The Football INDEX market’s hotting up! Canny traders like you are hauling in the profits as top teams jostle for the top spots in their respective leagues, make their moves to reach Cup finals, and set the rumour mill buzzing with summer transfer talk. Brilliant goals, bits of theatre, outrage, bans, it’s all been there as we say Sayonara to another week of football magic. Here’s a small sampling of some of the standouts….
Masterful Lionel Messi (£1.98) was back on show, last weekend, in a game where it always really counts: El Classico! The Argentine, who has scored over 40 goals per season for the last 8 years running, was at his splendid best in the heartland of the enemy: Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. It helped that early on Marcelo (£0.43) biffed him in the face with a flying elbow. Messi spat hot blood, but tasted a cold rage, which he channeled into a deadly performance. He scored twice in the Catalan side’s 3-2 victory. His second goal, the winner, came in the 93rd minute and was his landmark 500th goal for Barcelona! (Highlights).
Messi was still on fire for Barca, mid-week, in their 7-1 thrashing of Osasuna (“who?”), scoring his 48th and 49th goals of the season! The mini maestro, who is +10.7% for the week, opened the scoring with a delightful chip of the oppo keeper. The game’s other main talking point was the sight of Messi’s fellow Argentine, Javier Mascherano (Squad: 507), goaded by fans and team mates into taking a penalty kick, thundering in his first-ever goal for Barcelona in what was his 194th appearance for the club. According to BarcaBlaugranes.com, Mascherano’s landmark goal was also the club’s 100th league goal of the season and their 500th under manager, Luis Enrique. (Highlights).
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After their Man United defeat in the Premier League, there was always going to be a reaction from Chelsea, and Willian (£1.14) and speedy Pedro (£1.01) were chosen to spark it. As one pessimistic Spurs fan called in to Radio Five Live to say, once Chelsea got the opening goal, you kind of knew which way the wind was going to blow. To Spurs credit, they fought back twice, but there was something fundamentally wrong from the start, and its name was Son Heung-min (£0.88)! Shoe-horned into playing wing back, he looked about as comfortable there as a Daewoo at a supercar rally. (Highlights)
Willian is such a dependable player; he gets that look in his eyes, where you can just tell he’s not going home without the win. Doesn’t make a lot of fuss; you don’t get the carnival around him that you get with the some of the superstars, but he quietly puts in the kind of performances that saw him voted Chelsea’s Fans’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year last season. You can understand why Jose Mourinho is said to want him at United. Traders in Willian’s Futures have enjoyed up to +15% value gains over the last week! Nice!
Back in Premier League action, Chelsea banged in another 4 goals against Southampton in the Premier League, Tuesday night, to maintain their all-important lead at the top. Andrew Grainger covered that “belter” and its effect on the INDEX, here.
HAT-TRICK FEELS ICKY
In the normal run of things, scoring a hat-trick, as Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi (£1.01) did the other day against Fiorentina, should be cause for celebration. But not when your team end up losing 5-4! (Highlights) The 24-year-old Argentinian striker has been linked to Chelsea, with BleacherReport.com claiming Antonio Conte sees him as a back-up if the Blues fail to land Romelu Lukaku (£4.94). Icardi has scored 77 goals in 122 appearances for the I Nerazzurri, and declares he is very happy with the club and wants to stay and win trophies. That old line. However, his team currently sit 7th in Serie A. The most they can hope to achieve in the remainder of the season looks to be a 6th place finish and a spot in the Europa League’s third qualifying round. The opportunity to show-case his talents in the Champions League, for the very first time, might test his resolve if any qualified teams come knocking. Icardi signed a contract extension, last October, that includes a perilously steep buy-out clause of €110 million!
There’s a factory production line somewhere that’s churning out young, super-talented, super-fast strikers. Marcus Rashford (£5.43) at United, Kylian Mbappé (£2.68) at Monaco, risen again Gabriel Jesus (£5.21) at Man City; and we can add Ousmane Dembele (£1.07) at Borussia Dortmund to that list. The 19-year-old provided a “burst of class” to score the winner that dumped Bayern Munich out of the German Cup in a sensational game that Dortmund won 3-2 having been 1-2 behind at one point. It really was a “delicious strike”, as you’ll see (here), but the young Frenchman needs to work on his celebration knee slides! Also, worth seeing – Arjen Robben’s (Squad: 155) face after Dortmund’s Sven Bender (Squad: 410) cleared his goal-bound shot off the line (here)!
Let’s double-up on French Dembeles and take a quick gander at another of these exciting, factory fresh, new hotshots — Celtic striker, Moussa Dembele (£1.98), not to be confused with the one-S Belgian midfield version at Spurs! Since joining the Scottish champions last June, the 20-year-old has scored 32 goals from 46 appearances and, until now, managed to keep lethal Leigh Griffiths (Squad: 100) from regaining his position as The Hoops’ first-choice attacker on his return from injury. During the weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final and Old Firm derby, double-S Moussa provided a brilliant set-up for the opening goal by Callum McGregor, but was then unlucky to twang his hamstring while sprinting over the Rangers’ byline trying to keep a ball in play (highlights). The BBC reported that “the France U21 international is expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks during his recovery” and would “miss the Scottish Cup Final against Aberdeen on 27 May”, but manager Brendan Rogers reckons it’s still possible the youngster could recover in time to play the Final. Let’s hope so, as he’s a great one to watch!
You can deduce all kinds of things from the way footballers act. For instance, the girlfriends of Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez (£4.89) and Man City’s Sergio Aguero (£2.77) must wear permanent smiles – because those two high scorers seem willing to go down at the slightest invitation! Eager beaver diva, Alexis Sanchez, proved that while trying to obstruct a Leicester throw-in (here). He was consequently well and truly Fuchs’d, not in the face, but in the shoulder. But after a 2-second “where’s-the-ref?” glance around, dove to the turf clutching his chops, and was later pictured licking a fat lip. And in the Manchester derby, last night, Aguero should have been spitting curly hairs after he plunged to the pitch (here) following the daintiest of dabs from the powder puff ‘fro of Marouane Fellaini (£0.58)!
While these box-office stars of Football’s theatre might only pay lip service to the idea of fair play, let’s hope they keep YOUR lips twitching with pleasure through investing in them!
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