SportsNet - April 2013
Arsenal and Everton go into Tuesday night’s Premier League clash knowing that defeat could deal a crushing blow to their hopes of reaching the Champions League qualification places. Arsene Wenger’s side, who currently occupy third spot, are four points and three places ahead of David Moyes’ charges. These two teams go into this fixture in good form, and with their chief rivals, Chelsea and particularly Tottenham, stuttering as the finishing line approaches, both managers know the significance of a positive or negative result at the Emirates Stadium.
Six weeks ago the Gunners and the Toffees were up against it in the battle for the top four and it seems that, not for the first time in the last few years, they are both beginning to kick in the turbo when the pressure is off. Now, this may seem like a strange thing to say given that the pressure to reach the Champions League, especially in Arsenal’s case, is immense, but when they needed to step up when silverware was on offer, both teams were found wanting.
Sammy Watkins came onto the college football scene from Fort Myers, Florida as one of the best receivers in the country, ranked as a four-star prospect and No. 4 at his position by ESPN and as a five-star prospect and No. 5 at his position by Scout.com. In 2011, he took Clemson University by storm, amassing 1,219 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns while also rushing for 231 yards and scoring on a kick off return. He showcased enough ability to be named an AP First Team All-American, joining Herschel Walker, Marshall Faulk, and Adrian Peterson as the only freshman to accomplish such a feat.
Despite having a ton of money and being notorious for outspending other teams in the English Premier League (EPL)for buying the best players—it wasn’t enough for Chelsea to hold off Manchester City on Sunday for a trip to the FA Cup final.
Manchester City will play in the FA Cup final after beating defending champion Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday April 14, 2013. City completely dominated most of the match (as they went up 2-0 in the first hour) thanks to goals by Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero—before Demba Ba gave Chelsea some life by scoring a spectacular goal in the 66th minute to make the game 2-1 at that point.
The match was highly contested as both teams had several chances to score. Chelsea’s best chance to equalize came moments after Ba scored as he was again given another opportunity from close range, but fired straight at City’s keeper Costel Pantilimon. It would appear Chelsea would have other another opportunity to equalize as players appealed for a penalty on a Vincent Kompany’s challenge on Fernando Torres, however, the challenge was waived off by referee Chris Foy.
In all likelihood Derrick Rose’s potential return to the Chicago Bulls for the upcoming NBA postseason would be a useless endeavor. Rose who has not played since tearing his ACL in the first game of last season’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers would not be in game shape when the playoffs begin on April 20th. His lack of game activity this season would put him at a disadvantage, as he would be playing against men who have been active all season and ready for the rigors of the postseason.
Anyone who follows the NBA knows the game changes when the playoffs arrive each spring. Games become more physical and mentally demanding, often testing the endurance limit of the players competing to win a NBA championship. It would be unfair of the Bulls to insert Rose into the lineup at this time.
Manchester United today overcame another obstacle in the way of their 20th League Title in the shape of Stoke City. Matches in the past at the Britannia Stadium have proven to be the downfall of many a top flight team, as Stokes uncompromising style has intimidated them into submission. However, times have changed and the days of Rory Delap`s massive throw-ins are a thing of the past. That, and a few other personnel changes, has meant that manager Tony Pulis has had to make changes to the style of their play. Unfortunately for him, this has come at a cost. His team no longer frightens opponents. Moreover, the fans, who have long called themselves the `twelfth man`, are staring to lose faith and there have even been the odd calls for Pulis to be sacked!
In today`s game, Manchester United had to stop a run of two games which they had lost; against Chelsea in the FA Cup and the league game at Old Trafford against Manchester City. Sir Alex had almost a full squad from which to choose, so he was able to put out a particularly strong and offensive team. He had a midfield that included Wayne Rooney, whilst up front he had Van Persie and Hernandez.