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  • 05 Jul
    导出博客文章The Barclays Premier League 2013-14 season kicks off Saturday and before a ball
    has been kicked, the negativity and pessimism surrounding reigning champions
    Manchester Uniteds title credentials have reached a fevered pitch. Its an
    unusual, rare spot United find itself - being second-guessed. And the
    detractors have lined up to take a dig. Heed my warning - rule out Manchester
    United at your own peril. No more Sir Alex Ferguson earning points. The new
    manager, David Moyes, has never won a trophy (never mind last weekends Community
    Shield) nor managed past the qualifying stages of the Champions League. No
    desired marquee central midfielder landing at Old Trafford thus far in the
    summer transfer window. And how can we forget a less than stellar pre-season
    tour and a disgruntled Wayne Rooney. All these factors weigh heavily as to why
    many predict United to finish no better than 3rd in the table come May 11.
    Without a match being played, the narrative among pundits, bloggers, opposing
    supporters and even some who live and breathe United football; the upcoming
    season will prove to be one of adjustment, transition and struggle. Many
    reminisce about yesteryear and the difficulty the club had in replacing the
    likewise legendary Sir Matt Busby. When the predecessor sets the bar so high,
    and if the incumbent doesnt meet the lofty standard of past years, the new
    manager is assumed destined to fail. All this is on the plate of the new man,
    Moyes. And by the way, Sir Alex and Sir Bobby are upstairs watching. Good luck
    with that. Sir Alex Fergusons message to supporters after his final victory at
    the Theatre of Dreams to "stand by the new manager" was heard, but whether its
    abided during inevitable blips that will come over a lengthy campaign will be a
    true test of patience and belief in the manager. Moyes was Fergusons personal
    choice as successor. Yet Fergusons choice has come into question already. The
    suggestion players wont want to play for Moyes the way they wanted to play for
    Ferguson is far too simplistic. But to the average onlooker and inactivity in
    the transfer window to support the notion, initial panic and criticism of the
    hire has been widespread. Uniteds difficult start to the schedule (Swansea,
    Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in their first five matches) will be a
    further test. The return of manager Jose Mourinho to Chelsea and cross-town
    rival Manchester City spending upwards of another £90 million in the transfer
    window are sexier storylines. Time will tell how much, if any, these two teams
    have improved from a season ago. But for a team thats only lost a seldom-used
    Paul Scholes from a squad that ran away with the Premier League a season ago,
    the predicted demise of United is completely overblown. Doomsday talk is nothing
    new. After selling Cristiano Ronaldo, or not keeping up with Citys big
    spending, or even losing 1-0 to Everton in last years opener, shots are taken at
    United whenever the team shows the slightest vulnerability. Thats what happens
    when you spend your time at the top. Man United finished 11 points atop the
    league last May. Ive heard more times than I can count that Ferguson earned the
    team upwards of 10 more points than they deserved. What a crock. Apparently
    Ferguson was the one finishing late in matches, as Robin van Persie did multiple
    occasions early in the season when United looked a step off. 26 goals and eight
    assists say much about the quality of the player. Or how about the stand out
    play of Michael Carrick, being the straw that stirred the drink in Uniteds
    midfield in a season the production from typically useful wing players simply
    was not there. A combined two goals for Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Nani
    in a year they ran away with a title. A title came in a year Shinji Kagawa was
    both misused and under utilized. A title still came as captain Nemanja Vidic
    recovered from knee surgery, deputized under a watchful eye. Through it all,
    title number 20 was celebrated United have won the title three of the last five
    years, and the one year they lost, it was on goal differential in the most
    dramatic fashion imaginable. We all acknowledge the greatness of Sir Alex, but
    the man doesnt walk on water. The players had something to do with it. And the
    team remains in tact. Vidic, Giggs, Ferdinand, Evra, and Carrick remain the
    stalwarts. They bring a balance - a quiet confidence to the bunch. A track
    record of winning will do that. They may not come with the style of others, but
    the substance is undeniable. Theyve helped cultivate a winning environment and
    one of internal accountability. With a new manager and coaching staff, the
    transition is eased with players as such. The more astute United observer
    recognizes the Ferguson era was marked by development with in. Bringing young
    players through, whether developed at United or purchased before their prime,
    has been instrumental to success. As has the marquee signings but without the
    nucleus of youth, a team lacks a proper balance. This changing of the guard
    from Sir Alex to Moyes is another chance for the club to take advantage of the
    stockpiled young talent by giving them a chance. 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj was
    arguably Uniteds brightest star pre-season. A gifted left-footed player whos
    better suited playing a more central attacking role has earned his chance to
    play. Wilfried Zaha, an outside right midfielder, was Fergusons final purchase,
    and a proper one at that, for £15 million from Crystal Palace. Zaha looks ready
    to slot into a starting position and has worked his way into the England side,
    all at the age of 20. Right-back Rafael, 23, continues to develop into a top
    defender in the league, and goalkeeper David De Gea was voted into the PFA Team
    of the Year last season. De Gea is 22. These are a few of the many cases where
    United is well position for the present and future. It may be less sexy than
    spending outlandishly, over-paying for talent to appease a fan base or the
    pundits. But they provide substance, they provide a backbone and they
    illustrate a plan. It will be strange seeing Moyes on the touchline and not
    seeing the wily Ferguson animated, checking his watch and chomping his gum. The
    Ferguson era was special. Its hard to believe there will be another like it -
    26 years and 49 trophies. Now, without Ferguson comes another kind of
    excitement. Its anticipation of the unknown and thats not a bad thing. A
    tactical refresher and a different voice may be what this group of top players
    needs to remain fresh. Moyes knows the Premier League. His away record at the
    top teams while at Everton is irrelevant. Hes at Manchester United now,
    surrounded by talent he could only dream of at Goodison. The commitment to
    Uniteds vast array of sponsors and overall pressure that come with the job has
    heightened. But football is football and thats what Moyes will be evaluated on.
    Moyes will learn on the job what type of players he needs to add to fit his
    system. Patience is being preached and not being well received. Whether its
    Fabregas, Ozil, Modric, Fellaini or other, players will arrive. Rushing to
    judgment right now before the transfer window has even closed and before weve
    seen a Moyes team even play a truly competitive match serves no purpose. Its a
    fruitless exercise playing fantasy football manager. It makes more sense for
    Moyes to rely on a group currently champions than carelessly shaking things up,
    going about his business like a drunken sailor. But that seems to be what the
    masses expect. Its the biggest mistake made in modern football; throw money at
    something and problems go away. The message isnt not to spend. Its to spend
    wisely and timely and on your own accord. The support of United in this piece
    isnt meant to serve as cheerleading material. Its to warn not to count this
    group out. Not just yet. The team has its vulnerabilities. Its plain to see
    upgrades to the central midfield are needed long-term and an unhappy Rooney
    doesnt jive either. Both issues will be settled in due time. Sir Alex was
    often questioned throughout his tenure at Old Trafford despite his success. His
    greatest responses to criticism werent behind a microphone, they happened on the
    field. Time and time again, Manchester United proved critics wrong. Theyve
    shown they are bigger than one man. They have proven to be winners. Moyes and
    Manchester Uniteds newest challenge starts Saturday. Rule out Manchester United
    at your own peril. TSN 1050 Radio will host doubleheader action from the
    Barclays Premier League this weekend. Join myself and Kristian Jack on Saturday
    for Arsenals match against Aston Villa before Swansea faces Manchester United.
    The action unfolds on TSN 1050 Radio at 9:30am et/6:30am pt. On Sunday, Crystal
    Palace faces Tottenham ahead of Chelsea and Hull City going head-to-head.
    Sundays coverage on TSN 1050 Radio begins at 8:30am et/5:30am pt. You can reach
    Gareth at gareth.wheeler@bellmedia.ca or follow him on Twitter, @WheelerTSN
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    . Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek defeated Nenad
    Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) on the indoor hard-court at
    Belgrade Arena. The victory improved the Czech pairs impressive cup doubles
    record to 14-1.
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    . The defending champion beat Gael Monfils of France 7-6 (6),
    6-3, while second-seeded Andy Murray of Britain dispatched Edouard
    Roger-Vasselin, also of France, 6-3, 6-3. Making his first appearance since
    injuring his wrist a month ago, Del Potro had difficulty with his service games
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    .ca looks back at the stories and moments that made the year
    memorable. PULLMAN, Wash. -- Budda Baker was walking to the sideline in the
    fourth quarter when he was jostled from behind by someone in crimson, who then
    proceeded to chirp at Washingtons standout safety.Baker heard what was said,
    turned, and pointed at the closed end of Martin Stadium.All I had to do was look
    at the scoreboard, Baker said.It told the story of a day of dominance by No. 5
    Washington in a 45-17 rout of No. 23 Washington State that put the Huskies into
    the Pac-12 championship game and on the cusp of a spot in the College Football
    Playoff.Washington (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) rolled from the outset, using a 28-point
    first quarter behind three touchdown passes from quarterback Jake Browning to
    claim the Pac-12 North title and keep the Apple Cup in Seattle for a fourth
    straight yearA win in the Pac-12 title game next Friday against Colorado or
    Southern California would likely land the Huskies in the college football
    version of the final four.It doesnt matter. Im just glad the (Huskies) are there
    and hopefully well show up and play our best game of the year, Washington coach
    Chris Petersen said.Browning threw for 292 yards but it was the first quarter
    that set the stage. Browning tossed all three touchdown passes in the first 15
    minutes, hitting Dante Pettis on plays of 18 and 61 yards and John Ross on a
    6-yarder. Browning had 243 yards passing by halftime, the Huskies had 386 total
    yards at the break and even Washington States third-quarter rally didnt make
    Washington sweat.Washington tied a school record with the 28-point first quarter
    and the four straight over the Cougars (8-4, 7-2) is the longest streak since
    the Huskies won six straight between 1998-2003.Its what we expected. We expected
    to be off to a fast start, Washington defensive lineman Elijah Qualls said.
    Thats what we worked on all week. We knew we could do it.Browning completed 21
    of 29 passes, becoming the third quarterback in Pac-12 history with at least 40
    TD passes in a season. Ross had eight catches for 80 yards and his 16th TD catch
    of the season.Washington State quarterback Luke Falk was 33 of 50 passing for
    269 yards and a 9-yard TD pass to Gabe Marks in the third quarter, but was
    intercepted three times. More damaging, the Cougars were unable to score on
    three drives inside the Washington 10.I thought we were too quick to press. I
    thought we made more out of it than it was, Washington State coach Mike Leach
    said.Eight years after this matchup was mocked because of how bad the two teams
    were, the Apple Cup was back on a stage of national relevance as the North title
    game and regarded by many fans as the most important matchup of the 109
    meetings.ddddddddddddIt became a purple party for the Huskies that made the trip
    over the Cascade Mountains to the Palouse.Lavon Coleman added 82 yards rushing
    and a pair of touchdowns. His 15-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter capped
    a 98-yard drive and sent many clad in crimson back to the tailgating
    lots.Washington rolled up 386 yards in the first half, 252 coming in the first
    quarter and capitalized on three mistakes by Washington State.Jamal Morrow
    fumbled on Washington States opening possession and eight plays later, Pettis
    caught an 18-yard touchdown and Washington had a 14-0 lead. Later in the half,
    Gerard Wicks was stopped at the 1 on fourth-and-goal on a great play by Benning
    Potoae. And on the final drive of the first half, Falk was intercepted by
    Beavers in the end zone.Down 35-17, Washington State had a chance to pull within
    11 late in the third quarter, but Wicks was again stuffed on fourth-and-goal.On
    offense, we werent trying to do enough, Marks said. We were soft.POLL
    IMPLICATIONSWashington picked up another win over a ranked opponent that should
    impress voters and give the 1-loss Huskies a chance to leap Wisconsin and
    possibly the Ohio State-Michigan loser in both the AP Top 25 and the CFP
    rankings. Washington State is likely to fall out of the Top 25 after being
    ranked the past four weeks.BROKEN APPLEThe apple on top of the trophy given to
    the winner of the Apple Cup was missing after it broke off on Thursday night.
    Petersen wouldnt implicate the culprit but said it was barely touched and
    snapped. This doesnt appear to be the first time the apple has broken off.THE
    TAKEAWAYWashington: The big play was a key in Washingtons big first half. The
    Huskies had eight plays of 15 yards or more. That included the 61-yard touchdown
    to Pettis, the 22-yard touchdown run by Coleman and a mixture of other long
    plays like Darrell Daniels 50-yard catch on a double pass from Pettis and Ross
    31-yard run.Washington State: The Cougars defense was exposed for the second
    straight week. After holding California and Arizona to a combined 28 points, the
    Cougars gave up more than 500 total yards for the second straight week.UP
    NEXTWashington: The Huskies will face Colorado in the Pac-12 championship game
    next Friday.Washington State: The Cougars will await a second straight bowl
    bid.---More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and
    https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
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