We had some fantastic mid-week games in the Champions League and now the FA Cup looms for those that remain in the most prestigious of club competitions. With his views on this and much more, BetBright’s Football ambassador, Jimmy Bullard is here with his weekly column.
Liverpool For The UCL Is Premature
Spurs did fantastically to come back and get a vital draw away from home against Juventus on Tuesday night. It just shows how resilient they are as a team – trailing by two goals in any match is tough enough, but to comeback against a European Giant like Juventus in their own back yard and keep themselves in the tie is so impressive.
I was never one of those blokes who put Harry Kane on a pedestal when he burst onto the scene, where everyone was saying he was among the world’s elite players. I was always umm-ing and ahh-ing as to whether or not you could put him in that very top bracket.
But, I am putting him in that group now; he’s just amazing. Every week he produces for Spurs so I’ve got to be rating him as a World Class striker – hopefully he can produce the same for England at the World Cup!
There’s been a few murmurs suggesting Liverpool can go on and win the Champions League after they smashed Porto on Wednesday… let’s get one thing straight: they beat Porto, not Barca – wind your necks in!
They were dangerous going forward, they attacked with numbers and for this individual performance, they do deserve an enormous amount of credit.
Firmino, Salah and Mane are among the top 6 goal scorers in the Champions League this season which does show how good they are going forward, but with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus who they could come up against, I do think it’s a bit premature when people say that they can go on and win it.
Porto tried to play it out from the back, but Jesus Christ, didn’t Liverpool do a good job in squeezing up the pitch – the home side just couldn’t handle the pressure!
Everyone is banging on about how good the front three were, but it’s no coincidence that by bringing in Virgil van Dijk that the others can attack with so much more freedom and with the solidity he brings to that back line, you’ll see that he gets the best out of the youngsters like Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, who has particularly stepped up to the plate and looks very comfortable on the ball.
No Pressure For Jose… Yet!
With United losing to Newcastle at the weekend, Pep must be looking over his shoulder and thinking ‘They’re not even winning behind us – they’re basically giving us the league!’. It’s game over now, for sure, there are just too many points between City and their rivals.
A few pundits have been talking about when Jose is going to start feeling the pressure, but I am not sure he’ll feel it properly for a little while. I’m not being funny, but there’s pressure on all the managers of the top clubs and apart from City having an absolute freak of a season this year, football has changed now and Clubs need to face the fact that even the best teams in the league will be losing four games a season – it’s just such a competitive league.
Next season will be huge for Jose and Manchester United – the last thing they want to do is allow City to start dominating the Premier League like United did under Fergie’s Reign.
Ryan Mason Retires
It was awful to hear Ryan Mason announce his retirement from the game earlier on this week and it puts everything into perspective. We all watch the game and expect the very best from these stars, but as a fan, you forget exactly what players put their bodies through and what they put on the line every time they step onto the field.
All you have to do is look at the likes of Ryan and Fabrice Muamba at Bolton, to name just two – their careers were over at the click of a finger and it’s devastating to see lads retire through injury at such a young age.
Sometimes you’ve just got to take a step back and appreciate that footballers are only human and are susceptible to the same injuries as anyone else.
It’s so sad to see, but I wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do next.
Bets For The FA Cup
The FA Cup is back this weekend which is always quality and as always, it’s more than likely to throw a few curve balls our way…
I think we’ve got an upset on our hands at Hillsborough, where Carlos Carvalhal returns to his former club as Manager of Swansea. He’s done a great job since coming to the Premier League, where he’s lifted the Swans out of the Danger Zone, but the FA Cup is a different kettle of fish and I can see Sheffield Wednesday getting something out of this – back them to win at 12/5 with BetBright.
Spurs will be full of it after their comeback in Turin during the week – as long as they don’t get complacent, I do not see any upset, whatsoever when they visit Rochdale on Sunday. Saying that, I’m tipping both teams to score in this one (7/5) and you’ve got to be expecting a hatful of goals as well, so get on over 4.5 goals at 14/5.
They may well rest Kane in this one, so I’m putting my kahunas on the line and backing Llorente to score first at 14/5.
Finally, my old club Wigan host Pep Guardiola’s Man City at the DW Stadium on Monday night. At 1/6, this has a City win written all over it, but I’d be backing both teams to score at 11/10.
This is a repeat of the 2013 FA Cup final where everyone forgets that Wigan came out on top – I’m not saying they will this weekend, but I am saying that this historical win will be in the minds of The Latics and I can see Will Grigg bagging (10/3 anytime) which will keep the visitors on their toes.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.