Some scientists are claiming that when the Isthmus of Panama was formed, an extinction event occurred two million years later. The story is reported on EurekAlert: “We may be way off-track when we search for the causes of extinctions by looking only at the time the extinctions occur in the fossil record, which is what paleontologists normally do,” said Aaron O’Dea, postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “In our case, we see that most coral and snail species died off a good 2 million years after the environmental change that caused their demise.”Yet the next sentence says they don’t know why the extinction was delayed for such a long time. Another finds this puzzling:”We don’t start seeing extinction rates really increasing for another 1 million years,” [Ken] Jackson [London Natural History Museum] said. “What is most remarkable is that most of the organisms that went extinct were those that liked high productivity environments, which had already disappeared for some time. Why did it take so long for them to perish? What tipped the scales?”The lesson preached from this press release is that our actions today may have consequences millions of years into the future. But then, how would we ever know, and who would care?You mean, they actually believe this? They separate a cause from an effect by two million years? Yes, they do believe it. The dating method is never to be questioned, even when it leads to absurdities. The reason is that it provides an opportunity for them to get on their environmental soap box and make humans feel guilty for something. Then, why not be thankful for the Panama Canal, which re-joined the oceans? Won’t that help undo the damage two million years from now? It’s amazing what you can claim given unlimited time. I’m going to clap my hands, and predict that two million years from now, there will be a tsunami. Prove me wrong.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel (Image: World Economic Forum)Wilma den HartighSouth African economists have commended Finance Minister Trevor Manuel for a responsible and realistic budget in a difficult economic climate, with the consensus that it will give momentum to a slowing economy.In his budget speech to parliament on Wednesday, Manuel reassured South Africans that they would not bear the full burden of the international economic downturn thanks to South Africa’s sound banking system, healthy fiscal position, credible monetary policy and appropriate foreign exchange regulations.Dr Azar Jammine, director and chief economist at Econometrix, described the budget as “sensible” in light of the economic crisis and difficulties ahead.“It exploited the economic climate we are in beautifully,” Jammine said. He said it is also positive that the greatest areas of spending are in housing, community development, education and health.The largest adjustments to spending plans go to poverty reduction. Some R25-billion will go to provincial budgets – mainly for education and health care – while R13-billion will go to social assistance grants. The school nutrition programme gets an extra R4-billion, and R2.5 billion goes to municipalities for basic services.Manuel also announced that, over the next three years, infrastructure grants to municipalities will total R67-billion, and a further R45 billion will be spent on the Breaking New Ground housing programme. Together with investment in roads and public transport, these constitute a considerable expansion of public sector spending.“These are rightly prioritised as part of our response to the current deterioration in employment and economic activity,” Manuel said.Business Unity South Africa (Busa) also endorsed the realistic message of the 2009 budget. Raymond Parsons, deputy CEO of Busa, said the budget is in line with his organisation’s view that a supportive fiscal package is necessary.“This will help cushion the negative impact of the economic downswing on growth and jobs in South Africa,” Parsons said.Busa believes that while it is important to stabilise the economy this year, it is also essential to focus on measures that will help to lay the foundations for the next economic upturn. Parsons said Busa supports the continued infrastructural spending, investment in education and improved health facilities. It also welcomes, in particular, the increase in the VAT threshold.“Small businesses play an essential role in creating job opportunities,” he said.The Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) expressed similar sentiments. It said that the budget accurately recognises the unique challenges of the current context and responds boldly to them.“The Minister of Finance’s Speech dwelt at length on the impact of the current financial crisis on the South African economy and public finances, but moved decisively to ensure that the impact would be ameliorated for South Africans,” said Idasa’s Len Verwey.The budget deficit announcement of 3.8% also attracted much attention. Manuel said that although the budget deficit will rise to 3.8% of GDP next year, debt service costs will remain moderate over the next three years (at about 2.5% of GDP).“This is possible because we have had the courage to make the right choices over the past decade,” he said.Idasa said the deficit of 3.8% is far larger than budget balances proposed in the last decade but nevertheless described it as a “bold, assertive response to the unique challenges of the present”.Busa pointed out that while the deficit-before-borrowing is a little higher than expected, it believes that the budget has been able to combine flexibility and prudence in a manner that is positive for business and consumer confidence.Jac Laubscher, Group Economist at Sanlam, said the budget is very much a response to the global financial and economic crisis. It is also mindful of the adverse impact it will have on the economy and the people of South Africa.Laubscher said that the budget shows less confidence than in recent years because of the uncertainty of when and how the crisis will end. However, he believes that the shift to a more expansionary fiscal policy will be supported by an expansionary monetary policy, together with a more competitive exchange rate. In time these should have the desired effect. He is also pleased that the budget is still focused on enhancing the long-term sustainable growth potential of South Africa.Idasa pointed out that Manuel was also right to see the roots of the present crisis less in the “impersonal workings of global financial systems” and more in the absence of an international democratic system of economic and financial governance that equitably and transparently regulates the relations between states.Clearly, international markets need positive reforms, and South Africa seems well poised to play a leading role in representing developing country interests and perspectives in debates on these reforms.As expected, the budget was not without its lighter moments. In announcing this year’s increases in “sin taxes” – duties on tobacco and alcohol products – Manuel a participant in his online Tips for Trevor campaign, which encourages members of the public to give suggestions for the budget.Manuel said: “Mr At du Plooy has written to ask, ‘Please be a little more lenient on the tax on whisky for the old folks. We have so little to enjoy, you know things that used to happen after dark, no longer happen. All we have left to enjoy is a little entertainment before supper.’“He asks for leniency, reminding me that this will ultimately be for my own benefit as well. A bottle of whisky, Mr du Plooy, goes up by R3.21.”Related articlesSA tops for budget transparency Motlanthe reassures the nation SA’s finances all in order Infrastructure development in South Africa Upbeat budget despite global gloom Useful linksSouth African National Treasury – Budget 2008 EconometrixInstitute for Democracy in South AfricaBusiness Unity South AfricaOpen Budget Initiative
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. You’ve probably heard the term “bend, don’t break” when talking about defenses. It refers to a team that may give up some yards inside the 20-yard lines but can get stops when they need to.Earlier we broke down the Big 12 teams by current PPR or “points per red-zone attempt”, a stat which I explain here that shows how effective an offense is at the most crucial part of the field.We can use the same formula to quantify how good a defense is at not “breaking.” Here are the Big 12 defenses ranked in opponent PPR.How good is each defense at holding an offense to three points (or zero) when backed up to their own end zone? Let’s take a look.Just like an offense’s PPR can be coupled with the number of times they get to the red zone, opponent PPR can be better put in context when combined with how many red-zone trips a defense allows per game.Here are those numbers.So we see that West Virginia allows the least points per red-zone attempt (3.97), slightly edging out Oklahoma State (4.00). But the Mountaineers are fifth in allowed red-zone trips.Oklahoma State looks pretty good here giving up just 4.00 points per red-zone trip and allowing only 3.33 trips per game.Allowed zed-zone attempts is obviously impacted by the style of offense a team is playing and how well a defense is at slowing down that offense. More possessions mean more opportunities to get into the red zone.If we combine the two stats we can separate the defenses by who has given up the least red-zone points per game.Oklahoma State ranks third in points given up inside its own 20-yard line, just behind Kansas State and OU.This does not account for big plays given up for scores that started outside of the 20-yard line, which OSU has had issues with this year (OSU is currently No. 104 in the nation in plays of 30+ yards given up).This is the strategy of pretty much every Big 12 team. Other squads are going to get in your red zone. The question becomes what you do when that happens. Glenn Spencer preaches holding them to field goals.“The double move about got us one time and they busted out on a bunch route when we were in man,” said Glenn Spencer of Kansas State last week. “Which kind of made me uneasy about playing more aggressive.”“That being said, we still needed to force some field goals. If we’d have done that a couple more times, we’d have been in good shape. We gave up touchdowns after long drives, which is not what we like and we got shoved around a little bit.”For as much grief as we have given Spencer this season, it appears that compared to other Big 12 defenses his group is fairly effective at keeping teams out of the red zone and limiting their effectiveness once in the red zone.
Stat from @BerryTramel: Oklahoma’s last 3 possessions: 76, 82, 80 yards, 3 TDs. Oklahoma State has run 4 plays in that span.— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) December 3, 20166. OU was batteredOne of the most frustrating things about all of this is that Dede Westbrook was eviscerated in the second quarter and didn’t play at all in the second half. OU has no other receivers. This is not hyperbole. Their second-best true receiver came into the game with 320 yards on the season, and Mayfield still found a way to do work.Even further, Mixon didn’t look like himself and Perine was injured multiple times. OU was without defensive players all over the field, and OSU was completely healthy.With Jordan Parker down, Parrish Cobb, who the #Sooners hoped to redshirt is in the game— Ryan Aber (@ryaber) December 3, 2016And they still closed when it counted. Mostly because …7. Baker is a ballerI hate it. I hate it so much.I sports hate him with a passion when he’s playing Oklahoma State.This was my personal hell after the game.This is my own personal hell. pic.twitter.com/mZBDHwR1tF— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) December 3, 2016But that dude can go. He can play some college football. Johnny Mayfield is the best improviser in the country and he showed up when it mattered most. He’s a dude.(It also helps when he has more time in the backfield than it takes me to dress my two toddlers in the morning)“I think it’s pretty clear what happened,” said Gundy after the game. “One of the things that I had concerns with coming in was them getting in big plays, and that’s what happened. Unfortunately we played pretty good, in fact maintained some quality drives and had some defensive stands, but they big-played us.“I was concerned about Mayfield and his ability to buy time, move around and sling the ball down the field, and he was able to do that. He’s obviously really good at that.”8. Where Was Washington?The President had eight targets and it felt like two. Why not at least throw it up a couple times, especially when he’s making grabs like this?This is an insane catch by Washington. pic.twitter.com/gdtjH4e4qM— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) December 3, 2016I do think the rain helped OU in that Baker’s improv skills allowed his receiver to run around until OSU’s defenders fell down. Rudolph doesn’t do that (at least not like Baker), and you could tell the timing and patterns were all askew all afternoon. Especially for Rudolph2Washington.9. The Lone Bright SpotJustice Hill is a dog (and was the lone bright spot offensively for the Pokes — along with Chris Carson). He went over 1,000 yards on the season after a 16-rush, 99-yard performance on Saturday, and he was a complete maniac all day. /Whispers OU didn’t even recruit this guy, and he was the best RB on a field of great ones … at least for the first half.He was even impressive when his runs got called back.10. What’s next?Oklahoma State will get (probably) Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. This is a great outcome for the Pokes from a postseason perspective. The Alamo Bowl is the second-best Big 12 bowl game, and Colorado is a good matchup for the Pokes. It will be fun to play a former Big 8/Big 12 brethren in a bowl game, and you don’t have to worry about getting run off the field like you would if USC was the opponent.From a big picture standpoint, I don’t really know how to feel. I came into Saturday thinking Oklahoma State was either going to win or make it dang close. It did neither, although Grogan making the FG late could have made it a lot tighter than it turned out to be. Gundy now has 10 losses to OU in 12 years and is 1-3 in de facto Big 12 title games.You have a lot coming back next year for Round 3 (and Round 4?) with Baker and Co., but this was a butt-whupping of the most frustrating variety. It wasn’t like last year. Last year, you were hurt and OU was immense. This year, you caught a ton of breaks. It is OU that was riddled with injuries and hanging on by one of Baker’s facial handlebars.OSU couldn’t get it done when with the chips were down in Norman and a Big 12 title on the line. Just as winning 10 (!) Big 12 titles in 18 years likely never gets old for Bob Stoops, the sting of knowing your team wasn’t good enough (again) doesn’t dull. OSU had a real chance to turn the Big 12 and Bedlam tide on Saturday, and it failed as spectacularly as possible.On to the next one (which happens to be basketball tonight at Maryland!) BOX SCOREI just typed the words “someone should put a mullet on a Crying Jordan” if you wanted to know how this Saturday is going. Oklahoma State got beat up in Norman 38-20 on Saturday with the Big 12 title on the line. The score was only that close because Samaje Perine had mercy and took a knee at OSU’s 1-yard-line with a few seconds left.Shoutout to Perine for doing that, by the way. As one of our PFB squad members said: Joe Mixon probably would have run that in and thrown the ball in Jordan Sterns’ face.On Saturday, an injured Sooners team showed out in a game where OSU (and specifically Mason Rudolph) did not. It seemed everyone but Bob Stoops got hurt for the Sooners on Saturday, but OU kept coming and eventually overwhelmed OSU. The Cowboys ran the ball spectacularly in the first half (181 yards) but OU answered with 301 (!) on the ground in the second.It got away from Oklahoma State in a hurry, too. After somehow taking a 17-10 lead with two minutes to go in the second quarter, Oklahoma State was outscored 28-3 over the final 32 minutes. It was a second-half whipping for a team that is now 2-10 in Bedlam under Mike Gundy.Joe Mixon, fittingly, delivered the knockout blow with 10 minutes left in the game when he scampered 79 yards for a touchdown seconds after Ben Grogan missed a 38-yard FG that would have pulled the Pokes to within one score (and possibly changed the entire complexion of the game).We have much to discuss. Let’s get to work.1. Mike Gundy was not greatFor some reason Mike Gundy continues to coach Bedlam like he either A. Has the better recruits than OU or B. Is Kansas State. Why he chooses to do either of these is completely beyond me.Oklahoma State has to be creative in big games like this because it has worse players. This is just factual. Look at recruiting. Look at the rosters. I know this. You know this. Literally everyone who watches college football knows this. And yet, there is no creativity out of Mike & Mike. Year after year, that’s disappointing.Oklahoma State is playing like they’re just trying to cover the spread.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) December 3, 2016There were two big issues when it comes to Gundy (well, really big issues) on Saturday that we need to address here.First, why did Oklahoma State not throw a Hail Mary from OU’s 45 with 10 seconds left in the first half after running it on first down? Even worse, why did Oklahoma State not try to throw a 15-yard pass from the 50 after Barry Sanders’ return? You had 18 seconds left in the half and Ammendola has 50-yard range. You have to get 16-17 yards and have all the time in the world. What are you doing?I really felt like this is where Oklahoma State lost its edge in the game. It was coming off a defensive drive in which it had just given up a game-tying touchdown, and OU was about to get the ball to start the second half. How do you not even try for points? It’s not like you were on your own 10-yard-line. This was the most unforgivable mistake (to me) for Gundy on Saturday. There’s just no “F you” in him when Stoops is on the other sideline.I want to see stuff like this out of Gundy:I want to see Gundy finger-wagging Stoops after big-time TDs. I want to see him winking at the camera and taunting the OU crowd after huge scores. Instead, he just tucks his mullet between his legs and heads for the locker room. Sad!The other issue is kicking the field goal with 10 minutes left in the game before Mixon put a dagger in our hearts (more on him in a minute). I have less of an issue with the decision to kick the FG and more of a problem with the way you ended up in that situation to begin with.Let’s recap: There is a three-minute replay of a potential first down earlier in the drive. If you don’t get it, you know you have fourth and inches in your own territory. You have literally three minutes to think about this. Then you send the punt team on the field before calling a timeout and changing your mind. What in the world?There was little to no rhythm to the OSU offense all day, and it seemed to be the result of indecision from Mike & Mike. And we can continue to talk about Gundy’s poor showing all we want (and I’m sure we will!), but the reality is that OSU did not lose that game because Gundy chose to kick a field goal instead of go for it on fourth down. OSU lost this game for two reasons …2. Mason Rudolph was horrificJust downright putrid. He was 11/25 for 186 yards, but that doesn’t even begin to tell the story. He dropped two balls including one under center on the goal line that could have cost OSU a touchdown, and he wasn’t even remotely close on a lot of his throws. Gundy said it as kindly as he could after the game, but Rudolph was bad.“We just couldn’t get a very good grasp of the ball,” said Gundy. “It wasn’t a really good day for us to have an opportunity to throw it down the field.”Rudolph’s struggles created two issues. The first is that Mike & Mike got gun-shy on throwing the deep ball (even though they should have probably done it on every down despite Rudolph’s woes because, well, it worked both times they tried it).The other issue is that OU realized this at halftime, loaded up the box and kept an OSU team that ran for 181 yards in the first half to 36 yards in the second. An offense that came alive early was buried late because No. 2 was no threat at all.There is no bigger Mason Rudolph fan on the planet than yours truly, but there is not a rational human being alive who could have watched what Rudolph did on Saturday and said he was anything but terrible. That crushed OSU’s chances of winning a Big 12 Championship.3. OSU didn’t take advantage in the first quarterThe other reason OSU lost is because it didn’t take advantage of its stingy defense in the first quarter. This game started a lot like the Texas Tech game at home in November. OU’s first three drives went like this:PuntPuntPuntOSU led by just three points after those three drives. If you didn’t think the OU offense — one of the best in Big 12 history — was going to come on late in the game, then you haven’t been paying attention to OU all year.You needed to be up 14-0 or 17-0 at the end of that sequence like you were against OU. That’s where the game was lost, not in Gundy’s decision to kick a field goal with 10 minuets left.4. Dr. 1st Half, Mr. 2nd HalfAre you prepared to look at the rushing charts for the first half and the second half? I’m not sure you are, but here is what they looked like.First halfOU: 40 rushing yards (ESPN previously had this number at 3, I have since corrected … apologies)OSU: 181 rushing yardsSecond halfOU: 301 rushing yardsOSU: 36 rushing yards[monkey covering his eyes emoji]OU’s plan was pretty clear — let Baker give you the lead and ride Perine and Mixon until they break. They almost did. Perine fumbled in the fourth quarter in a scene quite reminiscent of 2014.2014: OU leads 28-14, Perine fumbles/hurt on OSU 29 with 20 min. left2016: OU leads 31-20, Perine fumbles/hurt on OSU 18 with 13 min. left— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) December 3, 2016Alas, OSU could not take advantage.5. Those drive chartsAfter OSU took that 17-10 lead, this is how each team progressed.OU: TD-TD-TD-Fumble (that would have been a TD-TD-Perine kneels on 1OSU: Ends half abruptly-Punt-FG-Missed FG-Turnover on downsOU closed like a Big 12 champ is supposed to close on its home field. Oklahoma State closed like a bartender who over-served himself.I’m not sure if the moment overwhelmed the Cowboys or if they just didn’t have the horses to shut it down, but the game seemed to flip when OU went 76 yards for a TD at the end of the first half and Gundy ran the clock out at the 50. OSU strained to get field goals in the second half, and OU had its way on the ground.After that mess at the 50-yard-line before the half, OSU never truly got off the mat. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Liverpool Salah can beat De Bruyne to Premier League awards – Klopp Ryan Benson 08:00 4/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Liverpool Mohamed Salah Liverpool v Newcastle United Premier League Jürgen Klopp Kevin De Bruyne The Egyptian scored again on Saturday and the Liverpool boss expects him to challenge for individual honours at the season’s end Jurgen Klopp sees no reason why Mohamed Salah cannot beat Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne to the end-of-season awards after another fine performance in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Newcastle United.Salah scored the opening goal at Anfield to take his tally to 24 from 28 Premier League games in his first season since moving from Roma.He has also set up another eight goals, becoming the key figure for Klopp’s Liverpool in their rise above Manchester United into second place. Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp De Bruyne had seemingly made himself the big favourite for the individual accolades with his consistently impressive performances for runaway leaders City, particularly in the first half of the campaign.But Salah has emerged as a serious contender and Klopp feels he will deserve any recognition that comes his way.When asked if he thought Salah can prevail over De Bruyne, Klopp told reporters: “Of course. It’s a different position, it depends what you want.”There’s no doubt Kevin De Bruyne plays a nice season; there’s no doubt Mo Salah plays a really good one as well.”Not only him, there are a few more players. A few people would mention that Harry Kane is not too bad and Roberto Firmino is not too bad.”David Silva had a few weeks where for private reasons he couldn’t play, but he plays an outstanding season as well.Another one @22mosalah . Strong performance from the boys today and a good win! #YNWA pic.twitter.com/sB9CDyGTIL — Alex Ox-Chamberlain (@Alex_OxChambo) March 3, 2018 “There are a few good players this season in the Premier League – and for sure I forgot a few. In our team, I like a lot of what we did so far.”I don’t have to make the decision. At the end there will be one winner and a few more very good players around him.”That’s what the life of a professional sportsman is. You do it because you want to win. I don’t think a lot of people are doing this only to be part of it.”We want to win things – that’s a big part of our personality. For me, [individual] trophies mean absolutely nothing. I have no clue why it’s like that, but it is the truth.”Winning a title with a team is different, to be honest, but I respect it. If he [Salah] can win this competition then he deserves it.”There are a few games to go and we have to make sure he can keep on going in this shape, be in important spaces and very decisive areas, and score goals for us.”Liverpool return to Champions League action Tuesday with the second leg of their last-16 ties against Porto.
Manchester City ‘We did perfect’ – Guardiola ‘so happy’ after Man City controlled champions Chelsea Tom Webber 04:02 5/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Manchester City Premier League Guardiola Manchester City v Chelsea Chelsea The visitors’ approach to the Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium made it difficult to score, according to the home manager A 1-0 win over Chelsea did not reflect Manchester City’s dominance, according to Pep Guardiola, who said it was difficult to create against a team that “defend with nine players in their box”.City dominated from the outset but Bernardo Silva scored the only goal of the match as they opened up an 18-point lead at the Premier League summit to move four wins away from the title.Chelsea, who started with Eden Hazard as a false nine and Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud on the bench, failed to register a single shot on target across the 90 minutes. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Guardiola claimed the Blues’ approach made it difficult for City to add to the scoreline, but he was proud of how his team performed.”Chelsea are still champions. They played with 10 players behind the ball, amazingly well-organised, but we didn’t concede one chance,” he told Sky Sports.”We created enough to win the game, score more goals. Our high pressing, our build-up was outstanding so we are so happy because it’s another step forward to be champions. We have 78 points. We did perfect.”We had to control the counter-attacks, Hazard, Willian and Pedro are all quick players but we controlled it and we were quick with the ball, nobody was making extra passes or extra touches.”It’s not easy when they defend with nine players in their box, it’s complicated to try to create chances.”Chelsea didn’t have one shot on target. At Old Trafford and against Barcelona they created chances, so today we were so good and we didn’t concede anything.”We are close to be champions … but it is not already done. It’s in our hands. Now we start again, we have to try to stay calm.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Juventus ‘Everything will be decided in Turin’ – Juventus v Napoli will be decisive, says Zola Iain Strachan 21:32 8/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Juventus Serie A Juventus v Udinese Internazionale v Napoli Chelsea v Crystal Palace Napoli Chelsea Premier League Juve have won the title in each of the last six seasons but find their dominance under severe threat, says the former Italy star Gianfranco Zola expects next month’s clash between Napoli and Juventus to prove decisive in the race for the Scudetto.Napoli saw their lead at the top of Serie A reduced to just one point on Saturday when they lost 4-2 at home to Roma, Juve having beaten Lazio 1-0 away earlier in the day.Zola was a member of the Partenopei squad that last won the domestic title in 1989-90, and he had considered Maurizio Sarri’s side favourites to emulate that feat this term. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp The 51-year-old is now pinpointing the meeting of the top two at Allianz Stadium in Turin on April 22 as an all-important showdown.Speaking to Omnisport, he was asked which team is most likely to be crowned champions: “One week ago, I would have said Napoli, 100 per cent.”Now, I think it’s tough for them, but it’s still very open. Everything will be decided in Turin.”Napoli suffered a tough blow when they lost at home to Roma, but they have the skills to win the league. Their squad deserves such an achievement, because they play very, very well.”I believe in this Napoli side, but at the same time, I think Juve are a formidable club with endless resources. It won’t be over until the end, but I do believe Napoli have a great chance.”Another of Zola’s former clubs, Chelsea, won the Premier League last season but have struggled to reach the same level in 2017-18.Antonio Conte’s side are fifth in the table and, with nine games remaining, face a battle to qualify for the Champions League.”Well, it hasn’t been the best Chelsea, to be honest, especially the game against Manchester City, it wasn’t a high standard game,” he said of a dour 1-0 loss at Etihad Stadium.”But to be fair, the last time I saw them play against Barcelona they really played well and they deserve more than they had,” he added, referring to the 1-1 draw at home in the first leg of the Champions League’s round of 16.”So I think it’s certainly a crucial moment for the team and hopefully in the next couple of games they are going to get good results.”Asked if the Blues are capable of finishing in the top four, Zola said: “I believe so. Chelsea is a good team, they have good players. So, it’s still open and there is a little bit of a gap but I think they can still do that.”Gianfranco Zola was speaking at the Geneva International Motor Show, on behalf of Yokohama Tyres, the principal partner of Chelsea Football Club. For more information, visit: http://www.yokohama-online.com
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Davies apologises for Spurs loss to Colchester: We let you downby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham Hotspur defender Ben Davies has apologised to the club’s supporters after Tuesday’s embarrassing defeat to Colchester United. Spurs were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by the League Two club after losing on penalties.”It’s horrible – it’s a trophy, a good chance to pick something up and we’ve let it slip at the first hurdle,” left-back Davies told Standard Sport.”The manager didn’t need to say anything afterwards. In the dressing room, we were all as disappointed as him. We let him down, we let the club down.”We weren’t terrible. We just didn’t seem to click, didn’t put anything together. We have to win these games. We have to show we’re a better side than this. It’s a tough feeling right now.”We just have to apologise to the supporters, too. We let them down. They travel with us everywhere and they’re first-class. We need everyone behind us now to help us push on through this difficult time.”