Monday, December 28, 2015

FOOTBALL: Improved United draw with Chelsea, Arsenal go top

Improved United draw with Chelsea, Arsenal go top

Justin Palmer, Reuters

Manchester United's winless run continued but they gave under-fire coach Louis van Gaal crumbs of cheer with a committed display in an entertaining 0-0 draw with Chelsea while Arsenal went top of the table on Monday.

Arsenal beat Bournemouth 2-0 with goals from Gabriel and Mesut Ozil to move on to 39 points from 19 Premier League games, one ahead of Leicester City who are at home to Manchester City, in fourth, on Tuesday.

Champions Chelsea, who were minus the suspended Diego Costa and played without a recognised striker, are 14th with 20 points.

Tottenham Hotspur rose to third after Son Heung-Min netted a late goal in a 2-1 victory at 10-man Watford.

Spurs went ahead through Erik Lamela at Vicarage Road. In-form Odion Ighalo levelled with his 14th league goal of the season before South Korean Son flicked the ball past former Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes in the final minute.


I won't quit, says defiant Van Gaal after United draw


Under-fire manager Louis van Gaal said he would not quit after Manchester United extended their run without a victory to eight games in all competitions with a 0-0 draw with champions Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday.

Sixth-placed United produced an improved display at Old Trafford, having limped to a 2-0 defeat at Stoke City on Saturday, enjoying two-thirds of the possession without being able to break down Chelsea's defence.

Asked about the constant media speculation over his job, Van Gaal told BT Sport: "I cannot have any influence on that. I can only work with my players and you have seen my players are fighting for me and they have given a good performance.

"Even after this result, the fans were applauding so I cannot say I am very much concerned but in this football world you never know.

"I have full confidence in the board and in my players. When the players can give such a performance under this pressure, then it is not any reason to resign for me. Maybe the media wants that but I shall not do that," added Van Gaal.

Hiddink pleased with striker-less Chelsea's point


Interim manager Guus Hiddink was satisfied with Chelsea's 0-0 draw at Manchester United on Monday, especially as the Premier League champions played without a recognised striker.

Diego Costa was suspended after being booked in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Watford while fellow attackers Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao were sidelined by injury, forcing winger Eden Hazard to occupy the unfamiliar position of centre forward.

"Tactically it was okay, defensively we were well organised," Hiddink told reporters at Old Trafford.

"We didn't have full power to hurt United ... we have some problems in the striker position due to suspension and injuries so we had to think how to solve that problem.

"Hazard has done it before and he is capable of doing it because he's a very versatile player," added Hiddink who took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho earlier this month.

"I'm pleased because we had some good opportunities in the second half."


Real Madrid's expulsion from King's Cup confirmed


Real Madrid's expulsion from the King's Cup for fielding an ineligible player was upheld on Monday by the Spanish government's Disciplinary Committee for Sports (TAD) following an appeal by the 10-times European champions.

Real included Denis Cheryshev in their starting lineup in a last-32, first-leg game at third-tier Cadiz in early December when he should have been serving a one-match ban. The Russia forward opened the scoring in a 3-1 victory.

The TAD, which had already turned down attempts by Real Madrid to get their expulsion temporarily suspended, said in a written ruling it had rejected the appeal and that the decision was final.


Hired, fired in same day - Barcelona sack 'insulting' player

Agence France-Presse

Diehard Real Madrid fan Sergi Guardiola's decision to write offensive tweets aimed at Barcelona came back to haunt him Monday when he was hired and fired by the Spanish giants on the same day.

The 24-year-old striker penned a deal with Barca's B team but was sacked just a few hours later when angry fans of the Catalan club made officials aware of Guardiola's Twitter tirade from 2013, reported.

"FC Barcelona has decided to terminate the contract signed with Sergi Guardiola, after finding that he had published offensive tweets about the club and Catalonia," said a Barcelona statement.