Class of 92

SAME VEIN: The five Singapore players (above) in an illustration based on the poster for the Class Of ’92, a recent documentary on Manchester United’s six stars in this Internet screengrab from Wikipedia.
SAME VEIN: The five Singapore players in an illustration based on the poster for the Class Of ’92, a recent documentary on Manchester United’s six stars (above) in this Internet screengrab from Wikipedia.
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Palace can stop Liverpool

MAN TO WATCH: Crystal Palace's Dwight Gayle scored the equaliser in the 3-3 draw against Liverpool last season.
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Pellegrini: No more slip-ups

City manager wants his side to go on winning run to re-ignite title challenge

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No Cech exit talk

Mourinho rubbishes rumours that goalkeeper could be on his way out

STILL A BLUE: There are no offers for Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech (above), according to his manager.
"Diego has four yellow cards. am i going to protect him for any game? No way. He plays and when he gets the fifth, he gets the fifth because the important game is against West brom. With Diego, we have to go match by match, but the way he trains and expresses himself in training, he has a free mind. He’s free of fears, at this moment. He is good." - Jose Mourinho on star striker Diego Costa (above)
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Wenger: Messi could have joined Gunners

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Falcao out

Colombian sidelined after new injury

SICKNOTE: Injuries have meant that Radamel Falcao (above) has yet to have a sustained run in the Manchester United starting line-up.
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United counting on Rooney and van Persie

TIME TO DELIVER: Robin van Persie (above, left) and Wayne Rooney (above) have only scored three goals apiece this season.

Manchester United might not top the Premier League these days, but they’re out in front on the league’s table of injuries.

An astonishing 10 separate problems have robbed them of Luke Shaw, Angel di Maria, Daley Blind, David de Gea, Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo, Rafael da Silva, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Radamel Falcao, Jonny Evans and Jesse Lingard.

That will pile the pressure on their remaining players ahead of this crucial clash with Arsenal tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Fortunately, at least two of the remaining players are big enough to cope with the loss, writes Iain Macintosh.

Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie were two of the biggest transfers of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, but neither has settled well since the end of the old era.

Read the full report in our print edition on Nov 22.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

No regrets selling 
Welbeck: Van Gaal

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Danny Welbeck ready to haunt Louis van Gaal

WELL, LOOK WHO'S BECK: Danny Welbeck (above) would love to score against his former teammates at the Emirates.

When Danny Welbeck runs out at Old Trafford, he will epitomise all that Manchester United have lost.

His jersey crest will say Arsenal. But his spirit was born in Old Trafford.

He is a local hero made good elsewhere, a ghost of United’s past ready to haunt Louis van Gaal, writes Neil Humphreys..

Whether he scores or not, Welbeck represents the last star of a fading philosophy. Van Gaal’s insistence that the striker’s sale was necessary suggests that he may understand the game’s most subtle nuances, but he can’t quite grasp United’s soul.

Read the full report in our print edition on Nov 22.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

National Stadium pitch in better condition

The National Stadium pitch will be ready for the Singapore's Suzuki Cup opener against Thailand tomorrow, but expect wear and tear by the time the Lions take on Causeway rivals Malaysia next Saturday in their final Group B encounter.

The Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) independent field expert, Hiroi Koichi, who has regularly inspected the pitch (below) after being engaged as an adviser, said yesterday: "The Sports Hub has put in a lot of work into the field and it will look good for the game. 

"The pitch is safe to play but do expect deterioration of the surface after every match.  This is normal given the maturity of the pitch."

The state of the field became a hot topic in August when Juventus beat a Singapore Selection side 5-0 in a match played on a surface with huge swathes of sandy patches.

When Brazil beat Japan 4-0 here last month, the FAS declared the hybrid surface comprising natural grass woven with synthetic fibres "far short of the expected international playing standards".

To stimulate the growth of the rye and blue grass seeds, $1.5 million worth of special lighting equipment was bought. The lights, hovering slightly over a metre above ground, are kept on through the night to act like sunlight.

Substantial costs were incurred as events were rescheduled to ensure the pitch was free to grow.

DELIGHTED

SportsHub Pte Ltd's chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik said yesterday: "On behalf of the Singapore Sports Hub, we are delighted to welcome players, coaches and fans from across the region to come and experience our first AFF Suzuki Cup at the new National Stadium come Sunday when Singapore face Thailand.

"We hope that the stadium will be filled with a sea of red shirts cheering on our Lions.

"Since the Japan versus Brazil match, we have been working hard to optimise our National Stadium pitch and it has improved ahead of the Singapore versus Thailand game. 

"Over the six days of intense use, we do foresee a loss in turf coverage after each match, but the pitch will be safe and playable.

"In parallel, we are also evaluating several longer term pitch solutions that we will explore after the tournament. 

"We are looking forward to an exciting tournament and the long awaited return of the Kallang Roar."

Gerard Wong, FAS director of marketing and communications, added: "We are appreciative of the efforts that the Sports Hub has been putting to improve the pitch. 

"Our players are raring to go and ready to do well for our fans and for Singapore. To our fans, we hope to see you packing the National Stadium. Your presence means a lot to the Lions. Let's all turn up in full force to be their 12th man."

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