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Football | The Guardian



Football news, results, fixtures, blogs, podcasts and comment on the Premier League, European and World football from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Mon, 29 May 2017 00:20:35 GMT2017-05-29T00:20:35Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Arsène Wenger says Arsenal FA Cup win should answer questions over future

Sun, 28 May 2017 21:30:07 GMT2017-05-28T21:30:07Z

• Board meeting will decide manager’s future after almost 21 years at club
• ‘Best presentation I could make is for board to watch Cup final again’

Arsène Wenger will tell Arsenal’s directors to watch a recording of Saturday’s FA Cup final victory over Chelsea if they have any doubt about his suitability to stay on as the club’s manager.

The saga of Wenger’s future will finally be resolved this week, with an announcement set for Wednesday – the day after a meeting of the full board, which Wenger himself will attend as usual. Wenger has made it clear he thinks he ought to be allowed to continue into what would be his 22nd season at the club while he says he knows “what I would like to happen”.

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Manchester City set to pay world record £34.9m for goalkeeper Ederson

Sun, 28 May 2017 22:22:09 GMT2017-05-28T22:22:09Z

• Benfica keeper is expected in Manchester for medical this week
• Fee would eclipse £32.6m Juventus paid for Gianluigi Buffon

Manchester City look set to sign the Benfica goalkeeper Ederson for a reported fee of £34.9m.

The 23-year-old, who has been followed by some of Europe’s biggest clubs this season, admitted on Sunday night that Benfica’s cup final victory over Vitoria was “probably my last game” for the club.

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Departing John Terry urges Chelsea to spend big on their squad

Sun, 28 May 2017 21:30:07 GMT2017-05-28T21:30:07Z

The former captain of many triumphs said the club need to invest heavily in the transfer market to compete in the Champions League

First rewind almost eight years to the day and John Terry had stood confronted by massed ranks of dictaphone wielding media, deep in the bowels of Wembley stadium, contemplating what Chelsea must do next. The names that had tripped off his tongue that afternoon were David Villa and Franck Ribéry, “the kind of players we want to attract, the best out there”, with the senior pros sensing the current crop might fall marginally short when it came to Europe.

A year on and, with the club having recruited only Yuri Zhirkov of note in the interim, the captain’s rhetoric remained steadfast. “The big four need to strengthen next year because everyone’s become closer,” he had said before the successful defence of the FA Cup which would complete Carlo Ancelotti’s Double in his first season in charge. The established quartet were coming to terms with Manchester City’s new financial strength and, this time, Chelsea would react. Ramires, David Luiz and Fernando Torres arrived over the next seven months for a combined £90m, an eye-watering outlay at the time. Two years later the team would lift the European Cup in Munich.

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Blackpool’s Mark Cullen sinks Exeter City in League Two play-off final

Sun, 28 May 2017 16:12:17 GMT2017-05-28T16:12:17Z

Blackpool bounced back to League One at the first time of asking with victory over Exeter City in the League Two play-off final at Wembley, with Mark Cullen poking home the winner midway through the second half to spark joyous scenes in the Tangerine half of the stadium. Well, a corner of it anyway.

That so few Blackpool fans – only just over 5,000 – were here to witness what should have been a celebratory occasion is testament to the depth of resentment against the Oyston family’s ownership of the club. This result will prompt mixed feelings for those on the Fylde coast who fear a victory for the team is a victory for the regime.

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Jaap Stam confident Reading can handle pressure of £170m play-off final

Sun, 28 May 2017 21:30:07 GMT2017-05-28T21:30:07Z

• Manager believes his side were toughened by FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford
• Huddersfield coach David Wagner: ‘This game can decide all of our futures’

Jaap Stam has insisted Reading will not freeze on the big stage when his side take on Huddersfield Town at Wembley on Monday, as they seek a passage to the Premier League and the biggest financial prize in football. According to Deloitte, promotion is worth a guaranteed £170m, a figure that could rise to £290m if the club retain their top-flight status.

Stam has previously dismissed the significance of his own big-game experience, saying there is only so much he can do from the touchline, and he believes his players have toughened from prevailing in important matches this season. “I think they have learned throughout the season, they have made progress during the season and we have had several games where we needed to do it and needed to win and they have done it,” Stam said. “The last two games against Fulham [in the play‑offs] for example, the game at home to Leeds [a 1-0 win] or away at Sheffield Wednesday [a 2-0 win].

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Marcelo and Dani Alves make Champions League final a battle of the full-backs | Sid Lowe

Sun, 28 May 2017 09:30:06 GMT2017-05-28T09:30:06Z

Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Dani Alves of Juventus have redefined their position while bringing plenty of trophies to their clubs in the past 10 years

“Three months ago some people wanted to strangle him,” Massimiliano Allegri said with a smile, but that night they just wanted to hug him. The story goes that when Dani Alves arrived at Juventus, Gigi Buffon took him to one side and asked him to teach them how to win the Champions League. He might not be able to do that exactly but Allegri was speaking just after Alves had taken them to Cardiff, delivering the pass for the first goal and volleying home the second in Monaco. He had already provided two assists in the first leg of the semi-final in Turin, one with a superb backheel. Juventus were in the final again, two years after they lost to Barcelona in Berlin– when Alves was on the other team.

On the other side this time, facing him, will be Marcelo, who after Real Madrid’s recent clásico defeat bemoaned: “It’s my fault.” His crime: not committing the foul that might have prevented Lionel Messi from winning it. Few noticed then that he had provided the late assist for James Rodríguez to equalise in the first place – but they did when six days later he scored late to tighten Madrid’s grip on the title. Five days before that, he had finally broken Bayern Munich, in the 109th minute of the Champions League quarter-final, weaving through, hurdling challenges and leaving Ronaldo an open goal to finish off the German champions.

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Brendan Rodgers targets European progress after Celtic’s domestic treble

Sun, 28 May 2017 23:01:09 GMT2017-05-28T23:01:09Z

• Manager warns ’We’re 10 times behind budget-wise. You have to be realistic’
• Rodgers wants to be in European competition in second half of season

No sooner had Celtic completed their domestic treble by defeating Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final than discussion moved towards what exactly Brendan Rodgers can do next. Celtic are believed to be keen on four players – a centre-back, midfielder, winger and striker – as they plan for the new campaign.

Rodgers, who has seen his career rejuvenated in Glasgow, presided over a Celtic team that did not lose a domestic game all season; Saturday’s 2-1 triumph at Hampden, where Tom Rogic scored an injury-time winner, proved their toughest test. Rodgers speaks routinely about continuing improvement, with European football surely the true barometer of that. As the dust settled on Saturday’s win, Celtic’s manager warned competing with the Champions League’s elite is still a formidable challenge.

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Reading’s Chris Gunter: ‘In one match, it is two years of your life’

Sun, 28 May 2017 17:00:02 GMT2017-05-28T17:00:02Z

As Reading’s Wales defender prepares for his 57th match of season in the Championship play-off final against Huddersfield, he says: ‘These types of games can change people’s lives’

As Chris Gunter rattles through the names of the friends and family who will be sat – perhaps stood, celebrating – inside Wembley on Monday, the very sense of occasion becomes abundantly clear. In the absence of Paul McShane, Gunter will captain Reading against Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final, where both teams will fight it out for a place in the Premier League.

Moments before this interview at Reading’s Hogwood Park training ground Gunter is doing the mental maths, double-checking with Lynne, the club’s football administrator, that his loved ones have the necessary tickets. He is no stranger to this situation, having been part of the Wales team that reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals. “This is a lot easier than last summer,” the 27-year-old says, smiling as he alludes to factoring-in flights, differing time zones and his brother Marc’s wedding in Mexico.

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Gary Cahill rues ‘crazy’ offside rule in wake of Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat

Sun, 28 May 2017 23:01:09 GMT2017-05-28T23:01:09Z

• Defender says ‘maddest rule I have ever seen’ led to Arsenal’s opener
• ‘If Ramsey is not there, I can run out and get the ball,’ says Thibaut Courtois

Gary Cahill has described the current interpretation of the offside rule as “the maddest rule I have ever seen” as the Chelsea defender struggled to come to terms with the decision to award Alexis Sánchez’s opening goal in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Chelsea were also perplexed that the referee, Anthony Taylor, did not penalise the Arsenal forward for handball in the buildup. After that Aaron Ramsey’s initial movement towards the ball from an offside position prompted the assistant referee, Gary Beswick, to raise his flag. Yet while Ramsey’s presence may have been a distraction, the fact he did not touch the ball, directly interfere with an opponent or ensure his side gained an unfair advantage through his position meant Taylor eventually allowed the fifth-minute goal.

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Bernardo Silva: the ‘bubble gum player’ bringing his magic to Manchester City

Sun, 28 May 2017 09:00:05 GMT2017-05-28T09:00:05Z

Though Bernardo Silva lived in Monaco he had a tiny flat and no dishwasher and Manchester City have signed a down-to-earth, hard-working player with extraordinary technique and vision

Picture a professional footballer at one of the best clubs in Europe this season. Think about his exorbitant wages in a part of the world where he does not even pay taxes. Think about Monaco, the lifestyle, the casino, the sophistication, the wealth. Now think about Bernardo Silva and rethink everything.

Related: Monaco’s Bernardo Silva joins Manchester City in £43.6m deal

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Arsène Wenger got strategy spot on from back to front in Arsenal win | Michael Cox

Sun, 28 May 2017 13:14:50 GMT2017-05-28T13:14:50Z

Manager deserves praise for switch in strategy which won the FA Cup final against Chelsea as he outfoxed Antonio Conte’s efforts to reshape his lineup

Regardless of the result, this felt like a fitting end to the campaign – a match between two sides lining up with a three-man defence. It had, of course, been a 3-0 defeat at the Emirates in September which encouraged Antonio Conte to switch to his 3-4-3 system, and then Chelsea’s astonishing run of form seemingly encouraged Arsène Wenger to follow suit.

For all the pre-match speculation about Arsenal’s defensive problems and the controversial decision to play David Ospina rather than Petr Cech, Wenger’s key decision here was up front. For the 4-0 FA Cup final victory over Aston Villa two years ago, Wenger elected for the speed of Theo Walcott and omitted Olivier Giroud, and the extra pace forced Aston Villa’s defence to play deeper, creating space between the lines when their midfield tried to press, allowing Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil to run riot. Here, an almost identical thing happened – albeit with Danny Welbeck, rather than Walcott.

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Huddersfield’s Christopher Schindler: The hardest season of my life

Sun, 28 May 2017 10:30:07 GMT2017-05-28T10:30:07Z

Playing in the Premier League is the dream the Championship play-off finalists’ defender reveals as his first season in England reaches its climax

When asked about the biggest difference between his everyday life in England and the one he was accustomed to in Germany before joining Huddersfield Town last summer, Christopher Schindler smiles and replies: “Handymen. In Germany if you’ve got a problem, you call somebody and they solve it. Here, you call someone, they come out and two weeks later you’ve got another problem. Maybe they just want to come back to have a chat with you or something?”

Or maybe those handymen are just conducting a test, trying to find out if it is possible to rile a good-humoured 27-year-old whose serene authority in central defence has been a key feature of Huddersfield’s extraordinary rise this season? On Monday, that season could reach a climax few foresaw, as Huddersfield take on Reading at Wembley in the play-off final for a place in the Premier League. On the pitch, at least, Schindler has found an efficiency that he seldom experienced in Germany, where the club he was at for 17 years, 1860 Munich, became a byword for instability, stuck in the second division for the past 13 years and churning through at least two managers per season.

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Lionel Messi inspires Barcelona to Copa del Rey final triumph against Alavés

Sat, 27 May 2017 22:32:19 GMT2017-05-27T22:32:19Z

• Barcelona 3-1 Alavés
• Messi 30, Neymar 45, Alcácer 45; Hernández 33

Lionel Messi produced yet another masterclass as Barcelona marked the end of Luis Enrique’s Camp Nou reign by lifting the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona became the first team since the early 1950s to lift the cup three seasons running as Messi masterminded a 3-1 victory at the final game to be staged at Atlético Madrid’s Vicente Calderón home.

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‘No one gave Arsenal a chance, and we responded,’ says Arséne Wenger

Sun, 28 May 2017 08:26:00 GMT2017-05-28T08:26:00Z

• ‘I refused to give up hope and so did my team’
• ‘There was a clear handball for the first goal,’ says Antonio Conte

Arsène Wenger described winning his seventh FA Cup as one of the proudest moments of his career because of the criticism he faced this season, before going on to criticise some of the supporters who would like him removed for creating a hostile environment in matches.

Related: Aaron Ramsey fires Arsenal to FA Cup final win over 10-man Chelsea

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Jaap Stam says Reading have played the Dutch way to reach play-off final

Sat, 27 May 2017 21:30:38 GMT2017-05-27T21:30:38Z

• Reading manager close to Premier League in first season at the club
• ‘You need to work hard and believe in yourself,’ says Stam

Jaap Stam says his reputation would have been tarnished had he struggled in his first season at Reading but insists being appointed the club’s manager last summer was a risk for both parties. Stam has steered Reading to Monday’s Championship play-off final against Huddersfield, beyond all expectations, and believes his team have benefited from his decision to play the Dutch way.

Related: Yann Kermorgant sends Reading to Wembley in play-off win over Fulham

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Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea: how the FA Cup final players rated

Sat, 27 May 2017 19:53:34 GMT2017-05-27T19:53:34Z

Alexis Sánchez was the star of the show, with support from Per Mertesacker and Aaron Ramsey, while Victor Moses can have no complaints about his red card

David Ospina, 6/10 Preferred to Petr Cech, he made himself big and saved bravely from Costa in the first half but should have saved the equaliser. Huge save at the end to win the game.

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Aaron Ramsey fires Arsenal to FA Cup final win over 10-man Chelsea

Sat, 27 May 2017 18:33:44 GMT2017-05-27T18:33:44Z

Amid all the euphoria for Arsenal, there are bound to be people who wonder if these might also have been the ideal circumstances for Arsène Wenger to announce he was stepping aside and assure himself of a happy ending. His team had won, thrillingly, against the champions of England, making Wenger the most successful manager in the history of this competition. It was his seventh victory and, whatever his faults, a man with that record of achievement surely warrants the opportunity to go out on a high.

Equally, these are the moments when Wenger must be reminded what it is about football that makes it so addictive. It is not easy kicking the habit, particularly on the days when everything falls into place and this for Arsenal was undoubtedly one of them. They picked a good time to put in their best performance of the season, denying Chelsea the double on a day when Victor Moses joined the list of players to suffer the indignity of being shown a red card in an FA Cup final. Moses had collected two second-half bookings and the fact the second one came from a choreographed attempt to win a penalty probably summed up the state to which Arsenal reduced their opponents.

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Celtic strike at the last to beat Aberdeen in Scottish Cup final and win treble

Sat, 27 May 2017 16:16:17 GMT2017-05-27T16:16:17Z

If anyone claims winning trophies in Scotland is akin to defeating a hamster at chess, this Scottish Cup final should be used as the perfect counter-point. The scale of Celtic’s celebrations as Tom Rogic guided the club, and Brendan Rodgers, into uncharted territory told a story of what toil had come before. Rodgers and Celtic, this now-famous Celtic side, have completed an unbeaten domestic season.

It took a titanic battle with Aberdeen for Celtic to complete a clean sweep of domestic trophies. Rodgers is the third manager in the club’s illustrious history to win a treble. It was, though, impossible not to feel sorry for Derek McInnes and Aberdeen, who contributed so much to this final before quality – and fitness – told.

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Borussia Dortmund’s Aubameyang sinks Eintracht Frankfurt to land cup

Sat, 27 May 2017 20:39:41 GMT2017-05-27T20:39:41Z

• Eintracht Frankfurt 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
• Rebic 29 Dembélé 8, Aubameyang 67pen

Borussia Dortmund ended a run of three successive German Cup final defeats with a 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in Berlin.

The striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who reportedly handed in a transfer request this week, scored his 40th goal of the season from the penalty spot for Dortmund midway through the second half to clinch the club’s fourth DFB-Pokal title and first in five years.

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Marco Silva excited by Watford plans after appointment as manager

Sat, 27 May 2017 13:26:03 GMT2017-05-27T13:26:03Z

• Silva had been linked with vacancies at Porto and Crystal Palace
• ‘Marco was one of the most sought after head coaches in the Premier League’

Watford’s new head coach, Marco Silva, has insisted the ambition of the club’s owners excites him. The Pozzo family have a record of firing managers with regularity, with the former Hull man the ninth incumbent since their takeover at Vicarage Road five years ago.

Quique Sánchez Flores and Walter Mazzarri were given one season each as just keeping the club in the top flight could not save them from the sack. It is an approach that does not intimidate Silva, who left Hull after failing to keep them up despite impressing in the five months he was in charge.

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Monaco’s Bernardo Silva joins Manchester City in £43.6m deal

Fri, 26 May 2017 12:01:18 GMT2017-05-26T12:01:18Z

• Midfielder becomes Pep Guardiola’s first summer signing at the Etihad
• Silva, 22, part of Monaco squad who reached Champions League semi-finals

Manchester City have signed Monaco’s Bernardo Silva in a £43.6m deal. The midfielder has agreed a five-year contract with the Premier League side to kickstart Pep Guardiola’s overhaul of a squad that finished last season without a trophy.

The Catalan was determined to move swiftly in the transfer market this summer after his team finished third in the Premier League and failed in their pursuit of the two domestic cups and the Champions League.

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West Ham sign Pablo Zabaleta after defender’s release by Manchester City

Fri, 26 May 2017 14:15:14 GMT2017-05-26T14:15:14Z

• Full-back signs two-year deal with east London club
• Álvaro Arbeloa, Jonathan Calleri and Gokhan Tore all exit

West Ham have signed the former Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta. The Argentina full-back will join the London club on a two-year deal from 1 July, when his contract with City expires having been released at the Etihad Stadium.

“This is an absolute pleasure to be part of West Ham,” Zabaleta told West Ham TV. “I hope I can give you good moments. Of course, I come to the club to enjoy myself and hopefully we can have a very successful time.”

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Looking back at your – and our – Premier League pre-season predictions

Thu, 25 May 2017 13:32:48 GMT2017-05-25T13:32:48Z

When asked which club would win the league, our readers cast more votes for Manchester United, City and Liverpool than the eventual champions

Chelsea went into the season with a bunch of title winners who had something to prove, a new midfielder who had been instrumental for the previous champions, and a manager who had won three titles in a row at his last club. But, when asked who would win the title, more of you picked Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Chelsea won just a handful of votes more than Arsenal. And Tottenham only secured 6.4% of the vote.

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Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

Mon, 22 May 2017 07:57:06 GMT2017-05-22T07:57:06Z

Our writers take stock after the Premier League season, naming their best player, finest goal, most entertaining match, biggest gripe and much more

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Premier League 2016-17 review: what we learned tactically from the season | Michael Cox

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:00:00 GMT2017-05-23T10:00:00Z

Chelsea’s switch to three at the back changed thinking in top flight while regaining the ball via pressing, rather than retaining it, is now regarded as fundamental

Unquestionably the Premier League’s dominant tactical trend was the three-man defence. A remarkable 17 of the 20 sides started with a back three at some point in the season, with only Southampton, West Bromwich and Burnley doggedly sticking to a back four.

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Premier League 2016-17 review: player of the season

Mon, 22 May 2017 09:00:19 GMT2017-05-22T09:00:19Z

In a season in which Chelsea and Tottenham pulled away from the chasing pack it is no surprise their star players feature here. Now post your suggestions

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

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Premier League 2016-17 review: manager of the season

Mon, 22 May 2017 11:00:21 GMT2017-05-22T11:00:21Z

Beyond the title racers it was a good season for homegrown managers plying their trade further down the table. Now post your suggestions

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

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Premier League 2016-17 review: goal of the season

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:00:20 GMT2017-05-22T10:00:20Z

A couple of stunning scorpion kicks, a mazy dribble, a blazing outside-of-the-box strike and a perfect scissor-kick feature here. Now post your suggestions

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

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Premier League 2016-17 review: match of the season

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:00:23 GMT2017-05-22T12:00:23Z

An opening weekend thriller at the Emirates and a monument to slapstick defending at the Liberty Stadium feature here. Now post your suggestions

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

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Premier League 2016-17 review: pundit of the season

Tue, 23 May 2017 09:00:48 GMT2017-05-23T09:00:48Z

Monday Night Football’s leading duo, a much-maligned staple of Match of the Day and a former Stoke defender feature here. Now post your suggestions

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

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Premier League 2016-17 review: signing of the season

Mon, 22 May 2017 14:00:25 GMT2017-05-22T14:00:25Z

A defender still trying to shake off the stench of World Cup humiliation and a towering bargain from Southampton feature here. Now post your suggestions

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

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Premier League 2016-17 review: flop of the season

Mon, 22 May 2017 18:00:30 GMT2017-05-22T18:00:30Z

From two underwhelming managerial stints in the north-east to a struggling goalkeeper at a leading contender. Now post your suggestions

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

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Premier League 2016-17 review: gripe of the season

Tue, 23 May 2017 08:01:50 GMT2017-05-23T08:01:50Z

Dreadful defending at set pieces, broadcasting banal post-match tweets, Sky’s failed Friday night football experiment and more. Now post your suggestions

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

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Premier League 2016-17 review: referee of the season

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:30:00 GMT2017-05-23T10:30:00Z

Mark Clattenburg, Martin Atkinson, Michael Oliver and Bobby Madley all make our shortlist. Now post your suggestions below

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

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Premier League 2016-17 review: innovations we need for the future

Tue, 23 May 2017 11:00:01 GMT2017-05-23T11:00:01Z

Tweak the double-hit rule, make managers accountable for cynical tactics and more. Now post your suggestions

Welcome to theguardian.com review of the 2016-17 Premier League season. Now that the campaign has ended we would like you to help us choose your favourite goal, the best referee and the best manager, and other winners in a total of 10 categories. We have nominated some contenders but this is just to get the discussion going: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. The polls will be published at midday on Wednesday 24 May, so please tell us what you think. Thanks

Related: Premier League 2016-17 season review: our writers’ best and worst

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Premier League 2016-17 fans’ verdicts part one: Arsenal to Manchester City

Sun, 21 May 2017 08:19:13 GMT2017-05-21T08:19:13Z

Featuring: Leicester’s winter of discontent; Mamadou Sakho tackling a referee; and the explosive moment Chelsea took the title
Part 2: Manchester United to West Ham

Pre-season prediction 1st; Position now 5th

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Premier League 2016-17 fans’ verdicts part two: Manchester Utd to West Ham

Sun, 21 May 2017 08:19:17 GMT2017-05-21T08:19:17Z

Featuring: Southampton’s record signings; why Stoke need change; and the manager who makes Eeyore sound like Norman Wisdom on nitrous oxide
Part 1: Arsenal to Manchester City

Pre-season prediction 1st; Position now 6th

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Chelsea's title, Hull go down and the revival of Dirk Kuyt – Football Weekly

Mon, 15 May 2017 15:11:56 GMT2017-05-15T15:11:56Z

The podders reflect on the results that tied up the top and bottom of the Premier League. Plus, news of Feyenoord, Forest Green Rovers and our final ever debate about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher. And join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

On today’s Football Weekly, AC Jimbo is joined by Barney Ronay, Iain Macintosh and Sasha Goryunov to congratulate Chelsea on successfully swaggering their way to the Premier League title, and to wave goodbye to Hull whose plucky battle against relegation wasn’t quite as plucky as that of plucky Swansea or Crystal Palace.

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Arsène Wenger and Arsenal have answers but questions remain | Barney Ronay

Sun, 28 May 2017 09:00:06 GMT2017-05-28T09:00:06Z

Uncertainty over the future of Arsène Wenger persists but Arsenal put those troubles behind them as they beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final

At the final whistle on a hot, fun, slightly wild afternoon at Wembley, Arsène Wenger crouched on the touchline and roared, not quite with abandon, but with a genuine sense of release, and even of anger. Cuffs still crisply buttoned, wasp-waisted in black slacks, Wenger eventually sank into a familiar double fist-pump, knees bent, like a man at a wedding performing a slow, heartfelt air-maracas solo.

Twenty minutes later he was there again climbing the Wembley steps with his players to face the royal party and the coyly gleaming trophy. Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat of Chelsea means Wenger now has seven FA Cup winners’ medals, more than any other manager, and as many as Chelsea and Liverpool in their entire respective histories. His first Cup as a coach was the Coupe De France 27 years ago. For all the vicissitudes of the job, the draining obsession, it seems pretty clear the sweetness is still there to be sucked from moments like these.

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N’Golo Kanté’s unusual mistake shows up careless Chelsea in FA Cup final | Paul Wilson

Sat, 27 May 2017 20:54:16 GMT2017-05-27T20:54:16Z

Chelsea’s player of the year was partly to blame for Arsenal’s first goal on a day when the champions looked out of sorts

Carelessness is not a word that has been applied to Chelsea very often this season, yet the champions began this final a little too laid back for their own good. They were behind after five minutes as a result, and player of the season N’Golo Kanté was partly to blame. Not for the attempted clearance that struck Alexis Sánchez and allowed the Chilean to run on and beat Thibaut Courtois, but for coughing up possession to allow Arsenal to threaten in the first place. Courtois had just made a routine catch from Mesut Özil’s early corner and bowled the ball out for Kanté to get an attack moving, only to see the normally reliable midfielder lose his bearings just outside his own penalty area to let Arsenal steal in.

It could not be said the error led directly to the goal but it was an ominously lackadaisical start by a side that has been noted for its smartness and precision all season. By the mid-point of the first half, by which time Gary Cahill had already been forced to clear off the line from Özil and Danny Welbeck had hit a post with a header from a corner, it was beginning to look as if Chelsea’s imperious march to the title had just been an illusion. It was either that or Arsène Wenger had simply been saving Arsenal’s best performance of the season as a means of answering his critics.

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England coach Steve Cooper sees hope in painfully familiar defeat to Spain

Sat, 27 May 2017 21:30:38 GMT2017-05-27T21:30:38Z

The England Under-17 manager believes his teams’s European Championship experience was positive despite the sting of losing on penalties

It may seem strange to hear an England coach talking about his players changing perceptions in the wake of a penalty shootout defeat that followed a familiar script, yet Steve Cooper has good reason to think the mood is shifting when it comes to how the country’s next generation of footballers are viewed.

The man in charge of the under-17 team who lost against Spain in gut-wrenching fashion eight days ago, when they conceded an injury-time equaliser before being beaten on spot-kicks in the European Championship final in Croatia, is not alone in believing England are starting to see the fruits of their labour after launching their DNA blueprint two and a half years ago.

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The Alavés miracle: ‘We know what lies behind it: the work, sacrifice and effort’

Fri, 26 May 2017 15:00:01 GMT2017-05-26T15:00:01Z

Six years after escaping administration, Alavés take on mighty Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final. Captain and local boy Manu García describes the fairytale

Manu García runs his finger carefully down the long list of names, squinting slightly as he searches for his own. Sixteen years on, he knows where to look but there are 13,200 of them written in tiny white print on a blue and yellow background, covering every millimetre from top to bottom and left to right, so it is not easy to find. Eventually, he sees his father, hidden among hundreds of Garcías. And then, on the line below, he stops. “Here,” he says. “This is me.” MANUEL ALEJANDRO GARCÍA.

Related: Alavés return from the abyss and rebel against reality to tame Barcelona | Sid Lowe

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Christian Pulisic: 'It was scary – you’re not thinking about football that night or the next day'

Fri, 26 May 2017 09:00:07 GMT2017-05-26T09:00:07Z

After a season in which his team’s bus was targeted in a bomb attack the US international is now looking forward to the German Cup final and thinks he could not have found a club better prepared to make the most of his talent

“It hit me on the night, right after the game – you’re there in that stadium and you think ‘Wow, yeah, I really just did that’.” Christian Pulisic is talking about the evening in early December when he started a Champions League game at the Bernabeu. He had already shown he could handle Real Madrid: 10 weeks previously he had replaced Ousmane Dembele late in the home fixture and created an equaliser for Andre Schürrle. Playing at the European champions’ home, gazed down upon by those steep stands that suck in the night sky, was something different again. The experience lasted an hour but crystalised everything Pulisic had achieved in a lifetime.

There has been little time for extensive reflection since. Pulisic comes into Signal Iduna Park on his day off, a Tuesday, for this interview and that is not the kind of luxury his first full season as a professional has often afforded. “It’s been tough with those English Weeks,” he admits, using the term deployed knowingly in Germany for the kind of weekend-midweek-weekend slog more familiar to their European neighbours. His comfort with local football idioms has been mirrored on the pitch: Pulisic has appeared in 42 of Dortmund’s 50 matches this season, a record only three of his team-mates can improve upon, and it is no accident that Thomas Tuchel has put such faith in a player who does not turn 19 until September.

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How does it feel to win the play-offs? AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley explains

Fri, 26 May 2017 14:04:49 GMT2017-05-26T14:04:49Z

Winning a play-offs final is thrilling but it can be stressful – especially if you have a family holiday booked and your taxi to Heathrow is waiting outside Wembley

By Richard Foster for The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Guardian Sport Network

Another chapter in the story of AFC Wimbledon’s remarkable rise up the leagues was written last May, when they went to Wembley and secured their sixth promotion in 13 seasons. The club had only played their first competitive match in 2002 – in the tenth-tier Combined Counties League – but here they were competing for a place in League One, where they would meet their nemeses, MK Dons.

Their 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle in the final was fully deserved, with Lyle Taylor’s accomplished finish setting them on their way before Ade Akinfenwa delivered the perfect swansong to his AFC Wimbledon career with his penalty in the 100th minute. That the match was played out in front of 57,956 fans – a bigger crowd than had watched the League One final the previous day – shows just how much people were invested in AFC Wimbledon’s triumph.

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From Belvedere to Barcelona, Bulgaria and beyond: the life of a football nomad

Fri, 26 May 2017 09:47:12 GMT2017-05-26T09:47:12Z

Cillian Sheridan’s career has taken him from telling Leo Messi to ‘fuck off’ in Camp Nou to challenging for the Polish league, via Cyprus, Sofia and Scotland

By Jonathan Drennan for Behind the Lines, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Cillian Sheridan sits in his apartment in the picturesque city of Bialystok in Poland preparing for training with the local top tier football team Jagiellonia Bialystok. Sheridan lives here with his girlfriend, Jodie, and their Irish accents have already marked them out as slight curiosities in a city that adores its high-flying football club.

Sheridan has enjoyed some remarkable highs. He has played against Lionel Messi twice – for the Republic of Ireland against Argentina in the first international at the Aviva Stadium in 2010 and for Apoel Nicosia in the Champions League in 2014 – but his career has always been peripatetic. Poland is the latest stop in a professional career that has also taken in Scotland, Cyprus and Bulgaria.

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When Brighton last played in the top flight – and the FA Cup final – 34 years ago

Thu, 25 May 2017 10:41:17 GMT2017-05-25T10:41:17Z

Brighton have not played in the top division of English football since 1982-83, the most topsy-turvy season in their history

By Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

After gaining promotion under Alan Mullery in the 1978-79 season, Brighton & Hove Albion managed to keep their heads above water for a few years in the First Division. They finished a respectable 16th in their first year in the top tier and then pulled off a great escape in 1980-81 by winning their last four games of the campaign, although Mullery then resigned after a row with chairman Mike Bamber over the transfer of Mark Lawrenson and proposed adjustments to his coaching staff.

Related: Brighton seal promotion after win over Wigan and Huddersfield draw at Derby

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How Georgi Kinkladze showed up Premier League’s early inability to evolve

Thu, 25 May 2017 17:23:00 GMT2017-05-25T17:23:00Z

Talented Georgian No10 was bought by Manchester City in 1995 but attempts to build a team around him failed partly because of English fixation with 4-4-2

The end of the Premier League’s 25th campaign provides an opportune moment to marvel at the division’s tremendous tactical and technical development during its first quarter of a century. At its inaugural season in 1992-93 the Premier League was largely based around 4-4-2, long balls and getting it in the mixer; 25 years on it is about 3-4-2-1, intricate combination play and gegenpressing.

The most significant progress occurred during the mid-1990s. There were various contributing factors: the backpass law meant teams were obliged to become more comfortable in possession, the huge surge in broadcasting revenue meant English football could attract top players and the end of the three-foreigner rule inevitably changed teams’ approach significantly. On its first weekend, in August 1992, only 11 non-British or Irish players started for the Premier League’s 22 clubs combined. By the end of the decade foreign managers were dominant and Chelsea had fielded an all-foreign starting XI. English football, traditionally slow to embrace tactical innovations from abroad, opened its eyes. It was a period of remarkable change and tremendous excitement.

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Does MLS have a Texas problem?

Fri, 26 May 2017 14:27:18 GMT2017-05-26T14:27:18Z

Houston and Dallas, who meet in Sunday’s Texas Derby, are two of MLS’ best clubs this season from two of its biggest cities. So why aren’t they more popular?

Whoever coined the phrase “demographics are not destiny” could have been referring to Major League Soccer in Texas just as easily as talking about politics.

Simple population figures would imply that two of the league’s biggest clubs are facing off in the Texas Derby on Sunday, with the right to fire a cannon awarded to the team with the season’s best head-to-head record - provided they have secured the appropriate paperwork from safety-conscious city authorities, that is.

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How MLS clubs are undervaluing prospects from the US lower divisions

Thu, 25 May 2017 09:30:25 GMT2017-05-25T09:30:25Z

Could homegrown imports like Minnesota United’s Christian Ramirez help MLS get over its reluctance to mine talent from the NASL and USL?

Every season, Major League Soccer has a crop of breakout players who are new to the league – this year we have Atlanta’s Josef Martínez (the Venezuelan who scored five goals in his first three matches – after netting just seven in three years with Turin). The best of these players often come from Europe or South America and immediately become key starters.

This year, there have been more examples of domestic players moving from the US lower divisions and succeeding in MLS than any year in recent memory. New York Red Bulls center back Aaron Long made his MLS debut in March and has started 13 matches for a potential MLS Cup contender. Meanwhile, expansion side Minnesota United has gotten crucial minutes from NASL domestic holdovers Christian Ramirez and Brent Kallman. Impressively, Ramirez has seven goals in his first 12 MLS matches, three off the Golden Boot pace.

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European football season review: how did your club do this season?

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:20:39 GMT2017-05-24T13:20:39Z

Whether battling it out in the Bundesliga, Serie A or Swiss Super League, we’d like to hear from supporters across Europe about their club’s league campaign

With most domestic leagues across Europe settled for another year, we’d like to hear about how your team fared this season. Did they exceed expectations by qualifying for Europe or achieving an against-all-odds promotion? Maybe you’re still trying to digest a mediocre mid-table finish or a hapless campaign? Who is responsible for your team’s success or failure?

Whether it’s been a season to remember or one to forget quickly, share your thoughts on your club’s league campaign by filling out the form below. We’ll hopefully feature some of the contributions on the site.

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Liverpool make light work of Sydney FC on whistle-stop trip to Australia

Wed, 24 May 2017 12:16:23 GMT2017-05-24T12:16:23Z

  • Sydney FC 0-3 Liverpool, ANZ Stadium
  • Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher wheeled out to delight of fans

For Liverpool it was meant to be a celebration of the season just finished; for Sydney FC, a club also with good cause for celebration after their title-winning campaign, it was a chance to prove themselves against a grand old European club – albeit one that was tired, jet-lagged and understrength.

At the end of a predictably pedestrian close-season match in the harbour city, it was the visitors who most fulfilled their pre-match aspirations in a comfortable 3-0 win, much to the delight of the heavily pro-Liverpool crowd, after goals by Daniel Sturridge, Alberto Moreno and Roberto Firmino set up the mother of all smash and grabs.

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Real Madrid sign 16-year-old Vinícius Júnior from Flamengo for £39.6m

Tue, 23 May 2017 17:57:04 GMT2017-05-23T17:57:04Z

• Teenage forward has made just one senior appearance for Flamengo
• Real beat Barcelona and Manchester United to signature with offer of €46m

Real Madrid have reached a deal with the Brazilian side Flamengo to sign forward Vinícius Júnior in July 2018, the Spanish champions announced on Tuesday. Vinícius has just one senior appearance for Flamengo, making his professional debut just 10 days ago in a league game against Atlético Mineiro.

Related: Real Madrid, champions again, but with a coach who is only just starting | Sid Lowe

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DeAndre Yedlin on finding his feet at Newcastle: 'Benítez has been good for me'

Tue, 23 May 2017 09:00:48 GMT2017-05-23T09:00:48Z

The defender had a tough introduction to English football but now he is looking forward to the Premier League and a productive with the US team

In the aftermath of Dwight Gayle’s goal for Newcastle United against Barnsley this month, a second cheer rang around St James’ Park. DeAndre Yedlin quickly flicked his gaze towards the home dugout in the hope the noise signified a late equalizer for Aston Villa against title challenging Brighton — it did.

“Yeah, for sure, [it’s the most surreal game I’ve played in],” Yedlin told the Guardian afterwards, a league winner’s medal around his neck. “I heard a few cheers, one at the beginning of the game, and then the Barnsley fans were cheering [Brighton’s goal] and then at the end of the game it was odd because everyone was just silent. I didn’t know the game [at Villa Park] hadn’t ended yet, so everyone was waiting anxiously. It was such a relief when I heard everyone going crazy and to win it like that.”

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Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell detained in police raid

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:31:20 GMT2017-05-23T13:31:20Z

• Police raid offices, homes and businesses in Barcelona
• Money-laundering investigation related to TV rights for Brazil matches

The former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and his wife have been detained in connection with his businesses in Brazil. The detentions were part of a money-laundering investigation related to buying television rights for past matches of Brazil’s national team. Three other people were detained but their identities were not immediately released by authorities.

Police raided offices, homes and businesses in Barcelona and other locations in Spain as part of Operation Rimet, a reference to former Fifa president Jules Rimet, who also gave his name to the World Cup trophy from 1930 to 1970.

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Brazil police arrest close aide of president in World Cup scheme

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:09:30 GMT2017-05-23T18:09:30Z

Tadeu Filippelli, a former vice-governor of the capital and cabinet adviser, was among three senior politicians detained in Brazil’s latest corruption scandal

A new thread in the web of corruption investigations around Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, was revealed on Tuesday when police arrested a close aide for an alleged kickback scheme involving the World Cup stadium in Brasilia.

Related: Brazil: explosive recordings implicate President Michel Temer in bribery

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Real Madrid, champions again, but with a coach who is only just starting | Sid Lowe

Mon, 22 May 2017 14:13:11 GMT2017-05-22T14:13:11Z

Madrid scored in every game this season. They are one game from a first league and European Cup double in 59 years. This is historic, even for them

For a moment there Marcelo looked a bit worried. Danilo, Casemiro and Lucas Vázquez bundled back out of the press room a little less noisily than they had bundled in, chanting and spraying champagne about. Álvaro Morata followed them, getting out of the manager’s chair and taking the bottle off the desk as he departed. The Brazilian pushed him towards the door but then paused. Glancing down a little sheepishly, he picked up the TV they’d knocked as they bounced around and set about trying to fix it. From one side, Lucas said something: “Come on.” From the other, Zinedine Zidane smiled that smile and held out an arm. So Marcelo gave up, laid the screen down, hugged his coach and left, letting out a whoop when he went.

Through the door to the right, round the corridor to the left and up the slope at one corner of the Rosaleda, Real Madrid’s league title winners were starting to head to the bus, most wearing T-shirts the kitman had handed out at full-time on the final day, 33 on the back. Keylor Navas, head shaved as promised, dedicated the title to children with cancer and vowed to fight for his future. Pepe and Málaga midfielder Duda, who’d just played his last game, hid in a quiet corner drinking from cans wrapped in white paper. Cristiano Ronaldo was insisting he’s no saint, but not the devil either. Isco said: “Relax, I’m staying.” And staff embraced. The driver was beaming.

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Juventus soak up another Serie A title off the back of constant evolution | Paolo Bandini

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:07:03 GMT2017-05-22T10:07:03Z

Juve’s sixth straight Scudetto is a testament to the small group of players who have remained. But there have also been fantastically shrewd transfer dealings

Massimiliano Allegri might want to keep an eye on the baggage scanner when Juan Cuadrado checks in for next week’s flight to Cardiff. The Colombian tipped two bottles of water over his manager in the wake of Juventus’s Coppa Italia win last Wednesday, but after they sealed the Scudetto he covered his boss in foam instead.

Is it premature to ask what celebration Cuadrado has in mind for a Champions League triumph? There is still the small matter of a final against Real Madrid to get through, after all. But that is the only obstacle remaining in Juve’s pursuit of the treble. For the sixth season running, they are Serie A champions. No team in Italy, England, Spain or Germany has ever won so many consecutive domestic titles before.

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‘Bibi’ of the Bundesliga blows whistle on sexism in German football

Mon, 22 May 2017 16:35:52 GMT2017-05-22T16:35:52Z

Bibiana Steinhaus’s appointment as a top-flight referee has been likened to Angela Merkel becoming chancellor in 2005

The appointment of a woman as a top-flight referee in Germany has been hailed as a breakthrough for equality domestically and a milestone for football.

Bibiana Steinhaus has become an overnight celebrity since the announcement by the German football federation’s referee commission that she will take charge of games in the Bundesliga next season. The same organisation banned women from playing football as recently as the 1950s.

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Cristiano Ronaldo sets ball rolling at Málaga and Real Madrid canter to title

Sun, 21 May 2017 20:01:14 GMT2017-05-21T20:01:14Z

Real Madrid’s fans gathered at the fountain of Cibeles, celebrating before their team had even finished playing at Rosaleda. Those who were in Málaga celebrated too, singing their way through the final minutes as the team eased through them, success long-since secured. There was to be no drama on the final day and no late twist, just a first league title in five years. An early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo set Madrid on their way as they eased towards a 2-0 victory that might yet be the first step towards a domestic and European double that has eluded them for 59 years.

Madrid had gone into the final day knowing that a single point would be sufficient; the surprise was that for much of the night it appeared even a defeat would have been enough, with news coming through that Barcelona were trailing at the Camp Nou. The Catalans eventually came back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 but theirs was an empty victory. Madrid’s was a comfortable one, no space for a surprise. It was over almost as soon as it had begun – if there had ever really been a chance.

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MLS: where the standing fan is fast becoming king

Mon, 22 May 2017 11:20:36 GMT2017-05-22T11:20:36Z

Los Angeles FC are the latest team to announce standing areas for their fans, and it is a trend supporters on the other side of the Atlantic will note

Fan culture in Major League Soccer isn’t always considered to be the most authentic. That comes with the nature of the competition, in its franchised form, but that’s not to say fan culture doesn’t exist in North American soccer. This season, safe standing has become a part of that culture, with Orlando City leading the way (sometimes in very ... expressive ways). Others, such as Atlanta and Minnesota United, are following their lead.

In what has quickly become typical fashion for Los Angeles FC, a much teased announcement on Saturday confirmed that MLS’s glitziest club without a team will also have a standing section of their own at their new stadium to help create “an electric and unified stadium atmosphere on match-days.” It was not an original part of the plan (although standing areas had been mooted), but LAFC presumably saw how a standing section has energised Orlando City and crowbarred it into their own blueprint.

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Hamburg’s famous clock keeps on ticking after Bundesliga escape | Andy Brassell

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:08:06 GMT2017-05-22T12:08:06Z

‘Lucky Luca’ Waldschmidt popped up with a late winner to sink Wolfsburg and spark wild scenes in Hamburg, as HSV avoided the relegation play-off

“No, HSV haven’t won the championship,” said the voiceover on ZDF’s Das Aktuelle Sportstudio as they rolled footage of jubilant Hamburg SV supporters streaming on to the Volksparkstadion pitch. “They’ve stayed up.” There may be widespread incredulity around Germany as to just what constitutes success for the 1983 European Cup winners these days, but very few among the 57,000 sell-out crowd on Saturday cared about that.

It had been the latest improbable moment in what has become an improbable role that HSV play in the Bundesliga. The little-used Luca Waldschmidt had come on as substitute in the 86th minute, with the home side still searching for the winning goal that would allow them to avoid a third relegation play-off in four seasons and propel visitors Wolfsburg into it in their stead; 112 seconds later and Waldschmidt – or “Lucky Luca”, as Hamburger Morgenpost has already dubbed him – applied a perfect headed finish to Filip Kostic’s inviting delivery, and Hamburg were in dreamland.

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How the English game could learn from the Chinese Super League | Barney Ronay

Fri, 26 May 2017 18:00:04 GMT2017-05-26T18:00:04Z

For all the nationalism and political will, China is ploughing millions into youth development and the intention is to win the World Cup within the next 30 years

This week I watched the Chinese Super League so you don’t have to, taking in the full, slightly wild 90 minutes of the champions Guangzhou Evergrande versus last year’s runners-up Jiangsu Suning, the most recent of the CSL fixtures being shown in dribs and drabs by Sky Sports.

There was a vague point to all this beyond simple recreation. The lure of the Chinese Super League seems to lurk behind every story, every noise off, presented as a kind of gilded career-dustbin for every ageing star with a hungry agent to feed. Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao have been linked with moves this summer. Only this week Wayne Rooney has been implored not to go, reminded that he “still has so much to give”, like a man being talked down from the 27th-floor windowledge of a seven-star tower hotel.

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How England paid the penalty again for an attack of the sporting yips | Richard Williams

Fri, 26 May 2017 12:49:52 GMT2017-05-26T12:49:52Z

When the Under-17s lost a final they had all but won with a couple of misses from 12 yards it again underlined that English football’s version of the yips needs a long-overdue cure

The yips can take more than one form. Usually we think of the phenomenon in terms of an individual submitting to a technical meltdown: a golfer seizing up at the sight of a six-inch putt, a tennis player suddenly incapable of tossing the ball up for a serve accurately, or a bowler losing the ability to land the ball anywhere near the cut strip.

Jon Lester is one of the stranger variations. A recent issue of Sports Illustrated carried a long and absorbing feature on the 33-year-old left-handed pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, who mysteriously lost the ability several years ago to throw the ball to first base. Facing a batter, he was as effective as ever. Turn him 90 degrees left, and he was like a man trying to find a target while blindfolded.

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Manchester United keep focus to claim Europa League on emotional night

Wed, 24 May 2017 23:08:56 GMT2017-05-24T23:08:56Z

Two days after the Manchester Arena attack, José Mourinho’s side showed grit to defeat Ajax and win their first European trophy in nine years

At the end, delirious scenes greeted this triumph. As the Manchester United substitutes and staff flooded on to the pitch to hug the players, José Mourinho wagged a finger and was hailed by the supporters sent into ecstasy by an emphatic victory over Ajax.

The injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic was irrepressible as he took a selfie with the suspended Eric Bailly by the trophy. Next, Mourinho jigged with his squad and, finally, the late substitute Wayne Rooney lifted the Europa League cup to mark a fitting end to a match played against the harrowing backdrop of Monday’s bombing at the Manchester Arena.

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Nicky Hayden, the French Open, and Pathé News hovering over Wembley | Classic YouTube

Thu, 25 May 2017 09:31:24 GMT2017-05-25T09:31:24Z

This week’s roundup also features classic Championship play-off finals, an NBA nutmeg and a team talk for the ages from Germany

1) Nicky Hayden, former MotoGP world champion, tragically died on Monday. Here is one of many tributes to the Kentucky Kid, and here he is on a champions’ lap of the Isle of Man TT back in 2011. Nicky’s father Earl Hayden spoke late last year about his son’s lifelong passion for motorcycles. Also from last year, Hayden gives an in-depth interview to CNET’s Tim Stevens, who has paid a personal, emotional tribute. Finally, take a look back at his finest hour – his 2006 world title, where he pipped Valentino Rossi after a season of high drama.

Related: The Joy of Six: FA Cup final heroes | Jacob Steinberg and Michael Butler

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Circumnavigating the globe in a modified Dora the Explorer lunchbox | The Fiver

Fri, 26 May 2017 15:32:07 GMT2017-05-26T15:32:07Z

Today: Arsène Wenger, Bernabéu-shaped coffins and Pablo Zabaleta’s big wheel

After a long and bruising season in which he has endured unprecedented abuse from the stands and the skies, Arsène Wenger hovers on the brink of an extraordinary personal triumph. There he is, Arsenal’s longest-serving manager, just one more game and one more post-match press conference away from going an entire campaign without letting slip the slightest clue as to whether he will be on his throne next season. It is a daunting, wacky and deeply satisfying challenge that Wenger has set himself and he is tantalisingly close to completing it, like a bloke just 100 metres shy of Penzance harbour having circumnavigated the globe in a modified Dora the Explorer lunchbox. Come on Arsène, you can do it! One. Last. Hush.

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The legacy of George Best - Football Weekly Meets Dan Gordon

Fri, 26 May 2017 09:55:40 GMT2017-05-26T09:55:40Z

Iain Macintosh speaks to filmmaker Dan Gordon about his documentary George Best: All By Himself, which charts the career of the Manchester United legend through his glory years on the field and the addictions off it that ultimately killed him

On this edition of our Football Weekly Meets interview series, Iain Macintosh speaks to filmmaker (and long-suffering Sheffield Wednesday fan) Dan Gordon about his documentary chronicling the life and death of George Best.

The film celebrates Best’s footballing legacy but is far from a hagiography and doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of the Manchester United legend’s life: womanising, absent parenting, domestic violence and alcoholism.

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Was Stuart Pearce's brother the linesman for a game that he played in? | The Knowledge

Wed, 24 May 2017 09:00:15 GMT2017-05-24T09:00:15Z

Plus: the Germany international banned from eating Nutella; Kettering … marketing pioneers and more. Send questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“Has a professional game ever involved a player and official who were related?” asks Chris Ross. “Or, indeed, has a ref been forced to step down because of a family member participating?”

There has been a fairly recent example of this in Scotland. Steven McLean has refereed his brother, the former Northern Ireland international Brian, in reserve and youth games. “He knows he doesn’t get any favours,” said Steven in this interview. He had a punishment tool far greater than yellow or red cards. “I once booked him and told him if he committed the same offence again I’d tell mum.”

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Manchester United's triumph and an FA Cup final preview – Football Weekly Extra

Thu, 25 May 2017 15:29:39 GMT2017-05-25T15:29:39Z

The Red Devils confirm their place in the Champions League after winning the Europa League. Plus: Chelsea take on Arsenal in the FA Cup final, Huddersfield and Reading meet at Wembley with a spot in the Premier League at stake, and Crystal Palace and Sunderland hunt for a new manager … again

Iain Macintosh helms the ship for the first and conceivably only time for today’s edition of Football Weekly Extra, and he’s joined by James Horncastle, Michael Cox, Paolo Bandini, and a laptop on which he can continue to play Football Manager.

We begin with Manchester United’s emotional victory against Ajax in the Europa League final, completing an historic though thoroughly mediocre treble for José Mourinho, but the club are back in the Champions League and that’s all that really matters, so ner.

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Liverpool claim Champions League spot as Terry bows out – Football Weekly

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:17:17 GMT2017-05-22T12:17:17Z

The podders reflect on the final day of the Premier League season, including another Harry Kane hat-trick, a typically humble exit by John Terry, and Liverpool sealing Champions League football

On today’s in-no-way-on-the-beach edition of Football Weekly, AC Jimbo Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Iain Macintosh and Simon Burnton to analyse the final day of this Premier League season.

Harry Kane scored his second hat-trick in a week as Spurs tonked Hull, Man City put Watford to the sword and Liverpool did what they had to do against Middlesbrough to ensure it is they and not Arsenal who take the final Champion League spot. Oh, and John Terry made his final appearance for Chelsea with minimal fireworks and ballyhoo.

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The Joy of Six: goalkeeper assists in football

Thu, 11 May 2017 11:05:27 GMT2017-05-11T11:05:27Z

From the Persia Gulf Pro League to England’s top flight, we pick out half a dozen goals that owe a good deal to the player whose job it is to prevent them

Alireza Beiranvand is no one-trick pony – his form for Naft Tehran was good enough for him to be named in the team of the season at the end of the 2014-15 Persia Gulf Pro League campaign – but he has one particularly potent weapon: he can throw the ball further than most humans can kick it. Though goalkeeper assists are a rarity, in the middle of the 2014-15 season he set up two winning goals in as many games, one with a giant kick and another with one of his ludicrously long throws. The second, booted downfield, took a hefty bounce, and with the Persepolis goalkeeper tempted towards the edge of his area in anticipation of an easy catch, Amir Arsalan Motahari headed over the stranded Brazilian and into the net. It was a classic of the genre even if the timing, in the last minute of a match heading towards a 1-1 draw, set it apart.

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Sports quiz of the week: Real Madrid v Juventus, White Hart Lane and a heckler

Fri, 12 May 2017 09:23:23 GMT2017-05-12T09:23:23Z

Who kept a record? When did Spurs last move? And why was a ‘win’ not a win?Luka Pibernik celebrated “winning” stage five of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, but what did he discover a few seconds later?He had forgotten he was only first among the chasing pack He had been overtaken to his left while looking to his right His helmet had fallen off and his win would be void He had another lap of the course to goKylian Mbappé became the youngest player to score in a Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night. Who is the youngest player to have scored in the final?Lionel Messi Alessandro Del Piero Patrick KluivertMarcel Desailly Kluivert’s goal in that Champions League final gave Ajax their most recent European trophy. Which team did they beat?JuventusMilanReal Madrid Bayer Leverkusen If Real Madrid win the final against Juventus next month, they will become the first club to retain the European Cup since Milan won it in ...1985 and 1986 1989 and 1990 1993 and 1994 1997 and 1998 In how many of the last four seasons have Real Madrid knocked Atlético Madrid out of the Champions League?OneTwoThreeFourTo whom did Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas say: “I will fuck you up and you know that”?The referee The Washington Wizards head coach The Boston Celtics head coach A Washington Wizards fanWhich manager reacted to a tough break by saying: "No one is going to die"?Arsène WengerMauricio PochettinoEddie JonesJoe SchmidtEliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in two hours and 25 seconds this week. Who holds the official world record for the marathon?Eliud Kipchoge Dennis KimettoKenenisa Bekele Haile Gebrselassie Tottenham will play their final competitive game at their old White Hart Lane stadium on Sunday. When did they first play at the ground?1873189919211946Which football manager interrupted a post-match press conference this week by saying: “Someone is ringing me. Beijing in China? My God. Maybe there is a job going in China? I’m off to China”?José Mourinho Antonio ConteHarry RedknappChris Hughton Continue[...]


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Golden Goal: Mick Ferguson for Coventry City v Norwich City (1984) | Simon Burnton

Tue, 09 May 2017 09:10:58 GMT2017-05-09T09:10:58Z

Coventry staged a string of narrow relegation escapes in the early 80s, and in 1984 Mick Ferguson’s final-day goal helped them to survive at the expense of Birmingham City – the club he joined the Sky Blues from on loan

And so another season draws breathlessly towards its conclusion, amid talk about the possibility of an unprecedented relegation play-off in the event of Hull City and Swansea City finishing dead level in the Premier League with only two teams beneath them. Such a match, should it take place, would immediately rank among the most dramatic demotion battles of all time, though it certainly has some competition.

For a few years in the early 80s, as if to celebrate the advent of three points for a win in 1981, the English top flight staged improbable annual relegation tussles, frequently tipped from the curious to the full-blown chaotic by late-season fixture pile-ups that forced teams to watch their futures being decided by others long after their own campaigns had come to a close. Time and again, Coventry City took a starring role. Starting in 1983, they launched upon a four-year run of extremely wobbly finishes – 19th, 19th, 18th and 17th in a 22-team division – which ended emphatically if sadly only temporarily in 1987, when they came 10th and won the FA Cup to boot.

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Arsène Wenger remains coy over future after FA Cup win – video

Sat, 27 May 2017 22:11:51 GMT2017-05-27T22:11:51Z

Arsène Wenger, straight after leading Arsenal to a club record 13th win, as well as breaking the record for most FA Cup wins as a manager with his seventh, kept his cards close to his chest as he was questioned over his future. Wenger maintained that the only ones who will decide his future are the Arsenal board and himself

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Lisbon Lions remembered: Celtic's historic victory, 50 years on – in pictures

Thu, 25 May 2017 09:57:22 GMT2017-05-25T09:57:22Z

On 25 May 1967 Celtic’s 2-1 win over Internazionale at the Estádio Nacional in Lisbon meant they became the first British side, and still the only Scottish team, to win the European Cup. We cast our eyes back 50 years to look at the celebrations of a legendary victory

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Paul Pogba dedicates Europa League win to Manchester attack victims – video

Thu, 25 May 2017 06:48:48 GMT2017-05-25T06:48:48Z

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba says the club won the Europa League final on Wednesday for the victims of the Manchester attack earlier this week. Speaking to BT Sport after the final whistle, Pogba said: ‘We won for Manchester, we worked for them, for the country. We play for England, for Manchester and for the people who died.’

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Who is Vinícius Júnior, Real Madrid's new £40m signing? – video

Wed, 24 May 2017 15:52:35 GMT2017-05-24T15:52:35Z

Real Madrid announced the signing of 16-year-old Vinícius Júnior from Flamengo for nearly £40m this week, but just who is the teenage forward? Vinícius, who many have likened to Neymar, may have just one senior appearance for his current club, but has been in impressive form for Brazil’s Under-17s, scoring 19 goals in 22 appearances so far in his career

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The Dozen's dozen: our pick of this season's best Premier League photos

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:04 GMT2017-05-23T13:00:04Z

As the curtain comes down on the 2016-17 Premier League season, we’ve had a look through our weekly roundup of the best photography from England’s top flight and picked out our favourite 12 pictures

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The story of the 2016-17 Premier League season – video

Mon, 22 May 2017 08:57:29 GMT2017-05-22T08:57:29Z

Chelsea may have dominated the 2016-17 Premier League season but there have been plenty of dramas elsewhere. It’s been a tough year for managers up and down the table, for both new and old alike; we’ve seen new heroes emerge and the once lauded become villains. Just another Premier League, enjoy our review of all the antics.

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Huge crowds greet Real Madrid on return after La Liga title win – video

Mon, 22 May 2017 09:47:35 GMT2017-05-22T09:47:35Z

Thousands turn out to meet the Real Madrid team on their return to the Spanish capital on Sunday after clinching the La Liga title for the first time in five years. The players entered the city square singing and dancing on their team bus at around 2am local time, following a 2-0 win away to Malaga

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Antonio Conte: Chelsea's new Special One? – video

Mon, 15 May 2017 09:39:37 GMT2017-05-15T09:39:37Z

Antonio Conte has been nothing short of a revelation in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge. The Italian appears to have the entire Chelsea squad pulling in the same direction and is now celebrating his first Premier League title – only 10 months after moving to England. Have Chelsea found their new Special One?

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Defender scores stunning overhead kick … own goal – video

Fri, 12 May 2017 16:26:08 GMT2017-05-12T16:26:08Z

Pully Football’s Adrien Gulfo somehow manages to score a spectacular overhead kick – into his own net – during a cup match with FC Renens in Switzerland. Gulfo attempts to clear a cross into the penalty area with a bicycle kick but misdirects his clearance and inadvertedly beats his own goalkeeper, slotting the ball into the far corner of the net. The match finished 3-3, after which Pully Football prevailed 4-3 on penalties to reach the cup final

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We Want Oyston Out: Blackpool fans are trying anything and everything - video

Mon, 08 May 2017 13:16:02 GMT2017-05-08T13:16:02Z

The Oyston family have had a controlling stake in Blackpool FC for nearly 30 years, overseeing the club’s rise from the Fourth Division to the Premier League and their rapid descent back again. The Oystons are antagonistic and highly litigious, taking several fans to court for message board posts using libel laws. The Blackpool Supporters’ Trust is one of the organisations set up with the aim of dislodging the Oystons by any means necessary. We speak to several of their senior members about their efforts.

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Blackpool 2-1 Exeter City: League Two play-off final – as it happened

Sun, 28 May 2017 16:08:04 GMT2017-05-28T16:08:04Z

The tireless Brad Potts and the classy Mark Cullen each made one and scored one to earn promotion for Blackpool in an excellent final

The Blackpool captain Tom Aldred, who went off injured, is being interviewed on Sky

“I’ve been through every emotion possible. I knew early in the match that I wasn’t gonna be able to finish it. This man here [Neil Danns] took the armband off and done fockin brilliant, sorry about my language.”

Congratulations to Blackpool and their enormously impressive manager Gary Bowyer. They have overcome Luton, Exeter and their own civil war to achieve promotion. It’s sad for Exeter, an extremely likeable team who were superior in the first half. Blackpool were terrific after the break, however, and ultimately deserved to win an excellent game.

Brad Potts, who abused his lungs all day with some storming old-fashioned runs from midfield, and the classy Mark Cullen made one and scored one each. It’s a qualified triumph, because of everything that is going on off the field, but the players deserve oodles of credit. They were 15th at the start of March, and now they are in League One.

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Huddersfield’s David Wagner tightly bonds players on road to Wembley | Louise Taylor

Sun, 28 May 2017 13:13:29 GMT2017-05-28T13:13:29Z

Manager uses unconventional methods to keep his squad’s minds firmly rooted in buildup to Monday’s Championship play-off final against Reading

Lunchtime beckons at Huddersfield Town’s attractive, canalside, training ground, and a tableau capable of turning Arsène Wenger, José Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and company apoplectic is fast unfolding.

David Wagner’s players are happily queuing up alongside members of the public as they wait to be served by cheerful cafeteria staff.

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Celtic v Aberdeen: Scottish Cup final – as it happened

Sat, 27 May 2017 16:15:23 GMT2017-05-27T16:15:23Z

A brilliant injury-time goal by Tom Rogic gave Celtic a 2-1 win over Aberdeen, and a domestic treble, after a thrilling and breathless game at Hampden 5.15pm BST And I reckon that’s a good place to leave it – especially with the English final starting soon. We’ve seen a brilliant, breathless final here. It was ultimately won by the superior team but, again, we must give credit to Aberdeen. They were the better side in the first half, definitely, and if they’d made the most of that break in the 53rd minute by Hayes and McLean the second could have turned out rather differently. But Celtic started to purr after that, created chance after chance, and made it count in wonderful style. Let’s hope for a game this good at Wembley now.You can follow that one with Scott Murray here: Related: Arsenal v Chelsea: 2017 FA Cup final – live! Related: Celtic strike at the last to beat Aberdeen in Scottish Cup final and win treble 5.11pm BST Brown hoists the cup aloft! The green and white end roars. The treble is rubber-stamped. It’s an historic moment. Continue reading...[...]


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Blackpool fans boycott League Two play-off final against Exeter’s jolly volunteers

Sat, 27 May 2017 11:31:22 GMT2017-05-27T11:31:22Z

Facing the followers of Exeter City at Wembley will be swaths of empty seats as disenfranchised Blackpool fans continue protest at Oyston family’s stewardship

The symbolism will hang heavily in the air at Wembley on Sunday afternoon. At one end of the ground, a sea of red and white will offer a perfect demonstration of the positives that can be achieved when supporters have a say in the running of their club. Facing the followers of Exeter City, however, the swaths of empty seats in the Blackpool section will tell a sorry story about what happens when football fans are pushed too far.

The League Two play-off final pits together one supporter-owned club and another whose disenfranchised fans are so fed up with the people in charge that many of them are boycotting Blackpool’s biggest match of the season. For Blackpool fans who have made the painful choice to stay away from Wembley, winning promotion to League One is of secondary importance compared with the onerous task of getting the Oyston family out of Bloomfield Road.

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How old-fashioned shadow play has helped Antonio Conte light up Chelsea | Jonathan Wilson

Sat, 27 May 2017 08:32:48 GMT2017-05-27T08:32:48Z

An approach developed by Northumberland eccentric Alan Brown and made notable by Arrigo Sacchi is partly behind the title returning to Stamford Bridge

The back three clearly made a huge difference, as did Antonio Conte’s man-management, but when Eden Hazard was asked in March what the biggest difference was between Chelsea this season and Chelsea last, he spoke of “automisation”.

Related: Antonio Conte set to sign £38m Chelsea extension and stay until 2021

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Arsène Wenger drops Petr Cech and gives David Ospina nod for FA Cup final

Fri, 26 May 2017 21:54:00 GMT2017-05-26T21:54:00Z

• Cech devastated to miss showpiece
• Per Mertesacker expected to play in back three

Petr Cech has been dropped by Arsène Wenger for the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday and David Ospina will make a surprise start in goal. Cech is devastated by the decision. It was thought that he suffered a slight knock in training but he is now ready to take his place on the bench.

Wenger has had to mix and match at the back in the face of selection problems and he will ask Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is fit again after hamstring trouble, to step in at left wing-back in his 3-4-2-1 formation. Hector Bellerín will continue at right wing-back. The left-back, Kieran Gibbs, has been struggling with a thigh problem.

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Brendan Rodgers praises Aberdeen manager as Celtic seek historic treble

Fri, 26 May 2017 21:30:09 GMT2017-05-26T21:30:09Z

• Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes tipped for Sunderland job
• Celtic out to complete unbeaten season with win in Scottish Cup final

As he stands on the verge of history, Brendan Rodgers has urged Sunderland to move for Derek McInnes, the key figure standing between Celtic and that unprecedented achievement.

Should Celtic see off Aberdeen in Saturday’s Scottish Cup final, they would complete an unbeaten domestic season and trophy treble. Intriguingly, Rodgers used his pre-match media duties to speak effusively of McInnes, the Aberdeen manager who features on the list of candidates to replace David Moyes at the Stadium of Light. A historic connection to the Sunderland chief executive, Martin Bain, is pertinent with regards to McInnes, as is a relatively paltry compensation payment in the region of £500,000.

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Arsène Wenger defiant and focused before FA Cup final against Chelsea

Fri, 26 May 2017 21:29:09 GMT2017-05-26T21:29:09Z

Arsenal manager does not look back, does not keep his medals and despite the incessant clamour he is still giving nothing away about his future

Arsène Wenger has not been forthcoming in his media conferences for some time and the regulars who travel to see him at Arsenal’s training ground in St Albans would say he is particularly guarded before a big game. This week was no exception. But before the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday, the manager brought some extra ingredients – exasperation, defiance and a series of digs; some veiled, others the equivalent of going in two-footed.

Take the one that related to Tony Adams. The club’s former captain has a new book out, which led to one headline about how Wenger “couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag”. Understandably, it went down badly with him.

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Watford close in on Marco Silva as Crystal Palace weigh up Sean Dyche

Fri, 26 May 2017 20:06:05 GMT2017-05-26T20:06:05Z

• Former Hull City head coach holds talks with Vicarage Road club
• Silva had also been linked with Palace and Porto

Watford are closing in on their No1 managerial target after holding talks with the former Hull City head coach Marco Silva.

Silva, who has also been linked with a move to Porto and Crystal Palace, is understood to be close to agreeing a deal with the Vicarage Road club, who are looking for a swift replacement for the departed Walter Mazzarri.

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Arsenal v Chelsea: match preview

Fri, 26 May 2017 17:28:47 GMT2017-05-26T17:28:47Z

The Double is on for Antonio Conte and it is clear Chelsea must be considered favourites, given the season they have had. Arsène Wenger is unconcerned. He knows the underdog can have its day and he referenced the 2005 FA Cup final, when his Arsenal team “had no players available” but somehow beat Manchester United. It could be Diego Costa’s last game in Chelsea colours but probably will not be Wenger’s last at Arsenal. David Hytner

Kick-off Saturday 5.30pm

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Arsène Wenger and Antonio Conte look forward to FA Cup final – video

Fri, 26 May 2017 16:50:50 GMT2017-05-26T16:50:50Z

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and his counterpart Antonio Conte consider Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley between the two sides. Wenger concedes that Chelsea are favourites for the trophy but suggests the club can take confidence from their semi-final win over Manchester City. Conte meanwhile is looking to secure the Double in his first season in English football

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