Ups and downs in Premier League, the third Test in Dubai and NBA

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A quick look at the highs and lows and other standout news to be culled out from the EPL, the third Test between Pakistan and England in Dubai and the National Basketball Association's weekly updates.

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal

Crisis? What crisis? Any fickle Arsenal fans who were contemplating protesting against the manager and the club before the game were probably glad they didn't after the Gunners tore Blackburn Rovers apart. In Wenger the fans should trust.

Patrick Bamford, Chelsea

Patrick who? Indeed. The striker earned a dream £1.5 million (Dh8,681m) move to Chelsea last week despite playing only 12 minutes of first-team football for Nottingham Forest. How much football he sees at Chelsea remains to be seen but he won't care right now.

Steven Pienaar, Everton

Announced his return to the club with a masterful display in midfield against Wigan. David Moyes, the Everton manager, described him as "the best player on the pitch". It begs the question as to why he left for Tottenham in the first place.

2576-on-Wenger.jpgArsene Wenger, Arsenal manager - AP Photo


Leon Best, Newcastle

Handed the chance to partner the returning Demba Ba, the striker needed to make an impression with big-money signing Papiss Demba Cisse itching for action from the bench. But Best lasted just 14 minutes before suffering a serious injury.

Joey Barton, QPR

Not a day seems to go past when the prickly midfielder isn't either picking a fight with someone on the pitch or embroiling himself in a row on Twitter. Now he is the subject of attention from the Attorney General's office for the robust observations he made about the John Terry racism saga.

Chelsea fans

The appalling booing of a player involved in a race row continued on Sunday when Rio Ferdinand was relentlessly jeered at Stamford Bridge. Ferdinand's crime? Being the brother of Anton who is alleged to have been racially abused by the Chelsea captain John Terry.

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Best captain - Misbah-ul-Haq

"It is a strong statement for Pakistan, to say that we are back in cricket," Misbah, their captain, said. When he came to power, Pakistan were mired in one of their customary crises. Having a captain who can cope with the slings and arrows of cricket's fortunes with equanimity has been vital to their renaissance.

Worst family resemblance - Adnan Akmal

You can see the Akmals coming a mile off, all flashing smiles. Other things bind them, too. Adnan has been terrific behind the stumps since taking over as Pakistan's wicketkeeper from brother Kamran. Yet the dolly the dropped off Andrew Strauss was right out of his predecessor's book of bloopers.

Best pacemaker - Sachin Tendulkar

When Alastair Cook reached 22, he became the second youngest player to reach 6,000 runs in Test cricket. He managed it one game quicker than Sachin Tendulkar, who started younger than him, too. Not long before he catches him up on all his records. Just the 113 Tests and 9,000 odd runs to go ...

Worst review - Monty Panesar

Perhaps it was fitting that the final result of a match which was so wholly in thrall to the Decision Review System should be delayed by one final referral. Abdur Rehman had Panesar lbw, yet had to wait around to celebrate, as England burned their final review.

Best pals - Cook and the Umars

On crumbling fourth-day wickets, against high-quality spin bowling, batsmen can always do with a bit of luck. Cook was granted plenty thanks to a couple of Umars. Taufeeq Umar gave him a life by dropping him early in his innings, then Umar Gul waved another one through when fielding on the boundary.

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Week in NBA

Players of the week

* Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City. The Thunder superstar averaged 31.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and three blocks in four games.

* Greg Monroe, Detroit. He is shedding his "unheralded" tag. In four games the second-year centre averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds, and shot 59 per cent.

* Kevin Love, Minnesota. The Timberwolves forward averaged 23.8 points and 13 rebounds in four games. He has had a double-double in 22 of 24 games.

Teams of the week

* Boston. The creaky Celtics are back from the dead: they just reeled off a 4-0 week.

* San Antonio. Another old team finding their form. They were 4-0 with a win over Oklahoma City, and are 13-1 at home.

Duds of the week

* Iman Shumpert, New York. A rookie, so it is not entirely fair to pick on him, but he is their starting point guard, Last week: 6.3 points and 5.3 assists per game.

* Derek Fisher, Los Angeles Lakers. He is 300 years old, so it is not entirely fair to pick on him, but he is their starting point guard. Last week: 4.7 points and 3.0 assists.

* Charlotte. The league's worst team lost three more games to extend their losing streak to 11 games.


* San Antonio at Philadelphia (tomorrow): Another chance for the 76ers to show they are for real.

* Los Angeles Lakers at Boston (Thursday): The NBA's best rivalry, even if both teams are looking battle worn.