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19 Sep 2010

F1 title fight reaches boiling point.

After Lewis Hamilton's disaster at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend, Formula One is poised for it's greatest title run-in in decades.

Mark Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, 2009 Champ Button and Sebastien Vettel are all within one race win of each other. With just 5 races to go and 125 points on the table, the title really is anyone's game.

Next weekend in Singapore won't go very far in deciding anything, unless Vettel has a no score. The track looks set to be another Red-Bull-athon similar to Hungary, unless McLaren's latest "big" update proves more successful than their last. Ferrari are still in the hunt after Alonso's 3rd victory of 2010 7 days ago. However Ferrari may struggle after using their 8th new engine of the season, and using any more new one earns an instant 10 place grid drop, basically ending any chances of winning that race.

The Red Bull team will also hope that their early-season unreliability doesn't return. They would have been over the hill by now in both driver's and constructor's championships by now if they hadn't had Vettel's engine trouble in Bahrain, Vettel break failure in Australia, Vettel failing to finish in Turkey and causing Webber to miss out on a win. Webber's crash in Australia and many more problems too.

McLaren have both drivers at the sharp end of the grid and Hamilton will look to banish the demons of Monza that saw him retire after 4 corners of the race with a broken steering arm following a brush with Massa's Ferrari. He will also look to recapture the form that he had in Belgium when apart from one little adventure in the gravel, he put in a 10/10 performance. His team-mate Button can't be counted out either, and he could benefit most from the engine rules as his smooth driving style takes much less out of the engine than his 4 rivals.

5 races to go, and if anyone tells you that they know who will win, check how much they've had to drink.

4 Sep 2010

And they're off!

Football is back.

Just 8 weeks on from the end of the 19th World Cup, the Premier League and all the other European nations kicked off with a bang last month.

Chelsea kicked off with the biggest bang of all, and they deserve a special mention from me. In their opening two games they managed 2 6-0 thrashings, and then won their 3rd 2-0. Still the only team with a true 100% record (they haven't conceded either)

Across in Italy, the league started 2 weeks after the English, so the early running is still to be made, but currently it is the newly reinforced AC Milan sitting atop the pile after a sound thumping of new boys Lecce. Roma and Inter, last season's protagonists both limped to drab 0-0 draws that will do little to reignite the burning, passionate battle between the two.

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The summer Transfer window was busier than ever, with the Premier League's 25 man squad rule introduced, it meant many more players were sold than previous years. The biggest winners were clearly Manchester City, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma.

City with their new-found and never ending wealth signed a massive amount of stars including Yaya Toure, Kolarov of Lazio and a certain bad tempered Italian, Mario Balotelli.
AC Milan lucked out with the Premier League's new rule when Man City were forced to rid themselves of Brazilian Robinho, who they picked up for almost half the price City paid for him 18 months ago. AC also profited from Barcelona's interesting selling policy, by picking up ex-Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a fraction of the £60million-plus-Eto'o deal a few seasons back.

Juventus and Roma showed their power in the summer, with the Turin side adding Fabio Quagliarella, Alberto Aquilani (loan), Simone Pepe (Italy's only good WC2010 player), Jorge Martinez and Milos Krasic from CSKA Moscow. Roma added to the team that pushed Inter to the final weekend of Serie A 09-10 by adding returning giant and possible powerhouse Adriano on a free transfer from Flamengo. They also poached Fabio Simplicio from Palermo, another free signing.

Roma's biggest deal came on deadline day last week, when they managed to capture Marco Borriello on loan from Milan for just £2million, with the option to buy him at the end of the year.

Europe is shaping up very nicely for another exciting season.