Who’s up and who’s down in the world of sport?
Hot and Cold looks back at the highs and lows after another exhilarating week of sporting action…
Six goals, a clean sheet, and at times it looked as if they hardly needed to break a sweat against a shell-shocked Chelsea.
If City felt any pressure after Liverpool’s 3-0 demolition of Bournemouth the day before they didn’t show it, handily extending their goal difference advantage over the Reds, albeit having played one game more. Expect Newport County manager Michael Flynn to have sleepless nights over the next few days with City heading to South Wales this weekend in the FA Cup.
The Premier League’s greatest ever pantomime villain? It’s rare any weekend goes by without Dean stealing some of the limelight and the veteran referee didn’t disappoint at the Etihad, theatrically awarding a penalty in impeccable Dean style before hiding the match ball from hat-trick hero Sergio Agüero at the final whistle.
Never change, Mike…
PREMIER LEAGUE RELEGATION RACE
A hat tip to Cardiff City who have decided to make the race to fill the final Premier League relegation slot suddenly a whole lot more interesting.
Huddersfield and Fulham look doomed, but a cluster of clubs from Crystal Palace downwards will suddenly be feeling very edgy. Bitterly disappointing results for Brighton and Southampton this weekend suggest it could be a nervy end to the season on the South Coast.
With most of the attention in the Championship focused on the tussle at the top of the table between Norwich, Leeds and Sheffield Utd, one team is happily slipping under the radar in the race for the play-offs.
Bristol remains the biggest city never to have enjoyed a taste of Premier League football, but could that all change this year? Lee Johnson’s carefree Bristol City side are now 12 unbeaten in all competitions. It’s often the team that times their run to perfection that seals promotion via the play-offs – and Robins fans will be hoping their side hasn’t peaked too early.
A tactically perfect win over Ireland and a thumping victory over the French is just about as good as Eddie Jones could have wished for at the start of this Six Nations and England now look the side to beat in the competition.
An away day in Cardiff next up will surely be the biggest potential stumbling block left in Jones’ way of Six Nations glory, but whatever happens next, the signs ahead of November’s Rugby World Cup look promising once again for England after a lacklustre 2018 campaign.
A sensational day for Mark Wood in St Lucia on Sunday, who posted career-best figures of 5-41 on the second day of the third Test against West Indies.
Wood has suffered plenty of false starts in his bid to land a consistent place within the England set-up, but his aggressive bowling style could be just what the doctor ordered for an English side lacking in that area. If he can keep bowling at 94.6 mph – the level he reached on Sunday – few will fancy facing him.
Is time up for Sarri at Stamford Bridge after seeing his Chelsea side hit for six? Not even Luis Felipe Scolari and André Villas-Boas plumbed those depths during their brief spells in West London which surely spells danger for the under-pressure Italian.
However, with important Europa League games and an EFL Cup Final on the horizon, will the trigger-happy Blues show some uncharacteristic restraint? Unless Guus Hiddink’s number is once again on speed dial, they don’t seem to have a whole host of options to turn to if they want to make a clean break.
If you’re going to endure the weekend from hell, at least do it in style. Paul Lambert’s return to the former stomping ground he left under a cloud in 2012 ended in disaster as Norwich clinically dispatched his struggling Ipswich side 3-0 at Carrow Road in the Old Farm derby.
That’s without even mentioning Lambert’s early exit from proceedings after being sent to the stands just before half-time. Don’t back the Scotsman to take a holiday in the Norfolk Broads any time soon after this one…
SHEFFIELD UNITED & BORUSSIA DORTMUND
It’s not often these two clubs are joined at the hip but both clubs’ players will be walking into training this week still trying to figure out exactly how they let a comfortable three-goal cushion slip through their grasp in almost identical fashion.
Both had to settle for a measly point apiece after Aston Villa and Hoffenheim fought back to 3-3 in their respective games. Dortmund can take a small crumb of comfort from the fact their late collapse started on 75 minutes rather than on 82…
The sporting meltdown. We’ve all been there. Sometimes when it’s not your day and things just aren’t running for you, it’s easier to admit defeat, save the embarrassment and walk away. However, it’s not often you see it in professional sport. Mark Allen embraced that noble tradition at the World Grand Prix by conceding his game against Ali Carter after slipping to 24-2 down in the fifth frame.
The Northern Irishman’s perilous position was just about salvageable but Allen’s mind was made up, with the 32-year-old opting to walk away and send Carter into the next round, admitting that a cue-smashing incident was possibly imminent if he had continued. Now that’s one way to bring in the ratings snooker desperately craves…
It always looked a long shot given his advanced years, but 43-year-old UFC legend Silva couldn’t quite pull off a memorable postscript to his impressive career with a surprise victory over Israel Adesanya in Melbourne.
A Rocky-style victory may have eluded the Brazilian, but his younger opponent didn’t have it all his own way, taking the three-round fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. No fairytale for Silva then, but no disgrace either.
And finally, the latest comeback in a career of ups and downs for 40-year-old Chambers didn’t exactly go to plan.
The former world indoor champion was disqualified for a false start as he tried to get a jump on his much younger rivals in the British Indoors 60m semi-final in Birmingham. Will that be a low-key last act in his controversial athletics career?
All image sources courtesy of PA Images
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