Arsenal, Unai Emery show their progress in beating Spurs. PLUS: Mourinho makes himself the story

If the way to measure a team’s progress is their resilience when things go against them, their ability to perform in situations that carry additional weight and their ability to shape-shift into something more effective, then Unai Emery’s Arsenal are definitely on an upward arc.cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china

They found themselves 2-1 down at half-time in the North London derby despite arguably playing better than Spurs and conceding on a goalkeeping error and a hugely dubious penalty. (Heung Min Son may have been touched; whether that meant it’s a penalty or he needed to scream and roll around is another matter.) We’ve seen softer versions of the Gunners fade in these situations, but Emery’s half-time substitutions — Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan off, replaced by Aaron Ramsey in the hole and Alexandre Lacazette joining Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front — gave them another gear and they never looked back.6

The back three — and bear in mind, it includes the much-maligned Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi — dealt with Spurs’ attacking firepower for much of the match, Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka were dominant while the various forward permutations did what they were supposed to do.wholesale jerseys cheap nfl

You can chalk some of it up to Mauricio Pochettino’s choices and a bad day at the office. Leaving Toby Alderweireld on the bench seemed to mess up both his direct replacement, Juan Foyth, and his defensive partner, Jan Vertonghen. Eric Dier, who clearly isn’t 100 percent physically, struggled after half-time with Arsenal’s new setup, and Tottenham’s tactical reaction came late. But make no mistake about it, a ton of credit has to go to Arsenal and Emery in this match.

Liverpool celebrate derby win and the goal that keeps the title race alive (for now)

It’s not just the red-shirted masses inside Anfield who should have been toasting Divock Origi following his stoppage time winner for Liverpool against Everton.

Some goals mean more than others and carry a greater significance than what they mean over 90 minutes — or 96 minutes, in the case of this dramatic Merseyside derby. Just ask Jurgen Klopp. His crazy celebration, when he ran 40 yards onto the pitch before jumping for joy with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, was not simply because Liverpool had beaten Everton.

This has become the most one-sided big derby in football, so Klopp is accustomed to beating Everton. The reason he celebrated so wildly was because Origi’s goal kept Liverpool alive and kicking in the Premier League title race and his outpouring of emotion was a mixture of joy and relief.wholesale cheap nfl jersey china

“I have to apologise because I didn’t want to be disrespectful but I couldn’t stop myself,” Klopp said. “It just happened!

“If I could describe it [how he feels] then I would have control over it.”5

Aside from thousands of disconsolate Evertonians and those of a blue persuasion in Manchester, Origi’s header — which came six minutes into what had supposed to be four minutes of stoppage time — was a goal that might just be regarded by everyone else as the one that keeps the 2018-19 title race alive. We’re still not even at the halfway stage of the season, but with City showing signs of invincibility at the top of the table, any failure by Liverpool to beat their neighbours at Anfield on Sunday would have given the champions at least a four-point cushion — five, if Everton had won at Anfield for the first time since 1999.

City have only dropped four points in 14 games already this season and they will drop more between now and May, but giving them a four-point advantage in the first week of December would leave the chasing pack with virtually no margin for error over the second half of the season.cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china

Third-placed Chelsea are already seven points off the pace, with Unai Emery’s resurgent Arsenal a point further behind in fourth despite being unbeaten in the Premier League since August. Both Chelsea and Arsenal have made hugely impressive starts to the season under new managers in Maurizio Sarri and Emery respectively, but nobody really believes they can beat City to the title. And so, it’s all down to Liverpool, which is why they simply couldn’t afford to drop points against Everton.

As early as it is, being four points behind one of the best teams ever seen in the Premier League era would feel like an unbridgeable gap, even though Liverpool have conceded just five goals in the league all season.

Absent Nathan Eovaldi gets biggest cheers at Red Sox video premiere

Free agent Nathan Eovaldi was the star of the Red Sox 2018 World Series highlight video, and he didn’t even have to attend the red carpet premiere.

The erstwhile starter, who pitched six innings in relief in the team’s 18-inning, Game 3 loss, received a huge cheer whenever his name was mentioned by the dignitaries who shared the stage with the four World Series trophies the team has won since 2004. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was cheerfully heckled with shouts of “Bring him back!”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Acquired at midseason to bolster the Red Sox rotation, Eovaldi was 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA down the stretch for Boston. He made just one start in the playoffs before helping out the battered bullpen in the Game 5 clincher of the AL Division Series against Houston.6

He pitched one inning of relief in each of the first two games of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And then, entering Game 3 in the 12th inning, he went the rest of the way to take the load off the rest of the Red Sox pitching staff.

Eovaldi is one of the few free agents from the championship team, giving the 108-win AL East champions a chance to repeat with virtually the same roster. World Series MVP Steve Pearce has already re-signed; Game 5 winner David Price opted in to the last four years of the contract he signed before the 2016 season; the team exercised its option on ace Chris Sale.

“We did it with these guys last year. Why can’t we do it this year?” utilityman Brock Holt said after walking the red carpet. “We’re going to try to win 108 games again. I don’t know if we’re going to.”

Holt said the video premiere was an opportunity to look back at the team’s successes before turning their attention to spring training and their attempt to win back-to-back.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“You don’t want to turn the page, but you have to,” he said. “Now it’s like, `Hey, we won the World Series. Let’s do it again.’ That’s hard to do.”

Urban Meyer to retire after Rose Bowl, with Ryan Day taking over as Buckeyes head coach

Meyer, who has coached Ohio State for the past seven seasons, will formally announce he’s stepping down at a 2 p.m. news conference in Columbus alongside Day and athletic director Gene Smith. The 54-year-old has battled the effects of an arachnoid cyst on his brain, which causes severe headaches, especially when under stress. The cyst was diagnosed in 1998 but worsened the past few years, and Meyer dropped to his knees on the sideline during an October game against Indiana and often looked distressed during games, rubbing his head and wincing.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Meyer repeatedly said he planned on coaching in 2019, but uncertainty remained, even after Meyer seemed to improve in recent weeks and Ohio State won the Big Ten championship in beating Northwestern on Saturday. Several Ohio State staff members told ESPN after the game that they noticed a positive change in Meyer the past two weeks. Smith denied a Football Scoop report last week that Meyer would not coach past the 2019 season and Day would take over as head coach. Meyer declined to comment when asked about the report.5

Meyer on Friday called Day “elite” and, when asked about Day’s future career opportunities, said, “Certainly now is not that time, this week is not the time. But there will be a time.”

Ohio State wanted to announce Meyer’s plans before the early signing period (Dec. 19-21) and with most of the coaching staff on the road recruiting. Naming Day as Meyer’s successor shows a commitment to continuity with the staff for 2019 and beyond.

Day, 39, is in his second season on the Buckeyes’ staff after previously working for Chip Kelly with the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.cheap nfl jerseys china nike The New Hampshire native turned down college head-coaching opportunities and the Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator job after the 2017 season. He was mentioned as a candidate for college head-coaching jobs this year but never strongly pursued any. Day served as Ohio State’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2017 before being promoted to the primary coordinator and playcalling role this season.

Thon Maker’s energy gives Bucks a lift

There’s an old adage about staying ready so you don’t have to get ready. It’s something you hear a lot when discussions about the Milwaukee Bucks’ Thon Maker arise this season.

Now in his third year, Maker would not have been faulted for thinking his role would increase this season after showing signs of his potential over the past two campaigns, despite not playing regular minutes under former head coach Jason Kidd.

However, in the Bucks’ first 14 games, Maker appeared in just six, and played more than 10 minutes just twice. Maker could have sulked and questioned whether he had a long-term role on a rising Milwaukee team, but he didn’t.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Instead, he kept working hard; he watched and learned.6

“Just staying in the gym, continuing to work, watching film, watching the games, obviously; taking notes on the sideline,” Maker tells ESPN. ” [I was] in the gym non-stop, at midnight, 2am … whenever. I’m always in the gym.

“Taking care of my body is another [big] part as well – lifting, doing extra work just to stay ready. Conditioning is the toughest part outside of those because you can’t get into game shape because you’re not actually playing.

“Just staying in shape was anther tough part, I had to push myself extra hard in the drills. Even in shootarounds when guys are going through the motions, I can’t do that. I’m not playing as many minutes as they are so I gotta go extra hard.”

In his past seven games he’s averaging a shade under 4 points per game in just over 12 minutes per game, but it isn’t so much about the offensive numbers as it is the energy he brings to the team when he’s on the floor.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“Thon’s done a great job just staying ready all year,” Milwaukee’s superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo says. “That’s the type of player Thon is, on any given night [he can] give energy to the team. If it’s getting a rebound, blocking shots or hitting some threes, he can do all those. But his number one focus is bringing energy, so I think he’s done a great job coming in and bringing energy and playing hard.”

Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: No slowing down Kevin Durant

Fantasy basketball purists certainly remember that awesome 1961-62 campaign for the Lakers that saw Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and, of course, Rudy LaRusso each score a 50-point game that season.nfl cheap nike jerseys

Now that Kevin Durant tallied 51 points in a dramatic loss to Toronto last night, the Warriors join that famously productive Lakers triumvirate as the only other team in NBA history to sport three 50-point scorers in a single season — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both already hit this rare milestone this season.

The Raptors beat the Warriors 131-128 in an overtime thriller on Thursday, as Durant continued his hot scoring streak with those 51 points in addition to 11 rebounds and six dimes. Durant became the fourth player in Warriors history with three straight 40-point games, joining Stephen Curry, Rick Barry and Wilt Chamberlain, per Elias. With the loss, Golden State snapped its eight-game head-to-head win streak against the Raptors.5

Durant is the eighth different player to score 50 in a game this season. That’s more than twice as many players to do so before December in any other season in NBA history. Ten players did this all last season.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points, his most in a Raptors uniform. Leonard aggressively sought to score throughout the game. Per Second Spectrum, Leonard ran 15 isolation plays (his most in a game over the past five seasons) and had 22 drives to the basket (his second most in a game over the past five seasons).

The Warriors’ roster doesn’t offer much help in regards to widely available waiver acquisitions, but for Toronto, we find names like Danny Green proving productive despite being rostered in just 3.7 percent of ESPN leagues. Green won’t wow you with his scoring prowess (just 9.8 PPG), but he can help on defense (1.7 combined blocks and steals) and in shooting (2.5 3PG on 43.3 percent efficiency).

Richard Sherman finding his footing in first year with 49ers

Earlier this month, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman passed the one-year mark since suffering the devastating Achilles tendon injury that ended his 2017 season early.

Much has changed for Sherman in that year: The Seattle Seahawks released him, the 49ers signed him, he recovered from the Achilles injury, he had a couple of minor injury setbacks and he’s managed to fight through others. He’s also hit a variety of benchmarks in his return from injury,cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping but validation of a return to form might have come in its biggest dose when Sherman was able to play well during a Week 8 game against the Arizona Cardinals, then turn around and play four days later against the Oakland Raiders.

“It was really meaningful for me,” Sherman said. “I wanted to do it for the team. Obviously, I’m a competitor, I want to play every game if I can and thankfully the trainers and doctors and everything were able to help me get to where I needed to get to play, so I was excited about it.”6

Given some time to rest after that victory against the Raiders, the 30-year-old Sherman said his legs “felt as good as they’ve ever felt,” and coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh noticed an uptick in his practice performance to go along with it.

“I’m sure it was a great confidence boost for him, too,” Saleh said. “Even as much as he’s done in his career, he could always use a confidence booster. But, for Sherm to be able to stack days up and be able to practice and play games consecutively like that, I’m sure it was a big deal for him.”

On Sunday, Sherman will return to Seattle for the first time in a different uniform, that of his former adversary Niners, no less. As he makes that return, he does so as a team captain for the first time in his career and an integral part in a 49ers defense that is going through more than its share of growing pains.

Sherman, by his own account, has experienced his share of highs and lows this season.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

“It’s been so-so,” Sherman said. “It’s been ups and downs. I’ve had good games where I’ve felt good and been in real control and then other games where I’ve had to just kind of get through it. So as my leg and body progresses, I think I’m going to be feeling better.”

How Plaxico Burress’ shooting may have cost the Giants a title

It has been 10 years, but a conversation about the 2008 New York Giants still gets former All-Pro guard Chris Snee irritated. The memories of how it all unfolded — culminating with the NFC’s top seed losing to the rival Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs — remains too raw.

It might always be that way. Snee doesn’t talk about it with his father-in-law — former Giants coach Tom Coughlin — because he believes they are both too competitive. It would be the equivalent of ripping a Band-Aid off a still-raw blister.

That 2008 season is the one that got away. It’s also the one where, a decade ago this week, wide receiver Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg at a Manhattan club.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“Honestly, it’s still one that haunts me,” Snee said of that ill-fated season, during a recent phone conversation with ESPN. “I don’t think there was a team that could beat us. I really don’t.”

The Giants had beaten the four teams that went on to reach championship weekend (Eagles, Cardinals, Ravens and Steelers) in a five-week stretch earlier in the season. Three of those four wins were on the road.5

They had raced out to a 10-1 record before the Burress incident derailed their season.

“We were the best team in the NFL at the time of the shooting,” Coughlin has said in recent years.

Snee thought that was the best Giants team of that era, even though they had won a Super Bowl the previous year and another four years later. Quarterback Eli Manning said he probably agreed.

“We could hang with anyone and were rolling,” Manning said. “And then obviously lost Plaxico.”

The Giants lost four of their next six games, including 23-11 in the playoffs at Giants Stadium. They failed to score 20 points in each of the four losses. Yet there doesn’t seem to be much ill will or hard feelings toward Burress, even though all seem to agree the shooting was the turning point.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

Maybe it’s because Burress got the worst of it all. He sustained a gunshot wound to his leg and served nearly two years in prison for attempted criminal possession of a weapon. The perfect storm of a public figure violating New York’s stringent gun laws made for a high-profile case that even had the mayor pushing for strict prosecution. The self-inflicted wounds turned Burress’ life upside down and ended his Giants career. After the incident. he caught a total of 48 passes with the Jets (2011) and Steelers (2012).

His teammates aren’t blaming their demise on the receiver, who had caught the game-winning touchdown to beat the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl nine months earlier.

Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco grew up together; now they’re MLS Cup hopefuls 6,800 miles from home

The distance between Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Portland, Oregon, is more than 6,800 miles. The flight time is approximately 17 hours and 15 minutes, and that’s if you manage to fly direct. Driving is practically impossible — the Darien Gap on the border between Colombia and Panama is basically impenetrable, a 55-mile break in the Pan-American Highway that runs from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the southern tip of Chile. Should they ever find a way to pave that bit of swampland, Buenos Aires to Portland would take you something close to 200 hours by car.

For Timbers teammates Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco, who have known each other since they were boys playing for the same youth academy in the southern suburbs of Argentina’s biggest city, the metaphorical distance is even more yawning than that.

Would they ever have imagined, when they first started playing together on Lanus’ senior squad in 2006, that they’d end up here, of all places? In Portland, Oregon, in the MLS Western Conference finals vs. Sporting Kansas City (second leg Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), the two most important players in a small-market team battling for its second league championship in four years?

“No,” Valeri said from a bench at the team training facility in Beaverton last week. “Never.“cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Blanco agreed: “Impossible.”6

The Timbers were a minor league team in 2006. Providence Park was still predominantly a baseball stadium. Both Valeri and Blanco harbored dreams of one day leaving their hometown for a bigger country, but those musings were murky and undefined. Before signing with the Timbers in 2017, Blanco had been to the U.S. only once, to Miami, and he pictured New York skyscrapers, not “Portlandia.“cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“We never thought about this,” Valeri told ESPN FC, with a smirk that was borderline patronizing, gesturing at the facility around him, on a lovely autumn Northwest day. “We never imagined.”

Blanco, again: “The opportunity for what’s happening is incredible.”

Valeri and Blanco were aware of one another almost from the start of their respective soccer careers. Although they both came up through Lanus’ system, Valeri is two years older, so they played at different age levels before finally linking up in the first team.

To belabor the mileage imagery just one more time to underscore how small-world all of this is: Their childhood homes were less than 3 miles apart, about a 15-minute drive without traffic. Where they come from, the bordering neighborhoods of Lanus and Lomas de Zamora, very few residents ever even relocate elsewhere in Buenos Aires, let alone outside the country, and fewer still outside the continent.

Neymar wasn’t ‘100 percent’ for PSG’s Champions League win against Liverpool

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar said he was “not 100 percent” after his team beat Liverpool 2-1 in Champions League Group C on Wednesday to go second ahead of the final round of fixtures.

The Brazil international, who scored the second goal for Thomas Tuchel’s men, had picked up a knock in a friendly last week and fought to be fit enough to feature this midweek along with Kylian Mbappe, who was also hurt in a friendly for France over the international break.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“I was not 100 percent but this was an important match,” said the 26-year-old. “Injured or not, there was no way I was missing it.5

“This was a real battle. I am very happy that we won — we showed great spirit, which was crucial to our victory. We showed everyone that we are determined to go as far as possible in the Champions League.”

Neymar is now the all-time top Brazilian goal scorer in Champions League history with his 31st continental strike to overtake Kaka, which he recognised as something special.

“It is a source of great joy,” the former Barcelona man said. “I am very proud, and I hope to keep scoring.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel was pleased with Neymar and his teammates for the performance that they managed to produce under significant pressure.

“This was our chance to match a team like Liverpool,” said the German manager. “We have incredible mentality and we had to show fight and play good football — we had waited for that and did just that.

“We were energetic and worked hard as a team. Our attitude and work ethic were great. We won an intense and important game.”