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April 2013 - £4.50
The Road to Rio 2014 - Qualifiers - Key Players - Wonderkids to watch
The Stoke City of NHL: Maple Leaf's God-like Goalies
LONG LIVE THE KING LEBRON AND HEAT’S UNBEATEN STREAK CONTINUES, BUT FOR HOW LONG?
Plus even more news from the world of sport
CONTENTS No English teams left in the Champions League, but is there anything to worry about?
The road to rio 2014 The build up to Brazil’s first World Cup in over 50 years, looking at players destined to set the grandest stage alight and the teams that could surprise us all!
NHL Exclusive Toronto Maple Leafs The Leaf’s goalies have been in fine form this season, but what’s the reasons behind this?
Is goal line technology needed? The World Cup in Brazil next year will be the first to
ever use goal line tech, but will it be a enhancement to the game or a burden?
Andy Murray: Can he become world no.1? The Scotsman’s star is rising fast following his first major last year. Now at no.2 in the world, can he make the final leap to the top?
Difficulties for English teams in the Champions League, but is the intensity of the Premier League to blame? No English team has qualified for the last 16 stages of the Champions League, the first time in almost fifteen years, but is there a reason behind this?
English football is going through a period of turbulence it seems. For the first time since 1996, there will be no English team in the Quarter Final of the Champions League. Arsène Wenger described it as “a massive wake-up call” after both Arsenal and Manchester United crashed out at the last 16 stages, arguably against two of the favourites to win the tournament (Bayern Munich and Real Madrid). Sir Alex Ferguson will no doubt be seething after his United side wrongfully had Nani sent off for a bookable high attempt to reach the ball, especially as they were 1-0 up and looked destined to advance, but no matter whether it was the right decision or not they still went out. Wenger also said “the rest of Europe has caught back up with us”, explaining that the tempo of the English game had been above the rest for the past few years, with them being left to play catch up. A very true statement it seems, as between 2005 and 2009 the final of the Champions League featured at least one English team, with Liverpool and Manchester United lifting the trophy in 2005 and 2007 respectively.
However, the Premier League is entirely different. Every match day is always one that can’t be predicted beforehand, all of the twenty clubs in the league have quality players that can win games, and most importantly all of the clubs have the ‘Premier League factor’ when it comes to signing players. Players from all over the world want to play in the Premier League because it’s televised in every continent across the globe. They dream of playing in the Premier League because of all of the clubs’ heritage, the sound of 30,000/40,000+ fans chanting their name every week and the fame and fortunes that come with being a Premier League footballer. Josè Mourinho, former Chelsea manager and the current manager of Real Madrid believes differently to Wenger. He sees this Champions League campaign as one that has not favoured the English clubs well, with Manchester City being drawn in the group stages with his Madrid as well as German champions Borussia Dortmund and Dutch champions Ajax. Chelsea were also unlucky to go out at the group stages, with a tough group and a change of manager during the campaign, not one of the owner’s best ideas, especially when he (Roberto Di Matteo) had won the competition five months beforehand.
But now it seems that the other nations have caught up, Spain in particular whom have three out of eight clubs left in the competition, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga. Valencia also made the last 16 but Paris Saint Germain knocked them out of the competition at that stage. It must be said however that the same quality of these four Spanish clubs does not run through their entire top-flight league, with many teams such as Granada and Celta Vigo not having the quality or the funds to compete with the big boys.
Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid have been dominant in the Champions League this season, but will he still be the ringleader of the Galacticos next season?
Fixtures for the last 16 of the Champions League 2012/2013: First Leg: Keeping on the subject of Chelsea, the interim manager Rafael Benitez has also had his say on the lack of English clubs left in the competition, describing it as “not an issue” and that “the wheel will turn again”. Mourinho is also believed to agree with this statement, and reckons English teams will have far more success in future campaigns. However, when you look at the stats for this season’s Champions League, it doesn’t look good for the English clubs. Out of all of their matches, English teams only won 39% of games (combined); they also conceded more than any other campaign since 1998, with an average of 1.39 goals per game. This is evident also in the Premier League this season with the standard of defending and goalkeeping being poor on the whole. This can also be due to new technology in footballs making it even more difficult to predict the flight of the ball towards goal, which has choreographed many sensational goals this season also. But there has been many defensive slip-ups that really cannot be excused in such elite competitions as the Premier League and Champions League. Is it just a slip up this season or something much more serious that English clubs are going to have to deal with? Only time will tell over the next couple of years, but for this season at least English fans will have to play second fiddle to the rest of Europe elite in arguably the greatest club competition on the planet.
Tuesday 2nd April 2013: Paris Saint Germain vs. FC Barcelona FC Bayern Munich vs. Juventus Wednesday 3rd April 2013: Real Madrid CF vs. Galatasaray SK Malaga CF vs. Borussia Dortmund
Second Leg: Tuesday 9th April 2013: Borussia Dortmund vs. Malaga CF Galatasary SK vs. Real Madrid CF Wednesday 10th April 2013: Juventus vs. FC Bayern Munich FC Barcelona vs. Paris Saint Germain
The Road To Rio 2014
With the World Cup in Rio almost a year away, we take a look at players seemed destined to grace the biggest competition in world football, and potential dark horses of the tournament.
Oscar When he moved to Chelsea for £25million at the beginning of the season, eye brows were raised. But Oscar has set the Premier League alight this season, and at 21, the young Brazillian has so much potential to be one of the all time greats.
Mario Gotze Neymar The 21 year-old from Brazil has been described as ‘better than Lionel Messi’ by the great Pele and the Santos forward has shown real signs of promise, scoring 43 goals in 43 appearances in 2012. He’s also being watched by the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and Santos have slapped a £50m+ price tag on the Brazillian. Neymar is a real threat in front of goal and if he joins a big club in Europe next season, then we may get to see more of his genius before the World Cup next year.
Touted as one of Germany’s star of the future generation, Mario Gotze has risen to stardom in a young Borussia Dortmund side that has been dominant in Europe this season. The 20 year-old can play destructive passes through a defence and has also got an eye for goal too.
TEAMS Brazil The hosts of the competition are seen by many as the favourites to win the tournament, with many young prospering players in their side. They have a lot of firepower with the likes of Leandro Damiao (second left) and Neymar (one before right). Germany The German side showed how good they are in South Africa in 2010, with their smooth passing game and strong back four. And with many of their players set to hit the peak of their career in 2014, they are certainly a team to watch out for.
Belgium They look set to qualify out of Group A for the tournament, and Belgium are certainly a team that can surprise. With players such as Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku to name a few, it’s surprising how they didn’t make the European Championships last year.
Argentina At this moment in time, many consider Lionel Messi to be the greatest footballer of all time, a man who is the captain of a new generation. Argentina’s new stars have all of the potential to be a world beating side indivudually. But we will see if they can come together and create a truly immense team.
The Maple Leaf’s Goalie Appreciation James Reimer and Ben Scrivens have been in dominant form this season for the Leaf’s, but is Coach Carlyle the reason behind their fantastic form? Writes Adam Kozlowski - Chief NHL reporter
With Toronto Maple Leafs goal tending the strongest it’s been in a while, there is a lot of buzz going around the Leafs Nation. With the leafs holding 14 wins near the halfway point, they stand third in the northeast and sixth in the league. The Leafs seem to be taking advantage of the half season and showing that with their new coach, Randy Carlyle, comes a new type of play.
The all-Canadian goalies have been proving their worth in the past coming weeks and it’s worth mentioning. James Reimer has played well in the past six games with all of them having been wins. Which also includes a 6-0 shutout to rivals Montreal Canadiens, which gives him a good average this season. Even despite injury he still showed the right attitude and continues to be the support that Toronto Maple Leafs really need. But let’s not forget Ben Scrivens nor forget that during the injury period, which Reimer suffered, he held his own. Scrivens agility is more than impressive and he has shown his ability to
Randy Carlyle has come into the Leaf’s this season and has changed up their style of play, which has paid dividends for their defence.
make some unbelievable saves. That been said, with Scrivens in goal, the Leafs lost once more to the Bruins (a team that is truly on the war path). Knocking the ex-marlies goalie to a 6 win against 7 loss ratio. With clear debate over what trades Toronto need to make, one thing is clear about their goalies. Theyâ€™re playing solid so far. Ben Scrivens is up and coming and his effort is something to rant about. With time he will soon show his worth so long asÂ he continues to put in the same level of effort. That being said, he does need to stay active and with the game. Reviewing his losses could really prove to be what makes or breaks him as a goalie. James Reimer is solid and only getting better. With a fairly average season last year he has really shown his development this season, the compassion and effort he is presenting is admirable. The development upon his skills as a goalie has been evident this season and the faith that the team and the coaches have placed in him only makes his play stronger.
Is goal-line technology needed in football?
In recent years, there have been louder calls for goal-line technology, with controversy on the largest of stages, us here at Winner Takes All look into incidents where goal line technology could have changed the game. What is goal-line technology? For those of you that don’t know what it is, goal-line technology is a method of finding out whether the ball has fully crossed the goal line or not. If the ball has crossed the line entirely then it is officially a goal, however if it has not completely crossed the line then it is not officially a goal that stands. Systems like the proposed ones to be used in football such as Hawkeye are used frequently in other sports such as tennis and cricket to determine where the ball has landed. Examples of controversy January 2005 – Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United (Image below) This was the first major incident in English football that started the calls for goal-line technology, after Tottenham’s Pedro Mendes shot at goal from 55 yards. The Manchester United goalkeeper at the time, Roy Carroll dropped the ball and then watched it cross at least a yard over the line before clawing it back into play. Both the referee his assistant did not see the ball cross the line so they did not declare it was a goal. After the match both officials were heavily criticised in the media, particularly by Sky Sports commentator Gordon McQueen, who said: “I’ve seen some crazy things on a football field but nothing like that. Roy Carroll was almost in the back of the net when he got the ball out. And you only had to look at his face as well – he couldn’t believe he’d got away with it. It was an astonishing incident. Comical.”
May 2005 – Liverpool vs. Chelsea (Images below) Only a few months after the Roy Carroll incident, there was yet more controversy, when Luis Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’ was given in favour of Liverpool, who was at home against Chelsea in the Champions League. This time it was much more difficult to determine whether the ball had crossed the line, but the officials declared it was a goal. It so close that you could not tell from television replays either, however the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was furious with the decision, describing it as a ‘ghost goal’ and “a goal that came from the moon”.
August 2009 – Bristol City vs. Crystal Palace (images below) “We can put a man on the moon, time serves of 100 miles per hour at Wimbledon, yet we cannot place a couple of sensors in a net to show when a goal has been scored.” That was Crystal Palace manager, Neil Warnock’s comments after the game, which saw a definite goal ruled out by the referee. Palace’s Freddie Sears struck a ball on goal in the first half away at Bristol, which television replays showed that the ball had hit the stanchion at the bottom of the net and rebounded out the goalmouth. Warnock couldn’t believe what had happened, and along with the Crystal Palace players, he protested to the referee for what he felt was a definite goal. This incident was a large step forward in the campaign for goal-line technology, as again it was clear for all to see that the wrong decision had been made.
In Summary Goal-line technology is due to come into the Premier League next season (2013/2014) with the use of the ‘Hawkeye’ system. So everybody will be keen to see how the system performs over the course of next season, and if it really will make a difference to the game and its decisions. Especially as so much controversy has been caused over the past decade as to whether the ball has crossed the line or not.
March 2012 – Bolton Wanderers vs. Queen’s Park Rangers (Image below) This was another incident where goal line technology was called for, after the ball was seen to cross the goal-line by a couple of yards, before Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan palmed the ball from out of the net. The referee did not give the goal as QPR players protested around him. Later after the incident, the FA called for goal-line technology to be introduced into the game by FIFA.
April 2012 – Chelsea vs. Tottenham (Image below) In the FA Cup semi-final there was further controversy after referee Martin Atkinson awarded a goal to Chelsea just after half time. He ruled that the shot had crossed the line, although television replays contradicted his ruling, showing Tottenham players defending the ball in front of the goal line. The Chelsea Captain John Terry, who was nearest to the goal said after the match of his uncertainty of whether the goal should have stood. Terry said: “I thought it hit me, if I’m honest. I don’t think it did [cross the line], I thought it stayed out, but I’ve not seen it on the replay.”
Can Andy Murray Become World No.1? Andy Murray seems to have gone from strength to strength since his maiden Grand Slam win at the US Open last year, becoming the first British male tennis player to win a slam since the great Fred Perry. Since then Murray hasn’t looked back, reaching the final of the Australian Open in January of this year, his third consecutive Grand Slam final since Wimbledon last summer, claiming smaller titles in Brisbane and the Miami Masters. And it was his victory at the Miami Masters that took him from third in the ATP rankings to second, sitting above Roger Federer and only behind Novak Djokovic, the man who beat him in the Australian Open. But now the season has switched from the hard courts in the U.S. and Australia, to the clay courts of Europe, which many would argue is Murray’s ‘Achilles heel’. Murray hasn’t done too well on the orange surface in his career, reaching the French Open semi-finals once before, and never winning a career title on the surface as of yet. But with Monte Carlo approaching in April, Murray will be going into the clay court season in arguably his best form of his life, and with a bundle of confidence that he can make a real impact on clay for the first time. His coach and mentor Ivan Lendl, once a great tennis player himself, has given Andy a monumental amount of confidence in his game and it has shown in his performances. When he dropped a set in a match, his head used to go down and frustration began creeping into his game, but since the arrival of Lendl last year, his attitude has vastly improved and it seems he has a belief that his quality of tennis can see him through difficult challenges that he would have crumbled under in the past. No longer is Murray an immature, fiery tempered young man who people criticise for having ‘no personality’, instead Lendl and himself have transformed his persona into a cool and composed gentleman of the game. Murray’s transformation seemed to begin at Wimbledon last year, where he reached the final for the first time in his career. He lost the match in four sets to Roger Federer, but it was Murray’s response to losing the match that was the biggest
surprise to many tennis fans. “I’m getting closer” he began in a lighthearted manner, but everyone could see the emotion in his face. “I’m going to try this [speak] and it’s not going to be easy. Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Roger. I was getting asked the other day after my semi-finals: ‘Is this your best chance?’ You know, Roger’s in his 30s now. But he’s not bad for 30 a year old. He played a great tournament, he had some struggles earlier on with his back and showed what fight he has still has left in him so c ongratulations, you deserve it.” Throughout his speech Murray fought off tears of frustration, something that we had never seen from Andy before, a completely different side to the ‘boring Scotsman’ he had been known to be. And it was this new side of Murray that became stronger from being so close to success, and his response to losing couldn’t have been better. He was back at Wimbledon again only a month after his narrow defeat, but this time he was representing Team GB in the London Olympics, and it was evident that he was back for revenge. Murray dropped just one set in the men’s singles
tournament, before coming up against Federer in the final, the rematch of the Grand Slam only a month before. And this time it was Murray who prevailed, and although it may not have been an official Grand Slam tournament, he had still won a title at Wimbledon and at the same time became the first Brit to win a Gold medal at the Olympics in the men’s singles. It was exactly the response he desired, after coming so close only a month before, he sought redemption and he rightfully earned it. Murray’s next singles tournament was the US Open, and he began the tournament with the same drive and consistency he had at the Olympics, reaching the semi final where he faced Tomas Berdych. The match lasted over four hours, with Murray’s fitness and determination prevailing, setting him up with a final against the world no.1 Novak Djokovic. Again Murray had to face a gruelling challenge against the Serb who had prevented him from winning a Grand Slam in three finals previously. But after winning the fifth and final set in the joint longest US Open final in history, he had finally achieved his dream and what no British man had done in almost eighty years. Although Murray didn’t win another tournament before the end of the season, he had still achieved his goal, and many greats that have come before him believe that it was the first Grand Slam of many for Andy. And if he can carry on his form this season into the clay courts, then there’s no reason why Murray can’t become the best tennis player in the world.