Month: December 2020

Premier League Preview

With 2020, coming to an end, I Ayyaz Malik take a look at this round of fixtures as the Premier League gets towards the half way stage.

The match between Manchester United and Aston Villa, promises to be a good game for the neutral.

The Red Devil’s, on the whole have struggled at home, come against a Villa side that is competing towards the top of the table.

With the signings of Ross Barkley and Ollie Watkins, The Villains won’t be an easy game for United . Chelsea and Liverpool can verify that.

This game, I see it as a 1-1 draw, a better result for Aston Villa no doubt, but Dean Smith’s side are an opponent not to be underestimated.

Other games across the fixture list see Liverpool come up against Southampton. This game may seem a forgone conclusion, but due to Liverpool’s recent struggles, it’s anything but.

Having said that, I think Liverpool will edge this one 1-0 and return to winning ways in the process .

Last years title rivals to Liverpool Manchester City, square up to Chelsea, a team tipped to challenge.

In fact both City and The Blues were tipped to be serious title contenders, but it’s not quite panned out like that this year, despite Chelsea going on a 17 game unbeaten run.

Since then, Frank Lampard’s men have lost to Everton, Wolves and Arsenal. I don’t see them getting back to winning ways here.

My prediction, Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea.

The last game, I wanted to review was Tottenham, who were joint top just recently, up against a resurgent Leeds who have won their last two games quite comfortably with an aggregate scoreline of 6-0.

The Lillywhites Leeds, who have impressed since returning to the Premier League after a 16 year absence, will prove a stern test for Jose’s side. With this one, I see this one ending Tottenham 2-1 Leeds.

That’s your Premier League review. Have a good weekend!

Dixy Chicken Wythenshawe review

In what has felt like months, finally Dixy Wythenshawe is open! Dixy is what I see as one of the best take away chicken burger chains in Manchester, if not the best!

The reason for the delay for Dixy Wythenshawe not opening , has been down to Covid19 and the lockdown of course, but has the wait been worth it? I will discuss dear reader. So who am I? Well, avid reader you know that I am Ayyaz Malik, writer and blogger, but what you don’t know maybe is that I am a massive fan of Dixy’s.

The South Manchester branches have increased in recent years. There was Chorlton, Fallowfield and Longsight, but since there has been additional branches added in Rusholme (Curry Mile), Sale, Whalley Range, Burnage (no longer) and Stretford.

Whalley Range and Stretford ( both are on my to eat list), I have tried all of the Dixy branches in that region (England U.K region) . My waist line, supports this.

So, when I go to Dixy, what I order is my signature. Three mini burgers and a pepsi can, when I am not with my brother and a mega mix chicken burger meal, when I am with my stunt double (my twin).

What will I be judging Dixy Wythenshawe by here? A few factors, time taken for order, quality of bun and quality of chicken (taste and texture). With this branch of Dixy chicken, the mini burger was brilliant!

Going to this branch, I was a bit apprehensive going to this branch and trying this burger, due to the high standards I have tasted of the mini burger.

The other bits on the menu I have checked is the mega mix burger meal and also the double charger burger meal.

The mega mix, is chicken fillet, with two mini fillets on top. To compliment the burger, there’s lettuce and some mayonnaise to further compliment the burger.

I am delighted to say that the mini burger (the hot dog shaped burger) was soft and not toasted. I have tasted the mini burger and the burger itself, being toasted.

That, in my humble opinion ruins the taste! As for the chicken, it was crispy, succulent and seasoned nicely too. I have tasted chicken being too crispy, hard and rugged. My teeth, are having a wrestling match with the chicken.

Thankfully, the double charger burger was also well cooked and the chicken was across the board, of an excellent high standard.

If there was a slight criticism, the time taken for the burger was a bit long, but at the same time I won’t complain too much because, this branch is newly opened and second, the quality of the chicken was brilliant. One last thing, to maybe nitpick somewhat, but for me the burger box needs to be Dixy branded, but I also concede at the same time, I am being over the top.

So, there you go my review of Dixy Chicken Wythenshawe. A good experience, with well-made burgers (the bun) and with succulent, crispy, succulent and seasoned nicely too. More of the same please guys, see you soon!

The retractions

Hello and good afternoon sports fans, my name is Ayyaz Malik aka The Sports Buff. I am very grateful to say that I am a sports journo of six years and now a sports broadcaster of two years.

Now, just like with the more experienced journo’s, I made two predictions, which were arguably a bit bold.

The first prediction, I said, even on national TV too, that due to Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk’s injury, which is ultimately a season ending one, would cost Liverpool the title and they would struggle badly, especially after the 7-2 mauling by Aston Villa.

Now, of course the season isn’t over, but I genuinely feel the need to say, “fair play lads, I was wrong”. Joel Matip, Fabinho and Nico Williams have been the players to fill the centre back berth.

Joe Gomez, would have been a definite starter, but he too is on the treatment table. What lead me to this thinking was comparisons of last season.

Last year, Manchester City came into the season as defending champions, but in the early part of the season, disaster struck as Aymerick Laporte was injured and miss a huge bulk of the season as a result.

So seeing those comparisons, I came to what seemed like the natural conclusion that Liverpool would struggle without their Dutch centre back.

The Reds however, have proved us wrong. The season is still young, but if this blog gets dug up, I will take the loss on this one. The second thing, I will have to retract and I am happy to do so, is Leeds United and their stay in the Premier League.

Now, I wrote a piece arguing that Leeds could go down. Now I don’t 100% believe this, but after the defeat against Manchester United, I put this out there, that Leeds are too open with this expansive style that they play.

I even said that they might go down, but after two wins, scoring six goals and conceding zero in the process, the Lillywhites have earned more points than Sheffield United did last season, and everyone really applauded The Blades and rightly so. Sometimes in life, it’s necessary to eat humble pie, now I think is one of those times.

New Zealand over come Pakistan in thriller

In what turned out to be a great advertisement for test Cricket, New Zealand over came tourists Pakistan with a thrilling 101 run win in the first test, of their two game test series.

The win, which sees The Kiwis top the test rankings for the first time in their history, was achieved off the back of a brilliant 129 from captain Kane Williamson.

Ross Taylor (70) and Henry Nichols (56) did offer support to their captain, which helped the home side post a mammoth 431 all out.

In reply, Pakistan’s innings was below par as they fell to 239 all out. This total could have been worse, if it wasn’t for captain Mohammed Rizwan (71) and Faheem Ashraf (91).

The Pakistani all-rounder falling agonisingly short of a maiden century. New Zealand were in the ascendancy at this point, and in their 2nd innings posted 180-5.

Fifties from openers Tom Latham (53) and Tom Blundell (64) helps The Black Caps to set a tricky target of 372 for Pakistan to win the first test.

At 37-3 and then 75-4, Pakistan were staring at a humbling defeat. The tourists, though managed to draw up some of their resilience and doggedness of old.

Mohammed Rizwan, one of the top scorers in the first innings, was joined by Fawad Alam who would go on to make an emotional century (104).

The 34-year old Fawad’s brilliant 100 was his first ton after 11 years. The all-rounder has only just returned to the test side after an 11- year absence.

Alam and his captain Rizwan (60) combined in a 160 run fifth wicket partnership to frustrate the hosts and Maybe help secure an unlikely win.

When tall paceman Kyle Jamieson, had Mohammed Rizwan trapped lbw for 60, Pakistan’s resistance crumbled with the last five wickets falling for 31 runs.

An unfortunate end to a brilliant game of test cricket between the two sides. As the cliche goes, there can only be one winner.

Home side New Zealand deserved the win, but new captain Mohammed Rizwan will be encouraged with what he saw in parts of this game.

The second test, will be contested in Christchurch, if it’s anything like the first test we are in for a real treat!

The second test between the two sides starts on 2nd January and potentially ends on 6th January.

Australia vs India 2nd test; India level series

After the embarrassment of falling to 36 all out in the first test, where they ended up being beaten by eight wickets , India’s cricketers restored pride in the second test with an eight wicket win over their own.

For India, they had to contend with out their talismanic captain Virat Kohli, who was attending the birth of his first child.

Deputising for Kohli, was Ajinkya Rahane. The 32- year old Rahane took to the challenge of captaining his country like a duck to water.

Batting first, Australia could only muster 195 all out. It could have in fact been worse for the hosts if wasn’t for Marnus Labuschagne (48) and Travis Head (38).

In response to that disappointing total, India fresh off that infamous 36 all out, atoned for the 2nd innings failings in the first test by finishing on 326 all out.

Shubman Gill on debut (45), Ravi Jadeja (57), and a quite brilliant innings from stand in captain Rahane (112), put India in the ascendancy.

Having conceded a 131 runs lead in the first innings, hosts Australia having dominated the first test, were up against it in the 2nd.

Unfortunately from the Australian point of view, they crumbled badly in the 2nd innings too by Scoring 200 all out.

Matthew Wade made a start (40) as did Cameron Green (45) , but there wasn’t too much else to shout about as the tourists were left with just 70 needed to win the second test.

Despite a couple of early wickets, India achieved their target with relative ease, duly winning the match by eight wickets.

Its time to break the ice

One of the best things about winter is the snow, the scenic views from your window, or even the snow fighting.

When the snow settles (to cap the phrase from when the dust settles), what was lovely to admire, turns into a nightmare to experience.

Snow turns to ice. When you went outside in the snow, you could have snow-fights, or even make a snowman or snowman (gender equality and all that). That’s lovely and very enjoyable, for adults and kids a like, but when the snow melts, the ice develops and that’s a nightmare!

Ice, isn’t nice to look at (you can hardly see it), but black ice is the worst because you can’t see it. You only know you have come across black ice, is when you’re doing an ice skating impression. What I mean by that is, you move and glide in the snow like an ice skater would.

The difference here is, ice skating is done as hobby, the gliding in the black ice is most certainly not a leisurely activity. If it’s not ice skating, then it’s definitely a Michael Jackson moonwalk impression, shamon to that! (not really).

No one is actively dancing on ice here, and if anyone would be actively dancing on ice, then that would be the reality TV stars. So ladies and gents, boys & girls of ages, the snow is great, but the ice isn’t. Bring on the summer, the best time of year.

This blog might not melt the hearts, but at least it will melt the ice because no I don’t want to fall flat on my back like I did 20 years ago due to the black ice on the roads. I will leave you with that thought, it’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

Catching me in action talking about black ice here; https://www.vidlii.com/watch?v=i-N2RWZCSmc

The snacks theory discussed

Hello and good evening my Bearded Soldiers, It’s me your Bearded Captain, Leader and flag bearer of all beards of all beards on digital and digital broadcasting media.

I am that beard who tries to make people laugh, and I am that beard who tries to make people smile..

My bearded beloved’s, I want to discuss an important issue, which is linked to one of the previous blog posts we spoke about.

The second to last blog post, was talking about the issue of having space for dessert. In this blog post, after having the discussion with Mrs Captain, I put it to you lovely folk.

Is snacking (eating walkers crisps for example) possible to do alongside having a mains? So what I mean is this brothers, yours truly loves his food. I know that’s well known, especially how much I harp on about food (Dixy’s to be precise).

So the reason why I put this into this blog post, is because this question and scenario happened today. That made me think, there’s no one better to help me with this one, than my Bearded Soldiers.

Let me know what you think in the comments. It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

Can’t beat them join them?

Hello and good afternoon my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain. Leader of all beards, flag bearer of all beards on digital and broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh, and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

Brothers, (for those of you who are in England in particular) , will be experiencing the snow and bad weather. Brothers, with our beards this is what we have been waiting for all year.

Whereas, the clean shaven will be shivering their naked faces off, we can embrace this cold weather.

In the summer, they mock us and belittle us, but in times like this they feel our pain and in fact jump on the bearded band wagon. Wooly jumpers, thicker pants or t-shirts … one thing we don’t have to worry about brothers is a garment to warm our face.

They will think about shaving their faces, when the weather warms up, but that’s their bad because they will feel the cold twice as bad.

As you wear jumpers and neck warmers, brothers I will say (you’re reading this right) it’s ok to have a messy beard in this period.

Brothers, don’t get over carried away, but when things change … it’s back to normal. It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

So, is there always space for dessert?

Hello and greetings my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag bearers of all beards on digital and digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh, and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

My beloved brothers, I want to and need to talk about an important topic, that’s in turn caused quite a discussion. That brothers,is the issue of “is there always space for dessert?”. In short, yes there is (it’s been scientifically proven).

But with such a debate, the full side of the argument needs to be heard. One side of the argument, is that enjoy your starters and mains, and leave that as that. There’s a time for desserts, but that’s a bit more of on a special occasion.

The other side of the argument, is that a dessert is the perfect was to sign off a delicious meal. For example, you can not go into Nawabs, enjoy their starters and mains, and not sign the meal off with a dessert. That’s the headline performance for the evening (the desserts counter).

I am too full, just doesn’t cut it. If somehow (although it’s in the mindset) you are legitimately too full, then you need to change your strategy. It’s an unwritten rule, you can not have starters and mains only. in many Eastern cultures and traditions, a dessert is always served after dinner time.

The dessert is seen as almost a limb of the dinner, they are connected to each other. As much, as I love desserts, my beards it’s not possible to solely have a dessert mains course. What I mean, is that you have to have a mains course and a dessert, not just the dessert.

As savoury as a dessert is, that’s directing yourself to diabetes avenue if you have a dessert on your own. Brothers, honor your beards, the way they deserve to be honoured. My soldiers, be consistent in your cause for the love of beard.

Brothers, be dedicated in showing good love to the dessert, which includes chocolate cake and all the other cakes out there. It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain, stay blessed stay beard!

Football’s silly season

It is the season to be jolly they say. For the people of the football community it can be anything but.

For footballers, they will feel the strain no doubt, of the sheer amount of games in this very short period.

That might be tough on players, but for managers they have a different stress to deal with, the stress of the mind potentially and if they’re still going to be a job come spring.

Football, for all its unpredictably, predictably has a period in the football calendar where there seems to be a mass exodus of managers.

This changes season by season. This seasons exodus of managers has arguably already started.

First it was now ex West Brom manager Slaven Billic who was sacked, despite his side earning a battling 1-1 draw against Manchester City a day or two before.

The other casualties have been Sheffield Wednesday parting company with former manager Tony Pulis.

Former Stoke manager was given just 13 games. The Welshman, was relieved of his duties with the Yorkshire second bottom.

Some may say this is justified, but was it really? Remember The Owls were given a point deduction due to financial troubles, so context need surely!

Cross city rivals Sheffield United, are struggling at the foot of the Premier League table. I really hope for the love of God, the owners don’t give him the chop, that would be one of the worst decisions ever.

In the case of Sheffield Wednesday, who could they have got who’s better than Pulis? There’s not many and the former Palace manager has never been relegated in his proud managerial career.

Many fans no doubt, will argue if he keeps The Baggies up, it was worth it.

West Brom, who I mentioned earlier, have arguably made a safe appointment in Sam Allardyce, but football principals will be lost.

The last managerial name that I wanted to mention was now former PSG manager Thomas Tuchel.

Former Dortmund man Tuchel, was sacked despite last year winning Ligue 1 and getting all the way to the final in last years Champions League.

Former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, is tipped to take the reigns at the Parc De Princes.

After these Managerial changes, I would hope there would be no more, but this is the world of football management. I am not holding my breath