Seven days after succumbing to an horrendous 8-0 defeat at the St Mary’s Stadium – a reverse which the Barclays Premier League’s dubious goals panel has now ruled included three own goals – the Black Cats will line up against Arsenal at the Stadium of Light needing to make a statement. Poyet’s men had lost only one of their previous seven league games, a run which constituted a positive start to the season in the Uruguayan’s eyes, but much of the good work will be undone if they fail to find an antidote to the shock which has engulfed Wearside ever since. Manager Arsene Wenger maintains only a collective defensive effort can propel Arsenal back into the Barclays Premier League title race. The Gunners head to Sunderland, thrashed 8-0 last week at Southampton, boosted by a dramatic midweek victory away to Anderlecht in the Champions League, coming from behind with two goals in the final two minutes. The final result in Brussels, however, masked somewhat a largely average display, with few lessons seemingly learned from recent domestic failings which saw Arsenal need a stoppage-time equaliser to draw 2-2 at home to Hull. Defender Per Mertesacker believes the Gunners must not hide from the fact they ‘lack a few things football wise’ and need to improve overall confidence. Wenger, though, insists it is too easy just to lay all of the blame on a backline which has been hampered by injuries, with centre-back Laurent Koscielny set to be out for at least a month with an Achilles injury. “Until now we have been relatively consistent in our attitude and in our performances, but not efficient enough, neither defensively nor offensively,” said Wenger. “If you look since the start of the season we have only lost two games, to Dortmund and Chelsea, but we didn’t make enough points with our performances. “It is improving by getting everybody to put a bit more effort in to the defensive work, and that starts not only at the back, but up front and in midfield by increasing the level of defensive activity through the team. “We had to reshuffle the defence and (the players) getting used to playing together helps as well. “Last year we had 17 clean sheets and at the moment, we have only had one after eight (Premier League) games, so that is something which we are not on the same level defensively. “We train very hard and the spirit is right, the attitude is here. I believe more it is linked with confidence at the moment, but I cannot fault the attitude. “It (the win at Anderlecht) will help to improve confidence and I am sure that if we focus on our performance, the rest will come naturally.” England forward Theo Walcott is close to a comeback from the serious knee injury which ruled him out of the World Cup. Wenger, though, feels Walcott – who could play for the Under-21s again this weekend – needs a few more “kicks” before returning to the first team. “He has a game that exposes him and he needs to feel completely confident, but he is not far,” said Wenger. “Theo has to get used to contact again. He has been out for nine months, it was a big injury and it takes time to settle, to get used to being kicked again. “Fitness-wise, Theo is there, but to play a part in the game on the contact front I think he needs a little bit more time.” Gus Poyet admits he would love to be pulling on his boots against Arsenal on Saturday as Sunderland attempt to exorcise the ghost of their Southampton nightmare. Press Association It is a challenge the head coach insists his players, far from fearing, should relish. Poyet said: “It’s going to be great on Saturday. I would love to be playing on Saturday. “It’s the perfect game to go in there and put in the biggest effort you can put in on a football pitch and show that whatever happened happened and that’s it, and now we are moving on.” However, Poyet is refusing to view the debacle on the south coast as a reality check to focus minds on the task ahead. He said: “I don’t want reactions because that means you have done something bad. I prefer not to react. “But I do really trust the players, so I am really looking forward to the game. That’s the main thing for me.” Poyet’s options to change his side are limited, particularly at the back, where the addition of former Napoli full-back Anthony Reveillere has at least given him another body with Sebastian Coates and Billy Jones both on the casualty list. Midfielders Emanuele Giaccherini (ankle) and Ricky Alvarez (knee) are also still out.
… GBI looking to the future with PetraTHE Guyana Beverage Inc. (GBI) from all intentions will be back in 2018 with their signature Turbo Knockout Football tournament.This was revealed by the Turbo commercial manager Samuel Arjune yesterday at the presentation of trophies for the 2017 tournament which was won by Camptown Football Club.He added that while the company was pleased with the recently concluded tournament, they are looking forward to more advancements, including the introduction of Hinterland teams.“I want to challenge the football fraternity. Recently I read that it is part of the GFF now, but more than that, we need more activities for Hinterland Sports men and women,” he said.The GBI executive continued, “We at the Guyana Beverage Inc. will support such initiative that seeks to provide an opportunity to young people in the hinterland area.”Meanwhile, co-director of the Petra organisation Troy Mendonca stated that they are happy to have found a partner in the Petra organisation.“I think we look forward to a tournament that football, at the end of the day, won. We’ve seen a camaraderie among teams,” the Petra co-Director added.He singled out teams like Grove Hi-Tech, Pouderoyen, Silver Shattas, Winners Connection, Kuru Kuru and Mahaica Determinators as those with whom the body enjoyed working outside of the usual Georgetown unit.“Even on the field of play, they demonstrated that organisation and enthusiasm and I think this tournament would have been able to fuse teams from other sub-associations and Georgetown.”Winners Camptown FC were presented with a trophy and $500 000 for beating Police FC 1-0 on December 3 at the Ministry of Education ground. Police also pocketed $125 000 for their efforts on the night.Third place went to Pouderoyen, who also won 1-0 over Grove Hi-Tech in the earlier game.
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn will be leading the home challenge at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2018 tournament being held at Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course from 22-25 February. (AP Photo)Golf fans are invited to cheer on the most talented golfers in the women’s game and enjoy Thailand’s premier golf tournament when the Honda LPGA Thailand 2018 gets underway at Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course next week.The tournament, which takes place from 22-25 February, features 70 top female golf players with nine of the world’s top ten taking part and includes Thai golfing sisters Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn.Scheduled as the third stop of the annual LPGA Tour, the Honda LPGA Thailand is arguably one of the most prestigious female golf tournaments in Asia. To highlight the 12th anniversary celebration, the US$ 1.6 million (approximately 51 million baht) tournament will present a newly-designed trophy to the winner. The trophy is designed by emerging and award-winning Thai artist Saruta Kiatparkpoom. An all-new Honda CR-V, worth 1,699,000 baht, will also be given to any player who shoots the first hole-in-one on the 16th hole as a special bonus.Early bird tickets for the Honda LPGA Thailand 2018 are now available on www.hondalpgathailand.com for a limited period until February 18. One-day tickets for 22 and 23 February are 300 baht (from 350 baht), 24 and 25 February’s one-day pass is 400 baht (from 550 baht), a weekend two-day pass is 500 baht (from 950 baht) and four-day passes are 800 baht (from 1,200 baht). Children of 16 years old and below and senior citizens over 60 years old are entitled to complimentary entry to the tournament.
Facebook1Tweet0Pin0 Easter weekend is the start of Spring Break for most Thurston County public schools. As families prepare to take a few days off, turn to ThurstonTalk’s event calendar for all the activities around town. Use our *new* Kids & Family section to find a new place to play or rediscover an old favorite haunt. Using the Activities drop down menu, you can sort for either indoor or outdoor stories.Here is a recap of the Easter Egg Hunts happening around Olympia this weekend. For more specific details, click here.Friday, March 29 –Adult Flashlight Egg Scramble at the RAC at 8:00 pmSaturday, March 30 –10:00 am – Westfield Capital Mall10:00 am – Dog Easter Egg Hunt at the RAC10:00 am – New Apostolic Church11:00 am – Tumwater High School11:00 am – Bucknell Field in Lacey12:00 pm – South Sound Church1:00 pm – Lattin’s Country Cider Mill & FarmSunday, March 312:00 pm – Priest Point Park2:00 pm – South Sound ManorOther events happening this weekend include:Dig razor clams in Ocean Shores this weekend.Play outside on Saturday, in honor of the 100th birthday of the Washington State Parks system.Visit the WET Science Center.Gather ideas for activities during Spring Break.Attend a performance at Olympia Family Theater or Harlequin Productions. Both local theater groups have shows throughout the weekend.Catch a roller derby bout between #1 Oly Rollers and #2 San Diego Starlettes on Sunday evening.ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at email@example.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.