0Shares0000Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne has had an injury-blighted season © AFP/File / Lindsey PARNABYMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Dec 15 – Kevin De Bruyne’s injury problems this season may turn out to be a blessing in disguise because they allowed him to recover from an exhausting 12 months, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.De Bruyne has suffered two separate knee injuries since helping Belgium finish third in Russia and has played barely any part in City’s defence of their Premier League title, which took a hit last week with a defeat at Chelsea that knocked them off the top of the table. The attacking midfielder has started only two games this season, neither in the league and Guardiola is wary of rushing him back into action, even though he is understood to be fit enough to be selected for the squad to face Everton on Saturday.“Sometimes people recover quite well, sometimes mentally it takes time. We don’t want to be injured, but maybe this injury helped us,” said Guardiola.“Now he’s fresh in his mind, he is recovered and now he tries again to avoid the injuries and play regularly. Of course he is going to be important for us. He is a special player for us.”De Bruyne was outstanding as City became the first team in English top-flight history to record 100 points in a season in May, winning the club’s player of the year prize and narrowly losing out to Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah for national awards voted for by players and journalists.However, his season ended up lasting more than 11 months, as he played six of his country’s seven matches at the World Cup.He suffered ligament damage to his right knee in August and although he returned in October, he then injured his left knee during his side’s League Cup win over Fulham on November 1.“I think Kevin finished last season exhausted, it was so tough for him. He played a lot of minutes and it was an incredible season’s performance,” said Guardiola.“After that he went to the World Cup and when he came back I had the feeling that he was a little bit tired still.”– World Cup fatigue –De Bruyne’s World Cup commitments meant that he only returned to training at City on August 6, the day after they defeated Chelsea at Wembley in the Community Shield.“He has to recover his full condition, he has to compete with the players who have done incredibly well so far,” added Guardiola.“But of course, when we have more players, we can rotate more. When we have competition between the players it’s much better, so of course it’s good news that he is coming back.”Guardiola’s side was overtaken at the top of the Premier League by Liverpool as City’s defeat at Chelsea was coupled with a the Reds winning at Bournemouth.City’s manager has compared this season’s title race to the brutal battles he faced in La Liga with Real Madrid when he was in charge at Barcelona, when he felt that every dropped point might prove crucial.“It’s just about trying to win every game and when you are in front and trying to keep the moment,” he said. “The players know it. It’s not just Liverpool — Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United can join us.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Crystal Palace boss Hodgson confident Zaha will find his best formby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveCrystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is confident Wilfried Zaha will find his best form soon.The 26-year-old winger was a target for both Arsenal and Everton during the summer and is reported to have handed in a late transfer request in the hope of pushing through a move.After resuming domestic action following a late return from the Africa Cup of Nations, Zaha has so far failed to open his account for the new season or provide any assists.Hodgson said: “Very few people in our teams have scored goals, we’ve only scored three so it is quite easy to remember who the goalscorers were.”As for assists it is only three possible assists, so it is probably a little unkind to start saying ‘you are not assisting enough or scoring enough.”I would say that we expect a lot more from Wilf in terms of assists and goals and I think that we are going to get it.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
We’re a little more than a day away from the 2015 Final Four. At 6:09 p.m. E.T. Saturday, Duke and Michigan State are set to tip off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Following that contest, at roughly 8:49 p.m. E.T., Kentucky and Wisconsin will play. Here’s the official game ball for the Final Four. It features the national championship trophy. Official game ball. Trophy embossed. pic.twitter.com/jJt9v0hq2i— Duke Basketball (@dukeblueplanet) April 3, 2015Which team will be throwing that ball into the air late Monday evening?The Final Four games will be televised on TBS.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information intends to reduce the size of classes at the nation’s schools as part of measures to improve student achievement.“I am working on a budget to do so,” said portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid.He was speaking at the launch of a special curriculum for children with learning disabilities held on Tuesday (November 28) at the Randolph Lopez School of Hope in St. Andrew.He said that there is agreement with stakeholders for the establishment of a student-teacher ratio of 1:25 for regular schools and even lower for institutions where there is a concentration of students with special needs.“We have the intellectual knowledge as to what we must do to reach every one of our precious children,” Mr. Reid said, noting that “no one should be left behind”.“Everyone should be treated special. There is an approach to reach every child, there is a customised approach, and that is where we are going,” he added.Assistant Chief Education Officer in charge of the Special Education Unit, Dr. Sharon Anderson Morgan, said the new curriculum, developed in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), came out of a need to provide a syllabus for students with moderate to profound intellectual disabilities that would allow them to “progress at their own pace”.She said the curriculum will foster a higher level of skills in areas such as functionality and academics, and practical areas, which will allow the children to interact appropriately with the wider society.Dr. Anderson Morgan noted that with the new curriculum, students with disabilities will acquire a sense of self-determination, self-advocacy and self-worth.“We are grateful to UNICEF for fueling this dream,” she said while lauding the contribution of other agencies as well as community-based organisations.She invited other entities to partner with the Ministry “as we seek to offer quality special education across the system”. Assistant Chief Education Officer in charge of the Special Education Unit, Dr. Sharon Anderson Morgan, said the new curriculum, developed in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), came out of a need to provide a syllabus for students with moderate to profound intellectual disabilities that would allow them to “progress at their own pace”. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information intends to reduce the size of classes at the nation’s schools as part of measures to improve student achievement. Story Highlights He said that there is agreement with stakeholders for the establishment of a student-teacher ratio of 1:25 for regular schools and even lower for institutions where there is a concentration of students with special needs.
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been the presumptive Best Pitcher In Baseball for so long that it might as well be printed on the front of his baseball card. Since his debut during the 2008 season, Kershaw has over 10 more wins above replacement than any other pitcher in the game — his former Dodgers teammate Zack Greinke is a distant No. 2 — and he has consistently managed to fend off any challenger to his crown as the game’s greatest.But this season, Kershaw has shown a few surprising cracks. (Yes, this is basically akin to saying, “some of Mozart’s concertos were just great, not brilliant.”) Despite throwing six (only six?) shutout innings on Saturday, Kershaw’s earned run average is the highest it’s been since 2012, and his fielding independent pitching, which measures a pitcher’s dominance in the factors he directly controls (strikeouts, walks and home runs), is at its worst since Kershaw’s rookie year. He’s been giving up an uncharacteristic number of home runs (a career-worst 17, and it’s not even July), perhaps having been swept up in the juiced-ball power surge that’s jolted so many pitchers over the past few seasons. Two starts ago, he let the lowly New York Mets take him deep four times, the only four-homer game he’d ever suffered in his entire career. As a result of all this, Kershaw’s status as the game’s unquestioned top ace is in danger for the first time in a while.FiveThirtyEight’s MLB Elo ratings have a component that assigns each starting pitcher a grade, reflecting how much influence he wields over his team’s chances of winning. Kershaw usually has the top mark in baseball; up until the past two weeks, he’d held it for 37 of the previous 38 weeks of MLB action, including 31 consecutive weeks between mid-May 2016 and late April 2017. But Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals passed Kershaw a few weeks ago, thanks to his ongoing run of six consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts, and Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale has edged ahead of Kershaw as well. (Sale passed Kershaw as No. 1 for a week in April, but Kershaw quickly reclaimed the top spot and held it for six more weeks.)Now, Kershaw ranks “only” third in our starting-pitcher ratings. The last time Kershaw sat so low was midway through the 2015 season, when for one week in July he dropped behind Sale, Scherzer and then-Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto, who’d just finished spinning an 11-strikeout complete-game shutout. But within two weeks, Kershaw had climbed back to No. 1, the place he’s spent 106 total weeks (out of a possible 142) since early in the 2013 season. Only three pitchers in the expansion era (since 1961) — Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and fellow Dodger Sandy Koufax — have logged more weeks in the top slot than the 29-year-old Kershaw has in his career.Since Kershaw first rose to No. 1 in 2013, the most consistent assault on his top ranking has come from Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs. For 13 straight weeks between the 2015 stretch run and the first month of the 2016 season, Arrieta ranked first in Elo as part of his stunning ascent from washout to Cy Young winner. That’s the most weeks (consecutive or not) anybody has stood between Kershaw and the No. 1 slot since 2013; the Rangers’ Yu Darvish ranks second with six weeks of sporadic challenges.Right now, Scherzer is in his third week (second in this particular bid) atop Kershaw’s throne. His peripheral stats — and, even more so, Sale’s — have been superior to Kershaw’s on the season so far. Maybe this is the season Kershaw’s grip on best-pitcher status loosens.Given how much Kershaw’s dominated that distinction over the past half-decade, though, I’ll believe it when I see it.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
If winning a Rose Bowl wasn’t enough to make Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee eat his words, perhaps a billboard will be. On Thursday afternoon, 20 billboards around the Columbus area began displaying a message congratulating TCU on its 21-19 Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. The ad takes a direct shot at Gee, who hurled insults at TCU and other non-BCS conference schools in late November. “I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it’s like a murderer’s row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor,” Gee told The Associated Press on Nov. 24. Gee was also chancellor at Vanderbilt from 2000–07. That infamous line capped off the billboard, which read, “Congratulations to TCU for their Rose Bowl victory — Little Sisters of the Poor.” The ad runs on the digital billboards once per minute, for eight seconds. After receiving public backlash, Gee acknowledged that his comments were out of line. “What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher,” Gee told The Columbus Dispatch on Dec. 1. “I have no business talking about college football.” Gee was not immediately available for comment. Robert Rankin, president and general manager of Clear Channel Outdoor Columbus, which operates the digital display, would not disclose the price of the billboard ad or reveal who purchased the ad space. “It’s certainly TCU interests, and they are outside of the state,” Rankin said. “I haven’t sensed that there’s anything going on here except for gamesmanship. There’s no malice.” TCU officials denied any university affiliation with the billboards. “TCU did not create the billboards surrounding Ohio State, nor did it have a role in placing them there,” said Lisa Albert, TCU spokeswoman. “The university does not have any information about who did create these billboards.” Rankin did not say when the billboard would be removed. “It’s a short-term proposition,” he said. “We’re not sure yet how short-term.” Rankin did say the process in which the message was proposed, and then accepted, was fairly quick. This can be typical of digital ads, he said. “This all came down in short order, certainly less than 72 hours,” he said. “That’s one of the beauties of what is still a relatively new medium, in central Ohio anyway.” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte responded to Gee’s comments in November, by challenging the Buckeyes on Dallas radio station KESN-FM. “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere,” Del Conte said. “Buckeyes against the Horned Frogs. Tee it up. Let’s go.” TCU will join the Big East Conference, effective July 1, 2012. The Big East is one of six conferences that have an automatic qualifier for a BCS bowl.
The No. 4-seeded Ohio State men’s tennis team had a season goal to win the team’s first-ever national title. That dream fell short, however, as the Buckeyes lost to No. 1-seeded Virginia, 4-2, in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship Tournament on Monday. OSU started strong with a 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point early in the match. Doubles pairs senior Shuhei Uzawa and junior Chase Buchanan, along with senior Balazs Novak and Blaz Rola, helped clinch the doubles win for their team. Rola and Novak defeated Virginia’s Alex Domijan and Sanam Singh, 8-6, and were followed close behind by Buchanan and Uzawa, who defeated Jarmere Jenkins and Julen Uriguen, 8-6, as well. OSU doubles pair senior Matt Allare and redshirt freshman Peter Kobelt didn’t get a chance to finish their match, but left it with an 8-8 tie against Virginia’s Drew Courtney and Michael Shabaz. “The doubles point is huge,” redshirt sophomore Devin McCarthy said after OSU’s win against Baylor in the quarterfinals Saturday. “It gives everyone a little bit of leeway.” The Buckeyes might have won in doubles, but they fell short in singles, giving up four points to Virginia. While OSU struggled more in singles than in doubles, the singles matches all were very close. Four of the six went into third-game tie-breakers. Virginia scored its first point of the match when OSU’s Buchanan fell, 6-2, 6-2, to Domijan. The Cavaliers then earned a second point when Rola lost to Shabaz, 6-4, 6-4. After giving up two points to Virginia, OSU answered when McCarthy beat Virginia’s Justin Shane, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, earning OSU its second point. The Cavaliers then earned their final two points of the match, giving them the best of seven points and the match win. Virginia will advance to the finals against USC, the two-time national champion and team that beat OSU in the quarterfinals last year. Coming into the tournament, the team knew Virginia would be one of its biggest challenges on the road to a national title. “Virginia hasn’t been beaten at all,” Allare said before the tournament. Novak agreed, noting that Virginia was on OSU’s side of the draw, which ultimately gave the team trouble. The team made it to the semifinals after beating Ball State, Notre Dame and Tulsa, each 4-0, and then defeating Baylor, 4-2, on Saturday. The Buckeyes end their 2010–11 season with a 34-3 record. Despite the loss, four of its members — Rola, Buchanan, Allare and Kobelt — return to Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship May 25–30.
The NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision is steadily progressing toward a four-team playoff system to crown a national champion. After discarding eight and 16-team playoff models, presidents of the Bowl Championship Series member conferences and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick appear to have settled on a four-team playoff system during meetings last week in Hollywood, Fla., according to multiple reports. The new playoff format would begin for the 2014 college football season, according to the reports. The BCS’s official statement after the meetings said the goal all along has been to protect the regular season. “From the start, we set out to protect college football’s unique regular season, which we see as the best regular season in sports,” the BCS statement reads. Like it or not, it seems the BCS is moving in the direction of eliminating the algorithms associated with the system. “Having carefully reviewed calendars and schedules, we believe that either an eight-team or a 16-team playoff would diminish the regular season and harm the bowls,” the statement read. “College football’s regular season is too important to diminish and we do not believe it’s in the best interest of student-athletes, fans or alumni to harm the regular season.” The location of the semifinal games under the proposed plan has yet to be determined. Multiple reports say an integral factor in the proceedings would be preserving the Rose Bowl and possibly the other BCS bowls. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said he’s open to the idea of change as long as it isn’t too extreme. “Not all change is manageable,” Delany told The New York Times. “You want to control change. You want evolution, not revolution, because you don’t know what the unintended consequences will be.” The BCS officials and other conference commissioners are scheduled to meet again in Chicago in June, according to ESPN.com Some students said they think the Buckeyes will do well in the new system. “I think (a four-team playoff) would be a lot more entertaining and exciting,” said Anthony Chambers, a second-year in biology. “I think (Meyer would) do great. I don’t think that a different format is going to change how good of a coach he is because he’s already proven himself at another college in the existing format.” President E. Gordon Gee told The Lantern in February that he still opposed the idea of a playoff system, but is starting to warm up to the idea. “I’m very much on record of being opposed to a playoff system,” Gee said. “Saying that, one of the things you have to do at my age, you have to understand that the world is changing around you, so therefore you have to take a look and see what the possibilities are … I want to think about it.” Andrew Tirpak, a fourth-year in environmental engineering, said he supports the four-team playoff model and he thinks OSU coach Urban Meyer will succeed in the proposed system. “I mean, (Meyer is) a really good coach and I think he would really shape our team for that kind of system,” Tirpak said. Katelyn Pruchnicki contributed to this story.