“This stings for sure,” said Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who certainly knows that feeling after the Super Bowl collapse two seasons back against New England, and then last winter’s divisional playoff loss here that ended almost exactly the same way as Thursday night’s defeat. “We knew this would be a competitive fight that would come down to the end, and it did.”Competitive? For sure.Classic? Not even close.“It wasn’t pretty, it was sloppy,” All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson said. “But at the end we got a win.”What NFL fans got ultimately might be an indictment of the preseason.ADVERTISEMENT NCAA: Late rally lifts Lyceum past JRU to stay unbeaten “It just came down to closing really,” Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant said.This was one opening show that artistically deserved to close after one night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. In Julio Jones’ case, it’s simple to say, “Who needs it?”Jones didn’t play a down in August, but he was unstoppable against a Philadelphia defense that handled everyone else, especially the scatter-shot arm of Matt Ryan. While local native Ryan once again was struggling at the Linc, Jones still managed to make 10 receptions for 169 yards. Only when Atlanta got within the Eagles 20-yard line did Jones not dominate — in great part because Ryan kept making misguided throws.Frankly, while Jones seemed to be in all-world form, Ryan — a virtual non-participant in the exhibition games — looked rusty.The Eagles weren’t a whole lot better. Other than their opportunism and some creativity, they also were plagued by mistakes on both sides of the ball.Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles caught another pass; it didn’t score a touchdown as the quarterback did against the Patriots, but it set up one of Jay Ajayi’s two TD runs. That was fun.But the dropped passes, including some potential interceptions, and silly errors such as a blocker on the punt team letting the ball touch his foot, looked like something straight out of, well, an exhibition game.“It wasn’t a rhythmic game but we fought hard and did the job,” Foles said. “Winning isn’t easy, especially against Atlanta. It was a dogfight. Our defense did a great job.”If this is a harbinger of what the other openers might look like on Sunday and Monday, fans might want to juggle their viewing schedules. Remember, virtually every team preserved regulars for the games that count. Unfortunately, that just might mean counting the number of flags that fly and errors that occur from Miami to Minneapolis, from Detroit to Denver, more so than the touchdowns going up on the scoreboard.“We made a ton of mistakes today,” safety Malcolm Jenkins noted. “But every time we got out there, we dealt with the situation. If we made mistakes, we moved on and we tried to win the situation.”The Eagles did, displaying the kind of resilience that helped them to last season’s title. The Falcons flopped again in a tight spot, though it’s inconceivable such a talented group will continue to get in its own way like this again. Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown And even with a weather delay featuring some lightning before the Eagles and their fans could celebrate the unveiling of the banner for their first championship since 1960, this wasn’t exactly a sparkling display of football.You can credit two pretty staunch defenses if you want. Yet despite neither team reaching 300 yards in total offense, neither D was dynamic because plays were there to be made. The offenses rarely could do so.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’And then there were the penalties. Altogether, 30 points were scored — and two teams expected to contend for the NFL title compiled 26 penalties. It’s never a good sign when flags nearly equal points.Hey, the Super Bowl champions gained 232 yards and gave away 101 in penalties. Atlanta, which must think there are hot coals lining the red zone at the Linc, gained 299 but had 135 yards in penalties. Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title LATEST STORIES Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title View comments Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college MOST READ Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones, front right, cannot catch a pass against Philadelphia Eagles’ Ronald Darby during the final second of an NFL football game early Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 18-12. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)PHILADELPHIA — Even with an exciting finish eerily similar to last January’s playoff game, this was pretty much a forgetful opener to the NFL season.Even with another Philly Special, there wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about in the Eagles’ 18-12 victory over the Falcons on Thursday night.ADVERTISEMENT
Ray Wilkins has warned football supporters they will all be punished for the offenses of the minority if fans don’t help the authorities stamp out the throwing of projectiles at matches.This weekend’s FA Cup action was marred but a number of coin throwing incidents.Chelsea have vowed to ban the ‘idiotic and dangerous’ fans responsible for throwing objects at Manchester City players as they celebrated scoring at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.Meanwhile, the Football Association have launched an investigation into the events which saw West Brom winger Chris Brunt hit with a coin thrown from a section of his own supporters against Reading.The Baggies star said he was “disgusted” and “ashamed” by the incident, and former player and coach Wilkins believes fans have the responsibility to turn offenders in.“This has got to stop, it’s just ridiculous,” Wilkins told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“Do we want to start seeing football matches from behind fences or netting again? Because that’s where we’re heading.“These are extremely dangerous situations, especially the one with Chris Brunt. The coin hit him just below the eye so that could have been really serious.“I would also say that somewhere along the line, because it is a criminal offence, we’ve got to self-police our grounds as well. Even if CCTV didn’t pick it up, someone is that stadium knows who threw that coin.”
The South African government will giveincentives to companies that hire youngpeople. (Image: image library) South Africa’s minister of finance PravinGordhan delivered an applaudable budgetspeech. (Image: GCIS)MEDIA CONTACTS• Thoraya PandyCommunication UnitNational Treasury+27 (12) 315 5944 or +27 82 416 8416Thoraya.Pandy@treasury.gov.zaBongani NkosiMinister of Finance Pravin Gordhan announced a new, energised commitment to South Africa’s young people in his maiden budget speech, with education and job-creation programmes for graduates and school-leavers high on his list of priorities.Addressing Parliament on 17 February, Gordhan said the biggest slice of the national budget for 2010/11, R165-billion, would be ploughed into the country’s 27 000 schools, 23 universities and various colleges.“Education remains our largest item of spending, giving meaning to our commitment that it is our number-one priority,” he said.Some R12-billion from the allocation will go towards the country’s Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, and a further R1.3-billion will be used to improve the salaries of educators at these institutions.Government is working hard to position FET colleges as viable alternatives to universities to absorb as many matriculants as possible into tertiary education.The aims is to equip students, many of whom are there on bursaries, with practical skills to make them more employable.“Expanding and improving capacity at our FET colleges is a vital part of our growth strategy,” Gordhan said. “We have set ourselves ambitious targets to expand the number of young people studying vocational subjects.”Gordhan’s announcement was welcomed by several political parties. “The injection of more resources into the further education and training will assist in the skills development of our people and prepare them for future absorption into the job market post the current recession period,” said the ruling African National Congress (ANC).Treasury has also put aside a further R2.7-billion for the Department of Basic Education to provide school literacy and numeracy workbooks in all 11 official languages.Incentivising job creationAs President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation address on 11 February, government is committed to building strategies to encourage the private sector to hire inexperienced young South Africans, who currently make up the largest portion of unemployed citizens.Government is planning to subsidise companies that hire young people, making it more of an attractive option for employers.Gordhan said labour market data indicates that “employers are reluctant to hire inexperienced work-seekers”, and this denies youngsters the opportunity to garner “basic workplace competencies”.The Department of Labour will launch a campaign to inform young people about job opportunities and training, with the goal to get this up and running by early 2011.“The aim is to raise employment of young school-leavers by a further 500 000 by 2013,” Gordhan said.“Many South Africans, speaking from their own experiences on the streets of our cities, at factory gates and in rural communities, have urged us to take steps to make it easier for young people to find work.”The country’s official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), saw Gordhan’s youth job-creation plan as the “main thrust” of the budget speech, “particularly the detailing of a wage subsidy that will open up job opportunities for South African school-leavers”.“We believe wage subsidies can create real, permanent employment for thousands of young people in South Africa,” the DA said.Public worksSouth Africa is also planning to boost employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme, which has already provided jobs for thousands of people, albeit on a temporary basis.The aim of the programme is to create 4.5-million short-term jobs between 2009 and 2014. Gordhan allocated R52-billion over the next three years to strengthen this programme.“An additional R2.5-billion will go towards supporting labour-intensive projects in the social, non-state and environmental sectors, largely targeted at rural areas,” the minister added.Growth expectationsTurning to the recession, which led to 900 000 local workers being retrenched in 2009, Gordhan said: “Our people want action on jobs, growth and poverty. We must build a new common purpose so that we can use all of our talents, skills and resources to tackle our economic and social challenges.”The economy shrank by an estimated 1.8% in 2009, after five years of strong growth.However, for this financial year Gordhan said “things are looking slightly better” – he expects the economy to grow by 2.3% in 2010, rising to 3.6% in 2012.“Household consumption expenditure will improve during the course of this year as confidence improves and household debt levels abate,” he added.Consumer price inflation declined over the course of 2009 and is expected to remain at around 6% over the period ahead. “These are significant improvements in the economic outlook,” the minister announced.Talking tax, Gordhan said that as a result of the deterioration in the South African economy, “we now expect to raise R69-billion less in tax this year than we budgeted”.To boost revenue, government will introduce a 12-month amnesty period for non-compliant taxpayers. The Voluntary Disclosure Programme, to start in November, will enable tax evaders to “disclose and pay undeclared tax liabilities at a reduced interest charge and without penalties”.Health, welfareOther significant announcements in the budget address included a R105-billion allocation for health over the next year, and a further R3-billion to broaden access to antiretroviral treatment – especially for HIV-positive woman and children co-infected with TB who have CD4 counts of less than 350.“Presently, about 920 000 people are on antiretroviral treatment. The budget provides for the number to rise to 2.1-million in 2012/13,” Gordhan said.Government will spend R89-billion on social welfare in 2010/11, with the state old age pension and disability grant rising by R70 to R1 080 a month from 1 March.The child support grant, which has been extended to 18-year-olds, will increase to R250 a month. “The inclusion of about two million children … through the extension of grants up to 18 years … will radically push back the frontiers of poverty and improve the quality of life of millions,” the ANC said.
Be PersistentImage via Iakov Filimonov.So you’ve done everything right. You signed a contract, did your job, and sent out the finished project. Unfortunately, you haven’t gotten paid, and it’s overdue. What do you do now? Well, don’t immediately vilify the client. Companies have lots of vendors to pay, and things like corporate videos and commercials sometimes get lost in the paperwork.Send them a polite email reminding them that the payment date has passed. Most of the time, they will usually respond and send the money. Things happen, you got the money, everything is great.But in rare circumstances, this isn’t the case.If the client isn’t responding, keep emailing them. Twice a week. Three times a week. Eventually ramp it up to every single business day. Make sure your voice gets heard, and that they know that you need to be paid. Remember to be respectful and not threatening. If you have the phone number of the person who set up the gig, reach out to them personally. In the most extreme circumstances, try going to the office. It’s much harder for someone to ignore you when you are standing right in front of them.Don’t Fall For Sob StoriesImage via AJR_photo.In my years of freelancing, there’ve been a few times when the client didn’t pay on time, and they responded with the “We don’t have the money to pay you” excuse. Maybe it was a startup or a local business without a lot of capital. It’s business, and it happens.Of course, every situation is different, and there is usually a solution. Try your best to work with your client, but if they won’t agree to anything, remind them that you have kept up your end of the deal, and that they are not keeping theirs. Be sympathetic, but do not let them take advantage of you.When I’ve heard this excuse, I’ve sometimes granted more time for payment. In one instance, the client paid me weeks later with a written apology and a few extras to show their appreciation. The payment may have been late, but it worked out in the end.On the other hand, one company gave me the same excuse, but they didn’t pay me, and they took advantage of my patience. These are the companies that think that if they just ignore you, you might eventually stop asking. Be very, very firm with these clients. You performed a service, and you must be paid for it.Choose Your Clients WiselyImage via Vladimir Arndt.Whether or not you get paid on time can depend on the type of business you’re dealing with. If it is a very healthy business, they will most likely pay you on time. If it’s your uncle’s friend who has a new invention that “reinvents the way we shuck oysters” that he runs out of his garage, think twice before agreeing to a contract.Trust your gut, always. If you get the feeling that job is going to be a hassle, don’t take it. Or if the client continually tells you how small the budget is for the project, be wary. These are the types of people who think filmmaking and video production is easy and may not value you or your work when the time comes.Looking for more video production advice? Check out these articles.DIY Filmmaking: How to Build Your Own Dolly for $50Should You Ever Give Your Client The Unedited Project Footage?Take Your Creative Briefs to the Next Level With Adobe InDesignTips for Directing and Acting (At the Same Time)Learning How to Edit While You Shoot The freelancer’s worst nightmare is a client who doesn’t pay on time — or at all. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure that doesn’t happen.Cover image via Chokniti Khongchum.If you have ever worked freelance, you’ve probably run into this situation. You agree to terms, work the gig, and send in the final product. The client thanks you. Weeks go by. No check. You make countless calls, send countless emails, and get countless “check’s in the mail” responses. Maybe you finally get paid. Sometimes you don’t. It’s frustrating and exhausting, so here’s a guide to making sure that your client pays you for your work.Sign A ContractImage via Freedomz.Here’s something that no one ever told me as a new freelancer: an invoice is completely different from a contract. This may seem obvious, but when you are first starting out, the whole freelancing process is a little vague.When consulting with a client about the project, listen attentively and respond with your day rate and other fees, like equipment rentals, so they know what to expect. Once you reach an agreement, draft a contract that includes these very important elements:Expected completion and compensation dates. Every job will be different, but creating a set schedule has always worked for me in the past. If you let the client know when they can expect the finished product, then you deserve to know when you will get paid. Keep each other accountable with a binding contract. This will be helpful down the line if they don’t pay when they said they would — you have written proof of the agreement. If the company is on a net-30 or net-45 payment schedule for their vendors, try your best to work with them. But if you need to rent equipment with that money, make sure the client knows that you absolutely need that money before the gig starts.Contract amounts. Always include the exact total of the job. That way your client knows exactly what to expect, and you have a written agreement covering that amount. It helps to outline exactly what costs what (shooting, equipment, editing rates, etc.), so the client knows where their money is going.Revision limitations. Another freelancing nightmare is endless revision. I’ve had clients ask for 7-8 revisions that cost me countless hours. Unfortunately in those situations, I felt helpless because I didn’t establish a revision limitation in my contracts, so the client felt like they could kick the work back as often as they wanted. Clarify how many hours of revisions you will grant them before you begin charging additional fees.Put everything in the contract. Every customer will have wants and wishes, and you need to put them in writing before agreeing to a job. Asking a lot of a freelancer is okay, but you need to agree on everything before the gig starts.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has smashed an international wildlife smuggling racket with the seizure of about 8,000 kg of shark fins in Mumbai and the coastal town of Veraval in Gujarat. Four persons, including the mastermind, have also been arrested.According to the DRI, the consignments were meant to be illegally exported to China and Hong Kong. The fins were procured from the seas along the coasts of Ratnagiri and Mumbai in Maharashtra, and Veraval and Okha in Gujarat. They are used for preparing “shark fin” soup in China and Vietnam. Usually served on special occasions such as weddings and banquets, it is considered a luxury food item and is of immense significance, with one bowl of soup costing at least $100.Acting on a tip-off that some exporters were indulging in the trans-border smuggling of fins of various species of sharks, the agency mounted surveillance and zeroed in on the suspects. The fins were to be smuggled out on the pretext of exports of dried ray skins, dried marine products, and fish maw, to evade detection. “In all, 3,000 kg of shark fins was seized from the godown at Sewri and 5,000 kg from the godown in Veraval. Investigations are under way to determine from when the gang had been operating,” said an official.The wildlife inspectors confirmed that the seized goods were shark fins. “It has come up during the investigations that the stocks are replenished regularly,” the official said.Through a notification dated February 6, 2015, the Finance Ministry has prohibited export of shark fins of all species. The agency said shark finning is an act of removing the fins, often while the shark is alive. Fishermen keep just the fins — only 1 to 5% of the fish’s weight — and throw away the rest, as they fetch a high price.With the fins having been removed, the sharks are unable to swim. As a result, they either sink to the bottom of the sea and die, or get eaten by other predators.In August 2013, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had approved a policy on “shark finning”, prohibiting removal of fins on board a vessel on the sea. The policy prescribes that any possession of shark fins would amount to “hunting” of a Schedule I species under the Wildlife Protection Act.India became signatory to the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in September 2014 and listed five more shark species for conservation.
“With the experience of Kelly (Williams), Ryan (Reyes) and Jayson (Castro), they were able to come back,” Garcia said.The do-or-die duel is on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum with the Painters looking to reassert their mastery over the KaTropa, whom they blew out by 32 points in the eliminations last month. Read Next Racela keeps faith in TNT import Joshua Smith PLAY LIST 00:51Racela keeps faith in TNT import Joshua Smith02:19PBA Season 43 Preview: TNT Katropa34:34PBA Women’s 3×3 – April 01, 201601:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “We just extended the series. I told the players it’s all about who wants it more on the defensive side,” said ROS head coach Caloy Garcia after his team survived a 20-3 run by TNT in the final frame.Norwood anchored Rain or Shine’s defense against TNT’s prolific import Glen Rice Jr., who shot 8-of-28 from the field to finish with only 19 points and 10 rebounds with six turnovers.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRice struggled but remained aggressive. His two free throws and dunk over Raymond Almazan pushed the KaTropa within three, 105-102, with 30.2 seconds left.Norwood hit a free throw after that for a four-point cushion and Rain or Shine was able to make a stop as time ran out. Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad PBA IMAGESRain or Shine blew a big fourth quarter lead before holding off TNT, 106-102, to setup a rubber match for a slot in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.J’Nathan Bullock had game-highs 31 points and 15 rebounds while Gabe Norwood made his presence felt on both ends of the floor with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block for the Elasto Painters.ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight MOST READ Fajardo on pace for another PBA MVP award Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president View comments
zoom Italian ship builder and ship designer Fincantieri, together with its selected subcontractor, will construct cruise ship blocks in Australia from 2018 to commence training the Australian shipbuilding workforce in Fincantieri tools and methods.For the purpose, the Italian giant hired the flat product steel producer BlueScope Steel, which now join Fincantieri’s global base of 80,000 subcontractors around the world, to supply steel for use in cruise ships and future test blocks of cruise ships constructed in Australia.“This order will ensure that cruise ships blocks built in Australia as part of our start-up activities will train an Australian shipbuilding workforce and use Australian steel,” Dario Deste, Chairman of Fincantieri Australia, said.The training activities lead into the start of production of the Future Frigate from 2020, as the company aims to bring its own work “to start up operations locally and create new markets for Australian industry.”The cruise ship blocks will be constructed by both Fincantieri’s own shipbuilding workforce and potential subcontractors to the Future Frigate Project, who will be invited to submit quotes in coming months to construct selected blocks.Fincantieri has also selected Hoffmann Engineering to manufacture a bow thruster for a Landing Platform Dock for a Middle Eastern Navy in Australia. Furthermore, the parties have entered a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly cooperate in the development of Fincantieri’s AUD 250 million global market (over 5 years) for the manufacture of marine systems and components.In association with its tendered proposal to the Australian Government for Project Sea 5000 Future Frigate, upon reaching the appropriate business content, Fincantieri said it will list its Australian business unit on the Australian stock exchange (ASX).Fincantieri presently lists two businesses within the group on public stock exchanges, being Fincantieri on the Italian exchange and Vard on the Singaporean Exchange.This announcement follows previous confirmation by the company that an Australian shipbuilding workforce will be used to build all the Future Frigates in Adelaide, Australia. An office of Fincantieri Australia will open in Adelaide on October 10, 2017.
Few clubs came into this season with grander ambitions than Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Both clubs were among the top contenders to win the Champions League when the competition began. Now, one will be eliminated from competition after the two face off Tuesday in the second leg of their round of 16 matchup. And the problems run deeper than just elimination — PSG is looking to survive an injury to its superstar Neymar, and Real Madrid has already fallen out of title contention in La Liga. Whichever team fails to advance from the match will have questions to answer about what went wrong.So how did we get here? Let’s start with the summer transfer window after the 2016-17 season. Real quite reasonably avoided making major changes to its roster after winning three of the last four Champions League trophies. PSG, having once again been eliminated from the Champions League before the semifinals, embarked on an unprecedented spending spree — laying out hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire Neymar from Barcelona and Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.Despite these purchases, PSG is once again struggling in the Champions League. A 3-1 first-leg defeat in Madrid has left the French with a roughly 25 percent chance of advancing to the quarterfinals, according to FiveThirtyEight’s club soccer predictions. To reach the quarterfinals, PSG must win by three or win by two while holding Real scoreless. If PSG wins 3-1, the teams will be tied in both aggregate and away goals over the two legs, and the match will go to extra time and possibly penalty kicks to decide who will advance. For PSG, the Champions League appears to be slipping away. And worse, Neymar recently broke a bone in his foot, which will sideline him for at least six weeks.For both ball progression through midfield and shot creation around the penalty area, PSG runs through Neymar. He has scored 19 goals and assisted 13 in Ligue 1, with a non-penalty scoring and assist rate of 1.34 per 90 minutes played. These numbers are no fluke: Neymar hasn’t benefited particularly from good fortune in either his own or his teammates’ finishing. Neymar has taken shots valued at around 13 expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of scoring chances, and created chances worth about 11.5 expected goals. His expected goals and assists rate of 1.18 per 90 minutes is the highest of any player in the top five European leagues1The English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1. (that means he’s doing better than Lionel Messi).Neymar also moves the attack forward through midfield or into the penalty area before the shot more effectively than anyone else in the top leagues. He has provided about 7.7 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes, just edging out Messi, who has provided 7.2. (Progressive passes and runs occur when a player either moves the attack forward by 10 or more yards beyond its furthest point of progression or moves the ball into the penalty area for the first time in a possession. A progressive run must also include a successful take-on of an opponent.)These comparisons to Messi are not superfluous — Neymar’s production at PSG has reached such a high level that Messi is his only peer. This chart shows the company that Neymar is keeping this season. It displays all 9,000-plus player-seasons in the top five leagues in which a player had at least 1,500 minutes. There are 10 seasons in the top right corner, where players have more than 0.9 expected goals plus expected assists per 90 minutes and more than five progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Eight of them are Messi, starting with his 2010-11 season and running through the current one. And nestled among them is Neymar’s current season. This analysis might suggest that Paris Saint-Germain should abandon hope — the attack has been totally dependent on Neymar, and now he’s out. However, PSG may be the only club in the world that is rich enough to have a reasonable Neymar replacement sitting on the bench. Angel Di Maria, who played in Neymar’s wide forward position this weekend against Troyes, put up similarly huge numbers for PSG in 2015-16 (before Neymar’s arrival). While that season was a career-best for Di Maria, he has consistently put up more than 0.5 expected goals and assists per 90 minutes (averaging over 0.7) and 4 to 6 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Most clubs would have to reshuffle their tactics upon losing Neymar, transferring some of his scoring load to one player and some of his ball progression work to others. But PSG can plug in Di Maria and keep everything else roughly the same. If PSG is to get the big win it needs on Tuesday, the man in the center of it is likely to be Di Maria.Scratching back from a two-goal aggregate Real Madrid lead might normally seem like an insurmountable task, but Real hasn’t been the same team this season. Los Blancos have already fallen 15 points off Barcelona’s pace at the top of the La Liga table, effectively conceding the league title with months to go in the season. Real’s defense has been unusually permeable this season, conceding 29 league goals. That’s the club’s worst defensive record through 27 matches since 2010-11. Real has conceded 43 clear scoring chances — defined as a situation like a one-on-one in which a player is expected to score — also its highest number since 2010-11.On the attacking side, the team appears to be reeling as well — but these numbers are a little misleading. Typically, the very best teams in the world outperform expected goals. After all, these teams have the best strikers, and the best strikers convert the easy chances and also score more often in situations when goals are not expected. Real Madrid is getting their normal amount of chances this season: The team has 63 expected goals and has averaged 61 through 27 matches over the past seven seasons. What has changed then is that the finishing has gotten worse. This year, Real has converted only 58 nonpenalty goals from those chances. Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been uncharacteristically unproductive with his chances, accounts for most of the gap, with 13 nonpenalty goals and 17 expected goals.These statistics provide the context for Real Madrid’s disappointing position in La Liga. The weakened defense is enough to make Real fall short of first-place Barcelona, but it is uncharacteristically poor shooting from superstars like Ronaldo that has dropped Los Blancos out of title competition entirely.The stakes could not be higher for this match. PSG is desperate and missing its star. Real Madrid appears more vulnerable than usual — even if the attack is most likely better than its relatively disappointing top-line numbers show.Neither team has much to play for this season other than Champions League glory, and both clubs were constructed precisely for this task. The stage is set for a great European clash between two of the richest and most successful clubs — even if it’s not what these two heavyweights envisioned when this all started.Check out our latest soccer predictions.
According to reports, Italian Club Sampdoria have set their sights on a loan deal for Chelsea and England Under-21 international striker Tammy Abraham.According to Sportitalia, Sampdoria wants Tammy Abraham as a possible reinforcement in attack at Marassi.Chelsea are not willing to the sell the highly rated young striker, and it’s likely this would only be a loan deal.Abraham scored seven goals in 19 appearances for England at the Under-21 level and has already made two senior appearances.Chelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.During his loan spell at Bristol City, he was prolific, scoring 23 goals in 41 appearances.He spent last season on loan at Swansea City, where he scored eight goals with five assists in 39 appearances.Tammy Abraham was part of Chelsea’s preseason squad and was retained perhaps as an understudy to Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud.Sampdoria have shown interest in securing the signature of Zenit striker Sebastian Driussi, it seems Tammy Abraham is the more likely option.