- Deadline day: Every Premier League transfer confirmed
- Cristiano Ronaldo still upbeat over Real Madrid’s title hunt
- East Grinstead storm to third consecutive national title
- Team Lotus aim for regular points finishes in 2011
- Harry Redknapp expects quiet end to deadline day at Spurs
- Novak Djokovic breaks Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal duopoly
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 03:44 PM PST
IN: Ryo Miyaichi (undisc.)
OUT: Kyle Bartley (loan); Henri Lansbury (loan); Vito Mannone (loan); Ryo Miyaichi (loan); Havard Nordtveit (undisc.); Aaron Ramsey (loan); Gilles Sunu (loan); Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (loan); Carlos Vela (loan); Wellington (loan)
IN: Darren Bent (£18m); Michael Bradley (loan); Jean Makoun (£6m); Kyle Walker (loan)
OUT: John Carew (loan); James Collins (undisc.); Curtis Davies (undisc.); Brad Guzan (loan); Jonathan Hogg (loan); Stephen Ireland (loan); Shane Lowry (loan); Isaiah Osbourne (loan); Steve Sidwell (undisc.); Andreas Weimann (loan)
IN: David Bentley (loan); Curtis Davies (undisc.); Obafemi Martins (loan)
OUT: Marcus Bent (loan); Michel (loan); Garry O’Connor (free)
IN: Mauro Formica (undisc.); Jermaine Jones (loan); Ruben Rochina (undisc.); Roque Santa Cruz (loan)
OUT: Nick Blackman (loan); Pascal Chimbonda (free); Gavin Gunning (loan); Alan Judge (loan); Amine Linganzi (loan); Alex Marrow (undisc.) El Hadji Diouf (loan)
IN: James Beattie (loan); Andy Reid (undisc.); Salaheddine Sbai (undisc.); Sergei Kornilenko (loan)
OUT: Dekel Keinan (undisc.)
IN: Daniel Sturridge (loan); David Wheater (undisc.)
OUT: Riga Mustapha (released)
IN: Fernando Torres (£50m); David Luiz (£21.4m)
OUT: Gael Kakuta (loan); Jacob Mellis (loan); Daniel Sturridge (loan); Patrick van Aanholt (loan); Nemanja Matic (singed)
IN: Apostolos Vellios (nominal)
OUT: Kieran Agard (loan); Joao Silva (loan); Steven Pienaar (£3m); Zac Thompson (loan); Yakubu (loan)
IN: Gael Kakuta (loan); Steve Sidwell (undisc.)
OUT: David Elm (undisc.); Rob Milsom (signed); Fredrik Stoor (signed)
IN: Andy Carroll (undisc.); Luis Suarez (£22.8m); Conor Thomas (loan)
OUT: Fernando Torres (signed); Stephen Darby (loan); Nathan Eccleston (loan); Charles Itandje (free); Paul Konchesky (loan); Victor Palsson (undisc.); Andras Simon (free); Ryan Babel (undisc.)
IN: Gai Assulin (free); Edin Dzeko (undisc.)
OUT: Emmanuel Adebayor (loan); Wayne Bridge (loan); David Gonzalez (loan); Abdisalam Ibrahim (loan); Ben Mee (loan); Roque Santa Cruz (loan); Javan Vidal (loan)
IN: Anders Lindegaard (undisc.)
OUT: Ben Amos (loan); James Chester (undisc); Danny Drinkwater (loan); Corry Evans (loan); Federico Macheda (loan); Cameron Stewart (undisc)
IN: Hatem Ben Arfa (undisc.); Stephen Ireland (loan)
OUT: Andy Carroll (undisc.); Tamas Kadar (loan); Wayne Routledge (loan); Xisco (loan)
IN: John Carew (loan); Jermaine Pennant (£1.725m)
OUT: Eidur Gudjohnsen (loan); Liam Lawrence (undisc.); Tuncay (undisc)
IN: Sulley Muntari (loan); Stephane Sessegnon (undisc.)
OUT: Darren Bent (£18m); Paulo Da Silva (undisc.); David Healy (free); Matthew Kilgallon (loan); George McCartney (loan); Liam Noble (loan); Andy Reid (undisc.)
IN: Bongani Khumalo (£1.5m); Steven Pienaar (£3m)
OUT: David Bentley (loan); Tommy Carroll (loan); Giovani dos Santos (loan); Harry Kane (loan); Robbie Keane (loan); Jon Obika (loan); Jamie O’Hara (loan); Andros Townsend (loan); Kyle Walker (loan)
West Bromwich Albion
IN: Carlos Vela (loan)
OUT: Leon Barnett (undisc.); Kayleden Brown (loan); Joe Mattock (loan); Ishmael Miller (loan); Reuben Reid (released); Romaine Sawyers (loan)
West Ham United
IN: Demba Ba (undisc.); Wayne Bridge (loan); Robbie Keane (loan); Gary O’Neil (undisc.)
OUT: Valon Behrami (undisc.); Frank Nouble (loan)
IN: Adrian Lopez (free)
OUT: Mauro Boselli (loan)
IN: Adriano Basso (free); Adam Hammill (undisc.); Jamie O’Hara (loan)
OUT: Jelle van Damme (£2.5m); John Dunleavy (loan); Greg Halford (loan); Matt Hill (released); Andy Keogh (loan)
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 02:58 PM PST
Cristiano Ronaldo remains confident Real Madrid can overturn a seven-point deficit and win the La Liga title despite their shock 1-0 reversal at Osasuna on Sunday.
José Mourinho’s men stumbled to their second league defeat of the season as table-toppers Barcelona opened up a sizeable lead at the summit of the Primera División table with a 3-0 win at Hércules on Saturday.
Barcelona still have to travel to the Bernabéu in April and while Ronaldo concedes the weekend’s results have dented their challenge, the 25-year-old winger insists Pep Guardiola’s side are not yet out of reach.
“I know wininng the league just got a lot more difficult, but it’s still possible,” Ronaldo said. “[The result against Osasuna] was very disappointing, but we must stay postive and continue battling.”
“We didn’t play well, but we tried our best and we fought hard. Osasuna played their game by advancing with deep balls forward and hoping the match would end. They shot once and scored. They were lucky.”
And Ronaldo was left unimpressed by the home crowd at the Reyno de Navarra ground. He added: “I was very, very disappointed with the atmosphere. Battlefields are not acceptable in football. It isn’t good that children see such a spectacle on television.
“They threw balls and lighters onto the pitch. I hope they get fined. What happens when they hit someone on the head like what happened to Iker the other day? It is unacceptable, especially to those who like football.”
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 08:04 AM PST
Billed as ‘the fastest show in town’ the National Indoor Hockey Finals proved to be just that as the showpiece event took over Wembley Arena this weekend.
Favourites East Grinstead stormed to their third consecutive indoor title in the men's competition in front of a crowd of almost 5,000 in London.
England and East Grinstead midfielder Barry Middleton hailed the creativity of the side as they grabbed the top prize. He said: "We have a strong squad and good bench but most importantly creativity which especially indoors is key".
The Gladiators faced Beeston in the men's final with David De Prez's hat-trick helping them to an 8-5 win over the Nottingham side, who overcame Reading in their semi-final.
East Grinstead took the lead in the first minute through De Prez but Tim Davenport restored parity just 60 seconds later with a powerful drag flick.
It was again De Prez who provided the finish to restore Grinstead's lead before Beeston hit straight back once again, this time through Adam Dixon in a frantic opening to the match.
England captain Barry Middleton was introduced and he was soon on hand to finish Darren Cheesman's fine work down the right wing and give Grinstead the lead for the third time.
The West Sussex side kicked on from here and increased their lead as skipper Scott Ashdown found De Prez who showed fantastic composure before slotting past the Pinner.
But Beeston continued their relentless battle as Dixon was eventually freed from a scramble in the area before finishing well. However, Middleton showed his international class to rebuild Grinstead's two-goal cushion with a neat turn.
Keeper George Pinner kept Beeston in touch after the break with stunning saves from Mats Gramsbusch who was a constant threat with his deft touches. Scot James McBlane then flicked home to put Beeston just a goal behind with 13 minutes to go. It was another Scot who cancelled out McBlane, Niall Stott firing home a thunderous effort.
Pinner again showed his talents to deny Gramsbusch before a clever short corner again kept Beeston in the hunt, with Adam Dixon returning the ball to Wood to sling home.
But East Grinstead had been watching closely and mirrored the move at the opposite end, this time Mark Pearn finishing on the base-line to all but seal the match with only a few minutes remaining.
Team coach Steve Musson opted to substitute keeper Pinner to give them an extra outfield player but the gamble immediately backfired as Stott broke through to claim his second and seal East Grinstead's title.
The England skipper paid tribute to the 3,000 East Grinstead fans that made the journey to the finals. He said: "A few of the players have been here their whole lives so that support has been fantastic for the side".
German under-21 starlet Mats Gramsbusch, meanwhile, expressed his delight at the opportunity to play for East Grinstead. He said; "It's an absolute honour to play with such a talented squad of players – it's been an amazing day".
The first semi-final saw East Grinstead book their place in the final with a resounding 8-3 win over Old Loughtonians, De Prez again the hotshot with four goals in the match.
Old Loughtonians captain Alastair Bray was left to ponder the absence of England player Harry Martin from their squad after the defeat. He said: "We missed Harry Martin which was unfortunate but equally they didn't have Ashley Jackson!"
The second semi-final provided the highest drama as Beeston edged out Reading on penalty strokes. A controversial Reading goal with just seconds to go levelled the match to take the tie to penalties.
Reading subbed keeper Nick Brothers to give them another outfield player but Brothers, who was off the pitch returned the ball to speed up play, and from his intervention Richard Mantell fired into the area for Ian Mackay to deflect in and send Wembley into raptures.
Simon Mantell and James McBlane were successful with their strokes before Richard Mantell and Richard Lane were both denied. Chris Gregg put his home before England international Jonty Clarke struck the bar as Reading crashed out.
Reading coach Ben Barnes bemoaned his side's rustiness afterwards. He said: "It's a very quiet dressing room in there; we are absolutely devastated we could get out of second gear. Our preparation was good but we have fluffed our lines a bit today".
Eyes will now turn to Poznan in Poland for the Indoor Hockey World Cup and this tournament will hold a number of the squad in good stead for the forthcoming event.
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 07:31 AM PST
Team Lotus have unveiled their 2011 Formula 1 car – and have laid down a set of ambitious targets for their second season in the sport.
The team believe they are capable of winning 30 to 40 points in the forthcoming season and are eyeing seventh or eighth place in the constructors' championship after finishing 10th in 2010.
The Norfolk-based team have reiterated that their 2010 car, the T127, was not an indication of their true capability but more of a makeshift chassis that would allow them to take to the grid just six months after having their entry to the sport approved.
"This year's car is a much more contemporary design," said technical director Mike Gascoyne. "The car really will be a midfield runner. It's a modern F1 car I'm very confident it is a big step up and it's the start of a process that takes Team Lotus back to the front of the grid."
The T128 features a radical new design compared with last year's car, with features comparable to those used by frontrunners in 2010.
The monocoque is more sculpted, particularly around the side pods and rear, while the design incorporates the airbox further behind the roll hoop, similar to that pioneered by Mercedes. The front wing has also been redesigned, while the nose is flattened and raised, a feature introduced by Red Bull Racing.
"There’s been almost no carry-over of parts for the 2011 car, whereas normally you'd have a substantial carry-over and the chance to optimise last year's parts," added Gascoyne.
"It looks substantially different from last year's car. It has a much more current feel about it. And it's the basis of our cars for the future."
The team have opted not to use KERS due to the weight and engineering required, claiming that the benefit it brings will not make enough of a difference for them to realise their ambitions.
Despite continuing with Renault engines for 2011, Team Lotus have switched to Red Bull-supplied gearboxes after suffering a spate of failures with Xtrac in 2010.
"There has been so much focus off-track that it’s a thrill to be able to get back to talking about racing," said team owner Tony Fernandes.
"The launch of the T128 is a big step forward for Team Lotus, and I want to thank the whole team for the amount of hard work that has already gone into the car. I also want to thank Renault and Red Bull Technology for their tremendous support in helping us make this step forward and for being such great team partners."
Off the track, the team are embroiled in a legal battle with Group Lotus owner Proton over the rights to use the Lotus name, with a hearing due to take place in the High Court in London in late March.
Meanwhile, Group Lotus have entered F1 with a title sponsorship and partial takeover of the Renault team, who will also race in iconic Lotus colours black and gold.
F1 will see two Lotus teams for the opening race at least but due to the existing Concorde Agreement Lotus Renault GP will race as Renault, in the same way Sauber raced as BMW Sauber in 2010.
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 07:11 AM PST
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp expects a quiet end to transfer deadline day at White Hart Lane despite rumours linking the London club with a number of players.
Spurs confirmed they have agreed a deal with West Ham to see Robbie Keane move to Upton Park until the end of the season and the club have since been linked with Newcastle forward Andy Carroll as well as a host of La Liga stars.
But Redknapp denies making a bid for the 22-year-old England international. The Spurs manager said: “I never made a bid for Andy Carroll. Maybe the chairman did but I never did. Nobody has told me we’ve made a bid.”
Another Spurs target, Sergio Aguero, ended speculation over his immediate future by signing two-and-a-half-year contract extension with Atletico Madrid on Monday.
And other reports claim Spurs have failed in their attempts to sign Atheltic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente and Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi.
“Fernando Llorente? No chance. I’m not going back to Spain any more. Definitely not,” said Redknapp, referring to his mugging before watching last week’s Madrid derby.
The Spurs boss did admit the club would welcome some defensive cover in the wake of Younès Kaboul’s knee injury and Michael Dawson’s three-game suspension.
“We are struggling at the moment because we are down to two central defenders,” Redknapp said. “We have one spare defender on our books in Vedran Corluka. There is no-one else who can play in the back four.
“It’s not ideal but we’re not going to find somebody tomorrow. Who is going to find someone good enough to play in the Premier League before Monday night?”
Posted: 31 Jan 2011 05:22 AM PST
It's been just a fortnight; two weeks; 14 days; the length of a standard British holiday; and the duration of a tennis Major.
The Australian Open has shown just how much water can flow under the bridge in such a time-span.
With the draws done, the pundits placed their bets, the journalists made their predictions, and the fans prepared their banners. Everyone had a view on who would take to the court at the end of those 14 drama-packed days.
There were column inches on whether home favourite Lleyton Hewitt could make one last assault on the tournament. There was huge anticipation surrounding the return of former world No4, Juan Martin Del Potro. And there was the newly-promoted world No4 Robin Soderling to assess: was he really on a par with 'the top four'?
Possible upsets were, as usual, eagerly sought. Gilles Simon, the proud owner of the most recent ATP title in Sydney, met Roger Federer in round two. It was tough, but the reigning Australian champion forged onward and upwards, and the odds on his retaining the title shortened with each successive win.
There were some raised eyebrows at the unexpected progress of Marin Cilic, who had won no more than one match in a tournament since the first week in August 2010.
And, as with every Major tournament, a new talent strode into the limelight to thrill the lovers of the underdog. Alexandr Dologopolov did not just take out No13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but then left Soderling for dead. What's more, he did it with a fresh and infectious style of tennis that set the headlines alight.
Then there was Tomas Berdych rediscovering his Wimbledon form at just the right time. He made it effortlessly into the quarter-finals, as did the long-life-battery-driven David Ferrer and the new-Swiss-on-the-block, Stanislas Wawrinka: dangerous dark horses, all of them.
Such punditry is the bread and butter of Grand Slam journalism. But few really doubted that the dominant four of men's tennis would safely take their allotted semi-final places: Federer and Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
And, tough call though it was, the final was destined to be Roger-and-Rafa. After all, one or other had featured in every Major bar one for the last six years and they had won all but two of the last 23. They were both fit, healthy and getting better with every round.
But 14 days has proved to be a mighty long time in the unfolding story of the Australian Open.
Stop the clock, take a deep breath and rewind the hands to the Nadal quarter-final. He faced, in Ferrer, a man he had beaten in their previous seven matches but, out of the blue, Nadal pulled a thigh muscle in only the second game and was run ragged into a straight sets defeat.
It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and Ferrer's removal of Nadal, following Dolgopolov's antics in the earlier rounds, meant that Murray had to beat just one top-10 player—Ferrer himself—to reach his third Major final.
The fly in Murray's ointment was that—as in his previous two finals—he seemed destined to face the man who had twice snuffed out his chance of glory. Federer was making ever more sinister progress through his half and had almost every expert engraving his name on the trophy.
He faced Djokovic, the man he had beaten 13 times in their 19 meetings and, more to the point, in their last three matches. But in their last encounter at a Major, only four months ago on New York's hard courts, Djokovic scored a highly significant five-set win.
Since then, Djokovic has burgeoned with confidence, his shoulders growing broader before the eyes, his head held higher. His form in Melbourne stoked that confidence with a resounding win over Berdych, and his tennis against Federer in their semi-final was nothing short of superb.
The first set was as close as it could be, with not a break point in sight. Djokovic then bombarded Federer in the tie-break with ground strokes cracked to both corners and from both his backhand and forehand wings.
With one set in the bag, the Serb briefly lost his way, breaks were exchanged and unforced errors peppered both men's games. But the Federer serve slipped to its worst of the tournament—47 per cent—so while only three points separated them in the set, Djokovic broke at 5-5 and served out to 7-5.
The third set, though shorter, also showed little between them on serve, on break points or in points won: 40 to 39. But it was in the crucial points that Djokovic scored and he took three games in a row to win the match 6-3.
The earth seemed to pause on its axis as the tennis world acclimatised to the prospect of a Major final without either top seed in attendance. Then the analyses of Djokovic versus Murray came thick and fast.
They were friends, frequently practised together, got on like a house on fire. They were born within a week of each other, played their first Major and won their first ATP title in the same year, lost their first Major final to Federer in the US Open. Both are renowned for their backhands, their drop shots, their movement and their touch. In short, this final could go either way.
If this year's Australian Open was proving that 14 days is a long time in tennis, it also showed that two hours 40 minutes can be just as significant: in fact significant enough to raise one player to an entirely new status.
Djokovic opened the match with a love service game while Murray battled through almost a quarter of an hour, five deuces and a break point to hold his.
Indeed few of the points were short. It took 35 minutes to play just five games, it was a 38-shot rally that brought up two break points for Djokovic in the 10th game, and the clock ticked to one hour before Djokovic broke the Murray serve for a 6-4 for the set.
Djokovic opened serve in the second set, though he little needed that advantage. He broke Murray's first service game and repeated the feat to go 4-0 up. Murray ran, chased, retrieved, sliced and whipped, but Djokovic seemed almost airbourne. There was little he failed to reach and few shots that he failed to return.
He played Murray like a novice, pulling and pushing him to extreme corners, teasing him in with a drop and lobbing him onto the baseline. If Murray threatened, the Serb simply switched on a backhand winner down the line, or round the post, or across the court, or over his head.
It was brutal and relentless, the more so for the lack of histrionics or fist-pumping that has so often characterised the Serb's matches.
Djokovic's first sign of nerves came at 5-0, and Murray took advantage of a couple of tight shots to break, but it merely delayed an inevitable 6-2 set.
The two men twice exchanged breaks in the opening games of the third set. Djokovic's answer was simple: up the ante and turn defence into attack at every opportunity. Another break at the optimum time had him serving for match and title, 6-3.
These two men, widely regarded as the second pair in the tennis hierarchy, have been bracketed together for years, yoked by their ages, weight of expectation, an inability to keep emotions in check, but with sparkling talent at their disposal.
But the brash confidence that won the Serb his first Australian title at just 20 has now been reined in, marshalled and honed into a mature confidence that has allowed his talent to flower. He is combining a solid, patient game of tactical intelligence with an athleticism that is the equal of any man on the tour. He is fast and accurate, aggressive but with outstanding defensive skills. And he has now broken the Federer-Nadal stranglehold on the Majors.
Murray has, for the time being at least, been left behind to ponder whether he can emulate his friend. Meanwhile, Nos1 and 2 in the world will have to get used to some company in the stratosphere.
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