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The Sunday Stroll: 24 Apr, 2011

April 24, 2011

Alas, Easter has arrived. Time to take a break from hunting all those eggs and give the ole Sunday Stroll a read…

We begin in football, where it has been quite a busy week. Scott Parker has (deservedly) been voted 2011 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association, who championed his ability to drag West Ham towards potential relegation-survival; let’s face it, without him they’d probably already be down. Furthermore, as someone who this season has played through bereavement and injury, and delivered a rousing half-time speech with his side 0-3 down (they recovered to 3-3), and who has made a successful return to the international fold, we think he firmly deserves the award. Congrats Scotty [now come join Fulham…]. Here’s the quite brilliant goal he scored in the 3-1 win over Liverpool a few months ago (the match he needed a pain-killing injection to play in, and still turned in a MOTM performance)…

In the FA Cup last weekend, Stoke City spanked Bolton 5-0 in their semi-final, whilst City won the battle of the Manchesters in the other semi. Over in Spain, Real Madrid got the better of Barcelona in the final of their domestic cup competition (The Copa del Rey), although it’s more likely to be remembered for the unfortunate antics of Sergio Ramos, the Madrid defender who dropped the trophy off the top of the open-top bus and saw it crushed under the wheels of said bus…

And whilst we’re on the subject of all things Spanish, Cesc Fàbregas claimed Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would have faced the sack in Spain if he’d had three trophy-less years over there. Akin to his famously-selective eyesight and penchant for not having seen the incident, Arsene chose to posit that Cesc’s views had been misrepresented. Talking of having views misrepresented – well, more like downright altered – here’s an example of what the folk over at talkSPORTmagazine get up to…

From journalistic licence to illegal activities, and ADO Den Haag’s goalkeeper Gino Coutinho, who was in court earlier this week charged with ‘owning a major cannabis farm and […] being involved in forgery and money laundering.’ As the Guardian dubbed him, the man ‘who makes Joey Barton look like Theo Walcott’. Nice.

Midweek Spurs took on Arsenal at White Hart Lane, and it was a 3-3 cracker and a fantastic advert for attacking football. Both teams played with a frenetic fervour, there was no place for runners – only sprinting would suffice. Fabregas, van der Vaart, van Persie et al., take a bow – simply, one of the best Premier League matches of the season. Mancini and your three-defensive-midfielders-for-every-game: take note. Fergie and your five-men-in-midfield-for-the-big-games: take note. This is how you win fans over. That said, it hasn’t exactly benefitted Arsenal’s title ambitions (versus United) or Tottenham’s top four / CL qualification hopes (against Citeh). Still, as a neutral, that is what we want to see, so kudos to Harry and Arsene…

Switching sports now to F1, and last weekend saw a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix eventually won by Lewis Hamilton. Loads of overtaking, different tyre strategies, and an enthralling race that wasn’t decided until the final few laps… just what F1 bosses had in mind with the new rules for this season. Mark Webber also deserves credit for a stirring drive from 18th on the grid to a podium which he nicked off Jenson Button in the closing moments. Not Jenson’s finest race ever, earlier in the day he’d even managed to stop for tyres in the wrong pit box. Smooth…

Mind you, if you like pit stop balls-ups, then you’ll like this one during British GT action at Thruxton…

Intriguing article available via this link, with Nico Rosberg explaining the various workings of the insanely complex F1 steering wheel. We’re still confused by it all…

The snooker world is currently focused on Sheffield and the Snooker World Championship, whilst we have ESPN to thank for reminding us that on April 21st, 1997, 21-year-old Ronnie O’Sullivan wowed the watching world with the fastest ever 147 in just 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Here it is…

Into cricket now and earlier this week we heard that Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga (‘The Slinger’) is out of their tour to England this summer due to injury. A real shame for the watching public as he is quite an entertainer. Still, that hasn’t stopped him from picking up his sizeable wage packets from the IPL lately, so now he has ‘retired’ from Test cricket. Anyways, here’s Malinga at his very best, tearing Kenya apart at the World Cup a month or so ago…

So as a cricket-related finale, we leave you with this – Freddie Flintoff versus Tino Best. Sledging at its most amusingly finest…

All the best this Easter folks. Thanks for reading, SB

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