“Others too – Everton had a record of getting 16-year-olds into first teams so it is very important we spend time talking to these boys and making sure everything is right.” Victor Anichebe started the Baggies’ comeback after they had fallen 2-0 behind following Brede Hangeland’s goal and Mile Jedinak’s penalty. Berahino had a quiet afternoon but, after his eighth goal in all competitions, Irvine believes his England Under-21 international can become one of the elite. “I think so. As long as he goes about his job in a way he is doing now – on the field and off it,” said Irvine, who takes his team to Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday. “As long as he keeps having this desire to improve, which he has at this moment. “Then, of course, as long as he can handle the pressure of success. “Some can’t handle that pressure – they get distracted, so it is important he takes everything that is going on at the moment in his stride. “Saido’s getting an awful lot of attention, so it is vitally important that we are there to support him and make sure that doesn’t take him off track.” Press Association Berahino has netted more in the league than any other Albion player scored in the whole of last term and is the top-scoring Englishman. Irvine was at Everton when Rooney broke into the side and also worked with Ross Barkley, and reckons Berahino has the same mentality as the England pair. “If you are going to be a top player, you have to have a lot of the full package,” he said. “Everyone talks about technical, tactical, physical, psychological. You cannot be a top player unless you score highly in all of them. “You might score more highly in a couple of areas but you can’t possibly be a top player if you don’t score highly in all. “Saido has a lot of that package but he is still at that age where it can go one way or another. “The last thing you can do is have anything that affects any of those areas. Of course, the biggest of all is the psychological. “I have been fortunate enough to have worked with a number of very talented young players over the years. Wayne Rooney springs to mind. The striker rescued a point with a stoppage-time penalty in Saturday’s 2-2 comeback draw against Crystal Palace. His seventh goal of the Barclays Premier League season completed the Baggies’ revival after they were 2-0 down at half time. West Brom head coach Alan Irvine believes Saido Berahino has the world at his feet – and has compared him with England captain Wayne Rooney.
Ramsey stroked in a second before his blistering strike, with the tempo dropping following the restart when the Welshman and Mathieu Flamini had made way for youngsters, both players rested as a precaution against injury. Although Galatasaray scored a late consolation free-kick from Wesley Sneijder, Podolski grabbed a fourth on the break deep into stoppage time to give the English side a memorable victory. Arsenal will, though, face one of the top seeds in Monday’s draw for the last 16 of the Champions League, having finished as runners-up in Group D behind Borussia Dortmund. Before February’s European tie, by which time the likes of Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott are expected back from injury, Ramsey accepts Arsenal must regain their Barclays Premier League form, with Wenger’s men currently sixth following Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Stoke. “I am getting sharper in every game, am feeling good and hopefully now I can play my part as they team go on a run,” said Ramsey, who scored his first goal since the end of August at Stoke. “That is the thing we need to do now. “We have a busy couple of weeks coming up now and hopefully we can take full advantage of them, and hopefully take maximum points throughout December.” Wenger came in for some fierce personal criticism from the club’s own supporters who waited for the team to board the train back to London on Saturday evening. Press Association Ramsey felt the squad owed their under-fire manager a response out in Turkey. “Every player here wants to work hard for him, we have proven that again here,” the midfielder said. “He has been under some unfair criticism, but we are all out there, are in it together. We wanted to get the result for us and for him. “Whenever we go into a game, he knows our qualities, always believes in us and gives us a great feeling. “Every time we go out there we are representing ourselves, our club and our manager.” Ramsey, who expects to shake off a tight hamstring for Saturday’s visit of in-form Newcastle, had remained modest in his initial post-match reaction on Tuesday night. But having seen the sublime finish replayed over and over again, the Wales midfielder hailed the goal as the best of his career so far. “I have always got into goalscoring positions, but now I have found my composure more in front of goal,” he said. “As soon as I hit it, I thought it had a chance of going in and thankfully it went into the top corner. “(Of my other goals before) I liked the volley at Norwich (in the final match of the last Premier League season), probably that one (was my favourite). “But I have seen this goal back now, and it is definitely the best I have scored.” Ramsey, who also netted in Arsenal’s 2013 Champions League play-off win at Fenerbahce, added: “I like playing in Istanbul – I have scored a few goals here now and I would like to play them every week if I could.” The 23-year-old’s sensational 30-yard half-volley, crashing the ball back into the top corner after it was cleared from a corner, was applauded by the home fans, despite seeing their side fall 3-0 behind, and sparked debates about great goals on social media. Arsenal had made an electric start on Tuesday night at the Turk Telekom Arena, which had plenty of empty seats after Galatasaray’s forgettable Champions League Group D campaign, with a goal from Lukas Podolski after just two minutes, the German forward making the most of a rare opportunity in the first XI. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey hopes his wonder goal against Galatasaray in Istanbul can help spark a run which kick-starts the Gunners’ domestic campaign – and dedicated the victory to under-fire boss Arsene Wenger.
“If anyone is to take it, I am the person that is standing there. I stand out there and I don’t hide – I’m there to be shot it. And, obviously, ultimately I make the final decisions, so, certainly, I’m prepared to take the criticism.” He added: “I don’t know if they (the fans) would have necessarily wanted me to acknowledge them (as he walked past them at the end). “What do you do in those circumstances? I just walked down the tunnel. “I am bitterly disappointed as well – it means an awful lot to me, and I know it means an awful lot to them.” West Brom had been putting in a creditable away performance – without converting it into goals – when Mame Biram Diouf broke the deadlock in the 51st minute with a shot that took a slight deflection off Joleon Lescott. Gareth McAuley came close to equalising as he prodded the ball against the post just after the hour mark, and moments later, Diouf made it 2-0, Marko Arnautovic’s shot ricocheting off the Senegal forward fortunately to deceive Ben Foster. Giving his assessment of the game, Irvine said: “I was a little bit disappointed with our finishing, because we had got into good positions, but other than that, I was happy with the way we’d played. “We’d probably dominated the game, created chances and I felt we just needed to be a bit more clinical in the final third. “Then the first goal was difficult to take, particularly given there was a deflection. It was a blow, but we came back from that and obviously Gareth McAuley hit the post at 1-0. “Then the second goal was a really hard one for the players to take, because that was a huge deflection. We hadn’t made mistakes and yet we found ourselves 2-0 down, and that was hard for the players to cope with and recover from.” Stoke are up to 10th having registered back-to-back league victories for the first time this season. The West Brom result also made for a second successive clean sheet for the hosts after 11 games without one, and Potters boss Mark Hughes was delighted. “Back-to-back wins is really important, and clean sheets as well – that is really encouraging for us,” Hughes said. “It was difficult for both teams to be fair (playing so soon after doing so on Boxing Day), and probably in the first half we lacked a little bit of sharpness. “But in the second half we showed more energy and then scored the first goal, which today I thought was always going to be very important.” Hughes admitted it will be a blow losing Diouf – now with six Stoke goals this term – to African Nations Cup duty in early 2015. “It is a little bit frustrating,” the manager said. “We are going too miss him, but hopefully they (Senegal) get knocked out quickly!” Hughes also revealed Potters forward Bojan Krkic – who had a role in both goals – had come off with a hamstring problem which will be assessed on Monday. The defeat was the Baggies’ seventh in nine Barclays Premier League games and they finish 2014 in 16th place in the table, a point above the relegation zone. Away supporters at the Britannia Stadium hurled flak at Irvine after the final whistle as he made his way towards the tunnel, and the Scot stressed in his post-match press conference he could understand them voicing their frustration. Despite the vitriol, Irvine, only appointed over the summer, remains determined to turn things around for the club and is adamant he is the man to do so. But at the same time, two days after saying he could not necessarily be confident he will be given the chance by the West Brom hierarchy, the 56-year-old has again conceded his future is out of his hands. Asked if he still felt he would be in his job by the new year, Irvine said: “I hope so, but I’m not in control of that, so I don’t know. “I believe I am (capable of turning things around) and I think the players believe we all are as well. “But obviously, it is other people who will make decisions as far as that is concerned. “I want to carry on. I want to still do this job and I want to see it turning around, and that is not going to change.” Regarding the criticism he received from the stands, Irvine said: “I can understand that people are frustrated – I’m frustrated, and so are the players. “I can understand fans expressing that frustration. That is the nature of the job. Press Association Boss Alan Irvine insisted abuse from West Brom fans would not force him to quit – but once again admitted the sack could be looming for him after his side lost 2-0 at Stoke.
Sky and BT Sport have combined to hike up the Premier League’s British screening costs by 70 per cent in a new deal to run from 2016 to 2019. Three years ago the rights were sold for a combined total of £3.018billion, an average of £6.53m per game. “We have an asset here, clearly it’s an asset that people value, and we’ve marketed it in a way and put it up for sale and people have paid what they’ve paid for it.” Sky will pay £4.176billion for the lion’s share of the rights including the coveted Sunday evening slot, while BT Sport will pay £960million. BT Sport will have the Saturday evening package, however, instead of the Saturday lunchtime slot. Boss Scudamore admitted Premier League bosses felt the meteoric rise in revenues would prove unsustainable the last time rights were sold, in 2012. The Premier League will spend the majority of 2015 selling the competition’s new global television rights, and the overall revenue could spiral beyond £8billion. Scudamore still believes there is scope for further growth worldwide, but scotched talk of the Premier League surpassing the NFL as global sports’ biggest broadcasting cash cow. “The law of economics says you can’t go on putting 70 per cent on ever-bigger numbers, you just can’t do it, it’s impossible,” said Scudamore. “And we actually thought it was probably impossible sitting here three years ago, but it’s actually proven not to be. “But there is a point where it has to become impossible. “That doesn’t mean to say, though, that the Premier League, when you add it all in on a global basis, can’t continue to grow way beyond this particular deal. “I think today we’ve probably sneaked past Major League Baseball, but believe you me, I don’t think it is only a matter of time before we go past the NFL.” The Premier League remains confident this latest rights deal will not be derailed by Virgin Media’s ongoing complaint with broadcast regulator Ofcom. Scudamore admitted the Premier League will re-examine ticket prices but will not order clubs to make cuts. “Anything the clubs get together and want to do, we would welcome,” he said. “The clubs know priority number one is to put on a show attractive enough to keep stadia full.” Richard Scudamore has defended the Premier League as a British institution in the wake of selling domestic television rights for a staggering £5.136billion across just three years. Sky has almost doubled its investment to retain five of seven packages, including the new Friday night slot, with the Premier League set to net around £113,000 a minute from domestic television revenue. Chief executive Scudamore believes the Premier League is as much-loved across the globe as the BBC and the Royal Family, asserting the competition’s right to sell to the highest bidder despite the astronomical sums. “To my core, I believe this is a success story,” said Scudamore. “And I believe it’s a great UK export, it attracts a whole lot of positive feelings about the UK. “If you go and do any international survey, things like the Premier League, the BBC, the Queen: they are things that people feel are good about the UK. “Our own Prime Minister is quite happy to travel the world and talk about what a good thing the Premier League is. “And we’re proud that our clubs and the league is looked at in that way. “If you had your house and you were about to sell it tomorrow you would probably want to sell it for as much as someone was willing to pay for it. Press Association
“When you think Arnold Palmer never achieved a grand slam of majors in his career and he was the king of golf puts into perspective what an achievement it would be,” said Montgomerie, casting his gaze towards a possible ‘Rory Slam’ with the Masters and the US Open at Chambers Bay in June on the horizon. “Achieving what Tiger did and hold all four at the one time… but if Rory plays to his ability he doesn’t have to bother with the leaderboards. “If Rory can stand on the 72nd green and say to his caddie, without looking at any leaderboards, ‘I’ve played well there’, that’s good. Well, then he wins. Right? “So it’s up to him to get round this course but there’s a lot of good golf behind Rory when you think of Bubba, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed – and, hey, who knows about Tiger?” Ah yes, Woods. The 14-time major winner has not played competitive golf since withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open on February 6 and said he would not return until he can “compete at the highest level”. Woods has been blighted by poor form and injuries in recent times and the latest world rankings saw him fall outside of the top 100 for the first time since September 1996. But the four-time Masters winner confirmed on Friday that he will compete at Augusta and Montgomerie does not dismiss the 39-year-old American being a factor down the final stretch next Sunday. “He wouldn’t be playing if he didn’t think he could contend,” Montgomerie said. “He hasn’t entered Augusta to make up the numbers, I guarantee that, and he will be determined to prove to himself more than anyone that he can still do this. “What is against Tiger is that the standard of major golf now is incredible. “So Tiger hasn’t got to get back to the levels he was at, he has to get back, or forward to the levels that have now been put in place by the number one player in the world.” Woods remains four short of equalling Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors and Montgomerie remains unconvinced that he will ever add another. The Scot asked: “I would like to think there are wins in Tiger yet, but never mind a major, can he win another event ever again? What we’ve seen this season? No. Nothing lasts forever and he can’t keep coming back. “But imagine Tiger scoring 69, 68 in the first two days at the Masters, there would be a buzz around the place and the sort of electricity we have missed without him. “Let’s hope it’s not 75, 76, he’s hurt his back and goes home because that would be a disaster for everybody.” Press Association Rory McIlroy must banish his Augusta demons first if he is to savour Masters glory and complete a career Grand Slam at the tender age of 25. That’s the message from his former Europe Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie who feels McIlroy, the world number one, could still be scarred by the memories of his Augusta meltdown in 2011 when he blew a four-shot lead in the final round. McIlroy carded a closing 80 – which famously included a pull-hooked drive at the 10th which sent his ball off the course – to finish joint 15th and 10 shots behind winner Charl Schwartzel, and the four-time major winner has done no better than last year’s tied eighth on his six previous visits to the Masters. This time the Northern Irishman starts as strong favourite to complete the full majors set but Montgomerie, while admitting that McIlroy is a sure-fire bet to pass Sir Nick Faldo’s total of six major titles, admits handling the pressure in a top-class field featuring the fit-again Tiger Woods presents a severe test of his temperament. “I don’t think the task is easy at all, there’s a lot of pressure on Rory,” said Montgomerie who will be at the Masters commentating for Sky Sports, the only place to watch all four days live. “You know there’s the odd gremlin there, when he lost that four-shot cushion, and I don’t think he’ll ever stand on that 10th tee with a load of confidence, will he? He can’t after what happened at the demise of the back nine from a few years ago. “Some players like to go back to a scene – like Bubba Watson, Tiger or Phil Mickelson and love that course – and others, like I did in my prime, are not as confident going back somewhere. ” If you look at Rory’s results at Augusta they obviously haven’t been that of the other three majors, having won them all, so that brings its own pressure. “But I’m not saying he can’t cope with that because he’s the best player in the world – and I think all 80 competitors in the field would say that.” Having won the last two Majors – the Open and US PGA titles in an incredible three-week spell last summer – McIlroy stands on the brink of golfing history. Victory would see him become the sixth player to have won all four major titles after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Woods and the first European to win a green jacket since Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999.
After a decade as number one, Cech has found himself second choice behind Thibaut Courtois this season as Chelsea won the Barclays Premier League and Capital One Cup. And the 32-year-old, who signed from Rennes in 2004 before playing a key role in winning every major club trophy, has hinted at his wish to move on this summer, despite still having a year to run on his contract. Petr Cech has been given the green light to talk to other clubs by Chelsea, according to the goalkeeper’s agent. Jose Mourinho expressed a reluctance for Cech to move to rivals Arsenal, who are rumoured to be interested in the goalkeeper, along with Liverpool, Paris St Germain, Besiktas, Real Madrid and others. Mourinho also said it would take “big” money to prise Cech away from Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are understood to be prepared to take the player’s wishes into consideration on deciding whether or not he can leave and his next destination. The Czech Republic international’s agent Viktor Kolar told talkSPORT: “Petr has a valid contract with his current club. However, I can confirm that we have been permitted by Chelsea to negotiate with interested parties and Petr has confirmed his interest to play regularly at a top club.” Press Association
Here, Press Association Sport examines whether the clubs can turn the situation around or if they face a full term of struggle. What has gone wrong? In both instances there is an argument to say not enough has yet been put right, rather than anything new going wrong. Both clubs narrowly escaped relegation last season and, in Sunderland’s case, battling against the drop is becoming an all-too regular occurrence. The Wear-Tyne neighbours have changed managers in recent months in an attempt to find stability, but Dick Advocaat and Steve McClaren need time. Sunderland have been unsettled by a series of unsuccessful managerial appointments while Newcastle’s controversial owner Mike Ashley has been accused by the likes of Alan Shearer of alienating fans in the past. Such matters can distract players and it could be a while before anything steadies itself. But what are the immediate concerns on the pitch? Newcastle are not scoring enough goals and Sunderland are leaking them. The Magpies have hit the net just twice in their five games – the lowest total in the Premier League – and they have also created the fewest chances, 25. They have only had 10 shots on target. But it would be wrong to simply blame the strikers, as the central midfield players are not getting the ball forward enough. Big names such as Papiss Cisse and Moussa Sissoko are not firing and new signing Florian Thauvin has not impressed. Sunderland have shipped 11 goals in their five outings and Advocaat has tried three different combinations in central defence. Players were also accused of lacking effort and commitment in the opening games. What are the strengths of the sides? Sunderland’s back four actually looked much improved in their loss to Tottenham on Sunday. They kept good shape for most of the game and frustrated their opponents. There could be no questioning of their endeavour and the partnership of Younes Kaboul and John O’Shea probably looked their best bet. They also boast a vastly experienced and proven goalscorer in Jermain Defoe. Newcastle do seem to be showing greater resilience and organisation than they were towards the end of last season, under John Carver’s unhappy brief spell in charge. Georginio Wijnaldum also looks a good addition and Tim Krul offers assurance in goal. What will last year’s experience have taught them? Last season was poor from both clubs. Newcastle’s form nosedived after the departure of Alan Pardew as manager in December and McClaren has needed to restore order. They should have learned there can be no room for complacency, as a poor run of results can be difficult to arrest. Sunderland saved themselves from relegation with a good late run after Advocaat’s arrival. They need to replicate the spirit they showed then. What can be expected from the managers? McClaren and Advocaat are both vastly experienced, but yet they still have things to get to grips with having inherited struggling and disorganised sides. Based on past records, both should be capable of taking their sides to safety and better. Press Association North-east rivals Newcastle and Sunderland occupy the bottom two places in the Barclays Premier League after poor starts to the season.
Petr Cech called on Arsenal to move on from the disappointment of another defeat to Chelsea to steer their Premier League title challenge back on course. The Gunners had Per Mertesacker sent off after 18 minutes and Diego Costa scored the decisive goal in Sunday’s 1-0 win for Chelsea, which leaves Arsene Wenger’s men three points behind leaders Leicester with 15 games to go. The immediate focus is on the FA Cup which Arsenal have won in the last two seasons. The Gunners play Burnley at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Press Association But the next two home Premier League matches will be a further test of their title credentials, against Southampton and Leicester. Arsenal are bidding for a first championship since 2004. “We are only three points off the lead and have Leicester and Southampton at home coming up,” Cech said on arsenal.com. “They are difficult games but if we can keep winning our games, we can go back to the top.” Arsenal beat Chelsea in August’s Community Shield, but are without a league win against their rivals in nine games, since October 2011. Midfielder Mathieu Flamini added: “We are fighting for the title and it is frustrating. “We gave it everything and it was not easy against 11 men, but what can I say? “It is a long run and we still have to fight and move forward. It is only a game but (losing to Chelsea) is frustrating and a disappointment.” Arsenal are without a league goal against Chelsea in more than nine hours, since Theo Walcott’s strike in defeat at Stamford Bridge in January 2013. Flamini had a fine opportunity in the first half, but rather than head it, he tried to acrobatically divert the ball in. He added: “I thought I could take it with one touch but it was going very quickly so it was hard.” Wenger clung to the positives of the performance, although he admitted it would be difficult to raise spirits after the loss. Wenger told Arsenal Player: “We had such a high expectation level and to lose a game the way we did it it’s really frustrating and difficult to accept. “I feel we couldn’t play with our real team for 90 minutes. I was very disappointed. “In recent games we lost we had really hard decisions against us, against Southampton and (against Chelsea). “We had a good attitude, a fantastic spirit. Despite a result that is negative, I think we should come out with even more belief.”
Newcastle winger Florian Thauvin has returned to Marseille on loan until the end of the season. A club statement read: ” There is no option for purchase within the deal, so Thauvin will return to Newcastle at the end of the loan.” The 23-year-old joined the Magpies in a £12million deal in August 2015, and made 16 appearances, scoring once in the Capital One Cup win over Northampton. Newcastle confirmed the move was not expected to lead to a permanent switch back to the Stade Velodrome. Press Association
On Friday, the Supreme Court will allow Trump administration to use $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense to construct parts of a wall along the southwestern border that the government claims is “necessary” to protect national security.With the recent approval of the Defense Department money to be spent, a court battle will play out over whether or not the government had the authority to discuss if funds that were not appropriated for the wall.The Supreme Court recently voted 5-4 to allow the funds to be used while the court appeals goes underway.Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan of the liberal wing, voted that they would have blocked the funds for now. The fourth member, Justice Stephen Breyer, wrote separately to say that he would have given the approval for the government to use the funds to finalize the terms for contractors, but block the funds from being used for the actual construction. The Supreme Court’s order is a significant win for Trump, who is expected to use the ruling as a main talking point on the upcoming campaign trail. On Friday, President Trump tweeted out his approval of the ruling:“Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”