By Tim Stannard
1) Atletico with chance to shake up title chase
Even those most ardent supporters and followers of everything that goes on in the White House must now realize that there is no more hiding place. The game is up. There is no more debate over the disaster of the past seven months in particular.
The White House, in this sense of course, being the other moniker for the Santiago Bernabeu, the home of a Real Madrid side that gave up the tiniest, teeniest chance of winning La Liga with a lame and limp defeat to Espanyol on Tuesday.
And that leaves one team standing in the title race in Spain’s capital city – Atletico Madrid, a side that has dutifully chased after Barcelona at the top of the table like a puppy pursuing a hotdog dangled behind a bicycle.
The gap between the pair is currently seven points. A win at home to Leganes on Wednesday – live on beIN SPORTS ESPANYOL at 3:30PM ET / 12:30PM PT – and the gap closes to four. Barcelona are at Las Palmas on Thursday. If the Catalan club slip up and Atletico beat Barca in the Camp Nou on Sunday and the gap is potentially one. Just a single point. Could happen. Probably won’t. But it could.
Catch up with all the action from La Liga on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT.
2) PSG struggle on without Neymar against Marseille
Sports Burst understands.
It felt the same frisson of stress and anticipation as well. The very first thought when waking up on Wednesday for all of North America has been "what's going on with Neymar's broken metatarsal!?"
Well, while the declaration from PSG boss, Unai Emery, held court for much of Tuesday that reports of surgery were fake news and that Neymar might even be able to play against Real Madrid next week, such talk was soon dismissed by the person who is really in control of Neymar Jr's career - Neymar Sr.
FACT: Neymar will now have missed a game on 11th March for FOUR consecutive years:— SPORF (@Sporf) February 27, 2018
❌ 14/15: Suspended
❌ 15/16: Suspended
❌ 16/17: Injury
❌ 17/18: Injury
...the same day as his sister's birthday. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/kMP6biMZwP
Later that same day, the player's father and agent declared that surgery would be required for his son and that the PSG man would be out for six to eight weeks. And that's where we are on Wednesday, to leave plucky PSG struggling on for the next couple of months, getting on by merely with some of the best forwards and midfielders in the world.
The likes of Edinson Cavani and Angel di Maria will be putting their courage to the sticking place live on beIN SPORTS on Wednesday afternoon in another home clash against Marseille in a Coupe de France encounter. The action starts at 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PT.
3) Wenger suffering from sacking ennui
Arsene Wenger is having quite the week. Last Thursday, the under-siege Arsenal boss was overseeing a home defeat to Swedish minnows Ostersunds in the Europa League. Four days later, Wenger masterminded a non-performance from his team in a 3-0 loss to Manchester City in the League Cup final.
On Thursday, Arsenal have the chance to lose to Pep Guardiola's side in whole new ways in a Premier League catch-up game, hence Wenger talking to the media the day before about more speculation over his job security. "I am amazed I still have to answer these kind of questions," noted Wenger whose Arsenal team are set to miss out on the top four for a second year in a row and are 27 points off the top of the table.
🗣 Wenger: “We are very disappointed because we lost an important game. We need to first recover from the disappointment and then prepare for the next challenge, as always, together"#AFCvMCFC pic.twitter.com/fd3cAuPBZg— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 28, 2018
"My position is the last worry I have at the moment," noted Wenger who has 99 problems and what happens on the pitch is definitely one. Find out on the XTRA at 7PM ET if Christian Vieri is part of the Wenger Out! brigade.
4) Russia claims restoration to the Olympic family
Two doping violations from the Russian-but-not-Russian Winter Olympics team has apparently convinced the IOC that the country is ready to return to the Olympics family having served its naughty step punishment for government-sponsored systemic drug cheating.
That is what the Russian Olympic Committee are themselves claiming on Wednesday with federation president Alexander Zhukov telling state TV that "The Russian Olympic Committee has had its rights fully restored." The rationale for the decision to allow the Russian Committee back into the family is that doping violations are now individual responsibilities rather than stemming from a collective effort.
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. Sports Burst 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.