Jacob Steinberg

Author's details

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

Latest posts

  1. Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: Premier League – as it happened — September 17, 2017
  2. If only Patrick Vieira hadn’t selected power drive | The Fiver — September 14, 2017
  3. Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Borussia Dortmund: Champions League – as it happened — September 13, 2017
  4. Slaven Bilic prepares for Huddersfield’s visit with a long weekend at home — September 10, 2017
  5. José Mourinho blames Marouane Fellaini’s absence for slip-up at Stoke — September 10, 2017

Author's posts listings

Sep 17

Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: Premier League – as it happened

Arsenal earned their first away point and David Luiz was sent off in a desperately poor game at Stamford Bridge

3.57pm BST

Related: David Luiz sees red as Arsenal hold Chelsea in stalemate at Stamford Bridge

3.26pm BST

Arsenal will probably be pleased with their first away point. That was a huge improvement on whatever it was they tried to do at Liverpool. They were solid and disciplined. That said, they might be slightly disappointed not to have scored in the first half, when their dominance forced Antonio Conte into making a half-time change to toughen up his team. Nothing really worked for Chelsea in possession. They need to get Eden Hazard up to speed. They go third – Arsenal stay 12th – but they’re three points behind Manchester City. Thanks for reading. Do join Nick Ames for Manchester United v Everton now. Bye.

3.22pm BST

What a poor game.

3.20pm BST

90 min+3: Bellerin is booked for a cynical push on Bakayoko.

3.19pm BST

90 min+1: Moses runs at Kolasinac, who brings him down. Kolasinac has lost his head. He screams at the linesman and is lucky not to receive a second booking for dissent.

3.18pm BST

90 min: Kolasinac is booked for a hack on Hazard. There will be four added minutes.

3.18pm BST

90 min: Sanchez finds Monreal in space inside the Chelsea area, but the defender’s shot is blocked!

3.17pm BST

89 min: Andreas Christensen replaces Alvaro Morata. Kolasinac has returned.

3.16pm BST

88 min: Kolasinac is still receiving treatment.

3.16pm BST

87 min: David Luiz makes down the right flank and takes too long to release the ball. He ends up overruning it, with Sanchez pressuring him, panics, loses control and flies into a challenge with Kolasinac. The Arsenal player gets there first and Luiz studs him on the ankle. Ouch. Michael Oliver rushes over and shows the red card. There are no complaints from Luiz and once again Chelsea will finish with 10 against Arsenal.

3.14pm BST

87 min: This corner’s headed out as far as Moses, who sees his volley blocked.

3.14pm BST

86 min: Bakayoko’s shot is deflected wide for a corner by Sanchez. It’s cleared. Hazard picks up possession and finds Fabregas on the right. His volleyed cross takes a deflection for another Chelsea corner.

3.12pm BST

84 min: This is comically inept. No one can complete a pass. They’ve all lost the run of themselves! Look at them charging around! Elneny’s booked for a foul on Bakayoko.

3.10pm BST

82 min: “How many hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent so Sky could bring us this utter tripe?” says David Flynn. “If this game was on HBO they’d cancel the season halfway through.”

3.08pm BST

80 min: Mohamed Elneny replaces Alex Iwobi.

3.07pm BST

79 min: Kante breaks through the middle and manages something rare, a pass to a Chelsea player. It’s Hazard, too, and that spells trouble for Arsenal. He dribbles through, swaying inside on to his right foot, but his rising drive from 18 yards is held by Cech.

3.06pm BST

78 min: Mohamed Elneny will be on soon. Are Arsenal about to settle for a point?

3.05pm BST

76 min: Chelsea steam forward and force a corner on the left. Hazard and Fabregas take it quickly. Fabregas skips past one challenge and fires the ball into the middle, but Xhaka clears.

3.03pm BST

75 min: Bakyoko trips Ramsey on the right. Arsenal have a free-kick. Xhaka lifts it to the far post, Mustafi’s unmarked and he heads it past Courtois, but the flag’s up for offside! He doesn’t know and peels off to celebrate with the Arsenal fans. Alas. His joy is shortlived.

3.01pm BST

74 min: The second half has drifted by. It’s been fairly dire.

3.00pm BST

73 min: It seems Welbeck’s tweaked his groin. Olivier Giroud replaces him.

2.59pm BST

71 min: Welbeck’s down and in need of treatment.

2.57pm BST

70 min: Eden Hazard replaces the disappointing Willian.

2.54pm BST

66 min: Alexis Sanchez replaces Alexandre Lacazette.

2.52pm BST

65 min: Alexis Sanchez is getting ready to come on. There’s no sign of Eden Hazard yet, though. Morata’s booked for dissent after complaining about being penalised for a shoulder barge on Mustafi.

2.50pm BST

62 min: Another Chelsea move breaks down and Arsenal counter, Welbeck galloping down the left. He cleverly prods a pass inside to Kolasinac, who drives into the Chelsea area. However Azpilicueta does well to jockey him and Kolasinac ends up running the ball out of play before shooting or crossing.

2.47pm BST

60 min: Morata has had a few tussles with Mustafi and been given nothing. This time he gets a free-kick on the left, though. A chance for Chelsea. Fabregas rolls it down the line to Willian, who cuts inside before shooting miles over.

2.46pm BST

59 min: It’s been a poor start to the second half.

2.45pm BST

57 min: Welbeck tries to scoop a pass through to Ramsey, but Courtois reads it.

2.43pm BST

55 min: Ramsey sprays a slide-rule pass through to Lacazette, but Azpilicueta gets his body in the way and ushers the ball behind.

2.42pm BST

54 min: Bakayoko makes his first contribution, powering through midfield and injecting some energy into Chelsea’s play. He finds Alonso on the left. He cuts inside and sees his shot blocked by Bellerin.

2.40pm BST

52 min: A free-kick to Chelsea on the right. Fabregas lofts it in, it’s flicked on and Luiz tries an overhead kick and ends up booting Koscielny in the face. The defender’s down and will need treatment. Was there some kind of high boot controversy recently? Can’t remember. Anyway Luiz is booked.

2.37pm BST

50 min: This is scrappy.

2.34pm BST

47 min: Morata pokes a pass to Fabregas, who moves it to the right for Willian. He wastefully shoots straight at Cech.

2.33pm BST

46 min: Arsenal get the second half underway. Chelsea should be stiffer in midfield now Bakayoko’s on.

2.32pm BST

Tiemoue Bakayoko is coming on for Chelsea. Pedro is coming off.

2.18pm BST

Arsenal are playing well at Stamford Bridge!

2.17pm BST

45 min+1: There will be two added minutes. Out of nowhere, Morata almost bursts through after beating Mustafi. Monreal steams across, though, and boots it back towards his own goal from 40 yards. Cech does very well to chest down and clear. A bit more oomph from Monreal and that could have been a very funny own goal.

2.15pm BST

45 min: Chelsea are rattled. They’re struggling to put two passes together.

2.13pm BST

43 min: Chelsea are rocking. I wonder if Conte might bring on Bakayoko for Fabregas.

2.13pm BST

41 min: What a miss from Lacazette! This is astonishing! With Arsenal completely on top in midfield, Ramsey decides to creep forward and he drifts past Fabregas as though the Spaniard isn’t there. Into the area he goes, stumbling past one challenge, then another. He’s off balance, but he’s determined and tries to prod a shot into the bottom left corner with his right foot. It bobbles past Courtois, but hits the inside of the post and bounces out to Lacazette, who promptly volleys over the empty net and high into the stands, almost like he was clearing it for a corner!

2.10pm BST

39 min: Gary Cahill decides to get out of a tight hole by doing a backheel. Does it come off? Well, moments later he’s booting it into the stands.

2.08pm BST

38 min: Xhaka’s corner is nonsense. So’s Moses’s attempt to clear on the edge of the area. A complete miskick gives Koscielny a chance, but the defender scoops over.

2.07pm BST

37 min: Iwobi sends in the free-kick; Morata heads behind for a corner.

2.07pm BST

36 min: Morata loses the ball on the halfway line and Arsenal pour forward, only for Welbeck to wastefully shoot from 18 yards when others were better placed. Arsenal are playing pretty well here, though, keeping their shape and maintaining their discipline – Ozil isn’t playing, by the way. Azpilicueta brings down Lacazette on the left and Arsenal have a free-kick in a promising position.

2.05pm BST

34 min: David Luiz reckons he’s spotted something developing further forward, so he cunningly boots a long free-kick straight out for a goal-kick.

2.02pm BST

32 min: Xhaka has a go from 30 yards. It whistles wide of the left post. Courtois had it covered.

2.02pm BST

31 min: David Luiz lets Michael Oliver know that Xhaka was fouling him at a free-kick a moment or two ago. A replay shows Xhaka had his arms around the Brazilian. Mike Dean would have given a penalty, no doubt about that.

2.00pm BST

29 min: Bellerin should grow a beard, then he can complete the Andy Carroll look.

1.58pm BST

27 min: Chelsea are obviously still very good at this football business, but they do lack a bit of a spark without Hazard on the pitch.

1.55pm BST

25 min: Xhaka expertly sprays a crossfield pass out for a throw.

1.54pm BST

23 min: This is a highly entertaining game. Moses, heavily involved on the right, has another look down the right and lofts a cross in to Morata, who heads over.

1.53pm BST

21 min: Of course, Arsenal starting to enjoy themselves does raise the possibility of Chelsea puncturing their balloon with one moment of killer quality. And this is almost it. Fabregas lofts a vintage ball over the Arsenal back three, which has decided to play a useless offside trap, and Pedro’s clear. He races into the area, Koscielny desperately trying to get back, but the Spaniard takes too long to get himself set and allows Cech to make a fairly straightforward block.

1.51pm BST

20 min: Arsenal are beginning to enjoy themselves now, spreading concern around Stamford Bridge. Kolasinac, who has muscles, decides to have a pop from the left. It flies through the bodies in the middle and Courtois has to react smartly to push it out. The Chelsea goalkeeper did well to get down given that he might have been unsighted.

1.49pm BST

18 min: Pedro is down after a tackle from Monreal. He’s having some spray applied to his right shin. Time for Eden Hazard to have a jog down the touchline.

1.48pm BST

17 min: Encouraged by that foray, Arsenal decide to test Chelsea down the right again. And again Bellerin gets the better of Alonso, scooting to the byline and cutting the ball back to the alert Lacazette at the near post. He sweeps it goalwards, despite pressure from Luiz, but Courtois is down quickly to make a good save.

1.47pm BST

16 min: Arsenal muster some cohesion for the first time, Lacazette holding up the ball well and moving it on to Iwobi, who plays an instant pass inside Alonso for Bellerin to scamper on to. Bellerin crosses first time and it’s an excellent delivery, on to Welbeck’s head, but he’s maybe just stretching a bit too much, leading him to plant his free header just wide.

1.45pm BST

14 min: I can exclusively reveal that Kante is winning a lot of loose balls. Chelsea keep pushing Arsenal back. Michael Oliver plays an advantage on the right, allowing Moses to charge down the flank and hang a cross into the middle. It’s just too high for Morata.

1.41pm BST

11 min: The Azpilicueta-Morata combo almost comes off Chelsea again after a flowing move. However Morata’s offside and anyway he heads wide.

1.40pm BST

9 min: Victor Moses returns to the pitch, but he isn’t moving freely.

1.39pm BST

8 min: Crossing’s Davide Zappacosta is warming up.

1.37pm BST

7 min: Play is stopped after a collision between Moses and Lacazette, the pair of them down after clashing knees.

1.36pm BST

5 min: A corner to Chelsea on the right. Willian and Fabregas opt for a short one. Lacazette falls asleep and lets Fabregas peel off him. The Spaniard reaches the byline and drives a low ball into the six-yard box. It’s shovelled behind for another corner, which comes to nothing.

1.34pm BST

3 min: Arsenal are rocking. Chelsea are all over them. They’re finding too much space in the middle, threatening to take advantage of Arsenal’s nervousness and lack of organisation. Willian again leads a charge, stepping past Monreal too easily, but he’s tackled before he can advance any further. The ball runs to Fabregas, who sweeps it out to Pedro on the left. He cuts inside and shoots straight at Cech from 20 yards.

1.33pm BST

2 min: Chelsea bustle forward again, Pedro and Moses pestering Arsenal down the right this time. Moses wins the ball off Kolasinac, who struggles to clear his lines, but Cech claims the wing-back’s cross towards Morata.

1.32pm BST

And we’re off! Chelsea, in blue, get the game underway, attacking from right to left in the first half. There’s plenty of noise inside Stamford Bridge. It’s not long before Chelsea are attacking through the middle, Morata laying off deftly to Willian, who can’t return the ball to the Spaniard. That was a chance for the Brazilian to carve Arsenal open, but he couldn’t take it.

1.27pm BST

Here come the teams. It’s time for The Liquidator! “In the tunnel Koscielny looks as though he is taking a moment to question the point of it all and lingering over thoughts of where he would rather be right now,” says Ian Copestake. “Not that I am projecting or anything!”

1.18pm BST

Antonio Conte speaks. “When you have to play seven games in 21 days, it is normal to have a plan and then make the best decision game by game. Eden is very close and he is improving very well.”

1.18pm BST

Arsene Wenger speaks. “Mesut is injured and Sanchez is close to his best. He played midweek and he is close to starting. Every game is an opportunity to change the history. You have an example that is very negative and we have a chance to change that today. We know we can be strong away from home. We played only four games and we had a difficult start with players coming back late. We have played at Liverpool, Chelsea and Stoke, so let’s focus on the result today.”

12.58pm BST

Gary Neville keeps insisting that Chelsea are going to bulldoze Arsenal in midfield. The inclusion of Cesc Fabregas instead of Tiemoue Bakayako in midfield can certainly be taken as a sign of their confidence.

12.56pm BST

Pre-match reading

Related: Sead Kolasinac and a back three: how Arsenal can halt Chelsea onslaught | Paul Doyle

Related: Álvaro Morata’s fast Chelsea start shows how Arsenal are playing catch-up again | Jonathan Wilson

Related: Chelsea’s Antonio Conte content to ignore the outside noise

12.40pm BST

Chelsea make two changes to the team that beat Leicester last weekend, Gary Cahill replacing Antonio Rudiger in defence on his return from suspension and Willian coming in for Tiemoue Bakayoko. Willian’s return means Cesc Fabregas drops into central midfield against his former side, while Antonio Conte has decided to hold back Eden Hazard, who is yet to start this season after an ankle injury.

The big news for Arsenal is that Mesut Ozil is absent with a muscle injury. Alex Iwobi starts in a front three that contains no Alexis Sanchez. The malcontent Chilean, who scored a stunner in that quiet affair against FC Koln on Thursday, is on the bench, Arsene Wenger clearly deciding he isn’t fit enough to start yet. Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck keep their places after scoring against Bournemouth last weekend. Further back, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka start in central midfield – it will be interesting to see how they fare given how poor they were against Liverpool. They must protect Arsenal’s back three, otherwise this could get ugly.

12.36pm BST

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Pedro. Subs: Caballero, Rudiger, Christensen, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Hazard, Batshuayi.

Arsenal: Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Lacazette, Welbeck, Iwobi. Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Sanchez, Walcott, Giroud.

10.31am BST

Arsenal have had some good days at Stamford Bridge in the Arsene Wenger era. Nigel Winterburn’s last-minute winner, Kanu’s absurd 15-minute hat-trick (cheerio, Ed de Goey), Sylvinho’s Nigel Winterburn impression, a swaggering come-from-behind win from the Invincibles. Best of all, perhaps, was Robin van Persie leaving John Terry flat on his face as he raced clear to put Arsenal ahead in that barmy 5-3 win over Andre Villas-Boas’s happy campers in October 2011. See, it hasn’t all been bad.

And Arsenal have actually done surprisingly well against their bogey side since Antonio Conte’s arrival in west London. It’s almost a year since they walloped Chelsea 3-0 at the Emirates, an experience so harrowing for Branislav Ivanovic that the defender started planning his leaving do midway through the first half, and they also stopped Conte’s men from doing the double, outplaying the champions in the FA Cup final in May. Then they beat them in the Community Shield last month. Could the balance of power be shifting? Three wins in four matches! That looks suspiciously like a power shift right there!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/17/chelsea-v-arsenal-premier-league-live

Sep 14

If only Patrick Vieira hadn’t selected power drive | The Fiver

In today’s Fiver: Big Vase, underpants, Carlos Tevez and a misty-eyed trip back to the glory days of January 2007

Times are changing in north London. In years gone by Tottenham Hotspur were the also-rans, forced to watch on enviously as Arsenal savoured countless famous Big Cup nights. There are so many wonderful memories, it’s hard to pick a stand-out moment. There was the time they lost 5-1 away to Bayern Munich. And also the time they lost 5-1 at home to Bayern Munich. There were so many battling, brave performances. The 4-0 defeat to Robinho’s Milan. Robin van Persie’s red card against Barcelona. Olivier Giroud’s finishing masterclass against Monaco. So many priceless contributions. Arsenal sure were missed from this week’s opening round of Big Cup matches. At least the Queen’s Celtic paid tribute to them by losing 5-0 to Paris Saint-Germain; a real classy touch from Brendan’s lot.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/14/arsenal-europa-league-cologne-champions-league-tottenham

Sep 13

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Borussia Dortmund: Champions League – as it happened

Two goals from Harry Kane meant that Tottenham began their Champions League campaign with a win over the Bundesliga leaders at Wembley

9.41pm BST

In the other game in this group, it finished Real Madrid 3-0 Apoel Nicosia thanks to two goals from Him and one from Sergio Ramos. That result shows how important this win was for Tottenham, who were worth the three points in the end. They were outplayed at times by Borussia Dortmund in the first half and were fortunate that the visitors had two goals disallowed, but they had chances and were clinical in front of goal. Harry Kane was exceptional, scoring twice with his left foot, and it’s a performance that will make Tottenham feel very good about their chances of Champions League progression and playing at Wembley. Thanks for reading and emailing. Night!

9.36pm BST

That’s your lot!

9.36pm BST

90 min+4: Moussa Sissoko charges through, but runs out of steam and shoots wide.

9.34pm BST

90 min+2: Jan Vertonghen, shielding possession from Mario Gotze, flings a stray arm into the German’s face, flattening him. He’s immediately shown a second yellow card. It wasn’t nasty and it probably wasn’t intentional, but he hurt Gotze.

9.32pm BST

90 min+4: There will be four added minutes.

9.30pm BST

90 min: Castro picks up a booking for dissent.

9.29pm BST

88 min: Toljan’s booked.

9.28pm BST

87 min: Fernando Llorente replaces Harry Kane.

9.27pm BST

85 min: Sahin shoots well wide from 20 yards.

9.25pm BST

83 min: Moussa Sissoko replaces Son Heung-Min.

9.23pm BST

82 min: Pulisic jinks past a challenge on the left, but overhits his cross to Aubameyang at the far post.

9.22pm BST

80 min: Dan-Axel Zagadou replaces Omer Toprak. Dortmund have used all their subs. Zagadou is involved straight away, doing enough to put Kane off and deny the Tottenham striker a hat-trick after a clever header by Eriksen. Kane’s shot goes wide. It looked like Zagadou got something on it, but a goal-kick’s awarded.

9.18pm BST

77 min: This would be such a big win for Tottenham. With the best will in the world, it’s doubtful they’ll get anything from their games against Real Madrid. They wouldn’t want to have to go to Dortmund needing to win.

9.17pm BST

76 min: Kane cuts the ball back from the right to Eriksen, Dortmund caught out by another ball over the top. Eriksen shoots over.

9.14pm BST

73 min: Tottenham could kill this for good on the break. Kane scoots clear down the right again, but his cross is deflected behind by Toprak. Son was free in the middle. “With the strong comfortable on the ball rampaging centre backs popping up all over the pitch, you have to wonder if poch is reinventing football in his own image,” says Jeremy Dresner. “The CB as superstar could be Tottenham’s key tactical contribution for the ages. Total Defending.”

9.13pm BST

72 min: Alderweireld heads over from close range. Gonzalo Castro replaces Mahmoud Dahoud.

9.13pm BST

71 min: Tottenham proceed to counter at speed, Son breaking through, but his shot’s blocke wide by Toljan.

9.12pm BST

70 min: A corner to Dortmund on the right. Gotze’s delivery is flicked on to the far post and Aubameyang looks certain to score from close range, only for Lloris to react sharply to save with his feet!

9.09pm BST

67 min: Burki makes a save!!!!!!!!!!! Davies chests down on the left of the area and aims for the far post. Burki dives down to his left to push it away.

9.07pm BST

66 min: Mario Gotze replaces Shinji Kagawa.

9.06pm BST

65 min: A goal for Sergio Ramos and it’s Real Madrid 3-0 Apoel Nicosia.

9.05pm BST

64 min: “I am banging my head against a wall with this Dortmund defending,” says Ruth Purdue. “How have they not conceded in the league before now? Went through “the press” too easily. I think I care more about defensive mistakes than great attacking play though.”

It doesn’t seem like many teams in the Champions League can defend.

9.03pm BST

61 min: The way this is going, mind you, it’s unlikely the scoring is over.

9.02pm BST

Tottenham enjoy a spell of possession deep in the Dortmund half. Dembele, who’s been quiet, feeds a pass through to Son. He lays it off to Eriksen. Suddenly Dortmund are open. Eriksen calmly sprays it out to the unmarked Kane on the left. One touch to control, a second to find the far corner with a low shot with his left foot! That’s his second and Tottenham, who were fortunate not to be pegged back a moment or two ago, lead by two goals!

9.00pm BST

59 min: Aubameyang wallops the free-kick miles over.

8.59pm BST

58 min: Vertonghen’s booked for bringing down Yarmolenko from behind.

8.59pm BST

56 min: Sahin lifts the ball into the Tottenham area from the right. It reaches Aubameyang, who clips an incredible shot into the far corner with his right foot on the half volley, only for the flag to go up for offside! The replay shows that Aubameyang was two yards onside. That is an awful decision. Tottenham have got away with one.

8.57pm BST

56 min: Dortmund spring forward. With his back to goal, Aubameyang finds Piszczeck on the right, but Davies blocks his cross.

8.55pm BST

54 min: Real Madrid lead Apoel Nicosia 2-0 at the Bernabeu. You know who has scored twice.

8.53pm BST

51 min: Tottenham are trying to exploit the space behind the high Tottenham line again. Now Kane breaks down the right flank, Dortmund all at sea. He has Son in the middle, all alone. He finds him. This is a wonderful opportunity. He checks back on to his right foot, sending the covering Dortmund defender off for a walk around Wembley Way, only to lift his shot over the bar from 18 yards!

8.51pm BST

50 min: Up the other end Tottenham go and Eriksen slips a pass through to Kane. Toprak and Sokratis have no idea how to play an offside trap or any clue where Kane is. Luckily for them, the striker blazes over.

8.50pm BST

49 min: Yarmolenko slides a beautiful pass through to Aubameyang, but Lloris is alert enough to charge out and boot clear.

8.50pm BST

48 min: Play resumes. Toprak has taken his place in the Dortmund defence again. “Brexit was unexpected,” says Alix Sharkey. “Trump was a real shock. But Pochettino’s Tottenham sitting back and hitting on the counter-attack at home? We are definitely living through the end times.”

8.48pm BST

46 min: Dortmund get the second half underway. But play has to be stopped immediately after Sahin accidentally volleys the ball straight into Toprak’s face. Ouch.

8.33pm BST

That was breathless. Spurs lead thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, Andrey Yarmolenko replying for the visitors, who will wonder how they aren’t level at least. The Germans have been dominant, but they’ve lacked ruthlessness up front and organisation at the back.

8.32pm BST

45 min: Pulisic slides the ball into the Tottenham net, but the flag’s up for offside! He wasn’t off, far from it, but Aubameyang was and he needlessly tried to go for the ball! If he’d just stayed out of the way, Dortmund would be level. Oh dear. It all came after Dortmund sliced Tottenham open again, though. It’s doubtful that will be the last time they threaten. But Spurs still, somehow, lead.

8.28pm BST

42 min: Son races through on the right. Burki decides to race out of his area to meet him. He’s only 30 yards from goal. He gets nowhere near it and Son rounds him … but the flag’s up for offside. The Dortmund keeper is having one, though.

8.26pm BST

40 min: Pulisic dinks a cross into the middle. The ball skims off Yarmolenko’s head, so obviously it’s a Dortmund corner. Fortunately for the officials, Dortmund don’t equalise.

8.21pm BST

36 min: Eric Dier’s booked for an overly robust challenge on Dahoud. Moments later, Dortmund are on the attack again. Sanchez is caught out by Yarmolenko and Dortmund are able to spring Aubameyang clear down the right. This should be the equaliser, but the cross is too heavy and the sliding Pulisic can’t make meaningful contact in the middle.

8.20pm BST

34 min: Dortmund pull Tottenham’s midfield out of position again. Kagawa is in between the lines, but he overcooks a simple pass through to Aubameyang, allowing Lloris to smother the danger.

8.18pm BST

32 min: The brilliant Pulisic spreads more panic in the Spurs defence, dribbling in from the left and driving to the heart of the home back four. He’s stopped before he can get a shot away, though, and Toljan’s efforts blocked. But Tottenham need to give Aurier more protection against Pulisic.

8.16pm BST

30 min: A huge roar of “Come on you Spurs” from the home fans spreads around Wembley. The home fans sense there could be trouble. They might be right. All of a sudden, Pulisic skitters behind Tottenham on the left, into the area, and looks to roll the ball across for a tap-in for Aubameyang. It almost comes off, but for a saving challenge from Vertonghen. What a scare for Tottenham, but their lead is still intact.

8.13pm BST

28 min: Tottenham clear the ball confidently, but it isn’t long before Dortmund have the ball back. Dortmund have had 67% possession. But look at the score.

8.13pm BST

27 min: Tottenham are finding it difficult to get out of their half at the moment. You suspect it won’t be long before Dortmund, with all this possession, create something. They almost do here. Sahin curls a cross to the far post and Davies has to bundle the ball behind before Yarmolenko can attack it.

8.10pm BST

25 min: Owen Hargreaves reckons Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier are “two athletes … two powerhouses”.

8.08pm BST

23 min: A long spell of Dortmund possession. They could do with calming things down. They’re great going forward, but they’ve been all over the place at the back, giving Tottenham far too much space.

8.07pm BST

21 min: Hugo Lloris charges out to claim a high ball. He stumbles when he lands, though, and has to recover quickly to make sure he doesn’t carry the ball out of the area.

8.05pm BST

20 min: Peter Bosz looks displeased.

8.04pm BST

19 min: After a scrappy spell in midfield, the ball deflects out to Pulisic on the left. He drifts inside and shoots with his right foot, but it’s deflected over for a corner, which comes to nothing.

8.03pm BST

18 min: Son pinches the ball in the middle of Dortmund’s half and Eriksen is in acres of space down the right. One pass and he’s in, but Son’s ball is cut out by Toprak.

8.02pm BST

A long punt forward from Jan Vertonghen. Not much on, you’d think. But Kane wins the first aerial challenge near the halfway line on the left, bundling his marker over, before haring off in pursuit of the ball. He bustles past Sokratis, the challenge far too weak, and bulldozes towards the area. Again the angle’s tight. But again Burki leaves a gap at his near post. Kane hammers a fierce shot goalwards with his left foot and it flies high into the net! What is the Dortmund goalkeeper up to? It’s a brilliant individual goal from Kane, mind you. What a game!

8.00pm BST

14 min: A corner to Dortmund on the left, Toljan winning it. They’re having joy in the wide areas, overloading Tottenham’s wing-backs. Eriksen and Son have to help out more. The corner comes to nothing, though.

7.59pm BST

13 min: There is a sense that Tottenham were waiting for that. Dortmund had been all over them for a couple of minutes.

7.58pm BST

Dortmund continue to make Tottenham chase shadows, speeding the ball past the white shirts with increasing menace. Tottenham are in trouble down the right flank. Piszczek causes more problems slipping the ball into the area. Kagawa flicks it back to the edge of the area, where Yarmolenko arrives to bend a peach of an effort into the top right corner with his wand of a left foot, Lloris nowhere near it! What a stunner! What a start!

7.56pm BST

10 min: Dortmund are hunting an equaliser with increasing urgency. Tottenham are breathing heavily. The Germans are starting to play their football.

7.56pm BST

9 min: But here come Dortmund, calmly passing the ball, treating it as a friend. A lovely pass inside Davies sends Pisczek clear down the right. The right-back slides a low cross into the six-yard box and Aubameyang looks certain to score, until Alderweireld denies him with a perfectly timed lunge. Dortmund continue to threaten, but Tottenham scramble it clear.

7.54pm BST

8 min: Dortmund look a little shocked. And with good reason. What a start for Spurs, who are looking bright, confident and well organised.

7.52pm BST

6 min: Looking at the replay of the goal, Burki really shouldn’t have been beaten. Take nothing away from the Spurs move, though, and the ambition from Son. They seem to have done their homework on their opponents based on that sequence of events.

7.52pm BST

A Dortmund move breaks down in the Spurs half and the hosts look to break. The ball’s moved quickly through midfield and when Harry Kane turns in space, he spots that the Dortmund defence has pushed up so high. One fine pass down the left carves them open and sends Son hurtling away. He’s got so much room to attack. Dortmund are all over the shop! The South Korean speeds into the area, cuts inside, then back on to his left foot, and for a moment it seems the chance has gone, that the angle’s too tight. But instead of shooting, he spots a gap at the near post and catches Burki by surprise with a firm rising drive! The Dortmund keeper barely reacts and Spurs lead! What a start!

7.47pm BST

2 min: Tottenham look to press high as Dortmund stroke the ball around at the back, but Eric Dier gives away a free-kick with an exuberant tackle.

7.46pm BST

And we’re off! Tottenham, all in white, get the game underway! They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. Dortmund are in yellow and black, just like Watford.

7.42pm BST

Here come the teams. The Dortmund fans are, as expected, making a racket. Time for the Champions League anthem! Everyone sing along!

7.41pm BST

Rudd Hughes points out Mario Gotze has had health problems. Yes, that probably hasn’t helped.

Related: Mario Götze: the ‘once in a century talent’ who is now fighting to save his career | Philip Oltermann

7.40pm BST

Despite their injuries, it seems unlikely that Borussia Dortmund will sit back tonight. Peter Bosz loathes defensive football. “When I became a coach almost 20 years ago, I didn’t know at all what kind of coach I would be,” he told the Guardian in May. “But when I am on the bench, I want to enjoy myself. When I see my team only defending and destroying – playing like I did – I will not enjoy it. So even when I started, I thought when I’m on the bench at least I will give myself a happy afternoon. And if I give myself a happy afternoon, I can give it to the fans. I watch a lot of football. There was a time when a lot of teams played only on the counterattack. But these days with Pep Guardiola and Sampaoli, there are a lot of coaches who are thinking that you can win with attractive football. It’s possible.”

Related: Ajax return to the Cruyff ideals as Peter Bosz leads new generation

7.31pm BST

Mauricio Pochettino speaks. “It is exciting to play here at Wembley, the best competition in the world. It is important to rotate the squad because we have a strong squad. Serge, his first game. It is important to build his confidence and develop his game. But he’s a great player who has played a lot of games in the Champions League and showed that he will perform in the right way. I think when you see the squad of Dortmund, it is fantastic. They have problems now but you can have problems in the future. It is important to have a strong squad.”

7.07pm BST

Mario Gotze is on the bench. When Borussia Dortmund got to the Champions League final in 2013, the big story was that he missed out against Bayern, his future club, with an injury. It felt like such a blow to Dortmund. But the move to Bayern didn’t work out. He was supposed to be a star; Pep Guardiola thought he could be his new Messi. Yet despite scoring the winner in the World Cup final, it hasn’t quite worked out for Gotze in the past few years. What’s gone wrong?

7.05pm BST

Tottenham are without Dele Alli, suspended after that horror tackle against Gent last season. In comes Son Heung-Min, while Serge Aurier makes his first start on the right since his first move from PSG, replacing Kieran Trippier.

Borussia Dortmund are depleted by injuries. Marcel Schmelzer and Marc Bartra are missing from the team that drew with Freiburg on the weekend. Omer Toprak and Jeremy Toljan come in, while up front Shinji Kagawa and Andrey Yarmolenko replace Mario Gotze and Gonzalo Castro.

6.59pm BST

Tottenham: Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Aurier, Dier, Dembele, Davies; Eriksen, Son; Kane. Subs: Vorm, Foyth, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Sissoko, Winks, Llorente.

Borussia Dortmund: Burki; Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Toljan; Sahin, Dahoud; Pulisic, Kagawa, Yarmolenko; Aubameyang. Subs: Weidenfeller, Subotic, Castro, Götze, Zagadou, Isak, Philipp.

9.48am BST

It has been four years since Borussia Dortmund’s last visit to Wembley, but it’s one they probably prefer not to talk about too much. How close that brilliant collection of players came to becoming champions of Europe that night, only for Arjen Robben to ruin the dream with a late opportunistic winner for Bayern Munich. It was the beginning of the end for that team. Mario Gotze had already endeared himself to Dortmund’s fans by agreeing a move to Bayern and it would not be long before Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummel followed him to Munich. Jurgen Klopp gave it another two seasons, but it wasn’t the same after Wembley.

Dortmund haven’t gone away, though. They had a reasonable couple of years under Thomas Tuchel, who ended up putting a few noises out of joint within the club, and now the attack-obsessed Peter Bosz is in the dugout after impressing with Ajax last season, taking a young side to second in the Eredivisie and the final of the Europa League and more importantly bringing a spark back to the Amsterdam Arena. Dortmund have made a promising start to the season, despite losing Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona, and are top of the Bundesliga after three matches. Tottenham could have done without being drawn in the same group as them and Real Madrid.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/13/tottenham-hotspur-v-borussia-dortmund-champions-league-live

Sep 10

Slaven Bilic prepares for Huddersfield’s visit with a long weekend at home

• Diafra Sakho needs to show his worth, adds West Ham manager
• Andy Carroll available for Hammers’ first home game of the season

Slaven Bilic has warned Diafra Sakho that he will be harming his own prospects if the unsettled West Ham United forward does not put his failed transfer to Rennes behind him.

Sakho was forced to return to the east London club on the final day of the transfer window after travelling to Rennes for a medical without West Ham’s permission. The French club had offered £9m for the 27-year-old but West Ham were unimpressed with Sakho’s behaviour and decided to pull out of the deal.

Related: West Ham’s Slaven Bilic admits he laughed at ‘Dildo Brothers’ remark

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/10/slaven-bilic-diafra-sakho-west-ham-huddersfield-preview

Sep 10

José Mourinho blames Marouane Fellaini’s absence for slip-up at Stoke

• United’s manager says he needed more height to cope with aerial threat
• Mark Hughes hits back at ‘lazy’ claim as managers clash after 2-2 draw

A game for Marouane Fellaini: that was José Mourinho’s assessment after Manchester United dropped their first points of the season. The richest club in the world had the attacking might of Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford at their disposal.

Nemanja Matic, the imposing £40m signing from Chelsea, offered brawn in midfield and there was no space on the bench for the new £31m centre-back Victor Lindelöf. Yet Mourinho pined for his sharp-elbowed Belgian nuisance, whose absence with a calf injury apparently left a team containing eight players taller than 6ft vulnerable to a classic Stoke City aerial bombardment.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/10/jose-mourinho-manchester-united-marouane-fellaini-stoke-city-basel-champions-league

Sep 10

Swansea City v Newcastle United: Premier League – as it happened

Jamal Lascelles scored the winner as Newcastle United lifted the gloom in the absence of the recuperating Rafa Benitez

5.54pm BST

Will it be enough to convince Rafael Benitez to stay at Newcastle? It remains to be seen. But everyone in black and white will be feeling much better about themselves after this morale-boosting win, secured by a late goal from Jamal Lascelles. It was a scrappy game, low on quality, but Newcastle won’t care. They have six points from four games and have gone 10th. As for Swansea, they drop to 15th. They were poor. Paul Clement is going to need some time to work out his best side without Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente. Thanks for emailing and reading. Especially you, Rafa. Bye!

5.51pm BST

Muted boos from the Swansea fans, relieved cheers from the Newcastle fans.

5.48pm BST

90 min+2: Bony brings the ball down and releases Narsingh, who charges into the area and decides to shoot from a tight angle. Elliot diverts it behind at his near post. Nothing comes from the corner.

5.47pm BST

90 min+1: Clucas annoys the home fans and his team-mates with a dreadful free-kick.

5.47pm BST

90 min: There will be five added minutes.

5.45pm BST

90 min: Alfie Mawson has gone down now. He needs treatment.

5.44pm BST

88 min: Swansea hoick the ball into the middle of the Newcastle area. The defending’s skittish and eventually the ball’s burrowed behind for a corner. It’s sent to the far post, but the unmarked Fer heads over.

5.43pm BST

87 min: A booking for dissent for Dwight Gayle.

5.42pm BST

86 min: Luciano Narsingh replaces Tom Carroll. Merino has been receiving some treatment. Newcastle have stopped Swansea gaining any rhythm since the goal.

5.40pm BST

84 min: Ritchie curls in another set-piece from the left. Bony, whose contribution has been minimal, heads behind for a Newcastle corner.

5.36pm BST

80 min: “Rafa, Rafael, Rafa, Rafael, Rafa, Rafael, Rafael Benitez!” is the chant booming out of the away end now. Six points from four matches wouldn’t be bad at all. Meanwhile Fer has been booked for Swansea.

5.35pm BST

79 min: “I really wonder what to make of Renato Sanches,” says Konstantin Sauer. “Your account of his display so far reminds me of nearly every time he got a chance for Bayern under Carlo Ancelotti: very eager and determined to impress, yet too often choosing the wrong option, especially when it comes to either passing the ball or making a run towards goal. I understand that it is especially hard for a young player at Bayern Munich who is aware that there will only be a limited number of chances for him to leave a mark. However, I haven’t seen any sign of renewed self-esteem yet. I very much hope Swansea will turn out to be the right choice for him, otherwise I don’t see a future for him at Bayern.”

5.34pm BST

78 min: Dwight Gayle replaces Joselu.

5.33pm BST

A corner to Newcastle on the left, won by Atsu. Ritchie curls it into the six-yard box and Lascelles attacks it eagerly, rising above Mawson to powerfully head past Fabianski! Happy now, Rafa?

5.31pm BST

75 min: Joselu rolls a backpass to Fabianski from 20 yards.

5.30pm BST

74 min: From Gamez’s cross, Joselu’s header is straight at Fabianski.

5.30pm BST

73 min: This is a big chance for Newcastle. Manquillo’s pass inside from the right finds Perez, who has a surprising amount of space to run into and no one between him and Fabianski. He shoots low and hard, but Fabianski saves with his feet.

5.28pm BST

72 min: Wilfried Bony is wearing the No2 shirt, in honour of how many goals he scored for Stoke last season.

5.25pm BST

69 min: It’s time for Big Wilf. Wilfried Bony comes on for his second Swansea debut, replacing Renato Sanches, who, quite frankly, has been majestically bad. Mo Diame is also on for Isaac Hayden.

5.24pm BST

68 min: Ritchie saunters down the right before slipping a ball through to Perez, who flashes a cross-shot across the face of goal, no one there to apply the final touch.

5.21pm BST

65 min: Renato Sanches scampers through the middle with space to attack, only to suddenly look as though he’s trudging through treacle, leave the ball behind and fall over. It’s not quite been a Woodgate of a debut, but it hasn’t been great.

5.20pm BST

63 min: “I’m glad the game is still eleven versus eleven, but surely Ritchie has to walk?” says Matt Loten. “The consensus yesterday was that Man’s sending off was correct because the law stipulates that a tackle which ‘endangers the safety’ of an opponent is to be punished with a straight red card. Whether or not the player makes contact is irrelevant; Ritchie threw his studs up in the direction of Mawson’s face, at pace, just as Mane did to Ederson, thus he must receive a red. At least as far as I can tell.”

5.18pm BST

60 min: Leroy Fer turns in the middle of the Newcastle half and, finally, someone in white produces a moment of real quality, a pass through to Tammy Abraham that completely slices the visiting defence in two. Abraham is in the clear and in the area and he looks certain to score after round Elliot in the Aguero style – only for Jamal Lascelles to race back and scramble the striker’s goalbound effort off the line! Superb defending! Perhaps, though, Abraham would have scored had he lifted his shot off the ground.

5.14pm BST

59 min: Christian Atsu replaces Jacob Murphy.

5.14pm BST

58 min: Sanches takes the free-kick, but it’s not much of a surprise to see his effort drift aimlessly over the bar.

5.13pm BST

57 min: Sanches tumbles 30 yards from goal. Free-kick to Swansea. It’s made for Gylf… sorry.

5.13pm BST

56 min: Ayew twists and turns on the left, all trickery and mischief, and hangs a cross towards the far post. Naughton arrives, slamming a volley into the six-yard box, and Ritchie clears, doing well not to score an own-goal. Still Swansea press, though. Again it’s Ayew twinkling on the left. He scoops a beautiful little pass through to Carroll, who volleys from an angle, forcing Elliot to make a smart save.

5.09pm BST

54 min: Ayoze Perez reminds the world of his existence by blazing over from 25 yards.

5.08pm BST

51 min: Swansea win a corner on the right. Newcastle deal with the ensuing aerial threat. The hosts still haven’t created a clear opportunity.

5.06pm BST

49 min: Merino swings a ball towards the right. Ritchie attacks it with his boot raised and ends up catching Mawson in the face with his studs as the Swansea centre-back heads it away. Fortunately Mawson didn’t go down; he wasn’t caught properly. But given what happened at the Etihad yesterday, for a moment you wonder if Ritchie’s about to be sent off. Instead he’s booked.

5.04pm BST

48 min: Naughton loses his footing and cynically brings down Gamez. Yellow card.

5.02pm BST

46 min: Newcastle get the second half underway. Renato Sanches has switched roles with Leroy Fer, moving behind the front two. Sanches had an indifferent first half.

4.48pm BST

The highlight was when Abraham fell on Hayden, a classic Premier League moment.

4.46pm BST

45 min+1: Hayden looks to place one from 25 yards. Straight at Fabianski.

4.43pm BST

43 min: Swansea appeal for a penalty after Jamal Lascelles curiously decides to fall on the ball while making a complete hash of an attempted clearing diving header. Handball? Replays suggest he controlled it with his stomach in the end, but that was very nearly a calamitous moment for the Newcastle centre-back.

4.41pm BST

41 min: Forget what I said about Merino facing retrospective action: as Alan Smith points out on Sky, it can only happen if the referee awards a foul.

4.40pm BST

40 min: Hayden slips on the ball, causing Abraham to fall on top of him. Both players are feeling sore. “I was seated next to a Bayern fan as we watched his team take on Liverpool in pre-season and the performance of Sanches was enough for him to turn to me, a complete stranger, and politely vent that Sanches was by far the worst Bayern player he had ever seen,” says Ian Copestake.

4.39pm BST

39 min: This is beginning to liven up now! From the resulting corner, Alfie Mawson rises highest in the six-yard box, but his header drops an inch past the right post!

4.38pm BST

38 min: Swansea haven’t done anything all half, but here’s a decent moment from them, Ayew dribbling forward and forcing Elliot to tip his 25-yard effort wide for a corner.

4.37pm BST

36 min: Come to think of it, Merino could face retrospective action for that dive under the new guidelines.

4.36pm BST

35 min: Newcastle have woken up a bit now and are starting to increase the intensity of their attacks. Merino goes on a surge through the middle and tries to dodge through two challenges on the edge of the Swansea area. Alfie Mawson dives in and Merino goes flying. It looks like a foul in real time, the appeals are long and loud, but Mike Jones waves play on. Replays show it was a lamentable dive from Merino, who’s fortunate not to be booked.

4.35pm BST

34 min: Newcastle are pressing here. Ritchie whips the corner in from the right and Fabianski punches away.

4.34pm BST

33 min: Swansea make a meal of a passing move down the right, Sanches unable to control a loose pass, and Newcastle break. Perez wins a corner for Newcastle, who have been the more enterprising side, sort of. The corner causes a bit of a scramble and Swansea hack the ball clear. But they’re still under pressure. Matt Ritchie has space on the left and curls a dangerous cross into the middle. Swansea are too deep and Joselu’s clever flicked header looks certain to find its way into the far left corner, until a last-gasp save from Fabianski denies the Spaniard! What a magnificent piece of goalkeeping from Fabianski!

4.29pm BST

30 min: Joselu turns and wallops a bouncing ball goalwards from 25 yards. It doesn’t dip in time and Fabianski is comfortable watching it fly over.

4.28pm BST

28 min: A worrying moment for Swansea, Sanches collapsing in pain after a challenge on Merino. He’s feeling his ankle and needs some treatment. Eventually he gets back to his feet, though, and limps gingerly to the touchline before rejoining the fray.

4.27pm BST

27 min: Newcastle pump the ball forward. It travels a long way and should be dealt with by Swansea, only for Fernandez to misjudge his positioning and the flight of the ball. Off balance, he succeeds only in heading the ball back into his own area and Jacob Murphy’s through! What a chance this is for Newcastle! However he can’t adjust his body properly and can only steer the dropping ball over Fabianski and the crossbar.

4.26pm BST

25 min: A free-kick to Swansea on the left. Carroll swings it in, but it’s headed away. “A friend of mine works at Opta and Rafa/Liverpool were a consumer of some of their stats services,” says Richard South. “There was no special relationship between the pair, essentially just that they did some ‘business’ together. Nevertheless, Christmas morning, my friend wakes up to find a personal message from Rafa in his inbox, wishing him and his family a happy Christmas, sent in the early hours of the morning. I mean, sure, Rafa’s a workaholic / obsessive, but I always thought that personal touch spoke volumes for the man (especially someone who’s often seen as cold / detached by some of his players).”

4.24pm BST

23 min: Swansea have had plenty of the ball, but they lack incision and width. Have they picked too many central midfielders?

4.20pm BST

20 min: On the basis of what we’ve seen so far, losing to this Newcastle side was a genuinely staggering achievement by West Ham. Losing 3-0, no less! Congratulations to everyone involved.

4.18pm BST

18 min: This is a game low on entertainment.

4.16pm BST

15 min: “You’ve got to feel for the guy; whatever else you might say about him, he is clearly an absolutely elite class manager (as well as, by all accounts, a genuinely lovely guy) , and yet keeps getting saddled with horrendous owners / directors,” says Richaerd South. “The famous ‘lampshade’ debacle at Valencia, the truly ghastly American pair at Liverpool (because, yeah, Roy Hodgson would definitely be a major upgrade on Rafa), the well known political viper’s next at Real Madrid and now possibly the worst of the lot, Mike Ashley. Not sure a move to life under the Dildo Brothers would necessarily be much of an improvement on this front, especially given he’s clearly not shy of a political battle himself. Can’t help but feel he needs to be paired with some properly supportive, switched-on owners. Guess there’s not a whole bunch of those guys around though… Sigh.”

4.13pm BST

11 min: There’s not much of a goal threat from either side yet. Which isn’t entirely surprising given that it took both three games to score.

4.09pm BST

8 min: Merino tries to pick out Perez with a dinked ball. He doesn’t quite loft it enough and the ball’s headed away to Sanches, who demonstrates his talent by lobbing it over Hayden, who promptly introduces the youngster to English football by barging him over. Hayden’s booked.

4.07pm BST

7 min: Sanches has now completed two consecutive passes. I’ve changed my mind.

4.06pm BST

6 min: Another stray pass from Sanches. I’ve already made up my mind on him.

4.05pm BST

5 min: Sanches excites the home fans by wriggling clear of two Newcastle players on the right, only to play his team into trouble with a loose pass inside. Newcastle set off towards the Swansea area. Joselu has a shot blocked and the ball runs to Hayden, who fires straight at Fabianski from the edge of the area.

4.04pm BST

4 min: “I am in no way some random guy pretending to be Rafa Benitez,” says

Rafa Benitez
Scott Bassett. “I am totally Rafa Benitez, former Real Madrid manager, for crying out loud. Can you please tell Mike Ashley to stop being a jerk? Thank you!”

4.03pm BST

3 min: Carroll tries to catch out Elliot, attempting to fool the Newcastle goalkeeper into thinking he’s going to cross, before looking to curl the ball into the top right corner. It doesn’t come off.

4.02pm BST

2 min: The travelling Newcastle fans are singing Rafa Benitez’s name. Swansea have started crisply, though. Renato Sanches makes an early impression, winning possession on the right, and Swansea win a free-kick when Merino brings down Fer. Sanches and Carroll stand over the ball.

4.00pm BST

And we’re off! The rain is teeming down at the Liberty Stadium as Swansa, all in white, get the ball rolling, kicking from right to left. Newcastle are in their black away strip; I like it.

3.57pm BST

Here come the teams. It’s almost time for the football. Hi Rafa! Send an email!

3.50pm BST

Rafa Benitez isn’t at the Liberty Stadium today. I assume he’s reading this minute-by-minute. Hi Rafa!

3.47pm BST

Paul Clement speaks. “There’s a nice atmosphere around the city and the club at the moment. Clearly we lost some good players in the window, particularly in Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente. It was very important for us to do some good business to make sure we’re confident going into the games. The system has been changing a bit over the past few games. We have been playing with three defenders and wing-backs and three in midfield and two up front, but we’re going with the diamond in midfield today. Renato will feature on the right hand side of that. We’re going to play Leroy Fer a little bit further forward behind two strikers.”

3.26pm BST

Swansea give a first start in midfield to Renato Sanches, the Portuguese starlet who’s improbably joined them on loan from Bayern Munich. Here’s an excellent profile of Sanches by Barney Ronay. Wilfried Bony is on the bench. What price a goal on his second debut?

Newcastle make two changes to the side that beat West Ham. Jesus Gamez replaces Chancel Mbemba at the back and Jacob Murphy comes in for Christian Atsu. Former Swansea hero Jonjo Shelvey is on the bench after serving a three-match suspension, but Aleksandar Mitrovic is unavailable after introducing his elbow to Manuel Lanzini’s face.

3.17pm BST

Swansea: Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson; Clucas, Sanches, Carroll, Fer, Ayew, Abraham. Subs: Nordfeldt, Rangel, van der Hoorn, Roque Mesa, Routledge, Narsingh, Bony.

Newcastle: Elliot; Gamez, Clark, Lascelles, Manquillo; Ritchie, Hayden, Merino, Murphy; Perez, Joselu. Subs: Woodman, Shelvey, Diame, Lejeune, Yedlin, Atsu, Gayle.

11.42am BST

Hello. Funny thing, expectations. What’s the point if you don’t have any? For all the financial inequality of modern football, you still need to have hopes and dreams. The problem with all that, though, is when reality decides to kick in, as it tends to do with tedious, numbing regularity these days. All of us who have thrilled in 25 years of the Premier League can agree that Newcastle United are A Big Club; A Big Deal. They are Important. They are Interesting. I’m not being facetious here. We all remember 1995-96 title, breaking the transfer record for Alan Shearer, the amazement when Kevin Keegan left, the early noughties resurgence under Sir Bobby Robson. A good Newcastle team is a good thing for neutrals. A good Newcastle team is entertaining. But they haven’t had one for a long time. And that rankles. After all, if Tottenham can challenge for the title, why not Newcastle? They’re no less a name.

They exude romance. It’s what drew Rafael Benitez to them in the first place, even though it meant working for Mike Ashley. It’s probably what kept Benitez there when they went down, even though it meant working for Mike Ashley. It’s probably what’s still keeping him there now, even though it means working for Mike Ashley. It’s the belief that he could achieve something special there. Yet Benitez is a European champion. He has won titles in Spain and trophies in Italy and England. He managed Real Madrid, for crying out loud. His patience isn’t infinite. Newcastle spent around £36m on six players in the summer, but they let 16 players go and bought no one in the summer. West Ham are keeping a close eye on Benitez’s situation. This is the problem with reality: Mike Ashley gets to call the shots.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/10/swansea-city-v-newcastle-united-premier-league-live

Sep 06

US Open quarter-final: Rafa Nadal beats Andrey Rublev – as it happened

Rafa Nadal moved a step closer to a US Open semi-final against Roger Federer, while Coco Vandeweghe toppled world No1 Karolina Pliskova

9.13pm BST

That’s all from me tonight. But there’s more to come from New York. Do join Bryan Armen Graham for live coverage of Roger Federer versus Juan Martin del Potro later. It could be special. Bye!

9.12pm BST

Nadal is asked about a potential semi-final against Roger Federer – what will he be doing during his great rival’s match against Juan Martin del Potro tonight? “I’m going to be having dinner probably. In Spain we have a late dinner. They play at 9, no? So it is our time for dinner. But it is a match I will pay attention to. Two great players, a great show. It’s strange we’ve never played here. It’s something we missed. It would be more special if it could come back in a final, but it is not possible for that to happen, so we’re going to come back next year to see if we can make it happen.”

9.10pm BST

Rafa Nadal speaks. “It was a good match. For Andrey it was his first quarter-finals, so of course he played with more mistakes than usual. But winning two matches with straight sets is important for me. This year has been an emotional year. I have been playing very well almost every tournament after some years with some problems in terms of injuries and others from not playing so well. So you appreciate it. Especially late in my career it’s something six or seven years ago I didn’t think about. I’m very happy to be in the semi-finals.”

9.08pm BST

One hour and 37 minutes. Ouch. Andrey Rublev has had an excellent tournament, but he’ll want to put this one behind him in a hurry.

9.06pm BST

Nadal doesn’t have to hang around for two match points. He can’t take the first, netting a backhand. Rublev idolises Nadal so much, though, that he nets a backhand on the next point. It’s all over. It didn’t take long. A low-tension quarter-final comes to a forgettable end. Nadal is into his first US Open semi-final since 2013.

9.01pm BST

Third set: Nadal 6-1, 6-2, 5-2 Rublev* (*denotes server): Nadal bangs a forehand away for 0-15. Rublev nets a backhand. Somehow he fights back to 30-all. A big serve down the middle makes it 40-30. He holds to 30. It’s belated resistance, but Nadal is about to stamp it out.

8.58pm BST

Third set: Nadal* 6-1, 6-2, 5-1 Rublev (*denotes server): Nadal holds to love. “Few players can live with Nadal when he’s in this mood,” says Simon McMahon. “Though Federer is one of them. That’s a mouthwatering prospect. As is a fully fit Andy Murray returning at the Australian Open. The game has missed him, and Djokovic too. With Nadal and Federer rolling back the years I’m looking forward to the Australian Open already. It’ll be like a Beatles comeback tour. In a manner of speaking of course.”

8.54pm BST

Third set: Nadal 6-1, 6-2, 4-1 Rublev* (*denotes server): Rublev pummels a few forehands at Nadal, who eventually seizes control of the rally and leaves the Russian floundering. Before long Nadal has two break points. He can’t take them. A third comes and goes. Rublev keeps scrapping. He’s desperately trying to fend off Nadal. Facing a seventh break point, though, he double-faults.

8.46pm BST

Third set: Nadal* 6-1, 6-2, 3-1 Rublev (*denotes server): Nadal just refuses to lower his intensity for a second.

8.42pm BST

Third set: Nadal 6-1, 6-2, 2-1 Rublev* (*denotes server): Nadal’s unlikelier to have had an easier run to a grand slam semi-final. His opponents simply haven’t been capable of coping with him – and you wouldn’t have expected anything of them to have been able to. He’ll be nice and rested before a possible semi-final against Federer.

8.39pm BST

Third set: Nadal* 6-1, 6-2, 2-0 Rublev (*denotes server): Nadal holds to 30 and consolidates the break.

8.33pm BST

Third set: Nadal 6-1, 6-2, 1-0 Rublev* (*denotes server): Barring a Del Potro-esque comeback from Rublev, I’m afraid this is over as a contest. Despite hard running during the first exchange of this set, he loses the point. It’s not long before Nadal has three break points. Rublev double-faults. Wince.

8.29pm BST

Related: Andy Murray out until new year to focus on slow recovery from hip injury

8.27pm BST

A vintage forehand from Nadal, who appears to be in a hurry, closes out the set. Poor Rublev. He’s been utterly overwhelmed. There’s no shame in it. Not against this guy.

8.22pm BST

Second set: Nadal 6-1, 5-2 Rublev* (*denotes server): “Uh oh,” says John McEnroe on Eurosport – Nadal’s just whistled a forehand down the line for 0-30. Rublev fires a forehand down the line for 15-30, but another error hands Nadal two break points. Nadal fluffs two returns, but he gets another chance when Rublev nets a forehand. He takes this one. Or, more accurately, Rublev gives it to him, netting a backhand.

8.18pm BST

Second set: Nadal* 6-1, 4-2 Rublev (*denotes server): Nadal saves two break points to force deuce. He holds with an ace. This is remarkably stress-free.

8.11pm BST

Second set: Nadal 6-1, 3-2 Rublev* (*denotes server): But Rublev, being young and inexperienced and overawed, gives too much away. Struggling to play the percentages, he nets a weak backhand to make it 15-40. At which point he double-faults. The applause is sympathetic.

8.09pm BST

Second set: Nadal* 6-1, 2-2 Rublev (*denotes server): Nadal gives so little away for free. He holds to love.

8.05pm BST

Second set: Nadal 6-1, 1-2 Rublev* (*denotes server): Rublev fizzes a forehand out of reach for 30-15. A double-fault makes it 30-all. Nadal quickly earns a break point. Nadal surprisingly nets a forehand, though. Deuce. From where Rublev stubbornly holds. Progress.

8.00pm BST

Second set: Nadal* 6-1, 1-1 Rublev (*denotes server): Down 15-0, Rublev shows off his potential with two searing angles to clamber to 15-30. The fans love those. Nadal doesn’t. No problem, though. He narrows his eyes and holds to 30.

7.55pm BST

Second set: Nadal 6-1, 0-1 Rublev* (*denotes server): Rublev didn’t hold once in the first set. Naturally he begins this one by holding to love with an ace.

7.51pm BST

Nadal quickly seizes three set points. Rublev nets a forehand. That didn’t take long.

7.50pm BST

First set: Nadal 5-1 Rublev* (*denotes server): Rublev has hit some outstanding shots so far. Problem is he lacks consistency, as you’d expect from someone so raw, while the bloke on the other side of the net is capable of wizardry of his own. Nadal begins the game with an awesome backhand from right to left and it’s not long before he leads 0-40. These are set points. Nadal fluffs the first, butchering a forehand. Not the second, though. Rublev drops a volley shot, Nadal rams a backhand down the line.

7.46pm BST

First set: *Nadal 4-1 Rublev (*denotes server): A much better service game from Nadal, which has Rublev all over the place. He holds to love.

7.45pm BST

First set: Nadal 3-1 Rublev* (*denotes server): Both players have been guilty of some bad unforced errors (are there good unforced errors?) Rublev volleys wide at the net early in the game. Entertainingly, the umpire has a world weary voice, which makes her sound like she has contempt for the previous shot whenever she announces the score – very chucklesome after a bad error. Another loose shot from Rublev and he’s broken again.

7.40pm BST

First set: *Nadal 2-1 Rublev (*denotes server): Rublev has the frame of a young Andy Murray and the dagger glares to his team in the players’ box too. An angry crosscourt forehand helps him to 15-30 on Rafa’s serve. Then a bad miss from Rafa – he dumps the ball into the net with the court wide open – gives Rublev with two break points. An ace rescues the first one bur he can’t save the second! Rafa is broken and we’re back on serve!

7.36pm BST

First set: Nadal 2-0 Rublev* (*denotes server): Rublev shows why he’s here as his service game opens with two strong forehands that are too good for Nadal. Rublev looks a little like a young Andy Murray – skinny and tall. If he can put on muscle, like Murray did, he can hopefully bulk up his serve, which isn’t causing Rafa too many problems (admittedly 100mph faster than mine). And he is broken straight away after a long forehand.

7.32pm BST

First set: Nadal* 1-0 Rublev (*denotes server): Rafa serves first. And wins the first point: Rublev’s backhand down the line turns into a backhand into the net. The Russian does little to trouble his opponent for the rest of the game and hits a few wayward shots as the No1 seed holds to 15 – the only worry for Rafa is his serve – he gets just one first serve in.

7.28pm BST

Rublev has, of course, faced a No1 seed in a grand slam this year – Andy Murray at the Aussie Open. It didn’t end well:

Related: Andy Murray shrugs off stiff ankle to beat Andrey Rublev at Australian Open

7.24pm BST

The two players are warming up – Rafa looks pretty rusty in the early stages of the tournament but was his old self in the last 16. As good as Rublev has been so far, he’s the youngest player to have reached the last eight here since Andy Roddick and the former champion should be too good. The Russian doesn’t have the kind of huge serve that can sometimes trouble Rafa.

7.17pm BST

And they’re out on court. This is the 19-year-old’s Rublev first ever match on Arthur Ashe. It’s Rafa’s 55th.

7.13pm BST

We’re still waiting for Nadal and Rublev to make their way onto Arthur Ashe, but these two have met before. Although not technically in a match:

When Rublev met @RafaelNadal back in 2014. (: @AndreyRublev97)

Today the meet in the US Open QFs.#idols #waybackwednesday #usopen pic.twitter.com/nKvkGJPAZY

7.02pm BST

Next up on Arthur Ashe: Rafael Nadal versus Andrey Rublev. Tom Lutz will #helm the blog while I fry some tuna.

6.58pm BST

Coco Vandeweghe, who beat Angelique Kerber in Australia when the German was world No1 speaks. “When I won this event as a junior at 16, I always dreamed about being on the real stage. I did expect it overnight when I was 16, but it is a process and now here I am and I couldn’t wish for anything better. I watched the match last night with Venus. She said it best, we have to admire Serena and Venus, Lindsay and Jennifer, they all inspired me as an American coming up, and let’s make it four for four.” Over to you, Madison Keys.

6.54pm BST

All of which means Karolina Pliskova loses her No1 ranking. Garbine Muguruza will be the new world No1.

6.54pm BST

A few whoops and cheers from the crowd. Some applause. Vandeweghe swings her right arm, loosening it up before preparing to go in for what she hope will be the kill. She starts well, serving precisely, waiting for Pliskova to miss a backhand. Then she nets a forehand at the end of a tense rally, though. 15-all. Pliskova spies an opening. She goes for broke with her forehand and, although Vandeweghe hangs in there, she wrongfoots the American to make it 15-30. Vandeweghe responds by rattling a forehand down the line … Pliskova challenges. It hit the line. Pliskova is out of challenges. But she does have a break point, Vandeweghe netting a backhand. Vandeweghe makes Pliskova run, though, and the Czech nets a forehand for deuce. Soon, after smacking a forehand away, she has her first match point. Whooping. Whistling. Cheering. Deuce. The net’s in the way of a Vandeweghe forehand. Silence. Then more cheering: Vandeweghe finds the mark with a forehand. She gets her first serve in … and Pliskova nets a forehand! Falling to her knees, Vandeweghe is ecstatic! She’s knocked out the world No1 to reach her first semi-final at her home slam!

6.46pm BST

Second set: Pliskova* 6-7, 3-5 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Serving to stay in the match, Pliskova races into a 40-0 lead. She holds to love. Vandeweghe will serve for it.

6.43pm BST

Second set: Pliskova 6-7, 2-5 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Pliskova challenges during the rally, thinking a Vandeweghe shot was long. It was not. 15-0. From there, Vandeweghe stomps into a 40-15 lead. Pliskova tries to detain her, but it’s looking an increasingly forlorn task. Vandeweghe holds to 30. She’s a game away from victory.

6.39pm BST

Second set: Pliskova* 6-7, 2-4 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Now she has nothing to lose, Vandeweghe is going for it again. Life of the mind, eh? At 15-30, it’s Pliskova who shortcircuits, spooning a dreadful backhand past the baseline to give up two break points. Pliskova saves the first with a powerful serve out wide, but then a nothing volley allows Vandeweghe to move forward and steer a forehand away to break again!

6.35pm BST

Second set: Pliskova 6-7, 2-3 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): But now the match is hers to lose, doubt intrudes on Vandeweghe’s thoughts and she gives up a break point with a tentative forehand. She recovers well, slapping a forehand away for deuce, but she’s got to deal with another break point after netting a straightforward forehand. She saves it with an ace. But then she nets a backhand. Then another. Pliskova’s back in it.

6.28pm BST

Second set: Pliskova* 6-7, 1-3 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Pliskova is teetering here, double-faulting for 0-30. This is a huge opportunity for Vandeweghe, who earns two break points when the world No1 drags a skittish forehand wide. She only needs one, walloping a forehand return back to Pliskova’s forehand, which drifts long. A semi-final place is hers to lose.

6.23pm BST

Second set: Pliskova 6-7, 1-2 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): There’s no sign of Vandeweghe losing her focus just yet. Another impressive, untroubled hold.

6.20pm BST

Second set: Pliskova* 6-7, 1-1 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Pliskova reminds everyone that it won’t be easy breaking for her, gliding into a 40-0 lead. Vandeweghe musters brief resistance with a rollocking forehand return for 40-15, but Pliskova holds easily.

6.18pm BST

Second set: Pliskova 6-7, 0-1 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): A confident start to the second set for Vandeweghe, holding to love, serving with supreme poise. You fancy this is going to be tough for Pliskova.

6.13pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova 4-7 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Vandeweghe finds a first serve and Pliskova, so sloppy, dumps another forehand return long! The 20th seed is a set away from knocking out the world No1 and reaching the semi-finals.

6.12pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova 4-6 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Pliskova wildly puts a forehand long. Two set points for Vandeweghe.

6.12pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova* 4-5 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Vandeweghe puts a forehand wide.

6.11pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova* 3-5 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Pliskova serves well.

6.10pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova 2-5 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Pliskova nets a backhand.

6.10pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova 2-4 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Vandeweghe overpowers Pliskova with a huge forehand.

6.09pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova* 2-3 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Another error from Vandeweghe.

6.08pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova* 1-3 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Vandeweghe lifts a forehand past the baseline.

6.08pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova 0-3 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Pliskova nets a forehand return.

6.07pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova 0-2 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Pliskova sends a forehand return long.

6.07pm BST

First set tie-break: Pliskova* 0-1 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Pliskova serves accurately out wide, but Vandeweghe jumps on to it and batters a forehand down the line.

6.06pm BST

First set: Pliskova 6-6 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Vandeweghe begins with a forehand winner for 15-0. She holds to 15. Tie-break.

6.01pm BST

First set: Pliskova* 6-5 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Pliskova unfussily holds to 15. Vandeweghe will be under pressure again.

5.59pm BST

First set: Pliskova 5-5 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Serving to stay in the set, Vandeweghe is pleased with herself after a serve doesn’t come back over the net on the first point. At 15-all, she gobbles up a short ball to punch a forehand away, only to net a forehand for 30-all. Vandeweghe is two points from a hold, but Pliskova is two points from the set. Vandeweghe is relieved when a Pliskova forehand is called out. Pliskova challenges to no avail, but the game goes to deuce after a potentially costly double-fault from Vandeweghe, who’s facing a set point after netting a weary backhand. Pliskova attacks. Vandeweghe clings on, though, and then rams a backhand from left to right. It lands just inside the line and Pliskova nets a slice. From there, she holds with a crunching backhand down the line, which is enough to raise the volume in the stands.

5.51pm BST

First set: Pliskova* 5-4 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): “Come on!” Vandeweghe cries. She’s so pumped up. Her emotions betrayed her in that previous sloppy game, but they help he here, as she overpowers Pliskova for 0-15. Feeling the pressure, Pliskova proceeds to double-fault for 0-30. She composes herself, though, and at 15-30 she volleys beautifully for 30-all. She holds to 30, slicing a volley from right to left, and Vandeweghe will serve to stay in this highly intriguing opening set.

5.46pm BST

First set: Pliskova 4-4 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): This is the first test for Vandeweghe, who’s down 0-30 after overcooking a forehand, a consequence of Pliskova’s firmer hitting. Vandeweghe responds by laying down two big first serves to force Pliskova to net her returns. The game goes to 30-all. Vandeweghe makes it 40-30 with an ace out wide. Then she double-faults. Deuce. Steam’s starting to come out of her ears. Another one hands Pliskova a break point, causing her emotions to spill over as she smashes her racket into the ground. She walks to her chair to collect a new one, gathers her thoughts and saves the break point with a huge backhand, but she’s facing a second after netting a forehand. Pliskova can see her opponent’s struggling here and she pulls a forehand out of reach to cancel out the break.

5.38pm BST

First set: Pliskova* 3-4 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Pliskova holds to love.

5.37pm BST

First set: Pliskova 2-4 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): The first two points are shared, but Vandeweghe continues to dominate in the baseline exchanges, moving into a 40-15 lead. She closes out another accomplished service game with handy play at the net. The slight worry for Vandeweghe might be that Pliskova seems to be playing within herself at the moment.

5.32pm BST

First set: Pliskova* 2-3 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Pliskova settles down a little, holding to 30 without much of a challenge from her spiky opponent.

5.29pm BST

First set: Pliskova 1-3 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): Vandeweghe’s serve is causing more damage than Pliskova’s at the moment. She’s quickly into a 40-0 lead, Pliskova unable to get into the rally. She holds to love when the world no1 nets a return.

5.27pm BST

First set: Pliskova* 1-2 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): Vandeweghe has a good read on that venomous Pliskova serve in these early stages and she’s feeling perky after racing into a 0-30 lead. Then comes a baseline exchange. Vandeweghe is solid, Pliskova is wobbly. The Czech pulls a forehand wide to give up three break points. She saves the first with an … ace. Vandeweghe goes on the attack on the second, though, punching a forehand return down the line, Pliskova nowhere near it. It’s called out – it’s worth a challenge. Because that ball caught the line and HawkEye confirms the early break for the home favourite, who has made a mighty start.

5.23pm BST

First set: Pliskova 1-1 Vandeweghe* (*denotes server): A confident start from Vandeweghe, who nails a forehand for 40-15 before rattling an ace out wide to hold.

5.20pm BST

First set: Pliskova* 1-0 Vandeweghe (*denotes server): It’s the big-serving Czech who gets this US Open quarter-final underway. She loses the first point, netting a backhand, but rattles through the next three to lead 40-15. Vandeweghe hits back with a big forehand return for 40-30, but Pliskova holds with a solid serve.

5.12pm BST

Here come the players. A fine reception for Coco Vandeweghe, a respectful one for Karolina Pliskova. The roof is covering Arthur Ashe; it’s a wet day in New York.

4.49pm BST

Earlier today Andy Murray announced that he is unlikely to play for the rest of the season. Here’s Kevin Mitchell’s full report.

Related: Andy Murray confirms he is set to miss rest of season with hip injury

4.45pm BST

This is the fifth meeting between Pliskova and Vandeweghe. Their head-to-head is tied at 2-2 – it’s 1-1 on hard courts, while Vandeweghe won their only previous grand slam meeting, beating the Czech in two sets at Wimbledon two years ago. It wouldn’t be a shock if the American wins this.

2.38pm BST

Hello. What a thrill it must be to be an American at the moment. Well, it is if you’re a tennis fan. The locals who fill the stands on Arthur Ashe haven’t had it this good in years, the exploits of Serena Williams notwithstanding. We already have confirmation that the women’s draw will feature one all-American semi-final – Venus Williams versus the resurgent Sloane Stephens – and today we discover whether it’s going to be a clean sweep in the last four. The night session begins with Madison Keys taking on the unseeded Kaia Kanepi – but before that our attention will be on the day’s first match, which features the powerful Coco Vandeweghe, who has already reached an Australian Open semi-final and a Wimbledon quarter-final this year.

But it’s not going to be easy for the 20th seed. For standing in her way is Karolina Pliskova, the world No1 and a beaten finalist in New York last year. Vandweghe has made it this far after seeing off some tough opponents, but Pliskova, with her crisp groundstrokes, imposing frame and booming serves, represents a major step-up in class. The Czech might not have been entirely convincing in the first week, especially during three-set duels with Nicole Gibbs and then Shuai Zhang, and she’s yet to win a grand slam despite sitting at the top of the rankings, but that was one mighty show of intent on Monday, when she allowed the USA’s Jennifer Brady only one game during 46 brutally one-sided minutes. This promises to be a fine match – and once it’s done, whenever that’ll be, it’ll be time for the men’s No1 to make his entrance. Roger Federer awaits us later, ready to face the mighty Juan Martin del Potro, but not before Rafael Nadal takes a closer look at Andrey Rublev, the young Russian teenager who’s rather stolen Denis Shapovalov’s thunder this week.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/06/us-open-quarter-finals-pliskova-vandeweghe-nadal-rublev

Sep 01

US Open: Kyle Edmund retires hurt in third-round match against Denis Shapovalov – as it happened

Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows after Britain’s Kyle Edmund retired in the fourth set with a neck problem

8.23pm BST

And then were none. This defeat for Kyle Edmund means that there are no British players left in this US Open. It’s a worrying glimpse of what life might be like without Andy Murray. As for the extravagantly talented Denis Shapovalov, the Canadian is through to the fourth round for the first time in his short career and he will face Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta next. The bottom half of the men’s draw is so open. Not one player has reached a grand slam final. Astonishing. Only Sam Querrey has reached a grand slam semi-final. It’s a wonderful opportunity for someone – and your guess is as good as mine. Thanks for reading. Bye.

Related: Kyle Edmund retires hurt in US Open third-round match against Denis Shapovalov

8.19pm BST

“It’s never nice to win that way,” says Denis Shapovalov as Kyle Edmund wanders off court. “I thought I had a lot of chances in the first set. I had chances to break back. It just wasn’t clicking together. I knew I had to stay aggressive. I knew my chances would come and luckily they did in the second.”

8.17pm BST

A sad end. Kyle Edmund looked like he was going to try to play through the pain of that neck injury, but he’s decided that he can’t continue. He walks to the net to congratulate Shapovalov. Muted applause greets them.

8.15pm BST

Fourth set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 6-3, 5-3, 1-0 Edmund (*denotes server): Shapovalov holds to love. It briefly seemed Edmund might quit at the end of that game, but he’s soldiering on for now. He’s very subdued. He’s shaking his head.

8.12pm BST

The game goes to 30-all. Edmund tries a drop shot. Nope. Shapovalov flings a backhand past him for a set point. Edmund duly hits a forehand long. That escalated quickly. The neck injury makes it hard to see Edmund coming back from this.

8.08pm BST

Third set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 6-3, 5-3 Edmund (*denotes server): The trainer tried to loosen up Edmund’s neck with a quick massage, but he seems to be in some pain now. Shapalov strolls to a hold to love.

8.06pm BST

Third set: Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 4-3 Edmund* (*denotes server): Now we’ll see how much the neck issue is affecting Edmund as he prepares to serve at a crucial juncture in the third set. Shapovalov immediately takes on a tame second serve and makes it 0-15 with a meaty backhand. Then Edmund wafts a forehand long for 0-30. This is ominous for the British No2, who gifts Shapovalov three break points with an overcooked backhand. Shapovalov doesn’t have to do much but wait for another error from Edmund. The trainer is back on.

8.03pm BST

Third set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 6-3, 3-3 Edmund (*denotes server): The trainer has been and gone and the match resumes. Edmund doesn’t seem to be too inhibited, although he lets himself down by netting a simple volley for 15-0. Shapovalov’s serve is never under threat here. He holds to love with a precise forehand.

7.57pm BST

Kyle Edmund has called for the trainer because of a neck problem. He has played a lot of tennis recently.

7.55pm BST

Third set: Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 2-3 Edmund* (*denotes server): Stunning returning takes Shapovalov into a 0-30 lead, but Edmund battles to 30-all. The game goes to deuce. It’s scrappy. Not much to get excited about in the end. Edmund holds in low-key fashion.

7.50pm BST

Third set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 6-3, 2-2 Edmund (*denotes server): There’s a brilliant ease to the way Shapovalov hits the ball at times, a demonstration of which comes when he whips a backhand from right to left for 30-0. Another searing backhand makes it 40-15 and he holds with a forehand winner.

7.45pm BST

Third set: Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 1-2 Edmund* (*denotes server): The game goes to 30-all. Shapovalov is on top. He’s dictating. He punishes a rasping forehand into the corner to earn a break point. Alarm bells are ringing for Edmund here. But he does very well to adjust when Shapovalov clips the tape with a return, making life tricky for Edmund, who scoops a low forehand away for deuce. Edmund’s relieved to hold.

7.40pm BST

Third set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 6-3, 1-1 Edmund (*denotes server): Shapovalov holds to love. On Eurosport he’s being likened in style to Rod Laver. High praise. In other news, Diego Schwartzman has caused a big shock: the little Argentinian has beaten Marin Cilic in four sets to reach round four. The bottom half of the draw is so open.

7.38pm BST

Third set: Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 0-1 Edmund* (*denotes server): Edmund makes a very good start to the set, nailing an ace to hold to love. He’ll have to stay at that level at least to deal with the precocious talent on the other side of the net.

7.33pm BST

Shapovalov seems to be feeling it now, his fourth double-fault making it 15-30. Or not. A 131mph ace makes it 30-all. Edmund’s determined not to make it easy for Shapovalov, though, and earns a break point with an accurate smash down the middle after softening the Canadian up with a fearsome forehand. Edmund nets a backhand, though, and Shapovalov earns his fifth set point when he pounces on a short ball. A big serve is what he needs. A big serve is what he gets. Edmund blocks his return wide and the match is level!

7.28pm BST

Second set: Shapovalov 3-6, 5-3 Edmund* (*denotes server): Serving to stay in the set, Edmund’s down 0-15 after Shapovalov picks him off at the net with a forehand. The game goes to deuce. It’s not long before Shapovalov has a set point, but a poor return spares Edmund. Yet Edmund is struggling to close the game out. Shapovalov clips a backhand return down the line to earn his second set point. Edmund increases the power of his forehand to save it. A sloppy forehand from Edmund hands Shapovalov a third chance, but the Canadian nets a backhand pass. A fourth chance comes and goes. Shapovalov crashes a final return long and he’ll have to serve for the set.

7.18pm BST

Second set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 5-2 Edmund (*denotes server): Shapovalov begins the game shakily, double-faulting, and another one makes it 15-30. Edmund can’t take advantage and, although the game goes to deuce, Shapovalov edges closer to levelling the match.

7.13pm BST

Second set: Shapovalov 3-6, 4-2 Edmund*(*denotes server): Dangerous times for Edmund, as Shapovalov makes it 15-30 with an arrowed backhand. He does well to cling on and hold to 30.

7.10pm BST

Second set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 4-1 Edmund (*denotes server): Looking to consolidate the break, Shapovalov holds to 15 with an ace. He’s on one now.

7.07pm BST

Second set: Shapovalov 3-6, 3-1 Edmund* (*denotes server): Edmund thumps a forehand past Shapovalov for 15-0 and looks in control at 30-0. But there times when the Canadian whizzkid reaches into his box of tricks and confounds Edmund. Three straight points earn him a break point. Shapovalov can’t take it. A fine backhand return carves out another opportunity, but he knocks a backhand wide. A piercing backhand brings up a third chance. This time Edmund cracks. His forehand breaks down. Shapovalov roars.

6.59pm BST

Second set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 2-1 Edmund (*denotes server): At 15-all, Shapovalov gets a backhand volley all wrong, mistiming his jump and dumping it into the net. He’s still searching for consistency. He finds enough inspiration with a backhand down the line at 40-30, though, and holds to 30.

6.56pm BST

Second set: Shapovalov 3-6, 1-1 Edmund* (*denotes server): Edmund holds to love.

6.53pm BST

Second set: Shapovalov* 3-6, 1-0 Edmund (*denotes server): Looking for a positive start after that messy opening set, Shapovalov finds the line with a killer forehand. But he’s still erratic. Too excitable. A double-fault hands Edmund a 15-30 lead. But Shapovalov fights to 40-30 and then punishes a dismal Edmund slice, flaying a backhand down the line to hold.

6.47pm BST

Serving for the set, Edmund makes an awkward start, missing a forehand by a fair old distance. Shapovalov’s level rises again and he makes it 15-30 with a piercing backhand from right to left before earning two break points when Edmund knocks a forehand long. Edmund saves both, though, first with a cracking wide serve, then with a powerful forehand for deuce. An ace brings up a set point and Edmund finds the depth with a solid backhand to force Shapovalov to net a forehand on the run!

6.42pm BST

First set: Shapovalov* 3-5 Edmund (*denotes server): Again Edmund finds himself at 15-30 while returning. This is an intriguing match. Shapovalov approaches the net. Edmund swipes a forehand on the run and it clips the tape, leaving Shapovalov unable to do anything with his stooping volley. Two more break point, then. Shapovalov hurls a big forehand to the Edmund backhand and comes forward again; the Brit nets his pass. There’s one more break point, though, and Shapovalov’s 14th unforced error means Edmund will serve for the set!

6.37pm BST

First set: Shapovalov 3-4 Edmund* (*denotes server): Edmund halts the Shapovalov surge, holding to love.

6.35pm BST

First set: Shapovalov* 3-3 Edmund (*denotes server): Shapovalov continues to undermine moments of excellence with wayward shotmaking, a wide forehand making it 0-15, a stunning crosscourt backhand making it 15-all. There’s a sense that Edmund’s being outplayed – but then he’s clenching his fist after some Murray-esque defence. He clings on when Shapovalov crashes a backhand down his throat, then gutsily repels a smash before whipping a superb forehand down the line. Soon he has two break points. Shapovalov saves the first, though, and then Edmund nets a forehand as the game goes to deuce. Shapovalov holds. He’s won three games on the trot.

6.30pm BST

First set: Shapovalov 2-3 Edmund* (*denotes server): Shapovalov sends a loopy forehand return from right to left to make it 0-15, then goes on the attack, charging forward and coaxing an error out of Edmund for 0-30. “Come on!” the 18-year-old cries – before netting two backhands. Another wild backhand makes it 40-30, but the game goes to deuce and Shapovalov earns his first break point with a glorious forehand winner down the line. Can he take it? Yes, not that he had to do anything more than watch Edmund double-fault. Shapovalov’s in this now and he knows it, shooting intense looks at his box as he bounds back to his chair.

6.25pm BST

First set: Shapovalov* 1-3 Edmund (*denotes server): Shapovalov calms down a bit, moving into a 40-0 lead without much resistance from Edmund. He holds to love to get on the board and starts bouncing up and down on the spot. Kids.

6.21pm BST

First set: Shapovalov 0-3 Edmund* (*denotes server): Shapovalov’s forehand isn’t bad either, mind you, and a heatseeker makes it 0-15 as he attempts to repair the damage of that previous game. But the youngster hasn’t found his range on a consistent basis yet and the game drifts to 40-15. Edmund holds with a fine serve. He’ll be delighted with this start.

6.18pm BST

First set: Shapovalov* 0-2 Edmund (*denotes server): Edmund meets a 120mph serve with a rasping return winner, making it 15-30, and he earns a break point when Shapovalov sprays a backhand long at 30-all. A crunching forehand down the line does the job, Shapovalov forced to scramble his riposte well past the baseline, handing the early break to Edmund.

6.14pm BST

First set: Shapovalov 0-1 Edmund* (*denotes server): The match opens with Britain’s Kyle Edmund serving and the first rally’s an entertainingly long and feisty affair, won by Shapovalov when Edmund nets a backhand. Shapovalov looks to be in the mood, making it 0-30 with a forehand winner, clenching his fist as the ball whizzes by Edmund, geeing himself up. Three misses from Shapovalov take Edmund to 40-30, though, and the game ends when the Canadian nets a backhand.

6.11pm BST

We’ve had the toss, we’ve had the warm-up, we’ve had the analysis. The players are going through their final preparations. The sun’s shining in New York. A tough-to-call match is about to begin. What’s not to like?

6.04pm BST

Denis Shapovalov has vowed to “take it to Kyle”. “Good luck, buddy,” says courtside interviewer Brad Gilbert. Edmund thinks he needs the right mentality in order to win. “Good luck today, buddy,” says Brad Gilbert. Right, buddies, it’s almost time for some tennis.

5.49pm BST

Kyle Edmund had this to say to the press pack when he was asked for his views about the challenge posed by the left-handed Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov likes to be offensive, likes to move forward, take the ball on. He’s been playing well in terms of his run in Montreal [where he beat Rafael Nadal] and then qualifying, so he is feeling good. It’s going to be a tough match but at the same time I’m playing well so definitely no reason why I shouldn’t go out there feeling confident.

His rise is basically from that Masters. It’s a lot of points to get semis at Masters. He beat me in the grass-court season [at Queen’s] but he didn’t have a great clay-court season. He got on the grass pretty early, playing the Challengers in Surbiton and Nottingham, and he qualified at Queen’s. So he played a bunch of matches which really helped him. Since then, that hard-court run in Montreal will have done the world of good for him. That’s where he’s got his confidence, and qualifying here.”

I definitely watched it back. You can see on the video that my head was down when he hit it. I thought he hit it against the boards at the side where our team was. I thought the umpire was going, ‘Oh no, what’s he done? You can’t smack a ball like that so close to people’. And then I realised it hit him. It’s quite funny, everyone is in shock, no one is really doing anything. It got a few YouTube hits. All of my matches have got something like 5,000 or 10,000, then you go on that and it’s 200,000 just from that incident.”

5.45pm BST

The first match on Arthur Ashe has just finished and Petra Kvitova has handed Caroline Garcia a drubbing. The 13th seed beat the 18th seed 6-0, 6-4 and will face Garbine Muguruza or Magdalena Rybarikova next.

12.53pm BST

Hello. There’s no Novak Djokovic. No Andy Murray. No Stan Wawrinka. Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori haven’t made it to New York either, while 2014 champion Marin Cilic has had injury problems this summer. Roger Federer, nursing that stiff back, has squeaked through two tough and messy five-setters. Rafael Nadal has made slow starts in both of his matches, meanwhile, and so the sense grows that we could be about to witness something akin to a changing of the guard at this US Open. As men’s tennis becomes ever more decipherable with each passing day and each surprise development, an opportunity has arisen for some young buck or overlooked outsider to make a name for himself over the course of the next week or so, although good luck trying to predict who that might be with any certainty.

Outside of Federer and Nadal, trying to pick a potential champion is a dangerous game. A path opens up for a supposed contender, but too many are reading the map upside down. After beating Federer in the Montreal final, Alex Zverev was meant to mount the biggest challenge to the sport’s two grandees. The fourth seed only lasted two rounds, however, crashing out to Borna Coric, the 20-year-old Croatian who hasn’t quite lived up to his billing as the new Djokovic, but who now has a chance to demonstrate why he was rated so highly a couple of years ago. They come and go. Nick Kyrgios beat Nadal in Cincinnati, only to crash out against his moderately talented fellow Australian, John Millman, in the first round here. Grigor Dimitrov, too old and carrying too many regrets to be spoken of in terms of potential and promise any more, disappointed yet again, following up his Cincinnati title by imploding against Andrey Rublev yesterday. Perhaps … perhaps Rublev, a fiery young Russian, is about to do something extraordinary.

Related: Kyle Edmund to let it all out after finding his inner battle cry at US Open

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/01/denis-shapovalov-v-kyle-edmund-us-open-third-round-live

Aug 29

US Open: Nadal through in straight sets, Kerber crashes out – as it happened

Rafael Nadal dealt with a wobbly first set to reach the second round, but Angelique Kerber’s title defence was obliterated by Naomi Osaka

Defending champion Angelique Kerber loses to Naomi Osaka

10.42pm BST

Unfortunately today’s live blog must end here. Damn rain, spoiling our tennis fun. Day two was a washout, although at least we had entertainment under the roof on Arthur Ashe. The highlight, for me, was Naomi Osaka increasing Angelique Kerber’s misery. Rafa Nadal also made it safely through and so did Karolina Pliskova. Plenty of matches still have to be sorted out tomorrow, but there’s still the night session to come on day two and Bryan Armen Graham will be around in a few hours with live coverage of Roger Federer against Frances Tiafoe. Cheerio!

10.39pm BST

A typically weird Ostapenko score, but the 12th seed is through to the second round. Moved to Arthur Ashe after a long rain delay, she showed how much she likes the big stage by winning three straight games to win the match. She earns two match points. She blooters an ace down the middle. Arruabarrena calls for HawkEye. There is no reprieve. Ostapenko will play Romania’s Sorana Cirstea next.

10.32pm BST

The match resumes with Jelena Ostapenko serving at 3-1 in the third set. She looks dialled in. A huge backhand makes it 40-0 and the Latvian holds to 15 to lead 4-1.

10.27pm BST

The players are out on Arthur Ashe. Quite a few fans have left. But we do have bonus tennis. Take that, rain!

10.19pm BST

All of which means that, despite the rain, Jelena Ostapenko and Lara Arruabarrena will be allowed to finish their match under the roof. It started on Court 17, but it will move to Arthur Ashe. Ostapenko, the French Open champion, leads 6-2, 1-6, 3-1 and is about to serve.

10.11pm BST

Rafa Nadal speaks! “I was just trying to be there. It was tough at the beginning, he was playing well and not making many mistakes. At the end of that first set it was important. And then I played the tie-break well. I’m very happy. I need to keep improving. Always the first round is never easy. Playing indoors. Always at the beginning you want to do it well. There is a lot of noise out here when the roof is closed. Big change. At the beginning it is a little strange, but it is a good call.”

10.07pm BST

Serving for the match, Nadal takes a 15-0 lead with another forehand winner. Then a fan decides to leave his feet, which is enough to disturb Nadal into double-faulting. Soon he has two match points, though, and another outstanding serve polishes off an initially tough but ultimately excellent win for the world No1, who marches into the second round.

10.03pm BST

Third set: Nadal 7-6, 6-2, 5-2 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic holds. Get on with it, Rafa! Tick tock!

10.00pm BST

Third set: Nadal* 7-6, 6-2, 5-1 Lajovic (*denotes server): Nadal holds to 15. He’s got 15 minutes to make sure we get more tennis before the night session.

9.56pm BST

Third set: Nadal 7-6, 6-2, 4-1 Lajovic* (*denotes server): If this match finishes before 10.15pm BST/5.15pm local time then they’ll put Ostapenko and Arrubarrena on Arthur Ashe before the night session. Ostapenko leads 3-1 in the third set. Hurry up, Rafa! Actually he might do it. Nadal slams a forehand down the line on break point and Lajovic, hustling desperately, swipes wide on the run.

9.52pm BST

Third set: Nadal* 7-6, 6-2, 3-1 Lajovic (*denotes server): Lajovic earns two break points, but Nadal saves both. He earns a third and Nadal smashes for deuce. Eventually, after brief drama, Nadal holds.

9.41pm BST

Third set: Nadal 7-6, 6-2, 2-1 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic holds to 15. Later on, by the way, Bryan Armen Graham will have live coverage of Roger Federer v Frances Tiafoe, the second match in the evening session.

9.39pm BST

Third set: Nadal* 7-6, 6-2, 2-0 Lajovic (*denotes server): Serving powerfully, Nadal holds to 30. This has turned into a straightforward workout. It did feel like it was going to hinge on whether he could break back in the first set. Once he managed that, you kind of knew.

9.35pm BST

Third set: Nadal 7-6, 6-2, 1-0 Lajovic* (*denotes server): “Game Nadal”. Didn’t take long. Lajovic nets a forehand, Nadal breaks.

9.31pm BST

Lajovic is flailing. Nadal quickly earns three set points. He can’t take the first, pulling a forehand wide, then he nets a forehand. You might think he’s about to choke. You’d be mistaken. An ace snuffs out any thought of an unlikely collapse.

9.25pm BST

Second set: Nadal 7-6, 5-2 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic begins with a double-fault, but knuckles down to hold to 30 and at least keep Nadal honest.

9.23pm BST

Second set: Nadal* 7-6, 5-1 Lajovic (*denotes server): Nadal holds easily. He’s a game from a two-set lead and the fight’s draining from Lajovic.

9.19pm BST

Second set: Nadal 7-6, 4-1 Lajovic* (*denotes server): And Nadal promptly re-establishes the two-break lead. Hard to see how Lajovic extricates himself from this one. He had to win that first set. But he didn’t. And here we are.

9.15pm BST

Second set: Nadal* 7-6, 3-1 Lajovic (*denotes server): Hang on. Maybe it’s not over yet. A careless game from Nadal gifts Lajovic two break points; he sends a forehand wide and the Serbian cancels out one break.

9.10pm BST

Second set: Nadal 7-6, 3-0 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic balloons a backhand, Nadal breaks again. Barring a Fognini repeat, this match is done.

9.04pm BST

Second set: Nadal 7-6, 2-0 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Nadal consolidates the break, holding to 15, and Carlos Moya watches on with a satisfied look on his face.

9.02pm BST

Second set: Nadal 7-6, 1-0 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic knocks a forehand long on break point. You have to fear for Dusan now.

8.55pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal 8-6 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic cracks! He sends a backhand slice long and the first set belongs to the world No1, who was forced to work hard for it!

8.54pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal* 7-6 Lajovic (*denotes server): A massive inside-out forehand from Nadal earns him a second set point.

8.53pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal* 6-6 Lajovic (*denotes server): Nadal misses a first serve. Then he nets the second! There are gasps and squeals. Oh my! Did you see that? I can’t believe it! I know!

8.52pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal 6-5 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic, off balance, volleys long after a poor approach! Nadal has a set point.

8.51pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal 5-5 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic softens Nadal up with a huge forehand to the left and wins the point with a smash to the right.

8.50pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal* 5-4 Lajovic (*denotes server): Nadal knocks a backhand long. Sloppy.

8.50pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal* 5-3 Lajovic (*denotes server): Nadal goes for the quick kill with a forehand after a short return from Lajovic.

8.49pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal 4-3 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Another fine winner from Lajovic.

8.48pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal 4-2 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Nadal sticks a forehand wide.

8.47pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal* 4-1 Lajovic (*denotes server): Lajovic nets a backhand after a superb defensive slice from Nadal.

8.46pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal* 3-1 Lajovic (*denotes server): Lajovic repairs some of the damage with a beautiful backhand winner.

8.45pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal 3-0 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic nets a forehand. Oh dear.

8.45pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal 2-0 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic pulls a forehand wide.

8.44pm BST

First set tie-break: Nadal* 1-0 Lajovic (*denotes server): Nadal begins with an ace.

8.44pm BST

First set: Nadal 6-6 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Having served for it, now Lajovic serves to stay in it. He looks like doing so with ease, racing into a 40-0 lead. Nadal rips to deuce, though, and it feels ominous. Lajovic does very well to settle and hold. Meanwhile play has been cancelled on the outside courts – other than Ostapenko v Arrubarrena, the conclusion of which might take place on Arthur Ashe if there’s enough time before the evening session. That depends on this match.

8.38pm BST

First set: Nadal* 6-5 Lajovic (*denotes server): Nadal holds to 15. Oh yeah, he’s the world No1.

8.35pm BST

First set: Nadal 5-5 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Serving for the set, it’s not long before Lajovic trails 0-15. He nets to make it 0-30. You sense: here comes trouble. Nadal starts to repel everything. And a deep forehand forces a wild backhand from Lajovic, who’s facing three break points. Nadal needs one. A fine return draws another error from Lajovic, whose ears will be ringing when he hears Nadal’s urgent “Come on!”.

8.31pm BST

First set: Nadal* 4-5 Lajovic (*denotes server): Nadal is serving to stay in the set. Lajovic is inspired at the moment. He sprays a backhand down the line for 30-all. On Eurosport, Mats Wilander makes the point that Nadal isn’t a top indoor player and he seems to be finding it hard to adjust to the conditions. He does find a big serve to make it 40-30, but an errant backhand makes it deuce. After a tussle, Nadal holds. Lajovic will serve for the set.

8.24pm BST

First set: Nadal 3-5 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic is bouncing up and down in Nadal-esque fashion after holding to 30. He’s a game away from the first set!

8.19pm BST

First set: Nadal* 3-4 Lajovic (*denotes server): It’s at this point that one remembers that Nadal has been a third and fourth-round loser here in the past two years. The 2010 and 2013 champion hasn’t always had it his own way in New York and hasn’t been in the best form. So these are interesting times. The general assumption, though, is that Lajovic won’t maintain this level and that Nadal will improve, and then normal service will be resumed. Nadal holds to 30 here, a lovely forehand doing the job, and keeps it to one break.

8.16pm BST

First set: Nadal 2-4 Lajovic* (*denotes server): Lajovic holds to 30.

8.12pm BST

First set: *Nadal 2-3 Lajovic (*denotes server). Rafa nets the ball for 0-15 and Lajovic has won eight of the last 10 points. He picks up his serve to get to 40-30 but then misses an easy forehand long with the court wide open to take it to deuce. Lajovic’s second lucky net cord of the game then brings up the break point but Rafa holds on – he’s looked flat so far though.

8.05pm BST

First set: Nadal 1-3 Lajovic* (*denotes server). A comfortable hold for Lajovic. The good news for Rafa is that he wins a challenge early in the game – the bad news is that that’s the highlight for the Spaniard.

8.01pm BST

First set: *Nadal 1-2 Lajovic (*denotes server). Lajovic gets out to a 0-30 lead and then a high bounce leads Nadal to shanking his backhand wide and suddenly we have three break points up for grabs – what a chance early on against the No1 seed. Nadal saves the first two before a limp forehand gives the game, and break, to Lajovic. Neither player played well in that game: Nadal just played worse.

7.57pm BST

First set: Nadal 1-1 Lajovic. The world No85 gets off to a comfortable start against the former champion, holding with an ace. The winner of this match faces Tano Daniel or Tommy Paul in the second round.

7.54pm BST

Rafa is all we have this afternoon due to the rain, and he’s looking pretty comfortable under the roof of Arthur Ashe: he serves in the match’s first game and wins comfortably enough: Nadal 1-0 Lajovic.

7.50pm BST

The rain is set to fall through the afternoon and into the early hours of tomorrow as August ends on a cool note in New York. That means any play will be under the roof of Arthur Ashe – nominated as the worst sports arena in the US by our very own Bryan Graham yesterday (we’re happy to note he was still let into the arena last night):

Related: US Open: Why Arthur Ashe Stadium is the worst sports venue in America

7.38pm BST

Wearing bright pink, Rafa Nadal has arrived on Arthur Ashe. He’ll arrange his water bottles, jump up and down on the spot for a bit and then play some tennis. While he gets on with some preparations, I’m going to have some food. See you in a bit.

7.34pm BST

With the rain still falling in New York, we have no tennis. The outside courts are drenched. There is, however, one more match on Arthur Ashe in the afternoon session. And it’s not a bad one: you’ve heard of Rafael Nadal, right? The world No1 faces Dusan Lajovic, an awkward Serbian who briefly inconvenienced Roger Federer at Wimbledon but who probably doesn’t stand much of a chance in this one.

7.27pm BST

As for Kerber, you have to wonder if she might take a break now. This is her second first-round exit in a grand slam this year and she’ll lose a lot of ranking points after this defeat. Has she bottomed out or is worse to come? She hasn’t responded well at all to being world No1 and there is an argument that this result only counts as half a shock. Kerber had no answer to Osaka’s fearsome hitting. Her serve was shocking and her movement wasn’t what it was in 2016. She needs a rethink.

7.23pm BST

Other than the quality of her tennis, Naomi Osaka impressed by making sure not to be consumed by the moment. Even taking into account how much Kerber has struggled this year, the German is a two-times grand slam champion and a former world No1, so Osaka had to make sure she kept her cool once she had the lead. She did that. She swung freely and never looked like imploding.

7.18pm BST

The champion is out! Facing a match point, Angelique Kerber slams a forehand into the net, a poor shot in keeping with a wretched year that’s just plumbed new depths. But this was a special performance from young Naomi Osaka. The 19-year-old has just offered a stunning exhibition of her glittering potential and has secured her first win over a top-10 player with an awesome display of power tennis. The Arthur Ashe crowd liked what they saw and Osaka had the time of her life out there. She’s beaming. Unlike Kerber, who had a glum expression on her face as she stomped off.

7.06pm BST

This could be the match. Another missile from Osaka earns her the double break; the Japanese prodigy leads 6-3, 4-1 and will do well to throw this away. Kerber looks forlorn. She’s being beaten up.

7.04pm BST

Osaka leads 6-3, 3-1. She looks such an exciting talent. Kerber is scrambling and scrappy desperately in an attempt to stay in this, but she is on the ropes.

6.52pm BST

Any hopes that Kerber would rally – geddit, it’s a funny tennis pun – at the start of the second set look misguided. The German’s serve remains vulnerable and Naomi Osaka, with the bit between her teeth, breaks in the first game. The defending champion’s all over the place. 6-3, 1-0 to Osaka.

6.46pm BST

Serving for the first set, Naomi Osaka finds herself down 15-40. Her response is to save both break points with magnificent tennis, the second with a superb forehand pass down the line for deuce. Then she earns her first set point, ripping through her forehand to puncture Kerber’s defence, and takes it when the German nets a forehand return. The 19-year-old takes the first set 6-3!

6.41pm BST

Angelique Kerber continues to chuck in double-faults and eventually it was going to hurt her. So it proves. Osaka earns a break point and takes it to lead 5-3. She’ll serve for the first set.

6.32pm BST

Kerber’s second serve is threatening to fall apart. She’s made three double-faults already.

6.28pm BST

Naomi Osaka can hit a ball and Angelique Kerber can soak up venom, which is making for an engrossing clash of styles. Osaka is starting to go for a bit too much and she’s losing some accuracy and control. A couple of errors hand Kerber a break point; Osaka saves it with some enormous tennis, though, finding her range again for deuce, driving a volley through the air. More outstanding play from the Osaka allows her to hold for 3-2. The crowd enjoyed that.

6.23pm BST

A tight double-fault from an irascible Angelique Kerber makes it 15-30. She doesn’t appear to be in the best of moods. But she does hold to 30, making it 2-2 in the first set. No sign of a break yet.

6.12pm BST

And … play! Naomi Osaka opens the serving. The stands are beginning to fill up now, the fans arriving in anticipation of a potentially exciting encounter. Can Osaka stun the sixth seed? She has the weapons.

6.04pm BST

The umbrellas are still up, but the players are out on Arthur Ashe. Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka are knocking up and this could be good. How will Osaka handle the big stage? If she conquers her nerves, she could cause an upset in this one.

5.53pm BST

But at least there’s a roof on Arthur Ashe. Soon we’ll have one of the most intriguing matches of the day, the struggling former world No1 Angelique Kerber against one of the game’s brightest youngsters, Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Kerber is the defending champion, but she’s had a pretty wretched year and it won’t be a surprise if she’s pushed or even beaten by the 19-year-old, who reached the third round last year.

5.44pm BST

It’s raining. Which isn’t ideal for Elina Svitolina and Katerina Siniokva, who were on serve in a second-set tie-break. Svitolina served for the match on Louis Armstrong, but the smallest of dips allowed the fourth seed’s Czech opponent to cling on and introduce some doubt.

5.41pm BST

Rain’s starting to fall more heavily now. Dominic Thiem and Alex De Minaur have wandered off court now. Thiem is the happier of the two. The sixth seed leads 6-4, 6-1, 1-0.

5.40pm BST

Karolina Pliskova is through to round two. A towering performance from the world No1 is far too much for Magda Linette, who is powerless in the face of Pliskova’s big hitting and huge serving. The Czech wins 6-2, 6-1, completes a very tedious courtside interview and speeds off to sign some balls and whack them into the crowd.

5.36pm BST

Speaking of consistency … Richard Gasquet won’t be going through in straight sets today. Leonardo Mayer has levelled their match, winning the second set 6-2. A few women’s matches are beginning to be wrapped up, though, as Yanina Wickmayer slays a seed – the Belgian beats 28th-ranked Lesia Tsurenko for the loss of only four games.

5.35pm BST

Consistency is an issue for Donald Young. He won the first set 6-3 against Max Marterer and lost the second 6-1. Now he’s a break up in the third. What a thrill ride for the American fans on Court 12!

5.31pm BST

A seed’s in trouble on Court 11. Kristina Mladenovic has lost the first set to Monica Niculescu 6-3. No problems for Barbora Strycova, though: the 23rd seed has beaten Misaki Doi 6-1, 6-3 on Court 5.

5.26pm BST

Elina Svitolina served for the match … the match is not over. Katerina Siniakova breaks back for 5-5 in the second. Rather careless from Svitolina, who should be heading back to the locker room already.

5.24pm BST

Jelena Ostapenko has a fight on her hands now. The Latvian was dominant in set one, but less so in set two. It’s gone to a decider after Lara Arruabarrena held her nerve and serve to close it out 6-1. Elsewhere Sorana Cirstea has beaten Lesley Kerkhove of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-3. Impressive from the Romanian.

5.19pm BST

Karolina Pliskova holds with her fourth ace of the second set and leads 6-2, 3-0. On Louis Armstrong, Elina Svitolina is about to serve for the match at 6-0, 5-4 against Katerina Siniakova.

5.15pm BST

This is looking like a quick workout for Karolina Pliskova. An early break in the second set and she’s got a firm grip on this match now. Magda Linette requires a miracle.

5.09pm BST

On Eurosport commentary, Marion Bartoli is regaling us with an unlikely tale from her travels around the venue: get this, Maria Sharapova said “hello” to her the other day. Bartoli checked to make sure the Russian wasn’t saying it to someone else, but no, it really was meant for her. “Maybe she has changed,” the former Wimbledon champion says.

5.06pm BST

Things are going rather well for the Americans at the moment. Bjorn Fratalengo has dominated a first-set tie-break against … wait for it … Ivo Karlovic. The 24-year-old only dropped two points against the towering Croatian. No mean feat. Elsewhere Jennifer Brady leads by a set and a break against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic on Court 6.

5.05pm BST

The roof is shut already. What an amazing species we are. The second set on Arthur Ashe will begin imminently.

5.01pm BST

The roof on Arthur Ashe is closing. Hooray!

5.01pm BST

There are a few drops of rain in the air. Bah!

4.58pm BST

Magda Linette saves two set points, scrambling well, but not a third. Karolina Pliskova, the world No1, is flattered a tad by a 6-2 scoreline, but will she care? Unlikely.

Let’s see that again – set point from @KaPliskova. #USOpen @MBUSA pic.twitter.com/VPwEA4AnvC

4.56pm BST

Dominic Thiem has nice hair. In other news he’s got the first set against Alex De Minaur, taking it 6-4 off the Aussie whippersnapper.

4.52pm BST

We’ve seen three bagel sets already. Mmm, bagels. First Elina Svitolina; now Nicole Gibbs, who’s outplaying Veronica Cepede Royg, and now Francesca Schiavone, the Italian veteran, who’s giving Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi a bit of a lesson. T

4.51pm BST

With Murray, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Raonic and Nishikori all out, is this … no, I can’t ask you if this is Richard Gasquet’s year. What would be the point? What a story that would be, though. The former prodigy has had a perfectly acceptable career and can’t exactly be accused of throwing away his talent. But he hasn’t lived up to his early promise. He was expected to win a fair few slams when he was a youngster. It hasn’t turned out that way. Still, he’s here and he’s a former semi-finalist. The 26th seed is up a set against Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer, winning the opener 6-3.

4.44pm BST

And there goes that first set on Court 12, 6-3 to Donald Young, who’s having a quietly impressive year. On Court 17, meanwhile, the French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has powered – she knows no other way – to a 6-2, 1-0 lead over Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena.

4.39pm BST

Karolina Pliskova found out that Veronica Cepede Royg can be very tricky opponent when they met in Paris earlier this year. Not so today, though. The Paraguayan trails 0-4 in the first set against the USA’s Nicole Gibbs. Elsewhere another American, Donald Young, is faring well. He’s up 5-2 in the first set against Germany’s Max Marterer.

4.37pm BST

Anyone who reckons Elina Svitolina’s going to win this thing will be feeling pretty smug at the moment. She’s just taken the first set 6-0 against Katerina Siniakova.

4.31pm BST

Plenty of chatter that it’s going to be a rainy day in New York. The roof remains off on Arthur Ashe at the moment, but it might be called into action soon. You’ve got to love sports like tennis. Even if you have nothing to say, you can talk about the weather and people have to listen to you because it’s relevant.

4.29pm BST

Or maybe you can afford to do that against a server as good as Karolina Pliskova. Magda Linette breaks straight back.

4.27pm BST

Feeling the nerves, even though Arthur Ashe is pretty damn empty, Magda Linette double-faults on a break point. You don’t want to be doing that against a server as good as Karolina Pliskova, who’s off to an early lead. As for Elina Svitolina, she’s showing why she’s the fourth seed, racing into a 4-0 lead against Katerina Siniakova.

4.16pm BST

A stomping start from Dominic Thiem, the sixth seed, who’s nabbed an early break against Alex De Minaur, an Australian teenager. What do we make of Thiem? Outstanding on clay, he’s still got much room for improvement on other surfaces.

4.14pm BST

Eight women started this tournament with a shot of becoming the new world No1. Johanna Konta was one of those contenders – alas, the British No1 fell apart in her first-round match last night and is no longer part of the Flushing Meadows picture. Now we’ll get a look at the current No1, though. Karolina Pliskova, who replaced Angelique Kerber at the top of the rankings in spite of a second-round defeat at Wimbledon, is out on Arthur Ashe Stadium with Poland’s Magda Linette.

4.10pm BST

Players are emerging on courts. Tok! Tok! Tokity tok! They’re warming up here, they’re warming up there … and now I’ve got Larry David in my head. On Louis Armstrong Stadium, Elina Svitolina is about to meet Katerina Siniakova, an unseeded Czech 21-year-old. The fourth seed has a fine chance of winning her first grand slam here. She’s been in terrific form this year and took the title in Toronto earlier this month, though she still has a bit to prove at slam level.

12.33pm BST

Hello. The US Open organisers currently have the hopelessly doomed air of Homer Simpson chasing after a juicy airborne BBQ pig: it’s still good, it’s still good! Is it, though? Plenty of people think otherwise. Welcome to the void. Welcome to the future. No Djokovic. No Murray. No Wawrinka. No Serena. No Federer v Nadal final. NO MORE POINT TO TENNIS. END THE SPORT NOW.

But come on, sport isn’t all about the names, is it? Sure, this grand slam tournament might feel a little unsatisfactory to some; on the men’s side, all of last year’s year-end top five are out injured, victims of the sport’s never-ending physical grind. But you can’t please everyone: after all, if we were treated to a Big Four sweep in the semi-finals, there would be complaints about same old, same old.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/aug/29/us-open-pliskova-kyrgios-and-nadal-in-action-on-day-two-live

Aug 28

US Open 2017 men’s form guide: Federer favourite to claim 20th grand slam

Men’s tennis is in a state of flux at the moment, but old masters like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal are back and favourites to add to their glorious CVs at the US Open Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/28/us-open-2017-federer-favourite-for-20th-grand-slam

Aug 27

US Open 2017 women’s singles: who will capitalise on Serena’s absence? | Jacob Steinberg

Will Johanna Konta recover from her Wimbledon loss? Can Simona Halep thrive under pressure? And how will the returning Maria Sharapova leave her mark?

Karolina Pliskova: Last year’s beaten finalist probably had different visions of how she would become the new world No1. She was on holiday in Monaco when it happened and only found out about her new status after checking to see if Simona Halep had won her Wimbledon quarter-final against Johanna Konta. Halep’s defeat confirmed Pliskova’s ascent – five days after losing in the second round at SW19. The circumstances weren’t ideal, feeding the theory that Pliskova is merely a lucky beneficiary of Serena Williams’s absence, but despite lukewarm recent form, the big-serving 25-year-old has a good chance of winning her first grand slam title.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/aug/27/us-op-2017-womens-singles-johanna-konta-garbine-muguruza-maria-sharapova

Aug 24

Hajduk Split v Everton: Europa League qualifying play-off, second leg – live!

9.51pm BST

That’s your lot! Gylfi Sigurdsson’s amazing goal and Jordan Pickford’s penalty save are the highlights as Everton make sure of their place in tomorrow’s Europa League draw. Thanks for reading and emailing. Bye!

Related: Gylfi Sigurdsson’s stunner sees Everton past Hajduk Split and into group stage

9.49pm BST

90 min: There will be two added minutes.

9.45pm BST

88 min: The home fans are still singing. But they know this is done.

9.42pm BST

85 min: Kosulj replaces Vlasic.

9.42pm BST

84 min: Rooney runs on to a ball over the top from Keane. He’s through on goal, but he hasn’t got the pace to get away from the defenders, so he cuts back inside before shooting and Stipica saves his firm drive.

9.39pm BST

80 min: This hasn’t been a particularly impressive performance from Everton, but this is a tough week and they’re doing enough. Remember, they go to Chelsea on Sunday.

9.35pm BST

77 min: Erceg and Williams briefly clash after a collision in the Everton area. It’s all cleared up quickly enough, though.

9.33pm BST

73 min: Said rams a shot wide of the near post from the left. “You are an an unpatriotic Roomoaner,” says Kevin McKee. “Actually, I agree with your Lineker v. Rooney assessment, but since no one seems to have confirmed your label so far, and since it is such a great label, I thought I’d help you out. Can we even compare them, though? Very, very different players, Gary arguably the more natural goal scorer, but Rooney arguably the (whisper it) better all-round player. Of course, Gary never got himself sent off at a crucial point in a game when playing for England.”

9.29pm BST

72 min: Besic is booked. Then Tom Davies replaces Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

9.26pm BST

67 min: It’s all happening. Now Calvert-Lewin shows great pace to burst past the Hajduk defence, but Stipica is out quickly to smother his shot. Rooney picks up the pieces, but he can’t produce anything of note.

9.23pm BST

65 min: After a brief argument about who’s going to take the penalty, Said steps up for the hosts. He has to score here. But he telegraphs where he’s going. Pickford reads it and the Everton goalkeeper dives to the right to push a tame effort away!

9.22pm BST

64 min: Ashley Williams tries to step in and win the ball off Erceg, but only succeeds in clattering into the forward and the Russian referee does not hesitate to point to the spot.

9.20pm BST

62 min: “Astonishing is exactly the word,” says Matt Richman of Sigurdsson’s goal. “I’m watching it being replayed over and over and I still cannot work out how he had time to think that one through, let alone work out the execution. Yet there is no way that was accidental.”

9.18pm BST

60 min: Sigurdsson breaks into the home area on the left, reaching a lofted deep pass from Besic, and tries to roll the ball across for Calvert-Lewin. Nizic almost scores an own goal putting it behind.

9.16pm BST

59 min: Radosevic almost does it again, but this time his low long-range effort fizzes wide.

9.14pm BST

57 min: A clever Hajduk move slices Everton open through the middle, but Said’s deflected shot from 18 yards runs through to Pickford.

9.12pm BST

55 min: The ball breaks to Erceg in the Everton area. His shot takes a deflection off Martina and spins off a corner, which comes to nothing.

9.10pm BST

52 min: “Great goal from Sigurdsson,” says Mike Nagle. “Nice to see Aaron Lennon on the pitch after his problems last season. Good luck to him. Always liked him at Spurs.”

9.07pm BST

49 min: Is it too much to say that goal’s worth £45m on its own? Probably. But that was all very exciting.

9.06pm BST

47 min: Thirteen seconds, that took. What vision and imagination from Sigurdsson, though, and what a way to steady the ship for Everton. That’s some way to get the away goal.

9.05pm BST

This is astonishing from Gylfi Sigurdsson! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a goal like this before. A long ball’s pumped down the right flank. Nothing seems to be on. Think again. Sigurdsson, stretching and falling, is around 45 yards from goal. What can he do here other than try to keep the ball in play? Well, he can only generate the power and accuracy to somehow lob an absurd volley over the stranded Hajduk goalkeeper, who could hardly be blamed for being off his line! Wow.

9.03pm BST

46 min: Off we go again. Everton have made a change and it’s a significant one: Aaron Lennon has come on for Ademola Lookman. And…

8.46pm BST

Everton seemed to be cruising. Not any more. Radosevic’s thunderbolt has utterly altered the mood of this tie. A fascinating second half awaits us.

8.44pm BST

44 min: The noise is deafening. Everton could be in trouble here.

8.44pm BST

Out of nothing, Hajduk Split halve Everton’s aggregate with a stunning goal from Radosevic! The midfielder was allowed to shoot from roughly 30 yards – the threat seemed minimal – but his powerful effort skimmed off Schneiderlin’s back and zoomed past the flabberghasted Pickford and into the top left corner! What a goal! The home fans have come alive now. Everton need to keep their composure.

8.42pm BST

41 min: “How lucky do you think Everton are that Said was ruled offside early in the game?” says JR in Illinois. “Not sure who the announcer is but upon seeing the replay he felt Said was not offside and Pickford would have been sent off and Hajduk would have had a penalty.”

That wasn’t the case on my feed, but it’s a game of opinions, especially when it comes to the offside law.

8.39pm BST

38 min: Hajduk Split attack down the right, Everton failing to clear their lines, and the visitors proceed to make a mess of sorting themselves out when the ball reaches the far post. Erceg reacts fastest when Said’s overhead kick drops to him, shooting from close range, and Pickford has to react smartly to push the ball away! He was unsighted and it took a little deflection off Keane, but he still saved it and Everton survive.

8.34pm BST

34 min: A sloppy clearance from Keane falls to Erceg, who dupes his markers with a clever turn, but his shot’s blocked.

8.31pm BST

32 min: “I feel an unease not just comparing say Charlton and Rooney but doing the same with Broad and Botham,” says Ian Copestake. “I am glad we have had Broad but Botham’s impact went so far beyond stats.”

8.29pm BST

29 min: Not. Much. Happening.

8.25pm BST

25 min: Calvert Lewin pulls a cross back from the byline on the left and the ball drops to Sigurdsson, who bends a difficult volley wide from 15 yards.

8.23pm BST

23 min: Barry wallops one over from 25 yards.

8.22pm BST

22 min: “Bar the Portugal Euros, where he shone before getting injured, Wayne has always been a flat-track bully and his goal record flatters him,” says Alexander Martin. “Lineker on the other hand is a big stage performer, whether he’s winning the golden boot with his arm in a cast, or dispensing put-downs to cocky demagogues and xenophobic tabloids online, Lineker is a superstar and a true national treasure.”

8.20pm BST

20 min: Rooney clips a clever pass through to Martina on the right. Martina crosses first time and Rooney times his run into the area well, only to mistime his header and send it bouncing wide. “I think he decided a while ago, but he was waiting until he got called up again to announce it,” says Dan C. “No one wants to do an Andy Cole.” Yes. That’s precisely why I haven’t announced my international retirement either.

8.18pm BST

18 min: Said turns and sprays a pass out to the left for Vlasic, who drags a poor shot wide from an unlikely angle.

8.16pm BST

15 min: A slow start. That will suit Everton. They don’t have to do much. Just kill the tie. Silence the crowd. An away goal would end this as a contest.

8.11pm BST

11 min: I know there’s a danger I’ll be labelled an unpatriotic Roomoaner, but isn’t Rooney’s England record a bit overrated? Does being the highest ever goalscorer make him more of a great than Gary Lineker? I’d say it isn’t even close.

8.10pm BST

10 min: “I think that Rooney went out at the right time,” says Griffin O’Neill. “He’s on a general high because his good Everton form, and he’s the England all time high scorer. I like the decision.”

8.08pm BST

9 min: Said meets a cross from Gentzoglu on the right, but his header’s harmless.

8.06pm BST

7 min: Wayne Rooney: discuss.

8.06pm BST

5 min: A scare for Everton as Said scampers through and goes down under a rash challenge from the sprawling Pickford. But the flag’s up for offside.

8.05pm BST

4 min: Sigurdsson has another set-piece opportunity as Everton win a free-kick on the right. But pushing in the middle sees Split get a free-kick of their own.

8.03pm BST

3 min: If you’re wondering why this MBM started so late, I just got home from a chat with Split native Slaven Bilic, who was in gregarious form at West Ham’s training ground.

8.02pm BST

2 min: Sigurdsson’s inswinger’s punched away by Stipica.

8.01pm BST

And we’re off! A night after Liverpool’s riproaring advance into the Champions League group stage, Everton look to make sure Merseyside’s other team makes it into the Europa League. They get the ball rolling and, kicking from left to right in their black away strip, immediately win a corner on the left.

7.56pm BST

While it’s three days since Everton drew a tough game at Manchester City, Ronald Koeman isn’t taking any chances this evening. They lead 2-0 from the first leg at Goodison Park, but Hajduk Split had enough of a threat to suggest this tie isn’t over yet. Wayne Rooney starts again, a day after announcing his international retirement, and £45m signing Gylfi Sigurdsson is there too.

7.41pm BST

Jacob will be here shortly. In the meantime you can enjoy Dominic Fifield’s analysis of Wayne Ronney’s England career …

Related: The numbers are a glittering legacy of Wayne Rooney’s England career | Dominic Fifield

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/24/hadjuk-split-v-everton-europa-league-qualifying-play-off-second-leg-live

Aug 21

Familiar failings are proving costly for Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino | Jacob Steinberg

The absence of a genuine wide man and of last season’s dynamic wing-backs is already having an effect on Spurs

Moussa Sissoko is an easy scapegoat. He has been a target for scorn since his unforgettably woeful performance in Tottenham’s defeat by Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley last November, on a night when it looked as though he needed someone to explain the entire concept of football to him. It was the comically miscued shot that slithered embarrassingly wide that best explained why eyebrows were raised when Spurs paid Newcastle United for a midfielder whose energetic running often masks technical shortcomings.

However, it was not Sissoko’s fault that Mauricio Pochettino’s side lost against Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday. If fingers must be pointed, direct them at two of Pochettino’s favourites, Hugo Lloris and Victor Wanyama, whose errors played a big part in Marcos Alonso’s winner. The margins were fine.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/aug/21/failings-tottenham-mauricio-pochettino-wing-backs-

Aug 20

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea: Premier League – as it happened

Tottenham’s Wembley problems flared again as Marcos Alonso scored twice to kickstart Chelsea’s title defence

5.55pm BST

Antonio Conte celebrates wildly in front of the away fans. What a win for Chelsea. Mauricio Pochettino can’t believe it. Tottenham thought that they had escaped with a point after Michy Batshuayi’s own goal, but it’s turned out to be the same old story for them at Wembley. Take nothing away from Chelsea, though. They were under so much pressure after last weekend’s shambles and were without so many big players, but this was a very good performance from them in the circumstances, shrewd and defiant. Marcos Alonso got both the goals and the champions are up and running. Now they need to sort themselves out in the transfer market before the window shuts. That’s all from me. Thanks for reading. Bye.

5.53pm BST

And that, I suppose, is why they’re champions.

5.51pm BST

90 min+3: Chelsea are eating up stoppage time. There’s one minute left.

5.51pm BST

90 min: On comes Vincent Janssen, replacing Kieran Trippier. He’s got loads of time to sort this out.

5.48pm BST

89 min: Harry Kane was booked before the restart. I’m not sure why.

5.48pm BST

Marcos Alonso has surely won it for Chelsea with his second goal of the afternoon! David Luiz robbed Victor Wanyama midway inside Tottenham’s half, Lloris having put the midfielder in trouble with a hasty throw. The ball was played through to Alonso by Pedro and his low drive from the left squirmed underneath Hugo Lloris, sparking huge celebrations from everyone in Chelsea colours!

5.46pm BST

87 min: Eriksen’s teasing free-kick’s headed wide for a corner on the left. Before it can be taken, Alonso’s booked for dissent. The noise is deafening now. Who needs an artificial drum? Eriksen’s delivery is disappointing, though, and Courtois claims it. Chelsea break, Kante tries to play in Batshuayi, but Dembele makes a crucial challenge. And then…

5.44pm BST

86 min: The increasingly influential Eriksen plays for a free-kick, waiting for Bakayoko to put an arm on his back, and he duly goes down when the Chelsea midfielder obliges. This is a chance for Eriksen again. It might be too far wide for a shot.

5.43pm BST

83 min: Can Tottenham go on and win this now? Knowing how big games between these two tend to pan out, I’m waiting for Chelsea’s last-minute penalty.

5.42pm BST

It hasn’t been coming, but Tottenham are level. Bakayoko concedes a free-kick rather needlessly on the left, leaning on Alli, and Tottenham finally make a set-piece count. They have Michy Batshuayi to thank, though. His body shape’s all wrong as he meets Eriksen’s delivery at the near post and there’s nothing that Courtois can do to stop the substitute’s header flying past him!

5.40pm BST

81 min: If anything, this is a performance that has showed why Tottenham could do with a top winger. Something different. They wanted Zaha before he signed a new contract at Palace. Why not look for someone else?

5.39pm BST

80 min: Tottenham bring on Moussa Sissoko for Ben Davies, a substitution that reminds you they really could do with bringing in more quality before the window shuts. Having said that, though, Sissoko will now score a hat-trick.

5.38pm BST

79 min: Chelsea make another change, Michy Batshuayi on for Alvaro Morata. “You hinted at it in the MBM a few squares down,” says Mark Turner. “Spurs are losing their way in the final third, ironically due to having too much space. They’re the closed game touch and deft flick people, there’s some adapting to do.” It might take time. It isn’t easy to adjust to new angles on an unfamiliar pitch.

5.37pm BST

78 min: Pedro has been waiting to come on for a while, but Conte delayed his introduction because Willian was playing so well. Now he does replace the Brazilian, though.

5.35pm BST

77 min: Kane’s teed up for a shot on the edge of the area, but Christensen gets in the way to deny him.

5.34pm BST

76 min: Eriksen gambols into the Chelsea box on the right, but his cross is deflected behind for a corner. Chelsea have dealt with all of them comfortably so far. They deal with this one as well.

5.32pm BST

73 min: Willian tries a stepover before deciding to shoot from 25 yards. It’s low and hard and it beats Lloris, but the ball hits the base of the right post and Tottenham survive!

5.31pm BST

72 min: Morata charges away from Alderweireld on the left, showing good pace, before trying to pick out Bakayoko in the middle. Almost. Chelsea are the more threatening side at the moment.

5.30pm BST

71 min: A chance for Moses. He pops up in the Spurs area on the right and shoots powerfully over the angle of post and bar. It looked like Lloris saved it, but a goal-kick’s awarded.

5.29pm BST

70 min: A rare Chelsea counter almost catches Tottenham out. Taking advantage of Dier’s withdrawal, Willian breaks through the middle and slides the ball to Morata on the left. He works it back to his right foot, but his shot’s deflected by Alderweireld and bobbles wide.

5.27pm BST

69 min: Tottenham intricately work the ball to Wanayama on the edge of the area, but he slices his shot well wide.

5.27pm BST

68 min: With his right wrist heavily bandaged, Son Heung-Min replaces Eric Dier.

5.24pm BST

66 min: The second half pressure from Tottenham has been unrelenting, but they’ve lacked direction in the final third. Courtois hasn’t had much to do. They need more composure.

5.23pm BST

64 min: Another corner for Tottenham. Another clearing header by Morata, the new Drogba.

5.20pm BST

61 min: Dele Alli nutmges Kante, who decides to chop him down by way of retribution on the left. The free-kick’s headed away by Morata.

5.18pm BST

59 min: Dele Alli lofts a pass into the area and claims it’s handled by a Chelsea defender, but Anthony Taylor is not inclined to agree.

5.15pm BST

56 min: Azpilicueta hacks clear as a lovely controlled ball from Trippier rolls across the area, Kane lurking behind him.

5.14pm BST

55 min: A scrappy lull. It suits Chelsea. “The inconsistency by the referees is maddening sometimes,” says Byron Adu-Boakye. “How are either Vertonghen and Dier on the pitch when Cahill got sent of for his tackle? Does the rulebook change from week to week?”

5.11pm BST

52 min: Moses scampers down the right and cuts the ball back. Morata’s low shot is blocked. Chelsea don’t let Tottenham out, though, and Kante wins a corner.

5.09pm BST

51 min: There have been some heavy tackles in this game and now Vertonghen hacks down Moses. That’s a reckless shocker of a challenge and he’s fortunate to escape with a booking.

5.09pm BST

50 min: It’s all Tottenham.

5.07pm BST

48 min: This is an excellent start from Tottenham. Now Kane turns and powers past Rudiger before winning another corner. Chelsea are under the cosh, but Vertonghen’s cross is too close to Courtois.

5.06pm BST

47 min: The ball’s flung into the Chelsea area and Kane, unmarked, mistimes his header. The ball skids off to the left and Kane holds his head in his hands, aware of what a wonderful chance that was, rueing his wastefulness.

5.05pm BST

46 min: Off we go again. Tottenham get the second half underway. They’re on the attack straight away, Kane beautifully backheeling the ball to the onrushing Eriksen, whose prodded shot’s deflected wide for a corner.

4.57pm BST

“I’m at Wembley and the piped in drumming is the most embarrassing thing I’ve heard at a stadium in my life,” says Pete Corbett. “Why do clubs not trust the supporters to create an atmosphere?”

For they are awful.

4.50pm BST

Crisis? What crisis? Antonio Conte’s patched-up champions deservedly lead after a good first half, Marcos Alonso scoring the first ever Premier League goal at Wembley with a fine free-kick. Tottenham were better after going behind, but they need to improve.

4.48pm BST

45 min+2: Vertonghen tricks his way past Bakayoko on the left, reaching the byline as the midfielder stumbles, and hammers a low cross towards the near post. Under pressure, Dier diverts it over. Tottenham want a corner, but they aren’t getting one.

4.46pm BST

45 min+1: There will be three added minutes. Tottenham are finishing the half strongly. Davies bursts into the area from the left and sees his shot deflected wide. Chelsea deal with it, sort of, but they’re under pressure here. Trippier’s low ball from the right’s put behind by Alonso.

4.45pm BST

45 min: Eriksen’s corner is met by Kane, but his header loops straight at Courtois.

4.44pm BST

44 min: Kane sweeps a ball out from right to left for Davies, whose 25-yarder takes a deflection, forcing Courtois to push it away. This is a good spell for Tottenham. Dembele wins a corner on the right.

4.44pm BST

42 min: A superb touch, assuming it was intentional, takes Dele Alli away from Azpiluceta in the middle. Azpilicueta’s over-committed and Alli moves it on to Kane on the left. Into the area, he steps inside Christensen, on to his right foot, and hammers a low drive past Courtois. Is this his first Premier League goal in August? Think again. The ball bounces off the inside of the far post and away to safety!

4.42pm BST

40 min: “A fascinating battle of the new style job sharing defenders / midfielders is a feisty one here,” says Jeremy Dresner. “Luiz is a stronger straight defender and will now be defending more with the goal advantage. Dier is a slightly better midfielder at making supporting runs to help the attack. Both are now set to play to the stronger part of their broad respective skill sets if the game stays like this.”

4.40pm BST

39 min: Eriksen flicks a low, curving ball into the six-yard box. Morata has a swing and a miss, Kane and Dier can’t reach it, Courtois is rooted to the spot and the ball bounces just wide of the far post. That deserved more.

4.39pm BST

38 min: Christian Eriksen’s fouled off the ball by David Luiz, who cynically stopped the Dane from reaching a pass down the line by Trippier on the right of the Chelsea box. Despite shaking his head, the Brazilian’s booked.

4.37pm BST

36 min: On reflection, that Dier tackle on Luiz probably merited an orange card. He does some silly things at times.

4.35pm BST

35 min: “Good goal by Chelsea but why does Dele tackle in such a reckless way in that position?” says Mike Nagle. “Also why is a left-footed free kick not anticipated? Poor from Spurs, so far. Too many people thought Chelsea would be poor but they were not Champions for nothing.”

4.32pm BST

31 min: Now Dier’s booked for a tackle so absurd he managed to take out Moses and David Luiz at the same time. Luiz has come off worse. He needs treatment.

4.32pm BST

30 min: Antonio Rudiger, who hasn’t looked entirely convincing yet, picks up a booking for kicking the ball away after giving away a free-kick.

4.31pm BST

29 min: This is better from Tottenham. A pass is slid down the inside right channel for Kane, who uses his strength to roll away from Rudiger and muscle his way into the area. He’s past Alonso, too, and one on one with Courtois, who expertly denies the striker an equaliser by making himself big and blocking the shot. Tottenham aren’t done yet, though. The ball’s flung into the box. Kane goes down with Alonso nearby. No penalty. One more try. Kane shoots again from the right. This one’s wide of the far post.

4.30pm BST

28 min: Chelsea have done a number on Tottenham so far. Moving David Luiz into the middle and denying Tottenham space is working a treat. Tottenham don’t have brilliance in the wide areas today, so squeezing Alli and Eriksen is a clever tactic.

4.27pm BST

27 min: Davies curls the corner in from the right, but Alderweireld heads wide.

4.27pm BST

26 min: Tottenham look for an immediate response, winning a free-kick on the left. Eriksen’s inswinger’s headed over by Bakayoko again.

4.26pm BST

Willian scored a free-kick against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final; Marcos Alonso scores one today. And this is a stunner. It was made for the Spaniard’s left foot. The ball was a little to the right of centre, 25 yards out. Willian stood over it, but he left it to Alonso, who bent a superb effort over the wall, sending it curling to the left of the despairing Lloris and into the top corner! Chelsea deservedly lead thanks to a moment of brilliance.

4.24pm BST

23 min: A Chelsea free-kick’s only half cleared and Dele Alli ends up conceding another on the edge of the Spurs area with a trip on David Luiz. This is a big chance for Chelsea. Willian scored a free-kick in the FA Cup semi-final here last season.

4.22pm BST

21 min: “Did Kane run seemingly slowly, but cover the ground suprisingly quickly?” says Charles Antaki. “Or (less likely) did he look like he was running fast, but was in fact just miming it while in fact moving quite slowly? “Deceptively X” is a conundrum introduced int the English language by, I think, estate agents in the 1980s, making it impossible now to decide whether a ‘deceptively large’ room is spacious or tiny.”

Kane never looks like he’s running at a particularly high speed, but he has a powerful way of striding along. He can look slow, but he often seems to be able to get away from defenders when he lollops down the left.

4.21pm BST

20 min: David Luiz shoots from 20 yards. It’s a Courtois of an effort.

4.20pm BST

19 min: Dembele barrels away from David Luiz and lets fly from 25 yards. A deflection takes it just over for a corner, which leads to a whole lot of nothing.

4.19pm BST

18 min: Are Tottenham piping the sound of a drum over the loudspeaker in order to create an atmosphere?

4.17pm BST

17 min: This is very … tactical.

4.15pm BST

15 min: A horrible mistake from Christensen, who fails to deal with a long ball from Alderweireld, lets in Alli, but the Tottenham forward lets off the inexperienced Chelsea defender by wildly blazing over from a tight angle.

4.14pm BST

13 min: Lloris’s clearance is charged down by Morata. Fortunately for the Tottenham goalkeeper, the ball doesn’t spin towards his own goal and he’s able to gather the ball before Morata can pinch it off him.

4.13pm BST

12 min: Kane goes one of those deceptively quick runs down the left flank, but David Luiz does enough to pressure him and the striker’s cross is harmless.

4.11pm BST

10 min: A pattern is developing, Tottenham seeing most of the ball, Chelsea sitting back. All of a sudden, Kane turns 30 yards from goal, allowed to do so far too easily by Kante. Ever positive, the striker decides to shoot. It’s hit low and hard and Courtois makes a mess of it even though it’s straight at him, spilling the ball. Luckily for the Chelsea goalkeeper, no one’s there to capitalise for Tottenham.

4.09pm BST

9 min: Tottenham haven’t got going yet. Blame Wembley.

4.07pm BST

6 min: A free-kick to Tottenham midway through Chelsea’s half, Luiz fouling Alli. It’s played out to Dier. His whipped cross is headed over by Bakayoko, but the corner comes to nothing.

4.06pm BST

5 min: Chelsea continue to press. David Luiz rolls a pass to Cesar Azpilicueta on the right. He lifts a cross into the six-yard box, where Alvaro Morata has crept in between Alderweireld and Trippier. With only Hugo Lloris to beat, somehow he steers his header a few yards wide of the left post. What a miss from the Spaniard. He can’t believe it. Nor can Antonio Conte.

4.05pm BST

4 min: Chelsea have started brightly. Kante curls a cross in from the left, but Morata can’t direct his header goalwards. Chelsea win possession back quickly, though. They’re enjoying plenty of early possession.

4.04pm BST

2 min: David Luiz is playing in midfield for Chelsea, with N’Golo Kante and Timoue Bakayoko also in there with him. They won’t be easy to break down.

4.02pm BST

And we’re off! Chelsea, all in blue, get the game underway at Wembley. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. Tottenham are in white shirts and navy shorts. The visitors are immediately on the attack, Morata linking well with Willian, but Moses’s dangerous cross flashes across the face of goal.

3.58pm BST

The teams arrive. The first ever Premier League match at Wembley is minutes away!

3.57pm BST

The Tottenham fans are all waving flags as they wait for the teams to emerge. A sense of anticipation is building. Can Tottenham play here? 18 wins and one draw in the league at White Hart Lane last season; three defeats in five at Wembley. Can they play on this pitch? Will it suit their pressing style? What a boost it would be if they can win today. What an opportunity for Tottenham to show just how good they are. “Those tops Spurs wear during warmups are horrendous,” says JR in Illinois. “Whoever designed them needs to be sacked. And perhaps imprisoned for a short spell to consider what they have done. Okay, prison may be harsh. Just fine them and make them responsible for gathering all existing shirts and burning them.”

3.44pm BST

Antonio Conte is back in his suit today. Well, it is Wembley.

3.44pm BST

“Tough on Walker-Peters,” says Jeremy Dresner. “MOTM by some accounts against Newcastle and yet benched at big stadium. Understandable I feel after the fateful Son tackle last season that inexperienced fullbacks don’t go up against Victor Moses. The leather worn head of Cahill is not there to nod the crosses away today so I think it’s the right call as Trippier can curl them beautifully. KWP will get more chances.”

Mauricio Pochettino should have taken pity on Chelsea and put Son at wing-back again. Doesn’t he know how to play host?

3.32pm BST

Tottenham make two changes from the side that beat Newcastle last week. Kieran Trippier comes in for Kyle Walker-Peters after passing a late fitness test and Victor Wanyama is ready to replace Moussa Sissoko in midfield. Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are still absent.

As for Chelsea, that’s one makeshift team.

Paulo Ferriera and Michael Essien start at centre-back, Eddie Newton’s in midfield and John Spencer leads the line.
Antonio Conte suggested the other day that he might put a goalkeeper in midfield. It was either that or registering himself. The suspension of Cesc Fabregas, the sale of Nemanja Matic, plus the decision to let go of Nathaniel Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, left Conte with a selection headache. However he’s responded by pushing David Luiz forward, while Timoue Bakayoko is rushed back from a knee injury to make his debut after his move from Monaco. The focus seems to be on containment. With so many players unavailable, word is that Conte has gone for a 3-5-1-1. Andreas Christensen replaces the suspended Gary Cahill at the back, Victor Moses replaces Jeremie Boga and Alvaro Morata might be quite isolated up front on his full debut. 1-0 to Chelsea, then.

3.13pm BST

Tottenham: Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Trippier, Wanyama, Dembele, Davies; Eriksen; Alli, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Walker-Peters, Wimmer, Son, Sissoko, Janssen, Winks.

Chelsea: Courtois; Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Moses, Bakayoko, David Luiz, Kante, Alonso; Willian; Morata. Subs: Caballero, Musonda, Batshuayi, Pedro, Kenedy, Tomori, Scott.

8.25pm BST

Judging by Antonio Conte’s

completely genuine laughter when Diego Costa’s latest batch of complaints were put to him on Friday afternoon, it seems the Chelsea manager has decided to adopt David Brent’s approach to staying motivated at work.
It doesn’t matter if a professional wind-up merchant has decided to make life miserable for you all the way from Brazil. Just laugh! It’ll reduce your stress levels! Look! Hoo hoo hoo! Feels good, doesn’t it? It’s the cure for every ailment. Take your eye off the ball and let Manchester United have Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic? Hee hee hee! Fail to persuade Juventus to sell Alex Sandro? Ho ho ho! Let a host of squad players go without properly replacing them? Ha ha ha! Let Thibaut Courtois almost knock down the Wembley arch during a shootout defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield? Tee hee hee!

You can apply it to every scenario, no matter how infuriating. Three-nil down at half-time at home to Burnley in your opening match because your centre-back has got himself sent off after 10 minutes? Laugh. Almost mount an unlikely second-half comeback, only for one of your best players to add a second yellow card to his earlier booking for dissent? Funny. Find yourself looking up what “down to the bare bones” means before your second match, which happens to be away to one of your main title rivals? LOL. Find yourself suffering from such a shortage of central midfielders that you might have to give a debut to Timoue Bakayoko even though his knee’s being held together by paper clips? ROFL. Manage at a club where you can get sacked the year after winning the double in your first season? Careful, Antonio, you’ll split your sides if you laugh any harder!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/20/tottenham-hotspur-v-chelsea-premier-league-live

Aug 20

Rafael Nadal is last of the golden greats still standing before US Open | Jacob Steinberg

With Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer struggling with injuries, can the next generation, led by Dimitrov, Thiem and Zverev, finally step up?

What to make of the state of men’s tennis? For the best part of a decade a quartet of hall‑of‑famers have transcended their sport by lifting it to hitherto untouched heights with their titanic struggle for supremacy while below them a host of challengers have strained to swell the numbers of the elite club known as the Big Four. Plenty have tried, most have failed. Some have offered flashes of impertinence but only Stan Wawrinka has provided a sustained threat to the established order. The entry requirements are gruelling. The top players ally astonishing skill with an almost masochistic willingness to suffer for their art.

But throughout 2017 there has been a persistent sense that the curtain may be about to fall on this golden age. Where once there was order now there is disarray. The show isn’t quite over yet, but the audience is waiting to rise to its feet and this is when the mind goes back to Andy Murray’s prediction on the eve of the ATP World Tour Finals last November.

Related: Victoria Azarenka may miss US Open over custody battle

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/aug/20/rafael-nadal-andy-murray-roger-federer-us-open

Aug 11

Premier League 2017-18 preview No20: West Ham United | Jacob Steinberg

Slaven Bilic’s side will hope for a smoother second season at the London Stadium but with a shift in transfer policy and doubts over the manager’s tactics and future it is hard to detect a clear plan at the club

Guardian writers’ predicted position 10th (NB: this is not necessarily Jacob Steinberg’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position 11th

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/aug/11/premier-league-2017-18-preview-west-ham

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