SportsNet - October 2012
In what proved out to be the most exciting and perhaps controversial game of the season so far, Manchester United defeated Chelsea 3-2 on Sunday to finally put an end to their winless streak at the daunting Stamford Bridge.
The Red Devils took a two goal lead in the first quarter of an hour, before Chelsea showcased a spirited comeback to level term just after the half-time.
What followed afterwards were two red-cards to the home team, before Javier Hernandez netted in the winner from an off-side position in the 75th minute.
Let us have a look at three things we learned from the game.
1. Ferguson Got His Tactics Right
Many a time over the past two or three seasons, Alex Ferguson has been guilty of committing horrendous tactical decisions in big games.
However, against Chelsea, the Scot deployed the perfect tactics to counter Chelsea’s attacking and fluent game.
He returned to the traditional 4-4-2, but with Rooney in much deeper role and with more emphasis on counter-attacks via Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fresh off their first road win in a long, long time. Meanwhile, the Raiders are coming off a beatdown of their division rival Chiefs. Which team holds the edge when they clash on Sunday? I see clear value with the road team, so let's dig a little deeper into this match-up.
Last week the look-ahead line on this game had the Raiders as field goal favorites. I was hoping we would see a similar number when the lines went back on the board on Sunday night, but the current line sits at -1 or -2 depending on where you shop (odds from SBRforum).
The reason I still like the Bucs at this number is because I believe the wrong team is favored. Even with the Raiders win over KC, I have Tampa as short favorites. If this is a close game, I feel a lot better about have a couple extra points in my pocket rather than the other way around.
Tampa Has an Offense?
The Baltimore Ravens were wiping themselves off the mat the last time we saw them in action. The Cleveland Browns are coming off their second consecutive home victory over the San Diego Chargers. Can the underdogs make it three in a row or are we primed for a smackdown from the divisional big brother? Let's take a closer look at why I like the Ravens to sweep the season series.
There isn't a whole lot of movement here (yet). The look-ahead line was Ravens -3 and it has re-opened at the same number this week. However, there are signs this line is moving as you have to lay a little bit of extra juice (odds from SBRforum). I won't be surprised if this comes off the three at some point.
Off a Bye Into a Bye
Unless you're a hardcore basketball fan, you would not recognize much of the Indiana Pacers' roster. This goes for their head coach Frank Vogel and new general manager Kevin Pritchard. With a 4-2 pre-season record, the Pacers have shown that youth, defense, and team ball can produce results. They should win the Central Division, unless Chicago's Derrick Rose makes a miraculous recovery, and finisesh second in the East.
Last year the Pacers finished 42-24 behind the Bulls in the Central Division and lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Miami Heat. The Pacer's average years of experience in the NBA is 2.2, not including David West and Danny Granger at nine and seven years respectively. The only new name that the average person might recognize is Donnie Walsh, who is back and replacing Larry Bird as President of Basketball Operations.
Critical for the Pacers to do well in the Eastern Conference will be their defense. Because they don't have an elite scorer, they will also have to rely on crashing the boards.
Four members of the United States women's national team made the cut as the 10-player shortlist was revealed for the FIFA women's Ballon d'Or, given to the best player in the world.
Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, all members of the gold-medal-winning team from this past summer's Olympics, are among the finalists, which also include Canadian star Christine Sinclair, reigning award-winner Homare Sawa of Japan and five-time Brazilian winner Marta. The other finalists were Japan's Miho Fukomoto and Aya Miyama and France's Camille Abily.
No American has won the award since Mia Hamm won the second of her consecutive honors in 2002. Wambach finished in third for the award in 2011, making her the first American to finish in the top three since Kristine Lilly finished in second in 2006. Current U.S women's veteran Shannon Boxx finished in third in 2005.
Former U.S women's coach Pia Sundhage, U.S Under-20 women's coach Steve Swanson and Canadian women's coach John Herdman are among the 10 coaches on the shortlist for FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football.