Thirteen major trophies in top flight soccer. Currently positioned third in a tough top five league. Yet Bianconerri manager Max Allegri finds himself in the most precarious of positions. A victim of his own success, victim of the never go back to the place you did well so that you outdo yourself. The criticism is certainly not fair. Juve comes into this game in decent form, in fact they won their last six games in Serie A. It’s the manner of the second half implosion on top of the resentment of that early champions league exit that’s got the Allegri out bunch out in full force. Napoli are running away with the title this season with no real challengers emerging and that is a surprise. Expected the likes of Milan and Inter to mount a serious one. Attacking wise, the arrival of Georgian Kvaratskhelia from Russian soccer was unexpected and perhaps the find of the season. Successful dribbles is his thing but also his goal attempts are crucial even though he doesn’t score that much. That’s Victor Osimhen’s job.

Look Juventus had that period just before half time when they were threatening , chief protagonist being Di Maria. I believe you get more joy playing the Argentine as a number 10 than a winger(letting the Chiesas and Kostics do the crossing) which Allegri seems to get. Another feather in the Italian coach’s tampled on hat. The three Brazilians that he chose for his back three were never comfortable. Sandro, Bremer and Danilo always have a mistake in them, looking lightweight without Bonucci. I don’t mean to bash Juventus but let’s count the defensive mistakes. Osimhen’s second, why didn’t Sandro just clear with his knee and why Danilo came inside is only your own guess? Can’t fault the Rahmani strike which was scintillating. Another Danilo head scratcher for Osimhen’s second. I am sure Juve’s next game will see a return to a back four. The new Juve board of directors need time tosort the Turin club’s financial mess and give Allegri the right players.


They say Napoleon Bonaporte enjoyed winning a battle and winning as if it were a sport. They say he celebrated becoming emperor of France with a banquet of the century, all inclusive with wine , dancers the whole shebang . Victory feels good. Victory gets you dopamine in the brain, the hormone of passion and adrenalin the hormone of ecstasy. The same adrenalin is the hormone of anger. Sports is a discipline of anger and passion. It evokes both extremes of emotion. Just last month the whole of Argentina was celebrating the home coming of their world cup heroes. This week has seen the other side of sports. The aggressive side, the focus of my writing today. Just last night Dewayne Demon,an experienced player of the Miami Heat ,got ejected from their game with the Thunder for the most moronic of actions. Dedmon saw it fit to throw a massage gun onto the floor in the middle of play. Atletico De Madrid player Stefan Savic and Ferran Torres got an early shower(well it was early-ish as it was the 92nd minute) for an impromptu middle of the pitch MMA fight. Now what possesses experienced , well remunerated athletes to behave like toddlers? Well besides the aforementioned chemical reasons, how about just being pissed off at the coach.

When Dedmon fired his gun, he was seen on the bench arguing with his coach on the bench. Theory one, Dedmon’s ego got the best of him. Look being benched is a big ego punch and for a 10 year veteran like Dewayne it got to hurt. But even if you are so good at your craft , you can’t know it all. So for not showing the humility, Dedmon deserves the ejection and the subsequent suspension that is surely coming. That is not to say the NBA shouldn’t be lenient. After all its just a massage gun , not an AK 47. ANGER GETS THE BEST OF EVERYONE. Even Messi. During the world cup , the all time great called Louis Van Gaal words not fit for me to print during Argentina’s match with Holland, but the powers looked the other way. No harm to anyone no foul. Dedmon conducted himself unsportingly you say? Try picturing a goalkeeper placing a trophy on his crotch for the TV world to see and being cheered for it. Yes , Dedmon let the Heat down when they were seriously short of personnel. But if other guys can get away with murder, who are we to judge?

Now to Savic and Ferran. Look Atletico Madrid are known to get under the opposition’s skin. They wouldn’t be called the Colchoneros if they weren’t. Their idea of a match is to get a player sent off or throw you off your game then take you to the cleaners. Kind of like street working class neighborhood basketball for money. So the easy way around Atleti? Don’t retaliate and focus on the W. It’s even worse that Ferran was on the winning team at that point and didn’t need to. The referee again was overbearing and harsh , and simply over refed the situation. No punches thrown , no blood, just passion and shirt pulling. NBA and La Liga referees(all referees for that matter) need to let some of these things fly, it’s a man’s (and strong woman’s) game. Passion makes sports exciting.


Winning isn’t everything?Winning is a great feeling but not the ultimate feeling. Compassion is.There is more to life than sports? Who said football is more than life and death? Seeing a fellow human being in distress kind of makes you think of life and it’s purpose. Damar Hamlin, the Bills Safety’s collapse last night in their game against the Steelers , has an air of a wakeup call to sports not just football. All safety precautions have been taken , concussion protocol helmets, check. Shoulder pads, check. Everything check. Yet Damar lies in a Cincinnati hospital, not because of incompetence, but because of blind spots. Today I want to discuss how we can avoid being blind sided by blind spots, part of human nature is to assure ourselves that if all our checks are done, we will be fine. Here is the thing, Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was caused by the most innocuous of things that can happen on a football field, a hit to the upper part of the torso. Those hits are so common(and almost always leave the player intact) in the NFL that most football doctors prefer to focus on injuries such as legs and neck.

How could it have been prevented? I am afraid the only answer is a medical exam before every game. Do the NFL teams want to foot that BILL no pun intended? They won’t because of the time constraints as well as budget. Granted the NFL has the most rigorous medical exam there is in all sports, that I have to give credit. But the fact that Hamlin passed that exam and still suffered a heart attack should be an eye opener. Why do I say so? Like everything in like be it school exams, amusement park ride, driving in the snow at night, it is down to luck and chance. Hamlin may have gone into the EKG exam(electrocardiogram,it tests heart rhythm to see if anything is amiss) on a day in which his emotions were on a high, temperatures optimal. So doing these exams regularly reduces chances of them going undetected in the long run. Having all equipment on site improves chances of survival astronomically like we have seen here and with Muamba in the English Premiership. Blindspots can be found by having a checker checking the checker. I know doctors don’t like second opinions as it may be construed as an attack on their ability. Having an independent doctor outside your team’s medical staff check your players improves chances of detecting those blindspots. Like VAR is soccer, it isn’t a guaranteed success though. Lastly, African American males are the most at risk demographic when it comes to sudden cardiac arrest. With that kind of knowledge at hand, the NFL should be taking proactive role in having those tests done a lot more frequently, not just during draft week, but an oversight or advisory role to internal NFL team’s medical functions.


The common consensus among soccer fans is that Messi wouldn’t be mentioned in the same bracket as Pele and Maradona if he didn’t win the world cup. Let’s say he doesn’t go on to win this one, it could hardly dent his legacy. The inspired display from the eight time Ballon D’or winner against the 2018 finalists Croatia in as far as I am concerned put the debate to bed in as far as I am concerned. To be blunt Messi is carrying an otherwise quite ordinary Argentina team much like Diego did for many years. That makes it all the more impressive. They were quite the second best yesterday against Croatia who bossed the game passing and possession wise. The albiceleste have evolved into a counter attacking side since their embarrassment against the Saudis , and rightfully so. They realize their limitations, that is their lack of a proper number eight who can hold the ball for prolonged periods, but they got good ball winners like Paredes and De Paul. Croatia may have the best midfield in the world right now but their lack of a proper number nine was so glaring .

The two shots on target stat paints a picture of a team devoid of ideas in the final third of the pitch. Kramaric has been a great servant for the Croatians since Mandzukic retired but he doesn’t give you lots of goals. So the long term plan should be replace the Hoffenheim man with a goal getter, not necessarily dropping him but moving him to a number 10 position. Three moments is all it took to bury Zlatko Dalic’s team. Gvardiol for all the praise of his calm and positional sense at the heart of the defense found Alvarez and Messi’s movement tough to handle. Messi needs a triple team , marking him one on one is a no no case in point the third goal. Have Argentina had the bulk for the borderline penalty decision in their favor during this world cup? I think they have and I have a theory on that. Fifa benefits in terms of attendances by having Messi go as further as possible in the world cup but it goes against the spirit of fairness. Bottom line, having Messi is good for business.Livakovic couldn’t get away from Alvarez even if he wanted to and decisions like that discourage defenders from legitimately challenging for the ball. Argentina have the cup well within their grasp but one counts their medals before they are around their neck to their own peril. France and Morocco have proven to be no push overs. Messi is one of the G.O.A.T regardless of what happens.


Even the most diehard San Francisco 49ers fan, would be pinching themselves right now. A tremendous run of form has seen them notch 5 consecutive victories going into their match with the NFC South leading Tampa. Top notch offense is the best defense. SF QB Brody Purdy outshone TB12 despite having just 153 yards to his name. My play of the week Purdy to McCaffery, the duo of the moment. Tell me this, how is it that Purdy gets so much time to make the decision? The answer ,14-0 SF on the third down and 5, the Buccaneers’ defensive tackle and ends tackle each other and get in each other’s way. Watch the middle of the scrimmage ,one Tampa tackle almost getting to Purdy before another tripping him from behind.

Coordination. Go sideways of your teammate you get there. That small window proved costly allowing the huge corner pass to McCaffery to make what looks on paper an easy TD. It is anything but. McCaffery has to keep in bounds paying close attention to the Safety number 26 Logan Ryan whose position wasn’t all that bad at all, only that the pass was way too good. His only mistake to step inward just as the pass is made. Football is a game of margins. Not only did they win this one the Niners, they blew away a very good side in Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are a good bet to go one better than the NFC Championship match of last season.