Daily Briefing

Today’s back pages: Arsene Wenger backs Uefa over Man City ban and Chelsea are left feeling blue by Man Utd

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 18 February

Wenger whine

Metro reports that former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Uefa for banning Manchester City from the Champions League for two seasons for breaching Financial Fair Play rules. 

“It is important for the clubs to work with the natural income they have,” said the Frenchman. “The point of sport is basically to win, but by respecting the rules. 

“We celebrate the best in every sport but we need to know they respect the rules. If that doesn’t happen it is not real sport so that’s why it’s so important. Once you play in a competition you agree to the rules.”

Wenger saw several of his Arsenal stars head north to the Etihad during his time in charge of the Gunners - including Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri - and clearly this still rankles. 

“I think this is a deep question,” he said. “They bought all my players, yes!” 

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Sexist or common sense?

The Times reports that ex-England boss Fabio Capello has “reignited the debate” about reducing the size of the goal for female footballers. 

In a panel discussion at the Laureus World Sports Awards with Jill Ellis, the World Cup-winning former United States head coach, Capello said: “I think the goal for the women is too big… every time when you shoot at the goal, for the ’keeper it’s really difficult.”

Ellis, who coached the US to their second successive World Cup victory last summer, “respectfully disagreed” with the Italian, saying: “The purity of the game is the purity of the game and we all love that. We’ve grown up with the game and I don’t think we feel that we need to modify that.”

When a member of the audience put it to Capello that the dimensions of a tennis court are the same for men and women, he replied: “In tennis, you don’t have to jump. The problem in football is you have to jump.” 

Chelsea left feeling blue

Manchester United’s 2-0 win at Chelsea last night dominates the back pages with a variety of headlines.

“Dirty Harry” is the Daily Mail’s splash, a reference to defender Harry Maguire, who scored one of United’s two goals but in the Mail’s eyes should have been sent off for kicking Michy Batshuayi in the groin in the first half. 

The incident was reviewed by VAR, which strangely exonerated Maguire, and the Red Devils also got lucky when the same system denied Chelsea a goal for a foul when it appeared to the neutral that the first infringement was by United midfielder Fred. 

Those incidents account for the Daily Star’s headline “A Bridge too VAR” and The Times is also inspired by a film title with its “Escape to Victory” headline.

‘Soul destroying’ for Lampard: reactions to Man Utd’s VAR-cical victory

Today’s sport headlines

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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