Hi, my name is Ayyaz Malik and I am a sports writer, and I vlog about sports too. I am a sports junkie and I make no excuse about that. I am a sports fan of 26 years and that includes being a massive cricket fan.
I am a 90’s kid, so I grew up with Hussain, Thorpe and Pieterson in the middle order and Atherton, Trescothick, Cook and Strauss as openers. After the heavy defeat in Brisbane and now what looks like being another heavy defeat in Adelaide, the sports fan in me wants to offer my two cents on a matter … a solution to England’s current woes.
In the 90’s England were renowned for having a batting line up that was as resolute as a stack of dominoes, over the years The Three Lions have addressed the issue, but life has come back in full circle, England are in need of addressing their batting line-up as it’s like dominoes again.
The easy thing would be is to change the openers. I don’t just say this as I am a massive Haseeb Hameed fan, but this young man is the future and Rory Burns has shown he is able to post big scores, he does have a hundred against Australia.
Maybe I am calling this too early, but even then, I wasn’t happy Dom Sibley got dropped from the test team. This young man, has shown he likes to get stuck in. A few low scores and, just like other players he has been duly replaced.
In comparison, Australia although they might also change their openers, one thing is for certain Labuschagne, Smith and Head has become an established middle order. It must be clarified that the Aussies change one of their openers and not both, so to put it simply there’s no continuity in the England batting line-up.
I am English born and bread and share the same sentiments as every England cricket fan … we want a successful team, the tracks offered up in Australia have been too hot to handle for this English side, but many of the elite batsmen haven’t fared well here in years gone by.
So to conclude, ECB just please try to be consistent, with the batsmen and bowlers it’s all too much chop and change and I argue will this help the rhythm of the bowlers in there in one game and out the next?
What do I know, I am just a cricket fan, but I think I have spoke some sense, please give it some thought.
Ayyaz Malik aka The Sports Buff
Remember the day, 15/12/2021. Is it because it’s 10 days to Christmas? No, it’s a reason that’s more upsetting in the sporting sense. Sergio Kun Aguero formerly of Atletico Madrid, Manchester City and for a short period Barcelona, has had to announce his retirement owing to breathing difficulties, suffered in the 1-1 draw with Alaves.
The 33-year old striker has opted to take this decision to protect his health. Best remembered on English shores for that ‘Aguerooooooo goal’, Kun showed his talent and prowess at a young age, the Argentine formed a very handy partnership with Uruguayan Diego Forlan.
Aguero was record goal scorer for Manchester City and is firmly established as legend at The Etihad. Sergio Aguero, who scored 427 career goals in 786 games, broke down and took time to compose himself, as he told a small crowd at the Nou Camp pitch this very sad announcement.
Where ever life takes you Sergio, you touched the hearts of many. They called Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the baby faced assassin, you were more deadly than that, maybe we could refer to you as the quiet assassin, in that penalty box you sir were lethal.
The PFA awards might have eluded you (not sure how), but true football fans know, that there will be strikers like you … maybe, but there will always one Sergio Kun Aguero, you will be missed. The team at The Sports Buff, wishes you all the best in your future endeavours.
Hello and good evening sports fans, as I am sure you know, it’s been confirmed that Arsenal have stripped Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of the Arsenal Captain.
The Gabonese forward whose into his second year of a lucrative three-year deal, has seen his form decline rapidly since penning that new deal not too long after their FA Cup over Chelsea two seasons ago.
There have been some unforeseen circumstances, such as the former Dortmund man catching malaria, amongst other issues, but this latest case of off the field matters is what’s broke the camels back for Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
But after this news in regards to the Arsenal captaincy, it seems like no one want’s the top job on the field for the North Londoners. Gallas, Koscielny, Xhaka and now Auba who took over from Granit Xhaka after he had that episode with the fans when getting subbed off, have all had the captaincy and lost it due to lack of professionalism let’s just say.
Rumour has it that Lacazette will be given the arm band, but isn’t he leaving come the end of the season? I don’t know, just can’t make sense of it all. It’s like these Arsenal players are treating the arm band like the ring in the lord of the rings. Everyone avoided wearing it in the film.
Our choice for the armband? Kieran Tierney. Why? Well from what we have seen of the Scott he’s naturally a commanding figure, we think he can inspire others as a result. It’s yours the club captaincy if you want it Kieran, it seems like no one else wants it!
Good morning sports fans, the team here at The Sports Buff want to congratulate Pakistan. Why? I hear you ask, well the men in Green have become record breakers.
After Monday’s 63 run win against West Indies, that meant that Babar Azam’s men have broke their own record of winning 17 games by winning their 18th game in a calendar year.
On top of that impressive win against the two-time World T20 champions, they have become the first side to notch up 50 wins in the T20 format.
In Babar they have the number one batsmen in world T20 cricket and partnering him is the 4th best player (Mohammed Rizwan).
It’s not as if they’re shabby in the bowling department, Shadab Khan and Mohammed Nawaz provide the spin options. Just like in the spin bowling department , they have a conveyor belt of fast bowling options.
That might explain why Pakistan have bowled out teams for a record 35th time. Of course it will be pointed out that Pakistan need to win the crucial games, the knockout games like the one they didn’t win against Australia in the world T20 semi-final.
Despite their brilliance in this format, Australia have been their bogey team. This Pakistan side , it would be hoped for their sake they can win the pressure knock out games.
One other side who I think of who have a good win record is India, under Kohli’s captaincy the two-time 50 over champions had a 70% win rate. But crucially, the Indians would get knocked out in semi-finals and a final.
Pakistan, I am sure would not want to be a side with a record like that. This is a young Pakistani side and they would want to win tournaments, we have no doubt about that.
As it is a young side, it’s hoped they will mature and have that ability to keep calm in pressure matches. One thing Pakistan have, is time on their side.
A software glitch from an external company, lead to what will be one of the most talked about football moments for some time, and this wasn’t even in regards to a matter on the pitch. This glitch is relating to the UCL draw needing to be redone, much to the bemusement of all.
Real Madrid, would have been happy, as the 13-time Champions League winners, who if you believe the hear say, were up against a team in Benfica that have been ‘cursed’. Several Europa League finals in the fifty years since that rumoured curse, doesn’t make it as far fetched as some may see it as.
Los Blancos from having the Portuguese giants, now have the ‘small matter’ of trying to overcome the beaten finalists of two seasons ago PSG, a nice easy one for Carlo and his boys (yes that’s sarcasm over load).
The company that UEFA use, just might be getting replaced after this gaffe, thank God they don’t do the Lotto numbers with this system, otherwise that would be a different controversy all together.
As for the draw itself, Atletico are happy as they won’t be facing Bayern Munich, but spare a thought for Red Bull Salzburg who now will be. But having said that, their initial opponents are not much of an easier proposition (Liverpool) .
Chelsea managed to get Lille twice, and Manchester United from having PSG, now face Atletico which will be a homecoming for David DeGea. The then teenager, left Atletico and has since established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the game.
In the Europa League, Rangers were hoping for a system error and their play off Europa League tie to be redrawn, they face former Champions League winners Borussia Dortmund. How Connor Goldson and co, will be having sleepless nights on the prospect of coming up against Erling Haaland.
On that note, good night!
Brendan Rodgers caused quite a bit of a stir this week when he said ‘he didn’t know what the (Europa Conference League) competition is in all fairness”. Quite a statement by the Leicester City boss, whose Leicester side, are staring at a Europa Conference League play-off tie.
Yes, there are sides like NS Mura, a team that might consist of postmen, teachers and plumbers, but don’t remind Tottenham Hotspur of that. The Slovenian side beat Spurs 2-1 of course, a game which lead to an all mighty Jamie O’Hara rant.
FC Basel, Vitesse Arnhem, Roma, FC Copenhagen and of course Tottenham are some of the heavy-weight sides in this years inaugural competition. We see this competition the same as the now defunct Cup Winners Cup.
There have been shocks, yes there was the aforementioned Tottenham game, but the Roma and Bodo/Glimt game (which finished 6-1 to Bodo) again is another reason why Brendan should get familiar with UEFA’s new competition.
The comment, might have been a heat of the moment comment (we’re sure it is), but Brendan really? You lost 7-0 to Barcelona as Celtic boss, and your sides have conceded 34 times in Europe over the years, ouch!
Domestically, we don’t doubt you Brendan, you have managed Leicester City and achieved some real highs. Guiding The Foxes to their maiden FA Cup, that’s not too dissimilar to the 2016 Premier League title win.
Words can come back to bite you, Brendan Rodgers, sorry to say we don’t see your side fairing well in the Europa Conference, which your team will need to win to enable Europa League qualification, which might save your job.
It’s the old man’s League, it’s for footballing pensioners or it’s the wait for, the critics favourite phrase …. The Farmers League. But it’ s about time the SPFL gets taken seriously and here’s why.
Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic
This maybe an obvious observation, but Rangers are fairing a lot better in Europe and in a tough group, which included Lyon and Sparta Prague, they made it through the group. But they got second critics will say, but credit where credit is due, yes they were well beaten at Ibrox, but in France they earned a credible draw, where they even took the lead.
Even last season too, they got to the latter stages of the Europa League. We judge a team on how many players could fit into elite teams, if that makes sense. For example, Paul Pogba on his day can easily fit into that Real Madrid midfield.
On that same merit, we argue that Alfredo Morelos (who nearly left for Lille) and Ryan Kent (who has been heavily linked with Leeds), shows that the Scottish League is helping nurture good players.
A mention to Nathan Patterson as well, he too has been linked to replacing Seamus Coleman as Everton’s right-back. The 24-year old has shown he is very talented when filling in for skipper James Tavernier last season.
Across the Glasgow divide, Celtic too have had clubs interested in their players, but they have managed to sell them for healthy profits. There are many example of this, Virgil Van Dijk, Kristoffer Ajer and Mousa Dembele amongst many others.
The Hoops, who in recent seasons may have not faired quite as well as neighbours Rangers, have been able to help restore the reputation of a talented manager in Brendan Rodgers whose stock was low after a sacking at Liverpool, where to be fair he didn’t do terribly at all.
That very manager (Rodgers), was able to go back to England with his reputation restored and was able to help Leicester City win the FA Cup. We are putting this achievement down to Brendan being able to transfer his skills he gained in Scotland to the Premier League.
The Foxes are regularly in the top six mix and this is thanks to former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ good work in the East Midlands, which was achieved in part to his experience in Scotland, which saw him win many SPFL titles and in one season finish unbeaten in the League.
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard ,who had been managing Rangers, he too has been rewarded with his fantastic work, and with Rangers he won the SPFL title in an unbeaten season , an achievement which saw Aston Villa turn to the former Anfield legend (without hesitation we must add), when things turned sour for former boss Dean Smith.
Henrik Larsson, Giovani Van Bronckhorst, both have been on the books of Barca and in the case of both players have played their trade and their best years on Scottish shores.
Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, John McGinn, Scott McTominay and Che Adams are just a handful players who are Scottish and still relatively young. In the case of the first three, they’ve all been in the SPFL, produced North of the border,but getting educated South of the border.
Back to Nathan Patterson, he has shown fantastic ability when called upon. How can we forget Billy Gilmour, Gilmour who’s now at Chelsea was once on Rangers’ books and it’s clear to see both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel rate him highly.
Just like Robertson, our next example (Lyndon Dykes) although maybe cheating as he plied for Queen of the South in his earlier year, a team that’s not in the SPFL, but the fact remains an English club poached him from a Scottish one.
We’re not going to say that Rangers and Celtic should be in the Premier League, but we argue there is merit to say that the SPFL is competitive. Do you agree or disagree? We would love to hear from you.
When you hear the name of Zidane Iqbal, you will naturally make the connection of a certain Zinedine Zidane, but Manchester United’s equivalent ‘Zizou’ comes in the form of their academy graduate who is a British-Pakistani with an Iraqi mum.
At just 18, Iqbal has caught the attention of football observers with his performances for The Red Devils’ reserve side. Playing for local side Sale United between 2007-2012, Zidane Iqbal was able to fulfill any boys dream, playing for his local Premier League team, and in the case of Zidane it was 20-time Premier League champions Manchester United.
Having seen, the 18-year old play on several occasions at youth level, it’s clear to see that he is a well rounded midfielder. One comparison, I would make is that Zidane Iqbal is in the mould of one Donny Van De Beek.
Comparison’s is one of the most easiest things to do and no doubt the most annoying, but Zidane Iqbal, quite clearly has bags of talent and is able to play in different positions, like a certain VDB can. He too has an eye for goal, the 18-year old Zidane has already scored for Iraq U-23, having only made just three appearances for the national side.
A very capable box to midfielder and able to play as a number 10 too, it’s clear to see the future is bright for Zidane. On Wednesday 8/12/2021, not only will the man himself, not forget this day, but neither will the many Asian’s who aspire to dream about becoming professional and even becoming professional at England’s most successful side (domestically) Manchester United.