SportsNet - April 2013
Arsenal have begun talks to sign Swansea City central defender Ashley Williams. That's according to a report from Goal.com, stating the Gunners are discussing a deal with Williams' agent.
Williams has been linked with Arsenal more than once this year and certainly answers a need. Arsene Wenger's squad lacks a physically dominant centre-back.
Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen have each had their issues this season. Vermaelen has lost his place in the starting 11, after a batch of reckless performances.
Koscielny has been an able deputy, but struggled during the first half of the season. He was guilty of a series of high-profile blunders.
Mertesacker has perhaps been the most reliable. Yet the Germany international still has problems thanks to a lack of quickness and agility.
The problem is Arsenal's primary three centre-backs can often be overpowered. Koscielny was toyed with by Manchester City's Edin Dzeko at the Emirates Stadium in January.
Arsenal vs Everton Match Preview: Team News, Recent Form, Probable Lineups, Prediction, Location, and Live Streaming
Arsene Wenger's favorite word while describing any Arsenal performance is "spirit." Well, there was plenty of "spirit" among the Gunners in the dramatic 3-1 win over Norwich in the English Premier League which took them to third in the table, although aided by a couple of dodgy decisions.
There is not much time to rest on the laurels, though, as Arsenal face an extremely difficult test in the shape of Everton on Tuesday.
The Gunners can go four points clear of both Chelsea and Tottenham, if they take three points against the Toffees at the Emirates. Spurs, would of course have a game in hand, while Chelsea would have two. But then, as they say, points on the board is always better.
However, if Arsenal are to produce a win against Everton, they will have to play much better than they did against Norwich. Yes, there were enough chances created without having to score three goals in the final seven minutes, but at the end of the day, they were not put away.
The NCAA tournament ended with a lot of heart-warming storylines and Cinderella stories, as well as heartache and shock. The Wichita State Shockers literally shocked the basketball world, making it to the Final Four before bowing out to eventual champion Louisville. The Cardinals had some inspiration along the way when they lost a key member of their team, Kevin Ware, to a grotesque season-ending knee injury. Andy Enfield put Florida Gulf Coast on the map, which later led to USC luring Enfield away for a larger paycheck and a much more competitive conference. As the 2013 season has winded down, it's never too early to start predicting who will be cutting down the nets in 2014.
With another dramatic NBA season drawing to a close, this column takes a look at the main contenders for the big awards that are on offer:
Most Valuable Player:
- LeBron James, Miami Heat.
- 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG.
There isn't much doubt about this award. LeBron has been nothing short of mind blowing this season. He is the best player in the NBA by some margin and has demonstrated it again this season. Many thought LeBron may become a bit complacent this season, having won everything there was to win in the game last season. That has been far from the case. James has led by example for this talented Heat team that narrowly missed out on the all-time winning streak, finally being defeated with the streak at 27. James has been wrapped in cotton wool towards the latter stages of the season as they clinched the number one Playoff seed in the Eastern Conference a long time ago. It will take a monumental effort for anyone to prize the NBA trophy from James and the Heat as they look to repeat.
2. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks.
- 28.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.6 APG.
The events at golf's first major, the Masters in Augusta, GA, and in the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Golden State Warriors made Friday, April 12th historic, and almost cataclysmic. At the Masters, the youngest player, 14 year-old, Tianlang Guan, and the best player, world #1 Tiger Woods could have possibly turned the sports world upside down by rulings. Then to see Kobe Bryant, the Lakers' franchise player and 15-time all-star go down with what looked like a torn Achilles tendon; sports fans had to take a moment.
Guan, the Asia-Pacific amateur champ from China, was assessed a penalty shot at the Augusta National Golf Club on Friday. His playing group included the oldest player, Ben Crenshaw at 61, and Matteo Manassero. Everyone was extremely slow on Friday; backing off many shots, waiting for the wind, and pacing/sighting putts multiple times. Guan was made an example of and penalized after his 2nd shot on hole #17 when he exceeded 40-seconds, violating Rule 6-7.