Football Index

La Liga Golden Boot Dark Horses

As La Liga’s big three struggle to get consistent results in the early months of the campaign, the window of opportunity has never been wider for both clubs and individuals to catch the eye in the absence of dominating performances from the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are the favourites to take the top-flight’s golden boot award this season, but plenty of other forwards have got off to promising starts in Spain.

Cristhian Stuani (Girona, £1.51) – 11 goals

The current leader of the pack when it comes to goalscoring in La Liga, Stuani has kicked on massively since joining Girona at the start of last season. The Uruguay international has scored around half of his club’s top-flight goals since their promotion, netting 32 times and putting himself in the same kind of bracket as Messi and Suarez. Deadly in the air, blessed with the physical prowess to put himself about and make himself a nuisance for opposing central defenders, Stuani is the main man and focal point in a team that are flying high.


Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo, £2.37) – 10 goals

A man with an eye for the spectacular, rather than tucking away easier opportunities, Iago Aspas has been one of Galicia’s most dangerous strikers for a number of years. Putting away ten goals in 14 games, the Spain international ensures that a leaky Celta Vigo defence doesn’t get in the way of keeping things competitive. New boss Miguel Cardoso is not short of attacking talent, with plenty of direct options in wide areas and technically gifted midfielders that should provide plenty of ammunition across the league campaign.

Borja Iglesias (Espanyol, £1.58) – 8 goals

Despite only spending a few months at Espanyol, Borja Iglesias is already getting close to etching his name in the club’s history books. His goal against Girona recently was his fifth consecutive goalscoring league game, putting him level with club legend Raul Tamudo. Physical, intelligent and hard working, Rubi has a perfect target man with composure and a poacher’s instinct. He’s earned his side five points on his own, as a direct result of his goals, too.

Andre Silva (Sevilla, £2.67) – 8 goals

A hat-trick on his La Liga debut was a good way to start, and the signs have looked promising for Andre Silva ever since. Offering the perfect blend of attributes for Pablo Machin’s system at Sevilla, the Portuguese can hold the ball up, as well as offer a threat in behind or in the air. The club’s sporting director has already confirmed that they will be making his loan move permanent after a dream start in Andalusia.

Roger Marti (Levante, £1.21) – 8 goals

When Levante made their return to LaLiga, Roger was a huge helping hand in their promotion campaign from Segunda with 22 goals. After having the vast majority of last season snatched from him due to a serious injury, it was only in the season half of the campaign that the 27-year-old began to be reintroduced. This time around, he had a full pre-season of preparation and has been able to hit the ground running. Roger has the nose to sniff out half-chances in the penalty area.

Maxi Gomez (Celta Vigo £2.62) – 7 goals 

One of LaLiga’s revelations last season, Maxi Gomez is showing no signs of slowing down. Fresh off the back of a World Cup experience with Uruguay, the 22-year-old has returned to domestic action with seven goals in 12 appearances – making just ten starts. Celta are under new leadership in Miguel Cardoso, with the Portuguese coach looking to put more emphasis on direct, attacking play, and that should suit Maxi perfectly. Great in the air and a natural finisher in the penalty area, he has all of the attributes to become a top striker in Europe.

Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla, £2.16) – 7 goals

Last season was one of frustration for Wissam Ben Yedder, as three different coaches failed to put him at the forefront of their plans at Sevilla. Gradually, Pablo Machin has began to use the Frenchman as a perfect partner for Andre Silva in his front two. Full of energy and with an understanding of what the club means to its fanbase, Ben Yedder is a tireless runner but also has the technical ability and low centre of gravity to make himself a nuisance on the ball, playing himself into consistent first-team contention.

Please follow and like us:
Football Index

The Surprise Leaders Of La Liga: Sevilla

With just 13 games played, Pablo Machin’s Sevilla sit loud and proud at the top of La Liga although even their most ardent fans would probably admit that it is probably more by luck than judgment; more by accident than design.

Just six points separate the top seven clubs as everybody seems to be taking points off everyone. Could Sevilla conceivably maintain their challenge all the way to only its second-ever La Liga title? (The last one was in the 1945-46 season).

Probably not but it has certainly been a topsy-turvy season that has seen shocks aplenty – Real Madrid thumped 3-0 at Eibar and the then top placed Barcelona going down to the then bottom place Leganes, to name but two – so just about anything looks like it could be possible.

But what is most interesting is how Sevilla managed to get themselves into this position.

While they are certainly the form side having lost just once in nine games with a return of 22 points from a possible 27, it was changes forced upon them by injury that precipitated the upturn in their fortunes.

That, and the fact that Pablo Machin is holding a number of trump cards in his hand.

Machin has always favoured playing three at the back plus the use of two defensive midfielders. Unfortunately injuries suffered by the two men specifically picked for that job (Ibrahim Amadou and Maxime Gonalons) meant he had to improvise. When he placed Ever Banega in that position he will have been more than pleasantly surprised to see the midfielder take to the task like the proverbial duck to water.

If Machin has one quality it is his ability to adapt and his decision to opt for one holding midfielder instead of two and play a second forward (Ben Yedder) up front came after a 2-0 home defeat by Getafe. He felt the players were demanding it, he realised changes were needed. So far it has proved to be his ‘eureka’ moment.

No player in La Liga has won the ball back more often than Banega this season and the balance is further established with Franco Vazquez playing to his left and Pablo Sarabia to his right, two players that up to then had been considered to be far more attack-minded than their new roles demanded.

But somehow this shake it and see combination has brought home the ‘jamon’ and Machin has also been helped by some seriously impressive form from some of his other players, at both ends of the pitch.

In the Czech, Tomas Vaclik, Machin has probably got the, currently, most impressive goalkeeper in La Liga while up front Andre Silva, currently on loan from AC Milan but whom Sevilla want to buy, is having the season of his life. He has been aided and abetted by Wissam Ben Yedder who Machim orignally wanted to sell, but who has also subsequently shown everyone just effective he can be.

Jesus Navas, back in his beloved hometown since August last year, is enjoying a real swansong of a season and is crossing the ball as well, if not better, than he ever did in his heyday.

But much will now depend on what business Sevilla can do in the upcoming winter window because they will almost certainly need to strengthen in depth if they hope to strive for La Liga glory.

The reason for that is clear to see. With Amadou still in the process of getting to match fitness and Gonalons out of the picture, when Machin has attempted to re-cycle the side as he did when he played Roque Mesa in the defensive midfield role, what you got was a weaker looking Sevilla although a great goalkeeper and two in-form strikers have been able to mask the problem.

He will, therefore, be looking to add another holding midfielder and another striker to take the pressure off Andre Silva and Ben Yedder. They do have the Dutchman, Quincy Promes, and Muriel, although neither has made too much of an impact since they arrived at the club.

And it is also perhaps worth pointing out that it will cost them a cool €35m should they decide – which they surely will –  to sign Silva on a permanent basis when his loan spell ends, more than €15m more than they have ever spent on one player (Luis Muriel) in the club’s history.

Whoever they buy will have to hit the floor running because Machin will know better than anyone that he will need reinforcements if he is to keep up the momentum and level of competitiveness that will help them to mount a serious challenge for the title.

Win it or not they certainly look like a very good bet indeed for a top-four finish and aided by a good wind and similar strokes of good fortune such as those already enjoyed, who knows what might pan out at the end of what is proving to be a wonderful and intriguing season.

Please follow and like us:
Talk Sport

Arsene Wenger EXCLUSIVE: Former Arsenal manager rules himself out of Real Madrid job

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has ruled himself out of taking over at Real Madrid, saying he is not planning to return to football until next year.

The Frenchman has been just one of the top bosses linked with the role since the Spanish giants sacked Julen Lopetegui on Monday following their humiliating 5-1 Clasico defeat to Barcelona.

Tottenham’s Maurico Pochettino and former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte have been the two managers most strongly linked with the role, although it is now claimed Conte is out of the running.

Roberto Martinez is another candidate, while Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has also been linked with a shock move back to the Bernabeu.

Wenger has been tentatively linked with the role, having yet to make his return to management since leaving Arsenal at the end of last season after 22 years in charge.

Wenger says farewell to fans in his last game in charge of Arsenal last season

But the 69-year-old has ruled himself out of the Los Blancos role, telling talkSPORT he is not looking to take another job until after the New Year.

Speaking at the launch of former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein’s ‘Twinning Project’ initiative at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday, Wenger said: “Look, I am not the Real Madrid manager, I am here today to support David Dein.

“Overall I don’t know what I will do next year, but I will be back in football and back in sport.

“I have huge experience and a huge desire to share what I know about the game and what is important in the game with people who need it.

“Where? I don’t know, but only in the New Year.”

Listen to Arsene Wenger’s response to links with the Real Madrid job above

Please follow and like us:
FootballIndex Futures

Wales winger Gareth Bale, 29, was top of a poll of Real Madrid fans about who the team’s worst performing player has been this season. (Marca)

Wales winger Gareth Bale, 29, was top of a poll of Real Madrid fans about who the team’s worst performing player has been this season. (Marca)

💷💷 Make money trading Football Futures. Earn Dividends on 2,500+ players – See link in Bio. 💷💷

⚽️⚽️ Why not try this as well as your usual #footyaccums #accas #footballacca #acca #accumulator #betfair #betinplay #inplaybets ⚽️⚽️ #football #soccer #stockmarket #futures #trader #traderlife #footballgossip #footballtransfers #transferrumours #footballtips #footballbets #footballbetting #betting #bettingtips

Please follow and like us:
Football Index

Football Index Blog: Wednesday 24th October 2018 – Double Match Day

Here are today’s eligible fixtures:

Champions League

Group A

Club Brugge v Monaco | 17:55
Dortmund v Atletico | 20:00

Group B

PSV v Spurs | 17:55
Barcelona v Inter | 20:00

Group C

PSG v Napoli | 20:00
Liverpool v Red Star Belgrade | 20:00

Group D

Lokomotiv Moscow v Porto | 20:00
Galatasaray v Schalke | 20:00

Keep an eye on the #FIDividendPredictor competition on Twitter where you have to predict the ‘Star Player’ from each group to be in with the chances of winning £200.

La Liga

Rayo Vallecano v Athletic Club | 18:00

Double Match Day Payouts

Top Defender: £0.08
Top Midfielder: £0.08
Top Forward: £0.08
Star Player: £0.04

Please follow and like us:
Talk Sport

If Harry Kane does not move to Real Madrid within the next two years he will never leave Tottenham Hotspur, claims Lothar Matthaus

Harry Kane should move to Real Madrid within the next two years if he wants to play for the LaLiga giants in his career, according to Germany great Lothar Matthaus.

The Tottenham striker has been linked with a Bernabeu transfer in recent years thanks to his splendid form for the Premier League club and England.

Kane has 146 goals in 187 games for Spurs

Kane and Spurs have a crunch Champions League match at PSV Eindhoven – a game you can listen to live on talkSPORT –  on Wednesday night knowing anything other than a win will effectively end their hopes of reaching the last 16.

A failure to make a mark in Europe’s elite competition could lead to an exodus of Spurs players including the likes of Kane.

However, when asked by a Marca journalist after England’s Nations League win over Spain if he would like to move to Real Madrid, Kane replied: “Sorry, not today.”

But Matthaus believes the prospect of moving to arguably the biggest club in the world will be hard for Kane to turn down.

Matthaus believes Kane’s form against Spain shows he is ready for a move to Real Madrid

Writing in his column for The Sun, Matthaus said: “He [Kane] is 25 now. If he does not go in the next two years, by the time he is 27, he will never leave.

“If he did, Real are the only club that would be right for him. Real shine brighter than any other club in the world.

“Let’s be honest, it’s not a question of whether he would be ready next summer or the one after, or the following year. He was ready last week.

“He has the quality and the experience, he knows how to score against anybody. He has that confidence in himself.

Kane and Spurs came up short against Real’s fierce rivals Barcelona in the Champions League earlier this month

“The question is whether Kane wants to leave Spurs, England, the Premier League. He’d never leave Spurs for another Premier League club.

“It would have to be something special for him to leave the club. But if it’s going to happen, it will have to be soon.”

Matthaus went on to say how Real made an approach for him when he was an Inter Milan player in 1991, however, Inter president at the time Ernesto Pellegrini would not let him go.

But the 1990 World Cup winner believes Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would let Kane go if the striker really wanted the move.

Matthaus added: “It would be different if Harry went to Daniel Levy and said he really wanted to play for Real.

“Levy knows what Harry’s done for the club.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if there is an understanding, a gentleman’s agreement, between them.

“He would not have anything written into his contract. He is not that sort of player.

“But if he knocked on Daniel’s door, at the right time, and there was a truly serious offer on the table, it may be different.”

Matthaus suggested Daniel Levy would be willing to sell Kane if the right offer came along
Please follow and like us:
FootballIndex Futures

FootballINDEX Blog: Six Spanish Youngsters To Watch

La Liga is bursting with young Spanish talent and it proved a difficult job to choose just 6 players to watch but I did just that. Read on to discover my choices.
Ferran Torres (£1.57, here)
With just about every club in Europe including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool looking to steal Ferran Torres away from Valencia, this April saw the club sign the 18-year-old to a new deal until 2012 with a buyout clause of €100m.
With all potential predators suitably discouraged, Torres broke into the first team squad of the club where the young midfielder/winger has spent his entire footballing career from the age of six.
He made his La Liga debut on 16 December, playing the last nine minutes in a 1–2 loss at SD Eibar.
He has also represented his country at Under 17 level 24 times and made five appearances for the Under 19s.
There is plenty of competition for his place on the right wing or on the right-hand side of midfield with players like Carlos Soler, Guedes and Cheryshev but there are still many in Valencia that believe he should be in the starting XI.
Many believe he would benefit from more playing time and there was talk of a loan deal to Real Sociedad although Marcelino rejected the idea and has made it more than clear that the youngster is very much part of his future plans.
He has also grabbed the attention of UEFA who have included him in their list of the 50 young stars to follow this season.
Abel Ruiz (£1.98, here)
Valenciano from the small town of Almussafes, Abel started with Valencia before joining the Barcelona Academy as a 12-year-old
An old-fashioned number he plays in a similar style to Robert Lewandowski and has also been compared to a young Marco Van 
According to Diario Sport, he has already attracted the attention of a number of Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City.
In fact, he is so highly rated by the club, that in June when he extended his contract for a further three seasons with an optional two more, they also included a staggering 100m€ buyout clause. This is in place to deter any bids to entice him away from the Camp Nou.
An elegant centre-forward with a nose for goal, Ruiz has a physical presence as he is 1.82m tall but he can also play on the wing. “I’m a more direct player, a good finisher,” he told Diario Sport earlier this year when asked to explain his style. “I hold the ball well with my back to goal and I consider myself a complete forward.
He is the top goalscorer in the history of the Spain under-17 team on 27 goals and is also its most-capped player with 37 appearances. He is also the top goalscorer in the history of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals: 8 goals (shared with Amine Gouiri and Odsonne Edouard) and the top goalscorer in the history of UEFA European Under-17 Championship on 16 goals (shared with José Gomes)
Carles Alena (£2.21, here)
Already a member of the first team squad he is, to many, the answer to Barcelona’s search for a long-term midfield influence following on from the likes of Iniesta and Xavi.
Although hampered by injuries, he is now back to full fitness and is expected to feature in the first team at some point in the season. If he does he will be the first player from La Masia since Sergi Roberto to nail down a place in the first team.
A left-footed midfielder who is an excellent striker of the ball, Carles Aleñá has been an FC Barcelona player since the age of eight. His natural ability has seen him rise quickly through the youth teams to reach Barça B. When he was a still officially an U19A player, he was already a fixture in the B squad.
Aleñá is a different kind of midfielder. With a great left foot, he is strong and not afraid to take players on. Furthermore, he is not afraid to come inside and use his technical ability to shoot from outside the box
On 30 November 2016 he made his debut for Luis Enrique’s first team in the Copa del Rey tie away at Hércules which ended 1-1. The midfielder from Mataró scored Barça’s only goal of the game with an excellent effort from outside the box.
On 6 September 2017, Aleñá signed a contract extension with FC Barcelona for the next three seasons with a buyout clause of 75m€.
Fran Beltran (£1.45, here)  
Born in Sesena in the South of Madrid, Fran Beltran is generally regarded as one of the hottest young prospects in La Liga
Aged just 19 he was on Getafe’s Academy, he joined Rayo Vallecano’s set up aged 14 and played in their reserves in the third division when he was just 16.
He signed a five year deal with Celta Vigo in August of this year after they paid his  €8m buyout clause. While Celta were ecstatic about having signed him Rayo were less than impressed about how things panned out, claiming that while things may have been done legally, morally Celta had been found wanting in their handling of the deal.
Celta meanwhile couldn’t have cared less claiming in a press release that they had signed him because he was, “a talented player who shows great physical fitness, defensive strength and ball-winning qualities and brilliant intelligence with his control and distribution of the ball.”
He made his debut in the Primera Liga on 18 August, starting in a 1–1 home draw against RCD Espanyol.
Since then he has been an automatic starter in all but one of the league games this season when he came on from the bench. He previously made his debut with Rayo at just 17 and made 71 appearances for them between 2016-18 and he has already represented his country at Under 17, 18 and 19 level.
Achraf Hakimi (£1.86, here)
Achraf Hakimi has much in common with Dani Carvajal and not just because they are both Real Madrid players who play as right backs.
The 19-year-old Hakimi is currently the right back of preference at high-flying Borussia Dortmund who are taking the Bundesliga by storm and where the Madrid born Moroccan International is on a two-year loan deal.
It was only after taking the advice of Carvajal who had previously been on loan at Bayer Leverkusen that he opted to go to the Bundesliga and so far it is proving to be a very wise decision.
He had already made his debut for the Real Madrid first team and with regular first-team options limited in the coming season it suited all parties that he should improve as a player at the highest level possible
“I had a lot of offers, but Dortmund’s was the one that had me convinced,” Hakimi said. “The team likes to play very attractive football and they try to make young players better. I had Carvajal in front of me at Real, but he told me to make the most of the opportunity: go there, play and enjoy it.”
“He’s playing so well,” said Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre. “He’s great going forward and he does a good job at the back. He played at left-back for Morocco, but prefers to play at right-back. He has so much potential.”
So much so in fact that his performances have earned him the right-back berth ahead of the established Dortmund legend, Polish defender, Lukasz Piszcek.
In addition to his club football he has already represented Morocco 19 times as a full international making his debut when aged just 16.
Marc Roca (£1.23, here)
These are truly heady days at Espanyol who find themselves after eight La Liga games in fifth place, separated from a fourth-placed Real Madrid by virtue of just one goal fewer scored.
An ever-present in the starting line up this season central midfielder Marc Roca, a product of the Espanyol academy that he joined as an 11-year-old back in 2008.
New Espanyol coach, Joan Francesc Ferrer ‘Rubi’, has placed his faith in Roca in the vital pivot role linking defence and midfield and the young Catalan has rewarded him by taking to the role like a duck to water.
Although it was the previous coach, Quique Sanchez Flores that gave him his chance in the first team, he spent most of his time on the bench and played just 100 minutes all season.
Now almost certainly one of the first names on Rubi’s teamsheet, much of Espanyol’s early form has been attributed to Roca’s great start to the season and he has been rewarded with a call-up for Spain’s under 21 side for both of their forthcoming qualification games for the European Championships.
He previously came onto the radar of various Premier League club including Liverpool and Southampton and Espanyol’s recent run of good form will once again push the 21-year-old defensive midfielder right back into the spotlight.
Any attempts to lure the central midfielder away from will come at a much higher price now however following his signing of a contract extension that should keep him at the club until 2022 and includes a buyout clause of €40m.
All of these players and more are available to trade on Football Index here:
Please follow and like us:
Talk Sport

Real Madrid ‘make contact’ with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte as axe hovers over Julen Lopetegui

Real Madrid have made contact with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte over the possibility of taking over as manager, according to reports in Italy.

The Spanish giants’ new manager, Julen Lopetegui, is under intense pressure after a slow start to the season.

Real are currently on a miserable run of form and results, having slumped to three defeats and a draw in their last four games in all competitions.

Even more worryingly, the side has failed to score a single goal in all of those matches, too.

It has left Lopetegui under heavy fire from supporters and the Spanish press, with Saturday’s return to action against Levante already being dubbed as a must-win and job-saving match.

And, according to Corriere dello Sport, Real Madrid are sounding out Conte in case they have to make a change in management.

Lopetegui was controversially binned off as Spain manager in the week leading up to the summer’s World Cup after he accepted the Real Madrid job – but his reign could be short-lived

The Premier League and FA Cup-winning boss was first linked to the Real job earlier this month, but club’s directors are said to have contacted the Italian on Monday to see if he was available to work.

Conte is reportedly still sorting his compensation package with Chelsea after being dismissed by them in the summer.

However, the chance to take the reins at Real Madrid may urge the 49-year-old to swiftly resolve matters.

Please follow and like us:
Talk Sport

Dejan Lovren: Liverpool defender emerges as shock January transfer target for Barcelona

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has emerged as a shock January target for Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.

Lovren, the centre-back, has made just two appearances in all competitions this season having been dealing with a pelvic injury in the opening weeks of the campaign.

Lovren enjoyed his strongest run of form for Liverpool towards the end of last season

He returned to Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI for Liverpool’s Carabao Cup defeat by Chelsea, and then played the full 90 minutes in their Premier League draw with Manchester City 11 days later.

At the start of the season Lovren was expected to continue his brilliant partnership with Virgil van Dijk in the heart of Liverpool’s defence – especially after ending 2017/18 so strongly – but Joe Gomez has emerged as a serious threat to Lovren’s position given his superb performances in the opening stages of 2018/19.

The Camp Nou club are probing the market for a new central defender heading into the opening of the window as Ernesto Valverde, the Barcelona manager, seeks defensive reinforcements.

There is still no time frame for Umtiti’s return, but he’s expected to be out for a lengthy period

Injuries suffered by Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are expected to keep the pair out until the new year, leaving the woefully out of form Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as Barca’s only senior centre-backs.

Lovren is the latest in a long line of defenders linked with the Catalans as they seek to solve their back-line crisis, with Matthijs de Ligt, the Ajax starlet, and former Chelsea man Branislav Ivanovic said to be near the top of their shortlist.

Please follow and like us:
Talk Sport

Barcelona plotting another raid on Liverpool as they want to reunite Roberto Firmino with Philippe Coutinho

Barcelona are plotting another raid on Liverpool – this time for Roberto Firmino.

The Spanish giants have taken both Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho from the Premier League club in recent years.

Roberto Firmino is one of Liverpool’s most valued players

They angered the Reds with their protracted pursuit of Coutinho, which ended in January 2018 with a stunning £142m deal agreed between the two clubs for the Brazilian playmaker.

Now Barca are being linked with a sensational swoop for Coutinho’s international teammate Firmino.

With Suarez approaching 32, they are on the lookout for a new striker and Firmino, 27, is in their sights, according to reports in Spain.

Coutinho has reportedly been instrumental in convincing Barca to go after his former club team-mate and close pal.

Coutinho and Firmino have a close relationship

Firmino has scored 55 goals in 155 appearances for Liverpool since arriving from Hoffenheim in 2015 and is a vital member of Jurgen Kloop’s team, winning much praise for his selfless attitude and all-round game.

He signed a new long-term contract with the Merseyside club earlier this year and appears in no hurry to leave Anfield.

After penning the new deal in April, Firmino said:  “It was an easy decision.

“The club have taken me in in an incredible way and I’ve grown a lot here with my work with the support of the whole team. I am very, very happy here.

“Everything fits in the best possible way. My team-mates are fantastic and I am very grateful to be able to play with them at this club.

“I love to play for Liverpool FC. The fans are excellent and fantastic in how they support us all the way. They support us throughout the games and the work they do during the match is beautiful.”

But Barcelona are known for getting what they want and Liverpool will be wary of the reported interest in their star forward.

Please follow and like us: