Robin van Persie scored his first goal for Fenerbahce on Thursday night.The former Arsenal and Manchester United star was among the substitutes for the Europa League play-off first leg at Atromitos Athens having struggled with a calf injury since his move from Old Trafford.But he wasted no time in making his mark after being introduced in the 80th minute, powering home a header with only his second touch to earn his new side a 1-0 win.Check out the goal above.
Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has called Saido Berahino refusal to play for West Brom ‘ridiculous’ after the club denied him a dream move to Spurs this summer.Having chased the 22-year-old all summer, the north London club attempted to land Berahino with two deadline day offers, but they – along with two bids earlier in the transfer window – were turned down by the stubborn Baggies.Chairman Jeremy Peace slammed Tottenham’s ‘antics’ in the pursuit, saying the offers ‘failed to reflect Saido’s true value’ and were ‘designed to get him out of our club cheaply.’An aggrieved Berahino, who handed in a transfer request last week, insisted he would not play for the club again with Peace in charge, but Redknapp has called for the youngster to get back on the pitch and win the Baggies fans over following the summer saga.“It’s ridiculous,” the former boss told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “He’s got to get on now and go back and play and win the West Brom fans over. 1 Berahino vented his anger on Twitter…“People do forget. Wayne Rooney asked for a transfer from Manchester United about four or five years ago…Berahino would not be the first person to ever want leave a club and then play and win the fans over again.“He’s got to get out and play, start scoring some goals and doing what he’s paid to do at West Brom. If a move comes up at the next window and it suits everybody, then great, but he’s got to work hard now and play well to get the fans back on side.”
14. Theo Walcott (striker) 33. Petr Cech (goalkeeper) 11 11 Watford v Arsenal is live on talkSPORT.Arsenal take on Watford for Saturday’s evening kick off, with Arsene Wenger’s side looking to heap further pressure on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.Before the international break, the Gunners eased to a 3-0 victory over Manchester United, and should be high in confidence ahead of their to Vicarage Road. Theo Walcott is expected to resume his role as the leading striker, with Olivier Giroud set to continue on the bench. Meanwhile, the notable absentee from the squad is likely to be Laurent Koscielny. The Frenchman is expected to undergo a fitness test ahead of the game and has a ‘slight chance’ of featuring, according to Wenger. However, even if passed ready for action, he may not be risked for the clash given a crucial Champions League against Bayern Munich is to come next week.Nonetheless, sitting just two points behind City, Wenger won’t hold back against the Hornets. Take a look at our predicted line up by clicking the yellow arrow above, right. 5. Gabriel Paulista (centre-back) 19. Santi Cazorla (centre midfield) 11 11 11 34. Francis Coquelin (centre midfield) 11. Mesut Ozil (attacking midfielder) 24. Hector Bellerin (right-back) 18. Nacho Monreal (left-back) 16. Aaron Ramsey (right winger) 11 4. Per Mertesacker (centre-back) – take a look at the full line up, in squad number order, by clicking the arrow above! Agree with our prediction? Let us know by leaving a comment below 11 11 11 11 11 17. Alexis Sanchez (left winger)
11 11 11 11 11 11 Midfielder – Fernandinho (Manchester City) – Many baulked at the £30m fee, which Man City paid Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 for his services, but hes been worth every penny. Once again he put in a dominant display at Old Trafford as he broke up play superbly in midfield. 11 Midfielder – Manuel Lanzini (West Ham) – The Argentine was perhaps a surprising loan addition for the Hammers in the summer but hes growing into a key star for Slaven Bilic. He didnt get on the scoresheet but was a constant menace across the pitch and even made a goal-line clearance as West Ham defeat Chelsea 2-1. Centre-back – Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) – Wayne Rooney didnt worry any City fans during the derby on Sunday and much of that was down to the brilliant display from £32m summer signing Otamendi. Manuel Pellegrinis previous big money defender, Eliaquim Mangala continues to underwhelm, but the Argentine already looks an excellent addition. Striker – Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – Can anyone stop the England striker right now? He scored for the seventh consecutive game on Saturday, helping the Foxes to defeat Crystal Palace 1-0 on home soil. His constant pressing and his directness has been key for Claudio Ranieri and more international caps are sure to follow. Midfielder – Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) – The Spaniard has made the deep-lying playmaker role his own at the Emirates and against Everton he once again kept the Gunners ticking. He saw the ball more than any other player on the pitch and completed 74 of his 80 passes. Midfielder – Erik Lamela (Tottenham) – Once maligned at Spurs for failing to deliver, the Argentine is now starting to prove fans wrong. Against Bournemouth he again impressed with his all-round performance as he harassed and harried opponents, and he neatly tucked away his second goal of the campaign after an Artur Boruc error. Goalkeeper – Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland). Find out who else makes the team by clicking the arrow above – The Black Cats may have beaten Newcastle 3-0 but the Romanian still had to be on top form and made eight saves during the match to ensure Sam Allardyce claimed his first win as Sunderland boss and continue their six-game winning streak against the Magpies. Left-back – Brendan Galloway (Everton) – Leighton Baines absence will certainly have been felt but the emergence of the ex-MK Dons youngster has helped lessen the blow at Goodison Park. The 19-year-old, who was Evertons Player Of The Month for September was in good form despite a defeat to Arsenal and could have had a couple of goals two. 11 11 Centre-back – James Tomkins (West Ham) – The Hammers centre-back is steady, solid and reliable and that was exactly what was need as Slaven Bilics side hosted a demoralised Chelsea side on Saturday. He was a leader at the back and helped keep the Blues attack quiet, giving West Ham a 2-1 win over their rivals. 11 11 It was another action-packed weekend of football in the Premier League as the title and relegation battles took new twists.Manchester City’s 0-0 draw with rivals United sees the race for top spot open up with Arsenal drawing level with the table-toppers on points, while West Ham claimed another big scalp as they sit third.Sunderland’s derby victory ensured there were changes at the foot of the division with managerless Aston Villa propping up the league.But which individuals made the difference this weekend?Check out our team of the weekend by clicking the yellow arrow above, right… Right-back – Kyle Walker (Tottenham) – Since being named PFA Young Player of the year in 2012, its fair to say hes struggled to kick on. Now, though, the right-back is showing glimpses of that form again with Spurs and excelled against Bournemouth, winning six tackles and four aerial duels. Striker – Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Hes back with a bang. It hasnt quite gone England star Kanes way this season as he struggled to continue his goalscoring exploits from last year. Against Bournemouth though he was in the right places at the right times, causing havoc for the Cherries defence. The hat-trick should give him confidence to kick on.
Former Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel has hailed the impact of Mauricio Pochettino at the club and is confident Spurs have what it takes to end their want for a top four finish this season.The team has fallen short of the club’s goal of Champions League football over the past number of seasons, with their run to the 2010/11 quarter-finals under Harry Redknapp – where they lost to Real Madrid – their most recent spell at Europe’s top table.The seasons since have represented a series of near misses – including a fourth place Spurs missing out to sixth place Chelsea following the Blues’ shock Champions League final win in the 2011/12 campaign.But ex-USA international Friedel insists a new-look Tottenham side, currently fifth after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at derby rivals Arsenal stretched their unbeaten run to 11 Premier League games, have a ‘great opportunity’ this year with defending champions Chelsea ‘well off the pace’.Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the former Spurs, Liverpool and Aston Villa glovesman said: “I tip Tottenham to get into the top four this season, and that’s not because of my allegiance to them, I really believe in what Mauricio Pochettino is doing there.“Mauricio Pochettino has done as wonderful job with instilling his philosophy and style of play with this Tottenham team.“It’s high energy and they’ve got a very fit group of players, and the players Pochettino has kept have bought into his system. They believe in it.“It’s not an easy system to play in, I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not easy training every day.“It’s very enjoyable but it’s physically demanding and you have to stay on top of everything, your physical fitness and mentality, but he’s done a very good job and long may it continue.“I don’t think anyone envisioned the problems Chelsea have had this season, but they’re well off the pace and there’s a great opportunity for Tottenham to get into the top four this season.”
Manchester City supporters’ groups have expressed their frustration after learning they will be unable to attend the away leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Dynamo Kiev.The match on February 24 will be the second of two the Ukrainian club have been ordered to play behind closed doors by UEFA for offences that included racial abuse of players by supporters during their group game against Chelsea.CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16 DRAW IN FULLCity supporters have been similarly prevented from watching their team before, after CSKA Moscow were hit with a stadium closure last season.City fans organisation 1894 Group have been vocal in their criticism of such bans and unfurled a banner at the Etihad Stadium last week which read, ‘Closing grounds punishes innocent fans’.A spokesman for 1894 Group said: “City fans are penalised once again – however it could have been any innocent set of fans penalised here.“UEFA has had its head in the sand for years dealing with racism at European stadiums. Banning innocent fans is not the answer.“In the 70s and 80s in England we didn’t shut whole stadiums down. We targeted the minority and removed them.“By closing down a whole stadium the trouble-causers feel they have achieved something. It actually gives them publicity.“What UEFA is doing does not solve the problem. They (UEFA officials) need to come out of their bubble and start talking to fans groups.”City fans have no great love for UEFA, as shown by their regular booing of the Champions League anthem prior to home games.There are numerous reasons for the protests, including the Financial Fair Play penalties imposed on City, but most of the ill-feeling stems from the game in Moscow in October last year.A number of supporters had already made travel, visa and accommodation arrangements when CSKA were punished and they felt they were unfairly treated.Their frustration was exacerbated when it appeared around 650 CSKA fans attended the game having acquired tickets from sponsors’ allocations.Kevin Parker, general secretary of the Manchester City Supporters Club, said: “If UEFA sticks to its rules that it is going to be played behind closed doors and nobody is going to be in the stadium, that should become an advantage to City.“However, we City fans have previous with UEFA, when we played CSKA Moscow in a game that was supposedly behind closed doors. Lo and behold there were quite a few CSKA fans in the stadium under this umbrella of UEFA guests.“City fans and the club, I am sure, will be watching this one with interest to make sure UEFA follows through its rules.”The attendance for Kiev’s match against Maccabi Tel Aviv last week, the first behind closed doors, was recorded at 475.The situation for City supporters this time is slightly different given that they know in advance no tickets will be made available.And Parker said: “I think a lot of City fans would have struggled to get to Kiev anyway. I think we already knew before the draw certain airlines wouldn’t want to be flying to Ukraine, so some of the companies that would have chartered flights for supporters might have struggled.“In terms of the draw itself it is not so bad. Dynamo Kiev will not be easy but we wanted to avoid Paris Saint-Germain and, after that, of the teams we could have got, it was much of a muchness.” 1 Man City fans protest against UEFA
1 The Foxes are two points clear of Spurs in the Premier League Claudio Ranieri has named Tottenham as title favourites as the Leicester boss moves to ease the pressure off his side.The Foxes are two points clear of Spurs in the Premier League and host West Brom on Tuesday with their rivals facing West Ham on Wednesday.Tottenham’s 2-1 comeback win over Swansea on Sunday kept the pressure on Leicester, who beat Norwich 1-0 on Saturday, but Ranieri believes Mauricio Pochettino’s men are frontrunners.He said: “Tottenham, in my opinion, are favourites then Arsenal, Manchester City.“Tottenham are strong in every situation. When they defend and when they attack they know what they want. Everyone is speaking about Leicester but nobody is speaking about Tottenham.“We are the surprise, that is fantastic, a good energy, but if we are realistic the real competitors are City, Arsenal and Tottenham.“Our job is done, we wanted to be safe and now there is something new. You can achieve something new if you think match-by-match.“Now we are focused on West Brom, we know we can win, lose or draw but it’s not important what the other teams do.”Ranieri, without N’Golo Kante who is sidelined with a hamstring injury, has still refused to talk about Leicester’s title chances despite the Foxes losing just three times this season.And he insisted his squad are not speaking about their shock assault on the Premier League although feels they must learn to handle the extra pressure.He added: “We don’t think about it, we are thinking about what we are doing well and badly. We try to improve what was bad from the last match. “I don’t ban (any title talk). They must grow up with the pressure, that is good, but for us it’s not important to win the title. It’s important to improve our performance match after match.”
“Almost every team in baseball looks at it and says it would love to have some of that depth,” he said. He talked about his much-maligned hitters. “We beat a lot of good clubs and a lot of good pitchers without hitting the ball out of the ballpark for long stretches this season,” he said. Not hitting during the three-and-out stretch stands out like Garret Anderson’s sore eye. The Angels grind away with singles and doubles and by going from first to third and first or second to home. This approach, so successful in winning the not-all-that-powerful American League West, is fun. Unfortunately, it has not been good enough to get the job done in the playoffs. The grinding now must be done by Moreno and Stoneman. They must grind it down to the truth that this team is not quite good enough to get the job done. They must grind it down to the fact that Brandon Wood, their power hitter of the future, is at least two seasons away from becoming a major force. They can hold the course and hope for the best. They can make a run for Alex Rodriguez, who can opt out of his contract with the Yankees. One educated guess has it costing $32 million annually for his services. As A-Rod demonstrated in Seattle, Texas and thus far with the Yankees, his services do not guarantee winning it all. The cost is too high. Pass on him. This leaves a trade. Stoneman’s history is he will stick with the team he has put together. It is against his nature to do anything rash. This approach has made the Angels a solid franchise. But will it take them to the next level? General managers are reluctant to call Stoneman because he is hard to deal with – he is so reluctant to trade his prospects. “They do have a lot of good kids,” said George Brett, the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame third baseman from El Segundo who was in San Pedro for the 2007 Sportswalk induction ceremony. The list of kids is impressive with Reggie Willits, Brett’s type of all-out player, Kendrick, Casey Kotchman and Wood. But they do need an additional big bat. They really, really need that additional big bat. “Then I’d get rid of one of the kids,’ Brett said. There’s another way of looking at all this. The Angels tried to find magic this year against the Red Sox with Anderson. They tried to make him Kirk Gibson or Willis Reed rising from injury to lead his team to victory. Only with Anderson it was not injury. It was a viral infection, conjunctivitis, pinkeye to everyone this side of the medical profession. Simply put, his vision was not clear. Anderson and the Angels insisted he could see well enough to play. Since baseball people hide as much of their medical information as possible, it was necessary to go to an outside expert, to Dr. Sanford Davidson, a Redondo Beach opthamologist who teaches at UCLA. It was not a complicated conversation. Reporter: “Would pinkeye affect Anderson’s vision?” Davidson: “Absolutely.” So it was a gamble to play him. Davidson: “They’ll treat him with steroid eye drops. It could take two weeks to clear up.” It was a big gamble to play him. Obviously, it was a gamble they believed was necessary, which is an indication of how desperate they are to add power to the lineup. Anderson verified the treatment after lifting himself from the third game when he could not see the ball well enough to play. Among the lessons learned were: the magic is not always there, and gambling, which the Angels might have to do in the trade market, does not always work. Have a nice trading season, Arte, Bill and Mike. email@example.comWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityThey now enter the season of discontent when fans and commentators, in their infinite wisdom, will solve all their problems. They have to decide if Boston’s 3-0 sweep, which gives them a depressing 0-7 playoff skid, means they must toss caution into that trash can and go get another bat for their lineup to have a legitimate shot at the World Series. Mike Scioscia, their always-loyal-to-management manager, said, “If there is a way to make us better, I know Bill and Arte are going to look at it.” He trusts them. Do you? Scioscia talked about his pitching staff. Quietly, thoughts to himself, Orlando Cabrera moved gear from his locker into a box to be shipped home to Cartagena, Colombia, for the winter. Howie Kendrick tossed some stuff into a trash can. This was all the Angels had left to do after Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and their Boston Red Sox associates rudely tossed them from the playoffs. The end for the players is the beginning for owner Arte Moreno and Bill Stoneman, his cautious general manager.
LAS VEGAS – O.J. Simpson must face trial on kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges stemming from an alleged sports memorabilia heist, a justice of the peace ruled Wednesday. Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure ruled after a preliminary hearing of the charges and arguments against the case by attorneys for Simpson and co-defendants Clarence “C.J.” Stewart and Charles “Charlie” Ehrlich. “This is what we expected,” Simpson told The Associated Press before he left the courtroom. “If I have any disappointment it’s that I wish a jury was here. As always, I rely on the jury system.” No charges in the 12-count complaint against the three men were dropped. Galanter called the witnesses a group of “nefarious” characters. He estimated it would take a year to bring the case to trial. Stewart’s lawyer, Robert Lucherini, said he may seek to have his client’s trial separated from Simpson’s. “We’re disappointed but we understand the judge’s decision,” Lucherini said. Bonaventure ruled hours after listening to 3 days of testimony by witnesses. He acknowledged that the testimony of the witnesses was an issue to be weighed by the court and that defense had raised questions of “bought” testimony. He said there were a number of motive and credibility issues but they were “not so incredible or implausible” to not send the case to the jury. During closing arguments of the hearing, a defense lawyer contended that the case was based on the accounts of “crackheads and groupies and pimps and purveyors of stolen merchandise and gun carriers and con artists and crooks.” “These guys are bad. The court can’t ascribe any credibility to what came out of their mouths,” said attorney John Moran Jr., who represents Ehrlich. “Every witness up there was looking to sell testimony and make money off of this case,” Moran said. He described three other men who accepted plea deals to testify against Simpson as “rats,” and urged the judge to say that “rats don’t get a better deal.” Bonaventure turned to prosecutors and said, “You did not address the credibility issues.” Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Owens offered no defense of their character but said, “It’s not like the state went out and found the witnesses. These are people aligned with O.J. Simpson. These are the people he surrounds himself with.” He said their credibility is supported by audio and video tapes and the fact they corroborated each other. Moran argued that Ehrlich, the seeming bystander to the hotel room incident, should have his case dismissed. “Standing around where a crime is committed does not rise to the level in Nevada of being a perpetrator,” he said. Simpson’s lawyer, Gabriel Grasso, said Simpson clearly did not intend to steal anyone else’s property and “the intent issue in this case is paramount.” He also argued there was “not a scintilla of evidence” to support a kidnapping charge. He accused prosecutors of “overcharging” the case and said such charges as conspiracy, assault and coercion were merely a “piling on” of charges in the hope something will stick. Moran noted that the two men who said they brought guns to the hotel room were given plea deals likely to win them probation while those who had no guns were facing possible trial. Simpson, 60, has maintained that no guns were displayed during the confrontation, that he never asked anyone to bring guns and that he did not know anyone had guns. He has said he intended only to retrieve items that had been stolen from him by a former agent, including the suit he wore the day he was acquitted of murder in 1995 in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Simpson and the other defendants did not testify in their own defense at the hearing. The final prosecution witness, Alfred Beardsley had to be brought from a California jail where he is serving time for a probation violation in a domestic violence case. Beardsley, one of the two dealers trying to sell Simpson memorabilia in the hotel room, has been described by other witnesses as “loony” and a Simpson groupie who idolizes him. He kept shifting his eyes over in Simpson’s direction as he testified but Simpson did not return his gaze. Beardsley, who testified that he appeared on many TV shows after the incident, said he was the one who called 911 to say he had been robbed. Under cross-examination by one of Simpson’s lawyers, he blamed Simpson for the incident. “Your client was foolish enough to let it happen,” he said. “He was a high-profile person and people were waiting for him to screw up. And he screwed up.” For news and observations about crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Kidnapping convictions could result in a life sentence with possibility of parole. Armed robbery convictions would mandate some time in prison. The case stemmed from a Sept. 13 confrontation in a casino hotel room where Simpson and a group of men allegedly stole items from two sports memorabilia dealers. The defendants were ordered to arraignment on Nov. 28 before Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass, a former broadcast journalist who became a lawyer and then was elected to the bench in 2002, taking office the following year. Simpson’s attorney, Yale Galanter, said outside court that there was no chance that the case could be settled before trial unless prosecutors dropped it outright. Rejecting the idea of a plea agreement, he reiterated Simpson’s position that the former football star was only trying to reclaim family heirlooms and no crime was committed.
4. Abdul Baba Rahman (Chelsea) – The Ghanaian has found life in the Premier League challenging, to say the least, and could be considered one of the worst signings of the summer. Had it not have been for injuries to Chelseas back line in the second half of the season, the left back likely would have remained on the bench. 3. Memphis Depay (Manchester United) – There was much excitement when it was announced the Dutch Eredivisies top scorer would be moving to Manchester in a £25m deal from PSV Eindhoven, making his debut season all the more anticlimactic. High hopes were placed on the Netherland internationals shoulders, but he simply hasnt lived up to expectations. Not long ago, Eden Hazard was valued near £100m – would any club be willing to pay that now?The Chelsea winger has had a terrible campaign, with even manager Guus Hiddink admitting last term’s star player has been out of sorts.But he hasn’t been the only one.Take a look at 10 players whose value has worryingly fallen this season by viewing the slideshow above. 1. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – check out who else makes the top 10 players whose value has fallen by clicking the arrow above, right – It really has been a season to forget for Hazard. The 25-year-old has felt the pressure at Stamford Bridge, leaving supporters in disbelief at his fall from grace months after lifting the PFA Player of the Year award. His future with the Blues has become uncertain, with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain understood to be interested. 10 10 10 10. John Stones (Everton) – Stones remains one of the most exciting young centre backs in the Premier League, but has he looked a £40m+ player this season? Not really. Everton have been poor defensively, owing much to the goalscoring form of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley. The Toffees may struggle to get a record-breaking offer this summer. 10 10 10 5. Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United) – The transition from a club lifting the title (PSV Eindhoven) to a club battling relegation will have been tough to take for the Netherlands international. While the Magpies struggle has been a collective problem, it will certainly have affected each individuals value perhaps most notably with Wijnaldum. 8. Pedro (Chelsea) – Pedro was another of the summers signing that has failed to deliver, suggesting playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta at Barcelona had been flattering to his ability. The Spaniard has scored six goals and registered two assists in his first season; however, he hasnt influenced against the more elite sides in the Premier League. 10 7. Juan Mata (Manchester United) – During his time at Chelsea, Mata had emerged as one of the finest playmakers in Europe. Since being sold by Jose Mourinho, however, the Spaniard has been on somewhat of a downward spiral, in terms of influence. It wouldnt be a surprise if he is considering his future at Old Trafford. 9. Yaya Toure (Manchester City) – While the Ivorian has delivered moments of magic this season, lethargic performances have far outweighed his influence. His agent publicly revealed his client will leave the Etihad in the summer, should he not be given a new and improved contract. The decision could be in incoming manager Pep Guardiolas hands, therefore. 6. Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) – Fabregas has been on the decline since January 2015, with his performances, at times, suggesting he could be finished at the top level. He has improved over the past two months, but there cant be too many clubs interested in his signature. 10 10 2. Christian Benteke (Liverpool) – Benteke has struggled to impress since his £32.5m move to Anfield last summer. Jurgen Klopp doesnt seem to fancy the Belgian striker, preferring Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge to lead his attack. The striker has insisted he has no desire to leave Merseyside, but he may be forced to do so. 10