Thiem into ATP Finals Semis As Djokovic And Federer Face Shootout

 

 

Dominic Thiem produced a scintillating display of attacking tennis to beat Novak Djokovic and qualify for the last four at the ATP Finals on Tuesday, leaving the Serbian facing a shootout against Roger Federer.

In the standout match so far at London’s O2 Arena, the Austrian fifth seed took the fight to the world number two, recovering from losing the first set to triumph 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)

Earlier, Federer put himself back in the mix at the end-of-season event with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 win against Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini in their round-robin clash.

Federer and Djokovic will face off on Thursday in a repeat of this year’s Wimbledon final to determine who else will progress from Group Bjorn Borg.

Thiem was forced to play high-stakes tennis against the 16-time Grand Slam winner, taking the breath away with some of his inside-out forehands and single-handed backhands

Forced to play at his limit, he hit 50 winners compared with Djokovic’s tally of 27 but also racked up 44 unforced errors.

“This was really one of these special matches, what I’ve practised all my life for, all my childhood for,” Thiem said.

“Really epic one in an amazing atmosphere, beating a legend of our game. And also I’ve qualified for the semi-finals, which is the best.

”Coming back from 1-4 (down in the deciding tie-break) was a little bit of luck, but it was an unbelievable match and one I’ll never forget. Novak is the best player in the world and I had to do something special.”

In a captivating first set the players swapped a break apiece but Djokovic, a five-time ATP Finals champion, edged the tie-break.

Undaunted, Thiem broke his opponent at the first opportunity in the second set and, with Djokovic’s error count climbing, went on to level the match.

Thiem also drew first blood in the decider but cracked in the sixth game as Djokovic levelled the match and appeared to have engineered a switch in momentum.

The Austrian successfully challenged at 30-30 in the 10th game after his forehand was ruled out, preventing a match point for Djokovic and he toughed it out to level at 5-5.

He then broke Djokovic to love to earn a chance to serve for the match but stumbled and the decider went to a tie-break.

Still the drama was not finished. Thiem slipped to 4-1 down but battled back to win it on his second match point when Djokovic dumped a forehand into the net.

Federer stays alive

Third seed Federer had put himself under the cosh by losing his opening round-robin match to Thiem.

The six-time champion was not at his fluent best on Tuesday but ultimately had too much for his Italian opponent.

The Swiss upped his game to take the first set tie-break comfortably and broke immediately at the start of the second set to leave the big-serving Berrettini with too much to do.

Federer was asked after his win against Berrettini whether his defeat to Djokovic at Wimbledon had left emotional or mental scars.

“We’ll find out, but I think it’s all flushed away from my side,” said the Swiss.

“A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.”

Djokovic is hunting a sixth ATP Finals title to pull level with Federer’s record and is also seeking to pip Rafael Nadal to the year-end number one ranking.

On Monday, top seed Nadal lost his opener in Group Andre Agassi to defending champion Alexander Zverev while Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Daniil Medvedev.

Britain’s Top General Warns Of ‘Reckless’ Russia Threat

 

Britain’s top military adviser accused Russia on Sunday of “reckless” behaviour that violated international norms and risked sparking a war.

Chief of Defence Staff General Nick Carter said Moscow was operating in a “grey zone” that weaponised information and used unattributable proxies in conflicts.

He pointed to covert operations by the Wagner Group — a private army the Kremlin denies funding — in Syria and Africa as well as disinformation campaigns as two types of new threats.

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“Russia is much more assertive than it was 10 years ago. It’s got some self-confidence now as it reasserts itself as a global power,” Carter told BBC television.

“Cyber is part of that, what happens in space is part of that, disinformation, subversion, manipulation, assassinations, and of course the use of mercenaries, which are very easily undeclared and non-attributable,” he said.

“Reckless behaviour and the lack of respect for international law relating to these new types of ‘weapons’ risks escalation that could easily lead to inadvertent miscalculation,” Carter separately wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.

Russian President Vladimir Putin flatly denies the Kremlin’s involvement in cyber and ground operations that Western intelligence agencies and analysts pin on Moscow.

But Carter said this “deniability” is a tactic now being perfected by Britain’s main foes.

His media appearances are timed to remind Britons of the challenges they still face on Remembrance Sunday — the day the country honours those who fought and died in World War I and subsequent conflicts.

It also comes with US President Donald Trump wavering on Washington’s commitment to the NATO military alliance and French President Emmanuel Macron promoting the idea of a European army.

Britain wants to preserve NATO as it prepares to leave the European Union after nearly 50 years.

“I have seen absolutely no evidence of any military planning to suggest that we are going to have a European army, and no declaration to that end has been made,” Carter told the BBC.

Buhari’s Trips Are Not For ‘Sightseeing’, They Are Justified By Outcomes – Garba Shehu

 

President Muhammadu Buhari’s foreign trips are not for ‘sightseeing’, but justified by outcomes. This was the position of his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

Mr. Shehu who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics explained that Nigeria’s economy needs the trips owing to President Buhari’s personality globally and the desire of other presidents and key business investors to show a willingness to do business with him.

President Buhari since May 30, has embarked on eight different trips which include; Saudi Arabia, Japan, Burkina Faso, New York, South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabi, and the United Kingdom.

His most recent trip, a private one to the United Kingdom, according to Mr. Shehu, is partly for vacation and also for work.

“The President’s trips are not sightseeing trips, they are justified by outcomes. In each of the trips, we try to let Nigerians know what the things the president has achieved; and so, we are making progress, the economy needs the trips because much of it actually comes on account of who the president is.

“They (investors) are looking at a serious man and are ready to do business with him; I think Nigerians should comfort themselves in the fact that they have a President who is respected around the globe and the name of whom can fetch a lot of good things for Nigerians.

“He is on a private trip outside the country, partly on vacation, partly at work. The constitution of Nigeria is very clear that 21 days is the period of absence which cannot be justified,” he clarified.

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Mr. Shehu added that President Buhari’s trip is only for 17 days, from which he will be doing government work by signing an important bill for the country from where he is.

On the Nigeria-Saudi Arabia, Strategic Council Mr. Shehu revealed that the Federal Government will be appointing representatives made up of businessmen and government officials who will sit down and agree on investments based on priorities.

He stated that priority will be given to gas pipeline the Federal   Government has ensured that the construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline, which is a 614km-long natural gas pipeline be developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“This council will start sitting in 2 months which in effect means that we will be making the appointments in the coming days and they will decide when this works will begin.

“It could be about refineries or some others, but the big thing we are eyeing is the gas pipeline that will bring the enormous gas access in the country; the government has approved the construction of the AKK pipeline, that is; Ajaokuta, Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and we will be looking for money for that and all these would be high investments in oil and gas and also non-oil sectors and the opportunities are enormous and it’s for us to see which way to go.”

He explained further that the meeting with the leadership of the Saudi Oil and Gas group, the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, and the Public Investment Fund, does not mean the deal will be done for free, despite the massive wealth linked the Arab group.

“This is certainly not going to be free money when you are talking to the Sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia with enormous powers. The chairman can decide to put $5bn in a country in a month and they will be investing, partnering, again, it’s a matter of time, the discussions we will undertake will determine how we will go.”

Buhari Departs Makkah For United Kingdom

File Photo:

 

President Muhmmadu Buhari has departed Makkah for the United Kingdom.

The President left the Abdul’aziz International Airport, Jeddah for London, on Saturday.

His departure to the UK comes after successful participation at the Future Investment Initiative (#FII2019) conference in Riyadh and Umrah.

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President Buhari while in Saudi held bilateral talks with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.

He also participated at the summit titled “What Is Next For Africa” along with presidents of Kenya, Congo-Brazzaville, and Burkina Faso.

More than 4,000 delegates from over 90 countries participated in the conference, and President Buhari spoke about the economic opportunities in Nigeria and his administration’s drive to improve the business environment.

Southampton Players, Coaching Staff To Donate Wages After 9-0 Defeat To Leicester

 

 

Southampton’s players and coaching staff are to donate their wages from last Friday to the Saints Foundation in a first step towards redeeming themselves following the 9-0 thrashing by Leicester City.

Friday’s rout equalled Manchester United’s 9-0 demolition of Ipswich at Old Trafford in March 1995 for the biggest win in Premier League history.

Saints manager Ralph Hassenhuttl — who accepted the blame for the humiliation — has the daunting task of rebuilding his players morale ahead of two trips to Manchester City this week.

Southampton play League Cup holders City in the fourth round of the competition on Tuesday and are back there on Saturday for a Premier League clash.

“Southampton Football Club’s first-team players and coaching staff have announced they will be donating their wages from last Friday to Saints Foundation,” the club said in a statement.

“The squad has been in at Staplewood Campus throughout the weekend, working on putting things right for the club’s supporters.

“As the first step towards that, the group has decided that they wish to donate their wages from the day of the Leicester game to Saints Foundation, in order to help the vital work that is conducted by the charity.”

The foundation helps children, young people and troubled adults in the Southampton area.

Man Utd Cruise Past Norwich Despite Missing Two Penalties

 

Manchester United finally ended their dismal Premier League away record with an emphatic 3-1 win at Norwich despite missing two penalties on Sunday.

Scott McTominay fired United into a first-half lead before Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial each netted –- and then both missed VAR-awarded penalties.

United not only halted an eight-month wait for an away league win, they did it with the style and panache that their travelling fans had been craving.

It was not quite a throwback to the glory days, especially against an out-of-sorts Norwich side so lacking in confidence, but the performance was a step forward for under-fire United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Injury-plagued striker Martial had been urged by Solskjaer to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku, and the Frenchman put in a hugely impressive performance.

The win lifts United up to seventh in the Premier League, seven points off the top four, while Norwich remain 19th.

Before kick-off, sombre Norwich fans had paid tribute to club legend Duncan Forbes, who passed away last week follow a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Yet the atmosphere was soon heated in an incredible first half which saw two well-taken goals and two missed penalties.

Things may have been different if Todd Cantwell had not blazed a fifth minute sitter over David De Gea’s bar following Max Aarons’ marauding burst.

Yet the visitors soon settled into their stride and a clever exchange of passes between Martial and Rashford forced the first of a series of stunning saves from Norwich keeper Tim Krul.

McTominay swept in the opening goal after Norwich failed to clear Andreas Pereira’s 21st-minute corner.

It was United’s 2,000th Premier League goal, making them the first side to reach that milestone.

Penalty drama

The real controversy started four minutes later when Ben Godfrey eased Daniel James away from Martial’s clever through ball.

The United winger seemed to lean into Godfrey and referee Stuart Attwell waved away muted penalty appeals, only for the VAR referee to scrutinise replays of the incident.

Attwell’s decision was controversially overturned, but then Krul saw justice served by saving Rashford’s weak spot kick.

Yet, on the half hour mark, the England striker notched his 50th goal for United with a slick finish from James’ cross from the right.

Attwell had another decision overturned by VAR on 41 minutes, after he initially awarding a corner when Cantwell blocked Fred’s strike on goal.

This time the replays ensured the right call was made as the Norwich midfielder clearly raised his arm to an unnatural position to deflect Fred’s shot to safety.

Martial took responsibility from 12 yards this time, only for Krul to dive to his left and save again.

Canaries boss Daniel Farke made a double change at half time, introducing Onel Hernandez and Marco Stiepermann for Cantwell and Moritz Leitner.

Yet Martial sealed United’s long-awaited win on the road with a wonderful finish from a sumptuous return pass from Rashford on 73 minutes.

There was no way through the United rearguard, which was superbly held together by Harry Maguire, until a late slip-up by McTominay allowed Hernandez to drill in an 88th-minute consolation goal.

Salah Fires Liverpool To Comeback Win Over Spurs

 

Mohamed Salah ensured Liverpool survived a major scare with the winner in a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur that saw the Premier League leaders restore their six-point advantage over Manchester City.

The Egyptian smashed home a 75th-minute penalty, the 50th Anfield goal of his Liverpool career, as the Reds came back from going a goal down just seconds after kick off to maintain their unbeaten league record with their ninth win in 10 matches.

Salah’s decisive spot-kick was awarded after Serge Aurier allowed Sadio Mane to gain a goalside position on him before tripping him in the process of making a tackle.

It was a decision that angered the visitors but one that allowed Liverpool to complete a second-half comeback that was started when Jordan Henderson cancelled out a dramatic early opening goal from Harry Kane.

After recent question marks over Liverpool’s ability to maintain their majestic early-season form, this was an impressive win that came after Kane had put Spurs ahead just 47 seconds into the contest.

The 26-year-old’s header made him the joint-third highest scorer in Tottenham’s history with 174 goals.

It was also one of the simplest after Moussa Sissoko sparked a scrambling counter-attack and set Son Heung-min racing upfield.

– Kane shocks Anfield –

The South Korean’s powerful strike from the edge of the area took a wild deflection off the head of Dejan Lovren before hitting the left-hand post but the rebound fell kindly for Kane to stoop and head into the gaping net.

It was a lead that lasted until the 52nd minute, when a Henderson cross was headed clear and turned back into the area by Fabinho.

Danny Rose appeared to nudge Roberto Firmino in the back but, with referee Anthony Taylor unmoved, the ball continued to the corner of the six-yard area where Henderson hit it on the half-volley into the Spurs goal.

Minutes earlier, Spurs might have doubled their lead when Son was sent clear on the end of a long clearance by keeper Paulo Gazzaniga, rounded Alisson Becker but could only strike the cross-bar from a tricky angle.

But the equaliser was no more than Liverpool deserved after a dominant first-half spell in which only an inspired performance from stand-in goalkeeper Gazzaniga maintained the visitors’ lead.

In one breathless, four-minute spell, Liverpool carved out five excellent chances with Gazzaniga peerless in dealing with them.

The best of the Argentine’s masterclass saw him first save from Salah and then keep out a fierce follow-up blast from Firmino.

The keeper also did well to tip over a Virgil van Dijk header and parry Trent Alexander-Arnold’s powerful shot in a first half that ended in fractious fashion before Liverpool opened the second in a similarly dominant mood.

Before the equaliser Gazzaniga saved well once more, from Firmino’s close-range header, and afterwards the keeper somehow blocked a shot from the Brazilian by sitting on the ball on his goalline.

Having taken the lead, Liverpool weathered the concluding minutes in relative comfort although Alisson was forced to save well from Son and from an injury-time header from Toby Alderweireld.

Crystal Palace Hold Arsenal As Emery’s Problems Increase

 

 

Unai Emery’s problems mounted as Arsenal blew a two-goal lead amid VAR controversy and captain Granit Xhaka feuded with fans in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.

Emery was already under pressure after Arsenal slumped to a shock defeat at Sheffield United on Monday and the Gunners boss has more fires to put out following his side’s dismal capitulation at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal were on course for victory after goals from Sokratis and David Luiz put them two up inside 10 minutes.

But Luka Milivojevic started the Arsenal collapse when he converted a penalty awarded by VAR after Wilfried Zaha was initially booked for diving.

Emery’s team faded in familiar fashion after that and Jordan Ayew bagged Palace’s deserved equaliser before Arsenal had a late Sokratis winner disallowed by VAR.

Fifth-placed Arsenal, four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, have won just two of their last eight Premier League games and there is a growing sense that all is not well with the club.

Xhaka’s remarkable bust-up with the crowd laid bare the simmering tensions.

When Xhaka was replaced by Bukayo Saka, the disliked Swiss midfielder trudged slowly to the touchline while petulantly gesticulating to the fans who had cheered his substitution and were now angrily urging him to get off the pitch quicker.

Xhaka’s incredible tantrum climaxed when he ripped off his shirt and stormed straight down the tunnel to more derision from the stands.

The match finished to a soundtrack of boos from Arsenal supporters who sang Mesut Ozil’s name in a pointed reference to Emery’s decision to once again leave out the German star.

It seemed Arsenal might lift the gloom from their depressing trip to Bramall Lane when they opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

When Wayne Hennessey and Gary Cahill made a hash of heading clear from Nicolas Pepe’s corner, Xhaka nodded the ball down for Sokratis to fire home through a crowd of players for his first goal since April.

Arsenal storm

Goals from set-pieces are something of a rarity for Arsenal, while Palace hadn’t conceded one from that route all season.

But just two minutes later Arsenal netted again from another corner.

Pepe’s delivery was glanced on by Alexandre Lacazette and, with the Palace defence slow to react, Luiz pounced with a tap-in at the far post.

Lacazette nearly made it three when he controlled Kieran Tierney’s cross and swivelled for a low shot that forced Hennessey to save at full stretch.

Zaha responded in the 32nd minute as the Ivory Coast winger showed why Arsenal tried to sign him in the close-season before switching their attentions to his compatriot Pepe.

When Zaha tricked his way past Calum Chambers in the Arsenal area, the defender clearly stuck out a leg and tripped the Palace star.

Martin Atkinson thought otherwise and booked Zaha for diving, but justice was done when a VAR review reversed the referee’s decision, awarding a spot-kick that Milivojevic stroked home with ease.

Pepe went close from the edge of the area, but Palace were looking more menacing and Patrick van Aanholt’s stinging drive drew a good save from Bernd Leno.

With Arsenal creaky at the back, it was little surprise that Palace equalised in the 52nd minute.

Pepe complained he was fouled by Van Aanholt in the build-up, but Arsenal still had plenty of time to stop James McArthur lofting a cross towards Ayew, who peeled away from the dozing Luiz to head home.

Arsenal tried to quell the storm after Xhaka’s bizarre exit, but Lacazette’s thudding effort rattled the woodwork.

Sokratis thought he had won it from close-range in the 83rd minute after Lacazette flicked on Pepe’s corner.

But for the second time in the match, VAR went against Arsenal as the goal was ruled out for Chambers’ foul on Milivojevic.

Horror In Britain As 39 Found Dead In Truck

In this collage, Police officers inspect and drive away a lorry in which 39 dead bodies were discovered sparking a murder investigation at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London, on October 23, 2019. 

 

Britain launched a major murder investigation after 39 dead bodies were found Wednesday in a refrigerated truck, once again putting the spotlight on the shadowy people trafficking business.

The corpses were found in the truck container at an industrial park in Grays, east of London, triggering outrage among politicians.

The local Essex Police force, which is working with immigration officials, said their initial priority was to try to identify the victims, thought at this stage to be 38 adults and one teenager.

The truck driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

“This is an unimaginable tragedy and truly heart-breaking,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

He said the perpetrators of people smuggling, trading in human lives, “should be hunted down and brought to justice”.

Police were called to the scene at the Waterglade Industrial Park at around 1:40am (0040 GMT).

Officers in white forensic suits could be seen working by the truck and a white tent was erected outside.

“We are in the process of identifying the victims. However I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process,” said Essex Police chief superintendent Andrew Mariner.

“We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident, who remains in police custody.”

Tracing the route

Police said the truck had come by ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge into Purfleet, close to Grays on the River Thames estuary — a crossing that takes nine to 12 hours.

They said the ferry docked at 12:30 am (2330 GMT).

Police also said the truck came “from Bulgaria”.

But the country’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said it had “no connection” to the country except for having Bulgarian licence plates.

“The truck was registered in 2017 by an Irish citizen, it left Bulgaria then and has not entered our country’s territory ever since,” he told national television.


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Police Recover 39 Bodies In Container Near London

Police Say Truck Containing 39 Bodies Entered From Belgium


Dimitar Dimitrov, executive director of the Bulgarian Chamber of Road Hauliers, told AFP many foreign hauliers registered in Bulgaria for financial reasons, and doubted whether a Bulgarian firm would employ Irish drivers.

Britain’s National Crime Agency said the number of migrants being smuggled into the UK in containers and trucks had risen in the last year.

In May the NCA said there had been “increasing use of higher risk methods of clandestine entry” to Britain by organised immigration crime gangs.

‘Evil’ contempt for life

Jackie Doyle-Price, the MP representing the local Thurrock constituency, called people trafficking a “vile and dangerous business”.

“To put 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil,” she said.

The gruesome discovery drew comparisons to previous cases.

In 2000, the bodies of 58 clandestine Chinese immigrants were discovered in a Dutch truck at the southeastern English port of Dover. Two people survived.

In 2014, some 34 Afghan Sikhs were found inside a shipping container at Tilbury port — next to Grays — suffering from severe dehydration, hypothermia and lack of air. One man was found dead, having passed away during the sea crossing from Belgium.

In August 2015, at the peak of Europe’s migration crisis, the bodies of 71 migrants including a baby girl were found piled up in the back of a poultry refrigerator lorry left in Austria.

Investigations later revealed they had been transported along the Balkan migrant route and left to suffocate in the back of the truck after the driver dumped the vehicle near the Hungarian border.

Police Say Truck Containing 39 Bodies Entered From Belgium

British Police forensic officers work on a lorry after it was discovered containing 39 dead bodies, at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London, on October 23, 2019.
British Police forensic officers work on a lorry after it was discovered containing 39 dead bodies, at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London, on October 23, 2019.

 

British police said a truck with 39 bodies found earlier Wednesday in an industrial park east of London had entered the UK at nearby Purfleet from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

“After further enquiries, we now believe that the trailer travelled from Zeebrugge into Purfleet, and docked in the Thurrock area shortly after 12:30am this morning (2330 GMT Tuesday),” Essex Police said, having earlier said they thought it had entered Britain at Holyhead in Wales.

Liverpool Eye More Misery For Man Utd As Man City, Spurs Seek Fresh Start

Liverpool’s English midfielder James Milner celebrates with teammates after taking a penalty and scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 5, 2019.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool can rub more salt into Manchester United wounds with a first victory at Old Trafford in five years on Sunday, while Manchester City will try to haul themselves back onto the leader’s coattails with victory at Crystal Palace.

Just eight games into the season, 15 points separates Liverpool at the top of the table from United down in 12th.

The European champions have shot into an eight-point lead even over their closest challengers in City, thanks to a run of 17 straight Premier League wins stretching back to last season.

By contrast, United have won just two of their last 13 league games.

Injury problems that have contributed to the Red Devils’ early season struggles have struck again with influential duo Paul Pogba and David de Gea absent.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called on his players to rise to the occasion of a clash between the two most successful sides in English football history.

“I always look at the next game as a chance. The Liverpool game is a great chance for us to go the other way,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

“It’s in my nature to think of the best-case scenario. I know the fans and the players will be up for it.

“We need to step up to the plate, and these are the big games that you sign up for at Man United – you have to show your quality.”

Jurgen Klopp celebrated his fourth anniversary at Anfield earlier this week, but for all the German’s achievements in transforming Liverpool’s fortunes, he his yet to taste victory at Old Trafford.

Liverpool have not won on their past six visits to United and left-back Andy Robertson warned that form will not count for much given the historical rivalry between the sides.

“I don’t think it matters what your form is like in these games. It doesn’t matter that we’ve won eight on the bounce and they’re struggling. It’s Man Utd v Liverpool,” said the Scotland captain.

“It’s genuinely a different atmosphere when you play against them.”

In contrast to United’s misfortune, Liverpool have been handed an injury boost with the news Joel Matip is fit to return at centre-back, but Mohamed Salah remains a doubt after suffering an ankle injury in a 2-1 win over Leicester before the international break.

De Bruyne boost for City

City must bounce back to winning ways after a shock 2-0 home defeat to Wolves two weeks ago to at least apply some pressure on Liverpool when they visit Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The champions badly missed Kevin de Bruyne a fortnight ago and should have the Belgian international back from a groin strain as they look to become the first visiting side to win at Selhurst Park this season.

City have scored 25 goals in the six Premier League games De Bruyne has started this season, but been beaten in two matches he has not.

Palace have confounded pre-season predictions to sit level with fourth-placed Leicester and Chelsea on 14 points.

Tottenham happy to welcome Watford

The international break may have come at the right time for Tottenham after a 3-0 thrashing at Brighton followed a humiliating 7-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Spurs have won just three of their opening 11 games in all competitions, but the visit of Watford this weekend could offer some blessed relief for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

The Hornets are the only side yet to win in the league this season and sit rock bottom of the table having conceded 20 goals in their opening eight games.

“We need to start believing in ourselves again. We have the quality in the squad and can fight for everything,” said Pochettino.

“We are still there, we have one point more than last season in the Champions League and we are three points from the top four.”

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Saturday

Everton v West Ham (1130), Leicester v Burnley, Tottenham v Watford, Wolves v Southampton, Aston Villa v Brighton, Bournemouth v Norwich, Chelsea v Newcastle (all 1400), Crystal Palace v Manchester City (1630)

Sunday

Manchester United v Liverpool (1530)

Monday

Sheffield United v Arsenal (1900)

N. Ireland’s DUP Says Opposition To Brexit Deal Remains

In this collage, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster (R) and deputy Nigel Dodds leave from 10 Downing Street in central London on September 10, 2019, while Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) leaves from the rear of 10 Downing Street in central London on October 16, 2019.

 

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party is holding out in opposition to the Brexit deal struck Thursday between London and Brussels — a stance which has the potential to sink the agreement.

The DUP, which supports Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, holds major sway in whether a divorce agreement can get through parliament.

In the desperate scramble for votes, DUP backing would have smoothed the path for hardline Conservatives to get behind Thursday’s Brexit package.

Northern Ireland has proved the sticking point in the Brexit negotiations, so satisfying the DUP, the province’s biggest party, has proved a key test on the road to an acceptable deal.

The DUP is a hardline group whose tough negotiating tactics were forged in the sectarian conflict over British rule in Northern Ireland that left thousands dead over three decades.

The party is known for its fiery rhetoric and steely determination in holding out, rather than its willingness to compromise.

“No” has been its classic watchword.

Hours before London and Brussels announced they had found an agreement, the DUP said it could not support what was on the table — notably on customs and consent issues, as well as sales tax arrangements.

The party said it wants a deal that “protects the economic and constitutional integrity” of the United Kingdom.

Following the news from Brussels, a DUP source told AFP that the earlier statement “remains our position”.

Clout

The hard-bargaining party has only 10 MPs in the 650-seat British parliament in London.

However, those votes could prove vital to the prime minister if he is to get any deal through the lower House of Commons.

The DUP propped up the Conservative government after the 2017 general election, giving it a slim majority in the lower house.

The alliance agreement with the government came at a price of £1 billion ($1.3 billion, 1.15 billion euros) in extra funding for Northern Ireland.

Since Johnson expelled rebel Conservatives in early September, the government is now well short of a majority — even with DUP votes.

Fundamentalists

Deeply socially and economically conservative, the DUP is firmly rooted in Northern Ireland’s Protestant, pro-British community.

It has softened its fiery anti-Catholicism since it was founded by the Protestant evangelical minister Ian Paisley in 1971.

The party has been led for nearly four years by Arlene Foster, 49, who survived a school bus bombing as a teenager.

The no-nonsense figure was Northern Ireland’s first minister throughout 2016 before the province’s power-sharing institutions collapsed in early 2017 over a lack of trust.

The DUP campaigned for Brexit but the four other major parties in Northern Ireland were all against it.

The DUP is the only Northern Irish party in the British parliament. Members of the Irish republican party Sinn Fein do not take their seven seats and there is one independent unionist.

On the lowest UK regional turnout of 63 percent in the 2016 EU membership referendum, 56 percent in Northern Ireland backed the UK staying in the European Union.