BLOGIN BETS 26/9/20

This week’s accumulator is £10 @5/1

B.DORTMUND 2/5 (Away v Augsburg. Saturday KO 14:30)

CHELSEA 1/3 (Away v West Brom. Saturday KO 17:30)

MARSEILLE 4/7 (Home v Metz. Saturday KO 20:00)

PORTO 4/11 (Away v Boavista. Saturday KO 21:00)

AC MILAN 4/9 (Away v Crotone. Sunday KO 17:00)

CONFIDENCE: 8/10

OVERVIEW: On paper this week’s line up looks an excellent one. 5 teams, all historic European elite sides pitted against lesser opposition. What could possibly go wrong?!

In terms of a viewing perspective, no supporters permitted in stadiums has seen more televised action than ever with the kick off times far more spread out to accommodate this. Quite frankly, it’s ideal for being able to watch your selections unfold. This line is no different as the matches are spread over Saturday and Sunday, no kick off time the same.

I reiterate the strength of these picks again but quite often the ones you are most confident about are the ones that come unstuck. Here’s hoping not this one.

PICKS: Dortmund got their league campaign off to a great start with a 3-0 success last week, Erling Haaland bagging a brace. Their opponents Augsburg have never won their first home game of a Bundesliga season and that bizarre streak should continue here. Away win.

West Brom have lost both of their opening 2 Premier League matches and conceded 8 goals in the process. Chelsea will be looking to capitalise with their plethora of new stars. It should be a routine win for the blues if they are to have any aspirations of a serious title challenge this year. Another away win.

Both Marseille and their opponents Metz have been involved in relatively low scoring affairs at the start of the season. You would expect the extra quality of the home side to shine through in these situations with Florian Thauvin a possible key to the door. The skilful winger has already bagged a winner in le classique in previous weeks. Home win.

Porto were pretty much unstoppable in the Primeira Liga last year and have started this campaign in similar vein. They have won 8 of their last 9 games and I expect them to make it 9 in 10. Boavista have been a very mixed bag in recent times. Away win.

Milan are unbeaten in 16 matches, their best run since 2008. The Italian giants should extend that sequence against Crotone who were drubbed 4-1 on the opening weekend. Milan will be without Zlatan who tested positive in the week but should still have more than enough fire power to WRAP UP THE ACCA Sunday tea time.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 3)

OVERVIEW: 64 points and up to 2nd in the office league is a decent return from Gameweek 2 but doesn’t really tell the whole story.

It was another case of what could have been had my captain selection been correct. Last week I’d called for Mané and Kane to come to the party and produce the goods, well they arrived with a fully loaded credit card for a free bar and naturally, I’d captained neither. 21 points for Kane, 16 points for Mané. Sod’s law.

Having said all that, I can’t grumble too much. To get 64 points after 2 of my players scored zero and another 2 only scoring 1 a piece it is pretty pleasing. The REAL disappointment was the poor scoring of my Newcastle players but we’ll try and deal with that issue later.

Looking ahead to game week 3, the fixtures look a total nightmare and it’s a week I’m not looking forward to. Not only are they tough fixtures but the timings of the matches aren’t great either. Not that this matters too much but psychologically you like to get your points on the board early in the weekend rather than playing pressurised catch up late Sunday going into Monday. Damage limitation, digging deep and asking my players to go that extra yard will be the message this week. If we can get through it par for the course I’ll be over the moon with better weekends ahead.

PICKS: The first thing to note is we only have one player playing in Saturday’s round of fixtures so a super Sunday or mad Monday is required. like I touched on before psychologically it’s not great when you don’t have many players playing in the early games of the round and your competitors can steal a march. A clean sheet for Maguire wouldn’t go a miss but going off his performance last week, i’m not expecting much. In fact he would have been out had I not needed more important changes else where.

There are two transfers again this week and with it another -4. Out comes Hernandez of Leeds and in comes his team mate Klich. This is simply because the Spaniard is an injury doubt so it’s pretty enforced. Klich has made a flying start to the season so I’m relatively happy with this one anyway.

The second change is De Bruyne for Aubameyang. This is a big change but pretty necessary because of the fixtures, Arsenal away to Liverpool is as tough as it gets for Auba whilst City at home to Leicester should be a bit more forgiving for KDB. Ideally the 2 players will be in same side in the coming weeks.

Kane, at home to Newcastle, will be captain whilst the afore mentioned De Bruyne will be Vice. Speaking of Newcastle, my 3 toon lads all retain their places but I must say not by choice, it was simply the fact I had to prioritise changes elsewhere. They were all shambolic last week so I’m looking for a big reaction from them at Spurs and whilst Saint-Maximin has a slight injury, he is expected to play. SEE THIS ONE THROUGH LADS.

Gameweek 3 team selection

BLOGIN BETS 19/9/20

This week’s acca selection is £10 @9/1.

ARSENAL 4/9 (Home v West Ham. Saturday KO 20:00)

NEWCASTLE 13/8 (Home v Brighton. Sunday KO 14:00)

LEICESTER 4/7 (Home v Burnley. Sunday KO 19:00)

REAL MADRID 4/6 (Away v Real Sociedad. Sunday KO 20:00)

CONFIDENCE: 7/10

OVERVIEW: Another straight forward weekend for the accumulator. 4 teams, all to win with the matches spread over Saturday and Sunday. The bonus this week being that this is the refunded free £10 bet from last week’s line. The result of only one selection letting down the lads.

In terms of the picks, there’s a couple of question marks and teams I wouldn’t have usually selected but looking at the broader fixture list it was a very tough game week overall and not a great deal stood out. Also not forgetting we are so early in the season with teams still finding their feet, match sharpness etc. These teams were as good as was available in my opinion.

Having said all that, at 9/1, this line is cracking value and I’m quietly confident.

PICKS: Arsenal flew out the traps last week pretty emphatically. They’ll be looking to build on that start at home to a poor West Ham side. The away team were comfortably beaten at home against Newcastle last weekend and offered very little to suggest they’ll trouble the gunners this time round. Easy home win.

Newcastle will looking to make it 3 wins in a week at home to Brighton. The new signings at St.James’ park have all made an immediate and positive impact which should see the magpies have a relatively comfortable season. The seagulls on the other hand lost their opener albeit against title hopefuls Chelsea. This is a slightly risky selection but at 13/8 boosts the line price significantly. Allan Saint-Maximin the one to watch here. Home win.

Leicester have made another positive start to the season. I fancy them strongly at home to Burnley, who get their campaign under way at the King Power. That extra weeks match fitness could be pivotal for the foxes and should yield the win we need. Home win.

Spanish champions Real Madrid get their league season underway at Real Sociedad. Los Blancos are unbeaten in their last 5 away La Liga matches and will be looking to extend that run. Karim Benzema was in red hot form last term and I fancy him to get the goals the WRAP UP THE ACCA.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 2)

OVERVIEW: The age old dilemma of the captain selection is usually crucial and in gameweek 1 it turned out to be the difference between an excellent point scoring week and just a decent one. There were two factors that cost me a big total actually. The first being the intial choice between picking Sadio Mané and Mo Salah, the latter bagging a hattrick and with it over forty points when given the armband. Of course I went for Mané on the grounds he provides a more all round scoring chance and captained him….. A lowly 4 points. About as bad an outcome as you can get for your captain short of him not playing.

Anyway, out with the negative and in with the positive. Aubameyang, Willian and Wilson made excellent starts. Fernandez, as predicted, claimed his clean sheet and, other than the Mané captain debacle, it was a pretty productive week all round with 53 points, about par for the coarse.

As always there will be a little bit of tinkering going into gameweek 2. I was surprised that Chelsea club captain Azpilicueta didn’t start. Is that a changing of the guard at the London club? It looks like the youngster Reece James may have secured that right back birth for the blues. In fantasy football, you don’t have the time to find out, it’s cut throat, ANY DOUBT, GET HIM OUT.

PICKS: Two transfers this week and the first -4 of the season. Out comes Azpilicueta for reasons stated earlier and in comes Harry Maguire. With Manchester United at home to Crystal Palace it’s a clean sheet chance and the big headed defender is always a threat at the other end from set plays. The other change is Leicester’s new signing Castagne comes in for Serge Auriér. It was a school boy error on my part last week picking the Frenchman but forgetting Spurs had signed Matt Doherty from Wolves over the summer. I’d like to think it’s the sign of a good manager when he can admit his mistakes and rectify them.

Aubameyang is this week’s captain as Arsenal take on a piss poor West Ham team at the Emirates. I’ll be looking for usual big hitters Mané and Kane to offer more this time around and of course, there’s the toon players. All 3 retain their place as the magpies take on Brighton. YEEEEE-HAAAAAA.

Gameweek 2 Team Selection

BLOGIN BETS 12/9/20

This week’s accumulator pick is £10 @10/1

•ARSENAL 1/2 (Away v Fulham. Saturday KO 12:30)

•BRENTFORD 4/5 (Away v Birmingham. Saturday KO 12:30)

•NORWICH 11/10 (Away v Huddersfield. Saturday KO 15:00)

•LEICESTER 10/11 (Away v West Brom. Sunday KO 14:00)

CONFIDENCE: 6/10

OVERVIEW: The new football season kicks off in England today and with it the weekly ACCA is back. The last accumulator was a winner so I’m hoping to get a little run together.

The first day of the season is always a betting minefield and it usually takes a few weeks to work out which teams are going to be continued favourites week in week out. The flip side to this is that the bookies are also unsure which usually means slightly increased odds.

The 4 selections are over Saturday and Sunday with 10/1 looking excellent value, this despite each team picked being away from home. Another couple of things to note is that 3 of the 4 matches on the slip include teams that have either been relegated or promoted from last season and 2 of 4 matches are the early kick off’s on Saturday which is something I’d usually avoid. Again with it being first day of the season anything can happen and as the stadiums are still empty it makes for a bigger lottery. It’s for these reasons the confidence rating is slightly down but I’m happy with the choices none the less.

PICKS: Despite just winning just 4 away Premier League games all season last year, you’d still fancy Arsenal at newly promoted Fulham who scraped back into the elite league via the championship playoffs. The gunners have impressively added free transfer Willian during the off season and that could make a big difference for them this season, as well as the retention of star man Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang. Away win.

Brentford were one of the teams of the Championship last year and just fell short of promotion in the playoffs. They have lost key player Ollie Watkins during the summer but have added league one top goalscorer Ivan Toney as replacement. Birmingham haven’t won in their last 8 home league games and I reckon it will be extended in this one.

Norwich will be looking to bounce straight back to the big time at the first attempt and they have managed to keep the majority of their squad together over the summer. The Cannaries away form last season was terrible albeit in the Premier League. They should fair better in the lower division and will be sure to be up there amongst the promotion favourites. Their opponents, Huddersfield, have lost 9 of their last 10 games on opening day, another one please.

LEICESTER were very impressive last season and looked certain for a champions league spot until they were curtailed by lockdown and their form dipped. Last season’s Premier League top goalscorer Jamie Vardy will be looking to carry on where he left off and it’s a good chance for a fast start against freshly promoted West Brom. Leicester have won on their last 4 visits to the Hawthorns. Make it 5 on Sunday and WRAP UP THE ACCA.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 1- NEW SEASON)

OVERVIEW: It’s back!! The Premier League fantasy football season returns and with it, the office league. Like last year, it’s £10 entry, winner takes all as well as the forfeit for last place (yet to be decided)

Of the lineups, one team has folded from the 19/20 league. The manager in question went on six month sick, found a new job and did not tell anyone including management he was leaving. That’s the lengths some people will go to to not cough up a couple of forfeit sausage sandwiches.

As one team folds another is formed. A new but experienced fantasy football manager returns after a year out. Solid in stats, numbers and general knowledge, he claims he’s already tinkered with his team hundreds of times – one to be wary of.

Ok, that’s the formalities over. As I mull over that all important first week team, the first thing to note in the 20/21 roster is where are all the TOP STRIKERS?!? And why is Aubameyang listed as a midfielder?!? There seems to be an abundance of first class midfield players but a lack of forwards you’d be confident of bagging serious continued points. That makes me think its going to be a 3-5-2 formation kind of season or even 4-5-1. I’m putting it down to the strange times of 2020 that I’m actually considering one upfront in fantasy football.

Another point that may turn out to be crucial early on is that the two Manchester clubs don’t start their season until later because of various extended European competition jaunts. This means selection in the first week could be very interesting. Picking Kevin De Bruyne is all well and good but picking him in game week 1 will only result in a big fat 0. Do my fellow competitors know or remember this fact? First SILENT TREATMENT of the season early doors.

As ever I’ll always try and sneak in a beloved Newcastle United player but the way the club is being run, being serial relegation favourites year in year out and the general lack of scoring options in the squad, it makes that enjoyable bonus harder by the season and even the week.

If I can utilise the bonus cards better this year, start how i ended last and not get envolved too much in the office trash talk and mind games, THE CASH IS MINE and I’m excited.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS: Hold me for a moment, I’ve managed to get three, yes 3 Newcastle players into the first pick of the season. Whether that’s a good thing or not, who knows? It’s probably edging on the wrong side of risk to be honest but Fernandez in defence could be a clean sheet chance at West Ham. Saint Maximin was a consistent performer and point scorer last season and new signing Callum Wilson goes in up top, mainly due to the budget being spent up in midfield. All set up for a Steve Bruce masterclass of 0 points.

Elsewhere, Mané at home to newly promoted Leeds is a fantastic chance of early points and for that reason he is captain with Aubameyang away to Fulham in a highly questionable central midfield role, the vice.

And finally, a special mention for Willian who was brilliant for Chelsea at the end of last season. Transferred to Arsenal on a free, I think he will make a big impact at the Emirates this year. It could be a one Frank Lampard lives to regret.

BALL DOWN AND PLAY LADS.

GAME WEEK 1 TEAM SELECTION

BLOGIN BETS 29/8/20 (PURE DAFTY)

This week’s accumulator pick is £10 @5/1

• RENNES 10/11 (Home v Montpellier. KO 16:00)

SPARTAK MOSCOW 1/2 (Home v Arsenal Tula. KO 16:00)

RANGERS 1/8 (Away v Hamilton. KO 17:30)

NICE & DRAW 8/13 (Away v Strasbourg. KO 20:00)

CONFIDENCE: 4/10

OVERVIEW: With next to no decent fixtures in and around Europe at the minute, this week’s accumulator is just a little bit of fun. No science, no stats and no explanations just a daft, gut feeling 4 team line and something to keep an eye on. The picks are solely based on either the teams being historic favourites or rough team form from the end of last season. On that basis, I wouldn’t put your house on it.

If by chance any of you get a chance to see any of the action, Nice Striker Kasper Dolberg may worth a watch. Once hailed as the next big thing at Ajax, it’ll be interesting to see how he’s getting on. I hear he’s bagged himself a few in France and hopefully a few more today. ALLEZ LE NICE.

BLOGIN BETS 21/8/20 (Europa League final special)

This week’s pick is £10 @5/1 bet builder special. (INTER V SEVILLA. KO 20:00)

• ROMELU LUKAKU – TO SCORE ANYTIME 7/5

ROMELU LUKAKU – TO HAVE 2+ SHOTS ON TARGET 13/5

OVER 1.5 MATCH GOALS 2/7

OVER 8.5 MATCH CORNERS 9/20

CONFIDENCE: 8/10

OVERVIEW: Hello all, I haven’t posted any bets for a few weeks. This is basically because I haven’t made any, either due to the difficulty of fixtures or the general lack of them. Tonight though, it’s the Europa League final and I tell you what, it looks a cracker and one not to be missed. With that in mind, I’ve gone for a little bet builder special with the main focus on one of Europe’s inform strikers.

Romelu Lukaku has scored in his last 10 Europa League matches and I fancy that streak to continue tonight. Often criticised during his time at Manchester United, he has looked fitter, sharper and a lot leaner since moving to Inter and has managed to bag himself 33 goals in all competitions this season, a very lucrative return. He also takes Inter’s penalties so a goal and 2+ shots on target for the big man looks a decent shout.

I can’t separate the 2 teams in terms of a result, Inter probably slight favourites but I definitely think there will be goals and plenty of corners. The bet looks really good value at 5/1 and, from a neutral standpoint, adds a little extra kick to what already should be a quality fixture.

Other notable players who could be worth a punt on if Lukaku isn’t to your fancy are 2 Argentinian players, Lukaku’s Inter strike parter Lautaro Martinez or Lucas Ocampos, the tricky winger for Seville.

FORZA INTER, VAMOS SEVILLA

HOW LIONEL MESSI BECAME BARCELONA’S BIGGEST PROBLEM

Wouldn’t it be just like the crazy times of 2020 if the 8-2 Champions League demolition at the hands of Bayern Munich does turn out to be Lionel Messi’s last game for FC Barcelona. The greatest player to ever play the game cut a forlorn figure as he and his hapless, ageing teammates were mercilessly took apart in an empty stadium over in Portugal. 2020 may be one of the strangest years in human history but the Barcelona train has been on buckled tracks and on course for the cliffs of humiliation for a long time. They’ve finally reached their destination and Messi wants off.


The warning signs have been up for a while, not that the Barca higherachy seem to be paying much attention. Winning leagues. Yes. Winning cups. Yes. Yet those that have followed the club’s progress over the last 2 or 3 seasons have been aware of an alarming broader picture. The teams ageing squad, the very poor recruitment of players coupled with the lack of once famed youth team progression all playing major parts.

Messi, through no fault of his own, has become the club’s main problem which we’ll go into more detail later. But, his unwavered ability to win games on his own has lead those in charge to bury their head in the sands of Copa Del Rey’s and La Liga titles. There seems to be a complacent, arrogant air of ‘it’s ok, we’ve got Messi’ which wafts away around the Camp Nou. To an extent, this has papered over cracks but only because of Messi’s undoubted genius. It’s in the latter stages of the Champions League where the club have been found out. Crushing defeats to AS Roma and Liverpool in previous seasons made the world sit up and take notice. This isn’t the Barcelona of old, in fact, stop Messi the conductor and you stop the train completely.

Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, once reliable and unquestionably world class performers have all had the sands of time catch up on them. The wrong side of 30, the explosive pace needed at the top end of the elite game now eludes them as their glistening careers wind down. It’s to the club’s great shame that they didn’t let these legendary players either leave for a farmer’s league final payday or allow them to gracefully retire at the very top of their game a few years previous. The blame here lies in Barcelona’s terrible recruitment and lack of planning.


MESSI

The 6 time Balon D’Or winner ended the 19/20 season with 31 goals and 26 assists in all competitions for Barcelona this season despite missing a quarter of it through injury. How do you replace that? The answer is you can’t. But what Barcelona have failed to do is come up with any sort of contingency plan for a post Messi world. The world’s greatest player’s extraordinary performances over the last 15 seasons have seen him become not only invaluable on the pitch but commercially invaluable off it. It has earned him contracts of eye watering amounts but they’re contracts which has increasingly taken power away from the club and ones where the club can be effectively be held to ransom. Messi has it written into his contract that he can leave for free at the end of every season if he so chooses. This has meant signings all seem based around keeping their star man happy rather than looking at a bigger long term picture of the team. One case in point being that Luis Suarez probably would have been shipped out a year or 2 ago had he not been Messi’s best mate.

There has also been a very public dispute between Messi and the club’s sporting director, Eric Abidal. Usually quiet and unassuming, Messi flexed his muscles by lashing out at the Frenchman who had claimed the players weren’t working hard enough under then coach Ernesto Valverde. A wake up call for the club’s board, a PR disaster and a glimpse at the level of Messi’s general unhappiness within the club.

As it happens, Antoine Greizmann was last year’s marquee signing at £107 million which did gain Messi’s seal of approval. A great player for Atletico, he was seen as a good signing. However, looking a bit deeper, at 29 years of age it was another short term solution to Barcelona’s problems and a transfer fee that seemed very inflated. Sadly, even in the short term, Greizmann has looked a shadow of his former self and has struggled to fit into the Barca system, often pushed into a wider role he’s not been used to. Rumours have circulated that he and Messi don’t get on. Rumours which the pair have both strongly denied. Unsettling none the less and again, more bad publicity for the club. Prior and even post Greizmann, Messi has openly pined for Neymar to return to the club from PSG but his own astronomical wage package has meant the club could no longer afford the type of numbers needed to bring back world’s most expensive player. Greizmann would have to do and it’s failed massively.

Then there was the mid season signing of Martin Braithwaite outside of the transfer window which saw a lot of very highly raised eyebrows. It didn’t make any sense especially as Barcelona sort special permission to sign him. That along with other expensive failures such as Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho have compounded the boardroom misery. With the lack of money available, you would think La Masia would be the club’s focus. The development of a new Messi, a new Xavi, Puyol or Iniesta should have been a priority but the talent coming through seems to have dried up with the clear focus being on the more established, older and expensive signings. This lack of youth intergration has probably set the club back years. The death of Johan Cruyff hasn’t helped either, would he have let things go this far? The famous Cruyff style of play seems to have been diluted out of the team’s DNA in recent seasons. One things for sure, new coach Ronald Koeman needs to clear the decks and start from scratch. The slight advantage for Koeman is his knowledge of the club. A legend in Barcelona, he knows the Cruyff core principles better than most and, hopefully, how to reimplement them. The downside he and Barcelona have is, how far do you let the club fall behind in order to rebuild properly? Big spenders Man City and PSG won’t wait around for them that’s for sure.

As for Messi, what next? Only a couple of clubs could realistically afford him in Europe, the afore mentioned. Talk of a return to boyhood club Newells in his native Argentina hasn’t gone away. That would basically mean playing for nothing with the major intense scrutiny and fanaticism that comes with it. This has potential to become a logistical nightmare for him and his young family. The 3rd option is to stay at Barcelona and help Koeman rebuild. He’d have to accept the old guard all departing and he himself taking up a more back seat role to allow the club to properly prepare for life without him. That’s not to say the club don’t just continue to keep their heads firmly lodged up their own proverbials and go on as though nothing has happened. Wouldn’t rule it out. Messi would still get the numbers because he’s that good. Then, a year or 2 down the line, he’d retire. What then? A dead institution primed and ready for mediocrity.

BLOGIN BETS 1/8/20 – FA CUP FINAL SPECIAL.

This week’s pick is a £10 @6/1 special

AUBAMEYANG 2+ shots on target & GIROUD 1+ shots on target in 90 minutes

CONFIDENCE: 8/10

OVERVIEW: Due to the lack of viable fixtures to choose from this week, I’ve gone for something a bit different. It’s the FA Cup final and SkyBet have boosted the above in play bet from 3/1 to 6/1. It looks a corker.

Aubameyang has hit 22 league goals this season in an, at times, average looking Arsenal side and takes the penalties.

Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud has been in excellent form since being drafted back into Frank Lampard’s plans. The Frenchman is equally dangerous on the floor and in the air. This one is definitely worth a shot (on target)

ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK