Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

Just days after the Football Association were forced to arrange a peace summit between Manchester United and Arsenal, the two clubs have been thrown together in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup in a repeat of last month's explosive Premiership clash.

Manchester United's 2-0 win over an understrength Crystal Palace side on Wednesday night, courtesy of goals from Louis Saha and Kieran Richardson, set up the meeting on November 29, days after Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger faces an FA disciplinary panel over comments he made after last month's game.

In the other quarter-finals, Watford meet Portsmouth, Tottenham take on Liverpool and Chelsea host west London neighbours Fulham. Chelsea overcame Newcastle at St James' Park on Wednesday night with extra-time goals from Eidur Gudjohnsen and in-form winger Arjen Robben. Liverpool left it late to overcome holders Middlesbrough with two goals from Neil Mellor in the last 10 minutes.

At the City Ground there were four goals in a frantic 30 minutes of extra time, with Fulham running out 4-2 winners over Nottingham Forest.

* The new football manager of Wales could be announced as soon as Friday. Four candidates for the post are to be interviewed on Thursday, with John Toshack, the former Welsh international who has previously managed Real Madrid and Real Sociedad, widely regarded as the favourite to replace Mark Hughes.

However, he faces competition from compatriot Dean Saunders, a coach at Newcastle United, and Frenchmen Gérard Houllier and Phillipe Troussier. Houllier, who coached the French national side before winning trophies at Liverpool, may prove to be Toshack's closest rival.

An 11-man Football Association of Wales sub-committee will meet at a hotel near Heathrow airport to interview the four. It is understood the new manager will receive a four-year contract worth £1m plus bonuses for reaching a big tournament. The recommendations from the sub-committee will then be forwarded to the full FAW council, which is scheduled for Friday.

The new manager's first task will be to salvage Wales's World Cup qualifying campaign. With two points from four games, they have slipped to second bottom behind England, Poland, Austria and Northern Ireland. Only Azerbaijan have a poorer record in the group.

* They may have a bad reputation in England, but artificial football pitches won a significant vote of approval on Wednesday. Uefa, European football's governing body, sanctioned the use of artificial turf in all European competitions, including internationals.

After several years of lobbying, Uefa has finally accepted that the latest synthetic pitches are a good enough alternative to natural grass to allow professional football to be played on them. The organisation said: "People in England have bad memories of the artificial pitches of Luton and QPR in the 1980s, but the latest generation are completely different and are much more like grass. We have sanctioned its use from the start of next season but only as long as it is the latest generation of artificial turf and meets a whole series of standards."

Although European Championship qualifiers will now be allowed on synthetic pitches, Uefa will continue to insist that the finals are staged entirely on grass so that all teams in a tournament play on the same surface.

Artificial pitches are supported by Fifa, the game's world governing body, as a means of developing the game in countries with extreme temperatures. Uefa's move follows a two-year study into synthetic surfaces to monitor factors such as the bounce of the ball and injuries to players.

Dunfermline Athletic, the Scottish club, began using such a pitch last season. Several leading clubs from Scandinavia, Russia and eastern Europe - particularly those who only play Champions League or Uefa Cup matches in winter - are now expected to install artificial turf in preparation for the start of the 2005-06 season.

* JoséAntonio Camacho, the former Real Madrid coach, says the signing of England striker Michael Owen contributed to his decision to quit in September.

Camacho, who resigned after just four months in the post, said he was unhappy at not being able to exert full control at the club. "I didn't ask for Owen, although I said that I would not get in the way," said Camacho. "Xabi Alonso was an option, but the priorities were [Arsenal's Patrick] Vieira and [then AS Roma player] Emerson."

Owen, who joined the club in August from Liverpool, has scored five goals in six games after struggling to make an impact in his early weeks in the Spanish capital.

Real's stuttering start to the season was another factor in Camacho walking away, saying the club's expensively assembled squad refused to respond to his methods and ideas.

* The career of Carlos Sainz, who twice won the world rallying championship, ended on Wednesday, one race short of his scheduled retirement.

The 42-year-old Spaniard had planned to quit after the season-ending Rally Australia, which starts on Thursday. But a crash on a reconnaissance drive south of Perth this week forced his early withdrawal. brace to protect a spine injury, said: "The doctor told me I've damaged a disc and that the slightest impact could have very serious consequences. I will not be at the start line."

Sainz won the world rally title in 1990 and 1992, has been runner-up four times and won a record 26 rallies.

* Uncapped Saracens forward Hugh Vyvyan has been added to the England replacements for Saturday's rugby union international against Canada following the promotion of Gloucester's Andy Hazell to the starting XV. Hazell, who is also uncapped, was named in the team after Joe Worsley was ruled out with a dead leg. He will play at openside flanker, with Lewis Moody of Leicester switching to the blindside.

Get alerts on News when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Comments have not been enabled for this article.

Follow the topics in this article