Talisman Hazard, Back Where He Belongs

For Eden Hazard, the first season at Chelsea was supposed to be difficult, given the Premier League’s immense physical demands and his modest stature at 5’8″. Hazard though announced himself in a respectable way with 13 goals in the season. The next season got him 17 goals plus the PFA Young Player of the Year award. The season after, he scored another 19 and won the PFA player of the Year award. Both seasons he was unanimously voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year.

Three seasons with the West London outfit, and Hazard was a superstar. His dribbling skills were mesmerizing, his ability to outfox defenders with ease was a treat to watch. He could score at will, his pace was amazing and his set-pieces were brilliant.

Indeed, terminologies like ‘the next Messi’ and ‘a future Ballon d’or’ were heard when referring to Hazard. And while Hazard did find himself crashing on the football turf often, courtesy of some aggressive defending, his form took an abruptly similar turn before long.

Playing the 2015-16 season for the defending champions of the Premier League, Hazard lost possession often, and it looked like his heart was not in the game. He tried switching it up but nothing came of it. His tally of just six goals bore a symbiotic relationship to Chelsea’s own decline over the season as they endured a lowly 10th-place finish. Unfortunately for the Belgian, he bore the brunt of the criticism from the media, former players and pundits.

They said he was a ‘flash in the pan’, ‘weakling’ and ‘overrated’. PSG and Real Madrid generously offered to give him an out. West London was not a happy place.

All that was about to change.

The new season brought in a new manager from Italy Antonio Conte and a new formation that did wonders for Chelsea, and indeed, Hazard.

As part of the tip of the unusual 3-4-3, Hazard found all the boost he needed. With his hunger back, he tore apart opposition defenders, looking stronger and sharper. He was free-scoring once more and his passes and first touches were precise and incisive.

Fuelled by his 14 goals so far presently the West Londoners sit pretty atop the league table with a bit of daylight between them and their nearest opponents. He has definitely shut all the doubters and stormed his way back into elite status. Those Messi comparisons and Ballon d’or statements are back in circulation.

A heck of a turnaround indeed for the Belgian wizard!

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Landlords, Do You Know the Importance of Keeping Your Property Safe?

With the winter season well underway, domestic gas and electricity usage is on the up – and it’s your job to ensure that your property and tenants are as safe as possible by checking all the electrical and gas appliances in use.

Hiring a fully qualified, registered professional to tackle any gas and electrical jobs, whether large or small, is of the utmost importance.

A good lettings agent should be able to organise electrical tests and gas safety checks for you, whether in house or by recommending trusted contractors.

Electricity

You’re legally obliged to ensure that all electrical items and household appliances supplied as part of your property letting are safe. Look out for:

  • Badly frayed or damaged insulation
  • Old or exposed wire
  • Poorly fitted or cracked plugs
  • Scorch-marked or damaged sockets
  • Plugs without sleeved, insulated pins

Be sure to repair or replace any equipment or appliances that are past their best with new equipment that meets current BS and EC standards.

If you have a property requiring a house of Multiple Occupation License from the Local Authority, by law you will need to provide confirmation of electrical safety. But it will give you and your tenants real peace of mind if you arrange for on-going checks anyway. A qualified electrical engineer should test every appliance and help you to keep a log of:

  • Item make and serial number
  • Item condition
  • Dates of Portable Appliance (PAT) test

Remember, some insurance companies won’t pay out if untested electrical items cause damage.

Gas

Any gas appliances and systems can pose a great risk if they are not fitted and maintained properly.

As a landlord, you are legally obliged to comply with the Gas Safety Regulations 1994 for any equipment that uses mains or liquid gas in your rented property.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a real danger that can cause severe illness and even death. Carbon Monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas, so you and your tenants may not even be aware of its presence until it’s too late.

And any kind of gas leak can have catastrophic consequences, from gas poisoning to risk of fire.

A fully qualified GasSafe engineer should carry out an annual full check at any properties that you rent out.

It is important to be aware that a standard annual service offered by many tradespeople does not comply with the legal regulations for landlords and may leave your tenants and property at risk – so be sure that your engineer is GasSafe registered.

To comply with the regulations you must:

  • Hire a GasSafe registered engineer who is qualified to work on the particular appliances and systems in your property
  • Ensure a full gas safety check is completed both prior to a let and every year thereafter
  • Ensure all gas fittings and flues are maintained safely at all times
  • Repair or replace any defective gas appliances or pipework as soon as possible, ensuring any damaged items are not used until made safe
  • When all checks have been completed, you must:
  • Give a copy of the gas safety check certificate to your tenants

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Football As a Popular Sport

Football, or Soccer, as it is known in many parts of the world is a sport or game that is played between two teams, each containing eleven players. A rectangular field with goal posts at either end into which opposing teams must kick goals into forms the outline of the game. There are a set of rules governing the game, although much has changed in the way the game is played now.

It is easily the world’s most popular sport considering that over 300 million players from over 200 countries around the world are involved in the sport.

The origin or invention of modern-day football throws up interesting and sometimes controversial details. It was largely believed that Britain or England is where the game was first played in the medieval period and it gradually spread throughout Europe. A game involving a ‘party of boys playing a ball’ was first observed in the 19th century in England. However, the Chinese claim that the sport in England is largely drawn from a similar game played in China several centuries earlier. Unlike most other sports of that time, this was played on ‘foot’ and not on horseback, hence the name ‘football’. But there are vast dissimilarities between the two versions.

The rise and popularity of the game cannot be questioned and several hugely prestigious events and tournaments are held throughout the year in various countries. Professional football has seen the rise of several athletes playing the game at the highest levels with huge fan followings for the numerous teams. The English Premier League football season is a highly awaited even and has football lovers thronging stadiums to witness between their favorite teams manned by professional football players from many nations.

‘Soccer’ is the term associated with football in the US and it is claimed to have been coined from the English shortened slang for its formal name, Association Football or ‘assoc’.

Like many other sports and games where vast amounts of money and authority are involved, football has seen its share of infamy and scandals in recent years. The likes of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and superstar Michel Platini have been accused of corruption and are facing suspensions and total bans. Several aspects like code of conduct, loyalty, conflict of interest and accepting gifts and commissions are part of the charges leveled against the highest ranked officials in the game.

Over the years, the dominance of South American players in the game has slowly been replaced by several European players but the game continues to be extremely popular even as a street sport as it does not require much equipment or infrastructure.

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A Guide to Booking Arsenal Tickets to Watch Arsenal

A new coaching establishment, new strategy, new Emirates playground, and inclusion of fresh and talented players are some strong elements that have fashioned the Arsenal FC into the most capable team in the Premier League. With legendary players like Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Lucas Perez, Bergkamp, Pires, and Henry, the football club continues to lead the English Premier League events.

Watching Arsenal players live in action is now no longer a fantasy for the enthusiasts like you, as the Arsenal tickets are now available easily and affordably at some reliable websites. You don’t need to worry at all if you want to live up the electrifying experience at Emirates stadium.

Where to buy Arsenal tickets:

Since the Arsenal tickets for sale are always in high demand, it is somehow challenging for the fans to buy a ticket from the official channel. But there are some reliable and promising third-party online ticket franchises that offer football tickets, along with the customer services. And if you go through the manner how they deliver tickets online, you will find the following worthwhile benefits:

• Safe and secure transaction

• 100% delivery on time

• Money back assurance

• Real-time mechanism to process your bookings

• Last minute booking facility

So, you don’t need to worry if you couldn’t book your ticket on the official website – you can reliably head towards the secondary ticket suppliers to book your Arsenal match tickets.

How to buy tickets:

Purchasing tickets for the Arsenal events is somehow easier and more convenient for the audiences who own a membership. The official window goes live two months before for the Silver Members.

Type of membership is the only thing that lets you buy Arsenal match tickets online. If you want to get a quick and early access to the online ticket inventory, then you would better to have a membership. It is important to remember that all the Arsenal tickets for football matches are sold out within minutes once the ticket booking window goes live.

In such condition, you can avail the last-minute-booking facility at the third-party website where the process is quite simple and convenient.

Get a membership at the outset for cheap and early tickets:

Before you choose an online destination to book your tickets, you need to get a membership first. Visit the official website and earn a membership to have a direct access to a selection of exclusive advantages like priority ticket access, subscription to Arsenal Player, a welcome offer, and much more.

• Online booking:

It’s the most practiced manner to buy Arsenal tickets, and it provides the utmost conveniences while you book your seat. All members are required to provide their 7-digit membership number, subsequent to credit/debit card details.

Every member is allowed to book maximum four tickets. Once the transaction is successful, the ticket is delivered electronically to the registered email ID.

• Telephone ticket booking:

Telephone ticket booking does also go through a simple and flawless process. Here in this way, you will have to dial a number and follow the instructions right from providing your membership number to the credit/debit card details. And once the procedure completes, you will get a confirmation email with the seat details.

How non-member audiences can get the ticket:

There is the least possibility for non-member audiences to get the Arsenal tickets as the tickets are always in high demand. It is subject to the availability if there is any ticket available after selling to the members.

So why wait! Simply get the membership and ensure your presence in the stadium to cheer up every single moment with thousands of Arsenal fans.

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IPL 2018: Top 3 Players to Watch Out for on the Rajasthan Royals

Post the IPL 2018 auctions, the franchises have a new look to the team with many new faces coming up and some old veteran players to represent their local franchise. With the 11th edition of Indian Premier League to start off in April, team Circle of Cricket gets down to list the key players from Rajasthan Royals squad who can make a difference with their performance this year.

The team which won the inaugural edition of Indian Premier League under the captaincy of Shane Warne is making their way back after two years of suspension. From the start of the tournament, Rajasthan Royals are said to have unknown talent hidden in them. Royals of Rajasthan had a very decent IPL 2018 auction building their team around Steven Smith. Manoj Badale’s blue army will definitely have some firework this season with many match winners in the team.

Rajasthan will get full support from their fans as they have Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur as their home ground for the coming season.

Steven Smith

Smith who led Rising Pune Supergiant in the nail-biting finals of 2017 IPL against Mumbai Indians was retained by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12 Crores. Steven Smith will prove to be very effective for the team at the top order as he was a part of the franchise before it got terminated for two years. Steven Smith leading a whole new Rajasthan Royals will be very valuable for the team with support coming from experienced Ajinkya Rahane who can bat up in the order and stimulate quick runs on the board.

Smith has more than 1700 runs in the tournament with an average of 37 plus Rajasthan will be heavily dependent on their captain.

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes who was bought by Rajasthan as the most expensive player at IPL 2018 auction for Rs 12.5 Crore will have the liberty to free his arms in the middle over and take wickets at intervals with his bag full of different all-rounding skills.

The latter from England was one of the most valuable players in the previous edition of IPL with scoring 300 plus runs and taking 12 wickets in the tournament. Ben Stokes’s presence in Rajasthan Royals team will be very beneficiary for players like Stuart Binny and Jofra Archer who have the ability to single handily change the fortune of a game.

Rajasthan will be hoping for their star all-rounder player Ben Stokes to play every game for them.

Jaydev Unadkat

Unadkat who was the most expensive Indian player to be sold at IPL 2018 auction fetch a mind-boggling amount of Rs 11.5 Crore. The player from Saurashtra has been in a decent form in the recent past. Jayadev is a very skilful player for Rajasthan as he has performed well for RPS in the previous edition of IPL.

The left arm pacer has better IPL economy from most of the other known bowlers. He will be opening the bowling attack with Dhawal Kulkarni who was retained by the team using Right to Match card.

Unadkat is well known for his responsibilities and his wickets taking spirit. He becomes one of the contenders to grab Purple Cap at the end of the tournament.

The players listed above, form the core strength of the franchise and have the ability to win matches for the team. It will be great to see how each one of them performs under the mentorship of Shane Warne.

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Creditable or Calamitous? Reflections of a Derby Fan on a Season That Promised Promotion

As this 2014-15 Championship season races toward its conclusion, it’s hard to determine whether it represents success or failure for Derby County Football Club. Perhaps any individual assessment depends on one’s glass being generally half-full, or half-empty. As a Rams fan exiled in the Middle East, but able to see many of their games live or recorded in full afterwards, I haven’t made up my own mind on the matter just yet. This article is intended as a means toward that end.

Last season ended in play-off heartbreak. Derby were, of the play-off quartet, comfortably the form side going into the end-of-season event, and swept aside sixth-placed Brighton 6-2 over two legs. In the other semi-final, a dangerous Wigan side, who had earlier defeated eventual Premier League champions Manchester City in an astonishing FA Cup result, were edged out 2-1 by QPR, whose own form had been anything but convincing during the second half of the season. Derby controlled the Wembley final, and seemed almost certain to win when Rangers were reduced to ten men for a professional foul early in the second half; however, not for the first play-off final in their history, the Rams were defeated by a late winner, the product of two substandard pieces of defending and a wonderful finish by Bobby Zamora.

Such was Derby’s style and momentum, so impressive their individual performances – midfield starlet Will Hughes and prolific target man Chris Martin the most prominent among them – that the bookmakers installed the Rams as pre-season favourites this time around. Prospects were boosted still further when George Thorne, composed loan signing and Wembley man of the match, was signed permanently during the summer. Within days, however, Thorne – already no stranger to injuries in his short career – was ruled out for most of the season after damaging his knee in a friendly against Zenit St Petersburg. Appearing not to trust a whole season’s work to his natural replacement, the experienced John Eustace, Steve McClaren was delighted when the club’s player recruitment team snapped up Omar Mascarell, a stylish holding midfielder on the periphery of Real Madrid’s squad. It appeared to be a real coup, although all parties recognised that the Spaniard would need time to adapt to the greater speed and physicality of the Championship.

The season began with a 1-0 win over newly promoted Rotherham United, courtesy of a fine late strike from Irish midfielder Jeff Hendrick; a victory earned, in no small part, by the exciting contribution of new full-back Cyrus Christie, acquired from Coventry City to replace the solid, but now departed Liverpool loanee, Andre Wisdom. Christie’s defending was at least adequate (if not as impregnable as his predecessor), but it was the newcomer’s marauding runs that led many fans to feel hopeful that, far from the position being weakened, Derby might attain to greater attacking impetus from defence this season.

Of more concern, with Eustace out of favour, was the decision to play Hughes in the team’s apparently non-negotiable holding midfield role. While the player was undoubtedly good enough to play there, it was clear that neither of the more advanced players – Bryson, who many had expected to begin the season playing his football for a Premier League team, and Hendrick – could do exactly what Hughes was capable of further up the field. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the slight Hughes was not as comfortable with the physical side of the position as either the stocky Thorne or the guileful Eustace, and found himself almost sharing the position with substitute Mascarell from very early in the season. The Spaniard’s passing and energy did much to compensate for the evident weaknesses that many had predicted in his game: opponents gave him little time on the ball, and he quickly found himself on the receiving end of some rather combative challenges.

There were warning signs for Derby in a spirited but disjointed second league match at Sheffield Wednesday, which ended goalless. A first defeat followed in the next match, as stylish Charlton outplayed their more fancied guests, winning 3-2 and leaving many to wonder when the Rams would hit the performance levels of the previous season. They were encouraged by a merciless second-half display against Fulham, as Derby pummelled the plummeting Cottagers 5-1. Welcome to the Championship.

The Rams then embarked on an unbeaten run that spanned twelve games, including wins against expansive Bournemouth (2-0), Blackburn (3-2), Bolton (2-0) and Reading (3-0) (the latter three away from home); and resilient draws against early leaders and local rivals Nottingham Forest (1-1), and Cardiff (2-2) at home, a match in which the Rams had trailed by two goals. Derby’s comeback that day was begun by a debut goal from a new season-long loan signing from Liverpool: the fleet-footed and direct Jordon Ibe, whose contribution, with hindsight, seems as significant in Derby’s fortunes as was his premature return to Anfield in January.

That unbeaten run was curtailed by dogged Wigan, who belied their poor early season form by coming from behind to win 2-1 at the iPro Stadium. Derby then played two games in West London, hitting Fulham for five again (this time in the League Cup) before once again throwing away a lead against Brentford who, it seems, have never looked back since their last-minute win that day, courtesy of a fine goal from Stuart Dallas.

Derby needed to find their form – and find it they did, deservedly seeing off Huddersfield 3-2, before arguably their finest performance of the season in the annihilation of Wolves, 5-0 at the iPro. In the next match, Craig Bryson, who had so far struggled to reproduce his high standards of the two preceding seasons, scored a beauty to edge out Watford on their own turf. Suddenly Derby looked ready to seize their opportunity and run away with the league, just as their East Midlands rivals from Leicester had done the previous year.

It wasn’t to be so straightforward, unfortunately. The Rams went into their away match at Leeds, a team Derby had beaten for fun in recent seasons, seemingly unprepared for the grit and graft that would be needed to return with the points. They were outfought, and defeated, 0-2. But Steve McClaren prided himself on a team that could bounce back from disappointment, and Derby erupted out of the blocks against Brighton, winning the game with three first-half goals. In the opposing eleven that day was loanee Darren Bent, a wily, seasoned striker unable to convince then manager Paul Lambert of his right to a place in the Aston Villa side. Derby fans would be glad to see more of the discarded Bent very soon.

The following week, Derby were conquered at the summit by Middlesbrough, after a dour display in the North East demonstrated the worst they were capable of; Boro were organised and clinical, and undid Derby in their first attack, with former Rams loanee Patrick Bamford celebrating his opener gleefully – much to the annoyance of Derby fans, who had always had to overlook his affinity for their hated rivals, Forest. The Rams showed more fight and no little skill against a tidy and pressurising Norwich City side a week later, but were fairly denied a win when they conceded another late goal. The pattern of the previous season, in which Derby had become famed for their indefatigable spirit and late goalscoring, seemed to be shifting in the other direction.

The Rams began the festive period with a thumping win, 4-0 in the Birmingham snow. That was backed up with a revenge reversal of their 2-0 defeat at Leeds, and an excellent 1-0 win at Ipswich. John Eustace, hardly a fixture in the team, was immense in front of the back four, but his late dismissal and injury – from which he has yet to return despite two operations – would lead the Rams into the East Midlands derby once again relying on the unconvincing Mascarell. Even Forest fans approached the match fearfully. Their side had lost the previous season’s fixture 5-0, and the early season pacesetters now found themselves on a run of eight games without a win. Derby, fortuitously ahead but easily the better team before the break, gave a sickening validation of the phrase «game of two halves», and Forest exulted in a deserved shock win that would prolong the tenure of manager Stuart Pearce for a few more weeks. (This represented a bright side for many Rams fans, who were convinced their rivals’ progress would remain stagnant with the former England legend at the helm). Stunned at forfeiting local bragging rights, Derby fans demanded better, and were rewarded with three straight wins against Blackburn, Cardiff and Bolton.

The January transfer window had brought Bent in without a recall clause for his parent club, as well as Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, and Hull City’s Tom Ince, who made an instant impact with a fabulous brace in the 4-1 destruction of Bolton. Leeds United captain Stephen Warnock, still not fit after being injured in the Rams’ 2-0 win over his side, came in to «add experience» to the squad, and presumably to spur the unspectacular Craig Forsyth to higher performance levels. An interesting further addition was the Spaniard Raul Albentosa, who Derby’s recruitment team appeared to have been stalking for some time, and who arrived in Derby having bought out his own contract with La Liga team Eibar, for whom he had offered some impressive performances throughout the season. Unfortunately, a niggling injury would delay Albentosa’s league debut for over a month.

Ince found the net again in an encouraging 2-2 midweek draw at top-of-the-table Bournemouth, where the most significant moment of the match would prove the early replacement of nineteen-goal Chris Martin. He would not return for eleven games; suddenly Bent’s loan signing seemed very important indeed, although a slightly different system of attack was needed to accommodate the latter’s style. The Rams approached the following midweek match at struggling Rotherham knowing that a win would take them back to the summit. Yet, once again, they failed to take their chance, with only a spirited fightback earning them a 3-3 draw, having trailed 1-3. Inspired by the return of George Thorne after seven months on the sidelines, Derby then won back-to-back home games against Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton, and found themselves on top of the league for the third time this season. Despite having repeatedly failed to press home the advantages they had gained, the bookies still made McClaren’s dangerous Derby side favourites for the title. They were to be proved emphatically wrong.

What followed resembles the stuff of nightmares for Derby fans. It began with a lacklustre defeat at Fulham, in which now pivotal loan signing Bent limped off, forcing the industrious and vastly improved Johnny Russell to assume a central striking role that he would retain for the next four games, without once finding the net. In addition, Thorne was again out of action, replaced in West London by the still-misfiring Mascarell. Typically, after the Fulham defeat, McClaren demanded a response. He got one, but not a result; the Rams battered Brighton but somehow contrived to lose the match 0-2. The focus intensified on Derby’s defence, arguably culpable for both goals. A performance and a win were needed when Birmingham came to the iPro, and the Rams picked them off easily, strolling toward a 2-0 victory as the match entered the third of four added second-half minutes. A few hearts were aflutter when the unspectacular Blues won, and converted, a penalty; Rams fans redoubled their whistling for full-time, the match length having already surpassed the additional time indicated. Nevertheless, a team with pretensions of winning promotion would surely be able to see the game out. Birmingham equalised in the seventh minute of injury time. The day ended with four teams on 66 points, separated by goal difference. Derby were still «in the mix», but nobody was quite sure how they were going to stay there on current form. And the games were only getting harder.

Derby went to resurgent Norwich the following Saturday with assistant Paul Simpson vowing that it was time to «win ugly» if necessary. Realistically, most Derby fans would have taken a draw, and when debutant Jamie Hanson’s corner was spilled into his own net by England goalkeeper John Ruddy, that’s exactly what they got. Hanson retained his place for the crucial midweek home match against Middlesbrough. Derby were toothless, loanee Lingard missing the best chance to fall to a white shirt. Once again, Boro were resolute; once again, it was Patrick Bamford, object of fear and loathing in Derby, who settled the match with an excellent finish. Derby were rocking.

The final game before the latest international break would take them to Wolves, hapless victims of the Rams’ finest moment of the season to date. McClaren and Simpson warned that the returns of Thorne and Martin may not be risked before the international break, but Bent was back to take his place at the centre of a truly astonishing refereeing controversy. Through on goal, the returning striker was fouled by Wolves captain and last man Danny Batth. Ince swept the ball into the net. The referee, who had already whistled for the foul, disallowed the goal and awarded a free-kick just outside the area. Rams fans watched in horror as the official, smiling sickeningly, refused to find any card in his pocket for the offender, much less the red one he clearly deserved. In some sort of grotesque tribute to John Ruddy, the normally reliable Lee Grant punched the ball into his own net to help Wolves wrap up a 2-0 win and move to within two points of Derby, who were slipping further from automatic promotion with every match. Fans picked the team apart, looking for an XI who could win the next match at home to high-flying Watford, thereby dragging the Rams’ promotion wagon back on track. Full-backs came under fire most of all, and here it was difficult to make a case for the defence. Left-back Forsyth, far superior defensively than in attack (perhaps surprisingly for a former midfielder), had compounded the injustice at Wolves by facilitating their first goal, inexplicably passing the ball to an opponent in a dangerous position. It was by no means the first time the Scotsman’s distribution had been found wanting during the season.

On the other side, Cyrus Christie was a nerve-shredded shadow of his early-season self. His first-half gift to Watford’s Vydra was cancelled out on the stroke of half-time by a Bent penalty, as the Rams’ opponents were reduced to ten men. Christie would not re-emerge after the break. Sadly, nor would George Thorne, attempting his second comeback of the season but lasting little more than twenty minutes. Once again, Derby contrived to throw away a winning position; Watford celebrated their 2-2 draw with delight, strengthening their own push for automatic promotion, while Derby retained their play-off place only on goal difference. The solitary silver lining seemed now to be the brief substitute appearance of Chris Martin, to whose absence so many had attributed the Rams’ slump.

On Easter Monday, with over four thousand Rams fans roaring them on, Derby finally picked up their first win in eight matches, as the talismanic Martin came off the bench to sweep them ahead at lowly Wigan. A typically opportunistic strike from Bent wrapped up the victory, leaving the Rams fascinatingly poised before the following weekend’s home match with Brentford. On paper, it seems the most difficult of the Rams’ remaining five fixtures, of which three are to be played at the iPro. However, with second-placed Norwich already five points ahead, and Watford and Middlesbrough much better placed to take advantage of any slip by the Canaries or leaders Bournemouth, only the most optimistic of Derby fans could reasonably expect automatic promotion at this stage. On the contrary, with Wolves in the best form of the current play-off place occupants, and Brentford able to overhaul the Rams with a win in their head-to-head, Derby still face a fierce battle to ensure their own place in the end-of-season competition that has already caused them so much heartache.

How has it come to this? And does the season represent a success or a failure for the Rams?

On reflection, it is important to consider the weight of expectation that has hung over the team all season. It is true that Derby were formidable during the latter part of the 2013-14 season, playing some scintillating football, and with an embarrassment of (injury-free) riches among their playing personnel. Yet arguably only Hughes and Russell have improved on their performances of the previous season; the immaculate Thorne has managed only three starts; Martin’s contribution has been blunted by the disastrous timing and duration of his injury; and the likes of Hendrick and Bryson have failed by some distance to match their performance levels of the previous season. Some loan signings have contributed much – particularly Ibe – while others have offered mixed fortunes: the injury-hit but prolific Bent; the frequently fantastic but oft-frustrating Ince, whose ball retention has been disappointing but who has scored some wonderful goals; and Mascarell, possessing all the vision and passing prowess one would expect of a Madrid graduate, but without ever providing a satisfactory solution for the role he was brought in to play.

Most attention has centred around the defence. In stark contrast to last season, during which the names of Andre Wisdom, Richard Keogh, Jake Buxton and Craig Forsyth seldom left the team sheet, McClaren has constantly tinkered with his defensive personnel this time around. Some fans have shown little patience with captain Keogh – possibly something of a hangover from his Wembley shocker – but in reality, the full-backs have proved a weaker link for most of the season. Christie, especially, seems particularly low on confidence, while the more self-assured Forsyth perhaps remains optimistic that his own form is solid enough and will improve still further; however, those who have endured his substandard performances throughout the season will likely have been glad of Warnock’s competent league debut at left-back in the victory at Wigan.

Another bone of contention relates to formation. While Derby have been more than a little unfortunate to experience long-term injuries to three holding midfield players (Thorne, Eustace and Mascarell), the lack of alternative playing styles and formations have also been mooted by fans as sources of frustration and failure to overturn teams that have set up defensively against the Rams and gained their rewards by doing so. The recent switch, through necessity, to a 4-2-3-1 has only added weight to this argument, not least because the defensive contribution of Mascarell has been questionable all season, and has almost certainly exacerbated any problems among the defence personnel. The use of Chris Martin behind Darren Bent has been used only fleetingly (albeit injuries have undoubtedly reduced the scope for this), while there is also a strong case for positioning the incisive passing of Hughes behind the front man, a move that has not been tried at all. This is not to suggest that the fans know better than McClaren; yet fans are certainly in a position to recognise what has not been working for long periods of the season. Managers, like players, can be «lucky» – not just in what they and their teams do, but in how they are perceived. Most things McClaren touched last season turned to gold. Such has been the man’s redemption since his ignominious England denouement, perhaps supporters had become over-confident in his ability. His true managerial performance, perhaps, lies somewhere between those two extremes of appraisal.

The mantra from the club, and the local press, remains that a Derby side returning to their best form are capable of ensnaring a promotion place this season. Some will fear that the likes of Will Hughes will be heading to the Premier League very soon, irrespective of how the Rams fare from now until the end of May.

It is never an easy ride being a Derby fan; one cannot sit back and get comfortable.

Derby have never been about coasting, but the rollercoaster.

Las Camisetas de fútbol de adidas se encuentran entre las preferidas de muchos equipos. Descubre por qué visitando nuestra colección en la web. by James Orme

Story of Kaleem Ullah Khan – Pakistan’s Famous Football Player

Background

Kaleem Ullah is a famous Pakistani Football player who was born on September 20, 1992, in Chaman. He is a graduate of Government High School Chaman. Kaleem Ullah holds sporty family background as he is the cousin of the highest goal scorer and former Pakistan National Team captain, Muhammad Essa Khan. Kaleem Ullah Khan is the first Pakistani Football player who has signed an international football management agency known as Korastars Sports Agency. He signed to play for this agency in 2015.

He plays for K-Electric on loan basis from Pakistan National team and Tulsa Roughnecks. He plays as a midfielder or forward and has also performed a variety of attacking roles whether it be an attacking midfielder, center forward, second striker or on either wing. He holds such strong potential and passion for football in him and has made his name in a very short period of time. He has always been praised for his stamina, consistency, hard work and right positioning in scoring and creating many goals.

Successful Career

In 2011, Khan set the record of scoring 77 points in Pakistan Premier league. He also won the Pakistan Premier league with Khan Research Laboratories. In the same year, Kaleem Ullah played with KRL and also won the Challenge cup with the golden victory of 1-0 against the rivals K-Electric. In 2013 season, he won his fourth league title and it was also the last league title. At AFC President Cup which was held in 2013, Kaleem Ullah Khan was declared as the best player in the Pakistan Premier League because of his passionate performances not only domestically but also internationally. He was also awarded the player of the year title by Pakistan Football Federation in the same year.

Khan started his international career in 2010 when he played in the under-23 team for the 2010 Asian games. He represented Pakistan at various youth levels and also got successful in making his debut in a 6-0 group stage defeat against Thailand. He also scored one goal and earned seven caps for the team. On March 4, 2011, prior to the qualifiers, Kaleem Ullah Khan earned his first senior cap for Pakistan in a 0-0 draw match against Palestine. In this game, At the Punjab Stadium, he made his debut as a substitute.

Now, Kaleem Ullah Khan is a name which is known around the globe and he still has a long way to go.

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Sir les Ferdinand edit and wallpaper (swipe right for the wallpaper) what a guy …

Sir les Ferdinand edit and wallpaper (swipe right for the wallpaper) what a guy he was 🤩🤩————————————————
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