2018/19 Premier League Predictions

2018/19 Premier League Predictions

Despite this transfer window not being as busy as the previous, Liverpool managed to finally spend the money they needed to, whilst the other top clubs spent relatively nothing compared to their previous windows. New boys Fulham and Wolves didn’t waste any time picking up players from all across Europe, a huge reason as to why I do not have them going back down to the Championship.

1st: Liverpool. Star Man: Mohammed Salah. One to watch: Naby Keita.

Jurgen Klopp contradicted himself when he said a couple of years ago that he went about transfer business differently to other clubs, Liverpool finally decided to spend double the amount of any other club in the Premier League and improved the areas of their team that they needed to. Allison adds the goalkeeping prowess they have blatantly lacked, Fabinho is a much needed improvement of Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita is one of the best midfielders in the World. I will give Liverpool the edge over Manchester City at this point, they match up against them perfectly, but of course they will need to be fortunate with injuries and hope the front 3 of Mane, Salah and Firmino replicate their form of last season.

2nd: Manchester City. Star Man: Kevin De Bruyne. One to watch: Phil Foden.

Manchester City were phenomenal last year, they have Mendy returning and also brought in Mahrez to give them another diverse, attacking option. It is very possible they can win the league again but I think Liverpool will have their number this year, it is incredibly hard to retain such dedication and focus for two years running and we haven’t seen a champion retain for the past 9 years. Hopefully Pep decides to give Foden a chance at some point of this season, certainly a talent that will excite the English fans and European football may be a priority for this City side due to not reaching a final since returning to relevance.

3rd: Manchester United. Star Man: Paul Pogba. One to watch: Andreas Pereira.

By all means, this season could be a disastrous one for United, Jose could walk out any second, which means the opening game of the season is a must win against Leicester. Despite only spending 60m, United still have a side that is capable of winning the league, bolstered by the return of Pereira and a manager known for winning the leagues. The clubs that finished behind United last season haven’t really made pressuring signings, despite Liverpool, and if Bailly and Pogba remain fit then United have every chance at challenging for the title. However, with the rumours circulating the media and Jose’s unhappy press conferences, I would not be too surprised if they ended up slipping out of the top 4 and looking for a new manager. Not adding a defender was not the biggest mistake in the World for United who have the best defensive record in the league under Jose Mourinho who is the best defensive manager in the World.

4th: Chelsea. Star Man: Eden Hazard. One to watch: Jorginho.

I was struggling who to decide for this spot out of Chelsea and Spurs but went with Chelsea, it may take some time for Sarri to implement his tactics but he already has some brilliant, well established players. Jorginho will be the main piece of Sarri’s set up, his role of dictating the flow will be essential to any success that Chelsea will have this season, key players will be rested in the Europa League, giving them the advantage in the Premier League over Spurs. Eden Hazard will be back to top form, but Ngolo Kante must also get back to his best form in a new system that demands much more from him technically, his poor form last year was often overlooked by the media due to the scandal of International teammate Paul Pogba. The defence is a big worry for Chelsea fans, Alonso is out of place as the left back, and the Community Shield game highlighted how easy it can be to get in behind the centre backs.

5th: Tottenham Hotspur. Star Man: Harry Kane. One to watch: Davison Sanchez.

It was certainly brave from Spurs to not bring anyone in, but they do have a well established side under a manager that has been there for a few years. I am not struck of Pochettino, he’s not versatile and often makes the same mistakes, certainly a manager that receives way too many plaudits. Spurs should contend for the top 4, but their midfield is a very weak area and often gets overrun in big games, they will be heavily reliant yet again on the best striker in the World, they could be in danger of losing him next summer if they miss out on the Champions League this year. Dele Alli must also step up after a poor season and a World Cup in which he disappeared when it mattered.

6th: Arsenal. Star Man: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. One to watch: Lucas Torreira.

Given they have brought in a new manager, he should be given time, they don’t have a side good enough to compete for the title, anything higher than 6th will be a miraculous achievement. It is essential that Premier League underachievers the last couple of years such as Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan step up to feed the strikers and work for the team in big games. Truth be told, the signings have been disappointing and have really only improved the side in one area with Torreira who should fit right into the Premier League, defence will still be a big problem for Arsenal. To add to the disappointing transfer window, Arsenal also have a hard start, this will put pressure onto Emery from the start.

7th: West Ham. Star Man: Marko Arnautovic. One to watch: Felipe Anderson.

A pleasing window for the Hammers, they kept hold of their main men, and added quality in every department, along with a quality manager that knows his way around this league. Felipe Anderson is an exciting prospect, Issa Diop is a great defender, and a healthy Jack Wilshere can play as well as any Premier League midfielder on his day. West Ham should be looking to push on for Continental football next year, before last year they were tipped for around this spot so after a big spend in the summer they deserve to be put in that category again.

8th: Leicester. Star Man: Jamie Vardy. One to watch: Caglar Soyuncu.

Leicester added some quality to the side but also lost their best player, the challenge for them this season will be replacing the creativity that Riyad Mahrez brought to the side every single game. James Maddison is an exciting player but the Premier League is a huge step up from the Championship. Defensively Leicester have added a few players, Pereira fills in the needed right back position, Soyuncu was wanted by the big clubs around Europe so he should clean up some of their repetitive errors from last year. The biggest mistake of their transfer window was not selling Harry Maguire, his transfer value will go down vast amounts if he continues to make the same mistakes as he did last season in a back 4 formation, you should always cash in on players that are average but received plaudits from an international competition.

9th: Everton. Star Man: Idrissa Gueye. One to watch: Cenk Tosun.

A questionable transfer window from the Toffees, the transfer of Richarlison highlighted the price of average players in today’s game. Marco Silva was sacked last year after a poor run at Watford, but Everton have certainly had no worries backing him buying half of Barcelona’s reserves. This team will leak goals, Yerry Mina is not an improvement on what they already have defensively, but defence doesn’t seem to be a priority for Marco Silva anyway. Idrissa Gueye is a special player, Tosun should provide enough goals upfront to secure them a top half finish, but I can’t see them placing much higher after a mediocre but expensive transfer window.

10th: Burnley. Star Man: James Tarkowski. One to watch: Matej Vydra.

I am not overly impressed by Matej Vydra, but their wasn’t too many options to put in that one to watch spot. Sean Dyche is a special manager, Burnley were tipped to go down last year and somehow finished 7th, pushing Arsenal all the way. I predict them to finish 10th or even a few places lower this year given the focus of Europa League as well, their squad is not massive and again they didn’t spend much, a few additions more would have helped. They are in safe hands with an unappreciated manager that gets the most out of his players, playing a nice style of football which is also comfortable defensively.

11th: Crystal Palace. Star Man: Wilfried Zaha. One to watch: Maximillian Meyer.

I am looking forward to seeing Meyer play in the Premier League after his big contract demands, but Crystal Palace rely heavily on the creativity of Wilfried Zaha. He missed 10 games last season, they lost them all. For Palace to creep into the top half they will need Zaha and co to be as consistent as they was when Roy Hodgson took over early in the season. A key problem for them is the attacking options, Christian Benteke missed the most key chances in the Premier League last year, and they haven’t brought in another centre forward to challenge him, this could be something that holds Palace back from improving this season.

12th: Wolves. Star Man: Ruben Neves. One to watch: Raul Jiminez.

Many are tipping Wolves to finish in the top half and even push on for Europa League qualification after their business in the summer, I don’t see it. Personally I don’t think their window was as good as others are making out, the likes of Joao Moutinho and Adama Traore are not players that will strike fear into the sides ahead of them, and most of their other signings were making loans from last year permanent. A positive for Wolves is that they didn’t lose any key features of the side that won the Championship last year, and the dynamic threat of Raul Jiminez should add goals along with the wide threats of Jota and co. A mid-table finish seems about right for their first year back in the big league.

13th: Fulham. Star Man: Jean Michael Seri. One to watch: Andre Anguissa.

Possibly the best business done this summer out of all sides in the Premier League, Fulham spent big and brought in a decent amount of quality in all areas. The midfield of Fosu-Mensah, Seri and Anguissa is certainly a midfield good enough to compete with most midfields in the league. It will be exciting to see Ryan Sessegnon compete against the best after the high expectations he has been given but again this league is another huge step up, they may not have the best defence so this should even out the amount of games they throw away from leading positions. The opposition will fancy their chances going forward against Fulham.

14th: Newcastle. Star Man: Jonjo Shelvey. One to watch: Jamaal Lascelles.

Newcastle fans must be pulling their hair out yet again with owner Mike Ashley filling his pockets even more. They had a positive net spend, and did not back manager Rafa Benitez after a fantastic run in 2018, Newcastle are in a dangerous position and the mess in the summer could see Benitez walk soon enough. However, Benitez is a great manager, I don’t see the Magpies going down because of him and the addition of Salamon Rondon will add a much needed threat up top. Their stadium is not a place that the opposition will look forward to playing in, this should get them the points they need to stay up, but no surprises if they get dragged into that relegation race.

15th: Southampton. Star Man: Mario Lemina. One to watch: Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Mark Hughes did well to keep Southampton up last year but hanging around the 15th spot is something he succeeds in, Southampton were poor last year and I don’t expect them to be a bigger threat this year. They have just about enough quality to stay up, but times are looking worse than they were a few year ago under Ronald Koeman reaching the Europa League. The money gained from Virgil Van Dijk has not been fully reinvested, Vestegaard should bring some safety to the back line but their summer work has not been good enough to place them much higher than the 15th spot. Don’t expect Southampton to break any pots, especially in the goal scoring department.

16th: Brighton. Star Man: Pascal Gross. One to watch: Yves Bissouma.

Another exceptional transfer window for Brighton, they added a couple of needed attacking options and improved the full back areas with Bernardo and Montaya. A finish higher than 16th wouldn’t surprise me but they must improve on their away form from last year, the midfield still looks a little weak and should be an area that Chris Hughton looks to improve next year if they manage to stay in the league. Glenn Murray overachieved with his performances last year, a couple of other players need to step up and finish off the creativity that Gross provides if Brighton are going to push on from last season.

17th: Bournemouth. Star Man: Callum Wilson. One to watch: Jefferson Lerma.

Bournemouth flirted with relegation early on last year, I believe they will be even closer this time around. They have been in the league a few years now and are just as predictable as they were when they first arrived, I think this will be the year where Howe and Bournemouth split ways, they keep making the same mistakes that we all thought they would improve on. They are an exciting side to watch but don’t seem to be going anywhere and the defensive problems will still be highlighted next year after no improvement once again.

18th: Huddersfield. Star Man: Aaron Mooy. One to watch: Adama Diakhaby.

Huddersfield were fortunate to stay up last year, they grinded their way into the last couple of games and finally managed to stay in the league through Tom Ince who has since departed. David Wagner has often used a deep block against teams higher than Huddersfield and I feel like that tactic has run it’s course in modern football, their isn’t much quality in this side and not much quality has been added. With a great home support, I expect them to pick up points in their own stadium, I wouldn’t be surprised if they stayed up but when I compare them to sides I have predicted above them I certainly feel like they’re a favourite to go down.

19th: Watford. Star Man: Abdoulaye Doucare. One to watch: Domingos Quina.

An abysmal summer has not left Javi Garcia with much to work with, it’s clear that Watford are not in a good place to me and failed to sign the key targets they were after. A trip back down to the Championship could be needed for this club to regroup and head in a different direction with key players in their squad past their prime. Unlike Huddersfield, I would certainly be surprised if Watford managed to make it out of the drop.

20th: Cardiff. Star Man: Junior Hoilett. One to watch: Josh Murphy.

Cardiff really do need a miracle to stay in the Premier League, they need to hope that their advantage at home works wonders. Their recruitment has not been good enough to retain a spot in the Premier League and I can see them taking the wooden spoon quite comfortably. Neil Warnock said last season that Sol Bamba is a better defensive player than Virgil Van Dijk, I think this season we are going to see more ridiculous comments and press conferences from Warnock as Cardiff are beaten easily by many teams in the big league.

 

Advertisements
World Cup 2018 Predictions

World Cup 2018 Predictions

Here are my predictions for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, predictions may change depending on any injuries or if any players are killed by the Russians… These predictions are very brief, and come without any detailed analysis on any of the teams as that would take too long.

World Cup Group A:

Possibly the weakest group out of the 4, Egypt will fancy their chances with Mohammed Salah in elite form and Russia will also fancy their chances being the home side. Saudi Arabia have the weakest squad in the group and will struggle to pick up a point. Uruguay have the force of Suarez and Cavani up top and will be looking to fire from all cylinders as it is likely their last World Cup together; however I believe the Uruguay side is old and on it’s way out and will struggle to get through the group.

Winners: Egypt. 2nd Place: Russia

World Cup Group B:

Iran and Morocco would need a miracle to get through this group against the two European giants, I give them no chance. Spain and Portugal will be one of the most exciting games in the group stages, Portugal have the best player in the World and are recent European Champions, Spain will be looking to bounce back after their terrible recent major competition form.

Winners: Portugal. 2nd Place: Spain.

World Cup Group C:

France should demolish this group with ease, they have the best overall team in the competition, I would not expect them to drop a single point. The remaining 3 teams all have a chance of reaching the knockout stages, I give Denmark the best chance due to the quality of Christian Eriksen. Their star man got them through the qualifying stages and I expect a big moment from him to get them into the next stage.

Winners: France. 2nd Place: Denmark.

World Cup Group D:

Lionel Messi will be in his best form after falling one short last time, he also has something to prove after the recent Champions League disaster against Roma. Croatia are also a very strong side, the midfield of Rakitic, Modric and Kovacic is as good as any in the tournament. Nigeria and Iceland are the outsiders in this group and will need something exceptional to beat one of the other two sides.

Winners: Argentina. 2nd Place: Croatia.

World Cup Group E:

This is a great group, Brazil are one of the favourites to win the competition, Serbia and Switzerland are two steady European sides, whilst Costa Rica surprised everyone in the previous World Cup. I expect Brazil to win every single game, and I can see Serbia scraping through, but I would not be surprised if the other two teams finished as runners up.

Winners: Brazil. 2nd Place: Serbia

World Cup Group F:

Germany will 100% make it through this group, they are the holders of the competition and are the most consistent team in the World. Sweden made it through with a great team effort but lack the quality needed at this level. If South Korea are to go through they will need Heung Min-Son to provide some magic, which he is definitely capable of doing. I give Mexico the best chance of finishing as runners up, with a strong side and a young Hirving Lozano looking to prove a point.

Winners: Germany. 2nd Place: Mexico.

World Cup Group G:

If England and Belgium do not make it through this group then that would perfectly summarise their recent performances in major competitions, Panama and Tunisia provide no threat of any sort. The decisive game in this group is England vs Belgium, giving each other a real test before the knockout stages.

Winners: Belgium. 2nd Place: England.

World Cup Group H:

Colombia impressed everyone in 2014 with Star Man James Rodriguez, he will be confident in replicating his performances after a great season at Bayern Munich. Robert Lewandowski has received a fair amount of criticism from the media after his Champions League performances against Real Madrid, I expect him to bounce back and send Poland through rather than Japan or Senegal.

Winners: Colombia. 2nd Place: Poland.

KNOCKOUT STAGES:

Round of 16:

France defeat Croatia.

Spain defeat Egypt.

Portugal defeat Russia.

Argentina defeat Denmark.

Brazil defeat Mexico.

Belgium defeat Poland.

Germany defeat Serbia.

England defeat Colombia.

Quarter Finals:

France defeat Spain.

Brazil defeat Belgium.

Germany defeat England.

Argentina defeat Portugal.

Semi Finals:

France defeat Brazil

Germany defeat Argentina.

Final:

France defeat Germany. (I have many predictions for breakout stars, but to summarise I think Antoine Griezmann will steal the show before securing a move to Barcelona or Manchester United).

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 121 Predictions: Werdum vs Tybura

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 121 Predictions: Werdum vs Tybura

After an impressive last couple of weeks in the states, UFC moves to Sydney to see two top 10 ranked heavyweights clash in the main event. Fabricio Werdum is always a big draw as many believe that he is the best heavyweight of all time, submitting Fedor and Cain in their primes, something that no one else has been able to achieve. Here are my predictions for all 13 fights.

Rashad Coulter (8-2) vs Tai Tuivasa (5-0): I am expecting a big performance from Rashad after his brilliant effort on short notice against Chase Sherman. Tai Tuivasa makes his UFC debut, and will be looking for that early knockout. I expect Rashad to weather the early storms until Tuivasa gasses out, leaving his weaknesses exposed in the latter rounds

Prediction: Rashad Coulter by KO, Round 2.

Jenel Lausa (7-3) vs Eric Shelton (10-4): Shelton has an effective takedown rate and also a great ground game. For me, Shelton will dominate Lausa, with most of the fight being spent on the floor, a submission victory for Shelton is not out of the picture but Lausa will hang in there.

Prediction: Eric Shelton by Decision.

Alex Chambers (5-2) vs Nadia Kassem (4-0): All of Kassem’s victories have been first round knockouts, against weak opposition but impressive never the less. Chambers doesn’t look a match for Kassem who should continue her streak when she steps into the UFC octagon for the first time.

Prediction: Nadia Kassem by KO, Round 1.

Damien Brown (17-10) vs Frank Camacho (20-5): This lightweight bout starts the undercard prelims, I can not see past Camacho. His stand up game is considerably better than Brown’s who will be looking to take this to the ground, something he will struggle to do in my opinion.

Prediction: Frank Camacho by KO, Round 2.

Anthony Hamilton (15-8) vs Adam Wieczorek (8-1): Respect to Hamilton for stepping in on short notice, but I don’t see how he wins this one. Wieczorek is effective on the feet, and brilliant on the ground. I can see this being stopped early as Wieczorek continues to gain confidence early on in his career.

Prediction: Adam Wieczorek by Submission, Round 1.

Nik Lentz (29-8-2) vs Will Brooks (18-3): Will Brooks is a real talent, a very well rounded fighter who destroyed the Bellator lightweight division, Lentz will look slow compared to Brooks. If Brooks can push the pace, Lentz will not be able to cope.

Prediction: Will Brooks by Decision.

Ryan Benoit (9-5) vs Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-2): This is an incredibly close match up, Benoit for me has the upper hand unless this game goes to the ground. I would not be shocked if Mokhtarian snatched a victory here, but for me Benoit will outstrike Mokhtarian for 3 full rounds.

Prediction: Ryan Benoit by Decision.

Alexander Volkanovski (15-1) vs Shane Young (11-3): Volkanovski is a beast, he will continue his impressive MMA career this weekend, he has sheer power which opponents will struggle to deal with. Young does not have the ability to come into the octagon and neutralize his power in my opinion.

Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski by KO, Round 1.

Elias Theodorou (14-2) vs Dan Kelly (13-2): This middleweight matchup is incredibly even, fight experts will do well to pick the winner of this one as it is straight down the middle. I predict that Theodorou will edge this, a draw would not be a bad bet for money value. Kelly will look to take this fight to the ground where he will fancy himself to have an advantage.

Prediction: Elias Theodorou by Decision.

Jake Matthews (11-3) vs Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1): Both welterweights look in tremendous shape, in what should be another incredibly even match up, the two are exciting well rounded athletes who can finish the fight at any time. The Serbian Steel is slightly the bigger of the two, which could give him the type of advantage that swings a even matchup like this.

Prediction: Bojan Velickovic by Decision.

Tim Means (27-8-1) vs Belal Muhammad (11-2): I can see this being the fight of the night, both fighters will look to keep the fight off of the ground, due to this I can see Tim Means running through Muhammad early on with his sheer strength and knockout power.

Prediction: Tim Means by KO, Round 1.

Bec Rawlings (7-6) vs Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4): Not the most exciting fight on the card, and not worthy of being the fight before the main in my eyes. Both fighters are a long way from the title shot and do not carry any momentum into this fight. Despite this, Bec Rawlings certainly knows how to finish a fight on the ground, which is her most likely option for winning.

Prediction: Bec Rawlings by Submission, Round 3.

Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1) vs Marcin Tybura (16-2): Main event time. This fight holds the most meaning on the card as the winner could stake a claim for a future title fight as long as the UFC resolve the contract disputes they have with current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Both fighters are incredible on the ground, with the submission specialist Fabricio Wedrum probably having a slight edge. However, I think Tybura has the better stand up game and will grind his way through the fight in order to come away with the victory, which will place him in the top 5 of this division.

Prediction: Marcin Tybura by Decision.

Barclays Premier League 2017/18 Predictions

Barclays Premier League 2017/18 Predictions

It would be ideal to have all of the transfers wrapped up before the season starts, as many will play a major influence on the season, such as the Alexis Sanchez and Phillipe Coutinho saga’s. Despite all of the transfers not being completed, you can still make a fair assessment on each and every team; so here is my analysis and predictions on the 2017/18 season.

20th: Swansea City. STAR MAN: Gylfi Sigurdsson, WATCH OUT FOR: Tammy Abraham. I really don’t give Swansea much of a chance this year, they were lucky to escape the drop last season and look set to lose their clear star man Gylfi Sigurdsson. They need to hope that the home advantage they have will be an influence as their squad looks quite depleated heading into the new season. Tammy Abraham is a great addition for the squad but even he is yet to prove himself at the top level.

19th: Brighton and Hove Albion. STAR MAN: Anthony Knockaert, WATCH OUT FOR: Davy Propper. The Championship winners, Brighton. In all fairness they have recruited decently, but I just vision them getting relegated as their side as a whole lacks Premier League experience. They will be relying on star man Anthony Knockaert to produce quality goals like he did so many times last year in their successful campaign.

18th: Burnley FC. STAR MAN: Andre Gray, WATCH OUT FOR: Charlie Taylor. Burnley will be relying on their home record to keep them up again this season as their away form is the worst in the league. Sean Dyche is a good manager but I don’t think he has recruited well enough to the keep Burnley up this year, especially with star player Michael Keane leaving for a hefty price. If they could bring a couple of quality players in to support Andre Gray then they have got every chance of stopping in the top flight, if not then I think they will be relegated.

17th: Huddersfield Town. STAR MAN: Aaron Mooy, WATCH OUT FOR: Laurent Depoitre. This may come as a surprise as many people are touting Huddersfield to finish rock bottom. Also, a lot of people are also saying that they could break a record in finishing with the least points ever. However, I see completely different, David Wagner is an excellent manager and has recruited very well for what he had. It would be no surprise to see Huddersfield return to the Championship but I believe they will just do enough to escape the daunting 18th spot.

16th: Stoke City. STAR MAN: Xherdan Shaqiri, WATCH OUT FOR: Kurt Zouma. This could be a bad season for Stoke. They have failed to replace star player Marko Arnautovic and haven’t improved from what they had last year. They started last season very poorly and were fortunate to turn it around in what was one of their worst seasons since returning to the top flight. If they don’t make a couple of good signings in the next few weeks I see Stoke struggling once again.

15th: Newcastle FC. STAR MAN: Dwight Gayle, WATCH OUT FOR: Jacob Murphy. Out of the three sides coming up from the Championship, I expect Newcastle to do the best. Their club as a whole and squad belongs in the Premier League and with a good manager like Rafa Benitez they should do enough to stay up. But looking at the signings made, I would not expect them to pull any surprises and see them closer to the relegation spots than the top half.

14th: Watford FC. STAR MAN: Troy Deeney, WATCH OUT FOR: Richarlison. Putting Watford in those relegation spots crossed my mind, but the manager Marco Silva looks special, and he has also added some young, new faces to the side. Watford’s side looks good enough to stay up and if the manager performs as well as he did under the circumstances at Hull then they will be no where near those relegation spots. He can also count on star striker and captain Troy Deeney to earn his side some tough points along the way.

13th: Southampton FC. STAR MAN: Manolo Gabbiadini, WATCH OUT FOR: Mario Lemina. Another transfer window which has shown no ambition from a club that simply can’t keep letting their best players leave and expect to improve. It looks worrying for the Saints as they have brought in manager Mauricio Pellegrini but only bought two players. With squad depth taking a hit, squad player Jay Rodriguez leaving and best defender Virgil Van Dijk set to leave, this season doesn’t look promising for the Saints.

12th: Crystal Palace. STAR MAN: Christian Benteke, WATCH OUT FOR: Jairo Riedewald. No one knows what to expect from Palace this season as Frank De Boer looks to bring his possession style football to a club that might take a couple of years to adapt. He has brought in young Dutch talents like Jairo Riedewald and Timothy Fosu-Mensah who will strengthen the side but his style of football may see key players like Christian Benteke suffer. Whatever happens, they will have enough quality to stay clear of the relegation spots and could even creep into the top half if all goes well.

11th: Bournemouth FC. STAR MAN: Joshua King, WATCH OUT FOR: Nathan Ake. Another steady season for Eddie Howe. You know that they will play good attacking football and use their home fortress to pick up points. Joshua King and Jermaine Defoe should make a lethal duo, they will add over 25 goals between the pair if they can stay fit. The additions such as Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake will also strengthen up their defence long term, as that is by far their main issue with how many goals they leak away from home.

10th: West Bromwich Albion. STAR MAN: Salamon Rondon, WATCH OUT FOR: Jay Rodriguez. This is basically the same West Brom side that Tony Pulis had last year with the addition of Jay Rodriguez who will certainly add a few goals if he can stay fit. We all know that Tony Pulis won’t be playing any attacking, exciting brand of football any time soon but will definitely grind out the results needed to stay well clear of that relegation zone. They looks bankers for a midtable finish, whether that be a couple of places below or above where I have them predicted.

9th: Leicester City. STAR MAN: Jamie Vardy, WATCH OUT FOR: Kelechi Iheanacho. Another team that is unsettled going into the season as star players such as Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater look set to leave the club. So far the transfer window has treated them well, they have signed another goal scorer and a very much needed centre back in Harry Maguire. The addition of Vicente Iborra will also be noticed, even more so if Drinkwater leaves. Everybody knows that they won’t reach the heights of a couple of seasons ago but they should definitely be aiming for a top half finish under Craig Shakespeare.

8th: West Ham United. STAR MAN: Javier Hernandez, WATCH OUT FOR: Manuel Lanzini. Last season was unacceptable for Slaven Bilic after his impressive debut season. The additions of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Hernandez will give his side much needed Premier League experience and they will all improve their respective areas. This side has been crying out for a natural goal scorer over the last few seasons and they have found exactly that in Hernandez. With no key player leaving, West Ham should be looking to replicate that 2015/16 season.

7th: Everton FC. STAR MAN: Wayne Rooney, WATCH OUT FOR: Davy Klaassen. Despite losing their star man Romelu Lukaku, Everton have recruited quite well, they will look to be challenging the top 6. As it looks like Ross Barkley is leaving, Ronald Koeman should look to bring in another quality attacking midfielder as they will need to replace the goals that Lukaku scored for them last year. Wayne Rooney will most likely have a good season ahead of the World Cup but everyone knows he is not the same Wayne Rooney that he was 5 years ago. Everton should be aiming for at least 7th, as Koeman shows signs of a promising dynasty at Everton with the good, young talent coming through.

6th: Tottenham Hotspur. STAR MAN: Harry Kane, WATCH OUT FOR: Harry Winks. What a terrible offseason it has been for Tottenham. They have failed to improve their side in any area, when all areas were crying out for depth. Chairman Daniel Levy made the decision to focus on a new stadium rather than fund Mauricio Pochettino to make the acquisitions he needs to take this side to the next level. I would not be surprised if many players ended up handing in transfer requests due to the club’s reluctancy to compete with other top club’s wage bills. The fans will be praying that their superb manager can somehow rally his team into a top 4 position like he has done the last couple of years with the talent they already have.

5th: Chelsea FC. STAR MAN: Eden Hazard, WATCH OUT FOR: Andreas Christensen. I completely disagree with many pundits who are predicting another title for Chelsea. After running away with the title last year, they have failed to improve their side, obviously this may change before the window closes. You can guarantee that new signings Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata are not going to have the same impact that pivotal players Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa had last year. The biggest factor in Chelsea’s winning streak midseason was that they had no Europe to worry about, but this year they have the Champions League and go into the season with a worryingly thin squad. 5th might be a bold prediction, with players such as Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante at the club, but every other team around them has improved and look set for the season whilst Antonio Conte is at the centre of rumours surrounding fallouts with Diego Costa and even his own board.

4th: Liverpool FC. STAR MAN: Sadio Mane, WATCH OUT FOR: Mohammed Salah. If Jurgen Klopp manages to sell Phillipe Coutinho, and brings in Virgil Van Dijk plus Naby Keita then Liverpool would move up in my expectations. Coutinho is not as influential as the drama is making out, they will be perfectly fine without him. The attacking line of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah is going to terrorise defences with the pure pace and quality it will prowess. Liverpool had the best record against the top 6 last year, and Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to make a real impact in his third season. However, they could get distracted due to Champions League duties and a lack of quality squad depth.

3rd: Manchester United. STAR MAN: Paul Pogba, WATCH OUT FOR: Andreas Pereira. Jose Mourinho has made a few brilliant additions to his side, but it is clear that they lack that creativity in the final third. As dominant and intimidating as their power may look, they need a star player such as Gareth Bale who is going to click it together and help out Romelu Lukaku with the goals. With time still left in the window you can expect a winger in to fill this gap, this would give Jose an amazing chance to lift the title in his second season, as he has done numerous times before. Expect Nemanja Matic to protect the back four and allow Paul Pogba to improve on his steady first season back at his first club.

2nd: Arsenal FC (IF THEY KEEP SANCHEZ). STAR MAN: Alexis Sanchez, WATCH OUT FOR: Alex Iwobi. This may come as a surprise, due to how terrible Arsenal have been in recent years at mounting a title challenge. However, if they can keep their star man Alexis Sanchez then I give them every chance in having a very successful season. They have signed a goal scorer in Alexandre Lacazette, something they have been missing since Robin Van Persie left. Since finally switching formation late last year, Arsene Wenger has enjoyed watching his sides efforts, including the recent Community Shield win against league leaders Chelsea. Another key factor is that they are not in the Champions League, which may benefit them, they can focus and prepare properly for the league instead just like Chelsea did last year. It would not surprise me if Wenger used a whole new squad for the Europa League as that will not be a priority in a season that he has to prove himself.

1st: Manchester City. STAR MAN: Kevin De Bruyne, WATCH OUT FOR: Gabriel Jesus. It is hard to look past Pep Guardiola’s side this year with the additions made. They desperately needed fullbacks and a keeper, they sorted that by bringing in Ederson, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker. It is quite clear that they have the best all round squad and anything other than the title would be a massive disappointment. Expect Pep’s side to play some of the most exciting football ever seen in the Premier League as attackers (Aguero, B Silva, D Silva, KDB, Sane + more) adapt to Pep’s systems allowing for complete freedom in the final third.

UFC 214 Predictions

UFC 214 Predictions

Saturday night brings the highly anticipated UFC 214 card, which features three World title fights, if it lives up to expectations the card will go down as the best UFC PPV in 2017, a year that has been quite stagnant for the promotion. Everyone is mainly looking forward to the main event which sees the best ever step back into the octagon, Jon Jones, who aims to beat the champion Daniel Cormier once again.

Fight Predictions:

Andre Fili (16-4) vs Calvin Kattar (16-2): this featherweight bout opens the prelims. Fili has been very inconsistent with his performances since joining the UFC. He takes on Kattar who is making his debut, this is his chance to prove he can do it in the big promotion. PREDICTION: Kattar wins by decision. I can see this fight being very close, possibly 29-28 to Kattar, both fighters will be a little reluctant in the opening round and then the fight should open up.

Renato Moicano (10-0-1) vs Brian Ortega (11-0): two undefeated top 10 featherweights face off to stamp their mark on the division. This provides an opportunity for either fighter with the division in need of a challenger for Max Holloway, an impressive performance could see the winner move into the discussion. PREDICTION: Moicano wins by decision. Both fighters have better ground games than stand up, so a submission would not be a surprise but I can see both fighters cancelling each other out. I think Moicano will land more shots and takedowns to come away with the victory.

Aljamain Sterling (13-2) vs Renan Barao (35-4): this is a perfect chance for Sterling to beat an experienced opponent who is past his prime and give himself some well deserved recognition in the bantamweight division. PREDICTION: Sterling wins by KO/TKO. Sterling is the more accurate and stronger fighter, I can see him catching Barao in the latter rounds and finishing this one early.

Ricardo Lamas (17-5) vs Jason Knight (20-2): this is a very exciting fight before the main card starts. If Lamas wins he will possibly get a rematch with Max Holloway, but he has to defeat Knight who has been quite active and has been given the performance of the night bonus in his last two fights. PREDICTION: Knight wins by submission. This win would certainly put Knight in the top 10 for the featherweight division, I see his ground game being superior to Lamas’ and a submission to end this one early.

Jimi Manuwa (17-2) vs Volkan Oezdemir (14-1): you can expect the winner of this light heavyweight bout to take on the winner of the main event. Both fighters are knock out artists and this will certainly be an explosive match up. PREDICTION: Manuwa wins by KO/TKO. I think Manuwa will continue his impressive streak and finally get his title opportunity after he defeats the powerful Oezdemir. He can’t look past Oezdemir though, as he also has the ability to finish fights early.

Donald Cerrone (32-8) vs Robbie Lawler (27-11): you can already tell this fight is going to be an absolute war. Both fighters are as tough as it gets and will slug it out for the fans. PREDICTION: Lawler wins by decision. This prediction may be a little surprising as many people think their will be a knockout, but I have a feeling it is going to be an absolute war, with Cerrone just hanging on to a Lawler beatdown.

TITLE FIGHT, Cris Cyborg (16-1) vs Tonya Evinger (19-5): in my eyes, this title is only going one way. PREDICTION: Cyborg wins by KO/TKO. Evinger doesn’t belong in the same octagon as Cyborg, I can’t see this bout lasting more than a round. Cyborg is simply too powerful for Evinger, she has the much better skill set and that will prove.

TITLE FIGHT, Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) vs Demian Maia (25-6): such an interesting matchup, this welterweight division needs a classic fight as many fans are turning on Woodley due to his continuous moaning rants; the division as a whole is looking quite dead at the minute. PREDICTION: Woodley wins by KO/TKO. If Maia can get this to the ground then he has a brilliant chance of winning the welterweight belt, but I think Woodley will be too strong and powerful for this to happen. I think Woodley will end this fight early with a punching combination that will be too much for Maia to handle.

MAIN EVENT TITLE FIGHT, Jon Jones (22-1) vs Daniel Cormier (19-1): the fight that everyone has been waiting for, the rematch has already been cancelled two times due to injury and suspension. The build up has been very heated with Cormier mocking Jones’ infamous events in the past, it is clear these two guys hate each other with a passion. PREDICTION: Jon Jones wins by decision. I can not see Daniel Cormier defeating Jon Jones, even though this Jon Jones may be a little rusty he always finds a way to win. Jon is an awful matchup for DC, he will use his range to stop DC from closing in all night long, it will be very hard for him to use his wrestling if he struggles to close in on Jon. As we could see in the first fight, DC struggled to manhandle Jon like he does with all of his other opponents and left himself open for Jon to strike at and take down in the final rounds due to fatigue. Unfortunately for the MMA World, this fight will likely be his last fight if he fails to defeat Jon, he has nothing left to prove in the division he has defeated all the other competition with ease. It is worth noting that if Jon has not trained seriously for this fight then DC will capitalise on that as he is one of the most dedicated and hardest working fighters in the industry, to add to that there is no one that wants this fight like he does, his passion and determination is at the highest level.

Why Conor McGregor has a chance against Floyd Mayweather…

Why Conor McGregor has a chance against Floyd Mayweather…

Despite many experts of the fight game either calling this fight a disgrace or saying that it will be heavily one sided, such as: Max Kellerman, Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson, there are many reasons and factors that suggest Conor McGregor has actually got a chance.

Floyd Mayweather is in my eyes the best boxer to ever step in the ring, the little guy has developed his own way of hitting without getting hit, winning, and most importantly making money. He is undoubtedly the biggest draw in boxing, with a record of 49-0 he is bound to have a huge ego, which is why mainly he is disrespected and not given the credit he deserves. We have established over the past couple of decades that this man can not be beating at boxing, he can outbox any boxing style, he has beaten legends of the game ; Manny Pacquaio, Oscar De La Hoya, Marcos Maidana, Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto and many more have all fallen to the defensive master.

Whilst Floyd Mayweather has been building his legacy, a little Irish man with an enormous mouth has been breaking all records in mixed martial arts. Many people have taken to “Mystic Mac” with his funny comments, exquisite fashion style and most importantly his success inside the octagon. His most impressive victory came after knocking out the “pound for pound King” Jose Aldo, after months of build up, Conor McGregor knocked him out with a sweet left hand proving his power once again. This cemented his featherweight legacy, but then he broke another impressive record becoming the first fighter under the UFC to hold two belts simultaneously when he embarrassed lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

The fact is, despite Floyd Mayweather’s brilliance, the factors do side with Conor McGregor, he always has a plan. Although this is a different sport, one that Conor is a rookie in and one that Floyd has mastered, this could potentially help Conor. He has so much tape to watch of Floyd, I think that he will develop some sort of plan that takes away the shoulder roll that Floyd has perfected, something that no one has ever been able to do. To add to that, Floyd will have no idea what to expect of Conor McGregor. Floyd hasn’t been in the ring for nearly 2 years, and his age is way past prime, where as Conor is clearly in his physical prime. Going into the fight, he will have the bigger reach and likely more size when they both step in the ring on August 26th. Conor McGregor, even though he has nothing to lose, would not have taken this fight if he didn’t believe that he could formulate a game plan to neutralise the excellence of Floyd Mayweather. At the end of the day, we have never seen something like this so to completely avoid the possibility of a Conor McGregor win would be unwise.

In my opinion, Floyd Mayweather will win the fight, either stopping McGregor in the very late rounds (10-12) or on points convincingly. However, Conor McGregor has a chance to catch Mayweather and puzzle him in those early rounds whilst Mayweather is a little rusty. We know that McGregor can hit from anywhere, this will be his chance to put a stamp on the fight with the ‘MMA approach’ that Coach Kavanagh has spoken about. Surely Floyd will be too experienced to get involved with the mental side of the fight as we all know Conor can win a battle of the words with anyone. Do not be surprised if Conor McGregor upsets the World, you should be looking forward to this fight actually happening, even if it seems incredibly one sided.

Are professional footballers criminally underpaid?

Are professional footballers criminally underpaid?

The discussion of footballers being overpaid is something that is often ranted about in the modern era, often comparing their wages to people in the armed forces. So I thought that I would do some research to hopefully explain to those that have no clue on the subject just where the money from football goes. For this post I will use Manchester United as my example, just to show how much the players earn in comparison to how much the club makes.

So in 2016, Manchester United made a total of £515.3m, this is just what they brought in to the club, without spending their money elsewhere on transfers and wages. Obviously, this money was earned from shirt sales, worldwide deals, television revenue and sponsorships. The profit that was made from the £515.3m after it had been invested elsewhere was around £167m. So where exactly does this profit go? The main shareholders of Manchester United are Delaware which is a company based in the USA, it has strong affiliations with the person that officially invested into the club in 2004, Malcolm Glazer. Delaware have about 67% of the shares, and there are six representatives that get the money between them. 67% of £167m is just under £112m, splitting £112m between 6 would equate to an estimated £18.6m that these people get for literally being in the hierarchy of the Delaware. Are these the reason that Manchester United have the reputation that they currently have and the historic national/continental success they have experienced? No, absolutely not! The highest earner at Manchester United reportedly is Zlatan Ibrahimovic who makes £19.1m, the next highest earner comes way below the £18.6m mark that the 6 shareholders will gain. For example, Marcus Rashford who was a main part of Manchester United’s success in 2016 only earned as little as £2.5m.. this makes the figure seem incredibly small.

So in conclusion, the money that footballers actually earn is probably not as much as they should get. Just like Marcus Rashford and many other ‘superstars’ that play for Manchester United. It is not their faults that football is of so much interest, and that their club is a Worldwide business. The lesson from this is that footballers do their jobs, and make great money for their business, therefore their money is either justified, or not enough.