About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Juventus captain Chiellini: We care about Supercoppaby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus captain Giorgio Chiellini says they’re determined to win the Supercoppa against Juventus tonight.Juve lost on penalties in the December 2016 Supercoppa in Doha.“We have changed a great deal in two years, but it is certainly a trophy we care about and want to win,” said Chiellini in his Press conference.“This appointment arrives mid-season, so it’s different to playing in August, but it remains an important competition and we’ve got to prove ourselves with actions rather than words, because we let a few too many of these trophies slip through our fingers in recent years and that is a shame.“We want to change that trend that has seen us lose the last two Supercoppa finals, and this is the ideal opportunity. It’s going to be a difficult match, but the objective is to start 2019 lifting a trophy above our heads.”
Former Chelsea defender Chivers: Kids fighting tooth and nail for Lampardby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Chelsea defender Gary Chivers believes the club will give manager Frank Lampard time in charge of his young players.Chivers feels the Blues legend will be cut plenty of slack due to his cult-hero status in west London.He told brightonandhovealbion.com: “They’re definitely in a transitional stage, but they will be fighting tooth and nail for Frank Lampard. The kids that have come in, the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, who have played at the likes of Derby and Aston Villa, have done brilliantly.“The fans will give Frank a lot of time because he was such a fantastic player and is a fantastic person. Appointing him is the best move Chelsea could’ve made because he loves the club, and knows the ins and outs of the club.“You can see that these players are playing for him. They’re a young side that are going to make mistakes, and Frank will too because this is only his second season as a manager, but the fans adore him and they will give him time.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
VANCOUVER – Mogo Finance Technology Inc. (TSX:MOGO) says it has secured a new umbrella loan of up to $40 million from Fortress Investment Group LLC.The credit facility will be used to repay and replace the Vancouver-based digital financial company’s existing $30-million credit facility with Fortress.The loan, which has a lower effective interest rate of 14.5 per cent and extends the maturity date by two years to mid-2020, will primarily be used to fund Mogo’s line of credit products.The new credit facility is in addition to the company’s existing $50 million Fortress credit facility, which has an initial interest rate of 9.5 per cent and can be expanded up to $200 million.
Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has removed K K Sharma, retired BSF director general and a 1982-batch officer of the Indian Police Service, as the Special Central Police Observer for Bengal and Jharkhand on Thursday. He has been replaced by Vivek Dubey, a 1981-batch officer of the Indian Police Service.The Special Central Police Observers oversee the deployment of the Central Forces during elections and other security-related issues. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsSharma will be the Special Police Observer for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. However, no explanation has been given by the ECI over Sharma’s transfer. Earlier, the Trinamool Congress wrote a letter to the ECI seeking its intervention over the appointment of Sharma for his alleged connection with the RSS. While addressing the media to release the election manifesto of the TMC, party chief Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday: “I have respect for the Election Commission of India but how could they send an officer who is so close to the RSS. Such actions force people to question the integrity of the ECI.” Banerjee showed a photograph of Sharma in uniform attending a meeting of the RSS to the mediapersons as well.” On Thursday, Dubey replaced Sharma. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayTrinamool Congress has also sent a letter to the ECI against R K Mitra, retired joint secretary of the Home Ministry for trying to manipulate the Central Forces and use them to canvas for the BJP. Mitra’s wife is contesting with a BJP ticket in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. “Though he is a retired officer of the Home Ministry but he continues to serve the department on a contractual basis and is involved in the deployment of the Central Forces,” Banerjee had said on Wednesday.
Every year since his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama has shared his NCAA men’s college basketball tournament bracket with the public, and, for the last five years, predictions for the women’s tournament, too. As he’s chosen teams, many of them from swing states, he’s resisted the urge to play politics with his picks.Obama’s main bracket criterion: the number next to a team’s name. The lower a team’s seed, the more likely he is to overestimate its chances. The president has predicted a far smaller number of round-of-64 upsets than the tournaments have produced, and in the last seven tournaments he’s forecast just one men’s team with a seed below 9 to win more than one game.He also has a soft spot for certain states. The president loves teams from Connecticut, a reliably blue state, and Kentucky, a reliably red one.1Schools from those states get a bump of about 0.7 wins per year in his brackets, compared to the expected performance of their seed numbers. The effect is statistically significant (p<0.05). But that may just be a reflection of Obama’s preference for highly seeded teams: After controlling for seed, no state had a statistically significant effect on the president’s picks. He’s been pretty neutral on states where he’s lived, studied or had family ties, including Illinois, California, Kansas, Massachusetts and New York. (Hawaii hasn’t had a tournament team in the years of Obama’s brackets.)Other public figures have picked brackets, but Obama, a big basketball fan, is unusual in having entered so many of his bracket predictions into the public record2He usually has unveiled them on ESPN broadcasts. — enough to create a sample size bigger than some of the polls used to forecast his election and re-election, and to search for patterns in his picks.To assess Obama’s brackets, I compiled the number of wins he predicted for each tournament team in each season,3There are two groups of exceptions to this list.First, neither ESPN nor the White House was able to supply a copy of Obama’s 2010 women’s bracket, and the link from a Whitehouse.gov blog post about it points to a different ESPN.com bracket. I gathered as much information as I could from press accounts of his Final Four picks that year, plus whatever I could glean from this video clip of his ESPN interview, and excluded from all analyses the 21 women’s teams in the 2010 tournament for which I couldn’t figure out the president’s prediction.Second, I excluded from the analysis any teams that hadn’t yet lost in this year’s tournaments, since we don’t know their final win totals.Here are links to Obama’s 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 men’s brackets, and to his 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 women’s brackets. and compared that number to two benchmarks: How did his picks compare to what might be considered typical picks, and how did they compare to how teams actually performed?The first benchmark was the average number of games that teams with the same seed had won for each tournament, over a period from the first year the tournament expanded to 64 teams41985 for men, 1994 for women. through the year before he picked the bracket.5That calculation was based on data provided by ESPN Stats & Information. I counted only wins from the round of 64 on, since the brackets Obama entered didn’t require entrants to predict play-in games. I assigned each play-in team half its seed’s expected wins, since only half the play-in teams advance to the round of 64.Obama, incidentally, has never picked the play-in winners to win their next game (a questionable strategy), and generally hasn’t picked the outcome of the play-in games, either, though he did write on his 2009 bracket — incorrectly, as it turned out — that Alabama State would beat Morehead State and enter the round of 64 as a No. 16 seed.This measure models the sort of information used by a typical tournament forecaster (or as typical as one in the White House can be): How well have teams of that seed done before?The second benchmark for Obama’s picks was the one used to score brackets for accuracy: how many games the teams won. This is both less and more fair than the first benchmark — less fair because he couldn’t have known how the teams would do when he submitted his picks, and more fair because it credits him for insights beyond the seed numbers.After subtracting either number — expected wins or actual wins — from Obama’s predicted win total for each team, we’re left with two possible measures for his lean toward or away from that team. When Obama picked Louisville to make the final last year as a top seed, the first measure scored that as a big pro-Louisville preference, since the average No. 1 seed from 1985 to 2012 averaged 3.375 wins. But the second measure detected a presidential slant against Louisville, since the Cardinals won the title. Conversely, Obama looks like a Washington, D.C., outsider based on his picks for the capital’s teams: He expected fewer wins for them than their seeds would have suggested. But his picks proved optimistic when the teams underperformed their seeds by a big margin.I now had a set of over 700 teams, each one with two scores indicating whether Obama was hard or easy on each team. I then looked up each team’s home state and ran a series of linear regressions to find whether politics could be driving the president’s picks.My first test: Was Obama backing the states that were most supportive of him, or — for his first bracket — the prior Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry in 2004? Or, instead, was he throwing some love to the states that were most supportive of Republican candidates, hoping to sway their hoops-mad voters into his camp?Neither, best I can tell. For each year, I took the most recent presidential election data6Election data from uselectionatlas.org. Since March precedes November, for Obama’s 2008 tournament picks, the most recent election was 2004; for 2012, it was 2008. and subtracted the percentage of votes going to the Republican from the percentage received by the Democrat, then normalized the results.7For each election year’s data, I subtracted from each state’s figure the average of every state’s figure. This data normalization put all states for each election year on the same playing field: how far they leaned Democratic or Republican relative to the average state in that year. I then ran two regressions against this score, one for each of my scores of Obama’s picks. And I found no relationship whatsoever.The story repeats for other political indicators that might have steered his picks: whether states were swing states,8I defined swing states as those with a gap of less than 5 percentage points in the previous presidential election between the vote shares of the Democratic and Republican candidates. and the probability that a single voter in that state — perhaps a fan of a team Obama could pick for the Final Four — could swing the presidential election.9Based on work by Columbia University statistician Andrew Gelman and FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver, using Silver’s 2008 presidential-election forecasts; Gelman provided me with a table of probabilities by state. For each possible factor, I ran the same pair of linear regressions.10Technically, I ran two pairs of linear regressions for the probability of one voter swinging the election: One using the raw probability, and one the logarithm of the probability, since the probabilities were minuscule and varied by orders of magnitude. And each time I found no clear relationship.11Six out of the eight coefficients were positive, which would suggest Obama was favoring Democratic states or electorally vital states, but none of the results was statistically significant.There was one highly statistically significant relationship: between Obama’s picks and a team’s seed number. For each improvement in seed of one — say, from 5 to 4 — Obama was likely to give the team a bump of about 3 percent of a win relative to its seed’s expected wins, and about 4 percent of a win more than the team actually won.12Seed was highly significant: p<10^-6. After controlling for seed, all the political factors still produced insignificant effects and half their coefficients were negative, suggesting any hint of a lean by Obama was more a product of seed number. And for each regression, p>0.4.Here’s another way of saying that: President Obama backs favorites to win even more than they have historically. And he’s remained consistently risk-averse, ranging from three to six upset picks in the round of 64 in his seven men’s tournament brackets. He’s never picked a team seeded below 13 to win a game, though six have over those years.13It’s probably imprudent to pick too many early upsets by big underdogs since their opponents are favorites not only to win but to go on to advance far in the tournament. But many fans do pick at least one. The millions of entrants to ESPN.com’s bracket challenge this year and last averaged about one pick per three brackets of a 14, 15 or 16 seed to reach the round of 32.Obama predicted wins for 32 teams seeded 10 and below, from the round of 64 on, for the seven men’s tournaments from 2008 to 2014.14 I didn’t count wins by 9 seeds over 8 seeds as upsets since those teams are so closely seeded. Yet 50 percent more teams have won at least one game. He was especially downbeat about the chances of teams seeded 12 or lower, predicting just eight wins for the group. Some 29 teams seeded that low have combined to win 38 games.Obama’s caution intensifies as he moves through the men’s bracket to later rounds. He’s picked just one team seeded 7 or worse to make the Sweet Sixteen in seven years of men’s bracket-picking.15North Carolina State, in 2012. Obama was right. Yet 27 teams with seeds that low made a Sweet Sixteen since 2008 — including two teams, Connecticut and Kentucky, that qualified for the Final Four on Sunday. Conversely, though nine No. 2 seeds have lost before the Sweet Sixteen, Obama has picked every one to make it that far.16He evidently considered choosing Clemson to upset No. 2 Oklahoma in 2009’s round of 32 but crossed out that pick and went with the chalk — correctly, as it turned out. Obama has backed no Elite Eight teams with seeds worse than 5, yet nine such teams have made it that far. And he’s picked no national semifinalist seeded worse than 4, yet seven Final Four teams have fit that category.When Obama has predicted a men’s upset, he has guessed well. By chance alone, you’d expect that 14 of the teams he picked seeded 10 or below to pull off at least one upset of a higher-seeded team would have done so.17That calculation is based on the actual rates of upsets for each seed number, and how many upsets he predicted. Yet 18 got at least one win — including all five of the 12 seeds he backed. Obama is on the verge of displaying a statistically significant forecast skill in the men’s brackets.180.1>P>0.05.In the women’s tournament, where favorites tend to dominate, Obama’s caution has been merited. He’s picked 12 teams seeded 10 or worse to pull off first-round upsets since 2011,19I excluded the incomplete 2010 Obama women’s bracket from this analysis, in case his picks for the omitted teams deviated sharply from his picks that we know. and 13 have. He’s shown no particular ability to identify upset victims, forecasting three correctly compared to an expected total of 2.4.Obama also seems to like certain teams more than others, though with just 12 of his brackets on record, no team has a sample size large enough to draw broader conclusions. His likes, relative to expected and actual performance, include Baylor, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Ohio State. By contrast, Obama is hard on Arizona, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Texas and Xavier.20The effect for Baylor, Louisville and North Carolina is statistically significant (p<0.05) for his picks relative to the teams’ seed numbers; he typically gives those teams one more win than their seed suggests. The effect vanishes, though, for those schools when examining how they did relative to Obama’s picks. In other words, their results suggest he was mostly right when picking them to outperform their seed. The effect is also smaller and statistically insignificant after controlling for seeds, since those teams tend to have high seeds. Adding that control reveals that Obama has been hard on Washington State, to a statistically significant degree: Controlling for seed, Obama has under-picked the Cougars by an average of nearly two wins per tournament, relative to their seed. His view on some schools looks different depending on the measure: Obama seems like a Duke-backer based on the Blue Devils’ results, but his picks have been in line with their seed numbers.Separating his preferences for certain schools’ men’s and women’s teams is especially tough because of the sample-size problem. So it’s hard to say whether he likes Cal’s women’s teams but dislikes their male counterparts, or if that’s just a statistical fluke.Asked about the president’s picking strategy, the White House press office referred to his statements to ESPN when unveiling his brackets.21Here are video clips of Obama’s chats with ESPN’s Andy Katz about his 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 brackets. Obama usually talks about specific teams in those broadcasts, rather than a broader strategy. The country’s chief executive has a soft spot for team chiefs, mentioning more coaches than players in recent years. (He has high praise for Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and North Carolina’s Roy Williams; in 2012, he admitted, “I’m just a sucker for the Tar Heels.”) He likes point guards and teams with momentum. Last year, he mentioned his “Big 10 bias.”22Obama does back Big 10 teams beyond their seed to a statistically significant degree, but the effect isn’t significant after controlling for seed, since Big 10 teams usually are highly seeded. Because of all the conference realignment during Obama’s bracket-picking years of 2008 to 2014, I studied only the conference he mentioned liking and counted only Big 10 teams that were in the conference throughout the period. When Obama does mention a player, he is sometimes motivated by where the player comes from rather than where his school is. For example, he said he picked Duke to reach this year’s Elite Eight partly because Blue Devils star Jabari Parker comes from Chicago. And Obama is aware of his tendency to back favorites. He said this year, “I know these are not imaginative picks, but I think they’re the right ones.”It’s hard to argue with the president’s preference for favorites: Picking upsets incorrectly is more damaging than picking upsets correctly is valuable. And lately, it’s working for him. He picked the women’s champion correctly twice in four tries, got one of the surprising men’s Final Four teams right this year — No. 1 seed Florida — and is in the 74th percentile of ESPN’s bracket contest. However, he may regret taking the relatively daring step of backing a No. 4 seed, Michigan State, to win the title. It was his first time picking a men’s or women’s champion that wasn’t a No. 1 seed, and the Spartans’ elimination on Sunday left him without any chance of gaining further points next weekend. In presidential brackets, as in presidential politics, risk-taking sometimes backfires.
It took Serena Williams a year to get her 22nd major title, the one she needed to tie Steffi Graf for the most in the Open era. She got it at Wimbledon last month, after tough losses late in the previous three majors. We think Williams has a 55 percent chance to get her 23rd title much faster, at the U.S. Open in New York two months after her Wimbledon triumph.For the first time, FiveThirtyEight is forecasting a tennis tournament. (Read more about our methodology.) And it’s potentially a historic one: Williams is the favorite to win her seventh U.S. Open, which would complete her remarkable run at Graf’s record after turning 30. Williams has younger rivals, including two who beat her in Grand Slam finals this year, but we aren’t giving any of them better than a 9 percent chance at the title. Also looming: Roberta Vinci, the Italian who upset Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals last year but who has beaten only one top 10 player since then. Williams could face Vinci in the final — a round that we think Vinci has a 1 percent chance of reaching.Aiding Williams’s chances is the absence of the two women who have been the most consistent among her rivals over the past five years: Maria Sharapova, the five-time major champion who is serving a suspension for using a banned substance, and Victoria Azarenka, the two-time major champ who announced last month that she is pregnant and will resume playing after her baby is born. Sure, neither woman has beaten Williams at a major in the past 12 years, but you have to stretch to find a big threat to the dominant No. 1. Her toughest competition at this event might be her older sister, Venus, who is the No. 6 seed at age 36 and took a set off her younger sister in a quarterfinal meeting at last year’s Open. Or it could be her tricky first-round match against Ekaterina Makarova, who ousted Serena Williams from the 2012 Australian Open and has beaten top 10 players eight times at majors; we give Makarova a 6 percent chance to win the match. Williams’s other obstacle might be her right shoulder. Inflammation caused her to skip a pre-Open tournament in Cincinnati (our forecast doesn’t directly account for injuries). Less is at stake in the men’s draw, because of a series of near misses.Had Novak Djokovic won at Wimbledon, he’d be going for his sixth straight major title and trying to become the first man to sweep all four in one year since Rod Laver did it in 1969. But American Sam Querrey upset Djokovic in the third round.If Querrey’s win had sparked a great run, Americans might hope to see the first win at the U.S. Open — or any major — by an American man since Andy Roddick in 2003. But Querrey has lost more matches than he has won since that upset, and we don’t give him or any other American man even a 1 percent chance of reaching the final.If Andy Murray had won in Cincinnati a week ago, he’d be entering the Open on a 23-match winning streak, with the potential to make it 30 by winning his second major in a row. But he lost in the final to Marin Cilic.And if Roger Federer were playing the Open, we’d give him a decent shot at winning a record 18th major title and the first major title by a man 35 or older since Ken Rosewall won the Australian Open in 1972; our rating system thinks Federer is better than every active male player besides Djokovic and Murray. But Federer isn’t playing any more this year; he’s rehabbing a knee injury.1Though Federer came to New York last week to promote a new tennis event with Laver; Federer promises to play doubles with Rafael Nadal next year at the competition.There are still plenty of open questions to answer at the Open. Can Rafael Nadal win his first big event on hard courts in three years and pass Pete Sampras to rank second in career major titles? (We give him a 6 percent chance of doing so.) Will Djokovic overcome the wrist injury that caused him to skip Cincinnati and win his 13th major title, resuming his dominance of the tour? (57 percent) Will Murray win his fourth major title, tying Rosewall, Jim Courier and Guillermo Vilas on the Open-era list and giving him two in the same season for the first time? (17 percent) Can Stan Wawrinka win his third after an inconsistent start to the year? (2 percent) Can Milos Raonic become the first Canadian man to win a major in singles, or can Kei Nishikori become the first man representing an Asian country to do so? (3 percent and 7 percent) If either one does, it’d be the first big title won by a man born in 1989 or later and the first real sign of a crack in the dominance of the old guard of men’s tennis. It could happen, but our model suggests a triumph by Djokovic or Murray is almost three times more likely than a victory by anyone else.Check out our U.S. Open predictions. We’re forecasting every match of the 2016 men’s and women’s U.S. Open tournaments. See our predictions here »
Inter Milan’s chance of signing Luka Modric from Real Madrid is slipping away, according to Sky Sports.The Croatia international chances of joining the Italian side are looking very slim due to the closure of the Italian transfer window on Friday evening.Reports in Italy suggests that the player’s representatives have been in confrontation with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez over his refusal to let him leave for Italy.Modric is keen to leave the Santiago Bernabeu in search of a new challenge but Perez is reluctant to let him leave especially after the team’s 4-2 defeat to rivals Atletico Madrid in the UEFA SuperCup on Wednesday night.Real Madrid suffer a Luka Modric injury blow Andrew Smyth – September 12, 2019 Real Madrid have announced that Luka Modric has suffered an adductor injury, which could rule him out of some key fixtures.The transfer window of the Italian Serie A closes on August 17 by 19:00 BST, which means Inter have less time to complete the deal.The Croatia captain is expected to keep behaving as a professional despite his desire to move to the San Siro, as it stands only a change of heart by Perez would see him leave the club.Inter have been monitoring Modric since the start of August, and are keen on bringing him to the San Siro this summer.Modric who won the best player of the tournament at this summer’s World Cup came off the bench during Madrid’s loss in the SuperCup on Wednesday night.
Maurizio Sarri rued his team’s 1-0 loss to Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg suggesting Harry Kane was clearly offside in contrast to the VAR’s decision.After Kane was brought down by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga inside the area, an initial offside decision was overturned by VAR as replays seemed to show Kane onside.However, Chelsea’s own footage seemingly shows Kane was slightly offside prompting Sarri to declare that the officials need to study the system better.💻 SARRI’S DIFFERENT ANGLE 💻Was Kane offside or not?Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says VAR got it wrong – and believes he has the different angle to prove it: https://t.co/13XGY1YSaN pic.twitter.com/57ooBiTE5CSacchi explains Sarri, Conte, and Ancelotti Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Arrigo Sacchi talked about how Sarri has a tougher time at Juventus than Conte at Inter; while Ancelotti’s “blood is boiling” at Napoli.Arrigo Sacchi…— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 8, 2019Chelsea’s head coach said via Sky: “I saw the video from our camera a few minutes ago, it was offside. Our camera was in line with Kane, and it was offside, but it’s not important.“With the head, it’s offside. But it’s not important. It was important that the linesman stopped the run, he didn’t follow the ball, so he had a big influence on our defenders, and at the moment I think the English referees aren’t able to use the system.”He then said in his post-match press conference: “In Italy there is VAR, in the first period it was a disaster, difficult for the referee to use the system. At the moment here the refs are not ready to use it in the right way. Kane was offside, clearly offside, but it is not important.“They need to study better the system. It is very strange in the Premier League there is not this system and then in Carabao Cup there is.”
The West Ham United player is wanted by Guangzhou Evergrande in the Chinese Super League, but for Paul Merson, he would also be good for Arsenal or Tottenham Hotspur.West Ham United footballer Marko Arnautovic is wanted by Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande.And former English Premier League footballer Paul Merson says he should not leave England and but should join other teams.“Marko Arnautovic is too good to go to China – but maybe the money is too good to turn down,” Merson was quoted by The Express.“There must be a personal reason why he wants to go because he still has a lot to offer and he could play for bigger teams than West Ham.”Report: England’s Rice gets death threats George Patchias – September 9, 2019 England International Declan Rice has received death threats.Rice a one time Ireland International, switched allegiances only this year. The West Ham United man played for…“If you were Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Tottenham you would take him tomorrow,” he added.“He could play for any of those teams. He’s a really good player and he’s not just a center-forward.”“He could play in other positions too and give you a different option,” he commented.“But you’re playing in front of fans who adore you and it’s a real kick in the teeth for them when it’s a Chinese team he’s joining and not a top European club capable of winning trophies.”