My form is having a mental effect on England’s opponents, says Jonny May

The wing is the most improved player in world rugby and, with Wales next up on Saturday, he admits his searing displays now constitute a psychological barrier for opposition teamsAt this rate Jonny May might have to consider changing his surname. Nowadays it is less a case of “may” than “will” when the Leicester wing hurtles towards a try-line, to the point where Wales will have to make special plans for England’s prolific flyer in Cardiff this weekend. Give him half a yard and he will – not may – take full advantage.Twelve tries in his last dozen Tests, including a hat-trick inside the opening 29 minutes against France last time out, is a world-class strike rate by anyone’s standards. The last time he faced Wales he scored twice at Twickenham, the only tries of a low-scoring game. His tally of 22 tries in 42 Tests has elevated him to seventh on the list of England’s all-time try scorers, with the power to edge past, among others, Jason Robinson’s 28 in 51 Tests by the end of the year. Continue reading...

20-02-2019

David Squires on … Chelsea's humiliation at Manchester City

Our resident cartoonist on Maurizio Sarri’s dismay, Mike Dean and a man trying to wear trousers as a jumperTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

20-02-2019

Matija Nastasic: ‘I told Pellegrini it was better for everyone if I left City’

The defender’s career in Manchester ended in frustration but he has flourished at Schalke and is confident his current side can upset his old one in their Champions League meetingIt is with matter-of-fact delivery, rather than obvious emotion or regret, that Matija Nastasic recounts the meeting that in effect brought about his departure from Manchester City. He had made a rapid impact after arriving from Fiorentina as a 19-year-old in 2012 but, two and a half years on, had fallen off Manuel Pellegrini’s radar with no obvious explanation bar some niggling injuries he had long since overcome.“I was thinking a lot: ‘What is the problem?’” he says. “After some time I spoke with Pellegrini and he explained I had to wait for my chance. In the end there were not so many opportunities to play. There was no issue between us but I couldn’t understand why it was like that and told him that I felt I could help the team more, that I should have more playing time at that moment and that, if it was not possible at City, then it would be better for everybody that I changed club.” Continue reading...

20-02-2019

Wales’s 1969 wing wizard Maurice Richards: ‘I scored the tries but forwards won it’

The scourge of England in Cardiff 50 years ago looks back on a thrilling victory in which he ran in four tries and explains why he switched codes at the end of that yearThey used to say the wind blew hardest at Cardiff Arms Park when it was trying to catch Maurice Richards. It had no more success than the England team that arrived in the Welsh capital 50 years ago chasing a share of the Five Nations title but left resembling the rubble where the north stand had been. Richards ran in four tries in a thrilling 30-9 victory that afternoon, equalling a Wales record that still stands. Wales scooped the triple crown and the championship.That afternoon’s demolition of England was the start of a golden era for the men in red, but before the end of the year the 24-year-old Cardiff wing, a 1968 Lion who had still to reach his peak, had left Wales and his job at Port Talbot steelworks for rugby league, where he would become Salford’s record try scorer and appearance holder in a 14-year career. Continue reading...

20-02-2019

Anthony Joshua: Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury fight would not be held up

Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua insists a future meeting with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury would not be held up by television companies.

20-02-2019

'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

20-02-2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ribs Alan Shearer about 1999 FA Cup final defeat

Manchester United's caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reminds Alan Shearer about the 1999 FA Cup final in which both men played, when the Red Devils beat Newcastle United 2-0.

20-02-2019

Rachael Blackmore: Jump jockey seeking to become first female champion

Meet Rachael Blackmore - the rider looking to make history by winning the Irish National Hunt Championship.

20-02-2019

FA Cup: Chelsea v Man Utd - watch best goals

Watch the best goals from the last 20 years of Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup ties, including strikes from David Beckham and Eden Hazard.

20-02-2019

Man City buy stake in third-tier Chinese club Sichuan Jiuniu FC

Manchester City's owners buy a stake in Chinese third-tier club Sichuan Jiuniu FC - their seventh football club.

20-02-2019

The five months in Italy that shaped Diego Simeone's managerial career

Before Simeone took charge at Atlético Madrid, he kept Catania in Serie A – thanks in part to a great result against JuventusBy Greg Lea for These Football TimesIt is difficult to overstate Diego Simeone’s achievements as Atlético Madrid manager. When he replaced Gregorio Manzano in December 2011, the club appeared to be consigned to mid-table in La Liga. They had won the Europa League 18 months before he arrived at the club under Quique Sánchez Flores, but a pair of fourth-place finishes in 2008 and 2009 were the height of the club’s domestic achievements in the previous decade. The season before Simeone took over, Atlético finished behind Valencia, Sevilla, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao in seventh place, 38 points behind champions Barcelona and just 15 above the relegation zone.That Atlético smashed the seemingly impregnable duopoly Barcelona and Real Madrid had established in La Liga to lift the title in 2014 – just three years into Simeone’s reign – is nothing short of sensational. He had already secured the club’s 10th Copa del Rey and another Europa League and Super Cup in his first two campaigns, as well as reaching the 2014 Champions League final, but his triumph in La Liga was undoubtedly the pinnacle. It is impossible to fluke your way to a league championship. Continue reading...

20-02-2019

Barcelona held in Champions League at Lyon after failing to take chances

Barcelona failed to score despite managing 25 shots in their goalless stalemate at Lyon in the Champions League last-16 first leg, leaving the tie finely balanced.Only five of the visitors’ attempts were on target but neither Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembélé nor the disappointing Luis Suárez could beat the Lyon goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes, at the Groupama Stadium. Continue reading...

20-02-2019

Is Tottenham's run of 30 league games without a draw a record? | The Knowledge

Plus: Old Trafford’s mysterious semi-final snub, back-to-back penalty misses and unused subs. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Tottenham have currently played 30 consecutive Premier League games without drawing one,” notes Wouter van Dael. “What is the longest ever such league run?”The short answer is that Spurs are Premier League record-breakers, Wouter, but only just. “Bolton previously held this title with a run of 28 games between March and December 2011,” writes James Clarke. “But in the wider context of English league history, Spurs have a long way to go yet. Twenty-nine clubs have had longer streaks without a draw at some point – and seven have gone more than 40 consecutive league games without a stalemate: Birmingham (43 games), Walsall (44), Leicester (44), Bradford Park Avenue (44), Stoke (46), Sunderland (46) and Aston Villa (51). Although it is probably worth noting that Sunderland’s is the most recent of these, coming comparatively recently in 1908-09. The slightly interesting quirk here is that five of these seven draw-less clubs are midlands teams.Season 2017-1830 Apr Spurs 2-0 Watford5 May West Brom 1-0 Spurs9 May Spurs 1-0 Newcastle13 May Spurs 5-4 Leicester Continue reading...

20-02-2019

NBA: Jayson Tatum's 'spectacular drive & finish' in NBA's top 10 plays

Watch the best plays from last week's NBA games including a spectacular finish from the Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum.

20-02-2019

Manchester United take ‘massive belief’ into Liverpool game, says Ashley Young

• United play at home to league leaders Liverpool on Sunday• Wins at Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea have brought confidenceAshley Young has said that Manchester United’s victories at Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea have given Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side “massive belief” as they prepare to face the league leaders Liverpool on Sunday.The 2-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday means United have won 11 of the 13 games the Norwegian has taken charge of since succeeding José Mourinho after the defeat against Liverpool at Anfield in December. Their only defeat came at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie last week as Solskjær has seen his side set up a sixth-round meeting with Wolves in the FA Cup and move up to fourth place in the Premier League. Continue reading...

20-02-2019

Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich: Jurgen Klopp says Champions League draw 'not a dream result'

Liverpool's goalless Champions League first-leg draw against Bayern Munich is "not a dream result but a good one", says manager Jurgen Klopp.

20-02-2019

'The whole village is united': Warnock attends Emiliano Sala's funeral – video

The Cardiff City manager, Neil Warnock, has attended the funeral of Emiliano Sala in the town of Progreso, Argentina. Sala was killed when the aircraft he was flying in crashed on 21 January, en route to Cardiff from Nantes, the player having signed with the Premier League club days earlier Continue reading...

20-02-2019

Naomi Osaka blames scrutiny over coaching split for Dubai defeat

Japan's Naomi Osaka blames scrutiny following the split from her coach for defeat in her first match since becoming world number one.

20-02-2019

Anthony Crolla: Terms agreed for Vasyl Lomachenko fight

Great Britain's Anthony Crolla will face Vasyl Lomachenko in a WBA world title fight in Los Angeles in April.

20-02-2019