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 July 2009

Schumacher makes F1 return

Three years after retiring from F1, Michael Schumacher will make a return to F1 to replaced injured Felipe Massa possibly for the rest of the season.

Schumacher has been in retirement for three years now and I was a bit surprised to hear that he will be making a return but it shows that Ferrari still wants to score some constructors points this season.

Massa has been scoring points for Ferrari and he came third in Germany and currently has 22 points and is in seventh position.

Kimi Raikkonen on the other hand currently lies ninth with 18 points and only secured a podium in the last race at the Hungarian Grand prix. Ferrari is currently in third place in the constructors championship, a massive 74 points behind leaders Brawn-Mercedes.

With Schumacher making a return its interesting to see if he can help Ferrari close that gap but his return will certainly make the remaining races more interesting.

BMW pulls out of F1

The BMW team has announced that it will not compete in F1 next year following some disappointing results this season.

Last year the BMW-Sauber team did very well as they came third overall in the constructors championship and I was expecting them to challenge the top two teams this year.

But it hasn't been plain sailing with the team currently languishing in eighth position at the moment and hence the decision to pull out.

The team will race until the end of the season and I hope they will be able to score a few more points.

Last year another manufacturer Honda pulled out but the replacement Brawn GP has been doing very well and haven't been missed that much.

Hamilton wins first 2009 race

Its interesting to see that Lewis Hamilton's win at the Hungarian Grand Prix is his first win for this season despite being the defending champion.

Its sad to see that the race was overshadowed by Felipe Massa's accident on Saturday during qualifying. I hope he makes a complete recovery and I also hope to see him race again and again rise to the top like he did last season.

In Germany Massa secured his first podium finish and I was hoping that he would do even better in this race.

McLaren seem to be getting their act together now with Hamilton's win but I am keen to see what will happen in the next race. Also both the McLarens secured points for the first time this season.

It was also Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen's first podium finish as he finished second ahead of Mark Webber who came a respectable third.

Webber's third placing means that he is now second in the drivers championship after Sebastian Vettel failed to finish the race.

Jenson Button finished seventh and therefore his lead is being reduced with every race. What looked like a run to the title no longer looks that way now and I think the Brawn GP team will need to regroup and bring the team to what it was at the start of the season.

Williams' Nico Rosberg finished just outside the podium in fourth for the second consecutive race and behind him was Heikki Kovalainen.

Button in seventh was between the two Toyotas of Timo Glock in sixth and Jarno Trulli who took the last points place.

Rubens Barrichello did not get any points this time and former champion Fernando Alonso who secured pole did not finish the race after a tyre came off his car.

The next race will be the European Grand Prix in Valencia and Renault has been banned from that race following Alonso's car incident.

I hope that by then Massa will be out of hospital and recovering well.

2009/10 A-League season preview

The 2009/10 A-League season starts next week and for the first time there will five fixtures per round.

There will be two new teams this season, the Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury.

Apart from the number of teams participating in the league, there is also going to be a change to the finals with the top six teams on the ladder now qualifying for the finals compared to four last season.

Like always there has been much manager movement in the off-season. Sydney and Newcastle Jets will have different managers from the ones that finished last season.

Sydney will now be coached by dd whilst the Jets have turned to Culina. Vitezslav Lavicka will experience his first year in the A-League while Culina has had some experience with Sydney.

I don't how much influence Lavicka will have on the team but judging by the pre-season friendlies, the team looks like its getting results but whether that will translate into results its hard to tell.

Culina will take a team that finished bottom of the league last season and try to make sure they at least reach the finals.

There has been some new faces at Jets throughout their Asian campaign and I think these will help Jets avoid finishing last again.

Of the new teams that are coming in, the Gold Coast United have made the most noise especially after their win over Fulham in a pre-season friendly.

They have very good players including Jason Culina and last season's top goal scorer Shane Smeltz.

The Fury's biggest name is former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler but they also have some A-League experienced players like Robbie Middleby, Ufuk Talay and James Robinson.

I think after at least three rounds it will be a little bit clear where these new teams stand.

I will not be surprised to see the Gold Coast outfit reaching the finals at the end of the season. They have set themselves some high standards and the challenge will be to live up to them.

For the rest of the league teams, the defending champions Melbourne Victory have retained most of its squad from last season and should at least be able to reach the finals.

There was a lot of movement in terms of players at Adelaide United and it will be interesting to see how the team will shape now in the new season.

There has also been a lot of activity at Perth Glory and with six teams reaching the finals, this could be the year for the Glory to play beyond the home and away season.

The Wellington Phoenix just missed out on the finals last season and in the off-season they lost the services of the top marksman Smeltz but I still think that last season they went beyond the stage of easy beats. I expect them to hold their own especially at home.

The renamed Brisbane Roar will now find themselves with two state rivals and I think there will added pressure to win those matches against the state rivals as they are the more established side.

I hope for better luck this time with my A-League football tipping on TipsChallenge. I think it will be a bit easier to pick up points each week now that there are five fixtures in each round.

I hope the best team in the season and will go on and win the Grand final.

England go one up

England won the second Ashes Test at Lord's by 115 runs to inflict a rare loss to Australia at Lord's.

Whilst I think England were saved by the rain in the first Test in Cardiff, at Lord's they were a complete side and deserved the victory.

I thought Andrew Flintoff with his five wickets in the second innings made a huge difference and was probably the difference but I think the victory was crafted in the first innings.

In the first innings captain Andrew Strauss scored a superb 161 and when Australia came to bat they didn't have a particularly good first innings.

Only Mike Hussey managed to get a half century with half a dozen players getting single digits. Whilst the second innings performance was much better with Michael Clarke's innings it was a bit too late.

So England are one up going to third Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham. I think its critical for Australia to avoid another defeat in the Midlands.

Going one up can you give a psychological edge but I think Australia should be able to rise up and square the series especially if the top order batsmen can start firing again.

Man City shows ambition

Manchester City has shown lots of ambition with the kind of players it has bought so far with less than a month before the 2009/10 English Premiership league season starts.

I think their biggest buy so far has been Carlos Tevez whom I think will make a huge difference especially when he plays alongside Robinho upfront.

Buying Emmanuel Adebayor from Arsenal also shows that they will have lots of options upfront with Roque Santa Cruz also in the mix.

Mark Hughes will have to manage his strikers well because I think that now the club has talent in abundance.

In the midfield Man City will have new signing Gareth Barry and also Elano.

I think with the kind of squad Man City have assembled so far they should finish in the top four and get Champions League football in the 2010/11 season. If that happens that will mean a shake-up of the established top four sides and I think if anyone may lose out it looks very likely to be Arsenal.

But there is still some way before the transfer window closes and any purchases between now and then may change the shape of the season.

I am happy to see another team challenging the top four who have been like that for some seasons although not so long ago Everton managed to finish fourth ahead of Liverpool.

Also with the City getting stronger, the Manchester derby is going to get even better especially with Tevez on the other side.

The problem for City could be getting the players to gel together but I think they have done very well buying these players so early and not just as the window closes at the end of August.

In defence Man City already has Wayne Bridge, Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards and should they add an experienced centre-back then surely they should challenge for the honours.

With all these purchases will also come the pressure to perform week in week out and I think that will be one of the greatest tests for City. I think handling that pressure and fans expectations will be crucial.

With the kind of squad Man City has now I think they should challenge for the title and anything less would be a worst of talent.

England salvage draw from first Test

England got a hard won draw in the first Ashes series Test played at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff after Australia failed to bowl them out on the fifth day.

The early play on the fifth day went Australia's way as England lost key wickets and victory looked so certain but Paul Collingwood's stay on the crease made sure that England snatched an unlikely draw.

I think that on their performance on the last day England probably deserved a draw because it was Australia's duty to bowl them out and they failed to do so.

The tourists had just one innings were four players scored centuries. Simon Katich, captain Ricky Ponting, Marcus North and Brad Haddin all scored centuries.

I also think that the rain breaks were good for England and especially on day four when play had to finish early because of the weather.

The drawn first Test means that this could be yet another interesting Ashes series. The second Test begins at Lord's on Thursday.

Webber gets maiden win

Mark Webber got his maiden F1 win after winning the German Grand Prix having started from pole position.

That pole position was also Webber's maiden pole position and so it was a great weekend for him.

Once Webber got the pole position I thought that this was his best chance to win a race but it wasn't plain sailing race especially in the early stages of the race where he got a drive through penalty.

Webber was so brilliant on the day that even a drive through penalty could not prevent him from winning the race and I hope that this is the start of many wins for Webber.

It was also a one-two for Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel snatched second place and in third was Ferrari's Felipe who got his first podium finish for the year.

Talking about the podium, this was the first race this year that there was no Brawn driver on the podium as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Williams Nico Rosberg finished in fourth. This was a very good result for Rosberg as he started the race fifteenth on the grid.

The last two points places went to former world champion Renault's Fernando Alonso and McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.

Button's lead at the top has now been reduced to just 21 points and if the Red Bull can continue with another one two then it will be reduced further.

The next race in a fortnight will be the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Federer sets new mark

Roger Federer won the Wimbledon title after he beat Andy Roddick in five sets and in doing so set a new mark for number of grand slam titles won.

This sixth All England title was his 15th grand slam win thus breaking the record he shared with Pete Sampras.

I think Federer will go ahead and win even more titles but I think its not going to be easy anymore after the way Roddick pushed him all the way.

After last year's exciting final which was won by Rafael Nadal, I thought that we wouldn't see anything nearer that this year but this year's final was also great in its own way.

The fifth set kept on going and I think Roddick knows that he came so close to winning the Wimbledon title and that could have been best chance.

Meanwhile, in the women's final this time Serena Williams beat her sister Venus in two sets.

I had thought Venus was going to be able to defend her title but on the day Serena was more determined to win her eleventh title overall.

Thats it for this year's Wimbledon and I hope that next year we will witness yet another epic final.

Roddick stops Murray to reach final

Andy Roddick won the battle of the Andys when he beat Andy Murray in four sets to reach the Wimbledon final.

Roger Federer was first into the final after beating Tommy Haas in straight sets and that will be Federer's seventh final at SW19.

Although Haas lost by straight sets, I think he actually played quite well in the first two sets and the world number two needed a tie-break to win the first set after he failed to break him in that set.

He was only able to break him in the second set and then Federer took charge in the last to reach the final.

Murray seeded third at this year's tournament was favourite to reach his first final at Wimbledon but he met Roddick playing at the top end of his game.

Roddick has been playing his best tennis for a long time at this tournament and I am sure he will give Federer a good run.

Federer has only dropped one set so far and I hope that the final will be nearly as good as last year's one.

I think Federer will have enough experience to brush aside Roddick maybe not in straight sets.

Meanwhile the women's final will be contested between the Williams sisters. The sisters had very contrasting semis with Venus having an easy cruise past Dinara Safina in less than an hour.

On the other hand Serena battled for more than three hours after losing the first set against Elena Dementieva.

I am hoping that Venus will retain her title after her showing in the semis when she made Safina anything other than number one.

Di Matteo replaces Mowbray

Former Chelsea midfielder Roberto Di Matteo has been tasked with the job of getting West Bromwich Albion back in the Premiership after replacing Tony Mowbray.

I was very disappointed when Mowbray decided to leave the Hawthorns for Celtic Park and I am pretty sure with him at the helm promotion back into the premiership was a big possibility.

I am not so sure with Di Matteo. He did very well with Milton Keynes Dons to get them to the playoffs in their first season in that league but that was his only year in management.

Now he has an even bigger task of trying to get the Baggies back into the English Premiership.

If most of of the players from last season stay and he is able to get one or two strikers then it will be possible but I will have to wait a few games in the league season to see how things are going.

On that note another thing that maybe bothers a lot of Baggies fans is this idea of going up and down. I think focus should now look beyond promotion but actually staying in the premiership.

And this brings the question of whether Di Matteo will be able to make the team stay in the top flight for more than one season.

I wish Di Matteo all the best and hope he will get the team promoted directly and not have to go through the playoffs.

Haas dumps Djokovic to reach semis

Tommy Haas won his quarter-final match against Novak Djokovic to reach the semis where he is going to face Roger Federer.

Federer had an easy workout against Ivo Karlovic whom he beat in straight sets and must now be in a good position to reach the final.

I had thought all along that Federer was going to face Djokovic in the semis but Haas started the match well and made sure that he won the first set. By the time Djokovic won the third set Haas was already two sets up and he wrapped up the fourth to proceed to his highest stage at Wimbledon.

The fairy tale ended for Lleyton Hewitt as he lost to Andy Roddick in five sets. I still think this match could easily have gone either way but Hewitt did not look 100% fit and I think that was the difference.

Roddick will face Andy Murray who beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets.

I am thinking that Roddick might just sneak past Murray to reach the final but Murray will have the crowd behind him and so its this is going to be the more interesting semi of the two.

Meanwhile in the women's draw the Williams sisters may face each other in the final with Serena playing Elena Dementieva and Venus facing world number one Dinara Safina.

Makoni launches MKD

Simba Makoni has finally launched his party the Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn party in Harare more than a year after contesting in the presidential elections.

The former finance minister who last year contested the Zimbabwe 2008 Presidential elections and finished third has taken more than a year to launch his party.

I think the launching of the party is a good thing but I think that he has a lot of work ahead of him if he is to overtake the two MDCs and Zanu PF.

The good news is that he has at least two years to get his party ready for the next elections which should happen after the new constitution is launched.

I also think that he has lost traction because of the delay in the launching of the party but I could be wrong.

I have also read about some bickering in the party coming from senior members of the movement and if that's true then he needs to move quickly to make sure his party has the right image before the electorate.

I think having an alternative to the two MDCs and Zanu PF is good but the MKD must prove to be very different from those parties to attract lots of voters.

There is also the revived ZAPU to think about and I think having more strong parties is good for Zimbabwe's democracy and I will be waiting to see where MKD goes from here.