The weekend just gone produced many great performances and talking points from the world of sport, here are a few words on a selection of them as the Premier League title race nears its conclusion and the county cricket season gets underway:
Liverpool Record Thrilling 3-2 Win Over Manchester City
Having raced out to a 2-0 lead early in the first half Liverpool looked like they would comfortably dispatch of Manchester City, even more so when City lost the talismanic Yaya Toure to injury before the interval. However the inspirational David Silva helped to turn the table on the reds and for a while it looked as if the spoils would be shared, until ten minutes from time when Vincent Kompany’s terrible clearance fell at the feet of Phillipe Coutinho who duly dispatched his effort past the helpless Joe Hart. The win means Liverpool’s title fate is now in their own hands and should they win their remaining four games Steven Gerrard will be lifting the title come May. A trip to Norwich this weekend is a potential banana skin for Brendan Rodger’s men and he’ll be aiming to keep his players concentration on the Canaries as opposed to the visit of Chelsea in a fortnight’s time.
England Batsmen Rack Up the Runs in County Cricket
After a disastrous winter abroad book-ended by an Ashes whitewash and an exit in the group stage from the World T20 there are plenty of places available in the England set-up. As a result the start of the domestic season has taken on a significance it hasn’t enjoyed in years, with test hopefuls jockeying for position and hoping to catch the selectors eyes. One such hopeful who has impressed is Middlesex opening batsman Sam Robson, who is 144 not out overnight against Nottinghamshire at Lords. Limited overs specialist Eoin Morgan also impressed at the home of cricket and scored 86 valuable runs, while England skipper Alistair Cook will have been delighted to have scored 139 not out for Essex at Chelmsford against Derbyshire. Much like Robson Ian Bell also registered 144 not out for Warwickshire against Sussex at Edgbaston, so all in all it’s been a good start to the county season for England batsman both past, present and potentially future as the selectors decide which new name will make the cut come the first test of the summer against Sri Lanka in May.
Hull and Arsenal to Meet at Wembley in Domestic Football’s Showpiece Cup Final
Arsenal are just one game away from ending their nine year wait for a trophy after progressing to the F.A Cup final by beating Championship side Wigan on penalties after a tense 1-1 draw in the capital. The Gunners held their nerve to progress but the manner of their win was far from convincing, with manager Arsene Wenger’s decision to start with Yaya Sanogo up front instead of Oliver Giroud raising more than a few eyebrows. Hull meanwhile overcame a resilient Sheffield United outfit to win 5-3 having twice been behind at 1-0 and 2-1. Having never won a major trophy the tigers will fancy their chances of lifting the F.A Cup in May, especially with Arsenal’s traditional late season swoon in full swing. With Everton now occupying fourth place the heat will surely be on Wenger to end his trophy-less spell and secure his job status with the Emirates faithful less than happy about a host of recent dire performances, including Saturday’s against a spirited Wigan side who led 1-0 in the second half and threatened yet another giant killing.
Norwich Staring at the Trap Door Following Fulham Defeat
When Norwich sacked manager Chris Hughton last week they did so knowing that their tie against Fulham was a must win game and their last fixture this season in which they could reasonably expect to pick up any points. However Felix Magath’s men ensured that didn’t happen as Hugo Rodellega’s priceless first half strike closed the gap between the two teams to just two points with four games remaining of the season. On paper next week’s home game against Liverpool offers the Canaries little hope of pulling away from the drop zone; however stranger things have happened, and manager Neil Adams will tell his side that after the emotional roller-coaster of Sunday’s win against Manchester City the Liverpool players may well take their eye off the ball as they visit Carrow Road and take on a team with nothing to lose against the current league leaders. Liverpool remain heavy favourites for this one but without Jordan Henderson and likely Daniel Sturridge it figures to be a potential trap game for the Reds and an opportunity for Norwich to prove that sacking Chris Hughton was the right move after all.