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Liverpool Tactics: Reds Must Continue Attacking With Pace

October 30th, 2012 by Michael Cox

Brendan Rodgers has used his SSS attack in the last few games, with Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Suso as his front three. Liverpool’s key feature against Everton on Sunday continued the theme. Speed – not the speed of Liverpool’s attackers, but the speed of the attacks.

Rodgers adapted his tactics for the Merseyside derby. It wasn’t just the half-time switch to a 3-5-2 – although that, in itself, showed his flexibility – but the entire manner Liverpool played from the outset. Rather than pressing high up the pitch, Liverpool sat deep in the first half, looking more like 4-1-4-1 than 4-3-3.

The change in defensive strategy altered Liverpool’s performance with the ball. By winning possession in deeper positions, they had more space to break into – and rarely this season have they moved forward with such immediacy, as Everton’s defence was exposed before the midfield could protect them.

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Gary Barlow Just Doesn’t Get The X Factor

October 23rd, 2012 by Paul Wilson

You wonder what Gary Barlow is thinking, just four weeks into the X Factor live shows. He’s already had two from his Over category voted off the show in Melanie Masson and Carolynne Poole. Then, last weekend, he saw his strongest chance of winning the competition, Kye Sones, dumped into the bottom two and now scouser Christopher Maloney is joint betting favourite alongside pop diva wannabe Rylan Clark to be evicted this weekend.

Is Gary Suffering A Rylan Backlash?

One theory, that’s doing the rounds across the twittersphere, is that Gary and his acts are suffering a backlash from the voting public over his constant dislike of entertainer/dancer/vocally challenged (delete as appropriate) Rylan Clark.

It seems plausible. Yet all Gary has to do is watch reruns of the X-Factor shows from a few years back. Then it was Simon Cowell, who was up against acts such as Jedward and even Wagner. Simon slated them each week they appeared on the show, the more he spoke out about them, the more the public got behind them. Eventually, Simon did a u-turn, said he really enjoyed their performances and the public got bored. They were evicted asap.

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Battlefield Promotion Leaves Its Scars

October 22nd, 2012 by Benjamin Coley

In April of this year, 25-year-old Kristoffer Broberg won the Nordic League’s Abbekas Open by two strokes. It was his first professional victory.

Less than four months later, he sealed his third Challenge Tour victory in four weeks, and a tee-time at the Omega European Masters alongside Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Ross Fisher.

At around about the same time, previously unheralded Ben Kohles made his professional debut in the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, and beat Luke Guthrie in a play-off.

One week later, a closing 62 gave him victory in the Cox Classic, before he left the stage clear for Guthrie to win back-to-back events of his own in September.

While Guthrie had long been touted as a future PGA Tour star and Kohles gained an invite to the scene of his first title due to his All American status, Broberg was on very few radars.

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The Rise and Rise of the Bonus Point

October 18th, 2012 by Jamie Hosie

The rugby season is back up and running and all signs are that the game is in rude health (on the pitch, at least). The first 6 rounds of the Premiership have already thrown up some shock results, none more so than previously winless London Irish conquering the undefeated league leaders Northampton Saints. Everything points towards another enthralling season, with who makes the top 4 and who faces the ignominy of relegation likely to be decided by the smallest of margins. Even the hitherto dire Sale have started to show signs of improvement, suggesting they probably won’t continue to be the pushovers they have been so far. And with last weekend’s return of the Heineken Cup, a competition in which success and failure sit either side of a knife edge, it is worth shining a light on just how important bonus points have become in the modern game.

As competitions go, the Heineken Cup is as ruthless as any on the planet. With 6 pools and only the winner guaranteed to progress, plus the two highest scoring second place teams, there’s no room for lethargic starts.

The Importance of the Heineken Cup Bonus Point

Take last season, for example. The draw threw up the mouth-watering combo of French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne, eventual finalists Ulster, and European stalwarts Leicester Tigers all in one pool. While each of those three won 4 and lost 2 of their matches, what decided the matter was the bonus points- the Tigers only managed one, finishing on 17 points, while Clermont and Ulster tied on 20, picking up 4 bonus points each. The argument goes that the bonus point system favours teams that have star-studded backlines and play an expansive game, as the results from this pool show – Ulster smashed Leicester 41-3 at Ravenhill, while the Tigers stuttered to a 20-9 victory in the return fixture at Welford Road. 5-4 to Ulster in the head to head.

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Poland v England Preview – Poland’s 1973 Headache Now Of Migraine Proportions

October 16th, 2012 by Paul Wilson

Poland head into tonight’s game with two of their first choice goalkeepers sidelined with injury; Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski are both ruled out, ahead of the England match at Poland’s National Stadium.

It’s a mini crisis for Head Coach, Waldemar Fornalik, but he is certain that third-choice keeper Lukasz Skorupski of Gornik Zabrze is more than capable of keeping out Rooney, Defoe and Welbeck.

It’s nearly forty years since Poland last beat England!

The Poles proved too much for England on that night, winning the game 2-0 on home soil. The return match which England needed to win to qualify for the 1974 World Cup is now etched into the annals of English footballing history…

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England 5-0 San Marino: Clichéwatch

October 13th, 2012 by Adam Hurrey

Much of the lead-up to England’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino at Wembley last night focused on how a game against such lowly adversaries should be approached. The usual pleasantries about respecting their opposition and getting the job done were offered up, but it wasn’t just the players who faced ninety minutes of going through the motions – the media coverage too was forced to dredge up tried-and-tested clichés about part-time footballers, creative ways of contextualising the population of San Marino and, of course, that goal by Davide Gualtieri in 1993.

A resurgent ITV, who had an impressive Euro 2012 and whose coverage is finally threatening to derail the BBC gravy-trainers, were my focus last night and, with plenty of clichés to embrace, they were unlikely to disappoint.

Once the customarily chaotic opening montage, designed for people with attention deficit disorder, was out of the way, Adrian Chiles set aside Sammarinese novelty to take care of Any Other Business with Gareth Southgate, Lee Dixon and Roy Keane. Southgate’s long-heralded articulacy has lately been fleshed out with the sort of earnestness that only a mid-level FA position can provide, and he launched straight into a tetchy tirade about “social media”, teetering dangerously on the cusp of sounding like a grandparent talking about “games consoles”.

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Wales v Scotland Preview A Tale Of Two Managers

October 10th, 2012 by Paul Wilson

Both of these countries head into this match with their World Cup qualification hopes hanging in the balance. Craig Levein’s and Chris Coleman’s sides have been poor getting out of the starting blocks and now their positions as national managers are also under serious threat.

Wales prop up Group A after losing 2-1 at home to a classy Belgian side and then being stuffed 6-1 by Serbia away. Yet, a victory at Cardiff City Stadium, on Friday night, against the Scots would see Wales overtake them in the group.

When you consider the individual talent which Wales have at their disposal, it’s crazy to write them off against Scotland. Players like Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale can swing games and win matches.

Looking at Wales they look a good team going forward but at the back they’re vulnerable. In an attempt to boost the confidence of the Welsh defence, Coleman has stripped the captaincy from playmaker Ramsey and handed the task to Swansea defender Ashley Williams.

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Phil Taylor – Destroyer of Worlds

October 5th, 2012 by Lenny Boyle

This is a blog about a bet. It’s a bet with all the usual disclaimers; that the universe is a melange of random particles, matter, antimatter, constipated Wookies and weird green alien ladies who’ve probably done it with Captain Kirk. The Universe is a mess. It’s unpredictable. It’s chaos out there, people. So it’s probably hubris to think we can predict stuff. Predicting stuff is hard.

But then the Archangel Gabriel descended from the Heavens and visited upon a denizen of the great city-state of Stoke, a virgin girl, innocent, wholesome; and into her whom flowered our saviour, the greatest gift given to humanity. And that gift’s name, because it had a name, was Phil the Power Taylor.

Like the sun rising in the east, like death and taxes; Phil Taylor is predictable. He is inevitable. If the universe is expanding, Phil Taylor is winning darts matches. What is he like 80 or something? And he keeps winning and winning and winning. He’s forever, he’s immortal; he’s kind of boring.

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X Factor 2012 FREEbets Preview

October 2nd, 2012 by Paul Wilson

It’s back! The most eagerly awaited singing contest on these shores makes its return this weekend with the start of the X Factor 2012 live shows being beamed into millions of living rooms this Saturday and Sunday.

This year, the judges have had to put forward just three contestants to enter from the category which they have been chosen to mentor. The ‘twist’ is that each judge gets to select one act from their category – who will then be chosen by the viewing public as a wildcard entry.

Here we will publish our X Factor 2012 FREEbets preview which will hopefully give you, dear FREEbets reader, a better insight into this year’s contestants and their overall chances of winning the X Factor title for 2012.

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