Goals galore for City, Arsenal as United win again

Updated 31 December 2012
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Goals galore for City, Arsenal as United win again

LONDON: Goals rained down on the Premier League on Saturday, with Arsenal beating Newcastle United 7-3 and champions Manchester City edging Norwich City 4-3 to keep pace with leaders Manchester United.
City’s win prevented United from extending their seven-point lead at the summit, after they overcame West Bromwich Albion 2-0 to take their tally for the season to 50 goals.
United manager Alex Ferguson was the focus of pre-match attention at Old Trafford for an outspoken attack on Newcastle United coach Alan Pardew, but his side got down to business quickly and went ahead inside nine minutes.
The scorer wore a blue and white shirt, however, with West Brom defender Gareth McAuley inadvertently shinning the ball into his own goal after Ashley Young drove a low cross across the face of goal.
The hosts were not able to breathe easily until substitute Robin van Persie curled a glorious shot into the top-left corner in the last minute, before unveiling a T-shirt that paid tribute to a personal friend who recently died.
“We’re in a good position,” Ferguson told the BBC.
“We’re halfway there. We’ve a game on Tuesday away from home at Wigan and we’ve got a few players to freshen it up. We’ll look forward to the next game and try and win it.”
City lost Samir Nasri to a first-half red card at Norwich but edged an open-ended encounter thanks in no small part to Edin Dzeko, who scored twice and might have had a hat-trick.
The Bosnian, who has had to become accustomed to a role on the substitutes’ bench this season, struck twice inside the opening four minutes to put City in control at Carrow Road.
But Norwich hit back through a deflected Anthony Pilkington free-kick, and the visitors were then dealt a blow when Nasri was sent off for aiming a head-butt at Sebastien Bassong.
Sergio Aguero’s deft, lobbed finish made it 3-1, but City were indebted to an own goal by Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn, who inadvertently deflected Dzeko’s shot into his own net, after Russell Martin had twice hit back for the hosts.
“I don’t know why (Nasri was sent off) as the linesman was there and I don’t know what he saw,” said City manager Roberto Mancini, whose side lost 1-0 at Sunderland on Wednesday.
“We saw the video — both players touch heads. With 10 men it was difficult. The guys played very well.”
A day bursting with goals — 35 in total — concluded in an extraordinary game at the Emirates Stadium in which Theo Walcott claimed a hat-trick as Arsenal overcame Newcastle 7-3 to climb to fifth.
Arsenal took the lead three times, through Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski, only for Newcastle to hit back each time through Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux and Ba again.
Arsene Wenger’s men finally killed the game off in the latter stages, with Walcott completing his treble and substitute Olivier Giroud claiming a quick-fire brace.
“I’ve been saying for the past few weeks that I want to play up front and I am showing the manager what I can do,” said Walcott.
Tottenham had earlier overturned a half-time deficit to win 2-1 at Sunderland and provisionally move into third place.
John O’Shea scored against the run of play to put the hosts ahead at a rain-sodden Stadium of Light, but a Carlos Cuellar own goal drew Spurs level before Aaron Lennon completed the comeback with a composed 51st-minute strike.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side have taken 19 points from a possible 24 and are now a point above third-place Chelsea, who have two games in hand and visit Everton on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa’s recent miseries continued as they sank 3-0 at home to Wigan Athletic.
Goals from Ivan Ramis, Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone put paid to Paul Lambert’s young team, who have now shipped 15 goals in three games after losing 8-0 to Chelsea and 4-0 to Tottenham Hotspur.
Villa would have slipped into the relegation zone had third-bottom Southampton not been denied victory in a 3-3 draw at Stoke City by a sensational 25-yard strike from Cameron Jerome.
Southampton had led 3-1, and played against 10 men following the 71st-minute dismissal of Steven N’Zonzi, but second-bottom Reading did a better job of defending a lead in a 1-0 home win over West Ham United.
Fulham’s dismal form continued, meanwhile, as they lost 2-1 at home to Swansea City.


Modi forecasts IPL players will earn ‘$1m a game’

Updated 43 min ago
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Modi forecasts IPL players will earn ‘$1m a game’

  • Modi believes that if that $12 million cap is relaxed, leading IPL players could earn as much as English Premier League footballers and even NFL stars
  • London-based Modi forecast the end of country versus country contests, which effectively finance professional cricket structures all round the world and the demise of the International Cricket Council, the sport’s global governing body

LONDON: Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi believes there will come a time when players will earn $1 million dollars per game while warning that the traditional program of matches between countries “will disappear.”
A Twenty20 domestic franchise competition launched a decade ago, which has spawned a host of imitators worldwide, the IPL is now the most lucrative of all cricket tournaments.
“The IPL is here to stay,” Modi told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper in an interview published Thursday. “It will be the dominant sporting league in the world.”
IPL teams are bankrolled by wealthy businessmen operating in an environment where the passion for cricket in India, the world’s second-most populous nation, makes the game an attractive target for sponsors and broadcasters.
At present there is a team salary cap, with the likes of England all-rounder Ben Stokes earning $1.95 million per season from the Rajasthan Royals.
But Modi believes that if that $12 million cap is relaxed, leading IPL players could earn as much as English Premier League footballers and even NFL stars.
That would have a huge impact on international cricket, with players torn between making an IPL fortune and representing their countries.
“You will see players making $1-$2m a game,” said Modi. “It will happen sooner rather than later.
“In a free market the person with the deepest pockets will win. The players will gravitate toward who pays the biggest salary.”
Meanwhile, in a chilling argument for cricket traditionalists, London-based Modi forecast the end of country versus country contests, which effectively finance professional cricket structures all round the world and the demise of the International Cricket Council, the sport’s global governing body.
“Today international cricket does not matter,” he said. “It is of zero value to the Indian fan.
“Tomorrow you will see bilateral cricket disappear,” Modi added. “Big series will happen once every three or four years like the World Cup.
“The ICC will become an irrelevant body. It will be full of fat lugs who have no power. They can scream and shout now and in the future they will threaten to throw India out if they try to expand the IPL but India has the power to stand on its own feet...They have a domestic league that it is going to be 20-times the size of international cricket.”
Modi said the only way five-day international Test cricket, long regarded as the pinnacle of the sport, could survive was if the ICC introduced a long talked-about championship.
“I think there is a window for Test cricket and a World Test championship will survive if all nations get together and make it a proper tournament,” he explained.
“But it has to be a championship. If the ICC does not do it I see no reason why the IPL would not do it instead as a knockout IPL Test championship.”
Modi left India to live in London and has not returned home since 2009. The Board of Control for Cricket in India found him guilty of eight offenses relating to irregularities in the administration of the IPL.
He has never been charged by the Indian government with a crime and denies all accusations, but Modi has repeatedly insisted he cannot go back to India because of underworld threats to his life.