SportsNet - January 2013
It is interesting contrasting Reading with Aston Villa right now. The Royals are one point and one place behind with a game in hand following Tuesday night’s action.
But while Villa seem locked into a downward spiral of discontent, Reading are showing signs of acquiring a genuine upward sense of momentum.
With Chelsea coming to the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday maintaining such a sense will be easier said than done. But in their recent form Brian McDermott’s men can find cause to be optimistic.
For a little while hope seemed like it would remain elusive as Reading lost seven on the trot starting in late November. The last of that run saw them lose heartbreakingly away to Manchester City; Gareth Barry scored the match’s only goal in stoppage time when a valuable point looked on the cards.
Since that game they have won three of their five Premier League outings. Last time out they got the better of Newcastle United, a win that was vital in them keeping touch with the teams immediately outside the relegation zone.
The top five English Premier League players aged 21 or under, are headed by a dynamic midfielder who represents hope for a club that has won nothing for nearly eight years. Here s the full list, beginning with a tenacious defender imported this summer from Serie A.
5. Matija Nastasic, Central Defender, Manchester City
Matija Nastasic has endured a tough transition to the pace and rigours of the EPL. However, the former Fiorentina prodigy has recovered well and become a valued figure for Manchester City.
Quick and combative, Nastasic has become assertive at the heart of the Citizens defense. If he continues to adapt and develop at this rate, last season's champions will have a true star at the back.
4. Luke Shaw Left-Back, Southampton
Southampton's Luke Shaw is an excellent attacking full-back with the skill to become a key figure in the EPL. Blessed with natural pace and sound technique, Shaw poses a consistent threat along the left flank.
With the January transfer window in the Premier League coming to a close, most clubs will be giving a sigh of relief that it is all over. All the stress of maybe losing your best player, or trying desperately to tie-up that last minute deal! However, at Manchester United, Sir Alex draws upon his vast experience in football to plan ahead, thereby eliminating the pitfalls of plotting a transfer coup. We are going to take a look at the likely targets for the next transfer window in this summer 2013, with the aid of some interesting information from some of my most valuable sources, both inside the club and in the local media.
Ed Reed News: Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts Among 5 Teams That Should Target Ravens Safety In Free Agency
The central storyline of the upcoming Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens will focus on the impending retirement of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.
However, Lewis may not be alone among legendary Ravens defenders taking a final lap for Baltimore. On Super Bowl Sunday, another former Miami Hurricane and future Hall of Famer may also be making his final appearance in Raven purple, white and black. While ball hawking safety Ed Reed is not as synonymous with the 17-year-old Ravens franchise as Lewis, he’s just inches behind in the hearts of fans. While Ray Lewis defended the ground, Reed patrolled Baltimore’s skies.
Reed is one of the most feared secondary defenders in league history because of his nose for the ball and the end zone. Three times Reed has led the NFL in interceptions and in 2008, Reed set the NFL record for the longest return in NFL history. He also has scored a total of 13 defensive or special teams touchdowns in his career. In 2008, Reed led the NFL in interceptions despite playing in just 10 games.
The first half of the Bundesliga season has revolved around the success of Bayern
Munich, they are on a hot streak and no one can deny it. The Bavarian side is 9 points
clear of second place, and for once seem to be on track to winning back the recently
elusive league title that has ruffled the front office in Munich. Although cross-country
rivals Borussia Dortmund sit 12 points below Munich at 3rd in the league table, they are
still Bayern’s most realistic threat. The first half of the season at Dortmund has been
disappointing in the domestic campaign. Yet, in the Champions League BvB emerged
atop the most dangerous and talented group of this year’s draw, beating the likes of
Manchester City, Real Madrid and Ajax Amsterdam. Jurgen Klopp’s well oiled, and
unpredictable attack was run through Mario Gotze, however the main cog on the wing
was Marco Reus.
In the first leg of the Champions League when Dortmund traveled to the Etihad to
take on City, I was converted to a believer. If it wasn’t for Joe Hart putting on one of the