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Alexander Volkanovski's brutal plan to ruin old enemy's legacy and become 'top guy in the UFC'

Volkanovski's brutal plan to ruin old enemy's legacy and become 'top guy in the UFC' (Author: Gardener)

UFCAlexander Volkanovski says Max Holloway will be pushed out of the UFC featherweight division and removed from all greatest-of-time talks after their hyped trilogy showdown at UFC 276. Volkanovski has stated he was undefeated in all six years and 11 appearances as a UFC fighter ready to become the company's greatest on July 3 (AEST) against Holloway in Las Vegas. Having defeated the Hawaiian superstar twice already, Volkanovski says a third straight win against the former champion will not only make him the division's greatest ever, but also the greatest fighter in the entire UFC right now. Watch Live UFC with ESPN on Kayo. Full Fight Night Events, PPV Prelims, Ultimate Fighter Series & More. The Aussie also announced that after a fourth straight title defense, he will be looking to move up and fight for the UFC lightweight title. Over the weekend, UFC President Dana White suggested Volkanovski had been given an opportunity to create "a career-defining moment" in his blockbuster trilogy with Holloway. "And I agree," the champion said on Monday. "This fight will not only make me the top guy at featherweight, but also the top guy in the UFC. “This is where I not only separate myself from every other fighter in the division, but also earn #1 pound-for-pound status, (feather-light) GOAT status… all that stuff I said I did it would get.” The discussion about the greatest UFC featherweight of all time wasn't just about names like Holloway, Jose Aldo and even Irish megastar Conor McGregor. After upsetting Holloway by decision for the title in 2019, Volkanovski defended again just seven months later - albeit by a more controversial split decision. Since then, the champion has defended his title twice more against American Brian Ortega and South Korean Chan Sung Jung. The Wollongong native also ranks second in the UFC's pound-for-pound rankings, behind only welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. When asked what happens to Holloway, who once ruled the featherweight class with a third loss, Volkanovski said, "This is a big risk fight for Max. "Because right now he's still in the GOAT talks, still a great fighter in many people's eyes. “If you lost to me three times and in your prime, how could anyone mention you in GOAT conversations afterwards? "And that shouldn't put Max in the shade. It's just facts. “If you get a whitewashed three-zip, that's bad. "Not that many people are having those conversations about him anymore (he's the greatest of all time) but no one is going to have them after that." Would a loss force him out of the division? "I think so," Volkanovski admitted. “But nobody will ask for a fourth fight. There's no point in fighting again. "Besides, there will be bigger fights in the lightweight division anyway." Should Volkanovski decide to gain weight, White also told the media over the weekend that he would like to throw the Australian straight into a fight with Oliveira - who will get the first crack at the lightweight title, which was taken from him after he died before the Gaethje didn't gain weight after beating Justin at UFC 274 last Sunday. "If I bag Max, everyone will want me to go straight to that easy title," Volkanovski said. “Those are the conversations people are having now, including the chief honcho. “But I said at the time that the conversation was going to change.

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League One Playoff Semi-Finals - Live Reaction

Patrick Roberts' dramatic stoppage-time goal shattered on Wednesday and propelled Sunderland into a play-off final against Wycombe Wanderers (Author: Gardener)

Playoff Semi-Finals - LivePlease use a supported version for the best MSN experience. Patrick Roberts' dramatic stoppage-time goal shattered on Wednesday and propelled Sunderland into a play-off final against Wycombe Wanderers. Here's the Patrick Roberts goal that sent Sunderland to Wembley. Is that the goal Sunderland sent to Wembley?! After a bumpy, hard-fought 73 minutes, the game came alive when Lee Gregory completed a nice move to level Wednesday overall. After that, they looked like the more likely winners, but Sunderland surprised them with a similar Patrick Roberts goal in added time. Sunderland will play Wycombe at Wembley on Saturday midweek; Wednesday will be back in League One next year. They've got Sunderland under pressure now! Lee Gregory upped the game overall with a nice goal on Wednesday! Patrick Roberts may have put Sunderland into the playoff final! Patrick Roberts from Sunderland scores to make it 1-1 that night. Photo: Matt West/REX/Shutterstock Patrick Roberts celebrates after scoring. Sunderland meet Wycombe Wanderers in the League One play-off final after a dramatic final at Hillsborough. 90+11 mins One last attack for Wednesday, but Luongo's shot is blocked. I think that's it. 90+9 mins Berahino's overhit cross is spilled by Patterson, who snatches the loose ball right in front of Paterson. 90+6 min Wednesday are shocked. Sunderland make a triple change with Nathan Broadhead, Callum Doyle and Jay Matete replacing goalscorers Patrick Roberts, Jack Clarke and Alex Pritchard. The goal was superbly made by Jack Clarke who was a threat all night. He teased Storey, went on the outside and shoved a low cross towards the near post. Roberts, like Gregory earlier tonight, got past the defender, Palmer in this case, and turned the ball in from close range. 90+5 min Saido Berahino replaces George Byers. 90+3 min "Hi Rob," says Lars Bøgegaard. "Even WITH the away goals rule, this duel would have gone into overtime with the score of 1-0." 90+1 min There are many tired players out there. 90 min There is, and you will like it, ten minutes of added time. 89 min Bannan finds Johnson again, who flashes a cross through the six-yard box. Sunderland would now take extra time; They've been under a lot of pressure since Gregory's goal. But there will be a lot of injury time because of the many injuries. 87 min A reminder that there is no away goals rule in the playoffs, so if that's the case it's going to overtime. 85 min Byers long-range shot is blocked. On the other end, Storey makes a desperate and decisive attack on Clarke. It was far from goal, just past the halfway line, but Clarke would have gone through. 68 min There is a break in play while Hutchinson and Gooch are treated. Sheffield Wednesday's Sam Hutchinson gives a thumbs up as he leaves the field. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/REX/Shutterstock 82 min Wright is doing well. In the meantime, here's this beautiful goal from Lee Gregory. Johnson and Gregory's movement was a textbook, and Bannan's pass a thing of beauty. SUNDERLAND'S LEADERSHIP IS ERASED!!! 💥 pic.twitter.com/OSEEXMEBjc - Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 9, 2022 That was a great move on Wednesday. Bannan threaded a fantastic pass between Roberts and Gooch to find Johnson on the left side of the area. He played a flawless low cross to Gregory, who came ahead of Batth and opened his body to finish from close range. 80 min. There is a break in play while Wright treats his right eye. 78 min Pritchard picks up a loose ball on the edge of the area, shifts it away from Byers but then smashes it wide of the near post. 77 min Wednesday they make their third substitution with Callum Paterson replacing Josh Windass. 77 min Dean is booked for a longing tackle on Clarke. 73 min It was a surprisingly comfortable second half for Sunderland, with Wednesday failing to put any significant pressure on them. 70 min Darren Moore was looking to make a double with Paterson and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing but he may have to revise that due to Hutchinson's injury. In fact, he does: Mendez-Laing and Liam Palmer come in for Hutchinson and Jack Hunt. 69 min "I'm trying to enjoy the game," says Adam Hurst, "but like the first leg and like the old Tyne Wear derby, I can't figure out who's who. Even the referees and assistants hardly stand out from the field players.” Even the numbers are quite difficult to spot, certainly on the Sunderland shirts. 66 min. A fantastically driven cross from Windass almost leads to a Wednesday goal. The diving Patterson was only able to shove it on one of his defenders, Gooch I think, and it bounced just wide of the far post. The resulting corner leads to a Hutchinson header, which is comfortable when dramatically saved by Patterson. 65 min. A dodgy back pass from Storey is almost intercepted by Stewart. Peacock-Farrell takes no chances and throws the ball straight out of play for a throw-in. 63. Min. Windass' cross from the left is headed by Storey, who was still up after a corner. Half a chance at best. Callum Paterson is due to come on as a substitute on Wednesday. 62 min Pritchard delays the resulting corner and points to something thrown onto the field. 61' Clarke and Stewart work together to find Roberts, whose fierce shot from a tight angle is blocked by Storey. Roberts wanted a penalty for handball; The referee disagreed. 59 mins Clarke makes an elegant, labyrinthine run, beating at least five Wednesday players in the process. Eventually he finds tee shots from Roberts, whose shot from the edge of a crowded area is too close to Peacock-Farrell. 56 min Roberts' dangerous cross is turned back by Hunt at the far post. Pritchard's corner is knocked out by Peacock-Farrell. 53 min As in the first half, Sunderland started very confidently. 50 min Sunderland works a really clean corner from the left, forcing Byers to do a brilliant sliding block on Roberts (I think). The loose ball is driven wide by Clarke from the edge of the area. 49 min It was a pretty quiet start to the second half. It's a bit scary that an entire season is likely to fall into the next 40 minutes. 46 min Beep beep! The second half begins on Wednesday. Anyhow, do you think the pace will be maintained in the second half or will Wednesday be content to score a goal, sit back, turn down the clock and hope the goal comes given their home record? And I hope the referee doesn't forget to wind his watch." I've given up trying to predict human nature, well, everything, but my instinct is that Wednesday will keep pushing even if they score . They're so good at home that there's no reason for them to go to penalties (if they get the chance). There was just one shot on goal, a spectacular overhead kick from George Byers, but Wednesday put on a lot of pressure in the last 15-20 minutes of half-time. There was also a needle suggestion and a big Wednesday penalty for a potential handball from Dennis Cirkin. 35 min: Brilliant performance from Byers! Bannan's swinging corner is deflected away but Wednesday keeps the ball alive. It goes back into Byers, 12 yards away, with your back to the gate. He controls the ball on his chest and hits a sweet overhead kick that gets too close to Patterson. Sheffield Wednesday's George Byers attempts an overhead kick. 45+1 mins Stewart is booked for a bad attack on Johnson. 44 min Bannan's corner from the right flashes across the six-yard space. Sunderland really needs this Gatorade hit. 43 min By the way, there is a red card tonight. 41 min Bannan blocks a long-range shot, then Windass passes inside the box while trying to collect the loose ball. He tried to decapitate it, maybe he hit it with his hand, and then Windass fell over his horizontal body. I don't think it was a foul on Windass; I want to see the handball scream. 41 min "Joshua Reynolds is absolutely right about those names," says Dennis Johns. But without a lot of competition.” 40 mins In the last five minutes, Wednesday had 75 percent possession. I wouldn't say Sunderland lasted through halftime, but they wouldn't say no to a Gatorade chaser either. 36 min Bannan's free-kick is headed down by Dean, who hit the ball near the penalty spot on the run. It wasn't a bad chance, although the angle of the cross meant there was little room for error when timing the header. This is a good time for Wednesday, the best of the game so far. 11 min Wednesday start to come into play. After a good play from Luongo on the left, Gregory's snap volley is well blocked by Wright. Sheffield Wednesday's Lee Gregory in action. Photo: Paul Currie/Colorsport/REX/Shutterstock Photo: Paul Currie/Colorsport/REX/Shutterstock 33 min. Clarke slides in from the left, easily beats Hunt and is blocked by Storey. 32 min "Since you're avoiding clichés tonight Rob, just remind us it's a four-half game," says Justin Kavanagh. "And that when it comes to the Championship play-off winners, the league table often lies." 31 min Sheffield Wednesday gets frustrated with everything, but especially with some refereeing decisions. However, Wednesday rightly frets about Sunderland's time management; it's quite bold, even at this early stage. 30 min "I cheer for the Black Cats because I love the name 'Lynden Gooch,'" writes Joshua Reynolds. "Like 'Solly March' and 'Max Power' the name just makes me happy to see it on the team sheet." 28' Bannan is booked for a longing tackle against Pritchard. He can't have any complaints. Correction: He shouldn't have any complaints. 27 min Still no shots on target. 26 min Johnson's very deep cross finds his full-back Hunt, who misses an admittedly difficult volley over the goal. The ball bounces off a few players and dribbles wide. 25' Pritchard's free-kick is headed over the bar by Batth, a decent performance under pressure. He needed a little softer noggin to take some pace off the ball. 24 min The referee breaks the seal and books Byers for a cynical foul on Clarke. 22 min "I've been getting a little lost on what's going on with these clubs lately," says Matt Dony. Both big clubs, so many clichés, yada yada yada, I'd be happy if either of them get promoted. 20 min Patterson steers a ball forward and gives away a cheap corner on Wednesday. It's swung over the far post and routed wide by Storey, who couldn't make a clean connection because of Wright's presence. 19 mins Wednesday fans are unhappy with how long Sunderland take on throw-ins and shots on goal. Now O'Nien is down after an incident with Windass. I think Windass deliberately stepped on his toe, though not by force, to send O'Nien to the screen. 17 mins Bannan plays a sweetly disguised pass to Windass, whose shot is blocked superbly by Batth on the turn. He also chokes the connection and the ball eventually returns to the corner. 14 min Bannan's through ball is just too hard for Windass who got a good run from Dean (I think). "Bary!" yells Darren Moore on the sidelines; It wasn't a particularly difficult pass for a player of Bannan's quality. 7 min Wednesday's first promising attack. Marvin Johnson's dangerous cross from the left is half blocked by Wright at the near post and dribbles through to Patterson. 7 min The ref considers booking Cirkin for a late tackle on Byers, then decides not to break the seal so early in the game. 6 mins Sunderland are really dominating possession, although so far everything has been ahead of Wednesday's defence. 4 min It was a confident start from Sunderland who clearly came into play. 2 min "Wait a minute, Rob," says Alex Mac. “These two sides just broke the record for highest-ever (combined) playoff semi-final attendances in League One. There's some truth to that 'sleeping giant' cliché?!” Oh, I'm not denying that these are two huge clubs, it's the cliché part I was trying to avoid. 1 min The game is in progress! One for the Sheffield Wednesday fans I recently received a copy of Gareth Platt's When a Giant Stirred, which is about Wednesday's (mostly) golden period between 1976 and 1993. I haven't had a chance to start it yet, but it looks great and I know he's interviewed some of the main characters. With that in mind, can Sunderland fans recommend a book about Peter Reid's years? I know Premier Passions exist but I would love to read the whole story, especially the second spell in the Premier League. "Are there any away goals in the playoffs tonight?" No, so if Sheffield Wednesday wins 8-7 it goes into overtime. “[Are we going to see another Wednesday than the first leg?] I think we have to. It was a tough game up there but we're home and we've had a good few days. I brought in Jack [Hunt] and Josh [Windass] to freshen it up a bit - Jack was great and Josh will give them something else to think about with his movement. "We're really proud of our home record and we want to keep it up, but we know we have to do our best against a very good side." Hello and welcome, part two of the heavyweight playoff clash between Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland. Both teams could be two games away - tonight's game at Hillsborough, then the play-off final against Wycombe a week on Saturday. Sunderland have led 1-0 since the first leg at the Stadium of Light and will recover from their dominance in this game. But Wednesday had their best home record in League One this season, which included an emphatic 3-0 win over Sunderland in November. (They also lost the second leg 5-0, so that's it.) This game has a diverse wardrobe, but it's basically a 50/50 competition. Jack Hunt replaces Liam Palmer, and Josh Windass is preferred to Saido Berahino in attack. Sunderland are unchanged, although Nathan Broadhead is fit enough for the bench. 📋 Here's our line-up for the play-off semifinals second leg tonight!— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) May 9, 2022 Alex Neil's starting XI for tonight's semifinals second leg.

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Top Sheffield United Championship winners after a dull final day of the regular season

The Championship season ended on a whimper, with Sheffield United the big winners in more ways than one... (Author: Gardener)

Top Sheffield United ChampionshipThe Championship season ended on a whimper, with Sheffield United the big winners in more ways than one... Sheffield United At the start of Saturday, Sheffield United were not guaranteed a play-off spot. At the end of the season, the Blades were five points behind the top six with a goal difference twice that of seventh-placed Middlesbrough. It was perhaps an uncharacteristically drama-free final day of the championship, but that suited Paul Heckingbottom's side very well. When former Barnsley and Leeds boss Heckingbottom took charge at Bramall Lane in the first half of the season, it looked more like the Blades were on the verge of a second straight relegation than an immediate return to the top flight battle. The difficult part was turning a season of struggle under Slavisa Jokanovic into a campaign of joy, hope and excitement. That's not to say that winning the play-offs will be easy, but United will appreciate their chances of first beating Nottingham Forest over two legs and then either Huddersfield or Luton at Wembley. Performances like that 4-0 win over champions Fulham have been fairly commonplace throughout the season, and each subsequent one will give the South Yorkshire outfit every chance to rejoin the Cottagers in the promised land of the Premier League. Four different goalscorers and four different assist providers with three players ending up on either side of the scoring stats also made for enjoyable reading. Like Sheffield United, a relatively drama-free lunchtime for Luton. The Hatters poked fun at the 7-0 defeat by Fulham that left their play-off spot looking precarious, and also finished the game five points clear of the dotted line. They could have lost 7-0 again and it wouldn't have mattered thanks to losses to fellow contenders Millwall and Middlesbrough, but this was such a good way to end the regular season. The goal was a gift from goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, but Harry Cornick's speed in taking the ball off the Norwegian's feet and landing between the shot stopper – or lack thereof – and the near post still required work. Cornick's transformation into a dependent championship shooter is far from the only individual improvement to be seen at Kenilworth Road this season, but it's an important reason why Nathan Jones' side deservedly finished a good distance inside the top six . Huddersfield Town's pole position But Huddersfield also know they will go into the top six battle on pole position from the four contenders. Hull City's final equalizer at home against Nottingham Forest gave Huddersfield third in the league and a home game with Luton after a trip to Kenilworth Road, as opposed to a double-header with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United. Another special day in West Yorkshire for the Terriers was concluded with simplicity - the theme of this final League Two weekend - goals from Danny Ward and Harry Toffolo in the first half showed how simply Carlos Corberan's side have been making their campaign easy for some time had now. No trouble but plenty of hope of a Premier League return after three seasons in the Championship. A first season in nine years ending on a positive goal difference is also welcomed. With five goals in seven games for the left-back, Toffolo could write himself into Huddersfield folklore if he takes that form in the last potential three games of the season. Kieffer Moore is a more expected beneficiary of a stellar goalscoring streak but he has finally done well after missing most of the season from being in goal due to poor form and injuries at both Cardiff and Bournemouth. Substituting for one of the few championship games in the second half where anything rides on it, Moore's late midweek winner made this a drama-free afternoon for the Cherries. That didn't stop Moore from making the difference once again with his fourth late goal in his last three games, suggesting he can help relieving top scorer Dominic Solanke of some Premier League goals next season . Preston's Danish striker stayed under the radar for most of the season but his double on the final day helped prevent Middlesbrough from ever being able to contend for a top-six spot while also maintaining a claim for one of their own Place to raise the top division in the next season. With 13 and 14 goals of the season, Riis added up to 19 goal contributions in a team that has struggled for goals all too often this season. It's the ruthlessness Ryan Lowe hopes to see more of and bring to bear next season. If ever a team was convinced that playing without pressure leads to better performances, the already relegated Peterborough, who beat Blackpool 5-0 in their last game as a Championship club for at least a year, was overwhelming proof of that. Perhaps the most complete performance of the Posh season means it ends on a high note and the London Road team are hoping to bring some of that momentum into their 2022/23 League One campaign. Tony Mowbray and Mark Warburton end on a high Everyone was treated with more disdain and less respect than they deserved when his contract expired and ready to be sacked, but the good work that Blackburn boss Mowbray and QPR boss Warburton did brought to their clubs showed on the final day with hard-fought victories against Birmingham and Swansea respectively. Wherever they end up next, they will get special managers who have exceeded many expectations. Blackburn and QPR will have to set aside work to make improvements to the dugout next season. Well, that's how you make a day less dramatic. Middlesbrough were one of just two teams able to jeopardize proceedings on the final day, trailing 2-0 before the tables made their usual first appearance of the final day as things stand. Chris Wilder's side were at times their own worst enemy late in the season, although not scoring more often was their relapse. Four goals conceded on the last day against a Preston side who haven't made it into the habit of scoring buckets by the bucket showed just how far off the pace they really were. Boro still could not have made the top six based on other results, but this was a poor way to end a season that ended with such a bitter taste in the mouth. Wilder doubted his future lay at Riverside in April, while performances have been lacking for some time. Some promotion-hungry clubs, narrowly missing out on the last matchday, use it as a stepping stone to progress the following season. Instead, Middlesbrough has a boss who refuses to commit, finances that require a promotion sooner rather than later and high wages being spent on borrowers who have brought no tangible benefit to the campaign. Where Middlesbrough will go from here is undetermined but looking down seems more likely than up to 2022/23. West Brom's lack of goals has cost them heavily on more than one occasion this season but they felt at home against Barnsley as they scored in what is perhaps the most promising performance and certainly the finest result of Steve Bruce's reign. For Barnsley, it was a sad farewell at the end of a desolate season, just 12 months after the great joy of reaching the play-offs. Managerless and rudderless, the main fear is that Barnsley has yet to hit rock bottom. Aside from the effective points deduction suffered by Chris Hughton in seven games this season, Nottingham Forest were easily the second-best Championship team this season. It therefore feels odd to suggest that Steve Cooper's side could be losers by any measure, having climbed from the bottom to fourth place under the former Swansea City head coach. But losing mid-week in the winner-takes-almost-all clash to Bournemouth would have always taken the wind out of Forest's sails and it showed for much of the final day's clash with Hull that there was little left up for grabs was either third or fourth. The second home game was safe but Hull's last equalizer meant a point from their last two games with late pain in both games going to the play-offs, playing the much-coveted Sheffield United in place of Dark Horses Luton. In the space of six days, Fulham have gone from a 7-0 win to a 4-0 wrong-ended win. The 11-goal swing is a championship record in consecutive games and one of those wonderful events that can only happen on the final day. Blackpool End of Season Worst performance of the season was saved for the final matchday. Manager Neil Critchley echoed such sentiment as Blackpool's fantastic first season in the Championship ended with the most pathetic whimpers in Peterborough just half a decade after hitting rock bottom. If momentum means anything in football - and almost certainly not with a three-month hiatus - then Blackpool are in trouble next year. This was a bad day for Blackpool in what had been a good season that ended just a bit sour. Lack of drama on Championship final day The Championship is known for its reputation as one of the most entertaining divisions in the world. This season has been littered with typically big moments, but also marred by point deductions and parachute payments at both ends, meaning much had been decided before Matchday 46. The last day went unusually without any major dangers before kick-off. and that didn't change once during the afternoon. The three relegation places had long since been sewn up; only two of the four play-off spots were still up for grabs. Sheffield United and Luton started the day fifth and sixth respectively and never deviated from those positions. Hopefully the playoffs will bring more cheering and excitement. The article Top Sheffield United league winners after a dull last day of the regular season appeared first on Football365.com.

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Arjun Kapoor motivates fans with his Fat To Fit pictures on Monday

Arjun Kapoor shared his bold transformation pics on Instagram. Listen. (Author: Gardener)

Arjun KapoorBollywood star Arjun Kapoor revealed his photos of his physical transformation on social media today. The actor has been sharing videos in which he breaks a sweat for a while now. He went to his Instagram handle and revealed his before and after transformation pictures. The 36-year-old actor shared a photo from February last year and another from May this year. Netizens are struck by the physical transformation and inspirational touch of his journey. Arjun wrote a funny and motivational caption, saying, "5 months #workinprogress! Felt cute and definitely won't delete it later because I'm very proud of this journey. February 2021 to May 2022 - it's been a tough time and I'm just glad I was able to stay the course. I have to admit it was very difficult to stay on track, it still is, but I love the state of mind I've been in for the last 15 months. I hope it stays the same. My #MondayMotivation is now me and not others on the gram who love themselves. It's been a while since I've felt this way! In many previous interviews, Arjun was seen sharing that he had gained a lot of weight when he was at a younger age. Speaking to India Today, Arjun said: "I remember being okay with my height. My parents split up and I found solace in food. It was my way of hiding and eating, trying, happiness between sadness to find." The Gunday actor went through many stages in his life including transitioning from obesity to fit body types. He has struggled with obesity since childhood and is now in the 15th month of his transformational journey which began last year. On the professional front , Arjun is spinning currently in Manali for his film The Lady Killer opposite Bhumi Pednekar. The actor was last seen in Bhoot Police which also starred Saif Ali Khan, Yami Gautam and Jacqueline Fernandez.

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What the La Liga table would look like if it started when Barcelona signed Xavi

He really turned the league inside out. (Author: Gardener)

the La LigaOn November 6, the football world finally heard the news it knew was coming: Barcelona had signed legendary midfielder Xavi to replace sacked coach Ronald Koeman and, they hoped, usher them into a new era . Not an easy task for the 42-year-old Catalan who has enjoyed such success in his 17 years as a Barcelona player. Since Xavi left Barca in 2015 to play for and then manage Qatari club Al Sadd, Barcelona have been in a deep financial hole. Barcelona had won just four of their first 13 games of the season and just as clearly lacked the identity one would expect from the Blaugrana men. As an antidote to this, Xavi was brought into play. Despite his relative inexperience as a manager, he is a man steeped in the vaunted Barcelona way, someone who grew up at the club in the era of Johann Cruyff's Dream Team and played for him in the era of Pep Guardiola's all-important passing masters . He certainly knew what to say at his reveal to strengthen the bond with fans when it needed strengthening. Speaking on the Camp Nour pitch, he said: "This is the biggest club in the world and I will work hard to live up to your expectations. Barcelona can't accept a draw or a defeat. We have to win all games. They won Xavi's first game, a morale-boosting 1-0 win in the Catalan derby with a side vastly different from the times of Koeman's demise. There was a tough defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League which resulted in Barcelona failing in the Europa League for the first time since 2003/04. Barca also lost their first Clasico of the Xavi era with a 3-2 Super Cup defeat and suffered a shock knockout in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt. Since Xavi's arrival, Barcelona have played 23 La Liga games, winning 16, drawing four and losing three. That would put them second in the La Liga table since November 18, just two points behind leaders Real Madrid and well ahead of the rest of the field. That rise in form was enough to push Barcelona into second place in the table and likely to finish second, completing Champions League qualification with three games to go. That was Xavi's job when he arrived and by November a place in the top four was far from guaranteed. Barcelona's 4-0 away win at the Bernabeu in March was just the latest evidence that Xavi is making Barcelona a serious force to be reckoned with again - and should they maintain that form over a first full season with Xavi at the helm of the next Last year, you will surely challenge the champion of Carlo Ancelotti. Here we take a close look at the La Liga table over the last six months to see how Xavi has fared compared to his opponents. Can you name Barcelona's top 30 goalscorers of all time? The article What the La Liga table would look like if it started when Barcelona signed Xavi first appeared on Planetfootball.com.

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50 years since winning the Clough's Derby title

On the 50th anniversary of Derby County's first English title win, ex-Rams captain Roy McFarland recalls the day Brian Clough's side pulled "a miracle". (Author: Gardener)

50 yearsDerby County: How Brian Clough's Rams won the First Division title 50 years agoDerbyDerby County won the English First Division title twice in the 1970sOn a deserted suburban Derby street on Monday night, 8 white Ford Capris jumped. The car radio crackled with the news that Wolves had beaten Don Revies Leeds United in the last game of the season. With that came confirmation that Brian Cloughs was Derby County champion of the English First Division. The two men hugged and partied wildly, trying to get up Littleover residents were in Molineux after a tense and seemingly endless stoppage time Rams captain Roy McFarland and fellow defender Colin Todd. "Tell you what, we've made enough noise," McFarland told BBC Sport. "Colin got out. We were just ecstatic, jumping up and down screaming, making as much noise as we could to get people out of their homes. "Nobody showed up and the two players marked the defining moment with their partners before heading to Hendon Hall in London at the Capri to meet Alf Ramsey's England squad. McFarland, now aged 74, recalls that he was crowned champion while standing in front of a row of houses as "surreal" after pacing up and down the own street awaiting the result of the Leeds game after Liverpool, another title challenger, had already drawn against Arsenal had played by a single point at the top of the table.The Reds and Revies Leeds, two teams with a superior goal difference over the Rams, were both able to overtake Clough's side with the one game they each had in their hands as those fateful final games began - The Rams players have been sunbathing on the Spanish island of Mallorca for days and are celebrating their best season in almost a quarter of a century t – even if they missed the title Isles of Scilly. Speaking to BBC Radio Derby just moments after the Rams became champions, the late, great manager famously uttered the words: "I don't believe in miracles but one thing happened tonight." A majority of the team in Mallorca tried listening to the game with assistant coach Peter Taylor, who arranged a feed of the action over the phone in his room. But when the line fell out, they didn't find out about their title win until the next morning. McFarland and Todd had left their teammates behind over the season-ending holidays to report for international duty and made sure to tune in to listen as their fate was being decided for them. "We felt like one of those clubs was going to do it and therefore we weren't going to win a championship, but it didn't happen and it went for us," McFarland said. "Would you have thought Leeds would lose the way they've played all season? That pressure, that's what it was. "We heard that full-time whistle on the car radio and it was incredible." Derby County player on holiday in Mallorca in 1972, where most of them found out about their crowning of England champions.When Derby were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City in their penultimate game of the season, there was undeniable doubt that Clough's under-appreciated side – a team that was only three seasons out had been promoted to the Second Division previously - would go on to claim a historic first English title. But McFarland and his team-mates still rang out the stern message from attacker Alan Durban after Arsenal eliminated the Rams from the FA Cup, a tie that three games lasted .Derby won seven and lost just two of the remaining 11 league games after that cup elimination, with wins including a 2-0 triumph over Leeds and the crucial win over Liverpool sealed by John McGovern in the last of their games to move to the top of the table. “We were all down after we were eliminated from the FA Cup,” said McFarland. Don't worry because we will go on and win the league. “I couldn't believe it or get it into my head at the time. There was no wiggle room. "We probably missed our best chance when we lost Manchester City, that was a big game for us. "Lo and behold, Leeds and Liverpool couldn't match what we did to get the results we wanted in their last game score and we became champions." Derby ended just a point clear of Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester City for the title. In McFarland's first season as captain he helped the Rams, in the league's 42-game season without a staggering 23 times A total of just 16 players have featured for Derby this season, with Alan Hinton the club's top scorer on 15, while John O'Hare has 13 and Kevin Hector is also in double figures on 12 between Clough and the Leeds boss Revie - two managers with different approaches and footballing ideologies who defined a generation in their own way - seethed, while Clough hailed winning the title as "a miracle". s late in the decade he would be able to repeat, and perhaps even eclipse, the mesmerizing performance with Derby's bitter rivals Nottingham Forest. Derby won the title in 1971/72 in Roy McFarland's first season as captain, while back-to-back European Cup wins at Forest secured Clough and Taylor's place in the game's folklore, the pair also led Derby to the semi-finals of the continent's biggest competition after Derby won the 1972 title “This is not the end, this is the beginning. That's what it's about," McFarland said. They said: 'What we have achieved, we want to achieve and achieve as much as possible' to enjoy more moments by beating a Benfica side with the great Eusebio on the team in the following year in the European Cup. But their hopes were controversially ended in the Juventus semi-final. Derby even clinched a second English title in 1974/75 under Dave Mackay, who took over after Clough's retirement in 1973. "Those were magical experiences." said McFarland. "Everyone in Derby enjoyed our European nights, it was an incredible feeling and exciting times. That meant winning the English title.” A special to mark the 50th anniversary of Derby County winning its first English title will be broadcast on BBC Radio Derby at 13:00 BST on Sunday 8 May. TV presenter abandons sports awards over sexism Elsewhere BBC's 'Golden Generation' of England managers explain their regret for not hosting the World CupApparently harder training doesn't always mean better...Marcus begins to question his marriage as he develops a relationship with another woman. How to follow your Premier League team on the BBC. Everything you need to know to make sure you don't miss a moment from our head football writer.How to Get into FootballHow to Get into Football - the world's most popular sport with clubs and bodies across the UK.

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Don't mention the war... it was Rangers, not Russia, that got Celtic into the Champions League

Glasgow is a deeply divided city, torn by religious bigotry. This is hardly news, but every once in a while the deeply entrenched, fitba-mad citizens lay down their guns and their metaphorical poison pens. (Author: Gardener)

RangersThis is hardly news, but every once in a while the deeply entrenched, fitba-mad citizens lay down their guns and their metaphorical poison pens. Honors poured out from all corners of the city for "Mr. Rangers," a 40-year-old club hero, just as he did after the death of legendary Ibrox manager Walter Smith last year. Both clubs have had plenty to celebrate in recent days - and hearty congratulations from all quarters - while their respective supporters have been busy pooping on each other's wins. For example, the first blue-tinted churls emerged when it was confirmed that champion-elect Celtic would be awarded an automatic spot in next season's Champions League group stage. Recent performances in Europe suggest the bhoys don't deserve it; You can't eat at That Win Over Barca forever. In fact, the last time they qualified for the group stage of the continent's blue jersey competition was at the end of Brendan Rodgers' sophomore season in charge. And now they've hit the jackpot again, with at least £40million awaiting them just for stepping in for one of the Russian clubs eliminated from the competition. There's no chance of anyone at Parkhead claiming that Ange Postecoglou's side "benefited" from the war in Ukraine and no doubt any Hoops fan would prefer it if there was no conflict and no qualification for the Champions League group stage exist than vice versa. However, Rangers fans are well aware of who is truly responsible for the happiness of their bitter rivals. With Russia (ninth) out of the calculus, the coveted spot in the group stage went to the next-placed nation - Scotland - thanks to their 'coefficient', which so far has only been good enough to see their champions through the qualifying rounds. But (at least according to Teddy Bears on social media) the reason Scotland's coefficient is so healthy is their team's recent impressive performances in European competition, not Celtic's. When the total coefficient – ​​and let's not get bogged down with how it's calculated – for Scotland's ranking, which includes bonus points and qualifying rounds, is added up over five seasons, Celtic have 59 to Rangers' 49.5. In short, the Men in Green contributed more to the coefficient - but Rangers' contribution helped put the Scots just behind Russia and thereby benefit directly from the inevitable displacement. Also remember that at the start of this special five-year qualifying period, the Teddy Bears were still gaining a foothold, having just returned to the top flight. However, now they have reached the final of the European Cup; the first team outside of the five major European leagues to make it this far since 2018. Surely the late Walter Smith, who led them to their last European final 14 years ago, would have been so proud of that glorious win over RB Leipzig when a crowd of 50,000 highly emotional fans last Thursday - a result they bested Celtic with in terms of over five years accumulated Uefa points will be overtaken. Of greater significance for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his side, however, is the win against Eintracht Frankfurt on 18 May at Seville's Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium and the hugely lucrative bonus of qualifying for the Champions League group stage themselves. Yes, but it hardly compares to Big Ears in '67, right? Still, that sort of 'double' (and let's not forget there's a Scottish Cup final to be negotiated against Hearts three days after Sevilla) would guarantee Glasgae's blue side enough bragging rights to eclipse Celtic's impressively quick, title-winning renaissance among them to provide new Australian manager. One of the old firm clubs wins the league every year but nobody expects a Scottish club to get that far in Europe these days. Should the Gers fans end up singing their newly adopted patio anthem 'Heaven is a place on earth' again, this time in Seville, the club will get their entire 'take' from an exciting 10-month, 19-game Europa League season have 20 million pounds. However, those are relative peanuts compared to the holy grail of qualifying for the Champions League group stage. Financial figures for next season are yet to be confirmed but Celtic are already pledged at least £12.78m as a 'base payment' just for being there. And that's before broadcast revenue, gate receipts and match day revenue from the three home group games are taken into account. It's no exaggeration to assume Celtic will win between £9m and £10m for every big night in Europe next season. And all of this, I can attest, was made possible by Rangers – but not in the way the grumpiest of their supporters would suggest. One of the reasons Celtic are already in the group stage of next season's Champions League and Rangers aren't is that the holders haven't been able to win as many Scottish Premiership games as they have - including the really important ones.

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Chelsea shine, Man City thrive but turbulence for Everton

Chelsea were crowned WSL champions, winning the title by a point over Arsenal; Man City finished third after a difficult start to the season; Spurs showed big improvements but there is still work to be done for Man Utd; Everton are in for a big summer; Birmingham were relegated to the Championship (Author: Gardener)

EvertonWho ended the women's Super League season for another year and which teams need improvement next year? It's hard to disagree that Chelsea have had an outstanding season - or at least an excellent second half of the season. It was around Christmas when the Gunners looked certain of the title - but Chelsea got back on top form in 2022. After the winter break, they were undefeated in WSL, winning 11 games and drawing two. Chelsea have been pushed to the limit by a much-improved and determined Arsenal but this is a side that thrive under pressure and once again come out on top. While elimination from the Champions League in the group stage on goal difference after reaching the final the year before was a blow, there's still an FA Cup final to complete a domestic double this weekend. Sam Kerr won the WSL Golden Boot again and had another outstanding season. Millie Bright and Magdalena Eriksson continue to lead by example on defense while Erin Cuthbert, Guro Reit and Pernille Harder continue to impress. Overall another successful season for Chelsea with another WSL title in the cupboard. Although Arsenal fell at the final hurdle - something which Jonas Eidevall said left his side feeling "empty" - there is much this season for the Gunners to be proud of. They led for a whopping 182 days that campaign, but in the final weeks of the season an unstoppable Chelsea propelled them to the title. They failed to pick up quite the points they needed against their closest rivals - an area where Chelsea excelled - and will point to a damaging 2-0 loss to eventually relegated Birmingham as the eventual title-cost result. But they played exciting, attacking football while looking secure at the back, scoring the most WSL goals this season and conceding the fewest. While Arsenal want to go one step further and win the WSL next season, they should and probably will aim for every cup final. Half a year ago, many ManCity had written off this season. They languished in the bottom half of the table after injuries decimated their squad - Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton and Chloe Kelly were among a long list of players who were sidelined. Her injury woes were perhaps epitomized when veteran midfielder Jill Scott was used as a central defender in the first half of the season. The number of missing players City had, as well as their quality, would have been enough to hamper even the best teams and as talent returned so did Man City's form. After losing 4-0 to Chelsea in their WSL meeting in November, City won 13 of their remaining 15 games, drawing one and losing another – also to Chelsea. "When you think about where we played seven or eight games at the beginning of the season, it's amazing what we've done," Taylor told ManCity.com on Sunday. The manager has proved that given all the talent at his disposal he is the right man to succeed and they still have an FA Cup final ahead of them. After beating Chelsea in the Women's League Cup final in March, it offers a delicious view of this weekend's spectacle at Wembley. Ultimately, with Champions League football and a potential double of domestic trophies, the end of the campaign marks a brilliant year for City given their early troubles. A positive first season for Man Utd under Marc Skinner. While Casey Stoney stabilized the ship following her promotion to the WSL, Skinner has used all of his league experience to help continue to build United. Things looked ever so slightly worrisome when Christen Press, Lauren James and Tobin Heath all left the club over the summer and Stoney also made their exit. Man Utd's goal this season would have been to break the top 3, although they ultimately fell at the final hurdle. If they don't secure Champions League football - and miss it on their local rivals - they will be on fire for next season. Skinner also needs to improve United's ability to watch games. They lost the most points from winning positions last season (13), which will help them secure European football for the first time. But there is a lot to build on for next season and with a manager who knows how to succeed in WSL. In just their second full season in the WSL, they've brought the traditional top three and Manchester United to the top. They benefited the most from City's injury streak and Man Utd's lack of consistency but struggled with form towards the end of the season. Rehanne Skinner's shrewd acquisitions over the summer helped propel Spurs into the top half of the table and fostered a busy but comfortable environment within her team. The contract extensions of key players like Ashleigh Neville and Shelina Zadorsky - as well as Skinner himself - show just how exciting the future at Spurs is. A Champions League finish has always been a bonus and despite a winless streak in recent weeks can still be considered a huge achievement. Skinner told Spurs TV on Sunday: "The players are committed to the vision and what we are trying to do here as a football team, to the work that they have put into this team and the investment that they are putting into this team every day . "We took pretty much 10 points from last season and moved up the table so it's a fantastic achievement for everyone, the whole club and I'm really pleased and grateful for the support behind the scenes." As many at the club themselves have said, making and maintaining progress this season is now a matter of further testing the teams around them. Another team relatively new to the WSL by any measure, a sixth-place finish for West Ham is certainly an achievement. Olli Harder has made it difficult to beat his team but will also look to improve in games, dropping eight points from winning positions this season. They also reached the FA Cup semi-finals, eventually losing to Man City and have one of the smartest girls' academies in the league. Harder announced his departure after the final game of the season, with former West Ham midfielder Paul Konchesky taking over on a two-year deal. They will also lose captain Gilly Flaherty who will be looking for a new club this summer. West Ham may need to call on this young talent to help them next season and further improve on what Harder has implemented this year. However, it will probably be a few more years before any push goes beyond midfield. Hope Powell's side started brightly to surpass their highest league finish of six from the 2020-21 season. They won six of their first seven games - losing only to Chelsea - and looked on course for a European push. But after a 1-0 win over Leicester on November 14, he would only win three more WSL games this season. In their two WSL games against Man City, they conceded 13 goals and scored twice. But Brighton were just a place and a point down on their best WSL record of the previous year and never really faced relegation. However, they will want a lot more and with Powell's wealth of experience to lead the way, there is still plenty of potential for Brighton. Another solid season for Reading and Kelly Chambers. She is the second longest serving manager at WSL after Emma Hayes and continues to pave the way for talented coaches. Summer signing Deanne Rose was one of the revelations of the WSL season, fresh from her Olympic gold with Canada in summer 2021. She was Reading's second-highest goalscorer in WSL that season (4) and had most assists (3). . But they will lose another big player this summer in Natasha Harding after Fara Williams left last year. This will give Chambers and Reading another big hole to fill heading into the new season. While the Royals have never been considered a contender for relegation this year, the question remains will they ever push further up the ranks? With WSL becoming increasingly competitive - and only growing with the arrival of Matt Beard's Liverpool next year - Reading could be in danger of being left behind. There was much summer hubbub as Carla Ward sailed from Birmingham to Aston Villa with Hannah Hampton. Her season proved another consolidation in her second WSL season. Jill Scott and Anita Asante also brought experience, with the latter retiring this summer and Scott set to return to home side Man City. They scored the fewest WSL goals (13) and had the fewest goalscorers (6) that season. Again, there is room for improvement for Aston Villa as they appear to be more than just a potential contender for relegation next year. Much of the pre-season hype revolved around the potential leap into the traditional 'Top 3' and how they might fare in European football the following year. Things quickly began to unravel when Willie Kirk departed in October, winning two of his first five games and losing three. However, there were defeats against Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal, with wins against Birmingham and Reading. Champions League winner Jean-Luc Vasseur was hailed as the answer, bringing with him an impressive CV. Since leaving on February 1, interim manager Chris Roberts has recorded two wins, three draws and six defeats and there was a jittery moment when relegation looked very likely. There's plenty for new manager Brian Sorensen to compete and organize with when he arrives this summer. However, one of the most important aspects is that Everton remain a WSL club. It was done for Leicester this season – surviving relegation. It was always a difficult task for the Foxes to go much higher than they finished as they stabilized in a competitive and demanding league. Although Jonathan Morgan was instrumental in the Foxes' rise to fame, it was new manager Lydia Bedford who helped Leicester to all 13 WSL points. They won their first game of the league season against Birmingham in December, won three more games and drew once against Reading in the penultimate game of the season. Bedford works by far in WSL's youngest squad (24 years and 127 days) but has experience there, including Abbie McManus, Jess Sigsworth and Jemma Purfield. There is plenty of room for growth and improvement with continued additions to the squad being key this summer but ultimately they achieved their main objective. It's a sad end for one of WSL's founding clubs, but one that doesn't come as a complete surprise. It led to Ward's departure in the summer, with Scott Booth failing to win any of his opening games. He was replaced by interim manager Darren Carter, who almost had a great escape as the Blues drew with Everton before beating Brighton - one of their three wins all season - in their final games. But defeats to Chelsea and Man City ultimately brought them down, although their 2-0 win over Arsenal had a massive impact at the other end of the table. With two points between Birmingham and Leicester, any result there could have proved crucial. More than just hiring better players or finding a permanent manager - although Carter would certainly be an option - there needs to be a real culture shift in Birmingham regarding their women's team if they are to return to WSL.

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PSG.LGD defeats Team Aster 3-0 to win China DPC Spring Tour Regional Finals

PSG.LGD defeats Team Aster 3-0 to win China DPC Spring Tour Regional Finals (Author: Gardener)

ChinaLGD continued to dominate their region as they clinched the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Spring Tour 2021-2022 Regional Finals Championship for China on Sunday (May 8) with a 3-0 win over Team Aster in the Grand Finals. LGD began their campaign in the regional finals with a 2-0 win over Royal Never Give Up (RNG) but then got carried away in their first clash of the tournament with Team Aster in the upper bracket finals themselves. LGD rallied by defeating Xtreme Gaming 2-1 in the lower bracket finals to force a rematch with Team Aster in the grand finals. LGD exacted their revenge on Team Aster with a 3-0 win that earned them the Regional Finals title. The grand final opening tips for PSG. LGD was a shadow shaman for Zhao "XinQ" Zixing and Monkey King for Wang "Ame" Chunyu. Shadow Shaman has grown in popularity as a support thanks to the buffs the hero received in the 7.31 patch, while Monkey King is a mobile porter who can join the early engagement team. Team Captain Zhang "y`" Yiping played Omniknight and had the difficult task of dispelling enemy stuns, keeping allies alive, and protecting the team from physical damage. Offlaner Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida would wreak havoc on Brewmaster, while Malaysian Superstar midlaner Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang would do all the magic damage the team needs on Leshrac. Aster's draft in the first game mirrored her opponents. Offlaner Lin "Xxs" Jing focused on controlling enemies with Mars, while the team's second support, Ye "BoBoKa" Zhibiao, was responsible for dealing damage to Hoodwink. It wasn't a perfect Mirror Draft from Aster, as they opted for a sturdy Dragonknight for their midlaner, Zeng "Ori" Jiaoyang, rather than a damaging Core. With both teams having similar designs, it all came down to execution and who could take an early lead. It was an even laning period between the two teams until NothingToSay switched to top lane and secured a double kill after seven minutes. LGD managed to build a slight lead in the early game, but Aster hit back with a triple kill for the team after 14 minutes, leveling the kill score and preventing their opponents from snowballing. Neither team prevailed in the first game, so it all came down to who could claim the Aegis of the Immortal. Aster started the 23-minute Roshan fight by knocking out y`, but a quick buyback from him, along with some clutch plays from Ame, allowed PSG. LGD to teamwipe Aster and claim the Aegis. After a disastrous team fight in the Roshan box, Aster lost control of the map and had no way to find opponents against PSG. The heroes of LGD. Aster would tap out only 10 minutes after claiming the Aegis. Longtime main heroes like Pugna and Monkey King are regularly played as supports, while Keeper of the Light is nowadays chosen as a midlaner support hero after a decade. In the second game of the series PSG. LGD's offlane Faith_bian presented the offlane Phoenix. It's been years since Phoenix was chosen as the core as the hero is considered fairly independent of items due to the power of his Supernova Ultimate. Faith_bian started snowing around the seven-minute mark in game two when he pulled off a solo kill against Siamese. Similar to the first game of the series, both teams were unable to gain a significant lead. It was a better performance for Aster in game two as they won the game's first Aegis and kept up with PSG. LGD's pace increases until the 30th minute of the game. It all came down to that crucial second Aegis fight at 31 minutes. Aster nearly managed to defeat Faith_bian, which put the Supernova on a hit but was ultimately unable to, costing her the fight, the Aegis, and ultimately the game. For people interested in playing Phoenix off-road, here's how Faith_bian built the hero. First, he bought an early Spirit Vessel to add more damage to his arsenal over time. His offlane build for Phoenix resulted in him maxing out Fire Spirits at level seven, with two points in Icarus Dive early, which just received an additional five point damage buff for each level. Faith_bian started putting points in Sun Ray at level eight and had maxed out the spell by level 11, skipping the first talent selection. The reason Sun Ray had to be maxed to level 11 is because of the early purchase of Phoenix's Aghanim's Shard upgrade, one of the best in the game. Faith_bian wanted to get a late game refresher orb, but the game ended before he could purchase the item. In game three of the series, both teams came up with specific strategies they wanted to implement. LGD, it should use Shadow Shaman on XinQ to secure Roshan, while Faith_bians Underlord gave the team global map presence. Aster, on the other hand, boosted the team fight with the Brewmaster's support for BoBoKa. The team needed a lot of space, opting for a core dual-farming lineup of Lifestealer and Templar Assassin for Monet and Ori, respectively. The only problem with the draft was the lack of stuns, a problem for PSG. LGD was able to benefit from this. Both teams had solid laning phases with Aster having a slight advantage. However, with Ori being picked up multiple times, Aster was unable to put the game ahead, resulting in both teams going neck and neck instead. For the third game in a row, it all came down to which team could secure the second Aegis of the game, and both teams showed their draft strength. XinQ's Serpent Wards and mass disables proved to be a nightmare for Aster's two farmed cores, as both were tied up and unable to fight, and the Aegis ceded to PSG. LGD's win after 28 minutes was a devastating blow to Aster as both Monet and Ori capitalized on their buybacks and were left empty handed. The economic damage caused by this misstep allowed PSG. LGD to keep pushing forward until they won the game in 40 minutes. After LGD's win, they now sit comfortably at the top of the DPC leaderboard with 1400 points, which pretty much guarantees them a spot on The International 11 (TI11). It's a different story for Aster, as they currently hold 640 DPC points, which is nowhere near enough to secure a ticket to this year's TI. They need to do well on the final tour of the season if they want to compete in their second TI. Chinese teams have been forced to compete in the Spring Tour regional finals after it was revealed that the region's four representatives for the upcoming ESL One Stockholm Major will not be able to participate in the tournament. Perfect World Esports, the organizer of the DPC's Chinese regional league, did not explicitly state the reason why the Chinese teams could not participate in the tournament. Chinese Dota 2 teams aren't the only ones who haven't been able to compete internationally due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions in the country. RNG's League of Legends team has been forced to attend the game's upcoming 2022 Mid-Season Invitational in South Korea remotely, as travel restrictions in China have prevented them from attending the event in person. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.

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How gritty Gunners have shown their ugly side to find themselves on the brink of a Champions League return

Arsenal: How gritty Gunners showed their ugly side to teeter on the brink of Champions League return - (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueIt's a wonder none of Mikel Arteta's jet black hair turned gray during this race to qualify for the Champions League. Even Arsenal's win over Leeds yesterday, which at half-time looked like it would be easy, was filled with nervousness and tension in the closing stages. With Arteta's side taking a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes thanks to a brace from Eddie Nketiah and Luke Ayling being sent off to Leeds just before the half-hour mark, Arsenal went into overdrive and thoughts of Tottenham began as early as Thursday. But Diego Llorente's goal in the 66th minute provided a nervous finish and the home fans at the Emirates Stadium heaved a collective sigh of relief when the final whistle finally blew. "I think we did a lot of stages well, but we had to score the third goal," said Arteta. "We had the chances and then the accident happens the first time they went through a set piece and we conceded a goal and the game goes on and there are some nerves to be managed." However, Arsenal now know they have just one win left away from crossing the finish line. If they beat Tottenham on Thursday, their Champions League return will be confirmed for the first time since the 2016/17 season. Four wins on the spin put Arsenal in that position. As with all of their recent victories, Arteta's side weren't at their best against Leeds but she found a way to secure the three points that put them four ahead of Spurs. Nketiah pressed Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier for his first goal and saved it to score while coming home cool for the second after good work from Gabriel Martinelli down the left. Eddie Nketiah rewarded Mikel Arteta's confidence with a brace for Arsenal against Leeds (AP). As Arteta lamented, Arsenal didn't kill the game from there but they dug in towards the end and held on. There has been a lack of that in previous seasons, but in the last month or so this side has shown a lot of guts - and that could be crucial in getting them over the line. "We find ways to win football games," Arteta said. They don't expect to be on the line all the time for 95 minutes. We deal with that and we get better because in the end we win football games.” Nketiah got his chance because Alexandre Lacazette was ill with Covid-19 last month, but Arteta is sticking with the young striker and his faith is being rewarded. The same goes for Mohamed Elneny, who is arguably playing the best football of his Arsenal career in Thomas Partey's absence. Both Elneny and Nketiah excelled against Leeds and it is believed they will play a big role at Tottenham on Thursday. Leeds tried that but they lacked a focus in attack and their wingers were isolated throughout the game. However, Arsenal can refer to their recent run as a reason for optimism. At the crucial stage of the season, they dug deep and found ways to win ugly. And if they do that again at Tottenham, a place in the Champions League will be theirs.

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