Month: February 2020
LONDON (AP):Rarely has a north London derby had such implications for the destination of the English Premier League trophy.When Tottenham host Arsenal tomorrow it will be a meeting of second and third with only three points separating.After both lost Wednesday, a draw between the neighbours could allow Leicester to move further in front in their improbable title challenge when they travel to Watford tomorrow.Leicester were held by West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday but were celebrating the following night when the three teams below them Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City all lost.Arsenal’s 2-1 home defeat to Swansea has left Arsene Wenger’s side on a three-game losing streak in all competitions for the first time in six years. That first Premier League title since 2004 is looking increasingly hard to secure for Arsene Wenger, even in this most unpredictable season.”We have to focus on our job and come back reminding ourselves that we have some quality as well,” the Arsenal manager said.Tottenham’s 1-0 loss at West Ham on Wednesday punctured the optimism gathering around White Hart Lane that the 55-year wait for the title could be ending. Instead of going top in March for the first time since 1964, Tottenham remain second.Top-scorer Harry Kane is on a four-game barren run in front of goal but Arsenal will be without injured Petr Cech tomorrow as the goalkeeper recovers from a calf injury.”One year ago we always spoke about reducing the gap with the top four and now we are second in the table,” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said Thursday. “Who knows what will happen in the future? Now we need to be focused on the present.”The future for Tottenham should be a return to the Champions League, having only competed once in Europe’s top competition in 2010-11.UNITED RESURGENCESuddenly Manchester United’s prospects of returning to the top four are looking far healthier. Buoyed by four successive wins in all competitions, United are now only fifth due to neighbours City having a superior goal difference.”We are showing passion,” United midfielder Ander Herrera said ahead of Sunday’s game at West Brom. “We fight to the end. We show when we don’t play good we can win. I think that the attitude is very good.”I am optimistic because we can still fight for everything. We want to be in the top four. We know it’s not easy because our opponents are tough, but we are Man United: we have to win.”SWANSEA HEALTH SCARESwansea head coach Francesco Guidolin remained hospitalised yesterday after missing his side’s victory over Arsenal with a chest infection.The 60-year-old Italian was referred to a respiratory specialist in London.”Francesco remains comfortable in hospital and is receiving excellent care and treatment,” Swansea said in a statement. “He is making good progress and is in good spirits … no release date from hospital has been confirmed at present.”The victory at Arsenal, with first-team coach Alan Curtis in charge, moved Swansea six points clear of tomorrow’s opponents Norwich, who are in the relegation zone.Chelsea remain unbeaten in the league since Guus Hiddink took charge in December, with the ailing champions rising from the relegation zone to 10th place. Chelsea host Stoke tomorrow.
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC): The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) says it wants to stage a series of fast bowling camps as part of a plan to rekindle an area of the game that has been struggling in recent years. WICB director of cricket, Richard Pybus, made the announcement at the conclusion of the 10-round Professional Cricket League (PCL) Regional four-day Tournament on Monday. The WICB is pondering the introduction of an off-season training programme targeting fast bowlers after spinners dominated the just ended four-day tournament. “We are prioritising and looking at some camps for our fast bowlers, possibly some measures off season to prioritise fast bowling in the four-day competition,” said Pybus in an interview with WICB media. “This is going to be central to us getting that back at the heart of West Indies cricket again.” Spinners featured prominently during the tournament, including the top wicket- taker, Jamaican spinner Nikita Miller, who had 65 scalps in nine matches. “The competition has been still dominated too much by the spin bowlers,” said Pybus. “That is something that we will have to seriously address during the off season to make sure that we are prioritising the fast bowlers.” Guyana’s Leon Johnson, with 807, scored the most runs for the season, followed by Devon Smith of the Windward Islands, who scored 719 — though from two matches less. Guyana’s Vishal Singh and Barbados’ Royston Chase were other players who scored over 700 runs. “I think something which is exceptionally positive is the quality of the batting. We are getting a consistency in the scoring,” said Pybus. “We got a core group of young players who have put their hand up all the way through the competition. We are getting consistent with hundreds being scored. Volume of hundreds and volume of runs which I think is very positive.” Guyana Jaguars were crowned champions of the R4Day for the second straight year. They finished with 149 points — seven clear of nearest rivals Barbados Pride — to regain the George Headley/Everton Weekes Trophy, symbol of regional first-class supremacy. “The first season of the PCL was very rushed and the systems we wanted to put in place to be able to support it were not where we wanted them to be,” he said. “So this year is closer to where I would like to see the system in terms of providing support to the players and the structure of the season regarding the off season programmes for the players.”
Indiscipline reared it’s ugly head among spectators once again at Arnett Gardens Football Club’s Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Sunday night, after the team’s 2-2 draw and 4-3 aggregate defeat to Montego Bay United in their second-leg Red Stripe Premier League semi-final.The scene was reminiscent of Arnett Gardens’ loss to Waterhouse in the 2013-14 semi-final, when after battling to a 3-3 draw in the first-leg, Arnett Gardens lost the second-leg at home 1-0, following which supporters took out their frustration on the away team and match officials.Kashief Brown’s extra-time winner spurred some patrons into throwing bottles and other objects in the vicinity the MoBay United team and officials, as well as match officials.However, Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) general manager, Andrew Price, says an investigation will to be carried out into the incident and the facts ascertained before any action, if any, will be taken against Arnett Gardens Football Club. He noted that this is a serious offence and if found guilty Arnett could face heavy sanctions.In the 2013-14 season, RSPL semi-final elimination did not go down well with the Arnett home fans, who took out their anger and disappointment on the match officials by throwing missiles and verbal threats. Officials and other important figures had to be escorted from the venue under heavy security. Gun shots were also heard during the melee.SIX-MATCH PROBATIONFor that incident, the Trench Town-based club was fined $200.000 and placed on a six-match probation.If found guilty again, Price warned Arnett could face great punishment, but insists that the facts will determine their next move.”We will have to get the report. The referee and the match coordinator will have to submit their reports. But like in any Premier League we will have to get the facts and deal with the situation after. Action (for missile throwing) would be taken against any club. But you are innocent until proven guilty and the facts will have to come to the committee and be proven. It wouldn’t be prudent of me to make any comment at this time,” he explained.”It’s a situation where you expect certain level of maturity. We will wait until we get documents from the match official, commissary and coordinator. Anything else we will deal with it as the facts are presented and it will be dealt with in the appropriate manner,” he said.