11-12-2018 Hatem Ben Arfa has not lost his eye for a spectacular finish

Earlier this year Hatem Ben Arfa sarcastically ‘celebrated’ a year away from first-team action. Now he is a player rebornBy Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News“Joyeux anniversaire à moi,” read the caption as Hatem Ben Arfa posed, thumbs up and grinning. A small cake with a single candle sat in front of him, but celebrating he was not. The 31-year-old’s birthday had passed a month previously; instead his Instagram post back in April was born of sarcasm. “One year without a game calls for a party,” he joked. Exiled at PSG, a full year had passed since Ben Arfa had played – and scored twice – in a 4-0 win over Avranches in the Coupe de France. His career was seemingly petering out but, as this week has shown, the unpredictable Frenchman isn’t finished just yet.Football faded from view this weekend in France as bubbling civil unrest instigated by the gilets jaunes movement forced six of 10 Ligue 1 games to be postponed as the stretched police force were unable to guarantee safety at many grounds. Some, including managers of the teams left to continue as normal, questioned the decision to play at all. However, Rennes forward Ben Arfa – once of Newcastle United and Hull City – showed no sign of relinquishing his newfound verve. Continue reading...

11-12-2018 The Spin | 81 declared: a tale of torrential rain and two extraordinary Tests

In only two Test matches have both captains declared with a score below 150 and both involved England and plenty of rainIn only two Test matches have both captains declared with scores below 150 and in those games, by definition extraordinary, the higher of those totals was a mere 81. Both involved England and both had one other thing in common: rain, plenty of it, and pitches at best partially protected and massively affected.The two third-innings declarations remain the two lowest such totals in the history of Test cricket and they set the two lowest fourth-innings, post-declaration targets ever, though one was almost three times as big as the other. Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Everton 2-2 Watford: Lucas Digne's late free-kick rescues point for hosts

Lucas Digne's 96th-minute free-kick rescues a draw for Everton in a fiercely fought Premier League contest with Watford.

11-12-2018 Anyika Onuora: Olympic medallist on body image confidence issues as a young athlete

British Olympic medallist Anyika Onuora says she used to wear baggy clothes to hide her body because people "felt entitled to touch it".

11-12-2018 Mauricio Pochettino wary of Barcelona’s quality despite no Luis Suárez

• Marc-André ter Stegen and Luis Suárez missing for Barcelona• Kyle Walker-Peters to make Champions League debut for SpursMauricio Pochettino calls it his town and whenever his busy schedule permits, he invariably heads back there. The Tottenham manager first moved to Barcelona as a 22-year-old in 1994, when he joined Espanyol from Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina as a player, and it is the place where he feels centred and relaxed; full of energy.Pochettino still has a house in the north of the city, close to the mountains, and his setup is certainly appealing. He can go for a run along the stunning Carretera de las Aigues, as he has done since the Espanyol days – mixing fitness with contemplation – while the sea, weather and restaurants are obvious attractions. Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Boca Juniors v River Plate: the fiercest rivalry in football – video explainer

The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate will be played at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu stadium on 9 December. The derby, referred to as the Superclásico, is renowned for the animosity between the two Argentinian sides. The first leg ended in a 2-2 draw at La Bombonera, the home of Boca, but the second leg at El Monumental was postponed after the Boca team bus was attacked before the matchPostponed Copa Libertadores final to be played at Bernabéu in Madrid Continue reading...

11-12-2018 England's Ed Smith does not rule out Jofra Archer for World Cup

Joe Denly handed reprieve for West Indies Test seriesOllie Stone left out of ODI squad for Caribbean tripEd Smith declined to rule out the possibility of Jofra Archer entering England’s World Cup thoughts next summer despite the fast bowler’s impending eligibility coming too late for the Test and one-day tours to the Caribbean that start a bumper 2019.A recent decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board to cut national qualification by way of residency from seven years down to three has raised the possibility of the highly rated Sussex paceman making a late play for the World Cup, not least with a view to bolstering Eoin Morgan’s options during the “death” overs. Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Ada Hegerberg, a dog's goal-line clearance and vomit in Madras | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features a British boxing love-in, a jazzy hockey song for the World Cup and Kevin Keegan singing1) Let’s have a look at the first ever women’s Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg being really good at football, rather than concentrate on some whopper asking her to twerk. Here’s more on the Lyon and Norway star. Related: Ada Hegerberg: first women’s Ballon d’Or marred as winner is asked to twerk Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Klopp hails 'exceptional' Salah as Liverpool brush Bournemouth aside – video

Jürgen Klopp heaped praise on Mohamed Salah after the Egyptian's second hat-trick for Liverpool powered his team to victory over Bournemouth. The 4-0 win extended Liverpool's unbeaten streak to 17 league games, equalling the club's all-time record. Klopp insisted that all credit for Liverpool's 'massive' Premier League form should go to his players. Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Sunderland 'Til I Die: Netflix series charts pain, prayers and passion for the club – trailer

Netflix has released a trailer for Sunderland 'Til I Die, a new docu-series following the club's first season back in the Championship after the team crashed out of the Premier League in 2017.The fly-on-the-wall style series, following the 2017-18 season as the club suffered a second consecutive relegation, features interviews with the club’s manager, players and dedicated fans.All eight episodes of the Netflix series will be released globally on 14 December.Sunderland’s Jack Ross: ‘I’ll never regret accepting this job, whatever happens’ Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Snooker UK Championships: Watch the 10 best shots

Watch the 10 best shots from the 2018 UK Snooker Championship in York featuring Mark Williams, Stephen Maguire, Rory McLeod and eventual winner Ronnie O'Sullivan.

11-12-2018 The classic Test match Australia never deserved to win… and didn’t | Geoff Lemon

It was tight at Adelaide Oval but had Australia miraculously made 31 more runs, it would have been an injusticeThere can come a point in cricket matches when people start believing the impossible. When the ones in offices who don’t care about sport find themselves drawn into the spectacle. When their colleagues who were covertly following the game abandon all pretence.When the last couple of batsmen in a team need 150 runs to win, no one pays attention. But when that target dips under 100, then 90, then 80, bystanders get interested by pure osmosis. The arithmetic of the target ticking down is something the most casual observer can understand. Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Mourinho praises Manchester United's improved attitude with Pogba on bench again – video

José Mourinho praised his team’s effort after Manchester United thrashed Fulham 4-1 at Old Trafford. The result ended United’s run of four games without a win and Mourinho said the convincing nature of their victory should earn the ‘respect’ of fans.He confirmed that Paul Pogba, an unused substitute against Fulham, will return to the starting lineup against Valencia next week, adding that the game would be a chance for the France midfielder to ‘show everyone how good he is’.Marcus Rashford seals comfortable win for Manchester United over Fulham Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Champions League: Barcelona issues give Spurs cause for optimism

Tottenham face the daunting task of aiming to win in the Nou Camp on Tuesday, but Guillem Balague says Barcelona have problems Spurs can exploit.

11-12-2018 Brook v Khan may be latest fight that gets away in boxing’s numbers game | Kevin Mitchell

The two 32-year-olds are past their box-office peaks and Khan is being lined up to take on WBO title-holder Terence CrawfordThe immediate, logical reaction to Kell Brook grinding out a flat-footed points win over the Australian Michael Zerafa in Sheffield was that it would make his long-awaited showdown with Amir Khan much easier to put together.“If I was Amir Khan, I’d be straight on the phone,” Eddie Hearn said after an unimpressive 118-110, 119-109, 117-111 win that ensured Brook is the mandated challenger for Jarrett Hurd’s WBA light-middleweight title. “Kell knows that was below par. But, every time they fight, one becomes the favourite and one becomes the underdog. [Kell] knows he’s got to be a lot better than that, and he will be.” Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Advent calendar 2018: Williams wows crowd with 'fluke shot' and naked presser

Mark Williams wows The Crucible crowds with a stunning 'fluke' shot and by keeping to his promise of arriving to his press conference naked.

11-12-2018 Stuart Lancaster insists England return has never crossed his mind

• ‘I’ve never spoken to Nigel Melville,’ says Leinster coach• Lancaster’s contract in Ireland ends next yearStuart Lancaster has revealed he has not given any thought to the prospect of replacing Eddie Jones for a second spell as the England coach.Lancaster’s contract with Leinster runs out at the end of the season and, while he confirmed the province has opened talks over an extension, a place on Andy Farrell’s coaching ticket with Ireland has also been mooted. Continue reading...

11-12-2018 Why should someone like Raheem Sterling be seen as ‘fair game’? | Daniel Taylor

Stan Collymore argues that nothing will be done about abuse of Sterling because nothing ever is, but if there was more diversity in the newsrooms it might shape the thinking differentlyBefore going into football journalism full-time I spent a few years on the news beat for various tabloid newspapers. That may surprise a few people because, outside the industry, there seems to be a perception you are either one or the other: broadsheet or red-top, luvvie or rotter. But it doesn’t actually work like that. I worked for a freelance agency in the Midlands, covering for virtually all the national titles, and there was no room for journalistic snobbery for a young reporter with a provisional driving licence and 40-words-per-minute shorthand.But it was definitely an eye-opener. One story was of a car being stolen in Leicester while, unbeknown to the thief, a baby was strapped into the back seat. The car was still missing and the police had organised a press conference for her mother, who had not been identified, to make a public appeal. It was a big story and there were a lot of national newspaper journalists in attendance. But I can still remember the awkwardness when she came in and the vibe from several reporters – not just the tabloids – that there was an issue, news-wise. The woman in question wasn’t white. She was Indian and that was a problem, I was told, because the relevant newspapers might no longer think it was a photograph, or story, their readership wanted. Continue reading...