Surakarta mayor stands in way of Jokowi’s son’s coronation

first_imgGibran entered the Surakarta mayoral race at the eleventh hour, registering through the PDI-P’s Central Java provincial chapter after learning that the party’s Surakarta chapter had wrapped up its candidate selection process. The party’s Surakarta chapter decided to nominate Achmad, the current deputy mayor, and Teguh.Hadi’s insistence on having Achmad on the ticket caught Gibran by surprise, given that Achmad has repeatedly made public statements about dropping out of the the race since April this year.The latest decision not to accept Achmad’s withdrawal has also created tension between supporters from both camps, treasurer of the PDI-P’s Surakarta branch Joni Sofyan Erwandi said.Joni said the decision to keep Achmad at the top of the ticket represented the party chapter’s stance and it appeared inevitable that the PDI-P would have two names as prospective candidates.”Pak Pur can’t just withdraw like that. A PDI-P member should not do that. We give him the recommendation to run although the final decision lies with the chairwoman,” Joni said, referring to Achmad by his nickname.The PDI-P central board maintained that the final decision on which candidate it would back in the Surakarta mayoral election would be the prerogative of party matriarch Megawati Seokarnoputri.“The decision has been made [by Megawati],” said PDI-P campaign team chairman Bambang Wuryanto. Megawati is expected to make the announcement in July.Gibran, meanwhile, said the move to keep Achmad on the ticket was fully Hadi’s business, and that he respected the decision by Achmad, whom he considered like his own father. Gibran said he would wait for Megawati’s final say on the nomination and added that he would continue to focus his effort on helping people in Surakarta deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.The position of mayor in Surakarta, which is considered a traditional PDI-P stronghold, has become crucial in the country’s politics as it is seen as the first stepping stone for Jokowi, who rose to national prominence after a seven-year stint as Surakarta mayor with Hadi as his deputy.Political analysts said Hadi’s decision to make matters difficult for Gibran could be seen as a territorial-marking move. “Gibran’s move may be discomforting to him [Hadi] because he is a two-term mayor, also the head of the party’s local branch,” said Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) political observer Arya Fernandes.Indonesia Political Review executive director Ujang Komarudin said the central board of the PDI-P was now caught between a rock and a hard place.”Nominating Gibran would risk incurring the wrath of the party’s local members in Surakarta and disrupt the party’s stability in the city, while going ahead with Achmad Purnomo would have the potential of driving a wedge between President Jokowi and Megawati.The PDI-P’s control’s over Surakarta’s mayoralty meant that any candidate that it nominated stood a good chance of winning the race, and Hady has played that card against Gibran’s wish, political analyst Agus Riewanto of Surakarta’s Sebelas Maret University said.“Since 2005, the PDI-P’s candidate has always had the upper hand [in Surakarta]. “This is a test for the PDI-P’s central board to give the correct recommendation to maintain the party’s unity,” Agus said.Topics : Hadi has not made any efforts to hide his displeasure toward the surprise bid from President Jokowi’s eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to run in the Surakarta mayoral race.Tension came to a head recently when Achmad Purnomo, Gibran’s rival from within the PDI-P, offered to withdraw from the 2020 mayoral race, only to be rejected by Hady, who also serves as chairman of the Surakarta PDI-P branch, on the grounds that PDI-P members in the city wanted Achmad and his running mate Teguh Prakosa to be on the top of the ticket.”All party members rejected the withdrawal because the party central board has yet to decide on any candidate. The process must continue. “He [Achmad] is being nominated, and those nominating him are not allowing him to back off,” said Hadi.Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government and the House of Representatives have agreed to push back the regional elections, originally scheduled for Sept. 23, to Dec. 9. Having served as deputy to Joko “Jokowi” Widodo when the latter was mayor of Surakarta, and having later taken over when his boss relocated to Jakarta in 2012 to run for governor, many would expect Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician FX Hadi Rudyatmo, the city’s current mayor, to continue to be on good terms with the President. But in recent months, Hadi has made no efforts to hide his disagreement with Jokowi’s policies. In April, in the lead-up to this year’s Idul Fitri holiday, Hadi blasted Jokowi’s decision to ban mudik (homecoming exodus), saying it was too little too late. Later in May, the current Surakarta mayor also criticized the government’s decision to increase the premiums for the Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS).Recently, the rift between Hadi and the President appears to have become very personal, with political observers considering that such a conflict could drive a wedge between the PDI-P central board and the party’s local chapter in one of the nationalist party’s strongholds.last_img read more

Galloper Offshore Substation On the Move

first_imgThe offshore substation for the 336MW Galloper wind farm, built at Heerema Fabrication Group’s Hartlepool yard, has sailed away to the installation site in the outer Thames Estuary, some 27 kilometres off the Suffolk coast.The substation topside was loaded onto a barge at Heerema’s Hartlepool yard in early April. The jacket foundation for the substation was rolled out of the Hartlepool facilities in February.The Galloper wind farm will comprise 56 Siemens 6MW wind turbines, with the wind turbine installation vessel Pacific Orca expected to install the first units at the site soon.GeoSea installed the 56 foundations at the site at the end of March, two months ahead of schedule. VBMS is currently installing the wind farm’s inter array-cables.Development and construction of the GBP 1.5 billion Galloper offshore wind farm is led by innogy SE on behalf of the project partners, UK Green Investment Bank (GIB), Siemens Financial Services and Macquarie Capital.Photo: Heerema Fabrication Grouplast_img read more

Klitschko ‘trains’ AJ for Ruiz rematch

first_imgRelatedPosts Tyson Fury to Anthony Joshua: Don’t risk fighting Usyk Anthony Joshua, Okolie plot world title double Anthony Joshua wants Tyson Fury, Wilder fight Britain’s Anthony Joshua has been taking advice on his training regime and diet from former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko ahead of his title rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7. Mexican-American Ruiz produced one of boxing’s biggest upsets when he dethroned the previously undefeated world champion Joshua with a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June. Klitschko was defeated by Joshua in 2017 at Wembley Stadium with a technical knockout and the two boxers have stayed in touch even after the Ukrainian retired later that year at the age of 41. “He said loads of stuff to me, Wlad was definitely ahead of the game. He’s more disciplined than me, he’s more diplomatic,” Joshua told British media. “He was giving me dietary and training advice and that is maybe what people are talking about now when they see a difference in my body. Maybe that’s why — because I’ve adapted some of his teaching — my weight may fluctuate.” Joshua was dropped to the canvas four times in the June bout by Ruiz and the 30-year-old Briton is looking for redemption having triggered a rematch clause, admitting his first defeat had made him a smarter fighter. The second WBA, IBF and WBO title showdown has been dubbed the ‘Clash on the Dunes’ but Joshua, a former Olympic champion, said the belts would not define his legacy. “There’s nothing I’ve missed about being world champion,” Joshua said. “I’ve always said the belt should never define the man. I walked as a champion before I even had a belt. “This is fighting. One loss doesn’t take the spots off a cheetah. We don’t play games when it comes to boxing, we’re serious and after I took the loss I’ve had time to reflect. “I now have things to prove to myself. I want to take it more seriously because I’m going to that next level.”Tags: Anthony JoshuaWladimir Klitschikolast_img read more

FA set to block Hull rebrand

first_img Egyptian-born businessman Allam, who has long been based in the Hull area, has generally been a popular owner after rescuing the club from financial crisis in 2010. Fans continue to urge him to reconsider, but in an open letter last month Allam’s son Ehab, the club’s vice-chairman, stated the family had put in £74million and had “nothing left to give”. He said the proposal was a means of making the club “stand out” from others. Opposition group ‘City Till We Die’ believes the Allams may have exploited some personal loyalty towards them by wording questions in their favour in the poll. Fans were invited to vote “Yes to Hull Tigers with the Allam family continuing to lead the club”, simply “No to Hull Tigers” or “I am not too concerned and will continue to support the club either way”. A statement from the group read: “We are pleased that supporters treated the ballot as a validation of Dr Allam’s ownership of the football club, rather than believing the masquerade that this was a vote on the name change.” They added the result was “largely meaningless”. The group have received backing from the Football Supporters’ Federation. An FSF statement read: “Many Hull City fans have already contacted us to express their concerns in relation to the flawed ballot. “It wasn’t neutrally worded and was a clear attempt to create a ‘yes’ vote. Even then, only one in six season-ticket holders has voted yes. “Fans are also concerned that they were required to identify themselves when voting, hardly surprising since the chairman has been openly hostile to those who disagree with him. “The club might be allocating FA Cup final tickets soon and some fans who voted ‘no’ fear they’ll have a black mark against their name during the application process. “It might even have discouraged some from voting ‘no’ in the first place. “Hull City’s ballot does not stand up to scrutiny and we have already written to the FA arguing exactly that.” The club themselves have not commented on the matter ahead of the council meeting. Hull do not want the matter to detract from this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United. In a ballot of season-ticket holders over the age of 16, 2,565 voted for the rebrand with 2,517 against. A further 792 expressed indifference while another 9,159 did not take up their right to vote. These results, which were published on Monday, came too late to be included in any written submission the club may have made ahead of the council meeting. They could, however, provide encouragement for the club to appeal should the verdict, as seems likely, go against them. Allam believes the Tigers name is more marketable worldwide and could help the club attract the greater investment he feels is necessary to compete at the top level and grow. He has expressed his dislike for the “common” City name and has threatened to pull out of the club if his wish is not granted. But, regardless of what the poll has indicated, his plans have met with fierce resistance from supporters. Hull, whose colours are amber and black, have long been nicknamed the Tigers, but fans are fiercely loyal to City, which has been in the club’s title since formation in 1904. Opponents have been clear in pointing out that their protests are against the name change and are not anti-Allam. The Football Association is due to rule on Hull City’s controversial bid to rename themselves Hull Tigers on Wednesday. The FA Council is expected to block the rebranding proposals of club owner Assem Allam after the governing body’s own membership committee unanimously recommended they be rejected last month. That would be in spite of a poll conducted by the club which appears to offer some evidence of support among fans for the change. Press Associationlast_img read more

EHS pitcher hopes to mold arms of the future through clinics

first_img Bio Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at mmandell@ellsworthamerican.com. ELLSWORTH — For seniors at Hancock County high schools, graduation is only one semester away. Conner Wagstaff wants to make the time he has left time count.Between getting his house in order for college and graduation and pitching his final season for the Ellsworth baseball team, the next few months will be plenty busy for Wagstaff. Yet there’s something else on Wagstaff’s to-do list: ensuring the Eagles have a foundation for the future on the mound.“Looking back on it, there are just so many things I wish I had learned at a younger age when it came to pitching and technique,” Wagstaff said. “It’s important for them to learn the mental aspect of the game and have us to look up to.”To give younger players hands-on experience, Wagstaff is running a once-a-week pitching clinic at Ellsworth’s Katsiaficas Gymnasium. The five-week clinics began Sunday morning with separate sessions being held for the 7-11 and 12-15 age groups.Ellsworth senior Conner Wagstaff instructs a young player during a pitching clinic Jan. 27 at Ellsworth High School. Wagstaff, a senior, will be playing college baseball at Southern New Hampshire University next year after he pitches his final season for the Eagles this spring. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLThis is placeholder textThis is placeholder textWagstaff, a two-time All-Penobscot Valley Conference selection, has made pitching look easy in his three years at Ellsworth. As a junior last season, he went 6-0 in the regular season as he struck out 65 batters and posted a 2.25 ERA.Originally, Wagstaff’s plan for getting involved at the youth level was to coach in the Ellsworth Little League program in the spring. With the Little League International season coinciding with varsity baseball, though, there simply wasn’t enough time.“I thought about it, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it,” Wagstaff said. “I also wasn’t sure what I age group I wanted to work with. I thought these clinics would be a good idea because I knew I could do them in the winter and solve both those problems.”There is much to be learned about pitching at the youth level, where many players are still learning the basic rules and fundamentals of the game. Yet the No. 1 sticking point for young pitchers, Wagstaff said, is muscle memory.“Thinking is the worst thing you can do as a pitcher,” Wagstaff said. “You want to not have to think about having the ball back, getting your knee up or getting your toe pointed so you can focus on the batter.”After the last clinic is held Feb. 24, Wagstaff will turn his attention to his final season as an Eagle. In the fall, he will head to Southern New Hampshire University on a baseball scholarship.“It’s kind of surreal to think I’ll be going up against college-level players,” Wagstaff said. “Whether you’re teaching or playing, you’re always learning, and that’s what this is all about.” Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all)center_img Latest Posts MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020last_img read more

Voelkel: In Wisconsin sports, Packers are sun that refuses to shine

first_imgIn the solar system that is the Wisconsin sports landscape, the Green Bay Packers are the sun. The Milwaukee Brewers, relevant once a lifetime, are Halley’s Comet. Despite their rare appearances, they still manage a small cult following. University of Wisconsin football is a shooting star — it looks pretty cool at first and people wish on it, but it eventually flames out and the expectations go unfulfilled. The Milwaukee Bucks are a dead satellite floating aimlessly through space.In other words, everything revolves around the Packers.That being the case, it must be one heck of an occasion for the Brewers to knock the Packers off the state’s largest radio station, as was the case last Sunday when Brewers’ game number 162 usurped Packers’ game four.So, sure, the Brewers are front and center now that they are in the playoffs. But in two weeks (or at this rate, mere days) the Packers will once again be the center of attention. And when that time comes, a Green Bay offense that has sputtered since the first half of its Week 2 win over Detroit, a defense that is in shambles with injury issues and a questionable punting game will be in focus.Injuries are unavoidable at times, and it seems the Packers have hit a rough patch on that front. Six defensive starters either missed all or most of practice time this week. As healthy as the Packers were for most of the season last year, they are just as banged up now.But while injuries are unavoidable, several questionable offseason moves have left the Packers in a tough spot at quarterback and punter.Green Bay management had its reasons for not bringing Favre back. The Packers had moved on with Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback and tweaked the offense to better fit his skill set. To bring back Favre, the offense would have had to be readjusted. Given the quick turnaround before the start of the regular season, it just wouldn’t have worked.For proof, just look at all the struggles Favre has had picking up the Jets offense. Having to learn a completely new playbook and offensive language, assimilate himself into the locker room and develop a rapport with a new set of receivers. He’s doing a terrible job!Oh, wait. Never mind.The old fart only leads the whole league in passer rating and touchdowns and is completing more than 70 percent of his passes. Not like that’s all that great.But, in all seriousness, the Favre situation is really beside the point. The biggest mistake the Green Bay front office made when it came to the quarterback position is going into the season with exactly zero professional starts from its three signal callers. That’s right, dear reader, before Week 1, you and two friends started as many NFL games at quarterback as the entire Packers’ roster.Now, Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm were very good collegiate quarterbacks in their day. Eventually, one or both could still end up a serviceable professional. But to roll into an NFL season with two completely green reserves behind an injury-prone starter at the most important position on the field seems at the worst, dumb — at the best, ballsy.Now Rodgers could be out for this weekend’s game against Atlanta, meaning Flynn would get the start. In his first meaningful action a week ago against Tampa Bay, Flynn looked, well, like the seventh-round pick he was.When Rodgers or Flynn and the Green Bay offense is forced to punt, another questionable offseason move will be on display.After a solid season a year ago and a decent preseason camp, the Packers made the surprising decision to release punter Jon Ryan during the final round of cuts. In his place, the team picked up Derrick Frost. Frost, cut by Washington at the end of its training camp, averaged more than three total yards and one net yard less than Ryan during 2007. Through four games, Frost has had just one punt downed inside the 20-yard line. Not all that great for someone who management expected to excel as a directional punter.Aside from one outlier 65-yard punt against Dallas two weeks ago, Frost hasn’t had all that great a distance or hang time on his punts, either. Against Tampa Bay, Frost averaged just more than 30 net yards per punt, an abysmal number indicative of a punter not giving his coverage unit enough time to cover the kick adequately.Rodgers will eventually regain full health, and the punting situation should eventually work itself out. Given the division they play in, the Packers will likely make the playoffs. But when you’re the sun and every move is filtered through a magnifying glass, the tiniest slip-ups end up being fires to some.Ben is a former sports editor of The Badger Herald. Have a different view on the Wisconsin solar system of sports? He can be reached at bvoelkel@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

SHOCKER: Syracuse cruises past undefeated Louisville for 1st win over top-10 BCS opponent in decade

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Ryan Nassib and Alec Lemon embraced at the 44 yard line as their teammates streamed onto the field. Nassib had just taken the final knee, running out the clock to preserve a stunning Syracuse victory over an unbeaten Louisville team.The seniors suffered through a 4-8 season in 2009. They took the program to a bowl victory in 2010. And they saw much of their final two seasons defined by disappointment.“We’ve been through a lot, a lot of ups and downs and just that moment, taking that knee, knowing that you seal that victory,” Lemon said. “Ryan and I are great friends and it’s just something special to share that moment with him.”In that moment, Syracuse (5-5, 4-2 Big East) moved one win away from bowl eligibility, shocking Louisville (9-1, 4-1) 45-26 in front of 40,312 at the Carrier Dome on Saturday. The touted Cardinals offense led by Teddy Bridgewater never clicked against a swarming SU defense. And the Orange offense never slowed, beating the UofL defense with an even balance of 278 yards rushing largely from Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley, and a big day through the air for Nassib and Lemon.It was Syracuse’s biggest victory since it defeated No. 11 West Virginia 49-23 in the Dome last October, and the program’s first victory over a team ranked in the Top 10 in the Bowl Championship Series since it earned a 50-42 win over No. 8 Virginia Tech in 2002.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We’re proud of how they played in three phases,” SU head coach Doug Marrone said. “It just shows that when you have the capability of executing this way, we’re a very good football team.”The dominant performance by the Orange prompted Louisville head coach Charlie Strong to say he was “very embarrassed” for his program, which suffered its first loss of the season after cruising to nine wins and climbing to No. 9 in the BCS rankings.“We didn’t play well as a football team — offense, defense or special teams,” Strong said. “When that happens to you and you have those types of issues, it’s what happens — you come into an environment like this and lose a game.”Louisville struggled from the start.Bridgewater and the Cardinals offense had to burn two timeouts during their first drive, failing to stay composed in front of a raucous Carrier Dome crowd. Louisville settled for a field goal to tie the game 3-3.The score was even at 10-10 going into the second quarter when the Orange started to separate itself.Nassib connected with a wide-open Lemon for a 13-yard touchdown on a fade route into the left corner of the end zone to cap a 92-yard drive and move ahead 17-10. The frustration started to build for the Cardinals as cornerback Andrew Johnson chased after the wide receiver in vain.The two hooked up for another touchdown to expand the lead to 14 after Lemon burned Louisville safety Hakeem Smith, causing his teammate Calvin Pryor to clap in frustration as he watched SU celebrate another touchdown.“We thrive off of momentum,” SU center Macky MacPherson said. “We thrive off of getting that first down. We thrive on tempo, out-tempoing defenses, getting them tired and eventually hitting that big play.”Syracuse continued to build on its momentum and took a 31-13 lead into halftime. And the Orange picked off right where it left off after the break.The defense only allowed the Cardinals four plays before a punt capped their first drive of the half, and the offense answered with a nine-play, 74-yard drive that ended in a touchdown.Smith’s score opened up a 25-point lead for Syracuse, setting off the first of many celebrations along the sideline throughout the half while draining all emotion from the stunned Cardinals team — ranked No. 11 in the nation and undefeated — across the field.“Seeing the other team kind of hanging their head, kind of start giving up a little bit, we just feed off of that,” SU linebacker Siriki Diabate said. “And we just keep on going and just getting better each play.“And the fans, the whole sideline, feeds into that and we just keep on going.”The celebration continued throughout the game, during Nassib and Lemon’s final embrace and into the locker room.And though Marrone admitted he tends to look to the next game — forgetting victories the moment they happen — he said he wanted his players to enjoy their biggest win of the season.“I want to be able to celebrate this,” Marrone said. “Our kids did a nice job today.” Comments Related Stories Gallery: Syracuse pulls off shocking upset of No. 11 Louisville in Carrier Domecenter_img Published on November 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.edulast_img read more

Sharapova Faces Hearing Despite New WADA Guideline on Meldonium

first_imgSharapova’s racquet manufacturer Head stood by the Russian after she initially confirmed the positive test on March 8, and the company has now called for an amnesty in meldonium cases.“It is now quite clear that WADA made the decision to ban meldonium based solely upon the alleged prevalence of use among Eastern European and Russian athletes,” said head chief executive and chairman Johan Eliasch.“This highlights a wholly flawed decision-making process by WADA whereby the ban on meldonium has no justification.“Until clinical testing is undertaken to prove that meldonium has indeed performance-enhancing potential, WADA should provide amnesty to athletes who had been taking the drug at the direction of a doctor for a proven medical condition, if not all athletes.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Maria Sharapova will face a hearing for testing positive for meldonium, despite the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issuing fresh guidance on the banned substance.WADA said on Tuesday athletes who tested positive for meldonium before March 1 could avoid bans.But the International Tennis Federation said Sharapova’s case will proceed.The Russian tested positive for the drug at this year’s Australian Open, after it was added to WADA’s banned substances list from January 1.Wada’s change in stance is because of a “lack of clear scientific information on excretion times”, meaning the agency has so far been unable to establish how long it takes for the drug to clear the human body.last_img read more

Liverpool Keen on Keeping Unbeaten Run Intact against United

first_imgWith Man City falling to a 2-0 at Stamford Bridge last weekend, the Reds stand a point clear at the summit. The task for Jurgen Klopp’s men is to now live with the pressure that comes with being the best in the country, with another five months to see out.This is not exactly new territory for the Merseyside outfit, having mounted a few notable title challenges in the recent past, but the group of players put together by Klopp certainly seems to be made of far sterner stuff – from summer signing Alisson Becker in goal through to arguably the division’s most talented player in Mohammed Salah up top.Strengthening at the back with the addition of Alisson during the off-season, six months after bringing in club-record signing Virgil van Dijk from Southampton has more than paid off for Liverpool. Just six Premier League goals have been shipped all season, leaving them on course to break the record set by Chelsea in 2004-05.In fact, the Reds have not conceded more than one goal in a game in any of their last 19 league outings – their best run of defensive form since the late 1970s and they continue to score goals at an impressive rate at the other end of the pitch.Salah has made a mockery of those who suggested that his 2017-18 goalscoring return would be a one-off, racking up 10 goals already this time around to joint-lead the scoring charts. The Egyptian has opened the scoring in seven matches, meanwhile, and scored the winner six times – both league-high tallies.However, Liverpool’s famed front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane – which has been broken apart at times this season with Klopp using a 4-2-3-1, depending on the opponents – have failed to score or assist a goal in a Premier League game against United in nearly 1,000 combined minutes on the field.All three men played in a part in last weekend’s 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth, which was arguably the first time that Klopp’s men have truly swept aside a team since cruising to a 3-0 win over Southampton at the end of September.That was followed up by a tense 1-0 win over Napoli in the Champions League in midweek, keeping the Reds on course for silverware on multiple fronts as they embark on a tough run of games that sees them face United, Arsenal and Man City in the next three weeks.Come through that run unscathed and supporters really can begin to believe that this will finally be their year.While Liverpool fans have plenty to be excited about, it is a different matter entirely for those of a Manchester United persuasion. One win from their last five league matches shows just how far the mighty have fallen.The Red Devils did at least manage to end their four-game winless run last weekend with a 4-1 triumph over Fulham, though it was a case of one step forward and two steps back due to their performance against Valencia in midweek.A 2-1 loss at the Mestalla would prove costly for United as it denied them top spot in their group, meaning a difficult last-16 tie in the Champions League when European action resumes two months from now.Even accounting for the win against Fulham, Jose Mourinho’s underperforming side have taken only six points from the last 15 on offer. A defeat to neighbours Man City was followed up by successive draws with Crystal Palace, Southampton and then Arsenal.Momentum just seems impossible to come by at the moment for the country’s most successful side, last winning back-to-back matches at the beginning of November.United’s scoring stats are down on last season, their defensive stats are down on last season and, as a result, their points tally is substantially down on last season. This time 12 months ago, the Red Devils had nine points more and were only kept off the top spot by the blistering form of runaway champions Man City.Mourinho may have repeatedly claimed that his side overperformed in finishing second last time out, but there can be no excuses about their constant below-par showings this term, most recently in the defeat to Valencia when simply failing to turn up.Their 26 goals against in the Premier League is just two fewer than the total they conceded throughout the whole of 2017-18, with just two clean sheets being kept – incredibly, only five other sides have a worse defensive record.Mourinho can at least fall back on a decent record at Anfield, winning on half of his eight visits there in the Premier League to give him the best win percentage among managers with 5 plus such games in the competition.It was 1990 the last time United were this far behind Liverpool at Christmas. Victory on Sunday will close the margin slightly, but even then there will be lingering doubts over whether Mourinho is the man to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.United’s last two trips to Anfield have resulted in goalless draws after Mourinho adopted an ultra-cautious approach, yet the Portuguese said his side are capable of fighting for victory despite their injuries.“We know that we are going to play against the leaders, against a team on a high, but we have our qualities, we have our potential,” he said.“Even with the problems we have and the doubts in terms of team choice, of tactics, approach, philosophy, we have doubts about everything. We are going to arrive with the players we have available and going to have a team capable of going there and fight for the victory.”Liverpool are looking to pick up a sixth successive victory in the league. However, Klopp has yet to get the better of Mourinho’s United having not beaten them since the Portuguese took charge in 2016, drawing three and losing once.The fixture is never short of drama and Mourinho usually enjoys the big occasion as an underdog, as he showed in last month’s impressive 2-1 victory over Juventus in Turin.Meanwhile, Manchester City will try to get back to their winnings ways after their first loss of the season last weekend to Chelsea as they host Everton in today’s early kick-off at the Etihad Stadium.The Citizens were seemingly in cruise control and flying at the top of the table until last week’s defeat to Chelsea. Seven back to back victories since their goalless draw with Liverpool back in October demonstrates City’s dominance in the league.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The two most successful clubs in English football will face off in this weekend’s standout Premier League fixture at Anfield on Sunday afternoon as pacesetters, Liverpool face fading force, Manchester United in the North-West derbyThe Reds remain unbeaten in the top flight after 16 matches and head into this high-profile match sitting top of the division, whereas 20-time champions United are down in sixth place.Not since March 1990 have Liverpool had a bigger points margin heading into a top-flight match against their arch-rivals, with the gap currently standing at 16 points as a result of the sides’ contrasting starts to the season.Liverpool have dropped points in just three games this term and are now the last unbeaten side standing following defeats for past two champions Chelsea and Manchester City over the past three weeks.last_img read more

Transfer:Yaya Toure winks at PSG

first_imgYaya Toure has added further fuelled reports that he is ready to quit Manchester City this summer after admitting it would be an ‘honour’ to play for Paris Saint-Germain.  The Ivorian last week put City fans on the edge after confirming reports from his advisor that he was unhappy with how the club chose to celebrate his birthday and revealed that he would speak about his future after this summer’s World Cup. Desire – Given the objectives of Paris, how could I not to be interested in a club like that? he wondered while seaking to France Football. PSG has become one of the powerhouses in Europe. It would be an honour to be a part of such a club one day, if I can be of service, he added. Colossal The French champions last week agreed a colossal fee for Chelsea’s David Luiz, thought to be in the region of £45m, which would make the Brazilian the most expensive defender of all time. The Parisians could continue their pursuit of a squad to challenge for the Champions League title with the acquisition of Toure, who has three years left to run on his Manchester City contract.last_img read more