Sport Michy Batshuayi

Toffees' pursuit of Standard Liege striker at risk

Jewels, The Lowry, Salford

During a brief UK visit, the Kirov dazzles with Balanchine's three ballets in one

Smith wants Rangers to shake off Manchester misery

Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, is hoping a hectic fixture schedule will actually work in his side's favour as they attempt to wrest the Scottish Premier League title from Celtic's grasp over the next week.

Rangers 0 Zenit St Petersburg 2: Arshavin silences Rangers hordes

Zenit St Petersburg struck a blow for the new era of Russian football last night, lifting the Uefa Cup thanks to goals by Igor Denisov and Konstantin Zyrianov in a match illuminated by the skills of Andrei Arshavin.

Rangers 3 Dundee United 1: Rangers fail to shake the Plain Jane comparison

From Pygmalion to Educating Rita, great metamorphosis dramas all contain a "reveal" scene where the swan emerges. But given that this SPL season has had such a varied blend of tragic, comic, tacky, farcical and epic moments, for comparisons with Rangers it is more appropriate to trawl not Ovid or Russell but Neighbours.

Book of the Week: Football Dynamo, by Marc Bennetts

A sign of Russia's boom times is that Zenit St Petersburg, bankrolled by the energy giant Gazprom, plan to take up their entire 13,000 ticket allocation for Wednesday's Uefa Cup final against Rangers in Manchester. But unlike many other Russian teams, they will take the field without one black player. "They have always known the fans would be against it," says a Zenit hooligan to Marc Bennetts. An Englishman who has lived in Moscow for over a decade, speaks the language and is an avowed fan of Russian football, Bennetts has produced an engrossing, authoritative account of the game in his adopted country as it makes a growing mark in Europe. Yet he does not shy away from the endemic corruption, racism and hooliganism, including a hair-raising account of how one team manager hired gun-toting thugs to attack five of his own players, whom he suspected of taking bribes to throw games. More Russian roulette than the beautiful game at times, it seems.

SPL ruling on Rangers is wrong, says Burley

The Scotland manager George Burley has called for the Scottish Premier League to make changes ahead of next season in the wake of the Rangers fixture row. The Ibrox club yesterday failed in their bid to have Saturday's Premier League game against Dundee United postponed to allow more time to prepare for the Uefa Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg in Manchester next Wednesday.

Hibernian 0 Rangers 0: Hibs leave tired Rangers with no room for 'slip-ups'

Rangers' pursuit of a remarkable quadruple remains on, but their margin for domestic error decreased significantly at Easter Road yesterday. Less than three days after sweating their way to a penalty shoot-out victory at Fiorentina to reach the Uefa Cup final, Rangers took the game to Hibernian in the second half here, but too many of Walter Smith's players looked as if Thursday night was still in their system.

Gattuso harbours Premier ambition

The Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso says he wants to play in the Premier League. Rumours that he was considering leaving have been circling for weeks and the Italy international, who played in Scotland with Rangers in 1997-98, said: "It's a dream I have always had and never hidden. I think I have the characteristics to play in that league."

Moyes sets hopes on Arteta recovery for Villa match

Mikel Arteta could be back to aid Everton's increasingly tense campaign to cling on to a Uefa Cup qualification place.

Tottenham 1 Slavia Prague 1 <i>(Tott. win 3-2 on agg.)</i>: Robinson returns to save insipid Tottenham

Paul Robinson completed a journey from zero to hero last night as he produced two top-class saves that allowed a Tottenham team increasingly distracted by the prospect of Sunday's Carling Cup final to struggle through this Uefa Cup round-of-32 tie and earn a meeting with PSV Eindhoven.

Wenger admits Walcott has not made progress

He is still not 19 until March but Theo Walcott has not made the progress expected of him when he joined Arsenal. The second anniversary of that astonishing £12m move from Southampton – £5m down, the rest in performance-related instalments – falls tomorrow, but he will not be in the Arsenal squad that faces Fulham in the league this afternoon. Instead Walcott will be at the training ground preparing for next week's League Cup semi-final second leg, very much the most junior competition in the club's priorities.

Skrtel arrives to revive Liverpool's flagging pursuit

For Rafael Benitez, a reason to be cheerful after another highly charged week. Martin Skrtel – unveiled by Liverpool as their most costly defender yesterday and immediately compared by Benitez by Jamie Carragher – revealed he had turned down a move to Everton after hearing of their neighbours' interest.

Benitez set to unveil Skrtel as crucial talks take place

The American owners of Liverpool may have relented last night to allow Rafael Benitez a new signing this transfer window but with Martin Skrtel set to arrive from Zenit St Petersburg for 6.5m, the more crucial talks take place in New York today.

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