SportsNet - March 2013
Call it a pre-emptive strike. Call it craziness. Call it whatever you like.
It doesn’t really matter, because here it comes regardless – an alternative take to what is sure to be conventional-wisdom seeding on Selection Sunday.
Specifically, the focus here will be on the No. 1s that will be announced for this season’s NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.
All of us know what they’ll be before a single tip-off takes place in the ACC, A-10, Big Ten and SEC postseason finales. We’re looking at top-ranked Gonzaga, Duke, Indiana and Louisville. Bank on it.
No argument here on the first and last ones noted above. But the middle two – sorry, no way do either deserve such billing on the March Madness stage. If this is truly about “rewarding” the teams who proved themselves to be worthy of such distinction throughout the 2012-13 campaign, no way are Indiana and Duke No. 1s.
Arsenal could attempt to solve their goalkeeping woes by signing Swansea City's Michel Vorm this summer. That's according to a report in The Daily Mirror. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is thought to be searching for a new goalkeeper to finally fix a position that has been a weakness since 2007.
It was during the start of the 2007/08 campaign that Wenger dumped Jens Lehmann. The German veteran was guilty of a pair of high-profile blunders against Fulham and Blackburn Rovers.
Arsenal have struggled mightily to fill the void ever since. Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone and Wojciech Szczesny have all failed to convince as the solution. Each has suffered their own share of calamities.
Szczesny looked the most likely candidate, after making a fast and impressive start to life in Arsenal's first team. His first game was at Old Trafford against Manchester United, in December, 2010.
Arsenal's crucial 2-0 win away to Swansea City, was keyed by Santi Cazorla's return to a role in the middle. The Spanish playmaker was easily Arsenal's best performer and tormented Swansea with his quick thinking and skill.
Cazorla has recently been moved to the left to accommodate Jack Wilshere's position as the most advanced member of Arsenal's midfield trio. Cazorla has had some good moments out wide, recently netting both goals in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa and scoring the winner at Sunderland.
However, Arsenal have lacked a creative thrust and real dynamism in the middle. That's because Wilshere has struggled to recreate what Cazorla did from central positions earlier in the campaign.
What Cazorla did was produce decisive action around the box. He posed a genuine scoring threat and also threaded clever through passes in between the lines, which is the vital requirement in manager Arsene Wenger's style of play.
The New England Patriots should waste no time signing recently released defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Having seen one of their own major starts, Wes Welker, move to the Denver Broncos, the Patriots should return the favor by signing the man who notched 63.5 sacks as a Bronco.
More than just superficial payback, the Patriots need a player with Dumervil's qualities to boost their defense. He is exactly the kind of hybrid rush end, crucial to head coach Bill Belichick's multiple defensive schemes.
Belichick loves to blend his fronts, mixing in elements of both the 4-3 and 3-4. This box of tricks relies on a pass-rusher able to act as both a defensive end and a standup outside linebacker.
Belichick hasn't really found this key player since Willie McGinest retired. Tully Banta-Cain performed the role for a while, but was only mildly successful. Mike Vrabel excelled at the position in 2007, tallying 14 sacks.
In a watershed moment at Goodison Park this afternoon, Nikita Jelavic scored in the 93rd minute to give Everton a well-deserved 2-0 victory over Manchester City. That was despite being down to 10 men after Pienaar was harshly sent off. Manchester City`s tenuous grip on their title which they won very luckily last year has surely been loosened to the point where Manchester United will have to lose 6 games out of the remaining 9. Whilst no doubt City fans will say that it is still mathematically possible, the rest of us know that they lost the title today at Goodison Park.
City had a number of players missing, including Aguero, Kompany and Yaya Toure, but they still had eleven internationals on display. If there was one game they really needed to win, it was today, with Manchester United playing a Reading team that is already facing relegation, lost their manager during the week and have a host of players missing, the most notable being their two goalkeepers. That means they will have a complete rookie in goal to face the likes of Van Persie, Rooney and probably Welbeck.