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» Man Utd release statement on players signed in transfer window amid Ed Woodward criticism
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has come under fire from fans
» FA urged to act on Bernardo Silva’s “offensive” tweet as Kick It Out issue statement
The Portugal midfielder Bernardo posted an image appearing to compare Benjamin Mendy to a mascot for a Spanish chocolate peanut brand
» Frank Lampard reacts to Chelsea fans clapping after Jose Mourinho admits 'big club' fears
Jose Mourinho fears Chelsea fans accepting defeat could result in them losing their 'big club status'
» Premier League team of the week as Liverpool duo joined by Man City and Arsenal stars
Liverpool maintained their five point lead at the top of the Premier League while Man City thrashed Watford and Arsenal beat Aston Villa
» Bernd Leno shares what Arsenal players discussed at half time in Aston Villa comeback
Arsenal came from behind twice to beat newly-promoted Aston Villa at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon
» Chelsea's Mason Mount gives verdict on Premier League top four race
The Blues are 11th in the top-flight table after their opening six matches
» Jamie Carragher hits back after Roy Keane's brutal put down on Liverpool's title failure
Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher engaged in a heated debate following Manchester United's defeat by West Ham
» Wembley set to host 2023 Champions League final
The national stadium held the final back in 2013 and is poised to play host again
» FA Cup third qualifying round draw LIVE from Wembley as fixtures are determined
The fixtures for the third qualifying round of the FA Cup are decided on Monday afternoon with the draw from Wembley
» Man Utd warning for all fans affected by Thomas Cook collapse
Thomas Cook collapsed on Monday, with the CAA confirming the travel firm had "ceased trading with immediate effect"
» Chelsea boss Frank Lampard sends Christian Pulisic message after Liverpool snub
Christian Pulisic was an unused substitute for Chelsea's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool with Frank Lampard preferring Mason Mount
» Roy Keane makes damning Arsenal Premier League prediction despite Aston Villa win
The Manchester United legend believes a Premier League top four finish is there for the taking this season
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer checks in for training as under-fire Man Utd boss provides update amid striker crisis
Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford are among Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Man Utd injury list
» Liverpool respond to Thomas Cook collapse as fans face missing out on hospitality packages
Thomas Cook sell 360 hospitality packages for every home game at Anfield - a total of 6,840 for the season
» Man Utd boss tells Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford to focus on football, not fashion
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken to Man Utd stars Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard's over their focus
» Chelsea fans explain why a massive Eden Hazard banner was unveiled against Liverpool
Sky Sports viewers were confused by the massive banner that was unveiled ahead of Chelsea's defeat by Liverpool
» Roy Keane casts serious doubt on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future at Man Utd after West Ham
Manchester United were comfortable beaten 2-0 by West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday
» Marcus Rashford is not a goal scorer - Man Utd were negligent for selling Romelu Lukaku
Marcus Rashford has scored three goals this season, two from the penalty spot, for Man Utd as Romelu Lukaku stars at Inter Milan
» Jose Mourinho says he deserved to be sacked as Man Utd boss
Mourinho was axed by Manchester United in December after a poor run of results
» Chris Sutton reveals staggering amount it would cost to sort out Man Utd
The Red Devils slumped to defeat at West Ham on Saturday to leave them trailing leaders Liverpool by 10 points
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces huge Marcus Rashford decision after West Ham defeat
Manchester United boss must use injury lay-off to decide how to get best out of struggling striker
» Gary Neville questions Ole Gunnar Solskjaer substitution in Man Utd defeat to West Ham
Injury crisis has exposed lack of sufficient recruitment as United don't have enough experience on pitch
» Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reveals reaction to Man City's 8-0 thrashing of Watford
City's swatting of Hornets didn't sting says Reds boss as his side still sit five clear at Premier League summit
» Jose Mourinho tells Man Utd boss how to get best out of Marcus Rashford
Striker was injured in defeat to West Ham but Mourinho reckons he should be playing different position
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» Mark Noble the beating heart of West Ham wherever they want to call home | Richard Williams
Many West Ham fans feel the club is not the same since the move from Upton Park but their captain is a player who embodies the unselfish work ethic of many of his predecessors

‘This is not a bear pit,” one of the Sky pundits said of West Ham’s new home on Sunday. “This is not the old Upton Park.” In geographical, architectural and atmospheric terms, no dispute there. But one man in the claret and blue performed against Manchester United as though he had made his way to work past the market stalls and the Boleyn pub on Green Street and stopped for pie and mash at Nathan’s before taking to the pitch with the hot breath of the crowd on his neck and the anthems of the home supporters shaking the old stands. And that player won the man of the match award.

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

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» N’Golo Kanté is Chelsea’s dynamic all-rounder in a team lacking structure | Jonathan Wilson

Jorginho’s arrival means the midfielder plays further upfield, displaying new tricks while still excelling in defence

How much can be expected of a single player? That N’Golo Kanté is an exceptional footballer is no revelation but there is still something remarkable about the fact that the best holding midfielder in the world has become a totemic Roy of the Rovers figure at Chelsea. There he is darting across his own box to stifle a Liverpool attack. There he is slipping a pass in to the edge of the box and looking for a return. And there he is, drifting in from the right and finding the top corner with an ungainly but nonetheless precise finish. He is their alpha and their omega, their beginning and their end. He is all things to all men and by that means he might save some games – but not this one.

Kanté was exceptional against Liverpool, in the second half a blur, the force driving Chelsea forward. Only one Chelsea player made more tackles than him, only one more interceptions than him, only one had more shots than him and nobody completed more dribbles than him. He has, against expectations, transformed himself into a complete midfielder.

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» Kick It Out calls for FA action against Bernardo Silva over Mendy tweet

• Manchester City midfielder’s tweet being looked at by FA
• Silva accused of using ‘racist stereotype’

Kick It Out has called on the Football Association to take action against a “discriminatory” tweet by Bernardo Silva in reference to his Manchester City teammate Benjamin Mendy.

Related: FA looking into tweet posted by Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva

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» Inter’s perfect start is flattering but they are in better shape than Milan | Nicky Bandini

Antonio Conte’s side won the Milan derby and while he still has much to work on at Inter the San Siro worry lines belong to his Milan counterpart Marco Giampaolo

Antonio Conte never went home on Tuesday night. He was too angry – too “seriously pissed off”, in his own words – to imagine that he could get a good night’s sleep after Inter’s Champions League draw with Slavia Prague, so he went directly from San Siro back to his club’s training ground instead. The only way to work through his frustrations, was to work.

“Head down and keep pedalling.” That was the mantra Conte gave at his introductory Inter press conference in July, and which he has returned to several times since. A little cheesy, for a man who accused his critics of speaking in cliches when they brought up his history of underwhelming European results this week, but you could not accuse him of failing to practice what he preaches.

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» Tuchel must curb hype after Neymar completes PSG's perfect week

A win at Lyon after the rout of Real Madrid has the French press dreaming of European glory but we have been here before

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

PSG must act as if they’ve achieved nothing despite a pitch-perfect week.

“If anyone asks if we are going to win the Champions League, I’m leaving.” Thomas Tuchel’s opening line at Wednesday night’s post-match presser was said in jest, but he may have unwittingly stumbled upon the right idea. The 3-0 drubbing of Real Madrid was a high water mark for the German’s reign so far, but the club have been here before. On those occasions the 6-1 ‘remontada’ at the Camp Nou and the soul destroying exit to Manchester United, which L’Équipe’s front page called “even worse”, eventually arrived to humiliate PSG. As Sunday night’s encounter with Lyon underlined, simply managing this latest heightening of expectations could be pivotal to Tuchel’s success.

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

Solskjær’s diplomacy masks United problems, De Bruyne in the ascendancy and Xhaka’s poor form gives Emery a tough choice

Unai Emery is yet to find the right balance for his midfield but the claim of his de facto captain, Granit Xhaka, to be part of it is looking decidedly tenuous. First things first: the Switzerland international is a good player who cares tremendously and does not deserve anything like the negative reception he received upon his substitution against Aston Villa after 72 minutes. But his replacements, Lucas Torreira and the outstanding youngster Joe Willock, helped turbo-charge Arsenal’s comeback while Mattéo Guendouzi played the second half like a man possessed. Xhaka, by contrast, looked hesitant and off the pace. He is nowhere near automatic selection territory on this season’s form and Emery, who has delayed formally announcing Arsenal’s next club captain, may have a tough decision to make. Nick Ames

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» VAR to the fore despite excellence of goals in Liverpool’s victory

César Azpilicueta was denied an equaliser for Chelsea as an imperfect system continues to prevail at important moments

What a night to talk about the brilliance of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s opening goal at Stamford Bridge, to dwell for half a page solely on the parabola of the ball as it left his right foot, flew hard and flat outside the line of the post, then veered back into the top corner.

Related: Roberto Firmino rises above Chelsea to keep up Liverpool’s perfect start

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» Football transfer rumours: Donyell Malen to Arsenal or Liverpool?

Todays’ fluff is not good at doing business

Anyone who has watched Arsenal this season would know exactly what it is they need to take that next vital step towards becoming a fixture of the Premier League’s top four again. Unfortunately “anyone” is not in charge of recruitment at north London’s premier entertainment business, so instead of making a defender who can actually defend a priority, the Gunners will join the queue of clubs looking to sign PSV Eindhoven’s £50m-rated striker Donyell Malen, who has scored 10 goals in 13 games this season. That’s the same Donyell Malen who Arsenal sold to the unbeaten Eredivisie side for just £500,000 two years ago. Even if they really did need a forward, to save face and look vaguely competent, they really shouldn’t let it be known they’re interested in that one. It says here the Gunners will have to duke it out with 45 other unimaginative clubs who have a member of staff who knows how to type “in-form Dutch striker” into Google. Liverpool are on that lengthy list too.

Related: Pogba is at Manchester United for the long haul, says Ole Gunnar Solskjær

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» The Dozen: City's blitz and Azpilicueta's false joy – the best Premier League pictures

Our picture editors choose their favourite images from the weekend’s action

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» Fifa World Cup report shows women’s game has grown technically and tactically | Suzanne Wrack
Fifa’s Technical Study Group report into the World Cup suggests women’s football is becoming a more exciting game

The manager of the US women’s national team, two time World Cup winner Jill Ellis, has talked about her legacy. Having announced at the end of July that she would be stepping down from the post she has held for six years, at Fifa’s conference in Milan to analyse the 2019 World Cup she added to the hype: “It was one of a kind, obviously the second World Cup for me personally, but a wonderful showcase. The numbers don’t lie; our sport is exciting and energising.”

Related: Jill Ellis: where does a women's football coach go after two World Cup titles?

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» Ole Gunnar Solskjær defends United players and rues missed ‘big chances’
• Roy Keane leads chorus of criticism after 2-0 defeat at West Ham
• Manager says nothing wrong with team’s ‘attitude and desire’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær refused to criticise his Manchester United players in public after their insipid defeat at West Ham, insisting that the collective attitude was right and only the quality of their decision-making let them down.

Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell consigned the visitors to defeat and the Sky TV pundits piled in on them, with Roy Keane, the former United captain, saying he was “shocked and saddened by how bad they are”. He added: “Everything about United was lacklustre. No quality. A lack of desire. A lack of leaders. It’s a long way back for them.”

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» Aubameyang breaks Aston Villa hearts as 10-man Arsenal bounce back late on

At some point Arsenal may tire of lurching from famine to feast and offer their supporters a square meal. That day could hardly look further away, though, after a mindboggling 90 minutes into which they distilled their vibrant best and shambolic worst. At half-time there was the sense that the Unai Emery era could be on the verge of falling into accelerated decline. His team were behind to a John McGinn goal and a man down after Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s careless red card. They had barely done a thing right but by the end they were celebrating a man who can do no wrong.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had already scored 13 goals in his last 11 club games so when he won and shaped to take a free-kick just outside the penalty area it was tempting, just for once, to make a prediction in a game involving Arsenal. They had just levelled the score for a second time, through Calum Chambers, and an atmosphere that had previously hummed with discontent was now crackling. The position looked set up for someone of his peerless finishing ability and so it proved, his whipped effort flying past Tom Heaton to send the Emirates delirious.

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» Scottish Premiership roundup: Hickey sinks Hibs to win derby for Hearts
• Hearts come from behind to ease pressure on Craig Levein
• Celtic recover to beat Kilmarnock as Rangers cruise

Hearts came from behind to win the Edinburgh derby 2-1 at Easter Road and alleviate the pressure on their manager, Craig Levein.

Aaron Hickey scored his first Hearts goal in the 84th minute to lift his side off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership and seal their first league win in 13 matches.

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» Diogo Jota’s injury-time equaliser earns winless Wolves a point at Palace

Wolves remain winless, but Diogo Jota’s last-gasp equaliser might just provide them with the boost they badly need. The visitors certainly left Selhurst Park the happier team after grabbing a point when defeat looked certain.

Related: Aaron Cresswell seals victory for West Ham over toothless Manchester United

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» Players nearly walked off pitch over racist abuse, says Dover manager

• Hartlepool condemn racist abuse in melee which delayed game
• Andy Hessenthaler: ‘I wanted them off. It’s a sad day for football’

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler and Hartlepool United’s Craig Hignett said they discussed taking their players off the pitch due to alleged racist abuse in Saturday’s National League game.

Dover won the match 2-0 at Hartlepool’s Victoria Park but the game was overshadowed by the incidents, which followed Dover players celebrating striker Inih Effiong’s 37th-minute penalty in front of home fans.

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» Granada stun Barcelona to go top despite Lionel Messi’s rescue effort

Granada took advantage of Barcelona’s troubles on the road to move top of La Liga with a 2-0 victory at the Estadio Los Cármenes. Ramon Azeez and Álvaro Vadillo netted in either half to leave Barça, who started with Lionel Messi on the bench, without a win in all four away matches this season.

A win against a side they have beaten 11 times in their last 12 league meetings would have taken Barça top of the table on goal difference. But despite the introduction of Messi at half-time, it was Granada who took their opportunity to leapfrog Sevilla and Atlético Madrid and hit the summit.

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» European roundup: Lukaku seals Milan derby win as Ramsey scores for Juve
• Former Manchester United striker scores in convincing 2-0 win
• Philippe Coutinho opens account as Bayern crush Cologne 4-0

Romelu Lukaku’s second-half header stretched Internazionale’s perfect start to the Serie A season to four games as they took the derby spoils against Milan. Lukaku headed home a cross from Nicolò Barella in the 78th minute to add to Marcelo Brozovic’s deflected opener.

Lautaro Martínez also had an effort ruled out after a VAR review as Antonio Conte’s side proved good value for a win which takes them back to the top of the table. Despite their strong domestic start, Inter went into the game under a degree of pressure after needing a late Barella strike to salvage a Champions League draw at home to Slavia Prague in midweek.

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» From Oxford Utd to war-torn Kashmir: ‘It’s not your typical football loan move’

Kashif Siddiqi will join the region’s top club, Real Kashmir – after addressing the UN

As one of the few British Asian professional footballers, Kashif Siddiqi has overcome more than just opponents on the pitch in his quest to fulfil his dream.

Related: Pakistan PM to accuse Modi of complicity in Kashmir 'terrorism'

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» Eden Hazard can shine at Real Madrid without being the new Cristiano Ronaldo | Barney Ronay
The former Chelsea player has the skill and the attitude to succeed at the Bernabéu even if the club is still a little infatuated with the former owner of the No 7 shirt

Eden Hazard’s first start for Real Madrid on Wednesday night was always likely to be a fascinating subplot for anyone who followed his progress in England.

Predictably Hazard was miles off the pace in Paris. This was his first start in a proper football match since June, and his first outing in the full white-noise glare of Champions League-issue Real Madrid.

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» From Hart to Saivet: the Premier League's forgotten men

Whether out of favour or held back by injury, millions of pounds of talent is sitting unused in England’s top flight

Seventy-five England caps are not to be sniffed at but the former Manchester City goalkeeper’s fall has been pretty extraordinary. It is three years since Iceland humiliated England at Euro 2016 and Hart, having failed to repair his reputation at Torino or West Ham, has not started a Premier League game since Boxing Day, a 5-1 home defeat by Everton, which compounded a miserable defensive record: he kept three clean sheets and conceded 41 goals in 19 top-flight matches last season. Not even the departure of Tom Heaton has soothed things for Hart, 32, with Nick Pope restored as Sean Dyche’s No 1 and the arrival of Bailey Peacock-Farrell meaning he is not guaranteed to be second-choice. His sole appearance this season came in a cup defeat by Sunderland, and it proved nightmarish: Sunderland scored from three of their four shots on target and Hart’s only save led to a goal.

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» Newcastle turn blind eye to Peter Beardsley’s inadequate coaching | Louise Taylor
The coach’s downfall is arguably as much about systemic failure as the shortcomings of one painfully insensitive man

Peter Beardsley’s downfall, and ultimate disgrace, is arguably as much about a systemic failure at Newcastle United as the shortcomings of one painfully inadequate coach.

In hindsight, the depressing path towards the former England forward’s 32-week suspension from all football activities after the Football Association found him guilty of racially abusing young black players in his care – charges Beardsley denied – was clearly signposted.

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» Dennis Praet: ‘I started at Leicester with somebody else’s boots’
The midfielder on rejecting Arsenal as a teenager and how he chose to join Leicester after watching them on Sampdoria’s team bus

Everything was a bit last minute when Dennis Praet completed his £18m transfer from Sampdoria to Leicester City last month. The Belgium international did his homework on his new club on the Sampdoria team bus and when he turned up at Leicester to sign a week or so later it was without the tools of his trade.

“It was a really close call because it was deadline day,” Praet says. “I arrived at the training ground but there were some small issues with the contract and I think it was only one hour before the deadline that everything was figured out, so I signed just in time. But I arrived here with the thought that if I sign, I could go back to get my stuff I needed. But the gaffer really wanted me to stay for the first game. I had no boots, so I did two training sessions and the first game with somebody else’s. I don’t even know whose they were.”

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» Pochettino praises 'fantastic' Spurs performance despite defeat at Leicester – video

James Maddison hit a late winner as Leicester came from behind to stun Tottenham, but Mauricio Pochettino played down the result, saying Spurs’s performance was good after a Champions League trip to Greece on Wednesday.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers was thrilled with his side’s performance, saying: “It was a brilliant game first and foremost, but the performance level was against a top class side that, what, four months ago or so was in the Champions League final.”

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» Guardiola and Sánchez Flores react to Manchester City's 8-0 demolition of Watford – video

Pep Guardiola and Quique Sánchez Flores spoke after Manchester City thumped Watford 8-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

Guardiola was happy with his team’s scintillating display, with City’s first five goals coming inside the first 18 minutes. The Manchester club did not take their foot off the gas in the second half, with Bernardo Silva scoring two of the three goals after the break to complete his hat-trick.

A deflated Sánchez Flores apologised to the Watford fans for his side’s dismal performance.

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» Qatari goalkeeper's howler leads to goal after just 10 seconds – video

Al-Shahania keeper Khalifa Al-Dosari misjudged a long ball to concede a goal inside the opening 10 seconds against Al Arabi in the Qatar Stars League. Mohammed Salah Al Neel capitalised on the mistake and scored twice to help Al Arabi to beat Al Shahania 2-1.

Al Arabi lead the tournament with 10 points while Al-Shahania are rock bottom with zero

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» Jürgen Klopp says Frank Lampard's Chelsea reminds him of his young Dortmund team – video

The Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, has said that the inexperienced Chelsea side Frank Lampard has fielded this season reminds him of his own young Borussia Dortmund team from several years ago. 

All Chelsea's Premier League goals this season have been scored by three English players – Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori – all of whom are 21 years old or younger. Klopp led his own Dortmund side, packed with young German players, to consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.

Klopp's Liverpool face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

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» Tottenham's Pochettino: we didn’t respect the plan in draw with Olympiakos – video

It was a poor start from Mauricio Pochettino's side in the Champions League; despite his side having a 2-0 lead against the run of play, they drew away at Olympiakos. A penalty from Harry Kane and a wonderful strike from Lucas Moura put the Champions League runners-up ahead before the Greek league leaders levelled the scores in the second half. Speaking after the match, the Tottenham manager said: 'In the first half, I wasn’t happy with the performance. From the beginning we had a plan, and we didn’t respect the plan. That’s what disappointed me the most'

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» Zidanesque: roulette round the keeper for stunning goal in Portugal U-19s match – video

An U-19 women's international football match in Portugal was lit up by a stunning roulette from Francisca Nazareth in a game between Portugal and Turkey. Portugal ran out 5-0 victors. 

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» Karim Benzema header sinks Sevilla and eases pressure on Real Madrid

Real Madrid are in crisis, they said. They are also joint top of the table. Four days after being defeated in Paris against a PSG side without the three superstars who define them, unable to muster up a single shot on target for the first time in a decade, Zinedine Zidane responded by doing something that even he had never done before: he took a team to Seville and won at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

Related: Sevilla 0-1 Real Madrid: La Liga – live!

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» Barcelona's Ansu Fati cleared to play for Spain after being granted passport
  • 16-year-old could have played for Guinea-Bissau or Portugal
  • Expected to travel with Spain to Under-17 World Cup in Brazil

The Barcelona forward Ansu Fati has been cleared to play for the Spanish national team after he was granted a passport on Friday, with the Football Federation including him in their longlist of players to travel to the Under-17 World Cup in Brazil next month. Fati, who was born in Guinea-Bissau in October 2002 and emigrated to Spain at the age of six, became the second youngest footballer in history to play for Barcelona when he made his debut as a substitute in week two of the Liga season, aged 16 years and 298 days. He could also have applied for a Portuguese passport but opted for Spain.

Related: 'A star is born': Ansu Fati announces himself and changes his world | Sid Lowe

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» Kieran Trippier delivering for Atlético Madrid and relishing new 100mph life | Sid Lowe

The right-back set up the equaliser against Juventus and says the atmosphere was unlike anything he had experienced

Kieran Trippier took a step back, avoiding the red and white flowers at the south-east corner of the ground, laid there by Margarita Luengo as they have been before every home game since 1996, and then delivered another invitation. Atlético Madrid were into the 90th minute and losing 2-1. As the ball arrived, curling into the area, Héctor Herrera jumped to head it in and the place exploded. Diego Simeone skidded to his knees on one side; on the other, players piled on. As they broke, the Englishman clenched his fists, roaring. They had trailed 2-0 to Juventus but now, on his first European night, they were level.

“We didn’t stop, we didn’t change, we kept on going, we always believed,” Trippier said. “It shows great mentality to pull it back against a fantastic team. Since I came here, the mentality of the group, the coaching staff, Cholo [Simeone]: it’s immense. In training it’s 100 miles an hour, never stop, and we do the exact same in games. When we went 2-0 down we knew we’d get opportunities. We kept on going and going. And the crowd were fantastic as well – I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

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» Banning fans' free speech is not consistent with our vision of sport. Or democracy

MLS fans have been banned for displaying flags with the anti-fascist Iron Front symbol. But it is crucial that peaceful political statements are allowed in sports

“Push ‘em back, push ‘em back, waaay back!” is a classic American football chant encouraging the players to muscle the opposition back down the field. Today’s fan participation is a lot more complicated, especially after Major League Soccer recently banned a group of Portland Timbers fans from attending three matches at Providence Park for waving flags that displayed the anti-fascist Iron Front symbol (this weekend, Seattle Sounders fans walked out of a match in protest at the ban on “political” banners). Now when we yell that nostalgic “Push ‘em back” cheer we have to ask more complicated questions, such as who does “’em” refer to: the opposing team, the owners, or the fans? By “push” do you mean to bully people – owners, non-political fans, outspoken fans – out of their rights? And by “way back” do you mean back out of the stadium or back to the 1950s when politics and sports rarely crossed paths?

For 50 years, I have been an outspoken supporter of athletes’ right to silently protest during sporting events. Whether it’s raising a fist, as Tommie Smith and John Carlos did during the 1968 Olympics, or Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem, or LeBron James wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt while warming up for a game, athletes have a constitutional right to express their outrage over social injustice in the hopes of improving lives. Clearly, fans should have those same rights. But no one’s rights are absolute when the act of expressing them may restrict someone else’s rights. So, when championing the fans’ rights in this situation, there are a few considerations that have to be acknowledged.

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» Italian football pundit sacked for racist on-air remarks about Romelu Lukaku
  • Luciano Passirani said only way to stop him is ‘give him bananas’
  • Telelombardia says he will not appear on the show again

An Italian TV pundit has been sacked for saying that the only way to stop Romelu Lukaku is to give “him 10 bananas to eat”. Luciano Passirani, an Italian football journalist, was a guest on the Qui Studio a Voi Stadio show when he made the racist remark and the director of the Telelombardia show reacted immediately by saying that he would never appear on the programme again.

The show was debating Lukaku’s impact for Inter so far since joining Manchester United in the summer and Passirani said: “Lukaku is one of the best signings that Inter could have made. I don’t see another player like him on any other team in Italy. He is one of the strongest, I like him a lot because he has that strength: he is the twin of [Dúvan] Zapata at Atalanta.”

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» 'A star is born': Ansu Fati announces himself and changes his world | Sid Lowe

This wasn’t one of those things that just happens. It wasn’t something you watch; it was something that takes you with it

This story starts in a self-proclaimed communist utopia, a tiny village in the Andalucían countryside where Che Guevara looks out from the sports ground, Republican flags adorn the town hall and political murals are painted on walls; a small, isolated place with no police where much of the 2,626 population live in identical homes they built themselves and the town’s seal depicts a dove of peace with an olive branch; where they organised raids on supermarkets to feed people, public salaries are equal, collectives work the fields, land confiscated from the aristocracy, and the mayor is fond of Che’s line: only those who dream will someday see their dreams become reality.

Which is appropriate, even if this reality wasn’t the dream they had. One hundred and one kilometres east of Seville, Marinaleda is, as the title of Dan Hancox’s fascinating book calls it, the village against the world. The mayor since 1979 is Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, who has the kind of beard you’re supposed to have when you’re a founder of the Collective for Workers’ Unity, an instigator of hunger strikes, and the political leader of a place like this – described as Spain’s Robin Hood – when you’ve been jailed seven times and the target of at least two assassination attempts.

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» Leipzig cling to Bayern juggernaut and show way ahead for Nagelsmann

Bundesliga title pretenders were battered by the champions but stole a draw and know now how much they must improve

It had promised so much, and yet had been such hard going. “It was,” said Leipzig’s coach, Julian Nagelsmann, “like a run in the forest without much football” for his team. For all the pre-match excitement that they might be facing Bayern Munich at the right time, catching them before they were settled into their season stride, much of this felt ominously familiar for those hoping for a meaningful Bundesliga title race again. The leaders versus the champions looked, for a large chunk of early Saturday evening, like the also-rans against the lords of the manor.

This was no evening for anybody to dust down their cliches about Bayern-Dusel, though – the luck of the perennial champions. Any flecks of fortune had been left back at Säbener Strasse, as was clear from the moment when David Alaba pulled a hamstring in the warm-up, leaving Niko Kovac to an impromptu rejig of his XI. Jérôme Boateng came in, with Lucas Hernández being pushed out to left-back. It proved a significant adjustment.

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» After 552 days, Juventus finally knocked off their Serie A perch | Nicky Bandini

It is far too soon for early-season standings to really matter. And yet, at the same time, they do

In Italy, the Serie A table is always front-page news. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, La Classifica appears on the cover of all the nation’s major sports papers. This season is only three games old but readers want to see those numbers. And especially on a weekend when Juventus have been knocked off their perch.

The Bianconeri had occupied first place – or at least a share of it – for 552 consecutive days, dating back to March 2018. That sequence ended after they drew 0-0 away to Fiorentina, leaving room for Inter to overtake by extending their own perfect start with a 1-0 victory over Udinese.

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» PSG fans don't want to hear it, but Neymar is their best route to success

PSG ultras are unwilling to forgive Neymar, but he remains the team’s best weapon in Ligue 1 and the Champions League

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

It had to happen this way. On Saturday evening at the Parc des Princes PSG battled for 92 minutes against an obdurate (and dangerous) Strasbourg side, making hard work of a team that held them twice last season – including a 2-2 draw at the same venue in April. Had it not been for the brilliance of new goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who saved twice from Ludovic Ajorque on his debut, the home side would not even have dared to dream about winning the game.

PSG were missing two of their best forwards in Kylian Mbappé and Edinson Cavani. Ángel Di María played like a man who had been traipsing across the world with Argentina in the international break, even though he hadn’t. And Mauro Icardi, who arrived at the club on loan from Inter on deadline day, was given his debut but clearly has some ring rust. Failing to beat Strasbourg would have been a mere bump in the road domestically, but it could have affected the team psychologically before their match against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday.

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» For decadent, deficient Real Madrid the problems start in midfield | Jonathan Wilson
The team were incapable of the basics against PSG and it is a wonder Spanish clubs have not exploited the weaknesses more

As Thomas Meunier and Juan Bernat capered through the open savannah that archaeologists believe was once populated by the Real Madrid midfield, the mind was drawn to another Parisian night two and a half years ago, when Ángel Di María orchestrated an even more emphatic victory for Paris Saint-Germain over a Spanish side. As it turned out, that 4-0 win over Barcelona didn’t turn out particularly well for PSG but, more generally, what on earth is going on with midfields in La Liga?

On a night when Atlético twice conceded goals on the break at home to Juventus, the issue seems particularly acute. Last season the big three Spanish sides leaked three or more in games against Liverpool (Barcelona); CSKA Moscow and Ajax (Real Madrid); and Borussia Dortmund and Juventus (Atlético). In each case the major problem was the same: a ponderous midfield being shredded in transition. There had been glimmers of the issue the season before, in Real Madrid’s defeat at Tottenham and Barcelona’s embarrassing collapse in Rome, which itself had been foreshadowed by the problems they’d had against Chelsea in the previous round.

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» End of Fernando Ricksen’s suffering brings both heartbreak and relief | Stuart James

Death of the former Rangers and Netherlands player brings to a close a brutal six-year battle with motor neurone disease

The call came just after 10am. Vincent de Vries, Fernando Ricksen’s ghostwriter and loyal friend, had known for a long time that this dreadful day was coming. It was Veronika, Fernando’s wife, at the other end of the phone and the news was devastating. Ricksen, who had been living with motor neurone disease (MND) for almost six years, had died in the early hours at St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie. He was 43 years old.

Even if there is relief that the suffering is over, the sense of loss is heartbreaking for those close to Ricksen, in particular his six‑year‑old daughter Isabella, a framed photo of whom stood on the tray-table above the bed where her father spent the last nine months of his life. In his darkest moments – and it is impossible to imagine the mental anguish that Ricksen experienced at times – it was the image of that beautiful little girl that kept him going. She was, he proudly said, his inspiration.

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» Roma's Nicolò Zaniolo: 'I’m not Totti, but one day I hope to be as good'

Nicolò Zaniolo was a Serie B player two years ago. Now he is a Roma regular with two Italy caps

By Omar Saleem for These Football Times

Nicolò Zaniolo made his debut for Virtus Entella in Serie B two and a half years ago. He had been released by Fiorentina the year before as a 16-year-old and knew he had to pursue other opportunities in the game. Some players would have fallen down the league pyramid or given up on football altogether, but Zaniolo rolled up his socks and started a journey that has taken him to the very top.

After spending a season at Inter, where he was named their academy player of the year, Zaniolo signed for Roma in June 2018. He played his first game for the club exactly a year ago – away at Real Madrid in the Champions League – and has not looked back. Zaniolo is now a regular at the heart of the Roma midfield and his goals were instrumental in the club’s run to the Champions League quarter-finals last season. To crown it all, he is now an Italy international. Zaniolo is a man on the up.

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» The Fiver | The feat of being Manchester United's youngest ever scorer in Europe

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In the queue waiting on the Enough’s Enough, You’ve All Had Your Fun But This Is Getting Beyond A Joke Now rank, there are quite a few big clubs ahead of Manchester United. Nasty Leeds, for example, who have been out of the top division for 15 years. Or Nottingham Forest, two-time European champions who haven’t seen the sunny uplands since the turn of the millennium. Or Newcastle United, without a domestic trophy since the Harold Macmillan years. Or seventies European powerhouses Borussia Mönchengladbach, who have just lost 4-0 at home in Big Vase to a team called RZ Pellets, named after a company that produces industrial quantities of pellets, though not as many as Borussia Mönchengladbach did on Thursday night by the looks of it.

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» Football transfer rumours: James Maddison to Manchester United?

Today’s fluff is chasing its tail

All’s good at Manchester United again. The club have unearthed a new superstar in 17-year-old Mason Greenwood, the team have embarked on a two-in-a-row winning run, and … well, that’s it, but at least things are heading in the right direction. James Maddison could add another dash of positivity if he joins in an £80m deal, with the Leicester boss, Brendan Rodgers, talking up the move. “It may be too hard for him to turn down, I get it,” he says, propping up his midfielder in the shop window and mentioning his old club Liverpool too, in the hope of sparking a bidding war.

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

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» The Fiver | Talk of crisis is relative. Then again, this is Real Madrid

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Six months ago, Zinedine Zidane strode big-leggy back into town, a modern-day John Wayne returning to save the day. His wasn’t an arrogant strut: the poor man had no option but to walk in a preposterously mannered style because of the fruitbowl-bothering, midlife-crisis kecks he was wearing. The best-left-to-teenagers strides were also the reason he had to leave the Harley Davidson at home. Well you try mounting a hog in a pair of please-tell-me-those-shrunk-in-the-wash-and-you-didn’t-as-a-46-year-old-man-actively-choose-such-a-style tapered breeks! It was all he could do to stand uneasily at the podium, propped up like a half-squeezed tube of toothpaste by the bathroom sink, while promising to bring the glory days back to Real Madrid. So let’s give him a break, eh.

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» Which World Cup '98 players are still playing competitive football? | The Knowledge

Plus: adventures in outfield players catching the ball, a close cross-border African cup tie and more

“With the retirement of Samuel Eto’o, how many players to have featured at France ‘98 remain active?” tweets JBfaeDundee. “Buffon was in the Italy squad, but didn’t actually play.”

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» The Dozen: Guardiola's grief and David Luiz's lunge – the best Premier League pictures

Our picture editors choose their favourite images from the weekend’s matches

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» Football quiz: early season sackings

The first international break of the season is a precarious time to be a football manager. Just as Javi Gracia

Javi Gracia was sacked on Saturday just a few months after he had led Watford to the FA Cup final. Watford's form dipped at the end of last season and he was only given four games this campaign to turn things around. Which manager was sacked after just four games in charge of a Premier League club?

Chris Hutchings

Bob Bradley

Frank de Boer

Les Reed

Gracia joins a long line of managers who have been sacked by Watford. How many days did Billy McKinlay last as their manager in 2014?

8

21

32

47

Huddersfield sacked Jan Siewert last month after a run of one win in 19 games, replacing him with Danny Cowley. What was Cowley’s profession before he became a full-time manager at Lincoln City?

Plumber

Electrician

PE teacher

School caretaker

Gus Poyet was sacked by Brighton in the summer of 2013. What was he doing when he found out the news?

On his honeymoon

Working as a TV pundit

At his child’s birthday party

Playing a charity football match at his former club Chelsea

Ethiopia sacked Iffy Onuora in 2011 after just nine months in charge because he had been critical of the team’s training facilities in the press. What was his main gripe?

The team were unable to train on a grass pitch

He had to remove cows from the training ground before a session

There was no security so the public kept interrupting training sessions

There were no posts at the training pitch so they had to use jumpers for goalposts

Wimbledon were ninth in the Fourth Division when Dave Bassett joined in 1981. By the time he left in 1987, they were riding high in the top tier. However, it could have been very different. Which club did Bassett agree to join in the summer of 1984, before rejecting their offer a few days later and sticking with Wimbledon?

Crystal Palace

England

Swansea City

Fulham

Which former Tottenham player was sacked as the club’s manager a few games into the season after a particularly damning 3-0 defeat to Notts County in the League Cup?

Tim Sherwood

Terry Venables

Glenn Hoddle

Ossie Ardiles

Why were the League Managers Association especially disappointed by Charlton’s decision to sack Les Reed in 2006?

He had moved his family over from the US a few days earlier

They sacked him on Christmas Eve

He had won his last five games in a row

The club’s chairman had said on TV the day before that he “would never sack Les”

Ian Porterfield was the first manager to be sacked in the first season of the Premier League. In which month did Chelsea give him the boot?

August

October

December

February

Roberto Di Matteo won the FA Cup and Champions League while in charge of Chelsea. How many months did he spend as their manager (either as a caretaker or in the job full-time).

Four months

Eight months

Twelve months

Fifteen months

1 and above.

Ah well.

2 and above.

Ah well.

3 and above.

You gave it a good go

4 and above.

That's a respectable score

5 and above.

That's a respectable score

6 and above.

That's a fine score

7 and above.

That's a fine score

8 and above.

That's a very fine score

9 and above.

That's a very fine score

0 and above.

Ah well.

10 and above.

Incredible score

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

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

8 Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)

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

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

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

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

The 19-year-old son of Alfie Håland scored a hat-trick on his Champions League debut on Tuesday and has 17 goals in nine games for Red Bull Salzburg this season

“This year I’ve only grown five centimetres,” Erling Braut Haaland said in an interview in November 2017, a statement which, understandably, led the journalist to query the “only” part. “Well, last year I grew 11-12 centimetres,” came the reply from the then 17-year-old.

No wonder they called him “the manchild” at Molde, where he had his breakthrough that year. “He must have put on 10-12 kilos since he arrived here at the start of the year,” said his then manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, before adding “it’s all muscles of course – as well as a lot of confidence”.

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» Grotesque tragedy unlikely to shame Fifa into action over Iran’s ban on female fans | Marina Hyde
Toothless urgings followed the death of Sahar Khodayari, who – faced with prison for trying to watch football – set herself on fire

The grim tragedy of Sahar Khodayari once again forces Fifa to pick the most expedient version of itself. Is it an organisation that can change the world, as it frequently insists to us, or is it simply a sporting governing body, as it prefers to claim at other times?

Sahar is Iran’s so-called “Blue Girl”, a computer sciences graduate who tried in March to enter Tehran’s Azadi stadium dressed as a man, to watch her beloved Esteghlal, but was caught by officials. She was summoned to appear in court on 2 September, and told she could expect up to six months in prison. Outside the court, Sahar set herself on fire. Last week, she died in hospital from her injuries. She was 29.

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» McCabe v Prince Abdullah: how battle for control of Sheffield United unfolded
A long battle for taking sole charge of the club has been played out in court and on Monday the judge ruled in favour of Prince Abdullah, a Saudi royal

This summer, as Sheffield United prepared for their first Premier League campaign in 12 years, the future of the club was being decided in the high court regarding who controls them. At the centre of the argument were the co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah bin Mossad Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a Saudi royal who bought half of the Blades in 2013 for £1, in exchange for £10m investment. On Monday the judge’s verdict arrived and he ruled in favour of Abdullah.

Two weeks of arguments were made on both sides, plenty of it extremely heated. Abdullah was accused of bribery, which he denied and the claim was dismissed as “fanciful” by the judge. Mr Justice Fancourt found overwhelmingly in favour of the prince, dismissing the claims brought by McCabe.

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