Tag Archives: victors

League One round-up: Tranmere go top after Sheffield United slip-up

League One round-up: Tranmere go top after Blades slip-up

PUBLISHED:

21:30 GMT, 29 December 2012

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 29 December 2012

Tranmere went top of npower League One by a point as they claimed a 1-0 victory over struggling Scunthorpe.

Cole Stockton grabbed the only goal of the game just before the hour mark at Prenton Park as Rovers took advantage of a slip-up by Sheffield United.

The Blades lost 3-2 at home to bottom club Hartlepool, who picked up just their second win of the season.

Top dogs: Tranmere beat Scunthorpe 1-0 to leapfrog Sheffield United

Top dogs: Tranmere beat Scunthorpe 1-0 to leapfrog Sheffield United

Steve Howard put the visitors ahead only for Michael Doyle to level.

But a Ritchie Humphreys strike and Howard's second put Hartlepool clear, and Harry Maguire's late effort was not enough for United.

Doncaster are now level on points with their second-placed Yorkshire rivals after a 3-0 win at Preston.

David Syers opened the scoring inside the first minute, with David Cotterill and a Billy Paynter penalty completing the scoring.

Surprise: Harry Maguire's injury-time goal wasn't enough for Sheffield United as they lost to bottom club Hartlepool

Surprise: Harry Maguire's injury-time goal wasn't enough for Sheffield United as they lost to bottom club Hartlepool

Brentford dropped to fourth after a goalless draw at Shrewsbury while Bournemouth were 3-0 victors over Crawley thanks to a Gary Alexander own goal and further strikes from Brett Pitman and Eunan O'Kane.

Portsmouth remain in the bottom four after a 2-1 home defeat against Yeovil.

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Comeback: Coventry came from behind twice to beat MK Dons

Daniel Powell and Ryan Lowe netted for the Dons but Franck Moussa and Stephen Elliott pegged them back before the Irish striker bagged the winner.

Moses Odubajo struck three minutes from time to help Leyton Orient beat Walsall 2-1.

David Mooney put Orient ahead only for Sam Mantom to level for the visitors. But Odubajo popped up the claim the points for his side.
Two early goals were enough to give Carlisle a 2-1 win over Bury.

A Lee Miller penalty and a Matty Robson effort put Carlisle in control with Stephen Schumacher getting one back for the visitors.

The games between Colchester and Swindon and Stevenage and Notts County were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

Real Madrid 2 Atletico Madrid 0: Cristiano Ronaldo eclipses Falcao

Real Madrid 2 Atletico Madrid 0: Ronaldo magic eclipses muted Falcao

PUBLISHED:

23:27 GMT, 1 December 2012

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UPDATED:

01:15 GMT, 2 December 2012

Third-placed Real Madrid remained 11
points off the pace after winning a highly-anticipated derby 2-0,
ensuring Atletico's winless run in the fixture will stretch into its
14th year.

A wonderful free-kick from Cristiano
Ronaldo lit up what was an otherwise disappointing first half before
Mesut Ozil secured all three points with a tidy finish 25 minutes from
time.

Free range: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his early strike

Free range: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his early strike

Earlier, 10-man Valencia went down 5-2 against Real Sociedad – with coach Mauricio Pellegrino sacked soon after the full-time whistle at the Mestalla.

'We have been exchanging views, and we made the decision to dismiss Mauricio Pellegrino,' Valencia president Manuel Llorente said.

Former player Salvador Gonzalez, known as Voro, will take temporary charge of Los Che.

Sporting director Braulio Vazquez added on the club's website: 'If you look at the future of the team, you can understand that in this game we have not been good, but the progression of the team was not right.

'I want to emphasise that Mauricio has gone, but it is the responsibility of all.'

Close call: Ronaldo saw this effort hit the post

Close call: Ronaldo saw this effort hit the post

Roberto Soldado's second-minute strike
had given the hosts an early lead but they were never in control and
were pegged back before half-time as Alberto de la Bella fired in an
equaliser minutes after Jonas had seen a straight red card for lashing
out at David Zurutuza.

Sociedad took control in the second period as further goals from Mikel
Gonzalez, Diego Ifran, Imanol Agirretxe and Carlos Vela rendered
Soldado's second of the evening meaningless and lifted the victors to
seventh.

Also in the Spanish top flight today, Getafe moved level on points with
fourth-placed Malaga thanks to a 1-0 win. Alberto Lopo headed home the
game's only goal 11 minutes into the second half.
end

Manchester United OR City will win Premier League title… and derby is around the corner

It's not yet December and there's plenty more twists and turns to come… but the title IS going back to Manchester (now start the real battle between United and City)

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UPDATED:

13:51 GMT, 29 November 2012

Take your pick, blue or red, the title is going back to Manchester.

While the rest of the Barclays Premier League flounders and flaps beneath them, champions Manchester City and their city rivals United continue to flourish. Chelsea are in disarray, Arsenal are nowhere near again, and the rest are only good enough to challenge for fifth.

The 2012/13 season is a two-horse race.

That's why we're champions: Mario Balotelli celebrates Manchester City's win at Wigan on Wednesday

That's why we're champions: Mario Balotelli celebrates Manchester City's win at Wigan on Wednesday

All too easy: Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney enjoy Manchester United's win over West Ham

All too easy: Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney enjoy Manchester United's win over West Ham

Next weekend’s showdown at the Etihad Stadium will of course not decide the outcome of the title race but it will give the victors a substantial advantage going into the Christmas programme.

The rest of them will merely have a say in the destination of the trophy by taking points off the Manchester giants. They can forget about winning it.

The fixtures that will decide the title

Sunday December 9:
Manchester City v Manchester United
1:30pm KO

Saturday April 6*:
Manchester United v Manchester City
3pm KO

*Date subject to change

Fourteen games into the campaign and City remain the only unbeaten team in the land.

Roberto Mancini’s tinkering may be perplexing at times, but the Italian is getting away with it at the moment. And City look invincible at home.

Take his substitution at Wigan last night. City fans were scratching their heads when the City boss gave striker Sergio Aguero the hook and sent on Aleksandar Kolarov in his place, leaving Mario Balotelli to plough a potentially lonely furrow as the spearhead of City’s attack. Within seconds, the Italian striker had scored his first of the season and City were on their way to their ninth league win, which leaves them just a point behind United.

There is talk that Mancini will not
be strengthening his squad in January’s transfer window. But he has the
resources should he decide to do so, as do United.

But
if he can leave Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Scott Sincalir unemployed,
as he did at the DW Stadium last night, why splash the cash
unnecessarily

Not good enough: Fernando Torres and Chelsea are in disarray under interim manager Rafa Benitez

Not good enough: Fernando Torres and Chelsea are in disarray under interim manager Rafa Benitez

In form: Theo Walcott

In form: Gareth Bale

In form: But despite Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale, neither Arsenal or Spurs are good enough to win the title

The riches he can turn to, and the ability of the likes of James Milner and Dzeko to vent their frustration on opponents is one of City’s primary strengths. And it’s matched only by their great rivals.

The impact Robin van Persie has made at Old Trafford does not come as a great surprise.

The former Arsenal striker’s 31 second blast against West Ham was his 12th already in a United shirt, and his 105th in the Premier League since he moved from Feyenoord eight years ago.

And his partnership with Wayne Rooney has barely started to register yet as Sir Alex Ferguson tries to find the right formula to make them the deadliest duo in the league.

United are not playing that well. They have been behind in nine of their league encounters so far and although van Persie’s early opener gave them the cushion required against Sam Allardyce’s side, they were never completely comfortable, even on home territory.

But they have already established that healthy champions’ habit of wining matches when they are not firing on all cylinders, a trait which has proved so useful to Ferguson’s teams over the years.

It is all new to City, as is defending your title. And if they can’t do that efficiently over the next six months, starting with United’s visit on December 9, they will be handing the coveted title back to Sir Alex in May.

AND WHO COULD FORGET WHAT HAPPENED IN LAST YEAR'S EPIC MANCHESTER DERBIES

Why always him Mario Balotelli's double at Old Trafford last October inspired City to an incredible 6-1 win

Why always him Mario Balotelli's double at Old Trafford last October inspired City to an incredible 6-1 win

Noisy neighbours: Vincent Kompany screams with delight after heading the winner at the Etihad Stadium in April

Noisy neighbours: Vincent Kompany screams with delight after heading the winner at the Etihad in April

Blue Moon rising: The two derby victories proved crucial as City won the title on goal difference

Blue Moon rising: The two derby victories proved crucial as City won the title on goal difference

Young Boys must show courage at Liverpool, says boss

Courage can help us upset Anfield, insists Young Boys boss Rueda ahead of Euro clash

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UPDATED:

20:57 GMT, 21 November 2012

Young Boys coach Martin Rueda has demanded a show of courage from his under pressure side against Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday night.

The Swiss are level on six points with the hosts in Group A but their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage will be ended if they lose and Anzhi beat Udinese earlier in the evening.

No Swiss team has won in four visits to Anfield and Liverpool have not lost in eight games against opposition from the country since losing a first meeting against Servette in 1971.

Boys become men: Young Boys Bern face a tricky test when they play Liverpool at Anfield

Boys become men: Young Boys Bern face a tricky test when they play Liverpool at Anfield

Boys become men: Young Boys Bern face a tricky test when they play Liverpool at Anfield

However, back-to-back wins over Udinese – 3-2 victors on Merseyside in early October – has given Rueda confidence they can make amends for their loss to Brendan Rodgers' side in Bern.

'The two games against Udinese have shown us that we can also beat great opponents,' said Rueda, whose side lost 5-3 to Liverpool in their opening game. 'I expect Liverpool to put out a top team, certainly from the start as they are looking to get into the next stage.

'But it is a game we need something from – there is lots riding on this game. We have to be brave and courageous and produce a good performance.

'It is good that Anzhi are playing earlier but it comes down to our performance and we want to get some points.'

England-born defender Scott Sutter, who played youth team football for Millwall, Aston Villa and Charlton before moving to his father's homeland, is looking forward to sampling the Anfield atmosphere.

Ready for action: Boss Martin Rueda and Scott Sutter have high hopes for the clash

Ready for action: Boss Martin Rueda and Scott Sutter have high hopes for the clash

'It is special to be playing in England against top teams,' said the 26-year-old. 'That poses a great test for yourself and gives you a chance to compare yourself with the top stars in the game.

'Growing up in England you read a lot about Anfield and I was lucky enough four years ago to come and watch a game against Arsenal – it is a special place and to come here and play will be nice.

'Liverpool are still Liverpool. They have top quality throughout the side with the likes of Steven Gerrard.'

Veteran defender Mario Raimondi is suspended for the match but goalkeeper and captain Marco Wolfli will feature having played with a thigh injury at the weekend.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1: World"s reaction

From 'The Great Wall' to the 'greatest night of my life', Sportsmail sees how the world reacted to Celtic beating Barca

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UPDATED:

10:25 GMT, 8 November 2012

Celtic's win over Barcelona will live long in the memory of all those who bore witness to it, be them the 60,000 inside Parkhead or the millions watching around the world on television.

Those who tuned in did so, no doubt, expecting a spirited defiance from the hosts against a tide of Catalan brilliance.

What they saw, though, was something altogether more outstanding, as Celtic stood firm against wave after wave of attack, and twice catching the more illustrious opponents. As birthday parties go, the Bhoys 125th will take some beating.

Incredible: Celtic pulled off one of recent history's biggest shocks by beating Barcelona

Incredible: Celtic pulled off one of recent history's biggest shocks by beating Barcelona

The Great Wall: Spanish media pays tribute to Celtic's goalkeeper, Fraser Forster

The Great Wall: Spanish media pays tribute to Celtic's goalkeeper, Fraser Forster

As Spanish newspaper Marca noted, 'Again, it was the formula of Chelsea', referring to the Blues shut-up-shop against-all-odds Champions League semi-final victory in May.

On their website, Marca carried a brilliant summary of the atmosphere inside the stadium, hailing it as 'the 12th man'.

The piece, by Arch Bell, started: 'There is perhaps no greater home pitch advantage in all of football than a Celtic home match at Celtic Park as Barcelona learned the hard way in their Wednesday night Champions League defeat 2-1.'

For the most part, though, Celtic's stunning achievement was relegated to the inside pages of the national press, replaced instead by reflections on Real Madrid's draw with Borussia Dortmund a day earlier.

In a small box in the bottom corner, Marca opted for 'Derrota de Guinness' (Defeat of Guiness), while AS again referenced the counter-attacking style of the victors.

Only El Mundo Deportivo truly gave the game prominence, hailing the hosts' goalkeeper Fraser Forster as 'La Gran Muralla' (The Great Wall).

But you didn't need the papers to gauge the shock and awe that was sweeping across Europe.

Barcelona's official Twitter account, @fcbarcelona, gave begrudging praise to their opponents, writing: “Congratulations to @CelticFC for well-earned victory a day after their 125-year anniversary. #FCBLive”

Others seemed to think the night could signal the end of Barcelona's reign in Europe.

Former Fulham and United States striker Brian McBride (@BMcBride20), said: “Barcelona needs to figure out another way to attack…because right now teams know how to beat them.”

Others focused on Celtic, and rightly so.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Shay Given ‏(@No1shaygiven) wrote: 'Amazing result for @celticfc congrats to every1 connected to the club. @FraseForster was on fire again.'

Former Celtic boss Kenny Dalglish (@kennethdalglish) suggested the win was only the second greatest night in the history of the club, behind the European Cup win in 1967.

He wrote: 'What an unbelievable result for Neil Lennon and all at Celtic. Only Lisbon beats it. The noise was deafening.'

Another
former favourite, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was in the crowd enjoying
the birthday celebrations before the match, and John Hartson
(‏@JohnHartson10) wrote: 'One word brilliant!!'

Jason
Roberts (@JasonRoberts30) added: 'Woke up feeling inspired by what I
witnessed last night with The MIGHTY CELTS…Saturday can't come quick
enough…'

Helping hand: Madrid based newspaper Marca carried a special feature on the crowd

Helping hand: Madrid based newspaper Marca carried a special feature on the crowd

However, the final word belongs to those involved.

Kris Commons ‏(@kcommons15): 'Quite simply the greatest game I've ever been involved in!!'

Joe Ledley (‏@joe16led) 'Got to say I know ever player says it but today was the best atmosphere ever… Thank you.' He earlier wrote: 'Boomtown greatest moment of my life! We have just beaten the best team ever!'

Victor Wanyama (@VictorWanyama): 'The best moment of my life beating Barca.'

The most popular image doing the rounds in the aftermath of the match was a snapshot of the match statistics from Sky TV.

Dry your eyes mate: Pictures of Rod Stewart crying after the match flooded social networking sites

Dry your eyes mate: Pictures of Rod Stewart crying after the match flooded social networking sites

Most commenting on them were struck by the record-breaking possession stats – 89 per cent in the Spaniard's favour, with 955 passes compared with Celtic's 166.

But it was an incident off the field that became the most talked about thing on Twitter, that of Rod Stewart's tears. An animated Gif quickly becoming the biggest trending image on the site.

Soon, too, people began to see the funny side with a number of comedy pictures doing the rounds, a selection of which can be seen below.

It was that sort of result.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

England lose to Spain in Gold Coast Sevens

England suffer painful defeat to Spain in Australia's Gold Coast Sevens

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UPDATED:

11:24 GMT, 14 October 2012

England were beaten finalists in the Bowl competition of the Gold Coast Sevens, going down 19-14 in sudden-death extra-time to Spain in Australia.

Ben Ryan's team overcame Scotland 35-7 in the Bowl quarter-finals, having missed out on a place in the last eight of the main tournament following a 19-17 pool defeat to Samoa on Saturday.

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in the bowl final

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in extra time of the Bowl final

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in extra time of the Bowl final

Dan Norton scored two tries in the win over the Scots, which set up a semi-final against Canada.

England triumphed 24-19 against the North Americans after extra-time and appeared on course to win the Bowl title at 14-7 up in the second half, but Spain battled back with tries from Ignacio Martin and Matias Tudela.

Fiji won the overall title, beating New Zealand 32-14 in the final, while Wales were losing Bowl semi-finalists to Spain.

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Big winners: Fiji ran out overall victors of the competition on Australia's Gold Coast

Big winners: Fiji ran out overall victors of the competition on Australia's Gold Coast

Edgar Davids watches Barnet lose 4-1 to Plymouth Argyle at Underhill

Second thoughts, Edgar Barnet soundly beaten as Davids makes dugout debut

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UPDATED:

17:31 GMT, 13 October 2012

Holland legend Edgar Davids' first job on matchday was to greet the Barnet mascot – a giant furry Bee called Mr Bumble – as he began life in his new role as player-co-head coach.

That was probably the highlight for the former Holland international who watched the north London club soundly beaten at home by Plymouth Argyle.

Argyle took the lead after just two minutes and ran out 4-1 victors at Underhill, leaving the Bees cut adrift by five points at the bottom of nPower League Two.

Buzz off! Barnet mascot Mr Bumble greets the new face at Underhill

Buzz off! Barnet mascot Mr Bumble greets the new face at Underhill

Davids has taken the role as part of his
grand plan to enter management, but was not on the team sheet, despite
his insistence that his playing days are not over. Just yet.

Davids, who has won 74 international caps
and the Champions League with Ajax in 1995, has joined the club tasked with helping improve a run which sees them ensconced at the bottom of the Football League.

‘I got contacted and invited to the
facility and I was really impressed,’ he said following his first day of training with the club on Friday.

All change Barnet went behind after just two minutes of the match

All change Barnet went behind after just two minutes of the match

All change Barnet went behind after just two minutes of the match

‘I was also impressed
by the talent walking around and I was wondering how they were
under-achieving.

‘I am doing my coaching badges in the
Netherlands so from that perspective it is a great opportunity to start
an adventure. I can learn from Mark how things are done because he has
the Premier League under his belt. I don’t know all the answers to the
football questions.

‘We will have some fights but the
bottom line is to fight to get results. You don’t grow if you comply
together all the time. I believe strongly in putting cards on the table
and having your own opinion. One goal in mind is to get results with
Barnet and developing players.’

The only way is up: Argyle hammered four past hapless Barnet at Underhill

The only way is up: Argyle hammered four past hapless Barnet at Underhill

The future's bright, the future's orange! Davids hopes to start a career in management

The future's bright, the future's orange! Davids hopes to start a career in management

The future's bright, the future's orange! Davids hopes to start a career in management

League Two review: Port Vale make the most of Gillingham slip

League Two review: Port Vale make the most of Gillingham slip

By
Sportsmail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

17:54 GMT, 6 October 2012

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 6 October 2012

Port Vale cut Gillingham's npower League Two lead by two points as they recorded an away victory over fourth-placed Exeter.

Gills, five points clear at the start of play, could do no better than a goalless draw at Oxford, while Vale managed a 2-0 win.

Oxford United's Alfie Potter (right) and Gillingham's Adam Barrett battle for the ball

Oxford United's Alfie Potter (right) and Gillingham's Adam Barrett battle for the ball

Tom Pope was their match-winner, notching in the 40th and 62nd minutes.

Fleetwood remained in third spot after salvaging a 2-2 draw at Cheltenham.

David Ball gave the visitors the lead after 32 minutes but Jeff Goulding and Sido Jombati scored in 10 second-half minutes to turn the score on its head. However, Junior Brown saved a point for Fleetwood in injury time before Alan Bennett was handed a late red card.

Rochdale leapt from ninth to fifth with a 3-2 win at Accrington, Jason Kennedy with the winner seven minutes from time.

George Donnelly scored in the first minute for Dale and Ashley Grimes added a second from the penalty spot but Piero Mingoia and Romuald Boco netted either side of half-time in reply.

Bottom side Barnet picked up just their third point of the season with a 2-2 draw at Southend.

Goals from Rickie Holmes (54) and Jake Hyde (65) had raised hopes of an even better result but a Freddy Eastwood penalty and a Kevan Hurst effort with six minutes left put paid to that.

Dagenham edged an entertaining clash with visiting Bradford 4-3.

Billy Bingham, Michael Spillane and Luke Wilkinson gave the home team a three-goal cushion before a Nakhi Wells brace gave the Bantams hope.

Dwight Gayle grabbed the Daggers' fourth before Alan Connell rounded out the scoring for Bradford.

Chesterfield were 1-0 victors over Aldershot, thanks to Chris Atkinson's goal in the 76th minute.

Northampton lost Anthony Charles to a 24th-minute red card and could not overcome the disadvantage as they went down 3-1 at Bristol Rovers.

Tom Eaves (53), Garry Kenneth (57) and Oliver Norburn (84) all took advantage to score, with Adebayo Akinfenwa on hand with a consolation.

AFC Wimbledon turned one point into three when Rashid Yussuff snatched a last-gasp winner in a 2-1 success over Plymouth.

Byron Harrison's 13th-minute strike looked to be enough for the visitors only for Argyle to hit back with just a minute to go via Rhys Griffiths, though Yussuff still had time to win it.

Wycombe defeated Torquay 2-1 after goals from Gary Doherty and Josh Scowen negated Rene Howe's effort.

York versus Rotherham and Morecambe against Burton Albion both finished goalless

.

West Ham play like Real Madrid and Barcelona – Neil Ashton

Allardyce's Hammers play just like Real Madrid and Barcelona… but not how you think

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UPDATED:

22:44 GMT, 2 October 2012

Take a look at these statistics and see whether you can spot a trend: Real Madrid 67. West Ham 65. Barcelona 59.

At first glance it is difficult to think of a single reason why Sam Allardyce's team could possibly be mentioned in the same sentence as two of the biggest clubs in world football.

Some would even say it is deeply offensive for Sam Allardyce's long-ball merchants to even be mentioned in the same breath as Jose Mourinho or Tito Vilanova's eye-catching teams.

Just like watching Barca: Allardyce's side were comfortable victors at Loftus Road

Just like watching Barca: Allardyce's side were comfortable victors at Loftus Road

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After watching West Ham's impressive and stylish victory over QPR at Loftus Road from the halfway line on Monday night, it is easier to make sense of the numbers.

The figures above for the three teams represent the average number of long balls that the teams have played in their respective leagues this season.

For the purposes of this analysis, produced by Opta and freely available on the excellent website whoscored.com, any attempted pass which is 25 yards or more constitutes a long ball.

They are surprising figures, particular for two Spanish teams who pride themselves on short, incisive passing to slice through the opposition.

The purists will claim that Gerard Pique can change gear at will, picking out Lionel Messi and sending a ball from one half to the other with his superior skills.

The reality is that even Barcelona and Real Madrid, in times of trouble, will resort to the outlets up front and send something long for Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi to chase down.

Perhaps this is the reason that Allardyce, in an interview in September 2010 that brought much mirth and derision in football, claimed he could manage Real Madrid.

At the time he claimed he would walk
away with league titles year in, year out if he was given the chance to
manage one of the world’s biggest football clubs.

Even last weekend, Allardyce’s protests
continued in an extensive interview with the Observer, when he argued
for ‘winning football’ as opposed to ‘pretty passing’.

Aerial route: With strikers as big as Carroll and Cole it's understandable why they favour the lofted route towards goal

Aerial route: With strikers as big as Carroll and Cole it's understandable why they favour the lofted route towards goal

Aerial route: With strikers as big as Carroll and Cole it's understandable why they could favour the direct towards goal

His case is helped by the number of long balls his rivals in the Barclays Premier League are playing.

Liverpool, who are supposed to be taking the short passing game to another level under Brendan Rodgers, average 66 long balls every match.

These are the average number of long balls played, on average, this season by the teams who finished in the top four:

Champions Manchester City (54), Manchester United (56), Arsenal (49), Tottenham (61).

As for the rest of the Premier League, there are some eye-catching statistics among the other sides.

Newcastle (78), Everton (69), Reading (67), Wigan (67), Chelsea (65) Fulham (64), West Bromwich (64), Aston Villa (62), Sunderland (62), Norwich (60), QPR (59), Stoke (59), Swansea (55) and Southampton (51).

Pity Rodgers, Alan Pardew, David Moyes,
Brian McDermott, Roberto Martinez and Roberto Di Matteo when people
become aware of the statistics.

With the exception of Arsenal,
Southampton and Swansea, it would be easy to argue that the rest of the
Premier League is made up of hit and hope teams.

Facing facts: Real and Barca play The beautiful Game - but aren't afraid of finding a long route out of trouble

Facing facts: Real and Barca play The Beautiful Game – but aren't afraid of finding a long route out of trouble

Facing facts: Real and Barca play The beautiful Game - but aren't afraid of finding a long route out of trouble

Clearly that is not the case, with teams refining their systems to suit the demands of skilful players and a demanding public.

No manager likes negative Press, particularly Allardyce. Although he has strengthened the team for the Premier League, he has refined the pattern and style for the Hammers’ return to the top flight.

At Loftus Road they looked like an established Premier League team, pouncing on the defensive deficiencies of a team who are afraid to play at home.

Rangers are seizing up at Loftus Road, a legacy of their 5-0 opening day defeat against Swansea and their failure to win in the Premier League this season.

Allardyce has a specific system in place designed to hunt down the opposition and take advantage of teams who want to play The Beautiful Game, but play it badly. At this moment, QPR fall into that category.

The idea that Allardyce takes training at Chadwell Heath each day with full-backs launching endless long balls towards Andy Carroll or Carlton Cole is a myth.

Culture club: West Ham's pressing style of play paid dividends at Loftus Road

Culture club: West Ham's pressing style of play paid dividends at Loftus Road

At the beginning of the week, his coaches Neil McDonald and Wally Downes take training and Allardyce has input from the sidelines.

They are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but they play small-sided, passing and pressing games to take time away from the players and put them under pressure.

As they build up towards matchday, Allardyce’s role becomes more prominent and he is heavily involved on the training pitches.

On Thursday and Friday, like most teams across the country, they practise set-pieces ahead of a Saturday fixture.

Even then, for a team tagged ‘long ball’, they have won only 50 per cent of their aerial duels this season.

Allardyce has always been prickly about the accusations that his teams know only one way to play, but he has adjusted to the demands of modern football.

At times they might kick it long, but on Monday night they joined the culture club.

London 2012 Paralympics: British tandem sprint duo smash world record

Hopes of British one-two alive after duo smash world record in tandem sprint

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UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 2 September 2012

Great Britain's Anthony Kappes and Craig MacLean bounced back from disappointment with a blistering world record in qualification for the men's tandem sprint at the London 2012 Paralympic Games velodrome.

Kappes and MacLean had mechanical trouble at the start and did not finish the one-kilometre time-trial on day three as Neil Fachie and Barney Storey won gold in a world record time.

On Sunday morning it was the turn of Kappes and MacLean to take their event to new margins, clocking 10.050 seconds over the flying 200metres to qualify fastest of the seven teams for the knockout phase.

Record: Anthony Kappes and Craig Maclean were in stunning form in the tandem sprint

Record: Anthony Kappes and Craig Maclean were in stunning form in the tandem sprint

Due to the number of teams in the event, Kappes and MacLean received a bye to the semi-finals, skipping the best-of-three quarter-finals.

Fachie and Storey, who held the world record entering the event of 10.282secs Fachie and Storey joined Kappes and MacLean in the last four with a comfortable 2-0 quarter-final win over Argentina's Alberto Nattkemper and Jonatan Ithurrart.

Kappes and MacLean were set to meet Tatsuyuki Oshiro and Yasufumi Ito in the semi-final after the Japan duo overcame Holland's Rinne Oost and Patrick Bos 2-1 in a titanic tussle.
Fachie and Storey were scheduled to face Spain's Jose Enrique Porto and Jose Antonio Villanueva, 2-0 victors over Greece's Christos Stefanakis and Konstantinos Troulinos, in the semi-final.

The top-two ranking meant an all-British final was possible.

Battle for bronze: Helen Scott and Aileen McGlynn will face fellow Britons Lora Turnham and Fiona Duncan

Battle for bronze: Helen Scott and Aileen McGlynn will face fellow Britons Lora Turnham and Fiona Duncan

In the women's blind and visually
impaired three-kilometres tandem pursuit, Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott
will meet fellow Britons Lora Turnham and Fiona Duncan in the race for
bronze.

McGlynn and her pilot Scott clocked three minutes 36.930 seconds in qualification, with Turnham and her pilot Duncan finishing in 3mins 37.085secs.

World champions Catherine Walsh and Francine Meehan of Ireland clocked 3:36.453 to advance to the race for gold in second place behind New Zealand's Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson, who set a world record of 3:31.530.

Ireland's Katie Dunlevy and Sandra Fitzgerald finished in 3:42.445, placing fifth.