From the Back Pages, December 15: West Brom sack manager Steve Clarke

From the back pages
From the back pages

BREAKING NEWS: West Brom have sacked manager Steve Clarke. (Daily Mail)

Chelsea moved to within two points of Arsenal at the top of the Barclays Premier League after victory over Crystal Palace, but all is far from well in the world of José Mourinho. (The Times)

By the end, it had begun to feel like an illusion that this is an Arsenal side looking down from the top of the Premier League. Manchester City, looming in their wing-mirrors, had made them look ordinary, in keeping with every team that has visited their ground in the league this season. Eight games, 35 goals – and now a full-on dismantling of the side that boasted the best defensive record in the league before this game. (The Guardian)

Jack Wilshere faces the possibility of a Football Association ban after appearing to make an obscene gesture at Manchester City fans during Arsenal’s emphatic 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium. (The Telegraph)

Roberto Martinez’s Everton revealed another side to their game that will serve them well as they pursue their ­ambitions – they can win ugly. (The Mirror)

Van Persie has been ruled out for eight games to leave Manchester United manager Moyes, right, reeling from another hammer blow to his hopes of turning around his team’s troubled season. (The Express)

The Ashes urn is slightly under 4.5 inches high, made of terracotta and started life as a lady’s perfume jar. It may or may not contain the ashes of a cricket bail. It resides more or less permanently at Lord’s but last night in all but the strictly physical sense was again setting sail, fast and true, for Australia. (The Independent)