Anastasia Dobromyslova: ‘Being a girl, I’ve had to fight for my spot in darts’

13-12-2018 Ellesmere Port-based Russian is one of two women who have qualified for the PDC event at Alexandra Palace from ThursdayAnastasia Dobromyslova smiles as she remembers the first time she played darts, as a 12-year‑old in her home city of Tver, just over 100 miles from Moscow, and realised she had an unerring knack for hitting trebles and doubles – and beating the older boys at her youth club. “I wasn’t very well liked,” she laughs. “I think that’s what toughened me up, because I’ve always had to be amongst the boys. Being a girl I have had to fight for my spot.”Not a great deal has changed in the intervening two decades. But having qualified for one of two new women’s spots at this year’s expanded PDC World Championship, which begins at Alexandra Palace on Thursday, the 34-year-old Dobromyslova intends to make the most of her opportunity. “You don’t realise how many emotions I have,” she says. “I’m excited, I’m nervous and I know playing in front of thousands of people will be challenging. But with a bit of luck, who knows what could happen?” Continue reading...

Stalemate at Old Trafford and Wolves at Chelsea's door – Football Weekly Extra

13-12-2018 Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Amy Lawrence and Mike Calvin discuss ‘four crap goals’ in the game between Manchester United and Arsenal, Morgan Gibbs-White, a very strange game in Brighton, the French for ‘putting your foot in it’ and sprinting managersJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the last few days of football, starting with Manchester United’s 2-2 draw at home with Arsenal, with the away side the ones to pile late pressure on at the one-time home of Fergie-time. Continue reading...

Sunderland ‘Til I Die shows all that is right and wrong in English football | Barry Glendenning

13-12-2018 A sense of loss is all-pervading in a Netflix series chronicling Sunderland’s relegation into League One but, throughout, a sense of optimism shines out from most fansIt’s the hope that kills them, Sunderland fans can handle the despair. And it is a prevailing sense of hope that percolates throughout all eight episodes of a behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the club’s relegation to the third tier of English football last season. Throughout a preposterously chaotic campaign, even by the standards of a club long considered utterly dysfunctional, Sunderland’s fans remain surprisingly upbeat, despite having grown wearily accustomed to coping with apparently bottomless levels of crushing disappointment. Related: Sunderland's hall of shame: club's (mostly bad) signings under Short Continue reading...

The Spin | Big Bash’s flipping bats recall stories of cunning ploys with tossed coins

13-12-2018 When you look closely at the ritual, it begins to seem odd that cricket lets blind luck and ‘dynamical bias’ play such a large partWhen he was 14, Persi Diaconis packed a fresh deck of cards and a spare pair of socks into a knapsack and ran away from home to become a magician’s assistant. He spent the next few years as an apprentice with Dai Vernon, whose sleight of hand was so smart, so sharp, he even beat Harry Houdini, who famously claimed he could pick any magic trick on the third go, until Vernon fooled him seven times in a row.They used to call Vernon “the Professor”, and now they do Diaconis, too. Because that is what he is. The Mary V Sunseri professor of statistics and mathematics, to be exact, at Stanford, where he has been continuing his lifelong study of chance and probability. Continue reading...

Alisson the rock in Liverpool’s solid defence but Matip injury is a blow

13-12-2018 • Goalkeeper vital to defensive improvement this season•Defender out for six weeks with a fractured collarboneThere was a grin from Virgil van Dijk before giving his assessment of Alisson’s contribution to Liverpool’s victory over Napoli. “He was there to do his job,” the defender said. Bear hugs and effusive praise could come from others. Van Dijk was, of course, correct, although a Liverpool goalkeeper doing his job so well, so consistently and so decisively feels a novelty in the context of Anfield’s recent history.The Champions League group decider was Alisson’s 22nd appearance for Jürgen Klopp’s team following his £65m summer move from Roma. He had justified the expectation levels that soared with his signing long before Wednesday, when he earned Liverpool an extra £11m in Champions League revenue with the 92nd-minute block that secured victory and a return to the knockout phase. Continue reading...

Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool boss on 'unbelievable' win to reach Champions League last 16

13-12-2018 Jurgen Klopp says he could "fill his adrenaline in bottles" after an "unbelievable" win over Napoli earned his side place in the Champions League knockout stage.

The 100 best footballers in the world 2017

13-12-2018 Our panel of 169 experts from 63 nations compile a list of the greatest male players in 2017. Click on an individual to read more about their year.• Messi edges Ronaldo to No1 | The data behind our 100 | Watch: our top 10• Meet our panel of judges for 2017 | 2016 edition | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 Continue reading...

World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

13-12-2018 A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

Harry Kane says Spurs are Champions League contenders after Barça draw

13-12-2018 • Spurs reaching last 16 is ‘massive achievement’ • ‘It’s important we go as far as we can in this competition’Harry Kane said Tottenham’s performance at Barcelona was the latest evidence that they can live with Europe’s best and should fire the belief they can progress deep into the Champions League.Spurs drew 1-1 at Camp Nou on Tuesday to advanced to the last 16, because Internazionale could only draw 1-1 at home to PSV Eindhoven. Tottenham had needed to match Inter’s result to go through. “Thank us later Spurs,” PSV’s account tweeted, with a winking emoji. Continue reading...

Joel Matip: Liverpool defender out for up to six weeks with fractured collarbone

13-12-2018 Liverpool defender Joel Matip could be out for up to six weeks as he needs surgery on a fractured collarbone.

Raiders owner calls Oakland's lawsuit over team's move to Vegas 'malicious'

13-12-2018 City is seeking damages for money invested in RaidersLawsuit does not aim to stop team moving to Las VegasThe city of Oakland has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit trying to recover damages for the Raiders’ upcoming move to Las Vegas.The suit, which was filed on Tuesday against the Raiders, the NFL and the other 31 teams, seeks lost revenue, money Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs. The suit does not ask the court to prevent the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas but asks for damages that will help pay off the approximately $80m in debt remaining from renovations on the Coliseum. Continue reading...

Jimmy Gressier retains Euro U-23 Cross Country title but faceplants on finish line – video

13-12-2018 Jimmy Gressier successfully defended his men’s under-23 European Cross Country title in the Netherlands on Sunday, but the runner’s failed celebration are likely what will be remembered best. Continue reading...

Laurent Koscielny to face Qarabag on Arsenal return amid injury crisis

13-12-2018 • Captain due to play first game for Emery, with Özil to feature• Others’ absence means Koscielny may play at Southampton tooUnai Emery has confirmed Laurent Koscielny will make his comeback against Qarabag and Mesut Özil is also set to feature in the Europa League dead rubber. The 33-year-old Koscielny, the Arsenal captain, has yet to play under Emery having ruptured an achilles in the Europa League semi-final defeat to Atlético Madrid in May.The defender missed France’s World Cup success as he recovered his fitness and featured for 85 minutes in an EFL Trophy match with Portsmouth last week. Continue reading...