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» Transfer news LIVE: Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool latest plus done deals
Chelsea look to be the busiest club this month - but don't count out Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United
» Lionel Messi comes to Barcelona's rescue in Copa del Rey comeback win over Levante
BARCELONA 3-0 LEVANTE (AGG 4-2): Messi made both Ousmane Dembele's goals and scored one himself as Barca turned things around
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 'set for make-or-break interview' to decide Man Utd future
United's caretaker boss has reinvigorated the club and the Red Devils have won six in a row
» Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin lead Premier League stars at NBA London
NEW YORK KNICKS 100-101 WASHINGTON WIZARDS: A host of stars were in attendance at the O2 Arena, to witness a controversial ending
» Gonzalo Higuain transfer: Chelsea agree to sign striker in 18-month loan deal
Juventus' Higuain lined up to arrive on Friday and seal Chelsea reunion with his old Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri
» Marko Arnautovic transfer news: Manuel Pellegrini reveals ONLY way star leaves
Shanghai SIPG have until the end of NEXT month to get Arnautovic but West Ham boss Pellegrini is digging his heels in
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backed by Prem boss as Paul Ince plays down Man Utd revival
Paul Ince said "anyone could have gone in and done what he's done", but Brighton's Hughton defends six-out-of-six Solskjaer
» Most expensive squad in world football revealed - and it's in the Premier League
UEFA review of football finances states City have the most expensive squad — while Crystal Palace make surprise appearance
» Jamie Vardy shocks Claude Puel dressed as SPIDER-MAN amid Brendan Rodgers to Leicester talk
Leicester boss Puel has come under fire from the club's supporters
» Callum Hudson-Odoi transfer takes fresh twist amid Bayern offer
Germans are willing to pay Chelsea £35m for teen winger Hudson-Odoi, who has yet to start a Premier League game
» Transfer news LIVE: Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool latest plus done deals
Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd are all looking to complete transfers - all the latest news here
» Jack Clarke transfer: Leeds reject Crystal Palace enquiry for teen star
The 18-year-old winger is being tracked by a number of top-flight clubs, and is currently thriving at Elland Road
» John Cross' Footie5 Predictions: Beat chief sports writer to try and net £25k
We've picked five of this weekend's Premier League games - can you call them all?
» Jadon Sancho transfer: Borussia Dortmund send message to clubs eyeing England sensation
The 18-year-old sensation has lit up the Bundesliga for BVB this season
» Liverpool fans love Robbie Fowler's reaction to Andy Robertson's new contract
The Scotland captain has inked a new deal at Anfield, signing improved terms until 2024
» Why Per Mertesacker snubbed Arsenal vs Tottenham for NBA match
The Arsenal academy boss was at The O2 instead of on the touchline for Arsenal's Youth Cup clash
» Jose Mourinho reveals what really happened with Mohamed Salah's Chelsea exit
Salah has starred for Liverpool, having endured a disappointing first stint in English football at Stamford Bridge
» Spygate is funny, but Frank Lampard will learn from Marcelo Bielsa's showboating
Many seem to feel rookie Derby boss Lampard looks worse than Leeds' wily Bielsa in spying saga, and that is grossly unfair
» Jose Mourinho reveals the best team he has managed - and it's not Man Utd
Mourinho has spent 17 years in management in Portugal, Spain, Italy and England
» Paul Pogba reveals 4 crucial tactical changes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made at Man Utd
How do you make Manchester United, Manchester United again? According to the World Cup winner, here's how...
» Ashley Cole considers shock return to English football after LA Galaxy exit
Cole spent two years with the MLS side before he was released at the end of last season
» Chelsea dumping Diego Costa by text set to cost them £100million
Looming Gonzalo Higuain deal shows Chelsea are still counting the cost of Antonio Conte's infamous 2017 message to Costa
» Andrew Robertson signs new five-year Liverpool contract
The Scotland captain has improved immeasurably under Jurgen Klopp and has tied his future to the Reds until 2024
» Paul Pogba in Jose Mourinho dig as he hails Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Man Utd changes
The Red Devils have won six out of six under the Norwegian, including the weekend victory at Tottenham

Football resources

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Other sport news:

» Martin O’Neill boards the Nottingham Forest train and wants express start
O’Neill won two European Cups with the club as a player and is targeting promotion to the top flight after a 20-year hiatus

As Martin O’Neill reflected on what it was like to be the new manager of Nottingham Forest, back at the club where he won two European Cups and once spoke of it being “like getting on a train and never getting off”, he made it clear why the idea of following in Brian Clough’s footsteps – albeit 20 managerial changes further down the line – had been so attractive.

“Firstly, just the name: Nottingham Forest,” he said. “It’s an extraordinarily brilliant name for a football club. Really, it’s not like you can attach a ‘United’ or a ‘City’ to it and, for me to be part of it, especially in successful times, was great.

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» Manchester United need to use head not heart over future of Solskjær | Eni Aluko
The interim manager has made a superb start but United should turn to Zinedine Zidane to build a dynasty

I’ve been intrigued to see the reaction to Manchester United’s win against Spurs at the weekend, with lots of supporters and pundits already making a case for why Ole Gunnar Solskjær should be given the job full-time. Prior to the Spurs game, many said “Manchester United haven’t played anyone yet” but the Norwegian quickly showed how far his side have come in defeating a title-challenging Tottenham team.

Related: José Mourinho says Manchester United not ready for modern football

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» Andy Robertson signs ‘no-brainer’ new five-year Liverpool contract
• Scotland full-back is latest to commit long-term future
• ‘This was done in almost record time,’ says Jürgen Klopp

Jürgen Klopp has praised Andy Robertson after the left-back became the latest Liverpool player to commit his long-term future by signing a five-year contract.

Related: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold out for up to month with knee injury

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» Europe’s top-tier football clubs reap benefit of FFP with first overall profit
• 700 top division clubs across 55 leagues record profit of £545m
• Uefa report confirms commercial dominance of Premier League

Clubs across the top divisions of European leagues have recorded an overall profit for the first time, reversing years of losses before the implementation of financial fair play (FFP) rules, a Uefa analysis of the 2017 financial year has revealed.

The unprecedented “bottom line” profit, a total of €615m (£545m) made by the 700 top-flight clubs in Europe’s 55 national leagues, represents a fundamental turnaround since 2008-11, when clubs’ total losses amounted to more than €5bn (£4.4bn), Uefa said.

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» With his ‘spygate’ PowerPoint, Marcelo Bielsa has enhanced his legend | Jonathan Wilson
The Leeds manager has an almost pathological honesty and there are few people in football so ready to admit fault as him

Marcelo Bielsa’s first job in coaching was at the city university in Buenos Aires. He had not made it as a player, too slow to make more than four appearances in central defence for Newell’s Old Boys. He had floated about the lower leagues for a while, studying agronomy and physical education. A university side was an obvious stepping-stone to greater things, but Bielsa did not treat it as such. Rather, he watched 3,000 players before selecting his squad of 20.

The 63-year-old has always been meticulous. When he was given a job in youth development at Newell’s, he wondered whether clubs were missing out on players from the interior, so got a map of Argentina, divided it into 70 sections and arranged a trial in each. Because he did not like flying, he ended up driving more than 5,000 miles in his Fiat 147 to see the results, establishing a theme that would become familiar of human fallibility, often his own, banging up against his plans and principles.

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» Huddersfield’s sporting director follows David Wagner out of club
• Olaf Rebbe had good relationship with fellow German Wagner
• Willy Sagnol and Jan Siewert among manager’s job candidates

Huddersfield have parted company with their sporting director, Olaf Rebbe, three days after manager David Wagner left by mutual consent. The Premier League’s bottom club thus have two significant vacancies as they search for an improbable escape route from relegation.

Rebbe, who joined Huddersfield last May after being let go by Wolfsburg, would have had a say in the appointment of Wagner’s successor even if his role did not carry as much power as that of people with similar job titles at some clubs. He would have had a big influence over any transfers between now and the closure of the transfer window. Rebbe had a good relationship with Wagner and worked with his fellow German on player recruitment in addition to overseeing scouting, analysis, sports science and medicine. Huddersfield are keen to appoint a permanent successor to Wagner soon, with the under-23 coach, Mark Hudson, in temporary charge of the first team for Sunday’s Premier League match at home to Manchester City. Contenders for the position on a full-time basis include Willy Sagnol, formerly in charge of Bordeaux and Bayern Munich, and Jan Siewert, the 36-year-old head of Borussia Dortmund’s reserves. Wagner held the same job before being headhunted by Huddersfield in November 2015.

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» José Mourinho says Manchester United not ready for modern football

• ‘People don’t know what is going on behind the scenes’
• Portuguese says his next job will be in ‘top-level football’

José Mourinho has used his first major interview since Manchester United sacked him to suggest that his former club does not have the structure in place to cope with the demands of modern football, with player power now heavily influencing the game.

Related: Manchester United need to use head not heart over future of Solskjær | Eni Aluko

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» Ashley Cole discusses Derby County move to reunite with Frank Lampard
• Full-back, 38, has been without a club since November
• Retirement also being considered by former Chelsea player

Ashley Cole is in talks with Derby County with a view to joining the Championship club until the end of the season. The 38-year-old former England international is understood to be weighing up whether to sign a short-term deal for Derby in a move that would see him reunited with Frank Lampard, his former Chelsea teammate, or whether to call time on a distinguished career.

Related: Transfer window January 2019 – every deal from Europe's top five leagues

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» Premier League braced for chief executive hunt to take until end of year
• Fresh blow after BBC’s Tim Davie also turns down the role
• Dawn Airey a potential candidate in drawn-out process

The Premier League are braced for their hunt to find a new chief executive to take until the end of the year after being rebuffed by a second candidate to fill the vacancy left by Richard Scudamore.

Tim Davie, the chief executive of BBC Studios, turned down the Premier League’s advances on Wednesday, forcing the governing body to turn once again to their shortlist of candidates. Their first choice, Susanna Dinnage, pulled out of replacing Scudamore at the end of last year just weeks before she was meant to start the job.

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» Marco Silva happy with Everton squad and says reinforcements are unlikely
• ‘It is not a frustrating situation,’ says manager
• Richarlison likely to remain main striker

Marco Silva has confirmed Everton are unlikely to spend any money in the current transfer window unless they sell a player first, but says he is happy enough to work with the present squad.

“We have our goals for the season and they won’t change whether we sign players or not,” the Everton manager said. “We don’t have the financial conditions to go into the market at the moment, I have to find different solutions. We will only be using the market if we sell one of our players, but that doesn’t mean I am looking to sell to raise funds.

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» Transfer window January 2019 – every deal from Europe's top five leagues

All the latest deals and club-by-club guides for the top divisions in England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany

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» El Loco, Huddersfield and trouble at Arsenal – Football Weekly Extra

Faye Carruthers, Barry Glendenning, Paolo Bandini and Lars Sivertsen talk Marcelo Bielsa, David Wagner’s Huddersfield exit, Gonzalo Higuaín’s mooted Chelsea move and Amy Lawrence joins us to talk all things Arsenal

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

We look back at the last few days of football news and action, starting with the impromptu press briefing called by Marcelo Bielsa to address the morality and legality of his scouting methods.

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» Unai Emery casts doubt over any Arsenal loan signing in January
• Emery: ‘Not easy to take players that can help us now’
• Manager working ‘normally’ with departing Sven Mislintat

Unai Emery has made it clear that bringing a loan signing to Arsenal this month will be difficult, although the manager suggested the impending departure of the club’s head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, would have no effect on their efforts in the transfer market.

Emery said last week that Arsenal were exploring loan deals only – the club spent heavily by their standards last summer – and he has an interest in Barcelona’s Denis Suárez, who would bring a fresh option on the wing. Emery has other targets such as the Sevilla midfielder Éver Banega as the club look to plan for the end-of-season departure of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus on a free transfer.

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» Hillsborough trial: police chief unfairly singled out, court told

David Duckenfield’s defence lawyer tells jury other factors contributed to disaster

The manslaughter prosecution against David Duckenfield, the former South Yorkshire police officer in command at Hillsborough when 96 people were killed in a crush, is “unfair”, his barrister has argued.

Ben Myers QC, setting out the issues on which he will base Duckenfield’s defence, said he was being “singled out unfairly”, that many other people made mistakes, and other factors contributed to the disaster – including the behaviour of some Liverpool football club supporters.

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» Journalist who exposed football corruption shot dead in Ghana

Exposés by Ahmed Husein, who died in Accra, had also lifted lid on corruption in judicial system

A Ghanaian journalist who helped expose corruption in African football has been shot dead in Accra.

Ahmed Husein was part of a team led by award-winning journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, whose investigation led to the resignation of the head of the Ghana Football Association.

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» Tottenham’s Mousa Dembélé joins Guangzhou R&F for £11m
• Belgian leaves Spurs after six and a half years at the club
• Pochettino called him ‘a genius’ and he will be missed by fans

Tottenham have confirmed the £11m departure of Mousa Dembélé – a player that the manager, Mauricio Pochettino, describes as a “genius” and one the club’s supporters held dear during his six and a half years with them – to Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League.

Related: Mousa Dembélé – part ballerina, part tank but the complete midfielder | Bart Vlietstra

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» Frank Lampard hits out at Bielsa after Derby sink Southampton in shootout

Marcelo Bielsa might have been able to tell everyone this before the game but penalties were required to separate Southampton and Derby in their third-round FA Cup replay. It was Frank Lampard’s side who held their nerve and go through to face Accrington Stanley in the fourth round after Nathan Redmond was the only man to miss in the shootout, the winning kick struck home by the unlikely figure of Richard Keogh.

Related: Marcelo Bielsa admits Leeds have spied on every opponent this season

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» Chelsea close to signing Higuaín with Morata set to join Atlético Madrid
• Argentina striker set to cut short Milan loan spell
• Move would pave way for Álvaro Morata to join Atlético

Chelsea are close to securing the signing of Gonzalo Higuaín from Juventus after submitting a formal offer for the Argentina international.

Related: Chelsea should think twice about Leandro Paredes and Gonzalo Higuaín

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» Thierry Henry sees Monaco hope amid VAR drama of draw with Vieira’s Nice

Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira occupied their own intensely involved worlds for almost two hours but, when their first taste of temporary enmity was done, they could look one another in the eye. Both men have influenced far better matches than this Derby de La Côte d’Azur, which conjured up a steady enough stream of flashpoints but laid bare the dearth of quality they must attempt to correct. In the end a draw between two winners kept everyone broadly happy and, in the case of Henry and Monaco, ensured the pressure of a relegation battle gets no graver for now.

Related: Cesc Fàbregas says he feels young again after move to Monaco

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» Jonny Williams: ‘People said it’s nice to see some honesty from a footballer’
The midfielder on being in the Sunderland ’Til I Die documentary, starting afresh at Charlton and his desire to play for Wales again

“I didn’t get a dog. But I’m still thinking about it,” confides Jonny Williams. “I want a cute one that isn’t going to give me too many problems.”

It has been a fortnight since the Wales international and reluctant star of the Sunderland ’Til I Die documentary took the hardest decision of his career so far. After five loan spells that culminated in his ill-fated sojourn on Wearside, Williams finally left Crystal Palace for Charlton on a permanent deal.

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» The strange allure of the half-time raffle at football matches

The prizes are terrible and the odds of winning are suspiciously slim but the half-time draw is hard to resist

By Harry Pearson for WSC, of the Guardian Sport Network

A gnarled gaggle of committeemen stood around the gateman’s hut discussing what to serve the match officials for tea. One of that afternoon’s assistant referees had a reputation for Saturday nights on the beer and there was a widespread belief that he refused to flag for offside for fear of tiring his drinking arm. “Have we got any of them rock hard Jaffa Cakes left over from the last home match?” one of the committeemen said. “Aye,” another replied, “the birds wouldn’t eat them.” The first speaker looked up at me and winked. “Even the rats bring a packed lunch round here,” he said. “D’you want a ticket for the half-time draw? Pound a strip.”

I bought one, more out of charity than in anticipation of victory. In 25 years of attending non-league football I’ve not won a single raffle prize. A conservative reckoning of the number of tickets I’ve bought over that period would be 2,000. Given that attendances rarely top 250, are quite often down in double digits and at places like Shotton Comrades in the late 1990s struggled even to make that, the odds against anyone pulling off quite such a phenomenal run of failure must be astronomical. Later, when I thought about it, I felt my chest swell with what I took to be pride, though on reconsideration it may just have been the scotch egg I’d had at half time.

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» Arsenal’s sunny outlook is now threatened by gathering clouds

After grand plans, unbeaten runs and good vibes come shabby results, transfer issues and Sven Mislintat’s impending exit

Three months ago, with the autumn sunshine beaming into the boardroom Arsenal built to overlook the pitches of their Hertfordshire training base, ambition seemed to course from the new leadership team promoted to run the club in place of the outgoing Ivan Gazidis.

Related: Football transfer rumours: Arsenal to secure James Rodríguez for £3m?

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» Leeds’ spying should be treated as a form of entertainment, not cheating | Paul Wilson

With gameplans on show in matches and training grounds often visible from outside, is hiding in a hedge really that bad?

One hopes Marcelo Bielsa does not get punished too severely after admitting that he spies on everyone. The Leeds United manager confessed immediately when caught blatantly watching Derby County training sessions, contacting Frank Lampard and taking responsibility for the stunt, and was reminded by his own club of Leeds’s “integrity and honesty”. That alone should have been enough to conclude this entertaining episode with the wry smile it deserved, although Bielsa gave it fresh impetus with his honesty offensive.

Related: Marcelo Bielsa admits Leeds have spied on every opponent this season

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» Which football teams doctored their playing surface to hinder opponents? | The Knowledge

Plus: top-scoring defenders, non-league double delight and strange middle names. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“Pep Guardiola says he didn’t leave the Etihad grass long against Liverpool. But which teams or managers have used this tactic to help their own side or hinder an opponent?” asks George Jones.

Let’s start with the Poundland Machiavelli, former Cambridge and Lincoln innovator John Beck. Everyone in football knows about the infamous Beck and the stunts he used to pull at Cambridge. He brought in statisticians to lecture his players about how few passes were needed to score. He had the grass grown several inches long in the corners to hold up the ball when his players knocked it over the top. During the week they would rough up the pitch so anybody who tried to play football against them was at a disadvantage. “We just used to boot it upfield, so it didn’t really matter to us,” Steve Claridge recalls in his autobiography.

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» 'I observed all the rivals we played': Marcelo Bielsa's 'spygate' presentation – video

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that he has spied on all of his sides opponents this season. One of Bielsa's staff was recently caught observing Derby County prior to their match in the Championship. 'So why did I send someone to watch them?' said Bielsa. 'I wasn't violating the norm.' The Argentinian also gave a lengthy PowerPoint presentation to a room packed with journalists outlining the extensive analysis he does on each opponent

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» Thierry Henry won't like Patrick Vieira for a 'little bit' during Monaco v Nice – video

Monaco head coach Thierry Henry has joked that he and former teammate Patrick Vieira 'won't like each other for a little bit' when the Ligue-1 strugglers play Nice on 16 January.

Henry played alongside Vieira, who now manages eighth-place Nice, for Arsenal from 1999 to 2005, winning two Premier League titles and two FA Cups along the way. The pair also lifted the World Cup together with France in 1998.

'We played with each other, battled with each other, in the national team and with Arsenal. But, it's going to be Monaco versus Nice. That's the most important thing,' Henry told the media ahead of the match at the Stade Louis II 

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» Solskjær praises De Gea's heroics and Manchester United's 'blistering pace' after Spurs win – video

Ole Gunnar Solskjær lauded David de Gea after a breathtaking display at Tottenham that underlined to the Manchester United caretaker manager that he has the 'best goalkeeper in the world'. 

Marcus Rashford's sublime first-half strike sealed a 1-0 win against Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs and extended Solskjær's winning start to a club-record sixth successive match in all competitions, but the main subject of conversation afterwards was De Gea. 

After a quiet opening period, the United goalkeeper pulled off 11 saves in an exceptional second-half display to earn plaudits aplenty. 

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» Mauricio Pochettino 'worried' about Harry Kane injury in Manchester United defeat – video

Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he is ‘worried’ about the extent of Harry Kane’s ankle injury, which the striker suffered during Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Wembley.

The England captain was injured at the end of the match after being caught in the middle of Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof. Any lengthy absence for Kane would leave Spurs short of attacking options, with Son Heung-min going away on international duty, Lucas Moura still injured himself and Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen expected to leave the club this month.

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» 'To hell with the rest of the world': Neil Warnock attacks government's handling of Brexit - video

Neil Warnock has used a post-match press conference to attack the government's handling of Brexit negotiations - insisting a clean exit form the EU will be better for Britain 'football-wise', and 'in every aspect'

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» 'I need a player for that position': Sarri asks Chelsea for Fàbregas replacement - video

Maurizio Sarri insisted that Chelsea need a replacement for Cesc Fàbregas after his side's 2-1 Premier League victory over Newcastle on Saturday. Central midfielder Fàbregas joined Monaco on Friday, leaving Jorginho as the only player Sarri considers capable of playing the pivot position in his preferred formation.

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» David Squires on ... the Socceroos' progress at the Asian Cup

Our cartoonist reflects on Australia’s late win over Syria – and the tournament’s outrageously large accreditation lanyards

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» Refereeing decisions blight wild match as Socceroos advance | Scott McIntyre

The official played a part but, inspired by Tom Rogic, Australia were deserving winners over Syria

In the middle of 2018 an influential Saudi royal adviser bought an unheralded Egyptian football club, renamed it Pyramids FC and then proceeded to create a new club logo dominated by a sphinx rather than any actual pyramids.

Amongst the tens of millions that Turki Al-Sheikh spent was the signing of Syrian defender Omar Midani and if the 24-year-old is confused by his new club’s identity he was even more dumfounded after playing a crucial part in a wild match that saw Australia progress to the round of 16 at the Asian Cup.

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» 'All guilty': Marseille fans spell out their anger at players, coach and club

Marseille are without a win in eight games after their dispiriting 1-1 draw at home to Monaco

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

Marseille’s recent travails continued at the Vélodrome on Sunday during and after their disappointing 1-1 draw with Monaco. The game not only underscored issues in terms of their squad building, but also their fans’ heightened level of dissatisfaction. Marseille’s failure to invest in the summer has left the club lacking depth, at least in the opinion of their manager Rudi Garcia.

Not for the first time this season, Garcia picked Luiz Gustavo in central defence. This had been a matter of necessity in the past, as Rolando had been unavailable, but on Sunday Adil Rami sat on the bench while Luiz Gustavo partnered Rolando. Quite apart from what that says about Garcia’s confidence in his defenders, it also robbed the hosts of having their best midfielder playing in his preferred position.

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» 'We need to talk about this': Markus Babbel lashes 'blind' FFA on refereeing
  • Wanderers fall to late Glory winner in 4-3 thriller
  • Controversial penalty scored by Perth’s Juande

Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel has criticised the quality of refereeing in the A-League, saying Football Federation Australia are “blind” if they can’t see there is a problem. Babbel was left fuming after his side suffered a 4-3 loss to Perth Glory on Sunday following a soft penalty decision in the dying minutes.

Referee Kurt Ams pointed to the spot in the 86th minute after judging that Glory striker Andy Keogh had been held by Wanderers defender Brendan Hamill. But replays showed Keogh initially had an arm around Hamill as well while he was backing into the Wanderers defender.

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» Supercoppa controversy rages over Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women
Protests over the decision to hold the Italian Super Cup in Jeddah have grown since murder of Jamal Khashoggi in October

When, early last June, the Italian football league agreed a €20m deal to play three of the next five Italian super cups in Saudi Arabia, it provoked very little controversy. This is, after all, a trophy that has frequently been decided on foreign soil, sometimes in quite unlikely locations.

In 2002, the year that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi bought 6.4m shares in Juventus, the Supercoppa brought the Turin side to play Parma in Tripoli. Since then the match has been hosted once by the United States, twice by Qatar and four times by China. Wednesday’s game between Milan and Juve in Jeddah will be the sixth time in 10 years that the Supercoppa has been decided outside Europe.

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» Shay Evans: the groundbreaking Indigenous footballer unafraid to push back | Michael McGowan

From playing barefoot in a remote Northern Territory town to Sydney FC, the 17-year-old’s journey has been remarkable

When Shadeene “Shay” Evans made her W-League debut on Thursday night it marked another step in the career of a footballer long touted as one of Australia’s brightest prospects. The 17-year-old striker’s 82nd minute introduction in Sydney FC’s 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Leichhardt Oval was just reward for a player who has developed a reputation among her teammates as a “fighter” with a fierce competitive streak.

“I think back home, competing against the boys, I reckon it comes from that,” she tells Guardian Australia. “The boys up there are pretty rough with everyone and I reckon I just thought, if they give me a push why not give them a push back. But I’ve always been competitive and rough and tough. When I’m training, in the games. Even going out hunting and stuff, chasing goannas, things like that, I always want to give it my best.”

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» Mabil and Maclaren put Australia on course for Asian Cup win over Palestine
  • Palestine 0-3 Australia
  • Socceroos’ qualification chances remain alive after victory

While tougher challenges lie ahead, the Socceroos answered some of the questions being posed of their quality as they produced a scintillating performance to beat Palestine 3-0 in front of 11,915 fans in Dubai.

A first-half one-two punch from the Australians did the bulk of the damage. The opener came in the 18th minute as a delightfully weighted cross from Chris Ikonomidis found Jamie Maclaren in between two defenders. Maclaren glanced a header into the far corner to score his first goal for his country.

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» David Squires on ... the first week of the 2019 Asian Cup

Our cartoonist reflects on events in the UAE and a far from ideal opening to the Socceroos’ title defence

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» Australian relief palpable as Socceroos' Asian Cup defence gets back on course | Scott McIntyre

Graham Arnold’s changes have desired effect against limited Palestine side in Dubai

The sight of Mat Ryan – before he donned an AFC branded cap for the second half that made him look like a weekend golfer – running the length of the pitch to celebrate Australia’s first goal in a 3-0 win over Palestine said it all.

The relief of Australia’s first goal at the tournament, coming in the 18th minute, and the first of Jamie Maclaren’s international career was a huge release of the pressure that had been building from the opening Asian Cup loss to Jordan.

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» Mysterious death of Kit Carson leaves too many questions unanswered | Daniel Taylor

Alleged victims may never get the answers they seek about former coach who was set to face trial for child abuse

Of all the many unanswered questions, there is one that leaps out in particular: why, 15 minutes before he was due to start the first day of his trial for multiple child-abuse charges, was the former football coach Kit Carson driving on a country road 45 miles from where he was supposed to be?

The difficult truth is that his alleged victims may never get the answers they seek about why, rather than taking his place in the dock at Peterborough crown court, he was behind the wheel of his red Mazda on the A1303 between Cambridge and Newmarket and, for reasons as yet unexplained, driving in completely the wrong direction.

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» Farewell to Cesc Fàbregas, the conjuror, creator and tempo dictator | Sean Ingle

Whether for Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona or Spain, at his peak the midfielder was the supreme master of the assist

After Cesc Fàbregas had uttered his fond farewells to Chelsea on Friday night, the club’s social media team posted a collection of his greatest assists. Most were 40- or 50-yard passes, launched from within his own half. Yet whether the ball was caressed or caned, sent skyward or scuttling along the ground, it always landed precisely on the foot of a teammate. It provoked the same quiet awe as seeing a major golf winner repeatedly hit a flop wedge to within four feet of the flag, no matter how dicey the approach, or dangerous the lie.

That, I think, is how the Premier League will remember the Spaniard. Sitting deep, unlocking defences, redefining the art of the assist. Yet at his peak, somewhere in his early to mid 20s, Fàbregas was much more than that. Not only a conjuror but a conductor too, able to dictate the tempo and flow of a game as well as change it in an instant – and also buzzy enough to get around the pitch and in opponent’s faces.

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» Can Franck Ribéry not have his gold-leaf steak and eat it? | Barney Ronay

The Bayern Munich forward has been vilified for his display of wealth in Dubai but that ire would be better directed at the excesses of the game rather than those who play it

In his book This One’s On Me Jimmy Greaves describes the pre-match meals of his playing days in the 1960s. At West Ham it was all down to Moody’s cafe for a full roast dinner and apple crumble for pudding. As an England player Greaves records, with some reverence, the pre-match habits of Gordon Banks, who in line with the sports science of the day would prepare himself for a game with a huge steak served with both boiled and roast potatoes, all washed down with “a large bowl of rice pudding”.

Looking back now it is probably a good thing social media wasn’t around in the mid-60s. It isn’t hard to imagine the wider response to such wanton displays of starch-based excess. Banks Flaunts Roast Riches. Soccer Ace in Boiled AND Roasted Shame. Potato Bae: Gloveman Rocked By Double-Spud storm.

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» The Fiver | Pontificating about the Corinthian spirit of fair play

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One of the few benefits of being related to this tea-timely email’s book-writing, cricket-playing, pyramid-inverting, tactics-obsessed Wearside cousin Mackem Lobanovskyi 4-2-3-1 False Nine Wilson Fiver, is that we’ve been looped in on the whole Marcelo Bielsa phenomenon since before it became fashionable on Wednesday. While Proper Journalists were taking time out from trying to procure and publish sneak previews of England team-sheets to pontificate about the Corinthian spirit of fair play, our cousin took time out of boring us with his batting average and bowling figures to regale us with stories about the man they call El Loco.

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» Football transfer rumours: Emerson Palmieri to leave Chelsea for Juventus?

Today’s tittle-tattle has never known more about Derby County

Not content with having a name that makes him sound like two-thirds of a 1970s London prog rock band, Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri is now the subject of interest from Juventus. A bit-part player at Stamford Bridge, the Italian international has played only two Premier League games this season and would go to Turin as cover for Alex Sandro.

Related: Chelsea close to signing Higuaín with Morata set to join Atlético Madrid

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» David Squires on … football spying and Neil Warnock's Brexit views

Our cartoonist looks at the off-field stories dominating the headlines at Leeds, Derby, Cardiff … and Newcastle

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» Megavalanche, footballers dancing badly and a perfect 10 | Classic YouTube

Also featuring a full-court buzzer beater, some dire defending and a 1956 lap round Le Mans (including oncoming traffic)

1) Clear some time in your day, strap in and relive the 40 minutes of mayhem that was Megavalanche 2018 from the point of view of the winning rider, Damien Oton, who somehow stayed upright while whizzing down the French Alps on a bike … in the snow.

2) There have been plenty of dancing footballers down the years but not many quite so enthusiastic as Raul Meireles in Lip Sync Portugal. Just look at those shoulders go. He’s got form from his playing days, mind. But spare a thought for poor Mo Salah. He would have probably preferred Sadio Mané to win African Footballer of the Year had he known he was going to be forced to dance on stage by Youssou N’Dour. And we’re not sure about Carlos Tevez’s moves in this video when he was in a band called Piola Vago. He looks as if he’s having much more fun than he ever had in the Chinese Super League, though. Sergio Agüero is another South American footballer whose body moves better on a pitch than in time to music. Here he is self consciously fronting a song about himself by the band Los Leales. Youri Djorkaeff takes his dancing far too seriously in this R&B effort. And Jürgen Klopp did a bit of dad-dancing recently too. We’ve seen worse.

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

Manchester City go top after Chelsea blow the title race wide open with victory over threadbare Arsenal

Make no mistake, the title race is wide open now. Chelsea were scintillating at Arsenal and Emma Hayes should be lauded for getting her tactics spot-on. They pressed a makeshift Arsenal backline with real ferocity, defending tirelessly from the front and forcing the home side into a first half full of errors. The energy of Beth England, Karen Carney and Erin Cuthbert, who scored their two goals, was fundamental to their approach. It was evident from the opening minutes that Chelsea, who have not lost since going down 5-0 at home to Arsenal on 14 October, were the team with the momentum and that they were attacking something of a wounded animal. The resources on their bench, which was full of seasoned internationals like Fran Kirby and Anita Asante, are astonishing and they are beginning to reap the rewards of the investment they made to bolster last season’s squad. This was their seventh successive league win and they are gunning for honours in all four major competitions. In this form, and with the belief palpably oozing from them, you would not bet against them achieving something special.

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» The forgotten story of … Di Jones and the footballers who died of tetanus

The infection was a serious threat to British players in the years before a vaccination was introduced, claiming several lives, including that of the Manchester City full-back in 1902

In the past five recorded years, there have been 29 confirmed cases of tetanus in England and Wales and two fatalities, both women in their 80s. Vaccination has been so successful that the vicious, fatal effect of the infection has been forgotten.

But before a vaccination was introduced in the UK in 1961 tetanus was startlingly common and, as it is possible for even the most trivial wound to lead to infection, it made almost any activity potentially fatal. To give a few British-based examples: in 1923 a seven-year-old died after hurting his hand on a toy pistol; in 1927 a farmer died after falling over a pig; the previous year a 62-year-old woman died after scraping her elbow while picking peas; and in August 1899 a man died from an injury sustained while playing the leisurely garden game of quoits. His was the fourth death from tetanus in Kent that week.

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

Your weekend roundup of the best photography from England’s top flight

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» The Joy of Six: Norwegians in English football

From Lars Bohinen to Morten Gamst Pedersen, some of the most enjoyable (but not necessarily the best) cult heroes from across the North Sea

Just as Belgians were à la mode for the early and middle parts of this decade, for a while in the 1990s there was hardly a Premier League club that would dare be seen in public without a Norwegian. The most significant influx was sparked by one of English football’s darker nights of the soul, a 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat in Oslo that saw Egil Olsen’s Norway provide live ammunition for cult documentary makers.

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» Mauricio Pochettino should reject United and make history at Spurs | Eni Aluko

Why take on a rebuilding job in Manchester when he could win Tottenham the title for the first time in almost 60 years with a little help from the board?

Mauricio Pochettino knows he is the most coveted manager in football right now. I can only describe his comments this week about his future at Tottenham as a direct call for action to the club’s board following his show of loyalty. I understood Pochettino to be saying to them: “I have showed and I am showing my loyalty to you by batting away the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United, but now if you back me financially I want to stay for the next 20 years”.

Pochettino has been at Tottenham for five years, which is rare in modern football and yet has spent a lot less money than rivals clubs who challenge for the Premier League. Jürgen Klopp has turned Liverpool into real title contenders in only three years and has had to spend a lot of money to try to bridge the gap to Manchester City. But Klopp has also moulded that team in his own image, with an exciting brand of play which we have seen in abundance this season. Pochettino has done the same but how much of building a team to win the Premier League is down to having much more spending power versus a coach’s ability to change the playing style, tactical blueprint and perhaps most importantly the winning mentality of the team?

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» The best young players in the Championship this season

Tammy Abraham turned down a move to the Premier League this week. He is not the only youngster who could step up

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

Tammy Abraham has already been offered a chance to play in the Premier League in this transfer window. He rejected a loan move to Wolves earlier this week in favour of staying with Aston Villa to help with their push for promotion. Not every player would turn down a Premier League club but his decision may prove wise. There’s little doubt the 21-year-old striker will be a Premier League player next season, wherever that may be, so his choice to stick with a side and system that play to his strengths is admirable. Abraham, who has two England caps, is the joint top scorer in the Championship this season with 16 goals in 20 appearances – and 12 of those goals have come in his last 10 games. Rating: 7.40

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» Sky-high mascot fees prove nothing is beneath Premier League profiteers | Richard Williams
Introducing a child to their heroes should be priceless. Sadly, a number of top clubs don’t know the meaning of the word

You can keep your prawn sandwiches, your camo-wrapped Bentleys and even the in-stadium fromagerie at the new White Hart Lane. The latest symbol of wretched excess in the world of the Premier League is the £700 charged by West Ham to the parents of the children who walk out of the tunnel alongside their players before a major home match.

What, you might have been forgiven for assuming, could be a better sign of the enduring connection between the top level of professional football and the innocent enthusiasm of children in the early stages of forming a bond with the game than the practice of inviting some of them to hold hands with players of worldwide renown and stratospheric earning power as they make their way on to the pitch? The players get some brief contact with the real world. For the children, there is a precious glimpse of the stadium from their heroes’ point of view, filled with noise and colour.

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