England’s cricketers came through a testing four game series with South Africa last month earning a 3-1 victory, but despite that win against the second-ranked Test team in world cricket, there were still plenty of questions being asked about Joe Root’s team.
Issues with the bat in particular, namely Keaton Jennings as Alistair Cook’s opening partner and lower down the order have put these players battling for a place in the team under pressure. England selectors have already made changes to the batting order for the forthcoming three Test Series against their old foes the West Indies, which will get under way this week at Edgbaston.
Jennings has been axed back to his county side Durham while Surrey opener Mark Stoneman has been drafted in to replace him. Steven Finn and Liam Dawson have also been axed with Mason Crane and Chris Woakes coming in for the pair.
This first test will be a landmark event in the UK as it will host the first test ever to be held in Day/Night conditions in the UK, and only the fifth test match to be played as a Day/Night game anywhere in the world.
The West Indies come into this series having lost six consecutive series, their most recent win coming against Bangladesh back in 2014. Further compounding the West Indies chances of success on UK shores is the fact that four key players will be missing from their squad in Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo and the big-hitting Chris Gayle.
After Edgbaston, the second test match in the series will take place at Headingly at the end of August with the final test taking place at Lords between the 7th and 11th September.
Bet365 Sport currently have England as the 1/4 favourites to win the opening test match, with 9/2 on it finishing in a draw and West Indies are a 12/1 chance to win the opening test.
In terms of the three game series, you can’t get a decent price on an English victory with the home side a staggering 1/16 to win the series. West Indies are 22/1 to spring what would be a big upset while even the drawn series is a 12/1 chance.
Crucial Premier League action as Tottenham host Chelsea in an early season six-pointer
Chelsea face Spurs this weekend in what could already be a crunch Premier League clash after both teams, who finished 1st and 2nd in the Premier League last season, suffered contrasting fortunes in the opening weekend of fixtures.
Spurs proved too strong for Newcastle United, coming away from St James’ Park with a 2-0 victory, but Chelsea suffered the indignity of losing 3-2 at home to Burnley, albeit having had two players, Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas, sent off during what was a stormy encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Victory for Spurs here would see them open up a six point gap over Chelsea with just two games gone and manager Mauricio Pochettino will be well aware of the importance of his side making Chelsea suffer while their confidence is low and their is seeming discord in the camp, especially over Diego Costa’s current situation at the club.
However in Chelsea’s favour it would seem would be the fact that this is the first game Spurs will be playing at Wembley while their ground is refurbished. Last season, Spurs played all their Champions League games at Wembley and struggled and indeed, they were handsomely beaten by their opponents on Sunday when the two teams met in the FA Cup Semi Final on the same ground last season.
With the two Manchester clubs making a strong start, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will know that suffering two defeats in their opening two games, after only suffering five defeats in total in the whole of last season, would be a massive blow to their confidence and would see calls for manager Conte to invest heavily in the squad, even on top of the signings he has already made this pre season.
Other big games this weekend in the Premier League this weekend see Swansea City take on Manchester United at lunchtime on Saturday. Liverpool face Crystal Palace at Anfield and Arsenal face an always tricky trip to the Potteries to take on Stoke City. Then on Sunday Huddersfield Town, who briefly topped the table on Saturday, take on Newcastle United while there is a massive clash on Monday night as Manchester City take on Everton at the Etihad.
It’s also worth noting that it is the first week of league action in the German, Italian and Spanish top leagues this weekend, which means that it is the first weekend when managers have the full selection of Euro Soccer Bonus leagues up and running for the season. Remember too that you can enjoy a flutter on Bet365 with the Bore Draw Money Back promotion on any football match.
All you need to do is place a pre-match bet on any of the Correct Score, Half Time/Full Time or Scorecast markets for any football match that offers these markets with Bet365 and if your chosen game ends in a 0-0 draw and your bet loses, then Bet365 will refund your stake back to you up to a maximum amount of £50, as a free bet.
Europe’s Ladies Head To The US To Try And Win Back the Solheim Cup
Another big sporting event this weekend takes place in the United States at Des Moines Gold and Country Club as the best female golfers from Europe and the United States clash in the 2017 Solheim Cup.
The United States come-from-behind victory in the 2015 tournament was overshadowed by controversy and both captains, Juli Inkster of the US and Annika Sorenstam of Europe, are hopeful that all the focus on the golf at the weekend will be for the right reasons.
The US hold a 9-5 lead in the tournament since its inception and the home side will begin as favourites for the tournament and their team packs some very talented players including Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Brittany Lincicome.
Europe’s team also has some experience in the likes of Karine Icher and Suzanne Petterson while the likes of Charley Hull and Georgia Hall bring a bit of youth and vibrancy to the team.
Bet365 have USA as the 1/2 odds on favourite to win the event with Europe a 2/1 chance and the odds on the first tie in Solheim Cup history being ranked as a 12/1 chance.