Arsenal Stood Still While Its Rivals Got Better

What has changed is the rest of the Premier League. The average points taken by the other big clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham) this season through 35 games was 72.8. In previous seasons this average has not exceeded 70. Among the weakest four of the big six, the clubs Arsenal directly needs to beat in order to qualify for the Champions League, the average point total through 35 matches this year is 67.7. Only once previously (2013-14) has the average been close, and Arsenal was fortunate enough to be clear with 70 points through 35 matches that year.The strategy of Wenger’s Arsenal has been to build a team good enough to reach the top four, usually with 70-75 points and a goal difference between plus-20 and plus-30. The strategy has worked in part because the other clubs with the resources to match these results failed to achieve Arsenal’s consistency. This year they have improved and Arsenal has not.But that is not the whole story. Expected goals, a statistical measure of the quality of chances created and conceded, suggests that Arsenal in 2016-17 are running below the level of quality they have in the recent past. Arsenal’s expected goals difference is only plus-13, easily the club’s worst statistical performance in the last six years. This drop-off has been most pronounced in recent weeks. Since March 1, Arsenal has gone 5-1-4, but the Gunners have conceded as many goals as they have scored. Their expected goals difference is even worse, at minus-4.The most notable change in this time is that Wenger has, for the first time in years, switched to a formation with three center backs, utilizing winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a wingback and deploying a varying set of forwards — including Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott — in a front three. Playing in the new formation has brought a good haul of points, but in those matches Arsenal has conceded more clear scoring chances to its opponents (9) than it has created (5). The streak is unlikely to continue unless the underlying performances pick up. The one constant in the English Premier League is that no matter what else happens, Arsenal will finish in the top four. Under manager Arsene Wenger, the club has never finished as low as fifth, a run dating to the 1996-97 season. After 21 years, Arsenal may finally drop outside the top four. The Gunners are currently in fifth place with only a 22 percent chance of fighting their way back into the top four.The implications for Arsenal go well beyond just the trivia. First, it would cost the North London club an annual influx of cash it has grown accustomed to. The top four clubs in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, which provides a major revenue boost; last season Arsenal made about $58 million from the Champions League. If Arsenal finish outside the top four, the club will qualify for the Europa League, where Tottenham Hotspur earned almost $23 million last season for a similar performance.It may also cost them players. Playing in Europe’s premier club tournament offers prestige and glory that in turn helps attract better players on transfers. Arsenal should be particularly worried about maintaining their Champions League streak because star forward Alexis Sanchez has only one season remaining on his contract. If Sanchez does not sign a new contract this summer, he may have to be sold in order for Arsenal to recoup a transfer fee from his departure. The sharks are already circling, with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Chelsea rumored to be considering bids.But the most significant casualty of Arsenal’s disappointing season may be Wenger himself. The long-tenured manager has not signed a contract for next season. If Arsenal cannot right the ship, he may be gone, ending an unprecedented run of consistency at the top. (Since he took the reins at Arsenal, 159 different coaches have held a job in the EPL, plus another 53 have held interim positions.)So with three Premier League games remaining for most of the teams at the top of the table, the stakes could hardly be higher. With yesterday’s victory at Southampton, Arsenal remained in the top four race with a 22 percent chance of Champions League qualification. To get there, Arsenal will need Liverpool or Manchester City to drop points, and the Gunners will probably need to win all of their remaining matches. Arsenal projects to a 61 percent chance of finishing in the top four if it wins out, with chances falling fast if any more points are dropped.So how has Arsenal found itself in this predicament? The streak is evidence that the team hasn’t had a really bad spell in decades. But that doesn’t mean the team has gotten any better — and that’s part of the problem. Wenger’s Arsenal for years has treaded water in the third- and fourth-place spots — last season was the first time Arsenal had finished above third since 2005. All it would take for the Gunners to fall would be for the other big clubs in the Premier League to play up to expectations. And this season that is exactly what has happened.Arsenal has taken 66 points through 35 matches with a plus-26 goal difference. These numbers are not particularly unusual for Arsenal in the last several seasons. Since 2010-11, Arsenal’s points through 35 games have ranged from 64 to 70. The goal-difference numbers are ranged similarly, from plus-21 to plus-32. The Gunners’ stats this season show up at the lower end of the team’s recent level, but they are not outliers. What is most notable about the changes in formation and personnel is that Arsenal usually isn’t tinkering this late in the season. Wenger is known for giving his attackers freedom to improvise on the pitch and to build off relationships and experience. It stands to reason that in such a system, stability in personnel and tactics would lead to higher levels of performance, as players develop understandings from playing together. Arsenal’s statistics over the last six years bear this out. During seasons in which Arsenal has maintained stability in its first 11 over the final weeks of the season, the club has finished hot. In the only two seasons when Wenger made major changes, Arsenal has averaged just 1.6 and 1.1 points per match, respectively, down the stretch.Regardless of whether Wenger continues to tweak tactics in these final three games, his team needs to win — and even that may be not be enough. With luck, perhaps these new tactics and new formation will click and the streak can be extended. But if it doesn’t pull off late-season heroics, Arsenal won’t be seen in the Champions League next fall, and the team that will be seen in England may look much different. read more

Womens soccer Buckeyes down rival Michigan off of Princes gamewinner

OSU junior forward Nichelle Prince (7) dribbles the ball during a game agaisnt Minnesota on Sept. 17 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost 1-2. Credit: Lantern File PhotoIn a rivalry game against Michigan Saturday night, the Ohio State women’s soccer team returned to Columbus with a much needed victory.  The Buckeyes edged the Michigan Wolverines 2-1, with a winning recipe that combined early scoring in both halves and strong defense and goalkeeping. OSU improved their record to 10-5-3 (4-3-3 Big Ten), while Michigan lost its third game over the last five matches, falling to 9-4-3 (5-3-2 Big Ten).  Junior forward Sammy Edwards propelled the Buckeyes to an early 1-0 lead in the fifth minute, corralling a loose ball inside the Michigan goalkeeper’s box, with a shot finding the back of the net.OSU sophomore goalkeeper Devon Kerr’s strong play received praise from coach Lori Walker, as Kerr was named the player of the match for the Buckeyes. Kerr registered five total saves, including a crucial one-on-one faceoff versus Michigan’s Ani Sarkisian, who broke through the defense, taking a shot which Kerr dove to save.Kerr’s only goal given up on the night was in the 32nd minute, where she deflected a shot and Michigan took advantage of the rebound, evening out the score at 1-1.The Buckeyes returned from halftime with aggressive play that paid off. Senior forward Nichelle Prince scored a goal from short distance in the 53rd minute, reclaiming the lead for OSU at 2-1.The game continued to be competitive on both sides late into the contest. The Michigan offensive attack proved a test for Kerr, but ultimately, her two crucial saves from short distance held strong for the Buckeyes. Likewise, Prince had one last late opportunity in a shot that bounced off the Michigan crossbar, nearly widening OSU’s lead to 2-1.  The Buckeyes finish the regular season at Penn State Wednesday night at 6 p.m. read more

Ross Richardson tips Ohio State mens track and field as conference national

The Ohio State men’s track and field program completed its new coaching staff with the hiring of Ross Richardson as an assistant coach. Richardson will specialize in working with the team’s throwers.Richardson, whose hiring was announced Wednesday, will join a coaching staff led by Ed Beathea, who was hired in June as coach of men’s track and field, and Brice Allen, who Beathea chose to be his associate head coach and recruiting coordinator in July.An OSU athletic spokesman did not respond to a request for salary information.The 2012-2013 track and field season will be Richardson’s fourth straight season with a different university. After five seasons from 2005-2010 with one of OSU’s Big Ten rivals, Purdue, Richardson had a one-year stint with Miami (Ohio) University, then worked last season with Virginia. Over the course of his career, Richardson has coached 11 All-Americans and 21 NCAA championship qualifiers.Richardson said he considers OSU to be “one of the most prestigious athletic departments in the country,” which drew him to accept the position with the Buckeyes.“I’m excited to be here,” Richardson said. “There’s a lot of people here (at OSU) who win championships, and I think the track program has that kind of potential to be a continuous conference contender and have a national prominence.”Beathea explained that Richardson stood out among the potential candidates for this coaching position.“When I called around and spoke to other respected throws coaches across the country when we were starting the search, considering candidates, his name came up amongst all of them,” Beathea said. “I interviewed three, and Ross was, for what I was looking for, the strongest candidate.”Richardson replaces Kevin Mannon, who served as OSU’s throws coach from 2004-2012. According to Beathea, Mannon resigned from the position this summer, which led to the search for a new coach.Richardson expressed that his goal is to keep OSU’s throwing program moving in the right direction.“I think anytime you go anywhere new, you’re just hoping to build on what was done there before,” Richardson said. “They’ve had a great tradition of throws, and a great tradition in the track and field program altogether, and my hope is that we can just continue to build on that tradition.”Beathea, Allen and Richardson will be the only paid coaches for men’s track and field, but additional coaches will work as volunteers.Beathea said Brian Brillon will return to coach horizontal jumpers, while Richard Warren will continue working with high jumpers. Beathea said the program is also searching for another volunteer coach to work with pole vaulters and decathletes.Beathea said that there are two common points of emphasis shared among his coaching staff.“We all agree in the importance of the championship season,” Beathea said. “Above and beyond anything else, we also all agree in the importance of recruiting.” read more

Football Ohio State promotes Ryan Day to offensive coordinator

Ohio State announced the promotion of Ryan Day to offensive coordinator from co-offensive coordinator on Jan. 23, 2018. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAfter being rumored as a potential candidate to join former Ohio State player and assistant coach Mike Vrabel’s staff with the Tennessee Titans, Ryan Day will stay on staff with the Buckeyes with his promotion from co-offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator.“Ryan is clearly a very talented coach who has been an outstanding addition to our program,” head coach Urban Meyer said in a press release. “He has been approached by other schools numerous times this off-season for coordinator and head coach opportunities, and by the National Football League for a coordinator opportunity. I am pleased that he has elected to continue to work on this staff and to lead, mentor and coach the terrific young men we have in this program.”Day served as the team’s co-offensive coordinator with Kevin Wilson last season in his first year on Meyer’s staff.The university release said Day will remain the team’s quarterbacks coach and “work with Kevin Wilson to lead the Ohio State offense with additional adjustments to his responsibilities forthcoming.”Day was an integral part of an Ohio State offense that finished sixth in scoring per game and seventh in total offense.Meyer said in December that Day turned down an offer to become the head coach in the Southeastern Conference, but that was never confirmed.Day was scheduled to make $800,000 in his second year before the promotion. read more

Conservatives at war over Theresa Mays leather trousers

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. My barometer is always, ‘How am I going to explain this in Loughborough market’.Nicky Morgan MP It wasn’t so much the cut of Mrs May’s leather strides that upset her former Cabinet colleague. Or the material or even the shimmering khaki finish. It was what the Amanda Wakeley designed trousers symbolised.And at £995 a pair what they symbolise for Mrs Morgan is a PM who is out of touch and, frankly, sending the wrong signals to a country that has spent the past eight years struggling through austerity.The trousers, says the MP – who lost her ministerial position after falling out with Mrs May over the question of schools being required to report on the migration status of pupils – would not go down well with her voters.“My barometer is always, ‘How am I going to explain this in Loughborough market,” said Mrs Morgan, adding that the trousers had “been noticed and discussed” in party circles.She boasts that she doesn’t have a similar item in her wardrobe, never mind spending as much as Mrs May did on them.“I don’t have leather trousers. I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on anything apart from my wedding dress,” she said.Those of a less charitable disposition may point out that Mrs Morgan’s reputation is not built on her choice of tailoring.Her appearance in Downing Street for last year’s Cabinet reshuffle was characterized by the rather shapeless black trouser suit she wore. Nicky Morgan arriving at No 10 for the Cabinet reshuffle in May 2015 Nicky Morgan arriving at No 10 for the Cabinet reshuffle in May 2015Credit:Julian Simmonds/The Telegraph Now these are problems only female politicians have to contend with. After all, who comments on the fact that the male half of the Cabinet wear the same dull suits, day after day?But in truth Mrs May can be said to have invited comment on her wardrobe choices.After all, she has never hidden the fact she enjoys dressing up and being photographed in her latest outfits.When she appeared on Desert Island Discs in November 2014, the then home secretary was happy to confess that she “enjoys” clothes and she even chose a lifetime’s subscription to Vogue as her luxury item to take to the desert island.She told Radio 4 listeners she manages without a personal shopper, but said her favourite shop rings her up when “there’s something really nice” for her in stock.During the recent photo shoot, for which she also wore a £495 coffee-coloured cashmere jumper by Wakeley – one of Kate Middleton’s favourite designers – along with a pair of £295 Burberry trainers, Mrs May talked about her fashion sense and revealed that she often takes her husband Philip along when clothes shopping.She said that he has a good eye for accessories adding: “(He’s) particularly good at choosing handbags and bracelets for presents and good at flowers”.Mrs May admitted that although her focus is of course on the job at hand she does take her appearance seriously.She said: “At night I’ll think through my outfit for the next day and I go into certain shops where they know me.”Mrs Morgan appears to be suggesting the Prime Minister ought to start visiting shops where they don’t know her and where the price tags are a little more within reach of ordinary voters.It can, she said, be hard for a senior politician to keep a “connection with the outside world” and perhaps a more simple pair of trousers might be a good place to start. The bitter splits at the heart of the Conservative Party were laid bare yesterday, when the former education secretary Nicky Morgan launched an outspoken attack on the Prime Minister.Was it over Brexit, migration or schools – just three of the deep seated issues currently dividing the party?Yes, Mrs Morgan has plenty to say on those topics. But less predictably she has also taken issue with the expensive leather designer trousers worn by Theresa May for a Downing Street photo shoot last week.last_img read more

Earl of Cardigans lawyer quits in latest storm to hit troubled country

first_imgPete Doherty at Sturmy House, during his stay on Lord Cardigan’s Savernake EstateCredit:Planet Photos Mr Cotton has now also stepped down as a trustee of the estate but, according to Mr Weil retains, some involvement in the Earl’s affairs.“We both stepped down as Trustees of the estate but he remains a trustee of a remaining settlement,” said Mr Weil.Lord Cardigan had also sued Mr Cotton over the £376,768 fees he charged, calling them excessive.Relations between the two men became so strained that in 2011 Lord Cardigan was accused of sabotaging a commercial pheasant shoot on his estate by destroying stands and “running a dog through the cover so as to disperse the birds”.This led to the shooting syndicate, which had paid £52,000 a year in fees, to turn its back on Savernake, robbing the estate of valuable revenue.The refurbishment of Sturmy House overran by 18 months and the delay in renting the house cost the estate an estimated £50,000 in potential revenue.The Earl – described as “abrasive” in court papers – had earlier succeeded in having Mr Moore, his former close friend, removed as a trustee after legal action in 2014.A trial judge at the time said: “Mr Moore has had to put up with a great deal of unpleasantness despite the amount of time he has devoted to the estate.”The judge thought Mr Moore should be removed due to the breakdown in relations between him and Lord Cardigan.He wrote: “The lion’s share of responsibility for that breakdown ought, I think, to be laid at Lord Cardigan’s door (and that of Mr Bloom) [Lord Cardigan’s legal adviser.]”  The Earl, whose title dates back to 1611, has repeatedly experienced financial problems.He has run up legal costs of more than £600,000 in legal actions and paid his first wife more than £900,000 in a divorce settlement.By 2013 the Savernake estate had run up debts of £1.8 million, with interest charges of £18,000 a month.He has also fallen out with other family members, most spectacularly his daughter, Lady Catherine Brudenell-Bruce.The Earl was accused of sending her abusive emails. She obtained a restraining order banning him from attending his first wife’s funeral in 2012.Mr Weil is a senior partner with the London solicitors Bircham Dyson Bell.  He specialises in charities, philanthropy, trusts and ‘the resolution of potentially contentious issues arising out of wills, trusts and co-ownership of property’.  Among his ‘career highlights’ mentioned on the firm’s website is “resolving a bitter family dispute arising out of the estate of a millionairess.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. His resignation marks another chapter in the frequently turbulent affairs of the Earl, whose ancestors include the general who led the ill-fated charge of the Light Brigade.At the same time as Mr Weil standing down, another trustee, Wilson Cotton, has also resigned from his role at the Savernake Estate.Mr Weil remained circumspect last night over his resignation, saying only: “I do not want to say any more thank you very much. My resignation was part of an agreed settlement with Lord Cardigan. It was part of an agreed court order.”However, it is understood that his resignation is linked to a bitter legal dispute between Mr Weil and Mr Cotton and Lord Cardigan over a property in his grounds rented by the pop star Pete Doherty.Lord Cardigan last year sued Mr Cotton for thousands of pounds in lost rent on Sturmy House following repairs needed when Doherty left the £1 million property “uninhabitable”.Damage caused by the Babyshambles and Libertines singer – whose drug problems and riotous lifestyle made him a cult figure on the British pop scene – included broken windows, graffiti on walls, cats running wild among its nine bedrooms and mounds of rotting rubbish around the property.Further damage was caused when a burst pipe led to flooding after Doherty, who paid £2,950 a month in rent for Sturmy House, moved out in 2010 without informing the agent.The damage cost Lord Cardigan’s insurers £65,000 to repair and almost as much in lost rent after it lay empty following Doherty’s departure. Simon Weill, of Bircham Dyson Bell, who has resigned as trustee of the Savernake Estatecenter_img Simon Weill, of Bircham Dyson Bell, who has resigned as trustee of the Savernake EstateCredit:Bircham Dyson Bell As the scion of one of the country’s oldest aristocratic families the Earl of Cardigan has an impeccable pedigree.But his stewardship of his family’s extensive Wiltshire estate has for several years been fraught with feuds and difficulties.It has now emerged that a senior lawyer appointed by the Earl, David Brudenell-Bruce,  to oversee his affairs at Savernake Estate has resigned following a dispute over the way it was being run.Simon Weil quit as a trustee as part of an agreed settlement with the Earl, three years after he was appointed to replace another of his trustees, John Moore, who left in acrimonious circumstances. Pete Doherty at Sturmy House, during his stay on Lord Cardigan's Savernake Estatelast_img read more

Anger as rail firm removes platform information before trains leave  to stop

first_imgThameslink has defended its controversial move, with its spokesman telling the Mail: “Despite warnings and posters asking passengers not to run, this still happens. Passengers will run to try and catch a train that is shown as departing within a minute. There have been accidents as a result of this.” But the information blackout, just as people are hurrying for their train, has caused confusion and frustration among commuters. Clive Page posted on a Thameslink Passenger Panel website: “This seems exceedingly stupid. It means that accurate information on departures can only be obtained by using one’s smartphone.”Is it really safer to have passengers passing up and down staircases and escalators looking at their screens than to have the information made properly public so that they can take it all in before they leave the concourse?” Passengers have reacted angrily at a rail company’s decision to remove platform and departure time details from information screens before a train is due to leave – to stop people running to catch it.Govia Thameslink Railway, whose franchises include Thameslink and Southern, says it clears details of a train’s departure time and its platform two minutes before it is due to leave. They said it is to stop passengers running to catch their train. The information has sometimes been removed before a train has even arrived at the station. This ‘health and safety’ policy is also used by Network Rail and other train operators, and it is reportedly to stop people running dangerously through train stations and along platforms. Samantha Leighton wrote: “Information is hidden when there is more than enough time to make the train safely.” CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway Charles Horton and Rail Minister Claire Perry at Blackfriars Station  CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway Charles Horton and Rail Minister Claire Perry at Blackfriars Station Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Natalie Portman I have 100 stories of abuse in Hollywood

first_img‘But that was super not OK, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative. I was scared.’  Credit:Cass Bird, courtesy of PORTER magazine Natalie Portman for Net a Porter  She said she had come to realise that experiences she “took for granted as like, this is part of the process”, were actually instances of harassment and sexism.  “I went from thinking, ‘I don’t have a story’ to ‘Oh, wait, I have 100 stories.’ And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves,” she said. Ms Portman, an experienced actress whose first film role was as at the age of 12 in Luc Bresson’s thriller Léon: The Professional, also paid tribute to those who had come forward to disclose their experiences of sexual abuse. “First of all, I think it’s really important to recognize all the people who have come forward,” she said. “They have created this cultural shift. A lot of people have been speaking out for a long time and not been heard, particularly women of color, so it’s very important the industry listens.”She has previously spoken about her experiences of “sexual terrorism” following her debut role, revealing at the Women’s March in Los Angeles last month that her first fan mail, received when she was 13, had been a rape fantasy written by a man. The Black Swan Oscar winner, who is married to French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, and has a son and a daughter, also challenged the perception that women’s careers were damaged because they chose to have children.  ‘What’s interesting about this harassment conversation is, maybe it has nothing to do with being a mother.’Credit:Cass Bird, courtesy of PORTER magazine Her comments came as fellow Hollywood star Jessica Chastain made her own comments about sexual harassment. The actress, who co-starred with Portman in upcoming film The Death and Life Of John F. Donovan, commented on Uma Thurman’s allegation that she had been sexually assaulted by Weinstein. “I keep imagining Tarantino spitting in Uma’s face and strangling her with a chain for Kill Bill. How many images of women in media do we celebrate that showcase abuse? When did this become normalized ‘entertainment’?” she said, adding “When violence against women is used as a plot device to make the characters stronger then we have a problem. It is not empowering to be beaten and raped, yet so many films make it their ‘phoenix’ moment for women.”In an interview with the New York Times last week Ms Thurman claimed Weinstein had attacked her in a hotel room at the Savoy in London. In a statement given to the newspaper Weinstein’s spokesman said he admitted “making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Ms Thurman in England after misreading her signals” and added “her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue”. To see the full interview, buy the latest issue of PORTeR, on sale globally on Friday 9 February, 2018. Also available as a digital edition. Natalie Portman has “100 stories” of sexual harassment in Hollywood, she has said. The 36-year-old Oscar winner told PORTeR magazine that she had experienced manipulative studio executives intimidating and harassing her during her career. In one case, she said, a producer invited her onto his private plane.She said: “It was just the two of us, and only one bed was made up. Nothing happened, I was not assaulted. “I did make a point of saying, ‘This does not make me feel comfortable,’ and that was respected.”But that was super not OK, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative. I was scared.”Ms Portman played her part in the growing outrage over sexism in Hollywood when she took to the stage in January for the Golden Globes. Announcing the category for Best Director, she said: “And here are the all-male nominees”.  “But what’s interesting about this harassment conversation is, maybe it has nothing to do with being a mother,” she said.”Maybe women are dropping out of the workplace because it’s a hostile environment for them and they are choosing not to be a part of that. It’s been proven that once you change the power differential and reach a 50/50 ratio of men and women, you see fewer issues.”Her commitment to the sexual harassment campaign also compelled her to join Instagram, persuaded by the Hollywood-driven Time’s Up campaign, launched earlier this year in response to allegations of sexual harassment against Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein.  Natalie Portman for Net a Porter ‘They have created this cultural shift. A lot of people have been speaking out for a long time and not been heard, particularly women of color, so it’s very important the industry listens.’ Credit: Cass Bird, courtesy of PORTER magazine Natalie Portman for Net a Porter Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Duchess of Cambridge reveals studying psychology at university inspired her charity work

She was particularly keen to discuss how the research could be translated into practical help for families and the wider community.“It’s trying to translate the amazing research you are doing here into something that parents can understand,” she remarked. “What do you feel is going to make the difference in this field? Is it increased funding? Is it awareness about the importance of early years intervention?” She added: ‘You hear a lot from people who have addiction in the family: have they any chance at all in being able to change the outcome? When you have got addiction stretching across three generations, can you change what will happen?” Prof McCrory said afterwards: “The Duchess is fantastic. Her level of interest is extraordinary and she has a genuine interest and hunger to understand the science and really think about how the science can help us re-frame our approach to early years and help parents and families, and society to understand the critical importance of the first few years of life.” She added, laughing: “It was a bit full on, but it was really interesting.” At most Scottish universities students will take three subjects in first and second years before specialising in their final subject.The Duchess said her experience in the MRI suite had been “fascinating”. The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed she studied psychology at university, as she discussed the importance of early intervention with vulnerable young children.The Duchess, 36, visited the developmental risk and resilience unit in the Psychology and Language Sciences Division at University College London (UCL) to learn more about their work.As well as talking to researchers, led by Prof Eamon McCrory, co-director of the unit, she was shown its MRI scanning facility and was told about the university’s ground-breaking research on how early experiences can shape brain function and development, both socially and emotionally.She asked: “Is the idea as well that you follow the child you are looking at into adulthood? It would be really fascinating. The research in general, have they [the children and their families] got much understanding of the bigger picture?”–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Earlier this year, the Duchess set up a steering group of practitioners and academics, including neuroscientists, mental health workers, nurses, perinatal care staff and teachers, to research and develop an action plan to make a positive difference to the lives of children by focusing on their early years.The Duchess said yesterday: “I started off doing psychology at St Andrews, with History of Art.” read more

Pubs are closing down at a rate of one every 12 hours

“Protecting pubs in the English planning system was a necessity and a welcome move from the Government. However, it has taken nearly two years for the trickle-down effects of the planning changes to show.”As the UK prepares to exit the European Union, the Government will have the freedom to reduce Beer Duty specifically in pubs – levelling the playing field between the price of beer sold in social, community settings and cheap supermarket alcohol consumed at home. Pubs are closing down at a rate of one every 12 hours, new figures show.The Campaign for Real Ale say that 378 pubs shut down permanently between July and December last year in England, Scotland and Wales, representing more than 14 closures a week.Since the start of last year, some 854 have shut across Great Britain, but the decline has slowed since 980 closures in 2017.There are now 40,683 pubs in England, 2,901 in Wales and 3,612 in Scotland, according to the figures.Jackie Parker, CAMRA’s National Chairman said: “Pubs are a very important part of our national culture and are valuable community assets which help to combat loneliness and social isolation. It’s great we have seen a drop in the number of pubs closing and shows that our campaign to get planning protection for pubs was worth it. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more