A total mess! Even West Ham are too good for abysmal Man Utd

first_imgWhere does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer go from here?His team’s winless streak away from home in the Premier League stretches to seven following this dismal reverse at West Ham.Whatever lustre conjured by the once-mighty Manchester United name is long gone. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Solskjaer’s team are a complete mess.Granted allowances must be made for the absences of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw but all teams suffer injuries.What lies beneath the surface, when United have to draw on their squad, is pitiful and not fit for purpose. Then again, they hardly pull up many trees with their first XI either.They may have got their second league win of the season last week against Leicester at home but that had more to do with how the visitors wilted in the expectation that they would take care of business.That win, given to them by a penalty converted by Marcus Rashford, papered over the cracks at the club.Here, against West Ham, they got exactly what they deserved in a 2-0 loss. There was no punch, no verve and the distinct lack of a plan. They beat Astana, narrowly, in midweek. That’s currently about their level. West Ham are too good for them.They had what United didn’t; a busy midfield, a lively attack line and a striker who knows what he’s doing in Sebastien Haller.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 2019-20Rashford will probably not be available to Solskjaer in the immediate future either. The England striker pulled up with what looked like a pulled muscle during the second half, chasing what was another aimless ball into the channel.With Romelu Lukaku sold to Inter, and scoring in this weekend’s Milan derby, the striking burden was scheduled to be rotated between Rashford and Martial.The Frenchman is himself injured with no certain return date. United are lacking firepower at a time they need it most. The wisdom to get rid of Lukaku can be legitimately questioned.Solskjaer had few senior options for the midweek Europa League game so Rashford played there as well. A concern for Solskjaer is how to manage the workloads of his two strikers now that both are proving vulnerable to knocks and strains.Jesse Lingard came on for Rashford here, demonstrating the paucity of the club’s forward options. He barely attracted a passing glance during his minutes on the pitch.The only one who looked anything like an attacking threat was again Daniel James. His pace will cause trouble for any team but he is suffering from a severe lack of help.All over the pitch, United were second best. Harry Maguire, so surefooted in the win against Leicester, was all at sea early on. He, like Victor Lindelof, was cursed to lose almost every header on the day to the impressive Haller.It was the Swede who played Andriy Yarmolenko onside for the opening goal and Maguire failed to get close enough to prevent the shot.Maguire’s passes on occasion put his own midfield under pressure and one ill-advised dribble in the first half caused the concession of a corner.It’s not often Aaron Wan-Bissaka gets criticised but here his positioning was at times suspect, allowing West Ham to canter in behind.Ashley Young embodies the right qualities but would not be a starter in many more top teams. It was his foul on Mark Noble which ultimately coughed up the second goal.In midfield, Nemanja Matic was ponderous having captained the side on Thursday. Alongside him, Scott McTominay huffed and puffed but is hampered by a lack of technical quality.Juan Mata missed the one good chance that came his way and is not the optimum player for this kind of team. Andreas Pereira is a fish out of water playing wide on the right of midfield.It’s frankly stunning that Solskjaer saw fit to name the same XI for this game as he played against Leicester last week.This is a results business of course and United got one there. But there is no pervasive method about this team, no joined-up quality, no cohesiveness.What brings it into all the starker contrast is the realisation that Manchester City put West Ham away a matter of weeks ago by a 5-0 scoreline.By the time Aaron Cresswell curled a sumptuous free-kick into the top corner, the Manchester United fans were streaming out, the distant away end emptying fast. They had seen enough.Solskjaer’s winning streak is now as distant a memory, the false dawn of all false dawns. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

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Kepa keen to return to boyhood club

first_imgChelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga claims he would like to return to Athletic Club one day but isn’t sure when or how such a move could happen.The Spain international left the Basque club in 2018 to join Chelsea, which ended a 14-year spell with the side he joined the youth ranks of at age nine.Kepa, 25, commanded a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper at the time, and has since become first choice goalkeeper for both Chelsea and Spain, but admits a return to the Rojiblancos is a possibility.”Of course I would like to return to Athletic,” Kepa told Spanish football show El Chiringuito.”I don’t know when or how or what, but playing at Athletic obviously I’d like that. I have great memories.”The Chelsea stopper also reflected on the heavy speculation that saw him come close to joining Real Madrid in January 2018. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Kepa eventually re-signed with Bilbao in that window with the intention of staying at the club, before departing to Chelsea the following summer.”For several months my grandma saw more of me in the newspapers than in the flesh,” he said.”There was a lot of talk about me. I was also injured for a while so it wasn’t a good moment for me. My contract was due to expire and from January onwards I was able to start talking to other clubs.”I couldn’t see myself joining [another] club. I ended up renewing my contract with the idea of staying, but six months later I left. That was the only contraction.”Aside from a dramatic confrontation with Maurizio Sarri last season, Kepa has settled well at Stamford Bridge and played a key part in Chelsea’s Europa League success last season. The Spanish shot-stopper has been backed to continue shining with the Blues for a long time to come if he can keep improving.“At 25, Kepa is very young in goalkeeping terms,” Mark Schwarzer recently told The Athletic. “He has a long way to go. He could be there for the next 15 years easily – if he stays fit and continues to get better and better.”last_img read more

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Bernal, 22, is new star of Tour de France

first_imgBernal, 22, is new star of Tour de France Colombia has its first champion of cycling’s premier event By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. PARIS — The skies over Paris were yellow, ignited by a glorious golden sunset.The partying fans’ shirts were yellow, Colombians making themselves at home on the Champs-Elysees.But the yellow that counted most was the iconic jersey that fit so snugly on the slim shoulders of Egan Bernal.His crowning Sunday as the Tour de France’s youngest post-World War II champion, and its first from South America, heralded the birth of a new supernova in the cycling universe.Winning a Tour for the ages at the unusually young age of 22 immediately prompted the question: How many more might he win?Get this: He’s younger than the Tour’s greatest champions — five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain — all were when they were first crowned. Pity those in the peloton who also hope to win future editions of cycling’s greatest race: They could be in for quite a wait. Receive latest stories and local news in your email: Colombia’s Egan Bernal, the winner, center, Britain’s Geraint Thomas, who placed second, left, and the Netherlands’ Steven Kruijswijk, third, stand on the podium of the Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France, Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) Share: Subscribe Today The Columbian is becoming a rare example of a news organization with local, family ownership. Subscribe today to support local journalism and help us to build a stronger community. By JOHN LEICESTER and SAMUEL PETREQUIN, Associated Press “I am the most happy guy in the world. I just won the Tour de France, and, yeah, I can’t believe it,” Bernal said, looking bemused on the podium in the race winner’s jersey and silhouetted by the splendid sunset.The slightly built Colombian with a killer instinct on the road proved to be the strongest of the 176 strong men who roared off from the start in Brussels, Belgium, on July 6 on their 3,366-kilometer (2,092-mile) odyssey that delivered the most absorbing, drama-packed Tour in decades and confirmation that the prodigy Bernal is the real deal.Riding a yellow bike, and cheered by Colombian fans who were partying even before he rattled up the cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees, Bernal crossed the line with his teammate Geraint Thomas, the 2018 champion who this year finished second. Steven Kruijswijk completed what Tour organizers said was the tightest podium in the 116-year history of the race, with just 1 minute, 31 seconds separating first and third places after three weeks of racing.The 21st and final stage was won in a sprint finish on the famous avenue by Australian Caleb Ewan, the dominant sprinter of his first Tour with three stage wins. Keeping with race tradition on its final day, the 155 riders who survived the Tour rode at a pedestrian pace and in a joyful atmosphere before hitting the Champs-Elysees. Bernal chatted with French rival Julian Alaphilippe and raised a glass of champagne as he rode.center_img Share: GO And it was there that Bernal, raised at altitude in Colombia and at home in thinner air, struck.Bernal flew up the Tour’s highest climb, the dizzying Iseran pass at 2,770 meters (9,088-feet) above sea level, demolishing what remained of Alaphilippe’s lead on Stage 19 and building a sizeable one of his own.The watch was then stopped, with Bernal way ahead, when the hailstorm suddenly coated the route with ice, amid fears that riders on tires barely wider than their thumbs could skid off into the rock- and ravine-scarred Alpine décor.Compounding the misery for France, Pinot abandoned the race in tears, hobbled by a left-thigh muscle tear. Published: July 28, 2019, 2:53pm And that was that. The Tour that had been careening to a rock ‘n’ roll finish instead had the plug pulled on it. Landslides also truncated the last Alpine Stage 20, which still proved too long for the by-now exhausted Alaphilippe, who slipped off the podium entirely, despite getting words of encouragement in a call the previous night from French President Emmanuel Macron.Thomas used the last Alpine climb to secure the runner-up spot in Paris, giving the Ineos team a podium 1-2 with Bernal. Third-placed Kruijswijk, a Dutch Mr. Steady, pulled off the feat of being wholly unremarkable during the three weeks, while Alaphilippe, Pinot and Bernal and others rocked.Quite remarkably, none of the top four riders won a stage. Alaphilippe, in fifth, won two.“Honestly, I prefer having won two stages and 14 days in yellow than doing nothing and finishing third,” Alaphilippe said Sunday. So instead of a red-white-and-blue celebration, Paris got painted in Colombian red, blue and yellow.Lots and lots of yellow. At the finish, Bernal fell into the arms of his family.“I cannot believe it. It’s just incredible. I am sorry. I have no words,” he said through a translator. “I still can’t understand what is happening to me.”Tearful Colombians celebrated their new hero.“When I saw that he won, I said, ‘I need to go with my music to support him,’” said clarinet-playing Colombian fan Sebastian Cortes, who traveled from Strasbourg in eastern France for the celebration.But millions of French fans who had lined the roads through east, central and southern France, and up into the thinning air of the Pyrenees and Alps, were ruing a bitter-sweet Tour.First, their hearts soared with fabulous racing from French riders Alaphilippe, who held the iconic yellow jersey for 14 days, and Thibaut Pinot, who won on the first of seven 2,000-meter-plus (6,500-feet) peaks scaled by the highest Tour in history. But joy turned to sorrow when Alaphilippe and Pinot’s prospects of becoming France’s first winner since Hinault in 1985 were cruelly dashed just two days before the grand finale in Paris, on an epic Stage 19 where Mother Nature became a party-pooping guest. An almighty dump of torrential rain and hail severed the Tour route just as Bernal was succeeding in ripping the race lead off Alaphilippe, who’d clung to it like a kid with a favorite toy.“Julian Alaphilippe made us dream,” said Celestin Simon, a Parisian who cheered his hero on the Champs-Elysees in a pointy hat of French red, white and blue. “Unfortunately, there’s no victory at the end.”Alaphilippe, more than anyone, first ignited and then stoked what will long be remembered as a Tour of fireworks. With his goatee beard and can’t-catch-me attacks that rivals couldn’t match, Alaphilippe embodied “panache,” the old-school class so cherished by Tour fans.Alaphilippe’s enterprise first put him in yellow in Champagne country on Stage 3 and then, after he lost the lead on Stage 6, got him the jersey back on Stage 8, which he held through the Pyrenees and into the Alps.last_img read more

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Legislation Advances New Electricity Plan

first_imgGovernment is implementing key elements of the province’s new electricity plan with legislation introduced today, Dec. 1. The electricity plan, launched earlier in November, focuses on the four main themes Nova Scotians and experts raised during the Electricity System Review, including accountability, predictable and stable rates, and introducing more innovation and competition in our electricity system. “Our plan is about creating an electricity system that works better for Nova Scotians,” said Energy Minister Michel Samson. “Today’s bill paves the way for changes that will happen during the next four years to create a more accountable, cleaner and more innovative electricity future over the next 25 years.” The Electricity Plan Implementation (2015) Act gives authority to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to set performance and reliability standards for Nova Scotia Power. There will be regular reporting requirements and the board can order penalties of up to $1 million each year if the utility fails to achieve the standards. Penalties will be paid for by shareholders and used to reduce fuel costs. Government is taking a number of steps to create more predictable and stable rates for Nova Scotians through a three-year rate stability period, from 2017 to 2019. To achieve this, Nova Scotia Power will have until April 30 to request a change to the general rate for non-fuel costs during this period. The legislation will align efficiency programming with the rate stability period, so they both end in 2019. Nova Scotia Power will be required to submit a three-year fuel stability plan that reduces volatility and sets the amount customers pay to cover fuel costs each year. It will include Maritime Link costs. Additionally, ratepayers will benefit from the tax treatment associated with including the South Canoe and Sable energy projects in the rate base. The legislation ensures the estimated $35 million is used to reduce fuel costs. As of Aug. 6, the community feed-in tariff program has closed to new applications. Previously approved projects will be held to firm timelines to connect to the grid and the minister will no longer be able to grant extension requests. The electricity plan outlined new innovation programs for research and development related to new technologies, electricity use and management, storage, solar electricity and tidal energy. This legislation enables the development of detailed regulations that will set program limits, rates, and data collection obligations for new and existing program participants. The Department of Energy expects to begin consultations on program development early in 2016. Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan is available at www.novascotia.ca/electricityfuture .last_img read more

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Lankan sniper was hired to kill Maldives President

A Sri Lankan sniper arrested in Maldives was hired and brought into the country as part of a plot to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, the Maldives police announced, according to Haveeru Online.Confirming the arrest for the first time, police said in a statement that the 27-year-old man was arrested on October 24. He has been remanded by the Criminal Court for 15 days, the police added. “We can confirm that these weapons would be used in a general attack or utilised to launch an attack on particular individuals,” Ihsan said, during the press conference held a few minutes before the declaration of state of emergency on Wednesday. The police, however, did not reveal any further details. Haveeru first reported the Sri Lankan sniper’s arrest last week. Reports of the Sri Lankan sniper’s arrest came a day after Maldivian security forces confiscated assault rifles and hand guns in what has been the biggest weapons bust in the country’s history. The weapons had been seized from Hibilhadhoo island in Baa Atoll being developed as a resort.The army had confirmed that two assault rifles found in the weapons bust belonged to the state armoury. The items showcased during a press conference last week included several hand guns, a T56 assault rifle and a MP5 sub-machine gun. In addition, a large quantity of bomb making material were also displayed at the press briefing.Security forces cautioned the public Wednesday to be wary of more illegal weapons on the loose.At a joint press conference with the police, Captain Ali Ihsan from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) said there was credible intelligence to suggest some people were in possession of more weapons. Those weapons had the potential of endangering the lives of the people, he warned. Maldivian authorities, however, neither confirmed nor denied the arrest at the time. Assistant police commissioner Abdulla Nawaz assured that every effort was being made to find those weapons. He asked the public to notify the police of any information that could lead to the discovery of those weapons.The joint warning by the armed forces and the police came a few minutes before the Maldives declared a month-long state of emergency in what has been extraordinary security measures following an explosion on a speedboat carrying the president and subsequent discovery of an arms haul.In the declaration of emergency, which was read out to journalists at the President’s Office by Attorney General Mohamed Anil, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom said he had reached the decision after consultations with his national security council. Several explosive devices have been discovered in two separate operations carried out by the army and there is credible intelligence of an imminent attack using explosives and weapons, he added. Such an attack would endanger the lives of the public, the president said.The declaration of emergency came a day after security forces discovered an explosive device near the presidential palace.Maldives military had confirmed that the suspected device found in a vehicle parked near the presidential residence of Muliaage in capital Male was an improvised explosive device which had been subsequently been diffused.The discovery of the IED came just over a month after an explosion aboard the presidential speedboat carrying President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom now confirmed as an attempt to kill the president.President Yameen was unhurt but his spouse and two others were hurt in the explosion.The primary suspect in the blast appears to be former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor who was arrested on October 24 as soon as he arrived from an official trip to China.He is accused of high treason, a charge he denies. The government has intensified its crackdown on the former vice president and his associates.Before and since the former vice president’s arrest, police jointly with armed soldiers have been carrying out raids across capital Male. Most of the houses and offices searched so far had direct links to the former vice president.Parliament, meanwhile, voted unanimously Thursday to impeach Adheeb. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Samples from alleged chemical attacks in Syria reveal evidence of sulfur mustard

“We must not allow ourselves to become inured to the ongoing allegations of the use of chemical weapons. This is an issue about which the United Nations cannot be neutral,” Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said in her first briefing to the Security Council since her appointment. Citing initial findings from the fact-finding mission by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), she emphasized that the use of chemical weapons by any actor – whether Government forces, terrorist factions or armed opposition groups – could never be justified, regardless of provocation or circumstance.“Their re-emergence is indefensible and cannot be viewed as anything other than a violation of the most basic international law and a serious deviation from the internationally agreed broader path towards the goal of a world free of chemical weapons,” she said. “As such, this is not an issue to be politicized.” She said OPCW has deployed a fact-finding mission on two occasions following allegations of chemical weapons use on that date in the area of Um Hosh, in the Aleppo countryside. Members of the mission have conducted interviews, collected testimonies and reviewed documents, as well as information provided by the Syrian authorities, she added. While the prevailing security situation has prevented the team from visiting the site of the alleged incident, she continued, it has been able to review analyses of blood samples from two female casualties reported to have been involved in the attack.They were found to have suffered exposure to sulfur mustard, as was a mortar handed over to the team by the Russian Federation’s Chemical, Biological, Nuclear and Radiological Team.RELATED: As US responds militarily to chemical attack, UN urges restraint to avoid escalationRegarding the reported incident in Khan Shaykhoun on 4 April – she said that, after a preliminary assessment, a fact-finding mission was deployed to a neighbouring country, where it conducted interviews and witnessed the collection of biomedical samples from the alleged incident. The analysis of samples showed exposure to sarin or a sarin-like substance.It has also received biological-environmental samples from dead animals reported to have been close to the suspected impact point, attended the autopsies of three alleged victims, and witnessed the extraction of biomedical samples from their bodies. She, however, emphasized that all materials and information collected were currently being analyzed, thus not final. On the situation relating to the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities remained unchanged, she said that OPCW has verified the destruction of 24 of the 27 declared facilities, but the prevailing security situation continues to preclude safe access to the three remaining sites. read more

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