Tag Archives: performances

Gareth Bale to sign for Barcelona says Gerard Pique

We'd love to have Bale at Barcelona, says Catalan giants' defender Pique

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

11:26 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 10 March 2013

Gareth Bale has been told he would be a great fit for Barcelona by the Catalan giants’ defender Gerard Pique.

Pique, who has made 29 appearances for Barca this season, said the La Liga leaders’ dressing room is always awash with talk of English football, and Bale is a hot topic.

Bale has scored ten goals in his last eight games for Tottenham, and will face fellow Player of the Year contender Luis Suarez when Spurs travel to Liverpool in the Premier League today.

Perfect fit: Pique said Tottenham's Gareth Bale is an 'unbelievable player' good enough to play for any side

Perfect fit: Pique said Tottenham's Gareth Bale is an 'unbelievable player' good enough to play for any side

And his stellar performances have caught the eye of Barcelona, where Pique is a huge admirer.

‘He is an unbelievable player, a great player – he has with all the conditions to play in the team that he wants to,’ Pique told the BBC.

‘He's doing a great job at Tottenham, and we will see. We want to have all the best players in our team.

Sensation: Bale (centre), tearing through the Inter Milan on Thursday, has scored ten in eight for Spurs

Sensation: Bale (centre), tearing through the Inter Milan on Thursday, has scored ten in eight for Spurs

‘It’s true that maybe, because he’s really quick and with the power he’s got, he fits a bit better at Real Madrid, but he can play here too definitely.

‘The best players can fit in any team, no matter the style.’

Pique, who re-joined boyhood club Barcelona from Manchester United in 2008, said the Premier League is also a reason to poke fun at one of his team-mates.

Hot topic: Pique (left), challenging Cristiano Ronaldo, said English football is always discussed at Barcelona

Hot topic: Pique (left), challenging Cristiano Ronaldo, said English football is always discussed at Barcelona

‘Fabregas loves to talk about Arsenal – but we say they have no chance to win anything this year!’ he said.

Barcelona are currently 14 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid in the Spanish La Liga, but face a difficult task on Tuesday at the Nou Camp to overcome a two-goal deficit against AC Milan in the Champions League.

Phil Taylor versus Michael van Gerwen is a fitting end to a thrilling World Championship

Drama, excitement, bust ups, close matches, great performances and two nine-dart finishes: Taylor versus Van Gerwen is a fitting end to a thrilling World Championship

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UPDATED:

17:08 GMT, 31 December 2012

Is there any better way to end a World Championship that has had everything

The 15-time world champion and King of the oche Phil Taylor takes on the red hot Dutch star Michael van Gerwen in one of the most eagerly awaited contests in the tournament’s 20-year history.

‘Mighty Mike’ has lit up Alexandra Palace over the festive period and he has all the attributes needed to topple ‘The Power’ and win his maiden world title.

Van Gerwen produced a champion’s performance to beat two-time winner Adrian Lewis 5-4 in a stunning quarter-final and then, almost unthinkably, played even better against James Wade in the semis. Had MVG pulled off two nine-dart finishes in a row, it surely would have ranked as the greatest moment in darts history.

Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen has produced outstanding form this year at Ally Pally

Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen has produced outstanding form this year at Ally Pally

It has been a year to remember for the Dutchman, after his win at the World Grand Prix and final at the Grand Slam, and a win over Taylor on Tuesday night could almost be a changing of the guard for the sport.

If he plays like he did against Lewis, Van Gerwen will almost certainly be the new world champion.

Taylor said: ‘Michael’s talent is the best I’ve ever seen, even better than me at my peak. I’ve been studying Michael’s game and he doesn’t even seem to look at his target. I’m going to do everything on the dart board I can to beat him.’

But the pressure of a World Championship final could get to the young pretender and, if it does, the last man you would want to face is Taylor.

The Power: Taylor is going for his 16th world title

The Power: Taylor is going for his 16th world title

‘The Power’ hasn’t been at his best at Ally Pally this year but still finds himself in the final. He has negotiated a tricky draw with relative ease, beating Robert Thornton, Andy Hamilton and Raymond van Barneveld.

The bookmakers were right in ranking these two as the favourites but Taylor knows he needs to up his game to stop ‘Mighty Mike’ winning his first world title.

An interesting sub-plot will be the reaction Phil Taylor gets from the crowd after his spat with Barney after the semis.

The 2013 World Championship has had drama, excitement, close matches, sizzling performances and two-nine dart finishes. Let’s hope the final will be the conclusion a brilliant tournament deserves.

Five memorable moments from Ally Pally this year

5. John Part angry that his picture isn't on the wall at Alexandra Palace

4. Van Gerwen knocks out reigning champion Adrian Lewis in a quarter-final classic

3. Dean Winstanley's nine-dart finish against Vincent van der Voort

2. Taylor clashes with Van Barneveld after semi-final

1. Van Gerwen's incredible 17 perfect darts in a row

Rory McIlroy named 2012 European Tour golfer of the year

More glory for Rory as world No 1 McIlroy is named European Tour golfer of the year

PUBLISHED:

15:06 GMT, 18 December 2012

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UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 18 December 2012

World No 1 Rory McIlroy has been named the European Tour golfer of the year.

McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award, having also replicated the Englishman's previously unprecedented achievement of winning both the Race to Dubai and US PGA Tour money list in the same season.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland captured his second major title in August, winning the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight shots, matching the winning margin of his maiden major triumph in the 2011 US Open.

Glory boy: Rory McIlroy celebrated his second major success by winning the PGA Championship earlier this year

Glory boy: Rory McIlroy celebrated his second major success by winning the PGA Championship earlier this year

McIlroy also won three times in America before playing a vital role in Europe's stunning Ryder Cup victory at Medinah, while he ended the year in style with five closing birdies to win the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

'Everyone who knows me knows how special the 2012 season was,' McIlroy said.

'A couple of wins, including a major, and consistent performances in big events all helped me win The Race to Dubai for the first time.

'To win that was a massive highlight of an amazing season and I hope it will be the first of many. Now, to have been named as The European Tour Golfer of the Year puts the icing on the cake.

Over to you: McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award

Over to you: McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award

'It is a very special honour indeed and you only need to look down the list of players who have preceded me as the winner of this award to see precisely why; quite simply, it is a Who's Who of golf and I'm delighted to now be a part of that in the history books.

'We play golf because we relish the opportunity to win major championships and world-class tournaments around the globe. But when we do that, to be recognised for these achievements is a great thrill and I thank all the members of the panel who voted for me.'

Scott Parker scores for Tottenham reserves

Great Scott! Tottenham's Parker makes goalscoring return in U21 match against Villa

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 18 December 2012

Scott Parker continued his steady return to football by netting for Tottenham's Under 21s this evening.

The England international, who is being gradually eased back into football after an achilles injury, scored on the stroke of half-time as part of the Tottenham Under 21 outfit who travelled to Aston Villa this evening.

Parker, who scored Spurs' second goal in a convincing 3-0 win, made a cameo appearance on Sunday for Tottenham's senior squad when they beat Swansea 1-0 at White Hart Lane.

Back in the goals: Scott Parker scored for Tottenham's Under 21s when they travelled to Aston Villa

Back in the goals: Scott Parker scored for Tottenham's Under 21s when they travelled to Aston Villa

The 32-year-old had not played for Tottenham all season before Sunday's victory, and was only handed a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele late in the match.

The former Charlton, Chelsea and West Ham midfielder was given a start this evening for Tottenham's Under 21s.

Having recently returned to football after picking up the injury with Roy Hodgson's England team at Euro 2012, Parker wasted little time back on the pitch tonight by coolly slotting home after 45 minutes.

When fully fit, Parker still faces a tough task of forcing his way back into the Tottenham first team.

Dembele has looked like an incredible signing since his arrival from Fulham this summer, and Sandro has proved to be an integral member of Villas-Boas' squad with some stellar performances this term.

Meanwhile,Tottenham left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto could also be fit to play against Stoke at home on Saturday after being out for three months with a knee injury.

Welcome back: Parker received a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele against Swansea

Welcome back: Parker received a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele against Swansea

Manchester United"s Anderson hailed as "best in the world at running with the ball"

Anderson has his Ginola moment! United ace flashes toned stomach in swipe as fitness critics

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UPDATED:

18:22 GMT, 25 November 2012

From the sublime to the ridiculous, Anderson's Manchester United career has been a series of skillful peaks and fitness troughs.

Saturday was certainly the former. The Brazilian emerged from the bench with United trailing QPR, but within 13 minutes had turned a 0-1 into 3-1, claiming a direct assist for Javier Hernandez's decisive third.

And in an act reminiscent of David Ginola's famous shirtless celebration against Manchester City in 2000, Anderson seemed to take a subtle swipe at those who have questioned his fitness.

Game changer: Anderson turned the match around for Manchester United against QPR, and celebrated by lifting his shirt to reveal a toned torso

Game changer: Anderson turned the match around for Manchester United against QPR, and celebrated by lifting his shirt to reveal a toned torso

Game changer: Anderson turned the match around for Manchester United against QPR, and celebrated by lifting his shirt to reveal a toned torso

Lifting his shirt as part of the
Hernandez celebration, Anderson flexed an impressively toned torso, much
like Ginola had done in front of John Gregory after his manager had
referred to him as 'Mr Blobby'.

Rarely has Anderson managed two
high-class performances on the trot and even within games the
24-year-old is capable of going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Of his seven Premier League
appearances this term, only one has been from the start and he has not
completed the full 90 minutes in a league match since September 2011.

Former United goalkeeping coach Tony Coton said on MUTV: 'Once they leave the training ground, you can’t go with them.

'I am not saying this is his
lifestyle, or it is a problem. But you can’t live with them 24 hours a
day so there may be something that is occurring out there that we don’t
know about.'

Anderson's performance against QPR
also attracted high praise from his goalkeeper, Anders Lindegaard, who
hailed the game-changer as one of the best players in the world when
runing with the ball.

Fats the way to do it: David Ginola famously did a similar celebration in 200

Fats the way to do it: David Ginola famously did a similar celebration in 200

He said: 'Anderson turned the match
around. He is one of the best players in the world at running with the
ball, passing it and keeping the dynamic motion. He is a brilliant
player.'

Meanwhile, Lindegaard's selection
ahead of David de Gea in goal suggested Ferguson is still not convinced
by the young Spaniard, even though, before having his wisdom teeth out
recently, it seemed he had again secured the number one berth.

'The tendency lately is that David
has played,' said the Dane. 'Unfortunately for him, he has been out
with a teeth problem which I am trying to benefit from.

'I still don’t see a clear picture on
how things are going to develop throughout the season. It is not more
than a week ago I read in a Danish paper that “Lindegaard had lost the
battle”, which says a lot about how ignorant they are.'

Ryan Bertrand says Chelsea have had a good start

Unsavoury incidents mean Blues don't get credit we deserve, claims Bertrand

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UPDATED:

23:59 GMT, 4 November 2012

Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand believes the Blues have not received the credit they deserve for their on-field performances due to the off-field controversies that have engulfed them.

The Stamford Bridge club have been embroiled in the fall-out from the Mark Clattenburg affair, with the club having accused him of using 'inappropriate language' towards John Obi Mikel last weekend, which has come hot on the heels of the John Terry racism scandal.

Saturday's 1-1 draw at Swansea, where Chelsea were denied victory by a late Pablo Hernandez strike, saw Roberto Di Matteo's side surrender top spot in the Barclays Premier League table.

Under the radar: Ryan Bertrand says Chelsea's performances are being overlooked

Under the radar: Ryan Bertrand says Chelsea's performances are being overlooked

But Bertrand believes the result is a rare blip, and that off-field distractions have deflected attention from their excellent start to the season.

'We've got off to a very good start this season and I don't think we have got enough credit for the start we have had,' he said.

'It's all been negative stuff. With the draw today we are a bit disappointed but we just look forward to the next game.'

The fixture in south Wales was the final instalment of Terry's four-match domestic ban for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Di Matteo is unsure of whether to throw the former England international back into the side for the Champions League meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek, but Bertrand admits the return of such an experienced defender can only help Chelsea.

He said: 'A player like JT would be a loss to any club in any league. But it has not affected us too much, thankfully, because we have very good players to fill in. Gary Cahill has been outstanding every time he has come in.

'But JT could still play for any team so it will be a massive boost for us when he does come back.'

While Victor Moses grabbed his first league goal for Chelsea since moving from Wigan, Fernando Torres drew another blank.

The Spaniard has now gone nearly seven hours without finding the net, although he has found the net nine times in his last 21 games.

He was well marshalled by Swansea captain Garry Monk, who impressed in his first Premier League start under Michael Laudrup.

No bother: Gary Monk dispossesses Eden Hazard

No bother: Gary Monk dispossesses Eden Hazard

But Monk, who has played for Swansea in all four divisions, defended Torres and believes the pressure of the 50million fee Chelsea paid to bring him to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool has placed extra pressure on him.

Monk said: 'It was good to play against him. I came here on a free when we were in League Two and he's cost 50million!

'That's what you're dealing with – living in different worlds. It's great to pit your wits against the best. And he cost 50million for a reason and I just enjoyed it. I didn't give him a yard and just kept with him.

Chasing shadows: It seems Fernando Torres is stuck in a rut

Chasing shadows: It seems Fernando Torres is stuck in a rut

'He clearly has quality, but, yes, there are hundreds of players overpriced. Yet that is not his fault that Chelsea paid that sort of money for him.

'Obviously with the price-tag comes a lot of responsibility. He will feel that on his shoulders to perform every week.

'Once you don't perform, everyone is on your back. You could see that with Suarez at Liverpool, he's a good player.

'Even though he is Marmite to a lot of people, but out of everyone he is the best.'

Ryan Giggs insists Manchester United youngsters will learn from Chelsea heartbreak

Upbeat Giggs insists United youngsters will learn from Chelsea heartbreak

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UPDATED:

17:36 GMT, 1 November 2012

Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs
believes the club's youngsters could benefit greatly from a loss at
Chelsea that was 'tough to take'.

United were moments away from a place
in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals when they conceded a last-minute
penalty equaliser in a thrilling fourth-round tie at Stamford Bridge.

Leading the way: Ryan Giggs was captain for Chelsea tie

Leading the way: Ryan Giggs was captain for Chelsea tie

That sent them into extra time with the score at 3-3 but it was Chelsea who prevailed 5-4 after the additional periods of play.

But with the likes of youngsters Scott Wootton, Michael Keane and Nick Powell given some first-team game time, Giggs can see plenty of positives.

The 38-year-old, who struck twice on his first start for more than a month, told MUTV: It's tough to take. When you score four goals away from home more often than not you win the game.

'I'm proud of the young players who played, though. There were some great performances.

'They will have learnt a lot and you learn more from losing as well.

'You try and take the positives from a game like that but there are a lot of disappointed lads and rightly so because they put in good performances.

Tough lesson: Giggs believes experience will benefit the likes of Scott Wootton

Tough lesson: Giggs believes experience will benefit the likes of Scott Wootton

'But they'll learn from it and the experience they'll gain from this is more than they could ever get from a reserve game.

'They had to stick all their big guns on in the end to make an impact which they did.

'As I said, though, I'm proud of the young players – they never stopped battling.

'We're just disappointed to put on a good performance, score four goals and come away with nothing.'

United led three times during normal time after goals from Giggs, Javier Hernandez and Nani.

Yet each time the hosts came back to level with David Luiz scoring from the spot and Gary Cahill hitting the target before Eden Hazard converted another penalty in the dying moments.

Up for it: Nick Powell impressed against Chelsea's big guns

Up for it: Nick Powell impressed against Chelsea's big guns

Daniel Sturridge and Ramires then struck in extra time to secure a place in the last eight. Giggs wrapped up the scoring with the third penalty of the night after 120 minutes.

Giggs said: 'We had the game in the bag with seconds to go. We had the ball deep in their half, lost it and they went up the other end and got the penalty.

'When it goes to extra time it's anyone's game.'

The match was another high-scoring tie in the competition after Arsenal beat Reading 7-5 the previous night.

Giggs said: 'After seeing the Reading-Arsenal game nothing should surprise you in football!

'You've got to be prepared for anything and fight right to the end. Unfortunately it wasn't to be for us.'

England rugby squad: James Haskell and Ugo Monye recalled for Autumn Tests

Haskell and Monye end England exile as Lancaster calls up Vunipola for Autumn Tests

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UPDATED:

09:05 GMT, 25 October 2012

England have confirmed the selection of Saracens rookie Mako Vunipola as one of just four props in a revised squad of 32 for the QBE Internationals at Twickenham next month.

The 21-year-old was only brought into the second-string Saxons squad last month, but now his club performances have ensured that his rapid personal development continues apace. He has been called up in place of the injured Alex Corbisiero, as one of four enforced changes.

Harlequins wing Ugo Monye comes in for Ben Foden while there is a return for another experienced figure – James Haskell, who takes over from long-term absentee Tom Croft. The other addition to the senior ranks is Leicester hooker Tom Youngs, who earns his opportunity while Rob Webber of Bath recovers from injury.

Call up: Mako Vunipola of Saracens

Call up: Mako Vunipola of Saracens

England squad

A Allen (Leicester), C Ashton (Saracens), B Barritt (Saracens), M Botha (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), D Cole (Leicester), L Dickson (Northampton), P Dowson (Northampton), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester), A Goode (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton), J Haskell (Wasps),T Johnson (Exeter), J Joseph (London Irish), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), U Monye (Harlequins), B Morgan (Gloucester), T Palmer (Wasps), G Parling (Leicester), C Robshaw (Harlequins), C Sharples (Gloucester), M Tuilagi (Leicester), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), T Waldrom (Leicester), D Wilson (Bath), T Wood (Northampton), B Youngs (Leicester), T Youngs (Leicester).

The selection of Vunipola, ahead of
the more established Matt Mullan of Worcester, represents a bold move by
head coach Stuart Lancaster and his assistants, given that the New
Zealand-born player of Tongan descent is one of only four props, along
with Dan Cole, Joe Marler and Dave Wilson.

Lancaster said: ‘It’s great to be
able to give Mako a chance in the squad. He has come through our
age-grade sides and made a real impact at Saracens.

'Likewise Tom Youngs, who was with us on tour
in South Africa, and we know what James Haskell and Ugo Monye are
capable of if they get their opportunity.'

He added: 'As a coaching team we
can’t wait to go into camp and get the guys focused on what will be a
massive challenge in the QBE Internationals – Fiji and then the three
major Southern Hemisphere teams in successive weeks.

Wenger plans softly, softly approach with Wilshere after midfielder returns to training

Wenger plans softly, softly approach with Wilshere after midfielder returns to training

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UPDATED:

10:03 GMT, 21 September 2012

Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal will have to be cautious over how Jack Wilshere is nursed back into first-team action.

The England midfielder finally returned to full training on Thursday after an ankle injury sidelined him for the whole of last season, also ruling him out of contention for Euro 2012.

Wenger, though, will take no chances with the 20-year-old, who is likely to have a few reserve outings before being considered for the first XI.

He's back! Jack Wilshere returned to full Arsenal training on Thursday

He's back! Jack Wilshere returned to full Arsenal training on Thursday

Speaking ahead of Sunday's trip to Manchester City, Wenger said: 'We will see how he responds to the training now.

'We will have to be a bit patient, a bit cautious, because when a guy has been out for 14 months it takes a while to get back to match fitness.

All smiles: Wilshere with Theo Walcott (left) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

All smiles: Wilshere with Theo Walcott (left) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

'Jack is fit to practise and play, but to put high-level performances in takes time.

'He will need a few games in the reserves.'

Combative midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong is also closing in on a return, having been sidelined by a serious knee injury suffered while on loan at Wolves in February.

However, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will again be sidelined by the ankle problem which forced him out of the midweek Champions League win in Montpellier.

Wenger feels the Gunners can head to the Etihad Stadium in confident mood of a positive result, and does not expect the Blues' late defeat at Real Madrid to play a major impact.

'I expect them to be focused and play
well, but it was a disappointment for them of course. It always takes a
little bit away from you,' he said.

On the up: Arsenal have made a bright start to the new season

On the up: Arsenal have made a bright start to the new season

'But on our side, let's not have any speculation of the weakness or strength of them, let's focus on us to be at our best.

'If we are at our best I think we have a great chance to get a good result there.'

Marussia appoint Max Chilton as reserve driver

Young Brit Chilton closer to F1 debut after being named Marussia reserve

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UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 20 September 2012

Marussia have appointed young Briton Max Chilton as their reserve driver for the remainder of the season.

The 21-year-old from Reigate is currently enjoying a strong season in GP2 for Marussia's junior team after they joined forces with Carlin at the start of the campaign.

Chilton scored his first victory of the season in the feature race in Hungary at the end of July from pole position, and at present is fifth in the standings going into the final race this weekend in Singapore.

Brit special: Max Chilton (right) has been named as Marussia's reserve driver

Brit special: Max Chilton (right) has been named as Marussia's reserve driver

Chilton has already taken part in two young driver test sessions, the second of which was at Silverstone in July, building up his mileage to acquire his superlicence.

From this weekend Chilton will attend all of the remaining races and take part in Marussia's engineering commitments.

Team principal John Booth said: “Max's impressive performances in GP2 this season have gone far from unnoticed, and he seems to mature with each new round.

'An important part of the education of any young driver looking to progress to the highest level of motor sport is spending time working closely with the engineers and other, more experienced drivers.

'In the role of our reserve driver for the rest of the season, Max will be exposed to the demands of competing in Formula One to the extent he will be fully prepared to step into the car should it be required.

'Max has driven at our young driver test, so this is an opportunity for him to build on his experience of working with the engineers, as well as the other demands placed on our drivers, including marketing activity.'

Rising star: Chilton previously tested for Force India

Rising star: Chilton previously tested for Force India

There is the prospect of Chilton being handed an opportunity in a first practice session later this year, potentially Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit as it is a track he knows from previous experience.

This move could even lead to Chilton being on the F1 grid next year as a replacement for Charles Pic, and he is not without the financial means as father Grahame is chairman of insurance giants Aon Benfield and vice-chairman of the Aon Group.

Looking ahead to his new role, Chilton said: 'My experience with the team at Silverstone for the young driver test was a great taste of how F1 operates.

'I'm so excited to be able to extend that into a proper working relationship as reserve driver at the remaining F1 events this year.

'I feel like my racing has really matured this season and to now be able to combine that with real insight into the engineering activities of an F1 team, and the level of preparation required of an F1 driver, really moves my career onto the next level.'