Something For The Weekend: 10/09/2011


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The Independent Online

It's squeaky-bum time for...


A new era of compromise begins at Arsenal today.

Compromise is no bad thing in a sports coach, and operating on a pragmatic, rather than a theoretical plain, is how next to every coach works. Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos: these shock troops have years of Premier and Champions League experience between them; not a 17-year-old whippet in sight. Perfectly natural signings for any other club, but Arsenal was always meant to be different. And now Wenger has compromised his philosophy, he can no longer hide behind his teams being endlessly provisional. They must be judged in the now, like Spurs or Liverpool or even Stoke City. How vulgar. But it starts this afternoon, against Swansea.

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Another animal triumph

Regular readers (there must be some), will know that Thomas Voeckler deigned, last month, to race against a trotting hose over 380 metres at Les Sables-d'Olonne, and lost two heats to one. Human solidarity being what it is, Italian swimmer Filippo Magnini decided this week to take his revenge against the lesser mammals. The two-time 100m freestyle world champion raced a pair of dolphins (King, 19 years old, and Leah, nine) in a swimming pool in Torvaianica, 30 miles south of Rome. Even though the dolphins had to swim nearly twice as far, they still pipped 'Superpippo' to beat him to the line. "I never had such tough opponents", he said. Another victory for the animals over men; another vindication for those claiming that European civilisation has peaked. It's a long road down from the top.

Have you been paying attention?

1. Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun could make their Arsenal debuts today, but which one has scored the most Premier League goals?

2. How many overs was the England v India ODI game on Tuesday reduced to after being affected by rain?

3. Which four teams have qualified for Euro 2012?

4. How many years in a row has the men's US Open final been moved to Monday?

5. How many of Argentina's squad play their rugby in England?

Click on the link above for answers