Can Anybody Stop Michael van Gerwen?

For all Darts fans, this may be the exact question. For the 23 year old (yes he is that young!) is beginning to dominate the 2013 Premier League, destroying opponents weekly with his consistent high-scoring and checkouts.

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor has been in charge of the Premier League for a while now but has seen a sudden decline in form, buoyed by the spectacle of a man who is almost 30 years younger.

Already a World Champion at 17, MVG has taken over and currently sits top of the Premier League at 4 points clear.

His remarkable speed and throwing of tungsten makes van Gerwen a nightmare to play against. One must wonder how good he will be when he reaches the age of someone like Taylor; a scary thought.

Perhaps the most amazing match I have seen van Gerwen play is against James Wade in the World Championship Semi-Finals. 17 perfect Darts from MVG flew in from the oche – a sensational effort which may never be repeated – unless of course he does it again in the next match.

Watch van Gerwen’s 17 perfect Darts Here

Why the Exploits of Cardiff City will be one to remember

For any football team or player, the pinnacle of one’s career in the English game surely must be reaching the top flight?

For Cardiff City, after a few years of being around the playoffs and a series of new misses, this was finally made a reality after a 0-0 draw with Charlton.

What is all the more significant, however, is that this will be Cardiff’s first ever time in the Premier League, and as a Welsh club they will be only the second team behind Swansea to do this.

The story of Cardiff is somewhat heart-warming. A new owner has brought in increased finances after years of difficulty as well as an extremely debatable decision to change the traditional kit from blue to red.

In recent years, Cardiff have become a big side in the Championship and came close to an FA Cup win in 2008; losing to Portsmouth in the final.   

A changed stadium from Ninian Park to the Cardiff City Stadium further increased the incentive from Cardiff to go up one more step.

A League Cup penalty defeat to Liverpool brought more heartache for the fans but a new light for the following season saw Cardiff-boy Craig Bellamy signed on a permanent basis, perhaps giving Cardiff the boost they needed.

Having led the table since November, promotion has finally been confirmed and the famous South Wales derby will be contested in England’s top division where a tenth of the team’s are Welsh.


Photo Retrieved From: http://www.thehardtackle.com/2013/cardiff-city-cruising-to-the-premier-league/

Portsmouth FC Granted Fan Ownership

April 10th on a Wednesday afternoon will no doubt prove to be one of many historic days in the heritage of Portsmouth Football Club.

The day when a Judge granted the Portsmouth Supporter’s Trust the ownership of their club.

They will now join teams such as Exeter City and AFC Wimbledon, where they will be owned by the fans. Portsmouth will become the largest fan-owned club in England.

Agreements from administrators and opposition Portpin were made to allow the club to keep control of Fratton Park.

An historic and emotional day for Portsmouth fans has finally seen a brighter side after administrations, point’s deductions, job losses and much deliberation as to whether the fans would have a club.

For those that have suffered for several years, this is for them and for football. Portsmouth Football Club and their fans finally have won.

April 10th on a Wednesday afternoon will no doubt prove to be one of many historic days in the heritage of Portsmouth Football Club.

The day when a Judge granted the Portsmouth Supporter’s Trust the ownership of their club.

They will now join teams such as Exeter City and AFC Wimbledon, where they will be owned by the fans. Portsmouth will become the largest fan-owned club in England.

Agreements from administrators and opposition Portpin were made to allow the club to keep control of Fratton Park.

An historic and emotional day for Portsmouth fans has finally seen a brighter side after administrations, point’s deductions, job losses and much deliberation as to whether the fans would have a club.

For those that have suffered for several years, this is for them and for football. Portsmouth Football Club and their fans finally have won.

Sergio Aguero Goal Gives Manchester City 2-1 Win Over United at Old Trafford

Manchester City certainly proved critics wrong when they triumphed over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Some might have said that the 165th Manchester Derby between United and City would be less of a spectacle in terms of what is at stake. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Going into tonight’s game, United held a 15 points lead with less than 10 Premier League games to go. In the past, a derby game may have won either side the League, but as City manager Roberto Mancini has said recently, this is not looking likely.

The earlier fixture saw United come out on top 3-2 with a late van Persie free-kick at the Etihad Stadium. For Manchester City, tonight’s game was consolation and largely a regaining of pride over their bitter rivals.

Always a feisty and passionate encounter, 8 yellow cards were shown in a game which saw Manchester City win 2-1.

An open game in the first half saw the sides go in level at the break. The quality of attacking play and creativity from both teams was there, but there was a lack of any real attacking endeavour.

City were the first to go ahead 5 minutes after the break. A schoolboy error from veteran Ryan Giggs eventually saw the ball arrive at James Milner’s feet where his deflected shot found its way in.

Cue ‘the Noisy Neighbours’

United haven’t not scored on home soil in over three years and the inevitable happened when a brilliant free-kick from van Persie found its way onto Vincent Kompany’s head and went in.

An end-to-end game always needed a bit of quality and that was found from Manchester City substitute Sergio Aguero who scored after a mazy run.

Cue ‘the Noisy Neighbours’

The Premier League season will fail to live up to the hype it did throughout last season. Manchester City did deserve to win today but have not performed effectively throughout.

It is still mathematically possible for Mancini and Manchester City to retain the title, but this would of course require serious bad form for United.

van Persie is however suffering from a serious goal-drought so you never know…

Auroras Encore Wins the 2013 Grand National at Aintree

As an avid football fan, I have felt inclined to sometimes place a bet on a team, likely to win. This has of course, seen highs and lows with perhaps more losses than victories despite the odds.

Aintree is always a spectacle for many, like me who don’t follow Horse Racing. It is of course the Grand National, with 40 of the best jockeys and horses, competing over a 4 mile course in Liverpool.

The focus is mainly on the stakes from the bookies, and from today’s result, the shock at the horse that came in at first.

Image

At 66/1, Auroras Encore, trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Ryan Mania eventually won the John Smith’s Grand National.

All of the 40 runners sustained no injuries so the plaudits and memories will lie solely on a rank outsider.

For the bookies, a brave man would have initially placed a bet on Encore. Other runners such as Ap McCoy on Colbert Station and the favourite Seabass ridden by Katie Walsh failed to record a win.

As a viewing sport, Horse Racing will always be unfamiliar to me and will appear very rarely on my blog. However, as widely acknowledged event, The Grand National does interest many.

For me, it is the conduct held at the event. It is one of the many sporting events where there is a certain tradition and pride held at Aintree for over 100 years.

It is for this reason why The Grand National will always hold a special place in British sporting history and the beauty of National debutant Ryan Mania winning means that there will be some rare smiles on very happy faces.

Photo Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/grand-national/9976698/Grand-National-2013-66-1-outsider-Auroras-Encore-takes-it.html

PDC Premier League Darts 2013: Anderson & Newton Relegated

Several weeks of superb Darts from ten top players had to come to an end at some point.

It had reached Week 9 in the Premier League and the next stop was Brighton, where many had it down as a Judgement Night.

And so it was. It was always the case that 2 players would face relegation and elimination from the competition but this was no clearer than it was when the Premier League kicked off in Belfast.

4 players were all in contention of the drop; Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis, Wes Newton and Simon Whitlock.

As far as points were concerned, Lewis and Whitlock had the upper-hand. Lewis had been on something of a revival; unbeaten in 4 matches after losing all his first 4.

Debutant Newton had been fighting for his life for a couple of weeks. He in fact beat Anderson last week in Glasgow to give himself a chance.

No matches are ever easy in the PDC and this proved to be the exact case for the 4 men battling it out to survive as they all lost.

This of course meant that Gary Anderson and Wes Newton were to the first casualties of the Premier League new format.

A classic tale of what might have been for Anderson. As ever, his scoring on the night was fantastic and included a tremendous 11-darter. But, like Newton, Anderson lacked tenacity on the doubles and this eventually cost them both.

Lewis and Whitlock fight on. Sheffield is the next venue and more eyes will be fixated on the top of the pile.

Further Blog Posts will follow on PDC Darts, before next week.

England Draw 1-1 with Montenegro in a Game of Two Halves

It does seem a commonly used cliche but this really was a game of two halves.

England were going into this game high on confidence after they outplayed and outclassed a poor opposition in San Marino.

Montenegro were always going to be a tough prospect for Roy Hodgson’s men to face.

Captain Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole were one of several changes made for this World Cup Qualifying match.

The first half seemed nothing to worry about. Wayne Rooney was proving once again influential and hit the post early on.

And minutes later Rooney put England 1-0 up with a header from a Gerrard cross.

And it stayed like that until half time. Much of the first saw England play some intelligent football. Danny Welbeck in particular proved key.

Montenegro made changes at half time and attempted to become more attacking.

As England began to fold, Montenegro did the opposite.

The inevitable happened and the equaliser eventually came.

At 1-1, with 15 minutes to go both teams tried to get the winner but this came to avail.

It was no surprise that the game ended a stalemate. A game of two halves saw the gap between England and Montenegro stay at 2 points with Montenegro still on top.

It is definitely unclear who will eventually qualify. Poland and Ukraine should also not be forgotten.

England’s campaign will continue in September. Whether they will reach the World Cup is another question.