How To Keep Your Soccer Cleats In Top Shape

Soccer cleats may not have the ability to make you a better player, but they definitely bring out the best in you because you are able to make use of your skills appropriately. There are so many cleats available in the market today and you should make the right choice in terms of fit, comfort, materials and even the features to enjoy a rewarding session in the field. But it is one thing to buy the perfect pair and quite another if you do not take care of your soccer boots. Keeping your cleats in top shape enhances durability and quality and it is not that hard to keep them in top shape.

1. Avoid the myth of hot water technique to loosen the soccer boots because it ruins the shoe even though it does loosen and expand them to give you a good fit. Instead, choosing other better breaking in techniques such as jogging in them during warm ups or prior to the game. The more activities you engage while wearing the boots, the more they loosen and the better the fit when you finally go to play.

2. If you want to soften your leather soccer cleats, then choose a high quality leather food. You can apply it to the boots after cleaning suitably one day before your game. The softer the boots the more comfortable the fit will be and the easier the movement on the pitch.

3. For natural leather cleats, polishing with creams is enough in ensuring that they do not dry out. They need this kind of conditioning to maintain softness and you can rub the cream after cleaning and drying the shoes. When they remain soft, cracking and hardening is eliminated.

4. Air dries the cleats after every game and avoid situations where you leave them in your bag till it is next practice day. You can stuff some newspaper into the soccer boats to soak up dampness inside and to hold them in shape as they dry. It is also important that you do not expose them to direct sunlight when drying or areas that are too hot because it can end up cracking them.

5. Remove the cleats out immediately after the game; the only place to wear them should be on the field. Hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt can wear the spikes down, making them less functional in offering you grip during play.

6. Clean the soccer boots as soon as possible after the game so you are able to avoid grime and dirt settling into the leather causing damage in the process. When cleaning, you need to also ensure that you clean out every inch of the boot including dented areas as a result of stitching.

7. Use gentle cleaning products that will not damage the shoe and affect the breathability. The cleaning method and the cleaning products should be as gentle as possible to keep your shoe in top shape for longer.

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Interesting Facts About Soccer Cleats

Soccer is a sport that has been growing in popularity around the world for hundreds of years. It is the favorite sport in most European countries, and is continuing to gain popularity in America. People young and old around the globe enjoy the game of soccer. One of the most important aspects of the game of soccer is the soccer cleat! Cleats help to give athletes enhanced turning and running capabilities on the field.

Shoes for soccer are generally referred to as either soccer cleats or football cleats. The first ones were supposedly designed for and worn by King Henry VIII in 1525. The king asked his personal shoemaker to make him a pair of shoes that were more durable for normal shoes for playing football. Modern day soccer cleats have come a long way from their initial design. Today, they are specially designed to help athletes perform to the very best of their ability.

One of the most important things that soccer cleats do for soccer players is to provide traction. The cleats help to grip the ground, allowing players to change direction quickly and without getting injured. Especially on wet, slippery grass, changing direction quickly is extremely difficult when you do not have shoes that can grip the ground well. Before cleats were manufactured world-wide, some players used to attach pieces of leather to the bottom of their shoes to help them gain better traction. The small leather studs have since developed into the modern day cleats that we know today.

High end soccer cleats such as the Mercurial Vapor VI FG cleat are usually priced well over $200. However, with the right amount of luck, you can find high-end soccer cleats online for a discount. Shopping for cleats online can provide huge savings. Additionally, soccer cleats, like many shoes, run almost identically in sizes across different brands. This makes buying cleats online an easy process!

Now, soccer cleats are available in a whole assortment of types and designs. Lightweight leather generally makes up modern soccer cleats. Without these special shoes, the sport of soccer would not be as fast paced and exciting as we know it to be today. Cleats are one of the most important aspects of any soccer player’s game. When you hit the field for a game of soccer, make sure you are wearing a great pair of soccer cleats! Your feet and your teammates will thank you.

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Sheer Heart Attack (1974)

For a generation of fans who grew up listening to ‘Radio Gaga’ and ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, it is easy to forget just how much of a hard rock band they were, particularly on their first three records. Drummer Roger Taylor, reflecting in 2014, claimed that they «were like Led Zeppelin with harmonies», as ‘Sheer Heart Attack» shows. In parts as energetic as The Who, in others musically dexterous as Cream, at other times as seductive as Kiss, ‘Sheer Heart Attack» is a fantastic visage of seventies glam metal.

Much of this visage is down to Brian May’s stellar playing, whether it is the choppy chords on ‘Stone Cold Crazy’, the psychedelic riff heard in ‘Flick Of The Wrist’ or, best of all, the long, blistering solos of album opener ‘Brighton Rock’, May’s playing would never sound as good as this again on a future Queen record. This is made all the more remarkable when you consider how many recording sessions May missed, his absence the fault of a bad case of hepatitis, an illness he contracted while touring North America with Mott The Hoople in 1974, a band he paid tribute to on ‘Now I’m Here’.

In his absence, the other three soldiered on as much as they could with producer Roy Thomas Baker in Trident Studios, Freddie Mercury providing many of the songs which made the album’s final cut. A chameleon writer, Mercury threw himself from genre to genre with gusto, from esoteric pop ‘Killer Queen’ to skiffle influenced ‘Bring back that Leroy Brown’ to anthem closer ‘In The Lap Of The Gods… Revisited’ (so-called, due to the similar title of another track). Best of all, Mercury wrote the plaintive ‘Lily Of The Valley’ a sombre ballad, its mood only equalled by May’s succulent ‘She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilletoes)’ and funereal ‘Dear Friends’, three light respites from the riff driven energy of the other songs.

Drummer Roger Taylor also contributed ‘Tenement Funster’, a fifties rock ode sung by Taylor giving his best Rod Stewart impersonation. A classic tune of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, it proved to be Taylor’s first truly great song. Taylor also wrote the record’s title track, although fans would have to wait a further three albums before they heard the song, due to its incompleteness in 1974.

Bassist John Deacon, having abstained from previous records, finally recorded one of his own compositions. True, ‘Misfire’ is not en par with the songs of May, Mercury and Taylor, but it proved to have enough musical potential to show that Deacon was far from the band’s Ringo Starr; by their next record, ‘A Night At The Opera’ (1975), Deacon proved himself very much a song-writing equal to the other three.

But as a musician, Deacon truly excels on the record. If May’s guitar playing was the album’s best attribute, Deacon’s thrills were an added incentive. From the jazz frills on ‘In The Lap Of The Gods… Revisited’ to the aggressive power playing on ‘Flick Of the Wrist’, Deacon was a very versatile player, a fit match to Taylor’s sparse playing, together a rhythm section capable of equalling Bruce/Baker, Jones/Bonham or Redding/Mitchell.

Queen would record albums of better songs and more cohesion. But there is something special about ‘Sheer Heart Attack’. Dense and exciting, varied and accessible, the band never sounded as good a unit as they did on this record ever again.

Get Your Kids Excited About Gospel Music With Gospel Piano Lessons

You've probably heard that children who learn to play a musical instrument are more likely to succeed in school and in their adult lives. Playing an instrument like the piano develops coordination, reasoning, reading, and listening skills, and it can be a great way to get your children interested in things that you love.

Instead of enrolling your kids in traditional piano lessons, you can show them the joy of piano lessons with music music. You can even enroll them in Gospel piano lessons online. If your family goes to church every Sunday, this is a great way to get your kids involved in the service and to get them more interested in advancing the Lord through the week and through their lives.

Gospel music is moving and exhilarating, and children do a lot better when they are included in things rather than being told to sit still and behave. When your children spend weekdays learning gospel chords on piano, they'll start to recognize the songs you sing in church and to be able to sing along, too. Then they can entertain friends and family at home by showing off the results of their piano lessons with the Gospel music they've learned.

Gospel music has a long and rich tradition, both in and out of church, and starting with a vocabulary tutorial online is a great way to get your kids interested in piano lessons, gospel music, and participating in church events. These online tutorials make learning to play gospel chords on piano easy and fun.

You may remember long, boring, and difficult piano lessons and practice sessions that seemed to never end when you were a child. Fortunately, whenever you want to learn how to play gospel piano chords yourself, or whatever you want your child to have piano lessons in gospel music, these tutorials will make learning this musical instrument natural and fun.

You and your children can even take a booklet piano tutorial together. This will not only instill a love for this beautiful music in your children, but it also creates a healthy family bonding time, too. This is incredibly important in your child's development and in forming healthy family ties that will last all of your lives. Your child will love learning to play the piano and learning about the Gospel music that you love, and you'll love watching your child grow and progress through the process.

Javier Chicharito Hernandez – The Little Pea

Javier Hernandez Balcazar, was born on June 1, 1988 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, better known as "Chicharito" (little pea) is a Mexican Soccer player who plays as a striker and is one of the great promises of Mexican soccer.

The nickname "Chicharito" was given by his father, Javier Hernndez Gutirrez, was nicknamed "pea", due to its low stature and green eyes; and thus "Chicharito" is the "little pea." Hernndez Gutirrez, participating in the World Cup 1986 in Mexico. Chicharitos maternal grandfather is the great player Tomas Balcazar, who scored in the 1954 World Cup against France and led his team Chivas del Guadalajara to 8 Championships in 10 years. Chicharito joined in the youth squad of Guadalajara at only 9 years old. Chicharito has been playing with the youth squad of Chivas, through affiliates such as Chivas Coras de Tepic in 2005 and the Sports Club Tapatio.

Chicharito made his professional debut on September 9, 2006 in a 4-0 Chivas Necaxa game, scoring the last goal in the 83rd minute; he only played 5 minutes that game. That was his only goal in 8 games between 2006 and 2007. He also played 6 games between 2007 and 2008 with Chivas, without scoring.

In 2008, Javier played 7 games, without any goal, however in the Clausura 2009 season Chicharito scored 4 goals in 15 games with Chivas. It was not until the Apertura 2009 when the "Chicharito" began to excel for Chivas, finishing as the third top scorer, having scored 11 goals in 17 games, becoming a permanent starter.

In the Bicentennial 2010 season, Javier became the star striker for Chivas. Javier started the tournament scoring 2 goals in each of the first 3 games of the tournament, to Toluca, to Tigers, and to Estudiantes (basically Club Tecos). The latter was one of the best games of Chicharito for Guadalajara; Chivas was losing 2-0 with 20 minutes left in the game, Chicharito brave an assist for a goal and went on to score 2 goals himself.

After having scored goals against Queretaro and Atlante, Chicharito did not score a goal for 5 games, although still the top scorer of the tournament, with 8 goals. It was not until game 11 when he scored again, scoring a goal in his team's defeat 2-1 at Monterrey.

Heir to the glories of Thomas Balcazar and Javier Hernandez, former stars in Guadalajara and Mexico. "Chicharito" is the Mexican soccer star that the Mexicans fans have been waiting for. His great performance with Guadalajara drew the attention of several European clubs, including PSV Eindhoven of the Netherlands, VfL Wolfsburg in Germany and Valencia CF in Spain. However, on April 8, 2010, Javier signed a 5 year contract with Manchester United of England.

The official Manchester United website announced the news on the hiring of Hernandez and manager Alex Ferguson spoke about: "I am guided to reach an agreement with Chivas to take the young striker who so far has a prolific career for both club and country. be a great addition to our team and look forward to welcoming our Mexican player for the first time in the summer.

We are also excited to play our first game in Mexico, opening the new stadium's Chivas in July, "he said.

For now, Hernandez Balcazar would become the third-best priced Mexican player in Europe. According to the company Transmarker, responsible for reviewing the movements of players and their market value, the top valued are: Rafael Mrquez (Barcelona), Andres Guardado (Deportivo Coruna), worth 12 million euros (16 million dollars.)

Javier Hernandez, with nearly 10 million dollars puts him over Carlos Vela (Arsenal), who is priced at five million euros.

On July 30, 2010 Manchester United play Chivas in the engagement match for stadium Omnilife. Chicharito played the first half with Chivas and the second with Manchester. Chicharito scored the first ever goal in that stadium against Manchester United. The score remained 3-2 in favor of Guadalajara.

Chicharito with the Mexican National Team

U-17

In the selection of Mexico Sub-17, had a chance to contest the World Cup FIFA U-17, 2005 in Peru, but an injury sidelined him from competition and was replaced by Enrique Esqueda. Although rumors remain that coach Jesus Ramirez left him out for other reasons.

U-20

He was part of the squad that played in the World Cup FIFA U-20, 2007 in Canada. In the first game of the Mexican national team against Gambia on July 2, 2007, Javier became the 85th minute exchange by Giovani dos Santos, contributing to the final 3-0 at minute 89. He also played against New Zealand and Congo. Accumulated only one goal in 5 games with the U-20.

First Team

On September 30, 2009, Javier made his debut with the Mexican national team to Colombia. Although his team was defeated 2-1, Javier gave an assist to Paul Aguilar for the only Mexican goal.

Chicharito's second match was against Bolivia on February 24, 2010, he scored two goals., Undoably the Chicharito was doing things right which would ever get him a spot on the World Cup team.

His third goal for "El Tri" was March 3, 2010 against New Zealand, where he scored the first goal of the game at minute 53. His fourth goal for the Mexican squad was on March 17, 2010 against North Korea, having scored at 68th minute goal that save the victory to Mexico 2-1.

On March 30, 2010, the National team coach Javier Aguirre, I include "Chicharito" Hernandez in the list of players named to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

On June 18, 2010, Chicharito Hernandez scored his first ever World Cup goal against France, just as his grandfather did 50 years before.

On June 27, 2010 in the second round match Argentina vs Mexico, Chicharito scored the only goal for Mexico in a 3-1 loss to Argentina.

MANCHESTER UNITED

A month after his participation in the 2010 World Cup on 28 July, the Mexican striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez played his first game as a Manchester United player, coming in as a sub on the second half and scoring a beautiful goal against the MLS All -Stars. The game ended 5-2 in favor if Manchester United.

The Mexican player made his official debut with the "Red Devils" at minute 61, when he replaced the Portuguese Nani.

On August 8, 2010, Javier, the "Chicharito" Hernandez scored his first goal for Manchester United in an official competition. Hernandez entered on the 76th minute, to score a goal that bounced off his face. Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-1, thus achieving the Community Shield. There is a lot of potential for this player and there is no doubt that we will hear a lot more from "Chicharito".

How Often is the World Cup of Soccer Held?

The World Cup is soccer’s biggest stage – it is the championship of the most widely played sport in the all of the world. The talk, preparation and qualifying for each incarnation of the World Cup tournament seems to be going on all the time – but the final of soccer’s biggest tournament only take place during a one month period every four years.

Many fans, clubs and organizations argue that the World Cup tournament itself, as well as the sport of soccer would benefit greatly from increasing the frequency of soccer’s world championship tournament. Some present very valid points and cite that other major sporting events that hold tournaments on an international level are capable of organizing those tournaments once every year.

There is no doubt that the World Cup’s allure wouldn’t be hurt by holding the tournament every three or even every two years. It would probably increase soccer’s international popularity and would certainly do well to increase the tournaments revenue potential – holding the tournament every two years would, in effect, double the amount of revenue created by the biggest international sports tournament. Reducing the number of years between World Cup tournaments would most likely also allow the qualifying team’s players to be more recognizable to fans – the players would be in front of the fans and on a big stage potentially twice as many times during their careers. This could potentially make fans feel more connected and attached to the players on the World Cup teams and possibly even cause an increase in the amount of people who tune in to watch the World Cup finals.

Why Every Four Years?

World Cup purists argue that every four years is ideal for the tournament and it is relatively unlikely that any change in World Cup frequency will actually occur – at least within the near future. It does take quite a bit of preparation to get ready for a month long tournament which draws in teams from more than thirty countries and fans from probably more nations than that.

The host country is voted on and selected long before the tournament will actually be held and the lengths to which the organizers go to ensure that everything is not just prepared, but perfect for each World Cup tournament are truly exhaustive. Other major sports tournaments may host players and fans from all over the world but few, if any can match the sheer magnitude of the World Cup tournament.

More than 200 countries will vie for a spot in the final phase of the World Cup tournament in 2010 to be held in South Africa, and of those more than 200, only thirty one teams will make the cut to appear in the World Cup (the South African team receives an automatic bye to compete as the host nation, making the total team count an even thirty two.) Many believe that trying to cram all of the qualifying and all of the necessary preparation into a shorter time period would hurt the quality and the overall success of the tournament – and that could very well be true.

The only other sporting events that are truly comparable (even bigger than the World Cup), are the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, which are both also held once every four years due to all of the preparation of the destination and the athletes who are to be involved.

Holding the tournament only once every four years only adds to the majesty of the World Cup and contributes to the sheer desire and determination of the many teams involved to first make the cut to the finals and then compete for the prestigious title of World Cup Champion.

Three Things to Do for Enjoying the 2018 FIFA World Cup Better

The countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup has already started, and it’s the time to cheer for our favorite teams. Scheduled between June 15 and July 15, FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia, just in case you were living in a cave. We know every fan has planned his/her days for the upcoming month, but in this post, we just guide you on how you can enjoy the FIFA World Cup better!

1. Get some fan clothing!

If you haven’t already, check some of the better collections designed exclusively for soccer fans! Soccer fan clothing is all fun, and the good thing is you don’t have to compromise on style for anything else. Be a fan and show it off in cool clothing. Many of the leading brands and designers have come up with their limited 2018 FIFA World Cup collection, which has some amazing options. Get a Jersey or go for a complete set supporting the England Soccer Team – the choice is yours. Please bear in mind that with increasing number of orders with each passing day, some websites may take time to dispatch your order. Order ASAP to get your jerseys, dresses, t-shirts, shirts and shorts on time.

2. Plan a good place

A local pub or a friend’s place is the ideal place to hang out for the matches after a tiring day at work. Plan the right place in advance, so that you can wear your soccer clothing and have fun with others. It will be broadcasted all over, so depending on where you stay, you can always keep up with all matches. Have you checked the schedule already? If not, make a list for your favorite team!

3. Join the FIFA Fan Fest™

Want to watch the matches live? Well, you should definitely join the FIFA Fan Fest™, where you can catch the matches live, enjoy exciting music and entertainment program free of any cost. For the uninitiated, FIFA Fan Fest™ is the official public viewing platform for the World Cup. If you don’t have the time to join a pub and enjoy the matches with friends, you can always get the action live and share the thrill with thousands of ardent fans from different countries.

Quick tips for ordering clothes

FIFA clothing is already up for sale, so you may want to check the styles, designs and other details right away. Some stores do offer international shipping but confirm the estimated delivery date in advance. Please note that Designer Soccer Dresses are usually created with the theme in mind, and most companies specializing in these don’t go for mass production. This is mainly because the quality of the apparel must be ensured. Since the quantities are limited, make sure that you have placed the order after checking all details. For online orders, check for returns and exchange, as well, because you don’t want to cheer for your team by wearing an oversized jersey.

Have fun at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and if you have booked the tickets, arrive at the stadium in style!

Messi Vs Maradona

Who is the world’s greatest footballer? Many currently place that mantel at the feet of the talismanic Barcelona front man Lionel Messi. But is Messi the greatest EVER player? This is food for thought and in order to come to a conclusion it is important to compare Messi with another Argentinean, a man so often lauded as the greatest footballer of all time – Diego Maradona.

To adequately compare Messi and Maradona it is important to examine their playing styles, abilities, achievements at domestic and international level and the eras in which they both played.

Lionel Messi

Messi began life as an attacking midfielder, but in recent years has been deployed as a forward (rather than a traditional striker). His skill and creativity on the ball means he can dictate the game by dropping deeper, but can push forward and score goals with terrifying regularity.

In the 2012/13 season Messi broke Gerd Müller’s goal-scoring record of 85 goals in a calendar year, a record that stood for 40 years. This has led to many pundits, fans, players and media outlets to proclaim him the greatest player of all time.

Messi’s ability is undeniable, especially as, at the age of 11 he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, which lends to his small stature and meant he had to develop pace, touch and skill at a young age in order to compete at the highest level.

Despite having won everything at domestic level, question marks still remain over Messi’s ability to transfer his form to the international stage. In an Argentina shirt he doesn’t appear to possess the same magic as in a Barcelona jersey.

There are also reservations as to whether Messi could deliver playing in other European league’s; the Premier League for example. The game in England is much more physical and fast paced than in Spain and some ponder whether Messi would be as good playing outside of Spain.

Diego Maradona

A generation (or so) before Lionel Messi there was another Argentinean who wore the famous scarlet and blue of Barcelona. His name was Diego Armando Maradona.

The mercurial Argentinean was technically gifted, a playmaker and great strategist. His skill on the ball was unrivalled and despite being an attacking midfielder, Maradona regularly scored at a rate that would have rivalled most strikers.

Many fans, pundits, experts, players and critics regard Maradona as perhaps the greatest footballer who ever lived.

He began his career at Argentinos Juniors before transferring to Brazilian heavyweights Boca Juniors, where he spent a season. It was then that he moved to FC Barcelona for a (then) world record fee of £5 million. A record he himself would later break with a £6.9 million move to Napoli. Maradona spent two injury plagued seasons at the Nou Camp, but still managed 38 goals in 58 games and helped the team to win both domestic cups.

Following several disputes Maradona transferred to Italian club Napoli in 1984. It was here he enjoyed the most successful spell of his career, winning 2 Seria A titles, the Coppa Italia, the Italian Super Cup and the UEFA Cup. He also finished as top scorer in Serie A at the end of the 1987/88 season.

Maradona also produced on the international stage, where he was instrumental in Argentina’s World Cup win in 1986 and runner up finish in 1990. He also won the World Cup Golden Boot in 1986.

Conclusion

Whilst Messi may have won more domestic trophies and broken more goal-scoring records, there is no doubting that Maradona played in a much tougher and more physically demanding era of the sport. He also played in weaker sides than Messi and perhaps most importantly, produced at international level. Its unlikely Messi will move to a smaller unfashionable team to elevate them to greatness like Napoli. After all his current Barcelona side is built to accommodate him. The support of numerous talented Spanish internationals such Xavi and Iniesta combine with Messi to create a potent attacking force. One could argue this set-up make the diminutive Argentinean look better than he actually is.

It is worth noting that Maradona is an outspoken and patriotic man, whilst the young pretender is more introverted and timid in nature. This is partly the reason why he doesn’t enjoy the same level of adulation from his home country.

Comparing them is difficult as the eras they played in were so different, but taking everything into account Maradona edges Messi as the greatest ever footballer. With the world Cup 2014 looming in Brazil Messi does have the opportunity to turn this round.

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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.

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Dennis Publishing

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