Currently, the world of sport offers spectators a great diversity of exciting sporting events. This is a good chance for bitcoin sports betting fans to place bets on the events of their choice. JETWIN is one of the most popular bitcoin sportsbooks that provides its customers with bitcoin sports betting opportunity. At the moment, English Premier League is the main focus of attention for football fans, so let’s take a closer look at the factors proving that it is worth both following and betting on the event.
Transfers, transfers, transfers…
This season the EPL’s mind-blowing TV rights deal will officially come into force and bring the League £ 10.4 billion within 3 years. While planning expenditures last summer, the majority of clubs already kept this arrangement in mind. As it was expected, the transfer spending boom did not happen, although, by the end of the transfer window clubs, most probably, will surpass last year’s figure of £822.5 million.
The context of some transfers is of a greater importance. For the first time, since the 1996 transfer of Alan Shearer to Newcastle United for £15 million, England holds the world transfer record. Secondly, clubs now are capable to compete with Real Madrid and Barcelona, especially, with such players as Paul Pogba and Nolito. According to Gary Neville, whose return to the Sky Sports is another great transfer; this should mark the path towards leading positions for the League:
“It excites me because for the last three or four years, the Premier League hasn’t been exciting enough. Not that it hasn’t excited me, but the quality of the football hasn’t been of the highest level. I think the quality has been poor. For all the money that has been spent, we’ve not been able to keep Grade A players or incentivise them to come here in the first place. I feel that, for the first time in a few years, a potential world-class player, who could have gone to Barcelona or Real Madrid, is coming to an English club. That’s good for the league.”
Thirdly, the mass migration of top coaches and notable managers to the English Premier League can be counted to the transfer category. Moreover, it is the main sensation of the season. Arsene Wenger recently called the League “the world championship among coaches.” Fourthly, these situations provoked an incredible amount of intrigues: Zlatan Ibrahimović against the coach whom he hates; Paul Pogba against the coach who helped him to break through; Pep Guardiola against Jose Mourinho, Mesut Ozil against Henrikh Mkhitaryan – the battle of two main figures of the last season. Nearly £50 million paid for the defender whose year, frankly speaking, failed.
Both Manchester clubs have already crossed the mark of £100 million that were spent on transfers. However, it should not turn the championship into showdown between football clubs. Surprisingly, the team that invested more than £100 million into transfers this summer has never become the champion of the English Premier League within the same season. After examining the list of such teams, it is evident that they have one feature in common – too many new players. Consequently, there are problems with teamwork. This factor can even the balance of power up in next season.
The last year of Wenger’s contract
“My contract runs through to the end of the season, what happens depends on how the season goes,” – said the Arsenal coach recently.
On one hand, this is typical Wenger’s response and similar ones can be easily found in Frenchman’s speeches within the period of 3 or even 6 years. Then again, there are many reasons that prove why Arsene’s departure seems to be more realistic than ever before.
Firstly, due to the Wenger’s age the probability of every following contract becoming the last one increases. Secondly, Arsene took the liberty of “flirting” with the England’s national football team publicly. This option is no longer available, but a deeper strategic thrust of the speech, perhaps is more appropriate. Thirdly, the disastrous situation surrounding the club that is being ignored by the Frenchman on purpose. Moreover, the problem is not going to disappear until his resignation. “Fear to fail with a great number of top coaches in the League” or “inability to pull the team forward, given unreasonably high expectations and lack of recognition” can be named among the potential reasons for Wenger’s departure. There is nothing positive at all about such distortions on both sides; moreover, the civil war between football fans has already seriously influenced the atmosphere at the Emirates.
How the season, that can become the end of era, will look like? At the beginning of summer, it seemed that Arsene is ready to leave in Ferguson’s style, since in June he strengthened all problem areas with the great performers, although the transfers may be considered as slightly selfish towards the next coach. Jamie Vardy declined the offer; it no longer seems to be realistic. A depressing version of the typical season for the Gunners is quite popular currently. According to the Guardian, the team is expected to fail and be relegated from the Champions League. It is already the 3rd time within the past 6 years, when the newspaper predicts such fate for Arsenal. Can the outcome be more positive? The preview on the main analytical football website StatsBomb sees Arsenal as the biggest rival for Man City in the title race.
The most difficult challenge in Guardiola’s career
“He has matured and he has the experience from Bayern. He evolves too; he learns, he’s always looking to advance, seeking new solutions. There were tactical shifts there. Bringing the full-backs inside to open a pass to the wingers, for example. We hadn’t done that before at Barcelona. Intelligence is often expressed in terms of how you adapt and Pep is very intelligent. He would adapt to any football anywhere and be successful anywhere, I’m sure of that,” – Xavi wrote on his column for the Guardian.
Guardiola definitely will have to adapt, since conditions for possession-based game are less favorable within the EPL. Despite some changes, it still remains the basic tactics of Pep’s football. Among 4 top leagues in Europe there is at least one team with the average possession of more than 59%. The Premier League’s best result is 56.9% and it makes a significant difference in the context of this indicator. Moreover, the last rally was full of contradictions – the club with ball possession below 50% has never been in the top 6 English Premier League teams. However, the team with such indicators became the last season’s champion, besides; the Southampton having just 49.3% was in the top six as well.
The giants of European football avoid using possession tactics more than any other club’s players, since counter-attacking underdogs are way more effective. What kind of tactical response Pep is going to offer? To sum it up, the adaptation process for Guardiola will be difficult, especially, given that current Man City is weaker and less prepared to follow requirements than his other teams.
Stunning set of Manchester United players – not a perfect match
Ibrahimović got used to move into deeper areas, however, Mourinho promised this position to Rooney. Currently Rooney cannot be described as the player who creates space for his strike partner with wise movements. He rather acts in completely different manner, preferring to receive ball in the opposition area. Consequently, it is highly possible that Manchester United forwards will occupy each other’s action space – at least initially. The lack of teamwork was evident during the Super Cup’s match.
With the arrival of Pogba the situation became even more interesting. Euro 2016 clearly demonstrated that the 4-2-3-1 scheme, preferred by Mourinho, is inconvenient for Pogba. The French player was effective within the midfield trio, where he had more freedom and less defensive functions, thus, was able to shine in the Juventus (3-5-2 or 4-3-3). Mourinho can stick to his favorite formation and provide freedom for Pogba. Well, it is not perfect, but still suitable position within the 4-2-3-1. However, such an option excludes Rooney. The coach will face the same problem if he decides to switch to the 4-3-3 scheme that is convenient for both Pogba and Ibrahimović. Moreover, Mourinho has already promised not to place Rooney in midfield, but there is no other position for him, given that Ibrahimović is the main striker.
Such a great combination of players is capable of winning individual matches even without balanced football. The perspective to see Pogba, Ibrahimović, Rooney and Mkhitaryan in their greatest shape, playing in one team, is truly exciting. Let’s hope that Mourinho’s dogmatism is not going to spoil the scene.
Conte’s scheme in Chelsea
The main goal for Antonio Conte is to take the team, who finished 10th last season, at least to the 4th position. Some problems will cease to exist, since Chelsea team squad and play last year deserved commendation, however, the club was ranked low mainly due to some unusual circumstances. Nevertheless, it is essential to make significant progress to get back to the familiar position. To find an interesting tactical solution is definitely in Conte’s spirit.
Italian’s experiments become even more interesting given that the latest coaches of the Blues almost never moved away from the 4-2-3-1 formation. It seems that currently Conte is not even considering this kind of option. At the beginning of the pre-season, the coach used the 4-2-4, but with the arrival of N’Golo Kanté the 4-3-3 scheme was introduced. It is worth mentioning that Conte has great experience with 3-5-2. If all goes wrong suddenly, the first thing to do is to go back to the 4-2-3-1. So far, there are many numbers, however, not much certainty and almost 100% guarantee that finding an interesting tactics will take some time.
Oscar suggested the 4-3-3 formation:
“I think we have played better with the 4-3-3 than when we have played 4-2-4, but we have two formations and always we try our best. 4-3-3 is better for me because I can score more goals, and also create more and tackle in midfield which I like to do to help the team.”
César Azpilicueta proposed even more interesting option – the formation change depending on the opponent:
“It’s important to be flexible in terms of formation. Every time the manager tries the best solution so we, the players, have to be ready to adapt to play in every system. The target is always the same, to beat the opponent, and with the different formations we can play we always have the ability to do that.”
There are at least three possible outcomes of the upcoming season.
1. Extra load, loss of the most important player, whose absence is already felt, rivals who are familiar with the Foxes’ strengths, experience of other sensational champions, all these factors point at Leicester’s crisis and struggle for survival.
2. It is evident that Leicester was the best team in England at the second part of the last season. According to key performance indicators of the season, the club ranked the 3-4th place among the best teams. This means that their success is not just a coincidence, but the result of high-class football. Even if Leicester is referred as to the 3rd or 4th team within EPL ranking and increased competition and Kanté’s departure are not taken into account, the level of their football should not decrease considerably. With such an evaluation method, it seems that the team can overcome its rivals, except the top 6, and even fight against giant clubs.
3.Claudio Ranieri again is talking about precious 40 points. Leicester once again is not considered as a rival before the start of the season – it is definitely the sign of the champions’ title. Sounds like a nonsense. Yes, exactly, however, similar statements were made just before the beginning of the last season.
Most probably, none of the scenarios will come true as outlined. During the season something new, more complicated and less predictable can happen. EPL has not seen the team with such a diverse expectations for quite some time.
New stadiums, new ambitions
“In keeping Dimitri Payet we have shown the club is serious and trying to get to another level, as much or even more than with the new stadium. West Ham United was always labelled as a club that has to sell its best players, be it Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand or whoever. But we have kept Dimi, and we have shown to everyone that the club is thinking seriously,” – claims Slaven Bilić. Moreover, West Ham’s United co-owner David Sullivan openly said the club is aiming to win the champions title.
In a sense, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool currently are in the same situation. Certainly, the level these teams are trying to reach is completely different; however, the strategy is quite similar. Tottenham Hotspur agreed on holding Champion League games at Wembley stadium, Liverpool, in turn, reconstructed Anfield. The best players and coach will stay in the team, new players, capable of offering something unique, are being acquired, such scope of optimism, as this summer, fans have not seen for a long time.
The problem of getting to the next level is the lack of places. It is unlikely that three ambitious teams, that are ready for the breakthrough, will achieve their goals. Nevertheless, even one success story is remarkable achievement.
A new era of Everton
Everton is no longer considered “the people’s club”. Now it is a harsh dog-eat-dog business. Tony Hibbert, who dedicated 25 years of his career to the Toffees and found out about the non-renewal of contract through the official website, believes that a lot of good people left the club. That terrible story is hardly a coincidence, since it happened right after the regime change for Everton. However, the attempts to become a global organization, that chooses ambitions over traditions, should have a positive side as well, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, such changes are introduced in a very slow pace – invitation of Ronald Koeman from Southampton and head of recruitment Steve Walsh from Leicester, among others. Most probably, it is not the best way to demonstrate one’s ambitions in modern football. However, the new direction is evident and keeping an eye on its development will be even more intriguing. For example, Walsh’s analytical skills at the time helped to see potential in Kanté, Mahrez and Vardi. The acquisition of Idrissa Gueye, in terms the number of interceptions and tackles over the last EPL season, can compete with Kanté only; that looks like Walsh’s initiative. Moreover, Steve’s duties were not limited to selection; he considerably helped Ranieri with tactical advices.
If Koeman continues to work in the same manner as in Southampton and Walsh keeps acting as in Leicester than Everton’s, the club with the best financial base and owner, who financially is not inferior to anyone in the world of football, efforts certainly will not be swallowed up by giant clubs. Moreover, the project can become one of the most interesting within the EPL. Likely, this evolution will take up to several years, but it is time to begin right now.
Potential trend on high pressing game
Three years ago Gary Neville suggested the plan to overcome English football crisis on the European scene:
“Back when I was playing for Manchester United’s youth team, I could always hear the voices of our coaches, Nobby Stiles and Eric Harrison, on the touchline delivering short, sharp but consistent messages: ‘Get to the ball quickly! Win it back! Get to him! Shift it quickly! Move!’
Many other English coaches behaved the same way. It was typical feature that determined the essence of the British football: the speed of the game, the tempo of passing, pressing and getting out from own penalty area to create an artificial offside. Players were absorbing these values from the age of boyhood.
Since then, football has changed. The game was greatly influenced by the increased number of foreign coaches and players in the country, which led to the golden era of the Premier League between 2007 and 2009. Three years in a row, three English teams got into the Champions’ League semi-finals. However, currently, looking at how Bayern Munich beats Manchester City, it is evident that the team is seriously lagging behind leading European clubs.
Pep Guardiola has no shame and embarrassment, since he was shouting at his players and asking to keep pressing and working on the defense game. “Squeeze them in!” the voice that was heard from the sidelines. As a matter of curiosity, if the English coach was seen throwing his arms about and shouting “Squeeze them in!” probably he would be depicted as the “dinosaur” of coaching team.
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