Citi Sports editor, Nathan Quao, pens his column and this week, he looks back at Manchester City’s triumph in the Manchester Derby and Vasyl Lomachenko’s super display against Guillermo Rigondeaux in New York.
Blue Skies over Manchester
Often, you hear of teams believing that they have made progress and they have dreams of being in the big time. Well, on Sunday in the 175th Manchester Derby at Old Trafford, Manchester City proved that they were in the big time.
As I watched the game (as part of Citi FM’s Super Sunday Premier League outdoor event at Bosphorus in Labone, Accra) I concluded that they deserved every bit of the points they got on the day and they even had the right to get more.
I support Manchester United and I make no bones about it. When people say they are surprised about the Premier League I support, I laugh. It is the world’s biggest open secret.
However, Manchester City looked like how I wanted my team to face a derby; with drive, hunger, passion and some fantastic football to go with it.
Leroy Sane clamped Antonio Valencia’s urges from going forward while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial could not perform. Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva ran the show without even trying. Amazing stuff!!!
Jose Mourinho will not give me breath-taking football on days like that but I am fine with as long as it defending is part of the grand plan which includes super-fast counter attacks.
But the Red Devils did not show enough of it. In fact, it was missing the entire first half.
Some say the loss was unlucky. This is my answer: luck falls to the team that tries hard to create something. It is apt consolation from the gods of football to the set of players willing to take their own destinies into their own hands.
Of course, you have to feel bad for Romelu Lukaku because his attempts at helping his own team ended up as assists for the opposition but Manchester United did not deserve anything from the game.
I think Manchester City will kick on and win the league. I do not want to fathom the idea that after all the work they have put in, they will trip over themselves and let their 11-point go to waste. That is not happening.
Away from Manchester, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp put himself in the grinder once again for his baffling decisions against Everton.
He left Philipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino on the bench and only he can tell us why. He chose to start with Dominic Solanke in attack and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield.
Was he disrespecting Everton? I do not want to think so but ultimately, the lack of firepower needed to finish the game off bit him hard in the end.
Wayne Rooney scored a penalty which I think was too soft but the point was that Liverpool could and should have been out of sight long before that happened.
Dejan Lovren went to his old ways and needlessly touched Calvert-Lewin for the penalty to be given.
Liverpool dropped points again from a winning position but we will wait and see if the German will come up for discussion. Somehow, he escapes the talking points while other managers are staples.
The Premier League is live on Citi 97.3 FM every match day so do well to catch the action especially through the busy festive season.
On Saturday in New York, what was similar to a huge clash of two football teams happened. Guillermo Rigondeaux and Vasyl Lomachenko went face to face in boxing’s first pro meeting of two Olympic gold medalists.
That could only mean that the two gentlemen were technically sound from their grooming in amateur boxing.
Lomachenko’s father coached the Ukranian boxing team while Rigondeaux boasted of hundreds of bouts at the lower level but while they were largely even in terms of their education, their styles as professionals were like day and night.
Rigondeaux was a master defender and Lomachenko was a master attacker of a boxer.
But when the bell went for the start of the bout, it was very apparent that Lomachencko was too ready for this. He moved better than Rigondeaux and he topped with some quick punching and angular movement.
It was a beautiful show of the skill of an amateur boxer and the ruthlessness of the pro sport.
Rigondeaux’s supporters will say he moved up two weight classes for the bout but that is not new in boxing.
It was simply a case of a man who could not outsmart his opponent and he let go of the bout after the 6th round citing injury as the cause.
His punch numbers staggeringly dropped from about 47 percent in his last six fights to 8 percent against Lomachenko and none of his tricks i.e. clinching opponents to stall them and waste time worked for him.
For Lomachenko, he now has made four opponents quit midway through their bouts and that is telling.
It could really be his time in the spotlight.
That’s it folks!!!
Hit me up on Twitter @nathan_quao so we continue the conversation.