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Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Southgate!’

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Gareth Southgate and all of the England players they’ve had the easiest run to a World Cup final in decades but still fell short. They faced two real tests in the tournament, against Belgium and Croatia, failing to beat either side. The victories over Colombia (penalties), Tunisia (last minute) and Panama (minnow) showed the warning signs that this side was not Champions elect, but none of that matters they have done the nation proud.

Before the tournament England fans looked at the squad and discussions were about making it out of the group. Walking down the street you wouldn’t have found a single person expecting us to top the group, Tunisia were ‘probably going to do us’ and Panama was ‘Iceland all over again’. The prevailing feeling was that the tournament came at the wrong time for a young inexperienced squad and a manager still trying to find his feet on the world stage.

When watching the Tunisia game ‘we’d seen it all before’. England dominated the game and Tunisia never looked like scoring, until a soft penalty gave them an opening. Struggling to create chances it looked like the start most of us expected, then the winds of change started to blow with Hurri-Kane scoring that last minute header. Queue elation and disbelief.

The Panama game came and many were expecting another nail-biting affair. The South Americans had played so well against Belgium in first half, they showed their defensive capabilities and that was a concern for a side that struggled to break down Tunisia. England went on to produce the best half of football many fans will have ever seen. The team created chances, caused riots in the box and devastated a side who were far less competent than it first appeared. Hope was sparked and we’d made it out of the groups.

The Round of 16 began to fall into place and it was clear that one side of the draw was going to be stacked with the top seeds. Finishing second in the group would provide the path of least resistance to the final, but wait, England have won just 6 knockout fixtures since 1966. It was a free hit for Southgate, lose and end up in the weaker side of the draw, win and maintain the momentum. It was a defeat between two ‘B’ teams.

England’s route was set, there were some beatable teams on the way and it started with Colombia. The South Americans were a good side, but missing playmaker Rodriguez they looked to stifle England by hook or by crook. It almost worked, but the England set piece specialists held a 1-0 lead until the dying seconds. Southgate had looked to solidify the defence with the introduction of Dier, but it invited more pressure until it eventually told. England collapsed in the final minute, ‘we’ve seen it all before’ rang round pubs across the land.

Penalties loomed and it was another knock-out game against a beatable team that England were going to lose against, and on penalties again, pints of beer swapped for glasses of whiskey. Henderson missed the first penalty and the defeat seemed inevitable. A couple of inches and the crossbar gave England a door back into the game, Trippier drew the scores level. A young lad from Sunderland recently mocked for being too short had a chance to make himself a hero, and he did just that. What a save, what a moment, Can we? Can we really win this? On penalties. We could as Dier slotted home. Elation.

England fans went to the stratosphere, you could feel the weight lifted off millions of shoulders, this young side given little chance had not only won a knockout game, they’d won on penalties in a World Cup, for the first time ever. The nation united in singing ‘it’s coming home’. Whether or not people believe it at that point it was a rallying cry. Men, Women, Girls, Boys, those who watch football, those who don’t, all caught in England mania.

Sweden were next in the way, a professional outfit that lacked a clinical edge. Each kick of the ball held with bated breath. Even as the clock ticked the final seconds away it was hard not to shake the feeling that it’s still going to go wrong. All those years of disappointment as an England fan triggering their ‘PTSD’, but it didn’t. The game went as smoothly as was possible, a comfortable 2-0 win.

Could football really be coming home? The sun has been shining for months, we’d won on penalties and now we’d won two knockout matches. The stars seemed to be aligning and ‘we still believe’.

Croatia was always going to be the toughest test of England and Trippier got us off the best start possible. He’s arguably been England’s player of the tournament, robust defensively with a quality set piece delivery. He epitomised the defensive heart of England the togetherness of the Northern lads holding together, reluctant stars, they played for the shirt and for each other. Not for money or fame.

Missed chances stacked up and at half time England should have been comfortable but they weren’t. The Hurri-kane looked as if it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. The lack of goals from open play looked as though it could come back to haunt us. Southgate had taken and average side and got them playing as a team greater than the sum of their parts. He was learning on the job, but unfortunately for England is was not quick enough.

Henderson had a great tournament but faltered here, playing backwards too often, or his delivery failing him when trying to exploit the killer pass. Alli and Lingard pressing too high and not collecting the ball from the defence leading to too many long balls and turnovers in possession. Modric and Rakitic began to collect the ball from the defence and control the play, stretching England and tiring the wingers.

The removal of Sterling stopped the counter-attacking threat and the defenders of Croatia began to focus on attacking rather than defending, the wingbacks causing more and more danger. Unable to stop crosses the scores were finally brought level, lax defending by Walker letting Perisic sneak. The legs started to go as England were run ragged. Croatia were in the ascendancy, captain Kane unable to get involved in the action with lack of service and composure.

The Mandzukic goal in extra time was always coming and we were never likely to score with just 10 minutes to go. The lack of playmaker such as Modric in midfield was the difference between the sides. It was a harsh lesson for Southgate to learn but much needed, creativity is key and it’s something he needs to be able to incorporate into his sides’ identity.

This England side is young and inexperienced but it has been forged in the fire of tournament football and it will come out harder, stronger, better. These young players have shown that we don’t have to rely on experience and with Lewis Cook, Phil Foden and Lewis Baker coming through the academy, all with international glory at U21, U19 level the future looks bright. Perhaps Southgate will be able to find a round peg to fit the round hole in midfield.

It’s the first time England fans have had hope in a generation, for many the first time they’ve been proud of a side who plays for the shirt & each other. Many have sacrificed the spotlight of the top teams to play lower league football, they’ve sought to earn their way into the national side rather than rely on reputation and potential. That drive to take the path less travelled is engrained in their determination to succeed and will lay the road for any youngster who wants to become the best footballer her can be, not just the richest.  The togetherness of players from all over England, different races and backgrounds epitomises everything England wants to be and all led by a gentleman of the highest order.

We are all disappointed but we’ve had 4 weeks of excitement and enthusiasm. The atmosphere around the country has been fantastic and it’s reignited many peoples passion for football. The World Cup may not be coming home, but Football’s already arrived. Bring on 2022 and get your waistcoat ready.

How do you solve a problem like Wenger?

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How do you solve a problem like Wenger?

We fully expected West Brom to get something from the game against Arsenal but the manner of the victory highlighted the flaws present in this Arsenal side. The blame has to fall somewhere and Wenger is the easy target. He’s refused to adapt in his period as manager and the side hasn’t progressed since the Invincibles took the Championship in 2003/04.

Not only has the side failed to progress they’ve fallen from grace, especially so in recent years. The squad of today bears no resemblance to that squad, from the side that completely dominated the league for a season. They had a side that balance flair and resilience, a side that was built around winners.

Arsenal have lost that winning mentality, they’ve gone soft and the lack of results in the major competitions has seen them fall from genuine title contenders, to a side resting on it’s laurels, content with a Champions League place and a good run in the FA cup.

The winning mentality

This is something that cannot be taught on the training ground, it’s bred into the players by the managers and the performances they put in. Ferguson was a master at building a side with a winning mentality. Fergie time has become synonymous with late winning goals, his sides always played to the last minute, regardless of the odds of victory.

The victory over Man United in the Champions League final epitomised this mentality. Losing  1-0 against Bayern Munich with 90 minutes on the clock Sheringham equalised, they looked to have snatched extra time from the jaws of defeat. 2 minutes later, Solskjaer scored the winner. The side knew never to give in, and believed they could win it.

Arsenal don’t have this mentality, they can score late goals to win games, but they can’t do it on the big stage. The Giroud goal against Bournemouth was celebrated like a cup final win, but it was a draw at one of the sides fighting for relegation. It was a marvelous comeback, but you have to question why a side who is fighting for the title was 3-0.

Their record against the top 6 is poor, often freezing before the big games. Key players often disappear, Ozil becoming the invisible man. With just 1 win over the top 6 this season, they are bottom of the top 6 mini league, the victory over Chelsea transforming that side into the Champions elect.

The side is soft

The side is full of players with little bark and no bite. Walcott, Giroud, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain all play the game like it’s a friendly. There is no ‘hard-man’ in the side. No-one to protect the creative players or impact on the opposition. Xhaka looks like he could fill the role, but he often get’s his challenges wrong, his disciplinary record already looks a concern early in his career.

When they face the more rugged sides such as Stoke, Burnley and West Brom they are unable to adapt their game. The opposition sit back and let Arsenal play in front of them. There is no play who is able to battle their way towards goal like YaYa has done in previous years for Man City.

Sanchez injuries back after carrying the side for another year

For all the praise Ozil gets it’s Sanchez who has carried the side so far this season. Ozil has registered just 4 Premier League assists, Sanchez has 8. He has 5 goals to Sanchez’s 18. The German playmaker has been outplayed by the Chilean Superstar so far this season and he looks a frustrated figure.

Looking around this side it’s clear to see that he is the most important player, and he’s out there on his own. The top sides in the division have great attacking partnerships, Costa and Hazard, Silva and Aguero, Sanchez and…. Giroud? Sanchez is leagues above the rest of the players in the side and it’s no surprise he’s looking to move on.

Lack of Quality

As mentioned in the previous section only Sanchez has world-class quality. There are players with talent, Bellerin for example, but the rest of the side is average. The money saved up by building the new stadium hasn’t helped the side, and they’ve been unable to buy the quality needed to compete at the top level.

The players have talent, but only Sanchez is likely to make the team of the season. They’ve failed to progress in the Champions League because of the difference in talent between this side and the top teams in Europe and with them slowly slipping down the league, they are running the risk of becoming a stepping stone for players as they look to play for Chelsea, Man City or possibly Spurs.

It’s all down to Wenger

Wenger has instilled an attitude of style over substance. He want’s his sides to play the beautiful game regardless of the outcome. The excuse that other sides have more resources won’t hold out for long and the side has become vastly under-invested.

He’s become so set in his ways that he’s unable to adapt. The mauling of Chelsea made Conte rethink his set up and he’s created the most formidable side in the division. Wenger continues to repeat his mistakes regardless of the mountain of evidence suggesting that it does not work.

For a manager who has given great service to a club, it’s hard to see him treated in such a manner, but the game has changed, and he’s unable to cope in this new, harsh environment. It’s a tough call but C’est la vie Arsene.

Coral Cheltenham 2017 free bet offers

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Coral Cheltenham Festival Offers

It’s almost here, Cheltenham Festival week… The four days a year when the bookmaking world goes in total and utter chaos and that means free bets galore!

The biggest event in the National Hunt racing calendar will attract plenty of interest from horse racing enthusiasts and newbies alike and as such, we thought we’d include free bets and offers for every level of punter.

Coral are offering a standout Bet and Get offer for all new customers at Coral, as well as the brilliant new Cheltenham Bet & Get Club running throughout Cheltenham week.

Interested? Read on to find out more about the Coral Free bet offers:

New Customer Offer
Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets
Bet £/€5+ on ANY sport
Get £20 in free bets to use on any sport
Promotion active throughout Cheltenham Festival

All Customer Offer

 

Cheltenham Festival 2017 – Bet & Get Club

 

Opt in EACH DAY
Bet £/€25 on Cheltenham Races
Get £/€10 in FREE BETS for the next day

 

Start Date: Tuesday 14th March

End Date: Friday 17th March

 

Bet Victor Cheltenham offer – £2 free bet on every race!

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Bet Victor Cheltenham Festival Free Bet offer

We don’t normally publish free bet offers but the Bet Victor Cheltenham Festival Free Bet offer  is just too good to miss.

They are calling it the Jump Starter welcome offer and I’ve detailed the key terms and conditions below.

  1. Register a free account here (www.betvictor.com)
  2. Opt in to the Cheltenham Promotion
  3. Place a bet of £10 or more on any sporting event
  4. Receive £14 in free bets for Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival (14th March)
  5. Receive £14 a day at 20:00 (GMT) for the next days racing.

You get £2 a race free bet to place on any horse, and any winnings will be paid out in cash. The bonus fund stake will not be returned.

CLAIM NOW

Price Boosts for Cheltenham Festival – Day 1

BALLYANDY TO WIN 1.30 CHELTENHAM @ 4/1 (£20MAX)  Will be pushed live at 12:30

YANWORTH TO WIN THE 3.30 CHELTENHAM @ 7/2 (£20MAX)  Will be pushed live at 2:20

ALTIOR TO WIN THE 2.10 BY 12 LENGTHS OR MORE 2/1 (£20MAX)

WILLIE MULLINS TO TRAIN 3 OR MORE WINNERS 8/1 (£10MAX)

CLAIM NOW


What is Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival is a horse racing meeting in teh National Hunt Racing calendar. The main race is the Gold Cup and is the 2nd most prestigious race in the country, after the Grand National.

The Festival takes place in March every year at Cheltenham Race Course in Gloucestershire. It often covers Saint Patricks day, just as it does this year.

How many races a day are there?

There are 7 races each day, with the main even The Gold Cup, taking place on Friday. Bet Victor are offering a £2 free bet on every single race from just a single £10 stake. That’s £58 worth of free bets!

What is matched betting?

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You don’t have to be a gambler to participate in matched betting, in fact you don’t need any betting knowledge at all. Most people make over £900 in a month and this will explain exactly how to do it.

      What is Matched Betting?

Matched betting is a very simple concept when explained correct. You are backing both sides of a bet, with the stake on one side covered by a free bet. This guarantees you a profit so is considered risk free.

Example:

Manchester United to win – Backed with free bet
Manchester United to lose – Backed with cash

There are complicated mathematical calculations which forecast the guaranteed profit when using matched betting.

Terminology:

  • Backing – To place a bet on a selection to win. This is where you pick something you beleive will win. I will back England to beat San Marino with £10. This is the type of bets you will place will all bookmakers such as Stan James, Paddypower and Betway.
  • Lay – To place a bet on a selection to lose. This is the opposite side of any win bet. Imagine arguing about a friend about whether you could eat the a large burger or not. You would bet £10 you can, they would bet £10 you can’t. The ‘Can’t’ is betting the other person will lose and that is a lay bet. In order to lay a bet you must use a betting exchange. These allow you to ‘be the bookmaker’ and back the ‘can’t’ option.

     How does it work?

Bookmakers often incentivise new players to open accounts with free bets and deposit bonuses. These are usually matched bets where you place a bet, and receive a free bet of the same amount. Once you’ve placed these two bets, you lay any other outcomes so that no matter what happens, a profit is achieved.

Finding these bets and making the most out of them is not always easy. To do this you need to find the offers and perform the calculations. Many experienced users can do this, but it’s often time consuming and requires a high-level of betting knowledge and numerical skills. Mistakes can happen and that defeats the purpose of guaranteeed prodit.

Assisted services such as www.oddsmonkey.com and www.profitaccumulator.com are the best way to progress with matched betting. They provide comparison tables and auto-matches. These services give the users the exact information they need to place the bets accurately and quickly. They are a subscription service, but at £15 per month, the cost is minimal compared to the returns.

      Is it too good to be true?

No it’s not, in fact it has been proven to work on a number of occasions by high profile media.

Free bets mean you can clean up as bookies meet their match – www.theguardian.com

It works because bookmakers need these offers to bring in new players, they cannot remove the offers and they cannot stop people using them for matched betting. Many bookmakers have come to terms with this and have been moving away from large sign up bonuses, to bonuses for regular customers. However matched betting still works in 2017 and you can earn up to £1,500 per month tax free.

This is completely legal, and it’s a method that has been employed for over 10 years. It’s something the bookmakers are aware of, but something they’ve had to accept.

Matched betting is legal and the betting industry does not have a problem with this use of free bets – spokesperson for William Hill

Unfortunately we’ve used the majority of free bets  from our time, but my partner has been through and earned a small fortune. You can do it on your own, but for just £15 a month www.oddsmonkey.com, it’s worth removing the risk, and it made her feel more comfortable. We’ve a blog post explaining exactly how long it took her to get started, with no betting knowledge at all, and how much money she made.

      How much can I make?

You can start with as little as £10 and work your way up, or start with £500 if you want to make quicker profits. You can make up to 95% of any free bet amount and with hundreds of bookmakers out there with £1000’s of free bets, you can a nice amount of regular, tax free money.

The signup bonuses are the quickest way to make money, but sites like oddsmonkey have a daily betting calendar which makes use of smaller, more frequent bonuses.

For people who have time on their hands, such as students, this is a great way to earn extra cash for a night out at no risk.

      I want in on this!

Great! Nothing is better than a free lunch and you will have plenty with matched betting. Sign up to Oddsmonkey now and enjoy a free trial!

Claim Free Trial

With the free trial you will follow the expert guides produced by oddsmonkey which will:

  1. Introduce you to matched betting
  2. Introduce you to the oddsmatcher software
  3. Help you register with the Betfair exchange
  4. Open an account with Coral and complete their sign up offer
  5. Open an account with Skybet and complete their sign up offer

By following these guides you will learn how to use the software and earn around £45 in profit in under an hour.

Those two sign up offers will pay for 3 months membership, or you can take your profit and run. With over 90 bookmakers available through oddsmonkey. I suggest you sign up ASAP.