Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 6

Sports Category

Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Why No VAR? Blatant Liverpool foul for first Arsenal goal

Arsenal liverpool Mattéo Guendouzi foul

Good news for Arsenal fans is that you can feel hard done by at losing 3-1 to Liverpool. Salah’s terrific goal, Liverpool’s third, came after a second from the penalty spot following a typical David Luiz moment of stupidity, but the game-changing first strike should not have stood.

Up until Joël Matip headed wickedly past Leno, the game had been tight. Arsenal debutant Nicolas Pépé curled one just over and shot too close to the ‘keeper after his pace and skill had out him clean through. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s attempt from the edge of the area into an unguarded net drifted narrowly wide.

And then that opeening goal – the one scored from a corner in which Joel Matip got more space as Virgil van Dijk fouled his marker, Mattéo Guendouzi. This is how the Guardian saw it:

Replays supported Mattéo Guendouzi’s argument that Liverpool players had in effect held him in a headlock, yet there was no VAR intervention despite the fact that several minutes had been wasted at the preceding corner in checking whether an alleged Nacho Monreal offence was worthy of a red card.

So Gunners fans can feel that improvement has been made. And when three parts of their defence return to full fitness – Bellerin, Tierney and Holding – the future will only be brighter.

Posted: 25th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Mustafi is ready to leave Arsenal

Vilifying one footballer for a team’s poor performances is brutal. And Shkodran Mustafi hasn’t been all bad for Arsenal. Or maybe the take away from the The Sun’s Top Trumps-style compare and contrast with Manchester United’s £85m recruit Harry Maguire sheds light less on the German’s abilities than Maguire’s hugely inflated fee. Both played 31 games for their respective sides. Their record for last season is as follows – both players featured in 31 games for Arsenal and Leicester City, respectively:

  • Blocks – Maguire 18, Mustafi 17
  • Interceptions – Maguire 37, Mustafi 58
  • Tackles – Maguire 31, Mustafi 62
  • Tackles won – Maguire 17, Mustafi 45
  • Percentage of tackles won – Maguire 55%, Mustafi 73%
  • Clearances – Maguire 152, Mustafi 161
  • Headed clearances – Maguire 77, Mustafi 106
  • Aerial duels won – Maguire 118, Mustafi 123

A more telling stat is that Arsenal new-boy David, Luiz completed more successful passes per 90 minutes than Mustafi. When you’re playing the passing game, Mustafi’s slow, misplaced passes hinder the team. Arsenal are better without him.

A statement from his father and representative Kujtim Mustafi gives points to an imminent transfer: “Shkodran had a great time with Arsenal. We still have a contract for two years and can imagine to stay in London. However the best for both sides is probably to work on a transfer. But for that it also needs market-driven transfer-fees.”

Arsenal may care to present the Sun’s findings in their sales package. And if the buying club only looks at those stats and not his tendency to wander out of position and lump the ball to no-one in particular, Mustafi could go for a fortune.

Posted: 24th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal to flog Shkodran Mustafi to Roma for £23m and a year of relief

Arsenal are fighting to keep hold of their brilliant Germany international defender Shkodran Mustafi, 27. Roma want to take the brutally underpaid player (£90,000 a week) on a year-long loan with the obligation to buy for ja ridiculously low fee of just – JUST! – £23m. (How’s that Josh Kroenke, any good? The over-priced big lummox has been stinking up the place for ages.)

The better new for Arsenal is that Josh will splash the dosh this January in the hope to improve the squad reeling from Mustafi’s departure (ok – enough, already – ed).

“As for January,” says Josh, “I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to evaluate some things in the short term and figure out where we might need to address going forward, so when January does roll around we’re going to be proactive again.”

A vast and fast centre-back, Josh, and a Patrick Vieira clone in midfield.

Posted: 20th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Alderweireld rockets down

The BBC says Tottenham’s Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld, 30, will leave on a free transfer at the season’s end. The Sun backs up this news. That’s the same Sun which told readers that the player’s transfer value had “rocketed” when no club took the offer to recruit him for £25m, per the terms of his release clause, now expired. It didn’t. Spurs will not try to get all they can for the player.

Posted: 14th, August 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal pair forced out by security fears

Can we speculate about the “further security incidents” keeping Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac out of Arsenal’s squad for tomorrow’s Premier League game at Newcastle United? There have been “credible threats” to their safety.

Two weeks ago the players were attacked by a knife-wielding gang in Golders Green, north London. Talk was of an attempted carjacking. Ozil has a swanky motor (black Mercedes G-Class 4×4), but would the villains bother retuning for another go at it?

Arsenal are “providing the players and their families with ongoing support. The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority. We have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives. We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible.”

And so the speculation. Is it to do with “Ozil’s recent high profile endorsement of Turkey’s Erdogan and his rejection of his adopted country, Germany?” asks one fan. Or is it because the police can’t nick scooter gangs?

Posted: 10th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer News: Alex Iwobi joins Everton from Arsenal for £34m

Everton never did Wilf Zaha, the brilliant Crystal Palace winger. Instead they’ve shopped around and hired Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi for around £40m. The Arsenal academy product and Nigeria international has agreed a five-year contract.

This looks like good deal all round. Pushed down the pecking order at Arsenal by the arrival of Nicolas Pepe and challenged by the upcoming Reiss Nelson, Iwobi will get regular first-team football at Everton. The Toffees get a skilful and improving player.

The question for Everton is: would any of the so-called top 6 clubs have signed Iwobi for that kind of money?

Posted: 8th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


David Luiz joins Arsenal for £8m

Arsenal have signed David Luiz from Chelsea on a two-year deal for £8m. The 32-year-old Brazil centre-back will be at Emirates for medical today.

This is great move for the Gunners. But why would Chelsea, a club banned from signing players until the end of January 2020, sell one of their most consistent performers to a rival?

Chelsea’s centre-backs now include Germany’s Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Denmark’s Andreas Christensen. Feeling confident, Blues fans?

Posted: 8th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer News: Arsenal sign Kieran Tierney from Celtic for £25m

Exciting times at Arsenal who’ve singed Glasgow Celtic defender Kieran Tierney. The fee is a Sottish transfer record. Age 22, Tierney has won every honour in the Scottish game. The time is ripe for a move. One slight drawback is his current injury that will keep him out of action for around a month.

Arsenal had two bids rejected by Celtic, but the highly promising new regime headed by Raul Sanllehi and Edu waited and got their man.

Tierney joins Arsenal on a five-year deal earning him around £70,000 a week.

In other news, Arsenal look set to sign Chelsea centre-back David Luiz for £8 million.

Posted: 7th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal | Comment


Arsenal in for Chelsea defender David Luiz

Arsenal have made moves to hire Chelsea defender David Luiz. The 32-year-old Brazilian’s Chelsea contract runs until 2021. He only signed that deal in May 2019. Reports from France says Luiz has refused to train with Chelsea unless they agree to let him join the Gunners. The truth of that single report is hard to support, what with it containing no facts. But the British press has heard enough:

Would Luiz really strike to get what he wants? Another report says Luiz has been in a series of “fall-outs” with Chelsea over the past week.

Posted: 7th, August 2019 | In: Sports | Comment


Arsenal fan Carl Jenkinson joins Nottingham Forest

Carl Jenkinson has joined Nottingham forest. He wasn’t the greatest talent to play for Arsenal. But he supported the club and lived the dream, joining the Gunners in 2011. That was the transfer window when Arsenal replaced Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona, £35m), Samir Nasri (Man C, £25m), Gael Clichy (Man C, £7m) with Mikel Arteta (Everton, £10m), Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea, free) and Andre Santos (Fenerbahce, £6.2m). It was the season when Arsenal bought players like a desperate lover looking for a last minute gift on the garage forecourt. Arsenal gave up hopes of winning the title. Jenkinson (Charlton, £1m) was part of the era of limited ambition. He got lucky:

Carl Jenkinson Gooner

In a game gone mad with money and greed, Jenkinson is a hero:

Posted: 7th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal : £60m plus Emile Smith Rowe for Upamecano; Mustafi on his way

Arsenal Upamecano deal

Having damned Arsenal as “skint”, the Sun now bills them as “DESPERATE” in reaction to the Gunners’ £65m bid of Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano. You may recall when Arsenal had a “derisory” £40m to spend this summer. That was before they lashed out around £100m on Saliba, Pepe and Martinelli. And now there’s very big money move for France’s Upamecano. And they might well get him.

Arsenal
From ‘Skint’ to ‘Desparate’ in £150m

The German side want £90m for their man. But they’re willing to take £60m plus Arsenal tyro Emile Smith Rowe, either on a permanent deal or long loan. The 19-year-old is valued at £20m. He spent part of last season at the Bundesliga side, although injury hampered his performance.

Arsenal should have the money if they can get shot of the irksome Shkodran Mustafi before the European transfer window shuts. Monaco are keen and willing to meet the Gunners’ £27m asking price. The French club can recruit Mustafi up to the September 2 deadline. Arsenal hope that having got shot of Laurent Koscielny to a retirement village in France and with Carl Jenkinson eyeing a move to Notts Forest, that dire defence will finally get the revamp in needs.

Failing that – and the smart money is on Arsenal getting their man – the Gunners will move for Juventus benchwarmer Daniele Rugani. The Italians have rejected Arsenal’s offer the loan deal, preferring to sell the not-all-that-quick Rugani. Arsenal remain keen on Celtic’s Kieran Tierney.

Posted: 7th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal sell Koscielny to Bordeaux

Arsenal are looking for a new captain following Laurent Koscielny’s transfer to Ligue 1 side Bordeaux for £4.6m.

Koscielny, 33, had a year left on his Arsenal deal and was looking for longer renewed contract. He’d never get it. Injuries and age prevent Arsenal from such a commitment.

The player on his day can rightly claim to be world-class. But those days are rare. And as a captain he’s been indifferent. Arenal hanker for a vocal force on the pitch. Koscielny wasn’t it.

These are exciting times at Arsenal. The club remain interested in Celtic’s Kieran Tierney and will sell Carl Jenkinson, 27, to Championship side Nottingham Forest as soon as feee can be agreed.

Arsenal are also interested in RB Leipzig’s 20-year-old French centre-back Dayot Upamecano and Juventus defender Daniele Rugani.

Posted: 6th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Manchester United sign Mario Mandzukic and keep Pogba; Liverpool in for Adrian

Manchester United will pay £6.2m-a-year for Mario Mandzukic, 33, says the Mail. Juventus want a fee of £15m for the Croatia international – which may be included in a bigger swap deal involving United’s 26-year-old Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku. Napoli also want the striker. Sources for the Mail’s story: none. It sounds like bunkum. Why would united want the ageing Croat?

Better news for United is that Real Madrid have finally made a decision on Pogba: they don’t want him. Spanish papers say to get the ambulatory marketing machine they would need to sell Bale, James and Mariano. They can’t. Real did offer James plus a lot of cash for Pogba. United rejected the deal. So Real will move for Ajax’s 22-year-old Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek.

Liverpool are to replace Simon Mingolet with former West Ham goalkeeper Adrian. Mingolet joined Club Bruges for £6m.

.

Posted: 5th, August 2019 | In: Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal in talks to take Coutinho on loan

Arsenal are looking to recruit Barcelona’s former Liverpool player Philippe Coutinho. Surplus to requirements at Barcelona should their pursuit of Neymar bear fruit, Coutinho looked destined to join the soulless fashion brand that is PSG. But here come Arsenal. Can they pull off a transfer coup?

The Gunners play Barcelona in the Nou Camp in the (checks notes) Joan Gamper Trophy tomorrow night. Arsenal transfer guru Raul Sanllehi used to do much the same job at at the Spanish club.

So how much for the £142m man? The Sun says Barcelona are “looking for around £27m from the prospective buyer”. Not as a final transfer fee, surely? A loan fee for a season. Over £2m a month for Coutinho is an absurd sum – even for Arsenal who spend that much on the combined disappointments of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Can Arsenal shift them and fund a move for the former Liverpool playmaker?

Posted: 3rd, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer madness: Manchester United spunk £80m on Harry Maguire

Manchester United have invested £80m on Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. The 26-year-old is now the world’s most expensive defender.

Most expensive football trans
fers

Posted: 2nd, August 2019 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal get serious : Nicolas Pepe becomes a Gooner for £72m

Rejoicing at Arsenal. The Gunners, described by the Sun as “skint”, have invested a club record fee of £72m for Nicolas Pepe. The 24-year-old is on a five-year contract. And he is a terrific prospect.

“Being here is very emotional,” says Pepe. “I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward. It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice.”

Last season Arsenal were the only side in the top 6 to concede more shots on goal than they took. But they still scored the league’s third highest total. They created the most quality changes in the league. Pepe shoots on sight. Exciting times at the Emirates…

Posted: 1st, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United mix up and Arsenal’s Pepe not African

Daily Star fail

Tip-top reporting from the Daily Star, which manages to illustrate a story on Romelu Lukaku with a pen pic of his Manchester United teammate Paul Pogba. It also hails Arsenal’s new player the “France winger” Nicolas Pepe. He plays for the Ivory Coast, which isn’t in France. S

Oh, and Pogba hasn’t been left out of the United squad in Norway. He’s on the bench:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal ARE selling Mustafi

New to gladden the hearts of all Arsenal fans: Shkodran Mustafi is wanted by Monaco and AC Milan. Arsenal reason the German international is worth €30m. the only downside is that Laurent Koscielny wants to leave the club. however, should the Gunners get a good fee for Mustafi plus the £10m they seek for Koscielny, they’d have the cash to buy a decent replacement. Centre-backs Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Calum Chambers, Konstantinos Mavropanos and ​Rob Holding would all remain on the books.

Of course, Arsenal are splashing out £72m on Lille winger Nicolas Pepe. So he’s used up all the money, right? No. The Pepe deal involves paying £20m up front for the 22-year-old Ivory Coast international and the other £52m in instalments within five years.

Posted: 30th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Caster Semenya: a test of biology not gender

Michelle Garcia looks at the fabulous athlete Caster Semenya.

Immediately after that mind-blowing 800-meter final at the 2009 World Championships, some of Semenya’s fellow competitors went for the jugular. Italy’s Elisa Cusma Piccione (sixth place) insisted she was a man. Russia’s Mariya Savinova (fifth place) urged journalists to “just look at her.” Other athletes whispered, stared, and laughed at her. Then came the IAAF.

Initially, the questions about her drastic improvement were linked to suspicions of doping. When those tests came back negative, she was subjected to rounds of gender testing, reportedly involving analysis by an endocrinologist, a psychologist, a gender expert, an internist; most humiliating was a gynecological exam that included photographing her genitals while her feet were in stirrups. Eventually she was cleared to compete on the international circuit again but not before she missed nearly a year of competition during the IAAF’s deliberation over her test results. The dirty secret here is that gender testing is common for women athletes — and yes, only women athletes.

Jason Kottke says Semenya is a hit by sexism, racism, bureaucracy. I’d say that everyone deserves a level playing field. Sport is all about rules. In 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport stopped the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rule that females with ‘male levels’ of testosterone could not take part in in women’s races. Before that Semenya was impelled to take testosterone suppressants. The thinking is clear: testosterone is an indicator of performance. So what of transgender athletes? David Walsh notes: “To ensure fairness we need to define what is male and what is female. It can’t be down to a person’s preference.”

Semenya is doing the best with what nature gave her. And her best is exceptional. But the need is for her to be classified as male or female for the purpose of athletic competitions. Semenya is intersex: she possesses XY chromosomes but a body that appears female. And in her chosen sport, that might give her an advantage. An unfair one? What about having longer legs in the high jump or bigger feet in the swimming pool? Which genetic advantages are acceptable and which are not? And who gets to decide?

Posted: 29th, July 2019 | In: Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Pepe arrives, Rugani on loan and Tierney ready to sign

Arsenal have recruited Nicolas Pépé – just the medical to pass – and are looking for more recruits. Pitched at 50-1 to win he Premier League, the Gunners are desperately in need of new faces. With Pepe, their forward line looks formidable. But that defence…

“There are different players on the table with the possibility we can achieve their signature,” says manager Unai Emery in what could be his last season at the club if Arsenal fail to achieve Champions League football. “We are only thinking about people who can really, really improve this squad. We will only look at men who can really strengthen a position. One centre-back, one full-back and one winger.

Metro says the centre-back will be is Daniele Rugani from Juventus on a season-long loan. Kieran Tierney is scheduled to arrive from Celtic. He’s greed personal terms and the two clubs are very close to a deal.

Now to get shot of Mustafi, Jenkinson and Elneny. Any takers?

Posted: 29th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


London Tube hero defeats moronic Chelsea fan – video

Who is the hero who helped the moronic Chelsea fan leave the Tube train? And what is it with Chelsea fans and behaving badly on trains?

Chelsea moron Tube

Posted: 29th, July 2019 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer News: Liverpool sign Elliott, Arsenal sell winger, Dybala doesn’t want Spurs move

Liverpool have signed Harvey Elliott from Fulham. He’s 16, wears his hair in a bun and boasts the record of becoming the youngest player to feature in the Premier League when at at the age of 16 years and 30 days old he played against Wolves.

Big clubs are chasing youth.

Xavier Amaechi has left Arsenal for £2.25m. The 18-year-old has joined Hamburg on a four-year contract. The hope is that these young players go on to command very high transfer fees. If Harry Maguire can be worth £80m to Manchester United – the fee his current club Leicester City are asking for the defender – the sky’s the limit.

Manchester United are spending big and have agreed a £65m deal for Sporting Lisbon’s Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes, 24. And money is scheduled to come in: noises from Spain indicate that Real Madrid or Juventus are to offer £150m move for Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba, 26. United also fancy Lyon’s Moussa Dembélé if Romelu Lukaku joins Internazionale and view Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as replacement for Pogba.

Even Spurs have £80m for Argentina forward Paulo Dybala, 25. But he wants to stay at Juventus.

Posted: 28th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal bid £72m for Pepe; Zaha also in line; Aubameyang to Manchester United

Arsenal have offered Lille £72m for the brilliant winger Nicolas Pépé. Noises from France and the BBC say the deal is almost done.

If the France-born Ivorian arrives, talk is of the Gunners being open to offers for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Manchester United are keen on the 30-year-old striker with two years to go on his current Gunners deal.

The Arsenal policy is for any player with two years left on their deal to be offered fresh terms. If they refuse, they are put up for sale. Should Aubameyang extend his current deal and Pepe arrive, the Gunners will boast a lightning quick attack. And there’s more…

To make way for a fresh bid for Crystal Palace star Wilf Zaha, Arsenal are looking to sell Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who also has two years left on his current deal.

Others being shunted towards the exit are Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi. Ozil would be a huge miss – on his day he’s fabulous. But Mustafi might just be the worst signing Arsenal have ever made.

PS: told you Arsenal had loads more money than the £40m transfer kitty all the mainstream media said they had.

Posted: 27th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs will get nothing for Alderweireld; Manchester United wait

Transfer Balls: No club bid the £25m that would have triggered Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld’s transfer from Spurs. The Sun reasons that because the deadline for that “bargain of the summer” (Telegraph) expires at midnight tonight, the Belgian’s value “has increased dramatically”. Alderweireld is now in the final year of his contract with Spurs. In June 2020 he can leave for free and pocket all that extra cash in a signing-on bonus and wages. The player has already rejected a long-term deal to remain at Spurs. He’s 30. The next move will be his last chance to maximise his earnings.

The Sun thinks he’s now worth, well, what: £50m? £70m? More? Alderweireld earns around £80,000 per week at Spurs. He can earn much more than that a top club. And with no transfer fee, he’ll surely get it. 442 reasons “the club will be delighted” that their “Rolls Royce” of a player hasn’t left for a low sum of £25m – low given that Aston Villa paid over £20m for Bournemouth lummox Tyrone Mings.

Manchester United wanted him last year but cooled their interest. Roma wanted him this summer but thought the £25m fee too high. So Spurs are stuck with an ageing player in the final year of his contract. Where’s the win?

Posted: 26th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Chelsea may not outbid Everton for Arsenal fan Zaha

ZAha to Chelsea
One newspaper’s rumour is the other newspapers’ fact

Chelsea are “plotting” to invest £60m in Wilfred Zaha. Arsenal and Everton have been quoted £80m for the Crystal Palace player. But the Sun says so long as Zaha is prepared to wait a year, once their transfer ban is spent they will offer £60m for him next summer. As “plots” go that ones replete with all the cunning of Jeremy Corbyn’s prized marrow.

The Telegraph adds: “Exclusive: Everton want Wilfried Zaha and are willing to pay £60m plus Cenk Tosun but fear missing out to Chelsea.” Not a word on missing out to Arsenal, the club Zaha wants to play for now. The story is utter bunkum. Get this: “With Arsenal currently struggling to come up with the funds to match Palace’s £80m valuation, Chelsea may see an opportunity to offer a deal that could suit all parties.” Or they may not.

Posted: 26th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment