Tag Archives: patches

Arsene Wenger tells Stan Kroenke he wants to turn Arsenal round alone

Stay out of it Kroenke! Defiant Wenger wants to get Arsenal's season back on track without interference

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UPDATED:

10:52 GMT, 14 December 2012

A defiant Arsene Wenger today said that he is determined to turn Arsenal's stuttering season around and does not expect any intervention from the club's board, including majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

Arsenal suffered a crippling defeat at Bradford on Tuesday, when they were beaten on penalties in the Capital One Cup.

Wenger watched his season go from bad to worse at Valley Parade. The Gunners sit in 7th in the Premier League and are already 15 points behind leaders Manchester United after just 16 games.

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

With hopes of winning the league all but over, should Arsenal fail to bring home the FA Cup or the Champions League this season, it will be their eighth in succession without a trophy.

But Wenger has pulled Arsenal through
rough patches before, and he is determined to do so without any
intervention from Kroenke and the board.

Wenger said: ‘I am responsible for the football front, I don't expect Stan Kroenke to intervene.

‘The way to support me is to let me
do my work and do my job, I don't expect anything else. I'm very
determined and very hungry – if I wasn't I wouldn't be here.

‘I love the club, I sit here and show
how much I love the club. We have been through difficult periods before
and I know how to turn this around because I have been here 16 years.’

Wenger is looking to pick his players up at Reading on Monday evening after a difficult week, but believes he and his players should be looking forward, not back.

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

'We are top professional people. What
is important is what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday. We
are sorry for that [Bradford] but what is important is the next game.'

'They [Reading] are a team who deserve a lot of
credit because they came up last year, for me surprisingly.

'They make it difficult for every
team in every game, so we expect a battle. Our results are quite
consistent and good away from home.

'We had a good game against West Brom [and] it’s important to confirm that in our next away game.'

The Frenchman believes his players are committed and resilient enough to bounce back from the Bradford loss.

He said: 'This team cares, is serious and wants to do well, I do not question the spirit of the team.
I believe I have a strong team.

'If you look at our season at the moment, we have not produced our performances at home, away our results are in the same bracket as the two top teams.

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

'Where we have lost the points is we made too many draws at home.

'Manchester United are top of the league, six points ahead. They have lost three games, we have lost four. We had more draws, especially at home, that is where we have lost the points.'

The Arsenal manager was also asked whether, after 16 years at the helm, he had been at the club for too long.

He said: 'I can understand people
criticise when the results are not as expected. It looks like has become
the modern way to think.

'You say that 16 years can be a handicap, but it can also be an advantage because you have experience, you love the club.

'If I sit here, it is because I have really shown how much I love his club. We have gone through difficult periods before and you know how to turn it around.'

There has also been speculation that all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry could re-join the club on loan in January, but Wenger refused to comment on the proposed move, and said: 'I cannot tell you anything about it because nothing has happened.'

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

The Open 2011: Ian Ladyman investigates Royal Lytham rough

It's rough out there… Our man in the thick of it investigates Royal Lytham

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 16 July 2012

Tiger Woods has said it was ‘almost unplayable’. Paul Casey has described it as ‘brutal’. And on Monday, Open champion Darren Clarke said it was ‘really, really tough’.

They were all talking about the deep rough at Royal Lytham, so Sportsmail sent Ian Ladyman into the long grass to see for himself…

I spent a couple of hours on the back nine at Royal Lytham on Monday looking at what the players can expect when the competition starts on Thursday.

In the thick of it... Conditions are looking treacherous at Royal Lytham

In the thick of it… Conditions are looking treacherous at Royal Lytham

In the thick of it... Conditions are looking treacherous at Royal Lytham

It included a visit to the side of the 14th fairway where Vijay Singh lost two balls in the benign practice conditions. As far as I know, they remain missing in action.

If players miss fairways by a matter of feet or inches here they will play their second shots out of reasonably palatable semi-rough. Certainly that won’t worry the greatest golfers on the planet.

However, once balls start to land five yards wide of the short stuff players may begin to struggle in wispy rough that can grip the club at impact and send shots flying out at the sort of angles club golfers will recognise.

And what about the areas 10 yards off the side of the fairways

Is it really bad enough to send golfers running for the hills Well, put it this way – when I looked down to see if my feet were on solid ground to the side of the 16th fairway I realised that I couldn’t actually see them.

Draw your own conclusions.

In trouble: Vijay Singh (centre) lost two balls on the 14th

In trouble: Vijay Singh (centre) lost two balls on the 14th

As champion Darren Clarke said on Monday: ‘There are a few patches where it’s just absolutely brutal.

‘It’s really, really tough. If you start spraying the ball around this week, you might as well go home.’

Three who'll love it…

IAN POULTER: Always a happy bunny when the requirement is accuracy off the tee rather than length.

GRAEME McDOWELL: The arch strategist should prosper on the straight and narrow.

MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ: Don’t rule out one cigar chomper handing the trophy over to another.

Three who'll hate it…

PHIL MICKELSON: It would be amazing if he broke his Open duck around this layout.

RORY McILROY: His natural attacking instincts will not be served best here.

BUBBA WATSON: Will he entertain As always. Will he win Not a chance.

Everton axed Royston Drenthe over disciplinary problem

Drenthe was ditched from FA Cup semi-final over disciplinary problem, reveal Everton

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UPDATED:

14:25 GMT, 15 April 2012

Everton have confirmed Royston Drenthe was axed from their FA Cup semi-final squad after being disciplined by the club.

The on-loan Real Madrid midfielder, 25, was left out of manager David Moyes' 18-man party for Saturday's 2-1 Wembley defeat to Liverpool.

Temporary home: Winger Royston Drenthe (right) is on loan from Real Madrid

Temporary home: Winger Royston Drenthe (right) is on loan from Real Madrid

An Everton spokesman said: 'Royston Drenthe has been the subject of a disciplinary matter. This has been dealt with internally and the club will be making no further comment.'

Holland international Drenthe has impressed in patches since joining the Toffees on loan in August, scoring four goals and laying on seven more.

Andrew Strauss feels the heat

Edgy Strauss feels the heat: Under-pressure skipper running out of time

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UPDATED:

22:55 GMT, 2 April 2012

Andrew Strauss vowed to stand up as a true captain as he headed into the Test that could define his immediate future and the biggest test of his batting since his career-saving century in New Zealand four years ago.

The first signs of pressure building on the England captain were evident at the historic P Sara Oval when Strauss’s press conference before the second Test was cut short because of questions over his future.

Strauss was handling what was hardly a Spanish inquisition with his usual dignity just before he was cut off by the ECB press officer.

Under pressure: But Strauss is confident despite his poor form

Under pressure: But Strauss is confident despite his poor form

‘This is one of the real challenges of
leadership or captaincy,’ said Strauss after being asked how difficult
it is to stay calm in front of his team as they attempt this week to
stave off their fifth successive Test defeat. ‘It’s easy when it’s going
well. Everyone is buoyant and patting each other on the back.

‘When times are tough, that’s when it’s
important you stand up and lead and show people the right direction. I
like that sort of challenge. It hasn’t gone our way so far this winter
but I retain absolute faith that it will turn around.

‘Sometimes you’ll go through patches where things don’t work out your way and if you retain faith it will turn around, especially if you have players of real quality, which I know we do have.’

Then, sadly, after a conference lasting fewer than six minutes, Strauss was gone, suggesting the scrutiny on his position may be getting to him after all.

Testing times: England must win to preserve their No 1 status

Testing times: England must win to preserve their No 1 status

If a siege mentality is building up
within the England camp ahead of a Test that they need to win to
preserve their status as the best team in the world then it is a shame,
even if it might provide them with a bit of extra motivation, Alex
Ferguson-style.

With the possible exception of
Michael Vaughan, who said Strauss should consider his future if England
lose here, nobody of any note has been calling for the captain’s head,
such is the high esteem in which he is held.

Yet it is perfectly understandable that there should be scrutiny on Strauss when he has scored one century in his last 48 Test innings and his team have plummeted with alarming rapidity. This winter was meant to be one of conquering the final frontier but instead it has become England’s worst losing run since the Ashes of 2006-07.

It is worth recording Strauss’s response to other relevant questions which were swept aside with less Churchillian answers than his final emphatic response.

Out of nick: Strauss has gone 48 test innings without a ton

Out of nick: Strauss has gone 48 test innings without a ton

HOW THEY LINE UP

Sri Lanka (probable): Thirimanne, Dilshan, Sangakkara, M Jayawardene (capt), Samaraweera, Mathews, P Jayawardene (wkt), Randiv, Herath, Prasad, Lakmal.

England (probable): Strauss (capt), Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior (wkt), Patel, Bresnan, Swann, Anderson, Finn.

Umpires: A Rauf (Pak), B Oxenford (A). 3rd umpire: R Tucker (A).

TV: LIVE on Sky Sports 1 from 5.25am.

Is this a bigger Test than usual for you and your team ‘Not really. Every
Test is important. When you need to win the last Test of a series to get
something out of it in that sense there’s a bit more on it. We
desperately want to win this Test and make amends for what happened in
Galle.’

What about Vaughan’s suggestion that
you might resign as captain but carry on as a player if things go badly
here ‘That’s not something I’ve considered. People are entitled to
their opinions but I don’t necessarily share them.’

But aren’t you under extra pressure
here ‘No more so than usual. I want to score runs, but I’m very
confident and I feel we have the materials to do well in this Test.’

Does talk about your future frustrate you ‘When you play cricket you realise there will always be some story running in the background. The most important thing is that you don’t let it distract you.’

Sizing things up: Strauss looks at the Colombo wicket with batting coach Graham Gooch

Sizing things up: Strauss looks at the Colombo wicket with batting coach Graham Gooch

There is nothing that anyone connected with England would like more than a Strauss century in a winning cause and at least the P Sara wicket, which was cracked on Monday, should live up to its reputation as a result wicket.

But that is probably the only decent reason for this game being staged here because of local politics and the desire to hold this game at the same venue where the inaugural Test against England was played 30 years ago.

The ground holds no more than 4,000 and around 6,000 visiting supporters are said to be in town. It is another example of shambolic leadership from the new Sri Lankan board.

It can only be hoped that those who have managed to gain admission see another absorbing contest – ideally, from an England point of view, with Strauss batting for an awful lot longer than he entertained his audience on Monday.