Romelu Lukaku leads the Serie A Team of the Week following his excellent performance for Inter at home to Lazio.Antonio Conte’s men secured a vital 3-1 home victory which allowed them to leapfrog Milan into top spot in the table and into pole position to claim the Scudetto.Lukaku (8.4) played a part in all three goals, initially scoring from the penalty spot before earning his second with a flashed right-footed snapshot past the goalkeeper from the edge of the box which was only given after VAR Intervened.His best moment of the match was arguably his assist, though, as he showed devastating pace, power, and determination to barge down the right wing, leaving Marco Parolo for dead before setting up Lautaro Martinez for a tap in.Lorenzo Insigne (7.4) and Domenico Berardi (7.9) join the big Belgian in the front three after scoring for Napoli and Sassuolo respectively. The Napoli man converted from the penalty spot as the Partenopei defeated Juventus 1-0.Another Sassuolo player features in our XI in Manuel Locatelli (7.6), who completed 88/96 attempted passes and had more touches of the ball than any other player in this round of fixtures with 125.Jordan Veretout (7.8) scored two goals from midfield as Roma beat Udinese 3-0 with relative comfort.Making up the midfield three is Fiorentina’s Erick Pulgar (7.7), who won an impressive 11/15 duels, albeit in defeat against Sampdoria.One of the most surprising results of the weekend saw Spezia defeat league leaders Milan 2-0. Simone Bastoni (7.7) scored one of the goals and slots in at left-back.Gianluca Mancini (8.1) and veteran defender Kamil Glik (8.0) feature in the centre of our defence.Berat Djimsiti (7.8) had 108 touches of the ball and completed 83/94 attempted passes for Atalanta.Napoli understandably had to weather a storm of sorts against Juve, but had Alex Meret (8.2) in goal to rely on as he made six saves to earn his clean sheet bonus.Serie A TEAM OF THE WEEK
Chennai: India captain Virat Kohli said Tuesday his side showed more “grit” and “determination” to thrash England in the second Test, playing down complaints about the difficult pitch.
With local hero Ravichandran Ashwin claiming eight wickets in the match and scoring 106 in the second innings, India completed a 317-run victory inside four days in Chennai.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel claimed a five-wicket haul on his Test debut as England were out for 164 while chasing an unlikely 482 on day four.
Some said the Chennai pitch, which crumbled from nearly the first day, was not fit for a Test.
But England made no public complaint and Kohli rejected the criticism and said his side played a “perfect game”.
“I think our application with the bat was outstanding,” said the India captain.
“The conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application and grit and determination to battle it out.
“We didn’t panic out there looking at the hard turn and bounce on that pitch.”
Kohli highlighted that India scored 600 runs over two innings despite the conditions, and winning the toss made no difference.
“So if you put up that kind of batting performance and you string in those important batting partnerships then we know that our bowlers are going to do the job.”
England captain Joe Root conceded that his side were “outplayed in all three departments this week” and had to learn quickly before the third Test in Ahmedabad.
But he added: “I would say it was a challenging wicket. I do think that it was an important toss to win.”
England, he said, now have to be “honest” and learn quickly to adapt to conditions in India.
England, struggling since the opening day, kept losing wickets after resuming on 53-3 on day four.
Root departed for 33 soon after lunch, falling to Patel.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav joined in to finish off the innings, taking Moeen Ali after he smashed 43 off 18 balls.
The last wicket partnership of 38 between Ali and Stuart Broad, unbeaten on five, was England’s highest of the match.
England, who have been resting and rotating players, said Ali would be returning home after the Test.
Ali had coronavirus in Sri Lanka but recovered to take a total of eight wickets in the second Test against India.
Ashwin’s five wickets to help bowl out England for 134 in the first innings in response to India’s 329 set the tone for the host’s dominance.
England conceded a lead of 195 and then struggled on a pitch that offered turn from day one.
“This wicket was very different to the one we played on in the first game,” Ashwin conceded, but he added that the wickets had not fallen from the balls he expected.
“It was the mind of the batsmen that got us wickets.”
Opener Rohit Sharma hit an attacking 161 to set up India’s big innings after they won the toss and elected to bat first.
Sharma’s seventh Test century and his first against England raised the pitch of the returning Indian crowd — present in a stadium for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
Kohli made 62 in the second innings, putting on a key 96-run seventh-wicket partnership with Ashwin on day three.
Both sides need to win the series to take the second place in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand later this year.
The third Test — a day-night match — will begin in Ahmedabad on February 24.
Authorities have not said if fans will be allowed into the world’s biggest cricket stadium — with a 100,000-plus capacity — for the game.
Read: England thrashes India by 227 runs in first Chennai Test
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced the squad for the last two Tests against India, with Moeen Ali being rested after being in the bubble for close to five months now. Meanwhile, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood will now join the squad after finishing their quarantine in Ahmedabad.After winning the first Test of the series, that briefly stopped India’s juggernaut at home, England lost the second Test comprehensively by a huge margin of 317 runs. Now all the focus will be shifted to the newly-laid Motera Stadium – the world’s largest cricket stadium – for the Pink Ball Day/Night fixture which will be very important for both sides to keep their World Test Championship hopes alive.England have named their squad for the last two games, with minor changes to it. While Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow are set to join the squad after a brief break, Moeen Ali, who performed exceedingly well in the first game, will now return home to catch a break.Moeen hasn’t seen his family for as long as five months now and has been a part of many bubbles ever since. He was, however, given the option to stay back but he chose the other option to re-energise himself. In the spin department, England have Dominic Bess and Jack Leach in the main squad with Amar Virdi being a member of the extended squad.England squad for Third Test:Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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As we prepare for another roller coaster off-season with the Minnesota Vikings, we are once again feeling the usual hope and optimism. With the draft around the corner, many fans and experts have their own ideas of what Vikings will do come April. Do you take the best available player, or do you draft for need? Or will Rick once again trade back and recoup some lost picks? Either way, it seems like for the first time in a while the Minnesota Vikings are in a unique position. Over the last few years, so many game-changers were selected in the 8-15 range. You can go offense or defense and get a guy that fits right in to make an instant impact.
For the first time in the Mike Zimmer era, it was the offense that carried this team and put us on the brink of a playoff spot even with a 1-5 start. So, assuming that continues with some new additions upfront, you would be right to believe the Vikings are going to be a strong contender next season. As always, the biggest challenge that new OC Klint Kubiak will have to figure out is how to protect Kirk Cousins and allow him to really take over in games.
Addressing our biggest issue!
Common sense would suggest the Vikings take the highest-ranked offensive lineman. Kirk Cousins was the 3rd most pressured quarterback in the league last season (38.6%) but still managed to finish in the top 10 in passer rating (105.0). The Vikings have done reasonably well over the last 2 years taking an offensive lineman in the 2nd round of those drafts and they have both worked out quite well, but we don’t have a pick in the 2nd round this year so maybe this is the year we address that position we so desperately need to improve on to allow our offense to be even more explosive next year.
Another option, however, is building our offensive line through free agency. The name that jumps up at you is Trent Williams, who the Vikings tried to acquire last year but he refused. The free agency pool seems to be filled with quite a few really solid offensive linemen that could instantly make our team better and would need no introduction to the league. A perfect example of a veteran lineman going to a team and making a huge impact is Andrew Whitworth going to the Los Angeles Rams and solidifying that line in the run and most importantly protecting the quarterback’s blindside. Paying for an established player in that position is one of the few roster moves that are very low risk and tend to work out more than often.
The most unlikely scenario would be to trade for one of the available players in that position. This wouldn’t be such a bad idea considering the nature of the position. Offensive linemen tend to play till much later in terms of age compared to most other positions. Ravens are said to be looking for a 1st round pick from anyone interested in Orlando Brown Jr who had a tremendous season at left tackle. The Vikings should strongly consider this as an option, Brown is 23 years old and will shore up that position for at least the next 8 years. A 1st round pick is a small compensation to pay for a player that would be a massive part of your offense for a decade.
The Other Side of the Ball
The Vikings’ strong point for the entirety of Mike Zimmer’s tenure as the head coach has been defense. That was not the case last season, the Vikings ranked 30th overall, our pass rush was non-existent (28th in sacks) and what was even more alarming was how easily teams were able to run the ball at will. Injuries happen all over the NFL but to have so many starters and their replacements out injured took a massive toll on the team. One thing that Vikings fans can be certain of is that there will be no repeat of this and we can be sure that our defense will be back to its usual self.
Not only do the Vikings have a lot to look forward to with players coming back from injury, but the young cornerbacks also really came into their own as the season progressed. Cameron Dantzler was the highest-graded cornerback since week 7.
Expectations or False Hope?
There is plenty to look forward to if you’re a Vikings fan, if we can somehow manage to put it all together, we can build something special. This offseason we have a very rare opportunity where if we play our cards right we can certainly put our names firmly in the mix for the NFC.