Manchester United vs Arsenal Preview

With the international break now over (thank god!), Premier League football returns this weekend and kicks off with Manchester United hosting Arsenal at Old Trafford. Manchester United will be looking to close the six-point gap off of Arsenal, whilst the Gunners will be looking to continue their unbeaten run. 

United will be without their talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic through suspension so will be looking for Marcus Rashford to put in a performance similar to that of last years’. The Red Devils cannot afford to suffer defeat, as they could potentially be 11 points of the top of the table by the end of the weekend

Arsenal come into the fixture in fine form – unbeaten since the opening day of the season. Alexis Sanchez looks to have recovered from his knock he received during international duty, however they will miss Hector Bellerin who is out through injury. Arsenal will very much to gain a win and keep the pressure on at the top of the league. 

I think the pace of United will be an extremely important factor, if Rashford can make runs in behind he can cause the Arsenal defence all sorts of problems. I also think this tactic will work for the Gunners as well, if they can use the pace of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sanchez and run at United’s defence, which is by no means mobile, then they could potentially run riot.

Score prediction: 2-1 to Manchester United. I think missing Bellerin could really hurt Arsenal, especially if United exploit the flanks with pace. 

Punt for the game: Marcus Rashford to score in 90 minutes @ 7/4

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Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare Review

It was a sad day for myself when I lost interest in the Call of Duty franchise. Having been a huge fan and owning every game back from the original Call of Duty for Xbox 360, up until the hugely disappointing Advanced Warfare. I did not like the direction which Call of Duty were taking things, I missed the days where the game was a ‘proper shooter’ as opposed to the space crap they have now starting feeding us. In fact I was that disappointed with Advanced Warfare that I traded it in within the month! I caved in and bought Black Ops 3 upon its release however and tried my very best to enjoy, but it just couldn’t compare to the originals. 

So when Call of Duty Infinite Warfare was announced earlier this year, I was almost determined NOT to buy it however with the tease of Modern Warfare remastered set to be released with it as well, I was caught in two minds. But as I had done before, I gave into temptation and picked up the Call of Duty Legacy Edition and I must say, Infinite Warfare certainly did surprise me… 

Campaign 

For me this is definitely the best feature of the game. Again, with this being a ‘space game’, I was sceptical of what to expect, however I actually found the very enjoyable! It was almost the campaign and rich backstory I had always wanted for Titanfall. Upon completion of it I enjoyed it so much I was determined to go back and complete on Veteran difficulty. Visually, the campaign is stunning, some of the cutscenes look as if they are straight out of a movie! 

Multiplayer  

I used to love Call of Duty multiplayer, I used to put days’ worth of time into it, I think I was around 7th prestige on Call of Duty Black Ops! But with Infinite Warfare I can almost say for certain I will not be putting anywhere near that into this year’s instalment! It is basically just a carbon copy of last year’s Black Ops 3 multiplayer with new maps and some shiny space guns. I’ve only put a few hours in so far and I can’t see me putting much more in.

Zombies 

Again zombies is something which I put a number of hours into in the earlier CODs, but as the years have gone on and the games have become too futuristic for my liking, I haven’t enjoyed them that much. That being said, I think this year’s zombies is probably the best since its first arrival of the mode back in 2008 with World at War. Set in an 80’s style theme park, this edition feels as if it has gone back to its roots somewhat whilst still retaining some of the more recent feature such as power ups and perks.

Buy, wait for sale or avoid? Whilst this Call of Duty is one of the best in recent years, I would wait for this game to come down in price as there are better alternatives out there in my opinion *cough* Battlefield 1 *cough*

Rating: 6.9/10

Keep posted because my review of Modern Warfare Remastered will be coming soon!

Hands on: Steep beta

Steep is an upcoming open-world extreme sports game from Ubisoft, set for release early next month. Earlier this year I signed up to the closed beta and since it went live on Thursday I have been playing it non-stop. The game comprises of skiing, snowboarding, wingsuit flying and paragliding and is set in the Alps and offers an open world for you to explore. 

Upon first playing, I’m surprised as to how much of an arcade feel the game has to it, somewhat feeling reminiscent of EA’s hit snowboarding game SSX, however this feeling soon goes as you clear through the basic tutorials. From here on you are then granted access to a number of different mountains to explore and take part in different challenges. The gameplay itself is fairly smooth and easy to grasp, however I feel as if the game is lacking in the ‘trick department’ as they are only a few basic tricks I have been able to do thus far. That being said, some of the most satisfying moments on the beta are simply gliding down to the bottom of the mountain without breaking stride at all

What I absolutely love is the amount of customizations available to you – from the brand of hat you wear to which GoPro you want equipped to your helmet, the options are seemingly endless! There is a sweet feature as well where you can switch your third person camera view to a first person view straight from the GoPro attached to your character!

Pre-order, wait for release or avoid altogether? – Whilst I have thoroughly enjoyed playing the Beta, I’m going to wait for the finished article and then pick up at Christmas.

Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez Review

Wow what a contest, well if you can even call it that! Conor McGregor once again getting the job done with an early round knockout! I was amazed how little of a fight Alvarez put up against him, bar a few body shots Conor McGregor took home the lightweight title practically unscathed! 

A stunning combination of hits in the second round from McGregor put Alvarez out of his misery. The way things started off in the first round I thought it would have been yet another first round knockout for ‘Mystic Mac’. Having been knocked down three times in the first round, it was only a matter of time until Conor McGregor knocked Alvarez out and lifted the lightweight belt.

The big question now is who is McGregor going to fight next? Perhaps Nate Diaz, the fight everyone around the world seems to want to split their 1-1 record they now have following their fight earlier this year. Or maybe he will fight Khabib Nurmagomedov who has seemingly rose to prominence of late and following his recent trash talking of McGregor, calling him a ‘chicken’, maybe McGregor will be looking to silence him? Or perhaps Conor will take some time away from the Octagon, it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering his long term partner announced that she was pregnant following his domination of Alvarez on Saturday night. Whoever McGregor fights next, he will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the all-time greats.

Punt for the fight: Conor McGregor to win in Rounds 1-5 @ 5/6 with Skybet – WINNER!✅

Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez Preview

Conor McGregor steps into the Octagon tonight taking on Eddie Alvarez as he aims to become the first man in history to hold two UFC titles. Alvarez is attempting to defend his title in New York in what is being billed as one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history.

McGregor comes into the fight fresh off of his victory at UFC 202 which surprisingly went the distance back in August. This time McGregor will be looking to finish this game as quickly as possible. Defeating Alvarez will be no easy task however, the 32-year-old has a 28-4 record and in July he emphatically knocked out Rafael dos Anjos in the first round to become the lightweight champion in only his fourth fight in UFC. 

I can’t see this fight going the distance, 85% of McGregor’s fights have been won by TKO/KO and most of these have come in the first or second round. Hopefully the fight will live up to all the hype and it will be talked about for years to come.

Punt for the fight: Conor McGregor to win in Rounds 1-5 @ 5/6 with Skybet

World Cup 2018 Qualifying: England vs Scotland Preview

England are set to host Scotland on Friday on what should be a classic affair at Wembley. Both teams have not got off to the best of starts in their World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign and will be looking to take all 3 points for their cause, as well as their pride.

England come into the match having drawn their last game 0-0 in a pretty dire affair against Slovenia last month. With Wayne Rooney set to start for England and seemingly to have grown in confidence (2 assists and a goal in his last two starts for United) will be looking to lead England to victory. The pressure will not only be on Rooney and the rest of the Three Lions but also on Gareth Southgate, who’s temporary appointment is set to come to an end next week. The result could determine whether he is offered the permanent position or not.

Scotland come into this game off the back of a terrible 3-0 defeat to Slovakia and will be hoping for a win to boost morale. With the return of Scott Brown from ‘retirement’, they will hoping to defy the odds and leave Wembley with all 3 points. Whilst the Scots haven’t got off to a good start in their qualifying campaign, let’s not forget that they put in some great performances against Poland and Germany in their Euro 2016 qualifiers and narrowly missed out on a place in the Euro’s. 

I think this will be a fiesty, high tempo game with both teams setting out to win the game. I think England will see anything other than a win as not acceptable whereas Scotland will probably be happy with a point away from home. I believe the midfield battle will be key and if Scotland can press England and flood the midfield then this game could swing wide open.

Punt for the match: England to win 3-1 and Wayne Rooney to score first @ 40/1 with SkyBet

A Football Manager Story: Part 1

My FM17 career starts off as any other – unemployed. Every year I start off unemployed until a team come in and offer me a job. This year the first team to come in for me was the mighty Wycombe Wanderers in October 2016. They are placed 19th in League 2 and have set me with the task of achieving mid-table come May. Personally, I believe we can go one better and at least achieve a play-off place due to how tight the table is (13 points off first place). The squad is fairly young, we have a few players on loan such as Jamal Blackman from Chelsea, and most of the players are of the ability of the division.

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Our first game ends in a fantastic 2-0 win away to Doncaster, from here on we go on a fantastic 11 game unbeaten run in the league, finally suffering defeat at home to Luton. One of the games of the season  was a 10 goal thriller away at Cambridge where we were 1-0 down at half time and then managed to turn it around. We also suffer defeat in the FA Cup in a replay at Woking which is somewhat disappointing following the good form of the team.  Defeat also comes in the Checkatrade Trophy at home to Charlton, however I’m not bothered about this as I was solely using this to develop some of the youth players at the club.

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We sign a few players in the January transfer window, mostly a few reserve players and an ex Swansea reserve Goalkeeper on a free transfer who has fairly decent stats and hopefully will be able to step up and fill the boots of Blackman when is loan ends. Following the end of the transfer window, the team begins to really hit their stride thanks to our star striker Dayle Southwell. We again go unbeaten until the end of the season, and to really put the icing on the cake we manage to finish top of the league! The final 5/6 games are extremely nervy with only a few points separating 1st to 8th place but thankfully we have a fairly easy run of games and we amazingly win the league by 3 points! It’s an incredible achievement for the club and a feat which doesn’t go unnoticed by the board.

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I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from the team and the thought of the League 1 football next season is tantalizing. To top things off even more so I was awarded the manager of the year award! Hopefully with the extra funds we receive for winning the league will allow us to help strengthen the squad and continue our storm up the footballing ladder!

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