A big day in the Premier League. Unless you stayed up to watch the satellite, we can report that it’s been a big night of football while you were sleeping. Arsenal notched its first win of the season, beating Manchester United at Old Trafford to move from 17th on the table to 10th on the strength of one goal. Given Man U had won its four previous games and the Gunners had been struggling, this was a big result. Chelsea’s win over Liverpool was no less noteworthy. It was also decided by one goal, an absolute stunner from Chelsea’s Didier Drogba that was worthy of such a big game. Then Michael Ballack, the German captain who crossed to Chelsea this year, was sent off for a vicious stamp on Momo Sissoko. Despite being down to 10 men, Chelsea held on for the last 40 minutes – although Steven Gerrard missed one he should have scored, and was denied a fairly blatant penalty. Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt also hit the bar in the first half. All up a pretty stirring game, and one that, even at this early stage of the season, leaves Liverpool’s title aspirations looking very, very forlorn. Despite all that, you know what a lot of people will be talking about? The fact that the two managers, Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez, finally shook hands (both before and after the match). They have failed to do so after their past couple of encounters and it had become a major talking point in football. Even so, we’re resisting the urge to say football was the real winner.

Tennis: Italy claims first Fed Cup, Baghdatis wins a title. Italy has won the Federation Cup, the women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup, after Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne was forced to quit in the deciding doubles match because of a knee injury, aggravated during her win over Francesca Schiavone earlier in the day. The US Open finalist had been struggling throughout the final with various ailments and finally succumbed to the knee in the last set of the last match, to hand Italy the Cup. It was a flat way to end the final, but Italy won’t care, lifting the Cup for the first time. Meanwhile, one of the brightest rising stars in tennis, Australian Open finalist and everybody’s favourite Cypriot, Marcos Baghdatis, has won his first professional title, beating Mario Ancic 6-4, 6-0 for the China Open silverware. “It’s my first title, it’s a great moment and I’m really happy about that,” Baghdatis said. “I didn’t let him play. It was one of my best matches.”

How to make money as an athlete in your thirties. I hope several ageing Australian sports stars, such as creaky AFL players trying to go around for one more season, or Test bowler Jason Gillespie, desperately hoping to be given a shot during the Ashes, haven’t read the latest news from Texas. A 33-year-old veteran ice hockey player, Jere Lehtinen, has been confirmed as staying on the Dallas Stars roster after the club happily offered him a two-year, $US8 million contract extension. “Jere has been a model of professionalism throughout his career,” said the club’s boss, Doug Armstrong. “He is one of the best two-way forwards in the game. Consistency and honesty are Jere’s trademarks and he brings them to the rink every day.” After watching the Lions’ premiership ruckman Clark Keating get pushed out the door last week, we’d advise him to buy some skates and start practising.

Peter Fray

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