The 10 most improved players in the Premier League this season

Eden Hazard, Gylfi Sigurdsson, James Milner and Callum Wilson have stepped it up this seasonBy Martin Laurence for WhoScoredÉtienne Capoue can be a frustrating player at times. He has real quality, which he showed occasionally in his unsuccessful spell at Tottenham, but this is his longest run of consistently strong performances in the Premier League. He has forged a solid midfield partnership with Abdoulaye Doucouré at Watford and has even overshadowed his fellow Frenchman, the club’s player of last season. Capoue’s total of 53 tackles and interceptions is second only to Idrissa Gueye (54) in the league this season and, having fallen out of favour under Marco Silva, he is now among the first names on Javi Gracia’s teamsheet. Rating: 7.13, up 0.38 on last season. Continue reading...



Fifty years on: Bob Beamon smashes long jump world record at Mexico Olympics

Lynn Davies looks back 50 years ago today, when Bob Beamon smashed the long jump world record at the Mexico Olympics.



Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

José Mourinho will want to make a point at Stamford Bridge while Chris Hughton returns to a chaotic St James’s ParkIn Manchester United’s last match, against Newcastle, José Mourinho demonstrated some of the audacity with which he made his name. He made a tactical substitution after 19 minutes, swinging a game his team was already losing 2-0 back in his side’s favour. Two of the three goals United scored came from his substitutes. It was an impressive demonstration of a coach’s ability to affect a match, the only shame being that the transformation was made necessary by the appalling performance of his starting XI. United are still some way from convincing anyone of their outstanding quality, with the best team they have beaten so far ninth-placed Watford. If they are to set a new marker in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off against Chelsea, Mourinho will have to demonstrate his tactical astuteness again – only without the woeful opening this time. SB Continue reading...



Smith and Carlos embodied many African Americans' Summer of Love and Reckoning

Fifty years ago this week, two proud Olympians raised their fists to call attention to social injustices. Their gesture made my heart swell with prideIn the summer of 1967, 100,000 fashion-forward and social-forward youth gathered in San Francisco in what has famously been called the Summer of Love. Similar gatherings occurred throughout the US, Canada, and Europe, all in an effort to reject the Vietnam War, consumerism, and governments who had proven less than forthright, while promoting the ideals of love, kindness, and compassion. The Summer of Love has been branded and celebrated as a symbol of the 60s. African Americans had another name for that summer: the Long, Hot Summer of 1967. During that time, 150 black communities burned in riots, with 26 people killed in Newark, New Jersey, and 43 in Detroit. By the following summer, Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Bobby Kennedy, two guiding lights in civil rights, had been assassinated. Black people were not feeling the love. That’s the context for the 1968 Summer Olympics when, 50 years ago this week, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved fists from the podium in Mexico City, medals dangling from their necks, while the US national anthem played. To many African Americans, that was the Summer of Love – and Pride, and Reckoning. Related: Colin Kaepernick sounds the alarm against a re-emerging evil | Richard Williams Continue reading...



Christian Wade set for shock Wasps exit in a bid to play in the NFL

• Wing is one of the most prolific try-scorers in Premiership• Wade has struggled to make an impact for EnglandChristian Wade appears set for a remarkable career change to American football after it emerged he is leaving Wasps to pursue a future in the NFL on Thursday night/last night. Related: Dai Young calls for overhaul after ‘ridiculous’ ban for Nathan Hughes Continue reading...



Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe gets tattoo for Bradley Lowery

Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe gets a tattoo in memory of his friend Bradley Lowery, the Sunderland fan who died aged six after a long illness.



Hart has nothing to prove on Man City return - Dyche

Joe Hart "has nothing to prove" when he returns to Manchester City as an opponent for the first time on Saturday, says Burnley boss Sean Dyche.



Thierry Henry forgets about translator during first Monaco press conference – video

Thierry Henry says Pep Guardiola will provide the 'reference' for him as he begins his managerial career at Monaco. The France and Arsenal legend starts his 'dream job' with a trip to Strasbourg in Ligue 1 on Saturday.'This club will always have a big place in my heart,' Henry told reporters on Wednesday. But he did also commit a slight faux pas. He took around four minutes to answer two separate questions in English – forgetting that what he said would need to be translated into French for the mediaThierry Henry checks in at Monaco and aims to emulate Guardiola’s approach Continue reading...



Serena Williams' coach advocates change in rules after US Open controversy

Patrick Mouratoglou says in-match coaching would help tennisWilliams was given violation for being coached at US OpenSerena Williams’ coach says in-match coaching should be allowed in tennis to help the sport’s popularity.Patrick Mouratoglou, who admitted he used hand signals to try to help Williams during her controversial loss in this year’s US Open final, posted a statement to Twitter on Thursday saying that coaching would let “viewers enjoy it as a show” and “ensure that it remains pivotal in the sport.” Mouratoglou also pointed out that other non-team sports such as boxing and golf permit athletes to consult someone during competition. Continue reading...



Said & Done: Ronaldinho, marquee clubs and multiple defamations

The season so far – also featuring Fifa 2.0, a fined lion and football’s saddest lament Continue reading...



Shaun Marsh departs early as Australia face second Test defeat to Pakistan

• Day three: Pakistan 282 & 400-9d; Australia 145 & 47-1• Marsh out early after Australians were set 538 to win In the early evening Abu Dhabi sunlight, in a wash of warm mango colour that lit up the grass and the grandstands of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, we may just have seen the last of Shaun Marsh’s Test career. Related: Danish Kaneria admits guilt in Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing case after six years Continue reading...



Man Utd will thrive again, says Shaw after agreeing new deal

Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw says the club will return to form after he agreed a new five-year deal.



Hamilton in all-time top five F1 drivers - Alonso

Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is one of the five greatest champions in Formula 1 history, says Fernando Alonso.



Blackpool FC, a Kyrgyzstan money-laundering conviction and a non-takeover

Valeri Belokon thought he had the go-ahead to take over Blackpool from Owen Oyston but a court hearing in Kyrgyzstan – which he says ignored natural justice – has the club in limboWhen the Latvian bank mogul Valeri Belokon won his landmark high court case against the Blackpool owner, Owen Oyston, last November, it seemed finally to deliver the means of ending Oyston’s long, toxic tenure at Bloomfield Road. Yet nearly a year on Oyston remains in charge despite the ruling that he “illegitimately stripped” the club of £26.77m after its one jackpot season in the Premier League, and must pay that huge sum to Belokon, plus the Latvian’s original £4.5m investment and costs.Belokon can seize and sell any Oyston assets to realise that £34m total but the club is out of his reach. He is prevented by the EFL’s owners and directors “fit and proper person” test, which bars people who have a criminal conviction involving dishonesty. Obscure as it appears, Belokon does have one, for money laundering, in the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, following a court hearing there last year in his absence. Continue reading...



Football transfer rumours: Neymar dreaming of Messi reunion at Barça?

Today’s fluff needs something to rely onNeymar is sad and bored and lonely in Paris and is dreaming of a return to Barcelona, says Mundo Deportivo. “Paris is a great city,” it notes, “but its climate is not that of Barcelona, nor is the Parc des Princes the Camp Nou or the Seine the Mediterranean.” The Brazilian continues to shower his former teammates, whom he left so willingly in 2017, with messages concerning a move back to Spain. “Neymar longs for his old club and his old teammates, especially Lionel Messi, as well as his old life in Barcelona and the greatness of his old club,” it writes. These feelings have never been reciprocated, with many at Barcelona still scarred by the betrayal they saw in the Brazilian’s departure. “However, lately this perception has changed,” Mundo Deportivo continues, “and the return of the Brazilian is already being considered as a plausible possibility.”That’s as may be. But several members of the Barcelona team, including Gerard Piqué, Lionel Messi and Samuel Umtiti, appear to think priorities should lie elsewhere and are campaigning for the club to buy Paul Pogba, says the Daily Mail. “Manager Ernesto Valverde is also keen,” it reports. So with the manager, their greatest player and a host of other dressing-room regulars all behind the move, and the club coffers assumed to be bulging with booty, it looks as if the move is bound to happen – except the Mail also reports that profits are down to a meagre £10m, and not everyone is in favour of the deal happening anyway. “Barcelona scouts are split,” it says, “with some believing the club’s slick passing game requires midfielders who take fewer risks on the ball and have greater positional sense.” Continue reading...



Grand Pardubice Steeplechase: the world's toughest horse race – a photo essay

Photographer Tom Jenkins travelled to Pardubice in the Czech Republic to document the 128th Velka Pardubicka Steeplechase (the Czech Grand National) – the world’s oldest and most difficult cross-country horse raceThe 128th Velka Pardubicka Steeplechase or Grand Pardubice Steeplechase (the Czech Grand National) was first run on 4 November 1874, when 14 runners started the race. The winner, Fantom, ridden by Englishman George Sayers received 11,700 florins for his owner Count von Cramm. The race has been held every year since on the second Sunday in October – except during the two world wars and the 1968 Russian invasion, and it has been abandoned twice due to frost and snow. Continue reading...



Houdini acts, bus bonanzas and FA Cup derbies - who will reach round one?

BBC Sport unearths some of the stories to look out for in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round.