Tag Archives: opposition

Bradford v Aston Villa live

CAPITAL ONE CUP LIVE: Bradford v Aston Villa – as it happens from the Coral Windows Stadium

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

04:00 GMT, 8 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:07 GMT, 8 January 2013

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Capital One Cup as Bradford host Aston Villa in the first leg of their semi-final at the Coral Windows Stadium. The League Two side will fancy their chances having already knocked out Premier League opposition in Wigan and Arsenal, while Paul Lambert's team have struggled in the top flight this term. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Bradford v Aston Villa (7.45pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Bradford starting XI: Darby, Hanson, Duke, Atkinson, McHugh, Jones, Hines, Wells, McArdle, Doyle, Good.

Aston Villa starting XI: Given, Clark, Bennett, Baker, Lowton, Bannan, Delph, Weimann, N’Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Benteke.

All the latest from League Two

19.09: From OptaJoe:

3 – Bradford are aiming to become the first fourth tier side in history to knock out three top-flight sides from the same League Cup. Target

19.06: Bradford starting XI:

Darby, Hanson, Duke, Atkinson, McHugh, Jones, Hines, Wells, McArdle, Doyle, Good.

19.03: Aston Villa starting XI:

Given, Clark, Bennett, Baker, Lowton, Bannan, Delph, Weimann, N’Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Benteke.

19.00: So who is backing Bradford to eliminate a Premier League team for the third round in a row

Arsenal and Wigan have already paid the penalty (a nice puntastic way to start the evening) but surely Aston Villa won't fall into the same trap in this League Cup semi-final.

From what I've seen in this season's Capital One Cup though, I'm not ruling out anything. Team news coming right up.

Hotshot: Christian Benteke will try to help Aston Villa avoid an upset at Bradford in the League Cup semi-final

Hotshot: Christian Benteke will try to help Aston Villa avoid an upset at Bradford in the League Cup semi-final

Gareth Bale could leave if not protected by referees

In not protecting Bale we are in danger of kicking out top talent… it's Ronaldo all over again

|

UPDATED:

12:54 GMT, 30 December 2012

Mega-talented and with a 60million price tag, Gareth Bale will be one of the biggest targets for overseas clubs this January.

But it is his burgeoning reputation for diving which could push him into a move abroad.

The Spurs winger can choose from Real Madrid, PSG and others who are keen to secure a deal, but when it comes to considering his future, he could also escape the criticism.

Dive, or foul Gareth Bale went down under the challenge of Craig Gardner

Dive, or foul Gareth Bale went down under the challenge of Craig Gardner

Despite being one of the Premier League’s most adventurous and attractive players, Bale landed a one-game ban after picking up his fifth yellow card on Saturday, for going down too easily under a challenge from Sunderland’s Craig Gardner.

Bale protested his innocence and said he was trying to prevent himself from injury, rather than capitalise on Gardner’s presence.

The 23-year old feels almost targeted by referees, rather than protected.

Much like Cristiano Ronaldo, who claimed bullies forced him out of England because opposition players couldn’t cope with him on the pitch.

The Real Madrid star said his time at Manchester United was marred by those who couldn’t handle his pace.

‘There are some teams who know they can’t compete with you on a football level so they just kick you,’ he said.

Tough: Cristiano Ronaldo felt he was not protected in the Premier League

Tough: Cristiano Ronaldo felt he was not protected in the Premier League

‘It’s frustrating and something needs to be done to protect the skilful players because one day someone will get seriously hurt. I think more could be done to protect them but that is up to the referees to decide.’

It will be the Premier League’s loss if Bale leaves for similar reasons.

This weekend Bale snapped and hit back in defence of his integrity, blasting Atkinson’s decision to book him.

‘It’s the same thing every time,’ he said. ‘It’s the third time this season where I’ve been clipped and I’ve been booked for no reason.

‘I think the referees need to look a bit closer. It’s not something I’m doing, it’s people thinking I am diving when there’s actually contact. If there is contact then it is a penalty or a free-kick, so I can’t do anything about it.

Furious: Bale will serve a one-match ban after collecting five yellow cards

Furious: Bale will serve a one-match ban after collecting five yellow cards

‘If there is contact then I’ll fall over. What do you expect me to do – hit my head on the floor I put my hands down to protect myself.’

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has previously claimed overseas players are more likely to dive than those from Britain, but even Europe is clamping down on the more obvious theatrics.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci was fined €2000 and banned after his yellow card for simulation during his side’s 1-0 win over Palermo earlier this month.

He ran the full length of the pitch to meet a pass inside the box, but collapsed dramatically into a heap when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Matt Barlow: Rafa Benitez will struggle to succeed under pressure

Chelsea are starting to thrive under Rafa… but it won't last so long as fans are ready to pounce if things go wrong

|

UPDATED:

23:41 GMT, 27 December 2012

Ten games into the hugely controversial Rafa Benitez era at Chelsea and, after a wobbly start, the progress is clear, the banners have gone and the protest songs are fading. Six wins, two draws and two defeats and the players are thriving on his tactical detail.

But is it quite so simple The hardcore of opposition remains strong even if they no longer belt out: 'We don’t want you here' as they did at first.

What a run: Chelsea now sit four points behind Manchester City with a game in hand

What a run: Chelsea now sit four points behind Manchester City with a game in hand

TWITTER REACTION

Despite a string of good results – including an 8-0 home win over Aston Villa – a number of fans still refuse to accept Benitez.

@ianpearson1966 tweeted: It’s not
about results or success or winning and losing. Benitez made it
personal, the damage by him is done…

@cfcprop: 'the man is hated for the things he said his arrogant attitude and general smugness! hardcore will never accept

@cfccath: 'His arrogance knows no bounds. Our support can’t be bought by a pint in a Cologne bar!'

@easstudios: 'quite simple, results aren’t going to stop fans hating him. No need to even question it.'

@easstudios: 'the only impressive thing about yesterday was we won whilst playing poorly which we weren’t before.'

After daring to suggest Benitez might win over the fans following the 8-0 win against Aston Villa, there was
a flurry of reaction on Twitter from those insisting the former
Liverpool manager would never be accepted at Stamford Bridge.

There was more of the same after a 1-0 win at Norwich and still fans stand to salute Roberto Di Matteo in the 16th minute of each game. For some, the damage is too great.

Di Matteo was harshly treated after winning the Champions League and the FA Cup. In many ways, he was an ideal manager for Chelsea.

He understood the club and the fans. He accepted Roman Abramovich’s desire to drive the recruitment policy and he generated a good atmosphere within the training camp.

Results were pretty good too and only started to falter because he tried to satisfy the owners wish to produce free-wheeling cavalier football with a squad not really equipped to do it.

It is a compliment that Benitez has reverted to Di Matteo’s blueprint of last year, tightening up at the back and operating more on the counter-attack, but the Spaniard has also shown the value of experience at the elite level, where tiny factors will make a big difference, tweaking small things with considerable effect.

All smiles Rafael Benitez has guided Chelsea to some convincing wins in recent weeks

All smiles Rafael Benitez has guided Chelsea to some convincing wins in recent weeks

Returning: Frank Lampard has re-entered the fray and has put in some stellar performances

Returning: Frank Lampard has re-entered the fray and has put in some stellar performances

Winning over the players is one thing. Winning over the fans is another. There are more of them for a start.

Can Chelsea really succeed in the long-term against a backdrop of animosity (or even ambivalence) towards the manager

It never really worked for George Graham at Spurs, despite some success on the pitch. It ended badly for Steve Kean at Blackburn despite the support of the owners. The slightest downturn at Stamford Bridge will regenerate the protests.

What if Chelsea win the Premier League with the “interim manager” just as they won the Champions League with the last “interim manager” Will that change anything Will they embrace Benitez as one of their own Will they sing his name and support him to lead the club in the long-term Probably not, if those sample comments are anything to go by.

Animosity: Fans were widely opposed to Benitez's appointment after he replaced Roberto Di Matteo

Animosity: Fans were widely opposed to Benitez's appointment after he replaced Roberto Di Matteo

Animosity: Fans were widely opposed to Benitez's appointment after he replaced Roberto Di Matteo

Here are five reasons why Chelsea are better off under Benitez:

1. Fernando Torres
If you go into a campaign with only one centre-forward, he had better
play well and contribute. Torres may not be doing much different but he
looks happier and has seven in 10 (all comps) under Benitez compared to
seven in 21 under Di Matteo this season.

2. David Luiz

When
the Brazilian centre-half first arrived Carlo Ancelotti privately told
his coaching staff he thought Luiz’s best position might be as a
defensive midfielder but no-one tried him there until Benitez in the
Club World Cup.

He has been a revelation, easing the
problems in a position where Chelsea were short of cover and providing
an element of unpredictability in attack. As if by magic, the defence
also seems tighter.

Reformed: David Luiz has shone since being pushed up into midfield

Reformed: David Luiz has shone since being pushed up into midfield

3. Victor Moses
Has started seven of the last eight games adding strength and power to the supportive trio behind Torres.

Benitez soon realised Eden Hazard,
Oscar and Juan Mata as a unit did not offer enough without the ball.

Those three have only started together twice for Benitez. This change
has crystallised Mata’s role as the creative star.

Driving force: Victor Moses has given Benitez another dimension in attack

Driving force: Victor Moses has given Benitez another dimension in attack

Back on top: Fernando Torres has started scoring again under his former manager

Back on top: Fernando Torres has started scoring again under his former manager

4. Rotation

Benitez loves to tinker as Liverpool fans will recall. He claimed the
Chelsea squad was weary and unfit when he arrived, a legacy of playing
virtually the same team every week. He has sought ways to give players a
break.

So far so good. But he will need new
recruits in January if this is to continue without feeling a backlash of
results. Especially if they are planning a serious assault on the
Europa League.

5. Trust
It is something experienced managers find easier to command from top
players than those new to the rarefied air at the top of the Barclays
Premier League. Chelsea’s grizzled old stalwarts did not trust AVB. Nor
Avram Grant.

Trust for Luiz Felipe Scolari soon
vanished as they doubted his methods suited the Premier League. They
trusted Jose Mourinho implicitly and this did not make it easy for
Benitez but he seems to be slowly winning them around by organising the
team and making them better.

The time away in Japan at the Club
World Cup helped this bond develop. All players want to win and will
warm to managers who help it happen.

Togetherness: Chelsea have grown into a strong team unit since Benitez's arrival

Togetherness: Chelsea have grown into a strong team unit since Benitez's arrival

Manchester City mascot confused during Sunderland handshake

VIDEO: What's going on City mascot confused during Sunderland handshake

|

UPDATED:

16:16 GMT, 27 December 2012

Flashbulbs, television cameras, tens of thousands of people, household names and an unforgettable afternoon.

Well, who wouldn’t want to miss their chance of soaking up the atmosphere, especially when you’re a Manchester City mascot

This young man will have probably spent hours every weekend watching Premier League action, including the traditional handshakes before each kick-off.

But sometimes the dazzling nature and anticipation of a top flight clash can make you forget the rituals.

Forget, that is, until a friendly hair-ruffling from the opposition’s Carlos Cuellar brings you back down to earth.

Scroll down for video

confused kid

confused kid

confused kid

confused kid

Vitali Klitschko watches Ukrainian Parliament debate erupt into brawl

Klitschko stays on his stool as Ukrainian debate in parliament erupts into mass brawl

Heavyweight champion looked on as punches were thrown

Feminist group staged nude protest at the opening of Ukrainian Parliament

Allegations of corruption in country where opposition leader is jailed

MPs brawled ahead of vote to endorse new Prime Minister

|

UPDATED:

11:28 GMT, 14 December 2012

Heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko was about the only one not swinging punches as fists flew in the Ukraine parliament for a second day running.

MPs wrestled with each other following controversial elections in October and the brawl erupted as a vote on the ruling Party of Regions' nomination for
speaker was about to be announced.

Opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers grappled with each other
in a mass of bodies around the main rostrum in parliament but Klitschko, leader of the UDAR, was not involved.

Scroll down for video

Standing back: Heavyweight boxer and leader of the UDAR Vitali Klitschko looked on as the brawl erupted

Standing back: Heavyweight boxer and leader of the UDAR Vitali Klitschko looked on as the brawl erupted

Chaotic scenes: Fists flew in the Ukraine parliament for a second day running, as MPs wrestled with each other following controversial elections in October

Chaotic scenes: Fists flew in the Ukraine parliament for a second day running, as MPs wrestled with each other following controversial elections in October

Violent scenes: The brawl erupted as a vote on the ruling Party of Regions' nomination for speaker was about to be announced

Violent scenes: The brawl erupted as a vote on the ruling Party of Regions' nomination for speaker was about to be announced

Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days

Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days

Scramble: Despite some deputies being knocked over in the melee, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's ruling party still managed to install one of its parliamentary deputies as speaker

Aggressive: Opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers grappled with each other in a mass of bodies around the main rostrum in parliament

Aggressive: Opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers grappled with each other in a mass of bodies around the main rostrum in parliament

Despite some deputies being knocked over in the melee, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's ruling party still managed to install one of its parliamentary deputies as speaker.

The
violent scenes were similar to yesterday when the new session of the
Ukrainian parliament got off to a dramatic start with MPs brawling on the floor of the chamber while a topless protest against corruption was staged outside.

Teamwork: Ukraine's parliament has seen several physical confrontations in recent years amid bitter confrontation between opposition and pro-government camps

Teamwork: Ukraine's parliament has seen several physical confrontations in recent years amid bitter confrontation between opposition and pro-government camps

Ukrainian lawmakers fight

Ukrainian lawmakers fight

Squaring up: The tension of the situation was visible on some lawmaker's faces

Tension: The men pulled each other's clothing as the violent drama broke out

Tension: The men pulled each other's clothing as the violent drama broke out

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv32349','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_news&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv32349”,
'videoPlayer' : “2032990817001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2247232/Day-round-Ukrainian-debate-parliament-erupts-brawl-MP-eye-gouging-rival.html”

});

Members of feminist group Femen,
whose motto is 'We came, we undressed, we conquered', stripped naked down to just black pants and knee-high black socks in temperatures of minus 3C.

Their stunt was an attempt to draw
attention to the plight of opposition leader and ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko who was jailed for
crimes not recognised in the West as punishable by prison.

Before being hauled away by police, the Femen protesters claimed parliament, which yesterday met for the first time since the 'flawed' October elections in the country, was a 'stable' for the 'horses of oligarchs'.

Inside
parliament, the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased and
manhandled two MPs, a father and son, in a bid to prevent them taking
the oath.

 Police officers detain a Femen activist protesting in front of the Ukrainian Parliament

Making a stand: Police officers detain a Femen activist protesting in front of the Ukrainian Parliament

Members of opposition parties block the door to Parliament during a day of violence and tension

Blockade: Members of opposition parties block the door to Parliament during a day of violence and tension

The three main opposition parties have ruled out any coalition with the ruling Party of the Regions

Getting physical: The three main opposition parties have ruled out any coalition with the ruling Party of the Regions

The women were demonstrating over alleged corruption in the country, referring to Parliament as a 'stable' for the 'horses of oligarchs'

Protest: The women were demonstrating over alleged corruption in the country, referring to Parliament as a 'stable' for the 'horses of oligarchs'

VIDEO: Femen activists protest against Ukraine's new parliament

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv32278','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_news&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv32278”,
'videoPlayer' : “2029847439001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2247232/Day-round-Ukrainian-debate-parliament-erupts-brawl-MP-eye-gouging-rival.html”

});

TYMOSHENKO'S FLAWED TRIAL

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is the leader of the main opposition party, All-Ukrainian Union, also known as 'Fatherland'.

Yulia Tymoshenko

She lost the Ukrainian presidential election to Viktor Yanukovych in 2010 and has since faced a number of criminal charges.

Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 after being found guilty of abuse of office when brokering a gas deal with Russia in 2009.

The European Union and other international organisations have ruled the conviction as 'justice being applied selectively under political motivation'.

Tymoshenko is currently being held in
Kharkiv, where she is receiving treatment at a hospital
after being diagnosed with a spinal disc herniation.

She is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights against her conviction.

The Ukraine government commissioned a team of U.S. lawyers to compile a dossier on the case to use in its defence at the appeal.

But the Daily Telegraph reports the dossier states the trial was 'flawed' and would not have met the requirements of a Western court.

Gregory Craig, former White House counsel for President Barack Obama and the dossier lead author, said: 'We concluded that there were ways in which Tymoshenko was not given a fair trial.'

A legal expert told the newspaper the procedural violations would have led 'to a cancellations of the verdict' in the West.

They were physically ejected from the chamber by opposition
deputies who accused them of defecting to the ruling coalition.

The procedural wrangling at the opening of the
new parliament threatened to push back a key vote on whether Mykola Azarov will be endorsed for a new term as prime minister.

The vote will be the
first test of the support for President Viktor Yanukovich, who
re-nominated Azarov.

But when the speaker formally announced that
Azarov and his government were present, the chamber echoed to opposition
cries of 'Hanba! Hanba!' (Shame!)

MPs
from Tymoshenko's party wore black jerseys with her portrait on the
front and the phrase 'Freedom to Political Prisoners' on the back.

Tymoshenko remains in prison after being sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 for alleged abuse of office over a gas deal with Russia.

Yanukovich's pro-business Party of the
Regions and their allies enjoyed a strong majority in the last
parliament, which allowed them to push through changes to the electoral
law and a law on use of the Russian language that sparked street
protests.

Despite losing seats in the October elections, the results were seen as a consolidation of President Yanukovych's power as his party still remained the biggest in parliament.

Most analysts said they believed horse-trading would ensure enough support from independents and others to secure the required 226 or more seats. But the new opposition line-up, whose leaders have ruled out any coalition with the Regions, quickly showed their teeth.

Deputies from the three main opposition parties surrounded the speaker's rostrum, effectively blocking activation of the electronic system which would allow deputies to vote on Azarov's nomination and the appointment of parliamentary officials.

After a prolonged stand-off, both sides went home agreeing to resume business on Thursday, according to the Regions Party.

Separately, the government put off a meeting scheduled for Thursday morning.

Imprisonment: Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, left, holds the hand of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko during her visit to a hospital in Kharkiv

Imprisonment: Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, left, holds the hand of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko during her visit to a hospital in Kharkiv

Imprisoned: Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko showing bruising on her forearm in the Kachanivska penitentiary colony for women in Kharkiv earlier this year

Injuries: Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko showing bruising on her forearm in the Kachanivska penitentiary colony for women in Kharkiv earlier this year

Demonstration: Supporters of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko protest against her conviction near the High Court of Appeals, in Kiev, Ukraine

Demonstration: Supporters of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko protest against her conviction near the High Court of Appeals, in Kiev, Ukraine

Rugby World Cup 2015: Dan Carter assesses the teams

Now that England have beaten us, they must use home advantage in 2015

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 2 December 2012

One thing is certain when the draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, to be held in England, is made on Monday— defending champions New Zealand are already the favourites.

Here the All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter gives his assessment of the teams most likely to challenge his country.

AUSTRALIA

They are always a dangerous side. Australia do not have the depth of some of the other top teams, but they always produce their share of very talented players.

Given they do not have quite that depth, it is going to be important they do not get too many injuries. At the moment they have a young side who are only going to get better.

Flying high: Australia will be contenders at the next World Cup

Flying high: Australia will be contenders at the next World Cup

Australia are going to learn a lot from the Lions series next year and I am sure that when the World Cup comes around they are going to be a genuine threat. Their back line are especially talented, and can break open any team in the world.

SOUTH AFRICA

I have watched them a lot lately. It has been a long season for South Africa and they are in something of a transition.

They have a new coach and lost some key players after the last World Cup and are looking towards the future as well, but you can already see some younger guys coming through. They will have learned a lot this year.

Traditionally South Africa are a very strong side physically, with immense power, and you always know that it is going to be a huge battle with them. There are very big men up front who can really take it to the opposition, and they service their backs very well.

FRANCE

The French have really impressed me. We all know what happened at the last World Cup and once they got to the knockout stages they played fantastically well. We saw in this autumn series, with that big win over Australia, what they are capable of and that will have been great for French confidence.

In with a shout: France can blow hot and cold at major tournaments

In with a shout: France can blow hot and cold at major tournaments

Of course there is always this thing about them that you are never quite sure what you are going to get, but they are able to beat any side on their day and are another nation who always produce their share of very talented players.

When everything comes together France are very strong.

ARGENTINA

They are genuine outside contenders and have always shown what they can do at World Cups. They have had a history of catching teams by surprise, maybe because people have seen them less than other sides.

Now that they are playing Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on a regular basis they might lose some surprise, but that will be outweighed by the experience it gives them. Argentina beat Wales convincingly the other week and by the time the competition comes round you would fully expect them to be better. I’m impressed by their loose forwards, workaholics who love the rough stuff.

They scrummage well and the backs are skilful.

ENGLAND

When you are hosting the World Cup it is important to see it as wholly a positive thing and not a burden. Some people can feel the pressure because of the expectation — we know about that in New Zealand. But as an individual player you have to think that it does not get any better than this, playing at home in familiar surroundings, and that you are going to use it to your advantage and embrace the challenge.

On form: England impressed in beating New Zealand on Saturday

On form: England impressed in beating New Zealand on Saturday

If England do that then they are going to be very difficult to beat. They are still experimenting a little bit at the moment and developing a lot of players. The World Cup is three years away so they have plenty of time. I am sure they will develop more consistency in the next couple of years.

WALES

I know they have had some disappointing results, but I would not worry too much. The form they showed at the last World Cup suggested they can be real contenders. I would say the last month has been more of a hiccup that they will have learned from. You always feel this sense of pride they have when you play Wales.

Some of the younger guys like Sam Warburton have put their hands up and it is important that those guys who have already shown they can do it at the highest level now push on in their careers so others can follow. It looks to me like they have quite a few good young players who will emerge.

SCOTLAND

They have had their struggles in the last few years, but they love their rugby and are a very proud nation. I am sure they will be working hard to turn things around. The new coach will have quite a bit to work with, although they are never going to have quite the depth of England, which makes it even more important that they properly develop their best players.

IRELAND

A quality side with world-class players. I always find it a tough match playing against Ireland. They have a strong mental edge and are the kind of team who, if they get on a roll with some confidence, are a hard team to play against.

Tough: Ireland are hard to beat when they're on top form

Tough: Ireland are hard to beat when they're on top form

You have to start well against them and they are a try-scoring team, so you have to stop them getting that momentum. At the moment Ireland have got some fantastic players with a lot of experience and I guess there is going to be a job over the next few years blending the experience with younger players who are going to come through. I really enjoyed watching their recent game with Argentina.

An outsider to watch out for

If you look at the Pacific Island nations there are some great individuals now playing all around the world. These are tough teams to play against, as Samoa and Tonga have shown recently. They seem to love playing against the bigger nations and never hold back. They love the physical side of the game, so if any bigger team has a bad day against them they are likely to be in trouble.

Interview: Mike Dickson

England 38 New Zealand 21 match report: Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi secure victory

England 38 New Zealand 21: Sensational display of character sees Lancaster's men turn their autumn around

PUBLISHED:

16:19 GMT, 1 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

18:46 GMT, 1 December 2012

England's young men came of age at Twickenham with a sensational record-breaking victory over world champions New Zealand.

Owen Farrell kicked England into a 15-0 lead before the All Blacks hit back with two tries in three second-half minutes from Julian Savea and Kieran Read.

Twickenham sensed the worst. The All Blacks had found their cutting edge and a third consecutive defeat to southern hemisphere opposition seemed in the offing.

But England responded with a stunning three-try blitz from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi and the records tumbled.

Showmanship: Manu Tuilagi made two tries and scored one

Showmanship: Manu Tuilagi made two tries and scored one

Flying high: Chris Ashton goes over in typically exuberant fashion

Flying high: Chris Ashton goes over in typically exuberant fashion

Over: Ashton
England's records

England's previous biggest win over New Zealand was 13-0 at Twickenham in January, 1936.

England's previous highest score against New Zealand was the 31 points they scored in a 31-28 victory at Twickenham in November, 2002.

Only once in 498 Tests had New Zealand been beaten by a bigger margin – 28-7 against Australia in August, 1999.

England's last victory over New Zealand was 15-13 in Wellington in June, 2003.

England had not beaten New Zealand in their previous nine matches before this game.

New Zealand were unbeaten in their 20 Tests (19 victories and one draw) before this game.

New Zealand had not lost a Test to European opposition on an autumn tour since the 31-28 defeat to England in November, 2002.

The All Blacks had not lost in 20
matches. They had not lost an autumn Test for a decade, since England
beat them 31-18 in November 2002.

That England team went on to win the
Rugby World Cup a year later. Stuart Lancaster's current England team
are at the opposite end of their development.

The absence of Toby Flood through
injury left them without a single 50-cap player. England had fewer caps
in their entire starting line-up than New Zealand had in their front
row.

The team's character had never been
denied but their maturity and ability to turn positive performances into
results had been questioned after narrow defeats to Australia and South
Africa.

No longer. England rocked the All
Blacks. New Zealand were hit by a vomiting bug in the week. But not as
hard as they were hit by England.

The first signs of England's physical
dominance came in the lineout and with their early ball-carrying, with
Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs and Tuilagi all making early ground.

But it was without the ball that
England really set the tone. Their kick-chase had the All Blacks under
pressure and they swamped New Zealand in defence.

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

England had a slice of fortune when
Cory Jane was judged to have strayed marginally offside before
collecting Dan Carter's inch-perfect cross-kick.

Carter, almost inexplicably, also
missed two penalty shots at goal. England felt they had not had that
bounce of the ball against Australia and South Africa. Today they made
the most of it.

After 21 minutes, England won a scrum
penalty and Farrell kicked a fantastic touch, to move play into the All
Blacks 22 for the first time and Geoff Parling won a confident lineout.

England drove powerfully but fell
foul of the new five-second law after referee George Clancy, under the
mistaken impression the maul had halted, called on scrum-half Ben Youngs
to use it.

Setting nerves jangling: Kieran Read went on the charge for the All Blacks' second try

Setting nerves jangling: Kieran Read went on the charge for the All Blacks' second try

New Zealand were awarded the scrum
but England kept the pressure on. Tom Wood charged down Savea's
clearance to keep England in the All Blacks 22 and more pressure earned
another lineout.

Ben Morgan peeled off the driving
maul, Chris Robshaw crashed the ball up the middle and England moved it
wide through Morgan and Alex Goode to Ashton.

The wing dropped the ball but he was
well covered anyway and referee Clancy brought play back for a penalty,
which Farrell kicked confidently to push England ahead.

Almost immediately from the restart,
Morgan was penalised for hitting a ruck from the side but Carter missed
his second shot at goal from virtually in front of the posts.

On the charge: Julian Savea scores the first of his two tries to give New Zealand a foothold after half-time

On the charge: Julian Savea scores the first of his two tries to give New Zealand a foothold after half-time

New Zealand began to work through the
phases but England's white defensive wall responded with some ferocious
tackles, notably Tom Youngs on Carter, before Dan Cole won a turnover.

Israel Dagg tried to run back a Ben
Youngs box kick but he was smothered in his own half by Launchbury and
Wood, who won the penalty and Farrell coolly kicked the goal.

Keven Mealamu then overthrew a
lineout and England were back on the attack, with Tuilagi and Goode
combining to break the gain-line before Farrell slotted a drop-goal.

As the clock ticked down to
half-time, England kept the ball. Robshaw drove around the fringes, the
All Blacks were drawn offside and Farrell slotted his third penalty.

Metronomic: Owen Farrell's right boot accounted for 20 points

Metronomic: Owen Farrell's right boot accounted for 20 points

England then extended their lead
beyond two converted tries when the All Blacks scrum went down and
Farrell landed his fourth penalty from wide on the right.

But when Farrell scragged Aaron Smith at a ruck near England's line and was penalised, the tide appeared to have turned.

New Zealand went for touch, won the
lineout and then spread play to the opposite wing where Savea cut
infield and beat four defenders to score, with Carter converting.

Suddenly, the All Blacks had their
tails up. Farrell was under pressure as he tried to clear England's
lines and he failed to find touch.

Clearing his lines: Ma'a Nonu kicks under pressure Owen Farrell

Clearing his lines: Ma'a Nonu kicks under pressure Owen Farrell

Dagg danced down the right touchline,
England's defence was disorganised and the All Blacks cut them open
again with Jane and Conrad Smith combining to send Read over.

England could have wobbled under the
onslaught of two tries in three minutes. Instead, they hit back with a
vengeance with Tuilagi the destroyer in-chief.

Smith drifted too early in defence,
Barritt straightened through the gap and passed to Tuilagi before
receiving the offload back to score his first Test try. Farrell's
conversion hit the crossbar.

Tuilagi then crashed through two
defenders as England attacked from clean lineout ball and his
perfectly-delayed pass sent Ashton searing over the line for his first
try in 12 Tests.

Under pressure: England were 12-0 up at half-time, the first time New Zealand have failed to score before the break since 1998

Under pressure: England were 12-0 up at half-time, the first time New Zealand have failed to score before the break since 1998

Tuilagi then picked off a loose pass
from Read and galloped 50 metres for England's third try in eight
minutes, which Farrell converted before being replaced by Freddie Burns.

The Gloucester fly-half wrapped up the victory with two penalties.

Savea scored his second try with five
minutes remaining but nothing could deny England their first win
against New Zealand in nine years.

England are World Cup contenders, admits New Zealand coach Steve Hansen

Lancaster's brave, new England can rule the world, admits stunned coach Hansen

|

UPDATED:

19:14 GMT, 1 December 2012

Stuart Lancaster's England side were
hailed as potential World Cup winners after recording an historic 38-21
victory against New Zealand at Twickenham.

Three tries in eight second-half
minutes from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi saw England
inflict their biggest-ever win against the All Blacks in an absorbing
Test match.

Flying high: Chris Ashton goes over in typically exuberant fashion

Flying high: Chris Ashton goes over in typically exuberant fashion

Over: Ashton
England's records

England's previous biggest win over New Zealand was 13-0 at Twickenham in January, 1936.

England's previous highest score against New Zealand was the 31 points they scored in a 31-28 victory at Twickenham in November, 2002.

Only once in 498 Tests had New Zealand been beaten by a bigger margin – 28-7 against Australia in August, 1999.

England's last victory over New Zealand was 15-13 in Wellington in June, 2003.

England had not beaten New Zealand in their previous nine matches before this game.

New Zealand were unbeaten in their 20 Tests (19 victories and one draw) before this game.

New Zealand had not lost a Test to European opposition on an autumn tour since the 31-28 defeat to England in November, 2002.

And after watching his side's 20-match unbeaten run demolished New Zealand coach Steve Hansen gave Lancaster's young side a ringing endorsement.

Hansen said: 'There were two teams capable of winning the World Cup out there.

'No excuses, we got beaten by the better side. This is a good England side. You should get behind them and back them a bit. They have shown what they can do and if you back them it will make them even more dangerous.

'They thoroughly deserved their victory and should be proud of what they have achieved with magnificent football. They took the game to us from the get-go, full credit to them.'

England, who had lost narrowly to Australia and South Africa in the past two weeks, took a 15-0 lead at half-time, courtesy of four penalties and a drop goal by fly-half Owen Farrell.

And while New Zealand hit back with two tries from Julian Savea and Kieran Read to get within a point at 15-14 England regrouped in spectacular fashion to take the game away from the world champions, who gave some respectability to the scoreline with a late second try from Savea.

Lancaster said: “The performance was exactly what we had hoped for. I'm chuffed for the players. When the tough times came we stayed together. That team belief with a young England side definitely augurs well for the future.

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

On the charge: Brad Barritt breaks away before going over for England's first try

'At 15-14 we came back with three tries
of our own. We've tried to instil a no-fear mentality in the players and
to make them have the courage of their convictions.

'To build a 15-point lead was very pleasing. The All Blacks came back
strong but our energy and our fight for the shirt was outstanding.
That's what got us across the line.

'Our defence was outstanding. We forced the All Blacks into errors and not many sides do that.'

The victory was a triumph for captain Chris Robshaw, who had been
heavily criticised for poor decision-making against Australia and South
Africa. Robshaw gathered his players in a huddle at the end and
Lancaster explained the significance.

'Chris was saying that when we turn up for the Six Nations we must make
sure we are at this level and not drop back 10 per cent,' said
Lancaster.

'It is brilliant to get this result but we are on a long-term plan and we have to make sure we back up the performance.

'We didn't quite get across the line with Australia and South Africa but
to get across the line with New Zealand with a young team with 206 caps
in the starting XV is an unbelievable achievement.

Setting nerves jangling: Kieran Read went on the charge for the All Blacks' second try

Setting nerves jangling: Kieran Read went on the charge for the All Blacks' second try

On the charge: Julian Savea scores the first of his two tries to give New Zealand a foothold after half-time

On the charge: Julian Savea scores the first of his two tries to give New Zealand a foothold after half-time

'The win gives the players belief in the direction we are going and the rugby public a sense that this journey is the right one.

'We want to win here and now but we want to build a team for the future
and we have lads like Joe Launchbury and Jon Joseph and Owen Farrell and
Freddie (Burns) who are 21, 22 and 23 years old.

'They should be playing for England for years and we should be sat here
in 10 years time and still have the same group of lads with 800 caps in
our starting XV.'

To their credit New Zealand did not blame the sickness bug which had laid low many of their team in midweek.

When asked if it had a bearing, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said: 'No, I don't think so. If we had fallen away at the end you might have
said that, but we felt fine in that department.

'We just struggled to get into the game. We were on the back foot and
put under pressure. Even when we got back in the game they didn't panic.
I was impressed with the way they played.'

England defence coach Andy Farrell saluted the work of Lancaster and his relationship with his players.

Farrell said: 'This young group has taken a lot of pressure. They have
turned that pressure into a performance everybody in the country can be
proud of.

'Stuart has always had the belief in the players and that has shone for
the last five weeks. The belief these players have from Stuart as their
head guy showed up there today on the pitch. He has led this team
magnificently.'

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree added: 'From the first minute to
the last minute I thought they had their foot on the throat. I'm very
proud of them. A lot of them have single figures in caps but you would
not have thought that.'

Metronomic: Owen Farrell's right boot accounted for 20 points

Metronomic: Owen Farrell's right boot accounted for 20 points

Clearing his lines: Ma'a Nonu kicks under pressure Owen Farrell

Clearing his lines: Ma'a Nonu kicks under pressure Owen Farrell

Dimitar Berbatov outshines Fernando Torres

Woeful Torres form continues as lethargic Berbatov outshines striker for Fulham

|

UPDATED:

00:13 GMT, 29 November 2012

Dimitar Berbatov is one of the most languid strikers in the league, but the Bulgarian was busy at the sharp end of Fulham's attack, comfortably outplaying Fernando Torres.

The Spaniard's woeful form continued, with Berbatov having almost twice as many touches (see pitch map below) as the lone Chelsea striker. He outpassed Torres too, 47-23.

Chelsea have now won only two games in their last 10 – a record that threatens to wreck their season.

Scroll down to see the players' touch maps

More of the same: Fernando Torres could not get on the scoresheet and was outclassed by Dimitar Berbatov

More of the same: Fernando Torres could not get on the scoresheet and was outclassed by Dimitar Berbatov

Holding him off: Dimitar Berbatov battles with Oscar (right)

Holding him off: Dimitar Berbatov battles with Oscar (right)

No-one exemplifies Chelsea's plight more than Torres who, barring a fluke goal, has not found the net for almost two months.

'It wasn't easy for him, or [Eden] Hazard or Oscar,' said Benitez.

'We were on top of them [Fulham], regaining the game higher up the pitch, and might have won it in the last minute.'

For all their pressure, Chelsea barely tested the opposition goalkeeper as they record two straight goalless draws for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the club.

Benitez admitted Torres was lacking 'confidence', something that could not be said for opposite number Berbatov.

Fulham boss Martin Jol said: 'Berbatov was almost unplayable and linked our play, and we had a few chances.

'After the game, everyone said Berbatov was fantastic, and he was, but the other players worked every so hard.'

Fernando Torres touches against Fulham at Stamford Bridge

Dimitar Berbatov touches against Fulham at Stamford Bridge

Outshone: Dimitar Berbatov's touch map (right) shows how he outclassed Fernando Torres (left) with his contribution to his side's plight at Stamford Bridge

The day Manchester United beat Arsenal 8-2

The day United hit Arsenal for eight: Surely it can't be as easy as this for Fergie's men again…

|

UPDATED:

00:36 GMT, 3 November 2012

[headerlinks]

Last season Manchester United against Arsenal produced one of the most astonishing results in Premier League history.

Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford with a host of injuries, but nobody could have predicted what was to follow.

In a thrilling display of attacking football, United tore apart a weakened Arsenal defence, scoring eight goals seemingly at will. Here are the reactions of the main men from that remarkable day.

What a day: United scored an amazing eight goals against Arsenal last season

What a day: United scored an amazing eight goals against Arsenal last season

ARSENE WENGER

You
feel humiliated when you concede eight goals. It was a terrible day for
us, it was a combination of an under-strength team and weakness. We
collapsed physically in the second half. It’s terribly painful. We were
short in some areas, that’s for sure. They have class too and they
punished
us, but this game was not an 8-2. It was a humiliating defeat, it hurts very much but it’s not the end of the season.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON

When you play Arsenal you don’t expect to be scoring these amount of goals, you expect a difficult game. We scored fantastic goals, really good quality goals. You can’t just say the opposition was weakened — it was just a fantastic quality of goals.

Six of the best: Ji-Sung Park scores United's sixth goal against Arsenal

Six of the best: Ji-Sung Park scores United's sixth goal against Arsenal

ASHLEY YOUNG

We
were terrific. We found an Arsenal team who weren’t so good on the day
and we’ve punished them. We go forward at pace and we’re always looking
to create chances from the first minute right to the end.

WAYNE ROONEY

The performance today was incredible and we fully deserved the result. Every time we play Arsenal we have a go at them and score goals. They have got a few players out but take nothing away from our performance today. I thought it was brilliant.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE

We gave our maximum but it was clearly not good enough. United were much better and they punished us hard. If you look at the facts it’s just simply not good enough.

A day to remember: Wayne Rooney scores United's fourth goal

A day to remember: Wayne Rooney scores United's fourth goal

BACARY SAGNA

To see Arsenal concede eight goals was not easy because it is hard playing in those kinds of games. Many players were missing, some were
starting for the first time and it was Manchester United. We are bouncing
back from that game and are learning a lot from it.

THEO WALCOTT

The result against United hurt a lot. Seeing the players go through that, no player wants to be part of that. As soon as we start getting a good run, then you’ll see the true Arsenal come back.

Frustration: Arsene Wenger watched his side beaten heavily at Old Trafford last season

Frustration: Arsene Wenger watched his side beaten heavily at Old Trafford last season