Tie ends Arsenal winning streak
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)