Eagles’ dysfunction is out in the open — and messier than suspected

It’s become apparent that the chemistry in the Eagles locker room is off.

Following an ugly 37-10 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday, Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson spilled on what was going on behind the scenes of the team’s recent struggles. In a postgame interview with NBC Sports, Johnson explained that some of his teammates have been shirking their responsibility.

“Really, it’s gonna probably be a callout session,” Johnson said of the Eagles’ next team meeting. “Everybody will be held accountable. Little stuff that slides during the week, late to practice, late to meetings. Stuff will be held accountable for. I think that will maybe creep into the games.”

Johnson went on to explain how he thinks the team is “not jelling together when it comes to schemes and execution.” Johnson’s comments come just days after an ESPN report quoted an anonymous player who claimed the offense has become too complicated for quarterback Carson Wentz.

On Philadelphia’s WIP Radio on Monday, it was reported that the anonymous player — who also suggested Wentz should throw safer checkdown passes — was wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

Johnson did not call anyone out specifically, but did put his name on the dysfunction discussion.

Philadelphia (3-4) scored a season-low 10 points against Dallas and dropped below .500 for the second time so far this season. And it seems as though there are just as many corrections to be made inside the locker room as on the field.

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Arsenal fans convinced they’ve signed the new Van Dijk in Saliba after superb display for Saint-Etienne vs Bordeaux – The Sun

ARSENAL fans are wasting no time in comparing William Saliba to Virgil Van Dijk after his brilliant display for Saint-Etienne over the weekend.

The 18-year-old was mightily impressive in the 1-0 away win over Bordeaux in Ligue 1.


It meant the fourth clean sheet in five games for Les Verts as they went to 10th in the table.

And one particular moment of strength and skill in the 86th minute left Arsenal supporters purring.

Saliba is shown muscling an opponent off the ball near the touchline, dispossessing him and stopping the ball going out of play before building an attack from the back.

It was exactly the kind of physicality fans want to see after spells of serious uncertainty in the Arsenal back line.

And it was enough to draw huge comparisons with the Liverpool defender who is favourite to win the Ballon d'Or.

One Arsenal fan said: "Keep the throne warm @VirgilvDijk, the new king is coming to takeover… #Saliba."

Another wrote: "Saliba continued his resurgence into the ASSE team keeping another clean sheet away to Bordeaux today.

"Saliba played in a three man back three and dropped a masterclass as St-Etienne kept another clean sheet, that's three clean sheets out of four in which Saliba has featured.

"French Van Dijk."

A fellow user said: "In my opinion within two to three years as an Arsenal player William Saliba will surpass Virgil Van Dijk as one of the most sought after centre-backs in European Football."

One supporter posted: "Saliba is already having the similar physique and style of play like Van Dijk and he's just 18."

Another comment read: "That’s as good as 1 on 1 defending gets. You see Van Dijk do that nearly every match."

One wrote: "Urgently needed back at my club."

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Man Utd 1-1 Liverpool: How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found a way to stop Reds – Darren Fletcher

Beating Liverpool would have been massive for Manchester United but it still felt as if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side produced a performance that can kick-start their season.

Of course United will be disappointed to concede an equaliser so late on having led for so long, but they should be pleased with the way they played in their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Tactically, Solskjaer got it absolutely spot on and to come out and play like that against a top-class team such as Liverpool should give his side lots of confidence.

It was United’s energy and intent up front that I really liked, and that is what I want to see more of. They played on the front foot, worked hard and had a clear plan.

Before the game, you probably would have seen a draw as a good result for United, but Liverpool ended up being the team delighted with a point.

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Solskjaer found a plan that worked

I was not surprised with how well United played, because they had a point to prove.

Their recent results had been disappointing, and they were playing Liverpool at home, after an international break. The players and fans were always going to be up for it.

I’ve played in this fixture myself and the minimum expected by supporters of any United player in a game like this is a high level of aggression and tenacity – getting up to the ball, and being hard to beat.

Sometimes, it is just about running around. That might sound like a throwaway comment but if you can do that early on to get the fans behind you and combine that with a good tactical plan, it carries you a long way.

On Sunday, United did all of that.

They had the required level of effort and performance, and Solskjaer came up with a game plan not just to stop Liverpool, but to capitalise on where he felt they had a weakness.

He did that by setting up with three at the back and two wing-backs, and also used two forwards, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James, who split and played really high and wide.

If Liverpool’s full-backs went forward, as they usually try to do, it left their centre-backs isolated when Rashford and James ran down the channels. United were always looking to use their pace with quick balls forward.

Some people are obsessed with seeing sides pass the ball and keeping possession but from the start, those quick balls saw United cause Liverpool problems when Rashford and James span off their men down either side, and turned their defence.

As I said to Solskjaer when he came on MOTD2 to speak to us afterwards, that is a tactic United used in my day. It creates a tempo in the stadium, and the opposition don’t like it.

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We always used to play like that early in games – get the ball forward and turn teams. That gives you a foothold, then you get in the opposition half, and then you can play your football.

United did that brilliantly in the first half on Sunday, and Liverpool really struggled to deal with it.

Liverpool wear down Man Utd in the end

Nothing was working for Jurgen Klopp’s side before the break, but he changed that in the second half when they moved from their usual 4-3-3 to a 4-3-2-1 formation.

The idea was to nullify United’s wing-backs and pin them back – for example, Jordan Henderson came out and played high and wide on their right to occupy Ashley Young and try to free up Trent Alexander-Arnold so he could get more crosses in.

It was that change of tactics that eventually paid off down the other flank, when Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson put in the ball for Adam Lallana’s equaliser.

It had felt as if Liverpool were really struggling to break United down but, eventually, they wore them out.

They worked them side to side and, the longer you do that for, the more you back yourselves to get a chance – which is exactly what happened.

First, there were some tired legs from Aaron Wan-Bissaka that allowed the cross to come in. He was marking Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but could he have got out to Robertson quicker?

Then there was a little bit of a mix-up between Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo over who was picking up Adam Lallana. Young had him initially, but passed him over to Rojo and they ended up getting confused.

Roberto Firmino deserves credit for the way he ran past the first United centre-half and dummied the cross, because that caused problems for every defender behind him.

And of course Lallana did well to get in there for the finish too, but United will still see that goal as an avoidable one, especially after all the good defensive work they had done.

Man Utd have options going forward

Despite the late disappointment, United’s 3-4-1-2 formation clearly worked, so Solskjaer now knows they are comfortable in that shape.

As he said afterwards, he has got a lot of centre-backs – and this is obviously a way to use them.

It is also a formation that allows Andreas Pereira to play as an out-and-out number 10, which is definitely his best position.

Pereira was not only effective on the ball, with his runs and passing forward, but also his work off it. The way he was closing people down was a big part of United’s success.

Further forward, we now know Rashford and James are effective as split strikers too.

United have had lots of injuries this season, but it feels like they have particularly missed Anthony Martial while he has been out, because he was going to play as their number nine this season.

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I think Solskjaer wanted to play Martial as his main striker and play Rashford off him down the left where he has space to run, and where he can drift inside. Daniel James seems better cutting in from wide areas too.

With Martial out, Rashford has played in a few different positions and he has not really settled.

I think we will see the best of Rashford when Martial is back fit, and they can play together regularly as a three with James, but this also seems like a system that works for him.

United have been accused of being predictable and one-dimensional going forward at times this season, but they have got another option in attack now.

Darren Fletcher was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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Steelers linebacker arrested after alleged altercation with girlfriend, report says

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Anthony Chickillo, a backup linebacker on the Pittsburgh Steelers, is facing multiple misdemeanor charges after being arrested early Sunday after an altercation with his girlfriend, reports said.

Pittsburgh Steelers backup linebacker Anthony Chickillo is facing multiple misdemeanor charges after being arrested early Sunday. WTAE.com, citing a law enforcement source, reported about the alleged altercation with the woman.

According to court documents, Chickillo was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police and charged with simple assault, property damage and harassment. The 26-year-old was released on $10,000 unsecured bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30.

Team spokesman Burt Lauten said the team is aware of the incident and is still gathering information. Chickillo, a five-year veteran, has one tackle and half a sack in three games for the Steelers this season, playing primarily on special teams.

The Steelers did not play this week. The players were given the weekend off by the team. Pittsburgh is scheduled to return to practice on Monday. The Steelers (2-4) host winless Miami on Oct. 28.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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MLB umpire Eric Cooper dies at 52; did playoffs 2 weeks ago

Eric Cooper, the Major League Baseball umpire who worked the AL Division Series two weeks ago, has died. He was 52.

Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Cooper’s death Sunday.

Cooper died after having a blood clot. He had knee surgery earlier in the week and was recuperating at his father’s home in Iowa. Popular with his fellow umps, he was talking to them Saturday about his recovery.

Cooper made his debut in the majors in 1996 as a minor league fill-in and joined the big league staff in 1999.

His most recent assignment came in the playoffs this month when he worked the New York Yankees’ sweep of Minnesota in the ALDS. He was at second base on Oct. 7 for the clinching Game 3 at Target Field.

Cooper worked the 2014 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. He drew that post helped by his success rate on replay challenges — MLB took those numbers into account in picking the crew, and Cooper had only three calls reversed all season.

Cooper umpired in 10 division series, four League Championship Series and the 2005 All-Star Game, along with two World Baseball Classics.

He also was behind the plate for three no-hitters — two by Mark Buehrle, including a perfect game, and another by Hideo Nomo. Cooper worked the plate in the final game in the career of Cal Ripken Jr.

“This is a very sad day across Major League Baseball,” Manfred said in a statement. “Eric Cooper was a highly respected umpire, a hard worker on the field and a popular member of our staff. He also served as a key voice of the MLB Umpires Association on important issues in our game.”

In a statement, players’ union chief Tony Clark said: “Eric Cooper’s friendly and familiar presence in the baseball community will be missed by all of us. He was a professional and gentleman whose passion for our game, the players and his fellow umpires was evident in the way he went about his work and life.”

Cooper was an Iowa native and Iowa State graduate. He was known for rooting for another school — Notre Dame, and frequently wore Fighting Irish gear in the umpires’ locker rooms while talking about the football team’s success.


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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U.S.A. Triathlon Embraces CBD

The sports industry’s embrace of cannabis products is continuing to evolve as U.S.A. Triathlon has become the first national governing body of an American sport to make a sponsorship deal with a company that sells products containing cannabidiol, or CBD.

CBD is a nonintoxicating compound that, like the intoxicating compound THC, is found in varying amounts in hemp, a legal cannabis plant. In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances. THC and scores of other cannabinoids remain on the banned list, but by removing CBD, WADA opened the door for elite athletes to use and endorse CBD products.

CBD’s benefits are said to include preventing pain and inflammation, relieving stress and anxiety and even aiding digestion. CBD products are available in several forms, including oils and lotions.

The financial terms of the four-year deal between U.S.A. Triathlon and Pure Spectrum, which is based in Colorado, were not disclosed. It came less than a year after Congress passed the Farm Bill, which legalized hemp. Growing the plant had been against federal law for many years. Since then, sports organizations have tiptoed toward CBD and its growing business. Much of the population knows little about CBD. There are some who still associate it with the more illicit uses of marijuana, which remains illegal at the federal level and in many states, even though it has been decriminalized in some.

U.S.A. Triathlon’s exclusive deal with Pure Spectrum will help the relatively small national governing body support growth of the sport while trying to keep fees for races and other costs associated with the triathlon at a reasonable level.

Membership in U.S.A. Triathlon declined about 25 percent from 2013 to 2018. Interest in the sport increased significantly after it became part of the Olympics in 2000, but has waned in recent years for a variety of reasons, though triathlon boosters say they have reversed some of those trends.

U.S.A. Triathlon has annual revenues of about $16 million. About $2 million, or roughly 12 to 15 percent, comes from sponsorships.

Athletes at every level — who are often some of the earliest adopters of anything that can help people feel better, recover from workouts or improve performance — have embraced CBD. Rocky Harris, chief executive of U.S.A. Triathlon, said the movement to embrace CBD among participants in the sport led his organization on a six-month endeavor to determine the actual risks and benefits of CBD and whether U.S.A. Triathlon could responsibly pursue making money through a sponsorship deal with a CBD company.

“We needed to be able to say if you use this product you will not fail a drug test,” Harris said.

U.S.A. Triathlon is not the only sports organization that has a relationship with a CBD company. The Ultimate Fighting Championship and CrossFit also do. However, the risk for a national governing body of an Olympic sport is higher because those organizations have to abide by all WADA regulations and submit to the most intense drug testing protocols. Privately controlled athletic organizations, such as the major American sports leagues, can choose to make up their own rules and drug policies.

Harris said U.S.A. Triathlon finally became comfortable with Pure Spectrum because the company controls the manufacturing process from the beginning and tests the products five times during production to make sure they do not have any THC. Pure Spectrum offer CBD as lotions, oils and tinctures. It stopped selling vape products last week because of rising health concerns.

Brady Bell, the company’s chief executive, said Pure Spectrum had targeted elite athletes and consumers with active lifestyles since its founding in 2015.

“I understand what these athletes go through on a daily basis, from the stress leading up to a competition, or training, the breakdown their bodies experience,” he said. “What better market to prove this on than on the most healthy and educated athletes?”

During the past year, a number of notable personalities from sports have established relationships with CBD companies or acknowledged experimenting with the products. They include Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors; John Isner, the tennis player; Bode Miller, the skier; and Bubba Watson, the golfer.

Using CBD is not entirely without risks. Not every company is fastidious about making sure its products are free of the banned compound THC, and some testing procedures may not be able to determine whether a substance is CBD or THC.

“It’s very difficult to be 100 percent certain that CBD products do not contain THC,” said Danielle Eurich, a spokeswoman for the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which encourages any athlete considering use of a CBD product to consult USADA guidelines on the organization’s website.

THC remains on the banned list because it meets at least two of the three criteria for prohibition — offering the potential for excessively enhancing performance, representing a health risk and violating the spirit of sport.

THC, as well as other compounds from cannabis, can decrease stress and anxiety, potentially improving performance. They can also be harmful to a person’s health, and they can be considered a violation of the so-called spirit of sport because cannabis is illegal in many places.

However, doping officials no longer test for cannabis out of competition and have raised the threshold for cannabis compounds that results in a violation. Also, it is listed among those recreational drugs that carry a lesser penalty.

Harris and Bell said they were confident that anyone who uses Pure Spectrum products would not test positive for THC.

“We have hundreds of athletes using our product and more than 1,000 members of the military,” Bell said. “We understand we are dealing with the livelihoods of these people.”

Harris said research he did ahead of the deal had allowed the federation to answer questions it received from triathletes at every level about CBD’s benefits and risks compared with other forms of medicine.

“Athletes prefer not to take prescription drugs,” Harris said. “They want organic and healthy. They want to find something more natural.”

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Was Aroldis Chapman really laughing after Yankees loss?

This was no laughing matter, according to Aroldis Chapman.

The Yankees closer slammed social media critics who bashed him Saturday night for appearing to laugh after giving up a walk-off home run to end the Yankees’ season.

“That is so stupid,” Chapman told ESPN of the reactions. “How can anyone possibly think that? We had just fought back to tie Game 6 and were trying to send the series to a Game 7. I don’t know what they’re referring to, but I was simply in shock. I couldn’t believe that happened.”

Chapman was shown smiling after giving up a walk-off home run to Jose Altuve in Game 6 of the ALCS in Houston.

The look was eerily similar to the facial expression Mariano Rivera had after giving up the walk-off single that lost the Yankees the 2001 World Series, according to an image uncovered by Twitter user @erinnmarieeg.

The 31-year-old Chapman had a mostly stellar season and is eligible to opt out of the final two years of his contract this offseason. He currently is owed $30 million.

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Roy Keane has ‘easy solution’ to fix Man Utd – ‘go and get Harry Kane’ from Tottenham – The Sun

ROY KEANE has told Manchester United there is a simple solution to their goalscoring problems – sign Harry Kane.

United have been struggling for goals this season after the club took the decision to sell Romelu Lukaka to Inter Milan.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's have scored just ten goals in nine Premier League matches this season having left themselves short of options up front.

United legend Keane is in no doubt what his former club have to do if they want to solve the problem and return to the top table – break the bank to sign Kane from Tottenham.

And he says the current mess Spurs find themselves in this season gives them the ideal opportunity to snatch the England captain from the North London club.

Keane told Sky Sports: "Just go and get Harry Kane from Spurs, easy.

"You look at me as though I'm not being serious. Go and buy him.

"He scores 25 goals a season with his eyes shut.

"They're in disarray, go get him."

Marcus Rashford is United's leading scorer in the league this season with four goals, one more than Daniel James.

Only Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay have also hit the net – and the club are crying out for a top class centre forward to shoulder the burden.

Kane has long been on the United wanted list, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has made it clear he has no interest in selling the clubs star player.

Yet that situation could change if the club fall further off the pace of being able to challenge in the Premier League and in Europe.

Kane has remained committed to the club who nurtured him through their academy, but at some stage he will want silverware to show for his career in the professional game.

That could provide United with the opportunity they to go in with a blank cheque to sign one of the top strikers in world football.Are Liverpool's 'mental frailties' showing following a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford? Sun Sport's Duncan Wright has his say

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Andy Murray breaks down in tears after winning European Open to complete astonishing comeback from hip surgery – The Sun

ANDY MURRAY broke down in tears after winning the European Open – nine months after thinking his career was over.

Muzza has returned emphatically to the big time of his sport, coming from behind to beat multiple Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka 3-6 6-4 6-4 in the final in Antwerp.

This represents his 46th ATP singles title but it is one of his greatest ever feats.

In January, at the Australian Open in Melbourne, the Scot was again crying as he revealed he was on the verge of quitting tennis because of a painful hip issue.

He explained to the world’s media for the first time that he was struggling to walk properly and had issues TYING his shoelaces.

A few weeks later in London he underwent pioneering surgery – he had a metal hip implant – and this increased hopes he could play once again.

No-one had ever had this type of operation before and returned to the top of the professional singles ranks.

Bob Bryan, 41, had the same procedure but plays in doubles alongside his twin brother.

Yet this amazing tournament triumph in Belgium shows he is ready to compete again against the world’s best.

While it would be too early to suggest he is ready to compete for Grand Slam titles again, the former world No 1 probably never thought he would get to this point again.

Especially not as quickly as he has – and in such style.

This was Murray’s first title on his own since lifting the Dubai Open in February 2017 and his first return to the country where, in 2015, he heroically won the Davis Cup for Britain.

Murray started to cry when he won and then he said: “This means a lot. The last few years have been extremely difficult. Me and Stan have had a lot of injury problems.

“It was a great match. Stan was playing unbelievable. He was hitting winners all over the court.

“I didn’t expect to be in this position at all, so I am very, very happy.

“Stan is a brilliant player and has won many tournaments. I expected it would be a tough match.

“I have had some great moments here. This is one of the biggest wins I’ve had after everything. I am very proud of the win this week. I always enjoyed my time here.”

The 32-year-old will now take time off until the Davis Cup in Madrid in late November. He travels back to London with his wife Kim expecting their third child this month.

Murray said: “I have two young kids and a third one coming. So I’ll have three kids under four years old.

“When I have been off the tour the last few years, my family has got bigger – so I need to get on the road again so we don’t get out of control! I am excited for the third kid.

“My wife has been a huge support for me to get back on the court, making me fight to keep playing.”

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MLS play-offs: Wayne Rooney a ‘big plus’ for DC United despite heavy defeat

Wayne Rooney has been hailed as a “big plus” during his time at DC United, after the former England captain played his final MLS game.

Rooney, 33, who will move to Derby County in a player-coach role in January, saw his MLS career come to an end as DC suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat by Toronto FC in the play-offs.

The striker returns to England after 18 months in Washington.

“Wayne has helped us in a big way,” DC United manager Ben Olson said.

But club captain Rooney, United’s top scorer with 11 goals, could not prevent another play-off flop as DC failed to progress from the Eastern Conference semi-final for the second season running.

DC had forced extra time after a 93rd-minute Lucas Rodriguez goal cancelled out Marco Delgado’s first-half strike.

But the home side dominated extra time, scoring four goals in a blistering 12-minute spell and DC’s miserable night was complete when Paul Arriola was sent off late on.

Toronto will play New York City FC in the Eastern Conference final on Wednesday for a chance to play for the MLS title on 10 November.

  • Derby County move ‘not just about coming home’ – Rooney

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