Barcelona’s 3 greatest free-kick takers

There’s no doubt the plethora of talent Barcelona has accumulated over the years and with that range of talent we have seen an excellent batch of set-piece takers. Players that have instilled a sense of confidence amongst fans when they set up to the spot. Lionel Messi recently broke yet another record at the Camp Nou. The maestro is now the leading set-piece scorer at Barcelona, toppling many other Catalonian favourites. Here is a list of the greatest free-kick takers ever to grace the Camp Nou.

Ronald Koeman

The Dutch master scored 26 free-kicks for Barcelona – this was the record held intact until Lionel Messi scored his 27th against Atletico Bilbao on February 4th. Koeman has always been considered a Camp Nou favourite and is widely regarded as one of the best attacking defenders ever. He was famously known for his technical prowess including a knack for long range passing, powerful and accurate shooting from set pieces and a deadly penalty taker. In his time at Barcelona he managed to score 102 goals, many of which were free-kicks and penalties. At the Camp Nou he won 4 league titles, 1 Copa Del Rey and 1 European Cup. This bullet may have been the most important goal in Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona career.

This impressive list of achievements shows what a positive influence Koeman was at the club, a lot of which was down to his free-kick taking ability which proved very valuable to the team. After Messi, he will go down as the greatest free-kick taker there.

Ronaldinho

The mention of Ronaldinho will come as no surprise to anyone that watched Barcelona circa 2003-2008. Not only at this time was Ronaldinho undoubtedly Barcelona’s most technically gifted player and a worldwide fan favourite for his showboating but he was also very adept at scoring from dead ball situations. Many people may remember Ronaldinho by his unorthodox run-ups from penalty or free kick positions. Whilst the majority of Ronaldinho’s goals came from open play he managed to score a crowd-pleasing 94 goals in his 5 seasons in Spain. English fans will specifically remember the genius free-kick against them by Ronaldinho for Brazil in the 2002 World Cup. Here is a classic example of Ronaldinho bended one in.

Either Koeman or Ronaldinho may have gone down in history as the best free-kick takers ever for Barcelona and they still will, however, like most records held at Camp Nou, they have been broken by the Argentinian hitman Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi

Well he’s done it again. After a brief lapse in his record-breaking momentum Lionel Messi finally became the top scoring free-kick taker in Barcelona history with another spectacular hit against Atletico Bilbao on February 4th.

Messi is not only fantastic at passing, at shooting, at dribbling, at bringing the ball down, at dropping his shoulder, at penalties… yeah, you get the get picture. Not only can he do everything the modern game requires from an attacking footballer but he certainly knows how to score from a free-kick. Surprisingly commentators are quick to credit Cristiano Ronaldo with his free-kick taking abilities however Messi has shown he can be just as sharp when placing the ball in the net from a spot kick. Lionel Messi has an uncanny ability

2015 Footballs Biggest Wagers – Advice From Jon Price Handicapper

There are many, big football events during the course of any year and 2015 is no different. With big football events, comes the opportunity to bet and it seems, the bigger the match or tournament, the more excitement there is around the betting markets. However, it’s important not to get carried away when betting on a big football event and waste your money. Take the advice of leading sports handicapper, Jon Price and step back and analyze the match first.

There have already been a number of important football matches in 2015, such as the Champions League final, which was played in June. Arguably the biggest club football match in the world, the Champions League final is a massive occasion, especially when the teams contesting it are Barcelona and Juventus. With so many advertising campaigns out there, it’s very easy to get carried away, bet a big wager and lose your money in the heat of the moment.

barcelona-Champions-League-Winners-2015

Jon Price makes a good point, when he talks about the markets surrounding a big football match and why they should be avoided. Many of these markets are no more than gimmicks, yet have almost become as big as the game itself. Also, betting big money on teams that are considered massive underdogs for the match, is not advised. Take the 2015 Champions League final again, although Juventus are considered a big European team, with a great history, they were still clear underdogs for the Champions League final, against Barcelona. Placing a big wager on Juventus to win, is just too risky and would have led to a big loss. Read More

Arsenal’s English Core

The year was 2006. Arsenal had just beaten Real Madrid against all the odds in the Champions League round of sixteen. West Ham manager at the time, Alan Pardew hit out at the Arsenal team which accomplished the feat, noting the lack of Englishmen in the squad:

“I saw a headline saying Arsenal are flying the flag for Britain. I kind of wondered where that British involvement actually was when I looked at their team. It’s important that top clubs don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s the English Premier League and English players should be involved.”

Arsene Wenger responded by saying he judged players based on their talent, not on their passport. In a sense, you may feel Wenger would have liked to have more English talent at his disposal at the time, however, having moved to the Emirates Stadium, with a limited budget, it was hard to get English talent for value.

Fast forward eight years, and the tables have turned in dramatic fashion. Pardew, now managing Newcastle, has less first team English players than Wenger. In fact, Pardew has all but copied Wenger’s initial transfer strategy by buying cheap French players and selling them for a profit. Newcastle are virtually a French team now and would have had more French players had they not sold Romain Amalfitano, Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy earlier in the year.

Wenger meanwhile, has not only signed a host of British talent simply because of the homegrown rule but because one of more reason – they are simply more loyal.

“We look first at quality. If the quality is local, it is of course even better because it gives you more guarantee of stability because the players who are English who play for Arsenal are more likely to stay for a longer term than foreign players.”

Having lost valuable key players in Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie to name a few over the years, Wenger has had to constantly rebuild his sides in search of trophies.

The notion that British players would be more loyal is true – they will grow with the club, gain an affinity and love for the club and are less likely to leave to say, a foreign league for big bucks unless you’re Gareth Bale. Even if there was a situation where a British player wanted to leave to another top English club, given the homegrown rule and inflation of local talent, Arsenal would receive bigger profits than they would with a foreign player as well.

Wenger now has the likes of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Calum Chambers, Danny Welbeck, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at his disposal, with Carl Jenkinson out on loan. These players are forming the so called British core that Wenger had been craving and with most of them having played together for a while, the future is definitely bright for Arsenal.

Having won the FA Cup and Community Shield this year, those trophies have lifted a huge monkey off the players’ back and they can now challenge for more cups – and the British core will certainly play a huge role when it comes to future honours.

Live Football Online

Dear Live Soccer TV Fan,

The sheer number of live soccer fans across the world who cannot even watch their favourite teams play is quite ridiculous. The sport is only really popular in Europe, though those in Canada and the USA still have a large number of fans.

If you live within the EU, it will cost you a small fortune to watch soccer live, and if you don’t, it’s extremely difficult to find a television channel that broadcasts the games.

You will more than likely be surprised to discover that all the live streaming soccer matches you could ever want and more are broadcast completely free across the internet on free-to-air international channels.

To be able to watch these streams, you only need a basic internet connection and a couple of software programs that will tune you into any live soccer online available. Along with these programs, you also need to know where the live streams are coming from…..

WHERE ARE THESE STREAMS?

Very well hidden as it happens. There are hundreds of forums and newsletters that detail where to find them but even these are hard to find…


WATCH SOCCER ONLINE

Are you a die-hard soccer fan? Do you enjoy just plain old TV? What would you be doing on a Saturday morning? Watching TV perhaps? Sure, you can just lay there, bored out of your mind, and start flipping through the channels until you realize that your favorite shows aren’t even playing at this hour. It might of even occurred to you that you want to watch soccer online (especially live soccer streaming) on something other than a television screen at one point.

So, is there nothing else to do but sit there, twiddling your thumbs as you watch shows you don’t even want to? Well, there’s an answer to that, a simple one- why not watch soccer live and other shows on your computer screen? As you sit here reading this, you may be wondering how this can be true. This excellent service only requires you to have a computer, and a stable connection to the Internet. Dial-up is not recommended, but will still work.

This method is going to be far cheaper than any monthly television subscription cost. People nowadays are finding that their cable TV is getting way to expensive. With the economy on a downturn, prices are going up, but even before that, prices were still increasing. To watch soccer live can cost a great deal of money. Some prices were so absurd for certain channels that people completely canceled their services as it seemed more apt to actually GO to live soccer streaming.

Not only that, televisions were getting expensive, which also brought more costly problems in the fold. For instance, once you purchase a television, you probably need someone to install the cable service for you, which usually costs a fair bit of money, and the remote control requires batteries every few months or so, adding onto the monthly bill. All in all, not exactly cheap for most people. Now, your computer may be slightly out of date, or even ancient, but chances are it’s good enough to run extremely simple software that will allow you to watch live shows, and even radio.

Once you purchase a membership, you can watch soccer live and other shows anytime you want. What if you don’t have a computer though? Luckily, there are several options available for you. If you have several good friends, and most likely some of them watch soccer live, ask them if they want access to watching a lot of excellent live shows. A good friend may split the cost of purchasing a membership to watch shows on line, and it may even strengthen your relationship with each other, although that’s not guaranteed to happen.

Heck, you can even ask your neighbor or the person across the street, after all, not only will you save them a lot of money, they’ll gain access to a huge amount of fantastic live shows. So what if you aren’t popular enough to have any friends that can let you use their computers to watch shows? That’s fine, you can visit a public place, such as a library or an Internet café, and ask to speak to the owner. Tell them about this great plan, and talk about purchasing membership for the entire network of computers.

Why is this a good idea? You can argue that the ability to watch live shows on their computers will bring in more people as it spreads through on line chat and word of mouth. When people hear about the option to watch soccer live and other shows, that they’d normally watch on television, they’d be intrigued about this idea and most likely try it. Most people will be pleased with the idea, and for businesses, this means that they’ll bring in more customers, and more revenue, which will far exceed the cost of this superbly cheap monthly cost. If you mange to convince the owner, then you’ll have access for free, or the cost of using a computer. Isn’t that just swell?

Lastly, if all of those public locations refuse this great offer of watching television through the computer, then your stuck with the notion of purchasing one to watch soccer live, and other shows as well. Now, the main problem is the cost of this.

You can look around for a good deal on previously owned computers, but this can be a sketchy area- they may be simply scammers looking for a fool to take on their offer. Also, you’d require an Internet connection from a local service provider. There are many more guides and strategies to purchasing a cheap, decent computer all over the Internet, and won’t be mentioned much here.

However, once you own a computer, you own a device that will allow you to do many more things beside watch soccer live, such as browse the Internet, and play video games. So, with access to the Internet, a computer hopefully, you can start looking forward to enjoying watching television and live soccer streaming on your computer screen once you purchase a membership.

You’ll enjoy shows of all kinds, such as sports including soccer, football, hockey, and almost anything else you can think of, from cooking shows to comedy channels. Have fun!

Were bookmakers right to pay out on Chelsea?

We’re just 12 games into Chelsea’s Premier League campaign and already we’re seeing some very bold predictions from players, managers and even bookmakers.

Holding onto their top position in the table with pride, Chelsea have managed to astound us all this season by not losing a single game.

The team have impressed spectators, their manager Jose Mourinho and their ever-growing hordes of adoring fans, but there was one contingent who were so impressed with their performance that they’ve done the unthinkable.

Chelsea drogba

Paddy Power bookmakers have stunned bettors by paying out on any bets that Chelsea would be crowned this season’s Premier League winners – six months ahead of the final match. It’s not something that’s done often, and has even backfired in years gone by (with both Manchester United and Arsenal being notable cases) and yet, the bookmakers were keen to pull what can only be assumed is a huge publicity stunt.

Indeed, it could be a repeat of Arsenal and Manchester United once again – if Chelsea manage to echo the ‘annual Arsenal meltdown’ and fall at the last hurdle, could Paddy Power see themselves paying out again to those who bet on an alternative team?

Certainly, the statistics so far don’t seem to think so. Jose Mourinho’s Blues have acquired 32 points so far – that’s seven points ahead of those closest rival, Southampton – and they’ve also managed to win 10 of their 12 games played.

Doubtless much of this has been down to the unstoppable force that is Diego Costa, who has scored 11 times this season. As the top scorer in the Premier League, his absence was more than just a little noticeable during the Capital One Cup game against Shrewsbury – the team managed to win 2-1, but only thanks to an own goal. There’s no denying that Diego Costa is Chelsea this season.

While the Blues have been compared to Arsenal during their 2004 season, Mourinho has warned that it was complacent of bookmakers to pay out so soon. When asked if the bookmakers’ decision was a premature one, Mourinho said: “I don’t go for that. There’ll be no complacency; that’s for sure. If we lose matches, and I believe we will, it will not be because of complacency.”

Some wise words from Mourinho – could it be that bookmakers are wise to put all their eggs in one basket? Only time will tell.