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» Mason Greenwood gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd selection headache with stunning double
Mason Greenwood will be fighting Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for Premier League minutes after a starring role vs AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer drops Man Utd transfer hint after missing out on Takumi Minamino
United saw off Dutch opponents AZ Alkmaar 4-0 at Old Trafford thanks to a brace from Mason Greenwood, an Ashley Young strike and a penalty from Juan Mata
» Forget Carlo Ancelotti... Everton must make Duncan Ferguson their next manager
Everton are searching for a replacement for Marco Silva with Carlo Ancelotti a top candidate. Duncan Ferguson is in interim charge and won his first match vs Chelsea
» Man Utd player ratings as Mason Greenwood stars in AZ Alkmaar rout
Young forward Greenwood bagged a brace and Ashley Young and Juan Mata were also both on target as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side eased into the knockout stages
» Man Utd 4-0 AZ Alkmaar: Greenwood double leads United to top spot - 5 talking points
Mason Greenwood scored twice while Juan Mata and Ashley Young were also on target for Manchester United as they sealed top spot in Europa League Group L at Old Trafford
» Man Utd believe they are in pole position to seal Jadon Sancho transfer
Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho is wanted by Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona and others amid a potential January transfer
» Freddie Ljungberg explains why Bukayo Saka was "a bit upset" before Standard Liege game
The teenager set up a goal for Alexandre Lacazette and then scored himself as the Gunners battled back from 2-0 down to earn a point in Belgium
» Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal: Bukayo Saka inspires Gunners fightback - 5 talking points
Freddie Ljungberg's side rounded off their Europa League Group F campaign by coming from behind to secure a point, as they made it through to the last-32
» Carlo Ancelotti joins London-based agency amid Arsenal job link
Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti continues to be linked with a move to Arsenal while Everton also have the sacked Napoli manager on their radar to replace Marco Silva
» Ian Wright reacts in disbelief as he learns of Unai Emery's sacking from Alan Shearer
Ian Wright missed the original announcement that Unai Emery was sacked as Arsenal manager because he was in the I'm A Celebrity jungle
» Man Utd 4-0 AZ Alkmaar RECAP: Mason Greenwood double as Red Devils romp to victory
Man Utd and AZ Alkmaar had already booked themselves in Europa League knockout stages but it was the Red Devils who picked up top spot
» Martin Keown late for BT Sport coverage of Standard Liege vs Arsenal
Martin Keown had been due to join Owen Hargreaves as a pundit for Arsenal's Europa League clash with Standard Liege on Thursday night but wasn't on time
» Jurgen Klopp's plan for Takumi Minamino as Liverpool move for Salzburg star
The Japanese international will become a Liverpool player in January after the Reds agreed a £7.25million deal for the 24-year-old who impressed against them
» Ashley Cole backs Freddie Ljungberg for permanent Arsenal manager's role
Former Arsenal defender Ashley Cole has tipped interim boss Freddie Ljungberg to take on the Gunners hot seat on a permanent basis
» Europe's top clubs want to reshape Champions League in three months with new proposals
EXCLUSIVE: The European Club Association have started a working group to explain the proposals in a move which could radically change the competition
» Liverpool won Takumi Minamino transfer race because Man Utd oblivious to release clause
The Reds will sign the Japanese winger in January for a fee of £7.75m but it could have all been different if Manchester United had followed up their initial interest
» Inside story behind Liverpool's six-year transfer pursuit of Takumi Minamino
Liverpool signed Takumi Minamino on Thursday, days after an impressive showing against them in the Champions League, but the transfer has been a long time coming
» Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal RECAP: Gunners come from behind to reach last-32
Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka make sure Arsenal qualified for the Europa League knockouts having fallen 2-0 behind to Standard Liege
» Takumi Minamino's flawless record Liverpool will hope to extend this season
The Japanese international is set to join the Reds in January after the Merseysiders moved swiftly to strike a £7.25million deal with Red Bull Salzburg
» Dean Henderson 'considered suicide' due to abuse from trolls as he calls for FA action
The Sheffield United goalkeeper says the FA would have acted if his abusers had been racist
» Takumi Minamino profiled: Where Liverpool transfer target fits into Jurgen Klopp's team
Liverpool have made Takumi Minamino their prime January transfer target after the Japanese international forward caught in the eye against the Reds in the Champions League
» Erling Haaland talks confirmed by Salzburg chief as Man Utd face transfer battle
Salzburg's sporting director detailed that Haaland visited Germany for talks with two clubs as European giants continue to monitor the talented youngster
» Brendan Rodgers issues hands-off warning to Man Utd over James Maddison transfer
The Leicester City boss outlined his plans for the January transfer window as he fends off interest in midfield star Maddison
» Premier League confirm Richard Masters as new permanent chief executive
The search for a new person for the job has finally been concluded with Masters taking over permanently after initially being in charge on a temporary basis

Football resources

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Other sport news:

» Mason Greenwood double leads Manchester United past AZ Alkmaar

Mason Greenwood had a night to remember as Manchester United dismantled AZ Alkmaar’s challenge with a barrage of second-half goals. The 18-year-old striker scored two of them and won a penalty for another as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side cantered to victory in their final Europa League group game.

“The lad’s a natural finisher, he’s always done it,” the United manager said. “He’s good with both feet and always composed. He probably just needs to develop his heading. Seriously, though, to change nine players and still win so comfortably is a great credit to the players.”

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» Alfredo Morelos takes Rangers through despite late Young Boys equaliser

The exertions attached to Rangers’ League Cup final defeat against Celtic only days earlier can explain the fact Steven Gerrard’s team stumbled over the line and into the Europa League’s last 32. Gerrard will ultimately be judged on whether or not he can end Celtic’s domestic stranglehold but progress such as this, which was merited, does no harm whatsoever.

Rangers could not prevail over Young Boys, with Borna Barisic’s messy 89th-minute own goal sufficient to ensure more than a few anxious moments for those in light blue. When a point would do, Rangers claimed one – just. Gerrard’s players looked too exhausted to celebrate as the final whistle blew.

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» Arsenal flirt with disaster against Standard Liège but hit back to top group

Exactly how this became a successful evening for Arsenal will remain a mystery but Freddie Ljungberg may consider that, at this point in his young managerial career, there is no need to apologise for a stroke of good fortune.

Two goals in three minutes late in the second half, the excellent Bukayo Saka setting up the first for Alexandre Lacazette and then scoring a classy equaliser, pegged back Standard Liège and rescued a scrappy display but the most important turning point came elsewhere. Had Vitória Guimarães not contrived an improbable late turnaround at Eintracht Frankfurt, Ljungberg’s side would have finished second in Group F and be confronted with the possibility of facing, among others, Internazionale or Ajax in the last 32. Instead they are group winners and will face a softer set of options, although their performances will need to improve markedly if further complications are not to arise.

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» Diogo Jota comes off bench to grab rapid hat-trick as Wolves rout Besiktas

Diogo Jota sprang from the bench to score a hat-trick in 12 second-half minutes and ensure Wolves finished their Europa League group campaign in style. Leander Dendoncker also scored as Nuno Espírito Santo’s men blew Besiktas away with a powerful second-half performance. That was not enough to leapfrog Braga at the top of the group but Wolves’ ability to play like this even after resting several regular starters is one of the reasons why they can be confident of advancing further in this competition no matter whom they are pitted against in Monday’s draw for the last 32.

As group runners-up, their potential opponents include Internazionale, Ajax, Red Bull Salzburg and Celtic. There are more exciting times ahead at Molineux.

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» Bournemouth need fresh ideas from Eddie Howe to arrest an alarming slump | Eni Aluko
His side look as if they are still trying to do what worked a couple of season ago but now other teams are doing it better

Bournemouth have lost their last five games and won only one of 11 since mid-September and, given their form and their position a point off the bottom three, for the first time since their promotion in 2015 they look in genuine danger of relegation. This weekend they visit Chelsea, another difficult fixture in a season unexpectedly full of them, and despite Chelsea’s habit of letting their opponents back into games towards the end, it would be a surprise if Bournemouth broke their bad run at Stamford Bridge.

I saw them at Crystal Palace this month and was shocked by how flat their performance was. They did not seem to have any idea how to create chances. They played a 4-4-2 with Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke up front and, even though Palace went down to 10 men early on, Eddie Howe did not seem to make any tactical change to adopt a more attacking approach. They did not look as if they were going to score at all until towards the end, when they abandoned their principles out of desperation and started pumping the ball into the box.

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» Nigel Pearson plots Watford escape after ‘surprising’ top-flight return

The man tasked with keeping Watford up admits he did not expect to get another Premier League job

As Nigel Pearson prepares to guide Watford into what is something of a nightmare debut at Liverpool on Saturday, he has admitted he found it “a bit surprising” that he was given the chance to return to top-flight management four and a half years after his last experience ended in dismissal by Leicester City. Asked whether he expected to get another chance at Premier League level, he replied: “The honest answer is no. I didn’t think I would.”

Pearson said: “I’ve not reflected on it being lucky. What I’ve reflected on is how a club has looked at what they feel are my strengths and they feel I’m the right person to come in. That is, I think, very reassuring for me. It doesn’t make the job any easier but I think, speaking to the club before I actually joined, it was very clear in my mind that they wanted someone with my kind of style to come in and galvanise the team. It’s not going to be an easy thing to do but it’s certainly possible.”

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» Premier League ends chief executive search by appointing Richard Masters

• Masters has held role on interim basis for more than a year

• Move comes after two previous picks never started the job

The Premier League has ended its unexpectedly blighted search for a chief executive by turning in-house and appointing Richard Masters, who has been filling the role temporarily since the departure of Richard Scudamore last year.

Masters, who stepped up from the managing director role he had under Scudamore from July 2015, has a career background in the commercial selling of football, having joined the Premier League as director of sales and marketing in 2006 and previously been the Football League’s commercial director.

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» Liverpool in advanced talks to sign Salzburg's Takumi Minamino for £7.25m
  • Liverpool discussing five-year contract for forward
  • Marseille and Bayern Munich also interested

Liverpool are in advanced talks with Red Bull Salzburg to sign the Japan forward Takumi Minamino for £7.25m, with it reported on Thursday night that a deal has been agreed that will see the player join the Champions League holders on 1 January.

The 24-year-old impressed ­Jürgen Klopp and his players over two games in the Champions League group stages and ­Liverpool appear to have taken advantage of the low release clause in the player’s contract in order to get the deal done next month.

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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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» Roberto Soldado: ‘Someone should have slapped me and said: what are you doing?’

The former Tottenham striker talks about being a spoilt brat at Real Madrid, thriving at Granada and his son’s love for Harry Kane

Never mind Zinedine Zidane or Roberto Carlos, forget Raúl, Luis Figo and David Beckham, and as for Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, nah. Ignore the galácticos, the hundreds of footballers who have shared his 14-year journey across eight clubs, three countries and the Spanish national team; when Roberto Soldado really wants to impress his son, he tells him he used to play with Harry Kane.

There is a big grin, a flash of pride, and the former Tottenham striker imitates conversations with nine-year-old Enzo, all wide-eyed in wonder. “He’s really into football and if we’re watching the Premier League or Harry scoring for England, I’m there saying: ‘I played with this guy.’ ‘Yeah?!’ ‘Yeah.’ It’s nice. I’m really happy for him, his success, especially because of the person he is.” Soldado pauses, then bursts out laughing. “I’d have just liked him to have waited a little bit.

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» The Premier League's Champions League stroll, Fifa, Kinder eggs and more – Football Weekly Extra

Max Rushden, Philippe Auclair, Nicky Bandini and Jonathan Wilson discuss Salah’s precise finishing, Chelsea’s transfer targets, the unbearable dominance of the group stages, a Hungarian talent among others waiting to be scooped up by bigger boys and a home without Kinder eggs

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

We start by discussing the Champions League group stages as a whole, and whether the concentration of knockout teams from the “big five” leagues is a bad thing for the competition as a whole.

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» ‘Who said Mourinho is in control of Spurs?’ Rose aims apparent dig at Levy
• Left-back has no plans to discuss his future with manager
• Mourinho optimistic Luis Campos will join as sporting director

The discussion with Danny Rose had turned towards José Mourinho and how it felt to have a manager of his winning mentality in control at Tottenham. “Who said he’s in control of the club?” Rose shot back.

It was late on Wednesday night, in the aftermath of Spurs’s 3-1 Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich and, although Rose did not specify, everybody knew who had the control. It is not Mourinho – rather the chairman, Daniel Levy, with whom it is fair to say Rose has had his differences.

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» Concern over gambling branding on children's pages in football programmes
  • Programmes saturated with adverts and branding
  • Researchers particularly concerned by logos on children’s pages

Football clubs’ matchday programmes are saturated with gambling adverts and branding, including on pages aimed at children, according to a study.

In one case highlighted by psychology experts, a logo for the online casino 888 featured as the answer to a Spot The Difference competition aimed at young Birmingham City fans.

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» United and Juventus refuse to give up on Haaland but German clubs lead race
  • Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig to push for January transfer
  • Playing time key but Norwegian will talk to United and Juve

The Red Bull Salzburg striker Erling Braut Haaland is considering offers from Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig after visiting the two Bundesliga clubs but is expected to hold talks with Manchester United and Juventus before deciding on his future.

Related: Erling Braut Haaland, the Norwegian ‘beast’ ripping up the record books | Marcus Christenson

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» Gabriel Jesus admits he feels weight of Manchester City expectation
• City’s hat-trick striker finds not scoring hard to bear
• ‘Sometimes I miss because I put too much pressure on myself’

Gabriel Jesus has opened up about the anguish he experiences when he fails to score for Manchester City.

The striker’s hat-trick in the 4-1 win at Dinamo Zagreb took him to 10 goals in 21 appearances this season. Yet five were scored in his past three games and Jesus was candid about the weight of expectation he feels.

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» Kieran Trippier puts penalty miss behind him to focus on last-16 draw
  • ‘I was confident but it was a good save,’ says Atlético defender
  • Englishman not worried about facing Premier League club

Kieran Trippier was denied his first goal for Atlético Madrid when he was unable to score from a penalty in the second minute of their victory against Lokomotiv Moscow, but insisted that it was out of his mind as soon as Anton Kochenkov had pushed it against the post. The Englishman overcame that setback to help his side secure a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, where they have a 45% chance of meeting Liverpool or Manchester City. The former Spurs full-back, though, said he did not care whether he faces an English team.

Related: Kieran Trippier: ‘Everywhere I go they shout Rooney at me. Everyone’

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» Coutinho adds finishing touch as Bayern Munich brush Tottenham aside

José Mourinho rested key players with Tottenham already certain to finish this Champions League group in second place and the manager had wanted the club’s fringe players to show their ability; to give him one or two selection headaches for the Premier League challenges ahead.

First the good news. Ryan Sessegnon, on his first Spurs start, showed flickers of his pace on the left wing, worked diligently in defensive terms, made good decisions and enjoyed a moment he will never forget when he lashed home the equaliser for 1-1. Sessegnon had plenty of time to feel the hammer of his heart but he concentrated purely on the cleanness of the finish. It flew past Manuel Neuer from 12 yards, beating the Germany World Cup-winner at his near post.

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» Ferguson and Carroll turn back time but is old-fashioned a new winner? | Paul Wilson

Everton’s stand-in manager and Newcastle striker triumphed this past week with traditional values but science is also needed

What a week old-fashioned centre-forwards have just had. First we saw Duncan Ferguson revive Everton’s fortunes from the touchline just by breathing on players who were struggling to make any impact under Marco Silva, then Andy Carroll came on at Newcastle and helped engineer a remarkable comeback against Southampton.

Carroll is a particularly interesting case because when occasionally deployed as an impact sub at West Ham it was usually a signal for spectators to express further dissatisfaction with the manager for not having any better ideas. Carroll as Plan B was, essentially, a sign of desperation, a last clutch at a straw. Yet Steve Bruce was rightly full of praise after the forward came on against Southampton and made an impact. “Big Andy coming on was a huge help,” the Newcastle manager said. “He showed glimpses of what he had 10 years ago.”

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

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» Champions League’s full English another staging post in march of the superclubs | Barney Ronay

For the third year in a row all the Premier League clubs are in last 16, with Manchester City perhaps the most likely winners

Well, fancy seeing you here. For all the pep and vim, the high-energy caffeine-football combinations of Red Bull Salzburg, there was a feeling of certainty about Liverpool’s progress to the last 16 of the Champions League.

The ability of Jürgen Klopp’s team to win even when the opposition bring their A-game has been a feature of the season. A simple explanation, beyond luck and “LiVARpool” conspiracy theory, is that their base levels are just so high. This is a team of extreme qualities: physical strength, speed, attacking skills. They have more ways to win, more ways to wear you down, like a heavyweight champ who can dawdle through five rounds and still produce at any stage that lights-out right-hander.

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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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» 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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» Is the Conservatives’ plan based on backing Fleetwood Town? It seems niche | Max Rushden
Chairman Andy Pilley’s Twitter plea to fans took sport out of its bubble and plonked it at the heart of the campaign battle

Thank God for the sports section. You’ve read the politics. You’ve found out again how depressing the world is and now you get the escapism. Unless you’ve come straight to the sport. Get the fun out of the way and hopefully you’ll have to get back to work before you’re forced to read the serious news.

There is no link at all between sport and politics. Both exist in entirely separate vacuums. And that is how it should remain.

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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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» 'We need the results': Manuel Pellegrini feeling the pressure ahead of Southampton – video

Manuel Pellegrini is facing increasing pressure at West Ham. The Hammers manager admitted his side 'need the results' in order to fix their poor half of the season.

West Ham have won just one of their last ten Premier League games. Southampton are in a similar run of form with just two victories in eleven matches. 

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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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» ‘I forbid any image of it’: Mourinho bans Spurs watching Bayern defeat – video

José Mourinho has banned his Tottenham side from rewatching their 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich. ‘I forbid any image of it [the 7-2],’ Mourinho said. ‘I watched it a couple of times: me, my staff and analysts try to go through every single aspect of that but not one single image for the boys.’ Mourinho has left Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen out of his squad because Spurs are already through to the next round of the competition.

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» ‘Maybe next season will be better’: Guardiola reacts to Manchester derby defeat - video

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was left to lament his side's defensive failings after they were 2-1 at home by rivals Manchester United.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial put United 2-0 up in the first half and although Nicolás Otamendi pulled a goal back for the champions and set up a nerve-wracking finish, the visitors held firm.

Manchester City's return of 32 points after 16 games is the worst start to a season for Pep Guardiola in his managerial career. 

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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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» Solskjær praises Rashford as Mourinho admits Manchester United were better than Spurs – video

Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjær has praised Marcus Rashford for his performance in the team's win over Tottenham at Old Trafford on Wednesday. United revelled in their 2-1 victory with José Mourinho admitting that the opposition 'were much better than us' 

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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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» 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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» 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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» General election beckons but sportsmen and women are staying quiet | Jonathan Liew
Lineker and Sterling are among the few to speak out in this campaign but the trend is a growing political apathy in sport

Three years ago, with the EU referendum on a knife-edge and the Remain campaign struggling to gain traction, No 10 hit on the idea of trying to mobilise support within the world of sport. A well-connected agent called Jon Smith was despatched to try to drum up interest and perhaps secure a few valuable endorsements. As he went, however, he quickly realised he was running against a brick wall.

On learning Leave was doing alarmingly well in the north-east Smith tried to arrange a photo opportunity with Newcastle’s Andros Townsend, Sunderland’s Fabio Borini and David Cameron. Borini was open to the suggestion but Townsend flatly refused and the idea was shelved. It was a similar story elsewhere: virtually nobody within the game was prepared to go on the record. As Smith later wrote in his book The Deal: “Most people in football wouldn’t put their head above the parapet. They felt the campaign had been so onerous they didn’t want to offend potentially half of their club’s fanbase.”

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» The Fiver | The latest embarrassment for an ailing north London institution?

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By Friday morning, the nation will know. What awaits? The latest embarrassment for an ailing north London institution whose day is now long gone? Another fumble by a bumbling entity rather less than popular in Liverpool and thus the need for more dither and delay? A glorious throwback to the 1950s, when everyone had a job and the factories pumped out British-made goods and smoke to everyone’s heart’s content? A Scottish failure to impose on the grander stage?

Yes, it’s the final round of group games in Big Vase, living proof that the Fiver’s campaign to STOP FOOTBALL does not even hold water when the most important general election in recent history since the last most important general in recent history is taking place. Most of those representing Her Majesty the Queen on foreign soil in what henceforth also doubles as the Big Cup’s repechage competition have already booked themselves in for further travels in February by which time Boris Johnson has promised to … you know the rest.

Manchester United are through, which gives Ole Gunnar Solskjær the chance to play his embryos against AZ Alkmaar. Ethan Laird, Brandon Williams, Angel Gomes, James “The Rockford Files” Garner and Mason Greenwood are all likely to play a part as Paul Pogba’s return date is put back to January pending transfer tittle tattle.

Wolves face Besiktas with Nuno Espírito Santo also able to throw in the kids as his team have qualified. The club’s long exile from the European competition they practically invented by playing Honved in 1954 is at an enjoyable end, even if a mid-summer spent playing teams such as Norn Iron’s Crusaders and Armenia’s Pyunik Yerevan means that Thursday night at Molineux will be a 30th competitive match of the season.

The Queen’s Celtic breezed through their group ahead of their trip to Cluj so Neil Lennon can play the weans. The Pope’s O’Rangers’ progression is, though, in the balance with Wee Stevie’s men needing at least a point against Young Boys to be sure of making it through. Perhaps Stevie’s agreement in principle to extend his stay in glorious Govan can produce one of those famous European nights at Ibrox.

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» Football transfer rumours: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Everton or Milan?

Today’s fluff got its vote in early doors

Everton fans face the prospect of a Duncan Ferguson-Zlatan Ibrahimovic buddy movie if word reaching the Rumour Mill from Italy is proved correct. Big Zlat is back in Europe having come, seen and conquered MLS by getting knocked out in the play-offs each season and is still desperate for on-field action. Milan, one of his myriad former clubs and another institution seeking a redemptive hero, may though end up being his eventual short-term destination. At 38, daring to Zlatan is only likely to be a quick fix.

Related: Champions League’s full English another staging post in march of the superclubs | Barney Ronay

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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 Joy of Six: football and the outside of the boot | Rob Smyth

From Brazilian screamers to an extravagant shank via Peruvian insouciance, we celebrate one of football’s most difficult skills

NB: The point of the Joy of Six is not to rank things, only to enjoy them

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» Sam Kerr the best in the world? Tell us something we don't know | Samantha Lewis

Judged this week by the Guardian as the best female footballer on the planet, Matildas captain Sam Kerr now has her chance to prove it on the European club stage

Across all the years I’ve watched Sam Kerr play football, there’s one moment that stands out as a true illustration of her character, as an example of why she’s been voted The Guardian’s Best Female Footballer of 2019.

It’s not a goal, or a back-flip celebration, or a gesture of kindness towards a fan. It’s a moment of failure. One of the biggest in her career, perhaps, and one that feels more significant in hindsight.

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» PSG’s Neymar-Mbappé era will end soon, but there is still time for glory | Barney Ronay
A half-a-billion pound project to bring their talents together and the Champions League to Paris has failed thus far but with both strikers now fit can they deliver at the last?

“Le grand Paris reste une idée, un fantasme qui tourne dans nos rêves mais ne se traduit pas vraiment dans les matchs.”

Some things just sound better in French. See for example the above, taken from a report in Le Parisien of Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-0 home win against Nantes in midweek. This is definitely best read in the original, ideally in the sad, sonorous tones of Uncle Monty from the film Withnail and I staring wistfully out of a scullery window with a firm young carrot in one hand and a velveteen club-branded Neymar figurine in the other.

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» Qatar stadium deaths: the dark side of the glittering venue hosting Liverpool

Premier League leaders urged to join fight for better working conditions as they prepare for Fifa Club World Cup match

As Liverpool fans stream into Qatar to watch the Fifa Club World Cup next week, it will be easy to forget the thousands of workers from the poorest countries in the region who have toiled for years to construct its glittering buildings.

When they take their seats at the Khalifa International Stadium, where Liverpool will play their semi-final match, they may not realise that scores of workers who refurbished the stadium were housed in filthy, overcrowded accommodation with an ever-present stench of raw sewage.

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