SportsNet - May 2013
Sunderland face their final match of the English Premier League campaign this afternoon of May 19, 2013, when they travel to Tottenham's White Hart Lane, but a few months ago the side looked less than thrilled to face the end of the season as relegation was looming.
The Black Cats looked a team on the brink of relegation close to two months ago. A club that had appeared to have been rejuvenated under Martin O'Neill last campaign was simply looking to be falling apart under the former Aston Villa and Celtic boss.
Despite having made key signings of Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnson and later Danny Graham, all three failed to be the saviors of the side that were believed to be the ones to get them into the top half of the table.
With Sunderland appearing to be a sinking ship in March, Martin O'Neill was given his marching orders and former West Ham Striker turned manager Paolo Di Canio was appointed as his successor.
Memphis Grizzlies 56 – 26 vs. San Antonio Spurs 58-24
Regular Season Series: Series tied with two wins apiece.
The Memphis Grizzlies will square off against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 Western Conference Finals that begins Sunday in San Antonio. Both teams have been impressive in the post season, with the Spurs sweeping an ailing Los Angeles Lakers squad in the first round and then fending off a tough up and coming Golden State Warrior team in their second round series. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies post season run began with them soundly beating a strong Los Angeles Clippers team in the first round and then followed that up by defeating the shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round.
This will be a competitive series and there is not an obvious favorite, as both teams match up well against each other. Each team possess’ quality big men, athletic perimeter players and point guards that can create opportunities for themselves and their teammates. While neither team has an obvious advantage, here are five observations that could decide who wins the Western Conference Championship.
Control the post
As another dramatic season draws to a conclusion, we now turn our attention to what promises to be a busy summer of transfer activity. The top three clubs in England will be starting the season under new management, an unprecedented scenario which is sure to provide plenty of deals as the new decision-makers look to stamp their mark on their new teams. There are also major stars who could be moving on this summer for huge wages as team's look to make one final splash before the constraints of FIFA's new 'Financial Fair Play' are put in place.
Here are Eleven names to keep an eye on over the summer months with most expected to be making moves for ludicrous amounts of money:
1. Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur):
- Interested Clubs: Manchester United, A.C Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid.
- Fee: £40-50 million.
Arsenal Transfer News: Arsene Wenger Continues Project Youth By Signing Auxerre And FC Barcelona Youngsters
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is continuing to build through youth, as he prepares to sign Auxerre youth Yaya Sanogo and FC Barcelona academy prospect Josimar Quintero.
Despite rumors of a sizeable transfer kitty and links to several high-profile stars, Wenger is adhering to his faith in developing youngsters. That policy, dubbed "project youth" by its critics, has delighted and infuriated Gunners supporters in equal measure.
When it works, as in the cases of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, it is heartily endorsed by Arsenal fans. It is seen as the hallmark of Wenger's genius in the transfer market and the field of player development.
When it fails, as in the cases of Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson, Wenger's belief in building through youth is targeted as the main reason for Arsenal's prolonged trophy drought.
Many believe it is next to impossible for Arsenal to credibly contend for the major prizes, with Wenger's young fledglings competing against established starts at other clubs.
Arsenal`s and Arsene Wenger`s first signing of the summer transfer window will be the France U-21 International Yaya Sanogo from French Ligue 1 club, Auxerre. Wenger has stated today that talks are at an advanced stage and he expects the deal to be the first of a number of signings this summer. It has been suggested that without the millstone of debt from the new stadium around their necks, the Arsenal board have sanctioned spending of around £100m to update the current squad.
Wenger was also asked about speculation surrounding a bid for Wayne Rooney, The Manchester United striker, however, Wenger replied:-
"That is not even a question at the moment. We have not gone into that. At the moment we have no interest in anybody, we have only one interest and that is of course Sunday's game."
Of course there is a bit of tension at the Emirates with their final match of the season away at Newcastle, with their manager already saying that his team will be full strength and playing to win, to protect the integrity of the clubs reputation.