CHELSEA (4-2-3-1)BEGOVIC, AZPILICUETA, MIAZGA, IVANOVIC, RAHMAN, MIKEL,FABREGAS, PEDRO, LOFTUS-CHEEK, OSCAR, PATOKANE, ERIKSEN, ALLI, LAMELA, DEMBELE, DIER, ROSE,VERTONGHEN,ALDERWEIRELD WALKERLLORISSPURS (4-2-3-1)Tottenham Hotspur could arrive at Chelsea having lost the Barclays Premier League title to rivals Leicester City. If the Foxes win at Manchester United on Sunday, they will have won the Barclays Premier League for the first time and ended the dwindling prospect of Tottenham.Defeat for Leicester will give Spurs hope, but, having been held to a 1-1 draw by West Bromwich Albion last Monday, they know that defeat at Chelsea – even if Leicester have lost a day earlier – will end their title aspirations.Spurs are unbeaten in five league games and will now target second spot and finishing above local neighbours and rivals Arsenal.Tottenham have scored 31 away goals; only Arsenal (32) have netted more goals on the road this season.Chelsea, meanwhile, have lost two of their last three league games and sit in ninth place. They last finished outside the top six in the 1995-96 season (when they were 11th).Spurs’ hopes of winning are slim; they last won there 26 years ago, in February 1990. Subsequently, Chelsea have won 17 and drawn eight games at home to Spurs in 25 meetings.Tottenham and Chelsea drew 0-0 at White Hart Lane in November but the Blues won 3-0 in this fixture last season.Chelsea are again without banned keeper Thibaut Courtois, along with striker Loic Remy and defender Kurt Zouma. And they must test two other centre-backs John Terry and Gary Cahill.Spurs, meanwhile, have doubts over Eric Dier while Nabil Bentaleb is still absent.
The recently held Johnnie Walker Charity Golf Tournament at the Tryall Golf Club in Hanover raised an estimated J$3 million that will go towards the Diageo Learning for Life Programme, making this year’s tournament a success. However, Brian Pengelley, the Jamaica country manager for AMECO, a business that manages motor vehicle fleets for large companies, might consider himself the real winner coming out of the tournament. Pengelley, who was formerly employed by Red Stripe, won for himself an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Formula One Grand Prix race in Austin, Texas, from October 23-25. Pengelley, who took up his position at AMECO last year, was one of several persons who bought extra bottles of Johnnie Walker’s Reserve brands during the tournament, which allowed him an entry into the raffle, along with the golfers who participated in the tournament. He couldn’t believe his luck. “Total disbelief that I could be so lucky,” he said. “I actually thought that Cedric (Blair), when he drew my name from the jar, was joking as I had told him how much I wanted to win this trip on the Friday evening when he announced it.” The excited immediate past president of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) said he was looking forward to the experience of actually being at the race which, he said, is so much better than watching on television. “I am grateful for the opportunity to attend, but I am extremely hopeful that the package will include pit passes as this is really where you can get close to the cars and the drivers, which is an opportunity of a lifetime.” The trip is proving to be a dream come true for the man who considers himself a huge fan of motorsports. “I am a huge fan of Formula One as I have been following it for as long as I can remember,” Pengelley said. “I also follow motorsport in general, as I used to rally here in Jamaica, and my son raced go-karts (which is where these drivers started) at a very competitive level in Canada. In fact, he and I attended some 10 years ago the F1 race in Montreal, and we have always wanted to experience this again.” Pengelley took time to praise the Learning for Life Programme that has so far provided more than 11,000 Jamaicans with skills that will enable them to provide for themselves and their families. His praise had more to do with the impact the programme has been having on the lives of some of the country’s less fortunate youth and not because he gets to attend a NASCAR racing event. “We cannot underestimate this initiative of Diageo and Red Stripe here in Jamaica as it sets a huge example of how critical it is that a business like this gives back to our communities, and especially our young people,” he said. “I am personally aware of how extensive and far-reaching the Diageo Learning for Life programme is and how many lives it has touched, and so the opportunity to participate and support is indeed gratifying.” FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE
BRUSSELS (AP):With three more gold medals in the bag and his superiority proven beyond doubt, Usain Bolt declared his season over yesterday.The Jamaican pulled outof Friday’s Van Damme Memorial, unwilling to risk any injury problems that might compromise his preparations for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games, where he will seek a third Olympic sprint treble in a row.”I am already thinking about next year and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio,” he said in a statement.After winning three gold medals at the World Cham-pionships in Beijing, Bolt was supposed to focus on the season’s top time in the 200m at the Diamond League meet in Brussels. The King Baudouin Stadium has extra-wide curves that half-lap racers love, and Bolt has never profited fully from the track facilities. Friday would have been the ideal opportunity.Bolt has the world record of 19.19 seconds, but his best time at the Van Damme only stands at 19.57. In comparison, his teammate, Yohan Blake, ran the second-fastest half lap there by clocking 19.26.But after two seasons of injuries and a drawn-out recovery, Bolt now knows the preparations for a big event like the Olympics starts a year in advance. The 29-year-old Bolt said in a statement he was “happy to end the season without any injuries and ready to go for 2016”.And Brussels meet organiser Wilfried Meert said in a statement that “Bolt felt tired after Beijing and also was troubled by his left leg, with a pain radiating from his hip”.Bolt beat Justin Gatlin both in the 100 and 200 metres in Beijing, before anchoring Jamaica to gold in the 4x100m relay.With Bolt a no-show, Gatlin will now run both sprints in Brussels.
LIVERPOOL, England (AP): Manchester United relied on brilliant goalkeeping by David de Gea and a late, opportunistic finish by Wayne Rooney to snatch a 1-0 win at great rival Liverpool yesterday, sparking talk of an unlikely run at the Premier League title. With Arsenal only drawing 0-0 at Stoke a few hours later to return to first place on goal difference above Leicester, United trimmed the gap to the leaders to seven points – with 16 matches still to play in one of the most erratic title races in years. Talk of United even challenging for the title would have been dismissed as fanciful at the end of 2015, when the team was on an eight-game winless run and manager Louis van Gaal’s future looked precarious. Things look very different now. “Our competitors (for the title) have lost points,” said Van Gaal, whose side climbed one place to fifth. “When the gap is like this, seven points, you can overcome that. We started 2016 very good, with a lot of wins and a draw and we didn’t lose. I think this will give a big boost to players, fans, everyone in the environment of Manchester United.” Finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League is the minimum requirement for United and Tottenham are only two points away in fourth place. With Rooney back in the scoring groove, things look much brighter for the 20-time champions. The England captain took his tally for 2016 to five goals in four games by smashing home a volley from close range in the 78th minute after Marouane Fellaini’s header rebounded off the bar. It was United’s first shot on target, with the team indebted to De Gea for keeping the score at 0-0. De Gea produced two excellent saves to deny Emre Can, one with his feet and the other a diving, one-handed stop to his right. Liverpool started without a recognised striker – playing Roberto Firmino alone up front – and while that helped the team dominate midfield, it left them short of firepower. In 19 shots, only four were on target. Ninth-place Liverpool dropped eight points behind Spurs in a damaging blow to their Champions League aspirations. “A lot of the things we did today were good,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. “Our finishing wasn’t good.” Goalkeepers were on top at Britannia Stadium, too, with Stoke’s Jack Butland and Arsenal’s Petr Cech getting most of the plaudits after a tight, tense game. Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud had early chances in each half, but Butland reacted well to stop an angled shot and then a powerful header. Though chasing possession for much of the second half, Stoke could have taken all three points if not for a superb double save by Petr Cech midway through the second half. Aaron Ramsey also cleared a shot from near the goal-line as Stoke mounted late pressure. Arsenal, missing injured playmaker Mesut Ozil, failed to capitalise on Leicester’s 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday and dropped four points this week after also drawing at Liverpool on Wednesday. However, a draw at Stoke was welcome to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose team hasn’t won at the Britannia since 2010. “We needed to be strong physically and had a great spirit,” Wenger said. “We fought very hard but couldn’t take our chances. It is a hard-fought 0-0. We have done better than years before at this ground and showed we can fight even when we miss certain players.”
Calabar High School’s Christopher Taylor delighted with a record run on the opening day of the 106th staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships inside the National Stadium.With six finals on the card, Jamaica College (JC), though, are expected to lead at the end of today, with yesterday’s curtain-raiser giving little indication of the fierce race to the titles that await.Still, yesterday was not without its fair share of ‘oohs’ and aahs’, and the main reason: Taylor.It says something that his run surprised nobody inside the National Stadium because of course, when your name is Christopher Taylor, you break records.The wiry Calabar standout missed the record mark at last year’s Champs, but wasted little time in erasing Devaughn Baker’s (JC) time of 46.64 set in 2013 with a smooth 46.33 in yesterday’s boys’ Class Two 400m heats.”Yes, I wanted to break the record today,” he confirmed afterwards. “That was my intention, and I am happy I was able to get it done.”Kingston College’s Akeem Bloomfield was also impressive, frighteningly, as he jogged the final 100m or so and stopped the clock at 48.36 to win his Class One boys’ 400m heat. Let’s not forget that he is responsible for that 44.93-run last year, and despite his injuries over the past 12 months, it is hard to see another winner in this event.St Elizabeth Technical High School’s (STETHS) Junelle Bromfield has certainly been a class act this season, and she was comfortable in qualifying from her Class One girls, 400m heat in 53.63 seconds.She is expected to do battle with Holmwood’s Ashley Williams, who clocked a solid 55.07 in winning her heat, with another medal favourite, Edwin Allen’s Shannon Kalawan, the fastest qualifier with a time of 54.37 ahead of Hydel High’s Taqece Duggan, 54.85.Jamaica College’s high-flyer, O’Brien Wasome, is comfortably through to today’s boys’ Class One final (5:50 p.m.), where he is expected to dominate and pick up some valuable points for the 2011 champions.Wasome produced his best jump this year, disturbing the sand at 7.74 metres, a clear demonstration that he not only intends to defend the title he won last year as part of a JC horizontal jumps sweep, but also to break Leon Gordon’s 28-year-old record of 7.87m.He is followed into the final by Calabar’s Leroy Paige, 7.17m; Tasrico Bell (Vere Technical) 7.14m; KC’s Dameon Creary, 7.11m; Campion College’s Lorne Barrett, 7.10m and Paketo Dudley (JC), 7.10m, among the top qualifiers.Earlier, Vere Technical’s Avery Pryce a bronze medal winner at Central Champs was most impressive in qualifying to today’s Class Two girls shot put final (5:30 p.m.), after registering a 13.90m mark in yesterday’s preliminary round.Next best was Buff Bay High’s Ashtina Dobson, 13.08m, with St Jago’s Shania Scott also booking her spot with a 12.13m effort.Delarno Beckford (Happy Grove) was the best qualifier to the boys’ javelin Open event with a mark of 56.94m, with Petersfield High’s Kevin Nedrick, 53.68 and Morant Bay’s Tyrik Sewell, 53.09m, showing themselves to be a cut above the rest of the field in yesterday’s qualifying.Gold medal favourite Brittany Anderson (Vere) is the fastest qualifier to the next round in the girls Class Three 80m hurdles, winning her heat in 11.43. Winsome Harris (STETHS), 11.48, Codesha Lewis (Vere), 11.51, Ackera Nugent (Excelsior), 11.61 and Kimeone McLeod (St Jago), 11.69, are the top qualifiersLast year’s Class Three champion, Shanette Allison (Holmwood), looks ready to take her shot after graduating to Class Two, after topping all qualifiers in the 100m hurdles in 13.59. The Manchester High pair of Sidney Marshall (13.86) and Daszay Freeman (13.92) are also through to the next round, as are Casheena Chen (Wolmer’s), 13.94 and Edwin Allen’s Khamoy Farquharson, 13.97.After dominating Class Three for the last two seasons, Edwin Allen’s Annia Ashley, 5.68m, was impressive in booking her spot in the Class Two girls long jump, with Monief Heslop (Camperdown), 5.54m, Shiann Salmon (Hydel), 5.50m and Rhian Chong (Alpha), 5.44m, also showing good form.In the Class I girl’s high jump preliminaries, Hydel’s Britny Kerr (1.60m) is safely through to the final where she will face St Jago’s Athaliah Boyd and Tissanna Hickling; as well as Hydel’s Samara Spencer, Alpha’s Gabriel Foster and Petersfield’s Colistia Baker, who also cleared 1.60m in qualifying.Competition is set to start at 8:30 a.m. today with the preliminary round of the Class Four girls long jump.
LONDON (AP):Out of the Champions League. Out of the FA Cup. Out of the Premier League title race?A miserable week for Arsenal would be capped on Saturday if the team fails to beat Everton.The Premier League trophy, which the Gunners haven’t won since 2004, will become increasingly unobtainable if their three-game winless league run continues.At the start of the year, Arsenal were two points in front of Leicester in first place and in contention for three trophies.Three months later, Arsenal trail Leicester by 11 points and are sitting third. Arsenal’s FA Cup defence was surprisingly ended by Watford on Sunday, before Barcelona beat the Gunners in the Champions League.As so often, barring a collapse by Leicester, Arsenal’s season could come down to securing a top-four place and Champions League qualification. That’s not enough for some Arsenal fans, who expect more from their wealthy team.But as Everton manager Roberto Martinez prepares to host counterpart Arsene Wenger, he is amazed that a vocal section of Arsenal fans is calling for the Frenchman to leave after 20 years in charge.RUTHLESS GAME”It seems it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in a football club, how you’ve built it or if you’ve been the best manager in the last 20 years in European football, the modern game is ruthless,” Martinez said yesterday. “On the back of a defeat, you are going to get criticised. Everyone has gotan opinion, everyone knows better than you and that’s disappointing.”Martinez was playing for Wigan when Wenger took charge of Arsenal in 1996 and two years later led them to the first of three Premier League titles.”The management that he brought into the British game has changed British football,” said Martinez, who has also coached Swansea and Wigan. “What he has achieved at Arsenal is a model that many, many football people have been inspired by. The short-term situation of one or two results sometimes overshadows the incredible work over the years.DON’T PUSH ASIDE”The style that Arsene Wenger represents shouldn’t just be put aside. It’s just a reflection of the modern times when we are easily led to criticise a manager who has done incredible things in the game.”Arsenal will be hoping Tottenham slip up at home to Bournemouth, given that their London rivals are six points ahead and have played a game more.Leicester, who are five points ahead of Tottenham, face a Crystal Palace team which has dropped from sixth in December to 15th by winning only one in 16 games.
Sprint legend Usain Bolt says that there is no worry in his mission to dominate at the upcoming World Athletics Championship, slated to be held in the summer of 2017. Bolt indicated that the groundwork has already been laid to make his training programme less stressful as he transitions into his last season of competitive track and field. “Right now, it’s my last season and I have to just go out there and enjoy,” said Bolt, while speaking to The Gleaner during his annual Christmas treat in his home community of Sherwood Content in Trelawny, yesterday. “I think we have done the bulk of the work over the 10 years we have been working, so now it’s my last season. The focus is on the 100m, and I will just be trying to enjoy the season, not too much stress,” he added. In addition, the nine-time Olympic champion outlined that pleasing his fans on the track will be another focus of his in 2017. He vowed to attend as many track meets as possible in order to interact with his fans before his retirement. FOCUS ON FANS “It’s all about my fans. I think they always show me a lot of love, and I am just going to go out there for them and do my best as always,” Bolt explained. The six-year charity event, which was held on the grounds of his old school, the Waldensia Primary School in the community, was held with the continued partnership of Digicel. More than 600 persons – particularly children, who were treated to entertainment, food, gifts, toys, rides, and much more – came out for the day’s event. “No matter what I do inside and outside of the community, as long as I ask, Digicel always comes on board. We will continue out partnership even beyond track and field,” stated Bolt, who has been appointed chief speed officer for Digicel. Kamal Powell, senior sponsorship and development manager at Digicel Jamaica, said that the company was particularly pleased to see that the entire community came out and that everyone was able to spend a great day with Bolt and enjoy wholesome family fun. “Usain is an influential member of the Digicel family who places great emphasis on the importance of giving back to the community. We share his sense of duty. That’s why each year, we don’t hesitate to support him in his efforts to spend time with his community folk and give back during the holidays,” explained Powell.
SEVILLE, Spain (AP):Spanish club Sevilla says the national anti-doping agency is looking into reports that midfielder Samir Nasri recently had intravenous treatment at a Los Angeles clinic.The clinic, Drip Doctors, posted a photo of Nasri on its Facebook and Twitter accounts on Tuesday, saying it had provided him with a drip “to help keep him hydrated and in top health during his busy soccer season.”It describes the drip as an infusion to boost the immune system and contains “high dose vitamin C, B vitamins, lysine and zinc combined with specially formulated nutrients.”Sevilla spokesman Jesus Gomez told the Associated Press yesterday that “the agency has been in contact with the club to ask for information” about the player.A spokesman for the anti-doping agency told the AP that its investigators are checking whether any treatment Nasri may have received had steered clear of the list of prohibited substances. The spokesman spoke anonymously as dictated by agency policy.The 29-year-old Nasri, who is on loan from English Premier League club Manchester City after not fitting into new coach Pep Guardiola’s plans, returned with the rest of his teammates from their winter break to start training yesterday.Nasri has proved to be a key player for Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla, which has reached the Champions League’s round-of-16 and sits third in the Spanish league at the winter break.
DENVER (AP):Speculation ramped up yesterday that Broncos coach Gary Kubiak will step down after the season because of health concerns just 11 months after leading Denver to a triumphant Super Bowl 50.The Broncos close their disappointing season late Sunday afternoon at home against Oakland.Several coaches and players told The Associated Press over the last week that Kubiak hasn’t informed them of any retirement plans. The Broncos declined to comment yesterday morning in regards to rampant speculation over Kubiak’s future.Kubiak, who has two years left on his contract, was evasive when asked Friday about his health and coaching future.”Why? Do I look bad?” Kubiak asked, smiling. “There will be time for reflection and all of that stuff next week, but right now, it’s time to focus on what we’re doing.”The 55-year-old Kubiak suffered a complex migraine on October 9 following Denver’s loss to Atlanta, his second health scare in three seasons. Doctors ordered him to take a week off and he hasn’t appeared to have any health issues since.He also suffered a mini-stroke at half-time of a game against Indianapolis in 2013 when he was coaching the Houston Texans.He was fired at the end of that season and had a terrific comeback in 2014 as offensive coordinator in Baltimore, where he had planned to stay until Broncos GM John Elway called him following John Fox’s ouster.Calling it a “game-changer”, Kubiak stepped back into the pressure cooker on January 19, 2015, when he was named the 15th head coach in Denver, where he spent 13 seasons either backing up Elway at quarterback or drawing up blueprints as his offensive coordinator.HEALTH SCAREHe said at the time that his health scare in 2013 taught him to rely more on those around him. He also said he wasn’t worried about the pressure of the Denver job, noting he thrived amid high expectations as a player from 1983-91 and then serving on Mike Shanahan’s staff from 1995-2005, coaching the Texans from 2006-13.Last season, he deftly managed injuries at quarterback, edge rusher and left tackle to lead the Broncos to their third Lombardi Trophy even though both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler struggled to run the offence.Kubiak’s offensive philosophies are rooted in Bill Walsh’s West Coast system featuring the zone-blocking schemes that the Broncos fine-tuned in the 1990s and 2000s. But in both of his seasons in Denver, the Broncos have stumbled offensively, unable to run the ball and get much production from the tight ends.With four new starters along the O-line this season, the Broncos again sputtered behind poor blocking and a battered backfield, where C.J. Anderson, Andy Janovich and Kapri Bibbs ended up on IR.Neither Trevor Siemian nor Paxton Lynch settled in at quarterback. Siemian suffered injuries to both shoulders and his left foot.If Kubiak steps down, possible replacements include Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.Even if Kubiak returns, there are expected to be changes to his offensive staff after a season-long, head-scratching inability to start fast.The Broncos have scored an NFL-worst 33 first-quarter points and had just one sustained touchdown drive in the first quarter all season.
“Mr Cornwall is leading the charge to the Premier League. He is the CEO of Metrodade (Protection Security) and spent time at Premier League clubs such as Rivoli United and Waterhouse. He is working hard on making the team better,” he noted. Molynes are in the Super League for the first time, but don’t intend to stop there. “We aim to win the final. I watched Mountain View against Pembroke Hall on Saturday night. They have a good team, with players who can possess the ball. We can’t give them any chance to play the ball. We have to push as hard as possible on Friday night,” Fitzgerald said ahead of the final. Molynes reached the Magnum-sponsored Super League for the first time in the club’s history when they thrashed Cooreville Gardens 4-0 in the semi-final last Friday night at Constant Spring Complex in St Andrew. Molynes’ scorers were Ali Henry, Damion Thomas, Ramone Rose and Remilio Wilson. They will oppose Mountain View in the final scheduled for Friday at Constant Spring, starting at 6:30 p.m. LEADING THE CHARGE Molynes United head coach Calvert Fitzgerald said that his team’s advancing to next season’s Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Super League is part of a three-year plan to qualify for the Red Stripe Premier League. “The objective is to take the club to the Premier League,” Fitzgerald told The Gleaner yesterday. “We had a meeting with the new chairman Eurado Cornwall, president Herman Cruickshank and myself, and we put the three year plan in place to take the club to the Premier League,” he added. Last year, the plan was derailed as Molynes were beaten 3-1 by Central Kingston in the Major League semi-final. That setback is now behind them and they are on the road to the nation’s top league. “We did not have a deep squad last year and the players were not used to the limelight. Now, we brought in some experienced players and they have done the job. We have a deeper squad,” Fitzgerald explained.