KEY KUPP?

KEY KUPP?

(Cooper Kupp; AP Images)
The National Football League is in full swing after this weekend’s actions but there has been a question that needs answering; Is Cooper Kupp the best receiver in football? Super Bowl winning, top for most yardage, and arguably more important to his team’s success than even Aaron Donald. Leading up to the season many pundits, analysts and former players made their own “chart show” for the top receivers in the league, but Kupp is never higher than 3rd.

That is ridiculous after the season he has had and the consistency he has shown, it is weird and appalling why people don’t see him as the number one receiver heading into the NFL season. Stats is one way to look at it but others prefer to do the eye test, and that test shows he has performed better than the other receivers in the league. The Ja’Marr Chase’s, Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson’s, etc., have had fantastic seasons in the past, but Kupp may not get the respect he deserves.

(Cooper Kupp #10, Justin Jefferson #18, Ja’Marr Chase #1, Davante Adams #17; Pro Football Focus)
Bringing stats into the equation, Kupp is levels ahead of the competition. The Rams wide-out had over 300 more yards (1,947) than the next best receiver (1,616) who was Justin Jefferson. Kupp also had the most touchdowns (16), the most BIG plays (20 yards or more; 30 of those), and the highest yards per game average (114.5 ypg) with the next closest being Davante Adams with 97.1 ypg (min. 100 receptions).

Stats on his side, the eye test works, and his importance are evident, Cooper Kupp is at least a top-2 receiver in the NFL. The Rams opened their campaign with a loss to the new and improved Bills, but as long as the Kupp/Stafford partnership works, the Rams will be just fine.

MANCHESTER DIS-UNITED

MANCHESTER DIS-UNITED

(Mohammed Salah celebrates as Harry Maguire scoffs in the background)
Thirteen Premier League titles, three-time Champions League winners, and the team that revolutionized English football in the ‘90s and 2000s have fallen off the bridge into a massive ditch. The club hasn’t won a league title in nearly ten years with that trend looking to continue for another season.

The fall of a great English giant is very appalling to others but to the supporters, they have a prime example as to why this has happened. The Glazer family that also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are what the fans have shown to be the downfall over the last nine years, and even before that. They were voted the worst owners in England’s top division last season and the outrage has continued into this summer and the new season.

(The Glazer brothers who run the club)
Spending $1.2 bn on players directly from only club revenue, while having the club in more than $600 million in debt and not investing a single penny doesn’t bode well with supporters. Not to mention the dividends they continuously take out of the club without reinvesting.

Decisions on the board level over the last few years have screwed United. Giving players massive contracts in terms of salary which makes it hard to move a player, vetoing managers’ request to sell or terminate players, and forcing managers to pick certain players is killing the club.

Some on-field decisions seem to be political and not based on form, playstyle, or anything. Harry Maguire is undoubtedly the worst captain and waste of money in Manchester United’s history but still starts every match. Scott McTominay who shows week in and week out that he is a limited player gets picked for every game, and Marcus Rashford, who credit to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, made people believe he was good for the better part of two years, is hit and miss at best.

(Disgraced captain Harry Maguire echos his frustration)
Now there is a new manager, no ties to the club, no ties to the Premier League, no ties to England whatsoever, who is being handicapped by the incompetence of the board members and those supposedly in charge of the footballing side. Erik Ten Hag sees the issues (midfield, backup striker, right winger, right-back, etc.) but has only been given a center back, a backup left back, and a playmaker in Christian Eriksen.

The club is now in disarray with the fans applying the utmost pressure on those “greedy Glazers” to sell the club with former board member Michael Knighton organizing a consortium to accomplish a hostile takeover of the club. Joel and Avram Glazer must not have any shame if you constantly go to games and the fans of your club sing that “they’re glad your brother’s in a box and they hope you are too.” If that isn’t a sign to leave before things escalate I don’t know what will.

ALMOST THERE

ALMOST THERE

(Manchester City players celebrating the Premier League title)
With the Premier League season approaching by the end of the week, some teams look more ready than others. From the relegation fight to the title race and those who are meant to be fighting for the top-4 falling out of contention, here is a quick rundown of each team and their predicted positions for the upcoming season and their readiness.
20. BOURNEMOUTH
(Adam Smith Bournemouth defender)
When it comes to Premier League quality, Bournemouth doesn’t seem to exude any. This time around they could be finishing rock bottom in the upcoming season. Even with Scott Parker at the helm and the additions of Marcus Tavernier, Ryan Fredericks, and Joe Rothwell the squad does not seem capable to compete in the league.

Heavily reliant on Dominic Solanke who in the Championship last season produced 29 goals and 7 assists in the 46-game season may not be able to translate that into the Premier League with Parker’s slow-build up playstyle. Back down they go.

19. LEEDS UNITED
(Joe Gelhardt, Jack Harrison and Daniel James)
After narrowly escaping the drop last season, I’m afraid the Jesse Marsch-led Yorkshire team won’t beat it this year. With an injury-prone striker in Patrick Bamford, a defense that changes shape more than Ghost Rider, and the loss of Raphina and Kalvin Phillips to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, the strength of the team is not what it was.

The additions of Tyler Adams, Marc Roca, Brenden Aaronson, and Luis Sinisterra are good on paper, however, the latter is out for about three months, and for the others, the speed of the Premier League may prove very challenging.

18. BRENTFORD
(Brentford ace Ivan Toney)
The buzzing bees will have their work cut out for them with the loss of Christian Eriksen who made them a massively better team. In fact, without Eriksen, they won six games from a possible twenty-eight. With the great Dane, they won seven out of ten games contested showing the importance of the playmaker.

Even though the bees have signed two exciting players in Aaron Hickey and Keane Lewis-Potter, with the shrewd signing of Thomas Strakosha on a free, the lack of creativity will be their heaviest issue as second-season syndrome kicks Brentford out.

17. FULHAM
(Fulham players celebrating)
For once Fulham looks like they have invested properly with the acquisitions of former Arsenal and Germany number one Berd Leno, Andreas Pereira from Manchester United, Kevin Mbabu from Wolfsburg, and Portuguese midfielder Joao Palhinha to go along with record scorer Alex Mitrovic, the Cottagers look to secure back-to-back seasons in the top flight since 2001.

Usually, Fulham proves to be a yo-yo club, however, with Marco Silva in charge and the liquid football that got them promoted mixed with the existing quality they have, it could be two straight years for the London-based outfit.

16. WOLVES
(Wolves players celebrating during the 2021/22 season)
The over-reliance on Goalkeeper Jose Sa could spill over into the new season for Wolverhampton and could see their season take a turn for a relegation fight instead of a fight for top six. The permanent deals of Hwang Hee-Chan and Nathan Collins may not be enough to have Bruno Lage’s men back to where they once were.

With the loss of Roman Saiss, who is now a Besiktas player, and loaning Fabio Silva to Anderlecht, depth may be the issue in Wolves stringing two good performances together.

15. LEICESTER
(Leicester during preseason)
The Foxes are not looking good during this window, and the squad that performed last season clearly cannot be the ones to go again this season, or they will be in massive trouble. Leicester has not made any additions, however, they welcomed Wesley Fofana back from injury along with Johnny Evans.

They however have allowed Kasper Schmeichel to leave for Nice in France, Soumare possibly to go on loan, and speculation over the futures of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans. Brendan Rodgers is also on thin ice with his future and these off-the-field issues could distract players to underperform, that is if Rodgers is still in charge.

14. NOTTINGHAM FOREST
(Forest are filled with young talent)
The newly promoted outfit will be involved in fight for mid-table instead of relegation in their first season back in nearly two decades. The loss of custodian Brice Samba was easily and quickly replaced with Dean Henderson on loan from Manchester United.

The English keeper has a point to prove as he wants the number 1 shirt from David De Gea when his loan move ends. Also, with the acquisitions of Omar Richards, Lewis O’Brien, Neco Williams, and Jesse Lingard, Steve Cooper’s men are ready to stay in the division.

13. SOUTHAMPTON
(Southampton striker Adam Armstrong)
Southampton is lucky to be in the division this season seeing as their form in 2022 was relegation-like, only picking up one win. The Saints are still here though led by Ralph Hasenhuttl and captain James Ward-Prowse.

They have signed quite a few young players such as Gavin Bazunu, one of Europe’s most talented ‘keepers, striker Sekou Mara and midfielder Joe Aribo from Rangers, a bit of youthful exuberance could be what Southampton needs to finish mid-table.

12. EVERTON
(The Toffees looking to put last season’s failure behind them)
Even though they were handily beaten 4-0 by Minnesota United in the preseason and saved themselves in the penultimate game of the season, Lampard’s Toffees only experienced a blip. In the Premier League, the only thing more important than quality is experience.

With that in mind, they have that in James Tarkowski, Dele Alli, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to nurture the younger players such as Dwight McNeil and Anthony Gordon to help fill the void of the departed Richarlison.

11. CRYSTAL PALACE
(Wilfred Zaha and Joel Ward are the remaining squad members from this picture)
Patrick Vieira has transformed the philosophy of the Eagles since Roy Hodgson left and the fans couldn’t be happier. The loss of Conor Gallagher is going to be a mammoth to overcome seeing as the Chelsea player was at the center of everything good last season and even the signing of Mali international Cheick Doucoure can’t fill.

Now with the acquisitions of teen star Malcolm Ebiowei and Chris Richards, Palace could be involved in a Top seven place for most of the season before succumbing to a late-season push from the others around them.

10. ASTON VILLA
(Villa players John McGinn, Ashley Young, Emiliano Buendia, and Danny Ings)
Steven Gerrard’s Villains could be in for a fruitful season, not only in the Premier League. Jacob Ramsey was a breakout star during the 2021/22 season and has been one of the first names on the team sheet since then. Leon Bailey is going to come back with a vengeance after a not-so-spectacular season, mostly halted through injury.

Brazilian magician Philippe Coutinho made his loan move permanent to Villa Park before Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara signed for the Villains. With those additions, 10th may be the best place for them unless Gerrard can get the players doing much more.

9. BRIGHTON
(Captain Lewis Dunk in the foreground)
Potter-ball took the league by storm last season and this season won’t be any different. Fighting off Manchester City to keep Marc Cucurella could be one of the best things done this window. Unfortunately, Chelsea is paying full price for the fullback.

They already lost one key member of the squad in Yves Bissouma and they wouldn’t want to lose another, especially with a £15 million bid on the table for forward Neal Maupay. One of the better managers in the PL to work his magic once more.

8. WEST HAM
(Jarrod Bowen looking to carry on the great season)
The bubble-blowing Hammers have been flirting with the top six for the last couple of years under David Moyes, however, they may see more regression than progression this year.

Keeping Declan Rice was a massive statement and adding Gianluca Scamacca for £35 million, Alphonse Areola for £8 million, and defender Nayef Aguerd for £30 million there is depth for Moyes’ men but not enough that can fill in the right way.

7. NEWCASTLE
(Could Newcastle get Maddison before the start of the season?)
Premier League money boys are not spending what most people expected but they are spending to make sure they improve on last season. They already made the loan move of Matt Targett permanent from Villa, they also signed the likes of Nick Pope and Sven Botman.

The Magpies are also trying to recruit a striker after missing out on Hugo Ekitike with names like Benjamin Sesko being mentioned. They are also in for James Maddison from Leicester with the Foxes rejecting a £40 million bid and holding out for £60 million. The latest reports were that a bid amounting to £50 million was lodged and Leicester was inclined to accept the offer but time will tell.

6. MANCHESTER UNITED
(United players during a water break)
New manager Erik Ten Hag has his work cut out for him, but if the play in the preseason can be translated to the league then United fans are in for a treat. Acquiring Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez from the Eredivise where Ten Hag was last, and also Christian Eriksen are welcome additions to a team that floundered for most of the season.

The saga of Frenkie De Jong looks to be going until the end of the transfer window with the midfielder still not approving a move to Old Trafford after a £72 million fee was agreed between Manchester United and Barcelona. Reports are that the player wants the deferred payments that Barcelona owes him amounting to £17 million. United is still short in some areas so for now, 6th is the best position for the Red Devils.

5. CHELSEA
(New signing Raheem Sterling)
Chelsea has seen all of their summer targets go to Barcelona (except Koulibaly) and has really dented their transfer plans. Todd Boehly who is also co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers wants to pick up where his predecessor left off in terms of recruitment.

Chelsea lost the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, the Blues need massive reinforcements as they look to add one of Presnel Kimpembe or Wesley Fofana, and also Denzel Dumfries to four-time league champion Raheem Sterling. Timo Werner may also leave the London club, however, he would need to take a massive pay cut from his current £270,000 per week salary to do so.

4. ARSENAL
(Mikel Arteta with Gabriel Jesus)
Arsenal may finally be back under the guidance of Mikel Arteta and look set for future seasons. Arteta, who I predicted to be Manager of the Season, has assembled a team of youth, experience, and serial winners.

Adding Gabriel Jesus as the missing piece upfront to Bukayo Saka and Gabrielle Martinelli could only be better than last season. A utility player in the form of Oleksandr Zinchenko who can play both left-back and center midfield, and a midfielder in Fabio Vieira from Porto Arsenal’s depth is frightening.

3. TOTTENHAM
(Spurs striker Harry Kane)
Spurs under Antonio Conte have been unrecognizable compared to other seasons, and I say that in a good way. The Italian took a team from 8th place and looked disinterested to 4th place and brimming with confidence.

That will only get better with the additions of Yves Bissouma, Richarlison, Ivan Perisic, Djed Spence, and Clement Lenglet to name a few. It should be smooth sailing for Tottenham and possibly a trophy this season.

2. LIVERPOOL
(Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohammed Salah, and Fabinho in the background)
They may be favorites to many others but not for me. Liverpool has one of the best XI’s in the league and one of the best coaches in the world in Jurgen Klopp but they don’t have the depth to go all the way this time. Signing Darwin Nunez for £64 million plus add-ons to replace Sadio Mane is a good deal and Fabio Carvalho is definitely going to be a star.

When you want to be in a title race though depth is key. If an important player such as a Trent Alexander-Arnold goes down injured he has no backup. They may look complete but they need to add in the right areas to be contending until the final day.

1. MANCHESTER CITY
(Erling Haaland with Ruben Dias in the background)
Manchester City has a good chance to defend their title from twelve months ago, not because they are better than Liverpool but have more quality options than the Merseyside team. Erling Haaland is a fantastic player but that miss in the community shield could change the narrative briefly.

Not to sound idiotic or anything but the way Guardiola sets his team up and plays, Haaland will find himself on the bench more times than a few because he just won’t fit. Julian Alvarez would suit the striker position more of how Pep plays so he could feature more than the Norwegian in their title run.

Only Just …

Only Just …

(The women’s 4x100m winning team)
One of the most intriguing races of the world championships, the women’s 4x100m relay final was one to watch out for. After witnessing Jamaica complete the clean sweep of the 100m and take the top 2 spots in the 200m, the thought was how fast and not if they would win, however, speed does not win the relay; successful exchanges do.

With the likes of the fastest woman over 200m Shericka Jackson, five-time world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, the world record would be quivering.

In the heats of the 4x100m, after being placed in lane 8, they made it look harder than they need to finish fast with Kemba Nelson, which rightly earned her a place in the final. Some say controversial, but we all know rightly deserved.

Races are not won on paper though and the exchanges have to be as precise and quick as the athletes can be. Walker to Thompson-Herah to Fraser-Pryce to Jackson. However, with a talented team like that teams such as the United States with Abby Steiner and T.T Terry, and Great Britain with Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita should not be counted out.

The start of the final was looking like a chase down more of a fair race when Kemba Nelson covered Asha Philip within 60 meters it was gonna be a blinder until……the baton exchange was messed up on the back straight, where you can listen more of the analysis on the latest episode of GZ SPORTS; link down below, and by the time it came around Steiner was steaming away.

(Twanisha Terry edging Shericka Jackson on the line)
Second exchange (3rd leg) and Fraser-Pryce had a gap to make up on the veteran Jenna Prandini which was an uphill task seeing the bend favored the Americans. Anchor leg; Twanisha Terry, Sherika Jackson. Terry got the baton first and stormed away but here comes Jackson, closing and closing and closing…….but not enough. Disappointment is not the word to describe the feeling, but it is a start.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/11894545/episode-11-gz-sports-vamos

WHO IS TRINITY RODMAN?

WHO IS TRINITY RODMAN?

(Trinity Rodman; photo via Twitter)
Who was the teenager that broke into the best football squad in the world to then be a mainstay for the United States women’s team? She was the youngest to be drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) at age 18 where she won rookie and young player of the year, and a place in the team of the year. Her name is Trinity Rodman, but some know her as, Dennis Rodman’s daughter.
(Trinity and father, former NBA Superstar Dennis; photo via the daily mail)
The former 5-time NBA Champion’s daughter has been showing that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree with the winning mentality and quality play she exudes. Raised in Newport Beach, California, Trinity has always been intrigued by a different sport from her father. At the age of ten, she played for the SoCal Blues. Even at a young age her determination and hatred of losing were shown.

She won four national championships with the Blues, maintaining a five-year undefeated run. However, during college, she was unable to kick a ball because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She went pro after the disrupted season, being drafted by the Washington Spirit with the first overall pick in the draft. She mainly featured in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup where she played in all four games, scoring and assisting once.

(Trinity warming up for a league game)
Rodman followed up those impressive showings by scoring seven goals in the 2021 league season. Washington went all the way in the playoffs defeating Chicago Red Stars in the final, Rodman assisting the game-winning goal. Impressive as that showing was, at 19 years old, Trinity was named NWSL Rookie of the Year, and was named US Soccer Young Female Player of the Year.
(FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy)
In February of this year (2022), Rodman signed an extension with the Spirit making her the highest-paid player in the league’s history. Rodman represented the United States in virtually all age groups, and when she got her chance with the senior team, she hasn’t looked back.

She made her debut in the SheBelieves Cup where after a lively outing against the Czech Republic, Rodman notched her 1st goal in a friendly against Uzbekistan. She has been included in the CONCACAF Championship team and with the way she is playing, her name may be one of the first on the team sheet for the showpiece event.