THINGS WE LEARNED IN NFL THIS WEEK: Wembley woe is no great gridiron advert

How long will Andrew Luck’s happy-go-lucky approach last at the Indianapolis Colts? (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018
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THINGS WE LEARNED IN NFL THIS WEEK: Wembley woe is no great gridiron advert

  • NFL made its annual hop across to London at the weekend
  • Arab News also assesses Colts, Vikings and Patriots-Chiefs clash

LONDON: Gridiron made its annual hop across the Atlantic to spread the message that American football is for all, not just for those who live west of New York. Here’s what we learned from that excursion and the rest of the action in Week 6.

WEMBLEY WASHOUTS
You have to feel for the legions of British NFL fans. Sunday’s match-up at London’s Wembley Stadium between the Seahawks and the Raiders was a one-sided washout — the sixth game in a row the UK capital played host to a tedious procession for one of the teams. The last decent game in London was the Redskins-Bengals tie in 2016. Considering the whole point of the these games is to spread the game, should these match-ups not be a spectacle for the sport? Are the players taking it easy when away from the glare of scrutiny from their hometown fans and media? Whatever the reason, fans on the other side of the Atlantic
deserve better.

VICTORIOUS VIKINGS
At last, we finally got to see what the Minnesota Vikings are capable of. We always knew they had the weapons capable of winning a game comfortably, and it was pleasing to see the Vikings finally put a team to bed. It was a strong team effort from front-to-back, with sublime performances from key players in an improving defense and an offense, led by Kirk Cousins, putting the Vikings back on track as they head into Week 7 against the New York Jets. They will need the momentum with games against the Saints, Packers and Patriots all to come.

LUCK-LESS COLTS?
How long will Andrew Luck’s happy-go-lucky approach last at the Indianapolis Colts? Having been ruled out of the entire 2017 season after shoulder surgery, his passion and enthusiasm for the game he loves was there for all to see at the beginning of this year. But despite his best efforts in another disappointing defeat — this week 42-34 to the Jets — you have to wonder how long that exuberance will last, forced to carry this extremely poor Colts side and as his Super Bowl dream fades yet again for another year. Or how long will Luck stick with a side that appears to be going backwards since their appearance in the Big Game back in 2010?

THE PUPIL VS. THE MASTER
The Patriots-Chiefs game on Sunday — one of the best games of the season so far — was the perfect metaphor for the old sporting cliche “form is temporary, class is permanent.” The newest kid on the block, Patrick Mahomes, has had the start to a season rookies can only dream of, displaying scintillating form in the opening five weeks of the season. And yet it was Tom Brady, in his 18th season, who came out on top. While his opposite number ducked and dived out of collapsing pockets and threw the ball from side to side erratically, Brady was a model of calmness under pressure. His final drive saw New England seal the win with a field goal three seconds from time. Classy.


Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

Updated 25 April 2019
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Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

  • Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games
  • Title rivals Liverpool are just one point behind

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola said both Manchester City and Liverpool deserve to win the Premier League title after his side brushed aside Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday to top the table again.
Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane struck for the visitors in 12 second-half minutes at Old Trafford to inflict a seventh defeat in nine games on United, who remain three points adrift of the top four.
Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games, with Liverpool a point behind. Both sides have just three games remaining.
“I understand the pressure we have and obviously here at Old Trafford with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard running behind,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “I told them we needed to play to win, it doesn’t matter if we concede.
“Now we go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It’s important to be calm. We are still not champions with three gaurgesmes left — it’s incredible with the points we have and Liverpool have.
“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley.”
“Both teams deserve the title,” he added. “But it can be just one. The team that is going to lose can’t have regrets because they have given everything. Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but we have to be calm.”