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  1. Will England’s Lionesses be Cinderellas or pumpkins?

    Well if you want to find out you’ll have to risk staying up beyond midnight on Saturday evening to find out!

    And if you do, will England’s fairy Godmother deliver the team on a golden coach into the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup or will it all turn messy like over-ripe seasonal vegetables?

    England take on the host nation Canada, always a difficult task in major competitions, in Vancouver in a game to be screened live on BBC 1. Finally, some proper recognition for the status of the event and the performances of the Lionesses.

    Interestingly, the man plotting to stop England in their tracks has his own fairy-tale dream, which is to coach his beloved Newcastle United.
    John Herdman, a lad from County Durham, began his coaching career at ...
  2. Can Burnley earn promotion back to the Premier League?

    After a disappointing 2014-15 campaign, the Clarets are targeting a return to England's top flight in the new season. Sean Dyche's side struggled throughout their brief spell in the Premier League and they were relegated to the Championship after just one season back in the top division. And, although Burnley have lost top goalscorer Danny Ings - who will join Liverpool this summer - the Clarets have already started to bring new players into the club, including Aston Villa full-back Matthew Lowton.

    With a few more signings, Burnley certainly stand a chance of securing automatic promotion this season and many punters will be looking to back Dyche's side in the Championship betting markets before the season gets under way on August 8th.

    Burnley are more than capable ...
  3. Crossing the Sporting Divide: Cristiano Ronaldo's Mainstream Appeal

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    He's one of the world's finest footballers, but aside from performing miracles on the pitch, what else is Cristiano Ronaldo good at? A recent poll has ranked Ronaldo as the third highest paid sportsman in the world with earnings just over £50 million-a-year and, while much of this has come from his skills with a ball, a fair amount has come from his mainstream appeal.
    Indeed, while many football fans like to argue over which player is better, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, few would contest that the latter is a bigger media star than the former. Thanks to his numerous sponsorship deals and willingness to pose with pretty women whenever he gets the chance, Ronaldo has crossed borders and, as such, ...
    Categories
    Players
  4. England’s women hoping to land a knockout blow

    England’s Women achieved their first World Cup target when safely negotiating their way out of Group F.

    They started rather conservatively in the opening game of the group, going down narrowly 1-0 to the fancied French but bounced back with 2-1 victories over both Mexico and Columbia.

    The victory over Mexico courtesy of goals from Fran Kirby and Karen Carney and the win over Columbia thanks to strikes form Karen Carney and Fara Williams from the penalty spot.

    The positive performances in the latter two group games provide optimism for the Lionesses as they move into the knockout stages of the competition.
    However, they have landed themselves a tough challenge as they take on Norway, runners-up in Group B, at the Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa ...
  5. When does a defeat become embarrassing?

    I’ve always judged the arbitrary cut off point as six. A 5-0 defeat somehow seems acceptable in a sad sort of way. Whereas, when the score gets to 6-0 and beyond then the word ‘thrashing’ seems to firmly come into play.

    What started me off on this train of thought was a BBC article about a game in Estonia. FC Infonet, from the country's capital Tallinn, handed out a 36-0 thrashing to Virtsu Jalgpalliklubi - a team from a town with just 500 residents. It would seem that the coach selected the wrong 11 from the 500 available!

    Virtsu are reportedly enjoying their moment in the spotlight with the number of visits to their website growing at a rapid pace.

    For those with a statistical bent, the score-line of 36-0 will clearly resonate, as it matches ...
  6. Can England win the Women’s World Cup?

    As the old cliché goes ‘one game at a time’ or more precisely three games to hopefully see us past the Group Stage.

    England open up on Tuesday 9 June with a tough test against France, followed by a bit more of a journey into the unknown on Saturday 13 June when they face Mexico, concluding on Wednesday 17 June when Colombia are their opponents.

    England couldn’t face a much trickier task kicking off against France, as recent results have favoured our old foes from across the Channel.

    France have accounted for England in the last two major tournaments – winning a tense penalty shoot-out in the 2011 Quarter-finals before winning convincingly, 3-0, in a Euro 2013 group game.

    Incidentally England drew 1-1 with Mexico in those group stages ...

    Updated 5th June 2015 at 08:41 AM by Veritas

    Categories
    World Cup , Competitions
  7. FA Cup Final - the stats favour Arsenal

    As the FA Cup final draws near, Arsenal look to defend their title against an Aston Villa side who are much improved under Tim Sherwood. For all that has been said about the FA Cup losing its magic and interest, when your side is in the final it’s still considered a big occasion. Regardless of top quality Champions League nights, a FA Cup final at Wembley is still a reason to get excited. Wenger and his Arsenal side are the overwhelming favourites for the second year running, but the statistics below may not paint quite the same picture.

    Arsenal’s appearance in this year’s final will break the record for the most number of appearances, 19, surpassing Man Utd. If Arsenal manage to make it consecutive FA Cup wins they will hold the record for the most wins, a total of 12 titles, ...

    Updated 27th May 2015 at 07:08 AM by Statisticallyarsenal

    Categories
    Football statistics , Competitions , FA Cup
  8. The three (almost) promoted clubs: Who can stay up?

    AFC Bournemouth and Watford have already made it to the Premier League, with Middlesbrough and Norwich due to battle it out for the third promotion place. They may be fresh faced young whippersnappers starting the first day of Big School right now, but who’s going to end up with their dinner money pinched, head flushed down the toilet and ‘Kick me’ written on their back? (That sound you can hear is a metaphor being stretched to breaking point)

    by Matthew Harris

    The knee-jerk reaction of the average football fan is to opine, sadly but wisely, that all of the promoted teams are clearly going to struggle, such is the gulf in class and finances between blah blah blah… but the truth is more nuanced. Only once in the last 17 years – 1997-98 to be precise – have all ...

    Updated 21st May 2015 at 12:13 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , Premier League
  9. Play-Off fairness?

    I have to admit that the Play-Offs have been good for football, creating interest deep into the season, end of term tension and excitement and giving fans of many clubs the thrill of a great day out at Wembley.

    But part of me still thinks that a team is quite often not rewarded for an excellent, consistent hard slog of a season as the ‘best’ team entering the end of season lottery is often sunk by a team that has come up on the rails and snuck into the Play-Offs right at the end of the campaign.

    A look through some of the results from this season’s versions that have already been concluded in non-league football shows what can and does happen in these tricky to predict end of season matches.

    In the Conference North, fifth place Guisley were promoted ...

    Updated 16th May 2015 at 11:00 AM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , Football League
  10. Who was the best player in the Championship this year?

    It has been yet another wonderful season in the Championship, with 2014/2015 seeing one of the closest races for the title, play-off spots and relegation places in recent years. The quality of football continues to increase year-by-year, with the ability for any team to beat anyone illustrates just how difficult it is to secure promotion to the Premier League. Top flight teams who have recently dropped down a division will vouch for how hard it has become to bounce straight back up, with former Premier League side Wigan and Blackpool suffering the ignominy of being relegated to League 1 after a season to forget on and off the pitch for both clubs.

    Although there is still plenty to play for in the final game of the season, the Football League awards have already been handed out ...

    Updated 13th May 2015 at 09:14 PM by 11v11

    Categories
    Players , Competitions , Football League
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