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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: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:01:43 GMT2017-08-16T19:01:43Z

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



FA under pressure to explain £80,000 payment to Eni Aluko after bullying complaint

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:30:07 GMT2017-08-16T16:30:07Z

• Forward complained to FA about culture of bullying and harassment
• Aluko alleges manager Mark Sampson made remark with ‘racial connotations’
• Independent inquiry found no case for disciplinary action against Sampson

The Football Association is facing questions over why it paid “hush money” to international footballer Eni Aluko after it emerged that a bullying complaint against the England manager, Mark Sampson, included an allegation that he made a remark with “racial and prejudicial connotations” to another player.

Aluko, one of England’s most recognisable female footballers with 102 caps, was paid around £80,000 to sign an agreement that the FA claims was to “avoid disruption” ahead of this summer’s Euro 2017. Aluko’s lawyers believe that the agreement she signed prevents her from speaking about it but the FA insists she is now free to talk about the facts of the case.

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Celtic v Astana: Champions League play-off first leg – live!

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:00:57 GMT2017-08-16T19:00:57Z

16 min Kabananga eyes immortality from 25 yards. Goal kick to Celtic.

15 min Ntcham sprays a nice pass wide to Tierney, who takes it well on his chest and swings in a good cross that is headed away by Postnikov. Or Logvinenko. I haven’t a clue, to be honest, I’m just assuming it was a centre-half.

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‘This is what you call persecution’: Ronaldo hits out over five-match ban

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:10:13 GMT2017-08-16T18:10:13Z

• Real Madrid forward’s appeal against five-match ban rejected
• ‘It’s impossible to stay quiet in this situation, five matches!’

Cristiano Ronaldo has called his five-match ban for pushing a referee “exaggerated and ridiculous” and claims he is being persecuted after failing to have the sanction overturned on appeal.

During Sunday night’s Spanish Super Cup 3-1 first-leg victory over Barcelona, in which he had scored, Real Madrid forward Ronaldo reacted badly after being shown a second yellow for diving by match official Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea, shoving the referee in the back.

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Manchester United reaping early rewards thanks to Chelsea’s unexpected largesse | Paul Wilson

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:43:00 GMT2017-08-16T13:43:00Z

After seeing José Mourinho hijack their Romelu Lukaku deal and letting Nemanja Matic go to Old Trafford, Chelsea have undeniably strengthened a direct rival while weakening themselves

Opinion has been divided on the wisdom of Chelsea selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United for £40m. There are those who say top teams, especially defending champions, should never sell to direct rivals, and those who believe the money was too good to refuse down for a player who has just turned 29.

It is being argued that Chelsea have just signed an upgrade in Tiémoué Bakayoko for the same price, at least a player Antonio Conte regarded as an upgrade in the same position, and at just 22 the promising France midfielder offers many more years of service than Matic, whose sale effectively means the former Monaco player has joined for free.

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Gylfi Sigurdsson: tireless perfectionist will be worth the wait for Everton | Stuart James

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:16:31 GMT2017-08-16T10:16:31Z

A fee of £45m may seem excessive but the quiet and dedicated Icelander is a set-piece master with a bright football brain and Everton are set to reap the benefits now the transfer saga is finally over

It turned into one of those dreaded transfer sagas, leaving senior figures at Swansea City and Everton exasperated with the snail’s pace of the discussions to the point that even those on the inside became bored with the story, yet confirmation finally arrived on Tuesday evening that Gylfi Sigurdsson was on his way from the Mumbles to Merseyside for £45m.

The passage of time – more than a month – has arguably diluted some of the excitement at one end and certainly the level of disappointment at the other. While Everton fans grew tired of waiting and, in some cases, started to question whether Sigurdsson was really worth all that hassle and money, the mood shifted in Swansea once it became clear that the Icelander wanted out and that any significant signings would not be made until the first instalment of the biggest transfer fee in their history had been handed over.

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Not selling Virgil van Dijk is our statement, says Southampton chairman

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:54:50 GMT2017-08-16T15:54:50Z

•’It’s about a much bigger picture – a change of course for Southampton’
• Holland defender can be accepted by players and fans, argues Ralph Krueger

The Southampton chairman, Ralph Krueger, is adamant that Virgil van Dijk is “not for sale in this window” as keeping the defender is “the statement we need to make”.

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A youth spent star​​ing at the ZX Spectrum 128k | The Fiver

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:00:45 GMT2017-08-16T16:00:45Z

In today’s Fiver: Celtic begin their Big Cup campaign, Nigel Clough summons the spirit of Brian and Jesé Rodríguez raps

Big Cup’s back then. After three qualifying rounds that were largely ignored by those who shape the narrative, things went up a notch last night with the start of the play-offs. What a season it’s going to be: MORE British clubs, MORE noise, MORE stories that are described as “narratives” to make them sound grander than they actually are, MORE of Jake Humphrey’s smart-casual banter, just … MORE. There could be as many as six British teams in the draw for the group stages, and the good news is that all six of them are going to win it! Let’s all have a disco!

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Juventus agree deal to sign PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi for £18.2m

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 11:31:27 GMT2017-08-16T11:31:27Z

• 30-year-old signs a three-year contract with Serie A champions
• Midfielder becomes Juventus’s 10th summer signing

Juventus have agreed a fee to sign the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi for £18.2m plus add-ons. The French international is one of PSG’s longest serving players but has been allowed to leave during a summer of upheaval at the Ligue 1 club.

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe's top five leagues

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Arsenal taking financial risk by keeping Alexis Sánchez, admits Wenger

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:41:43 GMT2017-08-16T09:41:43Z

• Manager accepts Chilean could leave on a free transfer next summer
• Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere will also stay this season, says Wenger

Arsène Wenger says he has made a financial “sacrifice” in deciding to risk losing Alexis Sánchez on a free transfer next summer, with Arsenal’s sporting prospects coming ahead of any off-pitch concerns.

Sánchez is likely to depart without a fee unless a new contract is agreed with the club – a situation that Wenger admits has not progressed. There has been interest in the forward from a number of other clubs in pre-season but Wenger has weighed up the pros and cons of retaining him and resolved that the football benefits he brings outweigh any potential transfer fee.

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Has Wayne Rooney made the earliest start in a competition after winning it? | The Knowledge

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:00:35 GMT2017-08-16T09:00:35Z

Plus: the most clubs in one competition with the same sponsors; lowly London-named teams; attacking your named stand; and more

“Wayne Rooney finished last season winning the Europa League with Manchester United but finds himself this season starting the same competition in the third qualifying round with Everton. Has any other player gone from winning a competition (continental or domestic) to an even earlier starting round than this the following season?” asks Rob Fearnley.

Darren Beach (among a good number of you) has this covered. “Look no further then a bunch of Champions League winners from Liverpool, who had to enter the Champions League in 2005-06 in the first qualifying round as title-holders,” he begins. They had finished fifth in the Premier League in 2004-05, behind Everton, of all teams, and with England allowed a maximum of four clubs one of them would have to drop into the Uefa Cup the following season.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold hoping to live up to Steven Gerrard’s support

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:34:00 GMT2017-08-16T13:34:00Z

• Anfield legend is inspiration for teenager’s fledgling Liverpool career
• ‘It’s always good to get compliments from your idol’

Trent Alexander-Arnold has identified Steven Gerrard’s support as an inspiration for his fledgling Liverpool career after scoring his first goal for the club against Hoffenheim on Tuesday.

Related: Trent Alexander-Arnold’s display hints at bright future for academy product | Sachin Nakrani

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Stoke sign PSG’s Jesé Rodríguez on loan as Joselu departs for Newcastle

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:55:48 GMT2017-08-16T08:55:48Z

• Jesé becomes Stoke’s sixth summer signing after joining on one-year loan
• Spanish forward arrives as Joselu moves to St James’ Park for around £5m

Stoke City have completed the signing of Jesé Rodríguez on a season-long loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain.

The forward passed a medical on Wednesday morning and becomes Stoke’s sixth summer signing, joining Darren Fletcher, Kurt Zouma, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Bruno Martins Indi and Josh Tymon at the Premier League club.

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Steve Bruce says he is ‘right man’ for Aston Villa job after defeat at Reading

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 23:22:19 GMT2017-08-15T23:22:19Z

At least Steve Bruce is adamant he can turn Aston Villa round. After another half-baked performance, and another abject display on the road, it was inevitable that Bruce would face questions over his future, after a winless start to the Championship, in a season where promotion is non-negotiable.

This defeat left Bruce without a league win since April, with Villa second-bottom, and culminated in his team being jeered by sections of the 3,935 travelling supporters at Reading.

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Lewes FC blaze a pioneering trail for women over equal pay and funding | Suzanne Wrack

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 15:40:00 GMT2017-08-15T15:40:00Z

After a ground-breaking agreement on pay parity the East Sussex club have embarked on a campaign branded ‘Equality FC’ launched with a powerful video

Nestled in the South Downs is an unusual town with an anti-establishment history and ethos. Temporary home to Tom Paine in the 18th century, Lewes is known for being descended upon by tens of thousands every year who join in with the bonfire night celebrations of the town’s seven bonfire societies. Last year Donald Trump effigies were in vogue. In 2007 a giant seagull representing Brighton & Hove Albion was torched, a statement about the potential proximity of the Seagulls’ new stadium in Falmer. They have a sense of humour.

It makes sense that a rebellious town has a rebellious football club, and Lewes FC revel in the label. As Charlie Dobres, a board member, puts it: “With Brighton & Hove Albion just down the road and in the Premier League, a club like Lewes has to be about more than just winning on the pitch. That has a very narrow sense of meaning and doesn’t appeal to enough people. It appeals to football fans but it doesn’t connect with the town.”

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Championship round-up: Cardiff City break record with third consecutive win

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:49:52 GMT2017-08-15T21:49:52Z

• Cardiff City win opening three games for first time in their 118-year history
• Wolves beat Hull; Ipswich defeat Millwall; Middlesbrough overcome Burton

Cardiff City created club history as a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United kept them top of the Sky Bet Championship.

The Welsh club had never started a campaign with three league wins in their 118-year history but that odd statistic was consigned to history as Sean Morrison and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing put the gloss on a performance that suggests Cardiff may be credible promotion contenders this season.

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Jürgen Klopp hails Alexander-Arnold’s courage after crucial Liverpool win

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 22:46:56 GMT2017-08-15T22:46:56Z

• Teenager scored free-kick in 2-1 Champions League victory over Hoffenheim
• Klopp: ‘He took it because I told him he has to do it’

Jürgen Klopp hailed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s courage and revealed he told the teenager to take the free-kick that sent Liverpool on their way to a valuable Champions League play-off win away at Hoffenheim.

The 18-year-old defender marked his Champions League debut with a first senior goal for his boyhood club as Liverpool recorded a 2-1 win in the first leg in Germany. A deflected James Milner cross doubled the visitors’ lead before the Hoffenheim substitute Mark Uth set up a tense finale and delicately poised second leg at Anfield next Wednesday, with an 87th-minute goal for Julian Nagelsmann’s side.

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Liverpool close on Champions League group stage with win at Hoffenheim

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 20:50:38 GMT2017-08-15T20:50:38Z

It took Liverpool 90 minutes to switch off at a set piece against Hoffenheim. Benjamin Hübner met Nadiem Amiri’s free-kick with an unmarked header six yards out and the recurring theme of Jürgen Klopp’s reign made a fleeting reappearance. Not again? Not this time. Hübner headed over and Liverpool found themselves within touching distance of the Champions League group stage – a vast reward for fine margins.

Klopp left his homeland with a precious, timely play-off victory built on the confidence of youth and the value of experience.

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Leigh Griffiths says Astana tie is ‘make or break’ for Celtic’s season

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:33:54 GMT2017-08-15T21:33:54Z

• Striker says Champions League play-off win ‘would put everyone on a high’
• Brendan Rodgers adds European games had instilled resilience in his players

Leigh Griffiths says the success of Celtic’s entire campaign could hinge on Wednesday tonight’s Champions League play-off first leg with Astana.

After sweeping all domestic rivals aside last season Brendan Rodgers’ side again have aspirations of making their mark in Europe. They take on the Kazakhstan champions in the opening leg of their final qualifier, with a ticket for the group stages and a potential £30m windfall on the line.

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Crystal Palace to be without injured Wilfried Zaha for four weeks

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:36:52 GMT2017-08-15T12:36:52Z

• Forward set to miss games for Palace and Ivory Coast
• Manager Frank de Boer lacking options with Connor Wickham also out

Wilfried Zaha is expected to be out for four weeks due to an injury sustained in Crystal Palace’s opening day defeat to Huddersfield Town.

The Ivory Coast forward left Selhurst Park with his right knee in a leg brace after Palace were beaten 3-0 by David Wagner’s newly promoted side. Zaha posted a picture of the injury on Instagram with the caption “God shall protect me” on Saturday evening before later deleting the post.

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Premier League clubs to discuss shorter transfer window for the summer

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 23:19:18 GMT2017-08-14T23:19:18Z

• Discussions to take place at chairmen’s meeting on 7 September
• Majority of the 20 ‘in favour of stopping domestic trades on eve of season’

Premier League clubs are set to discuss a landmark change to the transfer window which could end domestic player movement before the start of the season.

Representatives from the 20 top-flight clubs will attend next month’s shareholders’ meeting with a majority believed to be in favour of a new deadline which would stop managers bringing players in once a season has begun.

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Chelsea demand striker Diego Costa returns to club and gets match fit

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 19:03:15 GMT2017-08-14T19:03:15Z

• Forward is set four conditions for repairing relations with the champions
• Comes after Costa claimed that club had treated him ‘like a criminal’

Chelsea have responded firmly to Diego Costa claims of maltreatment, demanding the striker return to training and get himself fit for first-team selection.

The Premier League champions have been forced to respond after Costa gave an interview from his home in Brazil where he claimed that Chelsea had treated him “like a criminal” over his desire to leave the club this summer.

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Tottenham open talks with Ajax over £25m move for Davinson Sánchez

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:15:10 GMT2017-08-14T17:15:10Z

• Colombia defender has informed Ajax he wants to join Spurs
• Tottenham also interested in Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh

Tottenham have opened talks with Ajax over the transfer of Davinson Sánchez, with Mauricio Pochettino increasingly confident of signing him after the Colombia defender informed the Dutch side that he wants to move to Spurs.

Having sold Kyle Walker to Manchester City for a fee that could reach £50m, Pochettino has been searching for reinforcements to his squad and identified the 21-year-old as the perfect player to complement Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen in his back three.

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Southampton sell 80% stake to Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 15:32:14 GMT2017-08-14T15:32:14Z

• Owner Katharina Liebherr confirms sale for around £210m
• Southampton confirm Gao has passed Owners and Directors test

Southampton have confirmed that the Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng has completed a multimillion-pound takeover of the club, acquiring an 80% stake for around £210m after successfully passing the relevant checks, including the Premier League’s owners and directors test.

Related: Swansea keep Manolo Gabbiadini at bay to frustrate wasteful Southampton

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The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian's sport coverage

Mon, 15 May 2017 11:00:43 GMT2017-05-15T11:00:43Z

With the best of our sports journalism from the past seven days and a heads-up on the weekend’s action, you won’t miss a thing

Let our team of editors be your guide to the best of the Guardian’s award-winning sport coverage from the past week. We’ll email you the stand-out features and interviews, insightful analysis and highlights from the archive, plus films, podcasts, galleries and more – all arriving in your inbox at 12pm every Friday. And we’ll tee you up for the weekend and let you know our live coverage plans so you won’t miss a thing.

Sign up below to start receiving our weekly email – you can see the most recent edition here.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold’s display hints at bright future for academy product | Sachin Nakrani

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:00:34 GMT2017-08-16T08:00:34Z

The full-back’s performance against Hoffenheim suggests Liverpool may have the first locally born star on their hands since Steven Gerrard

The road from academy prospect to first-team regular is one that only a select few complete. The big clubs in particular are simply not prepared to be patient and wait for a raw teenager to make the grade. The demands are too great, the choices in an increasingly heated transfer market too tantalising. So when one does make a breakthrough it feels only right to take notice and especially when he is curling in free-kicks on his Champions League debut.

Related: Jürgen Klopp hails Alexander-Arnold’s courage after crucial Liverpool win

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How Paulinho turned his career around to earn a dream move to Barcelona | John Duerden

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:10:00 GMT2017-08-15T14:10:00Z

The former Spurs midfielder has been the best player in China for 18 months – better than Teixeira, Ramires, Lavezzi and Oscar – and deserves his chance at Barça

April 2017: Paulinho had messed up. There was the Brazilian in China advertising a betting site alongside a Japanese porn star. His club, Guangzhou Evergrande, were unhappy about being kept in the dark about such controversial activities and there was even wild talk of deportation. It was one of the few mistakes he would make in Asia.

Not even the most committed gambler in south China or north London would have bet back in June 2015, when the midfielder signed for Guangzhou from Tottenham, that he would be heading back west two years and two months later to join Barcelona. After all, the midfielder had been declared a flop in England after two underwhelming seasons with Spurs from 2013-15. So bad had it become, with three starts in his second campaign, that his next destination was China to join his former Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. We all know the reputation that the Chinese Super League has in Europe. The big names have arrived but the respect has not. Those who go there do so for the money.

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Southampton welcome new Chinese owners but how much will they invest? | David Conn

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 19:51:38 GMT2017-08-15T19:51:38Z

Katharina Liebherr believes Jisheng Gao and his daughter Nelly are the right people to take the club forward after their £210m takeover

Not a lot was known in England about the Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao before he began negotiating to buy Southampton football club last year, and confirmation that he has paid £210m for an 80% stake has been accompanied by familiar Premier League levels of Googling. Of Gao and his company, Lander, nothing greatly notable is revealed, except for reported links to past corruption allegations which the Premier League sought to clarify before allowing him to buy Saints, in a letter leaked to the Sun in April.

Gao was alleged in Chinese media reports to have been implicated in the corruption of Xu Maiyong, a notorious mayor in the booming Xiaoshan province of Hangzhou, who was known as “Xu three more” due to his outsized appetites for money, property and sex. Xu and Jiang Renjie, the vice-mayor of Suzhou, were both convicted of accumulating huge private wealth corruptly and executed by the Chinese authorities on 19 July 2011.

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Transfer system is not perfect but Premier League plans do not make sense | Nick Miller

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 10:31:20 GMT2017-08-15T10:31:20Z

Top English clubs are to vote on closing the transfer window before the season starts but the idea seems a halfway house that could create more problems

The news that Premier League clubs are considering closing the transfer window before the season starts is not a particular surprise. Complaints from virtually everyone in the game are long-standing that transfer business dragging on alongside actual football provides too much of a distraction as rumours fly, agents scheme and players sulk.

Philippe Coutinho’s current situation is the most prominent recent example: a back injury is the official reason for his current unavailability but, due to Barcelona looming with an enormous pile of cash, one imagines he will not play for Liverpool until September, assuming he is not sold before. That is five matches, including two legs of a Champions League play-off and a game against Arsenal.

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Kyle Walker-Peters steps into big time at Tottenham with a minimum of fuss | Nick Ames

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 20:50:44 GMT2017-08-14T20:50:44Z

Mauricio Pochettino’s deputy right-back has been schooled the Argentinian’s way and he duly made a composed debut for Spurs in the win at Newcastle

In January 2016 Kyle Walker-Peters had a decision to make. Tottenham had agreed that he could join up with Roda JC, a lower mid-table side in the Dutch top flight, on their mid-season training camp in Portugal. Both parties would spend the week looking at one another with the idea of coming to a loan arrangement and, all being well, it would bring a first taste of competitive senior football to a player still three months short of his 19th birthday.

A temporary move never materialised and the suggestion when Walker-Peters returned to London was that the number of high balls Roda played was a stumbling block for the right-back. Any fit has to be an appropriate one so instead he slotted back into Spurs’ under-21 side, where he had stood out in the previous 12 months, continued working and waited for his chance.

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Goals, petulance and absent defences: the Premier League is back! – Football Weekly

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:24:10 GMT2017-08-14T14:24:10Z

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and Paolo Bandini to look back at the Premier League’s opening weekend, and forward to Liverpool’s chances in the Champions League play-off

Premier League: 10 talking points from the opening weekend’s action

Football Weekly is back, with presenter Max Rushden trying desperately to keep Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and Paolo Bandini from filling too much time with anecdotes about tulips.

First business of the day is the Premier League which featured some daft red cards and even dafter defending, while also invalidating almost everything Max said in the preview show. We cover Kyle Walker-Peters, and the possibility of a Danny Rose-Peters waiting in the wings, as well as Huddersfield’s remarkable 24-hour spell at the top of the Premier League.

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Jermaine Pennant: ‘I’ve had a taste of everything football can throw at you’

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:57:16 GMT2017-08-14T11:57:16Z

Non-league Billericay Town is the latest staging post for the former Arsenal and Liverpool forward whose career has traversed lows such as being sent to prison to the high of playing in a Champions League final

“I’ve seen things I don’t think anyone else has seen in football,” Jermaine Pennant says on a late afternoon streaked with fading sunshine in Essex. We sit together on a small concrete bench behind an empty series of pitches which nurture the football dreams of boys at the West Ham Academy but, today, provides the training ground for Pennant’s unlikely new team. Billericay Town play in the Bostik Premier League, a regional division of semi-professional clubs which occupies the seventh tier of English football.

Related: Roberto Firmino stands tall for Liverpool amid familiar defensive frailties | Sachin Nakrani

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Antonio Conte tells Chelsea to show more fight but prays for new signings

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 21:30:24 GMT2017-08-13T21:30:24Z

Beaten 3-2 at home by a magnificent Burnley in their first league match, the champions now face Tottenham next Sunday with players suspended

For a few seconds after Sam Vokes had risen to meet Steven Defour’s cross to give Burnley an improbable 3-0 lead over the Premier League champions at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte stood staring into thin air with his hand resting impassively on his chin. The Chelsea manager has witnessed a lot during a decade in the dugout but watching his misfiring team succumb so meekly to a side who had recorded just one away victory last season surely must have been a new experience.

After a strange summer that has seen his employers spend the best part of £130m on new players yet go into the title defence looking considerably weaker than the outfit who swept all before them just a few months ago, the Italian then found himself fielding questions that suggested he had deliberately sabotaged his starting lineup in a bid to send a message to the club’s owner. Conte bristled visibly at that accusation, staring down his inquisitor before insisting “you don’t know me very well”, although quite what Roman Abramovich would have made of it all is anyone’s guess.

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Hopeful Brighton put their faith in industry and organisation

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 21:29:24 GMT2017-08-13T21:29:24Z

Premier League newcomers received enthusiastic support on their return to the top flight against Manchester City but need to improve their ball retention

Along the scenic train route that takes fans from Brighton to the Amex Stadium there was noise. Inside the ground there were flags, sing-alongs and a parade of heroes from Brighton and Hove Albion’s less celebrated past geeing up the atmosphere further. The noise did not stop all game and the efforts of the supporters were matched by the players. There was no way Brighton were about to let their Premier League debut pass them by.

In the end Albion were deservedly beaten by Manchester City thanks to Sergio Agüero and a full-blooded own goal from Lewis Dunk. The Seagulls’ last home match in the top flight was against City too, in front of 17,794 at the Goldstone Ground in 1983. A lot has changed in the intervening time. The club lost their stadium in 1997 and nearly went out of the league altogether. In 2000 Brighton and Hove became a city. It was the city council that supported Brighton’s plans for a new 30,000-seat stadium. Many of the crowd that filled the venue on Saturday will be too young to remember the dog days. This is a new club for a new city.

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Klopp praises Alexander-Arnold after Liverpool win – video

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:20:15 GMT2017-08-16T08:20:15Z

Jürgen Klopp hailed teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold after Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Hoffenheim on Tuesday evening. The 18-year-old gave the Reds the lead with a stunning free-kick after 35 minutes in the Champions League qualifier. Liverpool will take a 2-1 advantage back to Anfield for the second leg next week

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Lukaku double pleases Mourinho as Manchester United win – video

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 18:46:32 GMT2017-08-13T18:46:32Z

José Mourinho praised Romelu Lukaku after the striker scored twice on his Manchester United debut to help his side to a 4-0 win over West Ham on Sunday. The £75m signing netted either side of half-time in the club's first fixture of the new Premier League season. Goals from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba sealed an impressive victory

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Arsène Wenger happy following Arsenal's win over Leicester – video

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 22:32:15 GMT2017-08-11T22:32:15Z

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger says he is ‘more happy than concerned’ after watching his side come from behind to beat Leicester 4-3 on Friday night in the opening fixture of the new Premier League season. Arsenal’s defending was questionable at times but Wenger is unconcerned and believes errors at the back can be minimised in the future. He also praises striker Olivier Giroud who came off the bench to score the winning goal

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What will the next 25 years hold for the Premier League? – video

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:04:08 GMT2017-08-11T09:04:08Z

The last 25 years of the Premier League have seen the introduction of new rules, extra substitutions and the threat of an additional game. As the hype around the game rises to unprecedented levels, we take a look a what some of the future developments might be

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Jürgen Klopp reiterates Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho is not for sale – video

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:22:08 GMT2017-08-11T15:22:08Z

The Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has insisted that Philippe Coutinho is not for sale, a stance supported in a statement released earlier on Friday by the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group. “I think if somebody, in this case FSG, is saying something like this it is the statement,” Klopp said before the club’s opening Premier League game of the new season against Watford. “I think I have said it already a few times but maybe that’s not 100% clear,” he added

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Estonian side score own goal in 14 seconds without opponents touching ball – video

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 19:11:04 GMT2017-08-10T19:11:04Z

Estonian side Paide found themselves 1-0 down after just 14 seconds in their game against Levadia on Tuesday thanks to an calamitous own goal scored without their opponents even touching the ball. Paide attempted to play the ball out from the back after kick-off in the Estonian Cup match but it went horribly wrong as goalkeeper Magnus Karofeld was unable to stop a back-pass rolling into the net. Paide went on to lose the game 3-1

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Brighton & Hove Albion: a journey from nowhere to the Premier League – video

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 06:55:11 GMT2017-08-01T06:55:11Z

In April 1997 Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club were rendered homeless due to the sale of the Goldstone Ground. Further to that they were teetering on the brink of relegation from the Football League. Since then they have achieved an improbable rise to the Premier League via Gillingham and a repurposed athletics stadium. This is the story of a dedicated group of fans who saved them

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Everton: can new signings return them to the big time? – video

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 07:00:09 GMT2017-08-03T07:00:09Z

It remains to be seen if Everton have done good business this summer – it’s certain that they’ve done business, and a lot of it. Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford were acquired for roughly the amount Everton got for their top goalscorer last season, Romelu Lukaku. Could this be the year they get back in to the top six?

Premier League 2017-18 preview No7: Everton

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Leicester City: which extreme will it be this season? – video

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 07:00:36 GMT2017-08-04T07:00:36Z

To say that Leicester’s most recent seasons have been a mixed bag would be an understatement – two escapes from relegation bookending the most unlikely Premier League title-winning season we’re ever likely to see. Craig Shakespeare revived the Foxes’ fortunes last season when he dramatically took over from Claudio Ranieri, so how will he do this term?

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Manchester: will the Guardiola-Mourinho rivalry finally kick off? – video

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 07:20:43 GMT2017-08-07T07:20:43Z

Before last season, the leading narrative was that of a Manchester divided – two huge personalities with plenty of baggage and history, taking charge of two of England’s biggest clubs, just a couple of miles apart. By their lofty standards, both City and United had disappointing seasons, but with plenty of investment on both sides, is this the season the José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola rivalry kicks off in the Premier League?

Club previews for Premier League season

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New York Red Bulls dash FC Cincinnati's fairytale US Open Cup run with late rally

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 03:58:21 GMT2017-08-16T03:58:21Z

  • Red Bulls rally from two down to stun Cincinnati in US Open Cup semi-final
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips scores two of New York’s three unanswered goals
  • FC Cincinnati were trying to become first non-MLS team in final since 2008


Bradley Wright-Phillips scored two of New York’s three unanswered goals and the Red Bulls advanced to the title game of the US Open Cup with a 3-2 victory over FC Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

It was a crushing defeat for FC Cincinnati, a second-year club of the United Soccer League, which shares second-division status with the NASL in the United States pyramid.

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Decoding Australian football’s complex and critical governance issues | Jonathan Howcroft

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 02:21:18 GMT2017-08-16T02:21:18Z

The crisis has played out in stages over a number of months with each new step requiring detailed explanation of specific, often arcane issues

Australian football is once again in turmoil. It is being forced to change its governance arrangements but stakeholders have been unable to agree on what the new structure should look like.

Related: FFA put eggs in Fifa basket as Australian football descends into chaos once again | Jonathan Howcroft

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Cristiano Ronaldo handed five-match ban after red card against Barcelona

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:59:34 GMT2017-08-14T13:59:34Z

• Real Madrid forward was sent off in first leg of Supercopa on Sunday
• Ronaldo also fined €3000 for pushing the referee

The Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been given a five-game ban following his red card in Monday night’s Supercopa first-leg victory over Barcelona, the Spanish football federation has announced.

The Portuguese forward reacted angrily to being dismissed during the second half of a 3-1 victory for Zinedine Zidane’s side, pushing the referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea as he left the field.

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Barcelona announce £36m signing of former Spurs midfielder Paulinho

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:45:13 GMT2017-08-14T11:45:13Z

• 29-year-old to leave Guangzhou Evergrande for Spain
• Dortmund warn Barça time is running out to sign Ousmane Dembélé

Barcelona have announced the signing of Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande for €40m (£36m), with the Brazil midfielder set to be unveiled this week.

A statement from Barça on Monday confirmed that deal with the Chinese Super League side has been agreed for the former Tottenham player, with Ernesto Valverde’s side paying his release clause in full. The 29-year-old, who left White Hart Lane in 2015 for just €14m having played 45 Premier League games for Spurs, will be presented at the Camp Nou on Thursday.

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Neymar's PSG debut a huge moment in Ligue 1's quest to be taken seriously

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:24:46 GMT2017-08-14T10:24:46Z

The €222m man enjoyed a goalscoring win in sleepy Guingamp – but his PSG bow was also a victory for a league hoping to upset Europe’s established order

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

“He stays,” tweeted Gerard Piqué, smiling, an arm around Neymar. The player was “200% staying” claimed Barcelona. La Liga took the denial a step further by turning away PSG’s lawyers, €222m cheque in hand, before refusing to promptly deliver Neymar’s international clearance certificate, meaning the world’s most expensive player was forced to watch the first Paris Saint-Germain game from the Parc des Princes stands. Despite the efforts of his former team-mates, club and league, Neymar is a PSG player. The fee and fanfare aside, the attitude in Spain more than anything illustrates the seismic shift in European football that the Brazilian’s gargantuan transfer represents, a watershed moment for Ligue 1. This weekend, in sleepy Guingamp, Neymar finally made his French football debut.

Related: Neymar scores on PSG debut to seal 3-0 win over Guingamp

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Mile Jedinak named in initial Socceroos squad for key World Cup qualifiers

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 02:06:24 GMT2017-08-15T02:06:24Z

  • Aston Villa midfielder nearing full fitness after groin problem
  • Fixtures against Japan and Thailand will shape Australia’s World Cup destiny

Ange Postecoglou has thrown a lifeline to injury-troubled skipper Mile Jedinak, naming him in a provisional 30-man squad for two matches that will determine Australia’s World Cup destiny.

Jedinak missed the Confederations Cup due to a groin injury and has not played club football for Aston Villa since April but he is nearing a return to full fitness. Postecoglou will keep tabs on him before finalising a 23-man group next week for the World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand.

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Sigi Schmid finds a flawed LA Galaxy in his search for redemption

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:00:53 GMT2017-08-14T11:00:53Z

The veteran coach’s return to southern California seemed like a Hollywood script. But now Galaxy are struggling to qualify for the playoffs

As juicy narratives go, Sigi Schmid’s return to the LA Galaxy could have been scripted 20 or miles or so due north from the StubHub Center, up in the Hollywood Hills.

When Schmid took over from deposed first-year coach Curt Onalfo late last month, the opportunity offered the 64-year-old redemption on multiple levels.

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Cristiano Ronaldo scores and is sent off in win over Barcelona

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 23:01:26 GMT2017-08-13T23:01:26Z

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sensational goal and was then sent off for a combination of his provocative celebration and for diving as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 in an explosive Spanish Super Cup first leg.

Gerard Piqué scored an own goal early in the second half to give Real the lead in the annual curtain raiser between the Liga champions and the King’s Cup holders although Lionel Messi looked to have saved his blushes by scoring a controversial penalty in the 77th minute after Luis Suárez was fouled.

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Neymar scores on PSG debut to seal 3-0 win over Guingamp

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 21:08:17 GMT2017-08-13T21:08:17Z

Neymar scored on his Paris Saint-Germain debut as Unai Emery’s side breezed past Guingamp 3-0 as they made it two wins from two in Ligue 1. The Brazilian, signed from Barcelona for a world-record £198m, slotted home after 82 minutes, converting Edinson Cavani’s low ball across the box.

Cavani earlier doubled PSG’s lead after Jordan Ikoko’s comical own goal, guiding his pass beyond the Guingamp goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson.

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Are Manchester City and NYC FC any closer to conquering America?

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 09:00:35 GMT2017-08-08T09:00:35Z

In their third season, New York City FC still play in Yankee Stadium. But results have improved and they aim to become one of the US’s biggest clubs

As Pep Guardiola’s players emerged from the concrete bowels of the Los Angeles Coliseum, the fans jeered.

The boos came as little surprise.

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Holland victory a triumph for Dutch flair and Sarina Wiegman’s coaching nous | Priya Ramesh

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 16:49:40 GMT2017-08-07T16:49:40Z

Six months before Euro 2017 the hosts were in disarray but their coach galvanised the players into a team who dominated the tournament

The jubilant faces of the newly crowned European champions were splashed across the front of almost every major Dutch newspaper – regional and national – on Monday. “Undefeated champions,” De Volkskrant proudly boasted. “FENOMENAAL” was Algemeen Dagblad’s summary.

It has been a remarkable rise for the women in orange, who made their first appearance at a World Cup finals only in 2015 but have now reached the continental summit, putting an end to Germany’s 22-year-monopoly of the European crown.

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the opening weekend's action

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 07:01:36 GMT2017-08-14T07:01:36Z

Liverpool’s defensive frailties, Wayne Rooney’s nous in both boxes, an unwanted headache for Paul Clement and Manchester United’s unsung heroes

So, why was it that Chelsea decided they could afford to let Nemanja Matic join Manchester United and willingly pass over one of the more brilliantly effective midfield players of the modern game to a major rival? When that question was posed to José Mourinho after Manchester United’s biggest league win since he took over as manager he made it sound as if he was slightly bewildered, too. “It depends on what is happening, or what was happening, behind doors and we don’t know,” he said. “The only thing I know is that, with Chelsea’s money, I brought him to Stamford Bridge because I thought he was a player with special qualities and ever since I left I always thought he could be a perfect player for us.” That still doesn’t answer the question about why Chelsea have apparently given Mourinho the final piece in his jigsaw when it comes to assembling a team capable of winning the Premier League. We never get a satisfactory answer and, in the meantime, Matic has quickly shown it might be a grave error on Chelsea’s part. United were struggling to break down West Ham until Matic’s interception sparked the breakaway that led to Romelu Lukaka’s first goal.

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Jonjo Shelvey falls victim of Dele Alli’s textbook ‘hook, line and sinker’ move | Nick Miller

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 17:16:00 GMT2017-08-13T17:16:00Z

The Newcastle captain remains prone to bouts of petulance but the Tottenham midfielder has learned how to channel his inner devil

The role of the captain in modern football is not always entirely clear. Do teams need a single inspirational figure, a chest-thumper who stirs the heart and soul? An experienced head, one who can offer big-brotherly advice to his colleagues? Someone who leads by example, which usually just means being better than everyone else?

In theory it should not matter who has the armband. As long as he can tell the difference between heads and tails on a coin and is half-respected by his colleagues, he should not need much else, except just one other thing: ideally he should not brainlessly get himself sent off at a crucial phase of a game against title contenders.

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Despite this clod-hopping powerplay, Diego Costa may be on to something | Barney Ronay

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 16:02:23 GMT2017-08-14T16:02:23Z

The Chelsea striker has raised some profound issues about transfer fees and freedom of movement that have troubled even the biggest clubs for some time

W hat is your favourite Diego Costa moment? Perhaps it is the one where he manages to get Gabriel Paulista sent off for a retaliatory kick just by standing quite near him, muttering and smiling like some horrible, handsome, impossibly terrible footballing Iago.

Or it may be the 2-2 draw with Tottenham where Mark Clattenburg books 12 players but not actually Costa, who has a hand in at least five of those yellows, all the while maintaining an attitude of prim and saintly innocence. Or the 3-1 defeat of Arsenal where Costa “scare-assists” his team’s final goal by running towards Petr Cech and making Arsenal’s goalkeeper perform his best impression of Shaggy from Scooby Doo confronted by a double-dealing fairground owner in a zombie mask.

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Football transfer rumours: Danny Rose to Chelsea for £30m?

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:09:16 GMT2017-08-16T08:09:16Z

Today’s blurb is bleary-eyed

Like Usain Bolt heading into the final 50m, Daniel Levy sees the end of the transfer window approaching and is starting to pick up the pace. There are signs of the pursestrings being loosened at last. That clinking sound you can hear is Levy rustling around his wallet for some loose change. The increased urgency may have something to do with *that* Danny Rose interview last week, in which the left-back helpfully wondered if Tottenham Hotspur might like to show him and his team-mates the money. But maybe it’s just a coincidence that Tottenham look like they may mean business.

Related: Danny Rose the rebel causes thorny problem for Daniel Levy and Spurs | Daniel Taylor

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Football League in focus: Tony Mowbray bemoans Blackburn’s sinking feeling | Jeremy Alexander

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 09:00:38 GMT2017-08-14T09:00:38Z

New season, new league and new players but same old defeats for Blackburn as the malaise at Ewood Park under the Venky’s ownership continues

League football returned to Ewood Park as if it had never been away. But Blackburn Rovers, Premier League champions of 1995, found themselves in the unusual surroundings of League One on Saturday, losing 3-1 to Doncaster Rovers, who came in by the other door. After two degrees of separation the only familiarity for Blackburn was defeat.

Three months ago, in their last five games, at least they were mixing it with Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Aston Villa, beating two and drawing with Wolves in a vain attempt to avoid the drop. Now they continue their struggles in the company of Rochdale and Northampton. It is a sad descent. As the old boys of Eton and Harrow were discussing in the late 1870s whether to have hacking, Blackburn was shaping as the first northern centre to upset that dominance, with Rovers winning the FA Cup from 1884-86 and becoming founder members of the League. Hacking now is as international as the game itself but Blackburn are not keeping up.

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The Joy of Six: Premier League opening-day debuts

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:31:32 GMT2017-08-10T12:31:32Z

From Alan Shearer’s stunning statement of intent to the White Feather making his mark on Teesside, half a dozen memorable debut starts to the season

The first exchanges of the new Premier League were bathed in iridescent sunshine and the glow felt even warmer after a humdinger at Selhurst Park. Alan Shearer had turned 22 two days previously; he had cost newly-promoted Blackburn, awash with Jack Walker’s millions and carefree with ambition, a stunning £3.6m to snare from Southampton – for context, Neymar was six months old at the time – and there was considerable fascination in whether the trade between two unfashionable clubs would be successful.

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Relays to relish, tremendous own goals and boxing's hardest punchers | Classic YouTube

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 09:30:33 GMT2017-08-10T09:30:33Z

This week’s roundup also features some footballer initiations, memorable Women’s Rugby World Cup moments and a basketball balls-up

1) If the norovirus lays off, the London Stadium should deliver a big moment this weekend with the 4x100m: elite sprinting, Usain Bolt’s final farewell, plus potential baton-based slapstick. It’s an event that has produced some classic clips: Jamaica’s Bolt-finished world record win in 2012; Team GB’s men’s victory at Athens 2004; and a classic from Seoul 1988: USA versus East Germany versus USSR, featuring Flo-Jo. And here’s a montage of classic baton fumbles, inevitably featuring Britain and some familiar sounding commentary: “Jarrett’s gone off well, storming down the back straight, Jarrett will hand over to Braithwaite, not bad, oh! Braithwaite’s dropped the baton!” Here’s the story of the US women’s team’s baton struggles – and their ultimate redemption in 2012. And finally, of course, there’s this again. It’s not 100m, but still, any excuse. UCC, from the depths of hell!

2) The Women’s Rugby World Cup is under way. Re-live some memorable past moments with England star Maggie Alphonsi’s top World Cup memories, some tries and highlights from 2014 and New Zealand’s victories in 2010 and four years previously.

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Premier League club captains: name the 20 for the 2017-18 season

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 11:00:15 GMT2017-08-08T11:00:15Z

Which players have been chosen to lead the 20 clubs this season?Transfer window quiz: signings that went very wrong, very quicklyTransfer trail quiz: name the player from their club historyArsenalLaurent KoscielnyPer MertesackerAaron RamseyTheo WalcottBournemouthSimon FrancisArtur BorucSteve CookHarry ArterBrightonLiam RoseniorGlenn MurrayDale StephensBrunoBurnleyPhil BardsleySam VokesTom HeatonRobbie BradyChelseaDavid LuizGary CahillEden HazardCesc FàbregasCrystal PalaceMartin KellyJames TomkinsDamien DelaneyJason PuncheonEvertonWayne RooneyPhil JagielkaLeighton BainesAshley WilliamsHuddersfield TownDean WhiteheadAaron MooyMark HudsonTom InceLeicester CityKasper SchmeichelWes MorganJamie VardyRobert HuthLiverpoolJordan HendersonJoel MatipPhilippe CoutinhoJames MilnerManchester CityDavid SilvaVincent KompanySergio AgüeroYaya TouréManchester UnitedMichael CarrickDavid de GeaAnder HerreraDaley BlindNewcastle UnitedGrant HanleyJack ColbackJamaal LascellesMatt RitchieSouthamptonSteven DavisJames Ward ProwseFraser ForsterOriol RomeuStoke CityJack ButlandGlen JohnsonPeter CrouchRyan ShawcrossSwansea CityAngel RangelLeon BrittonNathan DyerMartin OlssonTottenham HotspurHugo LlorisJan VertonghenHarry KaneToby Alderweireld WatfordTroy DeeneyDaryl JanmaatHeurelho GomesCraig CathcartWest Bromwich AlbionBen FosterGareth McAuleyChris BruntJonny EvansWest Ham UnitedAndy CarrollMark NobleWinston ReidJosé Fonte Continue reading...[...]


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The forgotten story of … Fred Spiksley, wing wizard, film star and POW escapee | Simon Burnton

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:20:51 GMT2017-07-28T11:20:51Z

Fred Spiksley dazzled as an outside-left, but found his far-reaching coaching ideas spurned in England after success abroad, having also dabbled in film and been embroiled in a wartime escape mission

In the words of James Catton, the greatest football writer of his time, “Fred Spiksley’s control of the ball, his individuality, and his pluck for a man of modest stature, without much weight, were amazing. He did all his ball work with the outside of the right foot. In fact, Fred Spiksley could do almost anything he wanted with either foot, and was a sure marksman. Spiksley as a football player was a wonder.”

Ernest “Nudger” Needham, who was to win 16 England caps while at Sheffield United, was part of the Staveley defence that lost 10-0 against Spiksley’s Gainsborough in 1891. “Our captain told me to shift from left to right to stop the outside-left,” he recalled. “I might as well have tried to stop the wind. The outside-left was Fred Spiksley, the finest outside-left I have ever met and whose dribbling was a treat to watch. He could either combine with the others and make openings by lively centres, or cut past the back on the inside to go for goal himself. He could also shoot with either foot. I shall never forget Freddy’s dazzling wing play in 1898, when England beat Scotland 3-1. Ah, Fred was a gem of a player in those days!”

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Golden Goal: Sergio Agüero for Argentina v Poland (2007 Under-20 World Cup)

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 10:32:31 GMT2017-07-07T10:32:31Z

Sergio Agüero and Dawid Janczyk were young strikers with the world at their feet who both scored fine goals in their Under-20 World Cup meeting, but Agüero became a superstar while Janczyk suffered a painful fall from grace

You can be forgiven for pleading ignorance if you have never heard of Sandecja Nowy Sacz, even if they have just returned to Poland’s top division as champions. They are an unremarkable club from a small city in southern Poland, play in a ramshackle little stadium and rank a run to the last eight of the Polish Cup in 2014 as one of their finest achievements. All of which explains the schadenfreude at Freddy Adu’s expense when he was linked with a move to Sandecja earlier this year. Where, people wondered, did it all go so wrong for the USA’s former golden boy?

Related: Golden Goal: Gianfranco Zola for Chelsea v West Ham (1996) | Jacob Steinberg

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Roberto Firmino stands tall for Liverpool amid familiar defensive frailties | Sachin Nakrani

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 13:52:34 GMT2017-08-13T13:52:34Z

Liverpool defended terribly at Watford but at the other end the Brazilian, who next faces former club Hoffenheim, showed why he is their main man up front

Liverpool arrive in Germany on Monday in less than ideal shape for their Champions League qualifying play-off first leg with Hoffenheim. Questions are once again being asked about their defensive capabilities following a somewhat shambolic showing at Watford on Saturday and with uncertainty continuing to surround the future of Philippe Coutinho.

Fresh season it may be but for Liverpool that fresh optimism is already being tested. It is too early, of course, for total doom and gloom, and especially so with Jürgen Klopp around. Liverpool’s fiery manager will no doubt have his team fired up for Tuesday’s encounter at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, instilling in them the belief that they can take a crucial step towards their ambition of returning to the group stages of Europe’s elite competition for the first time in three years.

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Danny Rose the rebel causes thorny problem for Daniel Levy and Spurs | Daniel Taylor

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 22:52:05 GMT2017-08-12T22:52:05Z

The Tottenham chairman, renowned as a tough negotiator, risks a major mutiny if he does not increase wages significantly

They tell a story at Manchester United that probably sums up why the previous regime at Old Trafford had a policy never to do business with Tottenham Hotspur and Sir Alex Ferguson once remarked that hip surgery was more enjoyable than trying to find common ground with Daniel Levy when it came to money. It goes back to Luka Modric’s final season at White Hart Lane when Ferguson was tipped off that the Croat would be keen on a move to Manchester to fill the void left by Paul Scholes’s retirement. In ordinary circumstances, Modric would have been the ideal fit. These, however, were not ordinary circumstances. Ferguson had never forgotten what it was like dealing with Levy in the protracted transfer saga he referred to as “the Dimitar Berbatov carry-on” and when he raised the matter with David Gill, United’s chief executive, the two men agreed they didn’t have the stomach to go though the same again. As good as Modric was, they simply couldn’t countenance another negotiation involving the Spurs chairman.

Related: Mauricio Pochettino forgives Danny Rose for Tottenham criticism

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Lukaku’s power and Rashford’s pace give Manchester United renewed hope | Jamie Jackson

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 23:01:26 GMT2017-08-13T23:01:26Z

José Mourinho paired £75m Romelu Lukaku with Marcus Rashford and it paid dividends with goals and a sense the forwards already understand each other

This was a Romelu Lukaku-Marcus Rashford show that José Mourinho and Manchester United will hope can run and run. The Belgian’s double put United in pole position – before late strikes from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba – and Rashford again proved he can be the X-factor the manager desperately requires if he is to lead United to a 21st championship. By the hour here Mourinho’s side were stroking the ball around and through West Ham in an impressive fashion witnessed only sporadically last season.

Rashford played a key part in one sequence that closed with an offside Henrikh Mkhitaryan finish, while Lukaku ran across the line and into deep positions to pose the Hammers awkward questions.

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New Sky thinking: how the Premier League revolution was televised | Scott Murray

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 08:30:40 GMT2017-08-12T08:30:40Z

Twenty-five years ago the station unleashed a new age – and Richard Keys – on the nation but it may now be time for some fresh thinking about football TV

A quarter of a century has passed since ITV offered the new-fangled Premier League an outlandish £262m for the rights to continue producing Elton Welsby vehicle The Match. At which point agitated Spurs owner and set-top-box mogul Alan Sugar nipped out of the negotiating room, bellowed “Blow them aht the water!” into a nearby payphone, a Sky apparatchik appeared in a puff of smoke carrying an extra £42m, and Super Sunday became a thing. All together now: “Here we go! Hee-ee-eere we go! Here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, this is it!”

Related: I was there at the birth of Sky Sports – and what a kerfuffle | David James

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Fall of pound means Tottenham face paying more for Davinson Sánchez by the day

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:12:41 GMT2017-08-16T12:12:41Z

• Ajax’s stance reflects problem faced by Premier League clubs since Brexit vote
• Dutch club slow down negotiations as pound continues to fall against euro

Premier League clubs are facing demands for ever higher transfer fees and for players’ wages to be paid in euros because of the collapse in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote.

As sterling fell this week to its lowest value since Britain emerged from the financial crash, the consequences for top-flight clubs have been laid bare by the ongoing haggling over the future of Ajax’s Davinson Sánchez.

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