18-01-2019 When Liverpool gave Crystal Palace their biggest ever defeat 30 years ago

Eight different players scored in the 9-0 thrashing at Anfield, but that was not the last Liverpool saw of Palace that seasonBy Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports BlogWhen Crystal Palace made the daunting trip to Anfield in September 1989, Liverpool were still hurting from that Michael Thomas moment in the previous campaign and were in no mood to show mercy to a newly promoted team. What looked a tough examination on paper for Palace proved to be even worse on grass. It was to be a day their fans and players would never forget.At least Steve Coppell’s team made the journey north on the back of a win. Having picked up just one point from their first three league games, Palace beat Wimbledon 2-0 a few days before their trip to Liverpool in their first of many south London derbies that season; 1989-90 remains the only campaign in which all four local sides – Palace, Wimbledon, Charlton and Millwall – have played in the top flight. Continue reading...

18-01-2019 'Solari the stopgap with bigger name to come' - what is going on at Real Madrid?

The relatively unknown Santiago Solari has been placed in charge of Real Madrid - but he is not likely to be in the role for long, writes Andy West.

18-01-2019 Which football teams doctored their playing surface to hinder opponents? | The Knowledge

Plus: top-scoring defenders, non-league double delight and strange middle names. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Pep Guardiola says he didn’t leave the Etihad grass long against Liverpool. But which teams or managers have used this tactic to help their own side or hinder an opponent?” asks George Jones.Let’s start with the Poundland Machiavelli, former Cambridge and Lincoln innovator John Beck. Everyone in football knows about the infamous Beck and the stunts he used to pull at Cambridge. He brought in statisticians to lecture his players about how few passes were needed to score. He had the grass grown several inches long in the corners to hold up the ball when his players knocked it over the top. During the week they would rough up the pitch so anybody who tried to play football against them was at a disadvantage. “We just used to boot it upfield, so it didn’t really matter to us,” Steve Claridge recalls in his autobiography. Continue reading...

18-01-2019 The Fiver | Pontificating about the Corinthian spirit of fair play

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!One of the few benefits of being related to this tea-timely email’s book-writing, cricket-playing, pyramid-inverting, tactics-obsessed Wearside cousin Mackem Lobanovskyi 4-2-3-1 False Nine Wilson Fiver, is that we’ve been looped in on the whole Marcelo Bielsa phenomenon since before it became fashionable on Wednesday. While Proper Journalists were taking time out from trying to procure and publish sneak previews of England team-sheets to pontificate about the Corinthian spirit of fair play, our cousin took time out of boring us with his batting average and bowling figures to regale us with stories about the man they call El Loco. Continue reading...

18-01-2019 Think boxers need meat to succeed? Vegan fighter Bryant Jennings disagrees ...

At least two vegetarians have captured world titles but meat has long been associated with vitality in the fight gameBoxing fans are used to idols with unusual eating habits. Former junior welterweight title-holder Ruslan Provodnikov went in for raw moose liver. Junior bantamweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is partial to a spot of grilled rat. And Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez once ate a breakfast of two dozen raw quail eggs washed down with a glass of his own urine.But to some, Bryant Jennings’ diet might seem even more unlikely: since 2015 the Philadelphia heavyweight has been a strict vegan. Continue reading...

18-01-2019 'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

18-01-2019 Roger Federer: Son Lenny steals the show after win at Australian Open

Roger Federer's son Lenny steals the show on court after the 20-time Grand Slam champion beats Taylor Fritz at the Australian Open.

18-01-2019 Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

18-01-2019 Lleyton Hewitt says Bernard Tomic 'won't play Davis Cup again' – video

Lleyton Hewitt has responded to Bernard Tomic's astonishing broadside, accusing Tomic of threatening him and his family for more than 12 months and saying Tomic will never play Davis Cup tennis while he is involvedLleyton Hewitt accuses Bernard Tomic of threatening him and his family Continue reading...

18-01-2019 Can Franck Ribéry not have his gold-leaf steak and eat it? | Barney Ronay

The Bayern Munich forward has been vilified for his display of wealth in Dubai but that ire would be better directed at the excesses of the game rather than those who play itIn his book This One’s On Me Jimmy Greaves describes the pre-match meals of his playing days in the 1960s. At West Ham it was all down to Moody’s cafe for a full roast dinner and apple crumble for pudding. As an England player Greaves records, with some reverence, the pre-match habits of Gordon Banks, who in line with the sports science of the day would prepare himself for a game with a huge steak served with both boiled and roast potatoes, all washed down with “a large bowl of rice pudding”.Looking back now it is probably a good thing social media wasn’t around in the mid-60s. It isn’t hard to imagine the wider response to such wanton displays of starch-based excess. Banks Flaunts Roast Riches. Soccer Ace in Boiled AND Roasted Shame. Potato Bae: Gloveman Rocked By Double-Spud storm. Continue reading...

18-01-2019 'I observed all the rivals we played': Marcelo Bielsa's 'spygate' presentation – video

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that he has spied on all of his sides opponents this season. One of Bielsa's staff was recently caught observing Derby County prior to their match in the Championship. 'So why did I send someone to watch them?' said Bielsa. 'I wasn't violating the norm.' The Argentinian also gave a lengthy PowerPoint presentation to a room packed with journalists outlining the extensive analysis he does on each opponent Continue reading...

18-01-2019 Marouane Fellaini brings X-factor to Manchester United, says Solskjær

• Manager ‘sad’ Belgian is out for around month with calf injury• Solskjær cautions against complacency at home to BrightonOle Gunnar Solskjær believes Marouane Fellaini has an “X-factor” for Manchester United and has indicated the midfielder will not be sold in this transfer window.Fellaini, who is injured, has played only 31 minutes of the interim manager’s six games yet Solskjær believes the 31-year-old can have an important role under him. Continue reading...

18-01-2019 Gonzalo Higuaín to arrive in London for formalities of Chelsea loan move

• Striker will join initially for six months from Juventus• Maurizio Sarri also hopes to sign a midfielder this monthGonzalo Higuaín is expected in London over the next 48 hours to undertake a medical and complete the formalities of his move to Chelsea from Juventus, initially on a six-month loan, with Maurizio Sarri still keen for the striker to be joined by a midfielder at Stamford Bridge.Higuaín, who has spent the first half of the season on loan at Milan, has said his goodbyes to his Rossoneri teammates having pushed to be reunited with Sarri, under whose stewardship he scored 36 goals for Napoli in Serie A two seasons ago. Continue reading...