20 Sep

Sherwood not taking Toffees lightly

first_img Other results have left Villa just two points above the relegation zone with four games left. “I could have hand-picked at least five other teams who I would like to come here rather than Everton,” Sherwood said. “They are the form team in the league. They played very well (against Manchester United), they broke very well and they can cause a lot of teams problems. They’ve got some exceptional players. “The mindset is that we’re disappointed on the back of a defeat. When you lose you just want to put it to the back of your mind as soon as you can. “You can’t, though, at this stage of the season because you have to wait another week before you put it away. “We went there and had them on the back foot for 85 minutes. If we continue with that level of performance I’m confident we will be OK.” Alan Hutton is back in training following an ankle injury and will be assessed ahead of the Toffees’ visit while Philippe Senderos could feature after a thigh problem, but Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark (both knee) are out. Goalkeeper Shay Given is pushing to start after Brad Guzan’s error gifted Sergio Aguero Manchester City’s opener last week and Sherwood admitted he has a decision to make. Boss Tim Sherwood admits he is wary of in-form Everton but insisted Aston Villa are ready to forget their Manchester City frustration. He said: “It was an obviously an error from Brad and he recognises that. There were other errors made on the field. When you’re a goalkeeper, you’re in the firing line. “I’ve always got decisions to make about the goalkeepers. I’ve said that about all the players. There’s a lot of players competing for places. Everyone has got a right and an opportunity to start.” Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is not ready to return to action. The forward has been out with a hamstring injury which also forced him to miss both the FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool and last weekend’s narrow loss to Manchester City but has yet to return to training. Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar will miss the trip as he sits out a third successive match because of a muscle injury. Utility player Bryan Ovideo’s season is over after he broke a metatarsal in training, joining midfielder Darron Gibson on the sidelines with a similar problem. Defender Tony Hibbert is the other long-term absentee. Everton head to Aston Villa on Saturday as the Premier League’s form team after five wins and a draw. Last season they took 21 points from the final 10 matches and the fact they are replicating those results is a positive for boss Roberto Martinez. “It is about being consistent with your work on a daily basis,” he said. “If you look at the players there is a really good balance of being fresh and physically strong enough. “I think to be able to finish the season strongly is vital as the final 30 points is when you are fighting for what you want to achieve in the league. “It is very pleasing because it is a real test of the staff at the club and the professionalism of our players and that is pleasing.” Not so long ago Everton were threatened with being dragged into a relegation battle but those fears were banished pretty quickly and Swansea, in eighth six points ahead, are now in their sights. “It is an important moment of our season. Tenth is a spot that six games ago it looked unthinkable,” said the Toffees boss. “At the moment we are not looking at positions in the table, we are just trying to make sure we carry on with the run.” The Toffees have won five of their last six Barclays Premier League games, drawing the other, ahead of their Villa Park clash on Saturday. They comfortably beat Manchester United 3-0 last week while Villa slipped to a battling 3-2 defeat at the Etihad. Press Associationlast_img read more

17 Sep

MBB : SPARK PLUG: Waiters leads Syracuse’s spectacular offensive performance in win over GW

first_imgDion Waiters finished an astonishing personal sequence at the rim and released his jubilation with a fist pump toward the ground and a chest bump with Scoop Jardine.A combination of dominating defense and offense culminated in the Syracuse guard taking his steal all the way to the basket, rising above George Washington guard Tony Taylor and sinking a layup plus the blocking foul. Less than a minute earlier, he flew in for a highlight-reel right-handed reverse dunk on a fast break, sending the Carrier Dome crowd into a frenzy as he celebrated too.‘I’m happy for Dion because he’s really playing hard for us and he’s really making a commitment and being that player off the bench, that spark that he can be,’ the SU guard Jardine said.Off the bench, Waiters helped provide a jolt to an SU offense that was in a swoon in its last couple games. Syracuse (10-0) shed itself of its previous early-game struggles, scoring the first seven points of the game and shooting 51.4 percent in the first half of an 85-50 rout over George Washington (4-5) in front of 23,226 in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. On his 20th birthday, Waiters erupted for a career-high 19 points and six steals to lead the charge, as SU took a 20-point lead into the locker room at halftime. A combination of pressure defense creating turnovers and improvement in finishing in transition allowed No. 3 Syracuse to cruise comfortably in the second half against the Colonials.And with each of the top two teams in the country — No. 1 Kentucky and No. 2 Ohio State — losing on Saturday, the Orange may be poised to ascend to the top ranking in the country for the first time since March 2010.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘It’s nice, these kids have worked hard,’ SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘Whatever happens, happens, we’ll just have to be ready to play next week.’The Orange’s relentless full-court pressure helped it pull ahead early. GW head coach Mike Lonergan said after the game his guards were worn out by the pressure applied on defense by the SU guards.That pressure began as soon as Syracuse scored a basket. While it didn’t lead to a ton of turnovers in the backcourt, the defense threw the Colonials off in their offensive sets.‘I think they were a little nervous,’ SU guard Brandon Triche said. ‘They didn’t really have a clear idea of what they wanted to do with the ball and I think they struggled with our defense.’It took a GW team technical — for having an incorrect number in the scorebook — to put SU on the board a minute into the game, but from there, the Syracuse offense rolled. Kris Joseph came up with a steal under the SU basket and quickly pushed the ball out to Triche in transition. The guard found Jardine streaking up the floor for a layup, putting the Orange up 7-0 and causing Lonergan to use a timeout. Jardine scored six of SU’s first 11 points as the Orange took an early 11-2 lead.‘We start out slow a lot and today we really tried to pick it up,’ Jardine said. ‘Especially on the defensive end, coach pressed as soon as we got a bucket. And that was something we never really do and it kind of got us going a little bit.’The breakneck start for SU continued when Joseph hit a 3 right in front of the GW bench to put the Orange up 16-4, causing Lonergan to just turn away, shake his head, and laugh. The Colonials were overmatched.Then Waiters took over the game. The sophomore said after Tuesday’s game against Marshall he anticipated a big game on his birthday, and he delivered.His first bucket came after Michael Carter-Williams recovered a loose ball, and pushed it to Waiters for a reverse right-handed dunk that got the crowd going. It was the first of many points off turnovers for Waiters. SU scored 34 points off GW’s mistakes, while the Colonials only managed three points off turnovers.His steal on GW’s next possession led to the three-point play and Waiters’ excitement.‘The crowd always gets me hyped,’ Waiters said. ‘And I just try to go out there and give them a play, get up, get on their feet, bring more energy into the Dome.’Waiters led SU with 10 points in the first half, his final two coming on an alley-oop lay-in on a pass from halfcourt by Carter-Williams. In the second half, it was more of the same. He stole a Nemanja Mikic pass and coasted down the court, reaching back for a strong one-handed slam to put SU up 63-38.That one prompted the SU student section to sing Waiters ‘Happy Birthday’ during the next timeout, to the sixth man on what might soon be the No. 1 team in the country.‘Just another great opportunity, being able to just go out there and play,’ Waiters said. ‘Play aggressive and play physically and that’s what I try to do.’[email protected] Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on December 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjrlast_img read more