Djokovic faces Federer in ATP World Tour Finals


Novak Djokovic will take on former World Number 1 Roger Federer tonight in their opening group match at the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Rafael Nadal is currently taking on fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and is a break up in the first set.

Two giants will battle it out this evening...

Two giants will battle it out this evening…

Yesterday saw the opening group games of the tournament, Stanislas Wawrinka, Andy Murray’s conqueror at the US Open earlier this year, defeated former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych in three sets, 6-3, 6-7 (0-7), 6-3 in a gruelling match which lasted over 2 hours. Later in the evening Juan Martin Del Potro battled to beat Richard Gasquet in another tremendous 3-set match. Del Potro won the match 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-5 after going down an early set to the Frenchman. Those victories give Wawrinka and Del Potro an early advantage in groups A and B.

This evening though, sees the first big battle between two giants of the game, Federer, who has fallen out of the top 4 in the world rankings takes on Djokovic who has responded well to Rafael Nadal’s astonishing comeback and still holds onto the number 1 ranking, The match will get under way at around 8pm and is live on BBC2.

 

Roma’s incredible winning run comes to an end


Roma’s incredible ten match win streak has come to an end this evening after they drew 1-1 away to Torino.

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Torino, who are 12th in Serie A, scored a 63rd minute equaliser after Kevin Strootman put the visitors ahead after 28 minutes. Roma have recorded 10 wins so far this season and before tonight’s game, had only conceded 1 goal, having chalked up nine clean sheets in a row. Their incredible start to the season though, has been somewhat matched by Napoli and Juventus, who are only three points behind them.

Elsewhere in Europe, Inter Milan won 3-0 away to Udinese, Argentine Rodrigo Palacio had put Inter ahead, before Ranocchia volleyed in with just under half an hour gone. Ricardo Alvarez completed the scoring in stoppage time at the end of the game. Nolan Roux scored twice for Lille in a 2-0 home victory to Claudio Ranieri’s Monaco, and Athletico Madrid won 2-0 at home to Athletic Club.

Here are some other notable results from around around Europe today:

Malaga 3-2 Real Betis

Getafe 0-1 Valencia

Werder Bremen 3-2 Hannover

Braga 0-1 Rio Ave

Newcastle shock Chelsea at St James Park


Newcastle United stunned a lethargic Chelsea side at St James Park yesterday with goals from Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy to defeat Jose Mourinho’s side by two goals to nil.

Chelsea came into the game as hot favourites after wins against Manchester City in the league and Arsenal in the Capital One cup. Newcastle came off the back of a torturous 120 minutes in midweek to Manchester City, and an agonising derby day defeat to rivals Sunderland last Sunday and were not expected to have any say in this game whatsoever.

The goalscorers...

The goalscorers…

The early signs would back that up too, John Terry had a header crash off the bar and another cleared off the line by Davide Santon. Newcastle looked tired and leggy and could not really get the ball out of their own half. However, the Newcastle defence looked solid for once and they frustrated Chelsea to minimal chances. It was a completely different game in the second half, Newcastle came out strong and looked the much better team. Debuchy played Sissoko through and only the slightest fingertips from Petr Cech stopped Newcastle going 1-0 up. From the resulting corner Loic Remy shot straight at the Chelsea goalkeeper from 6 yards out. The breakthrough finally came when Yohan Cabaye whipped in a brilliant ball and Yoan Gouffran split the defence and headed into the bottom corner.

The goal seemed to wake Chelsea up, and they had a 10 minute spell on top but without creating too many chances. Willian shot straight at Tim Krul from 8 yards out and Debuchy blocked from Samuel Eto’o from the rebound. It seemed as though it wasn’t going to be Chelsea’s day and that was confirmed when Remy fired home in the 89th minute. Vurnon Anita took it past Ramires and cut the ball back to Remy, who fired it in off the post with his left foot. The crowd erupted and celebrated what was one of Newcastle’s finest victories in a long time.

Newcastle travel to White Hart Lane next week where they will be looking to bring at least a point back to the North East. The biggest challenge for Alan Pardew is to make sure his team is a lot more consistent. A point away to Tottenham would be another good result and will be pushing the club in the right direction once again.

 

Ameobi starts, Pardew has lost it.


Just when you think Alan Pardew can not frustrate the fans anymore, he has today decided that Shola Ameobi warrants a place in the starting 11 against Chelsea. Cisse has been dropped to the bench, again, as has Hatem Ben Arfa. Moussa Sissoko. a powerhouse box to box midfielder, has again been banished to the right wing, another ridiculous decision from Pardew.

In the team....somehow

In the team….somehow

The problem at Newcastle right now is not so much Ashley, Kinnear etc, it’s the fact that Alan Pardew’s tactical awareness is non existent. He is continuing to play players out of position, (Sissoko, Remy) and you will see again today that this supposed 4-3-3 formation is nothing short of  lie. It’s all well and good having 4-3-3 on the teamsheet but as soon as that whistle blows you will see Shola Ameobi up front on his own with 5 midfielders all behind him offering no support, in a non-effective 4-51 defensive formation. Not good enough. We played that formation all last season and it helped us finish in a brilliant 16th position, yet, the season before when we played a balanced side in an attacking 4-3-3 formation, we finished 5th. I find it so hard to understand, as will many other fans as to why Pardew can not see that the only way forward is by adopting that style of play again. We have played that system twice this season, away games at Villa and Cardiff, and won both games with nice attractive football.

Here is the team Alan Pardew has went for today:

KRUL,  DEBUCHY,  WILLIAMSON,  YANGA-MBIWA,  SANTON,  SISSOKO,  CABAYE,  TIOTE,  GOUFFRAN,  REMY,  AMEOBI

Expect to see Gouffran immediately join the midfield area as soon as the whistle blows, as will Loic Remy, leaving Ameobi on his own upfront.

In terms of a prediction I can’t see past a routine Chelsea win. I am going for a 3-0 victory. Enjoy the game!

 

 

Pardew aims for cup success


Alan Pardew has today said that winning a cup is his main priority this season, only a month after the club declared that cup competitions are not a priority for the club this season.

Wants to win a trophy

Wants to win a trophy

Newcastle entertain Manchester City tonight in the 4th round of the Capital One cup at St James Park, where there will be numerous changes for both teams to their starting 11. Newcastle come off the back of a second consecutive Derby defeat to Sunderland after they went down 2-1 on Sunday thanks to a late strike from Fabio Borini. Manchester City also come off the back of a 2-1 defeat, to title challengers Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge.

Pardew had this to say at his press conference earlier today:

“If your desire to win something is stronger than the opposition, then it does give you a slight benefit. We’ll be leaning on that for sure. For the Champions League clubs maybe it’s a little down on their agenda but it’s high on our agenda”.

“For us this year it is a priority. We want to win a trophy for our fans.”

It will be interesting to see whether Joe Hart plays this evening, after another mistake the England goalkeeper has come under intense scrutiny over the past few month and many believe a stint on the bench will do him no harm at all. Is it good for the national team to have their number 1 goalkeeper consistently making mistakes at the top level, especially with the World Cup looming around the corner.

Tonight’s match has the ingredients for a great game of football, two teams wounded from late goals at the weekend and two managers under a little bit of pressure. My heart says a Newcastle win, but my head suggests a comfortable evening for City.

PREDICTION…0-3