Connect with us

Sports

Liverpool self-implode as points record dreams disappear

Published

on

There will be no 100-point gloss for the champions. Arsenal produced a stirring display of deep rearguard defence, leavened by two moments of slapstick from the Liverpool backline. It was enough to inflict a third league defeat on Jürgen Klopp’s team, and to provide a most unexpected twist after another piece of defensive frailty had left the red and white shirts a goal down after 20 minutes, and looking once again like a porous unit.

All three first-half goals in this 2-1 Arsenal victory had come from defensive errors triggered by energetic, well-drilled forward pressing. The fact that the two most decisive came from Virgil van Dijk and Alisson was both a surprise and a tribute to the sustained defensive concentration of Mikel Arteta’s team, who will take great heart from this show of resilience.

By the end Liverpool had taken 24 shots at goal to Arsenal’s three and spent the second half playing a violently compressed game of all-out attack against desperate but dogged defence.

But Klopp will still be troubled by this defeat. The season may be almost done, a queer zombified thing going through the midsummer motions and Liverpool may have flattened the rest of the field.

But sport never rests, and right now Klopp’s side have lost six and won five of their past 13 games in all competitions, keeping only three clean sheets in the process. The final, final whistle can’t come quickly enough.

Arteta made five changes here, including three to the defensive heart of the team, although as ever with this Arsenal incarnation, the word ‘defensive’ came with a string of shrill advisories as the teams kicked off. Klopp played his best available XI, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain given the most delicate of returns in this empty north London megabowl.

It was a muggy, slow, slightly frantic start from both teams. There is something particularly draining about the larger grounds right now. The Emirates is a vast, swooping cantilevered thing, host in these lockdown days to a glut of empty air. Early on Arsenal struggled to find any rhythm through midfield, pressed by that hungry black-shirted double line.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Wazito fc Boss to pay sacked players over Sh6 million

Published

on

By

The Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber has ordered Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) side Wazito FC to pay five players it sacked over six million shillings cumulative within 45 days.

Ugandan midfielder Mansoor Safi Agu, DR Congo international Piscas Muhindo, Ghanaian Paul Acquah, Liberian Augustine Otu and Togolese defender Issofou Bourhana, through their lawyer Felix Majani, stated the club to the world football governing body seeking compensation for unfair dismissal. Of the five, only Mansoor Safi was dismissed by the club at the beginning of the year while the rest were victims of the recent massive restructuring in the team.

Their cases were presented directly to the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber in mid-August and the department has now expedited the matter.

In a previous interview, Wazito CEO Dennis Gicheru admitted he had received demand letters for compensation from some of the sacked players and their representatives as well communication on the same issue from Fifa. He, however, unapologetically said he was not keen on responding to the demand letters.

If Wazito fails to pay the monies within 45 days, the club will face a transfer ban over three windows. The ban will only be lifted after the amounts are paid in full.

The ruling by Fifa could set precedence as far as the speed at which cases regarding the termination of contracts, unfair dismissal of players and the ramifications of the same in the top league in Kenya are concerned.

Earlier this year, the worldwide representative organization of professional footballers, FIFPRO publicly expressed dissatisfaction with how the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was handling such cases, with a lot of such claims remaining unsettled since 2017.

Continue Reading

Sports

Harambee Stars exclude four top-tier players

Published

on

By

Harambee Stars will miss the services of the  influential quartet of Victor Wanyama, Arnold Origi, Ayub Timbe and Michael Olunga when they face Zambia in the Africa Cup of Nations build-up match against Zambia on Friday.

The four were omitted yesterday when Football Kenya Federation released a final squad for the match set to be staged at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani behind closed doors. “The four will not be available for the match,” said FKF’S communications chief Ken Okaka.

The experienced players were part of the 34-man provisional squad released last week by coach Francis Kimanzi who will use the match to gauge his readiness for the November qualifier double against Comoros.

Origi, who plies his trade with Finland side HIFK Fotboll, was supposed to make his comeback to the team after five years in the cold. In the absence of the revered custodian, Kimanzi will pick the starter from the Zambian based Ian Otieno and national U-23  and Ulinzi Stars  goalkeeper Timothy Odhiambo.

With Wanyama unavailable, all eyes will be on Kimanzi’s choice for the captaincy. Prior to his lengthy hiatus from the team, the former Maritzburg centre back Brian Mandela who made it to the team despite being unattached served as Wanyama’s deputy alongside Musa Mohammed.

Former Gor Mahia defender Joash Onyango skippered the team during last year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge in Uganda. Having established himself as Stars preferred centre forward, the unavailability of the red-hot Olunga will leave Kimanzi with no options other than to try a new formation upfront.

Algerian-based Masud Juma is likely to fill in Olunga shoes with reigning Cecafa top scorer Oscar Wamalwa, AFC Leopards striker Elvis Rupia and Zambia-based Timothy Otieno offering options.

Meanwhile Kimanzi recalled Bandari’s wing-wizard Abdallah Hassan to replace Timbe Hassan  was part of the Stars team which scooped bronze in the past Cecafa championship.

Yesterday, eleven local-based players reported to camp and were screened for Covid-19  in line with the protocols sanctioned by the Ministry  of Sports. Foreign-based players were expected to start checking into camp  last night.

Continue Reading

Sports

Why did Kipchoge loose the London Marathon

Published

on

By

When race commentator Steve Cram announced “this is not normal” midway through Sunday’s London Marathon it was something of an understatement as Eliud Kipchoge, the most dominant performer the distance has ever seen, was finally looking mortal.

An hour later, Kipchoge trailed home eighth in a time six minutes slower than his own world record and over a minute adrift of Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, who won the race after a spectacular sprint finish in two hours, 05.41 minutes.

The Kenyan had finally cracked just under three miles from the end, later saying he was suffering from a blocked ear that affected his breathing and cramp in his hip, but refusing to blame the cold, wet conditions for his poor run.

It was no surprise that he looked slightly bemused as he tried to articulate what had happened, having never previously experienced what almost every other marathon runner at every level has a bad day at the office.

His record over the distance almost defies belief. He posted in his Twitter account that one of his ears blocked, and it could not open anymore.

The Ineos Challenge record holder has however promised to fight for the title another day.

“But this is how the sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time. Thanks for the support,” Kipchoge said. He added “If you want to enjoy sport then you have to accept the results. I congratulate the top finishers, and that is how to enjoy the sport.”

He has appreciated Kenyans and his fans for the tremendous support, saying that he is taking the defeat in a positive way.

The race was won by Ethiopian Shura Kitata in a thrilling sprint finish to claim an unexpected victory ahead of Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba.

Continue Reading

Trending