TagsTransfersOpinionAbout the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your say Free & nasty: Why Pepe the old ‘basket’ this Man Utd needsby Chris Beattie10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCOMMENT: They’ve already had the conversation. Jose Mourinho and Jorge Mendes. The Manchester United manager will have been all across it – and well before yesterday’s announcement…’So, do you want him? He fancies it…,’ the pitch from Mourinho’s agent will have been made. Short. To the point. Just as he offered Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao to the then Chelsea manager some four years ago. That is, before delivering them to Ed Woodward, United’s vice-chairman exec. Mendes will have given Mourinho first refusal on his latest client to become available. A player to parachute into the shambles that is United’s back four this season. A player who has gone to war for Mourinho. Who has spilled blood for the manager. Both his and the opposition’s. One who revels in being a right old basket. The sort of basket this United locker room has sorely missed. Ryan Giggs, the Wales coach, said as much yesterday. Picking over the wreckage of what was left at Anfield, Giggs took aim at Romelu Lukaku – though with a twist. As bad as the Belgian was, argued United’s famous No11, the lack of confrontation inside the locker room was doing him no favours.”I look at Lukaku and his touch was bad,” stated Giggs, “but also I don’t see any other player having a go at him, saying: ‘Listen we need you to hold it up.’ “What that does is, Lukaku might have a go back and you get fired up.”It’s like when you get tackled or fouled, you get fired up. You don’t see that in that Manchester United team. “We’re playing in a different era to when I used to play when you had a lot more leaders and characters but if your team-mate isn’t performing, you tell them. You must do.” Step forward Pepe. The three time Champions League winner. Of Real Madrid fame. Now wrapping up his stay with Besiktas. In a day or so he’ll be a free agent. A leader. A winner. A personality to organise those around him. To demand they follow the manager’s instructions. And one who won’t flinch if a rollicking is needed for a young teammate – even if that young teammate boasts a World Cup winner’s medal.We know Mourinho has been seeking such a player. Those Andreas Granqvist stories weren’t plucked from thin air. United had a presence at Helsingborgs games this season. The veteran centre-half – at 33 – was a consideration for Mourinho. Granqvist knew it. The HIF board knew it. Like Pepe, the Swede’s experience and organising know-how was what had attracted the United manager. Though this is one we can’t confirm, it’s perhaps no coincidence that Granqvist – after some excitement last month – announced over the weekend he was “99.9 per cent sure” an Old Trafford move was now off. Maybe, just maybe, the word had reached Granqvist’s reps that another veteran was now Mourinho’s focus.After Liverpool. After the confusion. The chaos. Mourinho needs something different. Something to stop the monotonous lurching. From crisis to inevitable crisis. He needs a circuit breaker. And Pepe can be just that.The 35 year-old isn’t leaving Besiktas because of form. Nor any type of personality clash. With the Black Eagles struggling to pay the bills, the Portuguese has agreed to terminate his contract. The defender made an on pitch farewell yesterday for Besiktas’ draw with Trabzonspor. This just days after he left thousands in an envelope for club staff to share as a personal Christmas bonus.So now he is free – and been offered to Mourinho. Someone to help bring on Diogo Dalot. To guide and develop the raw talent of Eric Bailly. The potential of Victor Lindelof. And one to demand better from those around him. The leader on the pitch. The personality inside the dressing room. The one Mourinho has lacked since Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure a year ago.That call from Mendes last week could be just the Lifebuoy Mourinho has been desperately seeking all season.
Bournemouth boss Howe warns Fulham: Mousset going nowhereby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFulham will not be getting their hands on Lys Mousset anytime soon.The struggling Premier league club had hoped they would be able to sign the youngster, but Bournemouth see him as a key part of their plans.He started the 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea in midweek and was impressive.After the game, Howe spoke about the possibility of Mousset leaving: “It sounds like we’re going to be left with no strikers at this rate!”Lys [Mousset] did very well. That was probably his best performance for the club.”His fitness levels were much improved and technically, he produced a really high-level game and he’s a big part of our future.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
It’s been a long year for both Michigan and Rutgers on the hardwood. Saturday, the basketball Gods decided to make it just a little bit longer. During the first half of the contest between the Wolverines and the Scarlet Knights, the lights went out at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. Here’s video of the incident.Lights going out at Rutgers-Michigan game mid-play. #B1G pic.twitter.com/DjuypIi3gw— Matt C (@05HAWKI) March 7, 2015The issue was quickly fixed, and the teams have resumed play. Michigan is up 41-26 with two minutes to play in the first session.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – OCTOBER 14: Jim Harbaugh the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines watches the action during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) YouTube/Jim HarbaughWe knew that Jim Harbaugh would respond to the recent NCAA vote to ban satellite camps. That was a certainty. Even with the Michigan head coach’s history of lashing out, we wouldn’t have predicted just how hard Harbaugh swung back in response. In an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Rosenberg, Harbaugh slams the NCAA, and even the term “student-athlete” in light of the vote.As Harbaugh tells SI : “The incompetence of the NCAA has reared its ugly head yet again.” …Harbaugh says the ruling was “knee-jerk … like somebody was shaving in the morning, cut themselves when they were shaving and said, ‘Let’s just ban satellite camps.’“I mean, what’s it based on? A survey? There wasn’t a lot of discussion or study. What are the facts? What are the perils and merits of making that decision? It just seemed lacking in that regard.”Satellite camps are no new concept, but Harbaugh put a special emphasis on them after taking over at Michigan, with a specific target on the Southeast, home of many ACC and SEC power programs.“During the NCAA basketball tournament we discuss the term ‘student-athlete’ ad nauseam in promoting our governing institution and our member institutions. Then, when we have an opportunity to truly promote the ‘student-athlete’ with a concept shared by educators and football men from all backgrounds, our leadership goes into hiding.“I suggest we drop the term ‘student-athlete’ for consistency.”Harbaugh wasn’t afraid to take targeted swipes at rival coaches either, specifically Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze who recently defended the decision.“It seems to be outrage by the SEC and ACC,” Harbaugh says. “They power-brokered that out … the image that comes to my mind is guys in a back room smoking cigars, doing what they perceive is best for them. It certainly isn’t the best thing for the youngsters. It’s not the best thing for the student-athletes.”Harbaugh saw Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze say, “I’m away from my family enough, and I just did not want to go,” and it did not sit well with him.Says Harbaugh: “You’ve got a guy sitting in a big house, making $5 million a year, saying he does not want to sacrifice his time. That is not a kindred spirit to me. What most of these coaches are saying is they don’t want to work harder.” While some may assume Harbaugh is the coach affected most, he’s done a great job at Michigan so far, and that program rarely needs help on the recruiting trail. He’ll get his players. This really hurts small schools that aren’t in talent-rich areas this most, and players who aren’t in position to receive the exposure that those in places like Florida, Georgia, and Texas receive. We’ll see if Harbaugh’s complaints hold real weight, or if they will just fall on deaf ears.[Campus Rush]
Mr. Green, who was addressing Thursday’s (July 20) staging of a workshop held at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, lamented that the document has been in the planning stage for the past 15 years, and stressed that it is time to have it completed and presented to Cabinet for approval. State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence (NPACV) is to be finalised within six months.This will follow a revision of the document which will incorporate recommendations to come out of a workshop focusing on the plan’s continued development.The goal of the NPACV is to create and maintain a protective environment, supportive of and responsive to the issues of violence, child abuse and maltreatment of children in Jamaica.Mr. Green, who was addressing Thursday’s (July 20) staging of a workshop held at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, lamented that the document has been in the planning stage for the past 15 years, and stressed that it is time to have it completed and presented to Cabinet for approval.He noted that the plan is not to “reinvent the wheel,” but for all stakeholders to work together one final time to “review what we have done so far, update as much as possible and come out of this with a clear direction to ensure that we can have a national plan to treat with the issue of violence against our children.”The plan, which is to be implemented over a five-year period, involves collaboration among several Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments, civil society groups and other stakeholders.In his remarks, State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said the problems cannot be solved in isolation, noting that he is pleased to see all the stakeholders working together to enhance mechanisms to protect the nation’s children.“It is the only approach for us to be successful and to have a sustainable solution to the problems that face our children,” he said.Senator Charles Jr. called for all involved to “continue to challenge the system, and where there are gaps, where there are deficiencies continue to work together to see how we can solve those issues (regarding violence against children),” he urged.The core objective of the NPACV is to reduce the impact of violence against children through an integrated approach to prevention, control, intervention responses, monitoring and evaluation.This is to ensure that the rights of children are preserved, and that an environment is created to stimulate their positive growth and development into productive citizens of Jamaica.The workshop was staged by the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Youth Ministry, and sought to address the key issues and challenges pertaining to children as victims, perpetrators and witnesses of acts of abuse.Additionally, it was also a demonstration to stakeholders and the country of the Government’s willingness and commitment to take on the issue of violence against the nation’s children and show joint Government and private/public partnerships in tackling the issue.Participants included representatives from the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Health, CDA, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Youth Ministry, Office of the Children’s Registry, Office of the Children’s Advocate, Ministry of Justice, Hear the Children’s Cry, and civil society organisations. Story Highlights State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence (NPACV) is to be finalised within six months. The plan, which is to be implemented over a five-year period, involves collaboration among several Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments, civil society groups and other stakeholders.
The Duke of Cambridge, Patron of Centrepoint, the leading youth homelessness charity for 16-25 year-olds, recently visited a hostel in London.Prince William at CentrepointCredit/Copyright: Royal.UKThe Duke spent time meeting young people who rely on the charity to help them turn their lives around.As well as providing homeless young people with a safe place to stay, the work of Centrepoint focuses on providing young people with help to tackle physical and mental health problems and support in accessing education and work.On his visit to a Centrepoint hostel, The Duke of Cambridge observed some of the Centrepoint sessions designed for young people, and took the opportunity to hear about the personal experiences of those attending the programme.The support of Centrepoint can make a huge difference to the future of homeless young people, who are four times more likely to not be in education, employment or training than non-homeless peers. Centrepoint offers a wide range of support to help young people enter the world of work, particularly through Workwise, a four-week programme which has been specifically designed to help homeless young people overcome barriers to finding and keeping a job.The Duke spent time with staff who run the hostel, and colleagues from Centrepoint’s Learning Team who provide workshops and training sessions.Centrepoint supports 9,000 young people directly in London, Yorkshire and the North East, and through its partner charities across the UK. Young people typically stay with Centrepoint for around two years, with 90 per cent moving on positively.Centrepoint aims to help all young people find a job and a home, so they can leave homelessness behind for good. For more information about Centrepoint visit their website.Source:Royal.UK
Annette Francis APTN NewsA motion calling for Pope Francis to apologize to residential school survivors was debated for nearly four hours in the House of Commons Thursday.The motion presented by NDP MP Charlie Angus also called on the government to pressure the church on a number of other firstname.lastname@example.org@aptnafrancis
Following the collision, one lane was closed, with alternating traffic, during the investigation and clean up of the collision site.According to the RCMP, one person was pronounced as a result of the collision.For road condition updates at any time, you can visit DriveBC.ca DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The section of the Alaska Highway north of Dawson Creek is now completely open as of Friday at 4:00 p.m.A fatal collision between a Pick-up truck and a Tanker truck north of Dawson Creek closed the Alaska Highway yesterday afternoon.The accident took place at around 2:40 p.m. and closed the Alaska Highway, at 214 Road, 9 km north of Dawson Creek for several hours.
Fort St. John Campaign Office Grand OpeningMonday, September 16, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m at 10230 100 StreetPrince George Campaign Office Grand OpeningTuesday, September 17, 2019, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m at 1905 Victoria StreetDawson Creek Campaign Office Grand OpeningWednesday, September 18, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m at 1201 Alaska Avenue FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The public have been invited to join in the grand opening of the re-elect for Bob Zimmer, Conservative Candidate, offices.This is a chance to meet with Zimmer, Conservative Candidate for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies and his campaign team. Zimmer was elected to represent the Conservative party in 2011, 2015 and is now running for re-election in 2019.
Green spaces and colourful urban design elements may lead to higher levels of happiness, greater trust of strangers and environmental stewardship than locations without those amenities, a study has found. The study, published in the journal Cities and Health, suggests that simple, inexpensive urban design interventions can increase well-being and social connections among city residents. “The urban design interventions we studied are relatively simple and low-cost, but show great potential to improve individuals’ emotional and social lives,” said Hanna Negami, a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “Something as simple as adding greenery to a concrete lane or painting a rainbow crosswalk could help to enrich urban public spaces,” Negami said. For the study, participants were taken on walking tours of Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood and asked to complete a questionnaire via a smartphone application at six stops. This included a pair of laneways (one green, one concrete), crosswalks (one painted rainbow, one standard zebra), and a pair of greenspaces (one wild community garden and one manicured greenspace). The addition of greenspace and place-making initiatives can help promote social connections for citizens, and help to mitigate social isolation, researchers said. They hope that these findings will ultimately help improve the experiences of people living in cities. “We know that the design of a city has direct, measurable, psychological impact on its citizens,” says Colin Ellard, a professor at the University of Waterloo. “We have been able to show how such impact can be measured and what it can tell us about good, psychologically sustainable design,” Ellard said.
NEW DELHI: With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner and little chance of an alliance with the Congress in Delhi, the AAP at the grassroots level initiated its work to bring together the Muslim votes of the city. Senior leaders of the party said that the AAP has initiated work targeting to get nearly 80 per cent vote.Nearly 12 per cent of the population of Delhi is Muslims which has been a stronghold of Congress however the AAP got 77 per cent Muslim votes in 2015 Vidhan Sabha polls. According to earlier data, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections AAP got 56 per cent of Muslim votes followed by 39 per cent Congress and 2 per cent BJP. Before 2014 also the available data showed that in Delhi the BJP has little base in terms of the Muslim votes but the Congress was the strongest. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderIn this Lok Sabha elections in the ground, the leaders felt that there is a major sentiment among Muslims that the anti-BJP vote in Delhi should not be divided hence the community voiced for an alliance. Talking to Millennium Post, chairman of Delhi Waqf Board Amanatullah Khan said, “The Muslims in Delhi was a strong base for the Congress but now the entire community is with us. The party in the ground is working to 80 per cent votes.” Khan who is also an MLA of AAP from Okhla explained that the Muslims of Delhi has been the direct beneficiary of the development works of the AAP government which made the voters confident toward voting the party. “After coming to power the AAP has never taken any step which discriminates the religious minorities or the caste minorities. A large section of Dalits are also with the AAP and the Muslims have already been major voters of the AAP,” Khan said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsHe also said that in the ground as there was a sentiment of alliance between the Muslims, the party found that nearly 60 per cent vote would be with AAP in today’s condition. “The way we have started working alone I believe that by the end of the campaigns we would be able to get the other 20 per cent of the Muslim vote because nearly 10 per cent Muslim vote would go the Congress,” said Khan. Meanwhile, the Sikhs, 4 per cent of Delhi’s population, also rallied behind AAP — 57 per cent in the 2015 assembly elections earlier this Sikhs were also a stronghold of the Congress.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Gujarat government to take disciplinary action in two weeks against the erring police officials, including an IPS officer, convicted by the Bombay High Court in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case during the 2002 riots in the state. Besides, Bano in a plea before the top court sought exemplary compensation from the state government, refusing to accept its offer of Rs 5 lakh.A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna asked the Gujarat government to complete the disciplinary action within two weeks initiated against the erring officials indicted by the Bombay High Court. “On the statement made by the Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of Gujarat, that the proceedings for disciplinary action against the erring officers will be completed within two weeks, we adjourn the matter for two weeks. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”On the next date, the orders passed in the disciplinary proceedings be placed before the Court,” the bench said. The top court, terming the Rs 5 lakh compensation offered by the Gujarat government ‘interim’, said the plea for exemplary compensation will be heard on April 23. “Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General appearing for the State has offered an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh, which counsel for the petitioner is reluctant to accept and instead prays for final disposal of the special leave petition. Let the special leave petition be listed on April 23, 2019,” it said.
New Delhi: An “irked” Central Information Commission (CIC) issued a show-cause notice to Air India’s CPIO on Thursday for the “callous attitude” while denying information about the purchase price of Air India-I aircraft to ferry VVIPs like the president and the prime minister. The national carrier, while denying an RTI applicant the details of the cost and status of the purchase of Boeing 777-300, to be used as Air India-I, did not invoke any of the RTI exemption clauses in an “inordinately delayed” response, Information Commissioner Divya Prakash Sinha noted. An RTI applicant had approached the commission, the highest adjudicating body under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, after he failed to get a satisfactory response from Air India. Air India has purchased two Boeing 777-300ERs, which will replace the over 25-year-old jumbo jets — B747-400s — which used to ferry the president, vice-president and the prime minister. The jets chartered by the national carrier for VVIP flights are given the call sign, Air India-I. The two jets are part Air India’s 2006 order to Boeing for 68 aircraft — 27 Dreamliners, 15 B777-300 ERs, eight B777-200 LRs and 18 B737-800s. The aircraft have been retrofitted with additional features required for the movement of dignitaries. When the matter came up for hearing before the CIC, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), the nodal officer for handling RTI applications in a public authority, of Air India was not present. He had, instead, delegated it to a different officer, who was caught unaware about the reasons for the delayed response. Under the RTI Act, a response to an application should mandatorily be provided within 30 days. The information could only be denied citing a suitable exemption clause under the RTI Act and “not merely on apprehensions and conjecture”, Sinha noted.
San Francisco: In a sign that platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp are emerging as new public square for criminal deception, a study has found that social media fraud increased 43 per cent in 2018. The results suggest that cyber criminals are increasingly relying on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other legitimate social media and messaging platforms to communicate with each other and sell stolen identities, credit card numbers and other ill-gotten gains. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraGiven the ease of use, absence of fees and other benefits of these platforms, continuation of this trend in 2019 should come as no surprise, said “Current State of Cybercrime – 2019” white paper, released by RSA Security. Trade in stolen identities would gain greater momentum with more stores likely opening on legitimate platforms to sell this type of data, the study said. According to researchers, fraud in the mobile channel has grown significantly over the last several years, with 70 per cent of artifice originating in the mobile channel in 2018. In particular, fraud from mobile apps increased 680 per cent between 2015 and 2018, said the study, adding the use of rogue mobile applications to defraud consumers was on the rise. With one out of five cyber attacks attributed to rogue mobile apps in 2018, RSA identified an average of 82 rogue mobile applications a day last year across popular app stores.
Srinagar: Several incidents of stone pelting took place Monday in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir where polling is underway for election to the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, police said. “Isolated incidents of stone pelting near polling stations have been reported from various parts of Kulgam district but the situation is under control due to timely action of security forces,” a police official said. He said there were no reports of anyone getting hurt in the stone pelting incidents so far. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework The Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency is spread over four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama with 16 assembly segments. The Lok Sabha polls to this constituency are being held in three phases due to security reasons. Anantnag district went to polls on 23 April, while voting in Pulwama and Shopian districts will take place on 6 May. The Election Commission has curtailed the polling duration for Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency by two hours following a request from the state police to this effect. The revised polling timing is from 7 am to 4 pm. There are 18 candidates in the fray for Anantnag constituency, including PDP president and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti. The Congress has fielded its state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, while former High Court judge Hasnain Masoodi is contesting on the National Conference ticket.
New Delhi: The HRD Ministry Tuesday announced an extension of deadline for JEE-Advanced registration by five days for students from cyclone-hit Odisha.The decision was taken following a request from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The HRD Ministry has also directed IIT Bhubaneswar to help the aspirants from Odisha for online registration as it has fully functional internet connection. “I am happy to announce that students from #Odisha appearing for #JEE (Advanced) 2019 will get an extension of 5 days till May 14 for their registration. A decision to this effect was taken following the request of #Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik @Naveen_Odisha,” Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh”@IITBhubaneswar will help the #JEE (Advanced) aspirants in #Odisha for online registration as it has fully functional internet connection. As declared earlier #JEE (Advanced) for all students across the country will be held on May 27, 2019,” he added. Mobile networks in Odisha remained affected following Cyclone Fani. In a letter to Javadekar, Patnaik had urged the Centre to extend the registration date for the JEE (Advanced) for admission to prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Last week, the HRD Ministry had postponed the medical entrance exam-NEET, in view of rehabilitation work in the state which has been affected by Cyclone Fani. While JEE-Mains is conducted for admission to engineering colleges across the country, JEE-Advanced is for the ones seeking admission to IITs. It is mandatory to clear the JEE-Mains to be eligible to appear for JEE-Advanced.
Minnesota coach Jerry Kill has been released from the hospital after suffering a seizure late Saturday afternoon.The school confirmed Kill’s release Sunday. Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys told local reporters Sunday that Kill’s seizure was minor and that the coach could return to the team as early as Sunday afternoon.Kill was taken to the hospital Saturday as a precaution and was reported to be resting comfortably by Saturday night.Kill, 51, has had seizure disorder since being diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005. He suffered a more severe seizure on the sideline during a game last September and had to be hospitalized for several days.That hasn’t stopped Kill in the past from getting right back out there.“What the hell am I supposed to do? Stop? I mean, sit in the chair and wait for the next dang seizure to come along?” Kill said last year.It’s the latest bit of adversity for the Gophers, who started the season 4-0 to generate optimism among the program’s long-suffering fans that a bowl game could be had.But they were thumped 31-13 at Iowa in the Big Ten opener, then delivered a sloppy and mistake-filled performance in the loss to the Wildcats on Saturday to fall to 0-2 in the conference.
When the Kansas City Chiefs host the Oakland Raiders Thursday night, the outcome will go a long way toward determining who wins the AFC West and will influence the whole conference’s playoff picture. But further down the game’s list of notable implications is the fact that it’s one of the best Thursday night games1We’re counting any prime-time game played on a Thursday as a Thursday night game, even though some games played on Thursday nights are marketed as “Sunday Night Football” or “Monday Night Football” and some games marketed as “Thursday Night Football” are played on other days of the week. in NFL history.Just like when I sized up the awfulness of Week 8’s Jaguars-Titans Thursday night tilt, we can measure the quality of a given NFL matchup by taking the harmonic mean of the two teams’ pre-game Elo ratings (FiveThirtyEight’s pet metric for estimating a team’s quality at any given moment). And according to that measure, tonight’s K.C.-Oakland game is the seventh-best Thursday night matchup in NFL history: The best Thursday night NFL matchups of all time 111/29/07DallasGreen Bay166016491655 211/27/14**SeattleSan Francisco166816291648 69/9/04*New EnglandIndianapolis166715911628 310/23/14DenverSan Diego168816071646 99/5/13*BaltimoreDenver162816091618 109/10/09*PittsburghTennessee164515931618 411/26/98**MinnesotaDallas167716101643 712/8/16Kansas CityOakland166215861623 811/24/11**BaltimoreSan Francisco162816101619 DATETEAM 1TEAM 2TEAM 1TEAM 2HARMONIC MEAN 59/8/16*DenverCarolina163716341635 *NFL’s season-opening game.**Thanksgiving night game.In each matchup, “Team 1” is the higher-rated team according to Elo.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com At the same time, Monday night matchups have been getting worse, and now the two days have very nearly pulled even in terms of their average quality.2At least in prime time; I excluded non-prime-time Thursday games such as Thanksgiving day games. Both are still far, far below the level established by the league’s flagship prime-time games on Sunday nights. But with more games like tonight’s Raiders-Chiefs tilt, Thursday night is no longer merely a place for the NFL to stash terrible matchups so it can get every team on prime-time TV.Check out our latest NFL predictions. In fact, if we toss out special Thursday occasions — Thanksgiving and the NFL’s annual opening-night showcase — Raiders-Chiefs rises to third-best among the ranks of ordinary Thursday night games. We haven’t seen a matchup this good emerge organically from the Thursday night schedule since the Broncos hosted the Chargers in Oct. 2014.Good Thursday night games like Chiefs-Raiders are part of a larger comeback trend. Thursday night football has been a perennial punchline, particularly since 2012, when the NFL decided to play a Thursday night game almost every week instead of firing the feature up at midseason for the stretch run, as it did between 2006 and 2011. But after a rocky start, the quality of these midweek games has slowly risen over the past five seasons: PRE-GAME ELO RATING
Update (July 13, 5:46 p.m.): Germany won the World Cup on Sunday, defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time.In basketball, it’s a safe bet that the United States men’s national team would defeat even the best NBA teams more often than not. Likewise, it’s hard to imagine any single NHL squad being favored against the Canadian national hockey team, if there were ever an occasion for them to face off. Yet it’s pretty conventional wisdom in soccer circles that the best teams in the Champions League, the world’s top club-level competition, are better than those in the World Cup, soccer’s premier international tournament. That’s because thanks to the economics of soccer, it’s possible for clubs to assemble all-star teams even in the absence of All-Star Games.Intuitively, it’s not hard to see why. Unlike basketball and hockey, where global talent is concentrated in a relatively small number of countries, soccer is a sport played at a high level across a much wider and more diverse set of locales. Talent is then naturally more diluted at the international level. The most important club soccer leagues also lack North American-style salary caps, so the richest club teams are (checkbooks willing) free to accumulate a far greater amount of talent than any national team can.I went to the spreadsheets to settle this debate, and, based on my calculations, the conventional wisdom is indeed wise — to a certain extent. The top club teams in the world as a group are superior to the national teams in this year’s World Cup field. But even so, teams that are the cream of the international crop are not as far behind their club-level cousins as managers like Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger would have you believe.One way we can test this is to use the individual plus/minus player ratings that underlie ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) rankings. We’ve been over the gory details of those ratings before, but here are the basics: In addition to using head-to-head results from international matches, SPI also attempts to measure the talent level of every team based on the skill of its component players. To that end, each player is assigned a per-minute effect rating determined both by his individual statistics and by how his team performs with him in the lineup (compared to its performance without him). ESPN’s Stats & Info team computes this for both national and club teams, provided the player’s club is in one of the “Big Five” European leagues1Those of Spain, England, Italy, Germany and France. or appeared in the Champions League.These numbers give us a player’s approximated influence on his team’s rate of scoring and preventing goals. For instance, Lionel Messi, the impossibly good attacker for Barcelona (on the club side) and Argentina (in this World Cup), is estimated to add 0.62 more goals per 90 minutes than an average player on offense, and save 0.03 more goals per 90 minutes than the average player on defense, for a net value of 0.65 goals per 90 minutes. (Nobody tops Messi among players with any kind of playing time over the past two seasons, although Messi’s longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo is a close second at 0.63.)If we aggregate these ratings for an entire roster, weighting by the number of minutes each player was on the pitch,2The minutes data I used for club teams was from the 2013-14 season; for national teams it was from the 2014 World Cup, through the semifinal round. we can derive an SPI-like number to describe the amount of talent on any team, whether it plays for club or country.3A team’s overall SPI is determined by a combination of its projected goals scored (offensive SPI) and its projected goals allowed (defensive SPI) against a theoretical average international opponent. And according to these numbers,4SPI player ratings are up to date through the World Cup quarterfinals. the three best club teams in the world — Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich — are a cut above the best national teams. But, in turn, the four most talented national teams — Brazil,5Remember, this rating includes Neymar and Thiago Silva both playing more than 80 percent of their available minutes. Argentina, Germany and Spain — are solidly better than the next tier of club teams, a group that includes Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and the Champions League runners-up, Atletico Madrid.According to these numbers, Messi’s club team (Barcelona) would win 56 percent of its matches against his national team (Argentina) if they somehow played in a knockout setting at a neutral location (this model obviously assumes a dramatic development in cloning technology). But Argentina would be expected to win 56 percent of its matches against Manchester City or Atletico Madrid under similar circumstances. The top national teams would be favored (or at least evenly matched) against all but the world’s very best club teams.Perhaps this shouldn’t be overly surprising. I combined Transfermarkt values for every player on this year’s World Cup rosters6Thanks to the research of my Grantland colleague Bill Barnwell. with Transfermarkt’s list of the 100 most valuable club teams in the world and found a similar pattern. A handful of club teams dominate the list of most valuable teams,7There’s one big divergence here from the SPI list: According to Transfermarkt’s player values, the Spanish national team roster is better than any in the world. but after that it’s a relatively equal smattering of club and national teams rounding out the top 20.8The dollar amounts in the table below were converted from British pounds, at $1.70 per GBP. The top-tier national teams at least appear capable of standing toe to toe in talent against most of the leading clubs in the world.9Occasional FiveThirtyEight contributor Roger Pielke, Jr., noticed a version of this phenomenon back before the 2010 World Cup. But aside from that top tier, national teams just can’t keep up with their counterparts on the club side. According to both the SPI talent ratings and the Transfermarkt valuations, there are about 10 or so national sides capable of contending with the top 10 club teams in the world. After that, the supply of strong national squads quickly starts to dry up. Based on the SPI estimates, the 15th-best national team in the world (Ivory Coast) would have just a 40 percent chance of beating the 15th-best club team (Benfica of Portugal’s Primeira Liga), and only a 21 percent probability of beating Real Madrid. According to SPI’s player ratings, 33 of the 50 most talented teams in the world are club teams.In that sense, pundits are right when they contend that the quality of play in a circuit like the Champions League is higher than that of the World Cup. Certainly it’s hard to argue that the worst teams in the World Cup’s group stage would be able to consistently compete with their counterparts in the Champions League group stage. But in its later rounds, the World Cup contains teams — like the German and Argentine squads that will face off in Sunday’s final — whose rosters rival almost any in the sphere of big-time club soccer.
Ohio State senior defenseman Josh Healey corrals the puck at the blue line against Wisconsin in a Big Ten tournament semifinal at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on March 17, 2017. Credit: Courtesy of Ric KruszynskiOhio State men’s hockey senior defenseman Josh Healey has been ruled ineligible to play in the NCAA West Regional, the Big Ten Conference announced Monday. The suspension comes as a result of a game misconduct penalty that occurred at the 17:32 mark of the third period in a game against Wisconsin on March 17 at the Big Ten Tournament. Healey, who received an automatic one-game suspension for his third game misconduct of the season, has been suspended for one additional game under the conference’s supplemental discipline process — and therefore, will ultimately miss both potential regional games.The Buckeyes will open the NCAA tournament Friday afternoon in Fargo, North Dakota, against the No. 2 overall seed Minnesota-Duluth. Puck drop from Scheels Arena is set for 6:30 p.m.