Europa League, Premier League, Champions League, Ashes

Europa League and Premier League team news, plus what would an all-time World Cup finals league table look like?

12 December 2013 Last updated at 08:00 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 0800: 

    A very good day to you and welcome to Thursday's edition of Sportsday. There's a heap of football to chat about, from the Champions League to the World Cup, and we will of course look ahead to what is being billed as the do-or-die Third Ashes Test. Let's get started.

  2. 0804: 

    Who made it through to the last 16 of the Champions League?

    Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United are all through, as are all four German clubs - holders Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke. Spanish trio Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will be present at Monday's draw while AC Milan are the sole Italian representative.

    Galatasaray, Paris St-Germain, Olympiakos and Zenit St Petersburg complete the line-up.

    So the question is: which team would you most like to face in the last 16 and who do you think will be the dark horses? You can tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcsportsday.

  3. 0817: 

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was "frustrated" at Arsenal's failure to secure top spot in their Champions League group and said he is now hoping for a "lucky" last-16 draw.

    The Gunners will face a seeded team after losing 2-0 to Napoli, with Borussia Dortmund finishing top.

    "To finish second makes the potential draw more difficult," said Wenger. "In the last four or five years we had a difficult draw. Maybe this time we will be a bit luckier."

    Oliver Giroud
  4. 0825: 

    Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti described Manchester City as the "most dangerous" team in the last 16 of the Champions League.

    "We will have to improve before the second round," said the Italian after his team's 2-0 victory in Copenhagen.

    Do you agree with Ancelotti? Which team is the most dangerous? You can tweet us using the hashtag #sportsday.


    Khwima Mchizi on Twitter: Atletico Madrid have a big chance of going far. Diego Costa's fitness will be key though.

    Tunde Akere on Twitter: As a Chelsea fan, I will like us to play Olympiakos, we can beat them with ease. I see PSG as the dark horse, silent killer.

    Who are the dark horses in the last 16 of the Champions League and which side would you most like to face? Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcsportsday.

  6. 0834: 

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho wants to be paired with former Blues striker Didier Drogba's Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Champions League.

    Drogba left Chelsea after eight years in June 2012, a year before Jose Mourinho returned for a second spell at Stamford Bridge.

    "Galatasaray is very difficult but I would like Didier to come back here and feel what I felt," said Mourinho.

  7. 0843: 

    Who could the four Premier League clubs come up against in the Champions League knockout stages? Let's have a go at working it out.

    Arsenal: Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona

    Chelsea: Bayer Leverkusen, Galatasaray, Olympiacos, Zenit St Petersburg or AC Milan

    Manchester City: Real Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona

    Manchester United: Galatasaray, Olympiakos, Schalke, Zenit St Petersburg or AC Milan

    GET INVOLVED #bbcsportsday

    Greg Matthews on Twitter: Arsenal should pray for PSG. People only fear their money, not their team. They're not that good

    Jonny NotRight on Twitter: Atletico Madrid look awesome at home, some quality young players.

    5 Points Clear on Twitter: No one, even some AFC fans, expected us to progress from the 'group of death' delighted we are through, bring on the big guns.

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? You can tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

  9. 0854: 

    Celtic did not make it through to the last 16 and manager Neil Lennon said their "half-hearted" show in the 6-1 defeat by Barcelona was "unacceptable".

    "I wouldn't say some players gave up but it certainly looked that way at times," said Lennon.

    "I'd never accuse a player of doing that but there were a lot of half-hearted performances out there. As a manager that's the most disappointing aspect of the whole game."

    Samaras (left) with Pique
  10. 0905: 

    The World Cup kicks off six months from today, hosted by five-times winners Brazil. As a nation, Brazil's knack of winning the tournament is well renowned and many supporters will have them as firm favourites to win a sixth trophy.

    But what if the World Cup was a league? The BBC has put together a chart of what an all-time league ranking might look like.

    Three points have been allocated for a win and a point for a draw for all group and knockout stages since 1930. You can search by team, total points and points per game. You might be surprised by some of the results.

    Who comes out on top? Brazil, of course, while Germany are second with Italy third.


    Saquil Hoque on Twitter: As a Man Utd fan, I would like us to play Schalke/Olympiacos, will be able beat them. No matter how bad our form is.

    Mark Izzard on Twitter: As a spurs fan, I want arsenal to get Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? You can tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

  12. 0912: 

    Moving on to cricket, England captain Alastair Cook says his 100th Test will be the "toughest" of his career as England look to turn around the Ashes.

    England arrive in Perth for the third Test, which starts on Friday, having been convincingly beaten by Australia in Brisbane and Adelaide.

    When asked whether his 100th Test would be the toughest of his career, Cook said: "I think it's a fair point. After what's happened so far, I'd say so. Your next challenge is always the toughest."

    Alastair Cook
  13. 0919: 

    Five players - Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright - have been awarded England increment contracts for 2013-14 season.

    England and Wales Cricket Board national selector Geoff Miller said: "These five players have played key roles in our limited overs sides in recent years and awarding them increment contracts means we expect them to be an important part of England's plans going forward."

  14. 0928: 

    Captain Alastair Cook has also admitted England's confidence has been hit by their two wide-margin defeats in the Ashes so far, but insists they are ready to fight back at the Waca.

    "You can say our confidence has had a hit during the first two games. I think that's quite obvious," he said.

    "We have to look forward to this game rather than look back on what's happened. That's not going to do us any good."


    Ross Steele on Twitter: Hoping to see Man City & Arsenal play Real Madrid & Barcelona. Could blow the #UCL wide open & would be great viewing for us

    Aaron Jell on Twitter: Dark horses have to be Galatasaray with the Drog &Sneijder but Didier pulled us through almost singlehandedly

    Will 'Jay' Jones on Twitter: As an Arsenal Fan i pray for one the big teams! Why not beat Madrid and Barca and Bayern (again) and win CL

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? You can tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

  16. 0937: 

    Australia captain Michael Clarke has said he prizes the opportunity to wrap up the Ashes 3-0 at the WACA above the occasion of his own 100th Test.

    "That's why it's most special for me - the fact that we have a chance to win the Ashes," said Clarke.

    "With regards to being your 100th Test, it's not a focus for me at all. There's enough other reasons as to why this Test match is so special to me, and this team."

    Michael Clarke
  17. 0944: 

    More from Michael Clarke ahead of third Ashes Test: "It's fantastic that I've been able to play 99 Test matches for my country. It's something I'm certainly proud of. I'll have my family coming - which is extra special."

    He also offered his congratulations too to England captain Alastair Cook, three years his junior at 28, who will also be playing in his 100th Test.

    "He deserves a lot of credit for the success he's had over a long period of time for England," added Clarke. "He's a wonderful guy. I really enjoy playing against him."


    Swansea City FC official website on Twitter: The Swans are having a light training session this morning at St. Gallen's training ground.

    Swansea City in training
  19. 0951: 

    Ashley Young remains unapologetic in the face of accusations of diving and has claimed it is up to referees to deal with him.

    The Manchester United winger revealed both Sir Alex Ferguson and his successor David Moyes have had words with him about his frequent tumbles in the penalty area, but he does not seem ready to change his ways.

    "It's been talked about by the previous manager and the current manager, but that's in-house," Young said in several newspapers.

    "I'm not going to comment on what's been said. I understand what you're saying (about gaining a reputation) and everyone is going to have their say on it, but the referees are giving decisions and that is where I think it lies."

  20. 0959: 

    Arsenal have launched an investigation into why hundreds of travelling supporters were delayed in getting to the Champions League Group F tie against Napoli on Wednesday night.

    The Premier League club had warned their fans to take extra care in and around Naples following previous problems with the Italian side's hardcore 'Ultras' supporters.

    Although special buses had been laid on to take Gunners supporters out to the Stadio Sao Paulo, so as to avoid known hot spots for trouble in the past such as the Forcella and Quartieri Spagnoli areas, many were delayed in leaving and caught up in traffic.

    It resulted in several hundred missing the kick-off, with additional problems caused by late congestion outside the entrance gate.

  21. 1002: 

    Arsenal statement on why supporters were delayed ahead of Champions League tie with Napoli: "We are aware of the problems our travelling supporters had on Wednesday night and in particular their late arrival at the game.

    "We are very disappointed for our fans that they had a difficult evening but the circumstances were beyond our control.

    "We have launched an investigation to work out precisely what happened."

    Napoli v Arsenal
  22. 1004: 

    The number of people participating in sport regularly has risen by 1.5m since London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, according to Sport England.

    There were 15.5 million taking part in sport in England in the past year.

    England is the first home nation to show a sustained increase in people playing sport after the Olympics.

    "More people continue to play sport and the growth we saw in 2012 was not just a post-Olympic bounce," said Sport England chief executive Jennie Price.


    Oli Major on Twitter: Would love to draw Galatasaray. Probably easier draws but would be amazing for Didier to come back. He'd get a hero's welcome.

    Rob Fysh on Twitter: Supposition, supposition. Why not just wait until the draw?

    Edin Dzeko 10 on Twitter: The outsiders have to be Man City, 15 points, 3 away wins and beat the best team in the world!

    Dylan on Twitter: People writing Arsenal off already, same as they have done with the title. Transfer window is open before the next round

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? You can tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

  24. 1020: 

    The World Cup kicks off six months from today so the BBC has come with an all-time World Cup finals league table.

    We've allocated three points for a win and a point for a draw for all group and knockout stages since 1930. You can search by team, total points and points per game.

    You might be surprised to learn that England are a respectable sixth, a place above France while the Netherlands are eighth.

    England win 1966 World Cup
  25. 1028: 
    London Irish

    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan: All set up for big announcement at London Irish who are set to unveil new owners and investors of the club.

  26. 1032: 

    Former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson will not fight against the decision to deny him entry to the UK, apparently cancelling planned appearances on stage next year.

    Tyson, 47, had been due in London this week to promote his new autobiography, but his publishers said he had instead gone to Paris as a recent change to UK immigration laws relating to those previously sentenced to more than four years in prison barred him from entering the country.

    Tyson was convicted of the rape of a teenage beauty queen in 1992 and served three years of a six-year sentence. He also has convictions for assault, cocaine possession and driving under the influence.

  27. 1036: 

    A consortium of Irish businessmen led by Mick Crossan, executive chairman of Irish's principal sponsor Powerday, is to take over London Irish.

  28. 1045: 

    In the year that Andy Murray won Wimbledon, there has been a fall in the number of people who play tennis at least once a week.

    Sport England's Active People Survey found that 406,000 people played in the year to October - a fall of 39,000 on the previous 12-month period.

    The Lawn Tennis Association was tasked with increasing that number to 450,000 and Sport England will now decide in January whether they feel the LTA's long-term plans for increasing participation entitle them to receive £10.3m in withheld funding.

    Andy Murray
  29. 1052: 

    The first round of the weather-hit Nelson Mandela Championship was suspended for a second time on Thursday.

    Tournament organisers had been hoping to catch up after a delayed start on Wednesday but were frustrated by a waterlogged course at the Mount Edgecombe Country Club in Durban and called an early end to the day's play.


    "After England's fielding practice ended at the Waca earlier today, one man stayed behind for some extra drills. His performance demands anonymity, but suffice to say his ratio of one catch in two probably means England won't be putting two spinners in the slips when this third Test begins on Friday."

  31. 1107: 

    London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith on takeover: "We really appreciate the investment, they are great supporters of this club and have been for some time. It is exciting times from my perspective.

    "With this new investment we are able to announce the signing of South African World Cup winner CJ Van der Linde.

    "We are excited about what he brings to the party. He is experienced, he will help develop the other players we have invested in. We are excited and grateful to our new investors for making this possible."


    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? Tweet us using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

    Sam Bell on Twitter: Arsenal and Man City's best chance of qualifying for the last eight are PSG and Atletico Madrid. Both defences can be got at.

    Rian Hoskins: Hope Chelsea get Zenit while Atletico Madrid are dark horses in this competition. It promises to be an enticing round.

    Muhammad Chin Ahmed: If Chelsea draw Galatasaray & Didier Drogba comes to Stamford Bridge & scores, I'm pretty sure fans from all corners will applaud him.

  33. 1114: 

    Everton manager Roberto Martinez has pledged to look after both the old and younger members of his squad with new contracts in January.

    Veteran defender Sylvain Distin, who is 36 next week, is entering the final six months of his deal but is set to get a short-term renewal while midfielder Ross Barkley, who turned 20 last week, is likely to get improved terms on the four-and-a-half-year contract he signed in December 2011.

    Marouanne Felaini (left) with Ross Barkley

    "You can imagine we are working always behind the scenes to try to reward youngsters who do well at at the club and Ross is clearly that, but there is nothing to announce," said the Spaniard.


    Daily Telegraph's chief sports writer Paul Hayward: Andy Murray won Wimbledon but 39,000 fewer people played tennis this year. The LTA couldn't sell Evian in the Sahara.

  35. 1120: 

    Today's #QSTeaser from @QofS_Official - Former England rugby union captain @willcarling celebrates his birthday today. Who were the three teams he scored two or more tries against for England?

    We will reveal the answers at about 1400 GMT.

  36. 1125: 

    Everton's 20-year-old midfielder Ross Barkley has been talking for the first time on his breakthrough season and Toffees boss Roberto Martinez.

    Barkley, who has started 12 of his team's 15 Premier League games this term, tells the Liverpool Echo: "I knew when I heard Martinez was coming in I'd get my chance this season. I'd seen the way he was with Callum McManaman and James McCarthy at Wigan, that he gives young players their chance.

    "I knew I was the type of player to suit him because he's a really tactical manager who likes to build up the play. So I felt confident this could be the season I'd break through."

  37. 1131: 

    In the year that Andy Murray won Wimbledon, there has been a fall in the number of people who play tennis at least once a week.

    Sport England's director of sport Phil Smith said: "I think we've probably finally dispelled the myth that a British guy winning Wimbledon would do something to increase participation figures.

    "It's not that simple to translate into a weekly habit of ordinary people playing a sport - it takes more than just a Wimbledon winner."

    Andy Murray
  38. 1137: 

    Dundee United midfielder Stuart Armstrong signs a new one-year deal at Tannadice. The 21-year-old, a product of the club's youth system, will remain at the club until 2016.

    Armstrong has impressed under United manager Jackie McNamara and also captained Scotland's Under-21s.

  39. 1143: 

    Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda is set to join AC Milan early in the new year after the player's current club CSKA Moscow were eliminated from the Champions League.

    The Italian club's vice-president Adriano Galliani has said: "Now we can talk. From 3 January 2014, Keisuke Honda will be a Milan player.

    "We had already set out a contract but put it to one side. Now we can talk, but it will be difficult as he is a non-EU player, and I don't know if he can already play from 6 January against Atalanta. Later he will make his debut away to Sassuolo."

  40. 1148: 

    Commenting on the publication of the latest Active People Survey figures, Clive Efford, Labour's Shadow Minister for Sport said: "In the year following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games figures show that overall participation is down. The most damning figure is the reduction in participation among 16 to 25 year olds by 51,000.

    "These figures underline the fact that Cameron has no strategic plan for sport and has failed to capitalise on the explosion of enthusiasm generated by the Olympics and Paralympics. A golden opportunity is being squandered."

  41. 1155: 

    Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny says the Premier League leaders must improve if they are to win at Manchester City on Saturday.

    The Gunners edged into the last 16 of the Champions League despite a 2-0 defeat away at Napoli on Tuesday, and 28-year-old France international Koscielny says: "We are on top of the table so we need to keep this [lead] and December is a very important month in the Premier League.

    Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey against Napoli

    "We need to be ready and to fight to win these games. We need to play much better to win at Man City."

  42. 1203: 

    Sport England's findings (called Sport England Active People Survey 7) are the first that take in a full year's data post London 2012 Olympics.

    They measure people aged 16 and over participating in sport at least once a week for 30 minutes or more.

    15.5m people participated in sport in England between October 2012 and October 2012. That means participation is back to exactly the same level it reached after the Olympics.

  43. 1210: 
    Wigan Athletic fans

    Wigan Athletic, under new manager Uwe Rosler, must beat Maribor, the champions of Slovenia, later to give themselves any chance of progressing to the last 32 of the Europa League.

    Even then the Latics have to hope Belgian team Zulte Waregem lose their home meeting with Rubin Kazan. Wigan fans have travelled to Slovenia's second largest city, with some already enjoying an early pre-match pint.

    GET INVOLVED #bbcsportsday

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? Tweet us using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

    Edward Manning on Twitter: People are forgetting that Man City got humiliated by Bayern when it actually mattered. Should pray for an easy draw.

    Sam Flint on Twitter: Man United dark horses to win - unbeaten in the group stages and in easier half of the draw as they finished top

    thomas adoyi on Twitter: As a Chelsea fan I would be much fascinated with an AC Milan match-up, no as strong as in previous years.

  45. 1215: 

    Anti-racism group Kick It Out launches an investigation amid claims that a member of the Watford Under-19 team was racially abused during a youth tournament played in Italy after they walked off the pitch.

    According to the London Evening Standard, Watford were trailing 1-0 against Latina Calcio in the Wojtyla Cup, a competition also featuring the likes of Roma and Lazio, when a tackle from a Hornets player sparked an altercation between the two sides.

  46. 1222: 

    Football punters should be limited on what they can bet on to clamp down on cheating and fixing, a former sports minister has said.

    Gerry Sutcliffe said the football authorities and the betting industry need to discuss what is an "appropriate bet", adding that he believes gambling on the number of yellow cards, red cards or corners in a game does not fall into that category.

    The Labour MP made the call in the Commons after six people were arrested and bailed as part of an investigation into spot-fixing in football, including Blackburn striker DJ Campbell.

  47. 1228: 
    England goalkeeper Ben Foster

    West Bromwich Albion keeper Ben Foster says he has not ruled out making England's World Cup 2014 squad - despite not playing since August.

    Foster, 30, is back in full training after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot four months ago, and aims to return to club action before the end of this month.

    "It takes a lot to get over mentally - getting back to the full swing of things, diving about," he tells BBC WM. "It's a case of getting full fitness and sharpness, then knocking on the door and asking a few questions." Foster last played for England in a 1-1 friendly against the Republic of Ireland in May.

    GET INVOLVED - #bbcsportsday

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? Tweet us using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

    Tom Heath: Borussia Dortmund are the dark horses - doesn't matter about group stage form. It's how you perform in the knockout and their home form is amazing.

    Paul Chard: As a Man City fan I don't feel we should worry about who we get. All the teams in the draw are quality.

    Jake Lennard: There aren't exactly 'easy' draws in Europe's toughest competition. You can only beat what's in front of you.

  49. 1239: 

    An Australian cricket fan has appeared in court after a pig in a baby harness was discovered in the crowd during the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.

    David John Gunn was charged with animal cruelty after the pig, named Ash, was found during the first day's play at the Gabba on 21 November 21.

    Police said security guards had spotted the brown dwarf pig wrapped in a towel and being carried in a harness.

    It is alleged the domestic pig had its snout taped shut to keep it quiet.

  50. 1246: 

    Racing Metro centre Jamie Roberts says Wales does not need to have its international players based at home.

    Paris-based Roberts claims if players have clauses in their contracts to allow them to train and play for Wales, it does not matter where they play.

    "As any Welsh player playing in Wales, the participation agreement allows players that full two weeks release prior to the Six Nations and the autumn," said Roberts. "Players playing in France... we arrive at training on that same Monday as the Welsh [based] players."

  51. 1252: 

    Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini feels his team deserves credit from qualifying out of the toughest of Champions League groups and is not bothered whom they might face in the last 16.

    Arsene Wenger's men are now likely to face one of Europe's leading sides such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Paris St Germain in Monday's draw.

    "We will play a big team (now), but we knew that. Anyway, if you want to go to the final and try to win something, you have to play all the big teams," he said. "I do not really have a preference, so we will see what happens with the draw."


    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh: Grand National winner Auroras Encore, trained by Sue Smith, likely to make seasonal return in Rowland Meyrick Chase, Wetherby, Boxing Day.

  53. 1306:  
    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writerFOOTBALL - ARSENAL'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PROSPECTS

    Manager Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal will finally receive what he regards as some overdue good fortune in Monday's last-16 draw - the problem is that there does not seem to be a lot of good fortune lying around when you study their potential opponents.

    Paris St-Germain and Atletico Madrid would be regarded as the "weaker" options if you prefer to avoid Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid but both would still be very serious examinations for Arsenal.

    The impression also lingers that while Olivier Giroud has excelled this season, Arsenal could still benefit from the addition of a world-class striker, hence the summer pursuit of Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain, who scored against them for Napoli. So while the verdict must actually be about a job done, those final acts in this group may prove to be very expensive.

  54. 1311: 

    England coach Steve McNamara has been appointed as an assistant coach at the Sydney Roosters, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

    The report says it is unclear if McNamara, 42, will retain the national duties after taking on the new post. McNamara steered England to the semi-finals of the 2013 World Cup before losing to New Zealand.

  55. 1321: 
    FOOTBALL - COUTINHO THE NEW RONALDINHO?- Tottenham v Liverpool (1600 GMT)

    Tottenham midfielder Sandro has drawn comparisons between Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho and former Barcelona and Brazil playmaker Ronaldinho.

    "Coutinho's passes are like Ronaldinho's. He doesn't move a lot, but his passing - you think he is going to pass here and he passes there instead," says Sandro.

    Philippe Coutinho

    "He does the same as Ronaldinho. You think he's going to do one thing, and he does something completely different. Ronaldinho was the best player, but I think their style is similar."

  56. 1326: 

    Worcester's preparations for Thursday's Challenge Cup game in Biarritz are thrown into disarray by dense fog which led to cancellation of flights at London's Heathrow Airport. The game in southern France is scheduled to kick off at 1945 GMT.

    But the team are not likely to arrive at the Parc des Sports Aguilera until around three hours before kick-off. The squad has been forced to split into two travelling parties and the first XV are expected to arrive by 1600 GMT.

  57. 1335:  
    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writerFOOTBALL - CHELSEA'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PROSPECTS
    Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba

    Jose Mourinho's record in the tournament means he must never be underestimated and none of their potential opponents in the last 16 will cause him a tremor.

    It would, of course, be the romantics' choice to see Didier Drogba - the great Chelsea icon and the inspiration behind their Champions League win against Bayern Munich in their own Allianz Arena in 2012 - back at Stamford Bridge with Galatasaray.

    Chelsea should be able to navigate past any of those opponents if they produce anything like their best, but their group form has not spoken of potential winners of this tournament. Improvement needed.

  58. 1343: 
    FOOTBALL- West Ham v Sunderland (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce on the reaction of fans after a disappointing run of one win in eight games that has left them 17th in the Premier League table "It's obviously not an easy time for us all and the supporters are frustrated, I understand that. They didn't and we didn't expect to be where we are at this moment in time."

  59. 1346: 
    FOOTBALL- Hull City v Stoke (Saturday, 1730 GMT)

    Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is a doubt to face Hull, says Potters manager Mark Hughes. He adds: "He'll need to be checked. He has a bang on his thigh and a bit of bleeding in there."

  60. 1353: 

    Yorkshire Evening Post's chief football writer Phil Hay on Twitter: Leeds manager Brian McDermott confirms the club have signed ex-Southampton trainee Gboly Ariyibi until the end of the season. Ariyibi is a winger and has been training with the first team.

  61. 1401: 
    FOOTBALL- West Ham v Sunderland (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce on the chances of England striker Andy Carroll playing this weekend: "There's no chance because he's only training on his own at the moment.

    "We take things on Andy's say so as well as the specialists. He's got no chance of playing in the next two weeks."

    Carroll, the club-record £15m summer signing from Liverpool, has not played since picking up a heel injury in the final game of last season while on loan.


    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? Tweet us using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

    Martin Corbett: Borussia Dortmund dark horses? Didn't Bayer Leverkusen beat them at home in the league recently?

    Rohit Dixit: Would love for Man City to play Dortmund in the next round, chance for Manuel Pellegrini for revenge for last years quarter-final loss.

    Kitty Maher: Man City, are the ones to watch out for. It could go either way for us.

  63. 1410: 

    Blackburn Rovers striker DJ Campbell has been given permission to spend this weekend with his family and will not feature in Saturday's home game with Millwall, according to Sky Sports News.

    Campbell was one of six people arrested on Sunday in connection with allegations of fixing in football matches.

  64. 1418: 
    Sergio Perez

    Force India sign Sergio Perez as race driver for 2014. The 23-year-old Mexican, who raced for McLaren this season, will race alongside Nico Hulkenberg.

    Perez says: "Coming here was always my first choice and I'm really happy everything has now been confirmed. This is a young team with a lot of determination and they've produced competitive cars for the last few years.

    "It's all change for next season with the new regulations, but I already have a good feeling about 2014. My plan now is to visit the factory and get to know everyone in the team."

  65. 1425:  
    Andrew Benson, BBC Sport chief F1 writerFORMULA 1

    Paul Di Resta's Formula 1 future is in serious doubt following Force India's decision to replace the Scot with Mexican Sergio Perez.

    The Scot has proved to be a decently quick and pretty reliable performer in his three seasons in F1, and has produced a handful of impressive drives.

    But team bosses feel he lacks star quality and has failed to prove he has the potential to go on to be a world champion.

  66. 1432: 

    Denmark manager Morten Olsen says he has renewed his contract for another two years, despite failing to lead the team to the 2014 World Cup. The Danes finished six points behind Group B winners Italy in qualifying.

  67. 1435:  
    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writerFOOTBALL - MAN CITY'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PROSPECTS

    By winning away to Bayern Munich, Manchester City have proved to others - and perhaps more importantly to themselves - that they have the capability to challenge the elite names in the Champions League.

    Manager Manuel Pellegrini has a pedigree in this tournament and it is to be hoped the home defeat to Bayern in the group will also be of benefit to him after getting his tactics wrong and playing Edin Dzeko alongside Sergio Aguero, allowing Bayern to overrun City in midfield.

    As Pellegrini said when City's qualification was confirmed, no future opponents will be tempted to take them lightly.

  68. 1443: 
    FOOTBALL- West Ham v Sunderland (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce on his future after one win in eight Premier League games: "I wouldn't have thought I'd need any discussions with the owners, they're either going to stick with me or they're not.

    "That's entirely up to them depending on how they see the situation at the moment. Everyone will speculate about my position because I'm around where all the other clubs are and all the other clubs have got rid of their managers.

    "It's about picking a few results up and then the pressure goes away for a while. It's the first time in two-and-a-half-years that we've had a bad run since I've been here. It happens, we've got to make sure we're determined enough and have the right desire to overcome it."

  69. 1450:  
    Tom Fordyce, BBC SportCRICKET - THE ASHES

    BBC Sport's chief sports writer Tom Fordyce looks ahead to the third Ashes Test which begins in Perth on Friday: "On Friday, history brings Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke together: both making their 100th Test appearance, both captains of their national sides, so neatly matched that only 57 runs separates their overall Test aggregates of almost 8,000 apiece.

    "You can go on - both centurions on their Test debuts, both in India; one with 25 Test centuries, the other, thanks to his efforts a week ago, now with 26. But then there is the glaring gap between the two."


    King A on Twitter: I wanted City v Barcelona. Arsenal v Madrid. Chelsea v Milan. And United (dark horses) v Olympiakos

    Germaine Watson on Twitter: Think of Arsenal drawing and beating the likes of Real in the last 16, that would speak volumes for their CL & PL title hopes.

    Craig Spencer on Twitter: People are underestimating Atletico. Simeone has got them very well organised with a ruthless streak. Dark horses for CL

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? Tweet us using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

  71. 1459: 
    Former Newcastle United manager Alan Shearer with assistant Iain Dowie

    Former England captain Alan Shearer says his short spell in charge of Newcastle in 2009 is likely to remain his only stint in football management. Shearer quit playing in 2006 as Newcastle's record goalscorer before becoming a Match of the Day pundit.

    In eight games as manager he could not prevent the Magpies being relegated. Shearer tells BBC Newcastle: "I love my job and know I'm lucky to have it. Could I see myself returning to management? Probably not."

  72. 1504: 

    Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry says he would have loved to play with playmaker Mesut Ozil who arrived for a club-record £42.5m from Real Madrid in September.

    The club's all-time leading goalscorer told Sky Sports: "I would have loved to have played with him. He reminds me in a different way of Robert Pires.

    "He is the type of guy who if you give him the ball he will give it back to you. If you move left he gives it to you and if you move right he will share the ball. He can find a guy that is quick or a target striker or play any type of ball you want."

  73. 1514: 

    Manchester United manager David Moyes was present at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday evening, report the Daily Mail, and it is understood that he was taking a closer look at Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke during the Spanish side's 2-0 victory over FC Porto.

    Koke only signed a new five-year contract with Atletico in September but it is understood that the deal contains a buyout clause, which is speculated to be around £30m.

  74. 1524: 

    The World Cup kicks off six months from today and the BBC has developed a chart which imagines what an all-time league ranking might look like.

    We've allocated three points for a win and a point for a draw for all group and knockout stages since 1930. You can search by team, total points and points per game. You might be surprised by some of the results.

    Wales are in 53rd spot with 1.2 points, Northern Ireland are 36th, the Republic of Ireland 32nd while Scotland are 28th.

    Scotland v Brazil 1982
  75. 1533: 

    Sam Allardyce is not expecting a summit with West Ham co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan despite struggling in the Premier League.

    "I wouldn't have thought I would have needed a discussion about my future with the owners," said Allardyce.

    "I can only say that when I look at their history they have always shown a level of patience to overcome a difficult situation and I hope that will be the same - I'm sure it will."

  76. 1543: 

    Cardiff Blues director of rugby Phil Davies has warned his side they must raise their game to a new level if they are to complete the Heineken Cup double over Glasgow.

    The Blues head north to face the Warriors at Scotstoun having emerged 29-20 winners at the Arms Park when the sides met last weekend.

    "We will need to work even harder up in Scotland. We need to go up a level physically and tactically, be more accurate with the ball," said Davies. "Last week was about desire and performance, this week we need to extract even more from the players."

  77. 1549: 

    Kris Commons believes Celtic paid the price in the Champions League this season for the club's unwillingness to pay the going rate for a quality striker to replace Gary Hooper.

    The Hoops midfielder was speaking after the 6-1 thrashing by Barcelona in the Nou Camp on Wednesday night left the Scottish champions bottom of Group H with three points and without the prospect of European football after the New Year.

    "I know people are working hard on and off the field to try and get us the goals but replacing someone like Gary Hooper is going to cost you between £6m and £10m and at the minute we are not willing to spend that," said Commons.

  78. 1556: 

    Catalan full-back Morgan Escare has been rewarded for a fine breakthrough season with a new three-year deal.

    The France international was one of the stars of the Super League season after making a round-eight debut against Bradford.

    He went on to score 15 tries in 17 games before earning a place in France's World Cup squad. He will now remain with the Dragons until the end of 2016 at least.

  79. 1608: 

    Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis has dismissed speculation of a move for Blackburn's Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes in the January transfer window.

    He said: "We'll get linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry from now until the window closes, I should imagine, but the answer is no. We couldn't afford Jordan Rhodes."

    Crysal Palace boss Tony Pulis

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? Tweet us using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

    Richard Knight: How can people say Man Utd are dark horses for Champions League? If they came up against Bayern, Madrid, Barcelona - game over!

    Elliot: If Atletico and Man City keep up their momentum, they will both be teams to watch.

    Moe Benali: Man Utd will get Milan, Chelsea will get Leverkusen, City will get Madrid and Arsenal will get Barcelona.

  81. 1611: 
    Norwich City's Sebastien Bassong in action against Crystal Palace

    Norwich captain Sebastien Bassong signs a new two-and-a-half-year deal with the club. The 27-year-old has made 44 Premier League appearances since joining the Canaries from Tottenham for £8m in August 2012.

    Bassong says: "I'm really pleased. It is something I have been looking forward to doing."

    Norwich manager Chris Hughton says: "We're delighted that we've had the opportunity to extend Seb's contract - somebody who has been an integral part of everything we've done so far and our player of the season last year."

  82. 1626: 

    New Force India driver Sergio Perez will be looking to rebuild his Formula One career at a team he claims was his "first choice" destination after leaving McLaren.

    The 23-year-old Mexican signed a multi-year deal with the Silverstone-based team on Thursday and will partner Nico Hulkenberg for the 2014 season.

    "This is a young team with a lot of determination and they've produced competitive cars for the last few years. It's all change for next season with the new regulations, but I already have a good feeling about 2014," said Perez.

  83. 1636:  
    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writerFOOTBALL - MAN UTD'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PROSPECTS

    Manchester United's qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners has been just about the highlight of a tough start for manager David Moyes in succession to Sir Alex Ferguson.

    There has been no evidence so far, however, to suggest United are in shape to win the trophy they last claimed against Chelsea in Moscow in 2008.

    Will United reach the last eight? They should - but it would be hard to see them surviving a meeting with any of the teams you would regard as favourites for the Champions League.

  84. 1644: 
    FOOTBALL- Cardiff v West Brom (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    West Bromwich Albion announce that striker Victor Anichebe is doubtful for Saturday's game at Cardiff after missing training on Thursday because of illness. But Nicolas Anelka is set to feature after missing the last six games due to a groin problem.


    Karl McDonnell: As a Man Utd fan I hope we get one of the bigger teams, a statement or wakeup call and a reason for players to come in January.

    Kevin Leyland: Man City have to improve defensively before they're a CL threat. They concede too many goals right now.

    Jay: It's time Arsenal draw Barcelona and beat them on the way to lifting the trophy. They deserve it. Not an Arsenal fan, by the way

    Who are the dark horses and who will managers be hoping to face in the last 16 of the Champions League? Tweet us using the hashtag #bbcsportsday or post on our Facebook page.

  86. 1655: 
    FOOTBALL- NK Maribor v Wigan (1800 GMT)

    Wigan Athletic name their team to face Slovenian champions NK Maribor in the Europa League. The Latics, who must win the game to stand any chance of progressing to the last 32, make six changes to the side that lost 2-1 at Millwall last weekend.

    Those recalled to the team include James Perch, Thomas Rogne, Jean Beausejour, Callum McManaman, Jordi Gomez and Roger Espinoza.

    Wigan: Carson, Perch, Barnett, Rogne, Beausejour, McCann, McArthur, McManaman, Gomez, Espinoza, Powell. Subs: Nicholls, Shotton, Boyce, Crainey, Watson, Fortune, Meadows.

  87. 1700: 
    FOOTBALL- Newcastle v Southampton (Saturday, 1500 GMT)

    Newcastle manager Alan Pardew claims his position at the club is "vulnerable" - despite winning five of the last six Premier League games. Pardew's side entertain Southampton, the club where the 52-year-old was sacked after 13 months in charge in 2010, on Saturday.

    Reflecting on his Southampton dismissal, Pardew says: "It was a decision that was made above me and there was nothing I could do about it. But I never lost my confidence over that.

    "That's managerial careers, we are very vulnerable. I have been here [Newcastle] three years. I have been vulnerable from day one and I am still vulnerable today."

  88. 1707: 
    FOOTBALL- St Gallen v Swansea (1800 GMT)
    Swansea City players

    Swansea's players have arrived at the AFG Arena for their Europa League tie with St Gallen but conditions in Switzerland, as the image shows, are described as "very foggy" with kick-off less than an hour away.

    Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru. Live text commentary on BBC Sport Online.

  89. 1710: 

    West Brom boss Steve Clarke has defended his players' right to enjoy a Christmas party, despite the team's poor form.

    Clarke allowed his squad to travel to Dublin for a night out after Saturday's 2-0 loss to Norwich, which was their third Premier League defeat in the space of a week.

    "It was good for the players to get away. It was a difficult week. They went away, got themselves together and had a good time," said Clarke. "They have to relax and enjoy themselves. If anyone says they weren't hurting after three defeats in a week - they were."

  90. 1714: 

    An exasperated Steve Bruce has made one final plea for unity as the row over Hull's proposed name change rumbles on. Hull formally applied to the Football Association to change the club's name to Hull Tigers from next season.

    "All I can say is that I'm repeating myself now. (The application) has been done, it's been lodged and I can ask of the supporters is to get behind the team," said Hull manager Bruce ahead of Saturday's home clash against Stoke.

    "We're not going to hear the decision until April. As far as I'm concerned let's all get on with it and see what the FA come up with."

  91. 1718: 

    And that is a wrap. With Europa League action starting within the hour, Thursday's Sportsday is closing earlier than normal but don't forget to join us on Friday as we bring you all the latest news from news conferences ahead of a busy weekend of Premier League action.

    We'll also have all the latest news and reaction from the third Ashes Test - a match England have to win. Thanks for your company.

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