Where should England play Leah Williamson?

Where should England play Leah Williamson?

In April, Arsenal’s Leah Williamson was announced as the next captain of the England national team. She had worn the armband before, but now it was made official. To the surprise of many, Williamson was little more than a squad player under Phil Neville, but Sarina Wiegman set her stall out early, emphasising Williamson’s importance to the team as she inherited the armband from Steph Houghton.

Arsenal managing to convince Williamson to extend her contract was seen as just as important for their future as extending superstar striker Vivianne Miedema’s, so well regarded is the new England skipper. Aside from being an uncompromising defender, Williamson’s ability on the ball is second to none, and her willingness to look for progressive passes, or carry the ball into midfield, makes her an exceptionally important player for both club and country.

A versatile footballer, Williamson was a midfielder earlier in her career and, since starting regularly under Wiegman, she has often found herself featuring in the middle of the park for England. While there’s no doubting that her presence in the side greatly increases England’s football betting odds, the question on everyone’s lips is whether she should feature in the centre of defence, or in midfield.

Chelsea’s Millie Bright and Manchester City’s Alex Greenwood have been the defensive partnership that Wiegman has opted for most often. The pair are in their late 20s, and are experienced internationals. Millie Bright’s distribution has improved over time, lessening the loss of Williamson from the defence, while Greenwood’s transformation in recent years from left-back to centre-back has gone as well as could be hoped, with the Man City defender looking a natural fit.

The strong partnership of Bright and Greenwood suggests that playing Williamson in midfield is the right approach, it’s been difficult for England to find the right balance in midfield. Wiegman tends to operate with a pair that play relatively deep, with a more attacking midfielder further forward.

The most natural partner for Williamson looks to be Kiera Walsh. At 25, the Man City midfielder is the same age as Williamson, and they know each other well after coming through England youth squads together. The duo look to be Wiegman’s default choice, although there are concerns in some quarters that the partnership is a little too defensive, with England essentially lining up with two more defensively-minded midfielders.

While Walsh offers a threat going forward, England are finding it difficult to find a truly dynamic midfield partnership, often settling for a stable base that doesn’t offer too much in attack, with a reliance on the likes of Ella Toone further forward to link play and support the attack.

Jill Scott is England’s most natural option to offer the midfield more dynamism but, now 35 years old, she’s likely too old to be considered as a key player in the middle of the park. In truth, if England had a natural partnership in midfield, as they do at the back, then Williamson would find it harder to break into the midfield, and Wiegman would likely look at breaking up her defensive pairing.

But, with no real combination standing out, it makes sense for Wiegman to put Williamson in the centre of the park, and build around one of her key players in midfield. The pairing of Williamson and Walsh should make England difficult to play through, and the duo’s work rate means they’re able to shield the defence effectively. Perhaps the area of the pitch where England look weakest, Wiegman’s decision to play Williamson further forward could be crucial in making sure that England are able to control the midfield.

Who is Stephen Lee?

Who is Stephen Lee?  Stephen Lee is a former professional snooker player who, in 2013, was banned for 12 years after being found guilty of match and spot fixing. Lee appealed against the ban, which excludes him from competitive snooker until October 12, 2024, when he turns 50, but his appeal was dismissed.

According to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), Lee fixed first frame results, match results and correct scores in seven matches, including a World Championship match against Ryan Day in 2009. He did so on behalf of three different groups, known to his sponsor, his manager and himself, who profited to the tune of £97,000 because of his wrongdoing.

A month after his ban was dismissed, in June, 2014, Lee plead guilty to fraud at Swindon Magistrates’ Courtafter ‘selling’ his cue to Hong Kong resident Marco Fai Pak Shek on Facebook for £1,600, but failing to send the item. He was fined £110 and ordered to repay the buyer.

In 2015, Lee revealed that he had set up a snooker academy in Shenzen, southeastern China to make ends meet. In 2018, he fell foul of the Hong Kong authorities when caught offering one-on-one snooker coaching, for money, by an undercover immigration officer. Lee was arrested and bailed for breaching the conditions of his tourist visa, but he escaped imprisonment when his lawyers negotiated a 12-month good behaviour bond.

The Greatest Moments In Horse Racing History

The Greatest Moments In Horse Racing History  Just like any other sport, horse racing has its fair share of defining moments. If you’re a horse racing fan (and you certainly should be), then you’ll probably already be able to bring a fair few of them to mind; those moments that you’ll tell other people about for years to come, the moments that you’ll remember fondly if you’re an enthusiast. Of course, it isn’t possible to recap every amazing thing that has happened throughout the storied history of the sport. Still, we wanted to pay homage to this incredible pastime, so here, without further ado, are some of the greatest moments in horse racing history.

Any Royal Ascot win

Alright, we’re copping out a little here with our first entry, but we want to draw attention to just how iconic the Royal Ascot is as an event. It’s one of the most important moments on the horse racing calendar, and so literally any win, any horse that crosses the finish line, is a special moment. We’re going to throw our lot in for the 2021 race, though; Berkshire Shadow’s victory was special in an event that trainer Andrew Balding told Betway is “the focal point of what we (horse racing professionals) try to achieve”.

American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown

At the time that American Pharoah took home the Triple Crown victory, it had been a stunning 37 years since any horse had achieved the feat. American Pharoah had already won the Kentucky Derby and followed that victory up with another stunner at the Preakness Stakes, so now it was all down to the Belmont Stakes. At the beginning of the race, it didn’t look like American Pharoah was going to take the crown, but then he picked up the pace and left his competitors in the dirt. His Belmont Stakes win was the second-fastest ever, behind Secretariat (not a bad place to be!).

Mine That Bird overcomes the odds

Horse racing enthusiasts will already know the name of Mine That Bird, but if you haven’t heard the tale, draw up a chair. Conditions were awful for Mine That Bird’s race in the 2009 Kentucky Derby; the rain had poured overnight, which meant the ground was the perfect consistency for getting stuck. Mine That Bird’s start was horrible, but he quickly found his hooves and ended up 6-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of the competition by the time of the last half-furlong. Mine That Bird’s victory would go down in history as the fastest Kentucky Derby win since Secretariat’s 1973 victory.

Secretariat breaks records

Secretariat is another horse completely deserving of his immense fame. Back in 1973, Secretariat was ready to break records, and that’s exactly what he did when he ran the Belmont Stakes. The course is a mile and a half long, and Secretariat managed to run it in a staggering 2 minutes, 24 seconds. That’s a record that still stands today, which means that the Belmont Stakes has arguably never seen a horse as special as Secretariat was. He would go on to sire daughters who would then mother several successful racehorses, so Secretariat’s line was just as powerful as he was.

Grundy and Bustino clash

When you think about horse racing clashes of the titans, this race between Grundy and Bustino has to qualify. Four years after Steven Spielberg released his taut masterpiece Duel, another tense battle between two great rivals was due to take place. Right out of the gate, it wasn’t obvious who was going to win; both Grundy and Bustino were furious monsters battling for dominance. Neither was far ahead enough to guarantee victory until Grundy managed to edge ahead, securing the win and putting his name in the history books. To this day, both horses are remembered as legends.

Red Rum inches past Crisp

There’s a good reason that Red Rum is one of the most famous horses of all time. Of course, the horse has managed to achieve a number of stunning victories in his time, but almost none are as stunning as his incredible win at the Grand National in 1973. Crisp was set to dominate the race; indeed, he’d been ahead for some time, and being ahead by a staggering 20 lengths, it was pretty much guaranteed that he would win. Unfortunately, his opponent was the legendary Red Rum, who managed to inch past Crisp right at the end of the race, claiming victory by a single quarter of a length. Close!

Shergar needs a telescope

One of the most famous pieces of horse racing commentary ever to grace the microphone came in 1981, when Shergar was racing at the Epsom Derby. Shergar was, of course, the favourite to win the Derby; after all, this is Shergar we’re talking about. However, nobody was quite prepared for just how decisive Shergar’s win would be. As he began to open up his lead, commentator Peter Bromley proclaimed that you would “need a telescope” to see the other horses in the race, so massive was Shergar’s lead. Suffice it to say that Shergar achieved victory that day.

Kauto Star reclaims his crown

In 2008, the legendary horse Kauto Star suffered an embarrassing setback as he lost to the horse Denman by seven lengths at Cheltenham. Kauto Star had been the favourite at that competition, so his loss was especially jarring (although both horses had been trained by Paul Nicholls, so really, the victory was his). However, in 2009, it was all to play for, and Kauto Star clearly wanted his crown back. He went on to destroy Denman by an astonishing 13 lengths, easily winning back his title and becoming the first ever horse to do so.

How International is NFL?

How International is NFL?  For those outside of the US, unless you’re an avid fan of US sports it may be that American Football is a sport that has somewhat passed you by.  Unlike say the online casino world, certain American sports (also including baseball and basketball) are often more US-centric than most, and and course in Europe Rugby is a somewhat ‘similar’ sport that garners more attention from the general public.

Efforts have been made to push more international interest in the NFL (National Football League) such as the NFL International series, which in October 2022 will see three regular-season games take in the UK (Minnesota Vikings vs New Orleans Saints, New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos vs Jacksonville Jaguars). Game will also take pace in Mexico and one in Germany. The firm interest though is of course with the home crowd, where week in, week out ardent fans of State teams cheer them on in front of crowds averaging 66,000+ (and 90,000+ for some teams such as the Dallas Cowboys).

The real jewel in the crown of the NFL is of course the Super Bowl though. The 2021 audience for the prestigoues event averaged at 96.4m , but in 2022 that had jumped to 112.3 million for NBC’s coverage, with many more tuning in on other digital networks and the like.  In the 2022 Superbowl LA Rams defeated Cincinnati Bengals 23–20. Sport betting is also a feature of events such as these, on https://www.cancasinos.ca/ and other top sites.

For context the 2021 UEFA Champions League final drew in 275 million viewers, but take into the account the aforementioned global appeal of certain sports. It’s hard to argue with the huge and more concentrated popularity of the NFL Super Bowl, and this goes some way to also explaining the big bucks (and cultural importance) tied to both SuperBowl ads and also the much anticipated Half Time show. The latter has seen a who’s who of world class musicians perform over the years (Prince, U2, Michael Jackson, Beyonce).

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