SportsNet - October 2012
Arsenal's Gervinho, Giroud And Podolski Struggling To Replace Van Persie: Examining Gunners' Problems in Attack
After years being undermined by a suspect defense, Arsenal's problems this season are due to a blunt attack. The Gunners are owners of the Premier League's best defense, but are struggling to find the right combination and balance up front.
New signings Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have struggled to replace the prolific qualities of Robin van Persie. That is stifling Arsenal's scoring potential, as is a lack of continuity.
Manager Arsene Wenger has not yet settled on his preferred combinations along the forward line. As much as Giroud, Podolski and the wildly inconsistent Gervinho have struggled individually, they showed promise as a trio earlier in the campaign.
The three-man produced some effective combination play up front. However, they have only been picked together four times this season.
One of those three occasions proved a success in Arsenal's 3-1 away win over West Ham. The game saw Giroud net his first and only English Premier League goal, following a precise cross from Podolski.
This weekend, the landscape of not just televised soccer in America, but the cable sports landscape itself changed dramatically when NBC made a stunning bid to win comprehensive, exclusive rights to the English Premier League. NBC's three year deal starts next year with the 2013-14 season and runs through the 2015-16 season.
First, the staggering numbers. NBC's financial commitment, estimated at $83 million dollars per year, (or about $250 million over the course of the three year contract) is more than TRIPLE what Fox has paid for EPL rights in their most recent agreement. Stunning. Sports rights fees are going up everywhere because sports is one of the last things in the DVR world you have to watch live... but a 300% plus increase for soccer from England is something only the most optimistic of soccer fanatics or British culture enthusiasts could have ever imagined.
NBC will have the rights to all 380 English Premier League games each year, which means other contenders like Fox Soccer, ESPN, and the upstart beIn Sport are all left out in the cold.
We all watched Hard Knocks, and I think we all came away with the same opinion. The Fish will be terrible this year. They lacked talent all over the field, from receiver to the defensive front seven. And then they traded away their only legitimate corner in the middle of camp. I was thinking 2, maybe 3 wins. At least they'll get a great pick.
On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins took the New York Jets, a division rival, behind the woodshed and I had to cover my eyes for the rest. Although I did laugh a little when Sanchez threw that Red Zone pick; on their way to 1 for 4 in the scoring area.
This is the same Jets team that went into Foxboro last week, and forced overtime with the Patriots in a highly competitive game that featured numerous bright spots for Gang Green. This against a Patriots team with Hall of Famers in the organization and well deserved respect around the league. Does this mean that in Week 13, when Pats travel to South Florida there's a chance the Dolphins could be favored? The same Dolphins we saw in Hard Knocks?
Chelsea vs. Manchester United Analysis: Ferguson's Tactical Setup Cleverly Exploited Chelsea's Weakness
Unfortunately, the post-match analysis of a terrific game has been and will continue to be dominated by discussions of the officials. I’ll leave the debate over the decisions to those elsewhere but it is impossible to escape the conclusion that they ruined a finely balanced game. There could be no arguments over Branislav Ivanovic’s sending off but the second booking for Fernando Torres after he was caught by Jonny Evans (yes Torres probably should have been sent off for a stamp on Tom Cleverley before half-time but two wrongs don’t make a right) and the failure to spot an offside in Manchester United’s winner altered the path of the game. We’ll never know what would have transpired without these errors but we can assuredly state that the game’s dynamic was changed significantly.
Chelsea lost to Manchester United 2-3 in a controversial affair at Stamford Bridge on 28th Oct 2012. For United, Van Persie and Hernandez chipped in with the goals and they were helped by a David Luiz own goal. Chelsea got Juan Mata and Ramires on the score-sheet.
United started the match with added vigour and they got their reward albeit from shocking defending from Chelsea defenders, David Luiz in particular. United raced away to a two goal lead against the Blues and looked dangerous every time they bombed forward. Chelsea looked shaken but finally woke up to register a wave of attacks against United. David De Gea made a strong case for the goal keeping spot at United after he made save after saves against a rampant Chelsea side. Juan Mata curled an unstoppable free-kick to bring the Blues back into the match just before half-time.