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» Pep Guardiola opens door to allow Mikel Arteta to leave for Arsenal
The Manchester City boss insisted that Arteta is an "important part" of the club as he continues to be linked with the vacant managerial positions at the Gunners and Everton
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Europa League impact on Man Utd youngsters
The Red Devils boss blooded a number of teenagers, including Mason Greenwood, James Garner and Brandon Williams, in the European competition and believes it has been a good experience for his players
» Jamie Carragher explains why Carlo Ancelotti appointment would be a mistake by Arsenal
The Italian has been heavily linked with the permanent manager's position with the Gunners following his departure from Serie side Napoli
» David de Gea's telling reaction to controversial Everton goal against Man Utd
Man Utd had to come from a goal down to earn a draw at Old Trafford following Victor Lindelof's first half own goal, which had a contestable decision in the build-up
» Jurgen Klopp hails "sensational" Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez partnership
Joe Gomez has come back into the Liverpool defence to partner Virgil van Dijk after injuries to Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren - and starred in the Watford win
» Premier League highlights: 10 talking points as Liverpool go 10 clear at the top
Mohamed Salah was on target with a brace for Liverpool at home to Watford in the weekend's opening game, while Kevin De Bruyne dominated the closing one at the Emirates
» Ex-England goalie Ben Foster invites OAP to Christmas dinner after rescuing him from ditch
Ben, who was with his wife and dad, pulled the OAP out a ditch, drove him home, made sure he was fine – then invited him to Christmas dinner
» Man City confirm long-time fan died on way to watch Blues at Arsenal
City released a statement on the club's official Twitter account on Sunday, announcing the tragic news just an hour after their victory over Arsenal at the Emirates
» Brutal Man City proved embarrassing Arsenal cannot continue Freddie Ljungberg sleepwalk
JOHN CROSS: Arsenal need a new permanent boss and quickly - although Manchester City number two Mikel Arteta may have been put off by what he saw
» Freddie Ljungberg issues ultimatum to Arsenal board after dismal Man City loss
The Gunners went down 3-0 at home to Manchester City as a brace from Kevin De Bruyne and a Raheem Sterling strike gave Pep Guardiola's men a dominant victory
» Jamie Carragher hammers Mesut Ozil with brutal Kevin De Bruyne comparison
City star De Bruyne scored two and assisted one as Pep Guardiola's men ran out 3-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium, where Ozil was substituted before the hour mark
» Player ratings as Arsenal destroyed by Man City and outstanding Kevin de Bruyne
ARSENAL 0-3 MANCHESTER CITY: De Bruyne scored two and Raheem Sterling also notched as Freddie Ljungberg's men were outclassed by Pep Guardiola's side
» Arsenal 0-3 Man City: 5 talking points as Kevin De Bruyne and co run riot at Emirates
Brilliant Belgian Kevin De Bruyne scored twice in a devastating first half from Pep Guardiola's side while Raheem Sterling also found the net
» Mesut Ozil's angry reaction to being substituted against Man City amid boos from fans
The German playmaker was replaced by Emile Smith Rowe in the second period of the game at the Emirates Stadium, where the Gunners were outclassed by City
» Jose Mourinho's sly Mauricio Pochettino jibe after Tottenham's win over Wolves
Jan Vertonghen scored a 90th minute winner for Spurs at Molineux, as they landed a smash-and-grab win over Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves side
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Man Utd "on track" after one year anniversary
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been in charge for one year at Man Utd - and celebrated his work birthday with a frustrating 1-1 draw with Everton
» Duncan Ferguson confesses low hopes of taking Everton manager job full-time
Duncan Ferguson followed his dug out debut win over Chelsea with a 1-1 draw against Man Utd on Sunday - but he isn't hopeful of full-time employment
» Man Utd suffer groundhog day before Mason Greenwood steps forward with rescue act
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 EVERTON: Mason Greenwood salvaged a share of the spoils at Old Trafford for the hosts after Victor Lindelof's first-half own goal
» Arsenal "run like a circus" claims former Gunners defender Bacary Sagna
Sagna slammed his old club whilst appearing on Sky Sports as a pundit for Arsenal's clash with Man City on Sunday, and urged them to sort the manager situation out as soon as possible
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirms Man Utd target Erling Haaland has made transfer decision
Erling Haaland has been strongly linked with a January transfer to Man Utd - with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool also linked with RB Salzburg starlet
» Duncan Ferguson slammed for Moise Kean snub and told to learn from Klopp and Guardiola
Moise Kean was hooked by Duncan Ferguson less than 20 minutes after he had come on as a substitute in Everton's 1-1 draw with Man Utd
» Jan Vertonghen's late strike leaves Wolves feeling mugged as Tottenham land Molineux win
WOLVES 1-2 TOTTENHAM: Jose Mourinho's side snatched a late win in the West Midlands, on a day when they struggled to deal with their hosts
» Duncan Ferguson explains Moise Kean substitution in Everton's draw at Man Utd
The Italian was introduced as a 70th minute substitute for Bernard, but after just nine touches of the ball he was then replaced by Oumar Niasse 19 minutes later
» Mesut Ozil embroiled in row after criticism of China's treatment of Muslims
Arsenal's match with Man City has now been pulled from television in China following Ozil's comments which the club have been forced to distance themselves from

Football resources

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Other sport news:

» Freddie Ljungberg urges Arsenal to make management appointment soon

• Ljungberg watched Arsenal lose 3-0 to Manchester City
• ‘I’ve said to them they need to make a decision’

Freddie Ljungberg urged the Arsenal hierarchy to make a decision sooner rather than later over the identity of the club’s next permanent manager – whether it was him or somebody else – after he watched his team slip to a humiliating home defeat against Manchester City.

Ljungberg, who has been in caretaker charge since the sacking of Unai Emery, made the point – not for the first time – that the club’s coaching staff had been stretched to the limit. After Emery departed with his assistants, Ljungberg has been working with Per Mertesacker, who is also the academy manager. The hierarchy have been reluctant to bring in any new coaches for Ljungberg while he works on a game-by-game basis.

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» Duncan Ferguson gives Everton a plan but hunger will get them only so far | Jonathan Liew
Stirring triumphalism of the interim manager could be difficult to sustain against less pliant sides than Manchester United

“Och, not Duncan Ferguson again,” Sir Alex Ferguson used to complain whenever his Manchester United side came up against Everton. Not without reason, either. More than once, Sir Alex would find his plans laid to waste by his younger namesake: seven goals in all, including headed winners in 1995 and 2005. For the older Ferguson, “Big Dunc” represented the dangerous unknown: an inimitable cocktail of salt and chaos that a generation later, in his newest guise as a manager, seemed to be undoing United all over again.

As Everton’s interim manager completed his television interview at the end of this 1-1 draw, he turned towards the knot of travelling fans in the corner. Arms pumping, jacket off, shirt sodden, he demanded and received their acclaim. A short distance away in the directors’ box, the power trio of Bill Kenwright, Farhad Moshiri and Marcel Brands gazed inscrutably on. Ten days in and their hasty stop-gap appointment was already giving them plenty to think about.

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» Clinical Mohamed Salah shows Watford need to go to finishing school

Nigel Pearson had reasons for optimism and his side could have shocked Liverpool had finishing matched their overall play

Jürgen Klopp paid tribute to Mohamed Salah’s finishing ability and Joe Gomez’s renewed partnership with Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool pushed further ahead of the chasing pack in their last Premier League game before Christmas, before paying an inadvertent but deserved compliment to the fighting spirit shown by the club at the bottom of the table.

Related: Jürgen Klopp says Champions League proposals are ‘absolute bollocks’

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» Jan Vertonghen’s injury-time winner gives Spurs victory over Wolves

Tottenham showed their fortitude by withstanding a suffocating barrage from Wolves before powering to a scrappy victory, courtesy of a last-ditch winner from Jan Vertonghen. After two wonderful strikes from Lucas Moura and Adama Traoré and a frantic, physical to-and-fro by both teams in the dying moments, the Belgian grabbed the winner with a last-minute header in a game otherwise dominated by the home side.

“It’s one of these victories where quality is not enough,” said a relieved José Mourinho. “If you’re not a team, a real team, in the real sense of what the word ‘team’ means, it’s impossible. They are very, very good. I tell that before the match, and I tell the same after the match.”

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» West Ham’s Manuel Pellegrini to remain in charge over Christmas after win

• Hammers manager gets reprieve after win over Southampton
• Michail Antonio says Pellegrini has backing of dressing room

Manuel Pellegrini is expected to still be in charge of West Ham when they face Crystal Palace on Boxing Day after victory over Southampton ended a rotten run of results and bought the under-pressure manager some time.

Sébastien Haller scored the only goal of the game as Pellegrini’s side picked up their second win since September and the forward Michail Antonio said the team’s performance proved the manager “has not lost the dressing room”.

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» Rayo Vallecano match abandoned after ‘Nazi’ chants; Real Madrid draw
• Albacete’s Roman Zozulya accused by Rayo Vallecano fans
• Karim Benzema scores late equaliser for Real at Valencia

A Spanish second division match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete was abandoned at half-time on Sunday after Albacete forward Roman Zozulya was subjected to offensive chanting from the home supporters, who accused him of being a Nazi. A statement from the league’s organising body said it agreed with referee José Antonio Lopez Toca’s decision to abandon the match, which it said was taken at the request of both teams, due to “grave insults and threats” made towards Zozulya.

The game was goalless at half-time, and the Albacete midfielder Eddy Silvestre had been sent off in the 45th minute. According to the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, Rayo fans sang “Zozulya you are a Nazi” at the Ukrainian striker, 30, who had a short-lived spell on loan at the Madrid side in February 2017.

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» Vivianne Miedema keeps Arsenal clear at summit but Mead injury mars win

A double from Vivianne Miedema took her tally to 53 goals for the calendar year but Arsenal’s victory against Everton was marred by injury to Beth Mead.

Miedema scored either side of Kim Little’s penalty to ensure Arsenal lead the Women’s Super League table into the new year. A late goal from former Gunner Chloe Kelly was not enough to trouble the visitors but hinted at the resurgence taking place under Willie Kirk.

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» European roundup: Gladbach stunned by Wolfsburg while Ronaldo hits two
• Borussia Mönchengladbach knocked off Bundesliga summit
• Nazi chants force half-time abandonment at Rayo Vallecano

VfL Wolfsburg’s Maximilian Arnold fired in a stoppage-time winner as they beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 on Sunday to send them dropping to second place in the Bundesliga after leading the title race for the last two months. The Wolves, in eighth place, showed no respect for Gladbach, who have been having their best season since their last title victory in 1977, and a shot from João Victor hit the post after four minutes.

Two minutes after that Xaver Schlager fired them into the lead. Gladbach levelled with a Breel Embolo volley two minutes later and could have scored again early in the second half as Marcus Thuram and Alassane Pléa went close. Wolfsburg then hit the woodwork again before Arnold drilled in the winner in stoppage time.

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» Chinese state broadcaster pulls Arsenal v Man City after Mesut Özil criticism
• Özil posted message about China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims
• Chinese FA ‘outraged and disappointed’ by German’s remarks

China’s state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday removed Arsenal’s Premier League game against Manchester City from its broadcast schedule following Mesut Özil’s messages that criticised the country’s policy towards its Muslim Uighur minority.

The Global Times Newspaper said on its Twitter account on Sunday that CCTV took the decision after midfielder Özil’s comments on Saturday had “disappointed fans and football governing authorities”.

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» Celtic beat Hibernian to retake top spot after Rangers win at Motherwell
  • Much-changed Celtic side reclaim first place
  • Rangers striker Morelos scores and is then sent off

Celtic ensured their removal from the top of the Scottish Premiership was brief with a 2-0 win over Hibernian at Parkhead. Rangers had leapfrogged the Hoops by a point with their own 2-0 victory against Motherwell at Fir Park earlier on Sunday.

But the Hoops, back to full strength after a host of players missed Thursday’s Europa League dead rubber against Cluj, responded appropriately and opened the scoring through right-back Jeremie Frimpong six minutes before the break.

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» The 100 best female footballers in the world 2019

Sam Kerr has narrowly beaten Lucy Bronze to finish top of our ranking of the best players in the world this year. In association with The Offside Rule

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» Arsenal defence proves perfect audience for De Bruyne’s one-man show | Barney Ronay

Manchester City midfielder was at his exhilarating best as Pep Guardiola’s side exposed the Gunners’ soft underbelly

At times during the opening half hour of this game there was a kind of stillness around the Emirates, the sound of 50,000 people following with a quiet sense of awe the angles, the flow, the beautifully precise moving parts whenever Kevin De Bruyne got the ball.

Unfortunately for the home support that number included the 11 Arsenal players charged with the job of winning this game, or at least of providing something more than simply an audience. But nobody’s perfect. And hey, have you actually seen this guy?

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» ‘We didn’t have the ideas’: Ole Gunnar Solskjær laments lack of United creativity

• ‘We lacked a calm head, which you get with experience’
• Manager refuses to talk about signing Erling Haaland

Ole Gunnar Solskjær admitted Manchester United lacked the “ideas” required to beat Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday.

United dominated before and after Victor Lindelöf’s first-half own goal but could salvage only a point via Mason Greenwood’s late equaliser. The result meant United dropped to sixth and ultimately left their manager ruing a paucity of creativity.

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» The Dozen: angry Vardy and jubilant Ferguson – the best Premier League pics

Our picture editors select their favourite pics from the weekend’s action

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» Crystal Palace v Brighton: match preview

Crystal Palace’s season was summed up nicely by their goalless draw with Watford in midweek. A third successive clean sheet but no end product of their own. Roy Hodgson’s side have the second-worst scoring record in the league and Brighton will look to take full advantage in the M23 derby. Palace are without four defenders and will need a fill-in at left back too. A win for Graham Potter’s side will draw them level with Palace in the table. Graham Searles

Monday 7.45pm Sky Sports Premier League

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» Jürgen Klopp says Champions League proposals are ‘absolute bollocks’
• Liverpool manager blasts plan to expand group stage
• Klopp also critical of decision to use one pitch at Club World Cup

Jürgen Klopp has condemned plans to expand the Champions League group stage as “absolute bollocks” and Fifa’s organisation of the Club World Cup, as Liverpool prepare to participate in the tournament.

The leading Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, are reported to support proposals to turn the group stage of the Champions League into a 32-team league from the 2024-25 season. FA Cup replays and the second leg of the League Cup semi-final would be abolished as a consequence.

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» European roundup: Barcelona held by Sociedad; Bayern and Dortmund win
• Alexander Isak equaliser earns 2-2 draw for Real Sociedad
• B Munich 6-1 Werder Bremen; Mainz 0-4 Borussia Dortmund

Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad in an entertaining game on Saturday which could see the leaders knocked off the top of La Liga by Real Madrid by the end of the weekend before Wednesday’s clasico. Mikel Oyarzabal gave the home side the lead in the 12th minute from the penalty spot after Sergio Busquets was penalised somewhat harshly for tugging the shirt of Diego Llorente while they battled for an aerial ball.

Antoine Griezmann levelled for Barça in the 38th minute, scoring against the club where he began his career by nonchalantly scooping the ball over Álex Remiro after being played in by Luis Suárez in a sweeping counterattack. Suárez put the Catalans ahead in the 49th minute, passing a layoff from Lionel Messi into an unguarded net.

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» Leicester surge blocked by Norwich draw after Teemu Pukki strikes again

Leicester’s second “mission impossible” suddenly looks all the more fiendish. It is no surprise that the notion, never entirely convincing given Liverpool’s steely excellence, of another title-winning fairytale has come to seem too far-fetched but they might have expected the dream to perpetuate for at least another week. Instead their winning run was halted by a Norwich side who completely deserved their draw and arguably had the better opportunities to win, retaining a threat even when Leicester found some sort of stride after half-time.

Norwich had taken the lead through Teemu Pukki’s latest ice-cool finish and, in a strange way, even the manner of the home side’s equaliser spoke to their afternoon’s frustration. Jamie Vardy had scored in eight consecutive league games, a burst of form in line with that streak of Leicester victories, and thought he had made it nine when he met James Maddison’s corner and saw his header flash into the net via Tim Krul’s hand. But the Norwich keeper had actually made the crucial touch, diverting the ball goalwards when it had been heading wide, and Vardy’s hopes of nearing his 11-game record from 2015-16 disappeared despite a number of subsequent efforts.

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» Football League: Championship promotion hopefuls suffer shocks
  • Nottingham Forest and Bristol City beaten at home
  • Wycombe move seven points clear in League One

It was a day of relative shocks in the second tier; Jordan Rhodes ended a 11-month wait a goal by scoring a hat-trick in Sheffield Wednesday’s 4-0 away to Nottingham Forest. It was a perfect treble, with a left-foot finish and overhead kick sandwiching a header, with all three coming before the break. Steven Fletcher completed the scoring in first-half injury-time to ensure there was no way back for the hosts.

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» Foul play: how racism towards black footballers is moving online

Black footballers are dealing with a rise in vicious abuse on social media. Why?

Imagine you’re a prominent black footballer. Once, the racist abuse you received would have come from the terraces, and as soon as you escaped the terraces you escaped the abuse. But now the abuse comes home with you. Comments flood your social media accounts. Sometimes you turn on your phone after a game to hundreds of notifications. Sometimes thousands. It doesn’t stop. Abusers tag your name alongside hateful single-word insults. Or send you grotesque images. Or post pictures that suggest the type of violence they would like to visit upon you. It is relentless.

When you first start receiving the abuse, you find it disturbing, but soon you adjust. You report it to the social media companies, hoping for help, a solution, but their responses disappoint you, and the attacks continue. This is just how your life is now, as it is for the Watford forward Troy Deeney and the former Juventus star Eniola Aluko. It is a tax on your visibility as a well-known black footballer. But it is different for your friends and family. They see strangers calling you a monkey beneath the family portraits you share on Instagram and they are horrified and confused. How could someone who’s given so much to the game he loves become so despised by its fans? Your family become afraid of the fury, of your position under this hateful magnifying glass. They worry that, one day, someone might put down their phone and try something far worse.

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» The December day when the rising sons of Flamengo outshone Liverpool
Thirty-eight years ago in Tokyo the Brazilian side won a famous victory against the English champions
By Joshua Law for Yellow and Green Football

In each game Flamengo played in the Maracanã during this year’s Copa Libertadores one song rang out louder than any other. “In December 1981,” they chanted, “we ran rings around the English. 3-0 against Liverpool, it went down in history. In Rio there’s no equal, only Flamengo are world champions. And now your people ask for the world again.”

Fans were desperate for the continental title and urged their players toward it. Yet with Liverpool confirmed as European champions they could not help but cast their thoughts further ahead. With each passing round they were a step closer to a repeat of the greatest moment in the club’s history, when a side led by Zico beat Liverpool 3-0 to take the 1981 Intercontinental Cup – or Mundial, as it is known in Brazil – in Tokyo’s National Stadium.

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» Gordon Banks remembered by Peter Shilton

30 December 1937 - 12 February 2019
One great England goalkeeper remembers his World Cup-winning predecessor for his work ethic, his down-to-earth nature – and the save of the century

• Clive James remembered by John Simpson
• Read the Observer’s obituaries of 2019 in full

Gordon Banks was a rival in some ways, but we were always good friends. There’s what we call “the goalkeepers’ union” – we goalkeepers respect each other because we know you’re there to be shot at. You can make a lot of saves but if you make a mistake people only remember the mistake. So goalkeepers generally are very friendly towards each other.

Growing up in Leicester, Gordon was my hero. I used to stand on the terraces and watch Leicester City from the age of nine or 10. When I signed for the club as an apprentice, aged 15, Gordon was still there and we’d train together. He was always ahead of his time – long before goalkeeping coaches, he would stay late every Tuesday and Thursday to work on his game. And when he practised, he used to try for every shot. Even if it was going a yard wide, he still dived full-length for it. He’d say, “Well, sometimes the ball swerves inwards.” He wanted to stretch himself and he never gave up.

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» Manley to McTominay: 4,000 victories for Manchester United academy | Jamie Jackson

The system that bred the Busby Babes, George Best and the Class of 92 hits a remarkable milestone on Sunday

Scott McTominay is the latest poster boy for a remarkable Manchester United academy that has produced the Busby Babes, George Best and the Class of 92, and which will provide a player to the matchday squad for the 4,000th game in succession when Everton visit on Sunday.

McTominay was blooded at the age of 20 by José Mourinho in a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in May 2017 and by the end of the following campaign had received the manager’s player of the season award.

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» Dwight McNeil: ‘It was character-building to be released by United’

The Burnley winger was let go by the club he supported as a boy but he has bounced back to attract United’s interest once again

Dwight McNeil turned 20 only last month, yet he is already an established presence on the left wing at Burnley, with the promise of a long Premier League career ahead and bigger clubs beginning to show interest in his rare ability to beat defenders with the ball at his feet.

To say those feet are firmly planted on the ground might be understating the matter, for McNeil’s is a football success story based on family values and recurring routines. As a child he would watch his father playing for clubs at non-league and lower league level around the north-west. “Stalybridge Celtic spotted him first, and he went to Hyde, Runcorn, Macclesfield and Stockport, with me and my mum following him everywhere every week,” McNeil explains.

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» Osasuna's Brandon Thomas: 'I don’t get nervous or have nightmares about Gerard Piqué'

Forward with an English father on how a pub brought him to Mallorca, being wanted by Everton and facing La Liga’s finest

Like all the best stories, this one starts in the pub, and the man telling it has a glint in his eye and a grin on his face, the words flying out at a million miles an hour. “I never stop talking,” Brandon Thomas says, and he’s not wrong. “I consider myself a bloke with personality, an extrovert,” he says, and he’s not wrong there either. The Osasuna forward is talking about pretty much everything really, falling about laughing most of the time. Right now, he’s in the buildup to a big game, excitement, nerves, second-guessing the team, how it will go. “And if things go well, magic,” he says, “if not, keep on and on.” It could be his motto.

The manager, Jagoba Arrasate, doesn’t tell them who is playing until the morning of the match, he says, but sometimes the players can “smell” it, though he admits: “You’re guessing really.” Brandon had a feeling he might play against Barcelona, which he did – and within eight minutes he had made the opening goal. He started against Real Madrid too, which he didn’t expect. And he played against his former club Mallorca. He doesn’t know whether he will start against Atlético Madrid on Saturday, but if he does, it will be as close as you can get to two Englishmen facing each other in La Liga: Trippier versus Thomas.

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» ‘We just couldn’t hang on’: Duncan Ferguson praises Everton's draw at Manchester United – video

A late Mason Greenwood strike spoilt the party for Duncan Ferguson as his Everton side drew at Old Trafford. Everton were looking for a second successive win under their interim manager, after a heroic win against Chelsea last time out. The Toffees opened the score after an own-goal from Manchester United's Victor Lindelöf. 

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» Jürgen Klopp says plans to expand Champions league are 'absolute bollocks' – video

Jürgen Klopp has said reports that Liverpool are involved in talks to expand the Champions League are 'absolute bollocks'. Speaking after a 2-0 win against Watford, in which Liverpool looked far from their best after their midweek efforts in Salzburg, Klopp said the season needed fewer games, not more

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» 'We love it here': Jürgen Klopp signs new Liverpool deal until 2024 – video

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has agreed a contract extension that will keep him at the Anfield club until 2024.

'When the call [to manage Liverpool] came in autumn 2015, I felt we were perfect for each other ... If anything, now I feel I underestimated that,' he said in a statement on the club's website.

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» Sam Kerr: Australia striker named Guardian's best female footballer of 2019 – video profile

Sam Kerr has been named the Guardian's best female footballer of 2019. The Australian player, who recently joined the Women's Super League title contenders Chelsea, scored five goals at the World Cup this summer, leading Australia to the last 16. The 26-year-old tops the all-time scorer charts in both the Australian W-League and the US National Women's Soccer League and improves on her second-place finish in our top 100 last year

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» Ferguson jokes he 'can't go through this again' after debut Everton win – video

Duncan Ferguson was in jovial mood after he led Everton to victory over Chelsea – but said he is taking one game at a time. The caretaker manager inspired Everton to move out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 3-1 win.

'I don't know if I can go through this again to be honest with you,' Ferguson joked. 'I need my fitness level up that's for sure, the way I ran up and down the touchline.'

Everton 3-1 Chelsea: match report

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» Zlatan Ibrahimovic statue vandalised after striker buys into Hammarby – video report

A bronze statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Malmö, Sweden has been vandalised after the striker bought a 25% stake in rival club Hammarby. 

The 38-year-old began his career in Malmö, and his new involvement with a rival has not been well received by fans of his boyhood club. 

Videos posted on social media showed people attempting to set the 9ft sculpture alight, and a toilet seat on one of the statue's arms. 'Judas' was also written on Ibrahimovic's front door in Stockholm, and fermented fish was left on his doorstep.

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» Napoli appoint Gennaro Gattuso as head coach after sacking Carlo Ancelotti

• Gattuso back in management after leaving Milan in summer
• Ancelotti was fired on Tuesday despite Champions League win

Napoli have appointed Gennaro Gattuso as their new head coach, after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked on Tuesday evening despite leading the club to the Champions League last 16.

The 41-year-old led Milan to fifth place in Serie A last season, but departed in the summer with two years still to run on his contract. Gattuso spent 13 seasons with Milan as a player – several of them under Ancelotti.

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» Memphis Depay clashes with Lyon fans over Marcelo donkey banner
  • Depay confronts fans who waved banner criticising teammate
  • ‘You can see on the camera, they spit on us,’ says Lyon captain

Memphis Depay has lashed out at Lyon fans who displayed a banner calling centre-back Marcelo a donkey after the Ligue 1 side had qualified for the group stage of the Champions League.

Depay scored a late goal to secure a 2-2 draw against Leipzig on Tuesday and sent Lyon through, but was then incensed by a fan who entered the field brandishing the banner with a picture of a donkey on it that urged his Brazil defender Marcelo to “Get Lost.” It is part of an ongoing and increasingly tense dispute between the Brazilian defender and sections of the Lyon support who no longer want him at the club.

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» Joaquín's feat is a hat-trick for the ages, 19 years in the making | Sid Lowe

At 38 years and 140 days, the Real Betis forward has become the oldest player to score three in a La Liga match

They were all there except him, everyone waiting for the old man again. It was six minutes to two, time to go, and in the tunnel at the Benito Villamarín 21 players lined up ready to go out alongside the referee, Valentín Pizarro Gómez, and one of his assistants. Just up the stairs, the other linesman stood by the dressing-room door, flag in one hand, getting a little impatient. “We’re only missing Joaquín,” he called down, “… yeah I know.” Alongside him the Betis manager, Joan Francesc Ferrer ‘Rubi’, wore a look that said what do you want me to do? so the linesman took a step inside. “Come on Joaquín!” he shouted. “Let’s go mate. We’re waiting for you here.” Rubi looked at his watch, then stuck his head round the door, nervous now.

The next time he looked it said one minute past two, 01.28 on the screens around the stadium, and the place was going wild. Joaquín had finally left the dressing room, high-fived his manager and, with linesman in tow shouting “come on let’s go”, led them into the sunshine. He had shaken hands with all of Athletic’s players, Betis’s anthem booming round as he went along the line, and posed for a team picture with dozens of kids, many in wheelchairs. He had chosen ends, Iñaki Williams calling wrong, stood head bowed in silence in honour of former player Francisco Aparicio, and belted the ball into the net. He had been out only seven minutes, touched the ball only twice, and hadn’t even been playing 90 seconds, but he had already scored.

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» Gladbach dare to believe after stirring win over Bayern in 'real Klassiker' | Andy Brassell

More than 40 years since Borussia Mönchengladbach were champions, rising hopes for them are a boost for the Bundesliga

This, the more gnarled of Bundesliga followers would tell you, is the real Klassiker. Years of mere intermittent threats to Bayern Munich’s dominance have made Borussia Dortmund, Germany’s most visible other club and the champions’ most frequent irritants, the default opposition for a showpiece. More than 40 years have passed since Borussia Mönchengladbach were champions for a fifth and as yet final time, an era in which the mantle of top dogs was a real back-and-forth. In the 1970s, Gladbach’s first two titles and last three were split by a Bayern run of three in succession.

It may be way too early to declare a similar state of suspense but something has changed, and not only because the last time Gladbach were top for this long was that 1976-77 season in which Jupp Heynckes, Rainer Bonhof, Allan Simonsen and company swept Die Fohlen to the Meisterschale. Bayern were here and worse at this time last year, trailing Dortmund by nine points. It does, however, feel “different” this time around, as Joshua Kimmich remarked in the corridors of Borussia-Park as Saturday evening drew in.

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» Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto are leading Lazio's surge | Nicky Bandini

Win over Juventus might have allowed a third horse to enter Serie A’s title race – with a wealth of attacking riches to call on

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic needed only one glance to know it was time to start running. Few of the 60,000 fans in attendance at the Stadio Olimpico could have guessed what was about to happen as the Serbian, moving without the ball in the middle of the Juventus half, began to accelerate towards the left touchline. Seconds later, he was beside the penalty spot, scoring to give Lazio a 2-1 lead.

It was a strike that highlighted the breadth of Milinkovic-Savic’s talent. He had judged his movement perfectly, pulling away from Alex Sandro and bending a run into the blind spot behind Matthijs de Ligt at centre-back. Strength and finesse were required to hold off the Dutchman while taming a cross on one boot and burying it with the other.

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» A week at Bordeaux: protests, fallouts, a huge win and a familiar defeat

Bordeaux won 6-0 on Tuesday and were beaten 3-1 on Sunday. And that’s only half the story

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

As Laurent Koscielny trudged off the pitch on Sunday evening at the Stade Vélodrome, he must have been experiencing no small amount of déjà vu. The former Arsenal stalwart left London to escape the disappointment that comes when you play well against a team that is also challenging for a Champions League place, but let a lead slip thanks to some sloppy defending and poor marking at set pieces. When he joined Bordeaux in the summer he was hoping to add some nous to an ambitious project centred around youth, but the 3-1 defeat at Marseille would have felt awfully familiar.

There is no shame in losing to Marseille – who are flying in the league after six straight wins – even if the defeat did lay bare the fallibility of Paulo Sousa’s 3-4-2-1 formation. Pablo, Koscielny and Vukasin Jovanovic are technically intelligent centre-backs, but they are not especially gifted with pace or the ability to pick a pass under pressure. And the Bordeaux goalkeeper, Benoît Costil, is not particularly proficient with his feet.

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» Keep the ball down: how Ange Postecoglou achieved J-League glory | David Allegretti

It took time for him to be accepted at Yokohama F. Marinos, but the former Socceroos coach is now a J-League champion

11:30am, Kozukue station. Far-off chanting and beats like war drums fill the morning air, carried over despite the rain, from Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium – almost a kilometre away. Kick-off is not for two and a half hours.

Approaching the stadium, it feels more carnival than football match. Who can blame them for starting the celebrations early? Yokohama’s second-half demolition of prefectural rivals Kawasaki last week ensured total control of the title race heading into the final day of the season. Needing only to avoid defeat by four goals or more against Tokyo FC, the Tricolore essentially had one hand on the trophy.

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» Ange Postecoglou wins J-League title with Yokohama F. Marinos
  • Yokohama wrap up title with 3-0 win over Tokyo FC
  • Victory adds to coach’s Asian Cup, A-League and NSL titles

Former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has completed one of the most significant achievements by an Australian coach, winning the J-League with Yokohama F. Marinos.

Postecoglou’s team wrapped up the Japanese championship in style on Saturday, defeating nearest rivals Tokyo FC 3-0 to secure the title by six points.

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» David Squires on ... how long can Markus babble on at Leaky Wanderers?

Our cartoonist looks at how it has gone wrong for the Western Sydney Wanderers coach this season

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» Next Generation 2019: 60 of the best young talents in world football

Eidur Gudjohnsen’s son, the new Paul Pogba and Barça’s Ansu Fati are among our 60 most talented players in the world born in 2002. Check the progress of our 2018 picks | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by DZfoot, BackpagePix, Club Atlético Belgrano, EFE, EPA, Getty Images, Uwe Gruen/Hoffenheim, AMA/Getty Images, Rex/Shutterstock, Zuma Press/PA, FIFA, Tigres, Damir Krajac/CROPIX, Alamy, Daniel Reyes/Ecuafutbol, Reuters, Atromitos, Imago/PA, fotoBERNAMA, New Straits Times, José Alonso Paredes Sánchez, Agencja Gazeta, David Price/Arsenal FC/Getty, AP, Asian Football Confederation, Danubio FC and Championat Asia

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» Next Generation 2019: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

The Guardian selects the best young players at each club born between 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of class of 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by David Price/Arsenal/Getty Images, Neville Williams/Aston Villa/Getty Images, AFC Bournemouth, Paul Hazlewood/BHAFC, Paul Dennis/TGS/Shutterstock, Clive Howes/Chelsea/Getty Images, Danny Loo/PPAUK, Emma Simpson/Everton/Getty Images, Nick Taylor/Liverpool/Getty Images, Manchester City/Getty Images, Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images, Jason Dawson/Jasonpix, James Wilson/Sportimage, Simon Bellis/Sportimage, Robin Jones/Digital South/Southampton FC, Tottenham Hotspur/Getty Images, Alan Cozzi/Watford, Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United and Sam Bagnall/AMA

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» Next Generation: after five years, how has our first full class of picks fared?

From Rashford to Tielemans, we check in on how our initial Next Generation players have got on before the 2019 ones are announced this week

In 2014 we decided that it would be interesting to pick the best young players from each Premier League club – as well as 40 from around the world – and follow them for five years to see how they progressed.

The idea was to try to get a sense of how difficult it is to become a professional footballer despite being one of the best in that country at the age of 16 or 17.

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» Harley Willard: ‘Iceland’s a good place just to concentrate on your football’

The winger, who was part of the Guardian’s first Next Generation in 2014, talks about rebuilding his career after being released by Southampton

Harley Willard made one of those sliding-doors decisions that can turn anyone’s life around last December. He had arrived at Heathrow airport, packed and ready for the 14-hour slog back to Phnom Penh, and at that point another season at the Cambodian club Svay Rieng felt like a trade-off he could just about stomach. The football there offered few real prospects but he had enjoyed the lifestyle and, after such an uncertain year and a half since leaving Southampton, surely his happiness was the most important thing.

Related: Next Generation: after five years, how has our first full class of picks fared?

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» Premier League: six summer signings who are struggling to fit in this season

Pablo Fornals, Moise Kean, Wesley, Joelinton, Dani Ceballos and Che Adams are not living up to their price tags

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

With the halfway point of the season fast approaching, some of the biggest signings of the summer are still struggling to adapt to their new surroundings. That’s nothing new but, given the money spent on transfer fees these days, clubs will be hoping these newcomers come good in the new year.

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» Tired, worn Old Trafford a symbol of Manchester United's faded grandeur

Stadium was once a jewel but now it needs an urgent upgrade as Tottenham and others lead the way

Old Trafford is one of football’s most vibrant amphitheatres. During the 109-year history of Manchester United’s home, Billy Meredith, George Best, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo are a few of the greats to grace the stage of England’s record title winners.

Yet the venue has become tired and worn. When the Manchester rain poured hard last season the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand leaked. The seating is crammed and wifi patchy. The directors’ box has an antiquated feel and the bars and suites a faded glamour. A venue that hosted 1966 World Cup and Euro 96 matches has not staged a showpiece game since the 2003 European Cup final.

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» Fans must take it upon themselves to resist football's politics of hate | Barney Ronay

As poison drips from parliament, racism in football has surged. Clearly our leaders cannot be trusted to set the right tone

Gary Neville was right. It might have struck a jarring note in the post-match Sky Sports studio, sandwiched between the unsmiling platitudes of Roy Keane and an ad-break sting. But Neville was right to state that for the last few years British politicians have deliberately, or at best carelessly [narrator: it was deliberate], leveraged racial tensions for political gain.

Don’t just take Gary’s word for it. Ask the UN, who have in the last year criticised British politics for exactly this, with specific reference to the “hostile environment” shambles on immigration policy and the insidious rhetoric around Brexit. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. There is a price to be paid.

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» The Fiver | Time to do one apace to the Kerguelen Islands?

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Five more years. Five more years of that lot celebrating, grandstanding and hogging the news to such an extent that the only chance of escaping it all, and preserving what’s left of our sanity, is to source a wireless-free bunker in a less populous corner of the Kerguelen Islands. Yep, it’s a dark day for Everton and Manchester United fans, with the news that Jürgen Klopp has extended his contract at Liverpool until 2024. Klopp’s unique combination of heavy-metal football, infectious cackling, impressively low net-spend and official replica baseball caps has turned Liverpool into the best team in the world, a status that should be formally verified in Doha a week on Saturday.

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» David Squires on … football and the 2019 general election

It’s election week, which means the worlds of football and politics have collided. With dismal consequences

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» Football transfer rumours: Premier League return for Jack Rodwell?

Today’s fluff is still coming to terms with things

Back to the really important stuff, right? Manchester United have woken up feeling horribly smug because they fancy their chances of prising Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund next month and, despite rival clubs queuing up for the teenager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes he is first in line. It all bodes well for United, who also want to take Christian Eriksen from Tottenham, though they could have more trouble convincing the Dane that the bright lights of Manchester beats Madrid.

Chelsea are dead keen on Wilfried Zaha but Frank Lampard may have to shell out more than half of the £150m Roman Abramovich has set aside for January, with Crystal Palace demanding in excess of £80m for the winger. Failing that, it says here that Chelsea could exercise a handy buyback option to sign another Ivory Coast international: Sassuolo’s Jérémie Boga, who they could bring back to Stamford Bridge for a measly £3.5m. Barcelona, too, are said to be interested in the winger, so much so they have sent a delegation to Milan, a neutral venue, to make their feelings known.

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» Which football teams have had underwear models as managers? | The Knowledge

Plus: quickfire sackings of derby rivals, trading away-day thrashings and managers sent packing at half-time

“With the interim appointment of Freddie Ljungberg as Arsenal manager, the Gunners now have a former professional underwear model in charge,” begins Sam Rowe. “Are there any other managers who have once been models, past or present, excluding players modelling their team’s kit?”

Let’s start by giving you a bit of context on how and why Ljungberg came to be an underpants model. If you can remember back as far as 2006, you may recall seeing pictures of Ljungberg gazing out of huge billboards in just his smalls after signing a deal with Calvin Klein. The story goes that he only landed the contract because David Beckham was reluctant to compromise his image in the UK. Initially Ljungberg had no such reservations and was paired with the Russian model Natalia Vodianova for a global campaign but he soon grew weary of seeing his own flesh everywhere. “It’s weird to see yourself on billboards and I don’t really enjoy it now,” he said in 2007, when he hung up his briefs.

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» Football quiz: how much do you know about caretaker managers?

Duncan Ferguson had a dream start against Chelsea on Saturday. Which other caretaker bosses have made their mark (or not)?

Which World Cup winners were overseen by a caretaker boss?

Uruguay in 1950

Brazil in 1970

Argentina in 1986

Italy in 2006

Who was caretaker manager at Newcastle when they lost eight league games in a row – their worst ever run in the Premier League?

Alan Shearer

Terry McDermott

Chris Hughton

John Carver

Sam Allardyce was given his start in management at Limerick in Ireland, where he guided them to promotion as player-manager. His first role as a manager in England came as caretaker at which club?

Bolton Wanderers

Preston North End

Blackburn Rovers

West Ham United

Which player did Alf Ramsey fine during his stint as caretaker boss of Birmingham City in 1977-78?

Kenny Burns

Trevor Francis

Terry Hibbitt

Kevan Broadhurst

Roberto Di Matteo won two trophies as Chelsea's caretaker manager in 2012: the Champions League and ...

The League Cup

The Premier League

The FA Cup

The Community Shield

Tony Parkes spent 35 years at Blackburn Rovers. He played for them 350 times in the league. How many times did he serve as their caretaker manager?





Sandy Stewart was caretaker manager for St Johnstone for one game in 2007. What happened in that match?

His team lost 10-0

He won a trophy

He was sent to the stands for punching the opposing manager

He led his team to a 6-0 win

Which caretaker manager led the England Under-21s out in the very first match at the new Wembley Stadium?

Stuart Pearce

David Platt

Peter Taylor

Nigel Pearson

Stewart Houston was the Arsenal caretaker manager in 1995 when they reached the European Cup Winners’ Cup final. Which team beat them in the final?


Real Zaragoza

Real Madrid

Paris Saint-Germain

Who stepped in as player-manager for Everton in 1997 and helped steer them to survival in the Premier League?

Duncan Ferguson

Dave Watson

Neville Southall

Gary Speed

1 and above.

Pack your things. You’ve lost the dressing room.

2 and above.

Pack your things. You’ve lost the dressing room.

3 and above.

Thanks, but no thanks. Mark Hughes is our man

4 and above.

Thanks, but no thanks. Mark Hughes is our man

5 and above.

Thanks, but no thanks. Mark Hughes is our man

6 and above.

Give it Giggsy till the end of the season

7 and above.

Give it Giggsy till the end of the season

8 and above.

Stunning work. Here’s a six-year contract

9 and above.

Stunning work. Here’s a six-year contract

0 and above.

Pack your things. You’ve lost the dressing room.

10 and above.

Stunning work. Here’s a six-year contract

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» Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

Chelsea make it six in a row, Arsenal stay two points clear while Liverpool and Bristol City look destined for a relegation scrap

Chelsea are the division’s only unbeaten team, and having come from behind to win against Manchester City on Sunday are two points behind Arsenal with a game in hand. That’s their sixth league win in a row, which demonstrates the consistency they are now achieving, and Beth England’s goal was her sixth in five games in all competitions. She’s an old-school centre-forward: a poacher and a grafter, and as she showed on Sunday she will be in the right place at the right time to bundle the ball in if necessary. With England in great form, Sophie Ingle stepping up to be that physical presence in midfield and Maren Mjelde, who got the winning goal against City, showing her quality, allied to the reliable excellence of their Rolls-Royce player, Ji So-yun, Chelsea are in a great place. Ellie Roebuck was City’s outstanding player, and it was her saves that kept the score respectable. For me she’s now England’s No1, no question, and Caroline Weir is getting better and better, but across the team there’s been a lack of investment, compared with what other WSL teams have been doing, and that’s now being punished.

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

Aston Villa need more firepower, Tottenham’s front four are flying again and Manchester City have fallen behind

The difference between finishing 17th and 18th in the Premier League is often a striker who can score 10 goals a season. Aston Villa’s line is being led by Wesley, a £22m summer signing from Club Brugge. Thus far he has scored four goals in 16 Premier League appearances, the last coming more than two months ago. There is no doubting the Brazilian is short of confidence, not troubling Kasper Schmeichel on Sunday, but his hold-up play and lack of physicality must be a concern for Dean Smith whose reserve, Jonathan Kodjia, was deemed not worthy of replacing Wesley in Villa’s thrashing. Admittedly, Leicester’s defence is the best in the league but Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu barely broke sweat. January is fast approaching and Smith will have to do some business to avoid the drop. Do nothing and Villa’s fate could be sealed quickly. Will Unwin

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» Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 top scorers 2019-20

Keep up with the top scorers in European football’s leading five leagues, updated throughout the season

16 Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

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» 'The best decision I ever made': the upside of being a football referee

Who would be a referee? Anyone who wants to travel, meet people and stay involved in the game they love

By Sam Phipps for Nutmeg magazine

Doug Prentice started refereeing in the public parks of Edinburgh in 1977 and had seven seasons on the Scottish senior list from 1986 until 1992. His family is steeped in football. His father John played for Hearts and Rangers, among others, and was the Scotland manager in 1966 when they drew 1-1 with Brazil – Pelé and all. Doug’s brother Alan played for Meadowbank and Hamilton. “I wanted to be involved in the game but wasn’t good enough as a player,” he says. So he took up refereeing. “It has been so fulfilling, the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’ve made friendships around the world that still flourish today.”

Prentice emigrated to Brisbane almost three decades ago and he still referees today, aged 62. He is into his tenth season as a referee assessor on the A-League, the highest level of the men’s game in Australia. He has almost learned to be philosophical about the downsides of officiating. “Abuse of referees at all levels has been going on since the game started,” he says. “I think some people go to games specifically for that purpose. Sometimes it’s the parents of the younger team players who are the worst – I have seen them going daft, screaming and writhing around on the ground. It is not just our sport either. In Australia, they love their rugby league but it has the same issues.”

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» New jeer greetings: how useful is it to boo your own team?

From Arsenal fans turning on Xhaka to both sets of supporters booing on Monday night, jeering is a soundtrack to the season

Booing season seems to come round quicker each year. The hazy days of summer (the haze being that which descends on the brains of supporters and convinces them of future success) have given way to the long nights of winter and a soundtrack of howling and hollering.

Most Premier League teams have walked off the pitch to jeers at some point, but the match between West Ham and Arsenal on Monday was a special example of the form. At half-time, with West Ham 1-0 up and Arsenal winless in the league since the beginning of October, travelling Gunners fans gave their team what for. At full-time, with Arsenal having effected a three-goal turnaround and West Ham a point off the relegation zone, it was the home supporters hollering and howling.

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» Charlton recall dark times as they prepare to bid farewell to Duchâtelet

There is a hum of optimism among fans with prospective owners ESI hoping to complete a takeover before Christmas

The last time Charlton Athletic played Huddersfield Town and Hull City in the same week, they ended up reimbursing supporters’ travel costs following a 5-0 shellacking only to get hit for six five days later. That 11-0 aggregate defeat almost four years ago followed a nine-match winless streak, including a meek surrender to Colchester United, then bottom of League One, in the FA Cup third round. Charlton were drowning in the Championship at a time when the arrival of new, and usually obscure, out-of-work managers marked the changing of the seasons. In the midst of the despised Roland Duchâtelet’s reign, those were some of the darkest days in the club’s history.

That reign is almost over. East Street Investments (ESI) will complete a takeover worth more than £50m, ending Duchâtelet’s parsimonious five-year tenure as owner, providing they satisfy the EFL’s owners’ and directors’ test. The league is yet to arrange personal interviews with the relevant individuals but both parties are relaxed that the process is advancing within the accepted timeframe of four weeks. ESI is hopeful the deal will be concluded before Christmas.

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