SportsNet - November 2012
The New Orleans Saints welcome The San Francisco 49ers to The Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday. The 49ers are coming off a humungous Monday Night drubbing of The Chicago Bears, while the Saints had one of their best defensive performances against The Raiders last week. Who will be the quarterback for the 49ers in this game, and what do we expect with two of the most adaptive and unconventional offenses in the NFL facing off?
49ers Offense vs. Saints Defense
Will it be Colin Kaepernick or Alex Smith under center for the 49ers on Sunday? Reports out of San Francisco seem to indicate that Kaepernick will start, but Jim Harbaugh refuses to name a starter, citing competitive advantage. This question may determine the game plan for Steve Spagnuolo’s Saints defense. The Bears decided to bring pressure and leave Kaepernick with a lot of 1 on 1 throws and easy reads.
From recent performances, it is clear that the current Arsenal team simply isn’t up to the standards that the fans, and indeed the footballing world expects.
Even after the transfer dealings of Wenger in the summer, it appears that it is still not enough... I know as well as anyone out there that it is still early days, but surely we should be witness to something more than the simply mediocre performance of recent games.
This begs the question, what is needed? It all lies in Arsenal’s defence. In January this is the area that Arsene seriously needs to work on. You can argue that the back four have been plagued by all manner of disruptions, (Sagna and Gibbs injured), however, even with the defence at full fitness, the gunners continue to throw away leads. Which, for a team of their calibre, is just not okay.
It was hoped that Steve Bould would help improve Arsenal’s defence (after so many successful years with the Gunners) however it has not happened, and they continue to make so many errors still.
In what turned out to be one of the less eventful matches at Villa Park, the Gunners left in a somewhat downbeat attitude, after being held to a 0-0 draw by the home side.
It must be said, however, that after playing in the Champions League just three days prior, Arsene had opted to rest quite a few regular names on the team sheet, and send out a heavily rotated Arsenal side. The first half was really a two sided game, with chances coming from both Villa and Arsenal. A goal was disallowed from a free kick (conceded by Szcezny after the Referee deemed that Arsenal’s number 1 was handling the ball out of his area).
The second half however swung heavily in Arsenal’s favour, although the Gunners couldn’t capitalise on the chances that presented themselves, quite openly.
Arsenal managed to pull a point away from this point, but will certainly be hoping for the 3 points when they face Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday.
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez stated in his news conference yesterday, that Chelsea veterans Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard look set to leave at the end of the 2012/13 season. There's been much speculation since the season started that these 2 England internationals would be on their way, with contract talks seemingly stalling. Both have said how bewildered they've been that the club has let contract talks go down to the last year of their respective contracts. In the past, Lampard has always had his contract renewed with 2 years left, but now it seems as if the club is prepared to let him and Cole leave.
The UCLA Bruins come into this game as the kings of Los Angeles after defeating the USC Trojans last week. That win guaranteed them a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford, Oregon, or Oregon State.
The Bruins were a mediocre 6-6 last year but have turned the tables this season. They key reason for this is the emergence of Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Brett Hundley, and the high-powered UCLA offense. Hundley has been stellar all season long with 25 Touchdowns and a completion percentage of 69.4% He has done everything Coach Mora has asked him to do and could very well lead UCLA back to the promised land.
The star of the UCLA offense however, is runningback Johnathan Franklin. Franklin, the senior from Los Angeles, has been one of the better backs in the country. He is 6th in the nation and 2nd in the Pac-12 in rushing yards with 1441.
This duo of a good passing and rushing game has been giving headaches to opposing defenses all season. The reason why UCLA has two losses though, is because they aren’t necessarily too good on the other side of the ball.