The talk of Sky Sports
Last Updated: November 30, 2012 3:13pm
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...
" These days the head coach gets involved in so many branches of Team England (many of which don't get a lot of publicity) that it can only be a sensible move to relinquish him of some responsibility. Coaching the national side is a much more professional job than it used to be and as things stand England are obviously keen to keep Flower for as long as possible; if he continues to do as much as he currently does, and the overseas tours and international Twenty20 fixtures continue to multiply as they are, it's hard to see how his tenure wouldn't be shorter than hoped for."
Ashley Giles' new role is essential so that England get the most out of Andy Flower, says Bob Willis.
Taken from 'Giles just the man'
"Sam Tomkins managed to be even better this year than last, another hallmark of greatness. His 'stats' were amazing and he has the charisma to match. Wigan didn't lose many games through the season, but they did struggle without their main man.He's built more like Mo Farah than Usain Bolt, but his speed and evasion were the reasons why he managed to score 29 tries in just 26 Super League games. His vision and skill show that he can create as well as finish opportunities and he laid on the final pass for another 27 tries this year. Will anyone be able to stop him in 2013?"
Phil Clarke picks five areas that he believes had Olympic quality - including his Player of 2012.
Taken from 'The ideal standard'
"The only man above Donald in the rankings is Rory McIlroy and he has had a marvellous campaign. Luke could have a very fine career and never win a Major, but I certainly wouldn't rule out his hopes of capturing the big one as there aren't many things preventing that dream from being realised. His room for improvement, though, is from the tee box, as his driving is not as red-hot as the rest of his game. The Englishman is just 34 and as we've seen from the likes of Mark O'Meara, Vijay Singh and, latterly, Darren Clarke you can still be a massive force even when you hit your forties."
Rory McIlroy had a great season, says Rob Lee, but Luke Donald's campaign wasn't bad either.
Taken from 'Two's not so blue'
"England could easily win a bucket-full of possession against New Zealand and lose by a wide margin. New Zealand are comfortable the longer teams have the ball and, conversely, just as deadly themselves when they have a small share of ball. They don't run everything; they play territory unless there is space in which case they will attack and when they attack they turn chances to tries like no other team. The rest of the world is more concerned with where the next breakdown is rather than could they get on a colleague's shoulder to turn a half chance into a try. Wayne Smith calls it 'optimistic' rugby."
Stuart Barnes looks at the state of Scotland and says England must play 'with optimism' on Saturday.
Taken from 'Stand and deliver'
"Ricky proved two things with this fight. The first was that he's still the biggest draw in British boxing. Even ahead of this fight, when nobody knew who the opponent was going to be, he still sold 19,000 tickets in 48 hours. That's a great feat for anybody. However, the second thing the fight proved was that he can't fight at that level anymore. It was sad to see after two or three rounds the timing wasn't there; the instinct, the movement, the fluency and that snap he used to have wasn't there anymore. Imagine him boxing Paulie Malignaggi, who he's already beaten. Paulie would probably have beaten him."
It was sad to see Ricky Hatton stopped but it was the best result for him, says Johnny Nelson.
Taken from 'End of the line'
"Cotto is a tremendous fighter and has been around big bouts for some time, but I suppose his problem is that he has lost his career-defining matches: against Manny Pacquiao in 2009 and Floyd Mayweather in May of this year. However, at just 32, his career is a long way from over and I think the Puerto Rican could become an even bigger star in the light-middleweight/welterweight scene over the next few years, because Mayweather and Pacquiao are on a downward slide. Cotto will face stiff competition from Britain's Kell Brook, though, someone I am very, very excited about; he is a phenomenal young talent, a charismatic kid, and has a real wild streak. If he can get everything right he could be THE man of his division."
Glenn McCrory says Miguel Cotto could be THE man of his division if he can see off Kell Brook.
Taken from 'Cott's got a shot'
"Ricky Ponting was a great competitor and a wonderful opponent; quite simply one of the all-time greats. He was an absolutely fearless player against the short ball and whenever I met him he was just a steady Aussie bloke. Very honest, very up front and very much on the level. There are plenty of memories, but I'll never forget Edgbaston 2005 and Andrew Flintoff (more on him later). It was one of the great Test overs and showed that even the greats are only human as well! A lot of old-stagers camp up in our domestic cricket and Ricky would be a wonderful asset."
Bumble explains why you might see Australian great Ricky Ponting on the county circuit near you soon...
Taken from 'Taking Punt'
"Sunderland looked devoid of ideas (and hence chances) in the 0-0 draw against QPR and I thought it was quite telling that afterwards Martin O'Neill was pretty much lost for words when he was asked if he was confident that the team could come through its current blip. The record shows they've only won twice at home in the league since March - against QPR last season and against Wigan in September - and now there are fears that Lee Cattermole could be out for months rather than weeks. Everything suggests they are in trouble."
Jeff Stelling, fresh from his Xtra Factor appearance, explains why he fears for the Black Cats' survival chances.
Taken from 'Off-song Sunderland'
"Michael Morrison is certainly up there and is a player I have held in high regard ever since I saw him develop at Cambridge and, latterly, at Leicester, under the tutelage of ex-centre-half Nigel Pearson. Morrison played in a back five when he was with the Foxes and was also switched to right-back, such was his versatility and ability on the ball. But I have to say that the player who has completely changed my opinion from ordinary to outstanding is Leicester's Wes Morgan. He was brilliant at Nottingham Forest and reached a level of performance that had a lot of club clamouring for his signature, something City captured this summer. He has matured into the most consistent Championship centre-back."
Peter Beagrie reveals who he believes is the best Championship centre-half as he answers your questions...
Taken from 'Centres of excellence'
"Podolski, who was not involved in a Premier League game for the first time this season against Everton on Wednesday night, has indeed equalled a Premier League record after being substituted in his first 13 consecutive fixtures. He matches the record set by Sergio Aguero last year who was taken off by Roberto Mancini in the first 13 games he started (his first game was as a substitute) before finally completing 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Arsenal on December 18. No player has ever been substituted in 14 consecutive Premier League starts before..."
Martin Tyler explains why Lukas Podolski won't want to get taken in his next start for Arsenal in the league.
Taken from 'Luk who's talking'
"Certain players are superstars at a young age and hit their peak at 20, 21 years of age - but hamstring strains and groin injuries are like kryptonite for these players; they can strip them of that extra yard of pace which would take them away from their marker. We saw it with Michael Owen and now we're seeing it with Torres. I can't remember the last time I saw Torres run away from a defender, get his body across them and score - his ability to do that used to set him apart. If he got in front of you it was 'goodnight' because he was so strong there was no stopping him. But now people can catch him - and once that happens you're just a mere mortal."
Rafa Benitez won't be able to get Fernando Torres firing - injuries have taken their toll, says Jamie Redknapp.
Taken from 'Past his peak'