Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – January Transfer Bonanza!

“And so, to the transfer market. I think it is time to target the indifferent midfield. It needs an injection of attacking flair and sharpness”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: CHELSEA CAN BUY PLAYERS AGAIN. Any transfer bids must be accepted.

Following the decision last month to reduce Chelsea’s transfer ban, we’re back in the transfer market once again. Time to refresh and replace in order to contest some silverware. Hang on tight.

December Manager of the Month: Pep Guardiola

Guess who is back, back again. How many times is that now, Pep?

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After beginning the month with a 2-2 draw against local and title rivals Manchester United, six straight wins followed. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

December Player of the Month: Moise Kean

tenor

Dancing aside, Kean has been on fine form for the blue side of Merseyside. Key performances include, naturally, his 2-goal man-of-the-match performance in the win against Chelsea.

And so, to the transfer market. As close as November I was thinking of hunting for a new striker, but Michy Batshuayi really has hit form since then, with 6 goals just in the last month. I think it is time to target the indifferent midfield. It needs an injection of attacking flair and sharpness.

Unfortunately, and inexplicably, Chelsea have been left were a mere £1.25m to spend on players. What happened? Wages happened, along with 2 or 3 major contract renewals. £40m came in, but just shy of £40m also went out. Including recieved transfer fees.

Now at first glance this looks like a disaster. If the team cannot be strengthened, then a disappointing season is surely on the cards. However, with the squad having depth in numbers, its time to offload the stagnant for some more vibrant talent. Championship Manager style. But first, back to the football.

Premier League Fixture #21 – Leicester (Away)

Transfer ban dec 1

Finally some resilience. Despite being pegged back by Pereira’s penalty in the first half, Chelsea kept up the pace with the one-time leaders of the Premier League throughout. Having being second best against most sides above them this season, this is a sign of Chelsea’s capability. Now just to hopefully add some quality too.

Transfer Funds Required

The problem this season has been goals. As mentioned before, Michy Batshuayi’s place is cemented with a great run in the first team so far. But he needs help. Pedro is on and off, Pulisic only seems to have a decent game from time to time. But furthermore, some of the younger players with high value could be the key. After all, I won’t be buying anyone with just £1 million in the bank.

First let’s take a look in the reserves. Old Antonio Conte favourite Victor Moses is still at the club and I wasn’t the only one that didn’t realise it. He is rated at a cool £7 million too. Unfortunately in Championship Manager you have to be ruthless, so on the transfer list he goes. Marco Van Ginkel is one of Chelsea’s many European youth purchases, joining the club at just 20 years of age. After a career-threatening anterior cruciate ligament injury, the major of Van Ginkel’s Chelsea career has been on loan at other clubs. Again, a handsome valuation of £5m will help towards first team reinforcements. Both are listed for sale, with immediate interest from Wolves and Tottenham respectively.

But what about the first team? I look at Callum Hudson-Odoi, a great youngster no doubt, but that £12m valuation just screams ‘sale’ to me. He simply hasn’t performed to the standard required. So, on the list he goes. Ross Barkley is another under-performer who will be shown the door for the right fee. Given the current state of Chelsea’s season, the managerial position is definitely on the line. There is still Champions League qualification up for grabs. There is still an FA Cup to win. There is still the Champions League itself to win. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

And now, it’s time for the FA Cup run to begin.

FA Cup Third Round – Burnley (Away)

Transfer ban dec 2

As soon as youngster Dwight McNeil is shown a red card for a dangerous two-footed lunge on Christian Pulisic, with Batshuayi putting away the subsequent penalty, this FA Cup third round tie is plain sailing for Chelsea. Marcus Alonso comes in and bags himself the cherry atop an easy third round victory. And now back to transfer news….

Transfer ban dec 3

And it isn’t the good kind. Olivier Giroud, a somewhat peripheral figure, yet useful, figure this season, could be on his way to the other part of north London. It wouldn’t be a popular move for sure, given the number of years spent at Arsenal.

Transfer ban dec 4

Or not, as the Frenchman quickly clarifies. This doesn’t happen very often in Championship Manager, but with some big games to come, it is a welcome decision by the forward.

Transfer ban dec 5

Spurs also tried a move for the transfer-listed Ross Barkley, with similar results. What a steaming pile of Hotspur.

Transfer ban dec 6

There is success for Spurs however with Marco van Ginkel. Off he goes to north London. Did Spurs have any players in the first place?

Transfer ban dec 18

Now it’s Chelsea’s turn. Time to inject some new blood and crank things up. Wolves’ Ruben Neves is hopefully one that is capable. At just over £6m, its a chance worth taking.

Transfer ban dec 8

Tottenham’s back again, this time for another out of favour midfielder, Danny Drinkwater. Despite winning the Premier League with Leicester, Danny’s career has nosedived ever since, and regular football just hasn’t happened for him. Hopefully this move to Spurs will work for all parties. It certainly does for Chelsea’s transfer balance.

Transfer ban dec 10

Another sale, this time of reserve starlet Reece James. A cool £4 million in the bank. Thank you to the blue side of Merseyside.

Transfer ban dec 7

Following the formality at Burnley, Chelsea next face a home tie against League One opposition in Ipswich Town later in the month. Hopefully a good chance to proceed further. And now, back to some actual football.

Premier League Fixture #22 – Manchester City (Home)

Transfer ban dec 11

A big fixture against the league’s form side. Chelsea were so, so close to getting the win. Man City found their saviour in Sergio Aguero with just a few minutes to go. Proof that one goal is often never enough.

Back to transfer news, a quick check on expiring contracts prompted a punt on another Wolves midfielder, Joao Moutinho. Instrumental in getting Wolves into the Premier League, and ensuring they have remained there, Moutinho has opted to move to the blue side of London from next season. Chelsea’s midfield is looking stronger day by day.

Transfer ban dec 12

Transfer ban dec 13

And what of Tottenham? Following bids on various Chelsea players, a further surpise emerged in that Dele Alli showed up on the interested transfer listings. Upon further investigation it appears Dele is having an awful time. Out of action, out of favour and now, out of Tottenham. Dele Alli is now a Chelsea player.

Premier League Fixture #23 – Brighton (Home)

Transfer ban dec 14

Batshuayi’s form could not have hit at a better time. Brighton might not be the strongest opposition, but putting teams to bed has been a problem for Chelsea all season. A hat trick for the Belgian secures a dominant home win. Let’s hope for more wins than draws as the season hits the final 15 games.

Transfer ban dec 17

Back to transfer developments, and it looks like more money for the Chelsea transfer kitty. Wolves have come in for the transfer listed Victor Moses. The bid was of course reluctantly accepted….

Transfer ban dec 15

…and splashed on Everton’s Lucas Digne almost immediately. The left back position hasn’t been secured by anyone consistently this season, so some major competition can only be a positive step.

Transfer ban dec 19

The squad is looking transformed already. Certain signings are also resonating with the rest of the squad also. Positive vibes all around. An its about to get better…

Transfer ban dec 20

Hudson-Odoi was the first player placed on the transfer market in this window. His £10m price tag seemed a bit much, and was left as a hopeful money earner. Now it has come in big. Thank you AC Milan.

Transfer ban dec 21

BREAKING NEWS: Tottenham confirm they have officially lost the plot with a counter offer of £12.25 million for Callum Hudson-Odoi. The player decides to stay in London, with close to an additional £3m going into Chelsea’s bank. Booyah.

Transfer ban jan keane

And so comes a final signing. With the departure of Rudiger earlier in the season, a cool £5m on England international Michael Keane should help bolster the defensive line nicely. I think Chelsea might be ready.

New Squad Tactics

Transfer ban Jan new tatics

Now that is looking much better in terms of balance. As the season has progressed Mason Mount has emerged as the partner for Jorginho, who sometimes steps in Kante’s role when he is unavailable. Batshuayi and Giroud are on form up front, and Alli loves the number 10 role. Things are looking up.

Premier League Fixture #24 – Bournemouth (Away)

Transfer ban dec 22

Blimey. What a start for Deli Alli. Within 20 minutes of his first appearance as a number 10, he is off the mark for Chelsea. Despite the topsy-turvy score-line this was a match Chelsea were always in control of, and more importantly, winning. A month unbeaten for the boys in blue.

FA Cup Fourth Round – Ipswich Town (Home)

Transfer ban dec 23

Another easy cup victory. Another 4 goals too. Good to see defenders getting a share of the spoils too. Onto the next round against Aston Villa!

Transfer ban dec 24

Transfer Round Up

To start out with the disappointment of having virtually no transfer money, and concluding with the signing of 4 key players could really turn the season around.

Transfer ban jan players out

What of the departures? With so much sale activity, the return of Ross Barkley to Everton was completely missed. £82m raised, and just £24.5m spent. I’d say that’s pretty good business.

Transfer ban dec 25

Elsewhere, across the globe, the Inter-American cup, otherwise known as the Copa Libertadores, came to its conclusion. River Plate came up trumps after a penalty shootout against Monterrey.

Premier League Table, end of January

Transfer ban dec 26

2 big wins and 2 good draws opens a gap between the top 7 and everyone else. Chelsea are by no means going to win the Premier League this season. But 5th is now only a 4-point gap. Hopefully Chelsea will also finally get that 10th win of the season.

At the top, City continue to dominate. The battle for 2nd is more interesting, with just 3 points between 3 teams. At the bottom, Newcastle looked doomed with just 2 wins all season. But somehow they are only 6 points from safety. Relegation zone mainstays Southampton and Sheffield United remain in trouble, with Wolves and Villa perilously close to the bottom also.

14 games to go. 42 points up for grabs for all. With the return of European competition also, its a make or break month for a new-look Chelsea. Until next time, TTFN!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September October November December

Championship manager and its fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Vanquish 10th Anniversary Review (PS4)

Vanquish is an excellent fast-paced, super stylish shooter in the third person, from Resident Evil ­creator Shinji Mikami.

Like Bayonetta, there have been very few titles like Vanquish in the last ten years.

“Get outta the way!”

Like Bayonetta, there have been very few titles like Vanquish in the last ten years. Those dedicated to PlatinumGames-developed entities could only praise its frantic yet exhilarating action, impressive boss fights, even knee-sliding. And they were right; Vanquish is an excellent fast-paced, super stylish shooter in the third person, from Resident Evil ­creator Shinji Mikami. Both this and Hideki Kamiya’s Vanquish are being bundled together (physical release anyway), and both remain shining examples of PlatinumGames’ glamour and glory.

Vanquish puts the gravelly-sounding Sam Gideon at the forefront of a Russian-led robot war on America. Donned in his ARS (Augmented Reaction Suit), Sam can shoot, run, roll, and even knee-slide. That last function, performed by holding L1, shoots Sam across the floor at a breakneck pace to evade gunfire or get behind enemy lines. It’s an excellent defining feature that allows manipulation of your speed of attack, or a change of tactic. It also ties in with the suit’s AR mode, which allows the slowing down of time to make more pinpoint attacks. All consume a meter that, if depleted fully, the suit must recharge. The dynamic here is that these are all managed by you, except for when you take critical hits, which instantly depletes the meter, triggering AR mode automatically.

“What the ****, man?”

In amongst the herds of red Russian robots are plenty of boss fights. They vary from flying super-suited humans to the gigantic Argus, each requiring different tactics to expose their core and destroy them. It’s simplistic in nature but spectacular in practice. There are corridor stages, elevator stages, sniper stages, and most exciting of all are the battleground stages. Finding yourself pinned behind barricades, waiting for that perfect moment to strike. Thanks to the suit’s BLADE system, three weapon types at a time can be stored. A quick tap of the relevant D-pad direction changes to the desired weapon, and any can be swapped out for others throughout. Vanquish’s mechanisms are designed to keep you thinking, and that means quickly. It serves as a constant adrenaline rush.

Ten years on, why should anyone care about Vanquish? Its biggest problem was always recognition, not its quality. Critics loved it, and according to Wikipedia, its more recent PC release pushed it over the 1 million sales mark. Yet it somehow feels like a forgotten gem in many respects. Bayonetta is undoubtedly far more well known (a sequel and SMASH appearance would have a lot to do with that), but Vanquish, although quite different, is cut from a similar cloth. Having them release at the same time makes perfect sense, as they complement each other so well.

“Time to hit hard and make ’em regret it.”

And so, what about the remaster? The 4K, 60 frames per second upgrade provides a facelift for the current generation to have a swing at. Vanquish always had a distinctly futuristic feel with clear visuals, but now they run superbly fast. The frame rate boost gives the action a new lease of life and has never been better. The ARS looks better than ever also, with extra detail evidently on show for key characters to bring them more up to date. Unfortunately, the upgrade can do little for the backdrops, which were of the time already. Some look a bit blurry with Vanquish having an awful lot of greyness about it anyway. As noted in the preview, there are noted small moments of slowdown in some of the cutscenes. There was a patch released earlier today, so fingers crossed both this, and the subtitle inconsistencies are also addressed.

“C’mon apes, you wanna live forever?!”

So, Vanquish is starting to show some age a little. What of it? When the action is as good as this (and it is as good as they come), it’s perfect for a few hours of frenetic fun. Therein lies its biggest flaw: the campaign’s length. Even a first-timer could wade through on the Normal setting in but a few hours. But that in itself is part of the genius of Vanquish; the mechanics are so tight and easy to learn, you’ll soon be clocking headshots in AR mode as if you’ve played for months. Like many games from PlatinumGames, they are often designed to be replayed. For the trophy hunter, there are plenty of fun-to-obtain trophies to collect, which also require a rise in difficulty. The challenge mode becomes exceptionally hard and is still the elusive trophy I am yet to obtain myself on any version.

If Bayonetta is the coveted supermodel, then Vanquish is the young starlet that never got the break they deserved. The story may be a tongue-in-cheek, politically preposterous, and filled with corny dialogue, but that’s all part of the fun. You don’t need to believe it to enjoy it. But what needs to be believed that even with a single playthrough, you cannot go wrong for a few hours of entertainment than with Vanquish.

Bayonetta 10th Anniversary Remaster Review (PS4)

“Don’t f**k with a witch!”

Bayonetta is up there with the best—arguably even the best—hack-‘n-slash action game around. It’s problematic and erratic PS3 port back in 2010 left a false impression – after all, Bayonetta is no mere historical curio. We may have had to wait ten years, but Bayonetta finally has the Playstation port it deserves, offering 4K support with smooth, stable framerates. This, my friends, is how you port a classic.

The story of Bayonetta is, quite frankly, a mental one to explain in simple terms. A shapeshifting witch left with amnesia after a 500-year slumber, with guns in both her hands and strapped to her heels, is but the beginning. From then on, her story is your story. As the detailed lore is explained throughout as flashes of her previous life, reacquaint her, and of course you, of her salient backstory. The fictional European city of Vigrid is the adventure’s setting, and finding the “Right Eye of the World” is the quest Bayonetta must fulfill. Along the way is an army of angels that must be slain in a variety of wonderful ways, including demons made of hair. See, I told you the story was mental.

“Say hi to the wife and kids for me!”

If that potentially sounds too much for you, then remember this: Come for the story, stay for the combat. Bayonetta’s existence revolves around its masterful combat mechanics. Tapping triangle/circle gives you quick punch/kick attacks. Chaining them together with different weapons assigned can lead to a myriad of combinations. Then there are Wicked Weaves; powerful combo finishers that, when executed, transform Bayonetta’s mystical hair into a giant demonic boot/fist that inflict great damage. And naturally, look flashy as hell. In the past ten years, only one title has come close to Bayonetta’s combat, and that is the Wii U-exclusive sequel, Bayonetta 2, a little over five years ago. The fluidity and hypnotic rhythm of the combat are indeed that good.

Aside from the combos themselves, adding to that fluidity is the Dodge function. A quick tap of R2 allows Bayonetta to glide away from harm. Not only that, activating a dodge at the last possible moment freezes everyone – except for Bayonetta – in what is called Witch Time. For anyone who has played a Platinum title since, such as Transformers Devastation or Nier: Automata, this concept may be nothing new. But such is the genius of the concept, and it’s no surprise to see it becoming a developer-mainstay feature. There are, of course, subtle differences. Where Nier is all about accuracy, flow is the key in Bayonetta. The dodge is part of the combo chain, so it can be resumed after dodging.

“Do you like it when she calls you ‘Mummy’?”

The combat is oh so important as it is an extension of Bayonetta herself. The opening sequence gives the impression of someone with grace, poise, always in charge, and enjoys the thrill of combat. In turn, so is the animation of your actions – graceful that is – and assuming you’re not too terrible at it, you’ll be having as much fun as she is. It is both genius and beauty coming together, all at your fingertips.

The same can also be said for the action cutscenes. They are silly, playful, and on the right side of cocky. They are also highly entertaining and brilliantly choreographed, encapsulating again how much Bayonetta is in control. The camera also lingers over our star frequently, often with camera-facing glances, or alternatively, Bayonetta’s more private areas. Some may find this somewhat egregious. But this is merely intended as an extension of the self-awareness and confidence of Bayonetta. The sexualization is merely another source of power for our titular character. She is a funny, tenacious, and wise-cracking witch, and it is hard not to admire her beauty and grace.

There are very few, minor quibbles. This being a Sega property, it feels inevitable that QTE’s are involved. Not often, nor debilitating overall, but let’s face it, they are a product of a bygone era. Here a key life or death moment may need repeating until the correct singular button is pressed. It feels unnecessary and old-fashioned. The tendency to transition directly into being attacked out from a cutscene can be more irritating. Especially for those gunning, slashing, punching, and indeed spinning for top stage rankings.

“Now, it’s time to be naughty.”

But what of the remaster? Well, the action certainly keeps up the 60 frames per second promise. It feels right at home on the PS4 pad also. It is, without doubt, a major upgrade on the Platinum-outsourced PS3 disappointment of ten years ago. Even the Xbox 360 version struggled when the action got too frantic, but here it is smooth as smooth gets. It steps up to the plate of modern resolutions admirably well, also. Never has Bayonetta looked so good in my home than on my 55-inch 4K television.

As for the re-release timing generally, it feels like an important piece of redemption for Playstation hardware. The PS3 version has a bad rap with bad sales to go with it, so it is fitting that a definitive version gets both a new and old audience. The colour palette may seem a little bland in places today, but the level design remains superb, the combat sublime, and, now more than ever, an essential bargain.

This review originally appeared on www.heypoorplayer.com

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – December

“The game is long gone before his hat trick is complete, but that makes it all the more worth it against shithouse Sergio Ramos and company. This result has been a long time coming.”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

November Manager of the Month: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Well, it was never going to be me, was it? I had a feeling on this one, and yet upon inspecting the stats, I’m inclined to question it. Of their 6 matches in December, only 2 were wins. 3 draws (albeit 2 of them against City and Leicester) were also clocked, as well as their first defeat of the season against a mid-table Spurs side. Hmmm.

tenor

Alright then, dickhead.

November Player of the Month: Sergio Aguero

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As far as Premier League memories go this past decade, Sergio Aguero already takes the crown with his now-iconic 2011-12 title-sealing effort. Now in his ninth season at City, the Argentine attacker continues to cement his legacy in Premier League folklore. The 4-time champion has taken the monthly award 6 times, so this is simply another one for the cabinet. 2 keys goals, an assist as well as an 8.3 average rating make him the best player for November.

Transfer ban dec 2

As for Chelsea, the board seem a little happier than “satisfied”. Quite surprising considering the stuttering league form. Speaking of which, next up is Norwich away.

Premier League Fixture #14 – Norwich (Away)

Transfer ban dec 3

As Jurgen Klopp once famously said “Boom”. This one was over in the first half, a fact cemented following the red card to Norwich keeper Fahmann. Only another injury scare to Kante being a blemish on the day. Thankfully he is out for just a few days. And now…..

Transfer ban dec 4

Remember this? It is likely going to one of the season’s defining moments.

Transfer ban dec 6

Bit of a problem there Jody, HE LEAVES THE CLUB IN TWO WEEKS.

Transfer ban dec 7

And just look at this. He was the club’s top scorer, played every match, then took the Barca bait. Yes, I subsequently dumped him in the reserves as a result. But pleading that the move is to acquire first team football? Good one pal. You had your chance. 

Champions League 2nd Group Stage Game 2 – Real Madrid (Home)

Transfer ban dec 5

Now here comes the boom! Giroud is preferred in the striker role, and the return is Champions League gold. The game is long gone before his hat trick is complete, but that makes it all the more worth it against shithouse Sergio Ramos and company. This result has been a long time coming.

Premier League Fixture #15 – Sheffield United (Away)

Transfer ban dec 8

ARGH. More frustration on the return to the domestic front. Sheffield United simply had the answer to almost everything Chelsea threw at them. The introduction of Champions League hero Giroud gave them a chance, but Chris Wilder’s men held off Chelsea for a great win in front of their own fans. The indifference continues.

Transfer ban dec 9

In other results, Manchester United get another win, and relegation-threatened Southampton pick up a vital win against European-placed West Ham. So, a chance for Chelsea to catch up is lost for now. Bottom of the table Newcastle are well beaten yet again, and Spurs maintain mid-table mediocrity with a high-scoring thriller at Wolves. And now news from the upcoming third round of the FA Cup….

Transfer ban dec 10

Could have been a much easier draw for sure. Turf Moor is rarely an easy place to go. Could be interesting.

Transfer ban dec 11

Big transfer alert! French international striker Alexandre Lacazette is on his way to Germany for a big fee. He has surprisingly only featured in 2 fixtures for Arsenal this season, and with Aubameyang running away with the goals this season, Lacazette is taking his chances (hopefully) at his compatriot’s former club.

Transfer ban dec 12

In the league cup, Chelsea’s next challenge will be away at Wolves in the quarters. Another difficult prospect. And it is up next.

League Cup Quarter Final – Wolves (Away)

Transfer ban dec 13

And so, the first cup elimination of the season. Hopefully the last of course. A topsy-turvy first half ends all-square, but Wolves come out on top in a tight second half. I guess you can’t win them all.Transfer ban dec 14

The other London club playing the same evening also go out at the quarter final stage, after a more comprehensive defeat to Sheffield United, who have started December very well.

Transfer ban dec 15

Over in Japan, Champions League winners Liverpool take on Boca Juniors, following their own Copa Libertadores glory. And it’s the Premier League side that come out as World Champions. Nice.

GettyImages-1189865020

And now for more transfer news…..

Transfer ban dec 16

Blimey. As far as transfer fees going in CM 01/02, this is as big as they come. Not content with turning Tammy Abraham’s head, Barcelona bring back the Brazilian moody midfield marauder to La Liga.

And now, title-chasing Manchester City await….

Premier League Fixture #16 – Manchester City (Away)

Transfer ban dec 17

Nothing. Not even a sniff. So far this season it has been blank after blank against the top 3. Not even a goal. Let’s move on to other results.

Transfer ban dec 18

That win for City cements 2nd place behind Leicester, who obliterate lowly Newcastle United, who surely look doomed. With both Manchester United and Liverpool drawing in their respective matches, the top 2 pull away a little bit more.

Transfer ban dec 19

With just 4 wins all season, this comes as no surprise. What is a surprise is the timing, with Southampton on a 2-match winning streak when the trigger was pulled. Will Southampton come to regret this decision?

Premier League Fixture #17 – Burnley (Away)

Transfer ban dec 20

A disastrous first half saw Chelsea well behind at 2-0. Thankfully swapping out the awful Pedro for Pulisic at half time sprang the midfield into life, as Chelsea clawed the game back for a draw. Jorginho, after securing the draw, is out for a few days with a twisted knee. With 3 matches left in this month alone, could it be a costly few days?

Premier League Fixture #18 – Everton (Away)

Transfer ban dec 21 The answer is… sort of. Chelsea are not short of quality in midfield for sure, but Jorginho has certainly been key to any success. Unfortunately, it is Kante who has a stinker, and is removed before being removed by a second yellow card. Once again shot to goal conversion rate is the big question mark here – the team simply isn’t delivering on the chances they are creating week in, week out.

Transfer ban dec 22

Well now, this is an interesting appointment. Gerrard has had enough of the dizzy heights of the SPL and jumped at the first available Premier League job that came up. I guess we’ll now see what he is truly made of.

Premier League Fixture #19 – Arsenal (Home)

Transfer ban dec 23

4 goals? That’s fantastic! Problem is, after going 3-0 with a little over 30 minutes to play it obviously went to Chelsea’s head. The missed penalty obviously wasn’t a heeded warning, as Arsenal go on to score with almost every attack. You know, to see it unfold on your screen, 6 goals scored in what felt like less than 60 seconds. The lead truly was too good to be true, but thankfully there was enough resolve to scrape a last-second draw. Phew. We’re halfway through the Premier League season, and Chelsea literally sit halfway in 10th.

Transfer ban dec 24Other picks from the gameweek include a demolition at Carrow Road as Man City hit them for FIVE. They also move into top spot for the first time this season, as the battle between 2nd and 3rd ends in a stalemate.

Steven Gerrard’s first match as Southampton boss also leaves them hit for 5 at home, by Sheffield United. Ouch. Newcastle lose yet again at home, this time to Bournemouth. It doesn’t look good at all for Steve Bruce. Maybe it’s time to return to penning football-related mysteries. One can but dream.

Transfer ban dec 25

Now this is a strange one. There was no news article advising Nuno Espirito Santo had left the club in any capacity. So, what on earth happened? A quick search for Wolves’ most important manager in decades shows he has moved onto the Portugal national job. Huh.

Premier League Fixture #20 – Burnley (Home)

Transfer ban dec 26

This one deserves a big poof of the cheeks. Only the second win in 7 league matches in December. Not the best month by a long way.

Premier League Table, end of December

Transfer ban dec 27

That last win puts Chelsea back up to 8th. Looking at Spurs in 14th, they have 2 games in hand which could see them nudge out Chelsea. The departure of Nuno from Wolves actually shows they’ve been left perilously close to the relegation zone, with just 4 wins all season.

Speaking of which, Villa, Southampton and Newcastle are locked at the bottom. They are also in danger are falling further away from the rest of the league.

And now, time for a potentially season-changing piece of news……

That’s right, Chelsea are back in the transfer market! Tune in next time for a bumper January review and transfer special!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September October November

Championship manager and its fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – November

“Hey board, how’s that transfer ban appeal coming along?!”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

Plenty to reflect on from an eventful October; Champions League stage 2 qualification is in the bag, but domestically goals, and more importantly wins, are proving harder to come by. Time to roll the sleeves up.

October Manager of the Month: Pep Guardiola

Good old Pep. Even by his own high standards, City have took a while to get going. But 4 straight Premier League wins takes Pep’s side within 3 points of the summit. Simples.

October Player of the Month: Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy hosted his own party for current title leaders Leicester. 5 goals in 3 matches, including 2 man of the match performances from the in-form striker. I could do with one of those.

Transfer ban nov 1

Transfer news now, with Rudiger looking certain to leave after last month’s offer from Bayern Munich. Cry. Hey board, how’s that transfer ban appeal coming along?!

Transfer ban nov 2

And there it is. No messing about. This could be another tough month.

Transfer ban nov 3

Oh dear. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down. “Satisfied” is Champ Manager code for “sort it out”.

Premier League Fixture #10 – Man Utd (Away)

Transfer ban nov 4

Big blow, this one. Second best from beginning to end, and even with the lack of goals of late, Kante’s injury creates further frailty in the defence. Could this be the beginning of the end for Chelsea’s domestic hopes?

Transfer ban nov 5

As am I. United are certainly on form currently, but Chelsea are so far off in terms of quality. This match simply highlights that fact.

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 6 – Zenit (Away)

Transfer ban nov 7

A meaningless fixture for both sides, but for Chelsea a chance to try and improve on recent performances. Despite giving just that, once again it is taking chances that becomes the issue. Tomori, filling in for the departed Rudiger, is also very unconvincing in defence.

Transfer ban nov 8

And so, the final phase 1 group table. Atletico got the vital win they needed against Zagreb in their final fixture to make it through in second place.

CL draw

And so, with all qualifying teams decided, the draw for the next round takes place. Dortmund, shithouses Madrid and Shaktar, huh? There is never an easy Champions League fixture, so naturally they’re only going to get tougher.

Premier League Fixture #11 – Aston Villa (Home)

Transfer ban nov 11

At last. A first win in 5 for Chelsea. A close call, but a win nonetheless against strugglers Aston Villa. A much-improved performance from Tomori – with a goal to boot – being one of a few positive signs for Chelsea.

Transfer news at the top now, and another big wave made from title-chasing Manchester United.

Transfer ban nov 15

Stalwart Dembele, previously of Celtic fame under Brendan Rodgers, already had 2 goals in 5 for Lyon before making the jump to the Premier League. On paper, United certainly have the firepower to maintain their form. Ho hum.

Premier League Fixture #12 – Southampton (Away)

Transfer ban nov 16

What’s this? 2 wins in a row for Chelsea?! It’s been a long time coming. It’s worth pointing out here the switch from Olivier Giroud to Michy Batshuayi – who was previously in the reserves – has so far proved dividends. Have Chelsea finally found their replacement for Tammy?

Transfer ban nov 17

Elsewhere in the gameweek, Leicester lose again, this time narrowly at Spurs. With both Manchester Clubs winning, the top of the table is becoming a 3-horse race, with Liverpool not far behind either. Chelsea up to 7th. And now, the return of the Champions League….

Champions League 2nd Group Stage Game 1 – Shaktar Donetsk (Away)

Transfer ban nov 18

No disrespect to them, but on paper Shaktar Donetsk looks to be the weakest team in the group. To that end, this is the side Chelsea need to score maximum points against. However, given the second half onslaught from them, and Kepa thankfully being on fine form, this is a good point for Chelsea in the end. Just the matter of Real Madrid next. Eek.

Transfer ban nov 19

One of the few players this season to ask for a contract extension, Pedro, receives just that. He replies in kind. Thank you, sir.

Transfer ban nov 20

With the League Cup rearing its head again, a quick update on the current results of the round. Premier League side Burnley fall to the blades of Sheffield United at home, while the Seagulls of Brighton swan in and out of Wales with an away win at Swansea. West Ham far from hammer their way through to the fifth round against Wigan, but a win is a win.

Premier League Fixture #13 – Crystal Palace (Home)

Transfer ban nov 22

A single shot on target for Crystal Palace nets them a draw that ends Chelsea’s tiny win streak. Moreover, after Palace scorer Dann is later sent off, Chelsea fail to capitalise despite strong pressure. Once again Batshuayi gets on the scoresheet, making it 7 for the season so far, overtaking Abraham’s tally from earlier in the season.

Transfer ban nov 23

Come on Kante. In fairness, Chelsea haven’t done too badly without him.

League Cup 4th Round – Leicester (Home)

Transfer ban nov 24

Another tie, another table topper. But a blitzing first half from Chelsea, along with a goal from the returning Kante, see them through easily. The possibility of a domestic cup triumph can only boost them further.

Transfer ban nov 25

The first potential sacking of the season is upon us. Southampton are not bottom of the league, but very close to being. And not a 0-9 in sight here.

Transfer ban nov 26

More good news, with consistent performer Emerson signing on for another 6 years. Cheers, man.

Transfer ban nov 28

Uh-oh. Barcelona are back again. This time for Willian. Not much I can do about it either. A sour end to the month.

Premier League Table, end of November

Transfer ban dec 1

November was a mixed yet mostly positive month for Chelsea. 20 points away from the top of the table, with the heavy defeat to Manchester United all but proving they are struggling to compete with the elite. But 2 wins and a draw mean a climb up the table, with 2 games in hand that could mean a further climb to 5th place. Progression in both the Champions League and League Cup followed also. All in all, a better month.

Manchester United are still unbeaten, with a game in hand that could claim top spot anytime now. As they average over 2 goals a game, they stand in good stead to do just that. Leicester still looking strong despite a minor hiccup, and now share the league’s best defence along with Liverpool, who have also found form.

At the bottom, Newcastle are 4 points from safety, and only 10 points separate them from all the way up to 11th place. Southampton hold the record of having the most defeats, hence the public backing of manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Nothing is defined as the league heads into one of its busiest periods; anything can happen. See you next time.

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September October

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – October

“In the list of ‘things that could only happen in a Championship Manager game’, that is certainly one of them”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

A very indifferent September domestically for Chelsea, with 2 wins, a draw, but 2 defeats. Thankfully that form was countered by a stronger stance in European competition, remaining on course to qualify from a far from easy group. To then go into another group. The blurst of times indeed.

September Manager of the Month: Brendan Rodgers

Brendy

Ah Brendy Rodgers. From being just 2 points away from the Premier League title to the sack just over a season later with Liverpool, Rodgers has been on the up and up ever since. An unprecedented (even for Scotland) double treble with Celtic followed and is now flying high with 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City. The same applies to the land of Championship Manager, the only exception being that here they sit very pretty at the top of the table. 6 wins out of 6 made sure of that.

September Player of the Month: Ryan Fraser

AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City - Premier League

The 2018-19 Fantasy Premier League hero has had quite the month. When August was said and done, Bournemouth were winless and bottom of the pack. As September ended, they finished 10th, earning 10 points from a possible 15. One key player to that rise in form is Ryan Fraser. 3 goals across those 5 matches, along with two 10/10 performances means the monthly accolade is deservedly his.

Transfer Ban Oct 1

I’ll tell you what, “the board”, if you honestly believe Hazard would come back to the club he just left (yeah, right), then get working on that transfer ban appeal, eh? Nevertheless, a decent start to the season. I wouldn’t say I was pleased just yet.

Premier League Fixture #7 – Liverpool (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct 2

Alisson Becker is the main man in this scoreless effort. A hard-fought draw for both teams, but nothing exciting. The signing of Josef Martinez was highlighted previously as a significant threat for Klopp’s side, but who’s this coming off the bench in the second half? Sheffield Wednesday has-been Fernando f**king Forestieri?! In the list of ‘things that could only happen in a Championship Manager game’, that is certainly one of them.

Transfer Ban Oct 3

And here’s another. Manchester United storming the league, within just 3 points of top spot. Ludicrous. Surreal. Fantastic that I can say safely say that these days.

Transfer Ban Oct 5

But in fairness to this football simulation, Man Utd are genuinely hitting all the right notes. Signing Fulham’s powerful and passionate Serbian striker will only add fuel to that title-chasing fire.

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 4 – Dinamo Zagreb (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct CL

Yet another blank from Chelsea. Not for the want of trying however, this Zagreb’s keeper is the one who plays a blinder. Still in contention for the next stage for now at least.

Premier League Fixture #8 – Newcastle (Away)

Transfer ban october newcastle

Another even match, with a crazy 20 minutes where Newcastle took the lead twice. Problem with that is, Newcastle are BOTTOM of the league, with Chelsea scraping a draw at the end. I appear to have a reactive team as opposed to a pro-active one.

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 5 – Athletico Madrid (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct 7

A commanding performance. It comes at a time when Chelsea have been managing anything but, so it is certainly most welcome. Especially at this key stage of the European competition. Olivier Giroud proving his worth as the new top No.9 in the side also. Could this be the turning point of the season?

Transfer Ban Oct 8

Well, certainly a tick in the positive column, that’s for sure. 3 wins out of 6 usually provides a good chance of qualification, and wins against Zenit, Zagreb and group favourites Athletico Madrid have secured that. Unfortunately it isn’t all good news…..

Transfer Ban Oct 9

It could be a long month.

Premier League Fixture #9 – Watford (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct 11

The ever-reliable James Milner moved to Watford from Liverpool just before this match, for a tidy £800k. As ever, he proves his worth with a strong performance. Chelsea’s strong first half lead (and performance) is cancelled out in the second half, with Watford unlucky not to walk away with all three points. Home performances, even more so the results, are becoming a real issue for Chelsea.

Transfer Ban Oct 12

Elsewhere, a cracker of a fixture at The Emirates Stadium. A 2-0 lead to Liverpool is swiftly cancelled out by half-time, but by the final whistle Liverpool scrape an equaliser after Arsenal take a second half lead. You gotta love football, right?

Transfer Ban Oct 13

No. I hate football. It’s all coming apart.

Littlewoods/Rumbelows/Coca-Cola/Worthington’s/Carling/Capitol One/Carabao/Mickey Mouse Cup 3rd Round  – Nottingham Forest (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct 15

So it seems that anywhere other than the Premier League, Chelsea can actually score more than one goal. Not only that, but win a game, too! A tough cup tie against the Championship leaders, with a last-gasp winner keeping a Chelsea domestic trophy hope alive.

Transfer Ban Oct 16

Elsewhere in the round, Man City, Villa and Newcastle are out, falling to the sword of all-Prem ties. No other surprises on offer in a straightforward League Cup third round.

Premier League Table, end of October:-

Transfer Ban Oct 14

3 draws in all 3 fixtures doesn’t make for much progress for Chelsea. 12 goals in 9 is however much more worrying. In truth freezing out Abraham due to his upcoming move could well be a mistake. But I believe in the courage of my convictions, given the other attacking talent on offer also. Still, only 8 goals conceded means Chelsea have the 4th best defence so far.

Leicester finally lost a game, courtesy of fellow title chasers Manchester City. On the other side of Manchester, United remain the only unbeaten side, and could go top due to being a game in hand. Newcastle remain bottom, with just 1 win so far. Sheffield United and Southampton join Steve Bruce’s side, although there are 4 teams on 8 points so its tight at the bottom.

Until next time, TTFN!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – September

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

Last month the season exploded into life. Everton, Leicester and Chelsea hold 100% records in the Premier League, albeit through each side playing 1 more game than the next. Champions League Qualification is complete. And so far, just 1 player is leaving the club, albeit the current top scorer, Tammy Abraham. We go again.

Champions League Clarification

Speaking of the Champions League, the group draw is very tasty. The 1st phase group draw for Chelsea consists of Zenit, Dinamo Zagreb and finally Diego Simeone’s big boys Athletico Madrid. But what’s that I hear you say? 1st group phase? What’s that?

Allow me to clarify. Back in 2001/2 the Champions League was a different beast. Instead of the winners and runners up from each group going into the knockout phase we know today, they instead moved onto another phase of groups. These 4 groups once again duke it out in the same home/away format, with those 8 heading onto the Quarter Finals, and so on.

This format last for 4 seasons, ending with the 2002/3 season. It was tiresome, particularly the overkill of group stage football. The quality of matches have definitely improved over the years with the introduction of the World Cup-style knockout round. Anyway, on with the season. Awards time!

August Manager of the Month: Marco Silva

No surprises here. 3 wins, top of the league, 9 goals scored. It’s worth pointing out of course that in all those wins, Everton took the lead. 25 games and only 5 points from losing positions is the reality of this overblown manager. 3 Clubs in just 2 years tells a much clearer story imo.

Silva.gif

August Player of the Month: Lucas Digne

Everton’s best player in reality is unsurprisingly replicated much the same in CM 01/02. Two assists in a 4-1 drubbing of Arsenal, as well as consistant performances throughout the month make for an easy monthly award. And now, for September.

TeemingSecondaryAltiplanochinchillamouse-size_restricted.gif

Premier League Fixture #2 – Brighton (Away)

Transfer ban Sept 1A story of both sides at their best and worst in this one, but an entertaining high-scoring draw nonetheless. The introduction of US international Christian Pulisic for the ineffective Pedro reinvigorated Chelsea after going in behind at half time. Up stepped Tammy Abraham’s striking replacement, Callum Hudson-Odoi. His goal 5 minutes after the restart broke through a resolute Brighton defence and levelled matters. In the end however Kovacic had to rescue a point with another equaliser with just 12 minutes to go. Brighton were simply superb thoughout, particuarly on their left side of defence, with Chelsea simply finding no way through. Still, it means the resulting 2-2 draw is definitely a point gained for Chelsea.

Untitled

Elsewhere in the gameweek, Leicester’s 100% record continues with an easy 3-goal romp over Woy’s Crystal Palace. Game of the day has to go to the 8-goal thriller at the Vitality Stadium, where Sheffield United pegged Bournemouth back three times, before being finished off in the final fifteen minutes.

Transfer ban Sept 2

Just three days later, seven Saturday kick-offs take centre stage. Leicester’s run continues with an impressive away win at Arsenal (actually, is that impressive anymore?), and Everton maintain their run too. Ole’s Manchester United are also finding form with 2 wins in a week. And now for Sunday….

Premier League Fixture #3 – West Ham (Home)

Transfer ban Sept 3

A convincing win, despite the low scoreline. Pedro once again is unconvincing in attack. Ross Barkley’s winning goal is his second in 2 Premier League games, both coming in the the 68th minute. Lets have a few more, Ross. And now, the Champions League group stage beckons….

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 1 – Athletico Madrid (Away)

CL1

Transfer ban Sept 4Cracker of a game this one. Both sides were excellent, with Athletico making the chances count more than Chelsea. The ineffectual Hudson-Odoi is replaced at half time by Olivier Giroud for his first appearance of the season. His heading ability brought Willian into the game, who equalised with a magnificent strike after a great run. Unfortunately ex-Man City starlet Gundogan had plans of his own, poaching the winner as the ball ran free in the box. It could have gone either way this, and despite the excellent performance, Chelsea come away with nothing. Plenty of games to go yet. Oh look, the Premier League is back.

Premier League Fixture #4 – Wolves (Away)

Transfer ban Sept 5Once again, a game that could have gone either way in terms of chances, but it’s goals that matter most. Wolves were superb at the back, halting all means of Chelsea attack. As simple as that. A first defeat of the Premier League season then, but will 2 defeats in a week be something to think about already? Well, with a third game in just 6 days coming up, it could get worse….

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 2 – Zenit (Home)

Transfer ban Sept 6

Blimey. Hopefully it was something I said. An absolute powerhouse performance, with the match ball going home with Olivier Giroud thanks to a man of the match, 4-goal haul. Magnificent. Maybe Tammy’s true replacement has arrived. Off the mark in the Champions League at the second attempt.

Transfer ban Sept 7

Well very f*cking hell.

Premier League Fixture #5 – Leicester (Home)

Transfer ban Sept 8

Frank

PUT. THE. BALL. IN. THE. NET.

Well, its time for some… better news.

Transfer ban Sept 9

Thank you Olivier for becoming the first player to remain after accepting an offer elsewhere. Let this be a hopeful turning point even at this early stage.

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 3 – Dinamo Zagreb (Away)

Forgot 2Its finally good to see one of these going Chelsea’s way. After the early goal and then subsequent injury to Emerson, Chelsea hold on in yet another end-to-end fixture. Really struggling to get control in most games. Something to work on.

Transfer ban Sept 11

Swiss saluter Xherdan Shaqiri is already on the move from Liverpool after just one full season. Well, hardly a full season of appearances anyway. The two-time Champions League winner heads to France.

Elsewhere, the increasingly-irrelevant League Cup rears its head once again. A home tie against a Nottingham Forest side that are currently top of the Championship. Tasty. And now, back to the Prem.

Transfer ban Sept 12

Premier League Fixture #6 – Spurs (Away)

Transfer ban Sept 13

Fixture number 5 of Chelsea’s domestic season, and for once, it couldn’t have been much easier. Spurs, other than keeper Gazzaniga, mostly rolled over in a nice away win. Ending the month on a high.

Transfer ban Sept 14

Speaking of highs, here’s a rare one for Arsenal. 3-1 down in the second half and coming away with three points. Not bad at all.

Premier League Table, end of September:-

Transfer ban Sept 15

As Brendan Rodgers would say:-

“I use a quote with the players,’Per aspera ad astra’, which is Latin for ‘through adversity to the stars’.”

Actually, that wasn’t the quote I meant, but its a good one nonetheless. Nobody who speaks Latin can be stupid.

“We showed great character.” 

That’s the one, Brendan. Cheers. Leicester lead the way with 8 wins out of 8, but Man Utd are on a 100% run of their own, with 7 wins so far. The 50% win rate for Chelsea could be much better. 9 goals in 6 games isn’t very encouraging either. What is encouraging however is Bournemouth, who if you remember were bottom at the end of August. 3 wins and a draw propels Eddie Howe’s side into 10th! Newcastle now occupy the bottom of the table, having lost all 6 of their matches so far.

And on that bombshell (sponsored by Sports Direct), tune in again for the October review, in 2 weeks time!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – Pre-season/August

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

The amazing community over at the CM 01/02 website have done it again. Thousands of football and management sim fans can rejoice once again, with the arrival of the 2019/2020 data for freeware classic Championship Manager 01/02.

Back in February 2019 Chelsea Football Club were hit by a lengthy transfer ban. The 6-time Premier League champions (yes, football did exist before 1992) last won the title in the 2016-17 under Antonio Conte, then the first side to do by winning 30 games in a 38-game season.

Last season, despite a Europa League triumph and a strong 3rd place finish in the Premier League, coach Maurizzo Sarri found the lure of Juventus too strong after just one season in charge. The glory-hunting prick.

There may be little doubt that the inevitable sale of one Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for a cool £86 million, plus no chance to replace him due to the transfer ban may have also played a part, but still. The glory hunting prick.

As for the 2001/2 season of this video game in its original form, Chelsea’s season will no doubt be seen as building for the future, in hindsight anyway. Again, a new coach was installed in Claudio Ranieri, who in turn oversaw the arrival of one Frank Lampard, as a player of course, for just £11m. How important he would of course become as both a player and now, as their manager in this 2019/20 season.

But that is not the case in this challenge. Mr Transfer Ban is the manager installed, with the task of managing the squad as is. No additions allowed, with the added issue that the club will accept any bids for any players. It’s going to be interesting for sure……

 

Transfer ban expectations1

So the board expect a “respectable” league position. One would imagine the same as Frank himself is doing currently. Lets have a look at the squad.

Transfer ban 1st lineup7

It’s not a bad XI at all, is it? Chelsea are strong in all departments, with at least 2 reserves for every position, all of a similar quality. That ever important determination stat is in the high teens for almost every player too. So vital.

Tammy Abraham gets the nod ahead of both Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi, the latter of which had to be drafted out of the reserves. Kante and Jorginho are inter-changable, plus there is still Willian and Hudson-Odoi as attacking-midfield options from the bench.

Transfer ban transfers2

Naturally, moves are happening before the season starts. But not in the land of Chelsea. Cheaters never prosper.

Transfer ban Scholes3

Now this is hilarious. Because it went so well at Oldham. The knobhead.

 

Transfer ban bury4

Now this is a bittersweet touch. Bury FC of course went under this season for real, so this annoucement only brings back all the terrible shenanigans the clubs ownership enacted, ultimately dissolving such a staple football league club. Such an uvavoidable tragedy.

Transfer ban CLqual5

So onto the first order of business: Champions League qualification. Hopefully a foregone conclusion that Chelsea qualify. Anything else against the Greek side would be preposterousalopalous.

Transfer ban irony6

Back to the transfer ban, (because you know, plot device), the board sent me this nugget. YOU SOLD HAZARD, NOT ME. And now I can’t even buy him back in a fantasy game. ITS THE RULES.

source

Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg – Olympiacos (Home)

Transfer ban CLQ leg1 8

The initial draft XI remained unscathed in training, so this served as a perfect test for them. They did not disappoint, with Tammy Abraham smashing through the Olympiacos defence for a first half hat-trick. Jorginho crowned the victory with a second half volley to give Chelsea a foot in the Champions League group stage draw door. On to the Premier League.

Transfer ban Com shield 9

But before that, a nice little interlude. In the Community Shield, Liverpool fight back to win late against the reigning Premier League champions. Raheem Sterling was also substituted early in the second half, presumably because he was lost in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s pocket once again. Don’t f*ck with Liverpool, Sterling, eh?

Premier League Fixture #1 – Bournemouth (Home)

Transfer ban PL1 10

Same line-up, almost a mirror of the Olympiacos result. The game changer was the introduction of Ross Barkley, words I never thought i would muster. Nevertheless, after adding the second, Barkley’s introduction galvanised the attacking threat. Abraham and Jorginho also added to their open tallies for the season. So far so good.

Transfer Ban GW1 results

Elsewhere on the first matchday of gameweek 1, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United won the bitter North West derby against European Champions Liverpool. Could they fair better in the virtual world than the current reality? Unai Emery’s Arsenal faced arguably the toughest opening day fixture, with a narrow defeat to Pep’s Premier League champions. Very early days of course.

Transfer ban 11

In transfer news elsewhere (obviously), an interesting (and expensive) move for Major League Soccer striker Josef Martinez. For real-life context, Martinez has just finished his 3rd season in MLS, scoring a total of 77 goals, as well as 4 trophies, including the coveted MLS Cup. Don’t be surprised if the prolific Venezuelan doesn’t make a move to one of Europe’s top 5 leagues very soon.

As for the price, the highest transfer record in the world in 2001 was the £46 million Real Madrid paid for one Zinedine Zidane. The British transfer record was £28 for Juan Sebastian Veron, with the closest being Steve Marlet’s move to Fulham for £13.5 million, so £9.25m is pretty high.

Transfer Ban 12Transfer ban 15Transfer ban 16

In the background, results have been coming thick and fast. Some sides played their 2nd matches before some had even opened their account. I forgot how crazy it was back then. From these results, the early pace setters appear to be West Ham, Leicester, and Everton?! Crazy.

Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg – Olympiacos (Away)

forgot

Well, that’s that job done. Liverpool reject Lazar Markovic’s 22nd minute dismissal made it all the more easier, but in truth Tammy had already put it way beyond the Greek side’s reach in the third minute. Onto the Champions League! And the Super Cup is just 2 days away!

Uefa Super Cup – Liverpool

Transfer ban 17

As tight as a match could be, Liverpool manage to knick it in extra time. Adrian put in a man of the match performance, pushing out all Chelsea’s 7 shots on target. Much like the conclusion of the real 2-2 Liverpool penalty shootout win in real life, Adrian was once again the hero. First chance of a trophy gone. Otherwise, things are going well….

 

Transfer ban 19

Bugger.

Well, you know what? No one said I couldn’t try and keep players by other means. Let’s get a new contract on the table, Tammy knows how valuable he is to the club and no way would his immediate success enable him to think he could do it anywhere else. Especially a bigger stage like the Camp Nou.

Transfer ban 20

F*ck it.

Transfer ban 22

So, its ta ta from Tammy. At least he is available for another 3 or so months, although I really should start re-building around a different striker to keep some consistency. A real big test in just the first month. C’est la vie.

Premier League Table as of end of August:-

Transfer ban 23

After the first month of the season, the table shows a mixed bag. Chelsea, with only 1 match played, are still 8th with the win against Bournemouth. In contrast, Bournemouth have played 3 and lost them all. Everton with 3 victories lead the pack going into September. And Spurs are 15th, better off than 5 clubs below them, and haven’t played a minute of football yet!

Stay tuned for September! THREE Champions League fixtures! FIVE Premier League fixtures! See you then!

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered Announced For PS4, XBOX ONE, SWITCH and PC – Mass Hysteria!

Mad Dog Games and developer Saber Interactive have announced Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via the Epic Games Store. It is due to launch in 2019.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered delivers a unique story from franchise creators Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Billed as the spiritual sequel to Ghostbusters 2,  Ghostbusters: The Video Game captures the comedic fun and fright the franchise is beloved for. This remastered release coincides with the 35th anniversary of Ghostbusters this year.

You play a new rookie on the Ghostbusters team, teaming up with characters from the films, which reunites the voices of Aykroyd, Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson as Stantz, Spengler, Venkman and Zeddemore. Alongside them are Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz), Brian Doyle-Murray (Psychiatrist in GB 2), William Atherton (Walter Peck), and Max von Sydow as the voice of Vigo the Carpathian.

With Manhattan being overrun once more by ghosts, demons, and other paranormal creatures unleashed by a mysterious force, the Ghostbusters must save the day. Only they can drive this evil back to whence it came.

The third-person viewpoint makes for hunting, zapping and trapping a variety of new and familiar ghouls and phantasms. Cool tools such as the Paragoggles and P.K.E Meter are also on hand to can and analyse spooks and demons. Then its time to strap on the Proton Pack to capture your foes in the Proton beam, ready for trapping. Enemies push and pull for freedom within the entrapment of the Proton Beam, and it is your job to force them into submission and into the Ghost Traps.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game was originally a multi-format release 10 years ago. The Xbox 360/PS3 version is the one remastered here, with life-like animated visuals of Peter Venkman and company, and a great script too. If sources are to be believed, Bill Murray was championed with ensuring that all the cast members got an equal share of screen time.

After just a few minutes in, it is apparent that Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a heartfelt piece of Ghostbusters canon straight from the creators. This very welcome remaster will serve as an excellent addition to the catalogues of the current console generation.

 

 

Mario Party – 20 years of Mushroom Kingdom Mayhem

One of the longest video games series of our time wasn’t always such friendly fun. I revisit the 90’s original party.

Ain’t No Party Like A Mario Party

kz3m1d0e7gg21-1024x768

Let me indulge you for a moment. Imagine a table top board game rendered on-screen as a video game. Then, imagine beloved video game characters, both good and evil, fully playable as if they were counters on several themed game boards. An every-person-for-themselves scenario, and only one can come out on top. Sounds good, right? Well twenty years ago, that very concept became a Nintendo franchise like no other. Twenty years ago, Mario Party was born.

Mario Party was released this week back in 1999 in Europe for the Nintendo 64. It was a dark time when most European releases were released months, years (sometimes never) separated from the US schedule. The Nintendo 64 was white hot following Ocarina of Time’s release just 3 months earlier. Nintendo enlisted Bomberman creators Hudson Soft to develop the series. Given Hudson Soft’s success with that particular party favourite, they seemed the perfect fit. Now a franchise spanning 11 games across 5 consoles, 5 handheld spin-offs, and with almost 45 million copies sold across all its instalments, Mario Party is one of lesser-renowned Nintendo franchise feat. But a successful franchise nonetheless.

The premise is simple; players pick one of the several Mario-related characters each, up to a maximum of four for each session. The choice of game boards range from a Donkey Kong jungle to a Yoshi-themed tropical island, with spaces and events littered throughout. Each player takes their turn by rolling the dice, then that’s where Mario Party takes the board game concept to the next level: the mini-games.

This 3-on-1 is fun for all but one

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Whether it’s pairs, three on one or everyone for themselves, the mini-games are the magic of the Mario Party franchise. Some test your reflexes, some your speed, but mostly your fingers as well as your patience as you desperately chase after those all-important coins. First you get the coins, then you get the stars, then you get the glory. Whoever has the most Stars at the end wins the game, with performance on the board and in mini-games also a factor in obtaining that sweet, sweet gold.

But the competition doesn’t end there. Anyone who has experienced any of the later instalments in the series will already be familiar with the above, but the original allowed for much stiffer competition. You may be competing for the most coins, ergo the most stars, but Mario Party gave everyone the opportunity to steal coins and stars from other players. This may well have been considered too harsh down the line for the developers of a family-oriented board game, but definitely served as its most competitive element. It’s a solid reminder of why none of the other entries have ever lived up to the original.

Live or die, make your choice

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Let your imagination wander once again. It’s 1999. How did such a multiplayer concept, of which it was designed for, but not limited to, work in an era where online gaming was yet to exist? That’s right, no hiding behind headsets, and no shouting obscenities at strangers. Instead, as a group of friends sat in a room together, bound by the limitations of controller cables, and each other’s company, shouting obscenities in each other’s faces. As a result, the language was actually cleaner, but the rivalries were anything but. Ah, simpler times.

The Nintendo 64 was also blessed with controllers not costing £60 a time. Which is just as well considering Mario Party became that very controller’s nemesis. Many of Mario Party’s mini games required repeated rapid rotation of the controller’s central analog stick. Where there are competitors there is always competition; I remember having an imprint of the N64 joystick in my hand for days on end. It was a small price to pay to Pedal Power to that light. It became a higher price for Nintendo, who offered gloves to players following complaints back in 2002. To this day the original Mario Party has never been released on any form of Virtual Console, with ‘controller controversy’ likely having a huge say in that.

Lots of boo-tiful mini-games to test your dexterity

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It’s clear that Mario Party was damaging for both the N64 controller and its players. With straining friendships and livelihoods in the pursuit of amassing the most stars, something had to give. My experience took on an interesting new dynamic: the red roulette controller. My poor red controller had taken the biggest brunt of Mario Party mutilation. The on-screen cursor had a mind of its own. Not to mention fighting against my character walking one way as if dragging a kid away from a playground. Even on a precious star space the cursor would move between yes and no so fast it was pure luck whether you got that all important star. It unleashed a furore outside of the typical Mario Party scope. It was frustrating but also a hilariously brilliant inadvertent twist that only enriched the party atmosphere.

Mario Party as a series has become somewhat derided over time, given the overall familiarity across all of its multiple releases. But the truth is it’s a series that has all the hallmarks of a true Nintendo series. For each console, the series offered something new in line with its technology; the motion controls of the Wii, the microphone capability of the Gamecube, and one of the few games to make true use of the Wii U’s portable gamepad.

Mario Party’s impact on the videogame scene of the time also cannot be underestimated. The Mario Party genre, if you will, paved the way for similar releases elsewhere. Crash Bash came to PS1 just a year later, and another main rival to Mario Party’s crown should have been Sonic Shuffle. However, the Sega/Hudson Soft collaboration simply turned out just to be a baffling board game with fun-hindering games dotted around. But none of these, even its sequels, will ever have the same impact as the original. That seems an obvious eventuality some 20 years on. But, Mario Party had all the right elements of competition to be just as it was intended to be: a party.

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