Tie ends Arse­nal win­ning streak

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Steve Dou­glas AP Sports Writer By Mark Frank

Arse­nal climbed to the top of the English Premier League on its man­ager’s 67th birth­day.

Arsene Wenger was in no mood to cel­e­brate, though. A 0-0 home draw against strug­gling Mid­dles­brough brought an end to Arse­nal’s six-game win­ning run in the league, just when Wenger’s team was be­ing talked up as the real deal in the ti­tle race.

Many will de­scribe a slip-up of this kind as be­ing typ­i­cal of Arse­nal, which has stum­bled when ex­pec­ta­tions are at their high­est in re­cent years. Its last league ti­tle came in 2004. It could have been worse, too, with Mid­dles­brough cre­at­ing the bet­ter chances at Emi­rates Sta­dium and draw­ing three ex­cel­lent saves out of Arse­nal goal­keeper Petr Cech in the first half. Wenger said his team was flat be­cause the game came just three days af­ter an “in­tense” Cham­pi­ons League match against Lu­do­gorets, which Arse­nal won 6-0.

“At least you can have a drink on your birth­day,” a glum Wenger said. “When you win, you de­serve it. When you don’t, you need it.” Arse­nal is in first place on goal dif­fer­ence from Liver­pool, which beat West Bromwich Al­bion 2-1 at An­field for a sixth win in nine league matches. Manch­ester City needs only a point against Southamp­ton on Sun­day to re­claim the lead.

Last sea­son, the Syra­cuse Orange had to sweat out Se­lec­tion Sun­day, then shocked the col­lege bas­ket­ball world by ad­vanc­ing to the Fi­nal Four.

This sea­son, de­spite Hall of Fame coach Jim Boe­heim’s at­tempt to tamp down ex­pec­ta­tions at his team’s me­dia day Fri­day, go­ing that far in the NCAA Tour­na­ment wouldn’t be that big of a shock.

“I think it’s very hard, when you’re talk­ing Fi­nal Four, you look at the last four years, the two best teams, the two best records in the coun­try were Ari­zona and Vir­ginia. They’ve won the most games and the most (con­fer­ence) cham­pi­onships of any teams in the coun­try, and they did not get to the Fi­nal Four,” said Boe­heim, en­ter­ing his 41st sea­son lead­ing his alma mater. “So when you start talk­ing ‘You’ve got to get to the Fi­nal Four,’ you’re re­ally fool­ish.

“You need to get into the tour­na­ment, that’s what you need to worry about,” he said.

Boe­heim over the sum­mer was ef­fu­sive in praise of his 2016-17 squad, which fea­tures what ap­pears to be a solid mix of tal­ented re­turnees that in­cludes: pro­jected first-round NBA pick Tyler Ly­don; a highly ranked, three-mem­ber re­cruit­ing class; two fifthyear trans­fers, guard John Gil­lon and sharp­shooter An­drew White, who are el­i­gi­ble to play im­me­di­ately; and a tra­di­tional trans­fer, 7-foot-2 cen­ter Paschal Chukwu, who prom­ises to be a men­ac­ing force in Boe­heim’s 2-3 zone de­fense.

For much of the 2015-16 sea­son, Syra­cuse was only six play­ers deep.

Boe­heim said he would be com­fort­able play­ing nine or 10 play­ers this sea­son.

“I said this sum­mer we have more depth, which is true, and we have a cou­ple of guys at each po­si­tion, which we haven’t had in a long time,” Boe­heim said. (Must bring ad and have group of 4)

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