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Football News

» Paul Pogba price set as Manchester United demand more than £200m to prise midfielder from Old Trafford
Pogba has three years remaining on his contract at Old Trafford, meaning United will set a monster fee to sell the World Cup winner
» Jose Mourinho confirms Paul Pogba has been REMOVED as Manchester United's second captain
The Frenchman watched The Red Devils' crash out out of the Carabao Cup third round from the Old Trafford stands on Tuesday
» Manchester United 2-2 Derby: Phil Jones misses as Rams advance in dramatic penalty shoot-out - 5 talking points
Marouane Fellaini scored in stoppage time to force a shoot-out in a memorable Carabao Cup tie
» Fabinho may not click at Liverpool for SIX MONTHS warns Jurgen Klopp as £40million star prepares for first start
Reds' fourth most expensive buy ever hasn't even made the bench for three games this season while he learns the ropes
» Leroy Sane can join Juventus from Manchester City 'on one condition' - Wednesday's gossip
The Germany winger has been unsettled with Pep Guardiola frustrated with his inconsistency
» Troy Deeney set to defy TWO broken toes AND ankle ligament damage to lead Watford against Arsenal
Javi Gracia isn't going to disagree with club talisman who claims it is nothing a couple of injections cannot sort out
» Mauricio Pochettino makes bold Tottenham Stadium prediction ahead of Carabao Cup clash with Watford
Spurs will face the Hornets in Milton Keynes with delays hitting their move from Wembley Stadium into their new home
» Fulham bring on 15-year-old Harvey Elliott to become League Cup's youngest ever player
Winger  Elliott, aged 15 years and 174 days, has already been linked with Barcelona
» Manchester United 2-2 (7-8 on penalties) Derby live score: Scott Carson saves Phil Jones' penalty in dramatic cup tie
Keep track of the latest score and goal updates from Old Trafford as Man United take on Derby County
» Dele Alli licking his lips for Tottenham vs Watford clash that is a REAL home tie for him
Spurs are having to borrow the England midfielder's former club MK Dons' ground for League Cup clash
» Declan Rice: Latest on West Ham's new-contract talks with rising-star teenager
The two sides remain some distance apart on wages, with the versatile youngster's camp seeking £30,000 a week
» Eden Hazard told to improve for Chelsea — ONE DAY after being named in FIFA's World XI
Blues No2 and club legend Gianfranco Zola sure brilliant Belgian has not realised his full potential yet despite Monday honour
» Manchester United 2-2 Derby (7-8 pens): Phil Jones awful and Sergio Romero just as bad - how they rated
Derby had been moments away from winning 2-1 in normal time after United keeper Sergio Romero was sent off - but they won it on penalties
» Manchester United fans slam "laughing stock" club as Phil Jones misses decisive penalty in Derby defeat
Sergio Romero was sent off as The Red Devils followed up their draw with Wolves at the weekend by crashing out of the third round of the EFL Cup
» Paul Pogba all smiles as he watches Manchester United vs Derby in stands following latest row with Jose Mourinho
Earlier in the day Mourinho informed the World Cup winner he would never captain The Red Devils again
» Jose Mourinho vs Paul Pogba: Why Manchester United boss will come out on top in battle of egos with £89m World Cup winner
Relationship at point of no return after new fall-out, and Old Trafford top brass are backing the Special One... for now
» Ryan Mason on horror skull fracture which left former Spurs man with 14 metal plates and 28 screws in head
Former Hull City man Mason called time on his career last February after 12 months of 'constantly battling' the injury
» FIFA 19 Early Access release date for PS4, Xbox and PC - and how to get it
Gamers who ordered the standard edition will have to wait until the game is released worldwide on September 28
» Carabao Cup rule changes revealed as extra-time is scrapped for 2018-19 season
The competition has undergone an overhaul this year with some notable rule changes
» Jose Mourinho explains why Paul Pogba is missing from Derby clash amid latest fallout
The Red Devils boss spoke to the media shortly after it was revealed he told the World Cup winner he would never captain the side again
» Nico Yennaris was an Arsenal mascot, played in their Under-8s side with Harry Kane - and now faces them with Brentford
EXCLUSIVE: Gunners fan who saw just 45 minutes Premier League action for them in 15 years is back in the Carabao Cup
» Troy Deeney admits he 'hates' Virgil van Dijk as he's 'too big, too strong, too quick - and he's got nice hair'
Burly Watford striker Deeney loves bullying opponents - but admits he can't stand going up against van Dijk or Joe Gomez
» Jose Mourinho's cry for help in programme notes for Derby clash attempt to explain Paul Pogba decision
The Red Devils boss informed the World Cup winner he would not be captaining the Red Devils again
» Rafa Benitez in hot water for PRAISING referee Andre Marriner before Newcastle's match against Crystal Palace
Toon boss has been hit with an FA charge as rules forbid managers from discussing officials ahead of games
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Other sport news:

» Manchester United out after Derby’s Scott Carson saves Phil Jones penalty

On a day when José Mourinho and Paul Pogba’s relationship hit rock bottom came a testing night for the Portuguese as Derby County knocked Manchester United out of the Carabao Cup.

Phil Jones saw his kick saved by Scott Carson and given Mourinho’s ongoing discontent with Pogba, plus a defeat that adds to United’s drift, the manager will come under further scrutiny.

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» José Mourinho says Paul Pogba will never captain Manchester United again

• United manager unhappy with player’s performances
• French midfielder wants the side to be more attacking

José Mourinho has told Paul Pogba he will never captain Manchester United again, though the manager denied that there was any issue between him and the Frenchman.

Pogba’s demotion emerged before United endured a shock defeat by Derby as they crashed out of the Carabao Cup here on Tuesday night. They lost 8-7 on penalties after a 2-2 draw, with Phil Jones’s kick saved by Scott Carson.

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» Qatar World Cup workers still exploited, says Amnesty report

Charity says promised government reforms to ‘kafala’ system have not taken place

Migrant workers building infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup and other big projects in Qatar are still suffering exploitation and severe human rights violations despite promised government reforms, according to a highly critical report by Amnesty International.

The report names an engineering company, Mercury MENA, which it says left almost 80 workers from Nepal, India and the Philippines stranded and unpaid for months in Qatar. Amnesty accuses the company of using the kafala structure – which it describes as Qatar’s notorious sponsorship system that ties employees to a single employer – to exploit scores of migrant workers.

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» Mauricio Pochettino hopes to be in Spurs’ new stadium before Christmas

• Pochettino has had updates from the chairman Daniel Levy
• Spurs manager looking for win against Watford in Carabao Cup

Mauricio Pochettino says he is “confident” Tottenham will move into their new stadium before Christmas, after he held talks with Daniel Levy.

As he prepares to play a “home” Carabao Cup tie against Watford in Milton Keynes, the Tottenham manager believes the end is finally in sight for the £850m project after the planned opening this month was postponed over safety fears. Pochettino says victory in the third-round match would be a show of gratitude to frustrated Spurs fans who have now gone 500 days without a game in their own ground.

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» Jürgen Klopp warns Liverpool players to take Carabao Cup seriously

• Klopp to give game time to underused squad members
• Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet set to start against Chelsea

Jürgen Klopp has warned that any player who undervalues the Carabao Cup will have “a real problem” at Liverpool as his team must prove themselves in every fixture.

Liverpool host Chelsea in the third round on Wednesday with their manager planning changes to the relatively settled side who have won their first seven games of the season. Simon Mignolet is a confirmed starter in goal while Dejan Lovren could make his first appearance since the World Cup final on 15 July having recovered from a stomach injury.

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» Manchester City’s Phil Foden completes win over outclassed Oxford

A routine victory for the Carabao Cup holders delivered a memorable storyline for Phil Foden, who scored the first of what will surely be many goals in a Manchester City shirt on a landmark night for the 18-year-old.

His emotional celebration showed just how much the goal meant to him, even if it was scored in front of a car park, and he also set up Riyad Mahrez with an exquisite pass for City’s second as well as having a hand in the opener.

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» European roundup: Bayern’s run ends while Inter scrape past Fiorentina
• Bayern Munich held 1-1 at home by Augsburg
• Inter win 2-1 with help from a VAR penalty

Bayern Munich conceded a late equaliser as their perfect start to the season come to an end with a 1-1 draw against Bavarian neighbours Augsburg at the Allianz Arena.

The Bundesliga leaders had plenty of chances to put the result beyond doubt, but found the Augsburg goalkeeper Andreas Luthe in good form.

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» Harvey Elliott makes professional debut at 15 as Fulham ease past Millwall

It was a moment to further age the hard-bitten souls in attendance. In the 81st minute of this Carabao Cup tie, Slavisa Jokanovic sent on Harvey Elliott for his professional debut. The Fulham winger was 15 years and 174 days old.

The Surrey schoolboy became the youngest player to appear for Fulham and it is also believed he became the most youthful in this competition’s history, beating the record of 15 years and 203 days set by Leicester’s Ashley Chambers in 2005. Records are a little hazy because of data protection laws.

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» Nilla Fischer: ‘Being a gay woman playing soccer provokes a lot of hate’

The Wolfsburg captain and Sweden international is an outspoken advocate of women’s football and LGBT rights who sees her profession in perspective

“We take one step in the right direction and two back if we don’t keep up the fight.” Wolfsburg’s Nilla Fischer has seen women’s football change a lot in her 20-year career and she is adamant that progress has been won only by fighting for it. “You can never let it be or let it rest. To get better surroundings, money, everything, it’s always a fight.”

Fischer is known for being outspoken in defence of women playing football but also, as a gay woman, in being an advocate of LGBT rights. She is one of three top European footballers to front a “Strong is ... ” mini-documentary series for Uefa’s #WePlayStrong campaign about their lives off the pitch, discussing issues ranging from mental health and self-confidence to sexuality and injury trauma. Fischer’s has had more than half a million views.

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» David Squires on … no country for proper football men

Our cartoonist on the latest chapter of a season that seems to so far have been exclusively of interest to Liverpool fans

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» Fifa to discuss plans to curb agents’ fees and re-introduce licensing system
• New regulations will mean only players pay agents
• Loan system may be overhauled to end player stockpiling

Fifa has taken initial steps towards trying to control the vast amounts of money being paid out of football to agents, agreeing in principle to discuss setting a limit on agents’ fees.

At a meeting in London on Monday, the Fifa football stakeholders committee, which includes representatives from clubs, leagues and the worldwide players’ union Fifpro, agreed to introduce a “clearing house” system to process transfer payments, and to reinstate a form of licensing system for agents, which Fifa abandoned in 2015 to widespread criticism.

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» Style over substance: what matters more to fans, entertainment or winning? | Ed Aarons
Supporters of many different clubs talk about the ‘way’ their teams must play, yet it seems in the age of high finance such scruples are fading away and success by any means will suffice

The Arsenal way. The Manchester United way. The Tottenham way. The West Ham way. Every supporter wants their team to be successful but also play with a certain style that is supposedly unique to their club. Yet in the multimillion-pound industry that football in the 21st century has become, are we all expecting a little too much?

Petr Cech’s acknowledgement this week that the former manager Arsenal Arsène Wenger cared more about the aesthetic beauty of his teams than their effectiveness was the kind of candid admission professional footballers only make once a former regime has been consigned to history. However, it was still revealing to hear the true thoughts of a player who has won four Premier League titles, five FA Cups, the Champions League and Europa League since he arrived in England more than 14 years ago.

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» FA technical director Dan Ashworth in talks over Brighton role
• Ashworth is close ally of England manager Gareth Southgate
• Brighton one of several clubs to have shown interest

The Football Association is braced to lose its technical director, Dan Ashworth, to Brighton. He has played a key part in reviving the England set-up at junior and senior levels.

Related: David Squires on … no country for proper football men

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» Cost and quantity of replica kits keeps going up but so does demand | Paul MacInnes
Replica kit manufacturers are in the pink, partly thanks to England’s success in the World Cup and Eddie Jones’s team

The kits are alright. OK, maybe that’s subjective. In some people’s eyes the current generation of replica sportswear could be said to be garish. Or too tight fitting. And almost certainly too expensive. But there’s no doubt they’re enjoying a late-capitalist flourish.

For a sense of where we are at, take the news this week that the RFU was punting out a new England shirt, their 12th in four years. The sell was quite something. According to the manufacturers, Canterbury, the shirt was inspired by “white noise” (an aural not a visual phenomenon if you recall) and incorporates titanium and platinum colouring that “symbolises the strength of those metals”. There are also a variety of St George’s crosses stitched in to “reflect patriotism” and, practically speaking, it has a collar that “reduces neck pump”. This little miracle is all yours for £95 and will be out of date by the time Eddie Jones’s men play next autumn’s World Cup.

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» The Fiver | The third annual I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Ballon d’Or awards

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“It is beyond me that we feel the need to set aside a night to give out these jag-off bowling trophies six times a year so all these people can pat each other on the back about how much money they’re making, boring the [pee] out of half the world,” said Jerry Seinfeld of awards ceremonies. The stand-up was picking up an award at the time and was sure to add the caveat that “if I hadn’t already won all these awards I would not be talking like this”. Like the business they call “show”, football is similarly obsessed with org1es of self-congratulatory backslapping, but few do it with quite the same amount of bells, whistles and bloated self-regard as the sport’s world governing body, whose third annual I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Ballon d’Or awards were staged in Big London on Monday night.

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» Manchester United earn record revenues but still have debt of £487m
• Club earned £590m in the financial year to June 2018
• ‘We are biggest sports team in the world,’ says Ed Woodward

Manchester United earned record revenues of £590m though the Glazers’ debt from buying the club 13 years ago stands at nearly half a billion, according to the latest financial results.

Related: What’s that odd feeling? It’s sympathy for Mourinho amid Pogba’s malaise | Barney Ronay

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» Luka Modric and Marta win Fifa player of the year awards in London
• Modric beats Ronaldo to men’s prize, Salah wins Puskás award
• 32-year-old Marta wins women’s award for first time since 2010

Luka Modric has been named the Fifa men’s footballer of the year at a ceremony in London, with Brazil’s Marta crowned the world’s best female player.

The 33-year-old Modric won the Champions League for the third time in a row with his club, Real Madrid, in May before leading Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, where they lost 4-2 to France. He is the first player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the Fifa award since Kaká in 2007.

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» Kevin Keegan: 'No, I'm not going to take a compliment from Mike Ashley'

The former England captain shares memories of Bobby Moore and George Best, his regrets about managing Newcastle and England and why if he was a player today he’d like to turn out for Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool

You can feel the energy as soon as Kevin Keegan walks into the room – barrel chest, big biceps, warm smile, small man, tough handshake. His hair is white these days, the perm long gone, and his belly more rounded, but otherwise he is little changed. Keegan is as passionate and outspoken as he ever was.

We meet in a hotel in Manchester. It’s funny that he’s written another memoir, he says, because he hates looking back. “I don’t like player reunions because all you get is the lads talking about whatever year you won something. A lot of them are just lost in that. Sir John Hall had a saying: ‘If you live in the past, you die in the past.’ You’ve got to reinvent yourself – try to move on.”

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» MLS Ultras: plastic wannabes or sign of a thriving league?

Football in North America has been on a quest for authenticity for decades. It’s debatable whether hardcore fans are helping or hindering that goal

When Major League Soccer kicked off for the first time back in 1996, European football’s Ultras culture was just about winding down. Of course, Ultras still exist to this day, but the height of football’s sometimes violent, always notorious, counterculture came in the 1980s when English and Italian fans earned a toxic reputation. As in many things, though, MLS has spent the past few years catching up.

Related: Barcelona, Argentina … Atlanta: How Tata Martino came to thrive in MLS

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» What’s that odd feeling? It’s sympathy for Mourinho amid Pogba’s malaise | Barney Ronay
The dynamic between Manchester United’s manager and star player is doing nobody any good but can anyone really say Pogba is performing at the level of the Premier League’s best?

I know it’s over. And it never really began. But in my heart it was so real. Paul, José. It’s been two years now. There are times in a relationship like this when you just have to take a step back and accept that things aren’t working out. Although, for the sake of the team, who really shouldn’t be asked to choose between you, we could at least try to be civilised about this.

Another Manchester United wobble, another public snipe between José Mourinho and Paul Pogba. United may be listing a little this season but there are some things that do seem certain. The dysfunctional dynamic between manager and star player is not doing anyone any good. And beyond this Pogba in particular might want to think twice about asking people to look any more closely at his own role and his own contribution to an evolving team – because it is not always a pretty sight.

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» The heat is on as conflict deepens in fight for Spanish football's soul | Sid Lowe

Temperatures are rising on and off the pitch, with opposition building to that US plan and kick-off times doing little to help

At the one end of the ground that is an end and not just a wall, a small gang of Rayo Vallecano fans in bright high-vis jackets and yellow hard hats started leaping up and down, testing the foundations. Around them, drums beat, flags waved and supporters laughed as they took out their tools to fix the place up, bashing away with inflatable yellow hammers. If it looked silly, it was supposed to – and it was no dafter than the real thing – but at least they were here now. Rayo, promoted in the summer after two years away from primera, hadn’t been home since the opening day of the season. On Saturday, they returned in the way that only they seem to know how – and a way that felt appropriate somehow, this weekend more than ever.

That night, against Sevilla, a small boy fell through a gap and on to some rubble, while above him the stand literally shook. Long denounced by supporters, Rayo’s ground, which had gone six years without a valid safety certificate, was shut down by the council. Athletic Club were next in town and some of them came too – they’d already arranged their travel by the time the decision had finally been made, four days before it was due to be played – but they didn’t see a game and didn’t get compensation either, of course. There had been discussions about Butarque or the Metropolitano, while Getafe said no to using the Coliseum; instead the match was postponed and work got under way.

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» Revamped Roma's rapid decline leaves Di Francesco in line of fire | Paolo Bandini

Summer deals have left last season’s Champions League semi-finalists imbalanced and time is not on the manager’s side

Five games in, and the Serie A top scorers chart has a decidedly unfamiliar feel. Fans might have expected to see Cristiano Ronaldo in first place, perhaps pursued by the man he displaced at Juventus: Gonzalo Higuaín. Or how about reigning joint-capocannonieri, Ciro Immobile and Mauro Icardi, each returning with the same teams?

All but the last of that foursome scored this weekend, yet none of them leads the way. The most prolific player in Serie A is a 23-year-old signed by Genoa from Cracovia this summer for a paltry €4.5m. Krzysztof Piatek’s five goals only look more impressive when you consider his team has played one game fewer than the rest of the division.

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» Feyenoord's Steven Berghuis goes down 'injured' after pat on head – video

Feyenoord's Steven Berghuis found himself in the limelight on Sunday, having collapsed to the ground after a gentle pat on the head from Utrecht's Willem Janssen. Feyenoord went on to win the match 1-0 in Rotterdam thanks to a late goal from Robin van Persie

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» Sir Alex Ferguson gets standing ovation on his return to Old Trafford – video

Sir Alex Ferguson was back at Old Trafford for the first time since he underwent emergency brain surgery in May. He received a huge ovation from supporters before the 1-1 draw with Wolves

Wolves frustrate Manchester United on Sir Alex Ferguson’s return

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» Guardiola 'so happy' as Agüero extends Manchester City contract to 2021

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola could not hide his joy after the Argentina striker Sergio Agüero extended his contract at the club until 2021. The Premier League champions travel to Cardiff City on Saturday as they look to bounce back from their defeat to Lyon in the Champions League during the week

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» 'Don't disrespect my players': Pochettino angry at media after Spurs defeat – video

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at questions over his squad selection after they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Internazionale, despite leading until the 86th minute. Christian Eriksen put Spurs ahead in the second half before Mauro Icardi’s volley and a Matias Vecino header gave Inter the points.

Pochettino was particularly irked at being asked why Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier were left out, interpreting it as disrespectful to those players who were chosen for the trip to Italy. The Argentinian added he was pleased with his team’s performance, but admitted they are suffering having lost three in a row

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» Benfica women set Portuguese record with 28-0 win over Ponte de Frielas – video

Benfica's women's team enjoyed a 28-0 thrashing on their debut in the Portuguese second division. They opened the scoring two minutes into their match against Ponte de Frielas, were 16-0 up at half-time and went on to set a new record in the country for the largest margin of victory in senior football. Although Benfica's squad features a number of internationals, as a newly-formed team they have been required to compete in the second tier of the women's league.

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» Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores 500th career goal with stunning spinning volley – video

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 500th career goal on Saturday in LA Galaxy's 5-3 loss to Toronto. The 36-year-old Swedish striker has now joined Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only active players with 500 goals for club and country

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» The 100 best footballers in the world 2017

Our panel of 169 experts from 63 nations compile a list of the greatest male players in 2017. Click on an individual to read more about their year.

Messi edges Ronaldo to No1 | The data behind our 100 | Watch: our top 10
Meet our panel of judges for 2017 | 2016 edition | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

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» A-League plan for in-game music hits bum note, but clubs have other ideas

Mariners to allow safe smoke after flare experiment at Usain Bolt game, ground announcers and bands being considered

The prospect of music during corners, goal kicks and substitutions at A-League matches appears dead in the water after clubs distanced themselves from the radical measures.

All but two Australian clubs have categorically ruled out the controversial in-game entertainment.

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» Marseille must beat big rivals if they are to return to Champions League

Marseille did not win against PSG, Lyon or Monaco in the league last season. That run of results needs to change soon

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

It was more of the same for Marseille on Sunday evening at the Parc OL, as their frustrating evening ended in yet more dropped points against a rival for a Champions League place. Marseille picked up just two points from 18 against Lyon, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain last season. Even with the champions operating in another financial stratosphere, it still made for grim reading, especially with the margins for those top three places having been so fine in recent seasons. With a place in the Champions League their aim of the season, last thing Marseille needed was a chastening 4-2 defeat at Lyon in the Choc des Olympiques.

Marseille had no problem running roughshod over the bulk of Ligue 1 last season but they did struggle against high-quality opposition. Things seemed to be changing this season, though. They were at their opportunistic best when they thumped Monaco 3-2 at the Stade Louis II at the beginning of the month. Even with their southern rivals enduring an uneven start to the campaign, the same fixture last year had yielded a 6-1 defeat.

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» Juventus leave it late in unimpressive win over lowly Frosinone
  • Ronaldo on target as Juve extend their 100% start
  • Di Maria, Meunier and Chuopo-Moting score for PSG

Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi scored late goals as Juventus continued their 100 per cent start to the Serie A season with an unconvincing 2-0 win at Frosinone.

Ronaldo, who was sent off in Wednesday’s Champions League win at Valencia, looked set to endure another frustrating evening until he scuffed home a left-footed effort with nine minutes remaining.

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» Gerard Piqué spares Barcelona blushes but Girona end their 100% record

Gerard Piqué got 10-man Barcelona out of jail as their 100 per cent start to the season was ended by battling Girona.

Barça looked to be cruising when Lionel Messi’s eighth goal of the campaign gave them an early lead but the defender Clement Lenglet’s 35th-minute dismissal was compounded by Cristhian Stuani’s equaliser before the break.

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» PSG are not playing Tuchel football. It may not even be football | Jonathan Wilson
Leaving three forwards to float about and occasionally pull off a trick may be enough in Ligue 1 – but not when it comes to elite level. How have PSG not learned?

A net €750m spent in eight years and that’s all you get? Success without money is all but impossible in the modern game, but wealth brings no guarantees. Football still has the capacity to make the richest of men seem very foolish if they pursue glamour at the expense of substance – a heartening moral, so long as you don’t think too closely about the source of the wealth that is paying for Neymar to squander his immense talents in an entitled fug of self-indulgence.

For Paris Saint-Germain, there has been no development. The lessons of last season have not been learned. All the flaws that undid PSG against Real Madrid in last season’s last 16 were there again at Anfield on Tuesday. Leaving three forwards high up the pitch to float about and occasionally pull off a trick may be enough in Ligue 1 – given PSG have begun the season with five successive wins and have scored at least three goals in every game, it demonstrably is – but it is no way to play against proper opposition. The Air Jordan branding may be intended to add an extra shot of glamour, but in context it appears to say little more than: “Please nutmeg me while I appeal half-heartedly for offside.”

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» Mariners sign key duo as Sydney FC survive FFA Cup scare
  • Ross McCormack and Socceroo Tommy Oar return to A-League
  • Sydney FC 4-2 Avondale FC (extra time)

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica has shown his relief and delight at the club’s passage through a tight FFA Cup squeeze.

The Sky Blues led 2-0 but were forced into extra-time by ambitious Victorian National Premier League grand finalists Avondale FC on Wednesday night.

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» Nabil Fekir’s failed transfer and World Cup glory give Lyon much to celebrate
The France forward was so close to joining Liverpool he even conducted an interview with the club’s TV channel. On Wednesday, he lines up for Lyon against Manchester City

The day after Nabil Fekir joined his France teammates and an estimated million supporters on the Champs-Élysées to show off the World Cup trophy, he was invited to attend another celebration. This time, there were only a few hundred people present at the Stade Francisque-Jomard de Vaulx en Velin – where his father, Mohamed, is president – to catch a glimpse of the town’s most famous son as he was made an honorary citizen. “Thank you all,” whispered a nervous-looking Fekir into the microphone as he addressed the crowd. “We did something beautiful.”

As summers go, 2018 will take some beating for the player who turned 25 two days after France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia. Despite seeing his proposed £53m move from Lyon to Liverpool collapse days before their opening World Cup match with concerns reported about his fitness following a knee injury, Fekir played a total of 68 minutes in six substitute appearances for Didier Deschamps’s side, including replacing Olivier Giroud in the final.

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» Spain looks north as Real Sociedad and Athletic take giants to the wire | Sid Lowe

Two historic, special clubs battled Madrid and Barça at grounds that embrace traditions rather than turn their backs on it

It’s exactly 100km from Anoeta to San Mamés as the car drives, passing Ipurúa halfway, sitting pretty in the Ego valley. Visible from the road, there was no one at the stadium this time – Eibar were down to Madrid to play Atlético – but there were thousands at each end of the AP8, striped shirts everywhere, flags hanging from bars where old photos hang from walls and they were making a lot of noise, packing Pozas Street in Bilbao, and spilling into the sunshine on Zorroaga Way, San Sebastián. Maybe even more noise than ever before. There’s something special about the Basque Country – 1.4% of Spain’s territory, 4.9% of its population, 20% of its first-division teams – and this Saturday even more so, an expression of its footballing identity, enhanced and offered up for all to see.

Between them, Real Sociedad and Athletic Club have 35 players in their squad who played for them pre-first team level and for four years at the start of the eighties they kept the league title in Euskadi. Those days are long gone – although they were second and third in 1997-98 and La Real really could have won it in 2003 – but on Saturday morning Marca lead with the headline: “The league looks north.” The first day back after the international break, when it feels like the season is properly under way at last, saw Barcelona travel to play La Real, while Madrid went to Athletic that same evening, 100km apart.

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» 'They're either naive or scheming': Özil’s agent hits out at Neuer, Kroos and Müller
  • Erkut Sögüt defends player’s decision to meet Erdoğan
  • ‘Thomas Müller did not understand the whole discussion’

Mesut Özil’s agent has hit out at Germany’s Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos over comments they made in the wake of the Arsenal midfielder’s decision to quit international football.

Erkut Sögüt said the trio were either “naive or scheming” in their responses to the statement Özil issued in July to announce he would no longer be playing for Germany. The agent also strongly defended his client for being photographed with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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» Record-breaking Jorginho the beating heart of Chelsea’s mangled midfield | Barney Ronay

Maurizio Sarri’s linchpin saw a prodigious amount of the ball at West Ham yet was most effective in blunting N’Golo Kanté

With three minutes to go here, Jorginho played a nudged sideways pass across the centre circle. Oddly there was no spontaneous ovation, Jorginho did not punch the air or collapse tearfully to his knees or do a dance from Fortnite. It was odd because in that moment Jorginho had broken the Premier League record for passes completed in a game, edging out Ilkay Gündogan’s mark of 165, set this year.

A few minutes earlier a lofted sideways pass to Willian meant Jorginho surged past Cesc Fàbregas’s 144-pass Chelsea record, set against West Brom in November 2014. By the end he was on a sensational 180 passes, not just beating the record but obliterating it, a GOAT-level performance of wiffling the ball about in midfield that may, for all we know, never be surpassed. At least not – it is to be hoped – while this reporter is present.

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» Unai Emery’s system beats out a dull rhythm that fails to entrance | Jacob Steinberg

Arsenal’s predictability in possession against Everton meant they were reliant on bursts of inspiration from their strikers

How did Arsenal secure their fourth consecutive Premier League win and the first clean sheet of the Unai Emery era? Was it with solidity in defence, enterprise in midfield and breathtaking invention in attack? Were there signs of a team slowly getting to grips with their new manager’s demands after a summer of seismic change? Could it be time to declare Arsenal are back?

Not quite. Slow down, step back. Resist the urge to look at the result and declare that this was a routine stroll for a rampant side. Listen instead to Marco Silva, who pithily observed this is football. It is not always fair, it does not always make sense and Emery could afford to smile when asked if he had been preparing to remove Alexandre Lacazette shortly before the striker gave Arsenal an undeserved lead early in the second half.

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» Gary Speed’s family will always live with tragedy but football is learning | Daniel Taylor

At times it is hard to read Unspoken, the new book written with Gary Speed’s widow. But at least more of those in the game struggling with depression now feel able to come forward

It is the family stuff, the detail that would usually remain private, that provides some of the toughest passages from the newly released book Unspoken, in which the people who knew Gary Speed the best try to make sense out of a tragedy none of them will ever properly understand.

The story, for example, his widow, Louise, tells of the long, unimaginable battle to start functioning again and the shattering effects of what she describes, more than once, as being put on the scene of a horror film. It was Louise who found her husband in the garage, who had to cut him down and will always have to live with that image. “As time goes on,” she says, “you hope it’s a film that fades.” But there was also a long period when she could not even eat, when she drank to numb the pain and lost so much weight she describes herself as a walking skeleton.

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» Football transfer rumours: Borussia Dortmund's Mario Götze to Liverpool?

Today’s tish and fipsy is snotty

The Rumour Mill has a confession. We know little of the Eredivisie these days. Between the Premier League, the Football League, the Champions League, the Europa League, bits of Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga, plus of course keeping bang up to date with the latest red hot developments in the transfer market, and then the relentless and exhausting grind of simply getting through the day, little time remains to get caught up on Dutch football.

Related: West Ham need to secure Declan Rice’s signature, says Pablo Zabaleta

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» The Fiver | The crisis klaxon is sounding loudly

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Defeat at the hands of Kilmarnock coupled with the Pope’s Newc O’Rangers’ 5-1 win over St Johnstone means the Queen’s Celtic have now endured their worst start to a season for 20 years. Already out of Big Cup and pondering the accompanying financial vicissitudes, the Scottish champions have dropped eight points out of 18 available this season and the crisis klaxon is sounding loudly. Highly regarded, certainly by himself, for the statesmanlike qualities he has exuded while leading the club to a domestic double treble in the past two years, Rodgers was presented with an opportunity to allay fears of the faithful when asked, post-match, if fans should be concerned. And the Churchillian response from the man who once cited himself as his own biggest influence? An uncharacteristically meek and rabble-unrousing: “Yes, they should.”

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» The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League photos

Your weekend round-up of the best photography from England’s top flight

The Dozen archive

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» Kevin Beattie, Enzo Calzaghe and the best of this year's Vuelta | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also includes trick plays, some proper 1980s tennis and a billiards highlight reel

1) “The Beat”, “The Beast”… “Ipswich’s Best Ever”; Kevin Beattie died this week at the age of 64. A player Sir Bobby Robson once called: “The best defensive player who could play forward that this country has produced.” Exhibits A-M can be found here. Beattie was also Michael Caine’s body double in Escape to Victory, beating Sylvester Stallone in an arm wrestle during some downtime in filming (if only smartphones existed in 1981).

2) Boxing and British sport as a whole also mourned the loss of champion trainer Enzo Calzaghe, the guiding light behind his son Joe’s rise to the very apex of the sport. The modest but magnificent Newbridge boxing club was were it all began and this film offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse from 2011. The fight that helped launch Joe to stardom was his win over Chris Eubank in 1997 to claim the WBO super-middleweight strap. And as for the Welsh duo’s greatest win, take your pick between Jeff Lacy in 2006 and Mikkel Kessler a year later.

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» What is the highest combined shirt number in a football substitution? | The Knowledge

Plus: most international debutants, ugly strips (2) and the largest country never to compete at the European Championships. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“In the recent Burnley v Olympiakos match, the away team replaced No 56 with No 66, meaning the substitution had a combined shirt number of 122,” notes Paul Hawkins. “Is this the highest shirt ‘value’ in a substitution ever or has it been beaten? And what is the lowest?”

For the highest, we start in the Mexican lower leagues. “The rule here is that every player registered by a team at any level has to have an unique number,” explains Jason Maxwell. “So the senior team has standard one/two-digit numbers, the reserve team has numbers starting with 100, the youth teams go 200, 300, etc. So in a youth game you’ll have 312 replacing 307 or something. Even at the senior team level, if a player has been called up from the reserves or youths they keep their number, so it’s possible to see something like 208 replacing number 19 (especially in a friendly). In July’s friendly between Tigres U-20s and the MLS Homegrown all-stars, every player subbed on for Tigres had a number of 281 or higher, and the highest number subbed off was 304. So at minimum that’s 585 combined.”

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» Liverpool impress, Ronaldo ridiculousness and cows, cows, cows – Football Weekly Extra

Max is joined by Barry Glendenning, Lars Sivertsen and Jonathan Wilson to discuss the Champions League, Ronaldo’s red, the timekeeping skills of cows and Mark Hughes’s elusive smile

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Lars Sivertsen and Jonathan Wilson to discuss the first round of Champions League group stage fixtures, starting with Manchester City’s shock 2-1 defeat to Lyon.

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» The Joy of Six: footballers who can take or leave football | Nick Miller

Some players are happy to live their lives and not let careers on the pitch dominate their existence. Here are a few of them

Of all the players who seemed to play football with a passion and joie de vivre, Batistuta seemed among the most passionate and joiest de vivrest. Those lusty shots, those screaming celebrations, those goals. But, it seems, he wasn’t especially keen on football. “I do not like football, it is just my profession,” he once said in an interview with Argentinian TV.

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» The Joy of Six: World Cup goal celebrations

From Roger Milla’s hips to a human Slinky, half a dozen joyful celebrations from the festival of football

Want to feel old? Bebeto’s third son Mattheus Oliviera, the celebration’s subject, recently turned 23, and has signed for Sporting Lisbon. Back to 1994, an hour gone, and from a wayward header Bebeto embarrassed the entire Dutch back-four, caught waiting for an offside flag that never came. Running unimpeded through on goal, he rounded Ed de Goey with a touch both deft and impetuous, before slotting into the empty net. Like your dad at a family barbecue, Bebeto started to laugh at his own joke before the punchline, heading towards the corner flag with a giddy grin plastered on his face. Shaping his arms into a cradle, he began to rock the proverbial baby, before being joined by team-mates Mazinho and Romário in a tableau of parental bliss. Hopefully this will have assuaged the anger of his other half; the Brazilian sheepishly explained this was the only child whose birth he wasn’t present for. Perhaps a touch hubristically, he added: “When I made that celebration maybe it was like Mattheus was baptised by God.” At the least it christened a celebration copied in recent years by a succession of happy parents.

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» Per Mertesacker: ‘It gives you the goose bumps ... on the pitch you see actual joy’
Arsenal’s new academy head launches a Save the Children programme at a refugee camp in Jordan and finds a pure love of football intact in spite of all the youngsters have been through

As a footballer who used to be assailed by anxiety before matches, Per Mertesacker felt the butterflies rising as he made his approach to a pitch with a difference. He spent much of the hour-long drive from Amman, the capital of Jordan, to Zaatari, one of the largest refugee camps on earth, wondering what to expect. Mertesacker is a deep thinker and his mind whirred. “It gives you the goose bumps,” he says. “You are a little bit depressed to go there. You have respect and know it is important for everything to sink in. When you arrive it’s tight, very hot and very dry. And then you go to a football pitch and see actual joy.” The collision of that joy with the hardship and trauma around it strikes him profoundly.

Related: Per Mertesacker: ‘As Arsenal academy manager I will challenge the players’ mindsets’

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» Wolves’ Rúben Neves and Diogo Jota: ‘Porto has wine, food but here it’s fine’

The Wolves pair discuss their love of cricket, the perfect pork, sausage and steak sandwich and why they were right to leave the Champions League for the Championship

It is Tuesday afternoon in Wolverhampton city centre and Monica Lopes, the owner of Aromas de Portugal, has just welcomed a couple of regular customers into her coffee shop on King Street. Well, regular in one sense but not in another given it is Rúben Neves and Diogo Jota who are sitting in front of a plate of delicious Portuguese custard tarts – pastéis de nata – talking about cricket.

That the pair managed to arrive unnoticed is an achievement in itself. “Last time [Monica] closed the door and we had to go upstairs,” Jota says, smiling. “There’s a pub right outside, so if someone sees us, takes a picture and goes there, he’ll show the picture and then the other people come to ask for an autograph or a photo. So they don’t come for a coffee but to take a picture and of course that’s not the point.”

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» Are Manchester City so drilled they cannot think enough on their feet? | Jonathan Wilson
City’s shock defeat by Lyon in the Champions League raised concerns regarding the team’s leadership and capacity to think independently, as well as a susceptibility to pressing

It is one game, at the beginning of the group stage. There is plenty of time to recover. For Manchester City, a 2-1 home defeat by Lyon is likely to be no more than a blip. Even in an underwhelming display, they had more than twice as many shots as their opponents and, more often than not, would probably have won. There is no reason to panic but that is not to say there are no reasons for concern.

What will be most worrying are recurring problems. Pep Guardiola, we are told, has worked on new patterns of play for this season’s Champions League, different ways of breaking down obdurate teams. City had begun each of the five league games this season in a different shape. The aim appears to be even more flexibility, a greater range of options for matches against the elite. Perhaps it is natural that it will take time for those to be assimilated and given that Guardiola teams have had a tendency to peak early and blow themselves out by March, it is not necessarily the worst sign if they are not quite yet at their best.

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» Kevin Beattie obituary
Footballer who was central to the success of Ipswich Town’s cup-winning side of the 1970s and 80s

When Ipswich Town were a footballing power in the late 1970s and early 80s, Kevin Beattie was at the core of their success. A central defender of unusual poise and class, he was the best player in a team that not only won the FA and Uefa cups but gave the great Liverpool side of that era a run for their money in the league.

Beattie, who has died aged 64 of a heart attack, was hailed by Ipswich fans as the club’s greatest ever player. But a greater measure of his standing was the universal respect he generated among his peers, who recognised not just his great technical prowess but the courage, strength and application that went with it. His ability to win the ball and then distribute it with calm precision drew comparisons with Bobby Moore, and of his generation there were few English footballers more highly rated within the game.

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» Derby stun Manchester United in shootout: Carabao Cup clockwatch – as it happened

Frank Lampard’s Derby shocked Manchester United at Old Trafford while, slightly lower down the shock scale, Burnley lost to Burton

Right, I’m done here. Here’s another link to the match report. It’s been a blast. Bye!

Related: Manchester United out after Derby’s Scott Carson saves Phil Jones penalty

“It’s time this boring, self opinionated, narcissistic man gets out of Old Trafford,” rages Darren Madden. “His style is so boring and not the style that United fans demand and have been spoilt with in the Fergie years. Mourinho goes 2-0 and shuts up shop whilst our neighbours across the City will try and score 6 or 7. We look on in envy at City and crave a tenth of their creativity and team spirit. When we all saw the welcome return of Fergie on Saturday I would say 99% of fans were wanting him to go down to the dugout and say to Manchester’s Alan Partridge, ‘Get out and let me manage my team again.’”

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