Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
The win took Arsenal up to ninth on 22 points from 16 games, while West Ham’s third straight home loss leaves them in 16th place on 16 points, only a point above the relegation zone, and increases the pressure on Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini.
* Flamengo were the big winners at Monday’s Player of the Year awards in Brazil with the Rio de Janeiro club taking the best player, coach and goal of the season honours. Nine of the 11 players chosen for the team of the year came from Flamengo, who did the double by winning the league and the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League.
* FIFA’s Club World Cup gets underway on Wednesday with hosts Qatar facing a major test of the country’s ability to deal with an influx of foreign fans. European champions Liverpool and South America’s top side Flamengo are the favourites to feature in the final at Doha’s Khalifa stadium on Dec. 21.
* Bianca Andreescu was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year on Monday, capping a remarkable year in which the teenager became the country’s first tennis Grand Slam singles champion with her US Open triumph. Andreescu, an unknown quantity to most in Canada a year ago, was a unanimous pick after a breakout season in which she upset Serena Williams in the US Open final and reached a career-high fourth in the world rankings.
* Goalkeeper Andre Onana has been passed fit to play in Ajax Amsterdam’s key Champions League tie against Valencia on Tuesday but striker Quincy Promes is ruled out, coach Erik ten Hag said on Monday. Onana had a scan on a hamstring injury suffered in training on Saturday and was given the all-clear to play in Tuesday’s Group H game at the Amsterdam Arena, where Ajax still need a draw to guarantee progress to the last 16.
* Newcastle United are offering a free half-season ticket to season ticket holders as they try to fill St James’ Park for the rest of the season, the Premier League club said on Monday. The ticket covers 10 league games starting with Everton on Dec. 28 and includes Chelsea (Jan. 18), Tottenham Hotspur (May 2) and league leaders Liverpool (May 17).
* Holders Liverpool are approaching their last Champions League group game at Salzburg as if they are playing a final as they bid to reach the last 16, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Monday. Group E leaders Liverpool are a point ahead of Napoli and three in front of Salzburg, with all three teams still in the running to claim the top two spots and qualify.
* Chelsea’s final Champions League group game against Lille on Tuesday will be their biggest test of the season so far as they look to win at home for the first time and reach the knockout stage, manager Frank Lampard said on Monday. Chelsea are third in Group H with eight points – the same as second-placed Valencia and two points behind leaders Ajax Amsterdam – having been unbeaten away, but the London side have picked up only one point in two European home games this season.
* Megan Rapinoe collected another accolade in a stellar year by claiming Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year honour on Monday for her performance on the US women’s World Cup-winning soccer team and for her campaigning off the field. Rapinoe rocketed to household fame this year, taking home the Golden Boot and Golden Ball from the World Cup as top scorer and best player, as the US retained the trophy and on the way became advocates for gender pay equity in sport.
* The all-female W Series, which announced its first major sponsor at the weekend, is talking to several global brands amid increased interest in women’s sport at boardroom level, according to chief executive Catherine Bond Muir. The fledgling series has teamed up with Williams Formula One title sponsors ROKiT, who also back the Monaco-based Venturi Formula E team. A source indicated the deal was worth US$12.83 million over three years.
* England will play Italy in an international friendly on March 27 at Wembley Stadium, the country’s soccer governing body said on Monday. Both sides qualified for Euro 2020 after topping their respective groups, with Italy qualifying with a perfect record of 10 wins in 10 games.
* Pete Frates, whose personal battle with the neurodegenerative disease ALS inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge campaign that raised millions of dollars for medical research, died on Monday aged 34, seven years after his diagnosis, Boston College said.