Patrice Evra cannot believe how Manchester United have been written off in this season’s Barclays Premier League title race. Despite wrapping up their 20th championship with four games to spare last season and eventually finishing 11 points ahead of their nearest challengers, Manchester City, United were only third favourites in most bookmakers lists. That situation remains the same, even after their impressive 4-1 win at Swansea on Saturday, with Chelsea and City tipped to scrap it out for the main prize instead. Given Paul Scholes is the only departure so far and Wilfried Zaha has been added, it is a strange situation, and one the only explanation for is the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson and appointment of David Moyes. Yet, according to Evra, it is not a new phenomenon. “It is not just this season,” he told MUTV. “It is every year. “I have been here eight years now and every year people say we are going to finish fourth or fifth in the league. It is unbelievable.” Although there was an element of rustiness about United’s play, especially early on, the eventual outcome at the Liberty Stadium was not the performance of a club whose standards have dramatically slipped. Evra is not bothered about the wider message it has sent out to the league. But he does feel it will have reminded his own dressing room of their status. “The way we are working we feel good,” he said. “But the result is not a message for our opponents. It is a message to trust what are doing with this new manager, trust the way we want to play and the way he wants to win. That is it. “The message is for us, for ourselves and the Manchester United fans. “I always say the biggest opponent for Manchester United is Manchester United. Every year I play for this club I will say the same.” Given United were beaten by Everton on the opening weekend last season, not too much should be read into Saturday’s result. Robin van Persie’s brace against Swansea matched his contribution to the Community Shield win over Wigan, whilst Danny Welbeck has already doubled his league tally for the whole of last season. Moyes was delighted with Welbeck’s first, a close range effort the Scot felt showed a striker’s instinct. It was the second which was more eye-catching though, an impudent injury-time chip over Michel Vorm after Welbeck had been released by Wayne Rooney. “When he came back from the national team I said ‘why do you only score for the national team but you don’t score for your club’,” said Evra. “Now he has answered back. “I am glad for Danny. He is a striker and he deserved his goals. The second was a great finish. “Overall, it was a great start. “We worked very hard in pre-season and even if we had some bad results, the important game was the Community Shield because it was for a trophy. “Winning that was good for the spirit of the team. “We accept some compliments for this result but it is only the first game. Now we have to focus on Chelsea.” Press Association
A Florida waitress who had just emptied her bank account to pay for a car repair received quite a Christmas gift from some regulars with whom she had shared her financial issues.Lynette Baio, who has worked at the Speggtacular in Clearwater for five years, says the couple left her a $2,000 check on Christmas Eve.Last month, she spent $2,000 on a car repair, and told the couple about it recently, with the holidays approaching. When they came back for dinner on Christmas Eve, they left the check as a tip, with a message that reads, “Merry Christmas and restore your savings. God bless you.”“They started to walk out and I picked it up and I was like, ‘What?’ and I started crying and he started crying and she starting crying and it was just totally amazing,” Baio says.Baio used the unexpected tip to buy gifts for family members and friends.“It’s a Christmas miracle to me,” she adds.
BEN CLASSON/Herald photoBefore Indiana snapped the ball on offense, it was down a timeout and three points. It was merely a sign of the struggles to come. The Badgers (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten), behind an array of looks at running back who combined for 279 rushing yards, thumped the Hoosiers (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten) 33-3 Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. P.J. Hill set the tempo early on, rushing for 57 yards on 12 carries and a first-quarter touchdown to give Wisconsin a 10-0 lead before leaving the game for good with what head coach Bret Bielema called a “bruised top of his foot.” In Hill’s place, sophomore Lance Smith rushed for a career-best 79 yards and two second-half touchdowns on 15 carries. From the outset, Indiana’s high-powered spread offense that had scored at least 14 points in every game this season looked lifeless. It went three-and-out on its first series — this after calling a timeout before its first offensive play — and managed 18 yards of total offense in the first quarter. “As an offense, it makes you a lot more comfortable and puts you in a comfort zone knowing that you can stick to your game plan and not get out of whack,” UW quarterback Tyler Donovan said of how the defense’s play allowed the offense to stick with the running game. Then the sloppy play set in. Indiana running back Josiah Sears fumbled away a drive on the Hoosiers’ next possession. It was one of five turnovers forced by the Badger defense — a unit that had seven takeaways on the season coming in. “We were creating those turnovers,” Bielema said. “You see guys attacking the football. … which carried over to turnovers. There were some big hits, sound collisions and two guys to the ball.” Wisconsin used a nine-play, 40-yard drive capped by a Taylor Mehlhaff 41-yard field goal to jump out to the early lead. Going back to what worked, the Badgers utilized nine rushes by Hill to charge down the field and build a two-possession lead when the sophomore tailback punched it in from inside the 1-yard line on fourth down. Thanks to Hill and company’s bruising runs, the Badgers controlled the ball for 12:21 in the opening frame, and 35:23 during the game. The defense did its part as well. Some of the biggest playmakers in the Big Ten — receiver James Hardy and quarterback Kellen Lewis — were held in check throughout. “The spread was basically haunting us all year and we came out great against them with a great quarterback and great receiver threat, and we came out ready to play, ready to take on that challenge,” linebacker Jonathan Casillas said.Hardy, who had 11 touchdowns and 748 receiving yards entering Saturday’s game, finished with a season-low 17 yards on four catches. He also fumbled away a reception when the Hoosiers were down 17-3 and driving in the third quarter. “With the defense, we really had the idea that we wanted [Indiana] to play left-handed,” Bielema said. “We wanted to take away what they do best, kind of dictate the flow of the game.”I thought our guys really flew to the football.”It appeared as though the Hoosiers’ string of bad luck was over when running back Marcus Thigpen dashed 84 yards into the end zone to cut the Badgers’ lead to 17-9. But it only worsened their predicament.Hardy was called for a holding penalty downfield, and Thigpen, who assumed the run counted, was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for his touchdown celebration. Instead of kicking the point after, Indiana faced a third-and-17 from its own 12-yard line. As was the trend all day — UW held IU to 4 of 14 on third down conversions — the Hoosiers were stopped and forced to punt. Linebacker DeAndre Levy doesn’t know if that play would have gone in Wisconsin’s favor a few weeks ago, given the defense’s struggles at that point in time. “That’s a play that never gets called back a few weeks back,” he said. “We’re looking, praying that it gets called back. But the (refs) made a good call catching Hardy on the [hold].”The Badgers wasted little time taking advantage of the Hoosiers’ errors, pounding the ball 78 yards to boost their lead to 24-3 on Smith’s 6-yard run.Lewis never got into a groove, finishing 17-of-33 with 113 passing yards and 59 rushing yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble. Then again, neither did Donovan. The UW senior signal caller failed to throw a touchdown pass for the second consecutive game and extended his streak of games with a pick to six. Late in the second quarter he stared down receiver Paul Hubbard and cornerback Tracy Porter stepped underneath to pick the pass off at the goal line. Indiana capitalized on Donovan’s mistake by scoring its only points of the day — a 49-yard field goal from the leg of Austin Starr on its ensuing possession. Freshman running back Zach Brown picked up his first collegiate touchdown in the second quarter to give Wisconsin a 17-0 lead. He finished with a personal best 40 yards on 14 carries. “He’s not a freshman anymore. He has really settled into the way he’s prepared,” Bielema said. “And the way he handled the game today, the way he ran the football, protecting it, speaks volumes for him in the future.”
There will also be special recognition of a â€˜Legends Eleven,â€™ a squad of outstanding former Nigeria international players.FIFA President Gianni Infantino, due to open the FIFA Executive Football Summit in Lagos the next day, is expected to grace the ceremony alongside CAF President Ahmad, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, the CAF top hierarchy and presidents of about 20 Member Associations of FIFA.In attendance will also be a large selection of Nigeriaâ€™s football legends, including former captains Christian Chukwu, Olusegun Odegbami, Daniel Amokachi, Mutiu Adepoju, Uche Okechukwu, Garba Lawal, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Joseph Yobo.NFF 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, who is also Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Awards, told thenff.com during the week that voting by selected voters is going on across the country, after nominations were compiled for the various award categories by a screening committee.â€œI can tell you that all arrangements have been tidied up and we are looking forward to a truly big day. The NFF decided it was the right time to launch a project to recognize and reward excellence in Nigerian Football.â€œFortunately, we found a worthy partner in the Government of Lagos State and also our major partner, AITEO,â€ he said as he revealed that the NFF Awards will be an annual event.Top officials of the Lagos State Government, Members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management, Members of NFF Congress, officials of the Lagos State FA, NFF partners and sponsors, former NFF Presidents, former NFF General Secretaries, Chairmen of NPFL clubs and members of the diplomatic corp are also expected.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram By Demola OjoThe inaugural edition of the NFF Football Awards, supported by partners AITEO and host city Lagos, will hold tomorrow at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island. The awards will be the first time that the Nigeria Football Federation will organize a ceremony to reward and inspire the major actors and actresses in the Nigerian football space.Awards will be presented to winners in numerous categories including Player of the Year (men), Player of the Year (women), Coach of the Year (men), Coach of the Year (women), Young Player of the Year (men), Young Player of the Year (women), Team of the Season, Fairplay Award, Goal of the Season, Fans of the Season, NFF Development Award and Platinum Award categories.
“I’m getting there,” Seager said when asked if the video work had unearthed any secrets. “It’s just going to take time, getting more swings.”Seager offers no more specifics about his slow start. But a pair of absences could be playing into it.Seager had a close relationship with former assistant hitting coach Shawn Wooten who worked with Seager as he rose through the minors and continued to work with him in Los Angeles. Wooten is in the Angels’ organization now.And Seager doesn’t have Justin Turner batting behind him. The Dodgers’ No. 3 hitter for the first nine games of the season, Yasiel Puig, is batting .205 after a two-hit day Sunday and offering little deterrent to pitchers who have attacked Seager more softly than in the past – a full 30 percent of the pitches Seager has seen in the early going have been curveballs or changeups (up from 22 percent the past two seasons).“I think with Corey it’s easy to see they’re not going to give in to him,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They’re going to pitch to the corners and try to have Corey get himself out and potentially make Yasiel beat them. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “Corey understands that. When he’s in the strike zone, he’s as good as any hitter in baseball. When he’s aggressive out of the strike zone, it makes him pretty average. He understands that but it’s not his intent. Just being diligent in the strike zone is going to make him much better.”BAD SUSHIBoth Alex Wood and Cody Bellinger were hit by a bout of food poisoning Saturday. Wood stayed at the team hotel and said he was sick all day, unable to eat anything. Bellinger got a milder case and played all 14 innings of the Dodgers’ 7-5 loss to the Giants.Both went were part of a group that went out for sushi at a Japanese restaurant Friday – Kyle Farmer joked that he escaped the illness by being more selective about what he ate. Bellinger, meanwhile, said his ground zero could also have been a room service quesadilla at the team hotel.Wood was feeling better Sunday but not well enough to throw his scheduled bullpen session. So the Dodgers will swap Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu for the two-game series against the Oakland A’s at Dodger Stadium. Ryu will start Tuesday now with Wood getting an extra day to recover. He will pitch on Wednesday.Roberts said he had not decided on the weekend rotation yet. After an off day on Thursday, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda will start against the Arizona Diamondbacks but “we haven’t decided on the order yet,” Roberts said.ALSODodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, Roberts pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Kenley Jansen presented Giants reliever Tony Watson with his National League championship ring before Saturday’s game. Watson was acquired by the Dodgers at the trade deadline last season. He signed with the Giants as a free agent last winter. The Dodgers received their rings in a pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium last weekend.UP NEXT: The Dodgers are off before starting a two-game interleague series against the Oakland A’s on Tuesday. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco PreviousLos Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw works against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp swings for an RBI-single off San Francisco Giants’ Ty Blach in the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw works against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)San Francisco Giants pitcher Ty Blach works against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw works against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw works against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)NextShow Caption1 of 5Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw works against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)ExpandSAN FRANCISCO – The tape on Corey Seager’s fingers attests to the number of swings he takes daily in the batting cage. Any redness in his eyes can be blamed on all the video he watches, hours before each game.So far, all that work has not dug Seager out of a rare slump.He did have two hits (and a pair of walks) in Saturday’s 14-inning game, part of a 7-for-24 burst that seemed to point to an awakening. But a hitless Sunday dropped his average back to .206.During his first two full seasons in the majors, Seager has been relentlessly consistent at the plate. His batting average visited this low-rent neighborhood (.222 or lower) for a total of only three days – one early in 2016, two early last season. He doesn’t have an extra-base hit in the Dodgers’ first nine games this season. In those previous two seasons, he went without an extra-base hit that long just once – last August just before and during the week he spent relegated to the Dodgers’ bench with elbow pain.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error