Blogs & Opinion


Ed Chamberlin: Super Sunday and Cheltenham to be excited about

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 20th February 2014 view comments

This weekend feels like the start of the run-in.

Still more than 40 live Premier League games to come on Sky Sports and with the way things stand at the top, middle and bottom of the table, there is something riding on every single game.

This weekend's Super Sunday focuses on the race for the Champions League and the battle to avoid relegation.

Tim Sherwood: Spurs will be under pressure if Liverpool win on Sunday

Tim Sherwood: Spurs will be under pressure if Liverpool win on Sunday

We start with Newcastle against Aston Villa. Since Yohan Cabaye moved to PSG, the wheels seem to have come off Newcastle's season. They have failed to win or score in each of last four games, losing the last three whilst conceding 10 goals.

Newcastle have also lost their last four at home and have gone six hours and 10 minutes since their last league goal at St James' Park.

If Brendan Rodgers' side continue their winning roll at Anfield they will go six points ahead of Spurs and put the pressure firmly on Tim Sherwood's men.

Ed Chamberlain
Quotes of the week

Aston Villa aren't in great form either with one win from their last six. They are 12th but that's only four points clear of danger. However, they remain a dangerous unit on the road, having taken 17 points away from home this season.

In the fight for Champions League football, Liverpool can deliver the first blow on Sunday in the early kick-off against Swansea. Going into the weekend, Liverpool are 1/5 to secure a seat back at Europe's top table with Tottenham at 5/2.

If Brendan Rodgers' side continue their winning roll at Anfield, they will go six points ahead of Spurs and put the pressure firmly on Tim Sherwood's men.

They've been answering all the questions of late and have been flying under their new head coach. Since Sherwood took over in mid-December, only Chelsea have taken more points (24) and only Liverpool (27) have scored more goals.

Sherwood has the best record after 10 games in charge of any Tottenham manager in Premier League history.

In that time, only Cardiff have taken fewer points than Norwich. The Canaries have scored the fewest League goals in that period (4), failing to score in six of the last 10 games.

It's left Norwich just one point clear of the drop zone and only 13/8 which Sky Bet to go down. They could find themselves in the bottom three going in to Sunday's game.

Norwich have never beaten Tottenham at Carrow Road in the Premier League (L4 D2) - they badly need to change that on Super Sunday.Cheltenham Festival

The countdown to the Cheltenham Festival is in full swing and the raft of preview evenings have begun. These events continue to swell in number and have their critics but they are great fun and good for the sport. Anything that gets sports fans talking about racing and Cheltenham has to be good for the game.

I highly recommend you try and attend the Sportinglife.com/Sky Bet Preview Evening at Elland Road on March 5. Jason Maguire will be on the panel alongside Racing UK analysts Niall Hannity and Mark Howard, as well as Irish correspondent Donn McClean and Sky Bet's racing guru Michael "Winners" Shinners all chaired by the mighty Dave Ord. They should come up with plenty of winners and entertainment will be guaranteed.

These are the five races I'm most looking forward to at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

5. Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle

Not just because of its new sponsors but because it's the most open Festival curtain-raiser I can remember.

The race is shaping up as the perfect opening skirmish between the English and Irish and also the training giants of Mullins, Nicholls and Henderson, who all have leading contenders in the race.

The roar that greets the tapes going up and the launch of four brilliant days of racing is one of my favourite moments of the sporting year.

4. Neptune Novices Hurdle

This is always a good race and this year looks no different. I'm looking forward to seeing whether Faugheen can live up to all the hype.

3. Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

Another novice hurdle which looks to be a better quality and more interesting than the novice chases at this stage. David Pipe looks to have a really strong team for the Festival. My nap of the meeting, Kings Palace, runs in this contest.

2. World Hurdle

This race should throw up the best story of the week, potentially getting racing on the back and front pages. A Big Bucks win would be a roof-off-the-stand job and an "I was there" moment. A win for the mare Annie Power would be a great story, too. The latter is far more likely.

1. The Champion Hurdle

Tuesday will be THE day to be at this year's Festival. The Supreme, Arkle, Quevega and the best Champion Hurdle I can remember. All year it's promised to be an epic and with all the lead protagonists so far standing their ground, we are set for the race of the season. Jezki remains a decent each-way price at 10/1.

The sensational four days at Prestbury Park will also be key and decisive days in the prestigious Sky Sports Ten-to-Follow competition. I'm pleased to say I still lead the way at the head of the 21-strong field including the great and good from Sky Sports, Sporting Life and Sky Bet.

However, having been cantering with a double handful a few weeks ago, I've been sending out a few distress signals and could soon be rousted along. That's because Sky Bet's PR guru Dale Tempest, Sky Sports News supremo Andy Cairns and my colleague Alex Hammond loom large in the mirrors.

I feel like I'm crossing the Melling Road for the second time out in front, with three big guns taking aim in behind.

Encouragingly for me, none of them have ever stayed the trip and won the National Hunt version of the competition in its 10 year history and are highly likely to crack under pressure. All three would probably have a Timeform squiggle by their name.

My editor, David Ord, presenter Rachel Wyse, and leading columnist Richard Fahey, remain tailed off.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Andy Walker

Walker: Celtic 'shocking'

Ronny Deila’s hopes of winning over the club’s fans took a big blow in Poland, says Andy Walker....

Guillem Balague

Balague: Barca training tough

Guillem Balague says Barcelona’s stars will suffer gruelling double sessions during their week at Burton....

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Tottenham agree to sign Sporting's Eric Dier, West Ham take Carl Jenkinson on loan and Juan Quintero's Arsenal link is played down.

Slovakian stalemate for Hull

Tom Huddlestone was left to rue a bad miss as Hull drew 0-0 away to AS Trencin of Slovakia in Europa League qualifying.

Game of the season

Vote for the best Sky Sports Premier League game of 2013/14 – and we’ll replay the best ones on air.

Jenkinson joins West Ham

West Ham have signed defender Carl Jenkinson from Arsenal on a season-long loan.

Quintero link surprises agent

The agent of Porto's Juan Quintero has played down reports linking the Colombia star with an imminent move to Arsenal.

Features

A number of Premier League teams look set to embrace the 3-5-2 once again after its success at the World Cup

A number of Premier League teams look set to embrace the 3-5-2 once again after its success at the World Cup

The World Cup has a long tradition of sparking innovation. The Miracle of Berne may have prevented Hungary lifting the trophy in 1954 but the Magnificent Magyars and their 3-2-3-2 discovered the way to outfox the WM formation.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has his philosophy but there are still lessons to learn from Jose Mourinho

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has his philosophy but there are still lessons to learn from Jose Mourinho

"Jose is happy to work that way and play that way and he will probably show his CV and say it works but it's not my way of working. I like to take the initiative in games and let players express themselves.

Southampton situation is a sad one despite club claims

Southampton situation is a sad one despite club claims

“When I said that it wasn’t our intention to sell any players, that was correct – it wasn’t our intention to sell any players.” These were the comments made by Les Reed, Southampton’s executive director, to the Southern Daily Echo last month. Semantics at their finest.