SportsNet - March 2013
On paper, the matchup between Manchester United and Reading looks so hopelessly one-sided that Reading might consider saving themselves the train fare to Manchester and just give United the game. However, as we all know, in football, the obvious does not always happen. In fact, the return fixture at Reading saw a 7 goal thriller, with United winning it by just the odd goal.
Looking at the likely team line-ups is not easy as far as Reading is concerned. Just at the time they could do with all of their players being available, they are faced with an Armageddon team selection problem. Firstly, both of their first choicer goalkeepers are injured. That means rookie Stuart Taylor will have to face the likely strike force of Van Persie and Rooney, with the possible addition of Danny Welbeck on the left. Reading also have Jimmy Kebe missing along with striker Pogrebnyak who serves the last game of a three match suspension. So, for a match against the runaway champions elect, they have a patched up team with a third choice rookie keeper!
They haven't gone public with it yet, but it's an open secret the Philadelphia Eagles will switch to a 3-4 defense under new head coach Chip Kelly. Their early free agency signings show how that 3-4 defense is taking shape.
Compared with recent seasons, the Eagles have been low-key in free agency. That's certainly a wise policy after being burned by the big spending that produced the so-called "dream team." However, staying below the radar, doesn't means the Eagles haven't been active and Smart.
So far they have added four new pieces to their secondary. Safeties Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips will compete to start right away. As will new cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. However, it is up front where the Eagles have made their best moves and have been most revealing about their choice of defensive scheme.
One of Philly's first deals was to secure former San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga. His arrival was the first major hint at a move to a 3-4 front. Sopoaga is a hulking nose tackle, the kind of run-stuffing force every 3-4 needs in the middle.
After a week of much wailing and gnashing of teeth for those connected with the blue half of Merseyside, it’s back into the fray for David Moyes and his Everton side as Manchester City roll into town for Saturday’s Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.
The Toffees’ capitulation at home to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup has been proceeded by much recrimination and analysis as fans and pundits have debated where Everton are going, both for the rest of this season and beyond as speculation increases around the manager’s future.
They say the best course of action if you fall off a bike is to get back on as soon as possible, and in Everton’s case last weekend’s tumble from grace is followed by the stiff task of facing last season’s champions.
Roberto Mancini’s side have struggled all year to match the blistering form they displayed for most of the last campaign and go into the final stages of this one staring into the distance at the backs of neighbours Manchester United as they disappear over the horizon in the title race.
Signing Steven Jackson gives the Atlanta Falcons the best offense in the NFL. The Falcons have agreed the signing of the star free agent running back, according to NFL.com.
Jackson expands the repertoire and scoring potential of the Falcons attack. He will provide the perfect complement to the league's most dangerous passing game.
Quarterback Matt Ryan already has the perfect blend of pass-catchers. At wide receiver, Julio Jones stretches the field vertically, while Roddy White works the outside.
Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, who recently confirmed he will 'return' for another season, works underneath. The only element missing is a dynamic and versatile weapon in the backfield.
Jackson is exactly that. The stellar veteran offers the same level of bruising, power-running that the departed Michael Turner did.