Luiz eventually joined Arsenal (Picture: Getty)‘That is why we have invested heavily in keeping him here. At a certain point.‘Arsenal seriously knocked at the door, but we were able to convince Zinho to stay and we are happy about that.’AdvertisementAdvertisementWhile Vanheusden decided to stay at Liege, Luiz has failed to impress since swapping Chelsea for Arsenal. Coral BarryFriday 20 Sep 2019 1:23 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link513Shares Standard Liege star Zinho Vanheusden snubbed ‘serious’ approach from Arsenal Standard Liege convinced Vanheusden to stay (Picture: Getty)Frank Lampard wouldn’t guarantee Luiz a starting place at Chelsea, but the Brazilian has gone straight into Emery’s side.Luiz has given away two costly penalties already and Arsenal fans are calling for their new centre-back to drop to the bench once Rob Holding returns to full fitness.Arsenal take on Aston Villa at the weekend after producing an excellent performance against Eintracht Frankfurt in their Europa League opener on Thursday.Luiz played 90 minutes in the 3-0 victory, with young guns Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka starring and scoring for Arsenal.MORE: Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka admits he struggles to understand Unai EmeryMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City Arsenal tried to sign Vanheusden during the summer (Picture: Getty)Arsenal failed in an attempt to sign Standard Liege defender Zinho Vanheusden during the summer, according to the club’s manager.Unai Emery was in a desperate hunt for defensive reinforcements this summer, but struggled to convince his top targets to join the Gunners.David Luiz eventually made a deadline day transfer, but Liege boss Michel Preud’homme claims Arsenal made a ‘serious’ move for Vanheusden.‘Last season he showed his qualities,’ Preud’homme told Dutch outlet Het Laatste Nieuws.ADVERTISEMENT Comment Advertisement Advertisement
There is a sense of genuine optimism heading into the opener in Budapest but O’Neill is equally aware that failure to deliver on that will carry a high price. “With any new campaign there is excitement, hope and belief and this is no different,” he said. “The players firmly believe this is a campaign we can do something in. “I don’t look at it as a type of make or break situation for myself, I look at it as an opportunity and hopefully the players do too. “But any international manager now basically works campaign to campaign. Even if you are contracted over and above a campaign if you have a poor one it may be the end of you anyway. “At the end of the campaign that will be the time to review things and review what the future holds for me. “But the main focus is on the job in hand, not a personal point of view. “It’s all about preparing the team well and giving ourselves the best chance of qualification.” Press Association Michael O’Neill is upbeat about Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 prospects but accepts he could be out of a job if he oversees a poor campaign. O’Neill’s side start their Group F journey in Hungary on Sunday evening looking to banish a disappointing fifth-placed finish in World Cup qualifying and take advantage of an inviting draw. They have avoided any heavyweight opponents and will be battling for a top-three finish in a section that also contains Greece, Finland, Romania and the Faroe Islands. Whether or not O’Neill stays on, Northern Ireland fans are sure to see significant changes in the near future. Indeed, with Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird, Gareth McAuley and Roy Carroll all long past 30 and the likes of Steven Davis and Chris Brunt not far behind, O’Neill admits the current squad on their last opportunity to reach the big stage. “It’s a big campaign for a number of the players, it may well be the last campaign for some, and we want to make sure we do as much as possible to give ourselves the chance of a top-three position,” he said. “The motivation is always qualification, simple as that. “The likes of Steven Davis and Aaron Hughes, given the international careers they’ve had, deserve to play in a major tournament and this will present an excellent opportunity. “It is achievable.” Hungary represent a tricky opponent, lacking major star power but coming off the back of a creditable showing in their World Cup qualifying group. O’Neill expects it to be the first of many close calls. “Everyone thinks the third placed play-off spot makes it so much easier but the reality is Hungary, Finland, Romania and Greece will all fancy themselves to finish in the top three at least,” he said. “Hungary took 17 points in their last group which is a very commendable total in any campaign. When you have that type of campaign expectation will be higher and I would think expectation here will be high. “This is a strong Hungary squad with a lot of home-based players, which has its benefits. “They have a strong togetherness because of that. “We don’t expect coming here to be any easier than Greece away or Romania away but it will give us a good benchmark for the level we need to get to.”
Zarate, who joined the Hammers from Argentine side Velez Sarsfield in the summer, reportedly underwent a medical at Rangers on Tuesday after struggling to establish himself at Upton Park. Redknapp has made no secret of his desire to add at least one more striker to his squad in January and the Rangers manager believes Zarate fits the bill. QPR boss Harry Redknapp believes Mauro Zarate can be the answer to his striker shortage but insists a deal has not yet been completed for the West Ham forward. “Maybe Sam prefers the others and they’ve been in great form so you can see why.” Redknapp added: “It’s important to have options up front. You need somebody else to weigh in with goals. “We can’t rely on Charlie (Austin) getting all the goals. “It’s an area we’re looking at but it’s difficult, who is going to loan you a striker who will score 10 to 12 goals before the end of the season? Everyone is looking for a striker.” A goalless draw at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday leaves QPR 15th in the table and two points above the relegation zone. Redknapp’s side host Swansea on New Year’s Day, hoping to continue their excellent form at Loftus Road which includes three wins in their last four home matches. “Our home form has been fantastic for us, we’ve been difficult to beat at home,” Redknapp said. “We now play all the top teams at home in the second half of the season and we go away to the bottom teams.” Redknapp added: “Swansea are a good side, Garry Monk has done a great job with them and he’s just carried on from where they were. “They’ve had great managers in the last few years, who have gone on to do great things and he’s another in that line.” “He’s a player we’ve been talking about loaning, it’s not done yet though,” Redknapp said. “He’s a number 10, a clever player who can open the door. “I first came across him at Birmingham a few years back when he played under Alex McLeish. “It’s not done and dusted it’s just something we’re interested in – we are looking to loan a player or two.” Zarate has scored two goals in seven league appearances for West Ham this season but has struggled for a starting spot ahead of Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll. Hammers boss Sam Allardyce responded to claims he had treated Zarate unfairly by insisting the 27-year-old had simply not been good enough to secure a regular place in the side. Redknapp said: “Sam said he’s done well enough but you can see why he hasn’t played – they’ve got Sakho, Valencia, Carroll, Carlton Cole and Zarate – they’ve got five strikers. “They’re good players and they’ve been in great form, they’re a threat to anybody so it’s been difficult for Zarate to get in. Press Association
Alan Pardew is wary of the counter-attacking threat posed by West Ham as he welcomes his former club to Selhurst Park on Saturday. The Crystal Palace boss has guided the Eagles to fourth in the Premier League and they sit just three points behind leaders Manchester City. West Ham, too, have started the campaign well under Slaven Bilic and are a point adrift of their hosts for this weekend. Press Association Going into the international break in good form it would be usual for Pardew to be disappointed to have lost a number of players to their respective nations. But this time the gap between club fixtures has helped the Eagles get a number of players off their injury list and back into contention for the London derby. “It’s good news for us,” Pardew said of his available squad. “Damian Delaney is back training, Mile Jedinak is back training, Jordon Mutch is back training and so is Chungy (Lee Chung-yong. The only ones missing for this weekend are Connor Wickham, Marouane Chamakh and Joel Ward.” Pardew won promotion into the top flight during his time in charge of the Hammers and also took them to the FA Cup final in 2006 – losing on penalties to Liverpool. Now he is happy in south London and, following the 2-0 win over West Brom before the international break, Palace sit in the top four – but the 54-year-old expects a tough test from Bilic’s men, who boast away wins at Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool so far this season. “They’re very good on the counter,” he said of West Ham. “I expect us to get a grasp of the game like we did against West Brom and dictate proceedings but that’s not going to stop West Ham from winning the game. We need to be organised in our possession otherwise they will counter us really quickly and we’ll find ourselves in the game. “West Ham have a bigger and stronger squad than us. But if we can stay clear of injuries and keep this group together, we can compete with them and that’s what we’ve got to hope to do.” While City, Arsenal and Manchester United occupy the top three spots, Pardew and his players can lay claim to the current best-of-the-rest tag – as the Englishman prepares to host another in-form side. “It is a top-of-the-table encounter,” he added. “That is good for two teams who weren’t predicted to be there at this stage of the season. We’re coming off a good performance and West Ham will be aware of that. I am sure they will be looking to upset our rhythm and what we do really well.”
ALWAYS looking to break new ground, the Titans Table Tennis Club (TTTC) yesterday held its first-ever ‘Player Development’ seminar, which targeted all athletes, 21-and- under along with parents, sports enthusiasts and stakeholders.Presentations were done by National Sports Commission’s (NSC) Deputy Director of Sport, Melissa Dow-Richardson.She enlightened the attendees on the governance of sports; the role of the Sports Ministry, Sports Commission and the importance of sports as a ‘Tool for Education, Inclusion and Development”.Dow-Richardson explained athlete development as the NSC has planned, through its proposed National Sports Policy, and their vision for the development of young athletes as well as the implementation of sports in schools throughout the nation.Meanwhile, Troy Peters, Communications Manager at beverage giant Banks DIH Ltd, also made a presentation on Sponsorship, Promotion, Social Media and Building the profile of an athlete.Peters, who was an experienced journalist before moving on to marketing, highlighted the fact that sponsorship is one of the biggest hurdles that sport associations baulk at, However, he explained that for sponsors to come on board there must be a feasible reason along with transparency.Another invited speaker was Godfrey Munro, president of the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA), who educated the attendees on the support that they could look forward to from the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) and GTTA as well as grants that could be accessed by the athletes.Speaking to Chronicle Sport, Titans TTC Public Relations Officer Daniel Thomas noted that the respective presentations were excellent and the turnout was great with a mixture of officials and athletes as well as parents.At the closing of the successful seminar, Dow-Richards said she was pleased to be included and urged them to reach out to the NSC in the future for events like the ‘Player Development’ seminar.
On the Nationals’ side of things, pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are bona fide aces, and Patrick Corbin sure did pitch like one in 2019. All three are top 10 in the league in strikeouts this season, finishing with 243, 251 and 238, respectively. This is particularly remarkable for Scherzer, who missed a couple of weeks in July and August with a back injury. Strasburg and Scherzer are also both above the 90th percentile in xSLG, a statistic that calculates the expected slugging percentage allowed by a pitcher based on the exit velocities and launch angles of the hitter. Overall, I expect the starting pitching to be exceptional from both teams this series, with a slight edge to the Astros. Outfielder Yordan Alvarez has been crushing it since he was called up from the minors midseason, with an xSLG in the 98th percentile. At first glance, this matchup seems to have a clear favorite and underdog. Houston won 107 out of 162 games during the regular season, compared to Washington’s 93 victories. The Nationals are a Wild Card team that has been fighting to keep its season alive for weeks, while the Astros have been World-Series-or-bust all season. But the story isn’t quite so simple. At the plate, both teams have multiple studs who present many problems. The Astros boast big-name players like infielders Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve and outfielder George Springer. Bregman has made a strong case for American League MVP this season, leading the AL in WAR for position players and coming in second only to Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout in on-base percentage. Springer almost single-handedly won the World Series for the Astros when they beat the Dodgers in 2017 (No, I’m not over it — thanks for asking). Let’s go back to May 23. The Nationals were off to a terrible start, with a 19-31 record. Many fans were prepared to throw in the towel, sell at the trade deadline and start crossing their fingers for 2020. The Astros, on the other hand, were already 15 games over .500 and had all but secured a playoff spot in October. After May 23, though, the Astros went 73-37 and the Nationals played just as well, with a record of 74-38. In other words, this is a matchup between two teams that have been dominating their competition and deserve to be in the World Series. Other contributors for the Nationals this year have been infielder Howie Kendrick, outfielder Adam Eaton and infielder Trea Turner. I’m afraid the edge at the plate still goes to the Astros, although once again it is only a slight edge. Coming out of the bullpen, Houston has had better relief than Washington during both the regular season and the playoffs. Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna are the Astros’ key relievers, but Pressly has struggled in the postseason. The Astros have great bullpen depth, though. The Astros’ trio of aces consists of Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Zach Greinke, all of whom have been the best pitcher in baseball at some point in their career and were acquired by the Astros via trades. Cole led the league this season with an absurd 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Earlier in the postseason, he broke the record for most consecutive innings with a strikeout at 73. Verlander led all pitchers in wins above replacement, an overall value statistic calculated by Baseball Reference. Greinke is among the best in the league at avoiding hard contact — his exit velocity of only 86.8 mph is the lowest of the Astros’ three aces. The Nationals batters will certainly have their hands full with this trio at the mound. The Nationals have outfielder Juan Soto and infielder Anthony Rendon, who have carried the team on their backs for most of the season. Soto is one of baseball’s best young stars; he’s put up two of the best seasons ever by a 19- and 20-year old over the past two years. Rendon has long been one of baseball’s underrated talents, as he excels in practically every category at the plate and on defense. These two stars will get their chances to shine on baseball’s biggest stage. Houston has a more well-rounded roster than Washington, with an advantage in nearly every aspect of the game. I predict the series will be decided by the starting pitching — if Houston can get to Strasburg or Scherzer, it should be able to take care of business, but it will be in trouble if the Nationals are able to put up runs on Cole or Verlander. Logically, the Astros should win in as few as five games, but I’ll be rooting for the Nationals to take it in seven. Let’s begin by looking at each team’s starting pitchers. Both teams boast three starters with a Rolling Game Score above 56, according to FiveThirtyEight. This statistic measures the quality of a starting pitcher on a scale from 0-100 by predicting how they would fare in a “typical start.” A score of 50 is considered average. These two teams are the only ones in the league with three starters over 56, so we are in for a treat. Those numbers don’t even count Nationals pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who threw five no-hit innings in Game 2 against the Cardinals. The Nationals’ best relievers are Sean Doolittle, Fernando Rodney and Daniel Hudson, who have all been solid through the postseason. Rodney has not allowed a run in the playoffs, but his WHIP of 1.615 in 2019 suggests he lacks consistency. It appears as though the battle of the bullpens slightly favors Houston. Dario Offstein is a junior writing about sports. His column, “Deep Dive,” runs every other Tuesday. After a long regular season punctuated by some exciting playoff series, the field is down to two teams: the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. The World Series is here, folks!
Seamus Callanan has been named in Tipperary’s starting fifteen for their League semi-final clash with Waterford tomorrow. The Drom-an-Inch native had been a doubt but his successful red card appeal on Thursday night at the CAC made him available for selection.Meanwhile Darren Gleeson and John O’Dwyer are back in the starting line-up after their recent injuries, while Conor O’Brien and Shane McGrath replaced the injured Cathal Barrett and Kieran Bergin. Meanwhile, Waterford have made two changes from their quarter-final victory over Galway.Stephen O’Keeffe replaces Ian O’Regan while Tom Devine comes in for Stephen Bennett.Tipp FM’s hurling analyst Ken Hogan previews tomorrow’s game.
The president extolled the resilient spirit of the Nigerian paralympic athletes, who were able to excel in the face of adversity.Buhari applauded the athletes for their tenacity, focus and determination, which has brought glory to the country.The president also extended gratitude to all the officials and trainers of the paralympic athletes, who made sacrifices and persevered to fly the country’s colours.Earlier on Sunday, the first batch of the Paralympic athletes from Brazil were given heroes’ welcome on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, with scores of well-wishers and family members singing and dancing to hail their feats.Meanwhile, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, has donated N10million in support of the Nigeria Olympics Fund initiated by ex-Nigerian ace sprinter, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi in conjunction with other ex-internationals to boost athletes’ performances in sports.Babalola said the dismal performance of Team Nigeria at the Rio Olympics and the dwindling fortunes of sports in the country are wakeup call on the citizenry to rise up to the rescue of the sector.Babalola called on all tiers of government and public-spirited individuals “to make it a point of duty to contribute to the funding of sports to improve our standing in continental and world tournaments”.The ABUAD founder spoke in Ado Ekiti yesterday shortly after he endorsed the Nigeria Olympic Fund (NOF), an initiative of former Nigerian internationals.The NOF is meant to raise funds to support Nigeria team to future Olympics in a bid to end a repeat of the frustrations of poor performance like it was witnessed again at the just-concluded games in Rio, Brazil.Babalola said : “We will deliberately turn around our fortunes right in sports and indeed other areas of human endeavour. I must point out that government cannot do it alone. There is need for private participation”.The ABUAD founder lauded NOF Executive Director (Technical), Onyali, for the initiative, saying this will go a long way in promoting sporting activities in Nigeria.Onyali, in an address at the event, praised Babalola for his support to sports development, which she said was the reason former Nigerian internationals overwhelmingly voted the ABUAD founder as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Basic Olympic Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST).According to her, whatever monies they (celebrities) give us, we shall take 10 per cent into the National Athlete Welfare Fund to care for aging former sportsmen and women. Thirty per cent goes into NOC Solidarity Fund which sports federations will be able to access based on performance. Fifty per cent goes into the BOOST project. The balance of 10 per cent shall gointo our operational account to drive this advocacy project,” she said.According to her, Ekiti State will from January next year enjoy the pilot scheme of the project with six schools in the state selected and the Elite Athletes programme for Tokyo 2020 will begin in ABUAD.“From 2018, there will be youth leagues where these kids will compete at state, zonal and national levels. A new generation of stars will be born, professionally supported and managed to stardom. Our nation will never be the same. Over 27,000 professionals will be expected to work with us on this project to maturity,” Onyali said.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Afe Babalola donates N10m to Nigeria Olympic Fund ahead Tokyo OlympicsTobi Soniyi in Abuja and Olakiitan Victor in Ado EkitiPresident Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Team Nigeria for an outstanding performance at the just ended Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil.The president, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, joined all sports-loving Nigerians in commending the athletes for doing the country proud by winning 12 medals and setting new records, which made them the top-performing African team at the 2016 games.
Hammed Shittu in IlorinNewly appointed Technical Adviser of Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin, Bala Mohammed, has been told in clear terms to use his deep knowledge of the game to move the team away from the bottom of the Nigerian topflight.Mohammed who will take care of the club till the end of the season, resigned as assistant coach of the Nigeria U-20 male national team to join the Kwara club. Speaking at his unveiling, Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, said the management of the club resolved two weeks ago to sack the former coach seeing the dwindling performance of the club.He said that the development was due to the commitment of the state government to see the darling team of Ilorin return to decent position on the NPFL log.Ahmed who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sports and Youths Development, Mr. Ayobola Samuel added that the people and government of Kwara State would not take excuses in the performance of the new technical crew.He stressed that the new technical adviser and coach was brought in to record positive change in the club. He also assured the coach and his technical crew of government maximum support and cooperation.The governor also said that, the state government has made special financial arrangement that would assist the club to meet its needs in order to enhance its growth.Also speaking, the Chairman, Kwara United Football Club, Ilorin, Mr. Oladimeji Thompson, charged the newly appointed technical adviser of the club to use all his exposures and talents to return the club to the top position so as to enhance the growth of the team.Responding, Mohammed promised to help the club return to the top position.He however called for the support of stakeholders of the club to enable him succeed in the new assignment.“My success at Niger Tornadoes, Minna, came from the chairman of the club and the supporters club and with this development I belief I will be able to achieve such in Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin during my stay in Ilorin,” he noted.Mohammed thanked the state government and the chairman of the club for the warm reception extended to him since his arrival in Ilorin.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Veteran opener Chris Gayle broke Brian Lara’s record for the most runs by a West Indies batsman in One-Day Internationals but his failure typified the Caribbean side’s brittle batting and overshadowed the achievement, as the hosts crashed to a 59-run defeat under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern in the second ODI here Sunday.Chasing a revised target of 270 off 46 overs following a rain break 13 overs into their run chase at Queen’s Park Oval, West Indies were toppled for 210 with four overs remaining, to fall behind 1-0 in the three-match series.Opener Evin Lewis, playing in front of his home crowd, top-scored with 65 while fellow countryman Nicholas Pooran chimed in with 42 but West Indies lost wickets at key stages to watch their chase come apart at the seams.In fact, they appeared well en route to victory at 148 for three in the 28th over but collapsed and lost their last seven wickets for 62 runs in quick time.Bhuvneshwar Kumar led India’s attack with four for 31 while fellow new-ball seamer Mohammed Shami claimed two for 39 and left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, two for 59.India captain Virat Kohli had earlier struck his 42nd One-Day International hundred to become his country’s second-highest run-scorer in ODIs as the visitors reached 279 for seven off their 50 overs, after choosing to bat first.The right-hander’s polished 120, which also saw him surpass Pakistani Javed Miandad for the highest ODI aggregate against West Indies, left him only behind legend Sachin Tendulkar in India’s all-time ODI scoring charts. Faced with a challenging but hardly daunting target, West Indies were handed a decent start of 45 off 57 deliveries for the first wicket by Lewis and Gayle.Not for the first time, Gayle struggled with momentum but passed Lara’s mark of 10 405 runs when he took a single to third man at the start of the ninth over.Unsurprisingly, however, he perished in the following over after facing 24 balls for his 11, lbw to a full-length delivery from Kumar, with the resulting review more out of desperation than prudence.Shai Hope then played on to left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed in the 13th over for five as the Windies reached 56 for two at the rain break.With the target revised, Lewis set about building the foundation for a possible win, facing 80 balls and striking eight fours and a six as he anchored two key partnerships to tilt the balance in the home side’s favour. First, he put on 40 or the third wicket with Shimron Hetmyer (18) before adding a further 56 for the fourth with Pooran.He lost Hetmyer at the end of the 18th over, caught at cover off Kuldeep miscuing a pull before he then departed in the 28th over, hauled in at cover by Kohli also off Kuldeep.Even then, West Indies still looked safe bets to prevail as Pooran struck four fours and a six off 52 balls in a 31-run, fifth-wicket stand with Chase (18).But with the partnership threatening, Kumar removed both in the 35th over in a wretched period that saw West Indies lose four wickets for three runs in the space of 14 balls, as India regained control of the contest. Seamer Carlos Brathwaite was the best bowler with three for 53 from his 10 overs.West Indies struck as early as the third ball of the morning when left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell got one to straighten and trap Shikhar Dhawan lbw for two, courtesy of DRS.