1) MSN face Athletic affair in Copa clash
At least one half of the buttered side – dry side of the Clasico toast slice is happy going into Thursday.
Real Madrid managed to squish Sevilla in the Santiago Bernabeu in a last-16 Copa del Rey clash on Wednesday, and what’s more, even James bagged a brace to have the crowd cheering the Colombian’s name rather than peering to see what the midfielder was reading on the bench. "I'm staying, I'm staying," declared James to ruin an entire transfer rumor industry in just a few seconds.
On Thursday, it is the turn of Barcelona in testing tussle against Athletic Bilbao in San Mames, a clash between two teams that have won the cup 51 times between them. Luis Enrique boasted that the MSN was looking livelier than ever after some vacation time, a sentiment shared by Athletic counterpart Ernesto Valverde. “They are dangerous, even when they are on holiday,” joked the Bilbao boss.
Tune in to beIN SPORTS live from 3PM ET / 12PM PT for full coverage and catch the best highlights on the XTRA as well as a look back at a big night for James Rodriguez for Madrid.
2) Tigers give up as Osasuna kick out Caparros
Hull City appear to have cemented a New Year’s resolution by appointing a coach with no experience of English football to keep the side up in the Premier League. Former Sporting and Sporting Lisbon boss, Marco Silva, takes over until the end of the season. “Marco is a young coach who has impressed us with his philosophy and football style,” announced the Hull’s vice-chairman, Ehab Allam, with some optimism.
Meanwhile, down in Spain, La Liga side Osasuna have decided to ditch manager, Joaquin Caparros, after just two months in charge. Current sporting director and copy-paste king, Petar Vasiljevic, takes over for Monday’s dumpster fire derby against Valencia and until the end of the season.
3) Wenger promises more Arsenal passion
Stung by criticism that Arsenal are too floppy to ever win the Premier League under Arsene Wenger, the club has made a big statement in the transfer market. English non-league defender, Cohen Bramall, joins for around $50,000. The Arsenal boss has also been speaking ahead of an FA Cup clash against Championship side, Preston, and refutes the notion that his team lack backbone. "Without passion, you don't come back in the Premier League - 70 minutes and 3-0 down,” scoffed Wenger, reflecting on the midweek Bournemouth clash.
4) West Ham still desperate for Defoe
It’s a sluggish Thursday of transfer news so far, with not so much of a beep of an outlandish Player X to Chinese Club X for X in wages.
West Ham are reportedly still desperate to sign Sunderland striker, Jermaine Defoe, Valencia might rekindle their deal for Italian striker, Simone Zaza, and Jese has apparently turned down a loan move to Roma, apparently preferring to head to hometown team, Las Palmas.
Tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT for latest transfer tracker gossip.
5) Kerber crashes out in Brisbane quarters
The big news from Auckland was Caroline Wozniacki losing out to Julia Goerges in a shock loss. Across the pond in Australia and world number one, Angelique Kerber was ousted by Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals of the Brisbane Open. Agnieszka Radwanska was the main victim of at the Shenzhen Open in China. Coverage continues on beIN CONNECT Thursday evening of all tournaments which have now reached their semifinal stages.
WHAT IS SPORTS BURST?
The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. SB is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.