Wenger backs Gunners to improve

first_img Press Association The Gunners clinched fourth place in the Barclays Premier League and a qualifying tie for the European competition with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Newcastle to end derby rivals Tottenham’s hopes of overhauling them on the final day of the campaign. Wenger is confident that the growth which enabled them to do that will serve them well once again next season. He said: “Since February 1, we have taken more points than everybody else in the league, and I don’t believe that’s just down to coincidence, but just to the fact that the group has grown, this team has grown through the season.” Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal will make a better fist of next season’s title race after securing a 16th consecutive crack at the Champions League.center_img The Frenchman went on: “We lacked belief for long periods because we couldn’t win a big game, but the Bayern [Munich] game changed our season away from home. In the last three months, I believe we have been remarkably consistent. We have won every away game, so it is a good springboard for next season, to transfer that belief into the start of next season. “That means we need to have stability and strengthen our group if possible because there are many clubs out there with a lot of money, so the competition is very hard and there is not as much talent as money today in football.” However, Wenger warned his players that the job is not yet complete, with a potentially tricky qualifier to come before they can install themselves alongside the continent’s elite. He said: “It means to us to be able to play with the top teams in Europe – that’s what you want. “It means as well that it’s easier to bring in players when you have a chance to be in the Champions League – let’s not forget, we are not in yet, we have to qualify and that is always a very tricky round for us. But at least we have a chance.” Victory was secured seven minutes after the break when central defender Laurent Koscielny volleyed home from close range after striker Lukas Podolski had headed down Theo Walcott’s right-wing free-kick. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was able to comfort himself with a much-improved display after thumping home defeats by Sunderland and Liverpool in their last two games. But ultimately a 16th-placed finish with 41 points was a major disappointment, with the demands of a Europa League campaign taking their toll. Pardew said: “It was the depth, really, and quality we need to improve on. But next year, we haven’t got that pressure and we can go week to week in this Premier League. But we are not going to be foolish enough to think that we don’t have a couple of issues to sort out in the team – not major issues, but certainly one or two players to add to offer us a different look.” last_img read more

India lose to England in fourth T20I of women’s triangular series

first_imgMelbourne: England women rode on a strokeful half-century from Natalie Sciver to defeat India by four wickets in the fourth T20I of the women’s triangular series on Friday.Sciver’s composed 50 from 38 balls rescued England after they slipped to 28/3, chasing 124 for victory at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.Put into bat, India could only manage an underwhelming 123/6 in their allotted quota of 20 overs. Besides opener Smriti Mandhana, none of the Indian batters could contribute much to the team’s total. Mandhana made 45 from 40 balls, hitting seven fours and India’s sole six of the innings, but after she was stumped off Katherine Brunt, India faltered. However, other batswomen, including Jemimah Rodrigues (23) and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (14), failed to capitalise on their starts.The Indians managed to hit just four boundaries in the final 10 overs, with the batters struggling for rhythm as England took the pace off the ball.For England, Anya Shrubsole took three wickets and Brunt scalped two.It seemed a simple chase for England but once again their openers faltered, with Amy Jones falling to the sixth ball of the innings as she offered a simple catch to mid-on. When they both fell, England were in trouble, but Sciver kept scoring runs at the other end, working singles and rotating the strike before hitting out in the final overs.She brought up her half-century in fine style, striking left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad for six, but she was left frustrated after chipping her next delivery back to the bowler.Brief Scores: India Women: 123/6 (Smriti Mandhana 45; Anya Shrubsole 3/31); England Women: 124/6 (Natalie Sciver 50, Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3/23). IANSAlso Read: India aim to bounce back in 2nd ODIAlso Watch: CM Sonowal and Cabinet Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma reviews preparations ahead PM Modi’s visitlast_img read more