The talk of Sky Sports
Last Updated: 01/02/13 10:45am
For the best in up-to-the-minute sports analysis, look no further than skysports.com, your online home for expert opinion.
Whatever your sport, our team of pundits, columnists and bloggers are here every week to bring you the sharpest views and the shrewdest comments on the latest developments.
Some of the most respected names in the business, including Jamie Redknapp, Stuart Barnes, Stevo and Paul Merson deliver their views with their expert columns, while we also have blogs from the likes of David Lloyd and Jeff Stelling.
Here's a snapshot of what the experts have been saying over the last seven days...
"Much of Rayo's victories have been inspired by 20-year-old forward Leo Baptistao, who has won admirers up and down Spain for his imaginative and incisive work on and off the ball. Baptistao, in my eyes, has already signed for Atletico Madrid for next season but interestingly for him he doesn't know yet because the club and his father (who looks after him) want him to focus on the job in hand. It's an interesting story for Baptistao, who used to cross paths as Neymar's rival with their youth teams usually meeting in the finals of competitions. A friend of his father got him trials in Spain but nobody wanted to keep him because he needed a house and no clubs risked the money. When Jemez saw Baptistao this summer, he saw he was very raw and the progression this season has surprised everybody - even manager and player themselves.
Guillem Balague analyses the factors contributing to the form of La Liga's surprise package, Rayo.
Taken from 'Valiant Vallecano'
"Snedeker has risen to seventh in the world rankings so more expectation will be placed upon him, though I think he has the personality to deal with that; he has a great attitude and work ethic and always smiles on the course. Those traits could make him a fundamental part of Team USA at the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles in 2014 but, for now, he will be looking to further impose himself in the Majors, having recorded top-10 finishes in all of them, except the USPGA. The American seized a tie of third place at the 2008 US Masters and considering the form he is in he could be a big contender at Augusta in a couple of months' time - but he will fancy his chances at The Open, too."
Rob Lee says Brandt Snedeker's victory in the 2012 FedEx Cup has lifted his game to new heights.
Taken from 'Snedeker's Fed up'
"The year 2013 also offers us an opportunity to showcase the sport to a new and wider audience; the World Cup in the autumn will have games throughout England and Wales and we have the potential to demonstrate the speed, skill and drama of 13-a-side rugby to people who have never witnessed it before. In my opinion, it is a brilliant chance to attract a new wave of interest in the game and we all have a responsibility to use this opportunity well. It is 13 years since we last had a World Cup in the UK and from what I saw we didn't do very well both on and off the field. Will it be any different this year? But before we get to that we've got a full Super League season to get through and the drama and excitement of another Challenge Cup."
The year 2013 promises to be a huge year for rugby league and Phil Clarke cannot wait for the action to start.
Taken from 'Worth the wait'
"The body language between them was fascinating. It confirmed that, whatever else they might be, they are not best friends; they simply do not appear comfortable in each other's company. Then again, Froome would dismiss the notion that there is anything to read into their body language, and complain that journalists are just stirring trouble. And he would have a point. Guilty, m'lud. Yet the day after our meeting with Wiggins and Froome, the former was quoted as saying that a Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double is "the dream," while Froome reiterated, lest there was any doubt, that he is "100 per cent the team leader for the Tour." Several things seemed abundantly clear as Froome sat beside Wiggins, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that their tête-à-tête confirmed impressions."
Richard Moore wonders if the edgy dynamic between Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome will help Team Sky.
Taken from 'Uneasy riders'
"I'd like to see Frampton clean up the division domestically. We all remember that Ricky Hatton achieved so much but there was always that question mark of why he didn't fight Junior Witter. That left open the whole argument of 'who would have won' and so Frampton needs to make his position clear. Nothing stops these fighters going on and pursuing other goals after a fight - regardless of who wins and who loses - and it will tell us who is number one and who is number two. If you're looking at past performances, you'd give Frampton the edge but Quigg showed more variety in putting Rendall Munroe away in November. As their fighting careers have developed, both Frampton and Quigg have improved massively."
Carl Frampton must avoid rushing into the world title frame and focus on 'the now', says Johnny Nelson.
Taken from 'Prey of the Jackal'
"Gould is a quirky character, someone who loves playing the game and he's got the spirit of the amateur in him. It's great to see players such as him come to the fore at these events; Snooker Shoot-Out has really shone a light on some of the players we don't often hear about or see on TV, and that can only be good for the game. In fact, a player unfamiliar to many was responsible for one of the best moments of the weekend. World number 48 Jimmy Robertson made probably the best clearance seen in this event against China's Tian Pengfei in round one. There were only two minutes left on the clock and the balls were in a terrible position, but he cleared up with a 57 break to win the match."
Neal Foulds says the Snooker Shoot-Out was a success and praised winner Martin Gould.
Taken from 'As good as Gould'
"Fury is still making his way and his rant on Ringside's Toe 2 Toe podcast about the Klitschkos has seen him come off as crass, as have some nasty comments he has made in the past on Twitter, including one questioning David Price's sexuality. Fury does not need to slag people off to go far; he has a great physique, solid basic skills and plenty of years ahead of him. No-one can say our sport is all sweetness and light as the fact of the matter is you are punching people in the face and there needs to be a little bit of needle to get the juices flowing ahead of fights.But, unlike MMA, boxing is a noble art and you have to pay your opponents or potential opponents respect - and Fury is not doing that."
Tyson Fury needs to cut out the verbals and prove his undoubted talent in the ring, says Glenn McCrory.
Taken from 'Don't vent your Fury'
"We saw last season how Carlos Tevez had his four-week fine imposed by Manchester City - for the incident on the bench at Bayern Munich in the Champions' League - halved because it contravened PFA regulations. A two-week fine is a significant amount to a player lower down the leagues, but at the top level it is relatively inconsequential. Then there is the issue of how these fines are collected. Not every club has an efficient German to ensure the club's coffers are well stocked. I know of one Premier League player last season who was fined two weeks' wages for a serious breach of club discipline at training. That fine still hasn't been collected."
Johnny Phillips wonders if the idea of fining top level players has ever been so utterly pointless.
Taken from 'Far from fine'
"When you look at the pairings it's clear that we're going to see a great event this year. People who say that only a few countries have good darts players don't know what they're talking about because there's several teams who could win this. A lot will depend on how the players gel - you've got to like your team-mate - and sometimes it doesn't matter how good the players are; pairs is a very funny game and upsets are always possible. We saw that when the Spanish duo beat Phil Taylor and James Wade a few years ago. I've got to put my hand on my heart and tip the English to win because I'm a patriot, but there are a few good sides out there. The Dutch will take some stopping, the Scottish could turn up and make waves and the Australians are very strong."
Rod Harrington is tipping England at the World Cup of Darts - but look out for the Dutch, the Scots and even the Belgians!
Taken from 'War of the World'
"Can you have too many Frenchman in the side? Not if they all play like Yohan Cabaye you can't because he's been absolutely fantastic in the last few games. But it is a risk. I watched the second half against Aston Villa and thought that Mathieu Debuchy, for instance, was really struggling when the heat was on. Le Championnat is by no means the strongest league in Europe, so Newcastle must be sure that they are investing in quality. Are the five that he's brought in all good players? We will see."
Coutinho, Zaha, Balotelli and MK Dons... Jeff Stelling blogs on the football stories catching his eye.
Taken from 'Movers and shakers'