Recent Comments

Hugo on Eurosport beams Nations Cup matches: Really hoping Nigeria do well in this tournament b ...
Delivery Hero on England, France paired in Euro 2012: Can't wait for Euro 2012! ...
Wes on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Thanks Sybil, I think Man City cannot easily be di ...
Wes on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Thanks Bambo for the comment. I think its going to ...
Phil on 2011/12 English Premiership Preview: Good post, this looks like a very unpredictable se ...

Archive for October 2007

Free Connection at the Square

Its now five years since Federation Square was opened in Melbourne and to help celebrate the fifth birthday Optus installed a free WI-FI hot spot for everyone to use when at the Square.

This will be handy when I am at the Square especially on the way home from work. There is also another free hot spot down the road at the State Library along Swanston street.

For those interested in watching live events at the Fed Square, its good to know that the 38 sq metre screen will be replaced with an even bigger one with a size of 65 sq metres.

The Federation Square has increasingly become a focal point watching major sporting events and last year's World Cup easily springs to mind.

Apart from that I also go there for Christmas Carols and this will be happening in a few weeks time from now.

Jol finally leaves Spurs

Martin Jol finally left Spurs this morning after the club announced on its website that he and the first team coach Chris Hughton were to leave the club.

This does not surprise a lot of people but whats surprising is that it took longer than expected especially when Spurs started badly and have only managed just one win in the league this season and that was a win against lowly Derby.

Results have not been coming for Jol and for example against Newcastle earlier this week the team just could not defend. I wonder whether things would have been different had Ledley King been fit and playing.

I also think one of Jol's problems has been trying to play Darren Bent instead of Jermaine Defoe. Bent cost so much money and to justify that expense I think Jol tried to get him to play as many games as possible but the return so far hasn't been there.

Also the goalkeeper Paul Robinson hasn't been up to scratch. Many times he has failed to command his area and then conceded goals from long range kicks notably against Manchester United and also against Arsenal and then there were comical errors against Aston Villa and the team had to fight hard to get four goals just to get draw.

I wonder who the new coach will be but whoever is going to get the job he has his work cut out. Current Seville coach Juande Ramos is rumoured to be the next coach and some even suggest former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho to start at the end of the season.

Talking about coaches, Bolton have appointed former Leicester coach Gary Megson to replace Sammy Lee. I was a bit surprised by the appointment because Megson has not been that successful in his two stints in the premiership with West Bromwich.

As a Baggies fan I have no doubt he is a good manager but I think he was good at getting promotions but once the team got promoted he found it hard to get the team to stay in the top flight. His teams are a bit defensive and don't lose by many goals but the problem was also the team didn't get to score many goals in order to win.

With Bolton at the bottom of the ladder he has a lot of work to do but I think that this time he has a better squad than what he had at the Hawthorns and that should help him and I wish him all the best as he tries to get Bolton out of the relegation zone.

So third manager gone and once again the speculation will start again as to who the next one will be.

Singapore night race confirmed

When Singapore was added to the F1 calendar back in May it was proposed that the race would be a night race and now it has been confirmed on the F1 site that it will be a night race on September 28, 2008.

This will be the only night race on the calendar and the first one in the history of F1 and it will be interesting to see how it goes. My only concern is about the safety of both the spectators and the drivers and as long as that can be guaranteed then it will be good.

Earlier this year there was also talk of a night race for the Melbourne race but it seems like the idea has been shot down which is good. It looks like what will happen instead is that there will be a twilight race and so instead of the race starting at 2 pm it will start at a later time of 3.30 pm.

I think this is a good compromise because it will mean that the race will finish round about 5 pm which is not too bad. Also the V8 race is scheduled to return next year and that will also be good for the local fans.

The Australian race will be the first race of the year and will be staged on March 16 and with the last race in Brazil on the second of November.

Glory still winless despite goals

Perth Glory still stands out as the only team without a win after nine rounds in the A-League but over the last two rounds they have played some very good football and I think that their first win must be around the corner.

At first the Western Australian outfit were struggling to score goals but in the last two matches they have scored a total of four goals.

I thought that the Glory were very unfortunate not to get a win against Sydney FC in round 8 especially after going 3-1 up and against Victory they had a very strong second half but could not find a way past the Victory defence.

Glory's next match is against early scoring Queensland Roar away and it wont an easy against a team which has collected seven points from the last three matches. Also in those matches the Roar has scored a goal in the first five minutes of the match and so the Glory must be on their guard earlier on in the match.

It seems like we are now beginning to see some good football at last after a very poor start in the earlier rounds. I thought that the match between Sydney FC and Adelaide was quite good and Adelaide had a good all round match and could have scored more than one goal had it not been for the poor finishing and good goal-keeping by Clint Bolton.

Melbourne Victory had a very good first half and it was good to see Carlos Hernandez score his maiden A-League goal. It was a well taken goal and I am sure Victory fans will be hoping for more of the same.

Across the Tasman, Wellington Phoenix have only themselves to blame for coming pointless from a match they dominated so much. They seemed to lack ideas in the last third and most of their attacks in the second half easily fizzled out. Against Adelaide this coming weekend they have a very tough match indeed and I think they will be very fortunate to grab a point especially if their defenders have a repeat of the lapse in concentration they had at Westpac Stadium.

I will be looking at this graph to check the trend of this week's tipping on TipsChallenge.

Nalbandian upsets Federer in Madrid

David Nalbandian beat Roger Federer at the Madrid Masters to claim his first Masters series title.

The first set went as I would have expected with Federer running away with a 6-1 victory and it looked like it was another title in the bag for the world number 1.

Things changed suddenly though in the second set and unforced errors on the part of Federer also helped Nalbandian win the last two sets and inflict Federer's seventh defeat of the year.

On the way to the final unseeded Nalbandian beat world numbers two and three Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and so in the end he beat the top three players to get the Madrid crown.

I hope this will be turning point for Nalbandian who is now outside top 20 players and yet last year he was mostly in the top ten but for Federer I think its just a blip.

Raikkonen secures title

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen won his first Formula One drivers' championship after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix as McLaren's Lewis Hamilton faltered at Interlagos.

Raikkonen becomes the unlikely winner after a season which most of the time pointed to Hamilton being the champion but Hamilton made some costly mistakes where it mattered most and showed everybody that after all he is only a rookie.

But I think Raikkonen has quietly done his job getting points and wins here and there whilst all the noise came from McLaren and its not surprising that he has the most number of wins this season with six and he had to fight to the last race to secure his maiden championship.

Felipe Massa's second place ensured that Fernando Alonso who finished third did not get the two points he needed to win the championship. Its interesting to see that Alonso and Hamilton finished on the same number of points, 109 but Hamilton secures second place because he has more second place finishes than Alonso.

William's Nico Rosberg got fourth place ahead of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and . Nick Heidfeld who finished fifth and sixth respectively. It was another good run by Rosberg who has helped Williams to claim fourth place in the constructor's championship.

Jarno Trulli got the last points place securing one constructors point for Toyota who have had a season to forget. In his last race for Toyota Trulli's team-mate Ralf Schumacher finished eleventh.

Mark Webber secured fifth place on the grid but unfortunately he did not finish the race as his car stopped on lap 14 with transmission failure when he was running in a strong fifth place.

Another season comes to an end and this one has had so much drama I wonder what the next holds.

Sour end to India series

The seven match one day international series between India and Australia ended yesterday on a sour taste after the racial abuse directed at Andrew Symonds in the last two matches in particular.

The series wasn't what I expected because I thought India would push Australia all the way but that did not happen and in the sixth match Australia wrapped up the series with a 4-1 lead with one match to go.

I am keen to see what action the International Cricket Council (ICC) will take after what has happened so far. India will be one of the hosts of the 2011 Cricket world cup and unless this racial abuse is ended soon then it will not be an interesting world cup at all. I am sure the majority of Indian fans have nothing to do with this but it is that small minority that spoils it for everybody.

I believe that when this kind of racial abuse happens in any sport, the idea is to unsettle the players on the other team and hence gain an unfair advantage over that team. As a result I believe teams must be punished for the action of their fans when this happens.

Back to the cricket its good see Australia winning on the sub continent and this is particularly good with the next World Cup going to be on the sub-continent. India played well in the Twenty20 tournament but they could not carry this form into the one day international series to the disappointment of their fans.

Interestingly the next match is going to be a Twenty20 match and lets see what happens then and I hope that after that all we will talk about will be cricket.

Lee the second casualty

Sammy Lee became the second manager to lose his job in the English premiership this season when he left his role at the Reebok Stadium.

After Jose Mourinho left Chelsea it looked likely to me that either Derby's Billy Davies or Spurs' Martin Jol would be the second in line but it has been Bolton's manager after they have taken residence in the relegation zone this season from the lofty top six placement of last season.

What surprised me was the fact that he lost his job in the second week of the international break instead of the first one. In the first week a few managers were relieved of their duties in the lower divisions of English football and most notably in the Championship at Norwich and Crystal Palace but nothing seemed to happen in the premiership.

I think that the Bolton job was always going to be hard especially after Big Sam over-achieved at the Reebok. But Lee did not help his cause by sidelining some senior places especially Ivan Campo and soon or later with results not going his way the inevitable happened.

At Spurs I think Jol is doing alright but his problem is not getting a replacement goalkeeper for Paul Robinson in the summer. Spurs play quite well but they need a better goalie who can take command of his area and in the 4-all draw against Villa, Spurs were let down by their errant goalie and thankfully they managed to claw back in the later stages of that match.

I think Davies is a doing a good at Derby especially given the squad he has got. Compared to the other two promoted sides, the Rams did not invest much in new players and its not surprising that they are propping the ladder and I think they may do it for the rest of the season and head back to the Championship unless they inject some quality in January.

So its going to be interesting to see who will follow after Lee. A few teams are not doing well in the premiership at the moment and that includes the likes of Middlesbrough, Fulham and Birmingham and unless things turn around the third guy will come from one of these teams. Lets hope not.

England too good for Sri Lanka

Over the past week or so, I have been following the one day international cricket series taking place in Sri Lanka between Sri Lanka and England.

I have been keen to see how England would perform in an away series after winning their last home series against India. After last night's win in Colombo, England have now secured that series and this is quite an achievement given the fact that Sri Lanka are a very good one day team and have never lost a one day series to England before.

The unassailable 3-1 lead means that England go into the final match having secured the series but it didn't look like it was going to be that way after the first match which Sri Lanka won by 119 runs. Since then England have won the remaining matches which was achieved with good performances with the bat and ball as evidenced in the fourth match.

Sri Lanka have found the runs hard to come by so far apart from the first match where they scored 269 runs. In the second match they could only get 169 runs as they lost by 65 runs.

I look forward to the Sri Lanka tour of Australia next month and I am hoping that it will be a competitive two match Test series. Its good that they are going to have Muttiah Muralitharan in their ranks who hasn't played so far in the current series due to injury.

Brazil set for F1 finale

This year's F1 championship will now be decided in Brazil after current leader McLaren's driver Lewis Hamilton slid off the track on his way into the pit lane at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Chinese Grand Prix was just as dramatic as the Japanese one a week before but this time it was Hamilton who failed to score a point and therefore stays at 107 points. Hamilton's team-mate Fernando Alonso finished third and now has 103 points and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen has 100 points.

Hamilton could have wrapped up the championship had he finished ahead of Alonso but his retirement now means that the decider will be in the final race of the season in Brazil. I can imagine its going to be a tense race for all the three drivers concerned but I still think that with a four point gap, Hamilton should still be the favourite to win his first championship title.

Felipe Massa finished third and I think he could have done Raikkonen a favour had he finished second ahead of Alonso. That would have made the gap between Kimi and Alonso just one point.

This time Toro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel managed to finish the race with a respectable fourth place and it shows that his third place before he crashed at Fuji was no fluke. His team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi also had a good race finishing sixth just behind Honda's Jenson Button.

I think BMW Sauber are having a poor finish to the season with Nick Heidfeld finishing seventh just in front of Red Bull's David Coulthard who took the last points place. The other BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica retired after a hydraulics problems.

Mark Webber this time finished the race but he could only get tenth place between the two Renault cars of Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella who I thought had a disappointing race.

So its Interlagos to come and decide the championship and I am hoping that Channel Ten will show the race live on television especially as it is starting at 2 am Melbourne which is their favourite time of showing F1 races.

Shocks galore in UCL

This mornings UEFA Champions League produced a number of shocks as Liverpool and AC Milan lost to Marseille and Celtic respectively.

The other shock result was the Olympiakos win over Werder Bremen away in Bremen. This was Olympiakos' first away win in the Champions League in 32 matches. Its also impressive that they came from behind to snatch the historic 3-1 win. On any other day I think this would have been the greatest result.

I expected Liverpool to win against Marseille but I was surprised to see them outclassed in their own backyard. Marseille looked so comfortable you would have thought they were the home team and now Liverpool have some work to do with just one point in two matches.

I know Celtic are very good at home and rarely lose at home in Europe but I expected the defending champions to at least get a draw but Celtic scored a last minute winner to get all three points. It was also good to see Scott McDonald score his first champions league goal.

After the recent problems at Stamford Bridge coupled with Valencia's current good form in La Liga, I expected Valencia to get all three points against Chelsea or at worst a draw but Chelsea came with all three points to now head that group on four points.

Another home team to lose was Benfica who lost by an odd goal to Shakhtar Donetsk. Infact if you look at it in terms of home teams winning Celtic were the only home team to win this morning as Besiktas also lost to Porto.

The shock losses should make the back to back matches interesting in matchday 3 and 4 as teams try to recover lost ground in order to secure their places in the knockout round.

As a result of these surprising results, I could only muster just one point on TipsChallenge and this was for the match between Rosenborg and Schalke 04 where I managed to predict a Schalke win but not the exact result and I think nobody fared any better as there was not much movement in the Challenge league standings.

From an Australian television coverage point of view, it was interesting to see that ESPN and SBS chose to show the same matches on both days. Its so frustrating to see two channels showing the same match when there are seven other matches to show. I expected at least ESPN to show something different and I think there must be Viewer's choice in the champions league so that fans can watch whichever match they would like to follow.

Home teams dominate

For the first time this season all the home teams won as Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United got their first wins of the season. The other winning teams Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix also got their first home wins in round six.

The A-League is one of those leagues where home advantage doesn't necessarily count for much but it was good to see all the home teams win and with that bring some joy to the home fans and moreso at the Dome where Victory scored its first home goals for the season.

Last week I wrote about the Mariner's clean sheets but Bruce Djite became the first player to score against the Mariners as Adelaide just about managed to beat them. The Mariners still have a healthy lead at the top of the ladder going into round seven where they will face Newcastle Jets.

Wellington Phoenix not only recorded their first ever home victory but they also posted the biggest winning margin of the season so far after putting four goals past the struggling Perth Glory. That match was for me easily the best match to watch over the weekend and that win continued a good run for the team from Wellington.

Glory continue to struggle and despite being the first to score they went on to let in four. That goal they scored was only their second this season and you can see where their problem is and I think they will need to work hard from here if they are to avoid the wooden spoon come January.

I was happy to see Victory get their first league victory at the Dome in almost a year. The first half was very poor from both sides with Victory failing to have even a single shot on target let alone force a corner kick but it was better in the second half especially after the introduction of Adrian Caceras.

Leandro Love is proving to be more important with every match and it was good to see his contribution in both Victory goals after another assist last week against the Jets in the last round.

Victory's next match is against Sydney and that's going to be tough one especially with Juninho back for Sydney but it could turn out to be another draw for Victory.

So for round six, a total of eleven goals were scored making it the highest scoring round of the season so far and the lowest was round three where only four goals were scored and I hope we will see more goals in round seven.

Advantage Hamilton as Alonso crashes

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has increased the gap between him and team-mate Fernando Alonso to twelve points with just two races to go after Alonso crashed out of the race in the Japanese Grand Prix.

In a tough race in wet conditions throughout Alonso had to finish ahead of Hamilton to close the gap or failing that finish as close as possible to him and let the gap stay small but by crashing out and Hamilton winning the race, Alonso looks set to lose his title to his team-mate.

I think Ferrari's decision to start the race with intermediate tyres instead of extreme weather ones cost them dearly as they had to pit soon after the race started and then re-join the race at the back. The race started under the safety car making the first few races boring to watch but I think that was justified given the weather conditions.

This time it was a good day for Renault as Heikki Kovalainen finished second and Giancarlo Fisichella finished fifth. Kovalainen benefitted from the crash between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber who were ahead of him at the time of the crash thus promoting him to second and he maintained that position to the end.

I think Webber would have finished on the podium had he not crashed out of the race. He was in a very good position and to make matters worse the crash happened under the safety car which is something you would necessarily expect to happen.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen took the last podium place and his chances like Alonso's of winning the championship are now very slim. He is now 17 points behind Hamilton and he would need to win the next two races and for Hamilton to score less than three points in the two races and Alonso less than 15.

Webber's team-mate David Coulthard had a comfortable race finishing fourth just ahead of Fisichella and Felipe Massa who finished sixth. It was a dramatic race for Massa who ended up with four pit stops and had a drive through penalty imposed after over-taking under safety car conditions.

The last two points positions went to Robert Kubica and Vitantonio Liuzzi. It was very unusual for the BMW Sauber cars to finish so high in the race when they normally get between fourth to sixth places but Nick Heidfeld actually finished 14th.

The next race is next week in China and Hamilton could wrap up the championship if he beats Alonso or loses no more than a point to him. With the way he raced at Fuji he probably deserves it.