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» Man City fan can't remember Club Brugge attack after waking from coma
Guido De Pauw was attacked by rival fans after Manchester City's Champions League group stage win and has been recovering in hospital in the days since the incident
» Jadon Sancho ruthlessly mocked by Sky Germany over £73million star's Man Utd struggles
Jadon Sancho has been in the spotlight for his underwhelming Manchester United form after arriving from Borussia Dortmund, with media in Germany delivering the latest taunt
» Conor McGregor wants Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Man Utd role "rearranged" after Liverpool loss
McGregor has slammed fans who want 'Ole out' of Old Trafford, but has said that he is too close with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo to be effective as manager in the long run
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has three games to save Man Utd career after club sacking decision
The United hierarchy are prepared to stick with Solskjaer for now following the humiliating defeat against Liverpool, but his position could become untenable in the near future
» 'David Beckham's £150million deal to be face of Qatar World Cup is simply unforgivable'
Polly Hudson argues that mega-rich former Manchester United star and England captain David Beckham has no need to take money from Qatar, a country with an appalling human rights record which is hosting the 2022 World Cup
» Wayne Rooney breaks silence on Chris Kirchner's Derby County takeover bid
The Championship side could see an end to their troubles as Chris Kirchner eyes up a takeover of the East Midlands club
» Ousmane Dembele's Barcelona future reaches breaking point after Ronald Koeman admission
Ousmane Dembele has been linked with a move to the Premier League over the last 18 months and is nearing the end of his Barcelona contract after an injury-hit spell
» Walter Smith: Sir Alex Ferguson's advice, managing Gazza and his emotional Everton exit
WALTER SMITH OBITUARY: The legendary Rangers manager died aged 73 on Tuesday following an illness, He won 21 trophies in two spells at Ibrox, managed Everton and assisted Alex Ferguson at Man Utd
» William Saliba's damning Mikel Arteta view as Arsenal consider 'cashing in'
William Saliba is yet to make a single first team appearance for Arsenal since joining the club in July 2019 and has spent time on loan
» Frenkie de Jong's Premier League "regret" as chance to make amends presents itself
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has spoken about his regret in not moving to the Premier League and has been linked with a future transfer to Manchester City
» Liverpool 'express interest' in rising star as Jurgen Klopp learns from transfer mistake
Jurgen Klopp is set to love Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations in January, and it is reported he could look to a rising star to fill the void left by the two forwards
» FIFA 22 FGS player Swap Tokens info including rewards and how to get them
Here is everything you need to know about FGS player Swap Tokens, including how to earn them, how to use them and what rewards you can receive from using them.
» Carabao Cup rule change returns as clubs eye up quarter-final spot
Clubs in the fourth round of this year's competition have been given extra leeway heading into this week's ties with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all in action
» "Jurassic Park": Liverpool's front trio branded football dinosaurs after Man Utd mauling
Liverpool ran riot at Old Trafford on Sunday, as goals from Naby Keita and Diogo Jota and a Mohamed Salah hat-trick earned them a stunning 5-0 win over Manchester United
» Michael Owen's predictions for Arsenal vs Leeds and Preston vs Liverpool
Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City are among the teams vying for spots in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, with Michael Owen making scoreline predictions for each of the last-16 ties
» Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute to Walter Smith as Steven Gerrard hails Rangers mentor
Smith worked with Ferguson at Manchester United during which time they won the FA Cup and has more recently been offering support to Gerrard in his role at Ibrox
» Antonio Conte's dig at Man Utd amid ugly feud with Jose Mourinho
Antonio Conte has been linked as the frontrunner to potentially succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United but he has attacked the club in the past as part of a long feud with Jose Mourinho
» EA clarify FIFA 22 Golden Goal 'cheat' and confirm games per hour limit
EA Sports have confirmed their games played per hour limit and have spoken about the use of Golden Goal whilst earning objectives
» Roy Keane's scathing prediction on Man Utd stars comes true for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
The Manchester United icon is known for speaking his mind and he was damning in his assessment of his former side two years ago, his words still ringing true two years on
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer holds crunch talks with Ed Woodward and Richard Arnold
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under significant pressure after his team suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday
» Man Utd's stance on Mauricio Pochettino as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clings onto job
The former Tottenham Hotspur boss now leads French giants Paris Saint-Germain but could be tempted back to the Premier League if Manchester United come knocking
» Nemanja Matic's comments on Antonio Conte amid possibility of Man Utd reunion
Nemanja Matic played under Antonio Conte at Chelsea during the 2016-17 campaign - winning the Premier League - before moving to Manchester United the following summer
» Charlie Patino set to be overlooked for Arsenal debut due to Mikel Arteta's theory
Arsenal youngster Charlie Patino has been touted as one of the most talented players that has come through the club's academy system for a number of years
» Sir Alex Ferguson 'visits Man Utd training ground' as crisis talks continue
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under serious pressure as Man Utd manager and ex-boss Sir Alex Ferguson was reportedly at Carrington today to play a part in crisis talks at the club
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Other sport news:

» Solskjær to stay in charge of Manchester United for game at Tottenham
  • Decision made after Ferguson, Woodward and Arnold back him
  • Joel Glazer agrees manager should get another chance

Ole Gunnar Solskjær will take charge of Manchester United’s game at Tottenham on Saturday after the club followed Sir Alex Ferguson’s advice and gave the manager a chance to turn fortunes around.

Ferguson, Ed Woodward and Richard Arnold threw their support behind Solskjær after United’s 5-0 humiliation by Liverpool and the taking of one point from the past four games. Joel Glazer, the co-chairman who heads the American family’s ownership, makes the final decisions and agreed the Norwegian should continue.

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» Latvia v England: Women’s World Cup qualifier – live!

“Leah Williamson has been superb in the recent England games and magisterial for Arsenal; terrific though Steph Houghton has been, it’s hard not to want Williamson to keep the captaincy and her place,” writes Charles Antaki. “It’s not very likely that Latvia is going to trouble anyone tonight, but it will be another chance to see some assured control and distribution from the back (if the ball ever gets that far).”

Wiegman explains her thinking behind the three changes to her lineup: “The reasons are that we started in a little different shape than we did on Saturday - we’re starting the way we finished on Saturday. I also wanted to see Keira [Walsh] in midfield.”

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» Walter Smith was a Scottish football great and too modest to shout about it | Ewan Murray

Manager won 21 trophies at Rangers, oversaw a famous Scotland victory and possessed underappreciated skills

At the end of the 1994-95 season, Walter Smith acted on impulse. The Rangers manager navigated his way to the Rome villa of Paul Gascoigne.

“What are you doing here?” asked Gascoigne from a quad bike behind security gates. “I’m here to find out if you’d sign for Rangers,” said Smith. “All right,” replied Gascoigne, before informing Smith that because he was about to head off on holiday, Jimmy Five Bellies and the lads would look after him for the evening.

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» Aston Villa defender Matty Cash to play for Poland after gaining citizenship
  • Full-back is set to play for country of his mother’s birth
  • Coach Paulo Sousa and country’s president show support

The Aston Villa defender Matty Cash could make his international debut for Poland as soon as next month after being granted citizenship.

The president of the Polish FA, Cezary Kulesza, confirmed that the 24-year-old had been given citizenship on Tuesday afternoon. The country’s president, Andrzej Duda, also tweeted his support to the player, writing: “congratulations and good luck on the pitch!”

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» El Clásico, Derby d’Italia and a mistimed wedding – Football Weekly Euro Special

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Nicky Bandini, Archie Rhind-Tutt and Sid Lowe to cover the big stories in Europe.

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Nicky Bandini, Archie Rhind-Tutt and Sid Lowe to cover the big stories in Europe.

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» Sepp van den Berg: the Liverpool defender aiming to beat his own club | Ben Fisher

Dutchman on loan at Preston has permission to play in Carabao Cup tie and says it will be a weird but enjoyable occasion

As Mohamed Salah stuck away Liverpool’s fifth goal at Old Trafford on Sunday, completing his hat-trick with more than 40 minutes to play, it is conceivable that Sepp van den Berg was the only person with Liverpool ties to consider the moment a little bittersweet, given he will line up against his parent club for Preston in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Wednesday.

“It is a little bit scary to see how good they are doing,” he says. “When the draw came out, the first thing that came into my mind was: ‘Am I allowed to play?’”

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» The Fiver | Farewell Walter Smith, one of football’s underrated greats

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One of football’s most dependable white knights has dismounted his charger for the final time. Walter Smith: now there was a man you’d be happy to see galloping into view when things were in danger of going a sour way out. Take Rangers, who he calmly steered to silverware after Graeme Souness left for Liverpool during the 1990-91 title run-in. Or Scotland, for whom he picked up the very many small pieces left behind by Berti Vogts, the team rising 70-odd spots in the rankings in short order, with the Kirin Cup thrown in. Or Rangers again, whisking them from Paul Le Guen to the Euro Vase final in less than 16 months. As speedy base-metal-to-gold transformations go, that registers a full 10 on the Fiver’s patented and fully trademarked Tuchelometer.

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» ‘A numbers game’: the hidden work of football statisticians

Before any Premier League is broadcast live, a statistician will compile a 25,000-word document detailing every eventuality

By Richard Foster for The Football Mine

You do not know his face or his name but you will have experienced his work many times while watching televised football. As a freelance broadcast journalist and assistant producer Dave works for, among others, BT Sport and Premier League Productions – the company responsible for broadcasting the Premier League around the world. He is one of an army of statisticians who provide a vast array of facts and figures for those working in front of or behind the camera. When Peter Drury or Martin Tyler seemingly plucks a choice statistic out of thin air to throw into the mix, there is a fair chance that he will have done so from his stat pack.

Dave describes it as the perfect job for a football geek, and Drury confirms that these statisticians are “of a certain kind”. Having started his career while in Spain, as part of his sports journalism degree, Dave worked for Real Madrid TV, before joining Sunset & Vine, the production company behind BT Sport, when it launched its football coverage in 2013. He has been working with them, as well as other broadcasters, ever since. His focus is primarily on assembling the stat pack for each match.

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» David Squires on … Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United circus

Our cartoonist on that Old Trafford performance, United’s strategic plan and Daniel Farke’s big weekend in the capital

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» Walter Smith, former Rangers and Scotland manager, dies at 73
  • Smith won 21 trophies with Rangers and managed Everton
  • Alex Ferguson leads tributes to ‘a special person’

Alex Ferguson has led the tributes after Rangers announced the death of their former manager Walter Smith at the age of 73. Smith, who also took charge of Everton and Scotland, won 21 domestic honours in two spells at Ibrox. He guided Rangers to the 2008 Uefa Cup final, where they were defeated by Zenit St Petersburg.

Ferguson and Smith were close friends for decades. Smith briefly served as Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United in 2004 and Ferguson later revealed Smith had been hugely influential in convincing United to sign Wayne Rooney.

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» ‘Like raptors in Jurassic Park’: Liverpool coach’s praise for lethal front three
  • Salah and Mané have benefited from rest, says Lijnders
  • Keïta escapes with bruised foot but Milner out until after break

Liverpool’s front three were “like raptors in Jurassic Park” against Manchester United on Sunday, according to assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders.

The humiliation of United took Liverpool’s goal tally to 41 from 13 matches this season with Mohamed Salah (15), Roberto Firmino (6) and Sadio Mané (6) responsible for 27. It is their highest combined total at this stage of a campaign and a by-product, Lijnders believes, of Salah and Mané having an extended rest and full pre-season.

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» Matildas let slip two-goal lead as Brazil fight back in thrilling draw
  • Australia draw 2-2 with Brazil at CommBank Stadium
  • Clare Polkinghorne and Sam Kerr on target for Matildas

When Australia’s women’s national team play football there is often a devil on the observer’s shoulder. It has one of those irritating invisible voices which warns, even when they are a goal or two up, that a disaster is never more than a couple of questionable choices away. This has been the soundtrack to the modern-day Matildas, a golden generation who either play out of their skins or do exactly the opposite. It is an on-field bipolarity akin to a Rachmaninov score – you think you’re in heaven and then all of a sudden you’re crying and can’t figure out why.

The inconsistencies and myriad variables in this team’s game date back to before the underwhelming 2019 World Cup and continued until after 2020’s almost Olympics bronze medal despite a mixed-bag tournament in Tokyo. Then there are the friendlies. Australia did not win a single one this year, and it would be cruel to regurgitate those scorelines. Until, that is, on Saturday, when they did win.

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» Influence of the unknowable may be only lesson from Moyes’s success at West Ham | Jonathan Liew

Moyes’s second spell at the London Stadium is confounding popular sentiment at the time of his appointment and possibly his own expectations, but wider lessons are hard to come by

“The game has changed immeasurably in the two decades since Moyes first started,” an idiot wrote in these pages two years ago. “And so in he shuffles, a man who neither improves teams nor greatly degrades them but will simply be there, right until he isn’t. He won’t take you in the wrong direction because he doesn’t take you in any direction.”

As West Ham United sit fourth in the Premier League after a stirring cultural revolution that has transformed the club’s psyche and taken them into Europe, it turns out that one of us had been elevated to a position for which he was grotesquely and demonstrably unqualified, but it wasn’t David Moyes.

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» Fran Kirby set for 50th cap as England eye landslide against Latvia
  • Chelsea player says 50th appearance will be ‘really special’
  • Wiegman expecting team to dominate against lowly Latvia

Latvia may be ranked 102nd in the world and England’s women’s team are expected to win by a heavy scoreline but Tuesday night in Riga will be a gala evening for Fran Kirby. The Chelsea player will collect her 50th cap, an occasion that once seemed beyond her reach.

Recovered from pericarditis, the heart condition that threatened her career when diagnosed in late 2019, Kirby is once again a mainstay. The refreshed England team have delivered a perfect World Cup qualifying record so far under Sarina Wiegman. “I have been a part of this team for a long time now, so for me to get that 50th cap will be really special,” Kirby said. “It’s just nice to be back and playing regularly with the team. I am really enjoying it.”

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» Andreas Christensen’s Chelsea progress delights Tuchel but contract talks stall
  • Denmark defender’s current deal expires at end of the season
  • Saúl Ñíguez likely to play against Southampton in EFL Cup

Thomas Tuchel has revealed his admiration for Andreas Christensen, whose Chelsea future is in doubt after talks over a new contract stalled.

Christensen’s current deal runs out at the end of the season and negotiations with the 25-year-old, who will be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from 1 January, have reached an impasse. Chelsea have offered the Denmark international a four-year deal, with the option of an extra year, but there has been no contact between the two parties since August.

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» US businessman Chris Kirchner announces interest in buying Derby
  • Rams are in administration and bottom of Championship
  • Loyal fans ‘provide the foundation to rebuild’

The US businessman Chris Kirchner has announced his intention to buy the Championship club Derby.

The Rams went into administration last month and have appealed against the 12-point penalty handed out by the English Football League.

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» Police to take no action over Crystal Palace fans’ Newcastle banner
  • Officers conclude no offences committed
  • Banner criticised Saudi owners and Premier League

Police have confirmed they will not be taking any action against Crystal Palace supporters who raised a banner last weekend criticising the Saudi takeover of Newcastle United.

As the supporters’ organisation Fans Europe endorsed the protests, police confirmed accusations the banner was offensive to Newcastle’s new owners had not been substantiated.

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» Salah’s crowning glory for Egypt in sight after feats for club and continent | Ed Aarons

The Liverpool forward is the highest-scoring African player in Premier League history after his hat-trick at Old Trafford

“The new KINGS on the block,” wrote Didier Drogba on Twitter in response to a picture of him with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané. Less than 24 hours after Salah’s scintillating hat-trick at Old Trafford propelled him past Drogba to become the highest-scoring African player in the Premier League his former Chelsea teammate also retweeted a cartoon in which he places a crown on the Egypt forward’s head.

With Liverpool leading 2-0 against a ragged Manchester United on Sunday and Salah tied with Drogba on 104 goals, there was a sense of inevitability that the big moment would arrive for the player from Nagrig in the Nile Delta. It was fitting that the assist for the record-breaking goal in the 38th minute came from Guinea’s Naby Keïta, with Salah making it 106 seven minutes later before rounding off the rout by becoming the first visiting player to score a hat-trick at Old Trafford since Real Madrid’s Ronaldo in 2003 and the first in the Premier League.

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» Everything suggests United's players have given up on Solskjær | Daniel Harris

There comes a point in most tenures when all hope expires and Manchester United’s manager has reached that juncture

Manchester United can play worse than they did against Liverpool. Yes, yes, I know, but before you click out please stick with me for a second. Though their defending was as bad as defending can be – again – until things got silly they attacked with speed, cohesion and imagination, not something said often.

The result, then, was not a factor of performance but of opponent, a serious beating long in the post, dispensed by a serious team missing two-thirds of their first‑choice midfield. Which is to say United have rarefied depths still to plumb – and with games against Atalanta, Manchester City, Villarreal and Chelsea imminent, history may soon repeat farce as slapstick.

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» Manchester United rout had been coming: nobody has a clue what they are doing | Jonathan Wilson

Press, discipline and fluency were woefully lacking against Liverpool, with inadequacies of Solskjær and Ronaldo exposed

What have Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Alan Partridge got in common?

Both need help constructing a press.

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» Vinícius too hot for Barça to handle in a clásico that was far from classic | Sid Lowe

The Madrid forward lit up an otherwise underwhelming clásico against impotent hosts who seemed at odds with reality

Vinícius Júnior had a long walk home but not half as long as the people he passed on the way. The Brazilian was on the other side of the ground when he was taken off with four minutes left and Real Madrid 1-0 up in the clásico, slowly heading eastbound around the edge of the pitch. As he went along the front of the north stand, some Barcelona supporters came to shout at him. Others gave him the finger. More took pictures where once they took the piss. Mostly they were just glad to see the back of him. Which is pretty much all their players had seen too, Óscar Mingueza especially.

Mingueza had already played his last minutes an hour earlier, departing early defeated. Now Vinícius left too, eventually cracking into a smile and pointing at the scoreboard. His work was done and the game was too, it seemed. He hadn’t been on the bench long when it definitely was. Barcelona had the ball but couldn’t find a way through and never looked much like finding one either. Despite or perhaps because of sticking Luuk de Jong and Gerard Piqué up front, although Sergio Agüero and Memphis Depay were there too, there were more forwards than football and not one shot on target. “Madrid had had better opportunities than us,” Marc-André ter Stegen admitted after, and they were about to get the clearest of all.

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» A new dawn for the Derby d’Italia but the same old story for Inter | Nicky Bandini

The bitterness between Inter and Juventus goes way back and a late VAR intervention at San Siro led to more

These were the nights we longed for during football’s behind-closed-doors season: a storied rivalry playing out before a passionate crowd in one of Europe’s most evocative arenas. And these were the moments we didn’t miss: a refereeing controversy to overshadow it all.

Although Sunday’s game between Inter and Juventus was far from a classic, it did feel like a true Derby d’Italia at last. The stands were not full at San Siro – Italy’s Technical and Scientific Committee on the Coronavirus has recommended for now that stadiums operate at no more than 75% of capacity – and there was no pre-game choreography on the Curva, but 56,532 fans were enough to create a fierce atmosphere.

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» Inept, weak, no plan: humiliation for Manchester United and Solskjær | Barney Ronay

Shocking 5-0 home defeat by Liverpool a gruesome spectacle that showed a team in a state of high-priced sporting decay

What was this thing, exactly? For 90 minutes at Old Trafford the players of Liverpool and Manchester United produced something that resembled, in its colours and shapes, an elite-level football match. In practice it felt like something else: a kind of ritual humiliation, certainly, a real-time study in how to empty, safely, four-fifths of a football stadium.

Mainly it was just a gruesome spectacle, something seasick and rotten, a team in a state of high‑priced sporting decay caught pinned and wriggling under the lights.

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» 'Rock bottom': Solskjær deflated after Liverpool's 5-0 win against Man Utd – video

Ole Gunnar Solskjær said he was at 'rock bottom' after his side's dismal 5-0 defeat by Liverpool at Old Trafford. The hosts were 4-0 down by the break and 5-0 down before the half-time substitute Paul Pogba was sent off for a studs-up tackle on Naby Keita. A hat-trick from Mohamed Salah was the outstanding individual display in what Solskjær said was his worst defeat as United boss. 

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» Ronald Koeman insists Barcelona will 'play without fear' in clásico – video

The Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman said his side will 'play without fear' in Sunday's clash with Real Madrid at Camp Nout. 'I don't know if our fans don't have confidence in us, but we do' he added.

Koeman has come under pressure after a poor start to the season in La Liga and the Champions League. 'I think I will still be coach tomorrow, but after that we'll see,' the former Barcelona player joked before reiterating that he has the club's support

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» Graeme Jones says 'hope' of Kevin Keegan era has returned to Newcastle – video

Newcastle caretaker manager Graeme Jones says the long-term future of the club looks 'rosy' and hope brought by Kevin Keegan has returned to St James' Park. 'If you're going to win leagues long term ... you've got to have the best players. And I'm afraid that only money buys that,' he said.

Following the departure of Steve Bruce, who Jones had a  'a great working relationship' with, it was confirmed that the former Luton Town manager will be in charge of the team for the next two matches. 

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» Steve Bruce parts with Newcastle after £300m Saudi-led takeover – video report

Newcastle United have parted company with Steve Bruce less than a week after being taken over by a Saudi Arabia-led consortium in a £300m deal. The deal, which has been subject of controversy because of the country's human rights record, stands to make Newcastle one of the richest clubs in football. Bruce led Newcastle to 12th and 13th placed finishes in the Premier League during his time in charge of the club, but the side sit second-bottom and winless in the league this season. Newcastle have been linked with former Dortmund manager Lucien Favre as well as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Eddie Howe

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» Fox in the box: furry pitch invader disrupts Estonian football match – video

We've had pitch-invading dogs, more dogs and even alpacas, but a fox is a new one for us. A football match in the Estonian fourth division between Võru FC Helios and the JK Narva Trans U21 team was interrupted three times by the animal. Play was stopped on multiple occasions as officials attempted to get the four-legged interloper to leave the pitch. According to YouTuber Pait Dok, owner of the footage, the fox is seen regularly at the pitch during training sessions, but this is the first time it has caused any disruption. Additionally and somewhat spookily, one of the players for Võru FC Helios, Ragnar Rebane's surname translates to mean 'fox'

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» Leatherhead FC player scores with audacious flick over defender and strike – video

There was a moment of sheer brilliance from Leatherhead FC's Alexander Sami, as he scored a superb solo goal against Bowers & Pitsea in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Sami received the ball with his back to goal, only to flick it up and over the defender and then lash it into the back of the net. The strike was so pure that even one of his teammates fell to the ground in disbelief

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» Nice come from behind to beat Lyon and show they mean business

Christophe Galtier led Lille to the Ligue 1 title last season. He couldn’t do it again with Nice this season, could he?

By Eric Devin for Get French Football News

On a day of big matches across Europe, the encounters generally failed to live up to their billing. Manchester United v Liverpool was a one-sided affair; the clásico only stirred into life occasionally; and the marquee games in Serie A – Napoli 0-0 Roma and Inter 1-1 Juventus – were disappointing.

The big match in Ligue 1 on Sunday – PSG’s trip to Marseille – fared little better, ending in a goalless draw. The early stages offered some entertainment, with a goal at either end being chalked off for offside, but Jorge Sampaoli adopted a defensive approach to cope with PSG’s fantastic four and his team were unable to capitalise when Achraf Hakimi was sent off with half an hour to play. However, there was plenty of excitement in another Ligue 1 match earlier in the day – Nice v Lyon – a game that did not feature on any of the lists of great fixtures to watch on Sunday.

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» David Alaba screamer helps Real Madrid earn clásico victory at Barcelona

When the goal that finally settled this match was scored, Gerard Piqué was lying on the floor in one penalty area and Lucas Vázquez was bursting into the other to slip in the knife. Barcelona’s centre-back had been sent up front as an emergency striker on a mission to rescue his team, to do something, anything. Instead, he was left with his head in his hands, desperately appealing for a penalty that wasn’t and watching any last hope slipping away. Watching Madrid slip away too, their full-back running the length of the pitch in the 94th minute to make in 2-0.

As it turned out, there would be another goal, which was probably more than this game warranted, Sergio Agüero scoring in the 97th minute. But there were no celebrations, everyone knowing it was too late already and the image of Madrid’s second, decisive strike helped to define the 246th meeting between these teams who once were giants. The closer Barcelona came to the opposition’s area – if only very rarely their goal – the closer they came to being killed off, the counterattack proving Madrid’s most lethal weapon.

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» ‘Not good for us’: Bayer Leverkusen CEO on Premier League’s spending power
  • Fernando Carro: Bundesliga risks ‘development league’ status
  • ‘Even Dortmund have to sell players to England,’ says Carro

The Bayer Leverkusen CEO, Fernando Carro, believes the Bundesliga risks turning into a “development league” for the Premier League if it cannot find a way to bridge the gap between the TV revenue earned by the two leagues.

The German club can lay claim to the third largest wage budget in the Bundesliga but in England Leverkusen would probably be in the bottom three of the Premier League.

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» Inter v Juventus: five great matches from the Derby d’Italia

To whet the appetite before Inter play Juventus in Serie A on Sunday, we’re looking back on some of their classic encounters

By Emmet Gates for The Gentleman Ultra

The Roberto Baggio show. Baggio’s ascent to becoming the best player in the world was evident in this match at San Siro. He was involved in all three goals, scoring the first from the penalty spot, the second after a lush run through the Inter defence, and setting up the third for Salvatore Schillaci.

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» Ansu Fati agrees new six-year Barcelona contract with €1bn release clause
  • Stricken club also have recently tied down Pedri to similar deal
  • Bissau-born teen returned from long-term injury in September

Barcelona attacker Ansu Fati has agreed a new six-year deal and become the second player from the club to have his buy-out clause set at €1bn.

The Bissau-born teenager had been linked with a move elsewhere but has committed his future to the financially-stricken Catalan giants.

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» Fifa criticised over handling of sexual harassment case in Mongolia

• Under-15 girls coach’s ban extended worldwide in August

• Fifpro questions why sanction was not communicated publicly

Fifa has been criticised over its handling of complaints of sexual harassment and physical assault in girls’ football after it emerged it had not publicly announced a worldwide ban given to a coach.

Uchralsaikhan Buuveibaatar, a former coach of Mongolia’s under-15 girls’ team, received the sanction from Fifa in August after an investigation by the Mongolian Football Federation found he had sexually harassed and physically assaulted youth team players during the East Asian Football Festival in South Korea in 2019. Buuveibaatar has denied committing “sexual crimes”.

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» Lionel Messi’s Panenka wins it for PSG after RB Leipzig threaten upset

It might sound strange, but despite scoring two goals and winning the game for Paris Saint-Germain with an outrageous Panenka, Lionel Messi did not really have a very good game. Still, nobody at a festive Parc des Princes seemed to mind too much. After looking wooden and curiously passive for an hour, Paris came to life in the last 25 minutes, beating an impressive Leipzig side despite having little cohesion and not much in the way of a tactical plan, but two of the most irresistible attackers on the planet.

With three defeats out of three, Leipzig are now virtually eliminated, and for all their spirit and running, the spotlight will now fall on their new coach Jesse Marsch.

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» Champions League roundup: Ajax rout Dortmund, Real Madrid sink Shakhtar
  • Ajax 4-0 Borussia Dortmund, Shakhtar 0-5 Real Madrid
  • Porto edge out Milan, Inter see off Sheriff for first victory

Ajax produced a dominant showing to rout Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in Amsterdam, maintaining their 100% record in the Champions League and putting the Dutch champions in control of Group C.

The hosts went in front when Dusan Tadic’s free-kick deflected in off Dortmund’s Marco Reus, who was credited with the own goal. Daley Blind doubled the lead with a half-volley from the edge of the area in the 25th minute, and Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel produced several saves to keep the scoreline respectable at half-time.

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» Brutal Bayern show their rivals just how high the mountain is | Andy Brassell

Existential angst over competitiveness shouldn’t overshadow the fact we are looking at possibly the best team in Europe

We’ve seen it before, but it’s still difficult to know exactly how it should be characterised. It was brilliant, beautiful, ugly, deflating, awe-inspiring and a huge letdown all at the same time. Bayern Munich’s hegemony shows no sign of letting up and neither does it show any potential for being less of a source of conflicting feelings and views.

Normally the Bundesliga’s Top-Spiel is on a Saturday at 6.30pm local time, situated perfectly between going to a game in the afternoon and stepping out for the night. Yet Bayern’s visit to Leverkusen – enterprising and entertaining thus far under new coach Gerardo Seoane – which in a strictly statistical sense pitted first against second, was not until Sunday afternoon. Maybe the different scheduling would offer a different script?

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» Gary Lineker: ‘Diego was a mixed-up mess, but what a lovely guy’

Before Sunday’s clásico, the former Barça striker on Maradona, Messi and why he thought he’d ‘fluked’ it all the way to the top

Gary Lineker never really thought he was much of a footballer until a fortnight in Spain changed everything. The way he tells his story, it happened both suddenly and in slow motion: 34 years on he sees himself watching the ball drop into the net, wondering what was going on. It was the last day of January 1987 and he had just scored his third against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou, the first clásico hat-trick in 24 years. Eighteen days later, he got four against Spain at the Bernabéu. “And that,” he says, “is when it dawned on me that I was good at this.”

Hang on a minute. You had just been the first division’s top scorer for the second year running. You had scored in the FA Cup final. You had joined Barcelona for £2.8m. Only one player had cost more and that was Diego Maradona. Oh, and you had won the World Cup Golden Boot. “Yeah,” Lineker says, “but I thought I’d fluked it: I’d got lots of tap-ins.” There is no grin or giggle, no irony nor false modesty. Which is why when it’s suggested that 1986 was the perfect year in football, he replies: “Maybe if you include the first two months of 1987, if we go February to February.”

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» The great betrayal: how the Hillsborough families were failed by the justice system

After 32 years of establishment lies, media smears, inquests, trials and retrials, the families of the Hillsborough dead have yet to see anyone held accountable

On a grey morning in May this year, the English legal system’s epic failure to secure justice for the families devastated by the Hillsborough disaster finally ground to its dismal conclusion. Ninety-seven people were killed due to a terrible crush on an overcrowded terrace at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough football stadium on 15 April 1989. Since then, the families have endured a 32-year fight for the truth to be accepted – that the main cause of the disaster was police negligence, and for those responsible to be held accountable.

The first bereaved parents I met when I began reporting on the disaster and the families’ implacable campaign for justice, in 1996, were Phil and Hilda Hammond, whose son, Philip, had died at Hillsborough, aged 14. Hilda, who worked as a senior intensive care nurse at Liverpool’s Walton hospital, told me that, unbearable as their loss was, she had still been able to understand that disasters can happen. She expected that the authorities would hold prompt and rigorous proceedings. “I thought they would find the truth of how Philip died, how they all died, and if anybody was found to be to blame they would be punished,” she said. “I was so naive.”

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» Mohamed Elyounoussi: ‘Norway have put a little bit of pressure on Fifa’

The Norway winger on human rights in Qatar, playing with Erling Haaland and his renaissance at Southampton

Mohamed Elyounoussi rewinds to the end of August, Southampton’s visit to Rodney Parade, home to Newport County, in the Carabao Cup. For the club, it turned into a historic night as they recorded their biggest away win, and although it was not the most glamorous setting or grandest occasion for Elyounoussi to make his first Southampton appearance in more than two years, he knew it was time to grasp his second chance.

“It was almost like now or never, really,” he says. “I went in at half-time, we were 3-0 up and I was thinking: ‘I haven’t scored yet.’ I thought: ‘I have another 45 minutes to really step up.’ I had an assist in the first half but it was not enough. I needed a goal, and maybe one goal was not enough either.”

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

Nuno seems scared of his Spurs bench, Manchester United players must stand up and Joshua King haunts Goodison Park

Substitutions have been permitted in English league football since 1965, but maybe nobody told Nuno Espí­rito Santo. The Tottenham manager has been curiously reluctant to use his well-stocked bench in recent weeks, and even as his side sleepwalked to defeat at West Ham, he waited until the 84th minute to make changes. Even if the likes of Dele Alli and Steven Bergwijn have hardly sparkled of late, a worrying gulf is opening between the first XI and the rest. Meanwhile, Nuno’s continuing stubbornness – “The game was under control,” he explained curtly – is hardly likely to endear him to the fanbase. Jonathan Liew

Match report: West Ham 1-0 Tottenham

Match report: Arsenal 3-1 Aston Villa

Match report: Brentford 1-2 Leicester

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» The Fiver | Prominent Manchester United figures who are unfit for purpose

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær must be yearning for days of yore when the only pile-ons to which he was subjected came in the wake of match-winning goals, his ecstatic teammates burying him at the bottom of an exultant pile of suffocating humanity, from which he would eventually emerge with a beam of genuine pleasure lighting up his pixie-like features. Whatever your allegiance, it was nigh on impossible to dislike Ole the player. But while sticking the boot into Ole the manager seems tantamount to seal-clubbing, the past 24 hours have seen plenty give it a right good go.

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» T20 World Cup memories, forgotten goals and indoor mountain biking | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features barefoot marathon gold, swimming the Channel and the wastage of Dan Marino’s talent

1) The first round of the T20 World Cup is currently in session in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Treat yourself to the official anthem here. What’s the moment that shows off T20 played at its apex? Carlos Brathwaite, of course, hitting four sixes to win the 2016 final for West Indies, with that superb, howling Ian Bishop commentary at the death. England had their moment in 2010, beating Australia in Bridgetown, with Craig Kieswetter and Ryan Sidebottom starring. Some classic moments? How about Stuart Broad getting the Gary Sobers-Malcolm Nash treatment off Yuvraj Singh in 2007? Or the 2009 final, when Mohammed Amir set Sri Lanka off to a start they never recovered from by taking a wicket for the loss of a single run in the opening over at Lord’s? Or Virat Kohli doing Virat Kohli things in the 2016 final with an unbeaten 82?

2) The NFL season is in full swing, more than enough excuse to enjoy the genius of Walter “Sweetness” Payton who, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, reimagined what was possible in the game. Here’s a little doc about him, here’s a longer piece, here’s one on his heart and here’s one on his magical 1977 and the greatest season ever put in by a running back.

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» What is the longest time a person has served a football club in any role? | The Knowledge

Plus: recent Champions League teams with no foreigners, two unbeaten sides in the same league season and more

Mail us your questions or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“What is the longest time a person has been at a club?” tweets Jack Chesterman. “This could be as a player then coach, not just in one position.”

“I’d like to offer Ronnie Moran, whose Liverpool career started in 1952 as a player, before moving into coaching in the 60s and finally retiring in 1998,” writes Chris Charlton-Matthews. “If ‘longest time at a club’ doesn’t have to be continuous, then I’ll throw in Guy Roux, who started at Auxerre in 1954, left in 1957, returned in 1961 and didn’t leave until 2005 for a total of 47 years.”

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» David Squires on … Groundhog Day for Newcastle and real local heroes

Our cartoonist on being thrilled and repulsed by the Premier League, Steve Bruce’s job security and forensic interview skills

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

Some Newcastle fans need to take a look at themselves, Tuchel is not getting the best from Lukaku and Manchester City are under pressure

To bang on about selections, formations and substitutions just a few days after Newcastle were taken over by a new regime in a move branded as “sportswashing” by some, feels unacceptably callous. And though football fans have no control over who owns their club, they have absolute control over their own behaviour, and the way some have responded to the change in ownership is depressing in the extreme. No one can blame them for celebrating the departure of the despised Mike Ashley, but songs about how rich they are – heard outside St James’ Park on Sunday – are neither edgy nor amusing when the provenance of those riches is rooted in a country with state-sponsored suffering. Football is more than just a game because clubs form a crucial part of their supporters’ identity, a link to the past and future rooted in family and friendship. But important though these things are, they are not more important than basic humanity, and no quantity of signings or trophies can change that. Daniel Harris

Match report: Newcastle 2-3 Tottenham

Match report: Brentford 0-1 Chelsea

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» Birmingham’s Harriet Scott: ‘I must be a very difficult patient’

Defender is a medical student and qualified physiotherapist as well as a Republic of Ireland international

When Harriet Scott walks into the treatment room at Birmingham City the medical staff could be forgiven for feeling a certain trepidation.

It is nothing to do with the Republic of Ireland defender being an awkward patient, just that, as a qualified physiotherapist and fourth-year medical student, she knows her stuff.

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» Mike Dean quiz: how much do you know about the Premier League referee?

Who is he sending off? Who wanted him gone? Who did he kill?

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» Next Generation 2021: 60 of the best young talents in world football

From ‘the next Alphonso Davies’ to Dortmund’s Moukoko, we pick 60 of the most talented players born in 2004. Check the progress of class of 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

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» Djimi Traoré: ‘I’m not ashamed of my own goal – it is part of my story’

The former Liverpool defender reflects on his time at the club and how he could return one day – as Steven Gerrard’s assistant

In the company of certain people it’s impossible to avoid certain topics and Djimi Traoré probably knew what was coming before this interview even started. We were principally meeting, via Zoom, to discuss his coaching career, which has interestingly taken him from Seattle to Scandinavia, but inevitably there was a need to address the elephant in the room. Or to be precise, the own goal versus Burnley.

It is a moment that has gone down in football blunders folklore and, to a large extent, defined Traoré’s time as a player, an 18-year period that saw him represent 10 clubs in three countries, feature for Mali and win a number of trophies, notably the Champions League with Liverpool. It is a distinguished CV, yet ask people, Liverpool supporters especially, to assess Traoré and most are likely to speak of a defender as clumsy as he was limited, with much of that linked to what he did at Turf Moor in January 2005, attempting to clear a Richard Chaplow cross with a Cruyff-like turn that went so badly the ball ended up dribbling off his left instep and into an empty net.

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» Newcastle takeover is done and dusted but spotlight should stay on human rights | Max Rushden

The United Nations’ historic declaration from 1948 isn’t a set text for most football fans, but it feels relevant at the moment

Hang on. What’s this? Another article about human rights? Didn’t we solve that last week? People said “questions need to be asked”. Some went even further, suggesting they should be serious questions.

Once you’ve said we must not sweep the abuse of the rights of humans under the carpet surely then it’s OK to move on and speculate over whether Jamaal Lascelles’s long-term future is under threat from the impending arrival of James Tarkowski.

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» How Hope Powell became a football legend: ‘I’m not afraid of anybody’

She was kicked off her school team for being a girl – then played for her country and became manager of the women’s team at 31. She discusses how she helped put women’s football firmly on the map

When Hope Powell reminisces about the childhood she spent scurrying across the streets of south London, she thinks of football. Perhaps that is no surprise: over the past 40 years, it has given her a career of firsts – after a trophy-laden playing career, she became England’s first female coach, first Black coach and youngest coach. Today, the 54-year-old is the manager of Brighton in the rapidly growing Women’s Super League.

Over the course of Powell’s career, the women’s game has evolved beyond recognition. Her football education began in the late 70s, just a few years after the Football Association lifted its ban on women’s football, in 1971. She idolised Kevin Keegan and Ray Wilkins but had no female players to look up to. She and her brothers would knock on the doors of their friends’ houses, then take to the football cages on her council estate for games of rush goalie to three-a-side.

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» Next Generation 2020: 60 of the best young talents in world football

The ‘Tanzanian Mbappé’ and the next Kai Havertz are among our players born in 2003. Check the progress of our 2019 selection | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

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» Next Generation 2020: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

We pick the best young players at each club born between 1 September 2003 and 31 August 2004, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of class of 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

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» From Ødegaard to Mastour: what happened to Next Generation 2015?

As we prepare to publish our Next Generation 2020 selection, we say goodbye to the class of 2015. So how did they get on?

This is what the Guardian’s Andy Hunter wrote about his 2015 Liverpool player for our series the Next Generation, where we pick one player from each Premier League club in the first-year scholar age group and follow their developments for five years.

The 16-year-old has received rave reviews not only from Liverpool and England coaches during a rapid rise up the ranks but also from Steven Gerrard, his boyhood hero, in the former Anfield captain’s new autobiography. Gerrard reveals he asked Pepijn Lijnders, the first-team development coach, to always include Alexander-Arnold in his group when taking his ’B’ Licence course, and handed him the captain’s armband during a comeback game in Liverpool’s Under-18s side last season. “It was my way of telling Trent that I believed he could make it for Liverpool one day,” Gerrard writes.

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