Sportige The Sports Know-It-All Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:15:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Arsenal FC – Arsene Wenger Knows It’s Another Lost Season Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:15:31 +0000 More ]]> Arsene Wenger Arsenal FC   Arsene Wenger Knows Its Another Lost Season

Different years, same manager, same excuses. Arsenal are stumbling their way through another season which seems to be yet again one without a league title at the end of it. Arsene Wenger doesn’t have anything new to say or think about a situation we’ve all grown quite accustomed to.

A 2-2 draw at home against Hull City was the last thing Arsenal needed as they’re trying to keep up with the pace of Chelsea, who have dropped just two points so far through the first eight matches. Manchester City won against Tottenham in a misleading 4-1 scoreline, but they’re also drifting apart from the Gunners, who have only 11 points and two wins through the first eight matches.

The Premier League is quite close to start the season. Only six points separate 4th-5th placed West Ham and Liverpool from the 18th place, where Newcastle are. A lot of things are going to change from here until the end of the season. One of them is Southampton, with 16 points and third in the Premier League, probably not lasting the entire campaign that high up.

But it’s a different kind of burn for Arsenal, the team that always settles for fourth place and simply making the Champions League. As long as the money keeps coming in from there and from the most expensive tickets in England, there doesn’t seem to be any rush from higher up to make any changes.

With every season that at some point seems to be heading into that depressing direction for fans who are always promised great and grand things, the body of work Wenger has built for himself since joining the team in 1996 is crumbling. The last two seasons have come with some massive signings, but his choices and game-time decisions haven’t been able to upgrade his team in a way that will change their place in the pecking order.

The trend of firing Wenger is currently dormant, waiting for a real crisis to appear. For now, because everyone but Chelsea and Manchester City are stumbling through the gates, it doesn’t seem so bad. Yet a few more weeks of the same inconsistency, and asking for Arsene Wenger to be fired will be a hot topic and talking point once more, and deservedly so.

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Manchester City – Sergio Aguero is Already Their Greatest Premier League Scorer Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:45:08 +0000 More ]]> Sergio Aguero Manchester City   Sergio Aguero is Already Their Greatest Premier League Scorer

With 61 goals in 95 matches, Sergio Aguero is the top scorer for Manchester City in the Premier League era. It has taken him just over three season to reach that distinction, which proves just how bad things were for the club before the big money from the Emirates arrived.

The trend when it comes to records in England is to erase anything that’s happened during the Football League era. Why? Hard to say. Maybe some branding thing going on. But with the Premier League being around since 1992, anything that has happened before that seems to be pushed to the back row.

Manchester City have quite a few scorers of 100 goals or more. Their top 10 scorers of all-time consists of players who have scored at least 116 league goals, led by Eric Brook (1928-1939) and Tommy Johnson (1920-1930), both with 158 league goals.

The last player to even make the top 10 was Colin Bell with 117 league goals, and he hasn’t played since 1979. He was part of the squad that won the league championship in 1968, the last league title for City until Aguero scored that goal against QPR in 2012, the most important goal in club history because of what it meant to the development of the ambitious project next to the Red Devils.

The top scorers in the Premier League era for City are all from recent years: Carlos Tevez has 58 goals, and he’s been gone for more than a season. Edin Dzeko, who arrived in 2011, is next with 48 league goals for the club.

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Bayern Munich Hold Werder Bremen to 0 Shots on Goal Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:15:41 +0000 More ]]> Bayern Munich Werder Bremen 6 0 e1413730775481 Bayern Munich Hold Werder Bremen to 0 Shots on Goal

For the first time since such data has been collected in the German Bundesliga, a team went through an entire match without taking a single shot at goal. Bayern Munich beat Werder Bremen 6-0 without a single moment of feeling threatened.

A brace from Philipp Lahm, another from Mario Gotze and more goals from Thomas Muller and Xabi Alonso did the scoring, but Manuel Neuer kept his clean sheet in one of the most boring experiences he’s had to go through since becoming the goalkeeper of the German champions, and he’s had quite a few games of doing nothing. Bayern scored in every opportunity they created, making it a perfect six for six against the helpless Raphael Wolf.

Bayern Munich have conceded only two goals in the Bundesliga this season. They haven’t conceded a goal in their last six matches. And it wasn’t a surprise Bremen were beaten so easily. They’ve lost their last nine matches against Bayern and haven’t beaten them in 14 matches.

Bremen have yet to win a match this season with just four points through their first eight matches, conceding 22 goals. This is the first time in 51 years that they’ve failed to win through the first eight matches of the seasons, building up to be their worst start in history.

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Los Angeles Lakers – Jeremy Lin Becomes More Crucial With Every Injury Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:45:51 +0000 More ]]> Jeremy Lin2 Los Angeles Lakers   Jeremy Lin Becomes More Crucial With Every Injury

The season hasn’t even begun and the Los Angeles Lakers are once again full to the brim with injuries. Jeremy Lin is part of that epidemic, but nothing too serious, unlike Steve Nash, the supposed starting point guard, who has been held back with different infliction since he joined the team.

Nash played in only 15 games last season, which is why it’s been weird to hear from Scott that such an injury liability, someone who has played only 65 games over the last two seasons and hasn’t looked too great in them either will be the starting player at the point for the team. Nash insists that the current injury isn’t as serious as the back problems that kept him from playing last season, almost forcing him to retire, but he’s not playing and not even practicing at the moment.

Nash last played for the Lakers on October 12 against the Golden State Warriors. He left the game in the middle, asking to be taken out because something wasn’t right with his back. The team said he hurt his back carrying bags. Something just seems a bit peculiar and more than worrying, not to mention predictable, for a player who probably should have retired, but remained because no one can turn down making more than $9 million a season.

Lin will probably get a lot of minutes in the starting lineup and in general at the point guard position. The Lakers don’t have anyone else, even if they should treat him as the better player among the two. Ronnie Price is the other player fighting for minutes, and he’ll get more than he should due to the Nash injury situation. Lin was supposed to be the guy leading the second unit from the point, along Julius Randle, Nick Young and Xavier Henry, but that will probably be changed more than once.

Henry himself hasn’t been playing in a very long time. He had a promising start last season but a knee injury and surgery he did in April kept him out for most of the season. He hasn’t been recovering well and has been travelling around, looking for other treatments and second opinions, hoping that he’ll be ready in time for the season to begin on October 28. He averaged 10 points per game in 43 outings last season.

The Lakers weren’t built to do too well next season, but they’ve been looking worse and worse with every preseason game. New players go down, Byron Scott doesn’t want his team shooting 3′s. Things aren’t looking good, especially with Kobe Bryant soon to become the usual hero-ball player he is if things don’t get better. Some people thought last year was rock bottom for the Lakers, but if they keep counting on Steve Nash to be a big part of this team, maybe we’ve yet to see how low this team can sink to.

Image via Zimbio

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NFL – 49ers vs Broncos Predictions Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:15:24 +0000 More ]]> 49ers vs Broncos e1413727641449 NFL   49ers vs Broncos Predictions

The two most successful teams in the NFL over the last three seasons, the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos, clash in what is also an interesting matchup between two quarterbacks, Colin Kaepernick and Peyton Manning, that do their thing in very different ways.

The Broncos are 4-1 so far this season, but it hasn’t come with explosive performances and scorelines like last season. Their last two wins, over the very limited Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets, have been something of a departure from that trend, as Peyton Manning draws nearer to tying and eventually breaking the passing touchdowns record, held by Brett Favre. Manning is at 506, Favre has 508. Manning has 15 this season, so it’s safe to assume he’ll at least tie it in this season.

The Broncos are getting things done through the air. They’re fourth in passing yards per game with 297.8, but are gaining only 91.2 yards on the ground so far this season, 26th in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers have one of the best rushing defenses in the league, allowing just 79.8 yards per game on the ground. They’re second in the NFL with allowing only 207.8 passing yards per game, making it a very difficult defense for the Broncos to try and figure out.

The Broncos have actually failed to get a first down on 38.7% of their drives this season, third-worst in the NFL. Only the Raiders and Jaguars, the only two teams without a win so far this season, have done worse in that category. But the Broncos also have a defense worth noting thanks to their pass rush, allowing only 318.2 yards per game, ranking fourth in yards per pass attempt at 6.23 and fifth in rushing yards per carry at 3.31.

The differing styles between Kaepernick and Manning will be at the center of this meeting. Kaepernick works well outside the pocket, and maybe the blitzing nature of the Broncos defense will work in his favor Since his first start in 2012, he has thrown for 16 touchdowns from outside the pocket, six more than anyone else. Manning has thrown 84 of his 86 touchdowns since week 11 of the 2012 season from inside the pocket.

The 49ers are playing on the road for the second straight game with only six days of rest, which might make things difficult for them at some point, especially if they’re forced to play from behind. They’re also struggling running the ball on the road, averaging just 99.3 yards per game with 3.6 yards per carry. Frank Gore has also seen less of the ball during road games, which means it might be an issue with the play calling.

The Broncos are slight favorites going into the game although they’ve lost in the last two meetings between the two teams (2010, 2006). But the 49ers seem to be a team fighting adversity and negative opinions each week all over again. One more game on the road with not having too many backers won’t make much of a difference.

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The Legend of Gennady Golovkin Keeps Growing Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:45:10 +0000 More ]]> Gennady Golovkin e1413726445648 The Legend of Gennady Golovkin Keeps Growing

Gennady Golovkin would love to fight better boxers than Marco Antonio Rubio. But the 34-year old Mexican who has seen his best days in the ring come and go a long time ago is the best who’s willing to fight the knockout machine from Kazakhstan, finishing yet another successful defend of his Middleweight title belts.

The first round wasn’t exactly close. Golovkin kept hitting and rocking Rubio with big hits, including a big right hand that snapped Rubio’s head back. In the second round, it was close to embarrassing as Rubio was a sitting target for Golovkin to pick apart. Golovkin set up Rubio for the fall with a big right hand followed by a left uppercut before delivering a left hand to Rubio’s temple, who fell on the mat, never to get up in time.

This makes it Golovkin’s 18th consecutive win by knockout, improving to 31-0 as a professional, including 28 wins by knockout. He defended his WBA (super) & IBO titles and added the interim WBC belt which Rubio lost after failing to make the requested weight, so Golovkin was the only one actually boxing for it. But titles are meaningless in boxing. It’s all about the money made from fights, and for that, Golovkin needs a big name to step in the ring with him.

While Golovkin might be the biggest rising name in the sport, he’s known to a limited amount of fans. His West coast debut in Carson, California was attended by over 9000 people. Not bad, but a boxing phenom like Golovkin should be drawing more fans to his fights. Being Kazakh and not American, Mexican or Puerto Rican hurts his chances of being a huge draw all on his own. He’s exciting and in his prime, but some things about fan bases are difficult to decode.

So what comes next? Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto will be fighting each other next, and they are the best chances of Golovkin to make a big pay day. He earned $900,000 from his win over Rubio. Andre Ward isn’t planning on going down to Middleweight or fighting at all. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. pulled out of a fight against him. Other titlists or former titlists like Carl Froch, Peter Quillin or Felix Sturm have no intention of getting in the ring with him.

So until he gets a chance to trade punches and gloves with a big name, Golovkin remains hungry and maybe in some way, an enigma. His fights and wins have been sizzling and easy on the eyes, but his opponents haven’t been exactly formidable. He wants Miguel Cotto more than anything, regardless of what happens in the fight against Canelo. The younger fighter can wait, although maybe some are waiting for Golovkin, 32, to get a bit older and slower so he won’t be so scary anymore.

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On Carmelo Anthony, the Triangle Offense and the Scorpion Fable Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:15:26 +0000 More ]]> Carmelo Anthony1 e1413724109732 On Carmelo Anthony, the Triangle Offense and the Scorpion Fable

The New York Knicks are never short of hope heading into a new season. There’s never talk of tanking or building. It’s always about winning and success. Carmelo Anthony feels a change is coming. The triangle offense makes him optimistic about changing as a player, but someone might have to tell him about The Scorpion and the Frog and what it means.

What happens in that fable? A scorpion asks a frog to carry him over a river. The frog is afraid of being stung during the trip, but the scorpion argues that if it stung the frog, both would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog agrees and begins carrying the scorpion, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature.

I don’t think I’ll be the scoring champ. Especially with this system, the way we’re playing — the way that it’s going to be well-balanced, the style of play we’re going to have, I don’t think I’ll have to lead the league in scoring this year. I think shots will be fewer. I think it will be more effective shots. So if that means taking fewer shots, then that’s what’s going to happen.

Triangle Offense e1413724163811 On Carmelo Anthony, the Triangle Offense and the Scorpion Fable

Anthony maybe forgot about Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan. All were scoring champions in some version of the triangle offense. It usually works better with more than just one scoring threat on the floor. Anthony can be as unselfish as he wants, but not having good enough players to make the most of the new offensive system might be a much bigger problem.

We’ve been playing preseason; it’s still early. It’s not until you get in the flow of the game that you start knowing the minutes you’re going to play, knowing the group you’re going to be out there with most of the time. Until you find that rhythm, you’re not going to really understand. What I like so far is, throughout the game you don’t have to really focus on getting me the ball or me trying to score in bunches or just coming down and throwing the ball to me and everybody just watching. Everybody will be part of the game; everybody will feel like they have something to do with the game.

Talking so enthusiastically about a new offensive system often leads to disappointment. Just think of the Los Angeles Lakers in the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. Talk about a Princeton system. A Super team with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joining. The end? Brown was fired less than two weeks into the season, and it became Bryant playing hero ball in order to get them into the playoffs.

When it comes down to it, I think we all know that when it’s time for me to go to work, it’s time for me to go to work. But for the most part, it’s different because whereas before I was trying to start off in the first quarter and end it in the fourth quarter, now I can just play my position, play my part and get everybody involved, and when it’s time to go it’s time to go.

Images via Knicksbreakdown
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Miami Heat – Shabazz Napier Wasn’t Such a Bad Pick After All Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:45:29 +0000 More ]]> Heat beat Spurs e1413723415891 Miami Heat   Shabazz Napier Wasnt Such a Bad Pick After All

Just a preseason game, but when it’s a rematch between the teams of the last two NBA finals, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, there’s always something extra to it, with Shabazz Napier impressive in a 111-108 win for the Heat.

Napier, who most think of as someone who was selected just because of the LeBron James connection in a failed attempt to keep him in Miami during the offseason, is also someone who has two NCAA titles with UConn, being the best player of the Final Four last year. He isn’t just a peace offering to an unhappy player, even if it’s going to take some time to see him preform at a high level on a consistent basis.

Napier finished with 25 points in the overtime win, including the last four free throws in overtime to seal the win. He came off the bench while Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole started together in the absence of Dwyane Wade. While Wade isn’t planning on resting so much next season, this might not be such a rare look to see in the Heat’s backcourt, especially with Miami lacking a bit when it comes to a backup shooting guard.

Wade wasn’t the only player who was missing – Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Chris Andersen were also out on rest. That gave Danny Granger (11 points) a chance to play in the lineup, and also Udonis Haslem fill the center position. Tyler Johnson and Andre Dawkins looked good off the bench with 33 points.

The Spurs were missing Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, as they started with Cory Joseph, Kyle Anderson and Danny Green in the backcourt, while Tim Duncan teamed up with Matt Bonner up front. Anderson, who is one of the more interesting picks in this draft, had a very good game with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Marco Belinelli was very good off the bench, scoring 17 points, including a 3-pointer that tied the game, sending it to overtime.

The Spurs are betting on the same exact team from last year along with the rookie Anderson out of UCLA to make a run for the title, hoping to finally make it a repeat after failing to on the five previous times. The Miami heat have taken a more radical approach to offseason change, which isn’t completely their fault considering James took up and left. At least for the preseason, it’s working better for them.

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Match Highlights – QPR vs Liverpool Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:31:19 +0000 More ]]> Liverpool beat QPR1 Match Highlights   QPR vs Liverpool

A bad match from Liverpool and poor set piece defending didn’t stop them from picking up a dramatic 3-2 victory over QPR thanks to two own goals, one brilliant finish from Philippe Coutinho and a great day between the goalposts for Simon Mignolet, despite conceding twice.

All the league knows Liverpool are terrible when it comes to defending crosses and set pieces, so QPR stuck to crossing and taking advantage of a very confused midfield for Liverpool, that got a lot better once Philippe Coutinho and Joe Allen joined the match, giving Liverpool some speed and attacking ability which up until that point was absent almost entirely from their performance.


After some close calls in the first half, Liverpool survived, made their substitutions and after an incredible miss by Mario Balotelli, quick thinking from Raheem Sterling to execute a free kick resulted in a cross from Glen Johnson and a foolish own goal from Richard Dunne.

Liverpool kept on missing good opportunities as the selfish Mario Balotelli tried to shoot from difficult situations instead of passing to better positioned teammates, and eventually Liverpool conceded in the 87th minute from Eduardo Vargas, coming off the bench.

The end? Liverpool went out on an attack and Philippe Coutinho made a brilliant cut inside the penalty box to score and give Liverpool the lead in extra time. The end? QPR equalized on their next attack, as a corner kick allowed Vargas to make it a brace.

QPR had another free kick in the 93rd minute but Liverpool turned it into a counter attack. A brilliant through ball from Coutinho to Raheem Sterling resulted in another cross inside the box towards Mario Balotelli, but it hit Steven Caulker, giving Liverpool an incredible, and slightly undeserved win.

With the win, Liverpool climb to fifth place, nine points behind the first place and tied at 13 points with fourth. QPR fall back to the bottom place with a inferior goal difference compared to Burnley.

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Arizona State Over Stanford: The Pac-12 Has Changed Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:15:55 +0000 More ]]> Arizona State beat Stanford e1413722421801 Arizona State Over Stanford: The Pac 12 Has Changed

Over the last two years, Stanford were the best team in the Pac-12. But this year it’s different, and losing to Arizona State means it’s already three losses this season, and the hope of winning the conference and going to another Rose Bowl or making it to the College Football playoffs is ending.

Never say never, and it’s impossible to know what the future brings. Arizona won in Oregon but lost to USC. Arizona State beat USC but lost to UCLA, losing to both Oregon and Utah. Arizona State lost to the same UCLA quite badly. But when you pick up loss after loss, it’s getting more and more difficult to change things. Stanford have their annual big North division showdown against Oregon coming next. This year, maybe even a win in Eugene isn’t going to be enough.

Mike Bercovici is filling in for Taylor Kelly and although it hasn’t been completely smooth, it’s going in the right direction. He completed 23-of-33 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown, finding Jaelen Strong for a three-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 in the first quarter. D.J. Foster ran for a touchdown earlier, and the rest of the day was spent doing a very good job defensively holding the declining Stanford team from putting up big numbers and scoring field goals, as Zane Gonzalez finished with 4-of-5, including one from 47 yards.

As for Stanford? They fumbled the ball twice and gained just 288 total yards of offense. Kevin Hogan was held to under 50% completion ratio and their running game, previously their big strength under David Shaw, gained just 76 yards on 22 carries. Maybe it’s simply a transition from a superior class of players that played for the Cardinal over the last four or five seasons, but maybe it’s a system that needs a bit of tweaking.

Arizona State are one of four teams in the Pac-12 South with one loss, making it a very interesting situation in the division. They have to play Arizona when the season is over and also have Washington on the road and a ranked Utah team to think of (also Notre Dame, but that has only impact on the rankings). For Stanford, making up for the lost ground in their division hinges on beating Oregon on the road once again.

An offense that scores just 10 points and has been struggling in general moving the chains this season might find it difficult to keep up with Oregon at their current form, not to mention finding themselves out of the rankings, something that has rarely happened in recent years.

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