HoopsOSU is in the final five of a big man from Wisconsin who looks like Zach Randolph. His name, I’m not kidding, is Diamond Stone. (PFB)By the way, the guy who wrote that post is named Kyle Boone (not a fake name!) and he’ll be contributing to our recruiting news this season. (PFB)Travis Ford got some good news earlier this week. Another shooter. (NewsOK)Other sportsThe OSU golf team is starting its season at Pebble Beach which is, you know, pretty amazing. (okstate)If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! FootballMust, must, must read on Tyreek Hill. Where he came from, what he was like growing up, and what his limits are. Awesome. (O’Colly)We almost had a uni scandal in the Vandy game on Thursday night! (CBS Sports)None of the Big 12 coaches pay attention to advanced stats. Only a few of them even pay attention to stats at all. It seems like there’s some value to be gleaned in there somewhere. (Fox SW)I can’t stop watching this GIF of Finebaum breaking the SEC Network desk from Thursday night. (Yahoo)Here’s a preview of what OSU’s offensive line is going to look like this season. (PFB)Jimbo Fisher is 3-3 against the Big 12. Cool post here. (NewsOK)Has anyone in the country gone on record as picking OSU? I haven’t seen it if it’s happened. (ESPN)If we’re playing Texas A&M in a bowl game I’m going to be pretty stoked. (NewsOK)Your Week 1 watch guide. (PFB)Oh my — Tebow does an insane Steve Spurrier impression! (Yahoo)If Oklahoma State records an upset victory, Spencer in one night will have earned every cent of the $550,000 he’ll be paid this year. (Tulsa World)ESPN has OSU in the Cactus Bowl. Hey, it’s a January 2nd game! (ESPN)I went game by game and I have OSU finishing at 8-4. Maybe I’m crazy but it didn’t feel like a stretch to get there. Maybe I just think this team is going to be better than it actually is. (PFB) Remember, OSU’s over/under is 7.5 (PFB)Tremendous Q&A here between Tomahawk Nation and CRFF if you want a deep dive on what FSU fans are thinking going into this game. (CRFF)Down to the top three in the uni rankings. (PFB)Burt Reynolds and Lee Corso were FSU teammates and roommates in 1954. Who would ever guess than when Burt Reynolds was on the cover of Cosmopolitan and starring with Sally Field in “Smokey & the Bandit” in the 1970s that Corso would have more staying power in American pop culture? (NewsOK)Navy’s new unis are boss. Maybe the tightest thing Under Armour has ever done? (CBS Sports)OSU as a shameful powerhouse — up there with OU, Bama, and FSU. Nice. (Deadspin)Zac Veatch used to be a tight end. I didn’t realize that. (NewsOK)Thanks to gobs and gobs of starts lost to graduation and otherwise expired eligibility, it’s unfair to expect Oklahoma State to look like a complete team right away, however high our expectations for this program will be come November (and we do expect the Cowboys to contend with Oklahoma and Baylor for top conference honors). (Grantland)I did a Q&A with a Florida State blog on what to expect this weekend. Karlos Williams = big problem. (Chant Rant)F/+ has us covering this weekend. I do like that. (Football Study Hall)My wish list for the 2014 season. (PFB)One more time.
2. Justin Phillips has a nose for the footballFor the second straight week, linebacker Justin Phillips scored off an interception. And for the second straight week, it was a “lookie what I found in my hands” style pick-six.Nice play, @StoolPitt!! pic.twitter.com/i6sttBOGmV— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOKST) September 16, 2017Phillips continues to be in the right place at the right time, and he’s been as impactful as any linebacker on the team this season. With an Edison-McGruder-less, Kevin Henry-less position group Saturday, he held it down like a grown man when they needed it most. Phillips finished with four tackles and a pass breakup on top of his score, and for the third consecutive week, the defense scored a touchdown. That has to make Glenn Spencer all types of warrior-poem happy.3. Justice Hill is All-American goodLike Porter noted in his 10 thoughts from the game, Hill’s performance against USA a week ago might be the head-scratcher of the season. He looked like he was trudging through quicksand in Mobile. But that was, uh, not the case Saturday. Jump cut city was alive and thriving and boy was it a thing of beauty.Look at this!OSU finished with 104 yards on the ground, which is far from the 332 mark it opened the season with. But Hill was an elite playmaker when he had the rock which QB1 attributed to an improvement in protection this week.“We were protecting our butts and making that block for Justice [Hill] today,” Rudolph said. “That one-two punch with J.D. [King] was something serious and it’s cool to watch.”4. OSU’s weapons are plentifulIf your palms were sweating ahead of the game when you learned Tyron Johnson wouldn’t be a part of the offensive attack at Heinz Field, you weren’t alone. Missing a playmaker of his caliber isn’t typically a good omen unless you’re Florida, in which case it wouldn’t matter anyway.But as it turns out, his absence didn’t much matter in the grand scheme for OSU either. The receivers hauled in a ludicrous 572 yards on the day and four of them went for 100+. Here’s Dillon Stoner getting loose with his first career TD reception. A second-teamer!STONER WITH THE TD pic.twitter.com/8zMG3b3D5h— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOKST) September 16, 2017McCleskey led the way with 162 yards and 3 TDs, followed closely by Washington (124), Ateman (109) and Stoner (100.) Johnson was surely licking his chops watching this one from Stillwater. It’s pretty incredible (and somewhat fortunate) that the offense didn’t seem to miss a beat without him.5. Mason Rudolph is gaining Heisman steamLast week we asked the question: Could Mason Rudolph’s Heisman campaign start any better?ANSWER: YES.It got a whole lot better after Saturday. Rudolph had just shy of 500 yards of offense, 5 TDs, and one Heisman-esque moment with this slip and sling TD to Marcell Ateman.Mason Rudolph ??? pic.twitter.com/7K1fFZxBcq— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOKST) September 16, 2017“I think making that throw was something that worked out,” Rudolph said of his 69-yard dime. “I’ve always been one to get out of it. It’s about making it count. So that’s something I try to highlight in my offseason work, and then see it in those guys.”Big 12 play starts next Saturday inside Boone Pickens Stadium at 2:30 p.m. I think Oklahoma State is ready for the challenge.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Oklahoma State came out firing on all cylinders Saturday against Pitt and improved to 3-0 in non-conference play with a 59-21 win at Heinz Field.Mason Rudolph looked every bit the part of a Heisman contender, the OSU defense created more turnovers than a McDonald’s happy hour, and Justice Hill once again assumed his role as the lead back in a convincing win over the Panthers.“Obviously we had a good game today,” said Mike Gundy. “Our players were really focused and they did a really nice job in preparation. As a coach that’s so gratifying. To see guys get ready to play a game, prepare and execute.”Here are five key takeaways from OSU’s win to remain undefeated on the season.1. OSU’s offense was truly unstoppableMason Rudolph was trending nationally by the time OSU-Pitt reached the halfway mark because of his role in a record-breaking first half for the Cowboys. He tossed for 5 TDs and 423 yards in the opening 30 minutes — the most yards through the air in a half against an FBS opponent since 2013 when San Jose State’s Dave Fales passed for 451 vs. Fresno State.Rudolph found any receiver he wanted — Stoner, McCleskey, Washington, didn’t matter — as the team racked up a total 676 yards of offense.Through 7 first half drives, the offense was averaging 7 points per drive. Everything was so good high fives were being distributed like hot cakes in the press box.Lost in all this is that the high-flying offense has seen a very small sliver of Rudolph late in games. According to Mark Cooper of the Tulsa World, Rudolph has only played in 8.5 quarters of a possible 12 this season due to blowouts. But when he’s in the game …With the first-team offense on the field, #OKState scored 49 points on 50 plays.— Mark Cooper (@mark_cooperjr) September 16, 2017
Brandon Weeden is the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback, both today and into the immediate future. But the pro Pokes are still bringing in some folks to try out for a roster spot while Tony Romo heals up.That’s not because they don’t believe in Weeden though. Jerry Jones said more hyperbolic things in one paragraph about No. 3 than Mike Gundy said about him in his entire career at Oklahoma State.Here’s what Jones said, according to the Dallas Morning News.“This quarterback Weeden can drive the ball down field,” Jones said. “He’s a thing of beauty on throwing a football. His passing motion and his arm, frankly, you won’t see a more gifted passer, power, accuracy, the entire aspect of it. If he can basically prepare, be the starting quarterback, come in and execute and keep his head right, then I feel good about Weeden.”AdChoices广告He’s not wrong about Weeden throwing the ball. It’s everything else that’s been an issue for him so far in the NFL. More of this would be nice.Weeden, by the way, hasn’t thrown an incompletion since November 2014. He’s 12 for his last 12. That will end on Sunday, but still, a cool stat. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways. The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Barcelona Deulofeu, Semedo return for Barcelona but Alcacer dropped for Sporting CP clash Joe Wright Last updated 2 years ago 23:09 25/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Barcelona UEFA Champions League Sporting CP v Barcelona Sporting CP The pair played no part in a 3-0 win over Girona at the weekend, but will be back in action for the upcoming European fixture Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo have both been brought back into the Barcelona squad for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Sporting CP.The players were rested for Saturday’s LaLiga win over Girona but are in Ernesto Valverde’s 18-man squad for the trip to Portugal.Barca -1 10/11 with dabblebet Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing However, striker Paco Alcacer has been left out, having not made an appearance for the club since August 28.There is also no place for midfielder Arda Turan, who recently returned from injury, but goalkeeper Adrian Ortola is back after being given the medical all-clear. Training session Ciutat Esportiva Joan GamperNext challenge #SportingBarça #ForçaBarça pic.twitter.com/KOW4Dy3t0A— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 25, 2017Barca head into the match looking to make it two wins from two in Group D, having beaten Juventus 3-0 at Camp Nou on matchday one.
Besiktas 1 Monaco 1: Tosun penalty puts Turkish champions on brink of qualification Jamie Smith 02:55 11/2/17 Twitter/@BesiktasEnglish Monaco’s chances of repeating last season’s run to the Champions League semi-finals look slim after a 1-1 draw at Besiktas on Wednesday. Besiktas are on the brink of qualifying for the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time since the competition was rebranded after earning a 1-1 draw at home to Monaco on Wednesday.The Turkish champions came from behind against Monaco for the second time in a fortnight in Group G, Cenk Tosun scoring his third goal in two games against the Ligue 1 team to claim a point at Vodafone Park.Marcos Lopes lit up a tame first half with a fine goal shortly before the interval, curling a low strike into Fabri’s bottom-right corner after finding room just outside the penalty area. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player But Besiktas levelled nine minutes after the restart, Tosun smashing a penalty past Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic after Jorge’s poor tackle fouled Ricardo Quaresma, while Keita Balde Diao wasted a fine chance to win the match by shooting straight at Fabri in injury timeSenol Gunes’ Besiktas will now seal qualification for the next phase of the Champions League if RB Leipzig win at Porto later in the day.Monaco face an uphill task to qualify as last season’s surprise semi-finalists are bottom of the section, Leonardo Jardim’s men having taken only two points from their four group games so far.The first effort of the game took 15 minutes to arrive, Youri Tielemans flicking a header at goal from a Thomas Lemar corner but finding only Besiktas goalkeeper Fabri.Monaco were then forced into an early attacking change when Stevan Jovetic replaced France international Lemar due to an injury.The visitors continued to make the better openings in a tight first half, Fabri smothering a Lopes effort after Jovetic got clear down the left and slid a low cross into the box.After Besiktas right-back Gokhan Gonul drilled wide from a fine position, Monaco deservedly took the lead on the stroke of half-time.Lopes collected a pass from Joao Moutinho 30 yards from goal, wriggled into a pocket of space and bent a 20-yard drive into Fabri’s bottom-right corner.Tosun scored twice to turn the reverse fixture around after Monaco took the lead and the striker got Besiktas on level terms again from the penalty spot.54′- CENK TOSUNNNN….We are all even at Istanbul #Beşiktaş #UCL pic.twitter.com/rGL62x108u — Beşiktaş JK English (@BesiktasEnglish) November 1, 2017 Quaresma turned Jorge in the box and the defender could only bring the winger down with a desperate lunge, Tosun hammering his kick into the roof of the net despite Subasic diving the right way.Portugal winger Quaresma then missed a fine chance due to an untimely slip, with his 20-yard shot clearing the crossbar after Ryan Babel teed him up.Monaco almost retook the lead after 76 minutes when Andrea Raggi’s header was cleared off the line by Oguzhan Ozyakup, while Babel wasted a chance to set up a colleague after bursting into the box with a great run.Jemerson and Keita both sent good chances straight at Fabri in an entertaining end-to-end finale, but the draw leaves Besiktas six points clear atop the group and Monaco are running out of games. read more
Tottenham 3 Real Madrid 1: Alli double seals sensational Spurs’ last-16 spot Joe Wright Last updated 2 years ago 05:41 11/2/17 Getty Images Tottenham booked their place in the Champions League last 16 with a memorable win over holders Real Madrid at Wembley. Tottenham qualified for the Champions League knockout phase with a stunning 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday.Two goals from Dele Alli and one from Christian Eriksen gave Mauricio Pochettino’s side a fully deserved triumph at Wembley over the holders, who were well short of their best and looked vulnerable to every Spurs counter-attack.These two teams played out a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu two weeks ago and there was little to separate them in a lively first half, until Alli steered in a Kieran Trippier cross. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player England international Alli, who made his MK Dons debut in the FA Cup first round almost five years ago to the day, doubled his side’s lead just after the break with a deflected strike to leave the visitors stunned.It got worse for Madrid less than 10 minutes later when Eriksen finished after a pass from the returning Harry Kane, and although Cristiano Ronaldo struck a consolation goal, there was little else to smile about for the Spanish and European champions.The win guarantees a last-16 spot for Spurs and leaves Zinedine Zidane facing a mini-crisis at Madrid, who have now lost two games in a row and are eight points adrift of Barcelona in LaLiga.2 – Dele Alli is the third English player to score a brace against Real Madrid in #UCL, after David Beckham and Steven Gerrard. Heroic. pic.twitter.com/GohxEwTxhX— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 1, 2017There was a clear respect between the teams as neither seemed prepared to commit men to the attack early on, with Spurs coming closest through two ambitious chipped efforts from Kane and Harry Winks that Kiko Casilla caught easily.The home side’s high pressing looked to have unsettled Madrid, although Pochettino was dealt a blow in the 24th minute when Toby Alderweireld had to go off with what looked to be a thigh muscle problem.However, just three minutes later, they had Wembley on its feet. Tripper sent in a first-time cross from the right and Alli stole in front of Nacho to prod the ball into the net from six yards.Trippier looked to be fractionally offside when found smartly by Winks and any Madrid frustrations grew when Hugo Lloris made three good saves to deny Casemiro and Ronaldo twice.The half finished in end-to-end fashion, Sergio Ramos blocking a Kane effort, Lloris stopping a Karim Benzema half-volley and Alli seeing penalty appeals waved away after a tussle with Casemiro.But Alli had better luck 11 minutes into the second half. Having skipped past the challenge of Casemiro, his shot from 18 yards took a big deflection off Ramos and nestled into the net past the wrong-footed Casilla.Nine minutes later, Spurs had their third. A blistering counter-attack started by Alli saw Kane send Eriksen clean through on goal and he made no mistake with a low left-foot finish past Casilla.Madrid had not failed to score in a group game since October 2015 and they did find a consolation, with Ronaldo firing home from close range after a scramble in the Spurs box, but it did little to take the gloss off one of the London club’s most famous wins in their modern history.1 – Cristiano Ronaldo has scored at Wembley for the first time ever (four competitive games – excluding penalty shootouts). Solace. pic.twitter.com/pRPV0w3GnX— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 1, 2017KEY OPTA STATS- Tottenham have inflicted Real Madrid’s first loss in the Champions League group stage since October 2012, ending a 30 game unbeaten run.- In fact, this is Real Madrid’s biggest margin of defeat in a Champions League group game since November 2008, losing 2-0 against Juventus.- Tottenham have finally defeated Real Madrid at their sixth attempt after losing three and drawing two of the previous five.- Spurs are still yet to keep a clean sheet in European competition at Wembley, conceding eight goals in six games.- Dele Alli has scored four goals in his last four games for Spurs; one more than he managed in his first nine this season.- Kieran Trippier has recorded 13 assists in all competitions in 2017; six more than any other Premier Leaguer defender.- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 10 goals v Tottenham in all comps, more than against any other English side. read more
Bayern München Lewandowski to sit out Poland friendlies Rob Lancaster Last updated 2 years ago 01:58 11/10/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Bongarts Bayern München Robert Lewandowski Poland v Uruguay Uruguay Poland Friendlies Troubled by a left thigh problem, the Bayern striker has been rested from international duty in the hope he can regain full fitness Robert Lewandowski will not feature for Poland in their upcoming friendlies against Uruguay and Mexico.The Bayern Munich striker scored 16 goals in his country’s successful World Cup qualifying campaign, helping Adam Nawalka’s side secure top spot in Group E.Uruguay 15/8 v Poland Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player However, as the squad begin their preparations for next year’s tournament in Russia, they will have to do without their talismanic hero for Friday’s fixture against Uruguay, as well as the clash with Mexico next Tuesday.Lewandowski has been troubled by a left thigh problem of late, although he still played 90 minutes Bayern’s 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund last Saturday.However, rather than take any undue risks, the Polish Football Association has opted to rest the 29-year-old in the hope a break will allow the injury to completely heal.Team-mate Michal Pazdan is also out of the game with Uruguay in Warsaw, although the Legia Warsaw defender could still be fit to face Mexico in Gdansk.
Transfers January transfer news & rumours: Juve set price for Man Utd target Dybala Goal Last updated 1 year ago 01:55 12/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(7) Getty Images Transfers Premier League Bundesliga Serie A Primera División Ligue 1 Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond as we head into the winter window JUVENTUS SET DYBALA PRICEJuventus have set a price of €150 million for star striker Paulo Dybala according to a report in Corriere della Sera .The striker, who has found himself on the bench for Juventus as of late, is unlikely to be moved in January and the Serie A champions do not appear willing to accept the rumoured €68m Manchester United wishes to pay. LIVERPOOL AGREE RECORD VVD DEAL Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Liverpool have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk, who will join the Anfield club on January 1.Quiet negotiations had been moving quickly in recent days and the deal was tied up on Wednesday evening.The centre-back stands to make around £180,000 per week and gets his wish to work with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.Man City and Chelsea retained a strong interest in the Netherlands international but were ultimately been beaten by Liverpool’s record-breaking offer (for a defender) of £75 million.PL CLUBS EYEING CARRASCOPremier League sides have been alerted after Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone gave the go-ahead for the club to sell winger Yannick Carrasco, according to AS .Both Manchester United and Chelsea have been heavily linked with the Belgium international in recent months, with Carrasco’s contract boasting an £86 million release clause.Both Nicolas Gaitan and Luciano Vietto are also understood to be on the transfer list.SCHURRLE EYES LOAN DEALDortmund winger Andre Schurrle is considering a January loan move with fellow Bundesliga side Stuttgart interested, according to RuhrNachrichten.de .With Marco Reus nearing a return, and Schurrle already behind Christian Pulisic and Andriy Yarmolenko, the Germany international wants to ensure he has playing time ahead of the 2018 World Cup. ROMA LOOK AT VIDAL LOANRoma are interested in taking Barcelona full-back Aleix Vidal on loan, according to Corriere dello Sport .The Serie A side’s director of football, Monchi, knows Vidal from their time at Sevilla and during the January window hopes to conclude a deal with an option to purchase the player.ARSENAL AND LIVERPOOL BATTLE FOR LOZANOArsenal and Liverpool are both set to make a move to sign Mexican sensation Hirving Lozano from PSV, according to the Daily Star .The 22-year-old winger joined the Eindhoven club from Pachuca in the summer after rejecting Manchester City and has been a revelation in the Eredivisie with 11 goals in 16 games.He has been attracting Europe’s top sides with his starring role for Phillip Cocu’s side and the two English clubs are expected to make a push for him.OZIL TOPS FIVE-MAN BARCA WISHLISTArsenal star Mesut Ozil tops a list of five players Ernesto Valverde wants to bring to Barcelona in the upcoming transfer window, claims the Express. Out of contract in June, Ozil is highly coveted at Camp Nou, and could be available for a bargain price should Arsenal wish to cut their losses and avoid losing him on a free transfer. But the Germany international is just one of the names linked with Barca, alongside Lyon’s Nabil Fekir, CSKA Moscow youngster Aleksandr Golovin and Schalke duo Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka.ARSENAL SEE BENATIA BID REJECTEDArsenal have seen their efforts to sign Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia frustrated after a bid worth £35 million was rejected, reports the Sun .The former Bayern Munich man has slotted into the hole left by Leonardo Bonucci’s departure to Milan, and his performances have not gone unnoticed in north LondonBut the Gunners may see their chase come to nothing as Juve appear set on retaining Benatia’s services.MINA SET TO COMPLETE BARCA MOVEBarcelona are set to finally land long-term defensive target Yerry Mina in the January transfer window, according to Sport .The Colombian, a champion in Brazil with Palmeiras, is already under a first option at Camp Nou. And Barca are hoping to begin talks over Mina as soon as Javier Mascherano’s transfer to China is finalised.CONTE CONFIRMS VIDAL INTERESTChelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed he would be delighted to work with Arturo Vidal again .The pair came together to great effect at Juventus, and Vidal has now been linked with a reunion with his former boss at Stamford Bridge.ATLETICO WANT VIDAL IN GRIEZMANN DEALAtletico Madrid are set to demand Aleix Vidal form part of any deal that brings Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona, reports Don Balon .The Catalans have long been in pursuit of the striker, even prompting Atletico to make a formal complaint. But with speculation continuing to loom over the Spanish capital, Vidal would be acceptable compensation for losing one of the Colchoneros’ key players.LUCAS MOURA LINKED WITH CHELSEALucas Moura has emerged as a potential transfer target for Chelsea this January, reports Buzz Sport .The Brazilian has been frozen out of Paris Saint-Germain’s plans, and is keen to seal a move away. And he would be an interesting choice for the Blues should Willian choose to move to China.MONTREAL PURSUING HUTCHINSONThe Montreal Impact are looking to sign Canada international Atiba Hutchinson from Besiktas, according to Kartal Bakisi .Hutchinson, 34, would bolster the Impact’s options in central midfield after the retirement of Patrice Bernier and expiration of Hernan Bernardello’s contract.LAZIO READY TO SELL LIVERPOOL TARGETLazio are willing to sell Stefan de Vrij in the January transfer window after failing to agree a new contract with the Dutch defender, reports Calciomercato.com .De Vrij is out of contract at the end of the season, and he has been linked with a move to Liverpool and Lazio’s Serie A rivals Juventus.Reports value De Vrij at €30 million and if that figure is met in the New Year then Lazio will let the centre-half leave before next summer.FEKIR TO COST ARSENAL £60MArsenal will have to pay around £60 million if they want to sign Lyon star Nabil Fekir at the end of the season, claims the Daily Star .Fekir has been linked with a string of Europe’s leading clubs, including Barcelona and Manchester City, while are Arsenal are keen as they assess potential replacements for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.Lyon have ruled out selling Fekir in the January transfer window, with Arsenal aware they will have to fork out a club record €60m to sign the forward once the season is over. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Read more Somehow this is where we find ourselves in America in 2017: the president of the United States uses race to drive a wedge between football players and their fans while the world’s most-lucrative sports league caves to his tweets.NFL players are sacrificing their brains for a league that will make at least $14bn off them this year. Many are shorting their memories, breaking their bodies and forgoing any hope of walking normally past the age of 45. The majority of them do not have guaranteed contracts and while the very best are paid well for the tiny window that is their professional career, they remain among the most exploited of American professional athletes – their sports lives dangling by the sturdiness of their ACLs.For a time it seemed the NFL would support its players in the face of Donald Trump’s publicity grab. When the president told an Alabama audience last month that he wanted to see NFL owners fire players who do not stand for the national anthem in protest at racial inequality, the league took a stand against the president’s intolerance. Owners and players kneeled. Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed disappointment in Trump. Donald Trump targets Jemele Hill following ESPN anchor’s suspension Play Video Sportblog 2:14 Trump’s declaration he wanted to “get that son of a bitch off the field,” was that kind of moment that shocked everyone into a united stand for decency. Since the vast majority of the players who have kneeled for the anthem are African American, Trump was essentially saying: “Get that black son-of-a-bitch off the field” and everyone appeared to agree that Trump had crossed a line. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Hill’s words brought her a two-week suspension from her employer and more direct attention from Trump, whose White House has been pushing for her firing. But the league’s need to keep building its wealth leaves it forever chasing new pots of gold while trying to keep the appearances of opulence to the television networks and advertisers who throw billions its way. This is how teams like the Rams and Chargers actually grow in value despite playing before whole sections of empty seats in their new Los Angeles home. The simple act of moving to the nation’s second-largest market has made them worth more, making the other owners’ teams appear to be more valuable as well.So when Jones snapped, Hill dared mention the advertisers and Trump tweeted about changing the league’s tax-exempt status, the NFL wanted nothing more to do with their players taking a public stand for social justice. It didn’t matter that Trump’s suggestion the league should lose a tax-exempt status was outdated by two years (the NFL gave that up in 2015). Any threat toward the owners’ sweet public money deals is enough to drop the iron fist upon dissent.The players’ stand against a raging Trump seemed easy until talk turned to damming the rivers of cash that could help the owners fetch billions for their teams should they wish to sell. Suddenly Trump turned the defeat of a league united against him into a deft political win. Through this he has aimed his most vicious tweets at two African Americans: Hill and former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the anthem protest last year to draw attention to racial inequality. Trump says his anger with the NFL is about respect for the flag and the country but the whole thing is coded in race and after two days of hammering the wedge he has managed to use race to turn the league against the players.The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, surrendered peacefully to Trump on Tuesday when he sent a memo to all the teams saying players should stand for the anthem while adding some soggy language about respecting the players’ desire for social change. He said he was doing this because the controversy over the anthem is “a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues”. But he was really giving into Trump’s fire before things got ugly with the revenue streams.The quickest way to breaking the NFL is through money and Trump, a man who once bungled the USFL’s certain court victory over the NFL, understands this well. He opened racial wounds, used his vice-president as a puppet by forcing him to leave a tribute to Peyton Manning and drove the country a little farther apart, but he won. He made the NFL crack. None of this has much to do with running a nation and yet policy doesn’t appear to be the point.He got the leaders of a league that is 70% black to put those black men back in, to use a loathsome term, “their place”. The opportunity for the great national conversation about race – which was the whole point of Kaepernick’s protest – is fading. Trump can declare a win. In getting Goodell to bring his players to their feet he brought the NFL to their knees.And no one is better for it. NFL Share via Email Share on WhatsApp That is until the money was threatened.The business of being an NFL owner is such a good one that no man or woman who holds a team among their possessions dares do anything to kill their golden goose. A decade ago, the league’s most valuable team – the Dallas Cowboys – was estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.6bn, and a third of the teams had values below $1bn. Today, the least valuable franchise is worth $1.6bn while Dallas’s worth has soared to nearly $5bn.This is, of course, phony wealth, claimed only on the open market. The figures are buttressed with stadium palaces built on the backs of taxpayers, huge television deals and private marketing agreements sold against the logos of the teams themselves. With the teams’ outlandish values tied to an image the owners do everything to protect, it’s no wonder Dallas’s Jerry Jones said on Sunday he will bench any player who “disrespects the flag” by kneeling during the anthem.There was good PR in standing against Trump two weeks ago, but the more the president turned his fire on the NFL – and as TV ratings slid – the more those bars wobbled on the value charts. Whether she meant to or not ESPN’s Jemele Hill drilled straight into the NFL’s most-sensitive nerve this week when she tweeted the best way to get to Jones was through the advertisers. Topics How US sports stars united against Trump – video explainer Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. US sports features NFL boss Roger Goodell says all players should stand for the national anthem Share on Pinterest Read more Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger Since you’re here… Roger Goodell Reuse this content
Supporters celebrate Girona’s victory at the end of the match. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP 15Espanyol9-410 Topics They may never have played a game like that before. “You’re theoretically the smallest team in the division and you’ve just defeated the European champions,” Machín told his players. “Madrid are a heavyweight and we’re a featherweight,” he admitted, but his team had beaten them – something no first division debutant had done in 27 years, Cristhian Stuani and Portu scoring to overcome an early goal from Isco. The former spent last season getting relegated with Middlesbrough, the latter had played just one primera game before this season and most of their team-mates had similar backgrounds. “Was this the best moment in the club’s history?” Machín was asked. “Well,” he said, “without promotion, today wouldn’t exist. This was our objective: to face teams like this, as equals.”There was just one flaw: Girona were not equal to Madrid, they were better. Better than the world champions, the team with a budget 10 times theirs, coming here for the first time in the league and helping break their attendance record, with 13,382; better than the team whose manager is Zinedine Zidane, boyhood idol of Stuani; the team that their wing-back Aday Benítez supports and which he tore into. They all did: Aday, Pablo Maffeo, Portu and the rest. And on the day of their patron saint too, amidst Sant Narcís fiestas in the town. “This is historic,” said Stuani. It was, too – and not just like that. Madrid are not only Aday’s team; they’re also the team of Mariano Rajoy, Spanish prime minister. They’re often seen as representatives of the Spanish nation, of centralism, even of the state. (How fairly is a whole new column – or, better still, a book). Girona, meanwhile, is perhaps the most decidedly pro-independence town in Catalonia, and their former mayor is Carles Puigdemont. Although he supports Barcelona, 99km away, Puigdemont is a Girona fan too and was previously a season-ticket holder and a regular at Montilivi; he is also, of course, head of the Catalan govern and president-in-waiting of the Independent Republic of Catalonia. Is? Was?Just before 3.45pm on Friday, with the political situation seemingly changing constantly, Puigdemont declared Catalan independence. Supporters flooded into the streets singing the Catalan anthem; others protested. A few hours later, the Spanish senate took direct control of the region, sacking Puigdemont, the autonomous government, the head of police and closed the Catalan parliament. Puigdemont may yet be arrested, although on Saturday he was on the streets of Girona, enjoying a wine. That afternoon, the Spain flag was taken down from Girona’s town hall. And the following night, Madrid arrived by train. The next day, at the same time as mass demonstrations were held by Spanish unionists and attended by the president of the league Javier Tebas, they were due to play the first match since the declaration of independence and the suspension of Catalan authority: Madrid versus Girona, Rajoy versus Puigdemont. 16Deportivo La Coruna9-88 2Valencia101624 Facebook Read more Pinterest La Liga 17Eibar10-178 Facebook Twitter Pinterest Pablo Machín stood by the table football in the middle of the Montilivi dressing room where two teams lined up rigidly in 3-3-4, one in blue, the other in white, and told his players – the real ones in red – they should be proud. He didn’t speak for long, just a few seconds standing there among the socks, bandages and bottles on the floor, and when he finished there was applause from everyone and for everyone. There was no cava, Girona’s coach said, but there was a celebration and, he admitted, euphoria. “Maybe it’s the coach’s job to calm things down, but I want them to enjoy this,” he explained. This was big, after all, and they had earned it. So they did enjoy it, hugging and cheering.“The manager told us it would be a party,” midfielder Álex Granell said. “I think he meant for the fans, but in the end it was for us too.” Outside, supporters sang the club anthem as they headed towards the Catalan town. “If they’d told me three years ago that I’d see that happen one day, I’d have asked what world they’re living in,” Machín admitted. Never mind what world, for the last two days most of them couldn’t have told him for sure what country they were living in, but they did know they were happy and that was what mattered most. The players were too, exhausted but elated. At the whistle they could barely walk but, Portu insisted: “After a game like that, you feel like playing another one straight away.” Reuse this content Share on Twitter 14Athletic Bilbao10-211 19Malaga10-154 blogposts Real Madrid’s Isco scores the game’s first goal. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP • On the eve of the game, Valverde was asked what he would say if he sat down with Rajoy and Puigdemont, to which he said: “You think they’d sit down with me?” Being Barcelona manager opens doors, he was told. “And do they?” he replied.• If Antoine Griezmann meant it, the assist for Ángel Correa was astonishing, but it wasn’t enough. Correa finished superbly, but Atlético couldn’t hold the lead against Villarreal. Glass half full, glass half empty: Atlético are unbeaten this season, Atlético have dropped 10 points already. Five wins, five draws. And it’s not just in the league; it’s the Copa del Rey and Europe too. That’s five of their last six that have finished level, and although this was a marked improvement, they still don’t convince up front, where everyone seems to be waiting for Diego Costa (which may just be part of the problem). “Un pasito pálante, un pasito pátras [one step forward, one step back],” wrote Alberto Barbero in Marca. “The person writing this match report doesn’t know if Ricky Martin follows Atlético’s games, he suspects probably not, but the movements that some girl called Maria makes seem to be just the same as the rojiblancos right now.” Facebook 1Barcelona102528 Facebook Pinterest Read more Some suggested Girona v Madrid might be the most symbolic game there has been in Spain. Others suggested there may be trouble ahead. Both clubs insisted they would treat the game like any other and Girona’s mayor insisted normality would reign. “There’s no need for alarm: our fans are peaceful, respectful, and just looking to enjoy first division football,” Machín said. The vice-president of Madrid’s supporters’ club in the city, who is a Girona fan too, insisted: “It’s not difficult to be a Madrid fan here.”And yet the discourse was one of potential tension, as if Madrid were crossing the border, maybe even the frontline. Much was made of the fact they had travelled incognito without their usual bus – the club said it was in fact on its way to London, not a security matter as had been reported – and there were reports the game might even be cancelled.It wasn’t. Machín was right.The sun shone, people smiled, and the pitch looked perfect. Outside the ground, it was calm. Five small boys cycled up for a look, leaving their bikes by a policeman who stood idly by, which is how they stood all afternoon. When Madrid arrived, there were some whistles and some cheers too. Fans took photos. There was a queue in the tiny club shop, but no mugs. It was hot, paper left on seats turned into sun visors. It was quiet inside until the game started and then it was noisy – the way it’s supposed to be. There were loads of Girona fans, and loads of Madrid fans too, all around the ground. Catalan flags hung, most of them esteladas in support of independence; Spain flags were fewer, but they were flown too. There was no tension at all. Just people going to a game. Not Puigdemont, though: this time he stayed away.At 5.14pm, there were chants of “Independence!” followed by chants of “freedom!” and “Puigdemont president!”. They were greeted by some whistles, but those didn’t last long – there was a football game to watch. Somehow, on the pitch Girona were losing 1-0 – Maffeo had hit the post; 19 seconds later, Madrid were up the other end celebrating the opener – but that didn’t last long either. At the break, by which time Girona had hit the post again, Machín told his players they had a chance and he was right about that too.Girona, in their usual 3-5-2 formation, tireless wing-backs pushed high, were pressing Madrid, the intensity asphyxiating the visitors, midfielders running through the middle into the space beyond. With a lovely touch, Stuani stepped past the challenges to score the equaliser; four minutes later, Portu got the second with a neat backheel. Played in, Stuani might have got a third, his shot clipped past Kiko Casilla and beyond the far post. As the ball went round, Madrid chasing impotently as Girona moved it on, so did the olés. The players were enjoying this. Catalan leaders facing rebellion charges flee to Belgium 8Real Betis9216 7Leganes10417 9Real Sociedad10114 Twitter “Madrid’s panic was sporting!” cheered El Punt Avui. “It wasn’t the politics; it was the colossal XI they had before them.” El Mundo agreed: “Their hell was on the pitch, not off it.” There had been no trouble until they took to the field but the symbolism was clear, for those seeking it. “Have they illegalised Girona yet?” joked Gabriel Rufian, former leader of the Catalan Republican Left. Puigdemont congratulated them; then, not long after, tweeted: “Girona’s victory over one of the biggest teams in the world is a shining example and a model for many situations.” At the end was a winking emoticon.“I’m proud of the players,” Machín said. “When Real Madrid play Girona – and hopefully they will do for many years to come – they will win more than they lose, but in one game you can beat them. Football gives you that; today the whole of Spain and people across the world have seen that, they have enjoyed two hours of football. Everyone talks so much, but what people really want is to be happy, to live better, and politicians should dedicate their time to that. This win will stay in the memory and I’m very pleased that for two or three hours people were happy.” Twitter Serie A’s top five maintain frightening pace, with Milan no match for Juve Talking points• “You dream of something like this,” Cuco Ziganda said, “but winning.” His Athletic team produced perhaps their best performance of the season, at least in the second half, but were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona. Leo Messi and Paulinho both scored – both hit the post, too – but the second came with a breakaway at the end by which time Barça, who could have ended it in the first half, were hanging on. Barely able to keep the ball more than a few seconds, pushed right back, they relied on Samuel Umtiti and, especially, on Marc-André Ter Stegen. AS called him a “titan” and Sergio Busquets admitted: “We’re lucky to have him: a big part of this win is down to him.”“We suffered, but who doesn’t here? That’s the law of San Mamés,” Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said. He knows; he has seen it from the other side. On Saturday he was back for the first time. “The truth is that it was stranger than I thought it was going to be,” he admitted. “It’s been different, I don’t know. Having those people pushing you on and then having them against you … it was odd.” Share on Pinterest PosTeamPGDPts Pinterest 20Alaves10-123 Girona 12Girona10-412 Share on WhatsApp Sportblog 13Celta Vigo10311 Share on LinkedIn Pinterest 10Getafe10212 Watch highlights from the game. 18Las Palmas9-156 Share on Messenger 4Atletico Madrid10920 Share on Facebook • “We didn’t expect to start the season this well when we saw the fixtures,” said Valencia’s manager Marcelino. But there they are. Valencia: played 10, won seven, drawn three, lost none, their best start ever.• Five hundred and nine minutes later, Leganés finally conceded a goal on their way to a 2-1 defeat at Sevilla, which was moved from 4.15pm to 10.30pm because of high temperatures – in late October. Most didn’t mind, even if the decision was made just four days before, but it was a little tight for José Luis Hurtado, who shared his suffering through the pages of Marca, his match report the chronicle of time slipping away, which it always does. “There was,” he wrote, “a cold sweat when it was clear that the man going off was [Joaquín] Correa, one of the few players who can fill a paragraph.” At least there was no late goal to stick the knife in and make a liar of him next morning. “The game is on the edge, much like this match report: there are voices asking the time, it looks like Sevilla are going to win.” And they did, 2-1.• It was now or never for Míchel, one headline claimed. “I understand that people are angry; we’re angry too,” the Málaga manager said and the people were waiting for him and his players, but the people didn’t look angry. Instead, they set off fireworks and sang “how could I not love you?” as the bus made its way into the Rosaleda. When they made their way back out again a couple of hours later, they were still singing. Málaga had won at last, and were off the bottom. Before the game Míchel had said he was not worried – “I’d be more worried if the club had backed me” – but after it he admitted: “I don’t know what would have happened if we had lost or drawn.” His son, Adrián, was one of the men who had saved him, scoring the first.• Check out the assist from Portillo for Getafe’s equaliser in their 2-1 win over la Real. Wonderful. Results: Alaves 1-2 Valencia, Atlético Madrid 1-1 Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Barcelona, Sevilla 2-1 Leganés, Getafe 2-1 Real Sociedad, Girona 2-1 Real Madrid, Eibar 2-2 Levante, Málaga 2-1 Celta Vigo. Tonight: Espanyol v Real Betis, Las Palmas v Deportivo. Twitter Real Madrid suffer shock defeat at Girona on first visit to Catalan club Real Madrid Twitter European club football Facebook Madrid weren’t. Only Isco resisted. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Madrid flattered Girona. Zidane too went for three at the back, with two wing-backs, matching Girona man for man. Only they were no match for Girona. Time ticked andtension grew; you could almost imagine Puigdemont shouting: “They’ll never take our three points!” Madrid sought a way past Bono in goal, but by the final whistle they still hadn’t found what they were looking for – and had never looked like they would. Instead, Machín’s side found even more space until they could hardly move, running to a standstill, yet at the end it was Girona launching one last attack. They didn’t care: the ball was booted into the air, subs, staff and coaches running on, supporters roaring.They’d done it, history made. Machín, whose Numancia side had beaten Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona on the Catalan’s debut in the dugout, when he was assistant, had now led Girona to a victory that was probably their biggest ever. “Memorable!” shouted the cover of Diari de Girona.Deserved, too. “The way we played might have surprised some people but those who watch us know we’re always brave,” Machín said. “We’re not better than we were four days ago.” So far Girona have faced Atlético, Barcelona, Sevilla and Villarreal at home. None have found it easy: Villarreal won 2-1, Atlético drew 2-2 having been overrun for an hour, and Sevilla won 1-0. Barcelona won 3-0 but two of those were own goals. Now, Girona had beaten Madrid, leaving Zidane’s team eight points behind Barcelona. “Thanks Girona!” Sport shouted. “The league is very long,” Zidane said but it is a lead they have never overcome. AS called it their “Waterloo”; “Madrid vote to break away from the league”, said the headline in Marca, the match report opening: “Madrid put their slip in the ballot box, voting no to the title.” Share via Email 6Villarreal10517 3Real Madrid101020 11Levante10-212 Read more 5Sevilla10219
Southampton Share via Email Share on Twitter news Share on Pinterest Premier League Bournemouth Share on WhatsApp Topics Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Goals have been fairly scarce for both these sides so far, although Southampton did help themselves to four against Everton last weekend. Eddie Howe will be hoping Josh King – who currently has more goals for Norway (three) than Premier League goals (two) this season – finds form as he did in 2016-17 when 14 of his 16 Bournemouth strikes came after the start of December. Rich FlowerKick-off Sunday 1.30pm Venue Vitality StadiumLast season Bournemouth 1 Southampton 3Live Sky Sports Premier LeagueReferee Jonathan MossThis season G10, Y34, R1, 3.60 cards per gameOdds H 9-5 A 8-5 D 11-5BournemouthSubs from Boruc, Ramsdale, Fraser, Mahoney, Mousset, Hyndman, L Cook, Gosling, Afobe, Stanislas, DefoeDoubtful Stanislas (groin)Injured Federici (knee, 16 Dec), Mings (back, unknown), B Smith (hip, unknown)Suspended NoneForm WLWWDLDiscipline Y24 R1Leading scorer Wilson 3SouthamptonSubs from McCarthy, Taylor, Stephens, Davis, Pied, Hojbjerg, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Long, McQueen, Bednarek, Gardos, Sims, HeskethDoubtful Long (calf)Injured Soares (hamstring, 10 Dec), Targett (leg, unknown)Suspended NoneForm WDLLWLDiscipline Y12 R0Leading scorers Austin, Davis, Gabbiadini 3 Match previews Share on Messenger Reuse this content
Reuse this content Arsenal Read more Share via Email With the Europa League now the priority for Arsenal by virtue of the fact that winning the trophy is their only realistic chance of qualifying for the Champions League, Wenger will not take any chances in Moscow and is set to recall six players who were rested for the 3-2 win against Southampton on Sunday, even though his team are in a commanding position.“The best way to build on the advantage is to try to win the game, so we will play with our best possible team and have a positive attitude,” said the Arsenal manager, who revealed Granit Xhaka will be absent with flu.“We are in a position where I don’t think we are under threat of complacency. It is an important target for us to go as far as possible [in the competition]. Tuesday night [in Rome] may be a good warning for us but let us not go overboard as well. Yes, we have a big job to do but we are in a strong position and it is how we approach the game that will be vital.”For all their toils this season, Arsenal arrive in Moscow in good shape. Wenger’s side have emerged from the “negative spiral” Laurent Koscielny talked about before the game in Milan last month, when four successive defeats left them in a tailspin, to put together their best run of the season. The restorative victory at San Siro that followed Koscielny’s remarks heralded the start of a six‑game winning sequence that has delivered 18 goals, lifted confidence and put a few smiles back on faces.Yet there is still no getting away from the fact Arsenal’s season will be defined by what happens in the Europa League. Asked whether his own future also depends on success in the competition, Wenger did his best to avoid the question. “The Europa League is important for us, everyone knows that,” he replied. “We are at a stage where we focus on it because in the Premier League we have a very, very, very slim chance to move further up, so the Europa League is one of the big targets now.” Share on Twitter The game against CSKA, who have failed to win any of their past six home fixtures against Premier League opposition, takes place against a backdrop of political tension between the British government and the Kremlin, and only 300 or so Arsenal supporters have made the trip.“Sport can always play a positive role in life and between countries as well. That is why football is a good opportunity always to facilitate relations,” Wenger said, when asked about diplomatic relations. “I am convinced that [tonight] will be absolutely normal and the World Cup will be perfectly well organised. I have no problem about that. But maybe sport will have a more active role during this period than ever.”CSKA Moscow (3-1-4-2, probable) Akinfeev; V Berezutski, Ignashevich, A Berezutski; Natkho; Nababkin, Dzagoev, Golovin, Kuchayev; Musa, Wernbloom.Arsenal (4-2-3-1, probable) Cech; Bellerín, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Ramsey, Elneny; Özil, Wilshere, Welbeck; Lacazette.Referee Felix Zwayer (Ger). Arsène Wenger Share on LinkedIn European club football ‘A historic humiliation for Barcelona’ – Roma win stuns Spanish press CSKA Moscow news Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Mesut Özil given free ride by rusting hulks of Russian football past Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest Read more Topics With Roma’s extraordinary comeback against Barcelona fresh in the mind, Arsène Wenger said there will be no complacency among his Arsenal players as they take on CSKA Moscow with a healthy 4-1 lead from the first leg and desperate to reach their first European semi-final in nine years.Wenger described the remarkable events in the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday, where Roma won 3-0 to go through on away goals, as a “good warning” for Arsenal, who find themselves in exactly the same position as Barcelona were in before the second leg and determined to avoid similar ignominy.
Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Read more Share on WhatsApp The Observer Nations League Daniel Taylor Enjoy Eden Hazard while you can lest Real Madrid land their man Topics Share on Twitter The absence through injury of the Tottenham schemer, who struck a brilliant hat-trick when the Danes shattered Ireland’s World Cup qualifying ambitions here in November, was merciful on Ireland. Denmark’s manager, Åge Hareide, said it also tested his players.“This team needs to play matches without Eriksen, we can’t rely on him all the time,” he said. On this evidence they need a lot more practice.Hareide was pleased with the draw, which allows him to watch Tuesday’s match from the top of the group. “When you get three teams in a group, you have to play tactically. One way was not to lose to Ireland and to leave it to Wales and Ireland to battle it out for three points. It will be a tight game and I wouldn’t be surprised if they drew.”O’Neill said his men will go into that game in a better frame of mind thanks to the solidity they showed here, which contrasted markedly with their fragility during September’s 4-1 defeat in Cardiff. “We have kept a clean sheet, which is very, very important,” he said. “It’s a rebuilding process. One stage at a time.”That process involved deploying his team with three central defenders, a system he trialled in last month’s friendly draw in Poland. O’Neill has never been one to bow to popular demand but he finally gave a first start to Matt Doherty, the Wolves defender who began here at right wing-back in the absence of Séamus Coleman. Christie was assigned an unfamiliar role in central midfield and did well, showing impressive tenacity and dynamism. “I think he was terrific,” said O’Neill. The Fulham man even had Ireland’s only shot on target, forcing a good save from Kasper Schmeichel with a rasping drive from 20 yards in the second half. A clean sheet is not to be sniffed at, especially after two spankings like those suffered by the Republic of Ireland in their last two competitive matches. But little here suggested Martin O’Neill’s side will clamber off the bottom of their Nations League group by beating Wales at this venue on Tuesday, nor that a glorious future awaits just beyond that. Still, small steps and all that, and this one was in the right direction for Ireland. Or wasn’t backwards, at least.O’Neill tried things, the Irish fought hard, Cyrus Christie surprised in a central midfield role and the Preston North End forward Callum Robinson looked perky after being sprung from the bench late on. Those were the main positives. On the downside, Ireland’s execution of even basic ploys was mostly dreadful and the squad is grievously short of creativity. The sad thing as far as the spectacle was concerned was that Denmark were not much better. Christian Eriksen was the game’s most influential player by not being here. Such was the lack of ingenuity in the Irish side that their best other chance came in the first period after Denmark stopped playing because Harry Arter had gone down injured. The referee did not whistle so Jeff Hendrick played on, striding through on goal only to fire wide. He was immediately surrounded by Danes berating him for a lack of sportsmanship. “He was totally unaware [that Arter had gone down] and thought they had just made a sloppy pass,” said O’Neill. “It would have been interesting if he had scored. It might have been one of those situations where we would have had to let them score at the other end.”There seemed barely any other hope of a breakthrough. Denmark were technically better than the hosts but also had no imagination. The closest they came to a goal was when Simon Kjaer met a corner with a firm header. Arter booted it off the line. From open play Pione Sisto threatened in the first half with a fine curling shot from 20 yards that skimmed the outside of the post. Denmark Share on Messenger Jordan Henderson: ‘Gareth gives more ownership. We are stronger’ Share on LinkedIn Republic of Ireland Read more news Share via Email Reuse this content
Transfers Barcelona January transfer news LIVE: Who is new signing Yerry Mina? Goal Last updated 1 year ago 03:00 1/12/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Transfers Barcelona Primera División Goal brings you all the latest news, rumours and deals related to the Blaugrana as the January transfer window heats up Who is new signing Yerry Mina?Goal’s South American expert Daniel Edwards has described how the man who can’t stop dancing, Yerry Mina, is no slouch on the pitch and an able successor for Javier Mascherano.He writes: “Yerry Mina is as different to the midfielder-turned defender as day is to night, but the Catalans believe he has the talent to bolster their backline for years to come.”Read the full feature right here on Goal! Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Rafinha close to Inter moveBarcelona midfielder Rafinha is set to join Inter Milan on loan, according to Mundo Deportivo.The Brazilian is reportedly poised to join Inter through the rest of the season, with the Serie A side hoping to secure an option to buy that’s below €20 million.Pique warns Man Utd off UmtitiGerard Pique has warned Manchester rivals United and City that Barcelona expect Samuel Umtiti to remain at the club for “many more years”.The two Premier League heavyweights are reported to have identified the France international defender as top target during the January transfer window.Find out what the ex-Man Utd defender had to say in full right here on Goal!Barcelona confirm Yerry Mina dealBarcelona have announced their second signing of 2018, with defender Yerry Mina joining La Liga’s leaders from Brazilian side Palmeiras for €11.8 million.Mina has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with the Catalan giants.Read all about Mascherano’s replacement new signing right here on Goal!Barca name price for Inter target DeulofeuBarcelona have told Inter they must pay between €18-20 million for Gerard Deulofeu, reports Sport The winger has failed to impress since returning to Camp Nou, while the signing of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele’s return threaten to leave him in the cold. He is still highly considered in Serie A, however, and has emerged as a top target for Inter after starring for rivals Milan in 2017.Mascherano move agreedWantaway Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano is finally set to leave the Liga giants after the club accepted a bid for the player from CSL outfit Hebei China Fortune, Goal understands.Barca were demanding at least €10 million for the versatile Argentinian, but Hebei China Fortune have agreed a fee of less than €5.77 million.Check out the full story on Goal!Klopp helped Dortmund push up Dembele priceJurgen Klopp’s refusal to sell Philippe Coutinho over the summer to Barcelona directly helped former club Dortmund with their own sale, according to Raphael Honigstein on the Totally Football Show . The Liverpool boss reportedly informed Dortmund there was no way he would sell Coutinho, in turn aiding the Germans in their negotiations over Ousmane Dembele.Arsenal target RafinhaArsenal are interested in signing in-demand Barcelona midfielder Rafinha, according to Catalunya Radio, via Sport. Rafinha is looking to leave Barca in January in search of regular first-team football, and he is a target for Celta Vigo and Inter Milan.He could be allowed to leave on loan with a view to a €20 million permanent move, with Arsenal one of three clubs interested.Barca still in for GriezmannSpanish TV programme El Larguero on Cadena SER (vis AS ) has revealed that Barcelona are still very much in for Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann.While the signing of Philippe Coutinho put a temporary dampner on hopes of signing the French striker because of FFP, the report states that Barca will match the €100m buyout clause and offer a package to put Griezmann on a pay structure similar to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the club’s top earners. Arda set for Istanbul Basaksehir Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan’s move to Istanbul Basaksehir is set to be confirmed this week, according to the Turkish club’s coach. The 30-year-old has yet to appear in La Liga this season, and Basaksehir manager Abdullah Avci said that Turan’s move back to his home country will be announced Thursday or Friday. Check out the full story on Goal! Andre Gomes asks to leave BarcaAndre Gomes has asked Ernesto Valverde to let him leave Barcelona, reports Sport . The report claims that the midfielder doesn’t care if he goes on loan or on a full transfer, but wants out during the winter window. Barca rejected Coutinho loanBarcelona rejected the idea of loaning Philippe Coutinho back to Liverpool for the remainder of the season, according to the Daily Mail .Liverpool’s owners reportedly did everything in their power to keep the Brazilian at Anfield until the summer, hoping a loan would be reasonable given Coutinho is cup-tied in the Champions League.
Chelsea Chelsea close to a perfect game against Barcelona – Conte Jamie Smith 06:56 2/21/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Chelsea UEFA Champions League Lionel Messi Antonio Conte Barcelona Chelsea v Barcelona Lionel Messi’s equaliser gave the Catalans a narrow advantage in the Champions League round of 16, but the Blues manager praised his side Antonio Conte felt Chelsea were close to delivering a “perfect” game against Barcelona in the Champions League before Lionel Messi’s leveller salvaged a 1-1 draw for the Catalan giants.Willian, denied twice by the woodwork in the first half, gave the Blues the lead after 62 minutes with a pinpoint drive from the edge of the penalty area.AdChoices广告Chelsea looked set to hold firm against Barca and take a one-goal lead into the return leg on March 14 at Camp Nou, only to shoot themselves in the foot. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Andreas Christensen gave up possession with a sloppy pass deep in his own half, and Andres Iniesta fed Messi to score his first goal in nine appearances against Chelsea.Conte was left frustrated by Chelsea’s failure to close out the victory. Messi’s strike was with 15 minutes to go and was his only shot of the game, yet the Italian was delighted with the way his team delivered a defensive masterclass – barring one costly slip.”I think we were very close, very close to a perfect game,” Conte told BT Sport. “I think only one mistake and when you make a mistake against Barcelona, players like Messi, [Luis] Suarez, Iniesta, you have to pay.”It’s a pity, I’m very proud of my players for the game, they followed our plan. It’s a pity. It’s a pity because also I think tonight we were a bit unlucky.”I think when we have to have a plan for this game, respect the characteristics of the opponent and understand the best way to face them. Our plan was really really good and the effort was great, it’s a pity because we are talking about 1-1 and maybe we deserved more tonight.”Barcelona’s away goal gives them the edge ahead of next month’s second leg but Conte believes Chelsea can cause an upset when their rivalry renews with the Catalans at Camp Nou.”This team is very strong, a fantastic team, but I think the result means the tie is open,” Conte said.”It will be difficult, it’s not simple to play away against them, but our performance will give us confidence to try and do something.”
Premier League Arsenal in talks with Torreira as Adli set to snub Gunners for new PSG deal Chris Wheatley Arsenal Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 01:36 6/13/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Premier League Arsenal Transfers The highly rated French youngster is set to sign an extension with his boyhood club after turning down Unai Emery’s side Paris Saint-Germain youngster Yacine Adli is expected to turn down Arsenal after being persuaded by PSG sporting director Antero Henrique to sign a new contract, Goal understands, though talks between the Emirates side and Sampdoria’s Lucas Torreira are ongoing.The 17-year-old had initially agreed to join the Gunners upon the expiration of his contract at the Parc des Princes, with new Gunners head coach Unai Emery playing a significant part in persuading Adli to join the club.Adli was in London over the weekend to meet his agent who lives in the city, but Goal has learned that no talks with Arsenal took place during his short stay in the capital. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move However, Henrique is now understood to have offered Adli assurances which include the promise of further first-team opportunities.An attacking midfielder who has played for his country at Under-16, U-17 and U-18 level with France, Adli has scored 13 goals in 23 appearances at national team level.Despite a lack of first-team experience, he has been a regular in the PSG squad that competed in the UEFA Youth League, turning out alongside the likes of USA international Timothy Weah for the young Parisians last season.The Ligue 1 champions, meanwhile, have struggled to retain much of the best talent coming through their youth system in recent times, with their prospects frustrated by the lack of first-team opportunities on offer at Parc des Princes.As such, Claudio Gomes and Dan-Axel Zagadou have left for the likes of Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in recent times. Arsenal meanwhile are in talks with Sampdoria over the signing of 22-year-old defensive midfielder Torreira. The Uruguay international has a €25m (£22m) release clause in his deal with the Serie A club and while the transfer fee is not likely to become a sticking point, the Gunners still need to reach an agreement with the player’s representatives. Torreira is one of several players identified to improve Arsenal’s spine this summer, with a new goalkeeper and defender also being targeted. Confirmation of Sokratis Papastaphopoulos’ arrival at Emirates Stadium looks set to come at the beginning of July as Borussia Dortmund do not want the transfer to go through until the next fiscal year. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
The Penrith Panthers shot to the top of the table at their home ground in the Men’s Premier League. Penrith performed solidly to dispose of the highly fancied Hornsby Lions outfit. The Sharkies were too strong for the Manly Sea Eagles and now find themselves in the top four. Wests finally got into the winners circle with a win over Easts and Canterbury defeated Parramatta. In the Women’s Premier League, Wests remain top of the table with a low-scoring win over the Easts Roosters. Wollongong secured their second win of the tournament while Canterbury won 4 – 2 over Manly.Penrith was a happy hunting ground for Wests, who won in all three divisions over Easts. Penrith defeated the Menai Bulls and Central Coast won against Parramatta in a very tight Mixed round. Men’s Premier League ResultsPenrith Panthers – 6 defeated Hornsby Lions – 3Cronulla Sharks – 6 defeated Manly Sea Eagles – 1Canterbury Bulldogs – 5 defeated Parramatta Eels – 2Wests Magpies – 6 defeated Easts Roosters – 4Women’s Premier League ResultsWests Magpies – 2 defeated Easts Roosters – 1Wollongong Devils – 3 defeated Cronulla Sharks – 1Canterbury Bulldogs – 4 defeated Manly Sea Eagles – 2Mixed Premier League ResultsWests Magpies – 5 defeated Easts Roosters – 4Penrith Panthers – 6 defeated Menai Bulls – 5Central Coast Dolphins – 5 defeated Parramatta Eels – 4 For more details, visit the NSWTA Vawdon Cup website – http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=1-714-0-45019-0
DiversityRelationship management and support is a key element of the role Megan and Mel fulfil for Touch Football Australia, whether itâ€™s ensuring the leading Referees are in a worry free environment to facilitate best performance, or a first time referee that requires that little extra bit of care, Megan and Mel have an innate ability to manage and respect the most diverse of people. Fantastic ambassadors for the sport, Megan and Mel epitomise the respect and understanding required to embrace the diversity of our sport President â€“ 2010 to 2012Treasurer â€“ 2012 to currentGeneral Committee â€“ 2008 to 2010Referee Director â€“ 2009 to 2012Benâ€™s long time commitment to start back in 2001 when he made his Open Debut for Fremantle, a commitment carried through until 2011 where he filled roles as a player, coach and manager for Menâ€™s and Mixed Teams at various times. In 2015 Ben was made a Life Member of Fremantle for he continued contributions to the affiliate whilst being involved in the game elsewhere on much larger scale.At a State Level Ben has once again shown his commitment in all areas of the game. Ben has previously been a player, manager, selector and referee. After being a player in the 2002 WA Under 18â€™s Boys Team he was then Team Manager for the 18â€™S Boys in 2009, NTL Mixed Open Manager in 2011 and Selector in 2012.Over the past two months, ben has been active in driving change in two key areas of our sport that have had a significant impact on the sport and engagement with our members in WA. In February, this year Ben sought election to a position on the WA State Operations Panel â€œto give back to the sport that I enjoy being involved inâ€. Ben felt that as a player, referee, coach and local volunteer I thought that I had a wide range of experience across the sport that I could help contribute back to the future direction of Touch Football in WA.Post the Annual Meeting in February, Ben further nominated himself to Chair of the SOAP to help set targets and realise the achievements possible for Touch Football in WA towards our 2020 goals. The SOAP in WA had been fairly inactive in WA for a period of time and Benâ€™s enthusiasm, passion and leadership have helped create a new level of engagement with this panel which has set the sport up for a period of long term success.The other vital role which Ben had undertaken was with the Lead Role at the 2016 WA Junior State Championships. With the WA Referee Panel in transition and a number of key members unavailable Ben volunteered to take on this key role at the WAâ€™s premier junior touch football event. Benâ€™s leadership, integrity, professional and excellence in this role enabled this key part of our sport to operate successfully ensured a quality event experience for referee, participants and spectators through his operation in this role. Ben even managed to referee a few games himself where needed across the weekend. Benâ€™s previous work as a Referee at State Events since 2000 and being part of the Referee Coaching Team since 2015 held in a good stead to undertake this position.What consistently is shown in Benâ€™s work is his embodiment of the TFA Values and this has been the key to being such a successful contributor across all facets of our game for a long period of time. Benâ€™s contributions over the last twelve months have highlighted his passion to see the ongoing success of Touch Football in WA which, under his leadership and guidance will be achieved for many years to come. Other nominees will continue to be posted through the week.Related LinksVolunteer of the Year Award Excellence Consistently looking at ways to improve the experience for Referees and event participants, Megan and Mel have played a significant role in the development and ongoing improvement of the Referee Experience for Touch Footballâ€™s major events, their pursuit of excellence and quality experiences is second to none.Megan Harapa and Mel Jones have completed the same role in unison for Touch Football Australia for many years now, they as a team and individuals are at the core of the sports success and growth of the Referee Program, and individually or collectively would be a worthy recipients of the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award. Graeme Clancy QueenslandGraeme is the founder of Touch Football Specialised which gives participants with special needs the opportunity to play Touch Football.The countless amount of volunteer hours Graeme has contributed has seen substantial growth in Touch Football Specialised and the programs now available for participants.The QLD Special Education Championships were held for the third successive year in 2016 with seven new schools attending, an additional thirteen teams and ninety six new participants.Graeme has also created a prototype competition for special needs athletes which will see athletes compete in a regular form of competition over multiple weeks. These competitions will be held at difference affiliated associations in South Queensland for the first time in season two of this year.He has also developed resources and modified equipment to allow the game to be accessed and played by numerous participants. These resources and aids have allowed schools and all ability organisations to self-deliver programs of their own.The countless hours Graeme has continued to put in has seen the organisation create a new partnership with the Gold Coast Titans and a continually growing ambassador group which now includes Olympic Athlete Michelle Jenneke.Queensland Touch could not be prouder of the contributions Graeme has made to the special needs and Touch Football communities through his initiative. He has single handily given children and adults with special needs opportunities through our sport which have never been there before. Klaire Carrick TasmaniaKlaire is the current assistant coach for the Under 18 Tasmanian NYC team and has significantly contributed to the success of our touring teams. She has been a part of Touch Football for a number of years and has previously volunteered as a coach before. Kliare exhibits TFAs core values every time she volunteers, often going the extra mile especially when it has come to fundraising and organisation of her team. She has done an exceptional job in reducing team levies for her players. Her commitment to the team is undeniable, from writing to local government to running two separate Bunnings BBQâ€™s, she has shown maturity and professionalism beyond her years. While balancing a university degree, part time work and her own playing, she has never missed a training session and is constantly asking how she can do more to help the team and Touch Football Tasmania.Klaire is seen as a role model and leader amongst the team and other volunteers, she was asked to increase her role and take on more responsibility as a coach and has successfully transitioned into taking full training sessions by herself and developing her skills as a coach. We are lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer here in Tasmania and this nomination is highly deserved.Benjamin Dempsey- Western AustraliaBen has been a long time contributor to Touch Football in Western Australia. Benâ€™s contribution covers â€“ playing, refereeing, referee coaching and also administration at both an affiliate and State level. In WA, Ben is a key driver of the TFA Values and these are consistently showcased in his work throughout Touch Football. At Benâ€™s affiliate, Fremantle Touch Association, he remains as treasurer on the committee, after previously holding the following roles: Integrity, Leadership and Professionalism The National Touch League, National Youth Championships and particularly the Touch World Cup, present many unique experiences â€“ from extreme weather conditions to first time referees â€“ in the face of any obstacle, Megan and Mel have maintained complete professionalism and integrity at all times.The leadership and cultural alignment which Megan and Mel vest into all members of the Referee community is second to none, they have a complete understanding of the various elements and considerations needed to ensure optimal culture development and positivity from Referees and the wider Touch Football community both on and off the field. Touch Football Australia is lucky to have countless volunteers who have made significant contributions to the Touch Football landscape over the past 12 months and beyond.To celebrate and recognise these contributions for the second year running Touch Football Australia will award the Volunteer of the Year Award to one of our highly valued volunteers. â€œThe opportunity to recognise and say thank you to our volunteers is one that we as a sport do not take for grantedâ€, CEO Colm Maguire speaking on the importance of volunteers in our sport.â€œWe are excited to again be able to recognise many of these fantastic individuals, who are all deserving of being awarded this prestigious honour, for the great work they have done in their local community and the sport at largeâ€.Each State and Territory were asked to nominate one individual to be considered for the TFA Volunteer of the Year for 2016, as well as two nominees from a National Level.Nominations were to be considerate of their exceptional service to the sport and have made a notable and measurable contribution and difference in their respective communities.The nominees all will have demonstrated the Touch Football Australia values of:LeadershipIntegrityProfessionalismDiversityExcellenceThe Touch Football Australia Board of Management has reviewed all nominations and voted using a 3, 2, 1 system to determine the 2016 Touch Football Australia Volunteer of the Year.â€œOur Board was absolutely overwhelmed by the calibre of nominees from across the country,â€ Maguire, continues, â€œAnd has found it particularly difficult to determine this yearâ€™s recipient from an extremely deserving groupâ€.â€œWhile itâ€™s always difficult to choose a winner, the flipside is, what a great position to be in – so many wonderfully talented and dedicated people in our sport. The nominees are a shining example of the valuable volunteers in our sport. We wouldnâ€™t exist or be anywhere near as successful without them. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport – the TFA board, and this award, recognises in no small way, the generosity and commitment of all of these people- not just the state representatives or winnersâ€ TFA Chair Anita Hagarty adds.Over the next four days, each nominee for the Touch Football Australia Volunteer of the Year will feature on Touch Football Australiaâ€™s website and social media channels, with the winner to be publically announced at 3pm on Friday 30th September 2016.All nominees will also receive a plaque of recognition and a small gift to say thank you for the tremendous work they have done for the sport of Touch Football.Keep an eye out below for your locations nominee, as Touch Football sayâ€™s thank to them, and all volunteers in our sport. NominationsGreg Mason VictoriaGreg Mason is a highly committed individual to the sport of Touch Football in Victoria, sitting on a variety of volunteer committees, heavily involved in the VT League and coaching at the State Level.Greg has sat on the VT League committee for 5 Years now, a trusted leader in the community and always willing to go above and beyond. Gregâ€™s greatest strength is his ability to separate his club affiliations from the bigger picture, always giving his thoughts and opinion on what is best for Touch Football in Victoria, not just the Melbourne City Lions. However, he has strongly lead that Melbourne City Lions for the past 6 years in the Presidents Role. The benchmark team in the competition, it is known for its professionalism and excellent administration, most of which is attributable to Greg.In 2014, when a VT League club withdrew from the competition only two weeks out, Greg was instrumental in supporting the TFV Office and working on a recovery strategy, creating the â€œSouthern Phoenixâ€, ensuring that the season was able to run with a fifth club. Greg was quoted as saying â€œI just wanted to give everyone the chance to play if they wantedâ€¦ at the end of the day, thatâ€™s all that matters, not politics and clubsâ€.When TFV were unable to construct a â€œstandalone committeeâ€ for the Southern Phoenix, Greg was once again called upon to run the club in 2015, which he did, undertaking all administrative equipmentâ€™s including apparel, finances, organising training etc. The South Phoenix is now being run be a separate volunteer committee, which Greg took upon himself to recruit.Greg was a member of the State Executive Council for five years, providing advice and support to the TFV Office. Despite living in Lake Dewar, he was a regular attendee at meetings, driving the three hour return trip each quarter, and doing so with a smile on his face.Greg has the unenviable task of being a long standing member of the TFV Disciplinary Panel, which unfortunately is created when an on field indiscretion requires further sanctioning. Given his experience in the game and personal contacts, he is often required to sit on panels and make tough decisions about people he knows personally. He does this with respect and sincere honesty, always ensuring due processes are followed. As previously mentioned, his ability to put the good of the sport fist, above his personal relationships, is without doubt his strongest character, particularly given the smallness of the Touch Football community in Victoria.Greg has been the Coach of the Under 18â€™s NYC Victorian Touring Team for the last two years. His coaching ability may not be the best in the State, but the respect his team holds him in, and the manner in which he conducts himself is without doubt the best of all Victorian Coaches.He is also heavily involved with Ballarat Touch Association, in which he is a player, referee and team manager. If called upon, he also referees at the VT League as often as requested. In fact, he goes above and beyond, heading into the Referee Room at the start of each round and ensuring he has offered his services and made his presence known as a possible â€œback upâ€ referee.Lastly, Greg has a strong understanding of the role of a volunteer, and how they can work closely with the TFV Office, as they are there to provide support and assistance when required and help with some of the â€œheavy liftingâ€ to keep the sport moving forward.He is one of the most trusted and esteemed members of the community, and for all these reasons has been nominated for this prestigious award. Sean Harvey Australian Capital Territory Sean commenced playing Touch Football in South Australia in 1981. In 1988, Sean moved to Canberra where he became a member of the Woden Eagles Touch Club. Since joining the club, Sean has made an invaluable contribution to the clubâ€™s sustainability through his leadership, integrity, professionalism, diversity and excellence.Sean has assisted TFACTâ€™s competitions through his work with the Woden Eagles club by his continued involvement as a player, coach, referee and a key administrator since 1988.Sean has shown strong skills in both leadership and integrity through organising and managing six adult Woden Eagles teams to compete in the 2015/2016 TFACT Summer Domestic Competition and 2016 TFACT Winter Competition.During the summer competition, Sean also coached a junior team in the 2015 Junior Competition, while assisting other volunteers of the club to coach junior teams to maintain the clubâ€™s involvement at a junior level. His level of involvement at both a junior and senior level shows his commitment to the sustainability of the sport within the ACT. Sean has displayed his flexibility and willingness to be involved in multiple programs including being a coach in TFACTâ€™s AusSquads Junior Development Program. He has assisted in the programs delivery since its inception in 2015.Sean is currently a general member of the TFACT Sport Operations Advisory Panel (SOAP) and has displayed professionalism in all aspects of his role. He makes timely and valued input both verbally and written in regards to all SOAP matters discussed and implemented. Sean has displayed excellence at a club level over the past year and for this he was awarded the Woden Eagles 2015 Volunteer of the Year. His excellence is not limited to his work at the club, however as he works with the TFACT staff to ensure the sustainability of all programs within the ACT and assists where he can especially in regards to refereeing and coaching.Sean has been an invaluable member of TFACT since 1988 with a positive and respectful attitude to all those he interacts with regardless of the role he is undertaking. Ben Cooper New South WalesBen is an outstanding individual and one whose values and integrity bring leadership to a small touch footballing community and stamp him as an outstanding candidate for the Touch Football Volunteer of the Year. Benâ€™s passion and drive has seen him as the driving force in the rebuilding of Young TA. Through his leadership and professionalism he has helped build and deliver a better product in the community and gas done this with a view to fostering development of the game in all aspects. In the last few years, helping to build and develop the game in the Young Area. Benâ€™s excellence has been awash over several integral positions on the Young Committee. He has been President, Treasurer and is currently leading the charge through his position of secretary.During the period of Benâ€™s involvement he has overseen the growth of the competition and acceptance of the competition in the local community. Under his tenure the Young TA competition has grown tenfold. He aided in introducing the highly successful ladies only â€œChampagne and Crackersâ€ competition which secured great community interest and buy in.His background in teaching has also seen him play a large role in bringing juniors into the sport of Touch Football. He has ensured that Young High School supports several NSWTA school events across the State and further develops their all-round skills by undertaking Referee Accreditation Courses with the student body.This area of Referee Development isnâ€™t just limited to the student body and through these efforts many students and adults have helped Young TA build their Referee numbers and develop their skills in the game to help develop Young TA.Ben has also engaged with NSWTA to run development days and clinics to update training sessions at schools right across the Young area. Through this practice Ben has assisted developing the game across the whole community.It was through Benâ€™s drive that saw Young TA enter in their first Junior State Cup in 2014 where he was the jack of all trades. Coach, Manager, Tour Leader and Travel Agent. He is now looking at getting Young to participate at their first Senior State Cup in 2016.With the amount of time Ben devotes to Young TA we are at a loss to understand how he finds to for his other roles â€“ High School Teacher and Deputy Lord Mayor of Young. It goes without saying that the qualities that Ben displays in all aspects of his like easily transcend into why the Young community he is such a well-respected individual.His commitment to our sport is shown in the great pride, professionalism and integrity that he delivers our product with. It is a benchmark for others to emulate. He would be not only a worthy winner, but already is a worthy ambassador for our game. Megan Harapa and Melissa JonesMegan Harapa and Melissa Jones are vital members of the Touch Football Community, particularly at the National Level aligned to Referee Support and Major Event Delivery. For the past 7 years Megan and Mel have acted a Referee Managers at all National Touch Football Events, as well as the 2015 Touch World Cup, held in Coffs Harbour.Both have also made countless contributions to the support of Referees at State (NSW) and lower levels for many years, prior to and in conjunction with her work at the National Level.Recognised for their ability to manage complex relationships and the rigors of major events, Megan and Mel are consistently a beacon for everything that Touch Football Australia looks for in a volunteer, as an organisation we are extremely grateful for the commitment and time they have provided so many people for so many years.
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd boss Mourinho in awe of Robertson energy: Incredible!by Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Jose Mourinho admits they couldn’t handle the speed of Liverpool for Sunday’s defeat.Mourinho was full of praise for Reds fullback Andrew Robertson after the 3-1 defeat.He said: “Liverpool play 200mph with and without the ball.“I am still tired to look at Robertson. He makes a 100m sprint per minute! Incredible.”Mourinho did not even attempt to argue against the final result.“The strongest team won, but they won in the period when they were not stronger than us.“In first 20 minutes of the first half there was a huge distance [between the teams]. They were better and stronger, they did everything better than us.”