Last week LVG’s Manchester United revolution was nearing completion if you read the headlines after their derby day victory over Manchester City. However he was brought down to earth with a huge BANG as he was outwitted by Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge. It probably does not help when you play your best and in form striker (Wayne Rooney) in the middle of the park against the best defensive / midfield unit in the country and Chelsea’s winner came from the fact that his replacement up top (Radamel Falcao) was muscled off the ball. Yes United were arguably the better team, definitely played the better football and had a ridiculous amount of possession but the FACT is Chelsea scored a goal and created the better chances, their keeper Courtois only had one serious save to make – and that was a long range strike from defender, Paddy McNair. Mourinho commeted that his team had United’s best players in their pockets, LVG said he was very proud of his players. One manager will soon be celebrating the league title, another is still in a race to get into the top four – we know which one enjoyed their end of match glass of vino the best, with lessons to be learned for the other. Next season will be interesting.As much as it was a disappointment (as an England Cricket fan) that the West Indies held out in Antigua last Friday , it was good to hear that despite all the issues within West Indian cricket we are seeing a competitive series. Yes the pitches are slow, but there is still something for the bowlers which keeps the batsmen on their toes. Talking of the batsmen – Captain, Alastair Cook after two failures is under serious pressure now and needs some runs to keep those questioning his place in the team, let alone as the skipper – at bay. We now move onto Grenada and Barbados and the words of incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves, who is expecting a convincing England series win – against what he called mediocre opposition, ringing in the ears of Cook and under pressure coach Peter Moores. Paul Downton has already been let go by the ECB, so changes are a foot – only decent and positive results can save some of the key staff members now. So a tour that many thought would be routine (and dare I say it very predictable) now has a lot riding on it. Test Cricket is beautiful ain’t it – brings theatre the other forms cannot.
First blood Novak Djokovic then. His straight sets victory over Rafa Nadal in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters (he went on to win the title as expected) confirmed what those in tennis have known for sometime that as we stand the Serb is the man to beat on the red stuff. This is not to say that this is a disaster for the Spaniard – he will see this as a proper challenge and we are only at the start of the European clay court season which will end with the French Open which begins at the end of May. After injury and illness disrupted the end of his 2014 year Nadal’s return has yielded only one title (at the Argentina Open) and losses to players you may well expect the 14 time Grand Slam champion to beat without too much fuss. So there are question marks but the man from Majorca does tend to get himself spot on for Roland Garros – nine titles (1 defeat in 10 years) tells you all you need to know. Djokovic will now take a break (until Madrid in May), Rafa however will head to Barcelona to get more match practice in his quest to be spot on in his attempt to make it ten (YES TEN) titles on the red clay of Paris. That man Djokovic may just be the man to stop him this time though.
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