Newcastle will be the nap

July 9th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

As soon as Novak Djokovic departed the scene at Wimbledon things looked good for Andy Murray and the 11/10 at that point was worth taking. Frankly, many of his matches seen routine, so superior is he to the opposition and, whilst people will say Jo Wilfried Tsonga made a game of it, Murray always beats him and simply upped his game in the final set. Djokovic is the only man who can push him wide enough to finish the point at the net and even then it’s touch and go.

Milos Raonich has John McEnroe in his camp now and the big server will cling on for a while in the final but Murray should see him off, perhaps in four sets. All value has disappeared now. I should apologise for the Juan Martin del Potro recommendation. He looked somewhere near his best against Stan Wawrinka but the wrist injury has left him merely chipping and slicing on the backhand side and that will never do at this level. It’s a pity because, at his best, he was the man most likely to give the big two a game.

I do not jump in again when original fancies for a major event have fallen by the wayside. At Euro 2016 I thought England had their best chance in a major tournament for quite a while but the tactics were all wrong and a much more imaginative coach should have been employed in the first place. With all the column inches devoted to Wales it seems to have been forgotten that England did actually beat them; such is the nature of sport and its coverage.

Having watched Graziano Pelle in almost every game for Southampton I doubted he’d score from the spot against Germany. The big problem with Pelle is that, despite his own opinion, he isn’t good enough to showboat and it was a miserable effort after trying to bait Neuer. Apparently he is off to China and there are those at St Mary’s who know that a whole new approach will needed with Mane gone as well. Much may depend on Charlie Austin’s fitness. As for Sunday’s final, France have to be clear favourites but it would not the greatest surprise if Ronaldo saved the best till last and Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares have not let anyone down. I edge towards the hosts but it will not be easy.

Since last season ended I’ve been thinking of a major bet on Tottenham to win the Premier League and they should start well while the other big teams are still shuffling players and working out formations. The problem may be Liverpool; no European commitments and the mercurial Mane on the strength. At times he was more or less unstoppable for the Saints and he is a serious loss.

Andros Townsend should have gone to Euro 2016 and now he’s gone to Palace. Well, he is much too good to spend a whole season grinding away in the Championship but I still think Newcastle will win it by a tidy margin, even though Coloccini is another to have departed the scene. Something about the task appealed to Rafa Benitez, things wore coming together when it was all too late, the old place will be packed to the seams from the word go and I think the others will be playing for only one automatic promotion place. Keep an eye out for the early prices!