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THAT'S YOUR LOT!And with that, we leave you here on Sky Sports Today for another day. Don't forget, it's day two of the darts from Ally Pally and we will have a dedicated live blog for you to take you through the evening of arrows. Thanks for your company here today and we'll be back for live coverage of all the weekend's football from 11am tomorrow morning. Have a great evening.
SSSHHHH KAMMYChris Kamara is on the train down to London ahead of reporting on Tottenham v Burnley tomorrow. He's having trouble with the quiet carriage...https://twitter.com/chris_kammy/status/545999964170887169
Could get kicked out the Quiet Coach! 2hours is a long time for me to keep me gob shut haha @t1wnyscott #kammyselfie pic.twitter.com/iKn7q0DaXw— Chris Kamara (@chris_kammy) December 19, 2014
Could get kicked out the Quiet Coach! 2hours is a long time for me to keep me gob shut haha @t1wnyscott #kammyselfie pic.twitter.com/iKn7q0DaXw
WILLIS ON COOKLet's have some more from Bob Willis on Alastair Cook's removal as England one-day captain. Cook made just 119 runs from six innings in Sri Lanka at an average of 19.83 and his struggles in the 50-over format having been long-standing, particularly in 2014, where he’s passed fifty only once in 20 matches. Bob told SSNHQ that his position was becoming untenable.
“It has got more and more embarrassing for him, with failure after failure in Sri Lanka,” he said. “Bowlers around the world have sorted him out – they don’t bowl short at him anymore, there are no more cut shots, there are no more pulls.
“The selectors have given him every possible opportunity to make some runs, they stuck with him during the one-day series in England when all the pundits were saying he shouldn’t be in the side.
"But he’s not one of England’s best one-day players and finally they’ve had to put the boot in and say 'sorry, this can’t go on'.
“He’ll be pretty devastated. He’s a very stubborn character, a proud Englishman. But as the tour progressed, you could see the weight of the world was on his shoulders."
NEW DEAL FOR HARTHart, 27, will have been at the club for 13 years when his new deal expires and he told the club website:
“I’m really happy, I’ve been here a long time now and I want to keep that going.
“The new deal means I get to stay longer – the club’s doing amazing things at the moment, we’ve created history and we want to keep doing that.
“Wanting to stay here was never going to be an issue for me - I’ve loved every moment since I joined. The club’s growing and I’ve been really lucky to be part of the ride.
“I just want to keep winning with the team and keep developing. A lot of the boys have signed long-term deals, so we’re building as a squad and I think that quite a few of us have been here for a long time now.
“We’re enjoying building that winning mentality, how the club is growing is around us and how we need to grow along with it.”
Joe Hart signs new long-term deal at Manchester City, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2018/19 season.
Leicester boss Nigel Pearson given a one-match touchline ban and a £10,000 personal fine for verbally abusing a fan. Pearson has requested the full written verdict before deciding whether to appeal.
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Here is Alastair Cook's record in one-day internationals over the last four years. #SSNHQ pic.twitter.com/JnmqwocBmo— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) December 19, 2014
Here is Alastair Cook's record in one-day internationals over the last four years. #SSNHQ pic.twitter.com/JnmqwocBmo
So that's your Premier League team news wrapped up for Saturday. Coming up, we'll have much more on the news that Alastair Cook will not be England captain at the World Cup.
WEST HAM v LEICESTER OPTA FACTS
WEST HAM v LEICESTER TEAM NEWSMidfielder Mark Noble will miss West Ham's Premier League clash against Leicester because of an Achilles problem, though boss Sam Allardyce hopes he will be back for the Boxing Day trip to Chelsea. West Ham otherwise report no fresh injury problems heading into the hectic Christmas schedule, with strikers Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho in contention to again lead the attack.
David Nugent is set to return for Leicester at Upton Park after missing last week's defeat to Manchester City with a calf injury. He will be assessed before the game while goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is out after breaking a metatarsal last week which will rule him out for at least five more weeks. Matt Upson is close to a comeback after a long-standing foot injury but will not be risked as he returns to full fitness.
SOCCER SATURDAY PRICE BOOST
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SPURS v BURNLEY OPTA FACTS
TOTTENHAM V BURNLEY TEAM NEWSEmmanuel Adebayor is available for Tottenham's Premier League clash with Burnley on Saturday. The Togo striker has returned from compassionate leave but is not yet fully fit, so is unlikely to start. Mauricio Pochettino has an otherwise fully-fit squad for the match.
Burnley's trip to White Hart Lane is likely to come too soon for Sam Vokes, although the striker is nearing a first-team return. The Wales international is instead expected to play for the Clarets' development squad on Monday against Blackpool. Full-back Ben Mee has fully recovered from the illness which forced him off against Southampton, but Michael Duff (calf) has suffered a setback and joins Matt Taylor (Achilles) and Stephen Ward (ankle) on the sidelines.
SOUTHAMPTON v EVERTON OPTA FACTS
SOUTHAMPTON v EVERTON TEAM NEWSMore on Cook as we get it, but let's return for now to the Premier League team news for tomorrow. We resume on the south coast, where Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama and Dusan Tadic are amongst a host of players unavailable as Southampton host Everton desperate to halt a run of five straight defeats. Schneiderlin and Wanyama, along with Florin Gardos, are suspended for Saturday's match, while Tadic and Jake Hesketh join long-term absentees Jay Rodriguez, Sam Gallagher and Jack Cork on the sidelines. Graziano Pelle and Steven Davis are doubts for the match, while Harrison Reed is set for a first Premier League start. A number of U21s players have been called up to the squad.
Midfielders Darron Gibson (knee) and James McCarthy (hamstring) are both rated 50-50 to be fit for the trip to St Mary’s. Forward Kevin Mirallas will be missing after sustaining ankle ligament damage on Monday while Leon Osman (ankle) is unlikely to return this weekend. Midfielder Gareth Barry returns from suspension.
ATHERS: THE RIGHT DECISION"It's the right decision. It will bring some relief to Cook who can concentrate on Test matches. The only surprise is the fact that the selectors have taken the bull by the horns. It makes them look a bit silly so in many ways it's a brave one.
"The focus on Cook has shielded others from deficiencies. Morgan - even not at his best - is a certain pick in the one-day pick, which Cook is not.
"With England's schedule next year it's impossible for one man to captain both teams so it's right they've split the captaincy."
BOB WILLIS' REACTION"It shouldn't be a surprise, but it is because on Monday Paul Downton said he would be astounded if the selectors changed their minds, but that's what they've done.
"They've said this can't go on, we'll look a laughing stock so they've reluctantly made the decision.
"It's entirely his batting form. The selectors are happy with his ability to captain, but it's got embarrassing for him. Failure after failure in Sri Lanka. Each morning he's had to tell Ian Bell 'sorry you're not playing but I am.'
"Ironically the person taking over from him - Eoin Morgan - is even worse form than Cook."
Some huge news from the England cricket team - According to Sky sources, the ECB will announce later today that Alastair Cook will not captain England at the World Cup, with Eoin Morgan to skipper the side in the tri-nations series in Australia and subsequent World Cup.
QPR v WEST BROM OPTA FACTS
QPR v WEST BROM TEAM NEWSQPR will welcome top goalscorer Charlie Austin back from suspension for their Premier League clash against West Brom tomorrow. The striker missed the 3-1 defeat at Everton having been sent off against former club Burnley but will be back to spearhead the Hoops' attack on Saturday. Steven Caulker is also in contention after sitting out the Everton game due to a head injury suffered at the players' Christmas function. Mauricio Isla will be absent as he has returned home to Chile for the birth of his child and long-term injury casualties Sandro and Alejandro Faurlin (both knee) are not close to a return.
West Brom skipper Chris Brunt returns after missing two games with a hamstring injury. Victor Anichebe remains a doubt with a groin strain though and Georgios Samaras has not trained this week after being granted permission to return to Greece for a family matter. Jonas Olsson is sidelined following Achilles surgery.
HULL v SWANSEA OPTA FACTS
HULL v SWANSEA TEAM NEWSHull will be without defender Michael Dawson and midfielders Tom Huddlestone and Mohamed Diame for Saturday's clash with Swansea. Dawson is facing at least a month on the sidelines with a grade two hamstring tear, Huddlestone is beginning a four-game suspension and Diame's knee complaint has yet to ease. Loanee Hatem Ben Arfa has been told he will not play for the club again and Robert Snodgrass remains a long-term absentee.
Lukasz Fabianski returns in goal for Swansea as manager Garry Monk has a fully-fit squad to select from for the trip north. Fabianski missed last weekend's 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham through suspension after being sent off against West Ham and will reclaim the goalkeeper's jersey from Gerhard Tremmel at the KC Stadium. Argentina central defender Federico Fernandez has trained all week after missing the last six games through calf trouble and could be in contention to play alongside skipper Ashley Williams at the back.
VILLA v UNITED OPTA FACTS
ASTON VILLA v MANCHESTER UNITEDAston Villa will be without three players through suspension when they face Manchester United at Villa Park on Saturday. On-loan Tom Cleverley, who would not have been allowed to play against his parent club anyway, is banned alongside Alan Hutton and Kieran Richardson. Ashley Westwood (knee), Joe Cole (hamstring), Philippe Senderos (calf) and Nathan Baker (knee) are all injured, but captain Ron Vlaar and midfielder Fabian Delph are available after both returned from injury last weekend.
Midfielder Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out for United through illness. Winger Angel di Maria could return after his hamstring injury and striker Radamel Falcao is nearing full fitness. Left-back Luke Shaw (ankle), midfielder Daley Blind (knee) and centre-backs Chris Smalling (groin) and Marcos Rojo (thigh) are out.
PLATINI STATEMENTAn early break from the team news to bring you Michel Platini's statement to the news that FIFA is to publish Micahel Garcia's report into World Cup bidding."It was important that the FIFA Executive Committee
decided today to publish the Garcia report. I have always battled for
transparency and this is a step in the right direction. Let us hope that the
report can now be published as quickly as possible. The credibility of FIFA
depends on it."
CITY v PALACE OPTA FACTS
MANCHESTER CITY v CRYSTAL PALACEManchester City have no frontline strikers nor their captain
Vincent Kompany available for the visit of Crystal Palace tomorrow lunchtime.
Forwards Sergio Aguero (knee), Stevan Jovetic (hamstring) and Edin Dzeko (calf)
could all be out until the new year while defender and skipper Kompany
(hamstring) faces a similar lay-off. Teenage striker Jose Angel Pozo, who made
his first start against Leicester last week, could get another chance or the
likes of James Milner, Samir Nasri or David Silva might play in a more advanced
Crystal Palace will be without Marouane Chamakh, who is missing with a hamstring injury. Joe Ledley (hip) is also absent but Adrian Mariappa is fit
following a knee injury but may not be fit enough to start.
Right, we've heard from all the Premier League managers that are going to speak this afternoon. Time to round up the Premier League team news and OPTA facts ahead of tomorrow's seven fixtures...
MILNER DEAL IN THE WORKSManchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is confident James Milner will sign a new contract in the near future. Reports this week claimed talks between the parties had stalled and while Pellegrini admits discussions are ongoing, he expects a positive outcome.
"There are some differences that can be arranged.
"We are talking with James. It is not easy for all the players to sign a new contract. There are a lot of things to talk, to decide, discuss. I hope finally James will sign his contract.
"I repeat - the same as with Joe Hart - he wants to stay and the club wants to keep him."
TRIBUTES TO ABIDALMonaco and Barcelona have paid tribute to Eric Abidal following his retirement from football. The 35-year-old, who won four Spanish titles and two Champions Leagues with Barcelona and three successive French titles with Lyon, called time on his career on Friday. He returned to Monaco - where he began his career - for the 2013/14 season.
"AS Monaco congratulate Eric Abidal on a career which saw him wear the captain's armband at Barcelona, one of the greatest teams of all time, several years after entering professional football in the 'diagonal' jersey."
"It was a great joy and source of pride to see 'Abi' wear our jersey again last season and he played a very important role in the club's project.
"AS Monaco also pay tribute to his integrity and human qualities and wish him the best for the new page he will begin to write."
Abidal took time away from football in 2011 while with Barcelona to undergo a liver transplant having first been diagnosed with a tumour in 2011. He made his comeback for the club in a Champions League clash with Real and was allowed to lift the trophy following the 2011 final.
Thank you for everything @eabidalofficial ! https://t.co/2W59VV2sli— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 19, 2014
Thank you for everything @eabidalofficial ! https://t.co/2W59VV2sli
SKY SPORTS FANTASY FOOTBALL
Ahead of the the crucial festive period, our Fantasy Football Scout has picked out Tottenham striker Harry Kane as a player to consider for your Sky Sports Fantasy Football team. The 21-year-old, who is now in 1.8 per cent of sides, scored and claimed the Sky Sports man-of-the-match award to rack up 14 points at Swansea
"Mauricio Pochettino’s men have relegation favourites Burnley and Leicester up next, providing Kane with the ideal opportunity to add to his increasingly impressive record."
Enter before 12.45pm on Saturday.
SPURS GETTING THE FANS ONSIDESpurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has Emmanuel Adebayor available for tomorrow's clash with Burnley, although he was coy this afternoon about whether the Togo striker will feature at White Hart Lane. Adebayor was given leave for perosnal reasons and hasn't played since criticising Spurs home fans following the defeat to Stoke last month. Spurs' home form has picked up courtesy of enthralling wins over Everton and Newcastle in recent weeks and Pochettino admits it's important his side win over the north London faithful.
"It's important to create this relationship. When you create this relationship between the supporters and the team, after that comes only good things.
"The energy is positive after a victory like Wednesday."
Burnley have lost just once in the last six - a run which has also included their three league wins of the campaign.
"Every game you need to win, more here, at Tottenham. In our mind is to get three points tomorrow, but we have full respect for our opponent.
"It's important to keep the level of performance that we had on Wednesday and to go tomorrow ready to compete.
"We need to suffer, because in front of us we have a very tough team."
Another word from Jose Mourinho now, this time on Eden Hazard, who's set to sign a new deal and is poised - in his manager's eyes - to become an all-time great.
"He will (sign). I was never worried about it, since the moment I met his father. Everything was very clear about their intentions and their happiness to stay with Chelsea.
"He needs to win titles because titles make players' history. I don't know players who are considered legends in clubs without winning titles, so he has to do that but the potential, I think, everybody knows."
PARDEW ON BEN ARFA
Reporter Keith Downie was in Pardew's press conference and tells us the Magpies boss spoke with a spot of regret about Hatem Ben Arfa, who's looking for a new club after his loan deal at Hull was cut short by Steve Bruce: https://twitter.com/SkySports_Keith/status/545943552468221952
Pardew says the answers are "staring Ben Arfa in the face" and he's "disappointed this has happened to him."— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) December 19, 2014
Pardew says the answers are "staring Ben Arfa in the face" and he's "disappointed this has happened to him."
PARDEW'S PEACE PACTOf course Chelsea's chances of an unbeaten season were ended by Newcastle earlier this month, and the big games keep coming up on Tyneside - it's Sunderland who visit for this weekend's Super Sunday derby.
This fixture has seen a bit of bother off the field in recent times, but Alan Pardew hopes that is a thing of the past in the wake of Sunderland supporters' reaction to the deaths of two Newcastle fans on the Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine....
"I think Sunderland's conduct has been impeccable, particularly around the incident with the Malaysian flight. For them to come across the bridge, so to speak, it's important for us to meet them in the right way, and I think we have. All the signals this week have been tremendous, and I'm so pleased about that.
"Not being from the area I don't get so emotionally involved as my staff - I can understand that, and I know how important it is to our fans - but me and Gus Poyet will set our teams up and hope we can put on a show worthy of the occasion.
"We hope the best team will win and the fans will conduct themselves as they have all week - with class."
ONE GAME AT A TIME
Down in west London, Jose Mourinho wouldn't be drawn on talk of a four-trophy haul this term. Here's the Blues boss in video form...
That was the message from Louis van Gaal a little earlier this afternoon. The clip from his news conference ahead of a trip to Aston Villa is in and here it is...
MCCOIST NEWS CONFERENCE
Here's a bit more from Ally McCoist, who won't go into the reasons why he handed in his notice at Ibrox, but has told reporters he'll give his utmost for the club during his notice period.
"It's been eventful but it's business as usual. We're focused in training and we're concentrating on getting a result (against Livingston).
"It was a very difficult decision (to tender resignation) but I've made it and there's no going back. I can assure people I'm 100 per cent committed for the remainder of my contract - the Rangers supporters wouldn't expect anything less.
"Will the players be distracted? It's been a pretty tumultuous three years and I honestly don't think this will affect the players any more than anything else."
News in from Alan Pardew, courtesy of the club's Twitter feed, that third-choice goalkeeper Jak Alnwick will be fit for Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby after that shoulder injury scare at Tottenham. Pardew - along with Sunderland counterpart Gus Poyet - will be speaking to SSNHQ later this afternoon. https://twitter.com/NUFC/status/545934013048057856
AP: "Jak Alnwick is fine. Cisse was in today, Tiote and Ameobi will train tomorrow and Steven Taylor trained today." #NUFC— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 19, 2014
AP: "Jak Alnwick is fine. Cisse was in today, Tiote and Ameobi will train tomorrow and Steven Taylor trained today." #NUFC
News from Scotland: Ally McCoist says he intends to see out his 12-month notice period at Rangers.
NEW CITY DEALS
Better news concerning some of the City stars Manuel Pellegrini is hoping to tie down to longer deals. As well as expecting boost from Joe Hart and James Milner, he's hoping Frank Lampard could yet remain at the Etihad.
On Hart: "I hope it is all finished. Maybe in the next couple of days we will have news."
On Milner: "There are a lot of things to decide... Yes I think (he will stay)."
On Lampard: "We’ll see. It is not just our decision. Of course I want him to stay but I can not say 100% at this moment."
Manchester City host Crystal Palace tomorrow lunchtime but Manuel Pellegrini will be without several key men. Sergio Aguero is a long-term absentee, while Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic are out for a couple of weeks and Vincent Kompany is still sidelined after suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury in the win over Leicester.
"We are without Jovetic, Dzeko, Aguero. We must change the way we play, a different system.
"Vincent is recovering from his injury but he is not fit for tomorrow"
MORE FROM MOURINHO
Chelsea face trips to Stoke - on Monday - Southampton and Tottenham, as well as hosting West Ham, over the Christmas and New Year period but Jose Mourinho's ready for the challenge of keeping Manchester City at bay
"We have four matches in a short period of time but everyone is in the same boat. Some are luckier to have easier fixtures; for us it is difficult with three matches away and only one at home but we are ready.
"The Quadruple? I just go match after match. I can only think about one competition at a time."
Jose Mourinho quotes coming up but first, a quick fitness update and it seems the leaders are in good nick, ahead of the Monday Night Football trip to Stoke. Kurt Zouma was stretchered off the field before half-time in the League Cup win over Derby following a collision with goalkeeper Petr Cech while Didier Drogba was replaced by Loic Remy after suffering an ankle injury, but Mourinho says both men should be available. He's not "100 per cent" sure on Thibaut Courtois's fitness but hopes the goalkeeper will be fit.
RODGERS ON SANCHEZ
We brought you a couple of Brendan Rodgers quotes a little earlier but here's the Liverpool boss's news conference in full. We say full but Rodgers didn't seem in the mood to stick around...
FIFA have released a lengthy statement from president Sepp Blatter following that decision and here are some standout bits, notably Blatter ruling out revisiting the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
"The FIFA Executive
Committee unanimously agreed to ask the Adjudicatory Chamber of the independent
Ethics Committee to publish the report in an appropriate form once the ongoing
procedures against individuals are concluded. I am pleased they have
"We have always been determined that the truth should be known. That is,
after all, why we set up an independent Ethics Committee with an investigatory
chamber that has all necessary means to undertake investigations on its own
"It is clear that while a summary of the report
was issued, the publication of this report has become a barrier to rebuilding
public confidence and trust in FIFA."
"But the report is
about history and I am focused on the future. We will not revisit the 2018 and
2022 vote and a report by independent, external legal experts commissioned by
Mr. Scala supports the view that there are no legal grounds to revoke the
Executive Committee’s decision on the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups."
Confirmation now in from FIFA that Michael Garcia's report will be published in an "appropriate form". Sepp Blatter's statement coming up.
VAN GAAL WANTS MORE
Is Louis van Gaal happy with six on the spin? He's still seeking the "perfect game" from his side, he tells us - and he's been chatting with former boss Sir Alex Ferguson about the club's progress...
"Yes, the results are very good but we can improve the performances. I think the team can improve itself more.
"I don't think it was a surprise that we won against Liverpool. We dominated 90 minutes and I want to see more games like that. That's a process but of course when you win six times in a row the confidence is rising.
"I'm still looking for something closer to the perfect game than we had given until now. When I speak with Sir Alex, he says: 'No problem, you've won.' But for me the performance is important." https://twitter.com/SkySportsNewsHQ/status/545923886492438529
On #SSNHQ, we speak to #MUFC boss Louis van Gaal ahead of tomorrow's trip to #AVFC. pic.twitter.com/wradI2b9Ef— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) December 19, 2014
On #SSNHQ, we speak to #MUFC boss Louis van Gaal ahead of tomorrow's trip to #AVFC. pic.twitter.com/wradI2b9Ef