Why You Should Visit Manchester – Hotels, Shopping and Much More

In the UK, there are undoubtedly many different places that you could decide to visit. One of the most exciting places to go to is Manchester. This vibrant city has it all; the nightlife, the shops, the entertainment, and most importantly it has some fabulous hotels. From the prestigious and grand to the boutique B&B, there is always somewhere to stay that will suit your budget. So, here are some great reasons why you should visit Manchester.

For The Entertainment

People choose to visit Manchester for many different reasons but it is becoming increasingly popular with tourists looking for a central UK location in which to explore. Whether its taking a walk around the shops and visiting the high-end luxury department stores, or heading to The Manchester Evening News Arena for a night of entertainment from some of the world’s top stars, there is nothing more satisfying after a long day of sight-seeing than heading back to your Manchester hotel.

For The Hotels

Most hotels in the city have been modernised and offer a pleasant stay for any traveller. The more expensive hotels offer a little bit extra for the money, whereas there are some great ‘cheap and cheerful’ options for the short stay too. Visitors to Manchester know they can choose from an extensive range of quality hotels.

To Plan Further Education

When you think about a young and vibrant city, Manchester often springs to mind. As a heavily student populated location, Manchester instantly appeals to those from far and wide looking for a University that is recognised for its accreditations. Many young people choose this city for their further education and it is a great place to visit when weighing up the University options. One day in Manchester and it may just make up your mind about which campus you want to attend!

Manchester is a great place to be at any time of the year, and it always has something to offer the traveller.

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UEFA Champions League Group Stages Final Games Review

The UEFA Champions League reached the final stages of the Group round this week with the just the final group positions to be decided.  Which teams would make up the final 16 and move on to the dramatic knock stages of the competition, which will resume in February next year?  Which teams would top their groups and therefore potential gain an easier draw? Other issues to be decided were which further 8 teams would earn the consolation of a ticket into the UEFA Cup and which remaining 8 teams would finish bottom and say good-bye to all European football this season.

We start our review the answers to these questions on Tuesday night and with the battle to top Group D.  The spoils finally went to Liverpool who climbed above Atletico Madrid. Liverpool fielded a slightly under strength side against PSV Eindhoven, resting captain Steven Gerrard and with striker Fernando Torres still not fully fit.  Yet the former Champions still managed an impressive 3 – 1 away win despite going a goal down.  PSV on the other hand are one of the eight teams that are now totally eliminated from European after finishing bottom of the group.

The opening goal from PSV was scored by Danko Lazovic goal which came from a corner that should never have been given.  The ball clearly touched a PSV player last only for the Russian linesman, standing a matter of yards away, to award a corner to the total disbelief of everyone.  The decision totally incensed Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, and he was subsequently spoken to by the referee.  

Fortunately for Liverpool, the goal did not have a lasting bearing on the game.  Ryan Babel brought the score to 1 – 1 with a header in first half injury time.  Then in the second half, Liverpool’s Spanish winger Albert Riera, scored with an absolutely brilliant strike from 25 yards.  The 5 times champions were in total control and  youngster David Ngog sealed the win, with his first senior goal for the club. That all meant that Atletico Madrid had to, at least equal, or better Liverpool’s result to finish top of the group.  Unfortunately, they could manage a 0-0 draw away to Marseille.  The draw was sufficient for Marseille to claim third position and with it a place in the UEFA Cup.

GROUP D FINAL POSITIONS

1 Liverpool 14 pts

2 Atletico Madrid 12 pts

3 Marseille 4 pts

4 PSV 3 pts

In Group A it was the Italian team Roma who finally claimed the number one position beating French side Borbeaux 2-0.  As a result the French side finished bottom of the group and were knocked out of Europe altogether.  It was Roma’s Brighi who slotted in a low cross from Perrotta that broke the deadlock just after the hour mark.  Then Francesco Totti fired in from the edge of the box to secure the win and top spot.

Meanwhile, Chelsea welcomed back their Ivorian striker Didier Drogba, albeit only as a substitute.  Even though they won their game 2- 1, thanks to Drogba’s winning goal, overall Chelsea didn’t look too convincing against the unfancied Rumanian side Cluj.  

Scolari’s Chelsea did need to win to secure their passage to the last 16 and it was left to the talismanic Drogba to come off the bench and seal the win with an excellent finish. This win for the Blues means both Spain and England will have four teams in the last 16 of The Champions League.  This is the first time two nations have achieved the feat in the same season. 

GROUP A FINAL POSITIONS

1 Roma 12 pts

2 Chelsea 11 pts

3 Bordeaux 7 pts

4 CFR Cluj 4 pts

In Group B there was a slightly surprising finishing position for Inter Milan and manager Jose Mourinho.  They had to settle for second place behind the Greek side Panathinaikos.  The Greeks beat the Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta 1 – 0 whilst German’s Werder Bremen beat Inter Milan 2-1.  The result securing Bremen with a place in the UEFA Cup.

It was a dull and dreary first half in Germany but Claudio Pizarro put Bremen ahead then Markus Rosenberg made it 2-0.  Inter did pull a goal back through Zlatan Ibrahimovic who started the game on the bench.  He curled in a fantastic 25-yard shot but it turned out to be nothing more than a consolation.  The result meant Werder Bremen held on to seal a place in the Uefa Cup.

The Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta, who have surprised me a little in this season’s competition, their first, actually  came into this final game against Panathinaikos with a chance of progressing to the last 16.   Unfortunately, they couldn’t live up to the huge expectation and didn’t even make it through to the UEFA Cup due to Bremen’s win.

GROUP B FINAL POSITIONS

1 Panathinaikos 10 pts

2 Inter Milan 8 pts

3 Werder Bremen 7 pts

4 Anorthosis 6 pts

The final standings in Group C had already been finalised before kick off on Tuesday evening. It was therefore no great surprise that, in front of a rather empty Camp Nou, first-placed Barcelona fielded a somewhat weakened side.  The decision saw Barca lose their 20-match unbeaten run by losing 2 – 3 to Shakhtar Donetsk, who end up in the UEFA Cup. 

Swiss team Basle ended a miserable European campaign with a solitary point after they were defeated 1-0 at Sporting Lisbon. Sporting, who won thanks to Yannick Djalo’s first-half goal, finished second in the group behind Barcelona on 12 points.

GROUP C FINAL POSITIONS

1 Barcelona 13 pts

2 Sporting Lisbon 12 pts

3 Shakhtar Donetsk 9 pts

4 Basle 1 pt

On Wednesday evening, Group E saw Manchester United, rather surprisingly, held to a 2-2 draw by Aalborg at Old Trafford.  However, it didn’t stop the current champions from finishing top of their group as Celtic managed secure their first victory in this season’s competition by beating Villareal 2 – 0 at Park Head.

Utd’s Argentine striker Carlos Tevez opened the scoring after just three minutes and Aalborg must have feared the worst but to their credit, they equalised when Michael Jakobsen headed home. Even better was to come however as Jeppe Curth’s header right on the stroke of half-time gave Aalborg, what can only be described as a shock lead.  It was England striker Wayne Rooney who saved Man Utd’s blushes when he produced a trademark powerful finish.

Villarreal had of course been hoping against the odds that Man United would somehow slip up against Aalberg so they could finish top of the group, however they failed to deliver their end of the bargain losing their game as Gordon Strachan’s Celtic finally produced a win in this season’s campaign.  Unfortunately, the win was too little to late for the Glasgow side who are now out of Europe altogether.  No disrespect to Aalberg but I wouldn’t have put any money on them finishing anywhere else other than bottom of the group when the draw was made back in the summer.

GROUP E FINAL POSITIONS

1 Man Utd 10 pts

2 Villarreal 9 pts

3 Aalborg 6 pts

4 Celtic 5 pts

The German giants Bayern Munich finished Group F in first place after a good 3-2 away win at French champions Lyon.  The result means Lyon had to content with finishing second.

German forward Miroslav Klose put Bayern in front before Luca Toni set up Ribery for their second.  Ribery then turned provider for Klose as Lyon fell apart.  Lyon fought back though with Govou pulling a goal back Karim Benzema added a second.  But they could draw level and Bayern clung onto their victory. In the group’s other game Alberto Gilardino headed in the only goal to give Fiorentina victory over Steaua Bucharest and with it a place in the Uefa Cup.  Steaua on the other hand finished the group rock bottom ending their campaign with a solitary point.

Gilardino headed into the far right side of the net after a corner from Juan Manuel Vargas before Steaua were reduced to 10 men when Pawel Golanski was sent off in the 72nd minute for a second yellow card.

GROUP F FINAL POSITIONS

1Bayern Munich 14 pts

2 Lyon 11 pts

3 Fiorentina 6 pts

4 Steaua Bucharest 1 pt

It was a bad night for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal as they failed to achieve the draw they needed to see them finish top of their group.  Wenger, as he quite often does, sent out a young side but they offered little resistance and were outplayed by Porto, who went on to win the game 2-0 and with it leapfrogged over the Gunners to top the group.

Porto’s goals come from Bruno Alves who headed the 2004 champions into the lead before Lisandro Lopez doubled the lead with a cool finish. In the group’s other game, Roman Eremenko scored a first-half goal that gave Dynamo Kiev a 1-0 win over Turkish side Fenerbahce and with it saw them claim the last remaining place in the Uefa Cup.

The midfielder collected Artem Milevskiy’s reverse pass from the left and struck a precise left-footed shot that went between the legs of the goalkeeper.

GROUP G FINAL POSITIONS

1 Porto 12 pts

2 Arsenal 11 pts

3 Dynamo Kiev 8 pts

4 Fenerbahce 2 pts

The final 16 teams have been decided for this season’s UEFA Champions League.  The draw for the knock out stages takes place on the 19th December and they way the group standings have panned out, it is bound to throw up some really intriguing ties to look forward to.

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Matched Betting – Learn How To Make Money From Matched Betting Online For Bookmakers Bonuses

Matched betting is a term which is increasingly being heard these days. It is even being referred to as ‘intelligent betting’ in betting circles. The entire concept of matched betting involves placing a bet both as a punter and also laying a bet as a bookmaker. This has become possible thanks to the advent of the numerous betting exchanges these days. If properly used, matched betting is known to eliminate the element of luck to quite some extent and can get no-risk returns.

The entire concept of matched betting works like this. You place a bet at bookies and back your chosen outcome at particular odds. For example, you could be backing Chelsea to beat Man United in a soccer match. If Chelsea were to win, you would win back your stake and if you lose, you lose your stake to the bookie. What if at the same time, you were to lay a bet, simultaneously as a bookmaker and offered the same odds to someone for Chelsea beating Man United?

This is what matched betting is all about. It works on the principle that whatever you win or loose is always cancelled out by whatever you win or lose, both as a punter and as a bookmaker. Although all this sounds good you should always keep in mind certain things when dealing with matched betting. For one you will need to use betting exchanges, which never offer lay odds which are the same as those offered by bookmakers. The second thing that you should remember is that you will also need to shell out a significant commission to the betting exchange. You need to be clear on all these aspects of matched betting before you place, as well as lay a bet on a particular outcome.

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The Next Generation Console: Tomb Raider

The Definitive addition of Tomb Raider has elevated a classic video game into the proverbial model of the 2016 game changer. The remastering of this video game on the Next Generation console has re-introduced this classic video game to a whole new generation, all the while still captivating veteran gamers. The effects are now in HD which makes the adventures more exciting and almost lifelike. The modifications to the weapons are ten times more powerful than the originals. The bow and arrows alone have changed the overall dynamic of her arsenal.

Gaming with Smith’s main objective is to help players transition from the original adventure into the explosive playing field of the new one. The character’s movements are completely different although a lot of the weaponry has changed. One of the goal’s accomplished by Gaming with Smith is the direction and explanation of the majority of these character movement’s. Once a gamer, has learned the basics, the transition is not only easier but the rewards and so much more gratifying than the original.

Tomb Raider will forever be a video game classic. Now with the addition of modern technology and the influence of a completely re-born gaming system, it is now prepared to take its legacy to the upper echelons of Video game history. From it’s surreal graphics to the unique story line, it is eons ahead of the majority of the games that are out there. The Next Generation Console has taken a huge step into the new gaming world and Gaming with Smith is an upcoming YouTube channel that will guide you through every step of the way.

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Why On Earth Should I Moan – Still Nothing To Complain About in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

YEAH YEAH YEAH to coin a phrase – I know, I know, another appraisal of The Beatles film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

Nearly fifty four years old and the subject of countless critiques does the world really need one more? Well after watching it on television for the umpteenth time over Christmas I decided another set of observations could do no harm – after all what is wrong in celebrating eighty seven minutes of such joy one more time?

Having watched ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ at least once every eighteen months for the roughly the past forty years I thought there was nothing new for me to see but like the brilliant rock album and great film (which it most certainly is) there is often something new to discover. Much of the back story I discovered in the two-set DVD edition that I received as a birthday present about five years ago and while ‘the making of,’ documentary of is both fascinating and informative it also served to shatter one of my lasting illusions of the film. Down the years when walking along the platform of Liverpool Lime Street station I always conjured the image of the Fab Four being chased down the same walkway in the opening scene, only to discover it was not shot there but at Marylebone Station and the train journey they take in the first twenty minutes of the film is not from Liverpool to London, but back and forth from Marylebone to Minehead – leaving me with mixed feelings whether it was information I really needed to be aware of.

But no matter how many times I see it (and on this latest viewing I did spot a couple of errors in continuity that had never come to my attention before) I am always enthralled by the sheer exuberance of how The Beatles perform as actors. To clarify ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ completely breaks with the tradition laid down in the films made by the likes of Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard up to that point, as rather than play singing characters The Beatles are themselves which gives ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ its documentary feel and in a story that sees them travelling to London for a television appearance also provides an insight into the lives they were living at the time. The film, cleverly directed by Richard Lester, depicts each member with a distinctly individual personality that from this point onward they would retain until virtually the day they split up – John (rebel), Paul (romantic), George (thinker), Ringo (jester) – but in 1964, before a dark side to ‘Beatlemania’ had developed, their camaraderie is joyful and a far, far cry from the tetchy, squabbling individuals they became when breaking up in front of cameras for ‘Let It Be,’ just five years later.

In early 1964, however, the hand of manager Brian Epstein is still on the tiller, evident in their clean shaven, collar and tie appearance – with hard drugs, political pronouncements and mysticism still someway off. The music too has yet to undergo the transformation that happened once Bob Dylan and psychedelics replaced Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran as the principal song writing influences of Lennon and McCartney – nevertheless the soundtrack of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ is still a marvel. ‘If I Fell,’ ‘Tell Me Why,’ and ‘And I Love Her,’ all have gorgeous melodies and straightaway as songwriters they are way ahead of the field, while in the latter song the stunning classical guitar arrangement shows The Beatles were quite capable of eclecticism in their own right.

One oddity of the film given it is their movie, is the name of the group is never mentioned – ‘The Beatles’ appears on Ringo’s drum kit and on the helicopter in the closing scene – but everywhere else the superb script, written by playwright Alun Owen, contains comical references to their fame and throws in several in-jokes for good measure, the most obvious being frequent remarks made to Paul’s grandfather, who is travelling with them, about him being ‘a clean old man.’ Played by Wilfrid Brambell, this is a reference to the character Brambell was currently making famous in the television comedy ‘Steptoe and Son’ where he is often labelled ‘a dirty old man.’ After spending time with The Beatles, Owen manages to give his script strong authenticity, picking up on expressions the group were using such as ‘grotty’ and ‘mocker’ that had never been used before. What did come as a surprise when recently watching the film was a scene on a backstage staircase where there road manager (played by Norman Rossington) says to John Lennon as a chorus line passes: ‘put those girls down Lennon or I’ll tell your Mother.’

It seems a strangely insensitive line particularly as Lennon had lost his Mother in a tragic car accident six years before and in view of the tortured songs he wrote about her (‘Mother’, My Mummy’s Dead,’) most notably on his breath taking solo album ‘Plastic Ono Band’ in 1970.

But let us not leave ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ on a sombre note – it is much too upbeat and infectious for that.

If you have seen the film then see it again and dare yourself not to smile. If somehow you have never seen it what a treat awaits – a wonderful opportunity to witness many of the reasons people remain enthralled by The Beatles to this day.

Camisetas de fútbol , NBA y NFL baratas de la mejor calidad y de los mejores equipos y selecciones del mundo de Hombre,Mujer y Niños. by Neil Sambrook

Best Wedding Venues To Hire

Wedding is the most important day in a person's life, so everyone tries to make the wedding day unforgettable. Although all arrangements for the wedding play an important role for making the event successful, but the importance of venues is greater as compared to all other arrangements. Venue is a place that is specified and designed to hold wedding ceremonies.

A venue has all the required facilities and provides enough space to a large number of people effectively. Most of other wedding arrangements are dependent and influenced by the venue, so it can be said that venue is an important factor for making the wedding event successful or unsuccessful.

There are many venues all over the world that are known because of providing facilities to the guests that make their stay over there comfortable. Before hiring wedding venues, people must keep few things in mind so that the venue is perfect for the event.

There is no doubt that people have to consider their budget before selecting a wedding venue, but it must be considered that the wedding venue provides enough space for the number of guests invited in a wedding. A wedding venue that is very small or too large for the number of guests is not suitable for making the event wonderful, but it can destroy all wedding arrangements.

While looking for wedding venues to hire in the UK, people can search different websites that are aimed at providing details of wedding venues in different areas of the world. There are so many cheap and luxurious venues in the UK that can be hired to make the wedding ceremony exclusive. To make the wedding ceremony hassle free, people can use directories that provide lists of venues. In the UK, there are many hotels, restaurants, clubs and other types of venues like castles, historic buildings and churches.

Some famous wedding venues to hire in the UK include Ramada Maidstone, Winslowe house, Hilton bath city, Ramada London Gatwick, Menzies flitwick manor, rookery hall and spa, Ramada Glasgow city and Ramada Bowden hall. Some other wedding venues available in the UK are Alea Casino Leeds, Abode Manchester, Apex City Quay Hotel and Apa, Chesford Grange Hotel and Hendon Hall Hotel. All these wedding venues have many advanced facilities that can play an important role in making the wedding ceremony a memorable one. There are many other venues available in the UK as well that can be selected according to requirements.

There are many companies that can be very helpful for making the decision of the venue selection. Wedding services finder and directories can be very helpful for searching the most appropriate wedding venue easily. By completing the search criteria, a list of available venues can be found that can be very helpful for selection of the best venue. The comparison of different venues can make the decision easier. Internet can be the best source of finding not only the best venues but available facilities in these venues as well.

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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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Analytics in Football – A Double Edged Sword

Sports as we know it today has come a long way. There were times when watching sports on television was considered a massive step forward in terms of technology. Fast forward 60 years, watching sports on television has become the most basic thing. Today we watch sports on the go on our mobile phones or any device with a screen and internet connectivity. Proud of how far we’ve come, aren’t we? Hopefully I can change your opinion on that by the end of this article.

What is sports all about? Sports is a bunch of people getting together to play a game with pre defined rules and a referee to ensure that these rules are adhered to during the passage of play. I am a sport lover and play sports all time. My love for tennis and soccer in particular cannot be defined. My issue when it came to technology and advanced analytics was with the game of soccer in particular. Soccer is such a beautiful game. The strategies that the coaching staff come up with and the way it is executed on field by the players, it actually is a thing of beauty. I was a soccer player myself (just an average one at that) and have been part of various teams. I know firsthand how strategies are built, how much thought goes into one single run of play.

Enter -> Advanced Analytics

Most of you would’ve seen the movie Moneyball. The movie was based on the book Michael Lewis wrote in 2003. It talks about how a jock turned luminary uses advanced statistics to gain a competitive edge over his better funded opponents. This book brought about a revolution is sports. Fans and boards of soccer clubs didn’t want to settle for subpar statistics or analytics anymore. What Moneyball did is, it took an old cliché – «sports are businesses» and made us move on to the next logical question – «how do we do things smarter?»

Now let’s talk about advanced analytics. Advanced analytics in today’s world plays a massive role in every business sector. Advanced analytics has been a boon for us. Moving from descriptive analytics to prescriptive analytics, we actually have come a long way. In various businesses, where the requirement is demanding, advanced analytics are of utmost importance.

When we look at soccer, its a game that does not require too much machine intelligence, it is a game that needs the human element. When you bring in analytics and technology and try to reduce the human element in the sports, it simply just crushes the spirit of the game.

Relying on analytics heavily killed the Premier Leagues long ball game and brought in the pressing, continual passing tiki-taka. Each league for that matter had its own style of play. The Premier League had the brash and brazen style of football that was termed «The way real men play football». There were beautiful long balls, harsh tackles but all the players just sucked it up, walked it off and it was all up to the referee on the pitch to penalize the offender or not. There were arguments and fights, the passion from the fans was crazy, that was the football that screamed of passion, when players got in the face of other players not fearing punishment. The Eric Cantona’s, the Ivan Genaro Gattuso’s, the Jaap Stam’s of the football world went missing soon enough and the diving and the biting began. Then there was the tiki-taka style of football that was played in the Spanish La Liga, the silky style of play that caught everyone off guard. The legendary Pep Guardiola and his army at Barcelona were the masters of the tiki-taka. There was Real Madrid who were always a star studded line-up with excessive parts of their play relying on lightning quick counters which most often than not left the opponents stunned. There was Manchester United who had their own brand of football being managed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. That United team was a team of sheer grit and character. Each of these leagues had their own beauty and the teams had their own style of play.

When you bring in excessive technology and analytics, there emerge sorry technologies like VAR (Video Assistant Referees).

There are 3 stages as to how the VAR works:

Step 1

Incident occurs

The referee informs the VAR, or the VAR recommends to the referee that a decision/incident should be reviewed.

Step 2

Review and advice by the VAR

The video footage is reviewed by the VAR, who advises the referee via headset what the video shows.

Step 3

Decision or action is taken

The referee decides to review the video footage on the side of the field of play before taking the appropriate action/decision, or the referee accepts the information from the VAR and takes the appropriate action/decision.

Now the referee can consult with VAR for basically any doubts he wants clarified. What does this do?

• Removes the human element from the game.

• Takes up excess time and brings too many stoppages within the game, a game that was previously free flowing and continuous.

This makes it similar to Formula 1 racing. The analytics which brought about the fuel weight management systems and the numerous pit stops took the continuity out of the race and viewership reduced with the increase in technology. A pretty similar trend might occur in football if this implementation becomes mandatory.

The Positive Side of Advanced Analytics in Soccer:

Analytics are not all that bad in football. Let’s take the case of when Simon Wilson joined Manchester City in 2006. Simon Wilson was a consultant for an analytics startup called Prozone initially. He joined City to start a department of analytics and hired the best data analysts under him. He wanted to change the way how data was used by football teams. He saw that, after a defeat there was no introspection as to why they had lost and what needed to be done next time. City were a mid table club at that time. In September 2008, when the club was acquired by the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, a private-equity outfit owned by a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, the team suddenly found itself with the resources necessary to mount a challenge for the Premier League. Today, Wilson is Manchester City’s manager of strategic performance analysis. He has five departments under him, including the team of performance analysis, which is now led by a sports scientist named Ed Sulley.

After each match, the team’s performance data would be examined. The list is extensive. Line breaks (a rugby term), ball possession, pass success rates, ball win/loss time ratio were what used to be analyzed. «Instead of looking at a list of 50 variables we want to find five, say, that really matter for our style of play,» says Pedro Marques, a match analyst at Manchester City.

«With the right data-feeds, the algorithms will output the statistics that have a strong relationship with winning and losing.» Wilson recalls one particular period when Manchester City hadn’t scored from corners in over 22 games, so his team decided to analyze over 400 goals that were scored from corners. It was noticed that about 75 percent resulted from in-swinging corners, the type where the ball curves towards the goal. The next 12 games of the next season saw City score nine goals from corner.

Teams are investing heavily in analytics today and it is working in their favor. Look at where Manchester City are today, sitting atop the Premier League table and not being threatened at all. Look at Manchester United this season, their game has been such where their possession percentages are low but their goal conversions are high. The Manchester Derby on 7th April 2018 saw United have only 35% of the possession but they managed to trump City 3-2. Each team has their set of analysts who provide inputs as per the strength of the team.

Advanced analytics is like the coin Two Face in Batman has, «Heads you die, Tails you survive!»

It can reap crazy rewards from a team’s point of view but at the same time can disrupt the lovely game by bringing in unnecessary stoppages, replays and by taking the human element out of it. The numerous replays and the different angles, show the fans if the referee has made an error or not. Let the error happen, after all to err is human. Refereeing in soccer is not an exact science and it’s all real time. Let there be arguments about a decision, let the passion in the argument come through. Do you want to watch a football match like the El Classico or the Manchester Derby and sit with your bunch of friends and say «it was a very clean game, the best team won!» Hell NO! Don’t drive the passion out of soccer with technology and analytics. Let soccer be soccer and let technology stay away!

Compra online la Camisetas de fútbol! En JD encontrarás las del FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, la selección de España y equipos internacionales. by Abhimanyu Sundar

Souness – an Accident Waiting to Happen

Being a Newcastle fan you learn to live more in hope than expectation, yet the one thing we do demand is to be entertained. Graeme Souness was on the verge of the sack from Blackburn Rovers in August 2004 and yet Newcastle United’s walking public relations disaster and part-time chairman, Freddie Shepherd, in his infinite wisdom decided to PAY the Lancashire club for the man’s services! £1.65m later and with several lucrative contracts sorted for Souey’s entourage of a clueless old timer, a few well wishers and his ‘yes’ man Dean Saunders, Newcastle United proudly presented Souness to the media. The new manager spoke in glowing terms about the club and how proud he was that his son would grow up with a Geordie accent. In reality he was probably just amazed that someone had once again been daft enough to employ him.

With one of Souness’ best friends being camp crimper Dale Winton, there is no doubt that the fiery Scot could have got a gig on Supermarket sweep or something equally as testing of his remarkable ‘talents’. That is if he didn’t get angry with Dale hogging the spotlight and as a result launch into a two footed tackle on a shopping trolley. The one time I asked Dale Winton for a favour he didn’t come through for me, damn.

There wasn’t the same fanfare from the Tyneside crowd that was usually afforded to a new manager as Souness made his first appearance at SJP. Keegan and Robson had been hailed as saviours, Dalglish was warmly received and everyone got the wigs out for Ruud Gullit. Not this time though, although the Mags hammered Souness’ previous club 3-0 (Souness was officially on ‘gardening leave’). Blackburn Rovers were a shambles that day and many onlookers questioned how badly they must have been managed to get into such a state. Our new leader just sat in the stands beaming a wide smile next to his son who wore a full Newcastle kit, perhaps hoping that it would speed up the transition of his boy’s soon to be Geordie accent. Fans knew even then what the chairman apparently didn’t until the last few weeks of the Souness tenure – this was an accident waiting to happen.

In my mind there is no doubt that Sir Bobby Robson had passed his sell by date long before he was kicked out of his job as gaffer. Not because he was a 71-year old man who forgot people’s names, he was doing that in his 50’s as England manager (Once calling Bryan Robson ‘Bobby’ to which his captain replied «No gaffer, you’re Bobby, I’m Bryan!»), but because he was making no sense in his tactical decisions and had given his all but looked worn out. With that in mind Robson should have been told that his time was up at the end of the 2003-2004 campaign and could have gracefully moved on. Instead he was sacked just four games into a season, the third consecutive Toon manager to be ousted after a handful of early season games.

Despite all of the concerns over the new man, Souness started well and the club went ten games undefeated under his guidance. A number of fans were ready to accept him and yet there remained an overall feeling of scepticism in the North Eastern air. Mark Hughes was installed at Blackburn and immediately commented on how unfit his players were and that he was appalled with the stories he had heard about the training sessions before he arrived. Most people took his remarks with a pinch of salt at the time, only later did they seem apt.

It was only a matter of time before somebody upset Souness and that man was the volatile Craig Bellamy, the club’s most in-form player and also the most outspoken. Bellamy boasted to players that he would feign injury and refuse to play as he felt he was being wasted on the wings rather than his preferred role up front, Souness reacted by leaving him out of the match at Highbury against Arsenal. Souey claims he was willing to forgive and forget until the player did an interview with Sky Sports saying that his manager: «Went behind my back, right in front of my face.» Of course this showed two things – 1. Craig Bellamy is about as intelligent as a monkey with Alzheimer’s disease and 2. Souness’ man management skills are appalling.

So Bellers was packed off to Celtic on loan and in many ways this was the beginning of the end. The team now lacked creativity and pace. When Kieron Dyer’s old Hamstring/foot/liver/eyebrow injury inevitably recurred the team suddenly looked short of ideas and this is when Souness realised that a creative genius was needed and not content with just one, he managed to find three. Jean Alain Boumsong, to whom defending is such a complicated art, was the first. If £8.5m is what he’s worth then my Mum is the pope’s wife. Then came the great Amady Faye – to this day one of the most under rated players ever…. That is if he is rated as the equivalent of a bag of treacle being eaten by a diabetic man with no taste buds and false teeth. The third of these gems was Celestine Babayaro from Chelsea who is talented but gives about as much effort as Michael Barrymore trying to fish dead bodies out of swimming pools.

Out went talented players such as Olivier Bernard and of course Bellamy who ironically eventually ended up at Blackburn. The team slumped to 14th in the league, injuries mounted up (As they had at Blackburn under Souness) and the only potential saving graces were the cups. The FA cup always looked a long shot; we were in the semi-final but faced an in-form Manchester United. The UEFA cup was more likely to bring us our first major trophy in 50 years, hopes that were soon extinguished. The 2nd of April, 2005, was one of the darkest days in Newcastle United’s 113 year history. Aston Villa came to St James’ park to face a Newcastle side that was unbeaten in nine games; they left with a 3-0 win over the EIGHT players that remained in black and white shirts. Firstly Steven Taylor was sent off for handball (Despite a great impression of a dying swan) and then any hope we still had of salvaging our season evaporated into the overcast sky. Lee Bowyer walked towards Kieron Dyer and started to throw punches at his colleague. Both players were red carded and thereafter criticised heavily in the media, but make no mistake, this was Bowyer’s fault and fans were quick to see that. Be that as it may, it was Souness who was the fall guy as his team went out of both cups with a brace of 4-1 defeats to Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United in the same week. Now nothing was left to disguise the shortcomings of the manager in a miserable inaugural season on Tyneside.

Compra online la Camisetas de fútbol! En JD encontrarás las del FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, la selección de España y equipos internacionales. by Dominic Kureen