Remember ‘where would Arsenal be without Auba?’ 2:51 When Leicester won the Premier League in 2015/16, we asked if they could keep it up. They did. When they were in the title race until Christmas last season, we asked if they could keep it up. They couldn’t.That recent history suggests it would be premature to cast too harsh a judgement on Brendan Rodgers side’s sensational start, with six wins from eight in the Premier League and six in a row across all competitions.Certainly, the early signs are good. Last season they fell apart without Wilfred Ndidi and never really recovered. This season, they have had him fit for two of their eight games, and are currently enjoying their best-ever start to a Premier League season.This is not a prophecy that Leicester are going to win the Premier League. Some of their rivals have more resources, more quality and crucially, more experience of success.But at the very least, there is little to suggest last season’s top-four surge was a flash-in-the-pan effort. Thrashing Leeds and Braga and then beating Wolves needed three different performances, but Leicester passed all three tests comfortably. In Wesley Fofana they look to have landed a gem at the back – and one they badly needed as we saw after the restart last season.The real question will be that longevity. The coronavirus break did little to help Rodgers’ boys last season, but they had picked up only 14 points from the 12 games beforehand anyway. Stopping that drop-off this season – which given their Ndidi-less form so far looks a possibility – will be key.And anyway, the esteemed wisdom has been wrong before. If you cannot dream of a title challenge in these crazy times, when the intensity of the truncated calendar is playing havoc with every team to differing extents, then when?Ron WalkerLiverpool coping without VVD so far – Advertisement – FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa’s win over Arsenal 3:00 Manchester City head into the international break not in the top-10 of the Premier League. Pep Guardiola could be forgiven for being a little disoriented; he is used to looking down rather than up in terms of a league position. This has been the worst start after seven league games of Guardiola’s managerial career in terms of points, wins, goals scored and conceded.Of course, some context is needed. City have a game in hand and a win would take them into the European spots.However, my eyes still haven’t been completely taken with Guardiola’s boys so far this season. It’s their own fault for the sky-high limits they have set in previous seasons but their intensity seems to be more Korma than Vindaloo on the spice radar.In the opening 20 minutes against Liverpool, they looked a level or two inferior to the champions. With some cuter final balls or finishing then Jurgen Klopp’s men could have built a meatier lead. Gabriel Jesus’ goal came against the run of play and was a big turning point. Up until then, City created little of note – a common theme for their season so far.“Their lack of goals is a big concern for City,” noted Roy Keane.The expected goals data back that up. In the last three season under Guardiola, their attacking xG has averaged out at 2.56 per game. This season that figure is at 1.57.If the top-two from last season are going to fill those places again, City need to find more.Lewis JonesBarkley ready to rekindle Euro 2020 hopes It barely caused a ripple outside of Aston Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training complex when as Gareth Southgate’s 29-man squad for November’s games against Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland was revealed, Ross Barkley’s name was not on that lengthy list.His loan switch to Villa was in some quarters derided as a backwards step, but the former Everton midfielder continued his resurgence as Villa ripped Arsenal apart at the Emirates.Dean Smith said: “He’s a marquee signing for us to bring in on loan and has been around a club that are perennial winners. He wanted to get game time to try to get into the Euro squad. His performances at the moment will certainly be nudging Gareth [Southgate], showing he’s hungry for business. He’s playing extremely well.”The 26-year-old is someone who has progressed through his career always happy to defy his critics. His improvement has gone a little under the radar, but the man himself will not have given up on making a late dash for next summer’s tournament, along with Jack Grealish.With Smith managing to operate the two technicians so effectively, Barkley’s latest display has given Southgate plenty to consider, fuelling the debate over England’s absence of creativity ahead of another international window.Ben GroundsKane saves the day for Spurs again FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s win over Wolves in the Premier League. When Liverpool lost Virgil van Dijk to injury against Everton, their detractors rushed to question how they would possibly cope without their star centre-back. Six games on, and with just three goals conceded, Jurgen Klopp will be satisfied with how his squad have stepped up to cover the Dutchman’s absence.There have been tough tests along the way, including Serie A top scorers Atalanta, who were shutout on Tuesday, and there have been a variety of players used alongside Joe Gomez.Nat Phillips came in and delivered a man of the match performance against West Ham, 19-year-old Rhys Williams has seamlessly stepped into the world of Champions League football, and on Sunday fit-again Joel Matip brought his experience and composure to the backline at the Etihad.The German was making just his third Premier League start since October 2019 but you wouldn’t have guessed it. Up against Manchester City’s wealth of attacking talent, he and Gomez limited Pep Guardiola’s side to just two shots on target.There is still a long way to go but so far Liverpool’s capable youngsters and more experienced centre-back options have shown the immediate panic about the implications of Van Dijk’s injury were a little excessive.Peter SmithMan City still struggling to hit usual levels Image:Joel Matip impressed against Man City FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win over West Brom in the Premier League – Advertisement – West Brom should have taken at least a point against Tottenham. They were by far the better side in the first half and worked their blue and white socks off to try and keep an in-form Spurs from scoring after the break.But despite an 88th minute gut punch, Slaven Bilic was practically gleeful at full-time, telling Sky Sports: “If we play like this in every game, then we will have a chance… If you have chances against Spurs, you’ll have chances against less quality teams.“I told the guys that every game is an opportunity and we showed that today, but this is a bonus game… We’re disappointed but at the same time, very positive about the performance.”They did not look like a team without a win this season but that is the crux of the matter – after eight games, West Brom have just three points on the board, have the worst goal difference in the league and are in danger of being cut adrift before Christmas.They also need to improve their final product. Hugo Lloris made just two saves and there was also a sensational off-the-line clearance from Eric Dier. Yes, they were without the creative sparks of Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana, but there were a few wild shots flying around.But you hope Bilic is proven correct and West Brom can keep producing the same impressive performances, especially against the teams around them, and can go a step further to secure those vital points.Charlotte Marsh FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s draw with Liverpool in the Premier League. Image:Ross Barkley enjoyed his evening at the Emirates – England soon? 2:56 Indeed, Aubameyang has registered just 10 shots on target in eight league games – a growing concern for Arteta following a second straight home defeat.“It’s a team function and a collective thing we have to do more with the end product,” the Spaniard said when Aubameyang’s struggles were put to him.“Of course, we can talk about if he’s in the right or wrong place but he was scoring before. We need to maintain the numbers we had defensively in our organisation and we have to improve our attacking numbers if we want to compete with the big teams.”This was a collective setback for Arsenal, but where so often Aubameyang would drag them to victory last term, the goals have dried up ever since he signed a new three-year contract in September.It was the first time he’s played the full 90 minutes in a home Premier League match for Arsenal without attempting a shot, but part of a growing trend that will worry Arsenal supporters.Ben GroundsLeicester look the real deal – can they keep it up? Mikel Arteta admitted he couldn’t see the “spirit” of his Arsenal team as Ollie Watkins’ quick-fire double helped Aston Villa return to winning ways at the Emirates on Sunday night.The Gunners offered very little in reply with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failing to register a single shot on target. The forward has scored just two Premier League goals this season and not from open play since against Fulham on the opening weekend.- Advertisement – West Brom’s Slaven Bilic admitted he was disappointed with the result against Tottenham but thinks if they’re brave and committed as they were then they will have a chance this season 2:56 – Advertisement – 2:53 As if anyone needed reminding, Harry Kane is still Tottenham’s hero and turned up with the goods once again on Sunday. He bailed them out of a potential embarrassment, nodding home in the 88th minute to secure a 1-0 win against winless West Brom.It was his 150th Premier League goal – leading nicely on from his 200th Tottenham goal on Thursday – with only Alan Shearer (212) and Sergio Aguero (217) reaching the landmark faster than Kane (218).Despite a general lack of creative spark from Spurs, the England captain was the one trying to make something happen. He had a total of seven shots – the most of his team – and although only one was on target, it was the winner. It takes Kane to 13 goals in 14 games across all competitions for Tottenham so far this season, including ten assists.In his post-match press conference, manager Jose Mourinho said: “When you go to stats in relation to the strikers, I always say that the stats should be how many goals they’ve scored and what he did for his team in the matches where he didn’t score. With many strikers, their history would be an incredible number of goals that they scored plus zero.“With Harry Kane, you have this number of goals, this number of assists, this number of balls recovered, this number of duels won, this number of balls he saved his team in a defensive set-piece. This is Harry Kane.“So for me, it is not about one more goal or one less goal. It’s about what he is as a player.”Kane did well on that front too. He was involved in 19 duels – again, the highest among the Tottenham team – and won 47.4 per cent of them with eight being aerial. As Mourinho said, Kane continues to demonstrate his ability and contributions across the field as a Premier League legend in the making.Charlotte MarshWest Brom show spirit – but no points
OlderAccor signs for three properties in Djibouti Government-imposed travel and entry restrictions continue to significantly impact global travel demand. Meanwhile, Covid-19 testing has emerged as an important part of an end-to-end solution to enable the safe restart of international travel by potentially reducing the reliance on the blunt instrument of blanket quarantines. “We welcome the publication of the updated CART report which, among other things, calls for the serious consideration of screening and testing as a means for easing travel and border restrictions, and reviving the travel and tourism industry and the global economy,” said Star Alliance chief executive, Jeffrey Goh. – Advertisement – The three major global airline alliances have offered their full support to the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) second-phase council on aviation recovery task force (CART) report.SkyTeam, oneworld and Star Alliance urge governments to implement the report guidelines for passenger testing protocols, as well as the adoption of digital health pass technology, so air travel may safely resume. – Advertisement – “A robust protocol for testing will also provide further evidence to demonstrate that air travel is not a material cause for infections and will pave the way for a framework of trust to be established between countries.” On behalf of their 58 member airlines, representing over 60 per cent of world airline capacity and carrying over 1.87 billion passengers annually prior to the Covid-19 crisis, the three alliances are calling for a harmonised approach to testing that will form the foundation of a trust framework, as recommended by the ICAO guidelines. SkyTeam chief executive, Kristin Colvile, said: “Testing regimes and trials of digital health passes have identified means to restoring confidence and reopening borders, complementing the layer upon layer of passenger safety measures already implemented by airlines and airports worldwide. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – “Aviation supports millions of jobs around the world and drives international commerce, trade and tourism. Urgent action is needed to adopt testing and technology to mitigate Covid-19 risks and safely and quickly revive international air travel.” The recent digital ‘health pass’ trials, such as Common Pass, are presenting a strong case for using digital technology to deliver harmonised standards in the validation and verification of accredited passenger health data.The alliances support technical solutions that provide a consistent, scalable and affordable way to declare passenger health data that is simple to implement as part of the customer journey, with processes-initiated pre-travel to reduce passenger inconvenience at airports. oneworld chief executive, Rob Gurney, said: “With extensive travel restrictions creating much uncertainty for customers, testing can play a role in enabling the safe restart of travel. “Any solution used in declaring passenger health data should be consistent, scalable and cost effective – this will provide clarity and confidence to customers, airlines and other stakeholders as international travel resumes.” NewerCelebrity Cruises launches new inclusive pricing model
Indianapolis, In. — Recognizing the wisdom of using existing funds for the monitoring and conservation of species at risk in Indiana, the Indiana Parks Alliance enthusiastically supports H.R.4647, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. IPA support for the Recovering American’s Wildlife Act reflects its mission of supporting Indiana state parks and nature preserves and the resources they steward.The bill, with the support of more than 100 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, would provide more than $1.3 billion annually in royalties collected from energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters. A Senate version would require annual appropriations from Congress. Neither version requires a tax increase.According to Tom Hohman, president of the Indiana Parks Alliance, “This is an opportunity to shore up conservation efforts on behalf of so many Indiana species fighting to survive and thrive. Without increasing taxes, this act would ensure robust funding for Wildlife Action Plans in every state.”IPA joins a wide array of conservation, environmental and other groups in calling for a hearing by the full House Natural Resources Committee and continuing to add co-sponsors in the House and Senate.The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was spurred by a 2016 report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, which noted that “These funds would provide states with the resources needed to implement State Wildlife Action Plans which are designed to conserve 12,000 species in greatest conservation need.”Scientists estimate that one third of all U.S. wildlife species are in trouble or vulnerable due to habitat loss, invasive species, and severe weather taking a toll on birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and bees.Indiana impact: $20 million annuallyAccording to the Indiana DNR, among the many species that are endangered or of special concern are the cerulean warbler, trumpeter swan, black bear, lake sturgeon, red salamander and spotted turtle.Indiana’s State Wildlife Action plan is a blueprint for conservation of non-game species by assessing the health of wildlife and habitat and identifying the species of greatest conservation need. Indiana has a proven track record of success for restoring Hoosier species such as the bald eagle, osprey, otters, falcons and others in the non-game categories in addition to white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and numerous fish species for hunting and angling.Indiana would be required to provide a $6 million match to fully access the $20 million estimated as Indiana’s share of the newly dedicated funding source. This support would continue indefinitely as part of the Pitman-Robertson Act that has funded state fish and wildlife programs since 1937. There are currently more than 100 co-sponsors of H.R.4647, including Rep. Andre Carson.Taking actionAdvocates are urged to contact their members of the U.S. House and Senate and urge them to join as co-sponsors for the future of Indiana’s wildlife.