Weekend Talking Points: Magnificent May and more Chelsea misery
Round-up of the biggest sporting action
It was another breathless weekend of sporting action. Not least in the Premier League, where Chelsea suffered their heaviest defeat in almost 28 years.
Meanwhile, there was a sterling display from one England star in the Six Nations. And another round of NBA action has seen an unlikely resurgence in the Southeast Division.
We round up all that and more below…
May mauls France as England close in on glory
The 2018 Six Nations clash between France and England ended with the hosts edging it 22-16 at Stade de France. Many were expecting another close encounter at Twickenham last weekend and the reality turned out to be quite the opposite.
In short, this year’s tussle was a Jonny May masterclass. The Leicester Tigers winger scored three Tries inside the opening half-hour to more or less kill the contest – which ended 44-8 to Eddie Jones’ men.
May’s first Try was all about pace, collecting a kick to get over the line bang on the two-minute mark. Slick footwork close to the line sealed his second, and his third came courtesy of another kick (this time from Chris Ashton).
It all looks very rosy for England, who are now 1/6 to win the Six Nations. Meanwhile, a Grand Slam is up for grabs at 5/6.
Sarri says sorry: But is it enough?
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri had few words in the aftermath of his side’s 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City. But he did tell the BBC: “In the last three matches away we’ve played very badly so we need to say sorry.”
Whether an apology will placate the Blues fans – or the board – is quite another matter. Sarri is now the 11/10 favourite to be the next Prem boss to leave.
Not only was this the West London club’s heaviest defeat since April 1991 (a 7-0 hammering at Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest), but it was over in the first half-hour. After 25 minutes, the scoreboard read 4-0 to Pep Guardiola’s side.
In a turgid team performance, captain Cesar Azpilicueta was perhaps the worst of the bunch. He gave away the penalty which gifted City their fifth goal, to cap off a woeful individual display.
Clarets survival bid gaining momentum
Only two sides have gone through their last seven Premier League matches without defeat – Manchester United and Burnley.
Sean Dyche’s side suffered something of a hangover after last season’s incredible campaign. But the Clarets – now the highest-scoring side in the bottom eight – are steering clear of a relegation battle.
The duo of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood have spearheaded that resurgence. Between them, the duo have scored all six of Burnley’s goals in the last three games – with the Kiwi beanpole bagging a brace in Saturday’s 3-1 win in Brighton.
Their revival is reflected in the latest odds. The Lancashire side are now a chunky 11/4 for relegation.
It’s Magic for Orlando this month
Talking of resurgences, there’s been another sudden turnaround in the NBA’s Southeast, with Orlando Magic now closing in on the playoff positions.
Steve Clifford’s side were awful for much of December and January, including a loss to the (13-43) Chicago Bulls just before New Year. But it’s been a whole different story this month – with a string of commanding wins.
Victory over the lowly Brooklyn Nets kicked off a month in which the Magic are now 4-1. But it was victory on the road at Eastern Conference leaders Milwaukee Bucks which really caught the eye.
The Magic grabbed a 103-83 victory, with Montenegrin star Nikola Vucevic scoring 18 points. But it was defensively where they really shone. Those 83 points marked the Bucks’ lowest total in any of their 55 games so far this season.
Dortmund collapse allows Bayern to pounce
There’s no question Borussia Dortmund are this season’s entertainers in the Bundesliga. They’ve racked up 54 goals in 21 games. But their bid to back up their all-action displays with a first league title since 2012 took a hit at the weekend.
Lucien Favre’s side seemed to be cruising at 3-0 up at home to Hoffenheim. But a collapse in the final 20 minutes saw the visitors silence the Yellow Wall and snatch a point.
As for title rivals Bayern Munich, they’ve been quietly efficient in recent weeks and eased to a 3-1 win over Schalke 04 at the weekend. Now back into second spot and five points off the summit, Bayern are 5/6 to lift the title.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing