– Advertisement – This month, Sky Sports presenter Adam Smith was joined by former Premier League kingpin Joleon Lescott and Olympic gold-medal hockey player and presenter Sam Quek – who is also an avid Liverpool fan.So, how did the team unfold? Let’s start between the sticks…Goalkeepers The Kings of the Premier League show, sponsored by Budweiser, returned on Sky Sports this Friday with another all-star line-up on the panel.Guests pit stats against gut when they compare results from the statistical Power Rankings with fans’ votes for Kings of the Match on the Premier League website.- Advertisement – “I think they pick themselves,” said Joleon. “There’s a lot of top-quality talent in this position, but Kyle Walker has been the standout performer this season – and that’s something to say when there are the likes of Trent-Alexander Arnold and Chilwell.“For me, Chilwell is the closest Chelsea have had to Ashley Cole, if he can stay fit. He’s that good. He’s hit a level of consistency. Cole loved to venture forward and get in the box and Chilwell’s got that in him.”Final selections: Ben Chilwell and Kyle Walker Both guests agreed on selecting Wolves centre-back Conor Coady. “I’m a massive fan,” revealed Sam. “His England performance was an extra cherry on top of the cake. His stats don’t leap off the page, but, as a defender, if you just do your job properly, sometimes it’s under-appreciated.“If you’re in the right position to let the forward go wide, or you close off the path in the channels, or you make the opposing defender pass back, that’s your job half done. So, technically, you’re making fewer tackles but doing the same job – and Coady does that excellently.”“I also went for Gabriel,” added Joleon. “He’s new to the Premier League and he looks like he’s played here for a number of years. He’s aggressive, which I like, and hasn’t made many mistakes. He’s played in different positions, on the left and in the middle of a three – so he has a good understanding of different roles.” – Advertisement – Saturday 7th November 8:15pm Sam selected Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who has conceded only one goal in his previous four league games and made almost twice as many saves as Mendy during that time.Joleon debated whether Patricio could have aligned his wall more effectively to prevent Jacob Murphy’s late equaliser for Newcastle, but ceded ground to back the Wolves No 1.Final selection: Rui Patricio “And James Rodriguez oozes class and he’s also passionate. You want your big players to step up for the big games and he was arguing with the ref and shoving Liverpool players in the Merseyside derby – and that’s what you want to see.”Joleon swung the vote for the third and final midfield selection after making a case for Aston Villa midfielder Ross Barkley. “If you get him playing with confidence, he’s hard to stop – a lot of positive traits. A great signing for Aston Villa and he’s proved that during his time there.”Final selections: Jack Grealish, James Rodriguez and Ross BarkleyForwards Joleon nominated new Chelsea stopper Edouard Mendy, who has kept three successive clean sheets in the Premier League since his debut.“Mendy’s come into the league and showcased why he’s No 1 at Chelsea,” said Joleon. “Against Manchester United, he produced three or four world-class saves.”“He’s kept three clean sheets – but he didn’t face a shot on target in two of those games!” argued Sam. “So it’s pretty easy to keep a clean sheet!” There was no debate for the full-backs this month, with Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell and Manchester City’s Kyle Walker immediately rubber-stamped with starting berths. – Advertisement – Centre-backs Image:Rui Patricio has faced twice as many shots on target as Edouard Mendy since October 1 and made almost twice as many saves But Sam was keen for Kurt Zouma to be selected after helping Chelsea keep three shutouts during his four league appearances over the past month. “For me, he’s got to be Frank Lampard’s first name on the team sheet.“When you look at the clean sheets he’s kept, he’s had that consistency with three different centre-back partners. I think he’s done excellently and he’s also been a threat from corners with two headed goals.”“I’m not basing this on scoring,” joked Joleon. “I look at the defending and the stats state Gabriel has been better defensively!”Final selections: Conor Coady and GabrielFull-backs Kings Of The Premier League “It’s really interesting how Kane’s dropped deeper and wider,” added Sam. “Is that down to him, the partnership with Son, or is it Jose Mourinho and the way he wants his team to play? But whatever it may be, you have to give credit to Kane for adapting and becoming more of a team player.“And Mohamed Salah has scored seven goals so far this season, he’s got points on the board for Liverpool. They’re top of the table. I do get frustrated with him, because he goes missing in games, but then that’s when he’s also at his most dangerous, because he just pops up, out of nowhere and rattle one in.”Final selections: Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane and Mohamed SalahFinal KOTPL XI King of the month Midfielders Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son – who have scored nine goals between them since the turn of October – and Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah were uncontested starters along the forward line.“Son has definitely upped his game to another level this season,” said Joleon. “He’s probably the most balanced forward from the names on that list. He scores with his left foot, right foot and headers. He contributes in all areas and tracks back.” The show’s best bits will play out across Sky Sports’ YouTube and the partnership will also deliver the weekly Power Ranking articles every Tuesday on the Sky Sports website and apps.The second episode aired on Friday, November 6, with repeats over the weekend and on-demand, and will run throughout the first four months of the Premier League season.Do the Premier League’s statistical leaders make the cut in this month’s XI, or do the fans’ favourites earn starting berths? Tune into Sky Sports Premier League to find out… Sky Sports and Budweiser, official partner of the Premier League and King of Beers, have joined forces to bring you the Kings of the Premier League show.On the back of its resounding success last season, the debate returns to your screens at 7pm on the last Friday of every month on Sky Sports Premier League.Sky Sports presenter Adam Smith and two guests will build an ultimate XI from the top-performing players over the past month, pitting stats against gut as they compare data-driven form charts with Kings of the Match fan votes.“This show really is the perfect way to pick the team of the month,” according to Smithy. “It’s never easy picking a dream XI, so let the debate commence.” Final selection: Heung-Min SonPick your KOTPL XIDisagree with the final selections? Use the team selector below to create your XI and share it on Twitter @SkySportsPL using the hashtag #KOTPL.Kings of the Premier League on Sky Sports Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish and Everton playmaker James Rodriguez were unanimous selections in midfield.Sam poured praise upon Grealish, who was named in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad on Thursday to face a friendly with the Republic of Ireland and Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Iceland this month.“He’s has been brilliant for Villa. To be where they are now, compared with where they were last season, it’s incredible. They’ve brought in some more young talent, recruited well, and that has brought him on even more.
Bryant discovered Manning shared similarities with him when they met following a Lakers’ regular-season game in Orlando in 1999. “I asked him some football questions because I was insanely curious on how he goes through these progressions,” Bryant said. “He goes through his answer that I swear might as well have been in Mandarin.” Bryant recalled asking Manning to speak “in English” as he rambled in X’s and O’s jargon. But even if he did not understand Manning’s explanation, Bryant still walked away impressed.“He’s a football geek in how much he prepares and studies,” said Bryant, who tweeted a congratulatory note. “I couldn’t be any happier for him.” Fond memories Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error INDIANAPOLIS >> He studied the game endlessly. He demanded plenty from his teammates. He fought through every injury imaginable. He remained consumed with winning championships.That will mark the legacy of Lakers guard Kobe Bryant once he retires following his 20th NBA season and becomes a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But that description also applies to Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who helped Denver defeat Carolina on Sunday to collect his second Super Bowl title. Manning could also share another similarity with Bryant as the Broncos quarterback mulls retirement. Bryant has not yet talked with Manning, but he offered his own perspective. “It was a completely internal decision,” Bryant said before the Lakers played the Indiana Pacers on Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “I wasn’t as obsessed about the game and the little nuances and details that would consume my everyday being. When that happens, it’s time to walk away. But everybody goes through it differently.” Well before Bryant cemented a legend that suggested he could overcome any injury, the Lakers’ star first had to prove it. That happened in this city. After sitting out Game 3 of the 2000 NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers, Bryant posted 28 points on 14-of-23 shooting in 53 minutes of the Lakers’ Game 4 victory over Indiana. Bryant argued that game “put us over the edge” in an eventual six-game series win. “As the game progressed, it became looser,” Bryant said of his ankle. “I started having more confidence in what I can do.”Once Shaquille O’Neal fouled out with 2:33 remaining, Bryant scored three baskets that included one off of an offensive rebound and a block. Bryant also scored eight of the Lakers’ 16 points in overtime.“When Shaq fouled out, I remember having an opportunity throughout the game to hit a couple of pull-up jumpers because of the way the recovery was,” Bryant said. “The rebound was luck. The basketball gods were looking out for me and it bounced my way.”Bryant also believed things would bounce his way during his first NBA Finals appearance. “The first time around, you have this young ignorance of just going out there and playing,” Bryant said. “Losing wasn’t even a thought that crossed my mind. In later stages of your career, you become more conscious of the opportunity of failure.”Hence, Bryant’s mind-set when the Lakers played the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals, a series the Lakers won in seven games.“My mentality was much different because I had won four,” Bryant said. “It was like, ‘Okay you can’t lose this one. In the first one, it was, ‘I can’t wait to win this one.’”Endless chatterThe chirping constantly flooded Jordan Hill’s ears as he went up and down the court. He could hear Bryant yelling in practice and during games about anything imaginable.He would bark out instructions to teammates. He would pull teammates to the side and point out various tactics. He would talk trash to opponents. He would do the same thing to teammates in practice.“He’s bringing out the best out of his teammates and he wants the best out of his team,” said Hill, who played 3 1/2 seasons with the Lakers before signing with Indiana this offseason as a free agent. “He’s a winner. You have to be prepared for it. Not a lot of people can handle it. But he deserves everything he gets.”
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