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  1. Being inspired by @TomSE12 and the competitions he has been running I have decided to give this a try. The rules will be as follows, for each match make a prediction for example Inter Milan 2-0 Slavia Prague for each correct result you will be awarded 1 point and for a correct score 2 points will be awarded, you will also be asked to predict your most likely result which I will be calling your MATCH OF THE NIGHT and if you get the correct result on this you will get 2 points and a correct score will get you 3 points please make your MATCH OF THE NIGHT prediction by making it a font colour other than black for example Inter Milan 2-0 Slavia Prague or putting MATCH OF THE NIGHT next to the prediction. You will also be asked to predict the outright winner of the competition and the winner of each group, each of these if correctly predicted will get 3 points. Here are the groups GROUP A Paris (PSG) (FRA) Real Madrid (ESP) Club Brugge (BEL) Galatasaray (TUR) GROUP B Bayern (GER) Tottenham (ENG) Olympiacos (GRE) Crvena zvezda (SRB) GROUP C Man. City (ENG) Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) Atalanta (ITA) GROUP D Juventus (ITA) Atlético (ESP) Leverkusen (GER) Lokomotiv Moskva (RUS) GROUP E Liverpool (ENG) Napoli (ITA) Salzburg (AUT) Genk (BEL) GROUP F Barcelona (ESP) Dortmund (GER) Internazionale (ITA) Slavia Praha (CZE) GROUP G Zenit (RUS) Benfica (POR) Lyon (FRA) Leipzig (GER) GROUP H Chelsea (ENG) Ajax (NED) Valencia (ESP) LOSC (FRA) You will also be asked to predict the top goalscorer in the competition and the amount of goals scored by said goalscorer - this will only be needed in the event of a tie at the end of the competition. Below are the first of the matches in the group stages Tuesday 17th September Inter Milan 17:55 Slavia Prague Lyon 17:55 Zenit St. Petersburg Ajax 20:00 Lille Benfica 20:00 RB Leipzig Borussia Dortmund 20:00 Barcelona Chelsea 20:00 Valencia Napoli 20:00 Liverpool Red Bull Salzburg 20:00 Genk Wednesday 18th September Club Brugge 17:55 Galatasaray Olympiakos FC 17:55 Tottenham Hotspur Atletico Madrid 20:00 Juventus Bayer Leverkusen 20:00 Lokomotiv Moscow Bayern Munich 20:00 Crvena Zvezda Dinamo Zagreb 20:00 Atalanta Paris Saint-Germain 20:00 Real Madrid Shakhtar Donetsk 20:00 Manchester City Please have all your predictions posted by 10 pm on Monday 16th September - Entries after this will not be counted. I hope you all enjoy a bit of football prediction fun
  2. The draw for the Euro 2020 qualification Group A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo Group B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg Group C Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus Group D Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar Group E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta Group G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia Group H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra Group I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino Group J: Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein
  3. Deluxe

    Swinging Sixties!

    [b]No this isn't an entry about the fall of social taboos! [/b][color=#000080]In fact I am talking about fahrenheit! This week parts of the north-east will experience temperatures in the mid 60s fahrenheit (17-19c). It doesn't sound impressive, but bear in mind temperatures have struggled to get past 12c during the last few weeks, and the brisk northerly winds have made it feel like February![/color] [color=#000080]Happily the weather improves this week, and although those of us on the east coast will see more cloud and lower temperatures, it will nontheless be a substantial improvement. What happens after this weeks warmth is anyones guess, but a return to the cold dross we have seen for most of May looks unlikely, thankfully.[/color] [color=#800000]On to sport, and a big congratulations to York City for their [url="http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18049175"]play-off win[/url] over Luton Town yesterday. York now return to the football league after an 8-year absence, and while you have to feel sorry for poor ol' Luton, it is terrific to see York back where they belong.[/color] [color=#800000]Plenty of golf action occured yesterday, with the booming Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts [url="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/golf/story/2012-05-20/volvo-world-match-play-championship-nicolas-colsaerts-beats-graeme-mcdowell/55093180/1"]beating[/url] Graeme McDowell in the Volvo Matchplay Final. Colsaerts takes home his biggest paycheque to date and moves to just outside the top 30 in the world rankings. Meanwhile, Jason Dufner [url="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/golf/2018252094_golf21.html"]won[/url] the corresponding PGA Tour event in Americaland.[/color] [color=#006400]On a wildlife note, it has been more than a little disappointing on the insect front. I still haven't seen one damselfly or dragonfly adult yet, and although I did see a few butterflies around during late March and early April, the first (and in some cases only) generations on the wing have really [url="http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/18101581"]suffered[/url] in the brutal weather. Happily, birdlife hasn't suffered too much, with plenty of swallows, swifts, house and sand martins about - great to see![/color] [b]That's all from me for now, thanks for reading[/b] [img]http://cdn.nwstatic.co.uk/forum//public/style_emoticons/default/dirol.gif[/img]
  4. Having kept a close eye on the recent snooker tournaments and been thoroughly entertained by the all-out attacking style of Judd Trump, I've been seeing a fair number of comments flying around like, "he needs to tone down his attacking instincts, play more safety, mature into an all-rounder". This is a common situation in sports- we had the same sort of thing when Blackpool were fighting in the football Premier League with attacking football, and Alan Hansen in particular saying exactly the same thing about Blackpool for instance. It is always a tricky topic because we know that in general an "all-round" game is, for most people, the best way of getting results, as it maintains consistency (you win when you're playing well and you don't get hammered when you are not playing well- whereas with all-out attack, the wins are brilliant but the losses can be very embarrassing). Of course, even the "all-out attackers", to have any success, have to have some sort of defensive basis, it is a question of competitors focusing mostly on attack with a modest amount of defence vs. putting comparable emphasis on both. The problem is that if Judd Trump was to "mature" into an all-rounder and put a lot more emphasis on safety play instead of going for risky shots, I (and many others) would find him a lot less entertaining to watch, and he wouldn't stand out from the other players. After all, part of what made Jimmy White so entertaining in the early to mid 1990s was the "edge of seat" effect of him sometimes going for shots that an "all-rounder" would turn down, sometimes giving brilliant success and at other times giving embarrassing misses. While it would certainly make his results more consistent, it's debatable whether it would make him win many more tournaments (it doesn't seem to have worked that way for Shaun Murphy after he toned down his all-out attacking style that he won the title with in 2005). Snooker would probably be worse off if he was to do this, because even if he won more events, it would be offset by the audience being less keen on him winning them. Similarly if Blackpool had toned down their attacking instincts last season, they would surely have become more consistent, but they would have lost a lot of fans, and if this had meant losing a lot of games 1-0 rather than 3-1, they would still have been relegated. On the other hand, while I don't like the "play safe more" advice these attackers get, I think they often can put a greater emphasis on defence without compromising their attacking play, simply by making sure that when they feel a need to play defence, they aim to defend well, rather than just putting a quick defensive move in. For instance Judd Trump is capable of putting more thought and effort into playing a telling safety when he feels a need to play a safety-shot (I have to say, I've often thought the same of Stephen Hendry). The same issue also used to crop up in Formula One, when the likes of Jean Alesi, and Mika Hakkinen (prior to his 1995 crash at Adelaide) were all-out attackers but sometimes went overboard, prompting calls that they needed to "mature" into more all-round competitors; Juan-Pablo Montoya was a more recent one. These days such competitors have largely been lost from Formula One because when optimistic moves don't come off, not only do they lose positions but they also get a string of drive-through penalties, as noted a couple of blogs earlier. Some competitive sports/games don't have any scope for non-"all-rounders" at the highest levels- e.g. in grandmaster chess there is strong homogeneity in playing style at the highest levels, because computer-assisted preperation and strong defensive play means that any sort of "all-out attack" backfires more often than not. As readers of this piece might have guessed, I tend to aspire towards the "all-out attack" approach when I play competitive sports and games- this is a major reason why I don't aspire to be a chess grandmaster as I know that, at the level I currently play, I can get away with using that sort of approach, and thus end up with a long list of entertaining, albeit sometimes error-strewn, chess games that I will want to look back through again and again, rather than numerous uneventful wars of attrition ending mostly in draws with a few victories here and there.
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