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

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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/

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…

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.

Reading Appoint Nigel Adkins as Manager

Reading, this morning confirmed the appointment of former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins.

Up until earlier this season, Adkins had been at the helm with the Saints, having guided them to two successive promotions to the Premier League.

Results however, were considered not good enough and he was sacked.

Reading on the other hand, had also just been promoted the when manager Brian McDermott was sacked with little over 10 games to go.

The replacement from McDermott to Adkins is certainly a shrewd and somewhat risky one.

After all, at the start of the season, both teams were in the same situation and looked to be in it for the long haul trying to keep both teams up.

Nevertheless, it will certainly be intriguing to see whether both teams stay up. This will also confirm whether both clubs made the right decisions.

PDC Premier League Darts 2013 – Round-Up

So far, 6 tantalising weeks of Darts has seen 180’s fly across Britain from 10 of the best in the game.

Currently, Dutch maestro Raymond van Barneveld sits top of the pile with 4 wins while his fellow countryman Michael van Gerwen is just below Barney with 3 victories.

At the bottom, a spirited two performances from Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis still sees him fighting to avoid the impending relegation which will see the two bottom players after Week 9 eliminated.

The beauty of this year’s PDC Premier League is that it is closer than ever. Phil Taylor is on for a hat-trick of losses; something unfounded usually for The Power whilst former champion Lewis is trying to rekindle his play from before.

The show will move on to Cardiff next and Barney will be up against 2009 champion James Wade. ‘The Machine’ has shown consistency and a coolness that brought him the title previously. Perhaps a home crowd will give this match more of an edge for Wade despite Barney’s high scoring and brilliant checkout percentage.

Taylor will face League debutant Wes Newton, who himself is trying to fend off relegation. A great of the game Taylor should not be underestimated at any cost to still take this title eventually and experience in this match may be crucial.

Elsewhere, van Gerwen will be given a test by Scot, Gary Anderson, who on his day can produce fantastic Darts. Anderson himself has felt the brunt of the competitiveness of the Premier League so far and finds himself in the mix for relegation.

Possibly the least talked about match of the night will be Andy Hamilton up against Australian Simon Whitlock. So far both men sit in the middle of the pack with 3 wins and 3 losses. It is perhaps this inconsistency to pick up points that may see them both with a chance of relegation so points are definitely important. It should however be noted that Hamilton oversaw Phil Taylor last week with a confident 7-3 victory.

Out of the ten players so far in the League, I have perhaps been most enlightened by the high scoring and tenacity shown by debutant Robert Thornton. Thornton, who faces Adrian Lewis this week, finds himself 4th, with 2 wins and 3 draws. It is the ability to pick up points which has seen Thornton in a comfortable territory.

So far, no 9-Darters have been seen. Last week saw James Wade pick up a tasty 170 checkout in Manchester. Gary Anderson can feel confident with regards to a 9-Darter. He hit one in a UK Qualifier midweek; an event which in form van Gerwen won.

Make no mistake, the current Premier League seems tighter than ever and as the tungsten continues to be thrown, each match becomes even more of a spectacle of importance every week.  

Rafa Benitez Confirms Chelsea Exit

Since replacing Roberto Di Matteo in November, Rafael Benitez has not enjoyed his time at Chelsea.

The Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich set Rafa up for a fall, but nevertheless the performances throughout his time have simply not been good enough.

As a manager in general though, Benitez has somewhat proved himself. In 26 years he has won the 9 major club trophies on offer in Football and has a pedigree in the Champions League, winning the trophy with Chelsea’s bitter rivals, Liverpool, in 2005.

Abramovich’s agenda is particularly shocking. Throughout his tenure, he has rid of frequent managers. On this appointment, Benitez was set as ‘Interim Manager’ until the end of the season.

As an experienced professional, Benitez has a right to take dislike to his job title and finally has expressed this as a “mistake.”

Perhaps due to his recent managerial tenures combined with the frustrations of the sacking of Di Matteo, the Chelsea faithful have been defiant in expressing their dislike towards Benitez. This has been expressed since November with banners being paraded and chanting of hatred.

It can surely come as no surprise that Benitez has had enough. Speaking to Radio 5 Live, he demanded more respect than what he currently receives. He expressed his dissatisfaction at the title of his appointment. And he confirmed he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

Chelsea currently lie far adrift in the Premier League. As a major club in the game, this is simply unacceptable. They are currently competing in Europe’s minor Cup competition, the Europa League after winning the Champions League under Di Matteo last season.

Rafa’s outburst has come off the back of a Fa Cup victory where Chelsea will go on to face Manchester United in the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup; a Cup Chelsea also currently holds.

As an avid fan of football, though this may not come as a surprise regarding Chelsea, it is a shame that Benitez’s relatively illustrious career is being tarnished under the Roman Abramovich regime. Whether or not Benitez ‘won the dressing room’ or even the fans, he was trying to do an almost impossible job from the start and he has finally crumbled.

Benitez’s outburst can be heard here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21611064