Leicester City are the Barclays Premier League Champions of 2015/2016, but who will do it next season?

We all wanted it to happen (except Spurs fans) and it did. Leicester City went on to win the Premier League and what a fantastic achievement it is for them. No one saw this coming, even when Leicester were sitting at the top of the league, batting off all the ‘elite’ teams of English football. Everyone (myself included) was saying that they would drop off as the season went on. If anything though, they got stronger, they were ferocious and they were united.

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Well, well, well, we all wanted it to happen (except Spurs fans) and it did. Leicester City went on to win the Premier League and what a fantastic achievement it is for them. No one saw this coming, even when Leicester were sitting at the top of the league, batting off all the ‘elite’ teams of English football. Everyone (myself included) was saying that they would drop off as the season went on. If anything though, they got stronger, they were ferocious and they were united.

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The outsiders prevail
They were 5,000-1 outsiders at the beginning of the season, but as time went on, everyone began to see the potential of Leicester – not once did they drop below sixth place in the league, and it’s fair to say, they spent a large proportion of the season in those top 3 places.

Money doesn’t make you happy
I think this is fantastic for football. For too long now football has been about money and who’s spending the most. The surge of Manchester City was down to the money they received from a takeover – they were able to buy football’s biggest talents, which pretty much secured them two league titles. Before them it was Chelsea, and recently Manchester United and Arsenal have joined the brigade by spending big money on players.

Just take a moment to look at Leicester City, the cost of the champions’ squad is around £54 million, compare that to the two Manchester clubs who are around £400 million. Leicester’s costs are similar to Crystal Palace, Watford, Stoke and West Brom. Although £54 million is a lot of money, in the world of football, it isn’t.

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Deserved league champions based on the game itself
We can all be happy that Leicester won the league and no one can really have any complaints. Yes Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd underperformed this season, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that Leicester’s team has a good goalkeeper, a sturdy defence, an unbelievably hard working midfield and deadly finishers up front – making an all round quality team.

Who to watch for the title next season?
It seems pretty pointless trying to make any predictions for next season, but could Leicester City win the title again? Who knows, if they keep their team together and strengthen, then why not? They may be playing in the Champions League – therefore more games, but if they get more numbers in, they will be able to deal with the increase of games. They have to be a team to watch for sure.

Tottenham
Spurs have had a good season. They took some time to really be considered as title challengers but once they found their form, they seemed impossible to stop. The continued form of Kane and the discovery of Dele Alli gave all Spurs fans something to get excited about. Spurs though are not a two man team, their entire team is full of talent. Again, if they can keep the team together and strengthen, then I see Tottenham as major contenders next season. If I was a betting man, I’d certainly put a bet on Tottenham to go on to win the Premier League next season. That hurt writing that, being an Arsenal fan!

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Arsenal
Oh Arsenal, I do love you but my word, you do infuriate me. This season was the season for Arsenal. With the collapse of Chelsea and Mourinho, the uncertainty of Pellegrini’s future and the continued lack of unity at Manchester United with Van Gaal, the title was Arsenal’s for the taking. Wenger had been patient – developing a team, buying quality players (Petr Cech, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil come to mind) and now finally looking set to challenge. It fell apart. Again. From my point of view, there seemed to be a lack of passion on the pitch, clumsiness in defence, no ability to finish chances (from Giroud mostly, but he’s not entirely to blame) or games, and this then followed what seems to be tradition… The collapse of Arsenal after January.

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There’s a lot to talk about at Arsenal, but can they win the title next year? No, not with this team. There needs to be improvements (defensively and up front mostly) and there may have to be departures but even then, it may take a season for everyone to gel together. I wouldn’t personally bet on Arsenal, but who knows, maybe they’ll surprise us.

Manchester City
There’s no doubt that Manchester City have the strongest team on paper in the league, but their form this season has been extremely unpredictable, much like the British weather. But why? Their performances at times have been dull and careless, but with this team, they should have been doing much better than competing for a top 4 finish.

They recently lost to Southampton 4-2 at St. Mary’s, but with a slightly rotated team in preparation for their big Champions League clash, we can see why their minds were elsewhere. But earlier in the season, they lost games that they should have fought harder in and tried to pick up any sort of point. Some include their loss at home to West Ham in September, their thrashing from Spurs 4-1, which was followed by their second thrashing from Liverpool, then losses to Stoke and Arsenal, then the second defeat to Spurs and of course not forgetting, the champions Leicester beating them at the Etihad – one of the shocks of the season.

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Pellegrini is only worried about one thing, and that’s the Champions League. With Guardiola taking over next season, Pellegrini probably isn’t as fussed about where they finish in the league as he is about securing the Champions League. Having got further than they ever have in the competition, could this be their year in Europe?

Could they win the league next season? It’s a tough one again to predict, with a new manager, there could be teething problems. Yes, Pep has a great record of success at clubs, but this City team may need more work than in his previous jobs. They’re still in contention though I believe, but it does depend on how quick he can get in there and make the changes.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham
I’ve decided to put these teams all in one group, simply because I think that they easily have potential to challenge but again, depends on a number of factors.

Manchester United haven’t done too bad considering. They’ve had some awful results this season and really looked shambolic in games, but Van Gaal has got them into the FA Cup final and they could still finish in the top 4. With rumours swirling that Mourinho will take over at Old Trafford, I don’t think that even he will get them playing well in one season. Man Utd need years of work and most definitely need new players and new tactics.

Chelsea are the same, they have a great team on paper but on the field have looked terrible. From being deadly in attack and impenetrable at the back one season, to being clueless in attack and easy to break through defensively, Chelsea have dropped significantly. They will take some lifting to get back into title challenge mode and again, it’s hard to predict anything with such significant changes at a club. Antonio Conte has his work cut out, but I believe we should see them rise again next season; challenging for a top 4 finish.

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Liverpool are a funny team, they go from looking poor to being an all round impressive team. They thrashed Man City twice this season, drew with Arsenal twice, beat Chelsea, even beat Leicester and beat Dortmund in that amazing comeback, but then they lose to Swansea City 3-1. Liverpool’s problem is their defence, but if they can get some strength in that back line, I don’t see why they can’t challenge for a top 4 finish next season. Title challengers though? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t disregard them just yet, Klopp is doing a good job.

And finally, I’d like to throw West Ham into the mix; they have had a great season. They started the season extremely well, shocking Arsenal at The Emirates, Liverpool at Anfield and then City at the Etihad. If only West Ham could have kept up those performances consistently throughout the season, then we could have seen them challenging Leicester and Spurs. Are West Ham title contenders for next season? Why not, no one predicted Leicester for this season, so I wouldn’t rule West Ham out.

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Will the big clubs be stronger next season?
Surely the top teams will be stronger next season. They will all strengthen significantly and I’m sure their teams will all look hungry in pre-season. But, with so many changes happening with the big teams, could it mean another shock Premier League triumph? I wouldn’t be surprised (well, I kind of would but you get what I mean) if Leicester, Spurs and West Ham all challenge, or maybe another team will? I know what we can expect – more action, unpredictability and shocks!

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Roll on next season!

Copyright © 2016 T. J. Blake
All rights reserved. 

Recommended TV Programme: Bates Motel

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but TV at the moment just isn’t all that great. Although many of us have Sky, Virgin and Netflix, we still struggle to find good TV programmes; well, I do anyway. 

With Game of Thrones back tomorrow (hallelujah!) it instantly improves the standards of TV at the moment, but that’s not to say all TV is bad. 

There is one TV programme that I have been watching since it first began back in 2013 and that’s Bates Motel. As you have probably guessed, it’s based around the characters in Robert Bloch’s novel and Alfred Hitchcok’s 1960 movie Psycho. The series is a prequel to the film. 

I knew just from seeing this advertised that it would either be a great watch or a cheesy disaster. Fortunately, it’s not the latter.  This modern recreation of Bates Motel is really fascinating. It’s enticing, unpredictable, eery and believable, due to the great actors and actresses starring. 

For me, Freddie Highmore (yes, the guy who was Charlie in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory) who plays Norman Bates is the key performer in Bates. His acting is brilliant. He has the ability to play an innocent yet disturbing eighteen year old so well that you can see how he feels, know exactly what he’s thinking and even though he’s psychotic, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. 

I cant recommend this enough. If you’re someone who wants a new programme to get into, Bates is one you need to start! 

Property article on the Mail

I came across this article on the Mail and what caught my attention most was the image – a trendy, smart looking type of new eco-house/pod. Architect Bill Dunster is looking to create these multiple pods across London and Bath. 

I personally don’t think it’s such a bad idea. With house prices rocketing and mortgages becoming harder to secure, I can see these small pods being the perfect alternative to paying astronomical rental fees. 

Yes the pods aren’t huge, but if you’re living alone or with your partner, it’s will surely be big enough. And anyway, you’d get a free parking space (or two)! 

Read the article here: http://dailym.ai/1SmO7Po

How time flies – why did I choose to self-publish?

How time flies – why did I choose to self-publish?
Time. It’s a funny thing. We have so much of it, but we still don’t always take advantage of it.
This blog post is just a quick post about why I chose to self-publish and how it’s changed me.

It’s been three years (on the 28th of March) since I self-published my first novel Endurance

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I remember working on it whilst at university, and I most of all remember having doubts about self-publishing Endurance – mostly because there was a niggling fear of what people would say or think about me for doing it. Once I adapted a hardness and carelessness for what people would say about me, my decision was made. The decision though even after that wasn’t simple, because then I needed to consider whether to self-publish Endurance after an edit, or to finish Endurance and then just see if I could get the story published.

However, when I thought about it, I knew that would be a challenge for anyone, let alone a nineteen year old university student. In the end, I thought ‘you know what? fuck it, I’m going to give it a go’ and decided to start my self-publishing career as T. J. Blake.
‘Why?’ I here you ask; because firstly, I could, but secondly, I wanted to see what people thought of my writing. I had a slight idea of what people thought of my work, because of my Creative Writing and English Language studies, but I wanted to know what more people thought; more than my family or my peers. This is exactly what self-publishing has done for me, it’s given me a great amount of experience, a huge boost in confidence and now I’m ready to self-publish more.

So here I am, nearly three years later with three books self-published, and a fourth & fifth in the works, I’m very happy with my writing progress.

Having self-published two out of three books from The Endurance Series (Endurance Endurance: Apocalypse) and standalone novel The Author, I can proudly say that I am looking forward to self-publishing my fourth novel DECEPTION, the finale of The Endurance Series (Endurance 3) and the many more books and book series to follow.

If you want to find out more about my books, then feel free to continue to ‘Books by T. J. Blake‘ or continue to my Amazon author page or even my Goodreads author page.

Endurance: Apocalypse - Out Now!                                          the-author-front-cover2

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Overuse of the exclamation mark: You’re having a laugh!!!! A little strict?!!

I’m sure you’ve heard today in the news – about the implemented changes to the use of the exclamation mark for primary school children. The newly introduced educational exclamation law means that for pupils across England, only phrases starting with “what” or “how” merit an exclamation mark.

I think that it’s always good to educate children on punctuation – it moulds our language and creates meaning. Without punctuation, people write extremely comical yet disturbing sentences.

“Let’s eat Mum!” & “Let’s eat, Mum!”

“I live for cooking my family and my dog” & “I live for cooking, my family, and my dog”

Unless you want to sound like a disturbing family orientated carnivore, knowing how to use punctuation is key!!! (Sorry!)

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I support punctuation education, but I don’t quite understand the specific focus on the exclamation mark. Of course, there needs to be limited use of exclamation marks and even question marks when it matters most – two examples being in education or professional  writing, such as copywriting. People alter their writing and even their speech in certain situations, and I believe that for children it is the same; they will accommodate their writing when at school compared to when writing on say, social media, text or messenger. But even if they don’t, then it is up to the teacher to educate them.

Anyway, I thought this was interesting and definitely has much more needed to be said on the matter.

My latest article ‘How has technology affected the relation between speech and writing?‘ I believe has a great cohesion with this subject, so have a read of that too!

Also, this news is all over the Internet, have a read about the new exclamation mark rules on the BBC and The Guardian.

BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03lrtwd

The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/education/shortcuts/2016/mar/07/new-exclamation-mark-rules-proof-the-government-wants-to-penalise-enthusiasm

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/07/children-use-exclamation-marks-department-education

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment and share this post!

Latest article: ‘How has technology affected the relation between speech and writing?’

In my latest articleHow has technology affected the relation between speech and writing?‘ I cover a number of topics; technology, smartphones, social media, instant messaging, speech and writing. The article primarily focuses on technology’s impact on our written and spoken communication; therefore looking at how the internet, various technological devices, texting and instant messaging has impacted our communicative approach.

Prescriptivist John Humphreys is renowned for his views on language. Over the years, he has spoken about language to the Daily Mail – in his discussion on the topic of texting, he argued, “They are destroying it: pillaging our punctuation; savaging our sentences; raping our vocabulary. And they must be stopped.”  (Humphrey, 2007).

Do you agree with Mr Humphreys? Continue to my article, see my opinion and feel free to express your own.

Update: Coming Soon!

We’re coming to the New Year now, so I thought I’d update you all on my projects.

As you may know, I haven’t self-published any books during this year – simply because I was too busy with my final year of University and I unexpectedly landed myself a Copywriting role at a Digital Marketing Company. However, I was planning to completely reduce the amount of writing I did during the year of 2015, but that didn’t really happen.

I have been writing – not as regularly as normal, but more than I anticipated. If you’ve been keeping up to date with this blog or my Twitter (@TJBlake93) or Facebook pages, then you’ll know that I have been working on my new thriller Deception, which I am hoping to self-publish some time next year. I have also done some work to Endurance 3, which could also be out next year, more likely 2017 though – but I will push for it to be out 2016, just for you!

Anyhow, thought I’d let you know that I am still alive (because I haven’t posted in a while) and working hard to get Deception written and self-published (or published!?) for you to all enjoy.
I have a good feeling about this, unlike Obi-Wan… That’s right, I’m VERY excited to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

COMING SOON

Deception (2016) (Thriller)

Endurance 3 (2016/17) (Mystery, Horror, Suspense, Dystopia, Science Fiction)

Oxford Dictionary names word of the year for 2015

If you’re a fan of Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, then you’ll be glad to hear they’ve have named the word of the year for 2015, and it’s an odd one. 

In 2013 ‘selfie’ was selected as name of the year and then it was ‘vape’ in 2014. This year though it’s not even a word, it’s an emoji – ‘😂’  aka the ‘tears of joy’ emoji. 

Very odd choice but to be fair, we’ve all used it! 

I much prefer the emojis 🐶 🎉 🤓 🍔 🖕🏼 😝 🙈 🍻 to be honest, but I am guilty of using 😂 every now and again. 

Here’s the Guardian’s take on word of the year – http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/17/oxford-dictionary-emoji-word-of-the-year-crying-face 

Working on Deception this evening – Chapter 17

After a long and tension filled chapter 16, Billy is left haunted but victorious. He doesn’t know the outcome of the events from the night before, but after heading back into his woodlands, it looks conclusive. The emotions he’s now feeling are new to him though. 

Knowing what’s about to come, Billy has no idea what is about to hit him. The book has been building to this point, and I cannot wait to execute this part of the story – Billy’s world is about to implode. 

#amwriting #amediting #Deception #novel #thriller #comingsoon

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015

So, the John Lewis Christmas advert for 2015 aired for the first time on Friday – many were impressed. For me though I was underwhelmed. 

Usually they build a story that entices the audience by following a specific character (child or animal) and draw people in. With such short amount of time, these adverts are able to quickly introduce you into a world and to a character. They then show you the situation and effectively conclude the advert with something endearing – which is always capable of drawing a tear or two. 

There’s always a message that pops up at the end and when it does, it usually makes you think or say ‘aww’. This man on the moon advert just didn’t do that for me. The message is great – to ensure no one is alone this Christmas – but I think it could have been executed more effectively. Maybe with a better idea and character? 

I get much more emotional over cartoon and real animals than a man on the moon. I suppose the fact that I couldn’t shift the thought of ‘he would be dead on the moon.’

Just my thoughts on the John Lewis Christmas advert for 2015.