Chelsea star Eden Hazard has acknowledged he has not been ‘up to scratch’ for the Blues so far this season.The Belgian midfielder had a stellar 2014-2015 campaign and was recognised for his performances with the PFA and FWA Player of the Year awards as Chelsea sauntered to the title.But the Blues and Hazard, who is yet to score in the opening four games, have begun this season slowly, and he was the first to admit that individually and collectively Jose Mourinho’s charges have not been good enough.“It’s obvious. You don’t need to know too much about football to compare what I did last season and what I did this season. I’m not as good,” Hazard confessed in an interview with L’Equipe.“It’s more of a collective problem than an individual one. We’re professionals. We knew this season was going to be more difficult…but within the squad we have the quality to bounce back.“Individually and collectively, we’re not up to scratch. Starting with me.”Chelsea succumbed to a shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and are currently languishing in 13th in the Premier League table. 1
Tim Sherwood believes he added a monster to Aston Villa’s ranks in the summer in the shape of Idrissa Gueye.The Senegal star joined from Lille in July and has impressed individually, while the team has struggled.“Idrissa is such a small guy off the pitch,” said Sherwood. “You look at him and his stature is very small. But when he’s on the pitch he looks like a monster. He plays like that.“We just hope we can start putting some points together so people start recognising the actual contribution he’s making because it’s very easy when the team lose to say everyone is not very good.“That’s not the case. There are some good performances out there, certainly from Idrissa.“I think he is the player who has come in and settled quicker than anyone.” 1 Aston Villa star Idrissa Gueye
1 Leeds have handed Under-21s captain Lewie Coyle a new professional contract – according to the young defender’s professional boxer brother, Tommy.The right-back has come through the ranks at the club and was handed his first pro deal during the summer.He has since spent time on loan at Harrogate Town but that was cut short following an injury.However, it is not all bad news for Coyle, who has apparently earned himself new terms at Leeds already after impressing new manager Steve Evans.His famous brother Tommy, a former IBF international lightweight champion, tweeted: “Really proud of my young brother Lewie who has just signed another contract with Leeds United.”Evans has been overjoyed by the 20-year-old’s progress since his arrival at the club, and insisted he would have stepped up into the first-team sooner if not a suspension he picked up in action for the club’s U21s side.Speaking ahead of Friday’s friendly against Wycombe, Evans told the club’s official website: “We’d have loved to have played young Coyley, he’d have certainly played a part.“I love that boy and he’s got a real chance, but he’s suspended and the FA advised us that we can’t involve him at Wycombe, otherwise he would have been.“His time will come. In the short term we need to get him playing men’s football from Under-21s – there’s a world of difference when three points are at stake.“We need to get him playing football . Whether that’s sending him out for a little while… We’re looking at all the options now.“He’s training with the first team every day now and in two-and-a-half to three weeks, I’ve seen him get much, much better. And I mean significantly better.” Leeds United hand new contract to highly-rated starlet Lewie Coyle
Kevin Long Burnley centre-back Kevin Long has joined Barnsley on loan for a month.The 25-year-old has not made an appearance for Burnley yet this season so had moved to Oakwell in search of first-team football.The Irishman has previously spent time on loan at Accrington, Rochdale and Portsmouth and is looking forward to testing himself for Barnsley, where he will stay until December 19.He told the club’s official website: “I’m itching to play. I jumped at the opportunity to come out and play.“The gaffer here is a genuine guy and I know one or two of the lads here. It’s a good fit for me.” 1
Jurgen Klopp 1 Jurgen Klopp says there was never any chance of him becoming West Ham boss in the summer.The Hammers’ co-owner David Sullivan revealed this week that he approached the German with a view to succeeding Sam Allardyce.Klopp was out of work at the time having decided to leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season.He went on replace Brendan Rodgers at Anfield in October and takes the Reds to Upton Park this Saturday.“In the summer I was not available,” said Klopp, when asked about West Ham’s interest.“I was sure I needed a few days for myself without thinking too much about football. That’s what I did.“I’m a lucky guy so there was a lot of interest from different clubs. If West Ham will talk about this then they can do it.“It’s a really good club but it was the wrong time for all the clubs, so nothing to do with West Ham or what I think about West Ham.”
Arsene Wenger will be hoping for a picture perfect performance from goalkeeper Petr Cech when he comes up against former club Chelsea on Sunday.Cech, 33, moved to Arsenal from Stamford Bridge in the summer having spent 11 hugely successful years with the Blues and Wenger now describes him as a “camera behind the team”.The Gunners boss made Cech’s signature a priority and the Czech Republic international was the only addition to his ranks before the start of the season.Since his arrival, Cech has claimed the record for Premier League clean sheets and has played a major role in guiding Arsenal to the top of the Barclays Premier League table.Meanwhile, Chelsea have endured a woeful defence of their title and sit 19 points behind their London rivals heading into their weekend clash at the Emirates Stadium and Wenger feels his defence has benefited from having such an experienced campaigner shoring them up.“He has a calming presence, he communicates well, anticipates well, sees what is coming,” he said.“He is a kind of coach. The best position to be a coach is the goalkeeper – because he doesn’t move, and he sees everything. He is the camera behind the team.”Wenger admits there were a few question marks over whether Cech would be up to the task of becoming Arsenal’s number one after a season warming the bench with the Blues but he insists any doubts were soon removed.“I didn’t know what kind of shape he was in physically because he hadn’t played,” he said.“When I met him I was quickly reassured of his desire to do well and his motivation. I didn’t know how much he could still produce physically.“He hadn’t played and was battling a drop in physical aptitude. But I knew the potential was exceptional having played against him 11 years in the Premier League. It was a question of ‘physically, can he still do it?’”Chelsea skipper John Terry said the signing of Cech would net Arsenal at least 12 extra points this season and, while Wenger refused to quantify his significance, he admitted his addition to the squad was key.“You cannot measure it,” he said when asked if Cech could prove to be worth 12-15 points.“You cannot measure that. But you know one thing: you need a top-class goalkeeper. I have said many times that it is an underrated position. And you need a top-class goalkeeper to do well.”Wenger has struggled for a commanding, first-choice goalkeeper since Jens Lehmann’s retirement but had two goalkeepers on his books before Cech’s arrival who he rates highly.Wojciech Szczesny has been farmed out on loan to Roma while David Ospina has had to settle for the job of understudy for much of the season – especially after a terrible error in Arsenal’s 3-2 Champions League defeat at home to Olympiacos.Wenger revealed he had to contemplate Cech’s signing because of how highly he regards Ospina but said he would have been wrong not to grasp the opportunity.“Look, it was a very, very difficult decision for me because I highly rate Ospina,” he added.“I have a high opinion of him. Ospina is a goalkeeper who, in my opinion, is underrated, especially in England.“But (signing Cech) was maybe one of the few opportunities to say, ‘okay, this is obvious’. It was more to say, ‘if I don’t do this, it would have been a mistake I think’.” 1 Petr Cech
1 Liverpool’s owners have performed a U-turn on proposed ticket increases after apologising to fans for getting their plans wrong.Principal owner and John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner were understood to be shocked at the sight of an estimated 10,000 fans walking out of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League match against Sunderland in the 77th minute in protest at increases next season which included a new £77 match ticket and the club’s first £1,000 season ticket.It is understood they were also surprised by the level of abuse directed at them – fans chanted ‘You greedy b******s, enough is enough’ before walking out.Henry and Werner were keen to stress they believe the connection between supporters is “unique and sacred” and that is the reason they have acted so swiftly to prevent further damage to their relationship with the fanbase.Having promised an immediate review the American-based owners have listened to the concerns of fans and moved quickly to try to rectify the situation.As a result they have announced a number of changes to their initial proposals in a structure which will also remain for the 2017/18 season.Revenue generated from ticket prices will be frozen at 2015-16 levels; this means the highest match-day price for a general admission ticket will remain at £59 – the lowest will be £9 and these tickets will be offered for every match with an allocation of 10,000 across the season.The highest season ticket price will be frozen at £869 and the lowest £685.Liverpool’s owners have also announced the removal of game categorisations, so regardless of the opposition, supporters will pay the same price for match day tickets.“It has been a tumultuous week,” said an open letter jointly signed by Henry and Werner.“On behalf of everyone at Fenway Sports Group and Liverpool Football Club we would like to apologise for the distress caused by our ticket pricing plan for the 2016/17 season.“We were strongly engaged in the process to develop the ticketing plan for 2016/2017.“We met directly with representatives of LFC’s Supporters’ Committee and along with LFC management, wholeheartedly agreed with major concerns raised, notably: access for local and young supporters; engagement and access to Anfield for local children; access to Premier League matches for those in Liverpool most challenged by affordability.“We believe the plan successfully addressed these concerns and are disappointed that these elements have been either lost or, worse, characterised as cynical attempts to mask profiteering in the plan as a whole.“Rather, we prefer to look at them as the parts of the ticketing plan we got right.“On the other hand, part of the ticketing plan we got wrong.” Anfield
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA MONICA: Panel says city where man drove into crowd can be taken to court. By The Associated Press Victims of a 2003 crash in which an elderly driver plowed into a crowded farmers market can sue the city of Santa Monica for failing to protect them, a state appeals court ruled. The ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeals reinstated allegations that the city failed to adequately shield shoppers from George Russell Weller, who was 86 years old when he crashed his car through wooden barricades and into the open-air market. The July 16, 2003, crash killed 10 people and injured more than 70. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Several dozen victims and relatives filed a personal injuries and wrongful death lawsuit against Santa Monica, alleging it failed to protect pedestrians. The city contends it was immune from liability because it had drawn up a traffic control map. A judge sided with the city, but the appeals panel reversed that judgment Oct.12. The court found there was “reasonable inference” that a sketch of the traffic control map was not the plan approved by the city’s traffic engineer in 1987. For that reason, the city’s “immunity defense should have been denied,” the panel wrote. “It was a terrible accident, a tragedy for the people who were injured,” said Jeanette Schachtner, Santa Monica deputy city attorney. “But the city … and the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for Mr. Weller’s acts.” In an interview with police after the crash, Weller said he did everything to try to stop, including putting the car’s gearshift knob into park. His lawyers argued it was a case of “pedal error,” in which Weller panicked and mistook the car’s accelerator for the brake. Weller was convicted last year of 10 counts of manslaughter.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.So far, two principal telephone companies – which have sued the city to end the tax on cell-phone customers – say they have no plans to campaign against the measure. And their local representatives are urging they stay out of the fight. “It’s a zero-sum gain,” said one adviser, who asked not to be identified. “They still have to do business with the city. Basically they are just tax collectors for the city. If people oppose it or support it, it really doesn’t affect their business.” So far, the unions representing police and firefighters have yet to decide what they will do, but they realize the impact if the tax – which brings in $270 million a year – fails. “We don’t have much as a department that we can cut,” said Steve Tufts of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City. “That $270 million is about half our budget. We wouldn’t have to cut that amount, but any cut hurts our service to the public. We are already understaffed.” For Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council, the phone tax issue couldn’t come at a worse time. With an angry electorate concerned about its own financial well-being, city officials must win over a majority of voters to support the tax while also pushing through rate increases for both water and power. The Board of Water and Power Commissioners has recommended a 6 percent increase over two years in water rates, and 9 percent over three years for electricity. But both have to go through City Council committees and the full City Council. Villaraigosa and his aides will be making a pitch to Neighborhood Councils to get on board this Saturday – or at the least remain neutral – when they hold their annual Congress of Neighborhoods at the Convention Center. The mayor outlined the depth of the problem last week at a special meeting of Neighborhood Councils – where he received a cool reception. But Villaraigosa is still hoping to enlist Neighborhood Council leaders to be a vanguard of the campaign and he is trying to highlight the problems with an interactive program to be up soon on the city’s Web site. Councilman Tom LaBonge, given the title of “Mayor of Griffith Park” after the fires there earlier this year, is being honored by People for Parks this week at its sixth-annual awards dinner. The group also is honoring environmental attorney Carlyle Hall Jr. and the group Community Unity Reaching Everyone for its support of public parks. The event is being held at the Los Angeles River Center tonight. Officials have adopted a $2 billion master plan to reclaim the 32-mile river. Dr. Bill Burke received an early Christmas gift from the California Legislature. Burke, facing term limits from his position as chair of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, was able to effectively get around the limit because of a bill by state Sen. Gloria Negrette McLeod, D-San Bernardino, according to the Capitol Weekly. The McLeod bill included adding another member to the board to give smaller cities a greater voice. Two earlier bills to lift term limits for Burke – who is the husband of Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke – failed after news reports of his efforts to get around the term limits. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Just in case you were worried that there won’t be enough political advertising over the next few months, the Los Angeles City Council last week gave you a gift – a request to voters to retain a telephone users’ tax. Los Angeles officials now are quietly gearing up for an ad campaign in support of the measure on the Feb. 5 presidential primary ballot. If it goes as planned, Angelenos may be seeing more police officers, firefighters and librarians on television than we would ever get a chance to see in real life. And if city backers of the measure are lucky, those will be the only voices voters end up hearing.
To our readers: Are you in the know? You will be if you read the Daily News’ new KNOW section which starts today. We’ve worked hard to develop a bright new look for the Daily News, from our red flag at the top of the front page through the news and business sections. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The KNOW section will take over the front page of the Business section and run Tuesday through Saturday. It will contain in-depth information about everything from relationships to cars, from issues of faith to the history of the region. We also are expanding our coverage of community life with the Neighborhoods on Page 4 of news. And starting Sunday, with Van Nuys, we will put a different neighborhood of the region In Focus each month with daily stories. We still have full coverage of business, economic and consumer news on B2, but something will be missing: Stock tables. Like nearly every other newspaper, we are cutting back daily stock listings to a market roundup and important local companies. I hope you will find that the Daily News is more informative, useful and fun to read and that you will let us know what you think by e-mailing [email protected] or calling 818-713-3645. Ron Kaye, Editor