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Weekend Review No.19- Samba lions run amok at SW19.

Good Evening everyone and welcome to my review of the weekend. On the dock today are Football, Rugby and Tennis and even a smattering of Cricket where the season is winding up. Sorry that this is actually on Tuesday but was busy something a something. On with the (poorly choreographed) show!

Football had a busy weekend with the world’s most seriously taken competition the Confederations’ Cup. Brazil brought an amazing atmosphere and their attractive samba style football thoroughly dominated the tiki-taka Spanish play in the final. Some are writing obituaries for Spain already but my money would still be on them to pass their way around the opposition next year in the World Cup. Whilst at times the quality of competition in the tournament was so low that the Brazilian public rioted (satire folks) the Cup has definitely piqued my interest for the 2014 World Cup.

In the Rugby the Lions (or should that be lambs?) were edged out by Australia 16-15 in the Second test. To add injury to insult (see what I did there?) Warburton is out of the final deciding test. It seems to have put the Lions’ potential ‘best ever’ crown completely out of the window (glorious foresight once again from me-https://gibberishsport.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/wednesday-debate-no-18-lions-or-lambs/), a disappointing performance for a Lions side just bursting with potential.

The tennis rolls on, although sadly we’ve lost the brave Laura Robson, who powered her way into the last 16 before being defeated perhaps the first time she was actually favourite! Murray keeps British hopes alive as always in his surly British (not Scottish yet) manner. Serena was shockingly knocked out by Lisicki yesterday so Radwanska is my tip for the women’s title whilst the implosion of Federer and Nadal leaves the way clear for Djokovic to take the Men’s.

To cricket, where I’m personally excited by the confirmation from the ICC of a 2017 World Test Championship. A competition that has always seemed to be missing for me. Logistically it will no doubt be tricky but I can’t wait already. The Ashes warm-up continues, and watch this space for a debate over who i think will come out on top this Summer. 

So that’s it! Another weekend dealt with. If you enjoyed it please leave a like and if my style tickles your fancy then following me would be so very greatly appreciated. Until the next time!

Wednesday Debate No.18- Lions or lambs?

Brian-O_Driscoll-Lions-runsHello and welcome to this Wednesday’s Debate. I’m sorry that I’ve been gone for a while, exams are somewhat time-consuming. Anyway, normal service can now be resumed. This week’s topic for debate is rugby related- in 3 days the Lions play their first test against Australia and here I’ll evaluate their chances.

Some have been discussing this Lions side as a truly great one, potentially alongside the teams of the early 1970s that boasted such talents as JPR Williams and Willie John McBride. The last Lions teams to have truly great names as well as great skill. Certainly, there is great talent, with all the right kinds of selection headaches facing Head Coach Gatland over who to play at outside centre and on the back row especially. The dismantling of Western Force reinforced the perceived strength of the side. They also managed to thrash the semi-amateur nursery rhyme (tinker, tailor…) Combined County XV. Crucially, Australia are a fairly weak side at the moment and are shooting themselves in the foot with all the confusion over the mercurial talent Quade Cooper. Weak opposition can be just as important as a srong side in making this tour one to remember. Even the recent defeat to the Brumbies was narrow and crucially inflicted no injuries. Morale in the squad seems high as well, certainly Brian O’Driscoll (you may have heard of him) says it is the best of all of his tours.

However the Lions have already lost their potential unbeaten record due to that above mentioned loss. This would already put them behind the 1974 side who remained unbeaten (although they did draw once). However resounding wins in the Tests would correct this fault. This does not seem likely though. A ridiculous amount of injuries have been sustained- Tommy Bowe, Jamie Roberts, George North etc- practically everyone except Kitchener Sink. INside centre without Roberts could be a particular weak spot and if Sexton can’t get fit then I’d personally call for Wilkinson to return to the set-up- a sign of how desperate the situation could become.

So that’s it. My personal opinion is that whilst this will be a good Lions tour, they will slip up in one of the Tests. A great team, but not the best. What’s your opinion? Leave a comment below telling me what you think! Thanks for reading and remember to like and follow if you enjoyed it and want to see more from me!

Gibberishsport End of Season Football Review!

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That was the year of 2013-2013 that was…

Hello! Good evening/morning/afternoon to you and welcome to my review of the year’s footballing achievements. I thought I’d do it ‘awards style’ with various achievements, some real, some silly, some bizarre. Sadly none of the award winners could be here tonight (Ferguson didn’t respond to my >9000 calls to his phone, can’t imagine why) but I’m sure they gratefully accept the prizes. There’s some obvious English bias but I tried to include some continental influence at the same time. Also what do you think of the above picture? I made it myself and it’s told me nothing over than that my photoshop skills need work. Leave a comment with your opinion! Anyway, on with the post!

Most Significant Retirement: Whilst on the whole it was a poor quality season there were vast numbers of players reitirng. Roll of honour in no particular order: Michael Ballack, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher, the oft-forgotten CL winning manager Jupp Heyneckes, David Beckham and  Steve Harper. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some so please feel free to add to the list in the comments. Of course the most significant omission from that list is the winner of the award- Sir Alex Ferguson. I did a blog on him on his own here for your enjoyment and he really was a great man who will be sorely missed. His prize is, naturally, a pair of golden slippers, necessary for any retirement.

Best Signing:

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Despite the impressive French Connection influx in January, none of Les Geordies made it in this category.

Where to start? In the Premiership Benteke, RVP and Berbatov were all fantastic value for money, whereas in Europe Mandzukic (who scored a goal for Bayern in the CL final) and Ibrahimovic were great signings in my opinion. However the prize goes to Michu, a £2 million signing who netted 22 goals for Swansea, as many as the £50 million Torres in half the number of games. A truly stunning signing and the prize is an umbrella so Michu can continue his adjusting to Welsh weather.

Worst Signing: Hot competition for this one. Borini was poor; Sinclair frequently didn’t make the bench at City; Adam Johnson was a waste of £10 million; but the prize is going to go jointly to every QPR signing of 2012-13 who conspired to ruin the careers of two managers as well as breaking the bank of the likable chairman Fernandes.

Best Player: In the Premiership Bale just shades out RVP for me thanks to his good form all season (we do not speak of Luis ‘the digester’ Suarez here). On a global level Neymar continued his wonderful progress and he and Messi are going to be a frightening combination next season when he moves there (as has been apparently agreed). Messi was on stunning form once again but because he is relatively less appreciated I give the award to Cristiano Ronaldo who is becoming even more influential for Madrid. Bale’s prize is of course a pair of trunks so he can practice his diving while Ronaldo wins counseling so he can try to recover from the shock of having actually beaten Messi in an individual competition.

Worst player: A few candidates for this one including the disappointing Adebayor, the out-of-fitness Maicon and the hapless Bosingwa but my personal pick is no doubt somewhat prejudiced: Cheik Tiote. He was a lesson in mediocrity for most of the season and his only notable feature was that he managed to reach double figures for yellow cards despite missing a month and a half of the season for the African Cup. Outrageous. His prize is a boot to kick himself with so he can regain his past form for next season.

The sending off in the derby was never going to help your case Cheik...

The sending off in the derby was never going to help your case Cheik…

Most Potential: Wilfried Zaha, Benteke, Raheem Sterling and Romelu Lukaku are notable mentions and will all almost certainly become great players but my personal pick is Mario Gotze. He’s not exactly a secret, moving to Bayern in a big money move this summer, but the 20 year old has a bright bright future ahead of him. If Football Manager is anything to judge by. The prize for wunderkind of the year is a lollipop and amnesty from sitting on the naughty step.

Best Match: The best match I saw was 7-3 Arsenal-Newcastle. I had to pass up tickets for the game just days before- one of the stupidest decisions of my life. Theo Walcott’s hat-trick was a joy to watch, especially his last goal. I didn’t even mind the defeat considering the way the match went back and forth so astoundingly before Arsenal put us to bed. The prize for this one is a pair of tickets to the return fixture as I’ll DEFINITELY have them.

Worst Match: Reading-QPR 0-0. Absolutely no contest whatsoever. The match that sent both teams down was phenomenally dreary. Sheer ineptitude that wins the players pillows and blankets to go to sleep on next time they play such a dull game.

Best Goal: Few contenders from the Premiership this season but the clear contest is between Ibrahimovic and Mexes’s outside-of-the-box overhead kicks ( I love the commentary on those by the way). My personal pick is Mexes‘ because he had to beat defenders and a goalkeeper and was only a central defender himself. Ibra was lucky that Hart picked that game to run around like a headless chicken. Mexes gets a crash mat so he can try that shot again..and again..and again… and never repeat it.

Unsung Hero of the Season:

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He’s clearly shocked to receive such a high honour…

My winner of this one is Theo Walcott. Juan Mata and Carrick had great seasons but they’re now so talked about they don’t qualify for the award. Walcott accepted the mantle of van Persie and did a really good job, scoring some crucial goals and proving that he’s useful for more than just FIFA matches. Walcott wins himself a pat on the back, nothing too big for such an underwhelming prize.

Lie of the season: Alex Ferguson‘s leaving speech when he said his favourite moments were the late goals “even the ones that made us lose”. I don’t think he was such a successful manager over 26 years by being gracious. The prize is a large wooden nose.

Quote of the Season: Anything from Joey Barton‘s stunning interview in a French accent. Watch it here. It really is a gem and it wins Joey a beret.

Love affair of the year: Not a real competition this one but this cute picture of Dzeko and Lahm I found just made me want to crown them winners. The earn some flowers and a romantic meal…

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Shh shh darling, the nasty defenders can’t tackle you here.

I thought I’d do a poll below for general ‘Man of the Season’ so remember to vote in that below. Judge it by success, significance or entertainment value, just whoever you think was the most memorable person involved in football this season.

So that’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the post. If you did I would really appreciate a like or a follow! Until the next time!

Fergie Time

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I suppose it does make financial sense…

So it’s finally over. Or at least it will be… Effective from the end of the season Ferguson is leaving as manager to become a Club Director and Ambassador (a cushy unpaid non-job to you and me). Below I’ll give my opinion and crack a few jokes along the way.

So who will be the next manager of United? With this job, the Real Madrid and Chelsea positions all open Sam Allardyce must feel that three busses have come at once. Stories were reported of Mark Hughes dashing to his ringing phone only to discover that he had been mis sold PPI insurance. But on a more serious note it seems three main contenders have emerged: Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho and David Moyes. Klopp has done a great job at Dortmund and it is known that Ferguson really admires their playing style. Mourinho and Fergie have long been friends and Jose would certainly bring the charisma necessary for such a high-profile role. However i don’t believe he has the soul or dedication to the cause that is necessary to replace such a great manager as SAF. Mourinho may bring great success to United but he will almost certainly leave within three years for greener pastures and stability is what the club needs. This leaves Moyes, who in my mind is the best, but not the perfect choice. He has shown a willingness to build dynasties at Everton, changing only when necessary and reaching Europe consistently on a shoestring (figuratively). Whilst he is untested on a top level so was Ferguson when he went to United (can you just imagine where East Stirlingshire would be now if they had kept him?) and I think that he is the right man for the role.

Tributes are obviously pouring in for the great manager, even the BBC has gotten over their grudge to print a swell of articles on him! There is much speculation over why he’s chosen this time to quit. Theories include his upcoming hip operation this summer taking a toll on him, the fact that there is little more to achieve and the somewhat outlandish idea that being beaten by Rafa this weekend was just too much to take! My personal theory is that whilst there has been talk of this being his best ever United side I’ve been deeply unconvinced and they have been flattered by a low quality Premiership. Ferguson wants to leave now because he sees it as not getting any better than this any time soon, although he is leaving any potential successors a young squad with great potential that could come good. Who knows? It’s probably also the stress…

So thanks for reading my thoughts on Ferguson’s retirement. He has truly changed the game, making managers a greater presence to the media and to the FA, whether that is for better or worse is irrelevant in my eyes. He is up there with Herbert Chapman and Bob Paisley in the great manager stakes. I’ll leave you with a final thought: what if this is really just Sir Alex’s greatest ever mind game? Please leave a like and consider following if you enjoyed this post, it really helps me out. Until the next time!

He did it! The God of Snooker!

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Who let Ronnie reproduce? It’s just unfair to pass that talent on..

For any of you that missed it yesterday: Ronnie O’Sullivan won the World Snooker Championship of 2013 at the Crucible, Sheffield. This was his first tournament since winning the same event this time last year. That feat is truly immense. It would be comparable to Tiger Woods winning the Masters one year, not playing any more tournaments then winning the Masters again the following year. It proves for me and for many that when Ronnie is in the mood, as he was over the past fortnight, he is truly unstoppable. Ronnie is truly the Beethoven of break-building, as unbeatable as Lance Armstrong on drugs. He is also talented at concocting the most ludicrous excuses for quitting the sport (“I need to pay the school fees” was one, maybe he should stop wasting money on waistcoats?). His ‘inappropriate cue gestures’ and slight dip in form for the semi-final could not stop his march to the final, where he then won majestically against Barry Hawkins, who put up more of a fight than expected (18-0 score odds were offered by multiple bookmakers) but never looked like winning. 

Some say that it is a sad state of affairs when a player can simply come back and beat everyone on tour in one tournament but I find it marvellous. The talent that Ronnie shows is once in a lifetime and we should enjoy him while he’s here, although I could see him still making empty threats to retire at the age of 80. His son that came down when Ronnie lifted the trophy (see photo) should have been made illegal as the moment one O’Sullivan retires the next seems to be ready to take over!

Thanks for reading my gushing love letter to Ronnie, please leave a like and follow if you enjoyed it! My posts are a bit infrequent at the moment due to exams but I’m posting as often as I can so stay tuned! Until the next time! 

Weekend Review no.18- It 6 t0 be a Newcastle supporter.

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Perchinho, like all Newcastle fans, can’t believe what’s going on.

 

Good day and welcome reader to my review of a bad weekend for me but an interesting one in therms of sport. On the dock will be Football, Rugby and World Championships Snooker.  

As you might’ve guessed from the title and picture, Newcastle lost 6-0 yesterday to Liverpool. Not one of our players looked like they had the drive to stop anything and that’s been the attitude that has killed us this season. The loss has thrown us back into the relegation battle and our run-in is still far from easy. Manchester United and Arsenal played out an entertaining 1-1 draw and looking at Tottenham and Chelsea’s final few games I’d say that Arsenal now have the upper hand in CL qualification. Arsene reportedly has a budget of £70m for the summer so we can expect to see him splash the cash and buy TWO unknown french/ spanish players for the combined cost of FIVE million pounds. Or is that newcastle now? 

To the rugby, where Jonny Wilkinson beat yet another younger english fly-half, this time Owen Farrell, by kicking all 24 of Toulon’s points at Twickenham. It put them through to a final where they face their countrymen Clermont. Is it too much to expect another last minute Jonny drop-goal? Probably, but I live in hope. And also the past. 

Snooker next and whilst the tournament has been relatively devoid of century breaks there have been some rare glimpse of quality. Judd Trumped Fu with a stunning display of potting ability and Ricky Walden gave  Michael Holt a painful 10-1 beating. Another point of interest is the fact that just 6 of the top 16 ranked players in the world made it to the last 16. A particular shock was Maguire, who was Poomjaeng’d (could that be a thing?) in the first round. My personal tip is Judd Trump now for the title. Trump tipped for the tip of the top? Rocket O’Sullivan is also looking in decent form and is certainly dangerous.  

That’s all for today folks! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it; please leave a like and follow if you did! Or don’t, it’s your life. Until the next time! 

Wednesday Debate No.17- Who will be the Champions of the ChampionsLeague?

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From the many to the few…

Good day to you reader and welcome to my little post perusing the path of which club will claim glory this year in the Champion’s League. To give some context: yesterday night Bayern stunned Barcelona in Germany 4-0 whilst today Borussia Dortmund played Real Madrid at home and stunned them again 4-1. So those are the contenders, let’s consider their chances. Also, please remember to leave a like and vote in the poll below! 

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Bayern as a reliable German car..

Bayern: Bayern are showing the efficiency and reliability of a German car, there is no danger of a breakdown anytime soon. As a unit they are greater than the sum of their parts although they have no special individuals who could turn a game when the need is dire. This I believe will cost them because whilst their final place is almost certainly secured I reckon their next match will be tricky and their lack of a Messi/Ronaldo who could win a game solo could ensure a silver medal for them.

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Dejected players after their 4-0 defeat to Bayern…

Barcelona: Whilst it may seem pointless to even consider Barcelona after Tuesday’s mauling, the pitch and referees were both stacked heavily against them in the first leg. Stranger things have happened at sea and considering Barca have precedent (coming from behind in the tie to beat AC Milan 4-0 in the second leg of the last 16) I would say their fans should maintain hope. They also have players with famtastic final pedigree, almost their entire team has multiple winners medals already so if they did reach the final they would feel very confident.

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Borussia Dortmund: The canary-coloured german masters of the counter attack have a great young side- although they are losing Gotze to Bayern from next season- and have real potential to win this tournament if not now, then in the future. Klopp’s Kids (like the name?) thrashed los Merengues on Wednesday and take a hefty advantage into the second leg. I also really rate their pace merchant Blaszczycowski who whilst being a nightmare to type out really is properly quick. 

Real Madrid: Jose’s men gong for their tenth European Cup and almost the whole city is behind them. Tactically Mourinho could have the beating of either Bayern or Barca and after playing Dortmund three times already in the year I’m sure he has something up his sleeve for the second leg. Furthermore, Ronaldo is getting fed up of the glorification of Messi and will want to show his credentials to be the best player in the world through these next matches in my opinion. I reckon a 3-0 win at the Bernabeu to send Madrid through is very doable but it certainly isn’t going to be easy. 

So overall, I perhaps foolishly maintain that Real Madrid will win the Cup this year. Their glittering all-star line-up combined with the fact that they gave up on the league months ago means that they will just have the quality and drive to take it in the final although overcoming Dortmund in the second leg will be no easy task. Next year though I’m already tipping Dortmund, who have the most exciting team in European football and are also in with a great chance of winning this year. What do you think? Leave a comment and vote in the poll below! Also please like if you did and remember to follow for more. Until the next time! 

 

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