Pat Cummins ahead of the third Test at Melbourne said that there is little room for error when bowling to the world’s best batsman Virat Kohli, as a bowler can’t try “anything funky”.”Of course, early wickets are great and if you get them, then we are still fresh. We have a new ball then and it helps a bit (against the middle order batsmen).”Virat batted really well I thought. Like all really good batsmen he has certain strengths and if you bowl in those areas, he will simply put you away probably nine out of ten times. For us, its just about starting really well and not letting him get off to a flyer. We want to bowl with consistency and bowl plenty of good balls.””Against him, you cannot try anything funky because he has such strengths. I am a happy with how we have bowled at him so far. He batted really well in first innings (at Perth), but we could have also had him a couple times as well,” Cummins said.His Australian pacer partner Mitchell Starc expressed his disappointment at ICC rating the Optus Stadium pitch was as “average” after Australia beat India in the second Test by 146 runs.A few batsmen were hit in Perth, particularly during the second innings, and Starc said that it was just good aggressive Test cricket and such ratings make it the batters’ game completely.”Just as a cricketing fan, it was a bit disappointing to see Perth pitch being rated average. I thought it was a fantastic battle between bat and ball, which is what you want in Test cricket,” Starc said ahead of the Boxing Day Test.advertisement”For example, playing in MCG last year was pretty docile and the pitch didn’t do anything. You want a contest between bat and ball so that’s going to keep Test cricket alive and get people into the game like in Perth. It was a fantastic battle there and I thought it was a great pitch,” Starc said on Sunday.Starc agreed that cracks opened up on the last two days but flat tracks which increasingly made cricket a batsmen’s game would then be devoid of any contest.”Cracks did play a part but that’s what happens when a wicket is wearing on days four and five. Cricket is turning out to be a batters’ game if you keep making flat wickets always. You want exciting contest between bat and ball. “When the ball is flying around and batsmen have to play, that’s the game. Marcus Harris batted on after being hit and batsmen from both sides got hit on shoulders but carried on. It’s good aggressive cricket and it brings people to the game,” he added.Earlier during the Adelaide Test, Starc was criticized for lazy body language, but he hit back at critics with 10 wickets in the series so far, successfully spearheading Australia’s pace attack.”I did swing the ball in Perth but also in Adelaide. That’s something I have been working on with our bowling coach David Saker and it is going well. I hope to find some swing in Melbourne as well.”Hopefully we have more grass on this pitch unlike last year. I am told it is supposed to be like the Sheffield Shield game here, so it should be a good one if so and unlike last year,” he said.The pacer said that the Australian attack is making a concentrated effort to get early wickets and the Indian openers being in poor form has certainly helped them.He hoped to continue with similar tactics in the third Test as well, irrespective of who opens for India.”That’s our plan we want to take early wickets and get stuck in that middle order with the new ball. That’s still our plan going forward. We will see if they make any changes to the top order. We will still have the same plan try to put them under as much pressure as we can and bowl at that middle order as early as we can.”Starc made it clear that their gameplan won’t change even if India tweak their top-order.”We are not worried about what India are doing. For us, it’s about taking early wickets. We are trying to get into that middle order as quickly as we can and use the newer hard ball. Try to put on as much pressure as we can and take early wickets. Fortunately, we have done that in the first two Tests and hopefully it continues this week as well,” Starc said.advertisementHowever the left-arm speedster doesn’t want to take Murali Vijay and KL Rahul lightly if they happen to get another chance for their past record in Australia.”There is always pressure on anyone at any given time for both teams. We will just try to take early wickets and put that pressure back on them. Both Murali Vijay and KL Rahul have scored some big runs for India in Australia before, so you cannot take them lightly. For us it is about trying to keep their scores low and trying to get stuck in that middle order as early as we can,” he added.Also Read | What is wrong with Virat Kohli’s behaviour? He is an absolute gentleman: Ravi ShastriAlso Read | Perth pitch by no means average: Sachin Tendulkar seconds Shane Warne, Mitchell JohnsonAlso Read | Ravi Shastri reveals why Ravindra Jadeja did not play Perth Test vs Australia
Rafael Nadal put up an exhibition in Tennis en route to dominating straight set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas and securehis place in the final of the men’s singles final at the 2019 Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.The Veteran Spaniard thrashed the 20-year-old Greek in a 6-2 6-4 6-0 masterclass in 1 hour and 46 minutes to reach a fifth final at Melbourne Park.Staging a clinic under the lights at Rod Laver Arena, the Spanish second seed tamed the Tsitsipas serve and racked up 28 sparkling winners against the man who knocked out double defending champion Roger Federer in the fourth round.After roaring to a 5-0 lead in the final set, Nadal closed out the match with a huge serve in one hour and 46 minutes leaving Tsitsipas to beat a quick exit from the stadium.Nadal, the 2009 champion, will face either top seed Novak Djokovic or 28th-seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the final as he bids for a second Melbourne title and an 18th Grand Slam crown.Having withdrawn from the Brisbane International leadup tournament with a thigh strain, Nadal was thrilled with his tennis and fitness at Melbourne Park, where last year he retired hurt in the quarter-finals.”It has been a great match, a great touanrment, I think I’ve played very well every day,” the 32-year-old said in his courtside interview after a pumped-up celebration.”After a lot of months without playing, probably this court, this crowd gives me unbelievable energy. At that moment (in Brisbane), it was very difficult to imagine I would be here.”advertisement”No, they don’t need any message. They are good and they are improving every month.”@RafaelNadal gives a classy message to the younger generation #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/YbQNBRKnPH #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2019It was also difficult to imagine his opponent would have been Tsitsipas, who had shocked some of the Tour’s most seasoned campaigners to become his country’s first Grand Slam semi-finalist.Melbourne’s huge Greek community was out in force, with hundreds chanting his name in the grounds outside the stadium.Nadal simply let his racket do the talking, and he pounded a forehand deep into the corner to break the shaggy-haired tyro in the third game.The lefthander threw down the hammer, claiming the Greek’s serve for a second time to lead 5-2, with a delicate backhand pass down the line that left Tsitsipas stumbling.The set was over in a dizzying 31 minutes as Nadal moved in to the net to fire a volley past his opponent.Given no time to settle, the Greek threw caution to the wind in the second set and began swinging hard in a series of breathtaking rallies.Absolutely dominant. @RafaelNadal is into a fifth #AusOpen final. pic.twitter.com/4wr9u8H1XM#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2019Revelling in the full-blooded contest, Nadal returned fire and earned three break points with a searing backhand passing shot that clipped the net and bounced in.The Greek saved them all with a sparkling serve-volley assault before thrashing an ace into the corner to hold.Nadal pushed again at 4-4, lunging to return a huge serve down the ‘T’ that a net-bound Tsitsipas could only half-volley into the net.A ballkid got caught in the crossfire as Tsitsipas walked to the net between points. He hit a ball in frustration and accidentally clipped the scampering girl with his racket.One win away…@RafaelNadal takes some time to process the moment as he makes his way through the walk of champions.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/qtZbjUNexH #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2019In a trice, he was three set points in arrears, and Nadal bashed a fierce, fizzing serve wide to storm into the final stanza.There was simply no stopping the hard-charging Spaniard, whose backhand was firing like a double-handed bazooka.He struck a ferocious cross-court winner to break Tsitsipas in the opening game and took the shell-shocked Greek’s serve again with an overhead smash.Against the run of play, he grabbed a break point at 5-0 down but Nadal quickly cut off the threat to reach his first Melbourne final since losing to Federer in a classic 2017 decider.Tsitsipas came into this post-match media conference rubbing his eyes as if he having woken up from a nightmare.”Honestly I have no idea what I can take from that match,” he mumbled. “I feel happy with my performance in this tournament but at the same time I feel disappointed.”Also Read | Naomi Osaka sets up final vs Petra Kvitova after beating Karolina PliskovaAlso Read | Not many people believe that I can win Australian Open: Petra KvitovaAlso Read | Watch how an insect scared Naomi Osaka during Australian Open quarters winadvertisement
The women’s T20 exhibition matches, which will be staged during the Indian Premier League (IPL), is once again likely to be slotted during the playoffs as the BCCI that remains the only window available for these games.As stated earlier by the board officials, the matches are expected to have a 7 PM start to grab maximum eyeballs.”Like last year, the sole window we have is during the play-offs. But a lot depends on the election dates,” a BCCI official told PTI on Monday.The one-off T20 between Supernovas and Trailblazers last year had a 2 PM start which attracted only a handful of fans at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.The game, featuring women’s cricket stars like Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Meg Lanning, Elysse Perry and Suzie Bates, went down to the wire but could not create the buzz that the BCCI had hoped for despite being played ahead of the men’s IPL playoff game later in the evening.”We are waiting for the Election Commission of India to announce the full schedule of the general elections and once that happens, we will finalise the schedule for the women’s games.”A 7 PM start on days when the IPL games are not held makes more sense than staging them in the afternoon when not many people are likely to turn up again,” the official said.The board is contemplating two formats for the women’s games: best of three matches between two teams or a round robin stage involving three teams, followed by the final.advertisement”Logistically and even considering the players’ pool we have, the best of three games between two teams seems a lot more doable than forming three teams. The quality of the competition can’t be compromised and that is one of the reasons why a women’s IPL can’t be organised at the moment,” the official said.Logistically, organising three women’s games on prime time will be a big challenge and it is only possible during the IPL play-offs.The 2018 IPL was held from April 7-May 27 and the entire tournament had only three rest days, two between play-offs and the final and no game was held a day after the league stage ended on May 20.The BCCI last week announced the schedule of the first 17 IPL games starting March 23, subject to the dates of general elections.Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will host Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament opener in Chennai on March 23.Also Read | Mithali Raj backs women’s IPL after World Cup performance
After Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was in India to watch the Indian Premier League game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings, it has now been learnt that it wasn’t a one-off programme.The Committee of Administrators (CoA) monitoring the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is now set to send GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim to Male to study the position of the gentleman’s game in the country and the development program it requires.The move has come as a complete surprise for BCCI officials, who feel that at a time when there is already so much on the plate for the board after the induction of nine new teams in the domestic structure, the out-of-the-way effort to develop the game in another country could have come later.”There is so much work to be done in the Northeast and you have the BCCI GM Cricket Operations gallivanting away to the Maldives rather than spend valuable time in the Northeast. The state associations that develop the game and work at the grassroots have been denied the money that is rightfully theirs, but here BCCI money is being spent to send Saba off to Maldives. Do they not understand that the ‘I’ in BCCI stands for India?”Even if cricket diplomacy is to be considered, who in their right minds would think about Maldives or Indonesia for that matter when the focus has to be on relations with Australia, South Africa, New Zealand etc,” a senior BCCI official told IANS.advertisement”Is there some personal agenda? Is someone hankering for an assignment in Maldives after a BCCI assignment?”Another senior functionary spoke about how it has all become a theatre of absurd as people are now keen to go on foreign projects than help develop and rework the infrastructural issues concerned with Indian cricket.”We don’t have time to restart the Umpire’s Academy, but the CFO visits the US under questionable circumstances, the GM Cricket Operations is visiting England and Maldives, the COO of the NCA is off seeing the Australian Open. This is hilarious.”And for all you know, the CEO will probably end up with an enquiry or two once the Supreme Court reopens after the break despite throwing about names in every conversation he starts. This is the legacy of the CoA,” the functionary rued.”With only two home series as far as women are concerned in the next four years, instead of concentrating on the wave of women’s T20 challenge the CoA seems to be working on taking the development mantle.”Is that the role of the CoA or is someone trying to justify trips that are being proposed? Also what exactly was Karim’s role when he was appointed by BCCI? Wasn’t women’s cricket development under him?”Also Read | Sourav Ganguly among 3 Indian commentators for Cricket World Cup 2019Also Read | World Cup 2019: Need to show we’re not only good on paper, says Afghanistan’s Rashid KhanAlso See
Pakistan’s World Cup-bound batsman Imam-ul-Haq on Friday suffered a nasty looking elbow injury during the 4th ODI against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.Imam was taken to hospital after the left-handed batsman was struck on elbow off Mark Wood’s short delivery.The incident happened during the 4th over of the series-deciding match when Imam-ul-Haq attempted to pull Mark Woods’s 89 mph delivery but missed it to get a blow on his left elbow.Imam grimaced in pain and immedialtey fell to the ground after the accident and was treated for some minutes by physios. The batsman was then adviced to retire hurt from the game and was taken to hospital for X-rays.The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) later updated on Imam’s injury and said that the 23-year-old was safe from any fractures.Imam injury updateImam ul Haq taken to hospital for Xray. All xrays are clear. Swelling on his left arm only.#ENGvPAKPakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) May 17, 2019Imam, the nephew of Pakistan great and selection chief Inzamam-ul-Haq, had smashed his career-best 151 in the third ODI at Bristol which his side end up losing to England on Tuesday.England are leading the 5-match ODI series 2-0 against Pakistan.Also Read | India sleeping giants of women’s cricket, says Australia coachAlso Read | Irfan Pathan only Indian to enrol for 2019 Carribean Premier League players draftAlso See
The Edgbaston cricket ground is expected to turn blue on Sunday as India get ready to face England in a crucial group encounter in Birmingham with a spot in the semi-finals on the line for both teams.The game is a 25,000-seater sellout which will be played in a raucous soccer-style atmosphere with India set to attract more fans than England. Interest in the match is intense in Birmingham with a fan zone set up in the city’s Victoria Square.Indian fans have turned up in huge numbers in their six matches so far and the trend is expected to continue against England as well.But there might be a few green jerseys in the crowd as well as Pakistani fans are also supporting the Indian team for now. A victory for Virat Kohli’s side will keep Pakistan’s campaign alive in the tournament.Social media is abuzz with Pakistani fans tweeting in support of an Indian victory, especially on Nasser Hussain’s account who had tweeted on June 26 asking Pakistani fans on who they would be supporting on Sunday.Who you supporting, Nass?Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) June 26, 2019England of course Kev .. same as you when England play South Africa at rugbyNasser Hussain (@nassercricket) June 26, 2019Definitely backing India for two reasons1- they’re neighbours2- they’re passionate about cricketRana Shazib (@RmShazib) June 26, 2019IndiaJ A W W A D (@engr_views) June 28, 2019FOR SURE INDIAPakistan Tehreek e Insaf (@PTINEWSCHANNEL) June 26, 2019Is that even a question? pic.twitter.com/CenAXF1A47advertisementzaki zaidi (@zakiistan) June 26, 2019We want semi- final with india ..Tahir Rana (@iamtahirrana) June 26, 2019Yes ofcourse we love our neighbour’s. Ofcourse we support India. @MehrTarar #CWC19https://t.co/ilamj20iQOAhmed Sa£¡M (@Ahmadd_Saleem) June 26, 2019Definitely Neighbours i.e. India.We can choose our friends but not neighbours.India any day over colonial England.(@ThePreCambrian) June 26, 2019India come on neighborsAishaBajwa (@Bajwa3700) June 26, 2019Time to support our neighbourAll the bestInshallah India will winSupport from@BCCI@TheRealPCB#IndvsEng#WeHaveWeWill#PAKvNZ pic.twitter.com/1RgpNG7ZSbXami Niazi (@Xamy_99) June 27, 2019Pakistan moved ahead of England in the points table with their win over Afghanistan and are now placed fourth with 9 points, one more than the host nation which has lost three and won four out of 7 games so far.For second-place India, it’s simple. Win in Birmingham and Virat Kohli’s team joins Australia in the semifinals.For fifth-place England, Eoin Morgan’s team likely needs to beat India – which no team has done so far – and also defeat 2015 finalist New Zealand in its last group game on Wednesday to advance. Two wins in two games and England will be through.A loss, however, takes England’s fate out of its own hands and opens the door to fourth-place Pakistan, which is a point ahead of England but has played one more game, and sixth-place Bangladesh, which is a point behind England.Also Read | World Cup 2019: Desperate England brace for ruthless India as semi-finals race heats upAlso Read | India vs England, World Cup head-to-head: Another Birmingham test for England in 2019Also Read | World Cup 2019: England’s struggle leaves Virat Kohli surprisedAlso Read | Jonny Bairstow entitled to his opinion, like critics are: Eoin Morgan ahead of India clash
Ambati Rayudu expressed his gratitude to India captain Virat Kohli in his retirement letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Rayudu’s decision to retire came after he was snubbed for the 2019 World Cup twice.Rayudu was a stand-by player in case any of the batsmen got injured in the ongoing World Cup in England. However, India called in Rishabh Pant after Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out with a fractured thumb and then replaced all-rounder Vijay Shankar with opening batsman Mayank Agarwal.Rayudu announced his retirement from all forms of cricket with an immediate effect on Wednesday. In his letter, Rayudu said it was an honour to play for India and thanked MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.Rayudu played under MS Dhoni in Chennai Super Kings and Rohit Sharma in Mumbai Indians. Kohli was Rayudu’s India captain.In his letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Rayudu said, “I would like to bring to your kind notice that I have come to decision to step away from the sport and retire from all forms and levels of the game. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the bcci and all the state associations that I have represented which include Hyderabad, Baroda, Andhra and Vidharbha.””I also would like to thank the two IPL franchises MI and CSK for their support. It has been a honour and privilege to have represented our country.””I would like to thank the captains I have played under, MS Dhoni, Rohit sharma and especially Virat Kohli who always had shown great belief in me throughout my career with the Indian team.”advertisement”It has been a wonderful journey of playing the sport and learning from every up and down it brought up on for the last 25 years at various different levels. Finally I would like to thank my family and all the wellwishers who have been with me throughout this wonderful journey.”Rayudu was not included in India’s original 15-member squad for the World Cup 2019 and all-rounder Vijay Shankar was preferred over him. Chief selector MSK Prasad had stated that Shankar’s 3-dimensional qualities made them pick him over Rayudu.Ambati Rayudu played 55 ODIs for India, scoring 1694 runs at an average of 47.05 with three hundreds and 10 half-centuries. He also featured in 6 T20 internationals and made 42 runs.Also Read | Ambati Rayudu announces international retirement after World Cup snubAlso Read | Picture of MS Dhoni spitting out blood goes viral. Here’s what happenedAlso See
According to a Geo News report, Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali will marry an Indian girl named Shamia Arzoo. The report stated the nikkah ceremony will be held on August 20 in Dubai.The report further said Shamia, who works for a private airline, hails from Haryana. She studied engineering from England and lives with her parents in Dubai, with some of the family members in New Delhi, said the report.Quoting family sources, Geo News further said that Hasan first met Shamia through a close friend in Dubai.Hasan, who has played nine Tests and 53 ODIs, played an instrumental role in Pakistan’s 2017 Champions Trophy triumph.However, his form and stock has plummeted in the past few years. The 25-year-old struggled at the World Cup in England and Wales and was dropped from the playing XI midway in the tournament.Earlier, Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik had married Indian tennis star Sania Mirza on April 12, 2010. The couple also have a son named Izhaan Mirza-Malik who was born on October 30, 2018.Read more | World Test Championship will be like World Cup: Michael ClarkeAlso see:
If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Absolutely SPECTACULAR.My favorite part is Randle flipping the ball at the camera at the 0:46 mark.
If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Ryan Simmons chases after Blake Bell. (USATSI)Ed. note: I asked Braden to break down the three and out on OU’s third-to-last drive before the drive where they only had a seven point lead as well as the drive that led to the punt return. Here are those three plays…OU started the drive on its own 23-yard line. Everyone in the stadium knew the Sooners would run the ball to try to take as much time off the clock as possible and with the way OU had been running it all game I was wondering if we would even have a chance to get the ball back.First downOU lines up in a pistol formation with running back Alex Ross lined up behind quarterback Cody Thomas. To the left of Thomas is fullback Aaron Ripkowski. There’s a wide receiver at the top of the screen (weak side) and two receivers lined up on the strong side.OSU is in a 3-4 defense with two outside linebackers (Jacobs and Wren) playing on the line of scrimmage and a safety (Stephens) rolled down on the line, too.In OSU’s base 4-3 defense, Wren plays a defensive end, but in the 3-4, his unique combination of size and speed fits the mold for a 3-4 outside backer.The Pokes have eight defenders stacked in the box to stop the run, with Jordan Sterns playing deep safety 17 yards off the line of scrimmage and the corners playing off their receivers.The ball is snapped and, to no one’s surprise, Thomas hands off to Ross. Ross follows Ripkowski’s blocking to the left side of the field but is tripped up by Ryan Simmons for a 2-yard gain. OSU is in a numbers advantage on this play because OU only has 6 guys to block 8 OSU defenders in the box. The OU guard blocks Jacobs, the tackle heads for Phillips and Ripkowski blocks Stephens.With no OU blocker left on the play side, Simmons is able to remain unblocked to make the tackle.Second downOU lines up in the shotgun. Ross is to the left of Thomas and Ripkowski is directly in front of Ross. There’s one WR at the bottom of the screen and two up top.This time OSU is back in the 4-3 defense with Wren playing right end and Stephen back in his FS spot.Right before the ball is snapped, the inside receiver up top goes in motion. The ball is then snapped and Thomas hands it off to the WR, who then takes it and follows blockers to the outside corner.The WR is unable to get outside of Peterson and is stopped by Peterson and Wren for a 1-yard loss.This play is a jet sweep and it’s one we’ve all seen thousands of times. When executed properly, it can be a very dangerous play.The jet sweep relies on getting one of the team’s best athletes the ball on the outside in space, where he can use his speed and athleticism to make defenders miss. But before he can do that, his blockers need to do their job.Just like the last play, missed blocking costs OU. OU leaves two men unblocked and those two players go on to make the stop. This time it’s Peterson and Wren.OU had men assigned to block both player, they just didn’t get there in time. Notice the pulling right guard on the play. He immediately goes straight for Wren and continues chasing after him even after Wren turns away and chases after the WR.The WR lined up on Peterson gives Peterson a quick shot off the line of scrimmage before he crashes down on Sterns.Ripkowski takes off right when the ball is snapped and goes to block WLB Justin Phillips. That leaves Ross left to block for the Sooners on the play side, and one can assume he was meant to block Peterson.I’m not sure if Ross got his assignment mixed up, or if he just didn’t see/get to Peterson fast enough, but Peterson is able to play contain while being unblocked and prevent the ball carrier from turning upfield.Third downOU is lines up in the shotgun. Keith Ford is in at RB. In an effort to spread the defense out, OU has four wide receivers in on the play—three up top strong side, one at the bottom.OSU lines up in the 4-3 again, with Jacobs bumped out lining up on inside receiver Blake Bell.The ball is snapped and Thomas hands off to Ford, who runs toward the 3-hole (the lane between the LG and LT). He only makes it a yard or two before Wren tackles him.Another poor job of blocking allows Wren to make the tackle. This time, at least, OU actually got a finger on the man who ended up making the tackle.But really, OU’s LT looks completely unmotivated to block Wren.Wren gives the LT a little side step to the right before blowing past him to the left to make the tackle. And I love how the LT gives a little “ahh, man!” motion after the play.This defensive stop turned out to be one of the biggest (maybe the biggest) of the game.Sure, it was obvious OU would run the ball on this drive, so you might be think “how hard could it be to stop the run when you know it’s coming”? But the thing is, we knew OU would run the ball coming into the game and, up until this point in the game, OSU hadn’t done a good job of stopping it.For the players to go out there for that possession down 14 and bow their necks to cause a three-and-out is huge.I know Perine was out and OU had Thomas (who is probably the worst QB to start for OU in some time) taking snaps at QB, but OU still had two freakish RBss, the biggest offensive line in college football and a 14-point lead to rely on to finish this game out, and they couldn’t do it.For the past two months, OSU fans haven’t had a whole lot of positives to take away from games. From a defensive standpoint, we all knew that youth and inexperience was the cause of poor play and we knew would just have to ride out 2014 until next season got here and we could start fresh.But the defense’s second half performance in Bedlam brought back a spark of excitement we haven’t felt since the FSU game. And how reassuring is something like this moving forward?Next year, this defense will be bigger, stronger, faster, older and more experienced. They’ll be leaps and bounds better.But should they find themselves in trouble, they just have to remember that overcast day in Norman when they went in as 20-point underdogs and bent under a powerful rushing attack, but refused to break.Totally Tickets is your source for Oklahoma State football tickets.
If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! “Their running backs are good,” added Beaty. “They got a true freshman, (Justice) Hill, out of Tulsa. Really a quick dude, very much along the same mold that they have always had there at Oklahoma State. The kid runs really, really fast. They have several that they use.“(Rennie) Childs is another good one that ones the ball well. They do a good job of making you beat them. They’re not going to give you the football. They take care of the ball. He does he want put it in jeopardy and they’re big up front and they move your defensive line a little bit in the run game. They got a good squad on the offensive side of the ball.”Beaty is right about protecting the football.https://twitter.com/solidverbal/status/786646361580199936“Defensively, Glenn Spencer is one of the best guys I’ve ever had to coach against. They’re high in the Big 12 in just about every category. They are second in the conference, third down defense, which is something I always look at. So they do a good job on money downs. They’re first in the conference in fourth down defense. So they’re not easy to convert against …“I think they’re first in the conference in red zone as well. One guy that sticks out to me, No. 96, tackle, I believe his name is Vincent Taylor, he’s a good guy, a hard-charging ball flare. They had two really good ends last year and I didn’t know how you could replace those guys. But they have two really good defensive ends this year.“They have nice recruiting. They are solid in the kicking game as well. It’s a good Oklahoma State football team, not unlike the teams he fields every year. But we’re excited about the challenge that we got put in front of us this week.”Can we hire David Beaty as a PR rep after his days in Lawrence are over? David Beaty and his Kansas Jayhawks have a single win this college football season after beating lowly Rhode Island earlier this year. However, they haven’t been far enough from a few other Ws. Beaty talked earlier this week about the challenge of facing the Pokes.“We got a great team coming in here,” said Beaty at his weekly presser. “Coach (Mike) Gundy, as you know is one of the best in the Big 12, if not in the country, and this year is no different.“They got a really good football team again, led by Mason Rudolph, as good of a manager as I’ve seen so far. He manages the ball really well, takes care of the ball. You’re going to have to beat these guys. They’re not going to beat themselves.“We are going to have to work to create some turnovers, though … He’s taking care of the ball, really, really well which bodes well for them.”Beaty also talked up OSU’s All-American candidate at WR.“One of more dynamic players in the conference, James Washington, who is a really talented guy. You just flip on the Texas game alone he makes a couple of plays in that game that are just ridiculous. He should have been tackled two or three times in a couple of those plays and somehow he stays on his feet and goes the distance against some really good players.”
Look, I laughed at Texas giving up 51 points to Maryland too. I laughed at Baylor losing to Liberty. We all had our fun with that. I’m not going to start cheering for Baylor, but I’m not stupid enough to cheer for them to lose.The Oklahoma States and Oklahomas of the world don’t need Baylor to win 10 games, but they also don’t need them losing to Liberty, an FCS team now coached by Turner Gill, who won one Big 12 game during his two years in charge of Kansas. They don’t need Texas to be “back,” but they don’t need them getting embarrassed at home by a mid-tier Big 10 team that hadn’t beat a ranked opponent in at least seven years.I’m not going to beat up on West Virginia. They played a solid game against a ranked and well-coached Virginia Tech team and came up short. They can still win 10 games this year. However, a win would have been good for the league.We already know the bottom of the Big 12 is bad. Kansas isn’t going to a bowl game. Don’t tell me you believe in Texas Tech just because they held Eastern Washington to 10 points. They’re still at the bottom of the conference this year. Now, Texas and Baylor could be joining them. Not just in the bottom five, but the cellar of stink.If half the league is no good, what do you think that does to OSU’s strength of schedule? The non-conference schedule is okay, but not great. Tulsa, South Alabama, and Pitt are all replacing a lot of important pieces, and aren’t/weren’t projected to beat OSU.Go look at OSU’s schedule. When is the first game people will applaud them for winning? TCU? Maybe if they beat Arkansas. Texas? Not unless they turn things around quick and beat USC. West Virginia? Not if they lose another one before the teams meet on October 28th.Or worse, what happens now if OSU loses to one of those teams? We all circled Texas as a potential loss. What if OSU goes into Austin and loses. Now it’s not a respectable loss, it’s a devastating one.We still don’t know how good TCU, Kansas State, and even Iowa State are. (We’ll find out more this week when the Horned Frogs take on Arkansas and Iowa State faces Iowa). We need the Big 12 to win those games or perception will continue to decline.(I don’t mean to go off topic, but this is the reason I wanted the Big 12 to expand back to at least 12 teams. When you face everyone, bad teams are going to look worse. When there are more teams, there are more opportunities for wins for everyone, and then it looks like the middle of the league is better than it really is. Don’t believe me? Go look at the SEC.)If you think the struggles of Texas and Baylor don’t hurt OSU, then you haven’t been paying attention. OSU is not OU. OSU is not Alabama. OSU is not Ohio State, and OSU is not Clemson. The program’s history and name don’t carry the weight theirs do. OSU needs to beat more good teams. Yes, if they go undefeated, they’re in just like Washington last year. But, well, that’s also never happened before.If you don’t want to root for Baylor moving forward, fine. If you hope Texas gets creamed by USC, go ahead. But you’d better be cheering on Kansas State, Iowa State, and TCU to win their big non-conference games, because if the bottom of the league is going to be garbage, then the top has to be that much better.If you can’t do that, then don’t get mad when a 12-1 Big 12 Champ Oklahoma State team gets left out in the cold come College Football Playoff selection day.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Welp. This weekend was not a great start for the Big 12.The conference went 7-3 in Week 1, including 0-2 against the Power 5 competition. When the latest AP Poll comes out this week, the Big 12 will likely go from having five ranked teams to three.Not only were there bad loses, but there was a lack of a “good” win for the league. OSU over Tulsa? OU over UTEP? Iowa State over Northern Iowa? I think Tulsa might be the “best” win of the lot.It’s only the first week of the season but it was a bad one for the Big 12, which already has an image issue. Losing those nationally televised games doesn’t do a ton to help Oklahoma State or any other league champion in the perception department, especially games you were favored by 18.5 or 33 points in.It all comes down to one thing: It doesn’t matter how well you do in your conference, if no one thinks your conference is worth a damn.The league’s perception is not good. We should all know that by now. Don’t believe me? We’ve got Joey Galloway over at ESPN picking Baylor to win the league. We can lament the demise of ESPN and the fact that they have few real journalists or experts left, but their opinions still affect public opinion. pic.twitter.com/4ALFIr9reN— Avery Lane (@av3rylane) August 31, 2017
Patterson says RB Kyle Hicks probably out for Oklahoma State. Didn’t play second half today. ‘Got dinged again.’— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) September 16, 2017Hicks began the day with a strong showing against SMU, toting the rock 11 times for 84 yards. But he didn’t play in the second half, leaving the opportunity for sophomore running back Darius Anderson to run wild in the victory.Anderson performed admirably in his absence with 14 rushes for 89 yards and 2 TDs in TCU’s win, but Hicks’ versatility, should he miss the game next week in Stillwater, will undoubtedly leave TCU shorthanded. Hicks was not only the Horned Frogs’ leading rusher last season, but also the leading receiver with 1,489 yards from scrimmage in his junior season in 2016.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! When the TCU Horned Frogs come to Stillwater next week to kick off Big 12 Conference play, they’ll likely be doing so without their starting running back.Head coach Gary Patterson said after TCU’s 56-36 win over SMU on Saturday that Kyle Hicks, TCU’s senior in the backfield, ‘got dinged’ once again and is ‘probably’ out for Oklahoma State, according to SportsDay Dallas. Hicks also missed the team’s season-opener against Jackson State.
Chelsea Chelsea youngster Boga joins Birmingham on loan أحمد مختار Last updated 2 years ago 23:37 8/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Chelsea Chelsea v Everton Everton Premier League Transfers The France-born Ivory Coast international made his Blues debut against Burnley and will continue his apprenticeship in the Championship Chelsea have confirmed that Jeremie Boga has joined Birmingham City on loan until the end of the season. The midfielder has been at Stamford Bridge since 2003, and made his debut in the club’s Premier League opener against Burnley. But after spending the last two campaigns out at Rennes and Granada, the Ivory Coast international is now gearing up for another spell on loan after penning a new contract with Chelsea. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina “Jeremie Boga has today signed a new three-year contract with Chelsea and will now join Birmingham City on loan for the rest of the 2017-18 season,” the club confirmed in a statement. Redknapp’s men 18/1 for promotion”The 20-year-old midfielder made his Chelsea debut on the opening day of the Premier League season after impressing during our pre-season tour of Asia, and making his international debut for Ivory Coast earlier this summer.”The talented and tricky Boga has helped us to win the Under-21 Premier League, the FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League, and has previously enjoyed loan spells in France and Spain.”Boga was born in Marseille to Ivorian parents, but joined the Blues academy at the age of 11 when his family relocated to London. Despite representing France at Under-16 and 19 levels, he opted to play for the Ivory Coast at senior level, making his sole appearance to date as a substitute in the nation’s African Cup of Nations qualifying defeat to Guinea in June.
Transfers Lenglet in no rush to ditch Sevilla for Barcelona Ryan Benson Last updated 2 years ago 00:39 11/12/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Barcelona Sevilla Primera División The French youngster has a burgeoning reputation in Spain, but he wants to continuing developing in his current club despite interest from Camp Nou Clement Lenglet insists he is in no rush to quit Sevilla for Barcelona after reportedly attracting the Catalan giants’ interest thanks to a strong start to life in La Liga.The 22-year-old joined Sevilla from Nancy for a reported €5million in January and swiftly made an impression on coach Jorge Sampaoli, making 17 appearances in La Liga – 15 of which came from the start.Sevilla 8/1 to beat Celta 1-0 Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player New coach Eduardo Berizzo appears to be similarly taken with the former France Under-21 international, with Lenglet starting nine of their 11 league games this term.His ability on the ball and adeptness at bringing the ball out of defence have seen Lenglet linked with a switch to Camp Nou, but the Frenchman is not thinking about a switch.Following Saturday’s @FCBarcelona clash, @clement_lenglet has become #SevillaFC’s new leader in minutes playedhttps://t.co/xGFVz0OF3a pic.twitter.com/Pu865f59k3— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) November 6, 2017″They [Barcelona] are a great team, but Sevilla are too and I am happy here,” he told Sevilla’s official YouTube channel.”We will see what happens in the future, but I am focused on La Liga and the Champions League here.”I feel adapted. I’m trying to speak Spanish, the city is incredible and I am happy with the minutes I’m getting and the games I am playing.”Sevilla have endured a somewhat erratic start to the season, with the 5-1 defeat to Spartak Moscow and 4-0 loss at Valencia setting off alarm bells at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, with coach Berizzo coming under pressure.But Lenglet feels things have improved of late, even if their most recent fixture was a 2-1 defeat at a “special” Camp Nou.”The dressing room is good,” he added. “There was a bad week with three losses, but we picked ourselves up and won three games in a row with courage and desire.”I think the game against Barca was special because they’re a tough team to play, especially at their ground, but we’re all working hard to improve.”
match reports Fara Williams adds touch of class as elite dominate early Continental Cup games Rosengard came out early for the second half and were on the front foot from the off. The competition’s third seeds knew the tie was still in the balance and almost got their away goal within minutes of the restart only for Simone Sorensen to see a header from point blank range repelled brilliantly by the young defender Millie Bright.Chelsea keeper Hedvig Lindvahl, one of three Swedes in the Chelsea XI, was forced into another decent save before the hosts finally recovered their composure.In the 65th minute, the Rosengard manager Malin Levenstad looked to force the game by introducing the German international Anja Mittag, the all-time top scorer in the Women’s Champions League. Within 60 seconds, however, the visitors were two behind. Again Chelsea’s technical advantage told, Ji So-Yun shifting the ball from left to right and making space on the edge of the box before playing in Bachmann on the left. The Swiss made no mistake with her finish, tucking the ball coolly in the far corner.Seven minutes later and it was three, the defender Flaherty popping up in the box to tuck home after Kirby’s shimmy andshot was deflected. Without hitting the heights of the first half, Chelsea calmly played out the remainder of the match. “It’s the minimum standard‚“ Hayes said of her side’s defending. “For us goals are the bonus, clean sheets are what we pride ourselves on and you can see that tonight.” Women’s football Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest Emma Hayes believes her side are hitting the levels necessary to succeed in European competition as her Chelsea side dispatched the experienced Rosengard.Despite rotating personnel, Chelsea continued the form that has seen them claim a 100% record in the WSL and knock out Bayern Munich already in this competition. Goals from Fran Kirby, Ramona Bachmann and Gilly Flaherty now make them strong favourites to progress to the quarter-finals in Malmo next week.“It looked like a training performance from my team tonight‚“ Hayes said after the match. “I expect that level of intensity in training every day so, for us, we’re prepared for European opponents. I’ve made it very clear that we had to have a big squad because we have to be able to train at that intensity. With the squad that we have, yes, I have to keep them happy but we can progress to the latter stages because of it.”Chelsea were dominant both tactically and technically almost throughout. They had seen several good chances denied by Rosengard keeper Zecira Musovic before Kirby opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. She had scored the crucial away goal against Munich in the last round and it was her calm head that told again as she controlled Maren Mjelde’s crossfield pass on her right footbefore cutting inside on her left and firing low beyond Musovic at the far post. Chelsea Share on LinkedIn Topics Share via Email Reuse this content Read more Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Share on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger Arsenal Share on Twitter Play Video Share on WhatsApp Time and again in those early moments Everton struggled to track the movement of Arsenal’s midfield and the runs of the forward players into space behind the wing-backs. The third goal duly arrived on 19 minutes at the end of another lovely move. Özil’s run and pass found Ramsey with enough time to think for a bit, scratch his ear and finally decide on a sidefoot shot that found the top of the net via a deflection off Mangala.Shortly after there was a glimpse of Aubameyang in full flight, scampering away into the open green spaces and leaving four blue shirts for dead before his low shot was well saved by Jordan Pickford. His goal was coming. It duly arrived two minutes later. Iwobi found Mkhitaryan, who turned and played the perfect nudged pass into Aubameyang’s run. His dinked finish on the move was a thing of beauty, the ball hanging gently in the north London air before nuzzling into the corner of the net with Aubameyang already celebrating.Everton began the second half with a surge of Sam-driven energy. For a while they swarmed over Arsenal’s midfield as the home team looked a little sleepy and sated. Oumar Niasse hit a post but really should have scored, sliding on to Walcott’s low cross and colliding heavily with Petr Cech. They deservedly pulled one back, the substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin planting a fine header past Cech from Yannick Bolasie’s cross. Cech left the field injured shortly afterwards, suffering from his collision with Niasse.Tom Davies and Morgan Schneiderlin had been key for Everton in that period, as the visitors finally began to compress the spaces in central midfield. Ramsey demonstrated the other side of this on 74 minutes, striding forward and pinging a low shot past Pickford to complete his hat-trick from another perfectly weighted Mkhitaryan cross. With the decks cleared of malcontents and an infusion of high-class blood this felt like a fresh start to the season for Arsenal.Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang in particular, so familiar from their Dortmund days, performed like a genuinely alluring bolt-on attacking part. The question from here, with ground to make up, is how far this regeared team can ride that thrilling early wave. Share via Email European roundup: Madrid draw while Ademola Lookman hits Leipzig winner match reports The Observer Alexis Sánchez off the mark to help Manchester United sink Huddersfield 0:47 Wenger excited by new Arsenal arrivals Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan – video Premier League There were riches all over the pitch. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored on his debut and showed signs of the supercharged speed he still has in reserve, the kind of speed that alters the entire feel of a game, and which Arsenal have lacked in a centre-forward since Thierry Henry left. Behind Aubameyang the re-signed Mesut Özil played like he had just woken up surrounded by the most wonderful array of birthday presents.Even before kick-off there were elements of the Premier League at its brash, shopaholic best, with intriguing nuggets of rejig and relocation shot through both sides. Eliaquim Mangala made his debut for Everton while his team-mate Theo Walcott was applauded warmly on his return. Well, that didn’t take long. For Arsenal this was an evening of instant ignition, a 5-1 win that scarcely reflected their superiority against a meek and muddled Everton.Arsène Wenger had enjoyed one of his more frantic January transfer windows, the doors of the Emirates revolving like the barrels on a Las Vegas slot machine. On a chilly north London day the fruits of those toils clicked beautifully into place. Most notably Henrikh Mkhitaryan produced a wonderfully deft display of attacking craft, creating three of Arsenal’s goals, while Aaron Ramsey rampaged unimpeded in central midfield and scored the first hat-trick of his career. Everton Topics Share on Facebook Read more Share on Pinterest Read more Arsenal 5-1 Everton: Premier League – as it happened For Arsenal the new challenge of finding the space to cram in all their mature attacking galácticos saw Mkhitaryan and Özil providing a dreamy-looking creative fulcrum alongside the muscular prompts of Alex Iwobi. It all fell into place. The first half in particular had a sheen of quick-passing perfection as Everton were repeatedly scythed apart, albeit an Everton who seemed to have forgotten not just how to defend, but that defending existed as a concept in the first place. Afterwards Sam Allardyce described his team’s performance as “pathetic” and “crap”, complaining bitterly of the inability of his players to follow a gameplanInstead the traffic flowed one way, beginning with a beautifully worked goal after six minutes. Özil played a neat pass into Aubameyang, who laid the ball out to Mkhitaryan on the right. From his low cross Ramsey had space to tuck the ball home at his leisure. It was a goal that had some of that deceptive old Arsenal ease about it, the high-speed passing football Wenger is so keen to return to. And so it went on. With 13 minutes gone Aubameyang had his first sight of goal, his shot from Ramsey’s cross blocked by a sprawling challenge. From Özil’s corner Shkodran Mustafi flicked on and Laurent Koscielny was free, almost on the line, to dive and head in the second. Read more Reuse this content
The British equivalent of Condon might be Roger Teal, a Lambourn trainer who is also punching above his weight with a strong contender in Tuesday’s race, his Tip Two Win having been a close second in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. A win for either would be seen as a popular, underdog victory.Punters are sticking with the man they know, having made John Gosden’s Without Parole favourite, even though the horse’s form does not yet come anywhere near what Romanised has achieved. Surely the sport needs to be shown that lots of trainers have the talent to win major races, given the right material?“I probably wouldn’t go down that road,” Condon demurs. “I think these guys have their couple of hundred horses because they deserve it, because of their results. All credit to them and that’s life, you know, that’s Darwin’s theory, survival of the fittest.“We’re trying to find our own niche and you’re true to your own thought on the game. I’m just very grateful to have a horse of that calibre. Roger Teal’s horse looks a very nice horse as well and it’ll be a good race. It’ll be exciting for us to be involved.”Without Parole is a son of Frankel, to be ridden by Frankie Dettori, and Condon is in no danger of underestimating him. “He has the right connections, he’s a very well-bred colt and he was very much on everyone’s lips before his debut. He obviously does things well at home and is showing a lot of talent.” Read more … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Frankie Dettori Read more The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Share on Messenger If one were to imagine a sporting version of a socialist paradise, it would not look much like Royal Ascot and there is no surprise each year when the major races at the Queen’s track are won by enormously wealthy owners, working with big-name trainers. But Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes really might redistribute a chunk of prize money from those who have to those who need and Ken Condon, a much-liked but low-profile trainer, is hoping to be among those to benefit.Only those who follow racing quite closely are likely to be familiar with Condon’s work. His is not one of those behemoth operations which start each year with more than 200 horses and end up with some good ones by sheer weight of numbers. Only 30 heads poke out into his yard at Ridge Manor Stables and there is no room for more. Share on Facebook Since you’re here… Royal Ascot Topics The Observer Support The Guardian Quality has been his focus since he started training in 2002 and in recent years the 44-year-old has got into the habit of making ninja-like raids on second-tier prizes in Britain, scooping up useful cash and returning to his base on the Curragh before some realised he was here. But now, thanks to Romanised, Condon’s arrival at Ascot is anticipated.Despite odds of 25-1, Romanised won last month’s Irish 2,000 Guineas, beating horses trained by the mighty Aidan O’Brien into second, third and fourth. Runners owned by Dubai’s ruling family finished fifth and sixth. Condon’s colt finished clear of them all, eliciting a lot of pleasure from the crowd at his local track for a man described by some as “the nicest guy in Irish racing”.Condon laughs at the label. “You wouldn’t want to believe half of what you hear, that’s what I’d say about that. I’m very much humbled by the reaction but there’s plenty fellas like me. Everyone would love to get their hands on a top horse.” “It’s a little bit of a transitionary time. We’ll see what happens by September. I think there’s a few nice ones among them.”While he waits for the juveniles to come good, Condon is plotting his way with a handful of three-year-olds and older horses. Look out for him at Carlisle on 27 June, where he may run Mamba Noire in a Listed race he won last year.In the meantime he can savour the memory of Romanised’s powerful finish at the Curragh last month. “It’s probably good for the game,” he concedes. “It keeps everyone trying, keeps them going back to the sales to try and find that next horse. It’s the old adage, a good horse can turn up anywhere.” But Condon has been granted the dry weather he wanted for Romanised, which will produce the sort of fast ground he can quicken off in the final quarter-mile. All the trainer wishes for now is a helpful stalls position from Sunday’s draw. Romanised is a habitual slow starter, so a low-numbered stall could be a kind of coffin, leading to him being boxed in at the back of the field against the inside rail. “Give us middle to outer and Shane [Foley, his jockey] can take it from there,” the trainer says.Anyone could be happy about bagging the St James’s Palace Stakes but success for Condon would mean all the more because winners have been hard to come by in recent months. Remarkably the Irish Guineas has been the only race won by any of his charges since July.But there is no need to get the vets round to test for a virus. The population of Condon’s stable explains why he has been slow to get going this year; 19 of his 30 horses are two-year-olds, meaning his yard is really a nursery, full of youngsters whose talent will hopefully become apparent. Talking Horses: Beware backing the odds-on shots at Royal Ascot Reuse this content Horse racing Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share via Email Royal Ascot 2018 tipping guide: St George has fire to slay Gold Cup rivals news Read more Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Share on WhatsApp
“I always had it so that when the right full-back is going up, the left‑back has to squeeze. The problem [for Guardiola] is that the space behind the defence will be bigger. You can exploit that when you have individual players who can play under the pressure of Manchester City. Liverpool did it – a pass to Salah or Firmino and then they are gone.”This explains the apparent paradox of City conceding the fewest goals in the league last season and yet at times – notably twice at Anfield against Liverpool, in the second half at home against Manchester United and at times in the Champions League away at Shakhtar and in both matches against Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli – looking defensively suspect. They stifle opponents by keeping the ball from them but can struggle against opponents who are not overwhelmed by their press.Guardiola has reportedly been working on shapes and new patterns of play as he seeks further progress in the Champions League but little in the group games so far suggests the problems have been resolved. Lyon unsettled City by pressing them and forcing them into mistakes; Hoffenheim attacked the familiar vulnerabilities between central defenders and the full-backs.It was presumably an awareness of that potential flaw that led Guardiola last season to leave out Raheem Sterling and deploy Ilkay Gündoğan in a withdrawn role on the right in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final. That would protect Walker and help City keep the ball and control the game, to prevent Liverpool generating the head of fury that had brought three goals in nine minutes in the league game at Anfield three months previously. features Read more Read more Share on Twitter Relief for Pep Guardiola after Manchester City overcome fear factor Manchester City Yet Liverpool, too, seem to have been concerned by their full-backs. Neither Alexander-Arnold nor Robertson has been as attacking this season as they were last and, while that may have brought a greater sense of defensive stability, it has equally had an impact on the effectiveness of the wide forwards.It would be unrealistic to expect Mohamed Salah to reproduce the sort of glorious form he enjoyed in the first quarter of the year entirely consistently, and there are numerous reasons why he may not have looked quite so threatening this season as he did last but one of them is that he no longer has Alexander-Arnold hurtling outside him every time he gets the ball and distracting the full-back to allow him to cut inside to attack the defender on his weaker foot.Both sides, then, face a similar issue. Both have benefited from the potency of their full-backs but are aware there may be benefits in having them play a little more conservatively. If it is 4-3-3 against 4-3-3, whoever better manages the balance in that area should have the edge. That sort of change is a Guardiola trait, a strength that can become a weakness. Part of his genius is his constant flexibility and his willingness to adapt but there are occasions when he seems to overthink things. He will be aware that Jürgen Klopp is the only coach he has faced on more than three occasions who has a positive record against him and that could prompt a change.If there is one, it is likely to come in midfield, if only because of the lack of options to play as a left wing‑back. With Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph injured, the most likely candidate to play on the left of the defence is Laporte. It is one thing to press a mobile central defender into service as a left-back, quite another to make him play as a wing-back. There is the option of using Leroy Sané as a wing-back but even for Guardiola that is probably too bold a step. Share via Email Sportblog Share on LinkedIn Pep Guardiola It is all about the full-backs but these days it is always all about the full‑backs. From a tactical point of view Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City is likely to be settled by Trent Alexander-Arnold against Aymeric Laporte and Andy Robertson against Kyle Walker – and, if it is not, it will be because Pep Guardiola has chosen not to take on that fight. Jack Charlton’s observation after the 1994 World Cup that full-back had become the most important position on the pitch seems wiser by the day.Full-backs, Louis van Gaal insists, are the key to Guardiola. The biggest difference between the football he practised with Guardiola in his midfield at Barcelona in the late 90s and that played by City now, he said in an interview for The Barcelona Legacy, “is that a lot of times he has two full-backs in front of the central defenders. Guardiola takes a big risk and that’s why he can lose. The space behind is too big for the central defenders and he doesn’t have such fast central defenders. Football tactics Reuse this content Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge hits back after Eden Hazard’s Chelsea strike Jürgen Klopp Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Topics Liverpool