Let’s take a look at what has happened in the world of sport, this week.
The wait didn’t go on for long
Manchester City had to wait a little longer than they expected before claiming the title after losing to Chelsea, again. Chelsea knocked out Man City in the FA Cup semi-final, last month, and now beat them in the league, too. A late goal for Marcos Alonso sealed the 2-1 win, after Sergio Aguero missed a penalty in the first half to put Man city 2-0 up.
Man City could have still won the league if Manchester rivals, Man United were to lose away at Aston Villa. Villa lead 1-0 at half-time, but United came back in the second half, winning 3-1. The gap between the two dropped to 10, which United had the chance to cut down to seven, with three games to go. Then they went and lost to Leicester at home…Well done Manchester City, but you can’t help think that Man united could have put more pressure on if they weren’t forced to rest players, having to play three games in five days.
At the other end of the table, West Brom and Fulham have joined Sheffield United in confirming their relegations. Fulham got beaten at home by Burnley, while West Brom lost to Arsenal.
Most exciting battle is for 5th and 6th, with West Ham, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton all separated by three points. The two Merseyside teams – Liverpool and Everton – both have a game in hand.
You’re either in one or the other
Serie A tend to be no nonsense when it comes to punishing teams who have broken the rules. It was not long ago that Juventus were relegated to Serie B, and stripped of a couple of titles, and given a 30-point deduction to ensure that they wouldn’t be able to come right back up. Later on, the deduction was reduced to nine points, and Juventus were promoted.
The Turin club now face a bigger problem. They either officially withdraw from the ESL, or are refused entry into the 2021/22 Serie A season. A decision that should be a no-brainer, except that one of the main advocates for the ESL happens to be Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli.
For the second year in a row, the Champions League final has been moved from Istanbul after the British government put Turkey on the travel red list. Basically, anybody who travelled to Istanbul for the final would have had to quarantine at a government allocated hotel, at their own cost.
As UEFA have allocated 4,000 tickets for the fans of each team, playing the final at Wembley was an option, as long as the government didn’t force the sponsors to quarantine. Which will mean the final is played at Wembley, but most of the public will criticise the government for double standards. The government didn’t bend the rules.
The most likely alternative is to play it in Portugal again. Portugal is on the green list meaning that travellers to Portugal aren’t required to undertake the 10-day quarantine. A decision is likely to be made by Wednesday – which it was, and as expected, Portugal will get the final again.
These really are strange times
In Europe there are some things that are more or less a guarantee.
Man City will win the Carabao Cup (four in a row), Bayern Munich will win the Bundesliga (nine in a row), Real Madrid or Barcelona will win La Liga (16 of last 18), Juventus take the Serie A title (nine in a row), and PSG win Ligue 1 (eight of last nine).
Man City, and Bayern have managed to keep with tradition, but Juventus have had an expectedly poor season under Andrea Pirlo and are likely to qualify for the Europa League, while both Barcelona and Real Madrid trail Atletico Madrid by two points, with three games left to go. More importantly, none of those games are against the “big two” which gives Atletico the advantage. Since I wrote this, Barcelona have drawn with Levante and Atletico beat Real Sociedad.
However, it is without a doubt, Lille’s emergence as a title threat that has caused the biggest shock of the season. PSG started the season poorly, and never looked like themselves. With two games to go, Lille are three points clear thanks to an incredible season from 35-year-old Burak Yilmaz. With games against St Ettiene (home) and Angers (away) remaining, Lille may do the unthinkable, and end PSG’s title streak.
The Turkish Super Lig enters the final round of fixtures with three teams looking to claim the title. With three games to go, Besiktas were leading by five points from Fenerbahce, and six from Galatasaray, and had just won 7-0, at home. Now, that gap has disappeared. Galatasaray and Besiktas go into the final round of games joint on 81 points, with Fenerbahce two points behind.
Back-to-back defeats suffered by Besiktas against Galatasaray (3-1) and then at home to 10-man Fatih Karagumruk (2-1) has forced one of the most exciting finishes in Turkish history. Usually, it would be a simple equation, as the Turkish league is decided on head-to-head performances, but Besiktas and Galatasaray are equal in that regards. So, goal difference it is then…
Fenerbahce will need to win, and hope that both Galatasaray and Besiktas lose, as both of them have a better head-to-head record against Fener. As a Galatasaray supporter, I will have everything crossed, in the hope that the lions get to roar again!
Only took a week
Russell Westbrook has etched his name in NBA history by breaking Oscar Robertson’s triple-double record which had stood for around half-a-century. Westbrook managed to complete his 182nd triple-double with a rebound early on in the 4th quarter against the Atlanta Hawks. What’s worrying for any player who wants to break the new record is that it will be over 200 by the time Westbrook retires from jumping up and down. This may be a record that ever gets broken. Depending on when you read this, he is likely to have added to his tally…he is just that good!
Lewis Hamilton has further solidified his place as the G.O.A.T by securing his 100th pole position in F1, a feat that no other driver has ever done, and only five constructors have managed. He went on to win an uneventful Spanish Grand Prix to extend his lead at the top of the championship in what is going to be a fantastic season. Next stop, Monte Carlo.
This is the one the entire boxing world wanted and finally, it has been confirmed. Tyson Fury will fight Anthony Joshua!
Take a moment to celebrate, cheer, fist bump and high five your loved ones
This fight has been a long time in the making, and had to happen with Fury holding the WBC title after beating Deontay Wilder, and Joshua having the WBO, WBC and IBF titles. This is a chance for one heavyweight to unify the division, and hold all titles at once, a feat not achieved since Britain’s Lennox Lewis did it in 1999.
The fight is likely to take place on August 7th or 14th, in Saudi Arabia.
No ring big enough for Billy
Canelo, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at this moment in time, had to wait to see if Billy Joe Saunders would enter the ring after a disagreement regarding the size. Billy Joe’s camp wanted a 24ft ring, while Canelo’s wanted it to be 20ft. In the end, they agreed on a compromise, albeit after some confusion to whether or not Canelo’s camp were trying to make the ring smaller.
The fight took place, and it was in the 8th round that a devastating uppercut landed on Saunders’ right eye, as he was bringing his head down. The punch blew Saunders’ right eye socket, ending the fight there and then. With this unification victory, Canelo holds three of the four titles at super middleweight. Caleb Plant holds the IBF title, while Canelo holds the WBA, WBC and now the WBO titles.
Maybe it’s time to not have so many titles for the same weight. Just a thought.
“I’ve got your hat”
While promoting the exhibition – aka joke – fight between Floyd Mayweather and Logan, or maybe Jake, Paul. Honestly, no one knows which is which. The loudmouth American – which could describe both Mayweather and Logan Paul – was giving an interview about how he was a real fight and the brothers were nobodies. In fact, Mayweather said he could “beat both of them on the same night.” It is at this point, the Pauls turned up, and Logan got into Mayweather’s face.
Standard stuff… or it seemed.
While going through the chat, Logan decided to take Mayweather’s hat, mockingly say “i’ve got your hat”, turn around and bend over. Not sure if this was his new fighting style. Mayweather, clearly very emotionally attached to his hat, lost his mind. A kerfuffle broke out, as Mayweather was doing the largest laps around the crowd to get to Logan, while Logan was being ushered away by his entourage.
Rory McIllroy has finally won a tournament, 18 months after winning his last one. Rory took the win at the Wells Fargo Championship, in North Carolina, making it the first time he has won the same tournament on three occasions. The Northern Irishman has complained about his swing, and how he’s been working on it for about six months now. Hopefully, this is a sign that he is finally happy, especially with two weeks to go before the next major of the season – PGA Championship.