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Football Team News

» Paul Merson being left red-faced by Harry Kane prediction as striker sets record
The former Arsenal forward did not have high hopes for Kane under Jose Mourinho but his hunch is not looking correct at the moment
» Shkodran Mustafi makes decision on Arsenal future
Shkodran Mustafi has turned down the offer of a new deal at Arsenal and would like to depart the North London club at the end of the season
» Southampton defend stance as only PL club not to sign up to FA's diversity code
All 19 other top-flight clubs have backed the code but Southampton have opted not to follow suit, instead pointing to their own work in this area in recent years
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer aims dig at Patrice Evra over Donny van de Beek views
The former Manchester United left-back was critical of the club's decision to sign the Dutch midfielder following their 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Saturday
» Mesut Ozil brutally told he only has himself to blame for Arsenal exile
World Cup winner Mesut Ozil is Arsenal's longest serving and best-paid player but he is out of favour in north London, and looks to have played his final game for the club
» Nagelsmann opens up on feelings towards Man Utd ahead of Old Trafford audition
Julian Nagelsmann has been tipped as a future Man Utd manager and has opened up on his feelings about the club ahead of his first visit to Old Trafford with RB Leipzig in the Champions League
» Michael Owen's Champions League predictions including Man Utd vs RB Leipzig
The second round of Champions League group games take place this midweek with Manchester United, Liverpool and Man City looking to continue their perfect starts in the competition
» Liverpool injury news and expected return dates including Thiago and Van Dijk
Liverpool will welcome Danish side FC Midtjylland to Anfield on Tuesday night for their second Champions League Group D match
» FIFA 21 next gen release date confirmed for Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5
EA have today confirmed the launch date for FIFA 21 on next generation consoles Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PS5.
» Overheard Klopp and Lijnders chat suggests Liverpool moving in new direction
Liverpool's front three is world-class and recognised all over the globe, but all good things must come to an end, and Jurgen Klopp is preparing for the future
» Deeney's top 5 current Premier League No.9s - with no Man Utd or Arsenal stars
The Watford forward has made his pick for his "top five No.9s, not wide men, not left centre-forwards, straight through the middle" who are currently in the top-flight
» How the five Arsenal players Arteta let go are faring so far
Mikel Arteta had his first transfer window while in charge at Arsenal and didn't just oversee squad additions
» Martial reflects on Spurs red card, PSG own goal and scoreless start to season
The French forward has yet to score this season, but he insists it is just a matter of time before he returns to the type of form that made 2019/20 his best season for United
» Anthony Martial responds to Edinson Cavani arrival amid Man Utd "con" claims
Anthony Martial has given his verdict on Manchester United new-boy Edinson Cavani, whom the Red Devils on a free transfer earlier this month
» Erling Haaland's comments give Man Utd transfer hope
Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland almost joined Manchester United in January - and he remains on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's wish-list as he eyes his long-term answer in attack
» Real Madrid coaches reluctantly admit Man Utd have a real talent on their hands
Manchester United snapped up 17-year-old defender Alvaro Fernandez Carreras from Real Madrid's Juvenil C team in the summer after he rejected a new deal in Spain
» What Alisson told Liverpool's doctor after being given shoulder injury diagnosis
The Brazilian goalkeeper made a faster-than-expected recovery from a shoulder injury to return to Liverpool's starting XI last weekend in their 2-1 victory over Sheffield United
» FIFA 21 Title Update 3.1 now available on Xbox One and PS4 with major changes
The latest FIFA 21 Title Update is now available on Xbox One and PS4, with the update being previously available on PC only. Here are the full patch notes for Title Update 3.1, which also include all the changes in Title Update 3.
» Full transcript of Neville and Carragher's damning Pogba and Fernandes debate
Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes have struggled to find form in the same line-up with Donny van de Beek yet to be given his breakthrough as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a Man Utd midfield dilemma
» Klopp's already signed Liverpool's Mane replacement in case Barcelona bid
Sadio Mane has attracted attention from both La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent years, but has remained an ever-present part of Liverpool's front three
» Liverpool predicted XI vs Midtjylland as trio miss Champions League clash
Liverpool will be looking to continue their perfect start to the competition when they entertain Danish outfit Midtjylland on Tuesday night
» Henderson insists "computer game" Salah is better now than in 44-goal season
The Liverpool captain says his teammate his better now than he was in his first season with the Reds back in 2017/18, when he scored 44 goals in all competitions
» Harry Maguire appears to hit out at Frank Lampard comment on Instagram
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was furious his side weren't awarded a penalty in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Manchester United after Harry Maguire impeded Cesar Azpilicueta
» Liverpool vs Midtjylland kick-off time, TV and live stream details
How to watch Liverpool vs Midtjylland in the Champions League. The reigning Premier League champions beat Ajax 1-0 in their opening Group D match last week
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» The San Siro has 'no cultural interest' and can be demolished. Sorry, what?

The Italian heritage authority has no objections to the San Siro being flattened. They don’t know their history

By Martin Dunlop for The Gentleman Ultra

The Italian heritage authority concluded earlier this year that the San Siro has “no cultural interest” and can be demolished. Milan and Inter have been proposing a new stadium for a while, but surely they would rather refurbish than demolish. Apparently not. Although some parts of the ground may be retained as a landmark in a new sports and entertainment district, the stadium itself is likely to be replaced with a brand new 60,000-seat arena. Moving to a state-of-the-art and, crucially, club-owned ground hardly did Juventus any harm, but knocking down the San Siro would be like flattening a cathedral.

The stadium takes its name from the San Siro district, which sits three miles north-west of Milan city centre. It opened in 1926 and, in its earliest days, consisted of four separate stands. The San Siro hosted three matches at the 1934 World Cup, which Italy won. Originally owned by Milan, the ground was sold to the city in 1935. Ten years later, Inter joined Milan in playing their matches at the San Siro, which, by this point, had been redeveloped to consist of one fully enclosed tier.

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» Mesut Özil provides free school meals in support of Rashford campaign
  • Around 1400 children in north London part of scheme
  • Government facing renewed pressure to commit more money

Mesut Özil has shown his support for Marcus Rashford’s campaign by providing free school meals for around 1,400 pupils in north London for the rest of this week.

The Arsenal playmaker has joined forces with Barnet Sunday Football League (BSFL), Stefan Peppert and German Chefs Catering in Knightsbridge to deliver the meals to 12 schools, including Whitings School in Barnet.

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» FA launches diversity code with 19 Premier League clubs onboard
  • Code aims to increase ethnic and gender diversity in football
  • Southampton support objectives but awaiting developments

A plan to increase ethnic and gender diversity within the top echelons of football launched on Tuesday with the backing of Premier League clubs.

The Football Association’s Football Leadership Diversity Code is an attempt to correct a glaring imbalance that “clubs and support structures off the pitch do not reflect the increasing gender and ethnic diversity seen on the pitch”. The voluntary code has been signed by 19 top-flight clubs, with Southampton the only exception.

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» Ole Gunnar Solskjær takes pop at pundits over Van de Beek comments
  • Midfielder has not started in Premier League this season
  • ‘It’s nice for some commentators to have a little go’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær offered a barbed response to pundits who have criticised Donny van de Beek’s lack of playing time for Manchester United, stating it is nice for them to have “a little go”.

The manager has not started the midfielder in United’s opening four Premier League games, Van de Beek having signed for £35m from Ajax. The 23-year-old has, though, featured in seven of United’s eight matches in all competitions, starting two EFL Cup ties – Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea being the first time he has not been used.

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» David Squires on ... Marcus Rashford v the Tory government

Our cartoonist on the striker’s mission to provide meals for children in need, and the grimly predictable obstacles in his way

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» Nadiya Nighat: the female footballing trailblazer in war-torn Kashmir

The region’s first female football coach is determined to lift other young women up through the sport

The 24-year-old Nadiya Nighat is preparing for training in her usual attentive fashion. A skipping rope is put in place, as are the cones, the bibs and the small goals. She wears a smile on her face because this is a dream come true.

Not that it has been easy to get to this point. Nighat is the first female football coach in Kashmir, the troubled Himalayan region between Pakistan and India, and the journey has been full of obstacles. But to see her coach is to witness what perseverance can do.

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» Sergio Agüero likely to be out for month in fresh blow to Manchester City
  • Striker sustained hamstring injury in draw with West Ham
  • Guardiola left short up front with Gabriel Jesus also injured

Sergio Agüero is almost certainly out for a month because of his hamstring problem in a further serious injury blow to Manchester City.

The club’s record goalscorer sustained the injury in the draw at West Ham United on Saturday and means Pep Guardiola is again without his two frontline strikers – Gabriel Jesus also has a muscular problem.

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» Greg Clarke raised breakaway threat at start of Project Big Picture talks
  • Clarke said it could allow radical changes to be pushed through
  • FA chairman understood ‘desire to solve problems big six face’

The Football Association chairman, Greg Clarke, raised the threat of a European breakaway by top clubs at the very start of his development of Project Big Picture with the chairmen of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, the Guardian can reveal.

Clarke has claimed he walked away when the project became focused on “the concentration of power and wealth” in the big clubs with a mooted breakaway threat, but in the first document he produced, in February, he wrote that the breakaway threat created the opportunity for change.

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» Diaries, astuteness and work ethic: the making of Solskjær the manager | Jamie Jackson

In an extract from his new book about Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Jamie Jackson finds a future foretold during the Norwegian’s time as a Manchester United striker

See the three figures out on the green grass of Manchester United’s Carrington training base. Working in the hot June sun. Two are together, one stands apart. The two are practising finishing – the other encouraging, coaching, feeding them endless balls to try to score with. They are relentless in their quest to become better. They are Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ruud van Nistelrooy. They are being schooled by René Meulensteen, a Dutch skills coach who will one day manage Manchester United reserves and have Ole as his assistant. Then one day René will be part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s inner circle, becoming first-team coach. For now, he is drilling Ole and his countryman Van Nistelrooy ahead of their coming internationals.

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» Son Heung-min's header gives Tottenham the points at Burnley

Tottenham’s prolific away form eluded them in an evenly contested encounter against bottom three Burnley, though the ever-reliable Son Heung-min came to their rescue with a an opportunist winner 15 minutes from the end. Son is now the Premier League’s top scorer with eight while Spurs shoot half a dozen places up the table as a result.

Related: Burnley 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – as it happened

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» Alisson puts quick Liverpool return down to faith and hard work
  • Goalkeeper came back at weekend after four games out
  • Brazilian set to face FC Midtjylland in Champions League

The Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has attributed his rapid recovery from injury to prayer and six-hour daily rehabilitation sessions at Melwood.

Alisson made a surprise return to Liverpool’s starting lineup against Sheffield United on Saturday having missed four games with damaged shoulder ligaments.

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» Kevin McCarra was not only a great writer, he was a great man | Sachin Nakrani

I experienced the warmth and kindness of the Guardian’s late former football correspondent. It will stay with me forever

Ever since I was a teenager, I have struggled to sleep. Not every night but many nights, and often for no reason.

The night of Sunday, 7 October 2007 was one of those nights – as hard as I tried, I could not sleep. But on this occasion there was a reason. For the following day I was starting the job I had craved since, well, I was a teenager – sports journalist for a national newspaper. It was to be my first day at the Guardian.

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» Karlan Grant scores his first West Brom goal to rescue a point at Brighton

Slaven Bilic must have been wondering when his luck would turn. Reeling from the decision to sell his most experienced defender behind his back and having fallen behind to a comical own goal from his captain, Jake Livermore, in the first half, the West Brom manager watched his side create chance after chance as they pressed for an equaliser against Brighton.

It eventually came with only seven minutes remaining, Karlan Grant’s first goal since his £15m move from Huddersfield ensuring West Brom earned a deserved first away point of the season.

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» Leaders Milan drop first points after being pegged back by Roma in thriller
  • Serie A: Ibrahimovic scores twice before Roma equalise late on
  • Bundesliga: Bayer Leverkusen cruise to 3-1 win over Augsburg

Serie A leaders Milan dropped their first points of the season, despite a Zlatan Ibrahimovic double, when a defiant Roma came from behind three times to draw 3-3 in an enthralling game at San Siro on Monday.

Related: Insigne brothers trade goals as Roberto gets moment against Napoli | Nicky Bandini

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» Mike Ashley demands Premier League reviews pay-per-view policy
  • Newcastle owner calls for reduced fee of £4.95 per match
  • FSA wants Premier League, clubs, broadcasters to reconsider

The Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley, has demanded that the Premier League review its pay-per-view policy.

The Premier League looks set to continue its controversial PPV arrangements for the round of games before the November international break, a policy which has been heavily criticised and led to a boycott from supporters.

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» FA Cup first-round draw: Ipswich face fellow former winners Portsmouth
  • League One and Two clubs enter competition
  • Non-league Chorley face trip of eight miles to Wigan

Skelmersdale United, the lowest-ranked team left in this season’s FA Cup, will travel to Football League new boys Harrogate Town in the first round next month.

The North West Counties League Premier Division side won 4-1 at Stafford Rangers to reach this stage of the competition for the first time since 1971. Former winners Ipswich and Portsmouth will clash at Portman Road in the highest-profile of the 40 first round ties.

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» Aston Villa's reality check and Kevin McCarra tributes – Football Weekly

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Jordan Jarrett-Bryan and John Brewin to discuss the top-flight weekend. Sid Lowe also joins to talk about the clásico, and Jonathan Wilson leads the tributes to Kevin McCarra

A not-too-exciting weekend in the Premier League with Leeds’ second half display against Aston Villa being the highlight. Patrick Bamford’s hat-trick means Villa lose for the first time this season.

We’re also asking what’s up with Manchester City? They are off to their worst start in 6 years after being held by West Ham. And where does that Michail Antonio overhead kick sit on the Sinclair Spectrum? Elsewhere Sid joins us to discuss Real Madrid’s clásico victory.

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» Penalty polémica hides Barça's vanishing act as Zidane finds a way | Sid Lowe

The fallout from Saturday’s clásico has focused on VAR but the real story is a familiar one: Zinedine Zidane getting the better of a muddled Barcelona team

“I’m just pissed that we lost,” Sergiño Dest said. His teammates had already disappeared down the tunnel, swiftly ducking out of sight, and now he was alone: a 19-year-old American in an empty arena trying to explain how Barcelona had been beaten in the clásico again. “I think we deserved more,” he said, which he at least probably did, standing there in front of the TV camera at the end of an afternoon in which he might have been Barça’s best player. “We had chances, they had chances,” he offered. “They were just a bit sharper in taking them, and that was it.”

Only that wasn’t it and never is. When the final whistle went a minute or so after Luka Modric had scored the third in a 3-1 Real Madrid win, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman had shaken hands with Zinedine Zidane and then waited by the tunnel for the referee, Juan Martínez Munuera. “Why,” he wanted to know, “is there only VAR against Barcelona?” When Sevilla had brought down Lionel Messi in the last minute the VAR had not intervened, he noted. When Getafe might have had two red cards, it hadn’t either, he said: had the referee not been watching last week? Now when Ramos had fallen to the floor, it had. “Someone has to explain VAR to me,” he insisted.

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» RB Leipzig's collective power raises hopes for Old Trafford trip | Andy Brassell

Julian Nagelsmann’s league leaders take on Manchester United this week and are working to fill the gap left by Timo Werner

It is a depleted RB Leipzig squad that will arrive at Old Trafford on Wednesday. No matter. Facing Manchester United in the Champions League is still a pleasure, but it no longer feels like a special treat for a club that reached the semi-finals last season, while Ole Gunnar Solsjkær’s side had to content themselves with the Thursday night version of continental action.

Julian Nagelsmann will do his Monday morning head count with Lukas Klostermann and Konrad Laimer among those definitely out and doubts over the always-running Kevin Kampl and Nordi Mukiele. The coach will make light of it, as he already has done since Leipzig fell short in the last four against PSG in Lisbon. The feeling on that August night was that perhaps the club’s youth-focused recruitment model had met its natural ceiling. Two months on, Saturday’s 2-1 win over Hertha maintained their lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

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» Insigne brothers trade goals as Roberto gets moment against Napoli | Nicky Bandini

Lorenzo Insigne’s comeback from injury was perfectly timed to coincide with Napoli’s visit to his younger brother’s club

One day after he sustained an injury that forced him off the pitch in tears last month, Lorenzo Insigne was on the phone to his brother Roberto. “I’m going to make my comeback against you,” he said. On the other end of the line, he heard laughter. “Must you?” came the reply.

It cannot always be easy living in your brother’s shadow. We are talking figuratively, here. Roberto e stands an inch or two taller than Lorenzo, but where the latter has made more than 270 Serie A appearances for Napoli, the former is only this season getting his first real opportunity to make a mark in the Italian top flight.

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

Bamford continues to prove doubters wrong, Van de Beek should be unleashed and Saints find perfect pairing

Jamie Vardy proved his importance to Leicester City just as much when he was in the stands as he was on the pitch. The Foxes were flat from the off, without a functioning plan B to put into operation in Vardy’s absence. The team is so used to utilising the striker’s clever running in behind a defence, they seem to lack other creative ideas when he is not spearheading the team. Considering they ripped Manchester City apart just weeks ago, it will concern Brendan Rodgers that he cannot get his side to repeat that perfect performance, suffering home defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa in the two games that followed. Vardy’s arrival on the pitch enlivened Leicester, with his teammates looking more confident in the company of their talisman who duly scored a late winner. Rodgers might be best finding a striker in the mould of Vardy to ensure they can maintain the status quo whenever he is absent; otherwise they are just one tweaked muscle away from mediocrity. Will Unwin

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» Marcus Rashford shows how football can be a force for unity and good | Sean Ingle

The Manchester United attacker has risen from sportsman to statesman with his campaign for free school meals

First Marcus Rashford put in a decent shift on the pitch. Then came an even more impressive one off it.

Barely 45 minutes after a pallid, punchless 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Saturday night, the Manchester United striker was back working his second job: a three-hour magic set in which dozens of cafes, churches, restaurants and ordinary folk all promised him they would donate free food to the poorest children in society during this half-term.

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» Kevin McCarra: a pioneer who changed football journalism

The former Guardian football correspondent, who has died aged 62, was crisp, prescient and transformative in his writing

It was around about 1990, long before journalists had mobile phones. Kevin McCarra, the former football correspondent of the Guardian who died from Alzheimer’s disease on Saturday aged 62, was travelling from Glasgow to cover a game at Easter Road for Scotland on Sunday when his train got stuck somewhere near Falkirk. Time passed. It became clear Kevin wasn’t going to make kick-off. Still the train didn’t move. He wasn’t going to make half-time, either.

Unable to contact his desk but knowing they had a space to fill and needed copy, he composed a piece about being on the train with frustrated fans, filed when he was finally able to disembark and somehow produced something true and insightful, and far more memorable than anything that had been written at the game itself.

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

The ‘Tanzanian Mbappé’, Juan Pablo Ángel’s son 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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» 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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» I don't consider Spurs title contenders, says Mourinho after win at Burnley – video

José Mourinho says he does not view his Tottenham side as being in title contention. 'I will never consider ourselves title contenders,' said the manager, 'I assume that every match we will play, it doesn't matter where and it doesn't matter against who, we go to win.' Mourinho was talking after Spurs' 1-0 win at Burnley. His side have just one defeat from their opening six Premier League games and are currently fifth in the table.

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» Ighalo calls Nigerian government 'shame to the world' as athletes condemn police brutality – video

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo says he is ashamed of the Nigerian government after reports that soldiers opened fire on those protesting against police brutality in the country's largest city, Lagos.

Nigerians have been demonstrating nationwide every day in recent weeks against a now disbanded police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), which has been accused of extrajudicial killings and abuse.

Ighalo said in a video message on Twitter that while he rarely talks about politics he could not stay silent about events back home. He was joined by several other athletes, including boxer Anthony Joshua, basketballer Chiney Ogwumike and footballer Victor Osimhen, in condemning the violence

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» Arsenal's Mikel Arteta: 'I feel that I have failed with Mesut Özil' – video

Mikel Arteta has said he must bear the brunt of responsibility for Mesut Özil's demise at Arsenal after the midfielder was left out of the team's 25-man Premier League squad. The Gunners' head coach said he felt he had not been able to get the best out of the club’s highest-paid player, who said in a statement on Wednesday that 'loyalty is hard to come by nowadays'.

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» 'Things need to change': Zidane reacts to Real Madrid's shock defeat to Shakhtar – video

Zinedine Zidane admitted it was 'a bad match and a bad night' after his Real Madrid side lost at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League Group B opener on Wednesday. The Ukrainian team had been depleted by coronavirus cases and were playing with only a few regulars. Shakhtar opened up a 3-0 first-half lead with some brilliant counterattacking football, then held on for victory despite Madrid scoring two goals shortly after the break

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» Liverpool highly critical of Everton challenges in Merseyside derby – video

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum has criticised the 'completely stupid' tackle made by Jordan Pickford on Virgil van Dijk in the Merseyside derby last weekend. A heavy challenge in the second half saw Van Dijk sustain a long-term injury. 'Accidents can always happen in football … But, the way they were doing it, is completely unacceptable,' said the Dutch midfielder. 

Wijnaldum's comments were reiterated by manager Jürgen Klopp, who also called into question the red-card challenge from Everton's Richarlison: 'Injuries happen in football, very often in challenges. But very often in challenges when both players try to play the ball. It was not the case in these two challenges.'

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» 'Football is a working-class sport, it should be affordable': Bilic slams PPV matches – video

The West Brom manager, Slaven Bilic, has slammed the decision to make some Premier League football matches available via a pay-per-view service. 'I always used to say that football is not polo, football is not golf. Football is sport for the masses … it's a working-class sport,' said Bilic. Currently, the cost of a match on Sky Sports’ or BT Sport’s PPV 'box office' services is £14.95. This was the cost of watching West Brom 0-0 Burnley, as it was not part of the regular TV schedule.

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» 'What we do isn't rocket science': how Midtjylland started football's data revolution

The Danish champions – who play Liverpool on Tuesday – have been the poster child for using metrics to gain an advantage, with some techniques in common with their English counterparts

Think of it as the Moneyball derby. Not so long ago, the idea a club could gain a vital edge using mathematical models – let alone employ a theoretical physicist or track key performance indicators (KPI) – would have left real football men choking on their meat pies and Bovril. But when Liverpool host Midtjylland in the Champions League on Tuesday, it will not only be a meeting between the champions of England and Denmark, but one between the twin vanguards of the sport’s analytics revolution.

Midtjylland became the movement’s poster child in 2014 when they started using deeper metrics – such as expected goals and pre-assists to an assist – to better evaluate player performances, find undervalued bargains and to shatter myths and easy narratives.

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» Ajax set new Eredivisie scoring record with 13-0 trouncing of hapless Venlo
  • Lassina Traoré scores five goals and makes three assists
  • Previous record was Ajax’s 12-1 win over Vitesse in 1972

Ajax set an Eredivisie record when they scored 13 goals past 10-man VVV-Venlo to move to the top of the league on Saturday, with seven different players on the score sheet. The previous record for an Eredivisie game was also held by Ajax after they beat Vitesse 12-1 in 1972.

Related: European roundup: Lewandowski hits hat-trick as Bayern thrash Eintracht

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» European roundup: Lewandowski hits hat-trick as Bayern thrash Eintracht
  • Polish forward has 10 goals in five Bundesliga games
  • Quagliarella and Sampdoria shock Atalanta

Robert Lewandowski bagged a hat-trick as Bayern Munich thumped Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0. In a typically ruthless Bayern performance, the forward struck twice in the first half-hour and added a third after half-time, before the substitutes Leroy Sané and Jamal Musiala completed the rout. The only disappointment for Bayern was an early injury to Alphonso Davies, who had to be carried off after twisting his ankle. Bayern later confirmed he would out for up to eight weeks.

Bayern are now in second with 12 points from five games, one behind RB Leipzig, who beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 thanks to Marcel Sabitzer’s late penalty. Jhon Córdoba fired Hertha into an early lead, but Dayot Upamecano showed persistence to provide a quick response. Hertha brought on Deyovaisio Zeefuik at the break, but the Dutch defender was booked almost straight away and sent off with his second yellow card in the 50th minute. Córdoba conceded the penalty for a foul on Willi Orban before Sabitzer decided the game in the 77th minute.

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» 'How can it be?': Piqué tears into Barcelona over Messi situation
  • Defender says treatment of Messi ‘really gets to me’
  • ‘The new stadium should be named after him’

The Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué has torn into the club over their handling of the Lionel Messi contract situation, which resulted in the forward attempting to leave.

The criticism comes on the eve of the first clásico against Real Madrid this season and two days after the 33-year-old Piqué signed a new three-year deal, with a vote of no confidence against the board also imminent.

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» Hope, joy and 'Tetris': a new start after the fall of Deportivo La Coruña | Sid Lowe

Depor, Spanish champions 20 years ago, are now in the third tier but have been able to welcome fans back to Riazor after a seven-month absence

When at long, long last it comes, the roar rips right through you, taking you back to a better place. Suddenly there’s a release and in that moment all is right again. It’s just a goal, but it’s not. It’s the 97th minute and it’s the winner, dramatic and desperate, but that’s not it either. It shouldn’t be this good, maybe shouldn’t be good at all, but bloody hell it’s good. Time slips away, tension tears at them, and then it happens: the ball comes from the right and Eneko Bóveda heads it into the net. Deportivo La Coruña have beaten Salamanca on the opening day and there is an explosion, briefly returning everything to where it belongs.

This weekend, for the first time since March, football fans returned to stadiums in Spain. It is tentative, not welcomed by everyone with Covid-19 cases rising, and it is limited, just a small step forward. But it is something. Something big, as it turns out; bigger than you imagined. It is hard not to be carried along, not to get lost in the emotion, to share it. That sound, that feeling, that release: how we’ve missed it.

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» Santos eventually see sense and drop Robinho – but only to please sponsors

Santos signed Robinho even though he was convicted of rape. Thankfully they have now suspended his contract

By Tom Sanderson for Yellow and Green Football

In sensitive times, when Premier League clubs are willing to spend more than £1bn in the transfer window yet furlough their staff, and the league decides to charge fans box-office prices for pay-per-view games on top of already extortionate TV packages, a transfer deal struck a different note of tone-deafness in Brazil. Earlier this month, Santos announced that Robinho, one of their most famous academy products, was returning home for a “last pedal”. The tagline to the transfer was a play on his trademark stepover, known in Portuguese as the “pedalada”, as well as a nod to the fact that, at 36, this could be his Michael Jordan-esque last dance in football.

Robinho was commended for charging just 1,500 reais (£208) a month in wages – just 150% of the minimum wage in Brazil – but, on a much wider scale, there was outrage that Santos would sign him at all, never mind shower their social media accounts with celebratory posts about the deal. Three years ago, Robinho was found guilty of taking part in the gang rape of a woman in Italy in 2013. He was given a nine-year sentence but, because Brazil does not allow for the extradition of its own citizens, he has never served any time in jail. He pleaded not guilty in the trial and is appealing the verdict. He says his “contact” with the woman on the night was consensual and that his only regret is that he cheated on his wife.

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» Spanish newspaper denounced for Ansu Fati street seller comparison
  • Teenager scored in Barcelona’s victory over Ferencvaros
  • Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau joins criticism of ABC newspaper

Spanish newspaper ABC has issued an apology to Barcelona forward Ansu Fati after their match report compared his pace to that of a “black street seller” fleeing the police.

The 17-year-old put in an impressive display in Barcelona’s 5-1 victory over Ferencvaros on Tuesday night in the Champions League, scoring their second goal. However, the aftermath of the victory was soured by the paper’s description of the Guinea-Bissau-born Spain international.

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» Cádiz soar into dreamland after stunning Real Madrid in historic win | Sid Lowe

The newly promoted side were left pinching themselves after ending a 30-year wait to beat – and outplay – the champions

The plane was miles above above Spain heading south, it was dark outside and they were still some way from home when an urgent announcement came from the flight deck. “I’m from Cádiz,” the co-pilot informed them over the loud speaker, “and I just wanted to say congratulations because today you did something historic that will be remembered for ever.” It was late and the passengers – the first Cádiz team to play in primera for 15 years – were exhausted but they began to applaud. From down the cabin, a few chanted his name. “Rufiano! Rufiano!” they sang, the noise level briefly rising again, songs starting once more.

Rufiano was right. Cádiz’s manager, Álvaro Cervera, was wrong: he was wrong before the game and wrong halfway through it too but by the end he was beaming, engulfed in an embrace so tight he could barely breathe, celebrating like they had won something, which they absolutely had. On the eve of his team’s visit to Real Madrid, he had said: “You can forget about being better than them.” At half-time, with his team a goal up, he feared the lead would soon be gone, admitting afterwards that all he could think was: “We’ll lose this.” Now he was leaping about, delighted that neither turned out to be true.

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» Zlatan Ibrahimovic a lion among men on wild weekend in Serie A | Nicky Bandini

The 39-year-old’s two goals sealed a first derby win in four years for Milan, who he has helped to transform into contenders

It was one of those weekends in Serie A. Oh, you know, the sort that begins with the league leaders getting thrashed 4-1 and ends with a likely goal-of-the-season contender, while the champions drop points against a newly promoted side in between. The kind of weekend when a team can come from 3-1 down after 63 minutes to win and barely cause a ripple, because everyone is still busy talking about a picture of a lion.

The grisly image, of a big cat whose maw is dripping with blood, was posted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to his social media accounts on Saturday night. It came captioned with a single word, “Fame” – Italian for “Hunger”.

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» Dimitar Berbatov: 'When I saw what Sir Alex had written I had mixed emotions'

The former Manchester United striker on being omitted from the biggest match of his career, practising with basketballs as a kid – and refusing to change his style

Dimitar Berbatov is talking about the most disappointing day in his football career but he is in a conciliatory mood. In May 2011 the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, told him that he would not be in the starting XI for the Champions League final against Barcelona. Even worse, he was not even in the squad.

For Berbatov it was an almighty blow and one he did not fully recover from at United: a year later he was sold to Fulham. However, when writing his autobiography, called My Way and out in English this month, he reached out to his former manager and asked whether he would write the foreword. Ferguson said yes without hesitation. Not only that, he apologised for leaving Berbatov out of the squad and admitted that he got it wrong.

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» Tomas Soucek: 'We went to Hackney Marshes – it was incredible'

The West Ham midfielder on training in lockdown, his marathon-running mother and being called ‘the new Fellaini’

Sometimes people noticed the tall figure going through his training drills with help from his wife and young daughter. London had gone into lockdown and Tomas Soucek, who had joined West Ham at the end of January, needed to find somewhere to stay fit as he adjusted to a new reality in an unfamiliar city. “We went to Hackney Marshes, where there are 50 pitches in one place,” Soucek says. “It was incredible.”

The West Ham midfielder smiles. Lockdown brought challenges for everyone, forcing adjustments to the usual routine. For Soucek, the task was to be ready for whenever the Premier League season resumed. He did not mind being out in public. If people realised who he was, they waved. And if they happened to support West Ham, it was a chance to greet their new signing by putting their arms over their chest to make a crossed hammers sign, the club’s symbol.

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» Hakim Ziyech: 'I'm not afraid to have my opinion, I speak from the heart'

Chelsea playmaker on dealing with that Ajax semi-final defeat, his tough upbringing in the Netherlands and clashing with Van Basten

One moment, Hakim Ziyech had scored the goal that put a brilliant Ajax side 3-0 up against Tottenham on aggregate and seemingly guaranteed their place in the 2019 Champions League final. Just over an hour later he was left beating the ground in angst at the manner in which they had thrown it all away and, 18 months later, the pain needs little coaxing to the surface.

“For a child’s dream you just stole it down to the ground,” is what he thinks of the Lucas Moura-inspired comeback that took Spurs to what was, it turned out, a dull showpiece in Madrid. “It is hard, it is painful. It’s crazy what happened at that time, it’s hard to accept. You don’t always get what you deserve; you have to take that as a lesson and I did. Now I know always that the game is not over until the referee whistles.”

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» The Fiver | Stitched up good and proper by that piece of work Virgil van Dijk

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The Premier League continues to be a maelstrom of glorious unpredictability. On Friday night, Aston Villa, the only team left in England with a 100% record, were outplayed, outpaced and outfought by Dirty Leeds, who made off with their Leftfield Title Contenders status in the 1970s comic-book style, giggling like they’d just taken possession of a large bag of sweeties. “Yoinks, now for a feast!” guffawed a carefree Marcelo Bielsa, who already held the Hipsters’ Choice award, which for the record is shaped like a giant plate of mashed potatoes with sausages sticking out of it. Good luck wresting either of those distinctions from his grasp this season.

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» David Squires on … a tale of two Jordans and rough justice on Merseyside

Our cartoonist looks back on a wild derby, unwanted workplace interactions and 57-year-old men dancing in empty stadiums

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» Tattoo officer and hip-hop talent scout: unlikely football club jobs | The Knowledge

Plus: clubs with long waits for a former player to score for England and record international scorers in consecutive years

“Massive Attack star Robert Del Naja (aka 3D) was appointed as Forest Green’s art director last week. Have any other clubs got art directors or other random positions you would not associate with football? And are there any other musicians employed at clubs?” asks George Jones.

On the subject of musicians at clubs, an obvious start would be Elton John, who is still standing as Watford’s honorary life-president after an association stretching back to 1976. Though perhaps that is not quite in the spirit of the question, which is asking for more random appointments. Robin Clarke has one that fits the bill: “In 1979 Chile’s national team coach Luis Santibáñez appointed folk singer Pedro Messone as musical director for the Copa América. Given that General Augusto Pinochet was president of Chile at the time I imagine he kept it light. The squad sang together and did well in the tournament: Chile reached the final and lost to Paraguay.”

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» The Champions League returns and more breakaway talk – Football Weekly

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Liew, Nicky Bandini and Anne-Marie Batson discuss Manchester United’s 2-1 win at PSG, Chelsea’s draw with Sevilla and more breakaway league rumours

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

Ole Gunnar Solskjær proved he might actually know what he’s doing as Marcus Rashford scored a late winner against PSG. Chelsea were less exciting against Sevilla but perhaps that’s what they need at the moment.

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

Lampard needs to change tack with Chelsea’s defence, Lallana’s Indian Summer and Pickford’s failings

Sergio Agüero’s comeback after four months out with a knee injury was a 65-minute cameo that oozed class and in which he was a vital link in Raheem Sterling’s winner. City’s record goalscorer is out of contract in June and Pep Guardiola stated the club will make a new offer if the striker continues to play well while also saying Agüero knows what he has to do. “We know what he means for us, we know how we appreciate him, but now he has to show like everyone of us – me first – that we deserve to continue here and are playing good and winning games,” the manager said. “After that the club and myself decide. When he is playing at his level and we don’t have any doubts [then] he is a player to stay until he decides [to go] because he is unique, the numbers [goals]. He is important for us, the fans and everyone.” Jamie Jackson

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

Arsenal juggernaut rolls on, Russo shines for Manchester United and Everton lose 100% record after refereeing shambles

Another week, another big win for Arsenal, now the only side with a 100% record and doing it in style. They are battering teams – this was their second 6-1 win, to add to last week’s 5-0 victory over Brighton and a 9-1 thrashing of West Ham – and if the league does go down to the wire they are already well placed, with a significant goal difference advantage. Vivienne Miedema scored a first-half hat-trick to move ahead of Nikita Parris and become the WSL’s all-time leading scorer and the Gunners are profiting from having a good group of players – Beth Mead, Katie McCabe, Kim Little, Daniëlle van de Donk – who have been at the club long enough to develop that understanding and synchronicity that good players get over time.

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» Everton derby omens, the Rom Boys and WNBA's champagne moment

Also featuring a tribute to Enable, the most unselfish assist you will ever see and some top-drawer goalkeeping

1) This weekend Everton go into a Merseyside derby at the top of the table for the first time since 22 September 1989. How did they get on back then? Well, they lost 3-1 after being given the lead by Mike Newell. An equaliser from John Barnes and an Ian Rush double lifted Liverpool from second back up to first. The last time Everton beat their city rivals in a derby at Goodison (or anywhere), was 17 October 2010, exactly 10 years ago to the day that Saturday’s derby kicks off. A spooky omen? There was a rowdy live Football Weekly podcast in Liverpool after the match (probably not the best timing) to commemorate the occasion. Here’s the current Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, scoring a beauty to secure the 2-0 win. With no fans allowed in on Sunday, it will be one to watch on TV. Much like the 1967 FA Cup derby, when giant screens were erected in high winds at Anfield so that thousands who couldn’t get tickets could still watch the match thanks to “modern science”.

2) The world’s only heritage listed skatepark in Romford was forced to shut last year after a devastating fire, but a bunch of middle-aged skaters, BMXers and street artists are fighting to bring it back to life. They’ve just released a documentary about it: Rom Boys: 40 years of Rad. It looks ace. For more on some of Britain’s oldest surviving skateparks Concrete Dinosaurs is worth a watch too.

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» Golden Goal: Lakhdar Belloumi for Algeria v West Germany (1982) | Simon Burnton

Belloumi, a great denied a move to Europe by age and violence, stunned an overconfident West Germany at the World Cup

This year the Premier League posted a video compilation of the fastest goals from kick-off. They were all scored within seconds of the game starting, ignoring the mid-match instant post-kick-off goal, but give a taste of the genre as a whole, populated as it almost entirely is by defensive blunders and hopeful hoofs, goals that almost all rely on a convenient ricochet or two at some point in the buildup.

In 1982, against West Germany, Algeria scored a goal similar in its speed following a restart, but here there are no hoofs or ricochets, just 23 seconds of teamwork and precision. They produced this in the most exacting circumstances: immediately after conceding an equaliser against massively favoured European giants, in their country’s first World Cup finals fixture. “We were,” the goalscorer, Lakhdar Belloumi, later said, “the Brazilians of Africa.” And for at least half a minute in Gijón, the world saw it.

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» Adam Lallana: 'I won't be fighting to prove myself after all the setbacks at Liverpool'

After a stop-start final few seasons at Anfield, the midfielder has played in every Premier League game for Brighton this campaign

When it came to leaving Liverpool, a heart-to-heart with Jürgen Klopp made everything that bit easier for Adam Lallana. After six seasons, four trophies, three runners-up medals – and a couple of years as Klopp’s next-door neighbour – it was time for Lallana, consistently heralded by the Liverpool manager as one of the most important players of his reign, to move on.

“After I had those couple of days where I realised it was going to be my last season at Liverpool, I made sure I treated every day, every training session like it was my last,” he says. “I enjoyed the last six, seven, eight months as much as I did any year while I was at the club.”

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» Existentialist players and quarterback coaches: the sound of crowd-free football | Paul Doyle

From Coady to Klopp the game’s true voice can be captured by switching off the canned chants and cheers on television

Please do not rush there right now, but there is a video on YouTube consisting of eight hours of vacuum cleaner noise. It has been viewed, or listened to, more than 10 million times. Apparently people find it soothing, the logic being that a monotonous drone shields sensitive souls from the shock of unexpected sounds. There is little scientific support for this theory and no academic has confirmed publicly that it explains Steve McManaman’s commentary career, but we can probably say, if only because anyone likely to object will not hear us, that it is for similar reasons that some folks choose to watch matches these days with canned chants and cheers. There is comfort in the seemingly familiar.

Such people do not know what they are missing. Empty stadiums are a challenge that reveal much about players and coaches. How to fill the silence?

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» Arsène Wenger: 'A sense of anger, humiliation, hate … every defeat is still a scar on my heart' | Donald McRae

Former Arsenal manager reflects on his 22 years in charge of the club, how hurt he was by malicious rumours when he first arrived and how he has managed to move on from his life’s obsession

Arsène Wenger still believes he could milk a cow but, as he says with a smile: “I haven’t tried for a long time. I might have lost the technique a little bit.” Wenger is one of the most humane and original thinkers in football and so it is not surprising that, moving beyond his “obsession”, we should spend 100 minutes talking about much more than the game that consumes him.

Whether describing how he learned to milk cows as a boy in the Alsace village of Duttlenheim, or reliving his first memory as a five-year-old watching his local football team while clutching a prayer book, Wenger stresses his life has been built on the pillars of hard work and faith. “It’s amazing that you make your life with the values from childhood. I think all the champions I have met have been the same. They had the root of their motivations in childhood.”

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