Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Barcelona back boss Setien despite crisis and Spurs stadium is likely to host Joshua’s next fight

Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 7 February

1. Barca back boss Setien

FC Barcelona’s “crisis” got even worse last night after the Spanish giants were dumped out of the Copa del Rey.

Earlier this week a row erupted between club captain Lionel Messi and sporting director Eric Abidal, who claimed that players had not worked hard enough under former boss Ernesto Valverde. 

In last night’s Copa del Rey quarter-final clash the Catalans were beaten 1-0 by Athletic Bilbao. Inaki Williams’s header in the third minute of stoppage time gave Bilbao the win.

ESPN reports that despite the defeat Barcelona head coach Quique Setien, who replaced Valverde last month, has been backed by the Camp Nou board. 

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu told Barca TV: “We had clear chances and played well. We created a lot and I want to congratulate the players for how they played. They showed ambition and motivation. 

“I reiterate that I liked the ambition shown by the team on the pitch, because it’s a tough place to come and the home fans are on top of you. 

“Now we have La Liga and the Champions League to focus on. Playing like that, I am sure success will follow.”

On Sunday Barcelona are away at Real Betis in La Liga (8pm GMT).

2. Real lose seven-goal thriller 

Real Madrid are also out of the Copa del Rey after losing 4-3 at home against Real Sociedad.

The defeats for Barca and Real means for the first time since 2010 the Copa del Rey final will not feature either of Spain’s top two sides.

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3. Murrayfield braced for Storm Ciara

Tomorrow’s Six Nations clash between Scotland and England could be played in wild weather.

Reports indicate that Storm Ciara will sweep across Scotland, bringing heavy rain and high winds, both of which could have a significant bearing on the Murrayfield clash.

“I’ve been looking at the weather forecast every day and it has started to close in,” said Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. “It’s now looking like it’ll be wet and windy around kick-off time.”

Scotland vs. England: Six Nations preview

4. Everton star Christiansen eyes Olympic squad 

Everton Women midfielder Izzy Christiansen has set her sights on playing for Team GB at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 28-year-old said: “I will be giving my everything so I am back in contention for a place in the squad. I understand where I am at and I have to control where I am, and I am in a fantastic place to do that. I know if I am fresh and ready I will be in the thoughts of the manager [for the Olympics].”

5. Folau left out by Dragons

Controversial rugby star Israel Folau has been left out of the Catalan Dragons’s squad for Sunday’s Super League clash at Wakefield Trinity.

Folau recently returned to rugby league after signing a one-year deal with the Dragons. The 30-year-old was last year sacked by the Australian Rugby Union after making homophobic comments on social media.

Anthony Joshua celebrates his victory in the rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

6. Joshua to fight at Tottenham?

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua’s next fight is likely to be held at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London. 

After bouts in New York and in Saudi Arabia, British heavyweight Joshua is keen to fight at home. The IBF, WBA and WBO champion is expected to face Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in June.

Hearn told Sky Sports: “We’ve had offers in from the Far East, Middle East, Africa, America, Turkey. He wants to fight in London in June. Spurs is the frontrunner and that’s what he’s asked me to do.”

7. Dubois to face Joyce in London

Boxing fans in the UK are in for a treat following today’s announcement that Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce will go head-to-head on 11 April. The British heavyweights are both undefeated and will put their records on the line at The O2 in London. 

“Dynamite” Dubois, 22, is the British, Commonwealth, WBC Silver and WBO International champion while “Juggernaut” Joyce, 34, is the WBA Gold champion and the former Commonwealth and WBA Continental champion.

Daniel Dubois vs. Joe Joyce: boxing’s battle of London is on 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

8. Archer out but could Anderson return?

Jofra Archer’s latest injury blow has forced the England pace bowler out of next month’s Test tour of Sri Lanka. The 24-year-old has also been withdrawn from the lucrative Indian Premier League season on account of his stress fracture in his right elbow. 

While Archer is ruled out, fellow quick bowler James Anderson is targeting a return from injury to play in the tour of Sri Lanka. 

England’s all-time wicket-taker told Sky Sports: “I’ve been training for a few weeks now, getting my bowling back up to speed. I feel really good. That’s the aim [to be ready for Sri Lanka]. The aim for me is to get fit for whatever is next and at the moment that is Sri Lanka.”

9. Gold fears West Ham fans

West Ham’s co-chairman David Gold is living in “terror” because he fears he will be subjected to an attack by angry fans similar to the one directed at Manchester United chief Ed Woodward last month. 

An angry mob gathered outside Woodward’s home and chanted that he was “going to die”, and Gold fears he could be next. “You’ve got a couple of hundred belligerents who want to, metaphorically, burn your house down,” he is quoted as saying.

10. Back pages: Pogba set to leave United?

“Flog the Pog” screams the back page of The Sun, with the paper reporting that Paul Pogba’s troubled stay at Old Trafford is set to end. 

Apparently the French midfielder, sidelined for months with an ankle injury, has “been given the green light” to leave Manchester United and the “fed-up Old Trafford hierarchy are now ready to sell him for £150m”. 

Today’s newspaper back pages

Man Utd ready to flog Paul Pogba for £150m

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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