Footballers live a very pampered lifestyle, but the one thing us mere mortals have over them is getting the Christmas holidays off work. It really annoys them. It now appears to be annoying the referees too. As the only way that referee Mike Jones failed to give a penalty for Sergio Aguero being scythed down by Southampton's Jose Fonte in the box must be that he is trying to get dropped from officiating any games over Christmas.
In truth the incident didn't effect the overall result as City dominated and ran out comfortable winners aginst The Saints, even though they were reduced to ten men when summer signing Mangala received his marching orders. Mangala is yet to convince since his big money move though he may just be following the Demichelis route to becoming a fan favourite - be hopeless before Christmas and outstanding after.
It is not only the players and referees that don’t fancy missing Christmas, Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is 'unhappy' that he cannot see his wife, kids and grandchildren as United face the prospect of playing four games in nine days. The good news for Van Gaal is that the questions are about his Christmas rather than another dodgy performance. Things must be improving. Such was the ease that they ran out 3-0 winners against a disappointing Hull City that even Dutchman Robin Van Persie had the chance to silence the doubters who wanted him dropped from the side and duly did so with a fine finish for the third into the top corner.
SHARKS WIN 'LOCAL' DERBY
The health of top tier Rugby Union in the North of England is summed up when Sale’s closest and only ‘derby’ is Newcastle Falcons. Twelve teams make up the Aviva Premiership yet only two reside north of Birmingham, this stat could be countered by pointing out a similar reverse imbalance in Rugby League’s Super League reinforcing stereotypes of the two sports roots and histories. Sale travelled to the north east looking for a second away win on the bounce and to maintain their top six league position.
Sale started slowly, gifting a try to Falcons early on due more to weak defending than outstanding attacking and from there the game settled down into a physical battle disurupted by errors from both sides.
Extended Sale pressure lead to a try for prolific captain Dan Braid and Sharks went in to the break 10-8 down. As the second half continued the two sides were finely balanced with the forward packs cancelling each other out in bruising encounter, the game required a moment of magic to be decided. Thankfully for Sale Sharks they have Danny Cipriani in their side with Englands loss their gain.
Cipriani chipped ahead from his own line before gathering his own kick and evading would be tacklers, he then fed returning Samoan international Jonny Leota for a contender for try of the season. This was another victory built on a dominant forward pack and secured by Cipriani magic. Next week is the return of European rugby and the visit of Saracens could see low on form England fly half Owen Farrell go head to head with in form hopeful England fly half Cipriani.
RED DEVILS SIGN BOXER
The Salford Red Devils forward pack will be packing a punch next season after signing Australian professional boxer Corey Paterson. Paterson, rather than being a thoroughbred boxer, had only left his previous Rugby League club in Australia at the end of last season to pursue a heavyweight boxing dream but after two wins from two has put the career on hold. He hopes to 'maybe fight in the off season, if the opportunity arises' or may just have to make do with the occasional in-match 26 man brawl.
MCR'S FURY ABOUT-FACE
Boxers are a curious bunch. After months and months of talking down his opponent’s ability and stating how easily the victory would be achieved, Manchester’s Tyson Fury beat Dereck Chisora then proceeded to state how Chisora was actually a 'world class boxer'. Anyone who stayed up to watch the fight would argue that the fight was far from world class and those that had remained in London's Excel Arena to watch tended to agree, even booing the lack of action in the sixth round. Many fans even left to catch last trains home as the boxers had delayed their entrances until after midnight. Fury now turns his attention into trying to secure a world title match against Wladimir Klitschko.
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Great thanks for sharing this. www.freemahj.com/…/…Read more
I agree, Schofield compels me to visit places in Manchester that I didn't know I wanted to visit.Read more
A lovely little article, this.Read more
Jeni I was on that tour that day and agree there was no need for the nonsense at the start, you…Read more