Man United leave Lampard’s Chelsea singing the blues with 4-0 rout

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, center, is fouled by Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, right, to concede a penalty leading to the opening goal. (AFP)
Updated 12 August 2019

Man United leave Lampard’s Chelsea singing the blues with 4-0 rout

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fires Arsenal to 1-0 win at Newcastle

MANCHESTER: Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United made the perfect start to their Premier League season by inflicting a 4-0 defeat on Frank Lampard in his first match in charge of Chelsea on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were in need of a fast start to the campaign to erase memories of a terrible end to last season and got it, as Rashford’s early penalty and three goals in 16 second-half minutes from Anthony Martial, Rashford and debutant Daniel James had Old Trafford in raptures.

Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka also impressed at the back on their debuts after United spent £130 million ($156 million) on the pair over the summer to shore up a defense that conceded 54 Premier League goals last season.

However, questions will be asked of Chelsea’s decision to let experienced defender David Luiz leave to join Arsenal earlier this week as the Blues struggled to contain the United counterattacks despite dominating long spells.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired Arsenal to a 1-0 win at Newcastle in their Premier League opener on Sunday, providing hope of an improved run this season for Unai Emery’s side.

The Gunners finished last season in turmoil after blowing their bid for a top-four place with a disastrous spell in the final weeks.

Adding to Emery’s woes, Arsenal were crushed by Chelsea in the Europa League final to shatter their dreams of Champions League qualification.

But Arsenal have enjoyed a profitable close season, with a host of new signings raising morale around Emirates Stadium.

And Aubameyang gave Arsenal fans renewed belief they can get back in the top four this term with a typically predatory second half finish to give the north Londoners a winning start.

Lampard’s first team selection was a bold one as he put his faith in youth with Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount handed starts, while £60 million signing Christian Pulisic was made to wait for his Premier League debut on the bench.

And Chelsea started the better as Abraham smashed a shot from the edge of the box off the post.

However, the heart of the Chelsea defense always looked fragile.

Kurt Zouma had already gotten away with gifting possession to Martial on the edge of his own box as the Frenchman shot weakly into the arms of Kepa Arrizabalaga before he was turned easily by Rashford and hauled the England striker to the ground.

Rashford dusted himself off to blast the penalty high past Kepa to open the scoring and United fed off the momentum of the goal for a spell. Yet, Chelsea steadied themselves as the first half wore on and should have at least been level by the break.

David de Gea was forced into a fine save with his feet to deny Ross Barkley before left-back Emerson Palmieri also blasted off the inside of the post.

De Gea was at fault with a series of high-profile errors toward the end of last season, but the Spaniard — handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Ashley Young — looked back to his old self as he beat away another two powerful drives from Emerson after the break.

And at the other end, Rashford and Martial provided the clinical touch to kill the game off in the space of 60 seconds that Chelsea lacked.

Maguire showed his presence to outmuscle Abraham on the edge of the United box and set off a flowing counter-attack that ended with Martial bundling the ball home at the far post from Andreas Pereira’s cross.

Paul Pogba then played provider with a brilliant ball over the top for Rashford to burst in behind before coolly slotting past Kepa.

Pogba was the creator again for the fourth as the Frenchman played a 1-2 with Rashford and powered through the Chelsea defense before laying off to James, who got the benefit of a big deflection to find the bottom corner.


Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

Updated 15 September 2019

Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

  • Tokyo is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games
  • Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games

TOKYO: The mayor of a town in northeastern Japan that will host Olympic soccer games says his city has received no funding from the central government that has promised to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to help in the reconstruction of the region.

The Japanese government and Tokyo 2020 organizers are hoping to use the Olympics to showcase Japan’s recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Several Olympic events, including soccer and baseball, will be held in northeastern Japan.

But with less than a year to go before the opening ceremony, Yutaka Kumagai, the mayor of Rifu in Miyagi Prefecture, says his city has seen no funding from the central government.

“There is no help from the government, we don’t have any budget from them, none,” Kumagai said on Saturday. “Tokyo 2020 is said to be a symbol of the reconstruction but when it comes to the budget, we don’t have any budget from the Olympic games here in Rifu.”

Kumagai made the comments during a media tour of Miyagi Stadium, a 49,000-seat facility in Rifu that will host men’s and women’s football at the 2020 Olympics.

About 50,000 people are still displaced in the Tohoku region as of August, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Yoshiaki Suda, the mayor of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, concurred with Kumagai. Like Rifu, Onagawa is a coastal city that sustained heavy destruction.

“We haven’t received any subsidy, even one yen, from the central government,” Suda said. “Whatever we do for the venues, for the hospitality for the Olympics, we have to do ourselves.”

Some media reports have made the claim that the Olympics have hampered the reconstruction efforts, taking workers away from the region to help with construction in Tokyo.

Japan is one of the most earthquake- and tsunami-prone areas in the world. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake offshore caused a tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The quake and tsunami heavily damaged coastal neighborhoods in northeastern Japan and took more than 18,000 lives.

Tokyo, which projected total costs of about $7.5 billion in its winning bid for the games in 2013, is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games.

A group of anti-Olympic activists, many from outside Japan, have held small protests and other events this summer under the Japanese title “Han-gorin no Kai” — which translates roughly to No Olympics. They oppose Olympic spending, which they say cuts into budgets for housing and environmental issues.

They also call for more money to rebuild Fukushima prefecture located northeast of Tokyo. Organizers say Fukushima is a main focus of the Olympics, staging baseball, softball and soccer games there to persuade the world the area is safe.

Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games. In August, Tokyo’s summer heat forced an Olympic women’s triathlon qualifying event to be shortened because of high temperatures that are likely to impact next year’s games.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, was forced to quit earlier this year when he was implicated in a vote-buying scheme to land the games. He has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged he signed off on about $2 million that French investigators allege went to buy votes.