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Arsene Wenger believes a week off can work wonders for his Gunners

first_img They are a point ahead of Leicester and City – although the Foxes will regain the lead if they beat Chelsea on Monday – and boss Wenger believes a week off will do wonders for the Gunners. He said: “It’s a big game, we want to win at home and beat City at home. We have eight days to prepare. It will be an interesting one but we at least can recover first and prepare then. “I was a bit anxious because we had given a lot on Wednesday and came back very late on Thursday morning. I knew Villa were fighting to survive.” Giroud netted his 14th goal of the season and 50th in the league for the Gunners after Theo Walcott was brought down in the area by Alan Hutton. He added to his hat-trick from Wednesday’s 3-0 Champions League win at Olympiacos and Wenger says the 29-year-old deserves some credit. He said: “I believe he is at the top of his game. He is questioned sometimes but finally the numbers get people to realise he is a good player. “Olivier has improved technically. His link play is better and when you have the option to go for long balls he is always an interesting option. “He’s not got electric pace, he is more a player who likes to play with his back to goal. He is not spectacular individually but he is a very efficient player for the team. Mentally he is very strong.” Wenger managed Aston Villa boss Remi Garde at Arsenal, with Garde winning the title in 1998, and had words of encouragement for his former midfielder. “It’s not completely a lost cause yet. E very year we have seen teams survive that, before Christmas, everyone was saying they had absolutely no chance. Last year one of those were Leicester,” he added. Garde is yet to win in his five games as Villa boss with the side without a league victory since the opening day of the season and eight points from safety. The former Lyon boss said: “We can still be safe but we are coming into a period where we have to win. I see this situation as more of an opportunity than a problem but we have to be ready. “I still believe we are capable of winning the next game. I enjoy working in this league. We are struggling, I still haven’t won a game and I’m very frustrated but I know in football you can change things with work.” But Garde knows his side need more belief up front with Villa the league’s joint lowest scorers having netted just 13 times. He added: “I’m happy to have a team who still create chances. Some of the players need more confidence. “I know there is a big expectation for strikers when we play at Villa Park. We played the league leaders which is not easy for anyone.” Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal will be in perfect shape for their crunch clash with Manchester City. The Gunners host City next Monday after going top of the Barclays Premier League with Sunday’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa. Olivier Giroud’s penalty and Aaron Ramsey’s goal gave the Gunners a comfortable victory against the rock bottom hosts. Press Associationlast_img read more

What now for Liverpool after ending Premier League title drought?

first_imgLIVERPOOL , United Kingdom (AFP) — Liverpool’s romp to a first league title in 30 years with a record seven games of the season remaining could herald a golden new era for the Reds with Jurgen Klopp at the helm.Klopp has delivered the holy grail of a long-awaited league title to Anfield, a year after winning the club’s sixth European Cup.Further records could yet tumble before the season is out, with Liverpool on course for an all-time high Premier League points tally and the biggest-ever margin of victory.A 23-point gap to Manchester City is all the more remarkable given how Pep Guardiola’s men themselves have raised the bar in recent seasons.“How is it possible anybody is 20 points ahead of this team?” Klopp himself said after watching City’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley on Monday.City’s brilliance has pushed Liverpool to new heights.Even during the trophy-laden 1970s and 80s at Anfield, Liverpool never amassed as many points as they have in losing just two of their past 70 league games.A 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on Wednesday was a 23rd consecutive Premier League win at home.“It is not over yet, that’s the good thing,” said an emotional Klopp, who extended his contract until 2024 earlier this season. “The team all look like they have a good few years in their legs.”The club have also tied down a core group of key players to long contracts over the past two years.LEGACYWayne Rooney helped win five of Alex Ferguson’s 13 league titles during the Scot’s spell as Manchester United manager, and believes Klopp could leave a similar legacy.“They have huge potential to win more trophies,” Rooney, a former Everton and United captain, begrudgingly admitted in his Sunday Times column.“Klopp says it’s impossible for any club to dominate like United once did, but he is wrong,” added Rooney. “There’s a simple way for Liverpool: Let Klopp go on and on.”City boss Guardiola highlighted Liverpool’s “passion” as the key component his side could not match.And Liverpool Captain Jordan Henderson urged his teammates to remain “hungry” and “keep wanting more” next season.More than a two-horse raceHowever, plenty of hurdles stand in Liverpool’s way if they are to establish such a spell of dominance, principally City’s reaction to losing their title.“When we retained the title we were the first for 10 years, so you know how difficult it is to do that,” Guardiola warned this week.As it stands, City will also be banned from European competition for the next two seasons.Should their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month fail it could be a fatal blow in the push to convince Guardiola to stay beyond the end of his contract in 2021, but would also allow City to concentrate their resources on toppling Liverpool domestically.Unlike the past two seasons, the title race may be more than a two-horse race in 2020/21.Chelsea’s 2-1 win over City on Thursday was the result that finally crowned Liverpool champions and the Blues have already stated their intention to challenge with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.Manchester United are unbeaten in 13 games, with the January signing of Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes transforming their fortunes.Other factors such as the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), still scheduled to take place from January 10 to February 8, could also play a huge role in Liverpool’s title defence should Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane be absent for two months in the middle of the season.The return of the AFCON to the European winter had seen Werner strongly linked with a move to Anfield.However, the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus meant Liverpool were not willing to commit to meeting the German international’s 60-million euro (US$67 million) buyout clause from RB Leipzig.The chemistry between Mane, Salah, and Roberto Firmino has been key to Liverpool’s rise from struggling to qualify for the Champions League to the dizzy heights of European and English champions.“The front three we know are as good as anything in Europe,” said former Liverpool captain, Jamie Carragher.“They don’t miss too many games but when they do there is a massive drop-off, and that’s why I feel Liverpool still need to strengthen.”For the first time in three decades, though, Liverpool can build from a position of strength to tighten their grip on the Premier League rather than playing catch-up.last_img read more

Alexander: What does Billie Jean King’s ownership stake in Dodgers mean?

first_img“We have a lot of listening to do first, a lot of learning, and then hopefully we’ll figure out how we can make the biggest impact to help them,” King said.“This happened pretty quickly. And you know Mark (Walter, chairman and managing partner) wants to do all kinds of stuff. So we’re going to sit down and learn about the organization, and what community outreach they have … We have a lot to learn, too, and hopefully, we can help make a really positive impact over time.”A fresh perspective never hurts. King, 74, has followed her Hall of Fame tennis career with a fairly extensive second act. She and Kloss, 62, run the Billie Jean King leadership initiative, are founding board members of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and serve on the executive committee of the Women’s Sports Foundation. And Kloss is the commissioner of World Team Tennis, of which King was one of the founders in 1973.“When you talk to people who are a little removed from your inner circle, sometimes you get the best ideas,” Kloss said. “So maybe by observing and being a little bit on the outside, we can have an idea or two that can make a difference.”But their biggest contribution might be just being who they are. Their presence reinforces a message to women, to the LGBTQ community, and to others who might wonder how they fit into society. The message: You are welcome here, and you belong.“We hope it will inspire future generations,” King said. “And I think it sends a strong message that we’re women, and we don’t mean just white women. We mean women and other people and other cultures that dream big.”King pointed to a study that showed that companies who practice inclusion and diversity do better on the bottom line, up to a 16 percent increase in profitability.“It makes a big difference,” she said. “Even one percent with the Dodgers would make a difference because they’re worth so much.”Related Articles PreviousBillie Jean King, left, and her partner Ilana Kloss take a selfie during Friday’s Dodgers game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. King and Kloss have joined the team’s ownership group. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker, Contributing Photographer)Tennis champions Billie Jean King and her partner Ilana Kloss pose for photographers on the field after a news conference that added the two to the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 21: Billie Jean King who is the newest member of the team’s ownership group waves as she leave the room after an introductory press conference before the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on September 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsTennis champion Billie Jean King, center, gestures with her partner Ilana Kloss, right, at a news conference to introduce them as part of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group by owner and chairman Mark Walter, left, in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Tennis champion Billie Jean King displays a poster of singer Elton John, from a 1975 Dodger Stadium concert, after a news conference in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. King and her partner, Ilana Kloss, have taken an undisclosed stake in the Dodgers at the invitation of owner Mark Walter. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Longtime partners Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss who have joined the Dodgers ownership group, speak to the media during a press conference Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)Los Angeles Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter, left, introduces to the baseball team ownership group tennis champion Billie Jean King at a news conference in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Tennis champion Billie Jean King speaks during a news conference where the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that she and her partner Ilana Kloss are joining the team ownership group in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Los Angeles Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter, left, and Dodgers president & CEO Stan Kasten, right, introduce to the baseball team ownership group, tennis champion Billie Jean King, second from left, and her partner Ilana Kloss at a news conference in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Dodgers infielder Chase Utley talks with tennis icon Billie Jean King, who is the newest member of the team’s ownership group on the field before Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. Both graduated from Long Beach Poly High. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)Dodgers infielder Chase Utley talks with tennis icon Billie Jean King who is the newest member of the team’s ownership group on the field before Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. Both are graduates of Long Beach Poly High. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 21: Billie Jean King who is the newest member of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group shows off her custom blue Adidas sneakers before the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on September 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)Los Angeles Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter, left, and Dodgers president & CEO Stan Kasten, right, introduce to the baseball team ownership group, tennis champion Billie Jean King, second from left, and her partner Ilana Kloss at a news conference in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Tennis champion Billie Jean King, center, gestures with her partner, Ilana Kloss, during a news conference to introduce them as part of the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers by team owner Mark Walter, left, in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 21: Los Angeles Dodgers Owner & Chairman Mark Walter the newest member of the ownership group, Billie Jean King with her own jersey during a press conference at Dodger Stadium on September 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter, left, and Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten, right, pose with tennis champions Billie Jean King, second from left, and her partner Ilana Kloss, during the press conference announcing the addition of the duo to the team’s ownership group on Friday at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Los Angeles Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten, right, and owner and chairman Mark Walter, left, introduce to the baseball team ownership group, tennis champions Billie Jean King, second from left, and her partner, Ilana Kloss, at a news conference in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Pending approval by the WNBA, the two are also expected to have an ownership interest in the Los Angeles Sparks. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Billie Jean King, left, and her partner Ilana Kloss take a selfie during Friday’s Dodgers game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. King and Kloss have joined the team’s ownership group. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker, Contributing Photographer)Tennis champions Billie Jean King and her partner Ilana Kloss pose for photographers on the field after a news conference that added the two to the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)NextShow Caption1 of 17Tennis champions Billie Jean King and her partner Ilana Kloss pose for photographers on the field after a news conference that added the two to the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)ExpandLOS ANGELES — This is truly a feel-good story. Billie Jean King, maybe sports’ foremost symbol of inclusion, diversity and equality as well as tennis excellence, now owns an ownership stake in the Dodgers. And it didn’t come totally out of, er, left field.“I grew up with the Dodgers,” King said Friday afternoon, wearing a No. 17 jersey on the field at Dodger Stadium. “They came here in 1958 when I was 14 years old, and my younger brother (former Giants, Astros and Blue Jays reliever Randy Moffitt) went on to play 12 years of major league baseball, so it’s in our blood. My dad was a scout for the Brewers for a while.“So it’s a dream come true.”How many kids growing up in Southern California have similar dreams of being involved somehow with their favorite team, only to go on to other things? Hundreds of thousands. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start And if it means, for example, that more women become involved in the sport in front offices or broadcast booths or maybe coaching or scouting staffs, how is that possibly a bad thing?But all of those possibilities are down the road. For the moment, the newest members of the Dodger ownership group seemed positively giddy Friday.“Driving in here, not as a fan but as an owner, I’m like, ‘Oh, my God!’” Kloss said.“Yeah,” King responded. “To see Vin Scully’s name (on the Ring of Honor)? That was great. And Jaime (Jarrín). I want to meet Jaime. … I think it’s so exciting, six (decades) of Spanish broadcasting. And he’s a young 82 years old.”“Wait a minute,” Kloss quipped. “Billie Jean’s not the oldest in the building anymore.”This could be [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter And how many are able to circle back and ultimately fulfill that dream? You can guess the answer.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.Asked if the 14-year-old Billie Jean Moffitt, while growing up in Long Beach, playing softball and rooting for the Dodgers, would have believed this was possible, she answered: “No way!”(She probably wouldn’t have predicted 39 career Grand Slam titles, either, not to mention what is still the most famous exhibition victory in tennis history, over Bobby Riggs in 1973. Life can indeed pull you in unexpected directions.)That said, now that King and her life partner, fellow former WTA player Ilana Kloss, are part of the Dodgers ownership group, what does it all mean?In practical, tangible terms, it’s hard to tell. Both women talked about bringing their past experiences to the table, but King said it is still too early to determine exactly how.center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire last_img read more