Monthly Archives: May 2010
Turkish Grand Prix
The words ‘Turkey’ and ‘exciting’ don’t often get placed in the same sentence, but that is exactly what happened today. Even the usual back markers were getting into the swing of overtaking with a lot of movement going on.
Jarno Trulli started as the best driver and quickly kept that advantage, Bruno Senna also took advantage and overtook Timo Glock from the start.
It took several laps before Glock regained ground on Senna and overtook again, with Lotus looking strong in the lead. Di Grassi, who had to start from the pitlane was just ahead of Karun Chandhok.
Impressively, especially after a disappointing race in Monaco when none of the new cars even finished, it took 35 laps before the fist retirement, Jarno Trulli going out on track, just half a lap later and Heikki Kovalainen pitted to retire with the same issue, hydraulics.
There was a good battle between di Grassi and Senna, but Senna retired after 51 laps, shortly followed by Chandhok just a few laps from the end.
|1||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||18th||10|
|2||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin Racing||19th||6|
It is hotting up now. Karun Chandhok is now level with Heikki Kovalainen due to his consistent finishes., but is in second due to the fewer amount of ‘wins’ to his name. Despite this, Kovalainen hasn’t scored any points since China. For the first time all season, Timo Glock has moved off the bottom spot which is now filled by Bruno Senna.
|4||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin Racing||20|
|5||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||16|
Virgin’s perfect weekend has seen them catch up with Hispania, now just four points behind them and less than 20 points behind Lotus, who’s lead is ever so slightly getting cut down. They haven’t been too impressive lately.
How on earth do I follow that? I’ll just warn that the upcoming post has tons of spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the episode just yet, don’t read on.
Well, that was some ending. Some ending indeed. One perfect way to end two perfect series. Even if I did need some explaining in getting the answer.
The symbol of heaven, the Railway Arms first featured in very first episode of Life on Mars along with Nelson, often a person to give Sam Tyler advice in Life of Mars, as a person like St. Peter/God. Fantastic.
Then there is Jim Keats, the devil. The acting from Daniel Mays was just brilliant. Trying to lure Alex, Ray, Chris and Shaz down the elevator, down into hell. The bad guy, I must admit I always had my suspicions about him, proved right.
All six main characters just were perfect, the performances from Ray, Chris and Shaz. Alex was convincing as well, but the best, without a shadow of the doubt, was the one and only, Gene Hunt.
Fantastic, during the remembering of the fact that he was the man, buried in Lancashire. Then the moment that he tried to save Ray, Chris and Shaz from following Keats into Hell. And the end, the goodbyes, emotional. Highly emotional.
Then the fact you have to remember he will be there, guiding the newcomers into the Railway Arms. Like he did with Chris and Ray in the 70s, Shaz in the 90s and Sam and Alex in the 00s. Just him, no Alex, nobody he has had for years. A new force and a bloke who is looking for his iPhone.
I have loved Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, and although my blog post is on the short side, I’m still in awe at how it ended. I may go and watch it again.
After that, the “pub”.
Monaco Grand Prix
Well, after all the massive controversy going on regarding Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, there is still a bit of confusion. But one thing is for certain from Monaco, none of the new teams reached the chequered flag for the first time this season. However, both Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok managed to finish just inside of the 90% required to get some points in the New Teams Championship.
With Alonso starting at the back, Lucas di Grassi, Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen put up decent fights before he inevitably got past them. But Glock was the first to go on lap 22, when a puncture saw him struggle to park the car. Lucas di Grassi followed soon after.
Oddly enough, Bruno Senna and Heikki Kovalainen retired within seconds of each other, both coming into the pits at the same lap. While Kovalainen retired with a gearbox isseue, Senna had some other mechanical issue.
It all looked like a processional finish to the race, right up until the point that Jarno Trulli put in a dangerous move on Karun Chandhok. Trulli went on top in a worrying looking accident, both drivers were fine but it brought out the safety car, which lead to the controversy involving Schumacher.
Sadly, I’m not on my normal computer, so no snazzy tables today
1) Karun Chandhok (14th) – 10 points
2) Jarno Trulli (15th) – 6 points
3) Heikki Kovalainen (DNF) – 0 points
4) Bruno Senna (DNF) – 0 points
5) Lucas di Grassi (DNF) – 0 points
6) Timo Glock (DNF) – 0 points
First off, with thanks to Sebastian who has pointed out a few errors in my tables, this should hopefully be dead on correct. Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok make advances of Kovalainen and for the first time this season, his lead in the championship seems under threat. The only position change sees Chandhok move in front of Trulli.
1) Heikki Kovalainen – 30 points
2) Karun Chandhok – 26 points
3) Jarno Trulli – 25 points
4) Lucas di Grassi – 14 points
5) Bruno Senna – 10 points
6) Timo Glock – 6 points
Hispania close the gap to Lotus to 19 points… and thats it really.
1) Lotus – 55 points
2) Hispania – 36 points
3) Virgin Racing – 20 points
This weekend, we see two football teams; battle it out in their national cup, as massive underdogs. Little to no hope is being given to them; thrashings are expected in both games. The oppositions have superior players, a lot more money, generally are the better teams. But there is a chance to prove everyone wrong, to be the heroes, to do the unthinkable.
The FA Cup Final, Chelsea v Portsmouth at Wembley. Chelsea featuring the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, coming off the back of an 8-0 thrashing of Wigan and a Premier League title. Portsmouth are struggling to even get their best player this season fit, after finishing dead last in the league, over £100 million in debt and currently in administration.
North of the border, Hampden Park sees an unusual line up, Dundee United v Ross County. Over a league separates the two teams. Dundee United are also heading for the Europa League while Ross County are staying in the First Division.
Portsmouth and Ross County are both massive underdogs, neither are expected to get anywhere near a victory. But both teams have earned the right to get to the final.
Pompey, on the route to Wembley, beat other Premier League opposition in the form of Sunderland, Birmingham City and possibly the biggest upset, Tottenham Hotspur. They weren’t given a hope against Spurs, as I should know. But they scored when they needed too, defended excellently, and earned a place in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea.
But my favourite tale is of Ross County, situated deep in the Scottish Highlands and a stadium with a capacity of just over 6,000. Yet despite all of this, in their six games in this years Scottish Cup, they have scored a massive 24 goals. That is exactly four goals a game, including a 9-0 demolishing of Stirling Albion, as well as the scalps of Scottish Premier League big boys, Hibernian and Celtic.
And they certainly didn’t luck their way past Celtic, they out performed them, deserving of both of the goals. And while interim Celtic boss Neil Lennon could only look on at a trophy-less season for the club, The Stags are still dreaming of Cup success and some famous away days in Europe.
But this isn’t the first time a plucky, little team has overachieved in the Scottish Cup. In 2008, Queen of the South met Rangers in the final. And Queen of the South certainly gave Rangers an excellent match, with a Kris Boyd strike twenty minutes from the end ruining any Cup dreams, eventually losing 3-2 in the end.
Queen of the South still managed to make it into Europe however, but fell short in the UEFA Cup 2nd Qualification Round against FC Nordsjælland, losing 4-2 on aggregate.
Europe is place that Portsmouth will be unable to enter next season, after not sending in a UEFA license in time for the 2010-11 season. But both Portsmouth and Ross County will be going out for victory, neither team has anything to lose; both teams have made a massive achievement in just getting to the final. There is a massive chance both teams will end up on the wrong side of a hiding tomorrow. But one thing is for certain, the 11 players of Portsmouth and the 11 players of Ross County will be going for the win, to do the unthinkable, to dream the impossible dream.
Spanish Grand Prix
It might have been a bit of a dull race, but the results have certainly spiced up the Championship being fought by the new teams. Virgin are back in the game and Hispania are struggling again.
It was a bad start to the race for current leader Heikki Kovalainen, who didn’t even start the race after his gearbox failed to work. It wasn’t much better for Bruno Senna, who was hit in the rear during the first lap and retired.
A solid race for the rest of the drivers followed, with the only over drama was when Jaime Alguesuari cut back onto Karun Chandhok too early, making Chandhok lose his front wing. A lap later, Chandhok was out of the race.
Despite a good battle between former Toyota team mates Trulli and Glock towards the end, it ended pretty much as it started in the first place.
|2||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||16th||6|
|3||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin Racing||17th||4|
|4||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin Racing||14|
|6||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||6|
You are in goal for an average team, more likely to end up in the Championship than in the Champions League. The best days of the team are gone, the best managers the team have ever had are in the past. Yet there you are, through thick and thin, up the highs and the inevitable lows, approaching thirteen seasons at that one club.
Jussi Jaaskelainen has done just that. And spent four whole seasons with El Hadji Diouf. You wont see him on the back pages, front pages, just about ten lines in the middle of the sports section describing his performance as solid, or better.
The Finn began his career with the Finnish side Mikkelin Palloilijat, his hometown team (he played alongside Shefki Kuqi, another Finnish export into the Premier League, the one who had that stupid bellyflop celebration). Despite playing in a handful of Veikkausliiga games (the top Finnish league), his four seasons impressed Vaasan Palloseura, who in the 1997 season, finished 2nd in the league.
Bolton Wanderers were interested, and at the end of that season, Jaaskelainen moved to Bolton halfway through their 1997-98 campaign. He never played in that season however, and Bolton were relegated to the old Division 1, being pipped on goal difference to Everton. They spent three seasons in Division 1, reaching the playoffs in 1999-00, getting beat 7-5 on aggregate to Ipswich Town.
But glory came the following season, Bolton winning the playoffs with a 3-0 win over Preston North End at the first Division 1 playoff match at the Millennium Stadium. But it happened without Jaaskelainen, after he suffered cruciate ligament damage half way through the season.
Disappointment turned to fortune a year later, as Bolton stayed up, ironically with the same amount of points which saw them relegated seasons earlier. Jaaskelainen picked up recognition and awards. Start of something brilliant. In the decade that followed, Jaaskelainen would reach the Carling Cup final, only to be unluckly defeated by Middlesbrough 2-1 and finish as high as 6th and 7th in the Premier League, earning UEFA Cup places. The best UEFA Cup performance was in the 2007-08 season, where Gary Megson controversially favoured a mid-table Premier League finish over progress in Europe.
While Jussi Jaaskelainen’s career hasn’t been littered in trophies and medals. It still has been an impressive showing by him. He is an excellent shot stopper, certainly the best of the league. Sure his best days are behind him, but he is still a keeper that I’d have in my team any day of the week if the chance arose.
He proved this against Tottenham Hotspur yesterday. A string of impressive saves, including parrying a fast hit from Gareth Bale, and tipping around a dangerous shot. The only reason he was scored against (apart from the fact none of the four Spurs strikers can hit the target to save their lives at the moment) was because of a thunderbolt by Tom Huddlestone.
Jaakelainen has got a few years left in him yet, probably all at Bolton. I maintain that he is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, along with Shay Given and Brad Freidel. And here is why:
Manchester United and Chelsea have solid keepers in Van der Sar and Cech, but they are both way past their best. Cech has not been the same since his horrific head injury for sure.
Without doubt, Joe Hart has looked good this season. He’s even made it into the PFA Team of the Year. But for me, one good season doesn’t make a good keeper, give him two to three more good seasons, and I’ll change my mind.
David James, Jose Reina and Brain Jensen. Both good keepers, but are prone to howlers. Unlike Manuel Almunia, who is just prone to howlers.
Chris Kirkland, Rob Green and Paul Robinson are good keepers, but, just can’t get that extra bit out of them to be extra special, there is a question that that chance has already passed them.
And finally there is the likes of Gomes, someone similar to Jaaskelainen, possibly the 4th best keeper in the league. Just needs one more season to be brilliant and I think he will be best.
So, thats my reasoning to why Jussi Jaaskelainen is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. He is an excellent shot stopper and there is nothing that can be said that will change my mind. Sure, he makes his mistakes, but all keepers do, don’t they? And again, sure, his best days are behind him. But as I’ve said before, his best was at a very high standard, so being past it isn’t that bad at all.