A to Z of 2017

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

A – ARSE­NAL Own worst en­e­mies. Ev­ery time Arsene Wenger looks vul­ner­a­ble, they go and win the FA Cup, he stays and the whole frus­trat­ing cy­cle starts again. B – BURN­LEY Their £27m wage bill is one tenth of the Manch­ester clubs and they get one hun­dredth of the hype. C – CONTE, An­to­nio. It wasn’t a mir­a­cle ti­tle but for a rookie boss with no English 3 months ear­lier and a club in Mour­inho-inspired dis­ar­ray, it wasn’t far off. But Chelsea don’t seem to ap­pre­ci­ate him. D – DE GEA, David; ii. DE BRUYNE, Kevin Con­tin­ued un­der­stated world class on op­po­site sides of Manch­ester. E – EDERSON The keeper Clau­dio Bravo was sup­posed to be – and one of the best passers in the game. Many of City’s mes­meris­ing at­tacks start with him. Brave and good at the day job too. ii. EVER­TON Fi­nally had big money and big ideas but needed Big Sam to save them. F – FED­ERER, Roger De­fies grav­ity, the laws of physics and now the ag­ing process. ii. FEEDER CLUB Southamp­ton will have sup­plied no less than six play­ers to Liver­pool since 2014 when Vir­gil van Dijk joins. The oth­ers are Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Sa­dio Mane. G – GUARDI­OLA, Pep City are not his best team but may be his best achieve­ment. And it’s not all down to oil money – he’s get­ting so­lid­ity out of Ota­mendi and goals out of Ster­ling. ii. GARCIA, Ser­gio ‘You can’t win the Masters if you can’t putt,’ they say – but Ser­gio did. H – HAMILTON, Lewis Any driver who makes Fer­rari think about pranc­ing out of F1 must be good. I – ITALY Paid ul­ti­mate price for not pick­ing their best player (Lorenzo In­signe) and will miss their first World Cup in 60 years. ii. ICE­LAND Proved Euro 2016 was not a fluke by reach­ing World Cup fi­nals. Just a re­minder: has a pop. of 300,000. J – JOSE Mour­inho Third sea­son syn­drome in the sec­ond year? ii. JOSHUA, An­thony. Fi­nally a wor­thy heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion who beat Wladimir Kl­itch­sko in a thriller and per­suaded the Ukrainian to re­tire.

K – KANE, Harry

No one is say­ing ‘one sea­son won­der’ any more. L – LIONS, Bri­tish & Ir­ish. Gave the All Blacks a supreme test in ti­tanic drawn se­ries. M – MESSI, Lionel. Can’t do it for his coun­try? More like a one-man team. N – NADAL, Rafa. Like Fed­erer, was writ­ten off but came back to be World No.1 again. ii. NEY­MAR Great tal­ent but even greater greed: his RM1 bil­lion trans­fer from Barca and break­ing up of the mag­i­cal MSN pro­voked wide­spread dis­gust. O – OZIL, Me­sut Once undis­puted leader of the ‘Can’t be ar*ed’ brigade, now he’s putting the want­away likes of Sanchez and Van Dijk to shame. P – PSG The ul­ti­mate Jean-come-late­leys and chief ben­e­fi­cia­ries of a po­lit­i­cal dis­pute in the Gulf. Q – QATAR Con­tinue to ex­ploit im­mi­grant work­ers prepar­ing for 2022 World Cup; now mak­ing a mock­ery of Fi­nan­cial Fair Play with Ney­mar trans­fer. R – RON­ALDO, Cris­tiano. Fifth Bal­lon d’Or but fi­nally show­ing signs of age. ii. ROONEY, Wayne. Goal of the sea­son and can still do 75 mins. But needs wife to stay home. iii. RUS­SIA Banned from Win­ter Olympics for state-spon­sored drug abuse; only es­caped sim­i­lar from World

Cup be­cause they’re host­ing it. S – SALAH, Mo The Fly­ing Pharoah is lead­ing scorer, favourite for Foot­baller of the Year and a re­minder that Klopp can spot a player. Sign­ing of the sea­son. ii. SILVA, David A joy to watch and one of the great EPL play­ers. He and KDB are Pep’s brains on the field. iii. STAVELEY, Amanda. Un­likely saviour of New­cas­tle? The glam­orous, blonde Bri­tish busi­ness­woman trusted by the sheikhs is clos­ing in on Mike Ash­ley. T – TOT­TEN­HAM Still mad­den­ingly Spursy. U – USA Failed to reach World Cup fi­nals but cham­pi­ons when it comes to bring­ing FIFA crooks to jus­tice. More to come, we hope. ii. UN­SUNG HE­ROES SON, He­ung Min; DYCHE, Sean; HUGHTON, Chris - among many who don’t get the head­lines. V – VAN DIJK, Vir­gil. Big­gest on-off-on trans­fer and world record for a de­fender as Klopp fi­nally gets his man. Last piece of the jig­saw for Liver­pool? W – WOODS, Tiger Did just enough and in the nick of time to sug­gest he could be a force again. The world of golf hopes so. X - Ex- man­agers’ carousel. Led by Sam Al­lardyce, David Moyes, Alan Pardew, Tony Pulis seem to hop on and hop off at dif­fer­ent clubs when there’s a va­cancy. Y – YOUTH Wasted on Eng­land? Their teams swept the board at U-17, U-19 and U-20 lev­els but pre­cious few will even get a chance in the Premier League. Z – ZLATAN Ibrahi­movic ‘Lions don’t re­cover like hu­mans’, he said af­ter com­ing back early. Trou­ble is, he’s look­ing more hu­man with ev­ery game.

Woods Messi Conte Hamilton Fed­erer Ron­aldo

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