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Sarri struggles to spark misfiring Chelsea

first_img0Shares0000Eden Hazard has carried Chelsea’s hopes during their recent dip © AFP / Adrian DENNISLONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 11 – Maurizio Sarri must solve Chelsea’s striker crisis as his spluttering side bid to get back on track against Newcastle on Saturday.Sarri’s fourth-placed team are clinging onto a three-point lead over fifth placed Arsenal in the Premier League, leaving them with no margin for error in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The root cause of Chelsea’s recent dip has been their misfiring forwards.Plagued by injuries, Olivier Giroud has managed just five goals this season, with only one coming in the league.Alvaro Morata has netted nine times, but just five of those goals have come in his 16 league appearances.Morata appears to be uninterested in adapting to the demands of the physical Premier League — the former Real Madrid forward’s diffident style is the polar opposite of the bruising presence provided by Diego Costa, who fired Chelsea to two titles.Sarri has recognised the fatal flaw in Chelsea’s squad and installed Eden Hazard as his central striker on several occasions in a bid to spark his attack.But moving Hazard to the ‘false nine’ position was a huge gamble given the Belgian’s success on the flanks, where his sublime skills have more room to flourish.Hazard has dropped several hints that he would prefer to remain in a wide role and his subdued performances up front have raised questions about Sarri’s tactical switch.With Hazard refusing to rule out joining Real Madrid following interest from the European champions, Chelsea need to keep their prize asset happy.“They’re definitely not getting the best out of Hazard,” former Tottenham and England Jermaine Jenas said.“You get the best out of him on the left, breaking from deep, running at players. That’s how he scores a lot of his goals.“Up top, with his back to goal, he is a lot easier to deal with.“Chelsea are obviously a top, top side, but I think he has outgrown them. He needs to move on.”– Impotence –Hazard has scored just four times in his last 16 games and, while not all of them were played as a striker, it is a significant enough sample size to suggest Sarri must find another answer.Chelsea’s failure to convert territorial dominance into goals during Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat against Tottenham in the League Cup semi-final first leg was just their latest display of attacking impotence.Hazard was unable to escape Tottenham’s smothering defence and endured seven fouls — more than any other game this season, providing further evidence that he needs the space on the flanks to work his magic.No wonder Sarri recently talked of wanting “characteristics” in attack and admitted to being frustrated by his team’s lack of cutting edge.It doesn’t help that the supply lines from midfield are so uninspired at present.Jorginho is a solid presence in front of the back four, but he rarely contributes to attacks.N’Golo Kante looks a fish out of water in a more advanced midfield role than he is used to, while Ross Barkley, Mateo Kovacic, Willian and Pedro have all struggled at times this season.Sarri has also been forced to hand Callum Hudson-Odoi a place in his starting line-up in a bid to convince the promising but raw 18-year-old to reject an offer from Bayern Munich.Turning to the transfer market for a solution, Sarri has been linked with a move for Gonzalo Higuain, currently on loan at AC Milan from Juventus.The Argentina striker thrived under Sarri at Napoli, scoring 36 Serie A goals during the 2015-16 season.The deal would reportedly involve the 31-year-old joining Chelsea on loan with an option to sign permanently at the end of the season.In theory, a visit from struggling Newcastle should offer a chance for Chelsea to play their way back into rhythm.But the Blues can take nothing for granted after failing to score in three of their last five home league games against Everton, Leicester and Southampton.0Shares0000(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Californias stem cell research fund dries up

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country One legacy of California’s $3 billion stem cell research agency is the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  By Jocelyn KaiserJul. 9, 2019 , 3:35 PM California’s stem cell research fund dries up Click to view the privacy policy. 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That reality set in last month, when the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in Oakland announced it is no longer taking grant applications.Ongoing payments for approved projects continue, but scientists are already tightening their belts for a funding gap. They are also contemplating the end of a boom in stem cell research in the state. California’s voters may be asked to renew CIRM with another bond initiative next year, “but there’s no guarantee,” says Arnold Kriegstein, who heads a stem cell center at the University of California (UC), San Francisco, and has received CIRM funding in the past.Longtime CIRM grantee Jeanne Loring, who retired in June from the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, and runs a biotech startup to advance one of her projects, says the agency has made the state the “center of the stem cell universe. It would be tragic to unravel [that infrastructure] now. But the funding in 2004 was so dependent on the politics and interest at the time, and I don’t know if those circumstances can be replicated.” ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo That year 59% of California voters approved CIRM, which had been placed on the ballot as a response to restrictions imposed by then-President George W. Bush’s administration on the use of federal funding for studies of stem cells derived from human embryos. At the time, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) could only fund work on a small number of preexisting human embryonic cell lines. (Former President Barack Obama’s administration later lifted those restrictions.)CIRM initially expected to focus on human embryonic stem cells, but later expanded its remit to more specialized adult stem cells such as those that form blood or the increasingly popular induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, created by reprogramming adult cells to an embryolike state. CIRM’s money led to the creation of major stem cell centers in California and lured several biotech companies to set up shop in the state. Although CIRM supported infrastructure, basic research, and training early on, in the past 3 years it has poured most of its remaining $759 million into clinical trials—a total of 55 of which are ongoing or completed to date—as the agency faced pressure to produce the medical treatments its supporters were initially promised.In a memo to its board released on 20 June, CIRM said it had received applications totaling $88 million in its latest funding call but had only $33 million left to distribute. The agency announced the next day that it was taking no new grant applications as of 28 June, aside from a sickle cell disease program jointly funded with NIH. “There is no money available for new projects,” CIRM communications director Kevin McCormack wrote in a 1 July blog post.Some researchers who explore the basic science of stem cells had already been looking for other funding sources as CIRM began to emphasize clinical work and their support wound down. But others, especially those planning clinical trials, will be hit hard. “It’s going to be a huge impact on my lab and many others if they end,” says April Pyle of UC Los Angeles (UCLA), whose 11-person group works on using muscle stem cells to treat muscular dystrophy. Her last CIRM grant ends in March 2020 and although she also has some NIH funding, it does not support the animal testing and other studies needed to move her work toward a clinical trial.Future clinical work will face “at best significant delays, and many projects to identify new therapies will stop” if the agency doesn’t continue, says gene therapy researcher Donald Kohn, who heads several such trials at UCLA.CIRM’s efforts to raise $200 million in bridge funding from private sources have been unsuccessful to date. Now, CIRM boosters are looking to a $5.5 billion bond initiative that real estate developer Robert Klein, who led the original push to create the agency, hopes to add to the November 2020 ballot.If approved, “We would hope there would be very little gap” in funding, McCormack says. But if the voters reject the initiative, he expects CIRM’s staff to dwindle and the agency to fold by about 2023.last_img read more