SportsNet - January 2013
Arsenal are being linked with a big-money move for accomplished Germany central defender, Mats Hummels. The report comes from The Daily Express, who suggest the Gunners are ready to bid £17.6 million to land the highly-rated Borussia Dortmund stopper.
This rumour surfaces alongside yestrday's equally outlandish link to Fiorentina attacker Stevan Jovetic. It seems that the press is becoming more anxious about Arsenal's lack of transfer activity than many Gunners' fans.
That's not to say that a move for Hummels wouldn't be welcome. He is one of the most highly regarded central defenders in the European game. Powerful and combative, Hummels would add the element of aggression that is lacking from Arsenal's existing back four.
Switching DeMarcus Ware to defensive end will be the easiest part of Monte Kiffin's attempt to transition the Dallas Cowboys' 3-4 personnel to a 4-3 defense.
Kiffin's 4-3 'under' front will use Ware in a similar way to how he has played most of his career. He will still act as the focal point of the Cowboys' pass rush, by providing pressure from the edge. He will still be aligned wide and on the openside of the formation, away from a tight end. If anything, Ware could have even more pass-rush opportunities playing for Kiffin, than he did operating in a 3-4. That has to be scary thought for the Cowboys' opponents in 2013.
Taking a closer at the switch, a useful comparison is how Ware played under Wade Phillips from 2007-10. When Phillips took over, he altered the 3-4 scheme of previous head coach, Bill Parcells. Under Parcells, the Cowboys operated a traditional, 2-gap 3-4 front. While Ware was still the scheme's main pass-rusher, Parcells' system demanded more coverage responsibilities and extra reads on the outside.
Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona have a major shot at winning every possible tournament this season. The team also has a Champions League date with underwhelming AC Milan in February. They had their first loss of the season against Real Sociedad 3-2 but they still have a 15 point lead over rivals Real Madrid. For now though, Barcelona will concentrate its efforts on a Copa Del Rey Battle with Malaga.
The two teams met this past weekend in a 3-1 win for Barcelona. Messi scored his team's first goal before assisting on the other two tallies for Barça.
The Ballon d'Or winner now has a sensational 28 goals and eight assists on the season. He has scored two goals in 2013, but look for him to have an impressive match, if he plays. Messi and company are slated to play on Saturday and that may force the coaching staff to sit Messi. In last week's Copa Del Rey bout with Cordoba, Messi sat while David Villa and Alexis Sanchez dominated the second division squad in a resounding 5-0 win. They may be counted on to do the same in this match.
An emphatic 5-1 win over West Ham United, hints at the return of Arsenal's trademark free-flowing football under Arsene Wenger. The style of play often referred to as so-called "Wengerball," destroyed West Ham in a 10-12 minute second half barrage that included four goals.
After 22 league games defined by gross inconsistency, Arsenal finally put it altogether against the Hammers. They managed to combine flair, pace and speed of thought, in the best traditions of Wenger's footballing philosophyy.
The Gunners squad was inspired by the Frenchman's three summer signings. Lukas Podolski returned to the team and continued his rich vein of form, that began at Reading in mid-December. Podolski powered in Arsenal's equaliser in the first half and dominated the second period with three assists.
His runs from the left were timely and his distribution was intelligent and accurate. Podolski was helped by a more bullish display from hulking target man Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman also timed his runs better and still delivered his usual brand of clever link-up play.