Saturday, 25 October 2014

El Clasico 1 preview 2014

Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona remain two of the finest clubs in football today and “El Clasico” is thee fixture between the two. Saturday will be the first instalment and you would be a fool to think that this rivalry is just a show for the trophies at stake or points that are up for grabs.
This year as in every year we will be spoilt for choice in this fixture with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7), Pedro, Toni Kroos, AndrĂ©s Iniesta, Lionel Messi, James Rodriguez, Neymar, Karim Benzema and Luis Suarez (though the latter might make his debut from the bench) all set to play. A notable omission will be the lightning fast Welshman Gareth Bale. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find as many star players sharing the pitch as we have seen during the Real Madrid v Barcelona showdowns, and without doubt, in the modern game, this is as good as it gets.

La Liga leaders Barcelona travel to Carlo Ancelotti’s free-scoring Real Madrid and a home win for Los Blancos would bring them to within a point of their unbeaten rivals, who top the table having won seven and drawn one of their eight matches so far.
Messi and Neymar this term have scored 15 La Liga goals between them and unbelievably CR7 has bagged 15 on his own – and the reigning Ballon D’or holder will be keen to reclaim that title for another term back-to-back.
As the clock ticks towards the billion-dollar grudge fixture , and the world waits with abated breath, it is hard predict a winner, but I can assure you that it will almost certainly be a game worth watching.

My money is on the home side and though the 3-0 drubbing of Liverpool in midweek might have no barring, it does put Madrid in a good space if not then it just underlines the gulf in class between the English team and the current European champions.

Jade Christopher Bentley Adams signing off (@jcba)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Van Gaal's Galacticos host red hot Blues

Manchester United host the unbeaten English Premier League (EPL) leaders this Super Sunday and  I don't know about you but I'm licking my lips at the prospect of seeing the multitude of talent that will be on display on the Old Trafford pitch.
Coach Van Gaal (LvG) could be without possibly United's best player in Angel Di Maria against Mourinho's Chelsea. The Argentinian has been so good since his joining in the summer that, with him in the team, it's not hard to fathom that United at home could win this weekend. But without him and the suspended Wayne Rooney, it's difficult to see LvG's side scoring enough goals to make up for their deficiencies at the back. Don't get me wrong going forward they could give the best teams in the world the run around but if I'm honest at the back its much like a colander, leading to their own down fall.
So LVG will be pleased to hear Chelsea have their own injury concerns over the fitness of Diego Costa and Loic Remy but despite that, Jose's side will still be fancied to come out of this fixture with at the least a point.
That I do feel could be the self proclaimed "The Special One's" Achilles heel in that he would be more than happy to go away from Manchester with a point, in fact come to Manchester looking for a point and at home United just have to win. Already they find themselves 10 points adrift of the leaders and with an eye on the Manchester Derby next weekend any further dropping of points just cannot be allowed.
What the coaches had to say about each other on the Manchester United Website
LVG :"We have been observing each other ever since [Barcelona] and been sending text messages," He went on to say "Little did I know he would be such a great coach. He was an excellent coach then but now he is one of the best in the world and I don't think many coaches can make that declaration."
Similarly, the Chelsea chief hailed his former boss as the best coach at the World Cup finals: "He did a fantastic job with a [Netherlands] team that, in my opinion, was not strong enough to arrive where they arrived. He is a very, very good coach and he'll be great for United. We are both great coaches; it's what we were born to do."

I don't see a goal-fest but it will be an enthralling encounter and if you look away you just might miss something.

Jade Christopher Bentley Adams signing off (@jcba)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Money - Undefeated vs Underestimated

Dan Rafael on espn wrote
Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs), who wore a hat to the weigh-in that read "Money: Just Make It," and Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) meet in a rematch with Mayweather's welterweight and junior middleweight world championships on the line on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 8 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. They both weighed inside the 147-pound welterweight limit, Mayweather at 146½ and Maidana 146.
Mayweather, nicknamed "Money," controls most of the revenue for the fight -- from the pay-per-view sales, the gate, foreign television sales, sponsorships, merchandise and closed circuit sales -- so when a full accounting is done he likely will earn far more than $32 million.

Mayweather also earned a minimum $32 million for his majority decision victory against Maidana in their first fight in May.

The fight with Maidana will be the fourth on the six-fight contract Mayweather signed with Showtime/CBS in 2013. Including Saturday night's fight, he will have been paid a minimum of $137.5 million on the deal. His minimum was $32 million apiece for the two fights with Maidana and Robert Guerrero, and a record $41.5 million for the showdown with Canelo Alvarez last September, which shattered numerous boxing revenue records, including the record for domestic pay-per-view ($150 million) and live gate (just over $20 million).

Maidana's minimum guarantee for the fight is $3 million, double his guarantee for the fight in May. But he earned more than that from Argentina television rights and an additional $1.5 million payment to wear the kind of gloves Mayweather wanted him to wear when there was a disagreement at the 11th hour.

In Saturday's co-feature, junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KOs) will earn a career-high $750,000, and challenger Manuel Roman (17-2-3, 6 KOs) will make $50,000.

Lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez (34-3, 13 KOs) will earn $450,000 for a defense against Mickey Bey (20-1-1, 10 KOs), whose purse is $125,000. Brawler Alfredo Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs), who is moving up to the middleweight division, will earn $500,000, and his opponent, James De La Rosa (22-2, 13 KOs), will make $43,000.

In the fight that will take place on the pay-per-view preview show, junior welterweight Humberto Soto (64-8-2, 35 KOs), a former two-division titleholder, will make $150,000, and John Molina Jr. (27-4, 22 KOs) will make $125,000.

No points for guessing who JCBA thinks will come out tops and for our South African readers the dollar exchange rate is about R 10 for $1 # Let That sink In.

Jade Christopher Bentley Adams signing off (@JCBA)

Friday, 5 September 2014

Red Rants does it again

RED RANTS post on twitter by @mufc_dan87 Follow him here.
As the dust finally begins to settle on the schizophrenic hyperbole that is transfer deadline day, Manchester United appear to be a complete different proposition to what they were 10 days ago, let alone when compared to the team Louis Van Gaal took charge of in July. If Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw were a promising first date back in June, Marcos Rojo the long overdue call for a second meeting and Angel Di Maria the – extremely expensive – first dinner out and Daley Blind the movie date that followed the meal, then the arrival of Radamel Falcao was undoubtedly the moment in which the girl United had not even dared to look at for fear of rejection invited the club back to her place.
Whether the invite will lead to a glass of wine before a “thanks for tonight” dismissal or to a night of passionate love remains to be seen, but the revolution United fans had hoped to see it’s undeniably underway.  A drastic reshuffle of the ranks had been long overdue at United, with the need for reinforcements criminally overlooked by Sir Alex Ferguson and those who – briefly – came after him, before the cracks Fergie had so masterfully papered upon surfaced simultaneously in all of their brutality.
It hasn’t been plain sailing for Van Gaal in his first two months, in fact the Dutchman has had to navigate much rougher seas than he would perhaps envisaged before he arrived at Old Trafford for the first time and he has already come under scrutiny by sections of the media, who are suddenly wary of the threat posed by United.
Of course, Van Gaal’s start to the season has been far from ideal, his system yet to be completely grasped by his players, as United stumble from unexpected defeats to turgid draws serving up the same horrible brand of football David Moyes was lambasted for last season.
However, while on the pitch things might not have changed, off it the situation couldn’t be more diametrically opposite to the shambles that unfolded under Moyes’ guidance.Where the former United manager was happy to hand chronic under-performers five-year deals as United continued to carry passengers, Van Gaal has shipped out 17 players, on loan or otherwise, clearing a sizeable portion of the deadwood that had infested the club for the past couple of years.
The former  Holland manager doesn’t carry passengers, nor is he afraid to make demands. Poorly planned as his transfer strategy might have been, it’d be hard to deny that Moyes was badly let down by the club last summer. However, while the Scotsman toed the party line and refrained from knocking onto Ed Woodward’s door, Van Gaal has not only knocked on the door, he has brutally ripped it off its hinges and demanded results.
And, at least in terms of signings, results have indeed been delivered. Herrera’s untimely injury has made things more complicated for United in the first couple of weeks of the campaign, but pre-season showed the Basque has all the credentials to develop into a crucial cog of Van Gaal’s machine, while Angel Di Maria took all of 65 minutes to impress his new fans and United look to have finally found a fitting owner for the number 7 shirt.
Despite what the press might say, Rojo was one of Argentina, and indeed of the whole tournament, best performers at the World Cup, therefore there should be plenty to be excited about the former Sporting Lisbon defender, while Blind is a typical Van Gaal signing, which is a guarantee in itself.
Shaw has followed a familiar path so far: wonderfully talented while at a medium-sized English club, overpaid and overrated since he’s joined United, at least according to Fleet Street’s finest, who have also conveniently ignored that Falcao’s arrival on loan means United have captured one of the world’s best strikers with a relatively risk-free deal.
It would, of course, be naive to expect Van Gaal to wave a magic wand over his new signings and steer United to the title, for even the best players and the best managers require time to settle into a new system and the £150m United have spent this summer will ensure pressure will be firmly on their shoulders from now until May. It would also be easy to overlook the fact that United have only partly addressed their gaping hole in midfield, while the defence looks suspiciously shaky after the departure of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra.
However, Rome, to use one of the cheapest cliches available, wasn’t built in a day, and the fact that United still require work despite spending more than they had ever done speaks volume for the disrepair and misleading sense of comfort the club had been allowed to fall in over the past couple of years. By their very nature, revolutions are seldom perfect or pacific, often brutal and likely to require time to yield results but, at long last, United have finally taken a couple of steps in the right direction.
- See more at: RED RANTS (pictures sourced by @jcba from various platforms)

Jade Christopher Bentley Adams signing off (@jcba)

Friday, 29 August 2014

Roger Federer - A Tennis "Die Hard'

Roger Federer is described as a Tennis Die Hard in the Afrikaans Newspaper “Die Burger” (in Afrikaans) a  Tennis-Kanniedood.
80 Singles Titles (Open Era only Connors 109 & Lendl 94 have won more); He played in 60 Grand Slam Tournaments (only Agassi played in more 61); reached the Quarter-Final in 36 consecutive Grand Slams (between Wimbledon 2004 till the French Open 2013) only Connors comes close with 27; reached the Semi-Final in 23 consecutive Grand Slams ( between Wimbledon 2004 till the Australian Open 2010) the previous record was 10 held by Lendl and of course has won an unprecedented 17 Grand Slams (behind him is Sampras and Nadal with 14).
It’s astonishing that since 2000 he has never missed a Grand Slam; especially when you consider how physical the game has become in the last few decades not to mention how fit the players have to be just to compete. The last time Rafa Nadal played in all four Grand Slams in a year was in 2011. Craig O'Shannessy, chief market analyst for the occupational series for men, told the Daily Telegraph that Federer's style helps him with his fitness. Paraphrased:"When I watch tennis, I take note of sounds and noises. In Roger's case he floats on the court. It‘s almost as if he is skipping. You can almost hear not hear him.” "He has very flexible ankles and power in his calves. His lower legs do most of the work.” "He does not have heavy muscles – just enough to achieve his goal."

Tennis players are obviously at the peak of their careers in their mid-20s. So it's almost unheard of for a 33-year-old father of four to still be among the very best in the world. Federer is seeded second for the U.S. Open this week.
The question remains, however, whether his age counts against him in best of five sets tennis, during the two weeks of a Grand Slam tournament. It was once again proven this year when Federer lost in the fifth set of the Wimbledon final against the Serbian Novak Djokovic. It was most telling that only in the fifth set he was out played.
What could help him in this regard is the new tactics that he now adopted. Federer has in the last few months come to the net more - since Stefan Edberg became his new coach. This tactic reduces the rallies and helps to shortens the match. Edberg was in his day a master at the net and one can see definite influence in Federer's game. Federer last week told The Guardian that in the beginning he struggled to get used to Edberg. "I do not know if you have spent time with your childhood hero, but it was difficult.” "It's not something I ever thought would happen." If these tactics will help him to save energy in the American Open, Federer might in just over two Sundays add his 18th Grand Slam title to his trophy hall.
You can read the full article in Afrikaans on Die Burger  - by Altus Momberg (this is just my English translation)

Jade Christopher Bentley Adams signing off (@jcba)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Angel Di Maria pens 5 year deal

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid for an initial fee of £59.7m plus add-ons.
The signing takes United’s summer spending to £130.7m with more additions expected before the transfer window closes next Monday. Di Maria, one of the standout performers in this summers World Cup AND Man of the Match in the Champions League Final for Madrid back in May, becomes the most expensive player in British football history. At the price, and with his obvious quality, there is no doubt Di Maria will walk into the side to face Burnley at on Saturday, but where? With Louis Van Gaal keen to exert his 3-5-2 system on United, where does one of the best attacking wingers fit into the plan? Wingback? Surely not but where else is there? Perhaps it denotes a huge shift in thinking for Van Gaal who has, in the past, found much success adopting the infamously Dutch way of playing, 4-3-3. If so however, where does Rooney and/or Van Persie fit into the team?

Di Maria’s signature creates more questions than it solves problems, but what a great problem to have. If Van Gaal (and the clubs money men) secure one or perhaps even two more additions of equally impressive stature and quality in central midfield and defence before the window closes, Van Gaal will have a squad capable of implementing both systems during the season. With United aiming to be back dining at Europe’s top table next season, the ability to switch formations would be hugely beneficial. Last season Jose Mourinho constantly pointed out how Liverpool’s lack of European football would benefit them by giving them the time to practice and train Rodger’s new system and methodology. It was a bit like stating the obvious but, given their improvement, their obvious style of play and their results last season, you have to consider it accurate. It’s conceivable and fair to expect, then, that United should benefit in much the same way thanks to their European hiatus. I don’t know about you but I’m excited about the future under Van Gaal, I only hope we achieve relative success THIS season in order to allow the future to unfold. Relative success? Minimum top four.

Text sourced by Red Rants (click on link to read more mufc news)

Jade Christopher Bentley Adams signing off (@jcba)