Sports

Arsenal Vs Manchester City

These days I feel as if I am growing old too fast. The things that exited me a couple of years back don’t really touch me anymore. I have lost interest in a lot of things and I’m not doing anything productive with my spare time. So I thought now that I am leaving Sabre, I should get back to being how I was in my pre-Sabre days. Blog more often, follow sports with more passion etc. I don’t know for how long I can sustain this. I’m not even sure if there will be another post like this one in the coming weeks.

I wanted to add to my journal some notes about today’s premier league game between Arsenal and Man City. Its our fourth game of the season. We have won 1 and drawn 2 till now. We are unbeaten this season and I think we are on a 11 game unbeaten streak going back to last season. Arsenal are 7th in the league right now.

Today’s match will be a touch one. Man City are at 4th with 2 wins and 1 loss, the loss coming at Stoke city. They didn’t play all that well at stoke, neither did we with Leicester. Will be a good one to watch.

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Formula 1 2012 review

Formula 1 this season has been an absolute joy to watch. It ended with Red Bull winning the Constructors championship and Vettel winning the drivers championship. Given the pace of the red bull car and their consistency, it might seem obvious that Vettel had to win the championship. But a look at the final table would tell how close the fight between Vettel and Alonso was.

For me this season of Formula 1 has been about 3 drivers, Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso. There is a lot one can learn from the way these drivers have performed this season. Vettel lead the 3 in terms of race wins with 5 while Hamilton had 4 and Alonso had 3. Yet Vettel and Alonso were separated by 3 points and Hamilton gathered 91 points fewer than Vettel. How did this happen? What do we learn?

Vettel:

This guy is one of the most talented drivers in the sport and had undoubtedly the fastest car in the season. But that didn’t guarantee his victory. With 6 races to go, he sat 29 points behind Alonso. He had to dig deep and string out 4 successive victories to overtake Alonso. He finished with a 3 point lead and could have lost the title in the final race. What can we learn from this? Talent and money can’t get you to the pinnacle. You have to work hard for it.

But will hard work alone get you there? No. You need a certain amount of luck too and Vettel had his share. The entire season of Vettel and Red Bull can be pictured in the Abu Dhabi grand prix. He had to start from the back of the grid due to a problem in qualifying. But that didn’t  deter Vettel or Red Bull. They changed the gear ratio’s in his car to make it go faster and adopted a 2 stop strategy while everyone else was on a 1 stop strategy. He gave everything he had in the race and drove superbly. He also had luck in his favor when 2 crashes brought on safety cars and he closed down the gap in the field after having taken his pit stops. He finished 3rd in the race. The result was borne from a mixture of skill, hard work and luck.That’s how it was the entire season. Hat’s off to Vettel for winning the title. My respect for this guy grown to a new high.

Alonso:

I have always been a fan of Alonso. Even before he joined Ferrari when he was battling with Schumacker for the title, I liked him. There was something about his calm persona and consistency in driving that won me over. I was very happy when he joined Ferrari. He may not have won the title this season but 5 years down the line, I will remember this season as having belonged to Alonso.

All through the season he struggled in qualifying. For most of the season, he qualified 4th of 5th and had to battle to get to podium. The consistency with which he did this was astounding. I’m no expert at Formula 1 but I believe 60 percent of Vettel’s performance was down to his RB7’s performance and the rest was his own effort. In case of Alonso however, 60 percent of his performance was down to his own efforts in a below par car. Even though the F2012 let him down in qualifying, he battled hard in the race and secured maximum points for himself and his team.

There is a lot one can learn from Alonso this season. Even if things are not going your way, you can still give yourself a chance to get to the top through hard work and sheer force of will. Even if you are not talented enough or have enough money, you can be the best. Alonso was undoubtedly frustrated by the lack of pace in his car compared to his rivals but he never let his frustration show and never criticized his team in public. Credit to Ferrari that although their car wasn’t the fastest, it was consistent and suffered very few mechanical problems. With a little more luck, he could have won this season. He single handedly brought Ferrari the runners up position and deserves a lot of credit for that.

I think Massa deserves a mention too. His form in the first half of this season was a continuation of last season and he struggled to secure points in the races. But he believed in himself and turned around his season in the latter half to finish at a respectable 7th position. I hope he has a better 2013 season for Ferrari.

Hamilton:

If Vettel and Alonso season was about positives, Hamilton’s season was about negatives. He had one more win than Alonso and clearly a faster car but he still finished 88 points behind Alonso. He was inconsistent and his car suffered multiple mechanical failures. Consistency is the key to get to the top and that is what Hamilton’s season teaches us. I don’t really like this guy but I admit he has fantastic driving skills. He could do better next season if he is consistent.

It’s a 4 month wait for me now before the start of next season but with a lot of Premier League and Cricket action due in this period, I won’t miss Fomula 1 very much. Just a little maybe.

Struggling for form..

After the Reading 7-5, Arsenal have played 4 games with varying degrees of success. First we played ManU at Old Trafford which we lost 2-1. The scoreline might  suggest a close match but in reality, our goal was scored in stoppage time by Cazorla. They outplayed us most of the game and we lost any chance of winning the game when Wilshere got sent off. Man U showed more drive and determination on the field and we struggled to create anything offensive.

Given that our team for the game was at full strength, the game really showed the gap in quality between the two teams. Rooney had a terrific game and if I were a Man U supporter, I would have enjoyed watching the game. van Persie scored.. if anyone cares to know.

Then we had an away game against Schalke that we drew 2-2. Before the game, we would have been happy with a draw but after going 2-0 up in the first half, we had a fantastic opportunity to win the game and go on top of the league. But it wasn’t to be. We let in 2 goals and now sit in the second spot in the table, 1 point behind Schalke.

The game against Fulham was one which we should have won. We went 2-0 in 20 minutes but then we let 3 in. Giroud scored an excellent equalizer in the second half and we had a penalty awarded in the stoppage time. Arteta took the penalty and really should have done better but their keeper pulled of a save and we had to settle for a draw. A rare bad game for Arteta and 2 points dropped for us.

Next we beat Tottenham 5-2 in a game which saw Adebayor getting sent off and Mertesacker score his first Arsenal goal through a brilliant header. The scoreline is similar to the same fixture last season and the game was equally tasty. I missed watching the game on t.v and had to follow the game on liveblog.

So after 12 games, we sit in 6th spot behind West Brom and Everton. Third spot is 5 points ahead of us and unless Chelsea has a bad stretch, it will be difficult for us to catch up to them. Suarez leads the scoring chart with 10 goals while Cazorla and Giroud have scored 4 each for us in the league so far. Walcott has scored the most for us in all competitions this season at 9 and I really hope he signs a new deal with us.

We play Montpellier at home today and after that, we play 6 games in the next 11 days. With Gibbs and Gervinho back in the squad, we have a full strength team for this crucial period. I hope we score the maximum points and by the end of 17th Dec, sit in 4th position in the league. It would be a fantastic birthday for me if it were to happen.

 

Arsenal beat West Ham + Alonso crashes out of Japan

Arsenal

Arsenal beat Olympiacos and West Ham last week, both games with the scoreline reading 3-1. Gervinho , Podolski and Ramsey scored against Olympiacos while Giroud , Walcott and Cazorla scored against West Ham. We lost our home tie against Chelsea the week before so coming back strongly was essential. The matches weren’t as smooth as the scoreline suggests but still we won and got 3 points each.

So we sit at the top in Champions league table with 6 points.  In the league, we are in 7th position, 7 points behind leaders Chelsea who have won all but one of their matches. In the tight 7 match run that concluded, we won 5, drew 1 and lost1 match. I think that was a decent run for us. Comparatively, Man U won 6 and lost 1 match, Man City won 2, drew 3 and lost 2, Chelsea won 5 and drew 2 and Tottenham won 5 and drew 2.  So our league position might not be great but considering the teams we have played till now, I think we have started the season pretty well.

After the international break, we play Norwich, Schalke 04, QPR  and Reading. 6 points out of the 2 league games would put us at 18 points, probably in 5th position. We will then play the crucial away tie against Man U.  By the end of the Man U game, we will have an indication of how good the team really is. 6 goals scored by 6 different people in the last 2 games is a good sign. Hope we continue the good work.

Cricket

India crashed out of the T20 world cup in the super sixes stage. We won 2 matches beating Pakisthan and South Africa but losing to Australia by a big margin meant that we couldn’t proceed into the semifinal. West Indies and Srilanka entered into the finals which was eventually won by West Indies. It was their first major cup after many many years so congratulations to them. Felt sad for Sri Lanka. This was the third world cup final that they have lost in the last 5 years.

Fomula1

Alonso crashed out of the Japanese Grand Prix in the first lap due to a mechanical failure. He had a decent qualifying session and he started the race in 6th position. If not for the failure, Alonso could well have been on the podium given Ferrari’s pace demonstrated by Massa, who finished second in the race. Alonso still leads the table by 4 points but this weekends Korean Grand Prix should be crucial to Ferrari.

Alonso on Podium + India thrash England + Arsenal draw with Man City

So the first super Sunday turned out quite well for me. Positive results in the 3 events has made my week so much brighter.

Formula1:

Alonso finished third in the Singapore Grand Prix on sunday. He started 5th in the race and considering the fact that the Ferrari was slower on the track than the McLaren and the Red Bull, the finish was a fantastic result. Hamilton’s race ended due to a mechanical failure which means Alonso extended his lead to 194 points, 29 ahead of Vettel. Raikkonen sits third ahead of Hamilton in the league. With 6 races to go, the run up to the final race is getting very interesting.

Cricket:

The next event to start on the T.V was the second round match between India and England which India won by a huge margin. We were put into bat by the English and we did well to get to 170 by the end of the innings. Gambhir and Kohli scored 40’s while Rohit Sharma finished strongly at 55. The Arsenal match was going on by the time England’s innings started so I didn’t follow it, but the scoreline suggested that we routed their batsmen. They struggled to play our spin bowlers. Harbhajan had a fantastic comeback after spending more than a year out of the team. He picked up 4 wickets in his 4 overs conceding just 12 runs, fantastic figures for a bowler in a t20 match, in fact the best figures for an Indian bowler in a t20.

We are due to play Australia, South Africa and Pakisthan in the second stage of the tournament. All 3 promise to be very interesting matches. We’ll have to wait and see how they go.

Football:

Arsenal traveled to the Etihad stadium on Sunday and returned back with a point. Considering the fact that the Champions had won 29 of their last 31 home matches, I’d say the point we earned was a fantastic result. It was a highly technical game where both teams defended brilliantly. Our Mertesacker stood out in the defence with countless interceptions while Vincent Kompany had a great game for City, making some great tackles throughout the game. Gervinho had a decent game as he made several attempts to dribble into the box from the left side, though he found his way blocked most of the game. Ramsey had a fantastic game in his first full start this season and so did Koscielny who stood in for our sick captain.

With that game, our defensive credentials have been firmly established. Granted City weren’t at their fluent best coming forward, but it was still a great defensive performance. The Chelsea game this weekend will be another test for our defense, one that I am sure our guys will stand up to.

Man City don’t seem to have had a good start to this season. They sit 7th in the league currently. They lost their opening Champions League match against Madrid and then crashed out of the league cup yesterday, losing 4-2 to Aston Villa. With tough times on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how City respond in the coming weeks.

As to Arsenal, we have been great in our current period, having won 3 and drawn 1 match of the 7. Our unbeaten run in all competitions this season stands at 6 matches. We play Coventry in the league cup 4th round today. I hope they don’t cause a major upset.

Superrr Sunday-1

The first super Sunday of the season arrives with 3 very important events scheduled for today. Arsenal take on Manchester City at the Etihad stadium and India take on England in the second group match of the t20 world cup. Before these two start, the Singapore grand prix will be held so all in all, it promises to be a pretty exciting day.

Arsenal:

Arsenal have a challenge on their hands when they take on City today. In the pre-match build up, Mancini says Arsenal are title contenders this season  while Mr. Wenger thinks that whoever wins today’s match will get huge psychological boost in the league race. Going by team form, Arsenal are in fantastic form, having won their last 3 matches. We are unbeaten in all 5 matches played this season and in 9 matches going back to last season 8 of which are league matches.

City’s form is more suspect as they lost their Champions League match against Madrid and drew the league match against QPR before that. However, they will be boosted with the return of Aguero just as Arsenal have been boosted by the return of long time absentee Wilshere. I don’t think Wilshere will make the final squad this week or the next though.

Arsenal are scheduled to play 7 matches before the 8th of October. This is a very important period for us and if we perform well here, it will give us a massive boost for the rest of the season. We have already won 3 of those 7 matches. City and Chelsea are important fixtures to come and if we can win those, it will be a fantastic beginning to our season. Right now we sit at 6th position and a win today will see us move back to third while a draw will put us at 4th position. Man U is due to play Liverpool in the other match today and I hope Liverpool springs a surprise and beats Man U.

 

Cricket:

India takes on England in the second group match of the world cup. With Afghanistan having lost both matches, India will go to the next round even if it loses today. But a win will give us a lot of confidence as we head into the next round. It will be a tough match though. We labored through our match against Afghanistan while the English brushed them aside with ease. Our batting might be strong, but our bowling is weak. Zaheer went for runs in the opening match and death bowling has always been our weakness. All in all it will be a tough match and one will get an idea of how good the team is based on today’s result.

 

Formula1:

Alonso will start at P5 in the Singapore grand prix today. He had a decent qualifying session, given how Ferrari were at least a second slower that Mclaren and Red Bull. It’s going to be a tough race and it will take all of Alonso’s guile to secure maximum points in today’ race. It should turn out to be an interesting race.

 

Arsenal score 6 past Southampton

Arsenal played Southampton at home yesterday. We won the game 6-1 with Gervinho scoring a brace and Podolski and Walcott chipping in with one each, the remaining 2 being own goals. This win takes us to 3rd position in the league table, tied for points with Man City who drew their game. Chelsea also dropped points over the weekend and thus are 2 points ahead of us.

We next play Montpellier, a French team in the first Champions league group game. They are struggling in their league with bad form so it is a game we should win.

Murray wins U.S Open + Alonso on podium

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The big news this week was Murray winning the U.S Open. He beat Djokovic in 5 sets. Djokovic battled for close to 5 hours in a losing effort. That was the third straight grand slam final that Djokovic has lost against three different opponents. All of them were great finals though.

Murray winning a grand slam is fantastic news for Tennis, He has been at the top for close to 5 years now and already has 6 masters titles to his name. That the four grand slam titles this year has gone to separate top four players is amazing. Djokovic and Murray shared the hard court titles while Nadal and Federer won on their favorite surfaces.

The 2010 season completely belonged to Nadal and the 2011 season belonged to Djokovic. This season has been more even among the top 4. Nadal has been out injured since June and I am not sure if he will compete in the Tour Finals having dropped out of the Spanish Davis cup team. Still he has managed to win 4 titles this season, 1 more that what he achieved last season. Comparatively, Djokovic has won 3 titles, Federer has won 6 titles and Murray has won 3 titles. Of the 7 masters tournaments that have completed this year, 3 have been won by Federer while Nadal and Djokovic have taken 2 each.

Comparing these performances, I think Djokovic has been the best this season, having won the 2 masters titles and appearing in all four grand slam finals. Its not surprising that he has amassed 9900 points this season, 1000 more that Federer. There are 2 more masters titles to go. It will be interesting to see who wins those two.

Alonso finished 3rd in the Italian Grand Prix. He had a disastrous qualifying 3rd round and had to start at tenth position. A brilliant few initial laps saw him move to 5th position. He used his pace to overtake Raikkonen and Schumacher. Button dropped out of the race because of a mechanical failure and he passed Massa later in the race to finish at 3rd position. Hamilton drove a perfect race from pole to win the race and move into second position in the drivers championships. Alonso extended his lead at the top to 179 points, 37 more than Hamilton. The next few races are crucial and it will be interesting to see who will come out on top.

Arsenal beat Liverpool + Alonso crashes out in lap 1 + India end series 2-0

Arsenal were due to play Stoke the last time I wrote a post. We went to Stoke City and came back with a point. There were plenty of positives to take back from that game and our strength  in defense was a treat to watch but I was still a little disappointed at the result. Our rivals registered wins over that weekend and we ended the week at 12th position.

We played Liverpool at Anfield last weekend and won the game 2-0. They controlled the pace of the game for the first 20 minutes or so but after that, it was all Arsenal. Podolski and Cazorla ended the game by scoring and providing for each other on either side of the break.

The highlight of the game for me was the performance of Diaby in midfield and Jenkinson at right back. It was only the third game that I have seen Diaby play so I am not sure if he is usually that good but if he can keep that up over the season, we can compete well. Liverpool played decently but their midfield lacked a creative player and they were a striker short with the cunt that is Suarez having to  do all the creating and acting.

So going into the international break, we sit at 8th spot with Chelsea leading the charts with 9 points. After the break comes a crucial period for us where we will have to play 5 games in 15 days including those against Man City, Chelsea, a Champions league match and a League cup match. By the end of September, one will have an idea of the real strength of our first team and bench.

Alonso crashed out of the Belgium grand prix in the first lap itself after getting involved in a crash with Grosjean and Hamilton. Alonso still leads the title race by 24 points followed by Vettel and Webber.

India won the second test against New Zealand  and finished the series 2-0. As I noted earlier, we only gained 2 points after the series victory but there were still positives to take from the game. The performances of Kohli and Ashwin were the highlight of the series and with the long season still to come, hopefully they can continue their good form.

Stoke preview + Nadal carrier in doubt?

Arsenal travel to Stroke today. Trips to Stoke have historically been unpleasant with their long balls and physical game and being cunts in general. We have won 1 and lost 2 of 4 matches at Stoke in recent past. Scezney seems to be a doubt for this clash but Alex Ox is back in the team and Koscielny will be back for Liverpool.

Elsewhere in the premier league, Chelsea seems to have got onto a good start to the season winning their first three games. On the other end of the spectrum, Liverpool is in for a difficult time as they are sitting at the bottom of the table may continue to be there as they are due to play Man City today. Van Persie scored on his full Man U debut yesterday. Asshole.

So we sit at 12th position on the table currently. If we win, we go up to 6th although a Man City victory will see us drop to seventh. A glance at the table tells me that after 2 games, the top 5 includes Swansea, Fulham , West Brom and Everton. With Tottenham and Liverpool having slow starts to the season, we should be in the top 4 in coming weeks.

Yesterday I read an article which went into an in depth analysis of Rafa’s injury. It seems he had a career threatening injury when he was 19 and was forced to wear modified shoes to further his career. But that meant increased stress on his knees and back which meant his career was always going to be a short lived one. Tony Nadal expected to get 2 years out of Rafa at the end of 2005. He got 7. So in that sense, we are lucky to have seen Rafa play for as long as he has. But the injuries have caught up with him and he is facing a difficult time getting fit for the tour again.

There have been no indications that Rafa’s career is over. Even if it got over today, I won’t gave any regrets. He has played some memorable matches and been at the top of perhaps Tennis’s greatest era. He has nothing left to prove now. But I still pray that he gets fit and comes back to play again. The guy has been a real inspiration for people.

There are a lot of things one can learn from watching Rafa. When you watch him, you know that nothing comes easy in life. When you come up against genius in life, like he did against Federer, you need to grind your teeth, endure the pain and keep pushing until your opponent breaks. If you want to be great, if you want to be at the top then you have to be dedicated to your task. Don’t slack off. Don’t fumble. Concentrate on your task. Try to be on your best everyday.

No human can ever outdo himself. You can only do your best. So try to do your best everyday. And be humble. One of Rafa’s most endearing attributes is his behavior off the court. It is terribly easy for a beggar to be humble. He has nothing to be proud about. But as you move up the social ladder, as you get bigger in public life, it becomes harder to be humble about yourself. It also becomes more significant because as you get bigger in public life, more people are affected by your behavior. Positively and negatively. It doesn’t matter what you do privately, you have to be at your best when you are in the public.

The best thing that I have learned form Nadal however is that one should always know himself. Having a perspective of your inner self helps you tackle the shit that gets thrown at you outside. Be aware of your strengths and you limits. Try to push your limits but be aware of the threshold beyond which you will fall. Try to use what you have to your advantage. Adapt as situations and demands change. And don’t complain. Never ever complain.