This was a big win for the San Antonio Spurs. In more ways than one. Last nights 116-90 win over the Los Angeles Clippers cemented the Spurs as the hottest team in the NBA. With the best record in the Western Conference and add to that a healthy margin to boot. It will take a supreme effort from the teams below them to surpass them and gain Home Field advantage in the Playoffs. Not that Home Field was much of an advantage last year, as they were ousted in 5 games by the Oklahoma City Thunder. It should be tight again this year in the West and you couldn't say with any confidence who will make it to the NBA finals. The Spurs have their critics, some stating that they will always fall short of their main goal of a Championship. The main criticism of this team is their age. Can a team full of thirty-somethings. Cope with the intensity of a deep playoff run?
It's that time of year again. 333 College Hopefuls head to Indianapolis in an attempt to boost their Draft Prospects to one day realise their dream of playing in the National Football League. The tests at the combine are crucial and could be the difference in getting drafted or not for some. For others, it gives them a chance to move up the rounds in the Draft and earn themselves a larger pay-day. In this column we look at some of the more interesting players to keep an eye on the Combine. Some have questions to answer, others have the potential to surprise. 1. Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame. There is no more intriguing prospect at the Combine than Manti Te'o and it has almost nothing to do with his on-the-field ability. With the controversy and speculation surrounding Te'o since the revelations regarding the 'Catfish' incident, Te'o's physical skills have almost been forgotten. This is why the Combine could not come at a better time for the inspirational leader of the fighting Irish.
As games go, they don't get more important. Not for the troubled Arsene Wenger anyway. Tonight's Champions League tie sees Arsenal come face-to-face with European powerhouse FC Bayern Munich in a game that could decide the fate of the Manager who has brought Arsenal the most successful period in the Clubs history. League Titles, F.A Cup's, Champions League Finals, The Invincible's. All those Memories seem like a distant memory. Saturday's embarrassing home defeat to Blackburn Rovers, the shock of the F.A Cup 5th round, signalled the end of Arsenal's realistic trophy hopes for the Ninth season in a row. A notion that would have been inconceivable when Arsenal, and Wenger, were at the peak of their powers. Wenger bore the brunt of the criticism for Saturday's fiasco. Fielding a weakened side in preparation for tonight's game angered and bemused most fans. With impact players at a premium this year for Arsenal, his decision to leave Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshire out of the starting eleven spoke volumes as to what Wenger's priorities were. This decision would backfire spectacularly.
It's not over, not by a long shot. It is, however, a very good start. Manchester United are half-way to the Champions League Quarter Final after their heroic performance at the Bernabeu last night against Real Madrid. The game finished 1-1, United coming up with a vital away goal in a game which was as frantic and fascinating as we all hoped it would be. The hype surrounding this game was extraordinary, mainly due to Cristiano Ronaldo playing against the Club that had sold him to Real Madrid for a world record fee of £80 million ($124.9m) for the first time. Ronaldo often speaks of his admiration for his former club, the fans and the manager and even teases the United fans with the prospect that one day he could possibly return. Ronaldo has thrived since moving to Spain to become arguably the most complete player in the World. There is no dispute that Lionel Messi and himself are the two best in the World currently. Could he put his emotions to one side and come up with the performances to guide Madrid into the Quarter-Finals.
This year, the gap might be too big to overcome. After what will turn out to be a pivotal weekend in the Premier League title race, Manchester United have increased their lead to 12 points, all but guaranteeing that the title returns to the Red half of Manchester. I know what you're thinking, United were 8 points ahead last season and Manchester City overturned that margin to win the Title in the most dramatic finish to a season the League has ever, or will ever, see. If they did it last year then it's conceivable that they could do it again this year, right? Wrong. This is not the City team of last season. Something is missing, the fire seems to have gone out. Throughout the season they have played with the complacency of knowing they are Champions. They have done it once, so it's not the end of the World if they don't win it again. This attitude hasn't got them very far this season. A disastrous Champions League campaign, where they finished bottom of their Group and failed to even qualify for the Europa Cup, was just the beginning. Their league form has been on gradual decline and it all came to a head Saturday evening in Southampton.