Monday, 12 September 2011

Sports News Round-Up

The last week has been a fantastic one for sport - so much so that I will not focus solely on football this time. And not just because Newcastle United are yet to play. But there has nonetheless been some noteworthy Premier League action.

I will start my analysis with arguably the best and most polished performance of the weekend - Manchester City. United fans may disagree (admittedly 5-0 at Bolton is more impressive on paper) but some of the skills on display at Eastlands were enough to banish any memories of Mancini's dour football of the past. He has been right to start at the back. With the likes of Nasri and Aguero he now has built a complete side, on a rock solid foundation of Hart, Kompany, Richards, Clichy etc. Nasri and Silva look set to tear the league to shreds on current form, and Aguero is proving to be almost a snip at £30m, if that is possible. While tougher challenges lie ahead (a quick look at the fixture list reveals December to particularly treacherous) City have a golden opportunity to set an early pace.

Or at least they would, if their great rivals from Old Trafford weren't intent on matching anything they do with brutal authority. Wayne Rooney in particular seems determined to outshine the likes of Aguero and Dzeko, and two successive hat-tricks certainly grab his share of the headlines. However, we have seen before how Rooney can tend to drift in and out of form, and it will be interesting to see whether his goalscoring run can be sustained over the entire season.

In the meantime, Arsenal took a first babystep towards potential recovery, although the nature of their incredibly fortunate winner would suggest that a cutting edge remains absent. Improvement is needed.

One story that may have slipped under the radar slightly is the continuing woeful form of Sunderland. I will not turn down this rare opportunity to gloat at a rival's misfortune, and Asamoah Gyan's deplorable conduct had Steve Bruce spitting feathers in his MOTD interview. And this is before you scratch the surface of their defeat to Chelsea. What I will say is that I have rarely seen such blatant disrespect shown to a club. Sunderland paid a club record £13m to sign the Ghanian international, and undoubtedly a decent wage, and for Gyan to seek pastures new after half a good season is not a move that will attract the attention of any ambitious club worth their salt come next summer.


I previously promised I would hold back on any US Open commentary until Murray had made his inevitable semi-final exit, and so here it is - I will stick my neck out and say that Andy Murray will never win a Grand Slam. Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal are all streets ahead of him, particularly in majors. The likelihood of all 3 being off their game in the same tournament is slim. Djokovic is the current best player in the world, but the way the seedings are structured at present Murray cannot even get past Nadal to earn his own shot at the Serb. For the Scot to have any hope in the mental department, which is undoubtedly where is biggest issue lies, he must stick to the plan he claims to have to beat a fully fit Nadal. Worryingly, Novak canned Murray in Australia, on the one occasion Murray fought his way through the draw.

The final itself, Nadal vs Djokovic, promises to be a match to remember. Even the Serb's epic semi-final comeback against Federer will live long in the memory, as he twice came back from the dead to underline his growing authority over the Swiss maestro.


If you'll excuse the unforgivable pun, the English cricket team continue to hold an Indian sign over their rivals, with India only managing a tie in the Lords one-day international on Sunday. With Eoin Morgan being ruled out for the summer, and Stuart Broad now suffering a torn shoulder muscle, the in-form England side will be glad for an opportunity to regroup, and prepare for what will be a tough Indian tour later in the year against a wounded animal. First India suffered a 4-0 whitewash in losing their number one Test status, and now they have lost the one-day series. There remains a dead rubber match at Cardiff, but with England's mounting injury worries there remains an opportunity for the Indians to get on the board.


Simon Dyson won his 3rd KLM Open in the Netherlands yesterday, finishing a shot clear of fellow Englishman David Lynn. 12-under-par was his final score, as Dyson moved into the top 30 rankings for the first time in his career. US Open champion Rory McIlroy finished 3rd, a further shot back, as his fine year continues. The Northern Irishman will now return to 3rd place in the rankings.

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