Manchester City stumble as Marten de Roon grabs Middlesbrough a point6 days ago
Sergio Ageros goal just before half-time seemed set to give Manchester City the points but Middlesbroughs Marten de Roon secured a 1-1 draw in the 90th minute at the Etihad
Manchester City failed to avoid anticlimax after the thrill of beating Barcelona when they conceded a late Marten de Roon equaliser that left Pep Guardiola disgusted in the technical area.
The Dutch midfielders added-time header came as City scintillated before the break and seriously ran out of gas after it. Sergio Ageros 43rd-minute finish a 150th goal in 223 appearances for the club appeared to be the winner until Adama Traor was left free to run across almost the whole field from the right, George Friend was allowed to float the ball in and De Roon beat Citys jumpers to finish past Claudio Bravo.
When Kevin Friend blew for time moments later the referees whistle was accompanied by boos perhaps to tell Guardiola that when any opposition is not killed off a smash-and-grab can occur.
This meant City have drawn their last three home league games, having also shared the points with Southampton and Everton. A frustrated Guardiola said: Do you think it is a problem when the opponent arrives two times a game and we arrive 10 times? In all three games we are much better than the opponent. Now we talk and analyse, is it a problem in the box [not finishing and conceding]. If we end 1-0, we talk about the performance and how good it was.
The second half we didnt play like the first one but I think they have one chance in the beginning of the second half and the last minute. Everton and Southampton as well, when you see all three games, we drop six points, they arrive maybe four or five times in our box. We create enough chances, we attack really well and control the counterattacks and we create enough chances, more than enough to win the game and when you arrive in the last minutes, just 1-0, everything can happen.
The Catalans message beforehand was clear: use the superb midweek win over Bara as motivation to be as focused and ruthless again. Overall he could be pleased by a first half-hour of domination but anxious his team had not capitalised.
From the side that downed Barcelona, Guardiola made three changes. Out went Willy Caballero, Nicols Otamendi, and Raheem Sterling and in came Bravo (who had been suspended), Aleksandar Kolarov and Jess Navas. Otamendi and Sterling were rested. Of particular interest was how Kolarov, a left-back by trade, beat Vincent Kompany to a centre-back berth, the captain having to settle for a replacement role.
Agero continues to be in a challenge to convince Guardiola of his enduring worth and all he can do is keep on scoring and contributing as he did again here on Saturday.
During Citys first-half onslaught Guardiola bent to his knees in anguish as David Silva blazed at Vctor Valds and the Spaniards reflexes impressed as they had previously. The former Manchester United and Barcelona goalkeeper was having a fine game but, when recovering from a bad gash caused by a Navas challenge, Valds could do nothing about Citys superb opener.
Kevin De Bruyne is having the season of his life under Guardiola. So, too, is Agero. They combined for a simply sublime strike, as the Belgian fashioned another bending pass that left the red shirts before him bystanders, and there was the Argentinian to stab home.
At the break Middlesbrough will have been relieved to wander off only 1-0 behind. Now, though, they turned the game, and Aitor Karanka explained how. We went to the pitch and showed them too much respect, the manager said. At half-time I told them we had to play.
His order was carried out admirably. First, lvaro Negredo, once of this parish, came close to lobbing Bravo as the goalkeeper back-pedalled to tip over.
After Stewart Downing flashed an effort past the wrong side of the left post, Guardiola made a move. This, unsurprisingly, was positive, as he replaced Ilkay Gndogan, a midfielder, with Nolito, a forward.
As the game ended Agero could rue skying over from close range, as now came De Roons moment. The Argentinean echoed his managers words. It was a strange match because we controlled the game but I have a bad feeling because we conceded, he said. The Premier League is a complicated competition where anyone can beat you. That showed today.
Of his late miss, Agero said: I had many chances today, the clearest was the one where Jess Navas pulled the ball back to me. It was under my feet and I only had a few seconds to decide. I need to improve on that. City need to improve, too, to become more ruthless.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Roger Goodell: it would be an honor to hand Tom Brady Super Bowl trophy19 days ago
Roger Goodell says he will be happy to present Tom Brady with the Vince Lombardi trophy should the New England Patriots win next months Super Bowl
Roger Goodell says he will be happy to present Tom Brady with the Vince Lombardi trophy should the New England Patriots win next months Super Bowl, despite the fallout from the Deflategate scandal.
The NFL commissioner suspended Brady for the first four games of the season for his role in the saga after a long-running battle that ended up in court. The quarterback has roared back after his ban, leading the Patriots to Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons.
Tom Brady is one of the all-time greats, Goodell told Fox Sports Radio on Wednesday. He has been for several years. Hes on the precipice of at least potentially winning his fifth Super Bowl ring. Hes an extraordinary player, great performer, and a sure-fire Hall of Famer. So it would be an honor [to present him with the trophy].
Goodell has not attended a Patriots game since the start of Deflategate and chose to watch the Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game last weekend rather than attend the Patriots victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Goodell is unpopular to say the least with New England fans but denied he is dodging the team.
We had two great games. I was in Boston two years ago for the divisional and the championship games. I try to get to as many stadiums as I can, he said. We have two great games and you have to choose. Frankly, the focus should be on the players and the coaches and the great game. Thats where it was this weekend, and thats where it should be.
The Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, has been critical of the way the NFL handled Deflategate telling the New York Times the league had messed this up badly. Goodell, however, said Kraft respected him. I wouldnt be doing my job if somebody wasnt unhappy with a decision that you make or where youre doing it. Robert and I can disagree about things. We have a healthy respect for one another, but thats true with any owner. That doesnt affect my relationship or the fact we work together to try to make the NFL better ultimately. Thats the most important thing going for us.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Novak Djokovic will miss the rest of 2017 season with elbow injury1 month, 6 days ago
World No4 and 12-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic has announced he will not play for the rest of the year because of an elbow injury
Novak Djokovic will miss the rest of the tennis season with a persistent elbow injury and has announced that Andre Agassi has agreed to remain part of his team next year.
After 12 months of upheaval on and off the court, speculation had mounted that Djokovic would take an extended break from tennis in order to recover from the right-elbow injury that forced him to retire during his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych. But while the 30-year-olds decision to listen to medical advice means he will be absent from next months US Open, the world No4 vowed to return stronger than ever and expressed his happiness that Agassi will continue to coach him in 2018.
I will take this time to heal and do all the different suggested methods of rehabilitation and healing processes so I can get back on the court as soon as possible, Djokovic said. It will take a couple of months at least without a racket and I hope after that I can start to train. Im looking forward to building my body and my game and my team.
Im happy to share that Andre Agassi is committed to stay with me next year. I want to thank Andre for being with me this year and sharing his experience and wisdom and Im looking forward to getting back on the practice courts with him and having him in the box for any big tournaments.
Djokovics announcement came exactly a year after Roger Federer cut short his 2016 season with a knee injury. Written off at the time, Federer returned from six months out to win the Australian Open in January and Wimbledon earlier this month.
Djokovic, who was speaking in Belgrade, hopes that a similar period of rest will allow him to rediscover his spark. The Serb has struggled ever since completing his career slam at last years French Open. He opted for the shock therapy of ripping up his coaching team earlier this year before reaching out to Agassi, who joined him at Roland Garros on an exploratory basis, but Djokovic ran out of steam when the elbow problem that has troubled him for 18 months flared up against Berdych at Wimbledon.
He has since sought advice from specialists, including the Serbian doctor Zdenko Milinkovic, who said Djokovic is suffering from a bruised bone due to excessive playing.
Djokovic has won 12 grand slams and has not missed one since making his debut at the 2005 Australian Open. He is set to slip to fifth in the rankings on Monday and could drop out of the top 10 by the end of the year. But Djokovic preferred to focus on the positives after his latest setback.
Im very grateful, thats the strongest emotion Im feeling lately, even though as a professional it is not an easy decision to swallow, he said.
I havent skipped any big tournament. I have played all the grand slams and probably 90% of the 1000 Masters series events. I was blessed to have a lot of success. Im grateful for that. But Im also very grateful that I kept my body very healthy throughout the years. I havent had too many injuries and especially no big injuries like this one that would keep me away from the tour for longer than a month.
Its a new experience for me, new circumstances, but Im trying to look at it from a brighter side. I have time where I can dedicate myself to healing and building up my body and strength and focusing on certain elements of my game that I never had time to work on. Now I have time to perfect it and build the foundations for the next five years or more. I really want to play professional tennis for years to come.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Getty deletes gallery of World Cup’s ‘sexiest fans’ after criticism1 month, 8 days ago
Campaign group and social media users denounce hottest fans gallaery as a sexist throwback to 1970 s
Picture agency Getty has come under flame from campaigners and social media users after publishing, then deleting, a gallery of what it deemed the “sexiest” fans at the World Cup.
The gallery, with the sub-heading” Talk about a knock-out round …”, exclusively featured pictures of women, and was tweeted out with the description” The hottest fans at the #WorldCup” in a social media post that was subsequently removed.
” The 1970 s called and they want their misogyny back ,” said one user in response to the now deleted tweet.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Olivier Giroud seals Community Shield win for Arsenal as Chelsea pay penalty1 month, 13 days ago
Arsenal won the FA Community Shield, beating Chelsea 4-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Wembley
Going into a season in which he will be scrutinised like never before, this was pretty much the perfect way for Arsne Wenger to get things going. Back at Wembley and again facing Chelsea 71 days after defeating them in the FA Cup final, Arsenal have the feeling of silverware in their fingers once again via a victory carved out of the type of resilience they have long been accused of lacking.
There seemed no way back for Wengers side as this match entered its closing stages with Chelsea leading 1-0 through Victor Mosess strike shortly after half-time. The champions had retreated, all but happy just to protect what they had and earn revenge for that defeat here in May. Previously that perhaps would have been enough, but not here. The men in red and white kept going, kept persevering, and on 82 minutes secured an equaliser via Sead Kolasinacs close-range header.
Cue an eruption of joy among the Arsenal supporters behind the goal into which the Bosnian, who arrived on a free transfer from Schalke in June, scored, and there was more to come after the penalty shootout that followed full-time. It was conducted under Fifas new ABBA system and ultimately Wengers men were the winners who took it all after Olivier Giroud hit the decisive spot-kick in a 4-1 victory.
As Arsenal celebrated, those within Chelseas ranks could only look on with collective glumness. After a sluggish start the champions had grown into proceedings and looked all set for a fifth Community Shield win, only for Pedros red card and Kolasinacs immediate equaliser to change things completely. No one looked more frustrated than Antonio Conte, with this a less than ideal way to cap what has been a less than ideal summer for the Italian, one in which he has made known his frustrations over Chelseas slowness in the transfer market and had to deal with the protracted attempts to oust Diego Costa from the club.
The manager cut an agitated figure throughout this contest and not only expressed his regret over the result but his disappointment with the referee, Bobby Madley, for dismissing Pedro for the foul on Mohamed Elneny that led directly to Arsenals goal, and for not awarding his side a penalty on 35 minutes after Willian went down under a challenge by Hctor Bellern. The subsequent yellow card shown to the Brazilian for diving only added to the Italians irritation.
A lot of people told me the penalty was clear, Conte said. We have to respect referees decisions but sometimes these decisions make you angry.
Not surprisingly, Wenger was far more upbeat. The Frenchman praised his side for winning the trophy we really wanted to win and, specifically, for not panicking after they went 1-0 down in a friendly that burned with intensity and good old-fashioned niggle throughout.
Along with Pedros red card, there were four yellow cards as well as the sight of Per Mertesacker leaving the field on 32 minutes with blood pouring from his head following a clash with Gary Cahill. The German could later be seen with stitches above his right eye, though Wenger said the injury was not serious enough to rule him out of the Premier League opener against Leicester City on Friday.
Mertesackers departure came after an impressive start by Arsenal. As was the case in the FA Cup final, they pressed Chelsea back and used possession quickly and efficiently through a 3-4-2-1 formation. Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck were particularly impressive in positions just behind Alexandre Lacazette, who was playing his most high-profile game for Arsenal since arriving from Lyon for 52.7m, with both testing Thibaut Courtois in the opening 10 minutes.
Chelsea were being suffocated and it did not help their cause that, when given the time and space to make an impact, their approach play was sloppy, with Michy Batshuayi an almost nonexistent presence as their lone centreforward until he was replaced by lvaro Morata, the record signing, on 74 minutes.
Arsenal kept coming and nearly took the lead on 22 minutes when a Lacazette shot hit a post. They were well on top but that only added to the sense they had to strike sooner rather than later. Certainly having Alexis Snchez on the pitch would have helped. Instead the Chilean watched as a nonplaying member of Wengers squad, having returned to first-team training only on Tuesday.
Chelsea grew into the contest and before half-time Moses and Pedro both forced Petr Cech into making fine saves. Then came the penalty appeal and, while it could be argued Willian tumbled to the tuft all too easily as he surged into the Arsenal area, there is no doubt his left leg was clipped by Bellerns knee.
Chelsea were left indignant by Madleys refusal to award a penalty but their mood improved on 46 minutes. Kolasinac, who had replaced Mertesacker, failed to clear a corner and after Cahill dropped the ball back into Arsenals area with a deft header Moses did the rest, lashing an unstoppable drive past Cech.
It was poor defending on Arsenals part but they did not cave in. Their central midfield partnership of Elneny and Granit Xhaka impressed in the closing stages and both played a part in the equaliser. The former was brought down via a studs-up tackle from Pedro and the latter delivered the free-kick from which Kolasinac, who generally impressed here, struck having drifted into enemy territory.
Penalties followed. Cahill scored for Chelsea with Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal doing the same in succession for Arsenal. Then came the sight of Courtois stepping up to the spot. It was a gamble on Chelseas part and one that did not pay off after the 25-year-old lashed his drive over the bar.
Morata then caught the outside of Cechs right post and, after Alex OxladeChamberlain made it 3-1, Giroud put the seal on a triumph that provided Arsenal with encouragement before what will be Wengers 21st full campaign in charge of the club. Maybe that new twoyear contract will work out well, after all.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
London’s Royal Chelsea Hospital added to Global Champions Tour1 month, 15 days ago
( CNN) What do you get if you cross a retirement home for ex-servicemen with one of the world’s most prestigious bloom demonstrates? An international prove jumping venue, naturally.
Andy Murray too good for Fernando Verdasco and claims Dubai title1 month, 17 days ago
Andy Murray shrugged off early nerves to claim his first title of the year with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Fernando Verdasco in the final of the Dubai Championships
Andy Murray shrugged off early nerves to claim his first title of the year with a straight-sets victory over Fernando Verdasco in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Championships. The world No1, a runner-up in 2012, looked to have left his game in the locker room when he was broken twice at the start of the match, but a strong recovery sealed a 6-3 6-2 win over the Spaniard.
Victory takes Murrays head-to-head record against Verdasco to 13-1.
Errors littered the opening few games as the players struggled to hold their serve. Two double faults and a forehand into the net from Murray gifted Verdasco an early break but the Scot hit back immediately by taking the first of three break points when his opponent also found the net with a weak shot.
Murrays serve continued to cause concern in game three and another double fault presented two more break points to Verdasco. The Spaniard took advantage when Murray pushed a forehand wide before overturning a 0-30 deficit in his own service game to go 3-1 up.
The recovery began when Murray finally held serve in game five, although not without a struggle, and the scores were levelled when Murray unleashed a winning cross-court backhand in the next game for another break.
Murray made it three games in a row and then four, hitting back from 0-40 down on the Verdasco serve to open up a 5-3 lead and leave himself serving for the set.
He did so successfully and continued to put Verdasco to the sword in the second set, securing a break of serve in the third game with another unreturnable forehand.
Murray was very much in his stride with his service game also on the rise. Although Verdasco managed to claw his way out of trouble to hold his next service game it seemed only a matter of when, not if, the top seed would seal the win.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Manchester City steamroller Watford after Raheem Sterling’s rapid opener1 month, 22 days ago
Raheem Sterling scored after 38 seconds to pave the way for Manchester Citys 3-1 win over Watford that restored their 15-point lead at the top
Manchester City are back to winning ways and the breezy, emphatic nature of the defeat of Watford suggests the ending of their record 18-game winning sequence on New Year’s Eve has merely refreshed Pep Guardiola’s side and made them doubly determined to resume their love of steamrollering opposition.
City required only 38 seconds to take the lead. Fabian Delph threaded the ball to David Silva along the left. He recycled it to Leroy Sané who beat Daryl Janmaat for pace and crossed. Marvin Zeegelaar missed the ball and Raheem Sterling struck with a confident left-foot finish that made his total 18 for the season.
City could have doubled the advantage a few minutes later. This time Delph fed Sané, who picked out John Stones in an acre of space in front of Heurelho Gomes’s goal. But what should have been an easy second was spurned, the centre-back spooning over the bar.
Guardiola had made five changes from the draw at Crystal Palace. Sergio Agüero, Stones, Sterling, Delph and David Silva came in but the headline selection was a player who retained his place; Kevin De Bruyne’s presence having been in doubt after a heavy Jason Puncheon challenge at Selhurst Park.
Guardiola said: “He had some pain but wanted to play, if he wants to play then I want him to play. It says a lot [about his character].”
Read more: www.theguardian.com
World Cup 2018: 32 fans from 32 countries preview the tournament1 month, 22 days ago
Supporters from every country that qualified share their hopes and expectations for Russia 2018
Spurs secure top spot after Son Heung-min screamer sinks Borussia Dortmund1 month, 26 days ago
A wonderful goal from Son Heung-min earned Tottenham a 2-1 win at Borussia Dortmund and ensured Spurs will beat Real Madrid to top spot in Group H
When the time comes to pull the names out of the hat at Uefa headquarters next month, none of the second-placed teams will want to draw Tottenham Hotspur. There is no longer evidence of any inferiority complex when they rub shoulders with Europe’s elite and they will fancy themselves against anyone after winning Group H – at the expense of the mighty Real Madrid, no less – with a game to spare after this mature, resilient victory away to Borussia Dortmund.
Their reward is a relaxing evening when they host Apoel Nicosia at Wembley next month and, more importantly, playing the second leg of their last-16 tie at home. Behind to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s fine goal, Tottenham rallied in the second half to end Dortmund’s slim hopes of snatching second from Madrid, with Harry Kane scoring his sixth goal in five games, Son Heung-min applying a super finishing touch and Dele Alli producing an unselfish display. For Dortmund, exiting the Champions League was tough to take. Peter Bosz’s beleaguered side visit Madrid, who destroyed Apoel, in their final match and are not even sure of finishing third, but they could not complain. Tottenham were superior.“It was difficult because Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and Apoel are always difficult but we try to enjoy and be competitive and try to win, that was the idea in every single game,” said Mauricio Pochettino afterwards. “I am happy for the result, to be top of the table, first, but we’re looking forward to playing the next game.”
As Tottenham set off in pursuit of the result that would increase their chances of a favourable draw in the last 16, a year since defeat in Monaco brought a premature end to their interest in this competition for another campaign, it was worth taking a moment to reflect on the brutal manner in which Dortmund devoured them in the Europa League two seasons ago. Tottenham have come a long way since those days, back when they seemed to shrink in the company of the silkiest continental sides, and securing their progress from this most daunting of groups with that enchanting victory over Madrid three weeks ago meant that they began with a sense of freedom at one of European football’s most iconic venues.
However it was also a mark of Tottenham’s tougher mentality that it was difficult to detect any weaknesses in their line-up, three days after the bruising experience of losing the north London derby. Mauricio Pochettino was unwilling to accept any loss of momentum, even though the stakes were lower than might have been anticipated when the groups were drawn, while he knew that Dortmund were not to be taken lightly despite the mess the Germans have made of their qualification attempts.
Two draws with Apoel meant that Dortmund’s hopes of progression were already hanging by a thread by the time news filtered through that Madrid were hammering the lowly Cypriots, and perhaps that explained the muted celebrations that greeted Aubameyang’s glorious opener after 30 minutes.
The goal was a reminder of Dortmund’s class, the Gabon striker drilling a low shot past Hugo Lloris after being released by a stunning flick from the impressive Andriy Yarmolenko, but it was a bittersweet moment, too. Bosz, who is under intense pressure after a dreadful run that has seen them slip from the Bundesliga summit to fifth place, stayed in his seat on the bench, his expression impossible to read.
Aubameyang, who was back in the side after being dropped for disciplinary reasons at the weekend, hardly looked delighted, even though the striker was a constant thorn in the side of Tottenham’s back three. The sense of what might have been hung over Dortmund.
Yarmolenko was elusive in the hole, impudently creating an early chance that Aubameyang scuffed wide, but Tottenham also enjoyed themselves at times. Pochettino made four changes from the defeat to Arsenal, bringing in Danny Rose, Serge Aurier, Harry Winks and Son Heung-min, whose movement threatened to expose Dortmund’s risky high line, and Roman Burki had to make excellent saves to deny Christian Eriksen and Eric Dier before half-time.
Despite trailing, Tottenham felt confident of prising open an unconvincing defence and it did not come as a surprise when they equalised three minutes after the break. Dortmund’s self-destructive tendencies were encapsulated when Jeremy Toljan’s indecision allowed Rose to divert the ball to Dele Alli, who quickly shuffled it on to Harry Kane.
The striker had been a peripheral presence, but he bullied Dortmund at Wembley in September and his shot, aimed low to Burki’s right from 20 yards, settled Pochettino’s side. Aubameyang faded, Yarmolenko’s influence diminished and the moment Tottenham were waiting for arrived when Alli, showing great determination and skill, bustled past a series of weak challenges and into the area before finding Son, who curled a peach of a shot past Burki.
Read more: www.theguardian.com