SportsNet - February 2013
Arsene Wenger could look to answer Arsenal's need for a natural finisher, with a summer move for Matej Vydra. The Czech Republic striker currently plays for Watford in the Championship, English football's second-tier.
Reports in The Daily Express suggest Arsenal are interested in acquiring Vydra. He has been superb on loan for the Hornets this season, netting 20 goals. The young star possesses a poise and confidence in front of goal that Arsenal's current forward line lacks.
Despite combining for 44 goals, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott, remain inconsistent. They score in streaks but do not provide a regular threat in every game. As the team's primary central striker, Giroud is the biggest culprit. The towering French forward offers true power and clever link-up play, but misses too many chances he should score.
A Baltimore Ravens repeat?
Don't bet on it. Literally.
If the oddsmakers in Vegas have their way they won't even make the Super Bowl next season.
In fact they have the current champs listed as only the equal third in the whole AFC.
Once again, despite coming up short again, the favorites have been named as the New England Patriots (7-1). It just seems that as long as Tom Brady is still playing in Foxboro he and his team are the team to beat. At least according to the Vegas people. If they are right on these things they will be playing the San Francisco 49ers (8-1) in New York next February. These two will have beaten out the Denver Broncos (8-1) and Green Bay Packers (10-1) in their respective championship games.
It's pretty fair to say that those four should factor into things next January.
After yet another match-winning contribution from Santi Cazorla, Arsenal may have finally replaced Robert Pires. The elegant left-sided midfielder was one of the linchpins of Arsene Wenger's great Arsenal teams at the start of the last decade.
Wenger deployed Cazorla on the left side of his front three for their recent 2-1 win over Aston Villa. Cazorla netted both goals, showcasing the movement and technical excellence in front of goal, that defined Pires at his best.
Wenger has chosen to deploy Cazorla in a wider starting position in several recent matches. He started him on the right against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League. The tactic has a lot of advantages.
To begin with, Cazorla has a history of operating wide. He was deployed on the flanks for La Liga teams Villarreal and Malaga. Cazorla enjoys drifting into the middle and that can draw defenders away from overlapping full-backs and wide-roaming forwards attacking the channels.
While City manager Roberto Mancini has refused to concede the fight for the title, a 15-point stretch could, unfortunately for City fans, be too much of a gap for City to handle, while the Blues aim to remain in the top four with Tottenham Hotspur breathing down their necks.
Their victory in the FA Cup last weekend against Leeds was compared by Mancini to a "brodino", a "starter soup" common in Italian cuisine; it might not be enough to haul in Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
Onto Chelsea. Chelsea, will be attempting a first back-to-back win in the league since late December. The reigning European champions have fared well on the travels recording four wins from their last six played, however their last two matches have yielded a defeat in Newcastle and a crazy draw at Reading, where they were cruising to a 2-0 victory before late heroics from Adam Le Fondre. A win for Rafael Benitez's men will reduce the gap to City to a lonesome point.