SportsNet - December 2012
On Sunday, Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by a robust Swansea City side.
The afternoon started on a bright note for the Red Devils after Patrice Evra headed in a Robin van Persie corner in the 16th minute, before Swansea’s Spanish wizard, Michu, equalized around the half-hour mark.
United went on to heavily dominate the second-half but just couldn’t seem to find a way through the resilience defensive wall put up by the Swans.
Thus, here are the three things that we learned from the stalemate at the Liberty Stadium.
United’s Wingers Failed to Exert the Required Impact
Against Swansea, both of United’s wingmen, namely Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, mustered horrendous displays for the Red Devils.
Not only did Young give away possession way too easily in the final third, the former Aston Villa star also failed to protect Patrice Evra on the left flank.
Valencia, on the other hand, was equally ineffective against the Jacks as the Ecuador international failed to produce even one accurate cross and was completely shut out by the young Ben Davies.
Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa
Much was made of Chelsea's trip to the far east, the club world cup being hailed as a distraction from the premier league. As it turned out, Chelsea lost to Corinthians 0-1 in the final and a seemingly easy chance to win a trophy was spurned.
Tired Chelsea legs were up against a youthful Aston Villa side that were unbeaten in last six matches, including a 3-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield. Chelsea had already fallen way behind the Manchester clubs, who played their matches in Chelsea's absence.
Chelsea managed to win the game 8-0 thanks to superb performances from every player. For once, every trick, every move came-off. Seven different players managed to get on the score-sheet for Chelsea, including a brace from Ramires. Fernando Torres began the match in an energised fashion, directing a perfect header from Azpillicueta's cross in the third minute itself. Villa fought back but after David Luiz dispatched a Drogba-esque free-kick into the net, Villa must have shuddered. An expertly taken free-kick from Luiz laid the terms of the contest in no unclear terms.
Entering Tuesdays Christmas Day matchup between the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers both teams are coming off gritty wins.
The Knicks are (3-2) in their last five games winning their last game against a Minnesota Timberwolves squad that fought well despite not having Kevin Love in the lineup due to an eye injury. However, the Lakers are hot (4-1) winning their last four games and coming off a thrilling OT win over the Golden State Warriors (118-115).
The Lakers are hoping to avenge their Dec 13th (116-107) loss at Madison Square Garden and exorcise their past Christmas Day blunders by tying the season series against the Knicks at Staples Center.
Christmas did come a little early for the Lakers and their fans this year in the form of a certain two-time MVP point-guard in Steve Nash returning to the starting line-up to face the Warriors. Nash had been out since the second game of the season where he suffered a left leg fracture.
NFL Week 16: San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks, Playoff Birth and a Division Title on the Line & The Rivalry: Harbaugh vs. Carroll
Are you ready for tonight? You better be! It is time for again maybe the biggest game of the year for football fans and San Francisco 49er/Seattle Seahawk fans as well. Actually…IT IS THE BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR FOR BOTH TEAMS! Who doesn’t love coaching rivalries with men that hate one another. This is truly the game to watch this Sunday. It’s Harbaugh versus Carroll, Russell Wilson versus Colin Kaepernick, 1st Overall Defense San Francisco versus 2nd Ranked Overall Defense Seattle, and the fight for the NFC West Division title with playoff implications. Nothing gets better than a game with so much meaning to it and story lines.
Although past all of those story lines there is a game to be played. The San Francisco 49ers are one win away from taking the NFC West Division title in back to back seasons in over a decade. The Seattle Seahawks are looking to make the playoffs once again and look to become the first team in decades to score 50 points in three straight games. We all can look up the statistics of both teams and the records, so I say lets cut to the chase. Here are my three top keys to watch during this Sunday night’s game on NBC.
The most watched game of the day is also going to be the most bet game of the day. I think it's safe to say everyone is looking forward to this match-up, especially those of us who love great defense. Let's take a closer look at what the betting angles are.
Before Week 15, Vegas had the 49ers as -2 point favorites in this game. Despite a statement win in Foxboro, the Seahawks re-opened as -1 point favorites on Sunday. Not much has changed during the week either, but there has been some late money on Seattle today. You can find Seattle at -1, but some books have them as high as -3, too (odds from SBRforum). That is kind of surprising because the 49ers are sure to be popular teaser choices at anything above +1.5. Normally when I like a short favorite, I tell people to grab them at anything under -3, but given how tight this could be, I suggest to get the best number possible. Laying more than -1 could come into the equation here.
Any Analysis Needed?