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Premier League match previews, team news, stats, predictions, kick-off time and how to follow | Football News

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Team news, stats, predictions and how to follow the Premier League this weekend, including Leicester vs Newcastle, live on Sky Sports.

Man Utd vs Norwich – Saturday, 3pm

Team news

Manchester United will be without their two main defensive midfielders for the visit of Norwich on Saturday, with Fred and Scott McTominay both ruled out.

McTominay had already been out before Fred suffered a hip issue in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Everton.

The two are among five players ruled out of Saturday’s match, along with Raphael Varane, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw, with the latter now expected to miss the rest of the season.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton’s win against Manchester United in the Premier League.

Norwich will be without on-loan United full-back Brandon Williams, who is ineligible to play against his parent club.

Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour has recovered from Covid-19 after missing the win over Burnley, while Poland winger Przemyslaw Placheta (ankle) is also available again having resumed full training.

American forward Josh Sargent (ankle) is no longer wearing a protective boot, but is not yet in contention, while Adam Idah (knee) and defender Andrew Omobamidele (back) are long-term absentees. Turkey defender Ozan Kabak (hamstring) is out for the season and now back at parent club Schalke.

Jones Knows prediction

This might be the weekend Manchester United fans to take that trip to IKEA rather than suffer more torture.

Talking of wardrobes, I quite fancy Harry Maguire to score.

One area Norwich struggle from that is not overly obvious from the raw numbers is their weakness defending set pieces. They have only conceded eight goals from corners this season – a fair return – but the underlying numbers paint a different picture. They have shipped an expected goals figure of 16.68 from set-pieces, excluding penalties – only Leicester have posted a higher return.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Norwich’s win over Burnley in the Premier League.

Opposition players have fired 145 shots from set-piece situations against Norwich – no team have conceded more. That makes our old friend Maguire a play at the prices. He can be backed at 7/1 with Sky Bet to find the net.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0 | BETTING ANGLE: Harry Maguire to score (7/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Opta stats

  • Manchester United have won 12 of their last 15 Premier League games against Norwich (L3), winning each of their last four in a row against the Canaries.
  • Norwich have won just one of their last 12 away games against Manchester United in all competitions (D1 L10), winning 2-1 in the Premier League in December 2015.
  • Manchester United have lost two of their last four home Premier League games against sides starting the day bottom of the table (W2), after losing just one of their first 21 such games in the competition (W16 D4). Those two most recent defeats came against West Brom in April 2018 and Sheffield United in January 2021.
  • Manchester United have lost two of their last four Premier League games (W1 D1), having lost just one of their previous 15 following Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s departure (W8 D6). The Red Devils last lost consecutive league games in November 2021.
  • Norwich beat Burnley 2-0 at Carrow Road last time out, just their fifth Premier League victory of the season. However, their previous four victories came in two lots of consecutive wins, including one home win and one away win both times.

How to follow: Follow Manchester United vs Norwich in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 5.15pm on Saturday.

Southampton vs Arsenal – Saturday, 3pm

Team news

Southampton will have forwards Armando Broja and Shane Long back in contention for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal.

On-loan Albania international Broja missed last weekend’s 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea as he was ineligible to face his parent club, while Long was absent due to an ankle issue.

Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and defender Lyanco have returned to training following hamstring injuries and are closing in on first-team returns, while Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is monitoring “one or two smaller issues” in his squad.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will continue to be without a number of players while Alexandre Lacazette could also miss out for “private reasons”.

Thomas Partey (thigh) has had another assessment and Arteta admitted it was not looking positive in terms of his potential availability before the end of the season.

Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu remain on the long-term injured list.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton’s win against Arsenal in the Premier League.

Jones Knows prediction

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s teams are all about momentum. When they are flying, they are flying. When they are bad, they are very bad. After losing just once in 10 games, they are now on a run of four defeats in five Premier League matches – and they were truly spanked by Chelsea last weekend.

This might be just what Arsenal need after back-to-back defeats but I would not be rushing to back them at 10/11 with Sky Bet. For the purposes of a prediction, I will side with them to come through a tight game with a one-goal margin victory.

That goal stands a fair chance of coming from a set piece. Saints have conceded a Premier League-high 12 headed goals this season, including in the corresponding fixture when Gabriel headed home.

This has triggered my interest in the Arsenal defender in the player shots markets, where he is priced up at 5/6 to have a shot on goal. The Arsenal defender, who has three goals to his name this season, is an aggressive attacker of a set piece and has fired 26 shots on goal this season.

That works out at just under a shot a game, so the basic maths tell you that against a team that Arsenal are favourites to win and are in for 14 shots across the entire team, the likelihood of Gabriel getting one of those should stand a greater chance of landing than the 5/6 available. His goalscorer prices of 18/1 to score first and 7/1 anytime are also worth considering.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1 | BETTING ANGLE: Gabriel to have at least one shot (10/11 with Sky Bet -Bet Here!)

Opta stats

  • Southampton have lost their last two Premier League home games against Arsenal, as many as they had in their previous 10 against them at St Mary’s (W4 D4). Saints haven’t lost three consecutive home league games against the Gunners since a run of four between 1968 and 1971.
  • Arsenal have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League games against Southampton (W7 D4), and are looking to complete their first league double over Saints since 2016-17.
  • Since a goalless draw in February 2016, Southampton have scored first in seven of their 11 Premier League meetings with Arsenal. However, they’ve only gone on to win one of those seven (D3 L3), a 3-2 victory in December 2018.
  • Southampton have conceded 10 goals in their last three home Premier League games (losing all three), as many as in their previous 13 at St Mary’s combined this season (W5 D7 L1). The Saints haven’t lost four in a row at home since November 2019.
  • Arsenal have lost their last two Premier League games, last losing three in a row in their first three of the campaign in August. The Gunners lost 2-1 at home to Brighton last week, but haven’t lost a league game on consecutive Saturdays since November 2008.

How to follow: Follow Southampton vs Arsenal in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 5.15pm on Saturday.

Watford vs Brentford – Saturday, 3pm

Team news

Watford will be without forward Cucho Hernandez for the Premier League match against Brentford because of a hamstring problem.

The Colombian was forced off late in the first half of last weekend’s home defeat by Leeds, with subsequent scans confirming the injury is a serious one and could see him sidelined for the rest of the season.

Forward Samuel Kalu is carrying a minor ankle injury, while defender William Troost-Ekong has picked up a slight hamstring strain and Francisco Sierralta (calf) will also miss out.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leeds’ win against Watford in the Premier League.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank will have Josh Dasilva available.

Dasilva had just returned to fitness before receiving a three-match ban for a red card against Newcastle on February 26.

Pontus Jansson is also ready to play but Frank Onyeka remains sidelined with an ankle problem.

Jones Knows prediction

It’s hard to believe Watford finished above Brentford in the Sky Bet Championship last season. It goes to show you how important it is to get it right off the pitch with savvy recruitment backed up by a sensible business model. Brentford have nailed it. Watford have not.

Roy Hodgson’s unbalanced and flaky side have won just two of their last 20 games in all competitions and have amassed the fewest home points (7) of any team in the top four divisions of English football.

Meanwhile, Brentford are the first promoted team to win 10 or more Premier League games in their first season since Bournemouth in 2015/16, including five of their last six. They head here full of confidence having deservedly beaten Chelsea and West Ham, so the 6/4 with Sky Bet for another victory is an easy argument to make. I am always hunting for value though and am happy to invest in Bryan Mbeumo scoring in an away win at 7/1 with Sky Bet.

Ivan Toney is grabbing much of the headlines, scoring eight goals in his last eight Premier League appearances but Mbeumo brings plenty to the table too. He’s had 16 shots in his last five games which has generated an expected goals figure of 1.8 which makes his goalscorer price look rather generous.

Plus, he’s hit the woodwork seven times in the Premier League this season – the joint-most with Leeds’ Raphinha. He’s due a bit of fortune in that regard. Back him.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brentford’s win over West Ham in the Premier League.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2 | BETTING ANGLE: Brentford to win and Bryan Mbeumo to score (7/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Opta stats

  • Watford have lost their last two league games against Brentford, as many as they had in their previous 16 (W9 D5). They last lost more consecutively against the Bees between 1929 and 1931 (5).
  • Brentford are looking to complete their first league double over Watford since 1976-77 in the fourth tier. However, they’re winless in their last seven league visits to Vicarage Road (D2 L5).
  • Watford have lost their last nine home Premier League matches and could become only the third team to lose 10 consecutive top-flight home games in a row, after Birmingham City in February 1986 and Sunderland in August 2005. Birmingham are the only top-flight team to lose 10 in a row within the same season.
  • After picking up just four points in an 11-game run between December and February (W1 D1 L9), Brentford have won four of their last five Premier League games (L1) and are looking to win three in a row in the top-flight for the first time since September 1946.
  • Since Roy Hodgson’s first home Premier League match in charge of Watford, the Hornets are the only Premier League side without a single home point, losing all four games under Hodgson at Vicarage Road. The last manager to lose his first five home games in charge at a club was Chris Ramsey with QPR in 2015.

How to follow: Follow Watford vs Brentford in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 5.15pm on Saturday.

Newcastle vs Leicester – Sunday, 2.15pm – live on Sky Sports

Team news

Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock could return to the squad for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Leicester.

Willock missed last Friday night’s 1-0 win over Wolves with a knee injury, but has returned to training after having an injection to address the niggling problem.

Winger Ryan Fraser, however, is a doubt having damaged a hamstring last weekend and illness continues to affect the camp, while defenders Kieran Trippier (fractured metatarsal) and Federico Fernandez (side strain) and striker Callum Wilson (Achilles/calf) are working their way back to full fitness.

Leicester remain without Jamie Vardy for the trip to St James’ Park. The striker is still struggling with a knee injury and missed Thursday’s 2-1 Europa Conference League quarter-final win at PSV.

Wilfred Ndidi, Danny Ward and Ryan Bertrand (all knee) are also out while Brendan Rodgers will assess those who played in Eindhoven after arriving back on Friday and Nampalys Mendy is available after being ineligible.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Newcastle’s win against Wolves in the Premier League.

Jones Knows prediction

Dan Burn is a friend of mine when it comes to overpriced centre-backs across a variety of markets. He’s not quite on my dream centre-back dinner party list just yet (Shane Duffy, Harry Maguire, Gareth McAuley, Yerry Mina and Craig Dawson if you are asking) but that may change if he delivers this weekend.

The Geordie boy has been sensational since joining from Brighton but what would put the cherry on the cake would be a goal at St James’ Park – every fan’s dream. I think Sunday could be the day for Burn up against this Leicester defence that have improved with the return of Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana but still do not convince me when defending set pieces. The Foxes have conceded 16 Premier League goals from set pieces (excluding penalties) this season – the joint-most with Leeds.

Good quality chances have fallen Burn’s way in his nine starts for Newcastle which have equated to an expected goals figure of 0.73. Should the tallest player in the Premier League who has scored a header already this season and plays for a team that have scored 13 of their 34 goals this season from set pieces, really be 25/1 to score another? I would argue no. He’s the value play to score a header in a tight affair.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1 | BETTING ANGLE: Dan Burn to score a header (25/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Opta stats

  • Newcastle have lost nine of their last 12 Premier League games against Leicester (W3). Their previous nine league defeats against the Foxes came across a period of 39 games (W19 D11) between 1979 and 2014.
  • Leicester have won each of their last five Premier League away games against Newcastle. In their league history, only at Leyton Orient have they won more consecutively on the road (6 between 1925 and 1980).
  • Newcastle have lost six of their seven Premier League games on Sundays this season (W1), conceding at least three goals in five of those defeats.
  • Newcastle have won each of their last four Premier League home games, as many as they had in their previous 24 at St James’ Park (D11 L9). They last won five in a row at home in March 2019.
  • Leicester have scored around four goals more than their xG total in the Premier League this season (45 goals, 40.7 xG) – only Chelsea have a bigger difference between goals scored and expected goals in the competition this term (64 goals, 56.1 xG).

How to follow: Watch Newcastle vs Leicester live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League or follow in our dedicated live match blog featuring in-game highlights. Full match highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel at the final whistle.

West Ham vs Burnley – Sunday, 2.15pm

Team news to follow…

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brentford’s win over West Ham in the Premier League.

Jones Knows prediction

If this was a run chase, Burnley have fallen way behind on their required run rate. They can no longer block and push for singles. It’s time for the manager-less Clarets to swing for the boundaries if they are to catch Everton and Leeds above them.

Draws will no longer do. They must add to their pathetic tally of just four wins – and this game will be seen as an opportunity to do so with West Ham’s Europa League commitments causing issues with their Premier League form.

This change of mentality to playing “must win” football in the last two matches has seen a positive effect on Burnley’s attacking metrics – something that will continue to spike over the next few weeks. Games have been much more open affairs with their past two games seeing five goals scored and a total expected goals figure of 8.71 when collating both teams.

Travelling to face a West Ham side whose games at the London Stadium average 3.13 goals and have seen a both teams to score 75 per cent of the time this season, does give this game the look of a goals-heavy one. The markets have the goal line around 2.5 goals which I think is too low. This means we must attack the overs with confidence at Evens.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Norwich’s win over Burnley in the Premier League.

I also want to throw in Burnley’s corner count into the mix. They won nine against Everton and seven in their defeat to Norwich – another sign their attacking intent has gone up a notch. Only Aston Villa and Southampton have won more corners in the Premier League since March 1 than Burnley and that included a fixture with Manchester City where they won just one. Take that game out and they are averaging 7.2 corners per 90 minutes.

Therefore, Sky Bet’s lines on Burnley corners are worth backing. Those that like thumping into short prices should take a look at Burnley to win four corners at 4/6 with Sky Bet as West Ham have conceded at least four corners in their nine Premier League games but I am pushing the boat out a little further by attacking the six or more corner line at a gigantic 3/1 with Sky Bet.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-2 | BETTING ANGLE: Burnley to win six or more corners (3/1 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

JONES KNOWS BEST BET: Over 2.5 goals and six or more Burnley corners (13/2 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)

Opta stats

  • West Ham have failed to score in five of their last eight Premier League games against Burnley (W3 D1 L4), having found the net in each of their first seven against the Clarets (W5 D1 L1).
  • Burnley have won two of their last four Premier League away games against West Ham, as many as they had in their previous 21 league visits to Upton Park/London Stadium (D4 L15).
  • West Ham have earned 25 points from their last 27 available in home games against sides in the relegation zone (W8 D1 L0), winning each of the last six in a row. Their last such defeat was against Newcastle in December 2017.
  • West Ham have scored in each of their last 17 Premier League home games, with the Hammers last having a longer such run in the top-flight between October 1985 and January 1987 (27 games).
  • Burnley have conceded at least twice in each of their last six Premier League matches (14 goals conceded), last having a longer run of conceding 2+ goals in the top-flight from October to December 1960 (10 in a row).

How to follow: Follow West Ham vs Burnley in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

How the table stands

How to watch Premier League highlights on Sky Sports Digital

Premier League clips and highlights
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Premier League clips and highlights

Anybody in the UK can watch highlights for free on the Sky Sports app or the Score Centre app on your iPhone or Android:

To watch the highlights on the Sky Sports App, download the app:

Sky Sports’ digital platforms are the home of live blogs for every Premier League game, including commentary, analysis and team line-ups. Users with a free Sky ID can watch in-game clips from Sky live games in our dedicated live blogs.

How to watch with Sky Sports YouTube

Head over to Sky Sports Football YouTube channel to watch highlights for free.

You’ll be able to enjoy action from all 380 Premier League games, as well as classic Premier League moments, goal compilations, in-depth analysis and exclusive player interviews.

Since launching in 2017 the channel has amassed over 2.5m subscribers, and also houses Football League highlights and Nations League goals.





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Women’s leagues WNBA, etc. have ushered in sports’ golden age

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Image for article titled A rising tide lift all boats and it's time we threw Jason Whitlock’s ilk overboard

Image: Getty Images

Choosing between women’s and men’s sports is a false choice. If you’re a certain blogger for Glenn Beck’s conservative Blaze media, revisionist history can be a comfort zone that vilifies feminism in sports as your woke sports boogeyman, but makes you look like a headass instead. Jason Whitlock’s resentment-driven tweet on women’s basketball’s place at the bottom of the sports hierarchy eventually led to a longer missive against women’s societal advancements and the fall of masculinity.

Oddly enough, in a link I don’t care to share, Whitlock proceeded to blame feminism for everything ranging from drag queens, to the degradation of the nuclear family, and the decline of biblical values. In Whitlock’s opinion, the glass ceiling wasn’t sturdy enough.

He pontificated in his Wednesday column: “As technology advanced and curbed the natural hardships of basic survival, American men led the world in granting freedom and autonomy to women. Feminists have taken advantage of man’s instinct to please women, casting themselves as long-suffering victims of male supremacy, and reshaped American society into a culture that favors the weaker sex.”

In fairness to Whitlock, let’s analyze all the excellent points he made.

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Hold on a second. I read the entire screed. Something will squeeze out soon…

Whitlock spews more garbage

He did attempt to trace a crooked link between modern society and early man’s roles as hunter-gathers, but it doubled as a rant against evolution. Imagine beginning your argument for a return to medieval masculinity by bemoaning women’s sports on TV. As usual, the intellectual cupboard is bare. Whitlock’s fragility over women’s sports is indicative of the obstacles women in workplaces have always faced. For a contingent of dudes who take his word as gospel though, women’s sports are their bête noire.

Battling over an alternate view of history that makes a case for how sexism was good or opining that the women from the Greatest Generation who took occupations in defense plants and factories during the war effort of the 1940s defanged American culture is a fascinating insight into how a twisted mind justifies itself. Don’t give yourself hemorrhoids trying to mine wisdom from those thought turds, and never roll with a pig in his sty.

Women’s leagues have helped usher in sports’ golden age

If you’ve browsed the front page of Deadspin’s space lately, or any industry leaders like Fox Sports, ESPN, CBS Sports, or Yahoo Sports, you’d know the myth of the feminist agenda pushing men’s sports aside is a pile of crap. America’s Big 4 leagues, plus NASCAR, Formula 1, college football, and college basketball have reigned supreme since being given a 50 to 75-year year head start over organized women’s athletics.

In a few short months, the U.S. Women’s National Team will defend their World Cup so you can expect to see their faces plastered all over ESPN screens between now and then. The USWNT has won half of the first eight Women’s World Cups FIFA’s held, but had to grapple with U.S. Soccer for pay commensurate with men last year. Their decades-long push was reminiscent of Billie Jean King and the “Original Nine’s” early enterprising. Their revolutionary founding of the WTA is one of the impetus for women’s tennis being on a more equal footing with the men’s tour.

The most prominent leagues have had to share space in an increasingly crowded room (pickleball has entered the chat), but this is the golden age of live sports. The continued growth of women’s leagues has been nearly as monumental as streaming has been to prestige television. The only downside to the panoply of options at our disposal is the paradox of choice.

Dawn Staley and Kim Mulkey are college basketball titans

Today men’s college basketball is in a rut. It’s as rife with parity, as it is empty in name-brand, blue-chip talent, or upper-echelon teams. The inverse of men’s hoops’ suboptimal tornado of middle-of-the-road teams, is happening in the division where Dawn Staley’s South Carolina Gamecocks are cruising toward a repeat. Fans love dynasties and one may be building in Columbia.

UConn is still a threat on Feb. 5, however, its biggest obstacle resides within the SEC.

Kim Mulkey and Staley have taken the baton as college basketball’s preeminent rivalry. The juiciest storyline in college basketball, regardless of gender, is the upcoming tilt between the only undefeated teams left in the nation. Hopefully, someone informs Alfalfa’s He-Man Womun Haters club not to switch on the late-night SportsCenter shows on the night of Feb. 18.

The halcyon yesteryear of the UConn-Tennessee rivalry is long gone in the Vols’ post-Pat Summitt era. Even with former Naismith Player of the Year Paige Bueckers on the mend for the entire season and phenom Azzi Fudd in and out of the lineup, UConn has been firmly entrenched in the top 10. Tennessee is still on the road back to prominence under Kellie Harper and was promptly smacked down by the Huskies on Thursday night.

While we’re on that note, contrary to the Blaze TV blogger’s soliloquy about women’s advancements coming off the backs of men’s work, the infrastructure for modern women’s basketball was originally built by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. At its peak, the AIAW’s membership consisted of 280 colleges that held championships across 19 sports, including women’s hoops. The AIAW was a women’s collegiate sports organization founded by women, but in 1981, the NCAA took over from the AIAW after 120 schools left for the more economically advantaged NCAA.

Breanna Stewart’s free agency

Over in the WNBA, free agency is in full bloom. Candace Parker is vacillating on whether to wind her career down in Chicago or with one last hurrah in Los Angeles. Free agent center Brionna Jones, the reigning Sixth Player of the Year, is essentially seeking to branch out after her second Finals appearance. Think of a bigger James Harden in 2012, trying to loosen himself from Oklahoma City’s bench.

The bulk of WNBA free agency attention is trained on Breanna Stewart’s movements. Reportedly, Stewart has whittled her choice down to approximately four teams, including her home state New York Liberty, a pairing with Elena Delle Donne in Washington, running it back with a depleted Seattle Storm roster, or zagging unexpectedly to the Minnesota Lynx.

There’s no planned primetime TV special starring Jim Gray, or Hannah Storm for the internet Whitlocks to carp about, but the Liberty are what everyone in the league office is undoubtedly rooting for. Imagine if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh had chosen the Knicks in 2010. Or if Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Harden had been a more well-adjusted collection of personalities. Stewart linking up with 2020’s No. 1 overall pick, Sabrina Ionescu, recently acquired 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones, and free agent Courtney Vandersloot would be the culmination of an arms race with the Las Vegas Aces.

In addition to looking out for her own future, Stewart is using her clout to engineer solutions to funding charter flights for the league’s 12 teams. Stewart’s efforts have reignited the discourse around the WNBA’s problematic travel arrangements. We’ve long known that cramming long athletes onto commercial flights dozens of times a season is a hindrance to peak performance, but the WNBA hasn’t quite taken it to heart yet and Stewart’s not keen on waiting until the CBA expires in 2028 to address it.

Ultimately, for every sports fan with Whitlock’s attitude, there’s Kobe Bryant. Kobe and others understood that a rising tide lifts all boats. In his final years, Kobe became an advocate for women’s hoops. Then, three years and a day ago, he perished on his way to coach his daughter’s AAU team. But if you’re having trouble choosing between living in a shared reality where the Black Mamba’s noblesse oblige spirit is considered ruinous to culture or one where internet Whitlocks signify strength, your worldview is bass-ackwards and you’ve got your head on the wrong side of your torso.



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Pep Guardiola jokes he’s ‘sorry’ that he stopped Mikel Arteta from becoming Manchester City manager

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Arsenal will face City at the Etihad Stadium tonight, with Guardiola’s former assistant back on his old North West stomping ground in the FA Cup fourth round.

The Gunners head north leading rivals City by five points with a game in hand atop the Premier League, but acutely aware of the challenging taking on the frustrated Guardiola and company.

Arteta left Guardiola’s City setup in December 2019 to take the Arsenal helm, transforming the Gunners in remarkable fashion since.

“I am pretty sure if I would have left here before, he would be here [at City] and he would be the best, absolutely,” said Guardiola, of Arteta.

“But I extended my contract, I am sorry, and he didn’t wait, so it could not happen. But definitely it could have.”

Arteta joined Manchester City’s coaching ranks on retiring as a player in 2016, learning his craft under master tactician and serial winner Guardiola.

City’s former Barcelona boss revealed how Arteta would never celebrate goals against the Gunners, the team he represented more than 100 times between 2011 and 2016.

“He loves the club; I remember when we were together here and we scored goals, he jumped a lot and celebrated – except with one team,” said Guardiola.

“One team, every time we score a goal, I jump, look back and he was sitting there. It was Arsenal.”



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R Madrid 3 – 1 A Madrid

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Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior scored in extra-time as Real Madrid fought back to beat local rivals Atletico 3-1 on Thursday and reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

On a freezing night at a sold-out Santiago Bernabeu hosting its first game for 77 days due to the World Cup break, Real started slowly and Atletico had many dangerous counter-attacks.

Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata, right, celebrates with teammate Antoine Griezmann after scoring the opening goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Image:
Atletico Madrid took the lead against their rivals

Atletico captain Koke delivered a brilliant through ball to Nahuel Molina who ghosting in behind Reals defence and the full back set up Alvaro Morata, a former Real academy player, to tap the ball into an empty net in the 19th minute.

Eder Militao wasted a golden chance to equalise in the 32nd minute after Toni Kroos had delivered a perfect cross.

Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring
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Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring the opener

It was not only until Dani Ceballos came off the bench to replace the injured Ferland Mendy late in the first half that Real started to play better.

The 26-year-old midfielder injected a new dynamic into the team who were far more aggressive after the break.

Benzema wasted two good opportunities and Federico Valverde also sent a shot wide from just outside the box.

Real Madrid's Rodrygo celebrates with team-mates
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Real Madrid’s Rodrygo celebrates with team-mates

Substitute Rodrygo equalised in the 79th with a delightful goal, dribbling past three defenders before finishing well.

With Real Madrid in full control, Atletico played most of extra time with 10 men after defender Stefan Savic was shown his second yellow card for chopping down Eduardo Camavinga in the 99th minute.

Five minutes later, Real substitute Marco Asensio sent a low cross into the box and Vinicius’s deflected shot reached Benzema who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the net.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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Karim Benzema’s goal made it 2-1 in extra time

Vinicius secured Real’s win in the dying seconds with a brilliant individual goal, running half the length of the pitch before scoring with a low shot.

“We got behind very early and after Mendy’s injury the whole team had to be rebuilt. But we woke up and played really well after the break,” Ceballos told TVE.

“They played better in the first half, but the coach corrected things in the second; we took control of the ball and found the goal. Then, after the red card, everything was easier.”

Real Madrid joined Barcelona, Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals.



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