Aston Villa vs Leicester: Jamie Vardy inspires rout after scoring in eighth successive game

Jamie Vardy continued his red-hot form as ruthless Leicester dismantled Aston Villa 4-1 to keep Premier League leaders Liverpool in sight.

The former England international bagged a brace to net for an eighth straight game and ensure the Foxes closed the gap on the Reds at the top to eight points.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also scored to help Leicester set a new club record of eight consecutive top-flight wins.

Jack Grealish did make it 2-1 just before the break but the Foxes were rarely in danger.

Brendan Rodgers’ second-placed side are 14 points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United and refusing to budge in the title race.

Jamie Vardy celebrates at Aston Villa (Getty)

In contrast, Villa sit 17th after they were thumped, slipping to a fifth defeat in seven games.

Before, the hosts remembered former boss Ron Saunders, who took them to the First Division title in 1981, after he died aged 87 on Saturday.

From the start, Villa were second best and James Maddison was foiled by Ezri Konsa’s block after just two minutes.

It was a warning Villa failed to heed during a first half where they were wide open and Leicester should have taken the lead after 10 minutes.

Caglar Soyuncu knocked Maddison’s deep free-kick back for Evans but, just four yards out, the defender stabbed at Tom Heaton.

Immediately, Villa broke to spurn their own golden chance when Matt Targett crossed for Anwar El Ghazi to rattle the bar from six yards.

With the chance went Villa’s early hopes and they swiftly lost any grip of the game when Vardy continued his scoring streak after 21 minutes.

Wesley lost the ball and the lively Iheanacho slipped the striker in to race clear and round Heaton.

The in-form Vardy miscued his kick when shaping to shoot but recovered to tap in, despite Konsa’s efforts on the line.

Vardy is now just three games away from equalling his own Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games.

Villa’s problems were partly of their own making with Tyrone Mings unable to cover having already suffered a hamstring injury and the defender was immediately replaced by Bjorn Engels.

Leicester moved further away from third-placed Man City with victory (REUTERS)

The hosts remained open at the back and Konsa blocked Vardy’s effort before Engels had to make a decisive tackle to stop Vardy teeing up Iheanacho.

The Foxes threatened at will while Villa could not handle Vardy’s pace and Iheanacho’s movement.

Villa were guilty of over-playing when they did go forward and were punished four minutes before the break.

There was a touch of fortune but Leicester deserved to double their lead when Maddison crossed and Iheanacho diverted in at the near post.

The Foxes were cruising but Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half injury time when he curled in from 16 yards after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Leicester, though, wasted no time in restoring their two-goal lead four minutes after the break.

Evans escaped Villa’s defence and was left unmarked to thump in a brilliant header from Maddison’s corner.

The game was won although Maddison should have made it 4-1 after 67 minutes only to clip the post.

Harvey Barnes also fired over five minutes later and Vardy wrapped up the game when he raced onto Dennis Praet’s ball to roll under Heaton with 15 minutes left.

It was his 16th goal of the season and Soyuncu was denied a fifth by Heaton soon after as Leicester ran riot.

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General election: Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage will not stand to be an MP for the eighth time

Nigel Farage will not attempt to become an MP for the eight time, as he revealed he will not stand in December’s election as a candidate for the Brexit Party.

Last week Mr Farage issued an ultimatum to Boris Johnson, urging him to drop his deal or face Brexit Party candidates in every seat across Britain at next month’s general election, but refused to be drawn on his own future.

Appearing on BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, Mr Farage, however, said: “I’ve thought very hard about this, how do I serve the cause of Brexit best, because that’s what I’m doing this for.”

He continued: “Not for a career, I don’t want to be in politics for the rest of my life. Do I find a seat to try and get myself into parliament or do I serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 candidates, and I’ve decided the latter course is the right one.

“It’s very difficult to do both. It’s very difficult to be a constituency every day and at the same time be out across the United Kingdom.” 

Mr Farage, a former leader of Ukip, has previously ran seven times for parliament – the latest being in 2015 when he failed to oust the Conservatives’ Craig Mackinlay. 

In an interview with The Sunday Times, the Brexit Party leader also claimed he had been twice offered a peers, one of a number of “baubles” put forward by the Conservative Party to stop his party fielding candidates. 

In relation to peerages, he said: “This happened twice, but we are going back a couple of months. They thought the deal was that if I accepted that, we would only fight a few seats.

“That came from two very close sources – one from an adviser and one a minister, not a member of the cabinet, suggesting this was the right thing to do. I said I was not interested.”

Mr Farage also said he hoped there would be a “Leave alliance” at the election on 12 December, adding: “It seems obvious to me that no one party can own Brexit voters, there are Tory voters, there are Brexit Party voters and a lot of Labour Brexit voters.

“I always thought that to win an election, get a big majority so we can get a proper Brexit, a coming-together would be the objective. I still hope and pray it happens but it doesn’t look like it will.”

Just moments earlier, the prime minister had effectively rejected Mr Farage’s plea for a pact at the election, telling Sky News’s Sophy Ridge programme: “I’ve ruled out a pact with everybody because I don’t think that it’s sensible to do that.”

“We’re proud of our beliefs, we’re proud of our one nation conservatism,” Mr Johnson added. 

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Ukip loses eighth leader since Brexit referendum as Richard Braine resigns ahead of general election

Richard Braine has resigned as leader of Ukip weeks ahead of the UK’s next general election.

After less than three months in the post, and following a string of leaders who have all failed to unite the party, his resignation will raise questions over whether Ukip can continue as a viable political force in British politics.

In a resignation letter, he blamed “internal conflict”, and said he found himself “powerless to prevent a purge of good members from the party”.

His predecessor Gerard Batten said Mr Braine was resigning because the party’s chairman and its National Executive Committee “made it impossible for him to do his job”.

The embattled party, which took 12.6 per cent of the vote in the 2015 election a year before the EU referendum, and saw its share of the vote collapse to 1.8 per cent at the snap general election in 2017, is currently polling at around 1 per cent.

The party also lost all of its MEPs in May’s European elections.

Since 2016, the party has had eight different leaders, including two interim leaders. 

Mr Braine wrote: “I did not join Ukip in order to waste time on internal conflict, but I have found myself powerless to prevent a purge of good members from the party. 

“I had believed that Ukip was a highly democratic party, but I have not been able to stop political interference in Ukip ballots. I can not therefore stand publicly for Ukip with a clear conscience.”

Mr Batten tweeted: “The NEC are an absolute disgrace & have to go. Branches are organising an EGM (extraordinary general meeting) to remove them.

“Thanks to Richard for trying in the face of sabotage.”

Mr Braine’s two and a half-month tenure as leader was swiftly impacted by a public row with the NEC, after he called for the cancellation of the Ukip party conference in September due to low ticket sales.

Party chairman Kirstan Herriot wrote to members criticising Mr Braine over his “regrettable decision” to boycott the event.

The party has haemorrhaged members since the departure of Nigel Farage who subsequently set up the Brexit Party, which took 29 seats in the European elections earlier this year.

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Game of Thrones: Are the Emmys proof that the eighth season backlash didn’t matter?

Game of Thrones shouldn’t have won the Best Drama Series award at last night’s Emmys. This was a celebration of a final season that betrayed its most ardent fans, prompted backlash from most quarters and staggered to an uncertain, largely unsatisfying closer.Its victory additionally felt less like a reflection of the show itself, and more a wake for what television used to be. Regardless of whether its final and truly culture-shaking series went out on a high or not, this was the Emmys recognising the last gasp of television as an all-encompassing pop force.

Speaking in the press room at last night’s Emmys, Game of Thrones co-creator DB Weiss said that it wasn’t up to him or anyone involved with the show to decide how people feel about the series in the future. “There’s no way to tell how things are going to be perceived in 10, 20, even five years,” he said. “These things change so fast. The landscape of television changes so quickly, it’s changing as we’re standing here right now. It’s so gratifying to have reached this many people. I hope people who are a little too young to watch now will grow up to learn about it and watch it in the future.”

But the Emmys win did nod towards something unexpected: that for all the vicious internet hectoring over Game of Thrones’s final season, it was likely only a short-lived backlash and our collective memory of the show, moving forward, will be far rosier than predicted. 

Finales to long-running series with ardent fanbases wield significant power, which can be as much a salvation to a dicey run of wavering quality as they are entirely destructive. The denouements of beloved series such as Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and ER acted like plasters covering up messy storytelling wounds, automatically fixing or subtly apologising for hairbrained plots that had previously alienated fans. None were especially provocative, often giving their respective audiences exactly what they wanted, but they were also so purely pleasurable that it didn’t matter.

Lost, which celebrated its 15th anniversary this weekend, may be typically regarded as going out with a whimper, but it was also a show that knew exactly what it was doing in its last leg. Die-hard fans were rewarded with earnest character resolutions rather than specific wrap-ups for each and every individual mystery teased along the way, infuriated casual viewers be damned. That Lost forever changed television despite its polarising climax has largely silenced the griping that accompanied it on its close..

A similar effect occurred with The Sopranos. That series may have ended with an ambiguous, dread-inducing cut to black subsequently debated around the world, but the sheer goodwill towards the show as a whole meant that it didn’t derail its reputation. Instead, the divisive nature of its final shot became just another example of the gutsy creative decision-making that always marked The Sopranos as singular television, and not a rare exception to it.

Series like Dexter and How I Met Your Mother, on the other hand, were cursed by their finales – both so profoundly and infamously unpopular among their respective fanbases that their legacies are today largely soiled. Nobody wanted to see Dexter end its run with an unsatisfying final episode involving a lumberjack beard and Michael C Hall’s murderous anti-hero hanging out anonymously in rural Oregon, and the modern conversation surrounding the show almost entirely revolves around that fact. Similarly, nobody wanted a cute, post-Friends “hang-out comedy” like How I Met Your Mother to resolve itself with a finale filled with last-minute red herrings and terminal illnesses. Both were testaments to the make-or-break power of a bad closer.

For a little while, Game of Thrones appeared to be in the same boat. Outrage over its final season grew with every successive episode, internet sleuths parsing Emilia Clarke’s red carpet facial expressions for anguish over the show’s scripts, and frustrated fans manipulating Google search results until the term “bad writers” automatically linked to Weiss and David Benioff. In the aftermath of the finale, even Game of Thrones actors expressed dissatisfaction with how it went out. Natalia Tena said she “ranted for an hour” after it ended and Lena Headey revealed she was “kind of gutted” by her character’s exit. Yet, four months after its finale, Game of Thrones has been awarded the highest accolade possible for a TV drama – suggesting such in-the-moment dissatisfaction is today worthy of a mere shrug.

A mere footnote: The controversial ending of Seinfeld (NBC)

Its closest parallel, somewhat unusually, is likely to be Seinfeld – which sent its main cast to prison in its finale, infuriating many of the millions who tuned in to watch. That closer still crops up on “worst finales ever” lists, for its unusual moralism towards the funny cruelty that the show always nicely celebrated, and for being a glorified clip show. But Seinfeld’s general brilliance has far surpassed its less acclaimed final 30 minutes, its unpopular closer a mere footnote to its vast legacy elsewhere.

Game of Thrones was never genius in the same way Seinfeld was. Neither did it alter television to the same extent as The Sopranos, or Buffy, or Sex and the City or The Wire did. Even one-time TV juggernauts like Lost and Desperate Housewives had more narrative ambition and storytelling smarts in their prime. But it knew how to thrill, merging the gleeful, squirm-inducing sadism of Shakespeare with the twisty drama of a night-time soap. It was unrelentingly addictive, fuelled by shocks, cliffhangers and scenery-chewing. And its Emmys win appeared to be final proof that this will be the show’s legacy. Not the creative flame-out of its final season. Nor the time Cersei was buried under a bunch of rocks. Nor that Daenerys became an arch villain purely because the scripts called for it and not because it made a lot of sense. Game of Thrones didn’t deserve its award for its final season, but it did deserve it for what it once was. In effect, it was the worthwhile and appropriate sayonara that the show didn’t get on-screen.

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Baseball Sport

Phillies Avoid Mets Sweep With Eighth Inning Rally

PHILADELPHIA — Scott Kingery broke an eighth-inning tie with a three-run double, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Mets, 5-2, on Sunday night, averting a three-game sweep.

Brad Miller hit a solo homer and a double for the Phillies, who pulled within two and a half games of the Chicago Cubs for the second National League wild card.

Pete Alonso hit his 43rd homer, and Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 25 games with a fourth-inning double for the Mets, who are four games behind the Cubs.

After the Mets tied the score at 2-2 on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth, Bryce Harper led off the bottom half with a single against Daniel Zamora (0-1), who had just been recalled from the minors. Jeurys Familia walked Rhys Hoskins before Miller flied out to deep center, allowing both runners to advance. Cesar Hernandez was intentionally walked, loading the bases for Kingery, who lined a 1-0 pitch into the left-center gap.

Hector Neris (3-5) got the final five outs for Philadelphia.

The Mets tied it in the eighth when Brandon Nimmo, playing in his first game since May 20 after sitting out with a neck injury, scored from third on a wild pitch by Neris during an adventurous inning.

The Mets put runners on second and third with one out for Jeff McNeil, who entered Sunday batting .326. But his slump reached 0 for 13 when he grounded to Hoskins at first base and Hoskins threw out Rajai Davis at the plate.

Davis slid headfirst on the play and took out the legs of the veteran umpire Joe West, who ended up lying on Davis for several seconds before being helped up by Neris and calling Davis out.

Neris was brought in after Mike Morin had allowed the first two batters to reach and Luis Guillorme’s sacrifice bunt advanced both runners.

Phillies starter Zach Eflin pitched seven stellar innings, allowing only Alonso’s first-inning homer and two other hits. But Manager Gabe Kapler elected to pinch-hit for Eflin in the seventh with Philadelphia ahead by 2-1 even though the right-handed Eflin had thrown just 84 pitches.

Mets starter Marcus Stroman also pitched well, giving up two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks in six-plus innings. He was lifted after Adam Haseley’s leadoff double in the seventh.

Miller was a late addition to the lineup after shortstop Jean Segura was scratched because of the death of his grandmother.

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Baseball Sport

Mets Roll Nationals for Eighth Straight Win

Luis Guillorme picked a perfect time for his first big league homer — a tying shot leading off the eighth — J.D. Davis added a go-ahead sacrifice fly and the Mets worked their magic again, beating the Washington Nationals, 4-3, Saturday night at Citi Field for their eighth straight victory.

The Mets have won 15 of 16 and are on their best roll since a 16-1 run in 1990. They pulled within a half-game of Washington for the first National League wild card and will try for a three-game sweep Sunday.

Juan Soto put Washington ahead, 3-2, with his second home run of the game in the eighth inning, but Guillorme, a backup infielder, countered against Fernando Rodney with his first connection in the bottom of the inning. Guillorme entered with a .192 average in 56 major league games.

After two more Mets reached against Rodney (0-5), Daniel Hudson relieved. He got one out, intentionally walked slugger Pete Alonso, and then Davis hit a drive to deep right field that brought in newcomer Joe Panik for the tiebreaking run.

Wilson Ramos, celebrating his 32nd birthday, hit a two-out drive to right-center, but Victor Robles made a leaping catch against the wall to end the inning.

It was the second consecutive blown save for Washington’s bullpen. On Friday night, Sean Doolittle allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a 7-6 loss.

Soto hit a two-run drive in the first inning against Noah Syndergaard, and the 2-0 lead held until Davis and Ramos put fervor into Flushing with consecutive solo shots off Patrick Corbin in the fourth.

Soto struck again in the eighth against Seth Lugo (5-2), ending the reliever’s string of 14 consecutive scoreless appearances. Lugo got two outs to tie the Mets record with 26 consecutive batters retired before Soto hit a no-doubter to right field.

Soto has 24 homers this season, and the 20-year-old already has four career multihomer games.

Lugo also pitched the ninth as All-Star closer Edwin Díaz warmed in the bullpen.

With the Mets making an improbable charge for a playoff spot, fans lined up outside Citi Field five hours before the first pitch and many stood and clapped for lineup introductions as if it were opening day. Soto’s first-inning drive quickly quieted things down.

Davis and Ramos brought fans back to their feet in the fourth. Davis has four homers in his past seven games, and five of his 14 connections this season have been against the Nationals.

The Mets have hit multiple homers in eight consecutive games, breaking a franchise record set this June. Corbin had allowed just two homers over his previous eight starts combined, and he had given up 0.79 homers per nine innings since the start of 2018, trailing only Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom among major league starters.

Syndergaard, pitching to Ramos for the first time since June 15, threw seven innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts and seven hits allowed. He faced one over the minimum in his final four innings, and he completed seven for the sixth straight outing.

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Lifestyle Style

Selma Blair shares emotional story of son’s birth on his eighth birthday

Selma Blair has given an emotional insight into the day she gave birth to her son, Arthur Saint Bleick, in commemoration of his birthday.

On Thursday, Blair’s son with her ex-partner, fashion designer Jason Bleick, turned eight years old.

In a post shared on Instagram, Blair explained that she had to be induced into labour ahead of the birth.

“It was a painful induced labour. He was weeks late according to doctors. I felt fine,” the actor wrote in the caption.

“The inducing was horrific and no dilation. Full labour with non-dilation for 37 hours. I finally asked for an epidural. I was so at their mercy. And I had to protect him.”

Blair said that she had to “fire” a doctor who insisted that she have a Caesarean section.

The Cruel Intentions star’s son was delivered by Dr Paul Crane, a Beverly Hills-based obstetrician and gynaecologist whose celebrity clientele includes Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé and Kris Jenner.

The actor explained that she felt particularly emotional on her son’s eighth birthday as this year, she is unable to celebrate with him on the day.

“I slept two hours. There is a pain. In my head. In my throat where the tears start. I want to smell him. Tell him I am so proud of him. Hold him. And I will. Just not on his birthday. Which is today,” the 47-year-old wrote.

The picture that Blair shared showed her Arthur Saint Bleick carefully cutting his mother’s hair with a pair of scissors.

In a recent interview with People magazine, Blair revealed that her son had called her “brave” following her multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

In her Instagram caption, the actor drew parallels between her ex-partner cutting her umbilical cord and her son giving her a haircut.

“Now my kid can cut his mum’s hair and make jokes and assure me just by being him that I am good enough,” the Legally Blonde star stated.

“Even if we aren’t together for his birthday. Which makes tears well, I know he is happy with dad, dancing and playing on the beach later today. What more could I reall yask for. Happy birthday. My son.”

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Several of Blair’s Instagram followers commented underneath her post with messages of support.

“It’s awful being away from our children due to health reasons and especially when it’s their birthday… it’s much harder!” one person stated.

“Precious Selmita, you are what makes a mother a true mummy. Arthur is one blessed boy. Loving you so,” wrote actor Doug Jones.

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