If season four of the US professional competition survives the coronavirus, it will kick-off without one of its founding teams
When Pat Guthrie was introduced to rugby union, in California in the 1990s, like many converts from American football he fell for it hard and fast. Soon he was working in the sport, producing and directing broadcasts for TV.
Everton accused of ‘unacceptable’ approach to derbies
Club devastated over Van Dijk injury, says Wijnaldum
Liverpool’s fury at losing Virgil van Dijk was laid bare on Tuesday when Georginio Wijnaldum accused the goalkeeper Jordan Pickford of being “completely stupid” and Everton of a “completely unacceptable” approach to Merseyside derbies. A clearly seething Jürgen Klopp said he shared his players’ opinion.
The Liverpool manager and midfielder are in Amsterdam for the Champions League opener against Ajax on Wednesday but it was their Merseyside rivals who were the main focus – and target – of a combative press conference. Wijnaldum said Liverpool players endured a sleepless night on Saturday after Van Dijk damaged an anterior cruciate ligament and remain devastated four days on. The Netherlands international, a close friend of his compatriot, did not try to disguise the impact of the defender’s absence on Liverpool nor the feelings within the squad over what happened during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
Two 17-year-olds score for Barça in 5-1 win over Ferencvaros
Morata double gives Juventus 2-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv
Lionel Messi became the first player to score in 16 consecutive Champions League seasons as he guided 10-man Barcelona to a 5-1 victory over Ferencvaros in their Group G opener at the Camp Nou.
Messi netted from the penalty spot in the first half for his 116th career goal in the competition, before the lively Ansu Fati added a second. Philippe Coutinho grabbed another goal early in the second half but Gerard Piqué was dismissed for impeding Tokmac Nguen, leading to a penalty for the Hungarian side that was converted by Igor Kharatin.
At least Chelsea managed to stand tall at the back. Yet while there were no defensive calamities from Frank Lampard’s side, there was precious little inspiration at the other end. Low on creativity in the final third and short on fluency in possession, Chelsea made few chances and ended up with more questions than answers after a tough encounter with Sevilla.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær had been clear. The Miracle of Paris from two seasons ago, when his Manchester United team drove to a famous Champions League last 16 win here, was nothing more than glorious history. His players had to make a fresh statement, to produce a performance to inspire new hope.
How they did so and once again, it was Marcus Rashford that delivered at the death. In March 2019, it was his stoppage-time penalty that helped United through and in the driving rain at an empty Parc des Princes, it was his vicious low drive that fizzed past Keylor Navas to ignite his team’s group phase campaign.
No punishment for Salwa Eid Naser over missed test
Doping officer knocked on door containing gas canisters
The world 400m champion Salwa Eid Naser has escaped a doping ban on a technicality – after one of her missed drug tests was struck off due to a “confused” tester knocking on a door containing gas canisters by mistake.
An independent tribunal found that a doping control officer who had come to test Naser in Bahrain in April 2019 had been thrown off by the unusual numbering system on the buildings around her apartment.
Banking giant JP Morgan asked to seek finance for new league
Fifa dismissive, Uefa ‘strongly opposes’ plan for ‘boring’ format
Plans for a lucrative breakaway involving top English clubs that would supersede the Champions League have been revived, with banking giant JP Morgan being asked to seek financing for a new competition.
Liverpool and Manchester United have been approached to join the league, which would comprise 18 teams – including three other English sides and teams from Spain, Italy, Germany and France – and have no promotion and relegation, according to proposals reported first by the Spanish outlet Vozpopuli and by Sky News.
38-year-old Cech added as emergency goalkeeper cover
Özil and Papastathopoulos not included by Arsenal
Petr Cech has been included in Chelsea’s 25-man Premier League squad as emergency goalkeeper cover – but there is no place in Arsenal’s squad for Mesut Özil.
Cech, who is now a technical advisor at Stamford Bridge, is one of four goalkeepers included in Frank Lampard’s squad despite having retired from football last year. Cech’s last game was against Chelsea in the Europa league final which saw Arsenal lose 4-1 in Baku but he has also been playing in goal for ice hockey team Guildford Phoenix.
‘We have to do things differently,’ says the manager
City without four key players for visit of Porto
Pep Guardiola has denied Manchester City have a mental block in the Champions League and has instead claimed that their failure to progress beyond the quarter‑finals under his management is solely his fault.
The president returned to two of his favourite subjects on Tuesday: sports and insulting the nation’s top infectious diseases expert
With the World Series starting on Tuesday night in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Donald Trump felt it was a perfect time to indulge in one of his favourite hobbies: trashing Dr Anthony Fauci’s baseball abilities.
“We don’t have good memories.” Thomas Tuchel, there, trying his damnedest not to reminisce about the time his PSG side welcomed Manchester United to the Parc des Princes in March 2019. You’ll recall it, though, as United became the first side ever in the Champions League era to recover from a two-goal home first-leg deficit: two-goal Romelu Lukaku, Presnel Kimpembe’s arm, Marcus Rashford’s steely nerve, all that.
That historic comeback earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his permanent gig at Old Trafford, and remains the high-water mark of his reign so far. United could do with a similar morale boost tonight, building on an impressive 4-1 win at Newcastle last weekend that went at least a little way to forgetting about that defeat by Spurs. A fast start to Group H would further steady the ship as Solskjaer looks to buy a little more time and space in which to work.
Arsène Wenger must despair at the inefficiency in the game, embodied by the German midfielder’s omission
There’s been something strangely disconcerting about seeing Arsène Wenger back on our screens, promoting his new book. Almost every interviewer he has faced has tried to lure him into some sort of indelicacy. Come on Arsène, settle some scores. Shit-talk Mourinho. Shit-talk Arteta. Shit-talk the board. Give us the full-body contact. Yet by and large, Wenger has refused to dance. His book is restrained, measured, high on facts and light on gossip, and has thus inevitably been panned as a crushing disappointment. Occasionally, however – much like his teams – he can still produce a moment of pure transcendence.
On Friday night, Wenger was a guest on the Graham Norton Show, where he explained why footballers need a coach. “When people come together, it creates a magic,” he answered. “Sometimes the energy gets together, and they go up to a level where it becomes art. The art of flying together.” It was a beautiful, succinct image: his life’s mission, boiled down for a prime-time BBC One audience. Naturally, Norton quickly changed the subject to Wenger banning Mars bars. Freddie Flintoff told a story about drinking pints. The audience roared. Later, when the show’s Facebook page posted a clip from the programme, the one they chose was: “Arsène Wenger on his iconic fight with José Mourinho.”
The performance in victory at Newcastle was reminiscent of their summer form and brings hope before the visit to PSG
To fully appreciate the highs, it is necessary to first plumb the depths and Manchester United appeared determined to test the theory on Saturday in the must-win Premier League game at Newcastle. On the back of three shambolic performances in the competition, the most recent being the 6-1 capitulation at home against Tottenham,, the last thing they needed to do was give their opponents a head start.
Still, they did so and, when David de Gea unfroze himself and Luke Shaw contemplated the reality of his second-minute own goal, United’s situation was heavy on bleakness. At that point the storm was coming for Ole Gunnar Solskjær – the questioning of his selection decisions, which had featured a few eyebrow-raisers; the bookmakers slashing his odds in the sack race; Mauricio Pochettino trending on Twitter.
Will Clayton Kershaw and Co end a losing streak in the October classic? Or will Tampa band of upstarts bring a title home to Florida? Our writers have their say
Not to be crude, but if Los Angeles’ rally from a 3-1 NLCS deficit taught us anything about these Dodgers, it’s that their players have the balls to go along with management’s brains and ownership’s bucks. They are the complete package, and now that closer Kenley Jansen has ironed out his kinks, it’s going to be tough for the Tampa Bay Rays to overcome LA. That’s not a slight to the Floridians of course, who have shown yet again that at least dollar for dollar, they’re the best run organization in North American sports. With skipper extraordinaire Kevin Cash pulling the strings on his extremely talented, if not lesser known roster, they’ll push the LA to the very limit, and come up a buck short. Dodgers in seven.
Former Arsenal manager reflects on his 22 years in charge of the club, how hurt he was by malicious rumours when he first arrived and how he has managed to move on from his life’s obsession
Arsène Wenger still believes he could milk a cow but, as he says with a smile: “I haven’t tried for a long time. I might have lost the technique a little bit.” Wenger is one of the most humane and original thinkers in football and so it is not surprising that, moving beyond his “obsession”, we should spend 100 minutes talking about much more than the game that consumes him.
Whether describing how he learned to milk cows as a boy in the Alsace village of Duttlenheim, or reliving his first memory as a five-year-old watching his local football team while clutching a prayer book, Wenger stresses his life has been built on the pillars of hard work and faith. “It’s amazing that you make your life with the values from childhood. I think all the champions I have met have been the same. They had the root of their motivations in childhood.”
Clyde Edwards-Helaire showed new teammate Le’Veon Bell and the rest of the NFL how dominant the Kansas City Chiefs’ running attack is already.
The rookie had 161 yards rushing and Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes to Travis Kelce, leading the Chiefs to a 26-17 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday night in a game that was originally scheduled for last Thursday.
Kalvin Phillips can curse his luck for being Leeds’s finest performer, as it was his deflection on Raúl Jiménez’s shot that settled the match and allowed Wolves to move from 15th to sixth in the Premier League.
Foreign secretary condemns ‘cynical and reckless’ bid to disrupt Games, before they were postponed
Russian military intelligence services were planning a cyber-attack on the Japanese-hosted Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo this summer in an attempt to disrupt the world’s premier sporting event, the UK National Cyber Security Centre has revealed, disclosing a joint operation with the US intelligence agencies.
The Russian cyber-reconnaissance work covered the Games organisers, logistics services and sponsors and was under way before the Olympics was postponed due to coronavirus.
The newly promoted side were left pinching themselves after ending a 30-year wait to beat – and outplay – the champions
The plane was miles above above Spain heading south, it was dark outside and they were still some way from home when an urgent announcement came from the flight deck. “I’m from Cádiz,” the co-pilot informed them over the loud speaker, “and I just wanted to say congratulations because today you did something historic that will be remembered for ever.” It was late and the passengers – the first Cádiz team to play in primera for 15 years – were exhausted but they began to applaud. From down the cabin, a few chanted his name. “Rufiano! Rufiano!” they sang, the noise level briefly rising again, songs starting once more.
Rufiano was right. Cádiz’s manager, Álvaro Cervera, was wrong: he was wrong before the game and wrong halfway through it too but by the end he was beaming, engulfed in an embrace so tight he could barely breathe, celebrating like they had won something, which they absolutely had. On the eve of his team’s visit to Real Madrid, he had said: “You can forget about being better than them.” At half-time, with his team a goal up, he feared the lead would soon be gone, admitting afterwards that all he could think was: “We’ll lose this.” Now he was leaping about, delighted that neither turned out to be true.
The 39-year-old’s two goals sealed a first derby win in four years for Milan, who he has helped to transform into contenders
It was one of those weekends in Serie A. Oh, you know, the sort that begins with the league leaders getting thrashed 4-1 and ends with a likely goal-of-the-season contender, while the champions drop points to a newly promoted side in between. The kind of weekend when a team can come from 3-1 down after 63 minutes to win and barely cause a ripple, because everyone is still busy talking about a picture of a lion.
The grisly image, of a big cat whose maw is dripping with blood, was posted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to his social media accounts on Saturday night. It came captioned with a single word, “Fame” – Italian for “Hunger”.
Single-country one-leg format was success, says Uefa
Europa League could have same finale after current TV deal
Uefa says a ‘final eight’ will be considered as a way to round off the Champions League and Europa League from 2024.
The single-country one-leg format was adopted for practical purposes as an effective way to conclude the competitions last season in a campaign badly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and proved to be a big hit as a spectacle. European football’s governing body is bound by contracts with broadcasters to revert to the regular two-legged system for quarter-finals and semi-finals for the rest of the current cycle, but has not ruled out a change to the format beyond that.
The Dolphins quarterback is keeping the starter’s spot warm for Tua Tagovailoa in Miami. But like so much of his career, he is doing so with style and skill
When Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut during the final drive of Sunday’s 24-0 annihilation of the New York Jets, no one appeared happier than the man he will one day replace, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 37-year-old led the sparse home crowd in an ovation with a grin so large it almost outdid his magnificent beard.
And why not? Fitzpatrick knows this is his team only temporarily. He accepts and embraces it. But in the meantime, he’s balling. Fitzpatrick is seventh in the league in QBR and should remain in that territory after tossing three touchdowns against the Jets. (He also threw two interceptions, one of which was the 0-6 Jets’ few highlights of the season.) His 70% completion rate is the highest of his career and he’s helming a scrappy team coming off back-to-back blowout wins.
Los Angeles had trailed 3-1 in best-of-seven series
Cody Bellinger’s home run seals 4-3 victory in Game 7
Cody Bellinger hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers advanced to the World Series for the third time in four years by topping the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series on Sunday night.
Bellinger connected an inning after Kiké Hernandez became the first pinch hitter with a game-tying or go-ahead homer in a winner-take-all-game. His homer tied it at 3-3 and, like Bellinger’s, came on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.
Bakey Mayfield leaves game as Cleveland lose to rivals
Pats fall under .500 after five games for first time since 2002
Denver kicker Brandon McManus had six field goals and linebacker Malik Reed came up with a big sack late to help the Broncos hold on for an 18-12 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday in a game twice delayed following positive coronavirus tests for both teams.
Sunday’s game was originally scheduled for last week but got postponed twice, first by a day, then by seven. The delay was caused after multiple Patriots players tested positive for Covid-19, including quarterback Cam Newton and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. New England (2-3) rallied from an 18-3 deficit and nearly pulled off the comeback, but had three turnovers.
Tottenham lose three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with West Ham
Mourinho: ‘We should be stronger. I have to analyse it’
José Mourinho criticised his Tottenham players for a lack of mental toughness after they drew 3-3 in a wild derby with West Ham, having led 3-0 in the 82nd minute.
The Spurs manager brought on Gareth Bale in the 72nd minute for his second debut for the club after his return on loan from Real Madrid and the forward would miss a clear chance to kill the game at 3-2. It was left instead to the West Ham substitute Manuel Lanzini to score a screaming 94th-minute equaliser that sent his manager, David Moyes, cavorting on to the pitch in celebration.
The long absence of the leader of their defence leaves Jürgen Klopp’s side looking fragile for the first time in three years
This was already shaping up to be a very different title race to those of the last three years and the news that Virgil van Dijk will be out for several months only makes the picture more uncertain. He, above all others, is the player Liverpool could not afford to lose. Jordan Pickford’s wild lunge at him could become the defining image of the season – and the failure to send the Everton goalkeeper off the most mystifying failure of VAR.
The start to this campaign has been generally chaotic. None of the expected title contenders has looked quite ready, their various issues magnified by a truncated pre-season. After three seasons in which the title was won with 95+ points, the likelihood is that this season something in the mid-80s will be enough, the sort of figure that was usual before the financial stratification of the league allowed the very best sides to stretch towards three figures.
Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird agreed with remarks made by her girlfriend, USWNT captain Megan Rapinoe, that women’s soccer enjoys more public support than women’s basketball in the United States due to the demographics of the respective sports.
“Even though we’re female athletes playing at a high level, our worlds, you know, the soccer world and the basketball world are just totally different,” Bird told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell in an interview that aired on Sunday.
Joe Biden urged North Carolina residents to cast ballots as soon as possible at a drive-in rally on Sunday in Durham, part of the Research Triangle region that is a traditional Democratic stronghold.
“Go vote today and don’t just vote for me and Senator Harris,” the former vice-president said in his 20-minute remarks at Riverside High School. “You’ve got a Governor’s race and a Senate race. A record number of black women on the ballot, Congress and Lt Governor, Labor Commissioner and the courts. Folks they’re ready to deliver for North Carolina families. So vote, vote. It’s time.”
Healthcare workers and high-risk populations will be prioritized for vaccination against the coronavirus in New York when a candidate is approved, governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday.
He announced details of a preliminary five-stage vaccine rollout plan – here’s a summary:
When Gareth Bale finally made his entrance, one month after re-signing for Tottenham and 72 minutes into this derby, it is fair to say that the scene was set. Spurs had a free-kick 30 yards out, to the right of centre, and the returning hero went straight over to take it.
For a few tantalising moments, those present and the watching TV millions wondered whether his cosmic scriptwriter had the most outlandish plot-line in mind. It would have been too much. Bale’s free-kick bounced tamely into Lukasz Fabianski’s arms.
Jonny Evans is fit to start in a reshaped back four, alongside big-money summer recruit Wesley Fofana, who makes his full debut. No Jamie Vardy though, with Kelechi Iheanacho leading the line in his place. Villa are unchanged from their thrashing of Liverpool, and why not?
Full extent of lay-off to be known after operation
Liverpool have been dealt a devastating blow after scans revealed Virgil van Dijk damaged an anterior cruciate ligament against Everton and will require surgery.
No time frame has been put on the influential defender’s absence and Liverpool sources are reluctant to rule out a return this season, but he is facing several months on the sidelines and the possibility of missing the remainder of the campaign cannot be discounted. The full extent of the lay-off will be known only once surgery and a subsequent assessment have taken place and the operation has not yet been arranged.
Not content to pass the record for Women’s Super League goals scored, Vivianne Miedema’s first-half hat-trick ensured she did so in style, taking her tally to a staggering 52 goals in 50 games in a 6-1 crushing of rivals Tottenham.
The Dutch all-time record goalscorer levelled the 49 goals scored by the former Manchester City forward Nikita Parris, in 110 games, against Brighton last week, overtaking City striker Ellen White (48 in 104) in the process, to put her primed and ready to pounce in the north London derby.
Football is extremely weird – at the best of times but even more so now. Yet even in such circumstances, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United stand out from the mess, the kid in the playground who turns up for school in an overcoat thinking it makes them classy, and the kid in the playground who turns up in a pink fur thinking it makes them different. Or something like that.
Not that long ago, Spurs looked to be hurtling through the phases of Mourinho at record speed – footage of their performance at Lokomotiv Plovdiv has been censored in some countries – but they muddled through and have been much better since, defensive uncertainty offset by devastating speed in attack. And seduced by the sadism of it all, Jo looks an entirely different manager; the smug is back, and football is all the richer for it.
In Sunday’s early WSL games, Manchester United are 3-1 up at West Ham with Alessia Russo on the scoresheet twice for the visitors. Everton have made a 100% start to the season but fell behind at home to Brighton; Izzy Christiansen has got the hosts level at half-time.
Bristol City v Birmingham and Reading v Man City kick off at 2pm; Aston Villa’s game against Chelsea, due to be played this afternoon, was postponed after a Villa player tested positive for Covid-19.
The Arsenal bench shows the extent of their injury problems, with Joe Montemurro naming just four substitutes - two of whom, Ruby Mace and Anouk Denton, are just 17 years old. Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little, Steph Catley, Jill Roord, Noelle Maritz, Leonie Maier and Lisa Evans are all unavailable.
A star was born in the bubble on Saturday night as Teófimo López delivered on his enormous promise with a surprisingly comprehensive victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko, the three-weight champion from Ukraine widely regarded as boxing’s pound-for-pound best.
The plan put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United seeks to empower the biggest clubs at the expense of the Premier League itself and they will not remain quiet
Think back, if you can, to how football looked a week ago. Try to remember that prelapsarian age, when the only concerns were a rampant pandemic, a financial calamity threatening the future of the game and a continuing reckoning with the stark absence of racial equality within the sport. Peaceful, wasn’t it?
Well, that was before the 17th (or was it 18th?) draft of Project Big Picture was made public. A plan advocating the complete restructuring of English football as we know it, it provoked between figures at the top of the sport the kind of heated exchanges that are usually reserved for pundits on phone-in shows.
Manchester City were accomplished in victory, virtually shutting Arsenal out in the second half. Before the break Pep Guardiola’s side were almost as dominant, though a defensive fragility was again evident that will continue to offer opponents hope.
That, however, is for the future. This contest ended with the FA Cup semi-final defeat avenged by stretching to 18-2 their aggregate over their visitors in the last seven league meetings, and with Liverpool earlier drawing at Everton, it was a good day for City.
Dodgers win 3-1 over Braves to force Game 7 in NLCS
Seager adds to NLCS records with five homers and 11 RBIs
Corey Seager homered again, Walker Buehler pitched six scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers pushed the NL Championship Series to Game 7 with a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
The Dodgers avoided elimination for the second time in less than 24 hours, and now have a winner-take-all game to try to get to their third World Series in four years. They haven’t won a championship since 1988.
An awful lot of water has flowed beneath the Tyne Bridge since the days when Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers very nearly beat Manchester United to the Premier League title but Newcastle frequently raise their game against these trans-Pennine visitors.
Although it ended in defeat for Steve Bruce’s side this was a prime example. No matter that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side temporarily forget their recent stumbles to win courtesy of late goals from Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford, Newcastle more than played their part in a wonderful game.
The pick of this week’s Champions League fixtures is a clash of two elite clubs too flawed to win but too rich to fail
The clock was already showing 90. Diogo Dalot advanced on to the ball in space around 40 yards from the Paris Saint-Germain goal. His first touch was heavy and as three opponents closed in, he had little option but to shoot. Marco Verratti threw himself towards the full-back. Juan Bernat ducked away. And the middle of the three, Presnel Kimpembe, flinching, turned his back, his arm flicking away from his body. VAR showed Dalot’s wild effort had deflected off it. From nowhere, Manchester United had a penalty and an away-goals passage into the Champions League quarter-final.
Tensions are rising between Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis, a keen Donald Trump ally, and elections supervisors, two days before early in-person voting begins in the crucial swing state.
Brad McVay, general counsel for Florida’s department of state, emailed supervisors of elections in all 67 counties this week informing them of a requirement that all ballot drop-off boxes must be attended at all times by elections staff or an armed guard, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
A representative for Nebraska senator Ben Sasse has responded to Donald Trump’s Twitter broadside earlier Saturday, in which he called the conservative lawmaker “little”, “the least effective of our 53 Republican senators”, “rather stupid and obnoxious” and “an embarrassment”.
Sasse’s crime was to have criticized Trump in robust terms on a call with constituents first reported by the Washington Examiner, saying the president “kisses dictators’ butts” and “flirts with white supremacists”.
Ben said the same thing to Nebraskans that he has repeatedly said to the president directly in the Oval Office. Ben is focused on defending the Republican Senate majority, and he’s not going to waste a single minute on tweets.
Jürgen Klopp was incensed after the champions were denied a 92nd-minute winner at Goodison Park and the Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford escaped punishment for a dreadful foul that ended Van Dijk’s involvement after only six minutes. VAR failed to review a possible red card for Pickford for serious foul play and disallowed Jordan Henderson’s stoppage-time strike for a fractional offside decision against Sadio Mané.
Pep talk. “It is good for us that Aguero is back. It has been a long time, we don’t know his condition but it is better to start than come from the bench. It’s good. There will be high pressing from both sides and quality up front. We will watch a good game, like we have seen so far all games in the Premier League.” He also reports that Laporte and Mendy are both out injured: “Laporte not much, but Mendy a little bit longer.”
The big news for Manchester City: Sergio Aguero is back! He’s one of four changes to the team that drew 1-1 at Leeds before the international break. Nathan Ake, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva also return; Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Ferran Torres and the injured Kevin De Bruyne make way.
Arsenal’s deadline-day signing Thomas Partey is named on the bench. The Gunners meanwhile make three changes to the team that won 2-1 over Sheffield United a fortnight ago. Rob Holding, Granit Xhaka and Nicolas Pepe replace David Luiz, Mohamed Elneny and Eddie Nketiah.
The 10-year wait for victory in a Merseyside derby goes on for Everton but they can have no complaints. Indeed, Carlo Ancelotti’s Premier League leaders will just be grateful to still be unbeaten this season after escaping another stoppage-time loss to Liverpool thanks to VAR.
Jordan Henderson, Jürgen Klopp and everyone involved in the 237th Merseyside derby thought the Liverpool captain had grabbed a 92nd-minute winner when Jordan Pickford failed to keep out his routine shot. Pickford should not have been on the pitch to make his latest unconvincing contribution having forced Virgil van Dijk out of the game with a horrendous sixth-minute foul. VAR spared Everton a penalty on that occasion, and defeat later on when Sadio Mané was penalised for offside in the buildup to Henderson’s strike. A breathless end to a pulsating, highly-charged occasion that will have left Klopp justifiably enraged.
The tennis player, 33, on difficult moment growing up, hating cruelty to animals and not punching walls
My earliest memory would be when I was about four or five, walking into school on my first day. I don’t remember much about it, though. My brother Jamie and me had some difficult moments growing up: our parents getting divorced, and obviously Dunblane [the school shooting in 1996]. But we played tons of tennis and had a very active childhood.
If I could go back in time, it would be to Barcelona when I was 15 and training there. It was the first time I had freedom. Some people get it when they finish school or move to university. I loved it there and made a lot of friends.
Stamford Bridge is the venue for a Premier League match that’s costing BT Sport customers in the UK a rather controversial £14.95 on top of their regular subscription, so it better be a bloody good one.
It should go without saying that you’ll be able to read all about it here completely free of charge, as Frank Lampard’s side host a Southampton team hoping to make it three consecutive wins following triumphs over West Brom and Burnley. Chelsea have yet to string back-to-back wins together this season, but can do so today on the back of a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace, a scoreline that somewhat flattered their performance.
World title fight to take place at 02 Arena on 12 December
Pulev apologises for saying Joshua’s ‘tan is better than mine’
Anthony Joshua will defend his heavyweight world titles against Kubrat Pulev at the 02 Arena in London on 12 December, his first fight in a year.
Confirmation of the rescheduled fight – Joshua’s first since he beat Andy Ruiz Jr on points to regain his titles last December – comes after Pulev apologised for making a reference to Joshua’s skin colour in a press conference in Bulgaria earlier this week.
Wales forward has respect and deep affection for the club and is delighted to be back as fans eagerly await his second debut
Gareth Bale wanted to leave Tottenham, but not like this. It was the long and stressful summer of 2013, Real Madrid were making their moves, supremely confident that they would get their man, and Team Bale felt they had to harden their exit strategy.
Whoever said what to whom is unclear but the upshot was that Bale changed. He had played and scored in Spurs’s opening friendly at Swindon in mid-July and it would be his last involvement for the team. He developed a gluteal injury followed by a foot problem, which ruled him out of the rest of the pre-season programme, but behind the scenes, to put it bluntly, he became a pain in the backside.
It’s the tenth anniversary of a most acceptable Merseyside derby for Liverpool. “That was as good as we have played all season, and I have no qualms with the performance whatsoever,” smiled Roy Hodgson. The future looked bright for Roy’s Reds! If you didn’t pay too much attention to the league position: 19 out of 20. Oh Roy.
It was also a good day for Everton, who won the game 2-0 at a canter. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta scored the goals as chants of “Going down, going down, going down” rang around Goodison Park. However times change, and that’s the last time Everton beat Liverpool in any competition. Since then, it’s been 11 wins and 11 draws for the Reds against their biggest rivals in all competitions, and now they’re champions of England.
Football without crowds is financially destroying English game, which needs a transfusion of humanity in more ways than one
“It is your custom to receive my plays with the most generous and unrestrained applause,” wrote George Bernard Shaw to his audience in 1913. “You sometimes compel the performers to pause at the end of every line until your laughter has quieted down … Do you not think that the naturalness of the representation must be destroyed, and therefore your own pleasure greatly diminished, when the audience insists on taking part in it by shouts of applause and laughter? Can you not imagine how a play which has been rehearsed to perfection in dead silence must be upset, disjointed, and spun out to a wearisome length by an audience which refuses to enjoy it silently? Will you think me very ungrateful and unkind if I tell you that the more applause there is during the performance the angrier I feel with you for spoiling your enjoyment and my own?”
Houston win 7-4 over Tampa to force Game 7 in ALCS
Astros become second team to recover from 3-0 hole
George Springer and José Altuve keyed a four-run rally in the fifth inning, Framber Valdéz pitched six brilliant innings and the Houston Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the third straight game, 7-4 Friday to force a deciding Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.
Houston chased starter Blake Snell in the fifth before Springer hit a go-ahead, two-run single and scored on Altuve’s double. Carlos Correa, who hit a walkoff home run in Thursday night’s 4-3 win, added an RBI single.
“We certainly won’t forget it,” the Liverpool manager said, as he prepared his players for Saturday’s Merseyside derby against unbeaten Everton. “I’m not sure we needed a punch in the face to wake us up and make us look at ourselves, but if it does have that effect it could be the most important result of the season.”
Liverpool have not lost a derby for 10 years but Everton have a 100% record this season and their manager hails a new attitude
Everton are everything that Liverpool must now become. That was the opening line of the Guardian’s report on the first match John W Henry attended as Liverpool’s owner, a 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park that left his new investment second from bottom of the Premier League 10 years ago on Saturday.
The big picture can change drastically over a decade, clearly. Liverpool’s value can increase by almost £2bn and still its venture capitalist owners will push for more. Some things do remain constant in football, however – Evertonian doom in the Merseyside derby, for one. On Saturday they hope, and with sound reason, that Carlo Ancelotti can perform his latest trick.
West Ham pay £5m loan fee as part of ‘complicated’ deal
Club agree to eventually turn move into £25m signing
West Ham have signed Saïd Benrahma on loan with an agreement to buy next summer after concerns raised by the winger’s medical forced them into last-minute negotiations over the transfer with Brentford.
Benrahma was poised to complete a permanent move to West Ham for £30m before the deadline for Premier League clubs to play players from English Football League sides passed, only for the deal to stall following a late twist. West Ham resumed talks with Brentford after medical checks left the Algerian’s move in doubt and managed to reach an agreement over new terms with the Championship window after a day full of uncertainty.
Solskjær says defender ‘picked up a knock’ with England
United manager bats away Paul Pogba’s Real Madrid ‘dream’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has indicated that Harry Maguire could miss Manchester United’s game at Newcastle on Saturday, saying the defender, who is struggling for form and was sent off with England, had “picked up a knock”.
As the game enjoys a boom online, players ranging from grandmasters to preteens are getting caught ‘computer doping’
In one chess tournament, five of the top six were disqualified for cheating. In another, the doting parents of 10-year-old competitors furiously rejected evidence that their darlings were playing at the level of the world No 1. And in a third, an Armenian grandmaster booted out for suspicious play accused his opponent of “doing pipi in his Pampers”.
These incidents may sound extreme but they are not isolated – and they have all taken place online since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Taking care of business: A number of players could move from the Championship to the Premier League before stumps at 5pm, with Watford winger Ismaila Sarr among the bigger names expected to move. Manchester United had a deadline day bid for the 22-year-old rejected on the most recent deadline day and may up their bid in an effort to get him to Old Trafford. Brentford winger Said Benrahma, Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks, Norwich midfielder Todd Cantwell and Swansea centre-back Joe Rodon are among others who could find themselves getting promoted from the Championship before the day is out.
Nottingham Forest’s 14th permanent manager in 12 years is fully aware that returning to the Premier League is the main goal
Off a corridor in the offices behind the main stand at the City Ground, around the corner from a bronze bust of Brian Clough and inspirational quotes and images of Nottingham Forest’s most revered era, the club’s new manager, Chris Hughton, is putting the challenge that lies ahead into perspective.
“It is very early in the season,” he says. “The ideal time to take over a club is always in the summer, but I’d certainly rather take over with four games having gone than 10, 14, 20 played.”
Astros win 4-3 on dramatic homer to force Game 6 in ALCS
Five Houston rookie pitchers contain Tampa Ray offense
Carlos Correa homered with one out in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Thursday behind sensational pitching from five rookies to remain alive in the AL Championship Series.
Correa drove a pitch from Nick Anderson to straightaway center field, watched the ball for a few steps and then flung his bat. He was greeted at home by his ecstatic teammates. He’s only 3-for-18 in the series, but two of the hits are homers.
Most of the young stars who shone in Russia have stagnated, so is the manager’s faith in them based on stability or nostalgia?
At the time – even amid the ruins of defeat – it felt like the start of something. Even as John Stones cried his heart out, as a distraught Dele Alli chewed on his shirt, as Jesse Lingard stared blankly into the abyss, it was possible to see this moment as Year Zero, the rebirth, the beginning of the next chapter. Yes, Croatia had your number this time. But you’re young. You’ll be back. You too, Eric. You too, Raheem. Maybe not so much you, Phil.
This was, perhaps, why the 2018 World Cup felt so transformative. It wasn’t just the hot summer euphoria, the flying pints, Three Lions back at No 1 in the charts. It was the sense that this was a vivid, exciting group of players who would only get better with time. Seven of the starting XI for the semi-final in Moscow were aged 25 or younger. By the next Euros in 2020, we assumed, this would be a squad approaching full bloom.
Unhappiness that Championship excluded from rescue package
EFL teams want to choose exactly where money is spent
English Football League clubs are set to reject a £50m rescue package for League One and League Two after deeming the bailout financially inadequate and insist Championship clubs should be part of any deal.
It is understood clubs are uncomfortable with the Premier League excluding second-tier teams from the loans and grants package on offer and league executives are unanimous in believing Championship clubs must be part of any future conversation.
Max, Barry, Jacqui Oatley and Jonathan Wilson discuss England’s double red-card horror show against Denmark, and whether Gareth Southgate needs his waistcoat back. Elsewhere, Scotland and Wales found success but both Northern Ireland and the Republic struggled.
Falcons’ Sunday game still on as scheduled despite shutdown
Atlanta’s decision follows outbreaks with Titans and Patriots
The Atlanta Falcons shut their facility Thursday following one new positive test for Covid-19. The team remains scheduled to play at Minnesota on Sunday.
Defensive tackle Marlon Davidson was placed on the Covid-19/reserve list this week, and the addition of a second unidentified person caused the Falcons to act out of caution. All team activity will be done virtually.
ATP said it’s investigating breach of Covid-19 protocol at event
American No 5 could face hefty fine and suspension from tour
US tennis player Sam Querrey, a 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist and the world No 49, was placed in isolation by Russian authorities after testing positive for the coronavirus but left the country on a private plane, organizers of the St Petersburg Open said on Thursday.
The tournament said Querrey and his wife tested positive on Sunday, the day before main draw play started. They tested negative on arrival in Russia four days earlier. He was withdrawn from the competition and the family was asked to isolate together at a hotel.
After a hectic run of international matches we run the rule over the teams most likely to thrive at delayed Euro 2020
Didier Deschamps is a throwback. In a world of pressing and high lines, he is different. He sits his defence deep, gives the full-backs limited licence, and keeps his midfield three relatively deep in front of them. But when you have a squad as deep and as gifted as France do, and particularly a forward as fast, intelligent and lethal as Kylian Mbappé, it works. There may always be a sense with France that they could be so much more, but they’re unbeaten in the Nations League, reached the final of the last Euros and won the World Cup.
Supporters’ trust believes club have at least £7m of fans’ money
Newcastle committed to reimbursing fans by Christmas
A leading group of Newcastle supporters has urged the club to refund fans for season tickets they are unlikely to be able to use until next spring at the earliest.
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust claims Newcastle have already banked about £7m in advance season-ticket sales for this season and is appealing to club officials to “do right by fans” and reimburse it.
Craig Tiley confident grand slam will proceed in January
But dependent on players’ hotel quarantine exemption
Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has categorically ruled out staging the 2021 Melbourne grand slam if players are forced into two weeks of hard quarantine. But Tiley remains “absolutely” confident the Open will go ahead as planned from 18 to 31 January, along with the usual lead-up events.
He is banking on Australia’s state and federal governments relaxing border restrictions and granting special approval for a training bubble to be established for the world’s tennis elite.
2) The world’s only heritage listed skatepark in Romford was forced to shut last year after a devastating fire, but a bunch of middle-aged skaters, BMXers and street artists are fighting to bring it back to life. They’ve just released a documentary about it: Rom Boys: 40 years of Rad. It looks ace. For more on some of Britain’s oldest surviving skateparks Concrete Dinosaurs is worth a watch too.
Former Arsenal scout, who identified gems from Lauren to Partey, talks Wenger, signing Fàbregas and why a title challenge may be on
Not long after 10.30pm on deadline day, a car pulled up outside the headquarters of La Liga and two men got out. They hurried into the building, signed some papers, and left. At 23.28 the league officially informed Atlético Madrid that Arsenal had paid the €50m buyout clause for Thomas Partey and Atlético, in turn, announced his departure at 23.55, five minutes before the window closed. The Ghanaian was a Gunner. It had all happened fast.
Only, it hadn’t. This was just the final stage in a six-year process. Francis Cagigao, then Arsenal’s head of recruitment, had first watched a 21-year-old Partey on loan at Almería. On Saturday Partey is in line to make his Arsenal debut; Cagigao will have to watch on TV from Galicia, northern Spain, having departed the club in September after 24 years’ service, a free agent awaiting a new project.
The No1 overall pick has shown he has the potential to be great. But Andrew Luck is a cautionary tale of what happens when quarterbacks are not protected
At what point does the Cincinnati Bengals’ lack of protection for the crown jewel of this year’s draft, No 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, become malpractice?
The quarterback has taken a serious amount of punishment in his five weeks as an NFL starter. He has been sacked 22 times, hit 50 times and pressured 65 times. He “leads” the NFL in all three of those categories. And these aren’t pack-up-and-fold, mid-career Peyton Manning-type sacks. These are vicious, are-they-still-allowed-to-hit-like-that shots.
Dodgers win 15-3 to cut NLCS deficit to two games to one
Max Muncy’s grand slam caps record-setting first inning
Max Muncy’s grand slam capped a record-setting 11-run first inning for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who coasted to a 15-3 rout of the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night that cut their National League Championship Series deficit to two games to one
The slam by Muncy off Grant Dayton was the third homer in the first, the highest-scoring inning in a major league postseason game. It was among a franchise-record five homers for the Dodgers, who set a team record for postseason runs.
2017 AL MVP has four errors in nine playoff games this year
Normally sure-handed fielder made no errors in regular season
Astros trail 3-0 in best-of-seven-games AL Championship Series
José Altuve’s sudden inability to make simple throws in the field has become one of the biggest stories of the Major League Baseball playoffs – and couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Houston Astros.
Altuve, who won a Gold Glove as the American League’s best defensive second baseman in 2015, made a throwing error on a routine ground ball during Tuesday night’s Game 3 of the ALCS that opened the door for the Tampa Bay Rays, who rallied to a 5-2 win and a commanding three-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven series.
Harry Maguire’s horror season continues. It has been a nightmare off the pitch, with the story of his misadventures from Mykonos well told, and it has not been much better on it, as he has struggled for rhythm and confidence at Manchester United.
Any notion that he might generate a little momentum in England colours after his solid performance in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Belgium was shot to pieces by a first-half red card that disfigured this Nations League tie from his team’s point of view and led to a disappointing defeat.
The reshaping of English football is on hold but Liverpool’s owner is said to regard it as a win that clubs will hold a review
John Henry and Joel Glazer were not on the Premier League video meeting to promote the Project Big Picture they worked up in the US to reshape English football, or to take the flak from its shooting down by the other clubs. Despite the Premier League’s emphatic statement that the plans “will not be endorsed or pursued”, Liverpool’s owner is said to regard it as a win that the 20 clubs have committed to a strategic review, in which some of his proposals will inevitably be discussed.
Some in the EFL were also trying to look on the bright side after a fraught few days that have not cast the most flattering floodlight on the inner workings of the great game. They figure that at least the idea was surprisingly raised in the Liverpool and Manchester United plan, for a 25% sharing of the Premier League’s multibillions with the EFL, and must now be negotiated.
They accept plan rejected but strategic review to take place
Combined £50m bailout offer to League One and Two
Liverpool and Manchester United have been forced into an embarrassing climbdown over their push to reform English football after a tense meeting of the Premier League’s 20 clubs on Wednesday.
Project Big Picture was left dead in the water, with clubs agreeing unanimously to engage in a new “strategic plan” for the future of English football. Proponents of the proposal were still claiming something like victory, however, insisting their ideas for reform remained on the table.
Jose Mourinho will be delighted to see Harry Kane return to the England starting XI. Muscle fatigue be damned; Gareth Southgate insists he’s taking no unnecessary risks.
Kane’s inclusion is one of five changes from the 2-1 victory over Belgium. Kalvin Phillips, Conor Coady, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reece James also come in, the latter pair making their first senior starts. Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier and Dominic Calvert-Lewin drop out.
Démare edges Sagan and Hodeg in sprint finish to stage 11
Almeida retains overall leader’s pink jersey by 34 seconds
Arnaud Démare earned his fourth stage victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia by winning the 11th stage in another mass sprint, and João Almeida held on to the overall leader’s pink jersey.
Démare edged Peter Sagan and Álvaro Hodeg at the end of the mostly flat 182km (113-mile) leg from Porto Sant’Elpidio to Rimini along the Adriatic coast. Fernando Gaviria was the first to launch his sprint, with 200 metres to go, but Démare responded immediately.
The Mexico star may well expand MLS’s fanbase but LA Galaxy are winless in games he has started this season
Major League Soccer spent years preparing for Javier “Chicharito” Hernández’s arrival. While the 32-year-old’s achievements in the sport come nowhere close to the likes of David Beckham, Thierry Henry, David Villa or many of the other big-name Designated Players to have graced the league, his standing as a Mexican superstar made his transfer to the LA Galaxy earlier this year a landmark moment.
Off the pitch, Hernández has the potential to accelerate MLS’s growth more than any individual since Beckham. On the pitch, though, he has underwhelmed in 2020. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker has scored just once in eight appearances for the LA Galaxy this season, but somehow those numbers still don’t reflect the extent to which he has been a disappointment.
Braves halfway to World Series after 8-7 win in Game 2
Freeman and Albies homer again for surging Braves
Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies homered again, rookie Ian Anderson extended his postseason scoreless streak in an abbreviated start and the Atlanta Braves just held on for an 8-7 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
Freeman put the Braves ahead to stay with a two-run homer in the fourth off rookie Tony Gonsolin, who filled in after three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched because of back spasms. Freeman added an RBI single as part of a four-run outburst an inning later.
Offer expected to be £140m, not the £250m EFL wants
Anger towards EFL chairman Rick Parry over Project Big Picture
The Premier League will attempt to finalise a bailout package for the EFL on Wednesday but the anger generated by Project Big Picture has left some clubs unwilling to hand over money while Rick Parry is the EFL’s chairman.
The offer is expected to be worth £140m – payable in loans and grants – but that would be some way short of the £250m the EFL is seeking as it reels from the impact of Covid-19. An identical proposal has already been rejected by the EFL.
Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning and Philippe Auclair to examine the game’s ‘gamblification’ with the betting industry. We hear from James Grimes, who was a gambling addict for 12 years, Rob Davies, The Guardian’s business reporter who specialises in the gambling industry, and Brigid Simmonds, chair of the Betting and Gaming Council
A few weeks ago, we discussed whether it was OK for someone in the media to accept work from a bookmaker. We talked about the increasing “gamblification” of football and asked whose responsibility it is to regulate the industry and help people who have become addicted.
The 27-year-old quarterback required surgery after suffering a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. His current deal expires at the end of the season, and some have wondered if the Cowboys will commit to Prescott long-term as he comes back from injury.