Sky Sports looks back at the last week of sporting highlights
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 17/03/14 1:27pm
There was another bumper load of hectic action during the last week saw some huge results in the race for the Premier League title, while the Six Nations was decided on a dramatic final day of action.
We also saw the Formula One come roaring back for a new season, with big changes producing a distinctly different feel and with some dramatic events emanating from Melbourne.
With that and a huge result over in Indian Wells in one of the biggest events outside of the grand slams, we’ve had a lot to sift through this week.
The scene was set for Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll to end his glittering career on a high with a Six Nations title, but standing in his and Ireland’s way was a tough trip to Paris to face the French, where they had not won since 2000.
England’s win earlier in the day meant that Ireland had to win, and despite more than a few nervy moment they managed to emerge with a 22-20 victory to give iconic centre O'Driscoll the perfect end to his stellar international career. It was just a second win in Paris in 42 years for Ireland as they ensured O’Driscoll signed off in style.
They’ve been playing down their chances for a few weeks now, but after such a dominant win at Old Trafford against fierce rivals Manchester United, Liverpool moved into second in the Premier League and well and truly into the title picture.
Steven Gerrard scored two penalties and hit a post with a third in an amazing game, with Luis Suarez adding a fully deserved third in a game Liverpool largely dominated. Chelsea still lead, but Liverpool and Arsenal are hot on their heels while Manchester City are six behind with three games in hand – it should be some fight to the finish this year.
He’s not used to waiting until March to land his first title of the year, but Novak Djokovic did claim a big one over in California, as he defeated Roger Federer in the final of the ATP Masters at Indian Wells, to bag a 43rd singles crown of his career.
The six-time Grand Slam champion had to come from a set down to beat Federer to add a third Indian Wells title to his resume. It’s a big boost for Djokovic heading into an important part of the season, but it’s also a continued boost for Federer who won in Dubai two weeks ago and continues to impress in 2014.
A win on the PGA Tour is sweet enough, but for Australian John Senden it was made even sweeter when he won the Valspar Championship by one shot in Florida to end an eight-year wait for a title and also book his place at Augusta for next month’s Masters.
Senden dropped three shots in four holes before entering the famed Snake Pit at Copperhead golf course – the nickname for the fearsome closing three holes at the Innisbrook Resort. However, the Australian went birdie-birdie-par over the taxing stretch to hold off Kevin Na by just one stroke to claim a second PGA Tour win and that coveted trip to Augusta.
Poor old David Moyes, his dream move to Manchester United continues to be a nightmare for him as he watched on while his side were thumped 3-0 at Old Trafford by arch rivals Liverpool – results don’t come much worse than that. And now the huge pressure on Moyes is getting even bigger ahead of a Champions League game which could end their season.
United's season will be effectively ended if they fail to overturn a two-goal deficit in Wednesday's Champions League clash at Old Trafford against Olympiakos. As there is no solace in the league with United down in seventh, 12 points off the top four and 14 points behind old foes Liverpool – they were 29 points ahead of the Merseysiders at this stage last year.
Daniel Ricciardo was denied a dream debut for Red Bull after being disqualified from the results of the Australian GP. The Red Bull driver had finished in second place on the road behind the victorious Nico Rosberg but was subsequently excluded from the race result for a breach of Article 5.1.4 of the Formula 1 Technical Regulations, which states that, 'Fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h'.
In a verdict delivered five hours after the end of the race and just before midnight in Melbourne, stewards disqualified the 24-year-old Australian after ruling that his RB10 had 'consistently exceeded the maximum fuel flow of 100kg per hour'. Red Bull, however, immediately confirmed they would contest the result and had notified the FIA of their intention to appeal "with immediate effect".
A bad day at the office for the Premier League leaders to say the least, with Chelsea suffering a surprise 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa and having two players sent off and manager Jose Mourinho ordered to the stands after an ill-tempered finish at Villa Park.
Fabian Delph’s excellent finish proved to be the winner, but that was far from the end of the story as William was unlucky to see red before Ramires was rightly ordered off for a dreadful diving challenge – with Mourinho sent packing in the resulting melee. Jose has responded in typical style by stating referee Chris Foy should not referee Chelsea again.
It’s always tough to be ruled out of a major tournament through injury, but when the problem is 100 per cent self-inflicted it may be even harder to come to terms with, as England’s ben Stokes found out as he fractured his hand to cost him a place in the squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
The Durham player suffered the injury when he punched a locker in the dressing-room following his dismissal in the T20 international against West Indies in Barbados on Thursday. With Stokes distraught to be missing out - Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes has been added to the 15-man squad to replace him.