Halfway through the season, Antonio Conte, the excitable, tactically savvy manager of Chelsea, is running ahead of rivals in first place in England's top soccer league. The Italian also stands out in another way: his team is the only one of the major teams whose television viewership has risen this season (albeit only very slightly). The live TV audience for most of the top six teams is falling halfway into the season, with only Chelsea rising very slightly Source: Broadcasters' Audience Research Bureau Elsewhere, the trend of fewer people tuning in to the country's biggest sport that was detected earlier this season has been confirmed, according to a Gadfly analysis of data from the U.K. Broadcasters'
There wasn’t much to say about a ho-hum match between Watford and Middlesbrough at Vicarage Road, which suits Hornets captain Troy Deeney just fine. Deeney wanted to discuss the passing of Watford’s legendary coach, Graham Taylor, who died of a suspected heart attack this week. A former England and Aston Villa manager as well, the legendary Taylor had a strong career at Watford that saw the Hornets rise from the fourth division to a second-place finish in the top flight within five seasons. Think about that. From the BBC: “Today was more about Graham Taylor and not the result. It would have been nice to get a winner and dedicate it to him. “You could see how emotional everyone was and it showed
Holders Ivory Coast started their Africa Cup of Nations defence with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Togo on Monday. Michel Dussuyer's men are once more among the favourites to lift the trophy on February 5 - having defeated Ghana on penalties in the final two years ago for their second title. With high-profile names such as Serge Aurier, Wilfried Zaha and Eric Bailly in their ranks, the Elephants will have fancied their chances of getting their Group C campaign off to a winning start versus Togo.