Improving Dribbling Skills for Soccer Players and Coaches with Concurrent Goal Training – Article 6

Just about everyone can dribble a soccer ball when there is no resistance coming from an opponent. Obviously however, there will be great resistance during competitive matches. So the objective here is to properly get young players comfortable and confident with dribbling while an opponent is applying pressure by endeavoring to gain possession of the ball. If any field-soccer player wants to improve, this skill is paramount.

These are the basic objectives that must be developed for young players and possibly others for maintaining possession of the ball.

1. Dribbling the soccer ball must be kept close to the feet around opponents. This is obvious.

2. But what may not be obvious is that the sense of balance of the body, needed for rapidly changing directions, must be developed.

3. Looking out around the field for open players and open spaces is another necessity. It can only be accomplished by keeping one’s head up while dribbling. This of course will not happen with newly introduced players into the game, but it is one of the dribbling objectives.

4. Another necessity for retaining the ball while dribbling is to shield it from one or more opponents.

So what is the optimum approach to improve the dribbling skills for young players?

1. In general, precious soccer practice time should not be spent on dribbling drills. Dribbling should be practiced away from the soccer practice. But, there are some exceptions:

  • (a) The youngest players must be taught the basics via dribbling drills at soccer practices. There is nothing new here.
  • (b) After say two soccer practices, end the dribbling drills at these practices. Valuable training time is needed for spending on kicks, trapping, defense, shielding, endurance etc.
  • (i)Without endurance, soccer players cannot perform to their maximum abilities
    and will make more dribbling and other errors.

    (ii)A professional should be consulted on the optimum level of endurance training.

  • (c) Then, assign homework drills. Drills that are designed to teach
  • (i)the young player balance while turning

    (ii)control of the sensitivity of touch on the ball

    (iii)players to keep the ball near the feet when moving with the ball.

  • (d) Coach demonstrations and player demonstrations should be performed so the players understand their assigned homework drill.
  • (e) At each subsequent practice (after a drill has been assigned), players should be asked to demonstrate their homework skills for about 30 seconds each. Say two players at a time–to conserve training time. After each player has shown his or her skill preforming the drill, a demonstration should be repeated by the best young dribbling player. This acts as a teaching-aid to the others.
  • (f) Every player is to own and bring an identifiably marked ball to practice. While on the subject, water and warm clothes in cold weather should also be a requirement.
  • 2. During scrimmage games, insist that players dribble with their head up and with the ball close to the feet when near opponents.

    3. The importance of shielding the soccer ball from an opponent cannot be overemphasized. Shielding properly keeps one, or possibly two or three opponents from dislodging the ball from a dribbling player.

  • (a) Various drills are designed to elevate shielding skills from its most elementary level on up. Start with little opponent pressure, as the players develop expertise add pressure to each advanced drill.
  • (b) In addition, there is another drill especially designed apply the shielding technique. It is a variation of the monkey-in-the-middle drill. When done right and constantly overseen by the coach, players properly learn to shield the ball from aggressive opponents. Furthermore, players also learn to make safer passes to «teammates».
  • The following notes should add clarity to this article.

    Note 1: Very young «talented» players often make «breakaways» and dribble the ball towards the goal unimpeded. Before taking the shot at the goal with only the goalkeeper in front, these players push the ball about two to three yards (or two or three meters) out in front of them. At this distance the ball is in an ideal position to kick it at the goal. Often these young players score against an unskillful very young goalkeeper, and of course the parents of the scoring child are elated. However, this may or may not indicate that this child will go on to be a great soccer player. That «skill» just witnessed is not a skill at all, because it was not learned. As the children progress up in age, opponent defenders ordinarily do not allow an attacker the room of two or three yards to set up the ball for the kick on goal. On older teams, this «tactic» is no longer a tactic. So what point am I making?

    Competitive soccer players need to discipline themselves in keeping the ball near their feet when opponents are near. This is a necessary skill that must be learned for dribbling as well as when making attempts at scoring. It takes training both with dribbling and while employing the various types of kicks to be competitive as a player goes on up in years.

    Note 2: Advanced players must also develop the ability to lunge in one direction while flicking the ball in the opposite direction. There are several of these feinting moves that a skillful soccer player must master, but they are beyond the scope of this article.

    Note 3: What do the young goalkeeper(s) do while the field players are training for their skills? They need to be developing their skills. They need an assistant coach to train them on defending the goal, to practice diving and punting. The coach must instruct the assistant coach in proper goalkeeping-training techniques while overseeing these techniques until the assistant coach gets it right.

    Note 4: Much of the above training information can be learned from good soccer books containing further descriptions and applicable drills.

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    Ronaldo to Replace Brand Beckham?

    Experts feel there is currently a need for a central soccer brand. Beckham's 34 years of age and current career phase doesn't exactly make him a hot youth icon anymore. Sure, no one can deny his good looks and knee weakening ability among adults, but he's past the stage of driving 13 year olds crazy. And that's where Ronaldo can step in and fill Beck's shoes. The 24 year old Portuguese has all the right qualities to appeal to kids and teens – he's a looker, has a great body, plays well and is part of an extremely popular and successful team.

    If Becks raked in $ 42.5 million through product endorsements last year, Ronaldo earned $ 19.6 million. But now that this 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year has become the world's most expensive player after his transfer from Man U to Real Madrid, his worth has sky rocketed. When Ronaldo was 'unveiled' on the 6th of July at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium wearing Real's soccer uniforms, nearly 80,000 screaming teens and young adults were there to greet him!

    Actually, Ronaldo seems to be following in Beckham's footsteps in more ways than one! Becks left Man U for a successful stint with Real, so did Ronny boy! Becks wore the number 7 soccer shirt at Man U, as did Ronaldo after him! Becks was the ultimate youth icon, as Ronaldo is slated to be! If there's anything that can go against this young man, it's his lack of 'family life' and the accusation that he's not much of a team player. This could bring his appeal down among advertisers. Beckham continues to shine in that arena with his image of a happy family man and his reputation as a great team player. For this reason, some experts would like to see Ronaldo settled and married to a nice girl!

    But, at the end of the day, it's his on field performance that will determine his success as brand Beckham's successor. After all, you're only as good as your last match … And companies are looking for endorsements from soccer stars so they can associate their product with the star's phenomenal success. As far as veteran football agent, Jon Holmes, is concerned, "Ronaldo is a good looking guy and I would say his level of articulateness is about the same as Beckham's … He is probably a better player than Beckham in that he is more Beckham is a workhorse of a player, Ronaldo seems to be a more natural player. "

    Well, let's see if Ronaldo is going to be the next big clothes horse after Becks! Time will tell …

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    Sportswear: How It Has Changed Over the Years

    Gone are the days when sportswear was primarily associated with convenience. Today, our sporting heroes are as glamorous as our screen idols- and that’s true in a case of both on and off-field/court endeavors. Needless to say, much of the glamour that we associate our athletes with has a lot to do with the clothes that they wear on the field or on the court. Sportswear, through the years, has undergone several changes. Regardless of whether it is cricket, tennis, soccer, rugby or any outdoor sports- jerseys have changed a lot over the years. Both technological advancement (as far as manufacturing these jerseys is concerned) and fashion have actually gone on to play a role in heralding this change. Find out more.

    What you need to know about the modern jerseys: Find out how they have changed

    Comfort, needless to say, is at the heart of jersey manufacturing today. Thanks to the progress of modern technology, today you have these sweat-absorbent jerseys that are worn on warm and humid days. These jerseys are particularly used in high voltage sports such as cricket and soccer so that for players beating the sticky summers is a breeze while they’re playing.

    What more? They offer you heightened mobility on field as well.

    Today, a lot of thought goes into determining the color of the jerseys as well. When you’re a part of high voltage sporting activity like soccer, rugby or cricket, the team management will definitely want you to sport very bold and bright colors on field. The bold jersey is just a manifestation of your team’s aggression. It’s like a psychological weapon against your opponents. Not every team in every sport may try out this particular psychological hack but you may come across several coaches who continue to fall back on bold (but fashionable) jerseys to shore up mind games of teams.

    Women sportswear demands special mention as far as fashion is concerned. Today, they are not only comfortable but funky, cute and trendy as well.

    Finding the right manufacturer and supplier

    Please ensure that you are looking for credentialed sportswear manufacturers in your town. Don’t end up settling for the services of manufacturers and suppliers that have not really been able to garner positive reviews in the market for the quality of products offered by them. There definitely are certain factors that help you be sure about the credentials of a company. You can start off by reading the reviews of the manufacturers and suppliers. What are their clients saying? Are they satisfied with the quality of products made available by these manufacturers? Are they looking forward to collaborating with these brands for their needs further in the future? Or, are they completely annoyed with the products delivered by these suppliers? Have they cared to clarify the reasons behind their feelings for these brands?

    Do seek personal recommendations as well. Ask your peers if they can recommend a brand or not. Zeroing in on a brand has to do a lot with these considerations.

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    Ten New Albums To Anticipate In 2018

    The past year saw several memorable fiftieth anniversaries, topped off by Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band by The Beatles in June and the Monterey Music Festival in July. Perhaps in 2067 music fans will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of some of the records released last year, such as Colors by Beck or War and Leisure by Miguel.

    This coming year also has some anniversaries to look forward to, especially of another great record by The Beatles. There will also undoubtedly be some great records to come out in 2018, and here are ten of the most anticipated artists scheduled to release new albums within the next 52 weeks.

    Franz Ferdinand

    Always Ascending is the title to the follow up to 2014’s Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions, and it is due to hit record stores on February 9. The title track, as the first single, has already been available since December.

    MGMT

    «When You Die» has already been released as a single, and the album titled Little Dark Age is set for a February debut.

    Brian Fallon

    After much success fronting the Gaslight Anthem, Fallon delivers the follow up to his first solo album Painkillers. The sophomore effort, called Sleepwalkers, is set for a February 9 release.

    Belle and Sebastian

    Stuart Murdoch and his indie rock outfit plan to make their next album a trilogy of EPs, the first of which came out in late November with the catchy single «We Were Beautiful.» The second of the series will be released January 9, and the final EP will appear on February 16 along with a two-disc vinyl edition. In the meantime a second single, «I’ll Be Your Pilot», has been receiving airplay on college rock stations.

    Brandi Carlile

    After spending much of 2017 appearing with other artists like the Old 97s on Graveyard Whistling, the indie sensation will deliver her next solo disc, titled By the Way, I Forgive You, on February 16.

    Owl City

    After a somewhat disappointing Mobile Orchestra in 2015, Adam Young hopes to recover some of the success he enjoyed with early hits like Ocean Eyes and The Midsummer Station. His fans will find out if the old magic is there when Cinematic arrives on record shelves on June 1.

    Jack White

    Now a well-revered veteran of indie rock, the fabulous guitar-playing innovator has scheduled his Boarding House Breach for a release in the spring.

    Loretta Lynn

    Just two years ago the queen of classic country made Full Circle, a near masterpiece that featured the likes of Elvis Costello and John Carter Cash. She is back again with Wouldn’t It Be Great, a question that fans will most assuredly answer in the affirmative.

    Arctic Monkeys

    The British alt-rockers have not been heard of since their last tour and album way back in 2014, but they have announced that their so far untitled sixth record will appear at some point in 2018.

    The Fratellis

    Costello Music introduced the British indie group, and they have done nothing but produce gem after gem since that debut album. Now over a decade and a half dozen records later, they will launch In Your Own Sweet Time on March 9.

    World Cup 2010 – Semi Final Preview

    What a great World Cup it has been.

    Although it pains me to say it, Germany have been the best team thus far. In particular Thomas Muller of Bayern Munich, something about the way he runs and moves is old fashioned and for some reason reminds me of jelly as the movements are just unpredictable.

    Like any good team they appear to have the recipe for success. A lucky goalkeeper, Tall organised back four, Good holding Player, A left footed pocket rocket, Dribbling magicians and a Goal Poacher.

    You can decide which player fit into which brackets.

    So what of the others.. Second in line to the thrown would have to be Spain however not on form on this occasion. David Villa has been exceptional and so much so that had he been injured for this tournament Spain would already be back home by now. The rest of the team has looked jaded and idea-less which is unlike the Spain that has emerged as a new powerhouse over the past two years.

    If only Torres clicks into gear he could go onto to win them the tournament.

    Then comes Holland.. Have been effective up to this point with both Sneijder and Robben the main dangermen, The defence is always a worry against quick strikers however they haven’t conceded many.

    And finally Uruguay or should i say Diego Forlan, He is of course there only hope in the semi against Holland, On form and scoring goals he will be one to watch for the dutch back line. The rest of the team are willing runners and movers however the new hand of god Luiz Suarez will be missing and this could upset the balance which has seen them into the Semi Finals.

    Result Prediction

    Spain 1-1 Germany Germany to progress on Penaltys

    Holland 2-1 Uruguay Holland to progress in Normal Time

    Main Men to watch:

    David Villa

    Bastian Schweinstiger

    Miroslave Klose

    Wesley Sneijder

    Arjen Robben

    Diego Forlan

    Get the vuvuzela ready as we are in for a thrill ride in the next two matches.

    The Secret to Beating Teams That Are More Athletic Than Your Team in Youth Football

    Playing in Space is the key term.

    We aren’t talking about playing football on the moon, zero gravity would make us all have to rethink the game quite a bit.

    «In Space» means playing with distance between your players and the other team. If your team is bigger and more athletic and can handle the other teams players one on one, you want space, it is your friend.

    However, if you don’t have bigger and better athletes than the other team, space is your enemy.

    Playing «In space» means just what it says, putting your players with space in-between them and the opposition. If your team is made up of faster, bigger and more athletic kids, they will dominate in one on one match-ups. That’s why you see teams with lots of big fast receivers do very well in the «spread» offenses where they isolate weaker defenders out very wide versus these dominant receivers, of course you have to have a QB that can throw it in these cases. If that stud receiver can just get the ball «in space» he will have a chance to score in most cases.

    On the other hand, most youth football teams do not have the player truly dominates the league. Most of us are blessed with just an average group of kids and some of us will have that odd grouping of kids that is just smaller and less athletic than the teams we face. In these cases you want to have as little space as possible between your kids and the opposition.

    Just think about your tackling drills, when you have a tackling drill run in close quarters, lets say a 1 yard square box, most of your even non-athletic kids can often make the tackle. But turn that tackling drill into an open field tackling drill of a 20 yard by 20 yard square, how many of your less athletic kids can now make a tackle in that drill? The same is true for blocking; very athletic kids can make blocks «in space» less athletic kids can’t.

    Less athletic teams nearly always perform better if they tighten their line splits down, double team block and pull to have overwhelming numbers at the point of attack. Less athletic teams need to run traps and other close quarter running plays like the wedge in order to keep more athletic teams at bay. The less athletic teams need to run lots of misdirection to keep the defense moving away from the play, while they run it between the tackles. The spinner series in kryptonite to the supermen on these squads. There are just some plays that make NO SENSE against teams like this, sweeps, drop back passes, deep reverses, these will be negative yardage plays.

    The good news is with the Single Wing Offense, less athletic teams can compete with very athletic teams. Often called «football in a phone booth» the spinners and traps keep the very athletic teams from flowing hard to your base plays. The double team blocks, wedges and pulling give your team numbers advantages at the point of attack so even smaller or weaker linemen can have success. The tight splits, misdirection and pulling linemen help even very average backs to put up big numbers with this offense.

    In 2002 we had a very average sized back named J.A. with average speed. For our age 8-10 team he weighed 81 pounds and when we ran our eval races he was about 6th out of 25 kids. J.A. was a very obedient player, he was a patient runner, he always kept his legs moving and was always looking for an opening, but nothing special. In 2002 he played Fullback for us and ran just 2 plays that year, wedge and trap. He scored 31 TDs for us on FB wedge plays alone, of course we had a very weak backfield that year and he got a lot of carries. Had we had the spinner series in he would have done even better.

    As to beating bigger or more athletic teams: In 2003 my age 8-10 team from Omaha was undefeated in league and put up some very gaudy numbers. We scored at will, went 11-0 and won our league title game 46-12 after leading 46-0 in the third quarter. We went on to beat two league champions from other leagues that were age 11-12. In 2004 I started a new program in rural Nebraska in an area where the existing youth program had won something like 4-5 total games in 5 years before I got here. The first year there we had all rookie players with the exception of 2-3 bench-warming castoffs from the other team in town. We had just one player over 100lbs at age 8-10. Slowly but surely we improved each week and by seasons end we started looking pretty good. We played a very big and fast Inner-city team from Lincoln that year the Salvation Army. They had not lost a game in 3 years, we were out-manned, outsized and had less speed, but beat them in a nail biter by a single TD in route to an 11-0 season.

    Our biggest win in an extreme overmatch with in 2005 verses the Omaha Select Black. That age 8-10 team chose from over 150 kids, had at least 5 kids over 150 lbs and had not lost in 3 years in Omaha’s «select» league. They were a very aggressive Inner-city team with plenty of speed and confidence. I on the other hand had just the 25 country kids that showed up, not cuts or selects and plenty of younger kids on it. To make a long story short, we had this team by 4 TDS in the first half and could have named the score. Needless to say that team, their parents and our parents for that matter were shocked. The good thing is with this offense you can compete with anyone, the bad news is once you do it’s hard to get extra out of league games. Big Inner-city teams like the North Omaha Boys Club will not even play us on their home fields, it is embarrassing getting beat by much smaller and slower teams, they have turned me down twice in the last 2 years for extra games that we both had open dates at seasons end.

    The Single Wing does offer some flexibility if you do have that stud player that you want to isolate «In space». We added the mesh series in 2005 to accommodate a player we thought would make sense to put «in space». When we went against weaker opponents the «mesh» series worked very well, no one could handle our stud. When we played against equal or lesser competition we had to move back to our tight splits base offense to move the ball consistently.

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    Football Betting – End-of-Season Games

    Everyone loves a trier, especially when it comes to putting down your readies. There’s nothing more galling for punters than to realise that your selection was ‘not off’ and that you’ve not even had a fair run for your money.

    Blanket television coverage and the greater transparency of the betting exchanges have raised awareness of the ‘non-trier’ issue in horse racing, but football punters need to be on their guard too. It’s clear that all is not well in the world of football, judging by the recent match-fixing scandal in Germany involving referee Robert Hoyzer, ongoing investigations into some Italian results and irregular betting patterns on obscure European and international matches.

    Thankfully, the consistency of results in the bigger leagues (and especially in England) indicates that there is no reason for lack of punter confidence. The main problem – as in horse racing – lies around the margins, in those matches (or races) not subject to the full glare of the media spotlight and where skulduggery is less likely to arouse suspicion.

    All very trying

    However, my research suggests the ‘non-trier’ issue does rear its ugly head towards the end of the season, even in the major leagues. Most leagues are competitive enough to ensure they go right to the wire in the battles for championships, places in Europe and safety from relegation.

    But, inevitably, some teams have nothing left to play for in the final weeks of the season, which is where problems can arise.

    The last few weekends of a league season feature three types of match:

    1. Matches between two teams with nothing to play for.

    2. Matches between two teams with something to play for.

    3. Matches between one team with something to play for and one team with nothing to play for.

    Out of focus

    The commitment of either team cannot be taken for granted in the first category, so the most sensible betting strategy towards the end of the season is to focus on categories two and three.

    Matches in the second category should be assessed using your usual techniques. (Anybody who doesn’t know needs to read our football betting articles on inside-edge-mag.co.uk – Ed), but the best betting opportunities often lie in category three, where there’s always the potential for a ‘non-trier’.

    This isn’t to suggest that anything underhand takes place in these games, merely that a slight drop in focus by one team can make all the difference in a competitive league such as the English Premiership.

    There may be many reasons for this drop in focus – including the widely held view that some players are ‘on their holidays’ before the end of the season. It’s equally likely that, given the demands of modern football, a player who has been carrying an injury will be rested once his team has nothing left to play for, or that there may be some easing off in training sessions. Whatever the reasons, our results at the bottom of this article show a team with something to play for is more likely to win a match against a team with nothing to play for.

    Across the top three English divisions and the major European leagues that we analysed (Spanish Liga, German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1), these matches usually produce a win rate of 50-60% for the team with something to play for, and a win rate of 20-30% for the team with nothing to play for. The stats vary a bit from year to year and league to league, but overall are pretty consistent.

    It’s a bone of some contention that such figures offer conclusive proof of the non-trier effect, but there’s one crucial piece of supporting evidence that swings the issue for me. If there was no link between the results and one team’s urgent need for points in such matches, we’d expect a higher win rate among higher-placed teams than those struggling near the bottom, since that’s what has been happening during the rest of the season. In fact, the win rate of teams battling to avoid relegation is abnormally high in such matches at the end of the season – virtually on a par with the win rate achieved by teams at the top of the table who are chasing titles, places in Europe or play-off slots.

    Fight for survival

    For example, the last five seasons of the English Premiership have produced a win rate of 55% for teams with something to play for. That figure does not vary, no matter whether the team is in the top six or the bottom six.

    It’s a similar story in other leagues, though the win rate of relegation-threatened teams in such matches does tend to be slightly lower overall than that achieved by teams near the top of the table.

    So, do these stats alone offer a good betting opportunity? The simple answer is no, but there are some refining touches that can put these figures to good advantage.

    Let’s look at the overall picture first. A 55% win rate would give a tidy profit margin if the average odds available were evens, but that’s unlikely to be the case in matches where one team has something to play for and the other team doesn’t.

    Taking the games that fell into this category last season in our featured leagues, a level-stakes bet on all the teams with something to play for would have brought a small loss. This was due, in part, to last season’s lower-than-average win rate by these teams, but a more significant factor is the reduced odds that punters are asked to accept on such teams.

    How to beat the odds

    The bookmakers generally factor in the ‘nothing to play for’ syndrome when pricing up end-of-season matches, though a few do slip through the net. If you’re good at making your own book on matches, you can spot these matches – otherwise, you will find it difficult to make a profit backing blind on the teams with something to play for.

    The counter argument, of course, is that the value lies in backing against these sides, given that teams with nothing to play for will be available at artificially inflated odds in such matches. This doesn’t hold water, though, due to the lower win rate of these teams. The problem for punters, as outlined earlier, is to know whether these teams will be trying hard enough – the evidence suggests that, on the whole, they won’t be.

    How, then, can we beat the odds? Well, a little more delving into the statistics puts more flesh on the general assumptions often made about end-of-season matches.

    Starting at the top, the late-season records of league champions are very revealing. There’s clear evidence that, once a title has been secured arithmetically, there’s a widespread tendency for champions to take their foot off the gas. Last season, for instance, the Spanish and German champions were confirmed with two games to play – Valencia and Werder Bremen, the respective winners, then promptly lost their last two games.

    This is far from an isolated example. In 2001, Manchester United lost their last three games, having run away with the title, though it has to be said that they had finished with four straight wins when in the same position the previous season.

    Overall, however, the record of already-crowned champions suggests they’re prone to easing up once the race is won. In the leagues analysed here, the win rate of champions over the course of the season usually exceeds 60%.

    Once the title has been secured, however, this dropped to an average of 57% over the past five seasons. And the fall is even more dramatic in games where they face a team with something to play for – their win rate then averages just 45%.

    A ton of profit

    In general, then, it’s worth opposing already-crowned champions. Last season, in the leagues featured here, this approach would have yielded a 24% profit to level stakes. If you had concentrated only on games where the opposing team still had something to play for, the strike rate in opposing the champions would have been 100% and the profit a whopping 125% to level stakes.

    The only caveat is to be wary of any factor that may cause the champions to keep the pressure on – one example is Arsenal last season, when they were Premiership champions with four games to go but were keen to maintain their unbeaten record. They did so, but with only a 50% win rate in their last four games (two wins, two draws).

    Another factor might be when a lower-division side is chasing a landmark such as 100 points – that was the case with Wigan Athletic in the old Division Two in 2003, when they reached three figures with two wins and a draw, even though they were already champions.

    Knowing that champions ease off once they’ve nothing to play for, it’s easy to assume already-relegated sides must be even more prone to this. Again, the reality is more complicated.

    Bottoming out

    Overall, in the leagues analysed here, relegated teams have a 23% win rate once they’re mathematically doomed – pretty close to the average expected from relegation-zone teams over the course of the season. In other words, they don’t fall apart once all hope is gone.

    In fact, relegated teams actually have a surprisingly good home record in the final weeks of the season. On average, they manage a fairly even split of wins, draws and losses at home and in none of the leagues does their number of home defeats outweigh the combined number of wins and draws – making relegated teams always worth a look on the Asian handicap at home, as they’ll rarely, if ever, be giving up a start to their opponents.

    Where they perform very badly is away from home. Even more markedly, they’re usually lambs to the slaughter (home or away) versus teams still with something to play for. Their loss rate in such matches is 70% and, in the past five seasons, no relegated team recorded a single win in this type of fixture in the top leagues in France, England and Germany.

    That 70% loss rate is equivalent to the odds on their opponents being around the 2/5 or 4/9 mark. The bookies are stingy about such teams, though you could still have made a profit last season backing against the relegated teams in such matches. With extra selectivity about the odds you’re prepared to take (no less than 1/2, say), the potential exists to make money on these games.

    Middle-of-the-table teams is an area to tread warily. While the stats show punters generally can rely on sides scrapping for top places or battling against relegation, this isn’t the case with teams marooned in mid-table for the last few games of the season, with no incentive to move up and no fear of dropping down a few places.

    The final word

    In the leagues analysed here, the win rate of mid-table teams in their final games doesn’t appear too bad, averaging 33%, which is broadly in line with their overall seasonal record.

    The picture isn’t so rosy, however, when the figures are narrowed down to games against teams with something still to play for. The win rate of safe mid-table teams dips to 26% and their loss rate goes up to 49% (from 41% overall).

    In the end, end-of-season betting all comes down to the odds available. Pricing up these games is a difficult process, and it’s impossible to come up with hard-and-fast rules about when to bet or what odds to accept. An appreciation of the underlying stats is important, however, because end-of-season games aren’t governed by the normal rules of form and are a law unto themselves in many instances. The one golden rule is: be sure you know your selection will be trying.

    More Football Betting Articles

    Submitted By Q

    Dennis Publishing

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    FC Barcelona Pictures and News

    Experience the glorious past and the vibrant present of FC Barcelona through pictures and news readily available online. Apart from the official club website, exciting and breathtaking FC Barcelona pictures are in abundance in several blogs, news sites, and websites dedicated to the club. Check out the latest FC Barcelona news in the top news sites in the world as well as in the official and other unofficial websites.

    Futbol Club Barcelona, ​​nicknamed Barça, is not as much as a football club as it is a Catalan institution. Founded in 1899, it is one of the best Spanish clubs with Real Madrid as its closest rival. At present, it home to other sports teams apart from the football club.

    FC Barcelona is said to be the most popular football club in the whole of Europe. Some surveys show that it has a fan base of 44.2 million fans in the football-crazy continent alone. Here, FC Barcelona news and Barça rumors are in great demand online. Fans are also racing to shoot photos of their beloved club during matches and sell them online. Online buyers are faced with several options.

    Track Record
    Barça is among the big three Spanish football club. Alongside Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, it has never been relegated or demoted from the La Liga, the premier league in Spain. All in all, the club has lifted 18 La Liga titles, a record of 24 Spanish Cups, two League Cups, and seven Spanish Super Cups.

    In European leagues, FC Barcelona has won four UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, two European Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, and three Inter-Cities Fairs Cups.

    Camp Nou
    The home stadium of Barça is Camp Nou, also referred to as "Nou Camp." Constructed in 1957, it has witnessed hundreds of football matches against visiting clubs since 1857. Camp Nou is rated by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) as a five-star stadium. It can hold up to 98,772 people and is the largest European football stadium.

    Camp Nou is one of the preferred hosts of UEFA Champions League Finals. The club won their very first game at their new stadium in 1957. They thrashed Legia Warsaw of Germany, 4-2.It was built from 1954 to 1957 and was designed by a group of three architects. The stadium has also been the venue for several major music events.

    There are plenty of FC Barcelona pictures with Camp Nou as the background available to fans. They come in colored and black-and-white. Sometimes, the pictures are able to capture the club in their most intense action. There is drama, joy, love, and passion in pictures. You could also easily find group and individual photos.

    Latest News
    In the most recent Barça news, the club bulldozed Malaga in a pre-weekend La Liga match. The resounding win catapulted the club to the topmost position in the league standings, six points ahead Real Madrid. They are slated to next face Valladolid but their recent triumph over Malaga is bound to boost their spirits prior to their anticipated UEFA Champions League quarterfinal fixture against Germany's Bayern Munich. Browse online for photos and the latest news of the match.

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    The History of Manchester United

    Manchester United are arguably the best club in the world, but this multi million pound club started as Newton Heath L&YR F.C. in 1878, as the works team for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Health.

    They played on a small, dilapidated field on North Road, near the future site of the Manchester Piccadilly railway station for fifteen years, and then in 1983 they moved to play on Bank Street in a nearby town called Clayton. In 1902 this ground was closed as Manchester United were nearly kicked out of the football league due to debts of two thousand and five hundred pounds, but thankfully just before the club could be shut down they received a large investment from J.H.Davies, the managing director of Manchester breweries.

    Manchester United’s first major signing was of Charlie Roberts of Grimsby Town for £750 in April 1904, they believe that this signing helped Manchester United to third in the very next season. In the 1905-1906 season Manchester United were finally promoted to the First Division, where two years later they emerged as champions for the very first time.

    On the 19th of February Manchester United played their first game in the still standing Old Trafford stadium, their first game was looking an ease, beating Liverpool 3-0 at half time only to lose 4-3, they went on that season to win no silver wear, and in the next ten years the club started declining in the ranks until 1922 when they were relegated back down to Division Two.

    Three seasons before world war two, Manchester United were promoted, then relegated, then promoted once again, providing them with a spot in division one once the war was finally over.

    In the season of 1956-57, Manchester United became the first season to compete in the European Cup, and it was in this competition that Manchester United recorded their biggest win to date, beating a Belgium team 10-0 before being knocked out in the semi finals by Real Madrid.

    Tragedy struck the next season as a plane crash killed 8 of Manchester United’s players on a trip to the Germany for a European match. Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Liam Whelan where the players killed that day, these players will never be forgotten.

    In the early 70’s Manchester United changed the badge to the badge we know off today. Soon after that, in 1986, the introduction of Sir Alex Ferguson was happening as he took over the manager’s position.

    Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t have much success at Manchester united until the year of 1998 where his team secured the best season in the history of English Football, completing the treble of the Premier League, the FA cup and the Champions League.

    Manchester United seemed ordinary until the season of 2006-07 when they won the Premier League, scraping past Chelsea. This gave Manchester United and their young guns of Rooney and Ronaldo confidence to rule the scenes in the next season as Manchester United completed the double, winning the Premier League and the European Cup.

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