Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sports from 19 April


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hot Spurs?

Ivaney Vuonit writes:

It’s Easter and your school report card shows conclusively that the work of the last few years is starting to pay off. Since 2013 games won on the up, games drawn pretty much steady, games lost down, increasing goals scored and considerable improvement in defense. The big indicator of where you’re going is reflected in goal difference: from 2013/14 +4; 2014/15 +5; 2015/16 +34 and 2016/17 with 31 games played + 42! Now, that’s progress.

So, how can we explain this? Well, for starters it was 2013/14 that Tottenham sold Gareth Bale and bought Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela. Just the year before 2012/13 they had also sold Luca Modric but bought in Jan Vertonghen! In 2014/15 Eric Dier and Dele Alli arrived for modest sums. In the most extravagant year 2015/16 Toby Alderweireld cost £11.5 million, Heung-Min Son cost £18 million and Victor Wanyama cost £11 million. 

Over a four year period the income from Modric and Bale has been re-invested in eight players who this year to date (31 games) have contributed thus:
Alderweireld 23 appearances
Alli 28 appearances; 
Dier 27 appearances; 
Eriksen 30 appearances; 
Son 13 appearances; 
Vertonghen 26 appearances; 
Wanyama 29 appearances; 
Lamela 6 appearances and err Kane 31 appearances.
Apart from the obvious consistency that not changing the team too often brings and relatively few injuries the striking element of Tottenham’s rise is the quiet progress Pochettino has made since his arrival in May 2014. He and his players have just got on with improving their performances without drawing too much attention to themselves. Even when Kane (19 goals) does not score someone else does - Alli (16 goals), Son (11 goals), Eriksen (7goals). 

As the end of the season gets nearer and pressure rises it remains to be seen how well they keep their collective cool. At this stage it can, however, be said that they should not fear any of the teams immediately below them in the Premiership. Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Arsenal all have their own problems to contend with and are all also looking over their shoulders.


Tottenham as champions of the Premier League is not going to happen this year and much as they might like to think otherwise also not next year. The demands of Premier League and Champions League will prove too much for them as will also the disruption of playing away from White Hart Lane. All indications are that Tottenham will want to maintain steady progress and solidify their position in the Premier League even at the expense of missing out on going further in Europe. After finishing third in their Champions’ League group Tottenham didn’t really lament going out of the Europa League against Gent. Although Pochettino says time is not on their side I suspect the Spurs board are cool headed and quite happy about the direction the club is going in.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gooners or Goners?

Ivaney Vuonit writes:

As the English Premier league reaches the final stages yet another season’s hopes evaporate for Arsenal. You have to go back to the early part of the season to find a string of successive wins, 27 August they began their best run against Watford followed by wins against Southampton, Hull, Chelsea, Burnley and Swansea. Apart from the win against Chelsea there was nothing particularly outstanding about the other victories. Since the 15 October win against Swansea the best they have managed is beginning 27 November three consecutive wins against Bournemouth, West Ham and Stoke; and two consecutive wins 26 December and 1 January against West Brom and Crystal Palace respectively. This only serves to highlight how soon their season was going into free fall.

Against the next six teams around them at the top of the league, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Tottenham, their current season record makes for poor reading. At this stage of the season they have played 9 games against these opponents and from a possible 27 points have managed to collect a grand total of 6; a home win against Chelsea and two home draws against Man City and Tottenham and a point away at Man Utd. Given the current form of Tottenham it is highly unlikely they will be able to get much from their away game there. Everton and Man Utd have both got to visit the Emirates Stadium but won’t be all that fearful of Arsenal who have scored 61 goals but conceded 39.

Inevitably the conversation has gotten around to Wenger and whether he should go or stay. This is actually a tricky dilemma for Arsenal. If he somehow manages to get into the Champions League 2017/18 which is highly unlikely there will be a reluctance to move him on. If they finish up in the Europa League or not the pressure to part company with Wenger will increase to the point where the board will have to act and therein lies the dilemma. How will Arsenal attract quality players if they are not in the Champions League, if they have a new untested manager (at least untested in the Premier League), if some of their best players have moved on and as a club they do not have a history of splashing the cash?


This season is proving to be a severe test of Arsenal’s ability to demonstrate they have a plan for the years ahead. If they don’t or if the plan doesn’t work out then Arsenal’s glorious run on annual appearances in European football and status as a Top-4 Premier League team will pretty much be history for a while to come. 

The Gooners will be Goners!

Sports 12 - 18 April.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

At the Pearly Gates.

An oldie but ...

Dolly Parton and Queen Elizabeth die and arrive at the Pearly Gates on the same day. They both met with an Angel to find out if they would be admitted to Heaven. The angel said:
Unfortunately, there's only one space in Heaven today so I must decide which one of you will be admitted."

The Angel asked Dolly if there was some particular reason why she should go to Heaven. Dolly took off her top and said, "Look at these, they're the most perfect breasts God ever created and I'm sure it will please God to be able to see them every day, for eternity."

The Angel thanked Dolly and asked Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the same question.

The Queen walked over to a toilet, pulled the lever and flushes it without saying a word.

The Angel immediately said, "OK, your Majesty, you may go into Heaven."

Dolly was outraged and asked, "What was that all about? I showed you two of God's own perfect creations and you turned me down. She simply flushed a commode and she got admitted to Heaven! Would you explain that to me?”


"Sorry, Dolly," said the Angel, "but even in Heaven a royal flush
beats a pair - no matter how big they are.”

Sports and FA Cup 15 - 25 February 2017



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