Antonio Conte; The Under appreciated One

Hello and good morning football fans, it’s The Sports Buff here, we need to talk about a football manager, one Antonio Conte. Italian Conte, is one manager who can divide opinion. Many see him as one of the best in the world football, but there is a contingent who see him as divisive as Jose Mourinho.

In regards to that last statement, this Jose being a bad man manager is somewhat of a myth. Yes, his tactics might upset players, but football players of today’s day and age aren’t quite like the colossus characters that were Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira or even Conte.

Social media dancing and the whole social media culture is something that goes hand in hand with many footballers of the modern age. It’s quite ironic that those footballers who tend to be associated with this social media culture (Lingard and Pogba for example) are currently at a career cross roads.

I personally feel that a manager like Jose and Antonio, are winners, their trophy cabinet proves it and today’s modern day footballer is very entitled, one little disagreement and that’s it, they’re on the phone to their agent and want out. They’re too thin skinned. *clears throat Harry Maguire*.

Although this piece is dedicated to the Italian maverick Conte, Mourinho is someone like Conte once was. Jose is arguably more experienced and wiser than that Porto version of The Special One.

So maybe we don’t see the berating of officials and angry behaviour or true emotions of Jose as he is calmer. If you believed, don’t think about taking up poker as you’re too naive.

All too often Jose and Antonio Conte are accused of having poor man management skills , but didn’t former Spurs boss Jose help Kane post the best numbers of his career last season? Also in the case of Conte, he’s fired a Tottenham team that after losing 3-0 to United at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, were seventh and devoid of ideas and confidence.

Players like Diego Costa, would say Conte didn’t treat him well and to a point this is true, but the former Atletico man didn’t cover himself in glory either when he left Chelsea to return to the Spanish capital.

Lucas Moura is a player re-born in a new position. The former PSG wonderkid, was of course set to go to United until the Parisians came in for him, and in those days, he was a very trickery winger/forward.

He needs money to build his teams is one accusation always thrown at him and to a point, I have been guilty of this accusation too. Dejan Kulisevski and Rogrigo Bentancur have been superb and they were good value signings.

Signing players can be the easiest thing, but the fact that Uruguayan Bentancur, who was formerly of Juventus was showing decline in performance, and is now back to top form, is a testament to the 52-year old Conte and his powers of inspiration .

Yes, the former Juve boss is very passionate and fiery, but with Juventus he helped players like Cuadrado turn into prime Cafu (yeah slight over exaggeration), but the point remains he turned the former Chelsea man into a very good player and changed him from winger to wing-back.

That’s the same that can be said of Victor Moses, now of Spartak. Moses, was of course part of that Chelsea team that won the Premier League after finishing 12th the season before. The headlines won’t point out that Antonio Conte was Moses’ manager and he turned the former Liverpool loanee’s career around.

Since Conte has left, Victor Moses has been the same player before the Italian’s arrival and having been a journeyman before, looks to be heading for a journeyman like career now.

Last night’s 3-0 win over Arsenal was superb, of course it was, but the former Genoa boss I feel has finally got rid of the ghost of Pochettino past. Tottenham are a united team again.

Chelsea only now are in a position to challenge for honours and have won the Champions League (last season), several years after Conte left. West London club Chelsea looked not capable of being able to win the Premier League, but Antonio inspired that success, just like he did at Inter.

The former Juve midfielder inspired Romelu Lukaku to the best scoring season of his career, Big Rom has been a shadow of that player this year, but the narrative is, Antonio Conte is too aggressive with players.

It’s the same with Jose, he helped Lingard (bar his time at West Ham) play some of the best football of his career, like he is currently doing with Tammy Abraham and Henrikh Mkhitariyan .

Rumours are circulating that Antonio Conte will be leaving at the end of this season to take over at PSG. If that’s true Neymar and co will be in for a shock as the Paris front-line although brilliant, will realise that they’re not too big to be dropped, look at the example of Diego Costa who helped Chelsea to the Premier League title.

Tottenham Hotspur fans no doubt appreciate him, but football fans (some of them don’t) the Premier League will be a worse place off. England is in danger of being dominated by Liverpool and Manchester City. Conte was changing that, if this is goodbye Arrivederci Antonio!

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company. https://www.shirtclubjersey.com/

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Hello, good afternoon beloved sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support.

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One hand on the title?

Hello, good evening sports fans, it’s me your Sports Buff, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. Let’s talk, about football. Unlike yesterday, today was a busy day of fixtures both in Scotland and down South (for Scottish fans) for matters in England’s Premier League.

I will start with the Scottish Premier League and after stopping Celtic’s quest for 10 SPFL titles in a row by winning last year’s title by finishing the season unbeaten, Rangers lost last season’s SPFL crown they won from The Bhoys with still one more game left to play.

The Bhoys capped off a brilliant season with a 1-1 draw at Dundee United. Maybe not at their best on the night, but Ange’s men like on so many occasions this season were able to get the job done on the day.

Arch-rivals Rangers did their side of the bargain by thumping Ross County 4-1, but with so few games left, The Gers were always delaying the inevitable. The league table never lies, and the fact that The Hoops Celtic are winners of the Scottish League, for the 10th time in 11 seasons, to add to their Scottish League Cup success shows that Ange Postecoglou’s men domestically have been head and shoulders above everyone else.

The consoling factor for the blue half of Glasgow is that they have two finals to contest. One against Hearts in the Scottish League Cup and the other against Eintracht Frankfurt in this years Europa League final.

Moving to England now where Manchester City and Liverpool have been engulfed in an almighty tussle at the top of the Premier League. Until the end of the last round of fixtures, the lead at the top was just a solitary point between City and Liverpool.

After The Reds dropped points on Saturday, they went about their job in a professional manner and beat Aston Villa 2-1 in Tuesday’s game . That might have caused other teams to panic, but not this Man City side as they swept Wolves aside quite ruthlessly 5-1, which included a four-goal salvo from Kevin De Bruyne.

Maybe they could have saved their money on Erling Haaland. After this thumping win, champions City have a three point lead and a +7 goal difference over Liverpool, which is like an extra point lead.

How the 19-time League champions Liverpool could do with Mohammed Salah’s early season goal-scoring form. Elsewhere in tonight’s games already relegated Norwich were well beaten 3-0 by Leicester who have had a disappointing campaign and Everton, climbed further away from safety with a 0-0 draw with fellow strugglers Watford.

The Hornets, who have announced the appointment of Forest Green Rovers boss Rob Edwards, got some stern words from Forest Green’s owner Dale Vince, who was furious with Watford’s approach for their manager, saying especially after Edwards had only just helped The Green get into League One. About the approach, owner Vince said, ‘they will get their karma’,

That draw for the Toffees Everton, and Leeds’ 3-0 loss at home to Chelsea, means that The Lillywhites have been plunged further into the relegation trap door. West Yorkshire side Leeds are level on points with Burnley in seventeenth, but The Clarets have a much better goal difference, a +21 goal difference in comparison. That’s grim reading for Jesse Marsch’s men..

I said, (I don’t want to sound smug and it’s far from over), that Leeds due to Bielsa’s cavalier approach shall we say, which did have some moments of tactical naivety, would come back to hurt them badly.

To cap a Nick Farage phrase, when I said Leeds United could very seriously get relegated ‘you all laughed at me, but you’re not laughing now are you’?

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company. https://www.shirtclubjersey.com/

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good afternoon beloved sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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County cricket is finished they said

Hello, good afternoon sports fans, it’s me your sports buff. I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. For the English cricket lovers amongst you, you will be aware of the English Cricket Board (ECB) ramming down the newly formed, The Hundred tournament down our throats.

It will make cricket ‘appealing to a new audience’, if I remember correctly being the narrative that Tom Harrison and co want us to believe.

Me, Ayyaz Malik – I have been a sports writer for over eight years now and despite my football club allegiances or allegiances to a county cricket club (Lancashire, as that’s my home county), I have and will always aim to be impartial when writing or reporting sports.

With The Hundred however, I can’t do this and I feel strongly about this format than to be ‘impartial’. If not treated it can be a cancer to the intellectual game, that is cricket . Football is the beautiful game fans will tell you, but their sport doesn’t seem to be compatible with technology assistance, but what about cricket and rugby? They have had it for years.

I have watched a few of the games in The Hundred hoping, maybe I am at 35-years old, just being a stubborn middle aged man, but no, I don’t think I am . Football fans, how about FIFA changing each half to 22 and half minutes and make the pitches half the size and no offsides, where players can ‘goal hang’.

What was that, no, not keen? Yeah I didn’t think so. The Hundred has concerts going on alongside the game, during intervals. Sorry but this isn’t The Super Bowl or the opening ceremony of the world cup, if you want to go to a concert, well go to a concert. I don’t appreciate cricket getting muddled in with this.

Cricket isn’t like Cheltenham or Wimbledon, where only the Elite tend to go and when you do attend, it’s a custom to wear the clothes or attire associated with those events, for example at Wimbledon it’s customary for a man to wear a suit when at centre court.

If cricket, would turn like that, then the fancy dress and the atmosphere of test matches would never have been born, it makes the English summer and it’s not the English summer without this . That’s cricket, going to the test match, spending a day with your friends having a meal, basking in the sunshine and enjoying your day.

The T20 format has been introduced and that does keep with the identity of cricket I am referring to, but to keep changing the core and beauty of cricket, will make the natural form of cricket, test cricket diluted.

If there was no test cricket, limited-overs cricket wouldn’t have been born. No Virat Kohli, or AB DeVilliers arguably, would have graced the 20 overs and 50 overs games, if they hadn’t been competing in tests.

Test cricket and longer format cricket (four day games) has helped build players and also shows what can be achieved with patience. The narrative, maybe not necessarily the ECB themselves, but by former players (Messers Pieterson and I believe Agnew) have suggested that the County Championship, England’s biggest club cricket championships be reformed.

Very naive to say the least, when especially after the first four rounds of cricket or so of the championship, it’s clear to see there is a big pool of talent. It’s not the County Championship’s fault that an England opener seems to be moved around like a revolving door, unless your Zak Crawley.

Josh Bohannon, Ben Compton, Nick Gubbins, Hassan Azad. Harry Book and Sam Northeast are just some of the hole host of batsmen who have scored well in the county championship this season. The selection policy is floored and results are expected to happen yesterday.

The additions of some good overseas stars such as Shaheen Shah Afridi, Marnus Labuschagne and to his credit Hassan Ali who has bowled for Lancashire, have made matches competitive and interesting. There have been some drubbings and there have been some closely contested matches too.

Say what you will, but this year, some of the best cricket talent, has come to England due to conditions and the pitches that England tends to serve up

The powers that be at the ECB haven’t been watching test cricket, the last year or two, there has been clearly a renaissance in the standard of the cricket being played. Test series between Pakistan vs Australia and between West Indies vs Pakistan comes into mind, the point is I know there are more than that too.

A very strong piece, by my own admission, but ECB leave test cricket and the County Championship alone. The reason why test cricket is on it’s knees is due to you, no one else. Top English batsmen are performing, but you pick the wrong players, give them 0.5 seconds to prove themselves and move on to the next one, then repeat the steps.

The same with England’s captain Joe Root, he was removed in haste. How many of England’s players were in their early to mid twenties? Point proved … I rest my case.

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Hello, good afternoon beloved sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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Someone tell Lewis the season has started

In what was one of the best championship battles in F1’s recent history, it can be argued that Lewis Hamilton is still facing a hangover from last year’s season ending race the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Safety car laws were interpreted and misinterpreted, which lead to race director Michael Massi, been taken off those duties and reassigned to a different role.

Rules in the aftermath of that have changed, but the outcome remained the same, Mercedes and Hamilton have to get on with it and leave the past to the past as Red Bull and Max Verstappen became world champions . It can be argued, that Mercedes and Hamilton in that very race, was lucky to have been allowed to remain in pole after taking a wide race line in the early laps.

Here at the-sports-buff.com, there was surprise to see the seven-time world champion Hamilton return to F1, it appeared the former McLaren had fell out of love with the sport, especially since declaring his intention to compete this season quite late on in the testing season.

That’s the past and this years F1 championship is five races old and instead of Hamilton being towards the top of the drivers championship, unsurprisingly it’s world champion Max Verstappen, but what is surprising he’s tussling with Charles LeCLerc in the Ferrari.

It’s not surprising to see the Monte Carlo native compete at F1’s top table, not at all, here on my video channel and articles I have wrote about him in glowing terms , and we have sung LeClerc’s praises very highly, but to see Lewis Hamilton being outscored by rookie team-mate George Russell and be seventh in the championship is very surprising.

What doesn’t help the veteran is some of his actions off the track. The jewellery stunt, now seems very petulant, especially with his Mercedes car being no way competitive. A man is only as good as his car, this can be argued to a point, but this is a seven-time world champion we are talking about.

There have been seasons where Ferrari have had a competitive car, but Sebastien Vettel hasn’t been a match for Hamilton, racing fans, for the sake of competitiveness we are hoping for the old Lewis Hamilton to emerge from the Pitt lane, come the next race.

Lewis’ sixth place finish does give some encouragement, but as much as there is a lot of races to go, the season can speed off with out him, if he doesn’t get some wins on the board.

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Hello, good afternoon beloved sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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Over to you Manchester City

Hello and good afternoon sports fans, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. Just when some might have thought the title race in England’s Premier League might have been over, second place Liverpool reminded Man City that they’re not ready to give up of their fight for Premier League glory, just yet.

The Reds brilliantly over came Aston Villa 2-1 in last nights game, after falling behind to Douglas Luiz’s third minute goal. After Saturday’s potentially morale draining draw with Tottenham, this win at Villa park was gutsy, battling and a demonstration of real resilience as the Premier League season gets to the business end.

Football purists, no doubt would demand sparkling champagne football every game, especially with Liverpool’s stellar attacking line, but the cold facts are that results are much more important that results.

To further prove the point that he has been a superb January signing, Luis Diaz would set up Sadio Mane for the winner, which puts Liverpool level on points with the champions City, but Pep’s men do have a better goal difference.

For this game The Reds, rested five players and for manager Jurgen Klopp he will be relieved that after this fixture against Aston Villa that Liverpool have kept their quadruple hopes alive. The only negative is that key midfielder Fabinho went off injured during the game.

Manchester City will now need to travel to tonight’s Gam with Wolves needing a result. It’s not an easy place to visit that’s for sure and Wolves traditionally don’t concede too many goals. Although it only showed in the semi-final loss to Real Madrid, it’s games like this which could put the topic of City’s lack of genuine centre-forward to the core.

Personally we think Manchester City will edge tonight’s game at Molineux 1-0, but this is a genuine banana skin for City. Liverpool will be praying that this will be a banana skin, that makes City slip.

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company. https://www.shirtclubjersey.com/

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good afternoon beloved sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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My thoughts on why Manchester City can’t crack Europe

Hello and good evening sports fans, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. In the football it’s one of the biggest conundrums, why Manchester City despite wiping the proverbial floor clean domestically, in Europe how ever club football’s top prize the UEFA Champions League continues to elude them.

After Liverpool drawing 1-1 with Tottenham, that opened a three point gap between The Reds and Manchester City, who ruthlessly demolished in-form Newcastle 5-0, City look all but set to win their fourth Premier League crown in five seasons.

Amazingly The Cityzens appear to be finding different ways to get eliminated from the top table of Europe’s premier club competition. Losses to Lyon, Liverpool and Tottenham showed naivety, but this loss to Real Madrid worryingly showed a lack of cutting edge.

That’s quite something that City, who have been scoring freely in the Premier League, lacked a cutting edge in the semi-final first leg, despite scoring four times. Real Madrid have their premier marksman in Karim Benzema, and the Frenchman now has 40 goals in all competition this year.

Man City have been able to spread their goals, but players like Mahrez, Grealish and Jesus for example are brilliant players, but a strikers instinct can never be understated. Jack Grealish missed some guilt edged chances in the second leg, we can’t help but think if this was a striker with the pedigree of Aguero/Benzema would have at least converted one of those chances.

With many respectable new sources reporting that Manchester City have won the race for Erljng Haaland, then arguably The Blues should be winning next seasons Champions League right? Well, nothing is guaranteed.

In tournament football, the margins for error are smaller. Unfortunately City have been making errors at the wrong times. The usually impenetrable Ruben Diaz was at fault for one of Rodrygo’s goals.

The Portuguese youngster has been superb and has even help John Stones regain his best form. It’s not ideal at all, that Man City have spent over £1 billion on players, but if we’re not mistaken Manchester United won the Champions League title in the 1998/99 season and that was some eight seasons after United first got into tournament under Sir Alex.

The Red half of Manchester too spent a lot of money, but that’s not a narrative often told. What also hasn’t helped is Pep Guardiola being a bit too tactically flexible, yes we’re talking about last seasons final against Chelsea.

Even with the signing of Haaland, Manchester City need to plug the massive hole that will be left when club legend Fernandinho departs Manchester City. That signing might be more important than that of Erling Haaland.

Famous last words, but if City don’t win the Champion League within two seasons, I will eat my hat. Yes it seems so far, but City fans your team is close. Just a little more patience and that patience will reap rewards.

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company. https://www.shirtclubjersey.com/

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good afternoon beloved sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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The ‘Open Heart Surgery’ needed at Man United examined

In a season that has seen many lows and maybe just two highs (Ronaldo’s goal scoring achievements and David DeGea returning to form), the team here at The Sports Buff want to weigh into a debate, that’s been brewing ever since interim manager Ralf Ragnick made, the now infamous assessment of the state of affairs at Manchester United.

This slump, it arguably is a slump that Man United are currently enduring, especially since winning the Premier League in 2013 their 20th League crown, with a squad that was past it’s sell by date, The Red Devils have not added a domestic league title since.

That means since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired after 27 successful seasons, United’s trophy cabinet has only seen an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Europa League added to it. For other sides, with the greatest respect, that wouldn’t be a terrible trophy count.

But a club that boasted it won’t make the same mistakes as Liverpool (who saw a legendary manager leave and taking time to replace and replicate his success there after ), it’s ironic that Man United are making these very same mistakes.

Sir Alex Ferguson has retired, but the ghost of Fergie still looms. The Red Devils are a lost soul, clearly. Yes, we are fans of Manchester United and no we’re not from London, but with our analytical and journalistic observations, we play Dr and look to operate on our patient, Manchester United.

Defence

So nurse, please bring the defence. The defence, it doesn’t take rocket science to work out, has been a mess. A combination of different centre backs whether that be Maguire or Varanne, One thing is for certain United have not been able to find the right balance.

If you thought the centre back so bad, full backs haven’t been much better. Luke Shaw, Alex Telles as well as Aaron Wan Bissaka and Digo Dalot have all underwhelmed.

The form of Harry Maguire has been the most alarming. United skipper Maguire, last season was superb and he was also excellent in the Euros too. The former Hull man was named in the Euros team of the tournament after all.

This season, unfortunately the 28-year old Maguire has found different ways to make costly errors. So what’s the solution, drop him or even sell him? Yes it could be, with Eric Bailly stepping in to partner Varanne and maybe United could sign Pau Torres.

As much as we like the Villareal man and were impressed by him in last season’s Europa League final, we also feel there’s a need to coach Harry Maguire into Erik Ten Haag’s system. Daley Blind, who formerly was of Manchester United of course has been a mainstay in the former Ajax boss’ team when he was in charge at the Johan Cryuff arena.

There is a for and against for either argument, the cold fact is football doesn’t have sentiments. Sentiments in regards to Maguire shouldn’t just be kept in the team purely because he is the captain or the world’s most expensive defender.

What we are adamant on is, especially in today’s era, the need for a good midfield is necessary for the defence to function. Luke Shaw has had a poor season by his standards, but like Harry Maguire he too has taken his game to a higher level in the past, there’s no reason why shouldn’t be able to do so now.

A good solid right-back is needed. Roben Goosens and Demzel Dumfries, although both at Inter as a player we rate both highly as well as Di Lorenzo of Napoli. Every player has his price, but unlike what they did with Maguire, United need to be shrewd when signing a player in this position.

Any of these three would be speculative signings, but good signings and an upgrade on the right-backs they have at the club. Max Aarons although a left-field shout somewhat is another we rate highly.

Football fans, you might be surprised for us to not have included Sergino Dest. The American who plays for Barcelona these days, we think would be better suited there, but if Ten Haag decides for a reunion and Barca being cash-strapped, then never say never.

A good defence is only good with a good midfield. Nurse, you’re needed please! We now need to operate on the midfield part of the heart.

Midfield

To say that United’s midfield is in disarray is under statement of the century. Pogba, who is arguably one of the biggest stars in midfield, has been injured for large parts of the season and arguably getting his head swayed by reported bids from ‘bigger clubs’.

This diverted attention theme does appear to resonate across the attacking players contingent at The Red Devils. If reports are to be believed, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and of course Pogba are counting the seconds, minutes and days to exit the Old Trafford door.

With Matic leaving too, this part of the heart needs the most work. Nurse, please cancel my evening appointments. We suggest that Mamadou Diarra of Leipzig be signed and not Declan Rice or Wilfred Ndidi. Both Rice and Ndidi are good player but will come at a premium.

How about Youri Tielemans? The Belgian who has been superb for Leicester, is coming to the last 12 months of his deal and will no doubt be available for a cut price fee. There is of course James Ward-Prowse and Aurelien Tchouameni, but there is a but with both.

With Monaco’s Tchouameni we actually he would be brilliant, but with Real Madrid and many of Europe’s elite in the race for the young Frenchman too, it will be a hard sell, but The Reds will surely be able to make him the centre of the team.

This would help Bruno Fernandes, who I am sure is (he clearly looks it), tired from carrying Manchester United. There is of course Aboubacar Kamara of Marseille or Calvin Stengs and Teun Koopmeiners of Atalanta.

Long story short in what is a very important position in the modern day game, Man United do have options. How could we forget Ryan Gravenberch? The tall Ajax youngster has been likened to Paul Pogba, and this is something the United midfield has been crying out for.

We think Man United should sign at least two players in midfield and give the returning James Garner a chance to shine in the middle of the park. Let’s face it, Fred and Scott McTominay have been poor on the whole, the Nottingham Forest loanee won’t be worse than either of them.

Are we seeing signs of life nurse? No? Please bring me the strikers!

Strikers

The fact we have to cover this point is quite something. Manchester United in the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era, were well stocked in this area, but now all of a sudden when talisman Ronaldo will retire within the next two seasons, United look thin on the ground.

Anthony Martial, looks certain to leave, Marcus Rashford looks like he’s been stuck on a school playground somewhere serving someone school dinners and Lingard Id dabbing his way out of the exit door.

Man U do have Sancho and Elanga, not forgetting to mention Shola Shoretire, a player who unfortunately has been on the periphery, even though The Red Devils’ goal return has been so low despite Ronaldo single handily keeping Manchester United in the hunt for any form of European football.

To remedy this, we suggest they need to sign Christopher Nkunku at all costs. The Leipzig man has shown he’s the all round package, get him before other clubs sniff around. There is of course Laturo Martinez, who is a brilliant player, but maybe a player who could be too expensive for their budget.

Jonathan David, Sebastian Haller, Paulo Dybala are other players mentioned too. In the case of the Argentine Dybala, we watched him live, and we will never forget how much he terrorised United’s defence on the day.

It would be his goal that helped Juventus leave Manchester with all three points in a Champions League group game a few seasons back. Haller, would be an interesting option and is a player Ten Haag knows well having worked with the Frenchman at FC Utrecht as well as Ajax.

Jonathan David however is a good player, but we’re not convinced that the Canadian can stay injury free, he will also command a ridiculous transfer fee, which is the reason why Victor Osmimhen is a no no.

So we suggest United should sign Haller if Ten Haag can get a system that play to the former West Ham man’s strengths and also Paulo Dybala too. Man United do have Thaith Chong to come back. The Birmingham loanee has shown glimpses of his undoubted talent whilst at St Andrews.

Although we don’t know too much about him, maybe try to give Alejandro Garnacho a go? Man United are in such depths of oblivion, things can only get better. Surely 20-time League winners Manchester United can’t go any lower?

Any signs of a healthy heart nurse? Nearly? Ok then please bring me the conclusion/loan or fringe players.

Second chances

With the new manager, old players get new beginnings. Axel Tuanzebe, Donny Van De Beek, Amad Diallo, Brandon Williams and Facundo Pellistri are those hoping to benefit from a new manager.

The quintet, play in positions where United do need to address,so before Ten Haag opts to open the cheque book, then the need to hold the horses is needed?

Andreas Perreira, I am afraid for the sake of his own career needs to move on. Nurse, any signs of a beating heart? Yes, if they follow this advice? Well, that’s a relief.

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

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Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company. https://www.shirtclubjersey.com/

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good morning beloved Beards. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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The day that ended the title race?

Good evening sports fans, I hope you’re well , looking after yourselves and are in good health. Let’s talk, in particular let’s talk football. It’s been quite some season. In England’s Premier League and in Italy’s Serie A there’s been a hotly contested title race.

In Italy Milan rivals continue to go to toe. Milan winning 3-1 this evening, cancelling out Inter’s impressive 4-2 win two nights before (Friday). In Italy for a good part of the season, it appeared that the tussle for the title, will be battled three ways, but Napoli’s bad form of late, realistically has put an end to that talk.

With the slump of Luciano’s Spelleti’s men, Italy’s title race, just like last season will be contested by the same two teams, but not for the slightest would we say that it’s predictable in the Italian top flight.

If we were betting people (that we are not), then we would back AC Milan to bring the title home to the Red and White side of the City, which is something that they haven’t done since the mid noughties.

Just like in England, it’s far from a forgone conclusion.

To move across the continent, we will have a look at England’s Premier League. In the last three seasons at least, Manchester City and Liverpool have been battling out for England’s top domestic honor. Chelsea tried, just like Napoli to make the Premier League a three-way tussle, but failed like the Naples side side

In the Premier League battles of recent memory Man City and Liverpool have pushed each other to unhuman levels, something reminiscent to how a peak Ronaldo and Lionel Messi would do to each other. This season, it’s been no different, but with Liverpool drawing with Tottenham and Manchester City thrashing Newcastle, maybe this epic tussle, is coming to an end?

Well, before researching the fixture list, we thought so. But, both sides have difficult away games. Manchester City will need to travel to The London stadium and take on West Ham, and Liverpool travel to Villa Park and look to defeat their former captain Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa.

In fact it looks like The Villains might have a say of the destination of this year’s Premier League title. With Villa, comfortably in mid table and not having to worry about getting dragged into a relegation dogfight, Aston Villa can approach both the Liverpool game and Manchester City arguably game with no pressure.

That’s not something both Man City or Liverpool can afford to do. The Cityzens Manchester City have the points on the board and Liverpool will need to catch them, but if Liverpool do their side of the bargain and beat Aston Villa in their next league game on 10th May, all of a sudden Manchester City’s tricky trip to Wolves a day later , gets all the more trickier.

Looking at the fixture list, after initially thinking the title race is all but over, we feel there’s more twists and turns to come, but do you agree?

We think Liverpool could over take City, but We won’t put our neck on the line.

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company.

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good morning beloved Beards. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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This is why they call it the beautiful game

Hello, good afternoon sports fans. I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and keeping safe in these times. Boy and girls, ladies and gents … We need to talk, football! Football, a sport that’s arguably the biggest in the UK/England, is known across the world as ‘the beautiful game’.

The memories it provokes and the emotions too, there’s nothing quite like it. Cricket, is beautiful, but it’s more of a thinkers game. Field placings, outwitting opponents … football, that’s more emotions.

If cricket you think with your head, football is with heart and that’s what leads to the beauty of it. This weeks European football semi-final ties, were of pure and sheer excitement. I am am man of 35 years of age, and I can say I have only cried tears of joy once, after a football game, Manchester City vs Tottenham from a few seasons back (Champions League quarter-final).

The matches this week, were all emotion filled, Liverpool on the brink of getting rattled and maybe dumped out of the tournament, to become mentality monsters and cruelly sink the Yellow Submarine Villareal (who won the Europa League last year) out of the tournament.

Talking about cruelly going out of the tournament, Manchester City’s wait for an elusive first Champions League crown, continues after self destructing in the second leg of their game against Real Madrid at the Bernabeau.

Logic, (with two minutes to go I should add), dictated that Real the 13-time Champions League winners were going to be knocked out of this years tournament, but someone tell that to Rodrygo.

The young Brazilian Rodrygo, didn’t get that memo and it was his two goals, which ultimately won the tie, as City appeared defeated and deflated too at that point, before Benzema would score the goal that would actually dump them out . In the Europa League West Ham’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt may have been easy to a point for the Germans, but Rangers who were also against German opposition (Leipzig) to a man were superb in an emotion packed Ibrox.

It’s just a game they tell you, tell that someone else, we don’t believe that here at the sports buff .

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good morning beloved Beards. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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When you know it’s summer (in the sporting sense)

Hello, good afternoon sports fans, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. As discussed in previous articles, we here at The Sports Buff, want to look at sports, but through a different lens if you like.

We have spoke about school cricket, back garden cricket and football, but here we want to talk about when sporting wise, you know it’s summer. The obvious sign is when your local park is full, people getting their exercise and they’re running and building a sweat.

In the summer on the whole, you will see people driving with their convertible roofs down, in the case of most with music full blast, is what some of us do, yours truly included, but not the music part.

As mentioned in the previous blog about football, in the back garden and cricket too, is of course sensical as the weather would be too warm to stay inside. Me and the kids of today, are a different era, I am not so sure if it’s a thing of today, but we as kids would run around chasing the neighbours kids as part of play time.

Then, we would see that as fun time, now though, yes it’s fun time, but it’s good cardio! Not all, but most kids would be hard pushed to get off their consoles. The consoles aren’t actually all bad, like the Nintendo Wii, but nothing beats some crisp air or the warm sunshine.

Water fights, used to be the order of the day in the afternoon for us kids. Water guns, chasing after each other, dodging your opponent who was trying to soak you with water gun shots, caution needed indeed.

I have a question, is this a thing anymore? Hope so, really do. Outdoor activities is naturally something which you will do when the sun is out, o water about volley ball at the beach and actually getting good exercise by going on a long walk along the beach.

Sports fans, hopefully we have given a lot of examples here, but is there anything we might have missed? Let us know in the comments. Thanks to our partner Fragrance one, who have kindly given us a discount code, that you can benefit from.

Hey! You can use my code F30SPORTSBUFF2 at checkout to get 30% off your entire purchase at Fragrance One! fragrance.one

Support for The Sports Buff

Hello, good afternoon sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at The Sports Buff love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for a year and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

£0.99