Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 15th 2016 Contents A55
Friday, January 15, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
LONDON---As English football s
most successful teams, Manches-
ter United and Liverpool are the
mainstays around the summit of
Rivals come and go but United
and Liverpool are always to be
found among the chasing pack, at
least, for the top prize.
When the northwest rivals play
on Sunday at Anfield it will be a
meeting of mediocrity---by their
For the first time in 35 years, the
league could finish without either
United or Liverpool---who have 38
titles between them---in the top
And it s about cash, not just
symbolism. Finishing outside the
top four would mean missing out
on the Champions League next
With only one win in eight
league matches, record 20-time
champion United has dropped to
sixth place, two points behind Tot-
tenham in fourth. Liverpool is three
points behind United in ninth after
failing to achieve the uplift antic-
ipated in the three months since
hiring Juergen Klopp as manager.
While United s draws have
added to the pressure on Louis van
Gaal, Liverpool s scrambled come-
backs to rescue points have been
celebrated by Klopp and his squad
almost like wins---including Wednes-
day s 3--3 comeback at home to Arse-
"There has been a big improvement
recently (in our mental strength) and
that s very important when you re at
a big club," Liverpool defender Kolo
Toure said. "You can t ever give up.
When you refuse to lose games, you
often find yourself winning them.
There s halfway to go in the January
Having not signed an outfield player
in the summer window, Arsenal recruit-
ed midfielder Mohamed Elneny yes-
terday from Basel.
Arsenal expects the Egyptian to be
registered in time for Sunday s game
Elneny arrives after winning three
consecutive Swiss league titles at Basel,
which he joined from El Mokawloon
Arsenal is seeking its first league title
since 2004 but is only ahead of surprise
contender Leicester at the summit on
On Saturday, Arsenal s north London
neighbour Tottenham faces Sunderland,
which has signed striker Dame N Doye
on loan from Trabzonspor for the rest
of the season.
The 30-year-old Senegal interna-
tional was previously at Hull, scoring
five times in 15 appearances before
moving to Turkey.
Vardy goal drought
After setting a Premier League record
for scoring in 11 consecutive games,
injury-hit Jamie Vardy has failed to
score for a fifth consecutive match.
The 1-0 victory at Tottenham on
Wednesday was secured by a rare goal
from Robert Huth, on Vardy s first game
back from groin surgery.
Bottom of the league and facing rel-
egation, Aston Villa has decided to
shake things up in the boardroom.
American owner Randy Lerner will
take a back seat in the running of the
club after hiring local business executive
Steve Hollis as chairman.
Bournemouth and Norwich---both
hovering above the drop zone---play on
the south coast on Saturday when ailing
champion Chelsea, which is only a place
above them in 14th, hosts Everton.
Third-place Manchester City faces
Crystal Palace, West Ham travels to
Newcastle and Southampton takes on
West Bromwich Albion. The Monday
night game sees Swansea host Watford.
Meeting of mediocrity as Liverpool hosts Man U
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane, left, challenges Leicester City's Wes
Morgan for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match
between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at the White Hart Lane
stadium in London Wednesday. AP PHOTO
MADRID---Zinedine Zidane gets a
chance to keep Real Madrid s momen-
tum going in a home game against
struggling Sporting Gijon in the Span-
ish league this weekend.
After routing Deportivo La Coruna
5-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
in Zidane s debut as head coach tomor-
row, Madrid plays an opponent that
has lost seven of its last eight games,
including the last four.
Sporting hasn t won a match since
early December and is only 18th in the
20-team standings. It has a game in
hand, but it s against Barcelona. To
make things worse, the team just found
out that it will be without defender
Bernardo Espinosa for about seven
months because of a knee injury sus-
tained last weekend.
Madrid, meanwhile, is boosted by
the arrival of Zidane, who breathed
new life into the Spanish giant after it
struggled under coach Rafa Benitez.
Another victory under the command
of the former player will keep fans sat-
isfied and can move the team closer to
the top of the table.
Zidane has had a full week to train
the squad and try to reinforce his play-
ing style, which is based on trying to
retain ball possession and avoid long
ball transitions from the defence to the
The only bad news for the former
France great going into Sunday s match
at the Bernabeu is that captain Sergio
Ramos is nursing a lingering shoulder
injury that forced him to be substituted
at halftime against Deportivo last Sat-
Here are other things to know about
the 20th round:
Atletico Madrid, which plays at 16th-
place Las Palmas on Sunday, is the
hottest team in the Spanish league with
eight wins in its last nine games. Its
only setback was a 1--0 loss at Malaga.
Diego Simeone s team continues to rely
on solid defence to stay on top. Atletico
has conceded eight goals in 19 matches,
and the only time it conceded more
home defeat to Barcelona in the third
Atletico has scored 27 times---Real
Madrid has 52 goals and Barcelona 44---
but it s been enough to keep the wins
coming. Atletico leads the league with
14 victories, one more than Barcelona.
Real Madrid and fourth-place Villarreal
each won 12 times in 19 rounds.
After resting some players in the 2--0
win over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey
on Wednesday, coach Luis Enrique is
expected to field the team s regular
starters when Barcelona hosts eighth-
place Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Enrique rested striker Neymar and
defender Gerard Pique against Espanyol,
but the duo is expected to be back in
the squad against Athletic. Luis Suarez,
who didn t play Wednesday because
of a suspension for insulting opponents
in the first leg against the city rival,
also is set to return. Neymar and Suarez
are the league s leading scorers with 15
Zidane looks to keep
Real Madrid on a roll
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