Sports shorts: Arsenal stars in gang war, VAR debuts in Premier League, Andy Murray returns to singles
Ten things from the world of sport on Monday 12 August
1. Arsenal stars caught in gang war
Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac missed the opening game of the season against Newcastle on Sunday after being been caught in the middle of a gang dispute. Last month, the two players were the victims of a carjacking attempt by an armed gang on mopeds and the pair are now said to be under 24-hour security after further incidents outside their homes.
“Unknown to the footballers, eastern European gangsters are believed to have warned against any future attacks on the pair. This has led to an escalation of threats by a rival gang,” reports The Times. Manager Unai Emery said: “The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority.” He admitted that he was not sure if the pair would be available for Sunday’s match against Burnley.
2. Lampard reacts to Mourinho criticism
Jose Mourinho, predictably, made waves as a Sky Sports pundit for the match between Chelsea and Man United on Sunday. After the game, which United won 4-0, he appeared to criticise Chelsea boss Frank Lampard for picking a team lacking in “know-how”. But Lampard “reacted with disbelief when told about Mourinho's comments” reports the Daily Mail. The Blues boss seemed particularly surprised that Mourinho picked out youngster Mason Mount for criticism alongside Tammy Abraham and Andreas Christensen, and added that he could not select players “from the medical room”.
3. VAR makes Premier League debut
There were lots of debuts in the Premier League this weekend, but the first use of the Video Assistant Referee could be the most significant. “The much-anticipated arrival of VAR in the Premier League did not disappoint those who believe it will make the game fairer,” says The Times. “Three decisions were overturned this weekend by video assistant referees and about 50 checks made.” Man City had a goal ruled out for offside and then got to retake a penalty, which they scored, in the 5-0 win over West Ham as a result of VAR, and Wolves had a goal ruled out for handball in the 0-0 draw with Leicester.
4. Salah scores, fan hits the post
Mohamed Salah is known for his precision in front of goal – and scored in Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Norwich on Friday night. But young fan Louis Fowler is not quite so lethal and could only hit the post when he spotted his idol. The 11-year-old Liverpool supporter knocked himself out running into a lamp post as he tried to attract Salah’s attention outside Liverpool’s training ground on Saturday. The youngster was left with a broken nose after the accident, but the pain soon disappeared when he got to meet his hero. The Egyptian striker saw what happened and turned his car round to check on the boy. He then posed for pictures with Louis and his brother Isaac. Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Louis joked that he got a telling off from the footballer, telling presenters: “He was like ‘Why are you running like that?’”
5. Andy Murray in singles comeback
Former world number one Andy Murray will return to singles competition for the first time since January at the Cincinnati Masters today. The 32-year-old Wimbledon champion has not played singles since losing in the first round of the Australian Open and then underwent hip surgery. Since then he has managed his comeback by playing in doubles events but is now set to resume his singles career against Richard Gasquet. Murray, who is now ranked 325 in the world, was given a wild card entry to the tournament but said he felt “good” on the practice court. He is expected on court at around 7pm BST.
6. Jones to name England World Cup squad
England beat Wales in the first warm-up game before the Rugby World Cup, denying Wales top spot in the world rankings. The 33-19 win at Twickenham came thanks to first half tries from Billy Vunipola, Joe Cokanasiga and Luke Cowan-Dickie. Wales replied with scores from Gareth Davies, George North and Wyn Jones. After New Zealand’s shock defeat to Australia on Saturday, Wales would have replaced them at the top of the ranking had they avoided defeat, but they will now have to regroup after their first defeat in 15 matches. England coach Eddie Jones will name his 31-man World Cup squad today.
7. PSG fans turn on Neymar
Brazil star Neymar, the world’s most expensive footballer, has burned his bridges with fans of Paris Saint Germain after agitating for a move back to Spain. Fans held up obscene banners at the club’s first game of the new season telling the player to leave and called him a “son of a b****” in chants during the game. Neymar did not play in the match that PSG won 3-0 thanks to goals from Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria. However, manager Thomas Tuchel said: “I'm trying to convince him to stay. But on the other hand, it's a personal choice. It's between him and the club.”
8. Biles breaks new ground
Simone Biles became the first woman since 1952 to win six US Gymnastics Championships as she triumphed in spectacular style at Kansas City. The 22-year-old broke new ground as she became the first woman to land a triple-twisting, double back flip during her floor routine, having earlier successfully performed a double twisting, double somersault dismount off the balance beam. The four-time Olympic champion finished with an overall score of 118.5, beating her nearest rival, 16-year-old Sunisa Lee, by five points.
9. Chadwick wins W Series
British racing driver Jamie Chadwick claimed the inaugural W Series championship at Brands Hatch after a fraught race in which she almost blew her chance of victory. “The 21-year-old ultimately showed a class and a maturity beyond her years, enough indeed to head home with the $500,000 (£415,000) winner’s prize,” says The Guardian. “Chadwick needed a podium finish to be assured of the title but managed only fourth. Britain’s Alice Powell won the race, from the Finn Emma Kimiläinen. Beitske Visser of the Netherlands, the only driver who could challenge Chadwick, was third and with a 13-point deficit, that was not good enough.” It bought the curtain down on a “a very successful first year” for the championship, designed to promote women in motor racing.
10. GB shot-putter named in relay team
“Gutted” Great Britain were disqualified from the men's 4x400m relay at the European Athletics Team Championships after accidentally picking a reserve shot putter for the race. The “technical error” saw Youcef Zatat, who did not travel to the meet in Poland, named in the quartet instead of sprinter Rabah Yousif. Team GB eventually finished fifth in the event. Zatat tweeted that he “definitely” would have run had he been there but added. “As funny as this has been for me I feel for the guys who went all that way to not run.”