- Maria Sharapova forced to pull out of US Open with leg injury
- Eddie Howe sticks to Bournemouth’s passing principles despite costly late slip
- Chelsea shortcomings exposed by energy and motivation of Crystal Palace
- Tim Sherwood urges Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor to show bottle
- Manuel Pellegrini looking relaxed at record-breaking Manchester City
• Sharapova replaced by Daria Kasatkina in draw
Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the US Open on the eve of the tournament.
The Russian world No3 has been struggling with a muscle strain in her right leg and has not played a competitive match since losing to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semi-finals just over seven weeks ago.Continue reading...
• ‘I’ll take the blame because that’s how I want my players to play’
Eddie Howe’s mantra has always been that Bournemouth will never betray the principles that have got them this far, even when his players are punished for their ambition in possession, and he refused to blame Eunan O’Kane for the mistake that led to Leicester City’s late equaliser.
O’Kane had already been burnt once, giving away the ball in a dangerous position and picking up a booking for a panicky tug of Danny Drinkwater’s shirt, but the midfielder continued to play with fire and Bournemouth’s hopes of earning their first home win went up in smoke when he dithered again in his own half.Continue reading...
• Palace continue remarkable away record under Alan Pardew
In the end there were examples all over the pitch. Linger on Damien Delaney, once considered a mere journeyman who almost gave up football to take up triathlons, bullying Diego Costa to distraction or flinging any part of his body in front of Chelsea’s frantic late pursuit of parity. Or Joel Ward, a right-back popping up in Chelsea’s six-yard box just after the concession of an equaliser to nod in the winning goal. The first man to him in the celebrations in front of the away support was Pape Souaré, the left-back, which said much for the visitors’ ambition.
Then throw in Jason Puncheon, a converted winger so comfortable in possession that he utterly eclipsed Cesc Fàbregas as a midfield metronome, and James McArthur harrying opponents incessantly at his side. Bakary Sako, a man-mountain of a free transfer arrival with a battering ram of a left foot, intimidated his markers with his sheer presence while Yannick Bolasie, a man coping from the recent loss of his father, embarrassed a team of champions. The showboating served to demoralise. And yet to pick out individuals among the visitors’ number on Saturday would be unfair. This was all about the strength of their collective.Continue reading...
• Sherwood injured hamstring when miskicking bottles in Sunderland draw
Tim Sherwood has appealed to Gabriel Agbonlahor to ignore the social media trolls and help play the role of lieutenant in the Aston Villa camp.
The Villa manager advised his club captain not to worry about Twitter critics after Agbonlahor, who missed Saturday’s entertaining draw with Sunderland due to illness, posted a cryptic message on Instagram saying he agreed with all the fans’ recent comments following his poor performance in last week’s defeat at Crystal Palace.Continue reading...
• Pellegrini feeling confident after perfect start to season
The sign of the rosy times at Manchester City came when Manuel Pellegrini reflected on the maximum 12 points, no goals conceded and 10 scored in the opening four matches. “For a dead man walking, not bad,” he said.
Delivering this with a grin, the Chilean was referring to his apparent state as the City manager after the side’s fall in the second half of last season. The champions were joint top with Chelsea on New Year’s Day. From then on, their title defence folded miserably and time seemed to be ticking down on Pellegrini’s tenure.Continue reading...
• Manager Pulis delighted to have signed defender Jonny Evans
West Bromwich Albion’s manager, Tony Pulis, is living proof that good things sometimes do come to those who wait. Sixteen years after he began grafting in lower-division management he graduated to the Premier League with Stoke and with such success that he has since become a fixture in the top-flight landscape. Now, once again, a long-standing ambition has been realised.
Pulis’s pursuit of Jonny Evans went back the best part of a decade. If he had had his way, the Northern Irishman would have become a Stoke player at the time when Ryan Shawcross was first borrowed, in 2007, and then bought, in 2008, from Manchester United. Instead the former City manager has finally signed Evans for Albion at an initial cost of £6m.Continue reading...
Hartlepool and Carlisle, each United, are in no position to have local derbies but Pools’ new chairman, Gary Coxall, writing in the programme and buoyed by three wins in their first four league games, was “hugely excited to be at my first ‘derby’ game”. These are the two most northerly clubs of the Football League’s 72 and Carlisle, 70 miles west as the falcon flies, took home the spoils with their first League Two win of the season, by 3-2 coming twice from behind.
They, too, had lost only once but three draws left them in 20th place, the territory they occupied for most of last season, when they secured safety with two games to go. Hartlepool left it a game later after a more startling recovery. They were bottom for five months from late October, picking up three points from 12 games and, on 3 January, 10 points adrift of survival. Ronnie Moore’s arrival as manager in mid-December did not properly kick in until four wins running in March. On the last day at Brunton Park the clubs shared their relief in a 3-3 draw before major overhauls. Only three starters from each side then were in the initial XIs at Victoria Park on Saturday.Continue reading...
• ‘It was a mistake but a lot of Liverpool players made mistakes’
West Ham United defended everything en route to a first win at Anfield for 52 years so it was fitting that their manager stepped in where few dared to tread afterwards and offered qualified backing for Dejan Lovren.
“If you are telling me Liverpool lost because of Dejan Lovren then no, no, no, no, no,” said Slaven Bilic of the Croatia defender to whom he gave an international debut in 2009 and whose hapless error led to the visitors’ second goal in a momentous triumph. “It was a mistake but a lot of Liverpool players made mistakes.”Continue reading...
For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, For the want of a shoe the horse was lost, For the want of a horse the rider was lost …
For the want of a striker? … well Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal could well end up missing out on yet another title while much of Steve McClaren’s good work at Newcastle might come undone.Continue reading...
• Manager unhappy with unacceptable form after defeat to Crystal Palace
• Mourinho frustrated by lack of progress in transfer market
José Mourinho has branded as unacceptable the form of a core of his title-winning team this season and warned he will make changes to his lineup if improvements are not immediate after Chelsea’s worst start to a domestic campaign in two decades.
The manager, who expressed dismay at suggestions some of his squad may be resting on their laurels from last term in the wake of Saturday’s home defeat to Crystal Palace, will now hope there is late progress in his club’s long-standing pursuit of the Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba before Tuesday’s transfer deadline. Any interest in the Tunisia centre-half Aymen Abdennour has been dropped after he swapped Monaco for Valencia, while Zenit St Petersburg will resist attempts to prise away the Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay.Continue reading...
The Dutch 200m winner’s stunning performance has opened her up to scrutiny but there are compelling reasons to regard her achievement without cynicism
Question: what was your reaction as Dafne Schippers finished like a bullet train to defeat the Jamaican Elaine Thompson in the last desperate strides of the women’s 200m final at the world championships? And another: how much did it change when you saw she had run 21.63sec, the third fastest time in history, behind only Florence Griffith Joyner and Marion Jones, whose performances are regarded as legal only by the record books given their dubious histories? Let me guess. Shock then awe – and then an unwelcome jolt of doubt.
Such a reaction would be understandable given athletics’ past and present problems. Schippers’ skin colour may have coloured your opinion too. We have become used to Jamaicans dominating sprinting. Schippers’ home town of Utrecht is better known for its doorbells.Continue reading...
• Manuel Pellegrini: ‘I have no doubt he will be a big success’
Vincent Kompany hailed Kevin De Bruyne as the best player in Germany and a special talent who can help Manchester City contend seriously for the Premier League and Champions League.
City sealed the signing of the 24-year-old Belgian midfielder on a six-year deal on Sunday for a fee that the club claim is €70m (£50.85m). This is despite reports in Germany that stated his price would be £58m. While City have previously clarified the price of players – Eliaquim Mangala’s initial £32m was changed to £42m – Kompany says the fee is immaterial.Continue reading...
• Praises Stones’ professionalism despite protracted transfer saga
The scoresheet remained blank but this gripping match produced much to encourage both teams, as well as interesting performances from two of England’s leading young talents. Roberto Martínez said that by helping to extend Harry Kane’s goalless streak, John Stones showed Everton fans that he is one of their own.
Martínez was adamant that Chelsea would be wasting their time if they made another bid for Stones before the transfer window closes on Tuesday. “We have real clarity: for us it is closed,” Martínez said, adding that the way Stones played at White Hart Lane, and the fact that he walked over to salute the away fans at the end of the match despite being abused earlier in the week by a handful of Everton supporters angered by his decision to submit a transfer request, proved his loyalty to the Goodison Park club.Continue reading...
• Ángel di María makes assist for Ezequiel Lavezzi on his debut
It took him some time, but when Paris St Germain’s Edinson Cavani found his range he netted a second-half double to help snatch a 3-0 win at Monaco that extended the champions’ perfect Ligue 1 start on Sunday.
Uruguay striker Cavani was wasteful in the first half, missing a couple of chances, until he found the net in the 57th and 73rd minutes to put PSG on a maximum 12 points from four games.Continue reading...
• Performance director happy with selection
Neil Black has defended British Athletics in the wake of the fallout from the relay row that threatened to leave a sour taste despite a successful championships that ended with the team fourth in the medal table. After three of the four sprinters in the men’s 4x100m team hit out at their coaches on Saturday night for switching the team around at the last minute and hinted at wider cultural problems, the performance director said the issue had been put to bed following two team meetings.
Black, who replaced Charles van Commenee after the London Olympics, said: “We chose a team and a tactic that was most likely to win a medal. We were actually looking for second, not for bronze. We were a whisker away from it. These are the risks that you have to take. We’re completely comfortable with it, we had conversations internally, we dealt with it internally.”Continue reading...
• Victory secures first European hockey title in 24 years
England’s women won the EuroHockey Championships for the first time in 24 years as they defeated the Netherlands 3-1 on penalties to triumph on home soil.
Two years ago England lost out on the gold medal by virtue of a shoot-out defeat to Germany and their quest to go one better at the Olympic Park did not start well when they fell 2-0 behind thanks to Caia van Maasakker’s quick double.Continue reading...