Arsenal welcomed back defender Laurent Koscielny from injury while Sweden midfielder Kim Kallstrom made his first start since arriving on a deadline-day loan from Spartak Moscow. West Ham – without captain Kevin Nolan who failed a fitness test – made a bright start. First, Diame’s effort was charged down by Per Mertesacker before on-loan Milan winger Nocerino drilled in an angled shot which was blocked. Arsenal slowly got into a spell of possession, and a low centre from Podolski down the left was just inches away from being tapped home by Giroud as he arrived at pace into the six-yard box. On 15 minutes, Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky, who missed the Wembley tie because of injury, was late on Andy Carroll and was cautioned. Diame then fired the ball over from five yards after a cutback from Carroll following a corner. Arsenal should have been ahead on 30 minutes. Cazorla collected a loose ball in midfield and then fed Giroud on the edge of the West Ham penalty area. The France forward beat the offside trap and took the ball in his stride, only to then try to flick the ball into the bottom left corner with the outside of his left boot and Adrian was able to get across to make the save. West Ham took the lead five minutes before the break. Nocerino darted down the Arsenal right and into the penalty area, and his near-post shot was saved by Wojciech Szczesny. Jarvis reacted first to nod home from close range. Arsenal looked for an immediate response as Kallstrom fired in an angled drive which Adrian pushed behind. The hosts were level on 44 minutes. Cazorla collected a poor clearance from Stewart Downing some 30 yards out, and fed Podolski in the left side of the West Ham box. The German spun his marker before drilling a low shot into the far corner. Arsenal went into the lead 10 minutes into the second half. Captain Vermaelen, deployed at left-back following injury to Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal, lobbed a deep pass from the halfway line into a crowded penalty area. Both Reid and Carroll tried to block the France forward, who showed superb strength and then a sublime touch to kill the ball dead, before coolly slotting past the keeper with his right foot. Adrian was called into action again on 61 minutes when he palmed away a curling free-kick from Podolski before Cazorla shaved the outside of the woodwork after cutting inside following a break down the right. With 20 minutes left, Rosicky was replaced by Aaron Ramsey, just back from a long injury lay-off. The Wales midfielder helped set up Arsenal’s third goal on 78 minutes when he nodded Giroud’s pass from the right through to Podolski, who turned to drill another fine finish past Adrian from 10 yards to wrap up victory. While the manner of this response will have pleased Wenger, the Gunners boss knows there is still much work to do if they are to secure another shot at elite European football ahead of their Wembley trip on May 17 – which continues at FA Cup final opponents Hull on Easter Sunday. After a slow start following their nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out win over Wigan at Wembley on Saturday, the Gunners went behind to a scrappy goal from Matt Jarvis on 40 minutes. However, German forward Podolski quickly levelled before half-time, with Giroud’s superb take-down and close-range finish putting them in front on 55 minutes. Press Association Another powerful strike from Podolski with 13 minutes left secured all three points which saw Arsene Wenger’s side leapfrog Everton, who host Crystal Palace on Wednesday night. West Ham, who had not played since the home defeat to Liverpool on April 6, started well as Mohamed Diame fired a good chance over from close range on 18 minutes. Arsenal’s big chance arrived on the half-hour mark when Santi Cazorla latched on to a stray pass in midfield and then fed Giroud, who beat the offside trap, but his scuffed finish was saved at full stretch by Adrian. It proved costly as West Ham went ahead when Jarvis headed in from close range after Antonio Nocerino’s shot was saved at the near post. Arsenal, though, were level just before half-time as Podolski spun in the West Ham penalty area to drill a low shot into the bottom corner. Giroud finally showed the perfect touch to put Arsenal ahead 10 minutes into the second half. Thomas Vermaelen sent a high ball into the West Ham box, where Giroud held off both Winston Reid and Andy Carroll to take it down with one sublime left-foot touch before rolling his shot between the goalkeeper’s legs. Arsenal made sure of a crucial victory in the battle for Champions League qualification when Podolski crashed home his second goal of the night with 12 minutes left after a knockdown from Aaron Ramsey. Olivier Giroud’s sublime finish and a double from Lukas Podolski gave FA Cup finalists Arsenal a 3-1 win over West Ham at the Emirates Stadium to move back up into the top four of the Barclays Premier League.
… Anti-doping tribunal to deliver verdict todayANDRE Russell is praying and hoping that the independent anti-doping tribunal does not ban him for missing out on filing his whereabouts on three occasions in 2015.The three-member tribunal will deliver the verdict in Kingston today.If found guilty, Russell could face a maximum ban of up to two years under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules. Missing three Tests in a 12-month period amounts to a failed dope test under the WADA guidelines.“It’s been stressing and hard playing cricket and all that’s in the back of your head. But at the end of the day you have to do what you have to do,” Russell told Jamaican Observer.“It’s like a big cloud over my head. If I get a ban then definitely I’m out of cricket (during the period of the suspension); I mean all formats. So I’d just love to know I’m back and I can represent Jamaica Tallawahs, West Indies, and all the other teams I play for in the world.“Honestly, I’m being positive and I haven’t been thinking about anything else that I want to do apart from playing cricket; doing what I love. I have so many fans out there and they would be disappointed, just as I would be. I just want to remain positive at the moment.“I think I can (avoid a suspension) with the help of God; I think it’s out of my control, so I just have to wait on what happens on Tuesday (today).”In March 2016, Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) pressed a legal charge against Russell for failing to provide his whereabouts between January and July 2015. According to JADCO Russell had failed to file his whereabouts on January 1, July 1 and July 25 that year despite several reminders over email, phone and letters.In his defence, Russell told the tribunal that he had not been properly trained to file the whereabouts, and that he had authorised his agent and travel agent to file his whereabouts since he was busy with cricket commitments.The three-member tribunal comprising Hugh Faulkner, Dr Marjorie Vassell and Dixeth Palmer, a former Jamaica cricketer has been deliberating on the case for a long time and even delayed the original verdict date last December.Russell, who is recovering from a left hamstring injury which forced him out midway the Big Bash League in Australia earlier this month, remained “positive” on the eve of the verdict.Russell tested his fitness last Saturday when he returned to play a league game for St Catherine’s Cricket Club. He ended up with three wickets which played a role in his team’s victory.Last July, while playing for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League, Russell had said it had been “depressing” for him to carry on playing while the hearings were on. Ahead of the hearing, he hoped his prayers would be answered.“As I said in the team meeting to the guys, I just would love for them to say a prayer for me, and I’ve been praying for myself as well,” he said. “I have faith (in) the work that my lawyers put out … I think they summed up things very well.” (ESPN Cricinfo)
Ghanaian photo journalist Senyuiedzorm Adadevoh mounted a three-day exhibition and auction of some of her finest works to raise money to provide footballs for deprived communities.The exhibition which was launched in Accra and saw some of Adadevorh’s most impressive action pictures traded to the general public to raise funds for her personal initiative.Some of the pictures on display were shots of Black Stars players in recent tournaments and crucial qualifying matches.The featured pictures have been printed on quality canvass material made in Ghana and autographed by their subjects which include Asamoah Gyan, Stephen Appiah, Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien, Andre Ayew and Kevin-Prince Boateng.Most of the pictures being traded recalls some of the most memorable Black Stars moments including Ghana’s impressive performance at the 2010 World Cupin South Africa, the historic friendly against England in Wembley, the 2012 and2013 Africa Cup of Nations and crucial 2014 World Cup qualifying matches against Zambia and Egypt. Senyuiedzorm Adadevoh officially opening the exhibition with Prof. Attuquaye Okine around the exhibitionThe launch which was conducted by Professor Attuquaye Okine was hailed by the invited guests who will have to wait from Thursday to make bids for their favourite portraits on show.The star of the night, Senyuiedzorm Adadevoh shared the inspiration behind her initiative to use her profession to help develop the game of football especially in deprived Ghanaian communities.“I have done this work with all of my heart and I believe it is time I use it to try in my own small way to do something good for the communities,” she said at the launch.“I watch all kinds of football matches, from gutter-to-gutter to the big matches at the stadium and I realized that most of the kids don’t have even a football to play with. “Even club administrators complain of the lack of footballs for their teams how much more these kids in these communities.“So I put it on myself to use my work to raise money to buy at least 1000 balls to distribute in the various communities.”The exhibition and auctioning of the pictures will continue until Friday inCantonments, Accra.