5 Teams that excelled Premiere League in 2016

With the 25th edition of the Premier League reaching its half way mark, perhaps it is time to take a look at the top five teams that have excelled in this tournament so far. The below list is based on performances so far and there is every chance that a sixth team may end up winning the title. But then, that is the beauty of football, isn’t it?

With Chelsea leading the table with 46 points in 18 matches, closely followed by Manchester City in the same number of matches, football pundits are having a tough time predicting the best team of the tournament. Fans are also finding it difficult to digest the fact the reigning champions, Leicester City is currently in 16th position, their chances of holding on to the title all but nil.

Here is our list of five teams who stand a solid chance of winning this year’s title

Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29:  The Chelsea badge is seen on the corner flag ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on January 29, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The infusion of a new manager in Conte seems to have done the trick for the team, who has brought about some much needed stability which was lacking under the Italian coach Antonio. Having scored 38 goals and conceding only 11, they are easily one of the top favorites in this season. The return to form of Diego Costa have augured well for the Blues’, so has the brilliant coordination displayed by the midfield as well as the defenders. Michy Batshuayi, Gary Cahil, and John Terry all have been in excellent form. The midfield trio of Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, and Oscar have been able to set the tone of the matches and aided some excellent maneuvers through the wings.

Manchester City

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Perhaps the biggest positive for Manchester City has been the introduction of the new coach Pep Guardiola whose innovative formations and tactics have done them a whole lot of good.  One of the leading goal scoring teams of the EPL so far, Manchester City has been robust in their defense as well. When it comes to goal scoring, Sergio Aguero has been the go-to man for Guardiola, who has found the nets with alarming frequency. The midfield manned by Raheem Sterling Nolito has equally been up to the task, creating goal opportunities and controlling the pace of the game. Those who are familiar with Pep’s ball possession tactic during his stint with Barcelona are amazed how easily he has been able to infuse it into the EPL as well.

Liverpool

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Leading the number of goals scored with 41 goals against 20 conceded, Liverpool stands a good chance as any to lift the coveted title this year. Jurgen Klopp has been a master visionary, conjuring tactics and formations that has unsettled the calculations of many of his opposite numbers. Liverpool has been able to rise above superstar performances and started delivering as a team which is obvious from their points table. Having lost only 2 matches so far, Klopp’s men are one of the strongest contenders this year.

Arsenal

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The runner’s up of the last season, Arsenal would love to finish top of the table this time around. Arsenal’s bane has always been the finishing touch, however, with 39 goals scored in 18 matches, they have one of the strongest fire power this season, which places them in a strong position to win this year’s title.

Manchester United

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The Red Devils have been a different team altogether under the new coach Jose Mourinho and is currently placed sixth in the list. Pogba has been finding his feet consistently and that is certainly good news for them. However, with the final half of the tournament coming up, they would want more worthy contributions from their midfield if they are to proceed further in the tournament.

Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Southampton are also in the race and it is simply too early to write any one off. There is only thing that we can say with conviction at this point of time and that is we are headed for a brilliant finish to this year’s tournament!

Australia Versus Pakistan – Second Test Preview

The Pakistan cricket team went into the series against Australia knowing that it was the best time to better their record in test cricket Down Under. The Aussies were still hurting from the humiliation at the hands of the Proteas and the team had undergone a considerable number of changes. The Baggy Greens though had not lost a test at the Gabba in like forever and Steven Smith’s boys were determined to keep that streak intact. What followed was surreal. After conceding a huge first innings lead (courtesy another batting collapse), the visitors seemed out of it when they were asked to score 490 in the 4th innings but as always, you can never know for sure with Pakistan. Asad Shafiq scored a magnificent 137 and along with the tail, threatened to complete what would have been one of the biggest coups ever in test cricket and but for a ferocious bouncer from Mitchell Starc, he might have very well done that. In the end, Australia won by 39 runs and though Pakistan can count it as a moral victory, they will need much more in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne.

Australia have named an unchanged XI. Smith and Handscomb were among the runs in the first test but it’ll be David Warner who’ll be keenly watched. The swashbuckling opener has had an indifferent 2016 and will hope to end this year and start the next one on a personal high. Nic Maddinson has now failed to get going in 2 tests and will know that he cannot afford another failure. Their spearhead, Starc, will be playing his first Boxing Day Test and will look to continue his fine run. The MCG is a huge ground and the pitch is expected to offer a bit more to the bowlers. The batsmen will have to apply themselves in order to make meaningful contributions.

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Pakistan will know that the runs need to flow from the top of the order. Misbah, as usual, needs to take the onus on himself and make sure that his team doesn’t self-destruct as they often tend to do. Azhar and Younis will look to make bigger scores while the rest also have to consistently punch above their weights. Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz are certainties in the XI but Rahat Ali might just make way for Imran Khan who will provide variety to the pace attack. Though Pakistan fought back well last week, they are still the underdogs in this game and will need to consistently sustain the pressure on Australia to have any chance of ending the year on a high.

12

Sadio Mane puts Liverpool ahead of Everton

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It will hardly go down as a football classic, but nonetheless, Liverpool has won three points from their latest outing and that is all what matters for Jurgen Klopp at the moment. Described by football commentators as one of the least eventful matches in the Premier League so far, both teams failed to create opportunities, let alone score goals in the 90 minutes. And it wasn’t for Mane’s rebound goal in the 94th minute; nobody would have even bothered watching the replay ever!

It was just one of those nights. Two teams lost in a wilderness in the middle. Liverpool failed to create many opportunities and the ones that looked promising was nipped in the bud by the Everton midfield. Looking back, there were hardly any scoring opportunities created by Everton. A huge chunk of credit should go to Daniel Sturridge, who in the 94th minutes reminded us all why he is such an expensive player.

At the end of the full 90 minutes, the chances of Liverpool walking away with 3 points never seemed probable, thanks to some wayward shooting and lack of goal scoring opportunities. Sturridge was introduced in the attack a mere 15 minutes before the end and from out of the blue; he produced a shot that a regular goalkeeper should have saved without much fuss. But not Joel Robles. He allowed it to roll past him and the ball rebounded off the goal post to a waiting Sadio Mane, thus pushing Everton to their first home defeat in nine months. Maybe with their regular goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with them, Everton may have surely denied the Reds the three points. Perhaps, it was fitting that the goal was as uneventful as the rest of the game.

However, Jurgen Klopp refused to belittle the win on account of the dull display. He attributed the lackadaisical performance to the ‘wild football’ Everton played. He insisted that the best he could expect from such an opponent was three points, whether it came out of an uneventful match or a classic.

Perhaps the only man in the field for whom the victory must have been extra sweeter could be the goal scorer himself, for it always is a great feeling to win against a former manager’s team. Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, might rue the fact that he had to go into a high-profile match without Gareth Barry, which seemed to have disrupted his whole game strategy. To compensate for the loss of his star player, Koeman infused a few athletic performers into the side and to an extent; they served the purpose of running around aggressively and making the occasional tackle. But, none of them could match the skill of Barry, which resulted in a dearth of scoring opportunities.

Even when he was introduced at half-time, there was too little time left to redraw the strategies and just like the others, he had to go through the motions and if it wasn’t for Mane’s moment of brilliance, it could well have been a match that everyone would forget before the next match.

Guess who the latest Barcelona and Messi’s fan is – Santa Claus!

lionel-messi-goal-celeb-sevilla-barcelona_3825635There is one thing common between Barcelona FC and Messi other than the fact that the latter plays for the former and there is the humongous fan following they both have. If you put all their fans into a country, it would be larger than most of the countries and definitely more populated than most European countries! Such has been the impact they have had on football fans all over the world. Messi has grown into an incredible football player, creating a sense of jealousy and pride in even his opponents.

And there has been another phenomenon that brings instant cheers to millions worldwide during every Christmas season. So when Santa took to the club’s official YouTube channel to declare that he was a diehard fan of Barcelona FC and Messi, a mini earthquake ensued! The Barcelona fans were ecstatic understandably, but a lot of other clubs were left heartbroken. But, once the initial elation wore down, it became so much clearer; an incredible football team with a rich history and a young, talented, yet humble footballer who have conquered millions of hearts. They spread joy just by doing what they do. And they spread it all year long. So it does not come across as a surprise that Santa himself is a fan of Barcelona FC and Messi.

One might argue that Santa brings festive cheers to only a portion of the world population i.e. Christians. On the other hand, the religion Barcelona FC and Messi follows- that of football, knows no religion! Neither does it know race, color, caste, ethnicity or nationality. Football is an emotion that can bring together a Palestinian and a Jew, an Indian and a Pakistani, even Hilary and Trump together! It is hard for anyone not to be a fan of them, let alone Santa!

Santa is known for the rampant cheers and festive mood he brings along with him during December. But this jolly figure wrapped in red acknowledges that he does not stand a chance when it comes to the happiness Barcelona FC and Messi spread all year long. While his is a visit that ends with the festive season, Barcelona and Messi are here to stay, and keep spreading joy for seasons together.

But then why did Santa pick Barcelona and Messi? Why not CR7 and Real? These are questions that may run through every football fans minds. It could not just have been a random choice. It is not as if all the Barcelona fans collectively wished for this Christmas wish. There is obviously something more than what meets the eye. We believe that the reason could have been the presence of the perfect three wise men in Barcelona’s line up- Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez! Although many a team out there has wonderful players playing for them, which better three wise men to pick than these three? We would like to believe that this was the reason why Santa picked Barcelona and Messi!

Exciting Cricket Gear from Adidas and Newbalance!

Cricket gear is important for every cricket player. Cricket Gear includes Bats, Ball, Apparel, Safety gear and the likes. A complete Cricket gear is essential for every cricket player who regularly plays cricket and this is made complete by quality cricket gear from brands like Adidas and New Balance.

A cricket gear is must for anyone who is training for cricket and regularly plays cricket to play like a professional. Don’t starve yourself of a good set of cricket gear if you want to play like a professional or if you play in tournaments.

Adidas and New Balance have some world-class cricket gear that are ideal choice for anyone likes to play with appropriate gear that can make him a pro. Here is a look at some cool stuff for aspiring cricketers.

  1. Adidas Cricket Perform White Polo T-Shirts: Get ready for a game of golf wearing this white colored polo T-shirt from Adidas. Made from polyester, this T-shirt will stay very soft against the skin. Featuring a smooth finish and 3-stripe logo on the front, this T-shirt can be worn with denims for a sporty look. Buy. Adidas Cricket Perform White Polo T-Shirts
  2. Adidas Core Regular Cricket Pants – White: The Regular Fit Cricket Pants with the latest Lightweight Fabric for high performance. It is crafted with 100% Polyester for increased comfort. Buy.  Adidas Core Regular Cricket Pants - White
  3. New Balance TC 360 Bat: The New Balance TC 360 Bats is made from a Kashmir willow and has a fibre tape face. It uses a 3 piece Singapore cane. It has a Orange Chevron grip and a red toe guard. It has large edges and sweet spot. Buy. New Balance TC 360 Bat
  4. New Balance TC 560 Gloves: The New Balance TC 560 gloves uses PU material along with additional protection on two panels of lead fingers only with plastic inserts. It has Sheep leather palm along with cross link foam padding. The gloves come with elasticated single sided sweatband and a high grade stretchable and ventilated gusset. Buy. New Balance TC 560 Gloves
  5. New Balance TC 560 Pads: The New Balance TC 560 pads uses imported chinese PU front. The 7 bars with cross link foam padding come with a traditional front. It uses a vertical bolster and the knee bolster uses a mix of litlon, soft foam and mesh. The insteps are covered with PU and the straps are made from Nylon. Buy.  New Balance TC 560 Pads
  6. Adidas Real 3S Cap: Adidas Real S Caps are made from 100% cotton 6-panel construction and are available in white and onyx color combinations. The 6-panel construction ensures a proper fit of the cap on the head and the curved brim guarantees compete protection of the eyes of the player. Ventilation hole are provided to dry away the sweat. The looks include an Adidas performance logo embroidered on the back. This gives the caps a very cool and subtle appearance, most appropriate for summer afternoons. These caps are mainly designed for beginners in cricket, however they can always be used as an accessory with casual attire as well. Buy.  Adidas Real 3S Cap - White & OnyxVisit Sports365.in and shop from a wide range of Sports products!