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first_imgThe 6,000-mile round trip to Baku for the climax of the Europa League will deliver the defining verdict on their first seasons in charge for Arsenal Manager Unai Emery and his Chelsea counterpart Maurizio Sarri this evening.According to BBC, the final will shape how their campaigns are viewed – although for Italian Sarri there is no guarantee that even victory will see him handed a second season at Stamford Bridge.A major European trophy is at stake. Sarri’s job may be at stake. And Arsenal’s future is at stake, as they know only victory will lead them to the riches of the Champions League next season. So who does this confrontation in far-flung Azerbaijan mean most to – Unai Emery or Maurizio Sarri?The final may mean little more than a successful conclusion to a complex, contradictory season for the chain-smoking Italian, who arrived at Chelsea after his work at Napoli drew glowing references from the cream of the coaching crop, including Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.It may yet rank as only something Sarri leaves for Chelsea to remember him by.Sarri’s season at Chelsea has been conducted against the backdrop of discontent among supporters who grew tired of his predictable substitutions.Those reached a low point in February when his go-to replacement of Mateo Kovacic with Ross Barkley (it was vice versa at various other points), was greeted with ironic laughter and chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” from his own fans during the FA Cup fifth-round loss to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.It came after a 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth and a 6-0 mauling by Manchester City and just before goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s open challenge to Sarri’s authority when he refused to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final before a penalty shootout which Chelsea.The much-vaunted ‘Sarri ball’, which was meant to be high-paced attacking football combining pressing and short, quick passing exchanges, has turned out to be largely tedious and relatively easy to rumble by teams of higher class.He has also alienated Chelsea fans by marginalising N’Golo Kante, regarded as the world’s finest holding midfielder, on the right of a three-man midfield to accommodate his favoured son Jorginho in the Frenchman’s favoured position.The big-money buy from Serie A is simply not in Kante’s class as that sort of operator.Sarri’s use (or lack of use) of precocious teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi was also an issue, with England manager Gareth Southgate seeming to show more belief in his talents.As a result of this lack of game time, it seemed this outstanding young winger was determined to leave the club. A serious Achilles tendon injury has put a stop to that for now.Their win percentage in the Premier League was 55.3% from 38 games, with exactly the same number of wins, 21, as Emery. The overall ratio was a highly respectable 61.3% from 62 games so far.Sarri’s problems, however, have extended beyond the field of play.There has been no connection between him and Chelsea’s fans, with not even the presence of Stamford Bridge legend Gianfranco Zola helping form a bond.And yet, if he wins in Baku, Sarri may be able to present a strong case to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich that he has actually fulfilled his remit and deserves to build on the last 12 months.If a crystal ball of Sarri’s season in August had predicted a third-placed finish, the League Cup final only being lost on penalties to the team that completed the domestic clean sweep and an appearance in a major European final, surely this would have been deemed acceptable?If he had achieved this at other clubs there would be talk of a contract extension, not of a parting of the ways.Chelsea finished fifth under Antonio Conte last season and although the FA Cup was won, his relationship with the club’s hierarchy had fractured.Would anyone else have done any better this season? No-one marked Chelsea down as serious title contenders but they finished above Tottenham and behind two of the outstanding Premier League teams in recent memory.This Europa League final means much to Sarri – whether it means a lot for him at Chelsea or somewhere else remains to be seen.If Chelsea win, he can give Abramovich tangible evidence of his success and may even persuade the Russian that an alternative, such as Frank Lampard, is a romantic vision rather than a realistic one.If that is not enough for Chelsea, the sight of Sarri holding the Europa League trophy aloft will confirm in the eyes of Serie A giants such as Juventus, Roma or even AC Milan, that this is a coach of serious substance who should be given the appreciation in his homeland he may feel he has never been afforded in England.For Emery, the final means a return to familiar territory for the man who has made this tournament a spectacular speciality – winning it three times in succession at Sevilla, the last time when impressively outmanoeuvring Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool in Basel in 2015.Emery has shown the sure touch of an expert in guiding Arsenal past Napoli and Valencia in the knockout stages and, from a personal point of view, winning in Baku would simply strengthen the confidence of the Gunners’ hierarchy that they have the right man to move the club forward after the 22-year reign of Arsene Wenger.In many respects, however, overcoming Chelsea tonight will mean more to Arsenal’s long-term future than to Emery’s, who will be given time and patience to shape the club irrespective of the outcome in Azerbaijan.Arsenal risk falling further adrift of the Premier League elite if they are out of the Champions League for another season – especially with neighbours Spurs, who lived in their shadow for so long, contesting the Champions League final with Liverpool in Madrid on Saturday.For Emery, securing his status as the man to win Arsenal’s first European trophy since the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup will increase his own confidence and that of those who employed him.To claim the trophy for the fourth time as a manager would also be a remarkable personal feat.It would, crucially, mean his first Arsenal campaign would be regarded as a success on two fronts – a trophy in the cabinet and a return to European football’s top table after the stale end to the Wenger eraShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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first_imgGhana coach James Kwesi Appiah will have the services  Michael Essien and Abdul Majeed Waris at his disposal as both returned  to full scale training on Friday evening.Essien suffered a toe problem while training with the Black Stars after the reverse against the United States while striker Majeed Waris had not been able to get involved in full scale training after suffering a muscle tear in Ghana’s last pre-tournament game against South Korea.Ghana FA has  confirmed the duo are all set for Saturday’s group game against the European giants.“The pains in Essien’s toe has subsided considerably and he has been training quite well. Waris has also been fit and training just three days after the injury so he is ready to play,” he told pressmen.Essien came off the bench to play in Ghana’s opening Group G defeat against the USA while Waris was not involved in the game.Meanwhile the team  made the 1:10-minutes flight from Maceio to Forteleza where the game will be playedlast_img read more

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first_img“All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy,” Silver said. “(This) is why I’m not prepared to discuss any possible sanctions against Donald Sterling. We will move extraordinarily quickly in our investigation. In the meantime, Mr. Sterling has agreed he will not attend his playoff game (today) in Golden State.”Sterling is stubborn and surely won’t step down as the franchise’s longtime owner. TMZ Sports’ report late Friday and damning audio of repeated incendiary and racist comments was released and should seal his fate. TMZ didn’t explain how it obtained the recording. This news organization hasn’t heard the tape nor verified its authenticity.But in the audio, an argument with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, allegedly started in part because of a photo she posted of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram. Sterling said: “Don’t put him (Magic) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”He goes on to say in the recording: “You can sleep with (them). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.” But to hear him, uttering unthinkable words over and over again in an audio TMZ claims is Sterling’s voice, is the final gruesome act Sterling should be allowed to make. The Clippers owner’s despicable history has played out in courts, and the NBA hasn’t done anything about it.The time is now, and it’s fallen in the hands of new NBA commissioner Adam Silver. He can begin his legacy with a landmark move, suspending Donald Sterling, fining him and forcing him to sell the team. Silver held a news conference in Memphis, Tenn., and will not make a determination on Sterling’s future until the NBA is done with its investigation. The Clippers released a statement and didn’t deny that it was Sterling’s voice but said: “… We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered.”It’s difficult to imagine Sterling sees the world through a dark, biased, hurtful view, but that’s apparently reality.On Twitter, Magic Johnson said he and his wife, Cookie, would not go to another Clippers game as long as Sterling owns the team.“I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African-Americans,” Johnson tweeted. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who is African-American, posted a photo that was all black on Instagram on Saturday morning. Sterling’s hatred cannot be ignored or tolerated, and allowing him to be a mouthpiece for the NBA or Clippers would be equally disturbing.Kobe Bryant weighed in on Twitter with this simple yet direct Tweet: “I couldn’t play for him.”The firestorm created in social media shows players, fans and political figures will not accept Sterling’s deplorable ways.Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement: “These statements are offensive and despicable and have no place in Los Angeles. I urge the NBA to act swiftly. L.A. fans deserve and demand better.”The Clippers’ most loyal, dedicated and popular fan, known as “Clipper Darrell” told TMZ on Saturday: “To know that the man responsible for putting me on the team plane to attend a playoff game in 2006 didn’t like black people at his games is upsetting.”Clipper Darrell has endured decades of losing by the franchise. Sterling has owned the team for 29 years and moved it from San Diego to Los Angeles.And now it’s time he was removed.If Sterling doesn’t want black players at his games, he would just have J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu suiting up for him today in Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors. He would also have to bench his coach, Doc Rivers.Oh, wait. He doesn’t mind someone with any color of skin helping him make money.Repulsive. Rivers’ son, Jeremiah, 26, tweeted about players continuing to play for themselves, the organization and fans.“The clippers need the people, fans, and city of LA more then (sic) ever. The team deserves it,” Jeremiah said.Snoop Dogg was not as diplomatic. He posted a video on Instagram as a message to Sterling. It’s laced with profanity, but his message his clear. “… you racist piece of &^%$.”Wonderful to see athletes and celebrities standing up for what’s right. And now, it’s time for Silver to do the [email protected] @jillpainter on Twittercenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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first_imgSome of the massive drugs haul found by the PSNI for which Boyce was connected to.Pic courtesy of PSNI.A Co Donegal bread delivery driver facing charges over a €380,000 herbal cannabis seizure in Northern Ireland must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled today.Séamus Boyce, from Letterkenny, was refused bail amid claims he held a trusted position in a cross-Border crime gang importing the drugs recovered from his van in Lurgan, Co Armagh.The 36-year-old was one of three men arrested last month as part of a joint PSNI-Garda investigation. Mr Boyce, of Glenwood Park, Letterkenny, is charged with possessing Class B drugs with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of drugs.He has claimed unidentified men threatened him into putting the consignment in his van.The Irish Times reports that prosecutors said officers monitored three vehicles at locations in Newry and then Lurgan on April 22nd.CCTV footage also depicts some of the suspects’ movements before police swooped at Derrymacash Road.Fifteen 1kg bags of herbal cannabis, with a combined street value of up to £300,000 were found during a search of Boyce’s van, the court heard.‘Trusted position’A Crown lawyer said that after being detained he told police: “Why did I get caught up in this. The party’s over now.”She added that he claimed to have been approached and threatened by unnamed men while carrying out his delivery duties in Donegal, but declined to give detectives more details.Opposing bail, the lawyer said: “There’s been a substantial loss to this organised crime gang and he was in a trusted position.”Citing further concerns for Mr Boyce’s personal safety, she also revealed that shots were fired at the Co Donegal home of a co-accused last month.Defence counsel Barry McKenna argued there is no evidence that his client has trappings of wealth or leads a criminal lifestyle.He also confirmed that a family friend was prepared to put up a €10,000 surety to secure Mr Boyce’s release.But denying bail, Mr Justice Horner held that release conditions could not be properly monitored on someone living outside the jurisdiction.He added: “This was obviously a well-planned operation and police believe the applicant was a member of a gang involved in the importation of drugs into Northern Ireland.”DONEGAL MAN ARRESTED FOR HUGE CANNABIS HAUL MUST REMAIN IN CUSTODY was last modified: May 17th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:arrestcannabisdonegalSeamus Boycelast_img read more

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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsInterest in the IPO appears strong, according to analyst James DeStefano of Renaissance Capital, which tracks IPOs. “It’s coming at a pretty attractive valuation … people are attracted to growth,” DeStefano said. Vonage has added customers faster than any other VoIP service, thanks to a ubiquitous Internet advertising campaign. Its banner ads feature pictures of attractive women or the message that “No Nerds” are needed to install Vonage’s phone adapter, which routes calls over a broadband Internet connection. If the shares price at $17 each, the value of the entire company would be $2.6 billion. The company had 1.6 million subscribers on April 1, meaning the upper end of the IPO range values the company at about $1,600 per subscriber. It’s a high price considering it charges the bulk of its subscribers $25 a month for unlimited calling to the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEW YORK – Vonage, the company that popularized the idea of using broadband Internet connections for phone calls, is set to go public this week at a price that appears to be drawing in plenty of investors, but skeptical glances from some analysts. As a small but well-funded company, Vonage Holdings Corp. has set the pace in the market for voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, but its future is far from assured now that the giants of the telecommunications industry, in particular the cable companies, have started getting serious about the business. The Holmdel, N.J., company is expected to sell 31.25 million shares in its initial public offering, with trading to start Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “VG.” The company expects to get $16 to $18 per share, an estimate it reaffirmed in a regulatory filing Monday. The actual IPO price is expected to be set tonight, and could still fall outside the estimated range depending on demand. last_img read more