Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan looking for ‘new ideas, spirit’ from Unai Emery

Henrikh Mkhitaryan hopes new Arsenal head coach Unai Emery will bring some fresh “tactical ideas and spirit” to the club.

Spaniard Emery has succeeded Arsene Wenger, who was manager for 22 years, and set out his positive vision for the future when speaking at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Attacking midfielder Mkhitaryan joined the Gunners from Manchester United in January as part of the deal which saw Alexis Sanchez head to Old Trafford.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

The Armenia international feels Emery, who left Paris St Germain at the end of the season having won the French domestic treble, can make a real impact at the Emirates Stadium.

“I still haven’t had an opportunity to meet him. We didn’t have time to talk with each other. I hope he will bring new tactical ideas and spirit to Arsenal, and I hope he will succeed,” Mkhitaryan said in an interview with VivaroNews Sport.286

“I haven’t talked to my teammates about him. I would like to meet him.

“Everyone at the club is a professional. Everyone knows what he should do and what he is expected to do.”

Mkhitaryan admits it will be a different club he heads back to for the start of preseason training, with Wenger having been in charge for so long.

“Not only the players, but the staff overall were sad. It’s not that easy to handle the exit of a man who was managing the team for 22 years,” he added.

“You can’t imagine how everyone was amazed with the atmosphere he had created. If he decided to stay for 10 more years, no one would have been against [it].”

Mkhitaryan feels Emery’s Arsenal must target a swift return to the elite of European football.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“Our priority [last season] was qualification for Champions League, but unfortunately we didn’t manage that,” he said.

“We wanted to do it and we fought for it, but everything can happen in football, so we should focus on next season and return to the Champions League in two years.”


Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny thought Diego Costa ended World Cup dream

Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny says he initially thought the injury that will keep him out of this summer’s World Cup came from a Diego Costa tackle.

France defender Koscielny, 32, ruptured his Achilles’ tendon during the Gunners’ away defeat to Atletico Madrid in their Europa League semifinal second leg at the start of May.

“When I fell, I thought it was because [Diego] Costa had tackled me,” Koscielny told the French Football Federation (FFF) website.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“But not at all. I looked around me and I was all alone. I immediately knew that my tendon had gone. The pain wasn’t normal — I felt a terrible rupture. And I heard a big ‘splash’ — a huge crack. Costa, who wasn’t far from me, heard it too.285

“My first reaction was to say: ‘It’s done — my tendon has snapped.’ I was screaming on the pitch. I remember hitting my hand on the ground several times. It was an atrocious pain.

“At that exact moment, I knew that it would be at least six months before I could play again.”

Having undergone ankle surgery, Koscielny predicts it will be five months until he kicks a ball again, but says he still hopes to play for the first team by November.

“Now that I’m 32 years old, my career is more behind me than in front of me,” he added.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“I don’t have the pressure of having to come back as quickly as possible — of proving myself like a 20-year-old would have to after such an injury.

“It’s my first big injury. That’s the way it is. You have to have put it into perspective. Yes, I’m missing a World Cup with a good bunch of mates and great players. But there’s worse in life. I’m in good health and my family are too.”


Phillies top Braves as NL East upstarts meet in early-season showdown

The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves left spring training with the label of fashionable young teams on the upswing, but it was hard to know precisely how that improvement might translate in the standings. Realistically, this season was supposed to be about patience, continued development and taking the steps necessary to try to supplant the (potentially) post-Bryce Harper Washington Nationals at the top of the National League East in 2019.replica nike nfl jerseys

Seven weeks into the season, the two clubs are pushing their timetables — and their meetings have taken on a greater import than anyone might have predicted in March.

The Braves entered the opener of a three-game series Monday night with a 28-17 record and a 1?-game lead in the division. The Phillies carved that to a half-game with a 3-0 victory. A garden-variety crowd of 21,284 was on hand to see it. But if you looked closely enough, you saw two teams that are enjoying being relevant again.


“It makes your heart beat a little faster in the dugout,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “As a fan of baseball, it’s nice to see two teams with really rich history and amazing fans and a rich history of winning compete for first place in the National League East. I’m a baseball fan at heart, and thinking about that gives me goosebumps.”

It certainly has been a while. Monday’s game marked the first time since September 2011 that the Phillies have played a divisional opponent at Citizens Bank Park with both teams at least eight games over .500. Coincidentally, Atlanta was the opponent seven years ago. For sake of reference, the pitching matchups in that series consisted of Cliff Lee vs. Derek Lowe, Vance Worley vs. Tim Hudson and Roy Oswalt vs. Brandon Beachy.cheap nfl jerseys wholesale

The Phillies eventually rode the Chase Utley-Ryan Howard-Jimmy Rollins train past its optimal destination point. Chipper Jones, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann moved on from Atlanta, and the past few years have brought a steady run of losing in both cities. The Phillies began a streak of five straight sub-.500 seasons in 2013, and the Braves logged an aggregate 286-361 record while sending Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Bobby Cox, John Smoltz and John Schuerholz to the Hall of Fame from 2014 to 2017. Jones will join them in Cooperstown in July.


Paul Goldschmidt’s season-long slump should be cause for concern

First off, apologies to the Milwaukee Brewers. They beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 with three home runs off Zack Greinke and Corey Knebel recorded his first save since March 30. They’re in first place in the NL Central and deserve credit for sitting 10 games over .500 even though their lineup has been extremely mediocre. The bullpen, however, has not, and it’s only strengthened if Knebel resumes the closer role, where to buy nfl jerseys cheap freeing up Josh Hader for those multi-inning stints as needed.

What most intrigues from this game, however, is yet another oh-fer for Paul Goldschmidt. He’s down to .201/.322/.361 and he looks broken right now. We’re now talking about 199 plate appearances with no improvement in sight. An Arizona Republic story on April talked about his slow start. Greg Moore’s column in the Republic on May 9 was headlined “Diamondbacks aren’t worried — slumping Paul Goldschmidt is going to be fine.”273

You can make the argument that right now Goldschmidt is the most important player in baseball. He’s supposed to be the superstar anchor to a lineup that would have some concerns even if he were producing. A.J. Pollock was crushing it until he landed on the DL. Jake Lamb just returned from spending most of the season on the DL. Steven Souza Jr. has barely played. The catchers haven’t hit a lick, middle infielders Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed don’t give you much offense and reserves Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings haven’t done anything.

As a team, the Diamondbacks are hitting .217. Only the Marlins have scored fewer runs per game.

He has been good on the road, not so good at home. Maybe the humidor is in his head — those fly balls that used to sneak over the fence are now getting caught. We also need to be aware of small sample sizes here. Goldschmidt doesn’t say much, but in the column from May 9 his explanation was, “It’s just part of the game.” Still, he has hit one home run in his past 32 games and is hitting .183 in that span. And he leads the NL in strikeouts.where can i buy nfl jerseys cheap

I don’t think it’s just the humidor. Even on the road, his strikeout rate has increased from 22.3 percent in 2017 to 30.0 percent and his walk rate has declined from 11.3 percent to 6.7 percent. Buster Olney alluded to a big issue in a recent column about hitters struggling with big-time fastballs: “Through Friday’s games, the Diamondbacks’ first baseman had seen 77 pitches of 96 mph or faster without logging a hit, the most in the majors.”


Harden carries early, CP3 leads late as Rockets withstand frenetic Warriors

Finally, the basketball world got to witness the kind of classic it has been waiting all season to see in the highly anticipated Western Conference finals.

After the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets alternated double-digit wins in the first three games, with the margin of victory soaring each time, Game 4 went down to the wire. The teams will head back to Houston with the series tied after the Rockets scrapped their way to a 95-92 comeback win to stun the sellout Oracle Arena crowd and end the Warriors’ 16-game postseason win streak in Oakland.nike nfl jerseys for sale

The fourth quarter was far from the beautiful basketball expected from two of the best offensive teams in the history of the game. It was more like the 15th round of a fight between heavyweights gassed from throwing haymakers at each other all night.260

The Warriors, a potential dynasty featuring three of the NBA’s premier scorers, managed to score a grand total of 12 points in the final frame. It ended with Stephen Curry, arguably the best shooter ever, missing a good look at a 3-pointer — a shot he failed to get off before the buzzer sounded, anyway.

It was a shocking dud down the stretch for the Warriors, particularly Curry, who was 1-of-8 from the floor in the final frame after carrying Golden State in the third quarter.

That Curry scoring flurry started with a wide-open 29-footer from the left wing midway through the third quarter. He swished a lead-changing, step-back 3 over Clint Capela on the Warriors’ next possession, with the Oracle Arena crowd buzzing throughout the dazzling dribbling display and roaring when the ball splashed through the net. Draymond Green passed up an open look to feed Curry for a corner 3 the next trip. Then Curry sliced through the Rockets’ dizzied defense for a finger roll.

Just like that, the Warriors’ point guard uncorked 11 points in the span of 96 seconds. Curry had 17 in the quarter, matching the Rockets’ total and falling one point shy of his slump-busting, sizzling Game 3 third quarter. As a result, Golden State held a double-digit lead, seemingly putting Houston on the canvas. But the Rockets’ defense, which general manager Daryl Morey made a priority over the summer, came through.cheap official nfl jerseys

It wasn’t the first time in this game that Houston needed to rely on its defense, as the Rockets proved they could fight back after an awful first five minutes. It took 5:18 for Houston’s historically high-powered offense to put any points on the board, as the defending champion Warriors roared out of the gates with a 12-0 run while the Rockets sputtered to eight shots and a couple of turnovers in their first 10 possessions.


Kevin Durant, Warriors turn page to Game 5 after frustrating finish

Kevin Durant said, “I wish I had that last play back,” referring to the Golden State Warriors’ final transition possession with less than 12 seconds remaining in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday.

The Houston Rockets were up by two points when Draymond Green pulled down a defensive board to initiate the break. He passed it to Durant, who dribbled the ball up the court. Instead of taking a shot, Durant found a cutting Klay Thompson along the baseline.nfl jerseys authentic cheap

Trevor Ariza closed hard on Thompson, forcing Thompson to put the ball on the floor before firing up an ill-advised turnaround air ball. Durant was seen demanding a kickout, and with 5 seconds on the clock, Green was calling for a timeout that went unnoticed by the officials.259

“I raced it down. I was trying to see if I had some options. I saw Klay running along the baseline and maybe should have waited until he set his feet, but I just threw a bounce pass and tried to relocate for it,” he explained. “But, man, that’s not the reason we lost the game. I wish it could have been a better possession at the end, but, you know, we’ve got to live with that and move on and be better next game.”

Stephen Curry (39), Thompson (39), Durant (43) and Green (45) all played 39 or more minutes. Andre Iguodala was sidelined with a left leg contusion. The Warriors outscored the Rockets 34-17 in the third quarter, but due to an even further shortened rotation without Iguodala, Kerr said fatigue played a factor down the stretch.

“It’s the Western Conference finals,” Green said. “When you’re battling getting to the Finals, no one is worried about fatigue. We’re just trying to do what you got to do to win the game.”

Thompson suffered a knee contusion in the second quarter after he banged it on the hardwood. He headed to the locker room for treatment, then re-entered the game soon after. Team officials said his injury is of no concern moving forward.

“It’s sore, but it’s early,” Thompson said. “I’m anticipating feeling much better tomorrow.”

The Warriors dropped a golden opportunity to end the series in Houston on Thursday, but the locker room was surprisingly in good spirits following Tuesday’s contest. Durant told ESPN they “just have to get another one” on the road.nike nfl jerseys for sale

As a team, the Warriors expressed disappointment in not sustaining a high level of play rather than focusing on one possession. Durant said that’s what they need to fix going into Game 5.

“It’s the whole game that we’ve got to get better at, especially in the fourth,” he said. “I think going up 10 going into the fourth, it was a good opportunity for us to kind of take control, and we didn’t. So I definitely wish I had that last play back. So I’m going to watch film and see what my options were and just hopefully if I’m in that position again I’ll be better.”


The dilemma of the QB succession plan

The search for a franchise quarterback can be grueling. Ask the Cleveland Browns. They have been stuck in a franchise quarterback-less vortex for 25 years, and they are hardly alone in their search to find the one.

Finding that quarterback can be a thankless journey seemingly without end. It can take years, decades even, if teams pick the wrong players or make flawed decisions.

But creating a succession plan to replace a franchise quarterback can be just as hard. With a franchise quarterback in place, a team has a limited window in which to capitalize on its financial and draft resources. It also could have a quarterback with an ego,official nfl jerseys who might not appreciate the task of grooming his successor.

Former Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf was known to draft a quarterback almost every year, even with Brett Favre on his roster. He selected seven quarterbacks in the 10 drafts after trading for Favre.

“I had determined that the one position that determined your welfare in the game was the quarterback position. And you better protect yourself as best you can at that position,” Wolf told ESPN in a recent telephone interview. “You want to keep adding to it. Always want to get better at that position. I didn’t think two was enough. I thought you needed three.”

Teams such as the New York Giants, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers have been fortunate to rely on one quarterback for some time — each has had its current franchise quarterback in place for more than a decade. Combined, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers have won more than 60 percent of their games and 10 Super Bowls.250

But like most good things, there will be an expiration date. Quarterbacks can’t last forever. And recent history shows most teams don’t properly prepare for the end.

The Miami Dolphins signed the undrafted Jay Fiedler to replace Dan Marino in 2000. They’re still looking for their first Pro Bowl season at the position since Marino.

The Buffalo Bills had Todd Collins and Alex Van Pelt ready to step in when Jim Kelly retired in 1997. They signed Doug Flutie from the CFL in desperation the following year, and are hoping this year’s first-round pick, Josh Allen, develops into the franchise quarterback they have been looking for ever since Kelly retired.

The Denver Broncos’ answer for John Elway was third-round pick Brian Griese. That didn’t work out long term. It took until Elway signed Peyton Manning as a free agent 13 years later for the Broncos to solidify the position.wholesale authentic nfl jerseys

The Seattle Seahawks had Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst set to replace Matt Hasselbeck, who played in three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl in 10 years in Seattle. Fortunately for the Seahawks, they hit the jackpot with Russell Wilson in the third round in 2012.


A Cannon ball! Why Jets took the plunge for a small-school RB

When New York Jets special-teams coordinator Brant Boyer checked his inbox last season, he’d periodically find an email from Reggie Barlow, one of his old teammates with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Boyer knew exactly what each one contained:

Video clips of Trenton Cannon, a touchdown machine at Division II Virginia State.

Barlow, the school’s head coach,wholesale authentic nfl jerseys  did the work of a skilled PR man, promoting his player by sending out clips to some of his NFL friends. He and Boyer have what he describes as “a real cool relationship” — Barlow returned punts and kickoffs for the Jaguars and Boyer blocked for him — so he made sure to keep his buddy in the loop on Cannon.

Thanks to the Boyer-Barlow relationship, the Jets developed an affinity for Cannon and drafted him in the sixth round, making him the first player drafted from Virginia State since 1996. They believe Cannon can make an immediate impact as a return specialist, a position that has haunted the Jets in recent years. His first real opportunity will happen Tuesday, when the team conducts its first OTA practice.249

This is how it goes in scouting. Coaches, general managers and scouts rely on their connections to get inside information on potential sleepers. Everybody knows about the big names such as Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield, prospects whose pro days and combine performances are featured on national TV. It’s a different ballgame with small-school players. NFL evaluators need to be like investigative reporters, digging from crumbs of intel.

“Brant Boyer did a great job with researching this guy and studying him over the last two years,” Barlow told ESPN. “Coach Boyer and I have a relationship where he can trust that we see this guy and we think he’s an NFL-caliber player. I think it’s great that the Jets did their homework.”

Barlow sent a variety of clips to Boyer, showing Cannon as a running back, slot receiver and kickoff returner. Boyer watched every video, often responding to Barlow with an enthusiastic comment about Cannon’s potential.

There was a lot to like last season as Cannon scored 22 touchdowns — 17 rushing, three receiving and two on kickoffs. He averaged 33 yards per kickoff return, which excited Boyer, who spent two days at the Petersburg, Virginia, school during the run-up to the draft. official nfl jerseys He met with Cannon and worked him out, mainly studying his ability to return punts, something he didn’t do in college.

“He was extremely thorough,” Barlow said of Boyer. “He came down, spent some time on campus, watching film. What I thought was really huge was [him saying], ‘Let’s make sure this guy fits the pedigree of a New York Jet. Let me talk with him.'”


New York Red Bulls’ embrace of youth at expense of stars yielding depth, success

Of the Major League Soccer teams that played in this spring’s CONCACAF Champions League, the New York Red Bulls stand out as the glaring exception.

The tone for the Seattle Sounders’ season was set in the round of 16 of that competition, when forward Jordan Morris tore his ACL at Santa Tecla. The Sounders are in last place in the Western Conference,nike nfl throwback jersey with just eight points and five goals through nine matches. Toronto came closest to continental glory, falling to Chivas on penalties in the final, but has also paid a domestic price — TFC sits in 10th place out of 11 teams in the East.

The Red Bulls, though, have thrived where the others have swooned. Heading into this weekend’s showdown at league-leading Atlanta United, New York is second in the East in points per match and fifth in the standings by virtue only of having played fewer games. It enters the weekend having won three straight, two of which were on the road.240

Reasons for NYRB’s comparative resilience are multiple, but all come back to the club’s defining principle under coach Jesse Marsch: empowering young talent.

Whereas Seattle and TFC each leaned heavily on a handful of veterans, Marsch rotated his lineup throughout his team’s run to the CONCACAF semifinals. And where the Sounders and Reds have rued their luck as their respective injury lists have ballooned, New York’s younger, sprightlier legs were more equipped to handle the increased workload.

It is jarring just how drastically, and quickly, the Red Bulls have changed ideological direction. For so long, it was the team over-reliant on superstar vets, the club defined by guys like Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. Ever since Marsch took over from popular former coach Mike Petke in January of 2015, he has marched the franchise steadily in the opposite direction.

“[19-year-old midfielder] Tyler Adams is probably the biggest of those stories, nfl football jerseys for sale but there are probably 20 of them, guys that are somehow from this community and now are contributing,” Marsch said. “The fact that we have an identity that is true to our community and has a definite style of play is exciting for everybody to see.”


Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas has fond FA Cup memories ahead of Manchester United clash

He kicked Roy Keane as a precocious teenager and, now, as a near pensioner with Chelsea, Cesc Fabregas is eager to win Saturday’s FA Cup final and replace the winners’ medal he has lost.

Fabregas won the 2005 FA Cup, aged 18, with Arsenal, beating Keane’s Manchester United in a penalty shootout in the final in Cardiff.

The 31-year-old Spain playmaker hopes United will be beaten again at Wembley this weekend to give Chelsea the trophy.nfl authentic nike jerseys

“Everyone talks about the Champions League, the World Cup, the Euros, but I think if you are a bit of a romantic, the FA Cup is always very special,” Fabregas said.

“It is not easy to get into FA Cup finals. We have to value that, we have to appreciate that, go into Saturday knowing that if we win, we are winning a special trophy.”

Fabregas demonstrated his romantic side this week, marrying Daniella Semaan, the mother of his three children.237

The Blues finished fifth in the Premier League and speculation is rife Antonio Conte will leave his role as head coach, even if the Blues win the trophy on Saturday.

“We should have done better. We were not consistent enough in our performances and there is no explanation why one day we can be very good, one day after we are just not good enough,” Fabregas added.

“This is on us as players. We should have put it right when we had the chance to do it. We didn’t and we paid for it.nfl football jerseys cheap

“It is a big disappointment, I’m sure for the club as well, because they want to be and are used to being in the Champions League every year.