Featured

Introduction to the blog

 

I am a Sports Journalism Student at Leeds Trinity University, I will be using this blog to write about a range of sports stories and my views on them. My sports of expertise I would say are Football, Darts, UFC and Horse Racing. This blog will be used for my academic studies as well as some of my own personal articles. Within these sports I will primarily be writing about English, European and International football. In darts I will mostly be talking about the PDC not the BDO as it is a much higher standard and is more widely followed around the world.

Ex Fulham Prodigy Chris David speaks about his time at Craven Cottage. 

During Chris Davids spell at Fulham he played under 4 different managers. Making only 6 league appearances and scoring one league goal in Fulhams last Premier League game against Crystal Palace.

Currently plying his trade in his home nation of the Netherlands. The 24 year old has now moved to Go Ahead Eagles, who will be playing in the 2nd tier of Dutch football next year after being relegated from the Eredevisie.

This week I got to ask Chris about his time at Craven Cottage.

CJ “Who was the best manager you worked under for your time at Fulham and why?”
CD: “I think i learned a lot from all the managers, because everyone was different. They had all a different style of playing and thoughts about the game. Under Magath I have played the most games and I think my best games for Fulham FC aswell. He gave me a lot of confidence and thats what I needed as a young player.”

CJ: “Do you have any stories about Felix Magaths management? Was he good or as bad as everyone says he was?”
CD: “Not really. The only thing I can say about him: is that everything he did, he did it with a reason. Such a great manager, who gave me confidence and was always busy with making me a better player. I think he should get more respect and time at Fulham FC. Its a shame that it ended like that. Because i loved the way he thought about the game. We thought the same way!”

CJ: “Whilst playing at Fulham who was the most talented player in the under 21s who you thought would become world class?”
CD: “I was impressed when I came to England. The quality of the players was high. All of them. Strong and quick. But i always said, and ive told them too, that Moussa Dembele, Patrick Roberts and Emerson Hyndman will be world class players. I told them to keep working hard and they will be stars.”

CJ: “During your time at Craven Cottage what were some of your best memories?”
CD: “I think my debut and goal against Crystal Palace. I really enjoyed every single game I’ve played in the Cottage. Such a great fans and atmosphere. I hoped I could give them more.”

CJ: “What emotions were you feeling scoring your first goal on your debut against Crystal Palace when you were already relegated, was it quite bittersweet?”

CD: “It was a strange feeling. To score in the Premier League was my dream. But to know that it didn’t help you stay up, was sad. You ask yourself, why didn’t I get the chance earlier? It will be a day that I won’t forget!”

CJ: “Would you consider a return to England in the near future?”

CD: “Definitely! I’ve been there and seen how football lives in the country. It’s amazing. Such a big difference with holland. Fulham FC will always be in my heart”

CJ: “Who in the Fulham squad did you look up to during your time there?”
CD: “To be honest, to all of the players. When I look back to my time there. I can’t believe with who I was training and playing. They are legends in their countries. All big stars. I often think back of the time I had in Fulham. It was a good lesson! I learned a lot from those days training with the big players!”

CJ: “Who was the best player you played alongside at Fulham?”

CD: “There were a lot of good players.. Dempsey, Diarra, Duff, Parker, Richardson, etc etc.. i can keep going haha but Berbatov was a player with special qualities”

Chris is currently available on a free transfer as his Go Ahead Eagles negotiations continue. He refused to rule out a return to Craven Cottage saying “Go Ahead Eagles offered me a new contract so we’re busy now. But you never know.” Would you welcome the return of Chris David in a Fulham shirt?

Who will be the next player to win their first Balon D’or

Unfortunately, we are not too far from the twilight years of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s careers, and football will be back to normal where records will not fall week after week. The two undisputed best players in the world have had a monopoly on the Balon D’or for almost a decade with the last winner other than these two being Kaka in 2008. The Balon D’or is awarded to the best player in the calendar year, however, previous years has shown competitions won is taken into account as well so I will be doing the same here.

Who will win the award next after these two start to show a decline in their ability? Here are my top 10 candidates for future Balon D’or wins.

 

10, Dele Alli

Somehow Alli has improved on his breakthrough year at Spurs this year scoring 22 goals from midfield in all competitions. If Alli continues to improve he has a massive chance of winning the Balon D’or at some point in his career. However, I think a Balon D’or win is a few years away for the English man at this point. At just 21 years old however, the sky is the limit for Dele Alli

9, Romelu Lukaku

It seems like every other week you see Lukaku’s goalscoring record at his age compared to some of the greatest strikers ever. There is good reason for it, turning 24 only last week Lukaku has already scored 67 Premier League goals and looks on course to win his first golden boot award this year. With a huge money move in the summer looking increasingly likely if Lukaku keeps up these sort of performances at a big club it won’t be long until he wins some individual accolades.

8, Harry Kane

Just edging out Romelu Lukaku is Harry Kane. Without a doubt one of the best English finishers of the ball I have ever seen. Kane seems to add more to his game season in season out. Scoring a staggering 71 goals in only 111 Premier League appearances, Kane can score any type of goal. Proving to be more than just a poacher with sublime goals such as this beauty against Arsenal. Aged only 23 Kane will go on to break all sorts of records and potentially be the first English Balon D’or winner since Michael Owen.

7, Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale was 2 games away from stealing the Balon D’or from Cristiano Ronaldo last year. If he had led Wales to winning the Euros he would’ve won the award I think. Injuries have not been on Bales side in the past couple of years, however, managing to make only 42 league appearances in the past two seasons but when he does play he is unreal, last season scoring 19 in the league in only 23 matches. If he can perform similar heroics at another international tournament and stay fit and continue his good form for Real Madrid he may win a Balon D’or

6, Antoine Griezmann

Last years 3rd placed player Griezmann is a similar story to Bale in that if he would have overcome both of Ronaldo’s teams in the Champions League and European Championship finals he probably would have won the award. Leaving the Euros with the Golden boot award and a runner-up medal should inspire Griezmann to put on another similar performance at the next World Cup and if he does and France win the tournament he will definitely be knocking on the door of the top 3 again.

5, Kevin De Bruyne

With Pep Guardiola at the helm and a seemingly unlimited transfer budget it is only a matter of time before Manchester City win a Champions League. When they do one thing is for certain, Kevin De Bruyne will be an integral part of the team. De Bruyne has been one of the Premier Leagues best players for the past two seasons and aged 25 he still has some years ahead of him. Alongside his potential future club success is international success, with one of his Belgium teammates already featuring on this list in Romelu Lukaku and potentially another one to come De Bruyne’s World Cup hopes must be quite high. There is a reason why I put Belgium number one in this blog post. And it is because of players like Kevin De Bruyne

4, Gianluigi Buffon

A player different to all the other players on this list Gianluigi Buffon is on this list because he is in with a shout of winning the Balon D’or this season. Buffon is a Champions League trophy away from winning the treble and it would be his first ever Champions League title. Buffon could get the nod as a tribute to his amazing career. Having never won the Balon D’or and the return to the old voting format where only journalists vote Buffon could be a surprise winner this year,

3, Paolo Dybala

A player who is able to create as well as he scores Paolo Dybala is one of the main reasons why Juventus are lining up for a Champions League final in a few weeks time. Dybala may not have had his best goalscoring seasons but if you have watched him play you will know how good he is. He will be back to his goalscoring ways in no time and he is one of the most talented young players in the world aged just 23. Dybala will be spearheading Juventus’ attack for years to come and hasan excellent chance of winning a Balon D’or one day

2, Eden Hazard

I really don’t think people realise how good Eden Hazard actually is. I am certain that if “Hockey assists” were recorded in football Hazard would be top of the charts every year. Hazard is involved in almost every Chelsea goal and when he is at his best he is unplayable. As much of a goalscoring threat as he is a creator Hazard has it all in his game and if he keeps it up he will have a great chance to win a Balon D’or one day.

1, Neymar

The only player on this list that I can say with absolute certainty will win a Balon D’or one day is Neymar. In my opinion the 3rd best player in the world currently behind Messi and Ronaldo. When their decline begins the spotlight is his to step into. Just look at his goalscoring record for Brazil 52 in 77. He is 25 years old and has already scored more international goals than the likes of Rivaldo and Bebeto. Neymar is such an incredible player and once he is allowed to be the talisman he is for Brazil for Barcelona don’t be surprised if he begins to put up numbers similar to Lionel Messi.

How fixed football match scams work.

All over the world, there are fixed football matches at certain levels of the game. Wether it is spot fixing or fixed results. Today a twitter account followed me claiming to be selling fixed football match results and obviously it will be a scam.

There are a few things to look out for when someone approaches you claiming to be selling inside info that a match is rigged to go a certain way and it is one of the easiest cons to be suckered in by.

Firstly I have to say that betting on fixed football matches is illegal and you shouldn’t do it in the first place. However having this sort of information to avoid being scammed may help you or one of your friends in the future.

The majority of fixed football match scams work by way of the scammer offering you the Half Time/ Full Time result. They work this in the same way that Derren Brown works his horse racing system in his Channel 4 special. There are 9 ways a half time/full time bet can go. All offering big odds. For example in tonight Juventus vs Monaco game the shortest odds for a HT/FT bet is 10/3 so you would be tripling your money if you were to bet on that.

So once the scammer decides on their game they send out all 9 different types of possible outcomes to all of their paying customers evenly so if 900 people had paid to get the result from them 100 each would get each possible outcome meaning 100 people will get the correct result and will have tripled their investment. Which in their eyes is brilliant they have found a way to make a lot of money quick.

The building of trust allows the person selling the fixed match results to charge more for the next one usually selling the line “I had to work harder to get this one so it will cost more.” The 100 people still left in all get the 9 different outcomes sent to them equally. This time 12 or 13 people will get the right result depending on how lucky the scammer is.

Now, these 13 people may have made some serious money at this point and will trust the scammer unquestionably. As they have their new money to spend he can continue asking for more giving out the same line that it was harder to get hold of and it will cost more. And he sends out the nine possible outcomes again.

This time only one or two people will get the right result, but the losers can be reeled back in by the scammer he’s given them two correct bets before and this one was just a mistake. He will offer the losers more fixed matches at a cheaper price. Once again only one or two of them will win.

Now these final 2/3/4 will have made big money and will trust this guy a lot. He may very well have made them all thousands of pounds at this point and he will charge even more and they will pay it because they’ve been doing so well so far. He might even pick another winner out of the 9 possible options to keep the scam going for longer. But eventually he will lose, he will try to reel them in again by saying it was a mistake and they may even buy that. However eventually they will realise they have been scammed and he will run away with all their money.

I messaged the account that followed me today and he said the next game will cost me £200. If he only doubled that every time they message the 10% of people they will have given a winner to, and he has 900 people like I wrote about. He would have made £232,000. This account that messaged me has 39,000 followers so 900 may be a small estimate and they wouldn’t only double the price for the people who win they’d charge much higher rates.

image1

 

This account has almost 40,000 followers and he retweets everyone who he picks a winner for giving new followers the illusion that he reliably picks winners.

It is the perfect scam in their minds. They can make off with thousands of pounds for doing nothing while their marks aren’t going to report them to the police as betting on illegal fixed matches will land them in a lot of trouble.

Who will be the next team to win their first World Cup?

Currently, there are eight nations to have won a World Cup. England, Uruguay, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Spain.

Spain are the last team to win the World Cup for the first time back in 2010 but who will be the next team to be able to claim the honour of being World Champions. Here we will look at possible candidates and rank them.

10. Nigeria.

Russia 2018 may well be too early for Nigeria and the climate will not suit them one bit. However Qatar 2022 could be the time for the first ever African World Cup winners and Nigeria look the most likely. Just in the Premier League there is a crop of extremely talented Nigerian players coming through and making a lot of first team appearances at a young age. Players like; Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Wilfried Ndidi, Ahmed Musa and Isaac Success. Victor Moses is also only 26 and has proven to be a brilliant player for Chelsea this season.

If any African team is going to win any of the next two World Cups it will be Nigeria. Mark my words.

9. Mexico

One of the better teams at the last World Cup were robbed of a Quarter Final place via an Arjen Robben dive. Mexico’s current crop is at the prime age to put in their best performance in Russia next year, the climate will be an issue but if Brazil can win in Sweden in 1958 I don’t see why Mexico can’t go far in Russia. Guilhermo Ochoa wowed everybody at the last World Cup, Javier Hernandez has continued scoring in Germany. Solid players that would make it into any national team squad such as Carlos Vela, Hector Moreno and Andres Guardardo will all feature. The emergence of Hirving Lozano will also be interesting in the build to Russia as multiple big clubs around Europe are looking to secure his signature.

8. China

Other than Sun Jihai I couldn’t name you another Chinese footballer. However as any football fan knows football in China is growing at an incredible rate with money being pumped into it and international talents being bought for tens of millions of pounds. With a population approaching 1.5 billion if China continues to invest heavily in football they will begin to develop stars.

With managers like Andre Villas Boas, Gus Poyet, Manuel Pellegrini and Luiz Philipe Scolari all coaching in China the upcoming generation will have the perfect tutilage to become world class players. And with the implementation of a rule allowing teams only 6 foreign players in the matchday squad Chinese players will get the chance to play alongside some of the best footballers in the world as the big money signings keep coming in.

7. Colombia

Another team that won a lot of fans over at the 2014 World Cup Colombia are looking to go even further in 2018 or 2022.

With Falcao looking his best again at Monaco and James Rodriguez still being one of the most talented midfielders in the world Colombia’s attacking force is stacked. Carlos Bacca and Juan Cuardrado playing brilliantly in Italy, as well as Crstian Zapata and David Ospina, being solid down the other end, Colombia could go all the way at the next World Cup. People forget how good they were in 2014 and were only eliminated after an amazing goal by David Luiz

Colombia are a nation that love football so don’t be surprised to see the next generation of Colombian footballers be full of players as talented as James and Falcao.

6. USA

Ever since the MLS was founded football has been on an upward growth in the USA and the next decade could be the time for that to pay dividends for the national team.

The Women’s team are already dominant at their side of the game so if “Soccer” gets any bigger in the USA the National team could emulate their female conterparts successes.

Christain Pulisic and John Brooks are set to be the stars of this next generation fo American players. Both already finding great success in Germany at young ages. Brooks was fantastic in 2014 and 2018 will be Pulisic’s first time at a World Cup should they qualify. Emerson Hyndman and Gedion Zelalem both currently on loan at Rangers and VVV Venlo respectively, are two of the United States rising stars plying their trade in England so look out for them in the near future.

 

5. The Netherlands

The three-time runners-up and 2014 4th placed side have been on a huge decline since then. Failing to qualify for the 2016 Euros and recently sacking manager Danny Blind. The Netherlands need a dramatic turnaround if they are to make Russia 2018. The current crop of players will not win a World Cup, with the only arguably world class talents in the squad being an ageing Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben.

However The Netherlands have always got a new crop coming around the corner and have never been without some of the games top players, from Cruyff and Neeskens, Van Basten and Gullit, Van Nistelrooy and Seedorf and Robben and Van Persie. In the future The Netherlands will have another amazing crop of talent come through at some point but at the moment they don’t look likely but for the reason they will always have at least one world class talent they find themselves 5th on this list.

4. Croatia

Croatia have an argument to put forward that they have the best midfield in international football at the moment. With Modric, Rakitic and Kovacic all playing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid they are definitely one of the best midfield trios at the moment.

The talent doesn’t end there though. Going forward Ivan Perisic was one of the stars of Euro 2016 and Mario Mandzukic has been a great striker for years now.At the back Dejan Lovren, Tin Jedvaj and Daniel Subasic aren’t going to leak goals no matter what team they come up against.

The young crop coming through is also exciting. Alen Halilovic, Marko Rog, Tin Jedvaj, Mateo Kovacic and Marko Pjaca are all players under 23 playing for some of the best teams in Europe. It is fair to say the future is bright for Croatia and with them being one of the few teams who will cope with the climate in Russia next year don’t be surprised to see them cause a few upsets.

3.Portugal

You just cant write off a team that are European Champions and have Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad. Ronaldo is yet to have his huge crowning World Cup moment other than the infamous wink against England over a decade ago.

Next year will be a lot of this generations last chance at World Cup Glory with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Pepe and Quaresma all probably heading to their last World Cup and they will all want to go out on a high.

With young players like Renato Sanches and Bernardo Silva to add to the experience of the core players Portugal have a good chance of replicating their Euro 2016 success.

2. Chile

Back to back Copa America wins have Chile looking good heading into the next World Cup. Spearheaded by Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez Chile have an outstanding chance to do something huge at the next world cup.

Another team that was cruelly eliminated from the last World Cup with Brazil eliminating them on penalties after they hit the cross bar late on in the game. Gary Medel is an impressive player whenever he puts on the national team shirt. As bad as Claudio Bravo has been for Manchester City this season he does put in good performances for Chile.

1, Belgium

In my opinion, the best national team in the world on paper. The have to do something big in 2018. Every single area of the pitch has a top class talent, Lukaku, De Bruyne, Vertonghen, Courtois, Hazard, Kompany, Dembele, Nainggolan, Benteke. The list is endless. If they can get all of their players working together and firing on all cylinders they will be unbeatable. Their players all know each other so well as well playing together for the national team for years as well as the majority of the squad being Premier League players.

The attack is every defenders nightmare and the defence is every attackers nightmare. Scoring past Thibaut Courtois is hard enough but with Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Kompany in front of him, teams will find it hard to even get a sniff at goal. Belgium are one of the favourites for the next World Cup for a reason and it is now or never for their golden generation

 

 

Player for player: What is the best team in Premier League history?

It’s a question we have thrown around between friends and family for years. Position by position. Comparing arguably the five greatest Premier League sides ever assembled man for man in every position is a tough ask but it is something that will always spark discussion. In this discussion is the 07/08 Manchester United team, 04/05 Chelsea The Arsenal Invincibles, 11/12 Manchester City and The Manchester United treble winners.

Goalkeeper: The Candidates

Peter Schmeichel

Petr Cech

Joe Hart

Jens Lehmann

Edwin Van Der Saar

This is a two horse race for me between Van Der Saar and Cech. On one hand Chelsea only conceded 15 goals all season and Cech went over 1,000 minutes without conceding a goal, a record at the time. A record that would be beaten by Edwin Van Der Saar with Manchester United. Peter Schmeichel gets an honourable mention, however, I think Cech and Van Der Saar get the nod over him. It is impossible to separate the two so both Chelsea and Manchester United get a point each on this round.

Right Back: The Candidates

Gary Neville

Wes Brown

Paolo Ferreira

Micah Richards

Lauren

The most straight forward decision in all the squad. Gary Neville slots in easily at right back. The greatest right back the Premier League has ever seen leaves the rest of the candidates a mile back. Right back is the weakest area of the squad for most of these teams. The point goes to the 1999 Manchester United team.

Centre backs: (Choose 2) The Candidates

Vincent Kompany

Joleon Lescott

Sol Campbell

Kolo Toure

John Terry

Ricardo Carvalho

Nemanja Vidic

Rio Ferdinand

Jaap Stam

Ronny Johnsen

This is the hardest area of the squad to choose and other than Lescott and Johnsen you can stake a very serious claim for any of the players. Looking solely at statistics Chelsea’s defence that season only conceded 15 goals all year in the league. Such an unreal feat that will probably never be repeated. Therefore it would be impossible to leave out either Terry or Carvalho due to that unbelievable record. I have never known a defender read a game as well as Ricardo Carvalho, however, he only played 39 games compared to John Terrys 53. John Terrys aerial dominance, strength and leadership see him put in as our first centre back.

The second centre back slot has to belong to Nemanja Vidic. It is so close between him and Sol Campbell. Overall I do think Sol Campbell is the better defender but we are only comparing one individual season and Vidic didn’t put a foot wrong all year in 07/08. If we were talking whole careers I would say Campbell is better than Vidic due to Vidic’s discipline and the amount of times he got torn apart by Fernando Torres. But for a single season Vidic takes it. a point each for 07/08 United and 04/05 Chelsea

Left Back: The Candidates

Ashley Cole

William Gallas

Gael Clichy

Dennis Irwin

Patrice Evra

Left back is a much harder choice than first thought. Evra, Irwin and Cole are all in with a shout of being the best Premier League left-backs of all time. However the only choice I can justify making here is Ashley Cole. In my opinion the greatest left back the world has ever seen Cole was one of the last of a dying breed of full backs who are world class defenders. Now at the highest level of the game left backs are expected to go forward as well as they defend. Ashley Cole didn’t need that as the defensive aspect of his game was just that good. Point goes to 03/04 Arsenal

Central Midfielder: The Candidates

Roy Keane

Yaya Toure

Gilberto Silva

Patrick Vieira

Michael Carrick

Paul Scholes (1999)

Claude Makelele

This is a position that will spark massive debate as fans of their respective clubs can make debates about each of these players. From the off I am going to eliminate the three Manchester United players as options as I think there is such a massive gulf in class between them and the remaining three players.

I have addressed my feelings on Scholes in a previous blog post. Keane was never the technical genius that Toure, Makelele and Vieira were. Roy Keane was a tough tackling hard working midfielder but very overrated in my opinion. Carrick just isn’t at that level albeit I do think there is a debate as to whether or not Carrick is better than Scholes.

Toure, Makelele and Vieira. Three of the best at their respective roles. Without a doubt Claude Makelele is the best pure defensive midfielder the game has ever seen. The spine of any team he was in, there is a reason that the role is named after him. Patrick Vieira, physically imposing is an understatement. The man used to intimidate me through a TV screen and one of the strongest players I have ever seen. It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12

Patrick Vieira, physically imposing is an understatement. The man used to intimidate me through a TV screen and one of the strongest players I have ever seen. It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12

It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12 season Yaya Toure showcased all of his talents brilliantly. I have never seen a player run on the ball like Toure used to he would just power through defences like he was a tank. Not as good defensively as Makelele or Vieira but Toure was a threat going forward and could always be counted on to put in a shift when it counted. Point goes to 11/12 Man City

Right Wing: The Candidates

Cristiano Ronaldo

The only candidate I am going to put for this position. Without a doubt the best player throughout any of these squads. The reason the 07/08 United squad was what it was Ronaldo in 07/08 is arguably the best single season performance from a player alongside Thierry Henry in 03/04 Luis Suarez in 13/14 and Gareth Bale in 12/13. We don’t even need to discuss any other candidate in this position. Point goes to Man United 07/08

Attacking Midfielder: The Candidates

Frank Lampard

David Silva

Samir Nasri

Dennis Bergkamp

It really hurts me that I am not choosing Dennis Bergkamp in this position. It truly does. My favourite ever player to watch and the greatest technique on any footballer ever I wish I could choose him here. Unfortunately we are doing this on a season by season basis and Frank Lampard’s 04/05 is better than Dennis Bergkamp’s 03/04. I know Dennis Bergkamp can be considered a striker but in 03/04 he was more of a second striker/ attacking mid. Frank Lampard is the choice here 13 goals from midfield that year is a standard return from Frank Lampard who would go on to finish only behind Ronaldinho in that years Balon D’or voting. Point goes to 04/05 Chelsea

Left Wing: The Candidates

Ryan Giggs (1999)

Ryan Giggs (07/08)

Joe Cole

Robert Pires

Adam Johnson

For as much as everyone says “Ryan Giggs is the best Premier League player of all time” he never had a phenomenal season. I go over Ryan Giggs in the same blog post I mentioned when speaking about Scholes earlier. Giggs scored a measly three league goals in both 98/99 and 07/08. Joe Cole was at the height of his talent in 04/05 showing glimpses of world class talent at times and he still is Englands most skilful player in my lifetime. Adam Johnson is such a huge waste of talent. Their will always be a dark cloud over his career however he was an incredibly talented player at one point. Rewatch his goal vs Sunderland for Manchester City and you will see what he was capable of producing. This position absolutely goes to Robert Pires though. Scoring 14 league goals from the wing and playing the best football of his career Pires was outstanding in an Arsenal side full of outstanding players. Point goes to 03/04 Arsenal

Strikers: (Choose 2) The Candidates

Sergio Aguero

Edin Dzeko

Mario Balotelli

Thierry Henry

Didier Drogba

Eidur Gudjohnssen

Wayne Rooney

Carlos Tevez (Man United)

Dwight Yorke

Andy Cole

Thierry Henry is a shoe in. Henry’s season is one of the best by any Premier League player as I mentioned earlier. Hitting 30 goals as well as six assists Henry walked to the player of the year award that year. The greatest Premier League player of all time for me Henry you can’t not have him as your first choice striker here.

Sergio Aguero is the only one of these players other than Henry to hit 20+ league goals in their respective seasons and he is my choice as the second striker. I can’t think of a better debut season from any striker in the league. From his Brace off the bench against Swansea in his first ever game to his iconic last kick of the season against QPR Sergio Aguero won the league for Manchester City that season as well as scoring a huge amount which is why he gets in the team. Point each for 03/04 Arsenal and 11/12 Man City

Captain: The Candidates

Patrick Vieira

Vincent Kompany

Roy Keane

Ryan Giggs (Neville was injured for the season)

John Terry

For all the reasons I think that Roy Keane is over rated there is no question that he is an amazing leader on the pitch. I beg anyone to rewatch his Champions League semi-final second leg performance . That is what you need from a captain even though he got booked early and knew he would miss the final if they got there he rallied the troops and ran the midfield against Zinedine Zidane and Edgar Davids. Two of the best midfielders of that generation. Roy Keane is the best captain in Premier League history. Point goes to Manchester United 98/99

Manager: The Candidates

Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson

Roberto Mancini

Arsene Wenger

Jose Mourinho.

Every single one of these managers has a claim at having the best managerial season. Mourinho broke so many records with that Chelsea side and only lost one game in the league. Manchester United won the treble in 1999 and the double in 2008. Arsene Wenger led his team to an unbeaten season in the league. A lot of people will disagree with me here but I am going to choose Roberto Mancini. Without a doubt the rest of the managers are better and Fergie is the best manager of all time.

However comparing single-season feats from a managerial standpoint Mancini takes this. The difference is for the rest of the teams the league title was never in doubt towards the end of the season. Not a lot of managers would be able to claw back an 8 point deficit against their biggest rivals with only 6 games to go. With a club chasing their first league title for 44 years Mancini managed to win the league in the most dramatic of ways playing some of the best football the league has ever seen along the way. Beating Man United 6-1 at Old Trafford and Spurs 5-1 at White Hart Lane. Swallowing his pride and putting Carlos Tevez back into the team after vowing to never play him again. In a single season Roberto Mancini had the best managerial season out of any of these great managers. Point goes to 11/12 Manchester City

If you disagree with any or all of my selections feel free to comment or tweet me @charliejones141 I would love to see some discussion about who you think deserves a place more than others.

Leeds Trinity basketball team end disappointing season

 

Leeds Trinity University’s basketball team has had a poor season. They’ve been no match for bigger universities and due to lack of participation from students, they have only been able to field a squad of 6 at most games. Leaving their players on the court tired and unable to keep up with fresher sides.

In an interview Point Guard Will Thomas said it is imperative for the team to “Build a squad” next year as it is something they lack. Outside of the starting 5, there is not much depth. This has led to poor results all season with only 1 win coming all year.

Last week Leeds Trinity played against the University Of Leeds and the difference between the two teams was clear. Throughout the first quarter, it was a tight affair with Trinity hitting a couple of threes and University Of Leeds relying heavily on inside scoring. But as the game progressed you could tell that fitness was a factor.

As Uni of continued to make substitutions throughout each quarter Leeds Trinity had only 6 players meaning they could only sub one player at a time. This led to players playing over 20 minutes consecutively and after the third quarter the hustle on defence was pretty much non-existent.

As the second quarter came to a close in this game Trinity were still in it, trailing by only a single digit score. However with fatigue setting in due to not being able to rotate players Trinity went through eight minutes of the third quarter without a score.

Rebounding was a huge issue with players not committing to getting the ball back. Will Thomas remarked, “We are not adapting to bigger teams that we are coming up against, we are quite a small team.” Which is not good news for the rebounding statistics which is where a game of basketball can be won and lost.

Next year Leeds Trinity will have to rely heavily on the new batch of freshers coming through to give them the depth that they are so desperate for. With depth comes competition which is something that the players need as they will not only be playing for the results but for their place in the team.

2017 Cheltenham Festival Preview and tips

We are less than a week away from the biggest and best race meeting of the year. The Cheltenham festival is the showcase of the greatest horses that the UK and Ireland have to offer and this year it has been an unpredictable road leading up to the festival.

Unfortunately, this time round we will be without some of racings biggest superstars as leading up to the festival horse after horse, has succumbed to injury. Most recently the horse I was most looking forward to seeing Thistlecrack has been pulled out after being firm favourite for the Gold Cup in Ante Post betting. Vautour and Many Clouds sadly passed away this year and huge names; Annie Power and Faugheen also missing out.

This time last year the festival was dominated by the duo of Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins however, they didn’t get off to the best of starts in the 2016 festival with 15/8 favourite Min finishing only 2nd behind the now dominant Altior in the supreme novices’ hurdle. Unfortunately, Min will not be able to run this year as the horse picked up an injury in the build up to the festival. This year in that race I expect a Mullins horse to win and Melon at 4/1 for this race looks like a great pick.

As for last years winner Altior he will head into the Arkle chase massive favourite at 2/7. For me, no horse in this field will get close to Altior. Described by trainer Nicky Henderson as “A Horse with gears” Altior should come home easily much like last year in the Supreme. However at 2/7 that is not a working mans price so my tip for the Arkle is Le Prezien E/W at 16/1. Le Prezien is a great horse and can definitely get some place money for any punters

The Champion Hurdle has been won in the last two years by two of my favourite horses in Faugheen and Annie Power both going off as favourites for this race. This year Yanworth heads the betting. Without a doubt Yanworth is a talented horse however up against this field I don’t see it winning this one. Yanworth has never blown my socks off when it has ran and I don’t fancy it at odds of 5/2. MyTentOrYours is a very appealing price at 16/1, last years runner up will be looking to go one better this year but it will have to improve on its recent runs.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase should be very straight forward. Douvan shouldn’t have any issues overcoming this field. Once again at 1/3 however I don’t think Douvan is worth backing so I would go with God’s Own E/W at 12/1. God’s Own had the better of Vautour twice last year and anybody who follows racing will tell you that Vautour is one of the best horses of the past decade.

As for the Ryanair. I would back the favourite going into it Un De Sceaux. Even at 15/8 I think it is a good price to back this horse as it has all the makings of a superstar, beating second favourite for the Ryanair Uxizandre by five lengths in Janurary.

One of the best horses this past year has been UknowhatimeanHarry. He is going to go into the stayers hurdle heavy favourite however, in my opinion, his price is way too short. At 5/4 UknowhatimeanHarry is going to be the winner in my opinion however, I would not bet on him at those odds if you don’t have a lot of money to throw at it. There are two other horses entering that race that will give him a run for his money. Both The New One and Ballyoptic are great horses with Ballyoptic in good form. Betting on either of those two at 12/1 and 16/1 respectively represents better value.

The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle will have one of the best battles of the festival as Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini are set to square off. Both winners at the festival last year with VVM winning this race last year and Limini winning The Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ hurdle. These two are so evenly matched however I think VVM’s experience will see it through and she will win this one.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the race I have been looking forward to all year long. After the King George on Boxing Day I was ready to throw my entire bankroll at Thistlecrack to win this. The King George performance is by far and away the best performance I have ever seen over fences. Just watch how it powers away from Cue Card on that final turn. Unfortunately, Thistlecrack misses out with injury so there are currently 3 joint favourites.

Cue Card. Who needs no introduction, he is one of the best horses in the world and if he hadn’t of fallen last year he would have been looking at retaining his title.

Native River. Another Tizzard horse and The Welsh National winner has seen his odds slashed over the past few months and is now joint favourite going into the race. Beat Bristol De Mai convincingly last time out.

Djakadam. Always the bridesmaid never the bride. Runner up to both Coneygree and Don Cossack the past two years in this race it could be time for Djakadam to go one better.

For me Cue Card is the pick to win this race. What do I need to say about this horse that hasn’t already been said? One of the most loved horses in the world and extremely talented as well. Turning 11 next month it is now or never for Cue Card to win a gold cup.