Friday, March 1, 2013

On The First Day of March...

...All hell broke loose.  First of all, the NCAA finally got off the pot (and maybe the crack) and put months of ineptitude aside in order to grant Orlando Sanchez a year of eligibility (2013-14) to play basketball at St. John's.  This saga had become a farce and despite numerous appeals from the player and SJU since last summer, the NCAA were mired in their septic tank of bureaucracy and would not declare Sanchez eligible.  It took a well written essay by Dana O'Neil from earlier this week to bring the clowns in Indy to their senses.

More drama in Queens today (yes, drama queens, hee-hee) when it was announced that St. John's were suspending leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison for the rest of the season.  No solid reason was given, other than the all-encompassing "behavior detrimental to the team".  Now anyone who has watched the Redmen this season (that would be me) will tell you that D'Lo has been walking a very fine.  Even when he was playing well, he was pouting, arguing with the coaches, yelling at team-mates and getting into trouble with the officials.  He has stunk up the joint his last few games going like 3 for 35 or something silly like that.  Coach Lavin has been very patient but something must have snapped because today the boom was lowered.  The Redmen nation is in shock and the last few games of an already bizarre season will be interesting, if not unbearable.

Finally, in the big golf news of the day, our man from Holywood walked off the course in the middle of a tournament.  Citing wisdom tooth issues and that he was "in a bad place mentally", Mr. Rory McIlroy would appear to be struggling with the fame, the pressure, the Nike contract, the Nike clubs and who knows what else?  Let's hope he can gather himself and return to the form he showed last year and not fizzle out.

That was today's news.

Sunday, March 3rd sees the 174th North London Derby, a century old rivalry. I have been to Highbury, the Emirates and even the enemy territory of White Hart Lane but never witnessed the NLD first hand.

It is a critical game for both teams; Champions League qualification is at stake. Spurs are at home and should be slight favorites. Currently Spurs are 3rd in the table, four points ahead of the Gunners (5th). Wenger has guided the Arsenal into the CL 15 straight years and finishing outside the top 4 will not sit well. By contrast, Spurs have made it to the CL twice.

Spurs will win if the Arse fail to contain Bale who might well give Jenkinson a roasting but maybe Sagna will be back to rein in the Welsh wizard. Bale is having a tremendous season with 15 goals in the EPL. Spurs will win if they put sustained pressure (or even a corner!) on a fragile Arsenal back five, a/k/a the Keystone Kops, whose propensity for the comedy gift goal is unrivaled.  (Update: Sagna is out, up to you Mr. Jenks).

Arsenal will win if they play more direct* and cut out the tippy-tappy tiki-taki and remember they are not Barca. Wilshere and Cazorla have been on form recently. Wish I could say the same for Walcott and Arteta. * Through balls for Walcott to hare on to; decent crosses to Giroud’s head.

In the meeting at the Emirates in Nov, Arsenal prevailed 5-2 after spotting Spurs an early lead. Last year at WHL, Spurs won 2-1.

Since the WHL game Arsenal have lost RvP and Song and Spurs lost RVV and Modric. It would be sad to see Wilshere and Bale move; they are the current hearts of their respective teams. There have been many exciting games over the years – the last 11 meetings in all competitions have produced 53 goals. This is one of the great derby games in the world of football. 

Prediction: Spurs 2 - 3 Arsenal.

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