Premier League – Week 9

A Bad Day for Mourinho: Chelsea 4 – 0 Man Utd

Jose Mourinho had a very, very bad Sunday, as his former club, Chelsea, trounced Manchester United 4-0 at Stamford Bridge. The Blues took the lead after just 30 seconds, thanks to Pedro and some poor United defending. Cahill settled the tone of the match with another goal at the 21’ mark, with Hazard piling on the misery for United with a very tidy 15-yard shot at 62 minutes, and N’Golo Kante put the final nail in the coffin for Mourinho’s outclassed squad in the 70th minute. Chelsea climbed to fourth in the league table, while United remained at seventh.

 

Burnley Steal Victory from Everton: Burnley 2 – 1 Everton

Despite being outplayed by Everton for most of the match, Burnley managed to snatch a 2-1 victory at Turf Moor on Saturday, thanks to a late 90th minute goal from Scott Arfield. The home side had taken the lead thanks to Vokes at the 39’ mark, but Bolasie equalised at 58’, with his first goal for the Toffees. Burnley manager Sean Dyche was over the moon, but Everton’s Ronald Koeman was clearly gutted at having lost a match that most thought the Toffees deserved to win. The end of the day saw Burnley still at 14th and Everton still at 6th in the league.

The Potters Climb out of Danger: Hull 0 – 2 Stoke

The Potters climbed out of the relegation zone, with a convincing 2-0 victory over Hull at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday. The undisputed man of the match being Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who was responsible for both Stoke’s goals – one at 26’ and a second from a free-kick at 50’. Things were, however, somewhat tainted at the end of the match when there was an altercation leading to Stoke’s Shaqiri, Bardsley and Allen all being booked after the final whistle. Still, it was Stoke’s first away win of the season, and Mark Hughes can walk away satisfied, while Hull’s Phelan tries to figure out how to inject some confidence back into his side.

 

The Foxes are Back: Leicester 3 – 1 Crystal Palace

Leicester rediscovered some of the magic that won them last season’s championship, with a 3-1 victory over Palace at the King Power Stadium, on Saturday. Musa, Okazaki and Fuchs all added to the Fox’s tally, with Cabaye salvaging something for the Eagles in the 85th minute, as they attempted something of a late comeback. It was too little too late though, and the match was comfortably Leicester’s. Ranieri will be hoping this is a sign of things to come after a less-than-ideal start to the season so far. Leicester climbed to 12th in the league table as Crystal Palace fell to 11th.

 

Almost at the Top: Liverpool 2 – 1 West Brom

The Reds came close to moving to the top of the league table on Saturday, with a victory at home over West Brom. England international, Daniel Sturridge, was left on the bench but Liverpool were having everything their own way, as Klopp’s men outplayed the Baggies throughout the match, with goals at 20’ from Mané and at 35’ from Coutinho. It looked like it was in the bag when McAuley found the back of the net in the 81st minute, salvaging something for West Bromwich. All competitions taken into account, the Red’s unbeaten run now stands at nine. West Brom were left at an unlucky 13th in the table, and need to get Saido Berahino back in the squad as soon as possible.

 

Plenty of Excitement, but No Goals: Bournemouth 0 – 0 Tottenham

On Saturday, Bournemouth held visiting Tottenham to a 0-0 draw at the Vitality Stadium, in a fast-paced match.  Charlie Daniels had nearly put the home side in the lead early on, but his close range shot was expertly deflected by Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris. Despite the lack of goals it was an exciting match with plenty of attacking from both ends. Spurs’ Erik Lamela nearly found the back of the net but got the crossbar instead, and Artur Boruc saved attempts from Dele Alli and Danny Rose. With both sides displaying such energy it was, perhaps, to be expected that the game had more than its fair share of fouls, but referee Craig Pawson seemed reluctant to book anyone. Tottenham ended the day falling to 4th in the league, while Bournemouth climbed to 10th.

 

The Rest of the Action: Arsenal 0 – 0 Middlesbrough, Swansea 0 – 0 Watford, Man City 0 – 0 Southampton, West Ham 1 – 0 Sunderland

Elsewhere goals were in short supply too as Arsenal were held 0-0 by Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. It ended the Gunners’ winning run of six matches, but it was enough to move them to the top of the league table. Meanwhile, neither Swansea or Watford could find the goal at the Liberty Stadium

Sunday saw Manchester City put an end to the Gunners’ short-lived stay at the top of the league table, as they drew 1-1 with Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. Goals came from Iheanacho and Redmond; City should have done much better, but Southampton can feel happy, extending their unbeaten league run to five games.

Finally, Sunderlands’ woes continued, as they were defeated 1-0 by West Ham on Saturday, thanks to a 94th minute goal from Reid, at the London Stadium. Its Sunderland’s worst Premier League season start, and David Moyes needs to come up with a new plan, fast, as they languish at the bottom of the table.

 

Photo: Oleskandr Osipov / Shutterstock.com

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Premier League – Week 8

No Break for the Champions

Leicester saw their fourth consecutive away defeat, courtesy of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, on Saturday. The Blues took the match 3-0, with Costa scoring after just seven minutes, and goals following from Hazard at the 30’ mark and Moses at 80’. Leicester confined Mahrez to the bench for the first time in thirty-six league games, and the Foxes were clearly struggling to cope with an aggressive home side. It looks like rumours of Conte’s demise may be premature as Chelsea moved up to sixth in the league table and Leicester tumbled to an unlucky thirteenth.

 

Open Season on the Tigers

Bournemouth hunted down the Tigers on Saturday, slaughtering Hull City 6-1 at the Vitality Stadium. The third home win in a row for the Cherries, and sixth winless game for the visitors, saw Daniels open the scoring for Bournemouth after just five minutes. Cook added to the tally at 41’, Stanislas found the back of the net at 45’ and 65’, Wilson followed suit at 83’ and Gosling put the final nail in the Tiger’s coffin at 88.’ Mason managed to salvage something for the visitors at the 34’ mark, but it was a humiliating defeat for Phelan’s side. This week saw Phelan take on the role of full-time manager at Hull, and his task already looks monumental, needing to overhaul the Tiger’s defence badly, and bring some real coherency to his team’s efforts.

 

Swans Show Some Spirit

The Gunners defeated Swansea 3-0 in a tough fight at Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Walcott put Arsenal in the lead at the 26’ mark, and then cemented it at 33’ with another goal. The Swans put up a spirited defence and Sigurdsson led the fight back scoring at 38.’ However, Ozil secured another for the home side at 57’, which, despite a red card for Xhaka, and another on-target shot for the visitors courtesy of Baston at 66’, was enough to settle things. Bradley’s team were left languishing nineteenth in the league table after the match, but the American’s players did show some promising spirit; so it maybe too early to write them off.  Arsenal, on the other hand, were left sitting at number two in the table.

 

Hammers Climb

Saturday’s match at Selhurst Park may not have been the most inspiring to watch, but West Ham’s victory over the home side, beating Crystal Palace 1-0, did see the Hammers move out of the relegation zone. Lanzini’s goal at 19’ was enough to secure West Ham’s first win in six Premier League matches. There was some drama when Cresswell earned two bookings in less than a minute, and the Hammers keeper saved a header from Wickham in injury time, but overall it was a lacklustre performance from both sides. Nevertheless, the result will be welcomed by Bilic, and Hammers supporters will be hoping it is the start of a turnaround.

 

Allen does it for the Potters

Stoke claimed their first win of the season, thanks to two goals from Joe Allen, beating bottom side Sunderland 2-0 at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday. Allen’s head found a cross from Arnautovic in the eighth minute, and then he got an 18-yard shot on target just before half time. The visitors saw some inspiring play from keeper Jordan Pickford, who blocked Bony’s efforts, and from Defoe, who made a convincing attempt on the goal – but was blocked by Shawcross. Sunderland are in trouble and manager David Moyes must be feeling the pressure as they sit at the very bottom of the league table, having earned a miserable two points from eight games.

City Frustration at Etihad

Saturday also saw Manchester City and Everton draw 1-1 at the Etihad Stadium. Lakaku almost made it a victory for the visitors with a goal in the 64th minute, but Nolito salvaged things at the 72’ mark. Maarten Stekelenburg saved two penalties for Everton, and City boss Guardiola was evidently frustrated watching his side dominate the game but fail to find the net more than once thanks to a formidable Everton defence. At the end of the day, City were still enjoying the view from the top of the table whilst Everton had fallen to sixth.

 

Meanwhile….

The Baggies thought things were going their way for a while, at the Hawthorns on Saturday, as they took the lead against Spurs thanks to Chadli in the 82nd minute. But Alli brought West Brom back down to earth with an equaliser at 89’. With a final score of 1-1 Tottenham remain unbeaten and just two points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, whilst West Bromwich fell to tenth.

On Sunday Watford beat Middlesbrough 1-0 thanks to a goal from Holebas at 54,’ meaning Watford moved up. Boro were left hovering just above the relegation zone, in seventeenth place. The other Sunday fixture say Southampton take advantage of a poor Burnley defence, beating the visitors 3-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium. Two goals from Austin and one from Redmond staked up against a solitary Burnley goal from Vokes. The result saw Southampton climb to eighth in the league, while Burnley remained at fourteenth.

Monday’s only match saw Liverpool and Manchester United play a dull match at Anfield ending

Top Five Most Expensive Summer Transfers 2016

No sooner had José Mourinho taken the helm of Manchester United than he promptly smashed the world transfer record by signing Paul Pogba, for an astronomical €105,000,000, from Juventus. Due, in large part, to hugely expensive TV deals, the value of players has skyrocketed since 1968, when Pietro Anastasi went from Varese to Juventus for a lowly €500,000. Not taking inflation into account, you could buy 1968’s most expensive player 178 times for the price of Paul Pogba in 2016.

  • Obviously Paul Pogba tops the list as the most expensive summer signing, by going to Manchester United for €105,000,000. Pogba scored 34 goals in 178 appearances for the Bianconeri. Definitely well-played by Juventus, considering that he’d transferred from United to Juventus back in 2012 for a ‘measly’ sum of €1,000,000.
  • After letting Pogba go, Juventus quickly put their money to good use, signing the 2015/16 Serie A top-scorer Gonzalo Higuain, for €90,000,000 – creating another one of the most expensive footballs transfers of all-time. Though initially criticised for being a little overweight, Higuain proved himself by scoring the winning goal, against Fiorentina, in his debut appearance.
  • It’s no secret that the Chinese Super League is looking to make a name for itself by bringing in a few big veteran names. They’ve made Graziano Pellè the 5’th highest paid footballer in the world, paying him an eye-watering €16,000,000 per year! Who is Graziano Pellè, and why is he paid so much? Good question! It’s Hulk, however, who takes third place in our list, thanks to transferring to Shanghai SIPG for a princely sum of €56,000,000. He’ll by taking home a cool €375,000 a week in China, so we doubt he’ll miss the Champions League too much. Hulk found the net 75 times in 144 games with Zenit Saint Petersburg.
  • League titles and trophies are something Pep Guardiola has become used to after his time at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and he’ll be remembered for signing the talented John Stones, from Everton, for a serious €55,600,000, in his pursuit of the Premier League title. This makes Stones the second most expensive defender of all-time, behind David Luiz. Stones, together with Vincent Kompany, could prove to be an impenetrable centre back pair.
  • Manchester City’s midfield got a bit more interesting when it was announced that Leroy Sané would join The Citizens, for a sum or €50,000,000, meaning the 20-year old attacking midfielder takes fifth place on our list. Sané may well prove to be an important asset in Pep’s hunt for silverware, as he’s already impressed by finding he back of the net 13 times in 57 games for Schalke 04.

As of May 2016, a total of €929,906,000 had been spent during the summer transfer window, with the average Premier League transfer fee being roughly €12,116,100.
The Manchester heavyweights have been the biggest spenders so far, but still haven’t even spent half of their total revenue. Manchester United have spent €184,166,000 – only 40% of their total revenue of €464,611,000. Meanwhile rivals Manchester City are close behind, having spent €174,500,000 – or 42% of their €412,250,000 revenue.
Writing as an A.C. Milan supporter has almost made me curl into a fetal position and cry. A.C Milan and Real Madrid combined have only spent a total of €55,747,500 so far, whilst even Aston Villa’s new owner has opened his wallet and gone on a shopping spree worth €57,937,600.

 

Photo mr3002 / Shutterstock.com

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Mangs Speeds Towards Victory

What a thrilling couple of months it’s been in the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia! There have certainly been plenty of ups and downs for EnergyBet/EnergyCasino driver Jocke Mangs, and his team mate Fredrik Larsson.  Currently sitting in 4th place with 133 points, Mangs is right behind Robin Hansson, who’s just two points ahead on 135.  Larsson is leading the pack on 162 points, in front of Philip Morin, who has 147.

Falkenberg Success

The race meet at Falkenberg, Sweden, on the 10th July saw Mangs set the track on fire in his black and yellow EnergyBet/EnergyCasino Porsche. There was plenty of drama in the first race, with Mangs taking an early lead, but then suffering from a series of unfortunate mishaps and only finishing in 9th place. Larsson performed brilliantly though, with a 2nd place finish.

However, everything was on point for the second race heat, with Mangs rocketing into 1st position and holding on to it, taking a much deserved first place on the podium! In the same race Larsson, driving the other EnergyBet/EnergyCasino Porsche, came in a disappointing 13th.

Karlskoga Drama

At Karlskoga, Sweden, on the 14th August, things were mixed. The first race heat went brilliantly with Fredrik Larsson taking first and Jocke Mangs second. But despite a great first heat, and setting some of the best pre-race heats and qualifying times, Jocke suffered a time penalty during the second race heat, due to a false start, and only managed to finish in 7th, with Fredrik Larsson coming in 16th.

The Final Two

Things are still looking very good for Mangs and Larsson. Mangs reports that his car is now perfectly balanced and in the best possible shape for the last races. With Larsson sitting in 1st place in the championship, and Mangs a very respectable 4th, only two points behind Robin Hansson, and with two race meets still to go, the championship title could still go to either Larsson or Mangs.

The EnergyBet/EnergyCasino team is preparing for the next race heat at Solvalla on the weekend of the 3rd September, and everything is looking promising. If Mangs can put in a good show there could be a real shake-up in the standings, and then there will be everything to drive for on the weekend of the 24th September at Ring Knutstorp, in the final.

Make sure you check EnergyNews regularly to keep up-to-date with the latest from the EnergyBet/EnergyCasino team in the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia, 2016.

High Rolling Heist Down Under

In 2013 Melbourne, Australia, was rocked by one of the biggest heists in casino history, when some bloody clever crooks managed to pilfer a whopping $32 million. Now, true, that’s Aussie Dollars, but it’d still enough to get a “struth” out of Rupert Murdoch!

 

Now this wasn’t some half-baked plan thought up over a couple of pints and a barbie. No, this was one seriously sophisticated scam that’s worthy of a George Clooney movie (starring in, not directing, God, please not directing.). Despite the Crown thoroughly checking all employees Facebook profiles, ensuring they had no overdue library books and making them pinky promise to be good, one of their VIP minders seems to have been led astray by a particularly cunning ‘high roller.’

 

By remotely hacking into the Crown’s ‘state-of-the-art’ security camera system, the clever crooks were able to get a bird’s eye view of everything going on at tables. With such an advantage and, to be fair, probably more than a bit of skill, they worked the tables for weeks – all the time whilst the player was staying in one of the casino’s most luxurious $30,000 per night suites. The pair cleaned up to the tune of $32 million, without anyone smelling a rat. Now, I’ m not condoning crime, but you have to give this pair some kudos for having the balls to do it!

 

What happened to the scammers? Well, apparently the casino “fired an employee” and “banned a gambler from the premises,” but didn’t really say much else (maybe they are still tied up in the boiler room?). The Victoria Police did confirm they were “involved in an investigation”, but also that they’d never received a “formal complaint” from the casino. To be honest being fired doesn’t seem that bad if you’re walking away with a decent share of $32 million! I guess that’s the murky, secretive world of real-life casinos for you, and I wonder how many former casino workers are currently chilling out on beaches in Thailand and Fiji?

Photo by Donaldytong / CC BY

Rio 2016: Good Olympics with few hurdles

Giving Brazil the Olympics was a controversial decision from the beginning, and there was a lot of discussion as to whether or not the country was ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world. Pollution, crime, the Zika virus and the Russian doping scandal were among the top stories before Rio started. But, in the end, Brazil showed us that they are all about dance, fun, happiness, and did deliver a fantastic spectacle, with record breaking performances.

BIGGEST EVER

Rio saw a record 205 countries participating in the games including, for the first time, Kosovo and South Sudan, as well a Refugee Olympic Team and Independent Olympic Athletes. There were 17,000 athletes (more than 45% women) competing in 306 events in 28 sports, including Golf and Rugby Seven for the first time.

ATHLETES OF ALL KINDS

The diversity of athletes at the Olympics was huge:

  • Brazilian gymnast Flavia Saraiva was both the shortest and tiniest, she is only 1.33m and 31kg
  • Li Muhao, Chinese basketball player was the tallest, at 2.18m
  • Romanian Judo contestant Daniel Natea was the hugest, he is 170kg!
  • Nepalese swimmer Gaurika Singh was the youngest, only 13 years old
  • The oldest was 62-year old equestrian, Julie Brougham, from New Zealand.

HIS MAJESTY MICHAEL PHELPS

Michael Phelps proved once again that he is one of the best athletes in the history of sport. He became the most successful Olympian of all time by winning 5 gold and 1 silver medal at Rio which gives him total of 28 medals, of which 23 are Gold! If he was a country he would be on 16th place of all time Olympics medal table!

He was only defeated in the 100m butterfly by Singaporean Joseph Schooling. The story of these two goes back to 2008 when 13 year old Jospeh met his idol for the first time.

USAIN BOLT AND ATHLETICS

Jamaican sprinter completed a ‘triple-triple’ and is the first runner to win 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay on 3 consecutive Olympics. There is no reason to disagree with him when he said “I am the greatest“.

While organisers were fighting to fill venues because of extremely high ticket prices, we were watching incredible performances by Wayde van Nierkerk’s going for gold and breaking a 17 year old world record on 400m, Mo Farah doing a double-double and a ‘lady’ with high testosterone named Caster Semenya

GOLDEN GIRL FROM OHIO

19 year old Simone Biles was one of the biggest surprises, and definitely the biggest star of social media, after dominating the Artistic Gymnastic competition by winning 4 gold and 1 bronze medals. She is already taking lessons from Phelps how to carry so many medals.

TEAM SPORTS

As expected the USA basketball team won another Gold after not giving even a small chance their opponents. Things were looking different at the Football tournament where favourites Brazil, with Neymar in their squad, had very slow start but eventually grabbed the gold by beating Germany in the final.

You can see how much Gold means to Neymar

Neymar set a new world record for the Fastest goal in an Olympic football match (14 seconds)

 FROM USA TO UAE

The USA dominated the Olympics once again by winning 121 medals, however Great Britain surprised everyone and finished second beating China and Russia. Kosovo and Puerto Rico celebrated their first gold medal ever at the Olympics.

Monica Puig with first Gold for Puerto Rico!

WORLD RECORDS

27 World Records were broken at Rio 2016. American swimmer Ledecky claimed two of those on 400m and 800m freestyle. Polish hammer Anita Wlodarczyk was the only one to break her own record, while Ethiopia’s runner Almaz Ayana beat a 23 year old record on 10000m.

SHOW MUST GO ON

Rio showed us that passion and emotions have no limit in sport, but some athletes took this too another level.

Japanese wrestler Risako Kawai slammed her coach after winning gold – hopefully he was ok .

Sometimes you feel that it is too hot in Arena, but the Mongolian coach must have been on fire when he stripped in protest.

BEST MOMENTS

The Olympics are not only about competitiveness, there is a lot more that makes this event one of the best in the world.

And she said YES!

True Olympic spirit

 

At least was not yellow.

And at last BBC presenter Dan Wilson having an awkward moment on Live TV… Love is in the air.

 

TOKYO 2022

Rio 2016 was a bigger success than critics expected it to be, however there will be still a lot of discussion as to whether this was a good choice or not.

The Olympic flag was handed to Tokyo which will be hosting the 2022 Olympics. We can definitely expect to see more organisation and better technology and it’s already assumed, by many, to better than Rio 2016, but is it not too soon to make judgments?

Let’s wait and see what Japan has to offer.

 

Gambling Genius or Fake Fraudster?

You know those people whose lives are like far-fetched movies, the ones who seem to attract drama and lurch from one unlikely event to another? Well, you’ll find few better examples than a certain Mr Charles Wells. Famous for breaking the bank at the Monte Carlo Casino, way back in 1891, his life was rather ‘interesting’ to say the least!

Ships, Sugar and… Lead

Born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1841, his family moved to France when he was just a few weeks old. Wells started his rather colourful career as an engineer at shipyards in Marseille during the 1860s, but he also seems to have worked at a sugar beet processing plant in the Ukraine, and at a lead mine in Spain, just for variety. After making a small fortune, in a rare moment of honesty, with the patent for a device that regulated the speed of ships’ propellers, Wells moved to Paris in 1879. That’s where he really started getting into mischief.

charles_deville_wells_01
Charles Deville Wells, the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo

Sounds Legit…

Wells somehow managed to persuade a significant number of gullible rich Parisians to invest in a non-existent railway construction project in the Pas-de-Calais. He was duly convicted by a French court, but had already fled to Britain with his ill-gotten money. Instead of laying low, Wells just couldn’t help himself, and started courting investment in his latest inventions. Of course, none of the inventions actually existed, but he must have been a persuasive fellow because one investor alone lost the equivalent to almost £2 million in today’s money!

To the Casino Old Chap!

In 1891 Wells visited the Monte Carlo Casino several times. With an initial stake of £4,000 (a lot of money back then), he won roughly £60,000, or about £6 million in today’s money, breaking the bank several times. ‘Breaking the bank’ meant winning more than the 100,000 francs – known as ‘the bank’ – that was allocated to each gaming table at the start of the day.

What did Wells do with the money? He purchased a ship and, after converting it into a late-Victorian superyacht, he named it Palais Royal. Despite several return trips to Monte Carlo he never managed to repeat his success of 1891. He didn’t get to enjoy his ship for very long though, because in 1892 he was arrested, whilst on board, and extradited to Britain to face charges regarding his fraudulent investment schemes. After a lengthy eight year prison stretch he served another shorter sentence in Britain and two more in France, all relating to fraud.

palais_royal_ship
Steam yacht Palais Royal (formerly Tycho Brahe)

The Last Gamble

By that point you’d have thought that Mr Wells would have learned his lessons and gone straight, but no, of course not. The irrepressible swindler once more returned to Paris, this time setting up the world’s first large scale ‘Ponzi’ scheme (ahead of the infamous Charles Ponzi, after whom such frauds are now named, by a decade). Establishing a private bank, under the alias of ‘Lucien Rivier’, he promised investors ridiculously high returns, and used new depositors’ money to pay existing ones. The fraud was insanely successful, and grew fast enough for him to keep it up for a while, before the authorities cottoned on, and he once more fled to Britain, where, he was arrested again in January 1912.

sheet_music_for_fred_gilberts_music_hall_song_the_man_who_broke_the_bank_at_monte_carlo
Sheet music for Fred Gilbert’s music hall song, The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo

The exact date of the demise of the illustrious Mr Wells is a point of argument, but many think it was 1922. So what does history make of Wells? He gambling exploits were made famous in a popular late 19th century song, Fred Gilbert’s ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’, a 1935 film and a 1983 book, both by the same name, and they have inspired theatrical productions and numerous other books and films. But the big mystery remains. Did Wells really use the ‘infallible system’ he claimed to have devised, for his big wins at Monte Carlo, or was he just insanely lucky? Nefarious as he was, he was obviously a highly intelligent man, as evidenced by his genuine invention, and the fact that he managed to trick so many wealthy, and otherwise astute, people during his long career of fraud.

What do you make of Mr Wells, and is his ‘infallible system’ real and written down somewhere? Either way, surely this story is deserving of a big-budget mini-series?

Never Go Full Retard – the 2012 Bellagio ‘Heist’

Think of Vegas casino heists and you’ll probably think of Ocean’s Eleven; suave charmers, slick suits, smooth operators, that kind of thing. You probably wouldn’t think of a borderline retarded simpleton, from a sleepy California desert town, and two imaginary accomplices who ‘met’ on Craigslist, and hit the Las Vegas strip armed with nothing more than a malfunctioning can of pepper spray.

Introducing the star of the show, Michael Belton, who was 24 at the time of the incident in 2012, and a resident of the desert backwater known as Neuvo, in Riverside County, California. Apparently, according to the interrogation obtained by the Las Vegas Sun, from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, Michael claimed that he, and another dude, were recruited, via Craigslist – that beacon of moral integrity – by a man named ‘Carlos Rodriguez’, to hold up a blackjack table at the Bellagio, swipe as many chips as possible and leg it. Mr Rodriguez, a “self-described high roller”, was then going to nonchalantly exchange the huge pile of chips for cash at the casino. Simple yeah, I mean what could possibly go wrong?

The hapless Belton, ‘and his partner’, managed to find the Bellagio, and made it as far as the blackjack table, before things descended into chaos. Richard Hauck, a visitor from Ohio, who was at the table with his wife, described the scene thus: “The guy kept spraying and the thing wouldn’t work,” – referring to the can of pepper spray, “The spray kept falling on the table.” Belton, going full retard, did manage to grab 23 chips, each worth $5,000, and made it at least several feet from table, before being tackled to the floor by a member of staff. Security arrived shortly afterwards and Belton was duly handed over to the LVMPD.

The facts that only Belton was caught and arrested, even though the whole thing was witnessed by many people, does strongly suggest that his ‘accomplices’ may have been residing in his head. As does the fact that both the ‘high roller’ and the ‘pepper spray’ man were called ‘Carlos’, according to an obviously creatively-challenged, Belton. Further evidence of Belton’s self-delusion was, apparently, available on MySpace, where Belton listed his interests as “4×4, the river, chillin with friends u know shit like that” and his hero was “me, me, and i think….. me.” Yes, shocking I know, he was still using MySpace in 2012!

The moral of the story: don’t try holding up casinos with only pepper spray and imaginary friends.

 

Photo by Blan / CC BY

 

Premier League – Week 7

Spurs Bring City Down to Earth

On Sunday Tottenham humbled Manchester City with a 2-0 defeat at White Hart Lane. Leaving Spurs as the only unbeaten team of the league, they have moved into second place in the table, with 17 points, just one less than City. The match was certainly dramatic with  Aleksandar Kolarov giving Spurs a lead after only nine minutes courtesy of an own goal. Dele Alli sealed the deal at the 37th minute after seeing home a pass from Son Heung. Both sides were missing key players in terms of Kane and de Bruyne but, in the end, Spurs beat City at their own high-intensity game.

 

Swans See Red

The Swans were seeing red on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium, as Liverpool secured their fourth Premier League victory in a row, beating Swansea 2-1. Despite securing an early lead thanks to a goal by Leroy Fer in the 8th minute, Liverpool dominated the second half with goals from Firmino and Milner. Guidolin’s side is still sitting just above the relegation zone on goal difference, but haven’t won a match in the league since the opening day.

 

Chelsea Fight Back

The Blues managed to find their spirit, ending their run of defeats, and beating Hull 2-0 at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday. Things looked promising for Hull in the first half, but Chelsea doubled down in the second, with a goal from Willian in the 61st minute, and another from Costa following minutes later at the 67’ mark. Conte’s promised solution materialised as a strategy he’d employed whilst at Juventus, centred on a three-man defence. With Phelan’s team dangerously close to the relegation zone, it seems the party may be over for Hull.

Burnley Gunned Down

It was a painful day for the Clarets at home, as they were beaten by the Gunners in the third minute of added time at Turf Moor. The single, winning, goal of the whole game came courtesy of Laurent Koscielny, and wrapped in controversy. Though unclear at the time, and going undisputed, it appears Koscielny’s hand may have touched the ball. Dyche’s team can console themselves that they held out against a determined onslaught by Arsenal, and are putting in a good showing for a newly promoted team, but the loss at home will still sting.

 

 

Vicarage Road Drama

Watford and Bournemouth clashed in a dramatic performance at Vicarage Road on Saturday. It ended in two goals-a-piece, but it wasn’t for want of trying, with the Cherries hitting the bar three times in the second half. The home side got in 17 shots compared to the visitor’s 11, and demonstrated a determined defence, but in the end Wilson and King found the back of the net for the Cherries and Deeney and Success drove one home each for the Hornets.

 

Stress for Saints

At the King Power Stadium the current champions Leicester, were held to a 0-0 draw by Southampton on Sunday. The Foxes struggled to contain the Saints as Austin, in particular, kept up the pressure with three close shots. Ranieri’s side generally seemed tired after their 1-0 win over Porto on Tuesday in the Champions League. Considering the Saint’s stressful week, suffering delays returning from a Europa League tie in Israel, plus the press attention after assistant manager Eric Black being named in a corruption investigation by the Daily Telegraph, their lacklustre performance is understandable.

 

Meanwhile….

Friday saw Everton and Crystal Palace finish 1-1 at Goodison Park, Palace picking up a valuable point, and the Toffees were briefly able to enjoy sitting third in the table before the rest of the weekend’s fixtures came into play.

Sunderland and West Brom ended 1-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. At least the Black Cats broke their losing streak at home, but they remained in the relegation zone. The Baggies could use a little more creativity and imagination.

West Ham managed to end their run of defeats by drawing 1-1 with Middlesbrough at London Stadium on Saturday. Stuani briefly put the visitors in the lead at the 51st minute, before Payet equalised in the 57th. The Boro left with a much-needed point, and Bilic will be hoping the match marked a turning point for his struggling side.

On Sunday, Stoke managed to steal a cheeky point as they drew 1-1 with an aggressive Manchester United at Old Trafford. Lee Grant, making no fewer than eight saves during the game, allowed the Potters to cling on, despite United’s best efforts. However, it was Allen who equalised for the visitors in the 82nd minute. United’s goal came from Martial at the 69’ mark. United now chase Everton in the table, but Stoke are still struggling in the relegation zone.



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