Monday’s round-up of the sports events from the weekend has to start with the Six Nations Rugby match between Wales and England. Despite two controversial tries from Wales, England managed to bring the game back to 24-24.
However, an ill-disciplined England team threw the game away after committing silly unneeded penalties that could have been prevented had England kept their cool – regardless of if England thought the referee had been unfair.
This ill-discipline, according to BBC Sport’s Matt Dawson, is down to a lack of leadership on the pitch. “I do not see the leadership on the pitch to deal with the adversity” Dawson says, before adding how he wants to see players getting in each other’s faces, shouting at them to stop giving penalties away.
This is evident just by looking at Maro Itoje, who gave away 5 penalties in England’s loss to Wales. Questions have been asked before about Owen Farrell’s captaincy, and with England’s excessive penalty trouble the past few games, maybe Dawson has a point about a lack of leadership on the pitch.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 27, 2021
Early Sunday morning saw a UFC Fight Night main event between heavyweights Jarzinho Rozenstruik and Cyril Gane, with Gane dominating the fight and winning by unanimous decision after the two fighters went the distance.
Whilst it wasn’t the most thrilling fight to watch, credit must be given to Gane’s game-plan. The Frenchman used leg kicks and stiff jabs to keep Rozenstruik at a distance, controlling the tempo of the fight.
On the other hand, it was a poor showing by Rozenstruik. In a video uploaded to Twitter from the man himself, he says how the fight was his “worst performance ever”.
This is something I have to agree with. He played right into Gane’s game-plan, barely causing him any trouble throughout the fight. Even in the later rounds, when he knew he would be behind on the judges’ scorecards, he never tried to get the desperate knockout that he needed. A poor showing from Rozenstruik, who has now lost 2 of his last 3 fights.
Another main event that happened from the weekend’s sport happened in boxing, when Canelo Alvarez, predictably, defeated Avni Yildirim with ease, forcing the Turkish international to retire after the 3rd round.
The fight itself wasn’t the main talking point, we all knew Canelo was going to breeze past Yildirim. The real discussion came after the fight, when it was confirmed that Canelo’s next fight would take place in May against the WBO super-middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders.
This fight is not only exciting due to 3 titles being on the line, but Saunders is undefeated in his 30 bouts, winning them all. Furthermore, Mark Tibbs – Saunders’ trainer – believes the Brit has a big chance of defeating the dominant Canelo.
“Billy Joe Saunders has got the mind of Floyd Mayweather” Tibbs told Talk Sport, as well as saying how good his feet, hand speed and boxing IQ are. Whilst I appreciate Saunders’ ability, this is Canelo we’re talking about.
That’s why I believe he compared him to Floyd Mayweather, as this is the only person that Canelo has lost against. Have the mind games started already?
Billy Joe Saunders: "I believe I am the only one with the footwork, knowhow, skillset, mindset and brain to unlock that door in Canelo. He's the main man in the sport. You have to give him respect, he hasn't ducked anyone, he's beaten good names, but nobody is unbeatable." pic.twitter.com/g3IKAjMsVl
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) February 28, 2021
Amongst the weekend’s games in the NBA, Saturday saw the Cleveland Cavaliers – 14th in the East – defeat the Philadelphia 76ers – 1st in the East – 112-109 after the game went to overtime.
Despite the loss, 76ers’ stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid both had great games, with Simmons recording 24 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists, and Embiid getting 42 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists.
Whilst most of us would say these are great numbers and would class the duo as one of the best in the NBA, journalist Stephen A. Smith refuses to call them an ‘elite duo’.
Although he admits they’re both great players, Smith states “it’s about what you do in the post-season” as well as “I don’t recall the Philadelphia 76ers making a deep playoff run?”.
Smith is clearly implying that until the 76ers make a deep playoff run and at least win the Eastern Conference finals, they cannot be considered an elite duo. Fair criticism? Or is Smith being too harsh?
As with most weekends when there’s Premier League action, it was full of controversy, shock results and predictable wins. Amongst the shock results, one that stood out was Brighton’s loss to West Brom, despite Brighton dominating possession and having the best chances – including two missed penalties.
Footballing legend Gary Lineker said it best on Twitter, when he tweeted “Brighton are very, very good at dominating without scoring”. This is exactly the problem for Brighton, as obvious as it may be, but they just don’t have a natural consistent goal scorer up front.
Yes, they were unlucky with the VAR decision that disallowed the goal from their free-kick, but missing two penalties in the same game? Having 65 shots, with 20 on target and just 1 goal in their past 3 games? It’s simply not good enough for a Premier League side.
Should Brighton avoid relegation this year, a Premier League proven striker that can score goals needs to be their top priority signing when the summer transfer window opens. But who should they sign?
Brighton have scored one goal from 7.79(xG) in their last three matches.
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) February 27, 2021
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