SportsNet - May 2012
Chelsea equalled Liverpool in FA Cup titles with eight on Saturday in a match that pinned two clubs struggling in the Premier League.
Liverpool sought another piece of silverware in an under-achieving season, while Chelsea tried to gain momentum ahead of the big clash against the German giants Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final, as their only chance to qualify for next season.
Pride and honor were also on the line as both clubs stepped on the new Wembley pitch. An early strike from Ramires followed by a Didier Drogba second-half goal put Chelsea in a two-goal lead. All was good for the Blues until Andy Carroll scored for Liverpool.
Chelsea's complacent behavior after securing a lead almost cost them the match. However, brilliant reflexes from Petr Cech saved the day, as Chelsea held on to lift the FA cup title.
Robert Di Matteo completed a hat trick of Italian managers to win the FA Cup.
Meanwhile, Drogba became the first man to score in four FA Cup finals and declared, "That's the reason why I came here."
It is fascinating that abstract concepts like "frame of mind" or "momentum" can play such an integral role in the outcome of sports that are by nature tangible affairs. In the simplistic model of sports, one logically infers that when two teams face each other, the winner will naturally be the team with the superior combination of talent and tactics. If a team with inferior talent has superior tactics, then it has a great chance of defeating a more talented opponent. This is why sports emphasizes and ingrains a culture of teamwork and inspires a plethora of clichés from "there is no 'I' in team" to "we need to be on the same page/buy into the system".
An old classmate once suggested that I had played too many varsity football games without a helmet.
More than likely, he was jesting. But the hard-shell Riddell helmets we used in the '60s are not much different from the headgear NFL players use today. No cushion, lots of compressed air on impact and the false sense that, helmeted, one could run headfirst into a brick wall.
From Midget League through college, I was lucky never to have been knocked cold on a football field, but I got my "bell rung" countless times. In every case, a headfirst tackle caused me to see tinsel rainbows and hear television jingles. I always thought a concussion required one to leave the field woozy or worse. I never realized until today that those optical and aural effects were signs of concussions.
The 2012 NFL Draft is in the rear view mirror, but for burgeoning clubs like the Houston Texans, the expectations for the newest group of first-year players might play a pivotal role in the up-coming season.
Here is a look at the Texans' selections, and the how well GM Rick Smith did on draft day.
First Round selection, No. 26 overall: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois 6'3" 261 lbs; Expert Scout grade: 86.0
Mercilus is already drawing criticism about his game being a possible one-year wonder after he led the NCAA in sacks and forced fumbles last season in his first year as a starter. However, some see Mercilus's progress as just the start of perhaps break-out career, as he is expected to immediately contribute to the pass rush of last season's No. 2 ranked defense. Mercilus was probably the best overall player on the board and the Texans should feel fortunate to have had him available at No. 26.
Third Round selection, No. 68 overall: DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio St. 6'1" 211 lbs; Expert Scout grade: 71.50
After what happened during last few weeks and after lots of head scratching and permutations still I was not able to figure out who will lift the trophy. My heart says United all the way but the League table and City's form says something else.
So I thought the best would be to give the football lovers a preview and let them decide............
As last week we again look at matches that matter.
Let's get the ball rolling........
Arsenal vs Norwich
After impressive mid-week victories by Newcastle and Spurs suddenly the pressure seems to be on Arsenal. If Arsenal crack here then they are the ones to be blamed. Norwich have done exceedingly well in their first season after being newly promoted and they might well be looking at the next season. It's all to play for Arsenal. Come on Gunners........
Newcastle vs Man City