For all the Russia 2018 draw razzmatazz, shadow cast by Olympics takes off gloss | Martha Kelner

Moscow stages the World Cup draw on Friday but Russia’s systematic doping at Sochi 2014 and beyond has eroded what should be football’s crowning glory

The darkness will be thick and the temperature below freezing in Moscow when the first ball is drawn but the historic snow‑dappled domes of St Basil’s Cathedral remain visible from the Kremlin palace even at night.

As a setting for the World Cup draw it is a perfect showcase, the imposing buildings of the fortified complex and Red Square totemic of Russian power and influence. There are Christmas lights, an ice skating rink and hot sausage stalls in the shadow of one of the most uncompromising political regimes of the modern era.

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via Football | The Guardian

Sam Allardyce appointed new Everton manager before Huddersfield game

• New manager succeeds Koeman who was sacked five weeks ago
• Allardyce watched Everton’s defeat of West Ham at Goodison Park

Sam Allardyce has been appointed the new Everton manager just a day after watching from the stands as the team cruised to a 4-0 victory over West Ham at Goodison Park.

Related: Everton put faith in Big Sam successfully renewing his big ambitions

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via Football | The Guardian

Raheem Sterling, English managers and the World Cup draw – Football Weekly Extra

Max Rushden and co reveal the secret behind Raheem Sterling’s form, revel in Wayne Rooney’s long-range goal and look ahead to the World Cup draw

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Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Paul MacInnes and Elis James return for a Football Weekly Extra midweek Premier League fixture special. On the pitch, Wayne Rooney helps Everton thump West Ham, the wonder that is Raheem Sterling strikes again to keep Manchester City and an overexuberant Pep Guardiola flying high, and Spurs slump to defeat against Leicester as their title bid looks all but over.

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via Football | The Guardian

Arsenal have refound their groove but fear remains that further lapses loom | Jonathan Wilson

Arsène Wenger’s team are on a winning streak and are lording it above Spurs, and Mesut Özil is sparkling, but there is no evidence yet that underlying failings of focus and organisation have been eradicated

Arsenal are fourth! Arsenal have won their past three league games in a row! Arsenal have beaten Tottenham Hotspur and are now above them in the table! Arsenal have won seven out of seven at home this season!

Arsenal defeated Huddersfield Town 5-0 on Wednesday with all three of their expensive forwards scoring! Arsenal are four points off second! At the Emirates Stadium, dreams are – tentatively – being dreamed again.

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via Football | The Guardian