An Update on Transdermal Melatonin Use, Sleep Challenges and Jet Lag

Ask a frequent flyer about melatonin and you will probably be met with mixed reviews. While the melatonin website offers a long list of contra-indications (1) users still find it useful to a point. It now looks like the less is more dictum of using melatonin will replace the excessive use of the past. Research is now suggesting that low dose melatonin delivered via the skin (2) may better serve those with sleep challenges including jet lagged frequent flyers.

The jet lag problem faced by frequent flyers was never going to be cured by melatonin alone. Flyers looking for a consummate solution should look at all aspects of their frequent flying lifestyle, however a review of the current research suggests melatonin can play a healthy role in the arsenal of tools at the disposal of frequent flyers.

Here is a round-up of what we know about melatonin at the moment. Starting with melatonin suppression (3), a lack encourages

  • Cancer proliferation

  • Immunity compromise

  • Disordered energy metabolism

  • Compromised reproductive function and

  • Altered eating behaviors

Normal melatonin production encourages

  • Super antioxidant protection throughout the body

  • Immunological modulation

  • Sleep onset and

  • Regulates hormonal function

The buzz surrounding melatonin shifted gears with research suggesting transdermal melatonin application may be of benefit where traditional melatonin use previously failed. Failures of note are oral melatonin’s short elimination half-life cycle, which meant while sleep onset could be achieved, maintaining sleep for the duration was not guaranteed. Another challenge was the possibility of overloading the liver with oral melatonin and its metabolites. As disruptive as this is a knock on effect is in how these metabolites interact with other aspects of the endocrine system.

The average person needs 0.03mg of melatonin to fall asleep. The majority of melatonin pills have multiple times that, up to 300 times. Transdermal melatonin avoids the dangers mentioned above and is easy and convenient to use. Where it really shines is in its ability to keep you asleep in a different time zone when you would normally be awake because of the daylight.

Given the mixed results and possible pitfalls of traditional melatonin use, I was skeptical but hopeful of transdermal melatonin’s promise. While my first preference is to always pick natural alternatives (like tart cherries in this instance), I can now say I would use transdermal melatonin alongside other healthy tools in my jet lag beating arsenal.

References

(1) Melatonin.com accessed 20th October 2016

(2) Use of transdermal melatonin delivery to improve sleep maintenance during daytime – Aeschbach, D et al. «Use of Transdermal Melatonin Delivery to Improve Sleep Maintenance during Daytime.» Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics 86.4 (2009): 378-382. PMC. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

(3) Melatonin, sleep disturbance and cancer risk – Sleep Med Rev. 2009 Aug;13(4):257-64. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2008.07.007. Epub 2008 Dec 17

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Soccer Fixture: Manchester City Versus Everton

Manchester City first played Everton, from the city of Liverpool, two days before Christmas and just a few days before the end of the nineteenth century.

The two sides met in League Division One at City’s Hyde Road ground in Manchester on 23rd December, 1899. Everton won the match 2.1. Inside-right Jimmy Settle scored one of Everton’s goals that day. Settle could also play as a winger and was considered to be so fast that he could have had a successful sprinting career had he not concentrated on football.

Settle played six times for England and scored their goal in a 1.0 win over Scotland on 5th April, 1902. However, this match does not appear in official international football records, rather it was a tragic example of back page match reports becoming front page headlines. The match was played at Ibrox Stadium, home of Glasgow Rangers. After heavy rain during the previous night the wooden West Tribune stand collapsed, killing 25 football supporters and injuring 517. The first major incident of its kind in British football, it will be forever known as the ‘First Ibrox Disaster.’

City had been founded nineteen years earlier, as St Mark’s Church in West Gorton. In 1887 St Mark’s evolved into Ardwick A.F.C. and moved to Hyde Road. Hyde Road was destroyed by fire in 1923 and the club moved to Maine Road where they remained until they moved again to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, now more commonly known as Etihad Stadium or simply ‘The Etihad.’

Ardwick were founder members of the new Second Division of the Football League in 1892 before going bankrupt and being reformed as Manchester City in 1894. This was the same year that the Manchester Ship Canal – also known as the ‘Big Ditch’ – was opened confirming Manchester as the world’s first inland port. Although a great commercial rivalry already existed between the cities, many cite the building of the Canal and the maritime business and jobs that subsequently moved to Manchester from Liverpool as the source of such fierce competition which still exists today on the football field in derby matches between Liverpool and Manchester United, and Everton and Manchester City.

Manchester City were promoted to the First Division in 1898-99 and so faced Everton in the league for the first time the following season. All of the league meetings between these two teams have taken place in the top tier of English football – League Division One of the Football League until 1992 and the Premier League since then.

Everton were originally founded two years earlier than Manchester City, in 1878 as St Domingo’s (after the local Methodist Church), changing their name a year later to Everton F.C. They were founder members of the world’s first football league – The Football League – in 1888, were league champions in 1890-91 and moved to the new Goodison Park a year later – one of the first purpose-built football grounds in the world. They had also finished as runners-up twice by the time they played City. Certainly they would have been seen as the ‘Grand Old Team’ when they first encountered these ‘upstarts’ from Manchester, though both sides were well established as the Victorian Age drew to a close.

Everton also won the corresponding away league fixture – and first of the new century – at Goodison Park, 4.0 on 28th April, 1900

Manchester City won their first match against Everton later that year. A First Division match, they won 1.0 on 13th October, 1900 in front of 15,000 at Hyde Road. The winner was scored by Scottish forward ‘Jim’ Cassidy who had previously played for Newton Heath – the team from the other side of town and destined to become Manchester United in 1902.

Manchester City’s first league game against Everton at Maine Road occurred on 15th December, 1923 in the First Division. City won 2.1 in front of an attendance of 35,000. Horace Barnes and Frank Roberts scored the goals for the home team.

Everton’s biggest win in the fixture came just under six years later when they beat City 9.1 at Goodison Park on 3rd September, 1906. Settle scored two more goals and Scottish striker Alex ‘Sandy’ Young scored four of Everton’s goals that day. Young had scored Everton’s FA Cup Final winner against Newcastle United the previous April and would go on to also play for Manchester City for a season in 1911-12. With 125 goals, he is fourth in the all-time list of top Everton goalscorers. His life after football was far less glorious with him being certified as mentally unstable and dying in 1959 in an Edinburgh mental asylum.

The Toffees put a further six goals past Manchester City two years later, on 26th September, 1908, again at Goodison in a 6.3 league win in which Sandy Young also scored a hat-trick.

They repeated the feat between the wars and, again, just before Christmas in a 6.1 league win at Goodison Park, a week after that inaugural game between the teams at Maine Road. Scorer of four goals on 22nd December, 1923 was ‘Wilf’ Chadwick who would go on to amass an impressive fifty goals in 102 league appearances in his three years at Everton.

Manchester City also scored six of their own – the highest number of goals they have ever put past Everton – for the first time on 15th September, 1928. City had been relegated at the end of the 1925-26 season but promoted back to the First Division in 1928 and so this was the first time they had played Everton for two and a half years. They certainly celebrated their return in style, winning 6.2 at Goodison Park in front of 47,871 astonished fans. Forward Tommy Johnson scored five of City’s goals that day and would go on to achieve the record for the most goals scored by a Manchester City player in a single season with 38 in that campaign. Like Jimmy Settle he would also play for the other club, joining Everton in 1930.

City were certainly back in the top flight with a vengeance – certainly as far as Everton were concerned – as they went on to win the corresponding fixture in Manchester 5.1 on 26th January, 1929. ‘Fred’ Tilson scored two of City’s goals that day. A one-team player he would compete for Manchester City up until the outbreak of WWII which included him scoring the two goals which helped Manchester City to beat Portsmouth in the 1934 FA Cup Final 2.1.

The Citizens would win 6.2 again on 7th December, 1957 – this time at Maine Road. Captain Ken Barnes scored a hat-trick – this time all penalties. He was only the third player to achieve this in the top flight of English football and, as designated penalty-taker for City, scored eleven in total during that season.

As well as in that 1929 match, Manchester City have scored five goals against Everton on three other occasions: 5.2 at Goodison on 19th April, 1958; 5.0 at home on 9th December, 2000 and 5.1 at home on 15th May, 2004.

The match in 2000 provided Manchester City’s highest margin of victory in these matches and, a bit like in 1928, was their first encounter with Everton after City had been relegated and even slipped into the third-tier before successive promotions saw them regain their Premier League status. Paulo Wanchope scored one of City’s goals that day and added two more in the 5.1 victory in 2004 which was the first time the fixture had been played at City’s new home.

The highest scoring draw in this fixture came fairly early on – a 4.4 draw on 19th September, 1925 at Maine Road. One of Everton’s goals came from legendary striker Dixie Dean while Tommy Browell – who had formed a lethal goalscoring partnership with Horace Barnes – scored all four of City’s goals as their season promised much and then fell apart at the end. They reached the 1926 FA Cup Final via some huge victories such as an 11.4 win against Crystal Palace and 3.0 against Manchester United in the semi-final. However, they lost in the Final 1.0 to Bolton Wanderers. As we have seen, they were also relegated at the end of the season after a 3.2 defeat on the final day of the season at Newcastle United.

These two sides have met seven times in the FA Cup and on two occasions the winners of those ties have gone on to the Final: Everton who beat Sheffield Wednesday 3.2 in 1966, and City who lost in that dramatic FA Cup Replay of 1981, also 3.2, to Tottenham Hotspur.

They have only met three times in the Football League Cup. A 2.0 victory in the fourth round at Maine Road on 14th October, with goals by City stalwarts of the time Colin Bell and Francis Lee, again helped them to reach the Final in 1970 in which they beat West Bromwich Albion 2.1. Everton got their revenge on 20th January, 1988 when a crowd of more than 40,000 at Goodison Park saw them win by the same score in that year’s quarter-final: Adrian Heath and Graeme Sharp got the Everton goals.

The last time they met in this competition came in the two-legged semi-final of 2015-16 and a period of three games between the sides in a three-week period in January 2016. Everton won the first leg 2.1 at Goodison Park. There then followed a goalless draw at The Etihad before the teams met again in Manchester on 27th January, 2016 with City winning 3.1 with goals from Fernandinho, De Bruyne and Aguero to progress to the Final where, once again, they won the trophy by beating Liverpool on penalties 3.1 after the match had finished 1.1.

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A Profile of Carles Puyol

As a defender Carles Puyol remains somewhat in the shadow of players such as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o or Lionel Messi, but with his energy, stamina and focus, he remains a favourite in the Nou Camp and is an essential member of the current line-up. Considered to be one of the best defenders in the world, Carles Puyol is also the first Catalan captain to have held the Champions League Cup aloft after the team defeated Arsenal in May 2006, the competition in which he was awarded Defender of the Year.

As team captain since the 2003-2004 season after Phillip Cocu left Barcelona for PSV Eindhoven, Puyol’s stocky build with legs built like tree trunks and a trademark head of curly locks all belie his speed and agility on the pitch and once he removes his shirt he reveals a ripped torso that is the product of many hours of hard training, impressively fee of any sign of body fat.

In fact Puyol’s dedication is such that he objects to being left out of a single match selection, even if it is for a rest period when the team is playing a number of matches is a short space of time and he has been noted to attend training sessions where he was specifically given a rest day.

Born in La Pobla de Segur, which is located in the interior of Catalonia, on April 13 1978, as a boy Carles Puyol played for the local side. He was signed for the FC Barcelona B team in 1996 at the age of 17 and made is first team debut in 1999 under Louis Van Gaal, when visiting Barcelona beat Valladolid 2-0.

Currently playing in the centre-back position, Puyol first played for Barcelona in the right back position when he was promoted from the B team. His original position as a boy was in goal, but when shoulder injuries prevented him from continuing he began to play as a striker, perhaps contributing to his attacking mentality today – you can only imagine what he would have been like as a goalkeeper given his absolute determination to stop the ball as a defender, but what is sure is that he would have played hard, perhaps contributing to his injuries.

Although he plays in the Spanish selection, which he has also captained on occasion, Carles Puyol is a Barcelona diehard through and through and it is difficult to imagine him playing for any other club when his contract expires in 2010, whatever offer was on the table. While Messi has been brought up at Barcelona – and there is no doubt about his current dedication to the club – it remains to be seen whether he could be lured away, but players such as Ronaldinho and Eto’o, whatever their brilliance, can only ever be considered hired hands.

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Premier League Match Time: Wolves Vs Bolton

It’s Premier League match time with Wolverhampton Wanderers set to host Bolton Wanderers at Molineux.

Wolves, currently in 19th place, will look to move away from the relegation mine with a win against Bolton who are in sixth position; though a solitary win is unlikely to help, it will be a start.

The Wanderers have had good matches in terms of performance but the results have eluded them. In particular, they had excellent showings against Manchester United and Arsenal but ended losing both games.

Fresh injury concerns to three players resulted from the game against the Gunners that Mick McCarthy’s side lost 2-0. Dave Edwards in midfield sustained a thigh muscle injury and limped off the ground within eight minutes of the start.

Stephen Ward in the back-line was another casualty after an onfield clash with Fabregas. Wolves will also be without Kevin Doyle’s striking ability after the forward sustained a broken bone in his hand.  Ronald Zuber with an ankle injury and Joey Craddock with a hip problem continue to be sidelined. Guidioura with a leg injury,  Craddock with a thigh problem, Kightly with a knee injury are also sidelined.

Owen Coyle’s charges have excelled in their last two Premiership outings against Tottenham and Everton. While they could beat Spurs, they had to be content with a draw against the Toffees, a match they could have won but for an equalizer late in the game by Beckford.

Gretar Steinsson will miss out against Wolves on Saturday after a yellow card awarded in the Everton game. Ricketts is likely to replace him while Klasnic could be considered for a start on the back of his goal against the Toffees, playing as a substitute. Klasnic could replace Elmander who is down with a  virus. Injury concerns for the Trotters include Davis and J O’Brien with knee injuries, Gardner with a thigh problem and Samuel with a calf injury.

In their last eight games Bolton have tasted defeat just once but the Trotters will be concerned about their vulnerability in defence, as they have conceded goals in all their twelve matches, a weakness that the likes of Jarvis in the Wolves squad will be keen to exploit.

Wolves had the following players in their starting eleven against Arsenal on Wednesday: Hahnemann, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Ward, Edwards, Mancienne, Henry, Milijas, Jarvis and Doyle; Hunt, Ebanks-Blake and Fletcher came in as substitutes.

Bolton’s starting eleven in the game against Everton comprised: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Lee, Muamba, Holden, Taylor, Davies and Elmander;  Ricketts and Klasnic were used as substitutes.

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Famous Quotes by Vince Lombardi During Football’s Annual Bowl Season

College football’s annual bowl season is full of surprises and spectacular moments. Famous coaches have had some memorable remarks about American’s most popular sport, and here are some of them by legendary Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi, who many consider to be the best of the best.

Lombardi’s head coaching record in the National Football League was second to none. In 9 years with the Green Bay Packers, Lombardi’s regular season won-loss percentage was 73% (96-34-6), his postseason was 90% (9-1) and his total was 75% (105-35-6).

He took a 1-10-1 team in 1958 to an NFL title in 3 years, and went on to win 5 NFL titles in 9 years (1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967) and three titles consecutively. He led the Packers to the first two Super Bowl titles in 1966 and 1967.

Lombardi’s discipline was legendary. A lifelong Catholic, he spent 4 years in Cathedral Preparatory Seminary to become a Catholic priest before becoming a standout football player at St. Francis Preparatory High School.

An undersized guard at 5 foot 8 and 185 pounds, he was offered and accepted a football scholarship to Fordham University in the Bronx to play for «Sleepy» Jim Crowley, one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame in the 1920s. He would become part of the «Seven Blocks of Granite» that held Fordham’s opponents scoreless several times during a 25-game winning streak.

After coaching at Fordham, Lombardi became the offensive line coach for West Point under another legendary head coach, Colonel Red Blaik. Lombardi then became the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants, working with defensive coordinator Tom Landry and head coach Jim Lee Howell, before becoming Green Bay’s head coach in 1959.

Lombardi was 59 years old when he died of cancer in 1970. Grown men and Hall of Fame football players openly wept at his funeral.

Here are some of Vince Lombardi’s best known quotes:

«If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?»

«I firmly believe than any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious.»

«There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay and I never want to finish second again.»

«Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.»

«Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.»

«The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.»

«Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.»

«Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.»

«If you can accept losing, you can’t win.»

«Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.»

«Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.»

«Success demands singleness of purpose.»

«It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.»

«It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner, when you’re number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not a winner.»

«The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.»

«We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.»

«Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers are all about. They didn’t do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.»

«The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.»

«Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.»

Here are some quotes by Lombardi’s players:

«When Lombardi said ‘sit down,’ we didn’t look for a chair.» – Forrest Gregg, Hall of Fame tackle.

«He prepared us so well, and he motivated us so well, I felt he was a part of me on the field.» Fuzzy Thurston.

«He pushed you to the end of your endurance and then beyond it. And if there was reserve there, well, he found that too.» Henry Jordan, Hall of Fame defensive tackle.

«He made us better than we thought we could be.» Jerry Kramer.

«Coach Lombardi showed me that by working hard and using my mind, I could overcome my weakness to the point that I could be one of the best.» Bart Starr, Hall of Fame quarterback.

«The fear in my mind was not him but that for some reason I would not be a part of the team and be with this man.» Forrest Gregg.

«He made you a believer. He told you what the other team was going to do, and he told you what you had to do to beat them, and invariably he was right.» Willie Davis, Hall of Fame defensive back.

(Editor’s Note: I have read and studied one of the best biographies on Lombardi: When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss, I highly recommend his book as a great read.)

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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Double Eagle Flex Defense

Double Eagle Flex Defense is one of the most innovative defenses in a long time, the «Desert Swarm» turned things around at The University of Arizona a few years back.

You do not see much of this defense today. If you can run it effectively the chances are that your opponent has not seen it either!

Double eagle flex is a different type of defense than what you’ve probably seen most of the time watching on TV or ever run before of your team.

Double eagle flex is a defense also known as the Desert Swarm defense that was developed with Arizona, with Dick Tomey as the coach. Desert swarm was a different, kind of revolutionary defense that turned around the program in Arizona in early 1990.

What we’ve got is based off of a 4-3 defense somewhat, with just a few changes. On the strong side you can see the similarity to the 4-3 or 4-2-5 defense – where you get a tackle in a strong 3 technique and the Defensive End is set, could be more of like 4-4 or 4-2-5, inside shade of the tight End.

The strong safety is always going to be your overhang player. We are just going to adjust. He’s going to be three by three off of the end man on the line of scrimmage, the tight End in this case. If you were to get the two receivers you would split the difference there. If you got three you’ll walk out to split 2 and 3, you can use him to deal with different types of formation.

The Mike linebacker is in a 30 technique. He’s going to be five yards off the ball, outside shade of the guard. You can step behind of the tackle just like you would be in a 4-2-5. He is going to have responsibilities for that A gap. You can also scrape over the top if it would be some sort of a power play outside. You got your box player or strong safety to fleet off the edge.

Now things start to change on the weak side. We’re going to have the tilted nose tilted at the neck of that center. He is attacking to that center neck every single play. There’s no way you can still double team because there’s no way their guard can overtake you. The center can’t walk in on weak side run plays.

This is going to be very effective in enforcing different example of this offense. Now you got your flex player, okay, I want to put down the Will, but put whatever player you want down there.

The flex player is going to be reading through this Guard. He reads to this Guard if two yards off the line of scrimmage in an outside shade on this guard. If read and guard blocks down he’s coming now he’s trying to block down the box player he’s going to come on now. He gets to blocks. He’s going to squeeze that block back to A gap there control B gap there where your B gap player. If he reads flow away take flow away from him. He gets to flow away, breaking over the top – you’re going to get an extra player to flow side with your flex player.

There’s no way the center can back block in there, he’s going to be go straight over top. It’s a very different look to the offense line. Your edge player is going to be outside and he’s going to a ghost 9 where our tight end would be – he’s very loose. He’s tilted.

Play all those like he would play with a safety over here. If you’re coming from if you’re are coming from a 4-2-5 you may use your defensive ends right here and your weak safety out here and then your two inside backers.

Second inside backer play is very similar to the Mike, his gap sound over here. If he’s throwing the ball – you got cover three shell behind it you, or could also play man coverage with it and use your strong safety as your adjuster.

Now double eagle flex, if something added to your package, is the change up front it is a simple thing to teach because it is very obvious for the read for the scan right here we’re still here with their two inside linebackers.

Hope that you can learn how you can use the double eagle flex or the desert swarm in your defense.

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5 NBA Players Who Experienced Life-Changing Events

In basketball, a competitor must be able to deliver a good show, whether it be using sheer talent, work ethic, or drive to succeed. This is an especially daunting task considering the sheer fragility of a player’s mentality. Often times in the sports world today, a player’s mindset is so fragile that it could easily alter their playing style. Whether it completely deteriorates or slightly shifts their skill, their careers, and lives, are forever altered by their experiences. Here are five former NBA stars and how their experiences changed their lives from that point on.

Kermit Washington

An All-American during his collegiate career at American University, Kermit Washington certainly would have looked forward to an exciting NBA career. He was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, who were coming off their second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. Although he struggled to stand above ordinary his first two seasons, he began to emerge during the following two, setting career highs in points and rebounds during his fourth season. However, during his fifth season, an on-the-court incident would change his career and life forever. The Lakers had been involved in notable on-the-court physical entanglements throughout the early 1977-78 season, and Washington was known for his fierce devotion towards his teammates. It is believed these instances caused Washington’s career-changing game, on December 9, 1977 against the Houston Rockets. When the Lakers missed a shot, Washington, known as a strong rebounder, pursued the ball. Then things grew physical. Washington’s Lakers teammate and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Kareem Abdul-Jabbar began fighting with the Rockets’ Kevin Kunnert (who grabbed the rebound instead of Washington), and Washington stayed away from the fight until Abdul-Jabbar and Kunnert broke up the fight. Then he began fighting with Kunnert until Abdul-Jabbar grabbed Kunnert in an effort to break up the fight, only to have Kunnert punched by Washington. Then Kunnert’s teammate Rudy Tomjanovich came to the fight scene. Believing that Tomjanovich, who had a reputation as a peacekeeper who rarely fought, was trying to attack him, Washington punched Tomjanovich to the nose. As Tomjanovich fell to the hardwood and instantly bled, the arena fell silent. Although Tomjanovich was able to walk off the court, he subsequently was diagnosed with a broken skull, jaw, and nose. He also had bled internally and spinal disc herniation so severe that spinal fluid leaked into his mouth. Although Tomjanovich recovered, his playing style was never the same, and by 1981, he had retired after merely eleven years in the NBA. As for Washington, a label as the man who nearly killed Rudy Tomjanovich would haunt him for the rest of his career. He was suspended for the ensuing 26 Lakers games, and the Lakers constantly received mail for fans that berated Washington. On December 27, he was traded to the Boston Celtics, only to be traded to the San Diego Clippers in 1978, and then to the Portland Trail Blazers in 1979. Feeling that he was readily welcomed by teammates and fans, Washington decided to return his focus to the game. In 1980 he was voted to the NBA All-Star Game. He was also voted to the first of two consecutive appearances on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. He retired in 1982, but returned for a brief comeback in 1987 with the Golden State Warriors. His post-NBA life since his retirement has been embattled by the negative attention stemming from the 1977 fight.

Magic Johnson

«Magic» is not this legendary NBA player’s legal name. His real name was Earvin Johnson, but his nickname «Magic» is well-deserved. Selected with the first overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1979 NBA Draft, Johnson was entering the prime decades of the historic Lakers franchise. Eventually, «Magic» had it made. Not only was he a member of the five Lakers teams that won NBA Championships during the 1980s, but also left his mark as an individual player. Voted to the NBA All-Star game 10-plus times, while also labeled as NBA Most Valuable Player three times, he led the league is assists 4 seasons and led the league in steals 2 seasons. Additionally, he was named NBA Finals MVP in three of the Lakers’ five victories. At this stage, «Magic» was well-deserving of his title, as he was seemingly a man with superhuman powers who could dominate every time he stepped on to the court. But in 1991, the year after he was named NBA MVP the third time, his life was forever altered. A medical examination proved that Johnson, who was only in his early thirties, had contracted Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a serious disease which decelerates the immune system and makes the host susceptible to other diseases. Johnson decided to announce his intention to retire from the NBA to focus on his health, as he had contracted a serious disease that could have threatened his life. It remains unknown as to what is the clear source of Johnson’s condition. Johnson’s final game before going into retirement was the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. Even though several players opposed his entry into the game, fearing the spread of his disease, Johnson played and was crowned the game’s MVP, before he was emotionally applauded by players on both sides for his many successful years of service to the league. But very shortly after, he was named a member of the historic 1992 Team USA Olympic Basketball team, which also featured Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, and others. After their illustrious Olympic journey, Johnson went into retirement, supposedly for good. In 1994, he returned to the Lakers as an assistant coach. At last, in 1996, he returned as a player to the Lakers, averaging a decent 14.3 points per game in 32 appearances before retiring a final time. Since retiring, Johnson started the Magic Johnson Foundation to provide for those battling HIV like him. He has also pursued business ventures such as being an owner of the Lakers, while also working as an NBA expert analyst. As well, he has received the highest honor of any basketball player: Induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. All in all, the life of «Magic» was forever changed after his HIV diagnosis. Just before his diagnosis, it didn’t seem like his career would end like the way it did. But Johnson made the decision to retire (the first time) to focus on his health while still in his prime. Even though he remains today in good health and good hope, both his career and his life decisions were all shaken, even to the least bit, by his HIV diagnosis.

Michael Jordan

Nicknamed «Air Jordan» for his ability to jump and nearly fly, Michael Jordan is perhaps the most decorated NBA figure of all-time. From the beginning of his career when he was the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, he showed promise and talent while spending his career with the Chicago Bulls, which was one of the most anonymous teams in the NBA prior to his arrival. During his first nine NBA seasons (1984-93) Jordan was an NBA All-Star eight times, including one crown as All-Star Game MVP. He was NBA Rookie of the Year in 1985. He was also NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1988. From 1987 to 1993, he was the NBA scoring leader, and NBA steals leader in 1988, 1990, and 1993. As well, he was NBA Most Valuable Player in 1988, 1991, and 1992. Additionally, he won the Bulls three division titles in 1991, 1992, and 1993, which were the same years that the Bulls ascended to become NBA Champions. The Bulls, who had won just one division title in their 25 pre-Jordan seasons, were blessed to have him on their roster and dreamed of him being a longtime Bull. Unfortunately, everything changed for the perennial scoring champion Jordan in 1993. His father, James Jordan, had been driving on a highway in North Carolina when he was attacked by two teenagers, who killed James Jordan before evading the scene. Police managed to track down the suspects, who were identified as Daniel Green and Larry Demery and later convicted of murder and imprisoned. For Michael Jordan, the news was shocking as his father had been very close to him. Shortly after hearing about the incident, Jordan announced his retirement from the NBA, to focus on other aspects more important than the game to him. He revealed that the death of his father opened greater priorities to him than his role with the Bulls and the NBA. But quickly after retiring, he decided to become a professional baseball player, as his father had seen him as a promising baseball player as a child. But after a brief and unspectacular career in baseball, Jordan decided to go back where he belonged: Basketball. Almost immediately after returning to the NBA, Jordan picked up where he left off with NBA superstardom. The Bulls ended up winning three more division titles as well as NBA Championships in the years 1996, 1997, and 1998. He was named NBA MVP two more times, in 1996 and 1998. Additionally, he led the NBA in scoring from 1996 to 1998. Jordan once again retired in 1998. He briefly returned to the NBA as a member of the Washington Wizards, from 2001 to 2003, before retiring for the last time. Now Jordan has pursued several business ventures, including being an owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats. He has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and remains today as one of the most prolific basketball figures of all-time. However, his career and life were shaken, even to the slightest bit, by the death of his father. After his father died, «Air Jordan» forever needed to carry the thought in his mind that he will need to live the rest of his life without his father. But he was able to keep his love of the game as a top priority, and ascended to become perhaps the most iconic basketball figure in our minds.

Dennis Rodman

Nicknamed «The Worm» for his agility on the court as well as his utterly ferocious defensive play, Dennis Rodman found his niche in containing opposing players from scoring opportunities, thus highlighting himself as one among the greatest defensive players in NBA history. He was drafted in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, with the 27th overall pick. The Pistons at the time were nicknamed the «Bad Boys» at the time for their rough defensive play. Within a matter of years, «The Worm» was an icon for the Pistons. He had been named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991. He was also an NBA All-Star in 1990 and 1992. He was additionally named to five NBA All-Defensive First Teams from 1989 to 1993. In 1992 and 1993, he led the league in rebounds. He also aided the Pistons to three divisions titles, including two seasons, in 1989 and 1990, where they ascended to become NBA Champions. With great physical skill and strong motive to keep opposing players with as few scoring opportunities as possible, it seemed like «The Worm» would be a lifelong Bad Boy in Detroit. But, between 1992 and 1993, Rodman would experience a series of traumatic events that would change his personality and outlook on the NBA permanently. In 1992, Pistons head coach Chuck Daly resigned his position. This was difficult for Rodman as he had viewed Daly as more than a coach to him. The following year, Rodman’s wife Annie Bakes divorced from him, which added further tension to Rodman. During this time Rodman pondered committing suicide. But then ultimately decided that he had been unhappy mainly because he had been exhibiting a shy personality that did not show his true colors, and wanted to be happy exhibiting his true personality. Before the 1993-94 season, Rodman was traded to the San Antonio Spurs, where he began exhibiting his new character. He frequently dyed his hair and shaved his head. He also became notorious for frequently getting into scuffles with others on the court. Rodman’s stint in San Antonio lasted only two years. Even though he was NBA rebounding leader both of those years, he failed to make it to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, as his time in San Antonio was characterized primarily by eccentric behavior. But his career returned to the high point in 1995 when he was traded to the team that he had perhaps despised the most during his time as a Detroit Piston: The Chicago Bulls. The Bulls had, in the wake of 1990s, had pushed aside the power of Rodman and the rest of the Detroit Pistons and won themselves their first three NBA titles. But their dynasty seemed to subdue following the 1993 retirement of habitual Bulls scoring icon Michael Jordan. But 1995 was the year it all came back, with Rodman playing the most iconic style he had since his days with the Pistons. Although he continued to display obscene behavior on the court with his hair and fights on the court, his role on their time was highlighted by his fourth, fifth, and sixth consecutive rebounding title and his feeding to the bulls their fourth, fifth, and sixth division title as well their fourth, fifth, and sixth NBA Championship. After his surprising release in 1998, Rodman spent the 1999 and 2000 NBA season, respectively, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. But following his NBA career, he landed in multiple altercations with the public due to his obscene behavior. He has been arrested multiple times for suspected charges such as assault and driving under the influence of alcohol. He has also checked into drug rehabilitation after multiple drunken antics, including an instance where he entered rehab following an erratic scuffle on the popular reality show The Celebrity Apprentice. But he was forever known for his stardom on the basketball court, and in 2011, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. All in all, his life was forever changed following the year 1993. His life on the court as well as off the court was never the same. Although he was able to maintain his name as a potent player, he no longer showed the humility and calmness that had been with him as a Detroit Piston. One can simply look at the year 1993 and say that it is the reason behind Dennis Rodman as we know him.

Latrell Sprewell

This is an example of a player whose potential as a player was unfortunately overshadowed permanently by a negative altercation that occurred early in the career. The Milwaukee native had a college career that caught the attention of the Golden State Warriors front office in the early 1990s. The Warriors claimed Sprewell with the 24th overall pick in 1992, kickstarting what seemed like a future Hall of Fame career. Sprewell was voted to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1993. But that was just the start of the party, as Sprewell would make back-to-back All-Star stints in 1994 and 1995, before coming back in 1997. Additionally, in 1994 Sprewell was named a member of the All-NBA First Team and NBA All-Defensive Second Team after starting in all 82 regular-season games and posting career highs in rebounds per game and steals per game. But the love affair between Sprewell and the Warriors ended abruptly, following an incident the Bay Area front office will never forget. In a December 1997 practice, head coach P.J. Carlesimo reportedly criticized Sprewell’s passing, and allegedly received a threat from Sprewall in what seemed like a warning sign. When Carlesimo subsequently approached Sprewell, Sprewell resorted to grabbing Carlesimo into a chokehold and threatening to kill him. Within ten seconds, multiple teammates had begun pulling them apart. Sprewell was subsequently criticized by Carlesimo once again, responding by punching Carlesimo’s face. The incident quickly spread throughout the NBA, becoming an object of uproar among players, officials, and fans. Within a matter of hours, Sprewell’s contract was terminated by the Warriors (along with what could have been 3 years and $23.7 million) and Sprewell was suspended from the NBA for the remainder of the 1997-98 NBA season. While Sprewell’s reputation had received a permanent scar, he was able to piece his playing style back together, returning to the All-Star game in 2001 as a member of the New York Knicks. He also became part of the NBA’s highest scoring trio along with Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell in 2003-04 as a member of a Cinderella Minnesota Timberwolves team that advanced past the first round of the playoffs and breathed the sweet smell of a first Conference Championship appearance in franchise history. While his playing style seemed unscathed, his still aching reputation hit another low point, when he reportedly expressed public outrage toward a 3-year, $21 million contract offer to extend him beyond the final year of his Timberwolves contract. He claimed that even the $21 million would not be enough to feed his family in a statement that the NBA fanbase deemed as blatant. As a result, he would not be resigned after his final year in the Twin Cities turned out to be his final year in the NBA. Since his mercurial NBA career ended, Sprewell has struggled financially and legally. Between 2007 and 2008 he would make headlines after a his $1.3 million property was repossessed and his two houses were foreclosed. Additionally, he was sued by the mother of his children for an estimated $200 million and was barred from custody of his children. He has also struggled with the negative reputation that has stemmed from his NBA woes. In 2010, he was ranked as #8 on Bleacher Report’s article Hi Haters: The 15 Most Hated NBA Players of All Time.

«It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute». – Will Rogers.

This popular quote has been extensively used in modern civilization, meant to show that destroying something like a reputation is not a hard thing to do, but building it is no easier. Just like that, NBA players carry enormous responsibility. Any sport is a minefield of emotion, and emotion without responsibility can easily ruin a career and reputation. But sometimes, emotion is hard to control, as it is as fast as thought itself. But bottom line, a sport is like juggling balls. Once you take a moment while juggling even to take a sneeze, you will lose track of the balls. While you can regain control, it is much easier to maintain control in the first place and be able to stop the flying juggling balls on your own command.

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Coping With Ocular Allergies

Warm sunny days are here again and most welcome them with open arms after a long, cold winter. The drawback for allergy sufferers is that allergens are everywhere and seem to be especially bad this year.

Allergies not only affect the nasal passages, but can affect the eyes as well. Ocular allergy, or allergic conjunctivitis can cause itching, redness, lid swelling, tearing, light sensitivity, and swollen eyes. Severity of symptoms can vary from mild irritation to severe itching and burning.

It is estimated that 20% of Americans suffer from ocular allergies. Eyes are especially vulnerable to allergens and irritants. Allergens cause cells in the eye to release histamine, which causes blood vessels to dilate and mucous membranes to become itchy, causing the eyes and lids to become inflamed. When the blood vessels expand, more allergen molecules can flow from the bloodstream to the eye, causing redness and swelling.

Allergens are more prevalent outdoors, but common indoor allergens include pet dander, dust mites and molds. These indoor allergens are present year-round and cause perennial allergic conjunctivitis for some.

For contact lens wearers, the irritation caused by ocular allergies, can be particularly severe. Allergens can bind to the contact lens surface and prolong exposure to the eye. Ocular allergies can drive some contact lens wearers to stop wearing contacts. Increasing the frequency of lens replacement can be helpful. Talk to your doctor about daily disposables. A research study found 67% of patients with allergies reported improved comfort with dailies.

Treatment:

Response of symptoms to anti-histamine medication can indicate whether the symptoms are being caused by allergies. Allergy testing and review of patient's life and environment help to identify sources.

If you suffer from an ocular allergy:

· See an allergist to identify allergens causing symptoms.

· Some people find comfort in cold compresses on the eyes. The compression reduces the inflammation in the blood vessels. Artificial tear drops cooled in a refrigerator can provide similar relief.

· Topical medications are commonly used and tend to be an effective ocular allergy treatment. Delivering medication directly to the eye reduces the risk of side effects to other areas of the body. Dual action anti-allergic medications are applied twice daily and combine antihistamine with medication that stabilizes the eye's mast cells. These medications can be applied before inserting lenses in the morning and after they have been removed at night, maintaining contact lens wear and minimizing discomfort associated with allergies. Ask your doctor if this might work in your case.

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The Story Behind Simon And Garfunkel’s Greatest Hit Songs: "Homeward Bound"

Over the years many songs have been written about the varied experience of life on the road. Many examples come to mind including Grand Funk Railroad’s «We’re an American Band» («Out on the road for forty days, last night in Little Rock, put me in a haze»), Creedence Clearwater Revival’s «Travelin’ Band» («Take me to the hotel baggage gone oh well»), Dan Fogelberg’s «Same Auld Lang Syne» («I said the audience was heavenly but the traveling was hell.»). And of course there’s the desolation, quiet fury and desperation of Bob Seger’s «Turn the Page» («And you always seem outnumbered. You don’t dare make a stand»). But none capture the loneliness of touring as well as Simon and Garfunkel’s «Homeward Bound».

Bear in mind that this song was recorded somewhat hastily after «The Sounds of Silence» became a surprise smash hit in early 1966 without either Simon’s or Garfunkel’s knowledge. They had split up by then, Garfunkel having returned to college and Simon touring England as a solo folk artist. Needless to say, they reunited in a hurry.

So who was he writing it for and where was he when he wrote it? The first question is easier. After moving to England in 1964 in the wake of the failure of Simon and Garfunkel’s acoustic folk album «Wednesday Morning, 3.A.M.» Simon met Kathy Chitty at his very first club date he played, the Hermit Club in Brentwood Essex. Chitty, who was only 17, worked there part-time selling tickets. A picture of her can be found on the cover of the solo acoustic album Simon recorded while in England, «The Paul Simon Song Book». Simon and Chitty fell for one another

Kathy was in London when Simon wrote the song but where was Simon? In a railway station, of course. But which one? That’s debatable. But in an interview with SongTalk magazine in 1990 Simon recalled, «That was written in Liverpool when I was traveling. What I like about that is that it has a very clear memory of Liverpool station and the streets of Liverpool and the club I played at and me at age 22. It’s like a snapshot, a photograph of a long time ago… «. So Simon claimed Liverpool. Garfunkel thought it was in the vicinity of Manchester. However, if you go to the rail station at Widnes in Cheshire county in the northwest of England you’ll find a plaque commemorating the song displayed on the Liverpool bound platform. Simon once said of the Widnes railway station that if you ever saw it you would understand why he’d been so eager to quickly return to London.

And so Simon wrote these memorable lines:

«Every day’s an endless stream of cigarettes and magazines.

And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories.»

Although he longed to be back with Kathy in London their relationship was fated not to last. Together they revisited America touring mostly by bus. Kathy went back to England by herself with Simon following a few weeks later. Simon then came back to America when «The Sound of Silence» hit #1 on the U.S. charts but Kathy, a shy girl by nature, didn’t want to have anything to do with Simon’s new-found fame. They soon parted ways.

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No Premier League Side in the Semi-Final of the Champions League! Is it a Sign of EPL’s Fall?

Firm followers of UEFA competitions and most especially the Champions League, can attest to the reality that there have been EPL sides in the semi-final of the champions league for the previous six seasons i.e. 2003-2009.

In the past six seasons, EPL sides regular in the champions league (Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC) have all some way featured in the semi-final of the champions league in the past six seasons, which made English and even foreigners marvel at their absence this season, in the semi-final of Europe’s elite club competition.

In 2005, Liverpool (the all red) and Chelsea (the true blues) locked horns in an entertaining semi-final with both sides led by managers who have managed his team for barely two seasons, Liverpool went on to win the encounter, after a closely contested semi-final match. Liverpool eventually emerged triumphant in that year’s Champions league, after defeating Ac-Milan in an epic final which saw one of the greatest comebacks in football history, 3-0 to 3-3 and then victory.

The proceeding year, Arsenal featured in both the Semi-final and final of the Champions league, to mark a turn-around in their footballing history, but were not so lucky to win the trophy after only qualifying for their first final match in the champions league. They battled with Barcelona in that year’s final, i.e. 2006 final, but got beaten by 2 goals to 1, with Jens Lehmann sent off in that match.

In 2007, Liverpool and Chelsea once again were drawn to do battle in the semi-final of the 2006/2007 season. With the first leg drawn to be played at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had the opportunity of progressing, and they took full advantage of the home factor by defeating Liverpool by a lone goal after a highly contested fixture. At Anfield, Liverpool played with caution while also surging forward in search for the goal that will put them on level terms with Chelsea, luckily for Liverpool the goal came. A low cross from Steven «general» Gerard found an unmarked Daniel Agger, who sliced the ball through the bodies of Chelsea players and bang into the net early in the first half. Liverpool preserved the one goal lead even after 90 minutes until the extra time was over, then it was time for the ultimate decider; penalty kicks, Pepe Reina was the hero of the day as he saved the deciding spot kick to send Liverpool into the final for the second time in three seasons and a replay of 2005 final with AC-Milan, that dispatched Manchester United in the other semi-final clash by 5 goals to 3 on aggregate.

The final was a highly anticipated one, as two of Europe’s power houses in club football go head-to-head to decide the winner of the 2007 Champions League, eventually two Pippo Inzaghi goals, which made him the highest goal scorer in the Champions league, won Ac Milan the trophy for the seventh time in their footballing history.

The following year saw the best from English teams in the Champions League. All four English representatives made it to the quarter final, with three (Liverpool, after ousting Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United) out of the four progressing onto the semi-final, Liverpool were eventually dumped by fellow English team Chelsea. The progression of Chelsea into the final in 2008 was the first time they were playing in the Champions League’s final; they battled with Manchester United for the coveted trophy, matched United strength for strength, skill for skill, technique for technique, but were just unlucky to miss out in the spot kicks, as United went on to win their third and Sir Alex Ferguson’s second UEFA Champions League trophy, which also aided Cristiano Ronaldo in winning the world player of the year award.

The year 2009, saw a different football style displayed by a team. 2009 Champions League was won by Barcelona of Spain, after showing the footballing world how the game should be played; neat defending, accurate passing, and clinical finishing: characterized the play of Barcelona en-route to winning the trophy for the third time in their history, after triumphs in 1992 and 2006.

2010 came with a lot of promise for the English sides, after bright starts from all the sides in their respective groups; Liverpool won its first game against Debrecen at Anfield, by a lone goal scored by Dirk Kuyt, which made him the club’s third highest goal scorer in Europe with 12 goal to his name. Chelsea also won its first game against FC Porto by a lone goal scored Nicolas Anelka, in a dull encounter due to the water soaked pitch.

Manchester United didn’t do badly in its first game; same was the case for Arsenal, all the English representatives representing well to the delight of English stalwarts. Things started becoming shaky as the competition progressed further to its crucial stage. Liverpool were ousted very early in the competition, as they were ousted in the group phase, even before the last group game. The victory of Fiorentina over Olympique Lyonnais in the game before the last, meant Liverpool were forced to the Europa league were they have solace recently, making an impressive run to the semi-final, having not scored lower than three goals on aggregate in the previous rounds, i.e. round of 32, round of 16 and quarter final, which has earned them a clash with Athletico Madrid away in Spain.

Chelsea were next up for elimination, after a partly successful run in the group onto the round of 16. Chelsea had great scares during a few of their group phase games, Athletico Madrid away in Spain was one those, where they had to settle for a 2 all draw after going through Didier Drogba, only to see a Sergio Diego Aguero brace give Athletico the lead, but Drogba proved to be very clinical in finishing when he slotted his second past Athletico’s goal. The most surprising of Chelsea’s group phase result came on the last day of the group. Apoel Nicosia making only its debut in the Champions League held all conquering Chelsea, with a full first team squad, to a 2 all draw at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal had the most impressive group phase performance where they picked up 16 of the 18 available points in a group which consisted of Olympiakos, Standard Liege, and Az Alkmaar, which are low pedigree teams with frequent Champions League due to inability to make it through the preliminary.

Manchester United, I would say, had an indifferent group campaign. Had a great start, but flattered during the crucial mid games, needed the last game to confirm qualification but put threw any doubts into the thrash after a Michael Owen hat-trick cancelled out Edin Dzeko’s opening goal, for VFL Wolfsburg at Old Trafford.

With the progression of three tops teams from England into the round of 16, hopes and expectation were extremely high. The English teams, however, didn’t get the perfect draws, Chelsea were billed to face Inter-Milan, tutored by Jose Mourinho, Manchester United drawn to do battle with 7 times European champions, Ac-Milan, and Arsenal getting a re-match of the 2009 group game against Porto Fc, 2004 winners.

The first legs saw the English teams face real test of strength, skill and technique.

Manchester United were tested for all the mentioned above against Ac-Milan, first in Giuseppe Meazza, San Siro and then in Old Trafford, but then they emerged victorious on both legs, winning 7-2 on aggregate, with Wayne Rooney scoring four of the seven goals, i.e. 2 goals in each leg.

Arsenal had a similar situation, against Fc Porto, the Portuguese representatives giving them a good run for their money, most especially in Portugal, where the first leg was hosted, which Fc Porto won by 2 goals to 1, in a match which Porto’s second goal by Falcao, was a bit controversial, appearing to be an offside goal.

At Emirates stadium, Arsenal showed no mercy, firing 2 goals past Helton in goal for Porto in quick succession, and at half time, it was Arsenal 2 Porto 1. Porto started brightly in the second half of the game, attacking Arsenal from all angles of the pitch. As the game grew, Arsenal became for more confident, and began playing like the Arsenal we are use to watching in league games. Samri Nasri threw the Emirates into ecstasy, when he dribbled past three Porto defenders and slotted past helpless Helton, who tried to rush out to prevent the goal, but all to no avail. Super sub, Emmanuel Eboue, came on minutes later and sealed the victory, with a clean finish, after he outran the Porto defenders and was set up by Andre Arshavin, with only the keeper to beat, he rounded him neatly before netting Arsenal’s four to cap a fine performance from truly smoking gunners. Nicklas Bendtner, who had earlier netted 2 superb strikes, added a third to mark his first hat trick in his Arsenal career.

It wasn’t a bed of roses for Chelsea neither, as they had to suffer defeats in the hands of Inter-Milan on both legs, which put paid to their Champions League campaign. At the magnificent Giuseppe Meazza, Inter tested Chelsea for wits, work rate and technique, as both teams played out their lives to progress in the competition. Chelsea partly outplayed, but all the «ball possession» could not fetch them the win which they set out to achieve. The ball possession favoured Chelsea in the first leg match, but these were not translated into goals neither were they translated in the goal attempt, shot-on-goal, and so on. Of all the teams which started European campaign in September, Liverpool can be deduced to be the most disappointing of all, due to the fact that it was knocked out in the group phase.

Presently, there are only two English teams in European competition, Liverpool FC and Fulham FC and they both have interesting fixtures in the semi-final, having to face Athletico Madrid and Hamburg, respectively.

There is the possibility of an all English Europa league final, a feat which has not been achieved for over 6 seasons.

The absence of premier league teams In the semi-final of the champions league, in my own estimation, does not connote the fall of the premier league, rather the sole reason is the reality that we have come to face, which is the fact that teams form other countries have sat down and reviewed the methods of English teams, which they have applied, and it has worked magically and very effectively too.

English teams were neither totally outclassed, outpowered nor outplayed, but rather the element of luck was against them, and also the English teams have had a good run in the past, so let other teams enjoy same, so people won’t say the Champions league is an English competition. The English teams will rise up to take what’s rightfully theirs, which is the prestige it has earned over the years, a prestige which in my estimation, is in jeopardy considering the inability of making it to the semi-final of Europe’s elite club competition.

Upon this I settle, the absence of English teams in the semi-final of the champions league is by no means equal to the fall of the premier league, and besides which other league is so unpredictable as the premier league? A league where any team can beat any team, home or away; name the league.

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