Arsenal 4 West Ham United 1

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal farewell started in the perfect manner as the Gunners scored three goals in seven second-half minutes to ease to victory against West Ham at the Emirates. This was the first match since Wenger announced he would be¬†leaving the club at the end of the season on Friday,¬†after almost 22 years. Victory was also the perfect warm-up to Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first-leg against Atletico Madrid. The Gunners had taken the lead on 51 minutes after Nacho Monreal volleyed in from a corner, but Marko Arnautovic equalised just after the hour mark, rifling a shot past David Ospina.

Aaron Ramsey put the hosts back into the lead in the 82nd minute when his tame cross was not dealt with by Hammers’ defender Declan Rice and Joe Hart could only watch as the ball rolled in at his far post. Alexandre Lacazette made it three as his close-range shot beat Hart at the near post in the 85th minute, before the Frenchman sidefooted in his second four minutes later. One negative for Wenger will be an injury to Mohamed Elneny, who was taken off the pitch on a stretcher after injuring his foot in a 50-50 challenge with Mark Noble towards the end of the first half.

Victory keeps Arsenal sixth, 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with four games remaining, but while they can still mathematically finish in the top four, their most likely route into the Champions League is by winning the Europa League. West Ham, who had dominated much of the first half, drop to 15th place, six points from the drop zone. Wenger made five changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Newcastle last week. Some were enforced, while others were made with the Europa League in mind. Record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the bench and Petr Cech missed out with a hip injury.

Mesut Ozil missed the game with illness, while Jack Wilshere and Sead Kolasinac had ankle injuries. Despite Wenger’s impending departure, the Emirates lacked a celebratory mood as the teams came out. There were empty seats, no fanfare and the Frenchman snuck into his dugout. The first half gave Arsenal fans little to cheer about as the visitors dominated the early exchanges. Granit Xhaka had their only shot on target as his free-kick stung the palms of Hart, while Danny Welbeck wasted a number of chances.

Shkodran Mustafi struggled in defence against Arnautovic and there were warning signs ahead of a meeting with one of the world’s best strikers in Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann. Despite deservedly taking the lead after half-time, their defensive frailties were exposed again for the equaliser. The introduction of Aubameyang in the 70th minute lifted the team and the fans. Hart was twice forced into action, first by Xhaka and then by Welbeck, before Ramsey’s goal started a late flourish as Arsenal finished in style.

I, Tonya

I, Tonya ¬†is a 2017 American¬†black comedy¬†biographical film¬†directed by¬†Craig Gillespie¬†and written by¬†Steven Rogers. It follows the life of¬†figure skater¬†Tonya Harding¬†and her connection to the¬†1994 attack¬†on her rival¬†Nancy Kerrigan. It features interviews with the characters in¬†mockumentary-style set in the modern day, as well as¬†fourth wall breaking.¬†Margot Robbie¬†(who also produced) stars as Harding,¬†Sebastian Stan¬†plays Harding’s husband Jeff Gillooly, and¬†Allison Janney¬†plays Harding’s mother LaVona Golden;¬†Julianne Nicholson,¬†Caitlin Carver,¬†Paul Walter Hauser, and¬†Bobby Cannavale¬†also star.

Although enjoyable, I find it odd that the movie focuses on Harding and her ex-husband Jeff who conspired to hurt and intimidate Nancy – maybe not to hurt her that badly – but still the story is about the wrong doers. The infamous incident about the attack on her friend and rival Nancy Kerrigan is one of sports and media history, so much so that it is still clear in my mind all these years later. Harding has stuck to her story and maintains that she did not do anything wrong other the fact that once she found out about the attack on Nancy and that her only crime is not coming out sooner, having hindered the investigation.

After Tonya’s confidence is shaken by a death threat; Jeff realises he can do the same to Tonya’s main rival¬†Nancy Kerrigan. However, Jeff’s delusional friend Shawn Eckhart, seeking notoriety and prestige, hires two inept crooks to attack Kerrigan after a practice session in¬†Detroit. Kerrigan’s knee is badly injured by Shane Stant, and both men involved are soon arrested. Eckhardt’s bragging around town quickly leads the¬†FBI¬†to him.¬†He points the finger at Jeff, who is horrified to learn that Eckhardt gave orders beyond sending death threats via letters. Tonya qualifies for the Olympic team amid the allegations that she was involved in Kerrigan’s attack. Realizing that she will be found guilty by the association, she goes to the FBI and tells them what Jeff and Shawn did, who then show her written testimony to Jeff during the interview, and he races to her house to attack her. Tonya leaves him for good and he implicates her to the authorities, claiming she knew about the attack.

At the Olympics, Tonya comes in eighth place and Kerrigan wins the silver medal. Her abusive and inept mother comes to see Tonya amid a media circus but is thrown out when Tonya realizes she is wearing a recording device and ejects her from her home. Jeff, Eckhardt and Stant are all sentenced, with Tonya’s trial postponed until after the Olympics. Tonya avoids jail but is given three years probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $100,000 fine. She is also forced to withdraw from the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships and is banned from competitive figure skating for life. Heartbroken, she begs the judge to give her jail time rather than take away the one thing she knows how to do; the judge declines. Jeff acknowledges that he ruined Tonya’s career, changes his name and remarries. Tonya embraces her notoriety and becomes a boxer, whilst becoming a nurturing mother to her own children.

Brilliantly acted but I don’t really see the point about telling their story. It is fun to see 80s hair and clothes and the music is awesome. Robbie, the excellent Janney & Sebastian are all delightful in their roles as not so likeable people. 8 outta 10!

RIP Verne Troyer

Verne Troyer, who played Mini-Me in two of the Austin Powers comedy films, has died at the age of 49, according to statements posted to his social media accounts Saturday. Troyer was 49. No cause of death was immediately released. He was hospitalized earlier this month after emergency responders in Los Angeles went to his home, according to media reports.

Troyer, who was reportedly 2 feet, 8 inches tall, once¬†joked with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer¬†in 2002 that after gaining fame as Mini-Me he would go out in public with a hat and sunglasses on, “but it just doesn’t seem to work.”He added: “I’m still trying to get used to it. I’m just adjusting day by day. So you know, it’s — I don’t know. It’s — I’m just enjoying it and taking it one step at a time.” According to the Internet Movie Database, Troyer was in 58 movies and television shows. He played Mini-Me, the diminutive clone of Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil, in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

He broke into entertainment as the stunt double for a 9-month-old baby in the 1994 film “Baby’s Day Out.” Among his other roles are¬† Griphook the goblin in¬†Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Love Guru & The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.