Chelsea and Arsenal may be the only true contenders for the Premier League title. After today, there could be only one. \nIf league-leading Chelsea beats the Gunners at Highbury, the Blues will move eight points ahead as the season nears the halfway mark. \nJose Mourinho's Chelsea suffered an embarrassing 2-1 loss this week at Porto -- Mourinho's former club -- in the Champions League. The Blues had already reached the second stage of the competition. \n"When there is nothing to play for, they [players] find it hard to be motivated," Mourinho said. \nThat won't be a problem this weekend. \nA victory would keep Chelsea on course for its first English title in 50 years, and further solidify the Blues as the favorites to win the Champions League. In that competition, Mourinho could become the first coach to win back-to-back titles with different teams. \n"At the end of the game, Chelsea will be the leader," Mourinho said Friday. "The question [is] will it be a two points difference, five points difference or eight points difference? And I tell you, eight points difference is a lot. If we win it's significant." \nArsenal eclipsed Manchester United last season as England's flagship team. Now the Gunners and French manager Arsene Wenger are playing in the Blues' shadow. \nAn Arsenal victory would close the gap to two points as the Gunners try to win consecutive league titles for the first time since taking three straight in 1933, 1934 and 1935. \nMost of the pressure is on Arsenal, which has slumped since a 2-0 loss to Man United on Oct. 24, which ended its record 49-game league unbeaten string. \n"This season is not finished yet that you can already say Chelsea is a better side than last year," Wenger said. "I still think there is a lot to go for. You judge the teams at the end of the season." \nArsenal's biggest problem is in goal. Will Wenger stick with Spaniard Manuel Almunia, who has played three straight games but made big mistakes in each one? Or will he go back to German Jens Lehmann, whose career has been filled with blunders at Highbury? \nWenger said Friday he has made his choice, but declined to reveal it. \n"At the end of the day you can be sure we will have a goalkeeper in goal on Sunday," he said. \nArsenal's other problem is in midfield, where captain Patrick Vieira is suspended and Edu and Gilberto Silva are injured. \nYoungsters Francesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini are expected to step in. \nDutch striker Arjen Robben has turned Chelsea from a defensive team to one that can score. He was a second-half substitute against Porto, but is expected to start at Highbury. \nThere are two other interesting showdowns this weekend. On Saturday, Liverpool goes to neighbor Everton in the Merseyside derby. \nThird-place Everton is the league's surprise, trailing Chelsea by only six points and leading Liverpool by nine. Liverpool is coming off a dramatic 3-1 win over Olympiakos to join Chelsea, Arsenal and Man U in the second round of the Champions League. \nOn Sunday, Birmingham City and Aston Villa meet at Villa Park in a Midlands Derby. \nIn other games Saturday: Crystal Palace vs. Blackburn; Manchester City vs. Tottenham; Newcastle vs. Portsmouth; Norwich vs. Bolton; Southampton vs. Middlesbrough; West Bromwich Albion vs. Charlton. On Monday, Fulham hosts Manchester United. \nMan United has crept up to fourth after a run of four straight league victories, but still trails Chelsea by nine.
Taiwan national team manager Henry Vom on Sunday had a successful debut in charge of Taichung Futuro, winning 3-2 against league leaders Taipower with a goal deep in stoppage-time, which combined with the results from the other matches saw the gaps close at the top of the Taiwan Football Premier League table. Besides the big win for Futuro, Hang Yuan edged Taitung 1-0, Taiwan Steel dominated National Taiwan University of Sport 4-1 and the Red Lions held Ming Chuan University to a 1-1 draw. Vom took over Futuro after previous coach Toshiaki Imai returned home to Japan. Imai, who also managed the national
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational