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2012/13 Premier League betting primer

The 2012/13 Premier League season is starting to hit its stride, with some of the big teams making a great start, with a few surprise names featuring near the top of the table. However, last season still lingers long in the memory, and no wonder. Here are just ten of the many things you might need to know about the 2011/12 campaign in case you decide to visit the ladbrokes sports page and have a little flutter:

• Robin van Persie was top scorer with 30 goals, being the first Dutch player to win the golden Boot since Ruud van Nistelrooy back in 2002/03.

• Manchester City’s title win was largely down to terrific home form, with the moneybags outfit winning 18 of 19 games at the Etihad Stadium.

• Despite an impressive points tally of 89, the champions’ rivals Manchester United missed out on the big prize by goal difference. 89 is the most points ever won by a second-placed team in Premier League history.

• 2011/12 saw 1066 goals scored, including 10 in the 8-2 victory for Man Utd against Arsenal at Old Trafford.

• In his debut season, City winger David Silva made the most assists last season with 15.

• The most fouled team last season were QPR, who avoided relegation on the final day.

• 2011/12 saw a total of 19 hat tricks scored, two of which came from Wayne Rooney against Arsenal and Bolton for Man Utd.

• The woodwork wasn’t Liverpool’s best friend last season, as the reds managed to hit the post or crossbar an astonishing 33 times.

• The 20,000th goal scored in the history of the Premier League was scored by promising Aston Villa midfielder Marc Albrighton in their defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

• Man City left-back Gael Clichy became the third player to win the Premier League trophy with two different clubs, following in the footsteps of Ashley Cole (Arsenal and Chelsea) and Henning Berg (Blackburn and Manchester United).

Euro Cup 2012 Aftermath

Soccer fans had to be happy with the Euro 2012 tournament. The level of play was excellent and we may be watching one of the greatest all-time dynasties in action. Spain’s Tiki-Taka style was on full display throughout the tournament. Any doubts about their lack of dominating play were put to rest with a 4-0 thrashing of a resurgent Italian side in the final. The Italians were playing excellent football, but they ran into a Spanish side that had even more talent and was ready to rise to the occasion.

Many think that Spanish dominance won’t end here. With an unprecedented three straight major tournament victories, Spain is now going for number four with the 2012 World Cup two years from now in Brazil, and many experts think they can do it. It would be a huge accomplishment, as it would be unprecedented for a European team to win a World Cup in South America. No South American team has ever won a World Cup in Europe, so location matters.

It will be interesting to see if Spain can break this streak as well. If they do, coupled with their recent string of success, there will be nobody arguing which is the best soccer dynasty ever. Spain also has one built-in advantage – the Spanish heritage of many South American. Of course that doesn’t apply to Brazil where Portuguese is spoken, but we should expect many Spanish-speaking South Americans rooting for Spain as their number two choice following their home country. This could galvanize the Spanish side and give them the extra motivation needed to pull off this accomplishment.

We can expect to see the fruits of this recent winning streak everywhere. Memorabilia and Spanish jerseys are flying of the shelves all over the world. Readers can join in and get huge discounts on soccer merchandise. We can expect Spanish fans to invade Brazil two year from now, but how many fans from South America will also be wearing Spanish jerseys? That will be very interesting to watch. If Spain can turn their Brazilian adventure into a mini-home crowd advantage, they might be unbeatable.

Of course there will be many other national teams ready to take on the mighty Spain. The home Brazilian side will be geared up to win the World Cup in their home country. Argentina is always a force on the word stage as well, and all of the South American teams will have some advantage.

As for the other European countries, we can always expect several of them to emerge as real threats. Germany always looks strong, and despite their continued frustrations against Italy in major tournaments, you can’t ever count them out. As for the Italians, they showed that they are resurgent again, and Mario Balotelli is the ultimate wild card. He’s only 21 years old now, and the sky is the limit with his talent. If he matures and works harder after the embarrassing loss against Spain, then the Italian side can be a real threat as well.

It’s been fun to see the renewed interest in these tournaments since ESPN started making the World Cup and the Euro Cup featured programming, so expect plenty of hype and interest as we watch Spain go for the four-peat.

Acrobatic penalty kick

Pretty cool.

Women love David Beckham

Yeah, that’s not a shocker. But this tidbit is still interesting:

Those crazy folks at AshleyMadison.com, who were once banned from airing a commercial during the Super Bowl, recently did a poll in which they asked more than 13,500 women across America which athlete they would most likely cheat on their husband with. David Beckham was the winner (not sure if that’s the right term to use here, but we’ll go with it anyway) with 43.1 percent of the votes. The man, the myth, the legend, Tim Tebow, came in second with 19.6 percent, while Tom Brady (did you know I interviewed him last week?) rounded out the top three at 17.9 percent. The rest of the top 10 looks like this: Derek Jeter (16.5 percent), Alex Rodriguez (13.2 percent), Cristiano Ronaldo (11 percent), Michael Phelps (10.5 percent), Peyton Manning (9.6 percent), Aaron Rodgers (9.5 percent), and Kelly Slater (9.2 percent). Tiger Woods came in 15th (6.1 percent). There’s a joke in there somewhere.

What, no Diego Maradona? Are fat, middle-aged ex-athletes out of the mix when it comes to dating?

Spain completes epic run

With Spain’s 4-0 thrashing of Italy to win the Euro 2012 tournament, many are starting to call Spain the greatest national side ever after winning three major tournaments in a row.