By Michael HannManchester United’s transfer flurry continued on Monday when they confirmed the captures of Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich and French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton.Schneiderlin signed on a four-year contract for a fee reported to be 25 million pounds while midfielder Schweinsteiger joined United on a three-year deal for a fee of around 14 million pounds.Schweinsteiger, 30, came through the youth ranks at Bayern and spent 13 seasons with the Bavarians, winning the Bundesliga title eight times.“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bayern Munich, it has been an incredible journey and I didn’t take the decision to leave lightly. Manchester United is the only club that I would have left Munich for,” the midfielder told United’s website.“I feel ready for this new and exciting challenge in what I regard as the most competitive league in the world and I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal again.”Schweinsteiger made 536 appearances for Bayern since his debut in 2002, also winning seven German Cups and the Champions League in 2013.The 25-year-old Schneiderlin was playing in the English third tier with Southampton five years ago but helped the club return to the Premier League and was in France’s 2014 World Cup squad.“I am delighted to be a Manchester United player. Once I learned that United were interested in signing me, it was a very easy decision to make,” Schneiderlin said.“The chance to be part of this squad to help this great club be successful was too good to miss.”United, who have also signed Italy right back Matteo Darmian and Dutch international forward Memphis Depay, travel to the United States for a pre-season tour on Monday.
By Toby DavisIT would have been crazy to doubt Jose Mourinho’s job security when the Premier League kicked off in August but, with ten games gone, his position at Chelsea is under intense scrutiny ahead of Saturday’s clash with Liverpool (2.45pm).Just five months after they romped to the title, Chelsea and their talent-packed squad are hovering above the relegation zone, having already lost five times.The spotlight is now firmly fixed on Mourinho whose erratic behaviour has gone hand-in-hand with his team’s spiralling fortunes.Sent to the stands in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at West Ham United, the Portuguese has spent much of the early campaign picking fights.The club’s former doctor, referees, the Football Association, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and even some of his own players have been caught in the crossfire of Mourinho’s angry outbursts.The Chelsea boss is, of course, no stranger to controversy but his frequent run-ins with the authorities have rarely, if ever, been accompanied by such consistently poor results on the pitch.Chelsea’s midweek League Cup defeat at Stoke City on penalties means they go into Saturday’s home game on the back of two consecutive defeats.Bookmakers now make Mourinho an even-money favourite to be the next Premier League supremo to get the sack.Fans are openly speculating that owner Roman Abramovich, a man who places notoriously high demands on his managers, could call time on Mourinho’s second spell at Stamford Bridge if Liverpool can inflict another defeat on the champions.Chelsea’s cause will not be helped if striker Diego Costa fails to recover from the rib injury that forced him off at Stoke but Liverpool are also suffering their own injury problems.Christian Benteke missed Wednesday’s 1-0 League Cup win over Bournemouth, leaving Liverpool with Belgian Divock Origi as their only fit first-team forward.New German coach Jurgen Klopp is also on the lookout for his first league win since joining the club three weeks ago.Premier League leaders Manchester City will expect to claim all three points when they host Norwich City (5pm) while Arsenal, who trail Manuel Pellegrini’s side on goal difference, face a tougher task when they visit Swansea City (5pm).Wenger also has to contend with a mounting injury list after Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were early casualties in Tuesday’s embarrassing 3-0 League Cup defeat at second-tier Sheffield Wednesday.Fourth-placed Manchester United, two points off the top, visit Crystal Palace (5pm).
By Larry FineWild card Juan Martin del Potro showed himself a force to be reckoned with at Flushing Meadows as the Argentine swept aside American Steve Johnson in three sets to reach the third round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.Del Potro, who won the 2009 U.S. Open in a thrilling five-setter over Roger Federer, has come through a long battle with a left wrist injury that has dropped him to 142 in the rankings.The power hitter now appears back to full strength coming off a rousing silver medal performance at the Rio Olympics.In Rio, del Potro beat world number one Novak Djokovic in the first round, 14-times major winner Rafa Nadal in the semi-finals and battled Andy Murray to four tough sets in the final.Del Potro, playing the final match of the day at Arthur Ashe Stadium, was competing on centre court in Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013.“It’s amazing, the stadium. It’s amazing the atmosphere out there,” del Potro said on court after his emphatic 7-6(5) 6-3 6-2 victory.“I’m so happy to be playing tennis again after my third surgery on the wrist and I think I did a really good job to come back at tennis.”The big Argentine belted 15 aces past 19th seed Johnson and yielded only one break of serve in the two hour, nine-minute match.“I’m trying to play as I did in 2009 but it’s not easy, I’m getting older,” said de Potro, 27. “But I’m so happy to be here.”Twice grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka rallied from 5-2 down in the second set to clinch victory over Italian Alessandro Giannessi on Thursday and reach the third round of the U.S. Open.After dominating the opening set, the third-seeded Swiss battled back to force a tiebreak and then broke the Italian in the final game of the match to finish a 6-1 7-6(4) 7-5 victory.“I was trying to be a little more aggressive,” said Wawrinka, who blasted 57 winners, including 26 off his forehand, in the Louis Armstrong Stadium contest.“I’m very happy the way I won the match.”Wawrinka will next face 64th-ranked Daniel Evans of Britain, a 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-2 winner against Germany’s 27th seed Alexander Zverev.Results from the U.S. Open Men’s Singles Round 2 matches on Thursday Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina) beat 19-Steve Johnson (U.S.) 7-6(5) 6-3 6-26-Kei Nishikori (Japan) beat Karen Khachanov (Russia) 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-32-Andy Murray (Britain) beat Marcel Granollers (Spain) 6-4 6-1 6-4Nicolas Mahut (France) beat Paul-Henri Mathieu (France) 6-4 6-4 6-211-David Ferrer (Spain) beat Fabio Fognini (Italy) 6-0 4-6 5-7 6-1 6-4Daniel Evans (Britain) beat 27-Alexander Zverev (Germany) 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-221-Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) beat Donald Young (U.S.) 6-4 7-6(4) 6-4Paolo Lorenzi (Italy) beat 30-Gilles Simon (France) 3-6 6-2 6-2 6-7(1) 7-6(3)Illya Marchenko (Ukraine) beat Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 6-2 6-4 6-322-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) beat Jeremy Chardy (France) 4-6 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-23-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat Alessandro Giannessi (Italy) 6-1 7-6(4) 7-514-Nick Kyrgios (Australia) beat Horacio Zeballos (Argentina) 7-5 6-4 6-4Jared Donaldson (U.S.) beat Viktor Troicki (Serbia) 7-5 6-3 6-3Joao Sousa (Portugal) beat 16-Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 6-2 6-4 1-6 7-5Pablo Carreno (Spain) beat Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia) 3-6 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-48-Dominic Thiem (Austria) beat Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania) 6-4 6-3 6-2
However, they were happy to have another opportunity for the medals this Saturday in the third and fourth playoffs.USA coach Michelle French commended Korea DPR for making it through to the finals saying it is a huge success for the Korea DPR team and for their country for making it through to the finals.“I thought for the first 90 minutes we did well enough to be in the game but it’s just extremely disappointing right now for our players who have used excessive amount of energy and every piece of their heart to get us back in the game,” French said.“We started the match in defense, but found ourselves pushed and putting our body on the line to do everything we can to save the game in the final minutes in an attempt to gain an equaliser.“We are obviously disappointed but we left everything out there on the field. We continued to put fight like we did in the last games against Ghana and Mexico but unfortunately we lost the fight tonight (Tuesday night).”Coach French describes the tournament as an awesome challenge that each game showed them something different with what they had to handle through their games.We kept showing that fight in each game but we have nothing to lose after displaying a stunning football after tonight.“There is a disappointing feeling now that we stand here empty-handed, but now we need to look ahead for the opportunity for the medal,” French concluded. USA will now take on Japan to fight for the third spot on Saturday in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016.
Vice Minister for Sports, Wesley Raminai said gold medallists will receive K100, 000, silver medallists with K50 000 and bronze medal winners K25, 000.“The O’Neill/Abel government recognizes the importance that sports plays in nation building.”He finished by thanking corporate sponsors who despite economic times continue to support sports through their community programs.“We really do not want to put anybody under any pressure, but we would also like to remind every member of Team PNG that our country is very passionate about sports as you all know.“Therefore, the 7 million people of this country will be expecting nothing but the best.
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic has been bumped up to second seed for next week’s Wimbledon championship despite slipping to fourth in the ATP world rankings while seven-times champion Roger Federer has also benefitted.The seedings, released by the All England Club on Wednesday, have defending champion Andy Murray number one in the men’s singles with Germany’s Angelique Kerber the women’s top seed.Wimbledon differs from the other grand slams, in the men’s singles at least, with previous form on grass in the previous two years coming into play to re-order the top 32 in the world rankings – a system agreed by the ATP.Spaniard Rafa Nadal, who won a 10th French Open last month, is second in the ATP rankings but will be seeded fourth at Wimbledon after a mediocre record there in recent years.Despite winning the title twice, the 31-year-old has not been past the fourth round since 2011.Favourite Federer, fifth in the ATP rankings, is seeded third which means he will avoid one of his biggest rivals for the title until the semi-finals.Fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka, runner-up at the French, drops to fifth seed, from his world ranking of three.Other beneficiaries of the system include Luxembourg’s grass court expert Gilles Muller who is seeded 16th compared to an ATP ranking of 26. Muller won the recent Den Bosch tournament and reached the semi-final at Queen’s Club last week.Queen’s Club champion Feliciano Lopez, ranked 25, is seeded 19th.The women’s seeds stick strictly with the current WTA rankings. Romania’s Simon Halep, who could take over the top spot this week if she wins the Eastbourne title, is seeded two
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is off and running and his English trophy collection could go on to compare with his hauls at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the club’s midfielder Kevin de Bruyne said after they won the League Cup on Sunday.The Spaniard’s first season at the City helm was a false start as he ended up without any silverware for the first time in a managerial career which included 11 major trophies with Barcelona and seven at Bayern.Sunday’s 3-0 crushing victory at Wembley over a dismal Arsenal side will almost certainly be followed by the Premier League title in coming weeks, while City are also virtually assured of a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.City’s display against Arsenal proved that their shock FA Cup defeat by third-tier Wigan Athletic on Monday was a blip.“We have had a good season already, and now we need to keep going,” Belgian De Bruyne said.“We have this one in the bag and now we have to maintain the same focus in the Premier League and the Champions League.“The potential for this club is amazing, and the way we play is probably one of the best in the world.”PERFECT RESPONSERight back Kyle Walker, whose 50 million pounds ($69.88 million) signing from Tottenham Hotspur in the close season showed City’s financial muscle, claimed his first silverware having featured on the losing side in a final for Tottenham.“We didn’t have the best of seasons last year, so it was important for us to get this trophy under our belts,” he said.City did not even have to be at their best on Sunday.Sergio Aguero’s goal, his fifth in five consecutive games against Arsenal, divided the sides at the end of a scrappy first half, before City stepped on the gas and pulled away with skipper Vincent Kompany and David Silva both on target.It was the perfect response to the FA Cup fifth round defeat by Wigan which ended talk of quardruples.“It was so important to win this one, because we played 10 v 11 for 45 minutes (against Wigan) so it wasn’t easy,” Guardiola said. “Now we concentrate on the Premier League. We will try to win the rest of our games, and the Champions League, too.”City can restore a 16-point lead at the top of the domestic standings if they beat Arsenal at The Emirates next week.“Now we have to focus on the next game away at Arsenal on Thursday and to think about the Premier League,” Aguero said.
Mohamed Salah continued his remarkable scoring run as Liverpool beat Newcastle to go second in the Premier League, two points above Manchester United, who they visit next Saturday.United, however, have the chance to restore the status quo by winning at Crystal Palace on Monday.When Egyptian international Salah gave Liverpool the lead after 40 minutes it was his 32nd goal of the season in all competitions for Liverpool and the seventh game in succession that he had found the net.Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius had to make a fine save from Mohamed Diame, but Sadio Mane finished off a fine move early in the second half for the second goal of a one-sided game.
Mark Hughes’ vast Premier League experience and connection with Southampton makes him the perfect choice to rescue the team from the threat of relegation, former club captain Matthew Le Tissier said.Southampton appointed Hughes on Wednesday as a replacement for Argentine Mauricio Pellegrino, who was sacked as manager earlier this week with the south-coast club fourth from bottom in the standings, a point and a place above the drop zone.“The situation we are in is not a great one and we don’t need a manager coming in who doesn’t know the players, doesn’t know the league. So Mark would seem to be with the club’s way of thinking,” Le Tissier, who scored 209 goals for Southampton during his 16 years at the club, told Sky Sports.Hughes, who spent two seasons at Southampton late in his playing career, was sacked by relegation-threatened Stoke City in January after an FA Cup third round defeat by League Two (fourth tier) Coventry City.The former striker had previously guided the Potters to three successive top-10 finishes from the 2013-04 campaign.“He obviously did not have a great season at Stoke this year but as far as I can remember I think it was the first time he had a team really struggling against relegation,” Le Tissier added of the former Manchester City and Blackburn manager.“He’s managed some big teams. He has a wealth of experience of the game… but I’ll keep my fingers crossed he can keep us up this season first and foremost, then get us to kick on again next season.”
England’s 2018 World Cup dream ended with defeat in the semi-finals against Croatia, and thoughts now turn towards what is next for Gareth Southgate’s young squad.Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the future issues for the Three Lions to tackle when they return from Russia.On the pitchEngland will have one official match left at the 2018 World Cup, the third-place play-off against Belgium in St Petersburg on Saturday. Following some time for reflection, the Three Lions will return to action for the start of the new UEFA Nations League campaign against Spain at Wembley on September 8 and then a friendly with Switzerland in Leicester three days later. England will not have long to wait for a rematch against Croatia, with an away fixture set for October 12 before travelling to Spain. A home friendly against the United States on November 15 will be swiftly followed by the visit of Croatia to Wembley for the last of the round-robin Nations League group fixtures.Room for improvementFor the best part of an hour, England looked in total control against Croatia, before the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic started to master the midfield. Given the calibre of the European club sides they play for, that should have come as no surprise to Southgate, the coaching staff or indeed the England players. However, there seemed to be no clear adjustment in approach, when perhaps a reshuffle was needed to weather the storm – something which will come with experience both on the field and in the dugout.Young Lions still to roarAt an average of just over 26, England headed to the World Cup with one of the youngest squads. Southgate felt his players had “come of age” in Russia – but there are a few who are probably not going to be involved again should England make it Qatar 2022, such as wing-back Ashley Young who turned 33 ahead of the semi-final. Several players, though, will be aiming to make their senior breakthrough for the next cycle – including the likes of Manchester City’s 18-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, a star of the successful 2017 Under-17 World Cup squad, where he was named player of the tournament in India, and Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster, who scored successive hat-tricks on the way to the final win over Spain. Fellow Reds striker Dominic Solanke, 20, is expected to gain more senior caps after making his debut against Brazil at Wembley in November 2017. He was part of the side which won the Under-20 World Cup last summer.It’s coming home (no, it really is this time!)England’s next major tournament – should they qualify – will be Euro 2020. The finals will be played across 12 countries to mark the 60th anniversary of the tournament. Wembley is set to host seven games, including a last-16 fixture, both semi-finals and the final. Maybe, just maybe, football will come in 2020.