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PA Sporting Week: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not

This week, James Clancy gives us his view on who’s hot, and who’s not.

WHO’S HOT:

Juan Mata: I know, I know, this is quite an obvious choice, but if one is to be out of favour at a club then moving to Manchester United (for a club record £37.1million fee) is quite an impressive next step to take.

Mata left Chelsea as their two time player of the year. His departure from Stamford Bridge brought to an end a stellar two-and-a-half year stay for the Spain international who enjoyed a rich relationship with the club’s fans.

The 25-year-old heads north as a Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup winner. Despite heading to a club Chelsea fans consider as bitter rivals, he wrote a letter to them to explain the move. Here he expresses his heartfelt thanks to the fans, in a small part of the open letter:

“I would like to say that I will never forget all the affection given to me by the Chelsea fans. From the very first day until the last. With your support and affection I have grown up as a player and I have had an amazing time both on and off the pitch. No words are enough to give back all the things I have received.”

Li Na: Li Na won the Australian Open on Saturday, and at 31 (32 next month) became the oldest winner of the tournament in the Open era. Li, the beaten finalist in 2011 and 2013 in Melbourne, edged a nervous first set on a tie-break but was imperious in the second as she eased to a 7-6 (3) 6-0 win.

Li is well known for her sense of a humour and in a terrific on-court speech she also thanked her agent Max Eisenbud for “making me rich” and told husband Jiang Shan he was lucky to have found her.

FA Cup fifth round draw: The Premier League’s top four have all been drawn against each other. Arsenal have been drawn with Liverpool while second and third will also face off as Manchester City were paired with Chelsea.

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WHO’S NOT:

Freddie Burns:  Poor Freddie did not have the best of times for the England Saxons when they faced the Irish Wolfhounds over the weekend.

The fly-half’s kicking was poor all evening, yet his performance will be most remembered for his role in the last play of the game. Ireland led 14-8 as the clock ticked into red meaning the Saxons needed a converted try to win.

In the dying seconds, a promising attack ultimately came to nothing, as Burns somehow let the ball slip from his hands as he dove over from close range with the try line literally at his mercy. I wouldn’t be expecting a call up from Stuart Lancaster, Freddie.

Zoopla Property: I wonder, after all the hoopla, will they have managed to deliver a blank set of gear to WBA in time for next Wednesday’s visit to Villa. Or might they just stick things out until the summer to get their money’s worth? To cancel their sponsorship deal with WBA because of Nicolas Anelka’s goal celebration gesture which might have been racist, was needless and excessive in the extreme.

Pundit Arena, James Clancy.

Featured Image By Mike McCune from Portland [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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