Jacob Steinberg

Author's details

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

Latest posts

  1. Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City: FA Cup semi-final – as it happened — April 23, 2017
  2. Manchester United 2-1 Anderlecht (3-2 agg): Europa League quarter-final – as it happened — April 20, 2017
  3. Chelsea v Manchester City: Premier League – as it happened — April 5, 2017
  4. Manchester United v Everton: Premier League – live! — April 4, 2017
  5. Leicester City v Sevilla: Champions League last 16, second leg – as it happened — March 14, 2017

Author's posts listings

Apr 23

Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City: FA Cup semi-final – as it happened

Arsenal will play Chelsea in the FA Cup final thanks to Nacho Monreal’s equaliser and Alexis Sanchez’s extra-time winner

5.49pm BST

Report from Wembley:

Related: Alexis Sánchez gives Arsenal extra edge to sink Manchester City in semi

5.38pm BST

It’s Arsenal’s day. A rare joyous moment for Arsene Wenger in the context of this season and a win that might just give him the encouragement he needs to sign that new contract. They’re into the FA Cup final, where they’ll face Chelsea, and they’re there because they showed spirit to recover from a goal down. Nacho Monreal and Alexis Sanchez scored the goals and Arsenal were dogged enough to hold out in the end. As for Manchester City, their first season under Pep Guardiola is fizzling out. Their last chance of a trophy has gone and they face a fight to hold off Manchester United in the fight for the top four now. They’re a point above United and host them on Thursday night. Thanks for reading and emailing. Bye!

5.33pm BST

That’s it! Arsenal are in the FA Cup final thanks to Alexis Sanchez’s winner! Oh, Pep.

5.32pm BST

ET 30 min: Iheanacho’s offside. Arsenal have to hold on for one minute.

5.30pm BST

ET 29 min: Francis Coquelin replaces Mesut Ozil.

5.30pm BST

ET 28 min: Toure curls one wide from 20 yards. The Arsenal fans let out a relieved cheer.

5.29pm BST

ET 27 min: Toure can’t stop giving the ball away.

5.27pm BST

ET 25 min: Otamendi’s booked for clumping Ramsey’s heels.

5.26pm BST

ET 24 min: Navas slips a pass through to De Bruyne, whose cross shot slithers across the face of goal. The Belgian looks anguished.

5.25pm BST

ET 23 min: City have Arsenal pinned back at the moment, but Guardiola’s men are running out of time. “Anyone remember that first hour when this game was, pardon my French, naff?” says Matt Loten. “Me neither. These teams might not have the refinement of Chelsea or Spurs, but this has turned into a cracking watch.” It’s so flawed, though, both midfields leaving much to be desired.

5.23pm BST

ET 21 min: All of a sudden, De Bruyne romps through the middle, Arsenal all over the shop. He tees up Delph to his left, but the slightest of blocks from Bellerin takes the midfielder’s shot into the side netting. Some City fans think it’s in. It’s not. City still have a corner here, but Iheanacho heads wide.

5.21pm BST

ET 19 min: Toure’s free-kick is straight into the wall.

5.20pm BST

ET 18 min: In a deeper position now, De Bruyne slips a pass through to Iheanacho, who can’t take the ball with him. Arsenal survive. But it’s not long before they concede a free-kick 25 yards out. It’s to the left of the D and Toure fancies his chances.

5.18pm BST

ET 17 min: Delph shots well wide from 25 yards. “Bellerin’s hair is a clear example of the dysfunction at Arsenal,” says Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo.

5.17pm BST

ET 16 min: City get the final period underway. Iheanacho has come on for the wretched Sterling, City using the fourth sub granted to them in extra-time.

5.16pm BST

The officials want Manchester City to get out there, but a manic Pep Guardiola is still doling out instructions. Kelechi Iheanacho is coming on for Raheem Sterling.

5.15pm BST

Arsenal are 15 minutes away from another FA Cup final and I’m not sure how Manchester City get themselves out of this mess.

5.14pm BST

ET 15 min+2: Danny Welbeck should wrap it up, only to head Ozil’s cross wide from close range. Xhaka was also booked for that nonsense with Delph.

5.13pm BST

ET 15 min+1: Hector Bellerin replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Bellerin has cornrows. Okay.

5.12pm BST

ET 15 min: Craig Pawson has to sort out a melee, with Fabian Delph losing his cool after being manhandled by Xhaka. The City midfielder’s booked.

5.11pm BST

ET 14 min: With the outside of his right foot, De Bruyne finds Sterling on the right. He tries to set up Sane, but Holding diverts it behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

5.09pm BST

ET 12 min: Sane’s been booked for dissent. How are City going to score without a striker on the pitch? Over to you, Fabian Delph.

5.09pm BST

Mesut Ozil dinks the free-kick to the far post. It’s nodded down and although Danny Welbeck misses his kick, Alexis Sanchez gathers the loose ball and bundles it past Bravo from close range! Arsenal lead!

5.07pm BST

ET 10 min: This looks like Arsenal’s game to win. City are increasingly underwhelming. They’ve lacked intelligence and personality. Welbeck wins a free-kick deep on the left, Kompany clumsily bringing him down. And…

5.06pm BST

ET 9 min: Manchester City make a double change, Fabian Delph replacing Sergio Aguero and Fernando replacing Fernandinho. Kevin De Bruyne has moved up front.

5.04pm BST

ET 7 min: Ozil sends the corner to the near post from the right, but the unmarked Holding heads just over. What a miss. Fernandinho’s down, meanwhile, and Fabian Delph is going to come on.

5.03pm BST

ET 6 min: Welbeck, threatening since his introduction, robs Fernandinho, then bustles to the byline on the right. His cross is blocked. It comes to Sanchez. He settles for a corner.

5.01pm BST

ET 5 min: Glenn Hoddle’s wondering whether Claudio Bravo will take a penalty for Manchester City.

4.59pm BST

ET 3 min: After a hypnotic City passing move, De Bruyne tries to feed Sane, but he takes it out of play.

4.58pm BST

ET 1 min: This is the third time I’ve been taken to extra-time this week. Arsenal get us underway. Guardiola doesn’t have many game-changing options on the bench. Kelechi Iheanacho is there. The others are defensive players. Wenger can still call upon Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi.

4.51pm BST

We shall have extra-time.

4.48pm BST

90 min: There will be three added minutes. “Yeah, tis a pity Chelsea and Tottenham weren’t kept apart in the semi final draw,” says Simon McMahon. “Then we might have had a final for the ages, rather than a semi final. As it is, it’s hard to see either of these sides giving the Chelsea management and players sleepless nights.”

4.46pm BST

89 min: De Bruyne’s booked for a cynical trip on Sanchez. City are a weirdly slow team without Silva. They aren’t incisive enough.

4.44pm BST

86 min: Welbeck, using his pace, gallops after a long pass down the right channel. He takes on Otamendi, beats the Argentinian slightly fortuitously, then bends a shot inches past the far post when he could have set up Ramsey or Sanchez for a tap-in. Ramsey and Sanchez are fuming.

4.43pm BST

85 min: Otamendi and Fernandinho get in each other’s way and a high ball drops to Welbeck. He moves it on to Ozil, but Navas covers when he tries to find Ramsey.

4.40pm BST

83 min: Danny Welbeck replaces Olivier Giroud.

4.40pm BST

82 min: De Bruyne slides a pass to Sane on the left. The sliding Gabriel concedes a corner with an important challenge. De Bruyne lifts the corner to the far post and Fernandinho smacks a header against the bar! City have hit the woodwork again! The ball bounces back to Navas, who fires wide from 20 yards.

4.38pm BST

81 min: Ozil hares down the right, into the area, but he wants to come back on to his left foot and Otamendi stops him.

4.37pm BST

79 min: Yaya Toure hits the post! He started the move with a powerful surge through the middle. He found Sterling, whose weak shot was blocked and flew to Toure, who adjusted his body before hooking a low volley from 25 yards towards the bottom right corner. But Cech redeemed himself by feather the ball on to the base of the post and to safety!

4.35pm BST

78 min: Navas knocks a pass straight out of play. City have been poor since half-time.

4.31pm BST

74 min: Chelsea must be having a good old chuckle at the thought of playing one of these two in the final.

4.30pm BST

73 min: Arsenal’s fans are doing the Poznan.

4.30pm BST

From wing-back to wing-back. Oxlade-Chamberlain swings a fantastic cross to the far post from the right. Navas is outnumbered and Monreal, culpable in Aguero’s goal, arrives unmarked to hammer a low volley past Bravo with his right foot! What a response from Arsenal! Manchester City, though. They can’t defend.

4.28pm BST

70 min: Monreal win a corner for Arsenal on the left. Ozil takes it. But City aren’t in any particular danger.

4.26pm BST

69 min: Fernandinho’s booked for bringing Xhaka down.

4.26pm BST

67 min: Monreal hoicks a cross into the City area. Nothing doing. Arsenal had improved since half-time, but they have to show more invention and ability in the final third.

4.23pm BST

65 min: Against the run of play, then, Manchester City lead. But Arsenal look to hit back immediately and City look panicky at the back. The ball reaches Ozil on the edge of the area. He has a clear sight of goal after taking a touch, but screws his low shot wide!

4.22pm BST

This is wonderful opportunism from Sergio Aguero, a strange goal, but a piece of fine finishing from the Manchester City striker. The Arsenal corner was half cleared and Aaron Ramsey tried to beat Yaya Toure. To no avail. Toure robbed him, looked up and sprayed a pass over the top to Aguero. Nacho Monreal was the only Arsenal defender back. I don’t know why. They’re Arsenal. Aguero has the pace to get away, even when it looks like Monreal’s reeling him in. He takes a heavy final touch and it seems that the ball’s there for Cech to win. But the Arsenal goalkeeper’s slow to react and when he does advance, Aguero dinks it over him with the outside of his right foot.

4.20pm BST

61 min: City make a dog’s dinner of a four course meal on their edge of the area, Fernandinho blundering. Giroud menaces in the air, but it’s hastily knocked behind for a corner. And…

4.17pm BST

59 min: It’s all Arsenal at the moment, not that anything of any note’s happening. But the game’s being played in City’s half at the moment. City can barely string two passes together.

4.16pm BST

58 min: This has been the kind of game that makes it easier to understand why the Premier League has no participants in the Champions League semi-finals.

4.14pm BST

57 min: Sane teases Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left and leaves him on his backside before teeing up Sterling, whose scuffed effort’s blocked.

4.13pm BST

54 min: In significant news for both of these teams, Manchester United have won 2-0 at Burnley. They’re six points ahead of Arsenal, who have a game in hand, and a point behind City, who they visit on Thursday. Meanwhile Claudio Bravo is doing some interesting things and increasingly has the look of a goalkeeper who’s about to make a howling comedy error.

4.11pm BST

53 min: The free-kick’s pulled back to the edge of the area, where Xhaka’s in an ocean of space. His low sidefooter’s deflected wide. From the corner, Holding threatens, but Kompany defends solidly.

4.10pm BST

52 min: Sanchez turns adroitly on the left, leaving two City players for dead, and Fernandinho pushes him over on the edge of the area. Arsenal have started promisingly.

4.08pm BST

51 min: De Bruyne’s corner is headed down and wide by Otamendi.

4.08pm BST

50 min: Holding needlessly concedes a corner on the right, slicing behind when it was easier to knock the ball out for a throw.

4.06pm BST

48 min: Arsenal counter down the right, Ozil linking with Oxlade-Chamberlain. The ball’s lofted to the far post, Giroud challenges with Kompany and tries to knock it down for Ramsey. City concede a corner. It’s headed away.

4.04pm BST

46 min: Manchester City get the second half underway. Let’s hope it’s better than the first. “Is there any obscure law which can nullify this semifinal and let Spurs face Chelsea again in the final?” says Gary P. “Quality of football was of entirely different scale yesterday and Spurs deserve so much more to be in the final than any if these two ‘attractive’ teams.”

3.48pm BST

Half-time reading: Christopher Thomond’s FA Cup photo essay.

Related: FA Cup photo essay – road to Wembley, quarter-final: Middlesbrough v Manchester City

3.47pm BST

Meh.

3.47pm BST

45 min+1: Koscielny bumps De Bruyne over to the right of the Arsenal area. This has been a scrappy, dirty game.De Bruyne manages to hit the one-man Arsenal wall with his free-kick, which pretty much sums up this half.

3.46pm BST

45 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain flings the free-kick to the far post. It always looks like it’s drifting behind, but Arsenal scream for a penalty when Navas tugs Sanchez back. Craig Pawson ignores their appeals.

3.45pm BST

44 min: De Bruyne handles on the left. Arsenal win a free-kick. They’re getting a lot of set-pieces. Perhaps Wenger’s learnt something from his recent defeats to Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis.

3.43pm BST

41 min: On the touchline, Guardiola is full of grievances. It’s difficult not to sympathise with the Manchester City manager. He’s seen the officials deny his team a strong penalty claim and rule out a seemingly valid goal.

3.42pm BST

40 min: De Bruyne slips a pass through to Sane on the left. Sane manages to reach it before it runs behind and chips a cross over Cech. It reaches Aguero at the far post and he hammers it goalwards. Cech pushes it out – it looks like it’s over the line – but Sterling is on hand to volley home the rebound. City think they’ve scored. But they haven’t. The linesman’s flag is up. He thinks Sane went out before coming back in. It’s very tight. The replays suggest that the whole of the ball hadn’t gone out. Arsenal have got lucky here.

3.39pm BST

39 min: Giroud wins a free-kick for Arsenal on the left, going down as he challenges for the ball in the air with Kompany. Oxlade-Chamberlain knocks it in, Bravo flaps, but players are offside in the middle.

3.38pm BST

38 min: Aguero manages his first shot of the game, but he arrows it into the side netting from a tight angle on the right.

3.36pm BST

36 min: This game hasn’t really taken off yet. It’s not at the level of yesterday’s semi-final.

3.34pm BST

33 min: Aguero’s down after taking a knee to the back from Koscielny. Why is it that teams always think they have to kick Arsenal off the park?

3.32pm BST

31 min: Sane skedaddles to the byline on the left. Oxlade-Chamberlain concedes a corner. City take it short and end up on the halfway line.

3.29pm BST

29 min: Toure drives forward and prods a pass through to Aguero, who turns away from Oxlade-Chamberlain before going down in the area. The replays shows that Oxlade-Chamberlain tripped him from behind, accidentally but arguably illegally. That could easily have been a penalty to Manchester City, even if it would have been a soft one.

3.28pm BST

27 min: City continue to dominate possession. Arsenal are being outnumbered in the middle. They’ll want to sort that out.

3.26pm BST

26 min: De Bruyne’s deep free-kick is headed back into the middle by Toure. Arsenal get it away as far as Sterling, who loops a volley wide. Cech didn’t look bothered.

3.25pm BST

25 min: Sanchez slides to reach a loose ball and brings Fernandinho down on the right. He’s booked, arguably harshly.

3.24pm BST

23 min: David Silva, unable to shake off that knee injury and mightily miffed with Gabriel for the foul that caused it, is replaced by Raheem Sterling.

3.23pm BST

22 min: A free-kick to Arsenal on the right, Kompany tripping Ozil. It’s sent in by Ozil and headed away to the edge of the area. Giroud knocks it back into the danger zone and Koscielny volleys past Bravo, but the flag is up for offside. Koscielny was miles offside.

3.22pm BST

21 min: There’s a suggestion that Silva’s hobbling a little bit, which might be a legacy of that earlier foul by Gabriel. Raheem Sterling’s warming up. Silva’s been in conversation with Guardiola.

3.20pm BST

20 min: Possession: Arsenal 32%-68% Manchester City. Hoddle reckons Arsenal’s three centre-backs have to improve on the ball.

3.19pm BST

18 min: Navas’s low cross from the right runs all the way to Clichy on the edge of the area. He takes a touch before shooting with his right foot. I won’t insult your intelligence.

3.17pm BST

17 min: Arsenal struggle to clear their lines, Xhaka taking a chance on the left, and they end up conceding a free-kick. De Bruyne lifts it to the far post, but Kompany can’t do anything with it. He reckons it should be a corner, but he’s not getting one.

3.16pm BST

15 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain attacks down the right for the first time, easily beating Sane and crossing into the middle. Giroud’s unmarked, but he directs his header straight at Bravo, who makes an actual save. City counter through Aguero on the right. He stabs a cross towards the far post and Silva, of all people, nods it towards the top corner, forcing Cech to tip it over. Nothing comes from the corner.

3.15pm BST

14 min: Otamendi pings a diagonal pass towards Aguero on the right. Aguero tries to nod it down for the onrushing De Bruyne, but Cech gathers.

3.13pm BST

12 min: Arsenal scheme for the first time on the edge of the City area, Sanchez nutmegging De Bruyne and feeding Ozil on the left. His cross is scooped clear by Kompany, Toure completes the job and Gabriel fouls Silva.

3.11pm BST

10 min: This is quite the farce, De Bruyne colliding with a dozy linesman as he tries to take City’s corner on the right. Whoops. Eventually the linesman gets out of the way and we go again. De Bruyne whips the corner in, but the whistle blows for a foul in the middle.

3.10pm BST

9 min: It might not surprise you to learn that City are seeing most of the ball. Space opens up for Silva for the first time and Arsenal are in trouble. Silva slides a peach of a pass through to Aguero, but his first touch invites a challenge from Koscielny, who foils him. Corner to city.

3.07pm BST

6 min: It’s been a fairly cagey start. We’d already had a zinger from Willian by this point in yesterday’s semi-final. But these two sides are feeling their way into this one.

3.06pm BST

5 min: Navas has a dash up the right, but his cross is cleared. I might place that sentence on file. “Non-partisan cheer of the day – good to see Vincent Kompany upright, on both legs, and looking ready to play football,” says Charles Antaki.

3.03pm BST

3 min: Sane drifts inside from the left, De Bruyne drifts inside from the right. Sane finds De Bruyne, who decides to have an early sighter from 25 yards. He cuts across his shot, though, and it fizzes harmlessly wide.

3.03pm BST

2 min: Glenn Hoddle is one of the pundits on BT Sport this afternoon. I suppose he approves of a back three, having used one with England at the 1998 World Cup.

3.01pm BST

And we’re off! Arsenal, in their red and white, get the game underway, kicking from right to left in the first half. Manchester City are in light blue and the atmosphere inside sunny Wembley sounds rather terrific.

2.58pm BST

The teams are out. The man with the microphone is screaming into it and loud music is pumping, because fans must not be allowed to let the atmosphere grow organically.

2.40pm BST

Son Heung-Min struggled at left wing-back for Tottenham yesterday, giving away a penalty rashly. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seems more suited to the wing-back role than the South Korean, in theory, but his defensive qualities are sure to be put to the test by Leroy Sane on the left. Sane has scored two in two games against Arsenal this season.

2.37pm BST

“Slightly awkward,” says Hugh Molloy. “Arsenal had a back 3 when Wenger arrived and he even kept it for a bit. I can however confirm that Tony Adams had never eaten (or heard of) broccoli pre 1996.”

Ah, but when is a back three not a back three but a back five?

2.28pm BST

Arsenal stick with their revolutionary use of a back three. First Arsene Wenger brings broccoli, pasta, mineral water and sit-ups to the club, now a new formation. Will wonders never cease? Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nacho Monreal are his Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso, his Kyle Walker and, er, Son Heung-Min. Up front, it’s Olivier Giroud instead of Theo Walcott.

Manchester City opt for a touch of control over pace. At the Emirates a few weeks ago, Pep Guardiola seemed to blunder by replacing Raheem Sterling with Yaya Toure at half-time; City no longer carried the same threat on the break and Kevin de Bruyne wasn’t quite as dangerous on the right as he was in the middle. But Guardiola has opted for that set-up from the start here. Toure joins Fernandinho in central midfield, De Bruyne starts on the right and Sterling starts on the bench. So does Willy Caballero. Shot-stopping’s Claudio Bravo’s between the sticks and he’ll be protected by Vincent Kompany, starting for for the third time in four matches.

2.05pm BST

Manchester City: Bravo; Navas, Kompan, Otamendi, Clichy; Fernandinho, Toure; De Bruyne, Silva, Sane; Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Zabaleta, Fernando, Kolarov, Delph, Sterling, Iheanacho.

Arsenal: Cech; Gabriel, Koscielny, Holding; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Monreal; Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud. Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Gibbs, Coquelin, Iwobi, Walcott, Welbeck.

1.30pm BST

It’s been 19 years since Arsene Wenger’s first FA Cup semi-final. Christopher Wreh, a man who once delivered a performance so bad that he became a substituted substitute, scored the only goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers as Arsenal continued their relentless push towards the Double. What a visionary Wenger was back in 1998. Wreh’s goal was created by a driving run from Patrick Vieira, an unheralded £3.5m signing from Milan who had formed an awesome Gallic midfield partnership with the no less mysterious Emmanuel Petit. Now Granit Xhaka struggles to live up to his £35m fee in Arsenal’s midfield. Things aren’t as they once were in north London.

That win over Wolves back in April 1998 kept Arsenal rolling. Manchester United, weighed down by injuries and indifferent form during the spring months, were in their sights. Wenger was the foreign genius, Le Professeur, finally a worthy adversary for Sir Alex Ferguson. Arsenal won the title with two games to spare when they walloped Everton 4-0 – Tony Adams, put through by Steve Bould, would you believe it? – and a fortnight later they beat Newcastle 2-0 at Wembley thanks to goals from Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka. Arsene appeared to know.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/apr/23/arsenal-v-manchester-city-fa-cup-semi-final-live

Apr 20

Manchester United 2-1 Anderlecht (3-2 agg): Europa League quarter-final – as it happened

Marcus Rashford scored an extra-time winner to send Manchester United into the last four, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffered a potentially serious injury

10.34pm BST

Manchester United are into the last four of the Europa League thanks to the brilliant Marcus Rashford. Anderlecht were impressive but United were the more forceful side as the game wore on and were good value for the win in the end. The bad news is a potentially serious injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The good news is Marcus Rashford. Thanks for reading and emailing. Night.

Related: Marcus Rashford’s extra-time winner takes Manchester United through

Related: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s cruel injury luck may be a blessing for Manchester United | Jamie Jackson

10.31pm BST

ET 29 min: Martial’s got the ball in the Anderlecht now, after a moment of magic from Mkhitaryan, but the flag’s up. Anderlecht are still in this. Forward they go. Valencia doesn’t clear his lines and Obrodovic crosses to the far post, where Mbodji rises above Shaw and heads goalwards. Romero tips it over, but a goal-kick’s awarded.

10.29pm BST

ET 27 min: Bruno crosses from the right. Romero punches clear. Suddenly it’s panic stations at the back for United, who’ve dropped back and invited pressure.

10.28pm BST

ET 26 min: After a spot of head tennis on the edge of the United area, Acheampong gets the better of Bailly but heads straight at Romero from six yards out. What a chance.

10.25pm BST

ET 23 min: It’s weird that Marcus Rashford, a striker, scores when he’s played as a striker, not a winger. Work that out.

10.22pm BST

ET 20 min: Mkhitaryan finds Pogba in space on the right of the area, but the midfielder’s low effort is too careful and Ruben saves down to his right.

10.20pm BST

ET 18 min: What a prospect this kid is. But as it stands, Anderlecht still just need one goal to knock United out. It’s bound to be a nervy finish at Old Trafford.

10.19pm BST

The pressure finally pays off and it’s thanks to a brilliant piece of improvisation from Marcus Rashford. Marouane Fellaini, so dangerous in the air, nods down to him. He’s still got plenty of work to do, but he earns a sight of goal with a wonderful backheeled turn on to his left foot, from where he slithers a low shot to Ruben’s right to break Anderlecht’s stout resistance!

10.17pm BST

ET 16 min: Anderlecht get the final period of this match underway.

10.16pm BST

Fifteen more minutes without a goal and we’ll have penalties.

10.15pm BST

ET 15 min: Anderlecht attack for the first time in a while. Tielemans has a dig from 25 yards. His crisp effort’s straight at Romero, who almost gifts Anderlecht a goal by spilling it, only to recover quickly to smother the loose ball.

10.13pm BST

ET 14 min: Anderlecht have completely run out of gas. Is it only a matter of time for United?

10.13pm BST

ET 13 min: Martial’s cross, Fellaini’s header, Rashford’s shot, Dendoncker’s block.

10.11pm BST

ET 11 min: Pogba’s got the ball in the Anderlecht net, but the whistle had gone for a foul by Fellaini, who was all over Spajic as he nodded the ball down. It looks like a soft decision. Spajic wasn’t really jumping.

10.09pm BST

ET 9 min: Acheampong has lost the ball every time he’s had it since the start of the second half. He’s ruined so many Anderlecht attacks.

10.07pm BST

ET 8 min: Rashford dinks the free-kick into the six-yard box. Fellaini looks certain to nod it in but Spajic Chiellinis it away.

10.07pm BST

ET 7 min: Appiah’s booked for bringing down Rashford on the edge of the area on the left.

10.06pm BST

ET 6 min: Mkhitaryan zigzags through the middle and tries to release Rashford, but Mbodji’s there.

10.05pm BST

ET 4 min: Obradovic’s shot actually seemed to come off an Anderlecht player, so it should have been a goal-kick to United. Tielemans decides to pull it back low from the right to Stanciu, but he balloons his shot into the Stretford End. “Maybe Zlatan going down is a good thing: forces Mourinho to use the team/tactics versus Chelsea,” says Michael Meagher. “A bit like when Balotelli got himself sent off against Arsenal a few seasons back and basically suspended for the remainder of the season forcing Mancini to eat humble pie and start picking Tevez again and going on to win the league.”

10.02pm BST

ET 3 min: Mkhitaryan’s deflected shot from 25 yards flies straight at Ruben. Up the other end, Obradovic’s deflected shot whistles inches past the left post.

10.02pm BST

ET 2 min: Rashford darts down the right, leaves his marker on the floor and sends a rabona cross to the far post. Pogba goes for the stunning overhead kick, but it’s blocked by Spajic! What a goal that would have been! “Wow!” says Gloria Greppi. “Celta the only team through w/o ET.”

10.00pm BST

ET 1 min: Manchester United get extra-time underway. “I’m no doctor but that was a pretty bad looking hyper-extension for Zlatan,” says JR in Illinois. “Wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s banjaxed his ACL.” The good news is he walked off.

9.59pm BST

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has walked off. At least he didn’t need a stretcher. Anthony Martial replaces him.

9.55pm BST

We will have extra-time. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who appears to have twisted his right knee, is still down. The physios are on.

9.55pm BST

90 min+2: Ibrahimovic goes down in the Anderlecht area – no penalty – and lands awkwardly. He looks hurt.

9.54pm BST

90 min+1: “The TV just showed Mourinho talking to Shaw, presumably to give him instructions,” says JR in Illinois. “Not sure why he needs to tell him verbally if his brain is controlling Shaw anyway.”

9.53pm BST

90 min: There will be two added minutes.

9.51pm BST

89 min: Ibrahimovic scoops a pass inside Appiah, so skilfully, but Rashford shoots into the side netting. They do waste chances.

9.51pm BST

88 min: Anderlecht’s threat has faded in the past 20 minutes, though. I’ve asked Kevin Keegan and he says there’s only one winner here (Manchester United).

9.50pm BST

87 min: Not much is happening. We’re drifting towards extra-time.

9.46pm BST

83 min: Acheampong appears to be struggling with a bit of cramp. Anderlecht have used all of their subs.

9.45pm BST

82 min: With a clever touch, Carrick creates space in the middle and then releases Ibrahimovic with a perceptive pass. Unmarked 15 yards out, he slices his shot wide by quite a lengthy margin.

9.43pm BST

81 min: Tielemans sends a free-kick from the right straight to Romero. Anderlecht’s set-pieces in the second half have been appalling.

9.42pm BST

80 min: A Valencia cross finds Ibrahimovic. He volleys well wide.

9.41pm BST

79 min: Anderlecht make their final change, Thelin replacing the tiring Theodorczyk.

9.41pm BST

78 min: Rashford curls a cross into the area. Ruben comes for it, but it’s headed over by one of his defenders. From the resulting corner, Pogba should score. The ball lands on his right foot, six yards out, and he volleys embarrassingly high!

9.37pm BST

75 min: Valencia’s cross is headed behind by Spajic. United are really testing Anderlecht in the air now. If only Mourinho could get Robert Huth on.

9.36pm BST

73 min: “Given the constraints Ben Watson pointed out, Anderlecht’s tactic seems to have been to raid Romanian football for its talent,” notes Ian Copestake. They’ll get nowhere signing foreigners.

9.35pm BST

72 min: Pogba launches a pass over the top to Ibrahimovic. He brings it down before tumbling with Mbodji nearby. The referee waves him back to his feet.

9.34pm BST

71 min: Fellaini is making a difference in the Anderlecht box now. He throws himself at a cross from the right and the ball lands at the feet of the unmarked Ibrahimovic. He controls, opens up his body and tries to stroke the ball into the far corner, but he shoots too close to Ruben and Anderlecht scramble it away!

9.33pm BST

69 min: A corner to Anderlecht on the left. It’s a waste, hit straight to the near post. United hoof it away and Appiah, the last man, looks panicky as Rashford closes him down. The only thing to do is let the ball bounce and make a complete dog’s dinner of his clearance, a comical slice that sends Rashford through on goal. This should be the moment for United, but Rashford takes a slightly heavy touch and although he goes round Ruben, he’s forced too wide. The goal’s gaping, but Rashford has to chase the ball, reset himself and go again, by which time Appiah’s recovered to make a timely intervention.

9.30pm BST

68 min: Can Manchester United bring on Viktor Kassai?

9.27pm BST

65 min: Manchester United, in need of a goal, have one more change to make. Anthony Martial is still on the bench. Watch this space. Back on the pitch, United have become direct. Ibrahimovic nods down to Rashford and space opens up for him, but he wallops one wide from 20 yards.

9.26pm BST

64 min: Anderlecht make two changes. Massimo Bruno replaces Alexandru Chipciu and Nicolae Stanciu is on for the excellent Sofiane Hanni.

9.25pm BST

63 min: From the resulting corner, Fellaini bounces a header straight at Ruben. “As forecast: hoofball,” says Geoff Wignall.

9.25pm BST

62 min: Valencia lifts a cross towards Fellaini. It’s headed away, as far as Rashford, whose volley’s deflected over.

9.23pm BST

60 min: Marouane Fellaini replaces Jesse Lingard. The Anderlecht fans welcome the former Standard Liege man with a chorus of boos. I wonder how United will approach the final 30 minutes. Fellaini is presumably on for his creative qualities.

9.21pm BST

59 min: Lingard knocks a pass straight out of play. Who’s next?

9.20pm BST

58 min: Big Marouane is going to come on in a minute. Meanwhile, Shaw accidentally selects power drive and punts a pass down the line straight out for a goal-kick.

9.19pm BST

57 min: The home fans howl as Pogba, attempting to force the issue, knocks a poor pass straight through to Ruben.

9.18pm BST

54 min: A fortunate ricochet runs for Obradovic down the left. He’s got plenty of space here. His cross is pushed out by Romero, but Tielemans, who’s giving United’s midfield the runaround at times, is on hand to gather possession. He plays at his own pace, this kid. Eventually he slides a pass down the right for the overlapping Chipciu. His cross is headed straight at Romero by Teodorczyk, who couldn’t generate enough power.

9.15pm BST

53 min: Chipciu, miles out, shoots well wide. That was wasteful. The shot came after another hypnotic spell of Anderlecht possession, however, offering further evidence of their pleasing confidence. It’s never not enjoyable to see a young side play this way.

9.13pm BST

49 min: Rashford slips a fine pass through to the raiding Luke Shaw, who reaches the byline and pulls the ball across into the six-yard box. Lingard throws himself at it in the Gazza at Euro 96 style, but he’s under telling pressure from Obradovic and somehow studs wide from all of three yards out! How on earth did that stay out? I realise I’m supposed to be telling you how, but you get the point.

9.10pm BST

48 min: Tielemans sprays a pass to Teodorczyk, who rolls Valencia and makes towards the United goal. Valencia hares back, though, holds him up and diverts his shot wide for a corner, which Romero punches away.

9.09pm BST

47 min: Luke Shaw forces Appiah to concede a corner on the left. Rashford’s delivery is headed away at the near post.

9.09pm BST

46 min: Anderlecht get the second half underway.

9.06pm BST

Half-time emails

“Great to see an impressive Anderlecht,” says Ben Watson. “One of the real casualties of the overwhelming strength of the big four leagues, and their ability to buy up all available global talent, has been the relative quality of the top clubs of the smaller nations. Surely, given the quality of the current batch of Belgian players, 20 years ago Anderlecht would have been competing for the European Cup. Same has been true for the relative power of S.Lisbon, R Vienna, D Kiev etc. Great clubs. Real shame for Euro club football.”

8.54pm BST

Everything seemed to be going to plan for Manchester United when Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave them an early lead, but they’re actually fairly fortunate to be level at the break. Sofiane Hanni’s equaliser is the least Anderlecht deserve. The Belgians have impressed. United have been below par.

8.52pm BST

45 min+1: In the first of two minutes of added time, Anderlecht almost score again. Acheampong holds it up in the United area and lays the ball back to Teodorczyk on the right. The striker’s return pass takes a deflection and squirts through to Hanni, who skips round Romero, six yards out, only for his touch to run out of play. Romero did well not to bring him down.

8.48pm BST

43 min: United amble up field, Lingard and Valencia combining to send Pogba on a saunter through the middle. Pogba scoops a pass towards Mkhitayran, who takes it down with a splendid touch before blazing high and wide from 20 yards.

8.46pm BST

41 min: “I was mildly surprised to see Wayne Rooney on the bench, not because he doesn’t merit it but because he just seems to be such a semi-detatched member of the Man Utd squad that I’d forgotten he was still playing,” says Brian Russell. “It’s been quite a fall for Wayne. What do you think he’ll do in the summer?” It’s between Magaluf and Vegas. More when we know more.

8.45pm BST

40 min: Shaw scoots inside from the left, onto his right foot, but shoots straight at Ruben. Jose Mourinho wasn’t thinking hard enough there.

8.44pm BST

39 min: Shaw finds Pogba, 25 yards out, but his drive’s blocked.

8.42pm BST

37 min: Pogba has a pop from 30 yards. Into the top tier it goes. “Fascinating though this game might be, one issue the boys in the studio will not be raising is why hair-product makers love footballers?” says Ian Copestake. “Daley Blind prepared to come on by taking a shot of treacly sweet go-faster beverage before putting the same liquid through his barnet.”

8.41pm BST

36 min: Rashford, United’s most threatening player, steams past Appiah on the left and forces Ruben to save his cross-shot at his near post.

8.40pm BST

33 min: Anderlecht have been mightily impressive since going behind. In fact, save for the three minutes that followed United’s goal, they’ve been excellent since the first whistle. They play fine football. Dendoncker and Tielemans are very good.

8.38pm BST

This has been coming. The move’s started by a superb cross-field pass from left to right by Dendoncker, who superbly picks out Chipciu. His cross is headed away by Blind, but only as far as Tielemans. Where’s the United midfield? Not here, that’s where. Tielemans shoots with his left foot and the slightest of deflections diverts the ball over Romero and against the face of the bar. The rebound bounces down to the onside Teodorczyk and although he can’t sort out his feet, the ball runs kindly for Hanni, who wallops it home. This tie is level.

8.35pm BST

30 min: Ibrahimovic cleverly sends Shaw running into space down the left, behind Appiah. His cross is behind Lingard, though.

8.34pm BST

29 min: Tielemans curls the free-kick over the wall, but it lacks pace and power, making it an easy save for Romero.

8.33pm BST

28 min: Pogba trips Hanni 25 yards from goal. United are missing Ander Herrera’s midfield energy at the moment.

8.32pm BST

27 min: Appiah bursts through on the right, away from Daley Blind, and shuffles the ball inside to Dendoncker. He shoots with the inside of his right foot, but bends the ball past the far post from 18 yards. For some reason, a corner’s awarded. Luckily for all laundry bins inside Old Trafford, nothing comes from the resulting delivery.

8.31pm BST

26 min: Anderlecht are enjoying a decent spell at the moment. Some of the intensity has faded from United’s game.

8.28pm BST

23 min: Rojo went down again after that chance for Acheampong, which probably explains the hesitant defending that let the Anderlecht winger in. He’s gone off on a stretcher. Daley Blind replaces him and another defensive injury is the last thing Jose Mourinho needs, especially given how well Rojo has played recently.

8.27pm BST

21 min: A throw down the Anderlecht left. Valencia heads it back and one of Rojo or Bailly should deal with it. Instead it’s a mess. Acheampong nips in between them and touches the ball into the wide open space in front of him. All of a sudden, he’s through on goal. But Romero closes down the angles well and manages to get a vital touch on the winger’s effort, taking it into the side netting. What a let-off for United.

8.25pm BST

20 min: After a lengthy spot of treatment, Rojo is back on his feet. He’s still limping, though, and feeling his knee.

8.23pm BST

18 min: Rojo and Chipciu are both down after a 50-50 challenge. Rojo looks to have come off worse.

8.21pm BST

16 min: Hanni gets away from Rojo in the middle of United’s half. He looks up and tries to pick out Acheampong with a raking pass over to the left, but Valencia defends solidly again.

8.19pm BST

13 min: Manchester United are tearing Anderlecht apart now. They fancy a second goal. Anderlecht are rocking. Lingard has a go now, curling towards the far corner from the left, but Ruben excels himself again, diving to his left to push it away for another United corner. This one comes to nothing.

8.18pm BST

12 min: A corner to United on the right. It’s sent to the far post by Mkhitaryan and Pogba rises highest, only for Ruben to palm his header over.

8.17pm BST

11 min: Rashford’s using his pace now, steaming past Tielemans, who hauls him down. He’s booked. He’ll miss the first leg of the semi if Anderlecht get through.

8.17pm BST

Overhyped waste of money and walking haircut Paul Pogba sends Marcus Rashford hurtling clear down the left with a peach of a pass. It’s a beauty from Pogba, brilliantly angled along the floor, and Rashford doesn’t have to break stride. He tries to tee up Ibrahimovic in the middle, but his cross is blocked. It comes back to him, though, and he has the presence of mind to knock it inside to Mkhitaryan, who takes a touch before hammering a low drive past Ruben! That should settle United’s nerves.

8.14pm BST

9 min: Anderlecht have come to play. Teodorczyk almost latches on to a ball over the lop, but he can’t bring it down. It skids through to Romero. Anderlecht just come straight back at United, though, and Shaw has to defend well on the left to stop Spajic. Excellent telepathy from Jose Mourinho.

8.12pm BST

7 min: Anderlecht, breezy and confident, are playing some neat football. Hanni tries to play Acheampong in, but Valencia is alert and mops up.

8.10pm BST

5 min: The visiting Anderlecht fans are making plenty of noise. “Has Jose spent £100m for a player he hopes to groom into the new Michael Carrick?” says David Flynn. “I guess it makes more sense than Ed Woodward scouring Europe before deciding to offer Ed Woodward £40m for Daley Blind.”

8.09pm BST

3 min: Anderlecht set off on a sortie down the left, Acheampong running at Valencia, cutting inside, veering left, driving a ball into the area. Rojo clears. Anderlecht continue to play their football. Dendoncker, the scorer of their goal last week, pops up behind Carrick and Pogba, sizes up the angles and decides to shoot from 30 yards. His effort whistles inches over the bar, Romero not entirely comfortable as he watches it fizz by.

8.05pm BST

And we’re off! Manchester United, in their red shirts and white shorts, get the game underway. They’re kicking from left to right in the first half and they’re immediately on the attack. Mkhitaryan squeezes a pass through to Lingard on the right, but he can’t find Ibrahimovic at the far post.

8.02pm BST

Here come the teams, marching out at Old Trafford. They’ll be hoping that these occasions take place on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings next year. “I’ve been fortunate enough to bag a ticket to the final this year,” says Patrick Hull. “Being a Bristol Rovers fan I don’t have a dog in the fight, but which two teams left do you think would put on the best show in Stockholm? Any reasons to support a particular team on to glory are welcome.”

Manchester United versus Lyon would be good.

7.43pm BST

After Sunday’s win over Chelsea, have Manchester United seen the future without Zlatan Ibrahimovic? On BT Sport, Paul Scholes and Michael Owen both reckon the future looks a lot like Marcus Rashford.

7.37pm BST

Jose Mourinho speaks about his changes.“It is impossible to play every match unless you are the only central defenders we have in the team. We have a lot of matches. Great intensity, not just physically but mentally. It is important to do some rotation because on Sunday we have another important match. If we have the same kind of attitude, pressing high, being strong, being intense, recover the ball as fast as possible, it is easy for the attacking players to have more in the ball. In the end it is a collective instinct.”

7.30pm BST

“I’m a life long man utd fan,” says Phillip Brennan. “I began to read the preamble then left it. The team news was all I needed.”

And how have the past 12 years supporting Manchester United been for you?

7.09pm BST

Manchester United: Romero; Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw; Carrick, Pogba; Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Rashford; Ibrahimovic. Subs: De Gea, Blind, Fellaini, Herrera, Young, Martial, Rooney.

Anderlecht: Ruben; Appiah, Kara, Spajic, Obradovic; Tielemans, Dendoncker; Hanni, Chipciu, Acheampong; Teodorczyk Subs: Boeckx, Deschacht, Bruno, Nuytinck, Capel, Kiese Thelin, Stanciu.

10.54am BST

Hello. If there’s anything to be learnt from the fraternal squabbling between Chuck and Jimmy McGill, it’s that holding a person to what they say into a tape recorder is just cruel. So while Jose Mourinho is the man who said the following about Rafa Benitez bringing the Europa League to Chelsea in 2013 – “I don’t want to win the Europa League. It would be a big disappointment for me. I don’t want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition” – it’s also true that people either have to adapt to a change in their circumstances or drown in their own pride and delusion.

The primary target for Manchester United at the start of the season, no matter what Jose Mourinho will tell us now, was not to win the Europa League. It would have been a lovely bonus, sure, but after signing Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the main focus for a manager with as much as a lust for winning as Mourinho and a club as successful as United was to challenge for the Premier League. That they haven’t come close to doing so must rank as a disappointment, though it would have been easier to take if they looked like re-asserting themselves as a top four force again. Sunday’s win over Chelsea was a big step in the right direction. It was probably their best performance since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, one that was full of youthful pace, energy, inventiveness and desire. But as it is, despite that win and despite a long unbeaten run which suggests that Mourinho has hardened this squad’s mentality, chances are they’ll be finishing fifth at most, which leaves the Europa League as their likeliest route back into the Champions League.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/apr/20/manchester-united-v-anderlecht-europa-league-quarter-final-live

Apr 05

Chelsea v Manchester City: Premier League – as it happened

Eden Hazard scored either side of a Sergio Aguero goal to keep Chelsea seven points clear of Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the table

10.15pm BST

Match report:

Related: Eden Hazard outwits Manchester City to strengthen Chelsea’s title grip

9.52pm BST

That’s it! Chelsea have secured a massive win in their quest for the title! Eden Hazard’s double moves them 14 points clear of Manchester City and keeps them seven ahead of Tottenham with eight matches to go. They were so resilient. Stamford Bridge is rocking and it’s safe to say Chelsea have recovered from that defeat to Crystal Palace. As for City, they’re still fourth – but they’re only four points in front of Manchester United and Arsenal. That’s all from me for now. Thanks for emailing and reading. Bye.

9.50pm BST

90 min+3: Kante is finally booked for fouling Silva. Time is running out for City. They have a free-kick on the right. Silva knocks it in. Matic heads it out for a throw. City continue to press. But an aimless long ball from Clichy sees the move fizzle out.

9.49pm BST

90 min+2: The corner drops to the unmarked Stones in the six-yard box but the ball’s just behind him and he turns it over! What a let-off for Chelsea, who completely switched off!

9.48pm BST

90 min+1: There will be three added minutes. Nolito spins on the left, looks up and drifts a bending, teasing ball inside Alonso, who’s got no idea what to do. Aguero nips in behind him and tries to prod it home, but Courtois assertively blocks it behind for a City corner!

9.47pm BST

90 min: Chelsea make their final change. Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Eden Hazard, who’s looking like the matchwinner.

9.45pm BST

88 min: This has been something of a defensive masterclass from Chelsea in the second half. There haven’t been many openings for City, who could learn a thing or two from the leaders.

9.42pm BST

85 min: Nolito replaces Leroy Sane.

9.40pm BST

83 min: Vincent Kompany, puffing his cheeks, chugs after a loose ball, but Hazard’s too quick for him, and the City man chops him down. He’s booked. Put it down to rust.

9.37pm BST

81 min: Willian replaces Cesc Fabregas.

9.37pm BST

80 min: A cross from the left, a header from David Luiz, a sight of goal for Aguero on the right. He’s unmarked, but the angle’s tight and he rams his shot wide.

9.36pm BST

79 min: Raheem Sterling replaces Kevin de Bruyne.

9.34pm BST

77 min: Tottenham have turned it around at Swansea! They lead 2-1! Meanwhile Fabian Delph has been booked.

Related: Clockwatch: Arsenal v West Ham, Liverpool v Bournemouth and more – live!

9.33pm BST

76 min: Chelsea press for a killer third, Hazard teeing up Fabregas on the edge of the area. He can’t get a shot away, but he can find Pedro, who pulls it back to Hazard. Is this the hat-trick? Nope! Hazard leans back and fires over from 15 yards.

9.31pm BST

73 min: “Do you have “Manchester City corner. It comes to nothing” saved in your copy and paste?” says Spencer Jones. “Probably the best move covering any of their games.”

We’re all thinking it, aren’t they? So I’ll say it. Guardiola needs a Plan B. He needs Andy Carroll.

9.29pm BST

72 min: David Luiz puts the free-kick into the City wall.

9.28pm BST

71 min: A hapless attempt at a clearance from Stones gifts possession to Costa, who’s bundled over by the increasingly weary Kompany.

9.27pm BST

70 min: Silva slides a ball into the six-yard box, but Cahill’s in front of Aguero. Luiz shuffles the ball behind. The corner comes to nothing.

9.24pm BST

67 min: Chelsea threaten for the first time in a while, but Caballero watches Pedro’s bouncing effort all the way.

9.23pm BST

66 min: It’s all City now. Sane speeds down the left and Luiz is forced to concede another corner. Again, though, Chelsea deal with it.

9.22pm BST

65 min: Silva swings the corner in and Stones rises above Matic, who reckons he’s being pushed, but the header’s straight at Courtois.

9.21pm BST

64 min: David Silva, continuing to pull the strings for City, wins a corner on the left.

9.20pm BST

63 min: Now Pedro brings down Sane and, er, gets a free-kick. Mike Dean is confusing Manchester City.

9.18pm BST

61 min: Kante has fouled Silva a few times tonight. He does it again and still hasn’t picked up a booking. Pep Guardiola isn’t happy.

9.17pm BST

59 min: Manchester City are struggling to trouble Chelsea at the moment.

9.14pm BST

57 min: “Of course, the big question is; Do I pragmatically want Chelsea to win, because it might help Liverpool consolidate a top four finish, or do I want City to win, because a Liverpool title is still mathematically possible?” says Matt Dony. “And really, if the words ‘still mathematically possible’ don’t cause a frisson of excitement, are you truly a football fan?”

9.12pm BST

55 min: A random City clearance almost runs through to Aguero, but Cahill is alive to the danger.

9.10pm BST

53 min: After a spell of fairly aimless Chelsea pressure, Kante’s shot hits a team-mate and goes wide.

9.09pm BST

52 min: The first booking of the evening goes to Gael Clichy. His crime? A clumsy foul on Pedro.

9.09pm BST

51 min: Another free-kick to Manchester City, this time on the left. Silva whips it in and it’s headed away, but only as far as Delph who lifts the ball back into the area. Fernandinho looks offside, but the flag stays down and the unmarked City midfielder slices his volley over!

9.06pm BST

49 min: Kurt Zouma wasn’t injured: the Chelsea substitution was tactical.

9.05pm BST

47 min: Kante catches Silva late. Silva needs a bit of treatment before play can resume. When it does, De Bruyne hoicks a high free-kick towards the far post from the right. It looks like it’s going behind and Matic stops, only for Kompany to loop a header goalwards from an improbably angle. Time stands still. The header hits the bar and bounces away.

9.03pm BST

46 min: Chelsea get the second half underway and they’ve made a change: Nemanja Matic is on for Kurt Zouma, meaning that Pedro is at right wing-back and Cesar Azpilicueta is in the back three.

9.00pm BST

Hi @JacobSteinberg can a team win the league with a horrible kit? I give you Barcelona 2012/13 pic.twitter.com/36dhUJAIpq

8.59pm BST

The player’s name is Agüero, not Aguero,” says Ivor Smith, who has a handle on the big issues of the day.

8.48pm BST

Manchester City have played the better football, so it’s just as well that Chelsea have Eden Hazard, isn’t it? The leaders are 45 minutes away from what would be a huge win.

8.46pm BST

45 min: There will be one added minute.

8.43pm BST

41 min: Aguero and David Luiz hare after a ball down the right. Luiz gives the impression that he’s up for some revenge here. He sort of does, barging into Aguero and sending him skittering into the hoardings. That was ever so slightly naughty from the Brazilian. There was a definite edge of that challenge and how the Chelsea fans enjoyed it.

8.41pm BST

40 min: Tottenham are 1-0 down to Swansea at half-time. Paul Doyle has more details. As it stands, Chelsea are going 10 points clear again.

Related: Clockwatch: Arsenal v West Ham, Liverpool v Bournemouth and more – live!

8.38pm BST

38 min: De Bruyne fizzes a high cross into the area from the right. Courtois is concerned enough to palm it over his own bar.

8.37pm BST

36 min: City pick up where they left off. Aguero lets fly from 18 yards, but a deflection takes his shot just wide. The corner comes to nothing.

8.36pm BST

Eden Hazard’s penalty is far too casual and Willy Caballero saves it easily, diving to his left to reach the ball. But it hits the inside of the City goalkeeper’s hand, meaning the ball spins back into the six-yard box for Hazard to atone for his miss by gobbling up the rebound! That’s his second and Chelsea are back in front.

8.35pm BST

34 min: Cesc Fabregas threads a pass through to Pedro on the left. He jinks back on to his right foot and Fernandinho hangs out a foot and brings him down! Mike Dean points to the spot!

8.34pm BST

33 min: Clichy slides a low ball into the area, but it’s too close to Courtois.

8.32pm BST

32 min: The corner is a waste of time.

8.32pm BST

31 min: City are playing with more urgency now. Buoyed by the equaliser, they’re pulling Chelsea around a bit. De Bruyne wins a corner on the right.

8.31pm BST

30 min: “That Manchester City away strip is the Coventry City brown kit of the 21st Century,” says Justin Kavanagh. “It’s making my eyes bleed.”

Is it possible to win the league with a bad kit?

8.29pm BST

28 min: Chelsea haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since 22 January – and they are rocking now! David Silva, afforded a criminal amount of space in front of the Chelsea defence, sets Leroy Sane clear. He’s got the pace to reach the pass, but he can’t quite dink it over the onrushing Courtois and though the ball hits Sane and rebounds into the area, the German’s off balance, allowing a Chelsea defender to mop up.

8.28pm BST

This is a complete farce. Under little pressure, Thibaut Courtois faffs around with the ball for a bit, then knocks it straight on to the chest of David Silva. Bad idea. Silva lopes into the Chelsea area, with the home side caught cold, assesses his options and shoots from the left. Courtois saves, but the rebound runs to Aguero and he’s not going to miss an open goal. That’s a decent way for Aguero to silence the Chelsea fans. But what a gift from Courtois.

8.25pm BST

25 min: Aguero, a little gingerly, is on his feet again. He’s still being barracked by the home fans.

8.25pm BST

24 min: Marcos Alonso chases and slides in from behind as Aguero dribbles down the right and appears to catch the City forward. Aguero goes down in some pain, but Mike Dean waves play on.

8.24pm BST

22 min: Chelsea respond with a raid from Hazard down the left. He turns and spins on the edge of the area, holding off two defenders before sliding a pass across to Fabregas. He hits it first time and his shot’s deflected by Clichy, the ball looping over the stranded Caballero and inches over the bar. The corner comes to nothing.

8.23pm BST

21 min: David Luiz steps out of defence in an attempt to cut out a one-two between Sergio Aguero and David Silva, bringing to mind his slapstick wanderings in Belo Horizonte in 2014, but he’s not there in time and Aguero scoots off towards the Chelsea area. He swerves to the right and looks like he’s going to score as he pulls the trigger, only to scuff it at Courtois. Gary Cahill is furious with Luiz.

8.20pm BST

19 min: Fernandinho puts his laces through the ball from 25 yards. It’s straight at Thibaut Courtois.

8.19pm BST

18 min: Hazard’s goal hasn’t really changed the pattern of the game. City are still bossing the possession, but it’s all in front of Chelsea, who remain content to soak up the pressure. This domination is of the sterile variety.

8.17pm BST

16 min: Fabian Delph has a pop from 30 yards, but sadly he is Fabian Delph.

8.16pm BST

15 min: Eden Hazard has now scored six goals against teams in the top seven this season. He’s definitely gone up a level under Antonio Conte. Funny what can happen when your manager’s not constantly belittling you.

8.14pm BST

13 min: City pour forward, Chelsea’s midfield nowhere to be seen, and Sane’s got mischief on the mind on the edge of the area. He moves it to the left for Aguero, but his shot’s blocked and Chelsea survive.

8.13pm BST

12 min: Manchester City need Wilfried Zaha. And a new goalkeeper.

8.13pm BST

Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta combine down the right. Pedro moves wide and no one tracks Azpilicueta’s run. He’s found by his fellow Spaniard and he picks up his head before cleverly pulling it back to Hazard, who’s been given too much space in the City area. He instantly shoots with the inside of his right foot and although his effort’s not particularly well struck, the slightest of deflections off Kompany’s forehead is enough to deceive Willy Caballero, who can’t react quickly enough. Diving to his left, City’s goalkeeper ends up pushing the ball into the opposite corner and the best player in the league has given the leaders the early advantage.

8.10pm BST

10 min: This is just like a chess match.

8.09pm BST

9 min: Poor Pep. That was uncalled for, wasn’t it? Here’s a reminder of happier times, a merry jig down the Stamford Bridge touchline in 2009.

8.08pm BST

8 min: This, of course, is Pep Guardiola’s first game at Stamford Bridge since this happened.

8.06pm BST

6 min: Hazard diddles down the left flank, as menacing as ever, and pulls a pass back to Costa on the edge of the area. The Chelsea forward struggles to get the ball out from under his feet, however, and ends up digging a poor shot wide.

8.05pm BST

5 min: Manchester City are enjoying most of the early possession, helping themselves to plenty of touches on the ball. Chelsea are mostly sitting deep and hoping to spring on the break.

8.03pm BST

3 min: Good news for Chelsea: Swansea lead against Tottenham. Paul Doyle has coverage of the rest of tonight’s games here.

Related: Clockwatch: Arsenal v West Ham, Liverpool v Bournemouth and more – live!

8.02pm BST

2 min: Aguero, booed by the Chelsea fans, scampers down the inside right channel for the first time. He’s tracked all the way by David Luiz. Watch this space.

8.01pm BST

And we’re off! Manchester City, in their orange away strip, get the game underway. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. It’s not long before N’Golo Kante wins possession for Chelsea.

7.57pm BST

The teams are out at Stamford Bridge. They’ll be entertaining us soon. Hopefully.

7.57pm BST

Here’s what the Premier League has been missing in recent years: a proper rivalry at the top. There hasn’t really been once since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and the Jose Mourinho inspired Chelsea locked horns. Chelsea and Manchester City could provide us with the next one. But it hasn’t really taken off yet.

7.49pm BST

“While it is a rare thing to feel such affection for another team’s player, the thought of Kompany holding the back of his leg again before half-time is too much witness,” Ian Copestake says.

7.25pm BST

Both managers have just appeared on television and their quotes are truly fascinating. Look how much they gave away!

“It is a long time he hasn’t played,” Pep Guardiola says of Vincent Kompany. “He has experience and we need everybody, so that is why he’s ready.”

7.21pm BST

“It was either this game or Friday with the ressies,” smiles Vincent Kompany. “I’m really happy to be involved.

7.09pm BST

Chelsea make one change from Saturday’s defeat to Crystal Palace. Victor Moses is still out, but Antonio Conte has opted against using Pedro in the right wing-back position again. The Spaniard suspect defensively against Palace, so he moves back into the front three, allowing Kurt Zouma to replace Nemanja Matic for his first start in the league this season.

Pep Guardiola’s taking a few chances, meanwhile. It looks like Jesus Navas starts at right-back again, Fabian Delph slots into midfield in place of the benched Raheem Sterling and – well, look at this – Vincent Kompany is in for Nicolas Otamendi. It’s been a while since we saw City’s club captain in the heart of Guardiola’s defence. After a wretched time with injuries, this is only Kompany’s third league start this season and his first since November. Chelsea will be looking to punish any rustiness.

7.03pm BST

Chelsea: Courtois; Zouma, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard. Subs: Begovic, Ake, Terry, Matic, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Batshuayi.

Manchester City: Caballero; Navas, Stones, Kompany, Clichy; Fernandinho, Delph; Sane, Silva, De Bruyne; Aguero. Subs: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Fernando, Toure, Sterling, Nolito.

5.34pm BST

Hello. Back when the Premier League fixtures came out last June, it’s doubtful that Manchester City looked at this one and imagined that they’d be cast in the role of Tottenham Hotspur’s dream makers. This isn’t how it was supposed to be under Pep Guardiola and it didn’t seem that this is how it was going to be when City started the season by winning their first 10 matches in all competitions. Yet City fell off the pace at the top a long time ago, with their lack of attacking ruthlessness, defensive solidity and overall consistency holding them back for the third consecutive season. They’re in a fight to finish in the top four, Chelsea have sprinted off into the distance and so now it’s over to City to give Tottenham’s title challenge a leg-up by winning at Stamford Bridge.

If there’s a game that sums up this transitional and frustrating City side, surely it was Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Arsenal. The stage was set for them to emulate Tottenham by capitalising on Chelsea’s defeat to Crystal Palace, but despite dominating much of the first half and twice taking the lead, they took their foot off the gas in the second half and ended up dropping points again. They never quite convince, even though Guardiola has brought more intensity to the job than Manuel Pellegrini, and the result is that their main concern is holding off Manchester United and Arsenal in the battle to qualify for the Champions League when they really should be closer to Chelsea.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/apr/05/chelsea-manchester-city-premier-league-live

Apr 04

Manchester United v Everton: Premier League – live!

Jose Mourinho’s side kept their unbeaten run going thanks to a stoppage-time penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but dropped more points at home

9.59pm BST

Another home draw, another 90 minutes of huffing and puffing from Manchester United. They’re not as good as Jose Mourinho would have you think. But they are still unbeaten in the league since October, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last-gasp penalty rescuing them, so that’s something. But they’re still fifth and they’ve missed another chance to put pressure on Manchester City. They’re four points behind them. As for Everton, they’ll be kicking themselves. They led for so long, didn’t make the most of several late counterattacks and gave away an equaliser at the death. They stay seventh and that’s probably where they’ll be after 38 matches. Thanks for reading. Night.

9.53pm BST

Manchester United’s unbeaten run rumbles on! There’s no stopping them! What a team!

9.52pm BST

Zlatan Ibrahimovic nervelessly sends Joel Robles the wrong way.

9.51pm BST

90 min+3: Another long ball from United is headed away but only as far as Luke Shaw – who else? – whose right-footed shot from 18 yards is heading in before Williams dives down to his right to block with his arm! That’s a penalty and a red card!

9.50pm BST

90 min+2: Pogba bustles past Gueye on the right and goes down as the Everton midfielder tugs him down. He’s already on a booking and he’s flirting with danger here, but amazingly Neil Swarbrick decides that it wasn’t even a foul. Joel Robles has been booked for timewasting.

9.49pm BST

90 min+1: Baines blocks a cross behind for a corner on the right. United are still pressing, but they make a mess of the corner.

9.48pm BST

90 min: There will be four minutes of Jose Time.

9.47pm BST

89 min: Rashford swings a cross into the middle from the right, but Ibrahimovic, perhaps put off by Williams in front of him, heads over from six yards! Moments before that, the unmarked Fellaini had let the ball run through his legs when the ball reached him at the far post.

9.46pm BST

88 min: Davies picks up a booking for an overly forceful challenge on Pogba (I think).

9.46pm BST

87 min: Calvert-Lewin breaks through the middle but he plays the ball to Lukaku’s feet instead of sending him into space. Lukaku ends up losing it. He blames Calvert-Lewin and though he has a point, it should be pointed out that he didn’t have the skill to beat Bailly.

9.44pm BST

86 min: The corner goes out and back into play. Dearie me. Goal-kick to Everton.

9.43pm BST

85 min: Mkhitaryan feeds Lingard 20 yards from goal. Barry throws himself in the way of the winger’s shot, the ball spinning out for a corner on the right.

9.41pm BST

84 min: United have gone route one. Shaw tosses a high ball into the area. Ibrahimovic’s header drops to Robles. Another Shaw cross drifts out for a throw.

9.40pm BST

82 min: Rashford and Shaw combine on the left. United win a corner. Everton disagree. Mkhitaryan’s corner is headed away. Shaw heads it back in, but the ball ends up in Robles’s hands.

9.39pm BST

80 min: Everton make their second change, Calvert-Lewin on for Barkley.

9.38pm BST

79 min: Lukaku storms past Rojo on the right, leaving the centre-back for dead, and tanks into the area. Bailly flies across to block the striker’s shot. That looked like it was going to be 2-0.

9.37pm BST

78 min: Gueye finds space on the edge of the United area. The hosts are ragged here and Gueye finds Barkley on the left. He takes an age to make up his mind, but manages to screw a low centre into the six-yard box. United hack it clear.

9.35pm BST

77 min: From Pogba’s free-kick, Rojo glances over the bar. “A recent Guardian article demanded that we admire the defensive austerity of Utd and praise that rather than any attacking heritage the team might call on,” says Ian Copestake. “Jose will be happy of a draw to cement his glory.”

9.34pm BST

76 min: Barkley has wasted two promising Everton counters, first by ignoring Lukaku, then by underhitting a pass to the striker. United have a free-kick on the right now. Meanwhile a replay of Ibrahimovic’s disallowed goal suggests he might have been onside. It was very tight.

9.33pm BST

75 min: Rojo and De Gea almost get themselves into a mess after dithering with a bouncing ball, almost letting in Lukaku, but the Argentinian mops up before calamity descends upon United.

9.31pm BST

74 min: The danger here is that Everton are going to be punished for sitting back. It’s been harder for them to break since Kevin Mirallas went off.

9.30pm BST

73 min: A long punt into the Everton area. Ibrahimovic challenges, Robles flaps weakly and the ball falls to Fellaini. But Barry puts him off and he volleys over the empty net! Is a goal on the way?

9.29pm BST

71 min: So as I was saying. Ander Herrera whips a glorious ball to the far post for Ibrahimovic to head low past Robles … but the flag’s up for offside. The celebrations are shortlived.

9.27pm BST

69 min: United might bore their way to an equaliser here, and maybe even a winner if they find a first goal, but can we stop pretending that they’re an attractive football team? This has been a tortured attacking performance.

9.24pm BST

66 min: United have made all their substitutions now, so we won’t be seeing Anthony Martial this evening. Everton are making their first change as well. Matthew Pennington replaces Kevin Mirallas, who had a decent game.

9.23pm BST

65 min: Before Everton can take the corner, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the lesser spotted Luke Shaw come on for Michael Carrick and Ashley Young. Nothing comes from the corner.

9.22pm BST

64 min: Everton counter and Barkley lifts a pass from right to left for Mirallas, who ignores the boos from the home crowd and wins a corner.

9.21pm BST

63 min: Carrick, who’s about to be substituted, twists and turns on the edge of the area before shooting. His effort’s blocked.

9.20pm BST

62 min: After a spot of head tennis in the United area, the ball falls to Fellaini, who controls before scooping well wide under pressure. It was a half chance at best.

9.19pm BST

61 min: Jose Mourinho is giving instructions to Mkhitaryan and Martial on the touchline. Or is he apologising for naming them on the bench? Meanwhile Everton are attacking down the right, Lukaku isolating Rojo and crossing, but Herrera’s positioning is spot on and he stops it reaching Mirallas.

9.17pm BST

59 min: Bailly’s nervy header drops to Lukaku on the left. Lukaku drops a shoulder and knocks a dangerous low cross into the middle. Young muddles it clear.

9.16pm BST

58 min: Rashford’s attempted clearance skews behind for an Everton corner on the right. The travelling support is noisy. Mirallas whips it in and Barkley sends a low header straight at De Gea.

9.15pm BST

57 min: The players of both teams are engaged in philosophical debate after Mirallas decides to attack from a drop ball, provoking Young into clattering him. Eventually Young, who was involved in a spot of nonsense with Holgate a few minutes earlier, is booked. The temperature is rising.

9.13pm BST

55 min: Young’s free-kick is flatter and more dangerous this time. It’s flicked on at the near post and Pogba instinctively heads against the face of the bar! Robles was beaten. But Everton’s lead is intact.

9.12pm BST

54 min: United are pinning Everton back here and there’s a whiff of desperation about Barry’s bodycheck on the flying Rashford on the left. He’s booked.

9.09pm BST

52 min: Robles confidently claims Young’s overhit free-kick.

9.09pm BST

51 min: Ibrahimovic shows sleight of foot to beat his man on the right, but his driven low cross isn’t getting past Williams at the near post. United keep attacking, though, and Barkley brings down Young on the left.

9.07pm BST

50 min: Barkley is losing the ball a lot. He has to do better in tight spaces when he’s under pressure.

9.06pm BST

49 min: The Ander Herrera experiment hasn’t lasted long. He’s swapped positions with Ashley Young. That was worthwhile.

9.05pm BST

48 min: A neat passing move from Everton ends with Mirallas tamely shooting straight at De Gea from 30 yards.

9.04pm BST

47 min: The alternative is that Ander Herrera has moved to left-back.

9.03pm BST

46 min: Manchester United, attacking the Stretford End, begin the second half. Paul Pogba is on for Daley Blind. It seems United have gone to three at the back.

8.48pm BST

It’s been scrappy and less than enthralling, but Everton lead thanks to Phil Jagielka and Manchester United’s long unbeaten league run is under threat.

8.47pm BST

45 min+2: Ibrahimovic Zlatans the ball to Rashford in the area, but Jagielka, who’s having some half, denies him with a wonderfully timed challenge.

8.45pm BST

45 min: Idrissa Gueye picks up a booking for a standing on Ibrahimovic’s ankle. That’s cruelty to lions. There will be two added minutes.

8.44pm BST

44 min: Mirallas releases Lukaku down the inside right channel again, but short of support, he decides to shoot from long range and Rojo makes an easy block. United try to counter, but a dismal long ball drifts straight through to Robles. Old Trafford is frustrated.

8.43pm BST

43 min: Barkley crumples in a heap on the edge of the United area. The free-kick goes to United. He’s not done much.

8.39pm BST

40 min: Herrera slides a perceptive pass through to Young, who’s away from Davies and into the area, but his ball flashes across the six-yard box, no one there to apply the finishing touch. Up the other end, Mirallas scampers behind the United defence on the right all of a sudden, only to slip inside the area. Jagielka’s goal aside, it’s been that sort of game.

8.39pm BST

39 min: Carrick, who’s having a very good game, eludes Davies and finds Herrera, whose shot from 25 yards is heading into the right corner until Robles brilliantly tips it wide.

8.37pm BST

36 min: A loose ball breaks to Lukaku, who selfishly ignores Mirallas to his right when his Belgian team-mate was completely unmarked. Instead Lukaku swerves to his left and has a shot blocked. The deflection loops up to Davies, whose volley hits the offside Mirallas. What a waste. The right pass from Lukau there and Everton could have been 2-0 up.

8.32pm BST

32 min: Robles lives.

8.31pm BST

30 min: The free-kick is to the right of the D, made for the left foot of Blind, who whips it hard and fast over the wall and towards the top left corner. Robles springs to his left to palm the ball down, slamming into the post in the process, and Herrera races on to the rebound, only to crash it against the bar and away to safety from a tight angle. Robles is still down after that collision. He’ll need treatment.

8.30pm BST

29 min: Young takes the corner. Lukaku heads it away. The ball comes back to Young, whose cross is blocked, but play is brought back to the edge of the area, the referee having spotted Mirallas foolishly dragging Lingard down off the ball in his eagerness to close down the cross.

8.28pm BST

28 min: A free-kick to United on the left. Blind’s delivery is underhit and poor, but Lukaku heads it behind for a corner.

8.26pm BST

26 min: Everton have the scent of blood here and Barkley finds Lukaku on the right. He drives inside, on to his left foot, but drags a shot wide of the near post from 18 yards.

8.24pm BST

23 min: On BT Sport, Glenn Hoddle just compared Phil Jagielka’s goal to a Gerd Muller finish. High praise indeed.

8.24pm BST

Mirallas hangs another outswinging corner towards the far post again. Ashley Williams rises highest again, just as he did last time, and heads it up into the six-yard box. The danger looks minimal. Or so it seems. David De Gea stays on his line and Marcos Rojo’s defending is meek in the extreme, allowing Phil Jagielka to outmuscle him before improvising superbly as the ball drops from the sky, showing great athleticism and imagination by hooking it through De Gea despite having his back to goal. What a finish from the veteran centre-back!

Phil Jagielka now has as many PL goals as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlton Palmer.

8.21pm BST

21 min: This has been a very bitty match. Both teams have been sloppy and uncertain in the final third. But here’s an opening. Barry lofts a pass through to Mirallas on the right. Mirallas takes it down on his chest and shoots from a tight angle. De Gea saves with his feet. Everton have a corner. And…

8.19pm BST

19 min: Barkley lifts the corner high to the far post. Williams heads it down and Lukaku uses his strength to hold off Bailly, but United scramble the ball clear.

8.18pm BST

18 min: A decent spell of Everton possession ends with Barkley winning a corner on the right after a driving, positive run.

8.16pm BST

16 min: Ibrahimovic sends Rashford through on goal, but Robles brilliantly pushes his shot wide. Not that it matters: Rashford was offside.

8.14pm BST

14 min: Barkley turns adroitly, then spins back and attempts to hold off Rashford on the right. The United youngster outmuscles him, though, and Barkley ends up giving away a free-kick.

8.12pm BST

12 min: Lingard exchanges passes with Carrick and finds space in front of the Everton back four, but his 20-yarder swerves harmlessly wide.

8.10pm BST

10 min: This is scrappy.

8.08pm BST

9 min: There’s no sign of Luke Shaw sprinting up and down the touchline yet. He isn’t even doing any burpees or squat thrusts. Doesn’t he want to impress his manager?

8.07pm BST

7 min: Everton’s passing already looks worryingly ponderous. There’s not much pace in Koeman’s team.

8.06pm BST

5 min: A straight pass down the middle tempts Jagielka out of the middle, but the ball slips past him and Ibrahimovic is quicker than Holgate to anticipate the opening. He skips past the young right-back and lollops towards the area. He’s only got Joel Robles to beat – until Ashley Williams steams across to make a superb goal-saving challenge. There’s the first chance for United. Jot it down, Jose.

8.04pm BST

4 min: Daley Blind’s corner is wretched.

8.03pm BST

3 min: United attack fluently for the first time, Rashford bursting past Jagielka, who recovers well to concede a corner as the speeding youngster reaches the byline on the left.

8.02pm BST

2 min: Everton have been excellent at home in 2017 – these are their league results at Goodison Park since the turn of the year: 3-0, 4-0, 6-3, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 – but they’ve disappointed on the road. They’ve not away since 21 January. They’ve also been beaten at Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs, though they did get a point at Manchester City.

8.01pm BST

And we’re off! Everton, all in blue, get the ball rolling. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. Phil Jagielka immediately opts for a big punt forward, but to little effect.

7.57pm BST

Here come the teams. We’ll have football soon! Manchester United know a win takes them two points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and they have a game in hand on their neighbours. 1-1, then.

7.55pm BST

Nick Miller has coverage of the rest of tonight’s football over here. Join him. But also stay here. But don’t join him too much.

Related: Leicester v Sunderland, Burnley v Stoke and Watford v West Brom – live!

7.52pm BST

“Interesting that you should bring up Boris Grishenko of GoldenEye fame, Jacob, as Luke Shaw will be better equipped than most to answer Boris’s riddle, spending, in a manner, most of his recent time sat on it,” says Luke Forrester.

7.35pm BST

On BT Sport, Rio Ferdinand is saying that Harry Kane’s hold-up play is far better than Romelu Lukaku’s. He’s not wrong. Lukau was poor against Liverpool and it’s not the first time he’s struggled in a big away game. He’s scored so many, but he has to improve his all-round play. It’s why he’s not quite convinced that he can succeed at a higher level. The elite strikers can do everything. Lukaku isn’t there yet – and yet there’s so much potential. Tonight would be a good time to increase his asking price.

7.32pm BST

It seems that it doesn’t take much for Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to fall foul of Jose Mourinho, does it? One bad game and they’re back on the bench. It’s difficult for attackers to build a flow when it’s so stop-start. Should Mourinho be showing them more patience or is it on them to use their vast talent on a more consistent basis?

7.30pm BST

Manchester United make three changes to the team that drew with West Brom. Daley Blind replaces the fatigued Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera is in for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back from suspension in place of Anthony Martial. Marcus Rashford moves to the left of the attack. It’s Martial and Mkhitaryan who have paid with their places after the West Brom draw, but they’re part of a strong United bench. Paul Pogba is there, fit again after a hamstring injury, and so’s Luke Shaw. There’s no Wayne Rooney, though. He’s got ankle trouble.

That means there won’t be an opportunity for Everton to judge the wisdom of bringing Rooney back to Goodison Park this summer. The bigger concern for the time being, however, is responding after the defeat to Liverpool. Ronald Koeman played an inexperienced team at Anfield, but he’s gone for more nous this evening, with Gareth Barry and Kevin Mirallas replacing Matthew Pennington and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

7.07pm BST

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Bailly, Rojo, Blind; Carrick, Fellaini; Lingard, Herrera, Rashford; Ibrahimovic. Subs: Romero, Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Martial.

Everton: Robles; Holgate, Jagielka, A.Williams, Baines; Barry, Davies, Gana; Barkley, Mirallas; Lukaku. Subs: Stekelenburg, Valencia, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, Pennington, Kenny, J.Williams.

5.12pm BST

While Everton are still licking their wounds from their latest disappointment at Anfield, at least they’ll turn up at Old Trafford knowing that they’ve won on this ground in the 21st century. It’s a little over three years since Bryan Oviedo tapped home Romelu Lukaku’s cross-shot at the far post late on, sparking wild celebrations in the away end and raising hopes that Everton were ready to to push into the top four. Then again, Manchester United were being managed by football’s answer to Stewart Lee, David Moyes, at the time, so … y’know.

Thing is, Everton haven’t been in the top four picture since that campaign. The early promise under Roberto Martinez soon gave way to two seasons of high farce. In Martinez’s place came Ronald Koeman, who has brought fresh steel and professionalism to Everton, who certainly look more sturdy these days, albeit without quite convincing that they’re ready to take the next step. Koeman has improved Everton’s defence, he’s made some top signings, a new stadium’s on the way, the academy is flourishing and Romelu Lukaku is in hot goalscoring form. But Everton are seventh. There have been flashes – a 4-0 thumping of Manchester City in January was one of the performances of the season – but following last month’s defeat at Tottenham by losing at Liverpool on Saturday shows them how far they have to go before they can say they’re capable of being more than the best of the rest. A win tonight takes Everton level with United in fifth, but it’s hard not to suspect they’ll be finishing seventh.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/apr/04/manchester-united-v-everton-premier-league-live

Mar 14

Leicester City v Sevilla: Champions League last 16, second leg – as it happened

Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton scored as Leicester reached the last eight of the Champions League at the expense of 10-man Sevilla

9.44pm GMT

“Incredible,” says Wes Morgan. “We did it. We proved a lot of people wrong. We’ve pulled off the impossible again.” And how much longer are they going to keep pulling off the impossible? Into the last eight they go, at the expense of one of the best sides in Spain. Sevilla are no mugs. They’re third in La Liga! Leicester are 15th in the Premier League! They sacked their manager a month ago! They’ve never been in the Champions League before! But they’ve come up with a performance that was a blend of defiance and quality. They were gutsy, organised and ruthless at the crucial moments. They also rode their luck at times. But they also made their own. How about Kasper Schmeichel saving a penalty in each leg? There’s something about this Leicester side. It’s not quite a case of Claudio Who? But you have to take your hat off to Craig Shakespeare. Good old Craig. Thanks for reading and emailing. Bye.

9.37pm GMT

Barcelona. Bayern Munich. Borussia Dortmund. Juventus. Real Madrid. Leicester City. Craig.

9.36pm GMT

Kasper Schmeichel’s been mobbed by his team-mates in the middle of the park. Sevilla’s players can’t believe it. But it’s happened.

9.36pm GMT

Leicester City have done it! They’re into the last eight of the Champions League!

9.34pm GMT

90 min+4: Correa twists and turns and crosses. It’s deflected. Schmeichel can’t stop it going behind. Rico’s up for the corner!

9.34pm GMT

90 min+3: It’s all Sevilla. They’ve got 10 men!

9.33pm GMT

90 min+2: Vitolo chases after a ball down the inside right channel. The heroic Schmeichel races out of his area and concedes a throw. Sevilla lob another long one into the area. The ball falls to Correa, who lifts his volley over the bar!

9.32pm GMT

90 min+1: Escudero chips a nothing ball into the Leicester area. Albrighton shepherds it out for a goal-kick.

9.31pm GMT

90 min: There will be four added minutes. The home fans roar.

9.31pm GMT

89 min: Daniel Amartey replaces Riyad Mahrez, who’s booked for timewasting.Am I the only one who thinks that Vardy gets Nasri sent off with an Oscar-winning reaction to the latter’s face getting to slightly close to his own?” Hanne Mallinen-Scott says. No, but it was moronic from Nasri.

9.29pm GMT

88 min: Slimani cleverly finds Mahrez, who tears off up field, away from the trailing Sevilla runner and towards goal. He hares off to the left, then unselfishly pulls it to Vardy, unmarked to his right. It’s not his night, though. With only Rico to beat, Vardy blazes over the bar!

9.28pm GMT

87 min: Jovetic crosses from the left. Huth clears at the second time of asking. Leicester storm up the other end and Slimani’s through on goal, but he can’t take it round Rico. This is magnificent end-to-end stuff now!

9.27pm GMT

86 min: Fuchs chucks a long throw down the line. Albrighton brilliantly steers a reverse header into the six-yard box and Vardy should score, only to head too close to Rico.

9.26pm GMT

85 min: Do Sevilla drop into the Europa League if they don’t score?

9.25pm GMT

84 min: Ndidi’s booked for leading with an arm in an aerial challenge.

9.23pm GMT

83 min: Jorge Sampaoli has been sent to the stands! It’s not clear why.

9.23pm GMT

82 min: That was a shocking penalty by N’Zonzi.

9.22pm GMT

81 min: Leicester are going to win the Champions League.

9.22pm GMT

80 min: N’Zonzi casually runs up to the spot-kick and rolls it towards the bottom left corner with his right foot at around 3mph. Schmeichel guesses right and pushes it away! What drama! He saved one in the first leg and he’s denied Sevilla again! His dad’s on his feet in the stands!

9.20pm GMT

79 min: Vitolo bursts through on goal and dinks it over Schmeichel, who clatters into him! The ball’s cleared off the line but the referee points to the spot, deciding that Schemichel impeded Vitolo! The Leicester keeper’s booked.

9.19pm GMT

78 min: Replays show that Vardy had wound Nasri up with a couple of shoves in the back. Nasri didn’t react well. Vardy certainly made the most of the incident too.

9.18pm GMT

75 min: Nasri took a long time leaving the pitch. He was very eager to continue the debate with Vardy and had to be pulled away by his team-mates. He has badly let himself down. Jorge Sampaoli will be furious.

9.17pm GMT

74 min: Samir Nasri has completely lost the plot! Remonstrating about something or other with Jamie Vardy off the ball, he juts his head into the Leicester striker’s and after a brief delay, the Italian referee brandishes a second yellow card! Vardy was also at it, but that is ridiculous from Nasri. He was already on a booking and his team-mates are busy chasing a goal to save their skins. What a berk.

9.14pm GMT

73 min: Vitolo slips a beautiful pass through to Correa, who turns and lashes goalwards. Schmeichel’s strong hands push the drive away.

9.13pm GMT

72 min: Sevilla’s domination is of the sterile variety. They do not look like scoring.

9.12pm GMT

71 min: Vitolo threatens to scamper into the area from the right, but Fuchs covers splendidly and the move dies a sad death. Leicester’s defending has been faultless since half-time.

9.10pm GMT

69 min: Iborra hoicks a cross towards the far post from the left. Simpson knocks it behind. The corner comes to nothing.

9.09pm GMT

68 min: Sevilla make their final change, Joaquin Correa on for Wissam Ben Yedder.

9.08pm GMT

67 min: Mahrez teases Sevilla on the right before driving a low ball into the six-yard box. Rico pushes it away from Slimani, who was poised for a tap-in, but only as far Vardy. He could kill this tie off, more or less, but scuffs wide with his left foot. Will it be a costly miss?

9.07pm GMT

66 min: “This from Phil West in tonight’s MBM – “Followers of the MBM’s, OBO’s and the Rugby see all of you as distant mates in a hypothetical pub – chatting about the events”,” says Andrew Howard. “I’d like to second this – it sounds a little daft, but the MBM / OBO in all its guises is one of the warmest, friendliest parts of the internet and for many of us, it is a reliable, comfortable old friend that provides light relief and sanity in a slightly crazy current world and it is made by the Guardian team and the community that you foster. My thoughts are with Dan’s family and friends and you guys. 31 is stupidly, cruelly young.”

9.06pm GMT

65 min: Sevilla try a long throw. Iborra can only flick it on to Schmeichel. That pretty much sums up where the visitors are at the moment.

9.04pm GMT

63 min: Islam Slimani replaces Shinji Okazaki, who’s a right old pest.

9.04pm GMT

62 min: Jovetic, quiet since his introduction, wins a corner on the right. The travelling fans roar their encouragement, but Nasri’s corner’s headed away. “If this were a curling MBM, we’d be talking about Ailsa Craig,” says David Sterling.

9.02pm GMT

61 min: There’s very little conviction or intensity about Sevilla at the moment. They looked stunned. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

9.00pm GMT

59 min: Vitolo’s booked for dissent. Sevilla are in danger of losing the plot here. “Former Neighbours ‘actor’ Craig McLachlan did something unusual and released a hit song in 1990,” says Brand King. “Titled ‘Mona’ it seems fairly harmless until he suggests to his love interest by way of lyric that he intends to build a house next to hers. Probably not the cleverest of stalking tactics, given the time it takes to get building approval. The video is an accurate depiction of the Australian courting ritual.”

8.59pm GMT

57 min: “If you do decide to start riffing on Mr. Fuchs, maybe I should let you know that Brazilian club EC Vitória’s coach is called Argel Fucks (you can google it, I promise you won’t be fired for this),” says Victor Lucindo. “Yes.”

8.58pm GMT

56 min: As it stands, Sevilla need a goal to force extra-time. This is ridiculous. They should have smashed Leicester in the first leg and now look!

8.57pm GMT

Shinji Okazaki picks up possession on the edge of the area and tries a shot. His effort’s blocked and spins over to Mahrez on the right. His cross is headed away by Rami, but only as far as Albrighton, who controls with one touch before lashing a low drive past the statuesque Rico with his left foot! Incredible! A minute after Sevilla hit the bar, Leicester go straight up the other end and score!

8.55pm GMT

53 min: Escudero lollops forward from the back and decides he might as well have a go from 30 yards. Leicester won’t mind that. Or so you’d think. The defender’s effort wobbles and dips and swerves amazingly through the air. It looks like it’s going over. But Schmeichel’s concerned enough to leap into a dive. He knows. The ball drops devastatingly at the last moment – but not enough! It crashes against the bar and Leicester live on. But wait! Here’s Ben Yedder, surely about to wallop in the rebound. But no! He blasts it over! And…

8.53pm GMT

52 min: Nasri wafts an effort well off target, earning the derision of the Leicester fans. “Let’s not forget Cricket has provided some notable Craig’s – Craig McDermott from Australia and Craig McMillan form New Zealand!” says Ammar Zaidi.

8.52pm GMT

51 min: Albrighton pounces on a poor pass out from the back and dashes down the left before finding Okazaki, who promptly loses it.

8.51pm GMT

50 min: Craig.

8.50pm GMT

49 min: Nasri lofts a dangerous ball into the area, looking for Ben Yedder, but Fuchs is in the right place to clear. Moments later, Vardy lands awkwardly after an aerial challenge with Mariano. He’ll need some treatment.

“Been thinking of a likely team that the two Shakespeares would send out,” says Kevin Ryan. “What do you think of this lot?
Goalkeeper: Hamlet- Prince of Denmark (i.e. Peter Schmeicel)
Back Four: Puck( nippy), Malvolio and Shylock (nasty, horrible) Toby Belch (iracible, loud)
Midfield: Antonio, Bassanio and Graciano (well, they sound tasty and they’re Italian, which is much the same thing)
Forwards: Caliban (an early Diego Costa), Othello (big and strong, a sort of Lukaku) , Brutus (devious, shifty, likely to dive and get opponents sent off).”

8.49pm GMT

48 min: Vitolo diddles his way to the right byline and digs out a low cross. Schmeichel plunges down to claim it, but Huth gets there first and boots it behind.

8.47pm GMT

46 min: Off we go again. Sevilla get the second half underway and they’ve made two changes. Mariano and Stefan Jovetic are on for Mercado and Sarabia. “Have none of your Welsh readers offered Craig Bellamy as an addition to the illustrious list?” says Peter Oh.

8.32pm GMT

Leicester are 45 minutes away from a place in the Champions League quarter-finals thanks to a goal from Wes Morgan. Uh huh.

8.31pm GMT

45 min: Okazaki’s brought down by the error prone Pareja 25 yards out. The ball’s over to the left, but Mahrez might fancy a shot here. Or not. Instead Leicester work the ball to Fuchs on the edge of the area and his shot’s charged down.

8.29pm GMT

43 min: Sevilla probe down the right flank. Mercado drills a low ball towards the near post. Huth shovels it behind with Ben Yedder looking to cause some trouble. The corner comes to nothing and Leicester clear their lines. Pareja’s misjudgement on the halfway line allows Vardy to set off on a sprint down the right flank and attempt to find Okazaki with a dinked cross. The ball’s headed back to him and he tries an ambitious volley from 20 yards. Under pressure, he hits it wide.

@JacobSteinberg Thanks Jacob, the best Craig of them all, Jim Craig, European cup winner with Celtic, 1 Scotland cap, returned to dentistry!

8.26pm GMT

40 min: Fuchs imaginatively tricks his way past his man on the left and after some scrappy play on the edge of the area, the ball bounces back to him. There’s a hint of a foul on the Leicester left-back, but he just about keeps his balance when he might have gone down looking for a penalty and in the end he mishits a shot straight at Rico.

8.23pm GMT

38 min: Drinkwater dribbles a shot straight at Rico from 20 yards. “Shakespeare is making notes,” says Graeme Jamieson. “Who will be the first professional footballer to appear on Craigslist?”

8.22pm GMT

37 min: Leicester’s last clean sheet was against Middlesbrough on 2 January. And your Thursday night five a side team could keep a clean sheet against Middlesbrough.

8.22pm GMT

35 min: A poor clearance from N’Zonzi drops to Vardy on the edge of the area, but the Leicester striker can’t make the most of the opportunity, seeing a tame shot easily blocked. Sevilla storm up the other end, but Sarabia’s dispossessed in the Leicester area. “My good friend is a funeral-home director who goes by the name of Craig,” says Richard Robinson. “He’s not famous, regrettably, but the strap-line on his business card reads: “From Cradle to Craig”, which would be cracking banter if a) it scanned properly and b) it wasn’t being foisted into the shaking hands of the recently-bereaved.”

8.20pm GMT

34 min: Leicester are sitting back and challenging Sevilla to open them up. Their shape has been good, although it must be said that Sevilla have been disappointing.

8.17pm GMT

32 min: Mercado drives a cross into the area from the right. Schmeichel has to push it over the bar. The corner comes to nothing. “Don’t forget Craigslist, favourite haunt of creepy middle aged men looking for younger women,” says Bill Zull.

8.16pm GMT

30 min: Sevilla have woken up, all right. The ball’s headed back into the Leicester area. Huth and Morgan leave it to each other, allowing Ben Yedder to nip in and let fly with his right foot. His shot flashes wide of the near post, though. “Please tell Jason Onerheim that Richard III was written by William Craig,” says Geoff Wignall.

8.15pm GMT

29 min: Leicester need to switch on at the back. Iborra finds a pocket of space just outside the area and shoots. It’s blocked. Corner to Sevilla. The ball’s sent into the area and Fuchs heads it away. Nervy times for the disbelieving home fans.

8.14pm GMT

And boy do they make the most of that opportunity! Riyad Mahrez, a peripheral presence so far, swings in an inviting free-kick with his left foot. It flies over everyone in the middle but Morgan is alert at the far post and manages to bundle it over the line with one of his enormous thighs! The King Power Stadium erupts with an outpouring of joy! Leicester lead on away goals.

8.11pm GMT

26 min: Vardy skedaddles inside from the left. He seems to have taken a heavy touch, but he just nicks it away before Iborra comes steaming in and rashly brings him down on the left, just outside the area. This is a good opportunity for Leicester to load the Sevilla area.

8.10pm GMT

24 min: Mahrez is struggling to get on the ball at the moment. Leicester need him on the ball. He can’t get on the ball.

8.08pm GMT

23 min: Jeers greet a spell of extended Sevilla possession. The Spaniards aren’t going anywhere here, though. This is a tight game. “I’m enjoying the Famous Craigs riff,” says David Hopkins. “Why stop with that? Picking a player at random, does anyone know any famous Christians? Or any famous Fuc… Oh no, hang on..”

8.07pm GMT

21 min: Sevilla counter, Nasri lobbing a pass forward to Ben Yedder, who uses his strength to nod it down to Sarabia, arriving late to offer support. Sarabia takes a touch and drags a shot a few yards wide of the left post. “Anyone know what Sami Nasri’s girlfriend’s twitter name is?” sys Charles Antaki. “On the strength of her previous public pronouncements, I’d like to know what she thought of the ref just then.”

8.05pm GMT

20 min: “Kevin Bacon was in the movie Balto with the actor Jim Carter,” says Jason Onerheim. “Jim Carter was in the movie Richard III. Richard III was written by, you guessed it, Shakespeare!”

8.04pm GMT

19 min: Leicester have responded well to Sevilla’s early pressure and they’re looking dangerous when they attack. Simpson bursts down the right and lofts a high cross towards the far post. Rico unconvincingly pats it away.

8.03pm GMT

18 min: Nasri, presumably miffed to have had that free-kick taken off him by Rami, boots Ndidi up into the air in a harmless position on the left. He’s booked. “He might be a Craig but what do you reckon his real surname to be?” says Geoff Wignall. “Marlowe? De Vere? Jonson? Dee?”

Craig.

8.02pm GMT

17 min: Adil Rami moves Samir Nasri aside. Then he wonks the free-kick over the bar. Here’s a song about Craigness, courtesy of Geoffrey Vivian.

8.01pm GMT

16 min: Vitolo rumbles through the middle and Ndidi bundles him over from behind around 25 yards from goal. Sevilla might fancy a shot here. Samir Nasri’s lining it up.

8.00pm GMT

15 min: Iain Gray alerts us to Wendy Craig.

7.59pm GMT

14 min: “In America, where I live, Craig rhymes with Greg,” says Simon Kaplan. “There’s a small town in Scotland called Craigmillar. Does that count?”

7.57pm GMT

12 min: Fuchs chucks the throw to the area. It sails above everyone. It’s a shame Rory Delap never played in the Champions League.

7.57pm GMT

11 min: Leicester begin to squeeze Sevilla and Albrighton’s bustling earns a corner on the left. Albrighton swings it in and Ndidi almost gets his head to the ball in the six-yard box. Sevilla clear as far as the edge of the area, where Mahrez is lurking. His shot’s deflected by Iborra and spins off for a throw on the left.

7.55pm GMT

10 min: CRAIG.

7.54pm GMT

9 min: “Even more amazing, Craig Shakespeare has the same first name as Craig David, Craig Charles and Craig Douglas,” notes Kevin Ryan. “And get this, his first name is the same as the current surname of the present star of James Bond movies. Impressive, huh?”

Please send me examples of further famous Craigs.

7.53pm GMT

8 min: Okazaki wriggles mischievously on the right, but he can’t shake off Vitolo. Despite his attempts to win a corner, Sevilla end up with a goal-kick.

7.52pm GMT

6 min: Sevilla are beginning to get a feel for the ball. Leicester might have to endure long spells without the ball tonight. That might suit them, though. As everyone but Pep Guardiola knows, they love playing on the break.

7.51pm GMT

4 min: Sarabia clips a ball into the area from the light. Nasri steps in front of Morgan at the near post, skipping away from the Leicester captain with a fine first touch before rapping a shot goalwards with his second. Schmeichel brilliantly turns it behind for a corner. What a save. Sevilla are already creating chances, though, and that has to be a worry for Leicester. The Spaniards don’t look intimidated at all.

7.49pm GMT

3 min: Nasri slides a pass towards the onrushing Ben Yedder, who threatens to burst through on goal, only for Huth to step in with a superb challenge.

7.47pm GMT

2 min: Did you know that Craig Shakespeare has the same surname as William Shakespeare?

7.46pm GMT

And we’re off! Leicester, kicking from left to right and all in blue, get the game underway. The noise is deafening. Sevilla are in white shirts and shorts and red socks.

7.42pm GMT

Here come the teams! The King Power Stadium is rocking and it’s a sea of blue and white in the stands. It’s almost time. But first, the Champions League anthem.

7.41pm GMT

Leicester are unchanged for the third game running under Craig Shakesperare. 4-4-2, back to basics, plenty of hard running, get it to Mahrez and Vardy – you know the drill. There’s still no place in the 18 for Ahmed Musa, though.

Sevilla have made eight changes from the 1-1 draw with Leganes. Mercado, Pareja, Iborra, N’Zonzi, Escudero, Vitolo, Ben Yedder and Nasri all come in.

7.37pm GMT

Everyone at the Guardian was shocked to hear that our colleague, Dan Lucas, suddenly passed away on Sunday. Dan was a talented member of our live blogging team on the sports desk and a good-hearted soul. I’m sure that his family and loved ones will appreciate the following messages from our readers.

“Very sad to hear the news about Dan Lucas,” Ian Copestake says. “If there is something as grand as an OBO/MBM community, then he was an important part of it and will be greatly missed among those who circulate within it.”

6.54pm GMT

Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs; Albrighton, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Mahrez; Okazaki, Vardy. Subs: Zieler, Chilwell, Amartey, King, Gray, Slimani, Ulloa.

Sevilla: Rico; Mercado, Rami, Pareja; Sarabia, Iborra, N’Zonzi, Escudero; Vitolo, Ben Yedder, Nasri. Subs: Soria, Ferreira, Kranevitter, Correa, Jovetic, Vazquez, Lenglet.

1.29pm GMT

The players of Leicester City have probably spent most of the day debating whether it would actually be wise to beat Sevilla. Just imagine the moral outrage if those ungrateful so and so’s have the temerity to reach the last eight of the Champions League less than a month after sticking the knife into dear old Claudio, the saintliest saint who ever sainted. No, it just won’t do. The only way for these scoundrels to regain our trust and respect – for what else could possibly be more important – is to do the gentlemanly thing, roll over and let Sevilla whoop them 10-0.

Thing is, though, these professional footballers who have been portrayed as the lowest of the low also happen to be the champions of England. Perhaps, then, we can grudgingly admit that they do have some good qualities. And maybe now everyone’s calmed down, might it be possible for us to acknowledge that while nobody can take away Claudio Ranieri’s achievements last season, the Italian’s magic had worn off long before the time he was handed his P45 (and an enviable severance package)? The truth is that Leicester were going down under Ranieri. It was time for a change. Players who looked lost and confused a month ago have been rejuvenated under

Roberto Di Matteo
Craig Shakespeare and Leicester have won two games on the bounce since parting company with Ranieri. Stretch that winning streak to three matches here and they could keep their European Cup dream alive. Worth the hassle? Worth the hassle.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/mar/14/leicester-city-v-sevilla-champions-league-last-16-second-leg-live

Mar 13

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: FA Cup – as it happened

N’Golo Kanté scored from long range to earn Chelsea a place in the FA Cup semi-finals, after Ander Herrera was sent off for two yellow cards

9.56pm GMT

Related: N’Golo Kanté sends Chelsea past 10-man Manchester United in FA Cup

9.41pm GMT

Jose Mourinho is on the pitch congratulating his players and applauding the away end. I suspect he’ll have a few things to say about the officiating in his press conference. Complaining about Ander Herrera’s red card won’t change anything, though, and it’s Chelsea who go through thanks to N’Golo Kante’s goal in the second half. Thanks for emailing and reading. Join me for coverage of the semi-final draw elsewhere. Bye.

Related: FA Cup semi-final draw – live!

9.39pm GMT

It’s all over! N’Golo Kante’s winner has sent Chelsea into the last four of the FA Cup!

9.38pm GMT

90 min+5: Get Iniesta on.

9.37pm GMT

90 min+4: Costa finally leaves the field. Batshuayi is on.

9.36pm GMT

90 min+3: Chelsea are bringing Costa off. He’ll take his sweet time about it.

9.34pm GMT

90 min+1: Rashford, who’s still running, peels away from Luiz on the left. Cahill clears his cross. Chelsea storm up the other end and De Gea saves Fabregas’s drive.

9.33pm GMT

90 min: There will be four added minutes.

9.32pm GMT

89 min: Kurt Zouma replaces Victor Moses. He’s immediately into the thick of things, winning a header against Pogba in the Chelsea area.

9.31pm GMT

88 min: Victor Moses is down receiving treatment.

9.30pm GMT

87 min: Diego Costa loses his cool at last and catches Jones late. He’s booked.

9.28pm GMT

85 min: Chelsea counter, Costa spraying it out to Alonso on the left, but Valencia puts his low centre behind before it reaches Hazard.

9.26pm GMT

82 min: A rare United attack ends with a loose ball running to Pogba, who skims a shot a few yards wide of the left post. “As a United fan, may I please remind everyone that N’Golo Kante’s transfer fee (£29M) was one-third of Paul Pogba’s (£89M)?” says Brian Gallaway. “Which of those two has been three times the better player this game, much less this season?”

9.24pm GMT

80 min: Pogba finally makes a meaningful contribution, hauling Kante down. The break in play allows Chelsea to bring on Cesc Fabregas for Willian. Manchester United make their second change, cup specialist Jesse Lingard on for Ashley Young.

9.22pm GMT

79 min: Jesse Lingard is getting ready to come on.

9.21pm GMT

78 min: Valencia jumps into a tackle on Kante. He is very lucky not to be booked. Michael Oliver tells him to calm down. Moments later, Young hacks Moses down from behind and earns a yellow card.

9.20pm GMT

77 min: Young gifts Chelsea a corner on the right with an errant header. It’s cleared.

9.19pm GMT

75 min: Rojo sells himself by going to ground, allowing Willian to skip round him on the right. Willian flashes a low ball into the middle but Costa can’t make contact with the ball in the six yard box and United live on.

9.17pm GMT

74 min: United can’t cross the halfway line. “What do you think is in the part of Diego Costa’s brain where his shame is supposed to be?” says JR in Illinois.

9.16pm GMT

73 min: Kante threads a pass through to Willian on the right. The Brazilian turns and shoots viciously towards the near post. De Gea pushes it over. The danger for Chelsea is giving United hope if they don’t kill this off with a second goal.

9.14pm GMT

71 min: The game is being played exclusively in United’s half.

9.13pm GMT

70 min: “Whether you have sympathy or not for them changes little or nothing,” says Dael Morris. “The referee is required to apply the rules, not some fancy of the fans’ making.”

He did apply the rules. A player got booked for a foul.

9.11pm GMT

68 min: Moses swings in a deep cross from the right. Jones heads behind for a Chelsea corner.Nothing comes from it.

9.10pm GMT

67 min: Willian lobs a pass over to the top to Costa. He’s offside. The whistle blows. Rojo barges him over anyway and Costa goes down like he’s broken his leg. These two will come to blows before the final whistle. They’re both trying to get each other sent off.

9.08pm GMT

65 min: Hazard decides to try his luck from long range. His luck’s out.

9.07pm GMT

63 min: Costa goes down in the United area, looking for a penalty, but it’s an expert challenge from Rojo.

9.06pm GMT

62 min: N’Golo Kante finds himself with the ball on the edge of the United area again. He tricks his way past Fellaini and the crowd urges him to shoot again. Instead he tees up Willian, who bends one inches over from 20 yards. De Gea wouldn’t have saved that.

9.05pm GMT

60 min: From there, Chelsea break, N’Golo Kante storming upfield with options left and right. He opts to play it to Matic on the left, but his pass just forces the Serbian a tad wide, stalling his momentum. He chips it to the far post and Hazard wins a corner. Willian flashes it to the near post, where the unmarked Costa somehow heads wide.

9.04pm GMT

59 min: Chris Smalling Beckenbauers out of defence and clumps a ball down the left. David Luiz steps out of defence, ready to chest it clear, but then apparently has a flashback to Belo Horizonte in 2014 and runs off in tears, leaving Rashford to run the isolated Cahill. He’s got the beating off the England defender, twisting him this way and that and leaving him for dead before sizing up Thibaut Courtois. He tries to slide it underneath the Belgian and this looks like the equaliser. But Courtois sticks out a leg to divert it wide! What a save!

9.00pm GMT

57 min: “Michael Oliver was in charge of the FA Cup QF game against Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2015,” says Admir Pajic. “He sent off Di Maria and United lost 2:1. Is there a pattern or we need a red card for Marouane Fellaini in FA Cup 2019 for confirmation?”

8.59pm GMT

56 min: Azpilicueta has another shot from 25 yards. It flies over again.

8.58pm GMT

55 min: It was a surprise to see De Gea beaten from that range. Kante’s shot was accurate, but he didn’t hit it especially viciously. I think De Gea was slow to react.

8.56pm GMT

53 min: How on earth are United going to score?

8.56pm GMT

Chelsea probe for a while, searching for a way through. Manchester United look so solid. Where’s the gap? Eventually the ball comes to N’Golo Kante, 25 yards out. Paul Pogba’s let him go. Kante takes a touch and then whips a low shot into the bottom right corner, seemingly taking De Gea by surprise.

8.53pm GMT

50 min: Azpilicueta wastefully shoots miles over from 25 yards.

8.52pm GMT

49 min: This is going to be attack versus defence all the way, until Manchester United win 1-0 on penalties.

8.50pm GMT

47 min: “The rules don’t allow you to make an example of someone who didn’t contravene them.” says Dael Morris.

I have absolutely no sympathy for Ander Herrera or Jose Mourinho. It’s not unusual to see someone booked for persistent fouling anyway.

8.49pm GMT

46 min: Manchester United get the second half underway. “This game resembles a Man Utd vs Chelsea game of Ferguson-Mourinho days, which says a lot about Jose,” says Ben Simmons. “His systematic dismantling of club footballing traditions as a means to satisfy his niggling-foul fetish really needs to come to an end. That instant replacing of Mkhitaryan with Fellaini just about sums it up. The man is sick. Props to Michael Oliver for the decision.”

8.47pm GMT

“Lots of talking points after an exciting half but yet again the same old issue raises it’s head to detract from the football being played…what on earth is going on with Darmians beard?” says John Delaney.

8.46pm GMT

The second Herrera booking wasn’t worth a booking in isolation, but it needs to be viewed in context. Phil Jones had fouled Hazard around 0.00001 seconds earlier and Michael Oliver had spotted that they were doing it on rotation. Oh well. “This first half fouling extraganza from United reminds me of the time Mourinho’s Madrid players took turns fouling Messi in one of the 173 Clasicos between him and Pep,” says Nas Iqbal. “They rarely finished with 11 men.”

8.35pm GMT

Michael Oliver peeps his whistle. Ander Herrera’s red card has left Manchester United in something of a pickle.

8.31pm GMT

45 min+1: There will be two added minutes. “A ten-man, backs-against-the-wall war of attrition against a club that sacked him,” says Justin Kavanagh. “Is there a game that the Moudy one would love to win more than this?”

8.31pm GMT

45 min: Pogba relieves some of the pressure on United with a driving run. Kante stops him.

8.29pm GMT

43 min: “Since Mourinho’s plan was, obviously, to kick Hazard out of the game, he can have no complaints,” Lou Roper said. “Indeed, Mr Oliver has been rather too patient.”

8.28pm GMT

42 min: Costa lays the ball off to the onrushing Willian, who trips over his own feet. No penalty. “Stone wall red card, clear second yellow, in my view,” says Chris Goddard. “Michael Oliver had literally JUST finished warning them about persistent fouls on Hazard. Five seconds later, a blatant trip. Only one choice…”

8.27pm GMT

41 min: Conte completely lost it after that foul on Alonso. He was screaming in Mourinho’s face. I don’t think Conte screaming at you would be a pleasant experience. The fourth official managed to keep the pair of them apart, though, and Michael Oliver’s trying to calm things down. Tempers are frayed.

8.26pm GMT

40 min: Victor Moses lets fly with a fierce effort from the right of the area, but it soars over the bar.

8.25pm GMT

39 min: Off camera, Conte and Mourinho have clashed on the touchline. It came after Valencia fouled Alonso on the left.

8.24pm GMT

37 min: Marouane Fellaini replaces Henrikh Mkhitaryan. United still have a free-kick to defend. It’s tossed high into the middle and De Gea punches it clear before going down after catching an accidental elbow from Costa – if such a thing exists – in the ribs. He needs some treatment.

8.23pm GMT

35 min: Manchester United are down to 10 men! There had been a whiff of this in the air. Phil Jones had just received a final warning from Michael Oliver for bundling Hazard over. Play resumed, Hazard set off on another dribble and Herrera, already on a booking, trips him from behind. Foolish. Mourinho is smirking, United are fuming, but they’ve paid for too many fouls.

8.19pm GMT

34 min: “I’m really not a fan of Cahill on the left side of defence,” says Leo Madden. “He is not mobile or good on the ball and struggles to do anything meaningful with the ball. I can’t see Conte sticking with him in the long term, as good as the defence has been this season.”

8.19pm GMT

32 min: Some Chelsea fans were telling Mourinho to eff off a few moments ago. He responded by

gouging them all in the eye
reminding them that he won them three titles.

8.16pm GMT

30 min: Phil Jones tackles Kante cleanly, but the ball runs to Hazard, who’s lost his shadow. He skedaddles into the area, but blazes high and wide.

8.15pm GMT

28 min: “Is Jones man-marking Hazard?” says JR in Illinois. “I sense no danger… But seriously, Phil Jones is a menace. I figure Mourinho is hoping he hurts an opponent as opposed to himself or a teammate. I’ve never seen him hurt a referee though so Michael Oliver should be okay.”

I think United are playing with four narrow defenders, the wingers dropping deep, Herrera deep in the middle, Pogba on Kante, Mkhitaryan doing busywork and Rashford bounding around after scraps up front. It’s just like chess.

8.13pm GMT

27 min: Hazard schemes again, but Pogba nicks the ball away with a sliding tackle from behind. Michael Oliver rules that he timed it perfectly.

8.11pm GMT

25 min: You could spend the next 20 minutes trying to decipher United’s formation.

8.10pm GMT

24 min: United’s formation is still quite hard to work out. I initially thought that Jones would be in central midfield, but it looks like he’s tracking Hazard. Or at least trying to. That’s a thankless task.

8.08pm GMT

23 min: Matic shoots from 30 yards. The ball lands in the Shed Upper.

8.08pm GMT

22 min: Ander Herrera has become Jose Mourinho’s on-pitch Rui Faria, hasn’t he? I didn’t know he had it in him. But then he did manage to corrupt Xabi Alonso.

8.07pm GMT

20 min: Chelsea attack again, Eden Hazard at the heart of things and trying to play a give and go with Costa. Ander Herrera stands in Hazard’s way and blocks him off, knocking the Belgian to the floor. Michael Oliver plays the advantage and the attack breaks down when Costa confuses himself on the left. The break in play allows Oliver to book Herrera for that moment of Jose-scented cynicism.

8.05pm GMT

18 min: The Chelsea pressure subsides when Costa heads over from Willian’s corner. David De Gea, though.

8.05pm GMT

17 min: Chelsea have woken up now. Marcus Alonso volleys dangerously into the six-yard box from the left and it’s turned over by Smalling before Costa can tap it in. Chelsea continue to press, though Michael Oliver first has to sort out some nonsense between Costa and Rojo in the middle. Watch this space.

8.04pm GMT

16 min: Eden Hazard, quiet in the opening 15 minutes, suddenly comes alive, embarrassing Chris Smalling with a glorious Cruyff turn to wriggle away from the United defender. Off he goes, dribbling brilliantly through the middle. He skips past another defender, scooting to the right, and aims for the far corner with a low drive. De Gea brilliantly tips it wide. Corner to Chelsea. Willian swings it into the area and Cahill wins a wrestling match before jabbing a low drive towards the same corner. De Gea’s reflexes are magnificent again, though, and Chelsea have to settle for another corner.

8.00pm GMT

14 min: David Luiz taps the free-kick to William, who’s promptly tackled by Ashley Young. Chelsea made a right mess of that. They’re back on the front foot soon enough, though, and space opens up for Kante 20 yards from goal, but his shot’s blocked.

7.59pm GMT

13 min: Willian embarks on a mischievous dribble down the inside left flank and Darmian scythes him down from behind. He’s fortunate not to be booked.

7.58pm GMT

12 min: Marcus Rashford uses his pace to hare after a long punt up field. He’s away from David Luiz, but Cesar Azpilicueta steps across to halt him with a fine challenge. The ball breaks to Mkhitaryan, though, and he has a go from 20 yards. His low shot fizzes just wide.

7.57pm GMT

11 min: Cahill sends a pass down the left flank. It rolls straight out of play for a throw.

7.55pm GMT

10 min: United have started impressively. They’re pressing high and squeezing Chelsea, who look a bit confused at the moment.

7.53pm GMT

8 min: Chelsea haven’t got into their flow yet. United are working hard to keep a solid shape and restrict their options.

7.52pm GMT

6 min: The Manchester United fans are having a lovely sing-song in the away end. It’s great to see the underdogs get their big day out in the FA Cup.

7.51pm GMT

5 min: Diego Costa bumps into Ander Herrera on the halfway line. They shake hands like a right pair of gentlemen.

7.50pm GMT

4 min: It’s Chelsea’s turn to attack, Willian probing on the right and finding Nemanja Matic on the edge of the area. He shuffles it to the left for Marcos Alonso, but the Spaniard can’t find Eden Hazard.

7.48pm GMT

2 min: Manchester United haven’t conceded after 30 seconds. That’s another sign of their progress under Jose Mourinho. They’ve also started well here, winning a corner on the right. Ashley Young whips it in, but Rojo heads over. Meanwhile they’ve not lined up in a 3-4-3 system. Instead it’s 4-2-3-1, with Phil Jones in central midfield, a role he performed with distinction against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid four years ago.

7.46pm GMT

And we’re off! Chelsea, in their blue home strip, get the ball rolling. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. The first task for Manchester United is to go one better than the league game and not concede after 30 seconds.

7.45pm GMT

The teams are out and that means it’s time for the Liquidator. And almost time for kick-off.

7.42pm GMT

Jose Mourinho’s calling Chelsea defensive again in a BBC interview. Antonio Conte disagrees. For what it’s worth, Chelsea have scored 18 more goals than United in the league this season.

Related: Chelsea’s Antonio Conte: I never, ever, ever train for the counterattack

7.40pm GMT

It’s been 18 years since Dwight Yorke’s double at Stamford Bridge kept Manchester United on course for the treble.

7.24pm GMT

Jose Mourinho – the man who stole the show. pic.twitter.com/BNKnGWTVRT

6.59pm GMT

Despite making two changes, Chelsea aren’t playing a weakened team at all. Antonio Conte hasn’t allowed sentiment to cloud his judgement and there’s no start for John Terry, even though this could be his final FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge. Willian and Nemanja Matic are the players to come in from the win at West Ham last Monday, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas dropping to the bench,

As for Manchester United, it looks like Jose Mourinho has replicated Conte’s 3-4-3 system. Or it could be 7-0-3. Or 7-2-1. Or 7-3-0. Or 10-0-0. Alternatives are that it’s a 4-2-3-1, either with Matteo Darmian at right-back or central midfield. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are nowhere to be seen, of course, but United haven’t had to stoop so low as putting Marouane Fellaini up front. Instead it turns out Marcus Rashford isn’t ill after all. That Mourinho. He’s made fools of us all!

6.55pm GMT

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Costa, Hazard. Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Chalobah, Fabregas, Pedro, Batshuayi.

Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Rojo; Valencia, Herrera, Pogba, Darmian; Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Young. Subs: Romero, Bailly, Blind, Lingard, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata.

6.46pm GMT

Scrap the entire preamble! Despite suffering from the sniffles, Marcus Rashford starts up front for Manchester United. I’ll have the full team news shortly.

10.26am GMT

Hello. It’s always satisfying to see your ex in a miserable state. But while Chelsea are smitten with their youthful, energetic, handsome Italian manager these days, they would be wise not to become complacent if Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge looking like Tony Soprano in the midst of one of his misery bouts, complete with unkempt hair, crumbs in his beard, and ketchup stains on his dressing gown. They’ll point and whisper and snigger at how he’s let himself go. Remember how dashing he used to be? To think he used to make us go weak at the knees.

Manchester United have travelled down to Stamford Bridge for this FA Cup quarter-final in the position of world’s most unlikeliest underdogs. They don’t exactly belong in the same category as your Lincolns or Millwalls, but they do have problems, namely a total lack of anyone to play up front. The, er, Ferguson Association has banned Zlatan Ibrahimovic for resting his elbow on Tyrone Mings’s jaw, Anthony Martial’s got a knock, Marcus Rashford’s ill and Wayne Rooney’s made the mistake of going near Phil Jones during a training session, all of which means we could be treated to the spectacle of Marouane Fellaini’s Zlatan impression. It’s Jose against the world, and life is so very unfair.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/mar/13/chelsea-v-manchester-united-fa-cup-live

Mar 13

FA Cup semi-final draw – as it happened

Chelsea were drawn against Tottenham, while Arsenal and Manchester City will meet in the other FA Cup semi-final, with the ties played on 22 and 23 April

9.52pm GMT

Prediction:

Arsenal v Tottenham Tottenham v Manchester City Chelsea v Arsenal
Chelsea v Manchester City final. But there’s only one way to be sure! They’ll have to play those semi-finals on 22 and 23 April. Bye!

9.49pm GMT

Arsenal v Manchester City

9.49pm GMT

Chelsea v Tottenham

9.49pm GMT

The balls are in the pot… THE BALLS ARE IN THE POT.

9.44pm GMT

Hello. It’s almost time for the semi-final draw. Chelsea have just joined Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham in the last four. Ah, the romance.

10.27am GMT

It’s an all-star cast of Premier League heavyweights in the FA Cup semi-finals but who will be paired together? Here are your balls:

Related: Premier League and FA Cup: talking points from the weekend’s action

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/mar/13/fa-cup-semi-final-draw-live

Mar 12

Chelsea’s Antonio Conte: I never, ever, ever train for the counterattack

• Conte responds to José Mourinho’s insinuations that Chelsea are defensive
• Italian does not feel timing of FA Cup quarter-final hinders Manchester United

Antonio Conte has responded to José Mourinho’s insinuations that Chelsea are a defensive team by offering an insight into his methods on the training ground and insisting that he is not a coach who focuses on counterattacking football.

Related: Chelsea v Manchester United: match preview

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/12/chelsea-antonio-conte-i-never-train-for-counterattack-jose-mourinho-fa-cup-manchester-united

Mar 10

Antonio Conte will stay exuberant when Chelsea face Manchester United

• United’s José Mourinho was angered by Conte during October’s 4-0 defeat
• ‘I live the game with great passion,’ Chelsea manager says. ‘It’s normal’

Antonio Conte will not tone down his touchline exuberance when Chelsea renew hostilities with Manchester United on Monday night despite José Mourinho accusing the Italian of trying to humiliate him when the teams met in October.

Mourinho was less than impressed with the way his replacement at Stamford Bridge behaved when the league leaders thrashed United at Stamford Bridge. Facing his old side for the first time since his sacking in December 2015, Mourinho was infuriated by Conte whipping up the home support after N’Golo Kanté made it 4-0 to Chelsea. United’s manager, speaking in Italian, appeared to tell Conte he should behave like that “at 1-0, not at 4-0” and backroom staff of both clubs clashed in the tunnel after the final whistle.

Related: José Mourinho accuses Antonio Conte of humiliating him after Chelsea defeat

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/10/antonio-conte-chelsea-manchester-united-jose-mourinho-celebrations-football

Mar 07

More money, more football, but are we now reaching saturation point? | Jacob Steinberg

BT Sport has gambled on the Champions League with a new £1.18bn deal but could the competition’s predictability lead to more people switching off?

Before this gets mistaken for a nostalgic lament about the good old days on ITV, it is worth pointing out that BT Sport has done a good job of broadcasting the Champions League since wrenching the rights from Sky in 2013, offering a slick, professional product that looks and feels the part. Lengthy analysis, access to every game, a warm as-it-happens goals show hosted by James Richardson and astute use of social media arguably represents value for money. Yet, despite all those advances, that nagging sense that people might be about to switch off won’t go away.

There are few better bargaining chips than live sport, which is why BT has been accused of squeezing customers to fund its increasingly intense battle with Sky. The telecoms giant has parted with £1.18bn to secure the exclusive rights for Champions League and Europa League football until 2021, a 32% increase on the cost of the current three-year deal, and it has announced its third price hike in 18 months, including higher costs for broadband and calls and a new £3.50 a month charge to subscribe to BT Sport.

Related: BT denies squeezing customers after paying £1.2bn for Champions League

Related: BT’s £1.2bn Champions League splurge is price of staying in Sky game

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/07/bt-sport-champions-league-money-football-saturation-point

Mar 06

West Ham United 1-2 Chelsea: Premier League – as it happened

Chelsea moved 10 points clear at the top of the table thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa

9.56pm GMT

The scoreline is slightly deceptive. It makes the game look closer than it was. Chelsea were always comfortable and declared after going 2-0 up early in the second half. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa got the goals and next for the leaders is the visit of Manchester United in the FA Cup next Monday. West Ham were poor despite Manuel Lanzini’s late consolation. They stay 11th, behind Southampton on goal difference. Thanks for reading and emailing. Bye.

Related: Chelsea restore 10-point lead at top of Premier League after win at West Ham

9.54pm GMT

That’s it. Chelsea move 10 points clear at the top of the table.

9.53pm GMT

90 min+3: There’s surely not enough time left for West Ham to find an equaliser.

9.52pm GMT

The comeback’s on! Andre Ayew dribbles through the middle and manages to work it to Lanzini in space on the right of the area. He hammers it low past Courtois.

9.51pm GMT

90 min: There will be three minutes of added time, meaning there’s enough time for me to calmly note that the London Stadium is a sick joke.

9.49pm GMT

89 min: Carroll almost makes contact with a cross for the first time, but doesn’t.

9.45pm GMT

86 min: Costa is down and he’s angry. He soon gets to his feet. Obviously he’s still angry.

9.43pm GMT

83 min: “Andy Carroll can’t jump?” says Peter Oh. “That can’t be good for his valuation in the Chinese Super League. However, his apparent ability to perform stepovers should ensure that his price tag stays above the 30 million quid mark.”

9.41pm GMT

82 min: Willian gives Fabregas a sight of goal. He can’t believe he sidefoots over.

9.40pm GMT

80 min: The ground is emptying.

9.36pm GMT

77 min: Edimilson Fernandes replaces Mark Noble. West Ham have used their three subs now.

9.36pm GMT

76 min: Chelsea make their final change, Kurt Zouma on for Victor Moses.

9.34pm GMT

75 min: Chelsea bring on Willian for Eden Hazard.

9.34pm GMT

74 min: Carroll has barely been able to jump tonight. Is he even fit? Anyway, Noble gets through some nice work on the left, but sees his low ball blocked behind for a corner.

9.32pm GMT

72 min: Very little of any note is taking place.

9.30pm GMT

71 min: Obiang skews a shot well wide from 25 yards.

9.27pm GMT

67 min: Hazard superbly flicks a pass in between two West Ham defenders and finds Costa, who spins and lets fly with a vicious shot, all in one movement. The Chelsea fans are already celebrating, but Randolph somehow tips wide for a corner.

9.26pm GMT

66 min: Huff. Puff.

9.24pm GMT

65 min: Nemanja Matic replaces Pedro.

9.24pm GMT

64 min: West Ham bring on Andre Ayew and Sam Byram for Sofiane Feghouli and the limping Winston Reid.

9.23pm GMT

63 min: Both teams are preparing substitutions.

9.22pm GMT

61 min: From Snodgrass’s corner, Courtois flaps and Chelsea lose their composure a little. West Ham keep it alive in the area, Snodgrass chipping to the far post again, and after an air shot from Fonte, Feghouli controls and lashes it goalwards. His shot beats Courtois, but there’s Moses on the ball to clear. West Ham continue to hammer on the door, though, and when Reid lobs the ball into the middle from the left, Fonte heads just over. That’s the closest West Ham have come.

9.19pm GMT

60 min: Snodgrass races on to Lanzini’s cute pass and wins a corner off Azpilicueta.

9.17pm GMT

57 min: Chelsea have killed this off so crushingly. They let West Ham have their fun, but on their terms. Then they pounced.

9.15pm GMT

56 min: West Ham have lost all conviction.

9.13pm GMT

54 min: Carroll does a stepover, just because, and shoots from 25 yards. His effort lands on the top of the net.

9.12pm GMT

53 min: Alonso tricks his way past Fonte brilliantly but he’s stretching as he shoots and prods a few yards wide of the far post.

9.11pm GMT

52 min: Lanzini hopefully shoots from 25 yards. But no.

9.10pm GMT

Game over. Fabregas’s corner is headed on by Obiang at the near post and Diego Costa nudges it over the line from close range. Awful defending. Everyone can go home.

9.09pm GMT

50 min: A West Ham attack breaks down and Chelsea break, Hazard outrageously back-flicking the ball to a team-mate. They surge up field and Alonso wins a corner on the left. And…

9.08pm GMT

49 min: Kante gives the ball away – we are contractually obliged to call this an “uncharacteristic error” – and Snodrgass wins a corner on the left. He takes it. But he mishits it.

9.07pm GMT

47 min: There are lot of empty seats inside the London Stadium.

9.05pm GMT

46 min: West Ham get the second half underway.

8.56pm GMT

On Sky, Jamie Carragher cannot fathom why West Ham’s defenders went up for the free-kick before Chelsea’s goal when Manuel Lanzini was lining up a shot. It’s a fair question.

8.49pm GMT

This is what inevitability feels like.

8.49pm GMT

45 min+4: “I think that Chelsea kit is ‘light black’ rather than ‘dark blue’, unless you’re a tetrachromat or something like that..?” says JJ.

8.48pm GMT

45 min+3: Snodgrass’s free-kick is cleared and Chelsea are off again. Hazard leads the lightning charge, finding Costa, who shuffles it on to Alonso. But the Spaniard’s crowded out. West Ham get away with it.

8.47pm GMT

45 min+2: Cesc Fabregas picks up the first booking for barging Cresswell over. Snodgrass will swing this in.

8.46pm GMT

45 min+1: There will be four minutes of stoppage time.

8.45pm GMT

45 min: Cresswell hobbles back on. He’s quickly back into the swing of things, deflecting a Moses cross behind for a corner.

8.44pm GMT

44 min: Cresswell seemed to jar his knee while blocking Moses’s shot. West Ham are down to 10 men for the time being. They’ll do everything they can not to get Arthur Masuaku on.

8.43pm GMT

41 min: Hazard scampers clear down the left, Jose Fonte wandering off for a walk to grab a cup of tea and letting the Belgian skedaddle away, but he can’t find Costa in the middle. A scramble still ensues, though. Moses looks certain to score. But no! Cresswell heroically blocks his effort! Pedro has a go. Randolph beats it away and West Ham survive. But Cresswell is down in the middle. He’s hurt himself.

8.41pm GMT

40 min: Lanzini, quiet so far, suddenly shows a change of pace and combines with Noble, who cleverly tees him up for a drive from 18 yards. Lanzini should do better, but he blazes it miles over. He hit it so far over it might just have reached the second or third row behind the goal!

8.39pm GMT

39 min: Obiang loses possession to Kante in a danger area and the brilliant Chelsea midfielder threads a pass to Pedro on the right. But Obiang redeems himself with a fine challenge, just when Pedro seemed to have earned space for a shot.

8.38pm GMT

38 min: West Ham badly miss Michail Antonio’s pace and energy. He makes things happen.

8.36pm GMT

36 min: Pedro tries to find Hazard with a pass from right to left, but it’s too close to Randolph.

8.34pm GMT

34 min: For all that West Ham pressure before the goal, Chelsea didn’t once come close to conceding the opener. They are so solid.

8.32pm GMT

32 min: Feghouli does a kick straight to Hazard. Kouyate flies through the back of Hazard. An inauspicious little spell for West Ham.

8.29pm GMT

29 min: Cresswell crosses. Carroll is not in the middle.

8.28pm GMT

27 min: This is what champions do.

8.27pm GMT

For once, West Ham don’t chuck the ball into the Chelsea area and this is what happens. Mark Noble cheaply concedes possession with a poor pass, Kante inevitably stepping in, and Chelsea are finally off. For the first time, they’ve got pace and for the first time, they’ve got their flow. Eden Hazard scoots off with menace high on his agenda, swaps passes with Pedro, rounds Darren Randolph and slides it into the empty net. This is utterly ruthless. Chelsea have done very little in attack and now look!

8.25pm GMT

25 min: Lanzini kerblammos his effort straight into the wall. And…

8.24pm GMT

24 min: Obiang pings a fine pass out to Cresswell on the left. One touch, cross. Cahill heads away from Carroll. Chelsea can’t properly clear their lines, though, and West Ham win a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Send for Payet!

8.22pm GMT

22 min: Snodgrass’s free-kick is a waste, easily claimed by Courtois.

8.21pm GMT

21 min: Carroll dribbles through the middle, like a dancing horse, but Kante brings him down around 40 yards from goal. Just as well, there were only three Chelsea defenders back to deal with him.

8.21pm GMT

20 min: Costa momentarily finds space on the edge of the area, but Fonte is firm with him. West Ham’s intensity has been so impressive. Whether they can maintain it remains to be seen. And Chelsea have dealt with this kind of thing before.

8.19pm GMT

18 min: Snodgrass hoists it high to the far post. Cahill and Carroll challenge for it. The Chelsea man heads it behind. Snodgrass sends in a curling inswinger this time. Kouyate attacks it and Courtois looks uncertain, but Moses heads it away. Moments later, Kouyate gets a bit too excited and fouls David Luiz.

8.17pm GMT

17 min: Snodgrass finds space on the left again, Lanzini picking him out. His cross is poor, though. West Ham win back possession. Snodgrass schemes on the left again. This time he wins a corner.

8.16pm GMT

16 min: Carroll hares off after a Randolph punt and throws himself into an aerial challenge, beating Azpilicueta to the ball and nodding it to Snodgrass. The winger knows his job. He doesn’t take long to lob a cross into the area. But it’s not in Carroll’s vicinity. Feghouli picks up possession on the right. Back to Noble. Another cross. David Luiz heads clear.

8.14pm GMT

14 min: Chelsea probe for a while. West Ham deal with a couple of hopeful high balls into their area.

8.12pm GMT

12 min: Snodgrass burrows down the left wing, in the style a man named Snodgrass does, and somehow manages to force his way past a couple of Chelsea challenges. David Luiz squeezes him out, though.

8.10pm GMT

10 min: Gary Cahill’s torn his shirt. He’ll need a new one. It’s all happening.

8.09pm GMT

9 min: West Ham have started brightly here and Chelsea look content to sit back and absorb the pressure for the time being.

8.08pm GMT

8 min: Snodgrass finally whips the corner in from the right, but Courtois acrobatically pushes it away and Chelsea look to counter. A loose pass lets West Ham off the hook, though. With the ball out of play, Carroll’s allowed back on.

8.07pm GMT

7 min: Carroll is still receiving treatment. I doubt he’ll be allowed to stay on for the corner, which is precisely what West Ham don’t need.

8.06pm GMT

6 min: West Ham enjoy a decent spell of possession and Kouyate slips a pass down the right to Feghouli, who lifts a cross towards Carroll. This is the kind of delivery the big man needs. But, er, Victor Moses beats him to it and clobbers Carroll on the nose for good measure. The loose ball comes to Cresswell, who sees his shot deflected wide for a corner. Before it can be taken, though, Carroll will need some treatment. He’s got a bloody nose.

8.03pm GMT

4 min: Fabregas tosses the free-kick into the West Ham area, but it’s too high and Randolph claims the cross.

8.03pm GMT

3 min: Chelsea attack down the left, Hazard sneaking forward. Kouyate brings him down.

8.02pm GMT

2 min: There’s a fine old atmosphere out there. The West Ham fans are advising their Chelsea counterparts about places to put blue flags, but this is a family website, so we’ll leave it there.

8.01pm GMT

And we’re off! Chelsea, in their dark blue away strip, get the game underway. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half and instantly look to catch West Ham by surprise, David Luiz launching a huge raking pass forward for Pedro. Winston Reid’s out of position, but Pedro can’t bring it down.

7.56pm GMT

Here they come! The players are out at the London Stadium, the bubbles are floating around the place and the match is about to begin!

7.54pm GMT

“Disturbingly, located between the team badges at the London Stadium in your photo are the eyes of Darth Maul,” says Ian Copestake. “Given the nature of his demise I hope we do not get a game of two halves.”

I thought it was Deadpool.

7.44pm GMT

It’s a question we’ve asked a lot this season…

Why have #WHUFC struggled at home?@MichailAntonio has the answer. pic.twitter.com/0EZxNYm338

7.40pm GMT

“This league is very tough,” Antonio Conte says. “To be in this position, we must be very proud.” That’s the pre-match interviews done. Not long until kick-off now.

7.39pm GMT

Slaven Bilic is running through Chelsea’s various threats. He says he’ll be starting with four at the back. “Or maybe six,” he adds with a chuckle.

7.39pm GMT

Both managers are asked about the returning Andy Carroll.

“We know what he is capable of,” Slaven Bilic says. “We are expecting a lot.”

7.29pm GMT

“You may be able to name Chelsea’s best 11 off by heart but surely they have not achieved the ultimate title contender status of being easily imagined as cartoon characters,” says Ian Copestake. “After all they’ve only got one comedy villain.”

There is a lack of comedy villains in this league. Perhaps Chelsea should sign Pepe.

7.11pm GMT

West Ham make one enforced change. They don’t have Michail Antonio’s energy in attack because of his red card against Watford, but Andy Carroll returns from a groin injury to lead the attack. He scored twice against Chelsea last season.

One area Chelsea will look to exploit will be West Ham’s weakness at right-back. Cheikhou Kouyate, who gave a penalty away against Watford, fills in at right-back. Tonight he’s up against Eden Hazard, who’s shaken off an injury concern. Chelsea are as expected. It’s always a good sign when you can name a title contender’s best 11 off by heart.

7.05pm GMT

West Ham: Randolph; Kouyate, Fonte, Reid, Cresswell; Obiang, Noble; Feghouli, Lanzini, Snodgrass; Carroll. Subs: Adrian, Collins, Masuaku, Byram, Fernandes, Ayew, Calleri.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard. Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Matic, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Batshuayi.

8.21pm GMT

Hello. Let’s see how far we can get before saying pwopa nawtee. Not that far! But hopefully that’s the last time we’ll have to pretend to be Danny Dyer. Things got a bit heated in the stands the last time Chelsea visited everyone’s favourite athletics arena, but everyone’s promised to be on their best behaviour and security has been ratcheted up to Bond Villain’s Lair Levels, so hopefully there won’t be a repeat of the disgraceful scenes that marred October’s League Cup tie.

West Ham won that match, of course, on a rare enjoyable outing for them in their weird new home. But that was against a slightly weakened Chelsea – Michy Batshuayi started – and Antonio Conte haven’t really been in the business of losing league matches against teams of West Ham’s calibre. Chelsea won’t just be out for revenge here, they’ll be desperate to respond after wins for Manchester City and Tottenham yesterday and move 10 points clear at the top with 10 games to go. It probably won’t have escaped their attention that Arsenal and Manchester City have both won heavily in Stratford this season.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/mar/06/west-ham-united-v-chelsea-premier-league-live

Mar 05

Danny Drinkwater: Craig Shakespeare would be good fit as Leicester manager

• ‘Every player probably knows Shakes more than anyone else’
• Shakespeare focuses on training in Dubai after 3-1 win over Hull

Shortly after giving Leicester City the lead, Riyad Mahrez tore off in pursuit of Kamil Grosicki, sprinting after the Hull City winger in an attempt to stop him breaking clear down the left flank. Danny Simpson had sold himself and Grosicki was threatening to break clear near the halfway line. Mahrez, however, was determined not to let him advance any further, chasing back, covering for his floundering team-mate and dispossessing Grosicki. The crowd applauded. So did Simpson.

Related: Riyad Mahrez revives the old magic as renewed Leicester sink Hull City

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/05/danny-drinkwater-craig-shakespeare-good-fit-leicester-manager-hull-city

Mar 05

Sunderland v Manchester City: Premier League – as it happened

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane moved Manchester City up to third, eight points behind Chelsea, while Sunderland remain bottom

6.24pm GMT

Related: David Silva runs the show as Manchester City waltz past Sunderland–

5.50pm GMT

Martin Atkinson’s final whistle confirms the inevitable. Goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane move Manchester City up to third, eight points behind Chelsea. Sunderland remain bottom, six points behind Crystal Palace in 17th place with 11 matches left. Thanks for reading and emailing. Bye.

5.48pm GMT

90 min: There will be three minutes of stoppage time.

5.46pm GMT

89 min: Fabian Delph replaces Leroy Sane.

5.45pm GMT

88 min: Sane finds Aguero on the edge of the area. He hits this one viciously, but Pickford brilliantly pushes it wide.

5.43pm GMT

87 min: Nolito shoots straight at Pickford from 18 yards.

5.41pm GMT

84 min: City steam up the other end and Sane and De Bruyne combine to release Aguero, who rams a shot straight at Pickford.

5.40pm GMT

83 min: Jermain Defoe nods past Willy Caballero. He’s miles offside.

5.39pm GMT

82 min: Nolito – remember him? – replaces Raheem Sterling. And Wahbi Khazri replaces Adnan Januzaj.

5.37pm GMT

80 min: This is walking football.

5.34pm GMT

78 min: Kevin de Bruyne replaces Yaya Toure, which seems cruel and unfair on Sunderland.

5.33pm GMT

76 min: City are barely allowing Sunderland a touch.

5.31pm GMT

74 min: The brilliant Sane surges, twists and turns on the left. Jones just does enough to put the German off. He probably should have shot earlier. He settles for a corner.

5.30pm GMT

73 min: Pickford assertively charges out to boot clear before Sane can race on to a through ball.

5.27pm GMT

70 min: Yaya Toure lines one up from 25 yards. High. Wide.

5.25pm GMT

69 min: Darron Gibson is down with an injury. Luckily David Moyes has another former Everton midfielder on the bench. Jack Rodwell replaces him.

5.24pm GMT

68 min: Oviedo dinks a cross into the middle from the left. Januzaj glances wide.

5.24pm GMT

67 min: As Aston Villa found out, it catches up with you in the end. This looks like the season for Sunderland.

5.21pm GMT

64 min: David Silva is being allowed far too much space. He’s killing Sunderland with those little soft-shoe dribbles. They can expect further punishment if they don’t get closer to him.

5.19pm GMT

63 min: David Moyes: beleaguered.

5.19pm GMT

62 min: Manchester City’s fans are serenading Pep Guardiola. Sunderland’s are not serenading Pep Guardiola.

5.17pm GMT

61 min: From the resulting corner, Kone heads straight at Caballero.

5.17pm GMT

60 min: Sunderland look for an instant response. But Caballero saves Larsson’s low drive from the right with his feet.

5.16pm GMT

You’re always going to be in trouble if you give David Silva the freedom of the park. Sunderland allow the Spanish magician to advance through the middle and he sends Leroy Sane through on the left of the area. He speeds clear, fires past Pickford and sees his shot go in off the inside of the far post.

5.14pm GMT

57 min: City toy with Sunderland on the edge of the area on the right until Sterling tees up Silva, who drives a shot towards the far corner. Pickford pushes it away.

5.13pm GMT

56 min: Oviedo catches Sterling heavily from behind. Martin Atkinson settles for a lecture.

5.12pm GMT

55 min: Sunderland’s players keep running offside. Which is sub-optimal.

5.09pm GMT

52 min: Niall Quinn has just paid Manchester City a compliment for their defensive strength, which doesn’t say a great deal for Sunderland’s attacking.

5.08pm GMT

51 min: Silva releases Sagna with a lovely pass on the right, but the full-back makes a mess of his cross. Toure doesn’t hide his frustration in the middle.

5.04pm GMT

47 min: Sunderland manage some early pressure. City hack a cross away as far as Gibson. His shot’s deflected through to Defoe, but he’s offside. The problem is that most refs are too chicken to blow for fowl throws,” notes Robin Hazlehurst.

5.03pm GMT

46 min: Sunderland get the second half underway. “Following up on the Question about Pep getting Sunderland promoted back to the Premier League, do you think if Allardyce was appointed as Rotherham’s manager he would be able to save them from certain relegation?” says Renasha Mishra. No, but you’d fancy his chances with Bristol City or Wigan.

4.47pm GMT

It’s been scrappy and Sunderland have competed fairly well, but Manchester City have Sergio Aguero.

4.46pm GMT

45 min: David Silva puts the ball in the Sunderland net at the end of a flowing break. The flag’s up for offside. Silva was onside but Sterling, tussling with a Sunderland defender in an offside position nearby, was deemed to have interfered with the play.

4.44pm GMT

44 min: I think that was City’s first shot on target. They haven’t been at their best going forward, but one clinical moment has made the difference.

4.44pm GMT

One moment it seems Willy Caballero has put Manchester City in bother, the next it’s in Sunderland’s net. Caballero looked to have put City under pressure with a poor, low clearance, but Toure helped out with a firm challenge and then powered forward on the break. He swept a pass out to Sterling, who slid a low ball towards the near post for Aguero to skip away from Kone and scoop a clever finish over Pickford.

4.41pm GMT

40 min: There’s nothing like a good discussion about foul throws.

@JacobSteinberg Lingard foul-throwed against Bournemouth yesterday!

4.39pm GMT

39 min: Defoe shows good strength on the edge of the area, turns and shoots. A deflection takes it spinning wide for a corner on the left. Larsson curls this one in and again Jones gets his head on the cross. This time his effort drops wide.

4.37pm GMT

37 min: Sane wriggles and shakes off Jones, who slips, but the German’s centre is too strong for Silva, who can’t believe he hasn’t been presented with a simple tap-in.

4.36pm GMT

36 min: Sunderland win a corner on the right. Januzaj swings it in and Jones rises highest, only for Caballero to save his downward header.

4.34pm GMT

34 min: Sterling scoots on to a magnificent pass from Yaya Toure. But the flag’s up for offside.

4.33pm GMT

33 min: “Following on from your Moyes question, here is one for you to ponder: if Sunderland went down and Pep Guardiola took over, would he get them back up again?” asks Shaun Wilkinson.

Yes.

4.32pm GMT

32 min: Aguero, peripheral so far, turns on the halfway line, looks up and sees Sane and Sterling sprinting through in front of him. Before he can release the ball, though, he slips. Martin Atkinson stops a trip by O’Shea and books the Sunderland defender.

4.30pm GMT

30 min: “Last fowl throw,” says Kireet in India. “Emre Can vs Leicester last week.”

4.28pm GMT

29 min: Sane tries to beat Kone for pace. Nope.

4.27pm GMT

27 min: Sunderland’s defending has been very organised. City are finding it difficult to pick their way through.

4.24pm GMT

25 min: When was the last time you saw a foul throw given in the Premier League?

4.24pm GMT

24 min: Gael Clichy is penalised for a foul throw. Dearie me.

4.22pm GMT

22 min: Billy Jones wins Sunderland’s first corner. They wanted a free-kick for a foul by Gael Clichy. Nothing doing. Januzaj’s corner is headed away. Up the other end, Leroy Sane scampers on to a pass inside Jones, but overruns the ball, much to Sunderland’s relief.

4.21pm GMT

20 min: The scrappiness suits Sunderland, whose intensity is rising. Jermain Defoe turns 25 yards from goal and he doesn’t need City to invite him to shoot early. He lets fly without much backlift and the ball bounces past Caballero and against the base of the right post! Borini, following up smartly, can only direct an awkward header wide with the rebound! That was a difficult chance for the Italian. The ball came back at him very quickly.

4.19pm GMT

19 min: This is quite scrappy at the moment. Neither goalkeeper has been tested yet.

4.17pm GMT

17 min: Silva takes it again, Sunderland deal with it again. Set-pieces don’t feel like the likeliest route to goal for City today.

4.16pm GMT

16 min: Sunderland can’t get out of their half at the moment. They keep conceding possession cheaply. Aguero wins a corner on the left.

4.14pm GMT

14 min: Raheem Sterling almost capitalises on a calamity at the back for Sunderland. Lamine Kone leaves a loose ball in the area, so does John O’Shea, and Jordan Pickford has to be alert to smother it before Sterling can snaffle it in.

4.12pm GMT

13 min: A free-kick to City on the left. Silva floats it in. Sunderland head it away.

4.10pm GMT

10 min: City play themselves into some bother deep on the left, but Januzaj fouls Kolarov.

4.08pm GMT

8 min: City are helping themselves to a prolonged spell of possession. Sterling wins a corner on the right. Silva’s delivery is headed away. “Your question about David Moyes – absolutely they should stick with him if they go down. Sunderland is an absolute basketcase of a club that could have gone down at any time in the past five years; that they have not gone down in any one of the last few seasons beggars belief, and that luck has to run out at some point,” says Shaun Wilkinson. “Moyes is a good manager who might be the one who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, ie the season when that luck finally does run out. If they do go down, I don’t think they could find a manager better equipped to get them back up again.”

4.06pm GMT

6 min: Kolarov chugs back on to the pitch after receiving treatment.

4.05pm GMT

4 min: Sunderland look determined to test Manchester City at the back. Borini has a shot charged down by Kolarov, who goes down winded, and the ball spins off to the right. Jones beats Clichy too easily, storms into the area and looks for Defoe with a cutback. Stones fends him off, though, and Caballero collects the loose ball.

4.04pm GMT

3 min: Willy Caballero effortlessly knocks a five-yard pass straight to Kolarov. See, what a playmaker. Kolarov lollops up the left flank, then pings a glorious raking pass from left to right towards Raheem Sterling. One-on-one with Oviedo, he tries to beat him with a backheel. Oviedo blocks it and the ball runs to Fernandinho, who crashes a shot into the top tier from 25 yards.

4.01pm GMT

2 min: Sunderland are defending from left to right in the first half. Manchester City are attacking from right to left.

4.00pm GMT

And we’re off! Manchester City get the game underway, ensuring that their possession statistics in the very first second stand at a Pep-pleasing 100%! It’s all downhill from here.

3.57pm GMT

Here come the teams. They stride purposefully out of the tunnel. Sunderland’s players don’t look scared at all. Relax! Everything’s going to be fine. Right. A few handshakes to get out of the way and then we’ll begin.

3.50pm GMT

“No trousers?” asks Phil James. He’s had to borrow some from David Moyes.

3.46pm GMT

Someone asked me earlier what Guardiola’s wearing today. B

aseball cap, 1995-96 Manchester City tracksuit
Grey v-neck, white shirt, skinny black tie. Pure style.

3.38pm GMT

If Sunderland go down, an eventuality which is looking increasingly likely, would you hang on to David Moyes? Would there be any value in sacking him given all the upheaval there in recent years? Wouldn’t it better to let him start afresh and build.

3.33pm GMT

“No sign of ‘Nesta 2.0’ Lynden Gooch today?” says Luke Forrester. “They’re calling him the new Puyol, up here in the north east. But not even a subs appearance for ‘the American Maldini’?”

No need. Papy Djilibodji is fit.

3.30pm GMT

Pre-match reading: Paul Wilson on Sergio Aguero.

Related: Sergio Agüero out to prove his value in Manchester City’s finishing stretch | Paul Wilson

3.25pm GMT

Tottenham have beaten Everton 3-2 to move seven points behind Chelsea and four clear of Manchester City, who have two games in hand on Mauricio Pochettino’s collection of nutcase puppies. None of this is relevant to Sunderland.

Related: Tottenham Hotspur v Everton: Premier League – live!

3.04pm GMT

Sunderland: Pickford; Jones, Kone, O’Shea, Oviedo; Ndong, Gibson, Larsson; Borini, Defoe, Januzaj. Subs: Mannone, Manquillo, Djilibodji, Rodwell, Khazri, Honeyman, Love.

Manchester City: Caballero; Sagna, Stones, Kolarov, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Fernandinho; Sterling, Silva, Sane; Aguero. Subs: Bravo, Otamendi, Fernando, Nolito, Iheanacho, Delph, De Bruyne.

11.01am GMT

Hello. For now, there is no title race. Such a thing does not exist. But if there is going to be one this season, then Manchester City must be utterly ruthless. Any slip and that small glimpse of blue they can still just about make out in the distance will vanish from view as Chelsea sail away for good. At the moment, however, City still have a glimmer of hope. It’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible. In all likelihood City’s indifferent winter form has given them too much to do, meaning that the top four has to be their focus, but a victory over Sunderland would take them eight points behind the leaders and slightly turning up the heat on Chelsea before their visit to West Ham tomorrow.

There was a time when the Stadium of Light was threatening to become City’s bogey ground. They struggled here under both Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini, losing 1-0 on four consecutive visits. It briefly seemed that they were heading for a fifth straight defeat on Wearside when Connor Wickham gave Sunderland a 1-0 lead in December 2014. That was when City decided enough was enough, though, hitting back with four unanswered goals. Sergio Aguero was inspired that night and the striker may well fill his boots this afternoon. City won 4-1 at Sunderland in the League Cup last season and 1-0 win in the league and David Moyes’s side, rooted to the bottom of the league and six points off Crystal Palace in 17th place, treated their long-suffering fans to a shambolic 4-0 defeat to Southampton in their last home game. Still, they did get to see the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in New York the other week, so every cloud and all that.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/mar/05/sunderland-v-manchester-city-premier-league-live

Feb 24

Manchester United get long-distance Rostov date in Europa League last 16

Manchester United face a gruelling trip to Russia in the last 16 of the Europa League, while Lyon tackle Roma in the round’s stand-out tie

12.26pm GMT

Celta Vigo v FC Krasnodar

Apoel v Anderlecht

12.23pm GMT

As for Manchester United, they’ll take a tie with FC Rostov. That said, the Russians reached the Europa League largely thanks to a shock home win over Bayern Munich in their Champions League, so United won’t want to take them lightly. The tie also comes during a draining period for United. They’ll be in Russia on 9 March, travel to Chelsea in the FA Cup on 13 March and play the second leg on 16 March. Ouch. Luckily for Jose Mourinho, he has a big squad. There might even be some game time for the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Wayne Rooney. But that’s all from me for today. Thanks for reading. Bye!

12.18pm GMT

We’ve got an all-Belgian tie, an all-German tie and a cracking match between Lyon and Roma to look forward to. Olympiakos v Besiktas looks tasty as well.

12.17pm GMT

The draw is over. That was the draw. The ties will be played on 9 and 16 March.

12.17pm GMT

FC Copenhagen v Ajax

12.16pm GMT

KAA Gent v Genk

12.15pm GMT

Olympiakos v Besiktas

12.14pm GMT

FC Rostov v Manchester United

12.14pm GMT

Lyon v Roma

12.13pm GMT

Schalke v Borussia Monchengladbach

12.12pm GMT

Apoel FC v Anderlecht

12.11pm GMT

Celta Vigo v FC Krasnodar

12.08pm GMT

Former Bayern Munich defender Patrik Andersson will be pulling the balls out of the hat.

12.05pm GMT

Giorgio Marchetti is master of ceremonies. He’s offering “warm congratulations” to every club in the last 16 and that makes it all worth the effort.

12.04pm GMT

Who do Manchester United need to avoid? “Sevilla, of course,” parps Nathanael Balete. “They’ll win the Europa again.”

12.01pm GMT

Off to Nyon we go! The draw’s set to begin. But first, a Uefa man is doing some talking on stage.

11.51am GMT

Not to come across all Brexit, but it feels like this is Manchester United’s competition to lose. Who can stop them? Roma, second in Serie A, are the likeliest challengers. But Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach are mid-table in Germany, as are Celta Vigo in Spain. Besiktas are a threat; Lyon, too. Anderlecht could be dark horses. Come on, European football experts. Educate me. Who should United be looking to avoid?

11.41am GMT

While we wait, here’s some pre-draw reading. It’s me on Tottenham’s failure to beat KAA Gent, the eighth best team in Belgium! Still, the Wembley arch looked nice last night.

Related: Dele Alli’s rush of blood renders Tottenham’s intent fruitless | Jacob Steinberg

11.11am GMT

Hello. Welcome to the draw for the last 16 of the Europa League, featuring Manchester United

and Tottenham Hotspur
.

Oh, Tottenham. You’ve really gone and done it this time. Gent! Gent, for crying out loud.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/feb/24/europa-league-last-16-draw-live

Feb 22

Porto v Juventus: Champions League last 16, first leg – as it happened

Juventus capitalised on Alex Telles’s rash red card by taking a decisive step towards the last eight thanks to late goals from Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves

9.41pm GMT

Well, this tie is probably over. Porto have a huge mountain to climb after this defeat and they’re likely to find the task insurmountable in Turin on 14 March. The game was defined by Alex Telles’s brain fart in the first half, the Porto left-back letting himself down and dropping his team-mates in it with that preposterous red card. Two identical bookings in the space of 74 seconds, for crying out loud! I mean really. Porto held out bravely for as long as possible, but they cracked in the end and Max Allegri’s substitutions made the difference, goals from Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves meaning that Juventus head back to Italy with a commanding 2-0 lead. They’ve got one foot in the last eight and it will take something special from Porto to stop them getting there. That’s all from me for now. Thanks for reading. Good night.

9.35pm GMT

Peep! Peep! Peep! That’s it!

9.33pm GMT

90 min: Two minutes of stoppage time.

9.32pm GMT

89 min: Marcano trips Higuain 30 yards from goal. He’s booked.

9.30pm GMT

87 min: This is so nearly three. Juventus casually stroll through the middle, gliding through Porto’s defence. Sami Khedira looks certain to score as he slides in and reaches the ball before the onrushing Casillas, but his shot drifts just past the post.

9.28pm GMT

86 min: Claudio Marchisio replaces Paulo Dybala.

9.28pm GMT

85 min: Nothing. Juventus break and Herrera picks up a booking for cynically bringing Pjaca down.

9.27pm GMT

84 min: The willing Maxi Pereira wins a corner for Porto on the right. What can they do with this?

9.26pm GMT

83 min: Juventus are playing out time, keeping the ball, teasing Porto. What Alex Telles would give to have those 74 seconds when he lost his head back.

9.24pm GMT

81 min: To their credit, the Porto fans are still making a racket, but this game has died a death since those Juventus goals.

9.21pm GMT

78 min: Pjanic takes aim from 20 yards. Deflection. Corner.

9.20pm GMT

77 min: Pjaca, a menace since his introduction, threatens to add a third, but overruns the ball on the right. He settles for a corner.

9.19pm GMT

77 min: Alex Telles has a lot of explaining to do.

9.19pm GMT

It’s fair to say that Max Allegri has got his substitutions spot on this evening. On the pitch for all of a minute, Dani Alves keeps his cool when a cross from the excellent Alex Sandro reaches him at the far post, controlling with his chest before slashing a volley to the right of the helpless Casillas. This tie is probably over.

9.17pm GMT

73 min: Dani Alves replaces Stephan Lichtsteiner.

9.17pm GMT

Juventus suddenly increase the tempo after much aimlessness. Paulo Dybala schemes on the edge of the area and attempts to thread a pass through on the right. Fortune favours Juve. His pass is inaccurate, but it deflects off the unlucky Layun and runs to Pjaca, the substitute, who joyously lashes it past Iker Casillas! Juve have been rewarded for their patience. The 10 men’s resistance is over.

9.13pm GMT

70 min: Brahimi, a rare lively presence in Porto’s attack, jigs around on the right, but overruns the ball down on the right byline.

9.11pm GMT

68 min: This Mandzukic as left winger experiment is producing mixed results. What’s Allegri’s angle here? Is it some kind of punishment for the Croatian target man?

9.10pm GMT

67 min: Juventus make their first change, Marko Pjaca replacing Juan Cuadrado.

9.09pm GMT

66 min: More of this, for example. Gonzalo Higuain, who’s hardly been in the game, shows wonderfully quick feet to throw a couple of Porto defenders off the scent on the edge of the area and earn space for a short. He opens up his body and aims for the far corner, but his curler flies just wide. Casillas didn’t move.

9.08pm GMT

65 min: Juventus are beginning to resort to a fair few crosses from deep positions. They’ve rarely been in behind the Porto defence. They’re playing in front of the hosts a bit too much. They could do with more urgency and invention.

9.06pm GMT

63 min: Is this Juventus side creative enough?

9.04pm GMT

61 min: Jesus Corona – there’s a lot going on in that name – replaces Ruben Neves.

9.03pm GMT

60 min: Porto are just beginning to show signs of losing their shape, leaving room for Juve to run into whenever they venture forward. Sandro again leads the latest charge. His cross is headed away to Khedira, who controls, volleys and watches as the ball drops just wide of the right post. Casillas stood and watched.

9.02pm GMT

59 min: Sandro, a constant threat on the left, fizzes a low centre into the middle. A Juventus attacker – I’m not sure who – arrives late and unmarked, only to take a swing and a miss when the opening goal appeared to be moments away. Porto survive. Portuguese hearts were in mouths there.

9.00pm GMT

58 min: Nothing much is happening. Porto are defending well.

8.57pm GMT

55 min: I jest, before you start. He’s a good player. Don’t hurt me. Back to the action. Sandro’s cross from the left is headed away, but only as far as Pjanic, who perceptively tees up Dybala. Miguel Layun flies across to divert his shot wide. The corner is a waste.

8.57pm GMT

54 min: Juan Cuadrado wafts a cross behind for a goal-kick. “Ah yes,” say Chelsea fans.

8.56pm GMT

53 min: Dybala pops up in a pocket of space again and pulls the trigger from 25 yards. Straight at Casillas.

8.54pm GMT

52 min: Sami Khedira leans back and bends one miles over the bar, rather summing up Juve’s imprecision in the final third.

8.53pm GMT

50 min: Lichtsteiner attempts to reach a bouncing ball in the Porto area, but he catches Herrera with a high, late challenge and receives a booking. Cue ironic cheers from the Porto fans.

8.52pm GMT

48 min: Miguel Layun drifts inside from the left and floats a cross towards the far post, over the dozing Alex Sandro and on to the head of Hector Herrera. It’s a magnificent chance for the Porto man, but he mistimes his leap and nods wastefully wide. How costly could that be? Porto are unlikely to get many more openings.

8.50pm GMT

47 min: The replays suggest that Hector Herrera might have been playing Dybala onside.

8.48pm GMT

46 min: Juventus get the game going again. Within a minute, the ball’s in the Porto net, but the flag’s up for offside against Paulo Dybala, who hammers his shot high into Iker Casillas’s net.

8.43pm GMT

Exclusive footage of Felix Brych versus Alex Telles.

8.34pm GMT

Jeers from the home fans greet Felix Brych’s half-time whistle, but Porto have no one but themselves to blame for their current difficulties. They can’t point at the officials. They’re down to 10 men for no reason other than monumental rashness from Alex Telles, whose left his team-mates in a hole after his early red card. They’re hanging on for now, but Juventus are likely to step it up in the second half.

8.33pm GMT

45 min+2: Maxi Pereira picks up a booking for a wild hack on Mario Mandzukic, who’ll definitely be looking to trouble the right-back with his pace now!

8.32pm GMT

45 min+1: A corner to Juventus on the right. They take it short. They pass the ball around for a while. Eventually it’s worked to Dybala, in space, and he lets fly with his left foot from 25 yards. His low zinger whooshes past Casillas this time, away to the Porto goalkeeper’s left, and the hosts are mightily relieved to see it clang off the base of the post and to safety.

8.29pm GMT

43 min: Dashing left wing whizzkid Mario Mandzukic hoicks a hopeful ball into the middle with his right foot. Nope.

8.27pm GMT

42 min: The marauding Alex Sandro wins a corner on the left. He’s shown more urgency than anyone so far. But his good work counts for little. Casillas comfortably claims the corner.

8.26pm GMT

41 min: “Juventus looked to be in pretty decent “surrounding the referee” form there in the 5th minute when they didn’t like a call but Porto really showed their opponents how it’s done on that red card,” says JR in Illinois. “Virtually perfect execution. You’d think Mourinho was still their manager. The ref had every right to hand out about six cards at that point.”

8.25pm GMT

39 min: Alex Sandro probes down the left again and slides a low centre towards Higuain, whose shot takes a deflection off Felipe and briefly appears to be heading inside the bottom right corner. Casillas reacts smartly, though, and dives to his right to push the ball past the post. The Porto goalkeeper’s movement didn’t appear to be hindered there. The corner amounts to nothing.

8.24pm GMT

37 min: Porto are annoyed with Felix Brych’s refusal to book Sami Khedira for a handball. The referee isn’t interested. The Portuguese side feel they’re not getting the rub of the green with the decisions. Moments later, Yacine Brahimi crumples on the left. He’s told to get up, heightening the sense of injustice in the stands. That prompts an outpouring of noise from the home stands. This isn’t really what Juventus need. They won’t want any controversy.

8.21pm GMT

36 min: Casillas is trying to run it off. He’s staying on for now. Juventus might want to test his movement.

8.20pm GMT

35 min: More problems for Porto. Iker Casillas is grimacing and clutching a hamstring. He might not be able to continue. Jose Sa, the home side’s reserve goalkeeper, is warming up.

8.19pm GMT

34 min: Piercing whistles greet a long spell of Juventus possession. It’s doubtful that will be enough to put them off. Alex Sandro hoicks a dangerous ball into the area and Khedira arrives late, but his header drops wide.

8.18pm GMT

33 min: Porto are sitting deep now and no wonder. They’re inviting Juventus on, asking the Italians if they can pick the lock. Miralem Pjanic decides to have a go from long range. His low fizzer is straight at Casillas.

8.16pm GMT

31 min: It’s often harder to play against 10 men, you know.

8.15pm GMT

30 min: Porto make the inevitable defensive change, Miguel Layun replacing Andre Silva.

8.15pm GMT

28 min: Those yellow cards arrived in the space of 74 seconds. Dearie me, what a laughable buffoon. This is going to be an almighty struggle for Porto now and Juve almost make them pay straight away, only for Cuadrado’s effort from 18 yards to whistle just off target.

8.14pm GMT

27 min: This is absurd! Booked barely a minute ago, Alex Telles flies into another unnecessary challenge on Stephan Lichtsteiner on the right touchline and sends him flying! Juve’s players are fuming and they crowd Felix Brych, imploring the German referee to show a second yellow. He’ll be very lucky if he gets away with this. And Brych isn’t in a mood to let him off, rightly flashing a yellow and then a red in the Porto left-back’s face. He can’t have any complaints after displaying such indiscipline. Porto will have to play with 10 men for more than an hour.

8.11pm GMT

26 min: Juve have had 66% possession.

8.11pm GMT

25 min: It’s been a while. But Porto are enjoying some sustained possession in Juve’s half. It doesn’t last long, though. A slack pass and the ball’s back in Juve’s possession. Moments later, Alex Telles foolishly steams in on Juan Cuadrado from behind and stands on the back of his ankle on the right touchline. He didn’t need to make that challenge, but he did, and he’s booked, for rank stupidity more than anything else.

8.09pm GMT

23 min: A throw to Juventus on the left. Sandro chucks it inside and Higuain flicks it on to Dybala, who’s left unattended on the edge of the area. That feels like a mistake. You can’t give that much space to a player this good. Porto get away with it, though, because Dybala is stretching and sliding as he shoots and his 20-yarder flies harmlessly over. He looks anguished. He might have shown more accuracy there.

8.07pm GMT

21 min: Mario Mandzukic appears to be playing as a left winger tonight. It’s not a role that seems to play to his strengths. But who knows? Perhaps we’re watching the next Ryan Giggs. He’s almost through here as well. Higuain, standing offside, allows a long punt to run on to Mandzukic. But he doesn’t have the legs to reach it before Iker Casillas, who storms out to boot clear.

8.05pm GMT

18 min: Higuain and Dybala combine deliciously on the edge of the Porto area. Higuain backheels to Dybala, who instantly flicks it back to the forward, sending him through on goal. He’s just onside. But he wants too long and Marcano denies him with a brilliantly timed sliding challenge. That is wonderful defending from the Porto centre-back, who’s prevented a certain goal. Reprieved, Porto spring up the other end, but Soares lacks conviction on the left and coughs up possession too tamely.

8.02pm GMT

17 min: There had been 42 goals at the equivalent stage of the City-Monaco match last night. But these two sides have yet to treat us to a goalscoring opportunity. An intriguing tactical battle awaits.

8.01pm GMT

16 min: Juventus are beginning to look like the home side. Which might be a concern for Porto. Unless they’re planning to hit them on the break. If so, nothing to see here.

8.00pm GMT

14 min: Juventus are beginning to dominate and Khedira barrels into the area on the left. He almost finds Higuain in space, but the ball doesn’t reach him, Marcano in the way with an important interception. The ball comes back to Alex Sandro, but he hammers it over the bar from long range. Neither keeper has been tested yet, both sides yet to find their range in front of goal.

7.58pm GMT

12 min: Juan Cuadrado rolls around a bit, holding his ankle after a foul by Ruben Neves. It’s all a bit scrappy at the moment. There had already been 23 goals at the equivalent stage of the Manchester City versus Monaco match last night. Come on, lads, what gives?

7.56pm GMT

11 min: Juventus work their way promisingly down the right flank, but Lichtsteiner’s cross is aimless. The Italians are feeling their way into this, though, and they’re beginning to enjoy more possession now.

7.56pm GMT

10 min: A free-kick to Juventus 40 yards from goal, a chance to load the Porto area. Or not. Pjanic decides to shoot. He does not score. The big men give him a few dirty looks as they chug back into position.

7.54pm GMT

9 min: Juventus acquaint themselves with the Porto half for the first time, Alex Sandro driving powerfully down the left. Maxi Pereira keeps him away from danger, though.

7.53pm GMT

8 min: Brahimi drops back on to his favoured right foot on the left and sends an inswinger into the area. Chiellini clears as far as Ruben Neves, who ignores support to his right and rams a volley miles over from 30 yards. That was a touch ambitious from the midfielder.

7.52pm GMT

6 min: Brahimi does the gentlemanly thing and delicately feathers the free-kick a few yards over the bar, Buffon waving it away to safety. Juventus are still seething, though.

7.51pm GMT

5 min: Andre Silva bursts through the middle and falls under a fairly tame challenge from Chiellini. Peep! The whistle is blown. Free-kick to Porto, 25 yards out in a central position. Juventus are furious. They think Silva dived. They’ll be even more annoyed if Brahimi plonks this into the top corner.

7.50pm GMT

4 min: Porto are seeing most of the ball early on. As Atletico Madrid demonstrated against Bayer Leverkusen last night, possession doesn’t always count for everything.

7.49pm GMT

3 min: In the heart of Juve’s defence, Chiellini and Barzagli are both back from thigh injuries. No sign of Bonucci, though. He’s in the stands after a bust-up with Max Allegri. It must be nice to be able to drop a defender as good as Bonucci and not suffer a drop in quality in defence.

7.46pm GMT

And we’re off! Porto, in dark blue, get the ball rolling. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. Juventus are in white.

7.43pm GMT

Here come the teams, led out by Felix Brych at the Estadio Dragao. There’s plenty of shouting in foreign in the tunnel. Using my keen translation skills, I assume that was either Portuguese or Italian for one of “Come on, lads, let’s ‘ave it, this lot don’t fahkin’ fancy it” or “Good game, old bean, best of luck out there”.

7.41pm GMT

While we wait for kick-off, some quick pre-match reading. It’s Matt Gault on the men who made Antonio Conte, once of Juventus.

Related: The men who made Antonio Conte: Trapattoni, Lippi, Ancelotti and Sacchi

7.39pm GMT

Elsewhere in Europe, there’s been a big shock in La Liga. Valencia have just beaten Real Madrid 2-1! There’s light at the end of the tunnel for Barcelona! It was some game and it featured a stunning goal from Simone Zaza, on loan at Valencia from Juventus. West Ham fans might find that hard to believe.

“WHAT A GOAL FROM ZAZA! SENSATIONAL!”
Watch on SS1 or follow here: https://t.co/xuIPbmxQb9 https://t.co/dwvstu9EXm

7.17pm GMT

Porto make changes from the side that thumped Tondela 4-0 on Saturday. In come Yacine Brahimi, Hector Herrera and Danilo. Out go Otavio, Andre Andre and Jesus Corona.

Juventus also hit four on the weekend. They conceded one against Palermo. Three points for them! And a few changes too. Out go Dani Alves, Mehdi Benatia, Leonardo Bonucci, Marko Pjaca, Claudio Marchisio and Stefana Sturaro, to be replaced by Stefan Lichtsteiner, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic.

6.55pm GMT

Porto: Casillas; Pereira, Marcano, Felipe, Telles; Danilo; Herrera, Neves, Brahimi; Silva, Soares. Subs: Sa, Boly, Corona, Andre, Layun, Jota, Torres.

Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Chiellini, Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala; Mandukic, Higuain. Subs: Neto, Benatia, Marchisio, Pjaca, Asamoah, Alves, Rugani.

11.04am GMT

Hello. In what appears an intriguingly open field, indeed one that may well turn out to be one of the most competitive this competition has witnessed in years, this looks like a wonderful chance for Juventus to win the Champions League for the first time since 1996. Without an obvious favourite, it’s up for grabs this season. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich both stand out, of course, as do Atletico Madrid, while Paris Saint-Germain will fancy their chances after duffing up Barcelona last week. Don’t rule out Borussia Dortmund if they get past Benfica. Seville know what it takes to win a European competition. Perhaps Manchester City’s attacking brilliance will cancel out their comedy stylings at the back. These are all top sides – but are these sides as top, top as Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, say, or even the Bayern of Jupp Heynckes, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United or Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea?

There’s plenty of time for any of those contenders to reach that level, but at the moment picking a winner isn’t easy (which is just the way the European Cup should be, but that’s another debate for another day), and that means it could be the year Juventus, who were beaten finalists in 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2015. It’s been business as usual for the Italian champions despite the summer sale of Paul Pogba and Max Allegri’s side are running away with Serie A again, six straight wins taking them seven points clear of Roma, their closest challengers. Tough and talented, they probably had a good old chuckle at some … okay, all of the defending on show at the Etihad last night, and they’ve got goals in them too, with their two Argentinian forwards, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, a match for any defence in Europe. Losing Pogba was a blow, but they bought cannily, bringing in Dani Alves, Higuain and Miralem Pjanic.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/feb/22/porto-v-juventus-champions-league-last-16-first-leg-live

Feb 22

Wembley atmosphere even better than at White Hart Lane, says Harry Kane

• ‘Even though fans are not as close to pitch, having 90,000 there is incredible’
• Tottenham aim to recover from Europa League first-leg defeat by Gent

Harry Kane has insisted that Tottenham Hotspur have no reason to fear playing at Wembley as they attempt to recover from last week’s 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their last-32 Europa League tie against Gent and that the atmosphere there is even better than at White Hart Lane.

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/22/wembley-atmosphere-better-than-white-hart-lane-harry-kane-tottenham-gent

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