About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Zabaleta apologises to West Ham fans after Carabao Cup exitby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham United fullback Pablo Zabaleta has apologised to fans after their embarrassing Carabao Cup exit at Oxford United.Zabaleta admitted West Ham were well below-par during their 4-0 defeat at Oxford and said sorry to the travelling supporters.Stand-in captain Zabaleta told the official club website: “If you look at the performance, it’s not been anywhere near our standard and also in the way we lost was not good.”We are not the first Premier League team to be knocked out of the Carabao Cup. We saw Spurs (at Colchester) and we saw some other Premier League teams struggling to win games like that.”Obviously we just need to move on now and look at the mistakes we have made and think about Saturday (away to Bournemouth).”We return to the Premier League again and we don’t have too much time to recover. It’s only another 48 hours and we have another game and mentally we need to be strong for Saturday.”We feel sorry about the performance and sorry to the away fans who came to the game because obviously we don’t want our fans to see this kind of performance. It was just a bad night.”
The Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center hosted a match between the Buckeyes and Oklahoma on March 6. OSU lost, 4-3. The loss broke a 200-match home winning streak for OSU. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerThere’s Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game and Byron Nelson’s 11-straight PGA Tour victories. Then there’s the Ohio State men’s tennis team’s 200 home victories in a row.While none of those records are likely to be broken, the first two will go down in history with much more fanfare than the third. But it could be argued that the Buckeyes’ streak, which ended Friday with a 4-3 loss to Oklahoma, is the most impressive of the bunch.In his prime, Chamberlain was the single most dominant player in basketball history. The same could be said for Nelson when it comes to golf, but neither of them would have been likely to post the same numbers against modern competition.Beyond that, Chamberlain’s ridiculous record required just 48 minutes of pure domination. Still impressive? Of course, but stack that up against Nelson.Eleven straight victories on the PGA Tour means you’ve sustained quality play for months on end, not for one measly outing. But even still, Nelson came in second seven times during the 1945 season and missed out on the top two five times.That’s getting nitpicky of course, but nitpicking is necessary when stacking a record up against that of the OSU men’s tennis program, which won every single match in Columbus for nearly 12 years.That’s right, 12 years.Not only did the Buckeyes sustain dominance for more than a decade, but they did it with three full rotations of recruiting classes.By the time the streak ended, the names that started it were ancient history.The main constant has been coach Ty Tucker, who was on hand from the beginning of the streak right up until the end, and beyond.To sustain a record for that long, to dominate in a fashion neither Chamberlain or Nelson or any other great athlete could have, is significant. And that could be felt by anyone in attendance at the Varsity Tennis Center on Friday when redshirt-senior Kevin Metka fought through match points and cramps before falling just short against Oklahoma sophomore Florin Bragusi.From the moment the doubles competition started, right around 8:30 p.m., there was tension throughout the crowd.There are two sets of stands at OSU’s indoor arena: One main permanent area with bleachers, and then a few folding chairs and another set of bleachers set up on the opposite end of courts 1-4. I sat front and center in my OSU-logoed folding chair right up until Metka’s match — being played on court 6 on the other side of the main stands — was the only one still going.I spent most of my time trying to keep track of scores and — if I’m being honest — trying to figure out exactly how the scoring worked. The tension in the crowd around me rose and fell with every point scored by either team, as spectators cheered, clapped or craned their necks trying to see the scoreboard behind them.OSU took two of the three doubles matches, earning the Buckeyes a point, before singles play began.Redshirt-sophomore Ralf Steinbach was the first Buckeye to finish his singles match, easily dispatching his opponent to put OSU ahead, 2-0.Then the Buckeyes picked up another win on court one, but their players on courts two, three and five all lost. But Metka and Bragusi were still playing, so the crowd — officially announced as an OSU indoor record of 713 — moved into the stands or stood courtside to watch Metka fight for the streak’s life.While he had chances to end it in the third set, Metka came up just short, about as close as he possibly could without winning. And with that loss, the streak was snapped. But the crowd exiting the building wasn’t angered. There was barely even disappointment.Metka and OSU had lost a match, moving their record to 12-4, and the streak ended at 200, but the crowd on hand simply seemed to have respect for what had been accomplished already.At the end of the day, Tucker said it best: “Everybody in the world knew that the streak would end at some point.”
There have been reports that Juventus, Real Madrid and Manchester United are looking to sign Sergej Milinkovic-Savic who said he is happy to remain at Lazio.Amid growing speculation over a potential transfer to Juventus, Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic says he would be happy to stay with the Biancocelesti but refused short of giving any assurances over his future.The Italian champions are just one of the numerous clubs in chase of the 23-year-old. He played every minute of Serbia’s World Cup group games before they crashed out.Having defeated Costa Rica in their Group E opener, Serbia suffered defeats to Switzerland and Brazil as they finished third and crashed out of the competition.Following the 2-0 loss to Brazil, the €120 million-rated playmaker told Mediaset via FourFourTwo:Fiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.“I need a little bit of rest now.“I’ll return to Rome and I would be happy if I stay at Lazio, as I’m content there and I have a contract.”Milinkovic-Savic netted 12 goals and made 35 appearances as Lazio finished fifth in Serie A in 2017-18. His emergence under head coach Simone Inzaghi attracted Europe’s top clubs.“I read something different in the papers every day, but I haven’t thought about it yet,” he added.“First, I’ll rest for a bit, then we’ll see.”
Former Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed his delight at his lack of game time in his final season as a player for the club.The ex-gunners captain retired from professional football at the end of the 2017-18 season and was glad to have only featured in a handful of games after revealing he struggled mentally.Mertesacker, part of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning squad, retired at the end of the 2017-18 season.The 33-year-old told the Victoria Derbyshire show he felt “great” ending his 15-year professional career.“Especially in my last year, I felt something and felt the pressure and it was very awkward sometimes,” he said, according to BBC.Merson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.“I was happy about not necessarily playing, just training was enough for me.”The former centre-half was speaking about his mental health at the launch of a project to help traumatised child refugees at a camp in Jordan through football.Mertesacker won 104 caps for his country made 221 appearances for Arsenal in seven seasons at the club.Mertesacker made his international debut for Germany in October 2004, aged 20, and featured at three World Cup finals between 2006 and 2014.However, he featured just 12 times last term and had since become the club’s new academy manager after calling time on his football career.
Liverpool have played a total of 841 minutes of Premier League football at Anfield since they last conceded a goal.Michail Antonio’s strike for the Hammers during a 4-1 Reds victory in February was the last time Jürgen Klopp’s men were breached at home in the top flight.That run has stretched to an impressive nine consecutive clean sheets, the most recent secured against Manchester City thanks to Riyad Mahrez that fired over.One defender has started every game in that streak: Virgil van Dijk shared his thoughts with LFC.TV.Virgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“It’s credit to everyone,” the No.4 told Premier League Productions. “Anfield is obviously a very difficult place to come for every team.“As defenders – and everyone in the team – we try to keep a clean sheet because we know if we do that we have a big chance to win the game.“We always get opportunities, we’ll always be dangerous in front of goal and we’ll always create chances. So we know if we keep a clean sheet we have a big chance to win.”
Everton has lost the last two matches the team played in the English Premier League and for the manager, consistency is the key for victoryEverton started its 2019 the same way it ended its 2018: with a 1-0 defeat.And for manager Marco Silva, the key to return to their winning ways is consistency.“If you look at the past performances and results, we haven’t been consistent,” he told the club’s official website.“This is the moment to be honest and look clearly at the game, to analyze the match, and pass the feedback to our boys”Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“I felt our team was too nervous in some moments in the match. We did not put our game out there,” he added.“We knew before the match what they [Leicester] came here to do.”“We know, because of how they respect us, how they will come here to play. They started the game with a 4-5-1, blocking the space and waiting for our mistake,” he explained.“We made a mistake and they scored in that moment, which made things more difficult for us and after that we didn’t create the good moments to change the result for us.”
Pep Guardiola was far from impressed with Manchester City’s inability to convert their chances against Tottenham Hotspur in their narrow 1-0 win.Riyad Mahrez’s early goal was the difference at Wembley Stadium as City missed clear-cut chances in both halves to increase their lead. And Guardiola bemoaned the poor finishing touches.He went on to reveal to Sky Sports: “We played today one of the most physical teams I’ve faced in my life because of Sissoko, Kane, Dier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, and Dembele. It’s incredible physicality and this pitch was so complicated. We missed some goals and we let them run.Report: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…“But we controlled quite good in terms of the difficulty to play on this pitch, especially in the first 15 to 20 minutes. In the second half, we should have the game over and that is the problem we have.“In the big events, especially in the Champions League, we need to be more clinical in this situation because sooner or later we are not going to win.”He then said in his post-match press conference: “I still feel we have a lot to improve.”
Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expecting a “great battle” as they face Tottenham at the Emirates on Sunday.Aubameyang, who scored the winner for Arsenal on Sunday in their 2-1 win at Bournemouth last weekend, says he’s fully aware of the threat that Spurs pose, but they are ready for the challenge.Tottenham have won their last three matches in the Premier League, while Arsenal is unbeaten in 11 top-flight matches. And the two teams are preparing to lock horns in what promises to be an exciting North London derby on Sunday.“The rivalry is too much, but we know they are playing well. We know that it will be a tough game but we have to be focused on what we are doing,” Aubameyang told Sky Sports.“We know that if we want to win we need to work a lot.Merson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.“Both teams are playing well in this moment so we feel the atmosphere and the excitement. Everybody is talking about this game. It is always special to play a derby.“As an Arsenal player, we hope that only Arsenal get into the Champions League but we know it is tough and maybe both teams will go. It will be a great battle.”