Football Manager 21 New Features – Part 1

Hello Ballerz! I recently wrote an article talking about the imminent release of FM21 (you can read it here if you haven’t seen it before). There, I said I would use separate articles to talk about the new features coming to FM. This is Part 1 of that group of articles.

FM21 has grouped their new features into broad categories. I will use this article to talk about one category of new features: FM’s new Interaction’s system. This underwent a large overhaul, so this article may be quite long. But I’m writing it anyway. So, I’ll just jump into it.

FM’s New Interaction System

According to the Football Manager website and also from what I’ve seen in previews, the Football Manager Interaction system has seen major improvements. The way we interact with our players and the media has changed significantly, and SI says that our decisions here will have a greater impact on rest of the game.

SI grouped all their additions and improvements to the Interaction system into four, namely:

  • Gestures
  • Quick Chats
  • Press Conferences
  • Face to Face Conversations

I’ll start with the new Gestures addition coming in FM21.


SI has taken out the previous tone system and replaced it with gestures, which are non-verbal signals which can be used to express oneself in the game.

Depending on the situation the manager finds himself, he can pick up to 30 gestures to emphasize a positive, negative or neutral interaction. The gestures available during team talks, for example, tend to be more expressive and emotive, in an attempt to spark a reaction from your players. Public gestures, on the other hand, will be more restrained, so as to reflect proper managerial etiquette.

SI says that the gestures used on a day-to-day basis have greater control on the relationships formed in-game. For example, animated gestures will show a journalist you are interested in his questions, while more abrasive hand signals denote a less than optimal level of intrigue. The media will pick up on this and relationships will change accordingly. These changes will give managers a more fulfilling experience.

Quick Chats

The next thing SI introduced to Football Manager is the Quick Chats system. Quick Chats were introduced to recreate the informal interactions between yourself and others that don’t require a full meeting or press conference. They will now appear as pop-ups from the screen instead of taking the manager to a separate interface.

There are 2 types of Quick Chats: the Remote Quick Chat and the In-Person Quick Chat. The mechanics behind both chats are the same; the only difference being how accessible the person you are talking to is. SI says that the new Quick Chat feature can be used in a variety of ways as well: from speaking to a journalist about a transfer rumour surrounding your club, to complimenting a player’s training ethic. It’s pretty much a restyle of the previous Interaction system in this regard.

Press Conferences


The press conferences on FM21 have definitely seen radical changes. SI has spoken about it as well, saying that now the interaction between the manager and journalists is going to feel more realistic.

Some changes to press conferences include the user interface, the interaction with your Press Officer, the variation in questions, the newly added Gestures (only in specific instances), the mood in press conferences and of the journalists in attendance, and many more modifications. SI actually wrote quite extensively on this topic, so if you want to read more about it I’ll leave a link in the description here.

What you should know is that Press Conferences now seem more important and more immersive. Watching their First Look livestream, it also appeared to be this way, so I’m keeping my hopes up.

Face to Face Conversations

Though In Person Quick Chats have been introduced, SI believes that more important conversations (such as a player’s wage demands) still need to be spoken about face to face. As such, this form of conversation was added, similar to how conversations worked in previous iterations of FM.

However, there are some improvements here as well. Firstly, these conversations can include more people than just you and the player. Depending on the situation, a player’s agent, the your assistant manager and even the club’s Director of Football may be in attendance. You can also now observe the body language of others in a meeting, and your answers will be categorized to help you find them easier.

At the end of these meetings, a staff member gives you a quick recap, as well as any actions or promises made over the duration of the chat.


SI has improved the Interaction system with the aim of enhancing the experience while playing FM. Now, from press conferences to player chats, you can form deeper connections with the people in the game itself.

I’ll release Part 2 of this series soon, as well as any new updates I feel I should let you guys know. The FM21 beta should also be around the corner, so look out for that. For more news, you can always follow our Twitter here. So, until next time, bye.

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Football Manager 21 Release News

Hello Ballerz! This article has been a long time coming, but:

Sports Interactive has announced the imminent release of Football Manager 21, easing concerns amidst scares during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the announcement, SI has released details about the game’s release date, price, playable devices and new features. 

In this article, I will discuss some general details concerning the highly anticipated game while in-game changes would be discussed in subsequent ones. Let’s get on.

When will Football Manager 21 be released?

FM21 and FM21 Mobile will be released on the 24th of November, while FM 21 Touch will be released on the 1st of December. In previous years, the flagship games were released earlier in November but had to be pushed delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

How much will Football Manager 21 cost?

FM21 has a starting cost of $34.99, but by pre-ordering it on a computer or laptop, you can save 10%, leading to a grand total of $31.49. Pre-ordering FM21 also comes with two other perks: you gain access to a beta version of FM21 two weeks before its official release date, and you get FM21 Touch for free (though it still comes free even if it isn’t pre-ordered).

Rounding up the FM franchise, FM21 Touch, the streamlined version of FM21, costs $19.99; however, the cost of FM21 Mobile has not been revealed yet, though I expect it to be significantly cheaper than FM21 Touch.

Which devices will Football Manager 21 be available on?

FM21 will be available on all PCs and Macs via either Epic Games or Steam. FM21 Touch will be available on PCs, Macs, tablets, Nintendo Switches and Xbox’s (It’s been a decade since the last time Football Manager could be played on an Xbox). FM21 Mobile will be available on mobile phones.

When will I write about FM21’s new features?

I don’t know either. To find out as soon as I release them, follow our Twitter account @JoelandJason here.

Stay tuned!

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Premier League Transfer Window: Ratings and Review

During this transfer window, so many Premier League teams adjust transfer strategies to cope with the financial climate, which the pandemic inflicted. Nonetheless, teams still made a fair amount of investment as they entire the hectic new campaign. Which teams do you think had the best transfer window? Read on and share your opinion in the comment section at the bottom.

Arsenal rocked the hierarchy at Athletico on deadline day after informing La Liga that they would be paying Thomas Partey’s release clause. In reporting that could not even be matched by Transfer Guru, Fabrizio Romano, AFC Bell reported the imminent transfer of Ghanian: Arsenal fans had their hero. Thomas Partey joined a host of other incomings at the club. Gabriel Maghaeles joined the club from French outfit Lille to provide more steel at center back; Experienced Winger Willian joined the club after refusing a contract extension from his previous club Chelsea. The transfer window was an ideal platform to look to build on last season’s cup triumphs, and Arteta’s side took the opportunity. B+

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 04: Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park on October 4, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Aston Villa
Villa had a phenomenal transfer window. Getting captain Jack Grealish to sign a new contract amid interest from top sides was shrewd business. They also acquired Emiliano Martinez, who was off the back of some top-class performances to help their goalkeeper miseries from last season. With a new attacking trident of Bertrand Traore, Ollie Watkins, and Jack Grealish, supported from deep by on-loan Chelsea Midfielder Ross Barkley, they will be a threat to defenses this season. Their business this transfer window shows ambition, and their form at the start of the season justifies this. A-

Brighton & Hove Albion
Quantity, no quality
Besides acquiring former Ajax man Joel Veltman and Lallana on a free, Brighton had an unremarkable transfer window. Keeping hold of promising defender Ben White amidst interest from Leeds was their best bit of business. E

After Sean Dyche’s laments during the project restart about the players available to him, you’d be forgiven to think they would have made significant additions during the transfer window. However, they began the season with a team almost identical to the one put in the June bubble. Keeping James Tarkowski was their only notable event. An unremarkable transfer window. F

Chelsea began the transfer window with the most spending power amongst all of Europe’s most elite: they recouped over 150 million from the sales of Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard and had not spent since January 2019 because of a transfer ban. The blues made a mid-season swoop for Ajax aesthetician Hakim Ziyech before bagging a german duo of Havertz and Werner. Their attack is now overflowing with quality and quantity. At the other end of the pitch, Eduoard Mendy was brought in from Rennes to usurp Kepa, who never found his gloves last season. Lampard will hope that the addition of him and Thiago Silva will shore up their defense. A-

Crystal Palace
Palace made all the headlines when they swooped in for the England youth international Eberechi Eze. The signing already is a coup as the player was off the back of a breakthrough season at QPR. His addition gives Roy Hudson much more flexibility in the final third. C

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 3: James Rodriguez of Everton celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Brighton & Hove Albion at Goodison Park on October 3 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

Intent and Precision
Ancelotti’s Everton plotted and pulled off one of the most remarkable transfer windows in recent Premier League history. Ancellotti had ear-marked the midfield as the target area and obtained three starters in that region who have been huge successes so far. James will add more guile to midfield, where Sigurdson faltered last season: his fantastic passing range and football IQ will provide a crucial X-factor factor in the offense. At the same time, Doucoure and Allan will provide steel in the middle of the pitch. The toffees also swooped sturdy defender Ben Godfrey, from Norwich, as they looked to reinforce the backline. A

Fulham changed their transfer strategy upon their latest promotion– following a disastrous season last time up. They opted for a conservative approach, sealing mostly loan moves and young acquisitions with the potential to improve. One time, Everton and Chelsea prospects Ademola Lookman and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, respectively, were their most significant additions(loan). The two lads will be looking to prove their worth to the football community, who held them with high esteem for so long. The signings will undoubtedly bode well with Scott Parker as he leads his team into what will probably be another relegation battle. B

Manchester City’s new signing Ruben Dias greets Leeds United’s Rodrigo after the final whistle during the Premier League match at Elland Road, Leeds. (Photo by Jason Cairnduff/PA Images via Getty Images)

Leeds United
Led by Victor Orta’s wit and Bielsa’s consummate appeal, Leeds successfully took on other established first division teams in the transfer market. The signings of established Spanish stars Rodrigo Moreno and Diego Llorente prove that they have their sights on bigger things than a relegation battle. Man-City will perhaps reconsider their stance on departures to Edland road after Bielsa’s strong start to the season. One time United academy player, Jack Harrison, is one of the players who has made a massive impact during his loan spell from neighbors City. He and the talented Ian Poveda were Leed’s most recent gifts in what compounded to be a very successful transfer window. A

I expect them to reinvest soon as injuries will accumulate due to the high-intensity style Bielsa implements.

Leicester City
Leicester made a profit in the transfer window. That tells you almost all you need to know about their transfer window. Maybe they have a long term strategy, or their priority signings were just not available. Notwithstanding, for a team on the cusp of a top-four finish the previous season, it was disappointing to see that no determined attempt was made to strengthen the side. However, the signing of Wesley Fofana could prove crucial in the future, as Morgan’s tenure at the club draws to a close. Timothy Castagne’s arrival at the club for such a bargain price well offset the departure of Chilwell. C

Fair window

Liverpool took an initial blow in their transfer window after being priced out for Norwich’s Jamal Lewis. Nonetheless, they took no chances in providing cover for Andy Robertson after their scare the previous season. They obtained two able left-back covers: Konstantinos Tsimikas and Anderson Arroyo(Loan). Thiago Alcantara will add more flair and creativity to the midfield. Jota’s signing was also fantastic business, and the amount suggests he will be in the starting eleven in a couple of years. However, It was surprising that they did not move for a center back to replace the outgoing Dejan Lovren: they begin the season short in that department. B+

Liverpool have only spent 126 million since the start of the 2017/2018 season despite reaching two consecutive champions league finals, winning one, and winning the premier league. Fair to say it won’t be a shock if they usher in a big name or two next season–a certain french starlet, perhaps.

Manchester City
For the past few seasons, Manchester City have been the English media’s standard for a team with a good transfer strategy. They are shockingly quick in finalizing deals. However, Pep has now spent over 400 million on defenders, most of whom have disappointed, been shipped out, or been plagued by injuries: a mark which renders their proclaimed title a fallacy. They will surely hope, Pep will surely hope that their latest additions stay clear of those categories. B+

Manchester United
The transfer window cast even more doubt on the efficiency at the helm of United’s recruitment system. After laying stakes early in the year about their desire to bring Jadon Sancho to the club, United rendered all their fans drooling at the prospect of such an exciting front line. The conclusion to that episode was a cruel reminder of barriers that have hindered the team development since Fergie’s departure. The eventual costly departure of Alexis Sanchez, four deadline day deals, one of whom was a 33-year-old, and United have taken a step back in what Ole described as an ‘exploitable transfer window. C

Newcastle United
Newcastle fans had worlds torn apart as the Saudi based consortium touted to complete a takeover of their club pulled out of the deal. That did not deter, usually conservative, Mike Ashley from bringing two of Bournemouths most prominent stars to the club, and ‘outbidding’ Liverpool for Norwich’s Jamal Lewis. With the forwards at Steve Bruce’s disposal now, his reluctance to pursue a more expansive soccer style is unfathomable. Perhaps the transition will happen as we etch into the crunching season. B

Sheffield United’s English striker Rhian Brewster (L) comes on to make his debut during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Fulham at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on October 18, 2020. (Photo by Gareth Copley / POOL / AFP)

Sheffield United
Dean Henderson’s return to his parent club, Manchester United, left Chris Wilder’s side without a certain first-choice goalkeeper. Once again, one of Bournemouth’s talents was plundered as England-Under 21 stopper Aaron Ramsdale was brought to the club for a fee of around 20 million pounds. David Mcgoldrick only found his shooting boots at the end of the season after an unfruitful campaign for the Nottingham born striker. As such, it was no surprise to see the blades launch a bid for Liverpool academy graduate Rhian Brewster, who had a phenomenal season in the Championship. It was an encouraging transfer window for the Blades, who will be looking to repeat last season’s fairy tale return. B

Southampton had a quiet transfer window. They finalized a permanent move for pacy full-back Kyle-Walker Peters from Tottenham before making a move for Mohammed Salisu, who is yet to feature for his side this season. The transfer that made the most headlines was Theo Walcott’s late loan move from Everton after being deemed surplus to requirement. D

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 21: Gareth Bale, Joe Rodon, and Carlos Vinicius of Tottenham Hotspur during the Tottenham Hotspur training session at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group J stage match between Tottenham Hotspur and LASK at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 21, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur
In their latest Amazon documentary, it was evident that the Tottenham Hostpur players shared a belief in Jose’s ability to lead them to a title. By looking at the value added to the Tottenham side this transfer window, it is evident that this belief transcended just the players–Daniel Levy. Spurs went in the market and grappled Matt Doherty from Wolves–who had a plan of their own. They went further, agreeing to a late controversial deal with Real Madrid for direct and pacy full-back Sergio Reguilon–allowing Real to insert a buy-back clause. Before this, Jose obtained ex-Bayern breakthrough talent and aggressive midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to provide a defensive screen for his backline. The climax of their transfer window, though, was the return of Gareth Bale seven years after his big-money move to Real Madrid. Tottenham will go into the season with a much stronger squad and expect to be fierce competitors for titles. A+

West Brom
After a successful loan spell at the Hawthorns last season, Matheus Pereira had his move made permanent. The guileful playmaker recorded an astonishing eight goals and 16 assists last season, earning his side promotion. In a move that raised many eyebrows, West Brom also signed former Chelsea player Branislav Ivanovic, from Zenit St Petersburg: he turns 37 in February next year. West Brom also had a conservative approach upon returning to the Premier League and will be playing to stay up. D

West Ham United
At the start of last season, many pundits and fans predicted that West Ham would break into the top six. They did the opposite as they were in the relegation battle a handful of games before the 38th game. What went wrong? Simple, their signings did not have the impact expected. Thus, after such a high spending summer last season and a disgraceful position at the end of the season, it was no surprise that they opted to keep their money in their pockets this season. They made Tomas Soucek’s loan a permanent transfer and got the talented Brentford winger Said Benrahma on a loan deal with an agreement to make the deal permanent next season. C

Wolves narrowly missed out on European football last season after being edged out by Arsenal, who won the FA cup and knocked out in the Quater Finals of Europa by eventual winners Sevilla. Nevertheless, that wasn’t a deterrent to them keeping hold of their most star players even with strong interest from numerous clubs. In terms of incomings, They obtained four full-backs this transfer window after letting just Matt Doherty go. Wonderkid Fabio Silva also joined for a club-record fee of 35mililion pounds from Porto. Their transfer spendings were offset by the sale of Diego Jota to Liverpool: net expenditure was a meager 1.6 million. Splendid business. B

Featured Image:

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 20: Players of Chelsea pose for a team photograph prior to the UEFA Champions League Group E stage match between Chelsea FC and FC Sevilla at Stamford Bridge on October 20, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Manchester United’s Reality Check?

When the commentator mentioned that Mason Greenwood would be coming on at the start of the second half, it echoed the lack of depth up front for Manchester United. Greenwood had not trained with the team until two days ago; however, when the game needed chasing, Ole had no one else to call upon but him. Greenwood only turns 19 in a fortnight, yet he has played as many games as 27-year-old Paul Pogba since the COVID Restart and had only two weeks of holiday given his controversial call up to the England squad.

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward watches from the stands during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 19, 2020. (Photo by RICHARD HEATHCOTE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Ed Woodward, the man charged with completing transfers for the club, was seen in the stands as United struggled to match Palace’s intensity.

Lindelof’s flaws were exposed again today for as many times as Palace scored: he didn’t do enough to prevent the cross coming in for Townsend’s first; he gave away the penalty for the second and was shrugged off too easily for Zaha’s third. Lindelof didn’t become culpable overnight, but Ole had been left with no choice but him for the last two seasons. Bailly has been dealing with injuries since the start of his Manchester career, Tuanzebe was injured throughout the previous season, Rojo and Jones…

Maguire wasn’t perfect, either. His lack of pace, and the lack of a complementary CB partner, continues to be a detriment to United who now favor a possession game with a high line–this was evident throughout the match today. He misplaced too many passes, and his positioning was off at times during the game.

Today’s overall poor performance was partly because half of the squad had not returned to training until a few days ago. The usual fluidity in attack accustomed to ‘Post-Bruno’ Manchester United was missing, and the defending was sub-par.

Nonetheless, reinforcements are still needed. Only three of United’s current forwards are trusted to deliver–James has hit a rough patch in his United career, and Ighalo is returning to his home-club in January. If no forward signing is made, United will go into the January transfer window with Rashford, Martial, Greenwood, James, Lingard, and Pereira as their forward options–two of whom are AM’s. It is simply not good enough considering the club’s stature and the fact that they will be playing in the Champions League this season.

Manchester United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea saves a penalty which is eventually retaken and scored during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 19, 2020. (Photo by RICHARD HEATHCOTE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

What to look forward to…

It is no coincidence that de Gea’s first penalty save in the Premier League–although later nullified–since 2014 coincided with the arrival of his first real goalkeeper challenger, in Dean Henderson. United fans can take relief from the fact that this battle, which is sure to play out over the season, will bring out the best from both keepers whenever they are called upon.

The core of players from that unbeaten run is still there. So the fans can expect to see a similar style of exiting play in the game-weeks to come.

Even before the Crystal Palace thrashing, Manchester United were already looking to complete a few more signings. The loss will not force a change in United’s transfer plan, but rather serve as a subtle reminder of the gaps that need to be filled and the overdue departures.

Featured image: Manchester United’s Swedish defender Victor Lindelof reacts after Referee Martin Atkinson awarded Crystal Palace a penalty during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 19, 2020. (Photo by RICHARD HEATHCOTE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

BallerzBantz Sensible Transfers: Chelsea

Hello readers. My name’s Jason and today I plan on sharing my what I believe are the best transfers Chelsea can make for the next season. With the current season drawing to a close, the Blues currently sit in 4th place and are good value for a Champions League spot come the end of the season (I really hope I don’t regret saying this) in Lampard’s first season in charge. Though it’s considered a success by many, Lampard is clearly aiming for greater heights as he has brought in 2 marquee signings in Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, and is still prowling the transfer market. Especially in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Frank Lampard is really looking to strengthen the squad in preparation for next season. In this post, I will talk about potential areas Chelsea should look to invest in, who to buy, and finally my predicted 2020/2021 squad.

Problem Positions

Chelsea recorded the highest net profit from the last 2 transfer windows after the transfer ban, making up to €160 million according to the CIES Football Observatory. That is especially helpful considering that teams are not making a lot of money due to the pandemic. The transfer ban has actually placed Chelsea in a position of spending power for the upcoming window, and Chelsea would do good to spend it wisely. With that in mind, these are the positions I think Chelsea need to strengthen in:

Left Back

This comes as no surprise for any Chelsea fan. Or any Premier League fan for that matter. If you don’t know why the left back is such an issue, you can treat yourself by watching the highlights of Chelsea’s recent loss to relegation candidates West Ham. While Emerson is average going forward as well as staying back, Alonso is more extreme, almost being a revelation going forward but incredibly suspect recovering and defending in general. While an argument could be made for Alonso as he was won us valuable points this season, the truth is that he is not a reliable fullback for Lampard’s ambitions. And anyways, Conte’s Inter is looking to sign Emerson, so this is the perfect time to sign a fullback. When researching for fullbacks, I looked for those capable of both attacking and defending, with the pace and stamina to do both in equal measure. I also placed slightly more emphasis in the defensive side of the game, as we already have Alosno should we need an attacking outlet. Ben Chilwell is the name that pops up most often here, but I’m going to take the unpopular stand and say that for the expected price, he isn’t worth it. Here’s why.

Chart of Chiwell’s Relative Perfomance in Key Metrics

This chart compares Chilwell’s performance this season to other fullbacks below the age of 27 who have played a certain number of games for their side. The numbers at the edge of the yellow outline show his percentile rank compared to others in that metric. For example, Chilwells’s percentile rank in key passes per 90 is 71, so he is better than 71% of fullbacks at key passes per 90. Now, something should be immediately clear here: his tackle success rate places him at the 12th percentile. That’s practically another Alonso, and we really do not need that. He also ranks poorly in possession loss and interceptions, the defensive stats we should be looking at. Simply put, he isn’t worth it.

In that case, who is my suggested left back replacement? That honour goes to former La Masia talent Alex Grimaldo. Grimaldo should be a well known name by now, as he has been scouted by the biggest clubs in world football for a while now. It’s very easy to see why too. First, his defensive work is sound, winning 67% of duels (Wilfred Ndidi standard) compared to Alonso’s 20%. Second, his creative attacking output is almost at an Andy Robertson’s level in the Liga NOS and he is only 24. He will also be a way cheaper option for Lampard’s side, so taking him over Chilwell should be a no-brainer. If we can’t get him, though, my backup plan would be another Spaniard in Aaron Martin. He plays at a similar level to Grimaldo but not quite as well all things considered.

Centre Back

Chelsea have played a good number of centre backs, with Rudiger, Christensen, Tomori and Zouma all stepping up when necessary. While they all have their strengths and weaknesses and can definitely play great football on their good days, none of them are elite defenders and leaders like John Terry was or like van Dijk and Laporte are. They are all prone to errors and lapses in judgement, and none of them can command the back line like Terry and Cahill were before them. I believe that to compete the way Lampard expects Chelsea to, they will need a good centre back who can do everything Lampard may ask him to do without fail.

Therefore, my criteria for Chelsea’s next centre back is an established defender that is composed on the ball, with a preference for those able to command those around him. My immediate thoughts go to another defender in blue by the name of Kalidou Koulibaly. On the surface, he is probably the definition of Lampard’s perfect defender. An already established player, Koulibaly combines pace, power, leadership and composure to create one of the best centre backs in world football. He is also mentally capable of performing at the highest level, having played in the Champions League multiple times. He is also a natural leader and is the Senegalese national team’s captain. Pretty much perfect. At least, until you do some digging. At 29 years of age, he isn’t the type of player Chelsea tends to sign and offers very little resale value. His valuation of £90 million pounds doesn’t do any favours either. And in the 2019/2020 season, Koulibaly has missed many games because of injury, an unpleasant sign for such an old player. Unfortunately, few others seem to fit the bill while also offering Chelsea the leadership it needs: Upamecano, while very good, is still young and learning. So is Ake. Rice showed some signs of leadership when wearing the armband versus Chelsea. But, again, is still young and learning. Even Thiago Silva crossed my mind as he is out of contract in the summer, a natural leader with a lot of experience, and he still played up to 25 games for PSG this season. In the end, I could only surely decide on 1 other option besides Koulibaly: Lewis Dunk. Before you close this site, hear me out. Though he is a significant step down, he is still a good defender (consistently better than any other member of Chelsea’s defence) who has proven himself n the Premier League. At 28 years of age he is at his peak, and as the Brighton captain, his leadership skills are obvious. To be honest, I don’t see this as Chelsea’s most likely signing, and maybe Koulibaly or Rice are better options, but in my opinion the lesser price tag and age makes Lewis Dunk my pick as Chelsea’s centre back signing for the long run.


If Willy Caballero can bench you for a few games because of your poor form, you shouldn’t be the starting keeper at a top 6 team in the Premier League. Or the top 10. Really, unless you are a relegation-threatened team to be honest, and Kepa has played worse than any relegation threatened team’s goalkeeper this season. Actually, statistically, he is the worst keeper in the league, and by a margin. His save percentage is below 60%, and for comparison, Aaron Ramsdale’s and Tim Krul’s save percentage is 10% more than that. He has also conceded more goals than expected from shots faced than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League, directly allowing 7 more goals than expected this season according to some xG models. So, Kepa needs replacing. Though this is a less likely transfer than others due to the sheer amount of money spent on Kepa, there are rumours surfacing of a possible Kepa loan move to Valencia, which may set a bigger transfer in the works as we have seen with Alvaro Morata.

As such, I looked for a goalkeeper comfortable with the ball at his feet, brave enough to come out and thwart through balls behind the lines, and all without forfeiting the traditional goalkeeper work. After my research, my first choice signing is Andre Onana, and for many reasons. First, he is a good goalkeeper. His save percentage of around 85% is great, almost rivalling Alisson’s. He has also directly prevented 2.5 goals compared to the quality of shots faced, which is better than Courtois and Neuer performed in that aspect. He is also very aggressive, and is capable to come off his line to deal with crosses and through balls. Comfortable on his feet and with his hands too, he is a great distributor, and the fact that he isn’t renewing his contract AND has an agreement in place with the Ajax board regarding transfers, he will probably come at a relatively cheap price of about £25 million. In short, Onana ticked all the boxes. I also thought of Dean Henderson, but I really doubt United will allow such a talent to leave the club, for £30 million nevertheless. But, if they do, he is another viable option.

How Will Chelsea Lineup?

Next season, I see Lampard being as tactically flexible as he was this season, with many variations provided to him from the players he has and the players he has signed. As such, I will leave you with the first formation I could come up with for this set of players.

In this formation, I expect Werner to play on the left wing and off a target man in Tammy Abraham, as he so liked doing at Leipzig with either Poulsen or Schick playing in the striker position. Ziyech will be a creative presence on the wings, capable of cutting in and creating chances like former Chelsea man Eden Hazard was. Mount is a capable attacking midfielder and the excellence that the double pivot of Kante and Kovacic have demonstrated this season will allow Mount to push upwards and do his pressing higher up the pitch. Grimaldo and James would also push higher up to give the team width and create more chances.

That’s my take on the transfers Chelsea should be making this window. What do you think? Leave your answers in the comments below. I’m probably going to do this for the other top 6 clubs and see where it goes. See you on my next post.

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Game-week 33: Review

United and Bournemouth provide a 7-goal thriller.

Many spectators were surprised when the unchanged United side went a goal down, but they showed their class as they came back and scored five against a tough Bournemouth side. Furthermore, it was a massive day for youngster Mason Greenwood as he bagged a brace and stole the show. United fans must have been drolling over the complete attacking play.

However, there were still individual errors at the back. Maguire received a nutmeg, and then De Gea was beaten far too easily at his near post for their first. Then a poor pass by Matic was judged to have struck Bailly’s ‘hand,’ which led to a penalty that gave them a second.

Saka shows his class as the gunners take all points at Molineux.

Saka, aka ‘Petit Piment,’ stole the show as the Gunners grabbed an emphatic victory against Wolves. The assist machine got on the score sheet after a well-struck volley guided the ball into the top left corner; Patricio had no chance.

Traore was given the nod over Jota but would have been disappointed with his performance after failing to make an impact in the game.

The win could prove vital for Arsenal as they chase European football next season. Meanwhile, Wolves will hope to get back on track as they face a tough Sheffield side next.

Southampton displays tactical masterclass against City.

Southampton’s win over City encapsulated the value of analysts in modern-day football. The saints did their homework and bagged the victory.

When playing City, many teams allow them to have the ball then play solely on the counter; the saints took a different approach. They pressed in numbers while the ball was still around the halfway line and forced City to send the ball back several times. In this manner, they got the opener. Armstrong nicked the ball from Zinchenko while he attempted a half-turn, and Che Adams latched onto it from 40-yards and beat Ederson, who was off his line.

Manchester City may have to address their recent left-back lapses in the next transfer window.

S’oton’s goalie, Alex McCarthy, had a phenomenal game, but City was unlucky not to get something out of the game.

Mourinho prevails over good pal, Ancelloti.

Mourinho fulfilled his promise of ‘breaking social distancing rules to hug Ancelloti’ as two pals reunited: albeit under very different circumstances. Mourinho’s side needed a win to get their Europe bid back on track following a very disappointing trip to Bramall Lane.
Spurs took all points with the own goal by Michael Keane being the only difference between the two sides. The soccer wasn’t the most aesthetic, but Jose’s side got the job done.

Strikes of the week.

Martial’s magnificent curler.
How often have we seen Martial cut in from the left-wing and finesse one into the top corner? However, the one against Bournemouth may have been the best yet.

Saka’s sumptuous volley.
Saka struck home a clean volley past Patricio as he showed how deadly he could also be in the box. The timing of the goal couldn’t have been better as Saka also signed a new contract that week.

Adam’s audacious goal.
Although Ederson was off his line, Adam still had a lot to do to get the ball into the net from 40-yards–a task he embraced. He struck the ball with conviction and found the back of the net. He couldn’t have got his first goal in a better fashion.

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Gameweek 32: Review

Arsenal shrug of relegation-threatened Norwich.

It was all smooth sailing for the gunners as they knocked four past a Norwich side who already seemed to have settled for Championship football next season.

The canaries must have felt early on that it would be another unlucky outing for them after Ben Godfrey struck the post with a good shot from outside the 18-yard box. Things became even worse after Aubameyang got on his bike, and nipped the ball from a casual Tim Krul, and slotted in the opener–some Pressing forward behavior. He grabbed his second later on as Arsenal secured the victory.

It was interesting to note that Arteta stuck with a back-three. Perhaps he will settle with the formation for the rest of the season.

Man city stuns champions-elect, Liverpool.

Yes, you heard, right. Man City fired four past a Liverpool side, still recuperating from the week’s celebration.

It was a day to forget for Kloop and his boys as they were humiliated by the de-throned champions. Nothing seemed to click for the champions-elect–their defending was awful, and their finishing was sub-par. On the other hand, Pep’s team was looking as sharp as ever pouncing at every chance and capitalizing on every mistake.

The biggest winners of the game were Phil Foden, who got the nod ahead of Mahrez and contributed enormously and Sterling, who has forsaken his torrid pre restart form. City’s win would serve as a sharp warning to Klopp’s side of the competition that remains next season.

Leicester drops more points.

Leicester have still not won a match since the premier league restart. The foxes are now just three points ahead of United and Wolves, and one ahead of Chelsea. It has been tough for them, and they need to get their act back together if they are to maintain their champions league spot.

Injuries to Madison and Pereira, two starters, haven’t made it any easier for them. However, they can draw consolation from the fact that Chelsea, their closest challengers, lost the game at the London Stadium.

Defensive woes for Chelsea and Spurs.

If you weren’t convinced that Chelsea needed to shore up their defense during the upcoming transfer window, the shambles against the hammers must have changed your mind. There are ‘loud gossips’ going around that Kepa’s time in Chelsea may be over, and the part he played for West Ham’s first goal only intensified the rumors.

Antonio stood out on this occasion but was helped out by some poor defending.

Spurs must have watched Chelsea play before their game because they had an equally, if not worse day at the back–something very uncharacteristic of Mourinho’s sides. Dier is not adept as a center-back, and Sanchez lost his cool towards the end of the match. Mourinho will probably make some changes in the upcoming games. It was a very disappointing performance for Spurs.

Strikes of the week.

Willian free-kick.

Willian was on the score-sheet again. His sizzling free-kick curled around the wall and went off the post into the net.

Cedric Soares’ screamer.

It was a day to remember for Soares as he struck home his first goal in Arsenal colors from 20-yards out.

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Game-week 31: Review

Martial captures the attention at Old Trafford.

It was a day to remember for United’s Anthony Martial, scoring his first senior hat trick, and becoming the first player to score a hat trick in the premier for the club since Robin van Persie back in 2011. 

Martial displayed signs of a ruthless finisher for his first two goals, before executing a dink over Sheffield number 2, who filled in for the ineligible United loanee Dean Henderson.

Rashford, who looks like he is not fully fit yet, scuffed a couple of clear cut chances.

It was an overall dominant performance by a resurgent united side.

Chelsea hands the title to Liverpool with an impressive performance over City.

Liverpool fans watched on eagerly as the Blues, and the Cityzens went head to head in what would be a thrilling match. Chelsea was handed the lead after some miscommunication between Gundogan and Mendy, one which Pulisic punished with a beautiful finish into the bottom corner. 

It required a moment of magic from de Bruyne to pull back level after a magnificent free-kick. The free-kick left Kepa watching helplessly as the ball veered into the top corner. One to forget for the Spanish stopper. 

Fernandinho’s goal-line clearance with his hand gave Willian the chance to clinch the winner. His immaculate penalty record remained as he dispatched the winner, and helped his team grab all three points.

The loss handed Liverpool their first league title in 30 years–an excellent achievement for Klopp and his players.

Traore and Jimenez–best partnership in the premier league?

They cannot stop. Think we have to create our nicknames for them because it is just unreal. A beautifully executed cross after a superb run by Traore set up Jimenez, who smashed in a header, and the game-winner.

Youthful gunners side grab the win over the Saints.

It was a day to forget for Mcarthy and a day to remember for the gunner’s youngsters: Nketiah and Willock, who grabbed all the points in a hard-fought 2-0 win over the saints. Nketiah capitalized on a misplaced pass by the saint’s goalie Alex Mcarthy to give his team a lead. Joe Willock then slotted in the second past the near post after the goalie spilled a catch.

Kane vindicates Mourinho.

Mourinho used his pre-match press conference to rip claims that strikers don’t ‘perform well under his management.’ He did some digging and gathered stats of top-class strikers he had worked with, and the goals they scored for him.

He was duly vindicated as Harry Kane got on the score sheet late on in the match. Those pundits will want to avoid Jose for the next couple of weeks.

Strikes of the week.

De Brunye free-kick.

KDB’s strike into the top corner was breathtaking. Kepa was no match for the pace and dip of the ball. The free-kick was just another proof of KDB’s unmatched brilliance.

Fabinho’s Screamer.

Fabinho scored a fantastic screamer in a fabulous performance by the Liverpool man. City fans will be consoled as another team got to experience a similar shocker from the Brazilian international.

Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick.

Alexander-Arnold’s rise to stardom has been marked by moments of sheer brilliance. We got to see another one of those moments from the lad from Liverpool. He scored a perfectly executed free-kick into the top left corner, albeit with some help from the keeper’s poor wall-arrangement.

Notable mentions:

Liverpool Hammer Crystal Palace.

Liverpool smashed four past Palace in what would be their last game before winning the title, albeit thanks to a city loss against Chelsea. 

Fabinho showed us another side of his game in what was a complete performance–an assist and a screamer!

Mane and Salah both score as the race for the golden boot intensifies. Who will prevail in the race?

Leicester struggles to break down Brighton.

Leicester could not pick up their first win since the restart against the seagulls. They were lucky to pick up a point as last week’s winner against Arsenal, Neal Maupay, had a penalty saved early on. They have to get their act together to avoid losing their Champions League place on the table.

Enjoy the next game week and subscribe for more Game-week Reviews. 

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Game-week 30: Review

The return of the premier league was met with great fanfare. The game-week, which lasted for five days, gave fans the leisure of watching a game every day. It was a surreal experience for us all, maybe not for the Arsenal fans. There were still lots of moments to recall from the restart.

I’ll be taking you through some key moments from Game-week 30 of the Premier League.

Foden Takes his Chance.

In many teams, youngsters play prominent roles in the team. Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland, and Madrid’s Fede Valverde are but a few wonderkids taking the soccer world by storm. 

Yesterday, we had another rare look at another wonderkid in Phil Foden. The Manchester City Starlet had one of his best-ever performances, bar his Carabao Cup performance. His selection over Sterling was an unexpected one, but he vindicated his manager’s decision. His goals on the day were not even the most prominent part of his complete performance. His deft touches, arrogance with and without the ball, and the no-look passes were phenomenal–maybe even Scholesesque. 

He will surely be giving his manager lots of selection dilemmas in the coming weeks. What a player he is and will turn out to be.

Milivojevic leads Crystal 

How many set-piece takers are more proficient that Luca Milivojevic? He always delivers from the spot–thanks to Zaha’s exquisite dribbling; he also scores the seasonal free-kick. It must feel great knowing you have someone able to provide such moments of football magic.

Arsenal Rue Misfortunes

Where do we start? 

…The last-minute winner by Neal Maupay, or David Luiz’s impact sub performance. Wherever we decide to start from, it was indeed a terrible Premier League restart for the Gunners. 

Apart from the dramatic losses they faced this game-week, the injury to one of their best players, in-form keeper Bernard Leno, would be devastating. There is no need to worry, though. As long as Emiliano Martinez proves a better substitute than David Luiz, all will be well. 

On a positive note, Arsenal has a bright future ahead of them, with a handful of promising players coming up. Watch out for Saka and Nketiah in the coming weeks–I am confident they will soon show their worth to the team.

Super-Subs: Adama Traore, Paul Pogba

Adama Traore. Adama Traore. Adama Traore. 

The La Masia graduate has stormed the premier league and defenders this season. His dribbling, direct running, and imposing physique were a constant threat to the opposition. It was indeed a perfect performance by the Wolves forward, capped with yet another assist for Raul Jimenez. Who knows how much longer he will be at the club, as the fight for his signature intensifies.

United was finding it difficult to break down Mourinho’s compact and well-drilled side. It took a cheeky piece of footwork and football intelligence from Pogba, who earned a penalty–one he would not be allowed to take– that allowed Manchester United pull level against Spurs. Many would argue that he could have made a more significant impact had he been brought on earlier. United take on Sheffield United next, and fans would be expecting to see more performances like that from Paul.

Notable Mentions:

City’s Squad Depth

City made eight changes to their starting lineup for the match against Burnley and still gave them a solid high-five! Speak of squad depth.

Giroud takes his chance

Giroud must have been one of the happier players this Game-week, scoring Chelsea’s winning goal in a 2-1 comeback over Villa. Lampard’s trust paid out for a player who thought his Chelsea career was over.

Liverpool’s Victory delayed.

Liverpool played out a dull 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby. They were lucky not to lose the game during the final few minutes of the game. Salah was deprived of an opportunity to come on and make an impact, because of an injury to Matip. The wait for the title continues, for now.

Enjoy the next game week and subscribe for more Game-week Reviews. 

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Ballerz Recommended FPL Picks – GW31

After a generally successful return to Premier League football, and as such the Fantasy Premier League, BallerzBantz have taken it upon themselves to provide you with our suggestions on how to take maximum points from the remaining gameweeks. In this article, I will talk about 4 players that may just give you the edge over your competition.

1. Danny Ings – 9/10

Ings certainly reintroduced himself with a bang this gameweek, grabbing a goal, an assist and 3 bonus points in a masterclass performance against Norwich. He did a good job giving almost 142 thousand managers reasons to have him on their team, and he is now set to make many people happy with another performance against an Arsenal side missing their first team goalkeeper in Bernd Leno. He is already in 25% of Fantasy teams; don’t be the one to miss out.

Other recommendations include:

  • Raul Jimenez – 9/10
  • Marcus Rashford – 8/10
  • Harry Kane – 8/10

2. Heung-Min Son – 9/10

While some may say Son was a bit quiet against United, he was still denied a great goal by De Gea over the course of the game. Now he is playing at home in a London derby against West Ham, one of only 4 teams to have conceded more than 50 goals this season. It also helps that he scored and assisted in the reverse fixture at the beginning of Mourinho’s era.

Other recommendations include:

  • Bruno Fernandes – 9/10
  • Mohamed Salah – 8/10
  • Sadio Mane – 8/10

3. Matt Doherty – 9/10

Doherty’s 12 point haul landed him in the gameweek 30 Team of the Week, and there is no reason to believe he can’t replicate that for gameweek 31. He is facing a Bournemouth side that scored the 3rd least goals in the league and that lost their most recent match 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace. Wolves, on the other hand, have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 6 games and Doherty played full minutes in all of them, assisting in 3.

Other recommendations include:

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8/10
  • Virgil van Dijk – 8/10
  • Matt Ritchie – 8/10

4. Rui Patricio – 8/10

Definitely can’t give as much reason here as for the other positions. I expect Patricio to keep a clean sheet against Bournemouth and maybe rack up a few save points too.

Other recommendations include:

  • Nick Pope – 8/10
  • Martin Dubravka – 8/10
  • Hugo Lloris – 8/10

Hope you enjoyed the article. Please subscribe and have a nice day.

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