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Alastair Cook was well-intentioned but miscast as England ODI captain | Mike Selvey

Guardian Sport - 49 min 35 sec ago
Now he has been relieved of his duties, Cook should get back to doing what he does best: dominating the crease in Test matches
• Alastair Cook dropped as England’s one-day captain
Barney Ronay: Right decision at the wrong time

There can be no solace in seeing a good man brought down in this manner. Over the course of the year Alastair Cook has been subjected to criticism disproportionate to his status in the game and abuse and ridicule of a kind that no one, let alone someone of his achievement, should be forced to endure.

Cook is no different from any other sportsperson in that he has ambitions and the drive to try to succeed at the next level whatever that might be, in this case excellence at the shorter forms of the game and the desire to lead his team into a World Cup before ceding and returning to what he has always done best. But beneath the ambition was always the belief that whatever he was doing was for the betterment of England cricket before anything else. Stubborn? Of course, and in this case misguided, but the intentions were always for the best. Much as many liked to make it so, the captaincy was never the issue: his batting was.

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Ali Carter gets all-clear from lung cancer

Guardian Sport - 55 min 40 sec ago
• Carter: ‘Two beautiful words I’ve been waiting for’
• Carter aiming to get snooker career back on track

Ali Carter has been given the all-clear seven months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The 35-year-old, twice a World Championship runner-up, recovered from testicular cancer last year and is aiming to resume his career.

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Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini questions Chelsea’s staying power

Guardian Sport - 56 min 2 sec ago
• Manuel Pellegrini: Arsenal slump last year a warning to Chelsea
• Manchester City still without injured strikers for Crystal Palace match
Joe Hart signs new five-year deal with champions

Manuel Pellegrini has questioned whether Chelsea can maintain their title challenge in the second half of the season, pointing to how Arsenal faltered last term in the new year. Arsène Wenger’s side led the table by a point on 1 January and by two on 3 February yet by 25 March Arsène Wenger’s side had slipped to six points from the top, a gap they never recovered, finishing fourth.

City trail Chelsea by only three points, with the deficit having been as much as eight. The manager was asked if the champions will have to be better than last year to defend the title. “I think Arsenal had a very similar number of points last season as Chelsea have now at this moment,” he said of their 39 points. “So we’ll see what happens in the second half and how many points you need to win.”

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Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez revels in regular football with Arsène Wenger | David Hytner

Guardian Sport - 56 min 4 sec ago
The Arsenal manager’s perseverance paid off in the summer when he signed Alexis Sànchez, who could have joined Liverpool

Arsène Wenger has admitted that if things had worked out differently last summer then Alexis Sánchez would have been lining up for Liverpool against Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday.

The Arsenal manager moved decisively while he was in Brazil working as a World Cup TV pundit to close a £30m deal for Sánchez from Barcelona. The Chile forward has been Arsenal’s player of the season so far, scoring 14 goals in all competitions and making light of any settling-in difficulties.

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Manchester United’s Michael Carrick is lauded by Louis van Gaal

Guardian Sport - 56 min 5 sec ago
The versatile 33-year-old’s return from injury and United’s six-game winning run appear to be no coincidence

The importance of Michael Carrick to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United was illustrated Friday’s before Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa when the manager twice billed him as “my captain” when asked of his qualities.

“He is my captain so he brings a lot of experience but also a lot of composure,” Van Gaal said. “I can use him in different positions and I like that. Because he is my captain he can transfer my philosophy on the pitch.”

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Newcastle’s derby with Sunderland is a watershed on and off the pitch | Louise Taylor

Guardian Sport - 56 min 6 sec ago
Alan Pardew is desperate to stop struggling Sunderland from gaining a fourth successive win over his Newcastle team, while police pray the much-vaunted truce between fans holds firm on Sunday

Two pressing issues dominate north-east football conversation this weekend. While Sunderland fans debate their team’s chances of extending an extraordinary run of three straight wins against Newcastle United, others involved in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby question whether a much-vaunted truce between rival supporters will hold.

Much may hinge on the way in which Alan Pardew and Gus Poyet confront two sets of respective problems. While Newcastle’s manager could do without needing to rely on Jak Alnwick, the club’s third-choice goalkeeper, Poyet travels to St James’ Park having achieved only two Premier League wins all season.

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Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers says new system will restore side’s potency

Guardian Sport - 56 min 6 sec ago
• Rodgers to stick with 3-4-3 formation against Arsenal
• Manager says Sánchez would have softened Suárez blow
Wenger: Arsenal’s 5-1 loss to Liverpool is ‘scar in your heart’

Brendan Rodgers believes his new 3-4-3 formation will restore Liverpool’s potency but would have received more plaudits had it been devised by a foreign coach.

Liverpool brought their manager some much-needed respite with Wednesday’s Capital One Cup quarter-final win at Bournemouth when, with Raheem Sterling leading the attack for the second game in succession, their pace up front and counterattacking play represented a vast improvement on most performances this term. The approach is unlikely to change against Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, when Mario Balotelli serves a one-match ban for breaching the Football Association’s social media rules by reposting a controversial image of Super Mario on Instagram.

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Manchester United must improve, Louis van Gaal tells Sir Alex Ferguson

Guardian Sport - 57 min 6 sec ago
• Manager insists recent victories are not enough
• ‘I am still looking for a game that is closer to the perfect game’

Louis van Gaal has told Sir Alex Ferguson that victories are not enough for him and that Manchester United’s performances must improve, despite being assured by the former manager that he has nothing to worry about because the team are winning.

Van Gaal’s side are on a run of six consecutive league victories, the first time the club have managed this since Ferguson’s final season two years ago.

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Sale 18-11 Exeter | Aviva Premiership match report

Guardian Sport - 1 hour 16 min ago
• Sale 18-11 Exeter
• Fly-half weighs in with 13 points at the AJ Bell Stadium

Danny Cipriani created one try and scored another as Sale wrecked Exeter’s hopes of climbing to the top of the Aviva Premiership.

The visitors knew that a victory would take them to the summit, until Saturday at least, but Sale were not to be denied as they claimed a well-earned victory – their fourth successive league win.

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Millwall 0-1 Bolton Wanderers | Championship match report

Guardian Sport - 1 hour 19 min ago

Darren Pratley fired Bolton to a rare away win as Neil Lennon’s side won 1-0 at Millwall in the Championship. The midfielder outshone the returning Eidur Gudjohnsen as the visitors, revitalised since Lennon took over, collected only their second victory on the road this season, making it seven matches unbeaten and climbing to 14th.

Gudjohnsen was handed his first start since rejoining the club he left 14 years ago for Chelsea, but the 36-year-old striker had departed the field by the time Pratley crashed in a fine second-half winner. Gudjohnsen did have half a chance in the opening five minutes when Lee Chung-yong’s cutback reached him on the edge of the area, but the former Iceland international could not get his shot away in time.

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Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich | Bundesliga match report

Guardian Sport - 1 hour 24 min ago

Arjen Robben’s last-minute goal gave Bayern Munich victory at Mainz on Friday to set a Bundesliga record for points at the halfway stage of the season.

Robben was left free to convert Juan Bernat’s cross from close range after Mainz lost the ball in midfield, giving Bayern 45 points from 17 games to beat the club’s own mark of 44 at the halfway stage of the 2005-06 season.

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Jeronimo! Newcastle Jets finally win a game with 2-1 defeat of Adelaide United

Guardian Sport - 1 hour 26 min ago

Newcastle Jets 2-1 Adelaide United

Newcastle’s long wait for a first win of the A-League season is over with a late Jeronimo Neumann strike sealing a shock 2-1 success over newly-crowned FFA Cup winners Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium.

The Argentine pounced in the 81st minute against his former club, sweeping home from close range after good work from David Carney to set up the chance.

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Michael Phelps admits drink-driving

BBC Sport - 1 hour 31 min ago
US swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time, gets a one-year suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

Crusaders 1-0 Dungannon Swifts

BBC Sport - 1 hour 40 min ago
Crusaders move to within a point of the Premiership summit after Timmy Adamson's goal secures a 1-0 win over Dungannon Swifts.

England's Waters loses Worlds semi

BBC Sport - 2 hours 28 min ago
England's Alison Waters is knocked out of the Women's World Squash Championship after losing her semi-final.

Ravens' Joe Flacco tweets Barack Obama to confirm he is not James Franco

Guardian Sport - 2 hours 37 min ago
  • President conflates quarterback and actor
  • Twitter explodes with joy at slip of tongue

Perhaps fearful of the negative affects a North Korean assassination attempt may have on his team’s playoff chances, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has tweeted Barack Obama to clarify he is not James Franco.

The president was discussing Sony’s decision to pull Sony’s The Interview on Friday when he conflated the film’s star, Franco, with Flacco to come up with a hybrid creation named “James Flacco”.

Fact Check: James Flacco is not an elite quarterback

I drafted James Flacco in my fantasy hollywood league

.@barackobama It's James Franco, not James Flacco ;)

Welcome to the family, brother. @JamesFrancoTV

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England right to remove Cook - Agnew

BBC Sport - 3 hours 13 min ago
Removing Alastair Cook as England ODI captain is right and he may eventually see it as a blessing, writes Jonathan Agnew.

Bernie Ecclestone is being sued for £270m over Formula One sale

Guardian Sport - 3 hours 17 min ago
• German state bank BayernLB announced move on Friday
• Action to be taken against F1 supremo and family holding

The German state bank BayernLB is suing Bernie Ecclestone and his family holding Bambino for around €345m (£270m) in relation to the sale of its stake in Formula One.

The news agency dpa says BayernLB announced the move in Munich on Friday.

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