One Last Act!

Growing up with your favorite sportsperson as he passes through the various stages of his luminous career does weird things to you. Every generation has it’s childhood sports idol – the one that makes you scan newspapers, t. v channels, internet and even the likes of a radio in places where technology really hasn’t caught up and where you have been unfortunately held up for no fault of yours to find out what’s happening in that person’s world and then place them in a higher pedestal than your seemingly more important exam results and other stuff that at least in your parent’s and friends’ eyes would deem you to be a sane soul. (This explanation is for all sports icons barring a certain Sachin Tendulkar who by spanning three generations gives a whole new dimension to the word «omnipresent». Maybe that’s why he is called GOD).

The thing about having that sportsperson who occupies a demigod status in your scheme of things is that you begin to possess a prejudice which doesn’t make you feel guilty at all. For example: My dad sets store by the Bjorn Borg/John McEnroe era saying that whatever else has happened after that in tennis is a tragic travesty of the most geometrically and aesthetically pleasing game the world has known. My brother, Pete Sampras’s man through and through, found it hard to adjust to the fact that a virtual nobody like Roger would show him the way out from his kingdom of Wimbledon in that famous summer of 2001,which in hindsight was akin to the passing of the tennis torch. That freaking player has a ponytail and a bandana. Which «champion» dresses that way? Tennis is going to be poorer after Pete. My brother passes these statements imparting to me that sense of losing out on something unique and that something which I could never ever be blessed to be part of. About 2 years later – A tennis «Mozart» with a style which is a throwback to the classical ages but blending it with the touch of the modern alluding to raw power and precision and then blessing it with the grace and finesse of a virtuoso artist becomes my idol, the one whose victories,defeats and battles within a battle have enthralled my senses and filled me with a gratitude of watching something special unravel itself in front of me and coupled with a demeanor off court that has made him in a recent poll, the second most respected person in the world after Nelson Mandela. . . the Swiss Maestro – Roger Federer.

I became his man, my side of the debate when I argue with anybody on who is the GOAT – Greatest Of All Time (the most heated ones are reserved for my brother though) and having a bit of experience on the vagaries of «fan-dom» has helped me be sure of one thing. I will diss off a Grigor Dimitrov, Bernard Tomic or Jerzy Janowicz irrespective of whatever they achieve in the future. No offense meant, actually, I’m just going to be the same person as my dad and brother. Only time can tell, for records are meant to be broken, and if bregrudgingly, the Swiss’s records too will be broken, something which I’m hoping against, I will accept it, but as they say, one will always be partial to those instances and people who have touched you in a special way in your childhood

Being blessed with talent is one thing, to make it count is another. Roger Federer has done exactly that and that is why after a horrible 2013 by his exemplary standards, where lesser folk feel that it is their right to point out to him that he should quit the game before plummeting to depths none of us would even bear to think of during his glory years, it feels to be a grave injustice to tell him what to do. He has made it this far from that prickly hot headed youngster to the serene, monk-like master illusionist who used to conjure up moments of utmost beauty with that tennis racket of his, ala Michaelangelo with a scalpel. His career from the evidence of it looks to be the one of a person who has made the most of life’s lessons and used it as a base to stake his claim to be arguably one of the greater sportsmen to have strutted his stuff on the world stage. A loss to Tommy Robredo or a Sergiy Stakhovsky does shake up things a bit but it is granted that, Roger doesn’t intend his career to end that way and in the words of another tennis legend, Pete Sampras, there is a ham actor in every person who wishes to put together a final act that will bring the house down. Roger might be feeling that (just a hunch), but as he said during a particular 2008 season when he lost in the semifinals of the Australian Open to a up and coming Novak Djokovic, which was greeted with a shock of seismic proportions, that he might have created a monster with the truckload of expectations that greet every swish of his racket.

The next season he comes back with that elusive 1st French Open title which catapulted him into the elite league of extra-ordinary gentlemen who have won all four slams, and then breaks Pete’s Grand Slam record in a marathon duel with Andy Roddick in a Wimbledon final for the ages. He has come back and will certainly do so if he feels like it and that’s what his recent interviews suggest. . . he is hungry for more. We always count out champions when they are down and out without taking note of that single separating factor which has made them stand apart from the pretenders. Their mental strength. Professional sport is more about the battles that takes place between the ears than the actual battle. It’s a beautiful sign when you come across articles from many journalists and critics stating that his time at the zenith is up and that he should quit trying hard so that it doesn’t make it painful for his followers to see him reduced to a mere mortal, but then you see the words of Rod Laver and Pete Sampras, legends in their own right and players who stake a claim for being the GOAT, who emphatically state that Roger Federer is still not a finished article and that something monumental is going to happen from Roger’s magic wand. They’ve been there and they can sense something simmering underneath Roger, the indignancy of being told what to do with the sport that he loves the most, and for him that is the ultimate factor that keeps him going – the love for the sport. He recognizes the fact that he will never be greater than the game and it is this over eager and zealous attribute of Roger, of the student who unflinchingly explores newer and greater depths of his game, to test himself against challenges put forth by the sport and it’s various other practitioners, and to come out on top for that’s what top students do. They will find a way. And Roger is very keen on going out on top. Nobody gets to 17 grand slam titles and 302 weeks at number 1 without possessing oodles of mental toughness.

The hardest thing is to make it look easy and I am sure that anyone who has touched a tennis racket will vouch for it. Therein lies the genius of the Swiss. The very thing that makes me hope for that at least for a fortnight, the Swiss will piece together a glorious fairytale run replete with his brilliant backhand down the line ( a thing of beauty ) and conjuring those moments of pure innovation and belligerence coupled with his stunning on-court dominance and tactical acumen and mastering of angles, which you thought weren’t there until he executed the impossible and induce grimaces and did-that-just-fucking-happen looks from his opponents,when they felt that the point has already been won and then you wonder why hasn’t anyone thought of it before. It then strikes you – the tennis court is his canvas and we are that privileged, lucky bunch who gets to see a master at work. A glorious epiphany at that too, and when he holds aloft that grand slam trophy, making a fool of time and more importantly, those doubters who felt his epitaph was pending, it would be the apt time for him to bow out in style and stamp his last bit of an enduring legacy on a tennis court. It’s for two simple reasons – we owe that much to Roger for giving us so much joy during his time, that only he should decide on his future, and from a more important and selfish perspective – my childhood needs that epic One Last Act.

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Interesting Facts About Latin America’s Sports

Adhemar Ferreira da Silva became the second sportspeople in Brazil to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games when he won the jump triple at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki (Finland).

Rossana De Los Rios is a famous Paraguayan tennis player. She was junior world champion in 1992. Rossana is married to Gustavo Alfredo Neffa, who was a soccer football player. She once said, » I could have come very far in tennis. In 1992 I won the Junior Roland Garros but I made decisions and I am happy with my life. [Gustavo] Played soccer in the leagues of Italy and Argentina, with the national team and in the Olympic Games and he was good in that, but now he talks more about tennis. The times changed for the women and he helps me to be able to play calm. Now my goal is to return to the top 100. I am well, but for two years I had knee and wrist injuries and I had to come back from that. Perhaps I will retire in a few years and then I would like to help so that the Paraguayan girls are developed and are able to have a future, but by then if I am in the top 30 maybe I will defer that project». This sportswoman was born on September 16, 1975 in Asuncion, the capital city of Paraguay. Currently, she resides in the United States.

Francisco Cabañas became to first Mexican boxer to win an Olympic medal. He won a silver medal at the Los Angeles Games in 1932 .

Claudia Poll Ahrens (Costa Rica) became only the first Latin American female swimmer in the history of the Olympic Games to win two individual medals at one Games ( Sydney’2000 ). She is the greatest Central American athlete of all time…

Luis Brunetto won the silver medal in the triple jump at the 1924 Paris Games. Argentina’s Brunetto became the first sportsperson to win an Olympic medal for his country.

The Brazilian men’s volleyball team won the World Cup in 2007. The champions were Rezende Bruno, Marcelo Elgarten, André Heller, Samuel Fuchs, Gilberto Godoy Filho, Murilo Andres, André Luiz da Silva Nascimento, Sergio Dutra Santos, Anderson Rodrigues, Gustavo Endres, Rodrigo Santana, Dante Guimaraes Amaral.

Xavier Moreno and Jefferson Perez won gold medals at the Rio Pan American Games in 2007. The runners are sporting heroes in Ecuador now…

Cali (Colombia) hosted the FIBA Basketball Women’s World Cup in 1975. Final standings: 1.USSR / Soviet Union ( currently Russia ), 2.Japan, 3.Czechoslovakia ( currently Czech Republic / Slovak Republic ), 4.Italy, 5.South Korea, 6. Mexico, 7.Colombia, 8. United States, 9. Hungary, 10.Australia, 11.Canada, 12.Brazil, 13.Senegal.

The most popular sports in Mexico are soccer, wrestling, basketball, baseball, athletics, basque pelote, underwater sports, tennis, martial arts, boxing, cycling and equestrian.

Jeanette Campbell ( Argentina / swimmer ) was the first Latin American female athlete who won the Olympic medal. She won the silver medal in the 100m freestyle at the 1936 Berlin Games.

Brazil sent 10 athletes to the 2006 Winter Games in Turin ( Italy ). The Brazilian delegation had athletes competing in 4 sports: alpine skiing, bobsleigh, cross country skiing and snowboarding.

Paraguay has had many famous athletes. Who they are: Jose Luis Chilavert ( soccer / one of the best goalkeepers in the 1990s ), Victor Manuel Pecci ( tennis ), Nery Kennedy ( track and field / South American champion ), Carlos Gamarra ( Olympic football silver medalist, 2004 ), Ramon Jimenez Gaona ( athletics / South American champion)…

Baseball is the national sport of Panama…

Francisco «Morochito» Rodriguez (boxer) is the only Venezuelan sportspeople to win an Olympic gold medal. Francisco was born on September 20, 1945 in Cumana, Venezuela (South America).

Montevideo (Uruguay) hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1930. Final standings: 1.Uruguay, 2.Argentina, 3.Yugoslavia (currently Serbia), 4.USA, 5.Chile, 6.Brazil, 7.France, 8.Paraguay, 9.Romania, 10.Peru, 11.Belgium, 12.Bolivia, 13.Mexico.

Gustavo Kuerten was one of the best tennis players in the world. He has won 28 international tournaments ( Saint Petersburg, Brazil Open, Auckland, Roland Garros, Monte Carlo, Acapulco, Rome, Hamburg, Cincinnati, Buenos Aires, Lisboa, Indianapolis…).

Fact File

Name: Gustavo Kuerten

Nickname: «Guga»

Nationality: Brazilian

Ancestry: German

Residence: Florianopolis, Santa Catarina ( Brazil )

Born : 10 / 9 / 1976

Height : 1.91m

Weight : 75 kg

Idol: Mahatma Gandhi (former human rights activist)

Favorite singer: Bob Marley

Favorite writer / author: Paulo Coehlo

Perfume: «Eternity» ( by Calvin Klein )

Best friends: Carlos Moya ( Spanish tennis player ), Nicolas Lapentti ( Ecuadorian tennis player ), Fernando Meligeni ( Brazilian player ).

Men’s Tennis Association Ranking ( 1997-2000 )

2000: 1

1999: 10

1998: 20

1997: 66

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A Look At UK Soccer

The FA Premier League Partnership, also known as UK soccer, was first founded in 1992 and is a league that is reserved for the top UK soccer clubs in the English system. This distinction makes it England's primary soccer competition. Each year, 20 teams compete for the league championship but, oddly enough, only four teams have been crowned. Why? Because these four teams have dominated UK soccer since it's inception. These include Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea and Manchester United. Of these four UK soccer clubs, Manchester United has been the most successful after having won the championship title on eight occasions. The current league champions are Chelsea, who clinched their second consecutive title during the 2005-06 season.

The sport of UK soccer hasn't always been as popular as it is today. In fact, the 1980s marked a particularly low point for the sport. Stadiums were crumbling, which left spectators facing poor facilities. As attendance dropped and conditions worsened, UK soccer was banned from European competition. By the time the 1990s rolled around, things were beginning to change and the ban formerly preventing English teams from competing was lifted.

At the conclusion of the 1991 season, a proposal for a new league was presented and was one that would bring additional revenue into the sport. The Founder Members Agreement, which was signed in July 1991, established the basic foundation for the FA Premier League. The new division was given a license to negotiate broadcast and sponsorship agreements, which was a necessary part of successful competition. In 1992, the FA Premier League was formed as a limited company and operated out of an office at the former headquarters of the Football Association.

The 1992-93 season marked the first of many competitions for the new face of UK soccer. Due to the rules governed by the FIFA, the number of teams was reduced to twenty in 1995. Today, the FA Premier League is a corporation that is owned by the 20 member clubs of UK soccer. Each team is considered to be a shareholder and has the opportunity to vote on important issues, including rule changes and contracts. Each team has the power to elect a Chairman, Chief Executive and Board of Directors to oversee their day-to-day activities. The Football Association is not directly involved with these operations, but it does have veto power during team elections.

Today, a typical UK soccer season consists of 20 teams competing against one another on two separate occasions. One half of the season is dedicated to home games and the second half, which repeats the same schedule as the first, entails each team playing their competitors for a second time at a different location. For instance, the first half of a season may be comprised of home games and the second half would be played on the competitors home turf. At the conclusion of each season, the champions are named according to points awarded throughout the season. If a tie occurs, a one match playoff is held to determine which top four teams will qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

For additional information on the FA Premier League and / or UK soccer, fans may visit their official website at http://www.premierleague.com . Current standings, news, updates, photos, historical profiles and league news is available online. A professional design with colorful appeal make this a very popular website among UK soccer fans. Soccer, itself, remains a popular sport throughout the world and is celebrated in many different countries. With legions of fans worldwide, it appears that soccer players will be kicking high for many years to come.

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Some Exciting Tips to Setup Barbeque at Your Backyard

With summer knocking at the doors, the craze of under sky cooking is hitting as the prime trend among the food addicts. But, a well-designed outdoor kitchen will be equally suitable for a year-round cooking experience. An outdoor cooking substitute is as good as an indoor kitchen. It is the second happening living room of your house. However, Barbeque world is stuffed with pretty serious arguments. Gas or Charcoal? Mop or brush? Memphis or Carolina. With so many varieties in vogue, it sometimes becomes quite confusing for the house owner to set up a flexible and well equipped under sky cooking zone. Here are some expert tips, which will help you to start an esteemed external cooking area.

Initiate from the ground:

Establishing the overall floor layout is the starting block of your external cooking arsenal. Keep in mind the diverse weather conditions along with the average weight of the appliances you are planning to install. Tiles or marble floor will be slippery inviting in a bad fall. If there are small children, running here and there along with senior citizens, then the scenario may become worse. Opt for some porous flooring substance, which renders friction and this prevents slippery fall.

Choose a perfect location:

You cannot place your under sky cooking arsenal anywhere in the open space. Pick a corner, far from your main building, such that, the smoke from the grill does not waft back inside your house. Ascertain the wind pattern in your locality and then hit the first hammer on the inaugural nail. Maintain a safe distance from your neighbor's barbeque, to avoid the clash of heat (both real heat and mental heat!)

Choose the appliances correctly:

Under-sky cooking zone demands some special cooking tools, striking a sound difference with its indoor counterpart. The appliances are comparatively larger, and any professional barbeque planner or dealer will be the best person to guide you in this section. Leave adequate space on both the side of the grill to fit enough platters and other tools. Never place the appliances too close altogether.

Arrange something for entertainment:

This kind of cooking is itself an entertaining experience, but if it is accompanied by some soothing music then, the overall effect becomes much more pleasing, both to the ears and to the soul. Clad inside the arms of green nature, under the curtain of blue sky, mouth-watering food, and soothing music is the complete definition of a BBQ feel.

Last but not the least, if you are passionate about barbeque then keep every tool within your arms reach and take your food and cooking seriously. It is the taste of the food, which stays in your mind for a long time.

This kind of cooking area magnifies your living area and enables you to cook, eat, and chat without any prior reservation. Apart from fun, it also helps to keep your house cooler. Indoor oven or stove generates excessive heat in the kitchen, escalating your internal temperature and forcing your AC unit to work hard. So it is wise to create an external cooking setup, to experience a fresh new spree of cooking.

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Tom Hicks & Corinthians

It seems Tom Hicks leaves a trail of devastation wherever he goes. His disastrous foray into the Brazilian football market as chairman of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst left Corinthians, second most popular club in Brazil, in a state of turmoil.

The parallels between what happened to Corinthians and what is currently happening at Liverpool are unsettling to say the least:

* There was the initial blaze of publicity and fanfare when the company bought the club in 1999, with promises of big spending on the best players and the construction of a brand new 45,000 seater stadium in the suburbs of Sao Paulo.

* There was an initial capital investment to tie down existing players and to finance the purchase one or two other additional players.

* The economics behind the Corinthians deal appeared to be based on ridiculously rudimentary logic: «If you add up all the fans of professional baseball, basketball, football and hockey in the United States, that number is lower than the number of Brazilians who are soccer fans.» Clearly, no proper risk analysis had been undertaken – a situation which resonates with the due diligence period of 3 days prior to the purchase of Liverpool.

* This flimsy approach was reinforced by the apparently rash and impulsive purchase of Cruzeiro six months later – traits which Liverpool fans are rapidly coming to associate with Hicks.

* There was also the emphasis on the cheaper «young players», with the following quote from the (unfortunately named) Richard Law, president of Hicks’ subsidiary group: «Our job is not to turn back the inevitable, but to build Corinthians and Cruzeiro up from the junior ranks.» Hicks followed a similar tack following the takeover of Liverpool: «You need to keep your star players but also develop your young players. Young players are the lifeblood of your team, so we talked about how we can improve that side of the team.»

Corinthians had already won the Brazilian championship in 1998 so Hicks inherited a winning team. The initial expenditure assisted in retaining the league title in Dec 1999 and the club also won the inaugural FIFA Club World Championship the following month.

This is where things started to go wrong.

Unable to resist the temptation to make a quick buck, HICKS BEGAN SELLING TRANSFER RIGHTS TO THE CLUB’S STAR PLAYERS. On top of that, he decided on the bizarre idea of changing the traditional colour of the club’s shirt. He also introduced sponsorship (something which Corinthians fans felt defiled their heritage).

All of these things led to a furious reaction from supporters and widespread protest against Hicks and his partners. The company bailed out three years later, ironically having accused its local partner in Brazil of «misappropriating funds» (read the UTIMCO post and you’ll understand).

Corinthians began to spiral downwards. MSI took over the club’s management but, despite a league title in 2005, the financial problems initiated by Hicks proved too much of a burden. The club was relegated to the second tier of Brazilian football for the first time in its history in December 2007.

THERE WAS NO NEW STADIUM. Hicks invested about five hundred million dollars and within two years filed for bankruptcy.

In a recent prospectus issued to financial companies in London, Hicks claims in to be «a master of purchasing and growing professional sports teams».

Liverpool fans, Texas Rangers fans and Corinthians fans might disagree.

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The Majestic Manchester

In recent years, Manchester has reached the fame of being the third most visited city in England. Once Manchester was the main industrial hub, today the regal and attractive places makes this city as the most preferred holiday destination in UK. Manchester is well known for number of majestic museums that offers visual treat to the travellers. The spacious and stylish restaurants serve cuisines from all over the world to stir up your taste buds and the many hotels in the city suit the needs of all kinds of travellers.

Know more about the places in Manchester city:

Manchester Museum You can easily reach this museum as it is located near Manchester’s student village. This museum consists of rare collections and treasures of animal, and plant lives and rocks and minerals. The best pieces include pre-historic creatures, rare collection of Egyptian and live reptile’s and amphibians. They also allow you to access the objects displayed in collections. The cafeteria in this museum is a nice place to relax and discuss about your views and ideas with respect to culture and artefacts.

Royal Exchange Theatre: Royal Exchange theatre is situated in St Ann’s square. This is one of the best theatres and it hosts 350 shows in a year and accommodates around 7000 people who can be seated in three levels. Audience would be thrilled to experience a mixed performances that include drama, classic theatre, rock, folk and jazz concerts. The craft shop inside the Royal Exchange Theatre helps you pick outstanding pieces of jewellery for your loved ones. Besides this, you have plenty to choose from the collections that have textiles, ceramics, wood work and much more.

The Lowry: You can reach the recently developed Lowry just by a short drive from the city centre of Manchester. Lowry had gained great attractions in a short time and is considered one of the best places to visit. The mixed performances are scintillating that include dance, musicals, kid’s shows, comedy and full range drama. They have two theatres and studio space to present these shows. Southern side of the Lowry building is dedicated for dining and refreshment, so it consists of cafes, bars and restaurants.

Imperial War Museum North: This museum was opened in 2002 and it mainly deals with war ships. The well known architect Daniel Libeskind has designed these ships. Among the numerous collections, five pieces are significant as they date back to world wars.

John Rylands Library: John Ryland was a most successful industrialist in Manchester. He died in 1888 leaving all his fortune to his wife; then his wife maintained the library in his remembrance. The majestic building has a splendid gothic style. This place is a working library and consists of many unusual manuscripts which can be used in academia. However, visitors can still come to the place and view the extraordinary architecture.

Besides these, Manchester is a greener city in England and has a lot of outdoor activities especially the large public parks are centre of attraction. Some of the popular parks are Heaton Park, Wythenshawe Park, and Queens Park. Whether indoor or outdoor places, Manchester can entertain and make your trip a memorable one.

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Footballer Profile – Robinho

Robson de Souza – known throughout the footballing world as Robinho – was perhaps the biggest surprise addition to Manchester City’s squad in their much publicised quest to enter British football’s elite. When the Brazilian signed from Real Madrid on the last day of the transfer window in the summer of 2008, it made everyone aware of the seriousness of the new club owners’ intentions. This was a genuine superstar coming to the City of Manchester Stadium.

Robinho has always been earmarked for great things – even the incomparable Pelé eulogised about him as a fifteen year old. Playing for the famous Santos club which the legendary Pelé had represented for so long, ‘Robi’, who had been born in Sao Paulo in 1984, quickly became their goalscoring talisman. The kidnapping from her home of his mother in the 2004/05 season, though, had a real impact on his life – even though she was released unharmed it then seemed inevitable that he would leave the country and join other prominent Brazilian players in Europe. At the end of the 2004/05 season, the player was named as the World Soccer Young Player of the Year.

The move came in July, 2005, when Robinho signed for Real, going on to score 10 goals in his first season. Although his undoubted skill was always evident at this time, it was also clear the player was having difficulties adapting to life, and the different style of football, at his new club. With Fabio Capello and, later, Bernd Schuster, Robinho was never really a regular starter for the Spanish team, even though he continued to be in the Brazil team.

The player’s time in Spain came to a distasteful conclusion. Madrid tried to include Robinho as a ‘makeweight’ in the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, against the player’s wishes. When the deal fell through and the Madrid hierarchy decided to offer him a new contract, Robinho refused it.

Despite looking as if he was about to sign for Chelsea, Robinho ended up at Eastlands and Manchester City, seemingly encouraged to join the club because they already had two other Brazilians on the books, Elano and Jo.

Since signing for Manchester City, Robinho has become very popular with the supporters – a popularity helped when he was seen with his wife going into the city on a bus! Many critics felt, during his first season, that his performances were very much better in games at Eastlands than in matches played away from home. Despite this, he scored 15 goals in 41games. This season, however, with the squad having been greatly boosted with the acquisition of more high class players, Robinho has been the victim of a bad ankle injury picked up playing for Brazil and so has missed most of the fixtures.

With Brazil, Robinho remains an important member of the team, scoring 19 goals so far in his 71 internationals, and he is almost certain to be integral in Brazil’s attempts to win the World Cup in South Africa in the summer.

For whom Robinho will be playing then is really anybody’s guess! Ever since his arrival, it seems he has been linked with moves away. Manchester City continually deny that he is on his way to Barcelona, Chelsea or any other number of clubs. City fans, certainly, will be hoping to see the skilful little striker linking up with Adebayor and Tevez to help the club realise their ambitions and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Who Knows? If they do succeed, then perhaps Robinho might be there again next season.

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Manchester United Are Back in Business

Manchester United did not have a perfect start to the current Premier League campaign. David Moyes took over from the departing Alex Ferguson and faced an unenviable challenge of meeting the pressure of high expectation. The team lost three games of their initial eight and the former Everton manager’s critics began to sharpen their knives. The Red Devils were clearly imploding and after they had fallen to eighth place on the points table, the naysayers began to question their credentials and some even stressed that mid-table was where United really belonged.

But nine matches later, and importantly, nine unbeaten games later, United find themselves in fifth place, just five points adrift of table leaders, Arsenal. How did the transformation happen? To begin with, Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table was sustained in the absence of games with big teams such as Chelsea, Man City and Man United themselves. The luck of the draw did not favor Moyes whose wards faced off against the likes of Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea, relatively early in the season.

Arsenal had been in a similar situation in 2008 when they blew a five point lead at the top of the table after an injury to their star striker. In the event the Gunners ended up in fourth place, at the end of the season. In the lead up to Arsenal’s match against United, Wayne Rooney drew attention to this fact. Given Gunners’ winning form and the perceived decline of United in the post-Ferguson era, Arsenal were expected to bank full three points from the game at Old Trafford. Liverpool had bearded the Red Devils in their den and Gunners had beaten the Merseysiders; ergo, Arsene Wenger’s men should beat David Moyes’ wards, went the argument.

But van Persie and Man United had other ideas and the home side emerged deserving 1-0 winners to bring themselves within five points of Arsenal who continue to lead the table. United have 20 points from 11 games, and apart from Arsenal, only Liverpool (23), Southampton (22) and Chelsea (21) are ahead of them on the table. It is not unrealistic to expect the Saints to drop down the table as the season wears on. With Arsenal yet to play Man City or Chelsea, the results of those games could have a dramatic effect on the hierarchy of teams on the points table. Consider also that United have upcoming games against Cardiff, Tottenham, Everton and Newcastle, all of which are there to be won, and it won’t be unrealistic to suggest that United may well be at the top of the table by Christmas.

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