BIG SAM HAS COME AND GONE

How must Big Sam be feeling this morning after agreeing with the FA last night that his position was untenable? Not too great I would imagine.

I hope he didn’t head to the nearest bar and get rat-arsed after leaving Wembley in his top of the range white Range Rover (I wonder if he got a special deal from the dealer because he was England manager when he bought it) because to wake up with a massive hangover on top of all this would be a nightmare. Still, on the bright side I bet Bradley Wiggins is feeling a bit better today.

I would imagine Big Sam is currently phoning round trying to get a good deal on a trip to the Far East until all this nastiness blows over. Well, maybe not the Far East. Somebody might ask him to do a keynote speech if he was over there which he might want to avoid doing until all this nonsense goes away.

Maybe somewhere in Florida would be nice. Take the grandchildren to Disneyland, maybe even check out the deals on a holiday villa near the fun parks of Kissimmee. Apparently you can get a good deal on holiday rents in the height of summer, could be a nice little earner.

Will there be a way back into football management for the big chap when he gets back from his trip? I think he probably does have a future in management, probably even at Premier League level. In two months’ time when somebody is languishing in the bottom three with Premier League survival on the line, who you gonna call? Certainly not Ghostbusters.

I doubt there are too many Premier League owners who would be too concerned about Big Sam’s morals when compared with his ability to keep their team out of the bottom three come May. He will be back in the Premier League before the shops have their Christmas selection boxes on their shelves…..well, maybe not as quickly as that. Apparently the shops do already have Christmas selection boxes on the shelves according to Mrs. Punt, but you know what I mean.

It would be good entertainment to be present the next time Big Sam bumps into England’s former manager Roy Hodgson or his former coach, Gary Neville, at a match. “Woy” as Big Sam called him in the video…..that’s just painfully embarrassing for both of them. I suspect Mr. Neville might be a bit more aggressive in his approach to confronting Big Sam than Roy will. I’m sure he has had an excellent relationship in the past with Big Sam due to his closeness to his former boss, Sir Fergie.

Looking at the bigger picture, what does it mean for the England team? It would have been interesting to see how Big Sam would have done with England in a tournament. Unfortunately, we will now never know. The job he has craved his whole life has come and gone in 67 days. They will still qualify comfortably for the World Cup, of that there is no doubt, but who will be leading them by the time we get to Russia in 2018?

Gareth Southgate is taking over for the next four games. This gives the FA until March to find a permanent replacement, and do they really need all that time? They only appointed the latest manager 67 days ago so surely they have a good idea of who else was in the running to get the post. Who will be the next one of the rank? Will they go for someone from left-field? I doubt it. This next appointment will be ultra-safe with no skeletons in his cupboard and will need to be whiter than white. Unfortunately for the FA, I’m not sure there is anyone in football who fits that bill.

I would give it to Glenn Hoddle if it must be an Englishman. The bookies have Steve Bruce, Alan Pardew and Eddie Howe as their frontrunners, none of whom have won anything more than an English Championship, which used to be called the Second Division in my day.

Hoddle has at least taken England to a major tournament before he became a god-botherer in public. He was fairly critical of Hodgson’s team at the Euros in his role of ITV co-commentator so I think it would be good entertainment to see how he would cope with a vastly inferior group of players than the ones he took to France in 1998.

Anyhoo, if nothing else the England team and their manager situation always provides excellent entertainment for those who prefer club football or are not of an English persuasion. Long may that continue.

GET IN THERE!!

CHEEKY PUNT

WHY DAILY FANTASY SPORTS ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD

The advent of daily fantasy sports (DFS) games is something that has taken the United States by storm. The UK and Europe are fast catching on to this growing sports betting trend and Premier Punt are leading the way with the most exciting daily fantasy football gaming platform on the market today.

So what is it about daily fantasy sports that are so enticing to football fans?

Anyone who has played fantasy football knows how exciting the format can be… but the problem is that 8 or 9 weeks down the line when you are languishing in mid table or worse it is easy to lose interest in the competition. Unless you are a hardcore fantasy football player you might find yourself leaving your team to fester in a pit of dead fantasy football teams. If you are lucky enough to be riding high in your league then as much as it might be nice to batter your mates in to foundations of your league, the competitive nature of your league is going to be poor – and where’s the fun in that?

 

THE RISE OF DAILY FANTASY SPORTS

Whilst we focus on fantasy football, the rise of daily fantasy sports as an industry is partly thanks to this competitive flaw in the season long games. No matter what the sport, the problems of players losing interest is evident across all sports.

Daily and even weekly fantasy sports formats fix this problem by having short and snappy games with almost instant gratification. The competition resets every time a new daily or weekly game starts and everyone loves instant rewards – and what’s better than instant cash payouts?!

Whether you are taking on your mates or taking on strangers in weekly and daily mini-leagues, you will never lose interest in the daily and weekly games.

 

PICK 6 FANTASY FOOTBALL GAMES

The Premier Punt Pick Six games make the daily games quicker and easier to play than ever before. The ability to choose 6 players from the two competing teams with no budget restrictions means that choosing a team couldn’t be simpler. With no need to worry about transfer prices you simply have to choose the 6 players that you think will be the best performers on the day.

Take the Man Utd Vs. Leicester fixture that takes place during game week 6 for example. You could take a team of the likes of Ibrahimovic, Slimani, Pogba, David De Gea, Drinkwater and Valencia without even giving a second thought as to their values. A pot that stands at over £425 means the rewards are substantial if you are to win or place in the top 10.

With single games for every fixture in the Premier League there are plenty of opportunities to win and with entry fees starting at just £2 you could enter as many teams as you like for relatively small stakes.

With game week 6 ready to kick off in a matter of hours why not get yourself involved in the growing trend of daily and weekly fantasy sports betting today?

WHAT MAKES A GOOD FANTASY FOOTBALL STRIKER?

In Fantasy Football, the majority of our team budget is going to be spent on our strikers. Certainly when you break it down in to average cost per player, the strikers are going to be where the biggest investments are made… and rightly so.

But what is it that makes a good striker – and do the same qualities make a good fantasy football striker as the qualities you might look for in the real life Premier League?

If we look at the top 4 strikers this season so far in terms of goals, we have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero, and Romelu Lukaku. Between these four, they have netted 14 times and all of them have at least 3 to their name. They are familiar names and ones that could easily have been predicted to be up there at the start of the season.

We assess the potential of each of these players for our weekly and daily fantasy football games.

 

IBRAHIMOVIC 

Zlatan is a beast. Plain and simple. He might not have the pace that he once had but he more than makes up for it with ability. Some strikers lose their game once they reach a certain age but this has not been a problem with the super Swede. His ego is plentiful and this is potentially another link in his armour. The fact that he is clearly Manchester United’s number one striker is also a big selling point when considering him for your Fantasy team. 

COSTA

Diego Costa has had a very good start to the season with 4 goals in 4 games and he also has an assist to boot. The Spaniard has a ruthless streak running through him that sometimes spills over in to aggression. There is no doubting his quality and his biggest strength is his clinical finishing and bullish build. He can bully even the stockiest defenders and like Ibra, he looks to be the number one striker at Chelsea this season. 

LUKAKU

Lukaku had not scored in the league since March but a hat-trick against Sunderland in game week 4 reminded us of how lethal he can be. 18 goals last season shows he is a striker that has to be taken seriously, but whereas Costa has the consistency Lukaku seems to blow very hot and cold. A very different temperament to the Belgian’s game means he is much less of a risk of receiving a ban – but give him enough chances and he will punish a weak defence. 

AGUERO

Without a doubt there is not a striker in the Premier League who is better than Sergio Aguero. The Argentine reminded those players who would risk saving money on him how much of a mistake that could be in midweek by scoring a hat-trick. More diminutive in stature than all of the other strikers on this shortlist, and perhaps more in line with the build of a certain Mr Suarez, Aguero has been a consistent performer for Manchester City and looks set to be the class act once again this season.

So what makes a good Fantasy Football striker?

Really, the answer to this is simple. It’s goals.

Goals, goals and more goals.

Predicting when the goals will come is the hard part. All of these strikers are going to score 15 or more goals this season. Most of them will probably score 20+ and I’d say at least one of them will score more than 25 – no prizes for guessing who.

Of course, assists come in to play as well as the team they are playing for. Man City look like a real force this season and they are more likely to score more team goals than any other team in the league. A quality striker, playing for a quality team – that’s what makes a top choice fantasy football forward – it’s just a shame he’s suspended for another week!

LIFE WITHOUT SERGIO

LIFE GOES ON WITHOUT SERGIO

The most valuable fantasy football player in any version of the Premier League format has to be Sergio Aguero. In monetary value and in terms of sheer quality he is by far the most valuable player to own in weekly fantasy football – so what happens for the next two game weeks when the enigmatic Argentine is suspended from duty?

Are you in the camp of those fantasy football managers who think it is good for the game as it opens up more differential or are you firmly in the camp of those managers who think the game is duller without Aguero? Whichever way you swing is quite frankly irrelevant as he is out of the game for the next two Premier League fixtures and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Premier Punters who are used to our daily fantasy football game will be all too familiar with the conundrum that is posed by not having Aguero available and will no doubt be relishing the opportunity to spend the cash in other areas of their squad for the weekly game in game week 4 and 5.

So if you are taking a punt on our weekly or daily games this weekend where should you be looking to invest the extra cash?

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC 

The 34 year old Swede has been the subject of much debate between United and City fans ahead of a hotly anticipated Manchester derby but if the truth is told, City would probably much prefer to have the man with an ego bigger than his ponytail available to them this weekend, particularly given the suspension to their own star player.

Ibrahimovic is a star player and although he might be in the twilight years of his career he has adapted to the rigors of the Premier League brilliantly and could be set to sparkle in this headline game of game week 4.

At £14.2m in our fantasy football weekly game he is not exactly a snip, but he is a class act and could reward those punters who are prepared to dig deep in to the fantasy coffers this weekend.

DIEGO COSTA 

The Chelsea forward carries slightly more risk than some of the other options (considering he could have been sent off twice already this season) but the rewards may outweigh the potential negatives. An away trip to Swansea represents a pretty decent chance of a goal or two for the Spaniard who looks to have his appetite back this season.

2 goals and 1 assist in 3 games is a decent return for a player that we have valued at £11.6m and the money saved on Costa compared to Zlatan could be money reinvested elsewhere in your weekly team.

ROMELU LUKAKU

Weighing in even cheaper is the big Belgian Romelu Lukaku. A player who Chelsea looked prepared to splash £75m on in the summer is yet to find the net this season but an away game at Sunderland could see him return to the scoresheet. Valued at just £10.9m on Premier Punt, it is a risk that perhaps few managers will take – but again it is one that could pay dividends – and we’re talking real money fantasy football betting here.

Everton were well beaten by Sunderland back in May, but that was a completely different proposition and whilst a repeat of last November’s 8 goal mauling is unlikely, we fancy Lukaku and Everton to do the business.

Wherever you are putting your money this weekend, make sure you check out our daily fantasy sports betting games on the Manchester derby as well as our weekly games – isn’t it great to have the Premier League back?

POOR JOE

Does anyone feel sorry for Joe Hart? What’s he done to deserve such savage treatment? “Disrespectful” says Joey Barton but is it? Really?
Basically what’s happened is his new boss doesn’t fancy him. End of story? Not quite. Hart himself described it as a circus in his interview after the Steaua Bucharest game on Wednesday and he’s not too far off the truth in his summation. Manchester City this week have purchased Claudio Bravo the Chilean goalkeeper from Barcelona for a reported £15.5 million. Bravo, at thirty-three, is four years older than Hart and, judging by the first two Premier League games of the season, this purchase puts Hart as third choice keeper at City. How the mighty have fallen.
Prior to the 2016 European Championships Hart was being compared favourably with the best goalkeepers in the world. Personally, I don’t think he should be compared with the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. I would place De Gea, Cech (still), Courtois, Lloris and Stekelenberg at Everton in front of him. Although I think he’s better than Cabllero if that’s any consolation to any City fans out there.
Following a desperately poor Euros for both Hart and England, is it any surprise that he has been dropped like a stone by Guardiola?
There is a theory doing the rounds in the media that Joe knew almost a year in advance that Pep would be arriving in Manchester this summer. Therefore, he had plenty of time to adapt his game to suit Guardiola’s preferred tactic of building play from the back, starting with the keeper playing the ball out to either of the split centre halves.
I don’t agree with this theory. Hart has had a whole career to adapt his game and hasn’t. It isn’t just about being able to ping a ball fifty yards to a full-back either, it’s about being able to read the game and being in the correct position when possession is lost and the opposition are in the transition phase. Guardiola’s keeper needs to be an extra defender because when this generally happens his full-backs are usually on the edge of the opposition’s penalty box. This is when the position the keeper takes up is vital. If he’s standing on the edge of his six-yard box he’s useless, if he’s standing beside one of his centre-backs he’s useless. He needs to be in a place where he can clear the danger himself or accept a pass from his defender and deal with it, possibly under the severest pressure.
I just don’t think this is Joe’s game, nor Caballero’s for that matter, which is why Pep is bringing in Bravo. It will be interesting to see how good Bravo is with the ball at his feet in the Premier league, as I’ve said many times in this blog, I believe the Premier league forwards will put more pressure on a goalkeeper with the ball at his feet than anywhere else in the world, particularly away from home.
When all is said and done I don’t think Hart stood a chance with Pep. I think he could have been as good as Beckenbauer with the ball and he would still be gone. Sometimes the new guy just doesn’t want you, end of story.
Not the end of the world for Hart either and here’s why I wont be worrying too much about Joe. First of all, he’s well compensated for what he does and it shouldn’t be too difficult to get another gig elsewhere but with the window closing (not slamming) soon he needs to make his mind up sharpish if he’s going to be playing again this year. Will he opt for a loan move? I think he needs to take a wage cut and start afresh somewhere else. But where though? Needless to say all this uncertainty wont be doing him any favours with big Sam, England’s new supremo. Joe will be in Sam’s squad to be announced this week-end but I doubt if he will play him, it’s not been the best few weeks for Joe.
His destination should he choose to move before the window closes is not straight forward. He doesn’t appear too keen to move abroad and all the big teams (near Manchester) have got decent keepers, except Liverpool but they have bought a keeper already this summer who is injured, so he needs to look further afield. West Ham?, they are probably the only team in the top half who might be interested in taking him. If I were his agent I would be telling him to take a massive pay cut and go where he will be busy every game and prove his doubters wrong, I would send him to Sunderland. Get him out there and making saves every five minutes, he’d never have been so busy in his career.
Sometimes life is tough but Joe’s big and ugly enough not to need our sympathy.
Over & Out
Cheeky Punt