Monthly Archives: April 2013
After a wonderful week and a halves Snooker, we have reached the business end of this years Betfair Snooker World Championship. This years blue ribbon event has been action packed and the quarter final promises much,much more.
I for one could defiantly not have predicted the 8 men who make up this years 4 quarter finals, stepping out onto the baize matching up will be;Ding Junhui and Barry Hawkins, Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stuart Bingham and Ricky Walden and Michael White.
The tie of the round for me is Shaun Murphy Vs Judd Trump a tie that would have made for a cracking final with both players in decent form all season and two real heavyweights of the sport. Both Sean and Judd have an aggressive style of play and this one promises to be a classic on and off the baize. The war of words leading into this game points towards a rivalry off the table, conflicting characters, the quiet respectful Murphy and the bashful young party boy Judd Trump.
China’s superstar Ding, faces a tricky tie against Barry Hawkins, Hawkins fresh from eliminating The Masters and Uk Championship holder Mark Selby will be brimming with confidence. Appearing in the quarter finals for the first time the Kent based que man will be dreaming of the semis, as will Ding. Ding has this season played some lovely stuff and after years of promise genuinely believes that this is his year. Ding has reason to believe after the simply stunning come back against Mark King in round two where he produced four centuries and seven further breaks over 50.
One of the most surprising aspects of this years tournament has been the ease Rocket Ronnie has returned to snooker with. The Rocket has powered through the first two rounds, few would bet against his chances of regaining his title after a years sabbatical. Standing in his way in this years quarter final will be Snooker Premier League winner and world number 8 Stuart Bingham. Bingham will be appearing in his first ever quarter final and will be looking to prove that he is a different player from the one Ronnie crushed 4 years ago in the opening round.
The final tie of the round may not have the big names of the other 3 but there is still an intrigue to this match. Ricky Walden came through a fascinating battle with Robert Milkins the man to topple Neil Robertson, to make it this far. Walden the world number 14 will be performing in his first quarter final as will his opponent Michael White. The young Welshman White will be wondering how far his debut adventure can go.
This years Quarter final has it all some new faces battling it out and some established stars squaring up all of which means as the tournament gets serious the action will be more than worth watching.
Aidan Fulham (@AidanFulham)
Ok I admit that I am possibly one of Lionel Messi’s biggest fans. The Argentinian forward has rarely disappointing in my humble opinion during outings for both club and country.
However there are Lionel Messi fans and then there is GOL TV’s Ray Hudson.
Returning to goal scoring form yesterday against Athletic Bilbao, Messi justified his title as the world’s greatest footballer with a mesmerising solo effort.
If the goal doesn’t amaze you then surely the eccentrics of Ray Hudson’s commentary will enlighten you just a tad bit more.
Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)
Some are crazy. Some are unbelievable. All of them are really funny…
Yesterday I brought forth some blockbuster news regarding Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze on his now confirmed move to bitter rivals Bayern Munich for a fee of £32m, a transfer record for a German player.
However there is still more transfer news circulating and yet again the news stems from the Bundesliga, who are now developing some of the most attractive young talents in Europe.
Another of Borussia Dortmund’s bitter rivals, maybe greater than Bayern Munich, Schalke 04 have developed a gem of their own, Julian Draxler, 19.
The Gladbeck-born teen since bursting onto the scene in 2011 has earned wide recognition as being one of Germany’s brightest prospects and is sure to be a regular in the German national who can now boast of having some of the most exciting attacking players in world football at this very moment.
The babyface Schalke 04 midfielder’s early shot to stardom was only bound to attract possible suitors, just like every other talented young footballer. This time however it is Arsenal who appears to be the front runners to sign the attacking midfielder.
The expected fee to lure the German club into selling their prized possession is now a reported £15m fee, a moderately respectable expense for a player so talented.
It just so happens that Arsenal will face expected competitors for the German’s signature, on the other hand if Arsene Wenger does indeed manage to pull off what will go down as one of the finest coups of the window, we could be seeing a far superior Arsenal team come next season.
Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)
The transfer window is less than two months away from once again re-opening. Talk of potential signings from all around Europe has been rife throughout the closing stages of the season. But the biggest signing of the transfer window may have just yet been negotiated.
Up and coming Borussia Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp have developed a reputation as becoming one of the most exciting and attractive sides in European football, winning back to back titles in 2011 and 2012 and also becoming Champions League semi finalists this season.
A reason for their recent success is the emergence of young talent Mario Gotze, a player widely documented as being the greatest young talent in European football at the moment. The 20 year-old German has been linked with just about every top club in Europe however it seems that domestic and bitter rivals Bayern Munich may have won the battle to sign the majestic talent from Dortmund according to German publication Blid.
Activating Mario Gotze’s buy out fee, reported at £30m, Pep Guardiola has entered this transfer window in the finest way possible by making arguably the biggest deal of the window. However until the formalities of this deal is indeed confirmed by both parties then all watchful eyes can do is speculate but I guess that’s something every football fan relishes with the transfer window looming ever nearer.
Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)
Take a look back at the best slam dunks, alley-oops, and posterizations from this electric NBA season and see who threw it down the hardest!
The annual PFA Awards Ceremony is due to take place over the next month or so and supporters of the beautiful game have been speculating as to who is going to take home the prize of PFA Player of The Year away with them. So far the names thrown into the hat have been Robin Van Persie, because of his impressive first season at Manchester United, Luis Suarez because of his goal scoring exploits this year, Gareth Bale for attempting to guide Spurs to a top four finish with breathtaking performances and Juan Mata as a result of his consistent showings for Chelsea. However the recipient of the Young Player of The Year award will prove to be a tougher challenge for those that are orchestrating the votes.
Up to now there has been no leading candidate to win the prestigious award which has seen the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Owen, Cesc Fabregas and Steven Gerrard in the past. As the modern game has evolved, the younger the game has become, youthful vibrancy in a team has become a welcomed asset in the Premier League.
Here I am going to identify my top five contenders for the award.
1) Christian Benteke – The Aston Villa forward has been a surprising revelation since his arrival at Villa Park. Erasing the fond memories of Darren Bent hitting the back of the net, Benteke has taken it amongst himself to galvanise a youthful Villa side away from the cusp of relegation. One of many Belgians, looking to kick start a Golden Era for the nation, the powerful forward aged at just 21 has also been linked with some of the Premier League’s bigger clubs including Arsenal and Spurs. Whether or not Aston Villa retain their Premier League status is another story but one thing that’s for sure is that Benteke will be a Premier League player regardless of his club’s outcome.
2) Rafael Da Silva – The departure of twin brother Fabio Da Silva albeit on loan gave Rafael a new found sense of freedom and independence to become one of the Premier League’s finest right backs. A player who has always had the potential to succeed the insightful footballing mind of pundit Gary Neville, Rafael, 22, was never shied away from making that inconceivable mistake causing United to drop valuable points. Maybe that famous number 2 jersey worn by his predecessor G-Nev worked as a stimulus for Rafael to finally start delivering some consistent defensive attacking displays as United’s first choice number 2.
3) Matija Nastasic – Maybe Roberto Mancini made a significant error by signing Stevan Savic. But including the Montenegro international in a deal to sign youngster Matija Nastasic from Fiorentina has to go down as one of Mancini’s better signings during his managerial reign in his time at City. Kompany’s injury problems and Lescott’s struggle for consistency has enabled Nastasic to become a mainstay in City’s defence. Blessed with relative pace, tactical astuteness of one so young and the greatest of composure for a centre back, the Serbian alongside Benteke and Michu should go down as one of the revelations of the season. But it just so happens that Nastasic will definitely go down as a strong contender for this award instead.
4) Eden Hazard – When one of world football’s most sought after talents graces football’s most entertaining league it is only expected that we should be enthralled and captivated? Well Eden Hazard has hardly disappointed. Take away that controversial moment when he nearly broke that poor Swansea ball boys ribs, Hazard has dealt the physicality’s of the English game impressively well. We’ve all seen YouTube highlights of Eden Hazard embarrassing defenders in the past with mesmerising dribbles, but seeing it week in, week out is truly a blessing to the Premier League. A player destined to become one of the greater players of his generation, Hazard should be considered as an outright contender for the award.
5) Romelu Lukaku – The third and final member of the youthful Belgian contingency. Lukaku has excelled since his loan switch to the Midlands from Chelsea. Desperate to prove himself as a top class young striker, the Belgian ticks all the boxes for the requirements of an old school Premier League number 9, one that even Alan Shearer could aesthetically appreciate. Big, strong, quick and agile, simply put to say that Lukaku is only 19 is frightening. Lukaku was signed to Chelsea after developing an astonishing reputation of scoring 15 goals in his first full season whilst at Anderlecht at the age of just 16 years old. And has shown more than enough snippets of what is to come whilst playing at the Hawthorns this season.
Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)
What started at the London Olympics last summer has transcended to the league, carried on throughout the whole season and possibly to the Playoff Finals? I certainly hope so.
This has been a tremendous season for Carmelo, one of the best that I can remember, capped off with his first ever scoring title. Well deserved as well to, in my opinion, the best scorer in the NBA. It can be argued that me calling him that is nonsense seeing as Kevin Durant has won it for the past three seasons straight but Carmelo is a pure scorer, that’s his game.
This past month of April Melo has broken out and established himself as easily the best scorer in the league with seven consecutive 30+ point games amassing to 270 points, against the likes of Miami Heat and Oklahoma Thunder. This season he has averaged 28.7 points per game, more than half a point more than second placed Kevin Durant.
What was behind this latest scoring binge though? Could it have been a tribute to New York Knick legend Bernard King who was recently elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame? An idol of Melo’s that he based his gamed off, an idol who hails from the same Brooklyn, New York stomping grounds and an idol that became the NBA’s scoring champion at the same age of 28.
Carmelo Anthony’s illustrious career has jumped up a few notches this season with him hot on LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s heels for MVP title. Appreciation for Melo has been at an all time high as his number 7 jersey outsold LeBron James and Kobe Bryant’s for the 2012-13 season’s top selling jersey.
Carmelo Anthony‘s MVP campaign can only be boosted by his end of season scoring tutorial. At the same time, Mike Woodson‘s Coach of the Year campaign got a boost with a strong season which included a franchise record 13 game win streak to go with Carmelo’s scoring streak.
Whether he takes MVP away from three-time champ LeBron or not, congrats have to go out to Melo for winning his first ever scoring award.
Lakeem Greaves (@iamLAKZ)
Jay Z embodies so much of what makes New York New York. A kid from a tough neighborhood who grows up in public housing, overcomes lots of bad influences on the street, never lets go of his dream, makes it to the top — and then keeps going, pursuing new outlets for his creativity and ambition. When no one would sign him to a record contract, he created his own label and built a music empire — before going on to design clothing lines, open sports bars and, most recently, represent professional athletes. He’s an artist-entrepreneur who stands at the center of culture and commerce in 21st century America, and his influence stretches across races, religions and regions. He’s never forgotten his roots — “Empire State of Mind” was a love song to our city — and as a co-owner of the NBA Nets, he helped bring a major league sports team back to Brooklyn, not far from his old neighborhood. In nearly everything he’s tried, he’s found success. (He even put a ring on Beyoncé.) And in doing so, he’s proved that the American Dream is alive and well.