| Sunday 14 January 2018 | www.observer.co.uk/sport HAIL THE CHIEFS Exeter blitz Montpellier with five second-half tries in 19 minutes to run out 41-10 winners P13 SPORT SOUVENIR EDITION I’M READY Slump still ill onta haunts Konta sh No1 but British goes into the an Australian ling Open feeling positive P15 ■ PLUS ‘MORE PLAYERS HAVE FELT EMBOLDENED TO SPEAK OUT’ DANIEL TAYLOR, PAGE 9 Mourinho: Too late to buy the title PREMIER LEAGUE SPURS 4 EVERTON 0 Paul Wilson José Mourinho does not believe there is any point in Manchester United throwing money around this month in an effort to reinvigorate the title race – because Manchester City are too far ahead. The United manager was careful not to rule out a possible move for Alexis Sánchez – he said an exception to the club’s normal policy of strengthening in summer could be made if an outstanding player became available – but he insists it is too late for anyone to buy their way into the title race this season. “At this stage, I don’t think it’s about the market,” Mourinho said. “City have a very comfortable advantage and they can sit on that; it is the sort of lead that gives a lot of tranquillity and takes away the pressure from the guy that comes behind you. I have been in that situation. “I don’t think any of the teams near the top – Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and ourselves – are thinking they can spend money this January to close the gap. It’s not about transfers. It’s about keeping on winning, getting the maximum number of points from the remaining games and seeing what happens.” United are understood to be willing to top City’s offer of £20m for Sánchez, out of contract at Arsenal at the end of the season, though Pep Guardiola may no longer be quite as determined to sign an extra striker with the news that Gabriel Jesus could be back by the end of the month. United prefer to do business in summer and, if Sánchez does end up at Old Trafford in this window, it will only mean there is no need to strengthen the front end of the team in six months. HARRY HOTSPUR Kane strikes twice to become Spurs’ record Premier League goalscorer P2 LUCKY MAN Harry Kane grabs his second goal – but the striker was fortunate his first stood after he appeared to be oﬀside. Alex James/JMP/Rex/ Shutterstock 1 2 A * Vithushan Ehantharajah Melbourne Joe Root has issued a stark warning that he will take a hard line on those England players who do not shape up as he looks to rebuild after relinquishing the Ashes. Speaking for the ﬁrst time since Australia sealed an emphatic 4-0 series win at the SCG, the Test captain stressed that he and those around him need to recalibrate how England can move forward. Root also said he was prepared to defy the wish of Trevor Bayliss, the head coach, that he take a recuperative break from the game. Root declined to rest for the forthcoming T20i tri-series against Australia and New Zealand and believes that series and the Indian Premier League are necessary for his development as a multi-format batsman. Root said: “I’ve got a period of time going into the New Zealand series where I want to get myself clear on how I want to move forward, along with Trevor and the support staff, and make sure when we start that tour there is a clear indication of what direction we’re going to be going in. If the lads aren’t prepared to get on board with that then we’ve got to go with someone different. But I’m sure everyone will be absolutely 100% in the same thinking.” The 27-year-old has been recovering from the gastroenteritis that kept him up the night before the last day of the Sydney Test. While he was able to bat in the morning after a trip to hospital, he had to retire on 58 at lunch. It meant his series ﬁnished with 378 runs (the most for England) and ﬁve half-centuries but no three-ﬁgure score. What time Root had on his sickbed No rest: Joe Root will play in the T20s and IPL against coach Trevor Bayliss’s advice Rodriguez facing FA investigation after Bong claim was spent plotting recovery, which begins in May with two Tests against New Zealand. By then, he will have more clarity on how best to move on and has urged his team-mates to follow his lead. Four years ago, after a 5-0 whitewash, Andy Flower was deposed as coach, Kevin Pietersen was banished from international cricket and Graeme Swann retired through injury. Root played the ﬁrst three Tests of the 2013-14 tour before being dropped and is keen to heed the lessons of this tumultuous period in English cricket. “Four years ago, one of the big things was that within two months of the end of that tour, it was a completely different team. There were a lot of new faces at the start of the next Test match. One thing we learned from that is how important it is to stay together. You always learn from experiences when it’s difficult. You The West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez will be reported to the Football Association for a remark allegedly made to the Brighton defender Gaëtan Bong. Neither manager would comment on the nature of Rodriguez’s alleged comment but it was passed on to the referee, who is obliged to include in it his report, meaning the matter will be looked into by the FA. The incident is thought to have taken place during the second half of West Brom’s 2-0 victory. The Brighton manager, Chris Hughton, said: “Gaëtan Bong has reported Jay Rodriguez for something that has been said. The referee is aware of what the allegations are. “I am aware of the allegations. All I can say is it was dealt with in the correct manner and the nature of the allegations the FA will deal with.” Rodriguez denies the claims, according to his manager, Alan Pardew. “There’s been an allegation made by the Brighton full-back,” he said. “I can only say on my behalf, because I haven’t seen the incident, knowing Jay Rodriguez I ﬁnd it very diﬃcult to understand. Jay Rodriguez claims the allegation is untrue.” PA Continued on page 14 Match report, page 4 Root: commit 100% to new ideas or face axe Captain wants big changes after Ashes Threatens to ‘go with someone different’ Saving his pennies: José Mourinho is not planning to splash the cash in the transfer window, but may make an exception for Alexis Sánchez * 14.01.18 2 | SPORT | Football | Premier League Kane double sets new Spurs TOTTENHAM 4 Son 26 Kane 47 59 Eriksen 81 EVERTON 0 Jacob Steinberg Wembley. Unfortunately for Cenk Tosun, his ﬁrst taste of English football will be remembered for all the wrong reasons from Everton’s perspective. The Turkish striker certainly did not disgrace himself on his debut and his performance was the only bright spot for Sam Allardyce. Yet there was little that Tosun could do about another hopeless away performance from Everton, who collapsed in the second half, and it was not his fault that he was reduced to playing second ﬁddle to Harry Kane. Having ended 2017 as Europe’s most potent striker, Kane shattered yet another statistic here, scoring twice to break Teddy Sheringham’s record of 97 Premier League goals for Tottenham Hotspur. In the process he took his tally against Everton to four this season, helping his team move level with Liverpool in fourth place and combining brilliantly with the waspish Son Heung-min. The early pattern was predictable. Tottenham have strained to crack stubborn guests on several occasions this season and it did not come as a shock to ﬁnd that Everton were happy to keep men behind the ball for long spells, allowing their hosts to have the ball in unthreatening areas. Allardyce had instructed his team to maintain a disciplined structure and there was little to concern the visitors during the ﬁrst 20 minutes, other than the moment when Son skimmed the top of the net with a glancing header from Christian Eriksen’s free-kick. However, Everton’s approach was not limited to keeping Tottenham at arm’s length. Failing to react after selling Romelu Lukaku last summer has been a major factor in their muddled campaign, but the arrival of Tosun from Besiktas has given them fresh hope. Allardyce threw his £25m striker straight in at the deep end, handing him the responsibility of leading the line on his own against one of the division’s stingiest defences, and Everton could certainly take encouragement from their new signing’s ﬁrst touches in a blue shirt. Tosun’s speed and movement made him an elusive opponent for Davinson Sánchez and he linked dangerously with Wayne Rooney at times, particularly when he held the ball up to create a shooting opportunity for the former England striker in the 16th minute. Rooney’s strike was rushed, however, and he was also half a yard offside when Tosun found him unmarked with a nearpost ﬂick from Gylﬁ Sigurdsson’s corner midway through the half. Tottenham were relieved to see the flag go up as Rooney’s header ﬂew into the roof of the net and that scare woke them up. Immediately there was a greater intensity to their play, with Kane testing Jordan Pickford’s reﬂexes with a curling shot from 18 yards, and they took the lead with an impressive goal. Everton had been open down their left side, with Sigurdsson struggling to track Serge Aurier’s raids from deep, and Eriksen took note of that weakness, ﬁnding the buccaneering right-back with a Danish delight: Christian Eriksen scores Tottenham’s fourth goal to complete Everton’s misery in a dominant display by the home side. Alex James/JMP/Rex/Shutterstock OFFSIDE, REF? NO LUCK FOR ROONEY BUT KANE OK 22min Sigurdsson curls a pass into the box, and Tosun, level with the right-hand post and 12 yards out, ﬂicks it on. Rooney, six yards out, dabs it over Lloris and into the net – but he’s rightly ﬂagged for oﬀside. 47min Kane, in the middle, slams a sidefooted shot into the net. It is given as a goal by the same oﬃcial, linesman Lee Betts, but Kane was a couple of inches oﬀside. The goal should not have stood. ‘Bull of War’ Tosun gets sight of future as he faces biggest battle of his career Everton striker looks the part despite having a challenging debut, writes Sachin Nakrani As Cenk Tosun was substituted in the 62nd minute, no doubt disappointed that his debut as an Everton player was heading for a heavy defeat,he may have taken a second to reﬂect on the positives and, speciﬁcally, how so much can change in ﬁve years. For it was in February 2013 that Tosun was part of a Turkey B side that faced England C – a team made up of semi-professionals drawn from clubs such as Ebbsﬂeet, Welling and Braintree Town – in front of a modest crowd at Princes Park in Dartford. Turkey won 1-0 and Tosun completed the contest but he was poor and inconsequential. Nobody then would have predicted he would become a £27m Premier League forward. But that is indeed what he became this month and here he was, in the colours of a club banking on the 26-year-old’s talents providing them with a much-needed injection of potency. Goals – Everton are desperate for them and Tosun knows how to get them; 41 in 96 appearances for Besiktas; eight in 25 for his country’s senior team. The man whose name loosely translates as “Bull of War” has undoubtedly battled his way to prominence since that dire night in Dartford. But now comes arguably the biggest challenge of Tosun’s career – establishing himself in a league in which few other Turkish players have and for a club who are struggling for an identity after the most turbulent of seasons. He is viewed by many Evertonians as the replacement for Romelu Lukaku that they have been craving ever since the Belgian joined Manchester United in the summer and who, now Tosun is here, could propel the club upwards. Given the expectation, he may reasonably have hoped for an easier ﬁrst opponent. Tottenham Hotspur arrived here having won seven of their past nine matches and having conceded just three times since their 4-1 drubbing at Manchester City on 16 December. The task facing Everton’s new No14 was a formidable one. Tosun was deployed by Sam Allardyce as the lone forward in a 4-2-3-1 formation where he was supported by an attacking trio of Yannick Bolasie, Wayne Rooney and Gylﬁ Early exit: Cenk Tosun was substituted after 62 minutes superb crossﬁeld pass. Aurier’s delivery can be patchy but here he drove a low centre into the middle, enabling Son to creep between two defenders and emulate Jermain Defoe by becoming the second Spurs player to score in ﬁve consecutive home Premier League games. Son’s tap-in steadied Tottenham, though Everton continued to press. James McCarthy spurned a decent chance after more good work from Tosun and Allardyce had seen enough to believe that his team had a realistic shot of making it an awkward evening for Mauricio Pochettino’s players. Yet Everton’s hopes of reeling in Tottenham lay in tatters two minutes after the restart. This time Son was the creator, demonstrating his skill and dribbling ability by twirling away from Jonjoe Sigurdsson. The same three players had occupied the same three roles in the FA Cup defeat to Liverpool but the difference now was that they had a more experienced focal point than for the trip to Anﬁeld when Dominic CalvertLewin showed great endeavour but little genuine threat. The problem for Everton at the outset is that they could not get either the ball or bodies in blue up to the new man. Spurs dominated possession and territory, forcing their opponents into retreat. Tosun’s ﬁrst proper sighting came on eight minutes when he ran onto a through pass by Idrissa Gueye but failed to control the ball and subsequently fouled Davinson Sánchez. 14.01.18 * Premier League | Football | SPORT | 3 goal record Pellegrino dealt a bad hand by lucky Hornets WATFORD 2 CALL FOR VAR DOUCOURÉ’S HANDBALL 2 1 Gray 58 Doucouré 90 SOUTHAMPTON Ward-Prowse 20 44 Amy Lawrence Vicarage Road Kenny, rendering the inexperienced right-back an irrelevance as the move unfolded. Mason Holgate was unable to stop Son from fizzing the ball into the middle, where Kane was waiting to guide it past Pickford. Everton had emerged early for the second half, but how quickly and brutally they were forced to revert to damage limitation. They started to concede possession with alarming regularity in midﬁeld, creating problems for themselves, and Allardyce was giving in to the inevitable when he replaced Tosun with Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Tottenham had already pulled further clear by the time the Turkish forward trudged towards the touchline. Eric Dier advanced down the right, nobody bothered to confront him and Everton’s His commitment was total, however. Often starting in a left-of-centre position, Tosun regularly moved from side to side, back and forth, in order to disturb Tottenham’s back four and help his team-mates gain a foothold in proceedings. It was on 15 minutes that he ﬁrst made a mark, neatly ﬂicking Jordan Pickford’s long kick into the path of Rooney having backed into Sánchez and given the Colombian nowhere to go. There was another show of astute strength on 32 minutes as Tosun gave Serge Aurier a shove in order to create the space from which to connect with Jonjoe Kenny’s cross. Tosun had also ﬂicked Sigurdsson’s corner towards Rooney whose header beat Hugo Lloris before being correctly ruled out for offside by the linesman on the near side, and overall during the ﬁrst half there were signs of an encouraging partnership developing between the pair. More than anything, defence stood still as the midﬁelder’s low cross reached Kane, who has not made a habit of missing from six yards out. Rooney’s late booking for an ugly chop on Jan Vertonghen encapsulated Everton’s frustration and Tottenham polished off a handsome win with a stunning fourth goal, Dele Alli’s lovely back-heel teeing up Eriksen to hammer an emphatic shot past Pickford. Class told in the end. TOTTENHAM Lloris; Aurier, Sánchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier (Wanyama 74), Dembélé (Sissoko 82); Eriksen (Lamela 87), Alli, Son; Kane Subs not used Vorm, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Llorente EVERTON Pickford; Kenny, Holgate, Jagielka■, Martina; Gueye, McCarthy (Schneiderlin 72); Bolasie (Lennon 57), Rooney■, Sigurdsson; Tosun (Calvert-Lewin 62) Subs not used Robles, Williams, Lookman, Niasse Wembley 76,251 Game rating |||||||||| Referee Craig Pawson however, he looks like a genuine toplevel lone forward - muscular, hardworking, canny. Allardyce will hope he starts to chip in with those much needed goals sooner rather than later. The manager ﬁnds himself in a precarious position as far as his prospects of remaining in charge of Everton beyond this season are concerned. He has done a ﬁne job of making the Merseysiders harder to beat but the football under him has been less than sparking. With a general shortage of shots on goals since he took over in November, and following this loss, Everton’s fourth in a row, the prospect of them being relegated cannot be fully ruled out. In other words, Allardyce has to do much more if he is to convince the supporters and majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri that he can be the progressive, successful ﬁgure they are looking for. Starting with West Brom on Saturday, a contribution of goals from Tosun would no doubt help his cause. 2 TONY O’BRIEN/ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS; DAVID KLEIN/REUTERS Ladies and Gentlemen, take a moment to observe Mauricio Pellegrino, a manager on thin ice, trying to handle a 10-game winless run, dealt an extremely harsh hand when a precious away victory was snatched away as Abdoulaye Doucouré deftly batted in a late equaliser. In these days of VAR trials, here was a perfect example of the kind of decision that would have been referred, the tap of the hand easily spotted, the goal removed, the points for Southampton retained. It would have been understandable had Pellegrino exploded, railed against the officials, damned the system and spoken of injustice. But he didn’t. He even managed to spare some sympathy for the referee, Roger East, who evidently missed the nature of the game’s decisive and deﬁning touch. “Even the referee has pressure too,” Pellegrino reasoned. “For everybody at this level the pressure is to do your best every single day. I imagine the referee is not happy right now.” It was a remarkably digniﬁed response under the circumstances. “We have to support this person because everybody makes mistakes. My feeling is like all my players in the dressing room. We are a little bit sad,” he added. “For me the level of refereeing is good in the Premier League but this is clear. Sometimes mistakes are for you, sometimes against you, that’s part of our job.” Unsurprisingly he is supportive of the VAR trials but such are his thoughtful appraisals he probably would have said the same had the handball been in Southampton’s favour rather than Watford’s. “We have to try the technology. Every single team sport, technology helps us to make better decisions. Why not football? We have to try and then analyse.” The other aspect Pellegrino wishes to analyse is the improvement in his team, particularly in a ﬁrst half they dominated in style. That gave them the platform that should have helped them to a win at Vicarage Road. The attacking linkup between waspish target man Shane Long, stylish technician Dusan Tadic and the positive James Ward-Prowse was encouraging. They blended their range of characteristics to try to change the picture for the South Coast team. Southampton scored midway through the ﬁrst half, with Long kickstarting the move with a determined drive down the right and when his pull back was ﬂicked into Ward-Prowse’s path, the midﬁelder took a breath and picked his spot, steering the ball carefully into the far corner of the net past Heurelho Gomes. The second came just before half-time with a smartly worked break, the ball swept from one end of the pitch to the other with pace and precision. Long chased a clearance, and when he clipped a pass to Tadic, the Serb had the composure to present the ball to Ward-Prowse, who was unerring once again in front of goal. Jeers from the home support were 3 understandable, laced with genuine concern about being dragged down into trouble. Marco Silva duly set about reshaping the team and revitalising their effort levels at half time. “We were really bad in the ﬁrst half,” he conceded. “We didn’t start strong like we expected. We didn’t play with the right mentality. It was clear for me we were playing too easy. I told them what all of us needs to be in that moment. You cannot have a lack of the right mentality, a lack of conﬁdence. It doesn’t make sense to play scared – we are at home. Of course I need to react. Then we played with more risk, the right mentality, played without fear in the second half. I recognised our team in the second half.” On came Troy Deeney, returning from his latest suspension and chucked on to lend his particular brand of character to Watford’s plight. Silva later backed the player to regain the ﬁtness to make an impact for 90 minutes. Abdoulaye Doucouré secured a 2-2 draw for the Hornets with a blatant handball in the final minute. The midﬁelder stooped to nod Troy Deeney’s header back across goal into the net - but the ball missed his head and he swept it home with his hand, to the dismay of Southampton. BBC pundit Martin Keown said Doucouré had ‘done a Maradona’. Watford pushed up the pitch and suddenly Southampton were cramped back in their own half, hassled by swarms of yellow. Watford’s optimism surged back when Daryl Janmaat’s shot was pushed on to the crossbar and Andre Gray followed up to nod into the goal. Watford continued to throw bodies forward, but Southampton endeavoured to take the sting out of the game. Their keeper, Alex McCarthy, was booked for time wasting. Redemption came late when Deeney nodded on Pereyra’s cross and Doucouré arrived ahead of McCarthy to have the controversial ﬁnal say. WATFORD Gomes; Janmaat, Wagué, Kabasele, Zeegelaar; Doucouré, Cleverley (Pereyra 34), Watson (Deeney 46); Carrillo, Gray (Okaka 72), Richarlison Subs not used Karnezis, Prödl, Mariappa, Holebas SOUTHAMPTON McCarthy■; Soares■, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Romeu■, Højbjerg■; Ward-Prowse (Sims 90), Tadic■ (Boufal 90), Davis (Lemina 61), Long Subs not used Forster, Gabbiadini, Pied, Bednarek Vicarage Road 20,018 Game rating |||||||||| Referee Roger East NEXT WEEK A NEW OBSERVER SPORT Kevin Mitchell at the Australian Open, Paul Wilson on the Premier League, Paul Rees on rugby’s Champions Cup, David Hills’s Said & Done, Daniel Taylor’s column … Small size, big writers * 14.01.18 4 | SPORT | Football | Premier League AT A GLANCE HOW THEY STAND Manchester City Manchester United Chelsea Liverpool Tottenham Arsenal Burnley Leicester Everton Watford West Ham Crystal Palace Huddersﬁeld Newcastle Brighton Southampton Bournemouth Stoke West Brom Swansea P 22 22 23 22 23 22 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 22 22 23 23 W 20 14 14 12 13 11 9 8 7 7 6 6 6 6 5 4 5 5 3 4 D 2 5 5 8 5 6 7 7 6 5 7 7 6 5 8 9 6 5 10 5 L 0 3 4 2 5 5 7 8 10 11 10 10 11 12 10 10 11 12 10 14 F 64 45 41 50 46 40 19 34 25 33 29 21 19 21 17 23 22 23 18 14 A 13 16 16 25 21 28 20 32 38 42 41 33 39 31 29 34 34 47 30 35 Pts 62 47 47 44 44 39 34 31 27 26 25 25 24 23 23 21 21 20 19 17 THE FACTS ■ Leicester had 12 shots in the ﬁrst half at Chelsea – the most of any visiting team in a Premier League ﬁrst half at Stamford Bridge since 2003-04. They managed just two after the break, though. ■ Palace have now kept consecutive home clean sheets in the top ﬂight, having managed just one in their previous 14 at Selhurst Park. Meanwhile, only Southampton (10) are on a longer winless run in the division than Burnley (6). ■ West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic had a hand in three goals in a single Premier League game for the ﬁrst time in his career (one goal, two assists). Opponents Huddersﬁeld have conceded seven in their last two games, after conceding six across their previous six. ■ Newcastle have failed to win any of their last seven home league games (D2 L5) – their longest winless run since eight games in April 2009 under Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer. Visitors Swansea have now won four points in their two away games under Carlos Carvalhal – as many as they had won in their previous nine in the top ﬂight. ■ Watford have conceded 25 goals at Vicarage Road, the most of any side in home games. ■ Alan Pardew picked up his ﬁrst league win in charge of West Brom. The victory over Brighton was the club’s ﬁrst win in the competition by more than one goal since March 2017 (3-1 v Arsenal). ■ And Spurs secured their biggest margin of victory against Everton since a 10-4 win in October 1958. STILL TO COME Arnautovic the middle man for Moyes to sink Huddersfield HUDDERSFIELD 1 Lolley 40 WEST HAM 4 Noble 25 Arnautovic 46 Lanzini 56 61 Paul Wilson John Smith’s Stadium David Moyes became only the fourth manager to record 200 Premier League wins with this resounding victory – Ferguson, Wenger and Redknapp, since you ask, and the first of that trio was here to see it – though of greater signiﬁcance to both clubs might be the fact that West Ham leapfrogged Huddersﬁeld in the table. Town are considered to have been enjoying a good season up till now, punching above their weight since that joyful win at Crystal Palace on day one, while West Ham have been toiling grimly near the bottom. The Irons have improved under Moyes, however, and now they have moved towards midtable that should be more widely recognised, as should the overall contribution of Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian was close to unplayable here – at least Huddersﬁeld found him so – his combination of strength, awareness and control proving too much for the home defenders to deal with and contributing to all four goals. “He’s a handful when he runs at people, and maybe playing through the mid- dle has freed him up,” Moyes said. “He’s certainly grown in conﬁdence.” Huddersﬁeld have been well beaten before, though only by teams from the top half of the table. This was a game they felt they had a chance of winning, yet it went away from them in the second half in a manner that did not suggest the solidity required for a relegation scrap. Indeed, new signings Alex Pritchard and Terence Kongolo, coming on as secondhalf substitutes with their side three goals in arrears, must have wondered what happened to the feisty battlers described in the brochure. Joe Lolley was hero and villain in the ﬁrst half, though not in that exact order. It was his mistake that gifted West Ham an opening goal, though the midﬁelder could and did complain that Jonas Lossl put him under pressure with a short pass to the edge of the area. He had a point but perhaps could have reacted more decisively instead of letting ﬁrst Arnautovic and then Mark Noble hustle him off the ball. Noble was quick to notice the Huddersﬁeld player was in trouble and on to the loose ball in a ﬂash, breaking forward and beating Lossl with a crisp rising shot. That left Huddersﬁeld with work to do, and at ﬁrst it appeared they might struggle to get back on terms. Tom Ince ﬁzzed a cross over from the left that Laurent Depoitre could not quite reach, then Rajiv van La Parra hit a similar ball over 200 CLUB A landmark for David Moyes: his 200th win as a Premier League manager, making him only the fourth man to achieve the feat after Sir Alex Ferguson (528), Arsène Wenger (468) and Harry Redknapp (236). Since Moyes arrived, West Ham have won eight points in their last four away league games (W2 D2 L0) – as many as in their previous 15 combined. Lolley’s head. The Terriers kept trying, though, and four minutes from the interval gained their reward when Lolley took a pass from Aaron Mooy to cut in from the right and give Adrián no chance with a curler from the angle of the area. It was quite a goal, though the uplift did not extend beyond the interval. Huddersﬁeld fell behind again before they had even touched the ball in the second half. West Ham kicked off and launched a long ball forward, Cheikhou Kouyaté gained a ﬂick-on and Arnautovic took it away from Tommy Smith to ﬁnd the net before many supporters had returned to their seats. If that was an unpromising restart worse was to follow. Arnautovic was again involved for the third goal, occupying defenders on the edge of the area before releasing a just-aboutonside Manuel Lanzini with a perfectly weighted through pass. A fourth goal arrived just four minutes later, Arnautovic this time running directly at the heart of the Huddersﬁeld defence and almost ﬁnding a way through. He was eventually halted close to the penalty spot, but there was so little of the home defence left it was simple for Lanzini to collect the loose ball and belt it past Lossl. Everyone has a soft spot for the Terriers, still homely enough to bring squad players on to the pitch for the half-time lottery and gently take the mickey out of their dress sense, though this was a sobering afternoon for a side without a win in their last ﬁve games. Huddersﬁeld were not just overtaken in the table, they were outclassed. “We were below par, too many individual mistakes,” their manager, David Wagner, said. “We’ve had these moments two or three times this season. It’s frustrating, but at least the mistakes were so obvious they should be easy to analyse and put right.” HUDDERSFIELD Lossl; Smith■ (Kongolo 70), Jorgensen, Schindler, Malone; Hogg; Ince, Lolley (Pritchard 64), Mooy, Van La Parra; Depoitre Subs not used Coleman, Sabiri, Williams, Mounié, Hefele WEST HAM Adrián; Zabaleta, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell■, Masuaku; Kouyaté, Obiang, Noble; Lanzini (Rice 84), Arnautovic (Ayew 82) Subs not used Hart, Hernández, Burke, Cullen John Smith’s Stadium 24,105 Game rating |||||||||| Referee Jonathan Moss Bournemouth v Arsenal 1.30pm SSPL Liverpool v Manchester City 4pm SSPL Manchester Utd v Swansea 8pm tomorrow SSPL Beating the spread: Jonas Lossl, the Huddersﬁeld goalkeeper, is unable to stop Manuel Lanzini scoring West Ham’s third goal at the John Smith’s Stadium. Gareth Copley/ Getty Images SATURDAY SUNDAE MAN OF THE DAY West Brom’s Jonny Evans: upping his fee and taking his Premier League goals total to prilla. nine – level with Faustino Asprilla. TREND OF THE DAY Was fans drawing air rectangles after tight decisions. Abdoulaye Doucouré’s handball would have been a treat for VAR. TOTAL FOOTBALL OF THE DAY Came at Selhurst Park. Among the stats: goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey made 36 passes, more than any other Palace player. WAKE UP OF THE DAY NBC’s coverage of Spurs versus Everton in Hawaii was interrupted by an on-screen “CIVIL DANGER ALERT” on 45 minutes, telling surprised viewers about an imminent “ballistic missile strike”. It was a false alarm. COOL HEAD OF THE DAY AY Y Was Doncaster manager Darren Ferguson, asked after their draw with Plymouth for his view on the standard of League One refereeing. “Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting.” What should the FA do about it? “Shoot them. That’d be a good idea.” IGNOMINY OF THE DAY League One bottom club Bury were given a morale boost pre-match when Charlton turned up with only three ﬁt subs to put on the bench. The visitors still won it 1-0. CURIOSITY OF THE DAY A kit clash at Forest: manager Aitor Karanka made to change his black coat by the fourth oﬃcial due to it looking like Villa’s kit. SONG OF THE DAY Was at MK Dons v Wimbledon: a chance as always for the away fans to sing their classic: “Where were you when you were us?” OBSERVATION OF THE DAY Came from Sky’s Chris Kamara – getting creative about Christian Benteke’s aerial ability. “He jumps like a human kangaroo.” FOOTBALL WEEKLY Join Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning and guests in the pod tomorrow as they dissect the weekend’s action theguardian.com/footballweekly Evans scores to break Pardew’s West Brom duck WEST BROM 2 Evans 4 Dawson 55 BRIGHTON 0 Sean Taylor The Hawthorns West Brom’s long wait for a Premier League win finally ended as Brighton were beaten 2-0 at The Hawthorns. Jonny Evans’s early header set Albion on their way to halting a 20-game run stretching back to August, with fellow defender Craig Dawson heading in a second goal at the start of the second half. The only downside for the home side was Jay Rodriguez being reported to the Football Association for a remark allegedly made to Brighton defender Gaëtan Bong. Yet the result itself was a weight off Alan Pardew’s shoulders as it gave him that elusive ﬁrst league victory since he took over as manager nine matches ago at the start of December. “The stadium was so brilliant for us,” said Pardew post-match. “I’ve talked about it and pleaded for it, but my goodness they gave it to me in bucket loads and it helped us. We’ve got good, aggressive players at set-plays and that’s going to be massively important going forward.” While it was not enough to lift West Brom out of the relegation zone, Pardew will hope it further raises confidence with tough games against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea coming up in the next month. Meanwhile, Brighton’s woeful away form continued to see them slide down the table. Chris Hughton’s team are now only three points clear of the bottom three after a sixth successive goalless game on the road, run which includes ﬁve defeats. West Brom made the best possible start as Evans, who continues to be linked with Manchester City and Arsenal, scored after just four minutes. Dawson’s peak: Ahmed Hegazi leaps on to Craig Dawson after the defender’s goal Matt Phillips’ driven cross from a corner was ﬂicked on by Rodriguez and Evans headed the ball in at the far post With their noses in front, Pardew’s men looked assured as they zipped passes about and pressed high when they did not have possession. The hosts maintained their good early spell with another couple of corners, again driven in by Phillips, one of which required a vital touch from Lewis Dunk to deny Evans the chance of another goal. West Brom felt they should have had a penalty midway through the first half when a Phillips shot was blocked by Glenn Murray but the appeals were waved away by referee Martin Atkinson, who might now wish he had the luxury of VAR at his disposal as the Brighton striker’s arms were quite high. Brighton looked a danger on the break and enjoyed their best spell as half-time approached, but a crucial block by Dawson deﬂected a Dunk shot over the crossbar. At the other end of the pitch, Dawson should have extended the lead but he poked an effort straight at goalkeeper Mat Ryan from close range. He made amends after 55 minutes. Another driven corner, this time from Chris Brunt, was met at the far post by Dawson and his header into the ground bounced up and over Anthony Knockaert on the goalline and into the net. Knockaert ﬁred a shot over the crossbar when Brighton created a rare opening but Evans and Dawson, together with Ahmed Hegazi, at the back for West Brom were always in total control and the hosts saw out the game comfortably for a much-needed three points. WEST BROM Foster; Dawson (Nyom 81), Hegazi, Evans (McAuley 84), Gibbs; Phillips, Krychowiak, Barry, Brunt, Rodriguez (Livermore 79); Rondón Subs not used Robson-Kanu, Yacob, Myhill, McClean BRIGHTON Ryan; Saltor, Duﬀy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Pröpper (Kayal 76), Izquierdo (March 45), Gross (Baldock 66); Murray Subs not used Hemed, Goldson, Schelotto, Krul The Hawthorns 25,240 Game rating |||||||||| Referee Martin Atkinson 14.01.18 * Premier League | Football | SPORT | 5 Mahrez dives but Chelsea dip goes on CHELSEA 0 LEICESTER 0 Dominic Fiﬁeld Stamford Bridge Chelsea heaved in search of a winner deep into stoppage time here, the locals howling in exasperation as Kasper Schmeichel turned Marcos Alonso’s free-kick round a post, but plucking a victory from this mess of a display would have been an injustice. Too much of what they had offered up was inadequate. Discontent is welling in these parts and, for the ﬁrst time, some of it is being directed at the dugout. There were boos when Eden Hazard, for the fourth time in four starts, did not see out the game, and another disgruntled chorus to greet the final whistle. A third successive goalless draw represents a club record and underlines that this team’s domestic campaign has rather run aground. Leicester made them feel so ineffective, of course, and more than merited reward for a display that verged on dominance until the last half-hour. Yet the champions, even with their cluttered schedule, should offer more than this. They have become too predictable, too overreliant for comfort upon their Belgi um forward and with too few team-mates contributing at Hazard’s side. Álvaro Morata is enduring a lull in his ﬁrst season in these parts and, one dart to the byline aside, was anonymous until booked three minutes from time, but the striker’s crisis in conﬁdence is seeping into other areas of this collective. In the aftermath of Schmeichel’s save, Victor Moses sliced a shot so wide it almost drifted out for a throw-in. That, or Antonio Rüdiger dawdling in possession to be robbed by Jamie Vardy inside Chelsea’s penalty area, was more typical of his team’s display. Antonio Conte was apparently not looking for excuses but cited the quick turnaround from Wednesday’s draining draw against Arsenal as key to this lethargic display. “I saw a lot of players very tired, very tired,” he said. “We suffered a lot in the ﬁrst half and at the start of the second.” He cited fatigue for his decision to remove Hazard and Cesc Fàbregas just before the hour mark and pointed to the burst of energy provided by Pedro and Willian as key to a slightly more acceptable last 20 minutes. “But we must improve if we want to score and to win.” There have been four successive draws since the turn of the year. The visitors might normally have been satisﬁed having played the last 22 minutes with their number depleted after the dismissal of Ben Chilwell, but the better chances and more coherent play had always been theirs. “If it had ﬁnished Free fall: Riyad Mahrez throws himself over Andreas Christensen’s leg before the Chelsea defender shows his anger about the dive (inset). Leicester City via Getty Images STUCK IN A RUT Chelsea have now drawn three consecutive games 0-0 in all competitions for the ﬁrst time in their history, having also drawn a blank against Arsenal and Norwich. Antonio Conte’s side had just seven shots on target against Leicester; only twice since 2003-04 have they had more in a league game in which they failed to score (nine against Newcastle in November 2008 and West Ham in January 2014). 11 versus 11, we would have got the win,” offered Claude Puel. His own players, their schedule less energy sapping and recovery time awarded in midweek, were sprightly in comparison and had swarmed over their hosts for long periods. No visiting team has managed as many as Leicester’s 12 first-half attempts since the ﬁrst season of the Roman Abramovich era in south-west London. It was proﬂigacy, a lack of “cutting edge” according to Puel, which saw them survive. An experienced back three were tormented by the pace of Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, who would still blot his copybook with a second-half dive Shelvey’s petulance adds to the growing tension at Newcastle NEWCASTLE 1 Joselu 68 SWANSEA 1 Ayew 60 Louise Taylor St James’ Park As Rafael Benítez and Carlos Carvalhal shook hands at the end, neither man could disguise their disappointment. A hard-fought point is all very well but Carvalhal’s Swansea City stay bottom. As for Newcastle, they remain far too close to the relegation zone for comfort, have gone seven home Premier League games without a win and are far from ruthless in front of goal. Benítez is doing a ﬁne job in testing circumstances but Mike Ashley’s transfer window parsimony threatens to undo much good work. By way of exacerbating Geordie misery, there were apparent tensions between Benítez and Jonjo Shelvey, with the clearly annoyed midﬁelder pushing his manger’s outstretched hand away when he was substituted. Even so, things could have been worse for Newcastle fans, with Mohamed Diamé fortunate to escape both conceding a ﬁrst-half penalty and collecting a red card following an apparently deliberate handball. “I don’t know if we’ve achieved one point or lost two, there was a feeling we should have won,” said Carvalhal, whose smart decision to shift Nathan Dyer to a wider, deeper midﬁeld role in the second half left Swansea less vulnerable to home counterattacks. During the opening half Newcastle spurned several decent chances, while the proﬂigate Dwight Gayle rightly had a headed goal disallowed for offside following a corner. Ayoze Pérez unnerved Kyle Bartley before crossing for Gayle to head wide, Lukasz Fabianski parried Pérez’s shot following Matt Ritchie’s clever, lobbed pass and Shelvey lifted a free-kick just over the bar. Then there was the moment when Christian Atsu crossed low for Paul Dummett but the left-back got the ball stuck beneath his feet at the wrong moment and sent the ball ballooning towards the Leazes End. Bar an odd stellar pass from Shelvey – up against his former employers – and Swansea’s Sam Clucas, the watching Gareth Southgate did not have too much to get excited about. Perhaps tellingly, a key sub-plot centred on Bartley’s duel with Pérez, which, considering the centre-half was on a yellow card following a tug on Gayle, guaranteed him a few panicky cameos. Newcastle’s biggest fright featured Swansea’s penalty appeal in the wake over Andreas Christensen’s outstretched leg in search of a penalty. Gary Cahill had started ahead of the young Dane as the back-line’s central pivot, though he was left dizzied by a brutal ﬁrst half-hour and would eventually depart prematurely clutching his right hamstring. It was telling that Christensen, rather than David Luiz, was summoned as a replacement. By then, the contest should have been settled. Shinji Okazaki, poking awkwardly over the bar, and Vardy, who guided a shot into the side-netting, had both beneﬁted from Chilwell’s ﬁne delivery early on. Wilfred Ndidi thought he had registered at Mahrez’s deﬂected corner only for Thibaut Courtois to conjure a save at full stretch, with a succession of centres ﬁzzed across Chelsea’s goalline somehow eluding Leicester’s players. There would be further opportunities after the break, with Courtois static and helpless as Mahrez’s shot catapulted off Christensen and dribbled just beyond a post. Rarely under Conte’s stewardship has this side been so disjointed. Even Hazard could not haul them from their malaise, the Belgian overelaborating in his desperation to make an impact. Conte was asked post-match about José Mourinho’s apparent “contempt” for him but merely batted it back with: “I’m not worried.” His team’s displays will be causing him far more concern. of Diamé’s handball as he endeavoured to redirect Mike van der Hoorn’s goal bound header, with the Senegal midﬁelder fortunate to get the beneﬁt of the doubt from the referee. Ironically Diamé, deployed deep in midﬁeld alongside Shelvey, enjoyed one of his better games in a Newcastle shirt. “I must admit I didn’t see it at ﬁrst,” said Carvalhal of the penalty shout. “But it’s the job of the referee to see it. I like him [Graham Scott] he’s a good referee but he made a mistake. If we’d had video technology to help him we would have had a penalty and red card within 10 seconds.” The Portuguese’s smile returned when Jordan Ayew headed Swansea in front. That goal began with an excellent right wing cross from Van der Hoorn and featured Karl Darlow making a ﬁne onehanded save from Ayew’s initial header. Fortune, though, did not frown on Newcastle’s keeper, who parried the ball straight back towards Ayew and, within a millisecond, that rebound nestled in the back of the net. Joselu is often less than incisive but, having replaced Gayle, the Spanish striker momentarily turned fox in the box. When Pérez’s shot was deﬂected, a twisting, turning Joselu nutmegged Alﬁe Mawson before defying Fabianski from a tight angle. If Joselu could not hide his joy, Shelvey’s petulant reaction to being withdrawn did not impress. Having batted Benítez away he indulged in a bout of head-shaking. Earlier there had been similar dissent when he was passed evidently unwelcome managerial instructions over the execution of a free-kick. “There are some things we have to correct,” said a shrugging Benítez, who was relieved to see DeAndre Yedlin clear Wilfried Bony’s late shot off the line. “But any player will be unhappy when he’s substituted.” CHELSEA Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill (Christensen 33), Rüdiger; Moses, Kanté■, Fàbregas (Willian 58), Bakayoko, Alonso; Morata■, Hazard (Pedro 58) Subs not used Caballero, Zappacosta, Batshuayi, David Luiz LEICESTER Schmeichel; Amartey, Maguire, Dragovic, Chilwell■; James■ (Iborra 90), Ndidi; Mahrez, Okazaki■ (Fuchs 73), Albrighton; Vardy (Gray 82). Subs not used Hamer, Iheanacho, Slimani, Benalouane Stamford Bridge 41,552 Game rating |||||||||| Referee Mike Jones NEWCASTLE Darlow; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey (Merino 82), Diamé; Ritchie, Pérez, Atsu; Gayle (Joselu 64) Subs not used Elliot, Murphy, Hayden, Manquillo, Haïdara SWANSEA Fabianski; Van der Hoorn (Roberts 65), Bartley■, Mawson■, Olsson; Ki; Dyer (Narsingh 85), Clucas, Carroll, Ayew■; McBurnie (Bony 71) Subs not used Nordfeldt, Fer, Fernández, Mesa Rescue act: Joselu ﬁres in Newcastle’s equaliser against bottom-placed Swansea four minutes after Rafael Benítez sent him on as a substitute. Ian MacNicol/Getty Images St James’ Park 51,444 Game rating |||||||||| Referee Graham Scott * 14.01.18 6 | SPORT | Football | Premier League Sako strikes to give patched-up Palace victory CRYSTAL PALACE 1 Sako 21 BURNLEY 0 Paul MacInnes Selhurst Park It says something about the change Roy Hodgson has effected on Crystal Palace that it is difficult to imagine quite how they could be relegated this season. Make no mistake, Hodgson himself is clear the challenge remains the same as it was when he took over in September and the club was rock bottom, breaking all kinds of the wrong records. “When I came, I said I was only concerned about the ﬁnal day of May and being one place above the relegation zone,” he said. But after his scratch Palace side matched Sean Dyche’s Burnley in the gritty part of the game, and won it with the pretty side, their current position of 12th in the table would seem a more likely outcome. Bakary Sako scored the only goal of the match midway through the first half, drifting wide to collect Christian Benteke’s looped pass before driving into the box and punching a low shot through Nick Pope. The forward is a symbol of the Hodgson revival, the former Wolves man finally delivering performances that make the best of his combined skill, speed and strength. His total of ﬁve goals so far this season is Sako’s best return in his three years in south London, and this was just his second start. “I don’t know quite how many chances he’s had in the past, but he’s not done well enough to force his way in,” said Hodgson of Sako. “But he’s done really well for us. He would have played today given the injuries we had, but he played on merit and chipped in with a good goal. “In the second half, he and Benteke worked hard to disturb the centrehalves and help make sure we held on to our lead.” Palace were without at least seven first-team players. Not only was Sako summoned up front, but James McArthur – “outstanding again”, according to Hodgson – was forced into an unfamiliar position at left wing. In midﬁeld, Frank de Boer’s former Ajax protege Jaïro Riedewald also made a rare appearance and applied himself assiduously. There were impressive performances all over the park. This was particularly the case in the first half. The goal, celebrated with a collective puffing out of the chest, inspired Palace to kick on. A minute after the restart, Charlie Taylor’s backpass header was seized upon by Wilfried Zaha, who spun it across an open goal, only for Ben Mee to get his body in front of it just in time. Benteke should have scored shortly afterwards from a Luka Milivojevic corner, but his header looped on to the roof of the net. As the period drew to a close, Zaha forced Pope into a one-handed save with a cheeky ﬂick and the now purring Sako ﬂashed a left-foot volley inches past the far post from Timothy Fosu-Mensah's cross. Burnley were better in the second half, upping the combativeness and the crosses without ever quite ﬁnding the imagination necessary to unpick Palace’s well-drilled resolve. Their best opportunity arrived in the 83rd minute, when a missed clearance by James Tomkins let in Ashley Barnes, only for Wayne Hennessey to rush out and smother the shot at his feet. Sean Dyche knows there is no need to be ﬂustered, despite a run that means Burnley are without a league win in six matches. They are still in seventh place in the table after all. “The second half was at least decent,” he said afterwards. “We probably deserved to scratch a draw. The margins were tight earlier in the season and they continue to be tight now. But it’s clear that we’ve really moved on from last season.” Dyche was asked about his thoughts on Hodgson’s achievements and did not hold back in his praise of the 70-year- old. “He’s doing terriﬁc,” he said. “We met for a coffee before the game. We were chewing the fat over the realities of the modern game. Sometimes Roy gets mixed reviews, but the levels he’s worked at, the things he’s achieved, he gets nothing but respect from me. “He’s settled it down nicely here, but it’s not a surprise to me; it is down to Roy and his staff putting in the work.“ Strong and steady: Bakary Sako leaps in celebration after scoring the winning goal against Burnley, while Roy Hodgson watches poker-faced from the sidelines. Sebastian Frej/ ProSports/Rex/ Shutterstock CRYSTAL PALACE Hennessey; Fosu-Mensah, Kelly, Tomkins, Van Aanholt; Zaha, Milivojevic, Riedewald, McArthur; Benteke, Sako Subs not used Speroni, Cabaye, Lee, Souare, KaiKai, Delaney, Wan Bissaka BURNLEY Pope; Bardsley■, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor■; Cork, Defour■; Gudmundsson (Wells 85), Hendrick (Nkoudou 63), Barnes; Vokes Subs not used Lowton, Westwood, Walters, Lindegaard, Long Selhurst Park 24,696 Game rating |||||||||| Referee Michael Oliver IN BRIEF Diabaté joins Leicester from Gazélec Ajaccio Leicester have signed the versatile forward Fousseni Diabaté on a fourand-a-half-year deal. The 22-year-old Malian has joined the Foxes from the French second-tier side Gazélec Ajaccio for an undisclosed fee. Diabaté, who can play as a central striker or on the wing, moved to the Corsican club after two seasons with Guingamp. PA Sánchez Flores stays put Stoke’s search for a new manager will continue after the former Watford coach Quique Sánchez Flores pledged his commitment to Espanyol. Sánchez Flores emerged as Stoke’s top target to succeed Mark Hughes. It is understood a Stoke delegation met Sánchez Flores in Barcelona on Wednesday and it had been reported that the 52-year-old Spaniard had been offered a ﬁve-year contract by the Premier League club. However, speaking at a pre-match press conference before yesterday’s La Liga meeting with Athletic Bilbao, Sánchez Flores said he was happy at Espanyol, with whom he signed a three-year deal PA in the summer of 2016. Zidane in real trouble Villarreal piled the pressure on the under-ﬁre Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane as they snatched a 1-0 win over the struggling La Liga champions at the Bernabéu. Real reached the quarter-ﬁnals of the Copa del Rey – where they will face Leganés – in midweek, but started the day 16 points behind rivals Barcelona in the league. And that gap remained intact after a sublime ﬁnish from Pablo Fornals ﬁnished off an 87th-minute counterattack from the visitors, who Real nice: Pablo Fornals celebrates after Villarreal’s winning goal at the Bernabéu had goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to thank for a number of vital saves. After Gareth Bale saw his header correctly ruled out for offside, Asenjo saved superbly from Marcelo’s thunderous drive and Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick, before also denying Ronaldo from close range on the stroke of half-time. Asenjo made a number of more routine saves in the second period before the visitors cleared a late Real TALES FROM THE TABS CONTE: LET’S SIGN SÁNCHEZ Antonio Conte has urged Chelsea to join both Manchester clubs in the race for Alexis Sánchez. “It’s a good investment: a top player available for a price not so high.” AND THE REST Tottenham are ready to ditch their interest in £45m Bordeaux winger Malcom, clearing the way for Arsenal. ■ Man United are ready to make Real target David de Gea their highest paid player. ■ Man City have ﬁrmed up their interest in Shakhtar midﬁelder Fred. ■ Sunderland have told Watford they must pay a loan fee to land Didier Ndong, while Watford’s Troy Deeney says he’s taking his future “day to day” with Newcastle and West Brom keen. ■ Palace are in dispute with Getafe over keeper Vicente Guaita’s buyout clause. ■ And David Moyes says West Ham will only sell Andy Carroll or Javier Hernández this month for “an awful lot of money”. corner and set Denis Cheryshev clear down the left. The half-time substitute found Enes Unal in the centre of the penalty area and, although Unal’s shot was blocked by the onrushing Keylor Navas, it landed for Fornals to chip a ﬁrst-time shot over the goalkeeper. Michael Olunga scored a 22-minute hat-trick on an historic day for Girona as they thrashed La Liga’s bottom club Las Palmas 6-0 at Montilivi. Olunga, who is on loan from the Chinese club Guizhou Zhicheng, struck in the 57th, 70th and 79th minutes to become the ﬁrst player to record a top-ﬂight treble for Girona. Málaga have ﬁred coach Michel after the team’s fourth straight defeat at Getafe on Friday. Málaga have lost every game since a 2-0 win at Real PA Sociedad early in December. Gómez lifts Stuttgart Struggling Stuttgart ended a run of four straight Bundesliga defeats with a 1-0 home win over Hertha Berlin. Mario Gómez, who rejoined the Swabian club this month from Wolfsburg, went down in the area under a challenge from Niklas Stark 12 minutes from time and, while the Germany striker was appealing for a penalty, Hertha midﬁelder Stark somehow dispatched a deft lob over his own goalkeeper for the game’s only goal. The result at the Mercedes-Benz Arena lifted Hannes Wolf’s side four points clear of the relegation zone. Elsewhere, Hoﬀenheim missed their chance to move back up to third place in the Bundesliga after drawing 1-1 at lowly Werder Bremen. Hoffenheim, who had lost three of their previous six league matches and were looking for a winning start to the new year, scored ﬁrst through Benjamin Huebner after 39 minutes Theodor Gebre Selassie equalised for Bremen PA after 60 minutes. 14.01.18 * Bournemouth v Arsenal, 1.30pm SSPL | Football | SPORT | 7 ‘Frustrated’ Lacazette seeks scoring touch Missed again: Alexandre Lacazette reacts as another chance goes begging for Arsenal. John Sibley/ Action Images Wenger claims not to be worried but Arsenal’s £52.7m striker seems laboured and is eight games without a goal, writes David Hytner A lexandre Lacazette accepted the pass from Danny Welbeck, took one touch to set himself and curled a glorious right-footed shot from the edge of the area into the top corner. It was September of last year and the screamer put Arsenal in control against Bournemouth at the Emirates. They would win 3-0. Two Premier League games later, Lacazette was on target again, scoring twice in Arsenal’s 2-0 home victory over West Brom. At that point, the club’s record signing had four goals in six league appearances, having marked his debut in the competition with one after two minutes in the 4-3 home win over Leicester City. He was ﬂying. The France striker has now hit a lull and it is a moment to test him. Since his goals against West Brom, he has scored only four times in 17 club matches and, as he prepares to face Bournemouth once more – this lunchtime at the Vitality Stadium – he is in the throes of an eight-game drought. “This guy is used to scoring 30 goals per year so, at the moment, even if he says no, I am sure he is frustrated,” Arsène Wenger says. “It certainly affects him a little bit but I’m not worried. It will come back and it’s in cycles. At the moment, he’s going through a cycle that is a bit more frustrating for him.” Lacazette has been assaulted by culture shock on every level since his £52.7m transfer from Lyon last July. Wenger spoke in August about how the city of Lyon was a “special place” and it produced players with “their own mentality”. The Arsenal manager continued: “They don’t like to move away, usually. They produce their own players, the players who grew up around Lyon, like Fekir, Lacazette, Gonalons. They usually like to stay there. I did not know whether they wanted to move or not. It is a very speciﬁc French player at Lyon.” The switch to England was always going to present its challenges for Lacazette – who moved relatively late for a Ligue 1 star at the age of 26 – among them the language, although he has been helped by the presence of a handful of compatriots including his France team-mates Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud. “It’s a difficult period because the family comes over and it’s a bit less football-orientated,” Wenger says. “I think the fact he lives here with 529 MINUTES SINCE LACAZETTE LAST SCORED IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE ‘The physical pressure on strikers in England is now absolutely massive – it is much bigger than in France’ was always likely to be a problem but Wenger believes he is getting there. “He has worked to cope with the intensity of the challenges,” the Arsenal manager says. “In France, you go down and it’s a free-kick. In England, you go down and it’s no free-kick. That is much more difficult for the striker to get used to. I think he resists better.” Where Lacazette has impressed is with the sharpness of his movement, particularly his spins inside the box, his pace and his technique. Wenger also referenced “the quality of his understanding with the other players”. What Lacazette needs now is another goal against Bournemouth. French players and can speak French when needed, and that Lyon is not too far, is OK. But the ﬁrst six months are always difficult.” It is on the ﬁeld where Lacazette has been walloped. Had he stayed at Lyon, he would have enjoyed two weeks off over Christmas and New Year. Instead, he started four Premier League ﬁxtures. Wenger admitted that Lacazette was “not at his best” in physical terms before Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-ﬁnal at Chelsea and his performance was blunt. He skied a good chance in the 0-0 draw and was substituted midway through the second half. Lacazette was asked to plough a lonely furrow at Stamford Bridge, working to close down defenders, and it has been a common theme for him away from home – where Arsenal have regularly failed to impose themselves. “The physical pressure on strikers in England has become absolutely massive,” Wenger says. “The physical demands and the intensity in the challenges is much bigger than in France. In England, you play against teams who are organised and can physically cope with 90 minutes’ intensity. The defenders are much quicker than before. They are all athletes now at the back. “As a striker, you have to provoke. At the back, you respond. So that means Spartak send racist tweet about own players Spartak Moscow are at the centre of a racism row after their official Twitter account posted a video of three black players in training alongside a caption that translates as “See how chocolates melt in the sun”. The message was accompanied by several emojis of laughing faces and chocolate bars, above a 13-second clip showing the players, reported to be the Brazilian trio Fernando, Luiz Adriano and Pedro Rocha, smiling while stretching in sunny conditions. The anti-discrimination group Kick It Out condemned the Russian club, writing a response on Twitter which said: “This social media post from the official account of Spartak Moscow only continues to highlight the prejudices towards black people in Russia. “It is a reminder that, along with the whole of football, there is significant work to do to eradicate racism of all forms from the sport.” Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, believes the message from Spartak is troubling as Russia builds towards host- the intensity and the problems for the defender have to come always from you. The defender can sometimes respond to the situation with experience but the striker has always to be provocative. You need a lot of energy for that.” Wenger noted how the frenetic festive schedule was a surprise to overseas players – “The body needs to get used to it; the mind, as well,” he says – and he estimated that most of them needed a year to acclimatise to English football, even the biggest names. Paul Pogba’s travails at Manchester United last season, after the France midﬁelder’s transfer from Juventus, were not lost on Wenger – and this was a player who spent his formative years at Old Trafford. “Pogba looks settled now, he dominates physically,” Wenger says. “In the ﬁrst year, yes, you can suffer a little bit.” Lacazette’s ability to cope with the physicality of the Premier League Foot in mouth: Spartak Moscow’s tweet on a training session said of the club’s black players: ‘See how chocolates melt in the sun’ ‘Racism is one of the biggest issues Russia faces at the World Cup’ ing the World Cup later this year. He told BBC Sport: “Racism is one of the biggest issues Russia faces in the year they host the World Cup. References like this show how some minorities are seen by some in the country. “For Russia’s biggest club to tolerate and then celebrate racist references of this kind is wrong.” The controversial Twitter post was later deleted from Spartak’s official page. It is the third time in a matter of months Spartak have been embroiled in a controversy over racism. They were ordered to partially close their academy stadium for one ﬁxture by Uefa, which found some of the club’s fans were guilty of racist behaviour towards Liverpool striker Bobby Adekanye during a Youth League match in September. Last month, Spartak defender Leonid Mironov was charged with racially abusing Reds striker Rhian Brewster after an incident during the return Uefa Youth League game between the sides at Prenton Park. The controversial social media posting comes a day after Russia’s foreign ministry accused the British media of “conjuring up” government-led propaganda in the buildup to the World Cup. Its spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said: “We learned that reporters from the United Kingdom – not just one media outlet, but a number of them – received, in the truest sense of the word, a state order to launch a smear campaign for holding the World Cup in Russia.” Zakharova then suggested that “stories, topics and approaches had been already conjured up”. Staﬀ and agencies * 14.01.18 8 | SPORT | Football | Sky Bet Championship Passion of derby debut a treat for Luhukay Coleman labels his players soft after thrashing CARDIFF 4 Paterson 46 80 Ralls 55 Pilkington 90 SUNDERLAND 0 Ben Fisher Cardiff City got their promotion push ﬁrmly back on track after clinching a ﬁrst win in ﬁve matches by comfortably dispatching 10-man Sunderland on home turf, courtesy of a second-half double from Callum Paterson and a sweet Joe Ralls strike before Anthony Pilkington completed the rout in stoppage time. For Chris Coleman, it was a miserable return to Wales. Coleman enjoyed plenty of special moments at the Cardiff City Stadium during a six-year reign as Wales manager which ended when he took over Sunderland in November. Belgium, then ranked the second best team in the world, were beaten at Cardiff on Coleman’s watch. However, his battle to prevent Sunderland sliding towards relegation may prove an even bigger task. It is now three straight league defeats for his rock-bottom side, who had midﬁelder Didier Ndong sent off. “We have a soft mentality,” Coleman said. “Toughness is not about physicality, it’s not about nailing someone, it’s about mentality. If we don’t toughen up, we are going to stay where we are – it’s as simple as that.” The teams went in level at the break but the hosts opened the scoring inside 55 seconds of the restart when Paterson climbed highest to nod home a corner. Shortly after Ndong was given a straight red card by the referee, Andy Madley, for a tackle on Junior Hoilett four minutes after the interval. The Cardiff winger carried on but was replaced by Pilkington late on. There seemed no way back for Sunderland and so it proved as Cardiff then produced the best move of the match. Ralls rounded off a sweeping counterattack after good work by Kenneth Zohore – who bullied Jake Clarke-Salter, the Chelsea loanee making his debut – before laying the ball on a plate for his team-mate Ralls to slot home his eighth goal this term. Sunderland came close to a lifeline when Bruno Manga almost sliced into his own net but Cardiff were soon out of sight. Ten minutes from time, Paterson drove home an effort from an acute angle after reacting quickest after Zohore’s free-kick was blocked. Pilkington put the icing on the cake from inside the box after good work by Yanic Wildschut, who arrived on loan from Norwich City on Friday, condemning Coleman to his heaviest defeat in charge of the club. “We had 900 fans here today and they’ve been on the road since 3am,” Coleman added. “It’s tough on them, again.” Neil Warnock’s side had stuttered to a stalemate at home to fourth-tier Mansﬁeld Town in the FA Cup last weekend and had lost their previous four Championship matches. However, this victory saw them brieﬂy return to second in the table, before Derby’s win at Birmingham in the 3pm kick-offs pushed Cardiff down to third. Warnock had not lost ﬁve straight matches since 1995. “Anybody can get up from the top eight, it is such an even league, but we just have to keep looking after our- Rowett enjoys a happy return to Birmingham BIRMINGHAM 0 DERBY 3 Russell 19 Vydra 56 Weimann 89 Gary Rowett returned to haunt Birmingham again as Derby stayed second in the table with a comprehensive win. Sacked as the Birmingham manager 13 months ago and replaced by Gianfranco Zola, Rowett has moved on to build a team at Derby who have promotion to the Premier League in their sights. Goals from Johnny Russell, Matej Vydra and Andreas Weimann did the business as the visitors showed the clinical form that has helped them mount a challenge near the top. Rowett also guided Derby to victory at St Andrew’s last April. This latest result means Birmingham’s Steve Cotterill has not beaten Derby in 13 games as a manager. Early impressions were a little misleading, with Derby producing some promising attacks but Birmingham were the more positive team. As early as the fourth minute, the Birmingham defender Jonathan Grounds took advantage of a deﬂection to ﬁre in a bobbling shot which bounced against Back in form: Right-back Callum Paterson celebrates the goal which set Cardiﬀ on the way to a ﬁrst win in ﬁve league games. Gareth Everett/Huw Evans/Rex/Shutterstock selves,” the Cardiff manager said. “We needed that. You could see the nervousness in the ﬁrst half, we just said: ‘we have to get that ﬁrst goal’ but we played some good stuff in the second [half ]. We have been like that all week in training.” Next up for Cardiff is a third-round replay at Mansﬁeld on Tuesday before a league trip to Sheffield Wednesday next weekend while Sunderland, who have won four games all season, have a huge clash with fellow strugglers Hull City. the post and back into play. Jérémie Boga then made a clever run, cutting in before pushing a cross into the path of Sam Gallagher who attempted to tee up the ball instead of taking a ﬁrst-time shot from close range. Derby survived the initial onslaught and settled down to take a 19th-minute lead. A long pass from Richard Keogh down the right was collected by Russell. He jinked his way inside and produced what appeared to be a hopeful cross which evaded everyone to creep into the net and give his side a shock lead, to the obvious delight of the travelling fans. A brilliant save by Scott Carson to keep out a 30-yard strike from Craig Gardner kept Derby ahead in what was a keen tussle. Gardner, as usual, was Birmingham’s driving force and the visitors were given no respite, illustrated when Curtis Davies resorted to a late tackle on Maikel Kieftenbeld which resulted in the defender being shown a yellow card. Derby, however, continued to be dangerous on the break. Their more open play created openings with Vydra clipping the bar with a cross-shot. The visitors effectively killed the contest with their second goal in the 56th minute. The unmarked Vydra collected a long ball from defence to race through unchallenged to lash a left-footed shot past David Stockdale to score his 16th goal of the season. One minute from time the substitute Weimann sealed Birmingham’s fate with a simple tap-in. PA Flying high: Gary Rowett saw Derby maintain their promotion push with a comfortable victory against his former club Birmingham SAID & DONE QUOTE OF THE WEEK Martin Glenn – unsure about equality at his FA equality relaunch: “I just think culturally what women will put up with is a bit diﬀerent from guys. I guess banter would be a case in point.” ■ His core message on the FA’s diversity culture, three months after he called illegal racially discriminatory remarks made by Mark Sampson “inappropriate banter”: “We’re there to set an example.” ALSO STEPPING UP Gianni Infantino: starting 2018 with a pledge to keep a tight rein on executive compensation, 12 days before leaked details set out 2017’s Fifa wage bill: 37 executives paid $250,000 each to attend three meetings a year, plus travel expenses. Infantino’s broader aim for the year: “To work hard on restoring the image of Fifa, after all those scams and scandals.” Also making headlines in the week Fifa unveiled its new “oﬃcial luxury yacht partner”: ■ Austria FA president Leo Windtner, dt denying alleged “breach of trust and corruption” over a $100,000 payment made by Fifa to a charity project run by his wife during Sepp Blatter’s 2015 re-election campaign. Windtner: “I have done nothing for which to reproach myself.” ■ Liberia FA head Musa Bility, blaming a $600,000 hole in FA accounts on “unknown persons” handing “unknown documents” to auditors. Bility, who failed a Fifa electoral integrity test in 2015, denies wrongdoing. ■ And Zimbabwe’s FA, denying breaches of “good governance” after an audit showed them paying $72,000 a year in rent to their new landlord, FA president Philip Chiyangwa. Vice-president Omega Sibanda: “I can conﬁrm that all is well in our football.” AND STARTING OVER Ex-Peru FA head Manuel Burga, returning to his original profession after being acquitted of racketeering in New York. Burga – censured in court for making throat slashing gestures at a key witness – told media: “My time in football is over. Now I’ll go back to the law.” OTHER NEWS: MORE BANTER Also engaging on racism last week: a) Serie A oﬃcials, assessing racist abuse The new Sheffield Wednesday manager, Jos Luhukay, enjoyed his ﬁrst taste of English football after his side claimed a point at Sheffield United on Friday despite ﬁnishing with 10 men. The Dutchman, who has only ever managed in Germany before, replaced Carlos Carvalhal last week and his introduction to life in this country came in the shape of a Steel City derby – the ﬁrst man to ever begin his managerial reign with this match. His side overcame the second-half dismissal of the captain, Glenn Loovens, to hold on for a goalless draw and they might even have won it at the end as the Blades’ Simon Moore made a brilliant save to deny Adam Reach. Luhukay, who had no complaints about Loovens’ red card, said: “I enjoyed it, I am very happy to be here. The game was very hard for us but I must give my team a compliment and I have respect for the ﬁght they gave me for 90 minutes. The last 25 minutes was not so easy but we did the defending as a team and at the end we had two good chances. “The atmosphere, the passion … this is football, you live for football, you enjoy football, I liked it very much. What they did today gave me hope for the next games. You feel it from the ﬁrst minute until the end. I am happy with that.” The stalemate denied the Blades a ﬁrst derby double over their neighbours since 2005-06 as the hosts were unable to replicate their rousing performance in a 4-2 win at Hillsborough in September. They have now won only one of their last 10 Championship games. Chris Wilder, though, was upbeat about the status of a side who were promoted in May. The United manager said: “It shows how far we have come, to take four points from six from the other side of the city. A draw was a fair result and I congratulate the opposition because they ran around and competed. But that is a given for my side. “I don’t want to be on the beach in May. I want to be the ones that take second or gets in the play-offs. I don’t want PA to be ﬁnishing eighth or ninth.” Something to shout about: Glenn Loovens urges Wednesday on after his sending-oﬀ David Hills from Cagliari fans towards Juve’s Blaise Matuidi. Cagliari apologised for the abuse; Serie A ruled the club would face “no punishment”, because “oﬃcials didn’t hear it”. b) Spartak Moscow’s oﬃcial Twitter account posting a video of black players training in hot weather captioned: “See how the chocolates melt in the sun.” And c) Red Star Belgrade, appealing li against i t Uefa imposing a one-game ground closure after fans celebrated the work of ethnic genocide convict Ratko Mladic with songs and banners. Red Star director Zvezdan Terzic: “Uefa behave in a draconian fashion. Honestly, Uefa surprise us.” ELSEWHERE: FAIR PLAY LATEST 2017: La Liga head Javier Tebas says PSG’s Qatari ﬁnancial doping “mocks ﬁnancial fair play”, “hurts other clubs” and is “destroying the industry … PSG are peeing in the pool, Neymar is peeing oﬀ the diving board.” ard. 2018: Barcelona, backed by €171m of Qatar state aid to 2016, take their ﬁve-day spending to €172m. @laliga: “Welcome Coutinho!” ■ How the move unfolded: Jan 2017, Philippe Coutinho: “My football is here. My heart is here. I don’t think about any other club. Not at all. I know what Liverpool means: I live it, I smell it. You deﬁne the success of a player by his loyalty or his titles, or both. I have much work to do.” Aug 2017: Requests transfer. Jan 2018: Joins Barça. BEST DEFENCE Ipswich MD Ian Milne, conﬁdent that there’s no conﬂict between the responsible gambling message they helped push in November, and having “exciting new real money online casino Magical Vegas” as oﬃcial shirt sponsor: “I don’t think the logo is overly ‘gambling’.” MANAGER NEWS: MOVING ON 31 Dec: De Torino president Urbano Cairo scorns pressure to sack Ca Sin Sinisa Mihajlovic: “It’s not even up for question. I support him, like I’ve always supported him. together here, all on the same boat We’re togeth to the same destination. Sinisa stays.” 4 Jan: Sinisa goes. MOST DISTRESSED M S Spain: Third tier Toledo’s coach Onésimo Sánchez – ﬁned for “losing his mind” after S his fourth expulsion in three seasons. “I’ve had it up to my balls with this. Every time they lie, every time they make me out as the bad man, and every time I must pay for it. It’s just another day for Onésimo.” MOST CHASTENED Germany: Bayer Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich, ﬁned €12,000 for diving when an opposition player brushed his shoulder in the technical area last month. “He touched me slightly and I slipped – I wasn’t trying to get him sent oﬀ. Did it look stupid? Yes it did. I’ll pay the €12,000.” BEST PHILOSOPHY El Salvador: Alianza striker Rodolfo Zelaya, relaxed after a design error on his new Roman numeral clock tattoo went viral. “They say it has the number six twice but I don’t care what people say. I’ve never been one to care what people say. What’s important is how you feel inside.” AND BEST POISE Romania: Kayserispor coach Marius Sumudica – ﬁlmed leaning on a wire fence, falling through it, g throug gh it gh then trying to style it out. “I knew there were cameras, so I folded my arms and sat in the ditch for a while. People mock, but I got a wet ass, and now I’m on antibiotics.” 14.01.18 * Foo Football | SPORT | 9 Daniel Taylor SPORTS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR FA stuck in credibility gap over challenges thrown up by football’s new era of truth Clarke and co lack trust needed to tackle game’s rising tide of allegations of abuse and racism I t is ﬂicking through the glossy pages of the Chelsea programme, going back a few years now, when you come across the article name-checking one of the club’s former youth-team players and perhaps get a ﬂavour of how much has changed in such a short space of time. In particular, it’s the line three-quarters of the way down that jumps off the page with its description of the player as a “black guy who was the butt of a lot of jokes”. It is an awkward choice of words at the best of times – why mention the player’s skin colour? – but particularly so bearing in mind what we know now and the fact it is referring to one of the boys who now alleges his treatment at Stamford Bridge went a long way beyond innocent humour. According to the author, that boy “was almost too nice to make it in football”. The player will argue it is not a case of being too nice when there were people, two or three times his age, who were allegedly subjecting him to racial abuse. It is certainly jarring, to say the least, to hear the words that have been alleged, the claims that black players as young as 12 or 13 were treated like “a race of fucking dogs” and the speciﬁc allegations against Graham Rix and against Gwyn Williams, a man who gave over 25 years to Chelsea, that have left one of England’s leading clubs facing civil claims from three of their old youth-team graduates. At least Chelsea, to give them their due, have recognised the seriousness of the issue and I actually have a certain amount of sympathy with the modernday club bearing in mind, more than 20 years since the alleged events took place, it is a completely different regime at Stamford Bridge now. Their statement says they are “absolutely determined to do the right thing, fully support those affected, assist the authorities and support their investigations” and the club have offered at least one of the three players in-house counselling. Chelsea, I suspect, will be mortiﬁed about what is being alleged. It should be stressed that Rix and Williams have denied the allegations, saying they are fully cooperating with the authorities and pointing out that the police had already decided not to involve the Crown Prosecution Service. There is no wish here to prejudge the civil action but it is also clear that Chelsea need to start interviewing players from the relevant era. Several have indicated they have information that would be useful and Chelsea – one of the clubs to commission a QC-led review into their involvement in the sexual-abuse scandal, investigating as far back as 1950 – have the means to instigate a proper inquiry. Yet there is also a much wider story here bearing in mind the other headlines in the last week about Peter Beardsley ﬁghting to keep his job coaching Newcastle United Under-23s because of allegations – denied by Beardsley – from Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, a 22-year-old reserve, about racism and bullying. Before that, there was the racial discrimination that Eni Aluko and Drew Spence experienced during Mark Sampson’s time as England Women’s manager. Add in what Rhian Brewster had to say, when one of the players from England’s World Cup-winning under-17s chronicled his Under ﬁre: Graham Rix with Chelsea youth players in 1998. The allegations against him, which he denies, follow stories elsewhere of racism and bullying. Darren Walsh/Action Images own experiences, and it is difficult to think of another time in football when more people have felt emboldened to speak out. That doesn’t make it an easy process and it certainly wasn’t pleasant for Aluko to experience the brieﬁng against her from inside the Football Association, the victim-blaming from one or two journalists and all the other nonsense she had to endure after an FA inquiry that, to recap, was summed up by the Professional Footballers’ Association as a “sham” that was “not a genuine search of the truth” but “designed to close down the complaint and absolve Mark Sampson”. It cannot be much fun for El-Mhanni, either, to be a fringe player at Newcastle and taking on a man who could rival Kevin Keegan’s status, as Jack Charlton once put it, for being the kind of guy who could fall into the Tyne and come out with a salmon in his mouth. Beardsley is a hero in Newcastle, one of the greatest players ever to wear those black and white stripes and, without any idea of how that case will conclude, the only thing that can be said for now is that it is terribly sad someone with his status should ﬁnd himself in this position, with ﬁve other players apparently backing El-Mhanni’s story. Ultimately, though, it cannot be a bad thing if football has moved into a new age, or is getting closer to it anyway, when footballers who feel they have been victimised are far more willing to come forward than they would previously. That was brought home after the interview with Brewster, when The culture was not to say anything and go by the mentality that if you wanted to make it in football you had to go through this a former player, with his own experiences of enduring racism, got in touch to say how glad he was that a player of 17, still to make his professional debut for Liverpool, had felt able to come forward. In his day, he explained, black players were given the impression that it was a sign of weakness, not strength, to complain. We were talking about the 1980s, not Victorian times, but the culture was not to say anything, to suck it up and go by the mentality that if you wanted to make it in football it was something you had to go through. Herman Ouseley, the Kick it Out chairman, summed it up when he talked about how hard it once was – and still is – for many players to speak out. “Certainly anyone with aspirations as a black person to play professional football has kept their heads down and tried to avoid taking on the established status quo of challenging the coach, the trainer or the football manager. They have not gone outside of that arena to try and get redress because, when they have, they have had their heads chopped off. That has been the death of their careers.” It is certainly a very difficult issue. Frank Sinclair, another product of Chelsea’s youth system, made the point on Twitter that “we grew up in a world of discrimination acceptance” and said it was regarded as a test of character. Sinclair has sided with Rix and Williams and says the Chelsea he remembers was a tough environment where players of all shapes, nationalities and backgrounds, not just the black lads, got stick. Yet, speaking generally, it is strange if he thinks that, just because someone accepted that culture back then, they should not bring it up now, and perhaps he would take a more sympathetic view if he had seen the evidence from one player about how the alleged abuse – including, he says, physical attacks from Rix and one incident when a cup of hot coffee was thrown in his face – had affected his life, stripped his conﬁdence and, at times, left him wondering if he has the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Perhaps Sinclair, who did not play in the same team, might understand that, by questioning that player’s version of events, he is showing again – even unintentionally – why people in that position feel reticent about coming forward because of the backlash. And there is, always, a backlash, as Aluko, Patrice Evra and many others, most recently Mason Holgate, can all testify. New procedures have just been announced for whistle-blowing and that at least is a start if the FA wants to repair some of the damage caused by the Aluko affair. Yet that raises other issues, if you recall Greg Clarke’s mea culpa last October when the FA chairman admitted it had “failed”, lost the trust of the public and been exposed for “how out of step we are”. Clarke might have apologised for his description of institutional racism as “ﬂuff ” but that will probably always be the comment that deﬁnes his time in office. As for the rest of the organisation, the FA’s own polls show that only 27% of football fans think it is a competent governing body. Even fewer, 24%, have a positive perception of the organisation and I’m not conﬁdent those numbers will be improved by the explanation why Dan Ashworth, the FA’s technical director, has quietly been taken off England Women duties. Martin Glenn, the chief executive, would like us to believe it has nothing to do with Ashworth’s handling of the Aluko inquiry. And pigs might ﬂy. Maybe one day it will be different and the FA will no longer inspire this kind of suspicion. I doubt, however, that will be with this regime and that, in a nutshell, is the problem when it comes to encouraging people to trust the authorities. The damage is done and it feels very contradictory at a time when more and more players have decided that, no, they aren’t going to stay in that world of acceptance any longer. * 14.01.18 10 | SPORT | Football | Premier League Klopp has the power to keep Anfield express going full steam ahead Liverpool’s manager has built a thrilling side geared ed to absorb high-level departures such as Coutinho’s ’s without losing momentum, writes Barney Ronay T here was an interesting moment towards the start of Jürgen Klopp’s time at Liverpool, back in the days when he still felt the need to apologise for his already-excellent if amusingly sweary English. Asked about transfer targets, budgets and spending big on new players, Klopp didn’t really answer the question. Instead he grimaced and grumbled, rubbing his eyes behind his glasses like a weary, drink-sozzled chief inspector with a short fuse but a heart of gold being told by one of his hair-gelled sergeants that there are no suspicious circumstances so should he close the case on the mysterious death of Lord Sinister. Klopp went on to talk about trusting his existing players, about chemistry and coaching and the moral obligation to improve what he had rather than team-build by numbers. Six months later, more confident in his systems, not to mention his command of English metaphor, he came up with the train analogy to describe his idea of a team as something entirely collective, fired by a shared momentum as opposed to opportunist chop and change. “If I spoke to a player and he told me: ‘If you were playing in the Champions League next year then I would be really interested,’ I would put the phone down. That is what I would say to players. It is about pushing the train, not jumping on a running train.” Liverpool supporters have had a week to worry away at the question of how to replace Philippe Coutinho, how to ﬁll the obvious gap his departing star quality will leave. But as the club adjusts to losing its best player for the third time in four years it is worth remembering that there is a difference now. From Dortmund to Liverpool, Klopp’s notion of team-building is designed to survive exactly this, the vicissitudes of life as a selling club at the highest level, of success always placing your best players in the crosshairs of those with bottomless funds and the promise of a kind of club football ultimacy in Madrid or Barcelona. This is the way Klopp’s Liverpool are geared to work. Soft-shoed Brazilian playmakers will come and go, but unlike Brendan-Luis, or even Brendan-Raheem, the manager is the real star here, the one irreplaceable part around which all progress revolves. The most important person at the club is still in place. Klopp isn’t just in the cab, shovelling his furnace, tooting the whistle. He’s the guard, the engine, the coal scuttle, the pressure gauge. Klopp is the train. With this in mind, the visit of Manchester City today is unexpectedly timely. In a way Pep Guardiola’s league leaders are the ideal opponents. City have crossed over into another place in the last few weeks, the most dominant leaders in any major league, 15 points clear of second place before the weekend’s ﬁxtures and with further clear blue sky opening every week. In effect City’s role right now is to act as a kind of control experiment for the rest of the league, a point against which every other ambitious team must for now measure itself. The interest for the neutral lies in how each opponent will try to cope with City’s width and ﬂuency, their mastery of the ball, as much as it does in another frictionless demolition. Klopp has an opportunity straight away to demonstrate the reserves of strength left in his squad, and also to reaffirm his own capacities, that ability to keep the train running whatever the snags and jolts along the way. There is already a sense that today could be a game of ﬁne details, or at least something more reﬁned than Liverpool’s oddly ﬂaccid 5-0 defeat at the Etihad in September. Liverpool were already losing that game when Sadio Mané was sent off but their subsequent collapse crystallised the idea of this team as defensively flaky free-wheelers, City as a kind of surging, pirouetting goal machine. Things have changed a bit since then. City’s run of form has narrowed. This is a team marked out currently as much by its control as its rapier attack. A defence that was once widely snarked at has not conceded more than one goal in its last 14 domestic matches, and has not conceded more than two in a domestic game in exactly a year. Meanwhile, Liverpool have been on a wonderful run of their own, with no defeat in 17 since the shellacking by Spurs at Wembley. Coutinho was involved in a quarter of their 54 goals in that time, despite playing only 11 matches. But the team have produced excellent results without him. Coutinho didn’t play in the defeat of Manchester City a year ago. He didn’t play in the 4-0 devouring of Arsenal this season. It might seem odd to suggest the departure of Liverpool’s best player is a chance to show the progress made under Klopp. Those who are innately hostile will point to the absence of a title challenge, an objection known as the no-betterthan-Brendan delusion. But Klopp In pursuit: Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool are unbeaten in 17 games in which they have scored 54 goals, but still trail Pep Guardiola (below) and his Manchester City side by 18 points Unlike BrendanLuis, or even BrendanRaheem, the most important person at the club is still in place has burnished his reputation, has pulled together the seams, has shown he can call a club to order. Liverpool are currently en route to a second successive season in the top four for the ﬁrst time since 2009. That ﬂuent, fun, workaholic attack is a genuinely notable creation. If it feels as though the team are being built from the front, then at least something is being built. Best of all Anﬁeld still seems energised by Klopp, at ease with itself, a place the manager really does seem to ﬁll and feed off and nourish with his presence. Klopp has kept his word, too, creating a team out of high-grade component parts rather than star signings. Liverpool’s starting XI in their last Premier League game featured six players Klopp inherited. There have been some post-inflationary signings but under Klopp £225m has been spent to date and £270m raked back. Right now, the biggest challenge is not so much to replace Coutinho as to ensure the aftermath is managed to Klopp’s satisfaction, that their most valuable asset remains settled. Christian Purslow might not be everyone’s idea of an all-seeing footballing sage but there is something in the observation by the club’s former managing director this week that Klopp remains “absolutely A-list… the next manager for one of those bigger clubs if Liverpool do not fulﬁl his ambitions”. Today is another opportunity to show that train is still running on, that this is a team geared to absorb a high-level departure without losing their head of steam. There have been various tactical offerings in the continuing mystery of how to go about derailing this Manchester City machine. For a while in autumn the idea of sitting deep and trying to disrupt the midﬁeld fulcrum of Fernandinho and Ilkay Gündogan gained some traction, although this always felt a bit like placing your neck on the block and waiting for the blade to fall. Roy Hodgson’s approach at Selhurst Park on New Year’s Eve was successful, as Crystal Palace succeeded for 45 minutes in applying genuine pressure to City’s weak points, pressing h hard in midﬁeld and isolating City’s defenders one on one against Wilfred Zaha. This is also the most natural approach for Klopp’s Liverpool, with a mobile, powerful midﬁeld and a hard-pressing front three pushed right up against City’s defenders. The absence of Coutinho hardly hampers this system. Klopp might just feel this team, with the midﬁeld fury of Naby Keïta to come from RB Leipzig, is a little closer to a vision of the pure Klopp style. Either way the Premier League could do with at least one desperately fought top-ofthe-table match before the season turns entirely Sky Blue. Today at Anﬁeld could yet be the moment. LIVERPOOL MA Games played 22 Goals 50 25 2.27 goals per game 2.91 goa 13 Goals conceded Shots on target Shots 144 163 393 Passes/ Game 585.5 Crosses from open play 7 286 318 Passing accuracy % 83.48 88.83 Possession % 59.52 72.22 Clean sheets 9 11 GRAPHIC: ALEXANDER BEUGE, PETE GUEST SOURCE: OPTA PHOTOGRAPH: LFC VIA GETTY Wijnaldum: the boss only gets angry with us if we’re nervou nervo Dutch midfielder has bought into Klopp’s stress on the collective, writes Paul Wilson Georginio Wijnaldum scored the winning goal when Liverpool met Manchester City at Anﬁeld just over a year ago and he remembers it well because it was a header. “I was lucky,” he says with a shrug. “It is a good moment to look back on but we need to be looking forward to the next match. Every game is a new game and anything can happen. I think City now have a better team than they have had in the past, so there’s no point looking back on the history.” The league table would appear to suggest the same thing and Liverpool’s Dutch midﬁelder believes City have earned their place at the top. “I think they have been more consistent than anyone else this season and also I think they have had a bit more luck than we have,” Wijnaldum says. “We have had a few good games but at the end we didn’t get the result we wanted. That has rarely happened to City. “It’s not luck that they have won with a few late goals, it shows their quality. They focus until the last minute of the game because they know they can make a goal. They have that conﬁdence but I think the biggest difference this season on last is their consistency. “Week in, week out they have good performances and, even if they are not quite at their best, they still manage to win. They don’t give games away.” Liverpool are ostensibly weakened at the moment through the departure of Philippe Coutinho for Barcelona, even if they did use the January window to bring in Wijnaldum’s compatriot Virgil van Dijk for a record £75m. “I have played with Virgil before and he is a natural leader,” Wijnaldum says. “He speaks a lot in the dressing room and he talks to the players in front of him on the pitch. He does that for the national team as well. That’s why he was captain of Southampton. We spoke a few times when he was making up his mind about his future. I told him how the club was and everything. I said Liverpool is a great club but I think he already knew that.” Wijnaldum admits Liverpool will miss Coutinho but argues any side Glove story: Georginio Wijnaldum hopes the Liverpool fans will be applauding today would. “Every team would miss a player of that quality. He was one of the best players we had in the team but as a person he was even better,” the 27-year-old says. “He wanted to go to his dream club and as players we are all happy for him because he is such a good guy. He was never arrogant, you never heard him say: ‘I am the best,’ or anything like that. Phil was always a guy who listened to the coaching and worked with the team. We all enjoyed playing with him. It is sad he didn’t stay, because with Phil in the team of course we were better, but in the end you have to be happy that he made the move that meant so much to him.” The break-up of the Fab Four may also offer an opportunity for Wijnaldum, who has not been a regular starter this season, though he insists 14.01.18 * Liverpool v Man City, 4pm SSPL | Football | SPORT | 11 Guardiola’s Merseyside misery a distant memory ANCHESTER CITY 22 A 4-0 defeat to Everton 12 months ago, just after a 1-0 at Anfield, ended City’s title hopes. It has been a remarkable year, writes Paul Wilson 64 als per game A lmost exactly a year ago, Pep Guardiola was on Merseyside conceding defeat in the title race, a comprehensive 4-0 mauling at Everton having confirmed the widespread suspicion that Manchester City were not in any shape to catch Chelsea at the top of the table. A great deal can change in 12 months though. Just ask Everton, whose day could scarcely have gone any better, with Tom Davies grabbing his ﬁrst goal for the club and Ademola Lookman completing the rout by scoring on his debut. Yet even that version of Everton, conﬁdent and compact, willing to soak up pressure before striking on the break, would have struggled to prevail against the present incarnation of Manchester City. The draw at the Etihad in August turned out to be another false dawn. While Ronald Koeman’s plans were disintegrating through autumn, Guardiola’s players began stringing together a record-breaking sequence of 18 consecutive wins, putting themselves in an even stronger position than Chelsea had occupied at the turn of the year. How did Guardiola do that, exactly? Was it just by spending striker-type money on a new pair of full-backs, as José Mourinho has alleged. Or was a more radical overhaul involved? The personnel at City does not appear at ﬁrst glance to have changed all that drastically in the last year – Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Agüero, David Silva and Raheem Sterling were all present and correct at Goodison – yet the support cast has been subtly altered around the key ﬁgures. Beginning with the goalkeeper – Ederson is now one of the more reliable performers in the Premier League, whereas Claudio Bravo was quite the opposite – Guardiola has made 396 730.6 6 Guardiola had to make his side more eﬀective against opponents who used long balls to negate a pressing game vous ous or don’t perform Jürgen Klopp is not the sort of manager to ask him to step up his game. “He does not put that kind of pressure on players,” he says. “The only pressure the manager puts on us is to give 100% and try to use the quality we have. The only time you see him upset is if he thinks you are not giving 100%. If you’re nervous or scared or you don’t try to do the things you are good at, that’s when he’ll get angry. “The most important thing as far as he is concerned is that we perform well as a group. He’s always telling us we can only win as a group, not as individuals. It makes it easier if every player performs but, if you do it well as a group, you can reach more.” Wijnaldum believes City were lucky when beating Liverpool 5-0 at the Etihad in September because they were playing 10 men for most of the time. “What Sadio [Mané] did was an accident. Sometimes you see a red card, sometimes a yellow,” he says of the incident when the Senegal forward caught Ederson with a boot in the face as the City goalkeeper headed the ball clear just outside his penalty area. “There was a similar situation in a game between Newcastle and Swansea just afterwards and Matt Ritchie just got a yellow, so to that extent we were unlucky at City; from the moment Sadio got a red card it was always going to be difficult. “But you can’t blame luck or a red card for losing by ﬁve goals. We did a few things wrong and City showed their quality. Hopefully when we meet at Anﬁeld it will stay 11 v 11 and that way we will have more of a chance.” signiﬁcant upgrades almost everywhere on the pitch. Bacary Sagna and Gaël Clichy have now departed and City boast a more aggressive full-back in Kyle Walker, even if Fabian Delph has had to ﬁll in for the injured Benjamin Mendy on the other side of the pitch. John Stones and Nicolás Otamendi remain City’s ﬁrst-choice centre-backs, just about, and though they can be errorprone, Eliaquim Mangala did not do a lot against Bristol City in midweek to suggest he would be any better. This is one area where City could still improve, and should Jonny Evans arrive before the end of the month one imagines he would not go short of games. Pablo Zabaleta is now at West Ham and Yaya Touré’s topﬂight games are strictly rationed, even though, almost unbelievably, that was the partnership Guardiola sent out to anchor the midﬁeld at Everton. Gabriel Jesus was still to make his debut a year ago and after a bright start he would shortly be lost to injury, a similar situation to the one that applies at present. Leroy Sané was at Goodison but unused as a substitute. A year further on in his English education the German is now one of City’s most potent attackers. Perhaps Sané’s example is the key to understanding City’s success this season. The list of players who have improved under Guardiola’s tutelage is extensive – basically everyone has got better, not just Sterling and De Bruyne – and it is highly likely it would have been expecting too much to imagine everything would click into place from day one. Guardiola, too, had to learn about Knockout blow: Mason Holgate takes down Raheem Sterling during a defeat that led Pep Guardiola to throw in the towel in the title race. Alex Livesey/Getty Images English football, to make his side more effective against opponents who would try to bypass the midﬁeld and use long balls to negate a pressing game, and that could only happen over a period of time. The transformation has happened now to the extent that there is talk of City going through the league season unbeaten – premature in January, perhaps, though legitimate when one considers the number of goals scored and the fact that only four points have been dropped in 22 games – which gives today’s ﬁxture at Anﬁeld a signiﬁcance even greater than usual. Liverpool are not going for the league, they are engaged in their usual pursuit of a Champions League place for next season while retaining an interest in further European progress next month, but as City have already played and won at Chelsea and Manchester United, the team in fourth have to be regarded as the one most likely to interrupt the procession. “To win titles you have to win games on these kind of stages,” Guardiola said. “This is an important game to see if we are able to do big things.” So was the meeting at the Etihad at the start of the season, though Jürgen Klopp’s side consider their 5-0 thrashing something of an injustice, due to four of the goals coming after Sadio Mané had been dismissed. It is Klopp’s theory that Liverpool were holding their own until they went down to 10 men – statistics can even be found to prove it. Yet it is also true that Mané’s absence alone could not excuse some tired defending as City ran amok in the second half. Now that Virgil van Dijk has arrived at considerable cost to help correct that failing Liverpool ought to be in with a chance at Anﬁeld, although Guardiola is unlikely to revert to three at the back to leave space on the ﬂanks for Mohamed Salah and others to exploit. Liverpool won 1-0 in the Anﬁeld ﬁxture last season but it was City’s fourth defeat of the campaign and a ﬁfth would follow a fortnight later at Goodison. To say Guardiola has straightened out a few things since is quite an understatement. Looking at Manchester City 12 months ago already seems to be harking back to a different era. * 14.01.18 12 | SPORT | Rugby union | European Champions Cup Wasps stung at the death as Chisholm caps rally HARLEQUINS 33 WASPS 28 Gerard Meagher Twickenham Stoop James Haskell was sent off for a dangerous tackle as Wasps saw their hopes of reaching the Champions Cup knockout stages effectively come to an end after a stunning comeback by Harlequins. Marcus Smith played a key role for Harlequins, coming off the bench to inspire their late rally but for Wasps it was a dreadful way to let victory slip away. In a thrilling ﬁnish, Haskell saw red with four minutes to go for a swinging arm on Jamie Roberts. By that stage Smith had come on to play his part in two Harlequins tries to bring his side to within two points and James Chisholm’s last-gasp try sealed victory for the hosts. It is a killer blow for Wasps, who led 21-0 after half an hour and by 16 points with 15 minutes to go. For Haskell, things may get worse. He will face disciplinary hearing this week and having been called into camp by England recently, he could be banned for the start of the Six Nations. Smith came on for Mike Brown who may yet prove an injury scare for England on the hour and had a hand in two late Harlequins tries – converting both – to bring his side to within just two points. The 18-year-old signed a bumper ﬁrst professional contract this week worth more than £200,000 a year and this was just another example of why. After half an hour Wasps were cruising towards a bonus-point victory. Three tries – all converted by Danny Cipriani – gave them a commanding lead with Harlequins barely able to get out of ﬁrst gear and reeling from the loss of Charlie Walker to injury after just ﬁve minutes. In truth, it was a scrappy start but Wasps were in the ascendancy when Lewis Boyce, in at loosehead for Harlequins after Joe Marler’s suspension, was shown a yellow card for a deliber- Oh brother: Ross Chisholm crosses for Quins; James Chisholm scored the winner ate knock-on. Just two minutes later, Wasps had their ﬁrst try after a sharp handling from Cipriani, Willie le Roux and Thomas Young put Kyle Eastmond clear. With Boyce still in the sin-bin, Nizaam Carr then scored a superb solo try, running in from all of 50 metres after more quick hands from Wasps – Haskell providing the assist. Carr has a considerable turn of speed but the ease with which he shrugged off Mike Brown’s tackle typiﬁed Harlequins’ listless start. Indeed, the home side turned down a kickable penalty but Dave Ward’s lineout throw was adjudged not straight and soon after Wasps were over for try No3 – Ashley Johnson the scorer from a driving lineout. Had Cipriani been aware that he had team-mates around him on his own 22 when intercepting the ball, it would most probably have been a fourth for Wasps but instead he hacked on and James Lang, evading two tackles, kicked ahead for Ross Chisholm to get Harlequins on the board. Lang, a 22-year-old ﬂy-half making his Champions Cup debut missed the conversion, but then stepped his way over the try-line following a Harlequins scrum near the Wasps line on the stroke of half-time. Suddenly Harlequins were in the game again. They too do not do things the easy way all the time and Harlequins were staring down the barrel again when Brendan Macken powered past Roberts after taking a well-timed pass from Cipriani. Significantly, it gave Wasps the bonus point they had targeted but the visitors could not see it out. With 15 minutes to go, Danny Care sniped over from close range after a concerted period of Harlequins pressure and Smith’s conversion brought he side to within nine. Smith was purring at this stage and his long, ﬂoated pass to Elia Elia put the replacement hooker away in the corner. He nailed the tricky conversion from the left-hand touchline for good measure. Then came Haskell’s moment of madness and James Chisholm’s killer blow. HARLEQUINS Brown (Smith 61); Walker (R Chisholm 5), Alofa, Roberts (Lewis 76), Visser; Lang, Care; Boyce (Lambert 67), Ward (capt), Sinckler, Glynn, Merrick (Matthews 58), Glynn, J Chisholm, White (Luamanu 58), Bothma (Elia 61) Sin-bin Boyce 15 Tries R Chisholm, Lang, Care, Elia, J Chisholm Cons Lang, Smith 2 WASPS Le Roux; Wade, Macken, Eastmond (Armitage 55), Watson; Cipriani, Robson (Simpson 57); McIntyre (Harris 71), Johnson (Cruse 55), Cooper-Woolley (Moore 61), Launchbury (capt), Gaskell (Myall 51), Haskell, Young (Thompson 61), Carr Namexx (capt) Sent oﬀ Haskell 76 Tries Eastmond, Carr, Johnson, Macken Cons Cipriani 4 Twickenham Stoop Game rating |||||||||| Referee Romain Poite (Fr) Leicester ring changes as Ford is given ﬂy-half spot Andrew Baldock Leicester will take a muchchanged team to Castres today as a disappointing European Champions Cup campaign heads towards a likely early conclusion. The Tigers currently prop up Pool Four, nine points behind the leaders Munster, who will win the group if they beat Racing 92 in Paris. Back-to-back defeats against Munster last month ended any realistic hope of Leicester progressing from a pool that suggested considerable promise when they thumped Castres 54-29 at Welford Road in October. Matt O’Connor, the Tigers head coach, hands starts to players such as full-back George Worth, centre Charlie Thacker, ﬂy-half Joe Ford, lock Harry Wells and ﬂanker Will Evans in a side captained by the prop Greg Bateman. England’s Manu Tuilagi, George Ford, Ben Youngs and Dan Cole are among Leicester’s absentees, while the centre Matt Toomua also sits out the Stade Pierre-Fabre encounter. “We’ve had to make some changes for this week with the England players required to rest in the buildup to the Six Nations, and guys like Logo Mulipola, Manu Tuilagi and Matt Toomua all coming back into a tough schedule of games recently after signiﬁcant injury absences,” O’Connor said. “Their absence provides an opportunity for other players to go out there, put in a performance and stake their claim. It was good to get the [Premiership] win against London Irish last week but we were disappointed with the performance and there is plenty to work on.” The Munster head coach, Johann van Graan, makes four changes for the Racing tie, with Billy Holland, Stephen Archer, Peter O’Mahony and Chris Cloete all featuring, while Munster’s fellow Irish heavyweights after can wrap up Pool Three by beating Glasgow today. The Lions ﬂanker Sean O’Brien and centre Garry Ringrose both miss out for Leinster because of injury, but there is a ﬁrst Champions Cup start for the exciting full-back prospect Jordan Larmour, and the New Zealander James Lowe features on the wing. Newcastle can secure a place in the European Challenge Cup last eight by defeating the Russian champions Enisei-STM, bottom of Pool One with only one point, at Kingston Park. The England Students ﬂanker Simon Uzokwe makes his European debut for the Falcons, packing down in the back row alongside Mark Wilson and Ryan Burrows, while Toby Flood moves to inside-centre and the prop Rob Vickers will reach 250 Newcastle appearances PA if he features from the bench. Down and in: Teimana Harrison will not be denied as he goes over for Northampton’s ﬁrst try in their victory with Clermont Auvergne . Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Reinach try seals comeback win as Saints see oﬀ Clermont NORTHAMPTON 34 CLERMONT 21 Michael Aylwin Franklin’s Gardens The revival continues. Northampton’s hopes in Europe have long gone, along with most of the dignity they bore into this season, but they have salvaged what little of that they had left and made it into a little more. Their realistic ambitions for the rest of this season may not extend much beyond scrapping their way back into this very competition for next, but a scratchy, desperate win last week has been followed up by this classy effort against the French champions. By the end, every collision and decision was going their way. Clermont still have their destiny in their own hands – a win next week at home to the Ospreys will certainly see them through – but the injury-ravaged Frenchmen here ended up looking shaky, as they have proved in domestic rugby this season, rather than in the imperious form they have shown in Europe. Clermont may be meandering along in 10th in the Top 14 this season, but they are dominating in Europe as if they have not a care in the world. Their astonishing dismantling of Saracens before Christmas still resonates and did not bode well for Saints, given the dismantlings they’ve suffered against the very same. Sure enough, straight from the kickoff, Clermont idly worked through the phases for a minute or so, before Benjamin Kayser suddenly worked Remi Grosso clear down the left, and the leggy winger showed himself to be long of arm as well when he reached out of Ahsee Tuala’s tackle for a try in the second minute. They had a second, too, by the end of the ﬁrst quarter, even more extravagant. Nick Abendanon combined with Peter Betham down the right to put Isaiah Toeava away. He won the race to the corner. What is left of the Franklin’s Gardens faithful this season asked questions of the last pass – as, quite passionately, did Dylan Hartley – but the referee was perfectly in line and invoked the law of momentum. It was an invigorating encounter, the pressure pretty much off both teams, albeit for diametrically different reasons, Northampton even deader to this tournament than Clermont are sure to qualify. The Saints replied smartly to Clermont’s ﬁrst try with a period of pressure, which reached its climax when Api Ratuniyarawa and Tom Wood broke Clermont’s defence, before Nic Groom’s long pass put Teimana Harrison into the corner. Northampton were struggling with Clermont’s scrum, yielding a penalty to it on the half-hour, but they handled the visitors’ driven lineouts well enough and struck with a second just before the break. Ben Foden’s cross-kick bounced nicely for Naﬁ Tuitavake, who stepped Peter Betham for the try. Harry Mallinder hit the post with the conversion, as he had the ﬁrst time. He hit the post a third time a couple of minutes into the second half, but this time it went in-off for three points to reduce the deﬁcit to two. And then Northampton – or more specifically their sweet-singing winger, Ben Foden – hit their purest note yet. Foden pounced on a loose ball on his 10-metre line and was away, using Ken Pisi expertly as a dummy runner. Sixty metres later he was in at the corner, and Mallinder converted from the touchline. Two Parra penalties had Clermont back in the lead on the hour, but Mallinder was in the zone now. His crosskick was missed by Grosso, under pressure from Rob Horne, and Pisi was able to scramble the loose ball over the line to the TMO’s satisfaction. Mallinder, of course, landed the conversion from out wide. The momentum was truly with the Saints now – and, who knows, for maybe the rest of the season. They saw off an attacking Clermont scrum and within seconds were pressing again in the right corner. From a ruck a few metres out, Cobus Reinach sniped over for their fifth. Mallinder converted from the touchline, and the result was sealed, if not Clermont’s destiny. NORTHAMPTON Tuala (Tuitavake 29); Pisi, Horne, Stephenson, Foden; Mallinder, Groom (Reinach 59); Ma’afu (Van Wyk 62), Hartley (capt; Haywood 62), Brookes (Ford-Robinson 78), Ratuniyarawa (Paterson 75), Day, Lawes, Wood, Harrison (Eadie 78) Tries Harrison, Tuitavake, Foden, Pisi, Reinach Cons Mallinder 3 Pen Mallinder CLERMONT Toeava; Abendanon, Betham, Lamerat, Grosso; McAlister (Spedding 65), Parra (capt); Falgoux (Chaume 65), Kayser (Behergaray 75), Slimani (Zirakasvili 62), Van der Merwe (Itturia 56; Jedrasiak 67), Vahaamahina, Chouly (Kolelishvili 62), Lapandry, Lee Tries Grosso, Toeava Con Parra Pens Parra 3 Franklin’s Gardens 8,253 Game rating |||||||||| Referee George Clancy (Ire) 14.01.18 * European Champions Cup | Rugby union | SPORT | 13 Ewers kickstarts six-try thrashing EXETER 41 MONTPELLLIER 10 Robert Kitson Sandy Park It has not been a vintage European season for the Premiership clubs but English pride is not yet entirely extinguished. This convincing six-try thrashing of the current French league leaders has certainly breathed fresh life into Exeter’s prospects in Pool Three and the revitalised Chiefs do not have the look of a team who have given up on quarterﬁnal participation. Everything will now depend on beating Glasgow in the ﬁnal pool round with the try bonus-point they earned on a cool Devon evening having also boosted their prospects. Aside from their backto-back defeats against the pool leaders, Leinster, this has otherwise been a productive campaign for the English champions and, even without the injured Jack Nowell, they reduced their visitors to a wheezing pulp. If the outstanding finishing of Olly Woodburn, who scored two acrobatic tries in the left corner, inevitably caught the eye this was primarily a win fashioned by the home pack against opposite numbers with far weightier reputations. Sam Simmonds was outstanding, Luke Cowan-Dickie was a constant nuisance and the front ﬁve collectively enjoyed a rewarding afternoon at scrum time. Last week’s below-par defeat at Newcastle has been forgotten already. Strictly speaking this was not really an Anglo-French affair at all. The visitors’ starting XV contained a mere three Frenchmen and was signiﬁcantly more populated with South Africans and Georgians. When the top club in the Top 14 are as cosmopolitan as this, it makes the task facing the new French management team ahead of the Six Nations all the harder. As the Chiefs have delighted in proving, winning trophies is about rather more than simply recruiting expensive imports and Montpellier, even with Aaron Cruden, Bismarck du Plessis, François Steyn and Louis Picamoles in their ranks, continue to be less than the sum of their pricy parts. The Chiefs, to their credit, even had some joy at the set-piece and could have had the game all but sewn up by halftime with a shade more precision with ball in hand and more ruthlessness in their opponents’ 22. Luke Cowan-Dickie lost the ball as he stretched for the line and a boot in touch ruled out a potential chargedown try for Lachie Turner. In between, however, Chiefs did manage one touchdown through Dave Ewers after 28 minutes. With a chilly breeze at their backs in the second-half, a seven-point interval lead felt a handier cushion than it looked on the scoreboard. The qualification maths, however, remain straightforward. With Leinster likely to clinch top place in Pool Three against Glasgow with a round to spare, In the pink: Sam Simmonds, scorer of one of Exeter’s six tries, repels all Montpellier challenges as he makes a break for the line. Alex Davidson/JMP/Rex/Shutterstock As the Chiefs have delighted in proving, winning trophies is about rather more than recruiting expensive imports nothing less than another win at Scotstoun next Saturday will be enough to maintain the Chiefs’ last-eight hopes. Their only real moment of good fortune here came when Montpellier, after an extended period of pressure, opted merely to kick a 52nd-minute penalty rather than go for the jugular with a driven lineout. Up the other end surged the Chiefs and the excellent Simmons duly burrowed beneath a heap of bodies to show the value of aiming higher. Woodburn’s spectacular brace of ﬁnishes in the left corner within seven minutes of each other hammered home a similar message, as well as seemingly defying the laws of physics. Nic White nipped down the blindside to score his side’s ﬁfth before Don Armand, ever reliable, poached a sixth. This was pretty much exactly the script Exeter had hoped for. Having already beaten their opponents in the south of France, they must now turn their attention to doing something similar on the banks of the River Clyde. At the very least they will go down ﬁghting. EXETER Turner; Whitten, Slade, S Hill, Woodburn; Steenson (capt; J Simmonds 70), White (Chudley 70); Moon (Hepburn 55), Cowan-Dickie (Yeandle 55-70), Williams (Francis 55), Lees, J Hill, Ewers (Kvesic 59), Armand, S Simmonds (Salmon 70) Tries Ewers, S Simmonds, Woodburn 2, White, Armand Cons Steenson 3, J Simmonds Pen J Simmonds MONTPELLIER Immelman; N’gandebe, Steyn, Serfontein, Nadolo; Cruden, Aprasidze (Mogg 70); Nariashvili (Fichten 46), B Du Plessis, Jonker (Haouas ht), Van Rensburg, Mikautadze (Delannoy 63), Bardy, Camara (Galletier 57), Picamoles (capt) Try Nadolo Con Cruden Pen Cruden 20 LA ROCHELLE 13 Ulster knocked La Rochelle off top spot in Pool One with a hard-fought 20-13 win over the French side at a wet and windy Kingspan Stadium. Rory Best – the captain and man of the match – Jacob Stockdale and Nick Timoney scored tries for Les Kiss’s side, giving them a one-point lead at the top of the group and a good position to qualify for the quarter-ﬁnals for the ﬁrst time since 2014. The Irish province can ﬁnish as pool winners if they triumph with a bonus point at Wasps in next weekend’s ﬁnal round of games. But Ulster’s failure to gain a maximum-point triumph, along with the French team managing a losing bonus point – thanks to a try, a conversion and two penalties from the scrum-half Alexi Bales – meant La Lineman: Jacob Stockdale runs in for Ulster’s second try against La Rochelle during their European Champions Cup win in Belfast. Oliver McVeigh/Sportsﬁle via Getty Read our report from last night’s Pool 2 match online published in later editions of Observer Sport theguardian.com/sport Sandy Park 11,427 Game rating |||||||||| Referee Nigel Owens (Wal) Best exploits maul to help lift Ulster into top spot but door left open for final-round frustration ULSTER OSPREYS v SARACENS Rochelle remained in the mix going into their home game against Harlequins. Bales opened the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty after huge early pressure from La Rochelle had nearly put Vincent Rattez in from a Jérémy Sinzelle cross-kick. That became 6-0 on 16 minutes after Ulster were penalised at a lineout and Bales landed the kick. The visitors were then reduced to 14 men when the replacement winger Paul Jordaan was shown a yellow card by Wayne Barnes for hitting Charles Piutau in mid-air. Ulster took advantage of their numerical superiority and, after Christian Lealiifano – the 30-year-old playing his ﬁnal home game for Ulster – put a penalty into the corner, the lineout was secured and Best got on the back of an irresistible maul to score on 28 minutes. John Cooney missed the conversion, leaving Ulster trailing by a point, which was how it stayed until Jordaan’s return. Ulster got their noses in front ﬁve minutes before half-time. After some good approach work from their pack, the ball was thrown wide, with Louis Ludik’s scoop allowing Stockdale to pick up and charge over in the right corner after swatting three defenders. Cooney again failed to add the extras following the Ireland winger’s score but the home side took their 10-6 advantage into the interval. The game erupted into life with two tries in three minutes – one for each team – early in the second period. First, Bales scored near the posts after Victor Vito’s break had carved Ulster open to take the visitors back into the lead, with the scrum-half’s conversion of his own try making it 13-10 to La Rochelle. But Ulster immediately hit back when the replacement Darren Cave latched on to a spilled ball in La Rochelle’s 22 to put Timoney in space and the No8 did well to drive over after 45 minutes. Cooney’s conversion put Ulster 17-13 up and that became 20-13 when the scrum-half added a 49th-minute penalty. The remainder of the game was mostly dominated by Ulster, but neither side managed any further PA scores. * 14.01.18 14 | SPORT | Cricket | One-day series Morgan in better, calmer place after chaos of four years ago Captain happy to focus on World Cup buildup in contrast to England’s dire tour of 2013-14 Vithushan Ehantharajah Melbourne On a Melbourne February morning in 2014, Eoin Morgan was perched on a bench outside the England team hotel nursing a coffee. He looked refreshed, though in that typical Morgan way, where gauging his mood would be a fool’s lot. Morgan sat, supped and watched the world go by while, within the walls behind him, English cricket was falling over itself. The night before, England were thumped by eight wickets in a Twenty20 at the MCG – the penultimate match of the 2013-14 tour that eventually saw them register only one competitive win (the fourth ODI at Perth) in 13 attempts. An hour after play, news filtered through that Andy Flower – who had returned home after the Test series and handed the reins to Ashley Giles, the limited-overs coach at the time – was to be sacked. The next 10 hours were as chaotic as they come for the ECB. It had announced the news to pre-empt a scoop only to expose how underprepared it was for such a bombshell. At a sharply arranged 8am press conference in a spare hotel suite, which had to be ﬁlled with a variety of chairs by the ECB’s media manager who hadn’t slept a wink, the chairman, Giles Clarke, read from a hastily prepared statement with all the enthusiasm of a man tasked with reading a list of his partner’s former lovers. He did not refuse questions but certainly did his utmost not to answer any. The tour ﬁnished a few days later in Sydney in predictably disastrous fashion. This time around, Morgan as ODI and T20 captain knows how important it is to separate the red and white ball portions of the tour. To avoid running the same fate as a TV series that doesn’t quite nail ‘I can’t see how going to the IPL could hamper me’ Continued from page 1 matters in its opening burst and quickly descends into farce by the second season, when story arcs are abandoned and characters killed off in an attempt to bring a change for the better. Sure enough, this is what Morgan was asked to address in the lead-up to today’s ODI opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground: how will he ensure what comes next is not deﬁned by the Ashes thrashing? But he distanced himself from the simplistic notion that avenging earlier defeats will be the main driver of one- SCHEDULE One Day International Series Today Fri Sun 26 Jan 28 Jan 1st ODI 2nd ODI 3rd ODI 4th ODI 5th ODI all 3:20am Melbourne Cricket Ground Brisbane Cricket Ground Sydney Cricket Ground Adelaide Oval Perth Stadium International Twenty20 series 7 Feb 1st T20 Hobart 8:40am 10 Feb 2nd T20 MCG, Melbourne 8:20am Follow all the action with our over-by-over commentary: theguardian.com/sport day success. It is probably the last thing many of them want to reﬂect on. “A lot of the guys who have come into the squad who haven’t been here a great deal or come from various places around the world bring a lot of energy to the group,” he said. “We’re trying to do two different things as a Test team and a white-ball group. I certainly think the mentality within the groups can have a different effect.” For what it is worth England’s ODI record on Australian soil is not particularly ﬂash. They have won only ﬁve of the last 20 ODIs played here, a period which includes the cringeworthy 2015 World Cup campaign. The overall headto-head over the past ﬁve years is 21-14 in the hosts’ favour. That World Cup comfortably goes down as the nadir of England’s shorter form travails. Remember when Morgan was pushed into the captaincy after Alastair Cook was pushed out on the One day at a time: Eoin Morgan hopes England’s ODI side can be successful in Australia as they progress towards their main goal, the 2019 World Cup. Ellen Smith/EPA ‘I’m sure Australia will throw up some diﬀerent wickets – they’re not all going to be as ﬂat as a pancake’ cusp of the tournament? Or James Taylor batting No3 in the warm-ups before getting shunted down the order when the tournament began? Then defeat to Bangladesh to knock them out of the competition? There was literally a book written about how bad it all was. Then came the overhaul. And it worked. “A line was drawn in the sand and we were given clear directives that the goal was the 2019 World Cup,” Morgan said. “To bridge the gap between where we were and, say, being in the semi-ﬁnal or the ﬁnal. That was the ﬁrst port of the call. Bridging that gap came quicker than we ever thought it would. We’ve got a huge amount of confidence from the selectors. Andrew Strauss, our director of cricket, gave absolute clarity in what we wanted. I think, as a captain and backroom staff, we certainly thrived on that. It’s not often you get free rein and ambition to be adventurous as you like.” With such ambition and adventure has come a few stumbles. In last year’s Champions Trophy semi-final – England’s to win, so they said – they had a dart at 400 when 300 would have been plenty on a tacky Cardiff wicket. Pakistan picked off their target of 211 with have to make sure that they make you stronger and go the other way.” Root also conﬁrmed he will enter the IPL auction, despite the protestations of Bayliss. “The schedule is full on. I’ve always said I put playing for England ﬁrst and if it means resting from things like the IPL, which I’ve done in the past, I’ll happily do that. For however long my international career lasts it’s going to be focused about as giving as much as I can for this team and playing for England. “But one thing I’ve been very aware of for the past two years is the lack of T20 cricket. When that World Cup does come around, this is probably the best window of opportunity for me to develop that white-ball side of my game. You’ve seen how quickly one-day cricket has moved forward in the last three or four years. “As someone involved in the Test side I don’t want to be missing whiteball cricket and falling behind. I want to make sure I’m keeping my place and setting the standards in this team. “The IPL is a great opportunity. It may be that I don’t have a great IPL but the best thing would be the exposure to different players and different ways of looking at the game, being under pressure. I can’t see how that could hamper my game or be detrimental to my England career.” Root will be one of 26 England players to enter this year’s IPL auction, which takes place on 27 and 28 January. The tournament itself is scheduled to run from 4 April to 31 May, meaning Root’s availability will be only partial given his international commitments, with the second Test against New Zealand scheduled to ﬁnish on 3 April and the ﬁrst Test of the English summer (against Pakistan at Lord’s) starting on 24 May. ease before taking the trophy in the ﬁnal against India. Lesson learned. “We’ve tempered our aggression with some smart cricket,” Morgan said. “Par for the course for this series will be bringing out the positive aggressive style with the bat while adapting to the wicket. We did it a little bit in India playing on very good wickets, in the West Indies we played on stodgy wickets and managed to adapt. I’m sure Australia will throw up some different wickets – they’re not all going to be as ﬂat as a pancake.” Preparing for an English World Cup with an Australian series might not seem like natural bedfellows. But Morgan is aware that overcoming the challenges in the next month will put his side in good stead for 2019. He has seen enough to know that leaving here without falling into disarray will go a long way. Five things to consider before the next Ashes Move Cook to No3 and look beyond Branderson 1 Find a No3 The search for Alastair Cook’s opening partner has overshadowed an even greater need to ﬁll the most important batting position of all. James Vince, for all his seductive talent, is the antonym of a Test No3. There will be more calls for Joe Root to move up, though m few captains have had long-term ti success in that position – Ricky P Ponting is a spectacular exception – and there’s a reason why Steve Smith and Virat Kohli bat No4. Dawid Malan has the temperament and adaptability, though exposing him to high-class new-ball bowling might kill the golden goose. Should the chosen No3 struggle in New Zealand, England might consider moving Cook (right) down the order for the summer series against Pakistan and India. It would give him the stimulation of a fresh challenge and England a bridge between the openers and the middle order. Haseeb Hameed or Keaton Jennings could then come in alongside Mark Stoneman. And if nothing else, it would be a creative way to end the search for Cook’s opening partner. 2 Pick a specialist spinner Moeen Ali is a role model in need of a role. He was picked as a temporary solution to England’s spin-bowling problems in 2014 and is still doing the job. Unless England are to embrace a more ﬂexible approach selection, which would allow to sele Moe Moeen (left) to be a priceless uti utility player whose role and sel selection would depend on con conditions and conﬁdence, the they surely need to clarify his posit position. All things being equal, England should consider him as b t a batsman who bowls – even if that means he doesn’t make it into the ﬁrst XI in New Zealand – and pick a specialist spinner. The situation is complicated by the absence of a must-pick spinner and the wild ﬂuctuations in Moeen’s performance levels: he was England’s best player last summer and their worst this winter. It also depends on other decisions. If Malan moves to No3, say, Moeen has a much greater chance of staying in the team as a middle-order batsman. For most of his Test career he has been an adorable but often insubstantial loose cannon down the order; a gloriﬁed bits-and-pieces player. It’s not his fault, but Moeen has become a symbol of a short-term thinking that probably needs to stop. 3 Prepare for life without Branderson In the next few years England will lose two bowlers with around 1,000 Test wickets and a combined ombined bowling IQ approaching 300.. Though Jimmy Anderson is 35 and Stuart Broad 31, recent performancess suggest ill be it’s unlikely there will four years between their retirements. Losing two ck great bowlers in quick ntold succession can do untold damage, as Australiaa d (Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne) and West brose Indies (Curtley Ambrose h) and Courtney Walsh) found out. And whilee fast bowlers’ bodies do not give a solitary hoot aboutt bestlaid plans, England should at least try to staggerr the o prepare retirements – and to ns giving for them. That means Chris Woakes, Toby Roland-Jones and others as much experience as any Test matches possible. With so many n the next two squashed together in ht do well years, England might erson and to think less of Anderson Broad and more of Anderson or Broad. 4 Prioritise Test cricket ricket English Test cricket cket could really use a hug right now. It’s severely homesick, down in the dumps and, for the ﬁrst time since it became a big brother on 5 January 1971 with the birth of one-day it not even internationals, it’s the most popular sibling in the family. All an anyone keeps talking about is how dynamic and successful tthe white-ball twins have beco have become. It would have been naive of the England and W Wales Cricket Board chiefs to thin think they could on improve England’s one-day cricket so spectacularl spectacularly without a knock-on effect on the Test team. Yet the extent and speed o of that impact mu must have surprised surpris them. There are a few potential so solutions tto consider, both shortb term (specialist coaches (spec for the re red- and whiteball teams, team even before Trevor B Bayliss’s departure departu in 2019) and pa particularly long-term lo (playing ( the t County Championship at the hei height of summer on ﬂatter pitches; using a Kookaburra ball; giving a long run in tthe side to potential stars such as Mason Crane, Hameed, Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran). But with the Ashes and the World Cup in 2019, it could be a while before Test cricket emerges from the shadow of its younger siblings. 5 Find an X-factor bowler “Raw Pace and Mystery Spin” would be a good title for an existential play about a series of England captains tormented unto madness by recurring dreams of 82mph right-a right-arm seamers. If England are to co compete overseas they need to inv in some players with more invest tra transfer able skills, whether it t leg-spin of Crane (or a is the high-class ﬁnger spinner such as hig Graeme Grae Swann and Nathan Lyon), the pace of Mark Wood (left), Jamie Overton O t or Olly Stone, or even the left-handedness of Sam Curran. They could even have an unofficial quota system: every Test XI or squad would have to include at one least wildcard. It’s radical, and would invite ridicule; but then so does losing consecutive away series 4-0. If England don’t do something to ensure the recent promises of long-term change are more than idle new year’s resolutions, we will be having the same conversation in four Rob Smyth years’ time. 14.01.18 * Australian Open | Tennis | SPORT | 15 Djokovic takes big gamble to regain crown from injury-hit opposition KEVIN L MITCHELL MELBOURNE N ovak Djokovic handed out sugar-free sweets to the media dia ngg again yesterday, spreading love and good health in equal ual measure, but no amount off bonhomie could disguise that the sixixtime winner of the Australian Open iss in for the toughest fortnight of any of his dozen Melbourne visits. He is gambling on his suspect elbow ow holding up with the help of a restructured red service action and admitted before his is first match – against the flickeringlyy dangerous American Donald Young on n Tuesday – that his injury, which did not ot require surgery, is still not 100%. “Right now it’s at the level where I can compete, and every day is getting better,” he said. “You know, I’m hoping that it can be 100% at the start of the tournament. Throughout the tournament, I don’t know how it’s going to behave. Even if it’s 100% healed, after six months of ow how no competition, you never know you’re going to react. an do. “There’s not much more I can r, with I’ve done everything in my power, a team of people around me, to enable ys and me to be here in front of you guys en.” to compete in the Australian Open.” It was always going to be an approchedule, priate target for his comeback schedule, given his success here, and the support of fans who mobbed him thee day he rat Saﬁn arrived. It is 12 years since Marat bagelled the young Serbian on his debut ee games in Melbourne, allowing him three st-round in an embarrassingly quick, ﬁrst-round three-setter, but he has gone on to establish himself as the king of thiss tournament with some breathtakingg performances in recent years. agement However, the rules of engagement ic’s “serhave changed. So has Djokovic’s runcated vice motion”, as he calls it: truncated ain in his and more efficient to ease the pain im right elbow that has dogged him h for nearly three years and which cut short his season after thee x quarter-ﬁnals at Wimbledon six months ago. ation has From dominance to trepidation one who been a jolting journey for someone f. He has has come to exude self-belief. mixed that super-confidence with an adherence to new-age values over the past couple of years and has a gentler mien. Like Andy Murray, who joined him at the exit gate at Wimbledon before his own enforced sabbatical, Djokovic misses tennis terribly. That is why the 14th seed is taking a qualiﬁed risk here, hoping his body does not collapse on him again. It does not make him an altogether backable proposition, even in an open ﬁeld. The winner, though, is more likely to come from another quarter. It almost FIVE TO WATCH JACOB STEINBERG’S PICK OF THE MEN’S MEN S DRAW NICK KYRGIOS Tipping the young Aus Australian is always Many good judges a dangerous game. Ma more from Alex will expect to see far m Zverev, the world No4, w who is widely regarded as the regar brightest prodigy in brigh the men’s game. Yet m idea of Kyrgios the ide fulﬁlling his potential remains tantalising. Naturally Naturall there is every chance the t world No17 disappoint again at could disap tournament but his home tou winning Bris Brisbane was an encouraging step in the encouragi right direction for the direc 22-year-old. 22-yea Tennis is the pain game, as players keep saying, and Johanna Konta admitted before her ﬁrst match at the 2018 Australian Open, against the American Madison Brengle on Tuesday, that she is still managing a damaged foot and sore hip. The foot injury wrecked her ﬁnish to 2017 after a blazing summer of success and a steady rise through the rankings, and the hip went on her in Brisbane recently, forcing the world No10 to quit when 3-2 down in the third set against Elina Svitolina. Neither was serious enough to stop her playing in Sydney, where she lost in three tight sets to Agnieszka Radwanska on Tuesday, and Dominic Thiem and David Goﬃ oﬃn will believe this could be their time, me, while Marin Cilic is always a threat. t. But Del Potro is a good outside bet. The lovable Argentinian is free from rom injury problems at the moment and nd his victory over Roger Federer at Flushing Meadows last year proved that hat his game remains explosive enough ough to inconvenience the best. The world No12 is a terrifying proposition ion on his day. y But can he last the he course over a fortnight? GRIGOR DIMITROV RAFAEL NADAL With Andy Murray recovering from hip surgery, Kei Nishikori sidelined and uncertainty hanging over Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, an open ﬁeld oﬀers a chance for Dimitrov, who has crept up to No3 in the rankings, to produce something of substance. A semi-ﬁnalist last year, the Bulgarian has to build on winning the ATP World Tour Finals. But trusting the inconsistent 26-year-old is hard. Part of what made Roger Federer’s renaissance so thrilling was the resumption of his rivalry with Nadal, who also climbed oﬀ the canvas to enjoy a successful year. The Spaniard lost to his old friend in a classic Australian Open ﬁnal but he completed La Décima a at the French Open, strolled to the US Open title and ﬁnished the year as the world No1. The 31-year-old’s troublesome knees ﬂared up at the ATP World Tour Finals, however, and his ﬁtness is a concern. Comeback: Novak Djokovic is competing at Melbourne after a serious elbow injury ROGER RO OGER FEDERER A ye year ago time seemed to be running out for the Swiss great. runn reat. Instead, Federer roared back Inste k win his ﬁfth Australian to w Open title before regaining Ope Wimbledon crown. his W Now, with so many of his Now rivals wounded or absent, rival defending champion the d starts as the favourite. Yet the star 36-year-old’s quarter-ﬁnall exit at the US 36-y Open reminded him that he must manage Ope body carefully; his hopess of winning his b 20th major will be in doubtt if his back a 20 plays up. play certainly will not be the former champion, Stan Wawrinka, who is in his quarter and who conceded yesterday that he, too, is gambling on a suspect knee surviving the examination he is about to give it, starting with a relatively easy match on Tuesday against Ricardas Berankis. “It’s been six months,” the Swiss said of his time away from court after two surgical incisions into his left knee. “It’s been tough, really tough. But I’m feeling better.” Konta determined to rise again after ‘hitting a wall’ Kevin Mitchell Melbourne JUAN MARTÍN DEL POTRO her concerns would seem to have eased considerably. “I irritated my sural nerve in my foot in February last year,” she said. “It’s a sharp pain through [the edge of her left foot]. The sural nerve is really close to the surface and you can feel it by brushing along. It’s still active but not painful. I’m managing it. I still wear a desensitising patch during matches to put it even more out of my mind.” Konta revealed for the ﬁrst time that she “hit a wall” last year, before rediscovering some of her best form in recent weeks. “Besides the physical struggles I was having with my foot – which deﬁnitely hindered my ability to stay as present and as focused as I wanted to on court – the worries, and everything, that all kind of snowballed and accumulated. He has to get past the Italian Thomas Fabbi Fabbiano in the ﬁrst round, and Mischa is pitted against the talented Korean Hyeon Chun Both are tricky propositions. Chung. Kyle Edmund, meanwhile, has drawn Ky e an extremely difficult opponent in the 20 US Open ﬁnalist, Kevin Ander2017 so The South African (Anderson, not son. Ed Edmund) won in ﬁve competitive sets whe they last met, at the 2017 French when Open Open, and Britain’s lone representative in the men’s draw here takes heart from that. He says he is over the rolled ankle that struck s him down towards the end of his th three-setter against Grigor Dimitrov in Brisbane Bri a week ago, and is looking forward to the challenge of trading big shots with Anderson, one of the fastest servers in the game. “H “He had a good run at the end of last year, played well at the start of the year. So it’l it’ll be a tough match, but what do you expe expect with grand slams? You’re going Better than awful is not great, but Wawrinka is one of the toughest and strongest competitors on the circuit and he could at least make a move through the early rounds, with the likelihood of playing Djokovic in the quarter-ﬁnals – unless the ﬁfth seed, Dominic Thiem, finds some form, or Mischa Zverev repeats his giant-killing of 2017, when he put Murray out of the tournament. However, the older Zverev would have to beat his younger brother, Alexander, to do that – and they are scheduled to meet in the second round. Alexander, No4 in the world, brings more attitude than his brother, and said: “I think it’s going to be a very special moment for all of us. I mean, two brothers playing at a grand slam together and playing each other is something you won’t see very often. If it happens, of course I will want to win. I think he will want to win. It will be a happy moment for, I think, the whole family.” “It was also a case of my tolerance as a person. I kind of hit a wall. I wasn’t able to roll with the punches any more. It was a bit overwhelming. I couldn’t ﬁnd that head space you need to ﬁnd when you’re ut.” being tested day in, day out.” er The foot did not bother her in Brisbane – but, forr the p ﬁrst time, she felt a sharp at, pain in her right hip. That, ontrol. too, seems to be under control. “It’s settled down nicely,”” she ood said. “I am generally in good shape. I’ve been workingg my body to the max to tryy and withstand as many matches as possible but I’ve also got to give my body an adaptation process in a competitive environment. No matter how much you train you can’t replicate the stresses that the body takes when it’s in a competitive environment.” nt.” When she was struggling to get past 150 in the rankings years ago, she was aware that mental stress played a big part in stiﬂing her tennis. There have been brief “panic” momen moments since then, she says, but she is fa far better at recognising the danger si signals. “It’s really easy to catastrophise cat everything. I’d like to th think as I’ve gotten older I do a bit better with that. Again, if I don’t take enough time, if II’m not aware enough of where I am mentally and emotionally, don’t pick u up on those moments w where I’m going to take ta a day here, it can be overwhelming. ov “I’m still sti on that learning curve. I learned a lot last year. I’d like to think when I’m w creeping towards creep hitting hitt my limit, I know kn I need to take tak maybe an af afternoon off, an we won’t and Shaping up: Johanna Konta a says her injuries are under control trol to be playing tough players players. If you want to do well, you’re going to have to beat them at some point. Tha That’s the way it goes. You always hav have the chance of drawing a seed like Kevin.” He said of the Roland Garros match: “I play played well. Very small margins. Apart Ap from the fourth set, most of tthe sets were nip and tuck. I’ve worked on stuff, have to get better, learning fro from that eight months on, or somethi something like that. I’d like to say I’m a bit m more experithen Hopefully I enced than I was then. a do better. can learn from that and “My serve has improved, bringing some mo more balls into play on my returns – that’s deﬁnitely going to be a good one for me against Kevin. It depends o on the condiw him. It’s tions, how the match goes with a bit up and down at the mi minute. “I’ve only played one tournament but that one was good for me: beat two good players – doesn’t matter about the players, it’s the type of matches. They were close and I came through, both winning the ﬁrst set and losing the ﬁrst set. I was happy with that. Even the one I lost I was playing well against a top player. I’m happy with how I’ve been playing. The year’s so long, there’s always ups and downs. It’s important to look at the ups and see what works for you and try to carry that on.” BROADY MISSES OUT Naomi Broady’s long wait to play her secondround qualifying match at the Australian Open ended in disappointment. The British No3 was scheduled to face Bibiane Schoofs on Friday afternoon but play was eventually called oﬀ following persistent rain. But after further rain delays Broady lost to the Dutch player 7-6 (5), 6-2. Broady’s defeat means Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Kyle Edmund are Britain’s only representatives in the singles main draws. PA get to a point where I need to take a long time off.” Testing her resolve in the ﬁrst round will be Brengle, whom she lost to in 2015 but beat handily a year later in their only other meeting. “She’s a tricky player,” Konta said. “She has beaten some great players. You never underestimate her. She is incredibly tough in the way she competes, the amount of balls she’s able to get back. I’m preparing for a tough match.” In the pain game, every day is tough. Some are just more enjoyable than others. * 14.01.18 16 | SPORT | Racing Frost in Grand National picture after her skills work like a charm Chris Cook Warwick This was the latest big day for the enormously popular young jockey Bryony Frost, who won another major Saturday race and simultaneously bagged herself a Grand National ride. She and Milansbar had their rivals in trouble a long way from home with an attacking approach to the Classic Chase, coming home 11 lengths clear despite odds of 12-1. It was Frost’s ﬁrst ride on the horse and she evidently made the right impression on the winning owner, 80-year-old Robert Bothway, enjoying his biggest moment in the sport after more than half a century of owning racehorses. He described her work here as “brilliant, absolutely first-class”, adding that he would be delighted if Frost were able to take the mount again at Aintree in April. Milansbar was quietly fancied for the Welsh Grand National last weekend but turned in a most unpromising display, being pushed along from an early stage before unseating Trevor Whelan at the 12th. Connections felt he had sulked after being crowded in the mad dash to the ﬁrst bend that day but the result was that his trainer, Neil King, went for a day’s shooting rather than coming here to see the sequel. He was immediately on the phone to Bothway with the rallying cry: “Aintree, here we come!” Indeed, Milansbar may not run again before the big day if King thinks he can keep him fresh enough Oﬀ pat: Bryony Frost and Milansbar head into the Warwick winner’s enclosure with a couple of days’ hunting. He does not wish to wear out the effect of the blinkers which worked so well when ﬁtted for the ﬁrst time here. A 40-1 shot for the National last night, Milansbar has obviously not convinced everybody he is the right type for that test but last year’s National hero, One For Arthur, also won this race en route. If Frost takes the ride, Milansbar will surely be a warm order with the betting public and those charged with promoting the sport may require oxygen at the prospect of her getting a ﬁrst ride in the race on a horse with half a chance. “He’s turned into Pegasus!” Frost told reporters, once more showing the unforced enthusiasm and volubility which, along with her riding skills, got her voted “jockey of the month” for both November and December. Explaining IN BRIEF ATHLETICS Muir leads mixed relay to cross-country title how she was able to save a bit of her horse’s energy, so that he was not a spent force on the run-in, she said: “He’s pulled up, still thinking he’s God. He’ll be going home, having lovely dreams about winging over those fences.” Even in victory, many jockeys are cautious in conversation with reporters. Frost may be the ﬁrst in the game’s 300 years to greet the press pack with the words: “Hey guys! How are we all doing?” Asked about her recent successes, she said: “Life’s good. The crowd are awesome.” Perhaps her agent or her main employer, Paul Nicholls, are safeguarding the 5lb claim she can take off the backs of her horses until she rides her 40th winner. Still, it is a surprise to see that this was just her fourth ride of the year and her only one on the card. She makes no such complaint herself, saying of this ﬁrst booking for King: “It ﬁlls you with conﬁdence because people are obviously seeing the way that you ride and saying: ‘You know what, I think she’d get on with my horse, I’m going to put her up and see what happens.’” More trainers should be thinking that way. A good day was also had by Nicky Henderson, who was getting married in Scotland while four of his horses won races, including William Henry in Kempton’s Lanzarote. North Yorkshire’s Malcolm Jefferson had a double, including a most impressive success by Waiting Patiently, who will surely have a big chance in a Grade One at the Cheltenham Festival. Double European indoor champion Laura Muir anchored Great Britain to victory in the mixed team relay event in the Great Edinburgh Cross Country. Muir took the baton in third place behind Europe and Belgium but wasted no time in hitting the front and powered away to a comfortable win around the 4x1km Holyrood Course. The British quartet of Tom Marshall, Alexandra Bell, Adam Clarke and Muir ﬁnished in 11min 33sec, seven seconds ahead of Belgium. PA European Champions Cup Pool 2: Clermont Auvergne v Ospreys (3.15pm); Saracens v Northampton (3.15pm). Pool 3: Glasgow v Exeter (1pm); Montpellier v Leinster (1pm). Pool 5: Benetton Treviso v Bath (5.30pm); Scarlets v Toulon (5.30pm). European Challenge Cup Pool 1: Enisei-STM v Newcastle (10am); Newport Gwent D’gons v Bordeaux. Pool 2: Lyon v Cardiﬀ Blues (5pm); Toulouse v Sale (5pm). Pool 3: Zebre v Agen (2pm). Pool 4: Krasny Yar v London Irish (1pm). Stade Francais v Edinburgh (8pm). Pool 5: Brive v Worcester (2.30pm); Connacht v Oyonnax (2.30pm). British & Irish Cup Pool 1: Bedford v Nottingham (2pm). Pool 2: Leinster A v Doncaster (2pm). Pool 3: Newport Gwent D’gons Premiership (2pm); Yorkshire Carnegie v Jersey (2pm). Pool 4: Richmond v Ealing Trailﬁnders (2pm). National League One Ampthill & District v Bishop’s Stortford (2.15pm); Birmingham Moseley v Old Albanians; Caldy v Darlington Mowden Park (2pm); Coventry v Esher; Hull Ionians v Blackheath (2pm); Old Elthamians v Cambridge (2pm); Plymouth Albion v Loughborough Students; Rosslyn Park v Fylde. BT Scottish Premiership Ayr v Marr (2pm); Boroughmuir v Heriot’s Rugby Club; Glasgow Hawks v Currie; Melrose v Stirling County (2pm); Watsonians v Hawick. SUNDAY (3.15pm unless stated) European Champions Cup Pool 1: La Rochelle v Harlequins; Wasps v Ulster. Pool 4: Leicester v Racing 92; Munster v Castres. GOLF EurAsia Cup, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Fourball results: T Fleetwood & H Stenson (Eng/Swe) bt SSP Chawrasia & Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 3 & 2; P Casey & T Hatton bt An B-h & K Aphibarnrat (Kor/Tha) 2 & 1; G Green & Y Ikeda (Mal/Jap) bt R Cabrera-Bello & A Levy (Sp/Fr) 1 down; M Fitzpatrick & T Pieters (Eng/Bel) bt Kang S-h & P Saksansin (Kor/Tha) 3 & 2; H Tanihara & P Khongwatmai (Jpn/Tha) bt P Dunne & A Noren (Ire/Swe) 2 & 1; N Fung & Li H-t bt R Fisher & B Wiesberger (Eng/Aut) 3 & 1. Sony Open, Waialae CC, Honolulu, Hawaii Leading second-round scores (US unless stated) 127 B Harman 64 63. 130 T Gooch 64 66; C Kirk 63 67; Z Johnson 63 67; J Peterson 66 64; T Hoge 65 65. 131 K Stanley 64 67; O Schniederjans 66 65; P Kizzire 67 64. 132 X Schauﬀele 68 64; K Kisner 68 64. 133 J Kelly 66 67; B Stuard 67 66; C Smith (Aus) 66 67; R Knox (Sco) 69 64; D Kataoka (Jpn) 65 68. 134 J Dufner 69 65; H Swaﬀord 68 66; G Woodland 67 67; S Saunders 67 67; S Cink 70 64. CRICKET Markram on the rise Aiden Markram fell six runs short of a third century in only his ﬁfth Test before South Africa’s strong start against India was checked by late wickets in Centurion. The 23-year-old has now scored at least 90 in four of his ﬁve appearances and his efforts were boosted by 82 from Hashim Amla as the hosts ended day one of the second Test on 269 for six. But having been 246 for three, the Proteas were left ruing three late wickets as they look to secure a series victory in a meeting of the two top-ranked sides in Test cricket. PA Twin tons fire up Irish Centuries from the captain William Porterﬁeld and Andrew Balbirnie helped Ireland beat the UAE for the second time in three days in their TriSeries match, comprehensive victors by 67 runs in Dubai. PA Carrying the baton: Laura Muir anchors Britain’s mixed relay team to victory TENNIS Kerber posts warning Angelique Kerber won her ﬁrst title since claiming the US Open crown in 2016 with victory over Ashleigh Barty at the Sydney International. The German has been a different player at the start of this season to the one who struggled so badly in 2017 and goes into the Australian Open as a real contender to reclaim the title she won two years ago. Barty was looking for her ﬁrst WTA Tour title on home soil but it was Kerber who seized the initiative in the match and went on to win 6-4, 6-4. PA GOLF Paisley powers up England’s Chris Paisley will take a oneshot lead into the ﬁnal day of the South Africa Open, but Branden Grace is hot on his heels. Chasing his ﬁrst European Tour title, Paisley carded a third round of 70 at Glendower Golf Club to ﬁnish 15 under par, with Grace only a shot PA behind after a 66. RESULTS RUGBY UNION European Champions Cup Pool 1 P W D L F A T B Pts Ulster 5 4 0 1 125 92 14 1 17 La Rochelle 5 3 0 2 140 114 16 4 16 Wasps 4 2 0 2 100 81 13 2 10 Harlequins 4 0 0 4 66 144 9 2 2 (Table not including Harlequins v Wasps) Harlequins L Wasps L (result and match report on p12); Ulster 20 La Rochelle 13. Pool 2 P W D L F A T B Pts C Auvergne 4 4 0 0 120 63 12 2 18 Ospreys 4 2 0 2 130 109 17 5 13 Saracens 4 2 0 2 128 117 17 3 11 Northampton 4 0 0 4 67 156 9 1 1 (Table not including Northampton v Clermont Auvergne) Northampton L Clermont Auvergne L (result and match report on p12); Ospreys L Saracens L. Pool 3 P W D L F A T B Pts Leinster 4 4 0 0 98 60 11 2 18 Exeter 5 3 0 2 117 89 14 2 14 Montpellier 5 2 0 3 116 150 16 5 13 Glasgow 4 0 0 4 81 123 11 2 2 Exeter 41 Montpellier 10 European Challenge Cup Pool 1: Bordeaux-Begles L Newport G D’gons L. Pool 2: Sale 15 Lyon 13. Pool 3: Pau L Zebre L. Pool 4: London Irish 47 Krasny Yar 17. Pool 5: Oyonnax L Brive L; Worcester 24 Connacht 24. Guinness Pro14 Southern Kings 21 Cheetahs 45 British & Irish Cup Pool 2: Cardiﬀ Blues PS 27 Leinster 41: Doncaster 32 Bristol 27. Pool 3: London Scottish 29 Yorkshire Carnegie 19. Pool 4: Ealing Trailﬁnders 78 Connacht A 12; Rotherham 31 Richmond 10. Pool 5: Hartpury RFC 41 Scarlets 24. National League One Bishop’s Stortford L Rosslyn Park L; Blackheath 61 Coventry 29; Cambridge P Caldy P; Darlington Mowden Park L Birmingham L; Esher L Ampthill & District L; Fylde L Plymouth Albion L; Loughborough Students L Old Elthamians L; Old Albanians L Hull Ionians L. BT Scottish Premiership Currie 24 Melrose 15; Hawick 14 Glasgow Hawks 12; Heriot’s Rugby Club 17 Watsonians 46; Marr 12 Boroughmuir 20; Stirling County 16 Ayr 25. TODAY (3pm unless stated) European Champions Cup Pool 3: Leinster v Glasgow (1pm). Pool 4: Castres v Leicester (5.30pm); Racing 92 v Munster (3.15pm). Pool 5: Toulon v Benetton Treviso (1pm). European Challenge Cup Pool 1: Newcastle v Enisei-STM. Pool 2: Cardiﬀ Blues v Toulouse (5.30pm). FRIDAY (7.45pm unless stated) European Challenge Cup Pool 3: Gloucester v Pau British & Irish Cup Pool 1: Munster A v Ospreys. Pool 2: Bristol v Cardiﬀ Blues. Pool 4: Connacht A v Rotherham Titans (7pm). SATURDAY (3pm unless stated) Guinness Pro14 Cheetahs v Southern Kings (3pm) CHRIS COOK’S SELECTIONS KELSO 12.40 Knockrobin 1.10 Booyakasha 1.40 Dexcite (nap) 2.15 Ramonex 2.45 Minella Suite 3.15 Lough Derg Jewel 3.45 Cultram Abbey SOUTHWELL 1.20 Good Impression 1.55 Kripke 2.25 Pearl Acclaim 2.55 Snowy Winter (nb) 3.25 Spun Gold 3.55 Mr Coco Bean CRICKET Second Test (ﬁrst day of ﬁve) SOUTH AFRICA v INDIA Centurion South Africa elected to bat. SOUTH AFRICA – First Innings D Elgar c Vijay b Ashwin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 DK Markram c Patel b Ashwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94 HM Amla run out (Pandya). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82 AB de Villiers b Sharma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 *F du Plessis not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 †Q de Kock c Kohli b Ashwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 VD Philander run out (Patel/Pandya) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 KA Maharaj not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Extras (lb7, nb1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Total (for 6, 90 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .269 Fall of wickets: 1-85 2-148 3-199 4-246 5-250 6-251 To Bat: L Ngidi, K Rabada, M Morkel. Bowling: Bumrah 18-4-57-0; Shami 11-2-46-0; I Sharma 16-3-32-1; Pandya 14-4-37-0; Ashwin 31-8-90-3. INDIA – KL Rahul, M Vijay, CA Pujara, *V Kohli, RG Sharma, HH Pandya, †PA Patel, R Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, JJ Bumrah, I Sharma. Third One-Day International Dunedin New Zealand 257 (KS Williamson 73, LRPL Taylor 52). Pakistan 74 (TA Boult 5-17). New Zealand won by 183 runs. Tri-Nation Series Dubai Ireland 301-5 (WTS Porterﬁeld 139, A Balbirnie 102). UAE 234 (Rameez Shahzad 50; KJ O’Brien 4-41). Ireland won by 67 runs. Men’s Big Bash League Alice Springs Adelaide 112 (AC Agar 3-19). Perth 114-4 (HWR Cartwright 47no). Perth won by six wickets. TENNIS ATP/WTA Sydney International, Australia Men: Final: D Medvedev (Rus) bt A De Minaur (Aus) 1-6 6-4 7-5. Women: Final: A Kerber (Ger) bt A Barty (Aus) 6-4 6-4. ATP ASB Classic, Auckland, New Zealand Final: R Bautista Agut (Sp) bt J Martín del Potro (Arg) 6-1 4-6 7-5. WTA Hobart International, Australia Final: E Mertens (Bel) bt M Buzarnescu (Rom) 6-1 4-6 6-3. Australian Open, Melbourne Men: Second qualifying round: E Escobedo (US) bt A Giannessi (It) 6-3 6-2; Lee D-h (Kor) bt F Dancevic (Can) 4-6 7-6 (8) 6-3; M Bachinger (Ger) bt J Duckworth (Aus) 6-4 6-4; R Bemelmans (Bel) bt V Galovic (Cro) 5-7 6-3 7-5; M Bourgue (Fr) bt T Fritz (US) 7-6 (3) 0-6 6-4; C Ruud (Nor) bt D Popko (Kaz) 7-5 6-3; A Gonzalez (Col) bt C Hemery (Fr) 6-3 6-4; L Sonego (It) bt M Safwat (Egy) 6-3 7-6 (5); B Tomic (Aus) bt T Paul (US) 6-0 6-7 (5) 7-6 (4); S Caruso (It) bt N Gombos (Svk) 3-6 6-3 6-3; R Ramanathan (Ind) bt G Sakharaov (Fr) 6-4 7-6 (10); V Pospisil (Can) bt S Napolitano (It) 6-1 6-7 (5) 7-5. Women: Second qualifying round: M Frech (Pol) bt S Zhuk (Rus) 6-3 4-6 6-2; A Blinkova (Rus) bt A Lottner (Ger) 5-7 6-4 7-5; I Falconi (It) bt P Monova (Rus) 6-2 7-6 (2); A Schmiedlova (Svk) bt A Abanda (Can) 4-6 6-2 6-4; D Collins (US) bt D Kovinic (Mon) 4-6 6-2 7-5; S Vögele (Swi) bt V Lapko (Blr) 6-3 7-5; A Dulgheru (Rom) bt D Yastremska (Ukr) 7-6 (6) 6-0; D Alertova (Cz) bt E Kostova (Bul) 7-6 (5) 6-2; L Kerkhove (Neth) 6-4 6-2; M Kostyuk (Ukr) bt D Seguel (Chi) 1-6 6-4 6-2; K Day (US) bt Han X-y (Chn) 7-6 (5) 6-0; V Golubic (Swi) bt S SolerEspinosa (Sp) 6-1 6-1; B Pera (US) bt M Bara Irina (Rom) 4-6 6-2 6-3; I Jorovic (Ser) bt Y Bonaventure (Bel) 6-4 7-6 (6); Zhu Lin (Chn) bt V Grammatikopoulou (Gre) 4-6 6-2 6-3; V Kuzmova (Svk) bt C Dolehide (US) 6-2 6-4; B Schoofs (Neth) bt N Broady (GB) 7-6 (5) 6-2; M Bouzkova (Cz) bt M Imanishi (Jpn) 6-4 6-1. DARTS BDO Lakeside World Championships, Frimley Green Women: Final: L Ashton (Eng) bt A Dobromyslova (Rus) 3-1. Men: Semi-ﬁnals: G Durrant (Eng) bt S Waites (Eng) 6-2. RACING LINGFIELD 12.15: 1, Every Chance, DC Costello (1-7 Fav); 2, Fanoulpifer (6-1); 3, Reason To Believe (33-1) (JA Osborne). 7 ran. NR: Epicurious; Sandacres. 12.50: 1, Lady Perignon, Jason Watson (2-1 Fav); 2, Mississippi Miss (9-1); 3, Narjes (11-2) (AM Balding). 8 ran. 1.25: 1, Reﬂektor, M Harley (25-1); 2, Boom The Groom (7-1); 3=, Kasbah (9-2); 3=, Upavon (33-1) (Tom Dascombe). 9 ran. 2.00: 1, Goring, Charles Bishop (7-4 Fav); 2, Surrey Hope (4-1); 3, Sacred Act (5-1) (Eve Johnson Houghton). 7 ran. NR: Mr Scaramanga. 2.35: 1, Cliﬀs Of Capri, D C Costello (7-4); 2, Medici Banchiere (10-1); 3, Lost At Sea (20-1) (J A Osborne). 4 ran . 3.10: 1, Karam Albaari, M Harley (9-2); 2, Presence Process (10-1); 3, Avocet (8-1) (JR Jenkins). 13 ran. NR: Fairy Mist. 3.40: 1, Betsalottie, Mitch Godwin (4-1); 2, Nicky Baby (8-1); 3, Stringybark Creek (14-1) (JJ Bridger). 11 ran. NR: Idol Deputy; Ixelles Diamond; Outrath. KEMPTON 12.20: 1, Redicean, Wayne Hutchinson (8-13 Fav); 2, Vaziani (15-2); 3, Kapdad (11-4) (A King). 7 ran. 12.55: 1, Chef Des Obeaux, ND Fehily (11-8); 2, Secret Investor (6-5 Fav); 3, The Devils Drop (12-1) (NJ Henderson). 6 ran. 1.30: 1, Mercian Prince, Jack Quinlan (11-4 Fav); 2, Rothman (9-2); 3, Minella Tweet (20-1) (Miss Amy Murphy). 7 ran. NR: Exitas. 2.05: 1, Waiting Patiently, B Hughes (13-8 Fav); 2, Art Mauresque (16-1); 3, God’s Own (5-2) (JM Jeﬀerson). 6 ran. 2.40: 1, William Henry, James Bowen (7-1); 2, Spiritofthegames (16-1); 3, Red Indian (8-1); 4, Topofthegame (11-1) (NJ Henderson). 16 ran. 3.15: 1, Fountains Windfall, Aidan Coleman (10-11 Fav); 2, Ballykan (5-1); 3, The Young Master (8-1) (AJ Honeyball). 6 ran. 3.45: 1, Jenkins, David Bass (7-2); 2, Don Bersy (5-1); 3, Hurricane Hollow (33-1) (NJ Henderson). 9 ran. WARWICK 12.40: 1, Vado Forte, RT Dunne (14-1); 2, Peppay Le Pugh (14-1); 3, Shroughmore Lass (9-1); 4, Stuccodor (33-1) (Tom Lacey). 17 ran. NR: Stonecoldsoba. 1.15: 1, Big Jim, Harry Bannister (5-2 Jt Fav); 2, Imjoeking (6-1); 3, Vivaccio (11-2) (AM Hales). 6 ran. NR: Red Riverman. 1.50: 1, Ms Parfois, Sean Bowen (9-4); 2, Duel At Dawn (15-8 Fav); 3, Big River (15-2) (AJ Honeyball). 5 ran. 2.25: 1, Black Ivory, Jamie Hamilton (5-1); 2, Sykes (12-1); 3, Tobefair (16-1) (JM Jeﬀerson). 12 ran. 3.00: 1, Mr Whipped, Nico de Boinville (6-4 Fav); 2, Paisley Park (9-2); 3, Knight In Dubai (16-1) (NJ Henderson). 6 ran. 3.35: 1, Milansbar, Bryony Frost (12-1); 2, Cogry (14-1); 3, Missed Approach (9-2 Fav) (NB King). 13 ran. NR: Emperor’s Choice; Itstimeforapint. 4.05: 1, Thebannerkingrebel, G Sheehan (4-1); 2, Brigadier Bob (8-1); 3, Baby Ted (2-1 Fav) (Jamie Snowden). 8 ran. NR: Allonok. WETHERBY 12.30: 1, Noble Robin, R Johnson (5-2); 2, Silva Eclipse (7-2); 3, Leskinfere (20-1) (Jonjo O’Neill). 9 ran. 1.05: 1, Hogan’s Height, R Johnson (4-1); 2, De Dollar Man (4-5 Fav); 3, Quietly (6-1) (Jamie Snowden). 6 ran. NR: Dark Valley. 1.40: 1, Gran Maestro, Ryan Winks (9-2); 2, Walsingham Grange (7-2); 3, Notebook (17-2) (P Winks). 9 ran. 2.15: 1, Positively Dylan, LP Aspell (9-1); 2, Kayf Blanco (11-4); 3, Bun Doran (5-4 Fav) (Evan Williams). 5 ran. 2.50: 1, Westend Story, R Johnson (2-1 Fav); 2, Craggaknock (8-1); 3, Slanelough (9-2) (PJ Hobbs). 11 ran. 3.25: 1, Newberry New, R Johnson (11-4 Fav); 2, Crown Hill (4-1); 3, Granville Island (3-1) (Harriet Bethell). 6 ran. NR: Hargam. 3.55: 1, Maebh, Kevin Jones (13-2); 2, So Lonely (11-8 Fav); 3, Fforbidden Love (5-1) (JW Mullins). 8 ran. FOOTBALL FIXTURES TODAY (3pm unless stated) Premier League AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal (1.30pm, SSPL); Liverpool v Man City (4pm, SSPL). FA Women’s Super League Birmingham Ladies v Bristol City Women (2pm) TOMORROW (7.45pm unless stated) Premier League Man Utd v Stoke (8pm, SSPL) TUESDAY (7.45pm unless stated) Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay Leicester v Fleetwood Town (BT Sport 2); Mansﬁeld v Cardiﬀ; Reading v Stevenage (8pm); Sheﬀ Wed v Carlisle; West Ham v Shrewsbury. Vanarama National League North AFC Telford v York WEDNESDAY (7.45pm unless stated) Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay Chelsea v Norwich (BBC1); Swansea v Wolves; Wigan v AFC Bournemouth. FRIDAY (7.45pm unless stated) Sky Bet Championship Derby v Bristol City (SSF) League Two Newport County v Crawley Town William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round Formartine United v Cove Rangers (8pm) SATURDAY (3pm unless stated) Premier League Arsenal v Crystal Palace; Brighton v Chelsea (12.30pm, SSPL); Burnley v Man Utd; Everton v West Brom; Leicester v Watford; Man City v Newcastle (5.30pm, BTS1); Stoke v Huddersﬁeld; West Ham v Bournemouth. Sky Bet Championship Aston Villa v Barnsley; Bolton v Ipswich; Fulham v Burton Albion; Leeds v Millwall; Norwich v Sheﬀ Utd; Preston North End v Birmingham; QPR v Middlesbrough; Reading v Brentford; Sheﬀ Wed v Cardiﬀ (5.30pm, SSF); Sunderland v Hull; Wolverhampton v Nottm Forest. League One AFC Wimbledon v Blackpool; Bristol Rovers v Bradford; Charlton v Walsall; Fleetwood Town v Blackburn; Northampton v Milton Keynes Dons; Oxford Utd v Bury; Peterborough v Oldham; Plymouth v Wigan; Rochdale v Southend; Rotherham v Portsmouth; Scunthorpe v Gillingham; Shrewsbury v Doncaster. League Two Accrington Stanley v Port Vale; Barnet v Lincoln City; Colchester v Grimsby; Coventry v Swindon; Crewe v Wycombe; Forest Green v Cambridge Utd; Luton v Morecambe; Mansﬁeld v Cheltenham; Notts County v Exeter; Stevenage v Carlisle; Yeovil v Chesterﬁeld. William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round Aberdeen v St Mirren (12.15pm, BBC1 Scotland); Albion v St Johnstone; Alloa v Dundee Utd; Ayr v Arbroath; Celtic v Brechin; Dundee v Inverness CT; Dunfermline v Morton; East Fife v Brora; Kilmarnock v Ross County; Livingston v Falkirk; Motherwell v Hamilton; Peterhead v Dumbarton; Queen of South v Partick. Ladbrokes Scottish League 1 Stranraer v Raith Ladbrokes Scottish League 2 Berwick v Elgin; Montrose v Clyde; Stenhousemuir v Cowdenbeath; Stirling v Edinburgh City. Vanarama National League AFC Fylde v Macclesﬁeld; Aldershot v Ebbsﬂeet United; Boreham Wood v Dover; Chester FC v Gateshead; FC Halifax v Leyton Orient; Guiseley v Barrow; Hartlepool v Wrexham; Maidstone Utd v Eastleigh; Solihull Moors v Woking; Sutton Utd v Dag & Red (12.30pm, BTS1); Torquay v Bromley; Tranmere v Maidenhead Utd. Vanarama National League North AFC Telford v Nuneaton; Alfreton Town v Leamington; Blyth Spartans v FC United of Manchester; Bradford P A v Gainsborough; Curzon Ashton v Kidderminster; Darlington v Chorley; North Ferriby Utd v Boston Utd; Salford City v Harrogate Town; Southport v Stockport County; Tamworth v Brackley; York v Spennymoor Town. Vanarama National League South Bath City v Concord Rangers; Bognor Regis Town v Wealdstone; Braintree Town v Hemel Hempstead; Chippenham v Dartford; East Thurrock v Oxford City; Eastbourne Borough v St Albans; Hampton & Richmond v Hungerford Town; Havant and W v Gloucester; Poole Town v Welling; Weston-S-Mare v Chelmsford; Whitehawk v Truro City. SUNDAY (3pm unless stated) Premier League Southampton v Tottenham (4pm, SSPL) William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round Fraserburgh v Rangers (midday, SSF); Hearts v Hibernian (2.05pm, SSF). MONDAY (7.45pm unless stated) Premier League Swansea v Liverpool (8pm, SPL) 14.01.18 * Football results | SPORT | 17 CHAMPIONSHIP PREMIER LEAGUE HOME P W D HOME AWAY L F A Man City 22 10 1 0 39 Man Utd 22 Chelsea Liverpool W D L F A 8 10 1 0 25 8 2 1 24 5 6 3 2 21 11 29 47 23 8 2 2 21 7 6 3 2 20 22 6 5 0 21 4 6 3 2 29 21 25 44 Tottenham 23 7 4 1 26 9 6 1 4 20 12 25 44 Arsenal 22 8 2 1 27 12 3 4 4 13 16 12 39 Burnley 23 5 2 4 8 4 5 3 11 12 -1 34 Leicester 23 5 2 4 16 14 3 5 4 18 18 2 31 Everton 23 6 1 4 17 15 1 5 6 Watford 23 3 4 5 16 25 4 1 6 17 17 West Ham 23 4 2 4 12 15 2 5 6 17 26 -12 25 Crystal Palace 23 4 4 4 15 18 2 3 6 6 15 -12 25 Huddersﬁeld 23 4 4 4 11 16 2 2 7 8 23 -20 24 Newcastle 23 3 3 6 10 14 3 2 6 11 17 -10 23 Brighton 8 9 25 47 8 23 -13 27 -9 26 23 3 6 2 12 14 2 2 8 5 15 -12 23 Southampton 23 3 4 5 14 17 1 5 5 9 17 -11 21 Bournemouth 22 3 3 5 14 17 2 3 6 8 17 -12 21 Stoke 22 4 2 5 13 20 1 3 7 10 27 -24 20 West Brom 23 2 7 3 12 15 1 3 7 6 15 -12 19 Swansea 23 2 2 7 2 3 7 8 18 -21 17 CHELSEA (0) 0 6 17 TOTTENHAM LEICESTER CITY (0) 0 EVERTON (1) 1 WATFORD (0) 0 SOUTHAMPTON Sako 21 (0) 2 Gray 58; Doucouré 90 BURNLEY (2) 2 Ward-Prowse 20, 44 Att 24,696 Ref Michael Oliver Att 20,018 Ref Roger East HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (1) 1 WEST BROM (1) 4 BRIGHTON Lolley 40 (1) 2 Evans 4; Dawson 55 WEST HAM UNITED (0) 0 Noble 25; Arnautovic 46; Lanzini 56, 61 Att 24,105 Ref Jonathan Moss W D HOME AWAY L F A 27 10 2 1 28 10 27 8 2 3 22 9 27 9 3 2 26 10 27 7 5 1 22 10 27 7 3 4 20 14 27 8 2 4 23 13 27 6 4 3 17 9 27 5 6 2 17 13 27 7 2 5 15 11 27 5 5 3 15 12 27 6 7 1 24 15 27 8 2 4 24 14 27 4 5 4 14 14 27 6 4 3 19 16 27 7 0 7 17 18 27 7 4 3 23 15 27 4 5 4 18 18 27 3 4 6 14 17 27 3 5 6 12 17 27 4 5 5 30 23 27 5 2 6 16 19 27 2 2 10 12 30 27 5 2 7 8 16 27 1 5 7 13 21 W D L F A 3 5 2 3 5 2 0 3 3 6 3 1 2 5 2 6 5 4 4 5 5 4 3 5 2 2 5 5 2 6 7 5 5 3 6 8 6 7 8 7 6 6 6 7 8 5 9 6 22 22 14 17 20 17 20 23 20 16 17 16 13 12 16 6 12 16 15 9 9 9 7 16 10 14 15 14 18 18 20 21 16 15 20 25 17 21 25 15 16 18 20 21 26 16 22 26 9 7 6 6 6 5 7 6 5 5 4 4 6 2 3 0 3 4 3 1 1 4 1 3 62 52 50 47 47 43 43 42 41 41 40 39 37 33 32 31 31 29 27 25 25 24 23 22 (0) 1 TODAY (0) 1 Bournemouth v Arsenal, 1.30pm, SSPL Liverpool v Manchester City, 4pm, SSPL Joselu 68 SWANSEA CITY Manchester Utd v Stoke, 8pm, SSPL ■ Line-ups with match reports, p2-6 TOP SCORERS League Kane Tottenham 20 Salah Liverpool (right) 17 Sterling Man City 14 Agüero Man City 13 Lukaku Man Utd 10 Morata Chelsea 10 Rooney Everton 10 Firmino Liverpool 9 Total 28 23 18 19 16 12 11 16 BARNSLEY (0) 0 HULL CITY (0) 0 BLACKBURN ROVERS WOLVES (0) 0 READING (0) 0 SHREWSBURY TOWN Possession % 72.22 62.57 62.38 59.52 56.19 53.70 52.73 49.70 Chances created (including assists) De Bruyne Man City 69 Fàbregas Chelsea 63 Özil Arsenal 62 Eriksen Tottenham 52 Sánchez Arsenal 51 Gross Brighton 48 Shaqiri Stoke 46 D Silva Man City 41 FRANCE F 48 28 38 32 26 23 24 A Pts 7 48 8 42 18 37 17 32 21 31 27 29 31 27 Girona 6 Las Palmas 0 Real Madrid 0 Villarreal 1 Eibar 0 Atlético Madrid 1 Deportivo L Valencia L TODAY Levante v Celta Vigo (11am); Alavés v Sevilla (3.15pm); Espanyol v Athletic Bilbao (5.30pm); Real Sociedad v Barcelona (7.45pm) TOMORROW Real Betis v Leganés (8pm) GERMANY TOP SEVEN TOP SEVEN PSG Monaco Lyon Marseille Nantes Guingamp Nice PW 19 16 19 13 19 12 20 12 19 10 20 8 19 8 D 2 2 5 5 3 5 3 1 4 2 3 6 7 8 L F APts 58 15 50 46 19 41 46 20 41 41 22 41 18 18 33 23 24 29 24 29 27 Rennes 0 Marseille 3 Caen L Lille L Dijon L Metz L Montpellier L Monaco L Nice L Amiens L Troyes L Bordeaux L D 2 4 6 4 7 4 6 L 2 5 4 5 4 5 5 F 40 30 29 39 35 27 28 A Pts 12 44 26 31 24 30 24 28 26 28 28 28 23 27 Augsburg 1 Hamburg 0 Eintracht Frankfurt 1 Freiburg 1 Hannover 3 Mainz 2 RB Leipzig 3 Schalke 1 Stuttgart 1 Hertha Berlin 0 Werder Bremen 1 Hoﬀenheim 1 TODAY Cologne v Borussia Mönchengladbach (2.30pm); Borussia Dortmund v Wolfsburg (5pm). F A 2 3 2 3 2 5 8 6 4 6 6 7 5 5 6 6 9 10 8 7 8 6 9 10 29 16 23 21 24 15 12 17 23 18 19 10 12 12 13 14 13 13 13 17 13 9 13 9 8 14 12 14 15 17 22 19 19 18 21 14 14 14 18 17 25 33 22 28 27 14 26 25 GD Pts 38 16 24 15 7 2 3 9 6 2 -3 1 -5 -1 -2 -4 -7 -15 -10 -10 -23 -9 -11 -23 57 54 52 50 48 43 42 41 40 38 36 35 35 34 33 33 33 31 30 29 29 28 22 17 P Luton Notts County Accrington Wycombe Exeter Lincoln City Mansﬁeld Coventry Swindon Newport Co Colchester Cambridge Carlisle Crawley Stevenage Cheltenham Grimsby Port Vale Morecambe Crewe Yeovil Chesterﬁeld Forest Green Barnet W D AWAY L BELGIUM First Division B: KFCO Beerschot-Wilrijk L Cercle Brugge L. PORTUGAL Paços de Ferreira L Marítimo L; Braga L Benﬁca L. GREECE Xanthi 3 Platanias 2; Apollon Smirnis 1 Panionios 1; Levadiakos L Panathinaikos L. FRIENDLIES B Leverkusen 1 Sportfreunde Lotte 1; AGF 4 Aarhus Fremad 0; Bröndby 4 Roskilde 1; Nordsjaelland 3 Helsingoer 2; HJK 3 Hammarby 4; Randers 0 AaB 1; Ajax 5 Lyngby 1; W Neustadt 2 Austria Wien 6; Rapid Wien 1 Zlin 1; Hearts 0 Nürnberg 5; Groningen 0 Dynamo Dresden 3; Feyenoord 2 Luzern 1; Fenerbahce 2 Kukesi 2; Rangers L Corinthians L. Celtic 22 15 6 1 48 15 33 51 22 13 4 5 33 24 9 43 Rangers 22 12 4 6 41 25 16 40 Hibernian 22 Hearts 9 8 5 31 27 4 35 22 7 9 6 21 19 2 30 Kilmarnock 21 6 8 7 25 28 -3 26 St Johnstn 21 7 5 9 21 30 -9 26 Motherwell 21 7 3 11 26 32 -6 24 Hamilton 6 5 10 30 34 -4 23 Dundee 22 6 4 12 23 32 -9 22 Partick 22 5 5 12 19 37-18 20 Ross County 22 4 5 13 21 36-15 17 League Sinclair Celtic 8 Murray Hibernian 6 Morelos Rangers 10 Boyd Kilmarnock 9 Forrest Celtic 7 Laﬀerty Hearts 7 Stokes Hibernian 7 Griﬃths Celtic 6 Curran Ross County 5 Dembélé Celtic 4 Moussa Dundee 3 Gonçalves Hearts 6 Total 16 14 12 12 12 11 11 10 9 8 8 7 LEAGUE ONE Trouten Albion Shankland Ayr Moore Ayr Total 16 16 13 L F A 5 5 2 4 3 3 6 3 0 4 3 5 2 4 2 4 2 3 5 0 3 3 3 2 3 4 5 4 6 5 4 6 3 5 6 6 5 4 9 7 6 7 6 10 9 10 8 10 21 20 21 19 16 15 15 12 24 20 15 7 18 14 10 18 14 13 12 10 18 12 11 15 14 18 18 17 21 15 16 12 10 20 20 20 21 17 24 24 19 17 18 21 34 32 24 25 MK DONS (0) 0 CAMBRIDGE UNITED (0) 0 GRIMSBY TOWN AFC WIMBLEDON (0) 0 MANSFIELD TOWN (0) 0 NEWPORT COUNTY GD Pts 54 51 46 46 45 44 44 44 44 42 41 38 37 36 34 34 34 32 29 29 28 24 23 20 35 18 14 13 4 11 9 9 5 6 3 -6 1 -4 -3 -4 -11 -6 -10 -13 -11 -23 -22 -15 (0) 1 Matt 80 (1) 2 Willmott 19; Nouble 56 Shrewsbury Henderson, Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles■ (Lowe 73), Godfrey (Payne 75), Whalley, Ogogo, Nolan, Rodman, Carlton Morris (John-Lewis 81). Subs not used Dodds, MacGillivray, Bryn Morris, Hendrie. Att 13,579 Ref John Brooks Wimbledon McDonnell, Fuller, Oshilaja, Charles■, Francomb (Meades 71), Abdou, Trotter, Soares, Barcham, McDonald (Forrester 76), Taylor. Subs not used Nightingale, Kaja, Kennedy, Tzanev, Hartigan. Att 9,504 Ref Paul Tierney Mansﬁeld Logan, Anderson (SterlingJames 81), Bennett, Pearce, Benning, Potter (White 64), MacDonald■, Mellis (Atkinson 88), Hamilton, Angol■, Rose. Subs not used Digby, Olejnik, Spencer, Byrom. Att 4,324 Ref Trevor Kettle Newport Co Day, Pipe, Demetriou, White■, Butler, Dolan (Tozer 79), Labadie■ (Reid 84), Bennett, Nouble■, Amond, Willmott (McCoulsky 85). Subs not used Bittner, Sheehan, Hayes, Aaron Collins. Att 3,397 Ref Graham Salisbury BIRMINGHAM CITY (0) 0 IPSWICH TOWN (0) 1 BLACKPOOL (0) 0 OLDHAM ATHLETIC (1) 1 CARLISLE UNITED (0) 1 LINCOLN CITY DERBY COUNTY (1) 3 LEEDS UNITED (0) 0 BRISTOL ROVERS (0) 0 ROTHERHAM UNITED (1) 1 CREWE ALEXANDRA (0) 0 NOTTS COUNTY Davies 31 Russell 19; Vydra 56; Weimann 89 Cosgrove 76 (1) 2 Frecklington 37; Green 67 Williams 7 (1) 2 Stead 35; Grant 76 Birmingham City Stockdale, Colin, Roberts, Dean, Grounds, Gardner, Kieftenbeld■, Maghoma, Davis (Adams 66), Boga (Jota 83), Gallagher. Subs not used Jutkiewicz, N’Doye, DacresCogley, Morrison, Trueman Ipswich Gerken, Iorfa■, Chambers, Knudsen, Kenlock, Skuse (Hyam 76), Connolly■, McGoldrick, Waghorn, Celina, Garner. Subs not used Sears, Crowe, Drinan, Bru, McDonnell, Chris Smith Blackpool Lumley, Turton, Mellor, Aimson, Robertson, Daniel, Spearing, Ryan (Philliskirk 81), D’Almeida (Gnanduillet 64), Longstaﬀ, Delfouneso (Roache 81). Subs not used McAlister, Anderton, Cooke, Mafoumbi Oldham Placide, Dummigan (Nepomuceno 85), Gerrard, Sam Edmundson, Brian Wilson, Benyu (Holloway 74), Gardner (McLaughlin 70), Fane, Pringle■, Davies, Obadeyi. Subs not used Duﬀus, Sheridan, Haymer, Maouche Carlisle Bonham, Liddle, Hill, Parkes, Brown (Joyce 46), Lambe (O’Sullivan 46), Jones, Devitt, Grainger, Hope (Bennett■ 63), Cosgrove. Subs not used Nabi, Ellis, Shaun Miller, Bacon Lincoln City Farman, Eardley, Waterfall■, Bostwick, Habergham, Rowe (Arnold 72), Frecklington, Woodyard, Williams■ (Whitehouse 84), Rhead■ (Palmer 79), Green. Subs not used Wilson, Long, Vickers, Stewart Derby County Carson, Wisdom, Keogh, Davies■, Forsyth, Huddlestone, Thorne, Russell■, Vydra (Martin 87), Lawrence (Weimann■ 78), Winnall (Nugent 69). Subs not used Pearce, Hanson, Mitchell, Baird. Att 22,121 Ref Lee Probert Leeds Wiedwald, Berardi, Jansson■, Cooper, Anita (Lasogga 78), O’Kane■, Phillips■, Cibicki (Sacko 29), Hernandez, Alioski (Shaughnessy 46), Roofe. Subs not used Lonergan, Grot, Dallas, Klich. Att 18,638 Ref Robert Jones Bristol Rovers Smith, Partington, Lockyer, Sweeney, Bola, Lines, Sercombe (Telford 87), Ollie Clarke■, Sinclair, Gaﬀney, Harrison (Nichols 74). Subs not used Mensah, Slocombe, Brown, Broadbent, Moore. Att 4,001 Ref Martin Coy Rotherham Rodak, Emmanuel, Ajayi, Wood, Mattock, Forde, Vaulks■, Towell, Williams (Newell 83), Yates (Smith 66), Ball (Clarke-Harris 86). Subs not used Taylor, Price, Ihiekwe, Cummings. Att 4,775 Ref Rob Lewis Crewe Garratt, Nolan, Raynes■, Bakayogo, Ainley (Kirk 78), Lowery (Finney 83), Walker■, Green, Cooper, Dagnall, Bowery (Reilly 83). Subs not used Richards, Wintle, Pickering, Lundstram. Att 4,467 Ref Christopher Sarginson Notts County Fitzsimons■, Tootle, Brisley (Smith 90), Duﬀy, Jones, Hawkridge■ (Ameobi 75), Hewitt, Virtue (Noble 59), Grant■, Stead, Alessandra■. Subs not used Pindroch, Forte, Hunt, Walker. Att 9,603 Ref Ross Joyce BRENTFORD (1) 2 MIDDLESBROUGH (0) 0 BRADFORD CITY (0) 1 PORTSMOUTH (1) 1 CHESTERFIELD (2) 2 MORECAMBE (0) 0 FULHAM (0) 1 NORTHAMPTON TOWN (1) 2 SCUNTHORPE UNITED (0) 1 LUTON TOWN (0) 0 STEVENAGE Taylor 90 Lowe 15 O’Toole 43; Long 62 Rowley 19; McCourt 25 pen (1) 1 Ellison 23 van Veen 53 (0) 1 Franks 89 Brentford Bentley, Yennaris, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet, Woods, Mokotjo, Jozefzoon (Canos 77), Sawyers, Watkins, Vibe (Maupay 86). Subs not used Macleod, McEachran, Marcondes, Clarke, Daniels Middlesbrough Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend■, Howson■, Leadbitter■, Downing, Traore (Johnson 82), Gestede (Assombalonga 63), Braithwaite (Clayton■ 82). Subs not used Konstantopoulos, Bamford, Fletcher, Christie Bradford Raeder, Hanson (Guy 66), Kilgallon, Knight-Percival, Robinson, Gilliead, Dieng, Vincelot, Law, Taylor■, McCartan (Poleon 72). Subs not used Reeves, Sattelmaier, Pybus, Devine, Gibson Portsmouth McGee, Hawkins■, Burgess, Clarke■, Lowe, Thompson, Ronan (Kennedy 71), Close, Donohue (May 71), Pitman, Naismith. Subs not used Chaplin, Bennett, Deslandes, Casey, Bass Chesterﬁeld Ramsdale, Weir, Nelson, Maguire■, Talbot, Reed, McCourt (Dimaio 90), Rowley, Kay■, Hines (BinnomWilliams 82), O’Grady. Subs not used Wakeﬁeld, De Girolamo, Kellett, Parkin, Ofoegbu Morecambe Roche, Lavelle, Muller, Old■, McGowan, Kenyon, Rose■ (Fleming 68), Conlan, Lang (Wildig■ 46), Oliver (McGurk 87), Ellison. Subs not used Thompson, Campbell, Lund, Maher Bolton Alnwick, Little■ (Wilbraham 84), Wheater■, Beevers, Robinson■, Vela, Osede, Ameobi■, Charsley (Buckley 55), Morais (Le Fondre 68), Madine■. Subs not used Andrew Taylor, Karacan, Darby, Howard. Att 9,507 Ref Andy Davies Fulham Bettinelli, Fredericks■, Odoi■, Ream, Ryan Sessegnon, Norwood, McDonald, Johansen■, Ojo (Kalas 52), Kamara (Rui Fonte 58), Piazon (Kebano 85). Subs not used Cairney, Button, Edun, Steven Sessegnon. Att 23,850 Ref Geoﬀ Eltringham Northampton O’Donnell, Facey■, Poole, Taylor, Turnbull, Grimes■, Crooks, Hoskins■ (Powell 76), O’Toole (Hildeberto 88), Foley■, Long (Revell 86). Subs not used Cornell, Moloney, Buchanan, Shaun McWilliams. Att 19,343 Ref Craig Hicks Scunthorpe Watson, Goode, Burgess, Wallace, Holmes, Bishop■, Ojo, Morris, Adelakun■, van Veen, Hopper (Novak 84). Subs not used Townsend, Toney, Sutton, McArdle, McGeehan, Kelsey. Att 17,741 Ref Charles Breakspear Luton Stech, Justin■, Mullins, Famewo, Potts, Rea, Olly Lee (Cornick 29), Berry, Shinnie (Ruddock 83), Collins (Cook 83), Elliot Lee■. Subs not used Stacey, Senior, D’Ath, Shea. Att 5,715 Ref Carl Boyeson Stevenage Tom King, Henry, Wilmot, Jack King, Martin, Kennedy, Jonathan Smith■ (Franks 82), Gorman (Conlon 66), Pett, Newton■ (Gray 69), Godden. Subs not used Fryer, Wilkinson, Vancooten, Georgiou. Att 1,268 Ref Tom Nield BRISTOL CITY (0) 0 MILLWALL (1) 1 BURY (0) 0 SOUTHEND UNITED (0) 1 CHELTENHAM (0) 0 PORT VALE NORWICH CITY (0) 1 PRESTON NORTH END (0) 1 CHARLTON ATHLETIC (0) 1 FLEETWOOD (0) 2 ACCRINGTON STANLEY (1) 2 YEOVIL Kightly 86 Robinson 80 Marshall 63 (0) 1 Pope 86 pen Diagouraga 57; Madden 62 Kee 22; Jackson 63 (1) 1 Zoko 11 Bristol City Fielding, Wright, Flint, Baker■, Bryan, Pack, Smith, Brownhill, Walsh (Kent 69), Paterson (Taylor 76), Reid (Magnusson 89). Subs not used Steele, Woodrow, Eliasson, Vyner Millwall Archer, Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith, Wallace (Onyedinma 88), Tunnicliﬀe, Saville, O’Brien, Morison, Gregory■ (Williams 88). Subs not used McLaughlin, Craig, Thompson, Martin, Elliott Bury Ripley, Cameron, Clarke, Skarz (Cooney 75), Ismail (Dai 75), Dawson, Laurent, Leigh, Bunn (Maguire 85), Hanson, Mayor■. Subs not used Murphy, Tutte, Edwards, Danns Southend Oxley, White, Turner (Hendrie 24), Ferdinand (Fortune 65), Coker, Demetriou, Timlin, Kightly, McGlashan, Cox (Pitoula-Wabo 69), McLaughlin. Subs not used Ba, Bishop, Kyprianou, Bwomono Cheltenham Flinders, Moore (Pell 67), Grimes, Onariase, Winchester, Dawson, Atangana, Morrell, Sellars, Adebayo (Graham 67), Eisa. Subs not used Wright, Bower, Thomas, Lovett, Lloyd Port Vale Boot, Davis, Anderson■, Smith, Pugh, Harness (Worrall 66), Kay, Tonge, Montano (Gibbons 46), Whitﬁeld (Wilson 46), Pope. Subs not used Lainton, Barnett, Forrester, Angus Norwich Gunn, Hanley, Zimmermann, Klose, Pinto■, Tettey■, Vrancic, Lewis■, Maddison■ (Reed 90), Oliveira■ (Raggett 90), Murphy (Stiepermann 89). Subs not used Husband, Hoolahan, McGovern, Cantwell. Att 21,282 Ref Simon Hooper Preston Maxwell, Browne, Clarke, Davies, Cunningham, Pearson■ (Johnson 77), Gallagher, Bodin (Barkhuizen 46), Harrop (Horgan 70), Robinson, Hugill■. Subs not used Rudd, Andrew Boyle, Welsh, O’Connor. Att 11,751 Ref Jeremy Simpson Charlton Amos■, Dijksteel■, Konsa, Lennon, Dasilva, Kashi, Aribo (Jackson 90), Marshall, Mavididi (Forster-Caskey 88), Reeves (Hackett-Fairchild 85), Magennis. Subs not used Phillips, Solly. Att 3,295 Ref Michael Salisbury Fleetwood Neal, Coyle■ (Jones 84), Bolger, Pond, Bell, Diagouraga■, Schwabl, Dempsey, Burns (Madden 56), Cole (McAleny 75), Hunter. Subs not used Hiwula, Grant, Cairns, Sowerby. Att 6,489 Ref Antony Coggins Accrington Chapman, Johnson■ (Dunne 53), Richards-Everton, Hughes, Donacien, Clark, Nolan, Brown■, McConville■, Jackson (Zanzala 90), Kee. Subs not used Williams, Leacock-McLeod, Stryjek, Rowan, Francis. Att 2,893 Ref Kevin Johnson Yeovil Krysiak, James, Sowunmi, Nathan Smith, Dickson, Green (Wing 74), Bird, Gray (Whelan 90), Khan, Zoko■, Surridge■ (Barnes 59). Subs not used Mugabi, Connor Smith, Maddison, Santos. Att 4,120 Ref David Webb BURTON (1) 1 NOTTINGHAM FOREST (0) 0 DONCASTER ROVERS (1) 1 WALSALL (1) 2 CRAWLEY TOWN (0) 2 SWINDON TOWN (1) 3 ASTON VILLA (1) 1 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE (0) 1 OXFORD UNITED (0) 1 BARNET (0) 0 FOREST GREEN Beestin 37 Hogan 18 Bakayoko 33; Oztumer 48 Edwards 74 Boldewijn 75, 86 (0) 1 Norris 79 (0) 0 Mowatt 70 Burton Bywater, Brayford, McFadzean■ (Allen 60), Buxton■, Turner, Flanagan, Miller (Sbarra 41), Naylor, Murphy■ (Sordell 80), Dyer, Akins. Subs not used Warnock, Akpan, Campbell, Barker Nottm Forest Smith, Lichaj■, Mills, Mancienne, Traore, Vaughan (Bridcutt 81), Osborn, Cash■ (Ward 81), Dowell, Clough (McKay 64), Brereton. Subs not used Darikwa, Henderson, Bouchalakis, Walker Doncaster Lawlor, Blair, Baudry■, Butler, Mason, Houghton, Kongolo (Whiteman 65), Rowe■, Coppinger, Beestin (May■ 65), Marquis. Subs not used Marosi, Mandeville, Wright, Garrett, Ben Khemis Walsall Liam Roberts, Kinsella■, Kory Roberts, Guthrie, Leahy, Oztumer (Tyler Roberts 85), Chambers, Dobson (Cuvelier 77), Flanagan (Morris 46), Edwards, Bakayoko. Subs not used Gillespie, Devlin, Jackson, Kouhyar Crawley Morris, Lelan, Connolly■, Yorwerth, Young (Camara 89), Randall■ (Sanoh 59), Bulman (McNerney 71), Evina, Smith, Roberts, Boldewijn. Subs not used Doherty, Mersin, Tajbakhsh, Verheijdt Swindon Charles-Cook, Lancashire, Robertson, Preston, Knoyle (Mullin■ 77), Dunne■, Banks, Anderson■ (Purkiss 83), Iandolo, Norris, Woolery (Gordon 76). Subs not used Goddard, Brophy, Henry, Taylor QPR Smithies, Onuoha, Lynch■, Robinson, Furlong, Luongo, Scowen■, Freeman (Manning 89), Bidwell, Washington, Oteh (Smith 74). Subs not used Ingram, Wszolek, Perch, Eze, Sylla. Att 4,264 Ref Stephen Martin A Villa Johnstone, Elmohamady■, Chester, Terry■, Hutton, Whelan (Bjarnason 46), Snodgrass, Grealish, Hourihane, Adomah (Neil Taylor 90), Hogan (Davis 83). Subs not used Lansbury, Onomah, Elphick, Bunn. Att 25,433 Ref James Linington Plymouth Matthews, Threlkeld, Edwards, Bradley, Sawyer, Ness, Fox, Sarcevic, Lameiras (Ainsworth 71), Taylor, Carey. Subs not used Miller, Songo’o, Jervis, Grant, Wylde. Att 7,494 Ref Andy Haines Oxford Utd Eastwood, Carroll■, Martin■, Mousinho, Tiendalli, Henry (Van Kessel 79), Mowatt, Ruﬀels, Payne (Napa 68), Thomas (Mehmeti 75), Obika. Subs not used Williamson, Shearer, Dickie, Fernandez Codina. Att 4,569 Ref Brett Huxtable Barnet Ross, Brindley, Santos, Nelson, Blackman, Weston (Sule 59), Clough■ (Kyei 85), Coulthirst■, J Taylor, Campbell-Ryce (Nicholls 89), Akinde. Subs not used Watson, Tutonda, Fonguck, R McKenzie-Lyle. Att 1,874 Ref Nicholas Kinseley Forest Green B Collins, Rawson (Laird 28), Gunning■, Monthe, Hollis, Grubb■ (MarshBrown 74), Osbourne, Lee Collins, Wishart■ (Whittle 88), Reid■, Doidge. Subs not used Brown, Simpson, Pickering, Hendy. Att 7,062 Ref Dean Whitestone GILLINGHAM (1) 2 WIGAN ATHLETIC (0) 0 EXETER CITY (1) 1 WYCOMBE WANDERERS (1) 1 PETERBOROUGH UTD (0) 0 COVENTRY CITY (0) 0 COLCHESTER UNITED CARDIFF CITY (0) 4 Paterson 46, 80; Ralls 55; Pilkington 90 SUNDERLAND TOP SCORERS Garmston 41; Martin 63 (0) 0 Cardiﬀ Etheridge, Ecuele Manga, Morrison■, Bamba, Richards, MendezLaing (Wildschut 59), Paterson, Ralls, Bennett, Hoilett (Feeney 81), Zohore (Pilkington 82). Subs not used Tomlin, Halford, Damour, Murphy Sunderland Ruiter, Jones, Browning, O’Shea, Clarke-Salter, Oviedo■, Gooch■ (Asoro 60), Ndong■, Wilson (Cattermole 46), Honeyman, Maja (McManaman 78). Subs not used Steele, Matthews, Love, Robson. Att 17,703 Ref Andrew Madley ROCHDALE League Vydra Derby 15 Clarke Sheﬃeld Utd 15 Reid Bristol City 12 Assombalonga M’brough 12 Grabban Sunderland 12 Bonatini Wolves 12 Adomah Aston Villa 11 Bowen Hull 11 Jota Wolves 11 Hooper Sheﬃeld Wed 10 Waghorn Ipswich 10 Total 16 15 14 12 12 12 12 11 11 11 10 Harley 7 P W D L F A GD Pts LEAGUE TWO P W D L F A GD Pts Cannon 27 Exeter Pym, Sweeney, Seaborne (Woodman 46), Archibald-Henville, Moxey, Holmes (Boateng 79), Tillson, James■, Harley, Taylor, Stockley. Subs not used Simpson, Jones, McAlinden, Jay, Wilson Wycombe Brown, Moore, McGinley, Scarr■, Jacobson, Saunders (Bean 84), O’Nien■, Bloomﬁeld, MackailSmith, Akinfenwa, Cowan-Hall (Tyson 70). Subs not used Gape, Kashket, Makabu-Makalamby Rochdale Lillis, Daniels, McNulty, Ntlhe■ (Knott 70), Cannon■, Camps■, Kitching, Bunney (McGahey 84), Henderson, Done (Inman 71), Andrew. Subs not used Raﬀerty, Rathbone, Moore, Adshead. Att 4,352 Ref Lee Swabey Peterborough Bond, Shephard, Taylor, Tafazolli, Hughes, Grant, Lloyd■ (Morias 68), Forrester■, Doughty (Ward 68), Maddison, Marriott. Subs not used Baldwin, Penny, Kanu, Anderson, O’Malley. Att 8,602 Ref Eddie Ilderton Coventry Burge, Grimmer, Davies, Willis, Stokes■, Maguire-Drew (Stevenson 82), Bayliss, Doyle, Shipley (Barrett 77), McNulty, Biamou (Ponticelli 68). Subs not used McDonald, O’Brien, Beavon, Haynes. Att 4,219 Ref Ben Toner Colchester Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Kent, Inniss (Prosser 74), Drey Wright■, Murray, Szmodics, Comley (Senior 76), Guthrie, Mandron (Hanlan 82). Subs not used Lapslie, Loft, Kpekawa, Gilmartin. Att 4,386 Ref John Busby NATIONAL LEAGUE Dundee Utd 21 12 4 5 30 23 7 40 Peterhead 19 14 1 4 53 23 30 43 Dunfermline 21 9 6 6 37 24 13 33 Stenhsmr 20 10 5 5 35 25 10 35 Livingston 20 9 6 5 31 24 7 33 Annan Ath 21 8 7 6 25 17 8 31 Sutton Utd 29 14 7 8 42 34 8 49 Queen Sth P W D L F A GD Pts Macclesﬁeld 29 16 7 6 38 26 12 55 Aldershot 29 14 9 6 46 30 16 51 21 8 6 7 34 30 4 30 Stirling Alb 19 9 3 7 37 26 11 30 Wrexham 28 13 9 6 31 22 9 48 Inverness CT 22 8 6 8 29 25 4 30 Elgin 20 9 3 8 33 36 -3 30 Tranmere 29 13 8 8 43 26 17 47 Morton 20 7 7 6 27 21 6 28 Berwick 19 6 3 10 14 33-19 21 Boreham W 29 12 11 6 40 29 11 47 Dumbarton 21 4 8 9 15 28-13 20 Edinburgh C 20 4 3 13 15 32-17 15 Dover 29 11 12 6 38 23 15 45 Falkirk 21 4 8 9 20 34-14 20 Clyde 18 2 8 8 20 32-12 14 Dagenham 29 12 9 8 46 35 11 45 Brechin 21 0 4 17 16 48-32 4 Cowdnbth 19 1 6 12 10 29-19 9 Bromley 29 12 8 9 46 37 9 44 Ebbsﬂeet 29 10 12 7 41 33 8 42 Brechin City 0 Livingston 2 Dumbarton 0 St Mirren 2 Dunfermline Ath 0 Dundee United 0 Inverness CT 3 Queen of the South 1 Morton 0 Falkirk 1 Berwick Rangers 0 Annan Ath 2 Clyde 0 Stenhousemuir 3 Edinburgh City 0 Montrose 2 Elgin 1 Cowdenbeath 0 Peterhead 4 Stirling Alb 3 Maidenhead 29 9 11 9 37 40 -3 38 Maidstone 28 9 11 8 35 40 -5 38 LEAGUE ONE PRESS & JOURNAL HIGHLAND LEAGUE Eastleigh 29 L F A GD Pts 20 14 4 2 43 17 26 46 Ayr 22 14 3 5 59 29 30 45 Arbroath 20 10 3 7 41 30 11 33 Alloa 20 Stranraer 21 8 5 8 35 38 -3 29 East Fife 22 8 3 11 33 40 -7 27 9 4 7 32 26 6 31 League 16 16 12 Total 24 18 18 Airdrieonians 21 6 7 8 30 39 -9 25 Albion 6 4 10 43 49 -6 22 LEAGUE TWO League McAllister Peterhead 16 Smith Stirling 17 McGuigan Sten’muir 17 Total 26 20 18 Arbroath 2 Queen’s Park 1 East Fife 2 Alloa 1 Forfar Athletic 4 Albion Rovers 2 Raith 1 Ayr United 1 Stranraer 3 Airdrieonians 2 20 Queens Pk 22 4 6 12 24 46-22 18 Forfar 22 5 3 14 23 49-26 18 Fort William 1 Forres Mechanics 9 Huntly 1 Buckie Thistle 2 Inverurie Loco Works 2 Fraserburgh 2 Lossiemouth 0 Formartine United 6 Turriﬀ United 0 Cove Rangers 4 Wick Academy 2 Keith 0 Clachnacuddin P Brora Rangers P Nairn County P Rothes P Strathspey Thistle P Deveronvale P (matches postponed due to frozen pitches) FERRARI PACKAGING LOWLAND LEAGUE BSC Glasgow 0 Spartans FC 0 Civil Service S 0 Whitehill Welfare 2 East Kilbride 4 Gretna 2008 0 Edinburgh Uni 1 East Stirlingshire 2 Edusport Academy 1 Dalbeattie Star 1 Selkirk 5 Hawick Royal Albert 0 Stirling Uni 2 Cumbernauld Colts 0 Vale of Leithen 5 Gala Fairydean 1 AFC Fylde 28 11 9 8 45 38 7 42 8 13 8 42 43 -1 37 Woking 28 10 5 13 38 44 -6 35 FC Halifax 29 8 10 11 31 38 -7 34 Hartlepool 28 8 9 11 31 38 -7 33 Gateshead 26 7 11 8 32 28 4 32 L Orient 29 8 8 13 35 42 -7 32 Barrow 29 7 10 12 36 40 -4 31 Chester 28 5 11 12 25 44-19 26 Solihull M 29 6 6 17 26 45-19 24 Guiseley 28 4 10 14 26 52-26 22 Torquay 29 4 8 17 24 47-23 20 AFC Fylde 2 Guiseley 1 Torquay Utd 1 Eastleigh 2 Woking 0 Tranmere Rovers 1 OTHER GAMES NORTH TOP EIGHT 21 13 5 3 31 20 11 44 D (0) 1 Szmodics 78 Wigan Walton, Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, James, Morsy, Power, Jacobs (Elder 86), Powell, Massey (Colclough 63), Grigg (Vaughan 63). Subs not used Perkins, Bruce, Gary Roberts, Jones Montrose P W (2) 3 Akinfenwa 14; Cowan-Hall 24; O’Nien 74 Gillingham Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Garmston (Ogilvie 70), Byrne, Wagstaﬀ (List 46), Hessenthaler, Martin, Eaves■, Parker. Subs not used Nelson, Lacey, Wilkinson, Nugent, Oldaker 22 15 3 4 41 23 18 48 Raith CHAMPIONSHIP League Dobbie Queen of South 11 Reilly St Mirren 9 Morgan St Mirren 9 D Reading Mannone, Gunter, McShane (Tiago Ilori 30), Moore, Richards, van den Berg, Evans, McCleary (Bacuna 77), Swift (Aluko 26), Barrow, Kermorgant. Subs not used Bodvarsson, Blackett, Jaakkola, Kelly. Att 14,300 Ref Darren England St Mirren TOP SCORERS TOP SCORERS 6 5 7 5 4 5 4 5 9 6 5 2 6 5 3 3 5 4 2 3 2 1 2 2 Wolves Ruddy, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Saiss■, Neves (N’Diaye 90), Douglas, Helder Costa (Ivan Cavaleiro 65), Leo Bonatini (Mir 73), Jota■. Subs not used White, Enobakhare, Hause, Norris. Att 16,050 Ref Keith Stroud CHAMP Shots on target Stokes Hibernian 30 Sinclair Celtic 26 Boyd Kilmarnock 23 Morelos Rangers 21 Murray Hibernian 19 El Bakhtaoui Dundee 18 Moult Motherwell 18 Gonçalves Hearts 18 Windass Rangers 17 Griﬃths Celtic 17 Armstrong Celtic 15 Walker Hearts 15 W (1) 1 VANARAMA NATIONAL SHARP SHOOTERS A Grimsby Kean, Mills, Clarke■, Osborne, Ben Davies (Jones 90), Dembele, Summerﬁeld, Berrett, Woolford (Jaiyesimi 67), Vernon (Matt■ 67), Vernam. Subs not used Dixon, Collins, Mitchell Rose, Killip Oteh 32; Washington 74; Luongo 87 TODAY Saint-Étienne v Toulouse (2pm); Lyon v Angers (4pm); Nantes v PSG (8pm) F 27 10 1 2 41 13 27 9 4 0 26 10 26 7 2 3 23 12 27 8 3 3 30 19 26 10 0 3 20 11 27 7 5 2 22 11 27 7 5 1 23 13 27 8 2 3 16 7 26 5 2 7 15 24 27 5 5 2 17 11 28 6 5 3 22 14 27 8 3 3 18 11 27 4 5 5 20 16 27 5 2 7 13 14 27 6 5 2 27 16 28 6 3 5 19 17 28 4 5 6 13 19 28 5 2 7 17 19 27 5 3 6 15 19 27 6 2 6 19 21 27 5 4 4 19 14 28 5 3 6 16 19 27 4 2 8 15 24 27 3 3 7 11 16 Cambridge Forde, Halliday, Taylor, Darling, Carroll, Deegan, Phillips (Amoo 65), Maris, Jevani Brown, Waters (Corr 79), Ikpeazu, Amoo (Dunk 74). Subs not used Mitov, O’Neil, Elito, D avies Dyer 34 A GD Pts Aberdeen 21 L 1 5 4 4 2 3 1 3 6 4 2 2 6 3 3 5 3 2 2 5 3 4 5 4 MK Dons Nicholls, Brittain, Wootton, Ebanks-Landell, B Williams, McGrandles (Pawlett■ 65), Cisse, Gilbey, Muirhead (Nombe 65), Agard (Thomas-Asante 80), Aneke. Subs not used Upson, Sietsma, Seager, Kasumu SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP P W D L F HOME D 9 6 7 7 9 5 4 5 4 4 6 4 3 5 3 3 2 2 3 2 3 3 0 0 Nolan 35 pen QPR OTHERS P W 18 14 18 9 18 8 17 8 18 7 17 8 18 7 W Blackburn Raya■, Nyambe, Downing, Mulgrew, Williams, Bennett, Smallwood, Dack, Conway (Armstrong 62), Samuel (Travis 86), Graham (Nuttall 82). Subs not used Leutwiler, Ward, Caddis, Tomlinson Maddison 79 L 0 1 3 4 6 7 8 A (1) 3 O’Brien 43 D 3 6 4 5 4 2 3 F Hull McGregor, Tomori, Dawson, Hector, Aina, Meyler (Henriksen 71), Larsson■, Toral, Irvine (Evandro 65), Bowen, Dicko (Campbell 65). Subs not used Marshall, Diomande, Clark, Stewart Jozefzoon 40; Maupay 90 PULLING THE STRINGS SPAIN Bayern Munich RB Leipzig Schalke B Dortmund B Leverkusen B M’gladbach Hoﬀenheim AWAY L Barnsley Davies, Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay, Yiadom, Gardner, Isgrove (Moncur 46), Mallan■ (Thiam 87), Potts, Hammill, Bradshaw (Moore 66). Subs not used McCarthy, Townsend, Pearson, Brown BOLTON WANDERERS EUROPE P W 18 15 19 12 18 11 18 9 19 9 18 9 19 8 D Mulgrew 14, 70; Graham 60 Norwood 90 pen IN CONTROL TOP SEVEN W 26 8 5 1 21 4 26 10 1 1 18 4 26 8 3 2 25 12 27 7 4 2 17 9 27 6 1 7 19 21 27 7 4 3 19 15 27 9 2 3 22 9 27 7 2 4 28 17 27 7 1 5 20 18 28 6 4 4 25 23 27 4 4 5 19 20 27 5 6 3 20 15 28 6 2 6 18 21 27 3 7 4 17 16 26 5 6 3 20 17 28 5 4 5 20 21 27 8 0 5 23 18 28 6 5 3 19 14 27 4 7 3 15 16 28 5 3 6 23 22 28 5 2 7 12 21 26 4 3 6 13 17 26 4 5 3 13 11 27 4 1 8 10 17 Celina 67 TOMORROW Ayew 60 Att 51,444 Ref Graham Scott Barcelona Atlético Madrid Valencia Real Madrid Villarreal Sevilla Eibar Wigan Shrewsbury Blackburn Scunthorpe Bradford Charlton Portsmouth Rotherham Peterborough Oxford Utd Fleetwood Doncaster Plymouth Gillingham Walsall Blackpool Bristol Rovers Southend MK Dons Oldham Northampton Wimbledon Rochdale Bury Att 25,240 Ref Martin Atkinson NEWCASTLE UNITED Manchester City Arsenal Tottenham Liverpool Chelsea Manchester United Southampton Watford P GD Pts 30 21 15 15 8 9 8 6 8 4 6 1 -4 -6 -10 -1 -4 -5 -10 -5 -20 -25 -23 -18 (0) 0 Att 76,251 Ref Craig Pawson CRYSTAL PALACE Wolves Derby County Cardiﬀ Aston Villa Bristol City Sheﬃeld Utd Leeds Fulham Middlesbrough Preston Brentford Ipswich Norwich QPR Nottm Forest Millwall Sheﬃeld Wed Reading Barnsley Hull Bolton Burton Birmingham Sunderland (1) 4 Son 26; Kane 47, 59; Eriksen 81 Att 41,552 Ref Michael Jones P GD PTS 5 51 62 LEAGUE TWO LEAGUE ONE P W D L F Salford City 26 Harrogate 25 Brackley 25 Spennymoor 24 B Spartans 24 York 25 18 15 13 13 14 12 4 5 9 5 0 5 4 5 3 6 10 8 47 59 45 49 56 46 A GD Pts 25 31 22 38 42 35 22 58 28 50 23 48 11 44 14 42 11 41 Kid’minster 25 10 10 5 42 29 13 40 Bradford PA 26 11 6 9 43 33 10 39 Brackley 0 N Ferriby U 0; Gainsborough 0 Nuneaton B 1; Kid’minster 2 Utd of Man 2; Southport 2 Leamington 0; Spennymoor U 2 Boston U 0; Tamworth P B Spartans P; York C 2 Bradford PA 1; Alfreton Tn 1 Darlington 1; Curzon Ashton 0 Chorley 2; Harrogate P Stockport Co P; Salford C 3 AFC Telford 0. SOUTH TOP EIGHT P W D L F 14 12 13 12 12 11 A GD Pts Dartford Hampton Havant Braintree Tn Truro City Chelmsford 26 26 25 26 25 25 Hemel H St Albans 25 11 8 6 40 28 12 41 25 11 7 7 39 32 7 40 7 11 7 9 7 9 5 3 5 5 6 5 53 37 43 52 44 39 28 21 22 35 30 24 25 49 16 47 21 46 17 45 14 43 15 42 Chelmsford 1 Bath C 1; Chippenham 1 Braintree Tn 1; Eastbourne 1 Hampton 2; E Thurrock P Poole Tn P; Oxford City 0 Whitehawk 1; Weston-SM P St Albans P; Bognor Regis P Welling Utd P; Dartford 1 Havant 0; Hemel H 1 Hungerford Tn 2; Truro City P Concord Rangers P; Wealdstone P Gloucester P. THE FA TROPHY SECOND ROUND Billericay 3 Stourbridge 2 Blyth Spartans 1 Bromley 4 Bognor Regis Town 1 Leyton Orient 1 Brackley 0 Barrow 0 Dover 4 Marine 3 East Thurrock 1 Chester FC 0 Ebbsﬂeet United 1 Warrington Town 1 Gateshead 3 Boreham Wood 3 Kidderminster 2 Stockport County 2 Maidstone Utd 2 Heybridge 1 St Albans 1 Harrogate Town 1 Sutton Utd 3 Hendon 0 Wealdstone 1 Hereford FC 0 Weston-S-Mare 1 Workington 1 FC Halifax 1 Maidenhead Utd 4 Spennymoor Town 2 Solihull Moors 0 THE FA VASE FOURTH ROUND Marske Utd 5 Hinckley AFC 0 Newport (IOW) 0 Bradford Town 1 BOSTIK PREMIER Brightlingsea Regent 3 Worthing 0 Burgess Hill Town 2 Harrow Borough 3 Enﬁeld Town 2 Merstham 2 Leatherhead 1 Tonbridge Angels 0 Lowestoft Town 0 Dorking Wanderers 0 Margate 1 Dulwich 0 Needham Market 1 Kingstonian 2 Thurrock 0 Staines Town 2 Tooting & Mitcham 0 Met Police 2 Wingate & Finchley 2 Harlow 0 EVO-STIK NORTHERN PREMIER Buxton 2 Stalybridge 2 Grantham 2 Farsley Celtic 2 Halesowen 0 Nantwich Town 1 Hednesford 1 Coalville Town 1 Lancaster City 1 Barwell 1 Mickleover Sports 2 Matlock Town 0 Shaw Lane 0 Whitby 0 Sutton Coldﬁeld Tn 3 Rushall Olympic 4 Witton Albion 1 Ashton Utd 1 Staﬀord Rangers 0 Altrincham 2 EVO-STIK SOUTHERN PREMIER Bishop’s Stortford 0 Banbury 5 Chesham 4 Basingstoke 1 Dorchester 1 Redditch 0 Dunstable 0 Royston Town 5 Farnborough 2 Merthyr Town 2 Frome Town 0 Kings Lynn Town 0 Gosport Borough 0 Tiverton 5 Hitchin 0 Biggleswade Town 1 Kettering 1 Kings Langley 1 St Ives Town P Slough P (postponed due to waterlogged pitch) Stratford Town 0 Weymouth 0 DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP Ballinamallard Utd 2 Glentoran 2 Ballymena 3 Carrick 0 Crusaders 1 Ards 0 Dungannon Swifts 0 Coleraine 1 Glenavon 1 Cliftonville 1 Warrenpoint Town P Linﬁeld P (postponed due to waterlogged pitch) JD WELSH PREMIER LEAGUE Aberystwyth Town 4 Gap Connah’s Quay 2 Barry Town 0 Bala Town 1 Carmarthen Town 0 Cardiﬀ MU 2 Cefn Druids 0 Llandudno FC 0 Newtown 3 Prest atyn Town 0 The New Saints 2 Bangor City 1 * 14.01.18 18 | SPORT | Netball Pitman blooms as English Rose after learning to love herself Walking away from Australia and a failing marriage has been the making of netball star, the 29-year-old tells Barry Glendenning L ast summer, Chelsea Pitman posted a message on Instagram announcing some of the life lessons she had learned in 2017. It was raw, searingly honest and heartfelt, apparently conﬁrming rumours the Australian-born England netball international had walked away from her marriage to her fellow professional athlete Kevin Locke. A rugby league international from New Zealand who had a short spell at the Super League side Wakeﬁeld Trinity Wildcats, Locke has had depression and alcohol problems that mean his playing career has been persistently dogged by off-ﬁeld issues. Without mentioning her husband directly, Pitman wrote of her “self-loathing at the person I had become” and explained how she had felt compelled to “ﬁnd a way to love myself”. She said she was “thankful for the good times and the lesson I have learnt” and signed off by saying: “This isn’t ﬁnger-pointing because in the end we both failed.” It seemed a fairly unambiguous declaration and ﬁve months later she conﬁrms as much. “Obviously it wasn’t an easy decision and it wasn’t great timing, but I don’t think there’s ever going to be good timing,” she says. “I guess it taught me resilience and gave me strength I didn’t know I had inside myself to be able to – pardon my French – leave my shit at the door, walk into training and train, then pick my shit back up on the way out. “I had to do that a lot last year but it made me a better, stronger person and I’ve grown from that. I’m extremely happy right now in terms of where I am and the person I’ve become. I made that decision 12 or 14 months ago and I’m happy. My family are beautiful and I’ve got a lovely other half now, so everything is good.” Aged 29, Pitman won the 2011 world championships with Australia but then switched her allegiance to the England Roses, for whom she qualiﬁes through her Dorset-born father, following an approach from the head coach, Tracey Neville. Having spent the 2015 season playing the club game with Manchester Thunder, Pitman returned to England just over a year ago to join her new international team-mates for the ﬁrst time. “I was extremely excited and honoured that I had this opportunity to play for England and to play at international level again,” she says. “I was extremely nervous as well, coming into an environment that I’d never been part of and I’m sure the girls had their questions or their reservations as to why I was choosing to do that.” Questions and reservations were few and far between. A versatile and extremely talented player, Pitman already knew some of the Roses from her time in Manchester, while she had encountered others in Australia’s elite Suncorp Super Netball 2018 QUAD SERIES Copper Box Arena, London Sat: South Africa v Australia 3.30pm England v New Zealand 6.30pm Mon 22 Jan: England v Australia 7.45pm Johannesburg, South Africa Thurs 25 Jan: South Africa v New Zealand 5pm Sun 28 Jan: Australia v New Zealand 10am South Africa v England 12:30pm All times GMT league, in which she played for the Adelaide Thunderbirds alongside her international team-mates Ama Agbeze and Jade Clarke last year. Back in England, with April’s Commonwealth Games in Queensland’s Gold Coast looming, she has no regrets about a decision to switch countries she says generated little resentment in her native Australia beyond a few barbed comments from angry strangers on social media. “I am extremely humbled and honoured to have this opportunity to call myself a Rose,” she says. “I have such a sense of pride because the group has accepted me. When we come up against Australia I think, as much as anything, I even want to beat them more than anyone else. I haven’t succeeded in doing that since I’ve been here, but hopefully we do it when it counts and Standing tall: ‘It taught me resilience and gave me strength I didn’t know I had,’ says Chelsea Pitman after a diﬃcult 2017. Dave Rowland/Getty Images ‘I have such a sense of pride because the group has accepted me. I want to beat Australia more than anyone else’ THE AGENDA COMING THIS WEEK A CATALAN DERBY Never mind all the FA Cup replays this week, what of Spanish football’s Copa del Rey? The holders Barcelona, who have won the King’s Cup for the past three years and a record 29 times overall, are in action against local rivals Espanyol in the quarter-ﬁnals. Real Madrid, who defeated Numancia 5-2 on aggregate to reach the last eight, will face Leganés, while Atlético Madrid are set to take on Sevilla. Last season’s runners-up, Alavés, will need to overcome a strong Valencia side, who despite their recent dip in form are third in La Liga. The ﬁrst legs of the quarterﬁnals will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, with the return legs scheduled for next week. ROETHLISBERGER’S REVENGE? NFL’s divisional playoﬀs are under way and today Pittsburgh Steelers host Jacksonville Jaguars (6.05pm) and Minnesota Vikings play New Orleans Saints (9.40pm). In the former American football set-to, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger has a point to prove after the quarterback suﬀered his worst day at the oﬃce when throwing ﬁve interceptions as the Jaguars won 30-9 at Heinz Field back in October. BIKE HIKES Bethany Crumpton (pictured) is on a roll after securing her ﬁrst Cyclo-Cross National Trophy at Ipswich’s Trinity Park last week and today competes against some of the sport’s biggest riders in the National Cyclo-Cross Championships at Sunderland’s Hetton Lyons Country Park. The elite women’s race takes place at 1.15pm and the Storey Racing rider will face tough competition from World Cup top-10 regulars such as Nikki Brammeier and Helen Wyman. In the elite men’s race later, Ian Field will be looking to secure a sixth national cyclo-cross. get a Commonwealth Games or World Cup medal around our necks.” Third in the world rankings behind Australia and New Zealand, England will get a better sense of where they are as a team in the buildup to the Commonwealth Games when they take on both countries and South Africa in this month’s Quad Series, which begins in London’s Copper Box Arena on Saturday before concluding in Johannesburg just over a week later. Pitman has nothing but praise for her coach, who seems to be as forthright as her famously opinionated footballing brothers, Gary and Phil. “What I think is amazing about Tracey is you always know what she’s thinking and where she stands,” says Pitman. “You know her direction and vision and where she wants the team to go. There’s no frothy business and she’s extremely direct. That’s why, I think, she’s so good at what she does because there’s no grey areas.” Having learned to love herself again, Pitman seems content with her peripatetic, globe-trotting existence, even if the English winter is not always to her liking. “I completely forgot that you wake up in the dark and you do whatever you need to do and it’s sort of sunny outside, but before you’ve ﬁnished your day it’s completely dark again,” she laughs. “In Australia it’s sunny and there’s the beach and cafe lifestyle. Here, it’s the complete opposite, but my brother lives in Manchester with his wife and two dogs, so I have a sense of home.” A sense of home and – assuming both dogs are house-trained – nothing unseemly left at the door. LOOK OUT FOR… VARDY PARTY HEADLINES THE ROCKET CHASES HENDRY Ronnie O’Sullivan begins his defence of snooker’s Masters against Marco Fu on Tuesday (1pm). O’Sullivan won a record seventh Masters with a 10-7 victory over Joe Perry in the ﬁnal at London’s Alexandra Palace last year and the 42-year-old will be seeking his third title in a row after stirring up a hornets’ nest of controversy in the buildup by suggesting the world championships at the Crucible is “boring”. Still, the Rocket is rocking after claiming the English Open in October, the Shanghai Masters in November and the UK Championships last month to move to 31 ranking titles – ﬁve behind Stephen Hendry’s all-time record. GOODBYE TO ALL THIS And, ﬁnally, we reach the end of the line for the Berliner-sized Observer Sport section, going strong on any given Sunday since January 2006. On your newsstands a week today, a brand new tabloid Observer Sport. It’s so much more than a makeover; we’re sure you’ll approve. Andy Martin Again? Yes, again. There were lots last weekend before the striker’s FA Cup return to old club Fleetwood, including Marca’s “Party en casa de Vardy”. There were more when he wasn’t named in the squad (“No Vardy, No Party”, and so on). And there’ll be more on Tuesday for the replay (7.45pm, BT Sport 2). So he’ll be playing this time? Fans will hope so. The ﬁrst game certainly missed his energy. Near the end of the 0-0, as Vardy nursed a niggle in the corporate seats, the away end sang: “We’re Leicester City, we’ve come for the draw.” BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce, meanwhile, ﬁlled the dead air with subjects including his memories of going to watch speedway in Bristol and his views on the merits of WhatsApp. What does he think of WhatsApp? “I’ve no idea what WhatsApp is,” he said. Kevin Kilbane had to explain it to him. So this replay – not worth watching, then? Just because it was dry ﬁrst time round, doesn’t mean it will be again. The Cod Army have plenty going for them. They nearly won the ﬁrst game – Ashley Hunter’s late eﬀort kept out by the post, then hitting keeper Eldin Jakupovic’s face, then the post again. And several Fleetwood players will be looking to impress mid-transfer window, with Devante Cole, son of Andy, and Amari’i Bell, among those expected to be sold. “We’ve had bids already,” says manager Uwe Rösler. “But it’s not a problem: we embrace that. My job here isn’t to win promotion, it’s to develop players to be sold on and to win games.” Anyone else to keep an eye on? Keeper Chris Neal won a year’s supply of pizza from a sponsor for keeping a clean sheet ﬁrst time around, so his performance could depend on how much he’s already got through. And, if the game follows the Magic of the Cup™ script, Fleetwood’s late winner will come from the original captain, leader, legend Nathan Pond, who has played for them in seven divisions, winning six promotions. What’s at stake? A shot at beating Peterborough away. The other TV replay this week is Chelsea v Norwich (Wednesday 7.45pm, BBC1). Norwich’s last win at Stamford Bridge was in 1993: 2-1 in the Premier League, with goals from Chris Sutton and Ruel Fox. They’re 16-1 to do it again.