Tottenham have received a boost with the news that midfielder Etienne Capoue will only be sidelined for four weeks because of an injury he suffered against Arsenal on Sunday. A statement on Tottenham’s website read: “Etienne Capoue has this morning (Monday) undergone an MRI scan which has revealed the midfielder suffered an ankle sprain against Arsenal on Sunday. “The recent signing from Toulouse was injured after 72 minutes at the Emirates Stadium and was immediately taken to hospital to consult with a foot and ankle specialist. “Early indications suggest the France international will be unavailable for a period of four weeks.” Villas-Boas lost defensive midfielder Sandro for the second half of last season with a serious knee injury and Villas-Boas had feared he would be without 25-year-old Capoue for a similar length of time. Should Capoue’s rehabilitation go according to plan, the £8.5million signing will miss just three matches, with his return expected to come against Chelsea on September 28. Given the injury is only a sprain, Villas-Boas is unlikely to dip in to the market for a replacement, especially as he has already brought in seven new players this summer. Sandro started Tottenham’s last two games on the bench, but he is likely to be drafted in to the starting XI for the next game against Norwich on September 14. Press Association Capoue had to be carried off on a stretcher after 72 minutes of the north London derby following a tackle from Gunners midfielder Santi Cazorla. Manager Andre Villas-Boas feared the summer signing from Toulouse had broken his fibula, but Spurs announced on Monday afternoon that the Frenchman had only suffered a sprained ankle.
Matt Jarvis, once again proving a handful down the left wing, skillfully threaded his way infield and teed up Morrison and the former Manchester United midfielder drilled the ball home via the deflection. Barkley was booked for a nasty tackle on Morrison that saw him stamp down his outstretched leg and Kevin Nolan attempted to overpower Tim Howard at the ensuing free-kick, but the Everton keeper showed courage. Lukaku came on for the second half and his delicate early touch was taken on by compatriot Mirallas, who raced to the byline and crossed only for West Ham to recover by getting numbers back. Naismith had also made way for McCarthy as Roberto Martinez attempted to invigorate his side, but the Hammers were more creative with Jarvis galloping free and just failing to find Modibo Maiga. Showing vision once more, Lukaku played Barkley into the area only for England midfielder to run down a blind alley. Everton maintained the pressure, however, with Baines sending a cross to the far post but it was too fast for Mirallas to reach. The initiative had been seized and in the 62nd minute the equaliser arrived, Baines steering a terrific 20-yard free-kick beyond Jaaskelainen into the top left corner. Noble flashed a corner wide of the left post and Baines forced a save from close range as the match opened up. Noble powered home from the spot after being hacked down by McCarthy, but then he trudged off after receiving a second yellow from Mason and Baines delivered the equaliser. The outstanding Lukaku deserved a goal and it duly arrived as he nodded Everton to victory. Press Association The dominant figure on the pitch, it was a superb performance from Lukaku that strengthens the suspicion Chelsea were foolish to send him to Goodison on a season-long loan. The Toffees had equalised twice through Leighton Baines, who struck two brilliant free-kicks in front of England coach Roy Hodgson to keep his side in contention. The second arrived in the 84th minute after Mark Noble was shown a second yellow card after hacking down Ross Barkley from behind. It was cruel twist to the afternoon for Noble, who shortly before had dispatched a penalty he had won himself after having his legs swept beneath him by blundering substitute James McCarthy. West Ham – missing attacking options Andy Carroll, Joe Cole and Stewart Downing to injury – can at least take comfort from the end of their scoring drought which had lasted 314 minutes until Ravel Morrison fired them ahead after half an hour. Everton went close after six minutes when Mirallas tested Jussi Jaaskelainen and Steven Naismith was inches away from a second attempt when the ball sailed past. There was plenty of early endeavour from both teams but the visitors were more precise in the final third with the busy Mirallas looking dangerous. It was West Ham who showed precision in the 31st minute as they surged ahead, although a large deflection off Phil Jagielka helped them take the lead. Romelu Lukaku struck the winner as Everton departed West Ham with a 3-2 Barclays Premier League victory that exploded into life in a dramatic climax at Upton Park. With the teams locked at 2-2, Lukaku nodded home Kevin Mirallas’ cross with six minutes left to celebrate his Toffees debut by plundering the decisive score. The Belgium striker, whose half-time arrival at the expense of Nikica Jelavic galvanised Everton, needed treatment after clashing heads with Joey O’Brien in the act of scoring but was able to continue.
The Gunners resume domestic duties at the top of the table from Liverpool on goals scored and tackle a team which by contrast has lost four of their opening seven league matches to sit in the bottom three. Nevertheless, Wenger warned against any complacency. “At the top level, one of the keys is to switch on and off when it is right,” the Arsenal manager said. “The quality which is needed after a long break is to switch on again in a very quick, fast and efficient way. That is what is at stake and I am confident we will do that. “We have learned something in the last 18 months, that the Premier League has changed, that every single game is a potential danger for any team in the league and the recent results in the Premier League have confirmed that. “Every team who are favourites today are on their toes because they know every game is a potential danger.” Wenger continued: “Norwich are much more dangerous (than last season) because they have (Johan) Elmander, (Ricky) van Wolfswinkel and technically they are very good in midfield. “It is always a potentially dangerous game to play Norwich because they are a team with a good dynamic and are not scared to play. They showed that against Chelsea in the last game.” Despite Wenger’s warnings, it would be a surprise if his team did not record a sixth league victory on Saturday, when star man Mesut Ozil is expected to recover from a minor knee problem but could start on the bench, with next week’s Champions League encounter against Borussia Dortmund on the horizon. Wenger certainly has plenty of options, with midfielder Santi Cazorla set to involved for the first time since the win over Tottenham on September 1 following his recovery from an ankle problem. “You want all of your best players to play together in a very positive way, which is what will happen,” he said. “I am very happy with the team who have played until now, so we do not expect anything special (from the players coming back). “What is important is that instead of focusing on one or two players, we focus on developing ourselves as a team and our team play, where there is still room for improvement. There is still the desire within the team to improve that.” Arsenal had most of their first-team squad away on international duty, with full-back Kieran Gibbs called up into the senior England squad alongside Jack Wilshere as injury cover. Wenger sees no reason why the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, both currently injured, and even defender Carl Jenkinson should also not harbour aspirations of making the final squad for Brazil. Wilshere found himself in the headlines again last week for his comments of the future direction of the national team. Wenger believes the 21-year-old combative midfielder will continue to grow on the pitch this season despite all of the added media attention. “Jack is a fighter, he is very strong and has his feet on the ground,” the Arsenal boss added. “He has a very objective assessment of his performances after games and I don’t think (he) will be carried away or put down by the media.” Wenger, who turns 64 on Tuesday, is in the final season of his current contract at the Emirates Stadium and it was reported earlier this week that he had agreed terms on a new deal which would keep him at the club until 2016. Arsenal’s board have always expressed their desire for Wenger – who is now the longest-serving manager in the English top-flight – to remain. Wenger did not rebuke reports that provisional terms had already been put to him for an extension, but insisted his own future was not high on the agenda. “Yes, I didn’t deny (that a contract had been offered). I just said what I said at the start of the season and nothing has changed,” he said. “I believe that when you are manager at the club, you have to prepare for the long term always and act like you would stay forever. “I believe that what is important is the next game.” Manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his Arsenal side to “switch on” quickly when they resume Barclays Premier League action against struggling Norwich at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Press Association
Jose Mourinho has contested a Football Association misconduct charge relating to his post-match comments following the Premier League loss to Sunderland. Press Association Dates for the hearings are to be determined after Mourinho’s latest brush with authority this season. Mourinho challenged a charge related to his dismissal at Aston Villa last month as a point of principle and is considering his options after being hit with an £8,000 penalty, his second of the season after his sending-off against Cardiff. The Portuguese was tight-lipped on Friday following the charge. “Every time I speak there is a consequence,” Mourinho said. “Even if I say that a referee was amazing that was a reason to be with a charge. “I can’t say the truth. I don’t feel free at all. If you want a better press conference, speak with the FA.” Asked about the British sense of humour and sarcasm, Mourinho said: “So Mr Bean is in jail… “I told the referee he was amazing, and I repeat: the referee was amazing. “I was not surprised (by the disciplinary action). In football I’m never surprised.” He is again unhappy he could be forced to pay a fine. “When I have to give money, I prefer to do it privately,” he said. “My wife says that charity is anonymous. I prefer to do that than give money because people decide to take money out of my pocket.” Midfielder Ramires received a retrospective four-match ban, ending his domestic season, for striking Sebastian Larsson during the loss. Mourinho was sarcastic in commenting on Ramires’ ban. “He’s a lucky guy. We accept the charge because we are happy with it,” Mourinho said. After losing his 77-match unbeaten home league run to a 2-1 loss to the Black Cats, Mourinho could not hide his anger behind a sarcastic appraisal of the match officials. Mourinho, who masterminded a win at Liverpool to keep his side’s slim title hopes alive on Sunday, has requested a “non-personal hearing”, as has his assistant Rui Faria, who has admitted two charges of misconduct after being dismissed for angrily confronting the match officials.
Press Association Asked how close he had come to taking Kingman out of the race, Gosden went on: “I was quite close. I walked the whole track and it was very debatable. The groundsman has done a fantastic job. “If they’d had a big handicap over that ground first I probably wouldn’t have run. They stayed just off the rail where they had raced in the sprint. It’s good track management and important when trying to run a Classic. “Drawn number one in a normal race you’d be concerned about getting boxed in, so when they came across it left him with a clear run and able to relax and come when he wanted. “I was talking to Frankie (Dettori) and James this morning and I told him to sit chilly and wait and wait. A mile was taking some getting in the conditions – he rode him beautifully.” Doyle, who is relatively new to the position of retained rider for Abdullah, said: “I’m delighted for the horse, he proved what a superstar he is today. The race worked out really nicely.” Kingman brought enlightenment to a rain-soaked afternoon at the Curragh with a spectacular victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas. Trainer John Gosden revealed he had come “quite close” to taking the colt out of the Classic after a sustained spell of heavy showers had left conditions very testing. Luckily for his army of followers, Kingman was allowed to seize the opportunity with a performance which bristled with authority and class. Beaten into second in the Newmarket equivalent earlier this month, his backers never really had an anxious moment on this occasion as he travelled powerfully throughout in the hands of James Doyle. Kingman moved smoothly into contention from his early position in mid-division as the runners came over towards the near rail in the straight, and the response was immediate when Doyle pressed the button a furlong out. Sent off the 4-5 favourite, the son of Invincible Spirit powered through the mud to record a five-length verdict over the supplemented Shifting Power, trained by Richard Hannon. Mustajeeb finished third, another two lengths behind the exceptional winner, who will now renew rivalry with Hannon’s Newmarket Guineas winner Night Of Thunder in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Gosden said: “The track’s in pristine condition and he handled it very well. Two (furlongs) out, you could see he was cruising. He’s a very talented horse and it’s lovely to win a Guineas with him. “He’s a miler and it’s good fun because of Richard Hannon, who I’m very fond of. We’ve got some rivalry now as the score is 1-1, and he’ll go for the St James’s Palace now.” Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Kingman’s owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “He travelled really well in the race and did it pretty comfortably. “Prince Khalid said we have to make this horse a Classic winner. This is a hugely important race for us. I would think we would be still thinking about the QEII (at Ascot) at the end of the year, but we’ve a few little obstacles to get past before then.”
Southampton striker Rickie Lambert is expected to undergo a medical at Liverpool on Saturday after the two clubs agreed a fee for the England international. Press Association Sport understands the Reds will pay an initial £4million for the player with the possibility of further add-ons, although reports of the deal costing £9million are wide of the mark. If everything goes to plan Lambert will travel to Merseyside after England’s friendly with Peru at Wembley on Friday night and could be confirmed a Liverpool player as early as Monday. Merseyside-born Lambert will provide some much-needed back-up to frontline strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and, having fought his way through the divisions to earn a World Cup call, he will relish the chance to return to the club which he left as a teenager after failing to make the grade from their academy. Manager Brendan Rodgers’ interest in Lambert came out of left-field while he was pursuing deals for the striker’s Saints team-mates Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren. Lallana was seen as the primary target to bolster the Reds’ midfield, with Lovren less so for the centre of defence, but Lambert looks like being the first through the door at Anfield in what is expected to be a busy summer as they look to strengthen ahead of a return to the Champions League. Liverpool have made a bid, reported to be in the region of £16million, for Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno but are still in negotiations with the Europa League winners. Press Association Sport understands further talks with Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can over the weekend are likely to give a clearer idea of whether the Germany Under-21 international will also move to Merseyside. Although there is a buy-out clause of about £10million which Liverpool are willing to meet, the player’s wage demands are proving a significant stumbling block. However, what interest the club had in Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm to provide competition for Simon Mignolet has cooled and they are no longer considering the Dutchman as a viable target. Press Association
Press Association The Toffees pair both signed from Chelsea in the summer, but did not bring a ready-made partnership due to Lukaku spending the majority of last season on loan at Goodison. The Belgian’s club record £28million price tag – and a lengthy list of rival suitors – might have made him Everton’s marquee arrival, but Eto’o’s free transfer appears an equally sound piece of business. The veteran, arguably Europe’s most feared goalscorer during his time at Barcelona, rolled back the years against Burnley on Sunday, netting a bullet header and classy long-ranger. They were his third and fourth of the season but Lukaku, who was also on target in a 3-1 win at Turf Moor, believes Eto’o’s value as a mentor is just as important. “He’s a world class player. He’s scored so many goals throughout his career and I’ve been blessed to be working with him,” said Lukaku. “I spend most of the time with him. I come in at the same time as he does, I leave at the same time. We do everything together on and off the pitch as well. “In training we have a finishing competition and the one who loses has to do sprints. “We see each other quite often. He comes to my house, I go to his house. I try to learn as much as I can from him and he tells me stories about how he worked when he was younger.” Lukaku has not been short of decorated senior figures to learn from during his time in England and he has set his sights on making a name of his own that will rival the very best. “Samuel has the same impact as (Didier) Drogba and (Nicolas) Anelka had on me when I was younger at Chelsea,” he said. Romelu Lukaku feels “blessed” to be working with strike partner Samuel Eto’o at Everton. “In that aspect I think I’ve been blessed to work with top strikers like them. I hope to be one of them in the future.” The 21-year-old still has a way to go before he can bracketed with those stellar performers, but his potential remains huge. His goal against the Clarets, an untidy but effective finish, was just his fourth in 15 appearances this term – a mark he had already reached after four games last year. “It was a slow start but now I’m getting where I want to be,” he said. “I’ve scored back-to-back Premier League goals now so I only want to look forward. “I’m working very hard and I’m almost at 100 per cent. I think the best has yet to come. “I put myself under pressure, I really want to succeed and I really want to help my team-mates and the club by scoring goals, by winning games. It’s nothing special, it’s nothing new.” For Burnley boss Sean Dyche it was another day to reflect on the scale of the challenge ahead. Now winless in their first nine fixtures and with a shoestring budget to operate on, few pundits give Burnley much chance of winning their battle with the drop. Dyche confronts that assessment head on. “We were written off the day we got promotion,” he told Clarets Player. “Everyone from outside will say all that but we’re not broken – we’re wounded, because we want to win games, but not broken and you can see that from the performance (against Everton). “There were a lot of good signs but they’re only nice for neutrals. We want to win games so we want to turn good signs into even better performances. “We go again, it’s as simple as that.”
Press Association The home side overcame the loss of 18 players through injury and international call-ups to defeat an Irish side, which made too many basic errors in a disappointing performance. Ospreys controlled a dreadful first half but could not make it pay as the scores were level at the interval but once Jeff Hassler had scored the opening try, the hosts ensured that there was only going to be one winner. Early in the second half, Ronaldson had a chance to put Connacht in front for the first time but his kick from halfway was off target – but minutes later he was successful with an easier kick. Ospreys were struggling in the scrums so replaced Aaron Jarvis with Dmitri Arhip and almost immediately it paid dividends as Dan Evans produced a fine break to send Hassler on a 35-metre run to the line. Davies converted and soon added two further penalties to put Ospreys back in control. Ronaldson missed a penalty before Roberts made the game safe when he collected a scoring pass from replacement, Ashley Beck for a try, which Davies converted before kicking another penalty. Connacht had the final say when with three minutes remaining, McKeon finished off a line-out drive for a consolation try. Ospreys maintained their unbeaten record in the Guinness PRO12 with a comfortable victory over Connacht at the Liberty Stadium. Scrum-half Martin Roberts, scored Ospreys other try with Sam Davies kicking four penalties and two conversions with Connacht replying with two penalties from Craig Ronaldson and a late try by Eoin McKeon. Ospreys included debutant Ieuan Jones at number eight, following his short-term loan move from Cardiff Blues. Connacht were able to select Rodney Ah-You and Kieran Marmion in their starting line-up as both had been temporarily released from Ireland’s training camp. Ospreys started strongly and had two early chances for points. Davies missed his first penalty attempt but made no mistake with his second to put the home side ahead after four minutes. The hosts continued to dominate, helped by their opponents regularly losing line-outs on their throw, and they came close to scoring the first try of the match but Tom Grabham was narrowly denied as he attempted to finish off a flowing move from the hosts. Connacht suffered an early injury blow when wing Niyi Adeolokun limped off to be replaced by Darragh Leader, who had also been released from the national training squad. Ospreys were penalised at set scrum to give the visitors their first opportunity but Ronaldson was unable to take advantage as his kick was wide of the mark, leaving the Welsh side 3-0 ahead at the end of an uneventful first quarter. Davies should then have put his side further ahead but he could not succeed with a straightforward penalty attempt and it was left to Ronaldson to tie up the scores by firing over a penalty for a 3-3 half-time scoreline.
Don Cossack maintained his unbeaten record this season with a third victory from as many starts in a dramatic renewal of the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase. Press Association Gordon Elliott’s seven-year-old, a Grade One winner as a novice a year ago, was settled in third by Brian O’Connell but soon found himself in front when Baily Green and Rathlin fell at the same fence, doing Boston Bob no favours. The 13-8 chance was there to be shot at between the final two fences as Boston Bob and Texas Jack both attacked, but he dug deep to emerge the winner by four and a half lengths. The favourite Boston Bob was being niggled at some way out but held second spot, while Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere ran a fine race on his seasonal bow, running on stoutly to take third late on. Elliott said: “That’s great. He deserves that, in fairness to him. He’s always gotten plenty of stick and people have said he’s been disappointing, but he’s a dual Grade One winner now. “I’ll have to talk to Michael and Eddie (O’Leary), but if I had my way he wouldn’t run until Cheltenham and go straight for the Ryanair. I have to discuss it with the owners as they have a lot of horses. He won’t go to the King George. “He’s a year older now, which makes a difference, but he was never a bad horse last year and things didn’t work out for him. He might have had a bit much last year and we’ll try and train him differently. “He had to do it the hard way today. They all came to beat him, but he picked up and galloped all the way to the line. “I’d said he’ll go any trip once he relaxes. It was a good performance today and we’re happy.” RaceBets quote Don Cossack at 8-1 for the Ryanair at Cheltenham in March. Rider Davy Russell was thrilled with the effort of the Jim Culloty-trained Lord Windermere. He said: “He was a bit sticky early on, but without winning I couldn’t be happier with him. He’ll come on from that.” Culloty added: “Once he’s OK in the morning, and he hasn’t had a hard time of it, it will be all systems go for Christmas. He galloped all the way to the line and didn’t have a hard race. “Nothing is set in stone because you have to take these races one a time, but the plan originally was the John Durkan, the Lexus, the Irish Hennessy and Cheltenham, and at the moment that is still the plan.”
Nichols Canyon bounced back after unseating his rider at Leopardstown over Christmas with a convincing all-the-way win in the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle at the Dublin track. Press Association Windsor Park came from last to claim second place, three and a half lengths behind the winner, with 11-10 favourite Alvisio Ville third. “He did what he does on the Flat – stays. He jumped and stayed and he’s improving all the time,” said Mullins. “He was disappointing at Christmas, to do what he did. I thought he might not beat the grey horse (Alvisio Ville) but I’d say the grey horse lacked experience and beat himself. Remember the winner is a professional racehorse. “I’m very pleased with him. I imagine he would be a Neptune type, but I wouldn’t rule out the Supreme. It will depend on what way the ball bounces with other horses. He’s in the three races, but I think it’ll be the Supreme or Neptune as we have plenty of horses for the Albert Bartlett. “The way he jumped I wouldn’t be afraid to go back to two miles. He was gaining half a length or a length at his hurdles there. He did it the hard way from the front and that’s the way you could win at Cheltenham.” Walsh said: “He was keen enough in front. He jumped reasonably well. On his Flat form I thought he was more of a stayer. He’s gone a good gallop in front and took a good grip with me all the way, but he stays and he’s a high-class horse.” Delighted owner Graham Wylie said: “I’m delighted for Ruby and the horse and well done to Willie as well. As always, I will leave the Cheltenham decisions to Willie – on that performance today, it could be the Neptune, but I really don’t know. “He’s got bags of stamina. I had a very, very good horse some years ago called Inglis Drever who had bags of stamina and I’m just hoping that maybe – he’s a tough act to follow – but maybe he is up there with him.” On Alvisio Ville, Mullins said: “He’ll learn an awful lot from that. He was very keen and we’ll maybe change a couple of things for his next run. You might get away with running a maiden hurdle winner in a Grade One in the autumn but he’s facing handicappers there. “He’s probably a chaser in the making and has a lot to learn about racing. Tony said we could bring him back to two miles as he was too keen but I’d probably rather go out in trip and change tactics.” The five-year-old, completing a Grade One double for trainer Willie Mullins after the success of Petite Parisienne earlier on the card, pulled clear of the opposition in the straight to score in great style. Stablemate Alvisio Ville tried to keep tabs on him but was well held from two out under Tony McCoy and faded once Ruby Walsh pressed the button on Nichols Canyon (9-2).