It's a Knockaert

The ramblings of a football obsessive and Game of Thrones nerd.


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My Top 100 Footballers 2016

It’s that time of year when I cast aside all essays and assignments, and bring to you my totally unscientific, totally biased, top 100 footballers list. Prepare for hot takes.

100. Aymeric Laporte – Athletic Bilbao and France (NEW)

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99. Serge Aurier – Paris Saint-Germain and Ivory Coast (NEW)

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98. Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City and Algeria (NEW)

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97. Daniele De Rossi – Roma and Italy (Down 30)

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96. Mateo Kovacic – Real Madrid and Croatia (NEW)

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95. Mario Gotze – Borussia Dortmund and Germany (Down 40)

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94. Samir Handanovic – Inter Milan and Slovenia (Down 18)

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93. Yaya Toure – Manchester City and Ivory Coast (Down 58)

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92. Adrien Rabiot – Paris Saint-Germain and France (NEW)

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91. Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea and Spain (Down 50)

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90. Blaise Matuidi – Paris Saint-Germain and France (Down 24)

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89. Vincent Kompany (Down 26)

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88. Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan and Italy (NEW)

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87. Ever Banega – Inter Milan and Argentina (NEW)

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86. Yannick Carrasco – Atletico Madrid and Belgium (NEW)

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85. Edinson Cavani – Paris Saint-Germain and Uruguay (Down 32)

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84. Saul Niguez – Atletico Madrid and Spain (NEW)

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83. Fernandinho – Manchester City and Brazil (NEW)

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82. Dani Carvajal – Real Madrid and Spain (NEW)

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81. Douglas Costa – Bayern Munich and Brazil (Down 35)

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80. Nemanja Matic – Chelsea and Serbia (Down 21)

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79. Filipe Luis – Atletico Madrid and Brazil (NEW)

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78. Samuel Umtiti – Barcelona and France (NEW)

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77. Juan Mata – Manchester United and Spain (Down 27)

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76. Thibaut Courtois – Chelsea and Belgium (Down 56)

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75. Julian Weigl – Borussia Dortmund and Germany (NEW)

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74. Gabi – Atletico Madrid and Spain (NEW)

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73. Radja Nainggolan – Roma and Belgium (Up 4)

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72. Marek Hamsik – Napoli and Slovakia (Up 3)

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71. Claudio Marchisio – Juventus and Italy (Up 3)

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70. Mauro Icardi – Inter Milan and Argentina (Up 2)

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69. Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus and Italy (Up 1)

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68. Alexandre Lacazette – Lyon and France (Up 13)

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67. Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Manchester United and Armenia (Down 7)

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66. Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich and Germany (NEW)

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65. Mohamed Salah – Roma and Egypt (NEW)

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64. Philipp Lahm – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 47)

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63. David De Gea – Manchester United and Spain (Down 12)

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62. Miralem Pjanic – Juventus and Bosnia (Down 19)

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61. Mats Hummels – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 4)

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60. Andrea Barzagli – Juventus and Italy (NEW)

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59. Arjen Robben – Bayern Munich and Netherlands (Down 44)

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58. Paul Pogba – Manchester United and France (Down 28)

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57. Javier Mascherano – Barcelona and Argentina (Down 24)

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56. James Rodriguez – Real Madrid and Colombia (Down 32)

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55. Marco Reus – Borussia Dortmund and Germany (Down 28)

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54. Roberto Firmino – Liverpool and Brazil (Up 33)

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53. Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea and Spain (Up 8)

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52. Raphael Varane – Real Madrid and France (Up 27)

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51. Franck Ribery – Bayern Munich and France (Up 11)

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50. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool and Brazil (Up 50)

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49. Isco – Real Madrid and Spain (Down 7)

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48. Gerard Pique – Barcelona and Spain (Down 4)

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47. Xabi Alonso – Bayern Munich and Spain (Up 5)

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46. Angel Di Maria – Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina (Down 27)

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45. Keylor Navas – Real Madrid and Costa Rica (Down 17)

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44. Harry Kane – Tottenham and England (Up 46)

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43. Dimitri Payet – West Ham United and France (NEW)

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42. Pepe – Real Madrid and Portugal (NEW)

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41. Ilkay Gundogan – Manchester City and Germany (Down 7)

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40. Thiago – Bayern Munich and Spain (Up 24)

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39. David Silva – Manchester City and Spain (Down 23)

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38. Ivan Rakitic – Barcelona and Croatia (Down 7)

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37. Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus and Italy (Up 58)

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36. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid and France (Up 2)

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35. Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 25)

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34. Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal and Chile (Up 14)

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33. Paulo Dybala – Juventus and Argentina (Up 55)

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32. N’golo Kante – Chelsea and France (NEW)

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31. Jan Oblak – Atletico Madrid and Slovenia (NEW)

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30. Thiago Silva – Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil (Down 16)

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29. Marco Verratti – Paris Saint-Germain and Italy (Down 3)

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28. David Alaba – Bayern Munich and Austria (Down 3)

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27. Koke – Atletico Madrid and Spain (Up 12)

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26. Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid and Spain (Up 21)

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25. Diego Costa – Chelsea and Spain (Up 29)

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24. Jerome Boateng – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 2)

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23. Marcelo – Real Madrid and Brazil (Up 17)

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22. Arturo Vidal – Bayern Munich and Chile (Down 4)

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21. Gonzalo Higuain – Juventus and Argentina (Up 15)

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20. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund and Gabon (Up 12)

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19. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Manchester United and Sweden (Down 10)

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18. Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus and Italy (NEW)

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17. Diego Godin – Atletico Madrid and Uruguay (Up 12)

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16. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City and Argentina (Down 11)

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15. Mesut Ozil – Arsenal and Germany (Down 3)

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14. Andres Iniesta – Barcelona and Spain (Down 8)

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13. Gareth Bale – Real Madrid and Wales (Up 36)

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12. Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid and France (Up 33)

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11. Sergio Busquets – Barcelona and Spain (Down 3)

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10. Eden Hazard – Chelsea and Belgium (Up 13)

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9. Manuel Neuer – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 2)

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8. Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City and Belgium (Up 29)

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7. Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich and Poland (Up 6)

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6. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid and Portugal (Down 2)

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5. Neymar – Barcelona and Brazil (Down 3)

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4. Toni Kroos – Real Madrid and Germany (Up 17)

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3. Luka Modric – Real Madrid and Croatia (Up 8)

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2. Luis Suarez – Barcelona and Uruguay (Up 1)

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1. Lionel Messi – Barcelona and Argentina

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Fin.


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Five Players Leicester Should Sign

Better writers than me have waxed lyrical about my miraculous Leicester City, our once-in-a-lifetime season, and the superb players who made it happen. That’s done now, though, and it’s time to start looking to the future. Leicester are in a very strong position in this summer’s transfer market, with Champions League football to offer, and the new TV deal meaning they can offer higher wages and transfer fees than they ever could before. We will never have a better chance to attract top players to the club. However, Claudio has said he isn’t interested in signing established world class players who would disrupt the harmonious atmosphere among the squad. So, here are five promising young players who would greatly improve our squad, but still have it all to prove.

Wissam Ben Yedder – Toulouse

Ben Yedder has quietly been one of the best strikers in Ligue 1 for the least few seasons, and scored 17 goals this season for a Toulouse side that only avoided relegation with a dramatic final day escape. He has stated that he will look to move on this summer, and with 62 league goals in his last four seasons, and still being only 25, there will be many interested sides. Lyon and Napoli have been linked, but Leicester have the attraction of playing in the most popular and richest league in the world. Clearly a prolific finisher, he is also gifted creatively and contributes to build up play. He would take some of the goalscoring responsibility off Jamie Vardy’s shoulders.

Expected fee: £10-15million

Likelihood: 5/10

 

Sime Vrsaljko – Sassuolo

Although every Leicester player played out of their skin last season, if you had to pick a weak spot, it would be at right-back. Danny Simpson was perfectly adequate last season, but world class form doesn’t last forever – and then there’s the small matter of him being convicted for domestic assault. Clearly, a new right back should be a high priority, and Vrsaljko has been making waves in Serie A for some time now. A whole host of clubs are after him, including Juventus, Inter, Napoli and even Barcelona, but Leicester could definitely get him with the right offer.

Expected fee: £8-12million

Likelihood: 4/10

 

Juan Quintero – Porto

Two years ago, Quintero was one of the hottest young players in the world, but since then his stock has plummeted, with injury problems, failing to get into the Porto team, and this season’s disappointing loan to Rennes. However, go back a bit further, and you find an incredibly skilled playmaker with a fantastic long shot and free kick ability. Other than Riyad Mahrez, Leicester don’t have any players who can spring a great piece of skill out of nowhere, and if anyone can revitalise a career not going to plan, it’s Claudio Ranieri. Still only 23, Quintero plays best as a number 10, but can also play on the wings, a position than needs strengthening.

Expected fee: £3-6million

Likelihood: 6/10

 

Niklas Sule – Hoffenheim

A tall, strong, and quick centre back, Sule’s no-nonsense style of defending make him a perfect protege for Huth and Morgan to take under their wing. Neither of our current two centre backs are getting any younger, and at just 20 Sule could be the rock in our defence for the next decade or longer. He has been strongly linked with Dortmund as a replacement for Mats Hummels, and with Liverpool due to the Klopp connection, so Leicester would have to fight hard if they wanted to get him.

Expected fee: £15-20million

Likelihood: 3/10

 

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Bayern Munich

Another 20-year-old from the Bundesliga, Hojbjerg looks set to leave Bayern this summer to try his luck elsewhere. A defensive midfielder who has played out wide and already plays for Denmark’s senior team, he is currently on loan at Schalke where he struggled initially, but is ending the season a regular in the team. A greatly versatile player, with excellent attacking and defensive qualities, he can fill in at a number of positions but would mainly be a good rotational option for the centre of midfield.

Expected fee: £7-12million

Likelihood: 7/10

 

Possible line-up:

Schmeichel

Vrsaljko – Morgan – Huth – Fuchs

Mahrez – Kante – Drinkwater – Quintero

Vardy – Ben Yedder

Subs: Schwarzer, Sule, Chilwell, Hojbjerg, Albrighton, Gray, Okazaki


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Peep Show: Every Episode Ranked

Peep Show: the definitive comedy for the socially awkward individual with no direction in life, so no wonder it’s been such a success with the British public. Iconic characters like Super Hans and Johnson, and the polar opposite main characters Mark and Jeremy have provided ridiculous – and hilarious – escapades beyond counting. Here’s my personal ranking of every one of the 54 episodes we have been blessed with.

54. S8E6 – Quantocking II

Mark: Well, me and Dobby make a great team… Opposites attract!

Jez: No they don’t. Not really. That’s just something scientists and people in horrible relationships say.

53. S9E3 – Threeism

52. S9E1 – The William Morris Years

51. S9E4 – Mole-Mapping

Fuck tennis. It’s basically just bullshit ping-pong for giants.

50. S8E2 – Business Secrets of the Pharaohs

This must be the greatest quantity of squeezable mustard ever present at a literary lunch.

49. S5E5 – Jeremy’s Manager

48. S5E4 – Jeremy’s Mummy

Super Hans: It’s a pisser though, innit – cancer. They should find a fucking cure.

Mark: I think they’re trying.

Super Hans: Yeah, sure they are. They should pull their fucking fingers out. It’s important, Mark.

47. S9E2 – Gregory’s Beard

I need a… norm. And you, well you’re a real meat and potatoes, straight up and down, Beef Wellington, don’t trust the Argies, dick in the vagina, Cheddar Cheese and Chicken Tikka Masala man.

46. S9E6 – Are We Going To Be Alright?

Love’s hard mate. Fucking hard. Doesn’t work… breaks. But you’ve got to give it a go. Norwich are never going to win the league, but they still turn up every week don’t they? The pricks.

45. S8E5 – Chairman Mark

44. S7E6 – New Year’s Eve

I would have found that funnier if I hadn’t been literally weeping in fear.

43. S2E4 – University Challenge

Jez: Wow, free chocco! Tasty!

Super Hans: The secret ingredient is crime.

42. S3E4 – Sistering

Looking at porn is like lying to Parliament. It used to be wrong but now it’s all a big laugh.

41. S1E6 – Funeral

40. S8E3 – The Love Bunker

Simon: Is this a normal night for you?

Mark: Yeah, yeah, me and my guys, and our cannabis.

39. S5E3 – Jeremy’s Broke

I just want to assure you that I am not the same as the rest of these feckless cumshedders.

38. S3E6 – Quantocking

37. S1E1 – Warring Factions

I tell you, you find out who your real friends are when you set fire to Hampton Court maze because you can’t take any more of your husband’s shit.

36. S2E1 – Dance Class

Jez: There’s only so much happiness in the world and they’re hoarding it all!

Mark: That’s not how happiness works! (It completely is.)

35. S9E5 – Kid Farm

Butter the toast, eat the toast, shit the toast. God, life’s relentless.

34. S4E4 – Handyman

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And even if it is broke, just ignore it and maybe it’ll be sort of OK.

33. S6E1 – Jeremy at JLB

32. S6E3 – Jeremy in Love

Dobby: the anxious self-hating man’s crumpet. But probably best if I never ever say that to her.

31. S6E6 – Das Boot

Boy to geek to drone.That’s the Corrigan trajectory.

30. S5E6 – Mark’s Women

You’ve been going around thinking thoughts your whole life, and look where that’s got you.

29. S8E4 – Big Mad Andy

Jez: I’ve got medical training, I’ve got a certificate.

Mark: I gave you the certificate. It’s utterly meaningless.

Jez: In a way, aren’t all so-called qualifications meaningless?

Mark: No.

28. S1E3 – On The Pull

27. S6E4 – The Affair

In, fire thirty percent of the workforce, new logo, boom, out. You are now a fully trained management consultant.

26. S1E2 – The Interview

Brown for first course, white for pudding. Brown is savoury, white’s the treat. Of course I’m the one who’s laughing because I actually love brown toast.

25. S3E2 – Sectioning

Jez: People like lager and nuts.

Super Hans: People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis. You can’t trust people, Jeremy.

24. S1E5 – Dream Job

I’ve made a psycho call to the woman I love, I kicked a dog to death, and now I’m going to pepper spray an acquaintance.

23. S2E6 – Wedding

22. S5E2 – Spin War

The Big Beat Manifesto goes “Big Beats are the best, Get high all the time”.

21. S1E4 – Mark Makes a Friend

Will you walk, like some stupid .. duck? Or will you drive, like Clarkson?

20. S3E1 – Mugging

Yeah. Take that Stu, you lump of monk. God didn’t protect you from my big fist.

19. S7E4 – Nether Zone

Times are hard, Jeremy. I’m selling my clarinet on eBay, I’m making my own hummus.

18. S5E1 – Burgling

17. S4E3 – Gym

16. S2E3 – Local Hero

Poor me. Poor me. Pour me another drink.

15. S7E1 – St Hospitals

Plumbings just lego, init? Water lego.

14. S8E1 – Jeremy Therapised

Well played Gerard, you couldn’t beat me on Earth so now you’re shitting on me from heaven, like a dead jealous pigeon.

13. S2E5 – The Man Show

Jez: No Mark. I only told you for a laugh. You promised not to tell.

Mark: Hitler promised not to invade Czechoslovakia, Jeremy. Welcome to the real world!

12. S7E2 – Man Jam

Need to talk business, babe, get yourself a drink. Mine’s a large one… as you fucking know!

11. S7E3 – A Beautiful Mind

10. S6E5 – The Party

Jez: Maybe call her? Give her some flavour.

Mark: What, like start a message and then say “Stop it Julio. Get your own cocaine, I’ve got too much tit in my mouth?”

9. S6E2 – The Test

Just because I’m dealing a little bit of drugs it does not make me a drug dealer!

8. S3E5 – Jurying

Jez: Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are just Frosties for wankers.

Mark: Frosties are just Cornflakes for people who can’t face reality.

7. S4E2 – Conference

Oh he is good. Taboo busting, semi-incomprehensible pep-talk.

6. S7E5 – Seasonal Beatings

5. S2E2 – Jeremy Makes It

Oh come on lads, let’s lose the cone. I’m a somebody now, there’s no need for a cone.

4. S3E3 – Shrooming

Is that normal pooing you’re doing, Mark?

3. S4E1 – Sophie’s Parents

You’re not James Bond, you’re disgusting.

2. S4E6 – Wedding

Yeah, yeah, fine. Bit of a wobble. I just proposed to a woman in a coffee shop and tried to get myself run over.

 1. S4E5 – Holiday


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The Best Tweets About the US Election

As the future begins to look more and more like a Donald Trump-led dystopia, you may find yourself plunging into gloom and despair. The situation is desperate, as everyone’s least favourite Oompa Loompa faces off against the zodiac killer Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination, and Hillary Clinton seems certain to beat Bernie Sanders, the most popular old white man since Santa Claus, for the Democrat nomination. However, at times like this, laughter can be the best medicine, and the funniest people on Twitter are, as always, doing their best to keep us laughing through the tears.


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A Song of Ice and Fire: A Quote for Every Chapter

To make the seemingly unending wait for The Winds of Winter a little more interesting, I’m going to post one quote for every chapter of the five existing books. Hopefully updated every day, but we’ll see.

A Game of Thrones

Prologue

The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen. No human metal had gone into the forging of that blade. It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on. There was a faint blue shimmer to the thing, a ghost-light that played around its edges, and somehow Will knew it was sharper than any razor.

Ser Waymar met him bravely. “Dance with me then.” He lifted his sword high over his head, defiant. His hands trembled from the weight of it, or perhaps from the cold. Yet in that moment, Will thought, he was a boy no longer, but a man of the Night’s Watch.
Bran I
Bran saw his father’s face change, saw the other men exchange glances. He loved Jon with all his heart at that moment. Even at seven, Bran understood what his brother had done. The count had come right only because Jon had omitted himself. He had included the girls, included even Rickon, the baby, but not the bastard who bore the surname Snow, the name that custom decreed be given to all those in the north unlucky enough to be born with no name of their own.
Catelyn I
She could see the rippling deep within the steel, where the metal had been folded back on itself a hundred times in the forging. Catelyn had no love for swords, but she could not deny that Ice had its own beauty. It had been forged in Valyria, before the Doom had come to the old Freehold, when the ironsmiths had worked their metal with spells as well as hammers. Four hundred years old it was, and as sharp as the day it was forged.
Daenerys I
The Dothraki called that land Rhaesh Andahli, the land of the Andals. In the Free Cities, they talked of Westeros and the Sunset Kingdoms. Her brother had a simpler name. “Our land,” he called it. The words were like a prayer with him. If he said them enough, the gods were sure to hear. “Ours by blood right, taken from us by treachery, but ours still,ours forever. You do not steal from the dragon, oh, no. The dragon remembers.”
Eddard I
“I was with her when she died,” Ned reminded the king. “She wanted to come home, to rest beside Brandon and Father.” He could hear her still at times. Promise me, she had cried, in a room that smelled of blood and roses. Promise me, Ned. The fever had taken her strength and her voice had been faint as a whisper, but when he gave her his word, the fear had gone out of his sister’s eyes.
Jon I
“Let me give you some counsel, bastard,” Lannister said. “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
Catelyn II
Catelyn looked to her husband. “Now we truly have no choice. You must be Robert’s Hand. You must go south with him and learn the truth.” She saw at once that Ned had reached a very different conclusion. “The only truths I know are here. The south is a nest of adders I would do better to avoid.”
Arya I


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My Top 100 Footballers 2015

You know the drill.

100. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool and Brazil (NEW)

99. Domenico Berardi – Sassuolo and Italy (NEW)

98. Paulo Dybala – Juventus and Argentina (NEW)

97. Oscar – Chelsea and Brazil (Down 27)

96. Mathieu Valbuena – Lyon and France (No move)

95. Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus and Italy (Down 8)

94. Raheem Sterling – Manchester City and England (NEW)

93. Alex Teixeira – Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil (NEW)

92. Hulk – Zenit St Petersburg and Brazil (NEW)

91. Yevhen Konoplyanka – Sevilla and Ukraine (NEW)

90. Harry Kane – Tottenham and England (NEW)

89. Kurt Zouma – Chelsea and France (NEW)

88. Miranda – Inter Milan and Brazil (NEW)

87. Roberto Firmino – Liverpool and Brazil (Down 27)

86. Javier Pastore – Paris St Germain and Argentina (NEW)

85. Carlos Bacca – AC Milan and Colombia (NEW)

84. Nolito – Celta Vigo and Spain (NEW)

83. Pablo Zabaleta – Manchester City and Argentina (Down 27)

82. Ricardo Rodriguez – Wolfsburg and Switzerland (Down 27)

81. Alexandre Lacazette – Lyon and France (NEW)

80. Grzegorz Krychowiak – Sevilla and Poland (NEW)

79. Raphael Varane – Real Madrid and France (Down 12)

78. Arda Turan – Barcelona and Turkey (Down 12)

77. Radja Nainggolan – Roma and Belgium (Up 23)

76. Samir Handanovic – Inter Milan and Slovenia (Down 2)

75. Marek Hamsik – Napoli and Slovakia (Down 7)

74. Claudio Marchisio – Juventus and Italy (NEW)

73. Daniel Alves – Barcelona and Brazil (NEW)

72. Mauro Icardi – Inter Milan and Argentina (NEW)

71. Hugo Lloris – Tottenham and France (Down 14)

70. Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus and Italy (Down 7)

69. Petr Cech – Arsenal and Czech Republic (NEW)

68. Carlos Tevez – Boca Juniors and Argentina (Down 16)

67. Daniele De Rossi – Roma and Italy (Down 9)

66. Blaise Matuidi – Paris St Germain and France (Up 9)

65. Shinji Kagawa – Borussia Dortmund and Japan (NEW)

64. Thiago Alcantara – Bayern Munich and Spain (NEW)

63. Vincent Kompany – Manchester City and Belgium (Up 1)

62. Franck Ribery – Bayern Munich and France (Down 15)

61. Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea and Spain (Down 11)

60. Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Borussia Dortmund and Armenia (NEW)

59. Nemanja Matic – Chelsea and Serbia (Down 8)

58. Javi Martinez – Bayern Munich and Spain (Down 9)

57. Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund and Germany (Down 17)

56. Mehdi Benatia – Bayern Munich and Morocco (Down 11)

55. Mario Gotze – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 26)

54. Diego Costa – Chelsea and Spain (Down 29)

53. Edinson Cavani – Paris St Germain and Uruguay (Down 15)

52. Xabi Alonso – Bayern Munich and Spain (Down 4)

51. David De Gea – Manchester United and Spain (Up 3)

50. Juan Mata – Manchester United and Spain (Down 4)

49. Gareth Bale – Real Madrid and Wales (Down 13)

48. Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal and Chile (Down 9)

47. Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid and Spain (Down 13)

46. Douglas Costa – Bayern Munich and Brazil (NEW)

45. Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid and France (Up 33)

44. Gerard Pique – Barcelona and Spain (NEW)

43. Miralem Pjanic – Roma and Bosnia (Down 2)

42. Isco – Real Madrid and Spain (Down 19)

41. Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea and Spain (Down 24)

40. Marcelo – Real Madrid and Brazil (Up 41)

39. Koke – Atletico Madrid and Spain (Down 13)

38. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid and France (Down 3)

37. Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City and Belgium (Up 39)

36. Gonzalo Higuain – Napoli and Argentina (Up 29)

35. Yaya Toure – Manchester City and Ivory Coast (Down 14)

34. Ilkay Gundogan – Borussia Dortmund and Germany (Up 45)

33. Javier Mascherano – Barcelona and Argentina (Down 1)

32. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund and Gabon (Up 59)

31. Ivan Rakitic – Barcelona and Croatia (No move)

30. Paul Pogba – Juventus and France (Up 31)

29. Diego Godin – Atletico Madrid and Uruguay (Down 7)

28. Keylor Navas – Real Madrid and Costa Rica (NEW)

27. Marco Reus – Borussia Dortmund and Germany (Up 6)

26. Marco Verratti – Paris St Germain and Italy (Up 57)

25. David Alaba – Bayern Munich and Austria (Up 18)

24. James Rodriguez – Real Madrid and Colombia (Up 13)

23. Eden Hazard – Chelsea and Belgium (Up 7)

22. Jerome Boateng – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 4)

21. Toni Kroos – Real Madrid and Germany (Down 9)

20. Thibaut Courtois – Chelsea and Belgium (Down 1)

19. Angel Di Maria – Paris St Germain and Argentina (Down 4)

18. Arturo Vidal – Bayern Munich and Chile (Up 2)

17. Philipp Lahm – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 13)

16. David Silva – Manchester City and Spain (Up 11)

15. Arjen Robben – Bayern Munich and Holland (Down 1)

14. Thiago Silva – Paris St Germain and Brazil (Down 4)

13. Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich and Poland (Up 11)

12. Mesut Ozil – Arsenal and Germany (Up 32)

11. Luka Modric – Real Madrid and Croatia (Down 2)

10. Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich and Germany (Up 6)

9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Paris St Germain and Sweden (Down 2)

8. Sergio Busquets – Barcelona and Spain (Up 5)

7. Manuel Neuer – Bayern Munich and Germany (Down 2)

6. Andres Iniesta – Barcelona and Spain (Up 2)

5. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City and Argentina (Up 1)

4. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid and Portugal (Down 2)

3. Luis Suarez – Barcelona and Uruguay (No move)

2. Neymar – Barcelona and Brazil (Up 9)

1. Lionel Messi – Barcelona and Argentina (No move)


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Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

I saw quite a bit of hype for this book on Twitter and was really excited to read it. It had been built up as a story featuring a fantastic antihero in the titular Locke Lamora. What I found wasn’t by any means a bad book, it just wasn’t what I had expected it to be.

Lies is set in the city of Camorr, a city utilising canals to get around, and follows Locke Lamora and his band of thieves, the Gentlemen Bastards. They carry out impossibly complex heists on the wealthy merchants of Camorr, and the opening of the book follows their latest one. This is great fun to read about, but sadly, this isn’t the main storyline of the book. Locke and his band certainly have the potential to be great antiheroes, but they find themselves in the position of just the normal kind of hero when they come up against a rather generic Bad Guy™. The rest of the story then plays out in a fairly predictable, albeit bloody, fashion, leaving me wishing they could just go back to their heists.

There’s also a second story going on, telling us the origins of Locke and his friend Jean. I found that these interludes took me out of the story quite jarringly, and not much of note really happens in any of them, although I did enjoy the character of Chains, and they gave some more development to Locke and Jean.

The real triumph of this book is the setting. Camorr is a fascinating and hugely complex city, and I’m disappointed that the sequel isn’t also set there, although hopefully Tal Verrar will be just as rich.

Much has been made of Locke’s wit, and his great friendship with Jean, but I didn’t find him a particularly memorable character. He has a couple of cool lines, but overall I’m left hoping for more in the next book, which I will be reading as this world has plenty of promise.

Rating: 12/20

Confused Direwolf