Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Oh My God, We're Back Again

In a strange coincidence (honest) this post, like the last one, is being made amidst intense speculation regarding the Manchester United manager's job. But we'll leave that to one side and instead look forward to Euro 2016 (no promises about big long mahoosive detailed guides to each team)

As regular readers (both of you) will know, we do enjoy looking for some outsider bets, so let's have a look at some of those further down the Top Scorer betting odds (as well as a few ramblings about the tournament itself):

With this being possibly his last major international tournament (certainly his final Euros), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (33/1) might never have a better chance to claim a tournament Golden Boot. He spearheads a Sweden side that features plenty of young talent to supply him (watch out for Jimmy Durmaz cutting in from the flanks) and they should progress from a Group E which features a talented Belgium side missing their best centre-back, a deeply uninspiring Italy side (potentially with gaping holes in its central midfield) and a frankly rotten Ireland side, so he should easily get amongst the goals early on before progression to a potentially winnable Round of 16 game (more on that later)

It's safe to assume that Germany will go some way into the tournament, thereby rendering any number of their players as possible contenders. Rather than the obvious Muller/Reus/Gomez/Ozil (all the very best in your retirement, Miroslav Klose) shouts (all of whom after busy club seasons are likely to be rotated at some point), it's worth instead having a small wager on Bayer Leverkusen attacking midfielder Karim Bellarabi (80/1), who could force his way into Jogi Loew's starting XI with a place on the right flank likely to be available if Muller plays centrally in Mario Gotze's absence

And because any article on here featuring betting tips wouldn't be complete without a >100/1 shot, Group D is exceptionally wide open behind Spain (and perhaps even including them- this is still largely the same side that looked so lethargic in Brazil 2 years ago, a tournament also immediately preceded by an all-Madrid Champions League final), thus any number of players could rack up a few goals. Worth a punt in that regard is Turkey's leading marksman Burak Yilmaz (125/1), as prolific as anyone on his day and with a very decent selection of attacking midfielders behind him

How's everyone getting on with their Euro 2016 sticker books, by the way? About 70% completed over here. Most importantly, Liam Boyce has been acquired (although still a long way short on shinies. Get in touch for swapsies)

Hosts France suffered a significant blow today with the news that Raphael Varane will miss the tournament (possibly to spend more time with his brothers Donatello, Leonardo and Michaelangelo), with Sevilla's Adil Rami called up as a replacement. This leaves Didier Deschamps with 2 likely central defensive partnerships: Laurent Koscielny and Jeremy Mathieu (downside: slow and inexperienced) or Koscielny with Eliaquim Mangala (downside: features Eliaquim Mangala). They should still easily top their group though (with Romania, Switzerland and Albania likely to play out some dreary, low-scoring affairs between themselves)

Finally, one can't help but wonder what Portugal will be thinking going into their final Group F game with Hungary in Lyon on June 22nd. A win will most likely see them top the group, setting up a Round of 16 clash with Group E's runner up (almost certainly Sweden, Belgium or Italy), while any other result could leave them in 2nd place, setting up a clash with the 2nd placed team from Group B (likely to be Russia- that group finishes on the 20th). One can't help but think the latter assignment could be the more appealing


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