Sports

Dec 282015
 

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick says it is “disrespectful” to claim the club’s players are not trying their best for manager Louis van Gaal.

United’s Boxing Day defeat at Stoke was their fourth in a row and extended their winless run to seven games.

Van Gaal, who
says he could quit, was at United’s training ground on Sunday.

“It is a bit disrespectful when people say the lads aren’t trying for the manager,” said Carrick. “That hurts us – it’s not the type of people we are.”

The United vice-captain added: “We haven’t won games and it is fair enough if people criticise things that have gone wrong on the pitch.

“It is a horrible run, and it is a horrible feeling. It hurts badly.

“The run we’ve been on is just not good enough. We can’t hide from it, we’re not going to hide from it. That is how it is and we all need to be better.”







United have lost four successive competitive matches for the first time since November 1961, and their winless streak of seven games – which has seen them knocked out of the Champions League and slip out of the top four in the Premier League – is their worst run since the 1989-90 season.

Van Gaal’s side face Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday, with midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger available again after returning from a three-match suspension.

The Dutchman admitted it would be hard to lift his players for the game against Chelsea.

“When you lose four matches in a row it’s much more difficult,” said Van Gaal.

But asked whether he thought the players still believed in him, the 64-year-old added: “Until now, I can say ‘yes’.”

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Dec 282015
 

Arsenal are in talks with FC Basel about signing their central midfielder Mohamed Elneny.

The 23-year-old Egypt international joined the Swiss club in 2013 and has won the league title in each of his three seasons there.

The fee would reportedly be
in the region of £5m  and Elneny would require a work permit.

He is eligible to play in the Champions League after Basel failed to qualify for this year’s group stage.

Elneny featured in Basel’s
home victory over Chelsea in the 2013-14 competition.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is keen to strengthen in central midfield after Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla suffered
serious knee injuries, while Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta have also had spells on the sidelines.

However, Elneny is seen by Wenger as a long-term part of the squad and not merely a stop-gap, were he to join the north Londoners.


Wilshere out until at least February

The Gunners boss has also admitted he is unsure when Jack Wilshere will return to action, but it will not be before February at the earliest.

The England midfielder was expected to be out for three months when he
had surgery in September on a hairline fracture of his left leg, but that estimate has now been extended.

“I said February but honestly I don’t know,” Wenger said when pushed on the timescale, as his side aim to respond positively to their 4-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton when they host Bournemouth on Monday.

“I let him do his recovery. It’s going slowly. Once he goes again, goes outside to train, once he is back again into sharp, hard work physically, you count five or six weeks, so at the moment he is not there yet.

“(Wilshere) will not be back before February, that’s for sure. It’s not Jack’s fault we lost at Southampton and anyway he cannot play against Bournemouth. We have short-term worries and we want to respond.”

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Heart of Midlothian 2-2 Celtic

 Posted by at 10:59 PM
Dec 272015
 
78:55

Blazej Augustyn (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

77:08 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Celtic. Gary Mackay-Steven replaces Tomas Rogic.

75:43

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Kieran Tierney.

73:13

Attempt missed. Osman Sow (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

72:29

Attempt missed. Mikael Lustig (Celtic) header from very close range is just a bit too high following a corner.

72:21

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Igor Rossi.

70:54

Foul by Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian).

70:54

Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

69:12 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Heart of Midlothian 1, Celtic 2. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Nir Bitton.

63:17 Booking

Booking Blazej Augustyn (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

63:09

Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

63:09

Foul by Blazej Augustyn (Heart of Midlothian).

62:10

Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

62:10

Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:24 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Miguel Pallardó replaces Arnaud Djoum because of an injury.

60:56

Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

58:08

Attempt missed. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

56:02

Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

56:02

Foul by Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian).

53:16

James Forrest (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

53:16

Foul by Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian).

50:17 Booking

Booking Efe Ambrose (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

50:00

Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49:44

Foul by Efe Ambrose (Celtic).

45:24

Attempt saved. Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

45:00

Second Half begins Heart of Midlothian 1, Celtic 1.

45:00 +3:08 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Celtic 1.

45:00 +2:54

Gavin Reilly (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

45:00 +2:54

Foul by Jozo Simunovic (Celtic).

45:00 +0:30 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Heart of Midlothian 1, Celtic 1. Sam Nicholson (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the top right corner.

44:48

Foul by Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

44:48

Osman Sow (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

42:27

Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

42:27

Juwon Oshaniwa (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

41:19 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Heart of Midlothian 0, Celtic 1. Nir Bitton (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Callum McGregor.

39:47

Attempt missed. Sam Nicholson (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.

38:30

Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

38:30

Foul by Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian).

35:59

Attempt saved. Igor Rossi (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

35:25

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

35:15

Attempt saved. Gavin Reilly (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

33:45

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

33:27

Attempt saved. Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

32:50 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Celtic. Efe Ambrose replaces Dedryck Boyata because of an injury.

27:23 Booking

Booking Stefan Johansen (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

27:17

Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

27:17

Sam Nicholson (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

25:58

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Kieran Tierney.

25:01

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Dedryck Boyata.

23:36

Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left.

20:00

Attempt missed. Sam Nicholson (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

19:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Stuart Armstrong because of an injury.

17:04

Attempt saved. Jozo Simunovic (Celtic) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

16:20

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Osman Sow.

15:10

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

15:10

Foul by Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian).

10:54

Foul by Gavin Reilly (Heart of Midlothian).

10:54

Jozo Simunovic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

8:18

Attempt saved. Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

7:39

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Sam Nicholson.

6:47

Attempt saved. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

5:18

Attempt saved. Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

4:34

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

3:09

Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

3:09

Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

2:23

Blazej Augustyn (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

2:23

Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

0:52

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Blazej Augustyn.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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Lawro’s predictions v Guy Mowbray

 Posted by at 8:56 PM
Dec 272015
 
Lawro's predictions v Guy Mowbray

BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson is pitting his wits against a different guest each week this season.

Lawro’s opponent for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures is BBC Match of the Day commentator Guy Mowbray.

Mowbray has predicted five draws on a tight Bank Holiday Monday but has backed Manchester City to beat title rivals Leicester.

Lawro is also up against a state-of-the-art super-computer called SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) for the second week running.

Our scoring system has changed this season and a correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is now worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.


On Boxing Day SAM predicted three correct results,
plus two perfect scores
, to register an impressive 110 points
– equal top on the guest leaderboard!

SAM – built by Professor Ian McHale, Dr Georgi Boshnakov and Tarak Kharrat from the Centre for Sports Business at the University of Salford – pipped Lawro, who picked four correct results and one perfect score to score 80 points
.

Who will come out on top this time around? Is man better than machine? Is anyone better than a commentator?








Premier League predictions – Week 19

Result Lawro Guy SAM

MONDAY

Crystal Palace v Swansea

x-x

1-1

2-0

1-0

Everton v Stoke

x-x

2-1

1-1

1-0

Norwich v Aston Villa

x-x

2-0

1-1

1-0

Watford v Tottenham

x-x

1-2

2-2

1-1

West Brom v Newcastle

x-x

2-0

2-1

1-1

Arsenal v Bournemouth

x-x

2-0

3-0

2-0

Man Utd v Chelsea

x-x

1-1

0-0

1-1

West Ham v Southampton

x-x

0-2

1-1

1-1

TUESDAY

Leicester v Man City

x-x

1-2

2-3

1-1

WEDNESDAY

Sunderland v Liverpool

x-x

0-2

1-3

0-1

We are keeping a record of the totals for Lawro and his guests (below), and showing a table of how the Premier League would look if all of Lawro’s predictions were correct (at the bottom of the page).

Make your own predictions now, compare them to Lawro and other fans and try to take your team to the top of the leaderboard by playing
the BBC Sport Predictor game.







LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

All kick-offs 15:00 GMT unless otherwise stated


MONDAY


Crystal Palace v Swansea

The thing with these games around Christmas is always the quick turnaround. Will sides rotate their teams, move players around? There will be one or two knocks and niggles in every team and Crystal Palace look to be suffering more than most.


Yannick Bolasie is out and he is a massive loss. He is such a good player and supplier, and he is a beast of a man. He’s very difficult to stop, he unhinges defences.

Swansea’s win over West Brom will do them the power of good and they can go and nick a point. They still haven’t got a manager but they just needed a game where they got a bit of luck and they did that on Boxing Day.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: “Alan Curtis must have conjured up a tremendous effort from his ailing Swans to get their Boxing Day win against West Brom, but I’ve got to back the other Alan in this one. I’d fancy Pardew’s Palace to beat almost anyone at the moment. 2-0.”

SAM’s prediction: 1-0


Match preview


Everton v Stoke

I was at St James’ Park on Boxing Day and Everton just about deserved the win at Newcastle. The thing for Roberto Martinez now is that he can change a game from the bench. He was able to bring on Leon Osman, Gerard Deulofeu and Muhamed Besic and still had Arouna Kone unused, with Phil Jagielka to come back.

At Newcastle Aaron Lennon and Kevin Mirallas played and this is probably the strongest squad Martinez has had at Goodison. But they have drawn a lot of games and they need to start winning, starting here.

Stoke had an outstanding result against Manchester United but away from home they don’t get enough goals for me.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: 1-1

SAM’s prediction: 1-0


Match preview


Norwich v Aston Villa

After beating Manchester United Norwich may have put up more resistance at Tottenham but they were swatted away after a bright start. Now at home, this could be their biggest game of the season because they can get further away from Aston Villa and get up amongst the pack.

Villa can’t get three points, they don’t create enough chances and lack a goalscorer. Villa are already nine points adrift and we will know by the personnel they sign in January whether they honestly believe they can get out of it or not. Anyone they do bring in will have to be with a view to playing in the Championship if they do get relegated. Or is it a case of when? Would someone like Charlie Austin sign for Villa next month? I don’t think so.

They will keep going, they will not throw the towel in but they have such a lack of quality it’s obvious what will happen to them. We have seen teams turn it around dramatically, look at Leicester last year, but Villa just do not look like scoring at all. They have no goals in them.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: “A must-win game for both teams, but you couldn’t guarantee it with either at the moment. Villa are showing a bit of resilience under their new manager. Enough to get a point? 1-1.”

SAM’s prediction: 1-0


Match preview


Watford v Tottenham

Watford are in danger of stealing Leicester’s limelight, they have a real goal threat and are one of a few teams playing 4-4-2. But they have picked up more points away from home then at home this season.

Tottenham are looking good but the way the league is now, if you win three games people start talking about the title! It happened with Liverpool the other week. Tottenham won’t win the league but they do look like Champions League contenders. They have only lost two games but they draw too many. They look like signing a striker in January in case Harry Kane falls over and that could be a shrewd move.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: 2-2

SAM’s prediction: 1-1


Match preview


West Brom v Newcastle

I saw Newcastle on Boxing Day and they look like they might just have enough to avoid relegation, but that’s about it. The players are playing for the manager, there’s no doubt about that and they got stuck in against Everton. They should have got a point.

But I can see West Brom will go and do a job on them, it’s what they are particularly good at. Tony Pulis has always been excellent at pigeonholing results, he will have forgotten about the Boxing Day defeat at Swansea and they will be ready to go, and to win.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: 2-1

SAM’s prediction: 1-1


Match preview


Arsenal v Bournemouth (17:30 GMT)

Arsenal always let you down and it happened again at Southampton. They just didn’t appear.

Arsenal were bullied by Southampton, they had no answer to Shane Long’s pace and capitulated towards the end. It looked a game too far for some of the players, which is worrying, but even on a bad day they will create chances. With the players they have got Arsenal should be favourites to win the league from here but the problem is they always throw in a Southampton type result.

In a normal season you would worry for their chances but in this season of flux, of change, of inconsistency they will probably get away with it.

I love the spirit of Bournemouth and the way that they don’t change the way they play for anybody. They run their hearts out every game. They won’t get a result at the Emirates though.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: “Sorry Cherries, but there has to be an Arsenal response to what happened on the south coast on Boxing Day, and you might cop it. 3-0.”

SAM’s prediction: 2-0


Match preview


Man Utd v Chelsea (17:30 GMT)

I’ve never known such a fuss about a game where both sides are so poor. If you look at the history of the Premier League this should be one of the games of the season but instead it will be dull, dull, dull.

Louis van Gaal’s problem now is that he has no defence. Literally. When he came in he said that he would make Manchester United difficult to beat but right now everyone is rolling them over. It’s a strange situation. Jose Mourinho is in the background but is he really a Manchester United manager? I can’t see it.

How will Van Gaal play this game? He will be safety first, everyone will sit in and they can’t really buy a goal at the moment. He is not playing well at the moment but Wayne Rooney will have to come back in, why you would drop him for a game like Stoke away I have no idea.

The Van Gaal story will roll on and on but this looks like a bore draw to me.

Lawro’s prediction:
1-1

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: “I never predict goalless draws, but how could you go with anything else on both clubs’ current (lack of) form? As I’m at the game, I hope they ram this back in my face with a five or six goal thriller! 0-0.”

SAM’s prediction: 1-1


Match preview


West Ham v Southampton (17:30 GMT)

Southampton looked like they had had the hurry-up from Ronald Koeman when they thrashed Arsenal on Boxing Day night. They have been a bit too nice and very inconsistent but the Arsenal game was a significant win. They convinced themselves that they need to be nasty in footballing parlance, more bullish.

West Ham have drawn their last five and are without some key players and are just nursing their way through until Dimitri Payet and Diafra Sakho are back fit. They will be fine this season but I can see the Saints rolling them over.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: 1-1

SAM’s prediction: 1-1


Match preview


TUESDAY


Leicester v Man City (19:45 GMT)

Leicester have done fantastically but when you are top of the league you are a massive target and we saw that at Anfield on Boxing Day, where the atmosphere was lifted by Leicester’s visit. The Foxes have been surfing a wave all season but waves die down eventually. We will have a better indication in a couple of weeks where exactly they can finish. Claudio Ranieri has got every single player in the team playing above themselves. That’s what a proper manager can do.


Manchester City are without Vincent Kompany again and it is sheer bad luck. Manuel Pellegrini did everything right, bringing him on when they were cruising through a game with no problems and he injured his calf yet again. It sounds really bad for him.

It may be time for surgery on it, to have a look inside and see what’s what. That’s a real blow for them but I think they will go and win at Leicester.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: “Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez to get one each, whilst a fit-again Sergio Aguero might get more than one. Game of the week. Game of the season? 2-3.”

SAM’s prediction: 1-1


WEDNESDAY


Sunderland v Liverpool (19:45 GMT)


Sunderland lack consistency – Allardyce

I thought
Big Sam’s quotes after the defeat at Manchester City were interesting. He has clearly had a look at everybody and he now knows what he needs to bring in during the transfer window. Defensively they are all over the shop. I am sure that when Allardyce took the job he will have told the chairman that he will need “X amount” of money in January.

For clubs now, the riches of every season in the top flight are so vast that it makes sense to invest £40m or so in the window if they can stay up. It’s a no-brainer. He will be busy.

Liverpool played well against Leicester, much more like it and they will have too much for Sunderland.
Daniel Sturridge might even be available to play some part!

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Guy Mowbray’s prediction: 1-3

SAM’s prediction: 0-1

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Tom Rostance.













Lawro’s best score: 140 points (week three v Jack Whitehall & week four v Darren Campbell)

Lawro’s worst score: 20 points (week one v Graeme Swann)








ARROWS & +/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND REAL TABLE

POS TEAM P W D L PTS DIFF +/-

1.

Man City

18

14

3

1

45

Up arrow

+2

2.

Arsenal

18

12

6

0

42

Side arrow

0

3.

Chelsea

18

12

5

1

41

Up arrow

+12

4.

Liverpool

18

11

7

0

40

Up arrow

+4

5.

Man Utd

18

9

6

3

33

Up arrow

+1

6.

West Brom

18

9

6

3

33

Up arrow

+7

7.

Southampton

18

10

2

6

32

Up arrow

+5

8.

Crystal Palace

18

8

5

5

29

Down arrow

-3

9.

Tottenham

18

7

7

4

28

Down arrow

-5

10.

Newcastle

18

6

6

6

24

Up arrow

+8

11.

Stoke

18

5

5

8

20

Side arrow

0

12.

Swansea

18

4

8

6

20

Up arrow

+4

13.

Everton

18

4

6

8

18

Down arrow

-4

14.

Norwich

18

5

1

12

16

Up arrow

+3

15.

Bournemouth

18

4

3

11

15

Down arrow

-1

16.

Sunderland

18

3

6

9

15

Up arrow

+3

17.

Leicester

18

2

6

10

12

Down arrow

-16

18.

West Ham

18

2

5

11

11

Down arrow

-8

19.

Watford

18

2

4

12

10

Down arrow

-12

20.

Aston Villa

18

1

3

14

6

Side arrow

0

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