Could Bitcoins Change The Way You Bet?


Source: pixabay.com

Sports betting is almost as much fun as the games themselves. It ups the stakes, and lets you use the wisdom of your inner sports nerd in a way that can really pay off. For some, betting on sports goes beyond the pleasure of putting a few quid on a game, and can itself become a rich and challenging enterprise, with real money on the line to boot!

If you are this type of person, then chances are you’re probably consumed by equations, statistics, and mathematical know-how. But one new development might have passed you by. The bitcoin does not represent a change in the fundamentals of betting per se, but it can make the way you bet a whole lot simpler.

Below, we look at what a bitcoin is, and why it might be the stress-free alternative to traditional currencies.

So what is a Bitcoin?

Bitcoins are a digital form of currency created via complex mathematics. They were invented in 2008 by a developer called Satoshi Nakamoto, who to this day remains mysterious. Bitcoins can be “mined” using specialist equipment, and many do just that. However, for most us, the simpler option would be buying bitcoins from any of the trusted vendors.

The next question is why you should use bitcoins over regular currency, and this breaks down into 4 main points.


Source:pixabay.com

Bitcoins Transfer is Fast, Flexible, and Under Your Control

Bitcoin transfer knows no boundaries, which means you can transfer your money across international borders, on bank holidays, and to anyone you please. Not encountering any of the usual red tape also means your transfers will happen fast, and the fact that there’s no central authority in the bitcoin network means that no one will be changing this anytime soon. This all makes betting on international games a lot easier, and lets you place your bet at the exact right time.

Bitcoins are Actively Encouraged by Merchants

Because of the high level of security, many merchants are pro-bitcoin, as it can prevent them losing out to fraud. Especially in the case of sports betting, sites like the VegasCasino, available online here even offer a bitcoin bundle in exchange for sign-up, and from there it’s an easy process to place bitcoins directly from your desktop or mobile. In addition to sports betting, the site offers bitcoin slots, blackjack and a variety of other casino games.

Bitcoins are Secure

Merchants are unable to add extra fees without first letting you know – avoiding hidden charges. On top of that, your personal information doesn’t have to be tied to your bitcoin transaction, so the dangers of identity theft are lower than with traditional payment methods. For the extra cautious, there is even a way of backing up your bitcoins, removing nearly 100% of the stress associated with making betting transactions online.

Bitcoins Cost Virtually Nothing to Transfer

Winning big, then losing out due to high transfer fees can be a real blight. Just so, even small transfer fees add up for the betting veteran. Bitcoin fees are often zero, or so close to zero as to be nominal, making them a real money saver for seasoned pros. Moreover, if time is an issue, fees can be increased to ensure your transfer goes through when you need it to, adding that element of flexibility once again.

So, if you’re a walking sports almanac or just a happy-go-lucky punter, it makes sense to put your money where your router is.

Gameweek 21 preview of Fantasy Premier League

Gameweek 21 preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365

This is the first Fantasy Football update of the New Year, incorporating a summary of the last 3 weeks of action:

Gameweeks 18-20 Review

Chelsea failed to set the new record for successive Premier League wins when they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham last time out. They are still out in front and have a 5-point lead at the top of the league, then the chasing pack are becoming tightly-bunched with only 5 points splitting the teams in second to sixth. Hull have dropped to the bottom of the table having not won in 9 Premier League games.

Tottenham’s Dele Alli has been the form Fantasy Football player over the last few weeks, having bagged a brace in each of his last three matches. He was the joint highest-scoring player in gameweek 18 when he and Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked up 15 points each. In gameweek 19 Burnley’s Andre Gray helped himself to a hat trick and 17 Fantasy Football points against Sunderland, whilst in the last round of matches it was a 4-way tie between Ryan Shawcross, Leighton Baines, Dele Alli and Olivier Giroud, who all scored 15 points

Gameweek 21 Preview

After a break for FA Cup and EFL ties the Premier League returns this weekend and the lunchtime game on Saturday pits Tottenham against West Brom. Spurs are in a rich vein of form having won their last 6 games in all competitions. They’ve scored 17 times and conceded just 3 in that run, so are in good condition at both ends of the pitch. They’ll be firm favourites against Tony Pulis’ men, but it’s not likely to be a massively one-sided affair – the Baggies may have only won 3 of their last 13 away games in all competitions but they haven’t lost any of those by more than one goal. A cagey game may be on the cards, and bearing in mind that West Brom lost 1-0 away to both Chelsea and Arsenal last month a repeat scoreline is the most likely outcome. The man most likely to score that goal has got to be Dele Alli (£8.5m). He’s scored twice in each of his last 3 league appearances and now has 10 goals and 4 assists from 19 league appearances this season. At the back the likes of Hugo Lloris (£5.5m), Danny Rose (£6.0m) and Jan Vertonghen (£5.7m) should be good for clean sheet points.

From the 3pm kick-offs Arsenal look to be the standout team to which you should be looking for Fantasy Football points. They’re away to a Swansea side who’ve lost 5 of their last 6 games in all competitions and have the worst home defensive record in the league, conceding 23 times in 10 games. Coincidentally that’s the same number of goals that Arsenal have scored on their travels in the league this season, so this game is pitching the league’s most prolific away attack against its most porous home defence. Olivier Giroud (£8.6m) is in fine form for the Gunners, having scored in each of his last three games, whilst Alexis Sánchez (£11.9m) has been consistently brilliant throughout the season, claiming 13 goals and 8 assists so far in this league campaign.

Onto Sunday and there’s two massive games to finish off the weekend. Everton host Manchester City at 1:30pm, and the Toffees will be looking to extend an impressive home record that’s seen them lose just once in their last 13 league games at Goodison Park. City have lost 3 of their last 6 away games in the league, so there’s every chance that the home side can pick up at least a point here. Neither side look particularly impressive defensively, so it’s all about the attacking choices here. Everton’s Romelu Lukaku (£9.5m) has 2 goals and an assist from his last 3 league games and scored when these two sides met earlier in the season, while for the visitors Sergio Agüero (£12.8m) came off the bench to claim the winner in their last league game against Burnley and will expect to be restored to the starting line-up this weekend.

The last game of the weekend is the one everyone will be watching, as Manchester United take on bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. United are unbeaten in their last 15 games in all competitions and have won the last 9, while Liverpool had only lost 1 of their previous 23 games before losing to Southampton in the EFL Cup last night. Neither side can really be faulted on their current form, so Sunday should be an lively encounter. Again it’s the attacking players who are likely to be picking up points, with United scoring in all of their last 10 league fixtures and Liverpool in all of their last 8. Paul Pogba (£8.5m) is dominating games from midfield for United now that Mourinho seems to have found a formation that suits the world-record buy. He has 3 goals and 3 assists from his last 10 league games and has picked up bonus points in 5 of those matches. Meanwhile Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£11.6m) is excelling up front, banging in 9 goals and assisting 4 times in his last 9 league games. Liverpool will be without Sadio Mané (£9.2m) as he is competing in the African Cup of Nations for Senegal, but will be boosted by the return of Philippe Coutinho (£8.2m), who has 5 goals and 6 assists to his name so far this season despite missing the last 7 games through injury.

To finish off, one Fantasy Football pick from each of the remaining fixtures:

Burnley v Southampton – Jay Rodriguez (£6.3m)
Hull v Bournemouth – Junior Stanislas (£5.2m)
Sunderland v Stoke – Erik Pieters (£4.5m)
Watford v Middlesbrough – Fabio (£4.4m)
West Ham v Crystal Palace – Yohan Cabaye (£5.6m)
Leicester v Chelsea – Diego Costa (£10.7m)

Best of luck for this weekend, and we’ll bring you another update next week.

2017 Australian Open Murray to Win 40/1

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Andy Murray at the Australian Open (CC 4.0) by Nick Hewson

The new tennis season gets its first taste of Grand Slam action next week, as the world’s best convene in Melbourne for the Australian Open. 2016 was a landmark year for Andy Murray, who won a second Wimbledon title and Olympics gold medal, before closing the year out with a knighthood from the Queen. He travels to Oz looking to end the curse that has seen him lose in five finals at the Rod Laver Arena, including the last two. He’s proven he has what it takes to beat the best, so will this finally be his year? As always, Coral have the best promotions for the biggest sporting events, so read on to find out more about their new customer offers…

New Customer Offer 2017 Australian Open Andy Murray to Win – 40/1
Max bet £/€1
Winnings Paid In Free Bets
Plus £/€5 free bet if your bet loses

Start Time: 12:00 GMT Monday 9th January
End Time: 12:00 GMT Sunday 15th January

FA Cup – Win £250,000 with Super 6!

About To Kick Off

Hull v Arsenal FA Cup Final 2014 (CC 4.0) by Dom Fellowes

It’s the 2017 FA Cup 3rd round this weekend and this week’s Super 6 includes 5 former FA Cup winners. Did you know that the 32 teams that qualify from the 3rd Round will receive £67,500 in prize money? You can earn more than triple that for predicting 6 correct scores.

Get your entry in before 3.00pm today for a chance to win the £250,000 Jackpot. If the jackpot isn’t won there’s a guaranteed £5,000 prize for the highest points scorer.

Gameweek 18 and 19 previews of Fantasy Premier League

Gameweek 18 and 19 previews of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365

First a Gameweek 17 Review

For the second week running Arsenal lost 2-1 after scoring first and were the only team in the top 6 who failed to win. They’ve now dropped to a very familiar fourth position, while Chelsea continue to set the pace after their 11th successive league victory.

The Fantasy Football Dream team this week lined up in a 3-5-2 formation, with Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford in goal and Patrick van Aanholt in defence. van Aanholt was actually the joint-highest scoring player of the week along with Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez. He got 2 goals, as did both of the strikers, Alvaro Negredo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Gameweeks 18 and 19 Preview

With 2 gameweeks in quick succession (gameweek 18 takes place from 26 December to 28 December and gameweek 19 from 30 December to 1 January), we take a look at those teams who have a favourable festive fixture list and therefore should provide potential for Fantasy Football points aplenty:

Manchester United have two home games, against north east sides Sunderland and Middlesbrough. United have won three successive league games and with both of the visitors in the bottom half of the table they should have no problems in taking maximum points. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£11.4m) is back in form with 7 goals in his last 6 league games and has played the full 90 minutes in every one of his 16 league games for the Red Devils so far. There’s little likelihood of him being rested as United chase the leading pack, so expect him to feature on the scoresheet over Christmas! It’s also worth noting that only bottom club Hull City have scored less than Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the league this season, so United’s defenders should be a safe bet. Phil Jones (£4.8m) and Antonio Valencia (£5.4m) will be hopeful of clean sheets in both matches.

Burnley could be the club to look to for points at a budget cost over the next 2 gameweeks. The only two visiting teams to have won at Turf Moor since the opening day of the season are Manchester City and Arsenal and the Clarets have won 5 of their last 8 at home, including the notable scalps of Liverpool and Everton. They have the same opponents over the next week or so as Manchester United, with Sunderland and Middlesbrough both visiting. In goal Tom Heaton (£4.8m) has 3 clean sheets and a penalty save to his name so far in this campaign and has claimed the maximum 3 bonus points in 3 separate matches. He actually has the second-highest points total of any goalkeeper in the game this season and with two goal-shy teams to face he will be confident of further points.

Another team with two favourable home fixtures are Arsenal. Alexis Sánchez (£11.8m), the highest scoring player in this season’s game, will be relishing the games against West Brom and Crystal Palace. His record of 6 goals and 3 assists from his last 5 games speaks volumes about the form he’s in, and he’s excelled in the striking position entrusted in him this season by Arsène Wenger. Theo Walcott (£7.8m) could also be a good option, with the England man bagging 3 goals in his last 5 appearances. Key points to note here are that the Gunners have won each of their last 5 home games against West Brom and haven’t lost at home to Palace since 1994.

Finally, league leaders Chelsea will also play at home twice, against Bournemouth and Stoke. It’s hard to see them losing another game all season with the kind of form they’re in right now, and considering Stoke have won only 2 of their last 7 away and Bournemouth just 1 of theirs, it would be a massive shock if either of these were to return back from Stamford Bridge with points in the bag. Diego Costa (£10.8m) is suspended for the game against Bournemouth and Eden Hazard (£10.4m) is a doubt with a knee injury, so the best options for these 2 games could be defenders César Azpilicueta (£6.5m) and Marcos Alonso (£6.4m). Both have played every minute of Chelsea’s 11-game winning streak and contributed to 9 clean sheets in that run. They’ve also chipped in with 3 assists between them in that time, so there’s lots of points-scoring potential from the two of them.

Best of luck for the festive period, and we’ll bring you another update early in the New Year.

Fantasy Sports is Growing and Growing and Growing…

It’s late December, and if you play fantasy sports then you know that can mean only one thing – it’s time for the playoffs in your NFL Fantasy Football league. From your draft back in August, to the hours you’ve spent pouring over waiver wires, injury reports, and head-to-head matchups each week, it’s finally time for the payoff. And if all goes well over the next two weeks, the pay day you’ve been working for.

There is money being spent, and money to be made throughout the fantasy sports industry. Back in 2012 IBISWorld predicted that growth patterns would lead to fantasy sports becoming a $1.7 billion industry just in the United States. Well, according to Juniper Research in this year that is just about to end, revenue actually exceeded $1.7 billion by 52%, bringing in $2.6 billion in 2016. And that is projected to reach $5.3 billion by 2020. And that’s just daily fantasy sports, and that’s just the United States.

With places like Fan Duel and Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports given the green light for launches in the UK this past year, and the expansion of Premier League related products associated with those launches, the worldwide pie is only going to grow. And what began as a seasonal game between friends, with maybe a trophy presentation at the end for the winning team owner, is now one of the most recognized ways to gamble on sports. In fact the NFL Week 1 entry fees for Fan Duel and Draft Kings actually outpaced what was spent at Las Vegas casinos by more than double.

As online access becomes faster, more readily available, and much more secure, the ways to gamble and make money only become more plentiful. Lotteries can now be played online, and of if a sports book has any hope of making any money, it’s already developed an iPhone app. And the tried and true fun that we’ve all experienced at a casino, has now become the fun and convenience of a mobile casino. Websites like LadyLucks, which feature everything from slots to blackjack, have experienced a surge in popularity because of improved gaming experiences and more frequent and plentiful payouts.

It is indeed a great time to be alive.

FPL Gameweek 16: Review

Liverpool FC photowall
Liverpool FC Photowall (CC by 4.0) by Ben Sutherland

More player rotation. Less decision-time for Fantasy Managers. Premier League all week. That’s right, December has well and truly arrived, with three matchdays in the span of just one week as a tense build-up towards the much anticipated Christmas period. Gameweek 16 was the in-between one, squeezed in after last weekend’s boatload of goals and before the coming weekend’s entertainment. Apart from Arsenal, all other title chasers were facing relatively winnable fixtures, so let’s see how they fared.

Chelsea
Even without their Belgian superstar, Chelsea made it ten wins out of ten against a brave but ultimately lesser Sunderland squad. Eden Hazard was confirmed absent shortly before the game with a knock (he should be back this coming weekend, though) and replaced by last season’s star performer Willian, who then went on to assist Cesc’s winner in the 40th. Top-scorer Costa did not get on the scoresheet today, for once, while things at the back were business as usual for the Blues. Another game, another victory, another clean sheet. Not the best game by either team, but with an Away game at Palace coming up, you best bet on the Chelsea to make it eleven wins out of eleven. Indeed according to the tipping experts at Big Free Bet, Chelsea, who are on a hugely impressive solid run form, mean that at least one of Courtois, Alonso, Matic, Pedro, Costa or Hazard should be drafted into your squad in your next transfer opportunity. They are all good FPL bets with perhaps Fabregas as a differential to fantasy teams above you.

Liverpool
After dropping five points in two weeks the Reds faced just the right opposition in the shape of a Boro team that is uncomfortable leaving their defensive duties to go look for a goal, which is what they really have to do at home if they have any hope of staying in the Prem. Jurgen Klopp knew it, played it, and booked an easy 0-3 victory. Without the injured Coutinho the spotlights were taken by Adam Lallana (2 goals & 1 assist) and to a lesser extent Divock Origi (1 goal, 1 assist). Both could be considered bargains in the official fantasy game. Another positive was the clean sheet (finally!) accompanied by an excellent all-round display by rightback Clyne (finally!).

Arsenal
Of all contenders, Arsenal had the toughest mid-week challenge, visiting Goodison Park. In all honesty though, the home team were far from sturdy of late, and in-form Arsenal were expected to take the points back to London. Ronald Koeman had other plans. Everton looked discplined and inspired on Tuesday, pressing Arsenal enthusiastically and holding the lines defensively. The inevitable Alexis scored from a free-kick, before the tireless Seamus Coleman equalised just before half time, courtesy of a lovely center by his counterpart on the left Leighton Baines. Wales-captain Williams then sealed the deal five minutes before time, heading in a Barkley corner. Arsenal weren’t bad, but they looked overclassed physically and tactically, while Everton look ready just in time for the Merseyside derby on Monday.

Manchester City
City without Aguero is a different story. We know it, the other teams know it, Pep knows it. When Watford came to the Etihad on Wednesday, the Citizens hadn’t won in front of their own in three months. Pep’s men kept the three points at home this time, but it could’ve been different with a bit more luck for Watford. Zabaleta scored nicely from a De Bruyne cross, but City weren’t able to push through as Kun was missed and Iheanacho was surprisingly benched. Watford, led by the brilliant Amrabat and the ever-energetic Deeney once he came on (another rotation surprise), should’ve equalised through the disappointing Ighalo from eight yards out, which would’ve complicated things greatly for City, but the Nigerian missed. Not long after, as the Hornets chased the equaliser, Silva finished off the game after a counter attack and a simple assist from the decent Sterling. City faces Arsenal next, while unpredictable Watford visit the Stadium of Light.

Honourable mentions and this week’s DreamTeam
West Brom. Plain and simple. The Baggies are looking at a complicated fixture run until the New Year (United home, Arsenal and Southampton away), but their performance until now gives hope. They are in seventh place and booked a comfortable 3-1 win over leaky Swansea, their fourth victory in the last six games, courtesy of an official Rondón hattrick. He headed in three goals between the 50th and the 63rd minute, assisted twice by Brunt and once by Mattie Phillips. Looking at the coming games many managers will opt to get rid of West Brom assets, but the likes of Rondón, Dawson, Chadli, McAuley, Foster and Phillips might just be worth a little bit of patience and a little bit of risk-taking.

There were some big performances from midfielders this week, with the week’s Dream Team lining up in a 3-5-2 formation. Christian Eriksen and Adam Lallana were the stars of the week, both scoring twice and assisting once in their team’s 3-0 victories over Hull and Middlesbrough respectively. They secured 19 points each for their efforts, while up front West Brom’s Salomón Rondón scored a hat trick to help him to 17 points.

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Gameweek 17 preview of Fantasy Premier League

Gameweek 17 preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365

On Saturday lunchtime Chelsea will be heavy favourites to extend their winning run to eleven consecutive league matches when they travel to Selhurst Park to face a Crystal Palace team who have won just one of their last ten. Despite their lowly position Palace are scoring plenty of goals, with only the top 4 in the league boasting a better attacking record this season. Their problems lie at the back, having conceded 31 goals in 16 league games. The Blues should be able to find plenty of opportunities to exploit and Diego Costa (£10.9m) is the man to do this. He’s the league’s top scorer and has terrorised defences much better than Palace’s this season. Cesc Fàbregas (£6.9m) could be an interesting pick in midfield; the Spaniard hasn’t had much of a look-in this season but has featured in all of Chelsea’s last three matches, scoring the winner against Sunderland last time out and grabbing an assist in each of the 2 games prior to that.

On Sunday there’s a huge game as fourth in the table Man City entertain the side one place and one point above them, Arsenal. Both sides’ strengths lie in their attacking talents so it’s a game that promises goals, and it’s players who are classed as midfielders rather than forwards who can be trusted to provide those crucial Fantasy Football points. David Silva (£8.7m) scored his first goal of the season against Watford on Wednesday evening to follow up the assist he got in the weekend defeat to Leicester. He has proved his quality time and again in the Premier League and now has 76 assists (that’s 228 Fantasy Football points from assists alone!) during his 5 and a half seasons in England. He’s in just 2.1% of Fantasy teams across the site, so if you draft him in you could be picking up points that others aren’t. Kevin De Bruyne (£10.7m) could go on to surpass Silva’s efforts once he has as many years under his belt in England. He got 10 assists in his Man City debut season last year and racked up his 10th assist of this campaign on Wednesday night against Watford. He also has 9 Premier League goals to his name and is due another having gone 10 games without. Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez (£11.8m) is the top Fantasy Football points-scorer with 122 so far in this campaign. The fact that he’s classed as a midfielder despite playing in the central striking role for a team who are chasing the title will help to ensure this continues throughout the season, and he’s looking to be the essential player to have in your team.

Tottenham’s home game against Burnley gives Harry Kane a chance to redeem himself for those managers who captained him against Hull in midweek. He didn’t manage to claim any goals or assists despite his team running out 3-0 winners in that one, but he’s still their main attacking threat and scored 5 goals in his last 3 league appearances at White Hart Lane before that game. Just behind him Christian Eriksen (£8.5m) has found some form, scoring 5 goals and assisting 2 in his last 4 league appearances. At the back you can take your pick from the Spurs players as the league’s best defence come up against a side who have lost 7 and drawn 1 of their last 8 away fixtures in all competitions, scoring just once in that run.

There’s a Monday night fixture this week and it’s a massive one to round off the games before Christmas. The Merseyside Derby is always explosive and Goodison Park will be rocking as Everton look to build on their midweek victory over Arsenal. Everton have scored in each of their last 11 home league games while Liverpool have failed to score in just 2 of their 20 games in all competitions this season, so it’s another game in which you can expect attackers to come out on top. Divock Origi (£6.8m) has scored in each of Liverpool’s last 5 fixtures and is hard to ignore in this kind of form, while in midfield Adam Lallana (£7.2m) has come back with a bang from injury, scoring 3 and assisting 1 in his last 2 appearances. The home side are heavily-reliant on Romelu Lukaku (£9.4m) for goals, with the Belgian scoring 9 times in the league this season.

To finish off, one Fantasy Football pick from each of the remaining fixtures:

Middlesbrough v Swansea – Calum Chambers (£4.4m)
Stoke v Leicester – Ryan Shawcross (£4.9m)
Sunderland v Watford – Jermain Defoe (£7.8m)
West Ham v Hull – Michail Antonio (£6.7m)
West Brom v Man United – Salomón Rondón (£6.5m)
Bournemouth v Southampton – Benik Afobe (£5.6m)

Best of luck for this weekend, and we’ll bring you another update next week.

FPL Gameweek 15 Review

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger” (CC by 4.0) by Ronnie Macdonald

It was goals galore in the Premier League last weekend, as 12 out of 20 teams scored two goals or more, with 7 of them scoring 3 or more. There were fascinating fixtures for both the title fight and the relegation battle, with most title contenders facing a home game (apart from City who were hosted by the current champions Leicester) and with some of the bottom clubs facing each other directly.

The title contenders, so far

Leaders Chelsea faced the silent surprise of the season so far West Brom at Stamford Bridges as the Blues looked to extend their victory run to nine. As expected, the Baggies proved to be tough to break down, a characteristic they are combining this season with effective attacking football as well. The likes of Rondón, Mattie Phillips and the fit-again Chadli can cause problems for any opponent any day, but Chelsea were disciplined enough to seal both the 1-0 win and the clean sheet. Antonio Conte’s men were helped by a McAuley error in his own area resulting in a clean left-foot strike by who else then Diego Costa. Chelsea didn’t impress as Hazard barely appeared that afternoon, but they kept the three points at home and have now conceded a mere two goals in the last nine games. That’s the stuff champions are made of…

Meanwhile Arsenal booked an eventually comfortable win over Stoke at the Emirates, 3-1. Theo Walcott, who showed flashed of brilliance, scored his 100th goal in professional football (5 for Southampton, 95 for Arsenal) after an early Charlie Adam penalty had put Stoke in front. The magician Mesut Ozil then put the Gunners ahead in the second half, with a header reminiscent of Van Persie’s wonder against Spain on the 2014 World Cup, before Iwobi sealed the game with his first PL goal of the season. Wenger’s men have so far lost only once in the BPL, on matchday one versus Liverpool, and it looks like they might just stay in the fight until the end this year.

In the North, Liverpool seem to still be struggling without Coutinho, this time against a West Ham side that seems to be slowly recuperating from its woeful start to the season. The recovered Lallana put the Reds ahead in the fifth, but before half time the Hammers took over the lead through Payet (yes, of course, a free-kick) and the tireless Antonio, who played striker, attacking midfielder and rightback during this game. Divock Origi equalised just after the break, his third goal in 3 games, and seeing as no more goals were scored Jurgen Klopp’s men dropped points for a second week running.

The game of the week

Current champions-in-a-freefall Leicester were hosting a City side that is lacking confidence after recent performances, and the match came at a perfect moment. For Leicester, that is. Pep Guardiola will not have believed his eyes when he looked up at the score board after just 20 minutes and saw his men in sky blue chasing a 3-0 deficit. Given City were 8/11 for the win, it’s certainly not something tipsters would have predicted on their scoresheets either, let alone those nail-biting punters. Leicester, meanwhile, were reviving last season’s good times, with a 4-2 victory and a hattrick for Jamie Vardy as a result.

The Foxes showed some of the direct football and individual class that brought them their shock championship last year. Vardy was sublime, his depth and determination causing havoc throughout the City defense, while Mahrez showed on various occasions that he still has one of the silkiest (first) touches in the English game (just look up his assist for the 3-0 if you’re doubting). Leicester was fast, disciplined and efficient, and City wasn’t prepared for it. Their two goals came at the end, when the Leicester storm had calmed down already. Guardiola will be worried about his defense’s inability to play a high line, and about who should fill the slots at the back (because Pep, Kevin de Bruyne is NOT a left wing back).

The relegation battle, so far

Struggling Swansea hosted a recently revived Sunderland and booked a deserved 3-0 to place them just one point behind West Ham in 17th. Even though Fernando Llorente scored a double for the second week in a row (that’s 4 in 2, maybe an interesting third striker FPL option?), it was Sigurdsson who ran the show. Whenever there was danger coming from Swansea, the Icelandic ace had something to do with it. He converted a penalty and assisted the second from a brilliant studied corner. Sunderland did not as bad as the scoreline suggests though, and with the growing understanding between Defoe and Anichebe up front the Black Cats have a fighting chance.

On Saturday, new boys Hull hosted a Crystal Palace side fresh off a 3-0 victory over Southampton. They scored three again this weekend, but also conceded three this time. Hull star Robert Snodgrass was in the thick of it, diving to win (and convert) a spot kick early on and later conceding one after a foul on the magnificent Wilfried Zaha (Benteke had no problem putting it in the back of the net). The Palace winger himself scored a screamer before assisting Fraizer Campbell in the 89th to decide the final score. Diomande, with a Romario-esque turn, and Jake Livermore had already scored for the home side.

Gameweek 16 preview of FPL

Gameweek 16 preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365

First Gameweek 15 Review

There was an incredible amount of goalmouth action in the league this weekend, particularly on Saturday when 29 goals were scored across 6 league matches. Last season’s champions Leicester finally returned to form as they raced into a 3-goal lead with just 20 minutes gone against Man City, eventually triumphing 4-2. Chelsea recorded their ninth successive league victory to move 3 points clear at the top, while Manchester United fans will be hoping that the victory against Tottenham is a sign that they’re back. They’re just 6 points from the top 4 now with a favourable Christmas fixture list.

The standout Fantasy Football performers of the week were Jamie Vardy, who bagged his first ever Leicester hat-trick to score 17 points, and Wilfried Zaha, who scored one and assisted two in Crystal Palace’s 3-3 draw at Hull. There were also strong performances from Swansea pair Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente, while Aleksandar Kolarov was the top points-scoring defender of the weekend despite his team’s abysmal defensive showing. He may have been part of a defence that shipped 4 goals but scoring one and setting up another at the other end helped him to a personal haul of 11 points this weekend.

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Gameweek 16 Preview

There are 2 games on Tuesday night, and the pick of these is undoubtedly Everton v Arsenal. There is a stark contrast in form between these 2 teams, with Everton losing 3 and drawing 2 of their last 5 league games and Arsenal winning 3 and drawing 2 of theirs. The Gunners have won the last 3 meetings between the two, including a 2-0 win at Goodison in March. Alexis Sánchez (£11.7m) picked up an assist in that game and has 2 assists and 5 goals from his last 3 league matches. He has to be fancied here against a team that have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 5 league games. If you can’t stretch your funds far enough to get Sánchez on board then Mesut Özil (£9.6m) is the man to look to. He’s scored 9 goals in 20 games in all competitions this season, which is a big improvement from the 8 he scored in 45 last year.

Onto Wednesday, and another game between sides with contrasting fortunes as league leaders Chelsea travel north to face the team who are propping everyone else up, Sunderland. Chelsea are looking for a tenth successive victory and will be looking to Diego Costa (£10.9m) for the goals to achieve this. His winner at the weekend against West Brom means that he has now scored or assisted in 13 of his 15 league appearances this season. He’s the league’s leading scorer and on paper should be helping himself to plenty more in Chelsea’s next 4 matches, which are all against clubs that currently sit in the bottom half of the table.

Man City’s game against Watford is one that should produce goals at both ends. City’s defence were all over the place in their 4-2 defeat to Leicester at the weekend and they’ve kept just 2 clean sheets in their 15 league games in this campaign. Watford’s Roberto Pereyra (£6.0m) could therefore be a decent shout in midfield. He’s back from suspension for this one and will cause problems for that shaky defence. The Hornets have plenty of defensive issues themselves, having conceded at least 6 goals more than anyone else in the top half. They’ve shipped 9 in their last 2 away league games and it would be a major shock if they were to keep Man City’s potent attack at bay. Nolito (£8.6m) looked dangerous in his 23 minutes on the pitch on Saturday evening and got himself on the scoresheet. Bearing in mind the performance of his teammates in that one he may well have done enough to get himself into the starting line-up and should provide potential for a good points haul if he gets the nod.

Tottenham were not at their best in Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United, but should get back to winning ways in a fixture that looks as one-sided as they come. They face Hull City, who have won just 1 of their last 13 league games and have failed to score on each of their last 3 league visits to White Hart Lane. With this game followed by a home game against Burnley now is the time to load up on Tottenham’s attackers, so Harry Kane (£11.2m) and Christian Eriksen (£8.3m) will no doubt be transferred in by lots of Fantasy managers. Don’t forget too that Spurs had the joint-best defensive record in the league last season and they’ve continued that form into the 2016-17 campaign, with no-one conceding less than them so far this term. Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) is therefore a safe option in goal, particularly with Spurs’ run of upcoming fixtures taken into account.

To finish off, one Fantasy Football pick from each of the remaining fixtures:

Bournemouth v Leicester – Jamie Vardy (£9.6m)

Middlesbrough v Liverpool – Adam Lallana (£7.0m)

West Ham v Burnley – Michail Antonio (£6.7m)

Crystal Palace v Man United – Paul Pogba (£8.2m)

Stoke v Southampton – Virgil van Dijk (£5.6m)

West Brom v Swansea – Chris Brunt (£4.9m)

Best of luck for this round of fixtures.