Weekend Talking Points: Federer’s landmark and advantage Man City
Dave Burin | 4 March 2019
Round-up of the major sporting action
In the Premier League, the title-race pendulum has swung the way of Manchester City following derby day frustration for Liverpool.
That’s perhaps the weekend’s biggest story, but we’ve not been short of major talking points elsewhere – from a tennis icon’s landmark win to a falling Bundesliga giant.
Here’s a look at the five biggest moments of the weekend…
City sitting pretty with nine games remaining
Man City and Liverpool have previous for duking out a title tussle, in 2013-14. On that occasion the Citizens came from behind to dramatically pip the Reds.
And a repeat could now be on the cards. Having led the table by seven points earlier in 2019, Jurgen Klopp’s men now trail by a point.
Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Everton was the Reds’ third successive draw on their travels, and they’ve now gone 248 minutes without an away goal.
It wasn’t pretty from City on Saturday, but they pulled off a gritty 1-0 win at AFC Bournemouth despite injuries in the game to Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones. Now top of the table, the odds make Man City 1/3 to retain the Prem title.
Could Schalke be set for a shock drop?
Schalke 04 fans must be wondering what on earth is happening. Having finished second in the Bundesliga last season, the Gelsenkirchen club
In what would be something of a reverse Leicester City feat, Domenico Tedesco’s side could face their first season outside the top-flight since 1991 after five top-four finishes and a DFB Pokal title in the last nine seasons.
Goals have been the issue for Schalke, who’ve managed a single goal – and a solitary point – in their last five Bundesliga games. Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Fortuna Dusseldorf was the club’s heaviest league defeat at VELTINS-Arena since 2013.
Now just four points above the relegation play-off spot, Die Konigsblauen need a result at Werder Bremen on Friday night. They’re 5/2 for victory, while a Werder win at 21/20 could see Tedesco axed.
100 not out for the Fed Express
It’s hard to find new superlatives to throw at Roger Federer. And the Swiss ace made more history on Saturday, becoming just the second ever man to reach 100 career singles titles.
For history fans, the only other mens’ player to achieve the feat was Jimmy Connors, back in 1983.
Federer’s number 100 came in the Dubai Tennis Championship on Saturday, as the Swiss veteran saw off world number 10 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets.
Now just nine off Connors’ record 109 titles, Federer will be eyeing up glory in the next Grand Slam, the French Open. He’s 20/1 for glory at Roland Garros.
England skittled in final ODI
They may be top of the world rankings ahead of this summer’s Cricket World Cup on home soil, but England were shellacked in St Lucia on Saturday.
Their ODI series against the West Indies finished in a respectable 2-2, but Trevor Bayliss’ side capitulated. The visitors’ last five wickets fell for just two wins, with Oshane Thomas’ fast-bowling leaving England stunned.
The usually reliable Joe Root also departed after just one run, while nobody in England colours reached the 25-run mark. Time will tell whether it’s a bad day on a bouncy pitch, or a sign of serious issues.
Rom’s revival is truly underway
After struggling for starts in the early part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United tenure, many wondered if Romelu Lukaku’s hit-and-miss stint at the club was heading to its end.
But the Belgian powerhouse is the latest to revive his fortunes under Solskjaer, with two clinical displays in the space of a week.
Lukaku’s impact in big games has been a constant source of questions throughout the 25-year-old’s career, but he was the man for the key moment on Saturday.
United edged past Southampton in a 3-2 thriller, with Lukaku scoring two beautifully-placed strikes – including an 88th-minute winner. Following a crucial brace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday, it’s all coming right for him.
Next up is a visit to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night. The Belgian is 14/5 to net Anytime at Parc des Princes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing