Referee Martin Atkinson, centre, shows Tottenham Hotspur's Jermaine Defoe, third left, the red card at Birmingham.
Referee Martin Atkinson, centre, shows Tottenham Hotspur's Jermaine Defoe, third left, the red card at Birmingham.

Festive cheer in short supply: EPL best and worst



Worst officiating

Martin Atkinson clearly received some new cards for Christmas as he was keen to show them off straight away.

The decision to dismiss Jermain Defoe for an apparent use of the elbow on James Collins during the first half of the match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur was ludicrous and the yellow card Atkinson awarded later to Alan Hutton was nearly as bad.

The fact that Defoe had not been booked this season cut little ice with Atkinson who clearly failed to appreciate that the England striker needed to use his arms to elevate his 5ft 5ins frame to even attempt to challenge the 6ft 1ins Collins.

Atkinson was lucky that Tottenham won the match. Otherwise he could have been on the receiving end of a rant from Harry Redknapp, the Spurs manager, in the post-match press conference. A sending off so early normally ruins a game but, on this occasion, it made for a more compelling spectacle. Atkinson, however, should take no credit for that.

Worst foresight

Karl Oyston, the Blackpool chairman, has won plaudits for his refusal to indulge agents, for his stance on capping the top salary at Bloomfield Road at a reported £10,000 (Dh56,600) a week and for his decision not to jeopardise the future of the club by spending the unexpected windfall of promotion to the Premier League on transfer fees.

However, Oyston short-changed Blackpool fans by not making provisions for the annual cold snap in England, which has been prolonged this winter. He said that installing undersoil heating was beyond the club's financial means, but Oyston could surely have taken other measures to ensure Blackpool's home games were not so severely disrupted by inclement weather.

Blackpool have now had three games called off in two weeks, and this will cause a fixture backlog that will stretch Ian Holloway's wafer-thin squad to the limit.

It is a sad state of affairs when Blackpool's game is called off yet the English non-league game between Woking and Havant & Waterlooville took place. The news yesterday that Blackpool will install undersoil heating in the summer is no help in the here and now.

Worst defending I

The beauty of the Premier League this season is its openness. There is a feeling that any team can spring an upset on their day.

That fact is evidenced by some of the results so far this season: Arsenal 2 West Bromwich Albion 3; Chelsea 0 Sunderland 3, Manchester City 1 Everton 2.

However, if you're going to take out a big-name team, you've got to start well, keep it tight at the back and give nothing away.

In other words, when you are facing a side that cost several hundred million pounds to assemble, make sure your goalkeeper does not pass the ball straight to Carlos Tevez 25 yards out with just 90 seconds of the game gone.

Newcastle United's Tim Krul did just that on Sunday. A matter of moments later, Manchester City had the ball in the back of the net and were on their way to victory.

Worst defending II

Before their trip across London to take on Fulham, West Ham United had managed just five goals in eight away games this season, a large reason why they were bottom of the table going into Sunday's round of matches.

So they must have been thanking their lucky stars as two of their strikes in the 3-1 away win at Craven Cottage were set up by Fulham players. First, midfielder Dickson Etuhu jabbed his leg at a lame cross and sent Carlton Cole, the Hammers forward, through on goal to make it 1-1. Later, Carlos Salcido's attempt to clear a long punt with his head succeeded only in cushioning the ball straight into Cole's path - 3-1 to West Ham.

Scoring is easy when the opposition are helping you out.

Worst discipline

Mario Balotelli, the obstreperous Italian, claims he does not know who Jack Wilshere, the teenage starage at Arsenal is, but he is certainly acquainting himself with the Premier League officials.

The former Inter Milan striker was relegated to the bench on Sunday after an underwhelming display against Everton and clearly failed to heed the warning from his manager, Roberto Mancini, about improving his attitude.

He was summoned on 84 minutes against Newcastle United to replace Carlos Tevez, the two-goal hero, and needed only 98 seconds to pick up his fourth yellow card in 10 appearances this season. Mancini urged Balotelli to be more consistent and he is certainly doing that, picking up yellow cards with regularity. At this rate, the gifted 20-year-old will finish the season with more cards than goals.

Company profile

Date started: Founded in May 2017 and operational since April 2018

Founders: co-founder and chief executive, Doaa Aref; Dr Rasha Rady, co-founder and chief operating officer.

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: Health-tech

Size: 22 employees

Funding: Seed funding 

Investors: Flat6labs, 500 Falcons, three angel investors

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 247hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 370Nm from 1,500-3,500rpm

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 7.8L/100km

Price: from Dh94,900

On sale: now

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

PRESIDENTS CUP

Draw for Presidents Cup fourball matches on Thursday (Internationals first mention). All times UAE:

02.32am (Thursday): Marc Leishman/Joaquin Niemann v Tiger Woods/Justin Thomas
02.47am (Thursday): Adam Hadwin/Im Sung-jae v Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay
03.02am (Thursday): Adam Scott/An Byeong-hun v Bryson DeChambeau/Tony Finau
03.17am (Thursday): Hideki Matsuyama/CT Pan v Webb Simpson/Patrick Reed
03.32am (Thursday): Abraham Ancer/Louis Oosthuizen v Dustin Johnson/Gary Woodland

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

SHAITTAN

Director: Vikas Bahl
Starring: Ajay Devgn, R. Madhavan, Jyothika, Janaki Bodiwala
Rating: 3/5

The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre V6

Power: 272hp at 6,400rpm

Torque: 331Nm from 5,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 9.7L/100km

On sale: now

Price: Dh149,000

 

KLOPP AT LIVERPOOL

Years: October 2015 - June 2024
Total games: 491
Win percentage: 60.9%
Major trophies: 6 (Premier League x 1, Champions League x 1, FA Cup x 1, League Cup x 2, Fifa Club World Cup x1)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SupplyVan
Based: Dubai, UAE
Launch year: 2017
Number of employees: 29
Sector: MRO and e-commerce
Funding: Seed

The Year Earth Changed

Directed by:Tom Beard

Narrated by: Sir David Attenborough

Stars: 4

ARSENAL IN 1977

Feb 05 Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

Feb 12 Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal

Feb 15 Middlesbrough 3-0 Arsenal

Feb 19 Arsenal 2-3 West Ham

Feb 26 Middlesbrough 4-1 Arsenal (FA Cup)

Mar 01 Everton 2-1 Arsenal

Mar 05  Arsenal 1-4 ipswich

March 08 Arsenal 1-2 West Brom

Mar 12 QPR 2-1 Arsenal

Mar 23 Stoke 1-1 Arsenal

Apr 02  Arsenal 3-0 Leicester

'Downton Abbey: A New Era'

Director: Simon Curtis

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SAUDI ARABIA RESULTS

Main card
Middleweight:

Robert Whittaker defeated Ikram Aliskerov via knockout (Round 1)
Heavyweight:
Alexander Volkov def Sergei Pavlovich via unanimous decision
Middleweight:
Kelvin Gastelum def Daniel Rodriguez via unanimous decision
Middleweight:
Shara Magomedov def Antonio Trocoli via knockout (Round 3)
Light heavyweight:
Volkan Oezdemir def Johnny Walker via knockout (Round 1)
Preliminary Card
Lightweight:

Nasrat Haqparast def Jared Gordon via split decision
Featherweight:
Felipe Lima def Muhammad Naimov via submission (Round 3)
Welterweight:
Rinat Fakhretdinov defeats Nicolas Dalby via split decision
Bantamweight:
Muin Gafurov def Kang Kyung-ho via unanimous decision
Light heavyweight:
Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def Brendson Ribeiro via majority decision
Bantamweight:
Chang Ho Lee def Xiao Long via split decision

Directed: Smeep Kang
Produced: Soham Rockstar Entertainment; SKE Production
Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Jimmy Sheirgill, Sunny Singh, Omkar Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma
Rating: Two out of five stars 

INDIA'S TOP INFLUENCERS

Bhuvan Bam
Instagram followers: 16.1 million
Bhuvan Bam is a 29-year-old comedian and actor from Delhi, who started out with YouTube channel, “BB Ki Vines” in 2015, which propelled the social media star into the limelight and made him sought-after among brands.
Kusha Kapila
Instagram followers: 3.1 million
Kusha Kapila is a fashion editor and actress, who has collaborated with brands including Google. She focuses on sharing light-hearted content and insights into her life as a rising celebrity.
Diipa Khosla
Instagram followers: 1.8 million
Diipa Khosla started out as a social media manager before branching out to become one of India's biggest fashion influencers, with collaborations including MAC Cosmetics.
Komal Pandey
Instagram followers: 1.8 million
Komal Pandey is a fashion influencer who has partnered with more than 100 brands, including Olay and smartphone brand Vivo India.
Nikhil Sharma
Instagram followers: 1.4 million
Nikhil Sharma from Mumbai began his online career through vlogs about his motorcycle trips. He has become a lifestyle influencer and has created his own clothing line.
Source: Hireinfluence, various

WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

What is 'Soft Power'?

Soft power was first mentioned in 1990 by former US Defence Secretary Joseph Nye. 
He believed that there were alternative ways of cultivating support from other countries, instead of achieving goals using military strength. 
Soft power is, at its root, the ability to convince other states to do what you want without force. 
This is traditionally achieved by proving that you share morals and values.

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

History's medical milestones

1799 - First small pox vaccine administered

1846 - First public demonstration of anaesthesia in surgery

1861 - Louis Pasteur published his germ theory which proved that bacteria caused diseases

1895 - Discovery of x-rays

1923 - Heart valve surgery performed successfully for first time

1928 - Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

1953 - Structure of DNA discovered

1952 - First organ transplant - a kidney - takes place 

1954 - Clinical trials of birth control pill

1979 - MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, scanned used to diagnose illness and injury.

1998 - The first adult live-donor liver transplant is carried out

UK - UAE Trade

Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and the UAE in 2022 was £21.6 billion (Dh98 billion). 

This is an increase of 63.0 per cent or £8.3 billion in current prices from the four quarters to the end of 2021.

 

The UAE was the UK’s 19th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022 accounting for 1.3 per cent of total UK trade.

A Little to the Left

Developer: Max Inferno
Consoles: PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch
Rating: 4/5

JOKE'S ON YOU

Google wasn't new to busting out April Fool's jokes: before the Gmail "prank", it tricked users with mind-reading MentalPlex responses and said well-fed pigeons were running its search engine operations .

In subsequent years, they announced home internet services through your toilet with its "patented GFlush system", made us believe the Moon's surface was made of cheese and unveiled a dating service in which they called founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page "Stanford PhD wannabes ".

But Gmail was all too real, purportedly inspired by one – a single – Google user complaining about the "poor quality of existing email services" and born "millions of M&Ms later".

How to get there

Emirates (www.emirates.com) flies directly to Hanoi, Vietnam, with fares starting from around Dh2,725 return, while Etihad (www.etihad.com) fares cost about Dh2,213 return with a stop. Chuong is 25 kilometres south of Hanoi.
 

A cheaper choice

Vanuatu: $130,000

Why on earth pick Vanuatu? Easy. The South Pacific country has no income tax, wealth tax, capital gains or inheritance tax. And in 2015, when it was hit by Cyclone Pam, it signed an agreement with the EU that gave it some serious passport power.

Cost: A minimum investment of $130,000 for a family of up to four, plus $25,000 in fees.

Criteria: Applicants must have a minimum net worth of $250,000. The process take six to eight weeks, after which the investor must travel to Vanuatu or Hong Kong to take the oath of allegiance. Citizenship and passport are normally provided on the same day.

Benefits:  No tax, no restrictions on dual citizenship, no requirement to visit or reside to retain a passport. Visa-free access to 129 countries.

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Silkhaus

Started: 2021

Founders: Aahan Bhojani and Ashmin Varma

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Property technology

Funding: $7.75 million

Investors: Nuwa Capital, VentureSouq, Nordstar, Global Founders Capital, Yuj Ventures and Whiteboard Capital


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