22-02-2019 ‘I’ve had to hold back animal Harry Kane’s Spurs return,’ says Pochettino

• Tottenham striker back in training after ankle injury• ‘I don’t care if he feels ready or wants to play or not’Mauricio Pochettino has praised the “animal” qualities that have enabled Harry Kane to fight back from an ankle injury to the point where he could return to action at Burnley on Saturday. The striker has missed seven Tottenham matches since damaging the ankle in the defeat by Manchester United on 13 January.“Everyone knows that Harry is an animal – he wants to be ready as soon as possible,” Pochettino said. “He did everything to try to recover and of course the injury that he suffered is tough to recover from. We’re so happy that in the last 10 days he was fantastic, back in training again, and he can be available again. It’s going to be a massive impact for everyone [when he returns]. Continue reading...

22-02-2019 Christian Atsu: ‘Sometimes what’s happened to me seems like a miracle’

Newcastle winger remains close to his roots in Ghana and takes inspiration from ‘father figure’ Rafael BenítezIt is a very long way from Ghana’s Ada Foah to Hillsong church on Newcastle’s Westgate Road – and not merely in miles. Christian Atsu has made that transformative journey, swapping an existence as one of 10 children whose late father eked out a living fishing and farming on the junction of the Volta River and the Atlantic Ocean, for a new life on Tyneside.Almost everything has altered but one constant remains: the Newcastle winger’s Christian faith. Church was a central part of Atsu’s childhood and worship at Hillsong, a short walk from St James’ Park, binds the Ghana international to his new habitat. Continue reading...

22-02-2019 Callum Hudson-Odoi seals comfortable win for Chelsea over Malmö

Maurizio Sarri limps on, his tenure surely extended to a Wembley cup final on Sunday and that daunting collision with Manchester City at the very least. Chelsea may have left it late to impose themselves properly on Malmö and smooth passage into the last 16 of the Europa League but, at present, any kind of victory is to be celebrated by head coach and club alike. Related: Chelsea win against Malmö gives Maurizio Sarri some breathing space | Ed Aarons Continue reading...

22-02-2019 The Fiver | Staring us in the face, in plain sight, giving us the big do-you-want-some

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Yesterday evening, Barcelona took 25 shots against Lyon but none of them went in, so they drew for the fourth time in five matches. At Anfield, Naby Keïta had a pass completion rate of 74%. But apart from those two examples of things that are brimful of pretty attacking promise but aren’t quite clicking at the moment, there was very little to talk about in Big Cup. The needle on the Fiver’s patented Entertainmentometer™© got stuck halfway between Mildly Diverting But Only Because There’s Nothing On Any Of The Other Channels and Intriguing But Only Because You’re Trying Way Too Hard. Bah. As a banner displayed in the Bayern end and applauded by the Liverpool fans noted, you had to pay £48 for a ticket to watch this stuff. One day a real rain will come. Continue reading...

22-02-2019 Is Tottenham's run of 30 league games without a draw a record? | The Knowledge

Plus: Old Trafford’s mysterious semi-final snub, back-to-back penalty misses and unused subs. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Tottenham have currently played 30 consecutive Premier League games without drawing one,” notes Wouter van Dael. “What is the longest ever such league run?”The short answer is that Spurs are Premier League record-breakers, Wouter, but only just. “Bolton previously held this title with a run of 28 games between March and December 2011,” writes James Clarke. “But in the wider context of English league history, Spurs have a long way to go yet. Twenty-nine clubs have had longer streaks without a draw at some point – and seven have gone more than 40 consecutive league games without a stalemate: Birmingham (43 games), Walsall (44), Leicester (44), Bradford Park Avenue (44), Stoke (46), Sunderland (46) and Aston Villa (51). Although it is probably worth noting that Sunderland’s is the most recent of these, coming comparatively recently in 1908-09. The slightly interesting quirk here is that five of these seven draw-less clubs are midlands teams.Season 2017-1830 Apr Spurs 2-0 Watford5 May West Brom 1-0 Spurs9 May Spurs 1-0 Newcastle13 May Spurs 5-4 Leicester Continue reading...

22-02-2019 Widnes cancel Sheffield game as administration threat looms

• Championship fixture with Sheffield postponed• Wakefield back on track with triumph over CatalansThe threat of administration at Widnes appears an increasing possibility following the postponement of Sunday’s Championship home match against Sheffield.Widnes, the world champions in 1989, announced on Monday they were facing significant cash-flow problems after a consortium decided against a takeover of the club, who were relegated from Super League last season following a seven-year stay. Continue reading...

22-02-2019 Breakdancing at the Olympics: 'I want to be like Usain Bolt - in breaking'

B-Girl Terra says she would like to win Olympic gold in breakdancing, after organisers announce the sport has been proposed for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Games.

22-02-2019 Dubai Championships: Simona Halep loses to Belinda Bencic

Former world number one Simona Halep loses to Belinda Bencic in the Dubai Championships quarter-finals.

22-02-2019 David Squires on … Chelsea's humiliation at Manchester City

Our resident cartoonist on Maurizio Sarri’s dismay, Mike Dean and a man trying to wear trousers as a jumperTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

22-02-2019 Shkodran Mustafi header helps Arsenal to progress at expense of Bate Borisov

One of the reasons for hiring Unai Emery was his record as a Europa League specialist. The man from the Basque country has won this competition three times in succession with Sevilla, and given Arsenal find themselves in this company at the moment (however desperate they are to get out of it) there is a certain logic in choosing a coach who knows how to get over this particular line.So, having gone the distance before on a few occasions, are his current team strong enough to emulate that in the Europa League? Emery paused for a moment before forming his answer. “We can,” he mused, not entirely convincingly. “In the last 16, one is Arsenal, but it’s very difficult. A lot of teams want the same. We need to feel this competition with our supporters. This feeling can give us more possibilities. We need to feel stronger in this competition with everybody and create this atmosphere around us.” Continue reading...

22-02-2019 Anthony Joshua: Jarrell Miller shoves Joshua in fiery press conference

Anthony Joshua's first press conference with Jarrell 'Big Baby' Miller gets off to fiery start after the American shoves the Briton ahead of their fight on 1 June in New York.

22-02-2019 Eddie Jones: I won’t try to talk Manu Tuilagi out of leaving for France

• Tuilagi linked to Racing 92 in £800,000-a-year deal• England coach says it’s ‘not his job’ to change player’s mindManu Tuilagi will bring a premature end to his England career with Eddie Jones’s blessing if he makes a lucrative move to Racing 92. Tuilagi was spotted at the Paris club last week and has been heavily linked with a three‑year deal at Racing worth upwards of £800,000 a year.Tuilagi would be turning his back on England, however, having made his first international start in five years against Ireland this month, as well as Leicester, who have nursed him through a litany of injuries in recent years at no little expense considering his £450,000-a-year wage. Continue reading...

22-02-2019 In an age of endless cricket Sri Lanka just gave us a special moment | Andy Bull

Kusal Perera’s and Oshada Fernando’s last-wicket stand of 78 to beat South Africa last weekend was one of the finest spectacles the game has produced in recent yearsLast Saturday in Christchurch, Martin Guptill thrashed a century for New Zealand in a one-day game against Bangladesh; in Dubai, Shahid Afridi finished off Multan Sultans’ Twenty20 match against Islamabad United with back-to-back sixes; and in Chittagong a young kid called Jamie Smith made a run-a-ball hundred for England Under-19s in a Test against Bangladesh. Cricket’s always on, somewhere or other, one format or another, bat hitting ball like the background tick-tock of a wall clock, something you only really notice when you look at it, catch a fraction of the match in a gif, a clip, a stream, or tweet, or a glance at a scorecard.Amid all the rest of it, South Africa and Sri Lanka were playing in the first Test at Kingsmead in Durban. The match had meandered into a fourth day and it looked as if it was only going one way. South Africa v Sri Lanka isn’t necessarily a series you stop to watch. They have been playing each other for only 26 years and, in South Africa, the contests have been off-puttingly one-sided. Sri Lanka had played 13 Tests there before this series and won only one of them, in 2011, when Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samararweera made all the runs and Rangana Herath took most of the wickets. Continue reading...