Mathieu Flamini relishes filling Francis Coquelin’s shoes at Arsenal

• Coquelin will be out for 12 weeks and Mikel Arteta for a month with injury
• Flamini started his fourth game this season against Dinamo Zagreb

Mathieu Flamini is ready to prove that he is up to the physical and mental demands of replacing the injured Francis Coquelin in defensive midfield for Arsenal.

Flamini started only his fourth game of the season in Tuesday’s vital 3-0 home win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League – with Mikel Arteta also out injured – and he admitted that match fitness was an issue for him.

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Dejan Lovren: Jürgen Klopp has changed Liverpool – we now play as a team

• ‘It now feels like different teams’ says defender of Liverpool transformation
• Dejan Lovren targets regular starting role after shining at Manchester City

Dejan Lovren has credited Jürgen Klopp with improving Liverpool’s defending, belief, workrate and even changing the players’ “opinion of football” as the defender seeks to maintain his own personal recovery against Bordeaux.

Before Thursday’s Europa League tie, one from which Liverpool can qualify for the knockout phase with victory or a goalless draw against Willy Sagnol’s side, Klopp claimed to be unaware of what had altered at Anfield since he replaced Brendan Rodgers seven weeks ago. “I don’t know what’s different,” the Liverpool manager said. “I wasn’t here before.”

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FanDuel, DraftKings fight threatened shutdown in New York

A DraftKings logo is displayed on a board inside of the DFS Players Conference in New YorkBy Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) – Daily fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel argued in a New York state court on Wednesday that the contests are legal games of skill rather than illegal gambling as they fight to avoid a potentially crippling shutdown in one of their top markets. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed for a preliminary injunction to shutter the companies in the state last week, saying that daily fantasy sports gaming "is nothing more than a rebranding of sports betting." New York Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez, after hearing oral arguments on the high-stakes matter on Wednesday, said he would rule "very soon." The hearing came amid continued scrutiny of the online daily fantasy sports industry, with authorities at the state and federal level scrutinizing whether the games amount to gambling.

No dead end for Browns’ Manziel, just a ‘hurdle’

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers(Reuters) – Johnny Manziel's short-lived reign as starting quarterback for the Browns does not signal the end of his career in Cleveland but rather an obstacle for him to overcome, coach Mike Pettine said on Wednesday. Manziel, known by the moniker "Johnny Football" from his standout collegiate years at Texas A&M, was demoted by the National Football League club on Tuesday, one day after a partying video of him hit social media sites. The 22-year-old had been named the Browns' starter for the rest of the season after throwing for 372 yards in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 15, but has since been replaced by veteran quarterback Josh McCown.

Kansas freshman Diallo cleared to play beginning Dec. 1 (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this April 1, 2015, file photo, East forward Cheick Diallo of Our Savior New American in Centereach, N.Y., holds the MVP trophy after East defeated West 111-91 in the McDonald's All-American boys basketball game in Chicago. Kansas officials have sharply criticized the NCAA over its handling of five-star prospect Cheick Diallo, who remains ineligible to participate in games for the fourth-ranked Jayhawks. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Kansas freshman Cheick Diallo has been cleared to play for the fifth-ranked Jayhawks beginning next week, ending a laborious months-long investigation by the NCAA into the five-star prospect’s education and background. In a statement Wednesday, the NCAA ultimately ruled Diallo had received a limited amount of impermissible benefits. Diallo, a native of Mali, will be allowed to play Tuesday night against Loyola.

New European Tour season tees off in African bushveld (Reuters)

By Mark Gleeson CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Just a few days after Rory McIlroy won Dubai’s DP World Tour Championship on Sunday and was crowned Europe’s top money earner for a third year in four, a new cycle begins in South Africa. The 2016 European Tour tees off six weeks before the turn of the year with the Alfred Dunhill Championship at the Leopard Creek Country Club at Malelane, on the border of the Kruger National Park, reflecting the growing international nature of a tour that began in 1972 with almost all of its tournaments held in Britain and Ireland. The Leopard Creek course is one of the most unique in the world, bordering on the world-renowned game reserve and featuring water holes alive with crocodiles and hippos.

18 of the best sports pictures

The breathtaking pictures of world-renowned sports photographer Bob Martin have been brought together in a new book 1/1000th. Here is an exclusive selection of some of the stunning photos