EPL: Gunners gun down Saints

first_imgRelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ EPL: Saints tackle Mourinho’s Spurs Ings not interested in leaving Saints, Southampton manager says Goals from Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock gave Arsenal some much-needed respite as they beat Southampton 2-0 to earn their first points since the Premier League’s restart.With the pressure on following back-to-back defeats to Man City and Brighton that had seen the Gunners slip into the bottom half, Nketiah took advantage of Alex McCarthy’s howler to open the scoring before Willock made the points safe late on after Jack Stephens had been sent off. Mikel Arteta made four changes to his side, including restoring the fit again Granit Xhaka to the line-up in place of Matteo Guendouzi, who was dropped from the matchday squad completely after his spat with Brighton’s Neal Maupay.The Gunners twice went close to opening the scoring inside ten minutes, denied first by the offside flag as Nkeitah converted Bukayo Saka’s low cross, and then by the crossbar after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been released by a terrific long ball from Kieran Tierney.When the opener did come, it was gift-wrapped, Saints ‘keeper McCarthy dallying in possession and then bizarrely passing straight to Nkeitah, who gratefully finished into an empty net.The young striker wasted a decent chance to double the lead on the stroke of half-time, going for goal himself and getting the finish all wrong when he might have laid off to Aubameyang.Emiliano Martinez’s brilliant long kick created a similar opportunity soon after the restart, this time finding Aubameyang who did look to feed Nkeitah, but Jan Bednarek’s crucial intervention denied him a second. Southampton improved markedly, but despite enjoying lengthy spells of pressure struggled to create clear-cut chances, as Nathan Redmond found the side netting with a back-post effort before substitute Shane Long forced Martinez into his most notable save after good chest control.A potentially nervy finish for the Gunners was averted when Stephens was shown red after bringing down Aubameyang with the striker through on goal, and though substitute Alexandre Lacazette saw two efforts blocked from the resulting free-kick, Willock slotted the rebound home to give Arteta a first away league win in charge.—Tags: Joe WillockPierre-Emerick AubameyangPremier LeagueSouthamptonlast_img read more

Tokyo 2020 organisers want ‘Super Mario’ Abe to remain involved

first_imgRelatedPosts Japanese firm develops robot able to kill COVID-19 with ultra-violet rays Britain marks 75 years since Japan’s defeat in World War II Athletes in non-contact sports to resume training in Port Harcourt – Minister Tokyo 2020 Olympic organisers hope former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will remain involved in preparations for the re-arranged Games next year.Abe, who announced his resignation on Friday, had been all but synonymous with Tokyo 2020.Olyence from the pandemic. “I believe that overcoming that and hosting the Tokyo Olympics would of course become Abe’s legacy,” Muto added.Pre-pandemic association with the Games had not been entirely positive for Abe.He scrapped the National Stadium design in 2015 after a public outcry over increased building costs, but the Games were still forecast to run up a bill of $12.6 billion.The man, who celebrated with Abe at the announcement that Tokyo would host the Games, former Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, is now under investigation in France.The investigation is over suspected corruption related to the bid. Since the postponement, support in Japan for the Olympics had plummeted.One poll by Kyodo News in July found that less than a quarter of respondents wanted to hold the Games as scheduled next year.David Leheny, a political scientist at Waseda University, believes the pandemic might allow Abe to retain his close association with the Games.He added that it would also help him avoid some of the blame if they do not go as planned.“I do think there will be efforts made to make certain he is a very visible part of the Games,” Leheny said. “I think certainly he will be remembered for it, whether the Games go on or not.Reuters/NAN.Tags: ‘Super Mario’ AbeInvolvmentJapanOlympic GamesShinzo AbeTokyo Olympicslast_img read more

Puncheon pens new Saints deal

first_img Press Association The 26-year-old winger has been one of Saints’ most impressive performers this season but only had a matter of months remaining on his current deal. Newcastle were among those linked with a summer move for Puncheon, who has ended such talk by signing a new deal at St Mary’s. “It feels amazing,” Puncheon told the club’s official website, www.saintsfc.co.uk “It’s obviously been a worry because my contract was up at the end of the season, so it was important for me to get tied down. It’s a weight off my mind, so now I can look to the long-term future. The club has a vision, and that’s why I’ve signed and stayed on. “We got to the Premier League in three years, and now the club has a vision of playing European football – and we want to get there as soon as possible. I believe that can happen and, more importantly, the football club believes that can happen. They believe I can be a part of it and so do I. “Now I want to finish the season strongly and keep growing as a player – and for us to keep growing as a football club.” Puncheon, who joined from Plymouth just over three years ago, spent several loan spells away from the club after losing his place in the first team and little over a year ago took to Twitter to criticise Southampton executive chairman Nicola Cortese. The winger threatened to see out the rest of his contract training with the reserves and youth team, but the pair patched up their differences and he has become an integral part of the team, first under Nigel Adkins and now Mauricio Pochettino. “It’s great news that Jason has agreed to sign a new contract with Southampton,” the Saints manager said. “He has been very impressive for the club this season and especially so since I arrived, and he is a very important member of our squad.” center_img Jason Puncheon has ended speculation over his future by signing a new contract with Southampton until 2016.last_img read more

Trapattoni backs spirit over flair

first_img Trapattoni is backing his side to deliver as he sends them into a crucial World Cup qualifier in Sweden tonight. Despite only being the fourth game of the Group C campaign, defeat in freezing Stockholm would leave the Irish facing an uphill struggle to catch Germany and Sweden at the top of the standings. Trapattoni said: “We are not great individual players like (Lionel) Messi or, with Sweden, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic. But we are a good team with good balance, good attitude.” Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is convinced his team’s strong spirit makes up for their lack of individual flair. He added: “We have no creative (Cristiano) Ronaldo or (Lionel) Messi, or other stars, but we are a good team. I am confident for this. “Every day when I see the team in training I am happy for my side. We play quick and with confidence.” Trapattoni’s major team selection decision has seen him opt for the solidity of Leeds midfielder Paul Green – despite a lack of popularity with fans and pundits – in the centre alongside Glenn Whelan. Wigan’s James McCarthy misses out but Trapattoni feels Green’s presence will offer the best balance as he implores full-backs Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson, as well as wingers Robbie Brady and James McClean, to attack. Trapattoni, who compared Green to Gennaro Gattuso and Nobby Stiles, said: “We have to think about the balance. I can also change after I see how the game develops.” Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark will partner John O’Shea in central defence despite the return of Sean St Ledger to the squad after injury. Millwall goalkeeper David Forde will make his competitive debut while Shane Long will start up front alongside captain and record goalscorer Robbie Keane, whose role will be slightly withdrawn. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Mancini eyes summer spree

first_img Speculation over Mancini’s future persists but the former Inter Milan boss himself remains confident in his position. City still have a chance to win a second FA Cup in three seasons and finish as runners-up which, last season aside, would represent a highest top-flight finish since 1977. Having gone 35 years without winning a trophy prior to 2011, the overall progress has still been considerable and Mancini maintains the club are still youngsters at such an elite level. He said: “I have said many times, we are a young team for this. It is only two years we have played for the title.” City face a crucial week as they look to take care of what unfinished business they do have remaining this term. Firstly, beating United at Old Trafford would land a psychological blow ahead of next term as well as delaying United’s seemingly inevitable crowning. Then Chelsea must be overcome in next Sunday’s Wembley semi-final to keep hopes of silverware on track. Mancini said: “We want to get the second place. We know we have another eight games to play. “Against United, away against Tottenham, we have the FA Cup semi-final – the next three weeks will be very hard because we play every three days. The next two weeks will be crucial for the second place.” Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini heads into his latest derby against Manchester United with eyes on both the present and future. Mancini is already planning for the summer and beyond after accepting defeat in the Barclays Premier League title race. United host City at Old Trafford with a 15-point lead at the top of the table and, despite form most other clubs would envy, City’s title defence has been an underwhelming one. Mancini has no doubt one of the chief reasons for that was a failure to land any of his prime targets in last summer’s transfer market and he is determined to make sure that does not happen again. The Italian said: “We want to improve our team, not like last year. Every year if you don’t improve your team it is difficult.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

New boss must understand United – Gill

first_imgManchester United chief executive David Gill has outlined the qualities needed to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as manager amid growing expectation that David Moyes will be confirmed as the new man in charge by the end of this week. He added: “Clearly he has to have the requisite football experience, both in terms of domestic and European experience. It is a small pool.” Moyes’ European experience is not extensive. He has only guided Everton through four European campaigns and never went beyond the last-16 phase in any competition, but Ferguson has never had any doubts his fellow Scot was capable of managing at the very highest level. And Gill confirmed Ferguson, and Sir Bobby Charlton – who has previously suggested Mourinho was not the type of character would sit easily at Old Trafford – would be asked for their input. “No-one knows what managing Manchester United is about more than him,” Gill said. “The board will take his counsel and that of Sir Bobby Charlton in order to get the right person to take it forward.” Charlton would be acutely aware of the problems it caused – first for Wilf McGuiness, then Frank O’Farrell – when Sir Matt Busby remained active at Old Trafford following his retirement as manager. The spectre of Ferguson is going to hang over Old Trafford for a long time, but Gill is confident the Scot will not be a negative presence, and he added: “Sir Alex will be a great asset to the club. He will know when he should and should not be involving himself. “Everyone can rest assured the new manager can get the space and opportunity to do his job without interference. Alex will not make that mistake. Of that we can be certain.” Press Associationcenter_img After confirming Ferguson’s exit on Wednesday morning, it is thought United wish to announce the 71-year-old Scot’s replacement by the end of the week. Although Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has been tipped to take over in some quarters, it is thought Everton boss Moyes is in line to land what Gill describes as a “dream job”. “The qualities are the ones that have been inherent at Manchester United for many years,” Gill told MUTV. “Our two most successful eras were with managers who got involved with all aspects of the club, from the youth team to the first team, to get that degree of loyalty and understanding of the football club.” last_img read more

Davis enjoying squad progress

first_imgCaptain Steven Davis is pleased with the way Northern Ireland’s squad has evolved over the course of the current campaign. They were peripheral figures at the same stage of qualifying for Euro 2012, leaving Davis, 28, to reflect with satisfaction on a rejuvenated group. “Without a doubt, it’s great to see. I am one of the elder ones in the squad now and it is great to see younger players coming through and especially making an impact and being part of big nights for us,” said the Southampton midfielder. “Hopefully we can keep progressing as a team and growing and that will keep us in good stead. “We’ve got a good squad together and a good mix, plenty of jokes floating about. “You’ve got a squad now with a lot of young players in and they have gained valuable experience so far in a number of games and hopefully that can be a good measure for us going forward.” More immediately, Davis is looking to put right arguably the most disappointing result of O’Neill’s tenure. A year ago at Windsor Park, Northern Ireland dominated Luxembourg in their second Group F fixture, taking an early lead through Dean Shiels. But they somehow failed to add to their tally despite numerous chances and saw a lucky equaliser deny them three points late on. Press Association Manager Michael O’Neill has gradually fed new players into the side since taking over from Nigel Worthington, capping some for the first time and bringing in others from the fringes of the squad to the first XI. Against Luxembourg on Tuesday night, the likes of Daniel Lafferty, Lee Hodson, Oliver Norwood, Shane Ferguson, Jamie Ward and Martin Paterson can all expect to start. “Yeah, we came off the pitch disappointed at end of that game,” said Davis. “Dean Shiels scored a good goal and we put ourselves in a good position with numerous opportunities to extend the lead and then they got a deflected goal. “We have got good results away to Portugal and home to Russia and yet we’ve struggled in the games we have been tagged as favourites. “I have spoken so many times already about how I think the performances have been good this campaign but at the end of the day we need results and that’s what we have to put right.” Northern Ireland’s travelling support is likely to outnumber the home faithful at the Stade Josy Barthel, with 1,200 members of the Green and White Army expected. Davis said: “They’ve been fantastic for us in the last two games…I sometimes think they don’t realise how much of an impact they can have on the players. “It’s great to have that support behind us again.” last_img read more

Rain checks Ireland progress

first_imgIreland were frustrated by the rain on the second day of their Intercontinental Cup tie with Scotland but not before Paul Stirling reached his half-century to consolidate the hosts’ commanding position in Dublin. Ireland finished the second day on 99 for one – 39 runs behind the Scots with nine wickets remaining – but only 21 overs were played because of the rain at Clontarf. Ireland resumed on 35 without loss after batting for six overs on Wednesday, and Iain Wardlaw took the first wicket in the 13th over when he trapped Ireland captain William Porterfield leg before wicket for 30. Wardlaw also bowled four maiden overs but Stirling had struck his 50th run from 73 balls, a total which included eight fours, just before rain forced a premature stop early in the day. He was assisted by John Anderson, who will resume on Friday on 17 not out. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Bennett first on stage five

first_img Stannard is second in the general classification and leads Switzerland’s Elmiger by six seconds. Bennett – a protege of Irish cycling great Sean Kelly – completed the 177km ride from Machynlleth to Caerphilly in four hours 35 minutes and 28 seconds. The 22-year-old, who was beaten to the line by Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) in Kendal on stage two, launched an attack from the middle of the group on Caerphilly Mountain having already conquered Cwm Owen and the Brecon Beacons. After clinching his first career stage victory, the Belgium-born rider told britishcycling.org.co.uk: “It was a real hard fight coming into the finish but I knew if I hung on up the climb that I would recuperate quick enough for the sprint and I just hung in. “It was a bit of a gamble going into the last corner – I went a bit wide – but I had enough acceleration to take the win.” The An Post-Chain Reaction rider out-sprinted Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) after a group of riders pulled clear on the second climb of the category one mountain in Wales. Ian Stannard (Team Sky) led team-mate and gold jersey-holder Wiggins and, by keeping the group together, successfully helped preserve the four-time Olympic gold medallist’s 37-second lead. Press Associationcenter_img Irishman Sam Bennett won the fifth stage of the Tour of Britain with a sprint finish into Caerphilly but Sir Bradley Wiggins retained the overall lead.last_img read more

Moyes defends Rooney challenge

first_img Rooney clashed with Bluebirds midfielder Jordon Mutch in the eighth minute at Cardiff City Stadium, kicking his opponent and appearing to strike him with his left arm as they began to tumble to the ground. But referee Neil Swarbrick deemed a yellow card enough punishment, and Rooney went on to open the scoring with a turn and low finish, before his corner allowed Patrice Evra to head home United’s second. However, Cardiff twice levelled, with Fraizer Campbell finishing from a sumptuous Mutch pass against his former club, before Kim Bo-kyung headed in to earn a point in stoppage time. Moyes felt Swarbrick had got the Rooney decision right, but believed his side had lost concentration when the referee pulled Gary Medel and Marouane Fellaini to one side, after the Chile midfielder appeared to slap the Belgian as Cardiff prepared to take the free-kick from which Kim scored. Moyes said: “I think Mutch runs across his path and runs down the line of the ball and I think Wayne’s half in motion, I don’t think it is any more than a booking that’s for sure.” Of the Medel incident, he added: “I think if the referee sees it, he must have stopped the game for something because, most importantly, we lost our concentration. “They actually have delivered the first ball in, so Peter Whittingham has had the chance to cross one in as the referee is blowing up. “So he has his sighter for the second one and I thought we lost concentration with it more than anything at that point. “I don’t know what the referee can do in that situation but I am sure he had seen something to call them out, and I just think it actually worked against us as we were set, and we didn’t defend as well as we should have done on the next ball.” Cardiff manager Mackay also looked to play down the Rooney incident. He said: “I have looked at it (the Rooney incident) again and some referees might send him off, but I thought overall Neil Swarbrick had a good game and I think he handled it well. “I think it was two teams who were tough and committed and there were some tasty challenges throughout the whole game. “But I think his handling of the game was reasonably good.” The Scot also backed Swarbrick’s handling of Medel’s confrontation with Fellaini. He said: “Well, he (Medel) is 5ft 2in and Fellaini is 6ft 7in so he is up to his belly button. “So his arm just about reached his shoulder and then Fellaini has his head down in his face again so I think overall looking at it the referee got it right on both counts.” However, former Liverpool and Rangers manager Graeme Souness did not share the opinion of the two managers when it came to Rooney’s clash with Mutch. Speaking on Sky Sports 1, he said: “He should be off there’s no argument. Why the ref has given him a yellow card is beyond me. “He’s got a great view of it, he’s keeping up with the incident all the time. If he’s booked him, he’s seen something. If he sees that, it’s a sending off. “I don’t know what Wayne is thinking of. He’s got an exploding head, we know that. That’s just borne out of frustration.” United’s unbeaten run now extends to 10 games but they missed out on the chance to climb into the top four and an ineffectual display, particularly in midfield, indicates there is still plenty of work ahead for manager Moyes. And the former Everton manager, who hopes to have Robin van Persie (groin) and Nemanja Vidic (concussion) available to face Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League in midweek, admitted his side had been below-par “I am disappointed,” he said. “It was similar to against Southampton where we had the game in our control with a minute to go and conceded from a set-piece. “I thought we should have played better, we did not have a lot of rhythm in the second half. “This has been a tough place to come for teams. We were on the back of having players on international duty so we would probably have taken a result however it came, but I would have liked it to be better. It wasn’t to be.” David Moyes defended Wayne Rooney after the England striker was fortunate to avoid a red card in Manchester United’s 2-2 draw at Cardiff. Press Associationlast_img read more