Category Archives: Featured

  • 0

Life Post-Jeremiah Masoli for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have begun their journey without CFL all-star Jeremiah Masoli and the team has shown promise. Clearly, Dane Evans has a lot to prove but he is starting to settle in with the offence and offensive coordinator Tommy Condell. It takes time for players and coordinators to develop a relationship, but Evans and Condell are on their way.

Masoli and Condell developed a successful relationship, but after Masoli ‘s knee injury, Evans was projected into the spotlight. The Tiger-Cats have shown production through all phases. But, will they manage to continue their success as the CFL season continues?
Passing Game
Since losing Masoli to injury the Tiger-Cats have gone 1-1. Both games were competitive and gave the league a chance to see new starting quarterback Dane Evans. The B.C. Lions game allowed Evans to show what he is capable of.

Playing in front of an energetic fan base, he put up some reasonable numbers and threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Banks returned from injury and played another sensational game. Banks is currently leading the league in receiving yards and second in receiving touchdowns.

Banks is not the only playmaker amongst the wide receiving core. Bralon Addison has accumulated 412 yards receiving and Jaelon Acklin is a solid possession receiver. Luke Tasker has struggled as of late, but do not be surprised if he plays a bigger role deeper into the season and in the playoffs.
Running Game
Losing Maleek Irons for six games hurts the Cats. Cameron Marshall, Irons’ replacement, debuted against B.C. last week and had seven carries for 40 yards.

The offensive line held the Lions to zero sacks. Unfortunately, Darius Ciraco was placed on the one-game injured list and didn’t play against B.C. Ti-Cats fans hope to see him back within the next couple games as he is a vital component of the offensive line.

Hamilton needs consistency in their ground game in order to relieve the pressure off Dane Evans. As the season runs deeper, the Tiger-Cats offence could become much more dangerous as they already are. It will also be intriguing to see how Evans game develops.
Defence
Defensively, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats lineup with a high caliber defence, highlighted by their defensive line.

Ja’Gared Davis was a massive addition to there d-line this year. He is currently tied for second in the CFL in sacks with six and has recorded 37 tackles, which is eighth-most among the league. The seven above him are either linebackers or defensive backs. Leading Hamilton in tackles is middle linebacker Justin Tuggle with 40.
Secondary
The secondary has young players such as Frankie Williams and Tunde Adeleke. Delvin Breaux is a member the Tiger-Cats want back in there secondary as he was put on the one-game injured list and did not play last week against B.C. Overall, the Tiger-Cats have a highly skilled defence on paper, but last week’s outing showed weaknesses and this Saturday’s game against Ottawa will be important to gain some lost confidence.
Special Teams
Jeff Reinebold continues to show why he is in the conversation as the best special teams coordinator in the CFL. The Tiger-Cats special team units are never overlooked by there opponent.

Leding the league in punt return yards and fourth in kickoff return yards, Frankie Williams is becoming a respected returner in the CFL. It also doesn’t hurt when you can put Brandon Banks — who leads the league in field goal missed return yards with 235 — in the end zone when the opposing team is attempting a field goal.

But what makes all this work is the coaching of Jeff Reinebold. He puts together schemes and plays that virtually make these speedy returners untouchable. Great blocking and exceptional return play make for a dangerous return game.
Final Thoughts
If the offence can stay consistent, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be in this year’s Grey Cup. Their defence has some of the top players in each positional group and their special teams groups are explosive.

Losing your starting quarterback and running back to season-ending injuries is often diminishing to any football team. But head coach Orlondo Steinauer has managed to create an environment that brings players together and ultimately leads to continuity among all. The Tiger-Cats play this Saturday in the Nation’s capital.

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’SOTWfozXSPNMeIsLgofrCw’,sig:’wJwKbwsjQGr17JLVTlL_62ri_1NKpD0A3IrUpuFGWc4=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1165817963′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post Life Post-Jeremiah Masoli for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Montreal Alouettes Have Another Shot at a West Division Foe

With 2:41 left in the third quarter, the Montreal Alouettes were down just 17-10 to the West Division Saskatchewan Roughriders. Then, nobody can quite wrap their heads around what happened next. Hostile weather consisting of lightning and heavy rain would sweep over McGill causing a delay that would inevitably end the match.

Yes, with still an entire quarter and then some to play, the Roughriders were awarded a victory and the Alouettes a loss for their efforts. Even Saskatchewan fans didn’t feel entirely great about how they acquired a W for the win column, well some did.

Montreal, on the other hand, is left to quickly regroup. They now head west to take on a perennial contender in the Calgary Stampeders. The Alouettes are 1-2 against western opponents in 2019 and with the narrative growing once again on how much stronger the West is than the East, the Als find themselves needing to make a statement game just one week removed from being robbed the chance to do so at home.
Offence
Perhaps Montreal’s biggest catalyst for their early string of contention has been quarterback, Vernon Adams Jr. Unfortunately, since their last game against Ottawa, Adams has been out with a concussion. They have sorely missed plays like this one:

Vernon Adams Jr. (@bigplay_va) spots @QuanBray WIDE OPEN for a 75-yard TOUCHDOWN give the @MTLAlouettes a 15-12 lead!#CFLGameDay pic.twitter.com/hIiK5ozTj9
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) July 13, 2019

Adams has a humble five touchdowns to three interceptions on the season. However, his five rushing touchdowns as a quarterback is second among quarterbacks and tied for third in the league overall with just William Powell and Cody Fajardo in front of him. The Alouettes will need Adams to have a monster performance with it being reported that William Stanback will miss Saturday’s contest.
DeVier Posey In, B.J. Cunningham Out
An unfortunate wrist injury sustained by B.J. Cunningham will likely sideline him for the remainder of the 2019 season. While still not ideal for Montreal, the impact of this injury is softened by the return of former Grey Cup MVP, DeVier Posey. He has appeared in just three games before going down with an injury. Still, it’s Posey’s past work that should have Montreal fans the most excited. His 2017 campaign saw him put up 744 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games played.
Protection Up Front
Before any of this can become reality, the Montreal Alouettes need to figure out their protection upfront.

Another scoop and score for the @sskroughriders defence! 😮#CFLGameday pic.twitter.com/kZuDPJs4jx
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) August 10, 2019

Through seven games this season, they’ve allowed 17 sacks which lands them sixth in the league. This offensive line hasn’t been horrible this season.
Defence
The prospects of the Stampeders having Bo Levi Mitchell back may not bode well for the Alouettes. Calgary’s offence has maintained pace under the control of Nick Arbuckle, however, let us not forget what Mitchell is capable of.

George Johnson’s article on stampeders.com beautifully outlines the impact of Bo Levi Mitchell. In Johnson’s article, Mitchell is compared to sugar in Kool-Aid, LeBron on the Lakers and a healthy Boobie Miles on Friday Night Lights. High praise and well deserved at that from many of his teammates.
Exceeding expectations
During the Montreal Alouettes three-game winning streak, they allowed 436 yards to the Tiger-Cats, 365 to the Redblacks and 320 to the Eskimos. They went as far as to keep the Eskimos offence from scoring. Their home loss to Ottawa consisted of allowing just one touchdown offensively and 241 yards.

Furthermore, Montreal’s defence did a tremendous job keeping Cody Fajardo and the Saskatchewan offence in check. However, Calgary presents a different challenge and they’ll need more from their front seven to have a chance on Saturday. With only seven sacks, the Alouettes are tied for dead-last in the league for sacks, though they were able to get to Fajardo twice last week.

Rookie defensive coordinator, Bob Slowik has worked hard to get up to speed with the Canadian game. If they are able to keep a potentially “rusty” Mitchell in check and perhaps break out some more special teams magic, this game may swing wide-open.
Why This Game is so Important
The common thought process in any league is that inter-divisional games trump outer-division games in terms of importance. This is mostly true across the board in terms of tie-breakers. However, in Montreal or Ottawa’s case, it’s almost pre-determined that they will be facing a Western Division team come playoffs with the crossover. With how tight the West Division is, anyone from Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Calgary or Edmonton are potential opponents. If there was any time to begin to gain traction and confidence against the “almighty” West Divison, it would be now.

Saturday’s forecast calls for cloudy with sunny breaks. It’s just the reigning Grey Cup MVP and the champions standing in the way of the Montreal Alouettes and a confidence-building victory. If they pull it off, it’ll be their first win against the Stampeders at McMahon Stadium since Week 1 of the 2009 season.

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’cZ_TB7AeSxltB3mf4xTHiA’,sig:’WexrZpOYFDdU2MJxVmPd6vV4-Rev9taOm6Ot5B5Nm6w=’,w:’594px’,h:’446px’,items:’1166039575′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post Montreal Alouettes Have Another Shot at a West Division Foe appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

The 2019 Bombers vs The 2011 ‘Swaggerville’ Bombers

In 2011, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had a chance to write a legendary chapter in their team’s history. The franchise was one win away from ending a twenty year title drought.

They were led by the fun to watch ‘Swaggerville’ defence, who led them to a 7-1 record in the first half of the season. That nickname got a large amount of attention. The Mayor, Odell Willis, and CEO (and former Mayor) Jovon Johnson guided the Bombers to a first place finish and held Hamilton to three points in the East Final.

But it wasn’t meant to be. Winnipeg lost to the B.C. Lions in the Grey Cup (and lost both games to the Riders. Almost just as bad) which was followed by four straight playoff misses. Fast forward to 2019, and the Bombers are starting to get some of that Swaggerville look back. Does this year’s squad have any similarities to that 2011 team? It may be a little too early, but let’s take a look:
Quarterbacks
2019: Matt Nichols.
2011: Buck Pierce.
Two quarterbacks with an injury past, but two quarterbacks that are also tough as nails. Both would stand in the pocket and take a shot if it meant completing the big pass.

Buck was great when he was healthy, and he’s proving his knowledge of the game as a coach right now. The guys seemed to really like playing him. He was always kind of on the fringe of those top three or four quarterbacks in the league, a lot like Matt Nichols.
Running backs 
2019: Andrew Harris.
2011: Fred Reid and Chris Garrett.
Not a lot of similarities with the backs on this team. Harris carries the load on this team, while in 2011 the team went with a one-two punch due to injuries.
Receivers 
2019: Darvin Adams, Nic Demski, Chris Matthews, Lucky Whitehead, Drew Wolitarsky.
2011: Terrence Edwards, Greg Carr, Corey Watson, Clarence Denmark, Kito Poblah.
If Whitehead keeps playing as he did in Week 2, he could have a very similar season to Clarence Denmark’s season in 2011. Watson was a young Canadian receiver making strides that year; Demski isn’t quite as young as him… but close enough.

Both teams possess a solid, reliable number one receivers (Adams now and Edwards previously) and both teams had a sneaky X-factor (Wolitarsky now and Carr previously). Not a lot of super close similarities, but definitely a few.
Offensive line
2019: Stanley Bryant Jr., Geoff Gray, Michael Couture, Cody Speller, Jermarcus Hardrick.
2011: Andre Douglas, Brendon LaBatte, Obby Khan, Steve Morley, Glenn January.
Other than at centre (2011 had a veteran centre in Obby Kahn), The offesnive lines are pretty similar. Both have a first round, high-profile Canadian guard (Gray now andLaBatte previously). Both have veteran tackles, and both are very athletic groups.
Defensive Line
2019: Willie Jefferson, Jackson Jeffcoat, Craig Roh, Jake Thomas, Drake Nevis.
2011: Odell Willis, Doug Brown, Jason Vega, Bryant Turner, Kenny Mainor.
Willis and Jefferson are both the kind of defensive ends that can wreck a game. At the time, Willis was considered one of the CFL’s best young rushers. His start to that 2011 season was ridiculous.

Jefferson has a little bit of a different body type but has the same impact as Odell. Thomas and Roh aren’t quite on the same level as Doug Brown, but Vega and Jeffcoat are both young, promising Internationals.

The 2011 defensive line was the heart of that Swaggerville team. The secondary started their nickname a few years before, but the defensive line was the dominant unit that made it popular. The 2019 version definitely has the potential to do the same
Linebackers
2019: Adam Bighill, Kyrie Wilson, Anthony Gaitor, Jesse Briggs.
2011: Joe Lobendahn, Marcellus Bowman, Clint Kent, Henoc Muamba, Pierre-Luc Labbe.
Not many similarities here, so let’s just move on
Secondary
2019: Winston Rose, Marcus Sayles, Brandon Alexander, Chandler Fenner, Jeff Hecht.
2011: Jovon Johnson, Jonathan Hefney, Alex Suber, Bandon Stewart, Ian Logan.
Johnson started Swaggerville before 2011. He was the creator, and he led that very talented group. Number two was a vacuum out there, having eight interceptions on the year being as shut down as it gets that season.

This 2019 team doesn’t have a true star corner like him. They both have a veteran Canadian safety, but that might be it. It’s too early to tell though. Maybe Sayles turns into a Hefney type of player.

Again, the Bombers are only 3-0 and it’s probably silly to look ahead already. But Winnipeg hasn’t started a season as the clear cut number one in the west in since that 2011 season. Bomber fans love to dream is this is finally their season. That dream hasn’t been this strong in a long time.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’jO0QUzLoQ1NK8me7ZiLhuw’,sig:’YipmMptbQ_Ntstdz2hgendNwPMwYseEZHbdUv_YNT6o=’,w:’594px’,h:’438px’,items:’134649986′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post The 2019 Bombers vs The 2011 ‘Swaggerville’ Bombers appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

CFL Week 4 Power Rankings

With Week 4 officially in the books, it’s time to update my CFL power rankings. Week 4 brought its own uniqueness to the CFL season with a little bit of everything. From a controversial rouge for the win to a dominating victory for the defending champs, the week was once again filled with intrigue.

This week will see quite a bit of movement in the power rankings from last week. So without further ado, here are the CFL Week 4 power rankings;
CFL Power Rankings After Week 3
1) Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-0)
     Last Week Ranking: 1
Is anyone going to beat the Bombers? This team has looked unbeatable in the early stages of the season. With a convincing 29-14 victory over the previously undefeated Ottawa Redblacks, the Bombers are getting it done in all phases of the game.
2) Edmonton Eskimos (2-1)
     Last Week Ranking: 3
Typically, I don’t like moving a team up or down on their bye week. However, thanks to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats underwhelming performance in Montreal last week, this move had to happen. This isn’t to say the Eskimos don’t deserve the number two spot, because they most certainly do based on their play so far this season.
3) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-1)
    Last Week Ranking: 2
After crushing the Montreal Alouettes 41-10 in Week 3, there was no way the Tiger-Cats would lose to the Alouettes in Week 4 right? Right? Wrong. While the Alouettes played their best game of the season, the Tiger-Cats certainly played their worst. Not only did thy fall 39-26 in the game, but even worse, they also fell one spot in these power rankings.
4) Calgary Stampeders (2-1)
     Last Week Ranking: 6
With a massive off-season overhaul and multiple key injuries, the Stampeders have no business being a good team. Yet here we are. Again. A blowout win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina’s Mosaic Stadium vaults the Stamps a couple of spots on this list.
5) Ottawa Redblacks (2-1)
     Last Week Ranking: 4
The Ottawa Redblacks are much better than most people thought they would be at this point of the season. A tough 29-14 loss last week against the Blue Bombers knocks the Redblacks down one spot in this weeks power rankings. However, the Redblacks still appear to be a team to be reckoned with in 2019.
6) Montreal Alouettes (1-2)
    Last Week Ranking: 8
As mentioned, the Alouettes played their best game of this young season in last week’s victory. The Als have had their share of difficulties this year but have actually looked pretty good in two of their three games this season. Could they push Ottawa for second in the CFL East? They just might.
7) Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-3)
     Last Week Ranking: 5
The Saskatchewan Roughriders take a two-spot tumble in this week’s rankings thanks to a 37-10 thrashing at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders. The Roughriders head into their bye week with a lot of questions that need to be answered. Inconsistency has been the theme so far this season, can the Riders rebound and fix their issues? They desperately need to, or this season could be lost quite quickly.
8) BC Lions (1-3)
     Last Week Ranking: 7
I know, I know. The Lions dropped a spot on this week’s rankings despite winning their first game of the season. The Lions defeated the Argonauts 18-17 in a “thriller” at BMO Field in Toronto. Despite their first victory of the season, the Lions still have much work to do. However, with a veteran group and an excellent coaching staff, one could see this Lions team turning their season around soon.
9) Toronto Argonauts (0-3)
     Last Week Ranking: 9
The Argonauts are firmly planted in last place in the CFL and on this list. The good news is the Argos weren’t blown out again this week but this team just looks disconnected. With the Winnipeg Blue Bombers up next on the schedule, it would be a safe bet to see this team at the bottom of the list next week as well.
The Last Word
As promised, there was a lot of movement this week on the power rankings. However, based on the results of the games in Week 4, the movements seem justified.

CFL Week 5 has many intriguing match-ups on the docket and we could see a lot of movement once again in the standings. Not to mention on this list as well.

As always, would love to hear your thoughts on these rankings and feel free to tell me yours. Enjoy Week 5.

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’JT2Nem9BTHVBvw3guSgtTA’,sig:’SpOTVQgovGXDQdE7W4e7ZP6WtUekLHuYju6pFGu9sHM=’,w:’594px’,h:’446px’,items:’1160818861′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post CFL Week 4 Power Rankings appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Jon Rahm’s rise to The Open Championship

At just 24-years old, Jon Rahm has already amassed a notable career including eight professional victories. The always captivating Spaniard is already putting in a well rounded 2019 season and is surging up the world ranks just in time for the 2019 Open Championship in less than two weeks at Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush Golf Club.

Rahm broke into the PGA Tour in his first professional event at the Quicken Loans National in 2016. He finished tied for 3rd that week but held at least a share of the lead in two rounds of his inaugural pro tournament. A two-time Ben Hogan award winner at Arizona State, the Sun Devil alumni rose to first in the World Amateur Golf Rankings in 2015.

In his last outing before turning pro, Rahm finished as the top amateur in the 2016 U.S. Open with a tied-23rd finish. With a proven pedigree already at such a young age, it seems not a question of if, but rather when Rahm will capture the elusive first major championship. With momentum on his side, Royal Portrush may be the perfect time and place to prove he can claim victory on one of the most historic stages in golf.
Major history
Since he truly found his form in 2018 it’s been all or nothing for the Spaniard in major championships. In his last seven major starts, he has finished top-10 on four occasions while missing the cut the other three. Most recently he finished tied for 3rd at the U.S. Open.

In addition to his top-three finish at Pebble Beach, Rahm once again placed inside the top-10 at The Masters for the second straight year. Sandwiched between the first and third majors this year the 24-year old found himself on the outside looking in this past May at Bethpage Black. After an even-par 70 in round one, Jon Rahm stumbled on Friday at the PGA Championship with a 5-over second round of 75 to miss the cut by just one stroke.

Unfortunately for Rahm his best finish at The Open was a tie for 44th in 2017 followed up by a missed cut just last year. But with the momentum of a career season and a big win this past week in Ireland, he will look to rewrite his own recent Open history a come out on top of the leaderboard among the top players in the entire world.
A career year for Jon Rahm
In 14 events thus far this year Rahm has placed top-10 in nine tournaments. Including a four-stroke victory at the Hero World Challenge victory December, the 8th ranked player in the world has already accumulated three professional victories around the globe in the past eight months. Building on his early momentum, and posting a final tournament score of 26-under par Rahm won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, along with playing partner Ryan Palmer, in April by a commanding three strokes.

Despite a less than stellar history at The Open Championship, location may be on his side this year. In 2017 Rahm picked up his first international win at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Not only did he claim victory that year at Portstewart Golf Club, but he also set both the aggregate (264) and to par (-24) record for the Irish Open.

Two years later Rahm matched his low aggregate total while picking up his second Irish Open victory, this time at Lahinch Golf Club. A young man that isn’t afraid to wear his emotions on his sleeve is tailor-made to captivate audiences around the world.

Love him or hate him he’s a must-watch and likely one of the favorites when he tees off in less than two weeks time. Just over 400km away from his most recent victory lies the host course of this year’s Open Championship, Royal Portrush. With Rahm’s success, both past and present, in Northern Ireland, this could be his best chance to finally raise the Claret Jug.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’5pFB_vygSihsMigK1J0aog’,sig:’iRvVAp4Wy3W_u787pChHhJwuPu0TTpHQIGzh_RGKv2I=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1160600767′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});

 The post Jon Rahm’s rise to The Open Championship appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

The Odds of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Leaving Arsenal This Summer

Arsenal and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been in the transfer headlines quite a lot recently. Normally he is making headlines for scoring goals, but this time he is being linked with a move away from his current club.
What are the Odds of Aubameyang Leaving Arsenal?
The Player’s Situation
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is coming off of an excellent first full season in the Premier League. He jointly won the Golden Boot, along with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, by netting 22 goals.

His fine form held in the Europa League, where he helped Arsenal to the final by finding the back of the net on eight occasions. Just why would such a player want to leave his current club? 

Firstly, his form must be considered. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has proven that he is one of the best strikers in the world by replicating his free-scoring Borussia Dortmund days. Such a player would not only want but likely feel he deserves, to play in the Champions League.

Secondly, the club must be considered. While Arsenal are in no real danger of falling out of a top-six place in the Premier League, they have begun to look a club on the wane. Many of the issues left over by Arsene Wenger have yet to be solved, they are on a relatively tight budget and have suffered some really poor results throughout this past season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, or any top player, would want to play on the biggest stage, even if they love the club for which they play. Eden Hazard’s decision to go to Real Madrid is one such example. While the Belgian likely has no hard feelings toward Chelsea, he couldn’t resist the temptation of such a big club any longer.

Aubameyang certainly seems to love Arsenal, but could he be tempted? 
What Are the Odds?
There are relatively few clubs who could lure the striker from north London. Due to their spending spree this summer, Real Madrid are one possible destination with SkyBet giving 20/1 odds for the Galacticos to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

However, they are only the bookies’ third-favourites to sign the striker. Skybet are also offering 6/1 odds that any Chinese club will sign Aubameyang. Gooners will not like the name of the odds-maker’s favourites, though.

Because they wish to offload striker Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United are the favourites to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Skybet offering 13/8 odds for the transfer to happen. If you do fancy a wager, however, be prudent as Arsenal may not wish to sell. One could consider a no deposit offer, for example a free bet no deposit offer on thebookiesoffers.co.uk, while deciding on which of these odds to place their bets. For those interested in placing a bet on a match this summer, Bet365 is offering 1.5/1 odds of Nigeria beating Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations round of 16. Meanwhile, William Hill is currently offering 2.8/1 odds of hosts Egypt winning the tournament on their home soil.
The Club’s Situation
The reason being that Arsenal are not motivated sellers. Raul Sanllehi has expressed his desire to decide on the future of a player when they have two years on their contract, as Aubameyang does.

While this may sound like a transfer is possible, the club will be wary of losing their most valuable asset. Aubameyang’s goals would be very difficult to replace, especially for a club whose third-highest scorer in the league (Henrikh Mkhitaryan) only found the back of the net on six occasions.

Perhaps Arsenal will opt for keeping the player, even if they cannot extend his contract. Beyond the production problems a transfer would pose, there are also the financial problems.

Replacing a 20 goal per season striker would cost a great sum of money, something the club simply does not have and would, therefore, have to reinvest the transfer fee from Aubameyang back into the market. 

The other alternative would be to buy a few strikers and hope that all of them together would replace the goals the club would lose. Either would be an expensive proposition.

Don’t forget that this is also a squad that needs work in other areas. Adding to the needs in a summer where funds are limited would necessitate leaving other areas unattended until a subsequent transfer window.

Simply put, Arsenal will do almost anything to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the club for one more summer at least.The post The Odds of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Leaving Arsenal This Summer appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Week 4 CFL Fantasy Picks: Draftkings and TSN

We saw a nice bounce-back for the CFL Fantasy Picks column in Week 3. Let’s see if we can keep the momentum going as we head into Week 4! Let’s get into it. 
QUARTERBACK 
C.J. Fajardo 
Draftkings = $8.700/$50,000
TSN = $7,793/$40,000
Somehow C.J. Fajardo is not priced up with the elite quarterbacks by now. After back to back outings of 34+ fantasy points, he is still under $9,000 on Draftkings and under $8,000 on TSN. Fajardo has been setting the world on fire ever since he took over for the injured Zach Collaros in Week 1.

So far this season he has a touchdown to interception ratio of 4:0, a quarterback rating of 122.8 and has a rushing touchdown in each of the Roughriders’ three games. Fajardo looks like a slam dunk play this week as Saskatchewan welcomes the Stampeders onto their home turf.  
RUNNINGBACK 
John White IV 
Draftkings = $6,300/$50,000
TSN = $5,800/$40,000 
This may seem like point chasing after White IV’s breakout last week, but it appears he has tightened his grip on the running back duties for the Lions. John White IV stuffed the stat sheet in week three against the Stampeders, rushing 14 times for 64 yards and a touchdown, and added 9 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.

We really hadn’t seen much of White IV in previous weeks as BC had been having to play catchup forcing them to abandon the run game. Even though they lost to the Stampeders, BC controlled much of the game which led to a large dose of White IV. When they visit Toronto this week, I expect a similar workload for White IV as the Argonauts look to be one of the weaker teams in the league this season. As I mentioned earlier, White IV’s workload has steadily increased with each week of play. 
Mossis Madu Jr. 
Draftkings = $5,300/$50,000
TSN = $6,600/$40,000 
If you look even further down the running back list this week, you will see Redblacks’ ball carrier Mossis Madu Jr. Madu has been doing the heavy lifting for Ottawa and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. His price may be too cheap for the volume he receives. He does have a tough matchup against Winnipeg, but he doesn’t have to do much to pay off his salary this week. 
WIDE RECEIVER 
Brandon Banks 
Draftkings = $10,000/$50,000
TSN = $14,000/$40,000
As long as the Tiger-Cats’ receiving core is banged up, it is hard to fade Brandon Banks. This may seem like a “well, duh” play as far as CFL fantasy picks go but the price tag may have some people scared to trust Banks this week. Although Luke Tasker is on track to be back this week, Bralon Addison will be watching from the sideline.

This leaves a target hole in the Tiger-Cats’ passing attack leaving a few extra looks to go Banks’ way. He has not been held under 20 fantasy points yet this season and has gone for 30+ in each of the last two games. Expect more of the same as Banks and the Tiger-Cats get to go up against a weak Montreal team for the second straight week. 
TOURNAMENT NOTE
With the chalky Banks recommendation above, I’ll add a quick tournament thought. The Toronto Argonauts will be without starting quarterback James Franklin for a little while, leaving McLeod Bethel-Thompson at the helm. With that in mind, I expect all of the Argonauts receivers to carry minuscule ownership this week.

The Argonauts will presumably find themselves behind during the game which should lead to some increased volume for their pass catchers. If I was going for upside I would lean Derel Walker, and if I was looking to play it safe, Llevi Noel looks to have solidified a solid role at a super cheap price. 
DEFENCE
Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Draftkings = $5,400/$50,000
TSN = $4,471/$40,000
The Tiger-Cats look to be the play on defence this week as they will have another soft matchup against the Alouettes. They have posted double-digit fantasy points in each of their three games. They have racked up sacks, interceptions and defensive touchdowns while holding each of their opponents to under 20 total points so far this season. 

That’s going to do it for this week’s positional breakdown. Let’s keep the ball rolling as we kick-off our CFL Fantasy Picks for Week 4!

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’aqUzJNFURc51kFqmvQ_L1g’,sig:’3IG0H0uLH1h563ra7U0aEuR6Gg9FRkHPT308mNK633A=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1151354149′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post Week 4 CFL Fantasy Picks: Draftkings and TSN appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

CFL Week 3 Power Rankings

It is time once again for the CFL power rankings, Week 3 edition. Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the past week and take a look at how each team stacks up moving forward.

Week 3 of the CFL season did not disappoint. From a premier match-up to an improbable comeback, to summer storms, this week had everything. As is per usual in the CFL, the entertainment was off the charts. But how does each team rank heading into Week 4? Glad you asked, let’s take a look.
CFL Power Rankings After Week 3
1) Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-0)
     Last Week Ranking: 1

In what was labelled as the premier match-up in Week 3, the Blue Bombers were able to hold off Sean Whyte and the Eskimos. Although the Bombers didn’t play their best game of the season, it was enough to knock off the second place Eskimos. Therefore, the Bombers remain number one on this list.
2) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-0)
  Last Week Ranking: 3

In the last two weeks, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have outscored their opponents 105-24. Yes, they have played arguably the CFL’s two worst teams, but impressive scores nonetheless. The Tiger-Cats look to be in mid-season form already and deserve to be second on this list.
3) Edmonton Eskimos (2-1)
Last Week Ranking: 2

After starting the season at 2-0, the Eskimos seemed to have met their match in Week 3. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers held Trevor Harris and the Eskimos to exactly zero offensive touchdowns. Harris had thrown for six touchdowns in two games prior to this one, but couldn’t find the end zone in this contest. The Eskimos found themselves on the wrong end of a 28-21 decision and have dropped one spot in this week’s rankings.
4) Ottawa Redblacks (2-0)
Last Week Ranking: 4

The Redblacks hang in at the number four spot thanks to their Week 3 bye.
5) Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-2)
Last Week Ranking: 7

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have moved up two spots in this week’s rankings. This ranking is largely based on the play of back-up quarterback Cody Fajardo as well as the rebound game for the Riders defence. The Riders amassed over 500 yards total offence against the Argonauts, while the defence held them to just seven points in a 32-7 victory.
6) Calgary Stampeders (1-1)
Last Week Ranking: 5

The Stampeders are a difficult team to get a read on. Yes, they are 1-1 but have not looked great in either of their games. A late fourth-quarter victory in Week 3 while impressive, left a lot more questions than answers. Many key injuries combined with what seems to be some holes in the line-up, it is difficult to know what Calgary truly is. We should learn a lot from them in Week 4 when they play their first road game of the year in Regina.
7) BC Lions  (0-3)
Last Week Ranking: 7

The BC Lions gave up a substantial late fourth-quarter lead to the Calgary Stampeders in Week 3. The Lions played fairly well for most of the game and should have walked out of Calgary with a win. But they didn’t, and now have an 0-3 record to start the season. The Lions need to find consistency in their play in order to turn their season around.
8) Montreal Alouettes (0-2)
Last Week Ranking: 8

The Montreal Alouettes franchise seems to be in disarray both on and of the field. A strong effort in week one had cause for optimism in Montreal, but a 41-10 loss after their bye week left a lot to be desired. The Alouettes need to find their way, and quickly.
9) Toronto Argonauts (0-2)
Last Week Ranking: 9

The ranking here might be a little high considering what we have seen from the Argos so far in 2019. Outscored in their two games by a combined total of 96-21, the Argonauts look absolutely terrible in all aspects of their game.
The Last Word
While we are only three weeks into the season, some of the story-lines playing out will be interesting to follow. How long will the Bombers hold the number one spot? Are the Tiger-Cats for real? Will the Roughriders continue to ride their hot quarterback?

There are a lot of questions left to be answered in the early going. Looking forward to it all playing out.

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’2DTddJLkT3drd4IifvlEYQ’,sig:’s1lnte9osa18WAC99n0G13E-rTuVeD4Bs00E2AwygjQ=’,w:’594px’,h:’383px’,items:’1152687558′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post CFL Week 3 Power Rankings appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Beware of the “Trap Game” for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts

Many Saskatchewan Roughriders fans are optimistic despite their 0-2 start. After a toe-to-toe battle with the upstart Ottawa Redblacks, the Riders offence was clicking on cylinders, the problem was, they were trailing the entire game. Fajardo gave fans a reason to believe after posting impressive numbers of 27/34 completion, 360 yards, two touchdowns to zero interceptions.

Cody Fajardo connects with Shaq Evans in the end zone to cut into the Redblacks’ lead before halftime! #CFLKickoff pic.twitter.com/Huctyfbci3
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 21, 2019

It’s the most balanced the Riders offence had looked in years. Marcus Thigpen and William Powell combined for 20 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Fajardo added one of his own as well. Whether it was because the team was trailing at key points during the game or if that was the gameplan going in, it’s the best this Saskatchewan offence has looked in a while. However, as good as Fajardo was, Dominque Davis and the Redblacks offence was even better. Rider fans witnessed one of the more poor performances from this defence in a number of seasons.

Here are some key things to keep an eye on for Canada Day’s tilt between the Argonauts and Roughriders.
Toronto Argonauts Offence
The Argos, on the other hand, is coming off an embarrassing loss in their home opener to their vaunted rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats. A 64-14 spanking was not how Corey Chamblin and company imagined their season kicking-off. It’s hard to point to one particular section of the team that a fan could pin the loss on, the Argos were severely outmatched in all three phases of the game.

James Franklin was 16/26, 211 yards and an interception. By no means horrible but obviously not enough to keep up with a potent Hamilton offence. On the other hand, the Argonauts failed to get any traction in the run game. James Wilder Jr. had just 12 yards on six carries and Chris Rainey never had a carry or reception. For all the hype surrounding the depth at that position this off-season, there simply weren’t enough looks to those two players last game.

If Franklin is going to get comfortable in this offence, Jacques Chapdelaine will have to lean on playmakers such as Wilder, Rainey, SJ Green, Derel Walker and Armanti Edwards.
Saskatchewan Roughriders Secondary
All eyes will be on Nick Marshall and how he responds after being picked on by Dominique Rhymes in Ottawa a little over a week ago. The Riders have no shortage of big names in their secondary from Ed Gainey to Loucheiz Purifoy and Mike Edem. It’ll take a collective effort to ensure Franklin doesn’t have a bounce-back game. As previously mentioned, the Argos boast their own weapons on the offensive side of the ball, it’s a matter of execution on their end.

Derrick Moncrief and Cameron Judge will also be vital in ensuring the Argos don’t get too creative with their stable of running backs. If the front four can generate a pass rush like last week and produce four sacks again, perhaps this won’t have to be the nailbiter that many fear it may be.
Special Teams
Both the Argos and Riders struggled to contain their opponents return game in Week 2. Brandon Banks made Toronto pay for a missed field goal at the start of the fourth quarter while Ryan Lankford of Ottawa had four punt returns for 100 yards and five kick returns for 95 yards, with 42 and 36-yard returns included in each of those respectively.

Brandon Banks returns one to the house and shows why he’s one of the most electric players in the league 😱 @Ticats#CFLGameDay pic.twitter.com/3fQiARX6A2
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 22, 2019
While Brett Lauther has been nearly automatic for the Saskatchewan Roughriders since taking over, it’ll be key for the Riders to keep contain on kickoffs and punts. The Riders can ill-afford to give a desperate Argos team any momentum in this phase of the game. Field position will play a big factor in how Saskatchewan’s defence responds.
Matchup to Keep an Eye On
Micah Johnson versus first-overall pick Shane Richards
Richards will face one of the most difficult tests of his career, in just his second game. Johnson has yet to hit the stat sheet with sacks but he’s been key in opening up the lanes for Charleston Hughes and A.C. Leonard who had a combined three sacks last week. It remains to be seen if Toronto will keep an extra running back to help protect Franklin however, look for the Riders to generate significant pressure if Richards can’t hold his own against Johnson.
Happy Canada Day Weekend
From everyone here at Last Word on Canadian Football, enjoy your time with friends, family and football! Make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook for all our latest articles, analysis pieces and predictions!

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’dAIF3AbURddIHUlQPxPbEg’,sig:’TDMDjjRNzufz5WPT_YmmDBI-hS1QuEXrilMWy8gq6wM=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’978571302′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post Beware of the “Trap Game” for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

A Look to the Memorable FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 Finals

The FIFA U-20 World Cup has come to an end for another year, finishing up with an almighty showoff between Ukraine and the Korea Republic. The 22nd edition of the U-20s World Cup saw the world’s youth teams come together to battle it out for the trophy in the biennial championship, but it was Ukraine that came out on top this time around for the first time in the team’s run in the U20s World Cup.

Poland proved to be a worthy host for this year’s championship, catering for increased sports betting, an influx of tourists and, of course, the number of games with six pitches ready to go at once, but it was the final in Lonz that truly captured the attention of thousands.
Ukraine prove worthy
Despite falling behind after an early penalty by South Korea, Ukraine came all guns blazing to secure three goals and a 3-1 win on June 15th. The early lead saw Lee Kang-in of the South Korean secure a goal via a fifth-minute penalty, following a VAR review of a potential foul by Kim Se-Yun. However, the team seemed to fall short for the rest of the match, with Ukraine levelling the playing field at the 34th minute with an impressive goal by Supriaha just after Korea failed to secure a free kick.

On the eighth minute of the second half, Kim Hyun-Woo pulled what many consider to be a rookie error – he played the ball right into the path of Supriaha, who yet again secured another goal. Now a point up, Korea had some work to do, but despite a near-goal, they never caught up.

Ukraine secured their third goal, rubbing salt in Korea Republic’s wounds when they scored just a minute from full time when Heorhiy Tsitaishvili travelled over half of the field, finishing with a score right at the far corner.

Despite having a number of standout players, Ukraine went on to deny any individual acclaim, claiming that the team worked as precisely that – a team. However, the likes of Andriy Lunin, Serhii Buletsa, Yukhym Konoplia, Danylo Sikan and Vladyslav Supriaha certainly proved themselves as worthy candidates for the senior teams in the coming months and years.

Head Coach, Oleksandr Petravok, stated, “I am so happy. I don’t know what to say. Maybe I still have not fully realised what we achieved. It was the most important game in my life. I already got a call from the Ukraine president, who congratulated us. I have been working with these boys for five years, and I am proud. It will be very tough to say goodbye to them.”

A worthy speech, for an emotional and much-deserved win.
The Awards
As with any championship, there were some much-deserved accolades that needed to be awarded, and this year, the three talented players came from South Korea, Ukraine and Norway. Despite most teams shining as a combined unit, there were a number of players that stood out amongst the rest, offering exceptional play and outstanding results.
The Golden Ball award went to Lee Kangin, who showcased his composure, talent and skill throughout the competition. Despite being just 18 years old and the youngest player on the Korea Republic team, he showed true prowess when it came to playing decisive passes and head-turning assists. Having only been a member of the team since March this year, he’s already showing promise as a player to be watched in the coming years, with the highest number of assists and two goals, one in the semi-final, and one in the final.
The Silver Ball trophy went to Serhii Buletsa from Ukraine, who earned recognition for his smooth passing style, precise play and his ability to rack up goals for the team, while the Bronze went to Gonzalo Plata from Ecuador. He was awarded this medal for his pace, determination and his technique that turned heads and left quite the impression throughout the championship in Poland.

The Golden Boot award went to Erling Haland from Norway, who earned 9 goals in a single game! When Norway annihilated Honduras 12-0, he took claim to nine of them, earning him the much sought-after award and a third-place position in the overall all-time top scorers hall of fame for U20s. The silver award went to Danylo Sikan, who earner 4 goals over 6 games, while Amadou Sagna from Senegal earned the Bronze for 4 goals across 4 games.

The Golden Glove Award went to Andriy Lunin from Ukraine, who earned his recognition thanks to his precise and organised defence. His saves are impressive, so much so that the senior Ukraine team often call him up for the European games which saw him miss out on a few of the U-20s Championship matches this year.

Japan were the winners of this year’s Fair Play Award, only receiving 7 yellow cards across their four games, with less than 16 fouls per match. They were deserving winners of the trophy, but also took home $10,000 to put towards football equipment for the youth teams.

This year’s U20s World Cup may have come to an end, but unlike the senior games, the next one is only two years away. With the qualifying matches soon to begin, we won’t have long until we can fix our eyes on the top talent coming up through the youth rankings again.

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’tMpa0H5CTuFmDyoOV1Dbww’,sig:’I5cLcvXZqExvNjoyQSxr5bGJqzgp9GrtpGU7r4J02qE=’,w:’594px’,h:’290px’,items:’1150379223′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});The post A Look to the Memorable FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 Finals appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


Categories

w88