Spurs receive festive boost
Tottenham Hotspur have received a Christmas boost with the news that Dutch forward Rafael van der Vaart’s hamstring injury proved less serious than first feared. The 28-year-old Netherlands star went off at halftime in Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea, but a scan showed up no tear. “He looks OK,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports News. “He looks like he could be fit. We thought he had a hamstring. He went for a scan and it didn’t show a tear.” Van der Vaart said: “I think I’m going to be fine.” Tottenham have lost just once in their last 14 English Premier League matches to climb to third in the table, but van der Vaart is not getting too carried away with title talk. The former Hamburg SV and Real Madrid man said: “We are third and still have one game in hand. We’re playing really good this season — you can see it in the big games, so it’s going to be interesting, but there’s still a long way to go.”
City may stutter: Adebayor
Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor believes that Manchester City’s Premier League title push could be derailed by next month’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament. City will lose influential brothers Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure to the Ivory Coast squad for the Jan. 21 to Feb. 12 tournament, while Spurs will be unaffected, with Adebayor’s Togo banned from taking part. “They have two players going to the African Nations Cup [sic]. Kolo Toure is not playing a lot, but he is a great player,” Adebayor said. “Yaya Toure has been amazing for them this year. We will have to wait and see [how they cope]. In football you can have two or three injuries in a week. That has happened to us recently. City have a great team, a great spirit and at the moment they are playing good football, but if they got a couple of injuries I think it would be very difficult for them.” The tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon coincides with City facing Spurs, Everton, Fulham and Aston Villa. The Toure brothers will also miss the game against Wigan Athletic on Jan. 16 because of the Ivory Coast’s training camp. Chelsea will lose Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, while Arsenal will be without Gervinho, Alex Song and Emmanuel Frimpong.
Magpies in good spirits: Ba
Newcastle United striker Demba Ba insists spirits are not sagging on Tyneside, despite a desperate run of two points from six matches. After a bright start, the Magpies have slid down into midtable after losing to Manchester City, Chelsea and Norwich City, as well as at the renamed St James’ Park in midweek to West Bromwich Albion, but the 26-year-old Senegal international, with 13 goals already to his credit, insists that even with injuries and suspensions piling up spirits are intact. “I don’t think it has affected anybody in the team, and personally, it hasn’t affected me.” Even so, his absence during next month’s Africa Cup of Nations will leave boss Alan Pardew with a gap to fill.
Only two clubs: Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas said on Sunday that he hopes to finish his career with Barcelona, but if he were to leave the Spanish giants he would only go back to Arsenal and nowhere else. “Apart from Arsenal and Barcelona, I don’t see myself playing anywhere else,” the 24-year-old told Sky Sports News. “I will definitely be going back [to Arsenal] whenever I have time to watch games and to see the guys, and you never know in the future, why not? In life, you can never say never, and if there is one place to go back to, it is Arsenal for sure.”
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being