Dominic Fifield

Author's details

Name: Dominic Fifield
Date registered: September 27, 2014
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/football/chelsea

Latest posts

  1. Tottenham will pass video to FA and police after racist chanting at Millwall tie — March 13, 2017
  2. N’Golo Kanté was a champion already but Antonio Conte has made him better | Dominic Fifield — March 11, 2017
  3. Millwall’s Tony Craig: ‘All those scars show the sort of player I am’ — March 11, 2017
  4. Premier League players to be told: stand back and let medics treat head trauma — March 7, 2017
  5. Brighton promotion would be bigger feat than taking Newcastle up, says Hughton — February 28, 2017

Author's posts listings

Mar 13

Tottenham will pass video to FA and police after racist chanting at Millwall tie

• FA opens inquiry after Millwall fans target Son Heung-min
• Spurs chants referred to visiting supporters as ‘pikey boys’

Millwall and Tottenham Hotspur are assisting the Football Association and police with their investigations into the racist and discriminatory chanting which marred the FA Cup quarter-final between the clubs at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Sections of the visiting support directed chants of “DVD” and “He’s selling three for a fiver” at the Spurs forward Son Heung-min, who scored a hat-trick in the hosts’ 6-0 win. Although both managers said they had not heard the songs, the Tottenham substitute Kyle Walker appeared to acknowledge the tone of the chants by pointing angrily towards the Millwall fans after Son scored the first of his goals.

Related: Son’s hat-trick for Tottenham the perfect response to Millwall’s idiot minority | Dominic Fifield

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/13/tottenham-video-fa-racist-chanting-millwall

Mar 11

N’Golo Kanté was a champion already but Antonio Conte has made him better | Dominic Fifield

N’Golo Kanté was already a Premier League winner with Leicester City but when Chelsea face Manchester United in the FA Cup they will field someone who has plainly improved

There was no fumbling for the right words, or even the slightest of pauses to contemplate how best to elaborate, in his second language, on all things N’Golo Kanté. Instead, Antonio Conte snapped right back with the kind of compliment that carries proper weight. “He is an example to all,” said the Chelsea manager of a player making the difference. “N’Golo is a fantastic guy, a fantastic player, with great commitment and great behaviour. Yes, a great example.”

Almost nine months into Kanté’s career at Chelsea and the temptation is already there to take him for granted. The Frenchman is setting new standards in Chelsea’s midfield, just as he did at Leicester City, but the world has grown used to his lung-busting efforts.

Related: José Mourinho left trailing by calmed-down Antonio Conte | Daniel Taylor

Related: Chelsea have the look of an unstoppable force thanks to N’Golo Kanté | Dominic Fifield

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/11/ngolo-kante-antonio-conte-chelsea

Mar 11

Millwall’s Tony Craig: ‘All those scars show the sort of player I am’

The Millwall captain has gone under the knife six times and been sold twice by his boyhood club but is back living the dream as Tottenham await in the FA Cup quarter-final at White Hart Lane

Tony Craig wears the scars as a badge of honour. There is the seven-inch track of a surgeon’s knife that snakes round the outside of his left knee from thigh to calf, a legacy of his attempt to block a shot from Bradford’s James Hanson in the autumn of last season. “He must have caught it quite well because it bent the joint back and took the hamstring tendon and lateral ligament completely away,” he says as if relishing a chance to relay every gruesome detail. “Proper trauma. I knew I was in trouble when I hit the ground that time.”

That detail is worth clarifying not least because, rewinding to the autumn of 2009, the defender had been unconscious even before landing back on the turf after a kick in the head from Gareth Ainsworth that left him with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone and eye socket. The operations that followed inserted a titanium plate into Craig’s face, though he was still badgering his manager at Millwall at the time, Kenny Jackett, to pick him for a league fixture against MK Dons a little over a week later wearing a custom-made carbon fibre protective mask. Jackett refused while a merciless squad delighted in christening their rugged left-back “the Phantom”.

Related: How Harry Kane’s loan saved Millwall from relegation and made him a man

Related: Neil Harris proud of putting blood and thunder back in Millwall’s boots

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/11/millwall-tony-craig-scars-tottenham-fa-cup

Mar 07

Premier League players to be told: stand back and let medics treat head trauma

• Doctors’ group will remind footballers that non-expert help can be dangerous
• ‘The best thing players can do is to let the professionals do their jobs’

Premier League footballers are to be reminded to leave on-field emergency procedures to trained medical staff after cases where players have intervened in the belief they are assisting colleagues knocked unconscious on the turf.

The Premier League Doctors’ Group will discuss players’ reaction to injuries, however well-intentioned, at their routine meeting later this month and members will return to their clubs to reiterate the dangers of moving players who have suffered head trauma.

Related: Francis Koné, the footballer who has now saved the lives of four opponents

Related: Fernando Torres released from hospital following sickening head injury

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/07/premier-league-head-injuries-football-players-doctors

Feb 28

Brighton promotion would be bigger feat than taking Newcastle up, says Hughton

• Chris Hughton’s team host the club he won promotion with in 2010
• Brighton have conceded only nine goals at home all season

Chris Hughton would consider gaining promotion to the Premier League with Brighton & Hove Albion this season a more eye-catching achievement than the elevation to the top flight he oversaw at Newcastle United as he prepares to confront his former club at the Amex Stadium.

The two top sides in the Championship meet on Tuesday with each eager to open further distance from third-placed Huddersfield Town as they pursue automatic promotion. While Newcastle arrive on the south coast still infuriated to have dropped points against struggling Bristol City on Saturday, Brighton have emerged from a relatively stodgy period with successive wins and clean sheets, with the impressive win against Reading on Saturday having restored them to the top of the division.

Related: Brighton go top after Anthony Knockaert seals points against Reading

Related: Football League your thoughts: Newcastle come back to save a point

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/28/brighton-hove-albion-newcastle-united-championship-chris-hughton

Feb 20

Tottenham fit enough to stay in running on three fronts, says Jan Vertonghen

• ‘It’s good we take the Europa League and FA Cup very seriously’
• Defender confident Spurs can overturn first-leg deficit against Gent

Jan Vertonghen is convinced Tottenham Hotspur’s squad has the depth in quality to compete on three fronts as the club seeks to prolong interest in the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup.

Related: Spurs load big guns and find firepower to get the better of Fulham | Nick Ames

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/20/tottenham-fit-enough-stay-in-running-three-fronts-jan-vertonghen-europa-league-fa-cup-premier-league

Feb 20

Mark Clattenburg to continue as Premier League referee until end of season

• England’s leading match official will be in charge of at least four matches
• The 41-year-old is to take up new role as head of referees in Saudi Arabia

Mark Clattenburg is to remain a Premier League referee for the rest of the season, and will be in charge for West Bromwich Albion’s game against Bournemouth this weekend, before taking up his new position as head of referees in Saudi Arabia.

England’s leading match official announced last week that he was to leave his position on the panel of elite referees to succeed Howard Webb in the role in the Middle East but will serve out his notice period. The 41-year-old, who was recently voted the best referee in the world at Dubai’s Globe Soccer Awards, had announced his intention to help “improve refereeing and the education of officials” with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.

Related: Preparing for life without a foremost national asset, Mark Clattenburg | Marina Hyde

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/20/mark-clattenburg-continue-premier-league-referee-till-end-of-season

Feb 18

Vincent Janssen must prove worth on Spurs training ground, says Pochettino

  • £17m Tottenham signing was not even on bench for defeat at Gent
  • Mauricio Pochettino: ‘He needs to show more, and then we’ll see’

Mauricio Pochettino has suggested Vincent Janssen needs to offer more intensity in training to justify a recall to the Tottenham Hotspur first team, with the Holland international far from certain to start in Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Fulham.

Spurs will offer fringe players their opportunity at Craven Cottage as they seek to freshen up a side involved in the Europa League and the pursuit of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League. Harry Kane is expected to sit out the game having suffered a kick to a knee in Thursday’s 1-0 loss to KAA Gent yet Janssen, a £17m signing from AZ Alkmaar last summer, may have to make do with a place on the bench having apparently failed to impress the management over recent weeks.

Related: Tottenham underestimated Gent and must wake up, says Mousa Dembélé

Related: Jérémy Perbet fires Gent to first-leg victory over lethargic Tottenham

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/18/vincent-janssen-must-prove-worth-on-spurs-training-ground-says-pochettino

Feb 02

Brighton’s Glenn Murray: ‘Graceful? Maybe not. Others would say I’m a donkey’

After making his prolific loan move to Brighton permanent for £3m, the 33-year-old striker is hoping for another shot at the Premier League

Confirmation of Brighton & Hove Albion’s most significant deal of the January window had dropped early afternoon on deadline day and, true to form at a club who have made a habit of quietly impressive yet relentless progress, it went almost unnoticed on the yellow-tickered conveyor belt of opportunistic buys elsewhere.

Glenn Murray, previously a mere loanee from Bournemouth, had signed a two-and-a-half-year contract. Chris Hughton acknowledged the striker had “done exactly what we hoped he would” over the campaign to date. Murray, rather than lingering on his own contribution, talked up the strength of the collective, the spirit in the group, the manager’s focused approach.

Related: Newcastle transfer tensions hint at power struggle as QPR dent title push | Louise Taylor

Related: Ten of the best non-Premier League family friendly football clubs

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/02/brighton-glenn-murray-interview

Jan 28

Sutton’s Micky Stephens: ‘The Coventry tie was our chance. There was no fear’

Sutton’s assistant manager was pivotal in the greatest win in the club’s history 28 years ago and believes another famous FA Cup shock is possible against Leeds

Micky Stephens needed only to glance around the President’s Lounge to conjure up memories of the most celebrated day in Sutton United’s history. The function suites at Gander Green Lane are littered with reminders of that afternoon back in early 1989 when Coventry, part of the furniture in the top flight and FA Cup winners two seasons previously, had subsided in this corner of south London. Crane his neck and he could spy himself, fresher faced and sporting a fuller head of hair, wheeling away in celebration after one of his trademark set pieces in some of the photos or framed newspaper cuttings mounted on the wall.

It was the non-league team’s prowess at dead-ball situations which did for the likes of Brian Kilcline, Trevor Peake and Steve Ogrizovic that day. Yet, rather than linger on those gloriously panicked scenes in the Coventry six-yard box, Stephens’ mind drifted back to the morning’s preparations on Collingwood Road Rec, flanking the stadium, that Saturday 28 years ago.

Related: From the Vault: Sutton United knock Coventry City out of the FA Cup in 1989

Related: FA Cup third round: AFC Wimbledon’s return to Sutton United – in pictures

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/28/sutton-micky-stephens-coventry-city-fa-cup-leeds

Jan 27

Antonio Conte gives Branislav Ivanovic no guarantee of Chelsea future

• Zenit St Petersburg interested in Serbia defender
• Ivanovic will not start FA Cup tie against Brentford

Antonio Conte has offered no guarantees over Branislav Ivanovic’s future at Chelsea and said the defender will not start Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Brentford, with Zenit St Petersburg having expressed an interest in luring him to Russia.

Ivanovic has not started a Premier League game since the defeat at Arsenal towards the end of September, having lost his place in Conte’s 3-4-3 formation to Victor Moses. The 32-year-old, who has entered the final six months of his contract, was included in the starting lineup for the third-round victory over Peterborough but was omitted from the matchday squad against Hull City last Sunday.

Related: Manchester United may be top dogs in north-west but title is London-bound | Paul Wilson

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/27/antonio-conte-branislav-ivanovic-chelsea-zenit

Jan 23

Asmir Begovic move to Bournemouth hinges on Chelsea finding replacement

• League leaders will want new No2 for Thibaut Courtois before agreeing deal
• Antonio Conte sympathetic to keeper’s wish to play first-team football

Bournemouth’s hopes of securing the Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic this month will hinge on the Premier League leaders finding a suitable replacement who is willing to act as back-up to Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge.

Begovic, an £8m signing from Stoke City in the summer of 2015, has seen his opportunities limited to three EFL Cup ties and an FA Cup third-round game this season with Courtois having excelled in the Premier League.

Related: Diego Costa’s scoring return shows Chelsea’s ‘great unity’, says Antonio Conte

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/23/asmir-begovic-chelsea-bournemouth

Dec 18

James McArthur laments Crystal Palace plight and urges turnaround at Watford

• Defeat by Chelsea leaves Alan Pardew under increasing pressure
• McArthur admits Palace cannot afford to lose to Watford on Monday

James McArthur has conceded that Crystal Palace’s game at Watford on Boxing Day has become a “must win” match as Alan Pardew’s beleaguered side desperately seek to reinvigorate their season after a miserable run of results.

The defeat against Chelsea on Saturday was Palace’s eighth loss in 10 top‑flight games, and a 22nd of the calendar year, to leave the south London team hovering just above the relegation zone. All the optimism generated by an active summer in the transfer market, during which the club broke their transfer record first to sign Andros Townsend and then Christian Benteke, has long since evaporated with scrutiny intensifying on the manager’s position.

Related: Diego Costa sends Chelsea soaring at Palace with 11th straight league win

Related: Antonio Conte wants special future after Chelsea beat Crystal Palace

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/dec/18/crystal-palace-james-macarthur-chelsea-watford

Dec 18

Antonio Conte’s culture of unity on and off the pitch soothes Chelsea self-doubt

The Italian’s changes that have diffused tension from last season were highlighted as the 1-0 win at Crystal Palace secured a club record 11th straight league win

Rewind, briefly, to the tipping point. Antonio Conte’s initial reaction to that heavy defeat at Arsenal back in September had been one of fury. He was livid, humiliated, crushed and, in the emotional heart-to-heart he conducted with his coaching staff, he questioned himself and the task he had taken on at Chelsea. It took a while for those emotions to simmer down and rational thought to return but then, as he surveyed the scene in the away dressing room, he recognised broken players still haunted by the trauma of underachievement last season, and realised something had to change.

Related: Diego Costa sends Chelsea soaring at Palace with 11th straight league win

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2016/dec/18/antonio-conte-culture-unity-chelsea-crystal-palace-record

Dec 07

Arsenal renew hope with their undefeated Champions League group stage

After winning Group A, Arsène Wenger’s next objective is to steer his side beyond the last 16 for the first time since they reached the quarter-finals in 2010

The Arsenal management and players departed St Jakob Park without a hint of triumphalism. Arsène Wenger had spent most of his post-match duties warning that even as surprise group winners, next week’s Champions League draw in Nyon may still pair his team against daunting opposition in the last 16.

Laurent Koscielny suggested the only advantage that had been gained was the opportunity to play the second leg of the next stage at home.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/dec/07/arsenal-champions-league-arsene-wenger-last-16-draw-nyon

Nov 27

Crystal Palace’s shambolic showings leave Alan Pardew on the brink

With Saturday’s astonishing 5-4 defeat at Swansea just the latest shambolic performance from Crystal Palace, their manager Alan Pardew’s job is in jeopardy

The signs were there in plain sight at the Liberty Stadium. The ones which suggest this is the end game. They reared with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s every intervention, a player whose influence as scorer and provider had been highlighted on posters pinned up on the walls back at Crystal Palace’s training ground. The pie-charted stats had screamed out a warning that the Icelander had contributed to 53% of Swansea’s goals. And yet, against rivals primed to stifle, here he was scoring the hosts’ first, assisting their fourth, and delivering the three set-plays which provoked such bedlam in the visitors’ pathetic mess of a defence as to ensure dismal defeat was plucked from the jaws of victory. Those percentages will need tweaking.

The clues could be spied just as clearly in Christian Benteke losing his man not once, not twice, but three times at those set-piece deliveries in a team that had apparently spent the bulk of the previous week working feverishly on tightening up at dead-ball situations. One of those errors might be written off as another careless lapse in concentration. Three suggested rather more troubling issues in play, and that the drilling has not worked. A lineup that had prioritised a first clean sheet since April ended up shipping five to a team who had started the weekend bottom and the 18th most prolific side in the division. The message is not sinking in. The same mistakes are being made every week. Discipline is shot to pieces.

Related: Swansea City stun Crystal Palace as Fernando Llorente settles 5-4 thriller

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/nov/27/crystal-palace-shambolic-showings-leave-alan-pardew-on-brink

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