a striker with more clinical finishing than Giroud, we do believe Cazirla will produce even more next season. 3. Per Mertesacker Arsenal are often unfairly though of as a team who have little in the way of defensive strengths, but only Liverpool and Manchester City kept more clean sheets than Wenger's side last season. With just 37 goals conceded Arsenal in fact had the 2nd tightest defence in the league and the towering German was present for all of their clean sheets. Even though Mertesacker was at fault for one too many Arsenal goals last season he managed to established himself as a first team player, and if he continues to settle in to the English game he could score top fantasy points again. He also offers a goal threat from set pieces and could improve on his tally of 3 from last term. Being available at a far lower fee than Baines, Evra and Ivanovic who outscored him last season he could be a cracking bargain signing for your side. Potential Bargain: Jack Wilshere Having spent most of last season injured, the maestro is available at a knock down fee in most fantasy football games. Whilst he does lack the goals and assists that are coveted in many games he is [...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth On Latest Soldado To Tottenham News

2013-08-01T17:05:00Z

It's been a long time coming, but it looks like Tottenham Hotspur are going to sign Roberto Soldado after all. A fine signing it is too.It's been a long time coming, but it looks like Tottenham Hotspur are going to sign Roberto Soldado after all. A fine signing it is too. Soldado: Transfer Truth: 90% The Spanish international striker has been linked with them all summer and Spurs have tried a number of bids to get him, with Franco Baldini meeting with Valencia officials to smooth things out. However, as we previously reported all Tottenham needed to do to seal the deal was offer the €30m required to trigger Soldado's release clause and they would have their man. It looks like a £25.8m bid has been enough to seal the deal and Soldado has been left out of their squad for a tour to the United States. A tax deadline on Saturday has helped hurry things along, giving Los Che an incentive to sell him quickly, and all that remains is for the i's to be dotted and t's to be crossed. According to Valenciapresident Amadeo Salvo: The deal with Tottenham has been completed. A problem with Soldado's agents has come up and the player will not leave the club until a solution has been found. Having scored 30 goals in 46 appearances for Valencia last season, as well as establishing himself a key player in the national team set-up, Soldado is a man in great form. When we recently looked at how good Soldado is we were hugely impressed by his stats. He had also been linked with a move to Liverpool as a potential replacement for Luis Suarez, but it seems that Spurs have been able to act quickly to snap him up before the Reds were able to get involved. Our Truth-O-Meter With a quote from Valencia's president confirming that a deal has been completed, we can be confident that this is way more than just paper talk. However, transfers have fallen apart at this stage before over personal terms or even agent fees, so Soldado isn't a Spurs player just yet but it seems that only some form of agent based greed could derail this one. One thing for certain is that if it does go ahead, his signing will be a major coup for Andre Villas-Boas. Likeliness of Signing: 90% Fit at Club: 90% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Rumour Of The Day: Rondon to Liverpool or Manchester City

2013-07-31T18:00:00Z

Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon has emerged as a new option for Liverpool if they need to replace Luis Suarez this summer. Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon has emerged as a new option for Liverpool if they need to replace Luis Suarez this summer. The 23-year-old currently plays for Russian club Rubin Kazan, signing for them last summer from Malaga after a successful couple of seasons in La Liga. He's already off the mark this season for Rubin, with the Russian league having got underway earlier this month, and he found the net against Zenit St Petersburg. Rondon cost them just under £9m last year, so they would certainly be looking to get around that figure, if not more for him. He was linked with a move to Manchester City earlier in the sumer, having worked with Manuel Pellegrini at Malaga, but played down that rumour. The press sometimes come to conclusions from sources that nobody knows. The truth is that I have no formal knowledge about any of those clubs. Yes, we read and hear things in the press, it's talked about that there is possible interest, but until something is made formal, or there is something concrete, I can't tell you anything. The latest news is that Liverpool aren't alone in their reported interest in him, with Borussia Dortmund eyeing him up as a potential replacement for in-demand Robert Lewandowski. That rumour comes from Marca, of all places, with the Spanish paper claiming that Dortmund have already contacted Kazan about signing him. This interest from big clubs like Liverpool and Dortmund is a little surprising, given the relatively underwhelming first season Rondon had at Rubin last year, getting just seven league goals in 25 games, but he's still young enough and talented enough to come good. But like so many players in the transfer market this summer, his future seems to depend on the future of players like Suarez and Lewandowski.



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Modric to Manchester United

2013-07-31T17:40:00Z

With Manchester United's pursuit of Fabregas seemingly having hit a dead end the latest speculation has been about who they will sign instead. Step forward Luka Modirc of Real Madrid, to the world of transfer window speculation. With Manchester United's pursuit of Fabregas seemingly having hit a dead end, the latest speculation has been about who they will sign instead. Step forward Luka Modirc of Real Madrid, to the world of transfer window speculation. Transfer Truth: 25% Our research has turned up little in the way of a solid link to Manchester United. Most of what is out there right now has been written by publications who can't bring themselves to write a 248th article on Fabregas so the logical leap has been made to Luka. The Logic This is one of those transfers that only has transfer window semi-logic to fall back on, but there is plenty of that to sink our teeth in to. The first thing floating the rumour boats is that at Christmas last year, having been in Spain only 6 months, Modric was voted as the worst La Liga signing of the season, just ahead of Alex Song. It's fair to say that he has struggled to look like a brand Real player at times and his performances at that stage paled in to insignificance when compared to the astonishing 4 years he had at Tottenham. It would also be unfair to ignore the fact that he started to hit his stride during the second half of the season and by the time he scored against Manchester United in the latter stages of the Champions League he had started to win the Madrid supporters over, even if he is still far from establishing a regular first team place. The lack of first team authority and half a bad season appear to be all that is required for the press to speculate that he will give up and return to England with his tail between his legs just 1 year after arriving in Spain. Especially as the arrival of another £30m+ plus midfield player in the Real team will further impact Modric's chances. This might be a half reasonable assumption to make but comments made recently by Modric himself do suggest that he wants to stay and fight for Real: If I can choose, I want to win the Champions League, but the league is also important for us and I would like to win both titles, It's a long season and we have to prepare well. We want to start well in both competitions. Whilst this comment is obviously sanitised for it's appearance on the official club website it does not appear to disguise the concerns of a man with a transfer on his mind. Truth-o-meter This story is being lead by our old friend transfer window semi-logic. Whilst there is sense in the notion that United might be seeking quality alternatives to the stalled Fabregas bid the leap to Luka is far more presumptuous than fact. Modric[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Luiz to Barcelona or Bayern

2013-07-31T17:20:00Z

For reasons that remain beyond our grasp David Luiz continues to be linked with a move away from Chelsea. After a link to PSG was largely extinguished, Barcelona and Bayern remain as the likely lads who continue to be mentioned alongside the Brazilian's name.For reasons that remain beyond our grasp David Luiz continues to be linked with a move away from Chelsea. After a link to PSG was largely extinguished, Barcelona and Bayern remain as the likely lads who continue to be mentioned alongside the Brazilian's name. Luiz: Transfer Truth: 10% Chelsea's position on Luiz may have been a little precarious at some stages last season when he was galavanting forwards and leaving the defence exposed but ever since the Confederations Cup and the arrival of Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, appreciation of Luiz's qualities have risen significantly. Mourinho has been asked about Luiz on more than one occasion, and having previously refuted the possibility of a move by saying there was "no way" it could happen he has now gone another step further to assure the press that he has no desire to sell Luiz. When asked about it again during the clubs tour of Asia he said: The potential is incredible, amazing. He always has to play. For me he is a central defender It's rare for Mourinho to show such direct admiration for a single player, and even this little nod should be taken as high praise from the special one. There are also so longer comments reported in The Metro in which Mourinho analyses Luiz's game in a way which should be enough to convince supporters of the potential he sees in the player. These indicate that Luiz is a project that the Chelsea manager will relish working on. Truth-o-meter There is only loose conjecture to suggest that either Bayern on Barcelona are actually preparing a bid for Luiz and with Mourinho seemingly showing his admiration for the player, and determined not to sell him we think it's highly unlikely that Luiz will be making a move this summer. Especially when you consider the fact that Chelsea paid £21m for him not so long ago, and he signed a 5 year contract extension in September last year. It would appear that unless something drastic has changed and Luiz suddenly does not want to work with a manager who clearly rates him highly. Or that he has decided against staying at a club that has grown to love him, then there is little to no chance of Luiz moving this summer unless an astronomical bid was made. For this reason we are giving this transfer a truth rating of just 10% and only a 10% chance that he is actually going to leave Chelsea, for anyone! Likeliness Leaving Chelsea: 10% Fit at Club: 75% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";w[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Morata to Liverpool

2013-07-31T17:00:00Z

Liverpool are being linked with Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata, but have they got a hope of enticing him away from the Bernabeu as a potential Luis Suarez replacement?Liverpool are being linked with Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata, but have they got a hope of enticing him away from the Bernabeu as a potential Luis Suarez replacement? Morata: Transfer Truth: 20% It's not always easy being a hot young talent at a club like Real Madrid, where Galacticos are signed almost every summer to fill any gaps in the first team, so players like Morata tend to be linked with a move away. He made his debut for them back in 2010, and has made slow and steady progress since then, with Jose Mourinho reluctant to blood him too quickly, though he scored his first two goals last season. At international level he's impressed for Spain's various youth teams and won the Golden Boot at the Under-21 European Championships this summer. This has brought increased attention to his situation at Madrid and the chances of him gaining regular football under Carlo Ancelotti. With Liverpool almost certainly needing to replace Luis Suarez this summer, he'd certainly get more chances to play first team football at Anfield, while he's also been linked with Man United. Our Truth-O-Meter He's got another two years on his contract at Madrid, so there's no urgent need for them to give him a new one, but reports from Spain suggest that they are going to do so to tie him down to a longer deal at a better wage. As for the player himself, he seems to have made it pretty clear that he's got no intention of giving his up dream of becoming a crucial player for the club. I'm training well and want to stay in Madrid. The club and coach want me to stay. I do not have to turn down any offers because I have not received any. None of this offers much hope for Liverpool to try and sign him, so we're assuming that this is just paper talk. Likeliness of Signing: 10% Fit at Club: 60% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Rumour Of The Day: Dzeko to Tottenham Hotspur

2013-07-30T18:00:00Z

Tottenham Hotspur's pursuit of a new top striker has mostly been focused on trying to sign Roberto Soldado from Valencia, but with conflicting reports about how likely that is to happen, are they now targeting Edin Dzeko from Manchester City? Tottenham Hotspur's pursuit of a new top striker has mostly been focused on trying to sign Roberto Soldado from Valencia, but with conflicting reports about how likely that is to happen, are they now targeting Edin Dzeko from Manchester City? The Bosnian striker has had a mixed time at Eastlands, fluctuating between seeming essential and expendable, and the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini and his new signings Alvaro Negredo and Stefan Jovetic look like they have pushed him down the pecking order. He's certainly proved, when given the chance by Roberto Mancini, that he can be an effective force in the Premier League, even without making the impact he made in the Bundesliga, so he could be a useful signing for Spurs. However, Pellegrini seems far from convinced that he should let Dzeko go, hardly surprising given his pre-season form, which saw him score the winner against Sunderland in the Asia Trophy at the weekend. I have a lot of trust in him. Everyone was talking before I arrived that we will bring in Cavani, Lewandowski, all those players. But I always trusted in Edin Dzeko and he is now playing the way I want. I am sure he will continue improving Those don't seem to be the words of a manager who expects to be selling that player any time soon, even if the 'now playing the way I want' part might seem a bit condescending. Dzeko himself is also not talking like someone who expects to be anywhere else in 2013/14. We had a good pre-season with the new manager and all of us are definitely looking forward to the Premier League. We want to achieve some good things next season. Whether City or Dzeko have a choice to make about his future seems entirely dependent on whether or not Spurs sign Soldado, but if that falls through, we'll see whether those quotes were merely words. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Bernard to Arsenal

2013-07-30T17:40:00Z

Highly rated Brazilian attacking midfielder Bernard has been linked with numerous clubs this summer including Arsenal and Liverpool but the latest developments suggest both English clubs could miss out unless they put their money where their mouth is.Highly rated Brazilian attacking midfielder Bernard has been linked with numerous clubs this summer including Arsenal and Liverpool but the latest developments suggest both English clubs could miss out unless they put their money where their mouth is. Bernard: Transfer Truth: 60% The talents of the young Brazilian are undeniable, his last season at Atletico Mineiro brought a stunning return of 11 goals and 12 assists from 36 appearances and at just 20 years old he could develop in to a world class player, so the £22m being asked for him is not that astronomical given the current market. Bernard has plenty of love for his current club but seems to have accepted the notion of needing to play in Europe if he wants to be a world star and there are plenty of sides lining up for his services. His agent recently listed at least two of the potential suitors: I can confirm that the possibility [of joining Porto] is strong, but there is Shakhtar, too. It should be between those [clubs]. On Monday or Tuesday there should be something more concrete. There are also quotes from his Brazilian team mate Hulk urging him to join Porto, where he is far more likely to get regular game time to develop himself with rather than going to a club like Arsenal who have numerous attacking midfield talents that would restrict his first team opportunities. Arsenal Interested Bernard's father has also recently commented on the matter stating that there have been inquiries from Wenger's side: Nothing is decided yet but we know there is interest from Arsenal. However, there has been nothing official from them. It might just be that the agent and father are working to increase the options and potential wages of their mutual interest but it does seem to be the same old story for Arsenal. Whilst there has been interest the club appear to have baulked at the price and let the transfer slide. Truth-o-meter Given the benefits of a common language, the increased likeliness of attaining a work permit and the much higher chance of the kind of regular game time a developing 20 year old needs, we think Porto are the front runners in this race should they be able to stump up the fee. Although Bernard is fond if his current club and may yet chose to stay it seems the interest in the player is at a high level and only he himself could prevent a move. For that reason we can give a high truth rating of 60% to the transfe[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Khedira to Chelsea

2013-07-30T17:20:00Z

Having originally brought Sami Khedira to Real Madrid, stories have broken in Spain which suggest Mourinho could be going back in for his former central midfield player.Having originally brought Sami Khedira to Real Madrid, stories have broken in Spain which suggest Mourinho could be going back in for his former central midfield player. Khedira: Transfer Truth: 30% This story originates from well respected Spanish broadsheet El Confidencial who claimed at the weekend that Chelsea could potentially offer to double the German international's wages. With 2 years remaining on his contract he might not cost the earth either. El Confidencial The Spanish newspaper reporting this story were probably one of the only publications that disputed Higuain's father's comments that he was on his way to Arsenal, stated that Real would in fact get around £30m and stood strong all along that Arsenal had not lodged a formal bid. On that occasion they were right and so a fair amount of credence is being applied to their most recent call that Chelsea are in the hunt for Khedira. For this reason we would not doubt that preliminary enquiries might have been made. What Khedira Was Saying Even though it is well known that Khedira was an admirer of Mourinho and wished Real had kept hold of him, around 2 weeks ago he gave a long interview, reported in ESPN: I am full of anticipation as I am still very proud to be playing for Real Madrid. Who plays for this huge club competes for titles. I am convinced that the work under Carlo Ancelotti will take me one step further. From the full comment it would be reasonable to draw the conclusion that positive contact had been made between the player and his new coach Carlo Ancelotti but of course two weeks is a long time for things to change if Mourinho comes knocking during that time. The Logic The logic behind this one is that in a world cup year, when Real Madrid have already spent £34m on anther defensive midfield player (Asier Illarramendi), have promoted an additional one, and are potentially in the hunt for further players in that area this may leave Khedira outside of the clubs requirements. Though that is hard to believe given his obvious world class capabilities and experience. There is also the implication that Mikel could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge which would also leave Chelsea needing a player on that role. A 2+2 of logic which, on the face of it does appear to add up to somewhere near 4. Truth-o-meter There is a strong link between Khedira and Mourinho who signed him at Real. We can also accept the notion that Chelsea might be looking for reinforcements in[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Chiriches to Tottenham

2013-07-30T17:05:00Z

Most of the transfer talk this summer around White Hart Lane has been about bringing in new attacking players, but Spurs are now being linked with Romanian defender Vlad Chiriches.Most of the transfer talk this summer around White Hart Lane has been about bringing in new attacking players, but Spurs are now being linked with Romanian defender Vlad Chiriches. Chiriches: Transfer Truth: 40% The 23-year-old Romanian international centre-half helped Steaua Bucharest win Liga 1 last year in his first full season. He's known as a very stylish kind of centre-back, like a Romanian Rio Ferdinand, comfortable bringing the ball out of defence rather than hoofing it upfield, which is very much the kind of player who fits in well at White Hart Lane. He's also got good technique when it comes to the opposite end of the pitch, having scored a couple of eye-catching goals for Steaua, as well as performing impressively in the Champions League last season. Chiriches has only been there for a year and a half, but is being talked about as a likely departure this summer, with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City amongst the English suitors mentioned. AC Milan are also reportedly interested in signing him, so if Andre Villas-Boas does want to sign him, he'll have to move fast, with the price-tag said to be around £10m. Our Truth-O-Meter The reports from Romania suggest that Spurs are in talks with his agent already, but so far there's no sign that this is anything more than just gossip. Certainly Chiriches looks like a player who would add a lot to the Spurs back-four, but it seems ilke they will have some serious competition for his signature. So, given the lack of any confirmation, we're keeping this rumour on the back-burner for now. Likeliness of Signing: 25% Fit at Club: 75% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Transfer Truth: The Truth On Latest Bale to Real Madrid News

2013-07-29T17:50:00Z

Last week's barrage of story lines claiming explicitly and falsely that Bale had agreed a 6 year deal with Real Madrid was truly shameful, but now new stories have emerged insisting that Bale is furious that Tottenham will not allow him to leave.Last week's barrage of story lines claiming explicitly and falsely that Bale had agreed a 6 year deal with Real Madrid was truly shameful, but now new stories have emerged insisting that Bale is furious that Tottenham will not allow him to leave. Bale: Transfer Truth: 35% In our last report on this story we named some of the news sources that falsely reported Gareth Bale had agreed terms with Real Madrid, all of those proved to be false. Today's hot topic is about how Bale is now demanding a move away. A vast majority of these stories appear to be derived from two vaguely relatable pieces of information. Firstly when Villas-Boas was asked, for maybe the 100th time in a month about Bale's possible move to Real his often repeated, and tired sounding comments about how Bale was not for sale appeared to have been slightly tweaked in tone. Although he initially continued his defence, when asked about the move and Real's conduct he responded: I don't want to comment on anything like that. I cannot speak about anything We think these might just be the words of a man who has had enough of the same old question to which he has already supplied a hundred identical sounding refutes, but instead the assumption has been made that something is now in progress which AVB is keeping quiet. The second nugget of half truth driving this story is the fact that during a a press briefing given to the Madrid media it was confirmed that even though no written enquiry was made, Real Madrid would be willing to verbally commit to the notion that they would be willing to pay around £80m for Bale. Again this is hardly breaking news, we've known this for months now, but suddenly a few scant words in a press conference have made this headline news again. The Real Dream The BBC have also dug up some old comments made by Bale's agent back in May that Bale would be honoured to hear from Real Madrid, this comment did drive the initial stories but has now been crafted in to the suggestion that Real Madrid have always been the club Bale has dreamed of playing for. From this numerous other publications have jumped to the suggestion that Bale's camp have actually told Spurs that they want to be given permission to speak with Real and that Bale is now in a state of shock and disbelief that Daniel Levy is denying him this opportunity. Bein[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Doria to Chelsea

2013-07-29T17:30:00Z

Chelsea have joined a long list of clubs reported to be interested in Brazil U20 defender Doria and with a reasonable looking release clause confirmed by his club Botafogo surely it's a matter of who to rather than if he moves.Chelsea have joined a long list of clubs reported to be interested in Brazil U20 defender Doria and with a reasonable looking release clause confirmed by his club Botafogo surely it's a matter of who to rather than if he moves. Doria: Transfer Truth: 55% There is little solid information linking the 18 year old directly to Chelsea but the idea that he will not be spending next season at his current club is pretty solid and the fact that the player is so highly rated by so many quarters makes it a reasonable assumption that Chelsea could be one of the clubs in the hunt, though work permit issues might make it a tricky acquisition. Botafogo president Mauricio Assumpcao has recently stated his clubs position in very clear terms in an interview reported on Soccer Lens: Right now I can’t guarantee that Doria will stay. Negotiations will depend on whether clubs pay his buy-out fee. That release clause is widely believed to be £11m, not a staggering ask in the current market. Assumpcao went on to say: He, his agent and family are considering their options, but nothing is set in stone. Form this we can take the release clause to be true and accept that certain clubs may have already made enquiries so it's only a matter of time before someone stumps up the asking price and sets off a bidding war for his services. Are Chelsea Interested? Many sources have speculated that Chelsea are interested with some even speculating that they'd already made a bid. We could find nothing solid to back this up other than the assumption that Barcelona's interest in David Luiz might mean he leaves Chelsea and the idea that John Terry is no longer guaranteed a first team place would potentially make the signing of a young understudy a sensible move but this does involve a lot of ifs and buts. The big issue for Chelsea would be that without the strong possibility of a certain number of first team appearances being made, and only one Brazil cap under his belt he is likely to struggle to get a work permit. In order to stand any chance of receiving one from the home office Chelsea would need to prove that he is a special talent and "able to contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level in the UK." This might not be as impossible as it sounds but it would certainly make Chelsea one of the more[...]



Rumour Of The Day: Pastore to Tottenham Hotspur

2013-07-29T17:15:00Z

You may or may not have noticed that Real Madrid are trying to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur. If that deal does go through, will Spurs be moving for Argentinean midfielder Javier Pastore?You may or may not have noticed that Real Madrid are trying to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur. If that deal does go through, will Spurs be moving for Argentinean midfielder Javier Pastore? That's what the Daily Star reckon, saying that the Paris Saint-Germain star will be their top target if they lose Bale this summer. Pastore moved to PSG in 2011 after making a name for himself under Delio Rossi at Palermo in Serie A and has been a regular in the two seasons since, though had a quieter time last season and has dropped out the national squad. With PSG coming into money after his arrival, competition for his place will always be intense, so while his contract isn't up until 2016, it's reported that they are ready to move him on. He cost them over £30m two years ago, but the Daily Star reckon that they would settle for less now. However, his agent, while playing down a move to Roma, has insisted that he's not for sale. Pastore to Rome? Impossible because PSG have never made him available for sale. For Spurs, depending on which players Madrid throw at them to tempt them into selling Bale, Pastore's ability to play attacking midfield either centrally or on the flanks, combined with a decent scoring record, would make him an attractive option. Whether they would be able to convince PSG to make him available for sale will presumably depend on what they can offer, but for Pastore, the chance for a fresh start might be appealing.



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Melgarejo to Liverpool

2013-07-29T17:00:00Z

Liverpool are being linked with another loan move, this time for Lorenzeo Melgarejo, a Paraguayan wingback from Benfica.Liverpool are being linked with another loan move, this time for Lorenzeo Melgarejo, a Paraguayan wingback from Benfica. Melgarejo: Transfer Truth: 40% We've already told you about Brendan Rodgers apparently trying to sign Aly Cissokho, but it's been reported today that they have an alternative full-back in mind, and are pursuing Melgarejo to provide competition for Jose Enrique. The Paraguayan 22-year-old moved to Europe in 2011 when he joined Benfica, but has spent much of his time there on loan at Pacos Ferreira. His abilities going forwards caught the eye at Pacos in 2011/12, where he scored 10 goals, so it was no surprise that Benfica wanted to keep him for themselves last season. He didn't quite have the same impact, but did get into the first team and played against Chelsea in the Europa League final. His versatility make Melgarejo a good bet for Rodgers, given his ability to play left-back or left-wing, and reports suggest that the initial loan move would be with the intention of making it a permanent transfer after a year. Our Truth-O-Meter This is a very widely-reported rumour, which usually means that there's something to it, but can also just mean that everyone's copying a lie because they can't be bothered checking up on it. Melgarejo would be a decent addition to the Liverpool squad by the looks of him, and he'd certainly give Rodgers a few more options, while an initial loan deal means that it wouldn't be a risk. The only potential issue might be a work permit one, but if Liverpool are trying to sign him, they'll be hoping his international experience will help push it through. Likeliness of Signing: 40% Fit at Club: 65% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Transfer Truth: On the Latest Fabregas to Manchester United News

2013-07-28T18:00:00Z

Manchester United's determination to bring Fabregas to Old Trafford looked like it had a chance earlier last week, with multiple sources reporting Fabregas was seriously considering the move but the story has now take another twist.Manchester United's determination to bring Fabregas to Old Trafford looked like it had a chance earlier last week, with multiple sources reporting Fabregas was seriously considering the move but the story has now take another twist. Fabregas: Transfer Truth: 40% With Barcelona having replaced their manager, and United making multiple confirmed bids for Fabregas it seemed for a while that a high enough bid might prise him away from Barcelona or there might be hope for Moyes that the new Barca manager wouldn't be quite as fond of the midfielder as his predecessors. Sadly for United supporters still awaiting on one of the big name signings Moyes promised a few weeks ago, the tide has turned against the transfer. It turns out everyone at Barcelona, including the new manager, loves Fabregas. Whilst it is absolutely true that United have made bids allowing us to increase our truth rating on this one up to 40% last week when Moyes confirmed Ed Woodward was negotiating with Barcelona, the latest comments made by Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino have gone a long way to extinguishing the flames on this one. When speaking to Sky Sports Martino said: I'm not going to get into the economic interests but, if the club rejected it twice, I add a third one right now. He will be staying here. As if that wasn't bad enough the Barcelona brass then showed that they are very much towing the same line as their new manager when Vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: It's logical that we've had offers for Fabregas because he is a quality player but he is not for sale. We are proud to have him here. It doesn't matter what the offer from United is, we are counting on him. It is normal that many clubs are interested in our player Cesc. That is a source of pride for us, but we'll reject all bids. Normally we might be tempted not to take this on face value and speculate that this was merely a generic attempt at maximising the money they can get for their player but in this case we take it as given that Barcelona have zero intention of selling Fabregas and with the player previously having stated that he will be loyal to the Spanish side for as long as they want him, that may very well be that. Any Hope Left? All hope isn't compl[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth On McCarthy to Everton

2013-07-28T17:40:00Z

Roberto Martinez may be trying to prevent former Everton boss David Moyes from cherry-picking his top players, but that's apparently not stopping him doing the same thing back at Wigan, with James McCarthy his reported target.Roberto Martinez may be trying to prevent former Everton boss David Moyes from cherry-picking his top players, but that's apparently not stopping him doing the same thing back at Wigan, with James McCarthy his reported target. McCarthy: Transfer Truth: 45% Of course, one of the laziest rumours to invent is the idea of a former manager going back to his old club to snaffle his favourite players for his new club, so it's no surprise that this has come up. Martinez took Wigan to FA Cup glory last year, but they still ended up relegated, so there's plenty of incentive for people like McCarthy to follow him back to Premier League football at Goodison Park. With Marouane Fellaini's future still very much a cause for speculation (a move to United or Arsenal could be on the cards), Martinez knows that he needs someone in midfield, and McCarthy is his kind of player. Reports suggest that a fee of around £15-20m would be needed to convince new Latics boss Owen Coyle to let him go, or at least test how realistic his chances are of keeping hold of him but the final figure may well be less. The Irish international was a first team regular for Wigan last season, scoring three goals in all competitions, and Martinez will be aware that his contract isn't up until 2016, so there's no necessity for him to be sold. Our Truth-O-Meter There's nothing solid in these rumours, which come from the Daily Express, while McCarthy has also been linked with Tottenham Hotspur. That alleged interest from White Hart Lane has seen his price rise, which is a complication for Martinez, who is working with a typically tight budget, at least unless Fellaini moves on for a hefty sum. Certainly McCarthy would be a good fit for a new Everton style under his old boss, but whether the move can be pulled together is far from certain. Likeliness of Signing: 45% Fit at Club: 90% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElemen[...]



Rumour of The Day: Gomis to Newcastle

2013-07-28T17:25:25Z

Newcastle have spent the summer arguing internally about payday loans, but reports suggest that a first summer signing is on his way in the shape of Bafetimbi Gomis.Newcastle have spent the summer arguing internally about payday loans, but reports suggest that a first summer signing is on his way in the shape of Bafetimbi Gomis. You'd have thought Alan Pardew would have had his fill with uppity footballers after his issues with Papiss Cisse, but he's apparently ready to sign another one, with Gomis currently on strike at Lyon. He's only got one year left on his contract and seems to have no interest in renewing it, so is trying to force through a move somewhere else, with Newcastle's apparent interest suiting him just fine. For the Magpies, signing him would give them the replacement for Demba Ba that they so desperately lacked last season, with Gomis having scored 20 goals in 40 games for Lyon in 2012/13. He's been a consistent scorer for them since joining from Saint-Etienne in 2009, but seems to have had enough of Ligue 1 and wants to try his luck in the Premier League. Gomis has also been linked with Swansea and Cardiff City, but Newcastle are his favoured destination and reports in various papers suggest a deal could be done within the next 48 hours. The latest on this are some quotes from Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas revealing that negotiations are ongoing, while coach Remi Garde admits that he's expecting Gomis to leave. L'Equipe also say that the initial bid has been rejected. Certainly he is the kind of player that the Magpies will be after, and will be available at a fair price. At 27 and with French international experience, he'll be able to slot right into the first team and give them the firepower they need. So, it's safe to say that we're comfortable saying that this is a deal that is not only likely to be true but also likely to happen. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(ob,h);})();



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Taider to Liverpool

2013-07-28T17:08:45Z

Liverpool have been named as one of the clubs apparently chasing Algerian midfielder Saphir Taider from Bologna, though it appears that Inter might be jumping to the front of the queue.Liverpool have been named as one of the clubs apparently chasing Algerian midfielder Saphir Taider from Bologna, though it appears that Inter might be jumping to the front of the queue. Taider - Transfer Truth: 15% The French-born midfielder represented Les Bleus up to Under-20 level before opting to represent the country of his mother's birth (confusingly, his brother plays for Tunisia, where their father is from) earlier this year. He started out his career with Grenoble before moving to Italy in 2011, and he was briefly co-owned by Juventus though Bologna bought the rights to him back last year. Taider was a regular in Serie A last season, scoring three goals from central midfield and picking up a red card as he helped the Rossoblu to a safe mid-table position. He certainly caught the eye though, and has been linked with Bayern Munich, Inter and Liverpool, but coach Stefano Pioli is hoping to keep him another season at least. Surely Saphir will have a great career, but I want, and I hope, that he can stay with us for another year. With another two years left on his contract, there's certainly no necessity for Bologna to cash in on him yet, so the situation depends on his ambitions after a breakthrough season. Our Truth-O-Meter So far Liverpool have only really been mentioned in passing as a club who are interested in signing him but haven't done anything about it, which makes you wonder if their name was drawn out of a hat. The 21-year-old could probably do with another good season at Bologna for his development before making the bigger move, but the reports from Sky Italia are that Inter are ready to pounce. So if Brendan Rodgers really is interested in him, he might have to start firming up his plans, though we're not reading too much into this one. Likeliness of Signing: 20% Fit at Club: 60% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0[...]



Rumour Of The Day - Benzema to Liverpool

2013-07-27T17:15:00Z

Karim Benzema has been linked with a move to the Premier League ever since he made a big impression for Lyon against Manchester United in the Champions League in 2007/08. No English move ever materialised though, with Sir Alex Ferguson losing out to Real Madrid for the French striker.Karim Benzema has been linked with a move to the Premier League ever since he made a big impression for Lyon against Manchester United in the Champions League in 2007/08. No English move ever materialised though, with Sir Alex Ferguson losing out to Real Madrid for the French striker. Despite featuring in a star-studded squad at the Bernabeu, Benzema has been a key figure for them ever since joining, but there are reports that he could be used as a makeweight in a bid to get Luis Suarez from Liverpool. With the Reds playing hardball over what fee they expect for the Uruguayan star - basically, they want what Napoli got for Edinson Cavani, which was £55m - it might take more than cash to convince them to change their position. That is where Real Madrid have the advantage over Arsenal, in that they've got a surplus of talent they could use to tempt Brendan Rodgers into letting go of Suarez. Benzema certainly fits into that category, giving Liverpool a world class striker to replace the one they've already got. He scored 21 times in 50 games last season but also managed an impressive 18 assists and has been a regular scorer at international level too. As well as being a pacy and prolific striker, he's also capable of switching to either wing, which would definitely appeal to Rodgers, who has also been looking at wide players this summer to bolster Liverpool's attacking menace. While his position at Madrid seems secure at the moment, particularly with the impending departure of Gonzola Higuain, if they did go for Suarez, that would likely see Benzema pushed down the pecking order, so a swap deal might appeal to him. He's currently valued at around £30m, so would take up a big chunk of the Suarez fee, particularly with another two years left on his contract. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Muriel to Liverpool

2013-07-27T09:05:00Z

While Roberto Soldado is apparently their top 'Suarez replacement' target, Liverpool are also being linked with a Colombian youngster called Luis Muriel.While Roberto Soldado is apparently their top 'Suarez replacement' target, Liverpool are also being linked with a Colombian youngster called Luis Muriel. Muriel - Transfer Truth: 35% The Daily Star are leading this rumour, saying that Brendan Rodgers might favour bringing in another good young talent to add to the pool of strikers he already has, rather than going for a big name. 22-year-old Muriel scored 11 times in 15 Serie A starts for Udinese last season and was named joint Top Young Footballer Of The Year for his previous season's work on loan at Lecce. He's often been compared favourably in Italy to Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) for his pace, power and occasional weight issues (seriously) and scored his first goal for Colombia earlier this year. With the right development it is believed he could be in the same bracket of the Brazil legend in his prime some day. His progress at Udinese has been slow because of the restrictions on non-EU registrations, which has seen him loaned out to Granada in Spain before his spell at Lecce, but recent comments from the player do imply that he is happy at his current club despite the speculation surrounding him: This year I came back from vacation and was very eager to train well and do well. I'm very happy to be here again and I'm ready to score goals for Udinese. Hopefully I can get to score 20 goals. Last year I promised to get a minimum 15 goals. I only got 11, even though I played fewer games due to an injury. Our Truth-O-Meter Muriel seems to be a very talented young man, but is also a fairly raw talent, especially given that he's 22. His goalscoring has been inconsistent and he's not yet a regular first choice for Udinese. The player himself has apparently said that he'd like to stay with the Zebrette for another couple of seasons to develop, rather than looking to jump ship to a bigger club. So it's hard to see that there's much substance to this story, especially given his relative lack of international experience, which may be an issue for a work permit. Likeliness of Signing: 20% Fit at Club: 65% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBI[...]



Rumour Of The Day: Osvaldo to Fulham or Arsenal

2013-07-26T17:55:00Z

It's not often that the joint third-top scorer in Serie A gets linked to Fulham, but that is what is happening with Pablo Osvaldo of Roma.It's not often that the joint third-top scorer in Serie A gets linked to Fulham, but that is what is happening with Pablo Osvaldo of Roma. He got 16 goals for the Giallorossi last season and is in the prime of his career as well as an Italian international, but it seems like Fulham are likely to beat Valencia to sign him, according to reports today. His star is so high that even Arsenal's name has been thrown in to the ring for his signature. Of course, Fulham do now seem to have some financial muscle behind them, after the arrival of Shahid Khan, and signing Osvaldo would be a great way for him to prove that. He's a well-travelled striker, having played for five different clubs there, as well as Huracan back home in Argentina and Espanyol, where he first really made a name for himself in 2010/11. But he also comes with a bit of baggage, having punched a team-mate in the face in November 2011 and then reacting badly to being a substitute in the Coppa Italia final this year, he took his frustration out very loudly on coach Aurelio Andreazzoli. So you can maybe see why new boss Rudi Garcia might not be disappointed to let him go for a reported £6.8m, but you can also see why Fulham would be interested in the Italian international. in our "How Good Is Odvaldo" article yesterday we rated him is currently showing the form of a genuine world class striker. The reports are that Valencia are the rivals for his signature, but that Osvaldo has no interest in heading back to Spain. He's been previously linked with Premier League clubs like Man City, Southampton and Spurs, but it looks like the Cottagers will be the ones to sign him. The Daily Star say that they met with Roma's sporting director Walter Sabatini in London on Tuesday and the deal could be done by the end of the week. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrainLT";var h=document.getElementsByTagName("scr[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Atsu to Liverpool

2013-07-26T17:35:00Z

While the Suarez saga rumbles on, Brendan Rodgers is still busy trying to bring in fresh talent at Liverpool, but is Christian Atsu one of his targets?While the Suarez saga rumbles on, Brendan Rodgers is still busy trying to bring in fresh talent at Liverpool, but is Christian Atsu one of his targets? Atsu - Transfer Truth: 50% The Ghanaian winger, 21, broke into the Porto team last season and helped them to win the Primeira Liga, having made his mark internationally last June when he scored on his debut against Lesotho in a World Cup qualifier. He's been at Porto for a few years now, spending one season on loan at Rio Ave, and while he's still developing and needs to work on his goal-scoring, he's seen as an exciting prospect. TalkSPORT say that Liverpool have been trying to sort out a deal for him this summer but haven't been able to convince the Portuguese side to lower their asking price of £6m. This impasse has opened the door for other Primeira Liga sides like Benfica and Sporting Lisbon to try their luck for a player whose contract runs out next summer and is expected to be on the move. A source told Sky Sports: Porto have indicated they would be willing to sell Christian now as he will not sign a new deal. Christian has always said he would like to play in the Premier League and a number of clubs are interested in him. We try not to read too much in to the words on unnamed sources but the above is a mere indicator that this rumour is gathering pace and could turn in to something more meaningful before too long. Our Truth-O-Meter Reports have been typically conflicting over the course of the summer so far, ranging from 'almost a done deal' to 'it's off and Liverpool will look to their youngsters', so it's hard to guess how far any negotiations have actually got. The persistence of the rumours implies that there's something behind them, so we'll assume Liverpool are at least interested, but if Porto stick to their guns, it seems like they want more for him than the Reds think he's worth. Likeliness of Signing: 30% Fit at Club: 60% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/j[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Cesar to Arsenal Developments

2013-07-26T17:20:00Z

The possibility of Julio Cesar moving to Arsenal is looked almost set in stone around a month ago before Napoli became front runners and Arsenal appeared to step down. With Napoli having withdrawn from the deal is the move to Arsenal back on?The possibility of Julio Cesar moving to Arsenal is looked almost set in stone around a month ago before Napoli became front runners and Arsenal appeared to step down. With Napoli having withdrawn from the deal is the move to Arsenal back on? Cesar: Transfer Truth: 95% When we previously reported this story we provided a solid and sensible quote from Harry Redknapp which stated that Cesar would definitely be moving on so we do know a transfer is on the cards with the only unsettled matter being his possible destination. A move to Napoli looked set but Cesar's agent has confirmed that the move has, or is close to collapsing over the 33 year olds reported £90k a week wages, with Rafel Benitez looking at other goal keeping options including bringing in Pepe Reina on loan. In an interview reported in The Express Cesar's agent said: In Italy recently I have only spoken to Napoli. President Aurelio De Laurentiis wanted him but didn’t want to pay Julio’s current wages. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and after a great Confederations Cup performance he showed his desire to come back to Italy by demanding nothing more. So from this we know Napoli were in advanced talks. We're not completely writing them out of the race just yet, though it would seem that if Cesar dropped his wage demands a little it could potentially reignite the deal. Where Arsenal come In It appears that the fresh links are purely working on an assumption that as Napoli are out, Arsenal must be back in. This is jumping the gun a little. Whilst Cesar has previously stated that staying in London might be an attractive option, and with Arsenal in need of an extra keeper the deal appeared to make sense. The big issue is that if the Napoli deal fell apart over high wages, we can't see how this would make Arsenal an automatic second choice given their wage structure. Can anyone really see Wenger paying Cesar Walcott money to potentially come and sit on the bench? Something has to give, either Cesar must low[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Rodriguez to Tottenham

2013-07-26T17:00:00Z

Tottenham Hotspur's chances of signing one of the hottest young talents in world football looks to be over with Real Madrid set to convince Jese Rodriguez to wait for his turn.Tottenham Hotspur's chances of signing one of the hottest young talents in world football looks to be over with Real Madrid set to convince Jese Rodriguez to wait for his turn. Rodriguez - Transfer Truth: 30% The 20-year-old Spaniard forward has only made a couple of appearances for Madrid's first team but has set the world on fire for their Castilla team, scoring more goals for them last season than anyone since Emilio Butregueno almost 30 years ago. In 38 appearances he scored 22 times and made 12 assists. He's also impressed at every level of Spanish youth national football, including getting five goals at the Under-20 World Cup this year. With those kind of stats behind him, it's no wonder the likes of Spurs are apparently paying an interest in the state of his contract, which is due to expire next summer. He admitted earlier in the month that he was uncertain about his future. I don't know what the club wants with me. I assume they will want to offer me a renewal, but I don't know what I will do. I am not going to lie about it. However, AS are saying that his agent is now in talks with Madrid over a new contract that will double his wages and set a huge release clause to deter any suitors. Our Truth-O-Meter English clubs have occasionally done well in sneaking young Spanish talent away from La Liga (Fabregas and Pique being examples) and a player as exciting as Rodriguez is bound to draw both attention and speculation. However, it's hard to see him moving to White Hart Lane just for some first team football, when the likes of Zinedine Zidane are fighting for him to stay at the Bernabeu to continue to develop. So we really can't see this happening outside of the dreams of very optimistic Spurs fans, but he would be an outstanding capture for anyone if he could be tempted abroad. Likeliness of Signing: 10% Fit at Club: 70% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.[...]



How Good Is: Arsenal and Fulham Target Pablo Osvaldo

2013-07-25T18:07:03Z

Pabolo Osvaldo is being touted as a a possible Arsenal and Fulham signing, most likely to be used in a makeweight in a deal that would see Gervinho go the other way to Roma.Pabolo Osvaldo is being touted as a a possible Arsenal and Fulham signing, most likely to be used in a makeweight in a deal that would see Gervinho go the other way to Roma. Osvaldo: World Top 100 Attacker Osvaldo's over all career record does not look all that formidable and may make you think that he would be more suited to Fulham than Arsenal, but that would be ignoring one very big factor. Last season was the finest in his career and on par with the top 20 strikers in the world let alone the top 100. His career stats are hampered by a poor first 3 or 4 season which don't truly reflect how good he is today. At 27 he could just be reaching his peak which means he may be capable of reproducing those numbers again. League Record Osvaldo has spent time on both La Liga and Serie A. He was more than handy for Espanyol scoring 20 times and creating 4 assists in 44 appearances giving him a goal contributed for every 131, only slight worse than Tottenham target Soldado. That record was good enough to see him move back to Italy, this time to Roma where he continued with 2 more decent seasons, the most recent of which saw him hit 16 goals and 2 assists in 29 appearances (129 minutes per goal contributed). That means he has sustained a string record for 4 consecutive seasons and could be a steady performer. Champions League Osvaldo has made just 3 Champions League appearances, failing to score in any of them. He has also made a dozen appearances at Europa league level but again failed to produce the goods. He may not have the pedigree for that level of football but it would be unfair not to mention the fact that he hasn't appeared in the Champions league since he started hitting his stride at Espanyol and may well be capable of better performances at a team like Arsenal. International His excellent performances last season also saw him break in to the Italy squad, with prolific results. His 4 appearances in Italy's World Cup Qualification group produced 3 goals which, giving him a goal for every 97 minute[...]



Rumour Of The Day: Ljajic to Tottenham

2013-07-25T17:50:00Z

There are reports that Serbian midfielder Adem Ljajic might be a target for Tottenham Hotspur, having refused to sign a new contract at Fiorentina this summer.There are reports that Serbian midfielder Adem Ljajic might be a target for Tottenham Hotspur, having refused to sign a new contract at Fiorentina this summer. The 21-year-old has had an eventful career, having almost joined Manchester United in 2009 (along with Zoran Tosic - remember him?), only for them to decide not to take up the option to sign him for mysterious 'work permit' issues. A year later he left Partizan to join Fiorentina, where he flourished under Sinisa Mihailovic, but hit the headlines last year when his successor Delio Rossi punched Ljajic in the face during a game. The manager was sacked and Ljajic was 'punished'. A few weeks after that, his relationship with Mihailovic fell apart at national team level when he refused to sing the national anthem before a Serbia game. He was kicked out of the squad. Given this chequered history and his current issues with La Viola, you might wonder why Spurs are interested in him, but he's a talented young midfielder with a lot of potential to get even better. His current deal expires next year, which gives Fiorentina an incentive to sell now while they can still get money for him, but also drives down the likely price. New coach Vincenzo Montella is keen to keep him and has tried to convince him to stay one more year: Adem has experienced important growth over the last few months, but he needs to improve again. For me, and I have told him this, he should stay at Fiorentina for at least one more year, preferably longer, if he is to become a champion. A complication for Spurs is that AC Milan are amongst the other teams targeting him, with reports suggesting that their failure to sign Keisuke Honda from CSKA Moscow puts Ljajic at the top of their list. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.pro[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Suarez to Arsenal Developments

2013-07-25T17:30:00Z

Unless you've been busy exploring what sand feels like on your neck you would have heard Arsenal's crazy use of £1 in their latest bid for Luis Suarez. Why exactly did The Gunners add a shiny coin on the end of their £40m high pile of notes?Unless you've been busy exploring what sand feels like on your neck you would have heard Arsenal's crazy use of £1 in their latest bid for Luis Suarez. Why exactly did The Gunners add a shiny coin on the end of their £40m high pile of notes? Suarez: Transfer Truth: 60% There are a lot of confusing and conflicting reports flying around as to why Arsenal made the bid they did. The truth is that only a very small number of people are privy to the confidential details of a players contract so what you are about to read is common, or assumed wisdom mixed with non-contractual fact. We've attempted to present to you, the closest we can get to the truth without having the contract at hand. Common Wisdom Liverpool have previously confirmed that Arsenal did make an initial bid for Suarez. Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre recently confirmed this when speaking to Bloomberg: We had an offer which is fairly public from Arsenal. We said no to that offer, and as far as we’re concerned he turns up for training when he’s due back. This much we know to be true, the stories surrounding a second and third bid have also been confirmed by by Brenadan Rodgers in an interview on Sky Sports: There was an offer a few weeks ago of £35m, and two weeks later it is now £40m and one pound - I don't think it's anywhere near the value of what he is worth. There was also the now infamous tweet from Liverpool owner John W Henry in response to Arsenal's seemingly crazy bid: What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013 This is a direct response to the Arsenal bid, which according to The Telegraph did actually happen in a phone call between Ian Ayre and Ivan Gazidis in the last 24 hours. Why £40m+£1? The reasoning behind this is highly conflicted but based on our research the truth of the matter is that Suarez has a rath[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Bale to Real Madrid Developments

2013-07-25T17:15:00Z

In the early hours of yesterday morning multiple news sources started running headlines apparently confirming that Gareth Bale had agreed a 6 year deal with Real Madrid.In the early hours of yesterday morning multiple news sources started running headlines apparently confirming that Gareth Bale had agreed a 6 year deal with Real Madrid. Bale: Transfer Truth: 20% In the last 24 hours the biggest headline maker of the day was that of Bale having actually signed for Real Madrid. Before we blow this one out of the water yet again, we'd like to present you with a list of headlines run by the media in the UK. Given the complete lack hard facts involved, this list should see a few hang their heads in shame: > Bale agrees move to Real Madrid (Independent) > Real agree Bale terms (ITV) > Madrid claim Bale wants to leave Spurs (Telegraph) > Bale has agreed a move to Real Madrid (Independent) > Bale 'agrees' Real Madrid deal (Week) > Real Madrid have agreed personal terms with Tottenham’s Gareth Bale (Metro) We could go on and on with the list of well known sources running with a headline which leaves zero room for interpretation but reveals a story to the contrary. Far be it from little old us to get on our headline writing high horse, in fact we enjoy the sensationalism of the transfer window in the absence of any real football to eat up, but this is an utter disgrace. Knowledge that even casual football fans possess would tell you that Real can not agree terms with Bale until Tottenham accept a bid, and Spurs have been persistent that they would knock back any bid for the Welsh winger, let alone having already accepted one. AVB reiterated his stance recently: He is a player that we are willing to continue to have, he's a Tottenham player, he's one of the most fantastic players in the world at the moment and we are counting on him for the future. No Source When you dig deeper in to any of these stories you find that none of them really have a reliable source. Most rely on one of two areas for inspiration. Primarily "a club source" which as we know is license for most news sour[...]



Transfer Truth: Latest Developments On Soldado to Tottenham

2013-07-24T07:05:00Z

The transfer of Roberto Soldado to Tottenham appears to be inching closer. With the London club now fully aware of what needs to be done to bring the Valencia man to White Hart Lane, surely it's just a matter of time before this one progresses or dies.The transfer of Roberto Soldado to Tottenham appears to be inching closer. With the London club now fully aware of what needs to be done to bring the Valencia man to White Hart Lane, surely it's just a matter of time before this one progresses or dies. Soldado: Transfer Truth: 80% The key parties involved in this transfer have been abundantly clear about the state of play. Valencia do not want to sell their main man, but if an offer of €30m comes in to trigger Soldado's release clause they seem consigned to losing him. In our recent "How Good Is Soldado" article we stated that he may well be worth that kind of money given his scoring stats and overall record. Tottenham's Interest Let's begin with Tottenham's interest. Andre Villas Boas has confirmed Tottenham's interest in the player when speaking from Hong Kong on Tuesday morning: At the moment he’s just one of the players we’re interested in. We are looking for a striker to strengthen our squad, to give us more strength in depth. Villas Boas then went on to confirm that he has been a long term admirer of the Spanish striker: Soldado is a player we have been following. His career speaks for itself. I think he is a great striker but there isn’t any deal being struck at the moment, just interest and conversations. With that in the bag we know for certain that the club want the player and that they are in conversation about him. Valencia's Position Valencia president Amadeo Salvo has recently admitted that Tottenham are close to bidding the amount required and that the player is interested in a potential move: We’re only considering selling because his contract is running down and he wants to go. Short but sweet, this backs up the widely reported story that Soldado may want a move and that Valencia are motivated to cash in on him. Another statement [...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Cissokho to Liverpool

2013-07-24T06:50:00Z

There are reports today that Liverpool are set to sign Valencia full-back Aly Cissokho on loan for the season, but is there any truth in them? There are reports today that Liverpool are set to sign Valencia full-back Aly Cissokho on loan for the season, but is there any truth in them? Transfer Truth: 55% Well, the first thing to note is that there's competition, because Sunderland have already talked to Cissokho's agent, according to The Journal. They're primarily targeting Gino Peruzzi from Velez Sarsfield, but are apparently keen on Cissokho if that deal falls through. Of course, the lure of playing for Liverpool would give Brendan Rodgers an edge if it came down to a battle for the French international's signature. They've been linked with him plenty of times before, while he was at Porto and Lyon, but he's said himself that he is in no rush to leave Valencia. Every player at the club is being linked with a move because of the financial situation at the club. I have some clubs interested but I am happy here at Valencia. Regardless, the various sources for this story reckon that the Anfield club would pay an initial loan fee of around £850,000 with an agreement to pay a further £3.5million to buy the player outright next summer. Our Truth-O-Meter As we mentioned, Cissokho to Liverpool isn't a new story, but there seems to be some weight to the rumours this time, even without any encouraging-sounding quotes. A potential stumbling block could be his teeth, which cost him a move to AC Milan a few years ago, because tests in his medical indicated that there could be signs of spinal trouble in his gnashers. But still, with the very specific numbers being thrown around for the cost of a loan deal, it seems like this might be genuine. Likeliness of Signing: 50% Fit at Club: 70% (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"==[...]



Rumour Of The Day: Lopez to Tottenham Hotspur

2013-07-24T06:30:00Z

With their bids for Roberto Soldado so far getting them nowhere and Liverpool also sniffing around him, have Tottenham Hotspur gone back in for Lisandro Lopez?With their bids for Roberto Soldado so far getting them nowhere and Liverpool also sniffing around him, have Tottenham Hotspur gone back in for Lisandro Lopez? The Argentine forward (capable of playing up front or on the wings) was the subject of a deadline day bid in January but that failed. With his Wikipedia page already claiming that he now plays for Spurs, they seem to be back in the chase. It's a sensible back-up option at the very least, with the Soldado deal likely to be made or broken very shortly, Lisandro is a consistent performer with tons of experience at the highest levels. He made his name at Porto, getting goals a-plenty in the Champions League and Europa League before moving to Lyon in 2009, and he's kept up those standards there, averaging around 15 league goals a season. However, his contract is up next summer and he's apparently told the French side that he wants to move on before then. He's been linked with a return to South America with his first club Racing interested, but he'd surely fancy a go in the Premier League before heading home. At 30 years old he's still in his prime and would represent a strong addition to the Spurs squad, particularly with his flexibility, even after the signing of Nacer Chadli. His contract situation and determination to leave mean that he may well be a target even if Andre Villas-Boas manages to get Soldado, as Lisandro wouldn't come with a hefty price tag so we're giving this rumour a good chance of being true, even if Lopez is only considered a back up to the Soldado deal. (function(){window.OB_platformType=8;window.OB_langJS="http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en";window.OBITm="1373895364819";window.OB_recMode="brn_strip";var ob=document.createElement("script");ob.type="text/javascript";ob.async=true;ob.src="http"+("https:"===document.location.protocol?"s":"")+"://widgets.outbrain.com/outbrain[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Salvio to Arsenal

2013-07-24T06:10:00Z

The latest mage money player to be linked to Arsenal is £30m rated Porto winger Eduardo Salvio, who by all accounts has the potential to be a spectacular player.The latest mage money player to be linked to Arsenal is £30m rated Porto winger Eduardo Salvio, who by all accounts has the potential to be a spectacular player. Salvio: Transfer Truth: 10% As much as we'd love to tell you Arsenal are about to be linked to yet another potential super star who they ultimately struggle to sign we can spare you the heart ache and tell you right now that as it stands there is little to no truth to this one. The story originates abroad, having been reported in Portugal by The Record and then spreading from there across the waters to the UK where the Daily Star suggest only that Arsenal are "pondering" a bid for the 23 year old Argentine. When the even The Daily Star can only commit to pondering then you know the story doesn't hold much water. The only other source to pick up this story was The Guardian who mentioned it only in highly mocking tones so we're calling foul on this one. No Logic We can't even draft in the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of transfer rumour time for a last minute logical saviour of this rumour. With the player having 4 years remaining on his contract, and Arsenal already possessing Theo Walcott, Podolski, Cazorla, Chamberlain and a number of other players who can ply their trade down Salvio's preferred right hand flank we just can't see how it would make sense to spend anywhere near £30m on 23 year old winger when the same money could bring the much higher priority of Higuain, who's transfer has apparently hit a snag because Arsenal are unwilling to make the required £30m bid for his services. Truth-o-meter With only the Daily Star reporting this story, and with there being no logically sensible reason why Arsenal would be pondering a move for a supposedly £30m rated winger we're giving this a truth rating of just 10% and a 5% chance that Salvio could be on his way to Arsen[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Papiss Cisse to Zenit St Petersburg

2013-07-23T07:10:00Z

It's probable that no player has ever been transferred for refusing to wear his own team's kit, but Papiss Cisse looks like he might be the first, with Zenit St Petersburg rumoured to be his destination.It's probable that no player has ever been transferred for refusing to wear his own team's kit, but Papiss Cisse looks like he might be the first, with Zenit St Petersburg rumoured to be his destination. Cisse: Transfer Truth: 60% Cisse, in case you hadn't heard, is refusing to wear the new Newcastle United kit because it is sponsored by Wonga, the payday loans company. As a practising Muslim, he sees it as wrong and won't take part in promoting that kind of service. It's a remarkable situation and a huge blow for Newcastle, as he has been one of their most important players of recent years, but it's impossible to see a resolution to it as neither side can back down. That just leaves the possibility of moving on, and Zenit St Petersburg are apparently interested in signing him, having already splashed out on the likes of Andriy Arshavin, Hulk and Axel Witsel recently. They've got the money and the draw of an increasingly star-studded squad, so as long as he approves of their choice of shirt sponsors, the Daily Express reckon it could be a go-er. With Newcastle desperate to bring in fresh striking talent, losing the best of what they currently have could be an inconceivably large blow, so they may well try and take some steps to avoid this situation, like maybe allow Cisse alone to wear an unsponsored shirt, but there are a lot of reports suggesting the more likely route is a swift exit. Our Truth-O-Meter There's certainly no doubt that Cisse's future at Newcastle looks to be brief, with his very real misgivings about Wonga not something that will be resolved by a pay rise or any of the usual tricks. He hasn't travelled to Portugal with the rest of the squad, which is always a bad sign, and if Zenit do want him and offer the right money, this could be a [...]



How Good Is: Tottenham and Liverpool Target Roberto Soldado

2013-08-30T00:35:46Z

Valencia striker Roberto Soldado has been linked with Tottenham for some time now, and according to some reports Liverpool have now thrown their hat in to the ring. With his club holding out for £25m plus, does he really justify the fee?Valencia striker Roberto Soldado has been linked with Tottenham for some time, and according to some reports Liverpool have now thrown their hat in to the ring. With his club holding out for £25m plus, does he really justify the fee? Soldado: World Top 100 At 5ft 10in Soldado isn't the tallest striker in the world, but his strength and physique means he could be well suited to the Premier League and he benefits the team with some excellent hold up play. He would be very well suited to a side where the lone main man has to make time to bring wide players in. League Record 207 La Liga appearances have brought Soldado 101 goals and 14 assists, giving him a goal contributed for every 125 minutes of game time. Whilst this might not be quite in the same league as the world's very best who generally target the 90 - 100 minute mark it certainly puts him in the category of a top striker and he does appear to be reaching his peak. Last season he scored 24 goals and assisted 4 times (in 35 appearances) a record league haul for him. That gave him a goal for every 105 minutes of game time which is much closer to the standard set by the top 20 or so strikers in the world. Champions League Soldado is a prolific Champions League goal scorer. 23 appearances have produced 16 goals and 4 assists which gives him a world class return of a goal contributed for every 82 minutes of game time and puts him just 3 goals short of the making the top 50 all time Champions League goal scorers list. His goal scoring record in other major tournaments definitely shows the hallmarks of a big game player who is at his best in the highest profile matches. International At 28 Soldado may have hoped to have more international experi[...]



Transfer Truth: Latest Developments on Fabregas to Manchester United

2013-07-23T06:30:00Z

A few days ago we made Fabregas' move to Manchester United our rumour of the day, well the whole thing is far more than just a rumour now with official bids being made, rejected and remade, will Moyes finally get his man?A few days ago we made Fabregas' move to Manchester United our rumour of the day, well the whole thing is far more than just a rumour now with official bids being made, rejected and remade. Will Moyes finally get his man? Fabregas: Transfer Truth: 40% When we initially reported this story we were very skeptical that any sort of bid had been made or that Fabregas would even entertain the idea of moving away from his beloved Barcelona. Recent developments have pushed this out of the fictitious category as the deal starts to looks increasingly likely but still a long shot. The First Bid - Confirmed United have confirmed that a week ago they submitted a bid for Fabregas, which was promptly rejected by Barcelona, we know this to be fact, but any stories claiming to know the amount that was bid are stretching themselves a bit. There are also additional quotes doing the rounds which specify that the Barcelona president had angrily rejected the bid, but it's important to note that the origins of this quote are only specified as the infamous "a club source" so there's a very good chance that it could be entirely made up. The Second Bid - Confirmed We also know that United ave now made a second, improved bid for Fabregas as confirmed by David Moyes at a news conference in Japan: As I understand it, Ed had a response (to the first bid). We have made a second offer, but Ed is dealing with it rather than me. Again anyone implying they know the specific amounts involved is likely being creative with their knowledge. What's perhaps more curious than United's forthright honesty is the lack of an official statement from Barcelona, which makes us think they might be having a think about it. Moyes wa[...]



Updated - Transfer Truth: The Truth on Williams to Arsenal

2013-07-23T06:15:00Z

Arsenal may be currently hitting the headlines in their pursuits of glamorous targets like Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez, but could they be going for Swansea's Ashley Williams too?Arsenal may be currently hitting the headlines in their pursuits of glamorous targets like Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez, but could they be going for Swansea's Ashley Williams too? Williams: Transfer Truth: 25% We've previously linked Williams with a move to Arsenal, with the Welsh captain's performances in Swansea's League Cup triumph last year certainly eye-catching. And now, with Thomas Vermaelen out injured again and Laurent Koscielny picking up an ankle injury in Japan, the Gunners' central defensive resources are stretched. Well, they're basically Per Mertesacker on his own. Metro are the source for this rumour, which seems to be mostly speculation around the potential of Koscielny's injury to be serious, which isn't clear at the moment. Arsene Wenger's best times with the Gunners have come with men like Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira representing him in the team, and Williams has shown that not only is he a strong defender, but also a great captain. When asked about it, he kept his cards close to his chest, telling Sky Sports News: It means you're doing something right and people are talking about you at least. I take it as a compliment. I don't really read the papers and that type of thing. You don't really know, as that's the future, and I can't really say. Different circumstances determine different things. The comment falls a long way short of making any long term commitment to Swansea, which of course opens the door for all sorts of things to be written, and with some justification you could interpret this as a statement which implies Williams would not be against a move to Arsenal if a bid was received. Our Truth-O-Meter It's a decidedly flaky logic at work behind the story, but it d[...]



How Good Is: Arsenal Target Gonzalo Higuain

2013-07-22T17:25:00Z

Arsenal target Gonzalo Higuain is well known in Spain and Argentina, even though he has often played second fiddle to who ever the main man has been at Real Madrid for the last few years, at 25 we believe he is one of the finest strikers in the world today.Arsenal target Gonzalo Higuain is well known in Spain and Argentina, even though he has often played second fiddle to who ever the main man has been at Real Madrid for the last few years. At 25 we believe he is one of the finest strikers in the world today. Higuain: World Top 20 Attacker Despite having completed 90 minutes in just 89 of his 312 career games, Higuain has maintained an astonishing strike rate throughout his career. His high volume of substitute appearances have been down to the fact that he has been regarded as second choice both at club and international level, but rather than this being a clue to his quality, it is perhaps more of a reflection of how under rated he still might be and hint at what potential he could still reach if he were to become the main man at his next club. World Cup His only appearance at a World Cup finals was in 2010, where he scored 4 goals in 4 appearances for Argentina, even though he was substituted on 2 of those games, he was prolific when given the chance. His World cup qualifying record is hugely impressive. 13 appearances have produced 10 goals and 2 assists. This produces a record of a goal contributed for every 83 minutes of game time. Champions League Currently being a Real Madrid player means he of course has Champions League pedigree. 48 Champions League appearances have brought a total of 9 goals and 6 assists, which is well below his normal goal contribution tally, but it's worth noting that he completed 90 minutes in just 10 of those appearances. League His league record is astonishing. 190 appearances in Spain have brought him 107 goals [...]



Rumour Of The Day: Soldado To Liverpool

2013-07-22T17:10:00Z

The transfer market at the moment seems to be full of potential moves that are probably reliant on other deals either going through or not. A new one of those is that Liverpool could sign Roberto Soldado if they sell Luis Suarez.The transfer market at the moment seems to be full of potential moves that are probably reliant on other deals either going through or not. A new one of those is that Liverpool could sign Roberto Soldado if they sell Luis Suarez. The Spanish striker has been on Tottenham Hotspur's wishlist all summer, and they have apparently made a couple of bids for him, to no avail so far. He's quietly gone about becoming one of Europe's top strikers in recent seasons and is believed to be ready to move on if the offer is right. He's due to meet Valencia president Amadeo Salvo this week. The Daily Star reckon that Liverpool have turned their attentions to him as a possible Suarez replacement and could be willing to bid £22m, higher than either of the offers from White Hart Lane. The Star say that Valencia have given potential suitors until August 3rd to trigger his release clause (now believed to be around £30m) otherwise he won't be going anywhere. They've previously insisted that they have no urgent need to sell anyone, despite their perilous financial situation over the last few years, but sporting director Braulio Ortiz has admitted that they need to be pragmatic. We are sounding out the market because it's necessary to have a 'Plan B' in this situation. For Spurs, having already failed to sign both Christian Benteke and David Villa, their pursuit of Soldado has to be a priority, but can Liverpool sneak in and whisk him away? Given the dubious source and the hefty dollop of applied logic we're not massively convinced by this one, but as more and more sources pick it up it;s gathering pace so we're [...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Mata To Arsenal

2013-07-22T06:30:00Z

Only a few days ago we gave the chance of Juan Mata leaving Chelsea a rating of just 5% for both truth and likeliness, but the Daily Mail are now linking him with Arsenal. Could that really happen?Only a few days ago we gave the chance of Juan Mata leaving Chelsea a rating of just 5% for both truth and likeliness, but the Daily Mail are now linking him with Arsenal. Could that really happen? Mate: Transfer Truth: 10% We're going to give this slightly more credibility than the vague rumours about Mata and David Luiz that started around the time of their first bid for Wayne Rooney. Chelsea immediately denied that either of them was offered as part of a deal for the United striker, while Jose Mourinho has specifically said neither is for sale. But still the rumours come. Just a few days ago Mourinho restated his "no way, no way" position on Luiz and Mata when he was asked about any possibility of either player leaving Stamford Bridge: I have told them they are very important for me. How can I change that two days later? So, no contact with them. The Mail say that Mata has been a target for Arsene Wenger for some time now, having missed out on him two summers ago when he joined Chelsea, and his interest has been piqued by hints that Mourinho might not be as keen on the Spaniard as his predecessors were because he doesn't fit into his style of play. Whether that's true or not remains to be seen, but you can't reall take his insistence that there will be no departure this summer at face value, otherwise you have to do the same with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas, so despite Mourinho's denials, there might just be something to cling on to here. Truth-o-meter Arsenal have definitely got money to spend this summer and aren't afraid to throw it at players that you wouldn't imagine would be [...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Fabregas and Bale to Manchester United

2013-07-22T06:15:00Z

The hot news stoking the dying embers of the weekend is that of a sensational Manchester United transfer triangle involving Gareth Bale, Fabregas and Rooney. With Moyes continuing to promise United supporters big names could this be what he's talking about?The hot news stoking the dying embers of the weekend is that of a sensational Manchester United transfer triangle involving Gareth Bale, Fabregas and Rooney. With Moyes continuing to promise United supporters big names could this be what he's talking about? Fabregas: Transfer Truth: 30% Let's start with the most newsworthy part of this little triangle. It has been confirmed now that United have indeed made a bid for Fabregas, and that it has been rejected. David Moyes confirmed on Friday that United board member Ed Woodward had indeed headed home early from United's tour of Asia and Australia in order to deal with the Fabregas transfer: I am in contact with the chief exec, Ed Woodward, who has been dealing with it (the Fabregas bid) just now. I’ll hopefully know a little more in the next day or so and I may have a bit more information about how it’s going. A little simple deduction would indicate that the bid had been rejected and that United were now looking to increase that bid. The simple fact is that of the bid had been accepted then Arsenal's buy back clause would have been initiated and they would have something to say on the matter. Bale: Transfer Truth: 15% When we initially reported on the Bale transfer to United we discovered that the most recent stories about this had originated in The Mirror and therefore only gave Bale to Manchester United a truth rating of 15%. There is still no solid evidence to further this story but some comments from Moyes recently have given the opportunity for the player to b[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Ryan Bertrand To Liverpool

2013-07-21T17:15:38Z

The Daily Express are claiming that Liverpool have tried to continue their low key accumulation of quality players with a bid for Chelsea left-back Ryan Bertrand. And that they've failed. The Daily Express are claiming that Liverpool have tried to continue their low key accumulation of quality players with a bid for Chelsea left-back Ryan Bertrand. And that they've failed. Bertrand: Transfer Truth: 30% There's only rumours that this bid has taken place, backed up with the fact that Brendan Rodgers knows Bertrand from his time at Stamford Bridge, where he worked with him as a youngster after he joined from Gillingham. Apparently Rodgers hoped that Chelsea's decision to give Ashley Cole a new contract would force the 23-year-old to seek first team football somewhere else, but it seems that Jose Mourinho sees a future for him. And the player himself is keen to prove himself and take the chances when they come his way, rather than demanding a transfer or another loan move, Bertrand said: I have been on loan four or five times but then there comes a time when you have to say, right, I am going to spend some time back at the club and see what happens. Obviously I want to be Chelsea's No1 left-back, and when that time comes it will happen. All I can do is be ready and keep playing, keep biding my time. It seems that with Chelsea happy to keep the player, and Bertrand determined to prove himself at Stamford Bridge, there is little truth to this rumour. The only logical assumption is that Ashley Cole's new contract means Bertrand will have to wait at least another season or two before he gets his crack at the whip, and tat may just bee too long for the 23 year old to wait. Our Truth-O-Meter Unless someone is putting two and two together on quite a[...]



Rumour Of The Day: Fabregas to Manchester United

2013-07-21T16:41:12Z

This is one that seems set to run and run, no matter how denials are issued. Manchester United want to sign Cesc Fabregas, we know that for certain because they've told us. Barcelona don't want to sell him, we know that for certain because they've told us. But what we don't know for certain is whether Fabregas would want to join United, something that there are conflicting stories about.This is one that seems set to run and run, no matter how denials are issued. Manchester United want to sign Cesc Fabregas, we know that for certain because they've told us. Barcelona don't want to sell him, we know that for certain because they've told us. But what we don't know for certain is whether Fabregas would want to join United, something that there are conflicting stories about. The Daily Mirror are saying that he's told close friends that the only English club he would join is his old team Arsenal, who have got a buy-back clause that gives them a solid chance of signing him if they want him. But given the number of other big players they are chasing, you can't imagine that they've got the funds to pay for him as well, while the rest of their targets are top strikers, which implies that midfielders aren't the main priority for Wenger. That's certainly not the case for David Moyes, who is desperate to add some world class talent into his midfield, and rightly so, as it's been a weak area for United for several years and Fabregas would make a big difference. Chief Exec Ed Woodward left their tour to try and complete the deal, but Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu seems fairly intractable. Barca will not entertain any offers for Cesc. He is non-transferable. The complicating factor in this in the last 24 hours i[...]



Top 5: Premier League Transfers So Far

2013-07-20T08:50:00Z

With pre-season friendlies getting underway, the big kick-off is edging closer. This means that it's time for the transfer frenzy to really get going, but some clubs have been busy already. Here's the top five transfers from this window so far:With pre-season friendlies getting underway, the big kick-off is edging closer. This means that it's time for the transfer frenzy to really get going, but some clubs have been busy already. Here's the top five transfers from this window so far: 1. Iago Aspas - Celta Vigo to Liverpool Hardly a household name and not a Spanish international, some Liverpool fans might be a little underwhelmed by the arrival of Aspas from Celta Vigo, especially with the prospect of Luis Suarez leaving Anfield. However, he's already hit the net and showed off his creativity in a pre-season friendly against Preston, and he seems like a player who will quickly become a favourite with supporters. Like Suarez, he's a nippy little guy with a never-say-die attitude that sees him hare around the pitch, and he managed a decent return of 12 goals for a team who only just avoided relegation. At 25, he's got the potential to be an important player for Liverpool for some time to come. And he rarely bites people. 2. Ricky van Wolfswinkel - Sporting Lisbon to Norwich This was completed last season, but the Dutch international (he won his second cap last month, almost three years after his first) is quite a coup for the Canaries, although at a club record price. An attacking midfielder with an impressive goal tally (14 league goals in each of his two seasons in Portugal), he's exactly the kind of quality player who can help establish Norwich in the upper-middle reaches of the Premier Le[...]



Updated Transfer Truth: Soldado To Tottenham

2013-07-20T08:30:00Z

We've already reported on the rumour linking Roberto Soldado to Spurs and there seems to have some further movement from White Hart Lane that suggest their next signing could be a striker.We've already reported on the rumour linking Roberto Soldado to Spurs and there seems to have some further movement from White Hart Lane that suggest their next signing could be a striker. Soldado: Transfer Truth: 75% Last time out we gave the chances of Soldado moving to Tottenham a 60% transfer truth rating, based on reports that there had been a £17m bid from Spurs, but without hard facts to substantiate it. Now we've got a quote from Valencia president Amadeo Salvo saying that there has been a new bid of £20m, but insisting that the Spanish club are in no hurry to sell him: The English team knows the situation. Valencia needs money. But we don't have to sell our best player. There's apparently a £25m buy-out clause for the striker, who scored 24 goals last season and has has blossomed on the international stage of late, with 6 goals in 11 appearances. There have been reports in Spain of meetings between the club and Soldado's agent, which have seen Valencia taking a hard line, but the existence of the buy-out clause means that they can only hold out up to a certain point. A month ago, when the rumour first surfaced, the player spoke out in favour of staying loyal to Los Che: It is clear for me that I want to stay here and help Valencia return to the Champions League, where we deserve to be. That is despite the fact that we have not achieved our aim of doing that this season. Our Truth-o-meter Spurs are consistently being linked with strikers at the moment, and it s[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Bernard to Liverpool

2013-07-20T11:04:32Z

Liverpool's pursuit of attacking midfield talent is hotting up, with a number of names floating around. The most amusing of those names has to be Bernard, the unlikely-sounding Brazilian left-winger.Liverpool's pursuit of attacking midfield talent is hotting up, with a number of names floating around. The most amusing of those names has to be Bernard, the unlikely-sounding Brazilian left-winger. Transfer Truth: 50% Bernard (full name Bernadr Anicio Caldeira Duarte) is a 20-year-old rising star who has made a handful of appearances for his national team and is proving to be a hit with Atletico Mineiro after breaking into the first team on a regular basis last year. He's fast and strong and has a decent goal-scoring record, and he's been targeted a few times by foreign clubs, including Spartak Moscow. He's apparently caught the eye of Brendan Rodgers, with the Daily Telegraph, Times and Daily Mail today claiming that a move could be on the cards. There's nothing to back up their claim other than that he's a talented young player in a position Liverpool need to improve, and he's apparently got a £20m release clause in his contract. However, according to Sambafoot, Brazilian journalist Paulo Freitas is claiming that the release clause is actually closer to £60m. There's lots of other clubs also apparently interested, but the only solid information is from Mineiro, who say that there have been five bids so far. But not who from. In an interview reported in The Metro, Atletico Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil said: We have had five offers for Bernard, that is true. I have already said that I don’t want to talk about transfers, but [...]



Rumour Of The Day: Higuain To Chelsea

2013-07-19T14:55:23Z

You may recall Jose Mourinho insisting this week that his only transfer target this summer is Wayne Rooney. Well, that seems to be news to Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, who reckons his former boss wants to take him to Stamford Bridge, which isn't news that will be welcomed over at Arsenal.You may recall Jose Mourinho insisting this week that his only transfer target this summer is Wayne Rooney. Well, that seems to be news to Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, who reckons his former boss wants to take him to Stamford Bridge, which isn't news that will be welcomed over at Arsenal. According to Spanish paper AS, Mourinho is being typically slippery in his very public pursuit of Rooney, using it as a smokescreen for his real target. Given how difficult it will be to get Man United to sell a prize asset to him, it's a theory that does make some sense. The Argentine striker is quoted in AS as saying: Mourinho wants me there. It's not the most elaborate of quotes, sure, but it gets the point fairly quickly. However, his agent seems to be working to a different agenda, telling Radio ORC that he could well end up staying at Madrid: Carlo Ancelotti will do everything possible to convince Higuain to stay put. Could he join Napoli? I think that's out of the question too. I don't think that they will be able to sign him Of course, apart from dissing Napoli, that doesn't exactly say that Higuain wants to stay at Madrid, only that he's such a good player, they won't want him to leave. All of this is bad news for Arsenal, of course, who have been linked with him for most of the summer now, to no real avail. N[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Gameiro to Liverpool

2013-07-19T06:55:00Z

French striker Kevin Gameiro has been linked with a move to both Liverpool and Arsenal this summer, but could that be about to come to an end with a Spanish switch?French striker Kevin Gameiro has been linked with a move to both Liverpool and Arsenal this summer, but could that be about to come to an end with a Spanish switch? Transfer Truth: 25% Gamiero isn't a big name player but has played (and scored) for France as well as mostly holding his own in an increasingly-star-studded Paris Saint Germain squad However, there's just too many new arrivals there for him to keep his place, so he's almost certainly set to move after just two seasons in the French capital. With both Liverpool and Arsenal likely looking for strikers this summer (Liverpool particularly if Arsenal manage to sign Luis Suarez from them), there's not many potentially-available frontmen who haven't been linked with them. And so there's no real sign of solid interest from either side in Gameiro, who made his name with Lorient after two prolific seasons, but hasn't quite made the same impact at PSG. At 26, his next move is a big one, but we can't see any real truth in a rumour linking him to England. The logic for a move is strong though, with Cavani's arrival his chances will be severely limited and he is highly likely to seek a move but until we see solid comments, we're keeping our truth rating on this one relatively low. Our Truth-O-Meter Part of our scepticism comes from the fact that today's reports (via TalkSport) claim that Sevilla are likely to try and sign Gameiro as a replacement for Man City new-boy Alv[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Siqueira to Everton

2013-07-19T06:35:00Z

For Roberto Martinez, his first priorities since taking over from David Moyes at Everton have been to try and hold onto the likes of Leighton Baines. But does he has a Brazilian replacement in mind?For Roberto Martinez, his first priorities since taking over from David Moyes at Everton have been to try and hold onto the likes of Leighton Baines. But does he has a Brazilian replacement in mind? Transfer Truth: 60% Spanish paper Marca reckon that Gilherme Siqueira is close to signing for the Toffees from Granada. Siqueira is a 27-year-old who has spent much of his career in Italy and can operate as a traditional left-back or a more attacking wing-back. That would make him an ideal replacement for Baines if he were to be sold this summer, as well as fitting into the kind of full-back that Martinez liked to operate with at Wigan. Siqueira may have started out in Italy, but it is since he first joined Granada on loan from Udinese in 2010 that he's started to make a name for himself, particularly last year when he scored a really cheeky penalty against Barcelona. It was all the more remarkable because his team were 5-1 down at that point... His penalty-taking skills have seen him score 13 times for Granada (including a couple of goals from open play), which will be an added enticement for Martinez, if there's any truth in this rumour, of course. Our Truth-O-Meter Marca aren't always the most trustworthy of sources, but it seems an odd rumour for them to make up (a player from a small-ish Spanish club moving to Everton), so we'll give them the benefit of the [...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Bale to Manchester United

2013-07-19T06:15:00Z

The biggest non-Rooney story of the last 24 hours has been the reappearance of rumours surrounding a £60m Manchester United move for Tottenham's Gareth Bale. So are we clutching at straws again? The biggest non-Rooney story of the last 24 hours has been the reappearance of rumours surrounding a £60m Manchester United move for Tottenham's Gareth Bale. So are we clutching at straws again? Bale: Transfer Truth: 15% The latest Bale inspired rumours can be traced back to The Daily Mirror and of course contain no credible evidence. A few other news sources have picked this up and ran it themselves but all of those also point their accusing finger at The Mirror so we're tempted to make this one of our shortest ever stories and end things here, but there is a teeny bit of logic worth having a quick laugh at. The Logic Manchester United vice chairman Ed Woodward recently returned early from Manchester United's tour of Australia with no specific reason provided. This though is plenty of rumour fuel for headline writers, and has allowed almost every story surrounding potential United signings to be elevated from unsubstantiated rumour status, to thinking that a major signing is on the very brink. The moves that are now being reported to be almost certainly close to completion include Fabregas to United, Bale to United and of course the most popular theory being that he has returned to deal with Chelsea's bid for Rooney. There has been no official comment from United on why Woodward left the tour of Asia/Australia so suddenly but in the [...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Mata or Luiz Leaving

2013-07-19T06:00:00Z

Ever since Mourinho named 6 players thought might be starters at Chelsea over a month ago, rumours have circled like vultures around any of the 30 or so other Chelsea players who were not on that list. Mourinho has now move to clear up what we thought to be true all along.Ever since Mourinho named 6 players thought might be starters at Chelsea over a month ago, rumours have circled like vultures around any of the 30 or so other Chelsea players who were not on that list. Mourinho has now move to clear up what we thought to be true all along. Luiz/Mata: Transfer Truth: 5% Juan Mata was undeniably one of the best players in the Premier League last season and he looks set to get even better, so we were stunned when news broke that he didn't fit the new manager's style of play and may be on his way out. When we reported on the chance of Mata moving to Real we were totally sceptical and gave it only a derisory 5% chance for so many very good reasons. It's good to see that Mourinho has now moved to back this up and state that he has no intention to sell. Although David Luiz has often been criticised for his style of play by English pundits, his performances at the Confederations Cup were exceptional and saw him subsequently linked with Barcelona and a move to PSG which we also gave a very low rating to. Jose Has Spoken Both players recently became the target of more speculation when the BBC fictitiously reported that they were being offered as part of a bizarre exchange deal for Wayne Rooney which Mourinho q[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Vadillo to Tottenham

2013-07-18T07:00:00Z

Being linked to teenagers known as 'the new [INSERT TOP PLAYER'S NAME]' is a run-of-the-mill event for big English clubs, and today's candidate for Spurs is 'The New Cristiano Ronaldo', otherwise known as Alvaro Vadillo. Being linked to teenagers known as 'the new [INSERT TOP PLAYER'S NAME]' is a run-of-the-mill event for big English clubs, and today's candidate for Spurs is 'The New Cristiano Ronaldo', otherwise known as Alvaro Vadillo. Transfer Truth: 30% Vadillo is an 18-year-old Spanish winger who plays for Real Betis and is working his way up through the youth set-up at national level. He's been appearing in La Liga since he was 16, making him the second-youngest player ever. A cruciate ligament injury held up his progress (though he apparently spent his time off learning English, which sounds like a rock-solid piece of transfer evidence to us) and he's still very much a developing talent. So why are Spurs after him? Well, according to the Daily Mirror, they want him as a potential Gareth Bale replacement, not necessarily this summer (as they don't want to sell Bale this summer) but in years to come. If they get in early and buy him from Betis at a decent price, then develop him themselves, they could save themselves a small fortune and a load of competition from the big Spanish clubs. Or, at least, that's the theory in the papers. Our Truth-O-Meter Any story about 'the new [INSERT TOP PLAYER'S NAME]' should be taken with a pinch of salt because they tend to sound [...]



Transfer Truth: More New Developments on Higuain to Arsenal

2013-07-18T06:40:00Z

Two pieces of new developments have hit the news wires which could seriously jeopardise Arsenal's bid for Gonzalo Higuian, that's if there ever was a bid in the first place!Two new developments have hit the news wires which could seriously jeopardise Arsenal's bid for Gonzalo Higuian, that's if there ever was a bid in the first place! Higuain: Transfer Truth: 65% This deal has looked so close to completion for such a long time now that Arsenal supporters must be growing tired with it. Up until 7 days ago we had increased our truth rating on this transfer with every story, as each provided solid quotes from key parties that deal was on the cards. Last week we dropped our rating by just a tad based on quotes from the Real Madrid president that Arsenal had never made a bid for Higuain and that Real Madrid wanted him to stay anyway. Today we are dropping the truth rating by an even bigger amount, as Real Madrid have reiterated their desire to keep Higuain. With Real president Florentino Perez having vocalised his thoughts last week, this time it's the turn of agent Ernesto Bronzetti, who helped bring Ancelotti to Madrid: In regards to Higuain, Ancelotti does not want to discard him. Real Madrid, then, would not want to give up the player and I have to say that the Spanish club never takes players who have passed the age of thirty, so Ibrahimovic can not come. This backs up the notion that Ancelotti's arrival may have swerved Higuian's direction, even[...]



Transfer Truth: New Developments on Rooney to Chelsea

2013-07-18T06:20:00Z

The most sensational story hitting the news wires today is the re-emergence of Wayne Rooney's transfer to Chelsea. Reports now state that Mourinho has formalised his interest by putting in an offer and Mourinho himself has confirmed this.The most sensational story hitting the news wires today is the re-emergence of Wayne Rooney's transfer to Chelsea. Reports now state that Mourinho has formalised his interest by putting in an offer and Mourinho himself has confirmed this. Rooney: Transfer Truth: 45% News has broken across multiple sites including the BBC categorically stating that Chelsea have now made formal bid for Rooney. This has duly been followed up by every major publication in the UK who have rehashed and reported the same story, but is it the same old story? New Developments? Having previously used his first press conference as club manager to state that Rooney was a key player and would definitely not be sold, we were happy that we may be able to stop reporting this shoddily constructed story, but then Moyes went and put his foot in it when asked about Rooney's position at the club, in an interview given nearly a week ago Moyes said: Overall, my thought on Wayne is that if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie we are going to need him - I want as many options as possible Moyes is an astute manager, which makes this quote all the more perplexing. Being aware that Rooney was at least a little disgr[...]



Transfer Truth: The Truth on Shaqiri to Liverpool

2013-07-18T06:00:00Z

We included him in our Top 5 Players Liverpool Should Target This Summer over the weekend and there are fresh reports that Xherdan Shaqiri could be on his way to Anfield.We included him in our Top 5 Players Liverpool Should Target This Summer over the weekend and there are fresh reports that Xherdan Shaqiri could be on his way to Anfield. Transfer Truth: 20% A game journalists love to play during the long, (occasionally) hot days of summer is to find two clubs, match up a player from each side that the other might like to buy and then say that there will be a swap deal. The problem is that this very rarely actually happens. Sure, from time to time, a player will be included as part of a fee for another player (think Keith Gillespie in the Andy Cole to Man United transfer from Newcastle, for example) but they mostly happen in the world of transfer wonderland. But they are so exciting to read aren't they? CaughtOffside have come up with this one, which assumes that Liverpool want to buy Shaqiri and that Bayern Munich want to buy Luis Suarez. Well, half of Europe wants to buy Suarez, don't they? So, why not do a deal that sees Liverpool get £25m plus Shaqiri for Suarez? Of course, there's also the potential for the Reds to actually just go and sign him anyway, but that's not quite so sexy. Our Truth-O-Meter We're not convinced that there's any real truth to this rumour of a potential swap, pa[...]



Transfer Truth: Latest Developments on Benteke to Tottenham

2013-07-17T07:00:00Z

There's been precious little movement so far in Christian Benteke's bid to force through a switch to Tottenham Hotspur and he's getting impatient.There's been precious little movement so far in Christian Benteke's bid to force through a switch to Tottenham Hotspur and he's getting impatient. Transfer Truth: 50% Since handing a transfer request, Benteke has been sat at home in Belgium rather than touring Germany with the rest of his Aston Villa team-mates, but they're apparently due back this week, at which point he'll be expected to hook up with them. As far as he is concerned, that's not an acceptable state of affairs, but with his arrival expected on Thursday, it doesn't seem likely that anything dramatic will happen in time to prevent that. The Daily Mirror reckon that he'll be tempted to make himself even less popular with his current employers by going on strike. After all, that's what he did a year ago to push through his move to Villa, so they could hardly say they weren't warned. But the fact remains that we've seen nothing from Spurs so far to indicate that they really want to buy him, their targets seem to be more established European talents, whereas Benteke would represent a gamble after just one good half season in the Premier League. Causing Upset Benteke actions are now showing the potential to cause upset with the rest of the Villa squad, one of his[...]