Monday, 20 April 2015

Tom Keen (Number 7)

Yeah, about those Grand National tips......

Time to get back to what I actually know, and leave the nags for about 10 months (5 furlong dashes over the flat doesn't interest me nearly as much):

Obligatory Champions League Quarter Final 2nd Leg Previews
The Madrid derby at the Vicente Calderon was a predictably scrappy affair (going 7 matches without beating your neighbours tends to do that to you, eh Mr Ancelotti?), with the No Disqualifications Match between Mario Mandzukic and Sergio Ramos proving an amusing side story, even if there was a suspicion Mandzukic may have bladed after catching Ramos' stray fingernail. They reconvene in the Emirati Oil Company Bernabeu (laugh now, but it's happening) on Wednesday with both sides hit by injuries and suspension- factoring in this, Diego Simeone's side's record in this game, and the standard bookies' overpricing of Atletico, 13/8 on Atletico to qualify is the call here (as is 9/2 on Monaco to qualify in Wednesday's other game)

He May Talk The Talk, But Jose Will Never Walk The Walk
Chelsea's youth team won the UEFA youth league last week, and they contest the 1st leg of the FA youth cup tonight. Jose Mourinho has spent some time this season talking up the progress being made by the club's academy, but how has this translated into actual minutes on the park for these players? It, er, hasn't. Witness the last 2 league games, where due to not-exactly-unpredictable injuries to Diego Costa and Loic Remy, Mourinho has deployed the geriatric Didier Drogba in attack. Lo and behold, in both games, Drogba's contribution has been, as one would expect from a 93-year-old centre-forward, minimal, especially past the 60 minute mark. And has Maureen deigned to use young strikers from the bench like Izzy Brown and Dominic Solanke? Of course not. By way of comparison, it's interesting to note that 19 year olds Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw were arguably Manchester United's best players on Saturday. Amazing what happens when you actually trust them, eh Jose?

Welcome Back, GP2
The hidden gem of the Sky Sports F1 channel, the GP2 Series started again in Bahrain this weekend, with all the fun, overtaking, and Sergio Canamasas crashing into people that we've come to expect from F1's main support series. Pre-season favourite, McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandoorne duly lived up to expectations, recording pole position, the race win and fastest lap in Saturday's feature race, following it up with a 2nd place in Sunday's sprint race. As ever in single-make formulae, he's unlikely to have it all his own way, though: likely contenders include Alexander Rossi, who finally has a good seat at Racing Engineering after a patchy 2014, and scored a feature race podium. Honourable mention, too, for his team-mate Jordan King, who was just behind him in the feature race before having the misfortune to be run into by the ever-dangerous Sergio Canamasas. Ferrari-affiliated youngster Raffaele Marciello, meanwhile, is making a play for Unluckiest GP2 Driver. After numerous instances of bad luck last season, his 2015 started with gearbox issues during qualifying, before being taken out of the feature race by Norman Nato, effectively ruining his weekend. If this guy can catch a break, he's sure to challenge Vandoorne, who should also face a greater challenge from the other side of his ART garage, with Nobuharu Matsushita taking to the series much more quickly than 2014 pilot Takuya Izawa, scoring points in both races


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