Who is the Premier League signing of the season?

In a busy transfer window which saw the likes of Angel Di Maria, Esteban Cambiasso, Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas join Premier League teams, it’s no wonder that many stars have adjusted to the English game immediately. While some have underperformed since their arrival, others have sparkled throughout the early part of the Premier League season so far, and it could even be argued that some are directly responsible for their side’s domestic form. We take a look at those players that have adapted quickly to the pace of England’s top flight and consider who was the transfer window winner?

Diego Costa – Chelsea:

The Spaniard has already shown the Blues exactly what they were missing last season and it could be argued that his goals are the main reason why Chelsea are currently top of the Premier League. The Blues have been in exquisite form so far this campaign and Costa, who has scored 17 goals in 19 appearances, has been phenomenal. The 26-year-old striker is strong and refuses to be bullied by opposing defenders but he does have a tendency to retaliate which can get him into trouble at times.

Bojan – Stoke City:

The former Barcelona man has been a breath of fresh air in Mark Hughes’ side and has helped Stoke to adopt a better brand of football. The Spaniard has been instrumental for the Potters this season and has been directly involved in five goals during his 16 matches this year. Unfortunately, he has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign but Stoke supporters will remain positive that the 24-year-old can return and continue in similar fashion to before his season-ending injury.

Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal:

Without Sanchez, the Gunners would be in serious trouble this season as the Chilean continues to shine and lead Arsenal to victory with some impressive individual performances. The former Barcelona forward has scored 12 goals in 22 appearances this campaign while also notching seven assists. The London side were unlucky with injuries earlier in the season but Alexis stepped up to the mark and performed effectively in a number of positions – sometimes even carrying the team through matches. With players returning, the 26-year-old will become even more dangerous in the second half of the season.

Marcos Rojo – Manchester United:

Although he has had his critics at times, the Argentina international has made that central defensive position at Old Trafford his own and helped add stability to United’s backline. Although he is yet to justify his £16 million price tag, the 24-year-old has been solid, isn’t scared to commit to challenges and has excellent control on the ball. The Manchester outfit have the third best defensive record in the Premier League and in his 14 appearances, United have won nine and lost just two while scoring 30 goals and conceding 16.

Frazer Forster – Southampton:

Forster has been superb this year and currently leads the league in clean sheets with 12 in 25 matches. The Saints have the best defensive record in the division and, although the defensive unit have been exceptional, the former Celtic goalkeeper is a key reason for this. It could be argued that, excluding David de Gea, the 26-year-old has been the goalkeeper of the season so far and he will look to help Southampton earn a European berth at the end of the season with some more brilliant individual performances against the league’s top sides.

Diafra Sakho – West Ham United:

Sakho has been one of the best performers for Sam Allardyce’s side this season and has become a huge threat alongside Andy Carroll in the West Ham attack. The former Metz striker has scored 10 goals in all competitions with eight of those coming in just 16 Premier League matches. With pace in abundance and a killer final ball, the 25-year-old provides another point of attack for the Hammers and he can be used as an out-and-out striker or wide as part of a three pronged attacking unit.

6 Contenders for the Newcastle Manager’s job

Newcastle United again find themselves looking for a new permanent manager. After the departure of Alan Pardew last month, John Carver is in charge till the end of the season. Few believe he’ll be appointed full-time boss, but at Newcastle you never know what’s going to happen next.

Whoever gets the job has a task few would relish as they have to work with a chairman who isn’t going to be spending millions on players and seems rather too interested in the goings on at Rangers. So who could Mike Ashley be looking at to appoint in the summer in his side project to get the Magpies up the Premier League rankings?

Steve McCLaren

The current favourite to get the job, but a lot depends on how Derby fare this season. After a shaky period in his management career, the former England manager has rebuilt his reputation at the Championship side. Having just missed out on promotion last season, Derby have a good chance of getting into the Premier League this year. If he wins promotion, would McCLaren leave them for Newcastle? Probably not, but if the Rams miss out again then he could well be on his way to St James’s park this summer.

Steve Bruce

Every time the Newcastle job becomes vacant, Steve Bruce’s name always seems to come up. He seems to be settled at Hull City at present, but just what can he achieve there? Perhaps a good cup run every now and then, but probably not much more than just Premier League survival. Even that looks in jeopardy this season. His appointment at Newcastle would be a popular one, and keeping the fans happy at St James’ Park is always a good idea.

Harry Redknapp

Was it just a dodgy knee that caused ‘Arry to hobble away from QPR? We’ll probably never know, but Redknapp does want another job once his surgery is sorted out. A battle between him and Ashley would have the tabloids purring and it might be a bit too far north for him. But if he truly wants to be in charge of one more big club before retirement, then Newcastle could be just right.

Eddie Howe

Howe is building a really good reputation for himself at Bournemouth and sooner or later he’ll move to a big club. It didn’t work last time and his spell at Burnley was a short one, so could he handle the pressure of managing Newcastle? His sides play attacking football and that would keep the Newcastle fans happy, but many will have memories of Kevin Keegan’s time at the club. They might love it, just love it, at times, but all the flair in the world doesn’t win trophies.

John Carver

How would fans react to the appointment of Carver as full-time boss in the summer? Would they just see it as the chairman looking for the easiest and cheapest option? Granted, Carver knows the club well and was caretaker manager way back in 2004, but his only full-time job as a boss was for Toronto… and that wasn’t a great success. He hasn’t set the world alight since Alan Pardew left and with a tough fixture list coming up; his popularity with the fans might not last too long.

David Moyes

After his disastrous experience at Manchester United, Moyes now finds himself in Spain with Real Sociedad. He’s not doing too bad a job over there, but Spanish sides do have a reputation for getting rid of managers once form begins to dip. It may have gone wrong at Old Trafford, but he did a great job at Everton without having a massive transfer budget and that could be a talent that Ashley might want to exploit.

Premier League Title Betting – Are Arsenal Value At 14/1

Chelsea’s stay at the top of the betting was fairly short lived as Manchester City reclaimed the tag as favourites after Saturday’s results.

By all accounts, Manchester City did well to win with 10 men at Hull, and it’s those sort of hard fought victories that are generally the difference come the end of the season. City are now favourites again at a best price of 6/4 with Paddy Power (who have a £50.00 Free Bet for new customers.

Chelsea on the other hand seemed to press the self destruct button at Villa Park. They needed a similar performance to that of City, and they came up short. Maybe Jose Morinho was right about his team not being good enough (this year) after all? Chelsea are now out to a best price of 2/1 with Coral.

Liverpool are third favourites, and by some distance. They are 10/3 with Bet365 to win the title, after what must have been one of the most satisfying victories of Brendan Rodgers’ managerial career. Although the opponents weren’t up too much in all honesty.

And finally onto Arsenal, and despite being on the same amount of points, and games played as Liverpool, the Gunners find themselves a massive 14/1 with a number of bookies to win the title this season.

Of all the bookies offering 14/1, SkyBet and Boylesports are both offering each-way (top 2 finish) at a quarter of the odds. So that’s effectively a second bet of 7/2 on Arsenal finishing in the top 2.

If all games in hand are won, Arsenal will be in 4th place on goal difference behind Liverpool. They would be 1 point behind Chelsea, and 4 behind City (who have still to visit the Emirates). Arsenal do go to Stamford Bridge on Saturday though, but is a result there totally out of the question on current form?

Arsenal’s fixture list is without doubt one of the main reason for their big price, but all I’m suggesting is that sillier things have happened, and who would have thought that Arsenal would still be in with a shout in the middle of March?

I for one will be investing a silly few quid on Arsenal at that price. This has been such a topsy turvy league season, that who knows who will win it, and how things might pan out in the end? Sitting 4 points off the top, with a game in hand, how can 14/1 be dismissed?

Are Liverpool Now In The Title Race?

For so long it seems to have been a 3 horse race, maybe even 1 horse race, with quite a few people (including me) believing that it is Manchester City’s title to throw away. But now, surely we all have to start taking Liverpool’s chances of winning the title a lot more seriously.

Brendan Rodgers’ team are 6 points behind Chelsea, and at this stage of the season – with just 13 games and 39 points to play for – that is a big gap to close on a team as good as Chelsea.

There is also Arsenal and Manchester City to take into consideration, and even though Arsenal got smashed on Saturday, they are still second in the league, only 1 point behind Chelsea, and 5 ahead of Liverpool.

The best odds currently for Liverpool to win the Premier League is 14/1, and that is still available with Paddy Power (£50.00 Free Bet), Ladbrokes (£50.00 Free Bet) and Totepool (£10.00 Free Bet).

Some bookies have Liverpool as short as 11/1, with most coming in at 12/1. I get the impression that the 14/1 on Liverpool could soon vanish if they give Fulham a good hiding in their next match on Wednesday night (away at Craven Cottage).

Liverpool’s home form of late has been scintillating, they have destroyed Everton and Arsenal in recent weeks, and they are two of the best defensive sides in the Premier League. With form like this, they have to be taken as a serious threat.

They also have no distractions of Europe, unlike the 3 teams above them, meaning they can solely concentrate on the Premier League – they do have the FA Cup, but as we have seen all to often in the past, that can be sacrificed if required.

The draw away at West Brom a couple of weeks back is the sort of result they cannot afford though. Those are the sort of matches we have seen Manchester United win ugly in the past, when they were winning league titles (in what seems like light years ago at the moment).

Slip ups like that can’t happen if Liverpool are too close the 6 point gap, starting with their visit to Craven Cottage on Wednesday. These are the bread and butter matches, the ones where you just have to get a result, regardless of the performance.

With regard to a top 4 finish, the best price currently available for Liverpool is 4/11 with Bet365 (£200.00 in Free Bets available).

There is still a belief that City and Chelsea are out of site, as both are 1/100 for a top 4 finish, one bookmaker even has them both at 1/500. Arsenal are a best price of 1/7 with Skybet for a top 4 finish.

Swansea V Cardiff Money Back Specials

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will get his first taste of a South Wales Derby as Swansea host his Cardiff side in the Live Sky TV match on Saturday evening.

Cardiff climbed off the bottom of the Premier League with last Saturday’s fightback at home to Norwich, but things don’t get any easier for Cardiff and Solskjaer, as they now face a visit to arch rivals, and now fellow strugglers, Swansea City.

I don’t think when Solskjaer started to prepare for this match at the start of the week, he expected to not be facing Michael Laudrup in the opposing dugout. Even so, with or without Laudrup, Solskjaer must believe that this is a winnable match.

An away fixture at the Liberty Stadium is by no means a banker 3 points for anybody, never mind Cardiff, but in a local derby where anything can happen, Solsjkaer has to looking at possibly getting something out of the fixture.

The best price currently available on Swansea is 19/20 with Bet365. Cardiff are 7/2, and the draw is 5/2.

As this is a TV match (live on Sky Sports), there are extra money back specials and price boosts available from a whole host of bookmakers, as well as the usual bookie offers.

Live TV Match Specials

Betfred – Double Delight and Hat-Trick Heaven – This offer is available today and on all Sky TV live Premier League matches, this is where Betfred will give you double the odds if your first goal scorer selection goes on to score a second, and triple the odds if your selection then scores a third.

Betfred also offer new sign ups a £25.00 Free Bet.

BetVictor – Red Card Refund – If there is a red card in this match today, BetVictor will refund all losing Correct Score, First/Last/Anytime Goalscorer, Scorecast & Half-Time/Full-Time bets, as a free bet, up to a maximum of £25.00.

BetVictor also offer new accounts a £25.00 Free Bet.

Boylesports – Double Bubble – If your first goal scorer selection scores in the first 20 minutes, Boylesports will give you double the odds (maximum bet is £50.00).

Boylesports offer new sign ups a £50.00 Free Bet.

I fancy a bit of correct score trading on Betfair for this one, I’m going to have a couple of quid on 2-1 both ways, and a little bit of cover on 1-1.

Good luck whatever you do.

Can Manchester United be trusted at 1/3 tonight?

I don’t like betting on short priced favourites, and it would be a massive leap of faith to back a short priced favourite in the form of Manchester United at the moment.

United’s form has just been so patchy lately, no one was surprised by Chelsea’s dismantling off them at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and their home form has arguably been more worrying than their away form.

So priced up at 1/3 with Betfred at home to Sunderland tonight in the Capital One Cup looks a bit of a risky bet. In reality though this is probably United’s only realistic chance of any silverware this season, as I don’t think anybody really gives them much chance of any success in the Champions League.

Surely with a deficit from the 1st leg (they are 2-1 down for anybody just come back from Mars), they are going to beat Sunderland tonight? They just have too.

Will David Moyes risk either of, or maybe both of, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, who both returned to training this week? Surely in the case of van Persie in the long run, he can’t take the chance, while with Rooney, he may just have to go for it?

Even if they get through tonight, the chances are they could well get embarrassed by Manchester City at Wembley, given City’s current form. In a perverse sort of way, it might be better for Moyes’ to fail tonight, than get hammered by City at Wembley. Imagine what that could do his tenure as manager?

Anyway, with or without Rooney and van Persie, most of the bookmakers have United at 1/3 for tonight. Sunderland have done well in this competition so far, and can’t be taken lightly, so for me there is probably just too much doubt – and therefore lack of value – to take United at 1/3.

A bit more value could be had if you think a win for United will be enough to send them through on aggregate (ie, they win 2-0 or 3-2), you can get 2/5 on United to qualify for the final with Bet365.

Don’t forget that Bet365 offer £200.00 in free bets to new sign ups, and if you are having a 90 minute bet on the match tonight, you can take advantage of the 0-0 bore draw refund, or maybe the 100% Euro Soccer Bonus if you are having an accumulator (more details off these offers can be found in the side bar to the right).

Chelsea in to 5/2 after United drubbing

It’s a case of ‘as you were’ at the top of the Premier League following the latest round of fixtures last weekend.

Despite Chelsea facing Manchester United, they were all pretty much routine victories as expected from the current big three, which gives us an indication of just how far David Moyes’ team have fallen behind this season.

Chelsea’s comprehensive victory did actually see their odds cut from 7/2 to 5/2 with Betfred, but they only really drifted because Manchester City and Arsenal already had their respective 3 points in the bank.

It’s that stage of the season where the big players start to turn the screw and knuckle down to the job in hand, and you get the feeling that Manchester City and Chelsea seem to be upping their games now and really mean business.

Although they are still clinging to that top spot, the punters and bookmakers still don’t make Arsenal favourites, it’s as if everybody is waiting for them to crack, and so far they haven’t.

As I stated above though, you do feel that City and Chelsea have cranked up the pressure somewhat lately, and Arsenal have had a couple of less than convincing home wins this month, with last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Fulham, and the win over Cardiff by the same scoreline – with two very late goals – on New Year’s Day.

The punters seem to think either this team will crack under the pressure currently being exerted by City and Chelsea, or they aren’t convinced by the apparent lack of depth in the Gunners’ squad, with Wenger seemingly reluctant to buy some back up for Olivier Giroud – preferring to instead rely on Lukas Podolski and Nicklas Bendtner.

Or it could be that the punters simply don’t believe in Arsenal for a combination of both.

Either way, Arsene Wenger’s team are still only 3rd favourites with the bookmakers, Betfred currently make Manchester City favourites at 11/10, Chelsea are 5/2 and Arsenal are 7/2.

Don’t forget that as well as getting a £25.00 Free Bet from Betfred (when you open a new account), you also get Double Delight and Hat-trick Heaven on all Premier League matches covered live on Sky Sports.

This is an especially good offer if you like doing first goal scorer bets.

Next Manager Markets – Billy Davies Backed For West Ham Job

With the general consensus of opinion being that today’s match against Cardiff could be Sam Allardyce’s last in charge, football gambling punters have got stuck into backing Billy Davies to become the next West Ham manager.

Since last Thursday evening, punters have sent Davies’ odds tumbling from 33/1, down to 3/1 with BetVictor (Harry Redknapp remains the favourite, at 7/4).

I’m not certain this is based on any specific intelligence, or just a coincidental hunch with people putting two and two together after Forest’s 5-0 win over West Ham last weekend, and coming up with 5 – or 11 in the case of West Ham’s leaky defence over the last week.

While backing at 33/1 isn’t a major risk, I certainly wouldn’t be backing at the 3/1 currently available on Davies. It is surely a risky strategy to be betting on the outcome of the next manager of a football club at such short odds, when there is uncertainty as to when the current incumbent will be leaving.

This isn’t like the Chelsea situation last season, when everyone knew Rafa Benitez would be leaving, so it was possible to bet on the outcome of a new manager.

The West Ham situation is totally different, David Gold and David Sullivan could back Allardyce until the end of the season – and possibly beyond, if he keeps them up with plenty to spare. Where might Billy Davies be then?

The two David’s also don’t have a track record of been trigger happy either, so beware if entering this market.

Despite this, Big Sam is still pretty much unbackable to be to the next manager sacked. He is currently a best price of 2/5 with Coral.

Another manager feeling the heat right now is David Moyes. At the moment, his position at Manchester United looks relatively safe (he is 16/1 to be the next Premier League manager out the door), and I don’t believe another defeat to Swansea City today would see the club’s hierarchy reach for the panic button.

What I think will influence them though, is the share price on the New York Stock Exchange. This is what I believe will ultimately condemn Moyes.

If the share price continues to nose dive under Moyes, then that’s when I believe the Glazer’s will act – no matter what Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton, etc, say. After all, we all know what the Glazer’s are interested in.

Bets For Today

I am always on the look out for new betting systems and methods for making money for readers of this website. With this in mind, I thought I would write a post to bring it to your attention that I have added Bets For Today to the side panel in the ‘Betting Systems’ section.

Bets For Today is a free tipster email service. Personally, I don’t normally like giving out tips myself, but some people do like following tipsters, so it’s mainly for those readers that I am writing this.

The tips are daily, they are sent by email, and all tipster’s results are proofed on the website. By proofing the results in this way, they are leaving themselves open to any current members taking to Twitter, or other social media outlets, if the printed results don’t replicate the tips that were actually sent out.

The service is free to join, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The sports covered in the tips are Football, Horse Racing, Greyhounds, and you get Trading Tips to use on the Betting Exchanges.

As well as this, you also get occasional Free Systems, and Betting Advice and Help.

As long as you bet sensibly, there is really nothing to lose from giving this a try. If you want to sign up, just follow this link to Bets For Today….. and feel free to leave feedback as to how you get on using the service.