Monday, May 9, 2011

The race is over

A rather disappointing week-end of predictions as only 3 out of 6 came out correct. Man Utd, Rangers and Valencia won well, while Tottenham, Fulham and Bolton all failed to win. I can't recall as bad a strike rate as this.

Obviously, the news of the week-end was Man Utd's win against Chelsea that all but handles them the title. Deservedly so. I believe this defeat will have game-changing repercussions for the Londoners. While the press is speculating vividly about the future of manager Ancelotti, a drastic change in player personnel seems to be the logical follow-up for a team that can be considered "old" and on the decline for the past few years. An overhaul  will have to occur if Ambramovich is to realize his dream of landing his holy grail, the European Cup. Drogba, Anelka, Terry, and Lampard look past their primes while Alex, Boswinga, Ferreira and Zhirkov have failed to convince. On the other hand, Man Utd are a blend of youth and experience that will get better with time.

While the top of the table is settled, things at the bottom are very much open and in flux to say the least. I see West Ham going down. They seriously damaged their survival hopes by drawing at home to fellow strugglers Blackburn over the week-end. They will now have to win their remaining 2 games (away at home to Wigan and at home to Sunderland) while hoping to for favourable results elsewhere, to have a chance. Not impossible but too many ifs, and given their poor recent form with the absence of Scott Parker, things don't look bright for them. I recommend West Ham to be relegated.

Two other results of note in the world of sports. In tennis, Djokovic did the near-impossible by defeating Nadal on clay in Madrid. The Serb is still amazingly undefeated in 2011. There are now 2 dominant forces in tennis to be followed in all the big tournaments; Djokovic and Nadal. Exit Roger Federer.

In racing, Animal Kingdom won the Kentucky Derby followed by Nehro, on which I opined in the last blog. The fact that Animal Kingdom has a turf pedigree and has never raced on dirt before, is very eye-catching. His maternal grand-sire is Acatenango, and he's therefore blessed with stamina. Definitely chances of the Triple Crown are very much alive here for this colt.

Still in racing, at Warwick on Tuesday, Esentepe from the Hannon yard runs in the 6-furlong Fillies' Maiden race at 14:40. The 2-year old Oratorio filly did her best work late on her debut at 5 furlongs at Salisbury 9 days ago. Unless any or some of the newcomers are special, she should be among the first 2 and is recommended as a Place.

Relegation: West Ham
Place: Esentepe

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