SportsNet - December 2012
Goodison Park plays host to one of the festive period’s most eagerly anticipated and potentially crucial matches when Everton welcome Chelsea on December 30. The Blues of Stamford Bridge, currently sitting just two points ahead of the Merseyside Blues, are attempting to regain ground lost on leaders Manchester United before their recent trip to Japan for the Club World Championship. A loss of form signalled the end for Champions League winning manager Roberto Di Matteo and the appointment of the unpopular Rafa Benitez.
OK, with Weeks 1 and 2 out of the way, the college football bowl season starts to get a little more serious heading up to the BCS Championship Game on January 6.
But we’ll leave that meeting of No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium discussion for a later date.
Right now, let’s look at everything left from New Year’s Eve until then.
Music City Bowl – North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4): The Commodores are shooting for their first 9-win season since they pulled that feat under the direction of the great Dan McGugin in 1915. That seems to be about the same time Pack QB Mike Glennon started matriculating in Raleigh, N.C.
Sun Bowl – Southern California (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7): Remember way back when the Trojans were ranked No. 1 and Matt Barkley was the Heisman favorite? Me neither.
Liberty Bowl – Iowa State (6-6) vs. Tulsa (10-3): Kinda funny to think a Conference USA squad should beat one from the Big 12.
NCAA Men’s College Basketball News: The UCLA Bruins Take Care of Business At The House Against Missouri: Shabazz Muhammad Steps Up Big For The Bruins:
The UCLA Bruins pulled off a gusty, overtime win 97-94 against the No. 7 ranked Missouri Tigers at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA and Missouri started out the game strong with both teams scoring at a high percentage. The Bruins continued their good shooting, rebounding and overall play building their lead to double digits. Shabazz provided some consistent scoring during the Bruins early first half run.
The Wear twins David and especially Travis, who scored a career high of 22 points for the game, seemed unstoppable for the Tigers big men. Their rebounding, hustle plays and high percentage shooting caught Missouri off guard and created some foul problems for the Tigers big men, 6’8’ Laurence Bowers and 6’9’ Alex Oriakhi.
Missouri fought on the back of Phil Pressey’s scoring and his 12 assist, which was Missouri’s entire first half assist total. Along with Keion Bells outburst in the first half, the Tigers intensified their defense, began playing more physical and took control of the boards on the offensive end and the game overall.
There is a line in Hud, a 1963 movie starring Paul Newman that springs to mind when contemplating Tottenham Hotspur’s talented but conscientiously suspect winger Gareth Bale.
“Little by little the look of the country changes because of the men we admire,” reflects Melvyn Douglas’ character Homer Bannon. “You're just going to have to make up your own mind one day about what's right and wrong”.
Both sentiments apply somewhat to Bale and Tottenham, and were evident in actions on and off the pitch at the Stadium of Light on Saturday with their 2-1 defeat of Sunderland.
After a Carlos Cuellar own goal and a fine individual effort by Aaron Lennon cancelled out John O’Shea’s opener, the Welshman created the talking point of the final half hour when he went down under the challenge of Craig Gardner.
In the opinion of the home crowd and referee Martin Atkinson it was a dive, with the latter giving the offender his fifth booking of the campaign (meaning he’ll miss the next game against Reading).
Several UK newspapers are reporting Arsenal's interest in signing Manchester United winger Nani in January. The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror are both reporting Arsene Wenger's interest in the United fringe player.
Arsenal sold Robin van Persie to United in the summer and are now hoping for a transfer the other way. Whether Nani is a sufficient upgrade for an Arsenal squad short on quality, is another matter.
The Portuguese ace is a talented, but temperamental wide forward. He has showcased his skills only sporadically.
There's no question the former Sporting Lisbon starlet has ability. However, Nani can also be guilty of drifting out of games. Of course, he hasn't always been given a full chance to shine at Old Trafford.
Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson has never seemed to trust Nani as a regular starter. His effort hasn't always been consistent.