Issue 295 | March 1 2013
Wild at heart Gareth Bale tells Sport why heâ€™s loving the freedom to roam
issue 295, March 1 2013 radar 06 Final flashback
Ahead of another big Euro clash for his old club, Peter Schmeichel recalls beating Bayern in 1999
08 Cheltenham pointers
Those wise chaps at the Racing Post give us a preview of their form guide for this year’s festival
oFeatures this coming week
16 Gareth Bale
The unstoppable Welsh Express calls in at Sport to talk freedom, diving and all things Spurs ahead of the north London derby
Gary Prior, Shaun Botterill /Allsport, Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images
25 Six Nations: half-term report
Lewis Moody on England’s Grand Slam hopes, plus a look back at the tournament so far
29 Robbie Grabarz
Great Britain’s high jump medal hope discusses his chances at this weekend’s European Athletics Indoor Championships
32 The Brownlees Triathlon’s dominant brotherhood on their ambitions for the season ahead – and their careers beyond
extra Time 46 Gadgets NVIDIA’s Project Shield and three other devices sent back from the future of gaming
The finest astro trainers out there – because we take five-a-side football (almost) as seriously as you do
50 Grooming Hair-styling products a certain Paris-based midfielder would reclaim his salary to pay for
Park Chan-Wook’s Stoker keeps us guessing, and Affleck’s Oscar-worthy beard is on DVD | March 1 2013 | 03
p06 – Peter Schmeichel on Manchester United’s greatest European victory
p08– Making a profit at the Chelteham Festival
| March 1 2013 | 05
Wei Seng Chen, Sergei Ilnitsky/European Pressphoto Agency/ The Golden Touch - Fencing at the Olympics, Jan Grarup/Laif
world away from the NBA, the picture above shows a group of women basketball players in war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia. It’s one of the winners in the sports categories of the World Press Photo competition. Announced earlier this month, the awards recognise sports features, (as above) and individual action shots, as with the fencing image from the Olympics (far left). Our favourite is this one (left) of the Pacu Jawi Bull Race in Indonesia. It shows a ‘jockey’ with his feet in a harness strapped to two bulls, clinging for dear life to their tails. Visit worldpressphoto.org
<<FLASHBACK<< Bayern Munich 1-2 Manchester United As remembered by Peter Schmeichel
06 | March 1 2013 |
With Manchester United facing a classic European encounter against Real Madrid, treble-winner Peter Schmeichel looks back to their most famous Big Ears victory. “We weren’t quite settled in that game, because we didn’t have Scholes and Keaney in the team – so you’d expect them to be putting on a little bit of pressure. And they did. Anything can happen from a free-kick. It was deflected, it was my side. I probably gambled a little bit, so I was disappointed with myself. But I also knew that the kind of team that we were, we could go behind and we could recover – so I never, ever lost faith. “I wasn’t bothered about the chances they had. Okay, they hit the crossbar. But, when you’re actually in the heat of that moment,
I knew that it wasn’t going in. Because you know if it hits the crossbar, it’s hitting the top of it – it needs a ball-and-a-half further down to go in. You can see these things on the pitch. “No one told me to go up for the corner. I didn’t ask permission. We always did that. Would it make a difference if we lost 2-0? It created confusion in a very well organised defence – we scored from that corner in the end, because the clearance out to Ryan Giggs was poor. That was their first mistake all game, really. Ryan’s shot wasn’t the greatest in the world, but it ended up with Teddy [Sheringham] – who was unmarked. Now, at no point in the whole of that game had any of our players been unmarked. It was so disciplined. But that’s what you’re looking for – confusion.
“Of course, it was an incredible night – the culmination of an incredible season in which we did an incredible amount of good stuff. But we also had so much luck along the way, and we got to a point where we didn’t think we could lose a game. We had players putting in real performances in the right moment, exactly when needed. Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke came up with important goals in so many of those games, but it wasn’t working in the final, so we get Teddy and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on – and they score. We just had that kind of team. It was brilliant to be a part of it. It was a brilliant time.” The Manchester United Foundation’s Dancing with United charity event takes place on 7 March. See mufoundation.org for more
Gary M Prior/Allsport
1999 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
Don’t worry, it’s not all about Guscott
A horse for A course Long-time Gold Cup favourite Bobs Worth (ridden by Barry Geraghty, left, with pair far left in the main image) has Cheltenham figures of 1111. He won two 2m 41/2f novice hurdles in January 2011 before landing the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and RSA Chase at the 2011 and 2012 festivals. His uncomplicated style – he simply travels, jumps and stays effectively – is perfectly suited to Cheltenham, and it may be a blessing in disguise that he missed a slog through the mud there in January. It’s worth noting, however, that current second favourite sir Des champs is also unbeaten at the course, having won races at the past two festivals.
chAsing his tAil Paul Nicholls might be a multiple champion trainer, but he has not won a Cheltenham Festival chase since the great Kauto Star won the Gold Cup in 2009. That’s resulted in a run of 52 straight losers, which might put you off backing Silviniaco Conti in the Gold Cup, Unioniste in the RSA Chase or anything he runs in the many competitive handicap chases. He has fared much better with hurdlers in that same period, however, which augurs well for the likes of Zarkandar (Champion Hurdle), Dodging Bullets (Supreme Novices) and far West (Triumph).
he Cheltenham Festival is less than two weeks away. But if you believe you can make a profit without the help of those who know more than you, let us be the ones to tell you that you’re wrong. Very wrong. We know, painfully, from experience. Thankfully, we have stumbled upon a little book that is going to be your best friend, at least for the next fortnight. The Racing Post Cheltenham Festival Guide 2013 brings together the wit and wisdom of pretty much every expert the esteemed daily racing rag can
08 | March 1 2013 |
gather in one place at one time. Every single race across the four-day festival is previewed, with particular attention paid to the statistics and trends that could help you identify more winners (in our case, one) than ever before. We’ve had a tiny sneak preview, so read on for a few golden nuggets to give you an early steer on the 2013 festival. And then maybe depart with the tenner required to purchase it for yourself. In the long run, it could save you a whole lot of heartache. £9.99, racingpost.com
Renowned tipster Tom Segal, otherwise known as Pricewise, has found a horse at a good price for the World Hurdle – a race recently dominated by Big Buck’s, who misses this year’s renewal with injury. “Oscar Whisky was beaten in the race last year and again in the recent Cleeve Hurdle, so he can be opposed, while Reve de Sivola might not be quick enough unless the ground is testing. solwhit (pictured) is the standout horse at the prices (currently around 10/1). Not only does he have as much ability as anything else in the race, but he could improve again for the step up to three miles.”
Michael Steele/Getty Images, Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images,
the Wisest mAn
Radar Editor’s letter Will Bale test himself abroad? If he does, chances are he could improve further still www.sport-magazine.co.uk @sportmaguk facebook.com/sportmagazine Free iPad app available on Newsstand
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It’s a world game Time for the best British players to consider moving abroad if they want to keep improving
his week’s cover star, Gareth Bale, is in the form of his life. He’s doing that thing that the great players can do – hauling his team over the line, seemingly single-handedly. In a different way, Roy Keane used to do it Editor-in-chief for Man United. Steven Gerrard has done Simon Caney it plenty of times for Liverpool. On one @simoncaney memorable occasion, even David Beckham did it for England. (I also saw Jimmy Bullard do it for Peterborough once or twice, but that’s perhaps stretching the point.) Anyway, he’s some player, this reformed left-back who was almost sold on the cheap to Birmingham a few years ago because he wasn’t good enough. Given licence to roam, he has become one of the most dangerous midfielders in world football. He’s not Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but he’s on the very next tier and, at 23, he’s only going to get better.
Whether he remains at Spurs remains to be seen – though Champions League football would undoubtedly help. Elsewhere (notably in the national newspaper that launched a campaign to keep him playing in this country) there is clearly a school of thought that he will move abroad. That would be a shame, but in many ways it would be good to see if he could do that and succeed. You can count on one hand the number of British players who have really prospered abroad in recent years: Paul Ince, Paul Lambert and Steve McManaman. It’s a different game in Spain, Italy or Germany, but the top players would be able to adapt – and, as a result, improve. It’s one thing playing Champions League football against Real Madrid or Barcelona, but it would be something altogether different to actually play for them. I love watching English football, but I wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying their hand abroad.
It’s been fascinating to watch this year’s Six Nations unfold (mainly because I’m English): what a tournament. On page 25, Lewis Moody looks at what has gone so right for England and, frankly, he knows more than me. But there’s a feeling, as a spectator, that this England team is going places. They control the ball, they’re showing more discipline and they do the simple things (and have a world class kicker). That approach, and nothing more, won a World Cup 10 years ago. Delighted to see that Ronnie O’Sullivan is returning to snooker for this year’s World Championship. He might be as mad as a box of frogs, but he remains one of the most compelling sportsmen to watch in action – in any sport, in the world. Plenty of people sneer at snooker and say it’s not a proper sport, but – how do I put this politely? – they’re talking out of their backsides. Welcome back, Rocket.
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Cover of the Year
Reader comments of the week
10 | March 1 2013 |
@mrdavidhaye @sportmaguk @sarahsportmag what a fantastic read. well done on a great article
Brilliant opinion piece by @davidflatman in today's @Sportmaguk on Les Bleus. Love the Pienaar anecdote!
@sportmaguk not usually distracted, but just spent ages working out anagrams of Anya Shrubsole thanks to @borrowssport
Just read @simoncaney on Wenger. What happened to seeing things thru & having the courage of your convictions? Too many want instant success
LAUNCH OF THE YEAR
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Nice feature in @sportmaguk written by @sarahsportmag - have a read!!
Flats on Friday
It’s like this…
his year’s League Cup final between Swansea and Bradford was a classic. Of course it was. A classic opportunity to hear the usual old bollocks about romance, giant-killing and: ‘Oh look at what the big teams are missing by fielding weakened sides in the early rounds.’ Rather, it was a one-sided game devoid of impetus in a stadium with empty seats and others occupied by the kind of flag-waving extras public school film directors used to think looked like football fans until Danny Dyer turned up wiv ‘is aufentic palaver and casual schmutter. Here are a few other footballing myths that need exploding:
Myth Gary Neville is the most penetrating and acute analyst on television. Fact He’s got a suit and can work a big smart phone.
Two games in two days? Well, yes, but...
hen you think about it, it seems a bit odd that English clubs continue to play Aviva Premiership games when their best players are away on international duty. Were I a club owner and the TV cameras zoomed in on me quaffing rouge in my corporate box, I might appear peeved on a Saturday afternoon as I watched my team play. Peeved because the best players – and, presumably, the chaps to whom I offer the most cash – are getting bashed elsewhere while the other lads toil at home for treasured points. Admittedly there are financial incentives for clubs who breed internationals, not to mention the box office appeal of big stars, but it wasn’t like that in my day. I remember playing for England (yes, it was circa 1986 and before they realised I couldn’t run more than 18 metres without needing an asthma pump) at Twickenham, getting showered and fed as quickly as possible and legging it back to my car to drive to Heathrow. There was none of this lounging around in palatial changing rooms while performing extensive post-match man-grooming rituals. No – I had a game the next day. As I loafed around the airport lounge, still buzzing from the afternoon’s experience and still answering text messages from mates who had been at the game but with whom I’d had no time to catch up, I saw Jon Harley, a mate from school who went on to do rather well in
12 | March 1 2013 |
professional football. He was a bit surprised at the extent of my working weekend, but I brushed it off as if it were nothing to us rock-hard rugger types. He didn’t need to know that I couldn’t turn my head without shooting pains rifling into my arms. I landed in Newcastle around midnight, checked into my room and began cramming the team calls back into my aching brain. As it happens, I wasn’t that tough. The next morning my neck had worsened and I couldn’t get out of bed, so I’d gone all that way for nothing, but I took some consolation from my intent. The next week, Julian White and I both played at Twickenham again, and we both played against Northampton the following day. Certainly, we were a touch sore come Sunday evening. But not turning up, in those days, was never an option. This is not, I promise, one of those ‘these youngsters don’t know they’re born’ articles. In fact, it’s the opposite. Looking back, it was utterly scandalous that we played two first-class matches in a weekend – it’s not as if this was in ancient times. No, hindsight tells us that we were at massive risk of injury. But we all made it through. These modern behemoths, though – they must be treated like the specimens they are. The France game was brutal. Savage. Ireland was the same a fortnight earlier. Take care of them and they will take care of us. They’re a special bunch, and their beloved clubs know that as well as anyone. @davidflatman
Myth The incoming UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations will introduce a level playing field. Fact The new rules will serve to protect the old cartel of G-18 clubs. The precise opposite of the stated intention. You want to do something positive? Then start hitting clubs in debt with huge point deductions. Myth Arsène Wenger built Arsenal – the club, as opposed to the team – by virtue of developing the ground, not spending big and investing in youth. Fact Wenger added to the foundations that had been built by George Graham, had no choice in the move from Highbury, struck lucky with Nicolas Anelka and Thierry Henry and, of his recent youthful signings, only Jack Wilshere would make it into any other top four side. And that’d be as a squad player at Chelsea. Myth Everybody wants the England team to win. Fact The majority of ‘England fans’ take an interest in the national team only with three games to go in any major tournament. The rest is a mixture of schoolboys in the cheap seats at Wembley, supporters of clubs from small northern towns and right-wing toerags from London. Thank you and good night. @BorrowsSPORT
Plank of the Week
Nicholas Capes (North Dakota) Alleged cruiserweight Nicholas Capes climbed into the ring at the so-called ’Winter Brawl’ to fight the much larger former Atlanta Falcons defensive end and boxing hopeful Ray Edwards. He lasted 13 seconds before taking a dive in a piece of big fight choreography that would have been rejected by Laurel and Hardy. “I feel terrible for him,” said promoter Cory Rapacz. “He got scared and looked for a way out.” He’s got one – he’s just been ‘suspended indefinitely’.
/ , 7$
( $7 5 ( + 7
IN CINEMAS EVERYWHERE NOW
Frozen in time
14 | March 1 2013 |
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Down and out
Honestly, all that’s happening here is that Albert Sosnowski has lost his contact lens, and before he can continue biffing with Martin Rogan, he needs to lean out of the ropes and pick it up. Hard to put in with boxing gloves on, but them’s the breaks. Either that or he’s just been punched hard on the nose and knocked clean out of the ring. Yes, on reflection, that’s probably more likely.
Gareth Bale talks positional changes, Champions League desires and the one team Tottenham want to beat more than any other k 16 | March 1 2013 |
You geT The feeling ThaT The PRemieR league ReallY needs gaReTh bale RighT now. Of course, the greatest league the galaxy has ever known (or however it’s currently marketed) features many elite footballers. Robin van Persie is a sublime striker in rich form, while Luis Suárez shimmers with impish menace. There are others, too. But the league lacks that one special attacking talent that it had, say, five years ago in Cristiano Ronaldo or a decade ago with Thierry Henry. Not just a world-class footballer, but a player who leaves your mouth agape with childish wonder as he performs feats the likes of which you’d not seen before. Someone who makes you turn on the TV and endure Match of the Day’s pundits every weekend just to answer the question: so, what has he done this week? Gareth Bale isn’t quite at that level. Yet. But with his bursting runs, outlandish free-kicks and the laughable simplicity with which he appears to perform the spectacular, he is – at just 23 years old – the one who’s getting closest. Even his manager at Tottenham, André Villas-Boas, has agreed that Bale bears comparison to Cristiano Ronaldo right now. No pressure then, Gareth lad. “I think anybody would love to be mentioned alongside the best in the world,” says Bale when Sport asks him about the hype surrounding his recent performances. “It’s flattering, but I don’t really look too much into it. I don’t get the newspapers or read too many reports, so I don’t really know how
much hype there is. Obviously my friends tell me things, but I just treat every day as normal and focus on my job.”
The Two Ronnies
Cristiano Ronaldo is often listed as the player Bale admires the most, and he admits to picking up a few tips from the Real Madrid number seven. “I don’t model my game on his, because I have my own way of playing and it’s not exactly the same,” says Bale. “But we do have similar attributes. I just like watching the best players: seeing Messi and Ronaldo. I’ve watched Ronaldo in the past and you do take things from other people’s games to try to improve as a player, which I have – hopefully.” While he’s improved to the point that he’s playing the best football of his career, Bale’s path to this point hasn’t been smooth. At Southampton, he was a lauded teenage talent with a knack for spectacular set pieces. Manchester United were apparently interested in signing him, but Bale chose to go to Spurs in 2007. Why? “They wanted to me to play first team football straight away,” he explains. “That was the main factor in me going to Tottenham.” Given that, it must have been tough when he struggled to get a consistent run in the team during his early seasons. “It was,” he admits. “I think I’d been there for about six months
Hat-trick hero: Bale announces himself on the European stage with his third in the San Siro in October 2010
and got a bad foot injury, which I was out for about eight months with – and obviously the change of manager during the time I was injured wasn’t ideal. It was a difficult time, but I knew in myself that I was capable of doing what I’ve done since.” He’s needed his quiet self-assurance. As far away as it seems now, Bale was once just a young left-back who wasn’t fulfilling his early promise. He was probably best known for the widely reported stat that Spurs failed to win any of the first 24 league games in which he was first involved. His displays steadily improved over the 2009/10 season, but it was operating on the left wing during the following year’s Champions League campaign that his gifts caught the attention of the wider football world. Bale’s stunning second-half hat-trick for 10-man Tottenham in a 4-3 loss at defending champions Inter Milan showcased his power, control, speed and deliciously sweet striking of the ball. Maicon, a Brazilian international right back with 66 caps to his name, was dismantled. Rumours persist that he signed for Manchester City in the summer, but we’re sure he’s wandering around the San Siro in a daze to this day, asking anyone he sees pass by if they got the details of the Welsh express train that ran over him. Repeatedly.
“It’s been frustrating,” Bale admits when asked about not being in the Champions League since that season’s run to the quarter finals. “Last year, we did finish fourth and I think we felt a bit cheated out of not being in the Champions League. All the boys who have had a taste of that competition know exactly what’s it like: the stadiums, the clubs you play and the > February 22 2013 | 18 | March 1 2013 |
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Taking on The besT
atmosphere is unbelievable. You’re competing against the best.” Bale offers a rueful smile when asked whether he watched last year’s Champions League final – the match that confirmed Spurs would miss out on a crack at the tournament this season. “Yeah, I watched it,” he says. “I was hoping for Bayern to win – and they should have! They battered them and then obviously when Robben missed that penalty, it was just one of those things. You just thought then Chelsea were bound to win.” Despite Tottenham’s fourth-place finish, last summer saw a change in the club’s management as Harry Redknapp was replaced by the 35-year-old André VillasBoas. Bale admits the move was a surprise, but insists the squad were positive about the new manager coming in. “Harry was more ‘go out there and play how you feel and express yourself’,” he says when asked about the differences between the two. “With André, there’s a certain shape and a style we play. I think Harry was more free and let you do what you want. André does that too, but there’s a lot more tactical work. I think it’s something that’s good to learn. We’ve done well this year and I think that’s down to our defending as well as attacking.” Attacking is something Bale has been doing an increasingly amount of as his career has progressed. Signed from Southampton as a
dynamic left-back, he gradually moved up to the left wing. That’s until last season, when Harry Redknapp began to play him more in the centre, a pattern that has been followed by Villas-Boas. Tottenham fans originally made their own preference for his position heard with the chant: “Gareth Bale, he plays on the left...”, but where does Bale feel his strongest position is? “Not left-back anymore, that’s all I do know,” he says with a chuckle. “Starting out wide was good. But when people get to know you, they start to stop the threat – start to double up, even triple up on you. I think you have to learn a different way to play. Some teams try to mark me out of the game but, if I’m able to move all over the pitch, players can’t always follow me. My being given more of a free role is enabling me to do what I do on the left, down the middle or even on the right. All over the pitch, really.”
It’s probably an understatement to say that Bale is enjoying that freedom and his football in general right now. Watching him in his pre-interview photo shoot, cheekily flicking mud off his new adidas boots at his agent and laughing as the photographer guides him on how to celebrate a goal (it’s a skill he already has, we suspect), he looks an athlete in the >
bale on... School days “I was made to play football at school entirely right-footed [to make it fair], that’s true. I tried to sneak a few lefts when nobody was looking. It was a bit annoying. I hated Games after that! It was no fun any more.”
Free kick technique “It’s quite hard to explain. If you hit the ball with the inside of your foot, it’s going to curl, so if you hit it flatter and kind
20 | March 1 2013 |
of let the wind and everything take over, the ball can go anywhere: left, right, it dips and confuses the ’keepers.”
you knock it past him, his arm comes out and it’s like a steel pole. I always find it a test with him. It’s a good battle.”
“Probably my Norwich goal this season – I enjoyed that. It kind of typified the best of my game: pace, power and being able to finish.”
“It’s a personal thing. I do stay late after training. Not every day, because I thinks it’s not good to do it all the time. But when you’re feeling fresh, it’s nice just try a few things, keep practising, keep progressing. The more hard work you put in, it does pay off.”
Best defender faced “Micah Richards. He’s very physically strong and, even if
Most gifted opposition player “I’ve played against Cristiano Ronaldo and obviously we all know what he can do. Also Ronaldinho – when I played for Wales against Brazil, he was unbelievable. Some of the things he does with the ball are ridiculous.”
Room to improve “My all-round play has improved this season: bringing other people into the game, knowing when to pass, when to dribble, when to shoot. But I’m still learning to play in this free role now – this number 10 role. I’m learning the position and the best ways to go about it. I don’t think you can ever stop learning in football.”
Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images, Scott Heavey/Getty Images
“when robben miSSed that penalty, it waS juSt one of thoSe thingS. you were juSt thinking then that ChelSea were bound to win”
“it’s a massive game and arsenaL are ProbabLy the one team we want to beat more than anything” Derby day: Bale grapples with Bacary Sagna at the Emirates in October. His goal couldn’t stop Spurs going down 5-2
Pride of north London
One fixture that often sees challenges flying in is Tottenham versus Arsenal. The two teams clash this Sunday, and it’s a match Bale relishes. “The atmosphere is electric all the time,” he says. “With every tackle, every moment, the fans are celebrating like it’s a goal. It’s great to be involved in and they usually end up being very good games.”
The north London derby certainly has a knack for producing high-scoring encounters, but Spurs were on the losing side of the seven-goal match earlier this season. “I don’t think the 5-2 really affects this game,” Bale insists. “We had 10 men for 73 minutes, which isn’t easy – especially at the Emirates against probably one of the best footballing teams. We just want to take all three points in this one, especially being at home. It’s a massive game and Arsenal are probably the one team we want to beat more than anything.” Bale talks glowingly of Spurs as a club that’s “got stronger every year since I’ve been here. I think the standard of players is going up and up. We’re still progressing now, and hopefully there’s a lot more to come.” As part of that continuing progress, Champions League football next season is a
major target for the club. With Tottenham currently third in the Premier League, two points above Chelsea and four points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, it has the look of a straight fight between London’s three biggest clubs for two qualifying spots. This weekend’s match could prove pivotal in that battle. Fortunately, the man who’s determined to showcase his increasing array of skills on Europe’s biggest stage is in the perfect position to help Spurs get there. No matter where he happens to be on the pitch. Alex Reid @otheralexreid Gareth Bale has scored 19 club goals this season wearing the adidas adiZero F50, the top-scoring boot in the Premier League. All six of the league’s top-scoring strikers wear adidas boots. Join in the conversation @adidasuk #allin
baLe: the transfer vaLue rises 50
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted trying to tempt the 17-year-old Bale, but Manchester United’s bid was allegedly turned down by Southampton. They instead accepted an initial £5m bid from Tottenham, which eventually rose to a grand total of £7m.
As Bale struggled with injuries during his early Spurs years, there were rumours he might be headed for a loan – or permanent – exit. In October 2009, Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish was reportedly planning a sneaky £3m bid for the left-back in the transfer window.
Becoming a regular in the Spurs starting line-up in 2010, Bale was named Barclays Player of the Month for April after scoring against Arsenal and netting a blistering winner against defending Premier League champions Chelsea. It’s fair to say his value was up to a wee bit more than £3m now. Sorry, Big Eck.
After his San Siro hat-trick, Bale starred at White Hart Lane as Spurs beat Inter 3-1 in the Champions League. Europe’s biggest clubs were now alert to Bale’s brilliance. José Mourinho’s Real Madrid were rumoured to be offering £25m plus Lassana Diarra (who we’ll value at £5m for the sake of a round figure).
Proving he was no one-year wonder by continuing his strong form in 2011, Europe’s finest were continually linked to Bale. Barcelona’s interest was rumoured, while Inter denied they were readying a £40m bid (which we assume is Italian for “si, we are readying a £40m bid”).
Belting in free-kicks, long shots and generally playing like a Welsh lovechild of Bryan Robson and Hot Shot Hamish is no way to discourage transfer speculation. Bale has been loyal to Spurs, but there are clubs who would double his current wages. Such as Real Madrid, to pick a name completely at random.
22 | March 1 2013 |
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peak of health. However, even the brightest career has dark clouds. This season, Bale has been booked three times for simulation – or diving, as most fans call it. It’s a matter he felt so strongly about that he discussed it with Premier League referee Andre Marriner when he visited Tottenham’s training ground. Rather than shying away from the issue, Bale is keen to put his point across when asked for the gist of what he said to Marriner. “I don’t mind talking about it. The way I see it is: if you’re running with pace and I stick a foot out to trip you up, you’re not going to run over my foot, you’re going to try and get out the way. And when you’re going at speed and you move your leg out the way, it’s almost impossible to get your leg back forward again to start running, so you do go over. I think it’s a case of me getting out of the way and trying to avoid contact, trying to avoid injury – which I have had in the past from tackles. If I’d known how to do this earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have been injured so much.” “If somebody is literally not even trying to tackle you and you go over, then that’s a dive,” he explains. “But if someone does lunge in, I’m not going to let myself potentially get hurt. I’m going to get out of the way. And, in doing that, you sometimes fall over. I suppose it probably does look like a dive – you can see where the officials are coming from – but I explained to him [Marriner] where I’m coming from. Obviously referees have different opinions to each other, and I’ve spoken to a few. Some agree with me, and some don’t agree with me so much. It’s just a matter of opinion, really. It’s never bothered me and, if it stops me getting injured, I’m not going to stop doing it.”
2013 Six Nations
Grand Slam In SIGht
England arE just two victoriEs from a first grand slam sincE 2003. world cup winnEr lEwis moody tElls us why hE likEs thE look of England’s nEw gEnEration again, and having a 10 who will just kick the kicks is a massive plus, as you saw when Ireland failed against Scotland.”
IT’s noT all rosy There are no gaping holes in Stuart Lancaster’s side, but there are a few things that will worry him. While it’s improving, England’s attacking game still needs some work because they haven’t scored many tries. They’re winning games, which is the most important thing, but they’d be happy if they could see a few more attacking options and a few more tries scored. Elsewhere, the scrum’s not been as dominant as they would have liked over this campaign, and Stuart will want to find a way to fit Courtney Lawes into his side. Courtney got exposed by France last week because he was out of position. But he could be a world class second row and Stuart needs to work on getting him into that team.
Too soon for a slam? England have to beat Italy, obviously, but they’ll definitely be thinking about that Grand Slam game already, even though they’ll never admit it. They have to stick to the simple gameplan that has served them so well, because the pressure will be on, and the team who make the fewest mistakes will win that game. The one worry for me is that it might be too soon for this side to win the Grand Slam, because they’d then have two years to the World Cup – where they’ll be expected to keep up that same level, and maybe improve it. They should win the Six Nations, don’t get me wrong. All I’m saying is that if England lose that game, in some respects it could be a good thing because it keeps their level of performance and drive where it needs to be so they’re not peaking too early.” Lewis Moody was talking to Mark Coughlan. Read Lewis’ Six Nations Column in The Independent and i | March 1 2013 | 25
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his England side has done remarkable things with what is a relatively inexperienced and young team, and the most impressive thing for me is how a lot of guys people didn’t expect great things of – Alex Goode, Tom Youngs, Joe Launchbury, Billy Twelvetrees – have all stepped up and taken their opportunities really well. The most pleasing thing is that England have had to change their game for different matches, and they’ve gone about it so well – breaking down the Scots, grinding out a win against Ireland, doing what was necessary against France with a second half turn-around. They’re just playing very intelligent rugby at the minute, which is what I’ve really liked, while their tenacity is probably their greatest strength – the way they go out and take teams on is really difficult to play against, and they just chase everything, work really hard for each other and stick to a simple gameplan. Owen Farrell has been brilliantly consistent yet
2013 Six Nations
The good,The bad and The rugby
The six naTions so far The Good
England’s young side have won three out of three and remain on track for Grand Slam glory. With victory over Italy surely a given, Chris Robshaw and co will face a Cardiff showdown. Even if they fall at the final hurdle, the number of new stars that have surfaced in the tournament, not to mention the fact that these players will be around come 2015, leaves England in a fantastic state.
France have been an absolute shambles from the get-go. Controversial team selections, misplaced loyalties, baffling substitutions and three defeats out of three have turned Phillippe SaintAndré’s side from pre-tournament favourites to possible Wooden Spoon ‘winners’. No wonder everyone is talking about Les Misérables at the moment.
England aside, it’s the Scots who probably have the most to cheer after their Houdini act against the Irish secured their first back-to-back victories ever in the Six Nations. After disappointment at Twickenham, the way in which their side dismantled the Italians restored confidence to Scott Johnson’s men, and they will now fully expect to beat the Welsh next weekend.
Wales were blown away by Ireland in the Millennium Stadium, but one nicely judged kick has reignited the whole team – and landed George North’s dad in trouble with his better half. The likes of Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau, Dan Biggar and Ryan Jones have bounced back from previous slights on their name to secure back-to-back wins. They’ll be dreaming of a Six Nations decider with the English.
Tries – we’ve seen a few crackers, from Stuart Hogg’s 85-metre interception to Simon Zebo making the most of Brian O’Driscoll’s Fairy Liquid hands. Wesley Fofana’s dancing feet tearing up the Twickenham turf is up there, but for the shock factor and the masterful way in which they were carried out, Luciano Orquera’s double of assists against France take some beating.
Failure to build on their victory over France will leave the Italians incredibly frustrated, especially because they faced Scotland and an out-of-form Wales in the games that followed. With Ireland and a rampant England to come, Italy could still come bottom of the table, which would be a huge disappointment after that first weekend’s performance.
Speaking of Italy’s disappointment, it’s been a huge blow for the tournament as a whole – not to mention the Italian’s hopes – to lose the talent of Azzurri captain Sergio Parisse, after he was banned for 30 days for insulting a referee during a Stade Francais game against Bordeaux-Begles in February. The Six Nations is poorer for his absence.
On the flip side, Ireland prop Cian Healy can count himself lucky to even have a Six Nations fixture left to look forward to. While the varying lengths of rugby bans continue to be debated, Healy’s stamp on England’s Dan Cole was an unwelcome sight in a fiercely-fought contest in Dublin. Healy is set to return before the tournament’s end, and he has a lot of bridges to rebuild.
Leaders The key performers around The park 1
Most metres made
1 Sean O’Brien
1 Stuart Hogg
1 Kelly Brown
2 Louis Picamoles
2 Mike Brown
2 Thierry Dusautoir
3 Andrea Masi
3 Richie Gray
3 Chris Robshaw
26 | March 1 2013 |
3 Toby Faletau
3 Ryan Grant
Stats provided by Accenture rugby. Follow @accenturerugby for all the latest Six Nations stats and analysis
The European Athletics Indoor Championships begin today in Gothenburg, with Olympic high jump bronze medallist and European champion Robbie Grabarz keen to erase memories of his last outing at the event two years ago...
Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images, Stu Forster/Getty Images
ife for Robbie Grabarz, Britain’s best high jumper, is dramatically different from the last time he competed at the European Indoor Championships – in Paris two years ago. Then, he was making his senior debut in a GB vest and traveling with the aim of reaching the final. It did not go well. Grabarz cleared 2.12m in qualifying but failed with all three attempts at 2.17m – a height still 10cm short of what he would have needed to reach the final in Paris. Considering his personal best at the time was 2.28m, the result left the then 23-year-old scratching his head. The 2011 season got worse, too. Grabarz failed to qualify for the GB squad heading to South Korea for the World Championships, finished the outdoor season ranked 44th in the world and was then deemed too lowly to qualify for Lottery funding. The odds on him becoming a European champion and Olympic medallist by the end of the following season must have been longer at that point than we care to imagine. But Grabarz beat all the odds. By the end of 2012, he was both of the above, as well as the top high jumper in the IAAF’s Diamond League series – an accolade that comes with a handy $40,000 prize. He’s a marked man in Gothenburg this weekend, then, and one of the favourites among the British squad to continue last summer’s medal-winning ways.
Point to prove: Grabarz says he is “conﬁdent and in good shape for Gothenburg”
“I’m not the favourite for gold, though,” he says. “Based on past performances, Aleksey Dmitrik, the Russian guy, is probably the one to beat at the moment. So I don’t really have that pressure. But obviously I am the European outdoor champion, and that brings a certain amount of expectation itself.” Grabarz hasn’t competed that much this season, but has performed well when he has. He won the British Indoor title in Sheffield before finishing second to Dmitrik at the Birmingham Grand Prix – a close competition that saw the Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov finish third on countback. “I was frustrated not to jump as high as I wanted to in Birmingham” says the Brit. “But I’m feeling confident and in good shape for Gothenburg.” Looking back to Paris 2011, Grabarz says: ”It was a competition that made me question myself, because I knew I was in great condition there and I messed up. It was really disheartening.” His 23rd-place finish did, however, instil a renewed sense of determination to work hard, heightened that summer when he sat at home as his fellow British athletes competed at the World Championships in Daegu. “I tend not to watch any sport, so I didn’t see it,” he says. ”But it was the first championships I wasn’t at that I knew I should have been at. It was frustrating to be at home doing smaller meets when I could have been at the World Champs.”
“I’m not favourite for gold... but I am European outdoor champion, and that brings some expectation” His training through the winter months was fuelled by that frustration, sending Grabarz into 2012 in the shape of his life – physically and mentally. He came away from the Olympics with a bronze medal – albeit one shared with two other athletes. “At the time, I was really frustrated – just thinking this is probably the lowest bar I’ve cleared in competition all season,” he says. ”But the further I get from the Games, the more I realise how special and important it is to win an Olympic medal. To have done that in my first Olympics and at home – that opportunity doesn’t come up very often.” High jump aside, the real passion in Grabarz’s life is classic cars. Or, more specifically, the act of restoring them. Before the Games, he’d talked about rewarding himself for any medals that might come his way with a classic Porsche or racing car. So, which one did he go for? “I took a different route, actually, and bought myself a classic Volkswagen camper van.” Always expect the unexpected when it comes to Grabraz – he’ll rarely let you down. Sarah Shephard @sarahsportmag
| March 1 2013 | 29
European Indoor Championships Peter Eriksson: the new head coach of UK Athletics dressed like Charles van Commenee to land the role
This weekend sees the ﬁrst major international athletics meet for Britain since London 2012. Sport looks at who’s in and who’s out of favour with the new head coach...
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for Aviva, Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images, Michael Steele/Getty Images
Euro STarS Who’s the man?
Charles van Commenee guided Britain’s athletes to four gold medals in London, but the confrontational Dutchman didn’t hang around for the after party. Having promised he would walk away if he failed to meet his own target of eight medals at the Olympics, he did just that. In his place, UK Athletics appointed Peter Eriksson – a Swede who had been UKA’s Paralympic head coach since 2009. And the 60-year-old has wasted no time in making his presence felt. Toni Minichiello, Jess Ennis’ coach, is one man who has felt it, and he isn’t happy. Despite being named Coach of the Year by Sports Coach UK after
Eriksson has picked 800m runner Jenny Meadows as team captain, despite the 31-year-old having only just returned to racing after missing the entire 2012 season with an Achilles injury. She’s defending European Indoor champion, too, with the silver medal she won in 2011 upgraded to gold when Russian winner Yevgeniya Zinurova was handed a two-year ban for doping last summer. Meadows leads a team of 29 to Gothenburg, but star names Mo Farah, Jess Ennis and Greg Rutherford are absent, choosing to concentrate on the outdoor season. Instead, medal hopes will rest with pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale, who holds World Indoor bronze, Olympic high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz (interviewed on page 29), 2011 60m silver medallist Dwain Chambers, and 400m duo Perri ShakesDrayton and Eilidh Child. At least one of the latter pair will have 4x400m relay gold in their sights with at least two from Christine Ohuruogu, Meghan Beesley and Margaret Adeoye.
“Ultimately it’s about respect – it’s about recognition of what I’ve done” Ennis won Olympic heptathlon gold, Minichiello lost his job as a UKA coach. He fell foul of new criteria for UKA funding, which demands coaches are based at its High Performance Centre in Loughborough unless they are training more than one Olympic or World Championship medallist. Unwilling to uproot himself and Ennis from their training base in Sheffield, Minichiello has been cut adrift. He’ll still coach Ennis, but she’ll have to pay him out of her own pocket. “Ultimately it’s about respect,” said an understandably miffed Minichiello last month. “It’s about recognition of what I’ve done.”
Who’s out? All British male 1500m runners. Eriksson has opted to take none to Gothenburg, with the explanation: “None of the 1500m guys are top-six potential. The first page and the first sentence on the selection criteria is that we will be selecting only top-six potential.” Paula Radcliffe has called the decision “totally ridiculous”, while three-time Olympian Jon Brown tweeted that Eriksson “should be on his hands and knees trying to get Chris O’Hare to compete for GB at Euro indoors”. US-based O’Hare tops the British rankings and is ranked third in Europe this year, but apparently failed to alert selectors to his availability before their choices were made. Others might not meet the top six criteria just yet, but could gain valuable experience, but it seems there’s no wriggle room in UKA’s selection policy at present.
FridAy EurOpEan indOOr aThLETiCS | GOThEnBurG | BBC TwO 3.40pm
Three Brits to watch 1 Asha Philip (60m) The 22-yearold ran the third-fastest British time ever at the trials – 7.15s – to announce herself as a real sprinting talent. 2 Nigel Levine (400m) The Linford Christietrained athlete ran the fifth-quickest 400m time by a European this year in Birmingham last month. 3 Andrew Pozzi (60m hurdles) Suffered from a hamstring injury at the Olympics, but the 20-year-old emerged as a real hurdling talent last year and, if fit, could challenge.
| March 1 2013 | 31
WE RUN THE WORLD
Between them they hold the titles of Olympic champion and world champion, leaving the rest of the triathlon world wondering just what they have to do to beat the brothers Brownlee. Getting the boys into a gym would be a good start...
Spend five minutes in the company of Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and it’s easy to forget how extraordinarily good the brothers are at their sport of choice. Both quick to pounce on any chance to make a joke at his brothers’ expense, the pair sitting in front of Sport on a bitterly cold day in the north are perfectly normal 22 and 24-year-olds. They just happen to excel at swimming, cycling and running – particularly when those three things are required to be done in swift succession and without any breaks for food/drink/comfort. Last year, they became the first British brothers in more than a century to stand side by side on an Olympic podium when Alistair won gold and Jonathan bronze in the triathlon at London 2012. It was all change a couple of months later, though, when Jonathan was crowned world champion in New Zealand while Alistair was in recovery mode after a bout of appendicitis meant he had his appendix removed. “It could have quite easily happened a few months earlier” he says. “And that would have been it, there and then: no Olympics. It was mega painful, too.” “He’s lighter now, though,” comes the smirking response from his younger brother.
TEAM TACTICS While the brothers admit they work together during races to gain an advantage over their competitors, there is inevitably an element of competitiveness between them. So it’s interesting that, with the gap between them narrowing, Alistair is looking further afield for challenges – starting his season at the Abu Dhabi Triathlon on Saturday.
32 | March 1 2013 |
“I’m world champion, but I want to be Olympic champion, too, like Mr Done-It-All over there” “It’s something very different – different distances and a different kind of race,” he explains. “I just fancied a change of focus and a different goal for this early part of the season. I’ve never done a race that distance before, though, so I’ll just see how it goes.” While Alistair is used to the standard 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run of an Olympic distance triathlon, the Abu Dhabi race includes a longer 100km bike section. It’s also a non-drafting race, meaning riders aren’t allowed to stay in the slipstream of another cyclist and benefit from the reduced air pressure in their wake – thus making it more like an individual time trial. “It’s a big change, but I’ve spent years doing the International Triathlon Union circuit, so I’m looking forward to a new challenge,” says Alistair, who is also still planning to compete in the 2013 ITU World Series, which gets under way next month. The series will see the brothers go head to head for the honour of being crowned world champion at the grand final, held in London’s Hyde Park this September. But Alistair admits that his motivation for the slog of another season was initially lacking: “Just after the Olympics last year, I wasn’t as motivated for it,” he says. “But now I want to do as well as I can. I’m that kind of person – whatever I do I want to do the best I can at it. I’m massively competitive, so I can always get the best out of myself in competition because I never want to be beaten.” “Not at anything” adds Jonathan. “Monopoly, badminton... javelin.”
FINDING YOUR LIMIT Anyone who watched the one-off Christmas special edition of Superstars that featured the Brownlees, among other Olympians, will recall how Alistair’s attempts at the javelin proved even Olympic champions have their limits. “His is the first javelin I’ve ever see do a full 360,” laughs Jonathan. “I thought it was impossible. “I’ve never had so much fun in my life as I did doing that programme. But I did learn that we’re not very good at lots of things. It challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged before. Some people couldn’t understand why we can’t do dips and things, but I’d never done a dip in my life before that. Our training is about going outside, riding our bikes and running – not doing gym. It’s no use to us and I don’t enjoy it.” One of the most competitive events in the programme was an 800m race, in which the Brownlees were light years ahead of the rest. They were locked shoulder-to-shoulder until the home straight, where Alistair kicked hard for the finish line – his victory was a narrow one, but the race whetted appetites for the possibility of seeing them compete on the track in future. “I’d love to do a 10km,” admits Alistair, who says the Commonwealth Games in 2014 could even be a possibility – if he can qualify. “That’s the difficult bit, so we’ll see.” Jonathan has no interest in moving away from triathlon yet. “I’ve not achieved what I want to in the sport,” he says. “I’m world champion, but I want to be Olympic champion, too. So I don’t feel like I need a change yet. Ask me in a few years, when I’m like Mr Done-It-All over there...” Alistair raises his eyebrows and a offers a small grin in recognition of his brother’s backhanded compliment. They may no longer share a house – with Jonathan having moved to one about 500m away just after the Olympics – but they remain a fearsome partnership. The best battles of 2013, though, are likely to be those that are fought between themselves. Perhaps separate houses was a good idea... Sarah Shephard @sarahsportmag Alistair and Jon Brownlee were talking at the launch of their new sponsorship agreement with wet suit company Huub. For more details, go to www.huubdesign.com
7 Days OUR PICK OF THE ACTION FROM THE SPORTING WEEK AHEAD
MAR 1-MAR 7 HIGHLIGHTS » Football: Premier League Preview» p36 » Football: Champions League Preview» p38 » Premier League Darts: van Gerwen v Lewis » p42 » Cricket: New Zealand v England, First Test »p42 » Rugby League: St Helens v Leeds Rhinos » p43
Thursday GOLF | WGC CADILLAC CHAMPIONSHIP | DORAL, FLORIDA | SKY SPORTS 3 7PM
Rose at the double? Justin Rose (right) will be aiming to buck a
golfing trend next week when he tees up at the WGC Cadillac Championship. Since the tournament has been staged at the Blue Monster course in Doral, Florida, there has been a different winner every year. Rose closed with a 70 last year to overtake a faltering Bubba Watson and a hard-charging Rory McIlroy, and there’s no question that the Monster suits his brilliant tee-to-green game. Having landed his first WGC tournament here last year, Rose is now looking to win majors, and this would be the perfect preparation with the Masters just a month away. That said, it’s not easy at the top of the golfing tree right now. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were both dusted in the first round of the WGC-Accenture World Match Play, although the latter has shown the better form so far in 2013. And Luke Donald took a dog licence beating (7&6) Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images
from unheralded Scott Piercy in the Match Play, a week that hurt the big guns. Indeed, the hottest player on tour this season is unquestionably Brandt Snedeker. And, although he’s not got a great record at Doral, he has four top-threes in his first five stroke play tournaments of the year. He may not be the longest hitter on tour, but he’s one of the straightest.
34 | March 1 2013 |
The course record at the Blue Monster, set by Stephen Ames in 2000 Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand
SATURDAY chelsea v wesT brom sTamford bridge | 3Pm
Speed is of the essence in north London this weekend, as Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon line up against Theo Walcott and, er... Per Mertesacker SUNDAY ToTTenham v arsenal | whiTe harT lane | sKY sPorTs 1 4Pm
The Blues have been beaten in their past two meetings with West Brom, with the 2-1 defeat at the Hawthorns in November marking Roberto di Matteo’s final league game in charge. They’ve been sucked back into the scrap for fourth place, while the Baggies have bounced back with consecutive wins after six games without one. They’ll have to make do without their top scorer Belgian behemoth Romelu Lukaku can’t play against his parent club.
SATURDAY everTon v reading | goodison ParK | 3Pm
Arsenal might have £123m of cash reserves according to
It’s Spurs who have had the defensive problems in the
After conceding at the death in
their latest books, but you get the feeling that even if
past two north London derbies, though – both have
consecutive games against Oldham
they spent all that money encasing their goal in an
ended in 5-2 wins to the Gunners. The most recent result
and Norwich, David Moyes will be
impenetrable diamond box, they still wouldn’t be able to
in September, however, had much to do with Emmanuel
imploring his side to finish the job
stop Gareth Bale.
Adebayor’s dismissal after just 18 minutes.
against Reading. The Royals have
The Welshman’s scintillating form fired Spurs to victory
Theo Walcott, Arsenal’s own speedy-winger-turned-
got a recovery specialist in Adam le
over West Ham on Monday, making those who scoffed at
striker, is in a lull after a hot January, but despite all the
Fondre, though - without his goals,
comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo pause for thought. The
misguided grumbling about Arsène Wenger, they’ve won
they’d be 10 points worse off. He
question for Arsenal now is: how can they stop him?
three league games in a row. André Villas-Boas will hope
bagged a brace against Everton in
his side’s own considerable momentum (unbeaten in 11
November, as Reading came from
Bale will relish a crack at right-back Carl Jenkinson, whose
since losing to Everton on December 9) will be enough for
behind for their first league victory
defensive style is less ‘deer caught in the headlights’ and
the three points needed to take them seven clear of their
of the season. A repeat would not be
more ‘flattened deer carcass spied in the rear-view mirror’.
rivals, and the dreaded fifth place.
welcomed on Merseyside.
They’ll be without Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna, and
36 | March 1 2013 |
SATURDAY southampton v qpr | st marys | 3pm
SATURDAY stoke v west ham | britannia stadium | 3pm
SATURDAY sunderland v fulham stadium of light | 3pm
A 12-point gap and Real Madrid on
Ten points separate Harry
Tony Pulis’ battling Stoke meet Big
It’ll be a tale of two strikers at the
Tuesday might see Sir Alex resting
Redknapp’s QPR from the club he
Sam’s less-than-cultured West Ham
Stadium of Light. Sunderland’s
players, especially given the freak
managed to relegation eight years
in a game that will see lots of tedious
Stephen Fletcher started his career
injury suffered by Robin van Persie
ago. Saints’ 3-1 win in November’s
chanting about whether each side
there brightly, with five goals in his
last weekend. The Canaries were on
reverse fixture spelt the end of Mark
‘plays on the floor’ or not (hint:
first five games, but he has just two
song in a 1-0 win in November
Hughes’ managerial tenure, and
neither do). West Ham and Joe Cole
in his past 11 and the Black Cats have
(United’s last league loss), but their
Harry hasn’t fared much better, with
looked bright in their gut-wrenching
lost three on the spin. Fulham’s own
last-gasp Grant Holt-inspired win
just two wins from 14 matches.
Monday loss to Spurs but, like Stoke,
new signing Dimitar Berbatov,
over Everton at the weekend was
Mauricio Pochettino has had a mixed
they’ve won just one of their past
meanwhile, is flourishing – providing
their first league victory in 10
start to his own stint at Saints, but
seven. The Britannia remains a
the penetration and poise that
games, and they’ve won just one
with Adam Lallana back in the side,
fortress – Stoke have lost just one
Sunderland sorely lack. Danny
away game all season. United’s
it’ll be hard for the Rs to get a result
league game there this year. One
Graham could be the man to provide
second XI should suffice.
– even with £12m Chris Samba.
thing is certain – it won’t be pretty.
that, but he needs to start now.
SATURDAY swansea v newcastle liberty stadium | 3pm
SATURDAY wigan v liverpool | dw stadium espn 5.30pm
mONDAY aston villa v man city | villa park sky sports 1 8pm
PRemieR LeAgUe TAbLe W D
27 22 2
9 10 8
13 Newcastle 14 West Ham
With the nightclubs of the valleys
Brendan Rodgers has called for his
When Paul Lambert insisted last
suitably defiled and Nathan Dyer
team to finish the season strongly,
week that his side’s season
16 Southampton 27
still sulking in a corner, Capital One
with 11 games left to go and the
consisted of “12 cup finals” he
Cup champions Swansea welcome
prospect of Europa League football
perhaps had one eye on the visit of
18 Aston Villa
Newcastle to the Liberty Stadium.
dangling in front of them like a
Man City. In the League Cup, in
While the Welsh side will represent
SmartPrice carrot. Wigan,
September, his young side pulled off
England in Europe, the Magpies
meanwhile, began their tediously
an impressive 4-2 victory, before
could fly the flag for France - they’ve
annual great escape with a riotous
being demolished 5-0 in November
won three of the past four with the
win over Reading. The Reds eased
by the Citizens’ Argentinian duo.
help of their new star Moussa
to a 3-0 win in the reverse at Anfield
Mancini, bless him, still thinks his
Sissoko, and are powering clear of
in November, but haven’t won at the
side can win the title and will want to
trouble. They’ll offer a tougher test
DW Stadium since 2007 – perhaps
recover that ruthless streak against
than Bradford, bien sûr.
put off by all those empty seats.
often soft-hearted opponents.
goals have been scored in the 41 Premier League era north London derbies, more than any other fixture
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All pictures Getty Images
SATURDAY man utd v norwich | old trafford | 3pm
7 Days TUESDAY FOOTBALL | ChAmpiOns LeAgue LAsT 16, seCOnd Leg: mAnChesTer uniTed v reAL mAdrid | OLd TrAFFOrd | iTv1 7.45pm
Welcome back to Manchester
After all the hype, the long awaited reunion of
them) at the other. Sitting back and inviting Madrid
fitness doubt, dropped in favour of Antonio Valencia
Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United wasn’t
on might not work so well a second time. However, it
or Ryan Giggs if Ferguson opts to go defensive.
the brutal one-man demolition that many feared.
does remain the best way of nullifying quick counter-
Yes, he scored – but then he always does. And, for
attacks, which are among Real’s most potent
A taste of their own medicine
the majority of the game, he was kept in check by the
weapons. Well, that and blasting it in from 40 yards.
Madrid looked vulnerable to counter-attacks when
sheer athleticism of Phil Jones chasing him around.
they committed players forward in the first leg –
United will be pleased to have restricted Madrid’s
Fábio Coentrão was a frequent threat down the left,
galaxy of talent to just the one goal, but it leaves
Sir Alex will have to come up with a new plan for
but United created some presentable chances in
Sir Alex Ferguson with a tricky decision.
keeping Ronaldo quiet that doesn’t leave his team
behind him, most notably when Robin van Persie
exposed in other areas. Having Jones following him
struck the bar.
Stick or twist?
around like a 12-stone puppy worked a fortnight ago,
Should he adopt the defensive approach that
but the United man could miss the return fixture
best chance of snatching a lead. It will be difficult for
worked in the Bernabéu, or revert to his team’s more
because of an ankle injury. That might prove a major
their midfielders if they try to control possession
traditional expansive style? It’s a tough call – United
problem, as will Ángel di Maria on the other wing –
against the triangle of Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira and
theoretically hold the advantage with their away
he was arguably the stand-out player in the first leg,
Xabi Alonso, particularly if one of their number is
goal, but it’s one that could be wiped out in an
frequently getting past Patrice Evra, and even
assigned to track Ronaldo. It will almost certainly
instant. José Mourinho expects his team to score at
popping up on the other wing to cross for Madrid’s
make for a more open game if they try, however. It
least once at Old Trafford, and Ferguson expressed
goal. Wayne Rooney failed in his defensive duties
will also be fascinating to see which tactics Ferguson
disappointment at how much United sat back in the
there, and generally had a poor game on the right.
chooses to use in front of a home crowd and – of
first half of the first leg, which could hint at a change
Danny Welbeck on the left, however, looked more
That route – or through a set-piece – is United’s
course – how Mourinho reacts. There have been
of approach for the return. He’ll know that, although
of a threat all night than he has done in his entire
some famous second legs played out at Old Trafford
United had chances to win the first leg, they were
career, and his pace had the beating of Alvaro
over the years. This one is perfectly poised to be
heavily reliant on David de Gea’s flailing limbs (all of
Arbeloa. Don’t be surprised to see Rooney, who is a
38 | March 1 2013 |
WEDNESDAY FOOTBALL | ChAmpiOns LeAgue LAsT 16, seCOnd Leg: JuvenTus v CeLTiC | JuvenTus sTAdium | sky spOrTs 2 7.45pm
WEDNESDAY FOOTBALL | ChAmpiOns LeAgue LAsT 16, seCOnd Leg: psg v vALenCiA | pArC des prinCes | sky spOrTs 4 7.45pm
Brave hearts broken
The first leg of this tie was overshadowed by a
A 3-0 deficit going into the away leg means this
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has never won the Champions
plane crash that claimed the lives of five people
tie is definitely in the boring pile, which is harsh
League, although on two occasions it’s gone to a
after a jet carrying fans en route to the match
on Celtic, who attacked bravely against the Italian
club he had just left (which could be a good omen
overshot the runway while attempting an
champions in the first leg, mustering almost twice
for AC Milan this season). He will again be a
emergency landing in fog. The Germans side came
as many attempts on goal as their illustrious
spectator this week, as his teammates try to press
away with a deserved advantage after Mats
opponents. Kris Commons looked particularly
home their 2-1 advantage over Valencia, because
Hummel’s late away goal. They created the
dangerous when bursting forward from midfield,
he is suspended thanks to a red card for a fairly
majority of the chances, with Shakhtar struggling
and Kenyan hotshot Victor Wanyama tested
soft-looking lunge on Andres Guardado in the first
to match them in their first competitive match in
Gianluigi Buffon from distance on occasion.
leg. Valencia will hope the winger isn’t too scarred
months. The Ukrainian side are in the middle of
Juventus were clinical though – and two goals in
by the incident – along with Ever Banega he was at
their winter break, and are adjusting to life without
the last ten minutes will give Antonio Conte the
the heart of much of their good work in the first
playmaker Willian, who moved to Anzhi
chance to rotate some players in a busy month.
leg. The tie was saved from the boring pile by Adil
Makhachkala in Russia in January. Perhaps as a
Kwadwo Asamoah could return to the side after
Rami’s late goal for the Spaniards at the Mestalla,
result, Shakhtar relied too heavily on set pieces
time off with Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations,
but even without Ibrahimovic, who is often so
and long balls in the first leg, and Dortmund were
and former Manchester United youth player Paul
important in their build-up play, the expensive
unlucky not to take an outright victory home after
Pogba has had a promising start to his Juventus
Argentine duo of Javier Pastore and Ezequiel
the Polish pairing of Robert Lewandowski and
career. Celtic will try to attack, most likely in vain,
Lavezzi (pictured) should pose enough of a threat
Jakub Błaszczykowski spurned plenty of chances
but the fat incoming cheque from UEFA means
to see PSG comfortably through on their own turf.
to put the tie beyond doubt. At home, though,
they can look back on this year’s Champions
And, if that doesn’t work, they can always try and
Jürgen Klopp’s team are formidable European
League campaign as a job well done. With the
distract the opponents with a cameo from
opponents – they conceded just once at home in
Bhoys 19 points clear in the SPL, they’ve got sod all
underwear salesman David Beckham, who
the group stage, and their incisive short passing
else to do for the rest of the season, so they’ll have
apparently takes a mean free-kick. Incredibly, it’s
game should get the job done in the second leg.
a lot of time for reflection.
19 years since his debut in this competition.
Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand | 39
All pictures Getty Images
TUESDAY FOOTBALL | ChAmpiOns LeAgue LAsT 16, seCOnd Leg: BOrussiA dOrTmund v shAkhTAr dOneTsk | WesTFALensTAdiOn | sky spOrTs 2 7.45pm
7 Days SAtUrDAY FOOTbALL | SCOTTISH CuP QuARTER FINAL: ST MIRREN V CELTIC | ST MIRREN PARk | SkY SPORTS 1 12.45PM
Got your wish Juventus aren’t the only team in black and white stripes over whom Celtic are looking for revenge next week. The Buddies upset The Bhoys with a 3-2 win in the semi finals of this season’s Scottish League Cup. Upset them so much, in fact, that a fired-up Neil Lennon confessed “I hope we get St Mirren” before the draw was made. Well, the Celtic manager had his wish granted, but his side might not relish their trip to Paisley. St Mirren’s key to another upset likely comes in the muscular form of on-loan forward Esmaël Goncalves. The powerful young Portuguese attacker has the remarkable record of scoring on his debut in each of Scotland’s three major domestic competitions since arriving on loan in January, including the first goal in that 3-2 win against Celtic. If Goncalves can repeat the dose, Neil Lennon could be left red of face on Saturday. Even more so than usual.
SUNDAY | MLS | LA GALAXY V CHICAGO FIRE | HOME DEPOT CENTER | ESPN 10PM
A new MLS season gets under way on
with the Galaxy later this month and
Sunday when defending champions
return to action in April. Until then, it’s
LA Galaxy (now minus one David
Robbie Keane who will be carrying the
Beckham, who left after they won their
can as their best-known player on
second consecutive MLS Cup last
December) take on Chicago Fire, who
40 | March 1 2013 |
“It’s definitely Robbie’s team,” said
last year reached the playoffs for the
his teammate Mike Magee after the
first time since 2009.
striker signed a contract extension last
Landon Donovan, the Galaxy’s
month, but Keane insists nothing will
remaining star man, is also missing
be different now that he’s the face of
having taken a ‘leave of absence from
the Galaxy. “It won’t change anything,”
soccer’ at the end of last season.
he said. “I’ve been a captain for a long
“Soccer is not a big part of me... I
time now, for clubs and country. When
feel like I have so much more to give,”
things aren’t going well, you have to be
he said, before boarding a flight for
the one to try and help the people
Cambodia. He’s due to resume training
around you. I’ll do that anyway.”
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Hollywood kick off
Completely free every Friday. The UKâ€™s top sport magazine The biggest interviews The best previews
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7 Days Thursday Darts | Premier League Darts: Night Five | CaPitaL Fm areNa, NottiNgham | sky sPorts 2 7Pm
Jackpot or bust Adrian Lewis and Michael van Gerwen went at it hammer, tongs and the full anvil during their quarter final clash at the 2013 World Championship, Lewis squandering two darts to win before the Dutchman triumphed 5-4. As close as that match was, there’s been a significant gap in their start to this year’s Premier League. Lewis lost all of his opening three games, while MVG (pictured) went unbeaten, including a draw with Phil Taylor. The pair meet at the halfway point of this year’s tournament – and it looks the most enticing match of the night as ‘Jackpot’ bids for revenge in a must-win match for him. Defending champion Taylor may also have a tricky night against 2011 winner Gary Anderson: an erratic player, but one of the few who can match ‘The Power’ in the scoring department when he’s at his best. Before that, James Wade takes on Robert Thornton in the opener, the resurgent Raymond van Barneveld is up against Andy Hamilton, while Wes Newton takes on Australia’s wizard Simon Whitlock in the night’s final bout. Magic darts.
Brave new world
Phase two of the rebuilding of New England – at least in test terms – gets under way against New Zealand in Dunedin on Tuesday. It is a chance for Alastair Cook’s men to build on their fine series win in India, though much of that success rested on the shoulders of Cook himself, along with Kevin Pietersen and Jimmy Anderson. The captain will demand more of his top order against the eighth-ranked Test team in the world, and Nick Compton and Joe Root (left) can cement their places in the side. Steve Finn should also be a regular, but will Cook be brave enough to hand him the new ball instead of Stuart Broad? The series should be a formality, but there are still questions to answer ahead of the Ashes.
42 | March 1 2013 |
Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images, Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images, Gareth Copley/Getty Images
TuEsday CriCket | NeW ZeaLaND v eNgLaND | First test | DuNeDiN | sky sPorts 1 8Pm
Friday Rugby League | ST HeLeNS v LeeDS RHINOS | LaNgTRee PaRk | Sky SPORTS 1 8PM
Saints march on? After the disappointment of losing
changes. Scrum-half Jonny Lomax
their World World Club Challenge
(pictured) was moved to full back,
crown, Leeds Rhinos will have to
the position many at the club feel is
pick themselves up for the tough
his best, and claimed a hat-trick.
trip to Langtree Park. That 14-18
Brown also introduced a new half
loss to Melbourne Storm came
back pairing of Gary Wheeler and
despite outstanding performances
Jon Wilkin and put his faith in three
from Kallum Watkins and veteran
young props Anthony Walker, Joe
prop Jamie Peacock, but the effort
Greenwood and Alex Walmsley.
they put in would have been both
But he knows his side must continue
physically and mentally draining.
to improve if they are to beat Leeds.
St Helens, after a stuttering start,
Today’s Record is tomorrow’s motivation
“It’ll be a big challenge,” he said.
finally found some form in their win
“Leeds are a good side and they did
over Bradford – but only after coach
the competition a service [against
Nathan Brown made some radical
Melbourne] the way they played.”
With a touch, tapand or swipe, Forerunner 610computers special edition The new Edge 810 510 touchscreen GPS bike offer advanced 1 lets you get metrics on withand your run while it tracks allyour the smartphone, details performance connected features through including LiveTrack, social network sharing and weather. now whether and guides you through each session. Train with So Garmin, you’re sharing your activities live from thejoin roadthe or when you biggest get back home, upload to connect.garmin.com and world’s your friends and family can follow you live, comment at Garmin Connect and running community. then be in your tyre tracks tomorrow. garmin.com/edge
garmin.co.uk/forerunner ©2013 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries 1 When paired with your compatible Android or Apple device.
Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand | 43
What a competition!
his season’s Capital One Cup has been a thrill a minute - almost literally at times! It’s hard to think of a more exciting competition in recent years, one which gripped supporters the length and breadth of the land. And it culminated in a brilliant Final between Premier League Swansea City and League Two Bradford City. The Final may have turned into a one-sided affair, but that should not detract from Bradford City’s wonderful achievement in reaching Wembley. It’s not so long ago that they were in the top flight themselves (while Swansea City were languishing in the bottom tier), but their Capital One Cup run this season will live long in the memories of their terrific supporters, and should give them hope that they can soon start climbing through the divisions again. There were shocks on the board early. While Bradford City were dispatching Championship side Watford in Round Two, their fellow League Two side Burton Albion saw off Leicester City – although the surprise of the round was a stunning performance by Swindon Town to get the better of Premier League outfit Stoke City. One of the highlights of Round Three was a Liverpool debut for 16-year-old Jerome Sinclair, who became the Reds’ youngest-ever player when he came off the bench against West Bromwich Albion. The competition also started to take shape, with Manchester City
and Everton exiting (to Aston Villa and Leeds United respectively) and favourites Manchester United and Chelsea pitched against each other in Round Four... but nobody could have predicted what would happen next. Round Four of this year’s Capital One Cup had football fans talking across the planet. First up, Arsenal somehow came back from 4-0 down against Reading to win 7-5 in one of the most extraordinary games of football that most of us can remember. But as if that was not enough, the very next night Chelsea and Man Utd produced an equally exciting contest – the Blues finally running out victors by the odd goal in NINE! If that was the round that made the country sit up and take notice of the Capital One Cup, there were more thrills in store. Arsenal’s luck ran out when they were knocked out in the quarter finals by Bradford City on penalties, and the Bantams took another Premier League scalp in the semis when they deservedly beat Aston Villa over two legs. Swansea City, meanwhile, had quietly made their way to the semi finals, playing their own brand of easy-on-the-eye football that has won over so many neutral supporters. Even so, they were underdogs against the mighty Chelsea, but paid no attention to reputation and secured a famous victory of their own. From start to finish, then, this has been a competition to savour and remember; a real credit to the game. Here’s to next season!
Just some of the best moments from this season's Capital One Cup – a contest to remember
All pictures Getty Images
We take a look back at a wonderful Capital One Cup, which has been one of the highlights of the football season so far and culminated at Wembley last week
Capital One, Official Credit Card Of The Football League. For further details, see facebook.com/CapitalOneUK
| March 1 2013 | 45
ExtrA tImE Making the most of your time and money
P54 Game of Thrones’ Daenerys targaryen. Unspeakable
Future games NVIDIA Project Shield
So this is what Nick Fury and the Avengers were working on the whole time. Announced in January, Project Shield is a game controller with a 5-inch HD screen and an extremely powerful processor built in. It will, when released, allow you to download and play games on its Android operating system, and also stream certain titles from your PC, so you can play them on the living room sofa. We applaud Nvidia for allowing us to take ignoring fellow humans to the next level. £TBC | shield.nvidia.com
Caliber Advantage iPhone controller
One of the best iPhone gaming accessories we’ve seen, the Caliber Advantage turns your mobile into the ultimate portable gaming device. It connects to the phone via Bluetooth and you can use it in portrait or landscape mode. Its slim design also slides together so it’s roughly the same size as your phone so when not in use, making it genuinely practical to carry. Expect it to be all the rage when it lands later this year. £70 | zagg.com
46 | March 1 2013 |
Born in the entrepreneurial hothouse of Kickstarter, the Ouya touts itself as an affordable, open gaming platform. Retailing at just $100 in the US, the Android-powered box aims to reinvigorate console gaming by allowing smaller developers to use their talents on big-screen games, instead of focusing on smartphone and Facebook apps as they do at the moment. That’s right, readers, Farmville just hit the big time. £TBC | ouya.tv
Nothing to do with the encyclopedia-killing website, the WikiPad is a tablet optimised for gaming. The seven-inch device slots into a specially-designed controller for consolelevel gaming. When you’re doing something more productive, it can be removed, becoming a sleek, powerful Android-based tablet that is really great for actually browsing Wikipedia. Which is lucky, because we have a magazine to write... £TBC | wikipad.com
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Astro turf wArs
Nothing is more important than your weeknight game of ﬁve-a-side. At least, that’s how it feels when you’re playing. Some appropriate footwear, then, for serious consideration
Pantofola d’oro Dream Indoor
Bring a touch of class to the five-a-side pitch with these golden slippers, designed for the indoor game. The iconic Italian brand was responsible for kitting out Fabio Capello, Paolo Di Canio, Jurgen Klinsmann and Roberto Mancini back in the day, so – if nothing else – a career in five-a-side management awaits once you retire. £120 | prodirectsoccer.com
Adidas Mundial team Astro
Adidas’ classic design is made from 100 per cent kangaroo leather, which gives you not only a comfortable wear but also an excellent feel for the ball. The multistudded rubber outsole is long lasting while giving maximum grip on artificial, turf or hard surfaces. £65 | prodirectsoccer. com
48 | March 1 2013 |
Puma King tt Astro/turf
Another from the box marked ‘nostalgia’ (where everything is these days – are we just getting old?), the Puma King Allround is water repellent to keep your tootsies dry and made from ultra thin Pittards 80 SD Lite leather for supreme comfort, feel and durability. £75 | prodirectsoccer. com
warrior skreamer Combat Astro turf
After all that traditional garb, these should suit fans of the ‘modern’ astro shoe. Mudderhole cutouts on the sole and tongue add to your comfort, while the padded heel and ankle collar ensure your foot is protected from any stray swipes. Handy when you’re wearing a colour scheme like this. £35 | sportsdirect.com
Adidas Predator Absolado LZ trX tf We’re a big fan of Predators – both the boots and the “get to the chopper” one. Lightweight midsoles offer a cushioned feel and, despite sounding like a Bond villain’s renovation dream, the five ‘lethal zones’ actually just help your first touch. £40 | prodirectsoccer. com
Nike Bomba finale
Kanga-Lite waterresistant synthetic leather provides excellent fit and ball touch, a traction sole ensures you are quick on the turn and special rubber on the heel and toe will help them last. The shape-correcting shot shield, meanwhile, promises to help keep your shots low. Are you reading, Fernando? £77 | nike.com
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Scream if you want to go
Add some g-force to your internetting, without paying a hefty premium.
Our Ultrafast network speeds & coverage vary. Youâ€™ll need an Ultrafast enabled device. See three.co.uk/network
Find another, more famous man’s hairstyle and imitate it using a wax, cream, paste or putty. Sport’s a fan of Beckham’s swept-back quiﬀ
A range that has us hook, line and sinker (from left to right). Its SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Eﬀect Putty (100ml, £6.15) provides a strong hold and a matte ﬁnish, for that tousled look. The Fatﬁsh Pliable Hold Easy Sculpting Stick (75ml, £5.99) gives you a textured, pliable hold with control and shine – without getting wax on your hands. Use Fishﬁngers Medium Hold Shape Deﬁning Wax (100ml, £5.99) for a wet look that adds shine, or Fishshape Firm Hold Texturising Cream (100ml, £5.59) to combine the eﬀect of a gel, wax and cream to form a powerful hold. ﬁshsoho.com and Boots stores
SKINN For Men Hair Wax
SKINN tells us that when Sylvester Stallone celebrated his 60th, all his guests received SKINN products as a gift. If that’s not reason enough to spend your Tango & Cash on this little black ball, it also contains beeswax, which acts as a barrier to reduce UV penetration and won’t leave hair dry. Sly. £24, 40g | dermacaredirect.co.uk
50 | March 1 2013 |
Fudge Hair Shaper Original
The brand’s ﬁrst ever product – a strong-hold crème to mould and shape unruly hair for, say Fudge, that ‘lived-in’ look and a semi-matte ﬁnish. They recommend spreading it through your hair evenly for consistent texture. Yeah – look at you. You’re the underachiever every woman wants to sleep with. £12.45, 75g | fudge.com
Jack Dean Styling Paste
A strong, deﬁning paste for sculpting hair and creating bold shapes and textures from the brand of Norn Iron engineer, racing driver, entrepreneur, writer and inventor Jack Dean. Because, if you’re going to excel at any of those pursuits, it’s important not to have a single hair out of place. £11, 100g | denmanpro.com/jackdean.htm
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Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604). MAC13569
Talking to your family about cancer can be really tough. But a chat with one of our experts on the Macmillan Support Line can help you ﬁnd the words you need. So you and your family can face the future, together. This is just one of the ways the Macmillan team can help you through cancer. Our medical professionals, cancer support specialists and beneﬁts advisers are just a phone call away.
For cancer support every step of the way call the Macmillan team free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm)
or visit macmillan.org.uk
hantel Jackson, the ﬁancé of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Junior, has actually been in the ring in front of the cameras more recently than her latterly incarcerated husband-to-be. She can be seen squaring up to Sabrina Washington – former lead singer of the so-soso-scandalous girl band Mis-Teeq – in the singersongwriter’s video for her new single Hit it Hard. Jackson puts the hard yards in for her musical bout, doing all the running and ﬁtness she’s keen on away from her modelling career, before being punched in the face and knocked out. Not to be outdone, Mayweather conﬁrmed last week that his long-rumoured ﬁght with Robert Guerrero for a welterweight world title will take place on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. We don’t expect that ﬁght to end the same way.
52 | March 1 2013 |
Extra time Shantel Jackson
Family tensions in goth chiller Stoker, while even your own mother can’t be trusted in the Game of Thrones universe
Game of Thrones Season Two
Sublimely spooky thriller Stoker is Park Chan-Wook’s ﬁrst stab at a Hollywood ﬁlm. The Korean director is best known for Oldboy, his 2003 revenge epic infamous for the leading man wolﬁng down a live octopus (special eﬀects not required). No cephalopods were consumed in the making of Stoker, but it’s also an unsettling ﬁlm in which revenge plays a part. Mia Wasikowska excels as India, a taciturn teen whose father dies in a car crash, after which
Following a deserved Oscar win for best beard (or picture – we forget), Ben Aﬄeck’s superbly crafted drama about a madcap plot to rescue six US diplomats from Iran arrives on Blu-ray and DVD. Extras include Rescued from Tehran: We Were There with interviews from President Jimmy Carter and others actually involved in the 1979 operation. Out Monday
54 | March 1 2013 |
a mysterious man claiming to be an uncle shows up to comfort her and her distraught mother (Nicole Kidman). As uncle Charlie pops his feet under their chilly table, a dark, erotically-charged tension develops between the trio as a suspicious India investigates her new relative, but is increasingly drawn to him. It’s not heavy on big scares, but this exquisitely-shot gothic mystery ratchets up the sinister tension and keeps you guessing until the ﬁnal reels. Out today
New Moon The Men
It may share a title with a Twilight novel, but there’s nothing insipid about Brookyln punk band The Men’s fourth album. Continuing where 2012’s Open Your Heart left oﬀ with a scuzzy cacophony of guitars and sneered vocals, their best songs (such as Electric) wouldn’t sound out of place as an early Nirvana b-side. We can think of no richer compliment. Out Monday
If you’ve ever been coerced into viewing Pretty Woman and didn’t quite buy Richard Gere as a dogooding (albeit hooker-hungry) businessman, but assumed he’d be great as a conniving capitalist, Arbitrage proves you right. Gere has won plaudits for his portrayal of a billionaire whose mistress dies in a car accident, leaving him scheming to avoid the fuzz. Out today
Alien Revolution Royal Observatory
Are we all alone in the universe? And if aliens exist, are they likely to be friendly, ET-types or more like the ol‘ Predator? This new, free, exhibition at Greenwich’s Royal Observatory takes a look at our historic interest in extraterrestrial life through scientiﬁc research, fantastical images and (possible) ﬁrst-hand accounts. Opens today
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HBO’s swords and fantasy adaptation begins a third series on Sky next week, but Game of Thrones is the kind of epic TV that’s best purchased in box set form and devoured over a week or two. That at least will help you follow the multilayered plot lines of ﬁve kings, all laying claim to the iron throne once occupied by Sean Bean’s dead Ned Stark. Packed with political skulduggery, sexual intrigue, violence and at least one dwarven king (although not all at the same time), it’s a worthy entry to HBO’s canon – with Hollywood-high production values and a rich source of novels to draw characters from. Out Monday
Sport magazine - issue 295