Five things I loved about Football Manager 2016

Football_Manager_2016_key_art_1441385081The lovely folks at SEGA were nice enough to send me a copy of their latest release, Football Manager 2016. Eager to start playing the game, and in return for their wonderful Christmas spirit, I reviewed this masterpiece and found five things I loved in particular!

The gameplay 

Like every year, FM crank up the in-game visuals. First we had nothing, then we had moving spots, now we have actual gameplay with the kits and all! It may not be much, but the fact that this is tweaked every campaign shows improvement and allows for a break from the overly statistical view seen normally. Who knows, next year we might get stadiums too!

Backroom staff support

In past year’s, it felt like once there were signs of problems at the club, you were destined for the sack. Now, at the first sign of trouble, the backroom staff are far more supportive. Training, scouting and advice are three features in particular that allow you to perform better and Jesus Perez at Spurs is perhaps the best of the bunch.

Press conferences and meetings 

You’re able to give across information far more clearly this year. Whether being calm, passionate or assertive, you can convey your thoughts to the media, players or staff with far more ease. It can sometimes prove a tricky nut to crack, as I found with players that wanted to leave. With one click you could insult them, and alternatively they may be apologising for a lack of professionalism.

Man-management 

The game gives you many more options that it normally allows in terms of dealing with players on a personal level. An example that popped up was Erik Lamela seeking departure from White Hart Lane. An option available was to get a senior player to speak with them, an option that was very successful. It feels like you’re allowed to develop a philosophy much more easily than simply playing the old 4-4-2 on all fronts.

football-manager-2016-team-instruction-screen

In-game tactics 

By far the best part of the game. The explicit instructions that you can give the players are staggering. Whether playing a high-line, encouraging them after a good spell or to specify the type of corner you want delivered. You are able to tailor your experience far more closely than last season, and it allows for an all-round better game.

Overall the game was fantastic. As opposed to its competitors, there are real signs of improvement every season, and who knows? This year might be Spurs’ year after all under the guidance of TalkingTHFC.

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EXCLUSIVE: Benjamin Stambouli struggling after Spurs exit, says French Journalist

Paris St Germain's Benjamin Stambouli gestures after their Ligue 1 soccer match against Montpellier at the Stade de la Mosson stadium in MontpellierFour months on, life has been pretty tough for Benjamin Stambouli.

After leaving North London for the bright lights of a big money move to PSG, the former Spurs midfielder has quickly learned that his departure from the Premier League was wasted.

Stambouli quickly made himself a fan favourite at Tottenham. His potential was obvious, although chances were few and far between.

A departure was not the most shocking of stories, but disappointment at his short stay was there for all to absorb.

I spoke to London-based French journalist and PSG fan Adrien Danjou about Stambouli’s time so far in France, which has been pretty miserable by all accounts.

“Since his arrival in Paris this Summer, we can’t say that the deal is a success, for him and for the club,” said Danjou.

He continued: “First, for his debut at Parc Princes the player was booed by some PSG ‘fans’.

“Because he comes from Marseilles and he was a fan when he was younger. (It was a) stupid reaction but difficult scene to start in a new club.” Paris St Germain v Chelsea - International Champions Cup Pre Season Friendly Tournament

French press widely reported in October that Stambouli was already regretting his exit from White Hart Lane. Many touted this unhappiness as being down to the lack of a permanent role within the side, which Danjou agrees with.

“Stambouli plays a little,” said the PSG supporter.

Danjou continued: “The competition is hard: Matuidi, Verratti, Motta, even Rabiot feel more comfortable (in his position). Moreover Pastore is injured currently.

“When Stambouli plays, it is not enough. No solidity, he loses the ball and (to put it) roughly, he is fragile.”

It is clear that Stambouli would not be getting into Mauricio Pochettino’s side at the moment. After all, Eric Dier has taken the Premier League by storm, with Dembele and Mason enjoying good campaigns also.

But Danjou does not think Stambouli’s time at PSG is already over, and believes there is the possibility for him to flourish at the club.

Tottenham Hotspur's Benjamin Stambouli greets fans at the end of the Europa League round of 32 second leg soccer match against Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Max Rossi (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) Picture Supplied by Action Images“Up to now, Stambouli played only as first-team player against smaller teams (such as) Bastia, Rennes,” he said.

He concluded: “However, give the time to Benjamin. He is a smart player with a bit of experience. I think and I hope he will have the opportunity to make the difference.” 

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Former Tottenham Hotspur hero: ‘Gareth Bale isn’t on Ronaldo and Messi level’

Football - Tottenham Hotspur Training - Spurs Lodge - 24/8/11 Tottenham Hotspur's Rafael van der Vaart during training Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Jed Leicester LivepicFormer Tottenham star Rafael van der Vaart has admitted he was surprised that former team-mate Gareth Bale joined European giants Real Madrid.

Speaking to FourFourTwo about the current Premier League season, van der Vaart told reporters that Bale is not on the same level of those he is often compared to.

“I never thought Bale would end up playing at Madrid,” Van der Vaart remarked.

Joining the North London club in 2010, the former Dutch international played alongside Bale under Harry Redknapp, enjoying great success in the Champions League, reaching the quarter-final stage.

The Ajax graduate has spoken before about his admiration of the Welsh star, although admits he has a long way to go before he reaches the level of the game’s two greats.

Van der Vaart continued: “Bale isn’t like [Cristiano] Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi; that’s another level.”

Bale’s Wales face Van Der Vaart’s homeland Holland this Friday in an international friendly. 

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Twitter Reacts: Spurs ‘live’ training stream fails miserably

CJiIHvGWcAA0LeqTottenham Hotspur attempted to do the impossible this week and live stream the first fifteen minutes of training ahead of their Europa League tie with Anderlecht.

The first 15 minutes is always open to the press, and the players were scheduled to begin training at 10:45am, an approximate starting time for the content.

It was not until 11:30am that the stream finally became visible to most fans, who had grown angry after almost an hour since the service was meant to be made available. The video was only up for eight minutes which was even more unbelievable.

It was worth noting, once the stream was finally available, that Heung-Min Son was back in action. The South Korean was however training away from those normally in the starting XI.

We looked at five of the best tweets reacting to this major flop from Spurs TV:

Sorry mate?

Ahead of the Derby…

Exaggeration much…

Sacked in the morning…

Bright and breezy..

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Sun Dream Team Weekly

weekly_teaser-742x417The Premier League is back after a week of international football, which means Dream Team is back! Here are my picks for this weekend.

GK – Joe Hart (Manchester City)

City were back to their best against Newcastle. With Bournemouth their next game, I can’t see Eddie Howe’s side beating them at the Eithad, or even scoring. #CleanSheet

DF: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

An absentee in recent weeks due to injury, Kompany is back in my side this week. He is solid and much like Hart, I can see this being a clean sheet for the City defence. #RockSolid

DF: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur)

What a man. Toby has been tremendous this season and is exactly what we needed. A proper defender with a proper partner alongside him. #BelgianMonster

DF: Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

This guy is one of the surprise packages of the season. He has been racking up the points left, right and centre. A certainty for your team this week. #ChrisScoresPoints

DF: Ryan Bertrand (Southamtpon)

Southampton haven’t been as impressive this season, but continue to put on a strong defensive display. That is partly down to this guy. #GiveRyanAGo

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Barclays Premier LeagueMF: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

I was sceptical about the money that City forked up for him. But he’s impressed me massively. He will score this weekend. There, I said it. #MoneyTalks

MF: Theo Walcott (Arsenal)

A big Gooner obviously, but he is making the striking role his own this year. They have a very easy trip to Watford tomorrow and he is certain to get some goals. #TheoIsAStriker

MF: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

I promise I’m not a Gooner! His start to life at Arsenal was not great, but slowly he seems to be turning it around. It’s a shame, but Arsenal are getting better. #EyesAreOffside

MF: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)

Woaaaah the Dele Alli. This guy is my new favourite Spurs player. He is the King of nutmegs and will be buzzing off the back of his international call-up. With loads of midfield injuries this week, he will fill the void. #NutmegKing

ST: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Linked with Madrid this week, as a Spurs fan I can’t wait till he moves to Spain. Unfortunately, he’s smashing it for Arsenal and will continue this week. #ChileanStar

ST: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

Liverpool will score goals against us this week. They just will. Being their only striker, he will score this Saturday. #SturridgeScores

Think you can do better? Pick your team here, join my mini league here using the pin 3007498, and compete to win £3,000. 

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30 Worst Tottenham Hotspur defenders in Premier League era

30defenders

The sad realisation that many Spurs fans have come to over the past few decades, we are hardly solid defensively. Despite our new age of defenders, including the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, there have been some shockers.

Here we take a look at the 30 worst ‘defenders’ to ever wear the famous Lilywhite shirt. Click on number 2 to begin!

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‘Spurs midfielder better than Hazard’ says Belgian legend

Football - Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League - King Power Stadium - 22/8/15 Tottenham's Mousa Dembele gestures Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details.Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele is technically greater than Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard and Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, says former Belgian international Wesley Sonck. 

Sonck, the former Ajax striker, believes the Spurs midfielder has the most talent of the entire Belgian squad.

“Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Vanden Borre… But I insist: the greatest talent is Mousa Dembele,” Sonck told HLN.

“Some may say they want Eden or De Bruyne, but Mousa has the most qualities – it’s not normal how strong he is on the ball.”

Dembele has struggled to get off the mark for Spurs this season, with injury halting any progress. Dembele returned to the match-day squad in the 2-2 draw with Swansea but did not feature.

But Sonck says he has done wondrous things in Belgian training, embarrassing fellow Premier League stars.

“I’ve seen him during training turn Kompany into a fool,” said Sonck.

Belgium face Andorra in the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers tomorrow night.

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Christian Eriksen: ‘My Spurs team-mate will be an international star’

Portugal's Cedric Soares (R) fights for the ball with Denmark's Christian Eriksen during their Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match at Municipal Stadium in Braga, Portugal, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal  Picture Supplied by Action ImagesTottenham Hotspur Christian Eriksen believes fellow midfielder Dele Alli will be a hit internationally for England. 

Alli, who was called into the England squad this week for games against Estonia and Lithuania, has received the support of Danish international and team-mate Eriksen.

“Definitely. He has shown what he is capable of in the last few games,” said Eriksen about Alli’s England chances.

“He is one of the young lads coming through. We are all really happy for him.”

Eriksen, who played 82 minutes in Denmark’s defeat to Portugal last night, finally got his season underway at the weekend scoring both goals in the 2-2 draw with Swansea.

Tottenham team-mate Eric Dier, who too has enjoyed a fantastic season, also believes Alli has the quality to flourish internationally.

“He is a very exciting young footballer. Hopefully he can enjoy it with England,” said Dier.

Spurs next play against Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool on October 17th.

Image via Action Images

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Heung-Min Son: ‘I rejected new Liverppol boss Jürgen Klopp’

2CDB78F600000578-3254901-image-a-91_1443621080805Tottenham Hotspur forward Heung-Min Son is a doubt to face Liverpool next Saturday, but is due to make his return to training in the coming days.

Interestingly, the fixture he will miss is against the Anfield club, who will reportedly welcome new manager Jürgen Klopp to the club today.

Quotes have surfaced from 2013 that have revealed that Son rejected a move to Borussia Dortmund, whilst Klopp was still at the helm.

“I wanted to stay in the Bundesliga and Leverkusen and Dortmund wanted me,” Son said.

“Both teams play in the Champions League but I thought Dortmund would use rotation more than Leverkusen.”

Son, who has enjoyed a special start to life at Spurs, confirmed back in 2013 that he chose to move to Leverkusen over Dortmund.

Son remarked: “That’s why I chose Leverkusen over Dortmund. It’s really important to play regularly in my age.”

Mauricio Pochettino’s side welcome Liverpool to White Hart Lane on October 17th.

 

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Arsenal star praises “strong” Tottenham Hotspur youngster

Football - England Training - St. George’s Park - 7/10/15 England's Dele Alli during training Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has praised Spurs midfielder Dele Alli after the youngster broke into Roy Hodgson’s England squad this week. 

Alli, who was signed by Tottenham in January, has impressed massively so far at the club and has even drawn comparisons to footballing legend Zinedine Zidane.

Alli has already scored for his new club, scoring the first goal in a 1-1 draw away at Leicester, and has been praised for his strength and energy.

Walcott believes this is only the beginning for the Spurs star, who is on international duty with the England senior-team.

“He is very strong and good on the ball and I feel he has a big future for England and Tottenham,” says Walcott.

“I am there for him if he needs any advice. I came into the spotlight at a young age.” 

Walcott, who in 2006 became England’s youngest ever player at 17 years 75 days, believes it is important that Under-21 stars are progressing into the senior team.

Walcott remarked: “It’s nice to have some faces he knows because a few have come through now from the Under-21s.”

England face Estonia at Wembley Stadium on Friday in the UEFA Euro 2016 qualification group stage.

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