SportsNet - October 2012
REMEMBER Claudio Ranieri? He was an Italian manager who liked to change tactics on a weekly basis. Some weeks he would use a back three with wingbacks and two strikers, the next if would be 442, then he would use a back three with wingbacks and wide forwards either side of a single striker. He would also make changes several times within games, and to his starting lineups. For this, the British press dubbed him “The Tinker Man”. Is Roberto Mancini headed in the same direction?
The schedule makers have done plenty of favors for the Chicago Bears in the 2012 season, and this week they serve up another with a visit from the 1-5 Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton and company have been held below 20 points in four of their six games, and they don’t figure to turn things around against the turnover-happy Bears defense.
Whether the game turns out to be a blowout (as appears likely) or not, these three storylines will be worth watching on Sunday:
1. Will Cam Newton’s rushing ability open up the Bears’ defense?
Carolina’s only hope for a competitive game is for the Bears to struggle defending Cam Newton, the first dual-threat QB they’ve faced on the season. Newton is having a better year rushing than either of his struggling running backs, leading the team with 273 yards and three scores on the ground.
That said, the Bear defense is playing at such a high level that it’s hard to see them being thrown by this one extra wrinkle in the game plan. Brian Urlacher has been very effective in the past playing a spy role to shut down scramblers, and he and Lance Briggs are a good bet to keep Newton bottled up.
MARK Hughes likes a good leader in his sides. Someone who can defend well, and have a multiplier effect on those around him. Someone to lead by example by blocking a shot, or simply to talk team mates through situations. When to stay on their feet, when to foul, when not to foul, and so forth. It’s the reason John Terry was his number one target when he was City manager, and why QPR made bids last January for Alex and Chris Samba, both aerially and physically dominant players. It’s the reason why QPR targeted Michael Dawson this summer, agreeing a fee but not personal terms with the Tottenham captain. None of these deals materialised and the club were left rudderless.
Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi scored two goals when his side played against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday taking his tally to 73 goals in a calendar year bringing him close to Pele and Gerd Muller’s record.
Muller scored 85 goals in a calendar year who is currently holding the record followed by Pele with 75 goals. Messi is not bothered about breaking Pele’s or Muller’s record as his main aim is to secure three points for his team and he wants to contribute as much as he can.
"Breaking Pele's record is the least I'm worried about. We won at a difficult ground, and that was the most important thing” Messi said while speaking to the reporters after the match against Vallecano.
The Argentine International will collect his Golden boot on Monday for being the top scorer in Europe last season. Messi did not leave an opportunity to thank his team-mates as he believes it couldn’t have been possible with their continues support.
"I want to thank my team-mates, without them I wouldn't have been able to win the prize" Messi said.
Nice win for Notre Dame, but let’s not get too carried away.
Oklahoma is given more unwarranted cachet than Donald Trump. Seriously, why are either relevant at all anymore?
Ranked eighth coming into the contest, the Sooners’ main claim to fame was demolishing a Texas squad that couldn’t tackle your mom’s mother. Oklahoma can rack up some points, play a somewhat entertaining, uptempo offense and usually have tons of talent on defense. It also has Bob Stoops in all his smarmy, disdainful glory.
But, really, when were the Sooners last truly worthy of being considered legit contenders in the national-title hunt. They won in 2000, got embarrassed in two title games after that, and, though BCS bowl regulars, they ain’t exactly having anyone quaking in their cleats. Well, save for the Longhorns … and maybe the oddsmakers in Vegas.
The Irish, heavy underdogs despite being ranked three spots higher, escaped Norman, Okla., Saturday night with a 30-13 victory that was closer than the score would indicate, but it was a solid effort against a decent foe. It just wasn’t worthy of increasing ND’s image at the moment.